Talking about PR issues on Inside PR 457

Twitter Moments for all of us. Large publishers’ growing dependency on Facebook. Thinking ahead about the implications of AI in our devices and apps. And the ethics of the close-hold embargo. Gini DietrichMartin Waxman and Joseph Thornley are back with another episode of the Inside PR podcast.  

#IPRMustKnows

Create your Own Twitter Moments

Twitter Moments, introduced for media and select users earlier this year, is now available for all users. This is a useful feature for anyone speaking at a conference or participating in an event or discussion that they want to curate and preserve. Bit by bit, Twitter is becoming even more useful.

Large publishers are becoming dependent on Facebook. But where is the revenue?

A report published by the International News Media Association and reported on by Nieman Lab indicates that 30% of visits to large publishers websites are referred from Facebook. That’s huge. But if publishers are becoming ever more dependent on Facebook’s network effect, and with Facebook favouring content published natively on it, the big question continues to be, is traffic paying off in revenue?

Getting out front on AI

The increasing introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) into apps, social networks and internet-connected devices raise a broad range of ethical, legal and policy issues. And where that happens, government is likely to act. So, it should come as no surprise that large businesses are banding together in a number of organizations to address these issues in order in advance of legislation and regulation. Of course, we can only hope that the voice of civil society will be heard alongside that of business.

A media relations issue to ponder: Close-hold embargoes

Charles Seifewriting in Scientific American, introduced us to a practice we had never encountered: A close-hold embargo. And it gives us the opportunity to ponder the line between transparency and manipulation and the ethical questions that public relations practitioners must confront when negotiating terms of access with news media.

This post was cross-posted from the Inside PR podcast blog.

Even the most conservative advertiser follows the audience to Facebook

Rapidly changing how it communicates with Canadians, the federal government is on pace to spend more on Facebook ads in the Liberals’ first year in office than it did between 2006 and 2014 combined.

Here’s a sign of the times. Government is a risk-averse, conservative institution. Traditionally a heavy user of print and television advertising, the rapid increase in the federal government’s Facebook spend is clear indication of where we, the audience, now spend our time.

Other interesting facts in this report:

  • “The Liberal government spent at least $3.8 million on Facebook ads between November 2015 and June 2016 targeting Canadians and foreigners of various age groups and demographics, and is on pace to spend well over $6 million during Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first year in office…”
  • “In the 2011-12 fiscal year, just over 10 per cent of federal government media placements purchased through its agency of record were on the Internet (including search and display ads, and paid social media ads). That number more than doubled to over 25 per cent of media placements by 2014-15.”

The data was released in response to a written question from Conservative MP Martin Shields and reported by Jason Fekete in the Ottawa Citizen. Click the link below to read Fekete’s complete report and find a link to the source document on Scribd.

Source: Liberals have spent more on Facebook ads than total amount spent between 2006 and 2014

Wall to Wall Facebook on Inside PR 440

Gini DietrichMartin Waxman, and Joseph Thornley chat about all things Facebook on this week’s Inside PR.

It may be big, but Facebook is like a shark. It just keeps moving. Recently, Facebook opened itself to sponsored content. We talk about recent changes at Facebook, including sponsored content. We talk about the need for adequate disclosure of sponsored content to enable people to recognize it as such.

We also discuss Facebook Messenger’s second email inbox. It seemed to have sent a lot of people into a tizzy. Joe, on the other hand, is quite happy to have Facebook Messenger filter out as many messages as possible.

Facebook uses its huge data store to fine tune its news and advertising algorithms. But kudos to the company for this innovation: Facebook introduced auto captioning to make itself more accessible to people with site impairment. Good on Facebook!

And we couldn’t talk about Facebook without talking about Facebook Live Videos. They are available to all of us and we’ve been using it. Video for the rest of us. Video that persists (unlike Periscope which expires.) Video that we can schedule with an event. Or, as we have done, video available only to members of a group (join the Inside PR Facebook group to see the video Joe made of his end of the recording of this podcast.)

We’d love to know what you think. 

  • Is Facebook going to become the one social network to rule them all?
  • Junk filters? Nuisance or must-have.
  • Have you used Facebook Live Videos yet? How was your experience? Do you have tips for others who are just beginning to use them?

Leave a comment on the blog, send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter. And we have a favor to ask: If you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.

