NYT, BuzzFeed Going Native on Facebook

Facebook’s new Instant Articles have arrived. After being a major driver of traffic for publishers the world over, Facebook now has a way to make a little money out of that relationship, while also creating a more seamless user experience. 

  

 The program, which began today with the New York Times, also includes BuzzFeedNational Geographic, NBCthe Atlanticthe Guardian, and BBC News.

The experience is great, from a user perspective. There’s a nearly-instant transition from the enhanced content in the News Feed to the article, which goes full-screen and includes high-res imagery and in-line video. 

 
Sharing directly from the content is easy as well and actually includes Twitter!?!

In my mind, this is a great move for Facebook on a number of fronts:

  1. Better user experience through inclusion: Users have a smooth transition that doesn’t rely on kicking them to another site.
  2. Repurposing some work: It’s hard to look at the full-size articles and not see a bit of Facebook’s Paper app in them. Facebook has done a great job of solving small problems and then bringing those learnings into other aspects of their apps.
  3. Keeping users in the app: The less friction users feel when navigating content in and out of the News Feed, the more likely they are to stay in the app. This ultimately means more cumulative time on Facebook and more opportunities for ad serves, which means more ad revenues.

I’m excited to see how implementations from BuzzFeed and others roll out as the NYT, style wise, isn’t a big leap.

Stay tuned.

Facebook Just Built an Airplane

Facebook’s F8 is a news-packed event that used to really focus on how developers could work with Facebook’s ever-expanding platform. When they announce Internet.org a few years ago, F8 also started to take on this future vision role that continued today as Mark Zuckerberg announced their latest endeavor. Click the image to go to the full post:

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Meerkat Just Ruined my Sunday… and I’m Not Even Mad

I woke up this morning with the intention of getting a lot of stuff done… then I heard about  Meerkat.

The live-streaming app seemingly exploded this morning and I’ve seen more tweets about Meerkat in the past couple hours as more and more tech/digital people are jumping on.

I’ve admittedly been lurking a bit and watching people experiment with the app for the most part.

One of my favorite marketers, Apple’s Musa Tariq , just hopped on and was taking about how he’d love to see DJs (the radio kind, but sure, others could join in) use Meerkat as they’re used to sort of rambling and not having any audience feedback. I added that reporters could use Meerkat to keep people engaged as stories are developing or between live pieces.

Edit

You can bet the next few days/weeks will be filled with brands jumping in and I’m sure the executions will range from meh to bleh to awesome – let’s hope there are some good use cases.

I was a Qik user and checked out a number of streams from people on there back in the day, but the combo of bad data speeds and poor cameras definitely didn’t make for a great experience. Today, now that tech has progressed and people’s familiarity with live streaming, web personalities, and the idea of “lifecasting” (ugh… Did I just say that?) is fairly advanced, it could mean a whole new way of engaging and interacting.

I’ll definitely be watching to see how this goes.

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Pinterest Goes All In on New Ad Messaging

Pinterest’s opportunity for paid media has been apparent ever since numbers of sales originating from pins on the site started to circulate.

Why is Pinterest so good at conversion compared to the more mature, larger networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram?

Pinterest’s head of operations, Don Faul, gives his two cents to the WSJ (and they’re good ones):

“Pinterest is not a traditional user-generated content platform, it’s a place where people are coming to discover new businesses, new brands and new products… Our users are expressing their future intent. It’s not the shoes they bought last week, or where they went on vacation six months ago.”

It’s that last part that really shows you the “why” in the explanation of Pinterest’s paid media opportunity – relevancy not just to users’ interests, but actually being at the right point in a user’s purchase journey.

Think about it – how often do you go to Twitter with the intent to buy something? You might be thinking about buying something and head to Twitter to ask friends (and complete strangers) for their input. Likewise with Facebook, you’re not going on Facebook to buy something – or to make a final decision.

However, with Pinterest, users are often collecting and narrowing choices between products (via their pins or those of others) they actually intend to buy (or want to at least).

Additionally, the fact that you can actually see an pin, click it, and be adding that item to your shopping card within seconds puts Pinterest ahead of the other image-laden social network out there vying for ad dollars – Instagram.

