Why Instagram Launched Its First Official Content Vertical

Read original story on: The Verge

Taking a page out of Snapchat’s playbook, Instagram just made its first step to transition from a photo-sharing social media to a media content platform with the launch of its first-ever official content vertical @music. The account will update six times per week, sharing photos, lyrics, and videos to showcase some of the up-and-coming and popular artists to Instagram’s over 300,000 users. As of now, the account has already gained over 46,600 followers. We expect similar vertical content channels to appear if this experiment turns out successful.

YouTube To Back Its Biggest Stars For Original Series And Movies

Read original story on: Deadline

As we reported last week, an increasing number of its most popular video creators are leaving YouTube for competing platforms and traditional media. And now YouTube seems to have found a solution to keep talent on board: the Google-owned company announced earlier today its plan to back original series by four of its best-known creators, Moreover, it is also teaming up with DreamWorks subsidiary AwesomenessTV to create several films featuring YouTube stars over the next two years.

What Brands Can Learn From Buzzfeed’s Tracking Tool “Pound”

Read original story on: TechCrunch

Pound, which stands for Process for Optimizing and Understanding Network Diffusion, is the secret weapon that viral content website BuzzFeed developed in order to track content attribution beyond just counting social media shares and clicks. By tracking content sharing as “an oscillating, anonymous hash in a sharer’s URL as a UTM code”, the tool enables BuzzFeed to track how a story travels between users across social networks or platforms, without collecting personally identifiable information.

A true cross-platform tracking tool, Pound reveals new insights into attribution by tapping into its inherent tree structure that traditional web analytics are unequipped to capture. One major insight Buzzfeed shared is that social networks can drive an entire “downstream cascade” type of sharing. This has led Buzzfeed to develop a different publishing process, in which a core team of people making content pushes that content to different platforms, including the website, the Buzzfeed app, or sometimes YouTube, with varied priority. Moreover, BuzzFeed claims that sponsored content is shared just like regular editorial content.

Facebook To Prioritize Real People’s Posts Over Brands

Read original story on: TechCrunch

Facebook introduced an update to its news feed algorithm that will prioritize posts from real people over those by brand pages and publishers. For some brands, reach stats and click-through rates on Facebook reportedly went down almost immediately after the changes were implemented on Tuesday; however, it is still too early to tell exactly how much impact this new tweak will impact brands’ efforts on Facebook in the long term. As competition for limited attention grows, brands have to work harder to produce entertaining quality content that people want to see in their feed.

New Roku Focuses On Content Discovery And Curation

Read original story on: Re/Code

Earlier this week, Roku updated its lineup to introduce new features that primarily focus on improving its content search and discovery. Users of the Roku 3 can enjoy the complimentary enhanced voice control remote, while users of older models can use the Roku mobile apps to activate voice commands. Moreover, Roku optimized its search results, while also adding a new “My Feed” feature that lets you follow upcoming movies to see when they become available. As it continues to improve its user experience, Roku looks to hold on to its title of most popular OTT set-top box despite increasingly fierce competition.

Why Facebook Wants To Host Content For News Publishers

Read original story on: The Verge

Following yesterday’s announcement of opening up its Messenger app, Facebook continues to expand its reach into web content. The social media giant is reportedly in talks with several renowned publications, including Buzzfeed, National Geographic, and The New York Times, to post their content directly onto the site, with the ad-revenue from such Facebook-hosted content shared with original publishers. While this could result in better distribution and easier access, it remains to be seen whether publishers would be willing to give up control over their original content.


Snapchat Is Getting More Local

Read original story on: TechCrunch

After dipping their toes into original content development, Snapchat has started locally curating its content. The chat app is now turning its previously open-to-public, event-based curating feature “Our Stories” into a geo-fenced content channel that hightlights local Snapchat contents that can only be seen by people nearby. If Yik Yak’s recent rise in popularity proves that there is a market demand for location-specific social sharing apps, then this new localized feature might just be a timely addition for Snapchat.


Another Messaging App Ventures Into Video Content

Read original story on: TechCrunch

LINE, Japan’s most popular messaging app, continues to expand its core business as it starts testing LINE TV, a YouTube-like video service in Thailand. Available via Android and iOS apps as well as on the web, the platform features a wide range of TV shows and music videos from local Asian markets.

More importantly, LINE TV is deeply integrated with LINE’s messaging app so that users can easily share content with friends. Some videos even contain quick links to follow the official accounts of featured actors within the messaging app. By trying to take control of both the media channel and content, LINE is ambitiously building its business towards a multi-faceted media channel, not unlike what Snapchat is doing.

Event Recap: Three Key Themes from AdClub’s Measurement: Now

On Thursday, the Lab attended the New York Ad Club’s Measurement: Now, a half-day event dedicated to data tracking and responding to the consumer journey. Three key themes emerged from the panels and keynote speeches:

Content and Context: Though the idea of a “consumer journey” isn’t new, brands are now acquiring the ability to target individuals in a specific context—time, physical location, device, point in the sales funnel, and so on—with an appropriate message. What this means is that marketers can develop more nuanced segmentation based on behavior and flesh out personas into real humans. This will increase brands’  relevancy, since as Audrey Hendley, Senior VP and GM, Acquisition & Prospect Engagement of American Express OPEN, noted, data must ultimately answer the question “what does our prospect want?”

