Results tagged “BuzzFeed” from IABlog

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At a recent IAB Town Hall gathering supported by the Content Marketing Task Force and Social Media Committee, members met to discuss the rise of visual content marketing as part of the digital communications mix, focusing on the animated GIF.

In an entertaining presentation titled “Moving the Needle: The Power of the Animated GIF for Publishers & Advertisers,” Tumblr’s Creative Technologist Max Sebela presented the history and significance of the GIF as a file format—including its decline in popularity and recent resurgence as a prime communication tool, plus best practices and the “secrets” behind a great GIF. 

“GIFs were the first file format to give color and personality to the Internet, and they’re experiencing an exciting renaissance as an instrumental force in content creation, consumption and cultivating culture on Tumblr and across the web,” said Sebela.  “We’re seeing a pivotal shift in marketers embracing the animation platform to tell compelling brand stories, connect with consumers, and drive engagement and earned media.”

Members were invited to share their perspective on the GIF format as part of their content marketing mix.
Animation credit: Tumblr

Buzzfeed, arguably one of the most prolific GIF users in the publishing world, added:

BuzzFeed2.gif“If a picture is worth a thousand words, a GIF is worth 10,000. GIFs are a mini-vehicle for storytelling, capturing emotions and communicating them in a concise way that words and pictures alone cannot.” -Joe Puglisi, Senior Creative Strategist, Buzzfeed

“People scroll past hundreds of images everyday on the internet without batting an eyelid. An animated element goes a long way towards bringing an idea to life, and turning an ordinary static image into an extraordinary, eye-catching concept. GIFs help us trim the fat and highlight the core emotional truth behind an instance or idea.” -Will Herring, Senior Creative, Buzzfeed


Animation credit: Will Herring, Buzzfeed

According to Sarah Wood, Co-Founder and COO of Unruly

“The GIF has been re-energized as a format, likely tied to the success and emergence of “sugar cube” content on Vine and Instagram Video.  Portable, postable nearly everywhere, featuring fast load times and quirky, jerky looping “video,” the animated GIF, like Vine, is a content gateway.  GIFs and Vines are both low cost forms of content creation that require the barest of tools and enable a new army of content creators to express themselves.  The limitations of these formats only add to the creativity required to make awesome content.  As short as a couple of seconds, the animated GIF broadens the dimensions of the video content spectrum, followed by Vine at 6 seconds, Instagram Video at 15, all the way to the 2-5 minute social videos we’ve seen trend on the Viral Video Chart.  Animated GIFs and Vine require zero budget—and highlight the democratization of online content.  Brands of all sizes can easily use these formats to drive their social conversation with custom content to win the hearts and minds of consumers, and get their feet wet before expanding to longer forms of video.”

Ahalogy’s Raman Sehgal, VP of Client Services, was quick to point out that Pinterest now supports GIFs and offered this suggestion to marketers looking to take advantage of this new content on the visual discovery platform, “When pinning, always remember the consumer context.  Pinterest is not just a social network, but a content discovery tool.  Marketers need to make sure their pinned GIFs add meaningful value for a user, and are in the right brand lens.  Many of our brand clients treat GIFs on Pinterest not as ads, but rather as inspiring short-form stories.”  See an example here.

Demand Media has a dedicated GIF offering for their clients, says Christine Fleming, Senior Director of Content Strategy and Monetization:

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“The intent of our animated GIF offering is to have the best of both worlds: the instructions and the visualization of those instructions, all in one, without having to go back and forth between an article and a video for example.  We’ve seen an increase in CTR (as compared to related articles and videos) by adding GIFs to related content alongside articles.  We create content that meets the needs of people in their everyday lives, so this it’s a perfect format for step by step tasks that require in motion visual instructions, like cooking or fitness or even making a clothespin earbud holder!” 


Animation credit: Demand Media

Lastly, Business Insider shared an example of how they are incorporating GIFs into editorial content to help bring stories to life. Emily Allen, SVP Ad Strategy added, “They’re great for showing short snippets of video and are much more convenient for the reader.  GIFs are more dynamic than photographs.  They offer the same effect as in the Daily Prophet in Harry Potter - except without the magic.”  

