September 1, 2014

The 2014 Gartner Hype Cycle is out

The most notable is how Internet of Things is right at the top of the hype curve, and wearable UIs and 3D printing on their way down.

The Napa earthquake woke up 93% of locals

The South Napa Earthquake was the strongest to hit Northern California in 25 years and Jawbone wanted to quantify its effect on sleep by looking at the data recorded by Jawbone UP wearers in the Bay Area who track their sleep patterns.

Amazon acquires Twitch

Amazon continues to explore ways to grow its digital portfolio with its acquisition of Twitch – the world’s leading streaming video platform and community for gamers for $970 million. At first glance, this acquisition looks like a move for Amazon to bolster its streaming footprint by combining it with Prime Instant Video and Fire TV to take on YouTube, Netflix, and set-top boxes. Although the set-top box market is cluttered, Amazon set itself up to stand out amongst the other competitors by incorporating gaming capabilities along with its previous investment in its own in-house gaming studio. Amazon eventually could take on GameStop by utilizing Twitch as a one stop shop for all things gaming by allowing users to review content and simply make the purchase with one-click ordering.

Outside of streaming and video games, there are still more profitable avenues Amazon can capitalize on with this acquisition. Twitch brings with it a young demographic (18-35) of 55 million monthly unique visitors, of which 58% spend more than 20 hours per week on site. Amazon is aligning itself with a young engaging audience, which could be extremely profitable when coupled with its rich source of 1st party customer data.

Twitter launches Objective-Based campaigns

Objective-Based campaigns will allow advertisers to pay for the actions that most are aligned with their marketing objectives. Objective-Based campaigns have been designed to make creating and optimizing successful marketing campaigns as simple as possible, generating the highest ROI from any campaign. Twitter’s new pricing model will allow advertisers to more efficiently achieve specific objectives by only paying when users perform the desired action, for example clicking through to a website, downloading an app, or leaving their email to find out more. For example, if your goal is to drive video views on Twitter, you’ll only pay on a cost per view basis via a player or video card.

Objective-based campaigns have delivered positive results in early test phases and are currently in Beta, they’ll be rolled out to advertisers in the coming months.

Radio 1 to hire ‘YouTube-famous’ vloggers to broadcast online

From September, some of the hottest young video bloggers (vloggers) in the world will join the station to present a new weekly show alongside Dan and Phil that will be fully visualised and streamed on the Radio 1 website.

The show – the first of its kind – will see vloggers Zoella aka Zoe Sugg (5.7 million YouTube subscribers), Tyler Oakley (5.1 million), TomSka aka Thomas Ridgewell (3 million), Troye Sivan (2.5 million), ThatcherJoe aka Joe Sugg (2.7 million), Sprinkle Of Glitter aka Louise Pentland (1.6 million), BritPopPrincess aka Patricia Bright (0.5 million), Marcus Butler (2.9 million), Caspar aka Caspar Lee (2.9 million) and Jack and Dean aka Jack Howard and Dean Dobbs (360,000) guest presenting each Monday between 9-10pm.

MailOnline records best ever month for video

The MailOnline recorded its best ever month for video in July 2014 with more than 50 million video views across its website and apps for the first time.

During July there were a total of 50,647,444 global video views, representing a month-on-month increase of 35.8% and a year-on-year increase if 74.7%. Daily video views averaged at 1.6 million for the month, with three days achieving more than 2.5 million views each.

#Foreverfaster hijack

Puma’s #foreverfaster social media campaign has been hijacked.

Users were encouraged to tweet using the hashtag #foreverfaster in order to receive a personalised message from one of Puma’s famous brand ambassadors.

All went awry when pranksters found that by changing their Twitter handle, they could make it look as if famous sports stars such as Usain Bolt and Cesc Fabregas had signed crude messages.

