A home screen has been our way to organize our devices.  It can access the operating system, files, apps and more to make it easy to interact, whether it is a PC or a phone.

We have always thought of a home screen as organizing our software, essentially, for us.

Snapchat is changing that mindset dramatically.  We are now realizing that our camera, which can chronicle our lives, can serve as the next home screen, since it can organize our insights for the day, help us improve our view of a scene due to augmented reality, learn faster from our peers what is hot or not and navigate it all in seconds.  Snapchat is organizing the “software of life”…..better known as our experience.

It is one of the reasons why we took more snaps last year than all of the pictures taken by smartphones in the world. That’s more than one trillion snaps, in total.

Snaps help us learn and improve our experience.  Photos are static, old school and nice to reference but not much more.

This is even more impressive (the one trillion snaps) when you realize that there are 187 million daily users of Snapchat, which means more than 3.9 billion people who are online do not use Snapchat.  And yet the Snapchat community snaps more than the rest of the world all put together…a world with more than seven billion phones.

It makes sense when you think about the utility of Snapchat.

A Snapchat user is really creating a new photo album of their day every day.  The average phone user is just taking an occasional photo when the mood hits them.  The volume per user is night and day.

The Snapchat community is a power user community.  They use three billion filters daily.  Augmented reality is starting to help with the retail experience.   Filters can be plain ‘ol fun.  AR can help you decide what to buy or where to go.

This ability to navigate leads to tremendous trust mainly because the users are deciding what is relevant either on their own or via their peers. As an example, Nike shoes recently held an all-star game event for a new shoe launch.  It was sold out (meaning the shoes) and over 60 percent of the participants shared their experience with their friends, all via Snapchat.

Let’s see.  If we get 0.5% click through on email, we’re ok.  If we get a few percentage points of action on any event, we’re smiling.  Sixty percent of peers are sharing and recommending a new brand.  That’s not even close.

This is why the camera really is becoming the new home screen.  Its why most users create daily with their camera, spend 30 minutes or more and snap at least 20 times per day.

Snapchatters make quick decisions (2/3 of ad awareness lift is achieved in the first two seconds of a Snap ad) and they don’t hesitate to endorse a brand to friends, if it makes sense.

The impact on industry is wonderful.  We have all talked about the need for agile content for years.  Now it is really happening with speed.

Skippable ad units are the norm.  Making one’s point quickly requires purposeful sound design, a single message and the ability to succeed or fail quickly.

Storytelling is changing, since participatory storytelling can drive deep engagement.  Snap is now experimenting with long form content, meaning 5-6-minute stories for Gatorade, Nike and other brands.  The click-through rate is high for a simple reason.  It is engaging and it is aligned with how Snapchatters think.  It turns out that if you make content fun and easy to access, we want more of it.  Who would have known?  😊

Even simple things like ensuring you can watch all video vertically is important.  Why make people flip their phone to watch?  That extra half of a second is totally wasteful in this day and age.

In the future, augmented reality will make it possible for brands to “own a moment”, drive their audience to that moment and then link right to purchase via the new experiences offered.  A great example is the recent BMW ad that shows a new car and when you swipe up, you see a 3D version of the car developed for the Snap audience.

Snap is changing how we view the camera.

Agencies are changing how they think of the creative experience.

Ecommerce is about to change with it.

The result is the camera really is the new home screen…..when used properly, it navigates our lives.

Earlier this month we spoke at, attended and sponsored the Holmes Report’s In2 Summit. Bringing together top communicators from brands and agencies, the summit is designed to address the critical issues impacting engagement, ranging from analytics, digital tech and content marketing, to big data, visual storytelling and new talent.

This year there were an array of topics that our current industry is facing including the influence of micro-tribes and subculture , how CCOs should navigate and discuss change, the marriage between social responsibility and profitability, the role emotions pay in storytelling, and the connection between the #MeToo Movement and the marketing industry.

As communicators shaping the way the public interacts with the world’s leading brands, we hold an immense power in our hands. Despite the breadth of topics covered in the program – we at W2O pulled out a common theme that kept coming back to the forefront: responsibility.

As content creators, we have a responsibility to the influencers who are advocates for our brands and client’s brands to allow them to stay true to their voices.

As corporations, we have a responsibility to align and focus the causes for which we advocate.

