Produce is War: How Driscoll’s Reinvented the Strawberry

“Produce is war, and it is won by having something beautiful-looking to sell at Costco when the competition has only cat-faced uglies.” This lengthy New Yorker article recently dove into how Driscoll’s uses market insight and crop science to build their monopoly on the berry market.

Strawberry from New Yorker

“Driscoll’s focus groups have shown that millennials, adventurous and open-minded in their eating habits, and easily seduced by novelty, may embrace pale berries. With these consumers, unburdened by preconceived notions of what a white berry should look or taste like, Driscoll’s has a priceless opportunity: the definitional power that comes with first contact.”

“According to Frances Dillard, Driscoll’s global brand strategist and a veteran of Disney’s consumer-products division, berries are the produce category most associated with happiness. (Kale, in contrast, has a health-control, “me” focus.) On a slide that Dillard prepared, mapping psychographic associations with various fruits, strawberries floated between Freedom and Harmony, in a zone marked Extrovert, above a word cloud that read “Social, pleasure, joy, balance, conviviality, friendship, warmth, soft, natural, sharing.” (Blueberries vibed as status-oriented, demanding, and high-tech.) As I studied the slide over Dillard’s shoulder in her office, she smiled tightly and said, “This is proprietary.”

Why it’s hot: It’s pretty cool to learn how our favorite fruits came to be. I thought this was a cool case study in now market demand and consumer behavior drive product innovation and brand stories.

 

 

 

 

 

Your Instagram Posts May Hold Clues to Your Mental Health

The photos you share online speak volumes. They can serve as a form of self-expression or a record of travel. They can reflect your style and your quirks. But they might convey even more than you realize: The photos you share may hold clues to your mental health, new research suggests.

From the colors and faces in their photos to the enhancements they make before posting them, Instagram users with a history of depression seem to present the world differently from their peers, according to the study, published this week in the journal EPJ Data Science.

“People in our sample who were depressed tended to post photos that, on a pixel-by-pixel basis, were bluer, darker and grayer on average than healthy people,” said Andrew Reece, a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University and co-author of the study with Christopher Danforth, a professor at the University of Vermont.

The pair identified participants as “depressed” or “healthy” based on whether they reported having received a clinical diagnosis of depression in the past. They then used machine-learning tools to find patterns in the photos and to create a model predicting depression by the posts.

They found that depressed participants used fewer Instagram filters, those which allow users to digitally alter a photo’s brightness and coloring before it is posted. When these users did add a filter, they tended to choose “Inkwell,” which drains a photo of its color, making it black-and-white. The healthier users tended to prefer “Valencia,” which lightens a photo’s tint.

Depressed participants were more likely to post photos containing a face. But when healthier participants did post photos with faces, theirs tended to feature more of them, on average.

The researchers used software to analyze each photo’s hue, color saturation and brightness, as well as the number of faces it contained. They also collected information about the number of posts per user and the number of comments and likes on each post.

Though they warned that their findings may not apply to all Instagram users, Mr. Reece and Mr. Danforth argued that the results suggest that a similar machine-learning model could someday prove useful in conducting or augmenting mental health screenings.

“We reveal a great deal about our behavior with our activities,” Mr. Danforth said, “and we’re a lot more predictable than we’d like to think.”

Source: New York Times

Why It’s Hot

The link between photos and health is an interesting one to explore. The role of new/alternate technologies (or just creative ways of using existing ones) in identifying illness — whether mental or otherwise — is something we are sure to see more of.

MailChimp is broadening its horizons

Think MailChimp just supports small business email marketing? Think again.

Based in Atlanta–far outside Silicon Valley’s bubble of venture-funded would-be unicorns–the company has 600-plus employees and did more than $400 million in revenue last year. More than 15 million customers sent 246 billion emails in 2016.

But the future of the company, CEO Ben Chestnut says, is “to take MailChimp magic we give to email, and sprinkle it on other marketing channels.”

A year ago, MailChimp introduced a recommendation engine–akin to the ones devised by big companies such as Amazon–that let its customers plunk product suggestions into the emails they sent their customers. In January of this year, it began helping small businesses buy Facebook ads.

Now MailChimp’s Instagram ad-buying feature aims to simplify the process of purchasing ads.

MailChimp’s strategy with these new ad-buying services and other functionality it’s recently added isn’t to give itself a new revenue stream. Instead, it’s offering them as part of its existing subscriptions at the same price as before. As with its freemium model, the company is betting that the more essential it can make itself to the way small businesses operate, the easier it will be to get large numbers of them to pay on an ongoing basis.

https://www.fastcompany.com/40424782/mailchimp-wants-to-solve-every-small-biz-marketing-challenge-even-snail-mail

Why It’s Hot
While most companies aim to leave their roots behind and move on to bigger and better customers, MailChimp is staying firmly committed to small businesses and providing them easy yet robust marketing support at a price most can afford.

