Weekly Blend – 4/10/14

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The Weekly Blend is a blog post by drinkcaffeine that provides a wrap-up of what you need to know from the marketing & digital spaces. Here is what’s going on this week: Read Time: 3 1/2 minutes

IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE… FACEBOOK?

Twitter, that is.

It has always been evolving – for example the ‘@’ and ‘#’ symbols were never intended but adopted after Twitter’s community implemented them manually – but now that we have seen the redesign, it seems clear that Twitter will continue to move toward a more mainstream demographic and gradually away from its longtime users.

Twitter’s making changes to solve its most pressing issue—how to obtain and keep new users—as it looks to grow. That means looking familiar and non-threatening, and providing a recognizable experience to bring new users into the platform (or in other words, look more like Facebook).

WHY IT MATTERS

Now that Twitter has shareholders, Twitter has to do this. It’s just another reminder that the online services that many of us come to love do not have our ongoing interests at heart, and should always be regarded as temporary.

There are many new features, such as emojis, tweet size, profile page redesigns, and more, but let’s talk about why they really did it, the ads. Look for more direct-response ad formats that allow consumer actions like app installs, click-to-call, and e-mail signups right from the app. There could be up to 15 varieties of different performance-based advertising methods available.

Here are a few celebrities with the new look.

Film stars @zacefron and @channingtatum, First Lady Michelle Obama @flotus, Boxer @FloydMayweather, TV star @kerrywashington, and Musicians @JohnLegend and band @weezer.

SPEAKING OF FACEBOOK

You know the right rail on Facebook? Yeah, the one that has those little ads that you don’t really read, that rail. Well, Facebook is making some alterations in hopes that advertisers will give it another chance after running to the news feed for a larger and more native space.

WHY IT MATTERS

By the end of May, the right rails will adorn 3 wider ads, instead of the current seven that are known for lower click-through rates and a boxy, text-heavy format. As data shows a swift migration of ad dollars from the right rail to the news feed, Facebook’s solution is to have less of it but make the remaining space more valuable. If the new ads are clicked on more, they’ll presumably have a lower effective cost per click for advertisers and fetch higher CPMs for Facebook. According to a Facebook blog post, tests of the new design have seen three times more engagement.

KNOCK KNOCK, WHO’S THERE? COMIC SANS

Our designers gave out a collective sigh of relief this week when they discovered that a designer, Craig Rozynski, created a font to replace the oft punch line that is Comic Sans. He calls his handiwork Comic Neue, and you can download it for free here.

WHY IT MATTERS

Less usage of Comic Sans = less designers ranting. Our critique: The new font soothes the cartoonish features of its ancestor in favor of a more stylish design that maintains the font’s casual demeanor. Oddly attractive, but definitely still lacks in ALL CAPS.

Here are some of the all-time worst Comic Sans uses.

1. The scientific discovery of maybe the century

2. An official photo-album of the Pope.

HAVE A BUSY AND CREATIVE WEEK!

Weekly Blend – 11/6/13

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The Weekly Blend is a blog post by drinkcaffeine that provides a wrap-up of what you need to know from the marketing & digital spaces.  Here is what’s going on this week:

Start-up to Watch

College students: The Bermuda Triangle of demographics. (Yes, it’s a stretch but bear with us.) They’re an intriguing and mysterious group of buyers and one that has to be navigated perfectly to reach. Maybe more like a Sasquatch? Many brands attempt reach this demo by throwing money into ineffective advertising methods, and fail miserably. Keep in mind this demo was raised in the Internet age and can sniff an ad out from a page away. It takes creativity and incentive for them to play, and a New York start-up may have just found the perfect game. Sumpto is a start-up company that works to match brands with influencers around college campuses. Think Klout, but for strictly college students. Similar to Klout, users are assigned scores ranging from 1 to 100 based on their social media influence. Sumpto identifies influencers, or brand ambassadors, with measurements such as Twitter followers and Facebook friends. Brands that partner with the network can offer free samples and trials to some of the most coveted campus ambassadors.

Companies whose target market consists of college students should seriously take a look at influencer campaigns. They’re a win-win case as students receive some free swag while the brand gets their product or service promoted on social media channels by a highly touted source.

Let’s Build

Less than a week after Halloween, Christmas ads have already sprung up. Lego debuted a holiday commercial, “Let’s Build”- a sentimental take on family bonding around toys. And as we have learned from eTrade and AT&T’s success stories, having kids as the focal point of an advertisement is certainly the way to go. Check it out here.

