Posts Tagged ‘facebook’

Facebook is going to start shoving commercials into your (already spam-filled) newsfeed

Glob help us.  According to Bloomberg, Facebook is about to get a hell of a lot more annoying.  An unnamed source from inside the company claims that Facebook will soon start selling 15-second long “TV-style ads” for as much as 2.5 Million dollars a day.  Where would those commercials go?  Right in your newsfeed of course.  This is from Bloomberg:

While the social network already allows advertisers to upload videos to their Facebook page and then broadcast them to a user’s news feed, the new service would let marketers buy their way directly into a person’s feed with a 15-second pitch, according to the people. That’s typically the minimum length of a television commercial.

It’s still not clear how exactly this is going to work.  But to me it sounds like these commercials are going to be set to (ugh) auto-play.  It’s the only way this plan would make sense.  Right now, a company can make a video and post it to facebook and everyone lots of people who like the company’s page will see the video in their news feed.  This new plan would get ads in front of users even if they don’t like the sponsors page but that fact alone doesn’t really warrant the 2.5 million dollar price tag.  And it also doesn’t fit with Facebook’s desire to compete with TV networks for advertisers.  Again, this is from Bloomberg:

With Facebook, the idea would be to capitalize on the millions of users who actively check the site on a daily basis, including during the prime-time hours coveted by television advertisers. As of last quarter, 61 percent of Facebook members were using the site daily — a number that has risen despite management predictions that it would decline.

“Every night, 88 million to 100 million people are actively using Facebook during prime-time TV hours in the United States alone,” Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said last week on a conference call about second-quarter results.

It looks like Ad Age has actually been on this story for a while and their sources have been talking about auto-play ads since last year.  This is from an Ad Age article from December:

In what’s sure to be a controversial move, the visual component of the Facebook video ads will start playing automatically — a dynamic known as “autoplay” — according to two of the executives. Facebook is still debating whether to have the audio component of the ads activated automatically as well, one of these people said.

And here’s a new Ad Age story from April:

While the format of the units isn’t totally nailed down, it’s widely assumed that they’ll be autoplay and presented in a video player that expands beyond the main news-feed real estate to cover the right- and left-hand rails of users’ screens on the desktop version of Facebook, which Ad Age reported in December. (Facebook has also been at work on a way to make video ads stand out on mobile apps, though it’s still unclear how it intends to accomplish this.)

So….isn’t that exciting!  Now we all get to sit and watch a 15-second commercial before we’re allowed to start using facebook.  I’m sure that everyone will love this new feature and no one one, anywhere will complain.  Ok but seriously people are going to lose their shit the first time an autoplay ad pops up in their newsfeed.  I think a lot of users will just start clicking away from Facebook rather than sit through the same commercial over and over and over.   And yes, you will see the same videos many, many times because apparently the ads will be targeted.  So heavy users can expect to see the same commercials up to 3 times a day.

But there is a little bit of good news here.  A lot of companies are already using video contests and open spec assignments to get video content for their facebook pages.  So I think we’re going to see a lot of big commercial contests where the goal will be to find new auto-play ads for facebook.  These commercials are going to have to be entertaining as hell to ensure that people don’t leave facebook whenever a commercial pops up.  Creating funny, unique, compelling videos ain’t easy and I think a lot of companies will get frustrated and eventually turn to “the crowd” for wacky, outside-the-box style content.


Doritos says their Crash the Super Bowl facebook app was actually a huge success

Call me crazy but I think Frito-Lay’s PR department might have pitched a story idea to AdWeek as a response to an article I wrote just before the Super Bowl.  On January 29th I posted this friendly critique of Doritos’ new Crash the Super Bowl facebook app: Did a poorly-designed Facebook app almost ruin this year’s Crash the Super Bowl contest?

