Category Archives: Social Media

Social Media Trends & Issues on Modern Media Mix

Don’t Put YouTube Influencers on the Backburner of Your Marketing Strategies

The term “influencer” may be pretentious to some, but to others on social media, these are the people that followers and subscribers look up to, resonate with and follow step by step. These influencers are the people companies need to look towards when wanting to expand their marketing opportunities. But Why?

First, we have to look at what YouTube traffic looks like. On average 300 hours of video per hour online overall. Additionally, 33% of all time spent online is spent watching videos. YouTube as a platform has more than a billion active users and they offer their website in 76 different languages which accounts for 95% of the world’s population.

Sometimes the who is more important than the why. When I use the term influencer in this context I’m referring to a YouTube influencer which is someone who builds a substantial following on the video platform of YouTube, thereby helping to set trends and provide information for others looking to purchase a specific product or service.

Many millennials will openly say that these influencers understand them better than anyone around them and that they trust these people. These are two things a company should take into consideration when they want a product marketed to a certain niche audience.

These influencers are genuine and use their creative skills to incorporate a friendly approach to promoting an item. Many will say they love and use a certain product and they will also only work with brands that truly resonate with their values and a product they would back up 100%.  This is what subscribers want to see. The Huff Post writes that subscribers want the influencers they watch to be sometimes irreverent. Irreverence is interesting, because it drives credibility. Within the YouTube community if an influencer normally ridicules many things, when they like a certain product the subscribers know that they mean what they are promoting.

Many of these marketing campaigns have been proven to reach millions of subscribers in only a couple days if not a few hours. Influencers such as Shane Dawson, who was known for uploading content about conspiracy theories has now become what some would say the ‘psychologist of Youtube.’ He has now started creating content which mirrors docu-series like content and this is doing well amongst his subscribers.

Recently, he started a new series with beauty guru and entrepreneur Jeffree Star who combined have 38.9 million subscribers.

In this series his first video was sponsored by Honey  which is an online browser extension which scans the internet for coupons on thousands of stores and applies them at checkout for instant savings. He dedicated the first 50 seconds to a slick true-to-his-style edit in which he promoted Honey and gave a code to which people can click on to get the browser extension on their browsers. On that video in one day he got 10 million views and in five days was up to 20 million views. Then the second part of series received 14 million views in 2 days. Working with top YouTubers like him get the company the amount of eyes and clicks they were expecting.

These types of partnerships are common among highly ranked YouTubers and are proven to bring in the audiences a YouTuber and brand may be targeting. A recent study found that not only will 60% of 13-24 year olds say they would try a product due to a YouTuber recommending it. But this was linked to yet another study conducted by Google in which they state that many of the more popular topics discussed on YouTube whether it be a large or medium sized business see that their social media is always the first online path to purchase. Meaning when a YouTuber provides links or codes to a product their promoting it has a higher possibility of getting that foot traffic on those social media sites which in turn can lead to sales.

Another great example of this is PewDiePie who is a Swedish comedian and gamer-commentator. On YouTube PewDiePie has 101 million subscribers and 23 billion video views, making him the second-most subscribed to creator. Earlier this year he partnered with G Fuel which is an energy drink company that is targeted more towards the gaming audiences and has been a big hit with the PewDiePie audience, even getting enough attention that a subscriber can now get PewDiePie/G Fuel merchandise. This merch includes PewDiePie Shaker starter kits that come with a shaker bottles and a variety of single serve energy powders or the shaker cup can be purchased separately.

When looking at these type of partnerships and analyzing the numbers someone could easily see why some companies are not waiting any longer to hop on this YouTube influencer train. There are so many different audiences on YouTube and a brand can easily find a well-known influencer that fits their company values that they can work with. Although some may think that only top influencers like the examples provided could obtain new customers to a product that’s not always the case. There are millions of smaller channels that also reach a relatively large number of users which can also work in a company’s favor.

If you’re a company looking to partner with YouTubers to boost your social media presence and online traffic take a look at websites and posts like this one to better understand how to find a YouTube influencer that fits you and your company values.

-Chelsea Beas

The Problem with Facebook “Likes”: Mental Health vs. Profitability

Facebook has been undergoing a trial run of removing “like” counts from posts. The hope is that hiding counts will improve users’ mental health, without deterring them from liking content.

Facebook prototypes hiding like counts [via Jane Manchun Wong]

If Facebook decides to make the change permanent for all users, the result would be similar to the above example. The like count is hidden, while the list of reactors is still available for manual summation. In other examples, like counts will still be visible to those who post them and hidden from the public.

