These filmmakers will bring immigrant stories to those who need to see them most

After the election of President Donald Trump, filmmaker Daniel Klein felt compelled to resist.

It was a feeling many progressives in the U.S. had as Trump came to lead the country — a man who was elected on a platform that insulted and demonized at-risk communities. In response, Klein and his team behind the award-winning food documentary series The Perennial Plate wanted to switch gears, and channel their skills and passion into something good.

SEE ALSO: Hilarious photo series shows the alarmingly normal lives of immigrants

“I believe that if you are able, then it is your obligation to do what you love and to use it to positively impact the world,” he said. Read more…

More about Film, Activism, Refugees, Immigrants, and Social Good

To regain advertiser trust, Facebook is tracking ads by the millisecond

You may scroll through something so fast on Facebook that you don’t notice it. But Facebook wants every moment to count — at least in what it presents to advertisers. ;

The company announced Friday they will provide millisecond-level data for ads on Facebook, Instagram and its online ad ecosystem Audience Network. ;

SEE ALSO: Legal action over boxing livestream highlights Facebook’s piracy problem

Now, for the first time through Facebook, advertisers can see how long their ads were seen by the millisecond. That includes how many milliseconds overall the ad was on a screen and then broken out into how many milliseconds 100 percent of the ad was on the screen, as well as how many milliseconds 50 percent of it was on the screen. ; Read more…

More about Advertising, Media, Apps And Software, Tech, and Business

Facebook is within reach of 2 billion users

By Wednesday, February 1, 2017 0 Permalink 0

Facebook hasn’t hit 2 billion users per month, but it’s getting pretty damn close.

Just when you thought Facebook already connected the entire world, it’s proving that it can grow faster than ever before. ;

SEE ALSO: Facebook’s VR social network is surprisingly stunning

Facebook now reaches 1.86 billion monthly active users, having added 70 million users in the quarter. That’s an 18 percent increase from the year prior and up from the 17 percent bump last quarter. ;

Facebook added more users this qtr than any in its history, CFO David Wehner says in interview

— Sarah Frier (@sarahfrier) February 1, 2017 Read more…

More about Oculus, Instagram, Facebook Ads, Earnings, and Business

There Is No Salvation for the ‘Facebook Expert’

By Thursday, January 26, 2017 0 Permalink 0

In the old days of search marketing, it was about tricking the dumb robots–buy links, cloak, spin content, or whatever trick you could pull.

And then came the old days of Facebook marketing (up through 2014), which was also about tricking the dumb robots–arb out placements available only via Power Editor, run weighted average fan acquisition campaigns internationally, pollute a competitor’s remarketing campaigns by sending garbage traffic, scrape Facebook user IDs to generate custom audiences, roll up applications to build your email list, run sponsored stories with messages fans never endorsed, move text to bypass the 20 percent rule and the list goes on.

Sounds like a bunch of mumbo jumbo?

Good–that means you’re not one of the people who are about to get slaughtered. Maybe it’s people on your staff or some of your vendors. Seeing the forest from the trees, the smart Facebook advertiser no longer salivates like happy dogs hearing dinging bells.

Ride the gimmick game from tactic to tactic–and as each trick exhausts, you are a junkie in search of your next fix. As we said before, Facebook has now largely solved the optimization challenge for you.

Choose your business objective, load up your content, connect your audiences–that’s it. Put the money in the machine and Facebook itself does the optimization. But you’re still responsible for your goals, content and targeting.

This kills the single-channel marketer and a raft of Facebook-only companies at the same time. The walking dead who are peddling search-engine optimization, Facebook ads, or other disciplines are starting to realize this. They’re dropping SEO out of their name, rebranding as content marketers and jumping ship.

Keyword <> Facebook interests (2007-11)

You see, keywords were a great start in search-engine marketing. And the first folks to do Facebook advertising were the search PPC (pay-per-click) folks that assumed interests were keywords. Some people even pretended to build software that mapped Google keywords to Facebook interests.

Of course, that didn’t work.

That’s also why you don’t see any legitimate keyword, audience research or competitive tools for Facebook. It was easy with Google, since you could set up a crawler to scan where you ranked and also monitor competitor ads. On Facebook, because every user feed is personalized and behind a login, you have no idea what anyone else is doing or seeing. There is no legitimate competitive ad intelligence tool out there, and I doubt there ever will be.

