August 2, 2018

FACEBOOK

Facebook telling users to take a break

How much time users spend glued to their screens is something most companies are taking issue with. You can’t be blamed to think the more the better but big tech companies disagree.

Facebook is the latest to add features to its apps that help people manage how much time they spend on them. 

For now, it’s the Facebook and Instagram apps that got an activity dashboard, a daily reminder and a new way to limit notifications.


These aren’t features introduced randomly but, as Facebook says, based on collaboration with leading mental health experts.

Features like this one are part of the reason Facebook’s stock plummeted. It’s also why we’re rather optimistic about the company’s future as a whole.

They are clearly showing they want to have a sustainable ecosystem and are in it for the super-longterm.

WhatsApp starts monetizing

Another sign that Facebook is in it to win it is that WhatsApp could start making money.

First monetization feature is the Business API, which allows companies to manage and send non-promotional messages to customers, like appointment reminders, shipping info, event tickets, etc. for a fixed rate.

The feature is available to only 90 companies for now, out of which big names are Uber, Booking and KLM Airlines.

Don’t worry, you won’t start getting spammed (by the companies, we fear affiliates will find a way) because messages can only be sent by companies which you’ve shared your phone number with.

Aside from that, not far into the future, you will be able to use Facebook Ads to run WhatsApp click-to-chat advertisements. Basically, instead of Messenger, you choose WhatsApp.

It’s not perfect news about those click-to-chat ads though. They won’t be available in India or the EU, at least not at the planned launch later this month.

The nitty-gritty of the Instagram algorithm

Yes, Facebook is introducing features to get people to spend less time in the apps. That doesn’t mean people will just disappear.

Like we said before, Facebook’s shining star right now seems to be Instagram.

The folks at Shopify recently posted a great article on their blog, where Ana Gotter breaks down the Instagram algorithm.

Just like with the Facebook newsfeed, posts are shown based on several signals, and not just in chronological order from all the accounts you follow.

The main factors are:

  • The relationship with the user. The more you interact with a user’s content, the more likely you are to see it in the future.
  • Interests the user has conveyed. Interacting with similar accounts and content will bring up more of your stuff too.
  • Recency of the content. Even without being chronological, more recent posts do get pushed higher up.

The good thing is that Ana goes into each factor and more, and gives real examples of what actually works. It’s a bit of a long read, so if you are interested in Instagram, we recommend you to check out the whole thing!


GOOGLE

Google joins the party in China

And it will play by the party’s rule, namely by censoring certain content.

It’s reported that Google is working on launching 2 huge products in China, both with built-in censorship, just like the party wants it.

The main one is their crown-jewel, the search engine. The other would be a news app.

The main competition in China is Baidu. Google stepping in would stir up waters quite a bit.

What is really interesting is whether or not global advertisers will then be able to run (censored) ads targeting Chinese users. This would be an absolutely crazy breakthrough from Google.

All US tech companies are fighting hard to get a piece of the Chinese market, even Facebook is getting closers, but none of them really cracked the code completely.

Apple’s probably done a great job, but it has a different business model, and it didn’t come without compromise.


GENERAL

Mohamed Ali Aguel nails it with statistical significance

If you are in marketing these days, you absolutely have to balance creativity and analytics. You will only reach your full potential if you master both sides.

And Mo knows it too. And, just like us, he’s seen way too many rash decisions made because people don’t understand numbers.

It’s not just marketers who don’t get numbers. One of our crew members, Gregor, was also amazed by how journalists reported on Facebook, so much so that he had to recommend everyone Thinking: Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.

“One thing I noticed while researching content for today’s newsletter was how bad many journalists are when it comes to interpreting numbers. So I will just quote the key takeaways from the book’s chapter “the law of small numbers”:

Statistics produce many observations that appear to beg for causal explanations but do not lend themselves to such explanations. Many facts of the world are due to chance, including accidents of sampling. Causal explanations of chance events are inevitably wrong. 

The exaggerated faith in small numbers is only one example of a general illusion – we pay more attention to the content of messages than to information about their reliability.

That’s basically what Mo sees in many “tests” marketers do. They spend $20 on ads in a few hours, maybe a day, then start teaching that method like it was the Pythagorean theorem of marketing.

Even if you don’t wanna listen to us, you should #alwaysListenToMo.

An advertorial for your swipe folder

One of the marketers that we follow regularly, Ronnie Sandlin, shared this great advertorial on Facebook.

It’s an ad for Tasting Room, which kind of presents itself as Netflix for wine. They don’t say it directly, but the way the team wrote it, drawing analogies to what Netflix did to the movie industry will make you position it as such.

The structure of the article is great to use for more than just this wine store, especially when targeting a younger crowd.

It could be used for basically any products you wanna try to sell on a subscription basis. Clothes, drinks (aside from wine), baby products, fitness products, etc.

The rough structure we identified is:

  • Set the stage by showing why you are like the potential customers
  • Draw an analogy with a popular subscription service (like Netflix) vs old, clunky and inconvenient business model.
  • Present a no-risk, satisfaction guaranteed offer
  • Give a unique discount or bonus.

Of course, your skills for writing more impactful copy will matter but those will get better with practice!


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