Snapchat Offers Enticing Native Advertising Model

By Jody Simon

Native advertising is one of the hottest topics in digital media, and platforms working to find innovative, organic ways to deliver robust digital advertising campaigns have taken notice.

Native advertising is a form of online advertising that closely resembles the form and function of the platform on which it appears. By creating ads in the same format as the content the users are there to consume, brands hope to provide a more organic advertising experience. With native advertising, brands experience above average user engagement, drawing higher click rates and shares.

While banner ads and online video pre-rolls may have some interactivity, they are not really all that different from traditional magazine ads and TV commercials. Even so, traditional forms of digital advertising take on extra power from improved targeting with consumer engagement, realizing an average of $3 on incremental sales for every $1 spent on advertising, according to Nielsen. This return on investment is why digital platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Hulu, Snapchat and others constantly look for novel new ways to generate revenue through advertising. Their next step is to combine demographic targeting with native formats to further consumer engagement in more organic ways.

The challenge for many digital advertising platforms is to exploit the advantages of consumer targeting while delivering an authentic connection with users, rather than delivering advertising content that feels like a creepy big brother watching every move. When computerized algorithms track clicks and likes, the distinction between traditional and native advertising can be painfully apparent. For example, if you type in a search for information on franchising a business, every pop-up and banner ad for the next month will be about franchising. Many users find these unwanted ads uncomfortable and intrusive. But how can companies cut through the content clutter to deliver their message effectively

Keep reading…

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.

EA Sports and Uber Partner To Deliver Free Copies of Madden NFL 16

EA Sports has already begun its huge marketing blitz for its forthcoming football game Madden NFL 16, which drops in stores (and digital release) later tonight. The game has a number of promising new additions to get the most out of players’ football skills, and it also opens up plenty of opportunities on the marketing side. Like, for instance, with Uber.

Per this post on the Uber blog, EA Sports has announced that it has teamed up with Uber to deliver copies of the game to fans that take a ride with the service today. Available across all 32 cities, the promotion will literally deliver hundreds of copies of the game.

In addition, one particular rider in each state will get an ultimate Xbox One prize pack, including a 1TB Xbox One console with a copy of the game, delivered by a current or former NFL superstar, including Ickey Woods, Derrick Brooks and Coby Fleener.

To take part, users simply need to download the Uber app for their mobile device, enter the promo code “Madden NFL’, and request the ride. The full list of promotional codes by city can be found here.

It’s a unique promotion, one that not only promotes Uber consumers into using its service, but also Madden itself. Usually, EA Sports has turned to food and drink makers to promote its product, but this marks a neat new twist in its campaign.

EA Sports is going all out to promote Madden, as it’s expected to sell millions of copies, as versions from year before have done. As part of this promotion, the publisher released a new mini-movie trailer, featuring Dave Franco, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, coach Rex Ryan and a variety of NFL superstars doing wacky stuff as they prepare to do battle with an ultimate competitor. That video can be watched below.


Is Instagram Getting Oversaturated?

Instagram has been in the news a lot lately, between its new brand engagement programs and its recent surge in display ad revenue {links no longer active}. However, not all the news is good for the media-driven site.

Findings from Locowise indicate that both growth and engagement for Instagram have dropped off quite a bit last month. How bad Let’s look at the numbers.

Looking across 2,500 Instagram profiles and tracking their progress throughout the month, Locowise found that average follower growth dwindled down to just .34 percent, down 77 percent from May.

In addition, organic growth also took a nosedive, dropping from 1.95 percent in April to below .35 percent in July. It was gradual at first, going down to 1.48 percent in May, but then dropped a full percentage point in June, down to .49. That said, Locowise did note that it’s still better than the .21 percent organic page likes growth on Facebook, and the .19 percent growth on Twitter.

As far as engagement goes, it declined in general, down from 2.8 percent back in April to 2.12 percent in July. That still shows improvement over Facebook (.52 percent) and Twitter (.15 percent), but there are still signs for concern.

Other statistics that came from the report are as follows:

  • The 2,500 profiles Locowise studied posted 2.39 posts per day on average
  • 93.29 percent of all the posts were images, while 11.28 percent of all comments were on videos, despite video being only 6.71 percent of all content posted
  • 97.64 percent of all interactions were likes, 2.36 percent were comments and the response time for the first comment to be posted was 49 seconds on average-Photos engaged 2.16 percent of followers on average, while videos engaged 1.58 percent
  • Up to 24 million Instagram users could be bot accounts. These are fake accounts that are active on the platform and are interacting with other users. These spam accounts have posted 6 images on average and have a follower-to-following ratio of 1:41. (That would put a serious dent in the 300 million monthly users the site has.)

There’s no word from Instagram yet on reaction to these results, but we’ll see what it has to say in the months ahead.

In the meantime, the full report can be found here.

Digital Media Consumption Continues To Grow, Investments Follow

Digital media is on the rise as of late, between streaming services, downloadable/cloud-based games and other conveniences that make it simple to get entertainment with the push of a button.

The Wall Street Journal reports that, according to numbers provided by online measurement firm comScore, the total amount of time spent with digital media in the U.S. has increased by 49 percent over the past two years, with most use coming from non-desktop devices (like mobile). In addition, time spent with digital media on such devices managed to grow an incredible 90 percent between June 2013 and June 2015, with a 64 percent increase with tablet usage.

That’s not to say desktop devices are dead by any means, just that there’s a transition to more mobile use. Total minutes spent consuming digital media from desktop devices still showed some growth, by 16 percent, over the same two-year period. There’s still clearly room for both, according to its numbers.

As a result, a number of venture capitalists and media giants have submitted billions of dollars into digital media start-ups, in the hopes of getting caught up in the wave and seeing their investments paying off. One example WSJ brought up is NBCUniversal’s recent $200 million investment in BuzzFeed.

On top of a growing audience of viewers, marketers are also focusing a bit more on digital as well. Internet advertising revenues for the U.S. totaled $49.5 billion for last year, a 16 percent increase over 2013, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau. And those numbers are likely to grow even more this year.

The chart below breaks down just how aggressive this growth has been in all areas over the past couple of years, barely clearing a million minutes back in 2013, and then jumping to almost 1.5 million. Expect this number to continue to grow, especially with services like Netflix and Amazon expanding on their original productions.


Jeff Bezos: ‘We’re In The Golden Age of Television’

We’ve talked in the past about how some audience members mainly millennials are moving away from traditional television in favor of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. However, one company that’s set to take on TV head-on with its streaming service is Amazon, which already has millions of subscribers tuned in with its Prime service. And it’s likely to get even more, with additional partners on board for programming.

A new article from Business Insider indicates just how Amazon could change the television landscape. It noted a recent deal where Amazon signed up with ex-Top Gear hosts Richard Hammond and James May on a new motoring-based show that will air exclusively on Prime, something that’s no doubt getting the attention of the fan base of that show.

This is just the beginning of Amazon’s new original content movement, according to the article, and for good reason. ” Over the last five years a technological revolution has seen more and more people watching their favorite films and television shows over the internet,” the author, Gabriel Tate, notes. “Instead of waiting for a time in the week when a broadcaster deigned to show the next episode in a particular series, viewers now have the opportunity to watch programs or movies at a time and a place of their choosing, whether that be in their living room between nine and 10 o clock on a Tuesday evening or under a tree in their local park on a Sunday afternoon.”

With tens of millions of subscribers across both pre-set devices and devoted peripherals like the Amazon Fire TV Amazon is planning to hook even more viewers with its forthcoming programs. Filmmaker Woody Allen has announced that his first TV project will be in compliance with Amazon, along with a new comedy from producer Steven Soderbergh, a film by Spike Lee, and an adaptation of the Philip K. Dick novel The Man In the High Castle, which will be executive produced by Prometheus director Ridley Scott.

Amazon first got its revival of digital services with the pick-up of Ripper Street, which was previously cancelled by the BBC back in 2013. Forty thousand people signed a petition to keep it alive, notes Chris Bird, Amazon s UK director of content strategy. When there s that level of interest, you need to take note of it. It’s been a popular hit ever since, along with others shows like Hand of God.

Shows with darker tone have a better chance on a streaming service as well, according to Transparent creator Jill Soloway. I go to work every day and I m making the exact thing I want to make, she said. I feel like I m making art.

Ben Watkins, creator of Hand of God, added, After [Brad Pitt zombie epic] World War Z, I realized that audiences want to know all about the hero s journey in these big movies, and at the end they want to be satisfied. With TV, it s completely the opposite: the looser it is, the better.

Amazon will more than likely continue with this business formula, introducing new programming, along with older series favorites that are big hits for streaming (like Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead) to entice audiences. “I think we’re in a golden age of television,” said Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, speaking with The Telegraph.

The numbers don’t lie Amazon is definitely becoming a Prime choice.

