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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably heard about Facebook’s announcement that certain detailed targeting options will be sunset in early 2022.

Here’s a quick review of the news straight from Facebook:

“Starting January 19, 2022 we will remove Detailed Targeting options that relate to topics people may perceive as sensitive, such as options referencing causes, organizations, or public figures that relate to health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation.

Examples include:

  • Health causes (e.g., ‘Lung cancer awareness’, ‘World Diabetes Day’, ‘Chemotherapy’)
  • Sexual orientation (e.g., ‘same-sex marriage’ and ‘LGBT culture’)
  • Religious practices and groups (e.g., ‘Catholic Church’ and ‘Jewish holidays’)
  • Political beliefs, social issues, causes, organizations, and figures ”

While some are supportive of this change, other marketers are concerned about the implications for companies that leverage this targeting in light of an already rapidly changing advertising landscape. Cause-based organizations, political parties, healthcare brands, and many others will need to change tack in how they communicate with their audiences.

In the same announcement, Facebook also teased that they’re working on additional Ad Controls to enable users to see fewer ads related to gambling, weight loss, and other unspecified categories. They also reminded marketers that users currently have the ability to see fewer ads related to politics, parenting, alcohol, and pets.

So why’d they do it?

This latest announcement comes on the heels of escalating public scrutiny, FTC antitrust suits, and steadily increasing concerns around consumer privacy. Not to mention a huge rebrand. Facebook, er, Meta has had a busy few years.

In the announcement, Facebook states that they “heard concerns from experts that targeting options like these could be used in ways that lead to negative experiences for people in underrepresented groups.”  While this move might pose a challenge for advertisers who use these detailed targeting options benevolently, Facebook’s move also removes the possibility that they will be misused.

Especially in a time of heightened scrutiny, it makes sense why Facebook would prioritize reducing the possibility of perceived negative experiences on the platform. Continuing to make Facebook an attractive option for social media users works in advertisers’ best interests as well.

What Advertisers Can Do (And How Marin Social Can Help)

Facebook’s announcement comes with several suggestions:

  • Leveraging Engagement Custom Audiences to capture relevant intent on Facebook-owned properties. Targeting users who currently like your page or users who watched one of your videos in the news feed are a few examples. Facebook also suggests using these audiences as a seed list to create a lookalike audience.
  • Remember the 2-Second Video Viewer audience that is no longer available on Facebook? Marin Social still offers this option so you can get even more out of your Engagement Custom Audiences.
  • Website Custom Audiences can still be used to target customers who interact with a company’s website (and can also be used as a seed list for a Lookalike Audience).
  • Want to take your custom audiences to the next level? Marin Social offers Enhanced Website Custom Audiences, which integrates rules to automatically segment your audiences based on parameters you build. Save time and find your most valuable audiences seamlessly!
  • Location targeting is suggested to help brick-and-mortar retailers reach customers around their locations.
  • Marin Social offers “Location Clusters”, which lets you group together your target locations in one fell swoop for easy use in campaigns. All of the marketers who spend hours quality checking location groups can breathe a sigh of relief.
  • Customer lists are a great way to connect with customers (if you have their permission to do so). Try segmenting your customer lists and customizing messaging to get the most out of using customer lists.

For marketers whose campaigns are impacted by Facebooks’ upcoming targeting changes, Marin Software’s social marketing experts are here to help you through the transition. Click here to schedule a demo with us and learn more about what Marin can do for you!

The 2021 holiday rush is  upon us and advertisers are feeling pressure from the perfect storm of uncertain expectations, impacts of reduced tracking capabilities, inventory challenges, and rising costs of advertising.

McKinsey’s 2021 Holiday Report reveals that Facebook (67%) and Instagram (52%) are among the top platforms influencing holiday decision making. A whopping 87% of Gen Z shoppers surveyed derive shopping inspiration from social media, with YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram holding the top spots for platform inspiration. Social marketers will need a strategy that capitalizes on this intent while making the most of holiday marketing dollars.

If you’re still looking for inspiration to create a winning holiday strategy, we’ve prepared a few ideas to get you started. You can integrate these into your strategy with or without Marin Social, but the smart, time-saving features are a holiday gift that keeps on giving!

Boost Engagement with your Organic Content (Marin Social’s Message Booster makes this easy!)

  • Organic content is key in brand awareness, gaining new customers, and nurturing relationships with current customers. Promoting posts makes it more likely that they’ll reach your intended audiences, which is especially important for advertisers who want to spread the word about upcoming holiday promotions, new products, and new initiatives.
  • Though post promotions may not directly attribute revenue, they can be used to segment your audience to then target with direct response ads. Also not to be ignored is the long term business impact of nurturing customer relationships!
  • If you already have organic content, put it to work without lifting a finger using Message Booster for Facebook and Instagram in Marin Social. In Message Booster, you can create rules to automatically promote specific ads according to a variety of parameters.

