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Twitter Releases New Political Ad Policy Following Announcement of Ban on Political Ads

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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was heavily praised last month when he announced, in no uncertain terms, that Twitter would ban all political advertising on its platform.

This followed a speech from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in which he defended his platform’s decision not to subject political ads to fact-checking, under the guise of ‘voice and free expression‘ – i.e. letting the people decide what’s true and what’s not from political candidates. By comparison, Dorsey’s stance was a welcome relief, a social platform CEO who was willing to take a stand.

But even as Dorsey announced it, others – like Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, and Instagram chief Adam Mosseri – questioned how it might actually work in practice.

Now, Twitter has released its full, revised political ads policy, which doesn’t go as far as initially suggested, but does seek to limit the use of Twitter ads for political campaigning.

First off, Twitter says that it will prohibit the promotion of political content, with “political content” defined as:

“Content that references a candidate, political party, elected or appointed government official, election, referendum, ballot measure, legislation, regulation, directive, or judicial outcome. Ads that contain references to political content, including appeals for votes, solicitations of financial support, and advocacy for or against any of the above-listed types of political content, are prohibited under this policy. We also do not allow ads of any type by candidates, political parties, or elected or appointed government officials.”

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Which seems petty clear-cut – but what about the noted conflict between political campaigning and activism by non-politically affiliated groups?

For this element, Twitter has also launched a new ad category called ‘Cause-based advertising‘.

Under its ’cause based’ banner, Twitter will allow for restricted promotion of ads that:

“Educate, raise awareness, and/or call for people to take action in connection with civic engagement, economic growth, environmental stewardship, or social equity causes.” 

These ads cannot be used to “drive political, judicial, legislative, or regulatory outcomes”, and advertisers will need to be certified to run such promotions.

Twitter will also limit the targeting capacity of any such ads:

“Targeting is restricted and limited to geo, keyword, and interest targeting. No other targeting types are allowed, including tailored audiences.    

  • Geo-targeting may only happen at the state, province, or region level and above. Zipcode level targeting is not allowed.
  • Keyword and interest targeting may not include terms associated with political content, prohibited advertisers, or political leanings or affiliations (e.g., “conservative,” “liberal,” “political elections,” etc.).”

​Additionally, news publishers who meet Twitter’s exemption criteria will be allowed to run ads that reference political content and/or prohibited advertisers under its political content policy, “but may not include advocacy for or against those topics or advertisers”. So publishers can promote their coverage of the news, but not opinion pieces which advocate for a specific political angle.

That’s quite a few exceptions, a lot of wrinkles and potential gaps that Twitter will need to work out.

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As noted by Will Oremus of OneZero:

“What it all means is that Twitter will now be in the business of divining the primary goal of every advertiser who places an ad that might have political ramifications, and deciding which ones will be allowed and which won’t. If that sounds hard to do in the United States, where Twitter is headquartered, imagine the difficulty in applying it to every country in which Twitter operates.”

And that really is a key consideration. The big focus here is obviously the upcoming US Presidential Election, but in 2020, there are also major polls happening in Egypt, France, Serbia, Brazil and many more. Even if Twitter does have a team equipped to manage and decide on US election ad approvals, based on these parameters, will it have the same capacity to handle all of these separate polls? Is it possible for Twitter to actually enforce these regulations in a uniform and balanced way across every election in every region?

It seems like a very difficult task – which is partly why Facebook has decided not to undertake it. Another, more skeptical view is that Facebook has less interest in removing divisive, debate-worthy content of this type because it fuels on-platform engagement – in a recent Facebook overview of its policy decisions on such, it included this fake news story as an example of content it won’t remove.

Flat earth example

That post, by any scientific measure, is misinformation, and by allowing it, Facebook, and other platforms, enable such questioning of established facts to germinate. So should it take a stronger stand? And if it did, what impact would that have on Facebook engagement overall?

Would Facebook stand to lose out, with users then switching to other platforms to share such theories and false facts, and their related discussion?

There does appear to be some logic to the idea that Facebook may not be so interested in enforcing rules against political misinformation because of the higher levels of on-platform engagement it facilitates, and in this respect, Twitter deserves additional praise for even attempting to block the same. The impacts of removing political advertising on Twitter will not be the same as they would be on Facebook (Twitter made $3 million in revenue from political ads around the 2018 US Midterms, while Facebook has projected that US political ads would make up around 0.5% of its 2020 revenue, equivalent to around $428 million). But still, it’s a difficult task, and one which is going to open up Twitter to a lot of scrutiny, while also potentially hurting engagement.

The fact that they’re even attempting such is worthy of praise.

How effective Twitter’s bans will be remains to be seen, but Twitter has said that this is just the first step, and that it expects to learn as it goes, and build out more detail, especially for international markets.

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It’s an ambitious attempt to address one of the core issues leveled at social media in recent times – and if it works, it may set a new precedent for dealing with the same on other platforms.