Here’s the TL;DR version of that article: Doritos’ new CTSB app suuuucked.  Only 12 videos would load at a time so watching multiple entries was a complete hassle.  (The old CSTB video galley was incredibly user-friendly.  It was hosted on a dedicated website and hundreds of video thumbnails would load at a time.)  The facebook app was also a spammy privacy killer.  If you allowed the app, your facebook friends were bombarded with updates about your CTSB activities.  I thought that I had selected the “Only Me” option but Doritos kept posting junk about me and I didn’t even realize it.

The was the first year that FritoLay ran The Crash on facebook.  Coincidentally, it was also the first year that FritoLay saw a decrease in the number of entries they received.  The 2011-2012 installment of the CTSB contest netted about 6,000 submissions.  I did a quick and dirty count and this year it looks like fewer than 3,000 entries were uploaded.  The prizes and rules were about the same so I blamed this 50% drop in participation on the crappy facebook app.  Since fans weren’t able to watch a ton of low-quality entries, they weren’t inspired to go out and shoot better commercials of their own.

About a week after I posted my story, AdWeek ran their own article about the Crash the Super Bowl facebook app:  Frito-Lay Likes the Data From Doritos’ Crash the Super Bowl: Facebook-anchored effort hits 100 million views  Have you ever read an article that breaks down the performance data of a Facebook app?  Yeah, me either.  I don’t think anyone at AdWeek would notice or care that The Crash had moved to Facebook.  So someone on FritoLay’s PR team probably contacted a journalist-friend and pitched a positive story about the app to counter the bad press they had received (i.e., that brilliant a-hole Beardy’s story on VideoContestNews.com).

Here are the first few paragraphs of the AdWeek story:

Doritos’ decision to move its seventh annual “Crash the Super Bowl” campaign to Facebook proved to be a winner. The Frito-Lay brand—which had anchored the effort on a microsite in years past—drew nearly 100 million views for the five finalist videos in the user-generated contest, breaking its record.

“Almost every single metric of the program exceeded what we achieved during the last six years,” Ram Krishnan, vp of marketing at Frito-Lay, told Adweek. Krishnan said Facebook’s social nature helped the videos go viral. “That’s the whole reason why we switched,” he said. “People like to talk about the videos, and that reaches their circle of friends.”

What’s more, visits to its Facebook app page were up 100 percent compared to last year on the microsite, said Dena von Werssowetz, Frito-Lay marketing manager. Doritos’ Facebook fans increased substantially, von Werssowetz suggested, eclipsing the 4 million mark for the first time on the social site.

Her brand ran the full gamut of Facebook ads—Reach Block, Marketplace, Sponsored Stories and Promoted Posts—to drive interest in the “Crash” initiative. (A spend figure wasn’t disclosed.) Around 3,500 videos were submitted from Oct. 8 through Nov. 16, 2012, via the brand’s Facebook app.

Her brand ran the full gamut of Facebook ads—Reach Block, Marketplace, Sponsored Stories and Promoted Posts—to drive interest in the “Crash” initiative. (A spend figure wasn’t disclosed.) Around 3,500 videos were submitted from Oct. 8 through Nov. 16, 2012, via the brand’s Facebook app.

I’m pretty sure this article was the first time that FritoLay revealed how many entries were submitted this year.  Like I said, I did a quick count and I only saw about 2,800 videos; and that’s the number I published in my original article.  3,500 just sounds way too high and I have a feeling that Doritos may have tweaked their finally tally a bit.  Maybe the official figure includes duplicate entries that didn’t appear in the facebook gallery…or maybe I’m just bad at counting, I don’t know.

