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Why Your Brand Will Love Snapchat in 2015

Written by: Tom Edwards
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Each year I like to dive into a specific platform that can make an impact for brands in the coming year. In February of 2014, I published “2014: The Year of Tumblr.” This prediction was recently validated, as TechCrunch released data showing that Tumblr just overtook Instagram as the fastest-growing social platform.

In 2015, Snapchat is the fastest growing social app. I have received numerous client requests for POVs on the platform, and I was recently briefed by the Snapchat team. What the team unveiled takes the platform to the next level for brands interested in reaching the 14-to-28-year-old demo in 2015.

Snapchat is already the fastest growing social app heading into 2015.

Here are the five reasons to consider Snapchat in 2015:

1. Heavy usage by younger audiences

According to Business Insider, nearly half of Americans aged 12 to 24 have used Snapchat.

A majority of campaign briefs called out some form of Millennial as the target, and Generation Z began to regularly appear toward the end of the year as well. Combine the penetration and rate of growth with new offerings that are designed to further enable brands on the platform, and Snapchat is important to consider for the right brand.

Snapchat launched in 2011 with a heavy emphasis on teen and 20-something users, and it has quickly gained traction over the past few years. Snapchat’s sweet spot is between 14 and 28, with a slight female lean. The numbers are impressive, including the fact that almost 50 percent of U.S. users aged 12 to 24 have tried Snapchat. The company now sits at 100 million active users with 50 million users in the U.S.

When it comes to frequency of use, the platform is even more impressive, as 60 percent of the active users are on the app daily, with frequency numbers as high as 22 times per day.

For those not familiar with Snapchat, one of the unique elements of the platform is that content “disappears” after a short period of time that is set by the content creator.

Users also have the ability to “doodle” directly on the content to quickly personalize it, as well as add filters and comment on top of content.

To give you further perspective, check out this Snapchat infographic that our team developed in 2013. You can see the explosive growth since then.

If that’s not enough, there are more than 700 million snaps sent everyday. One of the key behavioral factors is tied to the fact that there is a sense of urgency with the content, as it will eventually disappear.

2. Brands are active on Snapchat?

When it comes to the various use cases of Snapchat, users can chat with one-to-one messaging and live video chat, they can consume a feed of directly sent snaps and messages from friends, capture photo and video (filter, doodle, caption), and interact with the story feed.

While some brands go the route of directly sending and feeding snaps and messages, one of the key areas of focus recently has been tied to the “story” feed.

Here is an example from Taco Bell showcasing new products directly to its followers:

The “My Stories” feature was introduced in 2013 and has become one of the most popular features within the app. “My Stories” allows users to link multiple snaps together over a 24-hour period. This feature alone is driving more than 1 billion views a day and has become the “go-to” for brands emphasizing a one-to-many strategy on the platform, versus one-to-one messaging.

Here is an example of McDonald’s using multiple snaps to reveal a new product:

3. Snapchat and advertising

When it comes to an approach to advertising, Snapchat is more like BuzzFeed than Facebook. It focuses on contextual relevance of the content to drive impressions versus a highly-targeted approach. Both have their pros and cons, but Snapchat recommends that relevance and authenticity are the keys to success when it comes to advertising within its platform. Furthermore, it has recently introduced the ability to position sponsored content in the friend feed.

A sponsored post is for a period of 24 hours and can be up to 20 seconds of premium content. From a viewability standpoint, Snapchat counts a view as two seconds of consumption, and it states that the biggest difference is its model is built around the idea of connected engagement versus reach and frequency.

Here is an example of sponsored content from the recent “Ouija” movie:

4. Snapchat is opening up opportunities for brands and event sponsorship

One of the latest additions and one of the bigger brand opportunities is tied to the new “Our Story” offering. “Our Story” is a location-based collaborative story that leverages content from events and allows others not attending to directly experience the events. A user at an event has the ability to upload a photo or video snap, and Snapchat drops a Wi-Fi geofence around the event. Content is then aggregated and the “Our Story” content prompt is located in the story feed next to friend content. The video below helps to clarify this new offering:

There is also an opportunity for brands to “sponsor” the “Our Story” events. This comes to life in the form of 10-second interstitial title snaps. The sponsored content is then interlaced through the user-generated content and clearly identifies the sponsor. One key point to consider with this type of offering is to leverage authentic event content versus pre-produced content. This better aligns the message and makes it more contextually relevant.

