To misquote everyone’s favorite 1980s school-skipper, “Social media moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”


And in all honesty, with hundreds of updates to keep track of in 2014, odds are good that you overlooked some. Hey, even the mightiest marketer is only human.

While lists that dub things “the most important” or “need-to-know” are subjective at best, I’ve compiled some of the year’s most notable updates—each of which has reshaped the landscape of social ads in 2014. For this list, I looked at the major social advertising platforms (specifically, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn).

So, without further adieu, I present “The 10 Top Social Advertising Updates of 2014”:

1. LinkedIn Introduces Direct Sponsored Updates: An expansion of Sponsored Updates, this new feature allows advertisers to create, target, and optimize multiple Sponsored Updates – without having topost thecontent on a LinkedIn Company Page.

-This update provides LinkedIn advertisers with something they’ve never had before: the ability to test, learn, and optimize at scale. As LinkedIn continues to lean on content marketing, advertisers should use this ad type to hone in on what type of posts perform best with their various target audiences.

2. Twitter Enhances Tailored Audiences: Advertisers can now create custom targeting segments by uploading lists of email addresses from internal CRM databases, or by using public information on Twitter (e.g. a user’s bio, follower count, verified status, or past Tweets).

-The new updates empower advertisers to reach more relevant new and existing customers with highly targeted ads. Additionally, both of these options can also be used to exclude users.

3. Twitter Offers: After several months of testing, Twitter now lets merchants sell products directly from a Tweet. To use a Twitter Offer, users enter their credit or debit card within Twitter,andthen use the same card to redeem their purchase in-store.

-In a move that was somewhat predictable after the purchase of CardSpring, Twitter has made it easier than ever for advertisers to directly attribute ecommerce redemptions to their Twitter ads.

4. Facebook Updates Their Advertising Structure: In an effort to simplify the way advertisers of all sizes organize, optimize, and measure their media, Facebook rolled out a three-tier campaign structure composed of campaigns, ad sets, and ads.

-The new structure helps advertisers focus in on key objectives at the campaign level, while simultaneously helping them to create and track more variations at the ad set and ad sublevels. Just remember, with these changes, organization and pre-planning are even more central to success.

5. Facebook Local Awareness Ads: Facebook released a new advertising objective to help brick-and-mortar businesses attract Facebook users anywhere from 1 to 60 miles away.

-People’s behaviors and mindsets vary greatly by location, time of day, device, etc. For example, a user on their phone, near a store, in the afternoon is more likely to make an in-store purchase than a user 30 miles away, on their desktop, after dinner. Advertisers should consider triggering different types of messaging against both location and time of day/day of week to encourage both future purchase intent and immediate in-store actions.

6. Facebook Cross-Device Reporting: In August, Facebook released cross-device reporting, allowing advertisers to see how people move between devices before they convert.

-While many users actively use Facebook on mobile, m-commerce still holds a minority stake for most socially driven spending. This update helps advertisers determine the true value of mobile impressions, even if they don’t culminate in an immediate purchase. Facebook’s early research found that one-third of people who showed interest in a mobile Facebook ad converted on their desktop within the next month.

7. Twitter and Facebook Improve Remarketing: Early in the year, Facebook rolled out their website remarketing feature for Custom Audiences, allowing advertisers to create ad segments from websites or mobile visits. Then in June, Twitter announced that advertisers could use a website tag remarket to users with Website Cards.

-Socially driven (and tracked) ecommerce is becoming more effective every day thanks to these new targeting capabilities, a trend clearly understood by both Facebook and Twitter—both of whom have placed significant emphasis on re-targeting this year.

8. Video Ads Come of Age: Facebook showed off their Premium Video Ads in the spring, and Twitter rolled out PromotedVideoduring the summer.

-As I’ve said before, mobile video consumption has doubled YoY. As this format of media becomes the standard for many users, advertisers are wise to use the video capabilities native to Facebook or Twitter – rather than rely on outside channels like YouTube or Vimeo.

9. Facebook and Twitter Test Buy Buttons: This year both Twitter and Facebook have teased out new “buy” buttons that will allow users to make purchases without ever clicking away from a Post or Tweet.

-Though not rolled out yet, these new buy buttons will significantly cut the number of steps from ad exposure to purchase, subsequently raising conversion rates for advertisers.

10. Facebook and Twitter Expand Advertising Beyond their Platforms: Facebook and Twitter look to advertisers beyond their native platforms with MoPub and Facebook Audience Network.

-One of the biggest advantages of advertising on Facebook or Twitter has been the depth of data they have on their users, and advertisers can now harness that information to reach people across the mobile web.

Honorable Mentions:

Twitter Introduces Promoted Accounts in Search

Twitter Supports Mobile App Promotion

Facebook Rolls Out Campaign/Ad Set Conversion Lookalike Audiences

Facebook Releases Multi-Product Ads and Enhanced Custom Audiences

Facebook Opens Up Partner Categories To All Advertisers

Facebook Revamps Ads in the Right-Hand Column

Instagram Begins Showing Sponsored Posts


Agree? Disagree? Miss anything? Let me know what you think.

Leave a Comment

Juliana Nicholson
Juliana Nicholson is a Marketing Manager at Brand Networks, the leading provider of data-informed social marketing solutions. She specializes in content marketing, with a strong focus on fully integrated organic and paid social media solutions.