Home-related publications like Real Simple, Hunker and Domino are using model houses to create experiential retail experiences that can drive affiliate revenue.
Domino magazine has created staged homes for years. But this year’s house, located in Sag Harbor, NY was the first to include shoppable technology into the space. In partnership with Stage&Shop, a real estate agency and an app developer, Domino created an app that integrate codes into all of the house’s furniture and design elements that people touring the home could scan to purchase them.
Domino’s winter issue will have a feature on the home, which will also include QR codes for those products that readers use their smartphone to scan.
Brands were included in the home through product placement, and affiliate links were used in the shoppable content as well as in the house itself. But the primary revenue driver for the project still comes from the content created surrounding the home, including its print spread and digital elements. And while it’s an ongoing franchise for the brand, Cho said that Domino isn’t leaning on that revenue, but is looking for constant iterations of how to make the project better and a bigger piece of the puzzle.
Why It’s Hot: An interesting convergence of digital and physical, potentially symbiotically solving parallel/complementary problems of retail and ecommerce experiences:
Online purchase is convenient, but I don’t get to see, touch, try physical goods before buying.
Retail purchase is experiential, but I don’t want all of the friction of purchase and transport home.
Tru Kids, the owner of the Toys ‘R’ Us brand is “bringing back the Toys ‘R’ Us brand in a modern way through a strong experiential and content-rich omnichannel concept,” Richard Barry, CEO of Tru Kids, said in a statement.
Learning from its prior mistakes of not embracing technology and a digital transformation, this relaunch is purely digital and content-focused in nature, partnering with Target and Candytopia to help with ecommerce and real-life, memorable experiences.
Dubbed “The Toys R Us Adventure,” the company partnered with Candytopia to create the experiential pop-ups in Chicago and Atlanta and feature more than a dozen interactive play rooms, larger-than-life toys, and installations featuring Geoffrey, the brand’s giraffe mascot.
Why it’s hot: Toys ‘R’ Us’ was the poster child for death by tech, with its rejection of ecommerce and digital transformation. Now the company is trying to show everyone it can learn from its mistakes. The question is, will the nostalgia of Toys ‘R’ Us be enough to drive expensive experiential store visits. It’ll be interesting to see if this attempt at jumping into the digital deep end will have a happy ending. If it does work, will we start seeing the return of other brands who failed to innovate? Blockbuster Video? Tower Records?
To address this churn, Dream Team built a new content vertical including a newsletter and YouTube series around fantasy football last summer. Now it has begun to bear fruits: Dream Team retained 68% of last year’s customers this season, increasing annual audience retention rate 21% year-on-year, and won new branded content clients; however, the publisher was unwilling to share exactly how many people subscribed for the 2019 season.
Dream Team has roughly 10 people publishing regular football video content on its own site and social platforms. Dream Team had over 100 million video views in July, up from 50 million, according to Tubular Labs. Facebook and Instagram is a good funnel for acquiring news audiences, but the team needed to do more to nourish its existing fan base, said Edward Bearryman, head of content and communities at News UK.
“We are building a more franchise approach to content,” he said. “As many brands in the digital space find, bringing in audiences with content is easy, but digital content brands can struggle with loyalty and retention.”
After hearing that audiences wanted more fantasy football content — rather than generic football news content — at the start of the football season in August 2018, Dream Team also launched an email newsletter, Dream Team “Coach,” devised in part by Jimmy Lloyd, content development editor. The newsletter, written by football expert Nick Elliott, to add a more personal feel, goes out every Thursday and features tips and hints on which players are likely to play well that weekend for subscribers to switch around their fantasy football teams.
The newsletter now has over 1 million subscribers and an open rate of between 15% and 20%, according to Bearryman. The content is mostly self-contained content, so it doesn’t track click-through rates via links to external stories.
As an extension to the newsletter, in February, Dream Team launched “Coach TV” on YouTube, a weekly 20-minute chat show focused on football news. Videos typically get up to 20,000 YouTube views, last season had over 500,000 unique viewers. Over the course of 12 months, viewer retention rate doubled retention rate from 20% to 40%, according to Bearryman. Watch time on season two is over six minutes compared with three minutes last season.
Publishers like BuzzFeed are increasingly making series over one-off episodes in order to bring people back more regularly. It’s this regular viewing that attracts brand budgets too. The success of “Coach TV” was instrumental in signing bookmaker Betway to a season-long branded content campaign. As well as Betway badging alongside the Dream Team logo, the bookmaker gives exclusive betting odds and offers for the “Coach TV” audience. It’s a natural fit as 50% of Dream Team managers have an active betting account. The season-long campaign, exclusive to Dream Team rather than The Sun, cost £1.04 million ($1.27 million). According to Bearryman, the conversion rate of traffic referred to Betway is 2.5%, which compares favorably with Dream Team’s internal content conversion rates.
Over the last year, Dream Team itself has run between 10 and 12 other branded content campaigns across other sub-brands or franchises. One such sub-brand is “Hometown Glory,” a weekly show where former England football player Alex Scott takes other football players back to their hometown. Dream Team is currently in talks with two consumer goods brands for sponsorship for the season.
More franchises are in the works, according to Bearryman.
“We want to build other online sub-brands and franchises to become famous for and reach new audiences,” he said.
Why It’s Hot
A good example of the power Relationships built around common interests – authentically activated across channels, platforms and formats, and orchestrated over time.
National Geographic and IKEA® come together to capture and document the human species in one of the most challenging habitats the world has ever seen — the bedroom.
Ikea isn’t just about meatballs and couches. With its latest campaign, the Swedish retailer wants to be known as sleep experts, so it partnered with National Geographic on a series of films called ‘Bedroom Habitats.’
The faux-nature series looks to capture and document the human species in one of the most challenging habitats — the bedroom. The films cover everything from a comically small mattress to the unrelenting threat of clutter.
Created by National Geographic with Wavemaker, the four videos in the series will highlight different consumers with varying sleep challenges. The first, ‘Small Bed Battle,’ shows a couple fighting for space in their tiny bed as a narrator gives a documentary style blow-by-blow of the epic struggle. A positive outcome surfaces after the couple goes to Ikea and gets a reasonably-sized bed.
The series will be hosted on a dedicated National Geographic Bedroom Habitats microsite, along with sleep challenges and shoppable solutions, and on National Geographic Instagram stories and its Facebook page. The series will also be supported with paid social and display units.
A complimentary campaign titled ‘Save Our Sleep,’ features the same nature documentary style, highlighting the issue that one-in-three Americans doesn’t get enough sleep, with Ikea offered up as the sleep hero.
Produced by Ogilvy, the ‘Planet Sleep’ television spot showcases how a comfortable bedroom sanctuary can help save endangered sleep through the implementation of simple and affordable sleep solutions, like new lower priced mattresses and ergonomic pillows. It starts by showing tired people in stressed out urban lifestyles. They only become happy as they realize that Ikea is the solution to their sleep problems.
“Trends show that a good night’s sleep might very well be going extinct. Globally, the average number of hours slept has fallen significantly in the past 50 years from eight hours to just a little over six,” said Joy Kelly, US media manager at Ikea. “Having conducted years of extensive research into how people live (and sleep) at home – and implementing those learnings to create a better everyday life – we know Ikea has the complete quality bedroom solutions that can help everyone achieve a good night’s sleep, so we wanted to be sure to showcase that.”
These quirky films mark the start of a larger, year-long campaign by Ikea to combat decreasing sleep levels in today’s society, positioning the retailer as one that is creating hope for the future of sleep.
“With the year-long ‘Save Our Sleep’ campaign, we hope to inspire consumers with simple, affordable bedroom solutions that will go a long way towards a better night sleep,” added Kelly. “Sleep-deprived consumers can be rest assured that Ikea is committed to saving our sleep in 2019 and beyond.”
Being young is about searching – for who you are, what you want to do with your life, even simply what to do tomorrow. Hooking into this, Coca-Cola in Israel created “The Search of a Lifetime”. Using the top searches among young Israelis, they created targeted content to answer the life-defining questions they were asking around work, school, travel, etc. What’s more, they predicted and created content addressing what would likely be peoples’ next questions after answering the initial query. Ultimately, helping them find the answers, to make the decisions that would make them happy.
First, not enough brands use search to create meaningful connections with people. It’s a direct way to help them by answering the questions you know they’re asking. Second, more brands should be thinking beyond the initial interaction. Coke could have just answered the first question and moved on. Instead, they endeavored to understand how a young person would fully explore these topics, and made sure they completed the conversation.
This week, notorious mixed reality company Magic Leap announced a new NBA “app” built on its platform.
