Visual Word of Mouth Advertising

The successes, the changes, and the legalities

User-generated content has become a hot commodity among brands looking for authentic content to build buzz and trust and for publishers seeking to tell broader stories. At the Visual Revolution Summit, Josh Sternberg (Digiday) lead a discussion with Vejay Lalla (Partner, D&G), David Berkowitz (CMO, MRY), and Marc Wendell (Product Manager, PicScout) to discuss how user-generated content can be used effectively, efficiently and legally.

Learn more about the Visual Revolution here, and discover how Chute helps brands solve the UGC consent conundrum here.

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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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SXSW: the only place where you can take a selfie with Grumpy Cat and Machete in one day. Austin is weird, and it gets even weirder when thousands of tech innovators, film stars, internet memes, and suits descend.

The photos attendees took this year definitely didn’t break that weird mold. In total, there were 105,044 #SXSW photos during SXSWi, and some of the most popular secondary hashtags people included may surprise you. Check out the infographic below listing out attendees’ favorites.


Were you at SXSW? Whether you were there or not, what do you think the some of the other popular hashtags were? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments!

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December 12, 2013 Add Comment Jay Park

At the Visual Revolution Summit last Thursday, we heard from some of the greatest minds and industry experts on the importance of visual storytelling in marketing, publishing, and technology.

The Summit’s best storytellers? That’d be you, our audience. Check out below some Tweets and photos for some highlights from the Visual Revolution.

From people appreciating our stellar lineup of speakers…

To the amazing brand case studies exemplifying the powerful use of social media and effective visual marketing…

People learned so much!

And saw it in action almost immediately.

Not to mention this blast from the past. #ThrowbackThursday

Thank you for making this conference such a success!

And stay tuned! We’ll have full videos of discussions and talks along with interviews up soon.

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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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Behind “Instagram Is” with @technopaul

"Instagram Is isn't just a film; it is a change in perspective"

November 12, 2013 Add Comment Jay Park

Although an early adopter of the popular visual-sharing platform, it wasn’t until September of 2012 that Paul Tellefsen began using Instagram much more seriously. After attending an “instameet” held by popular Instagrammer, Cory Staudacher (@withhearts), Paul was immediately drawn into the endless possibilities that the app offered: the creativity, community, and inspiration.

This all-star visual storyteller, director, and artist has surrounded himself with film and photography all his life, leading up to the founding of his own company Technopaul Productions, a visual production company centered around film, photography, and graphic design. His most recent claim to fame is Instagram Is–a documentary short about the Instagram community.

“It was something that was foreign to me,” Paul recalled. “How can you build true community through social media? But I caught on to his vision and heart fast. Almost overnight, the way I used Instagram changed from photo sharing, getting likes and followers, to building genuine community.”

Fully embracing the idea of the Instagram community, he dove right in. Very quickly, he began to experiment with new photography techniques, bonded with individuals across the world, and was featured on several accounts like @instagood.

It was studying at UT Dallas, that he was assigned to make a fake movie trailer for one of his classes. Naturally, he decided to focus on Instagram and recorded one of his personal instameets where he interviewed those Instagrammers that were present. However, he soon realized that the story of Instagram transcended a mini-fake trailer for one class and decided to make it into a full film.

Instagram Is isn’t just a film; it is a change in perspective,” he says. “Whether you are new to Instagram, don’t know about Instagram, never have liked Instagram, or just need fresh inspiration the film speaks to all these audiences. When I created Instagram Is I never could have imagined the impact it would have. I am ever grateful to be apart of this community of intentional creatives.”

Since the film’s inception, Paul has grown dramatically as an artist, director, filmmaker, and person, and he attributes a lot of it to the community he grew to embrace on Instagram. In his words, “Instagram will always be about community.” It isn’t something that can be forced or stopped on a whim; it’s organic and builds over time, and the bonds that are made tie it all together to make it last.

Check out the inspiring Instagram Is documentary and follow Paul Tellefsen on Instagram at @technopaul!

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November 6, 2013 Add Comment Jay Park

People are passionate about sports, and the online fitness community is one that continues to grow. From Nike’s ability to motivate people to #JustDoIt to the NBA’s engagement of their group of passionate basketball fans, the following four brands are producing some of the best content on the Instagram.

1. Nike

One of the most recognizable brands in the world, Nike also has one of the largest Instagram followings. Their photos are simple yet stunning and always inspiring.

2. NBA

The NBA Instagram gives fans an inside look behind-the-court and engages them through fun NBA-inspired contests, such as the pumpkin carving one above.

3. Adidas

From exclusive looks at new products to hashtag contest giveaways, Adidas unites both fans of their products and of sports through their Instagram account

4. NFL

Follow your favorite team alongside all other official NFL teams through the NFL’s Instagram account. In addition, you get behind-the-scene shots of the players, fields, fans, and cheerleaders.

Did we miss your favorite sports brand or team? Let us know in your comments below or on Twitter!

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November 5, 2013 Add Comment Emily Ott

The first Instagram ad debuted this past Friday featuring fashion designer Michael Kors. Since then, the Paris-themed photo has received 229290  likes and 1754 comments.

The ad itself did receive some negative comments from Instagrammers surprised by the addition of ads to their feeds. However, the #MKTimeless hashtag has grown to be used more than 11,800 times.

Instagram ads are fleeting. They pop up in your feed while you scroll through and will fade away as more photos are added. It’s the post-ad conversation that matters, not the knee-jerk comments that most users will never even look through.

Our advice for marketers? Focus on the conversation, the engagement, of an ad. It’s that conversation that lasts after the ad is no longer in front of an audience anymore. It’s the engagement that makes an ad truly effective.

Learn more about why the most effective marketers are focusing on engagement here, and let us know: what did you think of the first Instagram ad? Respond on Twitter  or in the comments below.


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October 31, 2013 Add Comment Jay Park

Happy Halloween! Some of our favorite brands and publishers are getting into the spooky mood with their hashtags and promotional videos. Let’s take a look at some of our favorites, but warning: puns ahead!


One of the most popular athletic brands on social media, the NBA is even taking part in the spooky fun with their NBA-themed pumpkin carving contest. Fans can submit their artistic creations with the #NBAHALLOWEEN hashtag.

2. Halloween Treats Gone Wrong by Crest & Oral-B

Now this one isn’t a hashtag, but it is a fine example of content marketing: teeth cleaning brands Crest and Oral-B released an outrageously funny and creative video that encourages giving children candy to appease their tantrums–just make sure to clean up afterwards!

3. #ScaredStainless by Tide

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The brand released seven creative Halloween-themed Vine videos and attached a very appropriate #ScaredStainless hashtag to make it more viral. Overall, the vines and tweets reached nearly a million people on Twitter and received several hundred retweets.

4. #NPRHalloweenNames

Started by the folks from Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me and later picked up (and encouraged) by NPR themselves, Twitter-users came up with clever and spooky editions of segment titles or news-related terms with the #NPRHalloweenNames hashtag. Favorites include “Mourning Edition,” “Tell Me Morgue,” and “Neda Boolaby.”

Do you have a favorite Halloween hashtag we missed? 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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