Instagram Integrates Ephemeral And Permanent Messaging In Direct

What Happened
With its latest update released today, Instagram revamped its private messaging feature Direct to unite both ephemeral and permanent messages in one inbox. Previously, the disappearing Direct Messages would appear as circular icons atop the inbox like Instagram Stories. Now,  disappearing ephemeral photo and video messages with traditional permanent text and image messages in the same one-on-one and group threads. Instagram introduced ephemeral messaging in Direct in November, and has since seen Direct usage spike from 300 million to 375 million monthly active users.

What Brands Need To Do
The update significantly enhances the messaging experience on Instagram, giving it an edge over Snapchat and other competitors. The fast growth in active users is a strong indication that Instagram has the potential to be more than a photo-sharing social network and branch out into the messaging space. Given that messaging apps has overtaken social networks in usage as mobile user behaviors shift, brands will need to develop a conversational marketing strategy to reach customers on the messaging platforms.

How We Can Help
The Lab has extensive experience in building Alexa Skills and chatbots to reach consumers on conversational interfaces. So much so that we’ve built a dedicated conversational practice called Dialogue. The new NiroBot we build in collaboration with Ansible for Kia is a good example of how Dialogue can help brands build a conversational customer experience, supercharged by our stack of technology partners with best-in-class solutions and an insights engine that extracts business intelligence from conversational data.

If you’d like to learn more about how to effectively reach consumers on conversational interfaces, or to leverage the Lab’s expertise to take on related client opportunities within the IPG Mediabrands, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Barrett ([email protected]) to schedule a visit to the Lab.


Source: TechCrunch

Dunkin’ Donuts Plans Valentine’s Day Campaign Via Social & Messaging Channels

What Happened
Dunkin’ Donuts is going all out in the name of love with a multi-channel Valentine’s Day campaign that will run across Instagram, iMessage, Facebook Live, and Snapchat. Besides the conventional social marketing tactic of hosting a selfie contest on Instagram, the quick-service restaurant chain is also looking to launch an iMessage mini-app, an emoji keyboard on its app, two Snapchat geofilters, and a Facebook Live music performance by Us The Duo on the upcoming V-day.

In particular, the iMessage card builder will allow users to create custom Valentine’s Day cards with a Dunkin’ Donuts themed sticker before sending it via Apple’s default messaging app. Other iMessage users will also be able to respond to the card by making one of their own.

What Brands Need To Do
This campaign showcases how brands need to adopt a multi-channel approach to maximize their reach across the fragmenting social and messaging landscapes. In particular, the iMessage mini-app, which Apple introduced with iOS 10 just last year, provide a valuable way for brands to tap into what is typically considered a dark-social channel that has pretty much been part of Apple’s walled garden. By handpicking the most popular features unique to each social platform – live video on Facebook, selfie contest on Instagram, and Geofilters on Snapchat – Dunkin’ Donuts shows that it truly understand the strength of each platform and how to use them to reach their customers, a smart approach that more brands can benefit from.


Source: GeoMarketing


Time Inc. Offers A Way For Brands To Sponsor Facebook Live Content

What Happened
Publishing powerhouse Time Inc. is offering brands a way to appear in their Facebook Live content via a Social Now ad product. As of now, Facebook has yet to officially roll out an ad product for Live video, although it has reportedly started testing mid-roll ads. Time is aiming to weave brands into the live broadcasts created by their publishers. For example, InStyle hosted a Facebook Live event where a beauty expert from La Mer conducted a skin consultation with an InStyle editor.

What Brands Should Do
With Facebook Live exploding in popularity, a number of brands and publishers are experimenting with Live video to reach and possibly monetize an online audience. Early-adopting brands such as Popeyes and McDonald’s have started organizing live events to launch new products and engage with fans. For smaller brands that don’t have the resources to produce their own Facebook Live content, the sort of sponsored Live video that Time offers should be a helpful way for brands to reach their target audience.


Source: AdExchange

Facebook Launches Live Sports Hub Just In Time For Super Bowl

What Happened
Facebook has started building its own content hub for sports fans in order to compete for second-screen attention during live events. Dubbed Sports Stadium, the new content vertical went live on Wednesday in the Facebook iOS app. It shows live scores, player stats, and play-by-play information alongside relevant user-generated content. Sports fans will be able to see what their friends are saying as well as comments from “certified experts,” such as teams, leagues, and journalists, and voice their own opinions as games progress.

What Brands Need To Do
A huge number of sports watchers already turn to the Facebook app for the second screen experience during games. According to Facebook, over 350 million users talked about the matches during the 2014 World Cup, and about 65 million people posted on Facebook during last year’s Super Bowl. So it makes sense for the social network to create a content hub for sports event in order to congregate the fans and offer brands a channel to reach this interest-based demo.  


