Here are all of the posts tagged ‘advertising’.
For the past few decades, marketing has been dominated by a mass-media paradigm.
During that time, we’ve defined the ‘best’ marketing as that which makes the most efficient use of broadcast media, and as a result, we’ve spent decades perfecting an approach that’s all about reducing the cost of interrupting people.
The result is communications that have been distilled down to their lowest common denominators: a selection of sound bites designed to be shared as succinctly as possible across a range of media, repeated again and again in the hopes of eliciting a pavlovian response that will deliver optimum scores in campaign tracking.
But this paradigm is broken.
We’ve become obsessed with media efficiency, and as a result, we’ve lost sight of what effective communications look like.
[As an aside, effectiveness is about doing the right thing, while efficiency is about doing that thing right]
Back To Basics
The very roots of the word ‘communication’ highlight where we’ve been going wrong.
The English word stems from ‘communicare‘, a Latin verb meaning ‘to share‘.
Critically, therefore, real communication is about creating shared understanding.
So, at its essence, communication isn’t really about what you say; rather, it’s about what other people understand.
However, as part of marketing’s relentless drive to maximise media efficiency, we’ve become overly fixated on ‘the message’ (i.e. what we want to say), and consequently, we’re missing the huge opportunities that come with building a better, shared understanding of our brands and their offerings.
In Context: Brands As Social Entities
But in order to build a better, shared understanding, we need to get a better understanding of our audiences’ motivations, and the dynamics that drive our exchanges with them.
We’ve already explored motivations in a previous post in this series that covered the evolution from Ads To Added Value.
However, in order for brands to achieve their full potential, they also need to integrate more actively into the social dynamics that define the contexts in which they come to life.
Sadly, many brands still behave like newborn children: entirely egocentric, and almost totally oblivious to the needs of others.
However, studies have found that the traits we find most appealing in other people are those that are socially oriented (more on that here).
Interestingly, these appealing human traits are the same as those that define great brands:
Popularity is more pull than push, and trying to become popular through hollow flattery and false mirroring is unsustainable. Impressing people is much easier if you lead by example instead of screaming for attention. As a result, it’s far better to champion the cause than it is to ride the bandwagon.
People appreciate a good listener, so don’t talk about yourself all the time. Take time to hear what your audience wants to say to you, and not just to work out what you want to say to them. Embrace the everyday people as well as the celebrities.
If you want to build trust, give before you take. What does your audience want, need and desire? How can you help them achieve it through your communications alone?
Stay true to your ideals, but don’t force them upon other people. Strength, honesty, humility and kindness are far more valuable brand values than ‘dynamic’ or ‘cool’.
Conversations are as much about the social discourse as they are about the sharing of information. Avoid an over-reliance on monologue and one-line statements, and engage in dialogue as much to reinforce bonds as to establish new relationships. Treat others as you’d hope to be treated yourself, and always be ready with the proverbial olive branch.
For brands, this last point – Be Social – is perhaps the most important when it comes to building enduring success.
Of course, as a Conversation Agency, we’re biased here, but our positioning isn’t an accident; here at We Are Social, we genuinely believe that there’s far more value in dialogue than there is in the broadcast paradigm of a repetitive monologue.
But how do brands ‘grow up’, and evolve from their current communications infancy to become more socially engaged entities?
The Art Of Conversation
To start with, it’s important to remember that you can’t ‘win’ a conversation. Conversations should be about a mutual exchange of value; if you’re trying to win, that’s an argument.
A significant part of this mutual exchange of value is the opportunity to deepen bonds and strengthen relationships, at the same time as sharing information or knowledge.
This is one area where marketers often fall down: in our arrogance, we believe we have more to teach audiences about our brands and offerings than we might learn from our audiences in return.
However, it’s only the brand that exists in our audiences’ heads and hearts that has any value.
To this point, there’s a wonderful post on Wikihow entitled “How To Stop Talking About Yourself” – it’s a fascinating read, and offers this wonderful piece of advice that brands everywhere should heed:
Respond to questions without turning the focus onto you. When asked, “Did you see Survivor last night?”,
[Avoid:] “Yes! I never miss an episode; in fact my husband and I watch Survivor, American Idol, and Dancing with the Stars. Did you see how well Kristen danced last night?” You answered the question, but redirected the focus onto you.
[Try:] “I missed it; was it good?” Simply answer the question they asked you, and give them a chance to talk with you. After all, they like the show, and it was their topic.
In other words, making people feel like they’re an important part of your brand’s world, and welcoming them into your communications, are both huge opportunities to improve success.
Of course, for most brands, it’s still financially infeasible to have one-to-one conversations with every individual member of the audience, but channels like social media make such interactions much easier than they were when we only had broadcast channels to choose from.
Having said that, taking advantage of ‘conversational’ channels involves a very different approach to the lowest-common-denominator approach we’ve become used to.
Change Is Coming
It’s becoming increasingly clear that Big Advertising Ideas are not as relevant to social communications as they are to TV.
A single-minded comms approach may be the key to driving media efficiency, but it only works effectively if we get it right first time, and the reality is that most people’s brains work in slightly different ways.
This isn’t a new assertion of course; the wonderful Mark Earls has been challenging it for a number of years now:
One of the reasons why this approach is rarely the best option is because lowest-common-denominator messaging rarely delivers the highest possible value.
The challenge is that single-minded communications are only designed to convey that single message, and that’s only truly efficient if conveying that single message successfully establishes the desired understanding across the whole audience.
Conversely, in order to maximise effectiveness, we may need to convey our ‘message’ in a variety of different ways over time, and to different groups of people, before we can establish a sufficient level of shared understanding across the whole audience.
