The Shorty Awards

That’s right, if you feel behind about not evening knowing that there was such a thing as a social media awards show—there’s already been 6, so get with it. This past Monday, April 7th was the 6th annual Shorty Awards in New York City, recognizing the most influential accounts on all social media platforms.

Categories for nominations ranged from Entertainment, Media, Global News, Industry, Mobile, Art & Design, Agency and more. There are over 100 categories and anyone has the opportunity to create their own “community category” by simply tweeting their nominations.

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Last Monday’s show featured an array of special video guests, including an acceptance speech from Jerry Seinfeld for best #WebShow— where he admits he put no effort into promoting the show and allowed the power of social media to spread the word. Will Farrell also comically and very sarcastically accepted his “Lifetime Achievement Award” for being the most impersonated actor on social media.

However, the great thing about the Shorty Awards is that it recognizes the “nobodies” who have become “somebodies” thanks to social media; including photographers, artists, videographers and your typical bedroom comedians and backyard movie stars.

Check out the full list of highlights and acceptance speeches from the 6th annual Shorty Awards yourself— maybe you can find some new accounts to follow!

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How Do You Create Brand Loyalty?

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Brand loyalty is a combination of a few things on the business side and quite a few more on the consumer side.

First of all, your business or brand needs to have a great product, service or range of both. This is critical in creating brand loyalty, but tends to become less important in maintaining it.

So, now you’ve got this great thing, but no one is clamoring for it or wants to replace their entire home with just products your company makes. First things second, does your product or service really work? Like all-the-time, never-fail work.

It does? Wonderful! This is where branding and marketing starts to really make hay. You’ve got this thing and it’s great and it works but, still, nobody knows about it. You could just shout about it from the rooftops, but that’s not going to make anybody a Dapper Dan Man—maybe a Dapper Dan customer, but they won’t identify themselves with the brand or product.

Your product or service needs to stand for something. Something primal, something real; an irrefutable truth. And that better damn well be in the advertising. If you don’t have that, you’re not likely to elicit any loyalty.

You get Dapper Dan men by solving a problem in their lives and making it so they never have to answer it again, because they have you.

Happy Birthday to our Research Analyst, Ana!

Happy Birthday to our Research Analyst, Ana!

Happy Friday, sassy socializers! 

Happy Friday, sassy socializers! 

(via memewhore)

Twitter’s Redesign

Twitter or Facebook? I really cant tell the difference anymore. Twitter just launched a redesign to their profile pages and it looks similar to Facebook’s profile. Usually I would be critical of this type of switch by a huge brand and say it’s a big mistake, but I’ll hold off my criticism and see where it takes them.

Twitter is redesigning this for the sole purpose of earning more revenue. They’ve created (stolen) the concept to have ad space on the side and bring money to the company from the high earning ad program.

Tee-Vee

Cable is dying. Not a permanent kind of a death, but more like: “we’re sorry, uncomfortable, huge, cable box from overpriced cable providers, you’re out” kind of a death.

For a short period of time, the cable companies thought cable will survive the millennial consumer behavior. It didn’t. They first had to deal with multiple screens, and how to convince people to pay attention to the TV, or make consumers watch TV shows on their websites but from a tablet. On top of that they had to deal with recording and fast forwarding through commercials. And to add to all of that, there was piracy.
But they tried and they tried and tried some more to stay relevant.

And then? Apple TV ($99) happened, and then Roku ($49.99-$99.99), Google Chromecast ($35), Smart TVs, and now Amazon Fire TV ($99).

Why do consumers seem to embrace these little boxes as opposed to the clunky old cable box?

Simple: they offer alternatives to plain cable. Netflix, Google Play Movies, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime videos and games are all available for the user to watch (read binge watch) at their own leisure, basically allowing them to pick and chose their video programming, at a low price, with no ads and quality content for a one time fee and whatever fee they pay for Netflix and Amazon Prime. If you do the math, it still comes  to be cheaper than usual cable, and plus they don’t have to deal with programming they have no interest in watching.

So, say goodbye to cable boxes and hello to tiny, black devices. (Seriously though, design teams?) 