#IPRMustKnows: Facebook and Google Make Some Moves

Each week on the Inside PR podcast, Martin Waxman, Gini Dietrich and I’m thornley on Twitter talk about three #IPRMustKnows, three things that we think that communicators and marketers should know about because they are likely to affect the way that we use digital media and social networks to connect withe people.

This week’s #IPRMustKnows are:

Facebook has made its platform even more attractive as a place to publish videos by providing new tools to give publishers greater control over how they post their videos and target their reach. Facebook has joined YouTube as a must-publish place for video. If you aren’t already publishing your videos to both places, it’s time to test a dual publishing approach. Test it for several videos. Watch your stats closely. Then draw your own conclusion about how these two platforms work together to enable you to reach the people who are interested in your content.

Google isn’t giving up on video. It keeps innovating with YouTube. It is updating the YouTube mobile app, to make it easier for you to upload, find and view videos.

And going the other way – reducing a service’s scope and reach, Google announced that it is decoupling Google+ profiles from the login for other services, starting with YouTube. What does this mean for Google+. Trying to strike a positive note, Bradley Horowitz, Google’s product manager for Google+, said in a post on his Google+ page that,

“Google+ can now focus on doing what it’s already doing quite well: helping millions of users around the world connect around the interest they love. Aspects of the product that don’t serve this agenda have been, or will be, retired. But you’ll also see a slew of improvements that make this use case shine (like the recent launch of Collections – https://plus.google.com/collections/featured).”

So, there is a lot happening with both Facebook and Google+. Things you should know about.

If you find these #IPRMustKnows to be useful to you, click over to the Inside PR podcast blog to subscribe to receive the new episodes as soon as they are published.

 

Inside PR 377: Companies squeeze suppliers and Facebook’s hold on us

On the most recent episode of the Inside PR podcast, Gini DietrichMartin Waxman and I talk about two very different topics: the squeeze large clients are putting on their marketing partners and Facebook’s hold on young users.

The Big Squeeze

Gini kicks off the discussion about the growing number of large companies that are taking longer to pay their marketing partners. In the case of some companies, such as P&G and Mars, advertising agencies, marketing and PR partners will find themselves waiting up to 120 days – four months – for payment. And that can be crippling to a creative business. Gini has some thoughts about how PR agencies can avoid being caught in the slow payment trap. In the short term, it may come down to this: If you don’t want to play the big client game, extending your credit to people whose credit rating is is probably much better than yours, you may just have to say no. And if they won’t attempt to find a workable middle ground, you may just end up saying no to working for them.

Martin believes that this would be bad for creative agencies and for marketing itself. It used to be that creatives would be constantly breaking off of the larger agencies they worked for in order to form new ventures. And with a fresh creative perspective, many of them would land a large account that would enable them to build an agency in their own vision. Heck, that’s how Terry Fallis and I started Thornley Fallis. A couple of guys with a fresh perspective on the business working on folding banquet tables in borrowed space. But we landed B.C.E. (Bell Canada Enterprises), then GlaxoSmithKline, and then Molson. And from there, the business took off.

Is that still possible in this current environment? Martin asks, “How can you compete to win clients like this if the financial terms would put you out of business before you have a chance to grow?” Yes it is possible, but ever more difficult. In order to succeed, small agencies need to keep a focus on what has always been the most important factor. Creativity. If we can do something that’s truly remarkable and memorable, we still can thrive.

Facebook’s Hold on Youth

Recently, some have suggested that Facebook is past its prime with teens. A  study from Forrester Research indicates that Facebook still remains young people’s favorite social network. Martin agrees that Facebook may still be used by teens. But he suggests that we look at an intangible factor that may point to the future. Do teens still consider it cool? Or are they there because they have to be because their friends are there? If that’s the case, Gini suggests that teens will not remain reliant on Facebook. Older people who have left school, moved away from their hometown, and are in mid-career, rely on Facebook to keep them connected with the people that they knew at an earlier time. Teens, however, are surrounded by their social network. They don’t need Facebook to stay in touch with friends. They know who their friends are and they can easily use different media, including texting, to stay in touch with their friends.

I think there’s a different between these two questions, “Do people use it?” and “Do people feel cool when they use it?” The first question finds its answer in past behaviour. The second question points the way to future behaviour. And if that’s the case, don’t count on Facebook keeping its stranglehold on youth. For now, young users are still on Facebook. But where will they be next year?