Back to the consultants and software companies, which had raised funding from venture-capital firms which themselves hadn’t used Facebook. The curtain were hamster wheels, frenetically spinning to extract intent out of things people liked. But what you clicked like on in an indeterminate time past was no proxy for your immediate needs now–a broken toilet, hunger pangs for sushi or the need to buy a wedding gift for an old high-school friend.

You just couldn’t make gold from coal, no matter how many philosopher stones and divining rods you had. The fool’s gold of social was inflated fan campaigns, the bubble of app installs and general nonsense passed off to unsuspecting brands. Back when Facebook had one-dozen offices in Palo Alto, Calif., in 2008 (its food was delicious and still is), I felt we had a new tech gold rush.

But this time, it was data miners, not panhandlers–though the same charlatans existed selling their wares.

We actually did have search ads in 2011 briefly on Facebook. But Facebook pulled them because 99 percent of the searches were navigational, not demand-driven. And, I suspect, a lot of brands didn’t like being sniped on their own terms.

It was a clever, effective parlor trick.

In the same way you could cloak the search engines (show them one thing, while showing users another), with Facebook ads, you could programmatically bid high and low every 60 seconds. Thus when you created the ad at the high bid, it would get priority in the auction.

But when the system came around to bill you, it would notice the lower CPM (cost per thousand impressions) bid, assume there was an error and credit you back. The ad geeks called this optimization, but I called it cheating.

Facebook going through the ‘teenage years’ (2011-14)

With Power Editor and the Facebook Ads API (application-programming interface), the geeks got a ton of tools to play with. The number of ad types grew to more than 30, depending on how you counted them. Multiply that by the hundreds of thousands of interest targets (we got a list of 300,000 from Facebook at one point), partner targeting (offline behavioral data), custom audiences, and demographic data and you have billions of combinations possible.

The complexity created huge niche opportunities, as well as room for consultants to sell into the confusion. Facebook was able to “move fast and break things,” which conferred advantage to folks who could exploit cracks in the system before they were fixed.

For example, a number of companies found that they could spin up thousands of ads at low bids. And the ad algorithm wasn’t smart enough to know, allowing you to game the system. Many of the software companies that manage Facebook ads still rely upon this mass multiplying.

Even if you could get the targeting spot on, trying to do CPM and CPC (cost per click) bids against a range of placements was too hard.

So optimized CPM solved this issue by not only bidding to the business objective, but subselecting within the broad audience you’ve chosen. This solved the problem of needing to micro-target (you reading this?) and of conversion optimization. It meant the system could automatically learn who your best customers are and find more of them for you–lookalikes, for example.

Now if only they could create your content for you–use PostPlanner, Canva and your customers to curate and create for you, meanwhile. Every piece of content, which includes every organic post you’ve done, necessitates a different audience, too.

In the Google ad world, you create content that exists only for advertising and can live forever.  Set it and forget it.

But on Facebook, it’s the opposite–there are no ads, just organic posts that you amplify. You throw fuel on the fire once you find that something is working. The “always-on” post was perhaps my favorite ad, since it would just promote your most recent post. But that died, largely because not all posts should get promoted, like when you’re notifying the community of a problem.

There is still no good solution for this issue, so you need a human to watch this every few days. You can simplify their work by predefining the audiences they can choose from–saved audiences and various custom audiences.

Facebook ads as a young adult (2015 and onward)

I suppose if you’re old enough to drive a car and get your own place, you’re an adult. But maybe if you’re not old enough to drink or possess maturity in other subjective areas to be truly “grown-up.”

Likewise, Facebook integrates with only a few systems that you’ll need–your content-management system and your customer-relationship-management solution. Facebook is a platform that connects the two, matching people with content–you just happen to need to pay to do it–social postage, if you will.

Assuming you can get the content (Facebook posts, blog posts, photos from customers, reviews, etc.) and users (emails, app users, pixeled users, check-in users, etc.) piped in automatically, you still have to deal with specifying the business logic of sequences. In other words, you have to chain out content delivery according to the customer persona and where they are in the funnel.

The current batch of marketing automation companies out there do this nascently via drag-and-drop flow charts.

I’d argue that even if Facebook were to create the ultimate version of Power Editor, there is no way it will succeed in asking customers to build duplicate funnel logic within Facebook. It will have to integrate with the marketing automation companies to replicate the same logic into Facebook. Same users and content–just delivered beyond just email, which is what’s currently happening.

