Month: June 2014

What We’re Hooked On: Facebook Teens, Google I/O, Ikea’s Instagram Website and and More

Understanding consumer behavior, technology innovations and platform capabilities is critical to becoming a more effective marketer. There are so many campaigns, announcements and viral stories each week that it seems hard to keep up, but don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. From the Internet giants Facebook, Google and Yahoo to Ikea’s creative spin on Instagram, here’s what we’re hooked on this week!

Facebook and Teens

Facebook has gone through its ups and downs over the years, but one of the biggest challenges for the social network seems to be maintaining its younger user base. “Teens are fleeing Facebook,” “Parents are on Facebook” and “Facebook’s audience is dwindling” are not uncommon phrases heard over the past few years. But, the big news this week was that the teens aren’t going anywhere – nearly 80 percent of U.S. teens still use Facebook and are more active on Facebook than any other social networking site.

Forrester Research released a report this week that found almost half of U.S. teens and tweens (ages 12-17) use Facebook more than they did a year ago, and 28 percent of respondents are on Facebook “all the time.”

Why we’re hooked:

Facebook is cool again! From tweens to grandparents, its user base offers the best of all worlds for brands. The platform is also growing in terms of content sharing and is constantly tweaking its news feed algorithm and ad platform. It’s impressive how long Facebook has held on and dominated the social media sphere, despite competition like Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest – it owns Instagram and is acquiring WhatsApp – and dwindling attention spans of today’s connected generation.


Google I/O

Google hosted its annual developers conference this week, which ran almost three hours long and included interruptions from protesters. The gist of what was announced: Android L, Android Auto, Android TV, Android Wear and Android One. Aka….Android everywhere.

Why we’re hooked:

Google is bringing Android beyond phones and tablets to watches, televisions, cars and more. With more than one billion active Android users, it’s a big community that marketers, brands and developers need to be able to serve. Plus, these announcements support the shift toward almost everything in our lives getting connected – how will smart cars, TVs, cities, homes and watches impact marketing and how brands reach consumers?


Retweet with Comment

Retweet /riˈtwēt/: repost or forward a message posted by another user on Twitter.

Today, there are basically three options to retweet on Twitter:

  • Retweet so that the tweet/user show up on your own timeline
  • Add your own commentary and including the original tweet, whether that be through the “Quote tweet” feature or RT
  • Tweak the original tweet to add your comments and using MT (modified tweet)

One challenge is adding your own comments to a tweet but not having enough character space – a tweet can only be 140 characters total, as we know. Twitter is reportedly experimenting with a new feature called “Retweet with comment” that would better allow users to participate in a conversation while providing context. This would replace the “Quote tweet” option.

Why we’re hooked:

It’s a huge improvement to manually trying to edit an original tweet just to add a few characters of comments. This keeps conversations in context and enhances content sharing on Twitter.



Ikea created a website on Instagram! Kind of. To promote its IKEA PS, a 34-item designer collection, Ikea decided to put a creative spin on how Instagram is used. You can’t include any [clickable] links in Instagram descriptions, but Ikea took advantage of the tagging feature by creating an interconnected experience with separate Instagram accounts for different parts of the collection.

IKEA PS 2014 Instagram Website from Instinct on Vimeo.

Why we’re hooked:

This is such a creative spin on how to use Instagram, and we love hearing innovative ways brands are taking available platforms to the next level. Instead of focusing on and accepting Instagram’s lack of linking capabilities, Ikea identified how it could use what was available in its favor.


Yahoo Motion Ads

Yahoo announced Motion Ads in March this year, enabling brands to advertise with a little more rich media. This week, the company is claiming these ads are leading to higher sales and increased positive brand association – Kraft featured a steaming grilled cheese sandwich and saw 24 percent more click-through engagement than a standard video ad. Yahoo says people who saw the ad were 77 percent more likely to search for Kraft-related keywords.


Why we’re hooked:

It’s no coincidence that online platforms are taking advantage of rich media. Twitter just rolled out support for GIFs last week, a form of media that has completely taken over the Internet. Video, stop motion and GIFs are all improvements to the static photo, increasing engagement, encouraging creativity and making the Web a more interactive place.

Catch of the Week

Catch of the Week: ‘Not Sorry’


Why are women always apologizing? Saying, “I’m sorry,” has become almost a reflex for women in everything they do, and Pantene is urging women to change their habits and stop apologizing, bringing “sorry, not sorry” to life.

