Over the last several years, I’ve had a sense that Super Bowl advertisers have been increasingly adopting a strategy of debuting their big Super Bowl TV spots in advance of the big game. And I’m sure I’m not alone here.
This intuition was recently validated in a TechCrunch article revealing that video measurement and analysis company, Visible Measures, reviewed every Super Bowl campaign since 2010 and found that an increasing number of brands are following the strategy of debuting their TV spots ahead of the game in their entirety, or as a teaser online.
Not only has this been an increasingly prevalent trend, but also its adoption rate has been swift;
2010 – 13 brands debuted their Super Bowl spots early.
2011 – 27 brands debuted their Super Bowl spots early.
2012 – 34 brands debuted their Super Bowl spots early.
2013 – 42 brands debuted their Super Bowl spots early.
2014 – 30 brands were tracked to have debuted their spots early, though this was reported well in advance of kickoff, so it is likely that this number will increase when final numbers are reported.
With brands investing an average of $4 million for 30 seconds of media space, and who knows how much on production and talent for their spots, you might think that they’d want to build anticipation and suspense and release their spots during the actual Super Bowl game.
This approach, however, means missing a tremendous opportunity to provide value to brands’ digital and social media audiences.
To capitalize on this opportunity, Super Bowl spots are being treated less like TV commercials, and more like multi-channel video content, which has proven to be effective.
Visible Measures reported that Super Bowl ads saw a total of 370 million online views last year, and ads released ahead of time received between 200-600 percent more impressions than those that didn’t
So, this is all well and good, but what can be learned from this phenomenon and applied to your business?
There is more value for consumers in predicting the future than reflecting on history
By and large, people are information hungry. They want to know things the moment they occur, take pride in knowing things sooner than others, and revel in sharing breaking news and updates with their social media audiences.
Because of these behaviours, consumers are naturally going to see greater value in content before they perceive it to have been widely released and known.
Being aware of shifts in conversation can help build momentum
Leading up to the Super Bowl, anticipation, excitement and speculation builds. Who is going to win? How is the halftime show going to be? Which ad will be the best?
As soon as the game ends, the conversation shifts from a feverish buzz, to a relatively docile recount. It’s over, and therefore there’s less to talk about, and this applies to the ads as much as anything else.
There is clearly huge opportunity to inject your brand into conversations during the upswing of momentum versus at the peek. When you wait until the conversation is at its height, there is no momentum to build, and nowhere to go but down.
ROI can be greatly enhanced with a content promotion plan
Gone are the days of television spots running through the duration of their respective media buys, coming off air, and quickly being forgotten. Television spots now appear as pre-roll advertising, are posted on websites, and are published on any social media network that will host video. This includes YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, DailyMotion and MetaCafe to name a few.
Formerly thought of as being strictly for television, TV spots are now viewed more as video content, and therefore require a more comprehensive content promotion plan to maximize ROI. YouTube alone boasts that more 18-34 year olds watch video on their platform than any cable network, so if you want to get your message in front of a targeted audience of scale, for many marketers, publishing video online and on social is a simple decision.
While debuting hotly anticipated Super Bowl spots in advance of the big game can be a bit of a letdown to those like me that look forward to the ads more than the game itself, it’s clear that the strategy of pre-releasing spots is paying dividends.
There are also a number of key lessons that can be learned here, and applied to your business. Before pushing content out, think about how the timing of publication can affect the value your audience receives from it, consider how broader conversations may or may not play a role in maximizing the contextual relevance of your message, and finally, think long and hard about how to best promote your content by creating a comprehensive content promotion plan.
What do you think about the trend of Super Bowl spots debuting in advance of the game?
Do you think it is a smart decision to do this?
If you think about this strictly from the standpoint of a viewer, does that affect your opinion?
How do you maximize the ROI of your content?
It would be great to hear your thoughts about this in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
I’ll admit that I’m not a big football fan. I’m into many sports, but football has always seemed a little slow, and the action a little fragmented for my liking.
Despite this, every year I eagerly anticipate the Super Bowl.
Undeniably it’s filled with drama, and is nothing short of a sporting spectacle.
But the real reason I’ve historically been so interested in the Super Bowl really has nothing to do with the competition on the field, but more to do with the competition for consumers’ attention and wallets, the advertising. And I know I’m not alone on this front.
Every year, marketers have been shelling out increasingly ridiculous (or maybe not, depending on returns) sums of money to have the privilege of advertising to the TV audience of the big game. In fact this year, it has been reported that television media space sold for a whopping $4 million for a 30 second spot.
In recent years, however, the landscape of Super Bowl advertising has been changing.
It used to be that Super Bowl ads were kept secret to be revealed on the day of the game. This kept people guessing about who was going to do what to up the ante, and it was fun and exciting to see who was going to win the day.
This year, it seems as though every advertiser has pre-released their big Super Bowl spots. AdAge has already published comprehensive coverage of what many Super Bowl advertisers plans are on television.
Now the game to watch is on social media
While social media marketing isn’t exactly new, last year, Oreo changed the game of Super Bowl advertising with their famous power outage tweet, crafted by agency 360i.
Almost instantly that tweet opened the eyes of marketers about the power of contextually relevant, real-time marketing on social media. And unsurprisingly, this year, many more players will be participating in this game.
The real question for this year’s game then isn’t about whose going to have the most amazing television spot, but who is going to capitalize on what real-time opportunity to capture the attention of their social media audience.
But this is a little underwhelming, don’t you think?
While it’s really exciting to bear witness to this change, and be involved in the world of social media and content marketing during this time, I can’t help but feel a little underwhelmed by this.
I should be excited to see who is going to be doing what on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or other social media channels, but I’m kind of lacking in the excitement department.
The problem is that we know what’s coming. Numerous marketers and advertisers looking for their unique opportunity, but a large part of the magic for Oreo and 360i was that they caught everyone off guard. The big question at the time was, ‘how the hell did they do that so quickly’, and even though the answer was relatively simple, it was something that virtually nobody was prepared for.
We should be finding ways to capitalize on opportunities in near real-time every day
Opportunities to delight an audience in real-time don’t necessarily need to be limited to big events like the Super Bowl.
What the Oreo tweet should have done is awoken us to this opportunity, and we all should have scrambled to find ways to manage this kind of magic on a daily basis be it by empowering small and nimble social media teams, through the creation of processes that account for the need to be fast and responsive, or some other method.
Despite my being underwhelmed at the thought of a huge number of marketers trying to recreate magic they bore witness to last year, I’m still looking forward to the creative output of those playing this game.
What I am going to be hoping for, however, is for at least one social media team to throw up a proverbial ‘hail Mary’ by doing something completely new, innovative and attention grabbing. The opportunity is there, it’s just a matter of who it’s going to be, whether it will occur this year or in the future, and what they’ll do.
How are you going to be following along with the Super Bowl on social media?
Do you think anyone is going to be able to create similar magic as Oreo did last year?
Also, following the Super Bowl, it would be awesome to know who you thought won the marketing and social media games by hearing about your favourite TV ads and moments on social media.
It would be great to chat with you more about this in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
In effort to shed some light on how Twitter can help small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), Twitter engaged Market Probe International to conduct research in hopes of proving how their platform can lead to real business results.
Some interesting findings emerged that – surprise, surprise – demonstrate that Twitter can indeed have a positive impact for SMBs.
So, following is a compilation of the resulting stats (because we all love stats, right?) and a few ideas for how you might consider acting on this information to supercharge the value of your Twitter followers:
74 percent of people who follow small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) follow to get updates on future products
Find compelling ways to not just blast your audience with new product or service announcements, but involve them in the journey that results in the launch of a product or service. If you sell high-interest products or services, your audience will surely be thrilled with behind the scenes previews, ability to influence product development, teases about announcements, and anything that builds anticipation and contributes to a compelling story.
47 percent of people who follow brands are more likely to visit the company’s website
Makes sense. By following your brand on Twitter, a person has demonstrated at least some level of interest in your business, which may then drive them to visit your website. Make this easy for them by including a URL to your website in your profile.
Also, ensure that your website isn’t a giant letdown when they get there by providing the types of content your audience is likely to be looking for, and that it is set up to convert that traffic and interest into sales, store visits, emails, phone calls, or whatever a meaningful conversion is to your business.
70 percent of SMB followers retweet because they like the SMB’s content
Provide tremendous value. Before publishing anything on Twitter – or any social media network for that matter – ensure that your content provides value to your targeted audience. If it does, proceed. If it doesn’t, then don’t publish it. Monitor, measure and optimize your content on an ongoing basis to ensure the value you are offering is high, and in line with, or surpasses, consumer expectations.