Like counts have become the subject of these tests because of the negative effect they can have on mental health. To many users, like counts act as a “social score” by which one’s status and value are assessed.

A 2016 study by UCLA measured student’s brain activity while viewing assorted social media posts, some of which were their own, and all of which were assigned like counts by researchers. Researchers found that when shown that their post had received numerous likes, students were significantly more likely to exhibit high self-esteem.

“Likes are powerful because they are immediate feedback,” says Renee Engeln, a psychology professor at Northwestern University. “In a way, likes give you the same kind of hit like a gambler gets at a slot machine.”

This experiment follows a series of similar tests run by Instagram in Australia, Canada, Ireland, and other countries. This study has already received positive feedback from some users, who feel less susceptible to the opinions of their followers.

Mia Garlick, Director of Policy for Instagram Australia and New Zealand, has this to say: “We hope this test will remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive, so you can focus on sharing the things you love.”

The trial has received negative feedback as well. Small businesses who rely on their social media presence are worried that the change will severely impact how customers engage with ecommerce. According to Mellissah Smith of Redeye Marketing, medium and small business owners may have to pay more to make up for the loss of their advertisements’ likes.

This concern isn’t unwarranted. A survey of Canadian content creators found that many users saw a drop in their likes, decreased follower growth, and less interaction via comments. The same 2016 study by UCLA found that students were much more likely to like a post if it already had numerous likes.

This could be a major concern for Facebook. The test is supposed to determine if hiding like counts will determine users from liking posts. If the Instagram trials are any indication, Facebook likes will fall, and that could mean a huge loss for Facebook’s sponsors. This move could be detrimental to Facebook’s business.

On the other hand, it could be exactly what Facebook wants. While businesses may or may not suffer from decreased traffic, social media influencers are almost certain to feel the impact. And that could be what Facebook is counting on.

Some social media analysts are betting that this outcome is Facebook’s intended result. By removing the influence of influencers, Facebook could hold sway over an aspect of the social media industry it does not yet have.

The industry of social media influencers accounts for an estimated $6.5 billion, a number which is quickly growing. By limiting the effectiveness of influencers, Facebook could hold the industry hostage until it can find a way to cut in, or destroy it all together.

– Andrew DeJongh

Taking Risks to Keep Business Growing: Nike Stands Up For Colin Kaepernick

It’s Nike and Colin Kaepernick vs NFL and The Constitution. Nike shows confidence in an emotional ad, and believing statistically that it will pay off in the long run.

Knowing that their competition can’t compete, and as they control a large percentage of sports marketing, Nike felt a urgency to take a stand for the former NFL Quarterback.

Nike is taking a stand for something that shows leadership. They are risk takers that are well known for taking risks in the past. Nike believes in succeeding through taking risks. The unemployed former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick is now the new face of Nike. The ad tag line is: Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything”

NikeNike knows what they are doing having had that much experience of success over many years. Nike is very predictable on production outcomes after its product have been introduced to the market. This where Nike business is invested heavily.

Nike is leading in sales in the industry and the results show quality content in advancing their product to stay ahead of competitors. The competition has to sit and take the back seat on a lot of business arrangements, not able to take control of the market for sports apparel.

Nike is testing the sports apparel industry and facing competition from companies like Under Armour. Known for thriving off competition, Nike is first in trendsetting. They first to do almost all things before their competitors. Any product Nike releases by the company is one example of top notch quality sportswear and content.

Whatever business moves Nike decides to make easily produce a profit. Because of prior experience with dominating the competition, Nike knows that their competition cannot keep up. “When you are being challenged, you get busy, you hustle, and you do everything better.” Nike signed a contract in 2018 for eight years with the NBA jerseys and Apparel.

Nike  Nike

No NBA jerseys have ever had another logo on it, except for Adidas who was forced out its contract with the NBA. There have been big promotions with the Michael Jordan line of product by the company for WNBA and NBA.

Brands like Adidas and Reebok are only doing one new thing. Nike tends to respond better in these times, by promoting their products, and by caring for people. They show some differences to people, by selling emotional benefit encouraging all to “Just Do It.”

-Antonio Thornton

Social Media Marketing in Modern Distribution of Films

The landscape of the film industries distribution strategy has changed dynamically in the last 10 years. From the perspective of windows of distribution, attention has shifted from the traditional theatres and television screens to mobile technology. The opportunity to get in front of a potential fan of a film by interacting with them through a device in their pocket is the power play of the digital age we currently living in.

Within the device, social media offers one of the most cost-efficient and strategic implementation of digital marketing channels in distribution tactics today. Production teams and executives can not only build networks for their studio brand names, but also build something similar to “personal brands” surrounding each individual project.

