Category Archives: Weekly Reads

Lenses are the New Cool Kid on the Block

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Both Snapchat and Pinterest announced new “lenses” in the past week, aimed at improving user experience and engagement. First reactions – both concepts are very impressive. We also highlight the flip side of the coin with brands – how much is too much with creative campaigns, to the point that it turns off audiences? To be sure, we’re walking a fine line in marketing and communications.

Digital Advertising:

Wall Street Journal: The Danger of Assertive Advertising
A new study tells us that consumers are turned off when being told what to do. In fact, one aspect of the study resulted in consumers spending only half as much as a result of more assertive ads. Much like our audience-first approach at CenterTable, it’s a case in point that knowing your audience (how they behave, what they expect and what they want) is always the first strategic step in any marketing communications campaign.

Snapchat:

The Drum: Warner Bros Signs Up as First Advertiser for Snapchat’s Sponsored World Lenses
Snapchat has always been an innovator when it comes to creative features – disappearing photos, stories, filters – and now they’re incorporating augmented reality into their advertising offerings. World Lenses are floating 2D or 3D objects that offer yet another way for users to customize and interact with Snaps. Stay tuned for how much audiences engage on the advertising side, but if the examples in this article are any indication, at the very least they have a “wow” factor.

Pinterest:

MarketingLand: Pinterest Will Use Image Recognition to Target Ads, Including Lens Results
Last year Pinterest began using image recognition technology to suggest related pins for users. Now they’ve upped their game by using their “Lens” technology, providing even more relevant pins (and eventually ads). In their words, “When a potential customer spots a table they like the looks of on Pinterest, visual discovery helps us recognize the style, textures and shapes that make it unique. We can identify it as a ‘rectangular, mid-century modern dining table,’ and show similar products that match the look and feel.”

Trends:

DigiDay: Confessions of a Social Media Editor: “I’m Not Confident This Will be a Real Field Five Years From Now.”
Misery loves company, and sometimes it’s nice to hear that others in our field experience the same headaches as we do. While the headline is a bit misleading (social media editors are not going away, but the position will likely continue to shift along with user behavior), it’s somewhat therapeutic (and definitely interesting) to hear what another social media manager has to deal with daily, how they manage their own social presence, and where they see our industry moving in the future.

On the Blog:

How to Break a World Record
It’s not every day that you get to break a Guinness World Record, but last month, along with our clients at Illuminate Colorado, we did just that. Here’s what we learned.

Creativity, Strategy Top Reasons Companies Work with PR Firms
A new Global Communications Report is out, and it’s a good reminder for all of us to step back from the tactical and spend more time on creativity and strategy.

Project Highlight:

tennyson-center-children-social-media-ads-featuredTennyson Center for Children | Maximizing Year-End Giving Through Social Media Advertising
Tennyson Center for Children (TCC) was approaching the holiday/year-end giving season, a critical fundraising and extremely competitive time for non-profits. TCC and GFM had partnered on a Facebook campaign in 2014 that led to increased engagement and donations. TCC sought to build upon that with CenterTable in 2015.

Stop stalling and create a Snapchat strategy

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Snapchat’s growth has finally slowed and Instagram continues to add features that mimic some of the platform’s most engaging features. But a huge opportunity still exists for marketers willing to create the right kind of content. Snapchat isn’t right for every brand, but if your audience includes anyone under the age of forty you’re missing out on reaching a significant percentage of them on this platform.

Snapchat

Mashable: Snapchat’s new ‘limitless’ snaps will change everything
Instagram and Facebook (among others) have made a living (well, an even better living) ripping off Snapchat, so it only makes sense that Snapchat should attempt to improve on Boomerang, a looping video feature on Instagram. An update to Snapchat released this week brings those looping videos along with “limitless” snaps, emoji doodling and a “magic eraser” tool to the app. The “play forever” option for videos creates a tool very similar to Instagram’s Boomerangs and shows Snapchat isn’t going to take the copycatting lying down. Read more after the jump…

Big or Small Some Digital Strategies Can Work For All

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Just because you’re not an Olympic weight lifter, doesn’t mean you can’t still pick up a five pound weight a few times and benefit from it. Similarly, brands who aren’t necessarily multinational behemoths can still learn lessons from those who are. That’s why it’s worth keeping an eye on what works and what doesn’t – RIP Yik Yak – in the digital space.

