All posts in “Business”

Facebook split news feed could take out the ‘news’ with a friends-only feed

Why it matters to you

For Pages, the change would mean a drop in organic reach while users would have the option whether to see friends or Pages posts.

Facebook’s news feed could become two feeds (and one without actual news, in a journalistic sense) — the platform is currently testing a split news feed that separates friends from Pages. The Facebook split news feed would make it possible for users to choose if they just want to see posts from friends, rather than public pages.

Rather than the traditional news feed mixing posts for both followed friends, groups and pages, the tested feature would create one news feed with posts from friends, and another for finding new posts from Pages. Paid posts would continue to be displayed in the friends feed, while organic reach would be limited to the second Pages feed. It’s unclear which news feed posts from Groups would fall under.

Facebook said that the test is currently only in Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia, and stressed that, at this time, the company doesn’t have plans for a global test of the potential feature.

While the future of the feature isn’t certain, the change could disrupt the reach of Pages sharing on the platform. In the countries where Facebook began testing the features, several companies are reporting drops in engagement by as much as 60 to 80 percent. According to the analytics service CrowdTangle, Pages in the countries where the feature is being tested saw a loss between two-thirds and three-quarters of their reach overnight. With users needing to go to an entirely different section for organic Pages posts, businesses using the platform could see a significant drop in reach for unpaid posts.

Pages come in many forms besides just businesses, including news outlets, which would effectively remove actual news from the news feed, as Slovakian journalist Filip Struharik pointed out.

“With all of the possible stories in each person’s feed, we always work to connect people with the posts they find most meaningful,” Facebook said in a statement to The Guardian. “People have told us they want an easier way to see posts from friends and family, so we are testing two separate feeds, one as a dedicated space with posts from friends and family and another as a dedicated space for posts from Pages.”

Facebook continually researches new ways to match users with the content they are looking for. The latest example is the official rollout of Explore, a feed designed entirely for finding interesting content from Pages you don’t yet follow.

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7 Tips for Highly Effective Content Marketing

Content is king, and nowhere is that more true than in content marketing. Content marketing, which bridges the divide between marketing and storytelling, is vital to attracting and keeping e-commerce customers.

“Content marketing is the practice of sharing information your target audience will find helpful and valuable with the intention of creating a profitable customer relationship,” said Ardath Albee, CEO of Marketing Interactions.

Sharing valuable information — in the form of blog posts, videos, articles and other formats — is at the heart of content marketing, which isn’t so much about selling products as it is about building trust.

“Content marketing isn’t always used to sell items,” noted Shelby Hartin, a project manager with Pulse Marketing Agency.

“It’s often used to increase brand awareness by building a base of shareable content that the target audience finds useful,” she told the E-Commerce Times.

With all of that in mind, following are some tips from experts for boosting the effectiveness of your business’s content marketing strategy.

1. Tell a Story

Content marketing is all about storytelling, and it often uses narrative elements like plot and character in order to engage its audience. Stories, after all, draw people in, engaging them with your content and encouraging them to come back for more.

“Storytelling will always be at the core of every brand’s content marketing strategy,” said Moses Velasco, chief product evangelist at Socialbakers.

“Marketers use storytelling to create brand awareness, engage their audiences, and drive customers to a purchase,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

Evolving social media formats are creating a wealth of opportunities to tell stories, and it makes sense to take advantage of these platforms in the creation and dissemination of story-based content marketing.

“The rise of the new Stories format on Snapchat, and now Instagram and Facebook, has opened a new opportunity for brands to take their storytelling to the next level and reach customers at their fingertips,” said Velasco.

“Stories are already engaging on an organic level, and they are a key advertising opportunity for today’s brands. The ability to leverage the authentic format as an advertising platform is a chance for marketers to create content that feels a lot less like traditional marketing.”

Ultimately, content marketing humanizes the e-commerce experience by inviting an audience into a story.

“Don’t be robotic in treating e-commerce as a simple exchange,” cautioned Jake Athey, VP of marketing at Widen.

“Offer an immersive marketing experience to invite customers into a story, a journey, and a never-ending relationship,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

2. Make It About the Customer

Content marketing can’t primarily be about your business. Instead, it must be tailored for the customer, offering useful information, insights or tips.

“It’s not about you,” stressed Lee Frederiksen, managing partner at Hinge Marketing.

“Be sure you stay focused on the issues your client is facing and that you can be of assistance with,” he told the E-Commerce Times. “Don’t start talking about what you do and how you do it, [because] then you are slipping into promotional marketing.”

In other words, that old advertising question — “What’s in it for me?” — is just as applicable to content marketing. Always be thinking about that audience, and strive to offer the kind of information it wants.

“Content marketing is simple if you keep your audience in mind,” said Pulse Marketing’s Hartin. “What are they looking for when they come to you? What can you provide that will assist them in some way? How do you establish yourself as a resource for them? By answering those questions, you can effectively determine the topics and mediums through which you can initiate a content marketing strategy.”

