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A Social Media Agency’s Likes and Fails – 24th October – Google Contributor & Monty the Penguin’s impact

Here we are again it’s Monday morning and winter has finally hit. The cold air is drawing in and to keep us warm we have today’s edition of Likes and Fails just for you, with an extra like. Who wants to be miserable eh?



Google are trying out a brand new project which would allow users to surf the internet without adverts, but by paying a fee. What happened to free information! I’ve put this in the likes section today because really it’s good to see that Google are trying something new surrounding advertising on the net. The project is called ‘Contributor’ and allows users to pay a monthly fee of $1-$3 to get advert free sites. Google has signed up a handful of websites to test out the option including Mashable, Urban Dictionary, The Onion and popular image hosting website Imgur. The project describes itself as ”an experiment in additional ways to fund the web”. It’s definitely interesting to see if more publishers would sign up to the contributor programme; Google says that they will get a portion of your contribution, and I assume it will be comparable to the amount they would get through advertising. I can only imagine that contributors would sign up if there was a decent amount of publishers signed on, or at least the sites they visit the most because otherwise there would be little benefit for them.

Obviously if you’re internet savvy you will already know of ad blocker, the fantastic chrome app which blocks all adverts from your view, even those you get at the start of YouTube videos, this is a free piece of software but asks for donations to help them keep it running and updated. Though I have recently seen a few sites which have worked their way around a blocker by requesting that you turn it off before you can actually access the site fully. So this new option from Google definitely has my interest piqued.



 You have probably seen John Lewis’s Christmas advert by now featuring Monty the Penguin and you either love it or hate it. Believe me I’ve heard enough about it. But it’s clear to see how much the popular advert has done for the brand in the run up to Christmas with a staggering 903% increase on their online brand consumption since the advert’s release. The consumption is based upon audience interest and how much a particular concept is viewed across the web on mobile, social, and video channels.

It looks as if the Christmas season has given a well welcomed boost to other large retailers too with House of Fraser seeing a 610% spike since their advert’s release and Debenhams saw a 160% increase.

Monty the penguin has warmed everyone’s heart as overall sentiment for the campaign is 35 per cent positive with only five per cent negative and the rest neutral.

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by Helen Stirling


A Social Media Agency’s Likes and Fails – 22nd August – Instagram business tolls & Twitter promoted content latches on to hashtags

Here are today’s Likes and Fails for your viewing pleasure this Friday!



We mentioned it earlier, but interesting news today that Instagram have added 3 new business tools to help brands engage with fans and grow their following. The 3 tools are account insights, ad insights and ad staging. The new tools are expected to roll out over the coming weeks and months but there is currently no exact time frame or market.

Instagram say that they decided to add the new analytic and advert tools after receiving feedback from users (something that Twitter should probably take note of…). The tools will allow insight into how users have engaged with their photos and campaigns so as well as monitoring the activity, there will be suggestions for the best time to post.

The account insights will let a brand know their impressions, their reach and their engagement with fans and users. The ad insights will do the same for adverts ran on the platform but will also show this in relation to the target audience of the advert. The ad staging does what it says on the tin, this is a place to create, edit and publish adverts to the platform.

Advertisers will be getting the first access to these new tools though once they’ve received feedback from these initial users they will look to improve the tools and roll them out more widely to other brands. Don’t forget that ads are still fairly rare, only showing up in the US at the moment as they don’t want to scare off users. They still plan to roll these out slowly to other territories and countries.



Twitter are meddling again. This time their attaching promoted content to your tweets! The change is currently only seen on the iOS app version of Twitter, but it means that Twitter can try and attach some sort of content to your tweet if you use a related hashtag to the content they have available. So for example, what’s been seen at the moment is that if you use the hashtag #ABCSelfie, which refers to the new Television show on ABC, then you will be asked if you want to attach a video of the show to your tweet.

