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Digital Dice: New Twitter Profiles and Animated Film From Hootsuite

Twitter introduces a redesigned profile page, a unique Game of Thrones opening sequence from Hootsuite and more of the latest digital news.

Coming Soon: A Whole New You, in Your Twitter Profile

In the coming weeks, Twitter will gradually roll out a major redesign of user profiles. The updated profile will include several new features, such as the ability to filter and highlight Tweets. Similar to Facebook, each profile will feature a cover photo that spans the top of the page, and a larger profile photo. A number of celebrities and brands have been selected for the early roll out of this profile feature.

Hootsuite Plays a ‘Game of Social Thrones’ Using Show’s Opening Sequence

Following a Game of Thrones infographic from last year, Hootsuite created an animated film inspired by the opening sequence from the popular HBO show. The film swaps out location names with social media networks, and was released prior to the recent premiere of the show’s fourth season.

Mobile Users Spend 86% of Their Time in Apps, 32% Gaming, 17% in Facebook

Flurry, an apps analytics and ad tools marketplace for developers, has released an infographic on U.S.  iOS and Android mobile consumer trends. Interesting findings include that the average consumer spends two hours and 42 minutes a day on their mobile devices, and the use of social apps has increased from 24 to 28 percent.

Your Facebook Privacy Settings are About to Change. Again.

Facebook is rolling out new privacy features designed to help users understand who they are sharing content with and how their sharing behavior affects their friends’ news feeds. The dropdown sharing options when drafting a post will become much more specific, including new choices such as “Anyone on or off Facebook,” “Your friends on Facebook” and more. Facebook is also adding a notification system for users who haven’t reviewed their privacy settings in a while.

Friday5: Trends in Big Data

For some, insights from big data are the promise of super-smart nuggets of information ready to guide that one great strategy or one big idea. For others, they’re the same old pony dressed in new clothes and the chance to play with a shiny new toy. However one thinks, big data analytics are here to stay. Here are five thoughts from the Future Foundation’s conference on Big Data and Insight held in London last month.

1. V is for Value

Big data has, by-and-large, been described as data that is high volume (think petabytes, where one petabyte is 1MM+ 1GB USB sticks), high velocity (now take the petabyte and imagine processing one per hour; Google does that) and high variety (i.e., multiple sources and formats, such as social data, spending data, customer data, location data, etc.). Now, at the center of it all is the high value, as brands are increasingly relying on data for strategic value. Big data-driven insights become an asset class of its own.

2. Surveys Stay

As most of our lives unfold in one digital format or another, we embrace different voices. We tend to put on our best behavior in public, social forums, as friends scrutinize our every post, like and comment. Meanwhile we allow our inner thinking to be expressed in private, more anonymous platforms, for example when Googling. This voice disparity is covered in detail in Future Foundation’s latest book, The Big Lie. The authors uncovered the voice disparity by coupling big data analysis with traditional survey-based market research. Contradictions in customer insights are not new, but both surveys and digital behavioral analysis have their limitations. Future Foundation proposes an overlaying of the two to ultimately allow for super smart insights to shine through.

3. Human Experiences get Datafied

Wearable technology – such as the Nike+ FuelBand or Fitbit Flex– is putting us all another step closer to the datafication of the entire human experience, according to Dom Harrison, global trends director at Future Foundation. In Britain alone, 1 in 6 people born after 1981 responded to an nVision survey conducted this year saying they use personal health tracking apps. These apps track the calories you consume, your heart rate, how many steps you’ve taken, and, perhaps most engaging of all, how it all stacks up to your friends’ performances. In real terms this is big data directly impacting our personal health.

