Ayzenberg Group Releases Earned Media Value Index

Editor’s Note: [a]listdaily is the editorial arm of Ayzenberg Group.

Unveiled in a live webinar this morning, the Ayzenberg Group released the Ayzenberg Earned Media Value Index (AEMVI) to shed light on the value of metrics like cost per click (CPC), cost per view (CPV) and more across major social networks. These types of values are key reporting metrics for marketers to understand the overall effectiveness of a campaign. The index puts this critical information in one place for platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram and more.

“We report on these factors for clients like Microsoft, Amazon, Marriott and Mattel regularly so we need accurate numbers. Values are set by working with the social platforms and tracking industry reporting,” Robin Boytos, director of analytics at Ayzenberg Group, said in a press release. “We could see that there was a need in the marketplace for baseline values that we were already creating so we decided to make our Ayzenberg Earned Media Value Index available to the industry to help others evaluate their social, content and influencer marketing campaign ROI.”

The webinar, which was hosted by Boytos as well as Ayzenberg’s Francesca Forgach and Vincent Juarez, is being rebroadcast on March 9 at 11:00 a.m. PT. It delves into the methodology behind the Earned Media Value Index, citing some real-world examples of its application. A full report is also available for download and a regularly updated chart of values is available on [a]listdaily.

“EMVs describe the extended value of paid, organic and influencer social activity. More importantly, EMVs validate the increasing use of high-engagement influencer use and content marketing tactics,” said Vincent Juarez, Principal of Ayzenberg’s ION and media.

Boytos noted that availability of these metrics was previously scant, with sources having questionable methodology or outdated numbers. With platforms like Snapchat and Instagram gaining more steam with marketers, it was a necessity for Boytos to begin to develop an industry-standard index.

Syfy Is Engaging Viewers With Immersive Experiences

Syfy is mostly synonymous with one word: Sharknado – the glorious and ridiculous made-for-television movie series that first made waves in 2013. Three installments have aired since, each more absurd than the other.

The last one even featured Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban as the trigger-happy president of the United States killing a slew of sharks. A fourth version of Sharknado is scheduled for later this year.

With a constant need to feed fans of the fantasy and sci-fi genres with immersive experiences, NBCUniversal’s cable and satellite TV outfit is producing a variety of multi-platform content to complement their imagination-based entertainment that includes shows like Face Off, The Magicians and 12 Monkeys.

Syfy Labs was unveiled in January to create innovative content for existing and emerging platforms by using technologies like virtual reality, 3D printing and second-screen Internet of Things integrations.

Matthew Chiavelli, senior vice president of Syfy Digital, told [a]listdaily that frankly, their audience desires – and expects – innovation. “We formalized our commitment to using the new types of emerging technologies applied to the storytelling experience,” he says.

It’s a far cry from Syfy’s focus 14 years ago when Chiavelli first started working for the company – a time when they were figuring out how to stream video online.

In 2016, they’re giving fans printable files from their favorite programs through MakerBot’s Thingiverse, introducing virtual reality via The Expanse VR app for Samsung Gear VR, and Halycon, a short-form scripted crime drama that will be offered on the Oculus Rift platform. Then there’s the Syfy Sync app working with Philips Hue that brings custom-built lighting tracks to showcase Syfy’s original programs – think about your entire room turning blood red as a shark’s devouring some helpless mass of flesh when Sharknado 4 premieres this July.

Chiavelli joined [a]listdaily to talk about how they’re feeding their audience’s insatiable appetite with the recently launched Syfy Labs.

What kind of an impact has Sharknado had on Syfy?

We’ve watched the fan base grow tremendously. It’s become sort of this global phenomenon. It’s great because it gives us room to experiment in ways we might not have. But we have a big umbrella. The great thing is that you can go anywhere from serious dramas like 12 Monkeys and The Expanse to the more light-hearted fun stuff.


How do you keep viewers engaged after the weekly shows have aired?

