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Video is fast becoming the king of content. According to this report from the Content Marketing Institute 69% of marketers surveyed had increased their creation of audio/visual content compared to the previous year. And as Cisco reported in 2018 video content will account for 82% of consumer internet traffic by 2021. So for those not already investing in video marketing there’s a pincer movement going on: your competitors are no doubt ratcheting up the amount of video they’re creating, and consumers want to engage with video online. 

Now, obviously the rise of on-demand online video providers like Netflix, Amazon Prime and other networks are going to be accounting for a lot of this traffic, but back in 2016 YouTube was already racking up 500 million hours of video consumption a day and that will surely only have increased as mobile data connections and data allowances on phone contracts have risen. You’ll find similar statistics dotted about the web, but here are a couple that should highlight the importance of video content for marketers:

So that I don’t have to make this article stuffed full of citations and links let’s just take it as read that people like video and they watch a lot of it. 

Is Video Content Right For My Brand?

You’re asking the right question. Before you invest in any marketing activity you should always ask yourself: is this what my customers want and need. If you don’t keep your users at the core of all your marketing then you’re going to miss the mark, and whatever you have put into that activity is going to be, if not wasted, then certainly performing sub-optimally. 

I can’t answer the question directly. What I can say is that we know people enjoy video content, and not just fun videos about interesting things. Being able to watch a video about a product and what it does, hear directly from someone how a brand’s products or services helped them, or being able to watch a step-by-step guide on how to do something with a product, is a more stimulating experience than reading a wall of text. 

Video doesn’t have to mean a glossy, high production value advert either. In fact you’ll find that a lot (most) of the video content consumed online isn’t up to the same production standards you see on TV. Even a simple video shot on basic equipment like a smartphone can work wonders. So my advice to you is this: to find out if video content is right for your brand make a small investment in creating some and then put it out and see what the response is.

With access to analytics on social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube etc. you can put a video out into the wild, give it a bit of a boost with some media spend, use some clever targeting to get it in front of the right people, and then find out how your audience engages with the content. 

Should you be investing in video content in 2020? If you want to reach your audience and engage them then the answer is yes. Because either your competitors already are, so you’re losing ground, or if they aren’t then it’s your opportunity to differentiate your brand and begin to own the conversation with customers. 

Whether you want to take some initial steps into video content or are committed to it but need fresh ideas or a hand in producing some quality video content, get in touch with us today and we’ll let you know how we can help.

Remember when video on the web had to be downloaded before you watched it? Not that old? OK, how about that even until recently watching video on the go resulted in your mobile data being rinsed, and led to frustrating waits while video loaded in? Well, as we’re all aware that is becoming a thing of the past. 4G mobile networks and huge data allowances mean we all indulge in a little video consumption while out and about. That in itself should be enough to make you consider video content marketing, but if not then perhaps some mind-blowing numbers will.
According to this report by Cisco video content is destined to completely dominate web traffic in the next couple of years. A couple of key points from the report include:

  • Globally, IP video traffic will be 82 per cent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2021
  • Live Internet video will account for 13 per cent of Internet video traffic by 2021

While video content marketing seems like a major investment compared to written content it helps to realise that video for digital platforms isn’t like a TV ad spot. It’s possible to create quality video without a seven-figure sum.
 

Does message beat the medium?

There’s two sides to this. Yes, undoubtedly the message is ultimately more important. By that I don’t just mean what you are saying, but also the big idea that is landing that message.
It just won’t be enough to film some rough video and throw it out there and expect it to get loads of hits, shares, conversation, and ultimately generate a return for you. Anybody can film themselves talking to an iPhone. When you see that working it is either for established ‘influencers’ (who have grown an engaged audience over time), or for genuinely authentic video – not for brand content. Your video needs to be thought through, with a compelling creative idea or story, and properly planned even if the execution of the video is basic. Without that you just can’t cut through. Then there’s the strategy for promotion and the budget that needs to be used to get your content visible.
However…
If your audience is heavily engaged with one medium it makes sense to meet them there and then land your message. While pumping out text only social media posts is cheap and easy, if nobody is noticing them what is the point of that activity?
Video content marketing is going to be vital because it will be the best way to reach and engage your audience. Pretending otherwise will only let your competitors plant their flag first and leave you behind.

