Alibaba’s Jack Ma is Adweek’s 2014 Media Visionary

A former English teacher, Jack Ma became the richest man in China by leading Alibaba to a $25 billion IPO this year. The e-commerce giant (which appears on this year’s Hot List as Hottest Shopping Site) has a bigger market capitalization than Amazon and eBay combined and plans to expand further by targeting emerging markets while upping its mobile game. Alibaba will soon see its digital wallet system, dubbed Alipay, adopted by American retail chains Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Ann Taylor and Aéropostale. This, as the 50-year-old boss and his team created the Chinese equivalent to Cyber Monday with Singles Day, a 24-hour digital shopping event for the unwed. Held on Nov. 11, it produced a record-breaking $9 billion in sales for Alibaba. Already sky high, expect Ma’s star to only continue rising.

View the rest of the 2014 Hot List winners here:
Magazines | Television | Digital | Media Visionary | Reader's Poll

 




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10 Must-See Digital Marketing Stats From the Week: Dec. 1-5

Here are this week's 10 most interesting stats from the digital marketing space, including a few early holiday season returns and some intriguing numbers around Facebook ads. Check them out below.

1. File this under "not shocking but still compelling:" The Exchange Lab, a programmatic digital media company with cross-client agreggated data, said that e-commerce conversion rates on Black Friday were up 60 percent compared to the previous Friday (Nov. 21). And the company noted that online advertisers on Cyber Monday got a 20 percent lift in conversions when contrasted against the previous Monday (Nov. 24).

2. Tech vendor MarketLive's analytics showed that retail sales from smartphones and tablets increased an average of 141 percent during the weekend following Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday.

3. The peak hour for Cyber Monday email was 7 a.m. ET, when 10 percent of messages flooded inboxes, according to MarketLive.

4. Heineken thinks Facebook's nascent auto-play video ads can take a chunk out of YouTube's business. Here's why: While pushing Heineken Light to 21 to 34 year olds in the United States in October, the brand's digital spots—in three days—were exposed to the newfeeds of 35 million Facebook users, producing 5.5 million views, according to brewer. That means 16 percent of the people reached watched the spot.

5. Another interesting case study this week featured Five Star, the school supplies seller. The company employed video ads via various mobile apps, along with "brand ambassador" posts from Keegan Allen of ABC Family's Pretty Little Liars on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. According to its marketing services provider, ROI Influencer Media, the effort allowed Five Star to reach 54 percent of people between 13 and 21 years old who used a mobile phone or computer during Back to School time in August.

6. Turkish Airlines' spot with global fútbol stars Lionel Messi and Didier Drogba has garnered a ridiculous number of YouTube views. It has been watched 60 million times since being uploaded on Nov. 14.

7. Victoria's Secret picked up 138,000 Instagram likes and comments during the week of Nov. 24 by putting 20 supermodels on a plane to London and posting a 15-second video. That's far above average for the lingerie brand on the social media platform. Read more about how social and aircraft cabins just seem to work well together here

8. During the third quarter this year, Nielsen said that Americans increased their digital video viewing by four hours a month compared to 2013.

9. The same Nielsen report said the average daily time spent watching live TV decreased 12 minutes in Q3 compared to the same period last year. Conversely, the time that consumers spent daily viewing a smartphone increased 23 minutes, from 1 hour and 10 minutes to 1 hour and 33 minutes.

10. 223,000. That's the impressive number of Instagram followers married creatives Carli and John Kiene have attracted. While they are seemingly virtuosos, a lot of their work is in the food category.




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Heineken Exec Says Facebook Now Rivals YouTube in Video Ads

Nine months after Facebook debuted auto-play video ads, one major brand utilizing them is willing to put the social media platform on par with YouTube when it comes to video ad performance.

"YouTube and Facebook are equal players now, or at least close to it," Ron Amram, senior media director of marketing, Heineken USA, told Adweek. "What we're finding is that we have to consider Facebook as the key video partner going forward because not only does it have the reach but the effectiveness."

Here's why he's bullish on Facebook's nascent promos: While pushing Heineken Light to 21 to 34 year olds in the United States in October, the brand's digital spots—in three days—were exposed to the newfeeds of 35 million Facebook users, producing 5.5 million views, according to Amram. That means 16 percent of the people reached watched the spot.

"This is the first time we've looked at [Facebook] as part of our digital video strategy overall," he said. "It complements television very well but also goes beyond it."

