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Digital Natives Group’s Jonathan Jacobs on Adding Value Through Collaboration


#SproutPartner Jonathan Jacobs is Co-founder and Partner at Digital Natives Group—a digital marketing agency proudly located in “one of New York’s creative capitals,” Long Island City, NY.

The aptly named agency boasts an instinctive, inherent understanding of today’s connective technologies as a result of being “born into digital.”

We recently spoke with Jacobs about how he and DNG approach and accomplish effective collaboration with multiple client and partner stakeholders.

In your work at Digital Natives, where do you find the greatest need for collaboration?

For some of our clients, especially some of the larger organizations, there are a ton of different parties we need to collaborate across—whether it’s another digital agency, an internal party we don’t interface with as frequently or an outside PR agency. And although we consider all of our client relationships a partnership, we’ve got several clients that are pretty hands-on so collaboration in those cases is a must.

Tell us a little more about what that client collaboration looks like.

Our team produces content on a monthly basis, but on occasion our clients might have something they want to say, a link that’s of interest or an advocate they want to support. So we’ll have them go into the platform and save that content as a draft. At the end of the week we go in and take a look at everything, make sure everything is in the right brand voice with the right brand imagery and then we go ahead and queue it up.

We also use the shared Asset Library as a repository for visual inspiration. If our client happens to be a photographer or sees a graphic they like that they want us to recreate, they just drop it in the library. Now we’ve got a grouping of images or graphics we can use to help create a more collaborative aesthetic.

It’s no secret that collaborating across agencies can be difficult at times. With it being such an important part of your process, how do you ensure it’s more collaborative than competitive?

I think it’s important to remember the ultimate goal—to amplify each other’s work and improve the efficacy and success of the campaign. When we hear what another agency or internal party is working on, we try to have the mindset of, “What is a way that we can create something that will add value to what they’re doing? And what valuable tools can we provide them with to amplify their program?”

What do you think agencies need in order to attain that goal?

With what we do, transparency is huge. For a lot of organizations or individuals we work with, it’s their first time investing in a digital agency and making a commitment to the digital space. In those cases we advocate for bi-weekly calls for sharing and discussing projects. Ensuring they have a regular outlet to ask questions and talk openly helps to prevent the potentially problematic build up of underlying concerns and issues.

These calls also provide the opportunity to surface what everyone is working on and allows us to add value wherever possible with our own tools and expertise. So when a team is working on an offline program that doesn’t seem to have a digital activation, we can come in and say, “actually, if you’re able to capture some of those photo assets we can either amplify it after the fact online, or create a social campaign around it to help attract more individuals before the event even takes place.”

We also encourage monthly roundups featuring the projects everyone is working on for the campaign. For those parties that may not necessarily have that digital-first mindset, they might not realize how much we’re able to do online. So showing them some of the projects and initiatives we’re working on might just spark an idea for further collaboration.

This transparency definitely goes both ways as well. Whenever possible we grant external stakeholders with read-only access to our content in the platform, so they always have an insight into what we’re working on. This also helps keep messaging consistent and helps avoid any duplicate or competing efforts.

On that note of transparency, at what point do you think it’s most important to connect and/or align with other project stakeholders?

One of the things that’s been top of mind for me recently has been this idea of proper preparation and planning. Getting people to learn how to have an eye for and an understanding of what goes into producing good digital campaigns can be difficult. I think some people who don’t have a digital-first mindset think that because something’s online means it can happen really fast. So we’ve really pushed our partners to start thinking about campaigns three, four, five months in advance so we can really plan to launch at the right time of the cycle. We’ve seen some of our best work come from collaboration early on in the process.

This post Digital Natives Group’s Jonathan Jacobs on Adding Value Through Collaboration originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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The Latest Evolution of Facebook: The Marketing Low-Down on 5 Recent Changes

Latest Facebook Updates 2018

Latest Facebook Updates 2018

From the Russian ad debacle to the Cambridge Analytica scandal to suffering a major stock price blow just a few short weeks ago, Facebook has been making less-than-stellar headlines the past few months. Users are concerned about their privacy and how their data is being used—and brands and marketers are wondering whether the platform will continue to be a viable advertising and engagement platform.