Luckily Twitter will not be doing this automatically for you, but instead giving you the option to attach the media offered. Though as we said it is currently only on iOS it’s likely to be coming to other platforms too as they test the function further.

Twitter have really been amping it up with their tests and experiments  recently, trying out other annoying things such as putting tweets from people you don’t follow in your timeline as well as tweets that people you follow have favourited. needless to say this is not going down well with users, and I think Twitter would do well to pay attention to what everyone is saying about their ‘experiments’.

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by Helen Stirling


A Social Media Agency’s Likes & Fails – 14th August – Genie memorial for Robin Williams & Creatives expected to work for free

Here are today’s Likes and Fails. We look at a lovely memorial for Robin Williams on Broadway and the annoying fact that creatives are continually expected to work for free and one mans stand against it.


Yesterday at the Broadway show of Aladdin, the cast and audience took the time to remember Robin Williams who sadly passed away on Monday. The man who plays Genie in the show addressed the audience at the end of the show and said that in remembrance of Robin Williams they were all going to join in for a rendition of ‘Friend Like me’, which is Genie’s famous song that Robin sang in the movie version of Aladdin.

The show had decided to stage this memorial in advance of the show beginning and had added the lyrics to the song into everyone’s programme. News sources say that the audience was visibly moved and that they gave a standing ovation at the end. A lovely nod to the actor who famously provided the voice to the beloved character.


There’s one topic that comes up again and again from creatives, and that is the amount of times that they’re asked or expected to work for free. There has also been more than one uproar about large companies that are trying to get these creative professionals to work for free as well as trying to hire interns for long periods of free work too.

Well today one particular instance has been getting a fair bit of attention on Twitter. A disgruntled graphic designer called Dan Cassaro had received an email from Showtime (a large TV channel in America) asking if he would like to enter a ‘contest’ to produce artwork for the upcoming boxing match in Las Vegas featuring Mayweather, for the ‘exposure’ and some flights out to Las Vegas.


Clearly Dan wasn’t impressed with the email inviting him to enter the competition, which was blatantly trying to get him to work for free, with nothing in return. As he said it’s basically undermining all creative professionals by suggesting that their work and time is not worth anything.

He told Buzzfeed: “To call it a contest is a bit insulting. A contest is guessing how many jellybeans are in the jar so you can win all the jellybeans […] To participate in a contest like this as a working professional devalues the work of everyone.”

Showtime have since put out a statement regarding the email, that you can see above, and have said: “Showtime is a strong supporter of artists around the world. This contest, like many others, is entirely optional. Under the contest guidelines, those who choose to submit their art are eligible for a grand prize of a Las Vegas trip, in addition to invaluable national exposure across multiple platforms.”

So it seems they don’t really get it. I hope more of these name and shames come out of the woodwork so that more can be done about the way the industry treats creative professionals.

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by Helen Stirling


A Social Media Agency’s Round-Up – 11th August – Buzzfeed £30m funding, BBC Weather App, Bolt Aus launch & Pinterest messaging

Here is a quick round-up of what you may have missed in the Social Media world over the weekend!

Buzzfeed gain $50 million in new funding


 Buzzfeed have raised £30m of new funding from a venture capital firm called Andreessen Horowitz, who are well known for their investments in large social companies, such as Facebook, Skype, Pinterest, Twitter and Foursquare. The investment comes from the company who see Buzzfeed as an emerging “preeminent media company”. This new strand of funding takes the total funding amount up to $96.3m since 2008. Buzzfeed is definitely the site of the moment with over 150 million monthly visitors, and a new valuation of $850m; this new investment should help them work on their online video section, a place of interest for the company, as well as an in-house incubator for tech start-ups. Whatever they use the investment for, it’s clear to see that Buzzfeed’s growth doesn’t show many signs of slowing.

BBC Weather app is extremely popular

bbc weather

We Brits do sure love the weather. The BBC have revealed that their popular app, ‘BBC Weather’, which shows weather forecasts and lets you save favourite locations, gets a whopping 19,000 downloads everyday! These downloads have lead it to become the fastest growing BBC app of all time, with 8 million downloads since it’s launch last year.

