In episode 034 of the Social Currency marketing podcast, we jump on the rise of social shopping. With the introduction of Instagram Checkout and the growth of Pinterest Shoppable Pins, has the age of contextual commerce arrived?

The concept of social shopping has been around since early 2000s, but with the launch of new capabilities like Instagram Checkout and the ease of setting up Pinterest Shoppable Pins, it's easy to see the natural connection between social, influencers, and the consumers interested in what's new, cool, and next. Social shopping is interest-based: Native, natural, and now easy, because it's seamless and in context of the content you are already enjoying.

This is contextual commerce. Now that the platforms are enabling the power to access consumers in a new way, with clear attribution models and integrated e-commerce capabilities, why wouldn't you use social to sell...and shop?

Facebook Adds Dislike Button

Facebook is adding a “dislike” button. Well not really, but it does appear they are stealing what used to be the best feature of Digg: the Downvote Button.

Spotted this week for the first time, Facebook might (kind of) let users ‘dislike’ content. As a likely reaction to the “fake news” drama and an effort to create ANY kind of engagement (because the Hide This Post is very hidden), the Downvote, if added, allows people to push down the content that they don’t like or want to see less of.

Good news for those that hate the algorithm, a manual user input could help filter more of the negative content out of the feed since it’s not engagement driven.

Currently available only to a small subset of US users, the feature provides options to report a comment as “offensive,” “misleading,” or “off-topic,” and then hides the associated content.

All of us have been begging for a way to have a cleaner News Feed, but so far Facebook hasn’t given in. With the social network’s goal of bringing the community closer together, this potential new downvote button is likely as close as users will ever get for now.

Business impact seems low right now – just another reminder that you should be making interesting content so you don’t get Downvote. I’d guess that you’d be able to see number of Downvotes on content coming up so brands can use that to refine content that is working vs the content that’s not.

Facebook Organic Reach Looks Even Lower This Week, But Now It's Just Accurate

Starting this week, you will notice your organic reach numbers on Facebook drop even further for Business pages, but it's not you. It's Facebook. Again. And not because the content you're producing suddenly stopped working.

In what's been a long wait since its announcement, Facebook is rolling out the redesigned Insights and implemented a big change in how it measures the organic reach your posts have.

Here's the change:

Rather than counting every time your post populates within the News Feed of a user as a person reached, Facebook will now consider only the number of times a post has visibly entered a user's screen.

Brands will be able to view their old Reach equivalents right next to the new ones within Facebook's Insights tool for the next few months.

Big deal? Yes, your organic reach numbers which are likely low will go even lower. The good news is that now they are real - and that's because they are measured by what someone will actually see (much like a Display Viewability metric) vs what they could see (e.g. Display Potential i.e. it was simply served on the page even if no one saw it). And now, the more true Reach numbers will account the same way that Paid Reach for ads is counted so they are comparable when looking at models.

The advantage here is that you have a more realistic view of how organic reach is doing against paid reach (and likely how much more paid media you need to run, especially if Reach is an important metric to you).

Do you use Reach? Does this impact your paid media and organic content program? Share your thoughts.


Find me also on Twitter and LinkedIn at @tuckross

Why Facebook Made a Messenger for Kids

Facebook just dropped Messenger Kids.

Messenger Kids is a parental-control version of everyone’s favorite Facebook Messenger — but just for kids under the age of 13. Facebook’s age limit has always been a minimum of 13 and that’s been the social media standard across the board forever. So it’s a major statement that they are going into a specific locked-down version that’s for the under-13 set. Now we won’t assume that kids under 13 already haven’t created their own illicit Facebook (or Snapchat or Instagram) profile, but let’s pretend that there’s maybe a good audience for this new kiddie Messenger for the 5–9 year old set.

Just for iOS stuff for now, Facebook’s Messenger Kids has a slimmer feature set allowing a pre-defined list of contacts set by the parental units, like Grandma, who can chat from her standard Facebook Messenger app. Handily for kids of all ages, it comes built in with kid versions of stickers, AR masks, and curated GIFs. Playtime!

