Holiday-shortened week doesn’t impact Facebook news & headlines


Feds expand probe into Facebook’s data sharing practices with Cambridge Analytica (Washington Post)

Representatives for the FBI, the SEC and the Federal Trade Commission have joined the Department of Justice in its inquiries about the two companies and the sharing of personal information of 71 million Americans. This is on the heels of Facebook recently releasing more than 700 pages of answers to lawmakers’ questions from the congressional hearings in April.

Walmart, P&G see their ads pulled under Facebook’s new political labeling policy (Marketing Dive)

Just a week after new disclosures for every ad, Facebook hit its first speed bump. The social media company initially pulled ads from Walmart and Procter & Gamble because they contained political themes but did not include a “paid for by” label now mandated under the platform’s policies. Walmart’s ad discussed “bringing jobs back” to America, while P&G’s was for LGBTQ pride and the marketer’s “commitment to inclusion.” Facebook later reversed its decisions.


Instagram rolls out tools for users to encourage ‘time well spent’ on the app (Social Media Today)

This week, Instagram announced that it’s rolling out its new ‘All Caught Up’ notifications to all users, which will inform you of when you’ve seen all the new content posted by profiles you follow. Also, a ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature is in prototype. This will allow users to shut off notifications from the apps for 30 minutes, one hour, two hours, eight hours, one day or until they’re turned back on manually.

Facebook adds Stories archive, enabling re-use of Stories posts (Social Media Today)

Facebook is expanding the roll out an archive option for Facebook Stories, the same as what Instagram provided for Instagram Stories late last year. For brands, that could provide more motivation to invest additional time and effort into Stories content. While the initial impetus for Stories was to create immediate, disappearing content, it can be difficult to justify spending too much time on them, knowing that they’ll be gone the next day.


Facebook provides new tools to view all ads being run by pages (Social Media Today)

Not to be out-done by Twitter and its Ads Transparency Center launched this week, Facebook also released its ad transparency tool, providing new insight into the ads being run by any Page, at any given time. Two options now available:

  • View Active Ads – The first element enables you see all the ads that any Page is running across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger, as well as Facebook’s partner network.
  • More Page Information – The second component is Page information, which will enable users to view recent name changes, the date the Page was created, and more to come. This will be available on all Pages, even those that don’t advertise.

From a marketer’s perspective, you’ll now be able to view all the ads being run by competitors and get a better understanding of how they’re looking to boost appeal to their Facebook audience.


Facebook Is killing off three under-performing apps acquired in recent years (Fortune)

Due to low usage, tbh, a platform for providing positive feedback to friends, Hello, a service that helped Android users combine information from Facebook with their phone contacts data, and a fitness app called Moves were all dropped this week.

Bacardi tests Instagram’s IGTV with fan-directed music video (Mobile Marketer)

Bacardi this week will create what it says is the first music video directed entirely by Instagram users in real time, according to a statement shared with Mobile Marketer. The “Live Moves” video will feature dancing duo Les Twins and premiere on IGTV, Instagram’s new long-form video hub, as part of the rum brand’s broader “Do What Moves You” campaign.

Facebook sets off its own fireworks in inadvertently blocking patriotic posts (multiple news outlets)

Example 1: A newspaper serially publishing the Declaration of Independence on social media this week got an unexpected surprise: Facebook had blocked one of the posts. The Liberty County Vindicator, a newspaper in southeastern Texas, had been posting portions of the Declaration on Facebook each day leading up to the Fourth of July. But the tenth installment of the foundational document didn’t post — and Facebook said it was because of hate speech.

“Somewhere in paragraphs 27-31 of the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson wrote something that Facebook finds offensive,” Casey Stinnett, managing editor of the Vindicator, said on the paper’s website Monday. “The Vindicator received a notice from Facebook saying that the post ‘goes against our standards on hate speech.'” They later rescinded the block.

