In late October, we ran a Halloween-themed Periscope activity with China-based TCL, the world’s third largest TV manufacturer. As TCL’s slogan is “The Creative Life,” we wanted to creatively explore a new and exciting social media platform – Periscope. And, we thought that getting into the Halloween spirit by putting a “possessed” TV on a live-stream would be a good way to start…. obviously.
So, we ‘took over’ one of the brand’s new curved UHD TVs and placed it on Periscope, where it was mysteriously be possessed by a ghostly face. By using digital puppetry we were able to control the seriously spooky face in the new 65 inch TCL H8800 TV, allowing us to directly engage with Periscope users who came across our live-stream.
Periscope users who tuned into the live-stream found that the “haunted” TV immediately greeted them with a spooky laugh, voiced by a stand-up comedian, who manned our digital puppet. As he voice-acts for the face, he controls its mouth-movement, facial expressions, and the general motions and gestures of the head.
The fact that someone on Periscope can immediately have a real-time conversation with one of TCL’s mainline products gives the brand a unique social media experience, which provided TCL with a fun, and imaginative way to reach and engage its potential consumers.
Our client at TCL, Ranjit Gopi, Global Marketing Director of TCL Multimedia, commented on the campaign:
We want consumers to see that TCL has personality; that we’re ready to listen to their feedback and questions and to respond to them. We Are Social‘s approach of engaging Periscope users in a creative way will allow us to engage in a two-way conversation with our global target audience while building an emotional connection with our brand.
We’ve now finished spooking hundreds of unassuming Periscope users, but this isn’t the last they will see of TCL. Watch this space for more fun, creative activations as TCL looks to reach even more consumers outside of China.
Ad Age recently published this article by me about the implications for brands if Twitter expanded its 140 character limit. They’ve been kind enough to let us reproduce it below.
Tech writers and adland folks have long speculated about whether Twitter would eventually make the ultimate evolution — leaving its 140-character limit behind in favor of unlimited tweet length. It appears we may know the answer soon enough.
According to recent reports, Twitter is considering allowing users to publish long-form content to the service. Some reports say this could be a new product that allows users to share tweets longer than 140 characters, pivoting the platform to long-form content, but it remains to be seen whether this would be an evolved Twitter or a whole new offering. It’s also possible the change would be more of a baby step, where Twitter would remove things like links and user handles from the character count.
What we do know is the company has increasingly embraced change and evolution of its core product in order to remain competitive, but change in content length would have major repercussions for the brands whose investment in the platform helps fuel Twitter’s growth, product evolution and broader operations. It also poses fundamental risk to Twitter’s differentiation among social platforms.
The 140-character limit is the platform’s defining characteristic and keeps Tweets concise and digestible, for better or worse. Some people feel it’s too confining for both users and brands, while others believe Twitter’s character limit is critical to its effectiveness in facilitating real-time communication — from breaking world news to direct communication between brands and consumers — better than any other platform in the social ecosystem.
However, if Twitter does expand its content length beyond 140 characters, here are four important implications for brands:
1. Freeing up brands that have more to say
Hashtags will remain critical organizing principles and levers for brands’ calls to action within social campaigns, but Twitter’s abandonment of the 140 limit could accommodate the widening needs of brands in social media. Outside of a hashtag-driven campaign, brands sometimes need more than 140 characters to engage with their followers and articulate what they stand for, what makes them special and why consumers should invest in their products or services.
2. Broader shift toward long-form content
For a time, Twitter was the darling of the media industry — from the 2012 “Twitter election” to the Arab Spring — but there is now a trend toward longer-form content. Examples include the rapid growth of Medium; LinkedIn further embracing brand-published content; and Facebook’s deals with the Washington Post and other media outlets to publish editorial content directly to the platform. If Twitter sticks with 140 characters, it could lose out on certain brand dollars as more social investment is directed toward these long-form platforms to create meaningful content for consumers. By opening up to long-form content, Twitter could provide a valuable real-time approach to content that other existing long-form platforms don’t offer.