Insta leans into Influencers

Today, Instagram rolls out a new feature that will now tell you who’s getting paid to post. I.e. You see your favorite Instagram model is going to a music festival in the Bahamas, and the post itself will have a call out to the sponsorship.
 
WHY IT’S HOT:
In addition to contributing to the suite of ad products Instagram currently provides to advertisers, this feature will explicitly note partnerships, sponsorships and paid product placement– and will hopefully mark the beginning of the end of the #ad hashtag. influencer marketing tends to be covert and transparency has at times been an issue. But instead of trying to fool consumers, Insta is leaning into its place as the natural outlet for bloggers and brands alike to reach their audience.

The Fyre Festival: A Fiasco Fueled by Instragram

By now you have heard about the fiasco that was Fyre Festival. The social media-fueled project, co-founded by rapper Ja Rule and his tech entrepreneur partner Billy McFarland, promised people “two transformative weekends” on a private island in the Bahamas, with “the best in food, art, music, and adventure,” and, if the model-filled promo videos were any indication, this would be a tropical Coachella. This festival emerged seemingly out of nowhere but soon went viral after the festival organizers hired some 400 Instagram influencers to post about the event. The campaign promised luxury, beauty, and exclusivity.

This festival never happened, and the lead up to it was a fiasco. People remained stranded in Miami and the Bahamas on their way to the festival, which organizers announced at eight A.M. last Friday morning had been “postponed.”

The first warning sign came from Blink-182’s cancellation – the band backed out on Thursday afternoon, just 24 hours before the festival was set to begin, saying “We’re not confident that we would have what we need to give you the quality of performances we always give our fans.“ Then came reports of flight issues, with many attendees stuck on tarmacs in Miami. Those who actually got to the island found half-built tents (which end were actually storm relief tents), mattresses stacked around the tents, luggage dropped from shipping containers, a Sandals resort around the corner, less-than-ideal weather, and these sad sandwiches.

Festival goers now demand refunds, there is even a $100 million dollar lawsuit facing Ja Rule and Billy McFarland.

Why it’s NOT Hot:

What does this say about authenticity of influence marketing? Sure, many people blame “rich millennials” for falling for this mess of a festival, but is that fair? An editor at Wired writes “Fyre Festival was, in essence, the physical manifestation of the false narrative that social media creates. It’s the wide-shot on the smoothie bowl.” In my opinion, Fyre Festival and its rise and fall lessens the credibility of celebrity influencers – who have taken no accountability for promoting this, and collected their paycheck mindlessly.

Source: WIRED, Bloomberg

Can 4/20 Be the Healthiest Day of the Year?

When people think about 4/20, they’re probably not thinking of healthy activities, but cannabis health and wellness company, Hmbldt wants to change that—with the help of their products, of course.

The company’s product line consists of vape pens that are designed to distribute controlled hits of cannabis designed to help to alleviate common ailments such as pain and insomnia — without getting its consumers high.

Yesterday, the company rolled out “GO420,” a social effort that will highlight 420 healthy ways to enjoy April 20 via the hashtag #GO420. Gifs and videos offer tips like “Go make a dream come true,” “Go take a pottery class,” “Go tell your partner you love them,” “Go do push-ups in the park,” “Go tell your partner a sexy secret.”

Why It’s Hot

  • Putting the consumer first by leveraging what is likely their biggest moment and making it about personal health rather than buying a product.
  • Campaigns like this create excellent affinity and lifelong ambassadors for a brand.

How Your Instagram Posts Created a New Starbucks Drink

It’s cold and flu season, and we all hate the sniffling, sneezing, and congestion that comes with it. What would make you feel better – walk into Starbucks and order from their Secret Menu – the Coldbuster, also known as “The Medicine Ball.” This tea drink combines a powerful punch of antioxidants that work as a cold remedy.
Starbucks took notice of all the photos posted on Instagram and just this week the company formally added the cult-favorite tea-based drink to its menu. It now has a standard recipe card and ring code, which helps create a more consistent experience for customers. Starbucks commented that the decision to add a new beverage would have taken weeks or months, but corporate was able to make it happen in one day.

The beverage is a Venti cup with a bag of Jade Citrus Mint Tea and a bag of Peach Tranquility Tea filled half with hot water and half steamed lemonade. It’s finished with a little honey and an pump of peppermint.

The Medicine Ball’s journey into the formal Starbucks system began when a store manager posted in the company’s internal messaging system that his baristas were making more than 20 of the drinks a day. Customers were coming in and requested it after seeing the drink posted on Instagram. The problem was the manager wasn’t sure if his team had the right recipe. The company decided to make the Medicine Ball an official beverage after nearly 40 other managers responded, saying they were selling anywhere from one to four dozen a day.

