Instagram Stories launches skippable ads as it reaches 150m daily users
Our round up of this week's social media news and insights:
Instagram Stories launches skippable ads as it reaches 150m daily users
Instagram is moving to monetize its Stories users with the launch of ads mixed into the feed. Unclickable 5-second photo and 15-second video ads will appear between different people’s Stories, but can be easily skipped. Instagram is also moving to provide business accounts with analytics on the reach, impressions, replies and exits of their Stories. The new Story ads will first be tested with 30 partners including Capital One, General Motors, Nike, and Netflix. “More than 150 million people are now using Instagram stories every day. That’s grown 50 million in the past three months and it’s opened a whole new side of what people share on Instagram,” James Quarles, vice-president of Instagram business told The Drum. Asos' campaign will run in the UK and US from 24 January, showcasing its party wear range. “Instagram is a key channel for us here at Asos,” said Leila Thabet, content and engagement director at Asos. “We’ve… been impressed with the early signs of success we’ve seen with Instagram Stories." Some 70% of Instagram users already follow a business, and one-third of the most watched Stories on Instagram were created by businesses. “This is going to be another great part of the experience, and I do think you’ll hear people say, ‘I discovered this from this business because of this story,” said Quarles. He said Stories offered a unique advertising opportunity to companies, because they are more immersive than in-feed ads and play with sound 70 percent of the time. The ads will be sold on a cost per 1000 impressions basis and priced via auction, with any length of view counting as an impression. While there’s currently there’s no option to click or swipe up to open an advertiser’s website, Quarles predicted: “In the future people might want to buy a click or buy a video view and those would be measured differently… We plan to incorporate that in the coming months.”
Instagram could have waited until later this year when rival Snapchat is due to IPO before showing ads. This would have allowed it to retain the advantage of offering Stories without interruption. But clearly Instagram views the growth of its Stories as strong enough to endure any drop-off in usage that ads cause, and parent company Facebook is eager to see more revenue from its photo acquisition.
PR and Marketing in Social Media
L'Oréal Paris takes Snapchat Spectacles to the Golden Globes red carpet
L’Oréal Paris, the official makeup sponsor of the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, used Snapchat Spectacles to give viewers a window into the show. The $130 devices were being worn by celebrity makeup artist Sir John, as well as two other L’Oréal Paris brand ambassadors, allowing them to stream behind-the-scenes content to the brand’s Snapchat account. “At L’Oréal Paris, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to engage our consumers,” said Kristen Comings, VP of integrated consumer communications. “Snapchat serves as a proven tool to engage audiences.” L’Oréal is one of the first brands to deploy the Spectacles on such a scale. The brand is no stranger to Snapchat, being the first beauty brand to run a Snapchat lens ad - promoting its Infallible Silkissime eyeliner. The lens was designed in-house, and L’Oréal worked directly with Snapchat on the campaign. L’Oréal Paris has also posted behind-the-scenes footage with spokesmodels and influencers like Karlie Kloss in the past, showing her prep for the Cannes Film Festival, for example.
“Over the last year, we’ve been focusing heavily on Snapchat as we recognize that this social media platform serves as a tool to engage the millennial audience and is an entirely new storytelling format that is relevant to all audiences,” Comings told Adweek when the Snapchat filter was released last June. Expect more brand activations using the device as more and more brands get their hands on Spectacles. Just last month, Grubhub used Snapchat Spectacles to take viewers on a tour of “a day in the life of a delivery man.”.
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Facebook to launch ads within videos
Facebook is expected to start testing a new “mid-roll” ad format, which will give video publishers the chance to insert ads into their clips after people have watched them for at least 20 seconds. Billions of clips are viewed daily on Facebook, so the revenue-generating prospects appear to be tremendous. Until now, video ads were limited to sponsored posts that brands purchased directly from Facebook. The development is not a shock, as Facebook’s VP of partnerships, Dan Rose, last year clearly trailed the move. Facebook will sell the ads and share the revenue with publishers, giving them 55 percent of all sales - the same split offered by YouTube. As well as income for Facebook, a successful implementation could represent the first chance for many video publishers to make real money from the content they run on the platform. Most publishers have seen little or no ad revenue from the clips they show, even though many are spending considerable resources trying to build up a video presence there.
The parameters of the new ads show that Facebook is placing more importance on the time people spend watching videos, rather than the total number of videos they watch - the new Facebook ads can only run once a viewer has watched a clip for at least 20 seconds. And they can also only appear in videos that run for at least 90 seconds. In other words, Facebook is telling publishers that in order to make money, they need to make clips that go on for a while and keep users’ attention.
Snapchat expands London office
Snapchat parent Snap says it will expand its London office as it prepares to pay taxes on UK and some international sales through the hub. Snap’s Claire Valoti commented: "We believe in the UK creative industries. The UK is where our advertising clients are, where more than 10 million daily Snapchatters are, and where we've already begun to hire talent." Snap later moved to clarify that London was not its new 'international HQ', rather that it had decided to align its corporate structure and business in the UK. Being in close proximity to the UK’s best and brightest creative agencies will give Snapchat the chance to display the value of advertising within its walls, and be able to handhold agencies through its entire advertising process. Ogilvy & Mather UK’s planning partner of innovation, James Whatley, says the real benefit for Snap may be the opportunity for the firm to build “proper relationships” with advertising agency account managers and leads. “This approach has led to huge gains in platform understanding and ad-unit sales by its peers and I would imagine that is what Snap will intend to do next,” he says. Whatley is also of the opinion that Snap’s choice of a Soho location instead of Shoreditch is “telling” given the LA-based firm's ambitions to be seen as a camera company and the area’s links to film and TV companies. Also telling, is the fact that Snapchat has singled out the UK as the place to do business.
Snap’s London operations have already grown, from around six staff last year to more than 75. Many US technology companies, including Apple, Facebook, Google, and Twitter, have set up international headquarters in countries with lower corporate tax rates than the UK - such as Ireland. However, a number of authorities, including the European Commission, have been investigating those deals.
Facebook launches Journalism Project
Facebook has announced details of a new journalism initiative, as it seeks to “establish stronger ties between Facebook and the news industry”. The Facebook Journalism Project, unveiled in a blog post by director of product Fidji Simo, will see Facebook collaborating with news organisations to develop new products, learn from journalists and work with publishers to “equip people with the knowledge they need to be informed readers in the digital age”. Facebook says it is developing new storytelling formats, such as being able to view multiple articles from one news organisation in one package, and will aim to “support local news and promote independent media”. It is currently working with Germany’s Bild tabloid to test ways of offering free trial subscriptions to readers from within Instant Articles, and is also looking to make local news easier to find on the platform. Facebook is home to the largest pool of readers in the world, but has been criticised in recent months for failing to take effective action to stop the proliferation of ‘fake news,’ and has also come under fire for taking advertising revenue away from traditional journalism organisations. In December, it was reported that Google and Facebook already account for half the UK online display advertising market, and this is expected to rise to two-thirds by 2020. Speaking at the time, News Media Association Vice-Chairman David Dinsmore said that “urgent action” needed to be taken so that local news organisations were not “fatally undermined by third parties who gain so much from our investment while contributing very little.”
In November, Google announced funding for 124 innovative digital news projects across Europe as part of their €150m three-year Digital News Initiative. UK regional newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror reportedly received a grant of up to €1m.