Category Archives: The Marketing Arm

2015 SXSW Interactive: 5 Things That Stood Out

Written by: Jake Schneider
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Thanksgiving, SXSW, Halloween.

Those are my favorite holidays, in that order. 2015 marks my 9th year attending the annual conference and as TMA’s resident Austinite, nothing excites me more than hearing the words “Film,” “Interactive,” and “Music” categorized under one event within walking distance of my downtown home.

In years past, I’ve seen the transformative launch of Twitter, watched Kanye perform at the Power Plant – now home to Under Armour Connected Fitness – and taken in many great films and parties.

Last year, while there were still significant highlights like Edward Snowden’s session that I found fascinating, the 2014 version felt bloated and unmanageable.

2015, however, felt like a shift or transition probably aided by the fact that there wasn’t one super strong theme that overpowered everything. This led me to be open to the serendipity that is part of the very soul of SXSW.

With that, here are five things that stood out for me at this year’s conference:

1. Meerkat: If there was a clear winner for 2015 SXSWi, it would be Meerkat. Every single human being at badge pick-up was talking about and using the app that allows you to live stream video directly into Twitter.

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Meerkat was everywhere around Austin. It felt like SXSW activities and experiences were being streamed all over the place.

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Then somehow (perhaps through the Force), Twitter felt the surge of usage and, in realizing they recently purchased a competitive app called Periscope, put Meerkat in a chokehold by cutting its access to their social graph.

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The significance of Meerkat’s emergence this past week is that streaming content is here and it is embraced. This type of channel opens up doors to publishing experiences and helping users and brands become their own networks.

2. Verizon’s #ATXunite: For those Austinites who attend SXSW, the experience is amazing. For those who don’t, it can be downright frustrating, or so I’ve heard. There are three things we love to complain about in Austin: traffic, crowds, and traffic. Verizon took a different route this year with #ATXunite, a social campaign focusing on aiding Austin locals with survival kits featuring everything from Yeti coolers, Bose ear buds, and Philips Hue light bulbs to exclusive lunch experiences at Franklin BBQ just by following and tweeting Verizon and #ATXunite.

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Verizon nailed it with this activation by bringing the serendipitous experience of SXSW to those locals who can’t or don’t attend. Or, in this case, by bringing it to me and my coworker, Zane.

3. Virtual Reality: We are so close. You remember that part in Jamiroquai’s video for Virtual Insanity where Jay Kay, after spending so much time getting further away from the frame, comes as close as possible and stays there to finish the video? That is where I feel we are right now. So close, and from here it is all mainstream. SXSW definitely had its share of VR experiences and installations. From Interstellar’s setup for their Blu-ray release to Google’s Cardboard viewer, VR showed it is ready and the demand showed that we are ready for VR.

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I am, in fact, giddy at the possibilities that VR presents for brand experiences in the entertainment, automotive, fashion, and retail industries.

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There is demand – as you can already pick up Google Cardboard on Ebay.

4. Big Data and Social: Finally Big Data, you have arrived. There were tons of panels on utilizing and the importance of Big Data this year, and rightfully so. Big Data is no longer a nice-to-have, it is a need-to-have. Understanding your audience and gaining that competitive advantage has never been more important to brands. How to make it actionable, how it and Audience Intelligence can work together, how to use it to drive engagement – it was all on display during SXSWi. Audience Intelligence platform People Pattern even made a cool persona infographic on SXSW:3.23-7

5. Curiosity: There were plenty of speakers on hand this year, and the two that stood out most for me both focused on the value of curiosity. The first speaker was TV & Film Producer Brian Grazer, who created Imagine Entertainment with Ron Howard and has created exceptional films like “Backdraft” and “Apollo 13.” Grazer was discussing his book written about his life philosophy of having “curiosity conversations” with different and interesting people every two weeks. He uses these conversations to guide and inspire his work and build relationships.