There is a 30 percent lift in recommendations of an SMB after following or interacting with them on Twitter
Online and social media recommendations and reviews are hugely influential to people making purchase decisions. Doing anything and everything possible to bolster the number of recommendations and positive reviews your business receives is monumentally important to driving sales.
86 percent of users are more likely to visit a business after it has been recommended by a friend
This is just further proof of the importance of earning positive reviews and recommendations. It doesn’t get much better than driving foot traffic to your business from social media (unless of course you’re set up to handle ecommerce). You can’t ask for much more than this, so be sure to invest time to figure out how you’re going to get more reviews, and increase the number of people recommending your business on Twitter and other social media platforms. It’ll pay dividends.
72 percent of followers are more likely to make a future purchase
A follower is only a follower so long as they’re following your business or brand (follow what I’m saying?). Goofy, I know, but the point is that there is value in building and sustaining loyalty on social media, so be sure that you’re publishing nothing but awesome content, and having meaningful interactions with your audience. Keep them just as excited (or more!) about your business into the future as they were the day they decided to bestow their allegiance via a ‘follow’ to you.
84 percent of people who follow/interact with SMBs mention an SMB to share a positive experience
Take every opportunity to provide positive experiences for your customers, and don’t overlook anything. Every time you interact with them be it on social media, on your website, in your store, over the phone, unboxing your product, with your service reps, or sending them an invoice, find ways to make the experience a positive one.
61 percent of people follow to interact with SMBs to share ideas and provide feedback
People don’t tend to share ideas because they don’t like the ideas they’re sharing. They share ideas because they see value in their possible implementation. So, take your audience’s ideas seriously, because who knows, maybe there’s a nugget of gold in there.
Also, feedback, whether it’s positive or negative, is a sign of connectedness to your business. People don’t provide feedback because they don’t give a damn about your business; they do it because they do. Take advantage of this and ensure that you build on this connectedness and parlay it into advocacy and evangelism by demonstrating that you’re truly listening.
While we do need to be wary about the precision of these stats – they are from a Twitter-commissioned research study after all – there are some interesting nuggets here. Not only do these stats work to demonstrate the rough value of a Twitter follower, but they can be more broadly applied to support the value of engaging a targeted audience on social media, which is great.
What, if any, of these stats do you find to be most interesting? Why?
Have you seen any direct correlation between social media marketing and your SMB’s success?
What role does Twitter play in your social media strategy?
It would be fantastic to chat with you more about this in the comments, or on – you guessed it! – Twitter @RGBSocial
When you create or choose an image to accompany your blog post, do you ever find that it shows up in places – as a thumbnail, on Facebook or LinkedIn, or re-blogged on another site – looking a little less than perfect because it’s cropped strangely?
Many sites, including many social media platforms, have unique pixel dimensions for optimally sized images.
Additionally, some sites will display the same image in multiple places, with several different crop dimensions – on the front page versus your actual post, or in a list of popular posts, for example.
The problem that many of us have is that we create or crop our images to look best on the original site of publication, but don’t take into account the many places our content may be spread.
There is a work around for this, however, which is pretty simple, and will all but guarantee that wherever you see the image associated with your blog post, that it will look great.
Determine the lowest common denominator
Conduct a quick audit of where your content most frequently appears on the web; your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, as a guest post on blog X, and so on.
Of all of these, determine which site crops your visuals most dramatically. In my experience, ‘lowest common denominator’ cropping tends to be a perfect square. Any horizontally oriented visuals tend to be cropped from each side, while vertically oriented visuals tend to be cropped from the top and bottom.
Create a safety when creating or selecting visuals
Before creating or selecting a visual to accompany your blog content follow these steps to create a visual safety for your image:
- Create a new canvas in Photoshop
- Add a new layer
- Draw the shape of your ‘lowest common denominator’ cropping ensuring that the ratio of dimensions is correct
- Scale this shape as large as possible (if horizontally oriented the top and bottom edges of your shape will touch, and the reverse for vertically oriented crops)
- Centre the shape that will serve as your safety
- Decrease the opacity to about 50 percent
Now, always keep this as your top layer. When you create your image, or select a photograph to use, take a look at what appears within the square, because that’s what will appear when the image is automatically cropped on what you determined to be your ‘lowest common denominator’ site. If your image looks good within that square, the visual will retain its integrity across platforms. Just don’t forget to turn off your safety layer before saving your file.
