Tablets (And Phablets) Blur Lines For Marketers

The smartphone market grew a few sizes in Fall 2014 when the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus displays surpassed 4.7-inches – essentially the size of the hands that used them. However, while smartphones are growing, tablets are shrinking: the iPad Mini sports a petite 7.9-inch display, while the Microsoft Surface 3 is only 10.8” diagonal. With these devices converging in size and portability, there’s an increasing trend of PR and marketing agencies rethinking their mobile budgeting, as well as the tablet’s overall purpose in the market.

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Once upon a time, a tablet was intended to be a portable device or go-to for frequent travelers. Now, as the below infographic reads, studies show that the tablet is used most often at home [Source]. This increasingly narrow use of tablets—in certain locations, with a few certain uses, like playing videos or games—has moved the tablet from the “mobile” category, to the “desktop.” At the same time, consumers are doing even more on their phones, from watching videos, to shopping, playing games, and now paying for goods and services. The larger, smarter phones on the market have been accordingly dubbed “phablets.”

So herein blur the lines. Agencies now must determine how to categorize the floundering tablet, and where to allocate budgets between smartphone and tablet.

Meanwhile, dare we consider the effects of the Apple Watch and other wearable technology on re-defining “mobile”…? Stay tuned.

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Facebook: For the Users, By the Users?

Another week, another Facebook API update that affects privacy and, therefore, marketing.

Just so we’re on the same page here, APIs (application programming interfaces) are like secret tunnels that allow one application or platform to share information with another. (For example, you can post to Facebook via the Instagram app.) For today’s digital marketer, keeping track of these relationships is key for social channel management.

Facebook is constantly evolving, and claims to be prioritizing users over advertisers. Over the past few months, the company made a few API updates that could cause a little backlash from brands, but we think they’ll lead to a more engaged user experience in the long run.

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  • Last November, Facebook banned like-gated Facebook pages, encouraging a more organic brand “like” process. While there are still a few ways to procure page likes such as tabs, apps and advertising, this gives users a chance to look over the brand before liking, rather than forcing a shallow fan.
  • In the March/April timeframe, Facebook updated how it measures audience data and how page likes are counted for businesses. For example, they removed memorialized and voluntarily deactivated accounts from business pages’ like counts. While some were disappointed about their drop in followers, this ensures that data is consistent and genuine.
  • A few weeks ago, Facebook locked down their Login and Graph APIs, giving users the ability to choose what data outside apps can read or use when they first access the app. Ideally, this puts users’ minds at ease regarding who is stalking their birthday, or who is checking out their friends’ info.

Facebook discovered that users didn’t like a social media platform where likes were purchased and user data was sneakily pulled, and they did something about it. So –what do you think about Facebook’s “people first” movement? What do you want to see next? (Perhaps this upcoming newsfeed algorithm change?)

President Obama is Twitter Verified

If you are an avid Twitter user, then you already know that President Barack Obama has officially signed up under his own Twitter handle. It’s no surprise that his account, @POTUS, has already gained close to 2 million followers. His spontaneous jump to a personalized social media account has us questioning: Why now? What is there to gain from this? And of course: Is it really him?

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Obama took to Twitter on Monday to announce that the White House finally gave him his own account. Unlike the @BarackObama account, which is run by the Organizing for Action staff, Obama will be directly communicating under the @POTUS handle. Previously, Obama would sign his tweets that were released from @BarackObama and @WhiteHouse as “-BO”. Of course, both of those accounts took to Twitter to welcome Obama’s “irl” social presence.

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Although the President has immense resources for connecting to journalists and the media, using Twitter could serve as a platform to express his personal views to a new public audience. It also broadens both the public’s and the media’s engagement with his presence, allowing them to re-tweet him and to initiate digital conversations.

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Good or bad, President Obama is Twitter verified. And we can’t wait to read what witticisms he’ll come up with next.

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CBC Cooking Cottage 2015: Wetting Our Whistles in Wine Country

When envisioning a ‘dream’ getaway, many different things come to mind. Staying at a beautiful cottage in Sonoma, California with multiple wine vineyard tours sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? For 24 editors, that dream became a reality recently when they were invited to attend CBC’s Cooking Cottage experience.Williams Sonoma

Via @annawatsoncarl

Representatives from Glamour, Women’s Health, People, Martha Stewart, POPSUGAR, Good Housekeeping, Food Network and more enjoyed all different events hosted by multiple brands throughout their three-day trip. The daily activities consisted of an all-you-can-eat Sabra hummus picnic and bike ride, a fabulous dinner at the Williams-Sonoma cooking school, four different wine tasting trips, a Barilla pasta Mediterranean style feast served out on the house patio, and a California Almonds breakfast smoothie competition as a fruity farewell to this dreamy getaway.

