Ideal Length of Your Social Updates

Working within so many different networks, platforms etc, sometimes it is hard to figure out just how long my online content should be. (Especially since in this field, things can change so quickly and without notice!)

Recently, I found this beautifully designed infographic from Buffer and the designers over at SumAll that show the optimal lengths for tweets, blog posts, LinkedIn posts, domains, hashtags etc.  I couldn’t help but save it – then I realized, it would be more useful for me to post it so that I can easily come back to it in the future.

Thanks Buffer and SumAll for such a fun and useful infographic!

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Current Trends of Airport Advertising

My latest trip to the Chicago O’Hare airport made me feel like I was an extra in Tom Cruise’s science fiction thriller, Minority Report.  In the movie if you recall, when Tom Cruise’s character stepped into the Gap, the in-store signage automatically scanned his eyes for identification and delivered on-the-spot targeted messages based on his previous purchases.  Walking by billboards, he was bombarded by personalized messages that seemed to follow him wherever he went.

My own “Minority Report” moment wasn’t quite so extreme.  I didn’t have ads speaking to me but as I was walking to my terminal at Chicago O’Hare earlier this month, the digital display ads did seem to be following me around.  Or rather, they seemed to have popped up all over the place!

Chicago O'Hare Advertising

Chicago O'Hare AdvertisingAnother one in the actual terminal:

Chicago O'Hare Advertising

I don’t know how I could’ve missed them before!  Digging a little deeper, I learned that Clear Channel Airports was awarded a 5 year contract late last year to provide indoor digital media program at O’Hare with nearly 400 devices, located throughout the airport.  According to Clear Channel Airports, the digital media program will reach over 66 million travellers in Chicago annually and could attract as much as $25 million advertising dollars to the city.

The program includes:

  • The first ever 360 degree digital globe located in Terminal 3
  • 2 digital soffits comprising of a total of 60 LCD screens equalling 412 square feet of digital display surface
  • Full network of digital directories providing information on restaurants, entertainment, hotel information etc.
  • Digital tablets available for use within sponsored work stations

For national brands, airport advertising (especially in an airport as big and busy as O’Hare) could be a worthwhile investment if reach and volume is a top goal.  Clear Channel Airports also says that 73% of frequent flyers take the time to read airport advertising messages.  I can see frequent business flyers or travellers stuck in the airport for extended period of time seeing the ads often enough to have the messages stick. But mostly, the ads are a backdrop to the bustle of activity from travellers.  That is why I also appreciate the different tactics big brands are employing to catch your attention – sponsoring charging stations for your mobile devices, work stations with tablets that are pre-programmed with messages, bathroom mirror advertising – all ways to make you notice and located where they know you will be!

Here is a digital sign I saw in the Jacksonville airport:

Jacksonville Airport Advertising

Jacksonville Airport Advertising

Seems like most major airports have gone digital in one way or another with their advertising!  When you have these fresh tactics though, eventually they become old so I am really looking forward to seeing what else advertisers come up with!  Perhaps the personalized billboards in Minority Report are closer to reality than we think!

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GIF It: Bringing Back Animated GIFs

GIF’s have become cool again!

The emphasis though, is on the ‘again’ part.  As I have learned, GIF’s have actually been around since 1987.  But unlike back in those days, the GIF’s that I see today are much more than spinning globes and waving flags.  GIF’s or Graphics Interchange Format is a compressed bitmap image format that supports up to 8 bits per pixel referencing a palette of 256 colours.  The format also supports animation to create low resolution clips.

The New Yorker recently experimented with a GIF animated cover for its website and mobile apps.

New Yorker GIF Cover

Created by artist Christoph Niemann, the cover featured a rainy New York City as seen from the inside of the cab.  The image was simple with the raindrop falling as the animation.  Somehow, the raindrop turned an otherwise dull image to striking.  What a different a simple movement can make to a picture!  Imagine the impact you can have by adding a little movement to the still imagery on your site – you are able to tell a better story and build a stronger emotional connection to your audience. If a regular picture is worth a thousand words, wouldn’t you say an animated GIF is worth even more?

