Tag Archives: amazon

Amazon Launches ‘Home Services’ To Take the Guesswork Out of Booking Goat Grazing Services

Written by: Rita Mogilanski
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Amazon recently launched Home Services, a portal that allows users to find, schedule, and purchase professional services through Amazon. The services that are currently provided include appliance repair and installation, home cleaning, music lessons, iPhone repair, and so much more (including Goat Grazing).

Why Use Amazon?

Amazon handpicks the service providers to assure quality by performing background checks and verifying insurance and licenses. They remove most of the risk associated with choosing domestic help by suggesting only verified vendors and giving customers standardized, prepackaged prices. Amazon will match prices if customers find a lower price for the service provider elsewhere, and you are only charged after the service is completed.

4.1-1This service will prove helpful for users making purchases that need installation. When shopping for an air conditioner, I was served a link to book a professional to install the appliance. This seamless integration relieves much of the stress around installing major appliances. Consumers already trust Amazon and will be willing to go with the professional services the platform recommends to expedite the process.

4.1-2
How is it Changing the Industry?

Other similar platforms like Angie’s List and Yelp provide users with trustworthy reviews. Unlike Angie’s List, there is no membership fee for Amazon, and unlike Yelp, you can book directly through the site. Competing platforms may choose to increase the services they provide to be more robust in order to compete with Amazon’s one-stop shop experience.

TaskRabbit, which is a platform that provides services very similar to Amazon Home Services, has partnered with Amazon in such a way that allows Amazon users to hire fully-vetted “Taskers,” or TaskRabbit’s service providers, through Amazon.

Small businesses that rely on the local community may feel the pressure of competition from businesses listed on Amazon. For professional services looking to get their business on the website, they can apply here. Businesses pay Amazon a portion of the profits, and Amazon handles payments and customer complaints and issues, taking some of the stress off the professionals as well as the customers.

If you’re looking to take the risk and guesswork out of booking professional help, Amazon Home Services is a great tool. They are currently making life easier for customers and small business owners in most major US cities. For similar platforms, however, the competition just got real.

Image: Amazon.com

Image: Amazon.com

 

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.

Headlines & Stuff

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

Ello – the Anti Facebook
You may have already heard about Ello, the ad-free, invite-only, independent social network that has gone viral over the past week. The site has gained a reputation as being the ‘anti Facebook.’  Several reports have linked the rise of Ello to a recent firestorm caused by Facebook’s real name policy (Ello lets users use any name they choose).  The site is a cross between Twitter and Tumblr – users can post status updates, photos and GIFs, and comment on their friends’ posts.  Ello is receiving anywhere between 4,000 and 30,000 requests an hour for access to the site.  As noted by our own Tom Edwards here, one of the more attractive features of Ello is that the site promises not to sell your data to third parties. Could this be the next big thing? Or just a passing fad?

Twitter is Working on Its Own Native Polling Tool
Twitter is working on a new set of interactive Cards that would allow people to run polls natively across its social network. One key advantage of this offer is the ability for users to interact without being redirected away from Twitter, which would likely improve engagement rates with any polls.

Amazon Adds Twitter Product Tweets to Wish List
Amazon introduced #AmazonWishList this week, allowing customers to add items to their Amazon Wish List without leaving Twitter. Users can reply to any tweet that contains an Amazon product link with #AmazonWishList to add the product to their wish list.

Pinterest Lets Brands Target Ads to Existing Customers
Pinterest is working on a way for advertisers to target people in a brand’s customer database – like the consumers on an email subscription list – with ads on the site. The company is also building a measurement tool so that marketers can credit their ads on Pinterest with the purchase people make on a brand’s e-commerce site.

Twitter Tempts Studios with Targeted Ads
Twitter wants to help Hollywood studios reach moviegoers at precisely the right moments. With a soon-to-debut service, studios will be able to serve ads to Twitter users who have followed the accounts of specific movies, as well as users who have tweeted about particular movies in the past.

Global Social Media

Russia Orders Facebook, Twitter, and Google to Register as Social Networks — or be Blocked
Russia’s communications regulator has ordered Facebook, Twitter, and Google to join a register of social networks or face being blocked in Russia. By registering as “organizers of information distribution,” companies agree to store data about their users’ communications on servers in Russia, or pay a fine of 50,000 Russian rubles ($13,000). Companies that fail to register within 15 days of a second order from the regulator can be blocked in Russia.

