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7th October 2016

Twitter Sale #Fail As Google Pulls Out

Twitter has lost almost a fifth of its stock value as shares in the social network nose dived yesterday after reports emerged that potential buyers for the micro-blogging site had cooled off.

In September news of the possible sale of Twitter emerged as the social media network continued to struggle with user growth and turning a profit. When confirmation of the sell-off rumours developed, Alphabet Inc. – Google’s parent company was reported to be a potential suitor and helped Twitter stock rise steadily over the last few weeks.

Speculation over Twitter’s acquisition was derailed when technology news website Re/code claimed that Google and Disney had not put in an offer bid.  Apple also declined to save the one-time darling of social networks. This resulted in a fire-sale of Twitter (TWTR) stock, which has added insult to injury for Twitter’s prospects of a premium valuation takeover.

The future of Twitter

What does this mean for marketers and brands that have invested in Twitter?  It really is too soon to tell. A potential buyer like Salesforce, which has not yet ruled themselves out of the buy out, could evolve Twitter into a customer service focused platform and leverage Twitter’s user data to enhance their existing customer-relationship management solutions.

We are fans of Twitter here at MR + MRS, and have advocated the effectiveness of the channel to clients looking to engage their audiences and streamline the customer service experience. However, Twitter has struggled to keep their own users engaged on the platform as other services challenge its main selling point – live, real-time coverage and storytelling.  Facebook was once Twitter’s only main competitor for social media user attention.  How times have changed.  Facebook has maintained its mission to ‘connect and share with people in your life’ by evolving its offering and even acquiring rivals like Instagram and WhatsApp to grow to 1.71 billion monthly active users.

Twitter on the other hand has stalled at 310 million monthly active users. Since Twitter’s initial public offering in 2013, a series of management crises, product delays and a confused business model have complicated the company’s effort to win over the world’s mobile users. A feat Snapchat can successfully lay claim to.

twitter-ipo-2013-nyse-MR-MRS-DIGITAL

Happy days for Twitter founders Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, Evan Williams and then CEO Dick Costolo in 2013

Even minor innovations like the launch of Twitter Media Studio in August, which aimed to simplify the sharing of videos, GIFs, and images – have not seemed to have made an impact.

There is no doubt that both Facebook and Twitter have changed the way people communicate in the 21st Century, but as Tweets begin to be overwhelmed by snaps, stories and message apps, a new direction under new management maybe the only pill that can alleviate this little blue bird’s woes.

27th September 2016

All You Need To Know About Snapchat Spectacles

Snapchat has revealed plans to produce and release its first line of hardwear – or should we say eyewear. Snapchat have called their latest innovation Snapchat Spectacles and will cost £100 (around $130) when they are launched in limited numbers this Autumn.   These are no ordinary glasses as they come with a built-in video camera that records footage and enables the user to share their video snaps with friends without having to fiddle with your smartphone.

Snapchat Spectacles MR + MRS DIgital

A tap of a button on the top left-hand corner of the Snapchat Spectacles, activates the live filming mode and 10 seconds of video is recorded. If a second tap of the button is made, 30 seconds of continuous video will be captured.  To avoid privacy issues and criticism over recording people without their consent, a light on the glasses flicks on when they are recording footage.  We wrote about Snapchat’s ambitions to diversify its offering beyond the core app business in a blog post earlier this month that looked at the photo and video sharing platform’s development work behind the scenes.

To spare Snapchat or Snap Inc. (as their officially known now) the embarrassment of a failed product launch, à la Google Glass, CEO Evan Spiegel said the wearable face-tech are a ‘toy’ and meant as a bit of ‘fun’.  A Snap spokesperson also added “We’ve created one of the smallest wireless video cameras in the world, capable of taking a day’s worth of Snaps on a single charge, and we integrated it seamlessly into a fun pair of sunglasses.”

22nd September 2016

Adidas Claims Snapchat Engagement Is ‘Insane’

Adidas is relatively new to Snapchat marketing however the sportswear giant is already singing the apps praises and claiming that Snapchat engagement and audience retention is ‘insane’ when compared to YouTube and other social platforms.

