The Importance of Micro Influencers

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The Importance of Micro Influencers

 

By: Michaela Bull

@michaela_lb

There has been an increasing popularity in the idea of a micro influencer among brands. The concept is different from using your expected celebrities or Instagram famous models with hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of followers. Using micro influencers is about promoting your brand through people with a moderately low to medium follow rate that are appropriate to your brands niche market. These people are more likely to have a higher impact on their followers and engage in today’s fast paced word of mouth marketing. The reason these people are significantly more important to pay attention to now is that due to their lower follow rates, studies have shown that their engagement is much higher than those with thousands of more followers. I think this is closely connected to the theory that these people are more approachable, relatable, and therefore trustworthy over those with a higher follow count. After a point it becomes hard for the consumer to trust someone with over a million followers. Consumers are well aware that these people are getting paid to support brands and are questioning the sincerity of their reviews. Micro influencers allow the consumer to create a stronger bond of trust as they may seam to be more relatable.

Companies such as La Croix have begun utilizing micro influencers in spreading brand recognition and overall conversation of the brand. Their approach to digital marketing has proven successful as they offer opportunities for their consumers online to engage in fun and interactive ways. The brand encourages its consumer to post their experiences and usage of the product with hashtags #LaCroizLove and #LiveLaCroix to create a community online and engage in a participatory campaign. La Croix will sometimes reach out to people who used the hashtag and give them a voucher of some kind for their product as a gesture of true appreciation. The brand to consumer relationship is closer as they allow the consumer to be the influencer. Using micro influencers for La Croix is appropriate for their brand image and continues to encourage a close knit and trustworthy bond.

 

 

References:

CHEN, Y. (2016, December 22). The rise of ‘micro-influencers’ on Instagram. Retrieved February 26, 2017, from http://digiday.com/marketing/micro-influencers/

DUA, T. (2016, May 18). The LaCroix guide to tapping ‘micro-influencers’ Retrieved February 26, 2017, from http://digiday.com/marketing/the-lacroix-guide-micro-influencers/

Matthews, M. (2017, January 04). 5 Social Media Trends You Need to Know for 2017. Retrieved February 26, 2017, from http://www.inc.com/melissa-matthews/ss/social-media-trends-2017.html

 

Advertising, Brainwashing, and Free Will

By Ian Melo

Where is the line drawn between advertising and brainwashing? This discussion must begin at the widely accepted definitions of the terms, and then works its way toward a reasonable understanding of how we see them in action in today’s world. Advertisements are promotion for commercial products or services, and brainwashing refers to the process of indoctrination of a person to a new set of beliefs, usually by threat or pressure.

The fact that brainwashing is accepted as something that can be done unto another person is proof enough that one man can impact the will of another man. The idea that through repetition and deception and pressure people can be broken down and coerced into action that they previously would not have considered has frightening implications on the weakness of human free will. To what degree can people be influenced in other ways? To put it in terms of this discussion, how much pressure must be exerted upon a person before they buy a product they would not have bought otherwise?

The Federal Communications Commission has addressed the issue of public coercion when faced with the problem of subliminal advertising. In 1974, when an ad contained the statement “Get It” in a manner that was so rapid that the viewer was unaware it was happening, they issued a statement admonishing such behavior as “contrary to the public interest”. However, they did not declare these tactics illegal, or even acknowledge whether they were effective or not, but only used their platform to condemn such deceptive tactics. No official lines were ever drawn in that regard.

The question becomes, then, what was the FCC afraid of? They were afraid of people being brainwashed by advertisements, advertisements that compel the viewer using means that have no relation to the actual product or service that is purportedly being advertised. And I think we can all agree that ads these days are less about the product and more about the appeal of the ad itself, an ad that appeals to the viewer on some level that the brand does not. It has become an artform in itself.

