Privacy Concerns with Instagram

Instagram’s recent changes to its privacy policy and terms of service became effective on January 19, 2013 after causing quite the stir among users who feared a breach of privacy.

Many people were lead to believe that updated terms would allow the company to sell user pictures to advertisers without their knowledge, permission or compensation. However, this is not the case. Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom clarified in his blog post that “Instagram has no intention of selling your photos, and we never did. We don’t own your photos – you do.”

The recent launch of Instagram web profiles also raises some concern about privacy. The new profiles feature a collage of recently shared photographs that form a header along with a profile photo and bio, giving others a snapshot of the photos you share on Instagram. In addition, you can follow users, comment & like photos and edit your profile from the web.

With the new web profiles, anyone is able to view a public user’s Instagram profile online. To those who worry that their photos will now be on display for the whole world to see, have no fear. As long as your photos are set to private, your photos will be visible only to logged-in Instagram users you’ve allowed to follow you. Those who don’t want to share their photos on the Web can simply set their profiles to private.

Marketing via Instagram

Personally, I love reading how brands interact with their customers, and there’s tons of ways to do so with all of the social networks people are on these days, but one I never would have thought of?

You probably know what Instagram is, but if not, it is a photo-sharing mobile app that allows you to put vintage filters and effects on your photos. You can follow others, gain followers, “like” photos, and even hashtag them, making them searchable, just like hashtagging tweets. There are a few companies that are capitalizing on the uniqueness and flexibility of Instagram and using it for their marketing and branding, but letting users make it their own.

Tiffany & Co.
Last year, Tiffany’s launched an Instagram campaign that has the bonus of gaining three new filters for following them – Tiffany’s blue, peach, and black and white. This campaign also calls for users to post pictures of themselves with their significant other, tagged with the hashtag #TrueLovePictures.  Tiffany & Co has also set up a website that gives a live-updating website called True Love in Pictures that shows a selection of pictures from Instagram. Not only is this allowing Tiffany & Co. fans to take part in the experience, but it always gives them relevant content.

Comodo
A Latin American restaurant in NYC’s Soho, Comodo, has made the dining experience a social one, too, by inviting diners to take photos of their meals (as Instagrammers are wont to do) and tag it with #ComodoMenu, allowing their guests to “see” dishes and help them decide what they want, and seeing what their friends recommend.

There are a few other companies taking the relatively untouched marketing territory of Instagram, but a social media agency could do a lot to engage fans of a brand by making it interactive and letting fans engage creatively like this.

Chirpify to Expand Twitter

As Twitter quickly grows everyday, more and more opportunities slowly arise for Twitter to expand its domain. That is exactly what the latest startup, Chirpify, is doing by teaming up with PayPal. Chirpify will allow users to purchase anything from companies that also use Chirpify from their Twitter-enabled smartphones. In addition to shopping, users can transfer money to other users in a peer-to-peer transaction as long as both are using Chirpify. Beyond what is already done, Chirpify and future applications will only expand and demand more from social media marketing agencies as a necessity, not just an afterthought.

There are high hopes for Chirpify given the combination of a majority of cell phone sales being smartphones and people becoming more comfortable shopping through the internet. If Chirpify takes off, it would become the first major add-on to Twitter to expand it’s reaches as a social networking tool. With social networking sites quickly trying to expand their reaches by diversifying, it’s plausible they will eventually morph into near-identical entities. Seeing as how for example Facebook has its marketplace, which seems on par with Chirpify. If that were to happen, what would happen to social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook? Would they possibly merge into one giant site? All we can do is wait and see.

Katy Perry Last Friday Night a Hit!

Katy Perry pulled out all the stops for her 2011 Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) Video. The video is jammed packed with 80s heartthrob’s, 90s teen pop sensations, Internet memes and Kenny G?

Brace faced frizzy haired Kathy Beth Terry, played by Katey Perry, wakes up to find herself next to a buff young male and a fuzzy memory of the night before. Perry used social media marketing to promote the music video’s main character Kathy Beth Terry, who’s Facebook fan page is packed with links of 80s and 90s teen heart throbs like Jonathan Taylor Thomas (JTT), viral videos created by Kathy Beth herself and video clips of the boy band Hanson.

Katy Perry – Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)

The music video features Kathy Beth Terry getting a makeover from the Friday queen herself Rebecca Black, Hanson playing in the backyard and a saxophone solo from Kenny G. Darren Criss (Blaine) and Kevin McHale (Artie) from “Glee” make an appearance along with other famous stars from the past and present.

Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) is a hilarious play on teen geek-to-chic movie’s. Who knew Rebecca Black was such a party animal. As a Katy Perry fan I give this music video is a must-see and I give it two thumbs up!

Entertainment & Stars: Katy Perry’s ‘Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)’ Features Rebecca Black as Hostess (VIDEO)

Facebook and Twitter Additction OK

In high school and early years of college my Facebook addiction appeared to distract me from what many others thought I “should” be focusing on. As I got older my Facebook addiction led to a fascination with Twitter and other forms of social media. Suddenly I was studying social media and digital public relations strategies in school. Within three years my degree in public relations went from cool to awesome. I was taking innovative journalism classes tailored to social media strategies and search engine optimization and all things digital. Was this too good to be true? Can I really make a career out of this?

Photo: DirJournal.com

It turns out you can. And there is quite the demand for digital agencies and social media strategist as the digital revolution continues to grow according to The Detroit News article, Aging Nation, Technology Give Rise to Five Hot Jobs. There is real value in social and digital and more and more people are recognizing that. The job market is fierce and there is good news for college students. According to The Detroit News Article. “By 2018 a million new jobs expected to be created.”  I don’t know if fate or luck or destiny brought me to my current internship in the digital marketing field, but the future is looking nice for me and for the digital agency.

The Detroit News: Aging Nation, Technology Give Rise to Five Hot Jobs

Pioneers in Digital Marketing

When I read Joe Jaffe’s blog about possible front runners of the digital marketing age, combining social and digital media to get the job done, I immediately thought of Ingenex Digital Marketing.

After interning at Ingenex for a few weeks now, I can already tell that this company consists of digital marketing pioneers. The planning and strategy that is necessary for each project this company takes on is carefully thought out by more than one person. Having more than one person offer insight to each project gives the team members at Ingenex the opportunity to provide different ideas and angles.

The agency’s strategy for digital marketing includes social media methods that most companies strive for. Ingenex has the ability to not only create a marketing plan, but to also monitor that company’s social media sites and provide the feedback that is necessary for the survival of company’s brand online. Ingenex has mastered the social media sites Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, and Linkedin so team members are able to brand a company appropriately. Ingenex gets to know the company it is working with, and learns what is effective for that brand. Being such a small company, it can give its customers the one-on-one time that is appreciated; the big-shot digital marketing companies cannot offer the flexibility and quick-thinking that Ingenex can when a problem presents itself. Two members of the Ingenex team are Google-certifed, assuring customers that they are receiving the most up-to-date techniques in the digital marketing world. This company is quickly growing, offering Internet marketing services such as web site design, digital public relations, search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising (PPC) and Google analytics. Ingenex also offers iPhone and mobile applications providing your company with the opportunity to increase its brand exposure to consumers. These apps increase exposure as well as give consumers the ability to interact directly with a company’s brand via mobile phones.

While Ingenex is a growing digital marketing agency, it continues to show the same customer appreciation and dedication through the years.

Is Social Gaming the Next Big Thing In Advertising?

We know that ad spending on social gaming has increased by 60% since 2009, that 56 million Americans play social games, and mobile phone applications and games are continuing to grow in popularity so it just makes sense that advertisers would want to pay more attention to social gaming.

Robert Tomkinson, Playfish’s senior director of global marketing, explained that “What [media buyers and advertisers] want is massive reach, they want targeting, they want performance.” And they can have all of this, especially through the use of ads in social gaming. Tomkinson was a speaker at the Social Gaming Summit and had the opportunity to explain why social gaming advertising is growing and why it will be a success.

One reason he gave for social game advertising’s success is the idea that advertising in games is about engagement, not eyeballs. He gave the example of the Facebook game Farmville and how users were given the option to plant a branded crop, Cascadian Farm blueberries. This may seem like a simple concept but in 500 million cases, Farmville users decided to purchase the branded blueberries opposed to an unbranded crop. The use of branded items in social games allows the gamer to actually engage with the brand instead of just viewing it on a TV screen or magazine page.

Photo Credit: Pichaus

Another reason social gaming advertising is so successful is the fact that social games reach the Facebook (and other social media sites) audience. Facebook has 500 million users and the average American spends more time on Facebook than on Google, Yahoo, YouTube, Microsoft, Wikipedia, and Amazon combined. This high usage gives advertisers the opportunity to reach a large audience in a very simple way.

