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Marc Stryker

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What does “Digital” even mean?

That’s a question that industry trade publisher, Advertising Age asked itself when planning for its annual Digital Conference held last week. They toyed with the idea of removing the word “digital”, but ultimately kept it because otherwise “no one would come”, said editor Ken Wheaton, only half-jokingly.

Yet, this semantic confusion over “digital” has most marketers shrugging their shoulders. It’s now a post-digital world, where a 728×90 “digital” banner ad is as traditional, if not more so, than the ancient 30-second spot. Penna Powers was at the conference and came away with these top insights from the proceedings:

  1. Traditional Digital is Dead – Marketers need to move beyond the traditional online elements of banner ads and other push methods. If you’re just going to do that, you might as well tell a story on television. A digital presence has less to do with the “ad unit”. It has more to do with what kind of experiences you’re allowing your customers to have and what kind of relationships you’re building with them. The traditional elements still have their place, but they cannot take center stage.
  2. The Power of Place – Twitter co-founder and Medium CEO, Evan Williams, discussed how the dramatic increase of migration to cities is similar to how people behave online. Traffic to the top 10 websites makes up 75% of all online traffic. While the average person visits 25 apps per month, 80% of the time is spent on his or her top 3 apps. People plug themselves into established communities on the web and stay there. Just as people need city life for better networking, so too do brands need to establish a community for their customers. And Evan Williams’s solution, of course, is his online publishing platform, Medium. Check it out.
  3. Popular Culture is the New Competition – Think about it. Your marketing is competing for the attention of the customer. What else is competing for that attention? Everything else the customer consumes, from the latest cat video to the newest Netflix or Hulu series. We’re now in the Age of the Customer and the customer is very much in control of what he or she chooses to watch.  Will they choose you?
  4. Stop Being a Perfectionist – Advertisers are used to being in control of everything that happens within that 30-second spot, which can take many weeks and months to get right and presentable for the masses. But that’s too long, and by the time you’ve created your awesome piece of marketing, it may no longer be relevant to the world the customer is now living in. According to Frank Cooper, CMO of BuzzFeed, “content needs to match the rate at which pop culture changes”. This requires us to trade long-gestating perfection for speedy, and sometimes raw, relevancy. It also requires much patience and courage to do.
  5. Try it, Nail it, Scale it – Change doesn’t happen all at once, it occurs in bite-sized chunks. That was the message from AT&T’s Valerie Vargas, who showcased the brand’s foray into original content series like Summer Break and Snapper Hero. Ms. Vargas’s bosses weren’t going to sign off on a huge investment in something so unproven, so she needed to take baby steps in setting aside some budget for experimenting and incubating new platforms. Once she saw success in something small, she could justify larger investments and scaling those small successes to larger ones.
  6. Digital and Traditional Work Together – Cruise ship brand Royal Caribbean and its shop MullenLowe set out to convince jaded New Yorkers that going on a cruise could be exciting and unique. So they streamed the Periscope feeds of over twenty key social influencers having Royal Carribean vacations into out-of-home bus shelters and kiosks all across the city to prove that cruises weren’t touristy and boring. They also re-purposed much of the footage and incorporated it into TV campaigns.
  7. Using Influencers? Let Them Do What They Do – As more brands and agencies use social media influencers to be more relevant to consumers, they often try to dictate the terms of how the brands will be showcased. For example, a sunglass brand wanted Snapchat celebrity, Julz Goddard, to take pictures of herself donning the shades poolside. “Boring”, she said. When the brand allowed her to use the brand more naturally within her Miami partying lifestyle, it scored more authenticity points with her audience.
  8. Use Data to Create More Shareable Content – When we think of using data, we often think in terms of optimizing a digital campaign for better performance. That’s all well and good, but we’re missing a major opportunity to use data to craft better brand storytelling. Using the Facebook Audience Interest Index, Shareablee CEO, Tania Yuki, showed that factors like “usefulness”, “happiness” and “emotion” engaged more women than men and that men were more likely to share content that was “funny” and “exciting”.  For 18-24 year-olds, content that enabled them to be “in the know” was the most likely to be shared.

