Tag Archives: Taco Bell

Navigating a New Language: Emojis

Written by: Olga Kraineva
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Ninety-two percent of the online population uses emojis. That’s approximately three billion people. The adoption and use of emojis, a visual language that communicates different emotions or scenarios using digital icons, is exciting but also has tremendous implications.

Emojis’ high rate of adoption can be credited to their universality and ability to be understood by all, regardless of native language. Images are also processed faster in the brain than text is, so there are functional benefits to choosing a visual icon over multiple words to describe the same sentiment.

Instagram embraced the emoji trend and documented the following in a company blog post: “It is a rare privilege to observe the rise of a new language…Emoji are becoming a valid and near-universal method of expression in all languages.”

Brands have come to recognize this consumer behavior and have jumped at the opportunity to use emojis to appear hip, approachable, and current. Last spring, Burger King launched a custom Chicken Fries emoji keyboard that was available in the iTunes App Store and Google Play store (other brands and personalities have since followed suit, like Kim Kardashian and Betches). Taco Bell also made their own spin on emojis with the #TacoEmojiEngine instant-reply campaign on Twitter that used over 600 photos and animated GIFs to show how the taco emoji can play nice with the others.

Moreover, brands are integrating emojis casually into their daily posts, just as consumers would. GE used emojis at RSNA, a professional radiology medical device conference, at the end of last year in their social media communication.

Social media publishing platforms also welcome the trend and continue to create more emoji integrations for consumers, brands, and influencers alike. Below are some of the latest developments:

  • Twitter:
    • Twitter recently (January 2016) revealed three new integrations specifically for high-profile celebrities, including a special camera feature that lends some inspiration from Snapchat. One hundred handpicked celebrities can overlay emoji-style icons onto their photos, giving celebrities a more premium experience through customization.
    • Auto-response campaigns using certain hashtags to unlock content are also an option – something that our client Lifetime did recently. In promotion for the Toni Braxton movie, fans that tweeted one of three emojis and #ToniBraxtonMovie were delighted with a preview of one of three sneak peeks for the movie. The movie garnered 267K tweets and 3.6MM viewers during the premiere. Nielsen reported it as the most tweeted-about program on television Saturday (January 27, 2016), with an 18 percent share of all Twitter TV activity, and the most tweeted movie for the television season to date.
  • Facebook: Facebook is finally moving past the “Like” button in favor of a full range of emotion choices in response to posts. Called “Reactions,” this new feature debuted on Wednesday, February 24, and allows users to respond to posts with six emotion choices: angry, sad, wow, haha, yay, and love.

Keep in mind, there are also implications for brands that use emojis:

  1. According to a Mintel Research Report, Communicating Through Imagery (2015), “Part of the difficulty lies in the fact that images are inherently ambiguous, which can result in consumers misunderstanding key messages.” This can lead to unintentional offense or other negative consequences.
  2. Millennials – the most frequent users of emojis, claiming to use emojis 75.9 percent of the time – don’t want brands to communicate with them using emojis. Only three percent of respondents of an Odysessy research study said brands should use them. That being said, although they say they don’t want brands to use emojis, they may feel differently moving from theory to practice.
  3. Finally, most standard social listening reporting tools do not support emoji-tracking capabilities as of yet. It’s still difficult to get an accurate account of the impact of an emoji-only campaign, unless you also assign a unique hashtag to the campaign in addition to using emojis.

CNBC, photo by Dimitri Otis | Getty Images

The bottom line is it’s undeniable that emojis are here to stay, and consumer use is likely to continue to increase. Brands should use caution before executing on the emoji trend just for the sake of doing the next buzzy activity, and first evaluate if it makes sense as part of their existing strategy with their consumer at the center.

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:

Instagram Rolls Out Video Ads
Instagram is now selling video ad inventory launching the product with autoplay spots for Disney, Activision, Lancome, Banana Republic, and The CW. The ads started appearing this week and will continue to roll out over the coming weeks.

Tumblr Rolls Out Video Ads
Instagram isn’t the only platform rolling out video ads this week. Tumblr began featuring autoplay video ads from advertisers including The CW, Lexus, Axe, Universal Pictures, JCPenney, and Hulu.  Ads will be featured in Tumblr’s new video player (unveiled last week), which supports Vine and Instagram video.

