The Three Steps to Producing Contextual Video

Photospire Contextual Video

Storytelling is changing – it’s been flipped on its head by technology and data.

Mobile has driven this change over the last ten years, impacting the format, length and medium in which stories are told. Capturing customer attention has become increasingly difficult and more devices and more channels demand more content.

These challenges provide huge opportunities to marketers – in particular, they now have the ability to tailor their story for each customer using location and other contextual data.

Voice and IoT devices will continue this trend; capturing even more contextual and behavioural data and enabling storytellers to become increasingly personalised with their stories.  

Brands that grasp these opportunities and deliver contextual content – content that is personalised, relevant and in-the-moment will stand out from the crowd. Below are the three steps brands can take towards producing contextual content. 

1. Understand Your Customer’s Context

In the past, brands treated every customer the same way – producing one piece of content such as a television commercial and serving it to millions of people.

Understanding customers is step one when it comes to creating better content and with the huge range of data now available we can derive customer insights and treat people as individuals.

When you know what will resonate with a customer based on their demographics, location, interests, preferences and behaviours then you can become much more contextual in your approach.

2. Create Content In Real Time

Your audience is living life in-the-moment; reacting instantaneously to events on social media, ordering goods and services to be delivered within the hour and consuming news on demand. There is a huge opportunity for brands which can produce relevant content in real-time.

Managing customer’s expectations and demand for content at this pace is a management nightmare. This is why artificial intelligence and bots in particular will have a major impact over the coming years, enabling brands to create and respond to customers with personalised content in real time.

That’s the second step toward creating contextual content – leveraging technology to create content in real time at scale.

3. Never Rest, Keep Optimising

Understanding your customer and creating compelling, individualised content in real time is a huge step forward but it doesn’t mean your work is done.

Constant testing is required because what works today won’t necessarily work tomorrow – customer’s interests change rapidly and become fatigued if they’re served the same advert on multiple occasions.

Using AI, machine learning and image recognition, brands can tailor their approach and derive creative insights; allowing smart brands to continually optimise their content for each customer over time.


Photospire helps brands and agencies embrace these opportunities – to understand their customer’s individual context, create relevant content in real time and then optimise that content.

New Places and Faces

Photospire HQ

Well… it’s been three weeks since we moved Photospire HQ from Victoria to Borough and it’s fair to say that we are loving our new surroundings. Everything from delicious street food, vibrant culture, wonderful theatre and, well… more delicious street food is at our fingertips. Our neighbours include creative agencies, innovative start ups and some exciting brands and it’s an inspiring part of town to be based.

Having spent two very happy years at True benefiting from their immense support and encouragement our growing team needed a new, larger space to accommodate everybody and spread our wings. We will be expanding on an even greater scale in the coming months and feel we are in the right place to do this. Our offices are based in a warehouse conversion on a quiet cobbled street and the relaxed atmosphere is conducive to great working environment.

Let us introduce our newest team members who have joined in the last few weeks:

Corina – Our savvy new Junior full-stack developer is a recent graduate from the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca. She has worked with Java, Python and C on web applications for years outside of her University environment. She is currently working on perfecting her craft in AI to add to her list of accomplishments.

Amitabh – Joined us from Emerson Process Management  as an experienced and highly skilled, senior full-stack developer. He has 11 years experience developing end-to-end desktop software and web applications with Python, C++ & Django. Amitabh also holds an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Indore.

Sam – Sam has joined our optimisation team, adding considerable expertise in Machine Learning. Sam has studied all around the world from Shanghai Normal University to The University of Florence as well as gaining a degree in MPhil Economics from the University of Cambridge.

With Corina’s drive, Sam’s expertise and Amitabh’s decade long experience in back-end development, our most recent members add a host of capabilities to our development team already composed of multiple PhDs and former McLaren F1 engineers.

In addition, Amran, the newest member and also the baby of the team is our brand new Apprentice. As Facebook Marketing partners, we believe in developing the next generation of Facebook Marketing experts. Using Facebook Blueprint Amran is continually enhancing his expertise to support the team.

So that’s the news from us at the moment but stay tuned for more developments in the coming weeks.

Photospire is always looking for bright people to get on board. If you are interested in joining the team in Borough, we have a host of open opportunities which you can see here  

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Photospire Join The Mayor of London On A Trade Envoy To Paris

Photospire led by our client solution manager Jack, joined Sadiq Khan on a trade envoy to Paris yesterday.

Jack was joined by twelve of London’s fastest growing tech startup companies and met business heads from some of France’s best known brands.  The opportunity was organised by the Mayor’s International Business Programme and supported by Eurostar.

Photospire are delighted to get behind the Mayor’s #LondonIsOpen.



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Photospire HQ Has Moved Home


The Photospire team has been expanding over recent months and we have outgrown our home in Victoria.

A big thanks to the Truestart family for all their help and hospitality while we shared their space.

We’re excited to announce that we’ve relocated Photospire’s HQ to Borough.   The team have been settling into their new office and sampling the tasty lunch options in the area.

