SXSW: A Clever Targeted Ad

Being in Austin for SXSW means getting target with a ton of ads… Usually not great ones.

However, this PizzaDrone.info ad caught my eye. What happened after the click was even better… though disappointing for someone who wants to see a marriage of two of his favorite things.

  
And after the click…

  

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. 

  
   
 

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).

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.

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.

Location: The Last Piece of Twitter’s Success Puzzle

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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.

Likelihood: Medium

TwitSquare
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.

Likelihood: Low/Medium

Get Physical, Physical

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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.

Likelihood: Medium

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).