The second was with Henry Rollins. I’ll be honest: Rollins is a personal inspiration of mine – I was initially just happy to be in the room. He was there attending and promoting his new film, “He Never Died.” Rollins covered his life travels and experiences; however, the gravy was poured when he talked about his life philosophy of how anger fuels his curiosity. The anger is what makes him curious, and the curiosity, in turn, fuels the anger. The result, he states, “makes me want to do stuff and live vigorously.”  I left both of those talks inspired.

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I clearly had better seats for Grazer than Rollins.

SXSW has been a great success for me. For anyone that is considering a future trip, I would highly encourage it. There is something for everyone. You’ll leave here more knowledgeable and inspired.

Follow Jake Schneider @jakeschneider

Extending Virtual Reality at SXSW 2015

Written by: Tom Edwards
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Another year, another SXSW Interactive is in the books. Each year I look to get inspired, reconnect with publishers and 3rd party partners and look for new or incremental innovation that can add value for my clients. This year, one of the areas that caught my attention was the advancement of 3rd party integration and applications tied to virtual reality experiences.

In 2014, one SXSW exhibit in particular received a lot of attention for creating an immersive Virtual Reality Game of Thrones experience courtesy of Oculus Rift. 2015 did have its share of branded experiences tied to Oculus, see Samsung below, but a majority of 3rd parties were focused on showcasing how they create value through integrating VR and mobile devices as they prepare to go to market.

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Samsung – I had the opportunity to experience the Samsung Gear VR headset while at SXSW. The Samsung Gear VR is powered by an Oculus Rift headset that integrates with the Galaxy Note 4. The approach of serving as an extension of an existing device that can scale through various media and applications is the right approach to allow optimal personalization of experiences through devices and media entities that consumers already consume.

The #GalaxyLife VR exhibit was a rich experience that I definitely enjoyed. My tour featured a Mountain Dew branded snowboarding adventure. There are pros and cons to the experience as it was immersive, although the audio was a bit lacking. If you have not tried the core Oculus Rift experience and this was your first foray into VR it is an impressive experience. For the average consumer, consuming media, be it VR cinema, gaming or 360-degree experiences can all be achieved through the Samsung Gear headset.

This type of VR experience is ideal for branded integrations as the experiences are tied to the mobile device and with the right SDK, it is possible to extend immersive content experiences through the Samsung Gear VR.

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Google – One of the more unique takes on a similar premise to the Samsung Gear VR came from Google. Google Cardboard is a simple, inexpensive way to enjoy VR-based experiences through either Android or iPhone devices. When the Google team handed me the device, it was about the size of an iPad Mini. After a few minutes of folding I had an instant VR viewer that I could view media from VRSE or other Google Cardboard supported applications.

As with most things Google, there are Android and Unity SDK’s available to easily integrate Cardboard into existing VR applications to ensure that it is supported. The experience is surprisingly rich and the fact that it is inexpensive and also supports iPhone VR applications is a plus. Google Cardboard is a great tool to introduce younger audiences to enhanced VR experiences. It definitely passed the test with my crew of 12, 10 and 7 years of age. And with the simple design, I am not concerned about how they would handle the device.

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Intel and 3rd Parties – The SXSW Gaming Pavilion featured multiple extensions of the Oculus hardware with various groups working to create new integrations that could bridge the gap between traditional gaming and VR. Intel and CybertronPC showcased one of CybertronPC’s gaming rigs that supported an Oculus experience. This experience drew quite a crowd as onlookers wanted to catch a glimpse of PC gaming + Oculus.

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Another 3rd party that caught my attention was Sixense’s STEM System. This was a Full-Body Presence VR system vs. just an Oculus Visual experience. The system provides motion controls, haptic feedback and additional spatial awareness in the VR experience to create a full-body controlled experience in game. The demo featured a lightsaber duel, think Microsoft Kinect in terms of open-space, body-controlled motion but with a fully immersive Oculus Rift visual experience.

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We are inching closer to mass consumer availability and I have been impressed how much has been developed within a single year. I still have my doubts as to whether or not Facebook’s Oculus Rift based experiences as they exist today will appeal to the mainstream consumer. We are still at the nascent stage of the technology and I do believe that augmented, virtual reality and digital overlays will become a part of our lives as some point in the next 10 years – it just may not be a bulky headset, it may be something as simple as a bionic contact lens.

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I definitely enjoyed playing with the new hardware and look forward to what the future may bring at SXSW 2016.

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

A Very Social Super Bowl

Written by: Hannah Redmond
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A Very Social Super Bowl
As told by SNICKERS social strategists Hannah Redmond and Rita Mogilanski 

Super Bowl 49 was the most social Super Bowl ever. More than 65 million people talked about the game on Facebook and there were 24.9 million posts on Twitter during the game.

Brands are realizing that social media can’t be an afterthought when planning for the big game, but rather social needs to be a central part of the brand’s marketing and communications strategy.SB Post 1

The SNICKERS social team planned for the big day by working closely with partner agencies to plan a cohesive, 360 strategy with multiple touch points. As an official NFL partner and a brand with a Super Bowl commercial, it was imperative that we make the most of the moment. 

Pre-Game
  • Predictive and Strategic Research: No brand should wait for a “moment” to jump into the conversation on social media; rather they should arrive at game day prepared.SB Post 2
    The social analytics team at Fanscape came armed with information to help inform their social participation strategy, with items including Super Bowl trends from past years, SNICKERS social trends, and a list of brands to monitor. This information was necessary to prepare game day content and help find real-time opportunities during the game.
  • Rally To Release: The SNICKERS social team worked to help promote the Super Bowl trailer that was released on January 21. Our strategy was based around creating awareness and excitement around the campaign. We wanted to make sure we got fans involved in the process, so we asked them to like, comment, share, view the teaser, or use the official hashtag #EatASNICKERS to encourage SNICKERS to release the full Super Bowl spot before game day. After receiving over 2.5 million engagements, the full commercial was released 4 days before the game.

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Game Day
  • Social Media Command Center: A social media command center is the best way to track all the game day activity and manage outgoing content. The SNICKERS social team gathered several essential players, including an analyst to identify opportunities and measure and track success, a content and creative team to ideate when “real-time” opportunities presented themselves, an account team to push through client communications, and a community manager to keep a pulse on the community.SB Post 7
  • Real-Time Engagement: After creating a game time strategy and plan based on research and insights, SNICKERS focused on interacting with brands, fans, and media on Twitter during the game. We inserted the brand voice into the social conversation where relevant, while promoting the Super Bowl spot and NFL partnership.SB Post 8
Results
  • The most successful SNICKERS tweets were timely and relevant, which is a testament to the planning and strategic partnerships that were in place
  • The SNICKERS Super Bowl commercial was the 2nd most shared spot on social media
  • SNICKERS ranked #9 in the top 10 ads based on digital activity
  • SNICKERS was in the top 5 brands ranked by digital share of voice

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Learnings and Recommendations
  • Include Social Media as Part of 360 Planning
    Super Bowl planning, including creating a cohesive content strategy, communications plan, and creative elements, takes months. Social media elements should be injected into each part of planning, since Super Bowl has become such a “social moment.”
  • Involve Consumers
    Brands that foster consumer involvement earn more shares and a higher share of voice on social media. Whether it is part of the core campaign (like Doritos Crash the Super Bowl) or an activation that brings in or acknowledges fans during the game day conversation (like McDonalds), it is an increasingly important part of marketing during the Super Bowl.
  • Conduct Social Research Beforehand
    Don’t wait for a “moment” to chime in on social media. Arrive at game day prepared with conversation metrics and relevant topics from previous years, as well as have already investigated upcoming campaigns from competitors and general advertisers in the space. Making note of what has previously resonated with fans and seeing how other brands are implementing strategy based on their own research can help prepare and preplan content and ways to get into the upcoming social conversation.
  • Be Present on Game Day
    A social media “command center” is more than just multiple computer screens monitoring various hashtags. It is important to create a core team with specific roles to play on game day:

    • An analyst to help identify content opportunities and measure and track success;
    • A content team (including creative) to ideate when a “real-time” opportunity presents itself;
    • An account team to help push through client communication;
    • A community manager to keep a pulse on the trending topics and brand community conversation.

