This Could Be Your Next Social Media Tool

Dennis Ryan Olson, AdvertisingAccording to the good people at Curalate, creators of software that provides analytics on Pinterest and Instagram trends, the most repinned images feature rich details and luminous color.

Apparently, this software analyzed nearly a half million Pinterest posts made by advertisers for things like saturation, texture, brightness and hue. And the finding? People like color. Particularly what they call “multiple dominant colors” which get repinned 3.25 times more than those with only one dominant color. Additionally, if the image is blown out or very dim, its repinning numbers drop.

Other odd color-based fun facts brands might enjoy?

  • Predominantly red images get more repins than blue ones
  • Images in autumnal hues of red, orange and brown images receive about twice as many repins
  • Completely desaturated or saturated images have fewer repins than more moderately saturated images
  • Images with less white space get repinned more often
  • Brand images without faces receive more repins by nearly 23 percent
  • Images with a smoother texture are up to 17 times more repinned than images with a rough texture

So, much like the notion of writing web copy to optimize search, brands may soon be tweaking their color wheels to optimize sharing as visual-based communication grows increasingly important. But despite this science, brands should probably avoid carving these findings in stone. Most people recognize color goes through cycles of popularity. At least most people who have ever dealt with an apartment that features a refrigerator enameled in ‘avocado.’

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson


The Ever Observant Alan Spindle Posted This During Yesterday’s Broadcast

NFLHe captioned this Facebook update with: “I must say, this Houston Texans logo is quite groundbreaking. I have no idea what inspired them to create such an out-there design.”

Sometimes social media’s biggest reward is a smart observation or witty bon mot. You know, just like you might overhear in some other social situation.

Because engagement strategies notwithstanding, with Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, Instagram, it’s always social first.

Good one Alan…


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson


Social is Visual

Todays MediaPost reports that HubSpot, creators of software for inbound marketers, released a new study on social engagement which found, perhaps not surprisingly, that using visuals on Facebook Pages boosted response and engagement.

Their methodology was pretty simple–take about 9,000 B2B and B2C company posts and  compare Likes-per-photo vs Likes-per-posts.  Not only did photos earn 53% more Likes than average, they also earned 104% more comments.

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, Olson

Courtesy of Awkward Stock Photos

This follows the simple trend of our culture’s increasingly visual orientation.  The Facebook community uploads nearly 300 million photos every day and marketers who want to be relevant need to think visually as well.  Just please lord, don’t let this lead to a crush of vapid stock photography usage.

Then again, maybe that will help Mark Zuckerberg create huge demand so he can start to monetize his Instagram investment and sell businesses all of those photos…  Hmm…


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson


Sometimes The Web Throws The Voice of the Consumer

I love Frito Lay.  I’ve worked on their businesses at three out of my four agency career. And dag, nothing beats those Natural style Chee•Tos. But snacks are about mass appeal, about celebrating the common denominator of snacking and making everyone happy when you open a bag. Which is why the comments section of a recent item on the Huffington Post are so perfectly emblematic of dubious internet inputs.Dennis Ryan, Advertising, OlsonThe article discusses what admittedly, seems like an unholy half-breed: a Lay’s line extension in China featuring Pepsi-flavored Chicken seasoning. Yep, the lip-smacking taste of delicious cola and chicken, together at last in a snack chip.I don’t pretend to understand the prevailing palate in China, but I do know Frito Lay does their homework. That’s how I sampled ham flavored Ruffles in Spain and recoiled at smelling a bag of seaweed flavored Lays from Japan. So Pepsi-Chicken must represent some sort of Chinese market localization opportunity.  Still, in the pantheon of aggressively outré snack flavors, Pepsi-Chicken stands as a medal contender.