As global citizens, we have a responsibility to balance profitability with doing the right thing.

As storytellers, we have a responsibility to use our platforms for good and inspire action.

As employers, we have a responsibility to serve as the conscience of the company culture and help break down barriers and support policies to allow a diverse workforce to flourish.

In perhaps the most intensely debated session of the day, our own, CMO Aaron Strout  moderated a keynote panel, The Future of Digital Transformation for Media, Brands + Politics, centering around the responsibility of media and technology platforms.  Joined by panelists David Kirkpatrick, Founder & CEO of Techonomy, Joanna O’Connell, VP & Principal Analyst of Forrester Research, and Teddy Goff, Co-Founder & Partner of Precision Strategies, Aaron led a passionate conversation on the future of digital transformation for media, brand, and politics.

There’s no doubt that today, technology platforms have an immense amount of influence and power – particularly in our current political and social climate. While some panelists had a more optimistic outlook on the change that major technology platform has had on society, some also acknowledged the downside. The panelists posited that consumer and regulatory backlash may build against platforms like Facebook as they struggle to monitor content and targeting techniques. Ultimately, the panelists agreed that marketers and communicators have a responsibility in ensuring that these platforms are used for good.

Check out a full of recap of the panel here.


Pressed for time this week? Here’s a quick snapshot of what’s going on in the world of social media:

  • Instagram is expanding the length of story ads, giving advertisers the opportunity to publish up to three pieces of creative.
  • Remember when it wasn’t an option to schedule Instagram posts in advance? Well, this change is coming.
  • Facebook is testing a “downvote” button. This is not to be confused with a dislike button, but instead a tool for the platform to filter negative comments.
  • Facebook officially rolled out dynamic creative across its platform. This is a tool that advertisers can use to test different variations of an ad so that the best performing combination of content is being served to the audience.
  • Historically, Facebook’s organic and paid reach was measured differently. Now, they’ve updated organic post reach to be measured in the same way as paid reach, incorporating viewability into the metric.
  • Pinterest is making an update to in platform search, specifically within the lens feature.

Instagram Expands Length of Story Ads

  • Paid Instagram Story ads are gaining pace among advertisers, and the platform is testing new ways for pages to optimize. The most recent update includes testing a carousel format for Story ads, which will triple the number of posts that advertisers can include in their ads. This new format was created to make paid stories seem more native and like organic stories for users. The parameters for advertising will remain the same as other ad units on the platform, with images staying on screen for 5 seconds and videos running for up to 15 seconds. Currently, this format is only available to 12 brands, including Netflix and California Pizza Kitchen.
  • What it means for brands: Here lies a new opportunity for brands to expand advertising on Instagram and become more interactive with users. Advertisers do not need an Instagram account to leverage Instagram Story advertising (they only need a Facebook page), so this can be an easy win for most advertisers to increase reach of their content. Here’s an example: Food Network could share a Story ad that shows users how to make a recipe, leveraging both video and static images, to make the content more interactive and exciting. With the right content, users can leave with a peaked interest in wanting to make that recipe themselves, and in return, will swipe up for the full link.

Additional Resources: Marketing Land, AdAge, TechCrunch

(via Instagram)

Scheduling Content on Instagram

  • To alleviate inefficiency and streamline the posting process, users can now schedule Instagram posts to go live at a later time; however, this cannot be done through the platform. Users must leverage third-party Instagram applications like Hootsuite or Sprout Social, of which Instagram has partnered with to make this happen. Upon initial roll-out, this option will only be available to large companies.
  • What it means for brands: Community managers with access to third party scheduling tools can now schedule content in advance, which is particularly helpful for weekend, late night, or event content. There are a few hesitations here, however – scheduling content, while a luxury, does come with potential malfunctions and this doesn’t mean that community managers are off the hook. It will still be wise to check that content has gone live when expected. This feature is also only available by leveraging third-party tools, which not all advertisers use. These tools typically cost money, depending on the type of subscription.