Be brave with video content

As a creative I’m always thinking about how to create an idea that is genuinely compelling, and pushes at a client’s boundaries. But the problem is unless the client is going to come with me on that journey it can be difficult to persuade them to.
For some businesses video content marketing might seem like an unnecessary expense. Sure, John Lewis can pay big bucks for their Christmas ad spot and plough money into ‘always-on’ video content but that’s John Lewis. And of course video content might not seem relevant to your audience. But no matter what products or services you’re offering video gives you a platform to show people what you have, to offer interesting or exciting content that can sway them to purchase, and get them engaged.
Don’t think that video content marketing requires you to sink your entire budget into it. The majority of video content that people engage with online isn’t polished, high spec, high concept art. It’s documentary-like footage, stuff that feels authentic, video that tells a story at a human level. So you can make your initial forays into video simple to test the waters, and try different ideas and formats.
The important thing is to make the move, but with a considered strategy behind it. That way your video content will help you achieve your goals instead of floundering.
Will you make 2018 the year you create the content your audience wants? Or will you leave that up to your competitors? Get in touch to see how we can help you create the compelling video content needed to reach your customers. 
 
 


Beer, enjoyed in moderation as part of a regime of regular exercise and sensible eating, what could be better? That magical transformation of barley, hops and sugar, fermented then consumed with sometimes ill-advised enthusiasm all over the world.
We’re talking beer because today, the first Friday of August, is International Beer Day. Now, we’re aware that some may use a celebration of beer as an excuse for some extreme intemperance and questionable behaviour and we’d just like to park that issue for now and talk about why here at The Organic Agency we are celebrating this day dedicated to fermented grain.
As most people will know it’s easy when you’re working to get tunnel vision, to focus on your workload then walk away from the office each day hardly sharing a word with the people around you. So we established, the admittedly unimaginatively named, ‘Beer Friday’ as an antidote to office isolation, a chance to peel the eyes away from our screens, pop the top off a bottle and say ‘cheers’ to the end of the week.
Tools are downed at about 4.30, we grab a beer from the fridge and take some time to relax with each other and talk about what we’ve been getting up to, sometimes catch up with what’s been going on at home or chat about a project at work. It just gives us all some much needed time for thought and reflection on the past week and a chance to prepare for the weekend.
The beer isn’t compulsory mind you – the important bit is to unwind together, to step away from our laptops and to provide a space in the week to find out about our colleagues: the closet musicians, artists, runners, cyclists and skiers that busy up the room around us. It’s surprising what a difference it makes, not only do we get to know our colleagues a bit better but new ideas crop up all the time, just changing the dynamic seems to open up fresh thoughts, a different angle on a problem and suddenly new solutions emerge.
Another reason for us to celebrate International Beer Day is that the beer industry is responsible for some of the most iconic marketing campaigns. Perhaps Budweiser’s ‘waaaaaasssssuppp’, Carlsberg’s evergreen ‘probably the best’ tag-line or one of the many sumptuous Guinness adverts stick in your memory. But recently there’s been some innovative social media campaigns too. Heineken produced a Bluetooth bottle opener that sent party invites to Facebook friends when it was used and American lager Corona put the faces of people who liked their page onto a 40ft high digital billboard in Times Square New York, their ‘likes’ went from 3,000 before the campaign to 200,000 afterwards.
So while beer Friday adds significantly to our glass recycling load we’ll carry on winding down early to catch up with our colleagues. And today, on International Beer Day we’ll be raising a glass to the brewers, bottlers and bar staff of the world to say thanks for all the memories …and periodic lack thereof.

