Facebook Hashtags. Wait, what?

That’s right: According to sources, Hashtags are coming to Facebook.




I’ll tell you –

1. Ownership
Let’s get one thing clear: Hashtags are not owned by Twitter. They’re used heavily throughout the platform, of course they are, they help track conversation topics. In fact, Twitter is so entrenched in the hashtag that they’ve now taken to describing themselves as ‘The shortest distance between you and what interests you’.

The ‘you’ in that equation is the @name. The ‘what interests you’ part of it? The hashtag. Hashtags really are great for connecting users to the information that they’re looking (on Twitter at least). You know what else they’re good for?  Ad sales. But we’ll come back to that one…

Hashtags are used across other (mostly lesser known) social networks but when your average consumer sees them today, it’s fair to say they immediately associate them with Twitter.

Not for much longer.

Ps. Y’know where else Hashtags are used? Instagram. And you remember who owns Instagram, right? Right. 

2. Graph Search
With the advent of Facebook Graph Search, Facebook really needs to start to getting to grips with meaningful conversation data. What do I mean by that? On a panel recently about Facebook’s latest search product, one of the issues that we discussed was the potentially huge disparity between the two elements of data that will be mined via Graph Search; behavioural and surrendered.

I might Like something, but that might just be to gain access to an app or a game or whatever. That’s behavioural and that’s sketchy at best. Surrendered is even worse; Facebook is trusting its users to enter their personal information fully and honestly – this simply does not happen.  These two issues combined do not an accurate search engine make.


Using hashtags to badge up Facebook posts suddenly creates anchors within user conversations. First, these anchors are searchable and second, you can sell ads against them.

‘Oh hey Twitter, nice ad model you got there. We’ll take it. ‘

You get the idea.

3. Discovery  
Last month, Dan Rose, VP of Partnerships at Facebook, made it very clear that television and the second screen was definitely an area that Facebook was going to move in to. Perhaps not immediately, but soon.

Being able to tag your Facebook post against say, the TV show that you’re watching? That’ll be one major step towards that paradigm.

Earlier this week I wrote about what Twitter’s new Ad API meant for social media ad-planning. With Facebook now introducing (their own version of?) the hashtag, this same model applies: choose your TV show, pick your audience, choose your time slot, go buy ads…

OK, so obviously this won’t happen overnight; Facebook has a billion users and it needs to shepherd them in slowly, v-e-r-y  s-l-o-w-l-y…

But with the new News Feed inbound, Facebook hashtags (and their ads) could soon be just but a click away…


Targeting Twitter’s audience by the TV that they watch

The future, I sees it –

Back in September last year, I put together a few ideas about what evolutions we might see in the social media industry during 2013. Snappily entitled ‘2013 Social Media Predictions‘, one of the areas focused on was how Social TV and advertising would need to work closer together if they planned to meaningfully speak to their audiences across multiple different platforms.


“…Soon smart media-planners will force Twitter to allow time-sensitive promoted tweets, with time-focused twitter ads designed to populate at specific times – down to the very minute. Whereas the traditional consumer used to put the kettle on, today’s viewers are now turning to Twitter (and away from the ads), the industry won’t put up with this for long.”

Makes sense, right? Of course it does. So it came as no surprise at all to read that, thanks to the advent of Twitter’s new Ad API, the smart folk at TBG Digital have done just that.

Introducing Calendar Live, a new platform that  allows buyers to purchase Promoted Tweets in sync with television programmes. It’s that simple. While it’s true that marketers could kind of do this already, this new system makes it supremely easier and brings in additional features such as trend monitoring and more granular time-targeting.

Calendar Live

Bonus simplicity: it looks just like your TV guide — 

While this isn’t the kind of ad-based scheduling I was initially talking about, it is a step towards a more connected approach to social media ad-planning. Good work Twitter, and well done TBG. We’ve been looking at a number of solutions to manage our approach to social media and TV of late, and Calendar Live looks like it might actually have something useful to both brands and agencies alike.

