I’m guessing most of you have heard the buzz about Clubhouse. Maybe you’re even one of the people who had been clamoring to gain access by gaining an invitation to join? Well good news! As of July 21, 2021, Clubhouse is out of beta and open to everyone – no invitation to join is necessary anymore.
For those of you who haven’t heard about Clubhouse, it is a free social media app that is voice based rather than text based. It’s more like a private, interactive podcast. Clubhouse members join virtual rooms to have live, unscripted discussions. Topics cover just about anything you could ever want to talk about and with thousands of different rooms going on an any given night, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for.
“If you have a club, you can post your link far and wide. If you are a creator with an audience, you can bring them all on,” the company said in a recent blog post. “If you’re hosting a public event, anyone can attend. You can bring close friends, classmates, family members, coworkers, and anyone else you like — on iOS or Android,” the post added.
Just over a year since its launch in April 2020, Clubhouse has attracted 10 million users worldwide and is currently reportedly worth $1 billion. Currently, Clubhouse is available as an iOS or Android app.
Once you join a live conversation on the app, the Host will moderate the conversation, so everyone “in” the room has an option to virtually contribute to the conversation, with the Host in charge of turning attendees’ mics on and off. New in July, hosts can now send and receive questions from the audience via text, and listeners can submit questions without wanting to speak.
Picture a semi-private ZOOM with everyone’s cameras turned off, which makes following who is talking difficult at time. Also, because of its audio-only format, there are some inherent challenges with content moderation, not too dissimilar to the same challenges faced by platforms that offer text, video and images, but the “live” element adds another layer of screening difficulty.
Founded by Paul Davison and Rohan Seth, both of whom are well connected in the tech industry and worked at top companies, Clubhouse wasn’t developed to be exclusive. The founders said their goal with Clubhouse “was to build a social experience that felt more human — where instead of posting, you could gather with other people and talk.” In order to achieve that end, controls on membership needed to be created in order to build a new social ecosystem with a small team. With membership no longer invite-only, their vision for Clubhouse is fully underway. And, the recent deal Clubhouse struck with TED to bring exclusive talks on its platform means the Clubhouse reach is even broader.
Clubhouse is a unique way to gather a broad range of people in one place to discuss a specific topic. It’s no wonder that its membership reads like a who’s-who list of venture capitalists, tech leaders and celebrities.
With this kind of success, competition is inevitable. Twitter has begun experimenting with a new feature called “Spaces,” which will be a live audio experience that enables multiple Twitter users to communicate and discuss or debate a topic.
There are differences among its competition. On Clubhouse there’s no pressure to participate. Users simply listen to interesting people speak on interesting topics. The platform has both business and non-business topics, connecting diverse voices and global communities. Conversations on Twitter and Facebook groups can become free-for-alls, not so on Clubhouse. The moderator is in charge and can call on people who wish to speak, muting them if necessary. Any Clubhouse user can start a room and set it to be “open,” which indicates other users can pop in. A “social” room, however, indicates the room is only available to the people you follow. A “closed” room is for invited guests only. The app also has “clubs,” which can create reoccurring rooms and have members.
While it experienced explosive initial growth, Clubhouse is now at a tricky stage of growth. With all success comes hurdles, and Clubhouse has its share: user complaints about unclear moderation policies, failure to invest adequate resources in policing harassment or hate speech. Concerns have been raised, mostly by women and people of color, about cyberbullying, anti-Semitism, misogynoir, misinformation on COVID-19, etc.
Clubhouse says any hate speech and bullying are against its Community Guidelines, but users want more action.
As a growing number of people engage online, social media platforms need to adapt and grow to enable more people to connect in even more diverse and varied ways. Clubhouse is an exciting (though somewhat flawed) new platform that has many online users pretty excited to use it.
In my next blog, I will discuss more specifics of Clubhouse to help you get the most out of this new platform.