The marketing automation companies are really just email automation companies, since they don’t extend across all marketing channels yet. I predict three more years before Facebook is truly able to help mainstream small business owners. The delay is less about their technology, which is already robust enough, but about partners that need to integrate platforms and about educating marketers what Facebook is and isn’t.

Google was founded in 1998 (2000 for AdWords), so that’s 17 years. And I’d argue that it is too hard (at least its ad platform) for most businesses to use.

Facebook was founded in 2004 (2007 for ads), so not bad for only 10 years. Facebook ad optimization is a human psychology and finance problem, not a geek optimization problem.

When these integrations are finally in place, the finance people will be running the show. In undergrad religious studies, we learned about supersessionism. The Christians say they believe everything the Jews do but chide them for missing Jesus. The Muslims say they believe in everything the Christians do but they missed out on Mohammed. I’m not a preacher, so forgive the oversimplification.

When the web started to become mainstream in the mid-1990s, it was dominated by tech weenies. They were called webmasters, if you were around then. And they protected their high priesthoods with jargon, in the typical union-like keep-away played by IT.

Then the marketers came in and took over the web functions, too. And you’re not surprised that the chief marketing officer now outspends the chief technology on technology. The mainstream marketers–even business-to-business and small and midsized businesses–have been blasting Facebook posts indiscriminately.

Facebook stock is way up because of this, but nobody is quite sure what the return on investment is of these efforts.

We’re in the end of this period now.

Now the finance people are coming in. They don’t care about the information-technology or marketing stuff, except to minimize cost centers and not eat too much into profit margins. So the smart marketer must tie Facebook results to profits and losses, which is the only thing that finance people care about.

They are no longer OK with impressions, likes, shares or reach–they want revenue and margin maximization. The Facebook ads geek can talk a good technical game about how novices wouldn’t possibly begin to comprehend the complexity of these algorithms.

They may even be able to talk content marketing and marketing automation. But the people holding the purse strings will tire of this, since they want to know cost and revenue, tied neatly into a forecast. And that is why the Facebook tech weenie or Facebook guru will be dead soon, along with all single-channel marketers.

It’s not just Facebook ad specialists: It also includes social media strategists and anyone professing channel or tool-specific expertise. External consultants who come in for specialized situations–sure, there’s some room for that, but not in-house. Left behind is the ROI-minded marketer that leaves the optimization natively to the networks.

That smart marketer focuses on business goals, sources content in line with personas, and has the systems build audiences automatically.

How Marketers on Facebook Can Convert in a Mobile Minute (Report)

By Thursday, January 19, 2017 0 Permalink 0

Mobile conversions outpaced desktop conversions on Black Friday and throughout the holiday shopping season, according to Facebook data, and Facebook IQ set out to find out why.

The social network’s research arm tapped internal data and commissioned a survey by Kantar, and its findings included:

Mobile accounted for 51 percent of online transactions during the 2016 holiday season, up 10 percent from the previous year.
Mobile conversions grow when users are likely on the move, such as during commuting hours, as well as during evenings, when they are likely watching television.
30 percent of retail shoppers during the past month discovered new products or services on Facebook; one-third cited Facebook and Instagram as good places to find out about new products and services; and 20 percent said Facebook led them to online purchases of new products and services.
Facebook IQ had people watch the same videos on desktop and mobile, and those who viewed via mobile estimated their length to be 30 percent shorter than those who viewed the videos via desktop.
Shoppers who saw Facebook ads on mobile and completed purchases on mobile took 1.08 days less to convert than those who took both steps via desktop, or a 13 percent difference in speed.
65 percent of respondents use retail aggregators to research and shop on their smartphones.
38 percent wish they could do more shopping on their smartphones than they already do.

Facebook IQ also provided the following takeaways for marketers:

Know the journey: People are turning to their smartphones more than to any other device, opening up new opportunities to capture their attention, be it on the go or on the couch. It’s time to get comfortable with playing with different types of content to reach and engage people on mobile.
Design for the thumb: Time flies on mobile, and so do people. Think of time as the new success metric, as saving people even a second of time can be a competitive advantage. When designing for the thumb, build content that is not only engaging but also addresses people’s need for speed and convenience.
Experiment with the experience: Creating micro-efficiencies for people is essential, and not just on mobile. This extends to products, merchandising and the in-store experience. With more savvy shoppers using their smartphones in-store, consider experimenting with how you blend online and offline experiences.

Readers: What are your thoughts on the findings by Facebook IQ and Kantar?

