April 14, 2014 Add Comment Jay Park

Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms. While Twitter took over a year to reach 1 million users, Instagram achieved that feat in merely two months. Currently touting over 200 million monthly users and 20 billion photos uploaded, the visual media platform is also becoming a powerful marketing tool for brands.

Check out our top 10 facts about Instagram below! Some of them might surprise you.

Most popular day for Fortune 500 brands to post on Instagram is Thursday. (Tweet This)

25% of Fortune 500 brands are on Instagram. (Tweet This)

Thanksgiving drives the most traffic to Instagram. (Tweet This)

98% of Instagram photos posted by brands are also shared to Facebook. (Tweet This)

Instagram users share about 60 million photos per day. (Tweet This)

Instagram photos with faces get a 35% increase in comments than those without. (Tweet This)

Instagram photos with blue as the dominant color get 24% more likes than those with high concentrations of red and orange. (Tweet This)

57% of the top brand marketers are averaging at least one post a week. (Tweet This)

71% of the world’s top brands are on Instagram. (Tweet This)

Instagram is more popular than Twitter for smartphone users in the US, projected to rise to 40.5 million users by the end of the year. (Tweet This)

In just four short years, Instagram has become a social powerhouse. And with visual marketing now a top daily priority, the $1 billion Facebook paid is beginning to look like a steal. Learn how brands are working with Chute to use Instagram to its fullest potential here, and join the conversation with #VisualRevolution.

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January 30, 2014 Add Comment Monica Watson

AdWeek asked digital leaders: when does the Superbowl ad die? They asked this question last year too, and the answers seemed a bit more…hopeful back then for the biggest day in advertising. However, even though this year’s responses were less assured in the Superbowl ad’s reign, most discussed the way the digital and live worlds of advertising can complement and enhance each other as opposed to swallowing each other. Below, we’ve listed out some of the key takeaways:

Big screens still draw audiences, but that audience does not have your undivided attention.

However, that’s not a negative thing if marketers are willing to also be on more than one screen. Start a conversation and let it continue where audiences are already sharing and talking, or conversely let the latest trends from the internet influence your traditional media. Ideally, do both.

Commercials don’t just live on televisions. 

According to Dan Neely (CEO of Networked Insights), 85% of this year’s ads have already been released. But this isn’t just for television ads. Designer Oscar de la Renta gave the first exclusive look at their fall 2013 collection on Instagram before publishing the photos in a magazine. However, you’ll notice that Oscar de la Renta still shows up in fashion magazines and that despite ads being pre-released on Hulu and Youtube early, Superbowl airtime was still purchased. The argument doesn’t always have to be that one format will destroy the other. In a lot of cases, digital and traditional media can really complement each other.

Be constantly responsive.

Since that cookie-company-that-you’re-all-sick-of-hearing-about’s big real-time moment during last year’s Superbowl, brands and agencies have spent a year discussing the convergence of live cultural events and marketing. And on its 1-year anniversary, expect to see a lot of brands putting a year’s worth of discussion to work. The real lesson however isn’t just to plan to be real-time once a year – it’s to be responsive to customers 365 days a year.

What do you think? Is the Superbowl ad dead? Let us know what you think on Twitter or in the comments below.

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How to Foster a Culture of Contribution

Communities Take Investment and Engagement, Not Just Content

The following post originally appeared at BrianSolis.com.

Customer-contributed stories are not only powerful, they’re also influential and important. Yesterday, customers conveyed their stories through text and voice. Today, we’ve moved to visually rich tools like photos and videos. While compelling to look at at face value, there’s quite a bit more hidden within.

Ever one of these stories affords us much more than just a means to fill a page or gallery. Media provides us a glimpse into how our customers use our services and products, how they interpret the values we stand for, and inspire future ideas and anecdotes for us to build on. A picture is worth a thousand stories.

Succeeding with user-generated media can be a daunting challenge without the right preparation. Most brands still dive into these efforts with a “hashtag mentality” – throw a hashtag on something and they will come. Unfortunately, that rarely succeeds.

While consumers increasingly create media on a daily basis, they are likely not creating it for a specific brand. Even less likely, though, are the odds that they are creating media for you on demand – regardless of how large the media buy behind the campaign is. To maximize success, brands must breed a “Culture of Contribution.”

Read more over at BrianSolis.com

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The New Kodak Moment

Why Storytelling Is Harder Than Ever

The following post originally appeared at BrianSolis.com.