One way is through MakerBot, which is one of the largest manufacturers of 3D printers. They have a site called Thingiverse, which is their marketplace for 3D models. We are the first media or entertainment company to have a section within Thingiverse with officially sanctioned 3D models. People can access printable files from their favorite Syfy programs. This is a very vibrant and growing community filled with enthusiastic people. It’s a way for us to get into that space, and also to experiment. What’s great about this is that it’s simplified versions of the actual 3D assets that are used by the visual effects department. We didn’t recreate them. We worked with our team.

People who are fans of cutting-edge tech typically are fans of the Syfy genre. When we’re looking at emerging technologies like 3D printing, it’s very important to us because it puts us on the radar again for people who may not know about all of our programming. It’s creating another use-case, and adding a new dimension.

What are some new strategies you’ve been implementing?

We’re based out of New York, so we previewed a CES demo of our technologies inside our offices a month before it premiered, and got write-ups from press like Bloomberg that would never talk about Sharknado, and wouldn’t think of Syfy as a tech brand, per se. From a trade marketing point of view, it was great for us. We got other sectors talking about our lighting integration. So from a promotional standpoint, it was great. We’re committed to the technologies. We want to be as nimble as possible, while surprising our viewers with things they weren’t expecting. For example, for The Expanse, we tried something unique where we had the first episode available online before it premiered on air. After the second episode aired, we made the third and fourth available for the holiday break for viewers to binge on.


How does Syfy Labs plan on using virtual reality?

Virtual reality is one of the technologies we want to apply to our shows, but we really want to use it where it’s applicable. We’ve been looking at VR for quite a while, but really didn’t have a property that was suited for it. We had to be sensitive to the content. But once The Expanse went into production, and we saw how gorgeous the visual effects were, we ending up doing it. At CES, we had The Expanse VR app for Samsung Gear VR enabling attendees to explore spacecraft and settings from the heralded drama series in high-quality 3D VR. The television industry is in a really interesting place right now with the acceleration and growth of non-linear viewing. We have to make sure we’re consistently serving our audience.

Follow Manouk Akopyan on Twitter @Manouk_Akopyan.

Wargaming Returns To Its Roots To Conquer The Galaxy With ‘Master of Orion’

Master of Orion released in 1993 and gave the world a chance to both explore and conquer the galaxy through force and diplomacy, epitomizing the 4X (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit and eXterminate) style of gameplay. The addictive “one more turn” nature of the sci-fi game and its sequel impressed a generation of gamers who still regard the strategy series in high esteem. The formula has led to a number of imitators, but few managed to capture the magic in the same way.

In 2013, Wargaming (famous for games like World of Tanks) purchased the rights to Master of Orion at an auction and immediately went to work on developing an all-new game featuring the voice acting talents of Mark Hamill (Star Wars), John de Lancie (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Robert Englund (Nightmare on Elm Street), and others. The game is available now on Early Access, and buying into it nets the recently revealed Collector’s Edition, which includes all three original games, a digital art book, soundtrack, an extra playable race and the ability to transform the modern aesthetics into retro pixel art.

Chris Keeling, director of vision at Wargaming, talked to [a]listdaily about bringing Master of Orion back for a new generation of gamers, and how the classic franchise stands the test of time.

Chris KeelingGiven the success of games like World of Tanks, what convinced Wargaming to develop Master of Orion — a game that is different in so many ways?

While we’re best known for our ‘World of…’ series of fast-paced, free-to-play multiplayer vehicle combat games, for more than a dozen years before launching World of Tanks, we were known for our turn-based and real-time strategy games, like Massive Assault and Order of War. Making strategy games is part of our core DNA, and our CEO, Victor Kislyi, was so highly influenced by Master of Orion and other 4X strategy games when he was younger that when he had the opportunity to purchase the intellectual property, he went for it. His goal was to bring the same feeling of ‘just one more turn’ gameplay to a new generation of fans.

How did you come up with the Collector’s Edition content?

