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Headlines & Stuff

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

Everything Facebook Announced at F8
Anonymous Logins: When a user logs into an app for the first time they can now login anonymously before deciding if they want to keep using the app. FbStart Developer Tools: Developers can apply to the FbStart program for access to free tools and services “to get your app up and running fast.” Audience Network: Facebook introduced its mobile ad network with three formats: banner, interstitial and native. Mobile Like for Apps: Facebook introduced a “like” button on mobile giving developers access to users’ Timelines.  Local Datastore for Offline App Use: Facebook announced offline data storage, allowing developers to keep apps running while a mobile device is no longer connected to the internet. Two-Year Stability and 48-Hour Bug Fixes: Facebook’s core APIs  will come with a two-year stability guarantee and the company promises to handle all major bug fixes within 48 hours. AppLinks: Developers can now link between apps. New Media APIs:  Facebook announced four new APIs for media organizations: Trending, Topic Insights, Topic Feed, and Hashtag Counter. Test Apps: Developers can create Facebook App Ids quickly for development and staging.

Meet Swarm: Foursquare’s Ambitious Plan to Split its App in Two
This week, Foursquare announced a new app called Swarm that will exist alongside the current Foursquare app. Swarm will be a social heat map, helping users find friends nearby and check in to share their location. A completely rewritten Foursquare app will launch in a month. The new Foursquare will ditch the check-in and focus solely on exploration and discovery – taking on Yelp.

Twitter Considers “Whisper Mode”
Twitter is looking to encourage more private discussions on its service. CEO Dick Costolo would like to have a “whisper mode” that allows users to take public conversations and discuss them solely with friends.

SnapChat Rolls Out Text, Video Messaging
SnapChat is rolling out a text and video-messaging feature named Chat, while making it easier for users to save their exchanges with friends. The text and video messages will still disappear after users are through with them, but SnapChat is encouraging everyone to save whatever information they like.

LinkedIn Launches Sponsored Updates API and Partner Programs
LinkedIn this week announced two new types of Certified Marketing Partners – Sponsored Updates Partners and Content Partners  – to make it easier for brands and agencies to scale their content marketing efforts on the platform. Sponsored Updates partners will have access to advanced tools to manage campaigns. Content Partners will provide access to high-quality content to enhance advertiser activities on LinkedIn.

Instagram Video Ads Are Coming Soon
Video ads on the platform are quietly being tested. Instagram says it’s still far off from offering self-serve advertising tools and still needs to vet and approve every sponsored photo (and soon video).

Global Social Media

Russia Orders Bloggers to Register; Outlaws Anonymous Blogging, Continues to Clamp Down on Social Media 
Russia has been steadily trying to bring the Internet under control with ever-more stringent measures. After tackling general Web sites through powers that allow them to be blocked more easily, it is now turning its attention to bloggers. A new law requires that bloggers declare their family name and email address on their blogs. Any authors whose personal site has more than 3,000 visitors per day must register on a special list and abide by mass media restrictions and laws pertaining “resistance to extremism.” Abuse will be punishable by fines  and website suspensions.  Russian  authorities have also tightened their grip on Vkontakte. The founder of the Russian Facebook fled the country after being threatened by Kremlin officials. The former CEO now claims that the site is now under “the complete control” of Vladimir Putin.

Noteworthy Campaigns

CB2 Invites Pinterest Users to Design an Apartment in Real Time
Home décor chain CB2 wanted to turn aspirational online home design daydreams into reality with APT CB2, a five day event in which five popular designers decorate one real-world apartment using furniture from the CB2 catalogue with the real-time input from the Pinterest community. Starting on May 7, each designer will have one day to transform one room in a vacant NYC apartment into a fully realized space, the progress of which will be shared over Pinterest and through a campaign microsite. Throughout the day, people can vote on a design choice an hour – for instance which chair or lamp to put in the space — all with the promise of winning $5,000 to spend at CB2 for their own dream apartment.

