My commentary was recently included in a mobile marketer article discussing the success of sports brands and a cross-device approach to wearable technology.
Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360
Here are some cool things we read about this past week:
Twitter Adds TV Conversation Targeting
This week, Twitter announced a new feature that allows networks and brands to promote tweets to people who chatter about certain shows, whether or not the brand is running a TV spot during a given program.
Foursquare Opens Up Home Screen to Big Brands
In a bid to boost revenue, Foursquare will now let brands that don’t have a physical location advertise on its most prominent real-estate: the app’s home screen. MasterCard I the first business without a brick-and-mortar presence to place an ad on Foursquare’s home screen as part of a month long campaign.
Pinterest Adds Place Pins for Better Travel Planning
Pinterest added a new type of pin called Place Pins this week, enabling users to map out the locations of all the items they share on their pinboards. For example, if a user pins a photo of a burger from a local restaurant in her neighborhood, she can also add the restaurant’s location to a map on her board. With these locations, users can create pinboards for trip planning and highlight hotspots in their neighborhood.
Snapchat Sees More Daily Photos Than Facebook
Snapchat now shares 400mm snaps each day, up 50mm since September of this year. This number surpasses the photo-sharing activity on both Instagram and Facebook. Facebook sees 350mm photos uploaded per day and Instagram sees around 50mm.
LinkedIn Announces Showcase Pages
LinkedIn is now letting brands create pages for specific products in a bid to bolster its positioning as a content-marketing channel. While LinkedIn already has Company Pages — more than 3mm of them — that allow businesses to post status updates and job openings, now it will let them give more granular updates about product offerings and divisions. Showcase Pages are connected to the primary Company Page and can be assigned separate admins. See examples in action here and here.
Germany Set to Grab Top Social Networking Spot from the UK
The UK will lose its spot as the top social networking country in Western Europe by the end of 2014 with Germany set to push the British into second position. The number of social network users in Germany is expected to reach 35.4mm by the forecast period, which is more than the UK’s estimated 33.9mm by that same time. In terms of Facebook the UK still tops with nearly 30mm residents accessing the site per month, compared to 22.1mm users in both France and Germany.
Inspiring Unilever Ad Gives You Hope for Future Children
This week, Unilever launched a new initiative called “Project Sunlight,” an online portal which showcases social missions of Unilever brands around the world, and invites consumers, especially parents, to share their own stories about improving health, education and the environment. The company has partnered with UNICEF and Save the Children in an effort to create 2 million “acts of sunshine” — things like supplying school meals, drinking water, and improved hygiene for kids, as part of the program. At the heart of the campaign is a tear-jerker (but yet hopeful) video (released on Universal Children’s Day), directed by Academy Award-winning director Errol Morris, called “Why Bring a Child Into This World?” The video has just over 3.5mm views.
The following is part of our ongoing Expert Series and features Allie Wester, Fanscape’s head of Influencer and Blogger Outreach marketing.
I recently spoke at Freutcamp, a 2-day creative boot camp for bloggers run by Leah Bergman of Freutcake. From Photoshop skills to tips for better social media usage, Freutcamp covered everything it takes to be a successful and savvy blogger.
Leah invited me to speak about making brand collaborations organic to your blog and content. What follows are a couple of the top tips I shared with the bloggers at Freutcamp.
As a blogger, it’s absolutely okay to say “no” to brands that approach you – in fact, to maintain the quality of your blog, you should! Although a paycheck might be tempting in the short term, if a brand isn’t a right fit for you and your blog, you shouldn’t work with them.
Working with a “wrong fit” brand is bad for you and the brand in the long term. It will alienate your readers, and on top of that, you can be sure that your readers are not going to be convinced to buy said brand. It just won’t be an effective post for either party. By saying “no,” you’re doing both yourself and the brand a favor.
The quality of your blog should always be #1, so you need to be incredibly strategic about the brands you partner with. Readers are savvy when it comes to sponsored posts and can sense when something isn’t a genuine fit. Ideally, brand content should integrate seamlessly with your usual, non-sponsored content. If you don’t stay true to your usual content when you do sponsored posts, you will lose the very thing that drew brands to you in the first place – your readership!