Per Magic Leap, “Using Magic Leap’s Screens framework, fans can pull up multiple virtual screens to watch live games, full game replays, and highlights playing all at the same time. Only on Magic Leap’s spatial computing platform can these screens be independently scaled to any size and placed in any location. But the really cool stuff? The NBA App on Magic Leap introduces team -vs- team and player -vs- player season-long table top stats comparisons. And while live games are exclusively available for NBA League Pass and NBA Single-Game subscribers, a massive catalog of on-demand content is free for anyone using Magic Leap One.”
Why it’s hot:
Any new platform’s success ultimately depends on people using it. And in order to be useful, it must offer utility. It seems Magic Leap is starting to get into the first of what it believes to be many applications of adding mixed reality layers to our physical world. For several years, they had talked about the device which would enable this. Now, they’ve finally turned to the platform on which to develop experiences. Could this be what the app store was to smart phones? Only time will tell, but it will be exciting to see how Magic Leap and its brand partners develop new ways to experience content and the world with an added immersive layer.
While everyone spent their Holiday breaks blindfolding themselves after watching “Bird Box” on Netflix against the advice of the streaming service, Netflix also rolled out an interactive standalone Black Mirror movie on Dec. 28. The interactive movie allows viewers to choose the ending.
Via NY Times:
“Black Mirror,” the speculative fiction series that encouraged people to be wary of new technology, is now hoping they will embrace it. The Netflix show released just one episode on Friday, a narrative titled “Bandersnatch” during which the viewer decides what will happen next.
It begins like this: Should the teenage video game whiz Stefan have Sugar Puffs or Frosties for breakfast? Soon the choices become more consequential. Will Stefan work at a game company, tell his therapist about his mother, take his meds? As so often on “Black Mirror,” reality is up for grabs.
Viewers are voting on more than who lives and dies on one program. If the response to “Bandersnatch” is enthusiastic, Netflix will take it as a strong signal that the public is ready for interactive movies and television shows, and a new age of storytelling will commence.
Not that the company needs much encouragement. It has already developed software to help organize stories that have endless permutations. It has perfected, or so it hopes, the technical ability to present these tales on multiple platforms around the world simultaneously. And it is calling for producers to submit interactive proposals in genres from horror to romantic comedy while hinting that it already has a few new shows in the works.
The idea behind the interactive push is simple: Viewers will care more if they are complicit.
“If bad things happen, you’ll feel even more crestfallen, because you were responsible,” said Todd Yellin, Netflix’s vice president for product. “If the character is victorious, you’ll feel even more uplifted because you made that choice.”
Why It’s Hot: As more and more streaming services vie for the same pieces of the pie, services like Netflix and Hulu are constantly looking for ways to be the next most talked about show. If “Black Mirror Bandersnatch” does well, interactive long form content may be the next big thing for entertainment, much like what “Avatar” did for 3D, and what Pokemon Go did for AR.
A non-profit called Melanoma Know More partnered with content platform Popsugar to bring awareness of skin cancer Melanoma and remind readers of cancer screening.
When a reader browses health and wellness content on the site and scrolls past a period at the end of a sentence, a pop-up window will come up with information on warning signs of melanoma, a type of skin cancer.
Why it’s hot: Many types of cancer, if detected early, are curable. By making this information part of a reader’s reading experience can help reduce the fear or stress associated with cancer and increase the chance of the reader’s cancer screening.
The Pirate Bay, a torrent website, experimented with getting site visitors to mine the cryptocurrency Monerowith their browser over the weekend, without their knowledge.
The experiment was implemented to see if web traffic along with some code could in fact mine for bitcoins and to ultimately replace Pirate’s Bay banner ads. Upon discovering the surreptitious mining, people were understandably upset: Cryptocurrency mining can slow down your computer.
Why It’s Hot:
As more and more ad-blockers are downloaded sites will continue to look for technology that can help them monetize with very little ask from the consumer. If more sites are more transparent with users about lending their CPU energy to mine bitcoins, then users might be willing to make the trade. The user will receive no ads and the publisher will receive revenue. A positive trade-off for both parties.
Hyatt was about to launch a month-long branded content partnership with the Atlantic that revolves around themes of inclusion, understanding and the importance of coming together. And then Charlottesville happened and they hesitated…
The video was conceived around the story of civil rights leader Xernona Clayton, who 50 years ago was searching for a place to host the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta with Martin Luther King Jr. Not a single venue wanted to accommodate the organization until it happened upon a Hyatt Regency. Wednesday marked the 50th anniversary of the conference.
