December, 2016

Snapchat Is Beginning to Use Machine Learning to Improve Ad Targeting

Snapchat is adding ways to optimize campaign performance with the help of machine learning. 

Earlier this month, Snap Inc. began rolling out what it calls Goal-Based Bidding (GBB). The option, available to marketers buying ads through Snapchat's API, uses machine learning to know which users are most likely to swipe a certain type of ad.

Here's how it works: With goal-based bidding, advertisers can inform Snapchat of when their main goal is increasing swipe-ups—perhaps for app installs, web views or movie trailers—instead of focusing solely on impressions. They can then provide a value for how much they think a swipe is worth, allowing Snap to auto-optimize bidding and delivery to a target audience that's likely to engage with the ad.

While GBB campaigns are still charged on a CPM basis, Snap says the campaigns end up being more effective. According to Snap Inc. around 20 percent of advertisers are already using GBB, and those using it have seen as much as 40 percent improved efficiency in their cost per swipe. (They're also reportedly improving view time.)

Snap has also been making a big push to improve measurement. In 2017, the company plans to expand its line of partnerships with third-parties with more deals expected to happen early next year. (So far, Snap is working with 11 external companies on the measurement front including Moat, Oracle, Nielsen and Google DoubleClick.)

Snap—which is also slowly debuting its camera-equipped Spectacles across the country—has racked up nearly 50 patents in the past few years. According to CBInsights, Snap Inc. acquired four patents in 2016, and while it's nowhere near the 16 it received in 2015 or the 18 it received in 2014, it'll likely need to keep innovating next year. And what are all those patents for? Things like facial and object recognition, acoustic fingerprinting and real-time video calls.

Snap's expected IPO coming sometime next year will likely keep a fire lit under Snap to further innovate. According to a report yesterday in The Wall Street Journal, bankers and executives working with Snap want to portray it as in the same category as the likes of Apple and Facebook, while staying clear of Twitter's problem of overpromising and under-delivering to investors.

Source: Advertising

Fort Lauderdale Welcomes 2017 With Ads Featuring Transgender Models

Fort Lauderdale tourism—which has been courting lesbian and gay visitors for decades—on New Year's Eve will roll out a new campaign that could be a first in the travel category, with transgender models starring in mainstream media ads.

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau advertising campaign, created by Fort Lauderdale-based Starmark International, is kicking off with two new videos on twin billboards at 1515 Broadway and on a bowtie billboard at 1500 Broadway, both in New York's Times Square. 

The first video will start running Saturday morning, Dec. 31, and will feature two men, a woman and a transgender model wearing New Year's Eve headgear, drinking flutes of champagne as they sail the Atlantic off Fort Lauderdale Beach. The ad's transgender star is Isabella Santiago, a Venezuelan model who was Miss World Transgender in 2014. The copy says "Hello, sunny" and "Hello, 2017," as well as "Greater Fort Lauderdale." 

On Jan. 2, the video will change to depict the same four people now simply sailing, with copy saying, "Hello, winter blues."


The videos are a continuation of the destination's 5-year-old "Hello, sunny" campaign, which even owns the website According to bureau officials, the destination has relied on this concept because the word sunny "defines the climate" and also "stands for the breezy lifestyle that exists here, from the sea grass to the sawgrass."

The bureau will greatly expand both the media and reach of the campaign in the new year.  Fifteen-second spot TV and cable ads featuring transgender models will run in New York, Chicago and Boston this winter; TV advertising also will run within Florida during the summer. 

Other mainstream media where the campaign will run include The New York Times' T Magazine, Chicago Tribune's Trib Magazine and GQ. One print ad depicts the four models from the Times Square videos sailing, with copy that says, "Hello, good life." 

Advertising will also run in LGBTQ digital and print media, both domestic and international, including Instinct, Man About World and Via-G Brazil. Copy in one of those ads—which depicts two men drinking coffee at a popular local coffee shop called the Alchemist—says "Hello, daily grind."

