blog 3The average human attention span has been decreasing extraordinarily in recent years. In fact, thanks to smartphones (and undoubtedly social media too), our average attention span is now shorter than that of a goldfish. Over 200 million pieces of online content is being produced every minute, and consumers are drowning in it. This leaves brands with one of the biggest challenges of all – making the audience care about you and your content.

 

Be Human

The truth is, good content needs to connect with users on an emotional level. If a piece of content resonates with a user, they’re more likely to engage with it. We’re human – that’s how we operate. If you create content that is relevant for your brand, resonates with your target audience and is put in the right context, you are more likely to come out on top.

Engagement is the greatest form of social attention. More than reading, watching or listening – this means interacting with content. And people don’t want to spend time engaging with a piece of content unless they capture both quality and context. They won’t “like” it unless it captures their attention. Now, some would say that “likes” are decreasing in value, and while this may be true, it does not mean they’re worth nothing – far from it. It’s still engagement.

 

Change Is the Only Constant

In three years time, 80% of the internet will be video, which will absolutely affect the way we engage. Just look at Facebook Live, which is changing real-time interaction behaviours as we write.

Different social media platforms allow, and indirectly invite users to have different types of engagements and reactions to content. Facebook links to your individual personal profile which deters commenters from vile, unwanted opinions – something YouTube’s anonymity has had trouble with for years. Platform features affect the way users engage. And brands need to adapt to that.

Marketers should strive for content engagement, yet constantly question the quality of it and consider how it can be improved.  Here’s a list of questions to ask yourself before producing and publishing each piece of content:

Is this content relevant to the brand?

  • How will it resonate with the target audience?
  • What reaction should this piece of content generate?
  • What incentive do you give the audience for that reaction?
  • Is the CTA aligned with your main objective?
  • What are your expectations to the performance of this piece of content?

 

 

bb0df379-d883-42d5-8905-9029c1ed598b-original 2Every day, every hour and every minute, overwhelming amounts of data is being generated as consumers hit the internet to connect with each other, search for information, watch clips, be creative, download entertainment, shop and do much more. Excelacom recently released new numbers and despite the fact we have all gotten used to enormous volumes and stats, these are still extremely eye-opening:

 

 

Excelacom_InternetMinute2016

Read Excelacom’s full article here.

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 10.11.34You won’t believe the hidden message in this blog post! Or rather – there isn’t one, I just wanted you to click through and read this. But bear with me – I’m about to suggest something incredibly controversial – a never-heard-before admission by a social agency!*

As much as clickbait is the emotional catnip of our online experience and can drive consistent traffic for publishers like The Daily Mail and Huff Post who churn out multiple stories each day, it’s still hugely annoying to discover you’ve been duped by an over-excited headline promising to give you all the feels. For brands, adopting the same practice can negatively affect perception and ultimately – sales. So how can brands cut through all the sensational copy and deliver successful results without falling prey to creating clickbait themselves? How do they beat them rather than join them?

 

Platform crackdown

In the early days of social, Facebook optimised content based on engagement, meaning that if users clicked on a piece of content, it received a higher ranking in newsfeeds. In 2014 Facebook took steps to try and crack down on those gaming this ranking using clickbait, and in February this year it introduced an update based not just on what users engaged with in their feed, but what they wanted to see. Facebook’s advice is that Pages should avoid encouraging people to take action (such as encouraging lots of clicks), because this will likely only cause temporary spikes in metrics that might then be rebalanced by feed’s ranking over time – meaning the latest ranking favours content that users naturally engage with rather than content that users click on through coercion.

 

Last month Instagram followed suit and announced it would alter user’s feeds to optimise the content users “care about the most”, and Twitter has also adopted a similar change (although users can opt-out and revert back to the chronological feed). The changes will hopefully make it harder for clickbaiters to game feeds with meaningless content, but the real aim for the platforms hosting is to surface more engaging content more frequently so users return often and stay longer.

 

The same goes for brands on social. If the content they produce is consistently engaging, then users will interact more frequently, leading others to discover it through preferred ranking. Ultimately, these new newsfeed algorithms exist to generate more meaningful engagement, driving not just clicks, but conversations via comments, and shares.