Privacy and the Value Exchange: Ad technology is rapidly approaching the point where data from multiple devices (phones, television, and more) will be able to be tied to a unique, comprehensive consumer profile. While this has great potential for brands, “what thrills me as a marketer terrifies me as a citizen,” said Deborah Marquardt, SVP, Managing Director at MediaVest. In order to avoid what Kosta Skoulikaris, VP, Advertiser Solutions, Nielsen called the “icky factor,” brands must safeguard consumer data and provide value in return. 

Redefining ROI: As Aaron Fetters, Director of Insights and Analytics Solutions Center of the Kellogg Company, pointed out, marketers are increasingly accountable for budgets, making it imperative to get the “most of out of the money we spend.” But that doesn’t necessarily mean that brands should focus entirely on ROI—in fact, Shelley Zallis, CEO of Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange, suggested that ROE, or “return on engagement” may be a better metric.

Why Brands And Podcasts Belong Together

A guest post from our Creative Team’s Director of Technology, Jason Fried.

Unless you’re living off the grid, you’ve probably heard of, or listened to, “This American Life’s” (TAL) newest podcast, Serial, from TAL’s producer Sarah Koenig. The response has been unprecedented, passing even TAL in total downloads, and where audiences go, brands follow, with sponsor MailChimp reaping the benefits of sponsorship. Far from being a new trend, however, this model is really just a return to the early days of broadcast.

A brief history of 100+ years of radio

Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi invented the first commercial radio system at the turn of the century, and a few years later, a Brazilian priest made the first wireless broadcast of a human voice. But it took until 1920—decades after radio was first invented—for the first commercial radio stations to begin to broadcast in the US. By 1933, FM hit the scene, and during the Depression, radio found its way into homes across America. Families were spending their time at home, huddled around the radio, listening to the nightly news and all sorts of new serial broadcasting. There were dozens of programs in different genres, from mysteries and thrillers to soap operas and comedies.

The world was ripe for this type of entertainment. Families were having dinner together and, after, spending time in their sitting rooms, listening to radio, waiting to hear what Orson Welles had cooked up for them. They talked about it at work, at the bar with their friends, and at family gatherings. The medium united Americans: for the first time, we were able to consume the same programming, no matter where we were.

As programming became more elaborate, costs went up and revenue sources were needed, leading to the birth of advertising on the radio. The first “soap operas” were broadcast during day time slots aimed predominantly at housewives, and as you may have already guessed, included ads for soap and other household products. Ad spots were often performed by the cast or the radio hosts, and often perceived as endorsements by the shows themselves. 30- and 60-second spots started appearing in the late 30’s, and by the end of the Second World War, it had grown into a mature segment of the ad industry.

After the second World War, everything changed: radio made its way into cars, while TVs in homes skyrocketed. As a result, stations started programming content that was easy to listen to no matter what time you tuned in. This was a drastic change in the way that stations began to think about content ,  and it had the advantage of being cheaper. No longer was there a need for actors and folly—a few hosts in a small studio could talk the morning away for a captive audience of drivers and workers. Music and talk radio ruled the airwaves because you could start listening at any time without the feeling of missing out, while soap operas and other serialized content moved to the television.

Enter the podcast

And for 60 years, this was the lay of the land. Music made its way from vinyl, to tapes and Walkmen, to CDs and disc players, and finally, to mp3s and mp3 players, while radio stayed largely the same. In 2000, however, the first ‘podcasts’ made their way onto the web and into mp3 players. By 2004, podcasts had become formalized (and even part of the iPod menu system) and slowly grew as a way for both amateurs and professionals to distribute radio over the internet. Before long, most news organizations were distributing their content in the format as yet another way to capture their listeners’ time.

Ten years later, you can get pretty much any audio information or content you want, when you want it. Podcasting and mp3s transcend space and time in the same way that DVR changed the way we consume television. “Radio” is no longer something that exists to tune into, but a format that, like music, I can take with me and listen to when it suits me. The same way that having radio in the car changed programming, this will change what type of content creators will make.

Serial is just one of the first examples—in the last few months, talk about podcasts has reached a fever pitch. Every day I hear more and more people talking about their favorite podcasts and sharing recommendation with friends. Serial has definitely helped the medium explode — there’s even a podcast, nay, two podcasts, about Serial. Podcasts about podcasts? Yeah. That happened—in addition to a podcast industry newsletter that just started called Hot Pod. But just like early radio programs, these podcasts have a revenue problem. Though they don’t require the same amount of infrastructure, they do need money.

How brands can participate

In other words, we’re back where early radio broadcasters found themselves. While some podcast producers like Roman Mars (founder of the Radiotopia network of podcasts) and Alex Blumberg (Startup) have gone directly to listeners for support, others are turning to traditional advertising formats like sponsorships. Both Mailchimp and Audible have been early adopters to sponsoring podcasts, seeing value from the plugged-in demographics of the medium.

Not all brands are as comfortable with the medium yet, but there are some very simple guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Targeting: There are literally podcasts about everything: muscle building, philosophy, comedy, cycling, you name it. As a result, it allows for very specific targeting and allows your brand to connect with a passionate audience.
  • Scale: The podcast audience in conglomerate is large, for instance, but each show’s audience tends to be small, albeit very focused. Companies looking for scale should think about scale in terms of exposure over time: you may have a smaller base, but you have an audience that keeps tuning in.
  • Format: Podcasts are an ideal medium for native ads. Listening to Startup recently, I loved hearing Alex Blumberg explicitly tell his audience that the sponsored part of the broadcast was beginning as he interviewed the CMO of his sponsor, Mailchimp.

Podcasts are a great opportunity for brands who want to remain relatable to niche audiences and see real brand lift. It seems we’ve come full circle from the early days of radio.

Image: Apple