How to Influence Public Perception: A Blueprint

The perception of your company and industry as a whole is the primary driver of purchase behavior for consumers. Learn how to shape those perceptions and grow your business.

IGTV: The Next Gen Video

Lately it feels like every time I update the apps on my phone, I’m bombarded with something new. It feels like as soon as I get used to one update, the developers are rolling out another. While I’m all in favor of progress and innovation, it can get pretty overwhelming when one of the most-used apps of all time hits us with something totally different. I recently opened Instagram to see a new orange icon in the upper right-hand corner of the app. Surprise - another new thing!

Instagram TV (IGTV)

Five years after the launch of video on Instagram, the social networking giant announced that they were releasing a new long-form video app called IGTV featuring full-screen, vertical videos created by the accounts that you follow.

As explained by Instagram:

 “We're evolving with the times; these days, people are watching less TV and more digital video. By 2021, mobile video will account for 78% of total mobile data traffic. And we've learned that younger audiences are spending more time with amateur content creators and less time with professionals.”

After some research and a little old-fashioned trial and error, I discovered a couple things you need to know about the new IGTV — whether you’re a blogger, brand rep, social media manager, or simply one of the 1 billion active Insta users worldwide.

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1.  IGTV consists of channels, similar to YouTube channels.

IGTV content does not go into your feed or Instagram Stories. Your IGTV videos are housed in the Highlights section of your home screen and also in your channel in the IGTV app. Now, as an Instagram user, you will have your feed (the grid of photos that never go away), your stories (the live-action snapshots you share for 24 hours), and your channel (keep reading below).

2. Video length depends on the account.

Unlike on the feed, your videos aren’t limited to 60 seconds. This offers lots of flexibility for content creation. For the average Instagram user like myself, videos must be between 15 seconds and 10 minutes long. For big brands and larger, verified accounts, the time limit goes up to 60 minutes. The wide range of the time limit makes things fun! You can share a quick 20 second video of your puppy’s newest trick, a 5 minute POV comparison from the Red Bull finals at the Women’s UCI Downhill World Cup and even a 6-minute carpool karaoke to the entirety of “Bohemian Rhapsody.”  Spoilers: I’m not sharing THAT video in this blog post ;)

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@bohemianrhapsodymovie 

3. The videos don’t disappear (like they would in your story).

IGTV videos are static which means once they are uploaded, they are there until you delete them. IGTV channels will be similar to creating and growing a YouTube channel rather than an Instagram profile. I believe we will see plenty of experimentation from brands and creators to see what works on this new platform.

4. It doesn’t have to change your Instagram experience.

Whether you use Instagram for travel inspiration, fitness tutorials, something work-related, a way to forget the world and watch cat videos, or just as a way to interact and keep up-to-date with your friends - nothing has to change! IGTV is simply a way to enhance your Instagram experience, not take away from the parts of the app you already love. If you want nothing to do with IGTV, that’s okay! You never have to click on that little orange TV icon and, at least for now, the videos will not infiltrate your usual feed.

5.  Uploading a video is easy.

You can access IGTV one of two ways: the aforementioned orange TV icon in the upper right-hand corner of the Instagram app (next to the DM paper airplane) or the stand alone IGTV app which you can download from the Play Store/App Store. While you can watch IGTV videos on the Instagram app, if you want to create your own videos, you will need to download IGTV app (or upload directly from the Instagram web app).

  1. Download the IGTV app.
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2. Create your channel.

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3.  With your IGTV channel set up, it’s time to upload your first video! Start by navigating to your channel by tapping on your avatar from the main screen.

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4.  Next, tap the “+” icon in the top-right corner to add a video to your channel. Add a video from your phone or desktop (if using the desktop app), include a title and description and you’re set!

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There’s no limit to what you can create

At its core, IGTV is super exciting! It’s an amazing way for amateur videographers, cinematographers, vloggers, and tutorialists to create content for the masses. You can choose to create highly edited, produced videos with professional lighting and graphics, or you can simply record your day-to-day life, musings, feelings, and experiences. It’s an exciting time since it’s just beginning, so why not? Get out there — get creating!

Over to you

What do you think about IGTV? Are you excited to create and consume long-form content on Instagram? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

What is Media Buying? An Introduction To Traditional Media Marketing.

Media buying is a big part of what we do at Thin Pig, but when we talk about it with friends and family, it is probably the service we provide that people know the least about.  For the purposes of this discussion, we are defining “Media Buying” to be focused solely on “traditional media” (ie. TV, Radio, Print and Out of Home.   So, what is media buying?

It works like this.  A client will come to us and say they have a certain amount of money to spend on marketing their product/service next year.  It is our job to research all the possible avenues for them to promote their business, and determine which platforms offer them the best exposure to their targeted demographic for the amount they have to spend.