Additional Resources: TechCrunch, WERSM

(via WERSM)

Facebook Tests “Downvote” Button for Comments

  • Facebook confirmed that they are testing a “downvote” button in comments on posts. The downvote button could give users the power to flag comments to Facebook that they may find offensive or inappropriate. This is in tandem with their recent Newsfeed update of which the platform will optimize content that drives “meaningful interaction” between users. When users downvote a comment, that comment will be hidden from their feed and they can choose from the following reasons for flagging: offensive, misleading, and off-topic. This will give Facebook more control over comments and potentially remove “fake news” from feeds. If the comment is downvoted by many users, it may be removed from the post altogether by Facebook.
  • What it means for brands: This update may impact brand content if it is flagged as offensive or inappropriate to users. Something to keep in mind during the content development side to ensure that graphics and text do not spark downvotes from the community.

Additional Resources: TechCrunch, Social Media Today

(via Social Media Today)

Facebook Rolls Out Dynamic Creative

  • Facebook announced a new tool called Dynamic Creative to help with ad testing. The tool  will automatically generate and deliver different combinations of content that is uploaded in Ads Manager by taking the best combinations of creative assets and optimizing these assets across audiences. The process for setting up an ad in dynamic creative is like setting up a normal ad:
    • Create a campaign
    • Add all campaign details to the ad set (flight dates, budget, targeting, placements) then create a new ad.
    • At the ad level within Ads Manager, upload multiple assets to the ad. All of the assets within the campaign should align with the same messaging and be developed with the purpose of creative testing because Facebook will deliver multiple variations of the ad using these assets. The maximum number of assets a brand can add to this is 30.
  • What it means for brands: The ability to test ads is a great tool to gain insight into which pieces of creative are resonating most with a brand’s audience and it does the “dirty work” for advertisers that already plan to test and learn. However, where we see this being a concern is for highly regulated industries like healthcare and finance, where all content needs to be approved before it is posted. Advertisers will still have to get the possible combinations approved prior to upload, should Facebook optimize in a fashion that is not “approved” content. We’ll keep our eye on this as it rolls out.

Additional Resources: Facebook

(via Facebook)

Facebook Updates How Organic Reach is Calculated

  • Facebook reports the organic reach of a post within the page insights tab in Business Manager. Previously, the platform calculated reach based on how many times a post was delivered in the News Feed. For paid posts, reach was calculated differently, only counting reach when a post is seen by a person. To make metrics more consistent across the board, Facebook has updated organic reach to be measured using the same system as paid reach, counting a user as “reached” if a post appears on-screen.
  • What it means for brands: Brands may see their organic reach decrease due to the update, since the platform is now being more precise in its measurements and adding viewability as a metric. Additionally, organic and paid reach will be more comparable and consistent since they will be measured the same way, which is good because most brands are paying to play at this point anyways.

Additional Resources: Ad Age, Campaign

Pinterest Introduces Augment Text Searches

  • Launched one year ago, Pinterest’s lens feature has garnered more than 600M searches from users each month, and searches are up 140% since launch. Now, the app is taking the lens feature to the next level by introducing the ability to attach images AND text to search queries. Pinterest is trying to enhance the online shopping experience by allowing users to be more specific in their searches, optimizing for great results. For example, when shopping in a brick-and-mortar store there are sales associates to help shoppers. Now, the platform’s very specific search options will do this for users. Here’s how Pinterest explains it: “if a user is looking to buy an armchair to match a couch, the user can upload the picture of the couch and then type in “armchair” to make the search specific.”
  • What it means for brands: This is particularly beneficial to retailers that are steadily shifting from an in-store experience to a digital experience for shoppers. Adding value to users and enhancing the browsing experience on the platform could ensure that users continue using Pinterest for to shop and browse for new products and fashion or interior design ideas.

Additional Resources: Marketing Land, Digital Trends

(via Digital Trends)

Facebook started 2018 with bang, announcing a handful of updates that impact all users. Instagram also rolled out updates to Instagram Stories, which are among the most popular features the platform offers. And of course, if Facebook and Instagram are making moves, so is Snapchat. The platform is updating their app-install ads to include deep linking, which is going to provide great benefits for advertisers.  – Read more about these new social media platform updates and how you can implement them for your brands!

Facebook Algorithm Prioritizes ‘Meaningful Interactions’

  • Facebook made a significant algorithm change earlier this month that will impact the way users see and engage with content on the platform. The social network will prioritize showing content that sparks “meaningful conversations” in user News Feeds, which Facebook is typically saying is content that family and friends engage with. Facebook wants users to feel positive on the platform by interacting more with people they care about, rather than leaving the platform due to the overwhelming amount of content from public pages.
  • What this means for brands: This update means everything for brands! With this update to the Facebook algorithm, brands must work that much harder to ensure the content their producing and sharing prompts quick user conversation and keeps users engaged. Video and especially live video is going to be prioritized higher in News Feeds according to Facebook, as this update was made with a video push in mind. For brands that leverage the platform as an awareness tool, they may want to start rethinking their strategy. Where we really see this change making an impact is for Rx pages that have the comments disabled. Comments are the one of the top ways to get users to engage, aside from video content, so while most Rx Facebook pages have the comments turned off for regulatory purposes, they may want to consider enabling comments if they want users to see their content. Facebook announced that this update will have not directly affect on advertising, unless the content does not create meaningful conversation, in which case is will be deprioritized in the News Feeds compared to other ads.

Additional Resources: The Guardian

(via Facebook)

Facebook Launches Stories Sharing from Desktop

  • Facebook is desperately trying to make Facebook stories as popular as Instagram stories. With a valiant effort, they will be adding the ability to post Instagram stories from a desktop computer. In addition to this new capability, they will also be making the Facebook Story feature more prominent on the homepage. Due to the future of virtual reality on Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg wants to amplify Facebook stories because they are a “key component of Facebook’s broader AR plans.”
  • What this means for brands: As Facebook moves towards an updated algorithm that prioritizes what the network deems as “meaningful content,” brands should be considering video and live content as a top tactic to reach audiences. Facebook Stories, now more prominently placed within the News Feeds, will hopefully become more popular amongst users since the content within the News Feeds itself may become less visible. This is something we’ll watch closely as we shift our strategies with the impact of the new algorithm update – if this is something that will work, brands should hop on board.

Additional Resources: TechCrunch, The Verge

(via TechCrunch)

Facebook To Add a Communal Viewing Option

  • The amount of video content being watched on social platforms is increasing, with Twitter and Youtube leading the pack and Facebook close behind. Facebook has been pushing video content on users for quite some time now and in an effort to become the number one social network (next YouTube) in social video consumption, they’re testing out a new community video viewing feature to Groups called “Watch Party.” Facebook users who belong to Facebook Groups, will be able to view videos that Group admins share to Group feed. The videos can come from anywhere on Facebook – Live or previously posted – although Facebook did share that the motive was to get people to share more Facebook Live videos within their groups. The members of the Group can comment and like the videos in real-time. This also reinforces the recent push from Facebook to include more meaningful conversations between friends and users on Facebook.
  • What this means for brands: Because this feature enables videos to be shared privately between a specific Group, it will be interesting to see if this deters people from watching and commenting publicly on videos. Right now, users don’t spend as much time in Groups as they would on their feed, but assuming that these videos will pop into the feeds of the members, this could be an interesting way to get users more engaged in meaningful conversation. This could be a bit concerning for brands since most brand pages are business pages and not Groups, but we’ll watch as this unfolds… the shift may get us thinking about moving away from brand pages and instead leveraging Groups for community conversation. We also want to know if there will be metrics available for brands if their video content is shared and watched in a Watch Party.

Additional Resources: Variety, The Verge

(via Social Media Today)

Instagram Adds Text-Only Screens and GIFs to Stories

  • Instagram keeps stepping up their game on Instagram stories. The platform has introduced text-only Stories and now allows users to add GIFs to Stories. With the text-only stories (called “Type”), the platform provides a blank screen where users can type whatever they want and then post this to a story. They’re also testing out a transparent background GIF library for stories. In collaboration with Giphy, there will soon be a multitude of GIFs to choose from to animate stories. Like Snapchat, Instagram will notify users when their story is screenshotted.
  • What this means for brands: With these new updates, brands can directly outline/tell a story to consumers without needing an image to go along with the update. For pharmaceutical brands, the Type feature could be leveraged for medical meetings and other events to set the landscape and purpose of brand’s presence. Right now, we typically put text on-top of images when there is a lot to say or background that needs to be explicitly written out, but that could be distracting and this new feature is good for clean, clear messaging.