Hyatt isn’t the only brand to hesitate when it comes to releasing work that could be judged as politically driven. In March, for instance, brands like YouTube, Microsoft, Chevrolet and CoverGirl began promoting Muslim inclusivity through ads without saying they were political. Hyatt was among these.
On one hand, brands have to find a way to tap into the zeitgeist to connect with consumers. On the other hand, they must be wary of getting called out for taking positions in the polarized environment.
“April the Giraffe” – a wildlife park’s pregnant giraffe, April, is set to give birth any day now, and the internet is watching. Toys R Us has capitalized on all the eyeballs by sponsoring the zoo’s live feed of April. The buzz has come in the form of genuine excitement and anticipation as well as conspiracy theories.
Why it’s hot: Toys R Us saw the simplest of opportunities – a basic sponsorship getting their brand name and logo in front of hundreds of thousands of people who likely fit within their target demo – and seized on it quickly, having to do little more than pony up the cash to support the zoo. It remains to be seen if the whole thing is truly organic, or if it’s a PR stunt orchestrated by Toys R Us, the zoo, and/or Doubletree Hotels whose local franchise has also placed advertising on the giraffe’s dedicated landing page.
Netflix is working on technology that will allow viewers to choose their own adventure. They are considering implementing a new interactive storytelling technology for their shows and will have actors film alternative plot segments so that viewers at home can decide the shows unfolding.
Much like the Choose Your Own Adventure books of our youth, viewers will be able to decide how their show develops. Some storylines will have simple and linear choices while others will be more complex. All will be handled through your remote control.
Netflix will be running a trial with children’s shows later this year. If they are successful, they will use the model for adult programs.
Why it’s hot:
As attention spans get shorter and shorter, we’ll see a rise in interactive content in order to keep consumers engaged and on platform.
Data, data, data… by allowing consumers to interact with the content, Netflix will be gaining valuable information from consumers which will help improve their customer experience.
MindFlix is an experimental headband that lets wearers scroll through and select titles on the service with only their thoughts.
Wouldn’t it be great if Netflix could just read your mind and pick out the exact thing you were in the mood for? The technology’s not there yet, but if MindFlix is any indication, that future is not far off. During a 24-hour hack day, Netflix employees were tasked to come up with projects centered around the service. MindFlix is one such project, using a special brainwave-reading headband made by Muse, allows users to scroll through and select items the interface through simple head movements and thoughts. For example, once the wearer decides on what they want to watch, they simply think ‘play’ and the selection starts on screen. It does this by sensing back activity and linking it to pre-selected actions, making finding something to watch easier and faster than ever.
We’ve been talking about Voice Recognition as a trend, but what about mind recognition? The execution here may be a little silly, but what about implications for health, emergency situations? Will there be a time where we have to recall that we used to have to touch things?
With the Super Bowl just around the corner, it will be interesting to see how brands are leveraging influencers through social media to be a part of the new “creator era.”
The Super Bowl and other live events are the last vestige of a dying era of mass media. Sports–along with The Bachelor,The Voice and other major primetime events–are the few programs that remain impervious to DVR ad-skipping, as the immediacy of the live coverage is key to the viewing experience.
But does advertising on these mass outlets still make sense with increasing prices and changing consumer preferences?
Since fewer alternatives now exist to capture consumer attention en masse, the cost of the options that remain has risen quickly over the past 10 years, as referenced in Harvard Business working paper The Rising Cost of Consumer Attention. A Super Bowl ad for 2017 sells for $5 million–an effective CPM (cost per thousand impressions) of $38, quite an expensive price for the least–targeted advertising buy available.
The cost per eyeball becomes even higher when you take into account the increasingly divided nature of attention today versus 20 or even just 10 years ago. It’s been well-documented that attention spans are shorter than they once were. It’s no longer just running to the kitchen to grab a beer during the commercials, but instead diving headlong into a second-screen device.
One out of three viewers now watches part of the Super Bowl on a mobile device, and 50 percent of this group are millennials. On Super Bowl Sunday 2016, there were 200 million Facebook posts and 27 million tweets about the game. Social media conversation is an ingrained part of major live events.
Studies have shown that millennials are often blind to traditional TV ads or even have a negative perception of brands advertised. Growing up with TiVo and YouTube has conditioned many millennials to be in complete control of what they want to see and when. The result is that social media and smartphones have made millennials both followers and creators.
We deem this new age of participatory social media the “creator era.” Collaborative social engagement is a much deeper experience than the passive consumption of a TV commercial. It’s here, in social creation, where brands will have much higher attention for their marketing dollar.
Why its hot?
As digital marketers we have a challenge, engage audiences within the shortest amount of time and overcome the “second-screen syndrome.” Millennials have grown up with the a negative perception of advertisements and brands interjecting themselves into spaces where they just want to be themselves and talk to friends. They are conditioned to be in control of what they want to see and when they want to see it. Social media in particular has made them creators. To engage this audience we have to provide them with content that is experiential and not passive like TV.
It will be interesting to see how brands approach the super bowl this year.. Snickers is testing a LIVE TV sport and more attention may be put on the second screen this year than past years. In the new “creator era,” successful brands communicate awareness in a personalized manner through co-creation with influencers and advocates speaking in their voice to their audiences.
The New York Times recently published internally, but also publicly, their mandate for a new approach to digital journalism. There are some exciting goals expressed for the publication that support what we already know as marketers, strategists and social media specialists – quality over quantity; use of more engaging and experiential digital content formats and visuals; and a clear need for social integration and audience participation with real-time reward.
Why It’s Hot: A huge publisher like the Times acknowledging so forcefully this “new” reality of storytelling – rich photography and immersive design, integration of tech (like Google Maps), making UGC part of the story – is important as this will become the way more and more people expect to get their content from all publishers, including brands – especially as more and more people around the world gain access to the technology and networks needed to support the dissemination of this rich experiential content.
You may have also noticed that Medium is expressing something of a manifesto lately across their social media channels. Interesting to consider the way media is adapting and changing as we look to both work with publishers and capture their audiences for our brands. https://www.instagram.com/medium/
Canvas promises to redefine mobile advertising and native content plays. An immediate, native-like app experience, Canvas allows a simple thumb swipe to get in and out of the content experience. Experimentation already underway with Coca-Cola shows 18-second engagement rates.
We knew it wouldn’t take Amazon too long to connect its streaming service with its shopping genius. So here it is, Style Code Live, a daily 30-minute streaming entertainment and shopping show that claims to be this generation’s answer to TV shopping. Goodbye, QVC. Hello, content shopping.
We’ve seen social titans Pinterest and Instagram successfully play with social shopping. This evolution signifies where it’s headed. Content will no longer just be layered with connection to product and services, but will envelop simple product selling into narratives and ongoing storylines.
Yelp is a great place to find and share reviews for just about everything: restaurants, barbers, landscapers, even doctors. But as a recent article on The Marshall Report highlights, Yelp is now being used by people to provide commentary on navigating imprisonment… with reviews, tips and tricks from people on the inside and out.
Indeed, Yelp is becoming a significant an influential place of prison conversation. Topics run the gamut, sharing knowledge and opinions to influence how people interact with the criminal justice system. Some learnings the article highlights:
Requesting certain ethnic meal cards and strategies to get the best meal choice
Reviews of guards and protections for high-risk populations
Recommendations on what to do with clothing while in the shower
Fashion tips for visitors to make sure they will be let into visitation spaces
In cases like the last, users are using Yelp to help others. After being denied entry to the prison for clothing deemed “too tight” and “see-through” while trying to visit her brother, Victoria Ramos of California went to Yelp, as she said, to save others from the type of experience she had during her visit. “Maybe I would have went in the proper attire if I would have read a review similar to mine.”
In other cases, Yelpers on the inside are posting about their experiences to show the realities of prison life, recommend paths to advocate for yourself, and even pass along life lessons. Or as the title of the article suggests, “I reviewed jail on Yelp because I couldn’t afford a therapist.”
Why It’s Hot
As social platforms and user-generated content take more meaningful roles in our lives, instances like this use of Yelp are a reminder that the incredible accessibility of digital means people can appropriate technology for their own needs and agendas. Yelp never intended for reviews to pass along information in this manner, and yet the openness of the platform allows those niche users to use it to satisfy these needs and connect with one another. To create more meaningful connections, marketers and creators of these platforms should be probing for ways in which technology can fulfill new needs in unexpected ways.
