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The Story On Stories: Snapchat Vs. Instagram

August 16, 2016 Leave a comment

Blog Post-FB vs Twitter v2

I have written previous articles about how marketers should be testing, learning and quickly iterating on platforms like Snapchat and Instagram to tell their brand stories. And recently, Mary Meeker helped drive home the point about the relevance of such social platform in her 2016 annual Internet Trends report. As a refresher:

The report showed how smartphones are increasingly used to combine several powerful storytelling tools via camera+storytelling+creativity+messaging, combined with social sharing network effect. Meeker mentioned that she and her team believe Snapchathas a “perfect trifecta” for this, especially given their daily video growth rate.

Marketers such as Wal-Mart, Sony Pictures, Ford and Dick’s Sporting Goods are just a few that have jumped into Snapchat to leverage massively engaged audiences with cool filters, storytelling and ads. An insight not to miss is that all these Snapchatters (and Instagrammers) are sending geo-specific signals each time they share. For brick-and-mortar retailers, this geo-location is a massively untapped opportunity to reach customers during a store visit and when purchase consideration is happening.

Given the combination of geo-location and marketers’ quest to reach customers in store, attribute traffic and conversion, it’s no wonder marketers are finally embracing Snapchat and Instagram in new ways. And also why Instagram’s launching of “Stories” should not surprise anyone.

Silicon Valley has a long history of companies copying each other. Steve Jobs famously saw GUI at Xerox Parc and that inspired the Mac. Many say he stole it. As Apple’s Bud Tribble is noted for saying: “If you take something and make it your own…it’s your design and that is the dividing line between copying and stealing.” That concept is part of Apple’s DNA and certainly many other tech companies in the valley. Kevin Systrom, Instagram CEO/founder, hasn’t run from the obvious copying of Snapchat. In fact, he said “they [Snapchat] deserve all the credit”. In my opinion Instagram has innovated by making the “Stories” feature much more seamless and intuitive vs. Snapchat. Snapchat will almost certainly refine their UX. But the Instagram feature and better UX is just the tip of the spear.

Instagram is owned by Facebook and has a uniquely strong capability to tap into mobile “storytelling” to augment data (especially geo-data) to fortify cross-device insights with Facebook Insights (think purchase data). This combination can be an incredibly powerful for tool for marketers. As marketers, we have become better at understanding our data streams and applying smart strategies and tactics to drive engagement and purchase. Search and social have been a proving ground for following intentions all the way to purchase. As search evolves outside of “traditional” search into platforms such as Instagram (note no search available on Snapchat), marketers will have more ammunition to target audiences and truly track path to purchase while giving attribution to the right events.

I love both Snapchat and Instagram, but the amazing cross-device, geo-targeting and massive network effect of Instagram+Facebook is why I’m betting on Instagram in the long game.

As marketers, you should already be well underway in testing and learning with these platforms and have deft understanding of your first-party data and how it can be combined with the ever increasing rich data set derived from helping consumers tell their stories. Holiday 2016 should be your best season ever with all the tools you have at your disposal. Are you ready?

Reposted from my published artciles on Mediapost and Medium

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What Was Old Is New Again: Pokémon Is Back!

I never played Pokémon when I was young and never really understood what the craze was about. And while I’m not among the millions in the United States who have downloaded the Pokémon Go app, I love what Pokémon Go represents for the brand and enthusiasts. What started as a simple game from Nintendo over 20 years ago and gained a lot of followers among kids and tweens worldwide has now revived the brand with a location-based, augmented reality app. And unless you live under a rock, you will have no doubt seen the news across nearly every media outlet. Pokémon Go has made national headlines across the world in the last week.

For those who aren’t familiar with Pokemon Go is, here’s a short overview:

Once a user downloads Pokémon Go to their smartphone, they are prompted to turn on location services. Once location services are on, users will see a location-aware map with other players in the real world where they can go out and look for Pokémon characters. Once they get to a specified place, players point their phone camera to “find” Pokémon in the real world in an augmented reality-playing environment. Players then shoot a ball to capture the Pokémon and collect awards.