Each team member plays an important and deliberate role and together they drive success.

Overall, whether brands have an ad in the game or not, there are ways into the Super Bowl social conversation – by finding an angle that makes a brand relevant. Keeping these four elements in mind when creating this angle will set teams up for success.

 

Hannah and Rita are on the SNICKERS social team at TMADE.

Sources:

Reuters
AdAge
AdWeek
Twitter
Facebook
MediaPost
MarketingLand
Portada-online

 

Headlines & Stuff

Written by: Christy Wise
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Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

Facebook and Twitter Lock Horns in Post-Super Bowl Battle of the Statistics
Facebook and Twitter released a barrage of data this week to claim the title of most popular social network for spectators watching the Super Bowl. Facebook boasted that 65 million people chimed in about the game. Twitter reported 28.4 million game-related tweets, compared with 24.9 million last year.  Facebook claimed that 676,000 people per minute commented or liked someone’s comment after the game-ending interception. On Twitter, the same play generated a surge of 395,000 tweets per second.

Twitter Launches Vine Kids
Twitter recently created its first child-friendly app – Vine Kids.  The main feature is the same, six-second looping videos, but the focus is clearly for children with animated characters leading them through the experience.

Nielsen Pitching New ‘Tweets Per Impression’ Metric to Entertainment Marketers
Nielsen has begun engaging movie studios and TV networks on a new metric — tweets per impression (TPI) — that gauges the social impact of entertainment marketing efforts. TPI maps the number of impressions a commercial has on TV against the number of tweets referencing that particular impression just minutes after the commercial airs.  While TPI isn’t limited to the entertainment industry, there has been significant interest from studios, which can adjust their TV advertising plans in real time based on input from the metric.

Tweets Will Return to Google Search
Twitter has reached a deal with Google to add tweets back to Google’s search results later this year. Google previously had to crawl Twitter’s site for tweets, but now the company will provide the data directly to the search engine. As part of the new arrangement, tweets will appear in search results as soon as they are posted.

Twitter Expands Promoted Tweets
Twitter has announced plans to expand Promoted Tweets beyond its own borders. Flipboard and Yahoo Japan have signed on as the first platforms to participate in Twitter’s newly syndicated ad network.  Twitter’s syndicated ads will be seen by users within Twitter content sections on third-party properties, as well as within third-party content areas.

Global Social Media

China Tightens Its Grip on the Internet
Over the last two weeks, China has been further tightening its grip on the Internet, blocking several tools that allow users inside the country to escape and circumvent what’s popularly known as the “Great Firewall of China.” Some popular Virtual Private Networks were the latest victims of the censorship system, with many reportedly unable to use them to connect to censored websites.  Though China has always been aggressive in trying to control the Internet, this new crackdown is seen as unprecedented.

Noteworthy Campaigns

Gap Debuts Love Story ‘Micro-Series’ on Instagram
Following Gap’s noirish brand campaign from David Fincher, and quirky holiday ads directed by Sofia Coppola, the brand has launched a “micro-series” on Instagram to promote its spring collection.  “Spring is Weird” is a 12-part love story starring actor Paul Dano and “Marcel the Shell” creator Jenny Slate. The 15-second episode will roll out each week on Gap’s Instagram account. The story will also be featured on dating websites and apps. Followers of #APerfectFit will also get special offers for trying the brand’s form-fitting “Resolution Denim” featured in the series.