LinkedIn Ad Sales Soar
LinkedIn continued its tear in the third quarter, with revenue climbing to $568 million. That’s 45 percent higher compared to last year. The increase was led by sponsored updates – a product that allows advertisers to reach members who don’t follow their company. Sponsored updates generated 31 percent of ad revenue in the third quarter.

YouTube Considers a New Subscription Service
YouTube is in the early stages of exploring new subscription services. Though specifics aren’t available, one option would be an ad-free service that users could pay for.

Global Social Media

Thousands Protest in Hungary over Proposed Internet Tax
Trouble is brewing in Hungary, as thousands of concerned citizens took to the streets in Budapest to protest a new proposed tax on Internet use. Over 10,000 protesters marched through the capital to demand the proposal be scrapped, as they believe it would increase their tax burden and curtail their freedom of expression and access to information.  The proposal was part of a bill drawn up by the current Prime Minister.  Protest organizers, backed by a Facebook group with over 210,000 supporters, issued an ultimatum demanding the tax be scrapped or they would return to the streets for more protests.

Noteworthy Campaigns

Taco Bell Blacks Out Its Social Sites to Launch Mobile App
As part of the launch of its mobile-ordering and payment app this week, Taco Bell blacked out its social media channels including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even its website. The idea was to play up the announcement and attract attention with a Twitter feed, Facebook page, and website all showing nothing but a black screen. Each of those pages only offered a link to the app download. The chain was hoping to prompt conversation using the #onlyintheapp hashtag. The stunt appears to have had some initial success – 75 percent of all Taco Bell stores had processed a mobile order one day after the app launch. Taco Bell plans to continue with their social media activity, but it will be limited until they feel they’ve properly promoted the app.  They have since started promoted tweets and other social ads.

Headlines & Stuff

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

Facebook Launches Verified Accounts
Much like verified accounts on Twitter, verified Facebook pages will now display a small blue check next to their owner’s name. The check mark will also appear beside the profile name in search results, as well as anywhere else on Facebook where it appears. Also just like Twitter, Facebook’s verified status won’t be offered to everyone. They will be available to public figures with large audiences, namely celebrities, government officials, popular brands and some journalists.

Twitter Expands Lists
Twitter announced that its is updating its “List” feature, expanding it so that users can now have up to 1,000 lists with a maximum of 5,000 accounts in each one. In other Twitter news, the microblog is rolling out an ad-retargeting exchange similar to Facebook’s that would let brands retarget people who visit their site with ads on Twitter.

LinkedIn Adds Photo Sharing
LinkedIn has added the ability for users to upload photos, documents and presentations to their status updates. The new capability, which allows users to upload images and other content through the share box on the home page, will roll out to all members over the next few weeks. The sites’ 2.9 million Company Page owners now have the ability to directly upload images and files as well.

Tumblr Adds In-Stream Ads Online

A week after Tumblr was acquired by Yahoo for $1.1 billion, the blogging platform has announced that it will be rolling out its first sponsored web posts next month. These ads will be integrated into users’ streams, which until now on the desktop version of the site have only been populated next to content posted by other users they follow.

BuzzFeed, CNN and YouTube Plan Online Video Channel

This week, BuzzFeed launched “CNN BuzzFeed,” a YouTube channel featuring content from CNN that is designed to be shared via social networks.  The move is part of BuzzFeed’s plan to become a news destination for young adults.

Global Social Media

Social Media Marketing Increasingly Annoying UK Users
Details from a recent study indicate that UK users’ acceptance of ads on social sites is fairly low. Only 5% claim to have clicked on an ad in the past year and less than 1 in 10 feel that targeted advertising is relevant to them. Also, there has recently been an increase in the percentage of respondents who have stopped using social media altogether because they’ve had enough of promotions. The majority of users displayed negative attitudes towards social media marketing (just 10% of Europeans professed to trust social media marketing). 35% of respondents say they regularly hide companies’ updates if they update too often and 1 in 5 claim to have stopped using social media because they fear their information is being shared or used by 3rd party sites.

Noteworthy Campaigns

Taco Bell  Sends Custom Made Rings To Social Savvy Super Fans
Taco Bell sent glitzy, unique rings engraved with special Taco Bell script to eight young women who regularly tweet and post photos on Instagram about all things Taco Bell. The custom-rings were sent to both fans and celebrities including Chrissy Teigen, a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, Jessica Lu an actress on MTV’s Awkward and Leah Cecil, Miss California 2012. The  handmade gold-wire rings were designed for Taco Bell by an Orange Country, CA based designer (sourced on Etsy). A handwritten note accompanied each ring. Pictures of the rings have been showing up on Twitter and Instagram.