The truly fascinating part of this post was how many people weighed in purporting to love  exotic snack flavors: prawn, chicken and dressing, beef and horseradish, even SPAM. These comments represent the long tail of the net; the fringe that, given a voice and a platform, make their opinions known. Loudly. And while it makes for interesting reading, it doesn’t come close to accurately reflecting the broad tastes of a market, the widespread appeal required to build $100MM line extensions. Much like hipster ad people who scoff at boring Middle America with its profusion of Olive Gardens, niche opinions can seem mainstream on the web, mostly because more middle of the road people aren’t as quick (or as motivated) to share their opinion.When marketers follow these blind alleys, the world enjoys products like Canfield’s Diet Fudge. But usually only once or twice before the novelty wears off and it’s back to Pepsi.

The web and social media are great sources for cultural sentiment. But you must always get a second opinion.

Or you’ll get Pepsi Clear…


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

You Can’t Go Online Looking Like THAT

According to Gizmodo, we upload over 300 million photos to Facebook every single day. This explosion of digital imagery available in our smartphones–all those megapixels and HD video and FaceTiming–may be making us kind of crazy. At least, that’s what Dr. Robert K. Sigal, a plastic surgeon at The Austin-Weston Center for Cosmetic Surgery, seems to be banking on. He has pioneered the “FaceTime Facelift”– a procedure focused on improving how you look while video-chatting on your iPhone. Yes, you read that right.

Apparently, the less than flattering lensing and lighting–and the fact that users generally look downward during the call–drives people to recoil at their unsightly neck flab. He explains the whole, vaguely shameful story in the promotional video below. Of course, any rational person would solve this issue simply by holding their camera up a bit higher–Larry King’s done that on his TV show for years.

You can read about this, and many other mega trends regarding beauty and vanity, in Mindshare’s latest “Culture Vulture” pdf available here. Among other tidbits, their trend spotters cite a story on Daily Mail Online, which noted a whopping 71% increase in the number of surgical chin implants in the US: a total of more than 20,000 procedures in 2011, which is more than all the Botox, breast augmentations, and liposuction procedures combined.

Now imagine how silly these people might feel if Apple’s engineers chose to address that shortcoming with the iPhone 6…


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson


Internet Famous

Becoming internet famous was not an option a decade ago.  Not really.  But today, if you tweet hard enough and hilarious enough, you can get a sitcom.  Or at least a Klout score in the forties.  Same if you really know how to work Facebook or Pinterest or YouTube or even Etsy–all of these communities have leaders and shining stars.  Social media empowers a certain kind of meritocracy.

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, OlsonBut sometimes, people are funny simply because they can’t help themselves. And during this long, loud, relentlessly contentious election season of red asshat vs. blue asshat, I so appreciate that.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

Three Points Regarding Congressman Anthony D. Weiner

  1. It is damn nigh impossible to fashion a sentence which includes his name that can not be construed as filthy.
  2. Very rarely, the Universe delivers a comedy opportunity that’s almost too easy.
  3. When you have an open layup, you should always take the shot.

The national press knows all of these points implicitly. Consider this post a purging of sorts. All the following images and headlines were pulled off the web in one twenty-minute span. Hopefully, this collection can serve to expunge the puns and return ‘weiner’ to the good folks of Oscar Mayer.

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, Olson

You’re welcome. Or I’m sorry. Whatever.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson


Social Media Hasn’t Replaced TV Viewing, It’s Connected It

Sixteen years ago, academic and data geek Robert Putnam hit a national nerve with his essay “Bowling Alone” about our collective loss of ‘social capital.’  By 2000, he published a book expanding on his premise that Americans were growing disconnected from their families, communities and nation due to culture trends like two-career families and television, which reduce our participation in groups.

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, OlsonAn article posted to Ad Age yesterday might gladden Robert’s heart…somewhat. Despite DVR’s, the declines in live TV viewership over the past few years are reversing.  Appointment TV has made a resurgence as Facebook, Twitter and cell phone based social media outlets now drive live tune-ins.

