Amazon Offers Animators A New Way to Make Money from Online Video

In a major development for independent content creators, Amazon is inviting all creators to post videos to its Amazon Video service and earn royalties based on hours streamed. The service went live today.

Amazon Video Direct (AVD) is a self-service platform that puts the e-commerce giant in direct competition with video sites like Youtube and Vimeo. AVD makes video content available for free to all Amazon Prime members, who number in the “tens of millions”, and pays creators based on the amount of time the content is streamed.

In addition to streaming, AVD provides other options to creators: content can be made available to rent or own, viewable for free with advertisements, or packaged together and offered as an add-on subscription (through the Streaming Partners program).

“It’s an amazing time to be a content creator,” said Jim Freeman, vice president of Amazon Video, in a a press release. “There are more options for distribution than ever before and with Amazon Video Direct, for the first time, there’s a self-service option for video providers to get their content into a premium streaming subscription service. We’re excited to make it even easier for content creators to find an audience, and for that audience to find great content.”

Launching alongside this new system is the AVD Stars Program, which will distribute $1 million every month among the 100 most popular AVD titles in Prime Video. The monthly bonus is in addition to any other revenue earned through the program, and everyone who uses AVD is automatically enrolled to participate.

AVD launch partners include a mix of both established media brands and online media producers, among them Conde Nast Entertainment, HowStuffWorks, Samuel Goldwyn Films, The Guardian, Mashable, Mattel, StyleHaul, Kin Community, Jash, Business Insider, Machinima, TYT Network, Baby Einstein, CJ Entertainment America, Xive TV, Synergetic Distribution, Kino Nation, Journeyman Pictures, and Pro Guitar Lessons.

Creators who want more information on signing up for Amazon Video Direct can visit Amazon’s website.

Nike Just Made This Remarkable Farewell For Kobe Bryant

Love him or hate him, Kobe Bryant is a legend.

In China, they mostly love him—he’s made a concerted effort, with Nike, to reach out to his Chinese fans over the past decade. And the Chinese have responded with adulation all but unmatched for American sports stars.

Now, with Bryant’s last game fast approaching, Nike and Wieden + Kennedy Shanghai have created a stirring 60-second tribute commercial. And it’s all about that love—which Bryant says might actually be a bit misguided.

“Kobe has an intimate relationship with the Chinese ballers, so he knows exactly how to teach and motivate them,” says Terence Leong, creative director of W+K Shanghai. “Together with Nike China and Kobe, our team crafted the script and made sure the film was just as provocative as the man himself. It was an intense and uncompromising process because Kobe was just as demanding on the creative team as he was on the Lakers.”

W+K creative director Azsa West adds: “[Kobe] chose to focus on becoming a legend rather than being a hero. When it comes to winning, Kobe is willing to push himself to risk everything. Because standing back and doing nothing, that’s real failure. This philosophy is very Nike ‘Just do it,’ and Kobe is the perfect person to deliver this spirit of Nike.”

CREDITS
Client: Nike
Campaign: “Kobe Last Season”
Spot: “Don’t Love Me, Hate Me”
Launch Date: 7 April 2016

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Shanghai | Executive Creative Director: Yang Yeo | Creative Directors: Terence Leong, Azsa West
Copywriters: Nick Finney, Wei Liu | Senior Art Director: Shaun Sundholm | Senior Designers: Patrick Rockwell, Will Dai
Integrated Production Director: Angie Wong | Assistant Producers: Yuan Fang, Jiji Hu | Offline Editor: Hiro Ikematsu
Business Director: Dino Xu | Associate Account Director: Jim Zhou | Account Executive: Shawn Kai | Senior Planner: Paula Bloodworth
Digital Strategist: Bill Tang | Project Manager: Nicole Bee | Business Affairs: Jessica Deng, Kathy Zhan

Production Companies: Elastic TV; Lunar Films | Director: Biff Butler | Line Producer: Kelly Christensen
Director of Photography: Rachel Morrison | Executive Producer (Elastic): Belinda Blacklock | Managing Director (Elastic): Jennifer Sofio Hall
Executive Producer (Lunar): Ken Yap | Post Producer (Lunar): Jeff Tannebring

Editing: Rock Paper Scissors | Editors: Biff Butler, Alyssa Oh | Post Producer: Christopher Noviello
Executive Producers: Angela Dorian, Linda Carlson