Pinterest Partner Event Recap

Written by: Tom Edwards
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I recently attended the first ever Pinterest Partner Marketing Summit in NYC. This invite only event unveiled their emphasis on developing a strong partner program and also served as an opportunity to introduce new staff to the Pinterest partner team, new resources for brands and agencies and best practices to maximize the platform.

Pinterest Event

There were five primary areas of focus for the event.

1) Why Pinterest
2) Pinterest Interest Graph
3) New product enhancements (Rich Pin & Mobile Pin It)
4) Analytics & Partner Tools
5) Partner case studies & Best Practices

WHY PINTEREST

Ben Silbermann, Pinterest Co-Founder & CEO started the day by telling the story of Pinterest. He discussed his love of collections when he was young… stamps, butterflies, baseball cards, etc… he saw an opportunity as there was not an elegant solution to organize collections online.

He had roots with Google and was enamored by how the search giant was able to so seamlessly focus on enabling search & retrieval across the web. If you know what you are looking for Google provides an ideal platform for search & retrieval.

He actually related Pinterest more to Google & search than to other social channels such as Facebook. With Pinterest people vs. bots are indexing the webs content and organizing them by interests, something that is a bit more subjective but aligns with human behavior.

One of his key points was in defining Pinterests role in discovery of content.

Discovery on the web is an unsolved problem & massive opportunity” – Ben Silbermann

Ben

With Pinterest, people are making discovery possible by organizing the web’s content around interests. This is their key point of differentiation as the platform is about discovery and action.

It was interesting to hear Ben’s story about the roots of Pinterest and it also provided insight into where the platform is going which leads to the Interest Graph.

INTEREST GRAPH

The Pinterest team spent a good bit of time discussing what they coined the Pinterest Interest Graph. An interest graph is an online representation of the specific things in which an individual is interested. And because the focus of Pinterest is based on what people are indexing on the web and then categorizing by interests, the Pinterest Interest Graph is the foundation for their business moving forward.

A key point of differentiation between Facebook’s Social Graph & Pinterest & even Twitters interest graphs are the fact that Interest Graphs are used to create people’s interest networks whereas Facebook and other social networks are organized around an individual’s friends and connections that follow them across the web.

The key to the interest graph for Pinterest is the ability to create personalized experiences that change based on an individuals life stage and interests. The association is less with people and more with things. This may include life events such as marriage, children, etc… and Pinterest hopes that by focusing on interests they are building a sustainable platform that can grow with users over time and continue to provide both utility and relevance based on discovery.

The key to the interest graph from a brand perspective is that a single product can be repined into other areas. As the single object passes across the interest graph across categories you are able to leverage the network of interests and passions vs. pushing a message and see how your product resonates in real time. This leads to driving discoverability by interest as well as distribution and lengthens the shelf life of content as it continually gets repined.

Interest Graph in action for me… I like Robots

Robots

PRODUCT ENHANCEMENTS

Pin it Button – the theme that was repeated the most over the course of the event was the focus on the Pin It button. Pinterest reiterated that a strong Pinterest strategy starts with enabling your domain. By enabling and focusing on driving & optimizing pins down to the individual product level are the key to driving more engagement and driving higher referral traffic.

Pin-It-Button-30-Designs

Mobile Pinning – Earlier this week Pinterest launched the ability to integrate the Pin It button into a brands mobile application to further drive discoverability via mobile for both iOS & Android via SDKs. The SDK allows a brands users to create Pinterest content inside the branded app. Currently, this only supports pinning from the web, but the ability to pin local images is on the roadmap as well.

Here is an example of Mobile Pinning in action from the Brit + Co (launch partner) mobile app

mobile pinning

Rich Pins – Also tied to this weeks launch was the release of Rich Pins. Pinterest hopes that Rich Pins lead to action and by adding more brand data to a pin tied to products, recipes & movies that more direct attribution and value for brands and users will be apparent. Product pins from a brand can showcase active inventory as well as price & references the source directly from the pin. Recipe Rich Pins allow more data to be added directly to the pin and movie pins offer insight into reviews as well as cast directly from the pin.

