Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Power of the Facebook Status Update. Is There Any? YES!

We’ve all seen the mundane status updates from our friends and brands we follow on Facebook:
  • “Cat just coughed up hairball. Great.”
  • “PBJ or ham & cheese…hmmm…”
  • “People are here. We’re starting our meeting.”
Facebook status update
To no surprise, these types of status updates rarely receive a “like” or comment. Following the f8 developer’s conference in April, TechCrunch wrote a post detailing Facebook’s insight into the algorithm that makes the all-so-important Facebook news feed tick.

To most, the news feed has become second nature. Log on to Facebook at some point in the day, scan your news feed and receive quick updates about what your friends or brands you follow have been up to lately. Simply put, a user is far less likely to specifically click over to a particular group, page or person’s profile on Facebook on a regular basis. For online marketers, this emphasizes the critical need to publish content that will continually pique the fans’ interests and prompt them to engage with brands.
So, what is this “secret sauce” that determines what shows up in your news stream? The technical formula can be found on the aforementioned TechCrunch post. Teach to Digital Fish has done a superb post addressing just that topic.

How is all this being used by brands??
Smart brands are providing extremely engaging content via photos/video, gathering feedback from fans, prompting action and promoting deals.

Case Study
I would encourage you to hop over to Thomas Umstattd Jr.‘s blog where he has embedded a video from a recent SMB Austin event. In the video (at about the 6:30 mark), Thomas talks about the work he recently did on a political campaign and the strategy and tactics he utilized to engage fans in support of his candidate. It’s an excellent case study and example of the crucial role page content plays in bolstering engagement.

Big Takeaway
No one brand has the golden ticket answer as to how to build a foundation of hundreds of thousands of engaged fans overnight. Certain brands are certainly doing things better than others but all brands should at least be cognizant of thinking through the implications of each and every status update. Most importantly, continue learning, tweaking and improving by analyzing Facebook Insights all the time.

For more news on social media follow me on Twitter @keane007

Monday, August 30, 2010

Social Media Machine: "The Gaga"

First things first The Gaga does follow our agency on Twitter @gigantic

Some other amazing feats since she was "Born This Way"

5.6 million followers on Twitter! Believe it!

18.1 million**: Number of digital singles Lady Gaga has sold.

3.64 million: The number of copies Lady Gaga's "The Fame" has sold in the U.S. since its release in August 2008, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

1.3 million: The number of copies "The Fame" has sold in 2010 alone, making the 2-year-old album this year's fourth-bestselling album thus far.

$24 million: Billboard's estimate of the gross for Lady Gaga's 47 European and Pacific Rim tour dates.

$440: The most expensive ticket package when Lady Gaga returns to Staples Center on March 28, 2011.

$40: Cost of a Lady Gaga 2010 tour shirt.

Mission: "I want to make pop music that my heavy metal friends will listen to," Lady Gaga told The Times in 2009.

10: Height, in inches, of the heels on the Alexander McQueen Armadillos that Gaga made famous in her "Bad Romance" video.

179: Total number of shows Gaga will have played when the tour wraps next year (it began in 2009).

19: Number of songs Gaga treats her "monsters" to during the spectacle.

13: Number of Moonmen she could potentially walk away with at this year's Video Music Awards; she received the most nominations ever in a single year.

15: Number of costume changes during the concert.

And what was all of this as a result of? Her sheer understanding of how social media works...and of course being outrageous always helps too!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Snuggie Rips Off the Macarena

We've all seen it and some of you probably even got one in your stocking filler at Christmas last year, but now its back in 2010 acting CHEESE as ever with their new campaign ripping off Los del Río's "Macarena". Cheese and more cheese please.

This blanket with sleeves was snagged up by 20 million people during 2009, and while exact sales numbers are hard to come by, this novelty has turned out to be a recession hit. Why? The one thing we all did a lot in 2009 to save money was stay home, curled up on the couch - just like the Snuggie commercial. The Snuggie is proof that novelty, the right price point and timing can translate into big bucks and it did. Snuggie now comes in a range of new out of this world colors and designs! Not really. But you can be sure they will be laughing all the way to the bank with their new line and campaign! I guarantee it! It gets cold in Ireland and New York in winter. HEY. Stay warm with a Snuggie!


"The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" Wins An Emmy!

Ad agency Wieden + Kennedy’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” TV spot for Old Spice has won the Emmy for Outstanding Commercial. Well deserved!

The spot starred former NFL wide receiver Isaiah Mustafa as the Old Spice Guy, a character now well-known in pop culture thanks to the TV ads and a highly successful social media campaign.

The Old Spice Guy solicited questions from fans on Twitter, Yahoo Answers and other websites, then answered them in short, humorous YouTube videos. Total upload views for the Old Spice YouTube videos (including both the TV and the social media campaigns) currently stand at almost 135 million. “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” has more than 18 million.
Mustafa joked in one of the final videos that he was a struggling actor, but the ads seem to have stripped away the “struggling” bit. He’s been signed to two movie roles, and will also appear in the NBC TV series Chuck.

What I did find also interesting was not only was the campaign a huge success in terms of creating awareness of Old Spice, but it ultimately did translate to sales. The months June and July of 2010 saw a sales increase of 107% in Old Spice Body Wash! Kick it.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Facebook "Places". What's It All About?

If you're like me you probably watched and are digesting the Facebook Places announcement. I've had some time to check it out and to read the documentation (a techy perspective) and what follows is a brief perspective from my point of view. Ok. So here is a rundown of what I know so far.

Why is it important?
Because Foursquare and Gowalla combined have just a few million users. Facebook has north of half a billion. When Facebook gets into a market, they bring everyone. Literally, everyone.
So that said, let's talk about what it offers for marketers and developers.

Currently the API is limited to read access only. This means we can read information about places and we can ask users via an extended permission if we can read information about the places they are checking in to. We can't currently create places or check people in to things via the API. This is what's called a "write" API and Mark Zuckerberg said this is still a few weeks away. But rest assured my Irish and American friends...he's on it!

Facebook Pages
Pages are what excite me the most. Every place that gets created will also get a standard Facebook-type of page that we're all used to. Many brands, especially in retail and tourism/hospitality, are creating Facebook Pages for each of their locations, branches, etc. Now, those pages could be the actual "places" pages that are generated from this new product. I believe that this is what will happen and companies that jump on board early will see huge benefits of moving fast. We saw this with the "Page" product launch in March 2009 and the "Like" launch in April 2010.

Facebook provided some information for "claiming" a Place Page as your own and creating a real page out of it. Currently this seems like something that is still in the works. When a "place" is created it is not technically a page yet. The owner of that Place has to come and "claim" the Page. Officially, Facebook says, "Places can only be claimed by official representatives. Verifying a Place claim requires uploading some kind of official document, such as a local business license or Better Business Bureau accreditation."

There's absolutely an opportunity here for new Facebook apps, or "tabs," on your Facebook page. $$$. Initially developers could probably easily build an app that reads in a specific "location" and displays all of the people who have checked in. There's likely much more developers can do here, especially once the write API is opened up. Currently its only available for the iPhone! I'm excited  for when they  release the "Places" app for my Blackberry!!

So will the current 1 million Foursquare users retire their apps?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How the World is Spending It's Time Online...One Guess!