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Oh, and also, enjoy this new Amazon Fire TV ad:

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Avoidance is the New Black

Last week we talked about being connected, 24/7, but what do we do if we suddenly get to urge to go off of the social radar? With growing technology, it can all be done with a tap of your phone. So whether you’re in need of a heads up that your ex is nearby or avoiding that annoying acquaintance that has been pestering you for a week about getting dinner, antisocial apps like Split are surfacing to help keep you incognito (in real life).

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Invented by an Israeli CEO who ran into two of his exes in the same night, Split is an Android & iOS app that launches with support from Foursquare, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to tell you where that person you’re avoiding is.  

To use Split, you simply select the person you want to avoid, scan the area for them and, if they are close by, head in the direction of the nearest gigantic red arrow on the map (i.e. the opposite direction). The app also has great real-time features to alert you whenever someone you’re avoiding is nearby (while also providing the nearest escape route). They even have event notifications if the person you’re avoiding is also going to Saturday night’s shindig (sad face emoji included). Forgot which café that creeper down the hall frequents? Split displays ‘hot zones’ where your pest tends to frequent and even lets you know who they’re hanging out with (to help better avoid even more creepers).

So if you’re looking to avoid human interaction (or your boss at lunch), this app is definitely worth a download. 

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Advertising on Instagram

Instagram recently announced that the community has grown to more than 200 million Instagrammers. With that number tapping their phones in search of the perfect filter, it was inevitable that ads were soon to follow.
On November 1, Instagram began running ad campaigns from 10 advertisers.
"As we emphasized when introducing ads, our goal is to make them enjoyable, engaging, and natural to Instagram, so we started by partnering with brands that were already great members of the community," Instagram wrote on their blog.


Casual simplicity is Instagram’s biggest attraction, so it was natural to see this in their ads. You’ll know a photo or video is an advertisement when you see the “Sponsored” label, which might or might not take away from the excitement of discovering an amazing photo. But Instagram tried to be as smooth as they could.

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Michael Kors was the first ad launched on Instagram, followed by General Electric, Adidas, Ben &Jerry’s, Burberry, Levi’s, Lexus, Macy’s, PayPal and Starwood.
Despite the fact that some users were not pleased by the ads, they proved to be a success and increased brand awareness by about 10 percent across all of the advertised brands.

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According to Ad Age, Instagram has inked an ad deal with Omnicom Media and have signed up to spend $100 million for the next year. In 2014, Instagram users will begin seeing ads in their streams from brands that work with Omnicom.

Instagrammers worry that introducing too many ads will ruin the service, but Facebook says the number of ads that appear in feeds will remain “limited.”

"This doesn’t change our advertising strategy moving forward — people will continue to see a limited number of beautiful, high-quality photos and videos from select brands who already have a strong presence on Instagram," said Jim Squires, Director of Market Operations for Instagram.

Which begs the question: will small businesses ever get a chance to advertise on Instagram? And if so, how long until users start leaving Instagram because of too many ads?

"Ay, I know that guy!"

Get to know our CEO, Yariv, through our crazy Q&A below!

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  1. What is your job title & responsibilities?: CEO – I get to set the strategy for the company, set objectives and make decisions. I also get to take credit for everyone else’s hard work.

  2. What is one movie from your childhood that you will keep re-watching for the rest of your life?: My childhood precedes motion film, but I will go with Back to the Future, Scent of a Woman and Toy Story.

  3. What song is most often stuck in your head? Why do you think it sticks?: Mother – Pink Floyd. Why? Well… it’s complicated.

  4. Aliens have contacted earth, you’re asked to write a message to them. You have 140 characters, what do you say?: “Look at me! Here I am. Love me…” (it is actually a quote from Cars). 

  5. What’s your favorite brainteaser or riddle?: Is a cucumber longer or greener?

Are you going to have Fire on your TV?

Some time ago (7 years, to be exact) Amazon went from being that discount online shopping website to somewhat of a tech company thanks to producing the Kindle. Along with introducing us to the e-reader, Amazon is now also known for being both a logistics company, media Company and a cloud-based server that competes with the likes of Google Drive. Plus, who can forget their ambitious drone plan? Drone delivery service, anyone?

It’s most recent revelation to the market place is aptly named Fire TV (because they’re on fire, get it? Ok, maybe not) and promises to deliver a host of TV and movie streaming services for just $99. Once you purchase the box, you can access the now standard array of apps such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Crackle, and of course Amazon will showcase its own Amazon Prime Instant video. If all this isn’t enough for your little techie soul, you can even get your music library to stream Amazon or Pandora AND view all your photos from their cloud based server.
Hopefully this isn’t the mental image they are going for. Yikes!

