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Smile: People Like Your Photos More Than Your Words (SXSW Version)

If you’re in Austin for SxSW this coming Saturday (March 9), come cheer me on at 5pm. Below are the slides I’ll be working from. One friend told me I’m playing with fire by talking about digital photos without any mention of cats, so if you have any cute pet pics — or any other ideas on how I might hold audience attention — please send em my way.

Sources for the stats used in the presentation:

–Ten percent of photos taken by humankind were taken in the past 12 months, from 1000 Memories.

–Two-and-a-half billion photo-enabled devices worldwide, according to Tomi Ahonen in Communities Dominate Brands.

–Research by Harvard Business School in 2009 determined that 70% of all activities inside social media involve a photo.

–Google chief economist Hal Varian observed (in 2010) “The average amount of time looking at online news is about 70 seconds a day, while the average amount of time spent reading the physical newspaper is about 25 minutes per day.”

–Flipboard claims its 20 million users conduct 3 billion “flips” per and spend 86 minutes inside the app each month.

–From PostRocket, a blog on Facebook marketing (citing Track Social data), photos attract greater engagement than other types of posts inside Facebook.

–In November 2011, 20% of posts to Facebook’s newsfeed were photos; now (March 2013) that percentage has risen to 50%, from Business Insider’s coverage of Facebook’s announced changes to the newsfeed.

–Sixty-three percent of shoppers value the image more than the product description, according to National Retail Federation data cited in an infographic from MDG Advertising.

–According to Luminate usage data from 2012, neon jeans and jewelry experienced twice the click-through rate as similar products in more muted colors.

–Ad Age coverage of Garnier’s visually-targeted ad campaign across Luminate partner sites, in which it experienced a 116% life in brand preference.

A street crew on the prowl at #SxSWi.

Forget About Romney! Forget About Obama! Vote for ChasNote!

I recommended to the folks at SxSW that next year’s conference should have a session on “image strategy for publishers,” and that I’m just the guy to lead the discussion. If that sounds like an interesting topic, please click on the button above to vote for my session.

Friends are more likely to hit the Like Button if status updates include a photo; Tweets with pictures have a longer shelf life than those with text or links alone. Even news publishers report that the majority of page views happen in photo galleries. It’s no wonder that images take up more of the web’s pixels than they did 5 years ago — or 5 months ago.

If selected, I promise to offer up at least 5 good ideas on how you can boost the effectiveness of the images on your site. Maybe I’ll even hand out cupcakes.

The Advertising Battles of SXSW 2011

As TechCrunch put it: At SXSX, Advertising Was This Year’s Twitter.

Since the explosion of Twitter’s popularity (traced back to its status as it-girl of SXSW 2008) and, on a smaller scale, Foursquare’s debut there in 2009, South by Southwest Interactive is where aspiring next-big-things hope to find their mojo. So it’s hardly a surprise that marketers of every stripe mobilized the big guns for SXSW 2011. It’s sort of sad, though, to see the event transition from a showcase for applications to a showcase for promotional stunts about applications.

Meanwhile, who won?

Citing data from Ad Age and People Browsr, Mashable gave the crown to itself. What a brilliant idea. Next year I’m totally giving top awards to ChasNote!

Apple pop up store at SXSW 2011

TechCrunch gave best-in-show to Apple and its pop-up store selling the iPad 2. “At one point, I stopped by the store just in time to hear an employee telling those in line that unfortunately, they only had one model left in stock: the white, 64 GB, WiFi version. Almost no one got out of line. I think the employee could have said that all remaining models had broken screens and the reaction would have been the same.”

UberCab Rickshaw

My favorite was UberCab. The campaign was omnipresent and dynamic, literally. They rented a handful of bicycle rickshaws that were shuttling SXSW’ers all over town. What sealed the deal for the ChasNote judges was that Uber also launched a version of its iPhone app for Austin. The Uber rickshaws weren’t just ad billboards, they were vehicles that would cart you to your next party with one thumb-tap on the Uber app. A promotion that showed, rather than told, the value of the brand.

UberCab app for Austin

I’ll give Amex the silver medal for launching its partnership with Foursquare at SXSW. They even got a flyer to the check-in desk at the Siberian outpost where I stayed, Aloft at The Domain!

Amex and Foursquare

The rest fell short for me. The Extranormal critters were cute, the FedEx food truck was very Austin-esque, and the GroupMe Grill apparently had great grilled cheeses. But I missed the connection to brands they represented.

Promotions from SXSW 2011

That circle of light on the side of the building? Some guy with a mobile projector was beaming commercials onto walls near busy intersections. In one of them a pig butchered and ate itself. Not sure who was behind that. The Salt Lick BBQ?

SxSW Prep: Business Cards Are 1.0

(Thanks, NOTCOT!)

Digg Announces New at SXSW

Digg CEO Jay Adelson

“The big daddy of social news sites is getting a flashy new suit of clothes.

“Digg has offered a first glimpse of its new website design, a radical reboot that not only alters the entire look of the site, but also ditches Digg’s rigid taxonomy in favor of user-selected tags. It also taps into the broader social web to help users discover relevant news stories.”

Above quote from . Other coverage:

(Disclosure: The big daddy of social news is also my employer.)

Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond Takes Top Prize at SXSW

Ree Drummond the Pioneer Woman

From Wired Revolver film :

“The web’s best blogs are honored here every year at the Weblog Awards, aka “The Bloggies,” now in their ninth year. The top prize for 2009′s edition were handed out to blogger and photographer Ree Drummond for her site, Confessions of a Pioneer Woman.”

Congrats, Ree!

The “Voodoo Bullshit” That Keeps Media Companies In Business

At South By Southwest today, Ask A Ninja’s Kent Nichols explained how his budding media empire makes so much money: The “voodoo bullshit” performed by “sweaty people who drink,” aka, the ad-sales team at FM. While we all do our best to keep our perspiration to a minimum (no comment on drinking), he does have a point. And even if I didn’t agree with the characterization, let’s be honest: I’d never pick a fight with Ninja.

But what is it with the ad-sales-people-are-like-farm-animals stuff? Here’s Arrington at TechCrunch in a comment last week. (The original post discusses FM’s value, valuation and acquisition rumors from a few months back.) A stud?! I’m blushing.

Arrington Comment

Kent and Mike, thank you both for the kind (and evocative) words!