Revealed! The 2019 CMI Content Marketing Benchmarks are in!

The statistics are in! The latest research from The Content Marketing Institute has revealed some interesting findings when it comes to the current state of content marketing.

Based on respondents who have been practicing content marketing for at least one year, benchmarks have been established to identify the biggest successes and challenges facing B2B content marketers.  

Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Advisor at the Content Marketing Institute, has given Brandalism exclusive insight into the B2B Content Marketing 2019: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America report, as well as interesting key findings from this research.

“One of the things we’re most excited about is that this year we are capturing the habits and results from those that are truly invested in Content Marketing. We limited the respondents to those that have been practicing Content Marketing for at least one year. We see some fascinating new insights from this year’s research; perhaps none as pronounced as the importance of a documented content marketing strategy.” – Robert Rose 

So, let’s dive in.

Content Strategy should be clear and documented

We’re seeing that taking strategy seriously has long-term benefits to business. The survey revealed that the two biggest benefits of a documented content marketing strategy was that it aligns teams to a common goal/mission  (81%) and it makes it easier to determine which types of content to develop (81%).

“Companies that actually take a step back, and develop a content strategy are just simply succeeding at a higher rate than those that just jump right to execution.” – Robert Rose

What can content marketers improve?

Understanding audience and undergoing thorough persona work is a key component of content strategy. However, while marketers all see the benefits of this only 42% are actually talking with customers to understand their needs.

A quick win for content marketers looking to understand their audience better is to select a core group of customers to survey, gathering information from the horse’s mouth rather than relying on potentially outdated online research.

A surprising finding revealed that only 23% of content marketers are using community building and audience participation to attract new audiences. If the main goal of content marketers is engaging audiences, shouldn’t we be doing more to build communities?

What are the top performing content marketers doing well? 

Of the marketers surveyed, 96% of the most successful content marketers (“the top performers”) agree that their organisation have built credibility and trust with their audience.

Furthermore, 90% of the most successful B2B content marketers will prioritise the audience’s information needs over their sales or promotional messages. This is compared to 56% of the least successful – proving there is a direct correlation between the success of content marketing and prioritising the audience needs.

The biggest issues affecting B2B content marketers 

From the marketers surveyed, the biggest issues facing content marketers in the B2B space are:

  • Changes to SEO and Search algorithms (61%).
  • Changes to social media algorithms (45%).
  • Content marketing used solely as a revenue center (41%).
  • Data and privacy regulations (34%)
  • Staffing and HR (33%).

The largest difference between the most and least successful marketers in changes to social media is found in addressing data privacy and regulations; artificial intelligence (AI); and preparing for voice search.  

Content Marketing Measurement

All content marketers know that we should be measuring the success of our efforts, but are we actually doing it? 72% of the most successful B2B Content Marketers measure content marketing return on investment (ROI). On the other hand, 65% of the least successful do not measure their ROI.

A surprising finding revealed that only 25% of B2B content marketers are extremely or very proficient at using the metrics their team has selected to convey results. These same marketers are most likely to be those who measure the ROI of their content marketing.

Content marketing is moving forward

With businesses increasingly turning to content marketing solutions, 56% of B2B Content Marketers increased spending on content creation over the last 12 months.

Although many content marketers face the same challenges, it is clear that content marketing is moving forward. Of those surveyed, 70% of B2B content marketers believe their organisation’s content marketing is much (17%) or somewhat (53%) more successful than a year before.

We’ll take this as win!

 

Stay Social May: The Latest and Greatest in Social Media

It’s May, which means the memes about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding are coming in thick! Let’s deep dive into the world of social media marketing and explore what’s happening outside The Royal Wedding memes.

Facebook strengthens its Live offering

Live Video is the social media trend that just keeps getting stronger! Facebook is on the bandwagon and has just unveiled a slew of new features for brands and users who are producing live video content.

Feature no. 1: Persistent Stream Keys

You’ll no longer need to get approval from the Facebook team every time your page wants to go live. The stream key will now be linked to your brand’s Facebook page permanently, so once you’re approved, you can go live whenever you’d like!

Feature no. 2: Cross-posting

If your brand runs multiple Facebook pages or wants to partner with an influencer or another brand, you can go live across several pages all at the same time with the one livestream. It’s a great way to both expand the reach of your Live videos, as well as the engagement they’ll generate.