I’m Scott Burak, and I’m speaking from my experience of being the Co-founder of ADFly, LLC, a social media strategy and digital marketing development agency.

As the world continues to innovate and become more connected, these changes will become more frequent, and the studios have to continue to adapt to emerging technologies. This means opportunities for specialists and consultants in niche marketing channels across the ever-growing list of online content distribution platforms.

Social Media

Social Media Case Studies of Film Distribution

I’ve decide to investigate the social media strategies of two films, one launched through major film studios as well as one distributed independently.  For the sake of being festive this Halloween, I looked into two successful horror films (interestingly not released during scaring season).

Studio: Fox

Project: Devil’s Due

Distribution: 20th Century Fox

Release: January 17, 2014

Premise: American psychological horror film focusing in on a newly wed couple starting their family together. They decide to document their life and begin recording events that lead up the climax of their story. It becomes evident early that the woman is experiencing an uncommon and unpleasant pregnancy.

Strategy: Viral Video with over 54 million views on YouTube. Such a popular platform reached the mass markets without precisely targeting their audience. However by gaining a following for the film with these initial marketing efforts, they were able to parlay their foundation to find other similar people whom might enjoy their film.

Results:

  • Production Budget: $7,000,000
  • Box Office Returns: $15,800,000
  • Return on Investment: $8,800,000

Independent Film Studio Social Media Distribution

Studio: Animal Kingdom

Project: It Comes at Night

Distribution: A24

Release: June 9, 2017

Premise: American psychological horror film staged during a health crisis with a highly contagious outbreak that is wreaking havoc on across the planet. The main character and his son live deep in the woods and fight off other survivors looking for resources and shelter.

Strategy: Organic social media strategy played a huge role in the marketing of this project. Regular postings leading up to the release directed at a following of people that showed initial interest in the film. Then they leveraged Facebook as a platform to identified similar demographics and interests among their core audience and implement precise awareness marketing to ideal consumers.

Results:

  • Production Budget: $2,400,000.00
  • Box Office Returns: $19,300,000.00
  • Return on Investment: $16,900,000.00

Ongoing Innovation in Digital Distribution

Obviously studios and distribution networks should not see the digital revolution as a threat, but as an opportunity. With powerful analytic technology and targeting methods, comes the potential for greater ROI with strategic planning in distribution. Ultimately meaning more bang for your buck in marketing dollars.

On the horizon, I see the incorporation of two disruptive technologies that will again reinvent the way production houses push out their content digitally. I believe virtual realty will provide a platform for endless creative projects as the technology becomes more affordable and commercialized. Not only could entire projects be produced within whatever becomes the standard VR format, but studios could also get their feet wet in by incorporating small-scale projects in marketing and promotional strategy for films that are traditionally produced and consumed.

Additionally, I believe that artificial intelligence is something that any digital savvy distributors will take advantage of especially from a marketing standpoint. Being able to program computing technology to make informed decisions by aggregating information between engagement, demographics, and messaging strategies; the most profitable, most successful strategies will become apparent through mass data manipulation. This also leads to extremely relevant marketing and messaging to hyper-segmented target audiences by better understanding the correlations between what a certain group of people like compared to another.

Even more, I predict we will see incredible, personalized experiences at the crossroads of these two technologies. Imagine how an immersive virtual realty experience that adapts to how the user is interacting with the content could change the way people consume entertainment.

Regardless of which of these technologies’ potentials becomes an actual reality, one thing is for certain; Entertainment executives and content producers need to stay on their toes and ahead of the digital curve if they want to take advantage of the future of digital distribution platforms.

-Scott Burak

Social Media Poses a Challenge to the FTC’s Advertising Guidelines

Assuming you’re not already reading this on your phone, go ahead and open up your preferred social media app. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, whichever you prefer. Scroll through and quickly count the ads you see. How sure are you that you counted them all? How did you determine they were ads? Did the post say sponsored by? How about #ad?

Unfortunately, you may have missed one or two, because a content producer didn’t disclose that they were getting paid for their posts. They might be monetizing their audience, without their audience even knowing it.

This issue is not isolated to one particular industry or level and even occurs with high profile influencers such as the Kardashians, one of ninety social media influencers and marketers who received a letter from the FTC noting their legal obligations to disclose material connections. Despite this, consumer groups are still claiming that the Kardashian/Jenner family is failing to disclose that some social media posts are possibly ads.

Social MediaBut unfortunately, the Kardashian/Jenner situation isn’t the most nefarious or outrageous when it comes to this problem. That honor falls to CSGO Lotto owners Trevor “TmarTn” Martin and Thomas “Syndicate” Cassell.