Why all the fuss over a “kids” game that now has a smartphone app? For starters, the app, which just launched a week ago has over 11 million daily active users. In the app world, that is rocket ship growth that any app or media property would love to have in a year, let alone a week! To provide some context, according to data from SensorTower, Pokémon Go is already bigger than the dating app Tinder, as big as Snapchat and Google Maps and about to overtake Twitter. And Pokémon Go players are spending an average of 43 minutes per day using the app. That daily usage rate outpaces WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat and FB Messenger! The cherry on the top is that it’s not just kids and tweens playing this game, it’s a lot of adults and new users to the Pokémon franchise.

As any marketer that has launched an app will tell you, two of the biggest success metrics for apps are downloads and daily active users (DAUs) or monthly active users (MAUs). Achieving download goals are hard enough. Many marketers spend millions of dollars just to drive downloads; it’s not uncommon for costs to hit $20 per download. The bigger challenge is getting users to actually keep using an app after download and that is where the vast majority of apps fail unless they have a high utility value (e.g., Tinder, WhatsApp, Messenger, etc.). Pokémon Go daily users are spending 40+ minutes each day!

Again, to provide some perspective, below is a chart from SensorTower showing Daily Usage Time of Pokémon Go vs. Social Media Apps.

Pokémon Go news stories have been making the nightly news across all the network and cable news channels about the craze and how app users are having fun in droves as well as some questionable issues arising from playing an augmented reality game in public spaces. I was nearly shamed for not playing the game by a fellow UberPool rider earlier this week, while she was looking to snag another Pokémon in the Uber. And while I’m not playing (yet), I can think of myriad ways marketers can engage and follow the lead of the Pokémon Go augmented reality app.

On a basic level, brands with location-based presence can engage with promotions. Outdoor apparel brands could leverage the location-based aspect to engage with players in parks and resorts around the globe. QSR brands could offer a limited-time experience to help drive short-term traffic and sales goals. Marketers looking for more ideas need only to listen to what Pokémon Go players are saying on across social channels about how they are engaging with the game and what types of experiences they are creating. Smart marketers will listen and respond from the plethora of ideas being shared in the community.

While I have never been a Pokémon fan, this augmented reality app has been a great way to re-introduce adults and kids to a great brand franchise in a smart and meaningful way with a technology (augmented reality) that the average consumer has had little experience with until last week. Perhaps we’re at a tipping point for the “general release” of augmented reality for the masses.

A Perfect Trifecta For Live-Streaming: Video, Image, Messaging

My latest Marketing:Entertainment post from @Mediapost

In the past week, I’ve been talking with a lot of my marketer and ad-tech friends across Silicon Valley and Madison Ave. Much of the conversation starts with, “Did you see Mary Meeker’s 2016 Internet Trends Report?” “What do you think?” Of course, I’ve seen it! My hunch is that nearly everyone reading this post has seen it, at least in some part. Meeker’s annual report is akin to everyone waiting eagerly to see if Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow every year. Of course, Meeker’s report has much more accurate prognostications than the weather predictions of a furry rodent.

I typically ask friends, “What about the report did you find most interesting?” Several conversations have focused on mobile, media and entertainment, specifically with regard to trends and topics I’ve discussed here over the past 18 months. Here are a couple of areas from the report that get me excited and why I’m so bullish on the convergence of mobile, video, entertainment and how brands have only begun to engage.

The report showed how smartphones are increasingly used to combine several powerful storytelling tools via camera + storytelling + creativity + messaging across a social platform with network effect. Meeker mentioned that she and her team believe Snapchat has a “perfect trifecta” for this, (especially given their daily video growth rate). Snapchat has come a long way pretty fast, since starting with personal stories, then personal plus professional, and now curated live stories with Discover, which brands can sponsor.

While Snapchat may have the perfect trifecta, the other services highlighted in the report such as Instagram, Periscope and Facebook-Live all represent a similar theme of incredibly high user growth (daily) and the chance for brands to find unique ways to help users engage with consumers. For example, “Love at First Bite” from KFC, and “World AIDS Day – Join the Fight” from (RED) had tremendous lift and engagement for those respective brands.

Of course, the report also highlighted Candace Payne in the Chewbacca mask and how that user-generated content demonstrated a new order of magnitude to viewing and sharing. I have long mentioned these tools as great ways to help consumers engage with each other as well as with brands. But we are still only at the tip of the iceberg.