Tough Crowd

Instagram debuted sponsored ads and being first wasn’t necessarily best for watch brand Michael Kors. Users were making comments about not wanting to see ads within their feeds and even got as hateful as “die and rot in hell advertiser, bc you advertise on Instagram I will never give you business.” Instagram took some of the hatred as well with comments like “DO YOU NOT MAKE ENOUGH MONEY!?!?!?! @instagram HUH!?!” Aside from the negativity, their brand account has 1.4 million followers and their most recent post received nearly 135,000 likes.

Consider how your brand wants to handle native advertising on Instagram and across social media.  Come back tomorrow for our insights on the topic.

Weekly Blend – 10/23/13

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The Weekly Blend is a blog post by drinkcaffeine that provides a wrap-up of what you need to know from the marketing & digital spaces.  Here is what’s going on this week:

Infiniti Deja View

It doesn’t get much more interactive than having a commercial give you a call, does it?  Infiniti decided to take a “Choose Your Own Adventure” style of advertising to the next level with their responsive video “Deja-View”.  Upon visiting infinitiusa.com/deja-view, the user sees a short intro and is prompted to call the toll-free number and enter the code they hear.  From there, the video begins playing and about 3 minutes in, the phone rings.  The male driver asks a few simple questions: Do you know me? Where should we go?  The play continues with a few more phone calls and the viewer soon realizes they are in a loop.  The process takes upwards of 20 minutes and doesn’t appear to have as much interaction as a user might hope for.  Overall, the experience seems to require too much user time & effort for minimal return.

California Creates an Eraser Button Law

Expediting the process faster than the federal government has been able to, California has made their stance regarding online privacy policies.  The new bill allows minors the right to erase information they have posted online and prohibits sites from targeting adult products (alcohol, tobacco, etc.) to those under age.  A second law requires transparency from publishers in regard to collecting tracking information.

Although the bills may have some holes, such as proof of age for minors, California is taking steps to move these laws into the forefront of debates & encourage other states to do the same.

What’s Next for Google Ads

Google was caught testing out new banner advertisements recently.  The sponsored cover photos in search results will add a new layer of interest and also ad potential for companies currently using Google AdWords.  Although they are still in limited testing, we can expect to see some advanced advertisement options roll-out soon.

Weekly Blend – 10/17/13

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The Weekly Blend is a blog post by drinkcaffeine that provides a wrap-up of what you need to know from the marketing & digital spaces.  Here is what’s going on this week:

Tech Start-up Worth Watching

As online users, we’ve become smarter than ever (pat yourselves on the back) so it takes a pretty convincing ad to grab our attention. Native ads can be effective but we’ve found new ways to sift through the clutter of sponsored content and neat looking display pieces. Enter inPowered, a tech start-up that provides a new way for online marketers to reach their consumers. The company pulls in traditional editorial content from the internet and uses it in display ads. An example would be if you were shopping for a new gear for the upcoming sports season at www.dickssportinggoods.com. As you are looking through the site you’ll find an ad for a particular pair of cleats. Neat part is the ad is really just a thumbnail of an article about these products. The article may be a testimonial, review or any news story on the cleats. The ad will link to the article and you will be left without the burden of reading ad copy!

One of the cool things about this service is that at the end of the article, inPowered delivers a survey question asking the reader if they are more likely to consider purchasing the product. As online marketers it is rare to get this type of candid response from a user. The company using this service gets a true understanding for how effective their inPowered campaign was which is extremely comforting.

Twitter Continues Improving – especially for advertisers

Twitter recently announced two major updates: New Direct Messaging capabilities and an option to schedule tweets.

Direct Messaging used to only be a feature for users who followed each other. With the new update, users will be allowed to accept DMs from people that don’t follow them (if they so choose, by selecting a box in their profile). The impact for brands is that they will be able to better communicate with their consumers in a non-public facing way. This will allow them to collect personal information, send mulitple messages back and forth without flooding user’s timelines and avoid using an alternative method of communicating, such as “please email us at customerservice@thiscompany.com”. However, be sure that you still choose to respond to some users publicly so that other customers can see you are interacting & responding with the community.

The ad scheduler is only available for businesses but it is a way for Twitter to eliminate users using a third-party tool such as HootSuite to post on Twitter. The tool will allow advertisers to schedule both promoted tweets and non-promoted. The options allow for scheduling every minute and up to a year in advance.

Burgundy’s Back

Who knew Ron Burgundy was a Durango guy? Being the smallest of the Detroit Car companies can have its advantages at times. With a “limited” budget, Chrysler marketing chief Olivier Francois was forced to get creative to make an impact. Francois said Paramount Pictures bartered work on the commercials in exchange for the promotion of Anchorman 2 in the spots, meaning Dodge didn’t have to pay for the Mr. Burgundy.

Bartering has many times been seen as a last resort in marketing. However, in the current economic climate, budgets are strict and pushed to their limits. Projects like this are a great example of the benefits of bartering.

