Posted on December 6, 2013 10:21 am | Instagram | Visual Communication | Pinterest | Advertising | Brands | Business | Crisis Communication | Facebook | Gamification | Marketing | Mobile | Research | Social Media | Technology | Twitter
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Above the fold
Lines drawn at FTC native advertising workshop
It wasn’t a hearing, just a workshop for the FTC to get more acquainted with the surging practice of native advertising (aka sponsored content). The the lines were drawn quickly and clearly, with representatives of the advertising industry “mounting a vigorous defense,” according to Alex Kantrowitz in AdAge, while others—including columnist and co-host of NPR’s “On the Media” Bob Garfield labeled it “A conspiracy of deception. A hustle. A racket. A grift.” Garfield went further, stating “With every transaction, publishers are mining and exporting a rare resource: trust. Those deals will not save the media industry. They will, in a matter of years, destroy the media industry, one boatload of shit at a time.” Other detractors were more academic in their analysis, such as University of San Francisco School of Law Professor David Franklyn, who said, “We continue to find deep confusion between the difference between paid and unpaid content.” Those supporting native advertising came from both the publisher and the advertiser sides. A Procter & Gamble marketing director said transparency is a requirement. “If it’s not transparent, and it erodes consumer trusts, the ROI falls and we just won’t invest in it any more.” Mashable Chief Strategy Officer Adam Ostrow showed one of his site’s sponsored articles that contained four disclosures indicating that Lenovo had paid for the article.
Mobile video viewing and branded video sharing both exploding
So much commentary points to the importance of video that it’s easy to gloss over the headlines when they cross your stream. But two statistics released recently should make you sit up and take notice. First, the sharing of video ads—the online equivalent of TV commercials—has increased almost 50 times during the preceding eight years. The top three ads in 2013 have attracted 11.6 million shares, with almost a full month yet to go. That’s 47.5 times more than 2006’s top three ads managed to attract. Writing for Search Engine Watch, Greg Jarboe notes that sharing of the top three branded videos increased seven-fold from 2010 (11.6 million vs. 1.6 million, an increase of 613.8%), and that 40% of the top 20 ads of all time were released this year. Shares are more meaningful than views, the article notes, because shares “are a global currency and a gold standard in the social economy; a share is a genuine measure of deep engagement, an act of advocacy and a driver of significant earned media.” Meanwhile, TV viewing is getting detached from TVS and taken out of the home, according to research from Frank N. Magid Associates. A quarter of U.S. Internet users said they use their smartphones to watch TV and movies away from the house, “and nearly as many said the same thing about tablets,” according to an eMarketer report.
Knowing how to share is increasingly a communication competency
It may sound like one of those things you learned in kindergarten, but knowing how information is shared over social platforms is becoming as important a consideration as knowing how to craft a good story. Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti told Adweek that an understanding of how information gets amplified by people sharing content is a key consideration in assessing talent to bring on board. “People who really understand how information is shared on twitter and Facebook and Instagram and other emerging platforms” is a critical hiring consideration, Peretti said, as important as “having traditional reporting talent.”
Below the fold
Crisis responses have to be faster, thanks to social media
More than a quarter of crises spread globally within an hour and more than two-thirds were known worldwide within a day, according to a study from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, an international law firm. “News of a crisis that spreads outside the country of original will reach an average of 11 countries, and social media play a significant role in spreading the story: within the country of origin in half (50%) of cases and globally in almost a third (30%) of cases,” according to a story in The Holmes Report. “The inability to control reputational crises in the early stages can prove hugely costly for a business,” yet companies just aren’t reacting quickly enough, taking an average of 21 hours before companies “are able to issue meaningful external communications.” It took more than 48 hours in a fifth of the incidents studied.
Facebook tweeks News Feed to deliver more news
If it seems your Facebook News Feed is delivering more links to news articles these days, it’s not just your imagination. The social network said it is starting to show more such links, particularly via the mobile app. “The news-focused alteration marks yet another change to the formula that Facebook uses to pick the content that shows up in the News Feed,” according to C|Net. The goal is to surface more high quality content.
Black Friday success marred by social media backlash
By all financial accounts, Black Friday was a success this year, but no retailer wants their strong performance sullied by torrents of negative commentary. Yet the social media space was flooded with “significantly negative sentiments toward Black Friday compared with mainly positive responses to Small Busienss Saturday and Cyber Monday,” reports PRWeek. A primary focus of criticism was the decision of some retailers to open on Thanksgiving Day.
Business leaders still eschew social media
While businesses continue integrating social media into day-to-day business activities across all levels of the organization, the C-suite remains immune from social media’s allure. Only 30% of executive directors at NASDAQ’s top 100 companies “are present and active on social networks,” according to a study by influence marketing software firm Augure reported by MediaPost. “That’s less than half the rate of the general population.”
When you open a mobile app, odds are it’s Facebook
Facebook came out on top in a survey that asked mobile phone users for the three apps they most often use. The ubiquitous social network got 45% of the answers in the Consumer Intelligence Research Partners study, with Twitter taking second place at 13% and the popular game Candy Crush grabbing 11%. “Facebook just dominates mobile phones, in terms of most frequent use, not just downloads,” said CIRP’s Mike Levin. Other popular apps like YouTube and Pandora were references fewer than 10% of the time among the most frequently used apps, according to a C|Net report.