That wasn’t often an option in an expensive, TV-dominated world, but our media mix options have evolved.
It’s time to rethink our commandments.
Enter The Leitmotif
In musical theory, a leitmotif is:
“a musical term referring to a short, constantly recurring musical phrase, associated with a particular person, place, or idea… In particular, [it] should be clearly identified so as to retain its identity if modified on subsequent appearances, [but] it is transformable and recurs in different guises throughout the piece in which it occurs.”
If that all sounds a bit complex, this Star Wars explanation nails the concept beautifully:
“Each important idea [and character] in Star Wars has its own leitmotif. At the beginning of A New Hope, Luke watches the suns set, wondering what his destiny in the world could be. His leitmotif [or 'Luke's Theme', if you will], is played wistfully and slowly to reinforce this idea. Later, when he is in the midst of rescuing Leia, his theme is stronger, more percussive, and rhythmic. Essentially, the same notes are being played, but the style with which they are played makes all the difference in the tone of the scene.”
Critically, a leitmotif does not represent the constant repetition that defines music like techno (and broadcast advertising); it’s about a theme that changes and evolves over time to add new value or meaning.
Adopting such a ‘communications leitmotif’ may hold the key to more effective marketing within the reality of today’s multi-channel media mix: rather than relying on repetition of the same message over and over again, marketers can adopt a broader, richer ‘communications agenda‘ which enables them to use a variety of activities to build towards success in different ways over time, engaging more of the audience in more meaningful ways, and ensuring a greater chance of success.
Evolving The Story: From Theory To Practice
There are a variety of different ways to bring a strategic leitmotif to life – here are some we’d advocate:
The Dandelion Approach
As Cory Doctorow asserted in this seminal post from a few years back, the dandelion doesn’t put all its eggs (or seeds) in one basket. Rather than investing all its efforts in nurturing a single offspring, the dandelion spreads as many seeds as possible in the hopes that at least some will fall on fertile ground. This is not about random dissemination though; despite slight variations in each seed, every one contains the DNA of its parent plants, and each one is designed to travel as far as possible. Critically, though, the ‘costs’ associated with producing each different seed are low enough that individual failures are not an issue.
The Tapas Approach
Meals comprising many small, shared dishes are popular all over the world, from Tapas in Spain to Dim Sum in the Orient. Each individual dish can be quite different, but they all ladder up to an overall meal ‘experience’ which is both reliable and enjoyable, even if not every dish is to everyone’s taste. This approach can work well for communications too: by harnessing a variety of smaller, disparate creative executions across a number of different channels, brands have a greater chance of delivering something that resonates with the different members of the audience, and shares the necessary understanding.
The Kaizen Approach
Kaizen is a Japanese term meaning “change for the better“, and is a central part of a continuous improvement approach. The same concept lies at the heart of effective conversations too: each time a participant in the discussion shares new insights or information, the other participants can refine or modify their opinions or approach, in order to reach an optimum, collective understanding. The Kaizen approach is a bit more direct than the previous two, but it has a clear role to play in a variety of brand situations, particularly where the topic is more complex, or where rational motivations dominate.
There will be many more ways to bring such an ‘evolving theme’ approach to life, but the ones that will win through will be those that deliver a new kind of efficiency: the ability to identify when the necessary understanding has been shared with relevant audiences, and when investments can move to a new communications task.
In order to achieve this efficiency, however, marketers will need to get much better at listening to – and measuring – audience response and reaction, and using these to refine and evolve their communications approach.
We’ll cover these Active Listening techniques in the next post in this Social Brands series.
VNG launches microblogging platform in Vietnam
The creators of Vietnamese chat app, Zalo, have recently launched microblogging platform Zing.vn. This news comes shortly after the company announced reaching 1 million users on their chat app last month. VNG also created the local social network Zing Me, which is reported to have about 12 million users. Zing.vn puts a heavy emphasis on hashtags, mirroring the traits of other well-known microblogging platforms such as Twitter and Sina Weibo. With a chat app, a social network and the launch of Zing.vn, VNG seems to complete a social trifecta of sorts in the Vietnamese market.
Finland-based chat app Jongla expands in Asia
Asian chat apps have continued to dominate in mobile apps this year, particularly in the APAC region. Foreign chat apps have also come into the chat app scene in Asia, and are seeing significant levels of success in the local markets. TechInAsia reports that Finland-based chat app, Jongla, has recently moved into Asian markets with an eye to increase their reach across the region. Although Jongla’s users are marginal compared to reigning giants such as WeChat, it is noted that they have seen increasing user bases in countries such as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Australia.
China’s QQ launches as a Facebook app
QQ messenger is the top social network in China. With almost 800 million users, it seems likely to reach a billion-user milestone–an achievement that Facebook reached only late last year. TechInAsia reports that, to this end, QQ has launched as a Facebook app with an eye to increase their user base further across the globe.
Smartphone users check Facebook 14 times a day
Are you a Facebook addict? Unless you check it more than 14 times a day on your smartphone, you actually fall below the daily average – no wonder Facebook is the third most popular app on smartphones! Channels of communication are now a constant in our lives which explains the fact that 79 per cent of smartphone users check their devices within 15 minutes of waking up – 62 per cent don’t even wait 15 minutes in the morning, and grab their phones immediately. The world’s addiction to Facebook is growing with almost half of Facebook users checking on updates while out and about – we’re even checking in at the gym, whilst cooking and at the cinema…
Facebook is still the dominant social media network in the UK
The latest Ipsos Mori quarterly tech tracker report showed that “50% of British adults access social networks”, with over half of them using smartphones to do so. Nearly 50% have used Facebook in the last three months, compared to 16% using Twitter, and perhaps surprisingly, 17% using Google+.