Fort Lauderdale began marketing to the LGBT community in 1996, when it ran its first dedicated campaign for gay and lesbian travelers. It was also the first convention and visitors bureau with an LGBT-centric vacation planner, and the first to create a link to a dedicated LGBT travel website on its own website's home page. This past fall, it was the site of the Southern Comfort Transgender Conference, which had taken place since its founding in Atlanta and which it had actively pursued.

Richard Gray, managing director of the LGBTQ market for the bureau, said, "Using trans models in our mainstream campaign says who we are as a destination: cosmopolitan, edgy, diverse, inclusive, authentic and accepting. We are the only destination in the world that is using trans people in mainstream marketing initiatives. That is a huge statement in itself, highlighting this destination's commitment to diversity, inclusion and equality. We want all travelers to Greater Fort Lauderdale to be free to be themselves, to be free to be accepted, and most of all, to be safe and respected."


At the World Travel Market trade show in London in November, Dutch consulting company Out Now estimated that the global value of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender travel market is now more than $211 billion in consumer spending annually.

Ian Johnson, CEO of Out Now, said "the global LGBT market continues to be one of healthy growth and opportunities for a growing number of travel industry participants. However, the LGBT consumer market continues to raise its expectations, and there is much work to be done by the industry in the areas of communications improvements, strategy development, training and quality assurance for LGBT travelers. LGBT people expect the same level of welcome and respect as all people do when they travel."

According to Gray, 1.5 million LGBT travelers visit Fort Lauderdale annually, spending some $1.5 billion; the total number of visitors to the destination each year is 14.5 million, spending $14 billion. 

He also said Fort Lauderdale will spend $8.5 million on advertising in 2017, a slight increase over 2016. 


Source: Advertising

KFC Will Bring Gaming to Instagram With the 'Kentucky Fried Football Challenge'

Remember the old Mattel hand-held football video games? A modern-day version of the game is about to enter the social-media realm.

On Jan. 4, KFC will debut a football video game on Instagram called the Kentucky Fried Football Challenge. With the college championship game on Jan. 11 and the NFL kicking off its playoffs soon, the brand wants to catch consumers at their peak interest in the sport. 

The branded game—which agency Wieden + Kennedy helped create—will feature 31 animations, and it required 35 Instagram accounts to complete. Here is an outline that details more about how the game is played:

  • The game starts on KFC's Instagram page, where thumbnails create an image of a football field. A "Start Here" tab will guide players.
  • Users select the play they want to run from the caption area of the page.
  • Then, they are directed to a football field with a marker showing how far the ball progressed down the field. Users then watch a replay of the gain (or loss) before choosing their next move.
  • They repeat the process, running new plays and advancing toward a touchdown.

George Felix, director of advertising for KFC U.S., said his company "wanted to create a unique gaming experience that combines everyone's love of football, fried chicken and social media. The Kentucky Fried Football Frenzy uses Instagram's native features in a creative and hilarious way that hopefully entertains fans for hours on end."

It's not clear whether another brand has tried such a game on Instagram, but it could be a first in at least the restaurant category. Look for more marketers to integrate interactive features with their Instagram game plans in 2017. 

KFC has been a consistent TV advertiser throughout the football season for national and regional telecasts. Check out one of its spots from September: 

Source: Advertising

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Asks Users How to Improve the Company in 2017

Jack Dorsey (aka @Jack) seems to have been inspired by how another major tech exec used his platform to solicit customer feedback.

Twitter's CEO is taking to the platform he co-founded to ask users what kinds of updates they'd like to see in 2017. This afternoon, Dorsey asked his followers for their advice on how he should improve the company. Last week, AirBnb CEO Brian Chesky made headlines when he began interacting with Twitter users to get their feedback about what they'd like to see added to the service in the coming year.

Dorsey, who returned as CEO about a year ago, has faced criticism from Wall Street over its slow user growth. And while he's no stranger to sharing his thoughts 140 characters at a time, he's not always as visible as some tech execs—i.e. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg—to face the public in some form or fashion. (Dorsey also tweeted his followers asking for ideas for Square, the other company where he serves as CEO.)