Case Studies

The Guardian: That Heineken ad: brewer tackles how to talk to your political opposite
A Heineken UK ad has been getting a lot of attention for the way it brought people of differing social and political opinions together over a beer. This is part of a broader trend that’s likely to stay for a while – brands connecting with customers over deeper topics. Your budget might not equal Heineken’s but you can still use the basic content strategy of making your audience feel something by telling compelling stories.

Read more after the jump…

From Changing Keyword Match Types to Google Algorithm Updates – Get the Latest in Search Engine Marketing

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Finding your audience in search – or more so making it possible for your audience to find you – can be a bit of a moving target. This week we’ve got updates from both the paid (PPC) and organic (SEO) sides of search to keep you on your toes.

Paid Search (PPC)

Wordstream: The Impact of Google’s New Exact-Enough Match Keywords [Data]
If you’ve perfectly honed your keyword targeting and match-type strategy in your PPC account, look out! Google is rolling out changes to its Exact Match keywords and the changes are not exactly what you’d expect.

Read more after the jump…

Using technology to keep up… with technology

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The digital world is changing faster than a cheetah on Red Bull and it can feel impossible to keep up. However, careful planning and an understanding of what is driving your audience, whether it’s sources they trust, amazing photos and experiences or a particular need, can still help marketers connect people to products and brands. Even better, in the not too distant future, technology will help solve the challenges it creates. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can help you reach the right people with the right product at the right time.

Case Studies

USA Today: People Freaking Out Over Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino
Starbucks hopped on the Unicorn food train with a colorful Unicorn frappuccino this week. It had the internet and the brave taste testers in our office buzzing, but the “buzz” may have been from the sugar coated sugar. Either way, they’ve seen plenty of social media conversation from the extremely limited run product. Lessons learned? There is no amount of sugar Americans won’t try. Don’t forget to think about the picture people will take when you’re coming up with ideas. If nothing else the neon Unicorn drink makes great Instagram fodder.

Read more after the jump…

PR Snafus from the Week that Was — and Social Media’s Response to Them

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There’s a social media axiom heavily utilized – some would say over utilized – by those seeking to juxtapose gaffes alongside even bigger gaffes. That term? “Hold my beer.” To say it was used a lot this week might be an understatement. In this week’s editions of Weekly Reads, we take a look at how social media responded to some of the biggest PR snafus from the week that was. 

USA Today: Airlines take to Twitter to exploit United’s misfortune

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz has put his foot in his mouth several times in the wake of a video-taped incident that saw a United passenger dragged off a flight. Munoz may also now regret the time he described his competitors in the Persian Gulf as “not real airlines.” At the very least, it seems Emirates and Royal Jordanian airlines haven’t forgotten about that old comment, as both took to Twitter this week to reexamine it alongside some of United’s recent blunders.

Read more after the jump…

Will Every Social Media Platform Eventually Have “Stories?”

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The big news this week is Facebook adding “Stories” to its main app – copying Instagram, which copied Snapchat. This raises a lot of questions for those of us in the content creation world. As social platforms begin to look more and more like one another it raises two conflicting questions: What’s possibly next, and where does it end? We’re also featuring an article that discusses the fine line between over-sharing and avoiding social media altogether.

Facebook:

AdAge: Facebook Adds Disappearing ‘Stories’ to Main App, Copying Snapchat Yet Again
It was only a matter of time: Facebook Stories are here. The immediate knee jerk reaction is likely, “REALLY!?!? Now we have to create disappearing stories on THREE different platforms!!” But as marketers, we need to remember that our audiences expect different content on different platforms (after all, they are different audiences inherently on each platform), and we can help set expectations for the type, and amount of content we produce for each channel… even if three of them have similar features.

Instagram:

Glossy: How Instagram Beat Out Snapchat as Fashion’s ‘Social Media Darling’
Speaking of competition for “stories,” this article is a great breakdown of how one industry has self-selected Instagram over Snapchat, and how Instagram Stories played a major role in adoption (not to mention the platform’s more “polished” look and feel). A similar sentiment to the story listed above – different audiences are looking for different content on various platforms. At least for today… Instagram boasts an audience with more spending power than Snapchat.

