WHAT HAPPENS IF FACEBOOK'S SCANDALS CONTINUE?: Will businesses stop advertising on Facebook in the wake of more data breaches and privacy scandals? From the Cambridge Analytic scandal to the recent $5 billion lawsuit handed down by the FTC for Facebook’s mishandling of data, some advertisers are questioning the health and future of ad targeting tools on the platform. “If consumers use the platform less, in different ways, or view it differently, that changes our perception. We’re not so sure about [Facebook] as the primary mechanism of advertising,” says Brandon Rhoten, CMO of Potbelly Sandwich Works. Still, many remain confident that even if some users opt-out of Facebook, it won’t be enough to significantly deplete its 1.7 billion monthly user base. “I have a lot of faith,” says Peter Scherr, CMO of Vroom. “[Facebook] will be compelled to find ways to thread the needle and satisfy consumer demands for transparency and fairness with respect to privacy, but also serve advertisers' needs.”
Why you should care: Enrollment marketers should look at two things when measuring the so-called “health” of Facebook and Facebook advertising. The first is the user base. Month over month, are Facebook users steadily decreasing? The second is the financials. Has Facebook shown three quarters of heavy losses in a row? While not the current case, both downward trends would ultimately be suggestive of a sinking ship. But like many predict, Facebook’s giant user base (full of prospective students, too), doesn’t seem to be going anywhere fast.
MARY MEEKER'S ANNUAL INTERNET TRENDS REPORT TAKEAWAYS: Mary’s 333-slide report is exhaustive to say the least. So here are three takeaways from the report that you should know:
- 50% of impressions now involve a visual image. What does this mean? Standard stock photography will no longer cut it. To keep people engaged, you need to invest in professional illustrations, infographics, and designs.
- According to Mary, the voice revolution is here. Take podcasts, for example. There are about 70 million monthly podcast listeners in the US alone; 2x more than the base of listeners that existed just 4 years ago. There’s never been a better time to launch a voice-based strategy, like a podcast.
- Traditional screen time in front of the television is decreasing. In fact, 28% of all viewing time is now spent online. More people are watching shows on YouTube, short videos on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, and streaming traditional cable online.
Why you should care: Enrollment teams are constantly vying for the eyes and ears of prospective students. Time after time, we’ve heard that audio and video content are keys to engaging prospective students and the stats are here to back it up. Consider allocating time, budget, and attention to developing video content or even starting a thought leadership podcast on a topic related to your program.
GOOGLE SEARCH GETS FRESHER FEATURED SNIPPETS: If you’re unfamiliar with Google’s featured snippets, here’s the low-down. Featured snippets exist on a Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and are used to provide concise, direct answers to queries posed on Google. They remove the need for a user to click a link to a website to find an answer and exist in Google’s magical #0 position (below advertisements on the SERP page, but above the #1 organic ranking position). Not all search queries will have a featured snippet result; it depends on the complexity of the query and available answers on the internet. Google announced that its latest algorithm will now prioritize more recent information (meaning, most accurate and up-to-date) in featured snippets. In the old algorithm, outdated information was sometimes featured if Google believed it best answered a search query. Now, Google has realized that more relevant, timely information should be prioritized in featured snippets.
Why you should care: Getting your content to show on a featured snippet is the ultimate win. That thought leadership piece on your program’s blog about social work or law school, if optimized well, could become a featured snippet for some search queries. For enrollment marketers, realize that Google is officially announcing its prioritization of “newer” content in its featured snippets. That means generating new content is important but also that updating old content with more relevant dates, quotes, and content could help get you that magical #0 position.