Why It’s Hot

Instagram has a lot to be excited about – There are now more than 1 million businesses that advertise monthly on its platform – a 400% increase year-over-year. Instagram’s global community now exceeds 600 million users. More than 8 million businesses have profile pages around the world. The impact of Instagram – In just the last month, more than 120 million users visited a business’s web site, retrieved directions, called, emailed or direct-messaged a business via its Instagram page. These are the metrics to win valued, engaged followers who care about your business. As Starbucks shows, their loyal followers on Instagram created enough conversation (and sales) that the Coldbuster was added to their menu.

Instagram Becoming More Business Friendly

Instagram is beginning to test new profiles for businesses, the first prototypes were shared a few days ago and have 3 key new features:

  1. A “Contact” button, which means they’ll no longer have to put email addresses in their profile.
  2. A linkable location tag- when users hit “Contact” it also opens up an option to get directions to the business. This feature gives businesses more room to describe their business in their 150 Instagram bio, rather than putting in their address.
  3. Account categorization through tags which show up underneath their username. Again, this gives them more room to be authentic in their bio.

Instagram BusinessIMG_5424

Why It’s Hot: This is a small step in Instagram becoming a big brand friendly platform like Facebook. Here’s to hoping analytics come with it too.

Instagram: A Platform for Music Enthusiasts

Nielsen conducted a study to quantify Instagram’s impact on music sales and found that Instagram users spend 42 percent on music, tickets, and merchandise compared to the U.S. population averages. Other stats revealed that Instagram users spent more hours listening to music than average for the U.S. and were also more likely to listen to pop. Interestingly, Instagram Music fans also were twice as likely to pay for streaming music. Find more cool stats around this key audience in the article!

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Why It’s Hot: Brands with a target that index high in music or attending live events should look to Instagram as an effective channel to reach and engage with these consumers.

Instagram Spotlights Shine Like Snapchat Stories

Instagram Spotlights is shining bright this week officially making their curated user-generated video that comes together to form one long piece of content a permanent feature on the platform. Much like Snapchat Stories, Instagram Spotlights’ content is being created on just about every topic including everything from cats to fitness.

Instagram’s goal and hope is that Spotlights will not only keep people engaged and coming back for more but that is will also be used as a new tool for users to discover new content. Much like Crimson Hexagon’s newer offering “Segments”, users will be able to discover content, brands and/or influencers in turn uniting platform users with content that previous may have gone unseen. According to Gabe Madway, Instagram’s communication manager:

“Spotlight is where you go to discover things you don’t follow but might end up following. Things you never expected to see.”

Most important for digital marketers to know is how Instagram selects the content the platform is going to curate within Spotlights. Hashtags are the foundation of curating Spotlight features so when creating content hashtags may play a more important role if your brand is looking to be “discovered” in Spotlights.

Why it’s Hot: The social playground is free for all to play. Even if Instagram Spotlights may be stepping on Snapchat Stories’ toes or taking a page from Twitter Moments’ playbook, all is fair in fan love and social engagement. It doesn’t matter who was in the sandbox first; all that matters is the one that builds the best castle.

 

Source: With Spotlights, Instagram Walks On Snapchat’s Playground

 

 

 

 

Meet the First Instagram-Certified Ad-, Marketing-Tech Vendors

Earlier this year Instagram made it possible for ad- and marketing tech providers to build tools that marketers can use to manage their brands’ Instagram accounts, find content to post to those accounts and buy ads on Instagram. More than 100 companies have built such tools, and Instagram has picked 40 companies to certify and join its new Instagram Partner Program.

“Now that that ecosystem is blossoming, we want to make it really easy for partners and the companies that are building these tools to get visibility,” said Jim Squires, director of market operations at Instagram. “And we want to make it easy for businesses and marketers that want to connect with partners to understand what each of the partners does.”

Instagram is certifying companies in three categories. The ad-tech category includes companies that make tools for brands to buy, plan and customize their ads for Instagram. The community management category includes companies that offer tools for brands to manage their Instagram accounts. And the content marketing category encompasses companies whose tools can be used by brands to find content to post to their Instagram accounts.

In addition to the attention boost, Instagram plans to provide certified vendors with training through Facebook’s Blueprint education program as well as resources around how to best use Instagram for business purposes.

There are no economic requirements for a company to gain entry into the partner program, Mr. Squires said. The only requirements are that a company proves its technology is proprietary, demonstrates market leadership, offers resources to marketers, has a successful track record and participates in training, according to an Instagram spokeswoman. While Instagram has picked an initial 40 companies to certify, other tech providers can apply for approval into the program.

Marketers will be able to visit a dedicated site to find out more about each of the companies in the Instagram Partner Program. The full list is also available below with companies sorted by category. Curalate, Percolate, Salesforce and Sprinklr are listed multiple times because they were approved in more than one category.

Ad Tech

Community Management

Content Marketing

  • Curalate
  • Flashstock
  • Olapic
  • Percolate
  • ReFuel4
  • Salesforce
  • Tongal

Why It’s Hot

This will allow social teams all over to organize and launch Instagram campaigns in a much more efficient, thought out way.  Also, for our company specifically, we already work with some of the approved vendors, so it will only broaden the opportunities for us to use our existing tools.