4. The Revolution Will be “Impossible to Suppress”

All this datafication has led to privacy concerns which have, in turn, fueled political efforts on data protection laws and regulations that may limit the universe of big data. Stats such as “92 percent of Europeans say they are concerned about mobile apps collecting their data without consent” are quoted by the European Commission (Oct., 2013) to support the Data Protection Directive, for example. According to James Murphy, editorial director of Future Foundation, “politics cannot make a single dent in the future of big data”. The big data revolution is such that it would be like trying to stop a tsunami by standing in front of it and raising your hand.

5. Big Data Will Not Replace Creativity

The infamous story of Netflix and its big data experiment, House of Cards, was mentioned at the Future Foundation’s conference, only this time not for its predictive analytics, but rather its creative power. The claim being that brands require new creative approaches to compete in an insight-driven world. “Big data cannot replace the creative soul,” said James Murphy, but it is the job of insight to “look back stage” and determine why we like particular stories, what excites us and what bores us. So, while big data has a place in the creative process, it should not be seen as a substitute for creativity.

Where do you envision big data and Insights making the most impact this year?

Teodora Beleaga is a Digital Analyst at Edelman Digital London.

A Day In The Life: Romy, Account Executive, Seoul

This post was originally published on Edelman.com.

Name: Romy Shin

What is your title/practice? Account executive, Digital

How many people are in your office? There are roughly 70 people in the Seoul office. The Digital team now consists of 12 people and is still growing!

What does your job entail? I support our team in creating digital content. The Korean market is so small and well connected that everyone knows and follows the same cultural trends. So we make sure our content is always referencing the latest awesome TV show or hottest star of the week!

I also work with bloggers, doing outreach programs for clients. Through product reviews, fan trips, etc., we make sure that bloggers are talking about cool stuff our clients are doing. Korea is one of the biggest blogging nations in the world which means that bloggers are very influential here! For example, when looking for information, Korean people search the blogs first.

What might you find yourself doing around 10 A.M. on a regular work day? Generally, our monitoring reports are sent to clients by 11 A.M., so around 10 is when I am monitoring channels for them. If there are no specific issues to report, I review the content that received good responses from the night before.

What are your top sources of news and how often do you check them? I try to catch all the latest news (especially for social media) from Mashable and TechInAsia (the social section). I also check the latest trends in social media at TREND watching.

Which social platform do you use most often? I read a log of blogs on Naver and Daum. Reading posts by power bloggers is especially important for sensing trends before they get big. I watch the biggest blogs carefully to make sure that we can make campaigns for our clients that are always going to be trendy, which helps us increase engagement and interest. Other than that, I’ve been using Facebook for six years and still actively use it most often. These days, I also really enjoy sharing my photos and seeing others’ photos on Instagram.

Romy Shin, Edelman Digital SeoulWhat do you like best about your job? I like that I can work across all kinds of different fields since Digital is a cross-practice team. Especially when writing bids for new business, I get experience in many different fields as I work with other teams. But I think the best part about my job is the effort that goes into making campaigns trendier and execution more creative.

How do you think the PR trends in your region differ from other regions? In terms of digital PR, Korea has the second highest smartphone penetration rate in the world (only after UAE). About 73 percent of the population uses smartphones. This makes mobile trends more important to PR here. Also, there is no Google here, which makes our market very unique. The portal sites Naver and Daum dominate the search world (by over 90 percent), which makes strategic use of portals really important for us.

What’s the most unusual thing about your office? Most of the people in our office have lived or grown up abroad, which is unusual for a workplace in Korea.

What’s one thing you wish you knew as a recent college graduate? In my university years, I studied strategy theoretically as part of my school’s Management Strategy Association. However, now I think it would have been better if I had more experience beforehand in setting and executing strategies practically. I think that strategy is the base of all work.

What’s your favorite part about the Edelman culture? People always try to share useful information. They also express their opinions freely with minimal hierarchy concerns compared to other companies in Korea. This helps make people here very proactive.