It’s a delicate balance, for sure. A good guideline to follow is 70% non-sponsored content and 30% sponsored content. Of course this will vary from blog-to-blog and month-to-month, but it’s generally a good rule of thumb.
Don’t overthink sponsored posts. Focus on the content and story first and foremost, then lightly weave the brand into that. I always tell bloggers to take a step back and think about what they would write about if it wasn’t a sponsored post. Ideally I want the brand integration to be very light and natural. I want the post to tell a story. In fact, sometimes I even tell bloggers to tone down the brand in their post, because it’s too overt! I truly believe that this is key to a great sponsored post. If a brand is too “in your face,” readers will simply skim over the post.
Each and every sponsored post you create should have value for your readers. Let’s be real – no one wants to feel like they’re being marketed to. Your readers should get some sort of utility in a sponsored post, whether it’s entertaining tips or a new recipe to try out.
Not sure if you’re hitting it quite right? Think about if you yourself would want to read the post and share it with your friends.
Read Part 2 HERE.
Linkedin has proven to be an incredible asset for B2B Social Media Strategy & execution. With Hubspot defining Linkedin (45%) as the most effective B2B source for lead generation followed by Facebook at 33%.
Linkedin continues to focus on creating relevance for company pages. The latest roll-out called “showcase pages” allows businesses to highlight specific brands or products by creating product centric content hubs that allow users to further align with relevant content.
Each showcase page is setup to exist independently from the company page while still showing (below the fold) a connection to the parent page as well other showcase pages.
Here is an example from HP focusing on their Converged Infrastructure offering with the company & additional showcase pages expanded.
Users can follow specific showcase pages and connect directly with the content they are most interested in. This natural segmentation can create more targeted opportunities for brands to connect with audiences who are interested in specific product lines.
Here is an example from Adobe Marketing Cloud.
Brands can easily create up to 10 showcase pages that also includes access to page insights & analytics. This combined with the 3 million existing company pages can exponentially increase the amount of content in the platform.
It is easy for an organization to create a showcase page
The organization has the ability to define the showcase page URL, define the industry and connect up to 3 existing Linkedin groups.
Here is a screenshot of the creation screen for the showcase creation.
Here is an example of a Microsoft showcase page. Linkedin Company pages have worked well from a search discovery perspective and showcase pages provide an additional option to create new points of discovery for products & services.
Here is an example that shows the Microsoft Office example was indexed almost immediately upon launch. At the time of this writing the page was posted 20 hours before.
This latest addition will allow Linkedin to align paid advertising with in network content hubs to create engaging & targeted experiences within the platform vs. driving off-site. The more content that is created and housed within Linkedin means higher amounts of eyeballs which essentially means more potential advertising revenue for Linkedin.
This new showcase option will need to be carefully considered though when deploying. As determining which products have enough content to support the audience in addition to further segmenting the brands following into subgroups and aligning master brand content against product specific content will need to be considered prior to rolling out showcase pages.
Company pages vs. Showcase Pages
The benefits though of having subsets or micro-content hubs is that the audience that engages is truly interested in the product and is actively searching for information. This also allows more flexibility in terms of search discovery as well as one of the issues with other platforms such as Facebook is that you are limited in terms of new points of discovery via organic search.
Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360
With last weeks launch of the PS4 selling more than a million in the first 24 hours as well as the launch of the Xbox One this week we are being ushered into the next generation of consoles with a bang! Having pre-ordered an Xbox One months ago I am ready to make the transition.
Ready to carry over my gamerscore to the new platform!
One consistent element across both consoles is the integration of Twitch.TV into the experience. For the PS4 it is directly tied to the share button on the controller. What is Twitch.TV? Why does the average user spend 90 minutes on the site daily? And why as a brand would I care about extending my reach to this audience?