Online video accounts for 5% of all UK Internet usage
The UK population “made over a billion visits to video sites last month”, accounting for 5% of the UK’s internet usage. In February 2013 the UK spent 323 million hours watching online video content, that’s 100 million more hours than in February 2012. This makes it one of the few sectors that people are increasingly spending time on per visit. The average visit time online has decreased by 20% year-on-year, yet online video average visit time has increased by just over 3 minutes.
Hashtags have changed the way people communicate
“Hashtags have become one of the most ubiquitous symbols used in social sharing” by brands and consumers. Research conducted by RadiumOne into mobile hashtag usage revealed a large number of consumers now utilise hashtags via mobile devices. In fact “58% of respondents from the survey utilize hashtags on a regular basis, and 71 percent of regular hashtag users do so from their mobile devices.”
Twitter’s ad revenue to near $1 billion in 2014
It has been forecast by eMarketer that Twitter will earn $582.8 million in global ad revenue in 2013, with roughly 53% of that projected to come from mobile advertising. Over the next 24 months Twitter should expect to see advertising on mobile devices grow a great deal more, increasing Twitter’s ad revenue to $1 billion in 2014. This “comes as advertisers have shown more interest in spending money on mobile advertisements on Twitter.”
Details about Facebook Home for Android leaked
Facebook are due to make announcements this Thursday about their new offering for Android, however aspects of this have been leaked ahead of time. It is believed that Facebook will release a modified version of the Android operating system, a new product called ‘Facebook Home’, “software that any Android device can run to give users a more socially integrated homescreen experience.” The updated version is thought to include features from News Feed and Messenger and will be running on “a new device by Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC”.
Advertisers can now create ‘unpublished posts’ on Facebook
Facebook has now given advertisers the option to create unpublished posts which can then be supported with specifically targeted ads and will not appear in fans News Feeds organically. Due to the nature of the News Feed this has not been possible until now as previously a page was required to create posts that would be visible to fans. “Unpublished posts that run as page post ads in News Feed will now enable advertisers to show users more relevant content[...] taking a message that matters to the people it’s relevant to in the most engaging place on Facebook.” In tests, AdParlor found that unpublished post ads had initial success, with 0.87% clickthrough rate compared to “organic post ads with a CTR of 0.30 percent.”
Facebook Exchange ads in desktop News Feed
Facebook have made changes to the way their Facebook Exchange partners can advertise on the site, “by letting advertisers serve ads directly in users’ main News Feed.” The ads will look like normal sponsored newsfeed stories rather than display ads, allowing “users to Like, Share or Comment on an ad, whereas previously users could only click on the ad and be taken to a third-party site.” The placement of Facebook Exchange ads in the News Feed will allow advertisers to behaviourally target huge numbers of users using a ‘native’ format.
Embed your Vine posts on the web
It is now possible to embed Vine posts on the web through a post’s page on vine.co, or using the mobile app. You’ll not only be able to share your own posts but others as well, as long as its already been shared outside of Vine.co.
Tumblr hits the 100 million blogs mark
Tumblr, last week crossed over the 100 million blogs threshold, with 44.6 billion individual posts! The online platform has grown significantly in the last year, with roughly 50 million blogs being created since last April, and 6 million of those being created in the last month.
LinkedIn search is getting smarter
Gone are the days of searching for people, groups, companies and jobs separately, now “all you need to do is type what you’re looking for into the search box and you’ll see a comprehensive page of results that pulls content from all across LinkedIn.” All searches will be customised to your personal profile, so no two searches will produce the same results. The smarter search will be available to members today and to global members in the coming weeks.
Google+ gets a refresh for Android and iPhone
Google+ functionalities that have been available on desktop have now been rolled out for mobile. The Google+ app has been updated to include basic image editing tools using Snapseed’s technology, e.g. crop, rotate, change contrast, saturation, brightness and filters. The view of posts has been updated to include more text as well as single tap links to photos and videos, enabling users to read more content in a shorted period of time. A really nice addition is the ability to swipe through an entire photo album inline, without having to head over to a separate album page. Additionally, the +1, share and comment buttons are more prominent.
Amazon has acquired Goodreads in a bid to further socialise itself
Between the two platforms, Amazon and Goodreads have changed the way authors reach their audiences and readers choose books. It is thought that through last week’s acquisition of Goodreads, the world’s largest community for book recommendations, Amazon will develop its ability” to share users lists, e.g. “want to read”, improving book recommendation sharing and other such areas.
AT&T owned March Madness Twitter activity
It could be said that AT&T are this year owning March Madness, the US college basketball frenzy, as part of a sponsorship deal with the NCAA and Turner Broadcasting. AT&T have “continuously bought ads for tweets going out from @MarchMadness, NCAA’s handle.” The social media team worked towards providing “behind-the-scenes content so people from their living rooms on their couches can be a part of the on-site game experience.” A Twitter based programme was implemented incorporating key moment tweets from the @MarchMadness handle which were then pushed out at Promoted Tweets by AT&T and AT&T’s Promoted Trend ads which linked to television viewing. The Promoted Trend rather than just Promoted Tweets really helped AT&T rise above the other noise.
Buick uses Pinterest to design its 2013 Encore luxury car
Buick have designed its 2013 Encore luxury car based on a Pinterest board chosen from its ‘Pinterest to Dashboard’ campaign entries. The winner, Michael Wurm Jr., was picked as the inspiration for new color palates, textures and design features for the car. Using the boards, three designers “pulled key elements from his boards that they thought were interesting[...] and came up with their own interpretations of the boards, and expanded on it based on mood, a theme and an environment. Buick wanted to “connect with a younger audience and show a different, more playful side of the brand.”