Product Pins

Product Pins

Recipe Pins

Recipe Pins

Movie Pins

Movie Pins

Implementation – In order to implement Rich Pins meta tags need to applied to your domain and decide on the type of rich pin you want to apply for. Then once the meta tags have been validated you can apply to get them from Pinterest.

From a brand perspective, this is the first step to further enabling brand content and attribution. Especially the product pins can be of value to further drive action when discovered.

ANALYTICS & PARTNER TOOLS

On March 11th, Pinterest launched their data analytics tool. This was another key discussion point during the course of the event. The analytics tool supports Pinterest’s position to enable a brands .com as the suite focuses on content pinned directly from the .com and focus on how many people are pinning from the website, impressions & reach over time and which pins receive the most repins and who pins them as well as what other content people are pinning alongside them.

webanalytics_3

This data can be extremely useful when incorporating top pins into tailoring content for the website as well as other social channels. Nordstrom was a presenting brand and the key takeaway from their presentation was their focus on curating pins and using analytics as a driver for surfacing content on their website, e-mail as well as in store. By leveraging Pinterest in this way, Nordstrom claimed increased sell through in stores and online.

Nordstrom Top Pins via .com

Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 10.20.55 AM

Nordstrom in store

Nordstrom

Pinterest also rolled out new partner tools starting with a revamped business.pinterest.com as well as a new business blog that will focused on enabling partners and will serve as the location for new product feature announcements. The team also announced that they will soon be providing webinars on best practices to further enable partners.

Unlike Facebook & Twitter, Pinterest is less about working directly with their partner teams and more about enabling the platform to allow brands to maximize their presence.

CASE STUDIES

During the course of the event four brands were represented including Target, Sephora, Nordstroms & Sony Electronics. I have already referenced how Nordstroms is leveraging Pinterest data to drive their content & in-store strategy. Below are a few key points from the Sephora & Sony Electronics presentations.

Sephora

The most compelling elements from the Sephora case study was their laser focus on identifying trends via pins. Their goals were tied to making it easier to pin from Sephora.com, use e-mail to encourage Pinterest engagement and encourage clients to pin their beauty shopping lists.

Sephora

  • Focus on top pins to inform content strategy across channels
  • Content goes beyond simple product to incorporate DIY type content
  • Testing various types of Pin to Win initiatives that are cross promoted

Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 10.41.13 AM

  • Embedded Pinterest across social channels such as Facebook
  • Created pinnable e-mails drove significant results including a 60% increase in referral traffic from Pinterest that has not subsided
  • Focus on creating a shoppable experience on Pinterest
  • Claimed that shoppers are closer to purchase in the path to purchase and stated a statistic of 15x the sales impact vs. Facebook

Sony Electronics

I was most impressed by the work of Sony electronics of the four brands that presented. What I liked about their story is they are not the first brand you think of when you think about the Pinterest platform. They are a manufacturer vs. retailer and their audience is a younger, high tech male group who is not the primary audience of the platform. They had very clearly defined strategy objectives of driving sales, acquisition and brand affinity on the platform and they have leveraged the social power of their internal organization as well as consumers to power their experience.

Sony Electronics

  • Audience (Sony electronics appeal to more than women)
  • They curated content that existed, retro products, artist style, influencers who shoot with their cameras etc…
  • Launched presence with an employee contest to educate and curate relevant content across the organization
  • Drove awareness via the Sony Electronics blog & e-mail
  • E-mail is a critical component to their Pinterest strategy, pin, collect, share –> Pinterest focused messages get double the open rate
  • Inform their content strategy based on Pins
  • Leverage 3rd parties such as Curalate to identify influencers
  • Executed innovative programs such as Pin Deals – unlock via 20 pins – flash sale & Pin it to give it – repins = $1 to charity and received 13,000 pins

pin2givePindeals

  • Partnered with relevant brands to enter new categories such as Pinterest partnership with American Airlines to enter travel

Travel and Tech

BEST PRACTICES

The following is a list of best practices that were discussed during the course of the event. This is not a comprehensive best practices list, but does highlight the key points that the Pinterest team & brands represented did speak to repeatedly.