Check out this example from Samsung tied to the recent “American Music Awards” show:

5. Snapchat partnerships

It was recently reported by multiple media outlets that Snapchat is in negotiations with Comedy Central, Spotify, Vice, and other media publishers for the upcoming launch of “Discover.” “Discover” will most likely serve users articles, music, and videos produced by media companies. This will create an additional avenue to drive contextually relevant native advertising to further monetize the platform.

In addition, Snapchat recently partnered with Square to release a peer-to-peer payment prototype. The prototype allows users to store their debit card via Square to quickly process a payment or send cash to a friend’s bank account through the chat feature. Users can type the dollar sign, an amount, and hit the green button. It is available in the U.S. to those 18 or older with a debit card.

With its diversity of use cases, ease of use, sense of urgency tied to the consumption of content, and focus on enabling brands and partnerships, Snapchat is primed to have a very big 2015.

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

 

 

BERLIN: the logo of the brand “Snapchat”, Berlin” and “heart shape design for love symbols” images via Shutterstock.

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:

Facebook wants to better understand consumer thinking in an effort to serve more relevant ads in the news feed. To that end, the social network will start asking users why they choose to hide an ad as soon as that user does so. Users can select from a variety of reasons including: irrelevant, offensive, spam, too frequent, or “something else.” Taking into account the reasons why an ad was hidden, Facebook said it will show the ad to fewer people.

 

Spotify’s video ads are coming. The music-streaming service will soon roll out its video ad products for marketers, including a mobile product that lets listeners watch a video ad in exchange for a half hour without any further commercial interruption. Spotify will start testing video ads in the fourth quarter with a limited number of brands, and plans to extend them to advertisers in the first quarter of 2015. Coca-Cola, Ford, McDonald’s, and Universal Pictures have signed on as the first global buyers. Kraft Foods, Target, and Wells Fargo will be the U.S. only launches.

 

In a question and answer section on Facebook, the company now describes how to set a post you’ve published to expire, a process that allows the message to disappear. The capability is only available on certain posts, currently.  This is Facebook’s attempt yet again to take on Snapchat.

 

This week, Twitter introduced its Buy Now button, a feature that allows users to make purchases directly on Twitter.com and throughout its mobile app.  The company is moving cautiously with the product, which it says will only operate in the U.S. and be seen by a “small percentage” of users. Only 26 nonprofits and musical artists were handpicked to deploy the feature, including country singer Brad Paisley, rap artists Eminem and Wiz Khalifa, and metal band Megadeth (yes, Megadeth).

 

Facebook has reached out to some of Google’s biggest content producers and encouraged them to test distributing their videos on the social network. Facebook’s push reflects a desire to become a bigger competitor in web video and get more content on its site. Right now, content creators use Facebook to promote their programming but prefer people to watch the videos on YouTube and other platforms, where they can make money through ad sales more easily.  Facebook and content creators are discovering how advertising might be incorporated into these videos. It’s likely that some sort of ad product will be rolled out by the end of the year.

 

Global Social Media

China has ordered video-streaming sites to get state approval to run foreign TV shows and films as authorities in the world’s largest Internet market tighten online control. Video sites need to register foreign TV shows and films by the end of March. Starting April 1, unregistered content can’t be shown online. This year, China barred video websites from airing four U.S. TV shows, including “The Good Wife” and “The Big Bang Theory.” The country plans to cap the amount of foreign TV programs allowed on the sites at 30%.

Noteworthy Campaigns

During New York Fashion Week, Adidas showcased their new Fall/Winter 2014 collection dubbed #NeoRunway. The event, which was the world’s first tweet-powered fashion show, was created entirely by teens.  Teens had the power to decide everything from music, lighting, and the set design to styling the fresh new looks of the models walking down the catwalk. Teens participated in the show using the in-card voting mechanic from Twitter to choose between options. NEOLovers voted for two weeks prior to the show to decide what clothing, hairstyles, and makeup the models should wear. Participants could vote right up to the last seconds of the show. In addition, a team of young bloggers were on-site, bringing the show to life across social media channels.

Headlines & Stuff

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

LinkedIn Shows You Who Visits Your Profile – and Then Some
LinkedIn updated the “who’s viewed your profile” section of its platform this week, adding personalized tips for how users can generate more profile views. The new layout includes more detailed analytics about which LinkedIn members visit your page. Now users will be able to see which industries their viewers work in, and whether or not those who view their profile share the same job title.