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So why are members of The Organic Agency Team all holding tampons? Clearly, less than half the people in this picture would have need of one. Though, being especially vigorous and manly, the chaps were glad to find out tampons can be used to survive the great outdoors.
We’re supporting the new #JustATampon campaign, which is being championed by Plan UK to break the stigma and taboo surrounding menstruation around the world. The campaign has already got great traction on social media with people joining in on the hashtag and several celebrities adding their voice to the cause.
How many of you reading this dived into supporting a good cause because of something you saw on social media?
Though some feel that clicktivists and keyboard warriors should focus on more practical action for causes they care about, the numbers indicate that social media campaigns have a real impact when done right. Consider:

  • The Ice Bucket Challenge raised $100 million for the ALS Association in one month in 2014. The funds raised in the whole of 2013 by the charity? $2.2 million.
  • Cancer Research UK received one million pounds in donations in 24 hours when they began campaigning on #NoMakeUpSelfie. By the end of the week that figure had risen to eight million.

So there’s obviously something more at play here than just a bit of vanity mixed with sound and fury. But what makes some of these campaigns take off and others get lost in the white noise of social?

Keep It Simple

Although the causes they support are all complex (ALS, cancer, menstrual hygiene and gender issues) at the root of it all the most successful campaigns are quite simple. Take a selfie. Dump some water over your head. Grow a ‘tache. None of these things take a lot of effort (well, growing a ‘tache can be tough depending on your gender and general hairiness). And you know what? If you want lots of people to listen and take action you have to keep the bar for entry low.
Simplicity in the idea also means that the campaign can be executed across various media with ease, which is vital for success.

Make People The Star Of The Story

This will sound cynical, but there is a common thread in many of the most successful campaigns. They put the people taking part at the heart of the story, even if just for a few seconds.
All charities and good causes have a hardcore of supporters who passionately believe in them. They were working tirelessly before these movements took off, and they’ll continue to do so after the big fad has passed. But your average person on social media? They need a little encouragement, and giving them the chance to be the star works wonders.

Celebrity Impact

Get famous people involved and watch the campaign skyrocket. The Ice Bucket Challenge had Harrison Ford, Patrick Stewart and even Barack Obama taking part, among a host of others. #JustATampon has recruited legendary journalist and news presenter Jon Snow to help raise awareness, and others such as Carol Smilie and Jenny Eclair have also gotten involved.
It’s not always the case that celebs are on board from the start, but by reaching out to them you can benefit from their legions of followers. And don’t forget that the celebrities of the 21st century are also the bloggers and vloggers who have a lot of clout on social media.
And there’s nothing wrong with a little quid pro quo. Influencers have worked to build and maintain their audience, and if you want to access it then some kind of payment isn’t amiss. Just make sure everything is transparent and works within search ethics and ad guidelines.
It’s important to note that where celebrities or other influencers have most impact is when they have an engaged following. Even if they have a huge following it’s their emotional influence over their audience that translates to action, not purely the number of followers or fans.

Quick Reactions

Cancer Research UK didn’t start #NoMakeupSelfie, but they jumped into the conversation and made it their own. Then as the public became more and more engaged they remained reactive and agile, adapting as the social sphere ran with it.
Similarly, at first the Ice Bucket Challenge was not directly tied to ALS, but once the link was made the ALS Association and other similar organisations took ownership of the movement.
Social is all about listening, learning, reacting and starting the process all over again. Just hammering home your message isn’t enough, if it was then every good cause would have spectacular results.
You can tick all these boxes and still not achieve the astronomical impact of the biggest social campaigns. There is certainly some element of luck at play here, but build your campaign around this foundation and you stand a much greater chance of elevating the profile of your cause.

The End of Google+

There have been plenty of debates and critics over its legitimacy as a “true” social network, but Google+ as we know it is going away. Because online interaction is increasingly visual, mobile and fast moving, Google is hoping its new breakdown of services will meet the needs of the marketplace. The company announced this week that it is breaking Google+ into two separate platforms called Photos and Streams. Bradley Horowitz, the current vice president of product management for Google+, made the announcement on his page.