Strategy

  • The Pinterest team reiterated that the best Pinterest strategy starts with your domain.
  • Remember boards are not destinations, most of the interaction will happen at the Pin level
  • Pinnable E-mail is a critical component to a successful Pinterest strategy, enable content to be pinned on the individual content level

Platform

  • Add Pin-It Button to domain
  • Verify the business with Pinterest
  • Enable Domain Analytics
  • Activate & Incorporate Rich Pins to create a cleaner connection to inventory and enabling action
  • Leverage the Mobile SDK’s to further enable sharing directly from a brands app

Content

  • Learn from top pins, timely relevant pins that map to domain are key
  • Optimize pins, Sony’s audience preferred product shots while Target’s audience resonates with Lifestyle images
  • Short Captions are key, the goal is to tease to promote click through
  • Focus on content that will drive repins
  • Pin your product along with other inspirational content to boards
  • Focus on creating ripples with content vs. “feed stuffing”

Contests

  • When it comes to Pin It to Win it type of initiatives, it is important to ensure that there is a variety of content to pin
  • A pin from a Pin it to Win it is good, but the focus should be on repins. Repins are the key to successful promotion on the platform

SUMMARY

The first Pinterest partner event was definitely insightful and the event closed with the following points:

1) Discovery on the web is an unsolved problem & massive opportunity
2) People are making discovery possible by organizing the web’s content around interests
3) You can make your business more discoverable by inspiring people to pin

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

 

Brands Are Learning to Say Cheese

Written by: Digitally Approved
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Our own Tom Edwards was quoted in a Fortune Magazine blog recently discussing visual storytelling and how photos and images are helping brands tell better stories via tools and sites like Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr.  You can read the whole article HERE and we’ve pasted it in below.  Enjoy!

——————–

Brands are learning to “Say Cheese”

The meteoric rise of Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram has changed the way marketers from Whole Foods to American Airlines think about and use images to sell their products.

By Anthonia Akitunde, contributor

FORTUNE — Photos are having a moment. Companies such as Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr, the big three image-based platforms on the Internet, seem to be reaching new milestones every week. Facebook bought Instagram for a whopping $1 billion, and the newly public company may be purchasing Face.com, which provides software that recognizes, well, faces. Meanwhile, virtual inspiration board Pinterest’s valuation skyrocketed to $1.5 billion and microblogging site Tumblr recently broke into comScore’s top 50 web properties with 23.5 million unique visitors.

Brands have taken notice.
Unlike the slow uptake by marketers of other new technologies — from early television advertising to social media — companies have jumped on this bandwagon quickly. Companies are creating Pinterest boards and Instagram accounts, hoping high-quality images will grab customers’ attention and, hopefully, encourage them to buy offline. “Visual storytelling is essential to building a strong online identity,” says Michael Bepko, global online community manager of Whole Foods (WFM), which started using Pinterest in July 2011. ” I think it allows us to tell a story – through posters, through banners, through text – we can get particular messages across through image sharing…in a very instantaneous way.”

It’s also following one of the first rules in business: go to where your audience is. “Ubiquitous camera phones and connected mobile devices has exponentially boosted social sharing of digital images,” says Nate Warner, Red Bull’s digital marketing director. “We saw a constant stream of people sharing their own images from our events as well as images pulled from [our] properties, or re-sharing images from Red Bull’s social media accounts,” he continues. “The ongoing growth validates this type of positive connection our fans feel with the brand.” Red Bull – one of the first and more popular brands on Instagram — has more than 230,000 followers and more than 87,000 user-submitted images tagged #redbull on the app.