Of course, there is a lot of science that is yet to be done with regard to the impact of this sort of advertising on the human mind. Can our free will filter out these advertisements completely? That is yet to be seen, and seems to be the ethic that ad agencies use to justify what they do. But I think the science does need to be done. I do not think this is a non-issue, especially in the increasingly interconnected world we live in today.

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Social media has created a medium for advertisers to impact more people in a more direct way than ever before. The effectiveness of this medium is not only being acknowledged, it is being pounced upon. Budgets for social media advertising doubled in the U.S. in just two years, 2014 to 2016, jumping from $16 billion to $31 billion. The impact of such drastic increase in consumption deserves to be studied.

The Art of Facial Lenses

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The Art of Facial Lenses

 

By: Michaela Bull

@michaela_lb

 

If you are one to engage in Snapchat then you are more than likely familiar with the use of a filter. A filter refers to Snapchats very own artificial intelligence lenses or “facial lenses”. The use of facial lenses has spread like wildfire as users worldwide engage in an estimated 10 million filtered snaps per day. With this popularity it makes sense that competitors are scrambling to keep up and stay current.

 

The technology for Snapchat was first developed from a startup in the Ukraine called Looksery, which was later acquired by Snapchat for 150 million dollars. The way it works is that the camera first detects your facial features through an algorithm called the Viola-Jones Algorithm. This Algorithm calculates areas of contrast on your face on a grey scale. This helps the device in identifying where all of your features are on your face. This is how filters with applied makeup and accessories are possible. The augmented reality filters also use a now dated tool of computer vision to first identify the object or face in focus. Computer vision has been around for some time now; it is what enables a device to identify objects and to be able to tell if it is looking at a 3-D space. The Technology then uses trained data to get a more accurate and detailed portrayal of the face in frame. The trained data is executed by using statistical models of the face that have been manually trained by people marking the features of thousands of sample images. Using both the Viola-Jones Algorithm and trained data, the device is able to identify a mesh or mask on the face. From this 3-D mask, the device is able to then filter anything they please onto video or still data.

 

The technology of Snapchat is pushing the boundaries of interactive engagement and utilizing an opportunity of revenue through the use of ads. Snapchats ability to run facial recognition in real time on a mobile device sets them apart from anything out there. Competitors like Facebook and Instagram have been said to be working on similar abilities. I think there are many more advancements we will see soon from both companies soon.

 

 

 

References:

 

York, A. (2017, January 31). 6 Social Media Trends Taking Over 2017. Retrieved February 12, 2017, from http://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-trends/

 

Hutchinson, A. (2016, August 05). Facebook Testing MSQRD Selfie Lenses within Facebook for Olympics. Retrieved February 12, 2017, from http://www.socialmediatoday.com/social-networks/facebook-testing-msqrd-selfie-lenses-within-facebook-olympics

 

A Look at How Snapchat’s Powerful Facial Recognition Tech Works. (2016, June 30). Retrieved February 12, 2017, from https://petapixel.com/2016/06/30/snapchats-powerful-facial-recognition-technology-works/

 

 

How Adidas is Changing the Social Game For Women

By: Maia Wilson @maiawils

Adidas is one of my favorite brands and one I follow consistently on social media, so when I saw their new #Heretocreate campaign on Twitter, it was an obvious correlation with the Women’s movement in media and was surely a smart marketing move. Adidas has always been very forward and unique in their advertisements, but with this particular ad campaign the playfulness, and humor stood out in their connection to social media even in the commercials. Each fifteen second to thirty second commercial showcases a different leader in the world of fitness, not widely known for their athleticism including Karlie Kloss, Candace Parker, Caroline Wozniacki.

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Source Credit: YouTube

According to Lia Vakoutis on Marketing Daily, their “goal is to really focus on continuous rapid-fire creativity with strategically placed video on social, and TV. They are created as a diverse group of stories that can be seen as a collection.” What makes these campaigns so compelling and current is how with every commercial relating to each girl their many Instagram posts are what is highlighted throughout the videos. This shows how powerful social media, especially Instagram is in relation to creating an individual’s personal brand as well as collaborating with a global company.

