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Audi Uses Snapchat for Latest Social Campaign

It may be filled with selfies and slightly NSFW content, but brands are starting to dip their toes in the Snapchat water… or, in Audi’s case, they’re taking a flying leap off the diving board and doing a cannon ball.

Their latest use of the ephemeral, image-and-video app is called:

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Here’s the full snap:

Audi’s use is pretty great. Brands like Taco Bell and Nordstrom are playing with Snapchat, but this is perhaps one of the better campaigns/contests I’ve seen.

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Will People Keep Using #AmazonCart? Maybe

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When Amazon announced their #AmazonCart integration with Twitter, the internet nearly tripped over itself in lauding the inevitable coming of age of social shopping. But, what’s really going on?

Our team at Simply Measured looked at the uptake of the #AmazonCart hashtag and did a great job shedding some light on how the program is going thus far:

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After all those tweets, the top-discussed item was a romance novel – wow.

Our team spent some time batting ideas back and forth about how we could see how many people were actually completing orders of the items they were #AmazonCart-ing about, but without API access, that would be a bit hard. Users are prompted to Tweet or FB post about the item the ultimately end up buying, but I’m guessing the people choosing to do so aren’t numerous.

If that was the case, you could actually start tracking initiated #AmazonCart transactions and follow them through to completed transactions by matching someone’s initial tweet:

Then you could see when Amazon replied to them:

Then, once they bought, you could see (if they shared) their confirmation of purchase:

But, like I said, not many people seem to be posting their purchases. One problem I encountered was seeing a number of things I wanted to add to my #AmazonCart, but not being able to send a tweet to Amazon because I had already said the same thing to them 5 minutes ealier: Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 4.16.00 PM Not very helpful. The other bit that, I’m guessing, might trip most people up is that you still have to actually venture to Amazon to complete your purchase. With American Express’ Twitter integration, you didn’t have to do much beyond tweet to get the things you wanted, which took the friction out of the equation. If #AmazonCart could take going to the website out of the equation, I’d certainly use the service more. As it stands right now, if I’m looking around the web and see a cool Amazon product, I’ll probably go straight to the site to add it to my cart and buy – heck, got to take advantage of the Prime membership, right? Just for fun, take a cruise through things that people are buying with this Twitter search:

https://twitter.com/search?q=+just+bought+Reply+w%2F+%23AmazonCart

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Moving Forward

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It’s been a while. Actually, it hasn’t been all that long, but a lot has happened.

In the past couple weeks, I left my job at IPG Mediabrands as the head of Spring Creek UK, packed up our belongings (in 8 checked bags), flew across the Atlantic (and Canada), and moved in with my wife’s parents (ultra glam, I know).

Moving home has given my wife and I a chance to be closer to family as some developments arose during our time in London – that’s the ultimate reason for leaving.

The thing I’m really excited about, though, is joining the team at Simply Measured.

I’ve been a #SimplyFanboy for quite a while, after meeting CEO Adam Shoenfeld years ago. At Spring Creek Seattle, we worked closely with Simply Measured as they grew and continued offering incredible reporting to augment (and empower) our in-house teams.

I started my career in PR, so I’ve written a FAQ to help with the details:

What’s your title?
Director of Client Services

What do you do all day?
I work with an awesome team that sits under Mari-Frances Bentvelzen, our VP of Account Services, that focuses on helping our clients build reports (dashboards, scorecards, you name it) that fall outside the scope of the current Simply Measured product suite (which is awesomely extensive). We are a small, but determined team made up of hardcore analysts and ex-marketers (that’s me). So, let’s same Jim owns a string of BBQ restaurants and puts a lot of time into social. He wants to see how his sales data meshes with the love their seeing on social. So, he comes to our team and we dig into their customer-side ERP system and start looking for correlations and a great way to show the relationship. After we’re all done, Jim has a report that clearly shows him that when his team puts out promotional deals on Facebook and Twitter, they see a 20% lift in per-ticket totals the following weekend. Jim’s gonna need more ribs.

Can I have a job?
If it were just up to me, sure! We do have a ton of roles open right now though and a super-smart HR team. Learn more about the company and check out the open roles here: http://simplymeasured.com/about/.

Why did you leave advertising, Ron?
I actually don’t look at it as leaving advertising behind, because I actually get to work with brands and agencies to help solve their problems. In fact, I think digital analytics and reporting is going to continue to be the backbone if successful brands and campaigns, and Simply Measured is going to be the leader.

What’s your favorite thing about Simply Measured so far?
The people are incredibly passionate. From the leadership team to the newest hire (of which I’m one), you can tell people are excited about what they’re doing and where the company is headed. They should be! A close second is the crazy awesome snack situation in the office.

What about Simply Measured has surprised you?
I’d have to say I was definitely floored by how much I DIDN’T know about the products and their capabilities. I’ve used Simply Measured for years, but people at Simply live and breathe this stuff and I learn more every day, from engineers, analysts, sales people, account people, and everyone in between.

