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How to Turn Snapchat into a Serious Communications Tool (Without all the Seriousness)

October 7, 2016 — by Elise James-Decruise

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This byline originally appeared on HR.BLR.com.

Slowly but surely, Millennial workers are taking over the U.S. labor force. In 2015, for the first time, they surpassed Generation X as the largest segment of the workforce. By 2025, they will make up nearly three quarters of the workforce.

In every case, Millennials want to work for organizations that support innovation and help develop their skills. Snapchat turned out to be ideal for our company, MediaMath, because 70% of our global staff is between the ages of 18 and 34, and we’re a global team, with members in six cities on four different continents.

Coordinating our team’s activities, sharing and celebrating wins, and introducing new team members are just a few of the significant communications challenges that we needed to address in order to work effectively and help our team believe in the mission of the company.

Enter Snapchat.

By introducing Snapchat to every member of our team and making it our go-to platform that each person regularly checks in on, we improved our ad-hoc communication, increased collaboration and knowledge sharing across the team, and developed authentic personal friendships that have substantially changed how we work every day.

Team leaders in every industry should consider adopting Snapchat to keep communications immediate, casual, and sometimes a bit irreverent.

How did we end up on Snapchat?

Our move to Snapchat was not planned, or required. Several team members already used Snapchat on a daily basis in their personal lives, and this crossed over into the work environment during a training session in the U.K. in 2015.

U.S. and U.K. members, some of whom were meeting for the first time, exchanged Snapchat information during this training and began using Snapchat to communicate with the rest of the team. This included photos of the venue they were training in, video snippets of their courses, shots of the branded training materials, and group photos with attendees.

Those who were not at the training were able to feel connected in a way that had not existed before Snapchat. The comradery that was created during that event had a lasting effect that soon spread to other teams as well. Within a week, the rest of the U.S. team downloaded the app and became active users as a means to engage with the broader team.

How to get started

All teams can and should use (free) tools that already exist, to keep internal communications fun, casual, and quick. Once you get everyone on your team to download the app, you can launch Snapchat in three simple steps.

  1. Establish use cases. Share best practices with the team regarding the type of content that will be most impactful and effective when sent to members across the globe. This includes providing sample photos and videos to set loose parameters around length and content and ensure that all snaps are coherent, on-brand, and useful.
  2. Start snapping. There is no better way to get people familiar and comfortable with the platform than by asking them to begin using it in their daily routines. Encourage team members to start snapping pictures and videos that align with their projects to get everyone in the habit of sending and checking the latest snaps.
  3. Talk about it. Snapchat can be an effective tool for sparking dialogue around individual and team projects in a workplace setting. Generate discussion around the snaps exchanged between team members in order to foster productive conversation around current initiatives. These conversations ensure that everyone is on the same page and can lead to cross-departmental insights and actionable next steps for improving performance globally.

What could your team snap?

You can use Snapchat for everything from essential news for the team to celebrations of local wins. On the practical end of the spectrum, daily snaps might include photos of events, internal and external communications, live footage of trainings, or relevant industry events team members are attending.

Since videos are so easy to create and share, Snapchat allows for a real-time review process so team members can audit the flow of the event and offer suggestions for improvement. Additionally, it can allow the team members who are unable to attend an event, the chance to catch the highlights of speeches or panels.

At the Festival of Media event, one trainer utilized Snapchat’s Story function to create a visual replica of the entire event that he then shared on social media, which the team was able to reference in later event discussions.

Not everything shared on Snapchat will be as relevant to a teams’ daily grind, but it’s still important to encourage casual and fun exchanges to maintain the collegiality and fun for everyone, instead of making people take those interactions off-line. Snapchat can make coworkers a natural group of friends, and interspersed with work-related messages, they can share events they go to, funny things they see, challenges, or inside jokes.

Again, teams that are new to Snapchat should choose three types of communications that people should share—relevant events they might attend, celebrating wins, team outings, finished products, visits to the office, etc.

