Here are some cool things we read about this past week:
Twitter Says Tweets Boost CPG Sales
According to new research from Datalogix, Twitter can help lift offline CPG sales. Twitter asked the company to conduct studies for 35 CPG brands measuring the impact of organic and paid Twitter activity across beverages, food, wellness, household products and alcohol. Among the key takeaways, users who engaged with a brand’s Promoted Tweets bought more from that brand than an identical control group, resulting in a 12% average sales lift.
Facebook Testing PayPal Rival for Mobile App Purchases
Facebook will attempt to give in-app commerce on the platform a boost with an upcoming mobile payment system. The company plans to test a new payments product that would allow online shoppers to make purchases on mobile apps using their Facebook login information. JackThreads, a men’s clothier, is the pilot partner for the effort.
Advertise Your Facebook Post Within 24 Hours or Don’t Bother
If your brand just posted a status on Facebook, don’t waste time waiting to amplify it with an ad buy. If you don’t do so within 24 hours, you will likely lose a great deal of the engagement and viral impressions that would have been generated by posting earlier according to a new study.
Facebook Partners with Open Table
Facebook this week, announced partnering with OpenTable to allow users to make restaurant reservations through their mobile devices. Starting this week, U.S. users of Facebook iOS and Android apps can visit a restaurant’s Page and book a direct reservation.
Twitter Teams with Viacom to Sell Its Ads to VMA Sponsors
Viacom wants to turn buzz-generating moments from the MTV VMAs into new ad impressions for sponsors and is teaming up with Twitter to make it happen. The two companies are selling packages or Promoted Tweets to five sponsors including Unilever and Pepsi, which will see their brands attached to videos posted to Twitter before, during and after the 8/25 broadcast.
Global Social Media
WeChat Surpasses 100 Million User Accounts Outside China
Messaging service WeChat announced that it has surpassed 100 million registered users outside of China, double the figure from just three months ago, as its International presence grows due to aggressive global marketing. WeChat has already been well-received in Hong Kong, India, Indonesia and Malaysia. In July 2013, it became the most downloaded app in Argentina, Brazil, Italy, Mexico, Philippines, Singapore, Spain, South Africa, Thailand and Turkey.
Facebook Fans Determine Design For Limited Edition Porsche
More than 54,000 Facebook fans became responsible for designing a special edition Porsche 911 Carrera 4S. The social design process happened as a celebration of the German automobile manufacturer reaching 5 million fans on Facebook. After putting features and specifications to a vote, the end result was a Facebook blue 911 with black and white racing stripes. The doors also feature the words “5m Porsche Fans” and an aluminum dashboard displays the phrase “Personally built by 5 million Porsche fans.”
Here are some cool things we read about this past week:
Instagram Looks to Hire D.C. Manager, Become Destination For Political Content
Instagram is now honing its pitch to a new category of celebrity content creators: politicians. Facebook is hiring a Washington D.C. Based political outreach manager to “manage and execute relationships with governments, politicians and political influencers on how best to use Instagram.” The job listing suggests that politics is a major area of focus for Instagram, which still has less than 30 employees. Instagram will join the ranks of Twitter and parent company Facebook who also have employees dedicated to political group/government outreach.
Facebook Cans Another Ad Format
It’s official: Facebook’s “Questions” ad unit for Pages is getting the boot as part of the ad unit massacre announced in June.
YouTube Subscription Channels Off to a Slow Start
Some of the partners for YouTube’s “pilot program” for subscription-based channels, which launched in May, have said that their paid channels are off to a slow start. A total of 29 channels went live as part of the pilot, with partners including Sesame Street, UFC, Nat Geo, PGA, and Magnolia Pictures charging $0.99 or more a month for paid channels that would sit alongside their free videos on YouTube. Despite the struggles, partners are still committed to their YouTube strategies and are using the program as a testing ground.
Facebook is Testing a Feature That can Track Customers’ Physical Movements at Businesses
Facebook has been quietly testing a new feature to help brick-and-mortar businesses engage with customers on their smartphones and give them more insight into customer habits. The idea: encourage users to check-in on Facebook in exchange for access to free in-store Wi-Fi. Users who connect to a network that has Facebook Wi-Fi activated will be automatically redirected to the business’ Facebook Page. They are then prompted to leave a message to let their friends know where they are and what they are doing. But businesses will get more than just a check-in. The new feature only works if merchants have a Meraki wireless router with a free feature called Presence. The routers collect info from smart devices, giving owners location-based performance indicators including capture rate, media visit lengthy, repeat visit rate, total number of visitors and total visits for a given site. Meanwhile, Facebook can collect data on users based on their check-ins, such as where they go and how frequently.