One could argue that Tumblr started this relatively recent need for image-driven social connection between brands and their customers. Companies have flocked to the microblogging site to share behind-the-scenes photos that followers are only too eager to reblog thousands of times. With each repost, a user firmly aligns themselves not only with the brand, but the aesthetic being pushed through their curated images. The 2,275 people who interacted with a vintage photo of 50s era beach combers on Kate Spade’s Tumblr are collectively saying they get how the bygone look inspires the brand’s quirky prep creations today.

For some brands, having a presence on these platforms is just as necessary as having a Facebook page. “As a lifestyle brand you can’t not be on Pinterest right now,” says Vanessa Holden, creative director of West Elm. “It’s a bustling, incredibly vibrant place of inspiration and sharing around design, cooking, entertaining, crafting, making, you name it. Pinterest really enables us to have a visual conversation with our community.” Relative ease of use has been a big boost, says Alex Wheeler, vice president of global digital marketing at Starbucks (SBUX). “The beauty of that platform is its elegance and simplicity.” It allows Starbucks and its fans to show “shared values and product experiences that are very personal around life moments,” Wheeler says.

Some brand’s Pinterest and Instagram (FB) sites are a combination of brand-created and user-curated images — and that is creating a kind of brand ing that exists outside of the typical indenties. In the case of an American Airlines social photo campaign, travelers could submit pictures from their trips based on a single theme each week. “The visual images associated with the themes provided a more compelling call to action and structure for consumers to create on behalf of the brand versus a standard promotional call to action,” says Tom Edwards, vice president of digital strategy at The Marketing Arm, which worked on the campaign. “Via compelling images, brands enable consumers to drive the creation of branded content, which drives additional attention in a user’s social activity stream, thus driving additional consideration for the brand.”

But does 617,994 photos tagged #starbucks on Instagram equal more people coming in for Frappucinnos (which, by the way, is tagged 16,782 times)? The answer is still unclear. Wheeler of Starbucks says the company is focused on using the medium to get into customers’ conversations. And Whole Foods’ Michael Bepko told Fortune that “between December of 2011 and March of 2012 we saw a 337% increase in traffic referral from Pinterest to Wholefoodsmarket.com.” With metrics like those, brands are betting sales can’t be far off.

 

Visual Storytelling

Written by: Larry Weintraub
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(image credit: artist Koen Demuynck)

We love stories. When we were kids we insisted that our parents read us one more story every night before we went to bed. Or better yet, make one up! Look at the television shows we watch now. Shows like Game of Thrones and Mad Men are essentially mini movies that we get to watch every week. The quality. The stories. What about reality shows? American Idol, Deadliest Catch, Restaurant Impossible, The Bachelor. These are weekly stories that have villains, plots, resolutions. We’re so hungry for these fantastic stories and we are lucky that they just keep coming.

And we’re starting to watch these stories in new ways. Look at the KONY video.  Nearly 90 Million people have watched a 30 minute movie on YouTube. I repeat, a 30 minute movie! Not an 80 second video about a cat or talking babies, an important documentary.

Meanwhile our phones are quickly becoming both a primary tool for viewing movies, television, and Internet-based videos as well as a significant source of creation. That iOS or Android piece of technology you carry around in your pocket has the ability to take photos with the same high resolution quality that were previously only attributed to devices made by the likes of Nikon or Canon.  Remember when you carried a phone, a camera, and a video camera to your kid’s birthday party? Like most other parents, I only carry one now, my iPhone.

As we take these lusciously vivid new photos at a mammoth pace, inventions like Pinterest and Instagram are helping us share them with the world.  Each photo tells a story of where we are, where we’ve been, or where we hope to go.  And each time a friend comments on or re-pins our photos, the story takes on new meaning for that person.  Then there is the complete personification of visual storytelling, the new Facebook timeline.  Photos are now so rich and large and the timeline enables us to tell the chronological story of our brand or our lives.