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For more than a year, there have been rumours that the social media platform was going to be changed or even shuttered altogether. The move to separate feeds, industry experts say, is a result of Google’s exhaustive and most likely unlimited amount of user data to use and analyse. The company is well positioned to understand user behaviour and trends. It seems digital people are much more likely to gravitate towards visual mediums.

Given the popularity of platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest, it is understandable why Google is moving in that direction. Highly committed users of Google+ have always focused on the visual elements of the platform.

Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president for products, spoke to Forbes about the change in the platform. “I think increasingly you’ll see us focus on communications, photos and the Google+ Stream as three important areas, rather than being thought of as one area,” he said in an interview to the magazine. Google+’s photo sharing and saving capabilities is one of the most used parts of the platform. Google+ stores all of your photos in virtual albums that are automatically organized and edited by Google’s algorithms. The future of Google+’s popular Hangouts feature is unclear.

Imagine getting anything you want by simply texting a number you saw on a single webpage. Are you hungry for a pepperoni pizza? Need to get flowers for your mum? Want a helicopter? Send a simple text to the number, and, as if by magic, what you wanted is found. If the find meets with your approval, with a simple “yeah,” you pay (automatically with your phone) and whatever it was you wanted is dispatched to your house. Well, for a few friends in America, they did more than imagine such transactions. They created the process, and appropriately, this new digital sensation was called “Magic”.

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Last weekend, California-based tech developers at Plus Labs got bored while creating a blood pressure app. Company CEO Mike Chen said he had an idea about a text message request service and he was curious to see it would work: simply text someone what you need, and they will get it for you. The only caveat was it had to be legal. They shared Magic – which was really nothing more than a local phone number – with a few friends. Well, as friends do, they shared it with a few others and the rest is “viral” history.

Magic found its way to the site Product Hunt, then soon reached the top of Hacker News. What was started as a side project became a new product within two days. Magic was released on Saturday. Then the team saw the number of text messages skyrocket. They topped 10,000 incoming messages on Sunday and reached nearly 18,000 messages by Monday morning.

Now industry experts are busy trying to figure out why. There is nothing digitally mysterious by the simplicity of “send us a text message, and we’ll get you what you want.” The creators had the technology readily available – from the SMS capability on all phones to mobile payment through a third-party provider. It doesn’t hold any financial data, merely adds on service charge, and presto.

Since the release, the group from Plus Labs has encountered some growing pains. It has brought in some additional texts, but has hit some logistical problems in matching reality to the requests. In one situation, a reporter testing the system got an entire family-sized platter of food rather than the sandwich he requested. There have been some obvious logistic problems with stores being closed, the team has also admitted. Regardless of whether Magic works over the long term, its immediate impact and viral success speaks volumes about technology, mobility and human nature. Maybe it is the “Uber”-fication of our lives. Calling a cab is no longer fast or easy enough for us. With Uber, you can directly sync your mobile phone with a private taxi driver who will immediately respond to your transportation needs. No more call needed. But Magic takes all facets of life to the Uber level. Just a week ago, when we wanted to order a pizza, we had a few options:

1) you could call, talk to someone, and maybe have to offer credit cards details. It is the same with flowers, or a curry.

2) you could go online and buy it there. Plus, there is always an app for that. Or

3) you could always physically go out to buy what you are looking to make yourself feel more complete.

With so many ways to get things, why is the simplicity of Magic resonating with so many? With a simple “yeah” on a text, all your pressing needs can be fulfilled. Are we getting lazier, or becoming de-sensitised to technology? Or has our fascination for digital shortcuts made us gravitate to faster and easier ways of getting things done? Possibly the most important issue to grow out of the Magic viral moment is trying to determine whether our need for simplicity has limits.