To Amram's last point, the 15-second auto-play ads featured the same Neil Patrick Harris work from Wieden + Kennedy that broke on TV in July. One minute and 48-second commercials were also pushed on the platform.

"Putting it on Facebook re-accelerated it for us," Amram said. "August and September were good, but October was even better."

The marketing executive didn't reveal how much Heineken Light spent on the social videos, but said the cost-per-view rate made for a good return on the brand's investment. "Facebook over-delivered on what we anticipated," he said.

Additionally, he had postive data when it came to still promos on Facebook. Amram said sister brand Dos Equis got a 3.3 percent return on ad spend during the weeks leading up to Cinco de Mayo last spring, which helped the brand lift sales by 6.6 percent year over year.




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Victoria’s Secret Shows There’s Something About Airplanes and Social Media

KLM Royal Dutch's in-flight dance party a few years ago provided an early hint that airlines could soar with cool social media campaigns. Then in 2012, Air New Zealand's #airnzhobbit effort generated 25 million views with two YouTube videos, making the entire hospitality niche take notice while inspiring plenty of other examples.

The strange combination of boredom and anxiety that comes with air travel just seems to lend itself to social video, as viewers sit in their homes or offices and click on often-humorous spots. Put two dozen Victoria's Secret models 30,000 feet in the air in an Instagram clip—and watch out, folks.

The lingerie retailer proved again, during the week of Nov. 24, that videos of people in aircraft cabins resonates with audiences. It picked up 138,000 likes and comments to win its category in the weekly Adweek/Shareablee branded Instagram video chart. To compare, Victoria's Secret's Instagram video performance a month ago also won the week but inspired just 63,000 likes and comments. Both efforts included quick looks at 20-odd supermodels such as Candice Swanepoel, Nina Adgal and Jasmine Tookes. So hey, there's just something strangely universal or compelling about being in an airplane for a few hours.

The multimedia infographic below features eight categories (auto, beauty, consumer electronics, retail, fashion, celebrity, sports leagues and TV shows), which appear every week. Two wildcard niches are always sprinkled in, and we've chosen sporting teams and magazines for this week's edition.

Check out Victoria Secret's and the other winners' clips while seeing what kind of reach the brands achieved.




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FTC: No, Agencies Can’t Ask Staffers to Casually Tweet Nice Things About Clients

As brands push their messages through social media platforms like Twitter, the Federal Trade Commission is reminding marketers they need to disclose any bias on their promotional materials—even if they only have 140 characters to do so.

Last week, the FTC and Deutsch L.A. reached a settlement regarding the agency reportedly using social media to promote a client's work without disclosing its bias. In 2012, Deutsch L.A. promoted the PlayStation Vita, creating a Twitter campaign that asked users to tweet positive statements about the hand-held gaming device with the hashtag #GameChanger. According to court documents, not only did the agency encourage the public to do so, but one of the assistant account executives sent a company-wide email encouraging employees to do the same. Many obliged the request on their personal Twitter accounts but did not disclose that PlayStation Vita was a client, violating the FTC's stance that brands have to have full disclosure on marketing materials no matter what medium the ad is on.

PlayStation is no longer a Deutsch account; Bogle Hegarty has handled the video game company since 2013. And, the agency told Adweek, under the terms of the settlement, Deutsch L.A. did not admit to breaking the law and decided to resolve the case in order to skip prolonged legal battles.

However, the implications of the court case—that even statements made on personal social media accounts need to be transparent if there may be any brand bias—will resonate throughout the industry. Mary Engle, director of the FTC's Division of Advertising Practices, acknowledged to The Wall Street Journal that while this was the FTC's first case regarding Twitter and misleading behavior, "it's unlikely to be our last."

Stacy Debroff, CEO of social media firm Mom Central Consulting and a former litigator, pointed out that most social media firms know the FTC requires disclosure on all postings, and simply adding #client or #sponsored would have sufficed. While employees may not know the rule extends to their personal accounts, their agency is responsible for educating them. "As ad agencies move from paid ad placements to the viral pathways of social media, they haven't taken the time to train and familiarize their employees on FTC-required disclosures. For a sophisticated ad agency such as Deutsch LA., one would not expect such an amateurish social media disclosure mistake," she stated.