Noteworthy Campaigns

Will Ferrell’s Video Game Battle to be Live-Broadcasted on Twitch for Charity
Will Ferrell’s SuperMegaBlastMax Gamer Challenge, hosted on Indiegogo, will allow one lucky winner and guest the chance to travel to San Francisco to play Will Ferrell for two hours on October 26. It will be hosted online on video game streaming platform Twitch. The winner will also get other contest-related gear, as well as a tour of Twitch’s headquarters.  In order to quality for the drawing to play Will Ferrell, you have to donate $10. All proceeds go to the nonprofit charities Cancer for College and Donate Games. With a goal of $375,000, the campaign is currently just over of $100,000 and has 12 days left.  If donors give more than $10 they can receive additional prizes, like exclusive sunscreen, t-shirts, hoodies, and a custom skateboard. Higher donation amounts also get more entries toward the grand prize.

Headlines & Stuff

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

YouTube has added new real-time reporting to its analytics dashboard that provides view counts down to the minute for your videos.  The new report is available for channels, groups with less than five videos, and content owners.

 

More changes are coming to Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm. When deciding which posts to show to which users, the social network will now give greater consideration to timeliness and activity-based relevancy. Facebook explains: “There are some instances where a post from a friend or a Page you are connected to is only interesting at a specific moment, for example when you are both watching the same sports game.” Users will now be more likely to see “trending” stories in their News Feed – but only after a “friend” expresses interest in such a story. Early testing showed that this change led to a 6% increase in post engagement.

 

YouTube this week announced that it will begin footing the bill for new videos from some of its top creators. The move is intended to help its homegrown stars produce high-quality content for their millions of fans.  More than 1 billion viewers visit YouTube every month, and daily watch time is growing at 50% annually.

 

Twitter released an internal study this week that found networks and studios that live-tweet during their popular programming can dramatically boost followers and Twitter mentions. Posting from a show’s Twitter handle, like @GameofThrones, increases total Twitter conversations by 7% during television premieres. Having a show’s cast members live-tweet is even better – increasing total tweets by 64%.

Global Social Media

Mobile commerce continues to grow exponentially in Asia. For retail marketers, that means they must develop an effective and transactional mobile presence. China is leading the way when it comes to mobile retail. A whopping 94% of those surveyed own a smartphone and regularly use it to make purchases, redeem coupons, and send gifts.

Noteworthy Campaigns

In the ’90s, Coca-Cola had a “fully-loaded citrus soda with carbos” called Surge. Internally it was developed under the moniker “MDK” or “Mountain Dew Killer.” Unfortunately that wasn’t the case, and the product didn’t last more than a couple of years. But, the soda is making a comeback (a reSURGEnce? Get it? Get it?) thanks to a Facebook campaign called “The Surge Movement,” which has 150,000 followers. Based on the demand, Coca-Cola decided to reinstate the product, selling it exclusively through Amazon at $14 for a twelve-pack (yet another sign that CPG brands are seeking more online sales). Within hours the first batch of Surge sold out.

Headlines & Stuff

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

Pinterest this week launched its first global business tool in 31 languages that analyzes pinning behavior in profiles and boards. The platform will allow users to search and find specific metrics on profiles, common interests, impressions, highest-performing pins generating social actions, and more. The company’s analytics team worked with “sets” of translators to support local users worldwide.

 

Instagram has launched a new mobile video app featuring tools like tracking shots and time-lapse shooting. The new Hyperlapse app features stabilization technology for creating smooth time-lapse videos, even while in motion.

 

Amazon is taking direct aim at YouTube as the e-commerce giant acquires video-streaming service Twitch for $970 million in cash. YouTube had reportedly been in talks to buy Twitch, whose ad-supported service lets people stream live video of their video game play.

 

Advertisers can now target their Facebook ads based on how strong someone’s phone signal is when they visit the social network. That means advertisers can limit data-heavy ads like video to people with 4G connections and run light-bandwidth text ads for those on 2G connections.  In other Facebook ad news – the company recently expanded event ads to mobile and desktop newsfeed.

 

Twitter recently rolled out an updated analytics dashboard to marketers and verified users. It is now making these same analytics available to all users.  The dashboard lets users see how many impressions each tweet has received, the number of favorites, how many times users have clicked on their profiles, and the number of retweet and @replies.  In other Twitter news, the company has launched a training program for agencies called Flight School, which aims to familiarize marketers and advertisers with the service and help them keep abreast of new features.

 

Global Social Media

Nearly 86%  of Australian mobile customers plan to engage in mobile commerce in the next 12 months, an increase of 11%  over 2013. The rapid growth in smartphone adoption in Australia is creating a new wave of consumer behavior that is changing the mobile landscape. The average Australian mobile user consumes 6.7 hours of media per day, with mobile almost surpassing television in terms of time spent.  Around 55% of mobile web customers now use mobile as either their primary or exclusive means of going online, an increase from 40% in 2013.  Also noteworthy – around 55% of mobile users in Australia are now as comfortable with mobile advertising as they are with television or online advertising.

Noteworthy Campaigns

Leveraging Instagram “likes” for dollars,  Nordstrom and Target have launched Like2Buy platforms that look like Instagram and act like Instagram, but link photos directly to product pages on the retailer’s site to initiate a purchase. Instagram has 200 million engaged users who share roughly 60 million photos daily. Curalate, the company that built Like2Buy, and other social platforms are trying to comb through this data to present brands with social engagement metrics that can be interpreted into real-life sales leads.

Headlines & Stuff

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

Uber Extends Ride Service to Other Apps
Want an Uber rider to go with that grande latte? Through the Starbucks app – and a small group of other third-party apps — people can now request a car without having to download the Uber app. The new feature comes as a result of the ride-sharing company releasing an API that lets developers add Uber features to their apps. Besides Starbucks, other initial partners include Expensify, Hinge, Hyatt, OpenTable, TripAdvisor, and United Airlines.

News and Ads to Debut on Snapchat
Snapchat has held talks with advertisers and media companies in recent weeks about a service called Snapchat Discovery that would show content and ads to Snapchat users.  According to sources, this new service is set to debut in November.  At least a dozen media companies, including newspapers, magazines, and television networks, are said to be on board. The product would let users read daily editions of publications, as well as watch video clips of TV shows or movies by holding down a finger on the screen (like they do with regular messages on the platform).

Google is Planning to Offer Accounts to Kids Under 13
Google plans to offer accounts to children under 13 for the first time. Accounts on Google services like Gmail and YouTube are not officially offered to children currently, but Google is hoping to establish a new system that lets parents set up accounts for their kids and control their usage.

Twitter Timeline Changes
Twitter recently began adding tweets to your timeline that have been favorited by people you follow. The decision is a controversial one, but it looks like it’s here to stay. Twitter has now officially changed its definition of your home timeline to note that it will add content that it thinks you will want to see.

Instagram Launches Analytics Tools
Starting this week, Instagram will begin letting some marketers check out how their posts are performing in real-time, including more detailed measurements, accompanied by a new tool to collaborate on creative with Instagram’s team. The new tools will initially only be available to current and previous Instagram advertisers, but they will be extended to more advertisers later this year.

Vine Adds Mobile Features
Vine is now letting users upload video via their mobile devices, while making it easier to actually capture and edit video. People can now dip into their camera rolls and use existing videos they’ve recorded for Vines. Vine says more than 100 million people now watch video on its platform every month. Loops play more than a billion times every day.

Global Social Media

In Mexico, Internet Users are Young, Use Mobile Devices, and Like Facebook
Three factors stand out in a study and analysis of Internet use in Mexico: young people are the most active users, the device of choice is mobile, and the most popular destinations are social networks. The study by comScore found that one of every four Internet pages was viewed in Mexico on a smartphone or tablet, and that the country had the second largest Internet audience in Latin America. (Brazil is first.)  Mexico also has the highest mobile penetration in the region, with Android being the most common OS.  Also, social media has the highest reach in Mexico. At 98.3% it beats every other country, whereas the global average is 85.4%.  The top five social media sites include Facebook, YouTube, Taringa, Slideshare, and Twitter.

Noteworthy Campaigns

Newcastle Asks for Fan Photos, Which It Promises to Photoshop Poorly Into Terrible Ads
Newcastle just launched a new hashtag campaign #NewcastleAdAid, in which it’s asking for fan snapshots  — and promises to use the wonders of Photoshop to turn them into really shoddy-looking ads.  The brand claims that it must use low-cost, user-generated content because it blew its marketing budget on celebs for their Super Bowl and Fourth of July campaigns.  Check out the campaign video here.

Greenpeace Targets Amazon and Twitter in an Effort to Clean Up the Web
Greenpeace has launched a new online video campaign featuring Reggie Watts to pressure tech players including Amazon and Twitter to get more of their energy from renewable sources such as solar, wind, and hydro power.  The ClickClean campaign follows an April report from Greenpeace that found little progress from Amazon and Twitter toward using renewable energy to power their data centers.  The initiative, which will include paid social media ads, aims to be humorous and positive, though it is a step toward further escalation — including boycotts and protests by the group. Check out the video here.

Headlines & Stuff

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

Facebook introduced a new feature this week called Save that lets people bookmark links, photos, and videos shared on the social network and check them out later. After users save a post on Facebook, they can pull up a new “Saved” tab to view their stockpile of time-delayed content. People will be able to save ads from their news feeds and posts from brands’ Facebook pages, like any other content on Facebook.  Advertisers will not (yet) be able to target ads to people who save ads or page posts.
Reddit’s live thread feature has been rolled out to all users. Reddit live is the site’s first project that exists primarily outside of the subreddit system that the site uses to organize topics, links, and comments.  The project had been in “semi-open beta” for a few months, and generated popular, long-running threads on Syria and Ukraine, as well as numerous smaller ones around topics like Twitch Plays Pokemon.
Expanding its native ad strategy, LinkedIn is now giving brands the ability to personalize and test content in the newsfeed without having to originate posts on their LinkedIn Company Page.  Dubbed “Direct Sponsored Content,” the service represents an expansion of the company’s Sponsored Updates product.
Starting this week, users of Foursquare will no longer be able to check-in using the app. If you want to check-in, you will need to install and use the new app Swarm. The Foursquare app will move to focus primarily on local discovery and recommendations. But the transition won’t come without a challenge. Google this week announced a new “Explore” feature for Google Maps on Android and iOS which allows users to pull up venue information near their destination and provide personalized recommendations as it learns more about you.

Global Social Media

Latin America, particularly Brazil, is continuing rapid growth in its online economy. And the boom in e-commerce is good news for Amazon. Latin America as a whole remains the world’s second fastest growing e-commerce market – only trailing behind China. And Brazil is leading the way, thanks to high internet penetration rates, a booming market for affordable mobile devices and an increasingly digital culture. Amazon raked in $475 million in web sales in Latin America in 2013, a growth in retail of over 140 percent. The Brazilian-led Latin American market was the fastest growing foreign segment for Amazon in 2013 – outgrowing Amazon’s other e-commerce markets at a rate 3.7 times faster than China, seven times faster than North America, and 8.3 times faster than Europe.

Noteworthy Campaigns

Mercedes-Benz is using LinkedIn to promote its 2015 C-Class line. This week, the luxury car brand introduced a new contest “Drive to Perform,” in which a LinkedIn user will win a two-year lease of a Mercedes C300. Unlike typical giveaways, users will not enter the contest on their own behalf, but rather will nominate someone in their LinkedIn network. In the spirit of recommendations that users contribute to one another’s profiles, Mercedes is asking LinkedIn users to nominate colleagues by highlighting their professional accomplishments and attributes in short recommendations, along with how the nominees “personal qualities meet the sophistication of the Mercedes-Benz brand.” The brand will also weigh how popular and active nominees are on social networks.

 

Headlines & Stuff

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

FTC Sues Amazon
Amazon unfairly allowed young children to rack up charges on their parents’ credit cards by making in-app purchases, the FTC alleges in a lawsuit filed last week. The FTC is seeking a court order requiring Amazon to reimburse parents for charges their children incurred within apps. Earlier this year, Apple agreed to provide refunds of at least $32.5 million to settle a similar claim.

Facebook Launches “Out-App Purchase” Ads
What if in-app purchases didn’t have to happen in an app? Rather than indirectly helping developers monetize with ads that drive them installs and re-engagement, Facebook this week began letting them sell Facebook desktop game virtual goods straight from ads in the News Feed or sidebar.