We Are Social launches adidas: Join Team Messi
The We Are Social London office worked alongside adidas and Media Monks to launch a new personalised social experience, Join Team Messi last week, giving Messi fans the chance to join his team.
The online experience use Facebook data to place fans in a personalised short film alongside the Argentine icon, with the user controlling how play evolves, and at the end are given a trailer of their experience, personalised to the user to share with friends.
BrewDog to launch its first Twitter beer
In a bid to slake the thirst of tweeters, BrewDog will be designing the ‘first democratically designed beer‘ and all major decisions will be handed over to social media users. Votes determining all elements of #Mashtag brew will be cast via Twitter, Facebook and the BrewDog blog, with BrewDog “giving up the important brewing decisions to fans, customers and any who wants to learn more about the craft beer process.”
Red Bull Editions launched by We Are Social
Last week We Are Social launched a campaign around Red Bull’s three new flavours, creating a collaborative art project to bring to life the colours of the three Editions through the lens of Instagram. Red Bull fans are encouraged to share photos on Instagram with the hashtags #rededitionplease, #silvereditionplease and #blueeditionplease, and include @redbulluk to enter. If the users Instagram makes it into the Red Bull gallery they could, qualify for a can of Red Bull Editions, or even have their Instagram showcased in cities across the UK. The campaign is going swimmingly so far, but don’t miss out on the chance to be part of it.
Doritos use Vine to get creative
Doritos used vine to share clips of the Mariachi band from their current campaign asking their community to guess the name of the song to win Easter prizes. It was a really innovative way of using the platform. Bravo Doritos!
— Doritos (@doritosuk) March 26, 2013
The first film to be previewed on Vine
Six days before the official trailer was released, a ‘tweaser’ of the new Wolverine movie was shared on Vine by the film’s director, James Mangold. This is a huge win for the app in terms of placing itself as a player in the social media ring.
The tweaser. vine.co/v/bDExaiMjJ1F
— James Mangold (@mang0ld) March 25, 2013
Whatsapp may be ousted by WeChat?
Tech In Asia recently assessed how Whatsapp measured up against the competition. Whatsapp has not evolved much since its launch a few years ago whilst competing apps such as Tencent’s WeChat (aka Weixin in Chinese), Line and Kakaotalk have evolved to incorporate social elements. WeChat is packed with features (available as plug-ins) such as allowing users to make video calls, read news via a newsfeed, make a cloud-based backup of their contacts, search for people nearby to chat with, upload photos to a timeline and update their statuses. By contrast, Whatsapp seems scanty and uninspired, making it difficult for them to stay in the good graces of an audience that has become accustomed to constant improvements and feature-rich apps that combine social networking with mobile messaging.
Tweet in case of emergency
Japanese Twitter users can now use an uber cool feature called Lifeline that allows them to find and follow accounts maintained by local government bodies – accounts that matter in emergencies. All they need to do is to key in their postal code to gain access to updates and relevant information in case of an emergency or outages affecting necessary services. Lifeline is only available in Japan at the moment. After the 2011 Virginia earthquake, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommended that affected people use Twitter, Facebook, email and text messages to communicate with friends and family to avoid jamming phone lines for emergency services. Perhaps it’s time to update emergency contact details to include important Twitter handles?
Apple’s iOS 6 comes with Weibo included
China’s Sina Weibo is integrated with Apple’s iOS 6 for users with English language and Chinese settings. A source Tech In Asia spoke to indicated that the initial plans were to only make the integration available to users with Chinese settings at the launch of iOS6. Perhaps due to a change of mind or error, it is now available to English speakers as well. This is an interesting development as English speakers have always preferred Twitter. Could something be cooking in Sina Weibo’s kitchen?
Qihoo 360′s search engine’s new domain name is www.so.com
Qihoo 360 announced its new domain name recently in a move to improve users’ experience of its search engine. Qihoo, which was originally an anti-virus business, explained that the short and snappy name also stood for “Safe” and “Open”, hence “S” and “O”. Qihoo plans to monetise the search engine and is given a leg up against competitors like Baidu, Google, Sogu and Soso, with a domain name that’s shorter and easier to remember.
China’s answer to LinkedIn will likely be mobile
Professional social networking site LinkedIn has achieved great success in China registering 80% growth in 2011 and over a million users. Though faced with competition from clones that have diluted LinkedIn’s market share and confused users, Renren’s Vice President Huang Jing expects China to respond with a mobile social networking solution. He drew his conclusion from statistics showing that 60% of Renren’s users are using mobile platforms to access the social network.
Marketers want relationships, not just growth
Awareness, a US Social marketing software company, have conducted a survey of US marketers and discovered some interesting results. Firstly, the leading business objective for Social Media was discovered to be ‘Better Customer Engagement’ with 78% of respondents citing it as a central goal. This was followed by revenue generation of 51%. What this shows is that the marketers are far more interested in building relationships than building figures.
When it comes to investment, 66% of respondents said that multi-platform social media presence is high on their priority list. Additionally, 56% are investing more in the frequency on content published and 50% said that they would invest more in social media integration within their existing marketing initiatives.
‘Hello, welcome to the Facebook Ad Network’
Facebook has launched the beta-version of it’s new ‘Mobile Ad Network‘ which, in short, will allow advertisers to use Facebook’s data to target ads at you in other mobile apps based on age, gender, location and Likes.
The ads will be ‘non-social’ display ads meaning users will see social signals from friends interactions or be able to share them.