Example 2: Facebook was called out by country artist Wes Cook Band after it prevented the group from using the social network’s paid tools to promote its song “I Stand for the Flag.” The Nashville-based group released a video on Facebook Monday. They planned to promote it for 24 hours using the paid promotion tools that the social network provides. The request was initially approved and then rejected by Facebook, which cited the video’s “political content,” according to the band. Late Tuesday, Facebook told Fox News that the decision has been overturned.

12 Headlines from the Week of June 29, 2018


Ringing in the data proving to be more challenging (WSJ)

Wednesday’s edition of the Wall Street Journal reported on the challenges Facebook is having in tracking where data to third party app developers went after it left the platform. A major issue is that many of the app developers have gone out of business or are otherwise MIA and aren’t responding to Facebook’s information requests. Facebook also doesn’t have legal authority to compel those developers to cooperate.

Facebook reverses ban on cryptocurrency ads (Mobile Marketer)

Facebook eased its ban on cryptocurrency marketing from January with a new set of rules allowing preapproved advertisers to promote the digital money. Crypto-advertisers will now need to fill out a form, providing details such as whether they hold required licenses and regulatory circulation, so Facebook can assess their eligibility for advertising on the platform. 

Facebook tweaks political ads policy (Digiday)

Facebook to launch a news publisher-specific section of its ads archive called Promoted News, which will carry the articles publishers have paid to promote that fall under what Facebook considers political topics.



Instagram introduces group video calls, new explore layout (Social Media Today)

Announced in May, Instagram released its new group video calling option, along with an updated Explore layout and new AR tools this week. Up to four friends can join. Interesting insight: more than 375 million of the app’s billion users now interact via messaging each month, while Instagram’s research shows that 85% of people’s messages within the app are shared with the same three friends.



Instagram offers new guide to creating and uploading IGTV content (Social Media Today)

Just a few days after its launch in Vegas, Instagram released a guide on Wednesday on how to create content for its IGTV platform. It includes tips, apps and accessories you can consider to help improve your IGTV videos.

Facebook adds keyword ‘Snooze’ option to help user avoid spoilers (Social Media Today)

Don’t want to see who got the final rose on “The Bachelor”? Facebook just began testing a feature that can help you avoid spoilers or, basically, any topic you don’t want to see in your News Feed for up to 30 days. 

Facebook releases new SDK Code setup simplifying their app installation (Adweek)

Any marketer who has implemented SDK code to track mobile app events will like this: it’s getting simpler. Facebook writes their new tool “simplifies the setup process by enabling marketers to add, modify and remove events with a simple point-and-click tool. Marketers no longer need to ask their developers to write code, release a new version of their app and wait for people to update—a process that could take weeks, if not months.”



Facebook expands auto-translation tools in Messenger (TechCrunch)

Facebook Messenger will now offer optional auto-translation of English to Spanish and vice-versa for all users in the United States and Mexico. Now when users receive a message that is different from their default language, Messenger’s AI assistant M will ask if they want it translated. All future messages in that thread will be auto-translated unless a user turns it off. Facebook plans to bring the feature to more language pairs and countries soon. Facebook began offering translation technology for News Feed posts and comments in 2011.

Oculus launches Oculus TV (Social Media Today)

First IGTV, now Facebook-owned Oculus is getting into the television arena with the launching of a new VR TV viewing app. Projections are that Oculus will ship around a million new units this year with the holiday shopping season seeing the biggest push.

Facebook expands its Messenger Kids app beyond the U.S. to Canada and Peru (Venture Beat)

Facebook is expanding its controversial Messenger Kids app beyond the U.S. and into Canada and Peru, the company announced today. Messenger Kids will now also be made available in Spanish and French in all three of its available markets. Messenger Kids originally launched for kids aged 6 to 12 in the U.S. last December.

Facebook patents system that can use your phone’s mic to monitor TV habits (New York Times)

System would allow Facebook to identify what adults and children are watching based on ambient noise The New York Times Op-Ed piece reveals other interesting patent technology under the Facebook roof.