Another word from the senior director of global communications of Adidas on Advertising Age, she comments on how this year and moment in time is great to spotlight “this incredible squad of women with a really diverse group of storylines that are relatable to all athletes.” I would have to agree with that statement of how women are really speaking about equality, athletes being no different. And it is through the outlet of social media that creates a space for movements and companies to take a stance on the empowerment of women that reaches so large an audience. Adidas is one of many companies who are leading the change in the perception of women athletes whether they are tennis players, bicyclers, or even models.

References:

Pasquarelli., A. (2016, February 04). Adidas Taps Squad of Female Athletes in New Global Campaign. Retrieved February 05, 2017, from http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/adidas-taps-squad-female-athletes-global-campaign/302516/

Greenberg, K. (2016, February 4). Adidas Is ‘Here To Create’ With New Global Push. Retrieved February 05, 2017, from http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/268258/adidas-is-here-to-create-with-new-global-push.html

 

Twitch.TV Gives Advertisers a New Way To Reach Audiences

By Joshua Olivares

On November 2 of last year Twitch.tv, a company that allows for users to stream to an audience, released ground breaking information concerning advertisers. Twitch.tv would be upgrading their streaming services with SureStream. It does a wide variety of things but the main thing advertisers should be aware of is that fact that this new streaming service now combats third-party ad blockers. That’s right Twitch.tv has found an answer for the question that has often kept advertisers up at night. Viewers with ad block will no longer be able to skip ads when watching their favorite streamers.

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By Twitch Streamer: Theapplejhon

 

This doesn’t mean that viewers are forced to watch ads though. There’s still a few ways viewers can avoid ads. Like many streaming services, Twitch.tv has a subscription that you can purchase, however it’s a bit different than say Hulu. Twitch.tv allows for users to subscribe to certain streamers for as little as $5. Twitch.tv who is owned by Amazon has a similar member program to Amazon Prime, called Twitch Prime which allows viewers an ad free experience.

This new services gives advertisers a new wide audience just waiting to be advertised to. The site has more than 100 million monthly users and 2.5 billion broadcasters according to the DMR. That’s a ton of ad space that’s just waiting to be explored. With third-party ad blockers no longer threatening advertisers (at least on this site) they can begin reaching new demographics. This will also help broadcasters on the site as they will be receiving more revenue as their ads will no longer be skipped.

While the “Twitch Community” is made up of mostly gamers they do offer other content besides video games. There’s people on there who stream their families eating dinner, or of their cats sleeping. The possibilities are endless and this new form a social media is still a new rising market. The broadcasters on the site build their brand through social media. Many times Twitch broadcasters use twitter to notify their viewers when they’re going live as well as interact with their followers. The real interactions take place during the stream as twitch allows for viewers to type comments in a chat that is live to the broadcaster. Viewers love interacting with their favorite streamers so they’re more than happy to sit through an ad if it means they get to interact.

Sources:

Perez, S. (n.d.). Twitch’s new video ads can’t be blocked. Retrieved February 05, 2017, from https://techcrunch.com/2016/11/02/twitch-starts-selling-its-own-video-ads-says-they-cant-be-avoided-via-ad-blockers/

Fontaine, R. (2016, November 02). Introducing SureStream: for a Better Video Ad Experience on Twitch. Retrieved February 05, 2017, from https://blog.twitch.tv/introducing-surestream-for-a-better-video-ad-experience-on-twitch-3ca5ce3287c#.6aftybmlh

(2017, January 15). 33 Amazing Twitch Stats. Retrieved February 05, 2017, from http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/twitch-stats/

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Instagram Revolutionizing Social Media Marketing

As I am sure a lot of users have noticed, Instagram has followed suit to many other social media forums, and opened its photo feed to advertisers. There are multiple reasons for this change. One being the fact that Facebook bought Instagram in 2012, and they have practiced social media marketing for many years now. Another reality is Instagram’s commitment to keep their services free to the public. So, to pay the bills they have look to advertisers. Finally, consumer’s eyeballs are a valuable commodity that these networks, without a doubt, retain, and advertisers are willing to pay for.

