Digital News – Facebook Messenger Ads, Dark Net & Audi pulls ad

IMG_2618 (1)There’s been no shortage of digital news in July, including Facebook rolling out ads in their Messenger App, the Australian Government trying to get Facebook and Google to help fight terrorism, the dark web has been infiltrated and Audi has run afoul in China.

Over the last couple of months, Facebook has been testing ads within the Messenger Chat App. Australia and Thailand were the test markets and now the service is slowly being rolled out to Facebook’s 1.2 billion Messenger users. In a blog post, Facebook said ‘After promising tests in Australia and Thailand, we’re expanding the beta further. We’ll now offer businesses around the world a way to use Facebook targeting to extend their reach to people in Messenger’.

With ad revenue expected to drop this year from ads placed in Facebook’s news feed, the company has been slowly diversifying its ad options. The good thing for users is that the ads only appear on the Messenger home screen and not within chat threads, see image. There’s always the option in the future for Facebook to read chat threads and present ads based on the conversation. But I would say that is a long way off. The good thing is you can encrypt Messenger chats by clicking on the secret button, click here for more info.

For brands, advertising within Messenger is a great option to reach an engaged and targeted audience. I expect the time spent on newsfeed is dropping with more people having private chats via Messenger, WhatsApp and other chat apps. When you think about it, Gmail and Hotmail have been running ads in their emails for years, so Facebook running ads in Messenger is a natural progression.

Last week the Australian Government called on Facebook and Google to decrypt messages to help support law enforcement in the fight against organised crime, paedophile investigations and terrorism. The challenge with decrypting messages is that it potentially opens it up to criminals to infiltrate. Google and Facebook claim they already provide the police and government with the requested info where possible, but they’re going to continue to protect the privacy of encrypted messages. Government’s around the world have been pressuring Facebook and Google with similar rhetoric to no avail.

Sticking with the darker side of the net, US authorities claimed to have smashed the illegal trade of firearms and drugs with the recent closures of the dark web marketplaces AlphaBay and Hansa. These sites replaced the overpublicized Silk Road website that was shut-down in 2013. Visitors were able to browse these dark websites anonymously and used digital currencies (Bitcoin) to make purchases. These aren’t small sites with 250,000 listings on AlphaBay, and 200,000 members and 40,000 vendors. It’s amazing these sites weren’t closed down earlier.

Finally, from China, Audi has pulled its TVC after complaints that the ad compared women to used cars. I have to agree, the ad is in poor taste.

Screen Shot 2017-07-22 at 12.13.06 pm

The Growth of Digital TV

Screen Shot 2017-06-12 at 11.50.54 amSnap’s (Snapchat) continued push into the traditional media space has caught my eye. With more and more young people watching TV on their phones, Snap is well positioned to capture this audience due to many of its team having network and broadcast TV backgrounds.

US cable network A+E has just finished airing the first season of ‘Second Chance’ on Snap TV. Second Chance is a dating show with 14 short videos created for Snap. Digiday reported that “Second Chance’ averaged 8 million views and another series ‘Phone Swap’ is getting about 10 million views per episode. Based on these healthy numbers, Snap is looking to work with its other production publishers (NBCUniversal) to create more video series for Snap.

Other media publishers playing in the digital TV space is Buzzfeed, they used Facebook Live to stream a couple of UK election result shows late on Thursday night. The shows had a total of 2 million views, compare this with BBC who had 4.5 million people tune into their TV election coverage, and ITV and Channel 4 had about 1 million viewers each. How they determine views is slightly different between the 2 formats, Facebook Live counts a view by how many people play the video for 3 seconds, while TV counts it after 60 seconds.

Based on the above positive results, it’s safe to say we’ll be seeing more publishers exploring digital TV. The impact on advertisers will be interesting as online ads tend to be shorter than traditional TV commercials. Snap squeezes in ads between content (approx. 2- 3 seconds long), I haven’t seen any ads on Facebook’s Live Stream ads, but you can skip ads on YouTube videos after 3 seconds so we should expect to see a version of these ads on Facebook and YouTube’s live stream.

The advantage of digital TV versus a standard web page with a video pop-up ad is that the volume is on, so ads are more likely to be heard and seen. In saying that, users watch less TV on their mobile devices compared to traditional TVs due to the viewer experience so advertisers have less time to reach their target market.

The Week’s Digital Highlights – 19 May

Screen Shot 2017-05-19 at 2.54.30 pm.png

Two things caught my eye this week in the digital and advertising world.

The first being how Coca-Cola used image recognition software to target users based on images users shared on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Digiday reported that Coca-Cola’s ice tea brand Gold Peak targeted users who shared images of drinking glasses and jugs of ice tea, including images of competitor brands. Ads were served across 40 mobile and app sites. Having used social listening tools for about 8 years, I’ve noticed the steady decline in

Having used social listening tools for about 8 years, I’ve noticed the steady decline in the number of conversations people are having on social, with the trend moving to image and video sharing. It looks like the Toronto based software company Cluep, behind Gold Peak’s campaign is on the right path with its facial recognition software. I would seriously consider testing the software for an awareness campaign.