Jif scoops Neil Patrick Harris for Facebook Live comedy show (Mobile Marketer)

From our Ohio backyard, J.M. Smucker peanut butter brand Jif announced a partnership with actor Neil Patrick Harris to promote its new Jif Power Ups snacks via a news release. Harris hosted “The Parenting Struggle is Real…Funny” on Facebook Live on June 26.

Facebook Friday For Week Ending June 22


Facebook announces additional efforts to combat false news (Facebook)

Highlights from Friday’s release includes:

  • Expanding fact-checking program to new countries
  • Expanding test to fact-check photos and videos
  • Increasing the impact of fact-checking by using new techniques, including identifying duplicates and using Claim Review
  • Taking action against new kinds of repeat offenders
  • Improving measurement and transparency by partnering with academics


New platform launched this week.

Instagram launches IGTV long-form video platform (TechCrunch)

IGTV is Instagram’s own, longer form video hub. Focus is not on TV-like content, as has been with Facebook Watch. According to TechCrunch, Instagram has been meeting with a range of online creators, in order to entice them across to their new video platform. Videos can be up to 60 minutes long and the new functionality is positioned under the Explore tab.

Facebook takes greater aim at HQ Trivia, YouTube with new tools for video creators (Mobile Marketer)

New features to make it easier to add interactive polls, quizzes, challenges and more to video content rolled out this week. Facebook announced in a blog post that it is giving content creators new tools to make their videos more interactive, including polling for Facebook Live and on-demand video and gamification for Facebook Live. Facebook will be hoping the feature keeps eyeballs on the site for longer and encourages more sharing between friends.

Facebook taps into influencer marketing trend; launches Brand Collabs Manager (Social Media Today)

New platform lets creators connect with marketers for possible branded content collaborations. Think search engine where you can connect relevant influencers with your brand based on specific promotion requirements. Facebook’s motive: help facilitate brand and influencer relationships – which, ideally, will help them attract more prominent creators to the platform.

 Now Facebook is putting autoplay video ads inside Messenger (Recode)

Some users will start to see autoplay video ads appear in their Messenger inbox right next to messages from friends and family.

Facebook opens Watch to all videos from publishers, creators (digiday)

Staying in the world of video, Facebook has begun to add non-episodic videos from publishers, creators, companies and other pages to Watch to appear alongside the episodic shows the section was originally dedicated to. The new videos are appearing in a new version of Watch’s Discover feed that’s being rolled out to users. That feed is governed by an algorithm designed to promote videos that people seek out to watch, as opposed to the passively popular ones that had dominated people’s traditional Facebook feeds.

Facebook testing a new way for group admins to charge for access to exclusive content (Social Media Today)

Facebook is starting to let Group admins charge $4.99 to $29.99 per month for access to special sub-Groups full of exclusive posts. A hand-picked array of parenting, cooking and “organize my home” Groups will be the first to get the chance to spawn a subscription Group open to their members.


Should you put Instagram hashtags in the caption, or in the comments? (Social Media Today)

Recent study analyzed 117 posts from 3 accounts with a total of 13,700 Instagram Followers.

Results: including hashtags in the post caption resulted in 9.84% more Likes, and 29.4% more Reach. Placing the hashtags in the comments resulted in 19.3% more comments.

Facebook announces 3D-180 video (Social Media Today)

Facebook is rolling out a new video posting option which is another advance towards full virtual reality social.


Instagram hits 1 billion monthly users, up from 800M in September (TechCrunch)

Facebook now owns 4 of the 5 most popular social media platforms globally.

Facebook is building a $750 million data center in Huntsville, Alabama (Fortune)

Facebook plans to build a $750 million data center in Huntsville, Ala. that is expected to add 100 jobs to the area when it opens in 2020. Breaking ground later this year.