Boomerang From Instagram

Today, the Facebook-owned company launched Boomerang, an iPhone and Android app that lets users make mini-social videos that endlessly loop.

As part of the photo-sharing app’s larger video push, Boomerang makes it possible to create videos that play forward and backward in either portrait or landscape mode that can then be shared on Instagram.

Instagram Announced Boomerang

Instagram announced another standalong app to use with its platform today called, Boomerang. While it’s not groundbreaking, it illustrates the next standalone app added to the mix from Instagram which currently includes Hyperlapse and Layout.

The timing of this release is interesting as well since Facebook recently announced 7-second looping profile pictures. Simple to use, the app can enhance your creativity on the platform. Although it’s so simple to use, it can easily be forgotten. It will be interesting to see how it grows over the next few months and how brands will embrace the app to mirror consumer trends and actions. boomerang

Read more about it here on TechCrunch.

Why It’s Hot

It’s important to keep a pulse on the latest apps in the marketplace especially when a behometh like Facebook/Instagram launches one.

According to TechCrunch, “Instagram seems to be having better luck with its standalone app strategy than its parent company.” Unlike Facebook, “Instagram instead treats standalone apps as external creative tools that feed content directly back into the main app.”

DKNY Gets Personal for New York Fashion Week With Instagram Direct Campaign

This year, Instagram made a lot of changes and updates to compete with other social channels, particularly in the messaging sector. One update that the platform tweaked was their Direct Messaging feature that enabled fans to interact with brands on a more personal level.

See how DKNY is using Instagram Direct to engage with fans: “In an intiative conceived under the creative directors and DKNY’s first Chief Image Officer Hector Muelas, the brand will use Instagram’s newly updated messaging feature, Instagram Direct, to provide fans personalized content on how Mr. Osborne and Mr. Chow conceived those designs, ranging from explanatory videos to sketches to behind-the-scenes images.” – Ann-Christine Diaz

Read More: http://adage.com/article/advertising/dkny/300378/

DKNY Instagram Direct campaign

Another shot of DKNY Instagram Direct campaign

Why It’s Hot

Fashion Week is the center of the fashion industry where people flock to the show to get an inside look into trends and work of the designers. To launch DKNY’s new collection, they decided to create personalized messages for fans engaging with them on social media. This was a very great way for the brand to show appreciation to their fans and it was a creative way to showcase their latest line on the ultimate creative platform.

How Instagram Is Changing the Way Brands Look at Photography, Online and Beyond Embracing the ‘perfectly imperfect’

Call it the “Instagram Effect”—that filtered, shadowed, sharpened, brightened, tilted, faded, structured, saturated way of seeing life through a lens. It’s changed the way people portray themselves and see others.

And it’s having the same impact on brands.

Design teams are beginning to see the benefit of moving away from over-lit, over-staged and generally over-edited photography for their campaigns and instead are favoring a more organic (albeit filtered) look and feel that matches the medium—on Instagram itself, obviously, but also in print and across an array of other media.

“We kind of call it ‘perfectly imperfect,'” said Nathan Iverson, evp and design director at Deutsch LA. “People will call you out pretty easily if your food looks overly propped or overly perfect because that’s not how it is.”

Iverson said Instagram certainly isn’t pioneering the use of effects, but it is resurrecting and evolving an old-school aesthetic. Making a photo retro or over-saturated or pushed and electric was done long before computers came along. The difference now is that analytics allow for real-time analysis of which visual styles appeal to viewers, blending art with marketing science.

Why it’s Hot:

Instagram’s influence on photography could add to the evolution of photography as people look to keep moments natural and first person view and move away from over-produced imagery.

Instagram Advertising Set to Grow

Instagram will soon carry a lot more advertising. Direct-response buttons, an API for ad buying and Facebook-style targeting capabilities will give advertisers new ways to buy and will lead to rapid increases in ad spending on the photo-focused social network. eMarketer forecasts Instagram will have $595 million in ad revenue this year, rising to $2.81 billion in 2017.

Instagram-for-online-marketing2

These changes will likely result in their ad business growing rapidly the latter half of the year, as features will roll out over the next several months, and by the end of 2015 Instagram will have a full slate of ad products for advertisers large and small.

“We’ve spent the last 18 months establishing the platform for large brands. The next logical step is to empower businesses of all sizes to be able to achieve their objectives,” said Jim Squires, Instagram’s director of market operations.

Many companies will be eager to test the social network’s new features. Instagram advertising was previously a rare commodity, reserved for McDonald’s, L’Oréal, Mercedes-Benz and other brands that were willing to spend a flat rate of $200,000 to conduct a campaign. Instagram offered those advertisers a limited assortment of image ads, 15-second video ads, and the newest feature, carousel ads, which can display more than one image.