What path did you take before getting to Edelman? Edelman is my first full-time job. Before Edelman, I interned at KOTRA (Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency) as part of a trade project with the country of Jordan. I also interned at the entertainment conglomerate CJ E&M to promote Korean entertainment as an ambassador of the Korean wave. Later, I seriously started to work in the digital PR field by working as an intern at the small local agency and was in charge of social media at the Singapore exhibition, 2012 Yeosu Expo. In school, I actually studied German.

How will you Show Up Differently in 2014? This year, the dog owners of the office are planning on getting together to walk our dogs outside as part of the mandate to “Leave the Office and Breathe Fresh Air.” I will bring my Maltese, Pudding.

Image credit: ryan pikkel

Friday5: The Immediate Future of Paid Media

Paid media work is never boring. The five “crisi-tunities” (“crisis-opportunities”) I’ve listed below are some of the latest upheavals to the media space that keep us from getting complacent, and provide massive opportunities to make our mark in creative communications.

1. We’re Trading Places

Under constant pressure to develop new revenue streams, the participants in the traditional media transaction have opted to literally get into each other’s business. For example, to execute the Forbes “BrandVoice” product, the advertiser drifts into the role of the publisher—by virtue of creating the original ‘editorial’ content. The publisher becomes the media buyer—as they usually procure visitors outside their readership to provide a guaranteed amount of traffic to the advertiser’s content. And the media buyer plays the role of seller—as they can leverage their internal media trading desk to create a low-cost network for clicks and visitors. The eventual winners in this game will make bold, strategic decisions to diversify their contributions in the communications space.

2. What’s Old is New-ish

Much of the latest discussion around Web 2.0/Web 3.0, likely to drive up interest from clients and  venture capitalists, overstates the level of innovation that we’re experiencing. For example, native advertising and sponsored content formed the foundation of advertising at the dawn of TV. Instantaneous self-publishing and DIY digital presence for consumers on Facebook and Twitter have their roots in newsgroups and Geocities. But the lessons learned from previous iterations of these platforms could significantly boost their future effectiveness and our ability to creatively evolve them to influence consumer behaviors.

3. Vendors Go Direct

Until recently, the agency had secured its place in the communications ecosystem by being (1) the primary source of creative ideas, and (2) the primary negotiator with dozens of vendors vying for marketing dollars. An increasing volume of news from the creative space and the paid media space clearly puts the agency on shakier footing. To become indispensable again, agencies must solve for some the new challenges facing advertisers – (1) the steady fragmentation of media consumption across publishers, devices and formats, (2) the increasing relative value of word of mouth, and (3) the application of new marketing technology.

4. Media Measurement is still in its Infancy

As imprecise media mix modeling is increasingly forced to share the stage with “real-time” stats from Facebook, Google, or multi-touch attribution startups in order to properly assign ROI to various media channels, the ensuing chaos keeps most CMOs from making precise investment decisions. Add to that the tremendous inertia created by media execs’ loyalty to measurement-challenged TV advertising, and the chances for education and evolution appear bleak. However, we have a tremendous opportunity to connect with a newer generation of brand managers who may welcome an ROI-driven analysis to cut through the clutter.

5. Small Steps to Big Data

While re-targeting site visitors—first party data—within 30 days has become a staple of most advertisers’ direct response media plans, justified with conversion rates up to 10x those of other tactics, the manipulation of 3rd party data for more precise targeting has produced largely underwhelming results. Consumer privacy concerns, cookie deletion, Safari/Mozilla cookie blocking features, pricing issues, and a generally fragile infrastructure for pairing 3rd party data with ad impressions have combined to slow the growth curve for data providers, DMPs and some analytics vendors. More sophisticated applications of predictive data sets—including social and transactional data—is the area for immediate focus for the next 24 months.

What “crisi-tunities” have you started to prepare for?

Image credit: ecneralx

Digital Dice: LinkedIn Launches Insights and Twitter Photos Get More Social

Read about LinkedIn’s scoring insights, Twitter’s latest photo updates and more of this week’s digital news.

