Creating Breakthrough Branded Content In Video Games

I recently had the opportunity to share my POV with the IEG sponsorship report on the keys to creating breakthrough branded content integrations in video games. The article also outlines five brands that are doing it well and why the integrations work.

Playing To Win: The Keys To Creating Breakthrough Branded Content In Video Games - IEG Sponsorship Report 2014-02-25 22-17-27

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Is 2014 The Year of Tumblr

In 2013 one platform created more requests for POVs and testing from our Fortune 500 clients than any other. That platform… Tumblr.

tumblr

What makes Tumblr unique? The platform is a hybrid of social & the web. Tumblr provides a massive (225m monthly uniques) and highly engaged audience as well as complete creative control over the look & feel of the experience. This is a valuable proposition for extending the equity & discoverability of a brand’s digital presence.

Tumblr Web Social

Tumblr can serve as a campaign destination or social hub which has become a lost element within the social ecosystem. Most social platforms have moved away from a destination approach and are focused on atomized content engagement. Meaning the emphasis is on making sure your content is engaging enough to capture users attention within a short amount of time.

Tumblr Hub

With Tumblr, brands are not limited to a single media type, there are no design restrictions and no character limits. A brand can create a compelling experience that transcends the social stream and maps to discovery through traditional channels such as search.

Here is an example of THE SIGNAL from Lexus. Note the design freedoms of the platform.

Screenshot 2014-02-18 22.00.05

Other key elements to consider: Tumblr blogs can support custom URL’s which are ideal for campaign landing pages. SEO has been a key focus area for Tumblr and the platform is optimized for mobile.

Here is an IFC example of a custom URL solution

IFC Spoils of Babylon

Here is the IFC example as the #1 search result for Spoils of Babylon

ifc spoils of babylon - Google Search

Regarding engagement, Tumblr content tends to have a longer shelf life compared to some of the other social platforms that integrate time decay of the content into their algorithms. With Tumblr as content is re-blogged it continues to earn impressions over time.

Tumblr Impressions over time

In a recent briefing by the Tumblr team, I was pleasantly surprised by the composition of their audience. Let’s just say that breakdowns are consistent with today’s millennial focused campaigns. And the rate at which Tumblr’s daily users are actively creating original content, re-blogging content and/or “hearting” content is significantly higher than I was expecting. All of this with a very healthy daily growth rate.

A recent Social Media Intelligence Report from Adobe referenced that in Q4 2013 Tumblr’s RPV (Revenue per visit) rose 340% year over year, with a healthy $1.10 revenue per visit. Facebook is currently #1 with a $1.22.

Tumblr RPV

Another shocking revelation was the amount of time spent per visit with an average session of 20 minutes with 66 pages visited per day.

How Brands are using Tumblr

Community Driven – Some brands are relying on their users to power their Tumblr presence. Here are a few standout examples:

Disney The Looking Glass

Disney Tumblr
Samsung Camera

Samsung

Commerce-Driven – Here a few brands who are extending commerce and maximizing the referral revenue potential of Tumblr

Target On the Dot

Target

GameStop

GameStop

Angry Birds

Angry Birds Tumblr

AT&T

Screenshot 2014-02-18 22.22.38

Tumblr now supports a more robust paid amplification offering as well, allowing for targeting that covers both desktop & mobile. At a later date I’ll get further into to paid amplification on Tumblr.

With all of this momentum, in my opinion, Tumblr will be a force to be reckoned with in 2014.

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5 Ways The Facebook Paper App Could Change the Future

With the recent rollout of Facebook’s new mobile news reader app Paper we see the next step in their single purpose app strategy. This post does dive into what Paper is, but more importantly, it focuses how brands can potentially capitalize on Paper now, and into the future.

The launch of Paper is directly targeting Google News, Flipboard, Twitter and other more visually centric news services. The key differentiator for Facebook is by integrating core functionality (engage and post across the Facebook ecosystem, native functionality like messages and notifications) combined with a highly visual curated user experience, it goes beyond the simple utility of consuming news into an engaging experience built on top of Facebook’s social graph.

Here is a brief overview of the app

Having talked to numerous Facebook representatives it appears that there is NOT YET an opportunity for brands to create a unique experience or impact the curated content in categories… the key word is yet. The following section is speculative based on potential directions Facebook may take the Paper application to create value for brands and potentially monetize the platform.

WHAT ARE THE POTENTIAL BRAND OPPORTUNITIES WITH PAPER?

Having worked closely with Facebook over the years I am projecting that in the near future there may be opportunities for content rich brands to infiltrate the experience with the goal of driving content discovery. Below are a few thoughts on how content rich brands may be able to leverage Paper in the future.

1) Category Inclusion – As the application gains adoption, there will be an increased desire from content rich brands to be included in specific category feeds. I would project that their may be a tiered approach to content positioning based on relationship factors such as Facebook media spend.

At this point there is not any type of self serve option or a rep based option to influence the content sources for each category. The natural next step is to expand the categories and sources or allow groups to create and curate their own categories. Very similar to how Flipboard (For more information on Flipboard, here is a previously written article on how to incorporate Flipboard into your content strategy) enables brands by allowing them to create custom curated brand magazines.

Here is an example of the Paper category user experience

Paper Categories

Here is a brand example of a Flipboard Custom Curated Magazine

Callaway Apex Irons MagazinePhoto Oct 08, 2 01 25 PM

2) Recommendation Engine – Going beyond simple inclusion would be the coveted ability to gain visibility through a category recommendation engine. This could be in the form of category/content specific feeds. An example would be creating a “Gaming” category and having a content provider such as Game Informer feeding relevant content.

Example of Google+ Recommendation Engine

interesting-on-google-plus-box

Example of OutBrain’s Content recommendation engine

Screenshot 2014-02-05 10.09.38

3) Sponsored Content – This will most likely mimic some of the native advertising approaches we see from other native publishers. Eventually I would expect sponsored content to become the primary monetization option for the application.

Example from Buzzfeed and Sponsored stories inserted into the organic “news” streams

Buzzfeed

4) Social Graph Enabled Personalization – Facebook Paper is more focused on discovery vs. personalization and the initial roll-out reflects this approach. The Paper application is more about self-selection from the user against predefined categories vs. customizing their curated feeds. Over time there may be an opportunity for the application to be more connected with a users social graph and personalize the news experience in a more targeted manner. This could lead to further aligning targeted media based on consumption habits of the apps users to create a truly personal experience.

If this were the case the value to brands is the ability to potentially target specific messaging to drive engagement into conversion.

webofgraphs_320x245

5) Geolocation Based Content – Another area of opportunity would be associating content recommendations based on location. This could either be curated location based content that is relevant through your social graph connections or simply mapped to a specific location with relevant news and tips.

One of the core benefits of Facebook as a platform is the ability to connect with local content that matters. Including geolocation based content could extend the reach of the platform to support event specific content and drive additional value for brands sponsorship dollars. An ideal use case could be to create curated feeds tied to an individuals NCAA College Football preferences and inject native sponsorship messaging into the experience that outlines where the sponsor may be setting up during gameday with a compelling value proposition.

Here is an example of the AT&T Fanzone Tour. A new point of discovery could be a personalized sports category that also aligns content recommendations based on locations with events that can enhance gameday and provide great value for sponsorship dollars

att-fanzone2

All of this is speculative, and Paper may go the route of Home & Poke but it is fun to think about the possibilities of extending the Facebook ecosystem. If the application drives a healthy install base eventually content rich brands will become a more prominent part of the equation.

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