Google I/O 13, Google’s annual developer conference, happened last week, and I had the fortune of following a few great people on Google+ through their experiences at the conference. There was a lot of talk about Glass and the new Google+ format, both of which I have experienced vicariously through a few people on YouTube. The really interesting part about I/O was the overarching theme of what Google is doing.
Jeremiah Owyang sums it up best in his post about the key trends at I/O:
Google products are being enhanced and interconnected, with no new products added.
Google is virtually replicating planet earth, but “improving” the quality.
Google knows what and who you love as we trade convenience for our data.
It’s all true! Google didn’t make any big product announcements at this year’s I/O—they took care of that with Google Glass a month ago. Instead, they made major improvements to all their products.
Google Maps: It’s now better than ever. The improved Google Maps suggests related places and integrates friend’s social information into your map searches. It has a new interface as well, making the map more prominent on the page. Google also combined Google Earth into the maps so you can get the 3D experience on your browser.
YouTube: A new channel layout was announced a few weeks back and is now becoming official for all users. This update makes content discovery on any channel easier.
Search Improvements: With the implementation of Google+, Google search results now include your social graph results as well. Google uses your data to generate better suggestions across all searches, including Maps, YouTube and Images.
So what are the business implications of these changes? Well, if your business is not on Google+ yet, and you’re not +1’ing your own content, you’re missing out on great SEO advantages. If you have a retail business or a restaurant, don’t forget to also include our business in Maps and promote reviews on the platform. Google is still the reigning search engine, and all that data generated by other Google users will help your search positioning and discoverability.
The future looks bright for Google and Android users alike. The company is using big data in all the right ways to create better a user experience and opportunities for businesses to promote themselves.
Social media has provided brands, regardless of industry or size, the opportunity to connect directly with their community of supporters. The brands that are most successful on social provide relevant, engaging content to their fans, rather than exclusively talking about themselves. Twitter hosts countless customer service interactions, YouTube often showcases internal culture, and blog comment sections allow brands to garner and digest immediate feedback. In each of these instances, the focus is on listening to the customer and turning social media into a two-way conversation, not a highway billboard. While there are many examples to choose from, the health and fitness industry has done an especially great job, using their social channels to listen to their customers and tap into their lifestyles.
Here are a few examples:
ViSalus has turned their Instagram channel into a platform that fans can visit for weight loss motivation and encouragement. They share recipes, boast member before-and-after photos, and showcase the healthy, happy members of their community. They also regularly show off the gym in their corporate office, demonstrating that the ViSalus team is truly committed to health and fitness.
Weight Watchers is doing a great job on Pinterest, a channel that often gets the little-brother treatment. Rather than focusing exclusively on product, they have made an effort to make their pins useful to their customers. By filling their Pinterest page with healthy recipes and motivational boards like “Words to Live By,” the brand is a helpful resource and acts like a loyal friend to their customers. And Weight Watchers didn’t simply set up their page and forget about it; they actively drive traffic to their Pinterest page through their Facebook posts.
Whole Foods consistently does a great job of nurturing brand loyalty and trust. They listen closely to what matters to their community and adjust accordingly. With over 5,000,000 YouTube views, they use the channel as a vehicle for transparency and communication, by directly telling their customers what they're doing and why they’re doing it.
These brands are each making the most of their social channels by creating content that is relevant to their customers’ lifestyles and providing useful services. They successfully demonstrate just how critical transparency, authenticity and connection are for brands today.
Google took full advantage of April Fools this year with almost every major app having a great gag.
First is Google Nose, where search integrates with 15 million “scentabytes.” You can even smell “success!”
Althought Google Nose didn’t offer any real functionality; a personal favorite at Renegade is Google Treasure Maps. Where together we can discover the clues to a great treasure! It actually has a setting that will change your Google Maps to the treasure map mode.
Google+ had an emoticon layer you can add to photos. This actually works! Any photo you own and have uploaded to G+ will have a button where you can click to enable the emoticon.
Google Schmick is an Australian Google Street View app that helps you spruce up your house. Now you can give your house a lick of fresh paint for free on Street View with Google SCHMICK (Simple Complete House Makeover Internet Conversion Kit).
