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.

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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.

http://www.photospire.co.uk

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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.

www.photospire.co.uk

 

 

 

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.

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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.

www.photospire.co.uk

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.

What
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.

When
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.

How
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.

www.photospire.co.uk 

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.

Personalisation
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.

http://www.photospire.co.uk

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.

 

All Hail the Mighty GIF

GIFs today are a far cry from their humble clipart beginnings in 1987. Todays GIFs are the go to medium for anybody wanting to express something in a fast and engaging way. Somewhere between a collection of images and a mini video the GIF format adds something special. They are visually stimulating and can be consumed in a matter of seconds on continuous loop. They tick all the right boxes for today’s time poor consumer.

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Social media sites are all on board now allowing users to upload GIFs, a platform on which they really come into their own. New online tools help even the most novice users find and create GIFs which they can then share. When scrolling through your news feed the number of GIFs displayed has massively increased in recent months both from followers and brands. Facebook finally rolled out proper GIF support to personal accounts and business accounts last year and Twitter has gone one step further by last month releasing a GIF button which allows users to search its catalogue of animated GIFs and then easily share them. It has also released a video sharing tool for direct messages.

Brands are now using this medium to engage with their customers in a new and fresh way. Although video is still incredibly powerful in marketing terms GIFs offer a different approach. They provide a more convenient, faster and silent way to engage. Brands can build hype and highlight key messages in as little as three seconds and GIFs frame-by-frame nature lets consumers stop and focus on a single moment or detail. Brands are seeing huge increases in click through and conversion rates when using this format in emails. They are also being used on product pages as how-to visuals, on social media to give customers a ‘sneak-peak’ look at new products and as follow up communications to keep the conversation going and continue to engage.

Whichever way you look at it GIFs are here to stay and are only going to get more advanced as technology progresses. Can your brand afford not to get on board? For information on how Photospire can reach out to your customers through visual content please get in touch today.

How retailers are engaging customers with digital displays

Retailers have long known that to keep up with their customers’ demands they need to offer an exciting and innovative experience to in-store visits. Today’s shopper wants a more engaged, personal experience when they shop in store and have come to expect the same resources that they have available when shopping online. Oracle’s 2015 Consumer Research report found that 76% of respondents wanted retailers to invest in new technologies that specifically engage customer experience, with 54% saying that converged commerce is key to this.

In answer to this demand digital displays have come to the forefront in helping retailers bring the online and in-store shopping experience together, allowing consumers to interact and connect with brands whilst enriching their shopping experience.

One of the great advantages to in store digital displays is the ease in which they can personalise and add value to a shoppers visit. They can either be controlled by staff on site for a more relevant, customised experience or externally to offer consistency and increase brand loyalty.

Here are some brands that are using this technology to really stand out from the crowd and offer their customers a new approach to how they shop in-store:

Audi City

An early adopter of digital displays, Audi have rolled out digital showrooms in cities such as London and Berlin. This innovative format uses state of the art technology that enables visitors to experience every possible combination of the Audi range in one place. The London dealership has four ‘powerwalls’ – floor to ceiling screens that display the customers chosen car after identifying the model, colour, engine and other specification from touch screen tables. They can then spin the car around, peer inside, open the doors and trunk and even watch it drive off, complete with authentic engine noises.

Argos

Argos have opened their first tranche of new digital concept stores. The shops use digital technology to make the customer experience more interactive.  Customers can use tablets in store to browse products (where once was the catalogue) and the mounted screens welcome the customer, showcase the staff on duty and display new products and promotions. The company’s Twitter and Facebook feeds can also be directed to screens, which provides additional content for customers to read while they wait.

The technology displays current pricing and uses live, local stock data to decide which products get promoted. In addition, each store is linked to the local weather station, which enables Argos to promote weather related products on-screen as appropriate.

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren successfully integrates engaging graphics within their store displays. They recently showcased an energetic and engaging Polo Sport display in the window of Macy’s New York and at their flagship store on Fifth Avenue. Using props, mannequins and graphic content they grabbed shoppers attention in an energised and theatrical way. The digital displays ran a video loop with fast-paced edits, featuring athletes wearing the apparel that the mannequins were sporting in action poses.

