Friday Wrap #188: Young adults want news by text, Facebook wants everyone to have the Net, and more

Posted on October 7, 2016 2:12 pm by | Employee Engagement | Chatbots | Virtual and Augmented Reality | The Workplace Experience | Content | Instagram | Visual Communication | Pinterest | Audio | Brands | Business | Facebook | Instant Messaging | Marketing | Measurement | Mobile | Podcasting | PR | Social Media | Twitter | Video

Friday Wrap #188I extract items for the Friday Wrap from my link blog, which you’re welcome to follow. To make sure you never miss an issue, subscribe to my weekly email briefing.


Facebook wants to provide free Internet access—Facebook’s Free Basics app has already been deployed in some third-world regions—and killed off in India after being subjected to regulatory scrutiny. But the company is looking to roll it out in the U.S., and has been in talks with the White House and wireless carriers about making it happen. Free Basics “would target low-income and rural Americans who cannot afford reliable, high-speed Internet a home or on smartphones.” Opponents believe “exempting services from data caps creates a multitiered playing field that favors businesses with the expertise and budgets to participate in such programs.” The takeaway: It wouldn’t be an issue if we already had an initiative to get the poor and rural online, just as there are programs to make sure they have landlines. Free Basic would add millions of people to the online population. That’s good for society and (to some extent) business. I do worry about shady online enterprises targeting those who can least afford it. Read more

You can link Periscope to your Twitter web profile—Despite the fact that Twitter wants to find a buyer before the end of October—and only Salesforce seems to be interested in acquiring it—the company keeps adding features in hopes of bolstering its user base. The latest: You an add “View on Periscope” to your Twitter web profile. When you start a Periscope broadcast, the text will change from “View on Periscope” to “LIVE on Periscope,” so users visiting your profile can go straight to your live stream. The takeaway: Useful but not a game-changer. The odds that I’d be visiting someone’s profile while they happened to be streaming aren’t huge. Read more


Social networks don’t want to be social—The big social platforms are looking to shed the “social” label because, while social media remains core to their identity, they have expanded well beyond being just social networks. Snapchat, for example, changed its corporate name to Snap and rolled out camera-glasses, calling itself a camera company. Twitter says it’s a news service (a claim that led to a surge of downloads of the app. And Facebook executives scoff at the idea that Facebook is a social network; it’s a media company. The takeaway: I remember when people wanted to drop “social” from social media 11 years ago. It made no sense then. It does now. Most media are social by default, but that doesn’t have to define them. Read more

Personal nature of podcasts represent a brand opportunity—The effort required to find and listen to a podcast makes it “intentional listening,” a very personal activity. That makes sponsor/advertiser spots feel more like word-of-mouth than advertising, creating a halo effect for brands. The takeaway: That goes for more than just advertising. Brands that produce a podcast benefit from the same effect. I wrote a blog post on why brands are resisting this particular bandwagon. Read more

Hacking attacks affect the way leaders write emails—The growing frequency of email hacks is leading to increasing wariness among executives in their emails. They’re sending fewer and being more cautious in what they write, many restricting content to a couple of lines. The takeaway: It wouldn’t hurt to educate our executives about both the risks of being doxed (having your emails made public) as well as alternatives to email that can be more secure (like messaging)—especially those messaging apps that feature end-to-end encryption, like WhatsApp and Telegram. In 20 years, all execs will be using these tools because they will have grown up using them. Read more

Sentiment analysis software makes inroads in the enterprise—The sentiment analysis software industry is maturing, leading a lot of companies to bring these algorithms in-house in order to assess how employees are feeling—what’s bugging them and what’s delighting them. Twitter has hired Kanjoya to analyze verbatim comments in a semi-annual workplace survey that used to only include a couple open-ended questions because of how difficult it was to analyze them. Other companies are assessing the mood conveyed in emails, internal social networks, and other channels. No individual employee is identified in these programs, just general trends. The takeaway: It’s mostly HR departments using sentiment analysis but it could be a goldmine of insight for internal communicators. Knowing how employees feel about things could drive decisions about what to communicate and how to communicate it. Read more

Add infographics to your SEO strategy—SerpLogic has published a six-step approach to creating infographics that will help you draw views through the addition of SEO principles. Infographics are 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. To embrace SEO, identify a topic your audience is interested in, pick the right kind of infographic, source the infographic’s content and data points, create a great design, establish a promotional strategy, and identify promotional partners (e.g., influencers, customer-ambassadors, business partners). The takeaway: Most infographics are awful, but even they succeed better than some great text. If you can make your stand out, you can attract a lot more views than you might think. Read more

Digital influences shoppers—If you’re wondering when the impact of digital will be the standard rather than the emerging trend, you missed it. Research from Deloitte finds that 56 cents of every dollar spend in retail stores is influenced by digital. that’s $2.1 trillion in annual spending, a 14-cent increase from 2013. The influence resides with Facebook and Google, not retailers’ efforts to influence the purchase journey. “Retailers should more aggressively embrace integration and the native capabilities of the major digital platforms where their customers have already chosen to interact and transact,” a Deloitte principal said. The takeaway: That doesn’t mean you should ignore the customer journey; just recognize where it’s taking place. Read more

Social media presence can affect holiday purchase decisions—As if to underscore the truth of the item above, G/O digital has examined data and found the one in five users of Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter say a brand’s social media presence influences their holiday purchase decisions. Another 44.7%, though, say a brand’s social media presence isn’t relevant to their holiday purchase decision process. Facebook and Pinterest are the channels most likely to influence a purchase decision (37.9% and 31.6), with Instagram way behind (at 6.1%). The takeaway: If your company sells items that move during the holiday, pay attention to your Facebook and Pinterest efforts. That’s right: Pinterest. Which means most of you probably need to get busy! Read more

How to respond to tragedy via social media—SHIFT Communications has published “6 guidelines for Social Media Tragedy Response,” worthwhile reading given how many companies blow it. The guidelines focus on proximity (did it happen near your organization?), magnitude (the degree of which should influence the level of response), audience impact (who your audience is should affect the way you respond), brand alignment (does it make sense for your brand to say something?), and judgement (“If you have to ask, “Will this offend our audience,” the answer is probably yes”). There’s also one rule you should never break: Don’t market sorrow. The takeaway: The compulsion to participate in “real-time marketing” by saying something when tragedy strikes is one we must control. What can I say besides: These guidelines are just right. Read more


Young adults want news via text, not video—Surprise! New data from Pew Research finds that younger adults prefer words to video for their news. Overall, 46% of Americans like to watch news rather than read it, but that number drops to 38% for those aged 18 to 29. The takeaway: Sorry to harp on the same old theme but messaging apps are fast emerging as a critical communication channel. Read more

Change failures—You have undoubtedly found yourself in the midst of a change program at some point in your career. Did it work? Odds are, no, it didn’t. A study from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services found that only 9% of people agree that change initiatives succeeded in their company. “The study of 442 business executives worldwide found that 63% of survey respondents agree on the benefits of change within a company—but the actions to execute suffer, as senior executives and their employees disconnect on discussing the changes and reinforcing them. Poor communication was rated the highest of all the setbacks that prevent successful change programs.” The takeaway: What an embarrassment for the internal communication industry! You had one job… But of course, it’s more often than not leadership that’s to blame. Communicators have little to work with when leaders don’t walk the change talk and emphasize the change in their interactions. Still, the new world of organizational communication is one in which we serve as counselors to leaders. If we have to hold their hands through change, then that’s what we have to do. Read more

CCOs put digital comms, employee engagement at top of priority list—Weber Shandwick and Spencer Stuart joined forces to find out what Chief Communication Officers are concerned about and found digital communications is at the top of the list (70%) followed by employee engagement (65%). Other priorities include corporate reputation, crisis management, financial communication, and shareholder activism. The takeaway: Digital communications makes sense but I was pleasantly surprised to see employee engagement taking the #2 spot. CCOs mainly focus externally, but this indicates they recognize about the increasing importance of the employee voice. Read more