Please feel free to get in touch if you’re in the area.

Our new office address is

6-8 Cole Street, London, SE1 4YH


Takeaways From Shoptalk Europe


Shoptalk’s first European event in Copenhagen has just come to an end and the Photospire team have had a busy few days sharing our vision for the future of retail while refuelling on some very tasty Danish cuisine.

Shoptalk covers innovation in retail and ecommerce. It focuses on the evolution of how consumers discover, shop and buy in an age of digital disruption.  Shoptalk Europe brings together major retailers with ecommerce fledglings, tech Goliaths, early stage startups and investors.  The result is a focus on the big issues within retail which led to more constructive conversations.  

As we travel back to our London HQ here are some of the learnings we’re bringing with us.

Direct to consumer is hot right now

Dollar Shave Club founder Michael Dubin gave some interesting insights into the continued drive towards “direct to consumer”.  He stressed the need to “learn as much about the customer as you possibly can”. The more you know about your customer the more you can tailor your product and services, create an amazing experience and deliver it directly to the customer.

Collaboration is becoming strategic

Collaboration between retailers and tech companies of all sizes was a major theme that a number of speakers focused on.  Collaborating with companies that are fully focused on solving specific problems allows retailers to get the right product to the right customer while wrapping the whole process with an amazing experience.  Some friends of Photospire’s who were at Shoptalk and are great examples of collaborators that can help retailers are; Hullabalook for visual product search, Presence Orb for in-store WiFi analytics and ZigZag for returns processing.

Online and offline are blurring together

Amazon Prime reminded the audience that today’s consumer is busy and wants convenience.  Alibaba elaborated that consumers don’t see a difference between ordering online or instore.  They’ll do whatever is most convenient at that moment in time.  The increasing blurring of boundaries between online and offline adds to the challenges for those tasked with building loyalty.  


Scaling Creative – a discussion with Joe Morley from Facebook

Photospire Facebook Panel

Photospire were in Germany this week for dmexco and we were delighted for our co-founder and COO Dave O’Meara to join Joe Morley (Director, Facebook & Instagram Partnerships, EMEA) and two other Facebook Marketing Partners (Vidsy and Genero) on stage to discuss creative at scale.

In front of an auditorium of 200 people the panel shared a number of key insights related to creative at scale.

What is the biggest challenge for marketers in a mobile first video environment?

  • Attention has shifted to the small screen but the attention span has shrunk.
  • Mobile is changing customer expectations; they are consuming more video content than ever before but still expect it to be fresh and relevant like the content in their newsfeed.
  • The main challenge that results from this is how to create relevant ad content to meet the massive demand.

How do you define the term ‘scaled creative’?

  • The ability to create the right story for the right audience at the right time.
  • Storytelling is changing, Facebook and the power of their audience data is making the scale part possible.
  • Scaled creative is about not sacrificing the quality because of the quantity.

Do you feel there’s a conflict between technology and creativity?

  • Technology doesn’t replace creativity, it enhances creativity and provides new mediums of expression. Some examples of this in other fields are the evolution of cinema and TV, the electric guitar and photography as an art form.
  • As great creative people see how tech can enable them to tell better stories they will seize the opportunity – and we are seeing this already.
  • The most engaging content of the future will be created through collaboration between creatives, data and technology.

What’s the one thing you’d like the audience to take away today?

  • They key message is that technology is an enabler – it should not be seen as an obstacle to creativity but as something that can enhance it.

Unbound – The Power of Live Video

Last week we were at Unbound Festival – a technology festival where “brands, corporate executives and investors come together to meet with Europe’s most disruptive start-ups to forge partnerships and explore new opportunities”.

Photospire was selected to be part of Unbound 50 – one of 50 high potential startups exhibiting across the two days.

The biggest theme across the talks at Unbound was live video – many of the headline business leaders spoke about the major investment social platforms have been making in enabling and empowering live video and how live video is going to affect their brand.

unnamedAs Facebook Marketing Partners, we’ve been very aware of the bets Facebook has been making on live video and we’ve also put a lot of our own resources into ensuring the Photospire platform can effectively deliver in-the-moment video ads.

Using Photospire, it’s now possible to serve in-the-moment video ads on all the major social platforms. These in-the-moment video ads automatically update depending on dynamic factors such as weather, sports results or news updates. Just like live-streamed content, in-the-moment video ads offer unparalleled opportunities to make content increasingly relevant and engaging.

And it works – the results from our campaigns with large brands have proved the incredible effectiveness of in-the-moment video; especially when combined with audience-relevant factors such as location to run campaigns which, for example, drive footfall to different locations depending on weather changes or sports results.

It’s great to see so many industry leaders putting so much energy into live content and we will continue to focus on helping brands seize these new opportunities.

If you’re a brand or an agency who’d like to partner with us or if you’d just like to talk about Facebook Live, Unbound or the in-the-moment advertising, drop me an email 

Facebook F8 – Key features that have got the Photospire team excited

Facebook’s annual developer conference is taking place this week and some of the announcements have got us excited. Below are some new features that are going to change the user experience and greatly enhance the social giants offering.


Augmented reality

Facebook have declared that the camera is the most important part of your phone.

Of course, its already key to sharing photos and videos with friends but the new augmented reality tools will enhance reality when viewing life through the camera. You will be able to place virtual objects and messages into the real world and add more information and detail to your pictures.

Facebook wants you to share photos of your run with your pace and time superimposed over the top and leave your reviews on the windows of restaurants. Pieces of art that can only be viewed through your phone will, in Zuckerbergs own words “have people standing around looking at blank walls”.

Camera Frames and Masks

The new camera effects platform will allow users to enhance their photos along the same lines as Snapchat but with more features.

The new ‘Frame Studio’ is an online creative editor that allows developers to make frames for pictures and images taken with the Facebook camera. In addition they are launching the ‘AR Studio’ to help content creators make their own masks, filters, animated frames and effects. These enhancements will respond to the environment, movement and interactions in live videos..

Messenger Bot Enhancements

Facebook is launching Facebook Messenger Platform 2.0 that uses even more artificial intelligence to connect users with businesses and visa versa.

For example, mentioning on a chat that you want to see a film will trigger messenger’s virtual assistant ‘M’ who will list the times and cinema locations in your area and then help everyone buy their tickets. Facebook want you to use messenger not only as a place to chat with friends but somewhere to organise your social life and more, differentiating it from What’s App.

These are just a few key developments that have come out of F8 so far, we can’t wait to see what else they have up their sleeve.

Social Video Strategy – Have you nailed yours yet?

We know that video is the way forward when it comes to engaging customers new and old. Its now time to look more closely at the different channels that your brand videos are being used for, specifically how to get the very best results from posting video content on social media.

To get the most out of this powerhouse within your marketing mix its imperative to have a social video strategy in place that really delivers on the brand awareness, conversions, sales and loyalty that can be achieved.

Your video strategy should target customers at all stages of the marketing funnel and executed correctly can enable you to move customers from ‘awareness’ through to the all important ‘conversion’.


Facebook has 1.79 billion monthly users and combined with Google accounted for 99% of the $2.9 billion in advertising growth in the third quarter of 2016 (Fortune). Brands are turning to this platform for a reason – the results can be very lucrative but its not without its challenges. You have to compete against a plethora of content to engage audiences and changing your video material to meet different audience needs can be costly and timely, but is ultimately key to its success.

In terms of the marketing funnel for Facebook we see the following three areas as being key target:

The ability to segment your potential customers into targeted audiences on Facebook allows you to build brand awareness by engaging each target audience with tailored, relevant video ads. Once this has been achieved you can retarget the users who have engaged with more specific videos that will move them closer to conversion.
Whatever your plans for video in 2017, if you want to make the most out your content you need to put in place a social video strategy that targets audiences at the key stages of their journey from awareness of our brand to conversion into customers.

Photospire provides the leading solution for implementing a personalised video strategy across Facebook, Instagram and CRM (email) marketing. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your brand.

Subject Lines – 5 things you need to know

Much time and money is spent on crafting the perfect email with every bit of content laboured over. However, the subject line is often an after thought and with 35% of email recipients deciding whether or not to open an email based on the subject line alone it can be a very expensive mistake to undervalue this aspect of your campaign.

Here are 5 things to bear in mind when deciding what to put in your subject line.

Memail-subject-linesake it personal
Emails that include personal touches such as the first name in their subject line have a higher click through rate than emails that don’t according to the Science of Email Marketing. Including the name and other personal touches such as location, buying preferences or product history engages your customer and makes them instantly see that the email is likely to be relevant to them.

Make it punchy

Its important to keep the subject line short and sweet using wording that inspires the recipient to click. Using the same principles as you would to your calls-to-action will help engage with your customer from the offset. Your email needs to stand out from the overcrowded inboxes of today so a punchy intro is a must.

Pose a question
Instantly engage people by asking a question, but make sure that the question is relevant and ties in to the message of your email. For example brands sending out post purchase communications can include items bought such as ‘Are you enjoying your new Nike Airs’ or following up from an event the subject line could read ‘Did you enjoy the book launch yesterday’. This instantly creates a connection and encourages a response.

blogimg_specialcharacterMake it special
Making your customer feel special gives them a sense of belonging that can build loyalty and compel them to pay attention to your emails. All it takes is the right wording to make them feel loved and important to you. Examples such as ‘An exclusive invite just for you’ or ‘Here is a treat to lift your Friday’ go a long way to enticing them to click.

Change it up
What works for one campaign doesn’t necessary work for another and its important to keep your communications fresh and on point. Its all about what works best for your specific audience therefore its good to A/B test your subject line and tweak the wording in line with your results.

The main priority is to make your emails stand out and encourage your customers to click through to the great content you want to share with them. The subject line is key to this and worth spending time getting right.