 For example, with the Seattle market, there are several media platforms and multiple channels within each to purchase. On any given client campaign, we will purchase:

  • Broadcast TV (NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX)
  • Cable TV (Myriad of cable channels)
  • Broadcast Radio (IHeart, Entercom, Sinclair, Bonneville, Hubbard),
  • Digital Radio (IHeartradio, Pandora),
  • Outdoor (Clear Channel, Lamar),
  • Print (Newspapers, Magazines)
  • Sports Teams (Seahawks, Mariners, Thunderbirds, Seattle Storm)

Within each client’s media buy it could consist of four to five TV and Radio stations, cable, one digital radio, a few newspapers, one or two magazines, a sports team sponsorship and sometimes deeper depending on our client’s budget.  

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When evaluating any media buy, there are tools we use to measure overall reach and frequency. It starts with our order system Strata, along with data provided by the individual media entities that provide access to market research numbers from Nielsen, Arbitron, Scarborough, Tapscan, and PPM.  We use Kantar to provide qualitative data to give us a well-rounded look at how a campaign may perform.

Ratings are like the stock market, they fluctuate every day.  Folding in qualitative information, gives us the ability to see how stations’ viewers and listeners behave through use of media as well as how they interact with our clients’ businesses.  With all these resources available, we evaluate the most effective media campaign for each client. After each campaign is placed, we evaluate during and after to ensure impact on all future buys being placed.  By continuously evaluating results, we uncover data that helps fine tune the buy to maximize results.

 Prior to any campaign being placed, we request detailed proposals from media companies being considered.  Thin Pig blankets the market we are buying with a detailed RFP (Request for Proposal) from all media properties being targeted for that specific buy.  In the RFP, it outlines the client’s goals, demographics, flight dates, budget, and expectations. There are several clients for which we buy annuals (meaning we will place the entire year in advance).  Placing annuals ensures a client receives the best rates and inventory possible. The major benefit of annuals is a client is not at the mercy of any given month being sold out or tight on inventory causing rates to be much higher.  Clients taking advantage of annual buys still enjoy the flexibility to change or cancel if need be within the two-week industry standard cancellation policy. For our annual clients, we conduct annual media meetings. Each media property will come in and present their recommendations for the upcoming year.  In these meetings, we hear about new and exciting offers the entities have available. These face to face meetings allow us to immediately dig deep into the proposals and get answers quickly for our clients.

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 With all our clients, we work hard to always get the best rate available, not the lowest.  Clients that are only focused on paying the lowest rates possible are often victims of their ad schedules being “blown out”.  This simply means that their ad was supplanted by an ad from another entity that was willing to pay a higher rate. For our clients, results and value are crucial.  So our team focuses on getting the most quality schedules at a reasonable price.

 Another aspect of media buying that we feel is essential is having positive, constructive relationships with media companies.  Thin Pig Media, truly respects our media representatives (reps) and treat them like true partners. We are in this together working to do what is right by the client.  By treating our reps with this respect, they reciprocate by calling us first when something new is available, offering our clients bonus inventory when available and making sure our schedules run smoothly.

 After we have accumulated all the proposals from the media properties, we sit down as a team and review each station and set a market goal.  We look at programming and day parts being proposed and how each of those perform in overall ratings and shares. A schedule is created to evaluate how each station is competing within the market.  We then review qualitative against each station to see how they compare on cost and overall value. Our team builds out a rough media buy knowing that we still have work to do with the vendors to negotiate the final terms.  Once everything is agreed to and we are confident we have negotiated a buy that is fairly priced that will drive results, we present to the client for final approval. 

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The final step in a media buy is execution. The client has approved our plan and now we put it into action.  All our orders are generated through STRATA which enables us to track every penny, commercial message expected, and any additional elements provided by our media partners. When the orders have been created, they are sent to each media property for their acceptance and confirmation of the orders.  Each media outlet receives the ad copy or commercial or creative for that particular campaign. Throughout the campaign, we monitor to make sure all schedules are running as planned.  When a campaign has ended, a detailed report is created that specifies spend by media channel, value added achieved and details around specific campaigns goals and objectives.  Return on investment is evaluated with our clients based on the goals and the money and time spent on achieving those goals. These monthly reports help us make sure we are achieving the desired results of the client’s campaign.

 Rinse and repeat, maybe with a tweak or two on to the next month media campaign.  

  

What is Retargeting and How Can You Use It?

Chances are you’ve seen a retargeting ad, even if you’re not aware of how they work. That pair of shoes or new appliance that follow you around the internet, displaying in ads on the sidebar of your favorite websites, in your news feed on Facebook, and even on YouTube. Maybe you’ve even clicked on one to pick up your shopping experience right where you left off.

After all, many people don’t make a purchase the first time they visit a website. If you’re like me, you like to do your research and see what’s out there before making a reservation or buying something new. At this stage, you’re looking at different options.

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As a marketer, consumers at this stage of consideration can be especially valuable. But chances are they’re looking at your competitors sites as well. How can you bring them back to your site and move them further down the purchase funnel?

While there are lots of strategies to bring browsers back to your site, a good retargeting campaign can help. Retargeting ads are shown to people who have previously visited your website. With the proper conversion tracking in place, you can even target only those who haven’t made a purchase or subscribed to your email list.