Apparently, we still like to watch alone, but we link up as part of a larger social group through talking, texting, posting and commenting. As we watch, e like to gripe about the White Sox bullpen, seek explanations for the Bull’s careless ball handling and whine about the Blackhawks disappearing offense. Okay, maybe that’s just me but the point is we form very active, regularly scheduled communities around live television viewing.

Robin Sloan, who works with Twitter’s media-partnership groups says “If you look at the tweets about a TV show, a huge proportion come from when the show is airing live, not an hour later.” Tweets and status updates have a shelf life shorter than shredded cheese in a warm refrigerator; it’s all about commenting in the now.

And how much do we like to tweet?  At this year’s Super Bowl, the most-viewed TV event in history, viewers launched over 4,000 tweets per second in the game’s final minute, earning that game the highest volume of tweets for any sports event.

We may be alone physically, but not socially. A whopping 86% of mobile net users watch TV with their mobile devices. Further, the communities that form range from the very broad, like for the Super Bowl, to the very, very engaged, like the people who tweet and text about “Glee.”  “Glee” earned the Number 2 spot on Trendrr.TV which measures TV chatter across various social media, which sounds awesome for ratings.  Unfortunately, the show itself ranked 77th on Nielsen’s prime-time list.

So a cheesy show about awkward high school types inspires awkward types to tweet cheesily just like high school…  Hmm, that figures.


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson


Know Anyone Looking To Start a Career In Advertising?

The difficulty of finding an advertising job serves as a good first test for an industry where rejection occurs daily. That’s why when parents of jobseekers call me, I ask them to have their child/nephew/friend’s amazingly creative daughter contact me directly. You have to really want to be in this business to build a career in it.

For young creatives, the typical path requires creating a portfolio. That used to mean assembling a book, but now it all happens online where any applicant with programming savvy can really wow non-digitally native people like myself.

Because that’s the job: creating interest in your ideas, your creativity, your own unique perspective and world view.

Yesterday, we launched our application for OLSON’s Summer O-tern program. We’re looking to hire three students interested in the creative side of marketing. In an inspired bit of thinking, our team of Matt Burgess and Bryan Michurski, led by Tom Fugleberg, created this unique application challenge…

Note, they created this piece using only a phone.

I love this idea. In the past few years, the widespread availability of broadcast-level technology has democratized production; smartphones with 1080p video literally put that production capability in all of our hands. And sharing through social media circles forms the foundation of modern connectivity and community building.

Of course, what you do with that capability is the real challenge. We plan to post the entries and offer constructive criticism about them. After all, if students take the time to create something for us, they deserve to get direct feedback on their work.

Learn more about the program by clicking here. And if you happen to know any child/nephew/friend’s amazingly creative daughter who wants to explore a career in advertising, send the link to them.

I look forward to seeing where their imaginations can take us.


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, OLSON


Billboard’s New Social 50: Rihanna’s #1 With A Tweeted Bullet

It only makes sense.  MySpace’s most lasting cultural impact has been to change the way we interact with bands and more importantly, bands interact with us.  Piling on to iTunes’ neutering effect iTunes on record labels, MySpace and other social media have revolutionized how musicians build their fanbases and distribute their music (case in point, Jonathan Coulter from yesterday’s post).

Dennis Ryan, Element 79, Chicago Advertising

So Billboard’s announcement yesterday that they were introducing the Social 50, a ranking of contemporary music artists based on their dominance of social network channels, is an innovation totally inline with the modern pop music experience.  MTV stopped airing videos long ago but YouTube more than filled in that gap.  Every band has a MySpace page, every artist has a website, every recognizable music personality Tweets, some perhaps more than they ought to (yes, that’s directed at you Pete Wentz).  Musicians and their work speak to deeply personal parts of our souls and these media further that sense of intimacy and connection.

Billboard is just the first to do the math.  This new chart should be a lot of fun to visit for a quick glimpse at who’s trending up or down.  But only after a few months.

Because as of now, it’s only week one.


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79