Kids can send messages and photos but can’t purchase anything in-app — which is a key note. Because it’s clear that there is limited to no monetization opportunity here (since under 13 is also regulated by advertising rules too). So why did Facebook make this if they can’t make any money from in-app purchases or ads?

The angel on the shoulder says that they built this to allow the youngsters a safe environment to do what they see everyone else doing in a permission-based walled garden because they are altruists. In theory, this could prevent some of the darker sides of anonymous social media from getting to little ones. I agree this is huge benefit, and while it may not completely remove elements like inter-friend bullying, it could definitely reduce other predator behavior — ‘safer’ is the word Facebook uses. These kids are likely already on Facebook so now parents have a kid-friendly alternative. Kinda like YouTube tried with YouTube Kids.

The devil on the shoulder is that this simply a Trojan-horse attempt for Facebook to hook ’em young and gather data on the under-13 audience, which by the way is an AI-enabled platform. The bots are watching and listening and learning. What will your kids share? Think about what toys they want for Christmas or what trends are new or how they love that new show — which Facebook can learn and resurface to advertisers, like Disney and Hasbro, advertising to parents depending on the ‘tug factor.’ The ‘tug factor’ is a child-influenced purchase decision by a parent because of something the child has asked for based on peer influence or advertising driven by a brand.

At Disney or Hasbro when I was there, I would have loved to know how TV advertising and other media elements were influencing and entering kid conversations in order to determine how to tweak campaigns to influence the parents’ purchase decisions(and reach them on regular Facebook, Instagram, whatever).

So devil or angel, do you think this will be useful to parents? Or will kids think it’s lame since it says ‘Kids’ and has the ever-watching eye over the shoulder? Do you think either one outweighs the Facebook data benefit to their business model as they look for more ways to inform their ad model, now into a previously untouchable space?

Follow me for daily thoughts on instagram.com/tuckross

When The Facebook Died: Commentary on Instagram Stories

Facebook is the king of copycats.
Like the beast that can’t stop consuming all the traffic and shares, Facebook can’t stop.

And yet…the innovation is gone. We’ve read about how Facebook is hollow — consuming content but at it’s lowest engagement and personal sharing levels of all times. So they have to buy (WhatsApp, Instagram, etc) because they can’t beat. Has Facebook has lost their magic?

Not in revenue — they are killing it: Mobile-first, maximizing ad revenue like a true ad network, with the ultimate targeting layers and persona-based performance marketing. It works. For businesses and for fans.

Facebook has lost it’s way so it acquires, buries, or in the case of it’s desire to be like Snapchat — copies.

Instagram was what Facebook never was and also what they lost. Simple sharing of a moment. Picture worth a thousand words. And no post without a picture, so the authenticity carried through. The moment was the photo was the comment but the photo. I adopted it Day #1, dropped Facebook (never been back), and enjoyed everything about the true moments.

And then there’s Snapchat — sneaking in the night. Suddenly you find out all the friends you love who they share are sharing here. Real moments, but sans the posing and prepping and orchestrating and preparing. Instagram changed. We see stats that teen girls spend up to 45 minutes through 10+ photo versions, posting/friend feedback/taking down/reposting to get the perfect pic that stays forever. The personal brand layer that we all use social media for is now gone — because Snapchat is true social.

Take it back to the beginning of why social started. Before the Kardashians, before MySpace…social was just sharing ourselves. We lost that in all the celebrity wannabee and idolization. But not with Snapchat. Snapchat was different. From the very start it was fast, quick, authentic sharing of you, in the moment. No editing, no adjusting. It’s real.