Feature no. 3: Live Rewind

Users can now go backwards in a Live video to catch up on anything they may have missed. This move isn’t just great for user experience – by having users who can quickly catch up on any highlights, brands can now expect to see better engagement on their Live content.

And with rumours that the platform is finally going to bring Facebook Watch to the international market, as well as a Facebook dating app, brands are going to want to keep keeping an eye on this space.

Facebook dabbles with the idea of expanding into the online dating scene. Image source: The Verge  

Instagram becomes very business friendly

Meanwhile, over on Facebook’s sister platform, Instagram is gearing up to continue giving businesses big and small some new options.

First off, as of this month, users will now be able to link their credit or debit card to the app, and directly pay for a product or service being advertised, without the need to exit to a separate browser or landing page.

Apart from exciting impulse shoppers (us!), it’s certainly going to help brands and marketers prove ROI via social, especially with campaigns built around sales or direct conversions.

On top of that, Instagram is also expanding messaging options for brands on the platform. You’ll soon be able to set up “quick replies”, which will let you create and store responses you find yourself using quite often. That means you can send details like contact or product information with just the tap of a button.

Messages to your business will now also go straight to your Inbox, and you’ll be able to “star” the ones you want to save or respond to later.

This will certainly provide better customer experience and is sure to excite community managers!

How can you use the new Instagram updates to prove ROI from social? Image via Marketing Land

Snapchat turns back time

After a controversial redesign at the start of the year, it seems that iOS users can soon expect to see the app revert to the older design, once again separating Stories from Snaps.

How this will affect the ways brands can reach users on the platform remains to be seen, but it’s a change that’s certain to make users very happy.

Which Snapchat design do you prefer?

And that’s it for May! Stay tuned for next month’s social media wrap!

Read next: 3 Fast Rules for Marketing on Instagram

Stay Social: The Latest and Greatest in Social Media this April

It’s April! So, without further ado, here are the latest news stories on social media marketing from the last month!

Facebook privacy troubles bring big changes

The last month has been tough-going for Facebook. Between the Cambridge Analytica scandal (you can read our summary of it here) and the subsequent Congressional Hearing, the pressure has been on the social platform to improve and clarify its privacy policies.

The Congressional Hearing did result in an abundance of memes and an apology from Mark Zuckerberg as well as a commitment to working with policy-makers on regulation. A slew of changes to the platform have since been announced.


What’s your favourite meme to result from the Congressional Hearing?

The biggest of these changes include sweeping reforms to the platform’s API. Previously, other apps had access to a whole heap of information from Events, Groups, and Pages on Facebook. Now, they will no longer be able to gather data on what people post in Events or on Pages, and they can no longer gain access to any data and information from Groups without Facebook’s direct approval. They can also no longer access the member lists from Events and Groups, which means they’ll only see data from the people who have explicitly agreed to share it.

Beyond the API changes, Facebook is also implementing controls within its own App that will allow users to see how their information is shared and with who. If they aren’t happy with what they see, the users can now also change their privacy settings (or delete their data altogether) from a much easier to find and use interface.

A comparison of the old settings menu (left) and the new settings menu (right). Image source: TechCrunch

Meanwhile, on the platform’s sister site, the Instagram API for follower lists, relationships and public comments for apps has been disabled, which means outside Apps will be unable to track that data through the image-sharing platform.

With all of these changes, it’s clear that Facebook isn’t just taking PR-friendly half-measures in response to the scandal. The company seems earnest in its goal to make the platform a more secure place for its users’ information.

Snapchat takes on Group Chat

Snapchat recently introduced Group Video Chat to its platform. Users can now chat with up to 16 friends at the same time, all while still using Lenses to give themselves dog ears.

While not monetisable by advertisers, this feature aims to keep users returning to the platform after Facebook’s Instagram and Messenger Apps proved to be stiff competition.  The addition will hopefully prove to be a strong addition to the App’s features, making sure that users and brands can continue using the platform well into the future.


What do you think about Snapchat’s new Group Video Feature? Image source: Fortune

YouTube wants you to reach your audience

In a smaller, but still important update, YouTube is updating how advertisers can share their content on the video platform.

With its new TrueView for Reach, brands can promote 6-30 second skippable videos on the platform, all while these are targeted to reach as many unique users on the platform as possible. All this to help brands reach as many people in their target audience as possible.


Youtube’s newest TrueView feature explained. 

And that’s it for April. Here’s hoping May brings with it much more social media goodness to report on.

Facebook – What the Cambridge Analytica Scandal Means for Your Brand

It’s fair to say that Facebook has had a tough couple of weeks.

With the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal revealing that over 70 million Facebook users had their personal data used by a third-party in trying to build support for both Trump’s presidential candidacy and the Brexit Leave movement, the company’s top brass find themselves in hot water.

A User-Perspective

Understandably users have reacted negatively to the news about their data being breached, with the #DeleteFacebook hashtag trending across Twitter. Advertisers have been turning to the social media giant to clear up how it intends to change and improve the ways it protects user’s data.

A Forum for Transparency

Between a recent apology from Mark Zuckerberg promising to do better and to work to build regulation for his social media platform, it does seem like Facebook is taking the right steps in improving the security of its users’ private information.

Beginning this week, Facebook will send the 87 million users who might have had their data shared with Cambridge Analytica a detailed message on their news feeds about the breach. This is a step in the direction towards improving transparency, with Facebook users calling for more detailed information about how the platform uses their personal information.

On the other hands, it doesn’t hurt for brands to be vigilant and pay greater attention to any risk of data breaches. Increased accountability for both brands and Facebook can only lead to a better peace of mind for users.

The stage has been set for brands and businesses to have a more open and transparent discussion with Facebook about how the social media giant uses and shares audience data, as addressed in a statement from Facebook Australia’s managing director Will Easton:

‘’Advertisers look to Facebook to help grow their businesses. They know how important it is for people to trust their information with Facebook. Most of the businesses we’ve spoken with are pleased with the steps we’ve outlined to better protect people’s data, and they have confidence that we’ll respond to these challenges and become a better partner and company as a result.”

While it’s unfortunate the conversations of transparency and the use of audience data have to come off the back of a data breach, it’s important that these conversations are thoroughly explored and continued to ensure both users and advertisers feel safe using the platform.

Read next: Should Facebook’s Advertising Policies be Regulated?

4 Instagram Features You Need to Know About for Your Business

Do you freak out when you hear the words “Instagram update” and “algorithm” in the same sentence? You’re not alone. Changes to how people use Instagram often leave brands and marketers a little left in the dark and scrambling to adapt their strategy. So rather than work harder to be seen by the same amount of people, what can you, as a brand or business do to utilise the changes and make them work in your favour?

Replay Privacy Controls

Instagram is hoping to increase the focus on direct with changes to replay privacy controls. Now when you send a photo or video from the Instagram Direct camera, you can decide how long recipients can view it for. Controls include:

  • Allowing recipients to only view it once
  • Replay it temporarily
  • View a permanent thumbnail of it in the chat log

This greater control over viewing can give you new ways to engage with your audience. For example, you could send out one-off coupon codes, or flash sale information for limited viewing to create a sense of urgency. The goal here is to target impulse actions from your audience and turn your viewers into customers!

API Scheduling

The ability to now schedule posts is a huge step forward for the recognition of brands and business on Instagram. While most brands and businesses have either used other third-party apps or planners to schedule their content in the past, Instagram has now opened it’s API to partner applications like Hootsuite or SproutSocial. For brands and marketers, this means they can schedule and manage their Instagram presence and reporting from one platform, saving time with a more integrated approach.

TIP: If you haven’t already, start planning your posts to be published at optimum times for engagement! Collate data from Iconosquare and Facebook Insights to determine when you audience is online.

New Features for Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are now more versatile than ever. Before, users had to post vertical photos, but now there is an option to use landscape photos – no more weird crops and zoom-ins! In addition, text-only Stories mean you don’t have to include a photo at all! This is perfect if you want to create content like polls or send out messages to your audience. Do some A/B testing and monitor the performance of Stories with images vs text-only Stories to figure out which types of content resonates the best with your audience.

Now there are new ways to get creative with Instagram Stories!

The Algorithm

While it has been confirmed that Instagram will not be bringing back the chronological feed, the app announced that they will be testing a “New Posts” button. By tapping the button, a user will be taken to the top of their Instagram feed where they will see the most recent posts from their network.

For the most part, Instagram sorts user’s feeds based on the interactions the user has with various accounts. This means the posts that appear on a user’s feed are ordered by levels of interaction (through likes, comments, shares, saves etc). In most cases, posts from business pages are often way down the list, only reaching an estimated 10% of their audience.

