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.

Is it weird I miss this guy? #failwhale

A photo posted by Ron Schott (@ronschott) on Jan 23, 2016 at 10:44pm PST


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 

The What

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:

Word Cloud SOTU

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.

sotu word cloud 2

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  via official White House transcript available at

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 Ad Recall Survey Sighting

With Instagram advertising hitting the entire market recently, it was time for the network to start offering similar advertising experiences and research to brands. No doubt Facebook’s own research offerings are being utilized here.

First time I’ve been served one of these in Instagram… and no, I didn’t remember the Jeep ad. 


Did The Verge Just Make a Banner Into Native Advertising?

I’ve been meaning to read this post from The Verge all day, but just got around to it.

I was getting into it when I saw this great use of editorial + advertising:

Banner Native

Did they really just do that? Oh yes they did.

Slow clap.

Redmond Calling

Like I said in my previous post, my decision to leave the agency world and to come back to Seattle from London was one I made to be closer to family. My next gig, gets me back closer to that world.

Starting July 6, I’ll be working at Microsoft as part of the Global Campaigns and Brand team, specifically focusing on social and mobile advertising. I’m incredibly excited to flex my creative side again in working with Microsoft’s creative network (IPG) and Microsoft teams around the world.

If this might seem like a bit of career déjà vu, you’re definitely right. In fact, I’ve spent the majority of my career working with Microsoft teams like Windows, Office, Windows Phone, KIN (RIP), Xbox, and Internet Explorer in the digital space. At one point, I spent 36 straight hours answering questions from users on Twitter and Facebook when Windows 7 launched and helped launch a campaign where we sent random fans pizzas with the number 7 on them in pepperoni.

2000px-M_box.svgMicrosoft has changed a lot since then – and that’s actually what drew me to that little company in Redmond. There’s a different feeling when you talk to people at Microsoft now – it’s electric. You get the sense the “One Microsoft” mantra is more than words in emails from CEO Satya Nadella. I found myself getting, even before this role was a possibility, getting fired up just listening to him speak or reading one of his emails. The guy is the type of person I’m sure many would run through a wall for – not just a motivator, but a doer as well. In fact, he recently brought Microsoft’s updated mission statement to the public: To empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. I was the perfect consumer target when Microsoft launched the Xbox. I’ve spent the majority of my life as a Windows user/evangelist. Today, though, I can say (without a doubt) I’m more excited than ever before about where Microsoft is heading – and I’m excited to be a part of it.

I’m also jacked up about the area I’ll be spending my time and efforts on – mobile and social. Working alongside Microsoft and other brands in EMEA and APAC during my time in London (with trips to Singapore), I had the chance to be part of some incredible campaigns – my favorite being the Xbox #keycode campaign in the UK. I’m looking forward to working with Microsoft’s agency partners to create ads that engage, entertain, and enhance the experiences of consumers around the globe.

We’re living in an incredible time where technology and media are a constant part of most people’s lives. That means we have the opportunity to tell a story about brands that is not just another ad, but a real story that does more than shout a price or drive a point home, but actually engages and enhances a consumer’s experience. Because consumers are living this digital first lifestyle, they’re seeing ads every day. Our goal is to cut through that ad clutter and deliver an experience that brings consumers closer to the brand.

I’ll push Microsoft’s agency teams hard, but expect them to push me equally as hard – all ideas are welcome. I’ll always fall back on something I learned from an advertising professor – constantly critiquing ideas based on if they accomplish three things well: Can we get someone to feel something? Can we get someone to say something? Can we get someone to do something?

I’m really excited about this next step. To steal a line from my old boss and friend, Clay McDaniel – onward!

Also, this: