This Week In Social: Facebook Ads Get More Personal, Instagram Hits 5 Billion Uploads, Johnnie Walker’s Innovative Timeline Cover

By Rob McNair

Facebook to Enable Targeted Advertising Centred Around Personal Information

Facebook has been testing a new feature that allows advertisers to target customers based on account information such as user IDs, phone numbers and email addresses. Only a select few advertisers currently use it, but Facebook plans to roll out the function next week meaning that marketers can seek existing customers using the social networking platform. It will allow businesses to upload their existing customer contact detail databases to Facebook, whereby the information is overlaid with Facebook’s own, resulting in the business’s ability to target ads towards users whose contact information matches up with theirs. However, due to data being hashed at both the business’s and Facebook’s ends once uploaded, neither Facebook nor the advertiser in question will know the identity of those targeted. Rather, marketers will receive anonymous clusters based on customer matches for targeted campaigns, and ads can be distributed to customers encouraging them to Like the page, drawing attention to new products or tempting them with discounts and special offers. Businesses can even narrow data down to age range and gender for bespoke targeting.

Instagram and Facebook Finally Seal the Deal with a Record High

Instagram hit a social media milestone this week as their photo-sharing app reached an upload high of 5 billion. The achievement comes in the wake of official preparation to merge with Facebook, who acquired the company in April for an initial $1 billion sum. Instagram took to their blog to note that their avid fans won’t see their app change because of the deal, rather they’ll build ‘a better Instagram for everyone’. The physical move to the Facebook offices is a short one from San Francisco’s SoMA district to the Bay Area, and Facebook have publicly stated in a blog post that they are looking forward to helping Instagram grow through the use of their ‘strong engineering team and infrastructure’. With Instagram having taken 23 million of Facebook’s shares for $30 a share and these share prices having significantly slumped since Facebook’s IPO, the partnership is technically worth less than it was in April, but the FTC signed off on it in August after investigating a matter related to worries about Facebook’s status as an overriding marketer in photo-sharing. Facebook itself has over 300 million photos uploaded each day.

Johnnie Walker Launch Instagram Integrated Facebook Cover Photo

With impeccable timing, a brand with over 4 million Facebook followers and nearly 2,000 Instagram fans has decided to merge its two platforms in a social media first. Johnnie Walker developed a strategy back in July to attempt to secure its place as one of Instagram’s top 20 brands by driving traffic towards the app from Facebook via the use of an innovative cover photo. The brand has chosen to harness the rise in amateur photography on the platform by asking popular Instagram-ers to take over its feed – these include early adopter Chris Ozer (inspired to use Instagram by Twitter founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams), tasked to depict the landscape of Scotland and the whisky distillery itself, Phil Gonzalez (creator of Instagram community Instagramers) who’ll be covering the Gran Premio Santander D’Italia F1 for the brand’s sponsorship of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Team, and Athipan Wongsuebyut (featured on the official Instagram blog), snapping from Shanghai to encapsulate the launch of Johnnie Walker’s new luxury product in one of the brand’s liveliest markets. Their Instagram images, taken on behalf of the brand in three campaigns, will be ‘live-streamed’ to the Facebook page’s cover photo via a unique app, resulting in an interactive timeline. Refreshing the page is all users need to do in order to follow the journeys of the three photographers on Instagram, meaning its heritage stories and the marketing campaigns can be portrayed seamlessly across both platforms. The project will remain live until the end of September.

LinkedIn Make Company Pages More Visual with Redesign

With its own homepage no exception, LinkedIn is taking its cue from Facebook in noting that visual images provoke more user engagement than text and implementing a new version of its company pages in an attempt to simplify its core products. Company pages are now devoid of textual clutter and widgets, and dominated by an iconic image for improved brand presence with an easy-to-see ‘follow’ button to the top right. A news feed will remain alongside a careers page link and previews of a company’s services and products, but the news feed itself is likely to become ‘more relevant’, arranged algorithmically for a story’s applicability to each user. Companies can now obtain analytics data about their followers and compose targeted messages based on geography, industry and the like, while the ‘blog’ and company news sections have been removed due to the assumption that anything important is placed in a company’s feed, or users will receive it through LinkedIn Today. The social platform for businesses now has over 2 million company pages according to reports, which are due to be viewable on their mobile app soon. The new-look company pages have only launched for a select number of businesses.

Time for Social Media to Grow Up, According to Adobe Digital Marketing

With only around a quarter of companies claiming to be able to measure some kind of return on investment in the world of social media marketing (Likes, retweets and shares don’t always equal transactions of course), it was only a matter of time before social had to strap on a briefcase and conference with the big boys. Adobe’s Digital Marketing Suite is claiming to enable just that with the launch of Adobe Social, a social media marketing solution designed to chart measurable revenue results. Brands will be able to monitor how well Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are helping them advertise, as well as newer platforms like Pinterest – specifying purchases that have been made from pinned images, for example. Adobe Social will offer social management, social listening, publishing capabilities and the ability to view how social influences a business’s successes. What’s more, the data gleaned from the tool will be actionable, enabling brands to seek more income from their social media channels by utilising the integrated Adobe Discover to keep track of user segments, as well as developing hyper-targeted content.

YouTube Favourite Maru’s Starring Role at Uniqlo

A Japanese cat’s penchant for jumping in and out of boxes on YouTube has led him to advertising stardom at Uniqlo.  Doing what he does best, Maru leaps into ‘lucky’ cubes, enabling viewers to win prizes such as products from Uniqlo or blimp rides, mp3 downloads or a secret recipe. The ad campaign marks the opening of the first San Francisco outlet for the Japanese retailer, and depicts the importance of user-generated content in the world of major advertising with a certified YouTube star as its mascot.

HBO Pilot to Cast a Satirical Glance Over the Social Media Industry


Armando Iannucci, the writer responsible for political satire The Thick of It, has penned a pilot targeting the likes of twentysomething internet entrepreneurs living and working in Silicon Valley. Iannucci is in talks with US cable giant HBO and hopes to produce a comedy probing tensions that arise between social media entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, like those examined in David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin’s The Social Network in 2010. Fincher’s film charted Mark Zuckerberg’s rise to social media fame and power with the development of Facebook, from inside Harvard’s walls to universities across America, and eventually outside the academic sphere and across the globe. Iannucci feels social media hasn’t been examined on television in a way that it should, and his interest extends to companies like Apple who place access restrictions upon software, as well as how coming into billions of dollars would affect a young graduate. Other TV shows have satirised those who work using new technological platforms; The IT Crowd offered a spoof of information technology specialists while Nathan Barley (above) parodied a new generation of ‘webmasters’ and ‘self-facilitating media nodes’ thanks to the rapid advent of sites like MySpace, digital television and the Internet as a whole.

This post was written by Rob McNair

Rob has experience advising some of the worlds most iconic brands. He thrives on helping improving social media knowledge within organisations with the ultimate goal of making theirs brands more social, transparent and accountable.