 

Learn and adapt

Meaningful engagement begins with relevant content that creates value for the user and the brand. While an insight-driven content strategy is key to delivering this, brands should also adapt stories and messages based on the emotional needs and behavior of their audience. This is more than just a case of ‘test and learn’ or refining what has already been done. Brands must also evolve their approach in line with new behaviors, platforms, competitors and rankings or risk being left behind by those who do.

 

A good example of a brand that does this well is Buzzfeed, who’s CEO recently shared their new strategic thinking, revealing how their objective has changed from getting users to click through to their main site to view stories, to allowing content to be consumed directly on other platforms. The new direction was prompted by analysing which content generated clicks and discovering that users prefer to consume some types of content within the platform they are already on. The company also found a discernable difference between user interactions with the same content on different platforms, demonstrating how content demand and consumption vary across sites. What spreads like wildfire on Facebook might fail miserably elsewhere.

 

Relevance is key

For brands looking to use social content to drive click-through to their site, it’s important to balance the goal of the company (clicks to eyeballs, or conversions to sales, for example) with the desire and behavior of users on different sites, and monitor response over time. Relevance is key to interaction, and brands that think like publishers will know that relevance is an ever-changing chameleon. While users are bombarded with meaningless clickbait, there is ample opportunity for brands to channel the social zeitgeist by delivering valuable content that meets audience needs in the format, time and platform that suits them. If they get this right, they won’t need clickbait.

 

At Mindjumpers we help companies and brands to think as publishers and provide end-to-end social media management across multiple markets, encompassing full social strategy, planned and reactive content creation, analysis and reporting.

 

If you’d like to find out more please get in touch.

 

*Don’t be naughty and scroll to the last paragraph – I’ve hidden the controversial part somewhere to optimize your dwell time in finding it!

 

 

IMG_8423Nearly 6 years after its initial release and 400 million users later, Instagram is fast-approaching the ad-supported dominance of Facebook. Last week, it introduced its very own algorithm, following in the footsteps of Twitter and its parent company Facebook. Whether this is an enhancement is debatable and many seem to be divided on the matter as it stands. It begins with co-founders Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom explaining that “on average, people miss about 70% of the posts in their Instagram feed”, which may be alarming to some.

 

Twitter jumped onto the algorithm bandwagon only last month and has received its own amount of backlash from it. The fear that it will destroy live-tweeting and the key reason people love twitter is amongst the concerns. Of course, users tend to prefer what they’re used to on social networks and aren’t very welcoming to change, so this may pass.

Facebook’s introduction of its algorithm, which was due to extraordinary growth, was a much-needed overhaul of the News Feed. The fact that Facebook is bigger than the largest country on earth makes it almost essential for it to filter out unwanted posts and let its users receive the most relevant content. The question now is, does Instagram need it too?

Facebook Instant Articles was also released last year, which is a great way for Facebook to avoid the standard embedded browser mechanics that so many apps rely on. This allows users to view news more fluently by delivering a more native user experience. It also coincided with the release of the Apple News app, which has recently opened its doors to all publishers. The fact that developers are now realising the public’s thirst for news makes things extremely well-timed for the ever-growing amount of algorithms social is seeing. We need news, whether it be world news or friend news, and we need it fast – even if we missed it being posted.

 

What This Means for Brands

From a brand perspective, it is unquestionably going to become more complicated to market on Instagram. There are many visual-based brands that invest a great deal of money into Instagram to be able to reach a specific audience or age group. One example is brands paying influencers to promote their product, which has ultimately made it possible for those influencers to make a living by monetising their audience on the platform. This is achieved with a combination of brand sponsorships from companies, product promotion and follower reach. So how will it affect their livelihood? Companies will be much more demanding when it comes to requesting the influencer’s actual reach once it’s available, which will very likely decrease the amount that influencers are paid. This, in translation, means that influencers could ultimately be forced to take a pay cut with the introduction of this algorithm.

