Instagram Gives Brands Campaign Data Tools

When Facebook bought Instagram back in April 2012, it was hoped that Instagram would very soon get the robust tools and access to data that marketers were happy to get from Facebook. It appears the time has finally come for brands to get these tools on Instagram as well, a growing platform that has become something of a marketer’s best friend. The platform boasts some very high engagement rates, quickly catching up to Twitter in terms of users in the U.S. With only 71 percent of the Interbrand 100 brands on the platform, this may be the extra nudge that was needed to rope in the other 29 percent. After all, the ads have been proven to get some great results for a typically elusive audience.

The data is available in real-time and will give marketers access to figures like impressions, reach and engagement on both paid and unpaid posts. Marketers will also be able to preview ads before they even run to ensure quality.

Instagram discussed the new tools in a blog post yesterday: “An advertiser will now have access to a real-time campaign summary and data showing how their target audience is responding to each of their sponsored photos. Also, brand marketers will be able to better understand the best time of day to post a photo or video.”

Instagram has ramped up brand activity on the platform significantly recently, with a 49 percent year over year jump in brand posts with nearly 3 times as many actions on those posts than on similar posts on Facebook. Some concerns have been raised recently that with this significant brand activity growth, there is also the negative side effect on overall quality of the platform as brand imposters are also flooding the platform. We may soon see verified accounts on Instagram similar to Twitter and Facebook to solve this issue, but in the meantime brands are policing their reputations on the platform.

A look at Instagram's new brand insights dashboard.A look at Instagram’s new brand insights dashboard.

Source: AdWeek

‘Yoga Retreat’ Having A Real Effect

Yoga can be a great exercise to get into, even though not everyone “gets it” or has the effort to keep up with it. However, a new mobile release could inspire more players to get into it, as part of a way to get into the action.

Yoga Retreat is available now for iOS devices {link no longer active}, and serves as the “world’s first yoga-themed mobile-simulation game.” Developed by Finnish team Gajatri Studios, the game combines animated instructional yoga videos with a management simulation system that lets players design their own special yoga retreat on a tropical island, complete with smoothie station. (Lightweight smoothies, obviously.)

With this station, players will be able to manage their resort down to the last detail, while assisting would-be customers and expanding their resort to even greater heights.

So far, the game has done quite well getting people into the spirit of yoga in other markets, with 20 percent of players reportedly taking part in the activities that are featured within the game.

“Our goal is to be the healthy choice for mobile gamers worldwide,” said Tiina Zilliacus, founder and chief executive officer for Gajatri Studios. “This product will evolve both as a fun simulation game and as a casual health experience.”

Zilliacus is no stranger to yoga, as she’s certified in the exercise and helped put together the game to attract a female audience, even though males can play it too. Female audiences are big in mobile games right now, especially with Kim Kardashian Hollywood raking in over $200,000 on a daily basis.

“Once I started to look around (at) what mobile apps and games are available, I found the female games audience to be poorly understood and under catered with topics women are really interested in,” said Zilliacus.

The game is available now, and free-to-play, with in-game microtransactions for additional items. You can check out the trailer below to get an idea of how it works. Stretch!


Acura Lets You Build Cars With Tweets

Making the ideal car can be a strenuous process, especially when it comes to browsing through the various details and putting everything just the way it should be. Not to mention paying for it, which can be a struggle in itself. However, Acura has come up with a unique way for you to create a vehicle with very minimal effort.

The car manufacturer has launched a new program where you can modify your own 2015 TLX performance luxury sedan (well, virtually, anyway) by simply putting together characters in Twitter.

“Here’s something you haven’t seen before. Configure your dream 2015 Acura TLX below without ever leaving Twitter,” the company said in a tweet from its official account.

So here’s how it works for users. First, they pick which engine they prefer for the car (either a 206 HP four-cylinder or 290 HP-V6). From there, they can use which kind of steering they want, between Precision All-Wheel and Super Handling. Next up is exterior color, with black, metallic and blue choices available. After choosing these three items, users will see a final image of their vehicle, which they can then tweet out to their friends however they see fit.

So maybe it’s not the deepest customization system available, but it does provide users a chance to build somewhat of a dream car with just a few simple keystrokes. Plus, it’s free, up until you want to buy the car, that is, so it never hurts to dream and see what you can build.