Bolt launches in Australia


Bolt, the new Snapchat style app from Instagram has now officially launched in Australia, being the latest country in a somewhat slow roll out to get access to the app. This could be due to trademarking issues with the app’s name, where an existing app called Bolt is fighting for it’s name rights, this could further explain why it hasn’t yet rolled out in it’s homeland, America, yet.

Pinterest launch messaging

Pinterest launched a brand new messaging service at the end of last week, which allows users to take interaction to the next level. The new feature allows you to send pins to others and reply to those pins with either a message or a pin back.

This new feature is available on the mobile apps, it does also work on the desktop sites but is currently in need of some work, as notifications don’t yet work on the site but instead send an email notification.  This new feature is an exciting step forward for Pinterest which could prove to be very useful for users, especially those collaborating on a creative project.

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by Helen Stirling


A Social Media Agency’s Likes and Fails – 25th July – Reddit secret diary & Pinterest inequality

Here are today’s Likes and Fails! Today we look at a secret diary two redditors kept up for a year on the comment section of an old post. We also today saw the gender diversity figures from Pinterest and they’re having the same issues as Twitter announced yesterday.



 Reddit has been the home for some secret diary keeping over the course of a year. The two redditors met on a bit of an  interesting post from a man who had slept with his own mother and was hosting an AMA. In the comments section they somehow decided to become pen pals after some banter and this led to an impromptu diary within the comment section of the thread. From there the year long journal began. the first post was from user ‘portablebook’ and was posted on May 20th 2013. It was fairly mundane with some mention of computer games and redditing:

“Not much happened today, planted some flowers in the backyard, tended to my chili garden, played a few hours of DayZ, spent alot [sic] of time on Reddit, listened to music and studied for exams.”

User ’clicktoaddtitle’ responded with:

“I had a big test in school. That’s pretty much it. I might play some videogames later.”

You can see where this is going, the pen pals wrote back and forth to each other for one whole year until it came to a close earlier this year.

Some highlights were when two weeks in to the journal, one of them had an epiphany and realised if they ere to die tomorrow all they’d have to show for it was computer gaming.

The comment thread was somehow noticed by a user on Reddit and they shared it to the best of subreddit, and since people have been enjoying reading an insight into two strangers lives.



So yesterday we told you about the stats Twitter released and that less than a third of their global workforce was female, and we also said that as a Silicon Valley tech giant it wasn’t alone. Google, Facebook and Yahoo! all reported similar numbers. Bringing questions about diversity and ethics to the forefront. Now today another giant has released their diversity figures and it’s a very similar case, though this tie it’s surprising as that company is Pinterest. We all know that Pinterest as a site and app is female dominated, with much of the site being used for women’s fashion, wedding planning etc…

A whopping 81% of Pinterest’s leadership roles are held by men and 79% of their tech roles are also held by men. This shows a huge gender gap in the amount of men and women working for the company. There is however one sector where the women outnumber the men and this is the business side of things. There are 66% women in this sector.

Again as we mentioned   yesterday the gender issues are not the only ones in these large tech companies. Pinterest also has a lack of ethnic diversity in their workforce too. 92% of their workforce is either Asian of Caucasian, another figure which the company realises needs sorting. They said

“While we’ve made some progress in diversifying gender at the company, we haven’t done as well in representing different ethnicities, and we’re focused on getting better,”.

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by Helen Stirling


A Social Media Agency’s Likes and Fails – 23rd July – LinkedIn purchase Bizo & #TwitterPurge

Today’s Likes and Fails take a look at LinkedIn’s big company acquisition, and a twitter trend outrage based around new teen horror film The Purge: Anarchy’s original hashtag #TwitterPurge.