So will next year’s conference just be titled “Advertising Age’s 2017 Conference”? Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it? But what’s true is that buzzword value of the word “digital” will continue to diminish as we brands and agencies drop the semantics and just do what works.

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Facebook recently announced three innovations to provide users with “more opportunities to express who [they] are and control the content showcased on [their] profile.” Here’s the long and short of it:

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Unique Options for Profile Photos

  • Soon users will be able to record and post a looping 7-second video to publish in the prominent profile photo position. This upgrade allows users to express personality, interests and mission in a dimension not before offered by Facebook.
  • Soon users will be able to set temporary photos. A temporary profile picture will have a start and end date infused with personality. This option allows users to support a cause, campaign or favorite sports team on game day. It provides a platform to brag about current travel explorations or new life events such as weddings, births and birthdays.

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Improved Visibility Controls  

  • Soon users will better control what profile content can be viewed by others using a customizable space at the top of user profiles.  
  • This update includes the option to create a “Bio Field” to highlight education, work and/or selected interests in one sentence. This personal statement will be listed front and center, below the user profile image/video.
  • Users will be able to visually highlight personality and interests via 5 photos selected by the user and showcased in the Featured Photos section.

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A Mobile-Centric Design

  • This is just a fancy way to say Facebook is moving things around on the user profile in a mobile-friendly way. And as part of this shake up, profile photos will be centered and enlarged, because who doesn’t want to be front and center.  

Currently Facebook is testing these new updates in California and the UK, with promises to roll out to users “soon.” So start thinking about how you will better express your best self, and consider this your warning: Facebook is about to become more addictive. If you need ANY social media support, direction or increased engagement, give us a call

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There are a lot of words in the English language, but even the thickest of dictionaries doesn’t contain all of the words we need to describe the ever changing technological landscape. So what do we do? Make up new words of course! Here are the top 10 words that have been added to the English language due to technological advancements in recent history.

Clickbait

I wrote a blog post with a clickbait headline and you’ll never believe what happened next! We’ve all experienced the pains of the clickbait. It’s an article with a headline that is so beyond tempting that we can’t resist clicking on it. When we do take the bait, we quickly discover that the article on the other end of the tantalizing link is sensationalized and more often than not, pointless.

404

404 is a common error found on the internet wherein the content you are trying to access cannot be found. This is usually caused by a broken link or some kind of server error. Either way, 404 Page Not Found is probably one of the most prominent and common errors on the web. It quickly caught on as a fun way to say something or someone is missing. When used in the right context, “404” is more of a meme than an error message.

Wearables

Technology is like a virus in that it is constantly trying to find ways to infiltrate every facet of our lives. Currently, technology that we can wear, from watches to glasses, is the latest craze. These sorts of devices, fitness trackers and even wedding rings that heat up on your anniversary, are called wearables. Here are some of our thoughts on wearable tech.

Catfish

This isn’t much of a technology term, but it certainly has seen a rise in usage of late. The term refers to the practice of Norwegian fisherman who add a single catfish to their tank of sardines (or other fish) in order to keep them physically active. This practice was used as an analogy in a documentary (Catfish) detailing a woman who used online profiles to fake her identity in order to pursue a romantic online relationship with a man who otherwise wouldn’t have been interested in her. Based on the documentary, the term “catfish” was born. It is used to refer to someone who pretends to be a different person online in order to score dates in real life. Essentially, it’s like using a 5-year-old photo of when you were 30-pounds thinner for your dating profile, only worse.

Big Data

The word “big data” has actually been around for a while, but only recently has it seen more use. Big data refers to data that is so monstrously huge that traditional methods of organizing and translating the data cannot be used. Complex algorithms and super nerdy formulas are typically what is required to decipher this kind of big data.

E-Waste

E-waste is a shortened form of electronic waste. No, this isn’t referring to all that junk email in your spam folder, this literally means your old computers, printers and even cell phones that you want to throw away.

Gamification

Gamification is a really fun word that means adding interactivity to otherwise mundane content. For example, gamification could be adding user input to an online banner ad or it could mean providing badges and goals for an online tracking tool. You’re taking something lame and making it fun through gaming principles. We wrote an article on this exact topic about a year ago. You can check it out here.

