Instagram: Marketing Strategy for Businesses

In 2010, a new exciting social media medium became available to all apple iPhone, iPod and  iTouch products. Instagram quickly gained momentum and popularity. As an exclusive, picture sharing app, no one ever imagined it would reach the potential it has today. Today, Instagram is available on all smartphones, tablets, macs and PC’s. Instagram has more than 150 million monthly active users worldwide.  Instagram is not only one of the top social media tools around but it is also becoming one of the biggest marketing tools for businesses. 

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Through Instagram, many companies are now able to connect directly and effectively with their consumers. The reason for this is that they are now able to communicate with their audience directly by sharing photos, likes, and comments. Through this segway, consumers feel that they have a personal connection with their favorite brands. Therefore brand awareness and  sales increase. The way  companies can establish and spread awareness to their brand is by using this new innovative tool properly to their advantage. 

Brands can use their Instagram feed with content their personal content in two ways: by creating original brand content and curating customer content. They can make their images and videos unique to them and capture the attention of more consumers. When brands and companies are being original about what they post, they have the opportunity to be authentic, and “in the moment”, which works best at connecting with consumers than traditional ads. 

Brands can really take advantage of Instagram by maximizing the success of non-traditional media advertising and marketing. In doing so, they put customers at the center of the experience and really engage with their consumers and target audience. 

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Because of this unique way in which Instagram is beneficial to businesses, it has become more than just a social media tool. It has reached a point where all of the social media sites before it have strived to achieve such as Twitter and Facebook. Instagram growth is accelerating and so are the devices in which users can have access to the site. With technology at an all time rise, businesses can definitely take advantage of this new, innovative tool to maximize their company success and reach consumers at a more personal level. 

 

Sources:

Gladwell, M. (2013, November 4). The Year of the Instagram Strategy. The Huffington Post. Retrieved April 30, 2014, from

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/max-gladwell/the-year-of-the-instagram_1_b_4171833.html

 

Instagram as a Growing Business. (n.d.). – Instagram Blog. Retrieved April 30, 2014, from http://blog.instagram.com/post/63017560810

 

Going Back Home Or Listening to Ads

Rules about advertising and how to do it were never clear, and usually marketers are looking for that little flaw to take advantage of it. In Germany, that little flaw was found. They decided to create a subliminal device to target train users. A company created a technology for delivering ads directly from the windows of trains to the brain of the passengers. As one is seating on the train, ads are running through and being delivered to the target audience.

The advertising agency BBDO Dusseldorf in union with Sky designed a new device to include into train’s windows that will be able to send “messages” to passengers. This new mechanism works through the vibrations coming from the windows. With the advancement in technology, this is now possible.

Both companies made a video where they explain what this system is and how it works. The brain is responsible for transforming the vibrations, coming out of the windows, in sound and transmit the information to the ear, so that it seems that ”comes from within the user’s head.” The BBDO advertising company ensures that this technology could also be used to distribute music, entertainment, transportation information, etc. The mechanism would be triggered at the time the passenger would support the head in the window of the train. This can revolutionize the way marketing is seen because more modern ways to target people will be available. Different methods that “fit” this new model of marketing would have to be developed.

So how does it reach passengers? Imagine you are coming back from work on a train. You’re tired, and you decide to take a nap. Suddenly, you hear, “Are you bored? Why don’t you check the latest news on newyorktimes.com,” then you check your surroundings and you realize that others cannot hear the ad. The ad was for you.

This is what is coming next in the ad world. Probably next time you ride the train you will be encouraged to visit certain websites, buy online or to look over some stores because you are being targeted without realizing it.

Although this seems like an interest concept, it will be interesting to see what approach marketing companies take. Many people dislike having advertisement thrown their way as they are scrolling through a website on the internet or looking at a magazine, or even playing a game on their phone. Before, one would at least have the opportunity to turn it off and now it is going to be interesting to see how people will react to this.

Here is a video that explains in further detail:

