Tag Archives: Target

Halloween 2015 Marketing Stats and Trends

Written by: Digitally Approved
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Co-written: Hannah Redmond, Director of Strategy, and Rita Mogilanski, Senior Content Strategist

Halloween isn’t just a fun time for trick-or-treaters, it’s also a fun time for marketers. More than 157 million Americans plan to celebrate Halloween this year, spending an estimated $6.9 billion dollars. Brands have the opportunity to capitalize on consumers’ excitement and become relevant with deliberate seasonal content. Here are some content marketing trends and stats to consider this Halloween:

Brands are innovating in the digital space this Halloween.
Target launched an app called “Treatster” where consumers can find the best places to trick-or-treat. Users can add in their own houses and “up-vote” houses in the neighborhood to alert other trick-or-treaters in the area which doorbells they should ring.

34% of consumers used online search to find inspiration for their costume. (Statista) Researching and planning ahead online before buying in-store continues to be an integral part of the shopping experience this fall, with almost half of households nationwide researching online before purchasing Halloween-related items in physical stores.

Consumers are more likely to indulge during the holiday, whether they are celebrating it or not. The top 5 candy sales days of the year are in October. This is in part due to the “permissibility” people feel around the holiday – even those who aren’t trick-or-treating or going to a Halloween party still feel more comfortable enjoying a treat more than at other times of the year. Studies show that people think that the same treats “taste better” during the Halloween season (Mintel Reports).

Halloween videos account for 57% of seasonal makeup tutorial video views. (Think With Google)
Beauty and lifestyle brands should consider Halloween a key moment in their video and social marketing strategy.

Halloween-related searches on mobile grew more than 1,000% from last Halloween. (Bing Ads)This is one of many stats that confirms the need for all content to be mobile-friendly.

Influencer R&D: The New Landscape of Brand Partnerships

Written by: Jordan Lee
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As the landscape of bloggers and social influencers changes, so do the partnerships that drive their content. As bloggers, YouTube stars, and Instagrammers become more popular, the campaigns become more robust. Product seeding is almost an expectation and not innovation in this landscape.

Bloggers partnering with retailers is nothing new. However, over the past few years, brands have been looking for ways influencers can shape their consumers’ experiences offline and bring innovation to influencer marketing. Target was one of the first brands to collaborate with these influential social stars and create product consumers can actually buy. Baublebar is another brand consistently partnering with bloggers to create products. Some mainstay products, like the Courtney Bib Necklace named for Courtney Kerr, owe their moniker to bloggers – a place in fashion typically reserved for models and actresses.


Image via Target

The recent announcement of blogger Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere partnering with Nordstrom to create a product line should come as no surprise. Undoubtedly, it’s a smart move for retailers. They are leveraging online popularity in a way that directly impacts sales in addition to any brand affinity generated by social media.

According to a study by Imperial, expert content by influencers lifted purchase intent over brand content by 38 percent, and 83 percent over user reviews. Influencers are critical to the purchase journey for consumers, so the extension of this is naturally influencer-created products.



Image via Nordstrom

This collaboration correlates to the new normal for bloggers and social influencers. Those with larger star power are looking for more meaningful partnerships – for them this is a career path.

This new normal isn’t just product creation, either. YouTube stars are getting their own shows and some, like Flula Borg who recently appeared in Pitch Perfect 2, are landing movie roles. Others like Zoe Sugg are writing popular books.

Influencers are already becoming more selective about brand partnerships. Just having enough budget for fees is no longer going to land you a deal. Brands with thoughtful, meaningful integrations are going to win in the future of this landscape.

3 Things to Consider After 72 Hours with the Apple Watch

Written by: Tom Edwards
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Seventy-two hours ago, I was among the 22 percent of lucky customers whose orders were fulfilled for the Apple Watch. Many have asked I summarize my thoughts about what I like, what I think needs work, and what marketers should consider when creating an Apple Watch experience.

What do you like about the Apple Watch?

From Apple’s first announcement last September to receiving it on launch day, I have consumed a significant amount of information about what to expect from Apple’s latest technology. Yet, all of my research did not prepare me for the full experience.

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The watch is beautifully designed and the 42mm face is just the right size. The interface is very smooth and responsive, and I am getting a good feel for which elements add the most value for me and how I want to extend my iPhone experience.