Trump is using Facebook ads to unload Inauguration tickets

By Tuesday, January 17, 2017 0 Permalink 0

With just a few days remaining until is inauguration, President-elect Donald Trump seems to be taking strange steps to unload tickets for the big event, scheduled for this Friday, January 20, 2017.

SEE ALSO: Don’s Johns: Port-a-potties get censored for Trump’s inauguration

Several users have noticed a sponsored video from Trump appearing on their Facebook timelines with Trump offering them a chance to register for free tickets for the big event, which includes both the welcome concert and the swearing-in ceremony. ;

Is this for real? Donald Trump is so desperate to fill up seats at inauguration that he’s put an ad on Facebook to invite people? pic.twitter.com/HDnSV2tZbd

— Mario Almonte (@Almonte) January 16, 2017 Read more…

More about Facebook Ads, Tickets, Inauguration 2017, Donald Trump, and Business

How Ad Testing Can Combat Facebook’s Slow Ad Growth

By Monday, December 26, 2016 0 Permalink 0

In its third-quarter-2016 earnings call, Facebook reported that 1.71 billion people used its service in June. That’s nearly one-quarter of the earth’s population! Yet in spite of these impressive numbers, Facebook is expecting much lower ad revenue growth over the next two quarters.

The reason? Facebook’s advertising volume has reached a point of diminishing returns. In other words, it has maximized ad loads–the volume users will tolerate before they feel their experience is degraded. The evidence is compelling. Bombarded with ads, nearly 200 million consumers have turned to ad blockers to control the onslaught.

This means companies that have been relying on Facebook ads should be cautious. As Facebook has hit its optimum ad load, its focus is turning instead to alternative sources of revenue like video ads, bots for its Messenger application and its audience on third-party apps and websites.

What Facebook’s changes mean for advertisers

Digital marketers, take note: Zero growth in ad load means that it’s more important than ever for your ads to be relevant, engaging and shareable. Marketers need to be creative to captivate consumers who are already saturated with content. How will your ads stack up? The best way to find out is to test them. Here are a few tips to ensure that your Facebook advertisements are making the maximum impact:

Articulate your objectives: Before you begin, define the specific questions that the test will need to address. This is a critical point for me as I test my staff members. Testing ideas without intention is wasteful. I want my team to learn to test through a strategic, iterative process. For example, if I want to run a test targeting parents, I literally write down how I define the test: “I am testing parents because I think they will provide converting leads.” Once you’ve documented your objectives, test it. Ideally, you’ll want to test one element at a time, and then compare the results.
Plan for constant testing: Our team’s term for this is “ABT,” which stands for, “always be testing.” While Facebook ads help smaller businesses reach a widespread audience, especially because 84 percent of Facebook’s total ad sales are mobile, it’s important to make sure that consumers are getting the right message. Carve out a test budget that allows your team to constantly test ad copy, placements, targeting and imagery. With so many ads and so little space to capture the attention of your audience, you can’t afford to waste a single word or image. Varying placements can also affect the interest your ads receive. The conventional wisdom is that Facebook users ignore sidebar ads and engage more frequently with native ads. But users might be resentful of ads masquerading as real content in their News Feeds. Experiment with different placements to see which option attracts more clicks. A/B testing, or split testing, is one of the best ways to discover which ad works best. Facebook’s ad splitting tool makes it easy to segment your audience by age, gender or many other attributes. Comparing the results from multiple variations of an ad provides the hard data you need to make informed decisions.
Analyze test results: The most important part of this entire process is conducting an analysis on your test. Did it accomplish your defined objective? Did it reveal other information to you? Compare your documented results with the objective you wrote down prior to the testing process, and then share your findings with other members of your team. I train my staff to be open to test anything; Facebook is a great place to enact this policy because of its generally clean traffic. The cycle of testing and communicating our findings has helped us develop new advertising ideas that are deserving of tests of their own. I’ve conducted thousands of tests like this over the course of my career and have found that there are endless possible tests; the trick is to analyze the findings to ensure that your tests are productive.

Facebook’s new ad load policy makes an even more compelling case for an ongoing commitment to testing. It’s the only way to ensure your Facebook advertisements will be relevant, timely and impactful.

Lauren Alexander is executive vice president of marketing at Underground Elephant, a performance-based provider of online marketing technology and customer acquisition solutions based in San Diego.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

How the Social Media Dumpster Fire Hijacked the Election

By Monday, December 26, 2016 0 Permalink 0

There are a lot of theories floating around about how we wound up with (shudder) President Donald Trump.

