The Anti-Facebook? Meet Ello

With the recent shift towards a reach and frequency model and organic reach hovering at 3% (with plans to go lower by the end of the year), Facebook has now created a void in the social networking eco-system.

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This is what maturing enterprises do. They refine and evolve and sometimes this change has significant ramifications on existing best practices. Facebook is still an incredibly powerful digital platform. I would no longer classify it as a “social network” at least from a brand marketing perspective. Facebook has moved away from KPI’s such as engagement to focus on becoming a highly effective direct response tool.

Facebook-Reach

We are currently at a significant cross-roads from a social marketing perspective. The mantra of reach through engagement is really only applicable on Tumblr & Instagram (for now). Twitter is shifting towards an algorithm driven approach to showcasing tweets in your feed and organic reach has continued to decline and it will be interesting to see how much of the feed is “real-time” moving forward.

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With all of this movement away from what made social… social, you should expect to see new platforms emerge that essentially provide what Facebook used to be, an actual social network.

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One such platform that is starting to pick up momentum is Ello.

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“Ello is a simple, beautiful, and ad-free social network created by a small group of artists and designers” according to the founders. It is designed to be an ad-free digital zone.

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One of the selling propositions to join yet another network is the fact that they state they won’t sell data to 3rd parties.

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The core of the experience is similar to what you would expect, it supports GIFs, comments on posts and reply directly to friends. You also have insight into how many people have viewed a post but there is nothing revolutionary with the platform, it simply is what Facebook used to be.

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This is still in it’s early stages and is very similar to the early stages of the social networks that came before it so there are still some elements that need to be refined but there is a need for platforms such as Ello that provide an alternative to the increasingly ad driven models and allow for more organic connection and discovery of content.

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Be sure to sign up for an invite.

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

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Apple’s Big Day & Samsungs Shrewd Move

Yesterday, all eyes & multiple hashtags were set on Cupertino, California for Apple’s seismic announcements. I will admit that I am an Apple apologist and almost all of my hardware has the iconic fruit emblazoned on it. So it was with great anticipation that I watched the keynote unfold yesterday.

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I was excited about the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, shared high-fives over the new Apple Pay & Apple Watch and left the keynote feeling good about the direction of the new products.

Apple

During all of the excitement and monitoring of the social conversation around #appleevent, #appleliveevent and other Apple centric hashtags I spotted something that seemed amiss.

Samsung - Promoted Trend

Note in the Promoted Trend highlighted above, among the various Apple organic trending topics is #GalaxyFamily. For those of you not familiar with executing a promoted trend, this is a calculated, date driven buy with Twitter that requires advanced planning and a decent sized media buy. The fact that the Samsung marketing team was able to secure the date, assuming this was executed after Apple announced the Keynote is impressive.

Here is a full view of Samsung looking to disrupt the action on the #appleevent hashtag yesterday via promoted tweets tied to Twitter search. This was an example of incredibly shrewd marketing on behalf of the Samsung team and an interesting approach to combating the enormous wave of organic conversation being created by the Apple event.

Samsung Promoted Trend

 

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$500 Million and Destiny

Since the day Destiny hints were first discovered in HALO 3: ODST years ago, then sprinkled throughout numerous Bungie presentations, to the first public leaks in late 2012 I was hooked. The concept of a persistent open-world shooter by the makers of Halo was a dream come true. Having played both the Alpha & Beta versions and on the eve of the official release I wanted to take a look at the marketing efforts leading up to the worldwide release.

Destiny easter egg hidden in Halo 3: ODST highlighting the “traveler”

Destiny + ODST

Certain outlets are claiming there will be up to 10 million players day one and I will definitely be one. Every gamer I have talked to recently knows of the impending release. Over 4.5 million of us played the beta and there have been discussions about which of the 3 character classes they will align with, who has the best pre-order incents (Hint: It’s GameStop) and which gamemodes are going to occupy our time.

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One of the key areas of growth in gamer numbers is the fact that Destiny is rated T for Teen vs. M for Mature. This opens up the market and for parents like myself who are hesitant to let their kids play M rated titles, Activision will get double the revenue from my household this time around.

When I fire up my Xbox One I will think back to my beta experience and prepare for what lies ahead across uncharted planets. This is an exciting moment in next gen gaming as not since TitanFall launched in March of this year has there been a true AAA shooter release that was developed specifically to push the next gen hardware.

Ready to take the experience from beta to full release

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One of the key elements beyond word of mouth and the reputation of bungie has been the persistent presence of Destiny through the whopping $500 million in marketing spend that Activision had earmarked for the promotion of the game. This rivals the biggest of Hollywood blockbusters as game launches have taken on AAA treatment.

From the “Sharing” spot that launched around the time of the Titanfall launch


To the most recent live-action commercial shot by TRON: Legacy & Oblivion director Joseph Kosinski which has already garnered almost 6 million views at the time of this post.


The game is receiving a boost to attract mainstream and hard core fans alike with traditional and socially centric activations including a first of it’s kind collaboration with Google which allowed for Google Street view maps of the worlds in Destiny.


Destiny has also received a special collectors edition of Newsweek to celebrate the launch

Newsweek Destiny

Destiny is already trending on Twitter and tomorrow the hype will turn into action and I am predicting Destiny will break the previous sales records for a new franchise launch. And if any team can pull it off it’s Activision & their partner Step 3 PR.

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The last Call of Duty Black hit $1 billion in one day sales and at the time was the largest entertainment launch in history. I fully expect Destiny to break new franchise records ($500 Million) and foresee a healthy return for Activision on their 10 year relationship with Bungie.

Tomorrow it will be time to #Becomelegend. You will find me roaming the Xbox One galaxy as TheBlackFin.

Follow Tom Edwards on Twitter @BlackFin360

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The Selfie: Is it here to stay?

I was recently asked by Mobile Marketer to provide commentary on whether the selfie is here to stay, or just a fad? The discussion focused on consumer advocacy through UGC as a macro-trend, campaign considerations and hardware being made to better support selfies.

The selfie - Mobile Marketer

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Google + Real-Time = Gifs???

I first saw the Google real-time display offering with their Nike partnership during the 2014 World Cup. The partnership featured the first instance of Google testing their real-time display delivery platform at scale with 8 different real-time activations displayed in 15 different countries recreating key moments through the lens of Nike’s Risk Everything campaign.

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Nike athletes were digitized into the Risk Everything creative and fans were able to remix and share key moments. The results were two million fan interactions across 200 countries by the end of the World Cup.

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With the kick-off of Football season tonight we are now seeing a collaboration between EA Sports and Google to provide real time animated Gifs that are easily sharable. The catch, this is not happening in a social channel, this is served to fans browsing sports-related sites such as the bleacher report through Google’s ad display network.

The campaign will feature real-life action highlights recreated by Madden players during tonight’s Seattle & Green Bay season opener. The goal is to enable the creation of sharable content at scale.

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Users can customize their own gifs on an EA micro-site called the Giferator that is optmized for multi-screen engagement.

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Google is partnering to build “affinity segments” to drive additional personalization through fan interaction. In this case the teams that are selected are mapped to the individual for better targeting in the future. This is another example of how Google “gets it” when it comes to reinventing their approach to display as well as maximizing the reach of their ecosystem.

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

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