Gmail Blue is the great of all inventions! Transform your Gmail inbox into the deepest blues of blues. Unfortunately this doesn’t seem to actually be an option.
For those office proficiency geeks, Google launched the “Levity Algorithm” to help make your appointments and documents more exciting! (no iteration of this is really available)
YouTube was by far the best April Fools with the greatest collaboration of pranksters!
Stay tuned tomorrow when Renegade explores pranks from all over the web!
A new platform called TubeRank claims that it has found the formula for viral videos! After a year-long study of videos on YouTube, they have categorized and compartmentalized the seemingly elusive viral video into what they call "audience triggers" and "communities of interest." The site’s purpose is to generate videos based on these variables to give you viral inspiration. This is very helpful tool and their analysis is spot-on. A video goes viral because it evokes certain emotions (triggers) in a particular “community of interest,” who, in turn, shares it with others outside the community. If the video relates to people outside that community, it could even reach farther and go “super viral." Take a look at TubeRank’s platform and you’ll see they’ve neatly organized these "triggers" and "interests," as well as the additional categories of User-Generated Content (UGC) and branded content, into the platform interface. With this platform, you can set the intensity of three triggers, such as "EPIC", "WTF" or "Educational," select up to three communities of interests, and choose UGC or branded content or both. BOOM! They pump out the top viral videos for those criteria. With a splash of "EPIC” and loads of “Moving,” we found the viral video of Isaac’s Bruno Mars marriage proposal:
But there is still a BIG PROBLEM with this equation— TubeRank successfully identifies which community of interests and what kind of triggers caused videos to go viral, but it does not identify how these communities discovered the video in the first place. In other words, it’s missing the tipping point of virality. The "make it and they will come" method just doesn’t work! Many great videos lie dormant on YouTube for years until someone of influence happens upon them. Even videos that have great potential and do get noticed sometimes fizzle out quickly. Until the formula can also answer, "How do I get people to notice my videos?" the viral video will stay elusive.
YouTube announced Monday that they are making what we believe to be EPIC changes to the channel options. Other than an overall layout change, there are two new features that we at Renegade are excited about.
1) Channel Trailer
On the new channel, you can put up a special trailer video that appears only to users who are not subscribed to your channel. This is a great opportunity to engage browsing visitors and capture them! Plus it is a chance to set the expectations for what your channel is all about!
2) Channel Art
Finally! The coveted header banner will be available to all users. Channel art is branding that goes beyond just the background image and it is seen on mobile phones, tablets, and in the hovercard anywhere on the site! Here is a template and guidelines on how to start creating channel art.
While we’re really excited about this, not everyone seems to be. The comments on the announcement are littered with foul-mouthed trolls. As an agency we’ve been trying for a year to figure out how to give our clients sexier YouTube channels without having to pay the big advertising sums. Interesting how the users themselves seem to be against this change.
Is this just a case of fear of the unknown and social network change backlash? How do you feel about the changes?
Though the big game is days away, major corporations like Coke, Mercedes, Audi, and Carl’s Jr. have already begun playing the field for the hearts of the 111 million viewers. Aside from the earned media potential of blogs and publications picking up the story, what advantages does pre-releasing your ad have?
In the case of Audi, probably nothing! Their pre-released YouTube tab “Big Game” seemingly gives away their entire spot, which costs around $2.5 million per 30 seconds. There is additional content around the same theme available for viewing, but unless Audi has a surprise up its sleeve for the big day, it has already run out of gas.
Mercedes and Carl’s Jr. haven’t quite shown it all. @CarlsJr has posted a few tweets with images from the ad shoot with swimsuit model @NinaAgdal as an appetizer. The full TV ad surely won’t be short of saucy. Mercedes, too, pre-released their ad spot with Kate Upton getting her shiny car washed, which alludes that there is more to bare.
Coke seems to be the most inventive, taking full advantage of social media for its big ad. Visit CokeChase.com and you can watch a pre-release video that sets the stage for the big day with cowboys, showgirls and badlanders racing to the land of sweet, bubble nirvana. Coke asks you, the user, to choose who will win the race and the final spot on the air—all you have to do is tweet your vote. The fun doesn’t stop there! Immediately in return, Coke sends you a tweet with the option to delay the contenders. This is a prime example of perfectly executed brand engagement that builds to the finale. When Coke’s ad finally rolls out on the big day, you can expect to see a hoard of tweets from enthusiasts rooting for their team.