Social visual sites reshape holiday shopping
In the months leading up to the holidays, Pinterest experienced a 25% increase in the number of boards dealing with gifts and wishlists, a Pinterest spokesperson told ReadWrite. “Christmas gifts is already in our top 25 search terms.” People process images 60,000 times faster than they process text, notes Piqora CEO Sharad Verma, which helps explain the appeal of image-based sites for shopping purposes. Verma says the public nature of visual content (Pinterest allows only three secret boards), the fact that retailers are contributing their own images, and that there’s barely a hint of negativity on image sites all are contributors to how these image-sharing sites are reshaping holiday shopping.
Twitter experiments focus on conversations
Two experimental versions of Twitter’s mobile apps indicate that the social network is working to bring more conversations to the forefront, whether they’re one-on-one or group conversations. Wired‘s Matt Honan reports that the experiments letter Twitter “change the view without changing the application itself.” In the experimental builds of the app, just as in the standard distribution version, “there are four more buttons across the bottom that lead to four different timelines: Home, Connect, Discover, and Me. They lead to the main timeline of tweets from people you follow, the timeline of interactions other people have taken on your tweets, a stream meant to surface tweets you haven’t seen, and your own Twitter tweet history.” In the experimental versions, though, under “Timelines,” if you swipe to the right “you get an ‘Activity’ timeline that shows the things people in your network are favoriting and retweeting.” It’s chattier and a more real-time view, he says. On one of the two experimental builds, there’s no “Discover” button at all. The experimental builds also change “the way you send and receive direct messages, see what your friends are up to, and take part in public conversations,” all of which is “a lot more obvious.”
Gaming for good
It’s easy to reject gaming as a means of achieving an organizational goal, but with generations of gamers in the marketplace, it can make sense. A new game, Cropland Capture, offers all the elements of fun to gamers while helping track the world’s crops. “Go to the site, and you see a satellite image with the question, ‘Is there any cropland in this red box?’” When I played it on my iPhone, it was pretty easy to tell whether I was looking at cornfields or a mountain range,” writes NPR‘s Thomas Andrew Gustafson. He answered yes and scored points equal to the number of square kilometers of land he had validated. The game includes a leader board and features a drawing for a smartphone. The map that will result from the 25-week tournament-style game will “be used by organizations on the ground that work with farmers to manage their crops better and get more out of each harvest.”
CSR is becoming part of mainstream PR
The number of companies reporting their corporate social responsibility and sustainability performance right along with other performance metrics—rather than as a separate communication—is growing, according to the Grant Thornton International Business Report. “The number of businesses reporting CSR and sustainability is now 31%,” according to a report of the study in Bulldog Reporter’s Dail ‘Dog, and 57% of businesses believe CSR and sustainability should be integrated into financial reports. “Businesses are seeing the value in connecting the dots between its environmental, social, human resource, governance and financial performance, which will deliver more meaningful information to its stakeholders,” said Grant Thornton Global CEO Ed Nusbaum.
But wait! There’s more!
- Serious Foursquare users interact differently in public spaces
- The rise of Slideshare, a powerful B2B lead generation tool
- Marketers find more success on social channels through customer engagement, study says
- Proactive communication failure at heart of 23andMe’s current woes, according to CEO
- Upworthy’s success inspires a batch of clones
Everybody’s talking about: Snapchat
When Snapchat started to get popular in its early days, it was with teens looking for a way to share their photos without risking Mom seeing them. (Facebook has, after all, turned into Mombook, at least as far as a lot of teenagers are concerned.) But with images that disappeared after mere seconds, marketers and communicators shrugged it off as a tool for kids and for those obsessed with “sexting.” Suddenly, though, and seemingly overnight, Snapchat has become the latest cool tool for marketers. In just the last week, we’ve seen ClickZ cover the debate erupting after the image-sharing app turned down a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook, noting that Snapchat “does provide one of the largest emerging markets for pre-roll advertising in the digital space…if even 5% (of the 400 million daily snaps) were preceded by a pre-roll ad, that would be 20 million available impressions per day.” But forget, for now, about pre-rolls. Mashable shares eight brands rocking Snapchat, including Taco Bell (which used the app to announce the return of the Beefy Crunch Burrito), Acura (introducing a new prototype), The NFL’s New Orleans Saints (releasing behind-the-scenes footage and images of new merchandise, among other things), and fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff, who previewed the fashions she would unveil at Fashion Week to Snapchat followers. Adweek, meanwhile, offers five Snapchat ideas for big brands, including concepts. Victoria’s Secret should push its lingerie products based on the apps “naughty” reputation. EA Games could release cheat codes and hints for its console games with Easter-egg-style messages. Southwest Airlines could post random photos of unnamed cities it services using Snapchat’s Stories feature, making a contest out of it in which the first users to correctly identify the city wins a free air fare to that destination.