Facebook ‘Offers’ global domination
After its trial period, Facebook’s ‘Offers’ has been proven to help drive positive business results for its users and Facebook has announced that the testing period is over, paving the way for a global release. From now, companies with over 400 Facebook fans can create ‘Offers’ straight from their Facebook page and can also include unique codes to aid in the results tracking. Our very own Robin Grant, as quoted in Adweek, is delighted with the introduction of unique codes as it “finally makes Facebook’s Offers a mature and usable product for retailers wanting to drive volume sales and CPG brands wanting to drive trial”. One caveat in the small-print though is that any Offers must be paired with Facebook ad purchases. According to Robin the move is no great surprise and the pairing is not a deal breaker because Facebook is “just asking for a nominal amount to be spent on ads”. This should prevent any spamming of small, worthless offers. For a detailed summary of Facebook ‘Offers’, check out Simply Zesty’s run-down.
Facebook ‘Custom Audience’ ads rolled out to all advertisers
Facebook has extended its ‘Custom Audience’ feature beyond advertisers with managed accounts to all Power Editors and Ads API partners. A custom audience is one targeted via email address, phone number or user IDs that have been collected from a brand database and can be used for a more direct targeting of existing customers.
Social vanity leaps to new levels with Facebook’s ‘Highlight’
After an apparently successful initial trial, Facebook has broadened the beta version of ‘Highlight’ to become ‘Promote an Important Post’ that allows users to part with actual money to promote their own posts to be seen by more of their friends. Whether or not this is to become a common feature in Facebook remains to be seen.
Tweet ‘cards’ the future of Twitter?
Twitter has confirmed that by the end of the year brands will have the opportunity to create and display Tweet ‘cards’. Cards may include real-time sports results or polls. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, while speaking at the Online News Association conference, commented: ”We want to migrate to a world in which the 140 characters can serve as a caption for additional functionality. We’d like that to include things like real-time data, even an application functionality”.
Twitter’s mobile experience just got better
Twitter has spruced-up its iPad app and their Android and iPhone apps has also had a makeover with the same new header photo alongside photo-swiping and pinch-to-zoom. The new header photo will also interest marketers who can customise their brand pages to engage further with consumers with the header photo, but also with a more customisable background image.
Tumblr doubles yearly traffic, plus search visits up 200%
News in from comScore puts Tumblr on the rise with over 100% increase in unique visitors for the year between July 2011 and July 2012. With smartphone traffic also up, especially in the last five months – up 51%.
Search traffic has catapulted to 24 million search visits in July alone, 200 percent gain on 2011. The success of Tumblr has at least in part been due to its celebrity and brand uptake, boasting Beyoncé and adidas to name just a couple.
Google+ has 400 million registered users, no really it does!
Let the haters be hating, but it would seem that Google+ has some fans, with 400 million registered users and 100,000,000 monthly active users. This more then impressive stat comes straight from the mouth of Google’s Senior VP of Engineering, Vic Gundotra. From the looks of the numbers, Google has the user base, but it is currently only converting 1/4 to become active users.
Vimeo launches Tip Jar and pay-per-view service for filmmakers
Vimeo is a hotbed for talent and many would-be filmmakers use the site to share their latest creation with the world – currently for free. The new initiative from Vimeo will offer these filmmakers the chance to make a little dosh in the process. One way it hopes to do this is to play on the good faith of its 75 million users and offer up a Tip Jar to viewers. This would rely on viewers contributing directly and of their own accord and is available now. The second option is a more direct approach, setting a pay-per-play scheme that is due to roll out “over the next few months”.
Walmart’s local approach to Facebook pages draws them in just 2m fans
Walmart is one of the biggest brands on Facebook, with over 21m fans in total and has taken local to the next level with ‘My Local Walmart”. Partnering with Facebook, the supermarket wanted to create a more local approach and “enhanced local interaction at an unprecedented scale”. As a result the supermarket created around 3,500 local Facebook pages for its stores, but the results so far have so far not reflected that of the success seen with its other Facebook pages.
In total it has attracted just 2 million fans altogether, with the majority of local stores have between 101 and 1,000 fans, with just 4% having more then 1,000. When it comes to engagement the story doesn’t get any better, the local pages scored well below the 7% active fans achieved by Walmart’s main page, with just 0.01% being active fans.
Head of Tesco takes to the net with new blog to build trust in brand
Philip Clarke, chief executive at UK supermarket chain Tesco, has decided that if you want to get a job done properly do it yourself. Launching a group blog to build trust and “explain what we are thinking and how we see the world”. The blog, dubbed ‘the talking shop’, launched last Friday and in his first post Mr Clarke starts off by explaining why the blog is there. It won’t just be Clarke posting, but also a “whole range” of the Tesco exec team, the stores and “out on the road” – so we may see Mary from Tesco Metro in Clapham North giving her two pence soon!
Waitrose takes a kicking with finish the sentence tweet …
Poor old Waitrose, another rather more upmarket UK supermarket chain, made the classic social media mistake – Finish the sentence – which turned bad on Twitter last week when the high-street store tweeted; “I shop at Waitrose because…” An accompanying hashtag #Waitrosereasons gave everyone the perfect tool to track as the hilarity unfolded.
I think they genuinely wanted some insight from their customers, and opportunistic punters took the opportunity to play on the middle-class stereotype that Waitrose has. They didn’t react quickly enough or with a clear plan. It shows why being prepared with a crisis plan is key to your social comms, whatever brand you are.
New Facebook Deals from Kraft
A mobile start-up by the name of Endorse has just announced a partnership with Kraft to offer deals direct to consumers on Facebook. The new “Social Offers” feature will be released with Kraft’s Planter’s brand, helping Kraft link actual purchases with giving customers generous discounts.