In the beginning, only a few major Facebook Marketing Partners and agencies were allowed access to Instagram’s advertising tools. However, over the past year and a half the horizons of the application have been expanded globally to further progress all companies, no matter their magnitude. This was made possible by utilizing a new Instagram Ad application programming interface, as well as the already existing Facebook ad buying interfaces.

Not only have they allowed marketers access to user’s accounts, Instagram is evolving the format of social media marketing. As the Instagram for Business blog refers to it, the new direct-response format will allow people “to learn about a product or service and then take action directly from an ad to sign up on a website, buy a product, or download an app.” With a more engaging design, Instagram, and advertisers, are hopeful that their followers will now be converted more easily into buyers

Furthermore, consumer brands and retailers can now make a more direct connection with potential customers through enhanced targeting. This has become possible with the help of Facebook’s user information. Marketers will now have the ability to target possible buyers not only by their age, and location, but by their interest, like history, demographic details, and information organizations already have about their customers.

Personally, this has been a great move for Instagram. According to Vindu Goel and Sydney Ember of The New York Times, in 2015, “RBC Capital Markets, estimated that Instagram ads could bring in $1.3 billion to $2.1 billion.” That is a substantial amount of money, in any instance. Also, users have more than likely discovered many more accounts and brands that properly align with their concerns

It is interesting to watch, and be involved as a user in this revolution od social media marketing. I am looking to forward to seeing what is next.

Sources: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/03/technology/instagram-to-announce-plans-to-expand-advertising.html?_r=1

http://blog.business.instagram.com/post/120537653811/the-next-steps-for-ads-on-instagram-new-formats

http://fortune.com/2015/06/02/instagram-ads/

Fashion Week and Social Media

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By Ghadah Alhazzaa @__ghadah___

Back in the 90’s, Fashion Week was an exclusive event where you hear about it but only see photographs of models and celebrities attending it on the covers of major magazines. People like us dreamt of attending such extravagant event. It wasn’t until social media and the blogging phenomenon, that we started getting glimpse of what its like. I remember the closest I got to experience a fashion show was turning on FASHION TV. Designer’s collections were very exclusive that we would have to wait for it to hit stores or magazines. Getting invited to a show was not easy. The only way you can get an invite is if you’re a famous person or a retail buyer. Enter social media marketing. In this age, social media is everything! Bloggers and the so called “social media influencers” are in every fashion show, documenting every outfit and moment on the Internet. From personal blogs to Instagram, you have a full access to fashion shows.Social media nowadays is giving us live coverage (thanks to Snapchat), back stage access, and even the hair and make up process.

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The social media industry is getting bigger and bigger everyday. Designers will invite bloggers with front row seats for more exposure. In my opinion, Fashion Week is not just about the clothes anymore. It has become more of a social event where you want to be seen. Social media has helped the public to get full access and current updates of major exclusive events such as Fashion Week. Street Style photographers are documenting every moment online, so basically we (normal people) have front row seat as well to all the glitz and glam of fashion shows. The social media phenomenon has definitely helped us stay current with trends; however, one might think it took away the excitement and the magic of Fashion Week because it has become very accessible.

References                                                                                                   

Gee, T. J. (2016, September 17). Remembering Fashion Week Before Social Media. Retrieved January 27, 2017, from http://www.refinery29.com/2016/09/123469/fashion-week-before-instagram-snapchat

Denardo, M, & Tai, C. (2017, January, 6). Fashion Blogs you need to Follow in 2017. Retrieved January 27, 2017, from http://www.thefashionspot.com/style-trends/549973-best-fashion-blogs/#/slide/1

Schuman, S. (2017, January 27). On the Street… Winter Light Part II, Milan [Blog post]. Retrieved January 27, 2017 from http://www.thesartorialist.com