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Setup was incredibly easy and primarily facilitated through the Apple Watch app on my iPhone. After language selection and visually pairing the Apple Watch and iPhone, I dove into setting up my application preferences.

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The key thing to consider if you are looking to invest in an Apple Watch is to understand that it is NOT an iPhone on your wrist, but it is an extension of the iPhone experience. It WILL streamline lightweight tasks such as messages, notifications, and quickly reviewing email.

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I like the flexibility of the interchangeable watch bands; it literally takes seconds to completely change the look of the watch. Third-party band options are already appearing on eBay, and I have ordered a second Apple Watch band myself.

Tom Edwards Apple Watch

What needs work?

Outside of the passcode keypad, there is not a consistent input mechanism beyond voice. Responding to messages either consists of predetermined phrases, emoji, or voice response. This is fine 90 percent of the time, but for those times when it is not convenient to speak your response it will require you to pull out your iPhone. #FirstWorldProblems

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The same goes for making and taking calls on the Apple Watch. Be prepared to look like Dick Tracy when you are speaking into your wrist. Calls are better meant for taking on your actual iPhone.


One surprise was Facebook was noticeably missing from the Apple Watch app store on launch day. You still receive notifications from the app, but there is not a native Facebook Apple Watch experience as of yet.


One additional missing element is a browser experience. There are third-party apps that provide an abbreviated browsing experience, but there is not an official Apple Watch browser. Siri is voice-based, and any search query that is not tied to an existing app function is handed off to the iPhone.

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I have experienced accelerated battery drain on both my Apple Watch and paired iPhone. Also, Handoffs between the watch and app can be awkward in some third-party apps. Upon initial setup, a number of applications have to be preconfigured via the iPhone prior to working with the paired Apple Watch.

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How can marketers benefit from the Apple Watch?

For brands that have a native app in market, the Apple Watch can provide a way to extend the value of the application if marketers focus on creating utility. From a shopper marketing standpoint, Target’s focus on list creation is a good example of taking a single element of the app experience and using the Apple Watch to drive a specific user behavior.

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Target’s Apple Watch app initial user experience

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Target app example of highlighting item location via Apple Watch

I have used the Starbucks app extensively over the past 48 hours. The “glance” tells me how close I am to a Starbucks location as well as extends their loyalty program, and I can leverage Passbook for quick payment for my morning Americano. I have been impressed by the ease of use and the value the app is bringing me through a simple experience.

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The key areas of focus for marketers are understanding how to leverage both short and long notifications to influence certain behaviors while also leveraging the most relevant data to visualize – via a glance – to sustain ongoing wrist engagement.

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American Airlines is simplifying the boarding experience

By focusing on extending apps through the lens of consumer value and lightweight interaction, marketers can capitalize on staying at the top of mind through a user’s wrist.

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Uber’s Apple Watch experience


Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

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:

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


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


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


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


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


Global Social Media

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

Noteworthy Campaigns

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

Headlines & Stuff

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

Twitter Testing Major Profile Redesign That Looks Like Facebook
Twitter is testing a major profile redesign that is very reminiscent of Facebook and Google+. The main picture and bio is scaled to the left and there is significantly more real-estate dedicated to the header photo. The revamped tweet stream focuses more on photos and content cards. It is also moving away from the vertical timeline format. No word on if or when this will become official.

Facebook Adds New Gender Options
Facebook announced the addition of customizable options for identifying gender.  The new feature allows users to choose from about 50 different terms to describe themselves, in addition to male or female. They include androgynous, bi-gender, intersex, gender fluid or transsexual. Facebook came up with these terms after consulting with a leading LGBT advocacy organization.

Instagram Launches Blog For Business
This week, Instagram announced a new resource for marketers and news organizations – the Instagram for Business Blog. The goal is to create a place where corporate Instagram users can access tips, tools and other resources for creating really good content.  Instagram also announced The Instagram Handbook for Brands, which you have to contact Instagram directly to get (we’ve already done so).