I was recently briefed by the Twitch.TV team and here is a brief overview before getting into how to leverage their community. Twitch.TV is a live video platform and community for gamers with more than 44 million unique viewers per month. Twitch.TV connects gamers globally by allowing them to broadcast, watch, and chat from everywhere they play.
In addition to 44 million unique viewers per month, the Twitch.TV community is highly engaged with the average user watching an hour and a half of live stream content per day. Twitch is available as a mobile app that supports both iOS & Android and as I mentioned above will be integrated into both of the next generation consoles.
For brands interested in publishing, Twitch has a partner program with over 4,000 members and is build on an ad revenue share model with top content producers such as Machinima, Electronic Arts, Mojang, Major League Gaming.
For brands interested in reaching this audience there are three primary ways to engage & activate the Twitch.TV community.
1) Publishing – The Twitch.TV platform is predicated on live streaming content and the option exists to create a branded Twitch channel. This option represents the largest barrier of entry as the best practices for a channel call for unique & relevant content in addition to a broadcast programming guide and would require resources and time to build an audience, create compelling content & invest in media to further drive discovery of the content. Note that this is a Live Streaming platform so content curation is not an option.
2) Advertising – Twitch offers multiple advertising opportunities in the form of traditional video (pre-roll) and display, event based advertising. custom event programming. This is the more traditional method of reaching the Twitch.TV community. When I spoke recently with the Twitch team there is a strong desire to create unique & compelling programs that can drive value for for brands beyond simply advertising.
3) Custom Programs – The Twitch.TV team is very motivated to partner with brands to create unique and compelling programs. This can come in the form of “never been done” types of executions that incorporate both online & offline elements.
With 44 million uniques and a 90 minute dwell time there is definite value to Twitch.TV as a media platform and the ability to create custom programs in partnership with Twitch.TV opens up unique possibilities to connect beyond traditional ad types. Be sure to keep an eye on the monthly uniques as I am projecting growth with the direct integration with the next gen consoles.
Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360
Here are some cool things we read about this past week:
IBM to Test People’s Psychology Through Twitter Posts
IBM is reportedly testing technology to guess people’s psychological traits by analyzing their Twitter posts, in a bid to deliver more targeted ads and promotional messages. The company intends to go beyond behavioral analysts like Amazon and use social media to derive information about an individual’s psychological response to ads.
Popular Pins’ Now Available on Brand Websites
Pinterest is opening its API to retailers who wish to embed pins directly on their websites. A handful of Pinterest partners now have the option to surface their most popular pins on the homepage of their site. Initial partners include: Walmart, Disney, Random House, Zappos and Mashable.
Twitter Expands Mobile Targeting for Marketers
Two-thirds of Twitter’s advertising revenue comes from mobile – so it’s no surprise that the company is expanding its targeting options for mobile that go beyond a user’s operating system. Twitter will now give marketers the ability to target ads to Twitter users based on the specific version of iOS or Android their phone users, their specific device and whether their device is using a WiFi connection.
Twitter Launches Custom Timelines
Twitter is introducing a new tool called Custom Timelines to let users curate and share collections of tweets with others. The Guardian is one of the first outlets to make using of the tool, collecting and publishing a Q&A session about the NSA files. Other early adopters include Politico, Carson Daly and the Bleacher Report.
Shots of Me – The New Selfie App Funded by Justin Beiber Has Arrived
Partially funded by Justin Beiber and created by RockLive, Shots of Me is a new app for iPhone users that allows you to take and share photos of yourself. The app is meant to be exclusively for selfies. The app only allows you to use your front-facing camera, discouraging shots of people’s food and pets. Plus, there aren’t any filters to magic away bad lighting or to make your face appear more “arty.” There are also no comments allowed, to prevent cyber-bullying.
LinkedIn Has 3 Million Members in China
LinkedIn may not have a presence in China, but the service already has three million members in the country. Its desktop version is entirely in English, though there is mobile app that supports the Chinese language. LinkedIn is currently trying to gain a deeper understanding into the Chinese market before launching a Chinese version of the platform.
