Mother’s Day Flowers

IMG_9783 - FB cover imageThe year is flying past with Mother’s Day already upon us this Sunday. This year takes on extra importance as it’s my wife’s first Mother’s Day. Hard to believe our baby girl is turning 5 months old this week.

To celebrate Mother’s Day, our side business Flowers By Night is running a special flower offer for mums. We have partnered with Paper Style and Co to create a ‘Love you Mum! flower bouquet wrapped in their beautiful Magnolia gift paper for $45. The flowers will be delivered Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, most likely I’ll be the courier (say hello)! Paper Style and Co create prints and invitations, checkout their website for more info.

This collaboration has given us some great insights into the challenging world of e-commerce. Hats off to the online flower companies out there. To promote our offer, we’re running some Facebook and Google ads, and using Instagram. Flowers By Night normally focuses on styling weddings and special events, and FB Carousel B&Wfrom time-to-time we create special bouquets for our clients. Doing this Mother’s Day promotion has been a good opportunity for us to get some insights into the online floristry world.

Here’s my plug, avoid stressing out this week and let us deliver a beautiful bouquet of flowers to your mum, click here to order. Mother’s Day is the one day we can say thanks to mum for everything she does for us.

 

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The First Six Weeks at Home

ImageToday, six weeks ago was my last day at work! Where has the time gone! Time use to fly by at work, but it’s the same at home with a little one.  

The last six weeks has been a real eye opener! Hats off to mums and stay at home dads, there’s no rest at home. The constant repetition can be tiring, especially on not much sleep. Luckily for us, we have a baby that likes to sleep at night, which is a godsend for new parents!

When I tell people, I’m taking some time off to spend it at home I get some mixed reactions. This is maybe because my wife is at home too, but I get the feeling there is still this ingrained mentality in society that the dad works, while the mum stays at home.

One of the main reasons for spending some time at home is so I can build a bond with Zoe, our daughter. Zoe is now four months old and is getting very active. She’s now rolling over from side-to-side and before we know it, she’ll be crawling! We’re entering the teething stage, which means lots of dribbling and constant wiping of her chin.

When I finished up work, I created a long list of things I wanted to do at home. I can safely say that I’ve done about half the things on that ever-growing list. I was kidding myself thinking I was going on holidays at home! I’m three-quarters through a Photoshop course which I bought on Fiverr, I’ve been very happy with the instructional videos. Also, I’ve updated our side business’ website, Flowers By  Night which was in desperate need of a refresh. It took about a week to do using one of Wix’s templates.

Next week I’m starting a Marketing Week’s mini-MBA online course by Mark Ritson. Mark has been teaching MBA’s for years and has consolidated the marketing core subjects into the mini-MBA. I’m really excited about getting a refresh of the core marketing theories.

One thing I’ve been struck by is how much stuff you can buy for your baby! It’s a marketer’s dream. We all want the best for our kids, which means brands have a field day marketing their products. Now I need to think of what to sell 😉

 

Week 1 – A New Chapter

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After seven and half years I finished up working at Online Circle Digital last week. It was a tough decision to make, especially since I’ve been there since the beginning. Back in 2009, there was just 4 of us in a serviced office in Mount Waverley, and have been part of the growth into a 25+ strong digital agency servicing some of Australia’s biggest brands. Our first piece of work was with Cadbury and have worked with them ever since. It’s testament to the owners, Lucio and Jeff, for my longevity. They’ve created an agency that’s not shy of innovation. Being entrepreneurs, they’re constantly pushing the boundaries, which has been awesome to be part of.

In saying that, nothing lasts forever and with the birth of our baby girl (Zoe), I knew it was time to take a break to spend some time at home and also explore other work opportunities. Having put so much energy into Online Circle Digital over the years, it’s taken a while to switch off. Getting down to Lorne last week to enjoy some of Melbourne’s late summer weather has helped with that process. Switching off has also been helped by my 3-month-old daughter who is now getting very interactive. It’s an amazing time, she’s gone from feeding and sleeping to making faces and lots of baby talk!

In the coming months, I’m looking forward to updating and learning some new skills and spending some time working on the marketing of our small business, Flowers By Night. We started the wedding flowers styling business last year and have done a great job in growing it by WOM. Of course, spending time with the family is going to be a big part of my time at home, but I’m looking forward to using the digital landscape to try different things.

Expect to see a few more blog posts over the coming months as I document my time at home.

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.

What I’ve learned in 3 months using Snapchat

Back in February I wrote an article about Snapchat, I had been using it for 3 weeks and was pretty excited by the platform. The excitement surrounding Snapchat reminded me of the buzz Twitter was getting 8 years ago when I was living in New York. Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr were all getting started and Twitter was winning the battle. We all know what happened in the following years.