Burberry

A lot has already been written about Burberry’s flagship Regent’s Street store and it continues to be one of the most innovative shops in the world. The concept has been taken from their web user-experience and applied to the in-store retail space to create a bricks and mortar version of the website. Concentrating on the digital display aspect, customers are greeted by a huge digital screen (the largest of its type worldwide) giving the sensation of physically landing on the home page.

The most highly innovate concept is the stores mirrors that transform into digital screens. A chip hidden inside each product triggers RFID (radio-frequency identification) enabled mirrors on the shop floor and in changing rooms to transform into digital screens, displaying product information and inspiration.

The beauty of digital displays is that they enable brands to impress with fast moving content that can be updated at the press of a button. Used well they can bridge that elusive gap between on-line and in-store shopping and the overall result should be designed to enhance the store experience and assist customers in all aspects of the buying journey.

www.photospire.co.uk

 

 

 

Why Email Personalisation is Key to Click-Through Rates & High Returns

Email in a rut

Although still the best marketing channel for return on investment, email has slowly seen a decline in productivity.  A recent report by Venture Beat Insights found a decrease in click through rates and an increase in unsubscriptions. It did, however, highlight that email is still the preferred marketing channel for customers.

This decline is due to irrelevant, generic content being pushed out to recipients who have less time and patience and are seeing higher volumes of marketing emails crowding their inbox.

Personalisation works

PER EMAILHowever, the report also showed overwhelmingly that personalised emails counter this trend with companies continually reporting an increase in open rates and click-through rates when sending emails that are personalised to their customers. In fact this technique also affects their revenue and has shown to increase transactions by 500-600%.

Personalisation works because recipients like to receive information that is relevant and of personal interest to them. When conducted properly this type of communication has been proven to prompt sales, increase engagement and generate loyalty.

To find out how Photospire can help you benefit from personalised email marketing then please get in touch here.

Photospire

5 Reasons Mobile Video is the Ideal Marketing Tool for Brands

Video consumption on smart phones has sky-rocketed over recent years. In fact 50% of global viewership on YouTube comes from mobile devices (YouTube Insight Team). A recent study by Google and Ipsos found that the mobile phone is the number one screen choice for millennials wanting to watch video and once engaged they are twice as likely to remain focused as opposed to viewing it on other platforms. The study also reported that more than 50% of the smartphone video viewers said they used video to help them make product decisions in stores and online.

Here are five reasons your brand needs to join the video mobile craze:

Maximise Space
Video allows you to maximise your content delivery on the smaller mobile screen space. When customers access a website or landing page on their mobile devices the text is either readable but very abbreviated or else difficult to navigate and read.

In contrast video is automatically delivered in full screen mode on mobiles and enables on-the-go users to gather the information they need quickly and clearly.

Instantly Engage

mobile-video-and-tabletVideo grabs your customer’s attention and shows content in a quick, concise and engaging way. Through mobile videos, you can add powerful visuals and branding elements to your content. A well-crafted video is easy to consume and enjoyable to watch, something that can be difficult for many websites to accomplish on a mobile device. Its important to include a call to action to use this engagement effectively.

Turn up the Volume
Sound adds another dimension to your marketing content to make it more memorable. The audio in the video can deliver your marketing message, even if the video is not closely watched. Clever use of music, voice-over and sounds really helps to promote your brand and message. Busy consumers are able to gather the content through audio even if they can’t focus intently on the visuals.

Just Press Play
Everybody knows what to do when they see the play button therefore it makes it very easy for consumers to engage with your marketing message. Not having to navigate or scroll makes it much more likely that your message will be understood

£££
A high quality marketing video can be very cost effective to produce. By leveraging your current marketing assets, you can have a highly effective video produced for a relatively low cost. It’s easy to re-use logos, images, video footage, etc to create an engaging and successful marketing video.

Photospire can help you deliver exciting, personalised videos to your customers at scale. For more information please contact the team here

www.photospire.co.uk