First look at Instagram’s self-policing Time Well Spent tool (TechCrunch)

Instagram is stepping up to help you manage overuse rather than leaving it to iOS and Android’s new screen time dashboards. From Facebook: “We’re building tools that will help the IG community know more about the time they spend on Instagram – any time should be positive and intentional . . . Understanding how time online impacts people is important, and it’s the responsibility of all companies to be honest about this.

Facebook News Round-Up for June 15, 2018

Welcome to Facebook Friday,  your weekly recap of news and notes.  



Facebook Releases New Privacy Safeguards; Focus on Custom Audience Use (Reuters)

Facebook is installing new controls to better inform its members about the way companies are targeting them with advertising. Starting July 2, it will begin requiring advertisers to tell users if data brokers provided the information that led to those users being targeted with an ad. Data brokers refer to firms that collect personal information about users and then sell it to marketers.

Facebook is also instituting a new process for how the names of potential consumers supplied by data brokers will be handled. Advertisers wanting to add lists of prospects on Facebook must assure that the data supplier obtained legal consent from the consumers.

Facebook, Google Targeted With 19 Pan-EU Privacy Complaints (Bloomberg)

Google, Facebook Inc. and its apps WhatsApp and Instagram have been named in 19 cross-border complaints filed with EU regulators since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) took effect last month. Governing body looking into the cases.

Weekend Reading: Congress Gets Its Answers in 454-Page Report (WSJ)

In response to Zuckerberg’s “my team will get back to you on that” comments on Capitol Hill in April, the company released its report to defend the social network against claims that it’s a monopoly and details about the information it collects on users.


Coming Soon: test social media Page posts for maximum impact.

Instagram Adds e-commerce Shopping Bag ‘stickers’ for Advertisers (Ad Age)

Brands on Instagram will now be able to drop shopping bag stickers into their Stories and sell products featured in the videos. The stickers had already been available for use on posts in Instagram’s main feed, where they also indicate that an item is for sale. 300 million people use the Stories feature daily

Facebook A/B Testing for Page Posts in Development (Social Media Today)

Facebook is experimenting with a new A/B test option for Page posts, which would better enable Page managers to make educated, strategic decisions on their Facebook content. The new option would enable Pages to show variations of their posts to different audiences, then analyze the performance of each in order to see which is worth either re-posting or boosting with ad spend.


Survey: Would You Pay for an Ad-Free Facebook? (eMarketer)

Just 23% of consumers surveyed in April by Recode and online survey company Toluna said they would be willing to pay for an ad-free Facebook. How much would Facebook have to charge users to make up for lost ad revenues? eMarketer forecasts that Facebook will make $91.58 in average ad revenue per US user this year, which equates to a monthly subscription fee of $7.63.

Facebook Cracks down on Sellers of Junky Products (Mobile Marketer)

Shoppers can now provide feedback on shopping experience after seeing a Facebook ad.

Facebook is getting tougher with businesses that advertise products that are unsatisfactory or aren’t delivered on time. The new feature lets people leave reactions about their shopping experience after seeing an ad and making a purchase through the platform’s mobile app or website. The company will warn businesses that receive many negative responses to address the grievances or face restrictions on their ads — or an eventual ban from the platform.


Facebook Communications Leader Steps Down (WSJ)

Policy and communications executive Elliot Schrage is stepping down after ten years at Facebook. No word on his next move, but in a Facebook post Thursday he said he will stay on for the search for his successor and continue to advise top executives.

Facebook Launches Gaming Video Platform (TechCrunch)

Facebook wants a cut of the 3+ hours per week that young adult video gamers spend watching other people play. This week it launched, a destination where viewers can find a collection of all the video games streaming on Facebook. It will compete directly with Twitch. will show video based on the games and streaming celebrities they follow, their Liked Pages and Groups, plus it will display featured creators, esports competitions and gaming conference events.

Training 1 Million People and Small Business Owners Across the US by 2020 (Facebook)

Facebook pledged to train 1 million U.S. business owners on the digital skills they need to compete in today’s workplace.