The advent of digital marketing has changed the perception of brands in the marketplace. Thanks in a part to the conversational and emotional nature of social media, the near-human persona of brands has sparked quite the debate in recent weeks.
Company social media profiles help to create a “pseudo” person in the eyes of many. As users, we chat with faceless companies, like their posts, and share what they have to say in the same way we share family photos from the wedding last weekend and Timmy’s first rugby match. Businesses realise that their presence on social media is necessary to cultivate brand recognition, sentiment and loyalty. Content marketing and brand storytelling thorough social media have grown as effective techniques in reaching new audiences and potential customers. Companies have slowly made their way into our Facebook and Twitter feeds. They adopt puppies, complete crazy stunts to get our attention, and send us messages when we are watching the telly. They are just like all of us in a lot of ways.
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Except they aren’t people, are they?
Sure, there is often just an unnamed digital marketing executive sitting in the dark, surrounded by screens and computers, “listening” and monitoring everything. They respond to people looking for a response, retweet, or mention. But for the most part, brands aren’t real people. Although we can like them, follow them, and favourite them, they aren’t real.
But does that mean we should change the practice of interactive digital marketing? Should there be blame for their reception as being more than just companies simply trying to lure money from their audience’s pockets? Should we hate brands for “fooling” us into thinking they are real beings ?
The Coca-Cola company was the recent target of what some saw as a well-proven point about brands on social media; others called it an unnecessary attack. The company was forced to shut down a multi-million pound social media campaign because it was manipulated by a news site to automatically share passages of Adolf Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ on Twitter. The passages of Hitler’s writings were sent to Coca-Cola by the popular blog site Gawker.
In their digital campaign, the soft drinks company wanted social media users to tag ‘negative’ tweets with a #MakeItHappy. The company would then automatically edit those words into cute pictures made of ASCII code, and send them back to Twitter world. The “intention” of the drinks company was to make the Internet a better, more positive place, but it was not meant to be. Because the obvious intention of Coke was to create a buzz-worthy moment and sell more products with the digital campaign, it was an easy target for Gawker. They manipulated Coke’s happiness machine to interpreting a white supremacy slogan: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White Children”. The machine turned that statement into a cartoon dog.
In a statement to Adweek, the company released the following:
“The #MakeItHappy message is simple: The Internet is what we make it, and we hoped to inspire people to make it a more positive place. It’s unfortunate that Gawker is trying to turn this campaign into something that it isn’t. Building a bot that attempts to spread hate through #MakeItHappy is a perfect example of the pervasive online negativity Coca-Cola wanted to address with this campaign.”
Coca-Cola was forced to shut the campaign off. But from a digital point of view, the whole situation was probably inevitable. Whenever an automated system is built, clever users will find a way to abuse it. It is rule number one in the Trolls’ Handbook. But, what was Gawker did “trolling”, or were they simply showing the man behind the curtain claiming to be a wizard?
What do you think? Tell us on Twitter with @growwithorganic, or join us on other social media platforms like FacebookLinkedIn or Google Plus.

Advertisers have long been attached to well-established social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. But in recent years, untapped millions of potential customers have been Snapchatting and Instagraming away without the obvious push/pull of advertisers. More importantly, traditionally hard-to-reach demographics like teenagers have been just beyond the marketers reach.
But the untapped social media platforms have a dilemma. To be financially successful, they need to find ways to monetise their service that is otherwise free to users. That is where paying advertisers come in. And for some companies, that is the point when their users leave.
snapchat
After a recent update, Snapchat – one the largest platforms for teens – was harshly criticised by its fan base about disabling a feature that allowed users “snoop” on their friends by seeing who they interacted with the most. Amidst the uproar, Snapchat caved into its users and will reinstate the “best friend” function. But, the site is keeping its newly released Discover tool. They now let media outlets post bite-sized content on the popular messaging app. Through Discover, users tap to open a new edition, swipe left to browse through different stories, or swipe up to see more from a story.
Through this new capability, Snapchat has the support of a number of media partners, mostly US-based brands including CNN, ESPN, and National Geographic. Everyday, companies will tell a new “story” through Snapchat. They feature both videos and articles hand-picked by their staffers. These companies are hoping the getting new eyes on their stories will bring in a new, younger audience to their normal digital channels – hopefully just an app click away.
instagram
Another new power player in the social media area, Instagram, released an update this week to enhance its video playback capabilities. It has modified its video settings so that clips automatically replay in users’ streams. This looping function will appeal to brands and advertisers who want to get as many views for their ads as possible. Unlike the Snapchat change, users of Instagram may not be instantly impressed by the change. Not only will “autoplay” eat up data, as of now there no way to disable autoplaying altogether. Industry experts believe the move by Instagram is a direct challenge of Vine, the social network built on looped, 6-second videos. Instagram provides users 15 seconds to get their video across, but many of those are not designed to be looped. Users have also criticised the standard of the Instagram video in comparison to their more stylised photograph options.
What do you think of the new upgrades to Snapchat and Instagram? Tell us on Twitter with @growwithorganic, or join us on other social media platforms like FacebookLinkedIn or Google Plus.