Along with asking for feedback, Dorsey is following up with questions and comments about some of the suggestions he's received. Here's a sampling of what changes users are asking for:

1. Editing tweets

2. Getting rid of alt-right trolls

3. Adding ways to follow threads 

4. Creating a way to bookmark tweets

5. Highlighting interesting conversations

6. Improving targeted advertising


Source: Advertising

Twitter Is Rolling Out Livestreaming 360-Video on Periscope Just Weeks After Facebook Did the Same

Two of the most hyped video formats of 2016—livestreaming and 360-degree video—are growing closer and closer together. 

On Wednesday, Twitter announced it's rolling out 360-degree livestreaming to select partners via its Periscope app to allow some users on the platform to share additional angles with their audience. The update also comes just weeks after Facebook announced its own addition of 360 to Facebook Live, which is taking a similar slow release with a broader rollout planned for 2017.

In a Medium post detailing the news, Periscope said it's working with broadcasters to provide "front-row access" at exclusive events around the world with "well known personalities." And while it didn't explain many details about what the events will be or who "well known personalities" might include, the blog post's kumbaya ode to 360-video touted the benefits of users who might want to look around a little more.

"Live 360 video isn't just about taking you to places you've never been; it's about connecting you with people and letting you experience something new with them," according to Periscope. "With these videos, the broadcaster anchors the experience so you can be present with them from whatever environment they're sharing from. When they smile, you'll smile, and when they laugh, maybe you'll laugh too."

But when it comes to the live 360 race, Facebook and Twitter are in second and third place. Before either had announced its offerings, YouTube was already up and running with 360 streaming in 4K for any user to try.

However, while live video has somewhat taken off this year both with brands and everyday people trying it out, 360 video has so far been largely limited to major media companies and brands taking their first steps in virtual reality. There's also the problem with needing an addition 360-degree camera for capturing the footage, which are slowly growing in popularity still nowhere near being a household item. 

Source: Advertising

Why mindybodygreen's Brand Partnerships Are Making It a Digital Leader for Health and Wellness

Everyone approaches wellness differently. Maybe for you it's having a cup of freshly pressed juice in the morning. Maybe you're building up to run a marathon soon, so you frequently jog. Maybe you've started meditating and now you can't stop talking to your friends about its benefits. Maybe you tried yoga once, figured out it's definitely not for you, but still practice deep breathing techniques.

Mindbodygreen understands that. Over 5,000 people contribute articles to MBG from across the world, from everyday health and wellness enthusiasts, to celebrities, to authors or doctors who are academic experts on those topics.

"We wanted to give people the tools to make changes in their lives," said Jason Wachob, the CEO and founder of MBG. "It's a unique way of seeing wellness, from the ground up and from the top down."

"You should be able to read about meditation and be able to learn it, even if you live in Tulsa," said Wachob.

MBG breaks down many topics, from recipes to techniques and trends, across articles and video classes, as well as big in-person experiences like meet-ups for its users.

Brands have started to pay attention to MBG, thanks to its interesting position in the market. Its core demographic is women in their early 30s, typically on the higher end of the income scale, who live in metropolitan areas. But it doesn't stop there, as everyone has a different way of defining what health and wellness means to them.

"We think this lifestyle speak to all shapes and sizes," said Wachob. "With mindbodygreen, we're here whenever you need it. Some publishers are targeted toward very specific niche audiences."

According to Wachob, people in their 20s are thinking about exercise and their bodies; in their 30s, it's all about meditation and taking care of their minds; in your 40s, it becomes about worrying about the environment; and in your 50s, your focus turns back to your body.

"Our brand is a lifestyle, since we can age with you," he said. "No matter what, we want you to be able to go to our homepage and find something for you."

MBG has also become a guru, of sorts, for brands who want to get into the health and wellness space. By acting as a consultant, MBG has worked with brands to show them what their wellness content strategy could be, as well as partnering with them for specific content pieces.