Now that Instagram is opening up to more advertisers, it’s likely to find a lot of pent-up demand.

“Instagram is probably [our] favorite platform right now in terms of pioneering and being willing to try new things,” said Roderick Strother, director of worldwide digital and social at Lenovo, whose Australian arm recently conducted its first Instagram ad campaign. “The importance of Instagram has grown tremendously for us.”

Why Its Hot:

Instagram has a lot of what marketers see as the most compelling package: audience plus strong engagement plus strong brand awareness. The new features seek to make a user-friendly success story into a marketer-friendly one as well, with the help of FB learnings.

  • The social network’s ad revenue is projected to increase rapidly, approaching $1.5 billion in 2016 and $3 billion in 2017. Instagram will account for 3.7% of parent company Facebook’s ad revenue this year.
  • In 2017, Instagram will have higher US net mobile display ad revenues than Google or Twitter.
  • Instagram advertisers will be able to use a full slate of Facebook targeting tools, including the popular Custom Audiences feature. That will be a key drawing card.
  • Instagram will set a high bar for direct-response ads, which will have a premium look. Ad load will remain low, which will likely increase prices. This combination will effectively shut out many performance advertisers seeking a low cost per click (CPC).
  • Users have shown high engagement with the branding ads that have appeared on Instagram thus far, but that could change as new types of advertisers enter. Appropriate use of targeting and creative will be necessary.
  • Instagram will launch ecommerce capabilities with the “shop now” and “install now” buttons, but the kinds of advertisers that will benefit most from them will be those with unusual, limited-quantity or eye-catching products. App installs may fare better—as long as the ads meet Instagram’s creative bar.

 

Driving Fan Acquisition & Boosting Engagement on Instagram Through UGC

This week, I wanted to share a Whitepaper from one of our partners, EngageSciences, titled “6 Ways to Use Instagram for Brand Marketing.”

The whitepaper has many interesting facts around related to e-commerce and native advertising. For example, only 55% of prestige brands link from their websites to their Instagram profile, and even fewer (14%) feature Instagram photos on their own websites. When websites feature compelling content from Instagram, there is a 300% increase in “dwell time” on pages and an 11% increase in web traffic with sites that feature social content and interactive applications.

The most interesting metrics are related to UGC below.

 

EngageSciences_Stats

Why It’s Hot

There is no denying the power of UGC for brands.The whitepaper concludes that authentic, yet persuasive Instagram photos within e-commerce experiences are key along with shoppable links and “buy now” CTAs will help brands to monetize UGC to not only increase engagement but impact sales as well.

With that said, some brands are understandably apprehensive of leveraging this content on websites or branded social channels. EngageSciences points out that there are steps that should be taken to ensure the brand is appropriately protected, including requesting rights and tracking all rights requests along with an audited history of approvals.

 

 

Instagram Revamps Search, Looks To Become Real-Time News Site

Instagram

Instagram began tapping into the 70 million photos and videos posted daily to its service to put its 300 million users in the middle of current events. Instagram has reimagined its search feature to become more of a source for images and videos during breaking news events. The improved Search tool make it easier to find images related to any topic, and it will feature hand-selected collections, such as extreme athletes or deserted islands, to help users discover interesting material. The Search tool will also feature a section for trending places and hashtags. The updated Explore button, which will first appear in American versions of the app, will show users the most important photos from events and places in their regions and across the country, as determined by the service’s algorithms.

Why It’s Hot

Social sites want to become the go-to place for people to search and find images from community sources and citizen reporting — not just those taken by news agencies like Reuters or Bloomberg. The stream of photos and videos posted on Instagram, from celebrities as well as from ordinary people, can deliver a better you-are-there feeling, whether it’s a Houston flood or a Brooklyn blizzard. It’s allowing our community to connect to the world as it happens.” remarked Mr. Systrom, chief executive and co-founder of Instagram.

A New App To Make Life Easier For Diabetics, Using Instagram

After an initial diagnosis, diabetes sufferers often experience a period of shock when they learn that everything has to change. Turkish mobile operator, Turkcell, and agency R/GA London have created an app to make adjusting to the necessary life changes much easier.

The app tracks a user’s condition via a photographic journal, using Instagram. By synching with a wireless reader that takes blood measurements, Selftrak is also able to map levels to an Instragram image, allowing medical professionals and friends to provide input and support. Alongside this, like everyone else in the world it seems, diabetics take snaps of their meals and post them, and again, these can be liked and helpful suggestions made.

The idea is to make using the app as simple as possible, helping people stay motivated, complying with treatment and keeping the lines of communication with medical staff open.So far, Selftrak has been tested in an 18-month long study with 200 diabetes patients at Istanbul University. The latest version, still in beta phase, is available on Google’s app store and a more limited iteration is currently available via Apple. Updates are planned in the coming months.

