We’re already helping Optus, eBay, Kia Automotive, Nivea, Expedia, Sony, Roadshow Films, Seven Network, Open Universities Australia & Adidas.
Technology has been ingrained in our lives for a long time now; it’s almost unthinkable for a large proportion of the world to even leave home without their smartphone. But technology is also evolving, so quickly that we often lose track of the possibilities and potential available to us today, whether innovative, useful or impactful.
In this regular series of blog posts, our heads of technology, creative and marketing will champion their best examples of ‘Innovative Social Thinking’, ideas that combine insights into social behavior with technology to form new connections, changing the world ever so slightly for the better.
Be My Eyes – Tom Ollerton, Marketing Director
Be My Eyes is an app that connects blind and partially sighted people with volunteer helpers from around the world via live video chat on smartphones. The app allows blind people to use the eyes of the helper to help them with tasks that they can’t manage without sight.
How does a blind person use a smartphone? The iPhone has a great feature called VoiceOver which enables people who are completely blind to use an iPhone with synthetic speech and touch-based interface. All the code is open source and the translations are being sourced in twenty languages currently.
This is a great example of social thinking using the motivations of people’s desire to help combined with clever technology to help someone in a moment of need.
The voice donor – Matt Payne, Head of Creative Technology
The voice donor is a campaign that ran in China on Wechat. It asked users to donate their voice to help create audio books for blind children. WeChat, like many social apps, allows people to send each other voice recordings usually used when typing a message becomes a nuisance. Up to 510,000 people opted to donate. When opting in to the campaign users were sent just a short paragraph of text. This text is taken from any number of books. They simply had to record themselves reading out the paragraph and send it back. With all copy being served by a coded management system all clips were easily tied together to create full audio books.
The technology behind this is pretty simple. Its the execution on a social platform that, for me, is innovative. Asking users to give just moments of their time to create something much bigger than any brand campaign has done in the past. It truly is a campaign for good with amazing results. I want to see this rolled out globally with all countries helping to donate books.
Megafaces – James Nester, Creative Director
Innovation is the lovechild of two old ideas. As illustrated perfectly by the multi-award-winning ‘Megafaces’ which fusing Pin Art toys (remember them?) with the ubiquitous Selfie.
Behind this stroke of genius was Russian ad agency Axis and their telecomms client Megafon, who were sponsoring the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi. They wanted to help anyone in the nation become part of Olympic History.
So they created ‘The world’s first large scale LED kinetic façade’. Booths were placed in the Olympic park as well as 30 cities, giving anyone the chance to have their faces photographed and recreated in 3D, 3,500 times bigger on the Pavilion façade. It worked just like a huge pin screen that could extend out to a depth of up to two metres. A digital Mount Rushmore.
All participants were messaged a video to share with friends, showing the moment they were the face of the Olympics. Awe-inspiring social thinking.
Facebook launches iOS Ads Manager app
Facebook now has over 2 million active advertisers, so the social advertising leader has launched a mobile app to help users manage their ads direct from their smartphones. The app will allow users to create ads, track spending, edit scheduling, view results and receive ad performance notifications. It has initially launched in the US, but will roll out globally over the next few months. An Android version should also be available later this year.
Twitter improves conversion tracking tools
Last week, Twitter announced two key enhancements to its conversion tracking tool – transaction values and key conversion tags. Transaction values allows advertisers to track the sales driven by a promoted tweet campaign, making it easier to report on ROI. Additionally, key conversion tags allow advertisers to pick a target conversion type for their campaign, Twitter can then optimise the campaign and focus reporting towards the chosen tag.
New boss at Google+ shakes things up
Google’s social network has just got a new leader in Brad Horowitz, who plans to change things up to bring life back to the platform. Rumoured plans include making Hangouts and Photos each act as stand-alone tools.
Pinterest pitches multi-image promoted pins
Pinterest continues to push forward in efforts to monetise the platform. Last week, it pitched a multi-pin carousel to potential advertisers, which would enable promoted pins to show more than one photo. Facebook and Twitter both offer similar ad features, such as the four-image tweets. A Pinterest spokesperson said it’s “just one example of many things we’re testing”.