Taking all of Amazon’s various ventures and successes into account, I find them to be an excellent modern day example of a company that is not only relevant but actively looking to be ahead of the curve. I can’t compare this company to anyone else out there- can you?

Always-On Fatigue

You know that feeling where your phone is blowing up and you just need it to stop? Have you ever been in the middle of a conversation and caught yourself checking Facebook? It’s exhausting being this connected. And adverting and marketing isn’t making it any easier. 

We, as consumers, are bombarded with email, promoted posts and the scourge of the digital age: SMS Marketing. We take it in stride, though. We’ve yet to fling our smart phones across the room to break the connection and our warranties. Most of us at least. 

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Some will point to us accepting the connected lives we live, while others are more willing to admit to the newest New Age affliction: FOMO. Or, as acronym deciphers know it, Fear of Missing Out. It’s kind of a sick phenomenon afflicting millennials and baby boomers alike. It’s no longer: “did you see that email I sent you?” It’s: “did you see my tweet? What about my pic on Instagram?”

Now as good little advertising boys and girls, we know how debilitating this disease is to young people everywhere, and it’s our responsibility to take advantage. Thanks to the helpful people at Facebook, Twitter and the soon to be helpful people at Instagram and Pinterest, we’re a part of the problem. If you want to look at it that way. But this FOMO fad is just that. It’s a first world problem that affects less people than a snow storm in Antarctica. 

What about the feeling where you phone is dead silent and you’re begging for any contact from the outside world? We’ll be there with a nice 25% off coupon to your favorite store. We’ll let you know about a new service that will actually solve one of your first world problems. 

The double-edge sword of advertising is in the consumer’s interpretation. They signed up for the newsletters, they liked our brand on Facebook and have made the unfortunate decision to follow some of the most influential people on Twitter. Guess what? That means you’re going to be influenced. 

The onus of connectivity is on the consumer. For advertisers, we need to do the best we can to keep them from unsubscribing by being relevant.

InstaFame

@Arnold_Daniel made over $15k in one evening on Instagram alone. This (now) super-well-known New York photographer spends his days wandering the streets of New York City photographing the people. His ability to capture the NYC locals in their most candid forms has allowed him to build his following significantly. 

On his 34th birthday he decided to take advantage of his following and offer small prints of any of his photographs to whichever of his Instagram followers wanted them, at a one-time fee of $150. He claimed he would never make an offer like this again- bordering eviction; he may reconsider thanks to his success.

The power of social media allowed this man to pay all of his bills and then some, over night. Not to mention, after this story was published, his following increased by almost 20k. Talk about overnight fame— and all thanks to social media.

You too? Ha!
Happy Friday, guys!
You too? Ha!
Happy Friday, guys!

You too? Ha!

Happy Friday, guys!

Why Google+ Didn’t Happen

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Google+ is the Juicy Couture bag of 2005. Hear me out.

When it first arrived on the scene, everyone wanted it— it was literally the coolest thing ever, but only a few exclusive people actually had it. Everyone lusted after it, but by the time the masses finally got it, the brilliance that came with it dulled before it even had a chance to really shine. Today, people have it and use it (but only if they ABSOLUTELY MUST), but when given the choice, they use their more valuable, go-to bags without a second thought.

Google+ is the velour, faux-diamond encrusted monstrosity that made you question your teenage years. The Coca Cola Clear and Hershey’s Swoops of social media. You get the picture. 

How in the world did a super-brand like Google fail with Google+?

Here’s where I think they slipped up:

Error #1: Exclusivity vs. Impossibility

When Google+ first came out I remember wanting to try it out immediately. A new social networking site where you can post your embarrassing vacation pics without having to hear about it from your second aunt twice removed or, even better, your boss? It was going to be THE place, especially after Facebook was doing nothing other than reversing their layout every few months. Google had already nailed it for me, down to their whimsical— and totally realistic— ads. 

Unfortunately while I may have gotten early access, 3/4ths of my friends weren’t as lucky. And by the time Google+ actually went live, the hooplah had died down and no one really cared anymore. Why go onto another platform when they were already comfortable on Facebook, which was basically the same thing? 