We looked for things that set this version of the game apart from the originals, but which would also appeal to the die-hard fans of the franchise. The pixel ships, for example, are reminiscent of the ships from the earlier 8-bit games, while the musical score is based on the music from the first Master of Orion game, and even created by the original composer. The Terrans were a bonus that we developed to bring something new to the story, while reflected some great science fiction traditions. And of course, the Art Book will let players directly compare the original art to the new art, with an introduction by the art director from the original game, who also helped us keep the artistic flavor of the original in our version of the game.

How did you decide on which actors to include as voices for the game, and what was the process of matching the voices with the characters?

We had a long list of actors we wanted to showcase from iconic science fiction, horror and video-game franchises, and we were excited that we were able to bring so many on board. We matched their role according to their experience, range of voice acting and the general tone and pitch of their voice. In fact, some of the actors ended up doing more than one voice because of the range of their capabilities and their fit with the roles.

It seems like some of the actors knew about the original game. Were you surprised by that?

No, many of them are the right age to have played the original series, and working on science-fiction movies and TV shows, it’s not all that surprising that they might be gamers. However, a lot of them were unfamiliar with the games, so we showed them what it was about before recording and we had the opportunity to share our version of Master of Orion, to give them a better idea what to focus of the game was. Even back in that early stage, they were already excited by what they saw in the game.


There are a number of strategy games out now that lets players explore and conquer the galaxy. How will Master of Orion stand out in a genre it helped pioneer?

First and foremost, this is the original. Let’s face it, the genre has changed and grown, and so have the expectations of the players and the supporting technologies. Lots of games have tried to copy the original, but have left things out or changed them to be different. We’ve focused on the legendary story and setting in all of its glory – the often humorous races, the snarky GNN news, and so forth. But we have also scoured the series and the best of the 4X games to be released in the past 20 years to ensure we had a top-notch set of features that would appeal to this new generation of players.

What is it about Master of Orion that makes it such an enduring franchise?

I think the original Master of Orion caught players off-guard with its blend of strategy and humor and the incredibly deep gameplay that led to long hours of playing. That set it apart from other games of its time, and created a new genre of 4X space strategy games that of course spawned many imitations over the years. Our vision is to bring back those same feelings of fun, depth, humor and variety to new and old players alike.

What do you try to keep in mind when working with a classic franchise like Master of Orion?

The main thing is to respect the franchise. This is why we design it so carefully, gather members of the original team to help us keep it on track, and polish it off with amazing voice acting, music and visuals to support the story of the game. So the player can keep on exploring, expanding, exploiting and exterminating their way across a galaxy that’s not so far away after all.

‘Ghostbusters’ Begins New, Nostalgic Promotion

When the original Ghostbusters released in 1984, it became a hit with a generation of viewers, and ushered in a wave of mega-promotions with everything from video games to TV shows. Over 30 years later, it still continues to be a favorite, showing up in games like Lego Dimensions, as well as other products.

It looks like that nostalgia is in full swing, as Sony has begun promoting the new Ghostbusters film from director Paul Feig. The company released a new trailer for the follow-up today, where four female scientists (Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon) band together to battle a new paranormal evil, years following the events that unfolded in the original.

The trailer has created buzz on social media, and Sony intends to ride that into the film’s summer release, alongside various promotions. Here’s what we know so far that’s coming down the Ghostbusters pipe.


Diamond Select Toys, a company that has been producing Ghostbusters figures for years, will return to do the same for its 2016 lineup, set to coincide with the film. Along with its signature Minimates mini-figures and vehicles, it will also produce vinyl banks, kitchenware and glassware based on the new movie.

Ghostbusters is one of our favorite film franchises here at DST,” said Diamond Select Toys president Chuck Terceira, per Action Figure Insider. “So we’re excited to be part of the first new film in decades, and we look forward to adding a new cast of character to our previous Ghostbusters product lines, as well as continuing to release products based on the classic films.”

Nostalgia will also likely play a factor with other products as well, including shirts and other clothing featuring the familiar “no ghost” logo, along with other yet-to-be-announced items.