LinkedIn have made a big purchase. They’ve decided to add ‘Bizo’ a marketing agency, founded in 2008, to the company, in a deal worth around $175 million to be paid later this year in 90% cash and 10% stocks . It looks as if they are hoping to benefit from Bizo’s B2B expertise and focus it on measuring social advertising programs aimed at the network’s professional audience.

Russell Glass, the co-founder and CEO of Bizo, said: “We have been a LinkedIn partner for a while now and it became clear that our respective missions and cultures are really well aligned. I couldn’t be more thrilled that we are coming together to accelerate our ability to reach professional audiences, nurture prospects, and acquire customers in truly powerful ways.”

This news comes after a year of high profile business acquisitions such as Facebook purchasing WhatsApp and Apple collaborating with Beats by Dre in a whopping $3 billion deal. It seems to be the year of the big company purchase.


A twitter trend sparked outrage the other day when it got into the wrong hands. The trend #Twitterpurge was initially linked to the new teen horror film coming out called The Purge: Anarchy (a sequel to the original The Purge), the idea of the purge in the film is that for one day in the year all crime is legal. Unfortunately some took the trend too far subjecting others to a horrible ‘purge’ by posting images of ex’s in compromising images in an act of ‘revenge porn’.

The trend peaked on the night of the films release,  though after one teenager set up the same date for a #TwitterPurge and suggested people have an ‘anything goes’ attitude to Twitter for one evening, the trend was hijacked by users posting nude photographs of ex’s and sometimes @ing them in the tweet or subtweeting about them. These people are obviously not thinking about how it will affect the lives of the girls they are tweeting about, as we’ve seen before, it can cause humiliation and ruin lives, it can even lead to suicide.

The other grotesque thing is that as this film is aimed at teens, it meant that the hashtag was mainly picked up on by teenagers, which therefore meant that many of the images being posted counted as child pornography. Twitter have been removing accounts as quickly as they can which are associated with the purge trend and are sharing these sort of images. Unfortunately the trend caught on on Facebook and Twitter as well.

Luckily there were a large proportion of users that spoke out about the trend and shared their disgust at the people who felt it necessary to share private images.  Here’s a look at one of the tweets calling out how irresponsible the pure was.


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by Helen Stirling


Insight: Taking advantage of video for Social Campaigns and Businesses

charlie bit me

There’s no denying that online media is becoming more and more visual, text pieces are losing their oomph as images and video take over. It’s been revealed that YouTube is now the world’s second largest search engine after Google, and that definitely says something about the visual shift. Not only is YouTube the second biggest search engine, but it’s also bigger than Bing, AOL, Ask and Yahoo combined, and has over 1 billion unique monthly visitors.

This is definitely a sign that your company should be working on getting video to be an important part of your online campaign. If the amount of time and investment in video is off-putting to you then there are other options with short form video on sites such as Vine and Instagram. These sites are especially useful for igniting your creativity in ways to advertise your business in quick engaging bursts. People these days have shorter attention spans so it’s more likely they’ll watch a 6 second looping Vine rather than a 5 minute video explaining your business. Unless of course you get Ryan Gosling to do it.

Ryan gosling wink

Obviously there are limitations of using sites like Vine and Instagram, first off there’s that time limit, whilst useful for being creative, can be very limiting when trying to convey a longer point. Also, though these videos can be embedded they always seem like a much more ‘casual’ poption which may not be the impression you want to give off as a business, in which case another hosting site like YouTube, Vimeo or Vzaar might be more suited.

Plus going back to what we were saying initially, YouTube as a search engine could be extremely beneficial to your business and your videos. Having all your videos hosted on YouTube give them a greater chance of exposure, with the site having a higher exposure than any cable TV station in the US as well as a whopping 6 billion hours of video being watched on the site every month. The way videos are ranked on YouTube is a secret algorithm, but there are obvious factors taken in to account. These are the number of views (this seems to be a big factor), the title of the video, the video’s description and the video’s ratings. So the more relevant you can make the title and description the higher it will rank, also make sure not to ignore the tagging section on YouTube as this also helps the site know where to put the video.

Seeding your video will also be an important step in getting your video seen as well as pushing it up YouTube’s search rankings, which in turn will help it be seen by more people. You can start this off by sharing your video among different Social Network sites, making sure to post with relevant hashtags to potentially reach a wider audience than just your own followers.


The rise of visual media online has also affected the way that other Social Networks rank their stories too, again showing how important videos and images are if you want to be seen. Facebook has changed their algorithm more recently, making pictures more important in a news feed and ranking them higher, this is also true of video content on the site, there is definitely a bigger focus on the visual as opposed to before when there was an even mix of text and visual content. The focus on video for Facebook has been proven even more recently, where they’ve been seen testing video enhancements on the site, such as suggesting similar videos after you finish watching one on the site. This is obviously a copycat of YouTube’s suggested videos feature, but again cementing the demand for more video content.

Video can be a very tricky medium to get right, it’s important to make sure that you won’t be wasting money and commitment on a video which does nothing for the brand you’re trying to promote. It can be more important to spend time on relevant content than to create a bad video just because you feel you need a video. Planning a video and thinking over a few different ideas is the best way to make sure you get what you definitely want, as well as something successful. Whilst many people think that jumping on to an online trend is a great way to be seen and rank, if it’s not well timed or relevant it can end up drowning among all the similar content which are trying to do the same thing.

If you have a quick thinking team with quick turnarounds then it’s possible, but not highly advisable. It’s probably better to focus on being original and creating your own trend.

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by Helen Stirling


A Social Media Agency’s Likes & Fails – 16th July – Google Plus change their names policy & Yahoo struggles

It’s today’s Likes and Fails and we look at Google’s change in name policy as well as their change to search results. We also take a quick look at yahoo and their disappointing Q2 revenue.


 Google Logo 2010

Today Google has announced that they’re changing their names policy, which is something  that users have been calling for for a long time. When Google Plus integrated with YouTube, users weren’t thrilled that they could no longer comment with anonymity, they were forced to use a full name, pulled from their Google Plus account. The drop in restriction allows users to take on any username, though they are encouraged to keep their real name. The company says in their latest blog post:

“We know you’ve been calling for this change for a while. We know that our names policy has been unclear, and this has led to some unnecessarily difficult experiences for some of our users. For this we apologize, and we hope that today’s change is a step toward making Google+ the welcoming and inclusive place that we want it to be.”

However, the change doesn’t mean that people can change their name every day. There are restrictions on the number of times you can change your name and this is determined on how new a member you are as well as how often you attempt to change it. Make sure you don’t make any typos!

In other Google news, they’ve made changes to the way websites are listed in search results, there is now additional information listed with the site which lets you know whether or not the site will work on your device. So for example a site requires flash and you’re trying to access it on your iPhone or other device that doesn’t support it then you’ll see a note saying ‘Uses flash, may not work on your device’.

It’s only a small change but it should encourage developers to make sites accessible to all. The change will not remove sites from results but it may affect rankings and a cause a drop in engagement.



Marissa Mayer is struggling with Yahoo. Mayer announced the worst revenue results since she took over at the company, with the number down by 4%. Mayer has said that although there were some positives in certain areas the overall decline was disappointing and that overall they were not happy with Q2.

A financial analyst says that things aren’t getting better, and that the core business is still dismal. Yahoo’s income from operations slid 72%, to $38m, from the year-ago quarter, and most of that is because of a restructuring charge.

Shares of Yahoo fell by 2% in after-hours trading, down 9 cents, or 0.25 percent, to $35.61.

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by Helen Stirling


A Social media Agency’s Round-up blog – 7th July – Djokovic brand tweets, American Apparel apologise, Facebook engagement, Harry Styles’s favourite tweet

It’s Monday, and here’s the Round-Up of Social Media news you may have missed.

1. Djokovic won Wimbledon yesterday

The Wimbledon Mens singles came to an end yesterday and Djokovic beat Federer to win the title, and as usual a few brands hopped on to the bandwagon and created some original images to celebrate his win. I wouldn’t be surprised if they had Federer images pre made too, ready to go out for whatever the eventuality. It was mostly brand ambassadors of the tennis star who congratulated him but a few other sports brands chipped in. You can see a few of the tweets below.


2. American Apparel apologises

American Apparel has apologised after they accidentally posted an insensitive photograph on the 4th of July. The photo in question was an image of the space shuttle Challenger disaster where all 7 people on board were killed. They say that the photograph was reblogged on Tumblr in error after the staff member in question thought that the image was of fireworks. It has also been made clear now that the member of staff was born after the events in the photo and so was unaware of the significance of the photograph.

3. Facebook Engagement

Two people have got engaged after meeting through mutual friends on Facebook, and it all started with a Poke. The couple got engaged at Facebook’s headquarters after the guy proposing pretended that the couple had won a competition for a free tour of the Facebook grounds and building. When the couple got to the square he got down on one knee and the message ‘Nafis, will you Marry me?’ appeared on the outdoor screen. They say that they first got in contact when Steven poked Nafis on Facebook and they struck up a conversation from that meeting.

4. Harry Styles sends Twitter into meltdown

As per usual a member of One Direction has sent Twitter into meltdown, this was after a fan noticed that Harry Styles had favourited a questionable porn themed tweet back at the end of May. Obviously this discovery quickly made fans a little over excited, and of course a hashtag began trending almost instantly; #Harrydontlickanything was picked up by fans worldwide (in case you’re confused, the original tweet referenced licking something…). He’s since un-favourited the tweet and has replaced the favourite with many pictures of cute puppies.


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by Helen Stirling


A Social Media Agency’s Likes and Fails – 1st July – Twitter ‘Buy Now’ & #AskThicke trolling

Like: Twitter is going to turn into a shoppers paradise soon, yay! They’re introducing a ‘Buy Now’ button. Fail: Poor old Robin Thicke, well sort of, his marketing manager really went asking for it yesterday when they decided the #AskThicke hashtag was a good idea and that it would in no way bring him any backlash.



 Twitter is a little step closer to monetising their platform in a shopping sense. A ‘Buy now’ button has been spotted on a number of Tweets which suggest that the feature is close to launching to wider audiences. The tweets that were initially spotted with the button linked back to the website ‘Fancy’ which is a sort of Instagram for shopping. The button only seems to appear on mobile at the moment and hasn’t been spotted on the web version as of yet.

It’s clear that these buttons are just test versions as when you click on them currently nothing happens. Though it’s not clear whether the button was leaked or whether it was an initial experiment.

The ‘Buy Now’ feature has been rumoured for Twitter for a long time now so it’s exciting to see that it may be a reality soon. Hopefully brands will pick up on this soon, making Twitter a shoppers paradise!



#AskThicke is the latest hashtag to fall foul of it’s intended use. The hashtag was started up to allow fans to ask Robin Thicke any burning questions they had. Yes you can see where this is going… Thicke is a bit of a controversial character in the media at the moment after his hit song Blurred Lines, was condemned for trivialising sexual violence and rape, and he’s now known as a bit of a misogynist. This was cemented in people’s minds recently after his wife decided to leave him, and now he’s using that as a way to sell a new album, which he named after her.

So for some reason his Social Media manager decided to link up with VH1 to do an #AskThicke session on Twitter. The VH1 account asked people to send in questions for a Q and A with Robin Thicke which is supposedly going to take place today, if they can find a serious question amongst all the tweets which have been making jokes and trolling the hashtag.

Some of the trolling remarks are bordering on the side of bullying, but then a lot of people have a lot of hate for this guy. You can see some examples of people’s reactions to the hashtags below.






This was an insightful opinion into the hashtag as a whole.


And finally, this guy was asking the important question.

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by Helen Stirling