Global Social Media
Facebook Grows Mobile Usage 22% in the UK
The number of people in the UK using Facebook from their mobile devices increased 22% since June last year. Facebook says the average user now logs in 10-15 times per day, while sharing 4.7 billion content items daily. Globally, 751 million people use the platform via mobile device, an increase of 54% from the same time last year.
Mercedes-Benz Taps Top Instagram Shutterbugs for CLA
To promote the the new CLA (gateway luxury sedan), Mercedes-Benz is sending five top Instagrammers on the road. The photographers — chosen for aesthetic, sheer fan numbers and fan engagement — will get behind the wheel of product model Mercedes-Benz CLA’s and take a five day road trip to capture and post their experiences. The photographer that gets the most “likes” during their week, wins a three-year CLA-Class lease. Mercedes isn’t the only auto brand tapping Instagram, Lexus recently amassed 200 Instagram users at Angel Stadium to create an ad for their latest model, while Nissan is asking Instagram users to upload videos and photos of a cutout of the new Versa for the chance to be featured in upcoming ad creative.
It seems that a considerable part of social media marketers change regularly cover photo of their Facebook Pages (this is the big one in the header). And as it is well known, this change is reflected in the fans newsfeed. Let’s take a look at how the fans react to these changes and see the ranking ordered by number of interactions.
Digitas and Curalate examined Pinterest data from more than 120 brands for a study about brand usage of Pinterest. The study was created using statistics from more than 10 million Pinterest pins, comments and likes. Below is an infographic with some highlights being:
Approximately 70% of brand engagement on Pinterest is generated by users
18% of fashion retail brands pin items on Pinterest
The average retail fashion pin by a brand receives about 46 repins
More than 75% of Pinterest engagement for the auto industry is driven by users
For automotive brands, more repins were made on community posting than brand postings
Automotive brands received only three repins on average
That is compared to about the 10 repins that users received for posting automotive products
47% of electronic industry pins were made by brands
To put in context, Instagram has an estimated 40 million new pics uploaded a day
Here are some cool things we read about this past week:
Facebook Adds “What You’re Doing” Status Updates
Facebook users can now express what they are watching, reading, listening to, eating, drinking, or how they are feeling in status updates. For example, if you share that are you are watching Jurassic Park the movie, your post will contain the movie icon and a link to the movie’s Facebook Page. Jurassic Park would then be added to the Movies Section of your Timeline.
YouTube Wins Copyright Battle with Viacom
A federal judge has cleared YouTube of liability for infringing copyright by allegedly hosting tens of thousands of clips of content owned by Viacom. In a decision issued this week, U.S. District Court Judge Louis Stanton ruled that Google’s YouTube was protected by “safe harbor” provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which broadly gives sites immunity when users upload copyrighted material, as long as the sites remove the content upon request. The marks the second time that Stanton dismissed Viacom’s case, which the company filed in 2007.
LinkedIn Launches Major Mobile App Upgrade, Leads with Content
This week, LinkedIn released a considerable upgraded iOS and Android mobile phone app that emphasizes user personalization and brings forward the company’s growing content strategy. Version 6.0 most notably adds a personal newsfeed as the default mode. The app has highly accessible commenting and sharing tools, so that the user can engage in professional conversations while they are occurring. The new app also emphasizes personalization. A slider menu lets the user add shortcuts that access more than half a dozen key LinkedIn activities, such as one’s own groups, people who have viewed your profile, news and your own recent activity. With the release, LinkedIn also emphasized its international reach, reporting that 64% of its members are now located outside of the U.S. The app update expands language support to 15.
Facebook Launches Open Graph Mobile
Facebook this week, unveiled three new products at its Mobile Developer Conference in NYC that will put the company on an even faster track to becoming a mobile first platform. The company announced Open Graph Mobile, which takes Facebook’s social graphing product to the mobile platform for the first time. Facebook also released the latest figures for mobile, which include over 680 million mobile users and the fact that over 81% of iOS apps and 70% of top 100 grossing Android apps integrate with Facebook.
Twitter Looks to Emulate Google with Keyword Ad Targeting
This week, Twitter announced the ability for advertisers to target Promoted Tweets to specific keywords users may include in a tweet. For example, someone might tweet they are hungry and want a burrito. Taco Bell could bid on the words “hungry” and “burrito” to run a Promoted Tweet linking to a coupon code for a free burrito to that user and anyone else whose tweets include those two words. Advertisers can also import keywords they use on other platforms, such as Google’s AdWords.
Facebook Seeks 7-Figure Price Tag for Summer Debut of Video Ads
Facebook is hoping that its hotly anticipated video-ad units can be a more-than-$4-million-dollar a day business out of the gate – if its asking price is met. The social network still hasn’t finalized the format of the video ads, but it’s been shopping the product around the agencies, looking to lock down commitments for the first available units in June or July. While the format of the units isn’t totally nailed down, it is widely assumed that they’ll be autoplay and presented in a video player that expands beyond the main newsfeed. Assuming four daily advertisers will meet Facebook’s asking price – it would be earning more than $4 million daily from the ads.