You do not need to establish much in terms of a code of conduct or rules of the road, just make sure to tell people not to post anything they wouldn’t want their boss to see. Soon enough, jokes will develop, interests emerge, and people will let their personalities show as they become more comfortable with the platform.

Snapchat has strongly impacted the temporal and cultural differences and communication challenges that can arise in global teams. This enhanced level of communication subsequently increased the team’s utilization of other tools (Like Whatsapp or HipChat), allowing us to continue important discussions across other channels and devices. Additionally, Snapchat has strengthened relationships on a personal front, as the connectivity created by the app isn’t just limited to work hours.

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Did you Miss Targaryen Tuesday? Don’t.

August 4, 2016 — by Laura Rodriguez-Costacamps

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Last month, New Marketing Institute (NMI) shared our experiences and advice on Snapchat via the HR Business & Legal Resources site. Our team has adopted Snapchat and other traditionally casual social media tools to stay in touch in both silly and professional ways. We have found Snapchat to be the most powerful when we used it to coordinate team activities, share and celebrate wins, and preview new programs and content. The fleeting and short nature of Snapchat allows our team to share things with each other we normally wouldn’t be prone to otherwise, such as a work in progress or an idea someone is thinking of moving forward with.

We then decided to use Snapchat to document some of NMI’s learning and share it externally! We developed a cadence of posts that include:

  • MediaMath Monday – where we showcase facts and fun around MediaMath
  • WTF Wednesday – where we look at statistic from different media channels
  • Fun Fact Fridays – where we address confusion and definitions in the digital marketing industry

We deviate from the cadence with event posts and trending topics. Did you miss Targaryen Tuesday? Check out some of the highlights of what you missed in the last month on NMI’s Snapchat in the compilation below and make sure to follow nmi_live on Snapchat!

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As Social Media Platforms Get Better at Monetising, What Should Marketers Expect?

July 27, 2016 — by Cedric Peillet

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This post originally appeared on City A.M

Monetising is a top priority for the world’s leading social platforms like Twitter and Periscope, and recent figures suggest they’re getting better at it. According to the Internet Advertising Bureau, the UK’s social media ad spend rose 51 per cent last year to £574m, so what developments should marketers expect from these firms over the coming months?

Live streaming and video

The live streaming of video content via social media is a huge growth area and a way to communicate with targeted audiences in real time. Twitter’s video app Periscope and Facebook’s Live service are already up and running, and the likes of Land Rover are using both platforms to broadcast live driving demonstrations. Twitter’s overall advertising model is becoming increasingly video-centric and the platform credits its auto-play video ads for its 48 per cent year-on-year growth in ad revenue.

Sharing branded content

Facebook recently agreed to the sharing of sponsored content on its pages so long as it is clearly marked as such. This is in response to the growing role of native advertising in the form of branded content, which product manager Clare Rubin describes as “a growing and evolving part of the media landscape.”

Although this development doesn’t directly increase Facebook revenue, brands sharing sponsored content will increase Facebook ad spend to maximise exposure.

Emerging platforms

Ad budgets are shifting to emerging platforms such as Pinterest to reach distinctive user groups. John Lewis and Tesco have already used promoted pins, which were recently opened up to UK advertisers.

Like many other networks, Pinterest is exploring social shopping through its buyable pins—currently being trialled by Asos-–and these are likely to be available in the UK soon. Snapchat is also becoming an influential ad platform. Its unique format and youthful audience is likely to divert spend from TV once its new application programming interface is confirmed – which should be any day now.

Keyword-based search

Facebook is developing a proprietary search product and indexing all content. While the objective is to improve the search experience, Facebook is unlikely to pass up the opportunity to monetise the 1.5bn daily searches carried out on its platform, and the launch of an advanced keyword-based advertising solution is predicted.

Audience targeting using first-party data

The potential for using first-party data to reach target audiences across social media is immense and prominent networks are developing solutions to allow brands to do just that. Starcom MediaVest Group recently leveraged Facebook’s demographic targeting to promote Yahoo content in real time, resulting in a significant increase in traffic at a low cost per visit.