Return of the Ecto Cooler

Back in the ’80s and ’90s, the Coca-Cola Company, under the Hi-C label, produced a popular fruit drink called Ecto Cooler, based on the Ghostbusters franchise. Fans went wild a few months ago when the company renewed its trademark for the drink, indicating that it could be making a comeback to the market.

On top of that, a listing for one of the drinks recently went up on eBay, managing to sell for $400. Of course, the relaunched final product will be much cheaper.

Considering that we’re seeing a lot more “classic” drinks make a comeback, including the New York Seltzer line and whispers that Crystal Pepsi might even return, it’s not a surprise to see the Ecto Cooler come around again. An official announcement should come within a few months, probably closer to the film’s release.

Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 11.53.50 AM

A new video game?

The Ghostbusters franchise has been synonymous with video games for years, first appearing on consoles like the NES in the ’80s, and more recent games developed by Atari. That said, it appears that Activision could be bringing it around once more to coincide with the new film.

Retail Merchandiser recently reported that the publisher is hard at work on a new title set to debut on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in time for the film. There hasn’t been an official announcement yet, but Activision is known for developing licensed games. The company recently revealed that a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game, Mutants In Manhattan, is in the works, and will launch around the same time that Out of the Shadows hits theaters in June.

Whatever the case may be, Sony is set to give the Ghostbusters franchise a big boost in marketing when the film makes its way to theaters on July 15. Now it’s a question of whether Ray Parker Jr.’s classic “Ghostbusters” theme will make a return.

Apple Gets Consumer Friendly On Twitter

While Apple is great at promoting its products and style, it hasn’t really done much with social media. However, that changed this week when the company launched a new Twitter account, based around Apple Support.

The account, which launched just a few hours ago, is an effort to “provide tips, tricks and helpful information when you need it most.” It will obviously focus on helping new users become accustomed to their Apple devices, along with veterans who are running into technical difficulties. The account has already been giving Apple users tricks for hidden features.

So far, the account has gotten a great deal of attention from social media users, attracting over 65,000 followers and has provided quick responses to inquiries across a number of areas.

While most of Apple’s responses will be on the direct messaging front, something brands have been slowly utilizing since its introduction to the service last year, a stronger social media presence is still a smart move. It creates a new way to reach customer service without waiting on the phone call or having to visit an Apple store, although both of these remain perfectly good options.

Apple has dabbled with Twitter before, but mainly as a promotional tool, with accounts made to highlight iTunes and Apple Music features. With Apple Support, it seems to be turning a corner when it comes to interactivity, and keeping consumers happy with its products.

App Annie Reveals Top Game Publishers

While the United States mobile gaming market continues to be strong, there’s no question that a lot of talent comes from overseas. One look at App Annie’s list of the top 52 publishers of 2015 clearly proves the point.

The list, posted on the company’s official blog, indicates that 28 companies on the list come from the Asia-Pacific market, followed by the U.S. with 17 and Europe with seven. That confirms that more than half of the overall list consists of companies like mixi, GungHo Online and LINE.

App Annie 2

Based on revenue earned in both the iOS App Store and Google Play over the course of the year, Supercell earned the No. 1 one spot on the list with hit games like Boom Beach and Clash of Clans. Closely behind in second was King, riding the strength of its Candy Crush Saga games following the completion of its $5.9 billion acquisition by Activision earlier this year. Much of the top 10 consists of Asia-Pacific companies, like GunHo, Tencent and NetEase. Only two U.S. companies, Machine Zone and Electronic Arts, made the top 10.

Overall, the U.S. still has the most companies with 17, followed closely behind by Japan with 16; China has nine, and three are from South Korea.

There were plenty of surprises, like how the social network service (and creators of Monster Strike) mixi managed to overtake GungHo Online to take the third place spot. Other surprises include the South Korean Netmarble landing eighth place while China’s Netease comes in ninth. Both companies made big moves last year, with Netmarble investing $130 million in SGN and NetEase reporting $2.7 billion in annual games revenue.

