The Next Creative Battleground: Video Captions?
With Facebook’s move to auto-displaying captions on videos in the Feed, the creative has a new place to flex their muscles – good old fashioned text.
The latest creative use of subtitles comes from Dos Equis as they bid farewell to “The Most Interesting Man in the World” as he presumably is bound to become “The Most Interesting Man in the Galaxy” or something else… That isn’t the point. The point is Dos Equis is using their captions in Facebook’s caption on default land of the Feed to drive people clicking to expand or unmuting:
Now, admittedly, this isn’t the most ingenious use of captioning to drive home a point, but it’s a start.
Hotels.com used their “Captain Obvious” character and their own captions to create a fun experience with sound off a while back, but now that Facebook allows the uploading of .SRT files for on-video captions, that means a similar experience for uses across videos.
Fun story about .SRT files + Facebook – they’re finicky. We just ran a global video campaign with 50+ .SRT language caption files – hard work but the campaign was awesome and a ton of fun.
When will Twitter jump on board the no sound + caption train? Has to be soon, right?
BuzzFeed Invites Users to Binge On with new Video App
BuzzFeed’s videos have quickly become some of the company’s best performing content, with viewers coming back for episode after episode of videos from Tasty and the likes.
Capitalizing on this, BuzzFeed launched their own standalone video app at Mobile World Congress – the event that’s quickly becoming as important for product announcements and launches across verticals as CES once was.
The app, which is devoid of ads right now, is perfectly poised for regular ads (think pre-roll) and native content either created by brands or with BuzzFeed’s internal studio.
Users are met with a Trending view when entering the app, showing that BuzzFeed’s technology for picking up trending content is at the heart of everything they do. There’s also a “Shows” view where users can discover and subscribe to shows they’re into. Imagine all the binge watching and then binge eating you can do with Tasty videos now!
I’m pretty stoked on the Corgi in the icon, myself.
Why We Should All be Rooting for Twitter
Everyone hates the Patriots. OK, not everyone, but a lot of people. They don t hate them because they’re bad, though, they hate them because they’re the best. It sucks watching Tom Brady somehow find a way (Excelt for losing to Denver tonight!) time and time again. We all want to root for the underdogs… we want to get behind those scrappy teams that don’t have all the flash and glitz. The teams that we grew up on that are fighting.
That’s how I think of Twitter.
I sent my first Tweet from a classroom computer at the School of Visual Concepts where Clay McDaniel and Andy Boyer taught me more than I’d known before about the world of social marketing. After that class, I told myself I’d be doing that as part of my job… I started working for Clay and Andy 5 months later (and then returned to teach that same class for three years).
Facebook is, by all accounts, the leader in today’s Internet – and don’t get me wrong, I like Facebook a hell of a lot more than I like the Patriots – and they earned it. They took down MySpace. They grew even as Google was biting at their heels and making plays.
Twitter, though, came up at roughly the same time and, for all intents and purposes, had the same chances Facebook had to be the biggest on the block, but they didn’t – for a number of reasons.
But instead of LOLing at Twitter’s continued attempts to keep growing and to make products that bring more value to its user base, we should be cheering them on. Twitter, after all, is still where many go for “breaking” information. It’s where you can learn about a trending topic in an unfiltered feed of people you follow – sans algorithm.
Facebook probably wouldn’t be the Facebook it is today without Twitter. Their pushing and competing between 2010 – 2014 brought us more advancements and features in the mobile world than we’d seen the previous 10 years before that. Competition in the social space is just as important as competition in the world economy — it keeps innovation flowing.
The people I’ve worked with at Twitter are incredibly smart and laser focused on users and the brands that help make Twitter what it is.
I made a joke the othe night about missing the #FailWhale — and I was only slightly kidding. The days when you’d get a #FailWhale were exciting because Twitter was growing so quickly and so many people were engaged around a single topic (usually) that the servers literally couldn’t keep up. It was kind of fun. I’m also a fan of the Robot who’s arm fell off.
As an advertiser, Twitter’s ability to target real-time conversations has always been an incredible draw for me. They’ve innovated quickly to bring new formats which aren’t just exciting for brands, but engaging and interesting for users. With the addition of Periscope, Twitter has an opportunity to tap into real-time conversations and situations that can put anyone from anywhere in the middle of the action.
So, I’m excited for what @jack and the team have in store. I’ve always been a fan, but I think more people have an incredible opportunity to see how awesome Twitter really can be.
