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.

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


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.




The Countdown to Christmas

Christmas is upon us and unless you have been living under a rock for the last month or so you will by now be familiar with the Christmas messages from the big brands. John Lewis have unleashed their bouncing Boxer, Marks and Spencer have sprinkled a touch of sparkle over Mrs Christmas and Sainsbury’s have given time-strapped Dad the gift of family time this festive period. Just three of a huge sackful of brand campaigns designed to delight and inspire shoppers.


Executed correctly inspiring shoppers is just what Christmas can do, and its often essential for the success of the brand to increase sales at this time of year. In fact, according to Retail Research sales generated during this period represent more than 20% of total retail sales for the year. The consumers appetite is there and people are more receptive to Christmas marketing but it is imperative not to become part of the barrage of communications that get lost in the crowd, especially when email marketing alone increases by 25% at this time of year (MarketingTech).

The key to keeping consumers engaged is to intuitively update your message to their
changing needs, taking the stress of out present shopping and making it as easy as possible for them. Here are some examples of how to make the most out of your festive content and keep your customers inspired:

Early bird offers
Once you have pressed the button on your Christmas marketing message its time to tailor it to those early bird shoppers who like to have Christmas wrapped up by the beginning of December. One of the key dates for this is Black Friday and you can let your customers know in advance your top deals, time frames for discounts and special loyalty offers.

In-store events
There are lots of events planned in the run up to Christmas and its the perfect opportunity to draw your customers in from the cold, enticing them with complimentary in store services and goodies. Invite them to their nearest store through their preferred marketing channels whether that’s email, social or post.

Last minute solutions
For all those early birds there are the same amount of people who wait until the last minute to blitz their gift list. Offer gift suggestions based on their purchases last year along with customer reviews and make sure they know your express delivery services, last ordering dates and gift wrap options.

Christmas is a lifecycle in itself and those brands that reach out at every stage of the Festive shoppers journey with relevant, intuitive content will reap the rewards.

Customer Engagement – The What, When and How

“Customer Engagement” is a cliched term that you’ll find heavily used in reference to all aspects of sales and marketing. However, truly understanding how customers engage with your business has never been so important and will be a major factor in determining if you are still in business
in five years time.

Different customer groups have different needs and behaviours and how these groups interact with your products and business is changing all the time. The starting point in understanding what customer engagement means to your business is defining what each customer group wants, when they want it and how do they want it delivered.

customer-engBrands that have successfully learnt what their customers needs are have moved away from a ‘one size fits all’ approach to engagement to a ‘one-to-one’ personalised model. Today’s customers expect tailored messages that are relevant and specific to them – and why not? The days of generic, standard marketing messages are over. The brands that are succeeding offer their customers useful information that has meaning and makes their day just a little bit easier. Whether that’s offering style advice in relation to the weather that day or sending user guides for products they have recently bought, every communication needs to be reactive to your customer and add value.

Engagement should be intuitive, it needs to react to customers needs before they are even aware of what that need is. There are multiple stages throughout the customer journey when you should reach out with reactive content and should view personalised communications as an ongoing conversation and not just a one off that ticks the box. From welcome messages to event invites to post purchase advice and abandoned basket reminders every message needs to add value exactly when your customer requires it.

solution-brief-shopper-engagement-e1445462828673Today’s consumers interact with brands in a variety of ways that involve more than one touch point. It is vital to understand how customers behave across all channels so that communications can be consistent, fluid and clear. Targeting the right channel per customer is key to maximising the impact your communications have. Sending an email when the recipients preferred channel is social will waste valuable time and budget and you will not get the interaction and engagement your business needs.

Reaching out to customers with relevant, personalised information through the right channels before they have to ask for it will keep them engaged, make it easier to be your customer and improve their experience of your brand. Customer engagement might be marketing jargon but ignore it at your peril.

Photospire gives brands the power to engage with their customers through smart, reactive videos that are intuitive to each individual customers needs. 