Aside from cover art, I think GIFs have so much potential and can have this same effect on your web content!  Here are a few more ways to incorporate animated GIF’s onto your websites:

Banners – I know an animated banner is nothing new since we’ve all seen our fair share of the animated banner ads but I don’t mind a well designed banner on a website which can help bring attention to important messages like upcoming promotions or events.

Product Images – You can either replace the image gallery all together or show a 360° view of your product.  You can also use the animation to show how a product works in a fun and interactive way.

Events – In the same way that an Instagram video or Vine video would work (without sound), you can show a series of pictures from an event or to highlight certain moments with a replay GIF. But unlike a video, they are shorter and require less commitment for interaction.

Demonstrate UX – Animated GIF’s can be used to demonstrate interaction on an application or site.

Call to Action – They can also be effective Call to Action’s since they are able to draw the viewer’s attention without being obtrusive.

Add a Bit of Humour to Your Content  – GIFs and Memes go together like no other.  Take advantage of this by creating memes that are funny and engaging to your audience.

Use them on homepages, product pages, blogs, landing pages, social media properties or even your email.


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A Funny President and Galifianakis = The Perfect Healthcare Plug

Remember this Funny or Die video featuring President Barack Obama on “Between Two Ferns” with Zach Galifianakis?  I would like to confess that I’ve seen it about 12 times myself since both the president and Galifianakis were absolutely brilliant with their back and forth banter and on the spot humour.  I didn’t even mind that Obama was there to talk about which he was pushing at the time.  (This was the part when Galifianakis sarcastically mutters, “Here we go. Let’s get this over with. What did you come here to plug?”)

I recently read that during the height of the video’s popularity, it was responsible for 40% of the traffic on the site.  A whopping 40%.  What a brilliant use of viral marketing to get the word out on something that would otherwise have been just another government initiative!  The video was authentic and funny – so much so that you probably kept on watching even through the plug.  Another great thing about the video was that they were so up front about what they were there to talk about.  There was no subtly working the topic into the conversation, you knew it was coming – they made sure you knew but you probably kept on watching anyway!

Not only were they able to educate the viewers (while entertaining them too), the video was also able to prompt action.  People were intrigued enough to click on the link or visit themselves. With so much information thrown our way everyday, Obama found a way to get the information across to millennials and even enticed them into action.  We all knew the video was funny but now we also know that it worked!

Whoever thought of putting the president on a Funny or Die video was brilliant!  Showing off Obama’s funny side, paired with Galifianakis in the perfect setting, targeting the “invincible” demographic, choosing Funny or Die as partner and using the perfect platform for sharing – it was the perfect formula for a successful viral campaign.  I am really, truly impressed!

Don’t know about you but I wouldn’t mind another sequel (Obama and Galifianakis yes; Hangover 4? No thanks).

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What is the Buyer’s Journey and Why Does it Matter?

I love creating websites!  These projects are the perfect combination of the technical and the creative, of taking everything you’ve learned about a company’s external and internal needs and creating a product that is functional, attractive and effective.  Understanding the buyer’s journey is essential to building a successful website because that understanding should impact your design elements, content organization and just about everything you do when organizing your website!

Defining the Buyer’s Journey

The buyer’s journey is the path that prospective customers will take as they go from not knowing anything about your company and what you have to offer to becoming customers. When creating a website, the challenge is creating an online experience that can guide your prospective customers through the different stages of the buyer’s journey so that they can leave the website a customer!

There are 3 stages in the Buyer’s Journey:

Buyer's Journey

Awareness Stage

In this stage, the buyer is only aware of that they have a need. They have noticed symptoms of a potential problem but they are likely unaware of your company and what you have to offer.

To target buyer’s in this stage of the buyer journey, your website must be able to create awareness of your product, service or company so that the prospect can begin to understand what it is that you offer and more importantly, how you can help them. This means that as your prospects begin to search for solutions, you must be able to have presence in their search.