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MARKETING

What You Need to be Doing NOW to Get Your Shop Ready for Black Friday

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What You Need to be Doing NOW to Get Your Shop Ready for Black Friday

Did you know that 130 million users use Facebook and Instagram to discover sales and buy products during Black Friday weekend alone? 

This means that setting your shop up for success is an excellent way to attract all shopaholics into your business and make serious money. But, with so little time, how can you know what you’re supposed to do? 

Well, after talking with Meta experts, I’ve put together an easy-to-follow checklist with everything you need to do AHEAD of Black Friday if you want your Instagram or Facebook Shop to be a huge success this holiday. 

So read on, and start planning now!

11 Things you need to do to get your shop Black Friday ready

The key to a successful Black Friday is reaching the right audience with the right products. In years past, this meant a well-placed ad in the local newspaper or a spot on the radio. But today, the best way to reach potential shoppers is through social media. And of all the social media platforms out there, Instagram and Facebook offer the best buying experience. 

Facebook and Instagram Shops provide an easy way for businesses to showcase their products and reach a wide audience, and offer a convenient way to browse and purchase items with just a few clicks. Plus, since most users are already using these social media platforms *we’re talking about more than 3 billion*, it has become a natural way to shop. 

So if you’re a business owner looking to take advantage of Black Friday, setting up an Instagram or Facebook shop is a must, and here are the best tips to do so: 

1. Start planning your holiday strategies if you haven’t already

For many businesses, Black Friday is make-or-break time, when they can either turn a profit or end up in the red. That’s why it’s so important to have a solid plan in place for dealing with traffic. 

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By mapping out a strategy beforehand, businesses can avoid being overwhelmed by the high demand and ensure that everyone has a positive experience. This means, planning your offer and deals ahead of time, placing your ads budget, doing product inventory, organizing customer service, etc. 

Regarding offers, Instagram and Facebook Shops allow businesses to set up coupons and discount codes during checkout, and timely offers to display their deals. Offer parity with your site is key. So be sure to review #7!

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2. Update your Meta Shop banners 

In order for retailers to lure customers into their shops, they need to make sure their signage is up-to-date and eye-catching. This is especially true for banners, which are the first thing people see when hunting for good deals and promotions. 

A well-designed banner can help to create a sense of urgency and excitement, convincing shoppers that they need to act now in order to get the best deals. These act as hero images from a traditional site, but for your Instagram Shop.

Additionally, they can be used to highlight specific sales or promotions, making it easy for shoppers to find the products they’re looking for. After all, what good is a sale if no one knows about it?

So if you’re looking to make the most of this busy shopping day, don’t forget to update your social shop banners with eye-catching designs. It could make all the difference in attracting customers to purchase in your store.

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3. Make your organic media is shoppable

Facebook and Instagram Shops allow you to tag a product every time you post a picture, reel, story, or video. This is especially relevant because it drives users from an organic publication to your shop where they can check all the information about the item they’re interested in. 

Plus, tagging can give you clean insights to how they’re interacting with products and creatives. 

Hat tip: Did you know that you can tag your products in the description of your feed posts? No more using ‘link in bio’ in your copy for your organic posts. Use the @ symbol and choose ‘products’, once you have found your product select it and BAM, your product is now linkable in your Instagram post’s description!

4. Set your products up for success

Each product description should contain anything and everything a user needs in order to buy. This includes: 

  • Engaging and informative product descriptions

Standing out from the crowd of sellers can be especially hard during the holidays. However, a great way to do that is to make sure your product descriptions are clear, concise, and compelling. 

No matter if you’re selling clothes, accessories, or home decor, a good product description will tell potential customers everything they need to know about a product, including its features, benefits, etc. Plus,  it should also be engaging, so that shoppers are tempted to click “add to cart”, so don’t forget about the call to action and use strong and convincing language to urge the buyers to take your deal. 

Be sure to exclude urls in your product description because it’s not allowed. Keep your product descriptions centered on benefits and remember, users often have 1-3 seconds to evaluate the efficacy and interest in a product from a product description.

Images that are well-lit and clearly show the product details can be the difference between a customer clicking “add to cart” or moving on to the next item on their list.

For Instagram and Facebook Shops, images need to be at least 500×500 pixels. Additionally, it’s important that you include more than just one image and focus on features. 

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Extra tip: according to Meta experts, if your product is in the lifestyle category, detailed product images can help you increase your possibilities of making a sale by 6-8%. 

Extra extra tip: Include an image of a customer’s selfie with the product. Showcasing real customers using or holding your product makes a big difference with your conversions.

  • Include price, availability, and sizes

No one will buy anything from your shop if you don’t have this information! So check your products and make sure that all of them include the deal price, pieces in stock, and sizes (this one applies only for items that are in categories like: Clothing Accessories, Newborn & Baby Fashion Accessories, and Costume Accessories)

Regarding sizes, you can (and should) add a size chart to help users feel confident in the purchase decisions and potentially reduce return rates. 

Bear in mind: July 2022, Meta changed the basic information each item showcased in their shops needs to have in order to be displayed, so click here to discover everything your products need to have!

5. Update your catalog

An outdated catalog will make it difficult for them to find what they’re looking for, and they may decide to do their shopping elsewhere. 

So, it’s important that you check and update your catalog to display all the products that are on sale to help your customers make important purchase decisions and drive sales. 

Taking this into account, your catalog should: 

  • Have all the products displayed with their variants
  • Include product details: complete all data fields (materials, ingredients, multiple images, videos, and size charts where applicable)
  • Be maintained: update collections with new items and inventory quantity. Regarding this, you can use Meta Pixel to automatically update your catalog and reduce operational load. 

6. Enable checkout on Facebook and Instagram Shops

Redirecting users to your own website or another platform in order to complete a sale is inconvenient and can lead to lost sales. So, it’s HIGHLY recommended that you set up your shop with checkout, if you’re allowed,to help potential customers discover and buy your products on one platform. 

**For eligible stores in the US, all fees are waived through the end of 2022 for enabled checkouts.

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Onsite checkout can be set up in Commerce Manager and it’s available for US shops only; it will give insights into shopper demographic and full-funnel conversion data which, in return, can help you optimize your campaigns. 

7. Offer Parity

An Instagram or Facebook Shop is an extension of your store, but in a more consumable form that doesn’t require users to go from a place to another in order to buy something. This means that both should offer the same data: from prices and deals, to contact information and banners. 

Why? Because some people may find your social shop and make their purchase there, meanwhile others would prefer to go to your website to get more information about you, so offer parity is a must if you want to build trust with potential customers. After all, no one wants to find mismatched prices!

8. Enable product reviews 

By reading reviews, users can get an idea of what other shoppers thought of a particular item before they make a purchase and it can help them make informed decisions. That’s why they’re a key player when it comes to driving sales during Black Friday. 

Regarding this, US shops with onsite checkouts have access to ratings and reviews and can manage them in Commerce Manager, which will allow you to check customer feedback and answer them. 

Remember this: you need to have a shop with onsite checkout to enable product reviews and ratings. 

Moreover, it’s possible to import reviews from 3rd parties! For now, Yotpo and Bazarro are active, meanwhile, Okendo and Stamped.io will be available with the reviews section in the next quarter. 

9. Don’t forget about user-generated content

User-generated content has the added benefit of being more authentic and relatable than traditional marketing materials. It’s this human element that can be critical in helping persuade undecided shoppers to make a purchase. In fact, UGC drives a 9% increase in CTA clicks for buy now or view on the website

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During Black Friday, this type of content can be a valuable tool for helping brands connect with consumers and build trust, so it’s important to include it in your strategy. 

For this, you can use images and videos of different customers using, wearing, and loving your products or provide buyers with information like “how to use” or tips that can help them make the most out of an item. 

If you go to the UGC section of your commerce account, you can find UGC that’s ready for potential use in your stories and in your Meta Shops. You can find any images that tagged your handle or used one of your branded hashtags. When you find images that you’d like to use, you can send a request to that user’s profile for permission of usage of that media in your store.

It’s really that easy!

10. Leverage Shopping Ads and Catalog Ads

Instagram shopping ads allow businesses to showcase their products directly in the Instagram feed. 

By tagging product photos with relevant information, businesses can create ads that include pricing, product descriptions, and a link to purchase the product. These ads are designed to be highly visual and engaging, and they provide a convenient way for users to learn about and purchase products without ever leaving Instagram. 

On the other hand, Advantage+ Catalog Ads are a must-try for those businesses that have a large catalog of products and don’t want to be bothered by having to create a different ad per product. Instead, this type of ad helps you to create one campaign for all your products and show it to people that are interested in even one item from your catalog by creating an individual ad. 

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By integrating Catalog and Shop Ads into your paid media plan for Black Friday, you can attract possible customers and take them through your sales funnel all in one platform. 

If you’re not familiar with these types of ads, you should start experimenting and scaling them as you see fit from now on! Also, don’t forget to set up your CPA!

*** Black Friday ad ramp up should begin by September 20th. October 15th is the BIG day when everyone enters the Meta Ads marketplace and auction pressure increase***

11. Prepare your customer support service

Answering questions from possible customers in less than 24 hours increases their possibility to make a purchase by 50%, that’s why it’s important to invest in effective customer service to help users get a clear understanding of your business and build trust. 

With Facebook and Instagram Shops, you can get an email every time someone asks specific questions and reply by using the feedback tag on Commerce Manager. These replies become publicly available helping future customers see that social proof to make better buying decisions.

However, this feature is only available if you have enabled checkout and are an admin to the commerce account.

When should you start?

The peak of users eager to get Black Friday deals starts from October 15th to the big date *yes, more than a month before Black Friday*, so it’s crucial that you start optimizing your Instagram and Facebook Shops ASAP. 

And, if you feel like this long list may overwhelm you and already give you a headache, at Mongoose Media we have a team of experts that will take this task from you and make the most out of your shop to go from plan to bestselling during the holidays!

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