Barclays UK introduces payments via Twitter handles
Barclays recently announced that it will allow people using its Pingit mobile app to make payments to peers and small businesses using solely their Twitter handles. This update will be the first of its kind for a British bank and launches on the 10th March for iOS and Android.
So, what colour was THAT dress?
Last week, the world went wild for a picture of dress. Was it blue and black or white and gold? On Friday, the Huffington Post featured our research which showed that white and gold was leading #TheDress debate, despite confirmation that it is in fact blue and black. Luckily, science has stepped in, explaining that the colours you see are predetermined by the brightness of your screen and the genetic makeup of your eyes.
— LEGO (@LEGO_Group) February 27, 2015
— Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) February 27, 2015
— Adobe (@Adobe) February 27, 2015
and our very own:
Twitter’s New Recap Feature
Twitter’s new recap feature officially debuted on iOS a month ago, but now “while you were away” has arrived on Android devices.
The feature moves away from the chronological format that Twitter has long relied on. Instead of displaying the most recent tweets, “while you were away” also displays the “top” tweets since the last time you’ve opened the app. It is based on an analysis of tweet engagement and users habits.
“While you were away” puts Twitter more in line with Facebook’s algorithm-driven News Feed, though Twitter says it will remain more focused on real-time updates. To those who scoff at change: There isn’t a way to turn the feature off. There isn’t a way to turn the feature off.
“If you check in on Twitter now and then for a quick snapshot of what’s happening, you’ll see this recap more often; if you spend a lot of time on Twitter already, you’ll see it less,” Paul Rosania, a Twitter product manager, wrote in a blog post about the new feature on Wednesday.
Product Ads are coming to Facebook
Facebook has launched a new ad format, ‘Product Ads’. They’re aimed at companies who have, you know, products. The clever thing? The products a user is shown will vary based on activity and interests, whether those be cups, cats or collages.
Adweek published a piece which claims that Product Ads could compete with Google’s Shopping Ads, which appear at the top of search results with a retailer focus. The article cites Facebook’s unique targeting capabilities and dynamic visuals.
YouTube bans branding overlay
YouTube is clamping down on sponsors that add ‘graphical title cards’ to creators’ videos. The network now requires any overlaid branding or logos to come through Google’s sales team, thereby handing over a share of the revenue.
YouTube kids is out today
YouTube has today released ‘YouTube Kids’ as an app for Android devices. It features family-friendly content and pre-vetted ads, as well as a set of parental controls, including time limits and search blocks.
LinkedIn updates ad targeting capabilities
LinkedIn has launched its first tool that focuses on serving ads outside of its network, allowing marketers to target select subsets from LinkedIn’s user base and show them ads elsewhere on the net. It’s also introduced new business-to-business ad targeting, based on which parts of a website someone has visited, as part of its ‘LinkedIn Lead Accelerator’ feature. Samsung and Groupon are already involved, with the latter’s EMEA head of merchant marketing saying:
LinkedIn Lead Accelerator is helping us reposition Groupon as a marketing partner to the businesses we work with. From local restauranteurs to major national brands, we’re now able to better analyse our site traffic and identify the sectors that could provide the best leads for us to focus on.
Record Snapchat video and play music simultaneously
Big news for parties with bad sound systems: shooting Snapchat video will no longer pause your music, meaning that you can capture it in your films. The update came in the latest iPhone/iPad app; Android users will have to wait a little longer.
Snapchat and Pinterest in new funding rounds
Snapchat looks to be more valuable than Pinterest, according to two rumoured rounds of funding. Both are looking to raise around $500m, but Snapchat’s $19bn predicted valuation is significantly higher than Pinterest’s $11bn. Still, $11bn? Not bad, Pinterest. Not bad at all.
Michael Kors on Snapchat for NYFW
Michael Kors partnered with Snapchat during New York Fashion Week for 24 hours of exclusive, behind-the-scenes snaps in ‘Our Stories’. Look how happy he looks! As well he might.
Two fashion brands create Twitter activations
Michael Kors wasn’t the only fashion brand making social news in the last week. Topshop is to use live Twitter data during London Fashion Week to create shoppable outdoor billboards, based on the latest trends from the shows.