Tomkinson also mentions that some games have bigger audiences than prime time TV. Close to 30 million people play Farmville, the most popular social game. Last week Dancing With the Stars, the most popular prime time TV show, had close to 24 million viewers. The fact that social games are mostly free for users to play, simple to play, and are easy to access plays a big role in the audience the games are reaching.

Social games are also expanding their advertising efforts to the physical world. For example, 7-11 sold products that allowed Farmville game users to access a code from the bought product, perform a task in the game, and unlock a 7-11 virtual good. Over 3 million codes were redeemed and played in the game.

Brands and advertising in social games can do more than just showcase their name on a billboard. Brands are actually now becoming part of the game. In the social game It Girl, Old Navy had a virtual store that allowed users to purchase clothing with real-world offers. This gave Old Navy the chance to put their brand right into the game and make the company stand out above the rest.

One last advantage to advertising in social games is the idea that brands and companies will often reward players for using their games. By choosing to use a branded item in a game users may have the opportunity to win virtual currency, unlock new levels, or play the games for free.

Photo Credit: Mashable

It seems that social gaming advertising has many advantages for companies to increase their brand awareness in more ways than just having their logo flash across the screen. With the popularity and success of social gaming it seems that they will be here to stay for awhile and it will be interesting to see which companies jump on the bandwagon next.

Check out “6 Reasons Why Social Games Are the Next Advertising Frontier” to read more

Apple iPhone 4 hits the shelf! But what about the iAd?

They are on the news, optimized over the web and one of the most talked about manufacturers of the modern day computer. Apple Inc., based in Cupertino, California  is a leader, innovator and money maker.

With the recent release of the iPhone 4, Apple is under the radar and often the topic of technology conversation. Some choose to praise the addition of FaceTime messaging and multitasking features, while others highlight recent issues with the antenna and mobile service, however there is one new component to the Apple name that has yet to be the main topic of conversation, the iAd. It’s a mystery, that is slated to unfold today.

With a passion for the world of advertising, the iAd falls right into my area of curiosity. Yes, I have heard mention of the iAd, but before researching the component of Apple’s digital marketing, I had not a clue of the features it would offer.

Rumor has it that today will be the official roll-out of the Apple iAd, and according to Apple this program is what brands have been waiting for, “Access to the global audience of iPhone and iPod touch users.”

The iAd will be featured in Apple’s App store and as a component of third party applications. Ads will be marked with the iAd logo making iPhone, iPod and eventually iPad aware of the advertisement. The apparent goal of iAds is to create a user friendly, interactive advertisement that allows a user to act on the ad, (make a purchase, save a coupon or share with friends) without leaving the application that they have open. The ads will follow the trends of digital marketers on other platforms, such as Facebook and Google, that use demographics to determine what ads each user will see. iAds will make it possible for Apple and third party developers to make money while eliminating cost to the consumer.

With the release of the iPhone last week, and iAds this week for iPhone and iPod (The iPad iAd release has been delayed until Fall) the Apple news will continue on this steady stream. The popularity of Apple products is sure to speak volumes for the hopeful success and reach of these ads, but for now we wait to see what will come about over the iAd in the next few days, weeks and years.

I am excited to see what the iAd does for advertising campaigns, it has the potential to be an important component in the future of advertising and digital marketing. Now for all of you readers, what do you think about the iAds? And have you had the pleasure of coming across any on your iPhone or iPad applications?

For those of you not fond of the outdoors

Believe it or not, the hottest ticket in town right now isn’t for the Britney Spears concert, but for a pre-order of Apple’s newest iPhone model, the 3GS. In combination with the release of the new 3.0 software update for all iPhones, the new 3GS flexs its muscles with twice the processing power in addition to the much anticipated video camera and MMS feature.

3gs

As of today, there is no way to get your hands on one of these badboys, unless of course you are reading this blog post from your iPhone 3G in a tent while camping outside of your local AT&T store. But for those of you not interested in cooking S’Mores with a bunch of geeks in a parking lot somewhere down the road, there is a web publishing company with a few iPhone’s to spare for the lucky chosen ones. A company by the name of Squarespace is currently handing out 30 iPhone 3GS’s in 30 days, and you still have time to get in on the action.

iphone

By now you’re probably asking your self, what’s the catch? Lucky for you, this contest is very simple. All you need to do is tweet once a day with their hashtag, #squarespace, and you’re automatically entered to win an iPhone. (From further investigation, it appears that they are only actually only giving out a $200 Apple gift card and not an actual 3GS, oh well.) The contest ends July 7th and you can enter as many days as you want, and while you’re at it, check out their site and take a tour of their web publishing software. I was very impressed with its intuitive interface and customization options, something I will definitely explore for future projects!