3. Solve Problems

Customers have problems they’re trying to solve, and your content marketing can help fill that need.

“Focus content on what your product or solution enables or provides to your audience that they couldn’t do or didn’t have before,” said Marketing Interactions’ Albee.

“Help them visualize the impact of success or of avoiding loss by not acting,” she told the E-Commerce Times. “Show your audience how to solve a problem or gain an outcome that’s important to them and is something you can help them achieve.”

4. Listen to the Data

Though content marketing is a highly creative activity, it often works best when it’s created in response to actual data about what an audience is looking for.

“While I consider myself to be a creative person, I also have a background in SEO,” said Greg Faucher, director of integrated media at Amp Agency.

“I believe the creation of content should always be based in data,” he told the E-Commerce Times. “I truly believe that before creating content, people should figure out what topics they want to be known for, and then use trend and keyword data to understand what people are actually searching for.”

5. Be Consistent

Another key to an effective content marketing strategy is consistency, both in frequency of posting and in overall branding.

“Be consistent,” said Marketing Interactions’ Albee. “This applies to publishing frequency, messaging style, and brand positioning across all the channels you use to share content with your audience. You want them to be able to recognize your brand, even if your logo isn’t present.”

Remember, too, that a steady supply of fresh, new material is at the heart of any successful content marketing strategy.

“Regularity of content is more important than depth,” said Hinge Marketing’s Frederiksen. “For example, it’s better to publish one blog post a week than to publish three in one week and then nothing for a month.”

6. Develop a Voice

Developing a recognizable voice is key to good content marketing, since your voice is a major component of the material.

“Know your audience and find a voice,” said Amp Agency’s Faucher.

“If you’re going to be known for travel, people might not appreciate content that is overly humorous. It might lessen the credibility of the content and decrease effectiveness,” he said.

“However, if you’re a movie reviewer, people might really appreciate a unique brand of content that your website could become known for. Your ‘content voice’ will become more clear once you discover what is truly resonating with the public.”

7. Use Employee Content

Finally, keep in mind that your employees have a lot of valuable content to share, and giving them the opportunity to do so can strengthen your content marketing efforts.

“Employees are viewed as trusted source of information when others are seeking information about a brand or a product,” said Michael Brito, head of U.S. digital at Lewis.

“When internal thought leaders and subject matter experts can be mobilized and activated to participate in industry conversations, the result will include another layer of trusted content surround-sounding your audience,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

Remember, above all, that good content marketing has something valuable to offer your audience.

“The criteria for good content marketing is that the content is useful and valuable to your target audience,” said Hinge Marketing’s Frederiksen. “Anything else misses the point.”


Vivian Wagner has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. Her main areas of focus are technology, business, CRM, e-commerce, privacy, security, arts, culture and diversity. She has extensive experience reporting on business and technology for a variety
of outlets, including The Atlantic, The Establishment and O, The Oprah Magazine. She holds a PhD in English with a specialty in modern American literature and culture. She received a first-place feature reporting award from the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists.
Email Vivian.

Facebook says no thanks to Apple, new feature will only be on Android platforms

Why it matters to you

Big tech and big media need to come to some sort of understanding in order to provide a truly free press to America and the world.

Facebook has made a concerted effort to get on the good side of big media companies lately. Mark Zuckerberg himself wants to make sure they are as successful as possible, so he wants to help them sell subscriptions to their publications. And Facebook doesn’t even want a slice of the revenue.

Facebook’s new subscription tool for mobile phones will roll out sometime in the next few weeks. It allows various publishers, such as the Washington Post or Hearst, to set two different types of paywalls around their articles. One is a “metered” paywall, which many publications use already. After reading a certain numbers of articles, you’re directed to their subscription page. The other is a “freemium” version, where publishers can set firewalls around individual articles. In both cases, the goal is to get you to subscribe. Facebook has already said it wouldn’t take any of the revenue generated, and that it won’t capture customer data that results from the transaction.

As MacRumors points out, there’s only one problem – Apple won’t play ball.

The two tech juggernauts have been going at this for months, say many industry insiders. In the end, it all comes down to money. Apple wants a slice of the pie – a fairly big slice – and, as a result, the new Facebook service will only premiere on Android devices when it launches.

Apple is demanding a substantial portion of any subscription fees generated by the new service. According to its own rules, the Cupertino company takes a cut of up to 30 percent on any revenue generated from “in-app“ purchases on its iOS platform. Facebook argues that it’s not an “in-app” purchase, as it takes place at the publisher’s site. Apple’s counter-argument is that since the transaction begins inside the app, it’s entitled to its slice. And so they go round and round.

The rule is in place to prevent a company from advising a user to leave the iPhone app and subscribe on the company’s own website, as a way of dodging the 30 percent Apple tax. Google has said it’s not taking any revenue from media subscriptions using the new Facebook feature.

