Tag Archives: advertising

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Instagram Direct: The most exclusive photo sharing app

This past Thursday, December 12th, smartphone users around the world we’re notified about an update on their Instagram app. What could it be? A new filter, new tagging techniques or maybe a new format. But what they found was surprising to some; that the newest Instagram update was the ability to Direct Message users through the application.

Instagram Direct is the newest way to share photos and videos with your friends. A criticism of the public forum, is that not every moment is right to be shared with every follower you have.  Some things are special, intimate and unique to a single users or group of friends or family. With Instagram Direct, users can now take that special moment and share it with a select group of people or one special individual.

Users have the option to choose only one friend to share the post with or a group of people, starting an exclusive chat in the direct message folder. The Instagram community has skyrocketed since its initial launch three years ago with over 150 million users sharing photos and videos to hundreds and thousands of followers.

Rumor has it, that the idea of an Instagram Direct came from creators seeing the enormous power of Snapchat as its users have beaten out Facebook and Instagram for the amount of photos it sees daily. Either way we are glad they enabled it and can’t wait to see what it does for the world of photography in the future. For more, check out the Instagram release post made last week. http://bit.ly/Jt2W3W

Capital One Goes Big

It wasn’t so long ago that Capital One sent out enough credit solicitations by mail that the USPS gave them their own special rate (that sound you hear is the USPS sighing and remembering the good ole’ days).

If you’re going to mail 1 Billion pieces a year, I guess you should get a little bit of a discount.

And, it wasn’t so long ago that Cap One called up their suppliers and said, “Hey, listen, ummm … the economy is kind-of tanking a little and we need to pull back. So … yeah. Sorry …” I’m paraphrasing of course, but you get the picture.

So why was I so surprised to see this? Continue reading

Learning from GM

Facebook’s IPO has come and gone, and while the big story is that there was no big story (save for a mini-scandal), the lead up to last Friday came with relatively few stumbling blocks….

Except one: GM announcing they will be ending their Facebook Ad spend.

Many that follow social media have heard the basic details. General Motors, which invested $10 million annually into Facebook ads, will be ending this endeavor by summer, citing that paid ads on the site have little impact on consumers’ car purchases. This loss of revenue is pennies on the dollar for Facebook (less than that when you consider the site had more than $3 billion in ad sales last year), but it is the perception of this decision that is more important.

The question many have been asking is, “If GM can’t make Facebook ads work, why wouldn’t others pull their spends as well?”
The question we as an agency have been asking is, “What was GM’s goal for the ads in the first place?”

Was it to attract followers and have a presence in their community? Lead gen? Branding? All of the above? Whatever the answer is, different strategies and messages have to be developed and expectations have to be set. If GM’s goal was for people to see their Facebook ad and decide to buy an SUV from them, then their expectations were out of line because any marketing expert (or novice for that matter) will tell you the bigger the ask to the consumer (especially in monetary terms), the harder it will be to have that consumer commit to a purchase.

While GM did not find what they were looking for, many have been working within the parameters set by Facebook quite successfully, and it is because they are first defining what success looks like before trying to achieve it. So look at the GM situation not as a suggestion for your own use, but as a cautionary tale on preparing before investing.

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Greg Morgan is Communications and Content Director for Make Me Social, a social media agency that develops customized social media strategies for businesses. With experience in industries ranging from sports to state government, Greg focuses in crafting messages for all types of clients in an effort to perfect what he calls “versatile communications.” Born and raised in West Hartford, Connecticut, he remains a loyal UConn Husky fan, despite now residing in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Learning from GM

Facebook’s IPO has come and gone, and while the big story is that there was no big story (save for a mini-scandal), the lead up to last Friday came with relatively few stumbling blocks….

Except one: GM announcing they will be ending their Facebook Ad spend.

Many that follow social media have heard the basic details. General Motors, which invested $10 million annually into Facebook ads, will be ending this endeavor by summer, citing that paid ads on the site have little impact on consumers’ car purchases. This loss of revenue is pennies on the dollar for Facebook (less than that when you consider the site had more than $3 billion in ad sales last year), but it is the perception of this decision that is more important.

The question many have been asking is, “If GM can’t make Facebook ads work, why wouldn’t others pull their spends as well?”
The question we as an agency have been asking is, “What was GM’s goal for the ads in the first place?”