Ping

Ping is the imaginary sound your computer makes when it sends a signal out to a server and then waits for a response. Ping is typically used to measure the speed of your connection and is measured in milliseconds. For example, a ping of 50ms would mean that there is a 50ms delay between the moment you click on a link on your computer and the moment that webpage recognizes and responds to that click.

Upvote/Downvote

Upvoting and downvoting is a popular mechanic used on social media websites like Reddit. An upvote could be equated to a “like” from Facebook, where as a downvote would be a “dislike.” Every post on sites where this mechanic is used takes the total upvotes and downvotes and gives a post a total score (+1 for upvotes, -1 for downvotes). The higher your score, the more prominently your post will be featured.

Lamestream

Finally, this fun term is simply a new way of negatively referring to the “mainstream.” Get it? Because “main” and “lame” are improper rhymes. What will the kids come up with next?

And there you have it. 10 words that have somehow worked themselves into the dictionary (some were added to the Oxford Dictionary just this last May!). What do you think? Did I forget any words? Let me know in the comments below.

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One month after Instagram opened advertising to small and mid-size agencies Penna Powers had the opportunity to launch test campaigns for both sponsored posts and videos. These campaigns tested various demographics in the non-profit/government and retail verticals. Both tests allowed us to successfully engage the designated audiences, driving website clicks, brand awareness and engagements. But most importantly, the campaigns provided Instagram advertising metrics for us to share with the world.

Storytelling is what Instagram does best, add in Facebook’s excellent targeting capabilities and your brand story can now be seen by the exact audience you’re seeking. Our campaigns set out targeting two very different audiences, teenagers (13-17) in the non-profit/government campaign and M/F (18+) in the retail campaign. The wide audience in the retail vertical was chosen to allow us to gauge a true CPM benchmark based on a large demographic segment. We were curious to see if Instagram’s estimated CPM of $13 held true or if our campaigns would come in much higher, even or much lower. Both campaign results are listed below presenting a much lower CPM in both instances by a healthy margin. The non-profit/government campaign also presented interesting data that teenagers will actively engage with Instagram content even though studies are showing a migration to other social media channels such as Snapchat. The wide audience in the retail vertical aligned with established Instagram data with the millennial audience outperforming all other segments of the target demographic. Instagram advertising is uniquely positioned to help push Facebook even further ahead of Twitter and Google in the social advertising front.

Instagram Advertising Campaign Performance:

 Campaign 1- non-profit/government- Sponsored Posts:

  • CPC: $0.14
  • CPM: $4.17*
  • CTR: 2.96%

Campaign 2 – Retail- Sponsored Posts:

  • CPC: $0.44
  • CPM: $6.58*
  • CTR: 1.47%

Campaign 2 – Retail- Sponsored Video:

  • CPV: $0.01
  • CPM: $2.48*
  • CTR: 2.08%

*Instagram estimated CPMs of $13

Instagram Advertiser Results (Instagram for Business Blog):

  • 97% lift in ad recall
  • 16-point average ad recall lift
  • 7x higher Nielsen ad recall vs. other study data

Users spend on average 5 minutes per day on Instagram and Facebook.

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We look to Facebook to begin tying in retargeting between the two ad platforms serving ads to the audience members who may have interacted with one on Facebook or Instagram presenting an opportunity for marketers to have even better data and more audience touch points. At the end of the day social media is all about engagements with the line between a website click and a comment blurring every day. The new advertising opportunity has brought about change within our own Social Media Department with the team shifting dollars almost immediately from Twitter to Instagram because of the superior ad products and the fact that Instagram blows away Twitter engagements.

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Opportunity

One year ago Instagram introduced native advertising in the United States utilizing promoted photos and videos from major brands introducing a new multibillion dollar advertising business. Thus far ads have been creative and engaging emphasizing audience storytelling. The advertising program has seen an increase in brand awareness, cross platform lift and traffic for many of its early partners, particularly the retail companies involved in the program. Due to its success, Instagram is opening up its application program interface (API) for advertising in the middle of August to marketers and then general advertisers in Q4 of 2015.