Creating visuals in this way can save you from having to create separate images for every site on which your blog content appears, but it will put constraints on your creative freedom.
Some images work best in either portrait or landscape orientation, and by following this technique, you reduce your ability to showcase images in all of their glory by confining the main focal point to the centre of the image.
Of course, if you like this technique and will apply it to the creation of future images, don’t feel compelled to follow it 100 percent of the time. If you have an idea for an amazing image that this won’t work for, then simply don’t use it.
Do you have any tips or tricks for creating compelling visuals for your blog?
Do you take any measures to ensure that your visuals hold up across platforms?
It would be great to chat with you more about this in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Job Description – ‘A formal account of an employee’s responsibilities’. Thanks Google.
In my experience, job descriptions tend to kind of just… well… be job descriptions.
What I mean by that is that they’re not exactly the first thing that businesses think about when conceiving of ways to push their business forward, promote and lead innovation, build and sustain brand advocacy, and ensure employees and coworkers are driving forces behind organizational social media success.
Job descriptions – largely – are a missed opportunity and are fairly uninspired.
They shouldn’t be throwaway documents that are part of a routine employment package, however. They should be thoughtful, well planned, and tremendously strategic.
Because of my area of focus, I’m going to focus this article primarily on some ideas for maximizing the success of your social media and content marketing efforts through well crafted and enforced job descriptions, but as I’m sure you’ll agree (perhaps when reflecting on the current state of your organization’s job descriptions), that there is tremendous additional untapped potential here as well.
Before getting into a few thought-starters that you may want to consider when writing, or perhaps re-crafting, job descriptions for your organization, I’ll note that I’m not suggesting you forget to take care of the fundamentals when crafting these documents. Everyone should have a clearly articulated document to guide their work to know exactly what is expected of them as it pertains to every aspect of their job. They need to be set up for success, which may mean that asking more of people in one area, means asking less of them in others… I digress.
Now, some ideas that you may want to consider before making your next hire:
Content distribution and promotion
In a world where there are nearly a half billion Facebook status updates posted daily, it’s needless to say there is incredible noise on social media. Having a solid content promotion plan has never been so important to maximize your ROI by ensuring that a targeted audience is absorbing the content you create.
Chances are reasonably strong that the very people you work with or employ are representative of your target audience, as are their social graphs, so consider tapping them as part of your content promotion plan. In a job description, you don’t need to make content sharing mandatory, but perhaps it can be a consideration.
Driving social media engagement
Consider including a point about social media engagement when crafting new job descriptions. Your employees are experts in their field, and are hopefully passionate and enthusiastic about what they are doing with their professional lives. This can make them hugely qualified to share informed ideas, opinions, answer questions, ask questions, and generally improve the quality and dynamism of your audience’s interactions within your communities.
Granting time for employees to read, watch, listen, and otherwise interact and engage with your organization’s content can be an effective method to ensure everyone is working toward the same strategic goals, keep everyone informed about the latest industry happenings, share interesting new ideas, and much, much more.
Again, consider indicating in job descriptions that a certain amount of time is earmarked each day, week, or month to allow them to stay in tune with the amazing content you and your team are pouring their heart and soul into. Additionally, it can be equally as important that they are taking time to absorb content being created by others that is relevant to their continuing professional development.
Crowdsourcing relevant content ideas and content curation
Your coworkers are likely chock-full of awesome content ideas for your social media and content marketing efforts. Consider including participation in a content curation and idea generation program into job descriptions to set expectations from the get-go. Setting expectations tends to be a much simpler task than changing behaviour.
There are, of course, a number of additional social media considerations you may want to take into account when crafting job descriptions. There is tremendous opportunity here to maximize the effectiveness of your social media and content marketing efforts, inform and engage your own employees, encourage a more open dialogue between your organization and targeted audience, distribute content, and so much more.
Take some time to review your social marketing and business goals, and think about all of the ways that your employees’ involvement on social media can help you to achieve greater success.
Have you included social media responsibilities in your organization’s job descriptions?
How might deeper organizational involvement on social media help you achieve your goals?
When is the last time you revisited, or influenced the rethinking, of job descriptions in your business?
It would be great to chat with you about this with you further in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Over the last several days, as many of you likely have, I’ve been keenly following updates from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
For those who don’t know, it’s during CES that many new tech gadgets and innovations are revealed, essentially playing the role of a one-stop-shop for where we can get a glimpse of what the future of tech has in store.