Additional Resources: The Verge, Wired

(Social Media Today)

App Install Ads to be More Targeted on Snapchat

  • For advertisers that promote app installs on Snapchat, brands can now re-target consumers who have previously downloaded the app so that they hopefully re-engage with the content. This tactic is called deep linking and is used to drive traffic to a section of an app to have the user re-engage with it while using Snapchat. Using this app-install ad feature allows consumers who are already interested in an app/brand become more engaged with it, as they will be directed to a different page within the app to become familiar with.
  • What this means for brands: With Snapchat integrating more advanced ad features into its program, it’s positioning itself as more of an advertising company, as opposed to a social platform. Brands can take advantage of this and begin to re-target consumers on Snapchat to have them become more familiar with the brand or app being promoted. Snapchat is also giving up more data to brands advertising on Snapchat, such as how many people viewed and then swiped up on the ad within three-time windows (one day, one week, or 28 days). Allowing more metrics for brands to use and benchmark on, it opens the door for brands to feel more comfortable and advertise more on Snapchat.

Additional Resources: Biz Journal

(Social Media Today)


It’s a New Year, and that means we can expect all the big social players to shake things up and reveal new updates that will impact the way we advertise, share, and socialize. If you don’t have time for a full update, here’s what you need to know:

  • Facebook has partnered with Universal Music Group to give users access to top-artists and tracks so they can add music to video content.
  • Snapchat is expanding the visibility of stories via its “Stories Everywhere” update which allows creators and brands to share content on third-party websites and apps. Additionally, the platform rolled out the option for advertisers to add animation to sponsored content filters.
  • Twitter saw an impressive Q3 2017 and will continue to improve its platform capabilities in 2018, starting with enabling more push notifications.

For details, read on!

Facebook Partners with Universal Music Group

  • Facebook announced its multi-year partnership with Universal Music Group. The new partnership will give users access to licensed music for their Facebook videos without being flagged for copyright infringement. Users can access UMG’s music on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Oculus. Facebook will also be introducing “music based products,” although it is unclear as to what these products may be. This marks the first time that a major music company has partnered with Facebook to give its users royalty free access to its licensed catalog. However, this is not the first time UMG has partnered with a social media platform – earlier this year they announced a similar partnership with YouTube.
  • What it means for brands: With access to UMG’s top tracks and artists such as Adele and Taylor Swift, brands could potentially leverage this in their own video content to make their videos resonate on a deeper level with their audience. It will be interesting to see if advertising will become integrated into this partnership as well, with brand’s being able to advertise in the middle of video music.

Additional Resources: TechCrunch, PR Newswire

(via TechCrunch)

Snapchat Plans to Launch “Stories Everywhere” Feature

  • Snapchat used to be the platform for quick and disposable content, but now the social network has taken a shift to increase the lifetime of Snaps. The platform’s newest update is a project called “Stories Everywhere,” which will allow creators and advertisers to share content on third party apps and websites, similar to Facebook’s audience network placement. This will greatly increase the exposure and lifetime of stories well beyond the platform.
  • What it means for brands: With this new update, brands can use Snapchat to target users outside of the Snapchat platform. By advertising on other sites, content will reach greater audiences; although (like Facebook), it will be important to make sure that brands’ Snaps do not appear on websites with other content that goes against brand regulations. This update may be particularly useful for brands publishing content around an event that lasts for more than one day, choosing to run the content on other websites for the duration of the event to continue increasing awareness and establishing a presence.

Additional Resources: Cheddar

(via Social Media Today)

Snapchat Unveils Animated Filters for Sponsored Content

  • Snapchat recently launched animated filters for sponsored content. With this new update, brands can add animation to sponsored filters instead of just embedding a logo on a still frame. This new feature is still in beta testing and only available for brands who work with a Snapchat representative. It is not available on their self-serve ad-buying tool.
  • What it means for brands: As Snapchat continues to evolve, the user experience continues to grow and become more advanced. Now, brands can add an animated twist to their sponsored content filters to entice users to share it. Instead of being a still picture border like the Dunkin Donuts image below, the stars could move through the image like a GIF. Similarly, Samsung’s animated border brings a holiday tradition to life on top of the user’s selfie. This update broadens the creative freedom for brands on the platform.