Stay tuned to @Renegade_LLC for the Big Game Ads reviews, live as they happen on Feb 3rd.
Here at Renegade we have featured a slew of campaigns by different brands, agencies, and companies who are taking innovative strides in social media. Recently, I came across a recruitment drive by the Swedish armed forces that took a social media campaign to another level.
In an attempt to find 4,000 applicants for 1,500 new positions, the Swedish Army launched a promotion called “Who Cares?” that attempted to test how far people are prepared to go for one another. In the “Who Cares?” campaign, a person was voluntarily locked in a small, enclosed box in central Stockholm. The campaign streamed live video of the person sitting within this box and made it clear that the only way to free the person would be to replace him yourself. The person in the box agreed to sit there alone until someone else willingly replaced him. No status update or tweet alone could free the person: their freedom required real-world action. It required a stranger to sacrifice their comfort for the comfort of another; to demonstrate concern about a fellow human being – all crucial elements that the armed forces seek in applicants.
Over the course of 89 hours, 74 people sacrificed their time to “save” a complete stranger. With tweets like this one by @Soldier_H: “On my way to Stockholm to participate in #whocares with #svfm. Could be fun @ShimmeryChic,” and over 100,000 website visitors in less than four days, the campaign spread like wildfire over social media channels, with people coming to visit the cell from all over Sweden.
In a time where the easiest way to express yourself and show what you care about is through social media, the Swedish Army took a very innovative approach to recruit their infantry. Instead of using patriotic propaganda or super-human like analogies for the people they want in their armed forces, they simply staged a scenario to see how far people were prepared to go for another. And the conversation blew up from there. Instead of simply stating the benefits of joining the army, this campaign made people realize the benefits for themselves.
This video gives the full story on the campaign:
This campaign was a huge success because it was a social media campaign that wasn’t about social media. It was about real world action and human interaction. The Swedish Armed Forces started a conversation amongst their target group and got that target group to act in anonymous and selfless ways that in the end got the armed forces the desired result: quality applicants. In fact, as a result of the campaign In fact, as a result of the campaign, the ended up getting twice the expected amount of applicants for the open positions, and bonus: it facilitated a huge online conversation in the process. It goes to show that social media campaigns that go beyond online interaction require real-word activity can be quite effective and memorable.
- Jake Annear
A previous post announced the integration of Foursquare into the Klout user influence score. The company has stayed pretty busy, and just announced that YouTube will also be integrated into the algorithm to determine a user’s online influence.
The algorithm measures the comments, engagement, likes and subscriber counts on a user’s YouTube account to determine how much influence a given user has. That, combined with their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare information, gives a fairly comprehensive influence score.
This addition to the Klout formula may not mean much to individuals, but it can greatly affect the scores of bigger brands. Many brands have YouTube channels featuring commercials and promotions that require significant resources to create and maintain. Now, the large audiences they reach via this video channel can be measured along with their other social media presences.
Klout has had a wave of recent additions and upgrades with its integration of 3 new social networks and an impressive three rounds of funding. However, due to the nature of their business, we can expect more announcements like this from them in the near future. Next up, Google+?
I think it’s safe to say that last year’s Old Spice campaign, “Smell Like a Man, Man”, was a pretty big success. Much of the praise has to go to Isaiah Mustafa, the spokesman for the campaign. Although his commercials never really much sense (don’t get me wrong, they were all great), Mustafa captured the attention of so many Americans.
Despite it’s impressive success, Old Spice has apparently decided to use a new spokesman. But who? Who could possibly replace the ever-popular Isaiah Mustafa as the Old Spice guy?
I’m sure most of you out there will recognize his long flowing locks…yes…I did say his long flowing locks. Of course, as I’m sure you suspected, I’m talking about the infamous Fabio. As you can see in the picture below, it looks like Fabio could the one replacing Mustafa.
To be honest, I can’t decide what I think about it. As much as Fabio creeps me out in these commercials, I have to admit I find myself laughing at them. Make sure to check out the new Old Spice ads on YouTube.
What do you think? Next big campaign? Ingenious spoof?
– Zach Prager
Fabio Old Spice