Corona Invites Fans to “Live It, Share It, Win It.”
Crown Imports’ Corona Extra and Corona Light brands are offering fans the opportunity to enhance their summer experience through the “Live it. Share it. Win it.” promotion. Through July 31, Corona fans are encouraged to capture and upload photos enjoying Corona inspired summer activities and tag them on CoronaSummer.com for a chance for their photo to appear in an upcoming ad for the brand. Corona will also be giving away weekly prizes and one of four U.S. Travel package grand prize experiences through codes on specially marked packages of Corona.

Headlines & Stuff

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

Twitter Raises the Price of a Promoted Tweet to $200,000 Per Day
Twitter has enacted another price hike to its Promoted Trend product, raising the cost of the service to $200,000 daily. That is up from $150,000 before and is 2.5 times as high as its introduction price.  Assuming Twitter can sell a Promoted Trend per day, the ad slot would generate $73m per year in revenue.

American Express and Twitter Sync Up on True Social Commerce
Starting this week, American Express card members can link their Twitter accounts with American Express accounts and tweet specific hashtags to actually buy products on the microblog. At launch, card members who have opted in can purchase an Amex gift card, an Amazon Kindle Fire, a  Sony Action Cam, an Urban Zen bracelet, and a Microsoft Xbox 360. These products will be available through March 3 if they don’t sell out.

Facebook is Testing ‘Buy Tickets’ Links for Events
Facebook appears to be testing “Buy Tickets” buttons and links for event pages. Reportedly, these buttons are simply links to third-party sites at the moment, but it signals a possible deeper integration with the social network. Considering that Facebook has payment processing already in place, “Buy Tickets” could become part of Facebook Gifts. The feature is only showing up on Pages in Israel and The Netherlands currently.

Pay to Promote Your Friends’ Posts on Facebook
Facebook has let you pay to promote your own posts since September. For $7, the company promised, you can make a given post appear higher in your friends’ feeds. It was a controversial new revenue stream that critics feared would turn your News Feed into a rigged game – one in which we’d all start paying to level the playing field. There hasn’t be a lot of evidence of that so far. But that may change with social pressure to promote certain posts from friends. “If your friend is running a marathon for charity and has posted information publicly, you can help that friend by promoting their post to all of your friends,” a spokesperson told AllFacebook. The feature will be rolling out gradually to all users, and won’t be available to those of us with more than 5,000 followers and friends.

Global Social Media

Google Signs Deal to Launch New YouTube App on Free-To-Air UK Satellite TV Service
Expanding its online video services beyond the Web, Google has signed a deal with free-to-air UK Satellite TV service Freesat to add a dedicated YouTube app for customers, ensure they will be able to access millions of videos without the need for an additional device.

Latin America, Asia-Pacific Social Media Users Enthusiastic About Brands’ Activity
Internet users in Latin America and some parts of Asia Pacific heavily interact with brands’ social network pages, according to a recent study. 70% of Brazilian consumers are “very much” or “somewhat” likely to visit a brand’s social media pages regularly, along with 72% in Mexico and another 64% in Argentina. Users in Asia Pacific are also quite interested in brands’ social updates. 40% of consumers in India say they’d very likely check brand’s pages on a regular basis, with only 6% saying they were unlikely to do so. At the opposing end is Japan, where only 4% were very likely to interact with brands and a little more than half would completely ignore them.

Noteworthy Campaigns

Lipton Tea Targets Younger Demographic With Instagram Competition
Lipton Tea has launched an Instagram competition as it looks to target a younger demographic. The four week campaign, called “Liptagram,” comprises of a photo challenge in which users will be encouraged to tag their photos using weekly themed hashtags which promote Lipton’s core brand values, including #LiptonBrightness. The competition will run via a dedicated Facebook Page, where people can submit their entries and view other candidates’ photos. Winners of each challenge will be announced on a weekly basis, and a prize of an all-expenses-paid safari trip to Kenya, including a Lipton Tea plantation tour, will be awarded to the overall winner.

Taco Bell Announces Doritos Cool Ranch Taco Via Twitter’s Vine
Taco Bell is heralding its new Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco in a very new 2013 way: With a Vine. The fast food chain released Vine to get the word out about the item, which is available March 7.