Additional Resources: Netimperative

(via Marketing Land)

(via Netimperative)

Twitter Has Strong Q3 & Adds More Push Notifications to Expand Reach

  • Despite shortcomings with trolls and abuse on Twitter in 2017, the platform saw active user count increase by 4 million between Q2 2017 and Q3 2017. You may notice that you’ve been receiving a lot more Twitter notifications – well, there’s a reason for this! To keep platform activity on an upward path, Twitter adding more ways to send users notifications in an effort to increase the exposure and engagement rate of tweets. Twitter’s modified notifications are based on an algorithm that sends push notifications to users for tweets they think the user may be interested in, based on their activity. These notifications come in the form of “In case you missed it” and users receive an alert when people they follow on Twitter are all interacting with the same tweet. The algorithm also serves content on the feed that users are most likely to be interested in, as opposed to a purely real-time updated feed.
  • What it means for brands: Increasing user notifications keeps users interested and active on the social network, driving them more frequently to the platform and raising the chances of them seeing and engaging with brand content. The more user activity on the platform, the easier it is for brands to target users with content they’re most interested in, based on their social activity on and off the platform. It will be interesting to see if the increase in user notifications draws users in, or pushes them away in annoyance of too many notifications.

Additional Resources: Twitter


(via Social Media Today)

As we wrap up the year, it’s interesting to see what last minute updates the social channels are rolling out to users. For starters, Facebook is changing its pre-roll and mid-roll video ads algorithm to provide a friendlier user experience. Twitter has introduced a new way to expand long form tweet conversations via the “Tweet Thread” feature, and the platform has also made video views public on any video (brand or personal) to all users. Lastly, Instagram has rolled out their highly anticipated “hashtag follow” feature, allowing users to follow specific hashtags that will show up in their newsfeed as posts. Check out more detail on these exciting updates below!

Facebook to Test 6-Second Pre-Roll Ad Test

  • Starting next year, Facebook will begin testing a six-second pre-roll ads hub and adjusting how the algorithm presents videos to users. These pre-roll ads will only run within the Watch video hub, as opposed to in the News Feeds, as Facebook found that pre-roll ads in News Feed videos didn’t perform as well as they’d hoped. Facebook is also changing the requirements for mid-roll ads. Originally, a mid-roll ad could not be placed in a video that was less than 90 seconds. Now, videos must be 3 minutes long and mid-roll ads can only be inserted when the video has played for 60 seconds. Additionally, Facebook announced that there will be an update to the overall algorithm in 2018 to prioritize videos to users based on their interests, sharing the right videos with the right people (who want to see them).
  • What this means for brands: There are now more limitations on where ads can be implemented, making it more difficult for brands to secure ad placements on Facebook. However, with the change to Facebook’s algorithm, videos are now going to be more targeted to users who want to watch them, which will hopefully impact video views in a positive way and net out the users who are not watching videos in full.

Additional Resources: Tech Crunch, Social Media Today

Twitter Introduces “Tweet Threads”

  • Twitter launched a new feature called “Tweet Threads” that allow users to post and participate in tweetstorms, which are also called threads. Tweetstorm has only been used by a handful of users who want to continue a longer thought on Twitter than is allowed via 280 characters. To create Tweet Threads, there is a new “+” symbol in the top right corner of the tweet composer that allows users to write a strand of tweets and post them all at once so that they’re one consecutive thought. Each tweet still has a 280-character limit, but users can implement media such as videos and GIFs along with their longer thoughts. Users can also update a thread later if they have something else they want to add by opening the thread and hitting “add another tweet.” There is one caveat – there is a 25-tweet limit per thread.
  • What it means for brands: With this new functionality, brands are now able to share longer form content on the platform and can ensure that the tweets will show up show up in a consecutive order for the audience to read. With the roll-out of Tweet Threads and the expanded character count, it shows that Twitter is maybe moving away from their shorter messages to longer messages and thoughts.

Additional Resources: Tech Crunch, Social Media Today

(via TechCrunch)

Twitter Includes a Video Views Number for All Videos Posted

  • Twitter will now display video view counts on all videos posted on the platform. Now that video view counts are here to stay, there will be a reassessment as to what counts as an actual video view (the never-ending saga). Currently, a video view on Twitter is based on the video being played for at least 2 seconds, so we’ll see what this update brings.
  • What it means for brands: Now that the video view number is being displayed on videos, users and brands can keep a closer eye on the competition. Brands can see what competitors are doing (and what’s performing well) and use some ideas in their own social strategy. It will be interesting to see if having the video view count number will spark interest for users who are debating on whether to watch a video. If the video view number is high, users may be more enticed to watch the video, rather than if the number is low.