By partnering with websites who focus on health and wellness content, brands can join consumers on their journey. Whether its reducing the amount of sugar in their diets or helping to understand how food allergies function, brand partners can be there as people learn from MBG's experts.

Brands can also, as Wachob pointed out, produce more actionable content that also focuses on being relatable. Because anyone can post content that appears to be green-centric, MGB must establish its credibility. To address that, MBG works with professionals and experts to develop trust with its readers.

Another option is to tap into the power of social and digital influencers, but you have to do it seamlessly. Wachob advised brands like Kit and Ace to use MGB's network of influencers and experts who can show off the technical apparel and how it fits into their lives easily.


green juice, smiles, and exploring with @shelbysphoto shooting for @kitandace.

A photo posted by Tara | Nutritionist & Blogger (@thewholetara) on Sep 20, 2016 at 7:46am PDT


Immersive events are also great opportunities to get in touch with the health and wellness community. Mostly, as Wachob said, it's a way for brands to "position themselves as an advocate for consumers."

Brands like EVEN Hotels have worked with MBG in what they call a "360" partnership.

EVEN Hotels want people to stay well and healthy even while they're traveling. They, too, understand that wellness is an individual experience and built their brand around four key areas: nutrition, fitness, productivity and rest/rejuvenation.

"The breadth of what mindbodygreen covers was important to us as a partner," said Jason Moskal, the vp of lifestyle brands with EVEN Hotels. "We wanted to immerse consumers in the wellness-minded experience."

MBG and EVEN Hotels partnered to create events within the local community around the launch of the new hotel space, which included a livestreamed panel of nominees from MBG's Wellness Watchlist. The Wellness Watchlist was also sponsored by EVEN Hotels, hence the 360 aspect to this partnership.

"By partnering with thought leaders around tentpole opportunities for our brand, we were able to add credibility as we launched and started to grow," said Moskal. "There are different ways to partner with people in order to amplify the message around wellness."

"America is just getting sicker," said Wachob. "There are numerous things all at once, not just millennials who are worried about the environment now, that are affecting us. We all just want to feel good within our own bodies."

Source: Advertising

How Polaroid Is Utilizing Affordable Social Creators to Boost Sales

Polaroid marketers nowadays do not get the kind of budget their forerunners did three decades ago when sales were in the billions of dollars, and it hasn't had an ad agency of record in years. Yet, tech is helping the legendary brand make creativity a winnable in-house game.

About 18 months ago, the brand's parent company, C&A Marketing Inc., hired Aaron Paine as director of social media and digital strategy. Paine quickly began working with Social Native, which has 14 million independent content creators on its platform that are typically paid $250 per image to work with specific brands. Only creators with high engagement rates and sizable audiences are allowed to land such work. (In rare cases, they get paid as much as $500 if a brand asks for a specific setup—such as a "25-year-old blond woman in Utah.")

The first Polaroid effort via Social Native in July 2015 organically reached 2.5 million Instagram users within three weeks, and Paine has routinely been using the platform ever since. In fact, CES attendees next week will see the creator-generated work in the brand's booth as a continuation of its holiday campaign for its blue-tooth-enabled Polaroid Snap camera. 


"Our cost-per-engagement has been as low as 13 cents," Paine explained. "We got a lot of great stats, and [some of that content has gotten] turned into digital advertising. And that's where we really saw the uptick in usefulness."

Using the pics for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google ads produced better results than the one-off campaigns that his team ran with digital agencies during recent years, he said. The system has helped Polaroid, at times, see a 180 percent jump in sales. 

"The top-performing creative piece [from agency work] was getting a 1 percent click-through rate," Pain stated. "And the Social Native stuff shot up to 5 percent CTR. And it drove a lot of traffic and sales to Amazon."

There's long been a debate about whether content creators and social influencers actually ramp up sales for brands. Earlier this month, Sperry raved to Adweek about how well its micro-influencer program was performing as the brand utilized Social Native competitor Curalate. At the same time, a recent Linqua study found 78 percent of marketers said that determining the ROI of influencer marketing will be a top challenge in 2017.