Instagram unveils new time-lapse app

Instagram has launched a new time-lapse app called Hyperlapse, allowing users to capture high-quality videos while the user is on the move, thanks to in-built stabilisation technology.
It’s free, (and pretty cool) but currently only available on iOS. See it in action with this 15 second tour of The White House.  This is a fantastic opportunity for brands to showcase their products. For example, it would be great to seed out teasers of a new product by only showing parts of it in a Hyperlapse video, or it could be used to show how to use a product, like a make-up product. It could work really well for an airline company, showing the journey from A to B through the window of a plane. Brands should look to incorporate Hyperlapse into their social strategy to post interesting content.

Doctor Who returns

To celebrate the return of Doctor Who, and the arrival of new lead actor Peter Capaldi, the BBC launched an interactive game allowing users to pilot the Tardis. The Masthead allowed users to play an interactive game to unlock additional content. They also reported the story of how the new Doctor Who title sequence designer was spotted on YouTube after posting a speculative concept piece to showcase his talents to potential clients.

Vine update allows users to import videos 

An update of the Vine app now allows users to import videos from their phone camera, and then edit them to create their 6-second Vine. This new feature is prominent when users are about to capture a Vine. Vine users now also have the ability to create a mash up of videos, instead of only publishing one clip.



March 17, 2014

Asap54 app – the Shazam for shopping  

Have you ever admired someone’s outfit when they’ve walked past you on the street but you’ve been too shy to ask them where their clothes are from? Asap54 is now allowing you to scan someone’s outfit in order to buy the item through the app or something very similar. The app is powered by ‘visual recognition technology, a social community and a team of fashion experts to trace items’. This is great news for retailers and they should definitely make sure that they link up with app to ensure users can easily purchase their clothes.


Facebook Premium Video Ads

Premium Video Ads are designed for advertisers who want to reach a large audience with high-quality sight, sound and motion. Each 15-second video ad will start playing without sound as it appears on screen and stop if people scroll past. If people tap the video, it will expand into a full-screen view and sound will start. People can expect to begin seeing these new ads over the next few months.

With Premium Video Ads, brands now have another way of engaging people on Facebook with compelling video experiences.

Guardian Snakes & Ladders game educates you about the evolving history of the web

The Guardian has released a game of Snakes & Ladders to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the web. With every roll of the virtual dice, you can uncover an interesting titbit about how Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s creation has changed over the years. For those who want to go straight to the game, you can find it right here.

In addition to the board game, The Guardian interviewed Sir Tim Berners-Lee to find out what he thought about the increasing amount of influence exerted on the Internet by governments and corporations. In it, he calls for an online Magna Carta that would secure the rights of Internet users in each country. If you have any interest in online privacy and how it could evolve in the future, you can read; “An online Magna Carta: Berners-Lee calls for bill of rights for web” here.

Mondelez partners with Facebook

mondelez fb

Mondelez has announced a ‘global strategic partnership’ with Facebook, amounting to a 52-country ad deal that includes the USA, UK, France, Brazil, India, Indonesia and the Gulf States. Mondelez’s VP of Global Media and Consumer Engagement, Bonin Bough, commented:

“For the first time, we’ll be able to incorporate Facebook at the core of our media investment plans. This isn’t just about having a social-media strategy; it’s about digitizing our entire approach to communications”.

The Dentsu Aegis Network was involved in negotiating the partnership, which includes 52 countries, including the UK, the US, France, Brazil, India, Indonesia and the Middle East.

Twitter rumoured to develop ‘click to call’ brand engagement tool

Twitter is reportedly looking to explore a direct response offering and is ‘testing a direct response button for sponsored tweets that will enable users to speak directly to brands’. Although there is no indication as to if and when this will be rolled out, this is a really exciting development for brands, as they can reach out to those who are venting their frustration on the social network and offer a friendly voice on the end of the phone, rather than tweeting back and forth. Brands should watch this space.

Wake Up & Smell The Bacon App

This is a novel idea from an FMCG brand whose main product is bacon. They have created a simple alarm clock app that sounds like their yummy bacon ad and also emits the bacon scent, giving their fans a ‘multi-sensory alarm experience’ based on bacon. This plays on their tag line of ‘Wake up and smell the bacon’ superbly. This is a great example for FMCG brands to think about using the capabilities of smartphones moving forward.