The Producers Network is a digital media company specializing in franchise development marketing. We’ve developed first-party data, cookie-less advertising products and historical data analytics to deliver results. Learn more at producerdigital.com
I mentioned on this blog already that Apple and Google will no longer support tracking technologies like third-party cookies. This move has undoubtedly left many marketers scrambling to find good alternatives to enable them to continue to effectively communicate with their prospects.
When change occurs, it’s easy to focus on what you have lost. However, I encourage you to focus on what you may still have or what you may still do. You could be sitting on a wealth of first-party data that customers have agreed to share with you. And if you aren’t in that fortunate position, I encourage you to begin now to consider how you will generate new customers without cookies.
Here are three ways to help you get new customers without cookies. Think of this as an initial plan that will help you prepare for a cookie-less world.
1. Audit how you are currently using cookies
2. Focus on first-party data
Since you can’t borrow data from Facebook and Google, you need to own it. In most cases you already do or you are working with a media agency that can gather it for you. So, what does this mean for advertisers? Here’s what it means:
Focus your marketing efforts on capturing more data from your current customers. Try to acquire e-mail addresses with their consent.
3. Rethink your data sources
Third-party data will help you better understand your target market, their interests, demographics, etc. More traditional data collection like surveys will help you better predict audience behavior from samples.
The changes from a cookie-less world can be challenging. If you need help determining the best approach to defining your customers’ identity and how to use first-party data to grow your revenue, please contact me.
The Producers Network is a digital media company specializing in franchise development marketing. We’ve developed first-party data, cookie-less advertising products, and historical data analytics to deliver results. Learn more on our website.
How to Target Customers Under the New Digital Advertising Privacy Rules
The phase-out is well underway with regard to the changes Apple and Google made to each of its longstanding ad targeting practices. Add to these the new privacy regulations that are quickly gaining momentum, and it’s no wonder advertisers are looking for ways to shake up how they target and measure their ads’ effectiveness.
There’s no denying the industry is changing. As e-commerce accelerates and platforms continue to clamp down on ad targeting, companies must master data and digital technologies. To facilitate this long-term competitive advantage, companies should consolidate insights collected from first-party data such as marketing and social media, as well as retail, e-commerce sales, and lead generation. This valuable information can then be used to design tailored messaging to your different audiences. Big brand companies have begun doing this and are reporting impressive sales increases, higher ad recall, and increases in consumers’ likelihood of buying its brands versus benchmarks.
All that data you are likely already collecting must be well organized to produce optimum insight so you can leverage it at a scale that works for your needs. Keep in mind that not all data is created equal, some will be better predictors of behavior than others. For example, purchasing history and geographic location work well to predict behavior – like someone living in a hot environment is likely to buy a cold beer – than traditional demographics. Also, compare your data to that of your competition. Chances are your first-party data will outperform other media platform’s consumer segments.
Regional marketing programs also enable you to gather useful information on consumers because it gives you an opportunity to collect more nuanced first-party data, which helps improve your targeting, ROI, and research and development. This data can help you determine how much to spend on each platform, the success of each ad, and the point of diminished returns. This decreases your reliance on any one media platform.
Both Facebook and Google are working with digital advertisers to help determine the best way to utilize first-party data. Facebook’s Lookalike program is a great use of generating the right impressions, traffic, and lead generation opportunities.
The recent buzz surrounding the investment app Robinhood and the skyrocketing of GameStop stock put the Reddit platform in the spotlight and left many marketers wondering if this vehicle should become a component of their digital marketing. This blog outlines the opportunities available on Reddit so you can determine if it’s the right fit for your business.