In an attempt to rebuild trust, ensure better data protection and transparency, the social network is doubling down, again, on their commitment to improving the user experience and creating a fun, respectful community.

As all marketers will remember, the quest to improve user experience started way back in 2015, with the announcement it would be making refinements to its News Feed to strike a better balance between friends, public figures, publishers, businesses, and community organizations. That continued in the summer 2016 with more updates favoring friends and family content—and was still on the move when the first scandal broke later that year.

Of course, these changes didn’t do marketers and brands any favors in the organic reach department. Organic reach had already been declining, and these moves have nearly eliminated its potential. And now, more changes have arrived, presenting new challenges as well as some opportunities.

Below we share the low-down on five of such recent or rolling out changes, what they mean for social media marketers, and some potential next steps to take.

1. A New News Feed

Once again, the News Feed is getting a facelift—a big one. While Mark Zuckerberg announced back in January 2018 that changes would be rolling out throughout the year, a “major update” was announced in April, which Director of Product Management, Mark Hull, details in the video below:

Essentially, meaningful person-to-person interaction is what will carry the News Feed ranking weight, and person-to-page interactions will continue to be second tier. Oh, and Facebook expects people to spend less time on the platform.

This sounds pretty scary for marketers. Most have adapted their strategies to zero-in on fostering engaging discussion, as well as throwing spend behind Facebook’s ad platform (which is also changing and we’ll get to that later).

But before you eliminate Facebook from your marketing mix, there are a few opportunities to consider:

Working with influencers: With Facebook continuing to elevate content from individuals, there may be no better time to start building relationships with industry influencers and thought leaders that you can collaborate with on content.

Read: Death of Organic Reach = New Opportunities for Influencer Marketing

Facebook Groups: As my colleague, Nick Nelson, reported not too long ago, while groups have long been available as a feature on Facebook, the brand-driven “Facebook Groups for Pages” were just rolled out last year. And some brands are seeing traction with them, but this isn’t something you leap into without being thoughtful.

Read: The Question on Many Marketers’ Minds: Should My Brand Start a Facebook Group?

Facebook Stories: Very recently, Facebook insiders asserted that Facebook Stories may very well be the future of connection on Facebook. Once again, as Nick Nelson pointed out: “Facebook Stories are intriguing because they offer a real chance to capture part of a user’s attention — maybe even more than the minimum amount.” And early adopters may secure an advantage.

Read: The Future of Connection on Facebook: How Stories May Change the Marketing Game

2. Stricter Ad Targeting

As of late, most of Facebook’s critiques are a result of their advertising products and practices. By increasing the targeting capabilities of their advertising products, Facebook arguably put users’ privacy at risk. To help correct that perception and protect user privacy, Facebook is making several changes to their advertising platform.

One such update was released in early July, requiring advertisers to state where they acquired people’s information for their custom audiences. Instead of simply uploading a list of emails you want to target as a custom audience, Facebook wants advertisers to take extra steps to ensure those emails came from a reputable source and that the audience has consented to those ads. With this change, Facebook hopes to improve transparency with users about why they see ads from certain brands and how they received their information.

New Facebook Ad Disclaimer

(Credit: Facebook)

In addition, Facebook has also disabled their Partner Categories product, which provided targeting capabilities from third-party data providers to advertisers. This limits advertiser insight into user behavior outside of Facebook (e.g. purchasing activity), making ads appear more natural to users and less “big brother.”

From our perspective, this is good news. Consumers are increasingly wary of marketing and advertising messages and this move can help strengthen the credibility and relevance of your ads and brand. Of course, this is all assuming you can and do confirm your custom audience lists and sources fall within the new guides.

So, if you haven’t already, take the steps to review your custom audience lists and their sources. You need to be able to state if you received the information directly from your audience, a partner, or a combination. If you used a data provider like an advertising or marketing agency, double check that they’ve acquired the data honestly and they agree to Facebook’s Terms of Use.

3. New Data History Tools

Now more than ever, people want control over their data. They want to know what information is stored, who has access to it, and they want to be able to delete it.