Social media plays an ever-increasing role in brand marketing strategies with networks providing access to highly engaged and precisely targeted audiences. The development of social audience monetisation strategies is only just beginning.

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5 Questions with AddThis

March 16, 2016 — by Aruna Paramasivam

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MediaMath has maintained a close data partnership with AddThis, having seen success both with their standard and custom offerings, especially given their monthly coverage of 2 billion unique visitors from 15 million mobile and desktop websites. Now a part of the Oracle Data Cloud family, alongside BlueKai and Datalogix, we look forward to working with them even closer, especially given their scale in international markets. I recently sat down with Hal Muchnick, CIO of AddThis, on his recent visit to our offices to hear his thoughts on what differentiates their data and what lies ahead in 2016.

1. AddThis has a really unique behavioral dataset. Can you talk about your methodology and why it’s so differentiated in the space?

Sure. Our dataset is generated by the anonymous activity of 2 billion unique users who visit any one of the 15 million domains that have chosen to install AddThis JavaScript on their pages. This massive scale gives us unique insight into the interests, intent and activity of consumers across the web, and we update all of this data in real-time. This helps us equip brands with a truly current and holistic window into their target audiences, and we do this at a global scale.

2. What are your best tips for using behavioral data in campaigns?

Behavioral data is extremely versatile. It works as a standalone for awareness campaigns, or in concert with other data types. We’ve seen a lot of success with creating custom audiences in combination with first-party data. For example: you’re an online retailer that owns and understands an incredible amount of data about your active customers, and how they behave on your properties. But what you don’t know is how that user behaves when they leave your site. AddThis behavioral data can help complete that picture, allowing you to target your users on a much broader scale.

3. What do you think will be the biggest challenge for data providers in 2016?

I think data providers need to realize that the days of big brands and agencies buying black box data are numbered! More and more marketers want to know the source, quality and relevance of their audience data; providers who can’t give a clear and transparent answer will struggle.

4. You were founded in 2004 before programmatic was even a word. What have been the most surprising evolutions in the intersection of martech and adtech?

The sheer speed at which the two industries have collided is surprising in itself. We’ve come a long way from the days where advertising tech and marketing tech were two very different practice areas. We’re now in a place where we really need to streamline efficiencies between all the disparate tech available, and I think we’re going to see a focus on that in the year to come.

5. What do you think is on the horizon for the rest of the year when it comes to martech and adtech?

Standard audiences have been a great way to get brands and agencies using programmatic and testing the water. The more standard audiences are activated against, however, the clearer it is that brands are all targeting the same users. Our standard audiences are a little different, because we create them from looking at our first-party-permissioned data set, but folks who are repackaging other people’s data don’t have the ability to create really targeted standard audiences. I think we’re going to see the use of more custom audiences. Marketers are growing weary of standard, off-the-shelf audiences due to the lack of transparency into the composition of the audience and the risk of wasting budget on fraudulent impressions. Programmatic audience buying will continue to evolve from the use of standard data to the need for custom data to plug into and create distinct audiences.

In addition—international growth! There is so much opportunity in EMEA and APAC, and I think this is the year where we’ll really see market penetration in these regions.

Click here to read the other “5 Questions” posts.

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Social Media Tips to Market During the Gift-Giving Season

March 9, 2016 — by Zachary King

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With Spring just around the corner, consumers will be flexing their spending muscle for the upcoming holidays — such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Graduation. Yet with any holiday season throughout the year, there are plenty of opportunities for marketers to engage on social media with potential consumers searching for products online. 

I share some insight and best practices on how you can launch a successful social media campaign, from creating a “holiday-specific” voice, to using video to maximize reach and frequency.

For more, click here to read the full article via Marketing Interactive

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Social Predictions for 2016

January 13, 2016 — by Cedric Peillet

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As we enter further into 2016, we put the focus on social media advertising and pinpoint three predictions that we expect to see over the course of the year.

