Archives for April 2015

April 29, 2015Published by: Drew

How digital is reshaping the world of advertising

FT Connected Business 2

If you read one thing today, make it the Connected Business supplement in this morning's Financial Times. It explores how digital is reshaping the world of advertising, from a high level how technology is changing the way brands sell, to the new social media influencers, five future marketing trends, a half-page graphic (see below) expanding on the different advertising avenues on offer from the main social networks, and my favourite piece - 'the future lies in number crunching' - a piece on the influence of smart data on the brand.

The full report is available online here.

FT Graphic

All images courtesy of the FT

April 22, 2015Published by: Fereshta Amir

Is this Facebookgeddon? The social network changes its News Feed algorithm to promote friends’ content

Image Credit: Fast Company

Image Credit: Fast Company

Facebook just announced yet another change to its giant platform. This particular change has our eyes peeled, as it's about tweaking its algorithm to promote content from friends.

Let's look at the three main big changes in more detail, which as outlined by Facebook product manager Max Eulenstein and user experience researcher Lauren Scissor, are:

1. Facebook users will now be able to see more than one NewsFeed post from the same source in a row. Facebook's algorithm previously prevented that. Facebook says it's "relaxing this rule" so that users who don't see much content in their feeds can start seeing more.
2. Facebook will start prioritising NewsFeed content posted by friends. "The second update tries to ensure that content posted directly by the friends you care about, such as photos, videos, status updates or links, will be higher up in News Feed so you are less likely to miss it," Facebook writes. It says you'll still see content from news organisations and Facebook pages you enjoy though.
3. Facebook will begin hiding posts that say what your friends have liked or commented on. This sounds like it could really diminish a publisher's second-hand reach. "This update will make these stories appear lower down in News Feed or not at all," Facebook says.

This is of course great news for everyone who has ever been annoyed at seeing more promoted brand content then friends' news on their News Feeds. As Fast Company reports, this could make life a little harder for brands and publishers, as traffic to brand pages could suffer as a result of the algorithm tweaks. Read the more about the changes over at Business Insider.

April 17, 2015Published by: Sharmin Cheema-Kelly

Ofcom considers deregulation to take growing power of internet into account

The shift to digital in recent years has meant an uphill challenge for British communications regulator, Ofcom, as it seeks to adapt its own regulations to the changing media and telecoms landscape.

Credit: Ofcom

Picture Credit: Ofcom

In her first interview since being appointed as Ofcom's chief in December, Sharon White said that deregulation and a lighter approach needs to be considered to reflect the tectonic shifts in how people read and watch content, as well as talk.

Ofcom has just begun its first review of the British communications market in a decade to take into account the burgeoning impact of the internet, and whether market definitions and regulations need to be redrawn. Ofcom would also need to consider the intersection and blurring distinctions between traditional telecom and media companies.

Live streaming services such as Meerkat and Periscope both present a challenge to the paid-TV world especially with the increasing costs of football rights, for example. While Ofcom traditionally appointed the Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) to regulate broadcast advertisements on its behalf, YouTube advertising also falls under the ASA's jurisdiction - the roles both perform and the areas overseen need to be made clearer in this era of greater convergence.

Ten years after its last review and in the age of the internet, the time is now ripe for Ofcom to reconsider regulations especially when changes are unprecedented and happen at much greater speed. It's exciting times ahead for the tech, media, and communications industries and we can't wait to see what happens next.


April 13, 2015Published by: Drew

The arrival of the media grazing age

courtesy of emarketer

In the social media age, we don't follow media. Rather, media finds us. This is the finding in eMarketer's newest piece of research, sourced by Trendera, which looks specifically at how 13-34 year olds consume online video. But this is a much broader trend which we are seeing across multiple media formats and spreading across demographics, where social media has created a mainstream media grazing age.

Trendera's research shows that, amongst US respondents, recommendations are more important than subscribing to specific video content, and trending topics matter more than search.

Back as early as 2007 I was in a focus group for a mainstream media outlet, and amongst social media savvy subscribers, this grazing behaviour was already evident, and a surprise to the media owners back then. Whilst the Trendera research is limited just to the US and specifically to millennials, the trend is far-reaching and quickly becoming mainstream.

April 2, 2015Published by: Janey Spratt

The rise of dark brand campaigns


Recently we've been seeing a growing trend in the use of 'dark' marketing and PR campaigns, where brands use private social networks to connect with their audiences. Today, Laura Saggers, the US-based singer-songwriter, is debuting her new single and video on Snapchat. You can view the promo video for the next 24 hours before it vanishes. This kind of marketing goes against the grain, but with the captive audience that can be created with such an approach, it is definitely on the rise, and here are the trends we've been seeing in this space.

1. The rise of brands and talent using Snapchat

As well as Laura Saggers, we’ve been noticing more and more influencers (particularly YouTubers such as Caspar Lee, Tanya Burr and Connor Franta etc.) joining Snapchat to connect with their fans and when we were totting up the social media stats for March’s Battenhall Monthly, we saw that Snapchat has now acquired 100m users. Brands are also beginning to add Snapchat into their content mix and early adopters include; Chiquito, Nars, NBA and Heineken.

2. The rise of brands using messaging apps

We're also noticing the rise of use for private messaging app Whatsapp, who announced this week that they've launched voice calling. This week, Clarks also announced that they'll be launching a 'dark' campaign using the app to add a 'coolness' factor to the brand. There's also some luxury fashion brands such as, Cartier and Diesel are using the app in India to offer a premium and personalised service.

At Battenhall, we use Whatsapp to send out daily news alerts to our subscribers and we use it internally to communicate with each other and our clients everyday, something which is also on the rise across our client base too. As a result, we’re seeing fewer emails and phone calls and for us, it’s a logical way of working.

3. The rise of brands using dating apps

The final trend that’s caught our attention recently (or at least the singles in the office...) is slightly more niche - brands using dating apps for PR and marketing campaigns:

  • Mini and Happn: This Valentine’s Day, dating app Happn ran a competition with Mini offering users the opportunity to match with the Mini profile and win a weekend away for two
  • Ex Machine and Tinder: Movie Ex Machina promoted their movie using Tinder at SXSW this year where users who matched with Ava were soon disappointed to learn that she was in fact a robot
  • Shelter and Tinder: The charity is also using Tinder to try and put an end to the housing crisis where app users can match with ‘Brick 22’ – if you’re lucky enough to match with the lonely brick, it will give you more information about the housing crisis and encourage you to sign their petition.

We're keeping our eyes out for how these private networks are developing but also the different ways that we can experiment and use these networks to engage with brand audiences.

Image credit.