Watch the video here: http://www.fastcocreate.com/3047389/a-new-app-to-make-life-easier-for-diabetics-using-instagram

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Why it’s hot:

Instead of trying to persuade sufferers to adopt entirely new habits, tools and behaviors to monitor the condition, Selftrak deploys Instragram, a tool many people already use and taps into behaviors that people already have. And initial tests prove the app is making a difference — the results of the 18-month trial are highly encouraging. Treatment compliance increased by 54%. Blood sugar levels decreased by 27% and complication forecasts decreased by 37%.

The Instagram Calorie Calculator

Selfies, dogs, babies and food. The most common things that we see in our Instagram feed. Picking up on the popular user behavior of posting pictures of food to our social network, Google is rolling out a tool, Im2Calories, that is able to analyze food pics on Instagram and count the calories in them.

The way it works is if you upload a photo of a cheeseburger, Im2Calories could identify the pixels in the image as that of a burger, and calculate the calories based on its size relative to the plate and any additional condiments.

Some are not happy with the tool as they feel it is a “fat-shaming” tactic. Google defended itself by stating it is not a shaming tactic but instead provides an easier way for users to keep a food diary by taking the guesswork out of calorie count.

Hot_Sauce_6_12

Why It’s Hot (or not)

When we see photos of food on Instagram it’s not usually every day boring meals. It’s more the amazing and decadent brunches and celebratory meals. In the most common instances, people aren’t using Instagram as a food diary to live a healthier life anyway and it seems like Google is trying to force this behavior. Also, it’s important to note that when a user posts a photo of that glorious burger, they may not use the tool themselves but now any one of their followers can apply the algorithm to their post and pass a judgment. It just doesn’t seem that a social media app is the best way to host this tool.  Perhaps marketing this as a standalone app where people can voluntarily use it s they see fit on their own personal photos would be a better move.

Read more here.

Instagram Up its Value to Marketers

Instagram is going to begin including function buttons in their paid ad posts. In the caption of the brand image, there will be a “buy now” button for online retailers, an “Install now” button for mobile apps and a “Sign up” button for membership apps. The buttons will open in an in-app browser to keep the user in Instagram at all times, making it a more seamless process.

These new interactive ads will incorporate Facebook data, which should allow more small businesses to begin advertising on Instagram, since they will be able to purchase smaller ad buys that target a narrower group of people.

In addition to CTA buttons, Instagram has also added enhanced paid advertising targeting capabilities that very closely mirror those of Facebook. These enhanced capabilities allow advertisers to target their ads based on user interests in addition to age, gender and location.

The buttons will roll out gradually, beginning with testing in Spain this week.

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Why It’s Hot

This seems like a natural progression for Instagram, as they have a large and engaged fan base as well as an immense amount of data through their own app and Facebook. For users, this means a more seamless experience. For advertisers it means the ablity to tackle the right users

Read more here.

What if you were Dating a Social Media Site?

What would it be like if you went on a date with a social network? That’s the question answered in this very funny video, produced by up and coming YouTube star Emma Blackery, and it turns out, Google+ would be very, very needy indeed. So, we should clarify here. In the video, Emma shows what would happen if you were on a date with a person who exhibited the stereotypical qualities of a particular social website. It’s shockingly accurate.

** Caution: Video contains some offensive language **

What do we have? Instagram is obsessed with taking pictures of food, Facebook wants to know whether you know this other person, Snapchat’s bound by the clock, Twitter needs attention, and Tumblr — well, we don’t want to say in case we cause offense. This description doesn’t do the video any justice, and it’s far more cutting; so just watch it, and have a good laugh at poor old Google+.

How reasonable are her depictions of social networks? They’re pretty spot on, highlighted by the real world gulf between the number of active Facebook users and Google+ — the butt of Emma’s cruelest observations — users. Facebook claims it sees 936 million active users each day, and a giant 1.44 billion monthly active users.

Google+ may boast more accounts — 2.5 billion, apparently — but according to recent research a tiny percentage of these accounts actually post anything on a regular basis. It’s estimated there are around 111 million active accounts, and just 6.7 million have 50 or more posts on them in total. No wonder Google+ is crying out for attention.

Why Its Hot:

We know each channel has pros/cons and it’s own vibe. It’s very clever to personify these well-known outlets and call out, well… mostly weaknesses. But the sharable quality of this video is hard to ignore – the author received half a million views in the first two days and now has over 1 million YouTube followers.

Source and to read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/dating-a-social-network-video-news/#ixzz3bT98Iopd

Terminally Ill Dog Takes to Instagram for Trip of A Lifetime

Poh, a wonderfully loved dog, was diagnosed with a terminal illness. So his owner, Neil Rodriguez, and Poh took to Instagram and hit the road from NY to California for the trip of a lifetime.

poh4

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This one trip ended up turning into a 46-day tour around the U.S., where they visited over 35 cities.