Facebook search advertising
Facebook is in a strong spot for advertising revenue as it focuses on monetising the 1.5 billion searches conducted on the platform every day. The social network has focused on developing its proprietary product, Facebook Search, indexing all its content including posts, status updates, and photos. Improvements to the search function include personalised search suggestions and quick access to the most recent, relevant posts from both friends and the public. The initial purpose is to help people search within Facebook – which is in line with the launch of Instant Articles, a solution designed for publishers to post quality content on site directly. However, we predict that Facebook will launch sophisticated keyword-triggered advertising solutions in the near future as it continues to assist the organic reach of content.

Brands will leverage live streaming on social
Live streaming via social networks is increasing in popularity and is likely to become a major trend in 2016. Facebook’s Live service and Twitter’s video app Periscope are already moving social media into real-time video and we predict that we will see Instagram and Snapchat launch similar solutions in the near future. This real-time content flowing across social media offers unique opportunities for advertising, as brands leverage its spontaneous, conversational benefits to add authenticity to their marketing strategies. It will undoubtedly lure some advertising spend away from TV, so specific ad formats for live-streaming are likely to be under development as we speak. Given the risks associated with real-time advertising these formats will need to incorporate advanced moderation functionality to enable brands to maintain control.

Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest excel in 2016
We predict that the advertising propositions of Snapchat, Instagram, and Pinterest will mature throughout the coming year, and the industry is already seeing a strong shift of test budgets to these platforms. There is a particular focus on Pinterest in the U.S, while Instagram is gaining interest in both the U.S. and EMEA. Instagram and Pinterest have enormous potential for direct response activations due to the pattern of user engagement, and brands will increasingly leverage these platforms with highly creative sales strategies. While Snapchat is currently focusing on growing its user base, it is set to become the next big advertising platform once an ad API is revealed. The combination of its young audience and unique format is likely to divert TV ad spend. With these emerging ad platforms, marketers are more than ever looking to tech solutions like MediaMath to provide cross targeting and reporting across multiple channels.

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When it Rains it Pours: Engage Consumers with Weather Targeting on Social Media

October 21, 2015 — by Holly Lee

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Advertisers today have the ability to reach consumers with targeted, personalized messaging based on a number of targeting options. One such option is geo-targeting, which allows advertisers to target consumers based on location (e.g. people within 1 mile of a brick and mortar retail store). Under the “umbrella” of geo-targeting is weather targeting – which enables advertisers to engage consumers based on a combination of location and weather data.

Weather targeting on social media channels like Facebook is effective, especially because we know that Facebook users tend to use the social platform while on the go--why not serve them ads for rain boots when it’s raining, or a frozen drink in the heat of summer?

With MediaMath T1 Social, marketers can activate Facebook campaigns based on weather conditions in the cities of their choice. This feature can be used to create messaging or offers specific to certain weather conditions (advertise rain jackets for “light rain,” and crampons for “freezing rain,” for example). The workflow of this feature is designed for advertisers looking for new ways to target people on Facebook and increase the relevancy of their ads. Interested in running social media advertising campaigns though MediaMath’s TerminalOne? Click here for more information.

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Data Transparency in a Programmatic World

June 24, 2015 — by Claire Alexander

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MediaMath is committed to creating an open ecosystem for digital marketers which allows them to customize their marketing stacks and drive outcomes against their unique business goals. Our consumers are marketers and advertisers, so in an effort to educate marketers about the most impactful trends, help them navigate the landscape, and share the unique perspectives of our partners, we’ve asked the CMOs and heads of marketing from partner companies to share their thoughts on their particular pocket of the industry.

Claire Alexander, Head of Marketing at AddThis, a MediaMath Silver Certified OPEN partner, shares her thoughts on the current state and future of social and first party data in the 3rd installment of our “Keep it OPEN” Series.

What do you find is the most exciting aspect of working in the ad tech space?

I love the fact that AddThis is architecting solutions to some of the more mind numbing problems I face as a marketer. This space is continually evolving; the pressure on us marketers to show ROI is definitely palpable. I’m excited to be working on products that help my peers solve for a fundamental problem: how to understand our current and potential customers in a deep and holistic way so we can make smarter decisions about the way we go to market and show real ROI on our decisions.