So how can you use this knowledge to your advantage?

One thing you can and should be doing is interacting with your audience as much as possible – this includes direct messages, too! Reward users for commenting, liking and tagging their friends in your pictures. Respond immediately to comments with additional questions and create discussion wherever possible!

A/B test different types of content to figure out which content is most popular with your audience. Mix it up with a range of video, static images, galleries and more. Use the copy to ask questions or provide tips—anything that your audience will find helpful and can engage with.

With the Algorithm Causing an Ongoing Stir, is Vero Becoming a Real Contender?

If you’re in the social bubble it’s hard to ignore the ongoing complaints about Instagram’s algorithm and so it’s no surprise that another social media app has emerged. Yes, Vero is still on our horizons.

It has a chronological feed, for starters. You don’t have to pay for ads. Oh, and there’s no algorithm. Win, win, and win. If Instagram doesn’t start taking care of its users Vero and other competitors could see some real growth in their user bases.

Read next: 3 Fast Rules for Marketing on Instagram

Podcast: Tracy Fitzgerald Talks Entrepreneurship on “Future of Australia”

Want to learn more about the back story behind Brandalism? Our MD Tracy Fitzgerald shares her insight on “Entrepreneurship & Maximising Your Marketing Dollars” in the latest podcast by Future of Australia! Check it out!

Facebook’s Algorithm Change 2018: What it Means for You

Uh oh, it’s happening again! You may have heard about the changes to the Facebook algorithm that are rumoured to have HUGE ramifications for brands and advertisers. But what exactly are these changes and just how significant will their effect be? What impact will they have on the Facebook user experience and for your brand?

What are the changes?

The Newsfeed will be overhauled, prioritising content from user’s friends and family, as well as what is algorithmically deemed ‘quality’ news sources in an effort to eliminate ‘fake’ news.

This really isn’t any different to the way Facebook has been optimising content in the past (organic reach on Facebook has been steadily declining over the last few years anyway). But now, rather than seeing posts from brands, users will see more of their friend’s dinner pics and kitten photos. It will be more difficult for brands and publishers to get away with distributing poor content, and they will need to work harder (and smarter) to stay relevant.

As Mark Zuckerberg stated: “Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease.” Subsequently, a decrease in reach will also mean decrease in engagement rates.

Why is Facebook changing?

Facebook reports that users have been interacting with posts frequently and spending time mindlessly scrolling through the feed. Concerned that the time spent on Facebook was not “well spent” and therefore could be isolating to users, Facebook introduced the algorithm change to help increase social and community interaction again. Users also felt that they were not seeing enough content from friends and family. This is, in part, due to the explosion of brand and publisher content on Facebook in recent years (and how well some of it was performing!).

The algorithm update also represents Facebook’s attempt to curb alleged ‘fake news’ on the platform, for which it was criticised during the 2016 US election campaign. The sheer volume of popular posts from brands and the way users are consuming content on the platform (i.e. liking, reacting to or commenting on posts but not actually sharing content themselves) meant that actual user created content was decreasing. To ensure the survival of the platform, Facebook needed to make a change.

But… what can I do to combat this?!

The bottom line is: there’s no need to panic IF you are producing great content. The change won’t be drastic for brands who produce content that is relevant and engaging and aim to provoke meaningful reactions from users.

The bottom line is that brands will need to ensure that their content is above all else, engaging and that they’re not just ‘selling’ to consumers. Brands need to offer something deeper to the user experience.

Facebook has indicated that content that will be prioritised will be:

  • Live video
  • Local business events
  • Celebrities and star social media content creators

Unique content formats like 360-degree video could also play a larger role.

It’s possible that brand partnerships, collaborations and influencer marketing will also experience increased growth. At end of the day, brands who are creating interesting, unique and dynamic content will have better reach than those that don’t and these brand’s pages will continue to thrive as the changes come into play.

The new change has occurred in the US this week, and will be rolling out across the rest of the world in the next few months.

What do you think about the changes?

Ask us today for more information or ideas on how your business can combat Facebook’s algorithm change.

Stay Social: September Social Media Updates

Do you feel like you’re a little behind the eight ball with the latest social media updates? Tune into our monthly roundup of the biggest and best changes in social media.

Facebook Updates Business Manager

Facebook’s latest update for Ad’s Manager combines Power Editor with Ads Manager in a bid to make advertising on Facebook easier for businesses.