The Bernie Sanders camp is crowing, “We told you so, Bernie would have won!”

The media likes to go on about how little Hillary Clinton was trusted; an impression created entirely by the media.

An article in Ad Age by Simon Dumenco theorizes that Clinton’s messaging was wrong. She wasted airtime pointing out the obvious–Trump is a horrible person. Hell, everybody knows that.

In the aftermath, however, what really happened is becoming increasingly clear: Welcome to the post-truth “Idiocracy.”

It started with the media. To compete for viewers, channels pretending to be news sensationalized every morsel of fake news. They gave more airtime to the endless Benghazi hearings than to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

When they finally milked that for all it was worth, the fake email scandal launched a slow, poisonous drip, with each outrageous false claim spreading like wildfire on social media.

Search for Hillary + email in BuzzSumo, and you get something like this:

Hillary’s ISIS Emails. FBI agent investigating Hillary found dead. Hillary’s anti-Trump Muslim dad? Her father died in 1993.

Now check out the share counts–and note that exactly none of these websites are bastions of journalism.

Real journalist Matt Yglesias wrote, “The real Clinton email scandal is that a bullshit story has dominated the campaign,” and he got a paltry (by comparison) 362,558 shares.

Fake news sites and the propaganda machine

BuzzFeed identified more than 100 pro-Trump fake news sites run by teenagers in Macedonia designed to feed the disinformation machine. Fake news is a great money-maker for enterprising broke youngsters with no scruples.

You have to hand it to right-wing bloggers. They built an unstoppable network. You have to go several pages in to find credible news, and then only if you know what credible news looks like. The top listing, WND, for example, is one of the more successful fake news sites. And the disinformation on these sites has been picked up by media outlets on several occasions and spread to other news shows that didn’t want to be scooped.

Now that the election is over and it no longer matters, Facebook and Google have decided to do something about it. Thanks, guys. Good work.

Foreign interference

The Russian government hacked Democratic National Committee servers. There’s no question of that now. And a Russian diplomat claims that Moscow was in contact with the Trump campaign before the election. The president-elect encouraged Russians to hack Clinton’s server. In any other year, this would be a Watergate-level scandal. This year, it hardly caused a ripple.

While security experts speculate that Russian President Vladimir Putin won the U.S. election, social media was obsessed by that one staffer suggesting that they needed to do damage control when Sanders was trashing the DNC in the news. Somehow, that became evidence of the DNC “rigging the election.”

Social media drove it all home

Amplification is the process of harnessing the power of influencers–bloggers, vloggers and social media people with lots of friends who respond–to spread a message. Clinton didn’t get it. Her team used the cutting-edge email methods pioneered by President Barack Obama’s team–eight years ago.

Clinton never had control of the message, and worse, she did little effective damage control. She didn’t get personal.

Her team should have been online 24/7 identifying and communicating with influencers, joining support groups to answer questions, tweeting her message relentlessly, shifting the focus off non-stories and insane conspiracy theories and drawing parallels between the debunked lies told about Obama and the wild stories circulating about her.

Trump mastered amplification early in the game. He understood, “If it bleeds, it leads.” He spoke directly to the fears and prejudices of the people most likely to spread his message, and they did.

Russia was only too happy to help out. The Russian government deployed bots, paid “trolls” and launched complex networks of websites to portray Clinton as a shady criminal with near-fatal health issues, in the pocket of Wall Street, married to a rapist.

Bernie’s hands are not clean

After promising to keep it clean and above board, Sanders became the ultimate influencer. He chose to attack and amplify Clinton’s mythical untrustworthiness. In doing so, he delivered a targeted message to splinter young voters from the Democratic party.

The “Bernie or Bust” movement became so virulent that many vowed to vote third-party or Trump if they didn’t get their candidate after it became apparent he would not get the requisite votes. Sanders eventually supported Clinton, but the damage was done. The false narrative was validated by a powerful influencer.

The nail in the coffin: ‘Lesser of two evils’

Negative social media disinformation was not confined to detractors. The poison spread to marginal supporters–people who might have made a difference. Reluctant supporters called Clinton the “lesser of two evils” and let everyone know they would hold their noses and vote for this crooked candidate only to avoid the alternative, which effectively enforced the false narrative.

True supporters huddled in private groups where it was safe to talk about her positives. Pantsuit Nation was formed in October, and it grew to more than 3.6 million ardent Clinton supporters in under one month.