Meeker went on to talk about the impact of a paradigm shift for live broadcasting. The advent of Periscope, Facebook-Live and Twitter’s integration of near real-time replays (now real-time as well) is changing how consumers can engage with each other for live events as well as share. Again, we’ve seen this coming as I have pointed out in a few posts. And as frequent readers of my column know, I have been very bullish on the opportunities for live events + streaming + sharing.

As Meeker pointed out, “Live sports viewing has always been social. In many ways it’s just getting started.” I couldn’t agree more. She highlighted how viewers are able to watch live events from the sidelines, live-stream and wrap it all with social media tools and share in real-time. As brands get behind this for the upcoming sports and other big live event season, we start to see just how big an impact it will have.

The big platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram) will be rolling out new features in the coming months for the Fall sports season. The NFL will be broadcasting Thursday night games live on Twitter and functionality will include (not confirmed) live analysis, replays and notifications. Remember when I wrote about Twitter’s acquisition of SnappyTV to build out their replay services? Bundle those replay services with live broadcasts and more sharing tools, and this season’s social sharing for big games and other live events should be through the roof.

These are just two areas of real-time video, messaging and sharing that marketers should be very excited about testing in the second half of this year and certainly well beyond. We are still early in this space and there is a lot to be built and designed. The more brands get in early and test, the better chances they have for helping guide platform partners like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and many others. There are going to be a lot more tools for brands and their agencies to come up with cool and compelling ways to engage with consumers.

I encourage you to review “The 2016 Internet Trends Report” as a way to start thinking how you will engage in a rapidly growing marketing and entertainment realm.

The Whale vs. The Snail (and an ice cream cone)

March 12, 2014 9 comments

Earlier this week, Twitter went down for for some folks, including me. I couldn’t help notice that their design team updated the familiar “fail whale” with a new cartoon featuring a snail and ice cream cone. (there’s a making for a bad joke). Personally, I like the fail whale better, because, well, I’m used to it and like many I don’t always like change.

IMHO from a messaging perspective, the snail and ice cream cone do much better job conveying that Twitter is down or has a glitch vs. a while being suspended by struggling birds (read: we’re struggling over here).

Here’s to hoping we don’t see much of the snail and ice cream cone in 2014

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iOS 7.1 Tips and tricks

March 11, 2014 1 comment

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I upgraded to iOS 7.1 this week I have to say I really like the new features and UX upgrades. Many of the updates that you will notice are UX related and the iOS team has done a good job. There are many other feature updates that you may notice for a while since they are future focused and nuanced and hard to find. For example unless you already are using services such as accessibility, you won’t notice or find the feature updates.

Here are some links to the best update reviews I’ve seen

Brad Reed’s iOS blog – he always does solid reviews and has great videos that get to the heart of the matter. Here’s his review of the iOS 7.1 updates, including a video overview

Cult of Mac – these guys usually have pretty succinct reviews and they hit all the main points for the iOS 7.1 update. Here is their review.

Pocket-Lint – always like reading review from these guys – solid and usually have several good screen shots. This iOS 7.1 review is another great one from Pocket-Lint

Enjoy!

Great shot from Mobile Media Summit in San Francisco

February 2, 2014 1 comment

Somebody in the audience captured a good shot of the panel I was on at the Mobile Media Summit in San Francisco

Doug Chavez at Mobile Media Summit, San Francisco

Doug Chavez at Mobile Media Summit, San Francisco

Beloit College’s Mindset List – Clues to Class of 2017

August 20, 2013 8 comments

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Each year Beloit College publishes their a list of interesting facts & trivia (those who know me, know I love random facts and trivia), that shape the way the incoming class may think. I especially like the list for the class of 2017

The Mindset List for the Class of 2017

For this generation of entering college students, born in 1995, Dean Martin, Mickey Mantle, and Jerry Garcia have always been dead.