Initially Adidas saw Snapchat as a ‘raw and real’ channel and had reservations about content effectiveness and measurement. This was back in February and now seven months later, with around 20 Snapchat Stories under their belt – Adidas have changed their tune after seeing positive signs that their content is resonating with their target audience and achieving an ‘insane’ return on interaction. These enthusiastic comments were made at a Social Media Week event by Dan Moseley of We Are Social.

Influencers drive Snapchat interaction

Adidas have established a a presence on Snapchat that leverages their music and sport ambassadors from Pharrell Williams creating Stories from the LA launch of his own Originals collection to the most expensive football player in the world, Paul Pogba, featured in a Stomzy music video.

adidas-snapchat-pharrell-x-originals-launch-MR_and_MRS_Digital

“We’re looking to create genuine relationships with influencers and to help them to reach their goals as much as ours… We want to create long-term relationships with these guys and we’re really proud of some the examples that are unfolding on Snapchat.” said Chris Watt, Social Media Manager at Adidas, at the Social Media Week event.

This is promising for the platform as it continues to strengthen its offering for brands by launching new dynamic products and educating Marketing Executives on the benefits of Snapchat’s mobile advertising reach among their super engaged users.

15th September 2016

Snapchat Develops More Ad Targeting Features For Digital Marketers

Snapchat is sharpening up its audience ad targeting bringing the fast-growing mobile platform in line with Facebook and Twitter.  Now advertisers on Snapchat can reach people using existing emails from a businesses database – much like Facebook’s Custom Audiences and Twitter’s Tailored Audiences.

Snapchat Ads MR + MRS Digital

Three new targeting options will be available for digital marketers on Snapchat:

  1. Snap Audience Match – which enabling advertisers to take a lists of email addresses and mobile device IDs, and match that data with Snapchat’s own user audience data, anonymously.
  2. Snapchat Lifestyle Categories – allows brands to direct ads to people who engage with certain types of content (like celebrity news or sport videos).
  3. Lookalikes – lets marketers reach people that share similar qualities or interests to the marketer’s existing customers.

Previously, Snapchat adverts reached a broad range of audiences based on their gender, age or location. This general approach to the 150 million daily users just was not comprehensive enough for advertisers that have become accustomed to detailed audience segmentation on other social networks.

The announcement this week of the update to their ad product range brings the app on a par with other social media channels and the online industry publishing standard.

The world of Snapchat is evolving fast and consumers, much like the daily changing lenses on the app, can engage in a brand’s story through paid strategies like the three targeting products outlined. By keeping an eye on emerging Snapchat trends and tactics to exploit, MR + MRS Digital can help your business succeed by developing innovative strategies that leverage new ways to reach and attract your target customer.

12th September 2016

Social Media Week London Is Here

Social Media Week returns to London for its eighth year tomorrow. The week long digital conference, also known as #SMWLDN, will be showcasing the latest innovations in the industry plus bringing together brands, suppliers and agencies from the world of entertainment, media, marketing and technology. Brands include Google, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, BuzzFeed, National Geographic, Warner Bros. Pictures , Google, CNN, Forbes, and Adidas.

Having attended one of the first ever #SMWLDN gathering back in 2010, where the line up was considerably smaller, the event has grown into a truly global conference with with annual gatherings occurring in 27 major cities worldwide.

Whilst applying our social media expertise at another agency, I (the MR in our team) was invited to speak at the 2011 event. Organised by Chinwag, the former organisers of Social Media Week London, the session covered Facebook Marketing strategies and was attended by Brand Executives from Microsoft, Dell and Channel 4.

I spoke about “Keeping it Real-time” using my client Chelsea FC as a successful case study demonstrating how live content marketing and in the moment interactions with customers help to build brand trust and rapport. To think this was all before live video streaming from a mobile phone – a lot has changed in five years! Other speakers who later joined me on a Q&A panel on the subject included social media personnel from big (expensive) integrated agencies which included We Are Social and Wieden+Kennedy London.