Facebook Friday for June 1, 2018

Welcome to Facebook Friday, your weekly recap of news and notes.  Read full report here.



Can Advertisers Still Trust Facebook? (eMarketer Podcast Series)

A 22-minute interview with Facebook’s VP of Global Marketing Carolyn Everson to discuss the company’s relationship with advertisers and how it’s working to balance targeted advertising and privacy. Key excerpt: Ms. Everson’s outline of how Facebook breaks down its overall responsibility in four areas:

  1. Election integrity (ad transparency)
  2. Combat fake news (reduce spam & click bait, fake accts, reduce hoaxes passed along)
  3. Data privacy (not a new phenomenon but certainly more attention)
  4. Brand safety



Facebook Tests a New, Simplified Way to Create Instant Articles (Social Media Today)

The company is testing a new tool which simplifies the process of creating Instant Articles. According to Facebook, people will read 20% more of an Instant Article post, likely because they load up to 10x faster than standard web links. Facebook also says that readers are also 70% less likely to abandon the content.



The Best Times and Days to Post on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (Social Media Today)

The team at Unmetric analyzed 100 U.S. brands and their social media activity, and based on their research, here’s when you should post:

  • Facebook: Wed & Thurs – 9am – 2pm
  • Instagram: Sun, Tues & Weds – 10am – 7pm
  • Twitter: Tues & Weds – 11am – 12pm

Why a Facebook-first Agency?

Excited to launch a different type of agency today along with my business partner, Larry. Welcome to MapForward Digital! Thought we would share some perspective on why we started the firm and what we hope to achieve.

Two fundamental drivers were the impetus to creating MapForward Digital:

1.) We believe Facebook can be the silver bullet for marketers – when properly applied. First of all, Facebook has tremendous scale and reach. Check out these stats to learn more. Second, when properly leveraged, Facebook can provide tangible results at every step of the sales process, regardless of industry, business model or budget. Effective marketing starts and ends within the Facebook ecosystem. The key, however, is knowing how to apply the many tools and techniques Facebook offers. That leads me to fundamental driver #2…

2.) Many agencies suffer from swiss-army knife syndrome. They say they can do Google AdWords, web sites, LinkedIn, advertise on Facebook, work with Snapchat, etc., and in large part they can, but can they have the breadth in any of these areas to best serve their clients’ needs? The fact is that Facebook marketing requires specialized training, dedicated resources, analytics skills, and dynamic creative services to ultimately deliver successful campaigns. Back when I worked in the newspaper industry, we built an ad, placed it in the paper and then the job was done. Hopefully the advertiser would get results if the ad ran with some frequency. Facebook is no where close to that process. Furthermore, Facebook is constantly changing and improving its marketing ecosystem. We feel marketers should have an agency that has a pulse on Facebook. (Note: check out our weekly Facebook Friday post to stay on top of latest news).

MapForward Digital was established to solve for both of these dynamics. Our Facebook services provide depth and we believe our Facebook-first mindset sets us apart. Ultimately, there are two questions marketers need to ask:

1.) Do you believe Facebook marketing as a medium has scale and reach with high targetability?

2.) If yes, then do you believe your ad dollars would be better served by an agency 100% dedicated to the space or a general digital / marketing / communications / advertising agency?

Obviously, a bit rhetorical here, but you get the point. If you are intrigued or curious, let’s talk. Our mission is twofold:

  • Help every business & brand be wildly successful by using Facebook as their primary advertising medium. This is our Facebook-first promise.
  • Deliver a completely different agency experience for our clients by going the extra mile to delight. This is our organizational credo.

Welcome to MapForward Digital!


Facebook Friday for May 25, 2018

Welcome to Facebook Friday, your weekly recap of news and notes from the world of Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and related platforms.

In this week’s edition, Mr. Zuckerberg went overseas to tip-toe with lawmakers while back home the company ratcheted-up their campaign to mitigate fake-news.