Jeff Dachis, co-founder of RazorFish and current chief evangelist of Sprinklr, said he was surprised the FTC chased after Deutsch L.A. given that it's a common industry practice to ask agency employees to publicly support their work. He believes the government agency "over reach[ed]" considering it didn't seem like Deutsch was trying to game the system and just wanted to build buzz for its campaign. 

"I think the FTC may have been piling on with the additional action against Deutsch L.A. to ensure that they were sending a message to the marketplace," he commented. "There are many people in the agency world that have influence in social channels, and they should use good judgment with disclosures if an agency is going to employ a strategy that benefits from that influence on behalf of clients and is receiving remuneration as a result."

However, James Percelay, co-founder of Thinkmodo, said in his experience it's not common to ask employees to promote their own work. He agreed with Dachis that Deutsch L.A.'s intent was probably "overenthusiasm for its campaign, not malice." But he said he believes the agency wasn't employing a sound strategy by tooting their own horns. Allowing organic support through social media is what is most valuable to a brand, so hashtags should be allowed to go viral on their own merits. "Once it starts to become manipulated, it undermines its effectiveness," he pointed out.

It's not necessary to ask employees to promote campaigns through their personal accounts, said Alyssa Galella, director of earned media at Huge. Campaigns should already have a solid launch promotion strategy that includes owned, earned and paid media. If employees are proud of their work and feel compelled to tweet about it, Huge allows them to do so—as long as it follows the letter of the law as well as client confidentiality agreements, Galella added.

"In situations like that, it's probably better to stay away from posting about the client's campaign at all," she said. 




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Top 10 Branded Videos: Beats by Dre Hits High Note With Celeb-Packed Spot

Apple-owned Beats by Dre has a not-so-secret method to scoring YouTube hits: Get celebrities to wear your product while a killer soundtrack plays in the background. The headphone brand has churned out a number of spots this year that fit the formula, with the most recent one scoring the No. 1 spot on this week’s Adweek/VidIQ top 10 list.

The headphone brand's latest video packs a lot into a minute-long spot: Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Nicki Minaj, Bethany Mota and Kenan Thompson all make appearances. And beside wearing the brand's new Solo2 headphones, not much happens, which is probably a good thing. The video cuts to a panoramic selfie of each celeb wearing the headphones set to Axwell Ingrosso’s "Something New." Beats by Dre's video has been viewed 6.88 million times since Nov. 26.

Elsewhere, Turkish Airlines' spot with football stars Lionel Messi and Didier Drogba continues to accumulate YouTube views after several weeks on the chart. It takes the No. 1 spot this week and has been watched 55.5 million times since being uploaded on Nov. 14.

Google also did well this week, nabbing three spots. Two of the videos promote its Nexus smartphones and tablets while a 15-second clip touts Chromecast, the device that plugs into TVs to stream digital content.

Check out all of this week's top videos in the interactive infographic below, powered by VidIQ.

NOTE: Adweek's VideoWatch Chart, powered by VidIQ, reveals the Top 10 Branded Web Videos on YouTube every week. The chart tracks more than just pure views, as VidIQ incorporates sharing data from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, among other data sources, in an effort to measure true engagement. Every video is also ranked with VidIQ’s proprietary Score, which helps judge the likelihood of a video being promoted in YouTube Related Videos, Search and Recommended Videos.




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Upload a Photo on Social Media, and Toyota Will Donate 10 Car Seats for Kids

Toyota is turning mobile photo uploads on Twitter and Instagram into a philanthropic opportunity. For every photo that people post with the hashtag #BuckleUpForLife through Dec. 31, the brand will donate 10 car seats to Buckle Up for Life, a program that works with children's hospitals to educate parents on car-seat safety.

The social campaign is part of the brand's partnership with Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and runs during Toyotathon, a sales period at the end of the year when nearby dealers combine their marketing and inventory to push cars off the lots. Toyota will promote the campaign with signs inside dealerships and social media posts.

Toyota is also buying ads on Twitter and Facebook that target parents and millennials. Promos geared toward parents will show pictures of kids in car seats, while the millennial-focused ads may show pets or other objects strapped in.

The Torrance, Calif.-based automaker leaned on digital agency VaynerMedia to set up the social activation, which includes influencer marketing and paid media.

"The easiest way for people to get involved is to post a photo to their own social media accounts with the hashtag and rally their friends and family to do the same," said Monica Womack Peterson, director of social media strategy and operations at Toyota.

The automaker is also working with agency GrapeStory, which is enlisting social media influencers to post content on their accounts. Photographer Chris Ozer appeals to parents while actress Sunny Mabrey will likely speak to millennials.