Secrets Of Influencer Marketing

The rapid rise of influencers is reshaping the brand marketing landscape. We see the shift by millennials away from traditional TV and it’s not that they aren’t watching video, they’re consuming more of it. The incredible impact of YouTube and other influencer channels has create massive audiences for individuals with unique voices. This is not just a few, either there are over 1200 YouTube stars with audiences over 1 million people each, and that’s just one place you can find influencers.

The Influencer Orchestration Network (ION), a division of the Ayzenberg Group is “the premier platform for Influencer Marketing today,” according to this new ION Insights report (which you can request a copy of here). The report goes into depth about seven key insights regarding Influencer Marketing that marketers can leverage. It’s both a terrific introduction to the realm of influencer marketing, and a useful source of actionable insights for the creative marketer.

The first insight is something that many brands are coming to grips with that a major shift has occurred. We know this isn’t as widely known as it should be, or perhaps that it’s not taken as seriously as it should be, because marketing spending is still mostly in traditional channels like broadcast television ads. Executives may pay lip service to changing trends, but how they spend will tell you what they believe in and from the scale of spending still heading to traditional media, it’s clear that many companies have yet to figure out how much more marketing impact they could have with influencers.

We’re seeing plenty of brands who do get it, though. Realizing that a shift away from traditional media has occurred is just the first step, and clever brands have been making inroads with influencers because they see where the audience is going. What are some of the signs that influencers are gaining traction Here’s one, according to NeoReach: “In late 2013, the going rate for a branded Vine that got 3M loops was a mere $400. Today, a branded Vine with the same kind of exposure goes for $10,000 to $15,000.” Prices are only going up, and that’s a sure sign that demand is heading higher.

Reaching influencers is a good strategy, but accomplishing that at scale is not easy, as the ION Insights presentation points out. Working with influencers at scale “requires a balance of art and science, managed services and individual expertise and strategy enabled by technology and automation,” according to the report. For most brands, that will mean finding the right partners who can help put together all the elements of a successful influencer campaign. If you want to go big, you have to have all the right pieces in place.

The reach of influencer marketing is vast, and it’s not just because of the size of the audience. There are many platforms for influencers, and because of the increasingly interconnected world, their reach can be global. Influencers can be found on all kinds of devices, and on all kinds of platforms, reaching people around the world. This is why influencers are such a great marketing opportunity and such a great challenge, because it’s not easy sorting out how to create an effective campaign that targets who you want to reach.

Game companies are among some of the savviest users of influencer marketing at this point, both because game companies are in touch with the key demographics that influencers are reaching, and because so many influencers are heavily into gaming. The rise of Twitch, for instance, is largely attributed to game streaming, though the streaming service has been broadening its reach but eSports alone is still between 40 percent and 50 percent of the content on Twitch, according to Twitch VP Andy Swanson. YouTube’s biggest chunk of page views monthly goes to Minecraft, and the majority of YouTube’s top ten stars are talking about gaming. So it’s not at all a mystery why game companies are putting influencers high on their marketing to-do lists.

The power and reach of influencers continues to expand, and ION’s report underscores this with facts and figures. Marketers in all categories need to understand this phenomenon and how to turn it to their advantage before their competitors do, or at least do it better than the competition. The important thing is that this marketing strategy isn’t restricted to one product category, but it can be used for virtually any type of product or service. It’s not simple, though, and things are constantly changing. Smart marketers will keep up with the changes, and look for the right tools, services, and partners to help them take advantage of Influencer Marketing as it becomes an ever-more important part of the marketing toolbox.

Facebook Finally Allows GIFS in Ads, Page Posts

For the longest time, Facebook refrained from using animated ads on its site, probably due to the fact that they would be a distraction for the site’s popular social feeds. But now it appears it’s relaxing a little bit and allowing the GIFs to run wild.

AdWeek reports that the social site has announced it will now allow animated clips to run on a small amount of brand pages, enabling companies to run GIFs for consumers to see. A few companies have already begun testing out the format, including Wendy’s and German soda Kust, who already put up the animated Nyan Cat ad below.

In addition, Facebook will also allow brands to test out these GIFs through promoted posts in users’ news feeds, although it isn’t likely to roll out of control anytime soon, as it hasn’t introduced a widespread business plan just yet.

There are certain limitations to the ads, as they can’t be placed in small sidebar ads (which are being phased out anyway), and “Boosted” page posts seem to be more of a focus than general ones.