“My life is kind of hectic,” Rodriguez said. “I’m always traveling, but Poh is my home, my child. I think this resonated with a lot of dog owners. They wish they could do stuff like this with their dog and spend these moments, but sometimes life gets in the way.”

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“I am super blessed that I have actually gotten to do this,” he added. “People think I take care of Poh, but Poh takes care of me.”

Why It’s Hot: Sometimes we let life get in the way. Poh’s adventures have taught humans through his Instagram account that life is for living. Through his social media presence, Poh’s story was picked up by news media and he has now gone viral across the web and traditional media. Poh has his own dedicated hashtag and almost almost 37K followers on Instagram. Poh is a dog, a dog with a story that connected with 37 thousands humans on an emotional level that formed authentic connections. Join the other 37K fans of Poh and follow Poh the Dog’s Big Adventure on Instagram.

Source: BuzzFeed

*Please note: When first written only 24 hours ago, Poh had approximately 30K fans. In the last 12 hours he has acquired 7K more followers on his IG account so the above has been edited for accuracy. 

 

Blogging $$$

It’s an old practice for brands to partner with thought leaders in their field or celebs to help endorse their products. With the age of social media, we’ve seen a proliferation of “thought leaders” and “influencers” as anyone can create his or her own digital property and ultimately market themselves to become a leader in the field. In particular, there are a plethora of fashion bloggers who have huge followings on various social media platforms and are getting paid for it. As a marketer and fashion aficionada, I have wondered countless times about approximately how much these fashion bloggers get paid as more and more are relying on their blogger activities as their sole source of income.

Well recently Harper’s Bazaar gave me an answer when it conducted an exclusive interview with Danielle Bernstein, the woman behind the popular blog, We Wore What. (Me pictured with her below =))

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Danielle revealed that she typically gets paid anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 PER INSTAGRAM post. This rate can go up or down, depending on the terms of the deal, such as if a brand wants a long-term commitment or multiple Instagram pictures. With nearly 1 million followers, she is definitely on the higher end of the spectrum as the article states “if you have hundreds of thousands of followers you can make anywhere from $500 to $5,000 a post, but if you have upwards of 6 million followers, your fee can be $20,000 to $100,000 a shot.

In addition the fashion industry estimates that brands spend more than a $1 billion per year on sponsored Instagram posts due to the evolving platform economy.

WOW.

 

 

 

 

 

Instagram Becomes A “Choose-Your-Own” Adventure

When Instagram added video to its social network, it allowed people to share their moving images in 15-second bursts. But limitations like time constraints always yield creative hacks, and to promote the Toronto Short Film Festival agency Red Lion found a way to turn the photo sharing platform into a choose-your-own-adventure silent film.

By using clips from the seven silent films included in the festival, users can string together a short film based on a series of decisions. Opening with a street fight scene, viewers are given the choice to call the cops or run away. Clicking the #hashtag of your choice, you’re taken to the next video. From there you can hide in a department store or a hospital, then go on a date, only to fake sick to get out of a horrible dining experience. At least, that’s one of the many films that can come from the experience…

Experience it now: https://instagram.com/tsff2015

Why it’s hot:

A perfect example of innovative ways to use social for awareness driving campaigns. Instagram is an inherently social and visual application. Silent films, and all films in general, are both of these things. In a lot of ways, the unifying cultural impact film has is now also occurring through social applications like Instagram.

Whiskas Catstacam Lets Your Kitty Take to Instagram

No, this is not an excuse for me to talk about my kitties. Well, maybe a little…

Whiskas Australia has developed a device that enables cats to take and post their own photos to Instagram, with the aim of providing a social media outlet for kitties to help us better understand their behavior (if ever).

The Whiskas Catstacam is part of a campaign created by Clemenger BBDO Sydney designed to help cat owners get closer to their pets.

The small camera, which weighs 44g, is worn around the cat’s neck and motion-detector technology is used to capture moments from the animal’s point of view. A photo is taken every 20 seconds and posted to the cat’s own Instagram account, where owners and cat lovers can watch what they are getting up to.


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Photos are posted along with the caption “I took this photo so you can see the world through my eyes. If you notice any behaviour you’re curious about, simply ask a question using the hashtag #askwhiskas. You can see photos from other cats at #Catstacam.”

The cats’ behavior is analyzed and decoded by a Whiskas cat behavior expert and owners can ask questions about what they see their cats doing. For example, if you wonder why your kitty is climbing up a tree, you may be informed that cats climb trees to sharpen their claws and leave their scent.

The packaging of the device also cleverly doubles as a fun toy for the cat to play with.

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Source: PSFK

Why It’s Hot

This is an interesting tie in to the wearables frenzy I experienced at SXSW — which also featured a good amount of activity tracking for dogs, but nothing for the cats! Though a bit silly, I like what the brand is trying to do by capitalizing on our obsession with our pets, social media and tracking into one appealing solution. Imagine all the (useless) footage! Knowing my cats, they WOULD NOT WEAR THIS for more than 10 seconds and there would be a lot of pictures of the floor.