The brands lining up to laud Social Native, though, are impressive. It's not just Polaroid. Coca-Cola extracted several hundred photos in a 48-hour period in one initiative, while Walgreens targeted Asian, Arab and black American women on Facebook with targeted images to pitch mascara. 

"It saw a [four times] increase in performance of working dollars," said Social Native CEO David Shadpour. "We made the creative and informed media buy with data."


After creators accept an assignment and then post their work to their social media channels, his company's software identifies the branded content that's getting the best engagement. Then, the marketer can select what images to amplify with spend. 

"We treat their social audience like a focus group to determine the value of their content," he added. "You get content from not just one lens but from a wider array of lenses. It's helping our clients making better decisions [for advertising]."

Polaroid has been spending roughly $12,000 a month on the influencer program, which can be used globally in eight languages. 

Paine said his in-house creative staffers work with the Social Native images in a sort of hybrid capacity to come up with the final campaign. And it seems to working just fine—even without an agency on speed dial. 

"Twitter's getting, in the second phase [of a new effort], about 1,000 tweets and mentions a day," he said. 

Source: Advertising

Digital Advertising Grew Double Digits Again to Hit $17.6 Billion in Q3

Marketers spent 20 percent more year over year on digital advertising in the third quarter to total $17.6 billion, per the Interactive Advertising Bureau's report on Wednesday. 

The space is well on its way well to exceed the $59.6 billion spent last year, as the IAB has tracked more than $50 billion spent in 2016 so far with one quarter left. The industry organization works with auditor PricewaterhouseCooper on the research.

Check out digital advertising's remarkable growth in the last decade, courtesy of this IAB graphic:


Source: Advertising

How to Revitalize Beloved Pop Culture Brands Like Star Trek, Hannibal and American Gods

These days, one of the safest bets for attracting TV or movie audiences is to rely on existing brand or franchise and try to revitalize it. When it's successful—like the recent Star Wars films or Fox's X-Files revival—it brings in both diehard fans and a fresh audience.

Two of the best writers involved in resuscitating beloved pop culture properties are Bryan Fuller (who breathed new life into the stale Hannibal Lecter franchise by turning Thomas Harris' novel Red Dragon into an audacious NBC series) and Michael Green (who worked on Smallville, putting a new spin on the Superman story). Now those two are teaming up for a new, high-profile adaptation, turning Neil Gaiman's acclaimed novel American Gods into a series for Starz, debuting this spring.

But American Gods is just one of several major brand refreshes that Fuller or Green are overseeing in 2017. Fuller also co-created the first Star Trek series in 12 years, Star Trek: Discovery, for CBS All Access (though he has since departed the show) and is developing an updated version of the '80s anthology series Amazing Stories for NBC. Meanwhile, Green co-wrote three major franchise films: Logan (a darker, grittier spin on the Wolverine franchise), Alien: Covenant (the follow-up to Prometheus, which more directly ties into Alien) and Blade Runner 2049, which brings back Harrison Ford and whose first trailer generated enthusiastic buzz last week:

As they prepare to launch American Gods in the spring, Fuller and Green sat down with Adweek to talk about their approach to breathing new life in beloved pop culture brands, and what they've learned about trying to make fans happy—or not:

Adweek: What has to stand out for you when you're looking at an existing brand or a franchise, and trying to make it your own?
Bryan Fuller: It has to be about something more than just its own plot, to start with. And you have to be able to isolate your own memory of what it is you loved about it. Because if you take something as broad as a superhero character, everyone came at it at a different time and a different incarnation and a different run of a different artist, and so there are different aspects of the character that are in the soul of it for you. That's the core of adaptation, is you have to be able to dive into those things and celebrate that particular aspect of it. It's about taking those core values of what the piece is and making sure that you can now re-present those things to other people, and hopefully they'll appreciate it in the same way that you did.