Meanwhile, Burberry added a Twitter-powered camera to its Autumn/Winter 2015 show. Any tweet using #Tweetcam and @Burberry would trigger the camera to take a photo of the catwalk.
#ChampionTheMatch with Heineken
Heineken is encouraging its Twitter followers to use #ChampionTheMatch when discussing the Champions League this week. In return, they’ll receive exclusive content, such as live commentary from players and celebs.
Under Armour plans to hijack Twitter conversations
Under Armour has recruited professional athletes, including Welsh rugby player Leigh Halfpenny, for its latest campaign. The brand says it will be “hijacking competitor social conversations in real-time” by posting videos and images that encourage fitness enthusiasts to push themselves further.
Dove creates #SpeakBeautiful Oscars campaign
Dove used the Oscars to locate negative Twitter conversations about body image and encourage women to be more positive, using the hashtag #SpeakBeautiful. You can get a taste of the campaign from the video below.
Apply for a scholarship in a Tweet
Online business education provider, BSchool is encouraging people to apply for its scholarship program in 140 characters or less through a new Twitter campaign called #TweetScholar.
LinkedIn Is Making Sweeping Changes
The LinkedIn developer platform is undergoing changes to weed out third party products. The change will remove any product they deem poor quality or competitive to LinkedIn.
Real time storm tracking
As the Northern Territory braces for Cyclone Lam, Aussies are using the hashtag #cyclonelam to track the impending storm. Everyone from news and emergency services, to individual twitter users are joining the conversation as they track to storm in real time.
Twitter engagement for big brands is up
Big brands are receiving more engagement Twitter, according to Simply Measured’s research into Interbrand’s 100 Best Global Brands and their Q4 2014 performance. On average, Twitter engagement increased by 105% year-on-year, while per-tweet interactions jumped from 91 to 168 in the same period.
Facebooks ads will be scored on relevance
Facebook is going to start scoring ads based on how relevant the platform thinks they are. It has devised a scale that gives each ad a figure from 1-10, based on a set of positive measurements (views, shares, clicks) and negative ones (hides, the number of times a piece is reported as spam). Facebook’s algorithm chooses which adverts to show to people based on a number of factors, including the amount bid and its relevance. High relevance could therefore compensate for a low bid, potentially making ads cheaper.
Facebook wants cinemagraphs
Cinemagraphs are a type of GIF that keeps the moving element to a minimum and look REAL pretty, as you can see below. Now, Facebook is encouraging brands to use the format, in keeping with its and Instagram’s autoplay feature.
Facebook ‘legacy contacts’ can manage accounts after your death
Facebook is allowing US users to designate a ‘legacy contact’ to manage their account once they have died. The contact has various permissions, including the ability to send a final post on the behalf of their deceased friend/family member, manage friend requests, update cover/profile pictures, archive content and download old posts and photos. They will not have access to private messages or the ability to amend old content.
Twitter is buying Niche
Twitter is looking to make money using the people who have become famous on Vine. The company is purchasing Niche, a talent agency that acts as a middleman between said celebrities and brand advertisers. The deal is said to be worth between $30m and $60m.
Twitter adds Cricket World Cup feature for India
Twitter has added a new feature for the Cricket World Cup, especially for India. Anyone with a smartphone or feature phone can opt in to receive tweets related to popular games, whether or not they have an account. Users can phone a number, hang up, then receive a set of tweets as text messages, from both the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
Pinterest shuts down affiliate e-commerce, preparing for a buy button?
Pinterest is planning on launching a buy button, according to Recode. The tech publication’s sources claim that the feature will arrive within three to six months, although it admits that a Pinterest spokeswoman declined to comment. Nevertheless, this news comes in the same week that the platform has decided to shut down any unauthorised e-commerce by affiliate networks, potentially in preparation for the move.
Download apps from Pinterest on iPhone and iPad
Pinterest has announced a partnership with Apple that will allow iPhone/iPad users to download other apps from within the Pinterest iOS app.
Snapchat Our Stories for locals
Snapchat is trialling a feature that adds localisation to ‘Our Stories’. Last Friday, it ran a feature called ‘TGIF in LA’ that only pulled together Snaps from Los Angeles and showed them to people in the area.