As a brand who innovated and heralded a technology that made time stand still – the Kodak moment became a colloquialism equivalent to capturing a moment worth savoring forever. For several generations, Kodak was the world’s record keeper. But those times have quickly come and gone.

Every moment ever photographed was a Kodak moment. Until they f***ed it all up. As my friend Brian Solis succinctly points out – the Kodak moment now marks the implosion of an amazing brand…the moment they missed how consumer behavior was shifting. It marks the hubris to resist the forces that made it successful. Worst of all, it commemorates the rift between a brand’s vision and the people who make a brand what it is.

Looking back several generations, the costs and challenges of photography and videography limited how much media we could create. Brands didn’t face this challenge – flush with the money and resources to create the most effective media. Today’s smartphone-rich world, however, affords everyone the opportunity to participate in storytelling.

Read more over at BrianSolis.com

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From the rise of twerking (thank you, Miley Cyrus) to Pope Francis’ rise to papacy, 2013 was a memorable year in more ways than one. For us, it was the year we saw shifts in storytelling, media, and advertising – 2013 was a key turning point for the #VisualRevolution. Below, are five key visual storytelling facts and moments from 2013 and what they mean for 2014.

2013: Content marketing stole the show
2014: Last year, there was a viral coffee shop prank to promote the horror remake, Carrie, and  Jean Claude van Damme proved he was the fittest 53-year-old alive in “The Epic Split” from Volvo. Content marketing is the new standard: This form of marketing has been embraced by over 90% of marketers, a rise from the 85% peak in 2012. 2014 might be the year to hit 100%.

2013: The platform inspired the content
2014: In a recent Chute survey, Snapchat users said that 80% of the photos they capture and share on the ephemeral messaging platform would not have been taken otherwise. While photos and videos are being shared everywhere, the content you create doesn’t always translate from platform to platform. Already, brands like Taco Bell and Rebecca Minkoff have begun sending Snapchat-specific content to fans, and brands like Tide and Samsung are working with Vine artists like Meagan Cignolli to create stop-motion videos that are popular on the platform.

2013: Mobile-first became everyone’s favorite catchphrase
2014: The amount of Americans who have embraced multi-device content (being on more than one content platform–laptop, smartphone, tablet, etc.) jumped from 10% in 2012 to 54% in 2013. Mobile commerce spending increased to $4.7 billion in Q2 of 2013–a dramatic change from the $0.6 billion in 2010. Thousands of brands have adapted web content to suit mobile devices, allowing for smooth and easy use across different platforms. Is 2014 the year that brands and publishers will work to figure out how to generate ad revenue that matches desktop’s numbers?

2013: Engagement became priority #1
2014: Ad clicks and follower count are important, but according to this study, engagement trumps them all for the most effective marketers. In 2013, much of this happened through social. Already, 52% of all marketers report having acquired a customer through Facebook alone, social media marketing budgets will double over the next 5 years, and there was an astounding 357% increase in social spending in 2013 compared to 2012. This year we’ll really start to see social engagement spread from feeds and timelines to experiential ads.

2013: Vines became commercials
2014: From Dunkin’ Donuts airing the first TV commercial made from a Vine video to TIME magazine placing an Instagram photo on its cover after Hurricane Sandy, the past couple of years have shown a wider professional acceptance of once consumer-only tools. In 2014 we will see this trend grow and be seen as less experimental and more as a new standard as editors and creators see that the story comes first – not which device a photo (or video) was taken on.

Let me know on Twitter what your top 2013 takeaways and 2014 predictions are. If you’d like to hear more about the future of media, follow along as we upload the Visual Revolution Summit videos on this blog. You can see my opening remarks below. And if you want to join some of these forward-looking brands and publishers featured above, we’d love to work with you.

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November 27, 2013 Add Comment Jody Farrar

The holidays are finally here! Some may groan about the early start to holiday commercials, carols and Black Friday deals – marketers look forward to the season to launch some of their most exciting and innovative ideas. While others meticulously plan their Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping strategies, we’re scoring our favorite commercials, banners ads, in-store displays, promoted pins, tweets and Instagram ads. So, for marketers everywhere, here are a few trends we’re noticing this holiday season.

1.     Make every customer touch point count. Leading brands don’t plan their social, direct, ad and PR strategies in silos. Instead they are fully integrating marketing campaigns in-store, online, in ads, on social, etc. Here’s a great example of Nordstrom bringing a social experience in-store – By the Book: Nordy Catalog.