Instagram Facts:

  • 300 million users worldwide
  • 60% 18-24 usage
  • 70 million photos per day
  • 5 billion likes per day

Instagram will launch multiple advertising products resembling similar offerings from parent company Facebook. The carousel ads on Instagram will bring multi-page print campaigns to mobile devices with the added benefit of taking the audience to a website to learn more. Overtime campaigns will mirror the same objective based goals Facebook campaigns offer. All Instagram ads will have a special tag in the top right that says Sponsored. The image below from Instagram shows a mock-up of the carousel’s layout and storytelling ability.

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In addition to carousel ads, photo ads will be launching and giving brands the opportunity to reach a passionate and engaged audience by delivering messages in a focused, creative format. Sponsored photos will measure reach; brand awareness and ad recall appearing natively in the user’s feed.

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Companies can tie together Instagram Ads with Facebook campaigns to increase cross platform measurements effectively increasing engagement, website traffic and conversion opportunities. Audience targeting will leverage the same tools as Facebook advertising providing Instagram with a leg up over other social media ad products. Analytics and reporting will also appear along side the Facebook dashboard with delivery and measurements including:

  • Impressions
  • Reach and frequency
  • Demographics
  • Brand metrics
    • Ad recall
    • Message awareness

Unique to Instagram will be the ability to measure ad recall and brand awareness by leveraging Nielsen technology. Instagram’s goal is to grab the user’s attention with concept driven creative that is relevant and tasteful. Initial beta testing partners were buying on a CPM basis with businesses with large-scale budgets seeing a CPM of $20. Instagram informed Penna Powers CPMs would come in at $13 when advertising opens in mid-August. Estimated CPCs have not been discussed yet but will be available as more objective based campaigns come online.

Instagram Advertiser Results (Instagram for Business Blog):

  • 97% lift in ad recall
  • 16-point average ad recall lift
  • 7x higher Nielsen ad recall vs. other study data
  • Users spend on average 5 minutes per day on Instagram and Facebook

Though many other social media channels offer similar promotion tactics, Instagram holds the only claim to be able to utilize Facebook’s powerful targeting capabilities. This means that companies can reach their target audience at a much lower cost across two of the largest social media channels in the United States and world. First and foremost, the average Instagram user is looking to engage with their day-to-day brands. Thus, sponsored posts will likely increase brand awareness, engagements and purchase interest for your products.

As marketers we are on a constant hunt for new tools to leverage in the battle for consumer eyeballs with more and more budgets shifting to social media. Instagram’s popularity continues to grow reaching 300 million users in 2015, a majority of them being millennials. This growth shows no evidence of stopping in the near future. By launching sponsored campaigns on Instagram brands will rewarded and recognized as early innovators. At the end of the day Instagram’s engagement rate dwarfs Twitter’s engagement signaling to marketers of all sizes that shifting their dollars to Instagram is a smart bet.

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Summer has finally arrived and with that comes one of our favorite annual competitions around the valley. The Clear the Air Challenge, sponsored by UDOT’s TravelWise, the Utah Clean Air Partnership and the Salt Lake Chamber, is centered around the goal of helping people drive less during the month of July. Individuals and teams in the area are encouraged to travel smarter using any of the eight TravelWise Strategies:

  • Carpooling
  • Active transportation (biking, walking, etc.)
  • Public transit
  • Teleworking
  • Trip chaining
  • Alternative work schedules
  • Planning ahead
  • Skipping the trip

On the website for Clear the Air Challenge participants are encouraged to create an account that helps them track the ways they are working to improve Utah’s air during the month of July. Each time you travel with one of the smarter strategies, it adds to your overall total and ranks you against other individuals, teams and companies that are also participating in the Challenge. As each participant logs their trips you are able to see the progress and results of these positive actions. Here is an example of what these real time updates look like:

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Results as of 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 9th, 2015. 

A bonus tool you can find on their site is the TravelWise Tracker–a tool that lets you enter your start and end destinations for a specific trip, and shows you the quickest, most efficient way to travel using alternative methods (bus stops, TRAX stations, FrontRunner routes, etc.). For instance, if I wanted to visit the Utah State Capitol building during my lunch break today, I could use this tool to map out the quickest route without having to drive my car. Below, you can see my TravelWise Tracker experience firsthand.

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First, I entered in my starting point (Penna Powers) and then put in my final destination (the Utah State Capitol).