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I wrote this post to appear first on the Inside PR Podcast blog. I’m posting it here in case you missed it there and might be interested in it.

Facebook privacy improvements are good news for marketers

Facebook, with its billion-plus active users, is a can’t-ignore platform for marketers. But there has been a longstanding problem with Facebook. Many users view with suspicion its approach to privacy and sharing data it collects about us.

Especially for people who started on Facebook early when it was truly a place where we could connect with family and friends, the terms of our implicit deal with Facebook seemed to change in an unpredictable and one-sided way. Yes, we all understand that Facebook must be a profitable company and that means monetizing the data and action of the people who use it. However, how it was doing this was to often opaque to the user and seemingly arbitrary.

Yesterday at f8, Mark Zuckerberg announced three new measures that will give users greater control of the personal information that we share with others. Even better, these measures are being implemented in a very user-friendly and accessible way, something which has not always been the case with past Facebook privacy measures.

So, what did he announce?

login3First, Facebook now will allow people to try new apps in an anonymous mode without having to give away all of our personal information simply to test the app. In my mind, this is a huge and important move on Facebook’s part.

The reality is that, in the past most people would simply agree to any of the privacy and data sharing provisions presented to them in order to get at the shiny new object that they wanted to try out. In no way could their consent be considered informed. And if we decided that we didn’t like the app, we needed to wade through a difficult-to-use app menu in order to find and delete the app.

With the change announced yesterday by Zuckerberg, users will be able test the app before giving it access to our personal data. If we like it, we can register at a later date to share our information and achieve the customization offered as a result. Giving users the ability to test a nap before they give away personal data is a huge and long overdue move.

login1Second, when a users do decide to register for an app, we now will be given greater control over which information we share with apps.

Public information will be shared as a default. However information such as our friends list, email address, birthdate and other personal information will be subject to a conscious decision to share on the users part. Each type of information to be shared will be clearly indicated on a login screen so that users can stop and consider what we are doing. Another important move that will make a difference.

Finally, Facebook is redesigning its app control panel to make it easier to see what we have shared through each app and make adjustments after we have installed them. A simple move that makes controlling our privacy attainable for even the casual user.

You won’t see these changes immediately. Facebook will introduce them gradually over the coming weeks and months. The new app control panel will appear first, within weeks according to Facebook. The anonymous login currently is being tested by a few developers, with rollout to more developers planned in the coming months. The new login should be introduced in a few months.

Anything that builds trust in the platform is good news for marketers

So, that’s what Facebook announced yesterday. Three simple and straightforward changes that go a long way to giving us greater control over our privacy on Facebook. And as such, they help to restore a degree of confidence and trust in Facebook.

Marketers should be applauding these changes. By building our trust in the platform, Facebook makes itself a more welcoming and trustworthy platform for marketers’ messages.

Yesterday was a good day for privacy. Yesterday was a good day for Facebook. Yesterday was a good day for marketers.

Things worth watching: Jugnoo, Tablets, Facebook Timelines and Sysomos-Google Analytics integration

On this week’s Inside PR podcast, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and I talk about new social management tool Jugnoo, tablet computers, Facebook timelines for pages and a new feature in social media measurement tool Sysomos.

Jugnoo – and the importance of courting before marriange

Last week we reported that Jugnoo, a new social media management console service had launched in open beta. Martin and I both were impressed with its feature set. (Disclosure: Gini Dietrich is an adviser to Jugnoo. However, Martin and I weren’t aware of this when we raised it as a topic of discussion for the podcast. Discreet Gini.) I was so impressed that I requested access to the beta so that I could test it. And then I hit a hard stop. As one of the first steps in using the service, Jugnoo asked me to install some code on my website so that Jugnoo could access data from my site. For me, this is a show stopper. Installing code and sharing data is a big step, one that I am willing to take only with services that I trust and that I have some degree of comfort I’ll use for some time. Gini thinks that I’m being overcautious. She believes that most small businesses won’t hesitate to provide access to their data because they will perceive that in return the service will “hold their hands,” providing them with insight into what they should be doing and whether it is working. Do you have the same reaction to being asked for access to the backend of your Website as a first step in testing a service.

