Facebook is the clear front-runner in this week’s social media race with impressive earnings from its Q3 report as well as interesting developments to its features.
Aside from breezing past estimated revenue figures, the company has announced a new version of Facebook Messenger that provides businesses with more advertising options.
In addition, Facebook seems to be dipping its toes into the professional networking pond, with testing of a ‘Jobs’ tab underway that could pose a threat to LinkedIn.
Google is also expanding its options for businesses, with a brand new Adwords site dedicated to ‘marketing goals’.
Facebook’s Q3 report highlights
It’s been a very successful third quarter for Facebook indeed.
Soaring past analysts’ estimated $6.92 billion in revenue, the Q3 financial report just released by Facebook announced it actually made an impressive $7.01 billion.
Some of the other figures included in the report are its monthly active users, which have risen to 1.79 billion, and daily active users, which have increased from 1.13 billion to 1.18 billion. The social media giant has also hit a milestone with just mobile – 1.055 billion of its users are accessing the site solely from mobile devices.
Perhaps the only downfall in the report is that Facebook’s share price has sunk 7.6%. This is largely due to the fact it has reached capacity for ads on its platform. With the latest update to Facebook Messenger, however, this could change by next quarter.
Ads for Facebook Messenger have arrived
Facebook has expanded its ad real estate to include the Messenger platform.
This move has been expected for some time, as Facebook needs to keep its ad revenue alive to keep up with the growth of the company. Although some testing in Groups was seen last month, it’s now apparent that Messenger was chosen as the new home for ads.
In the latest announcement on the company blog, Facebook acknowledged that Messenger bots have been the strongest and most successful addition to the platform, enabling more direct conversations between brands and their consumers. To allow this technology to flourish even further, Facebook has introduced two more advertising elements – News Feed ads that open in Messenger and Sponsored messages.
The ads in News Feed are basically as described – if a user clicks on the ad it will open a Messenger chat with the brand. This will then allow Messenger bots to initiate a conversation with the consumer and even carry out a purchase within the platform.
Sponsored messages on the other hand, will appear directly within a message conversation between the consumer and the brand. These can only be used if the brand has had previous communication with the consumer, and the option to block these messages is available at any point.
Both of these methods rely on chat bots to initiate conversation, intuitively answer questions and provide accurate information. With the introduction of Messenger ads, businesses can now drive users from the News Feed into the messaging platform, so they can take advantage of the bot technology to engage one on one and guide them toward a conversion.
In conjunction with the roll out of Messenger ads, Facebook has also introduced version 1.3 of the Messenger platform. The release includes a range of developer updates including list templates and pre-checked plug ins. To find out more about these updates you can visit the Messenger blog.
Facebook Jobs could rival LinkedIn
Facebook is experimenting with a ‘jobs’ feature on its company Pages.
Techcrunch, the leader in industry tech news, noticed the appearance of the jobs tab on its company Page this week. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to Techcrunch that they were “running a test for Page admins to create job postings and receive applications from candidates.”
The feature will allow brands to store all job vacancies within the designated tab on the company page, but they will also appear within the News Feed like regular posts. If users wish to apply for a position advertised, Facebook will pre-fill the application form with information pulled from their profile. Paid promotion will also be available so that companies can expand their reach and target the users they want to get their job ad in front of.
While so many social media companies seem to be in a constant rivalry from ‘borrowing’ the same ideas for their own platforms, LinkedIn has been relatively unaffected in the war to win over users. As it has always offered something quite unique with its professional networking platform, it has so far all but evaded the risk of losing users to another site with similar features. That could very well change if and when Facebook rolls out this Jobs feature.
Facebook has a clear advantage when it comes to user numbers, with a cool 1.18 billion daily active users compared to LinkedIn’s 467 million members in total. It also has the advantage when it comes to user data, as Facebook users grant the site access to much more information about themselves and their preferences. Particularly when it comes to paid promotion, Facebook will undoubtedly be able to provide much more targeted advertising than LinkedIn.
Adwords Marketing Goals website and in-app ads
Google has created an Adwords site for meeting specific marketing goals, as well as introducing in-app ads as part of the rollout.
The news was announced on the Google Inside Adwords blog, stating the reason for the new site was to provide businesses with more accurate ways to determine the ROI for their ads.
“As marketers, you’re always looking for more effective ways to achieve business goals – from getting customers to discover your brand to encouraging them to buy something from your site, and everything in between. Today, we are introducing a new AdWords website that puts your goals front and center, and shows you which ads work best to accomplish those goals.” Google said.
The site has a section for defining your marketing goals and the corresponding ‘drive actions’, such as web engagement, store visits or app usage. The idea of the new site is to track the performance of your ads in line with these goals. A resource section is available with best practice guides, learning and support, as well as success stories like this one from GrubHub.
Ads are available in the same formats as the standards Adwords site – text based, graphic and youtube videos, but with one major new addition – in-app ads. The marketing goals site lets you create ads that run in the Google Play store, appearing at the top of the search results.
Payment is the same as standard Adwords campaigns in that you only pay for the ads when they perform for you, such as clicks, video views or phone calls direct from the ad.
To find out more visit the Adwords Marketing Goals site.