From advertising to sponsored content to editorial usage, it is clear that GIFs are an exciting and powerful element in the visual content marketing toolbox for publishers, marketers and agencies alike.  IAB will continue to host sessions where members will share their content marketing best practices for industry gain. 

About the Author

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Susan Borst

Susan Borst is the Director, Industry Initiatives at the IAB focusing on Social Media, B2B, Games, Content Marketing and Native Advertising. 
She can be reached on Twitter @susanborst

Social Media: Planning for Real Time in Sports Marketing

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At the IAB’s Social Media Agency Day last month, held in the beautiful offices of AppNexus in New York City, I had the honor of moderating the sports marketing panel. The event’s title, “Social: Planning for the Real Time,” was apt given that sports is a highly conducive venue for real-time marketing. That is especially the case with social media marketing, which, increasingly, requires marketers to be constantly on their toes, ready to take advantage of any important moment — or relevant opportunity within or around a sporting event — in which their brand could potentially benefit or add to the evolving story of that game, match or event. In short, the combination of sports, social media and real-time marketing are a potent elixir for savvy markets and brands wishing to tap into consumers’ insatiable demand for smart, visually appealing content.

I led a discussion with three distinguished panelists. We discussed a number of topics related to real-time sports marketing, but first, we had to get the obvious out of the way: Oreo’s now-famous Super Bowl blackout ad. While the Oreo ad featured prominently in much of our discussion about how social media and real-time marketing are changing sports marketing — for better and worse — the panelists quickly made it clear that the ad shouldn’t live in a vacuum. The reality of real-time social media marketing in sports is that it’s not just the big, epochal moments that make for great marketing opportunities for brands. It’s what you do to integrate your brand within the broader context of the sporting event between the pitches, between the downs and after the whistle blows that sets the digitally savvy brands apart from those that allow themselves to be bystanders.

I asked each sports marketer to reflect on what real time marketing means to their organization, how social fits into the equation and how success is measured.  Below is a synopsis of each of their thoughts on how real-time social media marketing is altering the sports marketing landscape, with some of their favorite examples.

Marla Newman | Senior Vice President of Sales | Fox Sports Digital

Real time marketing means engaging with our fans in a way that enhances their viewing experience, their sports knowledge and/or their fandom. Social is the most effective vehicle for real time marketing — in fact they are synonymous.

In terms of inserting ourselves within non-obvious real-time marketing situations, it’s important for us to extend the relationship they have with our brand and our talent on-air and deepen that relationship. It’s important for us to be relevant to their sports experience, which enables us to be considered the go-to source of info and continue to make sports fun. 

Fox_Sports_Logo_KT_blog.pngWhat does success look like? I don’t think anybody has cracked this code yet. We can only look to show increases in the number of our fans engaging — tweet, re-tweeting, taking any form of action then we are heading in the right direction.



Tweet_your_heart_out_KT_blog.pngJonathan Perelman | Vice President of Agency Strategy and Industry Development | BuzzFeed

Social media is all about real-time. I think real-time marketing is quite simple: it’s capturing a moment in a natural and organic way.

Tricks don’t work in social; the consumer can see right through it. To be good in real-time social media marketing, brands need to capture a moment and evoke emotions.

MLB_image_KT_blog.jpgThe concern is that marketers will try too hard and will want to turn every event into a real-time marketing opportunity; that simply won’t work. I love a BuzzFeed example in which we worked with MLB 2K13, the video game that launched around the start of the 2013 Major League Baseball season. 

BuzzFeed_image_KT_blog.pngAnother good example with BuzzFeed is work we did with the NHL around the playoffs in 2012. Leveraging known tent-pole events and allowing great content to find its audience served both brands well.

Tide_image_KT_blog.pngAs for a non-obvious situation, I’m impressed with the Tide newsroom. Tide quickly took advantage of a crash at the Daytona 500, where the crew used Tide to clean the crash site. Tide aggressively used a spontaneous moment and filled the social Web with organic, timely content.