2.     Instagrammable moments.  We know people take photos…700+ million a day. Encourage customers and fans to include your brand in some of their photos and videos this season by designing experiences that lend themselves to card-worthy moments and don’t forget to reward them for participating. BestBuy is encouraging people to Vine their experiences waiting in line for Black Friday deals…hopefully this engagement is successful and gives people both a place to commiserate and congratulate each other on scoring the best deals of the season.

3.     Social offers. You have thousands of fans and followers on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram. And let’s face it, most of the time your engagement with them is shameless promotion. Instead, think about rewarding them with exclusive offers and incentivize them to spread the love. Brands like Kate Spade are already known for offering exclusive deals to fans. We’re interested to see social flash deals for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the entire holiday shopping season.

What are you doing this season to stay ahead of the marketing curve and on-point with your consumers? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter!

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November 22, 2013 Add Comment Monica Watson

So you’ve heard that “selfie” is the word of the year, that visuals get processed faster by the brain than text, that millions of photos are being shared every day — that the #VisualRevolution is here. Almost daily, there are so many new platforms and advancements, and we’re constantly seeing new innovative campaigns and content. It can feel overwhelming to a company just getting started.

To help, we’ve got some simple steps you can implement this weekend from the comfort of your bed on your iPhone in a few minutes to get you started in visual marketing.

1. Search

This is truly step 1. It’s time to see the narratives people are sharing both about your brand or just relevant to your brand. Search for your company name, products, and slogans as hashtags. Next, search for keywords associated with your brand – a makeup company might search words like #eyeshadow and #mascara; an entertainment publisher might search upcoming movies like #thehungergames and #thebookthief to see what movie-goers are sharing or creating.

This search doesn’t start and end on Twitter – Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, and Pinterest are where some of the most creative brand advocates are.

2. Discover

While you’re in the midst of the search, it’s time to take notice. What are other hashtags or keywords people are using when they use yours? Are there specific creators making exceptional content or a large quantity around your brand? These people are your potential brand advocates, and it’s time to start appreciating them – encouraging further brand loyalty and conversion. You can start now! Give their photos a like or say thanks for the shout-out. You can start simple here, and you may only be able to do a few if you’re doing it manually (although, we recommend Chute Rights if you want to do this kind of engagement at scale).

3. Plan for Monday

Time to jot down some ideas! Think of some hashtags or calls to actions you want people using. This is the beginning of a campaign or evergreen content and something you can take into the office Monday morning to begin promoting and aggregating content.

In a few minutes, you’ve just done some basic visual marketing research and outreach. Now, what’s your goal with this content? Do you want people to be making more of it? Do you want to leverage it for further customer acquisition? Do you want to create programs to get current and future fans even more engaged? Write out your goals, and then contact Chute to see how we can help you meet them.

Think there’s another step marketers should take when starting out in visual marketing? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter!


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Every wave of technology poses a challenge to its predecessor. Some leverage this as an opportunity to innovate and improve on their offering. For others, however, these times represent a significant inflection point as their current business model is predicated on the maintenance of the status quo. The camera industry may have a penchant for the latter.

Last week, research firm IDC lowered its expectations for shipments of DSLR cameras by 9.1% to 17.4 million units. There are any number of potential reason for this drop, but many attribute it to displacement by smartphones. There has long been competition at the lower ranks with “point and shoot” cameras, but this represents a challenge at the higher end of the spectrum.

When asked to comment on the matter, Canon spokesman Takafumi Honga had this to say:

“Taking photos with smartphones and editing them with apps is like cooking with cheap ingredients and a lot of artificial flavoring. Using interchangeable cameras is like slow food cooked with natural, genuine ingredients.”

Source: Phones Imperil Fancy Cameras, WSJ

Sadly, this is not the story of a customer, but more a brand’s justification for not having a story aligned closely enough with the customer’s narrative. Amongst photographers, there is a saying “The best camera is the one that’s with you.” Canon’s metaphor fails to acknowledge the value of the camera that’s always there – the one that may not shoot in RAW but does capture the highlights of our day-to-day lives. And if our mobile photography highlights are any indicator, the mobile phones we carry don’t exactly inhibit photographers from creating some amazing works of art.