The campaign, put together by the team at Mullen, is the biggest for Acura to date, as it utilizes both promoted tweets and accounts alike. The company’s Facebook page will also keep busy with TLX videos, as well as spots on television.

Michael Accavitti, senior vice president and general manager for Acura, said, “The TLX heralds a new era for the Acura sedan lineup and the scale of the marketing effort behind the launch signifies the importance of the model both to the brand and its position within the luxury sedan market.”

So, get to building!

Source: Digiday

#MustReads for August 22

Here’s some of the interesting stories we found this week rummaging in the odd corners of the Internet. There’s some deep thoughts and a laugh or two for you to digest this weekend:

The Internet’s Original Sin: It was advertising, according to Ethan Zuckerman, one of the architects of this. It’s a long piece that’s thought-provoking. What should the Internet be like

Social Media Marketing is Dead: Jeff Fromm has an interesting take on this. Don’t be wary of the headline. Social media marketing isn’t dead, per se. It’s just a component of your ‘content excellence’ strategy.

Swing Copters, clones and the dismal failure of the ‘open’ app store: Ben Kuchera at Polygon tells it like he sees it. The trouble with an ‘open’ app store is the variety of attempts to mislead consumers trying to find the real game.

Ad of the Day: Bryan Cranston and Arron Paul Reunite in Audi’s Hilarious Emmys Promo: One of the best ads we’ve seen in a while, with a great twist at the end.

Does Journalism Have A Future : Something to consider when you think about the future of media.

SuperData July 2014: U.S. Digital Sales Rise

Analysis from SuperData CEO, Joost van Dreunen, follows:

Overall digital games sales reach $851 million in July, up six percent compared to the same month last year. As the market ramps up for the holiday season, we anticipate a further drop in August after which spending will climb to an estimated $1.2 billion in December.

Despite a pickup in the social and mobile categories, good for a combined $442 million in spending (July 2014), the strain among major publishers to maintain earlier growth levels is starting to show. Because of a lack of new title releases, Grand Theft Auto V managed to wiggle its way back into the number three slot of top downloaded digital titles, following FIFA 14 and with Minecraft at the top of the charts.

Major publishers’ transition to digital in full swing
Several of the major Western publishers released their quarterly figures, showing an increased reliance on digital channels. Electronic Arts benefited from the worldwide attention for soccer as FIFA Ultimate Team drove the success of its digital category. It also provided an answer to the question of whether digital distribution improves margins by posting a record-breaking 70 percent gross margin for the quarter. In addition, the company reported a growth in full game downloads, as EA’s digital revenue for the quarter reached $482 million.

Competitors Activision and Take-Two Interactive also posted higher than expected digital revenues, indicating that the major publishing houses in the West are well on their way toward a predominantly digital publishing model. Digital laggard Ubisoft posted $112 million in digital revenues, largely because of the success of Watch Dogs. Nonetheless, the publisher has still some work to do if it’s going to catch up on its peers.

Have a go at the buffet while you wait for 2015, says EA
Perhaps in an attempt to placate gamer sentiment, Electronic Arts announced its plans to offer several of its staple titles via its EA Access subscription plan on Xbox One. Despite the euphoria of reporting higher than expected revenue in its most recent quarterly earnings statement, the company postponed several key titles. Arguing that it wanted to further polish its games and incorporate feedback it had received during E3, Dragon Age: Inquisition was moved to November this year and Battlefield Hardline to March, 2015. Moreover, several of its key franchises suffered from a poor launch (NBA Live 14, Battlefield 4) and the absence of NCAA Football 15 depressed overall sales in the US.

EA Access is likely to attract a subset of core players, but is unlikely to get traction with a larger audience as gamers are increasingly hesitant to commit to monthly payments. Finally, given Sony’s reservation with regards the value of the EA Access proposition, it raises the question of whether EA can successfully offset a delay in title releases with incremental subscription revenue.

Player 3 enters the game: Can Smite become the third most popular MOBA eSports title
With a prize pool of $600,000 for its upcoming world championship, the mythology-inspired Smite is quickly becoming one of the more popular MOBA titles for competitive gaming. Its traction with gamer audiences raises the question as to what the future of MOBA eSports will look like: will competitive gaming settle around a single game like League of Legends, or will it allow for several titles within the same category, each with slightly different game mechanics and rulesets For now, it appears there is enough appetite out there to sustain a fragmented market around a myriad of games.

The MOBA category is still growing, with category leader League of Legends growing to 78 million monthly actives last month. Smite currently hovers around one million monthly actives since its launch in March earlier this year, and still has some ways to go. But it took DOTA 2 only about a year and a half to get from 1.5 monthly actives to 9 million (July 2014). In the long term, the interests of advertisers may force eSports to consolidate and reduce the friction of a fragmented audience. But with a few exceptions, advertisers have been slow to capitalize on competitive gaming.

Social and mobile gaming increasingly resemble traditional publishing
Zynga announced several delays in order “to improve product quality and customer experience.” Such a statement is common in the console market, but for a social game publisher to push back a release date is odd: social games are continuously updated and optimized post-launch. The decision suggests that social gaming is starting to resemble traditional publishing. As the social games market reaches saturation, companies increasingly rely on the effectiveness of their initial marketing push to establish market share and a sustainable user base. In addition, marketing expenses continue to grow: the CPI for social games in the US reached $2.25 (June 2014), the highest it’s been in over a year.

King’s situation proved no better. Following a successful start for Farm Hero Saga, which reached a peak of 30 million monthly actives on social (May 2014), the game’s player base has started to erode at a rate of approximately 4 percent in the last two months, dropping to 28.1 million actives in July. In tandem, Candy Crush Saga on Facebook dipped under $20 million in monthly earnings.

Some thoughts from SuperData’s CEO on the July report:

[a]listdaily: How is World of Warcraft holding the #1 slot against League of Legends and DOTA 2 How big a boost is Warlords of Draenor going to give World of Warcraft, and how long will it last?

Joost van Dreunen: World of Warcraft lives in a different category, both from a game mechanical and monetization perspective. Its strength lies in its loyal user base, which by now consists mostly of veteran players who like to hang out together. There’s no comparable socializing on League of Legends or DOTA 2, as these games cater to a different gamer type. New content releases always do wonders for World of Warcraft, but at this point in its lifecycle we’re expecting it to be lower and shorter than the previous ones.

[a]listdaily: There’s been speculation about possible subscription plans for regular content drops, perhaps for titles like Destiny. Do you think that will be tried, or is a monthly subscription just going to disappear all around?

Joost van Dreunen: I have no doubt that publishers will try different subscription-based offerings: from a financial standpoint it makes sense, and it helps qualify dedicated gamers. However, we are still a long way from game publishers adopting a similar model as premium TV networks, even though I do think that’s a feasible strategy.

[a]listdaily: Candy Crush Saga is losing some steam — will it start to drop in the rankings Is Clash of Clans holding steady or improving, or is it, too beginning to decline Do you see turnover in the mobile Top Ten increasing, diminishing, or staying the same over the next six months

Joost van Dreunen: Titles like Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans will decline at a slow pace. Unlike the short-lived success of mobile titles like Flappy Bird, these blockbuster hits will continue to claim both time and wallet share, giving King and Supercell time to come up with the next title. Over the next six months we’re expecting to see turnover in bottom half of the top ten, especially toward the holiday season.

Is Twitter The Only Authentic Platform With Its User Content?

If you are an avid Facebook user you have undoubtedly seen an abundance of “Ice Bucket Challenge” videos flood your timeline for the past week and a half. If you are an avid Twitter user, however, chances are most of your updates have consisted of the recent shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

But why? Well, (believe it or not) there is a method to this madness.

According to a piece done by Digiday, a social media analytics company called SimpleReach has provided data that suggests, while there have been far more stories published about Ferguson over the past week and a half, Ferguson stories are far less popular on Facebook than Ice Bucket Challenge content.

Ferguson stories have generated an average of 256 Facebook referrals, while Ice Bucket Challenge stories are garnering an average of 2,106. More so, Ice bucket stories have received a greater number of Facebook interactions ( likes, shares, comments) with an average of 796 compared to Ferguson stories with 518.

This being said, Twitter has generated over 3.6 million Ferguson-related tweets sent between Aug. 9 (the day Brown was killed), and Aug. 17, compared with 2.3 million Ice Bucket Challenge tweets, via Digiday.

The reason for this Twitter is a platform that consists of an unfiltered stream of everyone a user follows. Facebook, on the other hand, has an algorithm that selects specific content to show its users. Additionally, Twitter provides analytics companies access to its data, while Facebook does not provide complete access.