The sales figures from the Festive period are in and of course there are winners and losers. Since retail became a “thing”, holiday sales have been important to the annual success of any company. But in the last few years, the focus and market share based on online sales has become a key battleground for retailers. Just as there are wins in High Street sales, there are clearly companies that understand digital sales, and they are reaping the benefits.
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Ecommerce growth continues to be a major part of business plans across the UK. Although still in its infancy, the financial sales deriving from online sales were clearly part of the success (and failure) of some very big names. As IMRG reported recently, ecommerce has shown a market share worth £104bn in 2014. That figure is up 14% from the previous year.
The Battle for the Big Food Shop
Financially speaking, big name British grocery stores did not have the best 2014. They are all going through the process of trying to react to a shifting economy, new emphasis placed on online capability, and dominance of value brands like Aldi and Lidl. If there is something to be learned from the recent Christmas period, it is that digital grocery shopping is an important part of the bottom line.
Here is how the grocery stores fared:
Tesco

  • Grocery home shopping sales rose by 12.9% in the six weeks to January 3
  • Sales of general merchandise online were up 22.2%
  • Online clothing sales rose by 52.4%

Sainsbury’s

  • Like-for-like sales fell by 1.9% in the 14 weeks to January 3
  • 110,000 orders taken in the three days up to December 23
  • Company does not separate online from in-store sales

Morrison’s

  • Announced online contributed 1% to like-for-like sales growth
  • First year of online sales so no yearly comparisons

High Street retailers have mixed results
In a marketplace that has long been separated into online and brick-and-mortar shops, department stores and apparel retailers increased their ecommerce efforts. Marks & Spencer suffered greatly from a breakdown in the supply chain and fulfilment process during the peak sales period. Other retailers were buoyed by Black Friday sales and boosts.
M&S

  • Online sales fell by 5.9% in the 13 weeks to December 27

House of Fraser

  • Online sales rose by 31.2% over the six weeks to January 3
  • Black Friday traffic was up by 125% on 2013, while it was the busiest online trading day ever for the retailer, up 70% on the previous record

Next

  • Next Directory sales, including their online and catalogue orders, rose by 7.9% in the 58 days up to December 24

Debenhams

  • Online sales rose by 28.9%
  • With a robust Black Friday, sales were up 125% from 2013
  • Demand for click & collect increased during the Christmas period and in the final days peaked at 38% of online orders

Experienced online retailers extend their advantage
Again this year, it was clear that experienced online retailers are reaping the benefits of being veterans in the sector. Coupled with the emergence of Black Friday and Cyber Monday as viable economic drivers, these companies definitely saw the benefit of digital selling.
Shop Direct

  • Very.co.uk website sales were up on Black Friday by 134% on the same day in 2013
  • Sales at Very.co.uk were up by 23%
  • 89% of sales took place over digital with mobile sales up by 45% to represent 56% of all online sales
  • Click and collect worked for Shop Direct as use of Collect+ up by 111% on 2013

ASOS

  • Sales up by 15% on 2013
  • UK sales rose by 27% and international by 5%
  • ASOS’s websites attracted 98 million visits during December 2014, compared to 87 million in December 2013

Ocado

  • Sales for the online supermarket were up 14.8% year on year

Did you use ecommerce sites for your Christmas shopping this year? Share your experience with us on Twitter @growwithorganic, or join us on other social media platforms like FacebookLinkedIn or Google Plus