MR + MRS Digital speaking at Chinwag Facebook Conference Five years is a long time in digital. I can remember when brands (some of which approached me after my talk) were focused on on collecting Facebook Likes and were obsessed with growing fan numbers on Facebook and Twitter to beat their competitors. Boy oh boy have times changed – with Facebook leading the way on raining on everyones parade by moving the goal posts for brands and business on the platform.

Over the years Facebook has increasingly become a ‘pay to play’ platform for brands – which in case you didn’t get the memo; has been the consequence of Facebook increasingly making changes to what is shown on people’s home News Feed. In a nutshell, since 2014 organic content, not supported by advertising budget, posted by brands is dwindling. As the sheer number of users, brands and organisations flock to Facebook, the social media giant has increasingly prioritised updates from user’s immediate friends and family on the News Feed – rather than brands and businesses a user may have ‘Liked’ in the past. This was a blow for many businesses that invested considerable time and money on building a Facebook following, to have the rug pulled from beneath their feet. Facebook’s rationale for their most recent update to their News Feed algorithm can be found in their Newsroom announcement back in June.

The rules of the game have been rewritten for brands and the early assumptions that they had unlimited, free access to the entire fanbase that they nurtured have been well and truly curtailed. In the ‘old’ days marketers were able to show a positive ROI on every campaign or initiative they ran for their clients as Facebook Likes and the subsequent engagement was all organic – the upside was limitless. Then came the inevitable gold-rush to provide social media services to clients and the trend for outrageous job titles like ‘Social Media Ninja’ and ‘Social Guru’ emerged, which confused everyone, including clients.

This bafflement, shrouded in the excitement of the new, resulted in less digitally savvy clients taking a back seat when it came to the details and decisions around their brand on social media channels and letting the youngest person, with a wacky job title in some random agency / in their office manage the whole social media management process. This was a recipe for disaster and made way for a backlash that tainted the social media profession and the genuine social marketers producing measurable business results.

Gone are the days when social media channels are just a replication of your website, company brochure or relegated to a secondary channel to post inane corporate bulletins that nobody cares about. Our mission here at MR + MRS Digital is to not only attract your audience and customers through original and creative content that’s valued and useful, but to keep them coming back for more – because they value your business or brand in their lives. It is because of the value that we produce (with you) for your audience that generates positive experiences around your brand. Then when the time comes to purchase a product or service related to your sector – you become the shortlisted brand of choice because you’ve earned their time, attention, and invested value in their lives. This increases the chances of them converting/investing in your product or service when the need or desire is present due to the relationship we’ve shaped. Together.

Julian Ferguson, Operations Director for the trade organisation WOMMA UK (Word of Mouth Marketing Association), put it best when he stated: “Successful WOM is about making your brand part of your target audience’s social fabric so that talking about it comes naturally. It doesn’t matter whether conversations are online or offline, recreational or business-based, just so long as they are happening and positive.”

9th September 2016

Flex Appeal Flash Dance

Today team MR + MRS joined influential journalist and blogger Anna Whitehouse, aka Mother Pukka for a flash mob gathering in London’s Trafalgar Square to raise awareness for flexible working hours for parents. Or as Anna puts it ‘promoting flexible working for people who happen to be parents’.

We know flashmobs are so 2009, but the cause is a worthy one. Check out Mother Pukka’s rallying cry below and if you’re not nodding by the end of the paragraph consider yourself unfollowed on Instagram!

The reason
In this digital era where folk can work from their bog if they want to, it’s time to stop the bums-on-seats mentality and work towards productivity in the workplace. The current inflexible system punishes people – the hardest hit are mothers who are dropping from the workforce like flies – who happen to have big life commitments like growing a person. This includes those looking after old relatives; those who happen to be budding artists and work better with an hour of sketching under their belt and those who simply can’t make work work shackled to the 9-5. This is about businesses increasing productivity and not losing talent. This is about businesses making more dosh. Businesses, this one’s for you.