Does your company really need an app?—There’s no question that we live in an app economy, but will having one connect your company with its customers? The simple fact is that “the average mobile application loses roughly 77% of its daily active users within three days of them installing the app.” Don’t create one (average cost: $150,000) just to have one. Make sure it meets a strategic need with measurable objectives. The takeaway: Messaging is the place to be. You don’t need to build anything (except maybe a chatbot) and people connect with you using Messenger or WhatsApp (or whatever) just as they would a friend or family member. Messaging is the second most popular smartphone activity, just behind email. If you’re not planning to be there, you’re already running behind. Read more

Facebook testing Snapchat features in Messenger—Want photo and video messages that vanish after 24 hours? Facebook-owned Instagram has already introduced its own version of Snapchat Stories, and now Facebook is testing a similar feature in Messenger. It’s called “Messenger Day” and it’s being tested in Poland. No word on if, when, and where it will be more broadly available. The takeaway: If vanishing messages are Snapchat’s core value proposition, the company had better start introducing new features soon. I already know people who have uninstalled it because that feature is now on Instagram, which they more regularly use. Read more

Telegram’s bot platform now accommodates games—I keep talking about the spectacular growth of the chatbot economy. Just to put an exclamation point to my belief, messaging app Telegram has launched a “bot-powered gaming platform.” Game bots like Pokerbot already exist, but the platform will let developers create more visually appealing games that will exist within Telegram chats. The takeaway: Brands should be excited as hell about this. Customers love games and having a fun one could lead consumers to connect with you via their messaging app. Watch for more bot platforms to follow suit and incorporate game-building capabilities. Read more

Virtual and Augmented Reality

Facebook introduces VR web browser—Carmel is Facebook’s entry in the rapidly-growing VR web browser space. The idea is simple: When you pop your phone into a pair of VR goggles, you’re transported to an immersive website that presents the various VR files available to you. Samsung was one of the first to offer a VR website for its Gear VR headset and Google has announced Daydream, it’s version. The availability of Facebook’s Carmel platform means “brands can build sites, not just (VR) apps that require downloading.” The takeaway: Couple this with the new headsets announced by Google and Facebook—and word that Oculus wants to decouple its headset from being tethered to computers—and you can see the VR space gaining momentum faster than you may have anticipated. Augmented Reality will still be more important in the long run, but other than games like Pokemon Go, we won’t see full AR implementations for a while. VR, meanwhile, is posed to go mainstream now. Read more

Opportunities arise for adding VR to marketing efforts—The rise of virtual reality is unsurprisingly exciting marketers, who are exploring ways to tap into it. Recommendations include making the technology available to your customer base (the way several companies have distributed branded Google Cardboard headsets), turning your product packaging into VR technology (Budweiser, Coca-Cola, and McDonald’s all turned packaging into convertible VR headsets), developing a VR app, and creating a 360-degree video. The takeaway: All great ideas assuming you have objectives in mind and ways to measure their success. The key here is to recognize that VR (and soon AR) is fast becoming one more platform available to you. Read more


Can we count on video view statistics?—In communication, nothing matters like measurement. The key metric for video is the view, but how reliable is it? One problem is lack of standards. Facebook says a view happens with someone watches a video for three seconds. So do Twitter and Instagram. It’s one second on Snapchat. Then there’s the difference between recorded and live-streamed video. The Association of National Advertisers slammed Facebook for miscalculating video viewing metrics. The takeaway: Video is important and there are other ways to get at each video’s effectiveness, but we definitely need industry standards. We also need someone other than the owner of the platform—sort of a Nielsen (or maybe even Nielsen)—to deliver those metrics. Read more

Clean-Energy video from Shell goes viral—Shell’s animated #makethefuture video campaign has achieved more than 20 million views in a single week. Another component of the campaign: “best Day of My Life” performed by Jennifer Hudson and other celebrities. The takeaway: Find something that resonates and even a fossil fuels company can create a viral hit. It’s a matter of knowing what video fans like to watch, the same understanding that made an on-campus vampire saga a hit for the Kotex brand. Read more

This week’s wrap image features Celine, running the Cologne Bridge Run, a marathon, as she waits for her team wrapped in foil. The image is courtesy of Richardhe51067‘s Flickr account.

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