Pantene’s #ShineStrong series aims to empower women. “When you’re strong on the inside, you shine on the outside,” the company says. In its most recent video, “Not Sorry,” Pantene highlights how frequently women apologize without even realizing it, and how eliminating that is a move toward empowerment and stronger women, making it our catch of the week:

What We’re Hooked On: Yo, Our Story, Facebook Slingshot, Twitter GIFs and More

The world of marketing is constantly changing. Add in the “always on” mentality of social media, digital platforms and technology today, and brands are challenged to keep up with available capabilities and consumer behavior. Here’s what we’re hooked on this week!



If you’ve been waiting for an app that allows you to simply send a message, “Yo” to your friends, then your prayers have been answered! It seems ridiculous, but this has been the week of Yo. Plot twist: Investors have contributed more than $1 million toward the app.


Why we’re hooked: Besides the obvious buzz Yo has created this week, Or Arbel, former iOS designer at the company, explains that it’s much more than just sending a simple “Yo.” His vision is context-based messaging – adding a user “WorldCup” on Yo and receiving a “Yo” every time a goal is scored, or embedding it in a blog and get notified when a new story has published. Does your significant other bug you about not texting you thoughout the day? Now you can just “Yo” them. With $1 million in investments, the team must be on to something.

Snapchat Our Story

Snapchat introduced “Stories” back in October last year, and today more than 50 percent of Snapchat users view friends’ Stories, which are available for replay for 24 hours instead of instantly disappearing. This week the company introduced “Our Story,” which expands the capabilities of Stories, makes snaps public and focuses them around specific events.

The feature is kicking off this week at the Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) in Las Vegas. All users have to do is add the account “EDCLive” to their Snapchat contacts list, and they’ll be able to add snaps to “Our EDC Story” and view snaps from other users. Snapchat uses location services to make sure users are actually at the event, and it will be providing free Wi-Fi so users don’t have to worry about their data plan while snapping. Snapchat will also monitor the story for length and illegal or inappropriate snaps.

Why we’re hooked: The feature is similar to the appeal of Twitter; bringing people together around an event to share and interact with others. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have all been tweaking their ad platforms for brands, and Snapchat doesn’t seem to be an exception – it has several employees working on business and marketing partnerships, and recently hired a vice president of monetization. Our Story opens the door for event sponsors to include ads in an event story, for example, or increase engagement and awareness around a specific event.

Facebook Slingshot

In what seems like Facebook’s third strike to create a Snapchat copycat, Facebook introduced Slingshot this week – a messaging service similar to Snapchat but requires users to reply to unlock an unread message, focusing on not just telling and sharing stories, but asking others about theirs.

Why we’re hooked: It’s important for brands to keep up with the latest services, apps and capabilities available to consumers. Understanding how these social networks are competing with each other and ultimately winning over consumers means more insight into their behavior and interests. Snapchat seems to have a strong hold on Facebook’s diminishing younger user base, and Facebook continues to attempt to give them a credible alternative. How much time people spend in an app or on a site is an important metric for marketers. It’s also interesting to see how this compares to Snapchat – many brands have embraced Snapchat to increase engagement and offer behind-the-scenes access to their audiences, but Slingshot requires some engagement back.


Twitter Acquired SnappyTV

Many marketers today are no doubt familiar with the idea of the “second screen” – one of Twitter’s biggest advantages is to become a hub for insane engagement around real-time events or news.  After working together over the years, Twitter is acquiring SnappyTV, a live video platform, to boost its Twitter Amplify program, which is Twitter’s partnership program to extend the two-screen viewing experience and lets partners promote television clips on Twitter.

Why we’re hooked: Twitter wants to become a true social TV service and attract more television ad revenue. In March this year, Twitter acquired two other companies to support this effort – Mesagraph and SecondSync. This acquisition expands offerings for live media partners.

Twitter’s GIFt

Twitter finally supports GIFs now! The media form that has completely taken over the Internet and become almost a signature part of BuzzFeed content can now be seen on or the iOS and Android Twitter apps.  The GIFs will show up similar to Vines, where users have to press play in order to view them.

Starting today, you can share and view animated GIFs on, Android and iPhone. — Twitter Support (@Support) June 18, 2014

Why we’re hooked: Social media platforms continue to become more media friendly, supporting the idea that imagery and multimedia are huge draws for user engagement. It also offers yet another opportunity for brands to express creativity – check out how some rejoiced at the news.

University of Starbucks 

Just kidding – Starbucks didn’t really launch a university this week. But it did announce a free online education program for any of its 135,000 U.S. employees with Arizona State University.


Why we’re hooked: Starbucks has made a name for itself as a trendsetter, with mobile payments, technology and other digital integration to enhance the customer experience. Starbucks approaches the traditionally low-wage service industry in unconventional ways, like providing health insurance and stock options for all employees, part-time and full-time. It thinks this move will lower attrition, increase performance and attract and retain better people – will other brands follow suit?