SOMO Interesting read- Interview with Steve Jobs in 1985 

On the face of it the arrival of Instagram video means bye bye Vine – but, Twitter’s video platform isn’t bowing out just yet.

Within the first eight hours of launching video on Instagram, the community shared more than a year’s worth of footage.

The news makes the sector very interesting because it will not only excite users, whether they’re Vine devotees or Instagram addicts, but also give brands a potentially super-fast turnaround creative goldmine with a pre-built mass audience.

Vine has already attracted a solid user base. In fact, Vine posts are now shared more than Instagrams on Twitter despite the fact Vine has just 13 million registered users against Instagram’s 100 million active users.

The growth of Vine may be influenced by the deep integration it has with the social network as a Twitter-owned app, whereas Instagram images no longer auto-expand.

But I also think the limits placed upon Vine users towards brevity makes Vine much more creatively challenging.

Whereas Instagram has built a video-sharing product for the masses.

The generous 15-second video allows plenty of time to shoot, therefore not forcing the creator to think outside the box to tell their story succinctly.


Instagram, unlike Vine, will let users erase the last clip they shot in a series, meaning less thought needs to go into lighting and exposure as they’re filming it because bad takes can simply be deleted.

While Instagram’s mass market appeal may drive Vine’s niche, it will force users to become more creative and pioneering with their Vines.

A challenge that will no doubt be of interest to the Vine aficionado but much less so to the marketers and creative agencies looking to get their advertising messages across.

I can’t help wonder why you’d go for a 6-second second one shot option when you have 15 seconds of editable space. Here’s a nice example from Burberry, showing a 15 second glimpse behind the scenes of the Burberry Prorsum Menswear Spring/Summer 2014 show.

But, as always, competition drives innovation. A new tech product launch, cleverly put out the same time as the Instagram news, from Unruly Media may give Vine an edge over its Instagram rival.

The company has launched the industry’s first end-to-end social video product set that allows brands to amplify, optimise and analyse the success of their Vine campaigns across the social web.

Unruly COO and co-founder, Sarah Wood, said: “Brand marketers who are serious about their content marketing strategy understand that there’s more to social video success than a YouTube view count. The social video ecosystem is developing rapidly to meet changing consumer habits and brands can now embrace a multitude of platforms across a fragmented media landscape to reach and engage their audiences wherever they’re discovering and sharing videos.”

What it also means is that while there may not be as many seconds of video for your idea, there is now a host of ways to measure the success of your campaign and how to improve on it next time out – something that is not offered on Instagram so far.

If Vine can begin to capitalise on this it may gain the impetus it needs to edge ahead of its Facebook-owned rival.

SO MOnday

April 22, 2013

Twitter #music goes live

Twitter has launched their new #Music app – check it out here.

There are separate lists for Popular and Emerging tracks; a #NowPlaying chart of songs tweeted by people you follow on Twitter; and suggestions for artists you may like. I think it’s pretty impressive, not only because of its slick design but because it really lends its self to exploration and discovery of new music.

Facebook Propaganda?

Facebook has produced another ad to promote Facebook Home. The ad called ‘launch day’ starring Mark Zuckerberg himself shows the Facebook CEO giving a speech at Facebook HQ to the engineers who built ‘Home’, until one of them gets bored and drifts off into the imaginary world of the service itself. Taken at face value, does this suggest that it is ok to check your phone whilst someone is speaking to you? Because lets face it, I say I can multitask, but in reality I can’t. If I’m on my phone, I can guarentee that I have no idea what you’ve just said to me.

Zuckenberg thinks keeping people connected is powerful. And he’s right. Once I’m connected, I become completly absorbed by my online world. So with Facebook Home, will I begin to neglect my offline relationships, or will this behaviour become commonplace? After all, the idea of sharing trivial aspects of your life on social networks seemed laughable not that many years ago.. but I bet we are all guilty of uploading a picture of food porn?

WhatsApp is bigger than Twitter

According to WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum, the service now has more than 200-million users, making it a larger overall network than Twitter. Moreover, it is being employed heavily by those users, with 8 billion inbound and 12 billion outbound messages every day!