Twitter’s New Analytics Tell Advertisers and Publishers How Many People Actually Saw Their Tweets
Twitter today released a new analytics dashboard for advertisers, Twitter card publishers, and verified users. The company already gave advertisers data about tweets that they’d paid to promote, but there was nothing equivalent for “organic” tweets. Now, the new dashboard offers a broader view of an account’s entire Twitter strategy. The dashboard includes data including: total impressions, total engagements, and engagement rate for each tweet, and also aggregates the data for the past month.

You Can Now Embed Vine Videos on Tumblr
You can now embed your favorite Vine videos on your Tumblr blog. The platform announced the new integration over Twitter this week.  To embed a video – simply add the URL or embed code into the video post box from your Tumblr homepage.

Global Social Media

Gmail Languages Expanded to Cover 94% of the Internet Population
Email is still the universal means of communication. You don’t need a proprietary app to send an email. What you do need is support of languages and regional dialects. To get more people connected, Google just announced it’s added 13 new languages to Gmail including: Afrikaans, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Chinese (Hong Kong), French (Canada), Galician, Georgian, Khmer, Lao, Mongolian, Nepali, Sinhala, and Zulu.

Noteworthy Campaigns

Sour Patch Kids Snapchat Effort
Earlier this week Sour Patch Kids launched a five-day Snapchat campaign featuring social media influencers, which marks a first for the brand and for the parent company Mondelez. The campaign dubbed “Real-Life Sour Patch Kid” enlists social media star Logan Paul to take over the brand’s Snapchat account while documenting pranks he pulled in New York this week.  Logan began posting Snapchat Stories to the Sour Patch Kids account on Monday detailing his hijinks. The theme changed throughout the Story starting with ‘Sour’ pranks and moving to ‘Sweet’ snaps.  The initiative aligns with the brand’s “first they’re sour and then they’re sweet” tagline.  For example, the first  message sent this week shows a giant Sour Patch character splashing water and throwing crackers at Logan, but at the end of the clip, the character shifts his attitude and gives Logan a cup of water to to drink.  Logan will also post to his own Snapchat and Twitter account promoting the partnership.

Headlines & Stuff

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

Pinterest’s Web Search is About to Get Much More Powerful
Pinterest’s new Guided Search Feature, which the company first unveiled on mobile in April, is coming to the web. Pinterest users will soon see a new search bar when they visit Pinterest.com. The search feature will recommend keywords intended to help generate more specific queries or better search results. For example, searching for “BBQ” on Pinterest might surface other keywords like “wings,” “recipes,” or “chicken.”

Twitter’s Video Hashtags Automatically Add Video to Text
Twitter has joined forces with Visa and Adidas (two World Cup advertisers) to experiment with video hashtagging. When a user types #visa and then a space, they will see a paper clip prompt, which will allow you to attach a video when clicked. Adidas is also testing the feature using the hashtag #allin, which will lead to this video.

Amazon Starts Prime Music
Amazon has introduced an ad-free music streaming service with more than one million songs.  Prime Music, designed to compete with Apple, Beats Music, Spotify, and Pandora, is available to subscribers of Amazon’s $99/year Prime Program.

Facebook Extends Ad Targeting to Web, App Use
Facebook is significantly expanding how it targets ads by including information about the sites that users visit and mobile apps they use outside of Facebook. The social network is taking the controversial step of extending that data collection to include the third-party sites and apps they use to improve the relevance of their own ads. Example: If you are thinking about buying a new TV and you start researching TVs on the web and in mobile apps, Facebook may show you ads for deals on a TV.

Global Social Media

Less Than Half of the Earth’s Population Has Internet Access
The Internet continues to grow at a rapid pace, but there’s still a long way to go in terms of extending access, especially in poor and developing countries. The number of people with access to the Internet is expected to reach three billion by 2015. That’s up from one billion in 2005 — but still just 41% of the earth’s total projected population of 7.3 billion people in 2015. Internet access is of course higher in more advanced economies like North America, Europe, and Asia, and is lower in Africa, The Middle East, India, and parts of Latin America.

Instagram Introduces Advertising in UK, Canada, and Australia
Instagram users in the UK, Canada, and Australia will start seeing advertisements in their feeds. The platform has amassed 200 million users since its launch. Growth outside of the U.S. is particularly strong, with an estimated 165 million hailing beyond U.S. shores.

Noteworthy Campaigns

“Share a Coke” Bottles & Campaign Hit U.S.
Over the summer, Coca-Cola will replace its brand logo on some of its 20-ounce bottles with one of the 250 most popular names of U.S. teens and millennials. In addition, the logos on 1.25 and 2-liter bottles of Coke, Diet Coke, and Coke Zero will be replaced by group names like “Family” and “Friends.” 12-ounce cans will feature nicknames like “BFF,” “Star,” “Bestie,” “Legend,” “Grillmaster,” “Buddy,” and “Wingman.” 8-ounce cans will bear the “Share a Coke” message.  In addition, Coca-Cola Freestyle fountain dispensers will offer to consumers who have the Freestyle mobile app the ability to scan a QR code to send a friend a coupon for a free Coke. Also, as part of the campaign, consumers who share Coca-Cola related stories using the hashtag #ShareaCoke will earn chances to be featured on brand billboards across the country and on the ShareaCoke.com gallery.  Starting this week, users can visit the campaign website to create virtual personalized bottles and share them on social media channels.  For those whose names aren’t featured on the real bottles, Coke is launching a national 500-stop tour where people can get customized mini-cans with their names for themselves and a friend.

Headlines & Stuff

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

YouTube to Run TV Ads Promoting Video Creators in 2014 Push
Next week, Google will introduce a campaign to promote three YouTube creators with ads appearing across Google-owned properties as well as TV, print and out-of-home.  YouTube’s ad campaign will highlight creators from beauty/fashion and cooking verticals – and later this year will showcase creators from other Google preferred verticals.  The three creators Google has chosen include: make-up star Michelle Phan (also a Dr. Pepper spokesperson and has a cosmetics line with L’Oreal), beauty-and-fashion vlogger Bethany Mota (also has a clothing line with Aeropostale) and baker Rosanna Pansino. Each of them have more than one million subscribers to their respective channels.

Twitter Acquires SecondSync & Mesagraph
Two social-TV companies announced they had been acquired by Twitter for undisclosed sums – France–based Mesagraph and UK based SecondSynch. The second had announced an international partnership with Facebook in January to analyze conversations about TV that take place on the social network. Facebook was looking to SecondSync to make the case that Twitter wasn’t the only medium that mattered for real-time conversations about TV happening at scale. They even published a white-paper with results learned from SecondSync’s efforts.  Now Twitter owns them. SecondSync is not commenting on their previous partnership with Facebook.

Amazon Announces Fire TV
Amazon has just announced Fire TV, an compact, streaming video set-top box that can also play games. Titles from Ubisoft, Double Fine, TellTale Games, EA, Disney, Sega, and Gameloft will be coming to the Fire TV.  The unit itself will be $99, the controller $39.99 and the average price of games will be $1.85 with free titles also available.  Video streaming services will include: Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and WatchESPN. Music services will include: Pandora, iHeartRadio, and your Amazon library.

Vine Releases Private Messaging Feature
Vine released a new private messaging feature this week. Users can now send video and text messages to one another through the app. They can record a video message, add text, and send to those in their Vine network, as well as those in their phone’s address book.

Monthly Cost of an Instagram Ad Campaign Can Approach $1MM
Much like Pinterest, Instagram is out pitching advertisers on a premium ad offering. Following the conclusion of a test late last year with ten advertisers, the photo and video sharing platform is out pitching Instagram ads at CPMs that would put a month-long buy deep into six figures and verging on seven depending on the reach and frequency sought. Quotes ranging from $500,000 to $1 million for a month have been leaked by advertisers. No rates have officially been set in stone.

Global Social Media

China Surpasses U.S. In Mobile Commerce
China leaves the U.S in the dust when it comes to embracing m-commerce. Seven out of 10 smartphone users in China have used their devices to make a purchase in the last three months, compared to only 22% in the U.S. and 13% in France.

Noteworthy Campaigns

Pepsi Ad Changes the Plot With a Click
With the World Cup just two months away, Pepsi has released a new ad that celebrates Rio and the game of soccer with a few interactive detours that gives the viewer control over the narrative. There are 11 instances in the video where a viewer’s cursor turns into a symbol. Click on it and the video launches into a vignette that you wouldn’t see otherwise. For example, at one point there is a cameo from soccer superstar Lionel Messi, who is shown reading a newspaper. If you click, the scene changes to show the crowd discovering Messi and mobbing him. If you don’t click, the scene moves on quickly and Messi picks up the paper and just continues to read it.  Watch the ad here.