As you were adapting American Gods, how do you decide what to transfer from the book and what you can leave aside?
Fuller: I think a lot of it boils down to personal taste. There are things about the book that resonated with each of us, specifically and differently, that we both wanted to make sure that we got into the story. And for any of these things it really becomes fan fiction…

Michael Green: …In the best possible, celebratory way.

Fuller: And that's really taking responsibility for not only how we see the project and what gets us excited about it, but also recognizing that there are like-minded fans in the audience, and there are people who don't agree with how you see any given property. So if you're trying to make everybody happy, that way madness lies. But if you're taking seriously your place as the first seat in the audience and that this is fan fiction that you want to see of this property because it's so beloved for a variety of reasons, that's the best barometer, because you know how to make yourself happy as a fan.

While there is a segment of the fan base that might be enraged by anything you do, does the fact that there are already known entities make things easier at all?
Green: It's the old question: what's easier, original versus adaptation? And the answer is always whichever one you're not working on is the easier one, because each will take a fantastic amount of work because you're still trying to take something that was either a movie before or a book before and turning it into what you're doing at the moment, whether it's a whole different genre, whether it's television or even just a rebooting of a franchise. That is a specific set of challenges. It's very different from the challenges of inventing a new world and an original piece, which is equally impossible, because you have to decide, what did the doorknobs look like in this world? Do they have doorknobs? As opposed to, people expect the doorknobs are going to look a certain way.

Fuller: And you're trading in iconography, so you want to make sure that that iconography that you are delivering to an audience has enough punch, not only for you but for them. Because of the iconographic nature of Gods, there is a lot for Michael and I to be curious about and wonder how that would translate to a visual image. Because there's crazy things in the book, like a woman eating a man with her vagina, that you wonder, how does that translate to a moving image? And we wanted to deliver that as written. So as long as you're delivering those pressure points to the audience, then you're able to have more leeway in other areas.

You both have experience with working with a show, or book, or brand that people are familiar with. What did you learn from those previous experiences that informs your approach now?
Green: I did a biblical adaptation on television [NBC's 2009 drama Kings, based on King David] and people obviously are very, very passionate about their biblical. What I learned from that is that the more passionate people are about things—whether it's superheroes, the Bible or their favorite books—the more they tend to remember their memory of their own feelings about it rather than the actual text. And people tend to be very surprised by what the text you're adapting actually says, versus what they recall of it. Especially when you're dealing with things that are sacred to people like the Bible, they were taught it through a certain lens whether they know it or not. Sometimes, pointing out the lens or dramatizing the lens is a creative act that people will resist.

Similarly, I've seen it with Superman. I worked on Smallville Season 1, and there was a lot of talk about what is our version of it. And then you see what was done in the Batman/Superman movies now, where a lot of people decried it because it because Man of Steel didn't feel like the Superman they knew, and yet there is a generation who are growing up and is like okay, as far as I know, that's Superman. To me, it's Dick Donner's Superman [movie from 1978], but that's because of the year I was born, and I can't take it as the only version.

Fuller: In adapting Hannibal, what was fascinating is initially there was so much resistance to revisiting the project because the last couple of movies weren't well received and the last book was not well received, and so there was a question of whether or not this character still had validity in the marketplace. For me, as a fan of the literature and the beautifully bloated purple prose of Thomas Harris, I hadn't seen an adaptation that struck that nerve and really embraced the poetry of how it was written. How to translate poetic prose into a poetic image was inspiring and an exciting challenge because I wanted it to be beautiful; I wanted it to be erotic; I wanted it to be philosophical. All those things were present in the novels but it had never made it through any of the adaptations so I felt like I found a treasure trove of unexplored aspects of the stories that gave me an opportunity to tell a different version of the story that was at the same time incredibly accurate and true to what was written in the book.

