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Facebook creates Super Bowl ad targeting and a new video-streaming platform rolls out

Facebook is targeting Super Bowl audiences, a potential YouTube competitor rolls out and more of the latest digital news.

Facebook Packages Own Super Bowl Audience for Ad Dollars

This week, Facebook began tracking users’ status updates, comments and more for keywords related to the Super Bowl. These interactions will give valuable data to advertisers who can then create ads for segmented audiences including users planning on watching the Super Bowl and users going to a Super Bowl party.

Several Major Brands are Already Investing in YouTube’s Next Challenger

Vessel, a new competitor in the video-streaming business, opened its services to the public this week. To access video content, users can choose to pay a monthly fee or watch ad-supported videos. Creators on this platform are expected to earn more revenue than on YouTube, as a large part of ad and subscription revenue will be shared among them. Brands including Chevy, Jaguar and Dove have signed up as advertisers thus far.

The Pinterest Conundrum

A senior researcher at Forrester argues that Pinterest’s marketing value lies more in the future than in the present. By 2016, Pinterest’s ad offering could trump that of other social sites — but today, most brands struggle to successfully use it as a marketing tool. Do you agree?

Twitter Buys Indian Mobile Platform ZipDial, Hoping for User Boost in Developing Nations

Twitter recently acquired ZipDial, an Indian based mobile platform, in a move that could bring Twitter to billions of new people around the world. ZipDial’s current platform sends users messages directly via SMS, and is a widely used in India and developing nations. This acquisition will likely bring a helpful boost to Twitter’s advertising revenue, which has fluctuated over the last year.

Friday5: How The White House Mastered Fractured Media

A version of this post was originally published on Medium.

It doesn’t matter where you land on the political spectrum: one can’t help but notice how the White House continues to master the ever fragmented media landscape. The White House knows to reach people where they are vs. relying solely on the traditional “mainstream” channels of its predecessors. Though however masterful it may seem at first glance — the principles the White House is putting into action can be broken down into a set of best practices.

1. Tapping the reach of internet celebrities

The notion of an “internet celebrity” was something many media and professionals once scoffed at — now it’s a multi-million-dollar industry with many of the top players who have built vast audiences on YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine laughing all the way to the bank. “Pewdiepie” for example is considered to be YouTube’s #1 highest paid YouTube star taking in an estimated annual income of nearly nine million dollars after YouTube’s cut.

Obama’s move to once again utilize internet celebrities to access their audiences and generate an amplified response is becoming a standard tactic in the playbook of marketers and communicators. The strategy is simple — in order to reach millennials, you have to be culturally relevant to them and traditional celebrities are no longer the only ones shaping cultural relevance. The internet celebrity not only offers a gateway to cultural relevance but also a potentially huge audience. One of the Obama Youtubers for example, has a channel subscription over eight million. For those of us however that don’t enjoy the clout of the White House — working with these influentials is largely a paid game. Get ready to carve up your media dollars.

2. Showing Vs. Telling

Throughout the State of The Union address, there were live tweets as you would expect — but there was also a barrage of visual content ranging from infographics to nostalgic pictures of Obama as a boy riding a tricycle. On Facebook, videos were posted that split screened images and text that acted as visual aides to Obama’s speech — illustrating the main points and bringing to life his spoken word.

3. Publishing Direct – Mobile First

The White House made history as it bypassed the tradition of leaking the transcript to the media before making it public and published a copy directly to the mobile and social optimized Medium platform. By doing this, a precedent has been set, sending the signal that people are media as much as the media itself is. Also, it’s a nice win for Medium.

4. Owning Your Owned Assets

In this age of social savvy media upstarts, the general public and influencers who distribute your message, the White House still understands the value of the home court advantage and used various means to drive traffic to Whitehouse.gov/SOTU which directed users to a content hub where the State of the Union could be watched online as well as hosting several assets such as graphic and animated gifs. The owned property also does what many other assets cannot — it’s a CRM data acquisition strategy prompting visitors to share their e-mail and zip code which places them into “the system.”