3. Expanded customer service and experience
Extending beyond 140 characters could enable brands to really up their customer service and community management game on Twitter. Brands could invest more time and energy into the platform to provide a broader customer experience beyond short-form reactive public responses to follower tweets. This could better position Twitter at the heart of a brand’s always-on social conversation and make the platform absolutely indispensable to a brand’s social customer care efforts.
4. Drive the platform growth and engagement rates that brands covet
To overcome recent growth and engagement issues, Twitter must continue to remain open to evolving its offering with new functionalities for content. The company has already made notable moves in this direction with its much-lauded acquisitions of Vine and Periscope. Continuing these types of initiatives to grow audiences and expand engagement capabilities, play an important role in Twitter’s success in attracting brand dollars and its overall viability as a platform.
While there would be potential benefits, it’s unknown whether brands would fully embrace the new opportunities of a post-140 character world. Perhaps more importantly, how would users react to such a dramatic change? With a host of existing longer-form social platforms to choose from, it’s safe to assume many people use Twitter expressly because they like its limited content capacity.
Stagnation is the death knell of the digital world, but Twitter could be shooting itself in the foot by doing away with a massive differentiator that’s a big hook for brands whose investments continue to generate a lot of revenue for the platform. Clearly there is downside risk in eliminating what makes Twitter special to both users and brands. The question is whether it outweighs the potential benefits for brands.
The data behind Instagram’s organic reach and growth decline
A new study from Locowise has revealed the undeniable fact that the good times of organic reach and growth on Instagram are over. The organic growth decline from April to October this year is at 86.67% and total engagement decline from April to October came in at 51.43%, with a 23% drop from September to October alone. One thing of course that is increasing is the amount of ads you’ll be served on the platform and the curation of content surrounding specific live events in the style of Twitter Moments.
Facebook cuts traffic to top publishers by 32% since January
According to a report by SimpleReach, a distribution analytics company, some of the biggest publishers using Facebook are seeing a massive drop off in traffic to their websites, with the most reliant getting hit hardest with a cut of up to 42.7%. A couple of theories are being bandied around as to why this is happening. The first: that Facebook is trying to complete the circle and keep users in its grasp at all times and so only giving traffic to instant articles and videos that have been uploaded to the site, and not links that take people to publishers’ own websites. The second: that Facebook is trying to encourage users to post more of their own content, after reports that we’re become more passive on the platform.
Facebook makes a LOT of money in Q3 from ad sales
Facebook has reported in its Q3 earnings report that advertising sales have increased 45 percent year over year to a tidy $4.3 billion. Mark Zuckerberg said:
We had a good quarter and got a lot done. We’re focused on innovating and investing for the long term to serve our community and connect the entire world*.
Total monthly active users have also reached 1.55 billion in Q3, a 14% increase compared to the same time last year. The platform has also reported that it is getting 8 billion average daily video views, up 4 billion just since April. This increase is attributed to a few factors; it’s testing a Suggested Video interface and a dedicated video feed, where people can browse just videos shared by friends and ones that are trending. It is also testing picture-in-picture viewing, so people can browse their newsfeeds while watching a video and the option to save videos to watch later.
Facebook’s new product lets merchants target audiences that are nearby
After revealing staggering advertising profits, Facebook is now looking to capitalise on local businesses by creating two new products to a) let merchants learn more about their local audiences and b) target location based ads to these audiences. A new insights tab is launching so business owners can learn more about the people up to 1,500ft away from their shops, and the percentage of those people who have seen their ads. Ads can now include dynamic copy that changes based on the stores’ locations, and the CTA button can offer directions to users nearest store.
Facebook launches “Music Stories” – a new way to share music
Welcome Music Stories! Users can now post links from Spotify and Apple music in their status fields and a 30 second preview will generate, which can be played directly on Facebook. Friends can then buy or stream the tracks on their own devices. In other music news, is Bieber cool now? I’m confused. – Discuss.