The other thing that caught my eye was from the UK with McDonald’s pulling its bereavement TVC (Dad ad) featuring a child discussing his deceased father with his mum over a Filet-o-Fish burger. Looking at the backlash on social, McDonald’s probably wishes they didn’t take the purpose-driven ad route, which is all about brands expressing their values and beliefs. Heineken took a similar approach with their 4 minute ‘Open Your World’ ad, which challenged people’s way of thinking. As Mark Riston expressed, there’s nothing wrong with the ad, similar to the McDonald’s ad, but does it ultimately sell more products? I probably say no. Advertising helps in building mental availability, but you want ads to showcase your products in a memorable way. Leave the beliefs of the company to the mission statement.

My mother passed away from a long battle with cancer when I was 11, my brother was 7. I remember the following day after my mum’s death dad took us to McDonald’s, my brother was happy to be going to the golden arches. At the time it pissed me off, but looking back I now realise it was a place my brother associated with happiness, which in a time of death was comforting for him.

I can see why some people are angry with McDonald’s for their ad, labelling it exploiting childhood bereavement, but I can see what they were trying to do. For many people, McDonald’s is more than a fast food burger joint, it’s a place where families come together. In saying that, seeing as the topic of ‘death’ is so sensitive I would’ve stuck to selling burgers.

 

Australian Paper goes Digital to close the Recycling Loop

Australian Paper - Campaign image - May2016Recently I finished working on an exciting digital campaign for Australian Paper promoting their new range of Reflex 100% Recycled paper. The challenge was to educate the general public about the benefits of  closing the paper recycling loop. Australians are great recyclers, with 68% of people recycling office paper, but only 20% buy recycled paper back.

For this awareness campaign we developed an integrated digital approach utilising Facebook, LinkedIn, EDM, Google Display, videos (GIFs) and campaign website. We managed all aspects of the campaign, from developing the creative concept and strategy, video production, technical development and ad management. The 2 new characters Wayne and Lexie helped us communicate the serious message in an entertaining way which the target market could relate to. Lexie and Wayne will be used throughout the year to promote the closing the paper recycling loop message.

For more information on the campaign it was featured in Campaign Brief and Stationery News.

Euro 2015

IMG_4943Yes it’s been a while between blog posts! But this time I have a good excuse, I got married and spent my honeymoon in Europe!

Europe in summer doesn’t get any better, especially when Melbourne had its coldest winter in 20 years.  I was last in Europe 10 years ago so was looking forward to seeing the sights again. Also I was keen to see if Europe had embraced the 21st century (digital world). On the flight over we decided on our hashtag for the trip, check Instagram #booseuro2015 for our photos. For the next 5 weeks we relied on Airbnb, TripAdvisor and free Wi-Fi.

Compared to Australia, Europe is very old and a lot busier. With 8 million people and over 2,000 years of history, London is still the place to be. Regardless of the night, Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square were pumping. Granted it’s the Theatre and party capital of Europe and it was in the middle of summer, but there was people around all hours of the day and night.

In London I was hoping to see some cutting edge digital activity, such as interactive advertising on bins and billboards at Oxford Circus, and/or Beacons in the department stores (the department stores were all about the customer experience). But the most exciting digital experience we got was free Wi-Fi and using phones in the Tube. We were lucky enough to go to an Arsenal game, but again there was no digital connection with fans. The ground did have Wi-Fi, but we couldn’t connect.IMG_1388

On our trip we passed through France, Italy, Croatia, Austria, Czech and Germany. After London, Berlin felt the most digitally connected. It must due to their strong arts and bar/ cafe scene, and a young population. We used social media a lot at the start of our trip to hunt out Melbourne styled cafes, which there were no shortage of in London, Paris and Berlin. A lot of businesses (the smart ones) were using Instagram, Facebook, TripAdvisor and blogs (my wife would find them!) to attract tourists.
The most digital it got on our trip was at Singapore Airport, which had a digital wall, where you uploaded photos to a 360 degree screen.

This trip got me thinking, what are we doing for our tourists? I don’t expect very much. I know we’re trying to rollout free Wi-Fi in the city. So, Daniel Andrews (Victoria’s Premier) if you’re reading this, let’s chat as I have plenty of ideas.

 

Facebook F8 Conference

F8I can’t believe it’s been 4 months since my last blog post! Where has the time gone!? Last time I was writing about Christmas Ads and now it’s Easter! This year, I’ve been involved in Creme Egg’s Facebook campaign, so have been in the Easter spirit for a while now!

What caught my eye last week was Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference. The big news from the event was the focus on opening up Facebook Messenger to businesses. With 600 million active users of Messenger, Facebook is keen to give businesses the opportunity to interact directly with customers.

Users will have the opportunity to receive rich information from businesses, including tracking shipping, and purchase information and live chat (one-to-one communication).

In the future, Facebook users will have the option of getting receipts for goods purchased online sent directly to Messenger, bypassing email. In the same thread shipping orders will also be tracked.

Live chat will make it easier for brands to resolve issues. Chatting with consumers via the newsfeed is not always possible, especially for sensitive / private conversations.

Building Apps for Messenger is another way businesses can increase their reach. Currently there are over 20 Apps you can download, from sending GIFS to  Memes. JibJabI downloaded JibJab, the App Zuckerberg featured at the Conference and had a lot of fun sending GIFS to my partner. I can see many opportunities for brands to develop Apps to engage with fans, for example a Mercedes-Benz ‘Road Trip’ planner, which lets users send driving itineraries to friends, or a McDonalds ‘Meal Selector’, where users can send what they want for dinner.

You can also send money to friends using Messenger, so there’s no end to the capabilities of the App!

From a marketing perspective the advancements to Messenger are very exciting!

Wishing you a safe and relaxing Easter!