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TODD SMITH — Twitter adds promoted videos to menu to whet the digital appetite

TODD SMITH

TODD SMITH

Faced with mounting pressure to keep itself interesting and profitable, Twitter is launching a new promoted video ad product.

The San Francisco-based company’s First View will let marketers own the top Twitter ad in news feeds for a 24-hour period. The feature will be the first ad users see when they pull up their news feed on the Twitter app or website.

Promoted videos will appear universally in feeds, just like promoted trends and promoted moments. The first to run a first view ad is 20th Century Fox.

Twitter’s revenue product manager Deepak Rao wrote in a blog post. “At the same time, marketers come to Twitter to reach this live, premium audience through Promoted Trends and Promoted Moments, creating significant brand moments for their product launches, event sponsorships, and film premieres.”

The tech giant has been facing mounting pressure to expand its user base and retain those already on the platform. In recent weeks, as Twitter has seen key personnel leave for other tech companies, some agencies say the microblogging platform is in need of a “renaissance.”

Recent news reports indicate the company – known for its real-time chronological news feed – might soon unveil an algorithm option similar to that of Facebook.

For now, First View will be available to managed clients in the U.S. and viewable only to U.S. users. Twitter says it plans to gradually expand the product to marketers and users globally in the coming months.

Google revs mobile web engine

It’s a challenging time for the mobile web. Apps are dominating consumers’ time on devices they carry, and ad blockers are spreading as people try to speed up their mobile web browsing habits.

Later this month, Google will try to hit reset on all that. It is finally ready to go wide with its Accelerated Mobile Page initiative, allowing any participating publisher to deliver content at lightning-quick speed through the mobile web.

Google’s push will surely change the media landscape for both consumers and anyone with a stake in digital advertising. The Accelerated Mobile Pages effort, better known as AMP, is a direct response to similar but proprietary platforms like Facebook’s Instant Articles and Apple’s News. Unlike them, however, AMP is open source, meaning anyone can use it. And it works for the web, where Google wants consumers to stay, instead of rivals’ apps.

In short, AMP is like a diet version of HTML. It is extremely fast and incredibly quick when it comes to loading. JavaScript is essentially non-existent, for now at least, and images won’t load until they’re in the user’s view. AMP will also deliver content much faster because it will be cached via the cloud, meaning Google won’t have to fetch it from a publisher’s site each time a request is made.

The end result is a near instantaneous content delivery system.

Emojis’ impact on brands

Now that emojis are dominating the digital marketing, there’s growing demand to measure their impact in brands’ campaigns, just like the rest of their media.

This demand is spawning a cottage industry: a number of companies are starting to put science and data behind the seemingly frivolous emoji market.

Companies with names like Snaps, Emogi and Swyft – to name a few – are discovering ways to apply traditional digital ad measurements to emojis, GIFs and stickers. The emoji phenomenon has been partly propelled by messaging apps, where most people communicate using the visual symbols, and by social media like Twitter, where emoji is the lingua franca.

Swyft has worked with brands including Ford and Dell to implement emoji and sticker campaigns, big advertisers that demand to carefully count every dollar spent.

In typical digital campaigns with display ads and videos, there is mature technology that tracks view counts, measures costs, and gauges sales and brand boost. Emoji campaigns are more difficult to measure in those ways, but that could change as technology improves.

Swyft tracks basics, like the number of downloads and shares, and also gathers retargeting data, Wray said. Advertisers can retarget emoji campaigns to users who showed interest in an earlier one, he said. For example, Swyft provided some insights into the Ford sticker campaign that ran on messaging apps — 1.4 million Ford stickers were shared generating 34 million impressions. The stickers cost Ford $2 for every 1,000 impressions.

Emoji marketing can cost as little as $1.50 for a 1,000 impressions, according to reports. On Facebook, rates are consistently higher than $5 for 1,000 impressions. When someone shares a brand in a personal message among friends, that’s a substantial endorsement, Wray said.

Of course, Facebook is a much more targeted medium, and the emoji players are trying to develop the technology to become targeted environments, too.

Emogi is a sentiment-analysis platform that puts emoji-based surveys into ads so consumers can rate them. The platform works by serving digital display and video ads and letting people click away from them if they submit an emoji – happy, sad, neutral – to express how they feel about the brand.

When people submit an emoji reaction to Internet ads, Emogi builds analytics around the emojis and uses that to build audiences. The people who gave a smiley-face response become good targets for follow-up messages, for example. Emogi is helping brands like IBM implement the technology into its email marketing and mobile video ads. It is also developing more analytics to track sentiment around a brand based on what emojis are being used when the brand is mentioned online.

Social media analytics company Spredfast looked at Twitter campaigns before and after the launch of branded emojis for advertisers like Coca-Cola and Starbucks. In all cases, shares of the campaign hashtag soared on Twitter.

Snaps, a messaging marketing platform, helps brands manage and measure campaigns that involve emojis and stickers, by tracking how emojis are helping generate shares and views for their campaigns. “We can show it drives scale and real ROI and that the media buy has been effective,” said Christian Brucculeri, CEO of Snaps.

Advertisers are measuring for all the usual signs of success like brand lift and sales impact.

Still, not all brands care about return on emoji investment, according to agency veterans. Branded emojis are still mostly good for branding campaigns, not driving foot traffic to stores.

Golden Mic | Carly Fiorina Brought Substance, Style & Smarts To Presidential Race

While Carly Fiorina jumped out of the presidential race, her political star has risen – and she brought much to a race that has become more and more the Donald Trump show, unfortunately.

The Former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina recently suspended her campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, following a lackluster showing in the New Hampshire primary.

Fiorina had pitched herself as an outsider who could bring a business mentality and global contacts to the White House – and proved her mettle on the economy and foreign affairs, outshining the competition on the debate stage.

She brought a reasoned and pragmatic voice to the race, and her logic, genteelness and candor will be sorely missed. Her refreshing campaign was all about taking back the country from a political class that only serves the big, the powerful, the wealthy and the well connected. Fiorina prided herself in taking a stand for all – and she will continue to fight for those Americans who refuse to settle for the way things are.

In her termination announcement, Fiorina said, “A leader is a servant whose highest calling is to unlock potential in others. I will continue to serve in order to restore citizen government to this great nation so that together we may fulfill our potential.” The Spin Cycle couldn’t agree more.  She deserves consideration as a vice presidential candidate. Her star will continue to rise, and her short time on the campaign trail was golden!

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!

» Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.

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