Twitter Brings Ad Amplify Program to Movie Screens
Twitter is partnering with NCM Media Networks – a cinema network that shows ads to movie-goers before their film starts – to produce a branded entertainment series that will be fueled by Twitter data with insights about movies and stars that users are buzzing about. The minute-long segment will run prior to every movie on the 20,000 screens in 1,700 theaters within NCM’s network, once it secures a sponsor.

Facebook Showing Unsolicited Page Posts in the News Feed
Effective immediately, Facebook users are going to start seeing posts in their News Feed from Pages they don’t follow. Facebook said this week that it tweaked its News Feed formula yet again, this time to include posts that Pages you’ve “liked” are tagged in. The alteration means that you’ll find stories from Pages you don’t follow mentioning those that you do. Specifically, when a Page tags another Page in a post, Facebook may show that post to you if you like or follow the tagged Page. For example –  if you follow a celebrity on Facebook and that celebrity is tagged in a photo of a Page you don’t follow, Facebook may show you that post in your News Feed with the “celebrity mentioned in a photo” header.

Twitter Builds Search Relevancy With Promoted Accounts
Twitter released Promoted Accounts in Search on Tuesday, building on its Promoted Accounts in the Timeline feature that debuted a few months ago. With this launch, relevant Promoted Accounts are seen in search results along with recommendations of people to follow. As people search for information, the feature automatically selects search queries based on the advertisers targeting choices.

Global Social Media

UK Users Connected With Brands on Twitter
UK Twitter users are the most mobile in Europe, most engaged and are highly connected to brands. Nielsen found that users in the UK are more engaged with the social media platform than the average tweeter. Those who primarily use Twitter on their mobile devices are 1.2 times as likely to engage daily than average users and 58% access the platform several times per day. 62% of users are following brands on the platform.

Facebook Partners with Unilever to Launch Internet.org in Rural India
FMCG giant Unilever has partnered with Internet.org, a Facebook-led alliance, to show how Internet adoption can be increased in rural communities in India. As an initial step, Internet.org and Unilever will carry out a comprehensive study to examine the opportunities to increase internet adoptions in rural communities. Unilever will leverage the research it garners to inform on the development of a series of on-the-ground projects with the aim of improving lives in rural India through better connectivity. Internet.org is focused on enabling the next five billion people without access to come online and has companies like Facebook, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia and Samsung as founding members.

Noteworthy Campaigns

McDonald’s Joins SnapChat
McDonald’s quietly joined SnapChat last last week and publicly kicked off the account this week. The chain teased the account last Friday and attracted “several thousand” followers that same day. The account has since shared several snaps including a snap from basketball star LeBron James who filmed a commercial for McDonald’s. Several notable brands have joined SnapChat in recent months including Juicy Couture, HBO’s Girls, NPR and Taco Bell.

Free People Swaps Model Shots for Customer Photos Online
Fashion brand Free People has launched a new section called FP Me on their e-commerce website. The new section uses real customer photos instead of the usual model product shots to feature the brand’s items. The FP Me section lets women see the clothes on non-model body types and gives their customers a more realistic idea of how the clothes will look.

Headlines & Stuff

Written by: Digitally Approved
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Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

Facebook Page Managers Will See Names of Admins Who Made Posts and Comments
Facebook announced to page admins today that their names will start showing up next to their posts and comments. The feature, which will only be visible to other admins, will launch on February 20, but will not be retroactive.

LInkedIn Acquires Bright
This week, LinkedIn announced that it has agreed to buy Bright, a data-focused job search service for $120 million. The deal marks LinkedIn’s largest acquisition to date. Bright launched in 2010 and uses data science to match up job seekers with employers.

Twitter Unveils Redesign
This week, Twitter unveiled a new design. Twitter profiles now have a larger, more prominent toolbar across the top, which is now white instead of black, and features a larger font and bigger icons. The change is more cosmetic than functional – no updates at this time are needed for profile images, wallpapers, etc. In other Twitter news, the microblog has partnered with 300 Entertainment to give “full access” of its user data to the music industry.

Google Goes to War on Fraudulent YouTube Video Views
Google has announced a crackdown on “fraudulent views” on YouTube, from channels seeking to artificially inflate their view counts. YouTube has always audited videos in an effort to try to spot inflated counts, but the company is now stepping up its efforts. Starting immediately, Google will periodically validate the video’s view count and remove fraudulent views. YouTube’s motivation for the crack down is partly about making the service more appealing to advertisers, so they can be sure their ads are being seen by real people.

