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By: Patrick Lupinski

Facebook unveiled its latest revamp today, making it more consistent across different platforms. The biggest take away is that, overall, it’s a much cleaner and whitespace-friendly design.

Some major changes that you’ll notice:

  • The site will no longer have a three-column format. Instead, there will be two columns, giving the main news feed even more prominence. This format will allow your friends’ updates and sponsored posts—specifically images and video—to be much bigger in size.

  • A pop-out black bar will be added to the left-hand side of the page. This will contain your app bookmarks, links to specific friends, chat, your calendar tools, and the live updates ticker.

  • You’ll gain much more control over your news feed content. Besides having the standard news feed, users will now have the option to select other alternative feeds. Some of these include updates posted by your friends instead of the ones selected by Facebook’s algorithms; one dedicated to organizations and people you “follow”; a feed dedicated to only photos, music, etc.

Brands on Facebook

Facebook’s studies have revealed that engagement with ads in its main news feed is greater than with those that appear on the right-hand side. These ads are absent from its mobile apps entirely.

Promoted posts within the news feed have increased in size on Facebook’s mobile platforms over the last few months. Expect to see this carried over onto the website version, making it easier for users to interact with a brand’s content.

The main takeaway for brands? Immersive promoted content in the form of images and video will always prove to be more engaging.

If you’re as eager as me to try the new news feed, sign up here.

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By: Patrick Lupinski

If the most powerful form of marketing is word of mouth, or WOM as some like to refer to it in our industry, then consider Facebooks Graph Search feature the closest thing to WOM. It has yet to launch and will be in beta for a bit longer but it already has some marketers thinking about its implications and possibilities.

Facebooks search bar has always been considered somewhat of a joke. The new Graph Search, however, has the potential to change the way we search the internet. For close to a decade now, Facebook users have been filling the database with their Likes, interests, check-ins, photos, and experiences. The platform is hoping we will all continue to do so even more in the future as this feature starts to roll out.

Using all of this information, a user will now be able to search for the types of books their friends are currently reading, which of their friends like to ski, or even find out which hospital their friends go to in the area. There will be a learning curve when it comes to our searching habits, though. At this point, were used to searching keywords when we use Google. With Social Graph, youll be able to type the way you speak. Instead of searching for New York Presbyterian+hospital, you would type which of my friends like New York Presbyterian.

Of course, this all depends on how comfortable your friends are with sharing this type of information. Because it is an internal search, you can only search within your own social graph. For those who do not want to share everything, have no fear. Posts that are otherwise set to private will not become searchable.

This coming feature is just the latest in the ongoing trend of the Web becoming even more social. Marketers and brands must continue to place a strong emphasis on building and maintaining a sustained social presence. Deepening your content engagement will only aid in users discovery of your product or service. The more your content is shared and Liked, the more likely it is that your brand will surface to the top of a users search results. These actions will most likely become the new SEO that ensures a brand will appear when someone searches on Facebook.

Online consumer voices—not marketing messages—increasingly help sell a brand. Facebooks latest announcement is further evidence of the new reality marketers cant ignore. Peer-to-peer recommendations have always been around; though Facebook is making it easier to foster and promote those recommendations in a more engaging and potentially human way.

If youd like to become a beta tester for Graph Search, you can sign up here.

Augmented Reality Done Perfectly

by: Patrick Lupinski

Back in May, Johnson & Johnson launched the BAND-AID Magic Vision app. A few weeks ago, I witnessed a friend’s little brother actually use it and was absolutely blown away by how much fun he was having. This incredible app recognizes any BAND-AID that has the Muppets on it and launches an interactive animation right on your iPad or iPod. It’s basically made the BAND-AID fun for kids and even some adults like myself.

By: Patrick Lupinski

Back in May I was invited to Helsinki, Finland to experience Restaurant Day. Restaurant Day is a day where anyone, for one day, can open a restaurant. It can be in their home, in the park, or even on the street. One of the founders, Timo Santala, says “it’s a day when we have the possibility to fulfill our wildest dreams of having our own restaurant.” It happens four times a year with the hope to inspire seasonal cooking and above all—community. But this isn’t a post about how I spent my day feasting on delicious treats, though, they were maybe some of the best I’ve ever had. Instead, I’d like to tell you how it became a global movement in less than two years.

Back in April of 2011, three friends were discussing their frustrations with running a restaurant. They were tired of the endless paperwork, bureaucracy, and restrictions when it came to running a restaurant. After speaking with friends in and out of the industry, they realized they were on to something. Apparently a lot of people daydream about opening a restaurant some day. So, they started a Facebook Page and within weeks, there were several hundred folks that had Liked the page who also seemed to share the same feeling.

With the help of a few tech-savvy volunteers, a registration web site was built. Soon thereafter a mobile application was designed and developed for basically every single type of mobile phone including Nokia’s Symbian – they had to be loyal to Nokia, of course. The app works with google maps and let’s you know where there are restaurants in your area, what they are serving, and soon it’ll let you know whether or not there is still food available.

The first Restaurant Day was announced to take place on the 21st of May in 2011. While all of this was very exciting, the founders knew they had to keep the momentum going via their social networks. They created graphics as well as original photo and video content to post with the hope of inspiring future restaurateurs while also spreading the word to those that didn’t yet know about the event. Folks from the press caught on and covered this new concept, too. All the effort worked! By the second Restaurant Day in August of 2011, over 200 restaurants that spanned 30 cities in Finland as well as 4 surrounding countries opened!

Professional photographers were asked to document the event. Selected photos were housed on their Flickr. But it didn’t stop there, hundreds of photos also came in via Instagram and Twitter from those out and about. The professional photos have been used for press purposes while the user-generated ones have been distributed through Restaurant Day’s various social channels. 

Over the course of a year, each Restaurant Day grew with more people from all over the world registering their very own pop-up restaurant. Fast forward to May of 2012, the team received funding from World Design Capital Helsinki to fly in potential ambassadors and press from various other cities to experience it for themselves. These ambassadors were encouraged to then return home and set up their own Facebook Pages to start promoting the idea within their local circles.

Because everyone involved is so spread out around the world, the founders created a private group on Facebook for the ambassadors. This is where the brainstorming takes place. The private group offers quite the open and helpful forum where ideas are exchanged, questions are answered between the 42 members, and communication is maintained.

The mini digital ecosystem is very impressive and has been built by all to help facilitate the spread of the movement. The beauty of Restaurant Day’s digital properties is that there is no paid media involved at all — it’s all owned and earned. When there are timely goals set by clients and investors, some times paid media is necessary to help spread a campaign. In this case, however, the founders weren’t pressured to meet any deadlines or profit goals. But the idea of owning a restaurant and eating good food has proven to be inherently social on its own which allowed for it to spread so quickly, organically, and for little to no money at all.

The most recent Restaurant Day boasted 782 restaurants around the world. This year Poland, the U.K., Iceland, Japan, and Canada joined. The movement has made such an impact on Finland that the mayor of Helsinki was even quoted saying: “The city has a lot to learn from Restaurant Day.” I have a feeling that the city of Helsinki isn’t the only one that has a lot to learn from Restaurant Day.

By: Patrick Lupinski

Social Networks have now been around for over a decade—I know…I feel old, too. From Friendster to Facebook, we’ve customized our profiles, uploaded photos and Liked pages that we felt reflected our personalities and interests. As a result,  we’ve created incredibly complex social graphs to comprehend our friend connections – but what about an interest graph?

There’s all of this data out there that represents our personalities just hanging out waiting to be used. Wouldn’t it be cool to connect with strangers solely based on common interests extracted from your profile? That’s where services like Airtime come in.

This past Tuesday, Airtime was launched at an event right here in New York City. All you need to use the service is a Facebook account and a webcam. Once you’ve logged in, you can choose to video chat or instant message with people from your Facebook friends list. But the most interesting part is when you click on “Talk to Someone.” That’s when you’re placed into a random video chat with a stranger based off of your interests and location.

You may recall a similar, but a little creepier, service called Chatroulette where you were placed into a random video call with some random person from some random location and you most likely closed the chat before the random stranger could even say “hi.” Airtime, however, seems a little bit more human and definitely a little less creepy.

But wait…there’s even more to it. Aside from video calls, you can also watch your favorite YouTube videos together in real-time and according to the folks at Airtime, more sharing options are on their way.

Imagine the unexpected friendships, collaborations, and marketing opportunities that could result from social pairing!

By: Patrick Lupinski

Twitter was roaring on Tuesday night when Mitt Romney’s campaign released their iPhone app with a pretty huge spelling mistake. A text overlay that was meant to read “A Better America” was, instead, released as “A Better Amercia.” The hashtag #Amercia generated thousands of tweets along with its very own Tumblr turning the mistake into an instant meme. But I wonder, was it intentional or a genuine mistake? After all, even Photoshop has a spellcheck functionality these days. Regardless, the mistake definitely made the campaign look silly but at the same time he’s become an internet sensation – for better or for worse. I’d also be interested to see how this mistake increased the amount of downloads the App received.

By: Patrick Lupinski

60 % of the 111 million people watching the SuperBowl were interacting with a 2nd screen at the same time.
And what were they doing? Tweeting, Facebooking and interacting with various other platforms/applications. Coca Cola was prepared for this and they made sure you were playing with their brand even on your second screen. Do you remember the Polar Bowl? During the game, the Polar Bears we’ve grown to know and love were watching the game in real-time with us in the Arctic. They’d tweet at us, react to the game and commercials, and let us share their videos with our friends who may have been rooting for the other team.

Imagine hooking up Facebook to your DVR and having it record shows based on your online activity.
That’s what Facebook’s Kay Madati is looking to accomplish. According to Madati, “the world is better with your friends” and we totally agree. This new technology would see what you and your close friends are into and record shows that it feels would be relevant to you. Time is important to us all so why would you want to spend it channel surfing instead of watching something of interest?

Friend to friend discovery campaigns > Average Promotional Campaign
Campaigns based on peer to peer influence on Facebook have proven that they are more cost efficient than an average promotional campaign.

The long form video is not dead.
Many would lead us to believe that the shorter the video the more of a chance it will have to be viewed. However, the more relevant the content is to the viewer the more likely they are to watch it. Take for example the recent Kony 2012 campaign. The video, it self, was over 12 minutes long and it went viral within a day. Today, a month later it has close to 90 million views proving that the video you put out doesn’t need to be under a minute like so many have led us to believe.

#MillionHoodies
The Million Hoodies Movement for Trayvon Martin was started by McCann-Erickson’s Senior Digital Strategist, Daniel Maree. He combined his love for strategy, content creation and activism to create a timely campaign that swept the country. Several U.S. Senators also wore hoodies on the Senate floor in full support. He’s now in London creating a much larger movement and bringing awareness to a topic near and dear to him. Follow him on twitter to keep up with what he’ll be doing next: @danielmaree

Create your own Pop Up Video
Remember VH1′s Pop Up Video series? Well, now you can create your own and share them with your friends. Where have we been that we totally missed this?!

Over ‘n out,
@patrykbot & @pharyl

By: Patrick Lupinski

It was definitely a little weird to see a t.v. spot for America. Most of us are used to seeing other countries advertise themselves for tourism and perception reasons. The plan is to run the campaign within the U.S., the U.K. and Japan first with Brazil and South Korea to follow. An interesting media buy, for sure. How do you feel about this new campaign?