Global Social Media
UK Leads the World For Twitter Users
A recent survey found that the usage of Twitter is highest in the UK, with 21% of respondents saying they frequently use the service at least once per week. The UK is followed by the U.S. with 18%, Italy with 14%, France with 9% and Germany with 8%.
Crowdsourced Music Video Records Viewers’ Cursors in Real-Time
Rock band Light Light recently collaborated with Amsterdam-based design studio Moniker to create a one-of-a-kind music video. The online video is interactive and allows viewers to participate simply by moving their mouse cursor around the screen. The interactive video is called “Do Not Touch” and is for the single “Kilo.” It invites users to take part by hovering their mouse cursor over certain objects through a set of instructions. The movement of the cursor is recorded in real-time and as more people participate in the experiment, more cursors will appear on the screen each time. Check it out here.
Audi Lets Fans Write the End to the Next Iron Man Comic Book
Audi has partnered with Marvel Entertainment for its latest campaign. The car company is creating a crowdsourced digital comic book featuring Iron Man. The campaign allows fans to decide how the story ends. Users can submit their sketches for the final panel of the comic book and the winning entry will be published. The ‘Steer the Story’ e-comic book features Tony Stark who goes on an adventure in the Audi R8 sportscar prototype. Users can vote for their favorite entry, but the final decision will be made by a panel of judges from Marvel.
Here are some cool things we read about this past week:
Twitter Opens Advertising API
Twitter announced this week that it is opening up its advertising API, enabling a handful of launch partners to build their own tools for creating and managing ad campaigns on the platform. The five launch partners include: Adobe, Salesforce.com (BuddyMedia), HootSuite, Shift and TBG Digital (which is one of Facebook’s biggest ad partners).
Pinterest Valued at $2.5B
Social scrapbooking site Pinterest has secured $200M at the valuation of $2.5B. Pinterest is now worth more than public traded internet companies Zynga, Yelp and Pandora, even though they have yet to generate any revenue.
Facebook to Partner with Acxiom, Epsilon to Match Store Purchases With User Profiles
Facebook is testing out a new kind of ad targeting that will let brands market to users based on what they’ve bought in stores. Facebook is partnering with data giants like Epsilon, Acxiom and Datalogix to allow brands to match data gathered through shopper loyalty programs to individual Facebook profiles, much like it’s done previously with marketers’ customer data from their CRM databases. The targeting would hypothetically enable Coca-Cola to target teenagers who have bought the soda within the last month.
Google Goes Pop With Asian Hangouts
Google has joined forces with Chinese, Korean and Japanese pop stars to promote the Google+ Hangout service via its A-Pop Star Week starting March 8. The artists will answer audience questions via YouTube promotional videos or fans can post queries using Google+ hashtags. Each C-Pop, K-Pop and J-Pop artist will select five people with the most creative questions to participate in personal Hangouts. Google is also rolling out an A-Pop channel which will act as a hub for live streaming concerts from Asian artists.
NBC’s The Biggest Loser Partners With Pinterest for Seconds Screen Content
The Biggest Loser has teamed up with social network Pinterest to provide a second screen experience. This week, the TV show began directing viewers to the Pinterest account for instructional content based on the current episode of the reality show. Show creators also began showing pop-ups on screen to remind Pinterest users to check out healthy recipes that were fed to contestants. Along with show tips, the Pinterest account also includes a “Tips from the Trainer’s” section, which offers matching video on the show’s web page.
Ford Gives Free Cars to Social Media Influencers
Ford kicked off Social Media Week in New York this week with the announcement that it is launching an updated version of its “Fiesta Movement” campaign, supplying bloggers, tweeters and other social media users with a brand new Fiesta for six months, asking them to document the experience. Ford’s head of social media, Scott Monty, said 100 people, including some celebrities, would receive the cars in what he said was a “social remix” of the company’s 2009 campaign.
Here are some cool things we read about this past week:
Facebook Debuts Reusable Gift Card
This week, Facebook introduced a reusable gift card that people can give to friends through the Gifts program for use at four partner companies: Target, Jamba Juice, Olive Garden and Sephora. After receiving a Facebook Card in the mail, subsequent card gifts will be automatically added to the balance for one or more of the participating stores. People can see gift balances in their account settings on Facebook in mobile or on the desktop.
Twitter Rolls Out Updates for Viewing Photos and Videos
Twitter announced several enhancements to the platform to make it easier to view photos and videos. Users can now click a photo from a profile page or in search results to see a larger photo without leaving the page. Media galleries now include videos from Vine, YouTube, Vimeo and other Twitter partners. Also, Tweet pages now let you see more of the conversation related to a Tweet.
