Instagram Stories could halt Snapchat’s growing success

Instagram Stories could halt Snapchat’s growing success

This article first appeared on AdNews.

Instagram’s new Stories feature, which is largely a copycat of Snapchat, has already seen multiple brands get on board in the 48 hours since its launch.

It’s hardly a surprise given Instagram still dominates Snapchat in monthly active users, which begs the question – will Instagram’s new feature halt the social media darling’s breakneck rise to the top?

Instagram recently announced it hit 300 million daily active users. By comparison, Snapchat revealed in February that it has more than 100 million daily users, who spend on average 25 to 30 minutes on the app each day.

While it is the social darling of the moment, Snapchat only just got on the ground here in Australia, naming former News Corp sales director Kathryn Carter as its general manager in April.

It’s in high demand with clients and agencies tripping over themselves to get onto the platform. According to sources, there is a four week wait to even get a meeting in the diary at Snapchat. It is also still experimenting with various ad units, which puts Instagram in a better position to appeal to brands having launched ads in Australia a year ago.

So while Snapchat is in demand, Instagram’s more established relationships with commercial partners could help it make gains, Snapchat’s remains somewhat unproven.

Nike, Sony, Airbnb, L’Oreal, Maybelline and Covergirl are just a few of the businesses that have jumped on Instagram Stories. Previously these brands have also used the Snapchat Stories feature, but the swift move to use Instagram Stories could be because the photo-sharing platform has larger audience, and is easily accessible and already familiar to marketers.

For example, Nike told Adage it generated 800,000 views in 24 hours for an Instagram Stories. It posted on the first day the feature was available. On Snapchat, Nike’s best video got 66,000 views, according to Nike’s social media agency Laundry Service.

Nike used its Michael Jordan brand Jumpman23 Instagram account to unveil a new Michigan football jersey. It has also posted a story on its Nikesportswear Instagram, showcasing the latest sneakers available.

L’Oréal used Instagram Stories to take its fans on a tour of its new offices and teased some new products set to hit the shelves in September. Covergirl spruiked its collaboration with Katy Perry and directed its fans to a microsite to purchase the “Katy Kat” range of lipsticks.

Brands seem to be applying what they have learnt from Snapchat to Instagram. Nike has previously used Snapchat too, but the platform is not currently as brand-friendly as Instagram. The more familiarity with Instagram could lead to the shift to use the Story feature within its platform rather than learning how to work the new interface of Snapchat.

It’s harder to follow brands on Snapchat as users need to know their exact user names to find them. Instagram makes searching easier and its lets brands buy ads that directly link to their account. It makes building an audience easier.

Instagram’s new feature also allows users to stay in its ecosystem, rather than jumping between it and Snapchat. Creating a sustainable ecosystem, that keeps users within its platform, is something Facebook has been doing for years. It bought Instagram in 2013 and has been following the same model.

Media publishers are also testing out Instagram Stories. Buzzfeed, Kiis1065 and Triple J have all dipped a toe in.

Instagram’s new feature has also captured the attention of alcohol brands, which have previously been held back from Snapchat due to age targeting issues. Instagram allows brands to restrict viewing to people older than 18, while on Snapchat a brand must pay for ads to target to people of a certain age.

People have been quick to announce Instagram Stories as a Snapchat killer. That’s unlikely for now but it does put more pressure on Snapchat’s pleding commercial model. It’s going to have to move a lot faster to continue to keep commercial dollars from pooling into Instagram.

Will journalism become a sea of weightless bylines?

Will journalism become a sea of weightless bylines?

This article was first published on AdNews.

The Fairfax transition from daily print to mostly digital will inevitably have some casualties, but I can’t help but wonder whether the publisher will end up with an irreversible experience gap as a slew of senior journalists exit the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age.

Some senior journalists are being told their “skill set is not aligned” to the publisher’s new strategy.

But what strategy is that and what skills are more important in journalism than experience?

These are questions that Fairfax Media boss Greg Hywood needs to explain, not just to his own employees, but the wider market, which will be looking at how the cuts affect output and the effect this has on the strength of the Australian media.

Also, the knock on effect and commercial model it can support. A business can only be as strong as its product and a publisher’s core product is its content.

While it’s important to note that are many top, experienced journalists are still at the business, including the likes of Kate McClymont, Nick McKenzie and Adele Ferguson, the exit of several seasoned reporters can only affect the quality of the newspapers’ output.

As Fairfax transitions into the digital age, sources close to the moves say less experienced journalists are being prioritised over senior positions, as their skills better align with those required of the transitioning business.

And when Fairfax shuts down its Monday to Friday editions, it is predicted 40% of the newsroom is expected to be trimmed – leading to further redundancies and loss of experience.