Error #2: They tried to reinvent the wheel

"How do you work this thing?" is a question I still find myself asking whenever I stumble onto the social networking site. (Who am I kidding? "stumble" is more like ‘force myself to go on and use’). Between unrealistic cover photo dimension sizes that stretch and distort [HOW?] to still attempting to figure out what in the world the difference is between a + and a +1 [yes, I know, GOOGLE IT, but really now?], it’s all sorts of confusing and frustrating, and complicated. Even the ‘About’ section is annoying (‘Work,’ ‘Occupation,’ ‘Contributor to’— what’s the difference? I’m trying to share my life with world, not have an existential crisis about my career). 

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Error #3: They didn’t even try

I don’t know whether the folks at Google gave up or believed that their + ship had sailed, but somewhere between the hype dying down and the reality setting in that maybe it really wasn’t as amazing as they had chocked it up to be, they gave up. They didn’t introduce new features, explain the benefits of old features, invite inactive members back to supply feedback on what wasn’t working, or ensure that bigger and better things were coming down the line. Heck, they could have pulled a Facebook and showcased old features as new features and could have gotten some kind of interaction. 

But they didn’t. Even today, the platform just kind of sits there, unchanging and, not to sound completely melodramatic, but lacking hope that it will anytime soon. It’s hard to be social or get into a platform when less than 20 of your friends are on it.  

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In the end, I think that Google attempted to brand a platform but failed; absolutely none of the expertise or functionalities of the esteemed— and fantastic— search engine shine through and, unfortunately, the social networking site has been left on the shelf like a bad manuscript collecting dust. Will it be improved somewhere down the road or simply serve as a place to increase SEO for business before it disappears into the abyss? Exist purely as the bane of every community manager’s existence? Forever be the coulda, woulda, shoulda of social media? Or, really, the butt of its joke? 

The worst part of it all is that there is serious potential there! Who wouldn’t love every single aspect of their online presence [and, basically, life] in one organized hub?

I had high hopes for you Google+! And although I probably won’t spend much time trying to figure you out or annoy my friends with invites to make stuff happen, if you were to do it all again a second time around, I’d still be up for a Hangout. 

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The Paper Cuts of Digital Reading

Reading is a form of art that will never lose its appeal (one would hope). One thing that it is doing is changing appearances. From walls, to papyrus, scrolls, paper, and finally digitally, reading is constantly evolving.


The last leap to technology though came with some obstacles. While consolidating from walls to books was a smooth transition, from paper to a digital screen is not yet considered a natural step for many book lovers.

There are people who are 100% dedicated to the “one tablet to read them all” policy and those people who still love holding a book, smelling the pages and getting that sense of accomplishment of finishing a book.


Traditional books have their downfalls, no matter how much we downplay them. Trees get killed, they are hard to carry, especially if you started any George RR Martin books recently, they don’t fit in you bag and you can’t really read them on a busy subway.

So, if all of this is true, then why aren’t tablets the new norm?

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Easy. The digital version took away the personal touch. The sharing of a book with a friend, the writing your name with it, the reading a friend’s book and seeing their notes.
Some tablets/apps allow some of that personal touch to happen but very minimally.

Here are some things that would make reading digitally pretty awesome:
1. Allow people to read a book together. Basically bring book clubs into this century. Allow users to read the same book, make notes and see what their friends had to say, where they are in the book, leave messages from them as they read, etc. These not only will make reading fun again for some of us, but they will also make incredible gifts. Imagine having the option to leave notes, quotes, on a book for your great grandson. The marketing possibilities are endless.

2. Improve the ways a user can personalize a book. Look, feel, format. This could easily be done by having the user swap some templates and determine which look and feel goes with which book. No two books are the same. If you are reading about 1800 France, then make it look like 1800 France.

3. Have quizzes, games, character names cheat sheets at the touch of a button.

4. Lastly, sell people on the book in a digital format. Yes, everyone wants to read Great Expectations, but why should they buy it for their kindle when their parents already have the book on their bookshelves.

5. ADVERTISING! Tell me this trailer doesn’t make you want to read this book:

Finally, everything is better digitally, but as all social networks proved time and time again, people crave personal touches as technology takes over.
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