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#SOTU2015

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The embargo has been lifted and we can all preview President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address before he’s even done. I’m taking a little bit of an analytical look at his speech – as it was written (not necessarily delivered). The word cloud above represents the text of the address. Here are the numbers:

6,503 words

36,355 characters

340 sentences

20 words per sentence (avg.)

104 paragraphs

11th-12th grade reading level

Top Words (by keyword density):

America (35)

Years (25)

Time (21)

People (20)

Work (20)

Need (19)

Americans (19)

Jobs (19)

Country (19)

Tools used:

Word cloud – wordle.net

Text analysis – http://wordcounttools.com/ and http://www.wordcounter.net/

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Why Taco Bell’s 1 Million App Downloads Could Be More Important Than Their 10 Million Facebook Fans

I’ll admit it, I might be out of Snapchats target demo. I don’t use the app that much, but whenever I do open it I check out the latest snap from Taco Bell.

Today’s was especially interesting:

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That means Taco Bell now has a direct line between their marketing efforts and the thing people have in their hands most during the day.

Yes, they have had great success pushing messaging out via Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and every other channel, but those instances are a bit removed from purchase when you realize people can actually ORDER freaking tacos from Taco Bell using their new app.

Not only that, the engagement (I’m talking more than just likes, comments, and shares here) Taco Bell gets via their mobile app is directly tied to end actions (or lack thereof).

The media guy in me is salivating at the possibilities provided by the combo of App, Social (you can register with Facebook), location, and POS data. It’s a digital media dude’s dream.

BRB, ordering a customized Crunchwrap Supreme…

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Biz Stone’s Super: The App Users Deserve, But (Maybe) Not the One They Need Right Now

When you’ve done great things before, it’s only natural for people to look at every thing after that and compare new ventures to those previously-successful ones. When you’re Biz Stone, a founder of Twitter, those are some big expectations to live up to… but he doesn’t seem like he’s trying to meet or exceed everyone’s expectations – and that’s just fine.

Stone’s latest app Super (iOSAndroid), from his seven-person team at Jelly joins their app with the same name. Jelly allows users to post questions with images and solicit feedback from the masses.

This time around, the team created a platform for sharing interesting content all built around a set list of prompts. The prompts, when paired with user-shot photos or stock artsy images are then fed into a feed where other users can “Love” them or respond via their own post.

I’ve decided not to come up with some slick and pithy marketing description for Super. I’m also not going to proclaim that it’s the most innovative thing ever or that it’s going to save the world. It’s not, it’s just fun.
– Biz Stone writing about Super

There’s actually something to be said for the way Stone seems to be approaching life after Twitter. He’s out there creating fun, entertaining experiences focused on user interaction and enjoyment. He’s not heads-down focused on creating “The Next ______ ” or “The _________ Killer.”

I recently read Stone’s Things a Little Bird Told Me and I keep going back to a part in the book where he talks about how he and Ev Williams used to take new Twitter employees and tell them how and why the company came to be and went over their “six assumptions:”

Assumptions for Twitter Employees
1) We don’t always know what’s going to happen.
2) There are more smart people out there than in here.
3) We will win if we do the right thing for our users.
4) The only deal worth doing is a win-win deal.
5) Our coworkers are smart and they have good intentions.
6) We can build a business, change the world, and have fun.

Excerpt From: Stone, Biz. “Things a Little Bird Told Me.” Grand Central Publishing, 2014-04-01.
This material may be protected by copyright.

Check out this book on the iBooks Store: https://itun.es/us/kBaZO.l

It would seem to me that Stone (and in turn, Jelly) still heavily believe in number three. It’s also probably fairly certain they’re living by number one as well, since it’s yet to be seeking Super sees a better growth rate than Jelly (which is still alive and kicking).

This app will be compared to Secret and Whisper and probably even Snapchat (what isn’t?), but at its heart it’s about joining everyday conversations in a different, more communal way and giving people a chance to express themselves while doing it.

I, for one, am pretty excited about it. You can follow me at @ronschott.

Here are some screen grabs from Super:

After opening the app, you’re treated to a crazy pic of Bill Murray (yet to be determined if he knows he’s part of this).

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The default view is the feed screen:

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You can control what you’re seeing in the feed here

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Start a post by choosing a prompt

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Enter your text and sign it (or stay anon)

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You can even add links and locations to your posts (something that could be attractive to brands – a differentiator from Instagram)

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