Pinterest Introduces ‘News’ Feature to Improve Content Discovery
In place of Pinterest’s activity feed, the company has installed a new tool called “News.” The feed displays boards where you recent pins have been repined, creating a feed of potentially relevant content that users can peruse from their own profiles or those of others. Pinterest is also testing out a new look, aiming to make navigation more intuitive. More on this here.
Foursquare Launches Dedicated iPhone App for Businesses
Foursquare has just launched Foursquare for Business, an app specifically designed for business managers. The new app allows managers to post local updates, view recent visitors and their tips, deactivate/activate specials and track analytics.
YouTube Set To Introduce Paid Subscriptions This Spring
YouTube is prepping to launch paid subscriptions for individual channels on its video platform in its latest attempt to lure content producers, eyeballs and advertiser dollars away from TV. YouTube has reached out to a small group of channel producers and asked them to submit applications to create channels that users would have to pay to access. The first paid channels will cost between $1 and $5 per month. YouTube is also considering charging for content libraries and access to live events, a la pay-per-view, as well as self-help or financial advice shows.
Twitter is Now the Fastest-Growing Social Platform on the Planet
New research suggests that Twitter is now the fastest growing platform on the planet, beating Facebook and Google+ for the top spot. The number of active users on the microblog grew 40% from the second quarter to the fourth quarter of 2012 – equal to 288 million monthly active users. Overall, 21% of the worldwide Internet population now actively uses Twitter on a monthly basis.
Super Bowl Ads That Enlist Viewer Help
Advertisers are finding new ways to get viewers into the game during Super Bowl XLVII, which airs on CBS on Sunday. Some campaigns that enlist viewer help include: Coca-Cola’s ‘The Chase’ (highlighted in last week’s Headlines) asks viewers to vote on the commercial outcome; Pepsi’s Halftime Show (also highlighted in a previous Headlines) asks viewers to upload photos to be featured in a video announcing Beyonce; Toyota asked users to submit photos on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #wishgranted to win a spot on their upcoming Super Bowl ad; Lincoln enlisted the help of Jimmy Fallon to crowdsource road trip stores from Twitter for the commercial storyline; and Audi let users choose one of three possible endings for its Game Day spot through an online vote.
Here are some cool things we read about this past week:
Facebook Single Column Timeline
Facebook has begun rolling out a single-column design for timelines which better organizes users’ persona pages and places greater emphasis on communication between friends. The revamped timeline has gone live for users in New Zealand. All communication from friends and status updates are placed on the left-hand side column only. The left side has been made larger to place a greater emphasis on messages. The right hand side column is now smaller as a result.
Facebook is Testing $100 Charge To Message Non-Friends
Facebook is testing out a feature that charges users $100 to send direct messages to strangers on the social network. When attempting to send a message to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, a notification stated: “You aren’t connected to Mark on Facebook, so your message would normally get filtered to his Other folder.” The notification gives the sender two options “Send this message to his inbox for $100” or “Just send this message to his Other folder.”
New Twitter Search Capabilities
This week, Twitter announced new search capabilities that give it the upper hand as a breaking news source over basically every other news organization. When a new search begins on Twitter, Twitter’s API will send the query to Amazon’s Technical Turk service, where humans categorize it to help make it more relevant to readers. Then Twitter can populate its Discover section with live, topical streams of news.
Recent figures reveal that photo sharing service Instagram has lost almost 50% of its daily users in less than one month. Instagram upset users in December when it attempted to introduce new terms and conditions which suggested it could sell user photos to advertisers. The company quickly backtracked after a massive backlash. Active daily users on Instagram dropped from 16.35 million on December 17 to 8.42 million on January 11.
Global Social Media
Facebook Leads in 127 Out of 137 Countries
Facebook with 1 billion active users has established the leadership position in 127 out of 137 countries analyzed. One of the drivers of its growth is Asia with 278 million users, surpassing Europe with 251 million. North America has 243 million users, South America 142 million, African 52 million and Oceania 15 million.
France Becomes Twitter’s 7th Largest Market
More than 5.5 million French internet users accessed Twitter in November 2012, making a 53% rise in Twitter’s desktop audience. As a result, France is now the seventh largest market for Twitter.
LinkedIn Hits 200 Million Registered Users Worldwide
LinkedIn has announced it has reached 200 million user registrations worldwide – with new users being added at an average rate of two per second. LinkedIn’s membership spans more than 200 countries and territories. The U.S. remains the biggest market, followed by India, the UK, Brazil, and Canada.
Hasbro has launched the “Save Your Token” campaign, to retire either the race car, iron, Scottie dog, wheelbarrow, shoe, top hat, thimble or battleship. The company is letting fans vote on which they want to keep via the Monopoly Facebook Page. The one with the lowest total vote gets retired permanently. Fans can also vote on the replacement toke: a toy robot, helicopter, cat, guitar or diamond ring.
