Do you remember the first time you saw a cinemagraph?  

Wait, was that what I thought I saw? It stopped me in my thumb scrolling tracks.  I was mesmerized.  What a cool way to grab someone’s attention.

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Cinemagraphs are designed for immediacy to tell in a faster and more alluring way visual stories while mesmerising through an isolated image and moving element, making it hard to take your eyes away.

Animated GIFs or Cinemagraphs are a powerful way to engage your audience on social and through email campaigns.  According to a survey by Experian Marketing services, 72% of email marketers who have used animated gifs or cinemagraphs have recorded higher transaction-to-click rates, compared with bulk emails to the same customers.

The adoption of cinemagraphs is growing rapidly.  According to Jim Squires, director of market operations at Instagram,  “People love them, advertisers love them, and they really are a great way of drawing attention to certain aspects of the photo.”

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Cinemagraphs are about to take off even further!

Last week, Flixel announced a partnership with Facebook which will allow users to easily create high-quality cinemagraph profile videos and easily upload to Facebook directly from Flixel’s Cinemagraph Pro for iOS app for free.

It all comes down to content stickiness. Cinemagraphs are one opportunity for brands to capture eyeballs for a few precious extra seconds.

Daddy, will you tell us a story?

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I hear this almost every night from my daughters.  “Daddy, will you tell us story?” From the very beginning of our lives , we are captivated by a good story.  There are many components to a great story, but at the root of most are people – a strong central character, a protagonist, someone to which we can relate.

“The best stories reach us on some elemental level. They talk about a mother’s love for her children, a husband’s pride in his country … There’s something very important that’s always going on in a very simple way in good stories,” says NBC correspondent John Larson.

For brand content creators, this means creating a platform for the brand and their audience to reveal something about themselves and their character.  Today, innovative brands are inviting their fans to co-create this story.  This just makes sense.  The customer has always been the protagonist for great brands.  Coca-Cola’s #shareacoke campaign is a successful example of how storytelling is evolving in the new media landscape of today.

The brands that embrace this method of storytelling will outpace their competitors in the content marketing wars.  As social media platforms proliferate and adoption grows, brands will need a strategic approach to harnessing the voice of the customer, as well as the tools to manage this efficiently.  According to content marketing expert Heidi Cohen, “the curators who will rise to the top will not only need to bring together the best content, but also to add their own “human touch” or perspective to the content they curate through annotation“.

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This is where the power of story boarding comes in to play.  Technology tools like Livefyre’s Storify product allows brands to curate and storyboard their user generated content.  According to CEO Jordan Kretchmer, the path to UGC success is through empowering, interacting, and collaborating with your audience, and then extending the content’s life through story boarding.  Watch the video here.

Don’t let your audience fall asleep at story time – embrace your protagonists in new ways and watch your story come alive.  One of my daughter’s favorite story time books was the series by Mary Ann Hoberman, “You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You.” They loved playing an active role in telling the story, not just listening – your customers are no different.

 

Reddit launches a new app

In the news this week is Reddit announcing the launch their IOS and Android App.  While users have been able to access their Reddit content through 3rd party apps, a branded app signals a new chapter in Reddit’s life.   As of Friday, the app was #1 in the App store.

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By the numbers, Reddit has a formidable community – 36M user accounts, 231M unique visitors, and 11,464 communities engaged across 217 countries.  “This is the beginning of our journey with you, our app users. For everyone joining us on this ride, you can expect a lot of updates and new features that we’ll be rolling out to mobile first,” says Alex Le, the VP of Consumer Product at Reddit.

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And there you have it, “mobile first.”  Brands will need to stay ahead of the game in consumer behavior on mobile.  Take a look at how mobile app usage has grown – 90% since 2013, leading all platforms.  From second screen viewing to voice search, marketers must consider their strategies to consider the mobile audience.

You can’t help but wonder if Reddit is looking for ways to drive revenues through mobile advertising, especially given the shift of advertising spend to mobile platforms.  “The company plans on maintaining advertising on its mobile apps for free users, but in a way consistent with its philosophy on keeping it out of the way when possible.”

Big announcement for a big community, reflecting the unavoidable influence mobile usage is having on the media landscape.  Do you think it is too late for Reddit?

Polling Your Way to Greatness

Back in October, Twitter made polls available to everyone, opening up a new opportunity for further engagement.  Even Twitter gets in on the action to gauge their audience’s interest in a topic.  Twitter polls provide an opportunity to discover more about your target audience.

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The polls can also be used to discover which content to invest further resources.  By asking questions related to content topics, a blogger can understand which topics will resonate and garner further engagement.  You will also note how the poll above is combined with a #hashtag,  connecting the poll to a broader topic of interest.  Brands should be sure to leverage polls as part of existing content and even trending topics.

This is also an inexpensive way to gauge interest in product or service offerings. Here is an example of a company conducting price sensitivity analysis using polls.

While the sample size may not be statistically large enough and it would not be considered a random population, the information can be helpful to validate certain decisions or guide strategic direction.

Most importantly, fans love to feel like they are part of their brand.  Twitter polls are an easy way for brands to invite fans to become part of the story and influence the future.