Let’s root for the underdog.
Disclaimer: This post and the entirety of this blog are my personal opinions. Content included in no way is the opinion of my employer, Microsoft. I was not and will not be compensated for this post. I also like Facebook and Instagram — even YouTube… They just aren’t getting slammed right now.
Advertisers’ Notes: Facebook Launches Sports Stadium in Bid to Win Live Sports Convo Battle Royale
Twitter gets a lot of credit for being the place for “live” social commentary, whether it’s about moments in time (elections, etc.) or sporting events. However, Facebook has been really keen the past few years to tell advertisers they have a much larger volume ofnconversation around events… the only problem is that Facebook’s security features and the nature of the algorithmically-curated News Feed mean that users are rarely seeing conversations about an event from outside their friend circle.
Facebook is taking a step toward creating a space to watch, participate in, and curate conversations around events — starting with the launch of Sports Stadium.
With 650 million sports fans, Facebook is the world’s largest stadium. People already turn to Facebook to celebrate, commiserate, and talk trash with their friends and other fans. – Facebook Sports Stadium Press Release
Users will be able to see stats, clips, expert commentary, and posts from other fans in the experience, which is launching for “American Football” now.
The So What?
While this is relegated to sports right now, it’s easy to see how Facebook could easily port these moments-based conversation extravaganzas to things like the Academy Awards, political debates, and national events/holidays.
Why Should Advertisers Care?
These new experiences provide the future opportunity for sponsorship of events (think Red Bull having Stadium-like events for their Soap Box Derby thing), ad inclusion via sponsored content within the experiences (think stats brought to you by Bing), and through more traditional display-type ads within the experience (think Click Here to Win an iPad).
A Look at President Obama’s Last State of the Union Address
Just weeks away from the first vote for who will take over the White House, President Barack Obama gave his final State of the Union address – something he is required, by law, to do “from time to time.”
As I’ve done before, I wanted to take a look at the words used and their frequency. It’s unscientific, non-partisan, and completely quick (because done is better than perfect).
I look at these things through the eyes of a marketer and a writer – not as a politico.
In case you forgot how word clouds work, or have never seen one before (have you been living under a rock?), this little tiny gnome inside my computer looks at President Obama’s speech, takes his clipboard and makes a tally mark every time he reads a word. Then, that gnome files all the necessary paperwork with his boss and starts typing this words into the computer (this is all happening fairly quickly) and makes the ones with the most tally marks bigger than those with few tally marks. So, the more a word is used in the speech, the bigger the word. Pretty simple. No, gnomes aren’t real… yet.
Here it is:
Pretty obviously, America/American jump out. I’m going to remove some of the larger words (like those) and years (as it’s not really a descriptive or active word) to take another look.
Removing those words actually gives you a real look at many of the key messages of Obama’s speech: Work, People, Economy, Change, etc.
Word cloud created at http://www.tagxedo.com/ via official White House transcript available at https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/01/12/remarks-president-barack-obama-%E2%80%93-prepared-delivery-state-union-address
UPDATE: 1/12/2016 08:05 PM PACIFIC
I managed to catch the last bit of the Republican Response, so I ran the text of that speech through the gnome-powered word cloud generator as well:
Instagram Carousel Ads in the Wild
While I’m stoked that I got served this ad from Amazon, sadly it was a bit of a wasted impression – I’m already a Prime member. Might want to get some do-not-serve list info in there.
A couple thoughts on the unit itself:
- Pretty slick. The swipe functionality is intuitive.
- The content beyond the ‘Learn More” is good. Looks to be fairly customizable.
- This might be a bug, but the ‘Learn More’ shows on the first image when you first see it in the feed, then when you swipe to the second image, it goes away. Then if you swipe back to the first its gone. It always shows up on the third image, though. Could have some impact on clicks to the ‘Learn More’ content.
On the Amazon ad:
- Really great imagery
- Great info
- Great CTA
- This should be the standard other advertisers strive to hit
- One weird thing: Whatever is on the screen is barely visible. Is this on purpose? What is that even? Photo storage?
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:
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.
How BuzzFeed Could Become the Next Big Publishing Platform
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).
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.
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.”
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?
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.
Location: The Last Piece of Twitter’s Success Puzzle
Twitter has been eating Facebook’s lunch recently – and I’m loving it. They’re moving quicker and breaking more things than the Facebook crew… and those things they’re breaking are barriers and ad revenue goals.
