advertising Tag

My Snapchat Masterclass at The Guardian’s Changing Media Summit 2017

This month I hosted a session at The Guardian’s annual technology and media-focussed conference in London. The aim of my masterclass was to demystify, explain and contextualise Snapchat’s role in the world, and in the marketing mix for brands and agencies.

The presentation I went through is below and whilst lots of the content was delivered verbally, there are lots of useful stats, examples, best practice and case studies for Snapchat marketing in there.

If you have any questions about any of the content, or need professional help with your digital marketing drop me an email or tweet me @willfrancis

Will Francis at The Guardian's Changing Media Summit 2017

 

 

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Snapchat Appeals To Kids For The Same Reasons Myspace Did. But Can It Escape The Same Fate?

Remember Myspace? (I have to say that now when I intro myself to new people — my years working there are still a key part of my career history).

More importantly, can you remember the countless millions of teenagers who learnt HTML so they could ‘pimp’ their pages?

Kids Were Coding on Myspace!

That is unbelievable in retrospect. We got kids learning to handle (if not completely write) code just so they could make glitter fall down their page and have sexier buttons in their ‘contact box’. They knew how to open style tags, albeit simple ones like <b>, and then close them</b>.

Parents of course thought they had finally lost their young. They were witnessing their kids type and paste pure gobbledegook into boxes in some very confusing admin panel. Kids made their Myspace profiles resemble a sort of digital bedroom wall, plastered with a mess of everything they were into, and everyone they were associated with.

Confusing to ‘Olds’

The more I work with Snapchat (in my capacity running London creative digital agency Harkable), the more I’m struck with how this is the first platform since Myspace to appeal to kids largely because it bewilders and even scares their parents.

Even at my tender age I can still remember the sheer confusion the first time I used Snapchat. This of course was closely followed by a more composed, professional criticism of the UX (user experience).

The Thrill of the Dangerous

Just knowing you could send absolutely any kind of photo or video to anyone on Snapchat is in itself exciting.

Everything there is out of the gaze of authority. Seeing their parents’ horror just makes it all the more fun. And so it was on Myspace, you could be anyone and do anything. There were serial killers and sex offenders but we all accepted that the entire human spectrum was represented there, before everyone left for Facebook that is.

Is Snapchat Destined for Decline?

So the big questions looms. Can Snapchat avoid the fatal death spiral that Myspace disappeared into so rapidly? Ultimately the odds aren’t in their favour.

The only reason Facebook and Twitter have stuck around is because:

  1. their general utility — messaging, groups, events, photos, news
  2. their unprecedentedly high levels of adoption across all demographics — i.e. your grandparents use it, people in places with less access to technology use it
  3. integration across the web and the wider media landscape — Facebook ‘like’ buttons on websites, hashtags in TV shows etc

Will my Mum really get on Snapchat before the youth leave for something new? Will it replace current forms of private messaging like email and WhatsApp? Can it really become woven into our other media experiences such as surfing the web and watching TV?

Seems unlikely but then the entire premise of the app would have sounded bonkers five years ago, so don’t write them off completely.

So Many Users, So Little Money

The big challenge for them will be monetisation. They are the classic example of the social media startup having boomed in user numbers, only to be faced with the task of turning that into a profitable business.

They currently sell vertical video ads (portrait video as opposed to the traditional landscape) which are inserted in between Stories and Discover, kind of like TV ads. They trialled sponsored lenses — augmented reality animated overlays for selfie photos and videos — but have discontinued that for now. There’s no self-serve ad buying platform, and agencies are struggling to justify significant media spend because of the lack of any robust analytics, other than reports on views and reach.

Snapchat’s Future Is Not In Mass Market

They’ll need to bring a much more rounded advertising offering with the ability to target ads and report on exactly what the money achieved.

But like Myspace failed to do, they’ll need to keep its core users interested. And rather than trying to attract that wider demographic, it might mean keeping mum and dad a little bit scared of it.

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Change: A World In Flux – My #CogsTalks @ The Hospital

Here’s the presentation I gave this week at The Hospital in London, showing my take on how the digital world is changing and why this constant change shouldn’t scare us but rather is an endless source of opportunity.

Here’s the presentation I gave and below is the full video of my talk:

Visit My SlideShare

Video courtesy of VideoJug

Any questions, feel free to comment, tweet or email me 🙂

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How To Create a ‘Welcome’ Landing Tab for New Facebook Pages

On 10th March 2011 Facebook will upgrade all pages for brands, companies and organisations to a new version of Pages, bringing the design in line with personal profiles which were upgraded in December 2010. For details about the changes read my last blog post here.