References 

Blog Posting #1

Twitter: The Outlet to Watch in 2014

Melissa Mandarino

January 22, 2013

 With the start of the new year, we should all be looking out for the next “big thing” in advertising technology. 2014 is predicted to be Twitter’s year, reaching consumers differently than any other social media outlet has been able to do; and now that Twitter is going public, it is ready to make some big changes and improvements. In Garett Sloane’s Advertising Week article, “Twitter’s Tailored Audiences Program Gets More Targeted”, he explains that marketers will be able to “retarget ads to website visitors who also use twitter.” This will give brands the ability to increase exposure of their product or service through a secondary outlet, reinforcing the message. Brands will also be able to communicate directly with their target with something called “Twitter ID”, which is when brands “compile lists of Twitter accounts – based on keywords in users’ bios and their past Tweets – to send Promoted Account messages.” Another strategy according to Sloane in a second Advertising Week article entitled, “Twitter’s 2014 Strategy: The Intersection of Video and Data”, will allow Twitter to become a second screen. Basically, Twitter would have the ability to “harness data and insights from conversations surrounding specific TV shows and then allow brands to reach those viewers.” (Sloane, 2014). This would allow people to interact with their shows as they are watching them. Advertising budgets will increase significantly in 2014 because of this new way of advertising and creating an experience for the consumer. This is an exciting step towards giving consumers what they are asking for. According to an article entitled, “2014: The Year Online Closes the Budget Gap (The Ad-budget Gap!), by Jon Steinberg, media is finally starting to expand their budgets to accommodate online vehicles such as Twitter or Facebook. In previous years, the amount of money spent on digital advertising was not proportional to how much time people were spending online. Steinberg states that, “In the US, people are now spending 5 hours and 16 minutes a day on the Internet…yet digital only gets 22 percent of ad dollars.” In the video discussing advertising with Steinberg, he answers several very good points about why current digital advertising is not successful and how brand sales can grow if we invest in new media. (Steinberg, 2014). 2014 will be an exciting year for Twitter, who will open up a new platform for bridging the gap between consumer and brand with it’s abilities to target consumers and allow them to interact with their favorite programs from traditional media.

 

Video link below! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwDwILxpjoo

 

 

Sloane, G. (2014, January 14). Twitter’s tailored audiences program get more targeted. Advertising Week, Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/twitters-tailored-audiences- program-gets-more-targeted-154977

`Sloane, G. (2014, January 20). Twitter’s 2014 strategy: The intersection of video and data. Advertising Week, Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/twitter-s-2014-strategy- intersection-video-and-data-155067

 Steinberg, J. (2014, January 2). 2014: The year online closes the budget gap (the ad-budget gap!). CNBC News, Retrieved from http://www.cnbc.com/id/101305512

 Steinberg, J. (Producer). (2014, January 2). Jon Steinberg on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street 1-2-14 [Web Video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwDwILxpjoo

Horror in Advertising

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With Halloween approaching, a plethora of horror themes can be seen in commercials, TV shows, and general advertisements. AMC who is most notably recognized for producing shows such as Mad Men, The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, and now American Horror Story are no strangers to centering its advertisements with the seasons. Halloween is a natural attraction to many people. Ghouls, goblins, zombies, ghost, witches and so on make up interesting subjects for entertainment.

Cable television has taken a particular interest in creating Halloween based television due to its past success. Channels will offer programs like “13 nights of Horror” where they strictly play horror shows, and movies up until Halloween. Horror is a simple, popular, and fairly cheap to produce. Horror is the type of theme that allows for cliffhangers and calls for the consumer to create their own reason as to why something is frightening.

As a consumer I can attest to the interesting nature of horror. I am a sucker for sitting down and watching horror shows and movies simply because the month calls for it. Growing up during October I remember it became a thing to attend places like Knott’s Scary Farm, or Universal Horror Nights simply because we were bombarded with coupons and advertisements that were obviously catered to my age group. If attending these two was not an option we could always rely on inviting friends over and watching scary movies.

It is an incredibly smart idea for advertisers and marketers to run with the horror theme for as long as they can. Similar to Christmas, it has the option to advertise to the younger age group as well as adults. Cable television has been a prime example of this success. With record-breaking viewership for shows like The Walking Dead and American Horror Story, AMC has been able to stay relevant in television. Other channels like the Sci-Fi channel and ABC family have been able to produce programs that keep teens and adults interested in watching television during this month.

http://www.amctv.com/movie-event/amc-fearfest

The question is whether or not horror will continue to thrive. It is a possibility that Zombies, ghost, and aliens will eventually fade out. Depending on originality, I personally believe that the demise of horror appeal will appear with the lack of originality in programs and advertisements. Consumers can only take so much Zombies, and Witches in their advertisements.  While others believe that horror will only continue to grow we can only wait and see what the future of Halloween programs, and advertisements will go. 

References

Thielman , S. (13, October 28). Has halloween become the start of fall cable?. Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/has-halloween-become-start-fall-cable-153409

 

Bitstrip: A New Way of Personal Storytelling

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The latest trend to sweep Facebook is a new and innovative way for consumers to share their personal stories with friends. Avatar culture has been elevated to a new level: cartoon depictions of your life. Bitstrip is a new cartoon generator on Facebook that allows consumers to create personalized cartoon strips with tailored captions, scenes, and by including friends (Elfring, Comicvine). Bitstrip users can create an avatar that represents them as well as avatars to represent their friends. These cartoons are easily shared on Facebook and depict various storylines from the lives of Bitstrip users (Kurwa, NPR). For example, I will share a personal Bitstrip of mine.