The service can be shared peer-to-peer and also direct from the brand to the consumer. For peer-to-peer sharing the Facebook user will see a discount jump from 20% to 50% off following a share. The deal will then appear on that user’s wall to be claimed. Planter’s has launched its brand-to-consumer offering today and it can post deals to fans via its Facebook page.
1-800-Flowers.com celebrates 500,000 Facebook milestone with freebies
Hitting a big milestone on Facebook is certainly cause for celebration and not least for 1-800-Flowers.com. Who celebrated hitting 500,000 with free shipping, dropping service charges and a $10 Zynga gift card via Facebook Offers for its fans. Over 2,000 claimed the generous offer and it’s not the first time the company has been so generous. For Mother’s Day it ran a similar campaign drawing in 12,300 claims, half of which came from Facebook ads.
Amit Shah, director of mobile and social at the flower company, said that “The half-life of the redemption of the claims is very quick … the matter of days – not weeks”, adding that this has proven much more successful than an offer sent in an email.
American Express pair with Harvey Nichols for Sync ‘n Save deal
New ways to link up location, sales and offers are a key area of interest for many brands at the moment. A new partnership between American Express and high-end retailer Harvey Nichols aims to do just that with a Sync ‘n Save deal. This means customers can unlock a £25 statement credit when they check-in on Foursquare and spend £25 on their card.
In advance of this, customers need to sync their AMEX card with their Foursquare account. After check-in the customer is prompted to “Load to Card” and then they can get spending. That means a seamless experience in the store and no fiddly need to show your phone at the check-out. The deal runs until 1st October and looks to be American Express’ first Sync ‘n Save partnership outside of the US – definitely one to watch.
Twitter no-no from Kellogg’s Krave
There is no doubt that Kellogg’s social strategy on Facebook for its Krave cereal has been a great success, accumulating 277,000 fans. It’s latest campaign surrounds the launch of the white chocolate variety of the cereal and sits in a Facebook competition app. However Twitter is a different story, as Gordon MacMillan points out.
Krave has both social networks linked to from its website, but their Twitter account has not been updated for 18 months! It seems that the brand started off with both, but decided to opt for the more successful Facebook. As Gordon points out in his article “either use it or take it off” – certainly not good social sense to have a profile that is not actively managed.
Resident Evil 6 releases ‘shared nightmare’ campaign to Facebook
Last week developer and publisher Capcom launched a scarily named “shared nightmare” interactive campaign on Facebook to mark the release of Resident Evil 6. This marks the latest installment of the “No Hope left” summer campaign to launch the game. The game has some 3.7 million Facebook fans and the video was released to them last week.
The video depicts the viewers last moments as a deadly “C-virus” spreads, using data pulled from the viewers Facebook profiles they can send friends a final farewell message mid-video. You can check out the app here, if you dare!
Whatever you do #DontGoHome with Cole Haan
The shoe brand Cole Haan wants to be down with the kids and has as such released a new campaign “Don’t Go Home”. To accompany its re-brand, it is encouraging the young-uns to stay out late and #DontGoHome. The campaign hopes to boost awareness of the launch of its latest shoe, the Chelsea pump, which includes special Nike Air tech to make it super comfy.
The campaign started in advance of New York Fashion Week, with closed shop front metal shutters with text printed on like “You can sleep when you’re dead” and “Your fairy drag mother says don’t go home” and included the hashtag to be shared on Twitter and Instagram.
Obama’s after the younger vote with ‘For All’ social campaign
Barack Obama knows that the youth vote is a strong one and he needs to pull out all the stops to not only get their attention, but also to get them to actually go and vote.The campaign that hopes to achieve this is “For All” and was launched last week on Instagram with the likes of Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson and Jessica Alba. The campaign aims to target those making their first vote, whilst also addressing the damaging comment from Mitt Romney that his “job is not to worry” about the 47% who don’t pay income taxes, are “dependent on the government”.
The campaign asks supporters to share their picture with hashtags: #forall, #obama2012, #campaigntrail, #opendoors2012 and #dnc2012.
Videos hit the advertising sweet spot in China
Much has been written and said about economic powerhouse China and the promise its massive wired userbase holds for marketers. Here are some numbers that reflect the size of the potential market as at the end of 2011: 500 million internet users, 325 million online video viewers, 250 million microbloggers and 244 million social media users. User numbers only tell one part of the story; the demographics reveal that the average Chinese internet user is under 30 years of age with the most active online video viewers aged between 19 and 24, and coming from middle-class income households. The Chinese are prolific online video viewers and luxury brands have found videos to be the most effective way to engage the Chinese consumer.
Facebook sets sights on Japan’s advertising market
Dominant social network Facebook has added another feather to its cap after it overtook rival Mixi and hit 15 million active users in Japan. The company is looking to grow its share of Japan’s advertising market, ranked as the second largest advertising market in the world. Whilst Mixi has 26 million registered users, its active monthly userbase of 14.5 million users was surpassed by Facebook, which grew from 10 million to 15 million active users between March and August 2012. Data showed that 80% of Mixi’s traffic was from mobile devices, an area which Facebook is looking to tap on as it seeks to deepen engagement with users. With this rate of growth, Facebook could possibly wrest dominance from Twitter, which has 18 million registered users in Japan, in the near future.
Uber brands lead in social media conversations
Coke and Apple topped the charts in a report on social media impressions for the top 100 consumer brands during the month of July 2012. Coke registered 1.48 billion impressions, nearly 14% of the 10.6 billion generated by the top 100 brands and twice that of Apple at 761 million impressions. Although the U.S. accounts for about half of worldwide ad spending, the world’s largest advertising market only generated 44% of social media impressions. The reach offered by social media is especially noticeable outside of the U.S. with Coke generating 87% and Apple 72% of their impressions overseas.