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.
To celebrate Father’s Day, Toyota Japan released a heartwarming ad that tells the story of a dad and daughter growing up together — from both of their perspectives.
Titled “Loving Eyes,” the videobegins with a montage from the father’s point of view, as he puts a “Baby in car” sticker on his car, takes his daughter to elementary school, drives her around during her moody teen years, goes to her wedding and finally, puts that same sticker on her family car as a new mom.
The video then flips the perspective to show what his daughter sees during these same events.
“This is a story dedicated to parents and children in the world on Father’s Day,” the YouTube caption reads.
It’s an emotional ride.
What it’s hot:
It’s an interesting creative spin in a typical and expected messaging around father’s day and celebrating father’s. Great example of a executional spin on common messaging.
Ever look closely at the form the doctor or nurse gives you as you leave? There are codes that describe your specific medical reason for the visit; and thus, the specific amount of money they will be paid.
This is about to be turned on it’s head and everyone is scrambling. ICD-10 is about to cause potential chaos in our healthcare system.
Once again, government regulation is kicking into place another level of complexity for the entire healthcare system. It’s pretty straight-forward: as of October 1st, 2015, ALL doctors need to use a new coding system called ICD-10. Sounds simple enough until you realize the complexity of switching from ICD-9 to ICD-10 and how the market is reacting; it reveals both the inate fear and reminds us that as consumers we need to pay attention.
ICD-9: 13,000 codes. ICD-10: 68,000 codes. Imagine the fear if they get it wrong. One of the leaders in electronic Health Records, Athena Health, is using this countdown (fear) with an aggressive offer (guarantee) to drive new business. Here is their guarantee:
“We take on the burden of the ICD-10 transition for our practices with a combination of continuously updated cloud-based software, including a team of experts handling payer and interface outreach and testing. And, because we align our overall financial goals with yours, we put ourselves at risk for your results. See full details.”
Why is this hot? Complexity that requires simplicity is a challenge we all face as communicators and strategists. This is a great trend to watch to see how true disruption is managed. The software mentioned in an earlier post — Sensentia — is a great example of innovation meant to remove the complexity and humanize it.
Billboard Magazine organized a stunt to bring music lovers back in time. The trick… they teamed up with a hypnotist!
As a way for the magazine to pay tribute to their fans, they scoured social media in order to select music lovers to participate in their stunt.
Once the fans accepted the invitation, they were met by a hypnotist that was able to get them in a state of mind to relive their favorite concerts. The result… hilarious and a genius display of share-worthy content for Billboard Magazine!
Why It’s Hot
Brands are turning to stunts and promoting them in the digital space to entertain their audiences and make their content more shareable.
Twitter launched a new homepage this week designed specially for visitors who are not logged in to an account. The redesign offers real-time content from popular Twitter accounts for a similar experience to that of users who are logged in.
Why It’s Hot: Twitter found that the number of new birds joining the flock was down and sought to fix that. The company hatched the redesigned homepage solution with the hope that if the homepage is more engaging, more visitors will sign up and become active users. Since engagement is key to growing and maintaining a user base, it’s no surprise that Twitter is trying to engage visitors to its main site.
But rather than outwardly attempt to persuade people to start tweeting, the new homepage seems like a more effective way to reach site visitors by showing them what their experience could be like. Instead of telling people what benefits they’ll enjoy by using certain products or services, just show them.
The redesigned homepage is currently only available on the desktop website and its launch is limited to the U.S., but Twitter says that it intends to bring the homepage to more places over time.
Cancer Research U.K. promoted a PSA to highlight the dangers of being oblivious. I believe that there is a great message behind this because often times in ads, people don’t understand the underlying message behind them. This PSA demonstrates that people are simply missing the signs.
Why Its Hot
Sometimes people ignore the message or the purpose of what an ad is promoting. This PSA was a clever way to expose the ways that people tend to ignore the things that are right in front of them.
Target took a different approach to its Grammys advertising this year. Rather than opt for a traditional 30-second spot, the brand pooled eight 30-second media buys into a single four-minute commercial: A commercial break turned into a live performance by rock group Imagine Dragons.
Target’s VP of Marketing said the #MoreMusic campaign, launched this past week on the night of the Grammy Awards, gives the fans just what they want when watching the awards show: more music! In doing so, the campaign promotes the retailer’s exclusive release of the deluxe edition of the band’s upcoming album.
#MoreMusic literally gives fans more music: During the Grammys broadcast, viewers were treated to an additional live performance during a commercial break, and fans will get exclusive bonus tracks when they purchase the album from Target.
Why It’s Hot: What better audience to try to sell your new album to than viewers watching the biggest night in music? Imagine Dragons and Target made history with the first ever live ad to air in real-time during the Grammys. The #MoreMusic campaign lives on in rotation the week after the awards show, when the Imagine Dragons album is set for release.
With technology booming and us marketers having to be even more creative with ad content and media, this is just one of a list of infinite possibilities of connecting a brand to the consumer.
“Time Inc. is re-imagining the way we curate and deliver content for this highly coveted audience” of millennials, says Evelyn Webster, exec VP of Time Inc.
content + digital + DIY = a hopeful recipe for success for engaging millennials
Many say 2015 is the year of content marketing, and at a time when the media industry is undergoing such a transformation in the way content is distributed, Time Inc. realized it was time to make a change. It’s time to focus on digital.
As part of Time Inc.’s new strategy to publish digital-only sites that aggregate content from across the web, The Snug is a new website that pulls in DIY content from a variety of sources, in an effort to resonate with millennials.
Snug staff repackage articles from other Time Inc. titles to better appeal to young readers. There is, for example, a post on The Snug that includes several pictures of Lauren Conrad‘s home. The Snug headline is “go inside lauren conrad’s apartment (without getting arrested)” — all lower case. The pictures are from an InStyle slideshow that carried the headline “Inside Lauren Conrad’s Beverly Hills Penthouse.”
Why It’s Hot | This new effort by Time Inc. is a great example of understanding the target, and ensuring that we are not requiring a change in behavior in order to access our product. Millennials are always on, super connected to social, and highly mobile. Additionally, they are avid app-users, downloading dozens of apps that pull together feeds from all over the Internet into a one-stop-shop. It makes sense that Time Inc. would essentially create the same thing for audiences, from their own content. Regarding the content being pulled in, as we tell so many of our clients, solutions don’t always have to be entirely new platforms and content. Sometimes we can use pre-existing assets, but share them in a way that is more convenient and enticing for new audiences. Overall, this seems to be a smart move by Time Inc. – even if it is a bit of a late arrival to the game.
Why It’s Hot? Great example of a brand identifying their customer habits, in this case, privately recommending content to friends, and providing an integrated means of doing so across social, mobile, and wearables.
With so much data and so many tools, many companies are now issuing dashboards to bring everything together.
The latest is NewBrand, a provider of customer experience software for social listening, analytics, and reputation management. The Washington, D.C.-based company is today launching its new Command Center to surface the most important information in its system.
Any differentiation can help a social monitoring platform distinguish itself in an increasingly crowded category.
“You can [go outside] and spit and probably hit a social monitoring service,” CEO Kristin Muhlner told VentureBeat.
Her company’s system, she said, measures not only social data, but other sources as well, including surveys, point-of-sale, and transactional data.
“Pulling all of that info into a single platform gives us a singular lens,” she said, which is the idea of the Command Center.
The dashboard is intended to present anomalies in customer data and offer alerts about possible issues. There’s also the ability to drill down into more detail, make comparisons with competitors, and share information across an organization.
Why It’s Hot:
We pride ourselves in being a top customer experience agency and how skilled we are in utilizing our tools such as social listening and performance data. Now a tool exists that could be meant for us. This presents not only a new application for big data, but also an interesting opportunity to bridge the data to directly impact our business goals. Is there something we can take from this? Are we able to create a similar solution?
The average consumption of video has increased, think about your own personal use of Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr and other personal digital outlets. After 6 months of testing Instagram is now cementing video ads into it’s business model.
This a delicate space, Instagram and other partners have to make sure they do not disturb the user flow. When UX is effected, comments give rise to a negative image for the brand. However, brands like Banana Republic, Lancome, Activision and other large brand truly believe that as brands they are taking advantage of a being first to market regardless of the risk.
Why It’s Hot?
Our target audiences are becoming increasingly more mobile focused, but not mobile banners or text, they love using video. If we continue to focus on what works now, we will miss out on what works next and the real margins and ROI. Brands that are lagging with without video, or Instagram or a branded social media outlet for their video will be left behind. Let us continue to push the envelope and bring technology backed by performance and creative solutions.