Digital Advertising:

The Drum: Internet Ad Spend to Surpass TV for the First Time in 2017
For those of us born before 1997 (haha), it’s easy to remember the stories about digital advertising’s growth – from double-digits, eventually to “billions” – and now we’re approaching another milestone. As content offerings change user behavior, digital advertising spends are poised to surpass television spends this year.

Trends:

Ad Age: Video: The Darker Side of Data
More time spent on digital platforms means more advertising spend on said platforms. Which begs the question, “Will all of this data and automation lead to mistrust, or consumer backlash, in the future?” This article outlines how a recent murder case in Arkansas was seeking data from an Amazon Echo and explores the line between convenience and privacy. To be sure, “We need to approach these tools and platforms in a way that never breaches the trust, and that we do so in a way that is secure and sustainable.”

On the Blog:

Even Professional Designers Need a Creative Outlet – This week, our creative mind, Ben Hock, explores where a creative type can find some inspiration.

Project Highlight:

ncsl-seo-case-study-e1475013106965National Conference of State Legislatures | SEO
Our team used search engine optimization strategies to boost the wealth of unique content in organic search, leading to increased readership.

Stop and Think Before You Post

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Some of the world’s biggest advertisers have created public relations disasters for themselves by entrusting the wrong people with their social media accounts, not thinking critically about what they were posting or tackling issues they shouldn’t. Treat this as a reminder to mitigate backlash on social media by solidifying your voice and keeping content consistent with your brand. Always do research when you are unsure about what you’re addressing, or don’t address it at all. Finally, don’t mix up Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg. C’mon man!

Social Media Fails

Entrepreneur: The 12 Worst Social Media Fails of 2016
Entrepreneur offers a reminder of what big brands did wrong last year, and the fallout that ensued. Although many of the examples seem unbelievable, they could easily happen to any brand that doesn’t take the necessary steps to fortify their messaging.

Twitter

The Verge: Twitter Might Build a Paid Subscription Service for Power Users
Brands and news organizations will likely be able to pay for an optimized version of Tweetdeck that will allow them to more easily access analytics and alerts. The company is currently conducting a survey with select users to see what new features would be most welcome.

Digital Trends: Twitter Says It Shuttered 377,000 Accounts that Promoted Terrorism
Twitter has been accused in the past of not doing enough to combat extremist activity, but its most recent transparency report states that it closed nearly 377,000 accounts between July and December 2016 due to material promoting terrorism.

Instagram

Digital Trends: Instagram Is Rolling Out New Safety Features, Will Blur ‘Sensitive Content’
Although it hasn’t specified what “sensitive” means, Instagram is attempting to avoid unwanted content from appearing on users’ feeds by placing filters over images that might be offensive.

On the GFM/CenterTable Blog:

Project Highlight:

cocd-website-featuredCenter for Out-Of-Court Divorce | Website Design & Development
Our team brought COCD’s brand guidelines to life by incorporating photography that exemplifies their mission and advances their message to key audiences. And, as a new organization, our team continues to work with COCD to optimize and update the website to suit their needs as they grow.

Weekly Reads – South By Southwest Interactive Edition

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Two CenterTable team members, 5 days, 29 caffeinated beverages and 107,855 combined steps. Jim and Carissa took South By Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) conference by storm last week and have plenty to share in its wake.

If you were suffering from a major case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) about SXSWi, you were not alone! That’s why Jim and Carissa made it a priority to chronicle their entire week in Austin – including everything from the best sessions all the way down to the best libations – on the GroundFloor Media & CenterTable blog! Check it out! Read more after the jump…

From Beta to Bots, Teens to Tricks – What’s Happening in Social Media This Week

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It’s hard to believe, but we’re only weeks away from the end of the first quarter of 2017! Now that we’re well on our way into the “New Year”, how are your social media plans going? Have you tried something new? If so, how are you measuring for success? We might be early in the year, but if you’re hoping to track trends now is the time to capture metrics from January and February before the details slip away from you. And if you need help, your friends at CenterTable are at the ready! In the meantime, we’ve pulled together some highlights in social media news this week. Read more after the jump…