Global Social Media

Despite Claims of a Decline in the West, Facebook is Stronger Than Ever in the Rest of the World
Though some studies suggest that Facebook is losing popularity with younger audiences in the U.S., globally the social network is still going strong. In fact, it is still growing in many parts of the world. In Asia, Africa and other emerging markets, Facebook is THE Internet for the minority of people who have access. That’s to say that they spend the majority of their time using the platform.  And there is plenty of room for additional growth in these areas.   In the Middle East, Facebook is seen by many as entirely separate to the Internet.  Because it’s on their phone, they consider it to be its own entity. Globally the platform is transcending merely being a social network. it’s become like the Yellow Pages and in many places it is simply unthinkable to not be on or regularly use the service.

Noteworthy Campaigns

Hacked Instagram Feed Morphs Into An Interactive Timeline When Sideways
To celebrate Charlie Chaplin’s 100 years on film, the Toronto Silent Film Festival has crated a campaign that uses their Instagram feed to fuse old and new. When placed sideways, the feed acts like a Time Machine to reveal a flowing, interactive timeline, complete with factoids and video clips.  See how it works here.

McDonald’s Serves Up An Answer to the McNugget Mystery
McDonald’s gets a lot of flack for a variety of issues. In response, the Canadian division decided to take on a few of these issues a couple of years ago with its “Our Food Your Questions” campaign that aimed to dispel rumors and misinformation floating around about the company. The chain has tackled everything from the sawdust in burgers urban myth to its salads being fattier than its sundaes. Now the restaurant is tackling the ultimate urban myth: The McNugget.  The campaign takes viewers behind the scenes, right through the production process, from full chicken to ground meat mixture chopped into one of four McShapes, frozen and shipped to your local McD’s. Many are applauding the company for being so open and transparent, but this strategy is a risky one. Showing the slimy meat mixture on camera is not exactly appetizing.  Some of the videos released as part of the campaign have over 2.3 million views on YouTube.

Bud, Bud Light Win the Social-Media Super Bowl
Two Bud ads and Bud Light’s hidden-camera adventure generated the most social media activity out of the Super Bowl ads that aired this past Sunday.  Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” generated over 283,000 social actions and received 4.3 million video views. Budweiser’s second spot “A Hero’s Welcome” generated 210,000 social actions and 2.4 million video views. And finally,  Bud Light’s “Ian Up For Whatever,”  generated 56,000 social actions and 4.3 million views. Despite winning great social media traction, purchase consideration for Bud after the Super Bowl actually dropped according to this study. M&M’s (another Super Bowl advertiser) saw an increase in purchase consideration after the Super Bowl according to that same study.

Headlines & Stuff

Written by: Digitally Approved
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Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

Facebook Launched Shared Photo Albums
Facebook announced shared photo albums this week, a new feature that allows multiple users to upload images to the same album – making it easy to get photos from various cameras in one place. Each album can be accessed by 50 contributors, each of whom can share up to 200 photos.

Twitter Launches Conversation View
When two or more people you follow are involved in a conversation, Twitter now groups those tweets together in your timeline. The conversation cluster will appear chronologically, according to when the last tweet was sent.

Facebook Promos No Longer Require Apps

To make it easier for businesses to run promotions on Facebook, the company is lifting its requirement that promotions must be administered through third-party apps. They can now be managed directly through brand pages as well as within apps. This means marketers can now collect entries by having users post to their page or comment on or “like” a post.  In addition, companies now have the ability to use likes as voting mechanisms for a contest.

Twitter Buys Trendrr

In an effort to make it easier for networks and publishers to display tweets in their programming, Twitter has bought the social TV start up Trendrr for an undisclosed sum. Trendrr’s technology will be used primarily to help a show present a relevant stream of tweets to depict the Twitter conversation happening around the show. This product is called “Curatorr.”

Twitter Hires First Commerce Chief For Social Shopping Push
Twitter hired Nathan Hubbard, a former president of Ticketmaster, as its first head of commerce, part of a push to enable shopping via short postings on its site. Twitter is now seeking revenue sources as it prepares for a potential initial public offering and targets $1 billion in 2014 sales. In its first foray into e-commerce, projected by Forester to be a $370 billion market in the U.S.by 2017, Twitter plans to offer retailers tools for selling good and services inside tweets.

Facebook Pulls the Plug on Physical Goods to Focus on Gift Cards

Facebook is ending its physical gift offering – which allowed users to purchase tangible goods  – as part of a greater effort to focus on gift cards. The social network will be adding more merchants to its Facebook card – a reusable gift card on which you can keep monetary balances from different retailers.

Global Social Media

Tweet for Money in Indonesia
In Indonesia’s capital Jakarta, a buzzer is someone with a Twitter account and more than 2,000 followers who is paid to tweet. Jakarta is the world’s tweet capital (it has more Twitter users than any other city in the world) and advertisers eager to reach the under-30 crowd are paying popular Twitter users to spread the word through social media, starting at about $21 per tweet. While celebrity endorsements on Twitter are common worldwide, Indonesia is unusual because advertisers are paying average Joe’s too. These Twitter “buzzers” send messages promoting brands (Nestle is one noteworthy advertiser) to their followers, usually during rush hour.

Noteworthy Campaigns

McDonald’s Calls For Short Film Pitches Starring Menu Item Characters
McDonald’s Canada is accepting pitches for 140 character stories featuring their cast members. If they are posted on Twitter using the hashtag #MakeMyFilm, the stories have a chance to be made into a short film. They need to star at least one of McDonald’s cast of menu item characters, which includes McNuggets, French Fries, Big Mac, McFlurry and McWrap. Winning pitches will be made into little movies and featured on the McDonald’s website.

Headlines & Stuff

Written by: Digitally Approved
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Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

LinkedIn Redesigns Group pages
LinkedIn’s group pages are getting an overhaul, bringing them into line with its redesigned profile and company pages. That means a more streamlined look, with an oversized image at the top above the group’s stream of updates. The right column features “top influencers” in a given group. It also shows a snapshot of the latest activity. LinkedIn says there are 2 million groups, with 8,000 new ones added each week.

LinkedIn Launches University Pages
LinkedIn recently launched University Pages, which allow students to tap into the network at the school they are considering, ask current students and alumni questions and explore the career path of graduates from the University for an idea of what to expect after they get their degree. LinkedIn has also opened the platform for students 14 and up, allowing them to interact with these new pages to get a head start on networking.

Google Reportedly in Talks with the NFL to Show Games on YouTube
Top execs from Google and YouTube met with the NFL this week to discuss the possibility of picking up the Sunday Ticket package, which broadcasts games not being show in the local market.

Spotify in Talks with Brands to Create Twitter-Like Follow Feature
Spotify is in talks with brands to beta-test a “follow” feature so that marketers can push content like branded playlists to the music-streaming service’s users. The feature would be the Spotify equivalent of a Facebook Page or Twitter account.

iTunes Radio to Debut in September With McDonald’s, Nissan, P&G and Pepsi
iTunes Radio, Apple’s answer to Pandora, is set to debut next month with a handful of high-profile brand partners including McDonald’s, Nissan, Pepsi, and P&G. The deals range from the high single-digit millions of dollars to tens of millions of dollars and include a 12-month advertising campaign to run with the streaming music service for each of the participating brands. In addition to being a part of the publicity that comes with the highly-anticipated Apple product launch, the partners also get exclusivity within their respective industries through the end of 2013. Come January 2014, however, ads on iTunes Radio will become widely available, for the $1 million minimum buy.

Global Social Media

Internet Population in India Hits 74 Million – 3rd Largest in the World
India with 73.9 million internet users is the world’s third largest Internet population, overtaking Japan but behind China and the U.S. Rising numbers of mobile audiences, devices and consumption habits reveal that consumers are being more platform agnostic in their digital media consumption and switch devices to stay up to date on email, news, and social media.

Noteworthy Campaigns

J.Crew Debuts Catalogue on Pinterest
J.Crew’s at-home catalogue subscribers won’t be the first to get a glimpse at the brand’s September issue: That honor will fall for the first time to J.Crew’s Pinterest followers. J.Crew claims it is the first to debut its catalogue on the platform. In addition to the Pinterest promotion, J.Crew has a number of other digital initiatives planned including a short online film series on monogramming, an Instagram feature on the company’s in-store Style Sessions, and a Tumblr Fashion Week diary.