Postproduction: a52 | 2-D Visual Effects Artists: Michael Vaglienty, Adam Flynn
Smoke Artist: Chris Riley | Conform: Gabe Sanchez | Rotoscope Artists: Tiffany German, Cathy Shaw, Robert Shaw
Colorist: Paul Yacono | Design: Pete Sickbert-Bennett | 2-D, 3-D Animation: David Do, Steven Do, Claudia De Leon, Sam Cividanis
Senior Color Producer: Jenny Bright | Producer: Drew Rissman | Head of Production: Kim Christensen
Deputy Head of Production: Carol Salek | Executive Producer: Patrick Nugent

Original Music, Sound Design, Mix: Lime Studios | Original Music: Andy Huckvale
Mixer: Zac Fisher | Assistant Mixer: Kevin McAlpine | Executive Producer: Susie Boyajan

Source: Adweek

Audi’s #CatchtheUnseen Instagram Campaign Encourages People To Explore and Capture Uncommon Places

Audi wanted to encourage people to explore further than ever before. They saw that people on Instagram keep posting the same old photos of the same old boring destinations. With the help of Swedish agency Åkestam Holst, they created a microsite that showed where the most Instagram photos were being taken in Sweden. They then encouraged Instagram users to explore more of the unknown and capture these amazing places using the #Catchtheunseen hashtag.

By uploading a photo with #CatchTheUnseen and @AudiSweden, the algorithm could find the nearest geotagged photo and reveal the distance to it. The winner was the one with the furthest distance.

The campaign was a huge success as it helped Audi reach more than 500,000 Instagram users. The winner captured an amazing photo where the next nearest photo was over 8 miles away. The winner received a brand new Audi Q7.

 

Credits
Agency: Åkestam Holst | Andreas Ullenius – Creative Director | Michal Sitkiewicz – Art Director | Eva Wallmark – Art Director
Rickard Beskow – Copywriter | Tom Hedström – Business Director | Johan Eklund – Producer | Jennie Strinnhed & Mirja Hjelm – Account Manager
Jerker Winter – Planner | Kalle Peterz – Web Developer | Nisse Axman – Motion Director | Eric Karlsson – Motion Designer | Torbjörn Krantz – Graphic Designer

Production companies
Photo & Film – C2 with photographer Petrus Olsson.
Web production – More

The New Twitter Algorithm: What does that mean for you?

Twitter is on social media platform truly loved by all marketers and one of the primary reasons for this is because Twitter does not make the marketers face the algorithm that Facebook uses.

Twitter has often been compared to a fire horse, blasting a fast stream of unfiltered content, making Twitter almost the opposite of Facebook. A pretty fitting description, if you think about it.

But the  scenario is soon to be changed. Twitter is now confirming that they are beginning the testing stage with a small group of users. A change in their algorithm, a change which has plagued the minds of marketers for a long time. For the looks of things, sooner or later this change is going to happen…

But what does that mean for you?

And what do you need to know, for now?

It is no secret that changes have been happening for a while now. In fall 2014 the coming of a Facebook style curated news feed is was announced.

Twitter’s timeline is organized in reverse chronological order, but this isn’t the most relevant experience for a user. Putting that content in front of the person at that moment in time is a way to organize that content better. ~Twitter CFO Anthony Noto.

In the month of January 2015, Twitter added the “While You Were Away” feature to their timeline. These two changes came about in quick succession.  This feature shows users interesting tweets that they missed while they were off Twitter, a move aimed at encouraging users to return to the service more frequently.

That was followed by the inclusion of “Moments,”. A tab showing tweets which were based on a varied range of topics. The aim of this feature was to put the tweets under sorting categories that users might be interested in. The bottom line…filter the clutter.

While many of the current users may rebel against the idea of moving toward a more Facebook-style algorithm, the company is acknowledging what Facebook and Google have long since known: that users expect the services they use online to know what they want to see.

In a conference call July 2015, cofounder and CEO Jack Dorsey said, “You will see us continue to question our reverse chronological timeline, and all the work it takes to build one by finding and following accounts…Our goal is to show more meaningful Tweets and conversations faster, whether that’s logged in or out of Twitter.”

In its most recent announcement on December 8, 2015, Twitter said that the company has begun testing a new algorithm where tweets will be ordered by relevance rather than reverse chronological order. So it’s happening, but it’s still too soon to know exactly how it will impact businesses.

Let’s admit it, change was Inevitable. Statistics show that Twitter is struggling to draw in new users even after the changes it has made over the last couple of years. Let’s consider some statistics. In between the months of July to September, Twitter grew only by 11%, from 316 million to 320 million. While that may sound like huge growth to come people, it still missed its growth forecasts, and throughout the past year the stock has fallen approximately 32%. Hence, changes and experimentation were inevitable.