Instagram passes 100 million users mark
Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg told CrunchFund that Instagram has just passed a major milestone of 100 million users. Instagram has been growing exponentially at a rate of more than 10 million users per month and passed its 5 billion photo milestone on 6 September 2012, when Facebook announced the success of its acquisition. What’s next for Instagram? Rumours are rife that Instagram will have a web presence and will be available on Windows Phone later this year.
Facebook Sponsored Results take off
Advertisers take note as the early results for Facebook’s Sponsored Results program look promising, according to Optimal. The product is meant to help marketers reach untapped potential customers. Optimal compared the number of people that would have been reached through targeting a designated search term against the brand’s Facebook fans (or those who could have been targeted with existing ads). During a seven-day period, “Facebook” turned up in 24,800 searches in the US out of which, only 21.9% were fans of Facebook’s page. The results were similar to searches for other top brands such as YouTube (20.8%), Coca-Cola (2.7%), Disney (22.3%) and MTV (17.4%). Optimal found that clickthrough rates ranged from 0.7% to 4.1% whilst on the lower-end of the scale, the campaigns outperformed Facebook Marketplace ads by 10x. The expectation is that the disparity will even out eventually though the initial data suggests that Facebook Sponsored Results can be a good tool to grow a brand’s audience quickly.
Facebook to remain fenced out by Great Firewall of China
In spite of its corporate mission to “connect the whole world”, Facebook’s grandiose plan to dominate the wired world wouldn’t be complete without Chinese users, who make up 33% of the world population. Access to Facebook has been blocked in China since 2009 by what has been dubbed the “Great Firewall of China” and the social networking giant still has no plans to penetrate the market at the moment. The great untapped potential userbase served as rich pickings for locally developed social networks such as Renren and Sina Weibo, which were more compliant with censorship requirements. As long as Facebook remains locked out of China, its recent acquisition Instagram could potentially suffer the same fate when the deal is completed.
Starbucks ups the social ante in China with WeChat app
One of the first few global brands to sign up for WeChat, Starbucks has hopped onto the WeChat jet to social marketing stardom in China. WeChat is a popular messaging app that allows its 100 million registered users to follow brands or celebrities much like an evolved albeit not quite real-time version of Twitter. The demographics of the average WeChat user places them as young urbanites with money to spend, definitely music to the ears of any marketer. Unfortunately, WeChat users currently need to find and scan a QR code to follow a brand unlike the ease with which they can connect with friends on personal accounts, which are linked to phone numbers.
New Weibo ad format guarantees 100% reach
Sina Weibo’s new social ads, like Facebook Promote, are designed to reach all followers. These posts will appear at the top of each users’ newsfeed and will get pushed down the timeline as new posts get published. To minimise annoyance to the users, each user will see one promoted post within a 24 hour period. The new ad format is priced based on total impressions delivered at 0.1 yuan (approximately S$0.0195) per impression. Marketers can set the total number of impressions and get reports on ad performance measured based on total number of reposts, comments, clicks and exposure.
Hubblr’s social media dashboard supports Chinese services
So many social media platforms, so little time – if only we had one dashboard to rule them all. Hubblr’s social media dashboard seeks to fill the growing need for Chinese social network support by allowing management of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Sina Weibo and Renren through its tool. The platform offers a full suite of features which include a unified feed, post scheduling, filtering and creation of “hub” groups for individual management and monitoring. In addition to the built-in translation feature, Hubblr helps track user engagement and generates reports on activity, interactions and followers.
YouTube video uploading back online in South Korea
South Korean Internet users can now upload videos on YouTube again after the government abolished laws against anonymous commenting. This is fabulous news for Korea’s independent artists seeking to emulate the runaway success of Korean artiste PSY following virulent viewership for his cult hit Gangnam Style, which surpassed 100 million views and warranted the honour of an infographic on Mashable.
Twitter users in India issued summonses
The Indian government is cracking down on social media and have begun issuing legal summonses to Twitter users suspected of inciting ethnic tension by posting inflammatory and contentious material. The authorities have also written to Google and Facebook for details of other suspected perpetrators. This follows the blocking of about 300 websites last month during a campaign to censor sensitive content on social media sites.
Social has become an integral part of business
About two-thirds of large companies now agree that social media is an essential part of their business strategy, according to a new study from Econsultancy and Adobe. The majority say that they use social as an awareness channel and to bolster marketing campaigns. Some, however, are still struggling with how to measure their social activity.
More than half of Facebook’s users are mobile
Facebook’s mobile app now boasts 543 million monthly active users, an impressive 57% of its user base. The social network has finally responded to previous criticism about the app being too slow and has recently released a speed update for iOS, integrated Timeline support for iPad and made photo uploads faster for Android. Of the biggest 10 countries on Facebook, there’s a wide variation amongst them, ranging from 76% of Americans at the top of the list to the Philippines at 37%.
Facebook updates Pages design on mobile
Facebook has been slow to make its mobile experience the same as viewing the site on a computer, but they’ve made some big progress. Pages on mobile now include minor design features like cover photos but also huge features that we’ve been missing, such as tabs, friend activity and pinned posts. They’ve also popped in a few cool additions for place pages, such as showing when the business is open and a call button, and for artists’ pages, where fans can now see their most played songs on Spotify. But we’re still asking: How much longer until we get a ‘Share’ button?
Twitter unveils embeddable timelines
We’ve all seen a stream of a user’s tweets embedded on blogs and websites, but Twitter has now launched an official version that will show a feed from a specific user, a hashtag or a list. Twitter’s version is unsurprisingly much more robust, and users can now expand tweets to see photos and media and join the conversation through a box at the bottom of the stream. This is one of the first tools that Twitter has created in its quest for consistency after nixing some of its relationships with third-party developers.