Sky gets involved with Snapchat’s Discover
Sky News and Sky Sports are to become the first UK and Ireland-specific contributors to Snapchat’s ‘Discover’ feature. The publishers will post around five to 10 pieces of content a day, which will disappear at the end of the 24-hour window.
adidas sets up private Twitter conversation with Karim Benzema
adidas has become the first major brand to use Twitter’s group direct messages in its marketing. The sportswear giant chose three fans, who had been the most engaged with its #ThereWillBeHaters campaign, to take part in a private conversation with Real Madrid star, Karim Benzema.
Topman and Ghostpoet launching new YouTube video
Topman has set up a new music project on YouTube, called #Openshoot. Topman fans will have the opportunity to submit creative ideas (videos, illustrations, photos) for a new single by British singer Ghostpoet, submitting them via the Topman website or by using the hashtag on Instagram or Twitter. Topman will then create a YouTube video incorporating the best ideas and publish it on its YouTube channel.
Oreo tells Valentine’s Day stories
Oreo created a set of short YouTube videos that told awkward love stories in the build up to Valentine’s Day, in order to promote the new Red Velvet product. These were then supported with GIFs and other content across Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.
Brands and Valentine’s Day
As with any holiday, brands were keen to get involved with online chatter around Valentine’s Day. You can see some of the better (and worse) examples below.
Brands jump on #WhatIsLoveIn4Words
The hashtag #WhatIsLoveIn4Words was all over Twitter last week. What do brands love? Well, usually themselves, if these tweets are anything to go by. As always, the content came in varying degrees of quality.
Two weeks ago, Snapchat announced that media companies like CNN, National Geographic, Vice, MTV, ESPN, and The Daily Mail, will be programming content for them.
This content will appear in a new section of their app called “Discover.”
To watch these “snaps”, like all other Snapchat content, you press a button and it plays – as long you keep your finger there. Remove it and – poof! It disappears.
By having to physically keep a video running, you are forced to look – and focus.
How should brands tell video stories on Snapchat?
Pounce from the start
The opening has to grab the viewer’s attention from the very first frame. No build up is required. And then, keep them glued for the entire ride. Narratives would have to be reworked. For brands, they may need to craft their message to fit into the first few seconds.
One take to rule them all
The Copacabana scene from “Goodfellas“. The opening sequence of “Gravity”. The one-shot scene holds our attention because there are no cuts or edits to let our minds “rest”.
Brands are sharing single-take videos on social media.
The Sunday Times’ Icons of Culture.
Airbnb’s train journey.
This “hold-your-breath” approach is similar to how we view content on Snapchat.
Mobile for mobile
Shoot and edit videos on mobile. Smartphones today record in high-definition. The turnaround is faster. And the raw, gritty feel resonates with younger audiences.
Bye-bye widescreen, hello split screen
Snapchat displays content vertically. Take advantage of this framing to give users details and perspectives they would not normally see on a 16:9 aspect ratio. In “Literally Can’t Even”, a new reality series on Snapchat starring Sasha Spielberg, the daughter of Steven Spielberg, split screens are used.
This method allows the creators to show more content and grab viewers’ attention. They also have to plan carefully to see how each screen can play off each other effectively.
Content comes before anything else, and is more important now than ever. Ask, “What’s the story?”
On Wednesday, Instagram updated its app to make its videos loop like those on Vine. It is a double-edged sword. Advertisers and content creators think that their videos get more views, but viewers might get turned off. The challenge is tell stories that are interesting when viewed repeatedly. Fashion brand GAP used an elliptical narrative for their first in a series of 12 episodes on Instagram.
They call it “the weirdest love story ever Instagrammed.”
Storytelling will continue to evolve as mobile apps like Snapchat, Vine and Instagram introduce new features. This presents new opportunities and challenges for media companies and brands. They have to understand each platform well and use it as a framework to craft narratives for mobile.
Wui-Liang Lim recently joined the We Are Social team in Singapore as Content Director, and is responsible for helping guide the editorial vision and output of the agency and identify new content opportunities for our clients. Follow Wui-Liang on Twitter @LimWuiLiang.