  • No European vacation during CEO tour to region (WSJ) Zuckerberg meets with EU lawmakers and French President Macron to tamper down fake-news and data concerns. He stays on-point with messaging consistent with Congressional hearing earlier this month.
  • Full-court press on fake-news (Social Media Today) In addition to the recently released public image ads and homepage educational campaign, Facebook just produced a 13-minute behind-the-scenes “Facing Facts” video on how they are working to mitigate fake-news and bad actors from their news feed. Fascinating look. Also, the company issued a request for proposals from academics eager to study false news on the platform.
  • GDPR activist already filing complaints against Facebook (TechCrunch) Today is day 1 of the much-anticipated General Data Protection Regulations – or GDPR. Facebook privacy critic, Max Schrems, is on the offensive already. He feels the company is forcing consent vs. allowing users free choice to opt-in to the revamped privacy statements. (TechCrunch)
  • Report: Facebook unharmed by Cambridge Analytica crisis (Business Insider) Goldman Sachs report says number of active mobile users & time spent on the platform rose in April compared to the same month a year earlier.


  • Facebook tests influencer search engine for marketers (TechCrunch) Facebook wants to help businesses find creators who can reach their target audience in an authentic way, while allowing creators a path to monetizing their Facebook content and fan base. ‘Branded Content Matching’ platform in test mode.
  • Facebook launches new tools for Groups, improving functionality and potential (Social Media Today) Facebook continues to add more tools to groups, boosting the functionality, and potential, of the option. Facebook Groups now have more than a billion monthly active users, which is more than Instagram and Snapchat combined. And according to Facebook more than 100 million people are members of what they call “very meaningful” groups.
  • Instagram launches option to mute profiles; other new SnapChat-esque tools (Social Media Today) New option of muting profiles will enable users to stop seeing updates from people without having to unfollow them. Other SnapChat-like functionality in the works: (1) time spent in app listing, (2) music stickers, (3) slow motion mode, (4) cinemagraphs and (5) Q and A stickers.
  • New home service professional experience in Marketplace (Facebook) More people ask for recommendations related to home services on Facebook in the US than any other topic. As a result, Facebook announced a partnership with Handy, HomeAdvisor and Porch to help users easily manage their next home project from proposal to completion with rated professionals.
  •  Evolving WhatsApp could present new opportunities for brands (Social Media Today) WhatsApp looks to be giving business tools more focus, with advanced features and tools now being rolled out. New functionality includes new group tools and video calling.


  • Publisher trade association pens letter to Facebook (WSJ) News Media Alliance wrote in a letter to Facebook that the platform’s new political ad transparency policies blur the lines between reporting and propaganda. Publishers clearly concerned about potential financial impact from lost political advertising due to new policy.
  • Facebook jumps 22 spots in latest Fortune 500 rankings. (Fortune) New spot is #76 buoyed by a 47% year-over-year increase in revenue and 57% profit gain.

The Ubiquitous Face of Facebook

If January is any indication, Facebook is poised to become an even greater force in all aspects of our life.

To say that Facebook is off to a roaring start this year is an understatement. Big headlines dotted the entire month of January;  and that’s even before we get to their earnings call later today.

It wasn’t  only the volume that caught my attention, nor Mr. Zuckerberg’s  personal goal to “fix” the social media company, or even the upcoming news feed changes that have cause a stir with downgraded publishers. Instead, it was the breadth of what was released during the month and signals it provides us.

4 Headlines & What They Tell Us

Reviewing Facebook’s headlines (and of course, reading the article) provides a glimpse into the company’s desire to be further interwoven in every aspect of our life, both online and off. Said another way, if we spend 40 minutes per day on Facebook (company’s estimates from mid-last year), their goal has to be 3x or 4x greater over the next few years. Headline #1….

#1) “Facebook is Testing a New Section of its App Specifically for Local News and Events” Recode, 1/10/18

Translation: Your Facebook community is moving from large scale to hyper-focused on your life based on zip code, neighborhood and street. While they may be stopping short of having a drone hovering over your house, Facebook will be using its data and algorithms to drive to a tighter 1:1 relationship. That’s powerful for marketers; no so much for privacy proponents.

#2) “Facebook Dives into Home Device Market with Video Chat”, 1/9/18

Translation: It’s no longer just desktop, mobile or tablet — now Facebook is supplanting itself onto another device, named “Portal”, in your home starting in May. Should make for even better dinner table conversation … assuming that still happens in your home!

#3) “Facebook is Launching a New Privacy Center to Make it Easier for Users to Manage Their Data…” Reuters, 1/23/18

Translation: The king of how-to-market-to-consumers-using-proprietary-data is doing its best to get ahead of the increasingly strong regulatory environment.  Now Facebook is in the privacy protection business, but interestingly, you’ve got to initiate it. And guess who’s watching where and how you protect yourself….

#4) “Facebook is Set to Appoint Peter Hutton to Lead a Drive to Acquire Sports Broadcasting Rights…” The Guardian, 1/19/18

Translation: Not the most impactful headline here, but underpinning it is a desire of Facebook to be your primary content provider. If you think Facebook is only about building meaningful communities, there’s more to the story that is being written now. Facebook is really more interested in providing its 2 billion-plus active monthly users meaningful content whether organically on their social platform or through streaming live events like sports, or even the recently streamed Golden Globes red carpet pre-show. Bottom line: Facebook is up for the challenge against Disney, Apple, Twitter, Netflix, Amazon and others who are piling tons of cash into purchasing content. And now they’re staffing up.

Biggest Headline Still To Come

Facebook hosts is next earnings later today and its expected they’ll announce  full year 2017 advertising revenue to eclipse the $40 billion milestone. This will represent approximately 40% increase over the prior year.

It’s been a big year already for Facebook.  Scanning one month’s worth of Facebook news puts into context how broad their aspirations seem to be. It’s clear, Facebook is driving ubiquity in all aspects of our life.

Eric Stasiowski, president MapForward Digital

MapForward Digital is a digital strategy consulting firm focused on customer experience development and Facebook advertising services.


The New Dynamic Duo: Marketing & Auditing

Batman & Robin, Hanz & Franz, Penn & Teller … they all are powerful duos that rely on one another to accomplish a shared mission. Whether it’s to save Gotham, ‘pump you up’, or suspend our imagination, the collective team is more effective than its individual parts.

What about within your office? Can you claim the same type of relationship between marketing and auditing? Or more broadly, finance?

I was struck by a recent article in Ad Age where a U.S. Army internal audit claims ‘ineffective marketing programs’ over a period of years.  At first blush, my reaction was: what the heck does internal auditing know about marketing effectiveness? Then I moved to: with millions spent annually on marketing, how can U.S. Army marketers not have auditing in the loop? They’re asking for trouble!

I’m pretty sure how that initial, frosty conversation went down between the two groups:

U.S. Army Internal Auditor: I’ve been asked to see what type of return we get on marketing. Can you point to data that substantiates a quantifiable ROI. We’ve spent approximately $4 billion of taxpayer dollars over 10 years. What is it getting us?

U.S. Army Marketer:  (boastfully) We have GRPs, Facebook Likes, NPS results, brand recall studies and check out our new creative … it won us an Addy!  Our advertising is driving recruitment. Nick Saban would be jealous. (awkward chuckle) It all points to an excellent return.

Auditor: (after tilting the head at the Saban comment) Look, I’m searching for concrete documentation and completeness of analysis with proper process controls in place to measure ROI.

Marketer: (slumping in seat; turning deflective) We know how to cut POs following a process. We involve the purchasing department in RFPs too. But this is a creative process. Not black and white.

Auditor: We’re talking 4 BILLION dollars here. That’s a B.

Marketer: I’ve talked to our agency a MILLION times about getting better on ROI measurement. That’s with an M. Let me call them and see where they are on that. We need to hold them accountable.