As a young reporter, this saddens me as I’ve grown up reading the Sydney Morning Herald.

I also can’t help but question what will happen to the next generation of reporters without senior mentors to show them ropes and inspire them to produce better work.

If editors don’t support journalists to write about the pointy issues, instead focusing on click-friendly content, I worry we could end up a sea of weightless bylines.

I’m told the younger generation of Fairfax employees are excited by the future, and so they should be. It’s their time to shine and they’ve worked hard to earn the opportunity.

I hope and am optimistic that quality remains the key focus, rather than clickrates – one of the most misleading measurements of journalistic success.

Fairfax has previously been instrumental in exposing corruption in the oil industry, Commonwealth Bank’s financial planning scandal and organised crime in the construction industry.

That’s the journalism Australia needs more of, rather than articles about Shane Warne’s latest tiff with a TV presenter or Lara Bingle’s pregnancy rumours.

Brands listen up, this is how you win with millennials

This article was first published on AdNews.

I read the word millennial about 20 times a day, with nearly every brand making it their sole mission to reach the coveted market. So pay attention, because this is how you do it.

Oklahoma-based fast food chain, Sonic Drive-In, has designed square shakes for Instagram to be sold at Coachella. For one day festival-goers will be able to order a Sonic Creamery milkshake through the photo platform. Using geotargeted technology, deliverers will then be able to find the people who order at the festival and deliver the shakes directly to them.

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In a genius move, the brand allows users to “pay” simply by posting a picture to their Instagram accounts.

The campaign, by Goodby Silverstein & Partners (GS&P), seamlessly channels the #foodporn trend that has seen indulgent milkshakes take over the platform in recent months, also tapping into Instagram user’s love of food-focused posts. And it’s chosen arguably the coolest festival in the world to do so.

Seen milkshakes like this all over your Instagram? #foodporn is why.
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With millennials catching on to the power of their dollar and advertisers finding it harder to reach a generation that rejects the concept of advertising, this campaign cuts through by offering consumers something for almost nothing; a free milkshake for an Instagram post they’ll be dying to do anyway because the content is perfect for the platform.Sonic and GS&P have put consumer needs first, creating a product that is both aesthetically cool and shareable, which is what millennials have been asking for all along.
It’s an extension of pop culture that is already happening so it doesn’t feel disruptive to users and it goes further then just slapping an emoji on a product to appeal to the ‘hip’ people.

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Anyone whose been to Coachella (or seen the pictures) knows it’s where hipsters break bread with flower children and celebrities flock to socialise with everyday commoners. And nearly everyone there is under 30.

Meeting millennials in their natural habitat is smart, and there is no doubt Sonic’s square milkshakes will be plastered across so many people’s social feeds they’ll be reaping the benefits for many months to come.

So if brands are looking to make your mark with millennials; this is one way to do it. But don’t just rip of this idea, think of your own and think of your audience.

The rise and rise of emojis

The rise and rise of emojis

This article was first published on AdNews.

Last year was the year of the emoji, and it doesn’t look like 2016 is going to be any different.

We saw emojis replace words, and whole conversations being had with a few faces, and choice hand symbols. We saw Kim Kardashian release Kimoji which broke the Internet the Apple store rising straight to number one, and the ‘tears of joy’ emoji named word of the year despite technically not being a word.

Brands jumped on the emoticon bandwagon too. Ikea launched emoticons to ‘promote live and understanding at home’, Virgin Active released various squatting, running and jumping fitness emoji’s and Dove gave curly haired girls everywhere emojis they can relate to. Twitter was the primary platform for two emoji campaigns, The World Wildlife Fund using #EndangeredEmojis tweets to raise money and bring awareness, and Domino’s encouraging fans to tweet orders with a pizza emoji. Durex even began a condom emoji campaign for World Aids Day with a series of symbols representing safe sex and condom usage.

A big campaign was from Burger King who enlisted the help of new company Snaps, a platform for connecting advertisers with consumers across messaging applications and devices that specialises in branded emojis. Snaps also developed the Dove branded emojis. The company worked with 20 brands within the first three months of launching, an indication of the interest from advertising in branded visual languages.

Yahoo-owned analytics company Flurry reports mobile app usage rose by 57% in 2015, with personalised apps witnessing the biggest growth of 344%.

The study examined usage from 2014-2015 by recording sessions across various app categories, usage was logged each time a user opened an app.

According to Flurry, the majority of mobile phone usage growth is from Emoji apps because they give consumers the ability to customise conversations via messaging services and social media.

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Late last year Apple released its latest software update, which finally gave users the highly anticipated racially diverse emoji’s – and a taco emoji, because who doesn’t love a taco?