‘Static FBML’ tabs, with which you could quickly add extra tabs containing basic HTML to show text, images and videos are being phased out so that you won’t be able to create them after Thursday. This means adding a simple Welcome tab like the ones above which introduce new visitors to your Facebook page (and encourage them to click ‘Like’) is about to get a little complicated. Here’s my step-by-step guide to the easiest and quickest way to create a ‘Welcome’ tab:

  1. Create an image 520px wide and a maximum of 800px high with your Welcome message on. As in the examples above this can include a strong call to action to ‘Like’ the page. You can start with this very basic Photoshop template and save in a new folder called ‘welcometab’.
  2. Open your text editor of choice (Notepad+ for Windows, TextWrangler for Mac perhaps?). Add the following code into a new document replacing my ‘http://yoursite.com/welcometab/IMAGENAME.jpg’ with the address of your own image:
    <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN"
    "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
    <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en">
    <head>
    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html;
    charset=iso-8859-1" />
    <style type="text/css">
    body {
    width:520px;
    margin:0; padding:0; border:0;
    }
    </style>
    </head>
    <body>
    <div id="fb-welcome">
    <img src="http://yoursite.com/welcometab/IMAGENAME.jpg" alt="Click 'Like' to get started" border="0">
    </div>
    </body>
    </html>
    
  3. Save this as fbwelcome.html in the ‘welcometab’ folder and upload the folder and its contents to your FTP.
  4. Visit facebook.com/developers. If it’s your first time here you’ll need to add the developers app, which you’ll be prompted to do. Then hit the ‘Set Up New App’ button in the top-right of the page.
  5. Name your new app ‘Welcome’, click ‘Agree’ and hit ‘Create Application’.
  6. On the next screen describe your app and add icons for it. The icons are important because without them you will see the default ‘gears’ logo next to the app’s name wherever it appears around the site. You’ll need a 16px x 16px image and a 75px x 75px image:
     
    Enter your other details such as email address and support URL and then click ‘Facebook Integration’ in the left-hand menu…
  7. This is where you point to your iframe.
    In the ‘Canvas’ section just enter your iframe URL in ‘Canvas URL’ e.g. ‘http://yoursite.com/welcometab/’, select ‘iframe’ in ‘Canvas Type’ and move onto the bottom half of the page…
     
  8. Enter the name as you want the title of your Welcome tab to appear and then in ‘Tab URL’ enter ‘fbwelcome.html’ and click the ‘Save Changes’ button:
     
  9. You’ve now created the app and should find yourself on the app developer dashboard looking at an overview of your new app:

    Click ‘Application Profile Page’…
  10. On this page click ‘Add to my Page’ in the left-hand menu and in the overlay that appears click the ‘Add to Page’ button next to any of your pages to add your new app:
     

And that’s it, you’re done! You can create as many apps you need in future, and as the iframe is a webpage hosted by you, you can add what you like there, including previously prohibited goodies like Flash, JavaScript etc which is a great boon, despite the inconvenience of simple ‘Welcome’ apps taking a bit longer to build.

Anything to add? Think there’s an easier way? That’s what the comments are for 🙂

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Mobile World Congress: Top Things To Get Excited About

Mobile Phones

This Monday, 14th February, will see 50,000 people descend on Fira de Barcelona in the centre of the Catalonian capital to gather at Mobile World Congress, the biggest date in the mobile communications industry’s calendar. It is typically where the big players like LG, Motorola, Nokia, Sony, Samsung et al announce new technology, phones, tablets and gadgets. LG are kindly whisking myself, @alicam and @mayhemstudios out there to witness their product unveilings, which include the much-hyped first ever 3D phone! So in anticipation of this almighty tech-fest, here’s a quick look at what I’m most excited about seeing next week:

LG Optimus 3D

OK, so LG are the reason I’m out there. But seriously, a phone with 3D screen and camera? I need to see that. The grass is always greener on the other side and having had an iPhone for so long I could very easily be tempted to switch over to Android by this phone which is rumoured to have a dual-core 1GHz processor, an 8 megapixel camera and ‘multi-channel RAM’. I’ll publish full details as we get them at MWC, but in the meantime here’s a teaser trailer LG just released:

The ‘Playstation Phone’

I love my Playstation 3 and for a long time loved my (cracked) PSP, but the poor old handheld has been gathering dust since 2008 when the iPhone 3G gave us decent games, with internet, email, a phone and all your digital media thrown in too. So it would be cool to see Sony bring the goods with its ‘Xperia Play’. The Android phone/console hybrid will run Playstation One games though we don’t know what games will be available until MWC, and that ultimately will determine this device’s success.