Bryan, you came from broadcast, you're doing cable now with American Gods, you worked on streaming with Star Trek. Do you like going between all these different outlets or is there one now that you like best?
Fuller: I think there's something exciting about being on a broadcast network if they are in a place to embrace something different. Everybody balked at NBC being the network for Hannibal, but I had no doubts that we were going to be able to do this show that I wanted the show to be, because the network executives kept their promise to allow us to do the show that we wanted to do, which is probably a rarity. That was a huge leap of faith on their part, and the fact that they let us be for three years is a miracle in the broadcast network environment. So I feel a certain amount of loyalty to NBC. I would love to work with [NBC Entertainment chairman] Bob Greenblatt and [NBC Entertainment president] Jen Salke again on something, because they demonstrated such trust and allowed us to do crazy shit on that show. I don't think I'm done with network television. We're developing Amazing Stories for NBC, and I still think that there's value in all of the networks: streaming, cable or broadcast.

Green: It just takes the right marriage, that whatever your host is, is the right place for it. Because if they resist it being the actual thing that it needs to be, no one can spread their wings.

American Gods has a big fan base, but that's nothing compared to those of Star Trek and Blade Runner. The thought of trying to satisfy those audiences is almost crippling; how much did you each think about that before deciding to tackle those projects?
Green: You think about them and then eventually you have to let go and just metabolize it through your own soul and trust that your version is the version that other people would like to see. Because if you try to please everybody, you end up with nothing. The Comic-Con crowd is a great place to take things, because they'll let you know if you missed. But beyond that, they don't actually want what they think they want. They have something in their head and if you gave them that, they wouldn't be happy. They want to be surprised and they want you to show them something they didn't expect, that still fits within acceptable parameters for them—and their parameters are very wide.

Fuller: With Star Trek, it's so massive and on a different scale, because it is worldwide but it is more specific in many ways than other big tentpole, intellectual properties. So there's no way to make all the Star Trek fans happy. It's a very divisive group, and because the group is so divisive, it took a lot of pressure off of me because I was like, I'll never make everybody happy, so I'm not going to worry about it. I'm going to worry about making myself happy as a Star Trek fan and appealing to like-minded Star Trek fans to get a show that I want to see as a Star Trek fan, and I hope that they do too.

Source: Advertising

The Most Engaging Brand Content of 2016, Month by Month

In 2015, there was a marked increase in the popularity of brand videos on YouTube. In 2016, brands took social video storytelling to another level, not only on YouTube, but on Facebook and Instagram as well, and were rewarded for their efforts.

That’s according to social media analytics company Unmetric, which tracked social campaigns throughout the year as it did in 2015 to determine which ones performed best in terms of engagement.

"Videos have moved from being just reposts of 30-second TV spots to long-form storytelling, with the popular Nike Football post being nearly six minutes long," Unmetric CEO and co-founder Lux Narayan told Adweek. "This year really showed that there's an appetite and attention span for longer branded content if it's authentic and tells a story that resonates well with people, not merely as consumers but universally as humans."

Unmetric studies Twitter, Facebook and Instagram data to determine an engagement score for brand posts of zero to 1,000. The engagement score is a weighted measurement based on the idea that some metrics like shares and retweets have more value for brands than others such as likes and favorites. For YouTube, the company uses a different method for measuring the successfulness of a campaign. There is no engagement score, but likes and how quickly a video accumulates them are important factors. It also uses a combination of its own algorithms and human insights to determine overall engagement.

Narayan noted that brands in 2016 increased their use of user-generated content, pointing to Audi’s Instagram post (below) and JetBlue's Mother's Day post as examples. Brands also highlighted authentic customer stories, embraced cross-channel strategies and found success by asking people to share or use hashtags across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Narayan also noted that girl and women empowerment was a theme that resonated well in 2016 (see Always’, Dove’s and Microsoft’s posts below). "And in what felt to many like a very divisive year, unity shined through around the Olympics with Samsung's post and Amazon's priest and imam video," he said.

Here’s a month-by-month breakdown of social posts from brands that Unmetric determined achieved engagement scores of 1,000 or were otherwise the most engaging of the year:

Source: Advertising