Success on the social Web is about sharing. A key metric in that respect is how often a piece of content is shared/reproduced on the social Web. It’s very difficult to simply make something go “viral.” Creating shareable content that captures the moment and evokes emotion is what works on the social Web. These qualities are what make sports so much fun to watch and talk about.   


Patrick Albano | Vice President of Sales | Mobile and Innovation, Yahoo! Sports

Yahoo_image_KT_blog.pngWe have taken a few interesting approaches to real-time marketing that have helped brands scale this concept. Brands reacting quickly and pushing content or commentary out over social channels is attractive. But we find it’s difficult to scale and sustain this strategy. We have developed ways to help brands understand the stories that are going to go viral before they do and have been able to attach a brand to that content as people start talking about those topics and sharing relevant content. Imagine if we could have told the Oreo team there was a blackout coming and allowed them to prep their integration ahead of time?

A good example of this was the work we did with a wireless service provider for last year’s NCAA tournament. Our editors created “bundles” of content in real time based on the major sports stories in the new. We integrated the brand into the story that day, so all of the discussion and sharing that occurred around the story included the brand.

Another great example is our Smart Ads program, which a large beer brand took advantage during the 2012-13 fantasy football season. The actual ads within the game updated in real time with the names of teams and scores from the previous Sunday’s fantasy match ups, sparking smack talk sponsored by the brand.  

Football_image_KT_blog.jpgSuccess for these campaigns comes in the form of engagement and earned media. We see up to 20 times the engagement lifts with the real-time personalized ads. By attaching to content that’s already being shared and discussed the brand “rides along” and earns media without having to have a news desk or clever social media manager. We’ve also seen 2-3 times the lift in purchase intent and brand favorability based on the brands being able to relate in real time.

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This is the third in the blog series that provides an overview of discussions from the April 3, 2013 “Social - Planning for Real-Time” Agency Day including ways that Travel, CPG, Sports, and Auto have planned social for real-time to make their marketing dollars work harder, and is also a part of IAB Social Media Committee member initiatives focusing on the intersection of Social with Paid, Owned, and Earned Media Best Practices. For more information, contact Susan Borst, Directory Industry Initiatives, IAB - [email protected]. #iabsocial 
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About the Author


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Keith Trivitt

Keith Trivitt is the Director of Marketing and Communications at MediaWhiz where he focuses on strategy, brand, partnerships and the company’s narrative. He is a member of the IAB Social Media Committee and can be found on Twitter at @KeithTrivitt.

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I am not a native advertising expert, but I am an ad pro—and I know bad advertising when I see it. Just because an ad is designed specially to fit on a digital content page, I am not giving it a pass on quality. The truth is that most all so-called “native advertising” is crap.  To be fair, most all advertising is quality-challenged, including offline and on. This is the main problem we should all be working to address.

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How? Here are my three golden rules for all advertising, native or not. Respect this holy trinity to be effective.

1. Make it Relevant.  We know more about each specific page viewer and the content on that page than ever before, yet digital advertising feels even less relevant to me than traditional does. I know I will see car related ads in car magazines, but what ad content I can expect when online seems almost entirely random (I’m excluding the perversely persistent re-targeting which is rarely really relevant). While the potential for relevance is greater than ever, so too are the challenges given digital fragmentation.  It is hard, but difficulty is not an acceptable excuse.

2. Make it Great. Content is still king. We forget this way too often when mesmerized by our data and technology.  These things do not scale ads—great ideas do.  “Great” here can mean abundant utility, entertainment, or information, among other things. This is not a judgment call—an ad earns this grade if viewers interact with it and we have the ability to precisely measure this (and it ain’t via clicks).

3. Place it in the User’s Activity Flow.  And, the corollary, allow the same user interactions as on the content part of the page.  TV and print got this right from the start with ads integrated into the viewer’s activity stream. Commercial breaks and full page ads are known and accepted by consumers as part of the overall content experience. They may not be liked, but the value exchange is recognized by all.  In the digital world, it was decided long ago to put the ads on the periphery of the action. Also at present, viewers have extremely limited options to interact with ads on the page. The sole choice of click-through or not is hopelessly inadequate in this regard. We need to change this to allow users to do within the ads what they have become accustomed to doing outside of them. This is beginning to change with things like the IAB Rising Stars and is a major benefit of many other native ad formats.