Interestingly, by the end of 2011 Sony plans to have allowed other mobile and tablet manufacturers to adapt their Android OS to run Playstation games and have access to the forthcoming Playstation app store. Details are scant until the press conference on Sunday. Until then here’s the creepy ad Sony ran during Super Bowl to officially announce the phone:

Tablets

Let’s face it, it will be years until someone other than Apple beats the iPad at the tablet game so I, like many, will be looking on in amusement and curiosity at the tablet launches at MWC to see what lengths manufacturers have gone to to try and tempt those considering Apple’s ‘magical and revolutionary’ device away from the easy choice.

Samsung’s Galaxy has been on of the more successful underdogs and it’s successor will be unveiled on Sunday night. Rumours are also circulating that the Samsung Galaxy’s successor will be announced and that HTC are preparing their first tablet to be unveiled. LG are also said to be launching a larger version of their Optimus 3D phone, a tablet with rear-facing stereoscopic camera and glasses-free 3D screen.

Speakers

Whilst the gallery of speakers at MWC 2011 looks like the members book of a white supremacist chess club, there are a few heavyweight keynotes at MWC 2011 that I’ll be making an effort to see.

Eric Schmidt should be interesting because of Google’s burgeoning stake in the mobile OS market and how advertising might develop in mobile.

Steve Ballmer because I kinda hope he’ll go a bit mental… again.

Jack Dorsey because since co-founding Twitter he’s set up Square, a revolutionary product that is as beautifully simple and useful as his first famous venture. I’ll be interested to hear where he plans to take it and which industries they’re focussing their marketing efforts on (do market traders generally have iPhones?).

Dick Costolo because he’s CEO of my favourite social website – Twitter – and I’ll be keen to hear how things are going back at HQ and where they plan to take the business. He’s also an interesting figure in the start-up world having founded Feedburner and invested in several start-ups including Twitter back in 2007. I’m sure I’ll happen across other speakers and be pleasantly surprised, which I’ll report back on right here.

So stay tuned as I post videos, photos and new product specs as they’re announced. You can also follow the #MWC11 hashtag on Twitter, and also me – @willfrancis@LGmobileMWC@alicam and @mayhemstudios to see what we’re up to!

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Alan Partridge Returns. On YouTube.

Everyone’s favourite caractère tragique Alan Partridge (created and played by Steve Coogan) has returned after 8 years of absence from our screens, only this time round he’s fronting ‘Norfolk Digital Radio’ and we can see his hapless exploits in a Fosters-sponsored YouTube series ‘Alan Partridge’s Mid Morning Matters’ in which Alan and new, young sidekick played by Tim Key (who’s deservedly doing very well at the moment) bumble through his morning radio show. The usually-funny Will Andrews also puts in a good performance. Word on the street is that Baby Cow Productions, the company started many comedy moons ago by Armando Ianucci and Steve Coogan were given complete creative control of the series. Is it funny? Is this essentially an appetite-whetter for the forthcoming Alan Partridge movie? Have Fosters taken a hands-off enough approach?

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An American Werewolf in London Screening in London Zoo

An American Werewolf in London Screening at London Zoo

Last night I went along to ZSL London Zoo for an exclusive screening of An American Werewolf in London in the Mappin Pavilion, literally a few feet from one of the many scenes shot in the zoo (we were next to the spot where a naked David steals a lady’s red coat).

The agency I’m consulting for – DDB London – organised the event for Volkswagen as part of their See Film Differently campaign which you can check out for hilarious short films, future events near you and movie articles on the website, Facebook or Twitter.

The screening was preceded by a cool little exhibition of props from the film, including a bust of the post-werewolf-attack Jack:

'Jack' bust from American Werewolf

… the special effects gear that made David’s transformation and that won the first ever Oscar for special effects:

Werewolf Transformation Head

There were also loads of storyboards and stills:

A wall of American Werewolf storyboards

… including this rather cool photo of director John Landis cleaning the pigeon droppings off Eros for a perfect shot of Piccadilly Circus:

Still of John Landis cleaning Eros

All in all, massive props to 1155 who produced the event for DDB, the attention to detail and all the little touches like the Slaughtered Lamb sign on entry, the eery torchlit tour of movie locations around the zoo, the dressing of the venues and exhibition were all top-notch. We’ll be doing more location-based events and cool stuff in social/apps etc (that’s my job!) so stay tuned…

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