This week we celebrate our 100th newsletter with something new: A brand new newsletter format!
We absolutely love assembling you the best of the week, every week, but more often than not we’re left with the urge to say more than we can cram into a single email. So, we’re trying out a new format, which will allow us to give you a bit more insight where it’s needed.
The most important element in this experiment, however, is you, our readers. So, please tell us how you find this new format, via email, twitter, facebook, or avian carrier – especially if you think we’ve taken a turn for the worse.
Hemmed in by many constraints, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands depend on branding like few other products. Which is why they are pushing social boundaries.
Instagram registered more daily mobile hits in August in the US than Twitter. This could mean an Interesting turn of events in the fight for mobile between Facebook and Twitter.
Is Twitter about to do to Klout what they did to Tweetbot and others? Well, not exactly, but Klout has cause for concern, while marketing peeps will probably welcome the change.
Is Google going to link PageRank and Google Plus popularity to website publishers? AuthorRank rumours reinforce the importance of trustworthy curators and creators.
Private vs public. Digital vs real life. Paolo Cirio and his fascinating Street Ghosts project – he creates posters of people he finds in Google Streetview, and places them on location in real life.
Twitter is thinking of ‘replacing’ follower counts with a more useful metric that shows how many people actually read your tweet. What marketeers would call ‘Reach’.
Evan Williams, Twitter co-founder who still sits on Twitter’s board, kinda suggested that, at an event in New York.
Now that Twitter is taking more control of how its tweets can be displayed, all manner of things are being rethought. Just this week we were at an event where frustrated marketing managers opinioned about the lack of information about how many people see their wonderfully crafted missives. Of course Facebook gives you that kind of data for each post. And now Twitter can think of doing that as well.
Facebook also plonks an Engagement rate (Likes, shares, Comments over a week) right next to Like counts. An Engagement rate and a Reach rate is not quite the same thing of course, the former being more restrictive (and accurate – they can measure if you had their app open, but who knows if you actually read the content).
It’s unlikely that Twitter will remove follower counts wholesale (they will have some very irate users), but the inclusion of a Reach or Engagement rate should make Klout, Kred and PeerIndex worried.
Despite what we’ve said before, Facebook does have a gateway to mobile, in the form of Instagram.
Guess what just happened?
Instagram had more daily mobile visitors than Twitter in the US during August! Let’s put this into perspective: Twitter has 500 million users. Instagram has 80 million. The average Instagram user, however, spends 257 minutes per month on the app, compared to the average Twitter user’s 170 minutes. The challenge for Facebook is to turn that billion dollar investment of theirs into money, while still allowing the Instagram team to deliver on their promise – that the app will not change its nature. Interesting times ahead, as usual …
The world of SEO is thick with rumours of AuthorRank - how Google is about to include a ranking of authors in how it surfaces content.
All the signs point to it: Google’s emphasis on social, Google Authorship, their ongoing efforts to measure site trust, and their progressive devaluation of raw links as a ranking factor. People want to read content written by credible and knowledgeable people and using AuthorRank as a major part of their search algorithm just makes sense.
And SEO’s say the time is to prepare now.
It doesn’t matter when it’s coming because once it does, it’ll be too late. Now I’m not saying that the launch of AuthorRank is going to nuke site traffic like Panda, but the impact will be huge. While the rollout of AuthorRank obviously won’t be an algorithmic penalty, sites that have been prepping and carefully building AuthorRank for their site contributors are going to have a major advantage.
What signals will Google take into account? Speculation ranges from the average PageRank of the pages an author ‘owns’, to the number of Plus Ones on Google Plus and much besides.
The RAAK take
Whether AuthorRank happens or not does not change our view of the increasing importance given to people as producers of media by media platforms. Google and Twitter want their audience to view the most informative and interesting content, and they know that certain people tend to be better at creating and curating content. They have some of the best minds working making these two things merge.
If you keep that in mind, you’re broadly set for success in media.
In the meantime, you’d be well advised to set up authorship for your website.
Fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands don’t have it easy. We’ve written before on the particular difficulties that FMCG brands face with social media.
But there are more and more examples of these brands turning adversity into strength.
To recap, FMCG brand’s particular set of circumstances have them pushed into a corner:
- because their products are often unremarkable (Toothpaste anyone?)
- because brand marketing is seen as crucial to differentiate and create ‘mind share’ for these products
- because it has dawned on people that social media is a great form of branding.
The FMCG brands have come out fighting
Because of all these reasons the FMCG marketeers responsible for these brands have grasped the social media nettle better than most. Evidence? How about three of the best Company Twitter accounts for brands like Skittles (yes), Innocent (ok, they are kinda as sexy as a FMCG can get) and Cadburies (yes, you heard right).
Skittles has 40,000 followers and is consistently funny. They engage their audience and do simple smart things.
For that RT, @charlidellaway, I’m sending a pterodactyl to fan you with its wings all day. No need to thank me.
— Skittles (@Skittles) September 25, 2012
— Skittles (@Skittles) September 19, 2012
Innocent is top class with a deserved 78,000 followers. They pull out all the stops – including some journalism – to make their Twitter account entertaining, but always in the Innocent way.
— innocent drinks (@innocentdrinks) September 27, 2012
They tell their own story…. (It helps that’s its a non corporate one).
— innocent drinks (@innocentdrinks) September 27, 2012
But they are funny as well…
Top tips for anyone looking to start a business #3 – keep the main thing the main thing (ie. don’t do this) twitter.com/innocentdrinks…
— innocent drinks (@innocentdrinks) September 27, 2012
Ha ha! – (but notice the innocent branding – so pro).
We’ve just added a bunch of new animal pictures to our juice labels. Thought we’d share one with you twitter.com/innocentdrinks…
— innocent drinks (@innocentdrinks) September 21, 2012
Last but not least is sexy (not) Cadburies in their purple glory…
Now, call me a snob, but in my mind Cadburies should have the hardest time. The chocolate is poor, the design is old-fashioned. But their Twitter account is pitched just right.
They use Google Hangouts to launch products -
— Cadbury UK (@CadburyUK) September 26, 2012
They have some ironic humour with clever sponsorship going on…
— Lawson (@LawsonOfficial) September 25, 2012
And they have mixed good production values with well scripted humour…
Psst – the Joyville workers will be revealing their latest creation later tonight, what are you hoping it might be? twitter.com/CadburyUK/stat…
— Cadbury UK (@CadburyUK) September 25, 2012
— Cadbury UK (@CadburyUK) September 15, 2012
And how many followers do they have? Just over 100,000.
Private vs public. Digital vs real life. Paolo Cirio’s Street Ghosts project ticks a few hot topic boxes. Cirio picked out images from anonymous people on Google Streetview. He then recreated real life posters of these passersby and put them up in exactly the same physical spots. Very ghostly indeed.
As he says himself:
As the publicly accessible pictures are of individuals taken without their permission, I reversed the act: I took the pictures of individuals without Google’s permission and posted them on public walls.
Everyone with half a drop of developer blood is still reeling after Twitter’s recent move to put burglar bars on their engine room door, and they’ve just made their intentions even clearer by wooing Hollywood media moguls, the likes of Peter Chernin, for seats on their board. Evan Williams provides a bit of much needed insight: Twitter needs a new metric. A silver bullet that will put them ahead of Facebook and Google in the advertising game. They need to be able to tell advertisers how many eyes saw their tweets. That’s why they can’t allow us pesky little developers to pull tweets from their API and display it everywhere we want anymore. Bingo!
We must talk about… video
The world was rocked for the second time in less than a year by a video this week. The badly made, purposely insulting Innocence of Muslims by what looks like a convicted fraudster had religious zealot and political opportunist Islamists in a rage across much the world. But what is it with video that it arouses such passion? We take a look.
We must talk about… Twitter
We love IFTTT. Its usability is superb, allowing you to harvest almost any aspect of any social network (or anything with an API, for that matter), and push it to anything else with an API. Want to auto-create WordPress posts of your tweets that receive more than 5 retweets? Nothing could be simpler.
