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money-1012598_640 Ads, Fads And Earnings – Your Digital Marketing Weekly Roundup

Hello, and welcome to your first Digital Marketing Weekly Roundup for August 2016. How’s it been so far for you? (A serious question – please feel free to express all your joys and jaundice for July in the comments below – we’re a social agency after all!)

It’s been a big year for the big players in social media – both Facebook and Twitter have released their respective Q2 earnings for 2016, which we’ll delve into below. And then we’ve got some breaking news concerning two of the content marketer’s perhaps lesser-used channels – Tumblr and Reddit.

And so, without further ado, let’s start by making ourselves sick at the sight of what Facebook has been earning…

Facebook Releases Q2 2016 Figures

“Our community and business had another good quarter,” says Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO in the press release that announced the network’s latest earnings. “We’re particularly pleased with our progress in video as we move towards a world where video is at the heart of all our services.”

Here we go:

Facebook-earnings Ads, Fads And Earnings – Your Digital Marketing Weekly Roundup

That screenshot might be a little difficult to read, so let me pick out the noteworthy bits for you:

  • Total revenue (mostly from advertising) was $6,436 million, up from $4,042 million in the same period last year, representing year-over-year growth of 59%.
  • Total costs and expenses for the second quarter stood at $3,690 million.
  • With $711 million set aside for tax, this means that Facebook enjoyed a tidy little net income of $2,055 million over the past three months alone. Nice one.

Other stats to note from the report include the network’s steady user growth of 3.63%, which translates to an additional 60 million active monthly users jumping aboard in Q2, pushing the grand total up to 1.71 billion.

Facebook-owned products Messenger and Instagram also reached new milestones in terms of user-base, reaching 1 billion and 500 million active monthly users respectively.

An important figure that I pull out of the report is the one that says “Mobile advertising revenue represented approximately 84% of advertising revenue for the second quarter of 2016, up from approximately 76% of advertising revenue in the second quarter of 2015.”

If you still needed proof of the importance of mobile marketing, then there it is.

Twitter Releases 2016 Q2 Earnings

In comparison to the Facebook figures, Twitter’s are slightly less impressive (though I don’t think CEO Jack Dorsey will be having to take a cleaning job up the school any time soon (even though the self-made billionaire doesn’t take a salary from Twitter!)).

Twitter-Earnings-1 Ads, Fads And Earnings – Your Digital Marketing Weekly Roundup

Here are the figures quoted verbatim from the ‘Q2 2016 Letter to Shareholders’.

Q2 revenue totalled $602 million, an increase of 20% year-over-year:

  • Advertising revenue totalled $535 million, an increase of 18% year-over-year. Mobile advertising revenue was 89% of total advertising revenue.
  • Data licensing and other revenue totalled $67 million, an increase of 35% year-over-year.
  • U.S. revenue totalled $361 million, an increase of 12% year-over-year.
  • International revenue totalled $241 million, an increase of 33% year-over-year.
  • Total ad engagements were up 226% year-over-year.
  • Cost per engagement (CPE) was down 64% year-over-year.

Once again, a further figure that jumps out from the document concerns mobile usage – 82% of Twitter’s 247 million active monthly users (up 4% year-over-year and compared to 245 million in Q1 2016) are represented as mobile users.

Another paragraph of particular note is this:

“We have five priorities for the year: refining our core service, live-streaming video, creators and influencers, safety, and developers. We made meaningful progress across each in Q2 and we’re encouraged to see the direct benefit of recent product changes already driving increases in engagement and retention.”

Yes, live-streaming video – a format of increasing importance for social media in general (and therefore digital marketers by extension) is slowly making its way onto Twitter as a separate channel to (Twitter-owned) Periscope. You’re going to have to get on board with live-streaming eventually, and this acts as another call to start now.

Tumblr Announces Ads

Tumblr-ads Ads, Fads And Earnings – Your Digital Marketing Weekly Roundup

Want to start making money directly from your Tumblr (as opposed to indirectly from your content marketing efforts on the platform)?

Well, good! For Tumblr has announced that “we’re going to introduce ads on Tumblrs, so that later this year people can start making money from their blogs.”

Tumblr is often placed in the “optional” pile by content marketers – simply because, frankly, it’s yet another platform that demands more writing, and many of us are busy enough as it is keeping our website blogs filled and fresh (thank you very much).

But, for those that do use the platform, this news will be most welcome. However, as to when Tumblr ads will actually be launched, we’re only told that it will be “soon”:

“When? Who? How? How much? […] We’re still working out the details of the partner program but as soon as we have details to share, we’ll make announcements right here on trusty Staff. Just so you know: You won’t be able to make money until you register for the program — which is coming soon.”

Watch this column to find out…”

Promoted User Posts On Reddit

I don’t know about you, but for me Reddit and ads don’t sit well together (strictly from a user’s perspective mind you – as a marketer it’s a different story).

One of the greatest things about Reddit is the fact that it’s almost entirely controlled by its users, with brands and advertising kept at arm’s length. However, the platform has to make money somehow, and so, naturally enough, it is through advertising that it does this.

But, leaving my personal feelings aside for the moment, the self-proclaimed ‘front page of the internet’ has a new ad product it’s calling Promoted User Posts, and, to be fair, the Reddit team have created it with seeming sensitivity to the core non-intrusive ethos of the network:

“We’ve been working on some new ad products. When we’re thinking about new ad products, we want to ensure that what we’re creating is non-intrusive to you guys while remaining valuable to advertisers who are interested in participating in the community.”

Effectively, the new ad offering gives marketers the ability to sponsor user-generated posts on Reddit’s platform. According to the announcement from Reddit, this new ad offering “will essentially let an advertiser identify an organic post that they find especially relevant to their brand or product and promote that in the Sponsored unit.” In turn, the author of the post will be notified and asked to give their expressed “opt-in approval” before their post can be used as part of a branded initiative, and that “votes on the ad will not count towards karma or votes on the organic thread.”

Here’s a screenshot that accompanied the announcement of a hypothetical example (and it is noted that “Jenga is not a real advertiser at this time”).

Reddit-Jenga Ads, Fads And Earnings – Your Digital Marketing Weekly Roundup

The focus seems to be on keeping User Promoted Posts as organic as possible, and ensuring that control remains in the hands of the user.

In essence, then, when content marketing on Reddit, your strategy should largely remain the same – contribute to Subreddits thoughtfully and often, always delivering valuable information to the community, and no hard-sells. Hopefully, if you continue to do this, you may well find your posts being promoted by other users through this new initiative – though it probably wouldn’t hurt to promote a few penned by others yourself to start the ball rolling. It will be interesting to see if User Promoted Posts stand the test of time – I guess we’ll find out.

That’s all, folks! See you next week.