 

 

 

Target makes art out of products in pop-up store

Starting this week for a limited time, you can visit an art gallery made entirely of Target products in Chelsea. Called Target Too, the art gallery-meets-pop-up-store is meant to promote the wide array of items you can buy at Target, as well as push the retailer’s dedication to design. The company described it as a “design-to-digital playground.” Chief Creative Officer Todd Waterbury said in a statement: “I like that it begins to loosen and play with the meaning of what a gallery, a store, a playground, even what an Instagram feed is, and what the integration of technology can do within a bounded space—how it can deepen and expand the meaning of each of these.”

Boiled down, Target has essentially created a physical Instagram experience within the gallery by including a collection of items (Sharpies, bathing suits, clothing and accessories) framed by squares, assorted to look like the type of curated snaps you’d find on the retailer’s own Instagram feed. At a counter in the back, guests can take to interactive screens to design their own iPhone case, tote bag or T-shirt from a selection of red and black Target-made designs. They’re printed on-site and returned, free of charge.

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Why it’s hot:

This isn’t the first time Target has tested the waters around press-driving pop up stores.  In 2013, a life-size dollhouse took over Grand Central in NYC to show off the new Threshold furniture line. During back-to-school season, Target tapped into the college-student market with “Bullseye University,” a 3D dorm simulation outfitted with Target goods.

This particular installation is meant to drive home the idea for shoppers that Target has a unique relationship with designers. Not only do they drive buzz around the brand through these real-world executions, but they further reach the niche audience of millennials.

Lord & Taylor Got 50 Instagrammers to Wear the Same Dress, Which Promptly Sold Out

Retailer Lord & Taylor blitzed into feeds by partnering with 50 influential fashionistas on Instagram and having each pose wearing the same dress.

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The dress itself sold out by the end of the weekend, but luckily for the brand, it had a larger goal in mind: Debuting its Design Lab collection, focused on “fashion-forward finds.”

“The program was designed to introduce Design Lab to this customer where she is engaging and consuming content every day,” said Lord & Taylor CMO Michael Crotty. “The goal was to make her stop in her feed and ask why all her favorite bloggers are wearing this dress and what is Design Lab? Using Instagram as that vehicle is a logical choice, especially when it comes to fashion.”

Why It’s HOT: 2015 is proving to be the year of the “Influencer impact”.

Source: http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/lord-taylor-got-50-instagrammers-wear-same-dress-which-promptly-sold-out-163791

An even 50 Instagrammers were hand-picked and compensated by the brand, with each selected “based on her aesthetic and reach,” Crotty said. Many of the posts generated more than 1,000 Likes each, with several surpassing 5,000 Likes and some reaching rarified levelslike 13,000 Likes.

Obsessing over the perfect social media post may be ruining your life

Social media likes are ruining your life — and now there’s proof.

Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield, co-authors of New York Times bestsellers like Crucial Conversations, have unveiled a new study on the way “likes” and the need for other social media praise affect our day-to-day lives. The results of the study, which surveyed 1,623 people, paint a picture of a social media-obsessed society.

  •  About 58% of people surveyed said “posting the perfect picture has prevented them from enjoying life experiences.”
  • About 91% of the respondents said they’ve witnessed tourists miss a great moment because they were trying to capture it for social media.
  • Three out of four people admitted to being rude or distant because they focus more on their phones than people
  • Nearly 14% of respondents say they’ve risked their own safety to get a like-worthy post.

After all the warnings, Grenny and Maxfield offer solutions for the social media-obsessed out there. Scroll to the bottom of the infographic for their four top tips for beating your addiction:

 

 

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Why It’s Hot

Although we’re digital marketers and need to be immersed in social media and technology, this is a good reminder to take a break from our device every once in awhile and be present in the moment.

Source

Instagram Will Launch Carousel Ads

On Wednesday, March 4th, Instagram announced that they will be launching carousel ads. These ads will give brands more flexibility in sharing their stories by allowing people who view their ads to swipe left to see additional images and link to a website of the brand’s choice. This will allow brands to bring multi-page print ads to mobile users. In addition, this will allow brands to drive traffic to a website to gain more information on what they are promoting/sharing.

Example:  A car company might share an array of different features of a vehicle and provide a link to learn more about the new model. Or, an advertiser could showcase how multiple ingredients come together to make a delicious meal.

Instagram states, “We are introducing this new format on a limited basis. In the coming weeks, you may see carousel ads and might notice variations of the format as we learn what people are most interested in and what performs best.”

Why It’s Hot

This will allow a brand’s audience to view multiple ads in one place. If a user is engaged in the content, they will have the option to swipe left and learn more about a brand. Ultimately, brands will be able to easily showcase multi-print campaigns on Instagram. It will be exciting to see how brands will use this new feature to create engaging content.