In layman’s terms, brands will be required to pay for their posts to reach their fans. This is especially true if the posts have little engagement, which exactly replicates Facebook’s model as Instagram takes its big brother’s handy advice. A key question here is, will the quality of posts increase due to content ‘needing’ engagement to push through?

Additionally, until now, brands have been supplied with little to no data on their Instagram channels. With this algorithm and a clear business objective from Facebook to increase ad turnover on Instagram, the company knows that advertisers expect something in return. The exchange is a classic eyeballs and actions for paid budgets and to prove delivery of reach and actions, Facebook will need to provide data and show that brands are getting their money’s worth.

 

Implications & Considerations

As general guidance, it may be efficient to stop thinking about news feeds as stories. A profile is a story and will probably always remain that way, but a news feed is a different beast altogether. With the algorithm, your followers might see some of your posts in their feed but far from all, making feed storytelling pretty much impossible. The challenge is to create a valuable brand presence on social that is recognizable without the context of other content.

Another discussion point is how Instagram profiles compare to Facebook profiles for brands. Facebook Pages made it easier to separate personal and brand pages, but Instagram has yet to do such a thing. Will we see something similar in the future? If so, it is sure to bring a great deal more features from Facebook to Instagram, which is undeniably the path we’re on with the two companies. Another thing to start considering is whether Instagram will eventually suppress almost all organic ads, like Facebook does. After all, having an algorithm like this can undeniably camouflage the real reason followers are missing so many posts.

Overall, Instagram is rapidly growing to greater capacities, users are posting more and we ultimately live in an algorithmic world as far as social is concerned. And as Instagram ads are managed through Facebook, they are extremely easy to target to a specific audience, which appealingly makes use of Facebook’s limitless data. These will undoubtedly merge together to form one giant supply of data and algorithms will most likely do the same. So it could be Facebook’s existing model that Instagram slowly turns into. Simply put, like father, like son.

 

 

2Emojis: Another language that is easy to learn but hard to master for brands. Whether we like it or not, the way we communicate on social media is changing. Just last year, Oxford Dictionary named “Face with Tears of Joy” Word of the Year 2015.  SwiftKey also found it to be the most popular emoji across the world. So what is it that is so appealing about emojis in the digital age?

 

No Time to Comment

Facebook is perhaps the most notable platform to have recently jumped on the bandwagon with their “Reactions”. In light of the modern man’s hectic lifestyle and our wish to communicate as shortly and simply as possible, “Reactions” seems to be the next logical step in our digital communication.

The fact of the matter is, our attention span is decreasing significantly and has been ever since the introduction of YouTube over a decade ago. The YouTube generation is now the Vine generation and as videos have become shorter, so has our language to communicate in the digital realm. The fact that the amount of content we can potentially consume a day is billions of hours in length, displays we simply have too much choice. This, in turn, has led directly to emojis becoming more prominent in our daily lives and busy content-consuming schedules.

The reason “Face with Tears of Joy” gained the aforementioned title is perhaps because one does not simply use just a single “Face with Tears of Joy” when expressing laughter. In many ways, it seems to be the evolution of “lol”. For many, to express extended laughter, we would increase the number of o’s in “lol”; e.g. “looool”. Google noticed this trend and created an algorithm designed to measure a video’s comedic potential on YouTube. After all, before “Gangnam Style” and the upsurge of music video views, it was “Charlie Bit My Finger” that reigned supreme as the most viewed YouTube video. This, alongside the estimate that 80% of the whole Internet will be online video soon, gives us a sign of where things are heading.

 

Video & Real-time

It’s noteworthy to mention Snapchat Lenses here as well, as this has almost brought emojis to real-time videos. It has also inspired further emoji-style live face-tracking apps, such as Face Swap Live and MSQRD. This is important to note, as the inclusion of a video that revolves around the sender will certainly amplify an emoji to much stronger personal levels. Similarly, with the recent implementation of Periscope into Twitter’s live feed, the potential for live emojis is enormous. The real-time factor here is the unique selling point – something others will certainly follow. For example, Facebook Mentions has live feeds for public figures and is gearing up to create these for everyone soon.

