Instagram ads: what, why and how

Instagram is rolling out advertising to everyone – no longer just a select few brands such as Taco Bell and Michael Kors.

Below we capture what’s new, why you should use Instagram ads, and how to get started. Continue reading Instagram ads: what, why and how

4 Marketing to Moms Trends Your Brand Should Follow In 2015

With smartphone usage on the rise, mobile is becoming the number one outlet for accessing social media and video content. This year, 83% of moms say they own a smartphone and 60% own a tablet (eMarketer, 2014). Recognizing this shift, it’s important for brands to focus on where moms are consuming their marketing messages first and tailor content to fit those channels.

Combined below are marketing trends we’ve begun to see add value for brands that we work with. We also saw many of these trends as themes at M2Moms conference in Chicago. Ogilvy was a sponsor of the event, and I had a chance to network with a number of brands to discuss these trends:

Mom is on mobile first: 

The next generation of moms is now, and they make up a part of the single, largest population in the US: millennials (18-34 years old). Millennial moms are two things: social and mobile. Ninety-one percent are on Facebook, 46% are on Instagram and 39% are on Twitter. On average, they spend 65.9 hours per month on mobile (versus 49.1 hours on desktop) and 648 more minutes per month using their mobile device than millennials without kids.* Therefore, reaching the millennial mom through these two channels is crucial to the marketing plan.

Stand out with authenticity:

A more authentic content tone and voice resonates with the modern mom. She can pinpoint when she’s being marketed to and when she’s being treated as a valued community member. Creating a friendly tone of voice, like she’s having a conversation with her girlfriends, is appealing.

Short video leads to sharing:

Focus on snackable video as opposed to just snackable content for better sharing and engaging. With popular social platforms like Instagram and Vine limiting video content to 15 seconds or less, there has been a shift toward using short videos to tell the brand story. For example, one of the brands I work with found that organic Instagram video posts on Facebook saw on average 33% more reach and 446% more engagement than other organic status updates with similar messaging points.

Moms want information when it is relevant to them:

She is looking for entertainment and advice. Short clips for entertainment and how-to tutorials are the most watched videos by moms on their smartphones (eMarketer, 2014). Stay relevant and authentic by showing an interest in what mom is passionate about just like she’s passionate about anything her kids are passionate about.

*Source: M2Moms Conference session with, Josh Himwich, VP, Product for The Bump Registry

 Photo source:

Trusting Mom Instincts: Engaging With Moms On Their Terms

The modern mom is constantly online researching websites, blogs and message boards for information on parenting. But is there a way for brands to celebrate a mother’s natural instincts and build an emotional connection?

Last week, Kendra Simpson, vice president at Social@Ogilvy, presented a pre-conference workshop at the M2Moms conference in Chicago.  Close to 300 attendees were at the conference from CPG brands and retailers to restaurants and agencies.

In Kendra’s session, she shared how Huggies was able to leverage agile marketing and engage with moms online in their “natural habitat.” View the video below for a few highlights and key learnings from her session.

Ogilvy & Mather Greece: The Lacta story, so far…

This guest post was written by Panos Sambrakos, Executive Creative Director at OgilvyOne Athens. 

Lacta chocolate has been a symbol of love for generations in Greece. Since the early 90s, all communication for the brand has been in the form of love stories, traditionally as :30 second TV commercials, and more recently in the form of branded content, with an online short in 2009 (“Love at first site“), a crowdsourced TV movie in 2010 (“Love in Action“) and a feature film released in theaters in 2013 (“Love in the end.“).

But in recent years, due to the economic crisis, priorities have started to shift for young Greeks. Instead of searching for true love, they focus first on pursuing a career. At the same time, Social Media has forever altered the way people flirt.

In an age when people didn’t believe in the value of love and didn’t want to invest in it, our mission was to keep the Lacta brand and its love theme relevant.

An integrated campaign was launched in 2014 with a new TVC that talked about the effort one needs to make in order to make a relationship work. It described how much it is really worth to invest in love and how you can find someone that completes you. The main message being “Make the first step, because #LoveDoesExist”.

social media campaign asked people to post messages using the #LoveDoesExist hashtag on Twitter, Instagram and Lacta’s Facebook page with the promise of posting selected messages. Selected messages appeared as online display ads, YouTube pre-roll videos and out-door posters on bus stops around Athens. Users could even select the location of the bus stop where their message would appear.

In order to further raise awareness of the social issue and show people how important it is to invest in love, Lacta made an hour-long documentary titled “Does Love Exist?” that aired on the eve of Valentine’s Day as a prime time TV special.

In the documentary an actor, famous for his leading roles in love stories, sets out on a quest to talk with young people and discover how important love is to them. In his journey he talks with people ranging from 30-something singles and rappers recording love songs, to people who have made a conscious choice to be alone.

To balance the viewpoint, the documentary also featured happily-married couples and people in new relationships.

A psychology professor analyzed the young people’s hesitation to invest in love, offering the advice that by falling in love, one has the best chance to discover their true self and grow as a person.

The documentary managed to attract a 17% viewer share during prime time with more than 1.55 million viewers. That day the #LoveDoesExist hashtag became the number #1 trending topic on Twitter in Greece.

On Valentine’s Day, when the complete documentary was posted on Facebook it gathered 130,000 views, 22,000 likes and 37,000 shares. The documentary sparked a discussion that had many people commenting on how much it made them reevaluate their priorities and their stance on love.

Even though Lacta still held its place as the leading milk chocolate brand in Greece, 2013 marked a year of downward sales trends. The new campaign managed to turn around the brand’s negative trend, as Lacta succeeded in gaining the highest value market share of the last 3 years during the week of Valentine’s day, gaining +2.6pp Share Of Market vs that of 2013. (AC Nielsen, Scanning Data).

Additionally, in February Lacta earned February approximately 75% Spontaneous Brand Awareness, increasing by +3pp vs 2013. (TNS Ad. Tracking).

See the complete documentary, subtitled in English below.

Please visit the documentary’s webpage for more information:

Four Social Content Resolutions for Marketers in 2014




Looking back at 2013, it’s clear that social media has experienced a major evolution in brand content:

  • Oreo tweeted its infamous Super Bowl tweet, catalyzing the “real-time marketing” trend and causing marketers to rethink what’s possible in content production.
  • Vine launched and revolutionized mobile video; brands like GE, Lowe’s and Target set a high bar for experimentation in the new medium.
  • Social media platforms, including Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn, offered new advertising opportunities; better empowering brands to showcase their content through sponsored posts.

These are just a few examples. But what’s ahead for brands in 2014? As the end of the year approaches, it’s time for marketers to look forward.

How can your brand achieve better social media content in 2014? Start the new year off right by setting four content resolutions:


1. Focus on the right content engine for your brand

Content marketing reached a new high this year and 80% of marketers expect a moderate to aggressive shift in future content marketing spending, according to a recent study. But this doesn’t mean brands need to become overnight media companies. They just need to determine the right content engine that will drive to business objectives.

Is a newsroom model realistic for your brand, or does a content curation approach make more sense? Maybe a real-time marketing or a lead generation strategy is a bigger priority.

Read Social@Ogilvy’s guide to six key content engine models to see which structure might be right for your brand.


2. Inform a smart content & channel mix with data 

As social media becomes even more diverse, brands will need to consider how they should allocate their resources for the greatest impact. What channels and content mix will best meet your business objectives? What return will your current channels provide?

Don’t just default to the biggest networks like Facebook, especially as platform changes continue to indicate a shift towards a paid model for brands. Determine where your key audiences can truly be engaged based on business goals; this won’t be the same for every company.

A new year is an opportunity for a fresh start, and brands need to consult data and research to help make smart decisions about which social platforms they should prioritize.


3. Start designing content for specific contexts

We’ve all heard it before — next year is set to be the real “year of mobile” (no, seriously this time!). The era of mobile is already here, and in 2014, no brands can afford to lag in this area. Smartphones outsold regular phones for the first time in 2013.

People are consuming content like never before, and we need to consider where — and on what device — we’re reaching them. Are they in line at the grocery store? Or on a tablet in front of the TV? The ability to design content for different screens and contexts will define what makes a great social content marketer today. And on an advanced level — telling a seamless story across multiple screens will become the ultimate frontier.


4. Commit to great storytelling

Not all content is king — quality content is what really wins. People are looking for better stories with better characters to hook them in; the new wave of TV and on-demand series is evidence of this. Brands can learn from the success of shows like Breaking Bad and Netflix originals. As an example this year, Chipotle and Fiona Apple set a new bar by gripping viewers in the haunting ad, “The Scarecrow,” named by AdWeek as “the year’s best branded-entertainment campaign.”

A great story begins with a great idea. At Ogilvy, we help empower brands to find this through our big ideaL. What larger story can your brand tell? What cultural tensions impact your customers’ world? The big ideaL uncovers a brand’s best self and brings out its inner greatness. This is what builds the foundation of a powerful story.

What trends are you foreseeing for social content in 2014?


Click below to see this presentation on Slideshare:
Content Resolutions

From Your Pocket To Under The Tree: Mobile’s Expanding Role This Holiday Season


Cyber Monday


Shopping started early this year as shoppers still full from dinner lined up in front of retail locations opening their doors Thanksgiving evening.  However, earlier that day, in-between helpings of stuffing, shoppers were getting a head start with help from their tablets and smartphones.

Mobile had a large role in this holiday season’s busiest weekend. As turkeys roasted in the oven, shoppers were looking up deals, researching products, and even purchasing gifts during commercial breaks in the Cowboys-Raiders game. Mobile devices accounted for nearly half of all ecommerce traffic, and over one-quarter of all sales on Thanksgiving this year. That is a 50% increase from last year.

In fact, we saw significant year-on-year improvement throughout the weekend, as there was an 186% increase in mobile sales on Black Friday, and over 50% increase of mobile sales on Cyber Monday.


How was mobile used?

Mobile covers both smartphones and tablets, but it was the latter that was the driving force of note this season. Although smartphones drove more traffic, it was tablets that saw over 5% more total sales and larger cart sizes (over $20 more than smartphones).

Tablets are slowly becoming PC alternatives, as browsing behavior is similar to their larger cousins, and showcase more usage in lean-back moments of leisure. In fact, tablets beat out both smartphones and PCs when it comes to “primetime” usage (from 8-10pm).

In seeing these numbers, and knowing that Cyber Monday sales this year were up 30% over that of Black Friday’s sales, we have to ask: Why are we seeing rapid digital and mobile adoption? A recent survey shows that many shoppers (90%) were content to do some or all of their shopping online, hoping to avoid the chaos that awaited them in-store this holiday season.

Smartphone driven revenue is becoming a larger part of total ecommerce, as we have seen 66% growth from Q3 2012 to Q3 2013, with desktop revenue percentage shrinking by 8%. This is not surprising considering 29% of mobile mothers, according to eMarketer, say they shop on mobile because they don’t have time to go to the store, and it is fast and easy.


What does this mean for brands?

With Mobile Internet time spent primed to overtake PC Internet time spent as early as 2014, brands must be prepared to handle a mobilized shopping audience. As smartphone adoption swells beyond 60%, what can brands and retailers do to take advantage of this mobile mind shift?

They must understand it goes beyond commerce. When it comes to shopping related activities, mobile is becoming an important research platform.  Mobile, the always on/always with you platform, provides an outlet to satisfy impulse. Overheard that your nephew is interested in a toy you’ve never heard of while grabbing that second slice of pie? Users can take out their phones and learn more about it and where to get it. In fact, 68% of shopping related mobile searches are for gaining information about a product and how to get it (eMarketer).


How could it affect the entire shopping experience?

Considering that 74% of smartphone related purchases are completed offline (eMarketer), let’s walk through a potential shopper’s journey and see where mobile plays a role.

Lets say you found that your local big box retailer has the toy your nephew wants (using your GPS location in search results to provide closest option). You go to the store, and use indoor positioning (using the store’s WiFi network to act as an indoor GPS) to find the toy.