Jaguar North America is prompting users of Instagram to capture the essence of the brand for the chance to be one of the first drivers of the new F-Type model. The automaker is giving users an unlimited amount of entries to the contest and encouraging them to share their images with as many friends as possible. Jaguar USA is spreading the word about the contest via Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram. The #CaptureAJag campaign invites users to submit their Instagram images of a Jaguar vehicle that best shows the spirit of the brand. Jaguar is using the tagline “Your picture. Your chance. Your turn.” Instagram users must tag images with #CaptureAJag as well as “like” the brand on Facebook to enter.
Every week we compile lots of interesting stats here at Fanscape. Here are some of our favorites from this past week:
Dealer.com, DriverSide and GfK Automotive Research partnered to conduct the most extensive study to date on the impact of social media on car buying. Here are some of the highlights:
38% will use social media to research their next vehicle.
37% research a dealership
31% learning about the expected price range
29% learning about vehicle features
28% narrow down brands for consideration
26% find out where to service their vehicle
Social media is also used in discussing post-purchase experiences
You can also watch the video of the results of the survey HERE.
Some of the notable quotes from key industry members include:
“We know that more than 90% of folks are doing their auto research online.” – Jon Brancheau, VP of Nissan marketing at Nissan North America
“Social works best in the upper part of the funnel. That’s not to say there aren’t specific initiatives you can apply in the lower funnel, but we find social is great to build brand consideration with different audiences.” – Carolin Probst-lyer, Manager of Digital Consumer Engagement at Chevrolet
Social Channels / Properties – Twitter
Track Social prepared an analysis on optimizing your performance on Twitter which was discussed recently on Social Media Today. Here are some of the highlights:
Photos outperform text by 91%
But, Photo Tweets only compose 2.3% of all total tweets
By far, the strongest way to generate Retweets is by Retweeting.
This is followed by hashtag
Questions and Captions have the lowest performance for most large brands in the study.
Here are some cool things we read about this past week:
In the News
Facebook Charges Business To Run Offers
The test period for Facebook’s Offers product is drawing to a close: Facebook announced this week that all Pages with more than 400 fans can now seed discounts and promotions through the network – except those that operate in Japan, which will be eligible next week. Merchants are now required to pay at least $5 to run Offers. They will remain free for users to claim.
Twitter Profile Changes
Twitter rolled out a series of design updates aimed to add more personality to member pages. Photos have been brought to the forefront and room has been made for Facebook Timeline cover images. Break down of the new changes: Member profile photos have been moved from the top left to a spot in the center of the page. Users can upload a long horizontal header image that resembles a Facebook cover photo. Existing profile pictures are embedded into the center of the header. Your avatar is no longer tucked into the corner but will be displayed front and center. The photo stream has been moved up and will be accessible on the apps.
Google+ Has 400 Million Members
Google+ has more than 400 million members according to Vic Gundotra, Google’s Senior Vice President of Engineering. Gundotra added that Google+ has almost 100 million monthly active users – if you count the mobile app. Though Facebook is approximately 10 times the size of Google+ in terms of active users, keep in mind that it took Facebook several years to reach 100 million active users. It has taken Google+ 12 months.
YouTube Testing Feature to Quiz You While You Are Watching A Video
YouTube videos may soon be getting a bit more interactive. There’s now a page on the YouTube website describing a feature called “Video Questions Editor Beta,” which is described as a way for “multiple questions to be displayed on top of your video during playback that a viewer can answer.” The beta page does caution that this is just something YouTube is testing: “There is no long term support for the feature and may be removed at any time without notification.”
Global Social Media
LinkedIn Hits 10 Million Registered Members in the UK
LinkedIn has passed a significant milestone in the UK after the professional social network announced that it has now surpassed 10 million registered users in the country. The UK had 3 million LinkedIn members in 2009 and, having hit the landmark figure, it is now the third largest market, behind the U.S and India. London is the most popular location from LinkedIn users, followed by Birmingham, Reading and Edinburgh. The National Health Service is the top represented company – ahead of RBS, BT, HSBC and IBM, while ‘IT and Service’ is the most represented industry. LinkedIn has 175 million members across more than 200 countries. 62% of LinkedIn members are located outside of the U.S. Earlier this year its user base in India hit 15 million.
Chinese Social Network Copies Facebook Timeline
Renren has been a constant shadow of Facebook, which is blocked in China. Now the site has launched something similar to timeline. Renren is even copying the fancy scrolling introduction that accompanied the site’s move to timeline in other parts of the world. Renren has sampled Facebook’s news feed, mobile and profile looks. The website introducing the changes shows things such as the cover photo, profile photo and life events – all Facebook creations.
