Five tips for a great digital campaign

Digital campaigns are interesting because they’re so instantly measurable – and yet so unmeasurable. Moreso when you enter the social space. You can drown in data, but how much of it is actually meaningful? Sure you can get 10,000 people ‘talking about’ you on Facebook – but what does that mean, and does it even matter?

The following are five topline tips to keep in mind when planning a digital campaign.

1. Know your end goal and work backwards
Look at where you want the campaign to go, then add milestones from the end back to the start. You want users to be positively contributing to your website? It’s not as simple as displaying a call to action and then sitting back and waiting for the compliments to roll in.

2. Research your target audience
Learn about your audience. Which digital platforms do they prefer and why? What are they using those platforms for?

If your Facey page is getting a lot of viral action, but it’s happening amongst 50-year-olds in Texas, and you’re a children’s dentist in New Zealand, it’s not really doing the trick. You will focus on the wrong things if you’re looking at the wrong metric.

3. Keep it flexible
You can plan, plan, plan as much as you like, but digital media is about context. Social media even more. If everyone is talking about a tragic event, and you bulldoze your brand in there, you’re going to cause some damage.

This is also a key when researching campaigns from outside your culture. You can’t roll out a plan from overseas and expect the same results in the local market.

Always have a plan B. And C. And D. If something doesn’t work with your audience, don’t force it. Change tact.

4. Think about the environment
With digital marketing, you can buy great reach for very small cost. The temptation is to stick your ad in every available cheap space, but you need to think about it in terms of partnerships. Just as a TVC can add weight and legitimacy to your campaign, so can digital ads in various spaces.

Also if you’re putting video advertising into a space people are likely to be accessing via mobile or while at work – tread with caution. No one wants to use their expensive 4G data on your ad, trust me. And if they’re sneaking around when they should be at work, having your ad blaring at them is probably not what they were hoping for either. But later on, at home and on wifi, you can go for your life.

5. Help your fans become advocates
Advertising is like a baby. You think yours is the best, the cutest, the smartest. It’s probably not. You need to give your fans a better reason than that to share it, or to get involved. And you need to keep it simple!

An easy way to help pave the path is to demonstrate the behaviour or action you want fans to take by showing someone else doing it – better still if that someone can be a community leader, celebrity, or aspirational person from the demographic.

All of this, though, comes down to one basic principle: Know your audience. Take your marketing eyeballs out and really think like a person in the demographic you’re trying to reach. Don’t bullshit about the state of the market, your ad, or get caught up in the Next Big Shiny thing. Audience first and center.

One simple diagram for getting your brand’s social content right

So you have a branded social media account, and you’re following the first rule of social: Don’t be a dick. Good, but now what?

There’s lots of advice floating around about what content works well on which platforms – making sure your Facebook status is “likeable”, joining in on a Twitter conversation, hashtagging your Instagrams up the ying – but for me, it boils down to this wee venn diagram:


The red circle is about finding out what your audience likes – seems straightforward, but are you sure you know what they like, and not what you think they like? What is it about your audience that is unique?

The blue circle is about being on brand. It’s about promotions and marketing. It’s about the look and feel of updates. It’s about getting the core message of your company across.

The yellow circle is about what works best online. What topics are going off at the moment? Where is the conversation – what is it about? What are today’s memes?

A lot of companies stay in one content type. They may even cross over with another circle, but spend a lot of time delivering one sort of update, to the detriment of the community or their brand. Your brand should never just live in one of those circles. If your marketing push doesn’t exist for the community, it’s not right for social. If your viral content is totally off brand, you’re wasting your time.

Doing updates from sections 1, 2, or 3 is a slightly better option.

Living in section 1 means the content they’re using is engaging, and their fans like it, but it doesn’t reflect the brand. Generic status updates like this are fine, but often your brand can get lost, or there may even be a conflict between the values of your brand, and the content you’re posting.

Section 2 is where you’ve found the niche in terms of what works for your brand, and your audience, but the content isn’t necessarily viral. This is a good place to be in terms of brand hygiene, but not so much in terms of outreach, and fan endorsement.

If your updates are in section 3, you’re producing on-brand content that ticks the box in terms of being viral or engaging in nature, but that doesn’t resonate with your fans. It could be that you’re using the meme too late (remember all those brands that put out Harlem Shake videos the week after everyone declared it dead? Yeah, that.)

The golden space is section 4. You’ve found content that fits with your brand, your audience loves it, and it’s positioned well to go off. And it does! Well done, you. Hope your boss recognises how hard it is to find that sweet spot!

So… How did that happen?

  • You know your brand – it has a clear voice and take on the world, and you’ve stamped it onto your update.
  • You’ve identified what it is about your brand that your fans love and delivered it to them.
  • You’ve reflected the sentiment of your community in a timely manner, or rarked them up in a good way.
  • The community can take ownership – you just got the ball rolling!

Yes, it’s simplistic, but it works.

When Bank meets Banksy: BNZ launches Story Art

As part of the 2013 BNZ Literary Awards, sponsor BNZ have come up with a novel way to promote the short story competition they’ve been running for a few years now.

The competition, in which writers create tiny 150 word masterpieces, lends itself perfectly to social media platforms – everyone has a Facebook friend who posts status updates longer than that! (If you can’t think of one, chances are it’s you.)

Given that social platforms are becoming more image-based (think Pinterest and Instagram!), it’s pretty ingenious that the bank have created an app that turns the short stories into art, to be shared back to the platforms.