The full rankings are as follows:

App Anniel


‘Song Of The Deep’ Dives Under The Sea, But Inspires New Heights

With digital game purchases fast on the rise, retail stores like GameStop need to find ways to diversify, or at least offer games that can’t be found elsewhere. That’s where the partnership between GameStop and Insomniac Games (creators of Ratchet & Clank and Sunset Overdrive) comes in. The independent developer made an all-new game called Song of the Deep with GameStop as the publisher, which premiered at PAX South in January, and will release for PC and consoles this summer as an in-store exclusive before becoming available digitally.

[a]listdaily talked to Insomniac Games’ chief brand officer, Ryan Schneider, about working with the retailer-turned-game-publisher, and how GameStop’s marketing power could turn Song of the Deep into a huge hit.

Ryan SchneiderTell us about Song of the Deep.

Song of the Deep is a Metroidvania-style game about a young girl who will stop at nothing to find her father, who’s lost at sea. The story is inspired by Insomniac chief creative officer Brian Hastings’ desire to share a lesson with his young daughter about the nature of heroism, and how far we will go to help those we love.

How did this partnership between Insomniac and GameStop come together?

The partnership organically evolved through an existing relationship between (Insomniac Games CEO and founder) Ted Price and Mark Stanley (global lead, internal development and diversification at GameStop). The two were meeting informally last year, and when Mark mentioned GameStop’s desire to explore non-traditional ways to reach more customers, Ted explained that Insomniac had a game idea we were really excited about – and the partnership was born.

What was the general response to Song of the Deep‘s premiere at PAX South?

The general response has been and continues to be positive. The sheer volume of interest has exceeded our expectations, and we’re encouraged that many people have commented specifically on the heartfelt story, music and beautiful yet haunting visual aesthetic.

As the first game published by GameStop, were there any early expectations about what it should be?

GameStop has been incredibly supportive of our creative process. Mark and his entire team have empowered Insomniac to exercise complete creative control and make all final creative decisions since the project’s first moments.

Has working with GameStop, which is best known as a retailer, been different than working with a more traditional publisher?

Many facets of GameStop’s day-to-day support for Song of the Deep feel similar to how a traditional publisher would work with us. But perhaps since this is a new role for GameStop, their team members approach our partnership with a level of enthusiasm and freshness that has invigorated both the production and marketing teams here in the studio. Collectively, there’s a lot of positive, creative energy flowing back and forth, and that manifests itself in the quality of our work at all levels.


In what ways is GameStop working to promote the game?

GameStop has been fantastic about promoting Song of the Deep so far, whether in its thousands of stores worldwide, in person at events like PAX South, through creative partnerships like our forthcoming novel with Barnes & Noble (written by Brian Hastings), and a variety of merchandise coming soon. But the most important aspect for us though is how much GameStop’s employees believe in Song of the Deep, and in Insomniac. We’ve been very excited by the passion GameStop employees exhibit when we visit local stores and ask about the game. It inspires us further to make the greatest game we possibly can.

How does Song of the Deep stand out among Insomniac’s other games like Ratchet & Clank, Sunset Overdrive, and the Resistance series?

We hope that all our games, no matter how big or small, feel like they’re handcrafted and made by passionate gamers, for passionate gamers. Song of the Deep is no different from our other titles in that regard. As far as how it will stand out amidst a sea of Metroidvania-style games (couldn’t resist the ocean pun), we believe the underwater theme, varied exploration and combat, and mesmerizing visual detail will offer players an extra layer of sophistication and polish.

Since GameStop purchased ThinkGeek last year, do you think we’ll soon see a line of Song of the Deep-themed toys and figures following the game’s release?

I think that’s entirely possible.

The Globalization Of Ad-Tech: Mobvista Acquires NativeX

Mobile advertising is growing rapidly, and so has the investment in this sector. Ad-tech companies have proliferated over the past few years, and now we are entering the period of consolidation. Companies with complementary technology and markets often realize that the best way forward lies in mergers and acquisitions. This was demonstrated today when Mobvista, Asia’s largest mobile advertising company, announced that it has acquired NativeX, which specializes in successful monetization and advertising through their innovative native ad technology for mobile games and apps.