Headlines & Stuff

Written by: Digitally Approved
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Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

Twitter Loses Ability To Properly Display Instagram Photos
Instagram on Wednesday, disabled the ability for Twitter to properly display Instagram photos on its site and in its application. The move escalations tensions between to the two companies. Instagram’s chief executive, Kevin Systrom, confirmed that the company has in fact removed the ability to send pictures to Twitter, and plans to completely cut off embedding pictures on the microblog. Users will still be able to generate tweets on Twitter when they post a photo,  but when someone clicks on the Instagram link in those tweets, they will be taken out of the Twitter app and directed to Instagram to view it. Other sites and services including Facebook, Tumblr and Foursquare will not be affected. Update: TechCrunch noticed that Instagram has turned Twitter cards back on – though no word officially from either company about whether this is temporary. More here.

Google+ Communities: Google’s Answer to Facebook Groups
Google has launched a new feature in Google+ that will aid in meeting new people. The feature, called Google+ Communities, is Google’s attempt at competing against Facebook Groups. If there is something you are interested in or an expert about, Google+ wants to help give you a chance to connect with others who share your passion and interests. Google+ Communities can be open publicly or set to private. You also don’t need to visit the Community to post something – you can do so right from your Google+ home screen.

Pinterest Cracks Down on Spam Sites
Pinterest announced this week a major initiative to crack down on spam accounts lurking throughout the site. Pinterest has built a dedicated spam team to detect, remove and prevent spam, which has been a growing problem for the platform.  To weed through the clutter, Pinterest has developed an intelligent algorithm that flags potential spam accounts through a scoring system.  Though it’s a step in the right direction, the result of the crackdown is costing brands hundreds of thousands of followers.  Brands including Harper’s Bazaar and Nordstrom have lost 200k and 600k Pinterest followers in a matter of hours. Non-brands are also taking a hit. User Joy Cho has lost about 2 million followers so far. More on this here.

New Updates to YouTube
YouTube is getting another upgrade. The video sharing channel is making a subtle but important change in positioning video titles, as well as making that channel guide follow you around the site, suggesting shows you might like to subscribe to and videos you should be interested in based on your browsing history. The move signals YouTube’s attempt to encourage followers to subscribe to more channels. Though YouTube hasn’t released how many of their 800 million users are subscribers, the company did say that number has “more than doubled” since last year’s redesign. In other YouTube news, the platform has recently inked a distribution deal with Virgin America.  Air-travelers will now be able to watch YouTube shows on Virgin America flights beginning December 15. More here.

 

Global Social Media

Twitter Updates Trending Topics
Twitter has expanded its Trending Topics feature to 100 more cities around the world, including Istanbul, Frankfurt, Guadalajara and Incheon. Now, users will be able to scan through and see what the most popular trends are in over 200 locations.  In other Twitter global news, the microblog is set to open new offices in Paris, adding to the six additional premises it already has outside of the U.S.  According to Twitter, France has been one of the fastest growing markets around the world. The country has seen a 150% user growth year over year and 350% growth in tweets on a daily basis. More on this here.

 

Noteworthy Campaigns

McDonald’s Releases First TV Ad With Twitter Hashtag
McDonald’s is testing the waters for a Twitter hashtag campaign again with its first TV ad directing users to join the conversation on Twitter. The effort, which began Monday, supports the brand’s Pro Bowl tie-in. For two weeks, McDonald’s will drop 20 trips to the Pro Bowl in Hawaii in a package of 20 piece McNuggets. The item will contain a paper certificate Willy Wonk-style announcing if you’ve won. The brand will also give away one ticket on Twitter and randomly award prizes to people who tweet with the #mcdprobowl hashtag from the ad. Prizes include: coupons for free McNuggets, a year’s supply of McNugget sauce and personalized tweets from NFL players to fans, among others.

Reputation Management In A McNugget World

Written by: Digitally Approved
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Maybe you saw this story on TMZ where a woman called into 911 several times to complain that her local McDonalds refused to refund her money after they ran out of Chicken McNuggets. Knowing how crazy one can get over Chicken McNuggets, I understand her frustration. While calling 911 several times is extreme, her calls are now posted on one of the biggest entertainment news sites online. No matter how you look at it, it’s bad news for McDonalds. Reputation management has always been a huge task for any brand, but couple that with the economy and the growing social media world and it can spell even bigger troubles.

In the end it’s not the fact that McDonalds ran out of McNuggets or that this woman tied up life saving resources to complain about it. It’s actually that this one woman, with no blog and no real influential voice, was able to impact a multibillion dollar company’s reputation.

So what can McDonald’s do going forward?

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