Good advertising has the ability to transform businesses and transfix consumers—no matter what form it takes. Let’s move past debating the format and put our collective efforts on realizing the long touted, yet rarely delivered, promise of digital advertising by making better ads. 

About the Author 
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Peter Minnium

As the Head of Brand Initiatives at IAB, Peter Minnium leads a series of initiatives designed to address the under-representation of creative brand advertising online. He can be reached on Twitter @PeterMinnium.

Content Marketing: Who's The Boss?

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Leading publishers and technology providers discuss innovative, collaborative content sharing efforts

While it is the year of data, mobile, and the snake, 2013 also continues to revitalize the age-old trend of content marketing and syndication. It seems these ideas are so old they’re new again.

John Deere has been doing it since 1895 with “The Furrow,” so what is making content marketing so attractive now to the modern marketer? While there is no clear cut definition of content marketing, I would put forth that it is content created by a brand, that even if the branding were removed, that the content would still be valuable and engaging to a reader. If done well, it creates positive brand connotation. And if we work with that definition, it makes sense that the modern marketer (much like the modern publisher) wants to get the attention of content-ravenous consumers, most of whom have one or more devices attached to them at any given moment with which to consume.

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CM Town Hall Kontera.jpgiabcmjoepanel.jpgLast week, the IAB held a Content Marketing Town Hall to foster a discussion around both the concerns and opportunities publishers have in the content marketing and syndication space. The IAB AdLab was packed to the brim. Publishers came with some fears about brands honing in on the content business. To open the day, Andrew Susman, President & CEO of StudioOne and ICSC Board Chairman, reminded us with calming voice that,iabcmforbes.jpgiabcmMinniumMartini.jpg“Currently the industry sees branded content as a type of media buy, but actually it’s a type of content. If you bring audience to branded content - you get content marketing.” 

Joe Pulizzi, Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, delivered the opening keynote of the day, outlining the opportunity for publishers and brands to work together to deliver relevant content to consumers, whether branded or editorial, because, as Jonathan Perelman, VP Agency Strategy and Industry Development at BuzzFeed later noted, “Great content finds its audience.” So it seems that the name of the game is getting engaging content in a place where your readers will consume it, whether you’re a publisher embracing branded content on your site, or you’re looking to syndicate out your editorial content to brands. 

One concern did resound in the room around advertorial content. Should there be guidelines that clearly denote advertorial content? Do ethical standards need to be set for branded content and along with it, best practices on transparency and disclosure? Do we need to create sponsored content labeling conventions? And especially as automated platforms serve up content, how can we ensure that we’re seamlessly integrating advertorial content but not duping readers? The need to ensure will undoubtedly be an ongoing conversation within the IAB, among our membership, and in the industry as a whole.

Download Content Marketing Insights from IAB’s January 2013 Town Hall 

The IAB Content Marketing Town Hall was held on January 24, 2013. Moderated by Susan Borst, Director, Industry Initiatives, IAB, the following industry leaders presented at this IAB member-exclusive event:

Amy Hyde, Product Strategy & Business Development R&D Ventures, New York Times Company