Additional Resources: Ad Age, Marketing Land

(via Ad Age)

Instagram Now Allows Users to Follow Specific Hashtags

  • Instagram has finally enabled its hashtag following feature for all users, announced a few weeks back. Any hashtag that users follow will show up as a post directly within each Instagram feed. Having this feature allows Instagram to become more of a search/discovery engine for users. Instagram does have the “Explore” page, but being able to follow hashtags allows for a greater engagement on each post. Users will be able to tailor which posts with the hashtag they like by selecting an “I don’t like this” option from a drop down on each post with the relevant hashtag.
  • What this means for brands: Hashtags are now more necessary than ever on Instagram. Since users can follow specific hashtags, brands should be researching what hashtags their target audience is following and including them in every post (if they’re not already doing so). We’ve typically preached that less is more, but more hashtags may be the way to go these days as Instagram advances with new features. This also allows brands to become more specific with their hashtags to tailor their post to the correct audience who is going to want to see the post and engage with it.

Additional Resources: Business Insider, The Verge

(Social Media Today)

The way we consume television has changed rapidly due to technology. We can stream shows or movies via our phones or tablets whenever we choose. Additionally non-traditional programming is becoming the norm. Platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Netflix are beginning to generate their own content. This week I spoke about the aforementioned notions with Michael Marinello, SVP of Strategic Communications at Turner.

Michael and I dove into current consumer streaming habits, how traditional media is adapting content for these current consumer habits, and how television will evolve to create value for advertisers. Take a listen below.

This week saw a lot of relevant updates across the social media space. Facebook published a blog detailing its advertising principles for both users and brands. Additionally, the platform rolled out an in-newsfeed virtual reality feature to further enhance users’ experiences and give brands the ability to take their content to the next level. Snapchat announced a re-vamp of its app structure, separating personal and media content in users’ feeds. Lastly, YouTube put its own spin on in-app stories via YouTube Reels.

Facebook Spells Out Advertising Principles for Users & Brands

  • As a follow-up to recent updates about launching a Transparency Center, Facebook has laid out its advertising principles for users and brands in a blog post. The post details that advertising on Facebook is not meant to be disruptive for users, but, instead, add value to their experiences by placing relevant content in front of them. Facebook expressed that their goal is to improve the advertising experience for users, serving them relevant content, while also helping businesses grow via branded promotions on the platform.
  • What it means for brands: While Facebook’s push – much like from other platforms – to increase transparency around advertising on the channel has largely been centered around individual users’ experiences, this most recent update highlights that Facebook is hearing marketers’ concerns and making sure that subsequent updates improve both user and brand experiences.

Additional Resources: Facebook, Social Media Today

(via Facebook)

Facebook Is Testing In-Feed VR

  • Facebook is testing an in-newsfeed virtual reality feature, named “360 experiences.” This new feature will enable users to get a 360-degree look ‘inside’ posts, by allowing them to interact with different aspects of the content. For example, the National Gallery posted a VR tour of a new wing on its page, allowing users to click on specific pieces of art to learn more about the paintings. Facebook is pushing more and more newsfeed updates to amplify the scrolling experience for users on the platform while giving advertisers additional options for promoted content that keep users on the platform rather than directing them to an external site.
  • What it means for brands: While this feature should be a great addition for any brand and company, it could be especially useful for the event and entertainment industries to give users an inside look into different aspects of events, spaces and stories. For the healthcare industry, this could open new doors for engaging consumers and healthcare professionals by allowing them to explore different scientific principles or mechanisms of action involved in the development and treatment of different diseases.