What’s the meaning of life?
This
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Seattle Council’s Limit on App-Assisted Rideshares Is a Blow for Tech Innovation and Competition

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Ugh… How can a city with so much potential, momentum, and energy get things so wrong sometimes?

This afternoon, the Seattle City Council approved driver limits on app-powered ride sharing services like UberX, Lyft, and Sidecar. The final decision from the council comes after a similar decision from the city’s committee charged with oversight of taxis. One positive thing: the vote did make these operations legal under the City law, giving them a path toward recognition and acceptance (after they fulfill certain requirements).

Why should hard-working people who want to earn money doing something they like get told by the city when they can and can’t work? Why should the city dictate business and consumer choice?

Seattle is a beacon for some of the brightest minds around… which could very well change if the City Council makes a habit of siding with dinosaur-like industries which refuse to adapt to the times and offer less-than-desireable consumer experiences.

What’s next, the City Council takes on Airbnb to make sure the city’s hotels have higher occupancy rates? How about limiting the number of email addresses operated in the city to create more work for letter carriers? Insist Apple sells iPhones sans calculator apps to help the struggling calculator salesmen of Puget Sound.

How can Seattle simultaneously push ahead for marriage equality, higher minimum wage, and marijuana law reform, but at the same time reward and protect an industry that literally hasn’t upgraded their way of business (except for the new Crown Vics) since the ’50s?

How can we hope the next Airbnb, Spotify, Zillow, or Snapchat is started in Pioneer Square, South Lake Union, or Georgetown while we let our City Council restrict choice and limit technology and innovation?

We can’t. We shouldn’t. We owe it to the city and our future as a center for tech innovation to open up the gates and say “If you think you can do it better, take a hack at it.”

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How BuzzFeed Could Become the Next Big Publishing Platform

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Animals is the new Leisure section – Jon Steinberg, COO BuzzFeed

10 Reasons Your Older Sister Is the Worst. 32 Reasons Why Boat Shoes Are the Best. 17.5 Reasons Why Decimals Are Awesome. Which Supreme Court Judge Are You?

While they’re not real BuzzFeed posts (yet), you could probably easily see those as headlines popping up in your Facebook or Twitter feeds – and they probably will sooner or later.

BuzzFeed is incredibly well-known for the fact that their image-laden, .GIF-happy posts spread around the web like a… oh g-d, I’m going to say it… virus . they’ve invested heavily in editorial staff and they’re actually BREAKING news, not just remixing it. They’ve doubled-down on video content and have built out some great teams to handle that. They’ve even created a nice little native advertising niche for themselves and partnered with our sister agency UM.

The next big thing, that’s only going to continue driving BuzzFeed’s success (content and traffic wise) is going to be the continued growth of their Community platform.

Dead Simple Publishing
Think about it, people are posting more and more content on the internet and the idea of being a “blogger” is still somewhat of a “cool” thing in the eyes of many. However, most people don’t have the capacity to actually keep a blog up and going (See exhibit one: me barely keeping this one running). BuzzFeed’s Community section allows people to dip in and out of the content creation pool whenever they feel like it.

Couple pictures here, some funny life observations there, finish it off with a .GIF and boom – internet gold.

When you’re looking at how people use their mobile devices – and make no mistakes about it, consumption is happening mostly on mobile – they’re using them for 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there. You have to figure that if people are creating content they’ll be doing it in the same, short bursts. Which, is why I can’t believe BuzzFeed’s app doesn’t support content creation via mobile (something I’m sure will be fixed soon).

Game Mechanics
OK, so not incredibly accurate section header here, but for those who like to see stats move up and to the right, BuzzFeed’s Analytics dashboard makes for a fun time.

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The image above shows the Dashboard view, which gives you a quick look at a number of your posts over the last 30 days.

You can go deeper and see how each post is performing. Here’s a look at a post I made back in August that made it to the BuzzFeed front page for a bit. You can see that after a while, when it was doing well “organically” BuzzFeed actually started kicking in and giving it preferred placement or “Seeding.”

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The Analytics, matched with the fun of watching your post or your friends’ posts climbing the ranks of cat-powered content means users spend more time on the site and quite possibly more time checking out sponsored content. Not just any sponsored content, but actually funny, engaging, and interesting content – I know, right?

What’s Next?
I’d really like to see BuzzFeed out some effort into building out the Community aspect. There are some writers there that I read regularly and their Leaderboard is a great way to discover new topics and writers.

If I’m wearing my marketer hat, I’m looking at the writers on that board and thinking “That’s someone we could partner with for content.” I actually brought this up when I met with BuzzFeed’s COO Jon Steinberg at an event in London a while back – asking “Is BuzzFeed looking at ways they can help connect brands and content creators from the Community section?” It wasn’t something they were thinking about at the time, but I think there’s an opportunity there somewhere (similar to YouTube’s ever-popular personalities).