Weekly Blend – 10/2/13

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The Weekly Blend is a blog post by drinkcaffeine that provides a wrap-up of what you need to know from the marketing & digital spaces.  Here is what’s going on this week:

Facebook changes algorithms more than their programmers change their underwear.

Another new algorithm has been released by Facebook, this time only affecting ads in user’s news feeds. Facebook has explained their struggle between satisfying marketers with millions of impressions and satisfying users by not overwhelming them with advertisements. The new algorithm change will try and equal out this balancing act.

Facebook is focusing on the interactions between consumers & ads. If you click, like or download an advertisement for a new application, you can expect to see more of them in your news feed. If you choose to hide the ad, however, you will see less of that ad type or category.

Our advice for consumers: Interact with the ads to tell Facebook exactly what you want. If you aren’t interested, be sure to hide it (instead of just ignoring it) so you can receive more relevant ads.

Our advice for marketers: Get very specific with ad targeting- the more specific the better.  Facebook allows you to target precise interests and demographics, use this to your advantage and speak directly to consumers.

You can read Facebook’s full press release here.

Geico is at it again!

Guess what day it is?!? Unlike most repetitive viral stunts, we are still not tired of hearing “HUMP DAYYY”!  Geico, essentially, struck gold.  Their Hump Day commercial, starring Caleb the camel, is still being shared more than 3 months after its release.  But the story doesn’t end there.  Both Caleb the camel and Martin the Gecko will now be making their silver-screen debut with cinema spots asking you to turn off your cellphone.

Could Evite save the USPS?

Probably not. But they are showing us that direct mail isn’t dead, yet.  They have announced that their free invitation service will now have a $2 charge for each physical invite. While it’s the opposite direction that most companies progress in (typically a company goes from print to online), they are actually opening their market to reach people hosting more formal events where they would also like to send a paper copy of the invitation.

Weekly Blend – 9/26/13

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The Weekly Blend is a blog post by drinkcaffeine that provides a wrap-up of what you need to know from the marketing & digital spaces.  Here is what’s going on this week:

iOS 7, 5s, and 5c

The big news last week was the iOS 7 update and the release of the iPhone 5s and 5c. Popular topics included a smarter Siri, automatic app updates, and the  revamped control center. However, a big opportunity for marketers was released as well, iTunes Radio. Like market leader (Pandora) and younger player (Spotify), iTunes Radio will allow brands to reach consumers through ad space. Apple explains that iAd “allows advertisers to pinpoint audience segments by leveraging iAd’s proprietary targeting tools.” With nearly 600 million iTunes accounts already in use, iRadio already has a massive potential customer base.

Why it matters:

Bargaining Power of Customers!! The real winners here should be companies that purchase voice and display ads on these streaming platforms. iRadio is only going to bring more competition to an industry were substitutes are readily available. This should force the streamers to offer better pricing and value to their consumers.

Google Stole the Cookies!

Well not really “stole.” Google is looking at a way to replace the web’s third-party cookies — First-party cookies come directly from the sites you visit, but third-party cookies are placed by other companies that collect information on you — with a system of its own that could solve some big challenges facing advertisers and drastically expand its grasp on the industry.

Why it matters:

Google would likely try to develop a better system, one that would, for example, work across desktop computers, tablets and smartphones. That cross-screen capability would enable advertisers to more accurately target smartphone users with ads based on laptop web browsing. Google would also probably give consumers more control over their information, attempting to defuse the privacy concerns driving do-not-track.


Paying for Reviews Isn’t Just a Bad Idea, It’s Illegal.

Earlier this week, the New York Attorney General handed down $350,000 in fines to companies participating in the buying & selling of product reviews on sites like Amazon & Yelp.  The reason for the hefty penalty?  Besides being ethically wrong, posting an illegitimate review is considered false advertising- especially because 90% of consumers use them when making a purchasing decision.

You can find more information about this topic from Venable LLP.

Fresh ideas, now being served

Welcome to the drinkcaffeine blog.

The digital world changes too fast for anyone to understand it completely (including us, although it’s painful to admit it).

Example: In the time it takes to read this blog, Sina Weibo, Qzone and Tencent – the 3 dominant Chinese social media platforms – will have added a gazillion members.

Our point: It’s important to have a source that helps you keep tabs on the best thinking, opinion, and criticism about the web and what goes on there.

We all need a steady drip of fresh insight, served just the way we like it, and this is the ethos behind our blog.

It will include the most relevant content we think you need to know to look smart, be great at your job, and make informed decisions.

Are we up for it?

Well, the blog is from drinkcaffeine. So yeah, we’re up for pretty much anything.

When you’re ready to sit down, enjoy a beverage, and talk about what’s next, we’re here.