Friday, 1 July 2016

Twitter entices marketers with dashboard; LinkedIn and Pinterest offer more

PR Daily’s Beki Winchel investigates the brand new features available on Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.  Follow PR Daily on Twitter: @PRDaily

If you’re a social media marketer who hasn’t yet embraced Twitter, the platform is sweetening the deal with help for small- and medium-size businesses.

On Tuesday, the platform announced “Twitter Dashboard”—a free tool available to desktop and iOS users that is “designed to help businesses connect with their customers and community.” In a company blog post, Twitter said:

For businesses, Twitter is a place to share news, tell stories, and have conversations that support, educate, and delight their customers. It’s a place for authentic interactions – but we know that creating these kinds of connections isn’t always easy for businesses that are time and resource-constrained. That’s why we built a brand new app to help the busy people behind these businesses. Introducing: Twitter Dashboard.

Brand managers can use the dashboard to schedule tweets, receive suggestions on what to share with audiences, gather analytics and engage with consumers through customized feeds.

Twitter explained that the customized feeds enable brand managers to look at tweets about their organizations “at a glance”:

Create a custom feed to find out what’s being said about your business. (Chances are there’s more than the mentions you’d normally be notified about!) Use your custom feed to get right to the Tweets you want to see first and better engage with your community. For example, if you work at a cafe, you may see a Tweet from a customer who has a question about your hours. Or, if you’re a boutique owner, you might see a Tweet from a potential customer talking about one of your products. The ability to see these Tweets at a glance offers endless opportunities for you to connect with customers and potential customers with responses that add value.

The feeds are easy for marketers to set up, The Next Web explained:

During the initial set up process, you’ll be able to select or type words related to your business (or words to exclude), including nicknames, people and hashtags you might want to read about.

The tool will likely persuade more brand managers for small- and medium-sized organizations to use the platform to connect with current and potential customers.

“While larger corporations will likely continue to use their sophisticated tools from Twitter’s partners, the idea with Dashboard is to provide a more basic suite of business-friendly tools to a broader audience,” TechCrunch reported.

LinkedIn auctions off display ads

Twitter isn’t the only platform luring marketers with new features.

LinkedIn is making it even easier for marketers to purchase display ads on its platform to target desktop users.

RELATED: Learn best practices to create powerful integrated marketing campaigns.

Marketing Land further explained:

LinkedIn has decided it will officially start auctioning off its desktop-only display ads because it will be easier for brands to buy those banners and more cost-effective for the social network to sell them. LinkedIn had started selling its traditional banner inventory — the majority of which is right-rail ads mixed with some horizontal “leaderboard” banners — through real-time bidding exchanges in the third quarter of 2015, but starting today it is rolling out that programmatic access to any advertiser interested in picking up these placements as if they were an antique collectible on eBay.

“It’s a win-win in that it’s better for advertisers because it allows them to more cost-effectively buy and drive better return on investment. But it’s also a win for us because it allows us to more cost-effectively support this ad format and put more resources into our native and mobile placements,” said [Russell] Glass, head of products at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, the social network’s advertising arm.

Adweek reported that the move is an attempt to “simplify and extend” LinkedIn’s advertising opportunities:

According to [Glass], the service is part of a two- to three-year overhaul of the company's ads business in order to simplify and extend advertising on the platform. He said the scale of LinkedIn's professional network across the Internet, combined with a logged-in audience is attractive to business-to-business marketers.

"We don't want to reinvent the wheel," he said in an interview. "We want to build table stakes capabilities into our platform in a way that highlights our differences, but is kind of what marketers have come to expect."

Improving marketers’ access to ads could significantly boost LinkedIn’s revenue. Marketing Land reported that as of 2016’s first quarter, LinkedIn’s banner-business revenue fell by 30 percent year-over-year, but Glass says the decision is about giving marketers what they want.

VentureBeat reported:

Display ads currently make up 10 percent of LinkedIn’s revenue—compared to sponsored content, which accounts for more than 50 percent—so there’s plenty of opportunity. However, Glass doesn’t believe in calling this a revenue play. Instead, he believes it’s more about serving customers as they want to be served while also deploying in a manner that’s cheaper and more efficient to manage.

The access to desktop display ads comes after another marketing offering. In March, LinkedIn offered up campaigns that could target people at up to 30,000 companies at once .

Pinterest focuses on e-commerce

Though LinkedIn is helping marketers share their wares with consumers, Pinterest is taking a different approach: It’s connecting users to specific products they can buy through the platform.

Pinterest unveiled “camera search,” a feature that enables users to take a photo of an object and then find that item (or similar products) on Pinterest. It will roll out to users in the next several months.

The company’s president, Tim Kendall, announced the feature on Tuesday and said:

Our new search tech allows you to shop online for products you find offline in magical moments of inspiration that until now, you haven’t been able to take action on.

The company’s chief executive said Pinterest is “meant to be that bridge” between consumers seeing things they like and then making or buying it themselves, Forbes reported:

“Shopping with Pinterest is meant to be that bridge between getting inspiration and making it part of your real life,” Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann said on Tuesday. “When people go on Pinterest, they are constantly looking for new ideas, which often lead them to buy something at a later time.”

Silbermann announced that “buyable pins,” which were previously only available on iOS, are now also available on the web. Starting today, users will also have a shopping bag that will follow them across devices, allowing them to add products and check out on any device. And Pinterest launched new merchant profiles let users see personalized product recommendations from specific retailers to quickly find new items, what’s on sale and what’s trending.

The camera feature isn’t the only change to Pinterest’s search offerings, USA Today reported:

Pinterest has also made its visual search tool automatic. Since November, users have been able to use the tool to highlight different objects in a picture to find similar objects on Pinterest, such as a specific lamp or pillow in a picture of a living room. Now, iOS users will see dots on different objects in a picture, showing the user she can click on that dot to find objects like it on Pinterest.

The visual search tool—called “automatic detection”—became available to all users on Tuesday.

Pinterest’s new features should serve as a reminder to marketers about the importance of visuals in their campaigns—especially as more consumers use tools like this.

Forbes reported that Pinterest users conduct 130 million visual searches on the platform monthly, and more than 10 million products from 20,000 retailers can be bought through Pinterest’s “buyable pins.” Pinterest users are also twice as likely to buy something through a pin than in a store.

The focus on e-commerce sets Pinterest apart from other social media sites, The New York Times reported:

The commerce-focused updates come as Pinterest, six years old and valued at roughly $11 billion, faces pressure to prove it can live up to the high expectations of investors.

As other social networks like Facebook and Twitter have scaled back efforts to build e-commerce businesses, Pinterest has long said it will dedicate resources to make shopping on the site a regular activity.

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