Before we get into what these two did, we need to understand one part of the popular first-person shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offense, otherwise known as CS:GO. CS:GO has a well known and very successful micro-transaction business model that creates unique and rare gun skins for cosmetic use inside the game. And because the developer and publisher of CS:GO, Valve, created a marketplace where players can trade in-game items for real money they quickly became a pseudo-currency that could be used for gambling on websites.

Social MediaTo have a complete and total understanding of what CS: GO skins are won’t be necessary for the rest of this article but if you want to know more here is a handy article to learn more.

But back to Martin and Cassell, both of whom are popular CSGO players on YouTube and Twitch. The pair co-owned and operated a skin gambling website called CSGOLotto in which they actively promoted on both other creator’s platforms, but their own.

(Here is one of Cassell’s videos where he gambles on his own website.)

Basically imagine a Vegas casino owner hiring Brad Pitt to play at their casino without letting anyone know, and then sitting down at their own table and playing a few hands with house money. While this already seems bad, it’s made worse by the fact that the main audiences of all social media influencers involved are minors.

This situation has to lead to the first-ever complaint against individual social media influencers on the FTC which was settled September of 2017. With Martin, Cassell and the influencers, they paid to promote their website getting little more than a slap on the wrist from the FTC. You can see the settlement here.

“Consumers need to know when social media influencers are being paid or have any other material connection to the brands endorsed in their posts. This action, the FTC’s first against individual influencers, should send a message that such connections must be clearly disclosed so consumers can make informed purchasing decisions,” said Maureen Ohlhausen, the acting chair of the FTC, when the settlement was reached.

While there was a lawsuit over the illegal gambling which involves the CSGOLotto owners and the video game publisher Valve, there are no are legal or financial punishments for either Martin or Cassell for deceptively advertising their website.

For now, it seems, social media influencers will continue to give the FTC problems until an influencer is made an example of.

-Chase Danielson

Why Watch when you can Listen? The Evolution of Podcasts

With the holiday season right around the corner, Americans across the country are traveling for hours to visit friends and family. For me, I have a few gruelingly long trips ahead of me. When I was younger, I would spend the time playing car games with my brother and sister or pestering my parents. Today, I listen to podcasts.

podcastsA podcast is “a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.” According to the History of Podcasting, podcasts are the “method of spreading information, has become a recognized medium for distributing audio content, whether it be for corporate or personal use.” Today, the podcast industry is booming. There are about 250,000 unique podcasts spread over 100 language and iTunes had over 1 billion podcast subscribers in 2013.

How podcasts came to be was not as staggering as its current listening reach. The beginning of podcasts come from small internet sites who were creating podcasts about specific topics and people for people who cared about the niche topic or person.

Podcasts did not garner national recognition until 2015 when This American Life, a public radio show, developed the podcast Serial. This podcast used investigative journalism to explore the murder of a young high school girl and the boy convicted of that murder. The listener had to listen to each episode in order to understand and follow the story. This podcasts was the catalyst that helped slingshot the industry to what it is today.

podcastsWhile there are many reasons for podcasts popularity, here are a few of the basic reasons I believe podcasts work:

  • Podcasts cover a wide range of topics. The thousands of different podcasts available cover a variety of topics that can pique the interest of any person. Some of the more common topics for podcasts are: religion, comedy and humor, crime, educational, feminist, history, horror, and science fiction. Christianity leads the way in active podcasts on iTunes in 2015 with 23,200 active podcasts.
  • Podcasts are portable. Unlike television where you need to sit down to enjoy it, podcasts allow listeners to listen to the podcast during any part of their day. I listen to podcasts when I’m working out, shopping for groceries, waiting in line at the bank and during my very few attempts at cleaning.
  • Podcasts are relatively inexpensive. For the podcaster, podcasts are easy and relatively inexpensive to make. All a person needs is equipment to record and edit the podcast and a way to publish it online. For the listener, podcasts can be found free online. If you want to create a podcast, Sound Cloud, is a great place to start.

While podcasts had humble beginnings, they have escalated into a thriving industry. An estimated 50 million people listen to podcasts each month. This high number of people listening to podcasts is reflected in the growing revenue of the podcast industry. In fact, estimates put the 2017 podcast revenue at 220 million dollars, an 85% growth from the previous year. Looking into the future, companies are working to determine how ads on podcasts can be effective. Until then, podcasts will continue to thrive as a way to educate listeners around the globe on a variety of topics.

-Daniel Roers

The Future of Sports Media: How Barstool Sports Is Changing the Game

What comes to mind when you think of a sports media company? You most likely think of ESPN or Fox Sports 1, but I’m not going to talk about either one of those. Can you guess what it is? The company that I am talking about is Barstool Sports. Maybe you have heard of them or maybe you have not, but I promise you one thing, you will eventually know the name.