On the upside, a historic number of women were elected to Congress, bringing the total number to a ridiculously pitiful, but still improved, representation. And the medical marijuana movement is gaining steam, fueled by society’s changing views and amplified by the same social media. I have a feeling we’ll all need an effective painkiller in the coming years.

Say what you will about this dumpster fire, the election was a stunning triumph of influencer marketing and social media amplification. Businesses, are you paying attention?

Sherry Gray is a freelance content writer from Key West, Fla., currently suffering in the suburbs of Orlando. She is a science geek, a social media junkie and an unapologetic fan of all things bacon. Follow her on Twitter: @SheriSaid.

Images courtesy of Adobe Stock, The Oxford Dictionary, BuzzSumo, Google, AZQuotes and Adobe Stock, respectively.

Instagram’s Jim Squires Shares 7 Predictions for SMBs in 2017

By Monday, December 19, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Small and midsized businesses have increasingly turned to Instagram as a resource to promote their brands, and Jim Squires, director of market operations at the Facebook-owned photo- and video-sharing network, shared his seven predictions for the SMB sector in 2017 with SocialTimes:

  1. The shift to mobile will continue: It’s no secret that people love their mobile devices, with American consumers now spending three hours per day on their mobile devices, according to eMarketer. In fact, shopping on mobile reached record highs this holiday season, with Black Friday becoming the first day in retail history to drive more than $1 billion in mobile revenue at $1.2 billion, up 33 percent over last year. Customers are increasingly turning to mobile, so small businesses need to, as well. The good news is that reaching customers via mobile is becoming simpler than ever. If SMBs have a smartphone and an Instagram business profile, they have all the tools they need.
  2. Video will rule the day: In the shift to visual communication, video is becoming the medium of choice for marketers. Third-party research predicts that 75 percent of all data will be video by 2020. With new features like live video on Instagram Stories, businesses can connect with customers in real-time and take viewers behind the scenes of their business. And easy-to-use tools like Hyperlapse and Boomerang allow anyone to create engaging and relevant videos in just minutes.
  3. SMBs will deepen customer relationships: Customers crave real-time engagement with brands, as do small businesses with their customers. SMBs will continue to make strides in 2017 to connect directly with their customers, be it through calls, texts, emails, online chats and even tools such as Messenger. On Instagram, SMBs will also continue to take customers behind the scenes to tell the world how the business operates, the team that makes it all happen and the effort it takes to bring the product or service to market. This level of authenticity will help SMBs connect with current customers and attract new ones.
  4. SMBs will reach more customers globally: Mobile marketing has opened new doors for small businesses to connect with customers across the world. On Facebook, for instance, more than 1 billion people are connected to at least one business in a foreign country. With tools to help SMBs connect with new customers in other countries that look like their best ones here, that number will only increase. In 2017, we’ll start to see more domestic businesses become international ones.
  5. Content will be customized more effectively: While social metrics such as likes and comments are an indicator of marketing success, the real metric that matters is sales. With detailed customer insights available to businesses on Instagram, they can pinpoint actionable information about who their followers are and which posts resonate better than others. As small businesses dive deeper into the behavior and demographics of their audience, they can create more relevant and timely content, which will ultimately help drive sales.
  6. The barrier to entry will be lower, but with that comes potential challenges: The good news for aspiring small business owners: With the proliferation of new, affordable technologies and platforms for starting and running a business, becoming a business owner in 2017 will be cheaper and easier than ever before. Companies like Intuit, Shopify and Square have solved many of the pain points facing small businesses, allowing them to focus on what truly matters most: finding new customers and growing. The bad news? Easier entry will result in a more crowded landscape, with competition increasing across the board. And with a myriad of solution providers targeting the small business community, navigating the tech landscape will be increasingly difficult. Choosing platforms that help your small business stand out will be essential.
  7. Creativity will be democratized: It wasn’t long ago that creating a video ad was only available to big brands with hefty budgets. But in today’s mobile economy, small businesses can easily develop creative and effective ads from the palm of their hands. With a mobile phone and a few creative tools and resources that can help them be more agile and capture real-time moments, SMBs can create effective ads in mere minutes with built in distribution to 600 million people across the globe. Expect small businesses to push the limits of creativity in 2017.

Readers: What are your thoughts on Squires’ predictions for SMBs in 2017?

Image courtesy of Jim Squires’ LinkedIn page.