by Ray Larson
This week we have the death of Flash videos (no, not flasher), a Facebook ads round-up and some really dry and boring (but important) info for consumer sales.
Sending Flash to the Grave
Steve Jobs will forever be known as a visionary (and a difficult person, but we digress) and as such a visionary, he predicted the “death” of Adobe Flash videos – and here it comes
Apple has long been a non-supporter of Flash videos as iPad and iPhone users well know. Jobs announced in his infamous letter “Thoughts on Flash” that the high energy consumption, poor security and lack of performance made the product unsupportable.
Fast forward five or so years…to today, where much of the internet traffic has “gone mobile”, Flash is dragging them down – and desktop users are forever having to upgrade plug-ins and run anti-viral scans. In addition, Flash’s increasing page-load times can have a serious negative impact a site’s SEO
Flash is still used for a lot of graphics, videos, games and animations (like GIFs – which we’ll talk about next week) so a lot of publishers may not be all that excited about the impending demise – but it may be time to put it to rest.
The goal of increasing browser speed has Mozilla and Chrome (with Explorer likely to follow) making Flash much harder for the user to experience. Mozilla has been routinely forcing Flash upgrades for some time and now Chrome will actually be forcing a pause so that an ad must be viewed before the video will run – even on private websites.
Flash developers may not like it but this will likely a wholesale move to faster, more secure, HTML5 video development….it has to and we’ll all be happier.
Get the flash on the death of Flash at TechCrunch.
Point is: Blah, blah, blobbity may be what you just read. If you’re really technologically gifted, you may “get” all this or it may be that your only experience with Flash has been the fact that it sometimes makes your computer crash and do all kinds of hinky stuff. You don’t really have to “get it” but if you use video advertising in your business – make sure your developer is ready for the death of Flash, especially if you have a stock of video advertising. It may need to be converted to HTML5.
Facebook has really changed the “face” of advertising
We have talked a bit about Facebook’s changes to their advertising offerings, platforms, and a lot of other stuff, but we thought you might need a run-down of the five top things you need to know.
The “Call Now” button
In 2014, Facebook added a local “get directions” option to their ads – kind of a competitor for Google maps showing up on searches for local businesses. This year they ramped up business tools – beating even Google – with the “Call Now” button which allows mobile users to contact you by phone right from the ad.
Ads that Sync with Your Sales Catalog
Again…competing with Google, as we know Facebook wants ALL your attention, Facebook product ads are kind of like Google’s dynamic ads and can now pull images, pricing, product names and descriptions right from your catalog. The ads are template based so you don’t have to spend a lot of time creating each ad. They are keyword-driven, targeted on Facebook’s parameters or the consumer’s history on your website – and when your stock runs out, ads for that particular product stop running.
Carousel Ads on Mobile
Facebook launched carousel ads for the desktop site last year but this year, it was expanded to the mobile site. Carousel ads allow advertisers to display multiple images and links within a single ad. The carousel ads were found by Neiman Marcus to have an 85% higher click-through rate with over a 10% increase in conversion. Carousel ads fit mobile pretty well due to the inclination to “swipe” anyway.
Better Ad Tools
In June, Facebook’s Ads Manager and Power Editor got overhauls. Not everyone has seen the new features but the Power-Editor has been redesigned with a more logical interface and better editing and the Ads Manager has been upgraded to more prominently feature performance metrics. The changes mean that advertisers have to spend less time editing, targeting and creating ads – making the whole system more productive.
Campaign Management Comes To Mobile
Facebook released a stand-alone Ads Manager app – which is of course available at the App Store and Google Play. Advertisers can track, edit, create and adjust scheduling of ads right – even with photos from the phone…right from the app without signing on to your desktop. Users can also get push notifications to monitor the ad campaign and then make changes on-the-fly.
Examine the ad changes at Social Media Examiner.
Point is: As we know, Facebook wants to be the THE internet and they want all of your advertising. We know that Google is synonymous with search – but Facebook wants to be more. It is making it easier for users to never, ever leave the site – especially on Mobile. The new ads which are optimized for mobile – and the tools for design on mobile show that mobile is where it’s at and Facebook is on top of it…just remember, your dinner companions want your attention too.
EMV is coming – are you ready?
This one is pretty dry but might be really important if you are in consumer sales.
You may have gotten a new credit card recently – or at least a notification from your bank that one is coming. In case they haven’t told you – it’s an EMV compliant card.
EMV is a global payment system that stands for “Europay, Mastercard and Visa”. These three “guys” developed the standard but it has now been expanded to include American Express, Discover, JCB and China UnionPay. It has been adopted all around the globe for quite some time but is now coming to a country near you (the U.S.). New EMV credit card liability rules for businesses takes effect on October 1st. Most American card holders will have EMV replacements by October. Problem is – a lot of small businesses haven’t complied, aren’t worried – or worse, don’t even know.
The new cards have microprocessor chips embedded in them and are designed to make them less vulnerable to fraud. Traditional “magnetic strips” on credit cards only have account information from the card issuer but the new EMV complying cards will update transaction data which prevents reuse of the data for fraudulent reasons. To use the chips – you need a new type of credit card “machine” which reads and updates the chip….and transactions will likely take longer.
With the current system, the card issuer has been liable for fraudulent transactions. EMV standards shift liability to the merchant if a stripe reader is employed. Liability for a “chip” terminal transaction will still be borne by the bank.
Some payment systems such as Stripe have announced that they will still cover the transaction but many other processing systems will not, leaving the business owner flapping in the wind in case of a data breach.
Find out how many small business don’t know at Gallup and get a bigger picture at Huffington Post.
Point is: Who makes these “rules”? Well, it’s the FTC but they aren’t the ones giving out the most information. Most of the “good” information is coming from the credit card companies, banks and payment processors but a quick search on Google will show you how many companies have sprung up, claiming to help you with your EMV upgrade. Don’t fall for it. Make sure that if you process credit cards in person, consult with your processing company. For most companies, the upgrade is pretty affordable.
As many European and elsewhere businesses have found, for those who process orders online…unfortunately, you may still be under-the-gun in case of fraud but your online payment processor may have some answers, so ask….and check out the mobile wallet systems – you’re probably going to need that anyway.