Sports media Barstool Sports first got its start as a free newspaper that founder, Dave Portnoy, handed around in Boston. From there, Portnoy has taken Barstool to Manhattan, where they have 70 plus employees with 20 interns and are worth an estimate of $15 million. What Barstool does is take trending news stories, specifically with sports, and make articles that are funny and satire. That is their style. Portnoy is quoted saying “We mean this to be a comedy brand”. This style definitely does justice, with their website getting 6 million visits a month.

So how did Barstool go from a free newspaper to making millions of dollars? Well their big rise started when the Chernin Group, an entertainment media company, bought 51% of Barstool Sports, but Dave Portnoy still has 100% oversite. With this big deal, Barstool moved its headquarters to Manhattan. The reason for this deal was to take Barstool to the next level, and to make it more popular. After the deal was done, Portnoy said: “This was our best shot to literally take this thing to the moon. To swing for the fences. Hopefully this deal makes us bigger, faster, stronger, better at everything we do.” Here is a link to a press conference that Barstool had following this deal. (Video)

After this deal, Barstool gained many more followers. Everything they did spiked in popularity. Barstool does not just have a website, they have podcasts, shows, and an xm radio show. Their social media sites have also gained gotten huge. Their Twitter has 915.7K followers, and their Instagram has 2.8 million followers. Barstool is also known for pioneering the slogan “Saturdays are for the boys” which has made its way to even having professional athletes saying it.

Sports media

Barstool has many podcasts with some having a lot of popularity. According to an iTunes chart, Barstool has eight podcSports mediaasts in the top forty sports podcasts. Pardon My Take is sitting at number one. Pardon My Take is a podcast that does a variety of segments and does an interview with a well-known person in the sports world. They make their episodes as funny and trendy as they can by using profane humor. With more than 500,000 listeners per episodes they definitely bring a different side to sports news, making every episode interesting and enjoyable to listen to.

Barstool also does shows that are very popular also. Their newest one is made for college football, and it is called “The Barstool Tailgate Show.” For this show, Dave Portnoy and other Barstool workers go to a college before a football game and do their own show. They made this show for the purpose to compete against the ESPN tailgate show, College Gameday. For this show Barstool went to an Iowa game and it was very popular. One of the Barstool workers actually put an ear of corn in front of a fan’s face to see if he would eat it and he actually did. They did this because of the Iowa stereotype that all Iowans love corn.

Barstool Sports has definitely made their way up the sports media ladder. So, if you are a sports fan or just like funny media, go listen to a podcasts, go on their website, or even watch one of their shows. I promise you that you will not be disappointed, and always remember, Saturdays are for the boys!

-Quentin Mendlik

Going LIVE in 3..2..1: Facebook Rolls Out Live Video

If I asked you what the top number one social media platform, what would you think it is? According to multiple websites, Facebook is the most used social media website. It’s no wonder to see why. Facebook allows for many uses; whether it be creeping on your crush in your chemistry class, or seeing how Barb from high school is doing in life, Facebook allows for you to do it all. Even go live.

Facebook LiveOn April 6, 2016 Facebook Live was dropped into the Facebook social media platform. According to Facebook’s creator Mark Zuckerberg “Live is like having a TV camera in your pocket. Anyone with a phone now has the power to broadcast to anyone in the world. When you interact live, you feel connected in a more personal way. This is a big shift in how we communicate, and it’s going to create new opportunities for people to come together.” Mark went on to go live that night to answer questions.

While the in-app feature went ‘live’ on April 6, 2016, the ad campaign to promote it did not start until around October. The ads which were featured on TV were put out in two phases. The first phase to be an awareness to the in-app feature. (These included cute non-scripted short videos used with the app.)

The second being an instructional purpose. (These were also made with the app however many started with the phrase ‘How to go live when…’ and then in app videos would be featured)

While the feature has been met with some criticism because of people’s uses with it, it has had a very good use with businesses. One good example of this is Land Rover.

Throughout April of 2016 Land Rover would do live test of their vehicles on every Friday.  Each test would feature on and off road situation. They would then end these with a Q and A session for anyone viewing the video.  According to Land Rover’s head of global digital marketing Peter Biven, “We needed to make our products more accessible to online viewers and increase interaction with fans and potential customers. It felt like now was the right time for detailed product demos.”

So, with all the hype of Facebook Live what do you think of it? Do you believe it is a positive feature of the app or a negative feature? Leave a comment below! 🙂

Taylor Peterson