5. Why It Worked

There’s much that can be learned from watching the White House pull the many levers now needed to reach audiences where they choose to engage. But many of the strategies and tactics are not new — they are simply planned and executed with the understanding that many efforts vs few now need to work in concert, and a message can be “controlled” more than you think if the right levers are pulled at the right time.

Image credit: Diego Camblaso

Friday5: 5 Reasons to Embrace Responsive Web Design in 2015

In 2010, Morgan Stanley released an 87-page report declaring that mobile would rule the world by 2015. Well, here we are five years later and while we might not have hoverboards yet, mobile has exploded as predicted. With the huge influx of smartphone adoption, device fragmentation, and mobile Internet usage, creating a responsive web experience for all devices is no longer an option—it’s a requirement.

What is responsive web design? The folks over at Froont have a great blog post with helpful visuals, but essentially, RWD is the belief that websites should respond to the needs of the users and the devices they’re using by changing the layout of the site based on the size and capabilities of the device.

Why is that important?

1. Mobile usage

As predicted, mobile usage did surpass desktop usage for the first time in history in 2014. Mary Meeker, the same woman who made the 2010 prediction, also reported that global mobile data usage increased by 80 percent from 2013 to 2014 and it doesn’t show signs of slowing. But that’s not all. According to Google, 77 percent of mobile searches occur at home or at work, places where desktop computers are likely to be present. Even when there are desktops available, people are on their phones.

2. User experience

According to mobiForge, 46 percent of mobile web users are unlikely to return to a website they had trouble accessing in the past and 33 percent of tablet users are less likely to purchase online from a company if they experience poor website performance. The goal of your business should be to solve a problem, not create one. The same should go for your website. You should strive to make the lives of your users easier.

3. Device fragmentation

Before responsive design, the prevailing practice was to create “Mobile-versions” of websites. Now, with almost 20,000 different types of Android devices (and countless other phones, tablets, TVs,) with varying screen sizes and resolutions, responsive design is more important than ever. How can you possibly account for all those combinations? You can’t. So you design an experience that gracefully expands and contracts to intelligently fill the corners of the device screen. If you’ve done your job correctly, your website should look as good on an iPhone as it does on a 40” flatscreen.

4. Multi-screen World

In August of 2012, Google released a study called The New Multi-screen World: Understanding Cross-platform Consumer Behavior. Without getting too deep into the behavioral findings of that report, the key insight here is that the device we choose to use is often driven by our context: where we are, what we want to accomplish and the amount of time needed. Often times tasks start on mobile devices and end on PCs and vice versa. To help users complete those tasks, we need to provide a seamless experience across all devices and that’s where responsive web design comes into play.

5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

In December of 2014, Google announced that they would be giving preferential treatment to websites that they consider to be “mobile-friendly.” If responsive web design was a nice-to-have before, this change has made it a need-to-have. Before, it was a courtesy, now your site will be penalized in search results for not abiding by the new standard of the web. Wondering if Google considers your website “Mobile-Friendly”? Check out their free tool and see for yourself.

These are exciting times we live in. Our clients rely on us to push them to stay ahead of the curve and best serve their customers. To quote Google’s Javier Perez, “Let’s ditch the pinching, scrolling and aimless tapping, and welcome the new wave of mobile-friendly sites.”

Welcome to 2015, the year of responsive web design.

Image credit: Google Mobile Guide

Facebook video activity soars and Twitter’s native video tool close to launch

Facebook video activity soars, Twitter to launch native video tool in coming weeks and more of the latest digital news.

65% of Facebook’s Video Views Are Now on Mobile Devices

In the past year, Facebook has seen a high amount of activity in video content on mobile devices. Over 50 percent of U.S. users watch at least one video daily, and video posts have increased by 75 percent globally. As videos flood users’ news feeds, brands have the ability to strategically target consumers directly on their mobile devices.

Twitter’s New Video Feature is Only a Few Weeks Away

Twitter plans to release its native video tool in the next few weeks. Similar to the platform’s standalone video app Vine, users will be able to shoot, edit and post videos directly from the app. Videos will also have time limits, though the exact time has not been disclosed. The update is expected to be one of the largest since the platform began.