Local Social Networking in Play for Sears Hometown Stores
Every one of the 1,238 Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores franchisees has a Facebook page that was set up by corporate, but must be administered by the local storeowner. That strategy has let these operators customize their pages with local discounts and events as well as provide a portal for corporate to run national promotions across all of the franchisee pages. Once the page is up and running, owners are encouraged to start building their fan base with “low hanging fruit”; friends and family who will happily share the weekly Friday coupon and other specials to begin viral spread. In store flyers, circulars and emails also alert people to new Facebook pages. The first national promotion that the franchisees are offering on Facebook is the “Sears for Life Video Contest” where customers can upload a 25-second video telling a story about their relationship with Sears. The winners receive a $2,500 Sears gift card and a chance to be featured in a TV commercial. The contest is promoted in multiple ways – storeowners are educated about how to update their timelines and set up a tab for the contest, in-store flyers and handouts are provided, as are press release templates to distribute to local press. The Facebook pages are also selling tools – an e-commerce app likes to Sears.com, which allows the storeowner to greatly expand product offerings beyond his or her store. As an incentive to move business through the app, any order placed through the app triggers a commission code to give owners credit.
Instagram Your Virgin America Experience For 30% Off Flights
Virgin is launching a new promotion highlighting the airline’s passenger “Experience” and will begin to use actual photos snapped onboard any flight. Passengers are being encouraged to take photos onboard Virgin America flights and upload to Instagram – tagging them with #MyVXExperience and sharing to Twitter. Instagram photos will be live-streamed to the NASDAQ board in Times Square. The first 1,000 who participated received a 30% discount code for a Virgin flight.
Obama Camp Launches Social-Media Effort to Motivate Youth Vote
This week, the Obama campaign unveiled “For All,” a campaign initiative designed to engage younger Americans between the ages of 18 and 29. The initiative aims to illustrate the shared values of the President and young Americans across the country. The effort launches on Instagram. Young voters are asked to write a message on their hands, put their hand over their hearts and take a photo, which they will then tweet with the hashtag #forall. There is also a dedicated website for this demographic.
Tom Edwards’ recent iMedia article about the impact of brand integration with video games…
The impact of gaming
Video game culture has evolved and now impacts politics, television, music, and Hollywood more than ever before. The power of the mainstream games market was recently on display on November 17, 2011 when Activision launched its latest entry in the “Call of Duty” series, “Modern Warfare 3.” The release quickly set new sales records with 6.5 million copies sold on launch day and raked in $775 million in sales in just five days.
This figure has beaten theatrical box office, book, and video game sales records for five-day worldwide sell-through in dollars. Once thought to be more of a niche market, gaming has become a part of everyday life with new releases rivaling the biggest summer blockbusters in terms of revenue.
In 2011, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) reported that the average age for a gamer was now 37 years old. This is attributed to more individuals from the first console days adopting the current systems. The ESA also reported that the gender distribution of console gamers shows 58 percent of gamers as male and 42 percent female.
Those numbers flip when discussing casual and social gaming, but equilibrium is close when it comes to reaching both segments. Another telling statistic from the ESA is that 71 percent of people age six to forty-nine in the U.S. played video games, with 55 percent of gamers playing on their phones or mobile devices.
With such reach and engagement potential, brands have capitalized on this cultural shift in many ways. Brands have historically executed many types of gaming programs. Above the line tactics — such as the original 1996 cult classic Chex Quest (based on the Doom engine) — was available as a free CD-ROM on pack to consumers have been a staple of gaming programs.
Below the line tactics such as Adidas billboard displayed in the foreground of the multi-console1994 FIFA International Soccer are now standard in many of today’s sports simulations as are product placements.
Brands have also attempted to capitalize on through the line advergaming such as the recent “Lost Experience” (Based on the show “Lost”) with the likes of Jeep, Sprite, Monster.com, and Verizon integrating traditional and digital programs into the expansive gameplay with the goal of creating immersive digital experiences and campaign extensions brought to you by the brand.
Brands have found innovative ways through the years to create compelling gaming related experiences. Below are five brands that are leveraging different facets of advergaming, social gaming, branded games, and total immersion to reach new audience segments and reward brand enthusiasts.
Jeep has had a long association with gaming over the years. In 1992, they released “Jeep Jamboree” for Gameboy and the titles kept coming.
In 1998, it launched the multi-platform “Jeep Thrills” and then proceeded to produce branded games including a geocaching focused title as well as a fantasy title called “City Bounce.” Jeep definitely understands the reach of the medium.
Jeep’s most recent effort is tied to its current association with Activision’s “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.” Jeep executed an integrated marketing campaign during the pre-release buildup of “Modern Warfare 3” and on November 8 released a special edition Jeep Wrangler titled the 2012 Jeep Wrangler “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” special edition.
The release was also supported by traditional media:
This was the second time they partnered with the Call of Duty franchise, as they released a Black Ops edition in 2011.