You are a savvy shopper, so you look at other stores in the area to see what prices they are offering for the toy, seeing if you can score a better deal (showrooming apps like Red Laser can search available product prices by scanning the barcode of the product).

Luckily the Big Box retailer has a promotion with your comparison app and provides an in-store only discount (where geofencing could be leveraged to identify if you are indeed in the store or not).

You then add the discount to your passbook and check out. You celebrate the successful shopping experience by posting on Facebook on the way to your car.


Mobile can be the bridge between the physical and digital. Effectively managing this relationship can augment the traditional retail experience with a rich layer of information that supports the shopper/retailer relationship. And this convergence is where the future of retail is heading.  Question is, will you be ready to serve them throughout their shopping journey?

The Many [Marketing] Lessons of #SFBatkid



PHOTO CREDIT: Associated Press


On Friday, November 15 we all watched a great storytelling event unfold. Miles Scott, a five-year-old leukemia patient recently in remission, wanted to be Batkid for the day. So thousands of volunteers morphed San Francisco into Gotham City to deliver his dream. All they got in return were warm hearts, wet cheeks and smiles for days.

There was no contest or monetary reward for engaging, the people of San Francisco just wanted to do the right thing and be part of the magic of making wishes come true.

And the entire thing happened because of social media.

Even Patricia Wilson, the director of the Greater Bay Area Make-a-Wish foundation, has said that the whole thing started with a few emails asking for volunteers to line the street. That email was forwarded repeatedly and made its way to Facebook and Twitter.

We all followed along as over 300K tweets were made leading up to Friday and extending into the weekend. The @SFWish twitter handle went from 4,000 followers on Thursday to 26,000 followers on Saturday.  Google shows over 700K results when searched.

Everyone wanted to talk about this story because it was heartwarming and they wanted to be a part of it. According to Mashable, even people outside of the US were getting in on the conversation with 14% of tweets coming from 117 different countries.

As I watched this unfold, I kept thinking beyond the human story and to the marketing one. If this were nominated for any award, it would win. And there is much for marketers to learn from this very selfless act of a great organization.


First of all, start with the story.

A good story that grips your emotions always wins. The Make-a-Wish foundation had a story about Miles who was finally in remission and wanted to be Batman. But the story evolved into the city government and newspaper diving in to play along and everyone under the sun donating their time and talents (and Lamborghinis).

But the real story started with the call from the Police Chief that morning, to saving the woman on the cable car track and the Giants mascot, to ultimately being awarded the key to the city. We all followed along all day on social media – but it started with the story.


Be simple and consistent.

It was truly a social media explosion (and traditional media, too). The #SFBatkid hashtag allowed everyone in and out of the city (and country) to cheer him on. Celebrities got involved and even the POTUS posted a Vine to thank Miles at the end of the day. The lesson here is simple: stay consistent. Make it easy for people to follow your story.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation created the hashtag but the media caught on and picked it up immediately. Headlines didn’t read “Child’s dreams come true”, they read “Batkid stole our hearts”.


Consider how content helps tell the story.

On Instagram there were thousands of images shared. The cover of the Chronicle that was altered to Gotham Examiner was a hit, as were posters and t-shirts with the Batkid logo. All of these small things made a difference to creating that emotional connection to the story and igniting interest in wanting to be part of it all.

The reminder here is content matters. Custom artwork, a specialized logo for an event, even branded t-shirts that connect you with a movement, an event, or even a brand, matter. They continue the word of mouth online and off and can be the social currency to maintain the conversation.


Friday was a heart-warming day. Let us not forget how powerful being part of a strong emotional story can be. And to Miles and his family, we wish you all the best. Stay strong and thank you for helping our wishes come true, too.

Snapchat turns fleeting content into real-time marketing

Remember when Facebook was a new, disruptive platform just for college kids? Fast-forward to 2013, where the tech industry focus has shifted to mobile. Those who are noticed are the innovative, disruptive and, sometimes exclusive mobile applications. It seems like apps must hold intrigue, interest, guarantee continued usage, and ultimately build a model that leads to monetization. All apps are in different stages of their journeys, but I believe that those offering exclusivity build intrigue and increase adoption.