Test Innovative Creative (Marin Social makes insights a breeze)

  • If your customers are posting content, use it! Facebook recommends testing lo-fi, customer generated content this holiday season. This means less work for your creative team and forging stronger relationships with your customers. We call this a win-win.
  • Marin Social allows you to easily spot creative winners in the “Charts” tool and create custom dimensions for creative analysis in MarinOne, giving you more time to put creative insights to work.

Dedicate Time to your Audience Strategy

  • Customers are expected to be less brand loyal than ever this year per the McKinsey Report. 62% of customers surveyed over the past 3 months were unable to purchase the item they wanted due to availability. Of this number, 39% switched brands, 32% went to another retailer, and only 13% waited for the item to be back in stock. If you expect inventory impacts, it’s especially important to invest time in your audience strategy and customer loyalty programming to retain customers.
  • Audience segmentation can help you better address your core customers and lower costs during the Black Friday - Cyber Monday time period. Marin Social’s Audience Manager provides a streamlined space to create and manage complex audience segments from multiple sources.

Ready to get started with Message Booster and MarinOne? Talk to your account manager or click here and we’ll be in touch soon.

Organic Instagram posts provide your followers with a stream of free content that can help establish and strengthen your brand identity, build your social community, and hopefully, engage customers interested in buying your products.

Of course, the limitations are that your organic content has a limited viewership of your followers, the followers they may share the post with, and people searching for or following your brand or particular hashtags you may have used in your posts.

But one key advantage of organic content is that it can be very insightful into the type of content that resonates with people interested in buying the products you sell. Inevitably, some posts will perform better than others with more likes, more comments, and more shares. So how can you capitalize on those posts to help drive your business?

Using organic content to reach new audiences


Now that you know the content and creative in a post is popular with people interested in your products, why not convert it to a paid ad to expand your reach to new audiences? Instagram allows you to “boost” a post you create on Instagram and turn it into an ad. You’ll be able to choose your advertising goal (more profile visits, website visits or messages), your audience (who you want to reach), your budget (how much you want to spend daily) and the duration (how long you want your ad to run).

Targeting specific audiences is an efficient way to reach people who are likely to purchase from you based on location, interests, and demographics that you define. And because your organic post has proven to be effective in engaging these types of customers, you can avoid using your ad spend on paid ads that may or may not interest your audience.

Automating message boosting with MarinOne


Promoting organic content is a great way to leverage well-performing posts to reach more prospective customers, but tracking your engagement on Instagram can be very time consuming, especially if you are managing multiple Instagram accounts.

MarinOne’s Message Booster for Instagram analyzes the performance and content of organic posts and automatically transforms the best ones into ads. Automating this content promotion and campaign creation can save you hours of manual work.

Just like Instagram, MarinOne lets you set the criteria for your boosts based on engagement, duration, and budget. But with MarinOne’s Rules engine, you’ll be able to create paid ads at scale across multiple clients and accounts.

For example, you may want to boost all posts within the last 24 hours with an engagement rate higher than 5%. You might choose to boost these posts for a duration of three days, and ask MarinOne to pause any boost if the engagement rate drops lower than 2%. You can set your budget to a daily budget per rule, or a fixed budget per post, and then set your bid strategy and optimization goals. Then sit back while MarinOne takes care of the rest.

MarinOne’s advanced automation features are designed to save advertisers time, while driving performance at scale across accounts. Click here for more on Message Booster for Instagram with MarinOne.

Every so often, a story surfaces of a nefarious actor gaining access to a Facebook Business Manager account and running ads for an unrelated product or to a click farm. Usually, they are able to spend thousands of dollars and max out any and all credit cards associated with the account before the ads are paused and the cards are cancelled.

A majority of the time, this is caused by a digital team member simply giving access to the wrong person. Facebook’s 2-factor authentication works well against individual accounts being accessed, but unfortunately, it does not prevent user error.

The Challenges of Maintaining User Permissions


One way to reduce risk is to reduce the number of users with access high enough to provide credentials to those who should not be in your account. Sounds easy, right? Managing user permissions can be more complicated for a number of reasons.

Of course, you want your team members to have permissions high enough to do their job effectively and efficiently. But over time, team members may gain higher levels of access when they may only need to do one or two tasks at a higher level. Sometimes it’s just easier to grant permanent Admin rights (we’ve all been there).

Additionally, you must remove user access when a member of your team no longer needs it, perhaps due to a change in roles or companies. With ‘The Great Resignation’ underway as workforce dynamics shift, a record number of employees are leaving their jobs or careers altogether. Permissions should be updated quickly to reflect users’ departure. But auditing the permissions of your entire account can be time consuming and sometimes takes a back burner to the priorities of managing your campaigns.

Prevent Your Account from Being Compromised with MarinOne


There’s an easier way to solve the issues that come along with account user management.

With MarinOne, only one member of your team needs access to Facebook Business Manager, and the rest of your team would only need access to the Marin platform. By reducing the number of team members with Facebook access, the chance of permissions being granted to the wrong person is lowered significantly. Users can still build, manage, and report on Facebook campaigns to drive performance on your ad spend without the risk of opening your account to a hack.