By timing the release of the vehicle close to the game release, and driving traditional broadcast, print, innovative OOH, and social media — including a Facebook Jeep-Ops promotion giving away one of the Special Editions — Jeep truly capitalized on the synergy between the “Modern Warfare 3” game and it’s product.
Frito-Lay’s Doritos brand has immersed itself into the gamer community. Having initially showed up as in-game sponsors in the 1999 title, “Jet Moto 3,” Doritos then went on to create Xbox live gamer pics and branded advergames — in addition to executing creative crowd sourcing — proving that the brand has created truly innovative and relevant user driven programs.
My first exposure to Doritos association with Xbox Live was their 2009 “Dash of Destruction” Xbox Live arcade game. It was one of the first branded advergames that also offered real Xbox Live achievement points (200). This proved to be a key driver in the success of the game as Xbox Live achievement points have become incredibly relevant social currency to gamers. As an Xbox Live gamer, your gamerscore affords you status and bragging rights to your peers.
Doritos has also executed a number of promotions tied to Xbox Live and retail activation including their “Halo Reach” campaign, “Honor the Code” — which tied directly with “Halo Reach,” and Mountain Dew which gave away multiple Halo and product related prizes.
In 2010, Doritos held the first Unlock Xbox advergaming competition. This was an incredibly innovative execution as it leveraged the power of gamers to crowd source game ideas that led to two finalists working with Microsoft developers to create what became two new advergames, “Doritos Crash Course” and “Harm’s Way.”
Also In 2010, Doritos partnered with EA Sports for a yearlong “Change the Game” program that covered three phases of the launch of Madden 11.
I recently connected with Chris Erb, vice president of brand marketing at EA Sports, to talk about the Madden 11 program and the partnership with Doritos.
“Doritos has proven to be an incredibly innovative partner. Both brands want to deliver unique experiences that have never been done before. From the first time EA Sports enabled users to vote for the cover of Madden, to the creation of two new promotional flavors of Doritos tied to exclusive Madden content, Doritos has been a great partner for our content.”
The first phase of the program was tied to the “Pick the Cover” program. Doritos partnered with EA Sports to crowd source the cover athlete for Madden 11. Doritos offered specially marked packages with former Madden cover athletes that drove to a Micro-site where the voting occurred. The voters eventually selected Drew Brees for the cover and a dozen winners got to meet with Drew Brees in Times Square.
For the launch of Madden 11, Doritos developed two new promotional flavors of chips, Stadium Nacho, and Tailgater BBQ. This was the first time Doritos created flavors that were truly inspired by the game and the NFL experience. This was also one of the only times a promotional chip ever outsold Nacho Cheese and Cool Ranch. The sales were also driven by exclusive Madden content in each bag.
For the holiday season, Doritos and EA Sports wanted to do something unique for consumers. Prior to shipping the game, EA Sports had built a 3D mode into Madden 11, but the only way to play Madden in 3D was to unlock it from a bag of Doritos.
In August 2011, Doritos and Mountain Dew supported “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” with a 7-11 retail activation by placing a buy one, get one free coupon in each copy of “Modern Warfare 3.” By offering an incredibly relevant incentive — double XP to allow gamers to level up faster in the multi-player mode of “Modern Warfare 3” to double the rate they accrue experience points for a limited period of time — they drove their target users to action. The results, between Mountain Dew and Doritos, over 1.8 million consumers redeemed over 18 million codes.
Doritos truly understands its audience and by partnering with another PepsiCo portfolio brand, Mountain Dew, Doritos has garnered the respect and dollars of gamers.
Oakley products have routinely appeared in popular movies, especially action films. From a gaming perspective, Oakley’s approach has been to embed their products into relevant gaming genres.
Oakley has shown a very strong connection with first person shooters (FPS). In 2010, Oakley’s were worn by special ops operators in the 2010 “Medal of Honor” title.
Recently, two of the heaviest hitters in terms of FPS, “Call of Duty:Modern Warfare 3” and “Battlefield 3” both featured Oakley products as well. Action plus FPS equals Oakley
In “Modern Warfare 3,” every scene with a Delta Force character shows the tan Oakley hard knuckle gloves.
This constant placement leads to millions of impressions as users trying to reach and surpass Prestige status via “Modern Warfare 3’s” multi-player mode are constantly shown the iconic “O” throughout gameplay.
For “Battlefield 3,” Oakley SI assault gloves are worn by the Marine Force Recon throughout the game.
Having a pulse on the latest trends in athletics and relying on editorial endorsement of athlete influencers has been a primary awareness driver for Oakley over the years. This applies to gaming and its sponsored athletes.
A recent example is Shaun White’s snowboarding games. Oakley’s association via product placement is subtle yet expansive as Shaun is one of Oakley’s sponsored athletes and his signature Oakley A Frames grace the cover of his initial 2008 game and Oakley branding is on his board for the 2009 follow-up.