LinkedIn Launches Insights Tool to Help Brands Become Better Publishers

In an effort to reposition its ad marketing, LinkedIn is launching scoring insights to determine the effectiveness of brands’ content. A whole host of content, including posts on company pages published by influencers and employees, as well as branded groups and sponsored updates, will be ranked primarily by engagement. The score is calculated by dividing the number of engaged users by the active target audience, and then multiplying by 1 million. While the insights are only available to brands with a LinkedIn representative, they may ultimately result in more sponsored stories across the platform.

Photos Just Got More Social

This week, Twitter introduced two new mobile features: photo tagging and the ability to post up to four photos in a single tweet, instantly creating a collage. Intended to create a more social atmosphere on its mobile app, the new photo tagging feature will allow users to tag up to 10 people in one photo without using any of their precious 140 characters. These new features will allow brands to further engage their audiences through meaningful campaigns and personalized tweets.

Amazon Plans to Launch Free Ad-Supported Streaming

Amazon recently announced plans to launch a streaming service with music videos, original content and other programming. Supported by ads, the company may also include licensed content from existing television creators. After crowdsourcing seasons of shows, Amazon invested nearly $1 billion in content and has solicited pilots from well-known directors for new material. In addition to the growth of digital viewership and advertising attention for shows like House of Cards, the e-retailer also has a preexisting device – the Kindle – for delivery.

Brands Use Twitter to Boost Awareness

A recent study reports that brands are primarily using Twitter to increase brand awareness, drive traffic and engage existing customers. These findings, which were based on a survey of approximately one thousand marketing professionals in the US, also showed that driving sales has not been a major priority for marketers.

Friday5: Truths for a Successful Word-of-Mouth Program

We’re all in the word-of-mouth (WOM) business. In fact, it’s the grandfather of all things social media – social is but a tool in the WOM toolbox. And while it might be one of the oldest forms of marketing, it’s still (and increasingly so) the most trusted – because people trust people who are “just like me.”

At Edelman, we have a distinct POV when it comes to building sustainable WOM programs around ambassadors/advocates in both the for- and non-profit realms.

1. It’s not a product conversation, it’s a passion conversation

When you get right down to it, people talk about brands because of the impact they have on their lives. In other words, it’s hard to get consumers to be excited about your brand, but it’s easy to get them excited about how your brand makes them love what they love even more. So think about your brand as a conduit – the thing that connects a person and what they’re passionate about – and they’re much more likely to talk about you.

2. Don’t seek influence, create it

I’m not going to tell you that we don’t need influencers, because we do. But think of influencers as an awareness play. And while that top-down approach is happening, we need to also have a bottom-up approach. An effective way to do that is to find hand-raising customers that are passionate and give them the spotlight and opportunity to become influential. They’ll be a lot more loyal in the long run.

3. A barrier of entry isn’t a bad thing

These days, all you have to do to join a program is create a username and password and you’re in. However, we find that programs built this way have a lower engagement rate. When we create a small barrier of entry – like answering the question of WHY you want to join the program – we cut out the lurkers and engagement rates jump significantly. A small barrier of entry ensures the quality of members who join your program.

4. Create a strong identity

It’s hard-wired in your DNA to want to be a part of something bigger than yourself.  Creating a name, logo and online/offline tools that your members can identify themselves and one another to the world plays to this need. Get creative so it’s not “Brand X Ambassador Program.”

5. Think about content differently

Studies show that people share content online for three reasons (in order): A) it feeds their ego; B) it’s new or complicated information; and C) it’s emotional (specifically rage- or delight-inducing). So when you’re creating content, be sure to fill at least one of the ego, info or emo buckets.

Even though we live in an over-connected, digital world, 90 percent of WOM recommendations about a brand still happen offline. And harnessing those conversations is powerful. So every time we create an online “thing,” we need to make sure it ties to an offline action, and vise-versa. Because when you do that, you not only increase active recommendations, you increase sales.