Apples update was followed by a range of pop culture emoji keyboard apps, including Seinfeld, SNL, SMS Rage Faces and Hipmoji. There was even a sexting start-up app that released a slew of vagina emojis called Flirtmoji. And don’t worry fellas, apparently there are still penis emojis to come.

Done well, emoji’s are the perfect medium to reach the coveted millennial market, and the aloof Generation Z to whom words seem to be overrated.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and with emojis being the next step in communication, brands are harnessing the power and putting mobile first in the digital world.

So not only can you converse using emojis, you can sext, brag about your workout, raise money for your organisation, or announce your baby’s birth Kimmy K style.

The possibilities are endless.

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I quit social media (for almost 2 weeks)

I quit social media (for almost 2 weeks)

When I decided to quit social media I thought it would be for good. Then I remembered I am a journalist who needs to live and breathe news and have my finger on the pulse of the entity that is the Internet.

I was sure I was going to change my life and break my addiction to my mobile.

Now, not so much.

I’ll be the first to admit, I need my phone. I need it just as much as I need to know the latest on Scott Disick and Kourtney Kardashian.

They say the average person looks at their phone 1500 times a day. If you work it out, that’s 90 minutes a day, 23 days a year and 3.9 years of your life. It’s beyond insane.

My decision to quit social media came after a discussion with a friend about how technology has changed everything that our parents once knew; dating, the way we communicate, or rather the way we don’t communicate. And the irony of documenting a night out with friends to portray it on Instagram as ‘the best night ever’, rather than actually enjoying the moment.

Personally, I find nothing more annoying than trying to have a conversation with someone who is looking at their phone. I am a firm believer that no one is more important than the person you are with.

It was only when I read an article about ‘phubbing’ (phone snubbing) ruining relationships that I realised I was a phubber in my own relationship. I also saw photos where the photographer removed the phone from the image to show how bazaar our addiction to our phones is. I decided then and there it was time to quit social media.

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Phubbing. By Eric Pickersgill
Everyone was doing it, Essena O’Neill I’m looking at you, so I thought I’d give it a go. How hard could it be?

Answer: hard.

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Essena quit social media (and then begged for her rent money)

On the first day, I found myself reaching for my phone when I sat down to eat my lunch, to take a quick snap for my friends. Or reaching for my phone at traffic lights – a habit that is just as much illegal as it is extremely sad.

I found myself with spare time, a foreign concept for someone used to filling every minute with news feeds and pretty Insta pictures. On my first day, I wrote not one, but two blogs. If you follow my blog, you’ll know that is very unusual for me.

I recently read an article that explained that boredom is the last privilege of a free mind. These days, when we are bored our first instinct is to pick up our smartphones, or engage with some sort of screen. But guess what, actually using your brain to think is the best antidote to boredom.

Without Facebook giving me the news I should be interested in, I actually had to search news pages for the latest events. An unfamiliar notion to me, the aspiring journalist. Ah, the irony.

We are the first generation that doesn’t need to search for our information; rather it is delivered to us via social media algorithms that determines what we should be interested in, then BAM it appears in our news feed. I am guilty of the morning scroll; waking up and reaching for my mobile is just as part of my morning routine as brushing my teeth.

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Soul sucking screens
On day two, I picked up my smartphone, fingers hovering over the place my Facebook icon once sat. But instead, I put my phone down and just thought. For a technology dependent Gen Y, it is a weird process. No screens, no distractions, just me and my brain.

After the first week I was cured of FOMO. Research recently found that Facebook is as addictive as poker machines, with FOMO being the cause. I’ve never liked gambling, but this was something I can relate too. Without Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook I was able to work a whole weekend without being reminded what I was missing out on. My wallet was very thankful.

Day ten, I caved. Yes I was aiming for two weeks, but I am proud of my ten days disconnected.

I realise now that social media isn’t the problem, the way I interact with it is the problem. The compulsive checking had become a burden to my life (and my data) instead of a way to keep in touch with my friends. Like anyone, I want to live a present life which means not obsessing on how other people are living theirs.

It’s definitely a work in progress. Quitting (or at least decreasing) social media is much easier said than done. But I’m trying and I hope that by me making a concious effort to put my phone away, it will make others do the same. Because nothing is more important than the people you are with and the moment you are in. 