One thing, though, stands in the way of Twitter and true success in the ad space – Location.
They’ve Been Thinking About Location Before
It’s something the Twitter team dealt with even before Twitter was Twttr – back when it was a Jack/Noah/Ev concept. At that time, Dodgeball was buzzing in NYC, letting people drop notes to their friends, via SMS telling them where they were. Odeo was dying and Apple was gobbling up any podcasting goodness out there as the “status” idea started to morph into something.
Dodgeball, as we all know (or maybe not because I’m learning not everyone is a nerd like me) was eventually bought by Google – which them shut it down. However, it was resurrected as another playground game-named service as (you guessed it) Foursquare!
Location. Location. Location.
Since early on, Twitter’s mobile applications (and indeed its API) have let users share location data with Tweets. How much that actually is used varies depending on which report/study you read (and how they’re done). A USC study and resulting app says one in five tweets carry identifiable location data – either actively shared or in metadata. That number seems much higher than the previously assumed 1-3% that’s been discussed around the net for years.
That low number starts to provide a hurdle when looking to have an active part in that all-important proximity to point of purchase for Twitter.
The Mobile Holy Trinity
They’re already pushing hard in the mobile game with their MoPub buy (which will bring rich content experiences to the mobile Twitter feed soon – and holy crap it’s going to be awesome) and their opening up the ability to created Tailored Audiences, essentially bringing actual retargeting to mobile devices via data partners.
If Twitter could (and it’s going to take more than tech – a change in user behaviour) connect the three: rich ad units, retargeting, and location… you might as well just give them the advertising prize for a social network right then and there.
So, how do they do this?
That’s a tough question, and one that teams at Twitter are no doubt toiling with. Content that’s being targeted to users based on location now is only taking into account location data entered by users in their profiles – an imperfect targeting solution, but effective enough for brand campaigns aimed at increasing recognition and other “softer” metrics.
If Twitter wants to build confidence among traditional retailers and businesses, they’ll need to get closer to the register.
Change The Rules
While not ideal, changing the terms of service to allow Twitter to use real-time mobile device GPS coordinates to serve content is a way forward. The company is already testing a “Nearby” function that lets users see content being published in their vicinity. It’s only a short step from that to using the same location info for ads.
Buy ’em. Foursquare has been struggling the past few years. The app is great – don’t get me wrong. They’re just not proving a great platform for brands to bet on. Crawley is trying his ass off and I think they’ll get it right eventually, but will it be too late?
If Twitter could buy Foursquare and get some of the “here I am” goodness from that platform to rub off on Twitter (not to mention all the local business recommendations, etc.) it could offer a whole new dimension to their platform.
Get Physical, Physical
I probably talk about these at least once a day, but iBeacons! iBeacons! iBeacons! If Twitter invested in this technology and linking it with their platform, push messages could be sent to users when they were browsing near products.
The Full-on Dream Sequence Scenario
This is how it’d go down in a perfect world, a literal combo punch of everything above.
It’s June 2014. Twitter, having just bought Foursquare in February is rolling out the latest version of their app – complete with Foursquare’s location-aware push notifications. John is walking near Regent St. and gets a push notification from Twitter: it’s a rich ad unit showing the nearest Gap stores to him (there are 3) and advertising their 30% off sale. John clicks he location that’s also right next to an Itsu because he is craving some sushi.
When John enters the Gap store, his phone vibrates, welcoming him to the store and reminds him that he was looking at some of the new 1969 Original Skinny Jeans and a cardi on the website earlier – then it points him to where they are in the store.
When John wanders over to the denim section, the iBeacon near the Original Skinny Jeans beams info on the jeans to his phone along with a special, Email subscriber only deal for an additional 10% off denim (because Gap knows John loves denim).
John goes to the register, pays with his phone (because I’m pretending we’ll all be doing that next year), and leaves the store. Since his digital wallet is linked with his email and store accounts for brands like Gap, H&M, JCrew and more, John gets a Tweet after he’s a block away telling him to drop them a Tweet about how the new jeans fit and linking him to a customer satisfaction survey.
At the End of the Day
We may be a little further off from that than I’d like, but right now Twitter is flying toward that reality at full speed. If they can crack the location issue, I think they make an incredibly strong case for being one of the most-important marketing tools of our time (even more so than they already have).