Pinterest Pushing Deeper Into Ads

At the start of the New Year, Pinterest released their promoted pins program to all users. Similar in look to unpaid content, pins can target users based on specific demographics, topics of interest and location. Early reports show that the ads are seen by an average of 30 percent more people and continue to perform following the end of a campaign. While mostly larger brands are utilizing promoted pins, Pinterest hopes the new ad features will cater to small and midsize businesses in the future.

LinkedIn Reaches One Million Member Posts, Opens Publishing to New Markets

In an effort to become a high-traffic network, LinkedIn announced the expansion of its publishing platform to 230 million English speakers. Beyond job searching and resume building, the professional platform aims to become part of users’ daily habits. In the coming months, LinkedIn will plan to extend the tool to all members in supported languages.

Friday5: Digital Predictions for 2015

It’s the start of the new year, and with it comes the yearly predictions of what’s going to be big and noteworthy in the next year. We spoke with five people throughout the network to see what they’re most excited about in the digital and tech spaces in 2015:

1. Aniz Ruda, VP, Insights & Intelligence, Chicago

With CES 2015 wrapping up, it’s hard to avoid the influx of wearable devices that are starting to become accessible in the market. As these technologies become increasingly popular, Aniz wonders what brands will do with the massive amounts of data that these devices will produce. What are the ethical and regulatory issues that will pop up in the year, and how will brands take action on them?

2. Matt Stanton, Partner Knowledge Manager, New York

Matt is interested in seeing how brands and entertainment companies will use micro-content to distribute high-quality messages on social channels and mobile messaging apps like kik, Line, WeChat, and Whatsapp, which have exploded in popularity and will likely continue to do so.  In addition, with phone screens growing in size, people can give more attention to short-form video content, opening up huge opportunities for brands, which might use mobile messaging apps to distribute them most effectively.

3. Sara Azadi, EVP, Group Head for Consumer and Digital, Bay

Sara predicts that 2015 will bring requests for better attribution of digital activities to sales. Historically, a CMO could roughly correlate TV advertising budget with fluctuations in sales. It is increasingly difficult to attribute one digital activity or channel to sales with the rapid proliferation of social networks, tools, platforms and channels. Sara has noticed CMOs are increasing their expectations of social ROI. According to Sara, communications marketing professionals will need to take a step back and look at communications more holistically to build an attribution model. Although clients might wonder how a single tweet or promoted Facebook post affects sales, we should be practicing measurement among the client’s entire digital ecosystem so we can skip the leap of faith inherent to TV advertising.

4. Marko Muellner, VP, Group Director, Digital, Portland

The internet of things has been gaining traction over the past few years and has shifted gears in a big way towards the automotive industry. Marko’s been thinking about the implications of connected cars for consumers and stakeholders in the automotive industry. Will we see a “data war?” Specifically, your next new car will include a data plan for entertainment and navigation, but will also stream diagnostics and other data to manufacturers, dealers, the telecom companies and tech companies like Apple and Google. 3rd parties like mechanics, tire centers and gas stations, for example, will be at a distinct disadvantage in the near term. Additionally, considering the size of the automotive industry, this huge cascade of data will enable major competitive advantage. These companies will become the new gatekeepers to deeper consumer relationships, will our clients be paying BMW to reach their drivers during drive time? Yes, yes they will.

 5. Brittany Dow, Account Manager, Digital, Toronto

Brittany’s on the lookout for evidence of “post-demographic consumerism” marked by the change of traditional status symbols in the digital environment, which required high income and therefore were restricted to older and more traditional demographics. Now, with experiences, lifestyles, personal connection all representing a new form of status, consumers will increasingly choose their products, brands and experiences outside of our traditional understanding of those products’ demographics. Brands who respond effectively to this melting pot will continue to succeed.

What trends are you looking out for this year?

This post was compiled by Josh Lieberthal and Chris Rooney.

Image credit: Keoni Cabral

Friday5: Thoughts on Communicating Data Breaches

If you’ve been following the news recently, you’ve seen the torrent of information about Sony’s recent hacking. Given the increasing prevalence of major data breaches in every industry, there are lessons for large organizations hidden among the public reaction. Here are 5 insights I’ve gathered:

1: Digital includes risk

The average employee sends and receives 30,000 emails per year (115 per day in 2013 * 260 workdays per year). That’s just email. Much of our lives have migrated online—banking, SMS, healthcare information, and so on. Consumers and companies alike should recognize two things: digital has made much of our daily activities easier and more efficient, but that convenience and connectivity includes some data risk—those databases remain (with all the less-than-thoughtful messages contained within), and perfect security is impossible. In the long-term, the risk of a breach happening is very high, and understanding this—for consumers and companies—is critical for being able to react to them.

2: The math on security has changed

There’s no question that data breaches have increased in recent years. According to idtheftcenter.org, breaches across all sectors increased by an average of 25% per year between 2005-2013. These have included everything from emails, to user IDs, to credit card information to Social Security numbers.

Source: idtheftcenter.org

Source: idtheftcenter.org

Sony’s VP of security remarked a few years ago that it was a defendable business decision to hold off on investments in data security if it might cost more than simply enduring a breach. However, in this age of data security risk, the cost of a breach is more than just the value of stolen intellectual property and offering services to protect personal information. It also includes the cost of lost trust in the organization—trust that’s essential for maintaining a positive relationship with stakeholders. Trust might not fit on a financial statement, but it’s the currency with which a brand operates in the market.

3: Anticipate how the breach will be understood

When a breach happens, the reputational context in which it happens will determine how consumers react. Sony’s recent hacking affected employees the most—all blameless. Yet some of the public reaction included finger-pointing at Sony instead of the hackers, as if they’d invited it. Of course, no company (one hopes) would ever intentionally leak employee data or invite hackers to do so. But if the organization has a history of data security crises, some unfair blame is bound to be pointed towards the organization. It’s essential to have a well-communicated plan in place to improve your data security after it happens.

4: Reestablish trust with the right spokesperson

It’s important to consider who the organization chooses to represent them in a crisis. When it’s a data breach or other information-related crisis, a senior technical officer should take the lead in communicating the problem, the consequences, and the next steps the organization will take to protect its employees and customers.

5: Take care of the victims

When a data breach happens, how you communicate your reaction to the breach is essential. If your employees or consumers have private information exposed, immediately share your plan to protect them, in detail. If the victims lost identity information, employ services to help them keep track of their credit and identities. The initial costs may seem high, but the return in trust will be huge.

What has interested you most about the current discussions regarding data security?

Facebook introduces Graph Search to mobile and Instagram rolls out verified badges

Facebook introduces Graph Search to mobile, Instagram announces verified accounts and more of the latest digital news.

Facebook Brings Graph Search To Mobile And Lets You Find Feed Posts By Keyword

Earlier this week, Facebook released Graph Search for mobile iOS users. Graph search is an in-depth way of searching for past News Feed posts by keyword. The offering is currently ad-free and is a major step for Facebook in challenging Google’s search engine.

Instagram Debuts Verified Badges for Brands

Following the announcement of Instagram reaching 300 million accounts, the popular social platform has started rolling out verified badges to signify verified accounts. The badges will be assigned to public figures and brands that are commonly impersonated, according to an Instagram blog post.

LinkedIn Hopes Redesigned Home Page Spurs More Conversation

This week LinkedIn began rolling out a new homepage for users. With a more simplified look, the platform is aiming to include features that users want to see right on their own homepages. Keeping with their mission to feed users relevant content for their work life, these predictive analytics will show personalized content to each user.

Twitter Copies Instagram with New Adjustable Photo Filters

Twitter replaced its photo filter grid with a much simpler Instagram-style row of adjustable filters. Each filter can be double-tapped to reveal an intensity slider, nearly identical in style to Instagram’s slider. This is yet another example of social platforms imitating each other to best meet the needs of consumers.