Source: Re/code

Header image courtesy of Facebook Newsroom

What Brands Can Learn From Thursday’s Star War Event

The “Star Wars Celebration”, a four-day event in Anaheim, kicked off Thursday with a special presentation featuring the first official trailer for the upcoming movie. Although fans waited for days to attend in person, the event was also live-streamed to viewers in 23 countries. This is a great example of a brand turning content into a live, must-see event, and marketers should take note:

Target “Tribes” And Foster “Fandoms”

In an increasingly fragmented media world, brands must do all they can to motivate their fan base. Encouraging fans to contribute and co-create the narrative is one great way to add to the fuel of the community: the presentation included appearances by long-time fans Lee Towersey and Oliver Steeples, who got hired to build the new R2-D2 robot after displaying their own version at a convention. Although not every brand has a hardcore fan base like the Star Wars franchise, brands can still foster the community by providing unique experiences and rewards, like the pizza provided by the organizers.  

Live Is A Double-Edged Sword

Live events are “must see” and generate a lot of buzz, but by their nature, can’t cover up flubs, so brands will need to become adept at putting together high-production value events. Apple events are famously honed to near perfection (minus the infamous live-streaming snafu from last September). At the same time, with the rise of Meerkat and Periscope, consumers are now able to contribute to the hype by live-streaming events from their mobile devices, which won’t always be in the brand’s control. Marketers must consider when and how it’s appropriate for their brand to incorporate live content.

Build Event Around Content To Spread The Word

Though today’s event was ostensibly around the trailer, which itself was only 1 minute and 40 seconds long, Disney was able to build it into an hour-long event by bringing in pictures, actors, and props. Special hashtags and Twitter emojis were introduced beforehand to help build social buzz, and tweet-worthy moments were also planned to prompt social sharing, such as the surprising return of the BB8 robot, and a special moment for the audience to take pictures of the main cast, crew, and storm troopers on stage. In short, turn content into an event in order to create more content that lives beyond the event itself.

Head image courtesy of

Amidst Declining Growth, Twitter Onboards Users During World Cup

Twitter rolled out several special onboarding features to get new users setup to follow the World Cup on the platform. This included a step by step process to suggest the right players, brands and teams to follow and even what to tweet. It’s a smart strategy to combat declining user acquisition, engagement stock prices and this “starter kit” could also be an interesting monetization opportunity to promote events like the Oscars for TV networks.

Second Screen Scare: Facebook Accesses Your Microphone

Facebook’s app can now access your microphone to listen to what’s around you. The current use case is enabling easy sharing of music and video, much like the social functionality on Shazam. Yet, the opt-in feature is having many opt-out with over half a million already signing a petition to nix it altogether. 

Sharing isn’t necessarily a pain point on Facebook. People rarely complain that they can’t share something given the ubiquitous “Share” buttons (like the one below this article). In actuality, this is about enriching audience data for advertisers by marrying Facebook data with music and TV consumption. If users opt-in, they could be retargeted based on media viewing and even served up synchronous ads on FB based on what they’re watching on TV.

Gen Z Week: Vogue Tests Instagram Commerce

We have continued to see the purchase funnel being squeezed at both ends as companies strive to satisfy consumers’ need for instant gratification. Content and commerce used to be different, but now we are starting to see the two come together as is the case with Vogue’s recent entry into Instagram commerce.

Utilizing rewardStyle’s adtech tools, Vogue users can effectively “add to cart” by liking product photos on the Vogue’s account. It’s a great affiliate marketing program as Vogue can leverage their influence to drive purchases on behalf of their retail partners, receiving as much as 20% commission rate on sales.  According to rewardStyle, the new offering has generated 1.5 million emails per day across it’s 100,000 account which include Vogue.

Why It Matters For Gen Z

Only 23% of teens now see Facebook as the most important social network, down from 33% six months ago, and 42% from last year. And though status updates are on the wane, teens are gravitating to a more visual web, sharing photos and images to Instagram and Pinterest. To Gen Z, photos represent an authentic visual cue to illustrate a more real version of life. More importantly, they don’t like to be sold to directly so leveraging an affiliate like Vogue lends credibility to retailers. While Instagram has yet to prove its value for brands, testing the waters is critical to engage a generation that is not married to any one platform or service.


95% Of TV Conversations Happen On Twitter

Twitter announced that 95 percent of online public conversations about TV take place on Twitter, and 60 percent of UK Twitter users are active on Twitter whilst watching TV. Moreover, 40 percent of all Twitter traffic around peak time is about TV. Not surprisingly, Twitter has launched a TV retargeting product called Twitter Amplify, integrated broadcasts into tweets and provided robust analytics service to corner the TV industry. 

Snapchat’s next big thing: ‘Stories’ that don’t just disappear

This product being rolled out by Snapchat, entitled “Stories”, could be a really big deal. It’s a fairly clever solve for the grey area between content that lives forever and content and exists for only 5 seconds. It blends the autobiographical vanity of Facebook with the spontaneity of the wildly popular Snapchat.

To summarize, you can Snapchat an image to “My Story” rather than a particular contact. When you do this, it gets added to an ongoing reel of the last 24 hours of your personal highlights. In your contacts view, next to a friend who has a “story”, you can tap to view their last 24 hours of Snapchats they have curated to tell their story.