The NativeX technology includes Lightning Play video, offer walls, interstitials and other rich media formats. NativeX, which has been around for 12 years, has an audience reach of over 1 billion mobile users and works with more than 1,000 publishers including Yodo1, Square Enix, Fingersoft, Outfit 7, and others, as well as hundreds of top advertisers including Disney, King, Zynga, Rovio, IGG, and Machine Zone.

Mobvista specializes in global mobile advertising and overseas game publishing, with over 300 employees spread across offices in Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Beijing, San Francisco, New Delhi, and Singapore. As one of the leading mobile advertising platforms, Mobvista covers users from more than 240 countries and regions, reaching over 10 billion daily impressions. Mobvista ranked #3, following Facebook and Google AdWords, in the Global Android Power Ranking released in 2016 by AppsFlyer, a leading mobile analytics platform. In AppsFlyer’s gaming and non-gaming performance index released in April and October in 2015, Mobvista also ranked top 3 for both.

The $25 million all-cash deal will see NativeX become a subsidiary of Mobvista, Rob Weber will continue as CEO of NativeX and serve as Vice President of the Mobvista Group. “NativeX is a solid, sustainable business and our technology focus and values are perfectly aligned to deliver rich growth opportunities to the mobile market and to further secure Mobvista’s international goals and success, especially to speed up our ability to supply substantial audiences in Western markets,” said Wei Duan, founder & CEO of Mobvista. “Acquiring NativeX is another key step in realizing our global ad-tech vision to develop a multi-dimensional global ecosystem of mobile traffic.”

Mobvista’s worldwide mobile ad network receives more than 10 billion daily impressions from integrated ad spots and websites across more than 196 countries. “We look forward to a successful future as part of the Mobvista family and are exceptionally pleased with the many benefits this acquisition will bring to both our publisher and advertising partners as well as to our employees,” said Robert Weber, CEO and co-founder of NativeX. “The Mobvista acquisition of NativeX allows us to expand the distribution of our native ad technology throughout the world for an even greater international presence. We are excited to bring Mobvista’s leading global demand to NativeX’s monetization partners and its strong global supply, especially in APAC, to our advertising partners. As part of our merger with Mobvista, we will also be expanding our team to take advantage of the large opportunity in front of us.”

One of the important lessons of this acquisition is not just that consolidation is occurring in the ad-tech space, it’s that the marketplace has become truly global. A large part of the value here was in the geographic expansion for Mobvista, not just the technology. Mobile advertising is more global than ever, and leading companies need a presence and a strategy for success in more than just one part of the globe.

[a]listdaily spoke with NativeX CEO Robert Weber about the state of mobile advertising and where it’s headed.

How has the market for mobile video ads been changing over the past year?

2015 was the year of viewability for web video ads, and 2016 is looking like the year of viewability for mobile video. Buyers are becoming more sophisticated in how they evaluate their digital ad campaigns’ performance. Ad companies like NativeX that rely on SDKs that control ad inventory are in a better position than server-based methods of distribution which tend to have a greater risk of quality issues. NativeX also focuses on dynamically optimizing the video creative such as with end cards to improve the performance of an advertiser’s campaign. This video interview with the CEO of MachineZone provides some great context for where the ad market is at right now.

Do you think ads are becoming a more important part of the monetization strategy for mobile games? Why?

There seems to be two types of successful business models for games in mobile – those games with strong in-game economies that are very good at monetizing their user base and those games that are able to acquire users virtually for free because they have a high degree of organic appeal but often with a poor virtual economy. For the vast majority of games, it will be very clear which business model they are focused on. Zynga recently said that they expect a large part of their growth to come from ad revenue growth inside of games like Words With Friends. As viewability and performance become better understood by ad buyers, the prices for ad placement inside games should increase.