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Once I click “Find a Route,” I am brought to a screen that shows a map with my start and end points, as well as some different options of transportation for me to take from Penna Powers to the Utah State Capitol. Depending on which method I choose, the Tracker will list out my choices for the route.

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I decided to look at my options for transit in the area. It turns out there were three results of public transit I could choose from. The information provided included the departure time as well as what time I could expect to arrive at my final destination.

The TravelWise Tracker is a convenient tool that can help Clear the Air Challenge participants–as well as those who like to travel smart any month of the year–find easy ways to switch up your daily commute.

Here at Penna Powers, we get into the spirit of friendly competition as we break into teams within the agency and work together to better the air and try out new ways of getting to work, eating lunch and returning home at the end of the day. Throughout the month of July, individuals and teams travel smarter by carpooling to work, riding bikes, taking transit and using other means of transportation that are better for the environment. To help in these efforts, Penna Powers encourages employees to switch up their regular lunch routines by organizing walks to nearby restaurants during the lunch hour, ordering in food once a week and even carpooling when there are a few people wanting to eat at the same local dine-in.

Through making these small changes in our daily trips and commutes, we can help clear Utah’s air and make it a better environment for everyone. To learn more about Clear the Air Challenge, visit the website here.

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Twitter finally joined Facebook in launching a mobile advertising dashboard within its mobile application on iOS and Android. The addition of this new dashboard comes as no surprise, in Twitter’s last earning call it reported 89% of total revenue came from mobile advertising. This matches the overall trend of social and digital advertising shifting from desktop to exclusively mobile.

We spotted the new button while tweeting out of our Penna Powers account via an iPhone 6. The button is featured prominently on mobile users Twitter profile page, next to your settings icon. While you may not be able to launch a full campaign from your phone during a meeting, you have all of the major metrics and ability to edit a campaign flight on the fly. The ability to quickly glance at a campaign is in contrast to Facebook’s approach of a stand-alone Ads Manager app where you’re able to review post performance and quickly launch a campaign. The added dashboard is a plus in our eyes and doesn’t take up precious real estate on our already crowded iPhones filled with every social media app under the sun. Iphone Marketing Land

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Vegas800Sometimes it takes little people with big ideas to make a splash in the marketing world and sometimes those ideas will ultimately lead to the creator having a day dedicated to them posthumously and sometimes the projects that seemed insignificant at the time land on the National Register of Historic Places.

It doesn’t happen often and before Betty Willis’ idea struck her in 1959, the Las Vegas Valley had never seen anything like it. In fact, we still haven’t. Betty Willis, who passed away in April at age 91, is an icon in Las Vegas and her project is an even bigger icon. In Las Vegas, one-time landmarks are imploded at least a couple times a decade but Willis’ still stands… most times with dozens of tourists snapping shots of each other in front of it.

Even if you don’t recognize her name, you’ve seen Willis’ work – it has defined Las Vegas for five decades. It’s on postcards, T-shirts, magnets, lighters; you name it. She crafted silver dollars with letters inside that read “Welcome” on top (the silver dollars signifying the state motto, Nevada, the Silver State) with a diamond-shaped sign below that says “To Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada”.

Sound familiar? Thought so.

One of our favorite features of the sign? The flip side. We’re pretty darn sure it’s the first prominent traffic-safety message in the entire state. It reads,“Drive Carefully; Come Back Soon”. We at Penna Powers applaud Willis for thinking about safety! “The fact that everyone loves that sign and its design after all these years is a testament to Betty’s talent,” Steve Sisolak, a Clark County commissioner recently told NBC news. “There is probably no bigger Las Vegas icon than that sign.”

There are zillions of advertising firms in the state, yet the sign designer took it upon herself to develop a genius piece of artwork. There are no copyrights to the sign and Willis never made a dime off her world-famous creation which, compared to the multi-million dollar contract for the creators of “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” campaign, makes Willis’ work even more astounding.

Marketing and advertising agencies come in all shapes and sizes. Gone are the days of Betty Willis, now it takes a creative team effort to draw up a successful campaign. And that is why Betty Willis will always be so special to the Entertainment Capital of the World.