These days just about every advertising platform from Google to Facebook to Pinterest has a retargeting (or “remarketing”) option. To begin, you’ll need to install a tag or pixel on your website from whatever platform (or platforms!) you’re using. Once you have your tracking set up, here are a few campaign strategies you can use to bring visitors back to your site:

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Add value

Use offers to attract viewers attention. Everyone loves a deal. If promotions are a part of your marketing strategy, make sure to include them in your retargeting ads. This could be how you differentiate yourself from competitors in a customer’s mind.  

Be helpful

Make it easy for visitors to see products or services related to what they originally looked at on your site. They might find just what they were looking for!

Customize

Change what ads different visitors see depending on what stage they are in their purchase journey. Browsing your homepage is very different from spending a lot of time on product pages or adding things to your cart. You can customize your retargeting to show different ads to users at each stage of the buyer’s journey.

Be dynamic

If you have a product catalog, platforms like Google and Facebook will allow you to show users products they have viewed before. Use these features to highlight exactly what your visitors are looking for!

Optimize for conversions

Remarketing campaigns are great because they typically have enough conversions for us to set up for conversion optimization. This allows us to tell Google or Facebook to show our ads more often to people, who are more likely to click through and make a purchase or reservation.

Bring people back

Retargeting doesn’t have to be just for people who haven’t made a purchase. You can use a longer retargeting window to bring past customers back to your brand.

Want to talk remarketing strategy? Get in touch here or call us at (425) 223-5919.

5 Easy Tips for Staying Safe Online

You don’t think it’ll happen to you, until it does. You go to open your [insert social media app here] and you’ve been logged out. Odd, but okay. You go to log back in, but it says the password you have entered is wrong. When you click on “Forgot Password?” the alert says a “Reset Password” form has been sent to….a different email address than yours. You’ve been hacked. Millions of cyber attacks happen everyday. It will likely be you at some point if you don’t try your best to stay safe online. Here are just a few important tips/reminders for staying safe online and keeping your information out of the hands of cyber attackers:

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1. Passwords

  • Make sure your passwords are reasonably complex. Do not use dictionary words. Make them at least 16 characters long. Include numbers, symbols, and capital letters, too.
  • Do not use the same password for multiple sites. Instead, use a different password for every website.

Yes, it can be difficult to remember a separate password for every website and app, but using a passwords manager like LastPass, can help store all of your passwords in one safe vault and make it a bit easier on your brain.

2. Multi-Factor Authentication

Because cyber attacks are becoming more and more prevalent, more websites and apps are offering multi-factor authentication, or maybe the more commonly seen, two-factor authentication. Many services offer an option to verify your identity if someone logs on to your account from an unrecognized device. Always use this option when it’s available.

3. Be Weary of Phishing Scams

Phishing is essentially the act of pretending to be someone else in order to trick the victim into entering his/her data. A lot of times we see phishing scams in the form of emails that look like they’re from the legitimate site, but in fact, are not. Sure, many of us think we can spot a scam when we see it, but scams can be sophisticated nowadays, and there is a reason these scams persist...because they work.

For example, we often see messages and emails ostensibly from Facebook that say something like Your account has been or will be locked, disabled, suspended. Login to verify your account. They look real, but they are not. If you get an email, text, tweet, direct message, etc. resist the urge to automatically click on any link. Instead, go to the address bar and type the official site (e.g. www.facebook.com) and log in. If you do not see anything directly in your account, chances are it was a phishing email. I personally also like to do a web search to see if it’s a known phishing scam that is going around. As a rule of thumb, I never click on any link from an email asking I log into a website. Instead, I go directly to my address bar and enter the URL for the website.

Though phishing scams are not exclusive to Facebook, the company does have some good basic tips on protecting yourself. 

4. Ensure Safety While Shopping

Always double-check the address of the website you are visiting, especially if you are planning to place an order or enter your credit card information. Sometimes scam websites will add an extra letter or have slightly different spelling than the site you meant to visit.

When online shopping, banking or conducting other sensitive transactions, always make sure that the site’s address starts with “https” instead of “http”. You should also check to make sure there is a padlock icon in the address bar. This is an indicator that the website is secure and uses encryption to scramble your data so it can’t be intercepted by others.

Avoid doing sensitive transactions while utilizing public WiFi or a public computer. Since you are not in full control of the actual networks or computers in public, it is best to be cautious about using public utilities for sensitive data exchange. It is possible for someone to gain access to your personal information when you utilize public options. 

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5. Antivirus and Anti-Malware is a Good Safety Net

Though antivirus software can be a good mitigating factor for stopping cyber breaches, it’s not fool-proof. It isn’t guaranteed to pick up every virus or malware, however, it’s a good option if you want that extra safety on your computer.

Though there are many different methods to employ in order to help stay safe online, these are just a few to be aware of and integrate into your knowledge bank. If you have any questions about the above suggestions, feel free to tweet us @ThinPigMedia.