Shaun is sporting his signature Oakley Shaun White A Frames on the cover.
Oakley understands the importance of aligning their products to specific genres that are relevant to their core consumers.
As I mentioned above, brands have been placing real world vehicles into games for years. Note franchises such as “Grand Turismo,” “Forza,” and “Need for Speed.” Toyota even capitalized on a free Xbox Live Arcade game in 2007 with its Yaris model as the central character. This was the first time an advertiser created an Xbox arcade game that was distributed over Xbox Live.
Recently, Hyundai unveiled the Veloster model at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. The very next day you could take the car for a test drive in “Forza Motorsport 4” as free downloadable content.
Not only was the car available in game, Hyundai has also tied an in-game time trials event that awards the winner with the best time with the real car.
Hyundai has also engaged the “Forza” audience with events such as the THR Secret Car Design Contest. The contest allowed “Forza” players to submit their virtual in-game Hyundai-centric custom designs and the winner won a new Hyundai Veloster.
Here is the winning design.
Hyundai also created an iPhone app, “Hyundai Race,” and promoted it via a Times Square event allowing people in New York City to play the game on the LED screen on 47th and Broadway. This was an impressive execution as it incorporated mobile as the central gaming platform and also created a significant amount of buzz for gamers and non-gamers alike.
By executing timely and relevant programs across multiple platforms, Hyundai has begun to establish itself as a brand that understands how to leverage gaming to drive awareness of its real world products.
Coca-Cola is a true powerhouse when it comes to gaming innovation. With partnerships with EA Sports, downloadable content, retail promotions, and even a gaming zone on MSN, Coca-Cola understands how to harness the power of the medium.
Once again, I spoke with Chris Erb, vice president of brand marketing for EA Sports, about his partnership with Coca-Cola and some of the innovative programs that he has executed in partnership with the Coca-Cola Zero brand.
“Coca-Cola proved to a be a great partner for us. EA Sports is a great content supplier and Coca-Cola provides an incredible channel for content distribution. Together over the past four years, we collaboratively worked to provide positive experiences and reward our customers.”
The Coca-Cola Zero brand and EA Sports partnered together to crowd source the cover athlete for NCAA Football 2012 via EA Sports NCAA Football Facebook Page.
The team also partnered with EA Sports and AMC Theaters to drive purchase at a participating theater that would lead to $10 savings on EA Sports NCAA 2012 title plus free shipping on NCAA 12 Football.
EA Sports, Coca-Cola Zero, and Wendy’s partnered together in 2010 to allow users to play the Big Score. This expansion of NCAA Football 10 allowed users to play with customized teams of Coca-Cola Zero and Wendy’s branded teams.
Coca-Cola has been involved with the World Cup since 1978. In 2010, they partnered with EA Sports to build a mode inside the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa game. The mode allowed users to recreate compelling moments as they happened brought to you by Coca-Cola Zero.
Coca-Cola Zero also partnered with EA Sports for a custom black cover of NCAA 12 in addition to sponsoring the online dynasty mode within game.
Coca-Cola has also partnered with publishers to deliver compelling downloadable content for the “Guitar Hero” and “DJ Hero” franchises.
For “Guitar Hero,” Coca-Cola sponsored “My Chemical Romance” DLC that consisted of four songs.
The company also partnered with DJ Tiesto to create a “DJ Hero 2” mix pack that users could gain access to the DLC via http://www.mycokerewards.com/. I personally downloaded the Tiesto mix pack via the mycokerewards site back in 2010 and thought it was a great idea for a brand to sponsor DLC that would normally cost 600 MS points.
In June of 2011, Coca-Cola engaged NASCAR fans with a socially driven trivia game that was featured on both NASCAR.com andYahoo.com which generated over 500,000 total views in June and nearly 20,000 “likes” on Facebook.
Recently, the Coca-Cola Zero Gaming Zone set MSN records with over two million visits. This is an interactive gaming platform that the brand launched across nine European markets in May. Coca-Cola is using gaming as a relevant way to actively engage its core audience of 18 to 25 year-old men. The gaming zone consists of the latest in gaming news, reviews and access to games, quizzes, cheats, and trailers as well as exclusive contests.
With incredible global reach, Coca-Cola understands the importance of compelling programs that add value to gamers while driving brand affinity.
There are many other brands that warrant mention. Nike, Adidas, 7-11, Burger King, Dodge, Reebok, and Sobe have all shown great strides in terms of integrating their product offerings and driving innovation through gaming.
The key is to create programs that truly add value by enhancing the experience and offering incentives that are compelling to the target audience. Social currency, virtual currency, physical, and downloadable products are key elements to driving awareness and engagement in this medium.
Look for me on Xbox 360 — my “gamertag” is TheBlackFin.