Philanthropic social campaigns have become increasingly popular, and Toyota has run them before. Last year, it donated money to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America for every time a consumer interacted with the brand online, totaling $200,000.

And for last year's Super Bowl, people could upload a picture tagged #wishgranted on Instagram to be featured in the brand’s commercial.

Here are some of the first images from the Buckle Up for Life campaign.

 

#buckleupforlife #toyota

A photo posted by Hope Blevins (@hopeblevins25) on




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These Are the Top 10 Brands That Nailed Social Video in 2014

Activia, Samsung, Nike and Coca-Cola are among the brands that created this year's best social and viral videos, according to new data from Unruly Media.

Unsurprisingly, this year's chart is dominated by World Cup advertisers that created videos designed to be shared while people talked about the games on Facebook and Twitter. Activia's "La La La" spot with Shakira raked in 5.8 million shares while Samsung's two spots brought in 4.3 million shares.

Despite not being an official sponsor, Nike beat out Adidas with more than 3.8 million shares of its two spots. In comparison, Adidas generated 2.8 million shares.

Interestingly, no automakers made the list in 2014, which Unruly credits to poor performances at this year's Super Bowl. During this year's Big Game, online video shares fell by roughly one-third, a first for the sporting event.

Check out all of this year's top brands and their social reach in the infographic below. The findings are based on videos shared across Facebook, Twitter and blogs.




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Target Turns Its Stores Into One Big Mobile Game For the Holidays

After what most would consider a brutal holiday shopping season last year thanks to a well-publicized data breach, Target is rebounding with a slew of mobile and digital investments aimed at driving foot traffic.

Target is the latest brand to partner with Google's Art Copy & Code program, which aims to reinvent digital advertising for iconic brands such as Nike. For Target's holiday campaign, Google helped create a mobile website with six mini-games. 

While anyone can play the games, the retailer will also display promotional signs in its 1,800 stores featuring special three-digit codes that shoppers can use to unlock bonus content within the games, which involve activities like throwing virtual snowballs or maneuvering a sled down a mountain by swiping fingers across a screen.

For each game played, Target will donate $1 to St. Jude's Children’s Research Hospital, up to $1 million.

"What we're looking at through this experimentation in particular is the use of new, cutting-edge browser technology," said Alan Wizemann, vp of product for Target.com and mobile. "What it also allows us is to look across how these technologies and games are used for entertainment to get a glimpse at what is potentially possible in stores in the future."

In addition to the mobile games, Target is setting up special areas in four stores—Sunnyvale, Calif., Chicago, Dallas and Roseville, Minn.—where shoppers can test out Google's Project Tango tabletsEmployees stationed in designated parts of the stores will be able to show shoppers how the tablets work by walking them through a ten-minute demonstration. The shoppers can interact with 3D models of the characters featured in the mobile games by walking around the store with the tablets. 

Target also launched a new mobile app two weeks ago with in-store mapping technology so that shoppers can find individual aisles where products are located.

Research from Google backs up Target's mobile efforts this year. Per Google, 87 percent of consumers use mobile to pre-shop and research before they even get to a store. 75 percent of smartphone-toting shoppers use their phones in-store.

"Those [numbers] gave us the fuel to explore how to do something with Target around the holiday season that was more than just informational and transactional," explained Ben Malbon, director of creative partnerships at Google, who oversees the Art, Copy & Code program.




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Facebook is Now Helping Marketers Fine-Tune Those Ads for Mobile Apps

For companies that love to advertise their apps on Facebook during the holidays, the social site has some new targeting options this year. 

Now, mobile-app advertisers are guaranteed their promos will be seen by a specific number of Facebook users. For example, they can build campaigns to hit a large audience of 4 million users but limit the number of times each person sees a specific ad.

And if those ads feature videos, they'll play automatically in the News Feed. Facebook has slowly been rolling out auto-play for advertisers—in October, it enabled the feature on Instagram.

Another new tool will let app marketers target Facebook users who access the social site on an Amazon Fire tablet. It's unclear how effective this will be since Amazon's devices represent such a small piece of the overall tablet market. Still, Amazon claims tablet sales from Amazon.com were three times higher this Black Friday than they were last year.

Pleasing these marketers is probably a smart move: Mobile made up 66 percent of Facebook's ad revenue in the third quarter of 2014.




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