From a business point of view, this development has made the market difficult to target with traditional ad spending, as emojis are unsurprisingly hard to measure. This high engagement is seemingly slipping through the nets of advertisers everywhere. So with the introduction of Facebook Reactions, how will it affect targeting on what is arguably the best platform for digital target marketing? Will brands be forced to measure “likes” against “loves” and ultimately aim for the latter? How will this affect ROI and what exactly is a “love” worth for brands? This is surely somewhat of a déjà vu for companies as they recall measuring the value of a “like” for the first time.

No matter how difficult it might seem, we all need to address the continuous rise of emojis as an industry. At Mindjumpers we work with content production on behalf of clients every day and can help you figure out how to best keep your communication in tune with the ever-evolving digital language.

 

instagram logo

The broadcasting war is on between all the social platforms, from live broadcast to accumulated feeds based on specific user’s experience.

The first time I saw Instagram doing this was New Years Eve – maybe I am just not a big enough fan of fireworks but I was not   that impressed.

However, Instagram has created a pretty cool behind-the-scenes compilation from last nights Golden Globes, built by gathering a bunch of participant’s 15-second videos from all the hashtag variations that has been accompanied in Globes-related posts (e.g. #goldenglobes, #goldenglobes2016, #goldenglobeawards).

It’s actually a pretty cool experience. After spending about seven minutes on it I almost felt like a part of the show – certainly closer to the big stars.

Some of the content is the classic red carpet and “I just won” stuff but some content also has that real behind-the-scene feel. My personal favorite is @iman__sadri sharing Brad Pitt and John Krasinski hanging out. It looks like any two guys just hanging out talking about the game last night or about a mutual friend who got way too wasted last weekend.

Let’s see what the Oscars will bring on Instagram – it will probably be even bigger ;-)

 

IMG_8730IMG_8738IMG_8737

IMG_8735IMG_8734IMG_8732

IMG_8731IMG_8736IMG_8733

 

 

 


Did You Know:

  • 4.6 billion pieces of content are produced daily.
  • Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads.
  • 72% of marketers think that branded content is more effective than magazine advertisements.
  • A customer will visit at least 10 digital places to learn about a product or a service.
  • In two years, online video will make up 69% of consumer Internet traffic.

Social media is the number 1 activity on the web. We check our phones 110 times a day but our attention spans are only eight seconds long. This calls for every single piece of content to be great. Meaning that it needs to be relevant and valuable to the consumer.

The Secret to Success
No one has the secret recipe for creating really great content that goes viral. What we do know is that we need to start off with empathy. Of course every message has to be clear and concise. Saying only what’s important. But the real secret to success lies in understanding the consumer. What’s the context? What state of mind are they in when engaging with our content? What are their aspirations and goals in life?

63% of consumers are reported to defect from brands due to irrelevant content. Of those, 41% would actually consider ending a brand relationship due to irrelevance and 22% already have. So being relevant and engaging really matters. We need to let the consumers walk away with a feeling of satisfaction and value.

It’s All About the People
So make sure your content strategy is not based on vanity and ego. It has to be about the people sharing, commenting and caring. It’s about what matters to them. We need to make relevant content that’s useful and helpful to them. Preferably in an entertaining and engaging manner.

So remember to question everything. Ask yourself this:

  • Why would someone share this?
  • What could engagement look like?
  • How can we become more relevant, useful, helpful, entertaining and engaging?

…and also make sure to:

  • Challenge assumptions: listen, observe and understand your customers.
  • Realize that you’re competing against everything in the stream including pictures of food and cats.
  • Be impartial.
  • Respond and be helpful to your customers.
  • Create experiences that are delightful, memorable and shareable.
  • Make people smile, laugh and sometimes give them pause.
  • Design engagement and customer journeys across platforms in a seamless way.

Meaningful engagement

It’s not just about content marketing; it’s about meaningful engagement and relevant experiences throughout the customer journey. It’s about creating value.

If you want to delve deeper into the topics raised here we highly recommend you to read Attention is a Currency. Also we’ve previously made this little checklist for content marketeers entitled Branded Content: 6 Things To Remember before Publishing which might come in handy.

 

 

Older Posts »