What are some of the key things an advertiser should do in their mobile video ads for games to make them effective?

Ask your ad providers for examples of their highest converting video ads. Study their creative and try to infuse some of what’s working into your own ad design. The secret to getting a high performing video campaign for your game isn’t usually by just outbidding everyone else on Cost Per Install rates, but ensuring you have high-converting creative.

What do you see ahead in the next year for mobile advertising?

The number-one most overlooked trend in mobile advertising is mobile search. The display ad market in mobile is becoming more mature, but using search to drive app installs is still very new. With 67 percent of all app installs coming from search according to recent research released by TUNE, you can’t ignore mobile search. Google has been releasing enhancements to AdWords to help app publishers acquire installs more effectively via Google Play. Also, the iOS9 update includes stronger deep-linking search integration which should start to help Apple make their search function more like Google’s. These improvements by Google and Apple aren’t enough, though. This is why we recently launched our Search Spike offering, which helps app publishers acquire top search rankings for their iOS apps. For a free report on how to improve your app’s search ranking, check out the free App Store Optimization white paper we recently released.

What’s the biggest challenge facing mobile game marketers when considering mobile video ads?

Creating high-converting creative for their game.

Image of co-founders Robert and Ryan Weber courtesy of NativeX




Brands Increasing Emoji Usage With Social Media

The power of emoji images has increased quite a bit over the past few years. What started as a fad with smiley faces and hearts has grown into a potential business enterprise, whether it’s Star Wars-related images to promote The Force Awakens, or the introduction of new emojis that allow fans to choose a side between Batman or Superman for the upcoming movie, Dawn of Justice.

Emoji use is on the rise when it comes to social media, with more companies utilizing the little images on Facebook and Twitter in 2015 than they did in the previous year, eMarketer reports.

The study, conducted by Socialbakers, shows that 45 percent of top brands worldwide used emojis with their Twitter posts by the end of 2014. That number grew to 59 percent in 2015.


The growth wasn’t quite as big on Facebook but still showed an increase, going from 28 percent to 40 percent.

In addition, the study took a closer look at how often users take advantage of the emoji format. The February 2015 study, conducted by AYTM Market Research, shows that 48.9 percent of consumers used emojis in social media, while 51 percent had never used them. Keep in mind that the report is a year old, and numbers could have changed since then, especially when brands like Star Wars or the Academy Awards release emojis that catch on with users.


It just goes to show that the power of imagery can go a long way on social media, especially when it’s the adorable shrunken down version of The Force Awakens’ BB-8 droid.

Expect more companies to effectively introduce emojis for social media in the months ahead.

Yahoo Expands With ESports Vertical

Considering how much eSports have grown in popularity over the years, it’s no surprise that mainstream outlets like ESPN are covering events like the Intel Extreme Masters. Now Yahoo is officially the latest company to include eSports coverage.

The web giant has announced a new vertical called Yahoo eSports, under the Sports Media umbrella, which will focus on programming devoted to competitive gaming.

“The eSports industry is growing at a tremendous rate, with a global audience reach of more than 226 million (in 2015),” Bob Condor, vice president of Yahoo Sports Media, said in the announcement. “With that in mind, we identified an incredible opportunity to build a premier destination for eSports on Yahoo Sports. We are committed to providing the best sports content and experiences 24/7 on Yahoo Sports, so it makes sense that Yahoo eSports is aligned with our Sports Media group.”

Programming for the new service will span various features, including reports, blogs, video commentary, match pages, team rosters, statistics, schedules for forthcoming tournaments and more. Users will be able to connect with their teams quickly through the site, as well as particular games like League of Legends, Street Fighter V and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

A number of talents have signed on to help hone coverage. Andrea Rene from GameStop TV will work alongside Travis Gafford, Taylor Cocke and Dylan Walker for content. Yahoo has stated that it will pay close attention to feedback so that it can cater to those that live and breathe eSports.

“We’re approaching our coverage of eSports with the same tenacity and professionalism we always have with Yahoo Sports,” Condor said.