Hunting Monsters with Google Maps API

I was recently a guest blogger on the Google Geo Developers blog, outlining GameStop’s use of Google Maps APIs in building an immersive experience to promote the launch of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

Google Geo Developers Blog- copy

Here is a repost of the content:

If you’re going on a monster hunt, it’s a good idea to bring a map. And if you want to build buzz around the release of a new game, you should have the right tool as well—in our case it was Google Maps APIs. We built a website for GameStop to promote the launch of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, an action role-playing game from Warner Brothers and CD Projekt RED. After a visitor logs in to the promotional website, she is dropped into a map of the world and collects clues about where to find monsters. The goal is to be the first person to find each monster and win a prize.

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The game’s launch deadline required us to build the site within a tight timeframe. We chose Google Maps APIs because they provided the tools we needed to build our maps quickly and easily. They also let us focus on the site creative rather than get bogged down with technical issues. We use the Google Maps JavaScript API for the front end, to start the experience and immerse visitors into the virtual world. Then, with the Google Maps Street View Service, we allow users to search for monsters. We took images of the monsters and used overlays to drop them into familiar surroundings.

We use the Street View API to plant the user in a random location somewhere in the world, then visualize their surroundings, including monsters and trails of blood. We set a randomly generated starting point to the map based on five predefined locations. From there we have event listeners in place for ‘mapView: bounds_changed, streetView: visible_changed, streetView: position_changed, streetView: pov_changed, searchBox: places_changed’.

When the user has initialized Street View, we make a call to our API to see if any monsters are within a defined distance from the LatLng of our monster data set. We continue this test any time the position_changed event is fired until a monster is within range. At that point, we update the class of a div that sits above the map view. Each monster is assigned a specific CSS class, which allows us to easily make tweaks.

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Google Maps made it easy to combine the real world of Street View with imaginary creatures from the game. Our goal went beyond just our users having fun — we wanted to build a site that would create genuine excitement around the game and give people a taste of monster hunting in the real world.

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Mobile is the First Screen for Millennial Marketing

I was recently asked to provide commentary about social media usage growing on mobile as well as how this impacts millennial marketing. Below is a recap of the conversation.

With the rise in social media usage on mobile, what is the key takeaway for marketers, particularly in what they should be doing to reach millennial consumers?

(Tom Edwards) We understand that mobile is the first screen and that multi-screening is second nature so we look to create integrated experiences that are clear, consistent and recognizable that is designed to be authentic and relevant and always mobile first.

We also understand that for millennials we have to speak visually. Visual language is supplanting the need for text. Whether it’s photos, stickers, emoji or memes visual is a powerful way to deliver a message as well allow for greater flexibility and ownable identity.

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Final approach is to treat them as individuals there are different life stages and behaviors across the age range. It’s important to provide as much customization and personalization at the right time on the right platform.

The Temkin Group released a new Social Media Benchmark Study that examines the impact of social and mobile behaviors on 18-24 and it showed decreases in desktop and increased social consumption via mobile. Why?

(Tom) In a recent Facebook briefing, their insights team shared that 60% of 13-24 year olds would rather give up their television than their mobile phones.

Mobile is the enabler of their lives, connection with friends, family, entertainment and the world. Mobile allows them to quickly amplify their personalities.

MLB At Bat

To them, all the world is a screen and we have to adapt and treat them as individuals and personalize messaging at the right time on the right mobile platforms in an authentic and relevant way.

How do you interpret only a small increase in daily Facebook access? What are the implications for marketers?

(Tom) Facebook’s approach is to continue to diversify their positioning to reach millennial consumers. As they move towards a family of apps strategy, where each platform has a specific role, instagram = community, whatsapp = simple 1:1 chat, messenger = enhanced messaging and 1:1 commerce.

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It is not surprising to see the small increase in daily Facebook access compared to larger growth on other platforms. Facebook is focused on creating relevant avenues for consumers to connect and interact with every facet of their world through applications that meet specific use cases.

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Maytag Embraces Mobile Visualization

I was recently asked by Mobile Marketer to provide commentary about Maytag and Mondelez leveraging mobile to create a tighter connection to direct sales by branded manufacturers.

Maytag Commentary

(Mobile Marketer) To what extent has mobile accelerated companies’ strategies, such as these Maytag and Mondelez moves, to embrace direct sales, going against history as branded manufacturers who typically do not sell to consumers?

(Tom) For many consumers mobile is the first screen. Maytag is mapping utility through visualizing the MayTag experience in the home. This non-app based experience provides a seamless way to aspirational to practical. 

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Traditionally social owned, earned and paid strategies were focused at the top of the funnel, primarily driving awareness and occasionally intent. With the shift away from organic reach for brands by many of the larger publishers, it has essentially created more opportunity for direct response tactics that may lead to conversion.

