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Digital Doubt: Gauging the Success of Advertising on Social Media

The Wall Street Journal recently published a piece voicing the concern of marketers and their clients who fear that the metrics determining the success and value of digital ads placed on social networking platforms are flimsy. Social media feels like the final frontier for advertising, and the opportunities for monetizing these platforms are apparent. However, I understand the hesitation of major companies to continue funneling millions of dollars into a format that may not yield the cut-and-dry results that one might expect from advertising on traditional channels. But as the consumer continues to transition online, it is unwise to assume that advertising on social platforms is futile. In the early stages of this transition, it is expected that results may be hard to pin down, but as advertisers continue to blaze the trail online, the benchmark of success will become more concrete. Besides, the “success” of a campaign on social media spans far beyond profit. Now, companies can build a brand entirely online, giving them a direct channel to the consumer. That alone is valuable.

Top 5 Social Media Marketing Wins of 2016

2016 has been an eventful year for social media. This summer alone, users have had a number of updates to get adjusted to. Snapchat rolled out the Memories feature, Instagram unveiled their new timeline algorithm and introduced Stories, and just days ago, Twitter announced that their 140 character restriction would be a thing of the past. These updates have impacted social media marketing efforts for better or for worse. Here, we will take a look at some of the best trends and marketing efforts of 2016 (so far).

5. Live Streaming

In January, Facebook announced that the live video streaming feature, known as Facebook Live, would be available to all users. Since then, there have been an influx of brands hopping on the live bandwagon. The ability to engage real time with users and respond to questions and comments as they come is invaluable, and marketers are realizing that. Last year, Nestle Drumstick successfully introduced the #FirstDayofSummer Campaign to early adapters on streaming app Periscope. This year, Twitter began live streaming NFL games, and just announced they will stream the presidential debates. As this platform continues to develop, expect to see more streaming feeds integrated into the media we consume.

4. Unique Snapchat Content

Snapchat was once neglected due to its niche platform status. Now, with over 100 million users, it’s a force to be reckoned with. Some brands have adopted interruption marketing techniques, placing ads in between stories or within Snapchat Discover content. In order to gain followers, brands must produce cool, unique content that really shows off personality. Celebrities like Kylie Jenner have used their status and cult following on snapchat to announce the “secret” restocks of her coveted lip kits. Some brands have forayed into sponsored lenses to gain awareness. Take Taco Bell, for example, who launched a silly taco lens in May 2016.


That campaign alone was a huge success, resulting in 224 million views in one day.

3. Integrated Shopping

With the introduction of one-click shopping buttons on Facebook and other platforms, the online shopping experience has become increasingly simple. Take Snapchat for instance, where brands have started adding a “swipe up” feature to their ads within Snapchat Discover, taking the user to a screen still located within the platform. It offers up a glimpse of the product, along with price and other details included in online shopping sites. Integrating the shopping experience brings the user one click closer to making a purchase.

2. User-Generated Content

Many brands have been rightfully adopting content created by their users. Reposting an image on instagram, retweeting a user who loves your product–all easy ways to gain organic content that makes a user feel special. Some brands have taken things a step further, integrating user-generated content in more unique ways. Due to the runaway success of Lay’s Do Us A Flavor campaign, the chip maker has continued to utilize the crowd-sourcing abilities of their users. The contest allows fans to create a winning flavor of chip that will be put into production by the company. This year, Lulu Lemon utilized the hashtag #thesweatlife to aggregate content posted by their users, creating one of their most successful ad campaigns yet.

1. Engaging Video

We’ve all likely watched a Tasty video (or twenty) on Facebook. The Buzzfeed-owned recipe videos have blown up over the last year and show no signs of slowing down. Now with over 30 million followers, Tasty represents a powerful tool for social media marketers: short, engaging, and shareable video content. Facebook dominates this area, and most of the video platforms like Tasty live on the social media site.Scroll down your timeline at any point in the day, and chances are you’ll be inundated with videos. Instagram is catching up, however, and with the newly extended video,  brands will be able capitalize on this watchable trend.


Final Reflection

This is it! My last blog post as a student in JMC 3433. Blogging has been an interesting adjustment, but definitely a fun one.