Reddit is a social sharing website that is built around users submitting text, images, and videos that users can vote on, sending popular content to the top of the chain (called “upvotes”) and pushing unpopular posts further down the chain so they get less views or none at all. Reddit claims to be “the front-page of the Internet.” The platform most recently added livestream content through its Reddit Public Access Network. Reddit’s popularity is a result of the fact it’s free and it fosters open sharing among users. The parameters are loose – so you’ll see just about anything and everything on the site. According to stats from Ignite, most Reddit users:
- Are males between the ages of 35-44 (although 25-34 year-olds are not far behind)
- Have annual income levels around $25,000-$50,000Have a bachelor’s degree or some college education
- Are from the U.S. (in particular San Francisco and Seattle) with Canada (Toronto) a close second
What to Know Before You Reddit
There are two ways businesses can use Reddit: advertisements and posts. Buying an ad on Reddit is pretty straightforward, so I’ll focus on how you should approach posting to Reddit to try to market your business. First and foremost, you cannot post anything that blatantly looks or sounds like an ad. That is strictly forbidden. In fact, before you even think about trying to market on Reddit, you really must read the guidelines for each Reddit community.
Even though Reddit is a massive sharing community, it’s not for the meek and the mild. You can’t just put anything up on Reddit and wait for the marketing magic to happen. Reddit users can spot marketers a mile away. You must know how to provide content of interest and of value or you just may get banned from the platform. Reddit users can be brutal and will ensure you’re never heard from again if they don’t like what you’re posting. To help you overcome this potential pitfall, here are subjects that are extremely well received on Reddit that work for businesses:
- Only Share Content People Will Actually Want to See – Don’t post anything else.
- Include Links In Your Posts – The links don’t have to be ones you created, in fact it’s best if you don’t just post your own content. You want posts that you think Reddit or subreddit users will find interesting, valuable, insightful or funny.
- Tell Personal Stories That Come From the Heart – Talk about how you overcame challenges, beat the odds, survived the impossible, etc.
- Share Unusual or Obscure Facts – Reddit users like to learn little-known facts about a variety of topics, products, movements, diseases and any other topic you can think of that has interesting facts surrounding it that are relevant to your business.
- Post Interesting Videos, Photographs and Art – Videos generate the most upvotes.
- Talk About US and Global Politics Related to Your Business Vertical
- Share How You Use Technology to Benefit Your Customers
- Include Topics On Science, Fitness, Music, Comics and Food As Relevant
Content that is unique, progressive, or simply just eye-catching tends to do very well on Reddit. This platform is no different from other social media sharing sites – each has its own underlying feel. Tap into what that is and post content related to that feel, and you will be rewarded with favorable results. Reddit users are trendsetters.
Another advantage of Reddit is that it is divided into smaller communities called “subreddits.” A subreddit is a board dedicated to a certain topic, which is great news for marketers! Each subreddit begins with “reddit.com/r”, such as reddit.com/r/entrepreneurship, which would potentially put your posts in front of entrepreneurs on Reddit.
Reddit also enables you to reverse engineer your messaging by giving you the ability to do a search to see which posts have done well on Reddit for the subreddit group you’re looking to target. To Go to the search bar in Reddit and type in “Site: DomainName.com.” What you enter for “DomainName.com” will be the website address for a business that you think is generating lots of likes in a Reddit community you’re looking to target. Doing this will show you all of the Reddit posts that were most successful for the searched site. This is really helpful for marketers who are new to Reddit.
Reddit has a bit of a reputation of being the ugly stepsister, so many marketers dismiss it. However, if you are looking to target certain niche markets and you are open to user’s potential criticism, Reddit is the best place for you. And consider this: If your competition is passing on Reddit, the market is wide open for you.
Before you make the move though, make sure you’ve thoroughly educated yourself on all things Reddit. If you need any help figuring out if Reddit works for your business, let’s talk. Good luck!
We all know that apps collect our data. We also know that just about no one reads the existing and very long privacy policies that are full of legal jargon to see exactly what is being done with our data. So late last year, as part of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, Apple set out to rectify that. They introduced a new requirement for all software developers that publish apps through its App Store that they must include privacy labels. These look a lot like nutrition packages that are printed on the side of food packaging. The new labels indicate in an easy-to-read format exactly how data is going to used.