In a move that has been done to encourage users to show more love on Twitter, the star-shaped ‘favourite’ has been replaced with a heart-shaped ‘like’ button, with the former being labeled as ‘confusing’ for users. Jim Coleman, Managing Director of We Are Social in the UK, said about the change:
Thanks to Facebook, people are familiar and comfortable with the concept of a like and I think Twitter hit the nail on the head when it said “You might like a lot of things, but not everything can be your favourite” – it wants to see users engaging with content that resonates more regularly.
Twitter gears up to launch ‘Moments’ UK with new journalist hires
Twitter is on the hunt for journalists to work on its Moments service in the UK, before it’s international launch following its US launch. Moments curates the top news stories across different topics from celebs to hard news and is updated live. Snapchat is also on a hiring spree as it looks to open its first European office in London, with senior staff joining from, Twitter and Buzzfeed.
Snap views have increased threefold since May
Snapchat has been whipping out the new features this year and it seems to be paying off with snaps and videos being viewed over 6 billion times a day, a three times the figure it was in May. The huge increase could be down to the introduction of Snapchat Stories, which now showcases content from live events and is Snapchat’s most popular feature. You can also play with replays, rewinds, stickers and create selfies where different things just endlessly pour out of your mouth, who can resist that!
Pinterest roll out Buyable Pins to Android and the ‘Pinterest Shop’
Buyable pins are now available for Android users, following their initial launch for Apple’s iOS devices only which will increase their potential reach to an additional 1.4 billion devices. The pins are a way of bridging the gap between people seeing something like and actually buying it. Not available on desktop yet, Pinterest have chosen to concentrate their main efforts to mobile first as 80% of all Pinners use mobile to access the platform. There are 60 million buyable pins currently on the site and Pinterest now automatically captures location data from its 100 million members who use its Place Pins service which could mean more revenue generation down the road through on location-based targeting and selling.
It also announced the introduction of the Pinterest Shop, a section that features a collection of Buyable Pins trending among its users. Items range from popular denim shirts to sweaters and scarves…
Dove re-balances hair discrimination with wavy haired emoji keyboard
As part of their Love Your Curls campaign, Dove has launched a special emoji keyboard featuring curly hair. It was noticed by the brand that even though one in three women in the US has naturally curly hair, all of the current emoji have straight hair (or no hair! 😱). Dove has also partnered with Twitter, so that each time someone shares a #LoveYourCurls hashtag, a custom curly-haired emoji will appear within the tweet.
Fifteen becomes the first Periscope horror movie
Created by the team behind Paranormal activity, Fifteen is the story of fictional serial killer who has a penchant for live streaming. Blumhouse Productions are not unfamiliar with radical new ways of presenting their stories, as earlier this year the production company also released Unfriended, a horror film that took place entirely on the screen of a young girl’s computer screen.
— Blumhouse (@blumhouse) October 30, 2015
Sprite wants you to get more Snapchat friends via its cans
Snapchat has gathered 100 million monthly users, despite not being that old. So, brands are flocking to the platform, and Sprite is one of them, jumping on the bandwagon for its recent campaign.
In Brazil, Sprite is inviting Snapchat users to place their QR ‘Snapcodes’ on millions of its cans in an effort called RFRSH Na Lata (meaning “refresh on the can”). Consumers of the soda can submit their Snapcodes on a microsite, and winning accounts will be chosen by the brand in December. This is designed to help people on the platform gain more friends, and is being promoted through online videos. Already, 15 Snapchat users who had big followings have got their Snapcodes printed on the soda cans and the campaign reportedly drove over 2 million Snapchat views in just a few days.
What happened in month two of our adventure at We Are Social? What didn’t! Nick dabbled in some part time acting/modelling, Alexi took part in a pitch for a potential client and I got to work with some amazing YouTube talent. That’s what’s so great about this grad scheme, one day you could be writing a report for a client and the next you could be creating your own 360 gif … yes really, check us out showing off our best acrobatic skills below.