Combined with targeting and mobile centric inventory, Mondelez is looking to create a more direct call to action and create value for their retail partners. 

(Mobile Marketer) What challenges might these moves bring?

Driving awareness and clearly articulating the consumer value proposition should always be a key consideration when introducing new mobile centric tools that are designed to add value. Having a simple user experience that also maps to a clear call to action is key. 

One point to consider is how receptive consumers will be to predetermining occasion based consumables such as a snack which can be a more spontaneous purchase. I assume these programs are test and learn to prove the viability of the approach. 

(Mobile Marketer) What are the opportunities?

(Tom Edwards) For Mondelez, the opportunity is to create more value for the consumer and their retail partners, by focusing on a definitive “buy now” call to action, they may increase their probability of conversion. 

For Maytag, understanding the amount of research time that goes into a major appliance purchase combined with creating relevance for the consumer opens up additional possibilities to create intent towards their offering.

(Mobile Marketer) What are the implications for mobile marketers?

(Tom Edwards) The key takeaway for marketers is to align mobile strategy with the objectives of the business. For Mondelez it is focusing on conversion and mapping a stronger call to action to their social strategies that pull through to retail. For Maytag, it is about creating intent through visualization and utility through a frictionless consumer experience.

Bring Maytag Home

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

Mobile Targeting & Luxury Daily

I was recently asked by Luxury Daily to provide commentary about advancements and challenges tied to mobile targeting.

Luxury Daily Commentary

(Luxury Daily) To what extent is more specific targeting/buying of audiences growing? If it is growing, why is this happening now?

(Tom Edwards) With the proliferation of device types of all makes and models combined with a non-linear path to purchase, the industry has shifted towards models and solutions that can create relevant and authentic connections with consumers through enhanced media targeting.

There has been a shift towards personalized creative that appeals to specific segments. This means that data that allows for a higher probability of impacting intent is needed.

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Example of the EA Madden Giferator aligned with a real-time campaign from EA.

This extends well beyond traditional digital. Mobile is key to delivering contextual messaging be it tied to location or sensors. Aligning location, transaction, online behavior and aggregating through an identity management platform that is tied to cross screen networks, all while mapping attribution is the ideal.

(Luxury Daily) What are some specific examples of how brands are tapping new tools and services to reach specific groups of individuals/audiences?

(Tom Edwards) A number of our clients are testing various tools. Everything from custom audience segments, leveraging identity management and media execution platforms and a heavy focus on optimization through data analytics.

We are also exploring programmatic creative where we create assets per audience segment and dynamically generate personalized native advertisement to in-store partnerships with providers like EyeQ, who provide facial recognition technology that can serve personalized content.

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Other examples are similar to EA’s Madden 15 campaign. They partnered closely with Facebook and created 32 separate instances of creative based on NFL fan affinity and delivered personalized creative to further connect with fans.

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(Luxury Daily) What are the challenges for brands in doing this on mobile? What things should brands keep in mind in pursuing hyper-targeting of individuals?

(Tom Edwards) There are many challenges as ad providers align their offerings to create the most value for agencies and brands. Identity management, mapping transaction and behaviors, incorporating location all while trying to deliver the most relevant creative is a challenge.

The other point to consider is how real 1:1 at scale is. The key is to identify and segment the target audience, create viable look-a-like clusters and test, test, test to see what truly resonates and continually optimize.

It is also important to understand the distribution channels. There is a difference between highly targeted platforms such as Facebook and opt-in platforms such as Buzzfeed and SnapChat and how you structure your programs.

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It is also important to know which media channels can drive results for the business as each can play a different role across awareness, intent and conversion. Understanding the channel mapped to the goal in addition to aligning behaviors and creative that is relevant and contextual is key.

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How To Remain Agile In the Face of Change

I was recently a member of the opening keynote panel for the iMedia Agency Summit discussing the topic “How to Remain Agile in the Face of Change”.

Key Commentary from 15:08 – 19:00

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We discussed many topics including what the agency of the future will look like, mergers and acquisitions and I went into detail outlining cross-company collaboration and innovation.

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Here is an excerpt from an iMedia panel recap and my additional commentary:

Tom Edwards, EVP of digital strategy and innovation at The Marketing Arm, stressed looking to develop subject matter expertise horizontally as well as vertically within your agency, and what he viewed as the three most important elements of success:

Curation, Creation, and Education.

“I’m a big believer in content creation, especially at the junior level, and developing their own personal brand,”

The agency of the near future will be highly consultative. “There needs to be a shift in strategy from transactional to transformational”

iMedia Summit - Tom Edwards

“Our role is to be the digital navigator and strategic partner with our clients. This includes mapping against a non-linear path to purchase that aligns with data, content, channels and value.”

RE: Innovation, “Ultimately we are focused on aligning the art + science as well as develop future models to enable brand partners with new methodologies to integrating emerging technology that provides business value”

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

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