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Talk like the Egyptians? The rise of the emoji

HieroglyphicsSo “Face, with Tears of Joy” is the first image to be anointed Word of The Year. Is the rise of the emojis now complete, or does this represent another step towards a world where all of our communications are wholly or mostly, image based?

Not everyone is enamored with this news. This article from The Guardian, back in May, has been given renewed relevance given last weeks award.

“So it’s official. We are evolving backwards. Emoji, the visual system of communication that is incredibly popular online, is Britain’s fastest-growing language according to Professor Vyv Evans, a linguist at Bangor University. […] ‘As a visual language emoji has already far eclipsed hieroglyphics, its ancient Egyptian precursor which took centuries to develop,’ says Evans.

“There are harsh limits on what you can say with pictures. The written word is infinitely more adaptable. That’s why Greece rather than Egypt leapt forward and why Shakespeare was more articulate than the Aztecs.”

This is a rather extreme view. How many of us are able to craft the type of content or communications, created by Shakespeare?

The Daily Poke: Act natural

Act naturalIf you buy stuff from The North Face, you probably prefer lush woodland and craggy coasts to crowded clothes shops.

Social media in 2016: It’s all about the customer

Twitter buy now buttonIt’s that time of year again, when we dust off the crystal ball and look to the future. 2015 has been an eventful year for social, but will it continue to exist as we know it or will it lose its power and influence over people? What will social really look like in 2016?

The dynamics won’t change – new start-ups will emerge, the obsession with millennials will persist and I’m afraid the selfie culture is here to stay. But there are three key themes around simplicity and user experience that I believe will ultimately determine who the winners are in the new year.

3 ways to get your mobile ads holiday ready

mobile in store wallThis holiday season will be dominated by mobile. As consumers continue to spend more of their time on mobile devices, the importance of capturing their attention when they’re on the go becomes increasingly important.

A recent report from comScore found that 60% of a consumer’s time spent online is through a mobile device, but these mobile sessions average just 70.8 seconds. With just micro-moments to capture and maintain consumer attention, marketers are under more pressure than ever to optimize their mobile strategies.

After years of analyzing millions of data points from countless retailers, we’ve come up with a few tips and tricks to help retailers nail their mobile ad strategy this holiday season.

The Daily Poke: Flavour of the month

Flavour of the monthWhen it comes to drinks parties, the non-alcoholic selection is usually fairly unimaginative. Tell the host you’re not boozing, and the bestcase scenario is that you get a bit of tonic with some ice and lemon. Worst case: a warm Diet Coke from the back of the cupboard.

Amazon and Argos poised to win the Christmas shopping search battle

Amazon packagesFor major UK high-street and online ecommerce retail, search is an invaluable channel for the Christmas period. By year end, total online retail sales for 2015 are expected to exceed £116bn (representing 12% YoY growth from 2014 figures). Fuelled by such remarkable growth, search has naturally become the most significant channel for consumers as they undergo their seasonal purchase journeys.

Brands who perform poorly in organic search are often forced to invest heavily in paid media and advertising to make up for shortfalls in visitor and sales volumes.

With so much at stake, we wanted to understand what the landscape might look like this Christmas, and see which retailers are positioning themselves to be most visible and visited website by consumers during the festive period.

By analysing the most popular phrases used by UK shoppers searching for this year’s ‘must have’ Christmas gifts via Google (looking at 26 October data), we discovered that Amazon and Argos currently have the largest share of search in the run up to the holiday retail period.

Digital campaigns to watch: Aston Martin, IBM and Phillips

Aston Martin DB10Demonstrating innovation and relevance has always been essential to ensure a brand’s longevity. At NewsCred’s #ThinkContent Tour in London recently, speakers from Aston Martin, IBM and Philips shared how their brands had achieved this through insightful digital storytelling.

A timeless love affair: Aston Martin and Bond

Aston Martin and James Bond continue their 50-year partnership with the launch of their most recent content campaign, based on the 007 blockbuster, Spectre. For the first time ever the 102-year-old sports car company created a bespoke two-door coupé – the DB10 – especially for the movie and released its content campaign based on the design, as the film hit cinemas across the globe.

The success of Aston Martin’s campaign is unprecedented. The company’s DB10 Twitter announcement was the most popular @astonmartin tweet ever, with over 3,000 retweets and over 2,000 favourites.

The Daily Poke: An emotional journey

An emotional journeyForget about back-seat drivers. The next character commenting on your parallel parking might be sitting on your dashboard.

Kirobo Mini is an ‘in-car communication companion’ created by Toyota, designed to help Toyota drivers improve their motoring skills. It will speak to drivers while they’re behind the wheel, presumably giving them tips about their three-point turns rather than commenting on last night’s Strictly. At the same time, it will learn about human emotions. And let’s face it, there’ll be plenty of emotion when you and Kirobo Mini spend three hours together on the North Circular.

Is age standing in the way of engagement? Why marketers should be embracing Instagram

InstagramThe marketing world isn’t keeping up with the pace of change in social media, or at least that’s what the usage stats for platforms like Instagram would lead you to believe. In an industry that prides itself on embracing new media, there are blind spots appearing. Why? I’d suggest it’s because of the personal preferences of marketing professionals.

Instagram has 300 million monthly users, which is a relatively small number compared to the billions using Facebook. According to Fortune, while 82% of big brands across the globe have taken to Twitter and 80% have a Facebook presence, only 23% use Instagram. This is despite the fact that Instagram offers 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook and 120 times more than Twitter, with an average 4.2% of followers interacting directly with the brand.

Just over half of 18-29-year-old global internet users have an Instagram account and they have been shown to spend, on average, over 21 minutes a day on the app. Around 50% check their feeds at least once a day, while 32% check several times a day. That’s an incredibly engaged audience. So why are we ignoring it?

The IPA’s most recent Census showed that the average age in media, advertising and marketing communications agencies is 33. If we compare this to the user demographics of Facebook and Instagram, we see a link. While 73% of 33-49-year-old internet users have a Facebook account, only 25% use Instagram. Could marketers be ignoring Instagram because they simply don’t use it themselves?

Did these social media predictions for 2015 come true?

Apple WatchLast year, Hot Cherry’s Harry Cymbler wrote 7 social trends you need to know for 2015 for The Wall. Before we publish his predictions for next year, we asked him to look back and see if he made the right calls for 2015.

1) Predictive social analysis with real consumer benefits

What we said: Expect 2015 to be the year brands apply big insight in cool ways as prediction analysis helps to create social content around upcoming trends. Brands will be able to identify the next big trend up to three months before it happens with a high degree of accuracy (expert opinion: 90%).

Did it happen? Yes. The New York Times is using predictive models to guide many of its business decisions, from trying to get more people to subscribe to promoting articles on social media. Automotive brands are also using predictive analytics tools to gain a competitive edge. Ford Motor Co. is collecting a variety of data points on its products and consumers e.g. how drivers are using their vehicles, and under what conditions, which has the potential to help determine the most popular features and how to best market and develop future vehicles..