Global Social Media

Mobile, Widespread, Social Networking Catching On In Developing World
Cell phones are nearly ubiquitous in the developing world, and social networking is taking off in emerging nations where people have Internet access.  According to a new study by the Pew Research Center, more than half the population in each nation surveyed own a cell phone with 90% or more in countries like Jordan, China, Russia, Chile and South Africa.  Across the 24 countries studied, only 23% have working landline phones in their homes with as few as 1% in Kenya and Ghana. They have skipped traditional phones and moved straight to mobile ones. Smartphones are gaining a foothold, but are only owned by 20% of the populations of 11 emerging countries.  Text messaging is the most common activity, followed by taking photos. Making or receiving payments is rare except for in Africa where 68% use their devices for transactions.  The study found that in six nations, at least half use their devices to go online, while 25% or less are online in Indonesia, Uganda and Pakistan. But when people are connected they are frequently using social networks. With 73% using Facebook and Twitter.

Noteworthy Campaigns

Target to Launch Collections Created by Pinterest’s Top Pinners
Target is partnering with three top pinners on Pinterest – Joy Cho, Jan Halvarson and Kate Arends, all of whom write blogs and work in design – on a series of limited-edition collections featuring party products that will be sold in stores and online.  The bloggers have massive followings on Pinterest – with Cho ranking the highest with over 13 million.  The first collection will go on sale in March and will be from Cho, the LA based graphic designer behind the blog Oh Joy!, which centers on fashion, design and food.  Her collection will be made up of modern garden party wares.

Square Partners with Whole Foods
Payments startup Square this week announced a partnership with Whole Foods Market, making it the company’s biggest in-store retail deal since teaming up with Starbucks in 2012. Through the agreement, customers at Whole Foods will be able to skip the main check-out line to pay at specific in-store venues using Square’s POS system. These include sandwich counters, juice and coffee bars, pizzerias and beer and wine bars that are equipped with the Square Stand.

Headlines & Stuff

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

LinkedIn Launches CheckIn
LinkedIn has just launched a new global product as part of its Talent Solution division called CheckIn. CheckIn is a mobile app that recruiters can use to better manage candidate information on the go. Here’s how it works: At an event, let’s say you stop by an employer booth and give your name and email address to a recruiter. Although, this is technically from a recruiter’s vantage point, the talent acquisition professional can send follow up messages to you through the site. In other LinkedIn news, the network revamped LinkedIn Today, adding a new content discovery feature called Channels. Through Channels, people can follow more than 20 broader topic areas cross over different industries, including Your Career, Economy, Social Impact, Big Ideas, Innovation, and Higher Education. More on this here.

YouTube Launches Paid Channels
YouTube launched its paid channels this week with 30 initial partners, allowing creators a business model beyond advertising. Among the first new channels launched today include sports, movies, music, fitness and children’s programming. Soon, one channel will launch that has never had advertising: “Sesame Street”. The initiative, will ultimately be self-serve for YouTube’s more than 1 million content partners which will be able to charge a fee starting at $0.99 a month for access.

Target Teams Up With Facebook For Deals You Can Share
Target is looking to Facebook to drive more foot-traffic in stores. The retailer is launching 700 new offers this week with a social twist: claiming them generates automatic Newsfeed posts on Facebook, unless the user turns them off. The deals, eventually expected to reach about 1,000 are a part of the retailers new digital savings program, built with Facebook and dubbed Cartwheel. The program, with the tagline “A whole new spin on saving,” launched in beta this week and gives consumers the opportunity to curate and share deals with friend as well as redeem deals in store.

YouTube Now Emails You When Your Video is Live
YouTube is rolling out a couple of updates, kicking off with email notifications for new uploads. Now, when you log-in to YouTube, you will see a notification that says “we’ll send you an email once your video is processed and ready to be watched, “ and you can opt-out immediately. The idea behind this update is that you don’t have to keep checking back to see if your flick is good to go. You can also opt-out of these emails at any point in the future. Also, YouTube will soon start defaulting tall videos to ‘private’ viewing mode until the users gives the go-ahead to make it public. The ideas here is to give users more time to finish all the tagging and titling before its actually posted live.