It may just be the quirky and fun incentive needed to get people out of their shells and writing. After all, it’s not every day your writing becomes art.

I especially appreciate the time taken by the BNZ to create this word art out of a particularly intelligent tweet of mine.


Have a play here:

And if you’re looking for some tips on getting started:

Oh, and before you think I was clever when I came up with that title; Nope! That’s all on Tarquin_Death.

Five reasons why hashtag hijacking is bad marketing

Those of you who regularly use Twitter (or Instagram, or Pinterest, etc) will be familiar with hashtags. For those who aren’t, a hashtag is a way of grouping similar tweets or photos – like a tag. When enough of them happen in a short amount of time, that tag starts to trend.

Why anyone would choose to hijack a trending topic for their unrelated business is beyond me.

Reason 1: It’s not about reach anymore
If you’re going to market your company via Twitter, put your old rulebook away. It’s not all about reach and frequency on social media, it’s about finding the right audience and connecting with them in meaningful and helpful ways.

Reason 2: You look like you don’t understand hashtags/the platform/your audience
You know those #people #who #hashtag #every #word so the tags become nearly meaningless? Or those mindless bots who tweet rubbish just to get their URL onto the top trending topics? They’re pretty much the lowest rung of Twitter users, due to their abuse of tags, and if you do it, you’ll be right down there with them.

Reason 3: You’re being rude
If you don’t respect the community, it won’t respect you. Imagine a group of friends at a party. Rather than participating in the conversation, you interject and start talking about your company. That’s what you’re doing when you hijack a hashtag. It’s not cheeky, or funny, or cute… It’s rude.

Reason 4: Spam is spam
Sure, spam has a click through rate good enough to justify spammers going at it, but no respectable business should be spamming people on ANY platform. You’re sending unsolicited commercial messages in an electronic format to an unrelated hashtag where a group of people will be unable to avoid it; Sounds a lot like something that could be covered under the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act of 2007, if you think about it.

Reason 5: It can damage your business
If you don’t know why the topic is trending, or abuse the tag regardless, you can irrevocably damage your business. There are heaps of examples of this floating around. Here’s one: Just after the Aurora shooting in the US, Celeb Boutique sent this out.

Celeb Boutique use "Aurora" to promote themselves


You can read more about it here.


As I said: Why would anyone would choose to hijack a trending topic for their unrelated business?

The worst Facebook updates of 2012

So many people and brands are now gaming for Facebook “engagement” that it’s ruining the platform for a lot of people.

Luckily, not too many of my friends fall for this stuff, but plenty of people have friends who do, so here’s a selection of the more desperate attempts to raise page awareness.

Lets start with this one.

No, I’m going to let my mum die. She knows it, too.


Because spamming your mates with crap always makes you lots of money, right? And cos magic.


Well played.


I liked this four times. It was heaps of fun. Changed my life.


The old “vote with a like or a comment” spam. Also if you don’t vote you obviously hate your country and won’t get any pavlova, which totally puts a dampener on my plans to finish an entire one by myself on Christmas day.


Not pictured: The “one like=one dollar donated” spam, and the “leave your password in the comments to see what happens!” spam.



5 awesome projection mapping ads

Video mapping has been around for a while, but never fails to impress me as a fun medium that makes an impression. Samsung have just released a new clip, projecting onto a model’s face and torso, so I figured I’d show you a couple of my favourite video mapping ads.

Here’s Samsung’s offering:

Interactive projection that responded to the audience’s noise:

Toyota also used the technology to market their Auris Hybrid:

Hyundai have also used it to show off their Accent in Kuala Lumpur:

And PlayStation3 got amongst – no SFX, no post production, no cuts:

PS3 Part 2

PS3 Part 3


Tips to viral content

Problogger has released an infographic based on research from Noah Brier, Blueglass and Future Buzz that talks about how to viral content.

It’s a good graphic, but he’s obviously trying to viral a gfx which could better service the audience by just writing it out! Don’t get me wrong – his tactic is working – the graphic has just been featured on Mashable.

It reminds me of the chatroulette love song. For those of you who missed that out, video is below. In a nutshell, a Danish Masters student named Rune Iversen was researching what would make a video viral. He had a theory that you needed someone cute to front a video that evoked a strong emotion from the watcher. The video (below) he made to test his theory has had over 5.7 million views to date.

“Make something that gives people a story that they feel. Make people happy, make sure your content is good,” Rune says, adding that it must be genuine.

“Every bit of it is real,” he told reporters. “We were on Chatroulette and she came up randomly, after having filmed for about 10 minutes, and we had choreographed it meticulously and we just played the song for her.”

The chatroulette love song:

YouTube’s trends manager Kevin Alocca also has some great insights about why video virals. Speaking at a TED event, he said that the most popular clips often had unexpected or suprising content, were pushed by alpha influencers, and were easy for members of the public to contribute to and own.

Tips for helping content to go viral:

  • The content is worthy of being shared; It is funny, incredible, unbelievable, deeply emotional, makes us think. It evokes a strong reaction from us.
  • The content is easy to find; it’s on platforms we already use, or is shared with us by trusted sources
  • The content is easy to share; sharing buttons are attached, it is embeddable
  • The content works – the links aren’t broken, the video loads properly, it’s readable, images render nicely, pageload isn’t through the roof
  • Here’s Problogger’s infographic: