Tag Archives: Samsung

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.

CES 2014 Recap

Written by: Larry Weintraub
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cesI returned yesterday from a fairly quick jaunt to Las Vegas for my annual CES pilgrimage.  Each year I go with high hopes, seeking technological inspiration, and this year did not disappoint.

The big guys like Panasonic, LG, Samsung, and others had massive sections but I tend to spend a little more time navigating the areas a little less traveled. CES did a good job this year of creating clusters around new technologies with areas dedicated to topics like Wearables, 3D Printing, Health and Fitness, and Robots in which multiple companies playing in those spaces were situated together.


Last year I saw the dancing robot from TOSY. The robot was there again this year, but I’m not sure he has become much more practical since he first debuted. That said, what if a robot could clean your BBQ grill while you are inside enjoying your meal? Grillbot to the rescue! I actually stood there watching this little robot clean a grill and I inundated the guy with questions like, “Can it work on a hot grill? “Do the brushes last long?” “Does it shut off automatically?” And the guy answered all of my questions in a way that made me think it might just be worth the $119 to be a little lazier.  Look, it’s not as sexy as a moonwalking robot, but if it can get me back to watching the Super Bowl that much sooner, I’m in.

(See my video of the Grillbot HERE and watch the company’s fancy version below.)

I love the idea that robots are being created to solve simple problems vs. trying to become my friend. First the Roomba swept my floor now the Grillbot cleans my grill, we’re on the right track!

Connected home

This is what I am most excited for, but it’s still not there.  I don’t necessarily need my fridge to talk to my dishwasher who in turn talks to my vacuum cleaner, but I would like an automated system that helps me manage my life a little better.  All the big guys like Samsung and LG had Connected Home areas. But when I asked the guy at Samsung if he could point me to the refrigerator that scanned my food as it went in and then sent me a text when I needed more eggs, he said, “I don’t know about that, but we have a cool fridge over there.” Needless to say, the technology we all REALLY want from our connected home still has a ways to go.

Below you can see how LG’s “HomeChat” is their entry into the Connected Home concept and what they explain as a way to text with your appliances.

Trending closer to the “make my life better” concept, I did like some of what I saw at the Cisco booth. They were showing some examples under their “Internet of Everything” banner wherein you can control and track all of your appliance usage and the corresponding bills.

ciscoWhat we really need now is for someone like Apple to make all of this stuff simple, intuitive, and elegant. The products being created by Nest are more of what I was looking for and sadly if they were there, I didn’t see many of them (though I did notice there were suddenly a lot of companies making Thermostat’s that synced with your iPhone).


Wearables could be seen in full effect in the Fitness Tech area. A plethora of companies were showcasing all the ways to track your health and workouts using bracelets, chest straps, and head gear. All of it synced with your smartphone and provided reasonable utility, but nothing on the floor cried ‘must have!’

Patrons wearing Google Glass and sporting their Samsung and Pebble connected watches were seen in large quantities.  The latter announced it’s new Pebble Steel watch at CES which appeared to be well regarded.

pebble-steel-3qtr-trio-zoomI know there is a lot happening in this space, but I left CES feeling like the real innovations are being kept under wraps because what was being shared openly wasn’t in line with what I’ve been reading about.

Solar electronics

A large part of my Vegas trip was spent attempting to stop my iPhone’s battery from dying and looking constantly for ways to charge it.  I was excited to see several smaller manufacturers offering products powered by the sun. (I hope someone from Apple was as excited to see this as I was.) Portable Bluetooth stereos at one booth caught my fancy and said products even had USB ports to charge your (previously referenced) phone and tablet while you tan to the sounds of your Spotify playlist.


Every year the televisions get larger and thinner. This year they curved, bended, and produced 4K images dwarfing the already impressive HD that we just got used to.  My question is, “do we need this right now?” You can tell me all day long how the curved TV is a more immersive experience but I heard a friend say that now it won’t fit in his entertainment center! Meanwhile, while the 4K picture is truly amazing, unless the networks are planning to roll out a slew of programs filmed with 4K in mind, you will be watching Game of Thrones with a picture so clear it actually takes away from the Hollywood magic.

Without a doubt, the most conversations around Curved TVs centered on the Michael Bay meltdown at the Samsung press conference!

3D Printers

My business partner, Terry, was enthralled with the 3D Printing area. Numerous manufactures showcased their printers and peripheral 3D scanners for an approving crowd.  The future for this sector is truly inspiring and we should be seeing great things from this in the years to come. If I had one critique for this area, I wish there had been more examples of how 3D printers are churning out actual useful household, automotive, and medical items and less examples of dolls and figurines.  That said, the band playing the classic rock soundtrack using instruments generated from 3D printers was quite impressive.

Photo: Ben Pimentel/MarketWatch

Photo: Ben Pimentel/MarketWatch


Another favorite was less about the technology and more about the creative integration of existing technology.

TreadmilliFit showed off their “Everything Inside” concept which came to life in the form of a flat screen television positioned above a NordicTrack treadmill enabling the exerciser to virtually tour the world via Google Street View maps.  The idea that you could “hike” the Grand Canyon without leaving your house was almost inspiring enough to, well, not leave the house.

Overall it was a good CES and I’m glad I was there. The promise of what is to come was more impressive than what I actually saw, but as a creative dreamer always looking for inspiration, there was plenty oozing from the Las Vegas Convention Center this year.

2013 SXSW Recap

Written by: Larry Weintraub
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I’ve had a few days to digest my SXSW Interactive journey so here is a recap…

If I had to summarize this year in 3 words it would be, Don’t Fear Failure. That was a mantra I heard from mega venture capitalist, Vinod Khosla and echoed (in his own subtle way) by SpaceX / Tesla founder, Elon Musk. Both were inspirational speakers and when merged with the question asked of Musk, “You will be disappointed if _______ doesn’t happen in your lifetime?” and the chalkboards I saw around an Austin hi-rise construction site that stated, “Before I Die I Want To _______” I came away with an urgency and a confidence to take on the world.

Yes, this year was more crowded than ever. Trying to get into a panel meant missing other panels because it required a 45 minute pre-session sit-in to guarantee a seat. And parties, well, there were plenty, but again, if you wanted to go to the big ones, count on showing up well ahead of the start time. And I heard a lot of negativity. “This is my last year.” or “wow, this place is ridiculous, I can’t get into anything.” But if you’ve been coming to SXSW for a few years, then you learn how to navigate Austin for these few wonderful days. Flexibility is key and you want to give yourself room to end up on an unplanned adventure that might put you on a bus or cab ride to something you will never forget. And the food, believe it or not, Austin’s food gets better every year. It is already my favorite food town in America but each year I discover even more, often from a truck or at a party. Rarely from an actual sit down restaurant. (Not knocking Austin restaurants, I just rarely find myself eating at one during SXSW).

In addition to the great panels, parties, food, and inspirational speeches, I also observed a lot of trends and new technologies. I paid close attention to how brands were vying for attention and gleaned valuable insights into where we’re headed as interactive human beings.  Here are some of my highlights (and thanks to my friends Brad, Tom, Bryon, and Jeff at The Marketing Arm for helping to compile this list):


Bre Pettis, the founder and creator of the 3D Printer opened the conference by explaining all the ways that 3D printing is changing our lives. In addition to telling us how easy it is to replicate missing toy train tracks and create shot glasses, he debuted the new 3D scanner which literally spun a garden gnome on a plate while lasers captured all aspects of the object.  While we all don’t need a 3D Printer today, at a reasonable cost of $2,200 (relative to its magic-like capability), it was easy to see how these could be a home staple in the coming years.

Google Glass, Talking Shoes, and Popcorn

The new futuristic Terminator-style Google Glasses were all the rage at SXSW. There were demonstrations and a handful of friends of Google were spotted donning their glasses about town. Personally, I can’t wait for these. Meanwhile at the Google Playground popcorn, candy, and mini peanut butter and jelly sandwiches kept me satiated as I did the obstacle course wearing talking shoes that told me to keep going when I really wanted to rest and have a root beer float.

3M’s Virtual Concierge

If you were wondering where to go and what to do at SXSW, never fear, Jennie, 3M’s hologram-ish virtual concierge was there to answer your questions and make you uncomfortable with her Disney Haunted Mansion-like eyes that followed you as you strolled the Austin Convention Center. I actually liked this display and saw it again at JFK airport welcoming me to the Big Apple. If you make your living as a greeter, you may want to start expanding your skill set.

Brand Activations

Chevy provided the best utility once again with their Catch A Ride activation enabling people to test drive everything from an electric Volt to a sporty Corvette. Need a lift in the rain, try flagging down a Chevy. No really, try. Needless to say, I got pretty wet on Saturday.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick spoke at the conference and told us all about the trials of bucking up against the old world of taxi driver cartels. Meanwhile Uber sports cars were seen driving people around along with Uber pedicabs which offered free rides to Samsung Galaxy phone owners.

Ford could be spotted showing off their open source programming for their vehicles with a collaboration with Glympse. If you don’t know, Glympse is an app that can show your friends where you are when en route to meet up. It may sound a bit creepy, but think about how many times you’ve wondered what’s taking your buddy so long to get to you.

Getting a drink in Austin is not that hard to do. Local vodka company, Tito’s made it even easier by providing the Tito’s Trolley that circled downtown Austin while whetting your booze whistle in the process. A simple activation that ironically stood out in a crowded field of brand activations.

Award for Standout Brand

Meanwhile, this year’s award for most visible brand was Samsung. There were numerous activations including pop-up stores, rooftop party decks, the aforementioned pedicabs, old-school phone booths, and even a giant building enabled with NFC which offered up cupcakes, drinks, and snacks when your Galaxy Tab phone was tapped against the bricks.

Crowdsourcing in Action

Merging branding with innovation, American Airlines and AT&T combined for a Hack to create the next great travel app. We didn’t get to see the results, but we were told that over 50 developers participated in the event.

Apps and mCommerce Aplenty

In the App world, there were some previous year favorites hanging around such as Highlight and GroupMe both geared to encouraging people to get to know each other a little better amongst the crowds of people. While mobile payments could be felt from Square, Level Up, Intuit, and others. It was actually hard to pay with cash at times and nearly every food truck in Austin was ready to swipe your credit card across their iPhone.

Content Galore

Content was king at SXSW this year. TV networks were prevalent and at any moment you could find yourself posing on the Game of Thrones throne, meeting the stars of Deadliest Catch, checking out with SyFy Network and Warner Brothers had to offer, or learning the secrets of the new Netflix season of Arrested Development.

Also showcasing in the quickly growing field of digital content was the comedy troupe JASH, made up of Sarah Silverman, Michael Cera, Reggie Watts, and Tim & Eric. Underwritten by Mountain Dew’s new energy drink Kickstart and built on the YouTube Channel platform, JASH made quite the splash. If the teaser they provided at SXSW was a sign of times to come, we should see some great comedy coming our way and some incredible brand integration that feels relatively natural and  not forced.

So much to see, so little time, so much fun, so much inspiration.