Three final points:

  1. With similar fantastic work taking place right now in the form of Three’s #DancePonyDance, this kind of integration really is the at the forefront of where social media, and thus social TV, is headed during 2013.
  2. SXSW is on right now which, to me at least, means big news like this gets swept away under the mess of it all. Rule one: don’t launch during SXSW.
  3. I love it when I’m right.

5 things brands can learn from the Bieber debacle

Come on, you all knew this was coming.

It has not been a good few days for the global superstar. Where do we begin?

The #BieberBacklash (yes, that’s actually a hashtag) began when he had the ‘worst birthday‘ after being ejected from a London club for allegedly smuggling underage fans/guests through the door.

It’s a tough life, right? #BieberProblems.

Then, over the weekend, a seemingly innocuous tweet kicked off a fracas after Beiber RT’d a (SHOCK HORROR) a non-fan for saying she liked his new album.

The  Drum reports:

‘A succession of embittered fans jealous that their idol had deigned to retweet someone other than themselves who wasn’t a ‘real’ fan duly emerged with a series of hate filled tweets; including @julietesqueda who wrote: ‘Not really a fan of Justin Bieber but his acoustic album is really good!’’

Finally, last night, the Biebs was not one but two hours late arriving on stage on the opening night of his four day stint at the O2 . On a schoool night too? Never. Never say never. 

But OK, let’s look at this properly – what can brands learn from this?

1. Think before you Tweet
A few years ago, an agency head got into trouble after being somewhat unkind about the city where his main client was based. A silly error and, looking back through the mist of social media evolution, it seems like it’s a mistake of days gone by. But still, the lesson stands true: think before you tweet and never, ever tweet angry.

2. Reward existing fans, as well as new ones
Advocacy is everything. And, as innocent as it is to celebrate the acquisition of a new fan, treating all others in the same way will reap the benefits in the long term. In short: existing customers matter. Many service providers have got into the habit of offering their latest and best promotions (or at least deals of equal value) to both sets of customers. In future, Bieber might do too.

Sidenote: see also the death of ‘Our 2000th follower wins X!’ competitions. If you see this in action, call it out!  Why would anyone want to reward this brand new person when the 1999 have been supporting your growth along the way? It doesn’t make sense.

3. Know your audience
Whenever you kick off ANY kind of social media activity it is essential you understake a number of listening exercises to not only understand the current landscape of the market you’re working in but to also understand your audience. If Bieber had any insight – or had done any research – he would’ve known the following:

  • Monday night is a school night yo!
  • Travelling in (and out of) London late at night isn’t a fantastic experience (especially for young kids)
  • If he didn’t hear the boos from his dressing room then he certainly should/could have read about their disappointment online

4. Under-promise, over-deliver
Keeping your brand promises my seem like an easy and obvious one but it’s amazing how often many different brands forget this (at the expense of their fans and consumers). If you’re going to promise an AMAZING concert to all of your LOVING fans at a specific time, then you better make sure it happens.

And if you don’t – if you over-promise and under-deliver -well, then you really need to –

5. Invest in a Crisis Comms plan
Plan for the worst. Know what to do when things go wrong. At the time of writing, the Biebmeister is still yet to address the wealth of disappointed fans that had to leave the O2 early last night. A good crisis comms plan would know what to do in this situation: be that have the man(?) himself apologise on stage or even consider refund the ticket money – there are many different ways he could make this situation better. 12hrs later: none are yet to appear.

Irrespective of your opinion on Bieber-mania, there are a many, many unhappy fans sitting down at school today who feel let down by their beloved idol.

Read over the above again and just think: could it happen to you?


 Image via Adam Sundana on Flickr

Twitter and the monetization of the second screen

Twitter’s been buying again… 

Screen Shot 2013-02-04 at 22.32.36 (1)

According to sources, Twitter just bought US-based social TV analytics firm, Bluefin Labs. While the actual number is still an ‘undisclosed figure’, early reports state that this is Twitter’s ‘biggest acquisition to date’.

A few things:

1. This is REALLY interesting

Twitter and TV is clearly going to be HUGE. During the panel I was on at Social TV Conference London recently I remember saying something along the lines of –  ‘Let’s just be honest: second screen engagement is basically Twitter, we shouldn’t kid ourselves about that.’