Of the many cool new electronic devices being shown off at this year’s show (that I’ve read about thus far anyway) – predictably – it looks as though wearable tech is one of the major trends being observed.
Virtually every major electronics player is diving into the wearable tech ring, each with their own take on what they believe to be the future of this emerging segment.
Pebble, one of the earlier players in wearable tech, and Kickstarter success story raising over $10 million, announced a new model that is very much a Pebble smart watch, but in a new premium form factor.
The Core, Sony’s entry into the wearable market, gathers and logs data from users’ lives and displays it in their Android app, LifeLog. The key differentiator from many wrist-worn devices is that The Core isn’t just about logging physical movement, but about lifestyle information as well. Also, this solely another wristband; it can be affixed to shoelaces, or clipped onto any item of clothing.
Even Intel – typically thought of as being a chip maker – is getting into the wearable game with smart bracelets, pulse-sensing ear buds, a smart watch, a reimagining of a Bluetooth earpiece, and has even partnered with Barneys to create devices that look more akin to pieces made by fashion designers than computer engineers.
This is just a tiny sampling of the huge number of players in the game, and I think it’s safe to say that wearable tech is no trend or fad; it’s here to stay.
Reflecting what we’re already seeing from wearable tech, in the future we’re likely to see a proverbial menagerie of devices released ranging from simple and clever, to complex and sophisticated.
Also, assuming wearables follow trends in innovation that other technology has seen in recent years, we can anticipate that such devices are going to be increasingly connected, able to sense our location and surroundings, and depending on the use-case, able to discretely function, or allow for more involved use and input.
Now comes the fun part; some far-fetched predictions about what impact all of this will have on social interactions brands have with, and digital utility that brands provide to, their audiences.
Only time will tell the accuracy or ludicrousy of any of these predictions, but here we go anyway:
1 /// New social media platforms will emerge that cater to users of wearable devices
Current social media integration on wearable devices tends to be limited to the receipt of notifications. This is largely due to the challenge that wearable tech presents, as the social media giants we know today were all designed for interaction to take place on screen-based devices. With limited screen real estate on wearables, and in some cases none at all, new platforms will emerge, or legacy platforms will adapt, to facilitate meaningful interactions on wearable tech.
2 /// Micro interactions will win the day on wearable devices
When social media platforms gain functionality beyond simply displaying notifications, focus and attention will be given to facilitating user interaction on wearable devices. Initially, due to limited methods of input, micro interactions – likes, +1’s, favourites, stars, hearts and thumbs up – will be a primary focus.
3 /// Data will be logged for social sharing on supporting devices
We’ll continue to see data logged on paired apps and devices for review, sharing and interaction at later times. This will add to the library of content users and brands will have to share with each other, and interact with.
4 /// Circumstantial content will be created and auto-published, and will be highly contentious
Wearable devices will detect specific circumstances under which to publish updates to new and existing social media networks automatically, or with a simple prompt to approve or disapprove a pre-populated post (think Foursquare check-ins that happen without any prompts, just when you enter a new location). Of course, these updates will prove to be highly contentious due to privacy concerns.
5 /// Voice recognition will move beyond being a superfluous feature and will have great utility
Again, due to limited inputs on wearable devices, voice recognition and dictation will have heightened utility versus more traditional screen-based devices. Because of this, an entirely new wave of social media platforms and applications will be developed for voice (think Twitter-HeyTell hybrids, voice search, or Siri).
6 /// Brand adoption will be rampant
Brands are constantly looking for new ways to gain the attention of new consumers, and provide greater value to existing customers to build their value proposition and strengthen loyalty. The relatively inexpensive and scalable application of wearable technology will be highly appealing, and we’ll see few interesting applications, and an absolute glut of useless wearable tech by brands across the globe.
7 /// Facebook will acquire someone who does it well in the early days
Ha! A new social platform will emerge as providing a great deal of value for users of wearable devices and Facebook will snatch them up.
There are already some brands that have embraced and masterfully applied wearable tech to expand their value proposition and product offerings.
Arguably the most successful of these is Nike and their Fuel Band, which we can look to as being a precursor of what to expect from a variety of brands in the future. The Fuel Band is proof of concept, and it will be immensely interesting to see what Nike, and many other brands have in store.
What’s your take on wearable tech?
Is wearable tech a category that will affect your business category?
How do you see social media being integrated (or not) with these new devices?
It would be fantastic to continue chatting with you about this in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial