Week 5: AR in the Ad Industry

The 100 Trends documented posted by JWT was published previously to today's WWDC conference. They spoke about advancements with AR, with Apple but also what it will mean for developers. They referenced Ikea, when they implemented AR for their catalogue to show what their furniture will look like in your home. They also spoke about how successful Pokemon Go was for a gaming platform using AR. But what will the future hold for AR in advertising? Where can we see this going more easily, and how will companies use it to their advantage?

Source: click here

Source: click here

Well even though it may not seem like it, Snapchat filters are a perfect example of AR as well, and if we have ever experienced a Snapchat filter, we know that they're fun, people share them, and most importantly, it's being integrated on an app which more than 158 million people use, everyday. (Business Insider) And as fun as they are, Starbucks has actually jumped the gun, and had made branded Snapchat filters around Christmas time and also to promote happy hour. In general, Starbucks has always take great advantage of Snapchat, using other tools like GeoFilters and sponsored ads. 

Other brands are starting to get on board with the advantages of AR and doing quite well. For example, integrating traditional media, and using AR as an extension to create more of an impact for those who have access to smartphones, but still having the traditional media available to gives more legs to a campaign. For example, Volkswagen have billboards in time square and on bus shelters, but they transform with an app they created, to provide a more of an interactive experience. (Inspiration Room) This was one of the earliest examples of AR in advertising and it is bound to go much, much further. One of the limitations on this early campaign was asking the public to download an app, requiring a data connection and also for them to use their data, where carrier fees apply. Even though there is often public wifi in large areas such as times square, it is often slower than normal and not always stable. Integrating AR into applications we may already have downloaded, like Snapchat, has been the way to go more recently. Google actually indicates that on average only one in four apps get used after installing them. (Think With Google) Ikea's advantage was using the AR component in the consumer's homes, which will evidently, be on their home wifi network. 

However there do seem to be some limitations to AR as compared to VR and 360 video. VR makes the viewer feel like you are being transported, AR has to work where you are, and no matter where you are. Alexis Cox the creator of Tabel reported that even with VR, storytelling techniques are "incredibly undefined." Since it is still a relatively new platform, the brainstorming is very crucial before diving into the the execution. 

I believe though, as the example with Volkswagen, that it can be used as a great extension to a pre-existing campaign. It would still increase reach and generate engagement, but be used alongside another tactic such as the following example. Think of the PR which would occur having the ability to stand in front of a Burger King, and through the camera lens of your smart phone see it go up in flames. It would truly be a hot topic. Furthermore, to increase the accessibility of AR I think it will eventually be a web based component if possible, instead of downloading apps. Similar to 360 video being available in browser, without having to download the youtube app necessarily. But for now, we will see which brands start to really embrace this technology, and which ones sit back to watch and learn. Either way, we’re always learning and adapting to new features, technologies, and ways to improve what we already do. It’s likely just a matter of time before these new technologies becomes more of the norm, even in advertising.

Week 4: Ad Targeting on Social Media

Targeting that I have experienced has been faster and more accurate every time. There’s a few things I do notice though, and will hope to keep my opinions as unbiased as possible. 

For starters, I really don’t mind having retargeting ads, because it is in fact merchandise that I am interested in. Often at times it will be brands I follow on social media, such as Roxy, Simons, Adidas, Nike… to name a few. I enjoy seeing updates of new products whether it be a sponsored post on Instagram or Facebook. More specifically though, these brands do get community engagement on their social channels, therefore it’s less of a repeat between the ads and the posts they curate on their social media pages. More specifically, Roxy will post on their Instagram about surfing competitions and events that they sponsor. It’s like branded content creation which doesn’t feel overwhelming once the retargeting ad shows up on Facebook for example.

Through the IAB slides, the hockey analogy really got me thinking about how we act online will determine the ads we receive. If we never shop online, if we don't follow certain brands on social media, or engage much on social media channels, then it will determine what information can be gathered by advertisers. This is a perfect example, actually, where one of my friends asked us to check out this Airbnb house which we may possibly rent out. So I clicked on it, commented on the post, and then when I checked back (because my other friend commented after me) BOOM! A sponsored Airbnb ad, I’m not even mad. That’s just impressive. 

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It can of course be a nuisance if simply by searching something for information on the product turns into a never-ending retargeting game. Like when you’re searching “Mushroom Coffee” because you decide to have an argument with your boss about whether it is real coffee. And then next thing you know, your Facebook has a bunch of squares regarding how this is the next best thing since sliced bread.

I do think its rather smart to remind consumers about leaving products in their shopping cart though. This was one thing we mentioned in last semester’s class, which some consumers find a bit creepy, but it’s pretty genius. Generally speaking as a consumer, if I have collected the idea of all the items I’m looking to purchase and then don’t actually checkout it’s probably because I’m looking elsewhere to see if I can find a better deal. Having this reminder that you have items waiting to be processed is a great way to interact with the customer and say ‘you know you waaaaaant it.’ (Without actually saying that.) 

One thing I try and do, as much as possible is now with my set up at work versus home, I try to use a different browser for work purposes. It would be pretty aggravating to have retargeting ads on Facebook for things like hot sauce, or mortgage brokers and things that I have to search for work. I use Chrome, for work, which of course will be signed in with my work email address on google. Where as at home, I use Safari and keep it separate with my Apple ID account instead. Since history and bookmarks and cookies are all being synced now per account I think it’s a great practice to keep these two separate, and for liability reasons as well. As per working in the industry and researching clients, and then receiving their ads while you’re making ads for them, can be more than overwhelming. This system isn’t completely fool proof but if I am at work and have some spare time allowing me to browse online for myself, then I will switch browsers also, again just alleviating any possible data attached to your Google Sign In. 

Everyone should have a basic right to privacy though, and for that reason I understand why people disagree with some or most of retargeting methods. It makes it seem like advertisers know what we're doing every second. 

 

 

Week 3: Mobile Web Design

It is becoming more and more crucial to have a great sense of UX design when implementing mobile versions of a website. Since mobile is condensed, there is less space involved for navigation, lengthy copy and often at times images need to be responsive. 

The Toronto Film Festival website is a great example of a simple design but with having a very intuitive user experience. There is still a lot of information and links available however it does not seem busy or overwhelming. 

The main hero section is a carousel of rotating images where the use can go back or foreword if the automatic transition is too fast or slow for their liking. By swiping back and forth it is already an action that we are familiar with when using our devices. This is where the medium is very important, when on mobile we want the layout to be easy to understand, and using the same tactics that we are used to throughout everyday apps. A great mobile design should also have an obvious navigation section, because this will be the gateway for the other pages. 

The example I'm providing also has a search bar section right underneath the hero images in order to really simplify anything that the user may be looking for specifically. A search bar is very important when thinking about how a user is arriving to the website through mobile. Often there is less aimless browsing and more often the user is looking for specific information about a time or an event if they are on their mobile device. This is another reason why it should be very intuitive, quick and easy for the user to get the information they are looking for. 

Color and size throughout the website will also play an important role in order to keep consistency but also for the responsiveness. Many mobile websites will have their navigation, header and footer in black and white and at times some small accent colors. This does help for creating a visual contrast and making the key elements stand out.

In terms of consistency, I have also chosen this example because it does not stray too far away from the desktop version of the website. This is important as well because at times the mobile website will be the second visit for the audience, and sometimes vice versa. But consistency between the two layouts is important for the viewer to recall. All the same information should be provided but generally the design will differ based on the sizing and the main purpose of the user's visit. 

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Week 2: Further engagement with direct marketing

The issue with direct marketing, via email is that it's actually not very personal at all. Jonah Berger introduces six excellent points in which current direct marketing should integrate in their strategies. 

One of the points he brought up, was the fact that there needs to be relevance. There needs to be a reason for me to sign upper the newsletter or the weekly, sometimes daily emails that companies send out. I definitely wouldn't mind learning something valuable when opening up an email, alongside an exclusive offer or incentive. It could be something as small as, "Did you know Starbucks started as a small corner coffee shop in Seattle?" Even tying it into his last point, about story telling, if it is a compelling message, or even an anecdote that is relevant and still interesting enough then I will be more likely to share it with peers.

One tactic that I have learned in my current job is adding a share to calendar feature, which once on your phone, can be shared amongst friends whether the user is using an IOS device or Android. The simplicity of this is that it's a feature already pre-installed on their phone, instead of having to download an additional app. It's very easy to implement within emails, and easy to share with friends as well. We are a generation that will delete many emails without even reading them though, however when it comes to notifications on our devices it's a short and sweet reminder of something that can effect your day. Below is an example sent to me from Starbucks...