Mobile more important than TV according to Facebook

The Chief operating officer of Facebook said last week that ‘mobile is as important, if not more important, to marketers than television’. With mobile ad spend reaching the half billion mark last year, mobile is definitely on the radar for brands. The COO of Facebook said that ‘the size of the mobile phone audience makes it a mass medium with significant importance for marketers’. This statement from Facebook is unsurprising, as they are looking to capitalise their mobile advertising business as an increasing number of their users access Facebook through smartphones.

Yet some would question whether or not mobile has reached its full potential or if it will ever replace TV entirely.

Tablets and mobiles are referred to as the second screen, when in reality users always have their smartphones with them throughout the day, wherever they go, and are continually consuming content. This new user behaviour, which has emerged in the past few years, as smartphone penetration continues to increase, has seen many users spending ‘more time with a mobile screen than traditional media’.  As a result, mobile and TV are actually more complimentary channels rather than in competition with each other, and right now, should be used for different objectives, as some of the most interesting campaigns today are completely integrated cross platform.

Twitter partnering with the Weather Channel

Twitter and the Weather Channel are integrating to bring local forecasts to your twitter feed in real time, without a need to sign up for this service. The local weather will automatically appear within your news feed. This joint venture could open up opportunities for brands who want to advertise on Twitter, after seeing the results of this experiment with the Weather Channel.

Guardian Witness Smartphone App

The Guardian has launched a new crowd sourced news platform called the ‘GuardianWitness’. The App allows wanna-be-journalists or even just the average joe to submit interesting stories, or raise awareness in times of need. The Guardian will issue ‘Assignments’, updated regularly to gather additional photos and video content for bigger stories that are happening in real time. Post will be reviewed before appearing on the site for other users to browse. The best articles will also be featured on the Guardian site.

This is a really interesting way to invite people to participate in creating news and share their stories. This really embodies the Guardians value of open journalism. For more information, watch the video here.

Fun for today: computer generated iPhones falling like Dominoes

Lexi Brown and Abbey Torrance round up the best social and mobile news from the 2013 Super Bowl.

One of the biggest sporting events in the US calendar took place last night and many brands used social media platforms and multi-screen behaviour to leverage their bought media by creating seamless content from touchpoint to touchpoint.



There once was a time where the first opportunity to see the ads made specifically for the Super bowl was during the Super bowl itself. However, it is now the norm for brands to release their Super Bowl advertisements early on YouTube and many repeated the same strategy again this year, some attempting to further increase the hype and curiosity by only releasing a teaser ad. However a few brands recognised that integrating social as the core idea of their ad could generate a much bigger conversation (not to mention bang for their buck) through second screen activation, before, during and after the game.

Coke created an online game that pitted #cokeshowgirls, #cokebadlanders and #cokecowboys against each other in a race to find a giant bottle of coke in the desert. The ad encouraged viewers to vote for their favourite group on a microsite, as well as setting up obstacles along the route, from traffic lights to an unexpected sandstorm which would sabotage their efforts in the #cokechase contest.


Pepsi crowdsourced their Half Time Introduction Show which starred hundreds of real fans from around the country by using a unique editing technique called “object replacement animation.”  Fans were asked to submit their photos in the 4 weeks leading up to the Super Bowl to be in a chance of featuring in the ad as well as winning a trip to watch Super Bowl.

Pepsi & Beyonce's Half Time Show

Pizza Hut’s “HUT HUT HUT” ad, saluted all quarterbacks for all the ‘”hut” shoutouts, and encouraged viewers to share their best “hut hut hut” shoutouts at

Toyota asked viewers to tweet their wish at #wishgranted to be in a chance of having their wish granted by Kelly Cuoco whilst Audi asked viewers to share their brave moments with #braverywins.

However, the biggest social media win came from the real-time advertising. When the power went out in the Superdome during the third quarter for 35minutes, Oreo reacted quickly with a brilliant and power outage-related tweet. Marketing Magazine explains here how the ad got designed, captioned and approved within minutes to gain thousands or retweets and favourites.