Was it to attract followers and have a presence in their community? Lead gen? Branding? All of the above? Whatever the answer is, different strategies and messages have to be developed and expectations have to be set. If GM’s goal was for people to see their Facebook ad and decide to buy an SUV from them, then their expectations were out of line because any marketing expert (or novice for that matter) will tell you the bigger the ask to the consumer (especially in monetary terms), the harder it will be to have that consumer commit to a purchase.

While GM did not find what they were looking for, many have been working within the parameters set by Facebook quite successfully, and it is because they are first defining what success looks like before trying to achieve it. So look at the GM situation not as a suggestion for your own use, but as a cautionary tale on preparing before investing.

______________________________________________________________

Greg Morgan is Communications and Content Director for Make Me Social, a social media agency that develops customized social media strategies for businesses. With experience in industries ranging from sports to state government, Greg focuses in crafting messages for all types of clients in an effort to perfect what he calls “versatile communications.” Born and raised in West Hartford, Connecticut, he remains a loyal UConn Husky fan, despite now residing in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The Agency of the Future

This post is the first of the Make Me Social Guest Blogger Series, written by respected partners and friends of the agency.


Why Agencies should act more like Tech Start Ups 
 is a conversation that was started about 6 months ago and is an important way of looking at the changing advertising environment.  The key point being that ‘advertising’ (as we know it) should be adapted from focusing on that ‘One Big Creative Idea’ to testing and trying out more nimble and flexible ideas and integrating them into existing (and future) technological distributions channels.  Bottom line: Each ‘Creative Idea’ should possess a Raison d’être for each channel. And if it doesn’t, why do it?

While the above proposes a radical shift from the traditional thinking about advertising, some of the most seasoned professionals are slowly adopting these practices into their own approaches to work.  While explaining the testing and pushing content out in mass, Steve Rubel, EVP/Global Strategy and Insights for Edelman notes, “I like to say that we rain on people every day, and we hope that eventually we drop enough rain to cause a behavior change and somebody says, ‘I gotta buy an umbrella.’ It used to just take a drizzle; it now takes a monsoon.”  Jon Steinberg, president of Buzz Feed proposes developing “…a more nimble, flexible approach to advertising….GE might release 30, 40, or 50 videos…and should expect that only a few of them will really catch on. Brands shouldn’t stress out about the ones that don’t take off —they just need to feel comfortable with the idea that anything they release might get shared widely.”

While both of these approaches are definitely steps in the right direction; there is one inherent flaw with both: Even if you tell an amazing story, develop it in diverse manners and distribute in a zillion different channels, chances are very high that your message will still get lost in the shuffle. So how do you solve that conundrum?

There isn’t one definitive answer, but an excellent path to follow has been trail-blazed by Indie Shop and AdWeek’s 2011 Agency of the YearAKQANikeAudi and Google are all clients and have had bon-a-fide successes; however, it is under the hood where businesses and agencies need to look to see how AKQA has persevered.   Their key is to insist on marrying technology and creativity in order to solve business challenges that industries (they work with) haven’t even sorted out yet.

Case in point: How do you showcase Audi’s Thermal Imaging Night Vision Assistant?  Like This:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cF8bAkjwSw4&w=560&h=315]
Originally only meant only for the web, Trick? or Treat? was so appropriate from both a timing and solution standpoint, it was expanded to run on national TV during the Halloween season.   This example, like other work from AKQA, does not happen in a vacuum.  “Torrence Boone, managing director of agency business development at Google, says that AKQA is ‘one of the most sophisticated of the agencies in terms of how to leverage digital platforms. . . for their clients.’ It takes a decent amount of thought and collaboration to come up with this unique approach to solving challenges such as these. AKQA has coined their approach: the Interface Design Practice.In this practice, a team of both creatives and technologists (specific to each platform) study a client’s audience to understand their behavioral tendencies and then ideate around each specific platform for their intended audiences.  Once they have a few ideas they begin to flesh it out in tandem with the client and the intended audience in real time (or as close to as possible).  By working in tandem with their partners, no longer can a client deflect responsibility of a failure to the agency or viceversa.  Both entities work together to garner the best possible solution.  And each team member – on both sides of the fence – have specific roles to which they are held accountable.Many agencies and business owners aren’t quite ready for this type of collaboration yet, but the forward thinking ones are actively moving in this direction together.