Additional Resources: Marketing Land, Marketing Land, Business Insider

(via Marketing Land)

Snapchat Re-Designs App Structure

  • Snapchat announced significant changes to its app. The biggest takeaway with the updates is that the app will be re-designed to separate personal content from media and influencer content. The ‘Discover’ tab will now live on its own feed, and a separate ‘Friends’ feed will only include stories and content from people that a Snapchat user is connected with. Once this update goes live – the platform has yet to confirm specific timing – the restructuring will have a significant impact on how users engage with influencer and brand content. If an account is not friends with a user and only followed by them, then their content will automatically be delegated to the ‘Discover’ feed. Additionally, moving forward, users can opt to “see less” of any content that they do not find interesting within the ‘Discover’ feed.
  • What it means for brands: Brands will need to take a step back and rethink their approach to Snapchat stories in light of this update. Their content will now be separated from users’ personal feeds, meaning that without enticing stories – or substantial paid promotions – users may view much less brand content in the future. Additionally, this will impact celebrities and social media influencers. Prior to the update, if a Snapchat user “followed” a celeb or influencer, their content was served to them within the same feed as their friends’ stories. Segmenting influencer content into the ‘Discover’ feed may impact engagement and viewership.

Additional Resources: Social Media Today, Tech Crunch

(via Social Media Today)

YouTube Takes Its Own Spin on Stories

  • YouTube will be beta’ing its own version of in-app stories called Reels. Unlike the stories feature on other apps like Facebook and Instagram, users will need to navigate to a creator’s channel and click on the “Reels” tab. Here, they will find all of the story-style content that the creator published. While the new feature will only be available to creators (influencers), at least for now, YouTube said that it hopes this new video format will foster engagement by letting creators share content on their channels without having to upload an entire new video. Additionally, unlike on other platforms, Reels won’t be short-lived, they’ll be live on creators’ channels long-term.
  • What it means for brands: Stories are a powerful way to post authentic content, whether it be from a conference or an event. Giving brands the ability to post Reels on YouTube could increase the volume of real-time content being shared on the platform by providing brands with an easy-to-use video option with less need for high quality production. This could be a way to humanize a brand’s voice on YouTube, giving them the option to post both edited, thought-out content and real-time Reels.

Additional Resources: Business Insider, TechCrunch

(via TechCrunch)


Digital is the driving force in business and society today.  Customers, employees, and other key stakeholders possess the power now controlling the relationship with brands, who are moving quickly to assimilate this new reality. As such, companies are reexamining their businesses and determining direction, efficacy, purpose, portfolio, and strategy.  The latter, though, is significant in that it envelopes the entire enterprise and in many respects decides the very future of the business.

Every industry and sector is impacted by this transformation so strategy becomes the catalyst as well as the linchpin to survival and success.

The Digital Effect

When it comes to strategy and digital, four things are emerging:

  1. Customer/Audience Integration;
  2. Products/Services/Services Connected (throughout the business);
  3. Continuous Innovation;
  4. Analytics Driven Marketing and Communications.

Customer/Audience Integration

In a digital world, customers and audiences are fully integrated into your organization.  This means that customer and audience information and insights are well known and shared throughout the organization. Preferences, issues, purchasing habits, product and service usage, competitive interaction, etc. are all important data to ensuring a long-term relationship.

The more integrated customers believe they are with a given brand the more they will work with that brand and share their experience with friends and family.  Customers are now informing other customers or potential customers of their experiences and preferences concerning a brand or product. This new dynamic can be incredibly positive or unknowingly negative to an organization’s viability.

Products/Services Connected  

Depending on your portfolio, connecting products and services in a cohesive manner provides a more holistic solution to customer needs and wants. The more digitally enabled products and services are, the stronger the benefits and experiences are to users and customers.  Further, this connectivity provides fresh data and insights that can be used on product development, customer service, and the purchase journey.

Continuous Innovation

Any strategy today must include innovation in products and processes to improve the overall customer experience.  Information culled from various points in the customer journey including purchase allows for real-time improvements and faster development cycles and turnaround times.

Analytics Driven Marketing and Communications

Digital intelligence provides massive amounts of data and analysis on how customers behave.  Savvy marketers and communicators translate the data into actionable insights that fuel precise messaging, programs, and outreach efforts including predictive modeling to discern future buying habits.   An effective strategy incorporates analytics into its framework enabling a more progressive and efficient means to deploy resources and engage the marketplace effectively.

Business and operational strategy have always been essential ingredients in an organization’s decision-making model.    Digital now widens the aperture turning the entire enterprise into a kaleidoscope of new demand, new value, and new possibilities.   It begins with thinking about the business in a completely different way.  It’s about placing customers first in this new empowered playing field.

Failure to do so negates your strategy and worse, imperils your existence.

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