Louis Vuitton App Replaces QR Codes With Scannable Images
The Louis Vuitton Pass is a new mobile application for iOS and Android that scans complete images rather than the increasingly less popular QR codes. The luxury fashion house released the app in conjunction with a print campaign this month. Scannable images are indicated by a subtle icon, along with a prompt to download the app. Once scanned, users are given additional behind-the-scenes info about the image, product details and a store locator.
Every week we compile lots of interesting stats here at Fanscape and we try to share a lot of what we learn with you in these posts.
Globally, the gaming industry is expected to bring in nearly $100 billion in sales, while the Hollywood box office is only anticipating $10.8 billion in revenue.
The Millennial generation is expected to outspend Baby Boomers by 2017, yet retailers underestimate the size and purchasing power of this consumer, according to a new research study unveiled today by Berglass + Associates and Women’s Wear Daily. The study, “What Happens When Millennials Get the Wallet,” found that retailers do not fully understand the needs of Millennials and are employing business strategies and tactics that do not apply to this customer.
This year is the shortest online shopping season since 2002, costing retailers $1.5 billion in potential sales
Mobile Social App Use
1 in 3 smartphone users use Instagram
1 in 10 mobile phone users in the US are Snapchat users. Source:
Top Website Traffic Drivers
Pinterest is a better driver than Twitter and Facebook drives 1 in 10 content views to websites
Above Chart by Statista: http://www.statista.com/topics/1164/social-networks/chart/1549/social-traffic-sources/
Here are some cool things we read about this past week:
Twitter Goes Public
Twitter went public this week as shares of the company started trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares of Twitter soared to 73% above their offering price in their first day. Twitter priced its initial public offering at $26 a share. The stock debuted at 10:49am ET on Thursday and the first trade came in at $45.10 a share. Shares quickly jumped to a high of $50.09 – a gain of 93% over the IPO price before dropping back a bit to the trading day close at $44.90. A price near $45 shares values Twitter at $24.4 billion.
The Thumb is Gone: Facebook Like Button Gets a Makeover
Facebook Like and Share buttons are seen more than 22 million times a day and are embedded on 7.5 million websites. They are also getting their first ever redesign. The biggest difference is the thumb is gone from the Like button. Instead it will appear in the dialogue box above the button that shows you how many likes or posts a page has. The new button features the “f” logo instead. The Share button will replace Facebook’s Send button. The design is optimized for high-resolution screens.
Facebook Trialling Technology To Track Users Cursor On Screen
Facebook is testing a new technology in efforts to study how users browse the site. The social network will gather information on how a user’s cursor lingers over a certain part of the site, or whether a user’s newsfeed is clear at a given instant on the screen of his or her mobile device.
Google Announces Live Video Tutorials Called Helpouts
This week Google announced Helpouts, a new tool that connects users via live video chats with experts who can help them with questions about home improvement, cooking or even medical devices. Helpouts serve as a Google-vetted marketplace where approved companies such as Sephora, One Medical and Rosetta Stone can offer their services to interested parties in real-time over live video (and can even charge for them!). Google has invited 1,000 companies to participate and plans to keep the marketplace “invitation only” for now.
96% of UK Journalists Use Social Media Every Day
Out of 589 journalists from the UK, 96% interact with social media “on a daily basis,” and 92% do so on Twitter specifically. This compares to the 70% who two years ago, said they engaged with social media each day and the 80% for whom Twitter was a regular tool in 2012. The study also revealed that 42% “thought that social media was so important that they would not be able to carry out their work without it.” Social media for journalists is more often used for “publishing and promoting” their content (91%) and for finding stories (89%).