According to Recode, Apple wouldn’t comment. Facebook wouldn’t comment either. This isn’t the first time Apple has struggled with publishers over its subscription rules, which date back to 2011, when everyone wanted to sell subscriptions to iPads. That never really panned out.

You’d think will all that money to be made, these two could play nice and come to some sort of agreement. After all, the tech companies may not have the upper hand for long, says the New York Times – news outlets are joining together in an alliance to ask Congress for an anti-trust exemption so they can bargain collectively against Facebook and Google.

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After months of speculation, Tesla is opening a manufacturing plant in Shanghai

Why it matters to you

China has driven much of the growth in the EV industry this year, and now, one of that industry’s major players is setting up shop in the country.

It’s official. Tesla is going to China. On Sunday, October 22, the Wall Street Journal reported that the car company had reached a deal to open a manufacturing plant in Shanghai. The demand in the Asian market for electric vehicles has driven much of the industry’s growth this year, and Tesla’s new deal could help the company establish a foothold in a crucial market.

According to the Journal’s sources, the agreement with the Shanghainese government will allow Tesla to “build a wholly owned factory in the city’s free-trade zone.” This marks the first such deal granted to a foreign car company, and could be hugely beneficial in helping Tesla to cut production costs. That said, the firm would still likely be forced to reckon with a 25-percent import tariff.

When reached for comment, Tesla only restated the company’s previous position, noting that Tesla has plans to “clearly define” production plans in the Asian nation by the end of 2017, and that the company “is working with the Shanghai Municipal Government to explore the possibility of establishing a manufacturing facility in the region to serve the Chinese market.”

Tesla certainly looks to be in desperate need of more factories and production plants, as the company is currently facing rather serious bottlenecks that appear to be significantly impacting the on-time delivery of its highly anticipated Model 3 sedans. While 400,000 of these vehicles have been pre-ordered, only a tiny fraction have been produced and distributed.

Separately, the Journal noted that having a a presence in China could help improve the company’s relationship with that government. As Michael Dunne, an auto industry consultant told the publication, having Teslas built in China would be seen in a positive light by the nation’s officials, and “in turn, will give Tesla goodwill leverage to negotiate better China market-access terms in the future.”

Tesla’s own leader, Elon Musk, has long signaled not only an interest, but a need for vehicle and battery manufacturing plants outside of the United States, and specifically in Europe and Asia. And as per these latest reports, it looks like Musk’s vision is one step closer to becoming a reality.

Editor’s Recommendations

Facebook says no thanks to Apple, new app will only be on Android platforms

Why it matters to you

Big tech and big media need to come to some sort of understanding in order to provide a truly free press to America and the world.

Facebook has made a concerted effort to get on the good side of big media companies lately. Even Mark Zuckerberg himself wants to make sure they are as successful as possible, so he wants to help them sell subscriptions to their publications. And Facebook doesn’t even want a slice of the revenue.

Facebook’s new subscription tool for mobile phones will roll out sometime in the next few weeks. It allows various publishers, such as the Washington Post or Hearst, to set two different types of paywalls around their articles. One is a “metered” paywall, which many publications use already. After reading a certain numbers of articles, you’re directed to their subscription page. The other is a “freemium” version, where publishers can set firewalls around individual articles. In both cases, the goal is to get you to subscribe. Facebook has already said it wouldn’t take any of the revenue generated, and that it won’t capture customer data that results from the transaction.

As MacRumors points out, there’s only one problem – Apple won’t play ball.

The two tech juggernauts have been going at this for months, say many industry insiders. In the end, it all comes down to money. Apple wants a slice of the pie – a fairly big slice – and, as a result, the new Facebook service will only premiere on Android devices when it launches.

Apple is demanding a substantial portion of any subscription fees generated by the new service. According to its own rules, the Cupertino company takes a cut of up to 30 percent on any revenue generated from “in-app“ purchases on its iOS platform. Facebook argues that it’s not an “in-app” purchase, as it takes place at the publisher’s site. Apple’s counter-argument is that since the transaction begins inside the app, it’s entitled to its slice. And so they go round and round.

The rule is in place to prevent a company from advising a user to leave the iPhone app and subscribe on the company’s own website, as a way of dodging the 30 percent Apple tax. Google has said it’s not taking any revenue from media subscriptions using the new Facebook app.

According to Recode, Apple wouldn’t comment. Facebook wouldn’t comment either. This isn’t the first time Apple has struggled with publishers over its subscription rules, which date back to 2011, when everyone wanted to sell subscriptions to iPads. That never really panned out.

You’d think will all that money to be made, these two could play nice and come to some sort of agreement. After all, the tech companies may not have the upper hand for long, says the New York Times – news outlets are joining together in an alliance to ask Congress for an anti-trust exemption so they can bargain collectively against Facebook and Google.

Editor’s Recommendations