I did actually share this with a friend as well. I thought it was very well done, good use of bold text, and short and sweet to have in an email. The calendar invite as well is recognizable, but not urging you to download the calendar event it's simply enticing. In terms of the example fitting with the STEPPS model, it speaks mainly to the practical value component. It's practical, to have reminders and calendar events set up on your phone, and practical of course to save money. For an incentive that is time sensitive, the platform of adding to calendar works extremely well. The consistency between operating systems, desktop and mobile, are both applied in this scenario. And there is actually multiple ways to share the content, the email could be forewarned, or the calendar event could be shared amongst contacts. 

Even in the copy "Half off any flavour you like." is a lot more personal and enticing than simply saying "any flavour," or "every flavour." It gets the audience thinking about what is in fact their favourite flavour...

I believe effective copywriting will be crucial when dealing with direct marketing. Often at times i receive emails and in the subject line is a clear indicator that there is a tactic of inserting your name, with a comma and followed by the subject line. Sometimes it doesn't come off as being authentic, or maybe it was at first and then every company started doing it. Recently, thos are the ones I have started ignoring, as well as ones that use emojis. I wrote this tweet a while ago and it seemed to resonate with people as well...

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Just for the record, don't have a huge following on Twitter so at least one person liked it...

I just personally think emojis are lazy when trying to think about what an ad should dictate or in this situation, the subject of an email. When attempting to be as clear and concise as possible, please stray away from emojis. 

There is a lot to learn sometimes from the large companies, such as Starbucks, who manages their social media and direct marketing very well. As millennials, the less paper being used the better. If I have to print out a coupon instead of it being accessible on my phone then the likelihood of me using it is slim to none. I even prefer to put tickets, boarding passes, and coupons through the mobile "Wallet" application on my phone so that it is readily accessible. Some businesses are implementing this, and I understand from my technical background that it is harder than just saying it will be done, the permissions are difficult to achieve - but again, using any resource which the target will likely already have, instead of downloading a new app for example, will increase shareability and likelihood to actually use in our daily life.

 

 

Week 1: Creative for online engagement and interactivity.

Creative has always been driven towards great design, incorporating the latest trends and ensuring accurate brand voice. Designers have a lot to consider when attempting to balance the creativity they wish to bring to the table, but mixing in the mandatories that brands will often require in their ads. Now, with online engagement being the number one goal for most brands, there is another aspect that needs to be considered when designing the ad. 

Online and Social Media marketing can be a make it or break it chance for a brand to stand out. The average consumer is no longer struck by beautiful design, ads often need engagement from the audience in order to be remembered, or simply stand out. Even though someone like myself, is a lover of great design, I really do need to place myself in the shoes of the audience and think, even if I saw a beautifully designed ad - doesn't necessarily guarantee I will click on it. 

Engagement is a pretty large word in my opinion which can mean many different things, however the different interpretations are not all that different in the end. Thinking of 'engagement' when speaking about a couple, the stages before marriage, is similar to an ad and their audience. Engagement with an ad doesn't necessarily guarantee the commitment, but the audience has expressed interest and is often thinking about the idea of your brand, and how your brand will fit into their lifestyle. Engagement though, should not be driven by the consumer in order to create conclusions. Strong engagement will include an interactive level of user experience in order for the audience to have a hands-on, highly memorable and unique experience with the brand. So when brands mention they're striving for effective engagement I would say they're looking to create long lasting relationships, with their audience.

Creative executions have the power to take advantage of the engagement process by designing clean and clear interfaces and/or experiences. The easier it is for the audience to interact the more likely they actually will. Take for example the Disney MagicBands, (https://www.fastcodesign.com/1671616/a-1-billion-project-to-remake-the-disney-world-experience-using-rfid) a great example of being ahead of the times as well. This RFID technology helps the user experience be more fluid, and potentially more likely to buy merchandise. People are more likely to spend, when they're content, when they're on vacation, and when it's not a hassle to do so. I have to agree with the first part of the article as well, that when it is already a large upfront cost for the vacation, I'm going to be more conscious of my spending throughout the time being there. I also dislike carrying my wallet with me at theme parks for the scare of losing something so the MagicBracelets have solved many problems, and also created a data base for the consumer research in more detail for Disney. They'll be able to pull statistics and buying behaviours of consumers through the purchases made on the MagicBracelets and potentially use it as feedback for future enhancements, or promotions. 

In the long run, engagement should both benefit the consumer and the brand creating the experience. There needs to be a reason as to why the consumer would want to take part, and the result for the brand should not just be to benefit the consumer but to also use it to their advantage. A successful interaction goes both ways, giving and taking, sharing and communicating. 

 

“Understanding is a two-way street.”

— Eleanor Roosevelt