These differences tell us is that there is something fundamental about the two platforms. According to Razorfish’s senior director Matt Heindl, a key element is that Facebook is “a place for friends and family and fun,” Heindl told Digiday. “People want it to be their happy place.” Or, in other words, aside from election season, Facebook is a forum that doesn’t provide hard news.

As a member of the public, this leaves you questioning the quality of Facebook’s content. While content involving the militarization of the police and America’s painful racial history may indeed seem out of place next to wedding photos and relationship statuses, Facebook’s inability to present such topical conversations undermines its recent efforts to become a authentic news source.

According to group director of social and content strategy at DigitasLBi Jill Sherman, Facebook’s algorithm “may actually hinder the ability to surface breaking-news stories.”

“Facebook has a few more kinks to work out if it intends to be a more serious breaking-news outlet,” said Sherman. “But there’s value to both the way Facebook is set up and the way Twitter is set up. People are at each for different reasons.”

This all implicates that relying solely on Facebook’s algorithmic content streams can result in a kind of censorship. Users are deprived a choice in what they get to see, whereas anything goes on Twitter.
Source: Digiday

HP Makes TV Ad Entirely Of Vines

Hewlett-Packard has enlisted some social media star-power for its latest campaign.

About a week and a half ago, HP unveiled a new 30-second spot for the Pavilion x360 — a notebook that can also turn into a tablet — made entirely out of Vines.

Since then, the software company has teamed up with several famous Viners to promote the notebook on its own personal Vine account. If you visit HP’s Vine, you will see the likes of Zach King, Brodie Smith, and Robby Ayala all pushing the new the Pavilion x360 while showing off their Vine-ing abilities and including a #BendTheRules hashtag {link no longer active}.

Take a look at some of the best ones below and let us know what you think in the comments.

Leak Reveals More Info On YouTube’s Music Service

by Jessica Klein

Following a number of rumors about YouTube’s upcoming subscription music service, we might finally have some concrete information on how the service will function. Based on leaked images of the service published by Android Police, here’s what you should know about the upcoming music service:

It will go by the name YouTube Music Key, prompting Google Play Music All Access to rebrand to Google Play Music Key. There will be a month-long free trial for users, after which they’ll have to shell out $9.99 per month (the same as a monthly subscription to Spotify) to maintain access to music from both YouTube Music Key and Google Play Music Key. The service will offer ad-free music for users, along with audio-only and offline playback.

youtube music keyyy

Meanwhile, it appears that Google has already bought the rights to domain name The service will include upwards of 20 million tracks, according to the images taken by Android Police, along with plenty of video, such as concert footage, covers, and remixes. This type of content will be somewhat unique to the YouTube service, as the platform already marks a place where covers and music collaborations thrive.

An abundance of these videos, along with concert vids, will separate YouTube Music Key from the likes of iTunes and Spotify. Naturally, YouTube’s “related videos” suggestions will play into the format of the subscription service, as well.

youtube music key google proof

Google has yet to announce the debut of YouTube Music Key. Talk of indie artists no longer being able to feature their music/videos on YouTube may count as a cause of the service’s delayed premiere.

YouTube has already signed deals to include artists from major labels like Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony Music Group in its subscription service.


*Images from Android Police.

This article was originally posted on VideoInk and is reposted on [a]listdaily via a partnership with the news publication, which is the online video industry’s go-to source for breaking news, features, and industry analysis. Follow VideoInk on Twitter @VideoInkNews, or subscribe via for the latest news and stories, delivered right to your inbox.

Sony Ponders 10 Million PS4 Sales

By now you’ve heard the news that Sony has managed to sell ten million units of its PlayStation 4 console in just under a year of its release, signifying a huge turnaround success for the company since its PlayStation 3 days. However, that goal hasn’t always been easy to attain, especially with oft-delayed projects like DriveClub (which is arriving later this year) and The Last Guardian (which is still delayed) affecting potential for the system.

Shuhei Yoshida

Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida recently expressed gratitude for the sales, and also explored the idea that it could affect long-term sales.

“The 10m sell through in the first nine months is well beyond what we had hoped for,” said Yoshida, speaking with Eurogamer. “As you know, we have struggled to keep up with demand of PS4 for so many months. It was hard to find and purchase PS4. Now we are able to supply units so in every territory I believe you can find PS4. So we just managed to catch up with demand.”