How has word-of-mouth affected your personal purchases?

Facebook Acquires Oculus VR

Facebook announced yesterday that it has acquired Oculus VR, Inc, leading innovators in the world of wearable virtual reality headsets, for approximately $2 billion.  Oculus has taken the gaming world by storm lately, earning over 75,000 orders for development kits for their Oculus Rift VR headset.

In their acquisition announcement, Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg stated that “mobile is the platform of today, and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow.  Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate.”

Oculus VR co-founder and CEO Brendan Iribe stated in an official press release:

At first glance, it might not seem obvious why Oculus is partnering with Facebook, a company focused on connecting people, investing in internet access for the world and pushing an open computing platform. But when you consider it more carefully, we’re culturally aligned with a focus on innovating and hiring the best and brightest; we believe communication drives new platforms; we want to contribute to a more open, connected world; and we both see virtual reality as the next step.

Most important, Facebook understands the potential for VR. Mark and his team share our vision for virtual reality’s potential to transform the way we learn, share, play, and communicate. Facebook is a company that believes that anything is possible with the right group of people, and we couldn’t agree more.

Though both Facebook and Oculus VR are confident, the Gaming Community isn’t quite so sure whether this purchase is a good thing for the future of the Oculus Rift.  Zuckerberg has stated that Oculus will continue to focus on games, before moving to “other arenas,” but gamers around the world are not convinced just yet that games will stay on the forefront of Oculus’ business model.  Original backers from Oculus VR’s Kickstarter campaign are demanding refunds, and the lead developer on the popular game Minecraft has announced today that the Rift version has been “officially cancelled.”

Image credit: Sergey Galyonkin

Digital Dice: Pinterest explores ads and Twitter’s ‘Fave People’ feature

Pinterest explores ads, Twitter’s ‘Fave People’ feature and more of the latest digital news of the week.

Twitter Testing ‘Fave People’ Feature

Similar to Twitter’s existing ‘Lists,’ the new ‘Fave People’ feature allows users to organize and keep track of their favorite Twitter users. This update will be a great opportunity for brands to more easily monitor, proactively identify and engage with tweets from their top influencers and brand ambassadors. Assigning ‘Fave People’ will be as simple as clicking on or tapping a gold star icon. The feature is currently being tested among a small group of Android users and does not have an official broader rollout date.

Got $1 Million? Pinterest Would Like to Sell You an Ad

Pinterest has yet to sell ads, but when it does they won’t be cheap. AdAge reports that Pinterest is asking for spending commitments between $1 million and $2 million, and pricing CPMs between $30 and $40. No date has been announced for the launch of paid Pinterest ads thus far.

Taco Bell’s Latest Marketing Innovation: Feature Phones

In an effort to promote the debut of its new breakfast menu, Taco Bell rolled out Feature Phones to its fans. Around 1,000 hand-picked super fans and influencers will receive Samsung T404G phones from HipCricket, which will deliver various missions to be completed in exchange for prizes, including Waffle shirts, A.M. Crunchwrap sheets and free Taco Bell breakfast for a year. While the “Breakfast Phones” have caused an online stir since their March 19th deliveries, this is not the first social stunt Taco Bell has pulled, as the restaurant was one of the first brands to join Snapchat when they relaunched the Beefy Crunch Burrito last year.

Women Have Bigger Presence on Social

Finances Online has published an infographic examining the presence of men and women on various social platforms in 2013, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram and LinkedIn. Among other findings, the graphic reveals that women are more present on all platforms except LinkedIn, and that they are more likely to interact with brands. Data for the infographic was sourced from Pew Research, Burst Media and Nielsen.

Android Wear: Google’s Wearables Platform Is Here

This week Google announced the developer preview of its long awaited smartwatch platform, Android Wear. In this initial launch, the platform is focused on notifications and providing the right information at the right time through a connected Android device. With multiple big name partners, the success of the program and future wearable devices leans on developers adopting the platform.