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As seen in the picture above, Bitstrips are completely customizable. Users can search a library of 1,000+ cartoons and customize them. One’s avatar is used. The avatars can be specifically tailored to look like the users. One can change everything from eye color to nose shape to clothing choice (Donna Hamer, Bitstrip Tutorial). The cartoon avatars can later be manipulated into different positions and customized text can be added as a thought bubble or as a caption (Elfring, Comicvine).

Above one can see an example of a Bitstrip with a friend. Taylor-Anne is a cat aficionado in the real world. She genuinely thinks that her friend, Deena, would be a great companion if she were a cat! She is able to share this interest with her Facebook friends by creating a comedic cartoon featuring her friend, Deena. This is a way of engaging the Bitstrip population and creating a story as a way of conveying friendship and a sense of humor. Similarly to storytelling in advertisements, Taylor is using a vehicle to create her own story.

Although Bitstrip was created in January of 2013, it is now becoming popular (De Hoyos, News92fm). Servers were not able to support the mass amount of new users for a few days, with over 5 million hits on Facebook alone. After introducing the mobile app, the app experienced crashes from such high volume visits.

What does this mean to Bitstrip users and how does this relate to Advertising? Bitstrip users offer a new, unique niche to tap into for consumers. This cartoon generator offers a new and exciting way for social network users to share their life stories with their friends. Similar to brand storytelling, consumers can use their personal avatars to express their moods and expand their experiences by including their friends. Because these cartoons are easily accessible to see on social media sites, they are spreading at a viral rate.

Bitstrips offer a unique way for consumers to participate in storytelling. In a way, they are advertising themselves to their friends by adding a multi-dimensional element tot their social network page. With statuses becoming more and more mundane, Bitstrips offer a more interesting platform for personal storytelling. While this application is merely a way for consumers to share their own personal stories, marketers and advertising companies could find a way to sponsor cartoon strip pictures. Because Bitstrips is a method of personal storytelling, advertisers could use this to their advantage by inserting products or services into the already customized cartoon strips. For example, a subtle product placement or the promotion of a certain brand in a cartoon would be an excellent way for an advertising company to reach their audience. Furthermore, an entire network of Facebook users, if shared, would view these cartoon strips. This would both increase brand exposure as well as awareness. This would allow the advertisements to seem natural and would introduce a new platform for reaching users. Because more and more people have become averse to reading traditional forms of advertisement on Facebook, Bitstrip cartoons that are funny yet promoting a product would be shared and enjoyed by social network fans worldwide.

Below is a link to a YouTube tutorial on how to create a Bitstrip. What story will you tell?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeYWS7WsSek

Zombie Advertising

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Its that time of year again when AMC’s critically acclaimed television show The Walking Dead is back on in the lineup of Sunday shows. With the season 4 premiere of The Walking Dead last Sunday, many companies found the opportunity to advertise their products with a Zombie theme. Unlike other shows like Breaking Bad or Mad Men, The Walking Dead provides the zombie theme that is especially effective during this time of year as everyone prepares for Halloween. Zombies seem to attract consumers into a cult like following. More and more T.V shows and movies have centered their themes on zombies due to its popularity. 

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http://youtu.be/KihE3IyHNPI

Hyundai is one of many companies to capitalize on the zombie theme and created an ad campaign for their new car the 2014 Hyundai Tucson. The advertisement shows a zombie proof vehicle completely equipped with guns, armor, chain saws, satellite, and a roll cage. Advertisements like these tend to grab the consumer’s attention and with the sleek and tough look of the vehicle spark an interest in the audience. Whether the particular audience decides to buy the vehicle or not, if they take the extra step to research the car, Hyundai has already completed part of its objective. What Hyundai did that is extremely beneficial is create a call to action in this particular ad. This advertisement ask fans of The Walking Dead or zombies in general to enter a contest in which they can win a zombie proof Hyundai Tuscan. Creating this call to action will encourage the consumers to watch the commercials, and participate in a contest in which the actual chances of winning are slim.

Strategically planning to team up with popular shows like The Walking Dead will only prove to be valuable. Companies and brands have the opportunity to attract more customers when those customers see a common interest. By offering contest like Hyundai, gives the company an opportunity to not only attract adult consumers but also to attract younger consumers who are in the market to purchase their first vehicle. The show not only brings in viewers but also creates a trust with its viewers. Thus, when someone or something in this case a T.V show approve of Hyundai’s marketing, a level of trust is already built up for Hyundai.

Companies should continue to seek endorsements from popular TV shows because it creates an opportunity to market online, on T.V and in the show itself. In these cases, Hyundai as a company would further endorse its brand by showing its vehicles in the show. The more the consumer is exposed to the Hyundai vehicles, the more they will become interested and eventually invest in.

 

 References:

 (n.d.). Retrieved from http://walkingdeadchopshop.com/

 Stanley, T. L. (2013, October 15). Hyundai giving away another zombie-proof survival machine in latest walking dead tie-in . Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/hyundai-giving-away-another-zombie-proof-survival-machine-latest-walking-dead-tie-153147