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Musk dodges limits in Twitter board seat refusal: experts

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Musk dodges limits in Twitter board seat refusal: experts


Elon Musks rejection of a Twitter board seat capped a streak of roller coaster developments on his ties to the platform – Copyright AFP Indranil MUKHERJEE

Glenn CHAPMAN

Elon Musk’s rejection of a Twitter board seat frees him to buy greater stock sway over his preferred social media platform and dodge obligations to promote its best interests, experts warned Monday.

News last week that the controversy-courting Tesla boss had become Twitter’s largest shareholder sparked a roller coaster of developments that ended with the platform’s CEO saying Musk had walked away.

Close watchers of the firm speculated about what could come next, but saw potentially ominous signs in the world’s richest person’s intentions regarding Twitter.

“This now goes from a Cinderella story with Musk joining the Twitter board and keeping his stake under 14.9 percent, helping move Twitter strategically forward, to likely a ‘Game of Thrones’ battle between Musk and Twitter,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said in a note to investors.

Musk’s deal to join the board included an agreement to keep his share in the company under 15 percent.

But now, he can continue to amass stock and push for change without having to play nice with Twitter board members, said Techsponential analyst Avi Greengart.

“Everyone seems to think Musk wants a bigger part of the company than the board would let him have,” said Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi.

“He would never have followed the rules, it doesn’t suit him,” she said of Musk joining the board.

Musk fired off a series of barbs at Twitter over the weekend that have since vanished.

The tweets included ideas for the platform, such as giving blue authentication check marks to paying Twitter Blue subscribers and turning the company’s San Francisco office into a homeless shelter because employees don’t use it.

Possible scenarios now include Musk trying to force his will on Twitter, or even push to sell the company, said Ives.

Musk could also decide the game is over and shift focus to his many other endeavors, such as electric cars, space exploration and even linking human brains to computers, Ives added.

– Critic or conquerer? –

A tech world star with more than 81 million followers on the microblogging platform, Musk last week disclosed a purchase of 73.5 million shares — or 9.2 percent — of Twitter’s common stock.

Twitter chief executive Parag Agrawal had announced that Musk would be joining the board, describing him as “a passionate believer and intense critic of the service which is exactly what we need.”

Musk himself tweeted that he was “looking forward to working with Parag & Twitter board to make significant improvements to Twitter in coming months!”

Musk’s appointment to the board was to be contingent on a background check and a requirement that he would have to act in the best interests of the company once appointed, Agrawal said in a statement.

The only response from Musk on the announcement of his rejection of the seat has been a smirking emoji, posted on Monday.

Musk’s reversal of position regarding the board came after he tweeted asking whether the social media network was “dying” and to call out users such as singer Justin Bieber, who are highly followed but rarely post.

He recently conducted a poll about a long-desired edit button at Twitter and once quipped in a tweet that the company should remove the “w” from its name.

“It seems like Musk has all of these ideas that he is pulling out of a hat,” Milanesi said. “It is clear that he does whatever he wants to do.”

And while the serial entrepreneur has a devoted cadre of fans, having millions of Twitter followers doesn’t mean he knows best how to make money from the unique one-to-many messaging platform, she added.

“There really is room for Twitter to grow its subscription revenue and advertising beyond what it is today, so perhaps Musk sees this as an investment,” Greengart said.

“Or perhaps he is just doing it for the ‘lolz,’” he added, referring to internet slang for making a joke at someone else’s expense.



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Key Notes on Building Your Brand via Your Social Profile Visuals [Infographic]

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Key Notes on Building Your Brand via Your Social Profile Visuals [Infographic]

Looking to give your social profiles a visual refresh for the new year?

This could help – the team from Giraffe Social Media recently put together an overview of the whys and hows of building your brand via your social profile visuals.

There are some good notes here – a key consideration is consistency, which ensures that you’re building your brand with every post and update.

Check out the full infographic below.

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Publicis Performance Marketing Unit Acquires Influencer Platform Perlu 01/30/2023

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Publicis Performance Marketing Unit Acquires Influencer Platform Perlu 01/30/2023

Publicis Groupe-owned performance marketing agency CJ, which specializes in affiliate marketing, has acquired Perlu, a Syracuse, New York-based influencer networking and technology platform.
Perlu’s platform enables companies to activate, network, and collaborate with a community of influencers.   

Perlu will initially retain its name and organization as it is
integrated …



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Reports Show that Facebook Usage is Up, as Meta Continues to Develop its AI Targeting Models

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Reports Show that Facebook Usage is Up, as Meta Continues to Develop its AI Targeting Models

While Facebook is no longer the cool app, especially among younger audiences, it remains a key platform for many users, and its capacity to keep people updated on important updates from friends and family is likely to ensure that many continue to return to the app every day for some time yet.

But more than that, Facebook usage is actually increasing, according to internal insights viewed by The Wall Street Journal, which also include some interesting notes on overall Facebook and Instagram usage trends.

As per WSJ:

Data gathered in the middle of the fourth quarter showed that time spent on [Facebook] was up worldwide, including in developed markets, over the course of a year.”

Which seems unusual, given the subsequent rise of TikTok, and short form video more generally. But actually, Facebook has been able to successfully use the short-form video trend to drive more usage – despite much criticism of the platform’s copycat Reels feature.

Indeed, Reels consumption is up 20%, and has become a key element in Meta’s resurgence.  

How is it finding success? Increased investment in AI, which has driven big improvements in the relevance models that fuel both Reels and its ads, which are also now driving better response.

On Reels, Meta’s systems are getting much better at showing users the Reels content that they’re most likely to be interested in. You’ve likely noticed this yourself – what was initially a mess of random clips inserted into your Facebook feed has now become more focused, and you’re probably finding yourself expanding a Reels clip every now and then, just to see what it’s about.

Reels has actually been too successful:

“Because ads in Reels videos don’t currently sell for as much as those sold against regular posts and stories, Reels’ growing share of content consumption was denting ad revenue. To protect the company’s earnings, the company cut back on promoting Reels, which lowered watch time by 12%.

So again, while Meta has been criticized for stealing TikTok’s format, it’s once again shown, just as it did with Stories, that this is a viable and beneficial pathway to keeping users engaged in its apps.

You might not like it, but replication works in this respect.

But for marketers, it’s likely the development of Meta’s AI targeting tools for ads that’s of most interest.

Over time, many performance advertisers have been increasingly recommending that marketers trust Meta’s AI targeting, with newer offerings like Advantage+ driving strong results, with far less manual targeting effort.

Advantage+ puts almost total trust in Meta’s AI targeting systems. You can choose a couple of targeting options for your campaigns, but for the most part, the process is designed to limit manual impact, in order to let Meta’s systems determine the right audience for your ads.

Which may feel like you’re ceding too much control, but according to Meta, its continued AI investment is now driving better results.

Heavy investment in artificial intelligence tools has enabled the company to improve ad-targeting systems to make better predictions based on less data, according to the interviews and documents […] That, along with shifting to forms of advertising less dependent on harvesting user data from off its platforms, are key to the company’s plans to overcome an Apple privacy change that restricted Meta’s capacity to gather information about what its users do outside its platforms’ walls, the documents show.”

That’s likely worth considering in your process, putting more trust in Meta’s targeting systems to drive better results. At the least, it may be worth experimenting with Meta’s evolving AI for ad targeting. 

It’s not all good news. Meta also notes that while time spent in its apps is on the rise, creation and engagement is declining, with fewer people posting to both Facebook and Instagram than they have in the past.

That’s particularly true among younger audiences, while notably, usage of Instagram Stories is also in decline, down 10% on previous levels.

So while Meta is driving more engagement from Reels, which draws on content from across the app, as opposed to the people and Pages you follow, that’s also led to a decline in user posting.

Is that a bad thing? I mean, logically, engagement is important in keeping people interested in the app, and Meta also relies on those signals to help refine its ad targeting. So it does need users to be sharing their own content too, but if it can get more people spending more time in its apps, that will help it maintain advertiser interest.

In essence, despite all of the reports of Facebook’s demise, it remains a key connective platform, in various ways, while Meta’s improving ad targeting systems are also helping to drive better results, which will keep it as a staple for brands moving forward.

If you were thinking of diversifying your social media marketing spend this year, maybe don’t reduce Facebook investment just yet.

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