Recognizing this need, Facebook announced a new feature called Clear History that will be released “soon.”With this new feature, Facebook is giving users the ability to see the websites and apps that store information with Facebook, and delete that information from their account.

However, Facebook will still retain aggregated analytics, but no personally identifying information will be contained.

“We’ll still provide apps and websites with aggregated analytics – for example, we can build reports when we’re sent this information so we can tell developers if their apps are more popular with men or women in a certain age group,” Facebook says. “We can do this without storing the information in a way that’s associated with your account, and as always, we don’t tell advertisers who you are.

What exactly does this mean for marketers? If you use Facebook plugins on your website (think Facebook Pixel or “Like” buttons on websites), your audience can now see and delete the information that the plugin collects; meaning it won’t be connected to their profile any longer.

Obviously, if users take advantage of this when it rolls out, clearing their history could be problematic for marketers, and maybe even users. For marketers, it will be incredibly difficult to target these folks with ads. For users, that could mean an uptick in irrelevant ads for a time.

However, the eventual upside for advertisers could be the “re-learning” that needs to happen after a history cleanse, which can lead to a more relevant and accurate look of who your audience is.

4. Poor Customer Feedback = Ban

A poor customer experience really sours your impression of a brand. An to ensure that ads on Facebook lead to positive shopping experiences, and not negative ones, Facebook will now ban brands that have low customer satisfaction ratings from advertising on their platform.

For example, if users give you too many frowning faces shown in the rating system below, Facebook will reject your ads.

Facebook Negative Review Example

(Credit: Facebook)

Before you become too concerned, however, Facebook says it will: “Share feedback directly with businesses that receive high volumes of negative feedback and will give them a chance to improve before taking further action. If feedback does not improve over time, we will reduce the amount of ads that particular business can run.”

So, even if you receive negative ratings, you will have an opportunity to make improvements to prevent being banned.

The opportunity here is obvious. The better customer experience you provide, the more successful your marketing efforts will be. For Facebook ads, this is rooted in focusing on clarity and honesty within your ads.

At a minimum, Facebook suggests taking steps to ensure your ads aren’t misleading. In addition, use images or videos to make it very clear what you are selling and what you are selling it for. It’s also a good idea to set clear expectations for how users will receive your product or service. By setting clear guidelines, you’re more likely to meet customer expectations, leading to more positive user ratings. For more insight, read Facebook’s tips on how to improve customer feedback.

5. All of Your Ads, Exposed

Knowing the organization behind an ad is important. Otherwise, users might not trust the content of the ad. So, to increase ad and page transparency, Facebook now allows users to see all of the ads any page is running within their partner network.

This includes ads on Instagram, Messenger, and the rest of the Facebook partner network. In addition, even if pages aren’t advertising, Facebook will provide more information about a page including name history and the date the page was created. Together, these changes aim to give users more information about an organization so they can decide if an ad is credible or not.

Facebook Ad Transparency

(Credit: Facebook)

For marketers, this change isn’t a bad thing — it may even mean more eyeballs on your advertising content. However, marketers should still be thoughtful about how their ads will be perceived by individuals outside of their target audience.

For example, even if an ad isn’t specifically designed for or served to them, users can still review (and report) your ads. As a result, you need to take extra steps to make sure your ads are consistent, clear, and friendly for all.

The Life Force of Facebook

Long before the scandals and latest privacy concerns, Facebook has been rooted in evolution. Just think what the platform started as and has become. So, while the recent and coming changes seem pretty fierce, I think it’s safe to say we were already on that trajectory. And there’s probably more to come.

Since the major changes that impacted advertisers and brands began rolling out in 2015, Facebook has maintained their actions are all in the interest of creating a better user experience. And at the end of the day, that’s what the goal of any marketer is in their quest to nurture their audience and aid them on their customer journey.

So, it’s OK if you’re a panicked, disheartened, or simply irritated. But, at this point, the platform still holds marketing opportunity, marketers just need to adapt their social media marketing strategies, try new features and avenues, and work hard to ensure they’re part of providing that great user experience.

Looking for more social media marketing news, tips, and insights? Check out all of our recent social media-related blog posts.

The post The Latest Evolution of Facebook: The Marketing Low-Down on 5 Recent Changes appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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