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Robert Andrade is a Digital Media Consultant for Make Me Social, Director of Social Media for Autumn Games and President of Auspicious Media.

An Army of Flones: Halloween in the Digital Age

Trick or Treat, Give Me Something Good to Tweet

I went out for a walk last night and found myself surrounded by brands. To my left was Tony the Tiger, to my right was a Facebook Profile, and just ahead of me was an iPhone being carried by Flo from Progressive and the Geico Caveman. Welcome to Halloweentown, USA, where the candy coating exists only to protect the crunchy core of consumerism. (Note to self: must #OccupyHalloween!)

Now as much as Halloween is an opportunity for people to break out of the mold and express themselves by dressing up in ridiculous costumes, decorating their homes by sticking candles in rotting fruits, and purchasing large amounts of dry ice, it is also fantastic for the economy. The National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend $6.86 billion dollars this year on Halloween, which comes out to about $72.31 per person.

So how does a marketer get a piece of those dolla dolla bills for their brand?

Progressive launched an all-out campaign to build an army of Flo clones (Flones) and they then armed them to take over the internet. The website was set up, the Google Ad campaign was built, the community manager was active, and the army of Flones grew.

Radio Shack aka “The Shack” has been on a quest to bring back their DIY customers – what better time to reach out to them than Halloween? With a step by step DIY guide to building a robot costume with eyes that light up, their blog made the case for a little holiday shopping trip to The Shack. I would have loved to see them take this a step further, and build out an entire campaign around Halloween, promoted on more niche channels in order to really reach their target market.

Halloween is something that gets people excited, and many will spend weeks planning their costumes. If you can get people excited about your brand, using your brand as a resource for a costume, and tagging your brand online, you win. Your brand will forever be tied to a story in their life and will always be a part of their memories – especially the digital, easily shareable ones.

So next Halloween, remember the song of the season:trick or treat, give me something good to tweet!

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When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman enjoys dressing up in “Pageant Casual Couture” and smiling with her eyes. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.

The Social Media Mullet: What Would Philosophers Think of Social Media? Part 3

Make Me Social’s Phil Grech named his blog The Social Media Mullet because, like the hairstyle, it will discuss the fusion of “business” and “casual” under the banner of online communications.

My last post discussed why Bentham would have made a horrible and invasive Social Media network CEO. Before that, I discussed Social Media and Existentialism. Continuing my roll of incredibly interesting topics, I am going to talk about the 20th century philosopher Theodor Adorno.

I like Adorno. Why? Because he is the first person I have read to ever put in very intellectual terms why mass-produced art hanging up in your house makes you dumber. For me, it was always a feeling, but Adorno solidified it for me after I read “The Culture Industry,” part of a book entitled “Dialectic of Enlightenment.”

This German-born philosopher believed that after the Industrial Revolution, the allowance of art to be mass produced was a bad thing (in simplest terms). Adorno argued that the art that comes out of easily accessible and mass-produced means is formulaic and meaningless and, subsequently, it dumbed people down.

With Social Media, the production of art is virtually limitless. Post a picture, it gets liked and then it spreads even further to that person’s friends. While it is certainly beneficial to make art more accessible, and companies greatly benefit from it in the form of advertising and campaigns, Adorno would have argued that Social Media, or at least certain aspects of it, dumb people down. Don’t get mad at me; take this matter up with Adorno. I’m just the one explaining his claims.

What else would Adorno have commented on regarding social media? What about QR Codes? QR Codes deal less with aesthetic appeal than they do with access to information, so I think he would have not have had much to criticize there.

What about tumblr? Considering the amount of time people spend on tumblr and the amount of sharing that goes on there, I am sure we can easily presume what Adorno would say about that popular network.

With that in mind, don’t ask Adorno to like your last status. He wouldn’t even have a Facebook account.

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Phil Grech is a Content Manager for Make Me Social. He published his first book, “Don’t Waste Your Hands”, in 2009. He studied English and Philosophy at Flagler College. In his spare time, he reads, works out, gardens and searches for good conversation.