The stats
In one of the largest global workplace surveys of its kind (February 2016), 83 per cent of respondents said adopting flexible working had resulted in improvements in productivity. Results from the research with 8,000 global employers and employees, conducted by Vodafone, also showed that 61 per cent said it had helped increase company profits. The report, titled ‘Flexible: Friend or Foe?’, found that companies had been overwhelmingly convinced about the business benefits of flexible working.”

Enough preaching check out the Snapchat posts from the Flex Appeal parent mob. Hil-a-rious huh?

Flex Appeal 80s Flash Mob By Mother Pukka Snapchat

Flex Appeal 80s Flash Mob By Mother Pukka

Flex Appeal Flash Dance!

The theme of the day ‘Flash Dance’, full on 80s Lycra, sweat bands and scrunchies – with the rabble throwing choreographed shapes that were shared on Instagram before the big day.

This is a subject that’s close to our hearts as the founders of MR + MRS Digital are also parents and we believe that in this connected world, there really is no longer a need to be ever present at the office or wherever your fixed location of voluntary ‘slavery’ happens to be. Times have changed. Since 1946 when the whole concept of 9 to 5 was first implemented (horrible history alert) in America when the United States government instigated a 40 hour work week for all federal employees, then the corporate workforce followed suit.

That was 70 years ago! Seriously ‘Let’s talk about Flex’!

Business culture needs to keep up with the times, support the movement and check out / retweet / share the #FlexAppeal and #WorkThatWorks campaign.

6th September 2016

Snapchat Producing Wearable AR Hardware

Lately the Snapchat strategy over in Venice, California appears to resemble that of a shopaholic with a black American Express Centurion Card – buy, buy, buy. The start-up has been very busy lately, with a flurry of specialist tech firm acquisitions (Bitmoji, Seene, Vurb) product innovations and updates.

However, these buy-outs to improve it’s core photo and video sharing offering are a drop in the ocean for the $16bn app start-up. Diversification and evolution are key to attract new audiences, this seems to be the key to Snapchat’s explosive rise to 150 million users, and now the company has given its strongest indication yet that it plans to expand its product range to including augmented reality (AR) hardware by joining the Bluetooth Special Interest Group. This confirms a CNET report that Snapchat was developing wearable ‘smart glasses’ back in March off the back of a series of new hires from established wearable technology projects.

This follows hot on the heels of all the other Silicon Valley technology giants such as Apple, Google and Facebook investing time, resource and considerable budget into AR.

Of course, if you’re an avid Snapchatter like we are here at MR + MRS Digital, you’ll already know that the platform already supports the ability to merge virtual imagery on ‘real-world’ objects via their ever popular ‘lenses’ feature. These filters scan your facial features and overlay fun digital graphics such as fairies, dog features and recently branded sponsored lenses featuring X-Men and The Terminator.

Snapchat Lenses MR + MRS DIGITAL

With Snapchat’s continued ownership of live event storytelling, media partnerships and video consumption in excess of 10 billion views per day suggest that the often misunderstood platform can claim its place among the big players in the tech world. Its growth is startling, eclipsing Twitter’s daily usage and poses a serious threat to Facebook’s dominance for smartphone attention time and the default app for sharing photos with friends. This ‘threat’ was clearly apparent when Facebook owned Instagram launched Instagram Stories last month. A brazen clone of Snapchat Stories which launched in October 2013. As the two hottest photo-sharing apps on the planet compete for market share we, as marketers and digital consultants need to adapt and include these dynamic storytelling platforms into our client’s strategies and social media channel mix.

In regard to Snapchat, social media management agencies need to be agile when it comes to Snapchat channel management – as the innovations and new features on the platform are coming thick and fast. Often we’re finding that traditional marketing agencies just can’t keep up with the pace and, for fear of looking stupid, leave Snapchat marketing tactics off the table when presenting digital solutions to a client. This, in our opinion, is a huge opportunity missed to reach a super active audience that can be communicating with your business in a meaningful way.