Twitter to Remove Hashtags and @ Replies?

Both hashtags (#) and replies (@) are integral components of Twitter. However, Vivian Schiller, head of news at Twitter, may feel differently. Recently, speaking to an audience at the mediaXchange conference, Schiller called @replies and hashtags “arcane” and suggested that Twitter may be streamlining these features. “We are working on moving the scaffolding of Twitter into the background,” she added.

Since then, Schiller has down played her comments, and when asked, Twitter replied that Schiller was simply echoing a similar sentiment shared by the company’s CEO, Dick Costolo, addressed in a recent earnings call:

By bringing the content of Twitter forward and pushing the scaffolding of the language of Twitter to the background, we can increase high-quality interactions and make it more likely that new or casual users will find this service as indispensable as our existing core users do. And we took initial steps in that direction with the introduction of media forward timelines and in-line social actions in October, and we’re already starting to see early signs that those initiatives are working well.

Interestingly enough, screenshots from the recent alpha version of Twitter for Android suggests that @replies may be phased out and replaced with a vertical line to connect conversations.

@ reply

While it’s not immediately clear how this disappearance will function, it’s possible that @replies will be auto-replaced by formal Twitter names, similar to how they are on Facebook. On the other hand, it could be that users will still be required to write @replies and hashtags, but they will not be visible within a tweet. Of course, the hope is that the functionality remains the same with just a cleaner and simpler interface.

At this point, it is only an experiment and there is no suggestion that regular @mentions are affected. To Schiller’s point, it’s worth watching this space.

Share in the comments below if you would/wouldn’t like to see hashtags and @replies phased out.

Friday5: Keep Your Eyes on Instagram This Year

Since its acquisition by Facebook nearly two years ago, Instagram has been making big waves in social media. The mobile photo and video-sharing social network has over 150 million users. With the relatively recent addition of its 15-second video sharing capabilities and introduction of paid media, Instagram is fast becoming a viable way to connect with young consumers. Based on these improvements from last year, here are some good reasons to keep an eye on this platform.

1. The Fastest Growing Social Network

The numbers don’t lie: Instagram users have grown the fastest in the past six months, increasing the active user base by an astonishing 23 percent. It is the most popular in North and South America as well as Asia Pacific, but still has some catching up to do in Europe.

2. From Selfie to Storytelling

The platform’s inherently visual nature takes us back to the roots of storytelling when children tales were told through picture books. Instagram is quickly evolving from a #selfie platform to one where brands and individuals can share their stories in a compelling way. Take for example the “world’s shortest cooking show” Fish Tales, or Delve.tv’s 15-second clips that serve as teasers for a more detailed intellectual adventure.

3. The Launch of Instagram Ads

The first Instagram ads were published at the end of October 2013. Due to their promise to maintain the use of high quality images, some of the first brands to utilize the new service reached a much wider audience, grew their followers and received much less of the negative sentiment than was expected.

4. Influencers

There are thousands of people on Instagram who influence culture and the buying behaviour of hundreds of thousands of fans, from Chiara Ferragni and Bryanboy for fashion, Theron Humphrey  for travel and Rachel Brathen for fitness. Some, like Jen Selter, who invented the #belfie (butt selfie) and #seltering (posing like her), boasts over 2.6 million followers and has recently been given a spread in Vanity Fair online as well as print, not to mention a selection of sponsorships and free promotional materials. Sponsoring Instagram influencers is proving to be a highly effective marketing tool and will continue to grow in 2014.

5. The Next Generation is Jumping on it

Approximately 53 percent of 12-24 year olds have an account on Instagram, coming second only to Facebook’s 80 percent. While Snapchat follows closely with 46 percent of the age group using it, Instagram provides a highly visual social media platform for teens.

How can your brand benefit on Instagram in 2014?

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