So… whatcha doin’ over there on that laptop, people of the world? Well, according to a new study from Nielsen showing Internet usage in April 2010, 22% of the time, you’re engaging with social media.
Yeah, 22% might not seem like a mammoth percentage, but you have to take into account the fact that this finding is on a global scale. Also, a few more telling takeaways from the report:
  • Currently, three quarters of Internet users worldwide visit a social network or blog when they go online — that’s a 24% increase over last year.
  • Joe Average (the international version) spends 66% more time on these sites than he did a year ago — for example, your average user spent 6 hours on these sites in April 2010, while last year he spent 3 hours, 31 minutes.
  • Facebook, YouTube and Wikipedia make an appearance among the world’s most popular brands.
We’ve seen ample proof of the burgeoning popularity of social media in the past — just two months ago, Nielsen reported similar growth — and it makes sense. Facebook has been giving Google a run for its money when it comes to traffic, and YouTube recently surpassed two billion views per day.
We’ll have to see how social media usage shakes out as Facebook continues to accrue users, and YouTube dips its toe into the newsfeed business in an attempt to become a legit news source.
In the meantime, check out a few more highlights from the study:
  • Brazil boasts the largest percentage of Internet users visiting a social network –- 86%
  • Australians spend the most time on social networking sites: an average of 7 hours and 19 minutes in April — the U.S. and Italy came in second and third with six and a half hours each.
  • Facebook has the greatest share of the market in Italy in April 2010, garnering two-thirds of the active unique audience in April 2010. Australia, the U.S. and the UK came in on Italy’s heels with more than 60% of active users visiting the site.
How much time do you spend on social networking sites? Has your hunger for social media contributed to this global increase? Even the big brands out there now are retiring their age old websites and relying on Facebook to draw fans, as 22% of you worldly engaged social media peeps are on social networks everyday!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What About Retail? iPad Could Revolutionize The Industry

Although I haven't had the pleasure of purchasing an Apple iPad yet, I have got the chance to touch and play with one in the Apple Store on 5th Avenue! Industry experts believe that retailers will reap enormous rewards from integrating applications into the new iPad.  So far, few retailers have embraced the new Apple device even though many already have iPhone apps. Gap, Gilt.com and eBay are among the retail brands that have created iPad applications, while Puma is expected to add iPads to its stores late this year.

Natalie Zmuda from Adage comments, "The first, most logical applications include e-commerce and interactive catalogs. But in time, the iPad could be used as a virtual sales assistant, allowing sales staff in the dress department to pull up coordinating accessories from the jewelry or shoe department. Car dealers could customize a vehicle, showing customers colors and finishes, all while standing in the parking lot. Transactions could be completed without visiting a register and special orders could be placed on the spot. Cumbersome, expensive kiosks could also be replaced". 

Gap's 1969 Stream app, launched earlier this month, takes that idea one step further with a social-shopping experience that includes content from designers, musicians and fashion insiders, the ability to purchase items (or share them with a friend) without leaving the app and a geo-locator to find the nearest store. It includes a music video from Truth & Salvage, a video of Jay Sario from "Project Runway" dressing consumers in Gap denim, photos of celebs wearing Gap and tweets from designer Patrick Robinson.

This is a perfect example of how emerging technology can benefit almost all businesses in a new and innovative way. Only problem is, where are all the early adopters? It will be interesting to see in the coming months what major retailers will jump on board in order to gain a piece of the pie and be seen as a re-innovator in times where 'new and innovative' is imperative in order to stay in the game. 

IPad Meets Retail: Half a dozen ways industry execs imagine the iPad could be used at retail

  • 1. Catalogs: Online versions of print catalogs haven't taken off, but iPad versions, with embedded video, as well as the ability to browse whenever it's convenient and make purchases could be the next big thing.
  • 2. Customization: Cars, furniture, shoes and apparel could all be customized in-store, with customers able to easily view and select colors, fabrics and finishes, and then place the special order.
  • 3. Sales Floor Assistant: The iPad could provide easy access to product data, customer data and customer reviews, in addition to allowing transactions to be completed away from the register.
  • 4. Personal shopper: Customers finding a jacket in one department could access recommendations for coordinating apparel and accessories in other departments.
  • 5. Registries: Now divided into an offline and online experience, iPad could enable customers to create registries from a store's entire inventory.
  • 6. E-Commerce: Consumers are already shopping on their phones; it's only a matter of time before the iPad becomes another shopping tool.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

AOL To Say Bye Bye Bebo?

Parent company AOL of social networking site Bebo, could be set to close down Bebo by the end of May. If you are Irish or English, you will most definitely have heard of Bebo. Even I had one, but I haven't logged into my account in lets say 3 years. Why would I, all my friends are on Facebook!
Jon Brod, the executive vice-president of AOL Venture, sent a memo to employees on Tuesday night, saying the company was preparing an annual filing in which it "will indicate that it is currently evaluating strategic alternatives, which could include a sale or shutdown of Bebo in 2010". A change in management at AOL last year, a lack of investment and the strength of Facebook have all contributed to Bebo's sharp decline.
"Bebo, unfortunately, is a business that has been declining and, as a result, would require significant investment in order to compete in the competitive social networking space," Mr Brod said. (excerpt from Business Week interview)
The site has been haemorrhaging users for more than a year. In December 2008, it had 10.5 million unique visitors in the UK, according to the web traffic analyst ComScore. That had fallen to 3.8 million two months ago. Worldwide, the site has shed 10 million unique users over the same period, falling to 12.7 million unique users in February.
Don't forget to save all of your old school pictures from the college days!! Do you still use Bebo?


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Burberry: And I Thought It Was All Chav's

If you live in England or watch TV shows on BBC America you will probably know what the term 'Chav' refers to! A 'Chav' is a stereotypical young person in the United Kingdom. The typical "chav"- known also as a charverin Yorkshire and North East England - is said to be an aggressive teenager, typically unemployed or of white working class background who repeatedly engages in anti-social behavior, such as street drinking, drug abuse and rowdiness, or other forms of juvenile delinquency, as defined by Wikipedia. 

When I think of 'Chav', I think of Burberry like most others. However, here in the US market Burberry is seen as a luxury product in the minds of consumers and this is how Burberry strive to position the brand internationally and are successful in most markets, especially here in the US. 

So, I recently was surprised to hear that Burberry Group Plc Chief Executive Officer in the UK Angela Ahrendts said demand for the retailer’s luxury items, like a 2,395-pound ($3,700), leather-sleeved coat, show “no signs of slowing down” in the U.K., which is good to hear. I would have thought in recent years with all the 'Chavs' sporting Burberry, high income consumers would have felt the brand was tarnished and opted for another luxury brand. So perhaps the 'Chavs' have decided to opt out of buying 'fake off the lorry' Burberry apparel and have decided to bring down the name of another luxury apparel brand?

“Things are getting better every day,” Ahrendts said in an interview at the retailer’s autumn/winter fashion show in London this week. The Asian region is “very strong,” she added, while emerging markets are also showing growth.
The U.K. luxury retailer is offering lower-priced versions of its gabardine trench coats and expanding its handbag and shoe ranges to drive profit growth globally. The U.K. and Hong Kong each account for less than 10 percent of sales, according to the CEO. 
Curious to see a 'Chav' sporting some Burberry apparel? Click here. 


Good News for Marketers on Facebook

This change narrows the list of actions available to Facebook fans, and consolidates the bulk of interactions fans will have with brand content to "Like," "Comment" and "Share." Brands will still be able to communicate with opt-in users on a regular basis, but only users who have "liked" their page itself -- not just one of their updates.
The change also affects engagement ads -- the "Become a Fan" verbiage will disappear, being replaced by the simple "Like" button and thumbs up icon.
How Does This Affect Marketers? The most significant effect of the change will be the effect on marketers running engagement ads. "Liking" content comes far more naturally to the average Facebook user than becoming a fan of content, meaning that users will be more inclined to click on an ad that invites them to "Like" a brand than one that asks them to "Become a Fan" of a brand.
The language shift strengthens the value proposition of Facebook engagement ads as a method for driving fan growth, and will likely increase the number of users who arrive on a page who will subscribe to that page's updates (by "Liking" the page).
Marketers should not rely on Facebook to effectively message the change to fans, and where appropriate should update their editorial calendar accordingly, letting users know that even if they can no longer be "Fans" of a brand, they'll still be treated like fans regardless. Marketers who have integrated Facebook with their other online environments should be sure that their creative has the correct verbiage: "Find us on Facebook!" still works, but "Become a Fan On Facebook" will begin to seem dated and irrelevant .
I think this new action should work nicely to a brands advantage, as users are more likely to click on a "Like" link rather than "Become a fan". Liking something and being a fan are very different things, so this new language change initiative may work nicely for brands out there trying to engage with users. 
This may be good from the marketers standpoint, but what about the billion users out there?? How will they feel when they discover the can no longer be a 'fan' and instead have to settle for just 'like'?


Monday, March 29, 2010

L'Oreal: Is Their Spend Really Worth It?

L'Oreal is known for its famous tagline 'because you're worth it' to consumers. But taking a step back and reviewing the amount of media and marketing dollars they put behind their consumer product campaigns each year, 'because you're worth it' should be asked when reviewing their spend with their advertising and media buying agencies.  L'Oreal announced that they are "evaluating" its U.S. media buying -- a process that could result in a consolidation or shifts in the company's agency roster, according to sources.

L'Oreal spent $710 million in U.S. measured media last year, up from $660 million in 2008, according to Nielsen. Those figures do not include digital spending.

Interpublic Group's Universal McCann and Publicis Groupe's Zenith Optimedia share the buying assignment.

Multiple sources at IPG and Publicis indicated that both incumbents are participating in the current evaluation, which does not appear to include non-roster shops -- for now. Neither UM nor Zenith officials responded to calls seeking comment. L'Oreal executives and reps didn't immediately return calls.

L'Oreal markets dozens of brands including L'Oreal, Maybelline, Garnier, Kiehl's and The Body Shop.

The company reported worldwide sales of $23.3 billion for 2008, the latest figure available.

The cosmetics category has seen a lot of recent review activity. Last week, Coty opted to retain OMD (agency) after a pitch that lasted more than a year. In February, Revlon shifted its $100 million-plus assignment from Aegis Group's Carat to WPP's MediaCom.

I am seeing more and more of the big FMCG brands shifting to less glamorous and more affordable agencies. Also, more and more marketers are seeing the importance of word of mouth and social networking as key drivers in annual campaigns ROI.

Watch this space!


iTunes App Store Comes To Facebook. Finally!

Interacting with the iTunes App Store just got easier, thanks to the new App Store Facebook page.
Developed and powered by Vitrue, the new page puts the App Store inside Facebook — making it easy to search for apps, share them with friends, find out which apps are hot right now and which are deemed “essential” by the iTunes editors.

In the Featured tab on the App Store’s Facebook page, you can see top apps and view the sales charts for paid and free apps across different categories. This is the same information that you would get from iTunes or from the App Store application on your iPhone or iPod touch, but it’s all in Facebook. I'm suprised though they didn't implement this earlier!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Five Ways to Support Twestival NYC

On Thursday, March 25, the second annual Twestival Global charity event will kick off in over 175 cities across the world. Thousands of people will get together at events around the globe to help raise money for Concern Worldwide, and help the estimated 72 million children around the globe that are not enrolled in school gain access to education. If you are in New York, please come support Twestival who are donating all proceeds to internationally acclaimed Concer!! Tickets are only $20 on the Twestival website. 

Last year, Twestival helped raise over $250,000 for Charity: Water, and including last fall’s Twestival Local, the organization raised three quarters of a million dollars for charities in 2009. Over $185,000 have already been raised this year in advance of tomorrow’s event. 

Attending the New York City Twestival:
  • Adam Ostrow – Editor-in-Chief
  • Sharon Feder – Managing Editor
  • Brenna Ehrlich – Editorial Assistant
  • Lauren Rubin – Director of Advertising
  • Adam Hirsch – Chief Operating Office

Here are five ways that you can support:

1. Attend your local Twestival event around the world - www.twestival.com
2. Donate online via the Twestival Website
4. Tweet your support 
5. Listen to some tunes on Twestival FM 

Might see you there tomorrow night!!


All About Advocates

In an article by Stefan Stern of the Financial Times, I always find something thoughtful for this blog. This past week he wrote about where marketing was going (or not going) in this current economic environment. Stern was describing his conversation with the “father of modern marketing” Phillip Kotler. One part of the conversation had to do with advocacy, the mainstay of this blog. The other one was just plain funny.
Kotler was reminiscing about a book he enjoyed titled Firms of Endearment (the best title). He said that in the book they talk about how some of the most successful companies spend less on marketing than the less successful ones. Sounds counterintuitive? Kotler says, “But they used the word of mouth effect of unpaid advocates – loyal customers – to boost their reputation.” Advocates will do your marketing for you if you mobilize them, listen to them and engage them. I also find this to be the case and agree. Indeed. Kotler is apparently publishing a new book on the role of advocates in marketing titled Marketing 3.0.
What made me laugh was a statement by Kotler who is 79 years wise. He is quoted by Stern as saying, “At least it’s the finance people who are getting blamed for a change.” Marketers and communications professionals are getting by without the blame for awhile.


GaGa Sets New Record: 1 Billion Youtube Views

Video analytics company Visible Measures - curates a list of videos called the “100 Million Club.”

It includes all the web videos that have exceeded 100 million views. Lady Gaga has long been a staple of the chart, but now she’s essentially in a club all her own: She’s the first franchise to reach one billion views.

Gaga’s music videos hold three spots in the 65-video 100 Million Club — one for “Poker Face” (374,606,128), one for “Just Dance” (272,941,674) and one for “Bad Romance” (360,020,327). Add them up and you get just over one billion views. She won’t occupy the club alone for long, though; the 
Twilight saga is close behind with 980 million and Soulja Boy is at 860 million.

Gaga is primarily a hit on Vevo and YouTube25% of Vevo’s visitors only have eyes for her. The pop star has attracted Internet attention elsewhere, too. A Facebook group of more than 100,000 people initiated National Lady Gaga Day about a month ago, and her latest Internet hit is her “Telephone” music video with Beyoncé.

The point is, you can’t escape Gaga on the Internet. She’s everywhere right now. We welcome speculation as to exactly why the web loves her so, so let us know in the comments if you have any ideas.


Monday, March 15, 2010

The Power of Social Media: Oooh La La GaGa

In 2010, social media has truly found its place as a function of  a company's and musical artists overall marketing strategy. It's power and reach are evident in almost all social media campaigns that companies and musical artists are engaging in. And the most important word in social media is of course, 'engaging'. 

Zero to Hero example is 'Lady GaGa' or 'GaGa' which the musical artist likes to refer to herself as.  As far as breakout musicians go, few artists have had quite the zero-awareness-to-ubiquity time-warp of  GaGa. And as far as brands go, few marketers of any kind have leveraged social media the way she has to drive sales of their core product -- in her case, albums and digital singles. GaGa has really benefited from her use of engaging with fans the world over with social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. She has over 3 million Twitter followers, 5 million Facebook fans, not to mention over 200 million views of her constantly unique and outrageous music videos. In 24 hours after the release of her new video 'Telephone' featuring Beyonce, the video had racked up over 9 million views on Youtube with over 1000 user comments. 

Old school meets new media
How did a 23-year-old singer/songwriter achieve so much in so little time? Two words: social media. Sure, Gaga had a fair share of old-school artist development -- radio play -- to become the first artist to score four consecutive No. 1 singles from a debut album. But she's also put a new-media spin on her distribution strategy. The November premiere of her video for "Bad Romance," for example, debuted on LadyGaga.com before MTV or any other outlet could play it -- resulting in a Universal Music server crash, a Twitter trending topic that lasted all week and a cumulative 110 million (and counting) views on YouTube to date, more than any viral music video of yore (OK Go, anyone?) could ever claim. Vevo, a music video site co-founded by Universal Music Group, also recently reported a whopping 20% of its traffic came from just Lady Gaga videos -- as in 1 in 5 videos streamed on the site was likely to be a song such as "Poker Face," "Just Dance" or "LoveGame."

GaGa The New Face Of...

So, in an age where majority of musical artists can't shift C.D's from the music shelves, Lady GaGa has managed to shift over 20 million records worldwide in an 18 month period. If GaGa can sell this many records in a digital age, surely she will be able to sell anything from superglue to lipstick, right? GaGa is already plugging a few of the worlds biggest brands in her new catchy and outrageous video 'Telephone', including Polaroid, Virgin, Diet Coke and Chanel. So the next few months will be interesting to see who GaGa decides to team up with. My guesses are all big marketing companies will want a piece of GaGa in order for her to shift some product. 

Stay Tuned!