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Via @csc1818 and @annawatsoncarl

Through CBC’s Cooking Cottage, editors were invited to not only explore the wine culture of Sonoma, but to also experience some of the best foods that companies like Clif Bar, Omaha Steaks, Cabot Creamery, Jenny Craig, and more have to offer. Sounds as if it is almost too good to be true? Take a look at some of our guests’ posts via the #CBCcottage hashtag on Twitter and Instagram. And don’t be afraid to let your mouth water!

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How Old Do I Look? (And What That Means to Marketers)

Have you seen Microsoft’s new How-Old platform? So far, it’s been a source of viral humor:

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But in reality, this development could be a game-changer for marketers and advertisers. If algorithms can accurately determine people’s ages and genders from their photos and other public media, then we as marketers can better target them.

Think about these overwhelming statistics regarding visual platforms:

Instagram

o   Launched less than 5 years ago

o   77.6 million estimated users in the USA alone [Source]

Facebook

o   Made public less than 10 years ago

o   1.44 billion monthly active users [Source]

These numbers are incredible, and they reflect the astounding rate at which companies that rely on digital interaction and a robust social presence can grow in this day in age.

So, if sites like these are already the golden conduits for marketers and advertisers to reach their audiences, and these audiences use such platforms to create strong social presences via picture sharing, then Microsoft has hit the jackpot.

By identifying demographics like age and gender, which arguably could lead to psychographic identification, brands and their agencies are one step closer to correctly targeting their ideal end consumers. All in all, the genius How-Old platform seems to be the start of something that will improve the efficiency and success of digital marketing. In the meantime, it’s the start of a great laugh!

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“Uptown Rock You Up” – Downtown Style

Rockport debuted its Fall/Winter 2015  collection to top media in NYC last Thursday at the Electric Room located in the Dream Downtown. Editors, bloggers and stylists gathered  in the 1960s Brit rock-inspired lounge to learn about Rockport’s newest line, and a little bit about mixology.

NYC’s Liquid Lab mixologists, cutting age craft cocktail makers, were on top of their libations game. Recipes for two custom drinks were taught and stirred – the sweet and spicy “Uptown Rock You Up” and the cool, refreshing “On the Rocksport.” Editors listened in, self-made sips in hand, to casual presentations about the collection.

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But the crux of the evening was more than the custom cocktails – it was the killer kicks! With a fresh drink to cap their workdays, the attendees were able to mingle, drooling not only over their one-of-a-kind Rockport cocktails, but also over the gorgeous footwear that makes up the Fall 2015 line.

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Rockport’s FW15 footwear epitomizes the look of the casual, urban-influenced gal or guy who refuses to compromise style for the necessary comfort of a great shoe. And with editors from Marie Claire, Lucky, Complex, Allure, and more, the night saw no shortage of style.

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Great PR is the Best Medicine

It seems like every minute there’s a new development in the controversy surrounding Dr. Oz and his TV program, The Dr. Oz Show. The core of the issue appears to be his televised promoting of remedies without proven successes (such as forms of alternative medicine), while presenting himself as a board-certified medical practitioner, which he is. Claims made on The Dr. Oz Show about treatments including weight loss “miracle foods” have upset fellow doctors, who are now petitioning to get him fired from his teaching position at Columbia University.

Since most concerns about Dr. Oz have to do with his successful show, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that other TV personalities would take to the screen to express their opinions. John Oliver, namely, took some time to add his two cents:

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True to the spirit of Last Week Tonight, the hilarious montage of Dr. Oz’s suggested remedies brings into perspective the comedic aspect of the controversy.

The clip also shows the announcement of Dr. Oz’s response to his critics, which has since aired; Most of what he said in that special episode was also included in an Op-Ed for Time magazine. Regardless of what you may think of Dr. Oz and the validity of his on-air practice, this is a pretty brilliant defense. Eloquent and informative, it discredits his accusers while supposedly clarifying some sources of misunderstanding. All in all, it’s a step toward good PR and reputation management for the tarnished medical professional.