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For over five years Penna Powers sponsored a hole for the EDCUtah golf tournament, Golf for Grants. The event is a fundraiser for the EDCUtah Community Match Grants Program that donates money to communities around the state and we were very happy to be a part of the action. As in years past the activity we sponsored at hole #15 was the goofy goggle challenge – this involves wearing goggles that simulate what a .07 BAC does to your vision and trying to hit a golf ball closest to the Penna Powers sign placed 100 yards out on the fairway. Hilarity ensued as some of the state’s heads of industry and influence tried to win bragging rights and a $200 gift card to Uinta Golf.

The day started bright and early at Eaglewood Golf Course with a 7 a.m. breakfast and 7:45 shotgun start. Each group passed through their final hole around 1 p.m. I’m sure there were a number of groups chuckling as they watched Collin and I play gopher for the black and red golf balls we provided (we quickly realized that red was a much better choice as it was much easier to find in the weeds/trees). After two houses and a number of trees were hit, we had our winner: Bob Moschetti! Mr. Moschetti managed to get within 22ft of the sign, it may not sound like much, but you try to do it – many participants only moved the mat the ball was on…

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While the event helped us introduce Penna Powers to people who hadn’t heard about us and/or didn’t know what we do, much of the time was spent rubbing shoulders with the movers and shakers of the industry. We shared chotski items like brush tees and sticky notes while applauding anyone who managed to hit the ball semi-straight and more than 20 yards.

It was a beautiful day with a gentle breeze and I was especially grateful for the sunscreen on the toes advice (I had originally thought people were joking).  I learned some new golf terms – addressing the ball, brush tee and fairway… So overall, it was a good day.

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Social media transformed the way we all look at, read and interact with content. We share our daily interactions at a rate never before seen, from what we ate for breakfast to the birth of a new child. Over the last three months we’ve seen the content envelope pushed even further with live streaming mobile applications from Periscope and Meerkat. Live streaming began its moment in the sun by Twitter acquiring the Periscope app for upwards of $100 million dollars, beginning its head-to-head battle with rival app Meerkat.

As content creators and storytellers we are constantly looking for ways to reach our audience in new and engaging ways. Twitter’s Periscope and Meerkat present us with these new opportunities—and the data backs this claim.

The top factors driving interest in live streaming apps are:

  • It’s an easy way to share live events in real time – 43%
  • It’s a new way to see what’s going on in the world – 42%
  • People’s general interest in tech innovation – 39%

Beyond telling a story, live streaming creates new opportunities to deliver content and engage audiences from where they are—conferences, community events and policy briefings.

The defining event that pushed live streaming apps, specifically Periscope, to the wider audience was the blockbuster Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight. Many people were not willing to cough up the $100 price tag to watch the fight on Pay-Per-View, instead turning to Periscope, a trend likely to displease HBO and Showtime.

Further amplifying the significance of live streaming, Twitter recently partnered with Hacehette on author videos. The #WhereIWrite series ran throughout the month of April with a Hachette author live streaming from the place where they write.  Readers were encouraged to join in live by downloading the Periscope app and following the author.  The campaign demonstrated the ability to capture the audience’s attention and stir engagement all while increasing brand recognition of the author and publisher.

In the coming months we can expect to see more agencies introducing campaigns on behalf of their clients as well as politicians using the platform as a way to portray themselves as authentic to the American people.

Content marketers alike would all agree the new crop of apps popping up is providing even more opportunity to push the limits of brands and campaigns. You should be asking yourself, how does live streaming fit into my content plan? Can we live stream an event, photo shoot or creative in action?  ‘

When a content idea is decided, the next set of questions should identify who the audience is, what the objective will be and if any new policies will need to be put into place.

Brands are constantly looking for new ways to put a warm, human feel/touch to their identity and these live-streaming apps allow the behind-the-scenes people and employees to have their own live channels for representing their brands. At the end of the day, these new live stream apps remind us that the only constant in social media is change.  Do you have thoughts or predictions with how Periscope and Meerkat will be used? Share it with us at @PennaPowers on Twitter.

You can download Meerkat here.

You can download Periscope here.

 

Sources:

Adweek link for stats: http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/infographic-how-periscope-and-meerkat-stack-against-established-social-apps-164944

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