Audi also reacted quickly through taking a jab at competitor Mercedez-Benz (@MBUSA), who holds the naming rights to the Superdome.

Jell-O has also been quick to react to the final score line which meant San Francisco lost the Superbowl. Jell-O will “bring you the sweet taste of pudding to mask the bitter taste of defeat”, by delivering free pudding to consumers in San Francisco.

The First Shazamable Super Bowl

2013 saw the first completely ‘Shazamable’ Super Bowl as watchers could Shazam the entire show to access all types of extra information such as the latest plays, stats and team info. Currently there is one quarter of a billion mobile phones with Shazam installed, which offers a massive potential audience for brands. Those brands who had a covetable spot in between play took the opportunity to engage with their multi screening audience through their Shazam enabled ads, giving offers and information to those who connected. It will be interesting to see the overall figures of how many users interacted with the Super Bowl through Shazam and how many redeemed any of the coupons that the different brands offered to them. Perhaps this year we will see brands continue to build on this, offering more ‘Shazamable’ content to their audience.

Twitter’s #newnewupdate, branded ‘Fly Twitter’ sees the introduction of richer and more integrated brand pages – distinctive, for the first time, from users’ profile pages.

The 140-character network has lagged behind Facebook as a tool for brands, offering only basic user functionality to brands in comparison, and this combined with the resurgent competition faced with the introduction of Google+ Pages for Brands, launched last month, it was only a matter of time before Twitter ramped up their brand offering. It’s a fairly obvious move for Twitter to make as they not only meet the demand from brands but create a structure for gaining advertising revenue for themselves.

Unlike user pages, brands now have the ability to uniquely customise their page with a large header image and through featuring a promoted tweet with a photo or YouTube video. This allows brands to not only create a more personalised, on brand feel to their page – but also control the first impression through the experience and messages visitors see when they initially land on the brand page. A select number of launch partners for the new pages include @CocaCola@DisneyPixar, @AmericanExpress@BestBuy. Have a quick look to see how these brands are using the new features to create a brand personality for Consumers in Twitter without forcing them outside of their preferred network.

The featured tweet is a great new way for brands to highlight specific campaigns, promotions or brand messages for a prolonged time. Previously, the shelf life of a tweet was short as they quickly became lost in the timeline – but now brands can literally expand a given Tweet’s shelf life as well as embedding it with rich media. This allows brands to highlight their most engaging and important content and better connect with their target audience by providing them with a more enriching experience, by giving their consumers a bit more than just 140characters. The extended content within tweets brings a massive opportunity for brands with apps – allowing users to see a thumbnail preview just like in the app store, or for entertainment brands like Disney to showcase their content and get a greater engagement during, say, movie promotions. For e-commerce companies this is a springboard to cut steps in the journey to purchase – and for brands in general too since the tweet can drive straight to download or purchase and the user has already seen the content. See how retailers like Amazon use it here.

Stepping away from the focus on redesign, Twitter tweets can now be embedded on your website just by copying and pasting a line of code and, Tweet buttons on website will now include specific @mentions or hashtags. This is key because with a single-click, visitors can reply, retweet, or favourite the Tweet without leaving the page – encouraging visitors to Tweet to your account, driving public conversation directly from your website. The new #hashtag button is perfect for brands that are intending to generate buzz for an event, product or launch and it will result in hashtags trending a lot quicker than they already do. According to co-founder Jack Dorsey,”Hashtags are the new URL,” and this dynamic move by Twitter will allow people to interact with the experiences, conversations and expressions behind each Tweet on the web as they are transformed into interactive media.

In a blogpost on Twitter’s official website, Twitter said the changes are “just the beginning” in their “mission to instantly connect people everywhere to what’s most meaningful to them,” and as they continue to add more rich features and expand the service beyond its simple roots of 140 characters these significant changes could radically change how the micro-blogging site is used on an everyday basis. Twitter may face criticism from mimicking the look and feel of Google+ and Facebook brand pages, but as long they continue to “offer simplicity in a world of complexity”, these changes will be beneficial to both brands and users alike.