I was being deliberately forthright but, looking back on it now, I don’t think I could’ve been any more right.

2. Is this is Twitter buying *outside* of their ‘API quadrant’?

Last summer, much was made about Twitter’s changes to their API. However what made it ultimately clear to everyone on what (and what was not) fair game was this one simple chart –


At the time, Twitter made it very clear that they were encouraging developers to no longer create apps that existed in the upper-right quadrant. In fact, they went so far as to call out the guys they thought were doing a great job in the other areas – stand up Klout, Radian6, and Storify.

However, with this acquisition, Twitter are now parking their tanks on the lawns of many many TV analytics firms out there today, and who can blame them?

My point is: Twitter are moving the goal posts again. To wit:

‘You can develop on our API but as soon as there’s serious money to be made… we’ll have our ball back please.’

3. Monetizing the second screen is clearly the next big thing

This is hardly news but, after the massive success of Twitter at the Superbowl this past weekend (earning mentions in 50% of all advertising)… hang on, before we go any further, some fag packet analysis:

  • Superbowl ads cost (for airtime alone) $3.8m per 30seconds
  • $3,800,000 / 30secs = $126,666.66 per second
  • 26 of the (presumed) 52 ads featured during the Superbowl had hashtags appended to them
  • Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that those ads ran those hashtags for 2-3seconds (it’s probably more, so let’s shoot for the top end of that spectrum)
  • 3secs x 26 ads = 78seconds
  • 78 x $126,666.66 = $9,879,999.48

Which means that during Superbowl 2013, Twitter scored just shy of 9.9million dollars of FREE ADVERTISING.


Sorry, where was I?

Oh yes, brands are on the Twitter train (for second screen activity) and the great ones are killing it. How long will it be until others catch on? 5, 4, 3…

4. Bluefin now, Second Sync next? 

From what I can tell, Bluefin are US only. Which is great, and an obvious win for that team (second screening in the US is clearly the most advanced / widely accepted). However the immediate question is: what’s next for the rest of the world’s TV social analytics market?

The smart money would be on the UK’s Second Sync being next. At a recent London Twitter event, #PoweredByTweets, Second Sync data was present in nearly every presentation – and Twitter were happy to say so too. They clearly do the best job, they’ve clearly been anointed as the chosen ones in this particular region, so are they clearly next in line for aquisition? Place your bets now please…

5. Social TV + The Future

It now goes without saying that 2013 really will be the year of Social TV. There’ll be a lot of snake oil salesmen out there and separating the wheat from the chaff will certainly make for interesting viewing indeed.

Bring it on, creatives of 2013, let’s see what you’ve got.


Five things on Friday #48

Things of note for the week ending November 30th, 2012

[click to embiggen]

1. Pacific Rim
I first blogged about Pacific Rim back in July (when it was merely a launch poster at Comic Con), and this past week a blueprint for one the giant robots – or ‘Jaegers‘ – that feature in the film has turned up as well as the first part of the teaser campaign, below –

A few things –

  • I love Guillermo Del Toro and I’m quite close to believing that he’s never made a bad film.
  • The tech blueprint is a MUCH BETTER example on how to do tech blueprints (back of the class please Prometheus).
  • I’m well up for this film, 3D-post-conversion and everything.

2.  Deadmau5 + Nokia
The Lumia 920 launched in the UK this week and, to celebrate, Nokia threw a(nother) Deadmau5 gig somewhere in the south of London.


It was a bit nippy, but overall we had a good night. I grabbed an awesome video and a decent collection of photos too. Check it.

I’m using a Nokia Lumia 920 myself at the moment and, if you’re interested, initial thoughts are up over on The Voicemail

3. Is Twitter ruining the celebrity endorsement?
This article, from The Verge, dissects the current trend of celebrity / technology placement and is fantastic food for thought, in more ways than one.

“As sales of physical recordings continue to decline, it no longer makes sense to spend six figures on a video that might not pay. That doesn’t change the production cost of a video, however, so product placement is increasingly used to fill the gap. Nokia has been particularly active in this space, with Lumias popping up in videos for Flo Rida, M83, Ke$ha and Katy Perry. Often, the deals are limited to the budget of the video itself, which can leave the performer unsure of his or her obligations once production is done. Was Flo Rida just playing a character who loved his Lumia phone, or was the “Whistle” video really a window into his life? Either way, it’s hard not to feel like someone’s pulling a fast one. Finding him tweeting from an iPhone would be like catching Bad-era Michael Jackson drinking a Coke. We can overlook a low-level sellout, but switching sides is just bad form.”

That last sentence kind of nails it for me. ‘Bad-era Michael Jackson’ wouldnever have been caught drinking a Coke because Bad-era Michael Jackson was around in the disco/pop, cash-rich, yuppy/money-can-buy-me-anything world of the 80s. NOT the new media/capture-and-share-anything-and-everything world of the post-noughties social media generation.

Basically, what I’m saying is, there’s nothing wrong with these placement deals – of course there isn’t. It’s just another form of marketing and advertising and, believe it or not, it does actually work. However, what’s required is a more in-depth contractual commitment that lives past the 4min music video. An arrangement that not only guarantees that you hold device X for one shot, but also defines that you throw device Y in the bin as you do.

The answer to the question is: NO, Twitter isn’t ruining celebrity endorsement. Poorly thought-through modern-day endorsement contracts are ruining celebrity endorsements; Twitter is just pointing out the holes.

When it comes to placement, brands need to think harder, and work smarter.

The end.

Sidenote: I love you Mike.

4. This Cheetah is Beautiful

Play it fullscreen, in HD.

You won’t regret it.

4. Live from New York
This gorgeous anecdote, via Bill Murray, over on HuffPo made me add ‘Live From New York‘ to my Amazon wishlist (hey, feel free to buy it for me won’tcha?) – and I’m fairly sure it’ll have the same affect on you too.

5. Laker Bros

For no reason whatsoever.

Like Deadspin, I just can’t stop looking…


Before I dive into this week’s bonuses, a moment to pause –

This week I realised that this post marks the 48th part of a 52 week promise I made myself at the start of the year. A blogging challenge if you will, to reflect on the week that was and – at the end of the year – have a single blog post for every week that would show what I’ve achieved and/or done with my time on this earth.

I won’t lie. This year has been tough. For both me, and my partner. As we head into December reflecting on 2012, the year of awesome, is hard. Professionally I’ve had ups and downs, winning my first major pitch for Ogilvy was a definite highlight, but the low-points – in general – include more character assassination attempts than I’d care to shake a stick at (from friends, (ex)colleagues/girlfriends and enemies alike), as well as dealing with a few health issues affecting the one I love…

Somewhere along the line the Five things on Friday changed. Changed from things I found awesome and wrote in my Moleskine, to things I’ve found on the internet and thought you should read. I don’t know how I feel about this change. I don’t even know if I want to continue with the weekly thing [once the 52nd week comes to an end].

I guess my question is, to you dear reader, what do you think? This project was going to be a one year only deal, things have been mad – hectic even – is it worth carrying on into next year and beyond?

Let me know…


Bonuses this week; Mark Ritson on John McAfee is an incredible read; if you’re a Mac user and need to brush up on your Lord of the Rings knowledge, it’s OK there’s an Easter Egg just for you; and finally, and rather unsurprisingly, China has a food problem.


Whatley out.


Five things on Friday #35

Things of note for the week ending August 31st, 2012

1. Dub the Dew
This isn’t that new but I just found another write up on it and well, I realised I just had to share. Mountain Dew decided that they’d ask the internet to help them name their latest apple-flavoured beverage.

The internet, responded.

This was – I KID YOU NOT – the Top 10 right before, some 48hrs after launch, PepsiCo [unsurprisingly] took it down –

  1. Hitler Did Nothing Wrong
  2. Gushing Granny
  3. Fapple
  4. Gushin’ Granny
  5. Diabeetus
  6. Grannies Squirt
  7. Gushing Grannies
  8. Gooshing Granny
  9. Fapulous Apple
  10. Gushing Green Granny


You could blame the internet. Or you could blame 4Chan. Really, you should blame a naively conceived competition by a brand that should’ve known better.

2. Verified Twitter Accounts
Ever wondered how they work? Lance Ulanoff just had his Twitter account verified and was kind enough to blog the entire process. I thought it was interesting.


4. Las Vegas Lulz
So that thing happened with Price Harry the other week? Yeeaaah, aside from a few red faces inside the palace, it turns out the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority were none too pleased either.

A fairly decent tongue-in-cheek full page ad in USA Today appeared earlier this week –

Love it.

5. The Darkness, covering Radiohead

There are no words.

Bonuses this week: this Designing BBC iPlayer for Xbox 360 article from the Beeb is a damn good read; Episode 013 of The Voicemail Podcast is out now and is full of the usual mobile-related banter (but with IFA/Samsung/Sony extras); and this Leo Burnett vs Asylum Films debate is worth ten minutes of your brain [UPDATE: now with illustrative background from LB’s CEO]. 

‘Til next time…


Five things on Friday #31

Things of note for the week ending August 3rd, 2012

1. The London Underdogs
“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well” 
– Pierre de Coubertin. Father of the Modern Olympic Games, speaking at the London 1908 Closing Ceremony.

And it is with that gorgeous quote that the spirit of The London Underdogs is built upon. Yeah, that’s right – let’s hear it for the Olympic Underdogs!

Here we are, at the mid-point of the two week extravaganza, and if you’re still yet to go (but have tickets to spend next week), get your posters from The London Underdogs.

Seriously, they’re awesome –

The London Underdogs

The London Underdogs

As the website says:

“We Brits love a good Underdog. The wild cards. The fighters. Those have-a-go heroes who haven’t a hope. We’ve never heard of them, we don’t know what they look like, and their fans are few and far between. But we cheer them all the same.

So join us, and together, we can show the world that it’s definitely about the taking part.”

Well done my friends, very well done indeed.


2. Cellophane Art: WIN

I absolutely love this artwork and have no idea why something like this has never been done before. ‘Cellograff‘, as its referred to by its creators, is French in origin, but universal in its appeal. I love it. I think you might too.

3. Blackpool’s Dune Grass
What is it? Have you seen it? Never heard of it? Watch this…

Blackpool’s latest addition to their pleasure beach takes the shape of these rather quite enchanting blades of ‘dune grass’. Conceived and created by the geniuses at Freestate, these kinetic sculptures have been in the works for several years and it’s actually quite lovely to see them at last, living and breathing in the real world – where they belong.

Super regular readers may recognise them from an earlier video… say, back in 2009?

I’m saying nothing.


4. Age-verified Following on Twitter
Earlier this week (or maybe the week before, I don’t remember), I was followed by the beer brand, Tsing Tao – Huzzah!

I quite like Tsing Tao and drink it fairly regularly, so a follow back was in order… but then, when I did, I got an auto direct message response.

Sidenote: auto direct messages suck. They’re spammy, impersonal and generally a one way ticket to an auto unfollow.

But this one was different, this one wasn’t asking me to subscribe to someone’s blog or to check out something else this new follower had done, no – this one asked me to confirm my age.

– I have not seen that before.

While this could be seen as merely a hoop-jumping exercise that alcohol brands go through to meet certain regulatory requirements (there’s no credit card details or anything that actually verifies a thing; I could be 17 and lie about my age), it does please me to know that these rules are actually being adhered to.

I’m not sure how long Twitter has made this feature available to brands, but I really like that it’s out there and I really like that Tsing Tao is doing things properly.

A cricket clap for for all of you.

5. (Fake) Injuries up your social status
This is old but apparently, back in 2009, it was fashionable in Beirut to sport your very own nose-job bandage. This trend was born out of the rise of the nose job in Lebanon and, given their expense, pretending to have had one implies that you have $1,000 to throw around on plastic surgery. Incredible.

Bonuses this week: as it’s that time of year, then it’s worth re-watching Monty Python’s Silly Olympics; More Olympics-based chatter from Herdmeister but this time focusing on what the event actually reveals about us, as human beings; and this map of the internet is awesome too.


Whatley out.