Many brands are taking advantage of the new Facebook timeline, but one brand stands out head and shoulders above the rest.  That brand is Red Bull.  The company whose energy drink sold over four and half billion cans last year and boasts 60% market share over a thousand competitors doesn’t do a ton of traditional advertising.  Sure, you’ve seen the ads about Red Bull giving you wings, but for the most part, we don’t see a ton of commercials or billboards. What we do see is that colorful logo plastered on every crazy extreme athlete with a death wish.   Red Bull epitomizes a brand entrenched in visual storytelling.

When Facebook timeline went live, Red Bull jumped in head first.  From the lead graphic to the individual photos on their profile, every image tells a compelling story.  Some subtle, some overt.

To get you to discover all the fascinating images and the history of Red Bull, they even put together a scavenger hunt that asked you to navigate through all the rich content on their Facebook page.

And Red Bull does so much more than just great photos.  They are also highly focused on video and film.  Each of their events and all of their sponsored athletes are documented by some of the best action filmmakers on the planet.  Check out their YouTube channel and you’ll find nearly 2,000 videos with hundreds of thousands of subscribers and a quarter of a billion views.

And finally, look at Red Bull’s website.

The site is dedicated to sports, culture, events, music, film, games, and if you look really hard, you might find a link to their product.

Red Bull breaks the rules.  It is lifestyle, story, visuals, and culture first… product last.  And it works.

Red Bull has taken a serious stance on visual storytelling.  And yes, it can work for everyone.  We’re visual people.  We love great images and great stories, and we’re more apt to buy from those who can show us what they are about.  Visual Storytelling is a trend and it will only get bigger and better as technology makes it easier and easier to tell our stories.

Fanscape Industry Newsletter February 2012

Written by: Larry Weintraub
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Hi.  We just published our monthly newsletter. The content is below and you can also see the cleaner web version HERE.

Crash the Super Bowl

5 years ago Doritos had the idea of crowdsourcing their commercials on the biggest stage possible, the Super Bowl. At over $3 Million per thirty second slot, that was quite a risk. Proving that risk has its rewards, Doritos commercials have been consistently rated as the most loved for the past several years. Congratulations to our friends at Doritos, Frito Lay, and all the agencies involved in putting this together and allowing us to play a part. Read a great article about this HERE.

The Pinterest Craze

Every few months something in the social media space raises its hand and demands to be considered for the “Next Big Thing” award. Last year we saw Instagram, Google+, and Quora make a run (none of which have crossed over just yet). Right now Pinterest is the rage. What is Pinterest? Simply put, you see an image on the web you like, you “pin it” and it uploads to your Pinterest page where you compile them into themed “boards.” We fell in love with it early last year and found it great for keeping track of our travels, recipes, fashion, art, and much more. Recently we’ve heard reports that Pinterest is driving more web traffic than Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube combined. For brands, we recommend that you think of Pinterest as a place to propel conversations around whatever you make or sell. Read more HERE

Valentine’s Day

As Valentine’s day approaches it is interesting to see the various social media integrations and promotions that brands are using to sell more products. Jeweler Swarovski launched a mobile site called the Sparkling Valentine’s Day Assistant and Heineken created an interactive Facebook page allowing people to ask each other out on dates. Meanwhile for those without dates February 14 doesn’t have to be lonely, that’s the day Angry Birds debuts on Facebook!

Five Trends from Super Bowl Advertisers

Altimeter Group studied the brands that advertised during the Super Bowl and below are some of their findings:

  • Trend 1) Brands heavily invested in promoting traditional websites
  • Trend 2) Many did not promote a Call-to-Action
  • Trend 3) Only a sixth of ads explicitly promoted social media
  • Trend 4) Hash tag marketing emerged to stimulate continued engagement
  • Trend 5) Cutting edge marketers teased with new marketing tactics

You can read the detailed analysis HERE.