Of course, this is not the first nor likely the last time we’ll hear this argument. There is no doubt that those who embrace the wave create opportunities to not just survive, but thrive. Let’s hope that Canon and its ilk can learn to swim fast enough to keep from drowning. Kodak tried to swim against the stream – to its demise.

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October 30, 2013 Add Comment Monica Watson

Marketers are getting better at content marketing, with 34% believing they are effective versus last year’s 32% according to the 2014 North American B2C Content Marketing Report. Today, 90% are using it, and 60% are planning to increase content marketing budgets.

Slide 3

While content marketing is continuing to grow, with 77% of the most effective marketers creating more content than last year, the purpose of it is shifting. Last year, the top goal was customer acquisition, but this year the focus is on brand awareness. And what is the top priority for the most effective marketers? Engagement.

Slide 13

This focus on engagement first is sweeping through all forms of marketing, not just content. This is because it’s through engagement that companies can achieve brand awareness, retention/loyalty, and acquisition. And it’s the task of creating engaging content that 51% of marketers say is their biggest challenge – up from 49% last year.

Creating engaging content doesn’t always have to be an arduous time-consuming task. Our advice? Plan ahead and empower your audience to be creators.

Plan Ahead:

60% of effective marketers have a documented content strategy while only 12% of the least effective marketers have one. While much of content marketing depends on real-time events, breaking news, and trending pop culture, there is still an opportunity to plan out specific campaigns when you know an event or season is coming up or to develop strategies for different kinds of events and topics. Do you have a guideline for responding to breaking news on Twitter? Or a strategy for approaching the next Harlem Shake?

Empower the Audience:

Your audience is filled with creators making amazing content about or around your brand. Youtube is filled with fake film trailers made by fans that are just as impressive as the trailers developed by big production houses. A quick search for your brand on Instagram gives you a living narrative of your product among consumers.

What are your biggest content marketing challenges for 2014? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments below.

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October 25, 2013 Add Comment Monica Watson

Instagram is joining the ranks of Tumblr and Pinterest by offering in-stream advertisements as a way to monetize its service.

So far, the reaction to the idea of ads cluttering the Instagram feed has been less-than-glowing. In a recent Mashable poll, more than 85% of responders said they were either furious or disappointed by the news. This isn’t exactly surprising. We’ve become used to ads either being a hindrance or ignored, and being angry over the introduction of ads isn’t new – the same happened for Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumblr. To find out brands now get access to the precious and small real-estate of the Instagram feed was never going to be met with much fanfare. However, with the selective content-first approach that Instagram is launching ads with, there is a real potential for them to do ads right.

If you’re beginning to look at how to create or source ads for Instagram, here are some tips to make sure they’re effective. If you’re currently not one of the few companies selected to begin the pilot program, these tips can also be used for any brand looking to develop an effective Instagram presence.

1. Tell a Story
For the most part, product shots are not inspiring. They tell no story. But a product in action? A product facilitating a true human experience? That’s impactful. Look at some of the best ads – from Expedia’s tear-jerking Find Your Understanding ad to the Carrie’s hilarious viral prank. Telling a story is the most important asset for marketers, and when it’s used effectively, the results can be truly inspiring.

Take a look at MTV’s Fern and Buzz, a Instagram-only sketch show featuring their office coffee pot and fern. The “show” both entertains MTV’s followers while also featuring celebrity guests and promoting their on-air shows.

2. Be Interesting
You know those people at a party everyone avoids because they only talk about themselves? Yeah, don’t be the equivalent on Instagram. There’s a whole world out there filled with pop culture, events, cute kittens and breaking news, and your company can acknowledge their existence while still being on-brand.

Already, brands like Oreo and Converse are following and responding to news, now this hyper-relevant content can become ads.

3. Don’t Set and Forget
So, you’re going to be creating Instagram ads and they’re now going to be the most stunning, engaging, story-filled ads the world has ever seen. Congrats. But what about your Instagram profile? Build it up to also be filled with content, and encourage your new ad-driven audience to stay engaged by interacting with them.

Lyft routinely looks at who’s tweeting and Instagramming about their service and will often leave personalized replies to customers.

The promoted photos and videos can quickly be hidden or marked as irrelevant. You can do more damage than good by posting bad content. Often, brands get excited about reposting content to all of their platforms, but with such a visually-driven audience, it’s important to note the differences between the expectations of Instagrammers versus Facebook or Twitter. The key for brands? Be genuine, be relevant, be respectful of the Instagram community.

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