Top Shop Transforms Pinterest Into a Searchable Gift Guide
In anticipation of the holiday season, Topshop has partnered with Pinterest to create a campaign that centers around customers creating and submitting inspirational boards for the holiday season. This can include decorations, a dream dress, their ultimate festive tree, and Topshop products. Entitled “Dear Topshop,” the campaign plans to take a 360 degree approach to make its presence known on and off-line. The collaboration will act as the ultimate gift guide that will feel personalized to each customer. Quirky and easy search categories such as “A gift that will wow,” “All things that sparkle,” and ” A bit of romance,” will help customers find the perfect gift or party outfit on the company’s website. These can be pinned, shared and shopped through all of Topshop’s digital worlds, with top pinned products being featured on the brands home page every day. In addition, giant touch screens and products with a Pinterest CTA in the flagship London and NYC stores will allow customers to pin, share and shop while in store. Other stores have dedicated staff armed with iPads who can walk customers through all the elements of the campaign.
Conan O’Brien Cracks Top 100 LinkedIn Influencers List
Conan O’Brien’s plan to take over LinkedIn is going well for the comedian. In September he realized that his social media empire was in fact missing a LinkedIn presence. He set about to rectify that issue by creating a profile complete with job descriptions as “lighting designer” at Applebees and listing “Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role” under his honors and awards. The profile amassed more than 70,000 followers and O’Brien is now listed as a “LinkedIn Top Influencer.’ But that’s not enough for O’Brien who wants even more followers. He’s asking fans to connect with him so he can continue to climb the influencer ranks. Check out his plea here.
In celebration of Twitter’s IPO, I recently put together the following POV on the new visual Twitter experience outlining what changed, potential impact for programs as well as best practices directly from the Twitter team.
When: This update was rolled out to the public on October 29th, 2013
What: Images, Videos & Vines in users Twitter feed for both web client & mobile apps are now auto expanded (contingent on users updating their iOS & Android apps to the latest update version of the Twitter app).
Why: Twitter wants to make the service a more visual experience heading into their IPO. One of the core goals of Twitter is mainstream adoption and user growth. In Q3 their user growth rate declined slightly so the goal is to make the product more approachable by incorporating a more visual feel to the timeline similar to Facebook & Tumblr.
Impact: Previously, a user would need to click on a link to see the preview of the image or video. Now, the user will see a preview of the image and have the ability to zoom in or watch the clip in stream. The visual redesign has also streamlined the ability to replay, retweet or favorite a tweet without leaving the timeline as before.
Currently there is no way for a user to turn off the visual previews via the web. However, users can opt to turn off the visual option in the mobile application via settings. Based on past behavior though, this extra step may not be taken by a majority of users.
From a metric standpoint, this change may have an impact on the total interactions per tweet as prior to the update users would need to click on the link to preview an image and that would count as an interaction.
Thus interactions via the tweet may go down, but providing more visual content directly in the stream may impact overall engagement in a more positive way as the visual content will stand out from the traditional text based tweets.
Final notes: The new visual Twitter update still does not support animated GIF’s and there is currently no filter or blocking functionality for the individual user. Also, Instagram and other services are currently still represented as links vs. auto expanded.
Note this example highlighting Instagram as a link & images uploaded to Twitter as expanded
Recommendation: The new best practice associated with image posting per Twitter renders at 440 x 220 and uploaded via pic.twitter.com in order to be auto-expanded.
Here is additional info that I just received from Twitter RE: Image pixel size and file size:
The longer side of your photo should be 1024 pixels and the shorter side should be proportionately fewer pixels. This applies to horizontal, square, and vertical photos with any aspect ratio. For example, a horizontal photo with a 4×3 aspect ratio should be sized 1024 x 768 pixels. A square photo should be 1024 x 1024 pixels
Photo file size limit is 3MB
To show your entire image in the Tweet preview:
Use an image in horizontal/landscape orientation with a 2:1 aspect ratio (e.g. 1024 x 512 pixels)
If you do this, the preview image will be the same as the image shown when the Tweet is expanded and/or when the photo is fully revealed.
Currently, there are no text restrictions on the images, so there is an opportunity to maximize the real-estate of images. One key point of consideration is that mobile users still need to update their Twitter app to get this feature so that is still a barrier to removing legal copy from photos as only 6% of Twitter users use the web client. Also note that Twitter has been very strict with 3rd parties who use their API, so at some point this update will push through that ecosystem as well.
Follow Tom @BlackFin360