MarinOne’s rules engine lets you set parameters to pause campaigns when there is a dramatic increase in spend and will also send you an email alert to notify you of the change immediately. By setting up these guardrails, you’ll be notified of a security breach in real time and be able to shut down your campaigns before your account is drained.

Finally, removing users in MarinOne only takes two clicks in an easy-to-navigate account configuration menu. So, as team members transition in and out of your organization and new users gain access to sensitive Facebook data, you can easily stay on top of permissions to keep your account secure.

Now more than ever, it is crucial to keep permissions limited to those who genuinely need access levels, and it’s just as important to make sure those who no longer should have access are removed. MarinOne’s security features ensure that those who never should have access to your account have fewer avenues to gain permission.

Click here to learn more about connecting your Facebook account to MarinOne.

With COVID-19 cases back on the rise, businesses that did not make changes after the first wave can expect an even greater impact this time around.

As most marketers have experienced first-hand, the pandemic has had an impact on revenue due to a shift in consumer behavior. Product and service offerings that were once considered the norm, such as gym memberships and holiday packages, have been trampled by at-home exercise bikes and local staycations.

The upcoming holiday season is no exception, and we recently attended Facebook’s “Christmas, Unwrapped” webinar series to help our clients better understand the challenges ahead and help them adapt their strategy. Pairing these insights with our own industry knowledge, we’ve compiled some key insights to help you win the holiday season in 2020.

Expand your audience and improve the mobile user experience


Although it may not seem evident for all types of products or services, marketers may want to expand their targeting beyond the tech-savvy millennials. According to the latest 2020 Facebook Christmas Package handbook, over 80% of Gen X and Boomers have been shopping online during the COVID-19 pandemic, which broadens the online shopping audience significantly.

Catering to these older generations may also require some adjustments to your mobile user journey, so keep your web developer close by. In a Facebook survey of seasonal shoppers who experienced problems while doing Christmas shopping on a mobile device, the most crucial issues among Gen X and Boomers included the text font being too small, the app/site taking too long to load, and images not being clear enough. Ensuring your online shopping experience is mobile-ready could go a long way.

If your website is not in an ideal state, the much anticipated global release of Facebook Shops might be the right solution for you. This new product offers an in-app shopping experience that users of all generations can appreciate, with no coding required on your part. Isn’t that a treat?

Focus on service and automation


The pandemic has placed a growing emphasis on customer service, with many people growing more concerned about strict cancellation policies and safe handling and delivery of their packages. In order to meet these customer needs and gain their trust, businesses will have to automate customer care wherever possible.

This may be the perfect time to dust off your Facebook Messenger bot project; in fact, Facebook reported that 46% of global consumers are spending more time using messaging services, with Gen X and Boomer demographics reporting 47% and 40% increases respectively. The Messenger bot would pair up nicely with a Messages campaign aimed at increasing brand engagement and driving sales straight from the Facebook app.

If Messenger is not on your roadmap, consider tailoring your ad messaging around flexibility, safe handling and care. Why not throw in free shipping if your business can afford it? That’s another surefire way to win potential customers over.

Test, test, test


Testing is always encouraged at any time of year, but we know that the holiday shopping season is the most crucial time for most advertisers. In order to ensure you have the right strategy in place, you should start testing as soon as possible. This is even more important in 2020 given the changing consumer behavior as a result of the pandemic. Who knows, what worked for your business last year might not be relevant this year.

Facebook recommends starting with a simple business question. What are you trying to achieve?

Once you’ve identified the question, make sure you have a SMART goal in place and devise your testing strategy accordingly. Consider running split tests with different creative, messaging, targeting, objectives and ad formats (quick tip: you can easily set this up using our MarinOne Ad Studies feature).

These tests will come a long way in identifying what works best for your brand this year, so you can implement it in your holiday planning with greater certainty.

Give back to people in need


As is the case with most recessions, some people lost more than others; be-it monetary losses due to job cuts or the loss of loved ones as a result of the spreading virus. Let’s face it, we’ve had more cheerful Christmases…

This holiday season, why not give back to the community? Whether it’s through monetary donations or pro bono work, there are many contributions your business can make depending on your industry and your expertise. Facebook research reports that 82% of global shoppers surveyed agreed brands should give back, i.e. by providing free services.

While you’re here, check out our article: Marin Software Stepping Up for Diversity and Equality with Pro Bono Digital Marketing Services for Black-Owned Businesses

Don’t forget those who are spending the holidays alone!


We’ll leave you with this thought: Don’t forget potential customers who are spending the holidays alone. Notwithstanding the global pandemic, Facebook research states that 74% of global Christmas shoppers research gifts for themselves.

This is even more relevant in times of COVID-19. Many people will be stranded in their host city or country this holiday season, unable to return home due to travel restrictions or self-isolation periods, which means they may not be buying gifts for others at all.

Make sure you speak to them too, and encourage them to treat themselves after a difficult year!

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