The 2014 #YearonTwitter

To look back on the best global moments from the year, Twitter launched #YearOnTwitter on 2014.Twitter.com. Check out this interactive experience that celebrates the most talked about moments of the year.

Friday5: Why Email Marketing Rules

Do your clients want to reach people…and get them to do something? Then consider the power of email for consumer marketing, public affairs, and corporate campaigns. Here are five reasons why email rules.

1. Volume

The statistics of email use and ROI are mind bogglingly impressive. Every minute there are 204 million emails sent compared to almost 6 million combined social engagements on Facebook, Pinterest, Vine, Instagram, and Twitter.[i] But this doesn’t mean email is an oversaturated channel. In fact, email is the third highest medium for expected ROI by business marketers, behind organic search and CPC, and is well ahead of social media platforms.[ii] Customer acquisition by email (i.e. subscribers) has quadrupled over the past four years,[iii] which is solid evidence that the channel is trusted, preferred, and growing. For every dollar spent there’s a $40 return on email, compared to a $17 return for keyword ads and a $2 return for banner ads.[iv]

2. Permission-Based

Email is permission-based, meaning recipients have given you the green light to send them information about their product, service, or cause. They’ve bought in. Combine that with the primacy of smartphones and tablets and you begin to understand that people are always checking their email, making it the leading activity for people on their phones.[v] Customers who come to businesses via email are more likely to do what you’re asking them to do – whether it’s asking them to share something on Facebook, encouraging them to buy something, or asking them to make a donation.[vi]

3. Behavior

Individual behavior with email is, well, active. Email is a transactional medium. In consumer programs customers expect to get offers, to buy things, to do things. In public affairs, voters contacted by email are at least 10 times more likely to take the advocacy action they are asked to do versus their counterparts on social platforms. Email is direct to the recipient and unfiltered by social media algorithms and timelines. It provokes more direct attention from recipients because it allows you to make repeated, direct contact with an individual’s inbox. Simply put, email expects action.

4. Measurement

Email can be measured in greater depth than any other engagement channel. Clients are looking for more evidence that our programs are working. The numerous opportunities to measure email performance and related recipient response means more quantitative and qualitative analysis for your client. Depending on the email service provider you use, the top 10 measurements and their value are:

image

5. Progression & Segmentation

Email data exposes distinctions about how much a consumer likes a brand or why a voter supports an issue – allowing you to customize engagement based on their profile so you can make the right ask of the right person at the right time. For clients this means a promise of cultivating bigger, better results through responsive, customized messaging.

Email communications have been successful in driving consumer campaigns for new products and services. They have been instrumental in state, federal, and international public affairs advocacy movements. And they are a significant part of any corporate employee engagement initiative. Obviously, I think email is the real thing, but I sure like the way Simms Jenkings, author of “The New Inbox: Why Email Marketing Is The Digital Marketing Hub in a Social & Mobile World” assesses email: “If you have just one bullet left in your gun to sell something, then email should always be that bullet.”


[i] Elite Daily, “More Than 204 Million Emails are Sent Every Minute,” March 19, 2013

[ii] Custora E-Commerce Customer Acquisition Snapshot – Q2 2013

[iii] Custora E-Commerce Customer Acquisition Snapshot – Q2 2013

[iv] Source: ExactTarget 2012 Channel Preferences Survey

[v] Forbes, “Why Email Is Still More Effective Than Social Media Marketing,” Oct. 1, 2013

[vi] Custora E-Commerce Customer Acquisition Snapshot – Q2 2013

Image credit: slgckgc

Twitter introduces Tweet Stats, YouTube’s InVideo Programming Feature

Twitter ramps up its analytics, YouTube brings in new features and more of the latest digital news.

Twitter May Soon Show Your Tweets’ Stats

Twitter plans to roll out new mobile analytics offerings to a small percentage of users in an initial test period. If fully released, users will be able to monitor statistics on a tweet-by-tweet basis, using a new “View Analytics Details” button located at the bottom of each tweet. The statistics will initially only be available in the iOS app.