Facebook Video Advertising – 5 Things Brands Need to Know

We all know by now that Facebook advertising is big business and brands are really starting to embrace the opportunity to reach out to customers through social platforms. Video has proven to be the most engaging form of content and its popularity is breaking through the stratosphere. In July this year alone 16 million videos were uploaded to Facebook directly generating over 232 billion views for around 3.5 million different creators (Tubular Insights).

So how do brands make the most of video on Facebook?

fbook 3Campaign Goals
Firstly you need to nail down your campaign goal whether that be to raise brand awareness, drive sales or promote a service or product. Once this has been established you need to decide
what success looks like to you and how you will measure it (for example with click through rates, number of views etc)

Target audience

The beauty of Facebook advertising is that you can really target your audience and get an insight into behavioural patterns and demographics. The more you understand your audience the more you can target your content and really engage them. You can access information such as what pages people like who also like your page, what device they use to browse, their purchase behaviour and interests as well as location. In addition you can target people who share your current customers demographics and behavioural traits.

Creative Development
The key to advertising success is to connect with your audience. You need to engage your audience with the right message at the right time. Customers engage with personal moments and enjoy being part of the conversation, its important to spark interest and not give the hard sell.   Consistent visuals are also key to really emphasise your brands identity. Facebook suggest that adverts should be 80% visual and a max of 20% text. Its a ratio that works.

fbook 1Timing
After analysing millions of videos, Wistia data showed that on average, people watch more than 80% of a video shorter than 30 seconds. Its clear that the message needs to be concise and simple. You have to get through to your audience in the first 5 seconds if you want them to watch the entire video. The frequency is also important, its not about video overload its very much quality over quantity. For a series of adverts its important to keep consistent but offer fresh content each time.

To reach out to different segments you need to customise your videos to each target audience. There is no point posting a generic video for everybody. When you are targeting new or potential customers you need videos that build brand awareness and are informative, however existing customers may prefer to see new products and offers. You can take this one step further by personalising by location, demographics and interests to really offer a personalised experience to your audience.

Photospire is a personalised video platform that enables brands to tell their story in the most engaging way across all digital channels. For Facebook brands can use our technology to create multiple custom audiences and target them with the content that is relevant to them. Contact us to learn more about what we can do for you.

The Art of Storytelling

All brands have a story to tell. Whether it is based on your origins, values, look or vision your customers should  know these core principles about you. Your story will differentiate your brand and allow you to build something that people will care about and want to engage with. It’s about creating loyalty and meaningful bonds with your customers.

On a basic level your customers develop a perception of your brand based on the signals that you send to them. This perception is made up of facts, feelings and interpretations meaning that part of your story isn’t even told by you. Every element of your brand from the logo to the tweets to the staff you employ should reflect who you are and your core principles.

With this in mind, here are three tips to maximise your brand’s story to reap the benefits:

Get to know your audience

brand-books12Once you know your customers you can begin to personalise your content to them and incorporate your story into each brand message in the most engaging way. The more detail you can get the better, especially when it comes to aspects like how they consume media, their demographics and shopping habits. You can then personalise your story to help them engage and reach out.

Be authentic and consistent

People can quickly see through unauthentic sentiment especially when they feel they are being given the hard sell. It’s important to stop and think about the message you are sending out and whether it rings true with your brand values and follows a consistent look and feel. The more consistent the image the more people with begin to associate that image with your brand.

Be original

brand-logos-thumbs-upAll brands and businesses are trying to connect with consumers and send content in the hope of engaging and garnering loyalty. Because of this your story needs to stand out. Whether that’s the way to tell it, what you say or how you say it, you need to be innovative and engaging from the offset. Your story should offer a fresh perspective, give the reader new ideas and inspire them. What’s interesting about your company and what makes you better than your competitors? These are all questions that you need to ask yourself when communicating with customers.

Photospire is a personalised video platform that enables brands to tell their story in the most engaging way. Whether it’s a welcome message, product advice or a post purchase lookbook Photospire allows brands to send personalised videos to communicate across all aspects of the customer’s lifecycle. For more information contact us today.