Every social media tool has the ‘feed.’ Like we pull up at the trough and read about people’s opinions on the election or latest on mobile marketing or Team Taylor or whatever, it’s this river in every app with a little bar on the top or the bottom to click to share. But the core is the feed. Snapchat was built to share first. The UX is immersive in sharing first. About you, in the moment. SHARE RIGHT NOW. And people loved it because it’s authentic, unedited. You don’t like it, it goes away. The permanent and often fake, pressured, view of ourselves on social is gone with Snapchat. Temporary sharing is much more real and much less pressure than the permanent view or your PR self. Having both in one place? Could be ideal depending on your mood.

And by the way…it was fun! Lenses! Filters! Stickers! Draw on pictures! Simple but fun little things that no one else had or has.

So Facebook got scared. Couldn’t top it. Couldn’t beat it. Couldn’t buy it. And their core app isn’t built for it (plus focused on Facebook Live). But look! They have a photo app so good idea…add it there.

“Hi! We just copied Snapchat and shoved it on your Timeline.” Surprise! Instagram adds Stories. Don’t worry — it’s not like Snapchat; it IS Snapchat. I mean, they didn’t even try to rename it. People are mad, people are upset, people will get over it, people don’t really care that much. The functionality is limited, there’s less to do, there’s less commenting, it’s less fun. But it’s a start. And Instagram is big. So there’s a good chance it pulls a few that use Instagram less back into Instagram (which Facebook hopes), and then there’s the chance that they don’t care and stick with Snapchat.

So why did Facebook do it? They want to be everything to all people. My grandpa told me once that you can’t be everything to everyone and do it well. Poke, chat, like, emotions, chat, share, write, post pics, stream live, 3–5 apps, etc. It’s too much. Snapchat has an advantage in authenticity, fun factor, and simplicity. As much as Facebook tried to ignore it, you know it was eating them alive for a full carbon copy insert. And yet, it’s noted that even Instagram photo sharing is slowing, so the maturing of the app must demand new features. It’s as much a validation of Snapchat’s model as a lusty jealous jab to try to kill to keep shareholder expectations aloft. And Facebook is scared. Banking firms have noted that based on pace, Snapchat could cut into Instagram revenue as early as Q4 of this year. Instagram is still 300 Million actives to Snapchat’s 150 Million but with Snapchat on the rise and Instagram leveling off, there’s a cross-roads ahead.

My wife is on Instagram exclusively. She shares. She likes that the pictures are there and come back in Timehop. She take amazing photos of our kids and their adventures. Snapchat or Instagram Stories = no interest/completely useless. I do believe the core of what Instagram was (saving moments) is gone now, and that it’s evolved to a hybrid content platform providing options for moments and lifecasting, but erasing the simple core of what Instagram was.

Meanwhile, I’m watching all my Instagram friends and those I pretend I’m friends with experiment, post, ask if they should post Instagram or Snapchat. Ultimately, views will win. If someone tries parallel content (you should try this) and it works better on one side or the other, than go that way.

Worse case, this likely carves off some of the old people and businesses that can’t figure out Snapchat, thinking they have a solution that can leverage Facebook’s ad targeting — very true. Instagram Stories is not Snapchat. Snapchat is not Instagram Stories, but they don’t have the resources that Facebook does…and Facebook versions products quickly. We will see quickly what comes next. Facebook does better with Analytics so assume that ads and tracking will come quickly to monetize (ie learn, experiment and use it for free right now). Snapchat does better with facial recognition, fun and participation likely coming up with ways to better leverage geo-location and image recognition for value delivery to consumers than Facebook ever has.

All social networks converge. Sadly, they all start to look like one another after a bit. Feeds are stories. Likes are hearts. Shares are shares. Value to current users are added, likely for retention benefits. But I’m in burnout and wondering why I need all these networks.

Facebook is killing Twitter. Facebook Live is killing Periscope. Messenger and WhatsApp are killing all other messenger apps. And yet Snapchat continues to grow. Maybe Instagram has a chance or maybe this is a desperate move. Maybe people just want a simple tool to be themselves and have some fun. And maybe Snapchat has it’s own space to live and it’s not either/or.

You decide.
This is the real vote of 2016.