Comcast Expects Video-on-Demand Ad Impressions to Increase Tenfold

During this week’s Multichannel News/B&C fourth annual On Demand Summit, Comcast’s Chip Meehan (Comcast Spotlight’s West regional vice president of integrated media sales) said he expects video-on-demand (VOD) advertising impressions on free VOD content to increase tenfold in the next 12 months.

Comcast offering VOD, which allows subscribers the ability to watch what they want, when they want, is nothing new.  In fact, there have been approximately 25 billion VOD views since it was introduced in 2003 and 400 million VOD views each month.

With the number of views growing, VOD is very popular. Generally, cable subscribers are fans of VOD; media buyers, however, not so much.  Those who purchase ad placements have had difficulties in reaching VOD viewers with timely messages and haven’t been able to capitalize on this audience.

Soon that will change with Comcast’s new dynamic ad insertion technology.  The lead time for commercial placement on VOD has been shortened from 2-3 weeks to 2 days prior to the schedule start date.  So, messages will be able to feature timely offers (one-week sales/offers) in a relevant timeframe, which is very important for account categories like QSR (McDonald’s, Taco Bell) and retail (Macy’s, Rooms To Go).

It’s nice to know advances aren’t only taking place on the internet but with traditional media as well.

Stay tuned!

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Blogger Outreach Part Two and Reviewers Retreat Takeaways

Welcome to Reviewer's Retreat 2012 at Great Wolf Lodge, Presented by Pampers

Reviewer’s Retreat 2012: Product Review Conference

As mentioned in our last post on blogger outreach, blogs have grown to much more than what they started out to be. Not only have they increased in number and scope, but the line between blog and website has blurred (i.e., trying to count the similarities between The Huffington Post and USA Today‘s online version could give anyone a headache).

People turn to blogs to seek recommendations. Companies who wish to reach out to bloggers should do their homework to figure out which bloggers would be a good fit for their brand. When looking for the best blogs for your campaign, numbers aren’t necessarily everything. A high number of unique visitors doesn’t always translate to reader trust and loyalty in the blogger’s recommendations.

To enhance our understanding of bloggers who actively partner with brands, DVL attended Reviewer’s Retreat. Hosted by Cecelia Mecca of Cool Baby Kid and Bridgette Duplantis of The Not-So-Blog, the event brought bloggers together to discuss issues facing those who conduct product reviews. It also welcomed a few company and agency representatives to grow relationships between bloggers and brands.

DVL’s social media manager met and greeted bloggers we’ve worked with in the past and engaged with others we hope to work with in the future.  Check out some of our top Twitter takeaways from the event and DVL tips regarding blogger relationships, social media usage and event highlights:

BLOGGER RELATIONSHIPS

Bloggers are busy. If one campaign didn’t pique their interest, try again until you know for sure they’re uninterested.

Be strategic about who you pitch.

Don’t be afraid to ask bloggers questions, either. Keep the dialogue going even after the campaign has ended.

Appointing official brand ambassadors can be a great “next step” in blogger relationships – as long as they’re the right fit.

Exactly. Don’t just have a blog, Facebook page and Twitter account to spew content. Listen to what your followers are saying and then react accordingly.

ALL-AROUND SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS

There must be effort on your side to foster the relationships with your consumers.

Check with them on how best to communicate.

In person, people want to be looked in the eye. Create an atmosphere online and with your responses that makes them feel the same thing in the digital world.

You don’t *have* to be on every social network. Do an audit to see what will/does work best for you.

A great tip that translates to branding as well. Make sure your brand stands out from others in the social media sphere.

Planning and branding for the future: Always think ahead. Not just about why this post/message/tweet works now, but how does it fit in the overall brand and planned strategy.

More of a personal tip – be careful what you choose to share online of family and friends.

Include text on “pinnable” images to better stand out.

Tweet cleverly – and make sure each tweet has enough room for others to retweet you.

A great wrap-up post from the Pinterest session.

Natural lighting is typically best.

RANDOM #REVRET12 HIGHLIGHTS

The pre-event excitement was evident!

All attendees received a swag bag of partnering brands’ products.

“President’s address” from the retreat’s founders.

Interacting online is fun, but nothing beats meeting face to face.