You get the point. Auditing and marketing are not typically besties. They don’t show up on each other’s Christmas card list. But that doesn’t have to be the case.  Here are my recommendations to building a productive relationship:

  1. Collaborate on and develop shared objectives. This will help defuse tension and foster a shared appreciation for each other’s needs and responsibilities.
  2. Educate auditors and their financial counterparts on the changing world of marketing measurement. Things like attribution strategy, media mix modeling,  customer experience data, etc. This will actually help to create a shared view of ROI that’s the right for your firm.
  3. Share with auditors the c-suite marketing dashboard. Keep them in the loop, help them understand how marketing effort is measured, give them ongoing exposure to the terms and constructs that make up marketing performance.
  4. Self-regulate. Apply an intra-marketing auditing mindset that has checks and balances plus the documented process to run an internal audit of your own team. In the past, I’ve asked lean 6 sigma colleagues to help out. Also, engage auditors in the process – this is their area of expertise.

With the new year upon us, consider making auditing an extension of your team. Invite them to meetings, ask for their opinion. Most importantly, get ahead of them before they ‘pump you up’.

Eric Stasiowski, president MapForward Digital

MapForward Digital is a digital strategy consulting firm focused on customer experience development and Facebook advertising services.

Darth Vader, China & eCommerce Load Testing: B2B Marketers Take Notice This Holiday Season

While B2C marketers and retailers revel in a brisk start to the holiday season, B2B organizations have an opportunity to step back and observe what is happening in the world of online selling.  Whether you believe B2C marketing is a bellwether for future B2B activity or you’re just a student of eCommerce, here are four observations that I felt were relevant for B2B marketers from this first week of holiday shopping:

  1. If you don’t sell in a marketplace like Amazon, eBay, Alibaba or others, now is the time to consider it. There was a time that these sites were the Darth Vader of B2B organizations. They were competitors, industry disrupters and distribution model busters. I had a client once that was afraid of joining a marketplace for risk of losing control of its brand and pricing.  They ultimately scrapped plans, even though data showed that their customers were actively buying from the marketplace. This holiday season provides further evidence that marketplace selling is only getting stronger. Amazon and eBay both had record sales days on Cyber Monday, and Amazon alone accounted for approximately $4B -$5B in sales by selling more than 140 million units over the five-day holiday weekend. Bottom line: the online marketplace has the reach, scale and paying B2C and B2B customers. Its value is too significant to ignore.
  2. If you sell in China, incorporating eCommerce into your business model in-country should be a priority. Both culturally and economically Chinese customers lead the world in online shopping, especially via mobile. It’s not even close. Case in point: Alibaba, China’s eCommerce marketplace juggernaut, posted $25.3B by itself in one 24-hour period on November 11 for their annual Singles Day. Compare that to what the US in total sold online on Cyber Monday ($6.6B according to Adobe Analytics), and China’s dominance in online eCommerce is jaw-dropping. Said another way by Marketplace Pulse: in 24 hours, Alibaba sold 10% of what US retailers will sell in a year. So, do you have eCommerce plans in China? There’s more than 460 million shoppers waiting for you!
  3. In a shout-out to IT professionals, don’t skip load and regression testing for your web / mobile projects. I’m pretty sure it’s been a tough week for CIOs at Macy’s, Lowe’s and J. Crew. All experienced web site crashes and technical glitches during the holiday weekend. Advice: bank enough time in your project plans to thoroughly test before a major event or launch.
  4. From the non-profit sector, it was hard not to be inspired by the wonderful creative and inspirational storytelling that charities developed for #GivingTuesday. A lot has been written about the importance of storytelling. But rarely is there such a rich set of case studies and creative coming together to drive engagement. They provide great examples for your content and social teams to learn from as they prepare their own 2018 promotional plans and editorials calendars.

While focus is all on B2C these weeks, are there any B2B observations or learnings that have hit you? Share them here or @MapFwd_Eric.

Eric Stasiowski, President MapForward Digital