What does this mean for us common users?

Companies complain daily about the fact that they spent years (and precious marketing dollars) accumulating fans on Facebook with the assumption that they would be able to freely reach them. With the decline in organic reach, companies now have to pay all over again to distribute content to their audiences. The fear is that the same is going to happen with Twitter, that marketers will be required to pay to reach their communities on Twitter too.

On the other hand, it could mean that if someone on Twitter has liked a tweet from a brand he isn’t following, that the algorithm could show that content to the user anyway. The truth is that it’s too early to tell what the implication will be for marketers.

Till the time Twitter give us clarity on what exactly will be their algorithm the best bet for all marketers is to continue putting out value-based content that is relevant to their target audience.

The brands that will likely suffer the most are the ones who are putting out nonstop promotional content that gets zero engagement. Useful content that the audience wants to see and engage is and always will be the key to Twitter marketing. Communication with the users, humanising the brands, focusing on engagement and content is what will help a marketer be successful on Twitter in both the short and long term.

At least until we have a better idea of what the new algorithm changes will bring.

 

10 Tips To Increase Engagement On Instagram

Instagram – one of the fastest growing platform for businesses to establish a presence, encourage engagement and get more in terms of business. Here are a few points to remember to increase engagement on instagram.

1: Be Square

Instagram is all about good photographs, so the very first step to making you Instagram marketing mores effective is by using high-quality photos. One of the best ways to save time and compose better photos for Instagram is to shoot square photos. Instagram prefers using square images. So save time on cropping your images. Use the preset shoot square setting which is available with most digital cameras and smartphones.

2: Use a Customized Link Shortener to Track Traffic

A smart marketer will alway make sure that more than enough traffic is leading back to their website from their instagram accounts. It is recommended that businesses use a web link shortener, specially for the URL in their Instagram bio.

3: Be Strategic With Your Bio Link

Instagram is fun and spontaneous when it is being used for personal reasons, but if you want to use it as a marketing tool, you have to be a little more calculating with it. Businesses which have or are rocking the instagram sphere plan their posts well in advance. Even small brand or a one-man show can develop a great presence on Instagram. Use the link in the account bio to connect to a landing page that holds the same posts posted on Instagram. This allows leads to be collected.

4: Take Advantage of Trending Hashtags

The hashtag phenomenon has been considered to be one of the most powerful digital marketing tool. Hence, enough emphasis cannot be put on how important hashtags are. Now instagram allows the explore feature to show which hashtags are trending at that point of time. If a trending tag is relevant to the brand, include them in timely posts to aid discovery.

5: Drive Instagram Users Into Your Marketing Funnel

Yes, getting a follow on Instagram is important, but getting the followers to follow the brand, engage and use the brand is far more important than just a follow. To move users further down the funnel, the brand should consider identifying ways to capture a follower’s email contact. One of the best ways to capture a follower’s email is to ask for it. An image with a call to action in both the caption and visual telling users to click the link in your bio to download an ebook or sign up for a newsletter. Once the user takes this action, the brand has the ability to engage with him or her on a one-to-one basis and take the communication to the next level.

6: Mix Videos and Photos

Including videos in addition to photos,can prove to be a master stroke for brands. Considering that a video can generate three times more inbound links than written posts, it’s a valuable tool that can be used to engage fans, grow your following and drive traffic.As marketers, we all know that Instagram is about visual storytelling, but with a video the brands can actually bring their story to life. Videos are fun, shareable and engaging, and with Instagram’s video editing features they’re super-easy to create. Encourage the followers to create their own videos and collect them on the brands page like GoPro does. The key here is to make it about the audience rather than the brand. Humanise the brand, and instant results will follow.

7: Leverage Sponsored Ads

One of the hottest marketing tips for Instagram is to watch for access to the ever-growing paid feature on the platform. Sponsored ads on Instagram are becoming a regular occurrence on people’s timelines, whether it’s one ad or multiple ads using the carousel element. This gives brands a whole new dimension to target their audience. Before, only people following the account would see photo updates, whereas now brands can promote these to anyone within their target audience. Marketers must be ready with content that is both engaging and created with a particular target demographic in mind. You’ll also want to have multiple posts ready to target to different audiences.

8: Direct Users to Your Most Valuable Content

While Instagram now allows advertisers the ability to add clickable links in their carousel posts, URLs still aren’t clickable in photo descriptions. Fortunately, there’s a way to get around this so marketers can direct followers to their most valuable content. Just utilize the link section of your Instagram account’s bio. Users can be directed to a permanent page, such as your website’s homepage or your blog. But an even better option is to link to your most current content, whether that’s an article, blog post or promotion.