Admittedly, our acrobatic ‘skills’ aren’t anything to brag about
The work stuff
I spend my mornings in the Research and Insight (R&I) team, where I will work once our three month rotations conclude. I’ve learnt so much in such a short space of time and work with really inspiring, smart people. I’ve been trained on several social listening tools (there’s honestly more than you would believe) and am getting so much out of the process. R&I is all about trying to identify the nitty gritty insights which can help take a campaign from basic to bitchin’.
The best bit about working in R&I is that you are there for the early stages of a campaign and then once the campaign has concluded you are able to go back and compile a wrap up report. This cyclical process allows you to reflect on what went well and what didn’t go so well, so you can apply these learnings for next time. I’m now working on reports for several clients and when the excel formulas all fall into place, it leaves me feeling all:
Aside from R&I, I spent the first two weeks of October in with the creative team. I started this rotation during a really exciting time when we were pitching for a new client, and the team made sure I was kept busy in a lot of brainstorms. We spent most of the first week talking about all the things we hated about Christmas – however, I was pretty useless because I’m the type to sing Mariah in October and watch Elf too many times to count before it’s December.
My last rotation was in Client Services with the Google team where I spent two (amazing) weeks. Oh, and did I mention (I have), I was able to get involved in some fantastic campaigns with YouTube talent, and even cooked a superb calzone (with some help from Sorted Food).
I think that’s enough from me! You’ll probably remember Alexi from his kickass ‘Gen Z’ piece that went up on the blog last week – this was a result of his editorial rotation and that’s just one of the cool things that Alexi has been up to this month. Whilst working in R&I, Alexi tackled his fear of numbers by working on social media audits for a couple of FMCG giants.
And last month’s resident ‘#IamSocial’ blog writer Nick had a really exciting month in creative and production. While I can’t divulge any details of what he got up to yet, it’s safe to say he’s expanded his modelling portfolio.
The fun stuff
At We Are Social, company socials are taken very seriously and we have four every year – that’s on top of beers/wine in the office on Fridays, monthly lunch and learns and pizza-based meetings (Alexi, Nick and I have had two just this week). This month, we all went along to The Addams Family Fortunes AKA the October social – a Halloween themed pub quiz hosted by Laura Muldoon, We Are Social’s resident quiz master.
The quiz included head scratchers such as, how many times do you have to say Candyman before he appears – is it three or five? Despite widespread agency belief that it was three, apparently it’s five… I’ve been told Laura still expects an apology after the ‘abuse’ she received from the agency. My team were robbed of the top prize, and when I say robbed… I think we came 5th out of 9 teams.
Keep an eye out for next month when Swede Alexi will be writing the final grad blog and we conclude our rotations!
It’s been a big year for We Are Social. We’ve picked up our first Cannes Lions. We’ve started working with more of the world’s most forward-thinking brands across our global offices. We’ve launched in Shanghai and rounded out our US offering with a San Francisco base.
Today, as you might have read in Campaign, we’ve got more fantastic news, as we announce our launch in Berlin. With an experienced, dynamic team already in place, we’ve hit the ground running, working with some very exciting brands, including founding client Reebok.
Berlin marks our eleventh global office and our second in Germany. We established our Munich base in 2011, and it’s gone from strength to strength over the last four years.
However, we increasingly noticed that much of the best digital talent is based in Berlin and, with the agency growing so quickly, we wanted to be able to tap into this to keep up with client demand. Our Berlin base will enable us to do this, while working in close collaboration with the team in Munich so that we can benefit from each other’s resources and expertise, allowing both offices to succeed and grow.
We’re confident that Berlin, as one of the world’s most dynamic and innovative cities, will offer the perfect environment to help We Are Social deliver first class, creative work to our clients in Germany, and play a key part in our expanding global network.
We have big ambitions for our Berlin base; we’re already looking to double the size of our team as we deliver marketing strategies with social thinking at their centre, further cementing our position as Germany’s leading social media agency.
If you’d like to be part of this, we’re currently looking for German speaking Account Executives to join our Berlin team. Please contact us with your CV.