One App doing that now is Snapchat, which allows you to send disappearing photos or videos (of very limited time) to friends. Once you view the photo or video, you have at most 10 seconds to react. For those 10 seconds, you are a part of the club.

It’s growing at an impressive and exponential rate- between December 2012 and April 2013 photos shared daily via Snapchat rose 200% from around 50 million to 150 million.  (Business Insider)  This rise in interest and the exclusivity factor lead us all to wonder, how can and should brands explore using Snapchat?

Opportunity for brands?

There is immense opportunity for brands as the rise of mobile usage almost guarantees a connection to drive both online and in-store traffic. (According to comScore, last year smartphone penetration crossed 50 percent for the first time, led by Android phones. People spend 63 percent of their time online on desktop computers and 37 percent on mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, according to comScore.” Read more here.)

A few ways to think about how to implement using Snapchat are:

  1. Introducing or re-introducing products organically and create limited time rebates, discounts, or give a freebies (of a new product) with creative “Snappable” content. Taco Bell “Snapchatted” fans a picture announcing their Beefy Crunch Burrito. This was a great way to build deeper connection with fans by offering them exclusive content in a new and unusual way.
  2. Applying a mobile lens through the whole purchase cycle – from using a “snap” to provide a code for access to an exclusive mobile website to “snapping” a discount code for mobile purchase. Because Snapchat images and videos are ephemeral, the content is intrinsically more valuable.16 Handles, a frozen yogurt shop in NYC used Snapchat in a successful NYC-based  promotion. They asked consumers to send a picture of their purchases, and for that their social currency they provided a discount coupon that could be used during the point of sale. These discounts ranged from 15% to 100%, depending on the snap. In general the promotion was well received by the millennial fan base, as they were surprised they could interact with a brand through Snapchat, and were exclusively sent this discount (the majority of fans were not.)

What’s the risk?

One publicized concern about Snapchat is from parents who are concerned that Snapchat can be an outlet for sharing sexually explicit content. Teens aren’t viewing this in the same light, and instead use it to interact with their parents in hopes of proving them wrong and engaging in a personalized one-to-one way.

While privacy settings haven’t been formally created, Snapchat should explore this option, especially as they look to move into a monetized model with brands.

Whether or not you are a Snapchat fan, you can’t deny its selective advantage. As the CEO recently said on Mashable, “delete is the new default,” so let’s see how Snapchat capitalizes on their exclusive content and popularity among fans in the coming months.

Drawing a powerful LINE in brand marketing

Growing globally out of its headquarters in Japan, LINE is a communication application that allows users to make free calls, send emoticons, and more. Though it’s compared to WhatsApp, Viber and Skype because it offers free calls and text, the application is doing more than merely connecting dots. As of June 2013, it has more than 150 million users across more than 230 countries, and its potential as a marketing and promotional tool is tremendous. Continue reading Drawing a powerful LINE in brand marketing

The 7 Do’s and Don’ts of Real-Time #Marketing

This post first appeared on O&M’s Fast Company page

Misguided tweets offering a scone recipe in the wake of a bombing. A Twitter gambit linking painful political upheaval in Egypt to a new clothing line. A social-media blunder connecting Hurricane Sandy with an online store. If you follow the intertwining orbits of marketing and social media, you may know about these episodes of real-time marketing gone awry. Is this really what we are to expect from what once appeared to be a revolutionary concept?

Certainly, to be fair, the rush to real-time marketing is driving innovative disruption—in agency-client relationships, process, creative development, and costs. But as with any newly introduced way of doing things, there are unforeseen bumps in the road. More and more brand executives are awakening the next morning with a real-time-marketing hangover—foggy, unsure of what exactly happened, and, sometimes, full of regret. This has some wondering: “Is real-time marketing worth the effort?”

The answer is a qualified yes.

The key is to know what will move your cause forward and what will run you off the rails. These rules of the road can help you unlock the appeal of real-time response, reap the benefits of disruptive change, and avoid the common pitfalls of the practice.