YouTube allows taggable videos
YouTube has agreed to a new partnership with a startup that has unlocked the ability to make faces, products or other objects in the videos clickable links. Some big brands have been pushing for this on their paid channels, and we’re excited to see what kind of “new” interactive videos result from this project.
LinkedIn gets a makeover
LinkedIn, the Facebook of the job world, is starting to look a bit more like Facebook after it introduced real-time notifications for comments, likes, an accepted connection request or new InMail. LinkedIn also announced a new look for its Company Pages, which look something like, well, Facebook Pages, where users can see a hybrid of a cover photo and a profile photo as well as a stream of updates. This isn’t yet available to all companies, but LinkedIn says it should be rolled out to all pages by the end of the year. The company has also beefed up its mobile and iPad apps, bringing in notifications, the new designs and language support. LinkedIn says it made these design changes based on user feedback, and it looks like the site is hoping for higher engagement numbers.
Foursquare announces paid advertising
Following the success of Local Updates, Foursquare is officially launching Promoted Updates, which give businesses the option to offer specials to a wider audience. So what’s the difference? Promoted Updates appear in the Explore tab while Local Updates appear among friends’ checkins. Local Updates appear for users only if they checked into a location multiple times or if they’ve liked it. Promoted Updates will float to the top of Explore based on your location, previous checkins, friends’ checkins and other factors, and the business pays on a cost-per-action basis. And just how well are Foursquare’s Local Updates going? About Foursquare posted a great roundup of 10 businesses that are setting the bar high.
Social media is bringing the conversation back into politics
US President Barack Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention broke a record for the number of tweets at a political event, coming in at a staggering 52,757 tweets per minute and more than 9 million tweets during the three-day convention. Candidate Mitt Romney might also have broken a Twitter record, though not exactly one to be proud of. Romney’s team bought a promoted hashtag, a phrase which is quickly becoming the most overused question of this election season, #areyoubetteroff. Twitter’s response? Yes, we are. The ratio of yes answers to no answers was about 5 to 1, and #areyoubetteroff might be joining the ranks of hashtag failures, even worse than McDonald’s #mcdstories and Disney’s #peoplelikeus.
Nevertheless, Romney’s continued Twitter assault on Obama has cost him some serious cash. In addition to #areyoubetteroff, Team Romney purchased a day-long #RomneyRyan2012 promoted trend for his acceptance speech, as well as #failingagenda, each with a price tag more than $100,000. Obama’s retaliation hasn’t been cheap either, with his campaign buying #Forward2012. And as with any hashtag, it’s gotten plenty of negative responses.
But American political conversations have been much of a muchness, no matter which candidate you’re following. The most tweeted-about topic for both Obama and Romney were jobs and unemployment, with the economy and health reform also in the top 5. We will be interested to see what social media shenanigans both parties pull out of their hats for Election Day in November.
Fashion Week catwalks into social
Brands are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to Fashion Week, which is going on now. Mercedes-Benz, the event’s main sponsor, has built a social hub where fans can keep up or catch up on the biggest updates from the week’s styles. A number of fashion brands and magazines are uploading behind-the-scenes photos, hosting pre-show Google+ Hangouts and posting “live-GIFs” of the event. Foursquare has also created its own Fashion Week 2012 badge to celebrate.
Coca-Cola hits 50 million Likes
Coke has hit a huge ‘Like’ milestone in becoming the first page to reach 50 million Likes. Now it is asking its those 50 million Facebook fans to sign up to make the world a happier place, but it hasn’t yet unveiled what the big project will be. Coke says the timelines for the project will be unveiled in just a few weeks, but at the moment, the app seems like a big data gathering operation, where fans must enter their birthday and where they live, information that brands usually don’t have access to.
Mitsubishi wants to get rid of your friends’ snooty Facebook updates
Tired of seeing your friends’ holiday snaps while you’re stuck in the office? Mitsubishi has created a clever new campaign to destroy the “pretentiousness” that afflicts us all on social media. In just a few clicks, you’ll see an Outlander driving through a friend’s latest post about latte art. Rest In Pieces, humble brag.
Johnnie Walker integrates Instagram into its Facebook cover photos
The whisky brand has come up with a cool way to integrate a live feed of Instagram photos into its Facebook cover image that we’re surprised neither of them have come up with first. Three Instagrammers have been invited to take over the official Johnnie Walker feed, which will ‘live stream’ the photos to Facebook’s cover image. Just refresh the page to see more of the stunning photos.
Grey Goose vodka takes on Pinterest and Instagram
Grey Goose is launching on a couple of new platforms to promote a new variety of its vodka, and it sounds like quite the story. Each week, a new “chapter” will be announced, and Grey Goose has asked a group of photographers to capture the week’s theme and then share it on Instagram and Twitter. A weekly Pinterest board accompanies these chapters and continues the story.
Cadbury launches two new Dairy Milk bars on social media
Cadbury has taken to the Internet to announce two new members of the Dairy Milk family: toffee popcorn and gold biscuit crunch. The new bars were unveiled on Cadbury’s pages on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Fans could get a free sample by unscrambling a mystery word on Facebook. What a delicious way to engage fans.
Maldon Salt wants to celebrate its 130th birthday online
Just in time for its 130th birthday, Maldon Salt has started its first social activity and has roped in some big names in the food world for conversations about their favorite dishes of all time, some of which will then appear on Maldon Salt’s boxes. The conversation starts on Twitter but drives to the company’s blog, where food blogger James Ramsden is prepping the dishes. We’re hungry already.