Global Social Media

By 2017 India to Boast the Most Facebook Users – By Far
Facebook’s user base could reach 1.8 billion in 2017, fueled by new users in populous emerging markets. While Facebook’s user growth is tailing off in the U.S, U.K, Canada and western Europe, there’s plenty of room to grow in population centers such as Brazil, Russia and India, according to new estimates by eMarketer. The Facebook user base in North America is expected to grow by only 3.6% this year, compared to 34.4% in the Asia-Pac region, 29.5% in Latin America, 31.8% in the Middle East and Africa and 29.3% in central and eastern Europe. The explosive growth in places like Brazil, which is expected to grow its 69 million users to 103.9 million in 2017, explains why Facebook has been accelerating its business development efforts there. The end result of these regional growth rates is that by 2017, there will be 616 million Facebook users in Asia-Pac alone and 318.9 million in MENA. India is projected to be the country with the most Facebook users at 277.8 million.

Noteworthy Campaigns

MLB & Blackberry Host a Twitter Takeover
MLB is closing the virtual ballpark gates for a new Twitter promotion. From 12pm to 4pm today, @MLB will be closed to new followers to that its existing 2.8 million followers can take part in a BlackBerry-sponsored trivia contest. Participants have the chance to win a range of prizes, including 2013 World Series tickets, BlackBerry Z10 phones, tickets to the game of the winner’s choice, MLB.TV Premium annual subscriptions, and $100 in gift cards for  MLB.com.

Facebook Credits

Written by: Digitally Approved
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Facebook is already the leader in social networking. With the popularity of the Facebook gaming content and the boom of virtual goods, Facebook credits was created as a way to bring  a universal currency into the social gaming space.

The credits are now making their way from the virtual world into some of the more popular brick-and-mortar stores across the country. Target, for example, began carrying Facebook Credit gift cards in multiple denominations back in September, and more recently, Walmart and Best Buy have also began to sell the cards. The cards, which commonly come in $15, $25, and $50 versions, should help Facebook to capitalize on the huge popularity of social gaming.

Social gaming and their virtual goods are a booming business. It is expected that revenue for online virtual goods is to surpass 6 billion by the year 2013. Not only that, Facebook Credits are already accepted by over 200 Facebook games, and 42% of online buyers are social gamers. By adding the Facebook cards into brick-and-mortar stores across the country, Facebook hopes to garner more support for the virtual currency by adding a tangible product sold in an offline environment.

“The physical representation of a brand…adds more validity,” said Rob Goldberg, the founder of GMG Lifestyle Entertainment Inc., the company responsible for creating the Facebook Credit cards. The company is also responsible for the iTunes cards that are sold in retailers throughout the world.

Facebook Credits have the opportunity to become so successful due largely to the fact they have a very active ecosystem in which to operate. Although Facebook Credits isn’t the first online currency to attempt to unify online monetization,  Facebook’s vast  network  provides the currency with an efficient platform on which to thrive. The popularity of the site itself, as well as countless of other sites which feature Facebook integration, make the concept of Facebook Credits even more ingenious and useable.

More recently, startup Ifeelgoods got the brilliant idea to offer Facebook Credits as a way to persuade customers to sign up for a website, share a favorite product, or even purchase something else online. The concept is interesting, but the company promises Facebook Credit promotions to be more effective and less expensive by using these virtual goods and currencies in place of tradition promotions.

Some critics suggest Facebook should provide ways for users to spend Facebook Credits that don’t just include virtual goods inside their social games. They could do so by utilizing their already enormously popular social networking system, much like Pay-Pal took advantage of the partnership between them and the eBay site.

Facebook Credits are still a fairly new concept, and Facebook has been keeping quiet on the actual direction in which the company intends to take. It is apparent, however, that Facebook wants to create an effective currency system for online social gaming, and hopes to eliminate the issues of international currency conversion fees charged by other companies. One thing is certain though, if Facebook plans to have their credit system become the only major online currency, it’s not going to be without making some key decisions.

6 experimental social media campaigns

Written by: Digitally Approved
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Fanscape CEO, Larry Weintraub, wrote a piece for iMedia Connection about some interesting and successful Social Media campaigns.

As brands flock to the social space, many are feeling their way and testing the waters, while others who strive for innovation must push harder than ever to stay ahead of the curve. It is exciting to watch companies creating premium content exclusive to their social properties and making use of existing tools in new ways. The low barrier to entry and relative affordability of social media allows brands to make bold strategic decisions and often create environments that stimulate creativity, reward risk takers, and consistently provide the best return on investment — customer engagement. What follows are six examples of companies experimenting with social media in both modest and significant ways.

Click HERE to read the whole piece.