Tablets and the content creation challenge

We also talk about the rapid adoption of tablets in the workplace. Two years ago, we considered our notebook computers to be the go-to mobile devices. Today, we each use a tablet computer. Initially, tablets were billed as media consumption devices. However, all three of us now use our tablets to create content – blog posts, documents, etc. Gini and I have found that this has driven us to switch from Microsoft Office to other applications that exist in the cloud – Evernote, DropBox, Google Docs. We use these apps to have access to our data and content across devices. This enables us to move smoothly between our desktop computers, notebooks (yes, we still use them), tablets and cellphones. And we see this trend accelerating with the newest generation of tablets. We wonder how long it will be before we will be able to reduce the number of devices. The limiting factor on this is the evolution of tablets to include both the hardware and software to support all the content creation we want to do.

Timelines – too much commitment for small businesses?

Timelines for pages is being rolled out to all users at the end of the month. Gini is keen on timelines. She’s watched as content that she had long ago posted to the Arment Dietrich page has resurfaced. Old content becomes more accessible. I’m skeptical of the value of timelines for small businesses. Many small businesses have limited resources to devote to social media. And it seems to me that corporate page owners will have to devote considerable energy and resources to keep their content fresh. And this may not be a priority for may businesses.

Sysomos Heartbeat integrates Google Analytics

Finally, we talk about the integration of Google Analytics into Sysomos’ Heartbeat social media monitoring service. A nice addition that makes a good service better.

What do you think?

Listen to the podcast and tell us what you think. Are we on the right track? Missing something? Do you have a different view?

 

Social networks: What are they good for?

You and I probably share something in common. We probably use more than one social network. And if we do, we’re probably always considering what we get out of each network and wondering whether the time we invest in each is worthwhile.

I use four social networks on a regular basis: Twitter, Google+, Facebook and LinkedIn. Each seems to be do different things better than the others.

Twitter is my real time news flow. I follow people who care about, think about and speak about the things I also care about. So, if I’m likely to hear first about something important to me on Twitter (Sorry mainstream news sites. You no longer are a destination for me.)

Google+ gives me the best conversations with the smartest people. There’s no apparent limit on post or comment length. And people routinely go back and forth and discuss topics in depth. It’s really a satisfying discussion.

Facebook is where the most people are. And it’s hard to ignore a place where most of my friends hang out. Still, it seems like the cotton candy of social networks. All show. But empty calories. There’s really nothing of substance happening there.

LinkedIn is the “business network”. I get the least out of LinkedIn. It seems to be a place for people to make useful business connections. And it feels a bit tawdry, a place for users and people who want to be used.

So, that’s the way that I see my social networks.

What about you? Do you agree with my assessments of the different networks? Which do you use? What do you think each one is best for?

 

Inside PR: Intranets and the new face of Facebook

In this week’s Inside PR, Martin Waxman, Gini Dietrich and I talk about Intranets and the recent changes to Facebook.

At Thornley Fallis, our Intranet is built around a Wiki to host content, Present.ly to support publishing and linking to content and Windows Live Messenger to enable one to one video calls. We encourage people to use these three tools to divert content from emails (we all suffer from inbox glut) and to channel communications from broad publishing through to one to one communications via video. For us, video is the best communications channel. Unlike email and text, it enables us to read facial expressions, posture and all the physical clues that add nuance to communications.

Martin Waxman points out that we have so many “places to go,” so many channels of communication, that managing these different channels can become a challenge unto itself.

And then there’s Facebook. We received a comment from Liza Butcher, who suggested that, “With the changes made this past week, I believe facebook it is trying to be too many things in one space, and ostracizing generations of people that may not be as tech savvy as others. … Facebook was a place for everyone, and now it is becoming too technical for the masses.”

Gini and Martin talk about their impressions of the most recent Facebook changes. Gini points out that it will be important to decide what you want to include in your timeline. Sharing everything won’t be for everyone. And it’s important to be aware of what the timeline automatically shares so that you can filter out the info you wouldn’t want to see there. Martin suggests that we all should become familiar with the “view activity” panel that will enable us to remove content from our timeline. Other neat features: the cover photo we can add to our Facebook profile and the ability to add “milestones” to fill in our timeline.

As for me. I still can’t be enthused about Facebook’s effort to move us away from the open Internet toward the walled garden of Facebook. Bah. Humbug.

And one final reminder: Inside PR will be recording live from the PRSA International Conference in Orlando on October 16 and 17. We’ll also be interviewing speakers and participants. So, if you’re planning to be there, let us know and we will grab a sound bite with you.

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cross-posted from the Inside PR podcast blog