For our final project, I wanted to look at my time in this course as a whole Thus, I created a fun little storyboard about the roller coaster of emotions I felt in my time in PR Pubs. Upon further reflection, I think Storyboard That was a good medium for me to choose, because it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and I think that may have been what I needed during this course. When I finally just decided to give things a try and didn’t worry about the outcome, I really started to get to know my way around the Creative Cloud programs.

My Summary of Learning broke down my time in this class that allowed the viewer to understand the growth I have experienced during this 8 week course. Initially, I thought this class would be really easy and frankly, a little boring. For a while, I even thought it would be four weeks! By week three, I realized I needed to buckle down and really work on learning the Creative Cloud programs.I couldn’t be scared of InDesign forever! And by week 6, that felt like it had started to pay off when I approached my newsletter project with ease.

I’ve really enjoyed this course and I can’t wait to be in a setting where someone is in dire need of assistance using InDesign (as long as their question isn’t too advanced).

Made with Storyboard That

Summary of Learning: Action Plan

As I stated previously, I plan to use Storyboard That to tell the tale of my journey through PR Publications.

To prepare for my Summary of Learning, I went back through all my blog posts and really tried to visualize how I approached each project. This class has helped me become more strategic in how I approach projects, rather than just jump in. I wanted to try to remember how I felt each week when posed with a new assignment. I think the best way to get a full visual of my time in this course is to look at it in cross sections (week one, week three, week 6). At each point in time, I had very different feelings and I want to capture that.


I am actually very excited to continue the use of this blog. I had a different blog prior to this one, but I never managed to produce a steady stream of content. When it came time to create a blog for class, I scrapped my old URL and decided to use this one full time.

I enjoyed blogging for this class because it doubled as an opportunity to accumulate some relevant posts and showcase some of the projects I had done. Moving forward, I would like to continue to put work into my portfolio, but I’ll likely shift gears when it comes to blog topics. I see this page becoming more of an aggregate of content-from posts for other classes to my musings on topics pertinent to PR. I would like this to be a place where I can showcase what I have learned in college and at my internship, while also maintaining my own voice.

Summary of Learning: Medium

I decided to create a visual representation of my journey through PR Publications using Storyboard That, a website that lets the user create cartoon storyboards on any topic. I was a little intimidated at the thought of creating a video (I would likely need Lynda videos for that), and a storyboard seems fun to make and doesn’t take itself too seriously. I think Storyboard That will enable me to make a relevant visual about my time in this course that is appealing, but also straight forward.

Summary of Learning: Part 1

As I read through each blog post from the last seven weeks, I couldn’t help but be proud of my growth in confidence throughout the course. Each week, my posts showed that I was slowly becoming more comfortable with the programs we used. My frustration was fairly transparent in the reflection post following the first project. But each week, I could tell that subsided a bit. The Canva project was a highlight, and that translated in my post. With each week, it became more apparent that as I honed my skills and felt more comfortable executing my vision for each project. I liked taking a holistic approach to looking back on my journey through this course, because it really gave me a chance to see how much I have learned. I was intimidated by this course at first, because it was so far out of my comfort zone. I wasn’t very familiar with InDesign or Photoshop, and I felt like that hindered my ability to do well in the class. But I quickly learned this wasn’t the case, and in actuality, this course really helped me grow and develop new skills that are relevant to my future career. My familiarity with these programs is just another communications tool in my belt that can set me apart from others.


Week 6: Reflection

We are in the home stretch of PR Publications, and this week our project was a bit more involved. We were asked to design a newsletter for a Fortune 500 company of our choosing. Of course, this meant we were heading back to InDesign. This time around, however, I didn’t shudder at that thought. In fact, I finally feel pretty comfortable with the program. I didn’t have to look up how to do any of the things I wanted, which was a rewarding feeling. With that in mind, I was pleased with the newsletter I produced this week. The company I chose was Target, which has a really recognizable brand and voice. After I browsed the company blog for inspiration, it was pretty easy to pick up that the public they were targeting online was mothers. The articles were fashion and beauty heavy, with some recipes thrown in there as well. Thus, I chose articles for my own newsletter that would appeal to that demographic, as well as a sleek and uncluttered design. Here you can check out my Newsletter FinalThe Bullseye.