1. Eminem and LL Cool J could show up at parents’ weekend.
2. They are the sharing generation, having shown tendencies to share everything, including possessions, no matter how personal.
3. GM means food that is Genetically Modified.
4. As they started to crawl, so did the news across the bottom of the television screen.
5. “Dude” has never had a negative tone.
6. As their parents held them as infants, they may have wondered whether it was the baby or Windows 95 that had them more excited.
7. As kids they may well have seen Chicken Run but probably never got chicken pox.
8. Having a chat has seldom involved talking.
9. Gaga has never been baby talk.
10. They could always get rid of their outdated toys on eBay.
11. They have known only two presidents.
12. Their TV screens keep getting smaller as their parents’ screens grow ever larger.
13. PayPal has replaced a pen pal as a best friend on line.
14. Rites of passage have more to do with having their own cell phone and Skype accounts than with getting a driver’s license and car.
15. The U.S. has always been trying to figure out which side to back in Middle East conflicts.
16. A tablet is no longer something you take in the morning.
17. Threatening to shut down the government during Federal budget negotiations has always been an anticipated tactic.
18. Growing up with the family dog, one of them has worn an electronic collar, while the other has toted an electronic lifeline.
19. Plasma has never been just a bodily fluid.
20. The Pentagon and Congress have always been shocked, absolutely shocked, by reports of sexual harassment and assault in the military.
21. Spray paint has never been legally sold in Chicago.
22. Captain Janeway has always taken the USS Voyager where no woman or man has ever gone before.
23. While they’ve grown up with a World Trade Organization, they have never known an Interstate Commerce Commission.
24. Courts have always been ordering computer network wiretaps.
25. Planes have never landed at Stapleton Airport in Denver.
26. Jurassic Park has always had rides and snack bars, not free-range triceratops and velociraptors.
27. Thanks to Megan’s Law and Amber Alerts, parents have always had community support in keeping children safe.
28. With GPS, they have never needed directions to get someplace, just an address.
29. Java has never been just a cup of coffee.
30. Americans and Russians have always cooperated better in orbit than on earth.
31. Olympic fever has always erupted every two years.
32. Their parents have always bemoaned the passing of precocious little Calvin and sarcastic stuffy Hobbes.
33. In their first 18 years, they have watched the rise and fall of Tiger Woods and Alex Rodriquez.
34. Yahoo has always been looking over its shoulder for the rise of “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.”
35. Congress has always been burdened by the requirement that they comply with the anti-discrimination and safety laws they passed for everybody else to follow.
36. The U.S. has always imposed economic sanctions against Iran.
37. The Celestine Prophecy has always been bringing forth a new age of spiritual insights.
38. Smokers in California have always been searching for their special areas, which have been harder to find each year.
39. They aren’t surprised to learn that the position of Top Spook at the CIA is an equal opportunity post.
40. They have never attended a concert in a smoke-filled arena.
41. As they slept safely in their cribs, the Oklahoma City bomber and the Unabomber were doing their deadly work.
42. There has never been a national maximum speed on U.S. highways.
43. Don Shula has always been a fine steak house.
44. Their favorite feature films have always been largely, if not totally, computer generated.
45. They have never really needed to go to their friend’s house so they could study together.
46. They have never seen the Bruins at Boston Garden, the Trailblazers at Memorial Coliseum, the Supersonics in Key Arena, or the Canucks at the Pacific Coliseum.
47. Dayton, Ohio, has always been critical to international peace accords.
48. Kevin Bacon has always maintained six degrees of separation in the cinematic universe.
49. They may have been introduced to video games with a new Sony PlayStation left in their cribs by their moms.
50. A Wiki has always been a cooperative web application rather than a shuttle bus in Hawaii.
51. The Canadian Football League Stallions have always sung Alouette in Montreal after bidding adieu to Baltimore.
52. They have always been able to plug into USB ports
53. Olestra has always had consumers worried about side effects.
54. Washington, D.C., tour buses have never been able to drive in front of the White House.
55. Being selected by Oprah’s Book Club has always read “success.”
56. There has never been a Barings Bank in England.
57. Their parents’ car CD player is soooooo ancient and embarrassing.
58. New York’s Times Square has always had a splash of the Magic Kingdom in it.
59. Bill Maher has always been politically incorrect.
60. They have always known that there are “five hundred, twenty five thousand, six hundred minutes” in a year.

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