Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Sapient joins the agency #fail video meme (updated)

Here's a new entry into the "agency fail videos" category, this time it's Sapient Nitro's turn:

Essentially, if you work for a digital/creative media agency, unless your fun/promotional video is better than Star Wars, delete it. Now.

Most of these videos are not to my taste, but the creative world is so bitchy that any self promotion must be objectively *amazing* for it not to be slated anyway.

If I were to do a one, I'd use this song, "Shit from an old notebook" by Minutemen. But I wouldn't, because if I did, I'd be an arse.

Get the lyrics here.

My buddy and media whiz Dan Calladine has created an agency fail video stack on Delicious. Do you have any more to add?

**Update** Sapient have acknowledged the situation, fair play to them. I sympathise, and it's a storm that eventually blows over.

This great vid from LeanMeanFightingMachine is the best agency video I recall. No song in sight!


Thursday, 13 October 2011

Next Generation Media October 2011 is here

More great stats and examples of digital, social, mobile media from @dancall1. Get yourself a brew and have a read!
For example, did you know that 5 of the top 10 markets for time spent with social media are in South America?

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Great source of thought provoking digital, mobile and social stats curated quarterly

Well worth a look and subscribing - I believe we'll be ready for another slug of stats and trends that tell a good story about where we are going in October!

Friday, 23 September 2011

Facebook's timeline re-engages me and brands need better apps

Yesterday at f8, Facebook’s developer conference, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced some major changes to Facebook. Now with over 800 million members, astonishingly, Facebook gets 500 million users on a good day.
Mark Zuckerberg in front of the Lifestyle Partners for the new Open Graph

Profile – your HQ on Facebook is now the scrapbook of your life, AKA your “Timeline”

Your timeline scrolls down below in groupings of activities, images, actions and interactions, when you friended someone, where you checked in and with whom. Actions, apps and relationships are presented in little blocks stretching back in time. It’s easy to see what’s happened, and it’s even easier to remove that content if it’s not important to you, or you’d like to remove it.
I’m a reluctant personal FB user – it’s great to keep in touch with family and some friends, but it’s been a long time since I’ve felt some magic, and this Timeline makes me want to fill in the gaps of my life (the timeline starts for me in 2007), and has done a good job of picking out key events and relationships in my life to date. I feel a stronger emotional connection to my Facebook life now than I have had for several years. 

Update your profile to the timeline by following these simple steps from Mashable. How does it make you feel? Post in the comments below.
Zuckerberg stated how it’s been designed for mobile and it looked great on the big screen, but I’m not seeing my new Timeline view on the iPhone yet (this probably needs an app update rather than mobile webpage).

“Likes” are not the only fruit – say hello to “Gestures”
If you’re a keen cook you probably don’t just ‘like’ a recipe, you ‘cook it.’ Gestures mean that you can say you’ve ‘listened’ to a ‘song’ or ‘read’ a ‘book’ rather than just ‘liked’ something. Brands, products and services can create their own actions to boost relevance and forge a connection with their fans/users/customers.

Apps are now more social with updates from apps able to appear in the news ticker. Apps don’t go to die on the left hand side of your profile, well used ones will appear in your timeline when you use them, with the update being shared in the news ticker... This will aid uptake and sharing of content more than before. Sponsored stories can also take activity directly from apps to be used in ads.

More entertainment will be delivered through Facebook
At f8, Zuckerberg announced partnerships with Film (Netflix), TV (Hulu), Music (Spotify) and News/Media (Yahoo! and others – see pic). Facebook now becomes a social layer over our entertainment lives and sharing. Sharing what you’re listening to on Spotify, for example will be shared with your connections in the newsfeed, meaning more discovery and shared experiences between friends.

Implications for marketers and brands
·         “Engagement” and brand utility – it’s now so easy to remove updates, unsubscribe from activity and apps, so brands have to be even more focused on engaging with customers and providing genuine use – information, fun, incentives, utility. Branded services like Nike+ keep on looking better and better!

·         Enhanced targeting If we can take users' actions from the news ticker for ad targeting, we could e.g. target movie viewers who watch a lot of action movies on Facebook, or Spotify users who play a lot of a band or a kind of genre, or readers of e.g. The Guardian’s news on Facebook

·         More ammo for Sponsored Stories – we’ve covered how important Sponsored Stories are to Facebook’s advertising plans, and the f8 updates will enable much more social information to be used for advertisers to boost the social relevance of advertising

·         Entertainment content delivered on Facebook will probably open up possibility for more formats in time (e.g. VOD pre-rolls), but also sponsorship and loyalty schemes where brands can help fans accumulate Facebook credits to access content  

Industry questions
·         How will the business side of things work for media partners? Referring traffic is one thing but will Facebook share ad revenue around the content? I can see it working well for Spotify, as they will get more paying customers and sharing/referrals, but will accessing editorial content through Facebook mean more paying readers?
I use the paid for Guardian iPhone app, but can if I can access it all for free via Facebook then why should I pay for the next update?

Mashable on key changes
As outlined in Tuesday’s ‘Facebook in a nutshell’ (Carat Manchester industry presentations), we have seen Facebook falter recently in terms of visits and usage, yet it remains the dominant social network in Europe and the Americas (with some exceptions e.g. Orkut in Brazil). We knew entertainment and content delivery was key, and this is a huge signal of intent for the future.
This is a shot in the arm, and then some - no wonder they held off IPO!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Facebook overhauls privacy settings and moves its location-based check ins about

Facebook announced significant changes to privacy and sharing settings which also has a knock
on effect to its location based Places service. These changes announced in a blog post titled “Making it easier to share with who you want” will begin to roll out from tomorrow. The most significant changes (in my mind) are:

1. Post updates and choose the circulation of that post: just as Google+ allows with its circles, I can choose the visibility of every post as I post it – to my connections, to the public, or to my select group of pan-pipe prog-rock enthusiasts (if I had one set up)

2. Checking in via Facebook Places on smartphone will be removed – users instead can tag their updates with a place as one would add a photo or link

3. View your profile as it would appear to your connections or what’s public – easiest possible way for users to see what they are sharing

4. Approve images you’re tagged in before it hits your profile – handy for the morning after! Similarly you can untag, block or request content is removed right away

In allowing users to select the distribution of each post is very “Google+” and welcome, but equally interesting to me is the change for Places. The last stats released by Facebook showed that only around 1/5 of mobile users had ever checked in (the stats page has been updated since and the places stat removed). Moving location information to a tag as part of any update ought to encourage more use both by mobile but also on laptop/desktop.

However, the real strength in moving location to updates is that users can now:

1. add location information to photos or things that have happened in the past

2. add location info to updates (as before, but more easily)

3. add location to updates about the future e.g. when planning a night out with friends

As Techcrunch also picks up – this is an improvement for Facebook because there is now more information attached to a location tag. This has future applications for Deals (location based incentives)e.g. Planning a restaurant for a get together from Facebook and choosing one because it has a Deal and future applications for Search e.g. more tailored results on Bing if signed into FB.

Here’s how Deals will work (from Techcrunch):

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Google launches ‘limited field trial’ of new social project: Google+

What is Google+?

Google+ is a social network/ collection of comms tools designed to reflect and complement our complex offline relationships: e.g. organic, multiple groups with differing ties and levels of influence; they could be grouped around interest (e.g. digital media, jogging), a specific circle of friends (e.g. old Uni friends) or very tight ties (e.g. family). Read their announcement here.

It’s not like we didn’t know Google were working on this – ex Google employee Paul Adams (now at Facebook), uploaded this Slideshare (see image Top Right) which lead with this loose tie/tailored groups philosophy as opposed to Facebook’s Friends concept, way back in June 2010, and RRW covered some of Google’s work in this area at SXSW March 2011.

Key Google+ features:

Circles – as Google says, “not all relationships are created equal” so circles will help the user create specific groups between friends/connections e.g. family/inner circle (every boring photo of their kids for example), work and industry contacts (this SEO blog post or that industry link), or event hobby group (sharing XboxAhoy’s new video to other gaming enthusiasts).

Hangouts – face to face video, again with grouping, intended to bring a little bit of spontaneity back into messaging and video conferencing.

Huddle “group messaging” instant messaging for groups which could take over some Twitter/DMing action as well too.

Sparks – “online sharing engine.” In my case I can share my tech/gaming links with gaming friends, without having to share with my friends and family. Combine this with editorial and mass recommendations from others and this has lots of potential as a way to discover content.

Mobile – can add a location to our communications, and also upload our mobile images immediately to the cloud.

Why is Google+ new/interesting?

  • Google+ has been made for Android and with the assumption that mobile will be the primary computer in people’s possession. If you didn’t know already, Android is the fastest growing mobile Operating system and analysts expect Android devices to have 49% of global market share in 2012 (vs Apple IOS 2ns at 18.9%). By integrating Google products and looking to deliver better for mobile, it has a better chance of take up.
  • Google+ could also provide an even more interesting ad/offers platform e.g. in the example of Huddle – where friends choose a rendezvous and end up picking a Greek restaurant – in the same way Gmail runs ads that are relevant to the email content (usually), I could see Google presenting a restaurant ad and a Google Offer for that group to go to a rival Greek restaurant.
  • As it’s from Google, it should be easier to manage ones privacy settings, manage information flow between connections and It will likely integrate with most/all Google products e.g. Maps, location based services and aspirations like cloud based storage and services. It’s also hard to miss the +1 button in many of the video clips.
Should we mention the F(acebook) word? What are Google+’s obstacles?
  • This is clearly aimed at leapfrogging Facebook, fixing what’s perceived to be broken with Facebook (e.g. all friends are equal). Google+ wants to be peoples’ primary social layer which they place over their online and mobile lives...
  • The major obstacle for Google will be volume – Facebook has reached critical mass. Everyone’s on it, which is what makes it so useful. It is difficult to take ones contacts off Facebook, and it will be difficult replicating/retracing all those connections on Google+. Facebook Connect’s APIs help take friends connections out across the web (although Circles and Spark looks to be able to do this with knobs on).
  • TV ads use Facebook as a call to action rather than web addresses at the moment – an indication of just how ingrained Facebook is in our everyday lives. Also Facebook’s demographic information and targeting make it an attractive advertising property, whereas right now, the social element to Google’s advertising model (we’ve only just seen +1) is still a work in progress.
  • Key to Google+ take up will be how well it can curate and take the effort out of creating these social circles. For example, my Google profile is fairly complete, I’ve linked my blog, Twitter, Quora, Linkedin etc and I use Gmail and Google Reader for the blogs I follow (Reader+Sparks will be interesting)... I’m not tied to Facebook per se but its value is in its ubiquity. If Google+ helps me get those contacts and replicate my networks and reflect my spheres of interest I’m sure the value of its services will jump out.

Read the official Google+ explanations in full and watch the films here. The films themselves are also a departure from the snappy ‘how to’ flowchart/cartoon explanation films of old too. Much more organic and human.

ReadWriteWeb has written about its 1st night with Google+ read about their experiences here