Three months later I’m still using Snapchat, and are excited by the new advertising features which really opens up the platform to advertisers.
A quick recap, Snapchat is a mobile App that allows images and videos to be sent. The messages last between 3 and 10 seconds, and then it disappears. Points are earned for every message sent and received, and there are trophies for rewards. To enhance snaps, you can add funny filters and text to images and videos. These filters are one of the reasons why the platform is so addictive. I got hooked using the filters and was actively sharing photos and videos with my wife’s friends, who in turn shared content with their friends. Before long the whole group was using it.
Snapchat figures are impressive for a platform that has been going for about 4 years. Snapchat has 200+ million users, 100 million are active daily users with Australia having 2 million active users. More than 60% of US 13 to 34 year olds Smartphone owners are Snapchatters. Users spend on average 30 minutes a day on it. Snapchat is dominating video with 10 billion videos watched daily. To put it in perspective, Facebook has the same number of video views, but are 10x times larger!
Why do people love the platform? Snapchat is giving users a platform to creatively express themselves to the world. We can share content (our own) with friends, celebrities and people located anywhere in the world (very similar to how Twitter was used to connect with people from anywhere, Facebook was more of a closed environment). And we control the frequency of interaction. Snapchat is the perfect platform to be continually sharing Snaps from our busy lives. The Snaps are a reflection of how we are feeling in the moment.
Interesting to note, all content on Snapchat is viewed vertically, which means it gets maximum eyeball attention on mobile. Studies have found that mobile users were not turning their phones when viewing content, resulting in landscape content been underutilised. This could be one of the reasons why Facebook has recently launched Canvas ads, to take advantage of the full vertical space.
So how do the brands get involved in the platform? Like with everything, there’s the organic way and the paid option. The organic way is to create stories on a brand’s profile. This does not mean replicating Facebook and Instagram content calendars onto Snapchat. The content should be quite separate and unique. Snapchat content is a lot rawer and does not require the same high creative production. However, it still requires some planning otherwise a brand’s profile will be full of random images and videos. The brands doing it well are telling a story, checkout NitroCircus for inspiration. But building an active community is quite labour intensive due to the content disappearing after 24 hours, so you have to be continually creating new stories.
Snapchat’s paid options allow brands to get involved without having to invest as much manpower, but there are still considerable costs to advertise on the platform. In Australia we’ve had limited access to advertising options, but this has changed recently.
One of the first paid options introduced by Snapchat was the ‘Discovery’ brand channel, which is a place where brands can publish curated content. This option has been only open to a small number of brands with very deep pockets (in the US prices started from $750k per day, apparently it’s now around $50k).  In Australia some brands using Discovery channels have included Fox Sports, News.com.au, BuzzFeed and MTV.
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Another option for brands to participate in is the ‘Live Story’ section, which occupies prime realestate just below the Discovery section. It’s a combination of user generated, branded and Snapchat curated content from live events from around the world, it’s a bit like a modern day documentary. A lot of the content is from behind the scenes at fashion shows, music and film awards and sport (the NBA finals has been featured a lot).
To get a sense of how big Snapchat is, America’s ABC recently broadcasted the American Music Awards, it got 3 million TV viewers aged 13-34, while a Snapchat Live Story about the event drew 11.5 million. Advertisers will be climbing over themselves to be featured next year.
Snapchat also features Live Stories from cities around the world, yesterday Reykjavik was featured. Not sure if there’s an option for cities to nominate themselves. Snapchat’s team based in LA and NYC sift through thousands of Snaps to curate the content and mix in their own content (with people on the ground at events), and add in ads (brand stories). To create ‘brand stories’, prices start from a very reasonable $20 for every 1,000 views. Yesterday I saw a 5 second Hungry Jacks ad video.
Quickly becoming a popular option for brands to participate on Snapchat is sponsored ‘on demand’ Geo-filters. Users can add branded graphics to selfie photos and videos based on Geo-locations. We’ve had community driven filters in Australia (e.g. Melbourne) but recently we got access to ‘on demand’ filters. McDonalds was one of the first to use the filter on a national scale. Recently in the office we created a filter for an event, we geo-fenced it to our building for about an hour, and it costed about $5USD (very reasonable). Thoughts of hijacking events spring to mind, so it will be interesting to see how Snapchat manages this going forward.
The last 3 months have certainly been fun using and discovering more about Snapchat. If you want to learn more, I’ll be co-running a Snapchat workshop this Thursday afternoon. We’ll be Facebook Live streaming the workshop, so like our Facebook page to watch it. www.facebook.com/onlinecircle

Watch out – Gen Xers are on Snapchat

https://www.snapchat.com/add/jimmy-coleman

Username: Jimmy-Coleman

It’s been about 3 weeks since I’ve started playing around with Snapchat and there’s no going back!  Move over Facebook and Twitter, Snapchat is the new kid on the block.

As a Gen X-er, I was keen to understand what all the fuss was about with the platform that has captured the imagination of the Millennials. Also, how can brands use it as a marketing tool.