Cobble this all together and you’ve got a mashup (because who doesn’t like mashups?) of blogging, images, and self-sharing that the internet of today runs off of.

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#onward

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A little over a year ago, Camille (my amazingly patient and supportive wife) and I packed up our lives (in 9 checked bags) and moved to London. Now, in a few weeks, we’ll be doing the reverse and moving back to Washington.

London has been amazing. From the experiences we’ve had to the friends we’ve made in the time we’ve been here, we couldn’t ask for a greater experience. The people we’ve met – at work and socially – are the kind of people we won’t soon forget.

For us, the decision to go back to Washington was one that hinged on family – one of the most-important things in life (something my bosses have taught me time and time again). I won’t go into details, but feel free to ask and I’ll expand over a pint/FB Messenger/WhatsApp, etc. Things for both of our families have changed over the time we’ve been here and being closer to them ultimately seems like the right thing to do at this time.

We both have amazing jobs here in London – ones we’ll be very sad to leave. Camille has become an incredibly vital part of the Marks & Spencer team, something I’m incredibly proud of. For her to uproot her life and move here without the promise of a job and land such an amazing gig was pure awesome. I know Camille will miss her coworkers dearly as they’ve grown close.

I’m equally gutted to be leaving the IPG Mediabrands UK team – and especially to no longer be part of Spring Creek Group. Spring Creek has been a part of my life for nearly 5 years now and I feel like I’m losing a part of me as I get ready to hand over the passwords to all our social sites, etc. I’ve literally put myself into everything I’ve done that included the Spring Creek name for the past 5+ years – something that I take to mean I actually liked my job at the end of the day.

Part of me wishes I’d simply be transferring back to the Seattle office and slipping right back into the flow of things – sadly that won’t be happening. However, I had the chance to work with incredible people who taught me not only about advertising and marketing, but life and who I want to be. I think I was the 12th or so full-time employee at SCG back in the day (+/- 2), but there were others before and after me who I truly enjoyed working with every day. I like to think it’s the people, even more than the process, technology, and thinking, that made Spring Creek what it was (and still is in some places) – that’s something that I tried to bring with me across the pond.

I’ve had the amazing luck of working with incredible clients around the globe, especially at some of our long-term clients like Microsoft, where I truly can say I’ve enjoyed every second (some of them hard and grueling) of the past half a decade. I’ve no doubt our paths will cross again, and I can’t wait. The social/digital space is still an area that I think will continue to shape the way businesses and consumers interact, and it’s where I intend to keep pursuing my career – more about that at another time, once I’ve had a chance to get settled back in WA.

The MAP UK team I’ve had the pleasure of working with are top notch. Through the leadership of Jason, they’ve built what I think is exactly what the MAP organization within IPG Mediabrands was imagined as – a truly connected digital practice. My colleagues at MAP have been more than coworkers over the last year and I’ll always think of them that way.

I’m really excited to see where the Spring Creek UK team go next. While I may technically be above them on the org chart, that team has taught me a ton about how to build a service-focused digital team. From the newest member to the most-tenured, they’re an excellent bunch of smart minds hat work well together when clients need them the most. I promise not to hover, but know I’ll always be celebrating in your (many) successes.The thought of leaving the team is made a bit easier by the fact they’ll soon be joined by one of my old Seattle SCG colleagues – Eric Weaver – in London. Eric’s new role based out of London means they’ll get to infuse his knowledge of social business into the strong work we’ve been doing with social in more of a media-focused sense – something which is in high demand in Europe. We spent the last year+ smashing our expected goals in the UK and – more importantly in my mind – challenging the views of people in Europe about what social can do for brands.

Lastly, but certainly not least, I wanted to just acknowledge a person who, without his guidance and support, I wouldn’t have had the chance to do what I’ve done for the past 5+ years – thanks, Clay.

So, in closing, I’ll leave you (for now) with the rallying call of my former boss, one I’ve adopted and brought to my temporary home…

#onward

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Facebook Brings Richer Targeting to Ads: Location, Demographics, Interests, and Behaviors

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Facebook’s focus this year, in the advertising space, has been all about giving brands the tools they need to reach and engage their target audiences. With their latest announcement, Facebook furthered this push – adding targeting options for location, demographic, interests, and behaviors to the Core Audiences targeting options.

Additionally, they’re adding Partner Categories to the Ads Create Tool, bringing these targeting options to local businesses as well as larger brands.

These enhancements mean benign able to perhaps target users who have been married in the last 3 months as opposed to those who are simply “married.”

Brands looking to deliver business-focused messages can now look at places of employment and job title as targeting criteria as well – perhaps encroaching on some of the ad dollars set aside for LinkedIn.

For now, this is rolling out (slowly) globally, so get in touch with your Facebook reps about ETA in your area.