Facebook said in a statement:  “In the updated Ads Manager, people will automatically be opted in to the workflow they used in the past. And everyone will have the option to change their preferred workflow at anytime using a button in the top right of the ad creation window.”

Other features include single source reporting which combines “the comprehensive charts and activity history of Power Editor with the breakdowns, summary rows, date benchmarks, exported insights reports and the ability to customize columns from Ads Manager.” Finally, Power Power Editor’s automatic draft saver will be incorporated into the update- something we’re all glad for!

Instagram Expands the Grid

It was a month of testing for Instagram with lucky some users getting the chance to test some of the new features.

Users on Android devices will now be able to determine if someone is following them by looking at the person’s profile. This means you’ll no longer have to scroll through your follower list to see if your friends have followed you back, but rather just head to their profiles and look there.

Convenient? Yes.

Potential for awkward conversations? Also yes.

In a more controversial move, Instagram also seems to be testing a change in their three-grid system. Currently, photos displayed on a profile scroll down the page in rows of three, but some users are now seeing rows of four.

While this means you can fit more on your profile before having to scroll down, it also means that influencers and brands who curate their feeds according to three images in a row will have to edit their feeds or rethink their posting strategy.

What do you think of the new grid? Let us know in the comments below.

Snapchat Ads Get Fancy

Snapchat has announced new partnerships with creative and tech companies. These partners will focus on building ads to enhance the post-swipe-up experience and bring additional value to advertisers.

Whether it’s campaign-specific apps, mobile games, fillable lead-generation forms or 360 videos, each partner has a unique specialisation that can be leveraged by advertisers. This tactic might go a long way to helping users actually enjoy branded content on the platform.

Do you think Snapchat’s new approach to ads will help users enjoy and engage with branded content on the platform? Source: Curlate

YouTube takes big steps for its creators

This month YouTube announced changes to their Studio App, as well as the introduction of a user-sponsorship feature to make their platform more user-friendly.

Change no. 1: Studio App (previously called the Creator Studio) now allows creators to schedule the date and time they’d like their videos to go live on the site. They can also choose whether the video goes live as public, private or unlisted. This is huge from a strategic point of view- you can now target your audience in relevant micro-moments when they’re looking for information about a specific topic.

Change no. 2: YouTube has now opened a new feature to its users: the ability to pay a small subscription fee to a creator they like. This is currently only available to creators on the YouTube Gaming platform, but is in beta for the rest of the site.  

The change is designed to encourage community-building and regular content from creators.

Do you think it will work? Tell us in the comments below.

Read next: New Metrics of Success: Video Completion Rate & Watch Time

6 Game-Changing Social Media Features

Almost every major social network has rolled out some huge changes this year, and the pace and size of these changes don’t seem like it’s going to stop anytime soon.

It can be hard to keep your finger on the pulse of the latest updates and installment, so we’ve compiled this need-to-know-list of some of the major social media updates that have happened this year.

1. Make your Facebook cover image a video

By 2019, 80% of the world’s internet traffic will be video, and Facebook has not wasted any time jumping on the bandwagon.

In April the social media enabled certain brand pages to replace their cover images with cover videos, and companies like Netflix were quick to jump on board.

In a statement, Facebook said the update was developed to “help businesses create more engaging experiences and drive more rich experiences for their audiences.”

Brands and businesses should use video covers to better tell their brand story, or change the videos in alignment with specific campaigns or promotions.

2. Instagram and the Paid Partner tag 

If there’s one thing brands often clamour for when it comes to social media, it’s transparency.

The new Paid Partner tag on Instagram helps clear up any uncertainty about campaigns that are paid partnerships, or posts that have been sponsored by brands.

The tag will appear as a sub-heading on posts where influencers have worked with a brand. For the audience, this provides a greater level of transparency. For social media influencers and brands, the tag enables access to insights and analytics.

3. Advertising via Instagram Stories

Since the end of last year, Instagram Stories have become a key component of the way consumers use the platform. As of this year, brands can get in on the fun too.

With intricate targeting options and the opportunity to show a more authentic look at brand personality, Instagram Stories for brands has really kicked off.

Instagram Stories gives everyone (from a start-up to a multi-million dollar giant) that opportunity to produce live, behind-the-scenes content that enables them to showcase their story and brand personality.