Snapchat is a mobile App that allows images and videos to be sent to users. The catch is the message last between 3 and 10 seconds, and then it disappears. For every message sent and received, you receive points, and there are trophies for rewards.

To enhance snaps (videos and images) a bunch of very funny filters and emojis can be added. These filters are one of the reasons why the platform is so addictive. Updated daily, they encourage users to keep checking back.

The platform is all about capturing and sharing moments.  Why send a plain text message when you can communicate via an image or video (a picture is worth a thousand words). While we all use Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and SMS for instant communication, Snapchat has turbocharged this form of communication by adding a game element to it.  It’s all about sending creative Snapchat messages, very similar to memes. Snapchat also gives an insight into a user’s daily life, as videos and images can be uploaded to a profile in the form of a story, which lasts up to 24 hours. Uploads are stitched together to make a story.

While it’s been a great tool for having fun with friends and spying on celebs, but how can brands play in the space?  From my research, it’s only recently that Snapchat has opened up the platform to advertisers. There looks to be 3 ways brands can get involved. The first is the discovery section where publishers / brands can upload highlights from the day in the form of videos, images and GIFs. The next is sponsoring a filter; Samsung recently used a filter in Melbourne. The third way is creating stories on a brand’s profile, the organic way.

From a reporting perspective, things are pretty limited. You can understand how many views and screenshots content has been received, but there’s no way to benchmark performance with other brands.

It’s very early days for me with Snapchat, but early indicators show it’s a fun platform to use. I’m looking forward to exploring it more from a business perspective. Don’t forget to follow me!   

Facebook Advertising Overview

People are silhouetted as they pose with laptops in front of a screen projected with a Facebook logo, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica October 29, 2014. Facebook Inc warned on Tuesday of a dramatic increase in spending in 2015 and projected a slowdown in revenue growth this quarter, slicing a tenth off its market value. Facebook shares fell 7.7 percent in premarket trading the day after the social network announced an increase in spending in 2015 and projected a slowdown in revenue growth this quarter.   REUTERS/Dado Ruvic (BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINABUSINESS LOGO - Tags: BUSINESS SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY LOGO TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

This year I joined Toastmasters and have recently finished my second speech. Toastmasters has helped me improve my listening and speaking skills.  I’m particularly enjoying the challenge of table topics, where you have to speak unprepared for 2 minutes.

I’m sharing my last speech, which was on Facebook advertising. My wife gave me the idea to do the speech on Facebook advertising.  We recently got married and had an amazing honeymoon in Europe. The other day on Facebook she saw an advertisement for a pregnancy tester kit. Naturally she was shocked and surprised, why is Facebook showing me these ads. I will explain how Facebook is getting this data later in the article.

First some background stats on Facebook. As most of us probably already know, Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world with 1.5 billion users and 13 million in Australia. Ten million Australians are active on Facebook every day, spending about 1 hour per day on it. Food is the most talked about and shared topic, followed by family and pets.

Facebook was listed on the US stock exchange back in 2012 and was valued at $100 billion. The shares started at $38 per share. Today the company is valued at $245 billion and its shares sit around $1.10. In the last quarter, Facebook made $4.3 billion from advertising in the US. The online advertising space is valued at $600 billion in the US. To marketers, Facebook now positions itself as a media company, no longer a Social Media platform.

A couple of years ago when a brand made a post on Facebook there was a good chance people would see the content organically. While this strategy was great for brands and for Facebook while they were growing their user base, it wasn’t making Facebook any money. Over the years, Facebook tweaked their algorithm so less and less content was shown organically. As a result brands would have to pay for their content to be seen. Facebook had become like any other media channel, like radio and TV. Due to the massive audience, it’s hard for advertisers to ignore the platform.

For years, advertisers have been able to target ads on Facebook based on a broad range of demographic and interest-based category, including gender, age, family status, location, employment, interests and hobbies. Users have given this information to Facebook in various forms.

The big shift came recently when Facebook partnered with offline data providers, including Quantium (Everyday Rewards cards). Facebook can now get information based on our offline habits and interests, including shopping and financial information. This new option called Partner Categories has meant Facebook can now overlay data from their own targeting combined with shopping and financial information. The list of targeting options has increased dramatically, marketers can now reach people who have got a new home loan, purchased overseas holidays, bought dog food and recently married (my wife fell into this category) the list goes on and on.

Partner Categories is now included standard in Facebook’s Ad Manager and Power Editor. In addition to Partner Categories, advertisers can upload Custom Audiences (email and phone databases, opted in to receive information from your brand) and target lists with advertising. There is also the option to use Look-A-Like audience targeting to reach people similar to your email database lists.

Facebook’s advertising options have evolved and are now very sophisticated. The key to Facebook’s continued success is ensuring people keep using the platform. Facebook will continue to tweak their advertising options but will need to be careful with the number (frequency) of ads shown. So expect to see more targeted ads in your news feed!