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Social Media Firms Fine-tune Ad Strategies

Overall, eMarketer expects spending on digital video ads in the U.S. to increase 41.9 percent this year, to $5.96 billion.

Social media companies are honing their advertising game.

This story first appeared in the July 3, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

On Tuesday, Facebook said it agreed to acquire LiveRail, a technology company that helps brands create better video ads and target them more effectively. Founded in 2007, LiveRail counts ABC, A&E Networks, Major League Baseball, Gannett and Dailymotion among its clients.

Facebook said in a blog post that the acquisition was an opportunity make video ads “more relevant for the hundreds of millions of people who watch digital video every month.”

Fashion brands are pushing more ad dollars onto social media networks, following the consumer as they spend more time than ever posting, tweeting, pinning and liking.

Facebook is among the most aggressive in seeking ad dollars and is only second to Google in revenue terms. EMarketer estimated that Facebook’s global advertising revenues will reach almost $11 billion this year — a 56.4 percent increase versus 2013.

Overall, eMarketer expects spending on digital video ads in the U.S. to increase 41.9 percent this year, to $5.96 billion.

Twitter is looking to get a piece of that growth. On Monday, the social network said it would roll out its mobile app promotion to all advertisers globally (it was previously in beta) and that it snapped up advertising start-up TapCommerce.

JackThreads, a men’s fashion brand, has been part of Twitter’s beta-stage mobile app promotion for two months. The company works with Twitter to create targeted ads that drive users to download its JackThreads app, which currently has almost five million app downloads. More than 3.6 million of those downloads are on iPhones — the platform the company used to test Twitter’s Mobile App Install Ads.

“We wanted to drive efficient iPhone users to the iPhone app,” said Prash Mohan, manager, acquisition marketing of Thrillist Media Group, parent company of JackThreads. “Facebook was becoming competitive, and it seemed like there was an opportunity to compete on Twitter. One of the challenges we have in general is that it’s difficult to just get someone to download your app.”

On the mobile downloads and engagement fronts, Mohan said the Twitter program produced a 39 percent lift in efficiency for JackThreads’ cost per clicks (relative to other platforms when it comes to iOS acquisition). The app also saw 8 percent growth in install-to-sign-up conversion rates and a 63 percent efficiency gain in cost per buyer — the amount spent on acquisition versus the amount of buyers acquired.

The official rollout of Twitter’s ads synced up on Monday with news of its acquisition of TapCommerce.

The microblogging platform reportedly ponied up $100 million for TapCommerce, which specializes in getting users to reopen and reengage with apps through retargeting. EBay and Fab are clients of TapCommerce.

In a blog post, Twitter said it will now be able to “offer mobile app marketers more robust capabilities for app reengagement, tools and managed service solutions for real-time programmatic buying, and better measurement capabilities.” The reason: Apps might attract new users early on, but programmatic advertising is essential in getting users to revisit and use the app.