17 thoughts I had in a Bikram yoga class

17 thoughts I had in a Bikram yoga class
  1. Oh my god it smells so bad in here. Like really REALLY bad. It smells like a blend of BO and feet.
  1. It’s so hot. I didn’t expect it to be THIS hot.
  1. I can’t breathe.
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Who doesn’t love the smell of feet, B.O and balls first thing in the morning?
  1. Why did I think this was a good idea? How long does this go for? An hour and a half? I am going to die. I am actually going to die in this smelly room.
  1. Did she just say I can’t leave until the end of the class? Why can’t I leave? Maybe I can just sneak out now… Shit, the instructor is looking at me.
  1. Okay I am doing this. Uh I’m sweating already. There are beads of sweat running down my cleavage.
  1. Hmmm I really need a pedicure.
  1. Why is that woman sweating SO much? I wonder if she is okay… I’ve never seen someone sweat like that… OMG her whole towel/mat/clothing is wet. It looks like a shower is running above her. Should I be sweating like that? Don’t stare at the sweaty woman.
  1. Aaaaaand I’m staring.
  1. I think I’m going to faint. Or vomit. Or both. I’m just going to lie down.
  1. Okay I’m lying down, should start to feel a bit better… NOPE IT’S STILL FUCKING HOT. Do you think I can ask to turn on a fan????????
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Truth.
  1. How much longer? WHY DO YOGA STUDIOS NEVER HAVE CLOCKS?
  1. Is that woman wearing a swimming costume?
  1. If I haven’t lost at least 5 kilos I’m going to kill this yogi b*tch.
  1. DID SHE SAY LAST POSE? I LITERALLY HAVE NEVER BEEN SO HAPPY IN MY LIFE.

16. FRESH AIR. I HAVE MISSED YOU.

  1. That wasn’t so bad. I think I’ll go back next week.

My obsession with health foods

My obsession with health foods

I like to think of myself as vegetarian, but technically I’m pescatarian – I don’t eat meat, but may sneak some salmon occasionaly. I’d like to be vegan, because animals. I avoid dairy and added sugars, I don’t eat gluten and I frequently teach people how to pronounce quinoa.

Occasionally I will break all the rules and eats a cronut. You would say I don’t have the best relationship with food, but this is actually a lot better than it was a few years ago.

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This speaks to my soul.

In 2011 I was in the midst of doing my HSC and eating had become my way of procrastinating studying. And studying kept me sedentary.

So, I gained weight. I gained about 7 kilos. Now, I realise 7 kilos doesn’t make me fat; at my biggest I was probably a size 10. But for a person who had been naturally skinny most of my whole life, I wasn’t prepared. I know, poor me.

I finally decided to do something about it after seeing some less-than flattering photos of myself, like the one above. At the time I was freshly 18 so when it came to the weekends I had a mainly liquid diet (read: alcohol). This was about the time my unhealthy relationship with health foods developed.

When you are trying to lose weight there is so much contradictory information out there. You should count calories, you shouldn’t count calories, just eat wholefoods, don’t eat carbs, you need carbs, don’t eat too much fruit because sugar, but then Loni Jane eats 10 bananas for breakfast and has a 6 pack???

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7 bananas as a snack, and she still has a six pack. What? @lonijane

And social media doesn’t help. I can’t scroll through my Instagram feed without seeing at least two #eatclean meal posts, and some f*cking amazing photo of Tash Oakley that makes me want to shoot myself. Ah, the pleasures of modern technology.

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Is she real life? @tashoakley

I began obsessing about food. I would program my calories in everyday, sometimes even the night before to make sure I was only eating 1200 calories. No bread, no butter, no carbs. Even oats and avocado were deemed too high calorie. I’d decline dinner invitations because the thought of eating the “wrong” food literally gave me anxiety, and I knew my friends would question my choice of salad.

What I was eating wasn’t realistic, and it created a vicious cycle of starving myself followed by binge eating everything in my pantry. Yes I lost weight, but I wasn’t healthy or happy.

Recently I’ve come to learn I wasn’t alone in this struggle, in fact it it even has a name now; orthorexia nervosa, literally meaning a “fixation on righteous eating.” The National Eating Disorders Association defines orthorexia nervosa as an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating. Whilst the term was coined in 1997, the disease has become a lot more prevalent recently, with a new fad/fruit/food being hyped up every day, and the obsession with having a perfect body scrawled all over our screens.

Whilst I don’t think I suffered from the full scope of the disease, I can recognise a lot of the red flags in myself at the time; the self loathing, the researching of foods nutritional value, the anxiety of eating a meal you didn’t prepare yourself… Looking back, I think my fixation was with me everyday for over three years.

Now, I no longer count calories. I still am mindful of what I eat, but for other reasons, like compassion (to all the little animals). I eat healthy but it isn’t an obsession, it is a lifestyle choice.

I have no shame ordering a salad when I am out to dinner, but I also have no shame ordering a brownie.

Being vegetarian isn’t for everyone, but I now know a plant-based diet works best for my body, and having an 80/20 mindset about food works for my mind. 80% good, the other 20% pizza.

Mmmmm pizza.

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