- Privacy Label — already released, it requires every app to give users an easy-to-view summary of the developer’s privacy practices that includes how an app uses their data — including whether the data is used to track them, linked to them, or not linked to them.
- App Tracking Transparency — set to be released this spring, it requires apps to get the user’s permission before tracking their data across apps or websites owned by other companies.
The new privacy labels began appearing in the App Store in December 2020. At top-of-mind for advertisers is whether or not the new privacy labels will influence users’ choices and how this will influence their digital advertising strategy, potentially limiting campaign measurement and attribution on Facebook. Will the new requirements stop users from downloading the app? We don’t know yet.
When a user opts-out of data tracking, that means apps cannot gather data to share with data brokers. What this trickle-down effect means for digital advertisers is that there is less robust data to back targeted advertising. And, data brokers are just the beginning. There is a vast network of apps, social media companies, websites, etc., that rely on capturing vast amounts of user information across different platforms. According to Apple, the average app has six trackers, which in most cases allow third-party data collection and link data from many different sources.
While the scope of these changes and their affects are far reaching, entangling the entire mobile-app ecosystem, many advertisers are looking for alternatives – as they rely on Facebook to run and personalize ads on their own platforms and other third-party apps.
Most recently, Facebook responded to the Apple changes saying it would shutter conversion-lift studies, instead providing “alternative options to help you effectively test and optimize your ads in response to the limitations resulting from Apple’s updates.” These studies were used test and control groups to measure returns on ad campaigns. They also helped advertisers gauge a user’s propensity to buy after seeing ads on the platform. Without targeted ads and lift tests going away, small businesses won’t be able to reach their customers as well as before. Some are predicting a regression in the industry and a return to older measurement techniques like geo matched-market testing. I have seen rumors online that Facebook is running a beta test for such a tool.
As with all change, not every outcome is necessarily bad. These privacy changes could lead advertisers to engage in different approaches like media-mix modeling and insight garnered from a variety of sources. Facebook’s look-a-like program is an excellent targeting strategy. Building a database and using e-mail is a tried-and-true retargeting method of reaching customers and prospects.
If you need assistance navigating through these changes, let’s talk.
While these changes happened in fall 2020 when Facebook announced major alterations to its ad targeting tools, we are still feeling the effects now. We see the impact of these changes with both existing ad campaigns as well as new ones. Perhaps you’re in the same boat and are wondering how you need to adjust your digital strategy to ensure Facebook is still delivering results for you.
If you’re like me, you may have asked yourself why Facebook decided to make changes to its ad targeting. This has been a slow build, which began back in early 2019 when Facebook was sued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for violations of the Fair Housing Act. According to HUD and other organizations like the ACLU and NFHA, Facebook’s ad targeting tools limited the housing options reaching certain protected classes by enabling advertisers to target ads based on age, location, education status, etc.
Facebook responded with a vague announcement that it would make changes to its targeting and advertising tools by the end of 2019. They offered no further insight as to when these changes would go into effect. It came as a shock to many of us then when Facebook, without prior announcement, decided to implement several changes that had immediate effects on existing campaigns and all of the digital advertising on Facebook moving forward.
Here are the Facebook Targeting Changes
- The list of interests we had grown so accustomed to and relied on is now greatly shortened. There are no longer targeting options for jobs, housing, employment, and credit ads.
- There is no longer an option to do demographic targeting based on traits like age, ethnicity, and income.
- Radius targeting has also been impacted. Now, there is a 15-mile minimum radius. It used to be a one-mile minimum radius.
These changes create much broader Facebook ad audiences. This creates greater competition among ads because more people are seeing a greater variety of ads. Your ad must fight harder now to get noticed.
My team has been working diligently to understand and master the Facebook targeting changes. We have been adapting our approach for our clients, leveraging our digital expertise to create updated best practices. All is not bad news. While Facebook’s changes did limit some of the functionality of certain targeting tools, it is still very possible and feasible to use Facebook ads as an effective part of your ad mix. You will, however, need to rethink your Facebook strategy. Here’s what we recommend:
1. Evaluate Your Current Digital Media Strategy
Are you getting the results you want? Where do you need to make changes to get the results you want from Facebook? Too often businesses become complacent and don’t make changes to their digital ads like they should. Now is a good time to see if you have fallen into this trap and if you have to take steps to reinvigorate your strategy.
2. Optimize Your Ad Copy and Design
If you want to attract the best prospects, your ads must cut through the clutter and speak to your target audience with clear and focused messaging. Facebook ads don’t come with much geography, so use the little space you have wisely: think high-impact copy, high-quality images, and a clear benefit.
3. Switch to a Look-A-Like Model
In some cases Facebook allows you to use a Look-A-Like model. This is a great option, but it can get a bit tricky. Your Look-A-Like database must match your target market, and then you must understand how to work with Facebook so they will allow you to use it.
4. Place Your Targeting Radius Strategically
Even with the new 15-mile targeting radius minimum, you may still be able to effectively target by location. We’ve also discovered a workaround you may want to try for your location. Try centering your target over rural or less densely populated areas. You only want the outer part of your circle to include the area you are really looking to target. This little trick helps bring down the number of unqualified prospects and puts your ad in front of your target location.
As you navigate this new Facebook terrain, please e-mail me if you need any guidance.
Google announced plans last week to end support for third-party cookies. Third-party cookies fuel much of the digital advertising ecosystem. Other browsers have already begun a phased removal of third-party cookies. This is a significant blow to the advertising industry and will definitely affect your digital advertising strategy. Let’s discuss why this is a big deal.
Third-party cookies are placed on a website by someone other than the owner of the website – this is the third party. The cookie collects data for the third party, enabling businesses to monitor online user activity and develop behavioral targeting by tracking users across domains. This enhances their success at marketing the right message to the right user at the right time because they are seeing a full picture of behavior across sites and not by just looking at data from when the user interacted with the owner’s site.
Third-party cookies are a powerful way to help drive sales up and increase website traffic. Here’s how:
1. Target Messaging
Data can be gathered from online purchases, frequently visited websites, Internet searches, etc., to better understand and predict consumer behavior. Using this information, marketers can target the right consumer and feed them relevant content.
2. Optimize Results
Third-party cookies provide the ability to track and value all marketing touch points specific to each consumer, which leads to campaign optimization. This also leads to the ability to measure the impact of each gathered touch point and approach with a higher degree of accuracy. This insight into how individual channels are performing against one another helps determine where to spend marketing dollars for optimum results.
If Third-Party Cookies Are So Great, Why Are They Going Away?
Good question. It’s because of enhanced data privacy laws that aim to make things more transparent about how consumer data is being gathered, used, and shared. They also work to give consumers greater choice and control over how their data is used. This move has led some businesses to implement permission-based third-party cookies. Others are choosing to phase third-party cookies out completely and are seeking new solutions.
What Will Replace Third-Party Cookies?
While there is no one single solution as of yet, there are several workarounds coming:
The Privacy Sandbox – This is Googles solution that works to protect consumers while also helping marketers. Google will create targeted groups based on anonymous data that can be used by marketers to target, retarget, measure, optimize, etc.
It’s important to remember that third-party cookies while incredibly valuable, they are one part of the marketing whole. For example, businesses that put the time in to building their CRM database already understand the value of the first-party and zero-party data they collect. Another option along those lines is direct partnerships with publishers and businesses to collect first-party and zero-party data about customers to target them directly.
The demise of third-party cookies has been in the works since the beginning due to consumer privacy concerns. It’s taken awhile to get to this stage. I’m certain additional solutions will be offered, and Google will eventually create a new standard for marketers to adopt that will be an effective replacement for third-party cookies.
If you need someone to help you navigate through this, let’s talk.
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