Just When You Thought You Knew Everything About Hashtags…

Written by: Rita Mogilanski
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You may be surprised to learn that there are very specific and different rules for using hashtags on each social platform. This red, yellow, and green guide will explain how lenient and indulgent one should be when including hashtags in a post.

  • Red = Steer clear of using hashtags
  • Yellow = Use hashtags sparingly
  • Green = Go hashtag crazy.

FB logo Facebook
Red. Stop. Move away from “shift” and “3” keys. Hashtags should not be a priority on Facebook. When applicable, tag a partner page instead of using a hashtag. Hashtags should only be implemented when it complements a call to action as part of a larger, cross-platform campaign.

Twitter logo Twitter
Yellow. Twitter is the birthplace of hashtags and still their most natural home. Tweets with hashtags get two times more engagement than tweets without, and 55% more retweets. However, using MORE than two hashtags in a tweet actually decreases engagement by 17%, so use them wisely.

YouTube logo YouTube
Green. Feel free to go hashtag crazy. Hashtags (in the tagging section) on videos are important for search and discoverability. Use at least 3 tags on videos to increase the likelihood that users will find your content.

GPlus logo Google+
Yellow. Like YouTube, Google+ is a platform that is important for search. Google will automatically tag certain posts with relevant and popular hashtags. Hashtags can also be added to comments on a post. It is often good practice to tag or add search terms used for paid SEO and webpage strategies on Google+ posts as well. Use one or two hashtags that will help users discover content.

Instagram logo Instagram
Green. Instagram is home to #ThrowbackThursday, #TransformationTuesday, and other alliterations that allow users to post baby pictures. #There #seems #to #be #a #hashtag #epidemic #on #Instagram, but believe it or not, these people have the right idea. Hashtags are the primary way to find and browse new content on Instagram, and data has shown that interactions are highest on posts with 11+ hashtags. While over-hashtagging is distracting and considered poor etiquette, do not hesitate to include as many hashtags as are relevant to the post to increase discoverability.

Tumblrlogo Tumblr
Green. Like YouTube, hashtags are hidden on the back-end on Tumblr. This allows users to post more hashtags that cover all the aspects of the content. Use 9-12 terms that are both specific and general to completely represent the post content and the interests of the audience. Just remember that only the hashtags that are entered into the tag section will be clickable and searchable.

Pinterest logo Pinterest
Red. Believe it or not, hashtags may harm the reach of content on Pinterest. Clicking a hashtag will actually take you away from the content on the page, and to a list of all posts using that hashtag. This means that you will end up driving users to a list of other similar brands and competing content. Keywords, without a hashtag attached, are a better way to label content and help users discover it.

Vine logo Vine
Yellow. Like Instagram, hashtags are really the main way to find content, and like Twitter, Vine features trending hashtags and topics. It is best to include any and all relevant hashtags, but over-hashtagging isn’t proper etiquette. #DoItForTheVine

LinkedIn logo LinkedIn
Red. LinkedIn is unique in that the platform does not support hashtags at all. They are not clickable or searchable. A hashtagged word will just show up as normal text, and what good is a pound sign if doesn’t automatically hyperlink? Steer clear.

Headlines & Stuff

Written by: Christy Wise
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Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

Facebook to Make Sure the Right People See Publishers’ Posts
Facebook unveiled new tools this week to give publishers a better shot at making sure people on Facebook see their stories. One tool lets publishers target their Facebook posts at a subset of their fans interested in certain topics. Another lets publishers put an expiration date on their posts so that timely stories don’t pop up in people’s feeds after the timely event has passed. A third tool called Smart Publishing identifies a story that a lot of people are linking to on Facebook and, for publishers who opt-in, posts it in the news feeds of people who like that publisher’s Facebook page.

Facebook Adds Call to Action Buttons to Its Pages
This week, Facebook announced seven “call to action” buttons for Pages. Page admins can now select one of seven buttons that use verbs to attempt to get user conversion and appear on the top of the cover photo. The options are Book Now, Contact Us, Use App, Play Game, Shop Now, Sign Up, Watch Video.  Dollar Shave Club has been trying the buttons and said that adding “Sign Up” converted 2.5x more users than previously.

YouTube Offering Its Stars Bonuses
Google’s YouTube is racing to lock up its top stars as rival online video services court them aggressively. Facebook and video startup Vessel, among others, have tried to lure YouTube creators to their services in recent months.  In response, Google is offering some of its top video makers bonuses to sign multiyear deals in which they agree to post content exclusively on YouTube for a time before putting it on a rival service. Bonuses are tied to how well videos perform.

Instagram has 300 Million Monthly Users
Instagram announced this week that 300 million people check out the photo-sharing service each month. That’s up from 200 million nine months ago and 100 million in February 2013. There are however, a lot of fake and spam accounts and Instagram has begun deleting them. This means that some Instagram users may see the number of people following them shrink. Instagram will also start authenticating real accounts, starting with brands and public figures.

Global Social Media

Google News to Shut Down in Spain Over  ‘Google Tax’
Google said this week that it will shut down its Google News service in Spain to prevent publishers’ content from appearing on it – ahead of a new law requiring the company to pay Spanish news organizations for linked content or snippets of news. The law goes into effect January 1 and is nicknamed “Google Tax.” The move marks the first time globally that Google will shutter Google News.

Noteworthy Campaigns

General Mills Revives French Toast Crunch in Latest Nostalgia Play
General Mills is now reviving a cereal brand that had its heyday in the late 1990s. The company has announced that French Toast Crunch, launched in 1995 and discontinued in the U.S. in 2006, is now back in some U.S. stores and will be available nationwide again as of January. It seems U.S. fans of the cereal have continued to ask General Mills to bring it back – creating a petition and a Facebook Page dedicated to the cause. Some consumers have even paid big bucks to have boxes of the cereal shipped to them from Canada, where it continues to be sold. The company has responded to requests and launched a marketing campaign in support of the revival. The new campaign includes a 30-second spot, digital video, a new website, and Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter accounts featuring Miss Cleo, known for her telephone psychic services on TV during the ’90s. News about the brand’s comeback is also generating buzz through the hashtag #frenchtoastcrunchisback.

Headlines & Stuff

Written by: Christy Wise
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Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

Facebook Launches New Places Directory to Rival Yelp
Facebook has quietly launched a new Places Directory, which lets you search for the best destinations in cities across the world. The results are ranked by user ratings and show comments from friends and others in your Facebook network.

Social Spend Will Double by 2018
Social media advertising spending will more than double in just five years, according to a new forecast from BI Intelligence. The group predicts social ad revenues will jump 40 percent from $6.1 billion in 2013 to $8.5 billion this year and 195 percent to almost $14 billion in 2018. Factors driving this growth: increased reach, improved targeting, improved measurement capabilities, and the rapid expansion of programmatic buying options.

Twitter Announces Several New Features
During Twitter’s Analyst Day event, the company promised to launch new services including new messaging, video creation, and content curation features in the coming months. The goal is to make the social network more engaging to new and existing users. Some of the new features announced include: Timeline Highlights, Instant Timeline, breaking news alerts, real-time video editing and sharing (native Twitter video), improvements to private messaging, and more stand-alone apps.

Facebook Debuts ‘Say Thanks’ Video Feature
Facebook launched a new feature called “Say Thanks” that helps users create “video cards” for friends and family. To create the cards, Facebook automatically combines content featuring users and the person they’ve chosen to commemorate. Users can then edit that content and choose from different card themes before sharing them.

YouTube Unveils Music Streaming Service
YouTube launched its new music streaming service this week. Music Key will be ad-free and begin on an invite-only basis with a promotional subscription price of $7.99 per month — discounted from $9.99. YouTube is also adding a music-focused tab that includes favorites and recommended playlists. YouTube’s Music Key also includes a subscription to Google Play Music.