Thank you for having us!

Wishing @BridgetteLA and @CoolBabyKid a successful event in 2013!

Check out the official Reviewer’s Retreat 2012 Pinterest board and listing of attendees’ wrap-up blog posts.

Blogger Outreach: Engaging With Online Brand Influencers and Advocates

PRadICAL: Blog megaphone

When Peter Merholz coined the term “blog,” (breaking up Jorn Barger’s word “weblog into “we blog”), it’s doubtful he could’ve imagined how the online platform would grow into what it is today. The number of blogs and people using blogs continues to grow at a staggering pace (about 181 million blogs globally, according NM Incite, a Nielsen/McKinsey company).

As the digital age rises, so does the consumption of – and trust in – digital-born entities, such as Huffington Post, TripAdvisor, Amazon, Yelp and self-made influential bloggers. Blogs come in all shapes and sizes. People like The Pioneer Woman, Perez Hilton and Seth Godin blog about entirely different topics, but have each amassed followers in the multi-millions.

More and more, people are going to blogs to find recommendations. As we know, stats can vary, but a recent Nielsen study revealed, “Online consumer reviews are the second most trusted source of brand information and messaging, with 70 percent of global consumers surveyed online indicating they trust messages on this platform, an increase of 15 percent in four years.” These reviews don’t just come from traditional review websites, but from influential blogs as well (many of them run by moms). NM Incite found that about 33 percent of bloggers are moms; 52 percent are parents with kids under 18.

In March, AdWeek.com reported on a BlogHer study that found, of those who indicated they use social media:

“81 percent of women representing the general U.S. population said they trusted blogs and Pinterest…”
– and –
“61 percent said they’d acted on a blog recommendation and 47 percent said they’d acted on one from Pinterest.”

If you think about it, this isn’t too different than what people have been doing for generations: Seeking out those they trust for suggestions on products and services. Only now, it’s also done virtually.

Companies can leverage the relationships these bloggers have with their followers to help spread brand awareness. Mashable stresses the significance that creating blogger relationships can have for a brand in its post,Blogger Outreach: 5 Tips for Connecting With Top Influencers:

“A single relationship with the right blogger could lead to thousands of instant relationships with targeted readers who fully trust that particular source; not to mention the back links.”

Not only can companies reach powerful influencers, but advocates who are already passionate for the brand as well that can support it online and offline. Social Business News explains:

“[Brand advocates] will share their opinion, recommendations and even defend the brand from detractors. They may not have thousands of followers or be quoted in the media as an industry thought leader, but they have influence within their social network.”

As public relations practitioners, we still reach out to traditional outlets to earn media coverage. However, thanks to the blogosphere, we now have more opportunities to connectdirectly with influencers and brand advocates.

So how do you best initiate those connections? A great way is to meet the bloggers face-to-face. DVL recently attended Reviewer’s Retreat, a conference for product and resource review bloggers, to learn more about the genre and engage with some influential parents who blog. Stay tuned to our next post where we’ll share some of our top takeaways from the event.

We Want To Play! Filmmaker Helps Caine’s Arcade Become a Reality

One of the great benefits of social media is its ease of spreading awareness. But in order for the word to spread, someone has to see an opportunity and tell a story.

Caine is a 9-year-old boy who built an arcade made from cardboard boxes at his dad’s auto parts shop. His father’s shop was visited by many customers.  Sadly, his ingenious idea went without recognition because they didn’t see the opportunity. But it took one man, a filmmaker, who was simply looking for a used auto part to notice a story in Caine’s Arcade.

The filmmaker, Caine’s only customer, purchased a fun pass (500 turns for $2) and was amazed by the kid’s creativity and enthusiasm during their interaction. So much so, he decided to plan a flash mob to get customers for Caine. His father, who didn’t believe Caine’s story would mean anything to anyone, also allowed the customer to shoot a short film about Caine.

The filmmaker created a Facebook event page asking people to show up and play at the arcade. News spread quickly. The local NBC affiliate made a visit to the Caine’s Arcade; people from around the world were leaving comments and sharing the event. It even landed on the front page of reddit. On the day of the event, Caine was surprised by a mob of people shouting “We want to play!”

The launch of the short film and Caine’s Arcade Scholarship Fund also went viral. According to Vimeo statistics, the film received 3.3 million plays, 11,200 likes and 637 comments. Caine’s Arcade Scholarship Fund asked page visitors to donate $1 or more to help Caine go to, and prepare for college. The cause has raised more than $200,000!

Everyone can relate to a story, because everyone has a story. Caine’s Arcade went viral because someone stopped and realized that there was an opportunity. It takes people like us, in the public relations and advertising world, to find good stories in the most unlikely places. Caine’s story connected with viewers, and as a result, many people took action. Be aware of your surroundings the next time you’re out and about.

There may be a story that you can tell.

 

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em…Reasons for Facebook’s Instagram Purchase Become Clear

In the wake of Facebook’s $1 billion Instagram buyout and recent IPO, Zuckerberg & Co. have just thrown us into even more of a tizzy.

Head to the Apple App Store this afternoon and install the newest Facebook offering—Facebook Camera, a standalone photo-sharing app that allows you to take, edit and browse photos on a smartphone.

Wait, isn’t that Instagram? Yes, but wait.

First, the Instagram purchase isn’t final.

Second, Facebook claims that Instagram will remain its own entity.

Lastly, Instagram has only 40 million users compared to Facebook’s 900 million.

Maybe Facebook has once again flexed its muscles, breadth and buying power to eliminate competition.

Follow the links below for more information regarding Facebook’s new app and clarity on the Instagram purchase.

New York Times: http://nyti.ms/LtgIgx

L.A. Times: http://lat.ms/LJbAv8

All Things Digital: http://dthin.gs/Kufiph

Facebook’s Zuckerberg Wears Hoodie to IPO Meeting: What’s *Your* Style Statement?

As Mark Zuckerberg turns 28 and gears up for Facebook’s initial public offering, he is also making headlines for another reason – his hoodie.

The Facebook co-creator and chief executive caused quite an uproar last week when he donned a hooded sweatshirt to meet with potential investors on Wall Street. News and opinions about the now infamous hoodie spread like wildfire, and it even has its own Twitter handle. Some say it was a lack of respect, a mark of immaturity, an act of rebellion. Others say it was sign of strength for the Facebook brand, a steadfast statement of individuality, a testimony to youthful self-confidence.

Zuckerberg hasn’t made a public statement about his fashion choice, and I am sure he won’t, but you have to believe that the billionaire knew exactly what he was doing when he got dressed that morning.

Branding matters, and that rings true for both companies and individuals. The way you present yourself can have a profound impact on the message you are trying to communicate. Make sure your personal appearance matches the image you want to project regardless of if it’s one of rebellion or one of respect.

After all, there is a lot of truth to the statement “image is everything.”

Billion with a B – Why Facebook Bought Instagram

Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion. Some cry genius, while others call it insanity. If you’re not one of the 30 million people using Instagram, you are probably wondering what makes it worth that amount of money. Some common assumptions are…

It costs a ton to download. Nope. Free. You can’t even buy stuff in the app. You just use it to unlock more features.

It’s a huge company. Nope. 13 employees before the Facebook purchase.

It taps into hard to reach markets.  Yes and no. Yes because lots of “hipsters” use it—a group known for being hard to reach. But no because it’s mostly used by iPhone and Android users —you have to have a smart phone to access it. And those groups are getting less exclusive by the second.

It has a long track record of success. Actually, it just launched in Q4 2010.

So with those myths debunked, now we find out why Facebook made the purchase.

Instagram was competition. Instagram users take and share photos, share their location and interact with other users. That’s Facebook’s thing. And they were getting beat. They couldn’t beat Instagram. So they bought it. And finally, the real big reason that no one really wants to talk about…

Facebook will use Instagram to make a ton of money. Bingo. That could mean ads on your mobile screens. Keep this in mind: Facebook (and now Instagram) isn’t valuable because of its products or services—it’s valuable because of its users. And they will use their users to make money. If you’re not paying for the product, there’s a good chance you are the product.

The Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball recently sold for $2 billion. That’s 130 years of baseball tradition for just twice the amount of an entity less than two years old. This is the world we live in…But then again, the Dodgers don’t have 30 million brand ambassadors.

Guess who does?