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Three new tools to help your ads reach intended audiences

For marketers who rely on ad spend to attract and retain customers, there has never been a better time to be involved in digital marketing. Not only are there more ad options than ever, but the options provided are also more effective than ever.

Marketers received some extra special news this week when three heavy hitters — Google, Instagram, and Facebook — all updated their ad offerings to entice marketers to spend more money on their platforms in the coming months.

The channel (or channels) you choose to spend your time and money on should depend quite a bit on the audiences you are trying to reach and on the message you have to share, but it is possible that all of the following three updates made this week could prove to be advantageous for your organization’s ad spend strategy.

1. Google’s Shoppable Images

Google, Facebook, and Instagram New Ad Tools
Google’s Shoppable Image ads allow for the tagging of items in images. When a user clicks on one of the tags, a carousel of products appears from which the searcher may learn how to purchase the items that interest her. These ads are able to be embedded on third-party sites; however, they also come up in Google Image Search. Google is expected to make Shoppable Image ads more prominent throughout the upcoming year.

2. Facebook’s Publisher Lists

Google, Facebook, and Instagram New Ad Tools

In a nut shell, Facebook’s Publisher Lists allow advertisers to have more freedom in limiting where your ads are displayed on Facebook. You can utilize these lists to identify if there are instant articles or in-stream videos from publishers with whom you do not want your ads associated. As new publishers are added to the list, brands can continually update their block lists when necessary.

3. Instagram’s “Shopping” tab

Google, Facebook, and Instagram New Ad Tools
Instagram announced this week that it will include a “Shopping” tab on the explore page. As users scroll through the content on the tab, they may click on tags on the posts that provide details and purchase options for items listed in photos. Instagram also is allowing brands to list items for sale from their Instagram Stories posts.

Regardless of the tool or platform you use to reach your intended audiences, there are some principles that make sense almost any time digital ad spend is discussed. Laurel Mintz from Elevate My Brand discussed this in a recent YouTube video titled “The Blueprint of Ad Spending.”

“Before you go and spend big dollars on…  a big social strategy, you should be taking smaller pieces of that budget and be doing A-B testing,” Mintz says.

“You do [A-B testing] a few times until you have a pretty clear understanding of exactly how your market likes to be marketed to. Then you can actually open the flood gates and start spending bigger dollars because you have a really clear understanding… what they prefer in terms of your visual identity and in terms of how you convey your message to your audience.

More information about A-B testing, or split testing, as Facebook calls it, can be found here.

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Pinterest seems to be immune to the drop off in usage that other top social channels are seeing. In fact, Pinterest CEO Evan Sharp just announced the channel now has 250 million active monthly users — a full 50 million more than last fall.

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YouTube has finally launched vertical video ads — following other major channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, and Snapchat who have done the same. The vertical ads on YouTube appear as pre-roll ads and don’t include the same sort of “swipe up” linking functionality that you might see on other channels.

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Adobe has released results of a recent survey that details some of the “emerging” trends among smart speaker usage. While “listening to music” and “asking fun questions” remain top smart speaker activities, 30 percent of survey respondents say they use their smart speakers to shop or order items.

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The Twitter chronological feed has returned. Users may choose between using Twitter’s algorithmic feed (which features items it thinks you will most be interested in) and the chronological feed that simply features tweets from those you follow in reverse chronological order.


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