Digital Digest #81: Making the Most of Visuals

Digital Digest: What Edelman Canada is reading in digital marketing, technology and strategy. Fresh links served up Fridays.

Visual storytelling is enjoying a burst of attention as communicators and marketers discover the power of digital visual content such as infographics, data visualizations and video. And it’s proving to be highly effective, as new agencies spring up to license popular Internet “memes” to brands looking to reach an online audience (see first story below).

But this isn’t the first time visual storytelling has enjoyed a boom thanks to new technology: when the simple matchbook was invented at the turn of the last century it quickly became the single most popular medium for brand messages. The matchbook was cheap, easily shared, and at a time when smoking was as popular as groceries the average smoker would look at their matchbook 20 times a day. But the Bic lighter and declining cigarette consumption took matchbooks largely out of circulation, and today they are hardly remembered.

This week’s edition of Edelman Canada’s Digital Digest provides tips and tricks to help communicators make the most of the current boom in digital visual storytelling. But keep in mind – as matchbook advertisers learned – that technology and consumer habits can both change rapidly, and always look to the next horizon. 

- Matthew Hayles, Editor

Technology Update

  • Companies on LinkedIn can now target status updates, filtered by company size, industry, function, seniority and geography, making communications more relevant. (LinkedIn is an Edelman client.)
  • Twitter is also filtering results by introducing simplified profiles to verified accounts. Users viewing verified accounts will now default to seeing a timeline of tweets without replies – or, without @username communications. (Pepsi, mentioned in this article, is an Edelman client.)
  • And for other news that is on everyone’s minds, check out Google’s Hot Trends to learn what people are searching for each hour. (This is for US only for now.)
  • New copyright/attribution agreements secured by Pinterest, with big content shops Etsy, Kickstarter, Soundcloud.

The Growing Power of the Meme

Once a subversive trend known primarily by the Internet savvy, memes (remember planking?) are breaking through to the mainstream and presenting themselves as marketing tools. BusinessWeek explores how memes are being monetized and integrated into marketing campaigns. Businessweek (Coca-Cola and Old Spice, mentioned in this article, are competitors to Edelman clients PepsiCo and AXE respectively. General Motors, also mentioned, is the parent company of Edelman client Chevrolet. )

Facebook acquires

We found out earlier this week that Facebook has snapped up, a platform that allows apps to automatically tag people in photos using facial recognition software. In the wake of Facebook’s recent acquisition of Instagram, it’s clear that the company is doubling down on photos, reflecting a growing trend toward more visually engaging storytelling on social platforms. And with a growing portfolio of powerful third-party photo tools, Facebook is looking to ensure its top status as THE most popular place on the Internet to tell your story in photos. Econsultancy

Case Study: Listen and Engage with Honesty and Authenticity

Almost every social media 101 deck offers some variation of ‘listen’, ‘engage’ and ‘authenticity’ as integral to success.  Watch as McDonald’s Canada takes video, traditionally a one-way broadcast medium, and puts these principles into action to turn it into a social action.  Video allows McDonald’s to answer with authenticity the question we’ve all asked at some point, “Why does your food look different in the advertising than what is in the store?” YouTube, Globe and Mail (Dove, mentioned in this article, is an Edelman client.)

Case Study: Facebook Photo Sets

Facebook and other social networks make tweaks to their site all the time, often without announcement. In this case study, one brand shows how a change to how new photo sets are displayed increased clicks and views by more than 1,000 per cent. Make sure you don’t miss this new tactic. Convince & Convert

Case Study: Social Video is Sweet

When a brand video is paired with a lesson in social engagement, the final product is sure to spark interest. Vancouver video makers Giant Ant Media have provided a charming and interesting take on how businesses can use social media, and HootSuite products in particular, to tell their individual stories. YouTube

Edelman Canada’s Digital Digest is a weekly bundle of links, served up on Edelman Canada’s Our Ideas blog on Fridays. It’s also available by email. If you know someone who would like to be added to the mailing list, have any questions or just want to share some thoughts on anything you read here, email the editor. Let’s get a conversation going.

This week’s edition of Digital Digest was edited by Matthew HaylesShannon MortonDevon BurkeYasmine Kashefi, Rob Clark and Amy Pelletier Beck.

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