YouTube’s InVideo Programming Feature Adds Interactivity to Videos

Through its InVideo programming feature, YouTube now allows brands to add a watermarks, video intros and more. These new features, aimed to increase CTR and ultimately improve the overall user experience, are accessible right within YouTube Analytics.

Tumblr and Pinterest Now Fastest-Growing Social Platforms

In a report released by the Global Web Index, Tumblr and Pinterest were singled out as the fastest-growing social platforms. In the last six months, Tumblr’s active users grew 120% and Pinterest wasn’t far behind, with a 111% increase. It is worth noting that these placements refer only to growth, and do not reflect overall social network popularity.

Instagram’s Top 10 Most-Tagged Destinations of 2014

USA Today released a list of the top 10 most-tagged destination on Instagram. Check out the article and see if your favorite spots made the cut.

Image credit: Fyda

Friday5: Five Ways Brands Amplified Their Giving on #GivingTuesday

What comes after Black Friday and Cyber Monday? #GivingTuesday, of course! It’s an opportunity for brands and consumers to kick off the holiday season with good will and purpose. #GivingTuesday was founded in 2012 by New York’s 92nd Street Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation. With the support of consumers around the world, campaigns activated by brands and organizations on this year’s #GivingTuesday raised nearly $46 million for nonprofits globally. With its increased popularity, #GivingTuesday has created a global conversation about how brands and consumers can give back to make a positive impact.

The Business + Social Purpose team would like to share best practices and examples from #GivingTuesday 2014 to show how a company’s significance is increasingly influenced by its ability to integrate social value into its business. Following are the top five trends brands employed during this global, digital donation campaign, including some from Edelman clients.

1. Engage your employees from the get-go: gather the voices of your employees to determine how to allocate funds on #GivingTuesday.

This year, CVS Health* used #GivingTuesday to recognize the volunteer spirit of their employees, as well as the impactful work of community-based organizations. CVS asked their employees to share their personal stories of volunteering, as well as nominate a local charity to receive a #GivingTuesday grant from the CVS Health Foundation. From these nominations, CVS chose 50 nonprofits to receive a total of $100,000 in grants as part of CVS’s #GivingTuesday initiative.

2. Strategically select nonprofit partners that align with brand values.

Southwest* is a company that believes #GivingTuesday should be year-round, but nevertheless joined the global movement this year and aligned their giving with what they value as a business: people and the planet. This #GivingTuesday, Southwest strategically selected 10 nonprofits that are meaningful to the company, donating $2,500 to each, ranging from programs supporting veterans to conserving the planet and education. They even encouraged travelers to show their generosity by lending a hand or giving a drink ticket to a seatmate.

3. Differentiate your efforts by promoting the use of a hashtag that is custom to your initiative, in addition to #GivingTuesday.

As part of an ongoing partnership with Conservation International, HP* elevated the power of the hashtag to generate donations for its partner’s new campaign, Nature is Speaking. The campaign is aimed at raising awareness that people need nature in order to survive. For each use or retweet of the custom hashtag #NatureIsSpeaking on Tuesday, HP has committed to donating $1 per tweet.

4. Focus all communications on a single initiative or program.

Focusing solely on a single initiative can be a great way for organizations to stand out and to rally support for their cause. Aligning with their partner Save the Children,  JOHNSON’S®* launched its new charitable platform “More Hands, More Hearts” to support the happy and healthy development of babies through the donation of essential resources, including JOHNSON’S® baby care kits and a special grant. JOHNSON’S® encouraged others to contribute to the cause by joining Jennifer Hudson and its own employees in creating baby care kits for families in need and generating further support via social media with #MoreHandsMoreHearts.

5. Go with the flow. Embrace the trends.

All brands want differentiation when it comes to philanthropic initiatives, but sometimes riding the big trend wave is the best bet. Playing off the ‘selfie’ craze, the #UNselfie challenged consumers to show their support for #GivingTuesday by posting photos and videos of themselves with evidence of how they’re giving back. Thousands have tweeted using the hashtag to show their support of worthy causes this year and to encourage others to do the same.

How did you participate in #GivingTuesday?

*Edelman client

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