4. YouTube advertiser-friendly AI

It’s fair to say that YouTube’s first half of 2017 has been fraught with controversy. They experienced overwhelming global scrutiny after it was revealed that brand ads had been appearing before some less than appropriate content.

However, Google did what Google does best: they adapted. YouTube’s parent company developed an advanced AI algorithm through which they could, on the one hand, better ensure brand safety standards and, on the other, show much more transparency in the way video content was broadcast and targeted.

These new controls are still developing, and it’ll be fascinating to see where branded YouTube content goes from here.

5. Snapchat’s self-service ad platform

This one comes hot off the presses. Just two weeks ago, Snapchat launched their new Ad Manager program. Using this self-serve tool, certified brand partners can now plan, buy and optimise campaigns across the platform programmatically.

Not only will the tool allow them to spend as little or as much as they want, it also comes with a deep analytics dashboard – all in the hopes that this added freedom of choice will draw more advertisers to the platform.

6. Twitter chat bots and interactive posts

Back in May, Twitter announced they were now giving brands more multimedia features to use in their Twitter content. These features include interactive images and chat bots able to answer simple questions.

The more interactive tweets can also include up to four call-to-action buttons, all able to send users to different brand messages and options.

By increasing user engagement and interactivity, the hope is that users will feel more impactful messages from awareness campaigns and convert more directly in sales campaigns.

So, there you have it. Six of the big new social media features we’ve seen this year.

Who knows what more is to come?

Read this next: How To Find An Authentic Influencer For Your Brand

 

Should Facebook’s Advertising Practices be Regulated?

There’s been quite a stir in the world of social media advertising. The Australian recently discovered, through a series of Facebook’s internal documents, that the social media giant may have allowed for the targeting of lonely youths in need of a ‘confidence boost’.

By using a system called ‘sentiment analysis’, Facebook’s algorithms are allegedly able to judge the moods of its users. This technology can identify what people are feeling and when, such as ‘overwhelmed’, ‘stressed’, or ‘anxious’. It can also determine if someone feels like they are ‘looking good’ or are ‘losing weight’.

The internal documents also stated that Facebook’s research found that young people expressed confidence-boosting emotions in the early part of the week, while the weekend was often used to boast about or broadcast achievements.

The furore around ‘sentiment analysis’ is largely built on the concern that it will be used to target people on Facebook when they are most vulnerable, especially as this includes young people.

While targeting vulnerable children would certainly put Facebook (and advertisers using it) in breach of ethics codes and of Australian guidelines for marketing to children, Facebook denies this is the case. Rather than being used as a targeting tool, the ‘sentiment analysis’ study was run simply to show advertisers how people expressed themselves on the platform. It was not a targeting tool for their ads.

So, though there may be no immediate cause for concern, what this leak does is raise a red flag at the potential issues a platform like Facebook will continue to surface.

Social media and self-regulation

Facebook is a platform funded almost entirely by ad revenue, and its users can be targeted by advertisers based on their demographics and the things they have ‘liked’. Moreover, Facebook is a continually developing platform – both for its users and its advertisers. And that means the platform will continue to develop new methods of targeting users, new ways to improve the measurability of its results and new tools for driving an advertiser’s ROI.

Whilst Facebook can continue creating enhanced advertising tools, it’s important that regulatory and ethics boards are able to keep an eye on just what those enhancements could mean for its users.

The major problem with regulating a platform like Facebook, or indeed any online platform, is that updates and patches arrive at an incredibly fast pace. That pace makes it difficult to effectively gauge what the impact of a feature change or new tool will be. In effect, it’s unlikely that any single regulatory panel would be able to keep up with the rate of change.

This means that keeping Facebook in check will likely fall back into the hands of Facebook itself. Self-regulation is used in some form or another by most of the advertising industry, but Facebook has an opportunity to define what it can mean for social media.

So what’s the solution?

The answer seems simple: transparency. This speculation about unethical targeting practices would never have occurred if the ‘sentiment analysis’ study were publicly available, and not a ‘for your eyes only’ document restricted to advertisers who want to see how people use the platform.

If every update to how ads are targeted or what user data is available were made public, then regulating any changes would become that much simpler. Transparency would not only allow the public and the media to rest easy, it would also spare Facebook much of the speculation and suspicion swirling around its advertising practices.

Maybe it’s time for Facebook to take inspiration from one of humanity’s most popular clichés: “if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.”

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