Based on your experience, how do you find that your role as Head of Marketing in the digital space differs from a similar position in another vertical?

The subject matter and ecosystem players are wildly different in this space than what you’ll find at a media brand, or in a different technology vertical, such as clean tech– but marketing roles across any of these industries share a focus on connecting with customers in a meaningful way, and ensuring that the products offered truly deliver against the promises in our messaging.

Another commonality is the importance of acquiring new audiences and building not just brand loyalty, but brand advocacy, and ultimately driving sales. I love that marketing can serve as the connective tissue between strategy, product, sales and retention, no matter what the vertical.

If marketers can focus on one area of their digital strategy, where should they focus?

Our clients repeatedly tell us that data is the fuel for marketing. They also recognize that demographic and pre-baked segments generate an incomplete – and sometimes wildly inaccurate — picture of target customers. Digital life is fast paced, and panel-based insights, last quarter’s purchase behavior, or segments created even 6 months ago can be woefully out of date. Brands need to have an “always on” approach when it comes to understanding their core audiences — and they need transparency into their data sources so that they can learn about their customers’ evolving interests and habits in real time. Without that learning, it’s going to be increasingly difficult to adjust and connect with the market.

AddThis audience segments are created from hundreds of real time, first party data sets. Explain the benefits of your company’s data methodology and why it is unique.

Our dataset is generated by the anonymous activity of 1.9 billion uniques traversing the network of 15 million sites which have chosen to install AddThis javascript on their pages. Our massive scale gives us unparalleled insight into the interests, intent and activity of consumers on the open web, and we update all of this data in real-time. One result of processing over 3 billion data points each day is our unique ability to equip brands with a truly current and holistic window into their target audiences.

What are some tactics you can give brand marketers and agencies on how best to use the data they see?

Every data source has its pros and its holes – and sometimes it can be really hard to validate that you’re working with a high-quality data set. As a result, my advice is to start any project by making sure that your marketing plans are built from an honest and complete view of the target customer.

Specifically, I’d ask when the insights were sourced, and actively seek out data transparency. Can you “unpack” audiences to validate that the way they’ve been packaged is consistent with your needs? We can all activate against data, but it’s tough to pinpoint how to improve campaigns when you don’t have a clear understanding of exactly how the data was sourced, and what it says about the composition and broader behaviors of those audiences.

AddThis customers love that we can help them create and deliver audiences that “work” … that we can help them supercharge the first party data sitting in CRM or DMPs – whether by appending our digital insights to their records to fill out the picture of what customers are doing outside of the brand’s domain, enabling them to better merchandize offers within their own sites, or by helping them to identify more of their audience to activate against across the web.

How is social data, specifically, best activated and in what other ways can it be diversified to deliver the most impact?

Social data can be a great source of insights for brands, but we’ve learned that social data by itself can create a false view of your audience’s true interests and their relationships to brands. Though we have built our footprint through distributing social widgets, social-specific data accounts for less than 5% of the total digital data we process. We have seen that brands have the best success when they evaluate and act on social data in the context of broader digital content engagement patterns.

Social signals are just one qualifying aspect of the way we create our audiences – it’s the richness of the social signal in context that helps to surface and drive value. All of our audiences take advantage of the fact that we combine social signals with many other dimensions to qualify a segment. It’s the difference between targeting people who have shared content about a paint color to Pinterest, versus people who have shared content about a paint color to Pinterest and then searched for that particular brand of paint and/or visited lots of paint related content across a number of sites in the AddThis network within the past 14 days.

How would you like to see the ad tech space evolve?

I think we should challenge ourselves to address the root cause of problems, not rush to a solution that ends up adding complexity to the ecosystem. There are so many players in the adtech space – but which ones are adding real incremental value? Let’s not get caught up in tech for tech’s sake, but instead keep our eye on delivering the basics that all marketers need: understanding audiences, then being able to find them in the wild, at the right time, and with the most relevant message.