Tip #1: Timing is everything

Most brands are drawn to real-time marketing because they want to achieve “witty friend” status—they want to be thought of as the guy everyone invites to the party because he knows how to toss a bit of fairy dust over a banal event and transform it into something lively and fun. He surprises us, makes us see things differently. But more than anything, he’s socially savvy and possesses smart timing.

Good timing is equally critical in the world of real-time marketing. But having good timing is not the same as doing things quickly. Where speed is fast and arbitrary, timing is about being patient and discriminating. It can mean acting quickly, but only if you’re thoughtful enough to wait until you identify the right moment—so you’re reacting because it makes sense, not just because you can. Social savvy, whether at a cocktail party or on Twitter, requires a basic understanding of intrinsic social graces, including attentiveness and restraint. When brands rush breathlessly to try to manufacture their own Oreo Super Bowl moment (more on that later), they often run into trouble.

Tip #2: Be witty, not awkward

Don’t be self-involved. Finding ways to inject self-promotional speak into conversations other people are having is not conversing. It’s crashing a party you were never invited to. Instead, practice engaged listening. Identify in advance what cues align to your brand—whether thematic, linguistic, or behavioral—then listen intently for these natural openings into the conversation.

Tip #3: Don’t force it

This is true in marketing just as it is in life: Don’t act desperate. People notice. Don’t force a connection to an event where there isn’t one simply because it’s popular. Rather, successful spontaneous marketing requires seeking the right kind of attention. By aligning with events that are specifically relevant to your target audiences, and providing value—not gimmicks—that enhance their experience in real time, you will earn the right kind of attention. You don’t have to engineer your own football power outage. In fact, waiting for the ideal moment might mean overlooking a wealth of other opportunities. Start simply, by taking a fresh look at your customer experience—offline and online. Where are there moments of tension—areas in the user experience where things break down, are needlessly difficult, or don’t deliver as promised? These are the opportunities to spark delight and relief by providing an unanticipated instant fix or a customized real-time response.

Tip #4: Think before you speak

Don’t ever exploit the tragic or controversial. These are not marketing opportunities, even though recent debacles such as the now-infamous Boston bombing scone-and-breakfast-food tweets suggest some brands still haven’t learned this lesson.

Tip #5: Know your audience

Make sure you have a grasp on whom you’re talking to and what they care about most before undertaking any real-time marketing. You can then focus on events you know your target audience will be paying attention to. From there, figure out where your brand is most credible in the discussion and engineer a logical path to your brand. Where the two interests meet is your real-time sweet spot.

Tip #6: Remember why you’re there

-Don’t lose sight of your business objectives. Oreo did not innovate to be cute, but rather to drive sales. In a moment-driven economy, where brands now flaunt “open relationships,” real-time marketing is like Snapchat, ephemeral and one-off in nature. If there’s no chance the idea will provoke some sort of emotional resonance in viewers, it’s probably not worth the effort.

Tip #7: Don’t be afraid to bring cookies to a cocktail party

Bringing cookies when everyone else is drinking cocktails may seem unsophisticated. But guess what? People like cookies. And after they’ve had a few drinks, they’re more than happy to eat cookies. The same goes for real-time marketing: don’t get distracted with trying to be trendy or impress the wrong people (for example, other marketers). Instead, focus on what matters and what’s real: your customers.

What does that mean? For one thing, don’t focus on being likeable if your real priority is to achieve the emotional impact that drives business results. Likeability is a subtle art form that’s difficult to measure. In fact, the best way to attain it is to not focus on achieving it at all.

Instead, focus your real-time marketing on delivering tangible benefits—whether it’s providing creative inspiration, surprising product hacks, free expert guidance, or a tool to help in a crisis. Practical utility delivered in real time provides instant value—the currency necessary to forge 21st-century customer relationships.

In the end, the promise and disruption of real-time marketing will likely continue to evolve along with platforms, digital behaviors, and consumer expectations. But underneath the real-time jargon are authentic social interactions. The grace, timing, wit and savvy they require have remained largely unchanged. To keep getting invited to the real-time party, plan to bring some cleverness, some creativity, and—sometimes—even a few cookies.