For more information about the contest click here.

square

David Hilton finds a Social Tool in Twitter

Headshot for the ages...

Headshot for the ages...

Time to break the proverbial ice and introduce myself to those of you who may not know me. My name is David Hilton and I’m one of the new interns here at Ingenex Digital Marketing. This is my first blog post EVER, so don’t judge me too harshly if this reads a like a “noob” wrote it…because that is exactly what’s happening. My fellow interns and I were hired to learn and experience the world of digital advertising and so far so good. I’ve learned a lot in just one week by reading The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott and I’ve looked online at some of the marketing concepts mentioned in the book in order to gain a better understanding of how a digital agency like Ingenex helps their clients.

It’s interesting to me how easy it is to market a company efficiently using internet tools I usually take for granted. Like Facebook for example. I use it to connect with friends and family, share pictures, and find people I haven’t seen in a long time. Companies have taken advantage of Facebook by adding their businesses to the site through viewable profiles and creating applications for people to use that can result in a possible sale. Even CEO’s are creating Facebook accounts every day to better connect with customers. I used to hear about Facebook all the time on television and in the news. But, lately I haven’t heard anything about it. Not even a peep. No, lately I’ve been hearing a lot of tweets about a new and more popular social networking tool. And yes, pun intended.

Last night I was watching the Orlando Magic put the smack down on the Boston Celtics. During the broadcast I couldn’t help but notice that the commentators were constantly talking about Twitter. They must have mentioned it over 30 times. Even Charles Barkley was talking about how he had one. Also, as I finished the New Rules of Marketing book earlier yesterday I came across a section about social networking and how Twitter can help to keep customers updated with their favorite companies. Even earlier that day CNN was talking about how viewers can follow Wolf Blitzer’s Twitter to find out more on stories he will be covering or if he’s currently buying groceries. What have I been missing? Usually I adopt a social networking tool long before the media does! Not so with Twitter. They beat me to the punch.

twitterSo what exactly is Twitter? Twitter is a social networking tool that allows users to create tweets: micro-blogs that are limited to just 140 characters. Think of it as a constant Facebook status update, but without the clutter of wall posts, profile updates, etc. And did I mention it’s incredibly easy to sign up for it? I just did a few minutes ago and it only took me about 2 minutes. I even added people from my g-mail account to my new Twitter account instantly and I am also tracking some celebrities right now such as Kevin Smith.

So, maybe your still wondering just how the heck can this be used as an effective marketing tool? Well, let’s go back to Kevin Smith. Twenty-one hours ago Kevin Smith posted this: “ThatKevinSmith: One month from today I’m on Carnegie stage: http://www.tinyurl.com/carn… Hoping in tomorrow’s update, we’re under 1k left to sell.” Now, I had no idea that he would be at Carnegie doing a stand-up routine until I saw his tweet. He even mentions that there are only 1,000 tickets left to sell which establishes a call to action. And, to top it all off, the post is personal. Kevin Smith wrote it himself and didn’t have to pay a cent hiring an ad agency, PR person, or marketing firm to announce this information. And it’s not just his fans that will receive this information. News agencies, radio stations, blogs, podcasts, and anyone who is a follower of Kevin Smith on Twitter will receive this information and report it to people at NO COST. This is what marketing is all about now and this is why Twitter can be such an important tool. In 140 characters or less you can reach a wide audience and accomplish your goals for practically nothing. How cool is that?

So, I urge you to join Twitter and immerse yourself in this powerful tool. I’ve been a member for 20 minutes so far, and already I feel like telling the world about my goings on throughout the day. You can do this right from your phone as well, making it possible to update your status at any time, any where. This tool can also have the potential to allow business people to start writing their own blogs pertaining to their company and job.

As I get more acquainted with Twitter and other social networking tools, I will continue to blog about new and exciting things throughout my time here at Ingenex. This blog was more about “testing the waters” I guess, especially since most of you may already know about Twitter. I’m sure it’s fun to hear a newbie’s thoughts on the subject anyway, but as my experience grows so will these posts. I hope to meet a lot of you in the coming months and make sure to follow me on Facebook, Linkedin, and now Twitter. Thanks for reading!

David H.