Andrew Susman, President and CEO, StudioOne; Board Chairman, ICSC

Asli Hamamci, Director, Digital, Mindshare

Bill Powers, EVP - Corporate Development, Swoop

Brett Curtis, Global Business Director, Thomson Reuters

Greg Cypes, Director of Product, AddThis

Hal Muchnick, President, Kontera

Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute

John LoGioco, SVP & GM, Outbrain

Jonathan Perelman, VP Agency Strategy & Industry Development, Buzzfeed

Ken Zinn, DVP of Marketing - Online Business Unit, Sears Holding

Mark Howard, SVP - Digital Advertising Strategy, Forbes Media

Michael Goefron, Director of Operations, Unruly Media

Peter Minnium, Head of Digital Brand Initiatives, IAB

Shafqat Islam, Co-Founder & CEO, Newscred

Skip Brand, CEO, Martini Media

Tim Clark, Corporate Blogs Editor-in-Chief & Social Media Strategist, SAP


 About the Author

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Julie Van Ullen

Julie Van Ullen is the Vice President of Member Services at the Interactive Advertising Bureau. Ms. Van Ullen oversees member acquisition, participation, and retention programs. In addition, she works with designated member leaders to develop strategic, market-marking initiatives for execution within IAB’s Committees and Councils.

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Refuting the ‘Social Media Hangover’ at Political Conventions

Please excuse this IABer’s arrogance when she says: the experts got it wrong.

After Tampa and Charlotte, the reports came flooding in “social media revolution failed,” “Parties still need physical convention,” and “will social media ever live up to its promise?”

But if you know what I mean when I say #eastwooding, read no further, you probably already get everything I am about to highlight.

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For some reason, just like novice mobile marketers, the pundits looked to social media to replace the political norms, and missed the true Holy Grail. Just as a successful cross platform marketing campaign reaches the consumer as they move throughout their day, in different contexts utilizing both old and new, social media supplements the convention and campaign platform, it is not there to replace it. Breaking down the walls did not simply mean to host a virtual convention, rather, it’s a tool to expand audience and break down access barriers.

Let’s be honest, while baby boomers and beyond are still happy to find a couch during prime time TV, up and coming generations are highly mobile (and I don’t mean by device), they are cord cutters, and they consume a lot of information and entertainment through multiple platforms and services, at the time convenient for them.

Social media is our Where Brother Art Thou’s tin can and soapbox. It’s retail politicking. How in a modern national campaign do you recreate the glad handing, baby kissing, and storytelling necessary for intimate, voter engagement?  Accessibility and communication.

Kal Penn’s call for #sexyface wasn’t just a funny gimmick; it created an opportunity for engagement.  Voters like to feel as though they are a part of the process and in on the secret. It took less than an hour for #sexyface to trend on Twitter.  While an unintended consequence, @InvisibleObama had tens of thousands of followers in the first hour, 40,000 by the next morning.

And this raises a separate question that has yet to truly unfold: measuring social media’s impact.  Some argue in order for social media to be successful, it must be organic. On this point, the two campaigns seem to be diverging, and we will be presented with two case studies by year’s end. Last week, the Romney campaign was the first political campaign to purchase a paid promotion on Twitter. Consider, the President clocks in over 19.6 million followers to the Governor’s 1.1 million.

Campaign strategies aside, the beauty of social media at the conventions this year was its seamless integration - it was universally present, yet invisible - like any great technology should be. From delegates swiping badges to update their Facebook timeline, Eventbrite check-ins, to the hottest ticket in town literally: lattes in the Google Media Lounge, to Convention real-time apps, and Tweet-ups. The experts failed to realize social media at the conventions wasn’t a replacement, but an enhancement.

The 2008 Presidential and 2010 Midterms were just the beginning.  We are only beginning to see the tipping point, and there will be mistakes, flaws, and downright failures as campaigns navigate the best way to put these tools to use.  I am often pointed to the Veep App as evidence social media and technology platforms don’t work for political.  The much-vaunted Veep App would be the first place for voters to find news on the Governor’s announcement for a VP candidate.  Unfortunately for the App, and the campaign, that news broke before the App could.  And it is true; campaigns must have controlled messaging, and esoterically will remain unchanged for the near future.  But don’t shoot the App, campaign leaks are tech-agnostic.

And we’re just scratching the surface. Be sure to join us this year at the IAB MIXX Conference & Expo as some of the smartest minds in media and political discuss the “Digital Election” and examine how the Internet will decide the Presidency this year. To find out more, please visit http://www.iab.net/mixx/agenda.

About the Author

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Sarah Hudgins

Sarah Hudgins is Director, Public Policy, IAB. Follow her @SarahAHudgins.