9: Use Sponsored Posts

Sponsored posts are one of the best way to increase effectiveness of an Instagram account. Pairing up with large Instagram accounts that are already catering to your demographic makes every kind of sense. It’s the cheapest CPM (cost per thousand impressions) of any ad platform. The fact is there are tens of thousands of Instagram accounts being built solely for the purpose of selling featured shout-outs to companies and brands.

10: Make Graphics Shareworthy

The content a brand shares should be smart, visually pleasing and most importantly in lines with the thought process of the brand.

Conclusion

There’s no better way to step up your business game than to be active on Instagram. The platform is constantly making improvements, so individuals and businesses can get more out of it. Plus, there are tactics, aside from Instagram itself, to increase organization, engagement and visibility. Explore these tools and tips, and see which ones work best for you and your business.

Why Digital Marketing is better than Conventional Marketing?

The world of social media is having a significant impact on how we act as consumers and how we do business. So it could be fair to say that any business that does not adapt to the new era of marketing and communications is in danger of losing out.  However, whilst I am passionate about all things digital I suggest you don’t blinker your vision and miss out on any traditional media that your customers and prospects use and what currently works.  It could be that a blended strategy of traditional and digital marketing can still yield returns for your business.

Here is how I see the 10 benefits of Digital Marketing v. Traditional Marketing:

1. Level playing field:  Any business can compete with any competitor regardless of size with a solid digital marketing strategy.  Traditionally a smaller retailer would struggle to match the finesse of the fixtures and fittings of its larger competitors.  Online, a crisp well thought out site with a smooth customer journey and fantastic service is king – not size.

2. Reduced cost: Your business can develop its online marketing strategy for very little cost and can potentially replace costly advertising channels such as Yellow Pages, television, radio and magazine.

3. Simple to measure: Unlike traditional methods you can see in real time what is or is not working for your business online and you can adapt very quickly to improve your results.  For measuring traffic to your site you can use Google Analytics to measure specific goals you want to achieve for your website or blog and most packaged email marketing solutions provide good insight into how many people are opening, reading and converting from your emails.

4. Real time results: you don’t have to wait weeks for a boost to your business like you would have to waiting for a fax or form to be returned.  You can see the numbers of visitors to your site and its subscribers increase, peak trading times, conversion rates and much more at the touch of a button.

5. Refinement of your strategy:   Basically anything that you capture in your customer journey can be reported on and honed for greater success at the fraction of the cost of traditional marketing.  After all, how annoying is it to get a couple of forms returned from a mailshot.  Marketing online enables you to refine your strategy at any point in time and see any improvements or opportunities for further refinement almost instantaneously.

6. Brand Development: A well maintained website with quality content targeting the needs and adding value to your target audience can provide significant value and lead generation opportunities.  The same can be said for utilising social media channels and personalised email marketing.

7. Far greater exposure: your business can be seen anywhere in the world from one marketing campaign, the cost to do this using traditional methods would be considerable.  Plus once you have optimised the key word search content in your website you should see a long-term return on your investment and will be fairly low cost to maintain your ranking.

8. Viral: how often do your sales flyers get passed around instantly by your customers and prospects?  Online, using social media share buttons on your website, email and social media channels enables your message to be shared incredibly quickly, just look how effective it is for sharing breaking news.  If you consider the average facebook user has 190 friends of which an average of 12% see their liked posts – your one message has actually been seen by 15 new prospects, now imagine a number of them also like and share your message and their friends do the same?  Mind blowing isn’t it.  However a word of caution, bad news can travel much quicker so make sure you have a risk management strategy to tackle negative press as soon as it is circulated.

9. Not Intrusive: I know most people hate receiving sales mailshots or phone calls at inconvenient times on stuff that they have little interest in.  Online people get the choice to opt in or out of communications and often it is relevant because they were the ones searching for it in the first place.  Also, have you ever got frustrated receiving a regular email on a topic that interests and adds value to you?  Nor me so don’t underestimate the power of market segmentation and tailored marketing.

10. Greater engagement: With digital marketing you can encourage your prospects, clients and followers to take action, visit your website, read about your products and services, rate them, buy them and provide feedback which is visible to your market.   So it doesn’t take long for good publicity to enhance the prospects of your business.

I would be keen to hear your views and online marketing challenges, perhaps I can provide some ideas in my next blog post.

Happy Digital Marketing!