Speaking with TechCrunch, a Facebook rep stated, “GIFs can be a fun and compelling way to communicate, so we’ve started testing GIF support in posts and boosted posts for a small percentage of Facebook Pages. We will evaluate whether it drives a great experience for people before rolling it out to more pages.”

So it all depends on audience feedback, really. But considering that more and more users have been posting their own clickable GIF icons in their posts lately, these could easily catch on, especially for those that prefer a little more animation in their news feeds. It all depends whether they become bothersome over time, or worse yet, create problems for those simply trying to skim through their social feed on a mobile device, only to find Nyan Cat continuously running around in a Kust can.

We’ll see how this pans out over the next few months.

Millennial TV Viewers Drop 14 Percent

There’s been some talk recently about traditional television losing its luster compared to the number of streaming services that are on the rise, despite the fact that TV advertising spending is still as strong as ever. However, if millennials have their way, that shift may be coming sooner rather than later, at least for this key demographic.

A report on MediaPost indicates that a number of TV networks have lost viewership over the past year with younger adult viewers, based on a series of statistics provided by MoffettNathanson Research.

Between the months of July 2014 and June 2015, viewership for 11 TV networks groups in the 18-34 viewer group took a 14 percent dive. That’s 1.2 million fewer viewers. TV networks groups as a whole sank 7 percent overall in total viewership over the year, with an even more crucial decline of 3.4 million.

Teen audiences also dropped by 16 percent (437,000), followed by younger kids, dropping by ten percent (502,000). However, older audiences also dropped off, with the 35-49 age group dropping by seven percent (736,000) and 50 or higher down two percent (504,000).

Fox suffered the biggest blow (between both broadcast and cable networks), losing 271,000 over the year, or 17 percent. Viacom (267,000), NBC Universal (245,000) and A & E Networks (112,000) also took significant hits.

CBS, however, noted a bit of a rise in this period, increasing by two percent higher. Scripps Network Interactive wasn’t far behind, but had more of a flatter figure in terms of numbers.

So who benefits the most It appears that independent TV networks got the biggest increase, jumping by six percent in total viewers over the past year, including older skewing networks, according to the numbers.

This week’s (a)list daily Video Summit provided some perspective on this changing picture, mainly based on where content can be found and where it’s going. “It’s about what type of content we can produce for which audience, and where that audience lives,” said Rebecca Markarian, senior vice president of digital and social media for Ayzenberg.”It’s very much about the people you’re trying to reach, then the platform, then the content.” (The full article can be found here.)

In another panel, VidCon Industry Track curator Jim Louderback added his own perspective on the matter. “It’s not just YouTube any more, there are plenty of new formats,” he said. “The people whoa re good at one format aren’t necessarily good at another. For a brand it’s important that you work on all these different places.” (More details on that panel can be found here.)

Does this mean that traditional television will eventually drop off Probably not anytime soon but you can bet there’s some cause for concern at each of these networks, especially with losses headed into the millions.

What Happens When You Mix Nerf, GoPro And Chatroulette? This.

When a video hits and one that takes advantage of the Chatroulette service to boot sometimes it can just explode. That was certainly the case when a UK production team called Realm Pictures, working alongside immersive experience designers Red House Mysteries, presented the creative side of using the randomizing chat service, creating a first-person shooting video that has swept the web by storm.

Reported by Engadget, the video, posted below, features a real-time Doom-like first-person shooter experience, where players experience undead characters in a creepy graveyard setting. As part of the gameplay process, chatters would give commands to the player at hand, like “Run, run, fat boy run!” or “Go for the head shot!” In addition, Realm also backed up the action with plenty of visual effects, including blood spurts, as well as sound effects including a rocket launcher and “rhino turret.” The involvement of the players certainly takes it to another level and leads to humorous results.


Speaking with CNET, Realm’s David Reynolds said there were some snags into getting the video experience put together. “The big sticking point was being able to un-tether our main ‘actor,’ because he kept getting snagged on trees and gravestones.”

This was an experiment as a whole, but one that has paid off quite well, with nearly two million views on Facebook. “Many years ago we experimented with the concept of ‘random stranger’ control, and one afternoon strapped a webcam to my head while someone followed me around with a laptop,” says Reynolds. “The idea stuck in my head and eventually resurfaced while we were talking about fun projects for the summer. We decided to throw some of our indie film tricks behind it and see what happened.”

Considering its success, don’t be surprised if brands start hopping on this bandwagon, if only to get involved more in the experience and see what users have to offer as it plays out in real-time.