Global Social Media

The Countries Where Facebook Censors the Most Content
As Facebook expands, countries are increasingly interested in making content on the social network disappear. Censorship on Facebook increased 19 percent between the first six months of 2014 and the last six months of 2013. But censorship isn’t distributed evenly. Some countries are more trigger-happy than others. India leads the list with 4,900 pieces of content restricted. Turkey and Pakistan follow closely with 1,800 and 1,700 “pieces of content” removed. Facebook only restricts content when it is “illegal under local law.”

Noteworthy Campaigns

JetBlue Launches Fly It Forward
JetBlue Airways recently introduced a new program called “Fly It Forward” that enables customers to spread goodness from one to the next. The program is inspired by the airline’s crew members and is carried on by customers passing along one ticket on a continuous journey throughout the JetBlue network. To celebrate the launch, JetBlue released a video featuring the first four fliers to participate in the program. The video also calls for the public to submit their own nominations for deserving travelers. Consumers can follow stories as they unfold at jetblueflyitforward.com and help write the next chapter by submitting their own entry through Twitter using #FlyItForward.

Headlines & Stuff

Written by: Christy Wise
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Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

Twitter Introduces Audio Cards
This week, Twitter announced that it is introducing a new type of Card to your timeline: the Audio Card. The new tool lets you listen to music and podcasts directly from your timeline. The first Audio Cards will be shared by a small group of partners including NASA, David Guetta, and the White House.

Social, Digital Brands Lead 2014 Loyalty Index
Apple, Amazon, Whats App, Google, YouTube, and Kindle are the top dogs in consumer loyalty this year. In Brand Keys’ 2014 Loyalty Leaders List, an annual survey that gauges how connected consumers feel to 721 brands in 65 categories, 36 of the top 100 are new brands. Most new arrivals are around social and digital, including tablets, smartphones, and social networks. The only non-digital or non-social brand that rated in the top 20 was Dunkin’ Donuts.

Facebook Stickers are Now Available in Comments
Facebook expanded its stickers feature to comments on Timeline, Groups, and Event posts. Stickers, which are Facebook’s emoji-like icons, have been available within Messages and in the Messenger app for some time, but were not available elsewhere. Stickers in comments will work the same way – users begin with only a few stickers but can get more from Facebook’s in-app Sticker Store.

Google is Testing Video Chat with Real Doctors
Google has confirmed that it is testing a system that would offer video chats with doctors to people whose search terms involve medical symptoms. Google is paying for the feature while it’s in the testing phase. It is likely that it would be a paid feature if it is rolled out to the public at large.

Global Social Media

Global Millennials Share Ideas and Desires
According to the first-ever global “Cassandra Report,” millennials share attitudes about commerce, brand preferences, and life goals regardless of where they are in the world. The study argues that millennials are a world demographic (Global Y’s), representing half the population on earth. Seventy percent of global millennials surveyed said that they use social media as a source of news on current affairs. Seventy-five percent said that traveling the world is an important life goal. Thirty-eight percent said that they prefer to communicate with pictures instead of words (cue Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat).  This global group is three times as likely to wear socially conscious brands over luxury brands, and 40 percent are willing to pay more for products/brands that are eco-friendly (especially in China and India).

Noteworthy Campaigns

McDonald’s Launches Transparency Campaign
In an effort to gain more trust from consumers, McDonald’s is launching a transparency program called “Our food. Your questions.” The move comes as the chain battles sliding sales and works to improve perception about McDonald’s food quality, particularly among millennials.  As part of the effort, McDonald’s has dedicated a section of its website to the campaign, as well as a video series featuring former MythBusters co-host Grant Imahara as he visits multiple suppliers for the chain. In addition to the company’s website, the videos will appear on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.  McDonald’s will respond to questions with behind-the-scenes webisodes and other social content that will provide facts on ingredients, how food is made, and how it’s prepared.