He continued, “It’s just beyond our imagination. We are so happy. But I for one am a bit nervous because we do not completely understand what’s happening. You need to understand why your products are selling well so you can plan for the future, right It defied the conventional thinking. Lots of people thought the dedicated game hardware might not be needed going forward, but still lots of people are very excited. When you see the new games coming out and being announced this E3 and Gamescom, I think there’s a good enough reason for a gamer to believe this is something worth investing in.”

As far as future sales are concerned, Yoshida said, “As soon as we see a great sales number, our instinct tells us we should be concerned about future sales, right Are we exhausting all the core gamers If we sell this number of units, there are no more consumers we can sell to. That’s a really terrifying prospect. So we want to understand who are these consumers who we do not necessarily consider core gamers, who are purchasing PS4 and why they are doing it and what they are doing with PS4, so we can create a bit more of a positive future, rather than saying, wow, we have sold to every single core gamer. So that’s what we are doing.

“At the same time there are many things we are working on to add new features to the firmware and our network services and game catalogues, so we hope we can continue this momentum and reach a wider audience than we were able to do on PS3,” he continued.

The line-up for the forthcoming PS4 holiday season is impressive, but delays for certain projects, like The Order: 1886, have put some things into question. “I was disappointed as well. And our marketing people were disappointed<” he said.

Still, there’s potential for greatness ahead. He believes that “the purchase decision of consoles is a long-term investment. It’s not like a smartphone where every two years you purchase new hardware. So people hopefully are looking at a bit longer term. The Order, it’s not like it disappeared. It moved from Christmas time to February, so it’s two or three more months. It’s looking great.

“And there are games coming out this Christmas from both third parties and first-party,” he continued. “Destiny is a great product. You can play Destiny on other platforms as well, however, we are talking about the breadth of content from both first-party and third-party. When you extend your view to next year’s titles, Bloodborne we are extremely excited about, and Uncharted 4 is coming out. And we have announced other games like Until Dawn and many digital titles. I was so happy to watch the new trailer for Rime. These days indie titles’ quality is so high. It is very hard to tell which is what. Like Wild. So hopefully people see the holistic view of third-party and first party and hopefully they find games available now good enough to spend their time on PS4 this Christmas.

“Another great surprise is the sell-through of The Last of Us. It just released and is doing extremely well. Because so many people didn’t own PS3, for those people who purchased PS4 this is the first opportunity for them to try The Last of Us, one of the best games of the last generation,” he said.

Finally, Yoshida concluded, “We are taking in all these things happening and understanding what consumers on PS4 are enjoying. It’s very encouraging to see the initial sales of PS4 titles. Not just our games but third party games. I wasn’t expecting the first year from the very beginning, when third-party games released on both cross-generations, PS4 versions some of them outsold the PS3 version, like Watch Dogs. It’s an amazingly quick move from PS3 to PS4.”

Source: Eurogamer

Snapchat May Introduce Ads And Videos

A report from The Wall Street Journal indicates that the team at Snapchat is set to introduce a new service this November called Snapchat Discovery, which could open up non-vanishing revenue for the site.

This move, which will introduce monetization to the service, will allow publishers to include ads, video clips and other content with their pictures, expanding on the available services.

With the introduction of the new service, Snapchat is looking to increase its worth, which was already valued at $10 billion, according to investment talks previously held with the Alibaba Group back in June. The site has grown since then in terms of user count, with an increase of more than 50 percent since last year. Some 27 million users now use the site, compared to 11 million from the same time period the year before.

A number of brands interact with Snapchat’s site, including the likes of Groupon with an array of giveaways, as well as promotional partners like AT & T, Wendy’s, General Electric and Sour Patch Kids. InStyle has also recently taken part, revealing its cover for its September issue exclusively through the site.

This is just the latest monetization step for the company, as it previously announced that it was looking for a way to introduce in-app purchases to the service last year. No word yet on when those features are set to launch, but they shouldn’t be far off from the launch of this new initiative.

What do you think? Could such a change to Snapchat’s services be beneficial in terms of how promotional partners benefit and how users post their daily content? Or does it change the basic premise of the site so much that it could be considered a turn-off for its large audience? Only time will tell, but it’s sure to generate some interest either way…

Source: Adweek