Every marketer dreams of customers who visit their company’s website and tell all their friends to do the same. Is this an impossible dream? Or can you make your website so much fun that your fans want to tell all their friends to go, look around and join in the party?

What is gamification?

Gamification is when companies add game-design elements such as competition or problem-solving to their website or social communities to make them more fun and engaging and prompt users to come back again and again.

The trend of gamification is set to rise: according to a recent report by Gartner, by 2015 “more than 50% of organizations that manage innovation processes will gamify those processes.” The same report predicted that gamification strategies for marketing and customer retention would become “as important as Facebook, eBay or Amazon.”

The rise of platforms and applications to enable gamification, such as Foursquare, SCVNGR, Badgeville, BigDoor and Bunchball, have made it easier for brands to structure campaigns and make game-playing social. (read more…)

Does Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm ever make you want to punch your monitor? It’s okay to say yes … I think it frustrates everyone from time to time. EdgeRank recently got me fired up, but instead of ruining a perfectly good monitor I decided to “go all scientific on it.” My company has had a Facebook business Page for several years, and in the last year and a half our Facebook community has seen exceptional growth and success. However, some of our posts were reaching a mere two percent of our audience and often getting lackluster engagement. I became concerned that by posting three to four times a day, EdgeRank was actually limiting our reach to just a handful of our most engaged fans.

So I had an idea: Let’s go dark. My theory was, if we only posted once a day or even once a week, the posts would reach a larger percentage of our fanbase. (read more…)

Video for the small screen — online, on mobile, or in an installation — works. Study after study has shown that video for the small screen beats traditional TV advertising for engagement and awareness. And the money is following the research — spending on video for the small screen is growing by leaps and bounds.

But it takes more than simply recognizing a trend to produce a memorable video. While the fundamental rules of design and storytelling never change – designing for the small screen is a challenge. Simply repurposing traditional TV advertising rarely works as well as crafting something uniquely suited for this new medium.

Here are six tips to create powerful work for the small screen:

  1. Know your audience, and know where to find them. Video for the small screen dovetails with a move away from mass communication to a more personalized conversation. For us, understanding who we’re speaking to – and the best ways to reach them — starts day one.
  2. (read more…)

This may be a tired analogy, but stick with me for a moment: There is something magical that happens when you mix a variety of bland, or even bitter ingredients (flour, baking soda, cocoa powder…) with a little sugar and bake. Who’d ever think it would turn into something altogether different — and wonderful. Brownie anyone?

Reaching social consumers happens in much the same way. Who would have ever thought that when you mix your company’s product or service, a rich video, and Facebook’s News Feed (or other social stream) it too would result in something altogether different — and wonderful? Proven results anyone?

Not long ago, the idea of advertising a product or service in the social stream was considered taboo, and yet today it’s a technique proven to drive engagement and amplification. In fact, according to a study by Nanigans, ads that appear within News Feed deliver an average increase in return-on-investment of 197%, compared with those on the right hand side of Facebook. (read more…)

Social advertising is the hottest topic in advertising right now. Salesforce estimates that by 2017, the global market for social ads will be worth about $11 billion. That’s some serious advertising cash.

This means it’s time for brands, big and little, to develop a strategy to capitalize on the power of social advertising. The customers are there; people are spending lots of time on social media, particularly on mobile devices — 30% of the time spent on social media is on mobile, and that figure is likely to continue to grow.

Brands have the learn how to optimize ad content to deliver an effective message and call-to-action to their audiences. This sector of advertising is not as aggressive as TV; it actually fits in with the way people absorb content on social networks. Facebook and Twitter have expanded their advertising options to suit a variety of budgets and business goals. (read more…)