Up until now.
The new media hierachy and other key marketing trends
“…only about 15% of tweets received by ordinary users are received directly from the media. Equally interesting, however, is that in spite of this fragmentation, it remains the case that 20K elite users, comprising less than 0.05% of the user population, attract almost 50% of all attention within Twitter”.
We take a look at eight major trends marketeers and media watchers must be aware of.
Waitrose Tweets are reassuringly elitist?
A storm in your high tea! There’s certainly more than a dozen focus group’s worth of information in the #waitrosereasons Twitter feed. The Waitrose campaign panned out well, but was it all planned?
iOS6 – Were on a road to nowhere
Shortly after releasing what the press labelled as the most underwhelming iPhone in the phone’s history – good sources have it that this reaction is undeserved – Apple has just released the most talked about mobile operating system yet. Not all of this talk is positive, however.
Creative of the Week – Dennis P Paul
What’s the sound of a clown’s head? Thanks to German researcher Dennis P Paul we now know. Paul built ‘An Instrument for the Sonification of Everyday Things‘, a beautful looking machine that scans the surfaces of everyday objects and turns them into soundwaves. The 21st century theremin.
The #waitrosereasons Twitter campaign launched by the supermarket chain on Monday was swiftly deemed a #socialmediafail by many.
Much of the response it elicited was indeed critical and was laced with references to the brand’s upper-classism and snobbery (“I shop at Waitrose because the butler’s on holiday”). Still, the net effect looks like a #WIN.
There’s certainly more than a dozen focus groups’ worth of information in the #waitrosereasons Twitter feed – although it’s unlikely that most of this information is entirely new to the brand.
Along with a predictable increase in attention (from a low-cost campaign), the reactions have also contributed to emphasising the Waitrose brand values of high-quality products and service and differentiating Waitrose from other supermarkets.
Whether the brand had expected these kind of reactions or not, the @Waitrose Twitter response comes across as genuine, and rather charmingly a little taken aback: “Thanks for all the genuine and funny #waitrosereasons tweets. We always like to hear what you think and enjoyed reading most of them”.
Right now every social media blogger and his mum are quibbling over whether Waitrose saw it coming or not. But much more interesting are the possibilities for engagement that a situation like this actually offers.
Had the social media team been ready at the keyboards to counter a potential backlash and respond real-time in a humorous way (in an on-brand tone of voice, naturellement) there’s no doubt they could have made even more of the opportunity.
The world was rocked for the second time in less than a year by a video this week. The badly made, purposely insulting Innocence of Muslims by what looks like a convicted fraudster had religious zealot, political opportunist Islamists in a rage across much the world.
It had Google removing the video from YouTube in some countries, while refusing a US government request to remove it in the USA. And it produced an internet meme poking fun at the perceived universal nature of Muslim Rage.
Earlier this year we saw the incredible impact a much better crafted documentary – about Joseph Kony of the notorious Lords Resistance Army – had when it racked up over 100 million views in no time.
Getting a piece of content to spread on social media and ‘resonate’ with the public has as much to do with context as ‘content’ and how much the content is seeded. As scientist Duncan Watts has shown, it’s not just the size of the flame that counts, but whether the forest is dry. In that sense the sensitivities of the Muslim world is an easy target. Even cartoons have sparked outcries in this particular context.
But normally its much harder to get noticed. Yet video is often your best bet. It is an incredibly reductionist medium that speaks to emotions directly in ways that is very difficult in text. Humans aren’t machines, video easily hits buttons that’s otherwise hard to reach. Anonymous – the hacker groups realised this early – it has been particularly effective in getting its message across with video.
The bottom line? Expect more videos to rock your world as marketeers, propagandists of all stripes get wise to this fact.
Quite often the videos that make a big impact are the unscripted ones that people make as they go about living everyday lives, or trying to survive tragedies like wars and tsunamis.
So courtesy of Link TV here is a compilation of 10 unscripted videos that shook the world.