72% of buyers will turn to Google in the research stage. This means that the website must have a strong web presence and be optimized for search engines like Google.

Consideration Stage

As the buyer conducts more research on their problem, they now have a better idea of what they need. In the consideration stage, they are seeking different approaches and vendors for their problem.

Buyers today are 5x more dependent on content than they were five years ago. This means that today’s buyers are more likely to conduct their own research online before making a decision. For most buyer’s, 70 – 90% of the buyer’s journey is complete even before they make contact with the vendor! This means that your website must be able to properly communicate the products and services that you offer, the benefits of dealing with your company, what your company is about etc.

The call to actions on your website homepage should also target the questions that your buyers might have in their minds as they are doing research.  Again, the better you are at answering those questions, the more likely the buyers will choose you when they are ready to make a purchase.

Decision Stage

Finally, in this last stage of the Buyer’s Journey, the buyer is ready to make contact with your company, select a vendor and make a purchase.

But just because they’ve made a purchase doesn’t mean your work is over. Most buyers will continue to look for other (better) solutions so make sure the resources available on your website, combined with a great customer service experience continues to prove to the buyer they’ve made the right choice.

The Buyer’s Journey ddoesn’tjust apply to the online experience. It should also apply to how you conduct business offline. Have you figured out your Buyer’s Journey? Do you know where in your journey your prospects come from? How can you better educate them on your company and what you have to offer?

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Great Things

September has been quite the month!  Even with so many amazing things happening, both at work and outside of work, I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to get back to writing.  Somehow, without me even realizing, my blog has become an integral part of my weekly routine – offering me the perfect release and excuse to step away from it all to just be…creative.  This ‘quiet time’ each week, dedicated to marketing, has become a great way for me to ‘feed my soul’.  I hope that all of you have found an activity that you find equally satisfying and inspiring. What a difference it can make…

I am making some major changes in my life soon and while it all scares me, I am equally excited and thrilled!  Life without challenges is life without growth – and what is the fun in that?  Here’s a neat little quote to sum up what I am feeling at the moment:

Say yes to new adventures!
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The Power of a Book

Working in digital marketing, it’s sometimes easy to forget about the more ‘traditional’ methods and the value they can bring to a marketing campaign.  But what I’ve seen is this – that time and time again, when we’re able to use digital and traditional marketing together in a complementary way, the results can be quite spectacular!

Ikea is one of those brands that is so adept at bringing the digital and traditional worlds together.  I’ve looked forward to receiving the Ikea catalogues for as long as I can remember.  Through the years, it has been a true source of inspiration.  From my younger years when I dreamed of the perfect life and the little Ikea home and Volkswagen that would go with it to today, as a source of endless creative inspiration.  Beyond the design, layout, pictures, font and typography, Ikea’s catalogues of recent years has also been an inspiration of how technology can go hand in hand with print to enhance a customer’s experience.

With the augmented reality first introduced in the 2014 catalogue, readers with the Ikea app could scan selected pages in the catalogue to access over 50 pages of extended content including additional inspirations and tips, videos, panoramic shots of rooms and zoom capability.  It was always such a surprise to scan the pages and see what surprises popped up.

Ikea Power of a Bookbook

This year, even with the augmented reality feature, it seems that Ikea is going back to the basics.  In the latest spot produced BBH Asia Pacific, Ikea reminds us, ever so slyly that no technology can replace the joy we get from flipping through the pages of an Ikea catalogue (the “book book” version that is, not the “digital book” or “e book”) Even with the app, the mobile site and the shopping site, I still look forward to receiving my Ikea catalogue in the mail and it still retains its spot on my coffee table where it is always within reach throughout the year.

So no… print is not dying anytime soon.  In fact, according to Ikea, the power of print might just be greater than you think.  Beautiful things can happen when you put the new with the old!

Enjoy the spot here:

Title: Experience the Power of a Bookbook
Agency: BBH Asia Pacific
Client: Ikea

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