So anyway, the new CTSB facebook app didn’t suck….at least from a marketing standpoint.  It did what it was supposed to do; it generated tons and tons and tons of free publicity for Doritos.  100 million views sounds like a ridiculously amazing accomplishment but these “views” aren’t really VIEWS.  They are impressions.  If you voted for one of the Crash the Super Bowl finalists, your facebook friends would see an alert in their news feed.  If one of your friends scrolled past that alert,  that counted as a “view.”  So I’m guessing that most of these views were just junk traffic.   But even if it wasn’t, a ton of free hits isn’t worth it if you annoy and inconvenience your target audience.  The goal of the CTSB contest is to find great Doritos commercials.  Are 100 million, 2-second long casual facebook views really worth it if the contest also experiences a 45% to 60% drop in the number of entries that are uploaded?

The AdWeek article is short and worth a read.  But you’re probably feelin’ lazy today so I’ll just copy and paste one more bit of interesting info:

And it sounds likely that Doritos will run the “Crash” initiative again next year. “This is the best amplification of our brand narrative,” Klein said. “We just continue to be blown away by the creativity of Doritos fans.”

FritoLay probably wouldn’t let AdWeek run this line if they had any doubt about the future of the contest.  So I think there almost certainly will be a 2013-2014 installment of the Crash the Super Bowl contest.

Wingstop’s “No Bones About it” winner

When it comes to chicken wings, I’m a bit of a connoisseur.  For bone-in wings I’ll go to Hooters and for boneless wings I’ll go to Buffalo Wild Wings.  But if I’m in a hurry, the boneless wings at Wingstop aren’t too bad either.  (I’ve found it’s a great place to grab a quick lunch with my dad.)  If you ever find yourself in a wingstop, be sure to order some fries and dip them in the blue cheese dressing.  That’s good eatin’ right there, pal!  Oh but you know what’s even better?  Have you ever had the buffalo shrimp at Hooters??  Those actually blow all chicken wings everywhere out of the water.  Hey you know what’s funny?  Me and my friends love Hooters’ food but now that we’re not immature 22 year olds any more we find the girls in their booty shorts to be kind of annoying.  Sometimes you just want to have some beers and some wings and you don’t feel like enduring the waitresses’ bad fake flirting.  We’d probably go to Hooters more if the girls were allowed to dress and act like normal humans.

Wait a second…why did I start writing this post?  Oh yeah, Wingstop had a commercial contest.  They picked 5 finalists and then people voted on facebook.  Here’s the winner:

Wingstop’s First Place Winner.  Prize:  $10,000:

Seriously, Hooters Buffalo shrimp; try them and thank me later Also, take your dad to Wingstop. He’ll love it and you’ll be in and out in like 45 minutes.

Orbitz’ “Vacation Party Candidate” winner

Warning: If you wear a suit and tie while snorkeling you’re just gonna sink.

When I read the details of the “Vacation Party Candidate” video contest I kicked myself for not entering.  I love to travel and the grand prize was $25,000 in travel from Orbitz.  But when the 3 finalists were announced a few weeks ago I was actually pretty relived that I didn’t submit a video.  That’s because one of the 3 finalists was video contest-super winner Walt Arnett of Lexington, KY.  Over the last few years, Arnett has racked up more than $200,000 in video contest winnings.  I’ve seen him pop up in a ton of contests and he definitely has a formula for success.  It seems like he mostly enters facebook-based contests that decide their winners in two stages.  In the first stage, judges pick some finalists and then in the second stage, facebook votes determine the ultimate winner.  The thing about Arnett is that he is a vote-getting machine.  I’ve seen him win more than a few contests by huge landslides.  So if he can make a video good enough to make the second round of one of these contests, it’s almost guaranteed that he’s going to win the top prize.  And that’s what happened with the Orbitz contest.  Judges picked three finalists and then voters picked the winner.  Here’s his winning submission.  The point of the contest was to explain why you should be “elected” as Orbitz’ Vacation spokesperson:

Orbitz’ Grand Prize Winner.  Prize: $25,000:

Click to view on Facebook

In addition to the cash, the winner also gets to go on a little goodwill tour.  This is from an Orbitz press release:

“Arnett will be on a coast-to-(almost)-coast campaign tour where he will share his bold, pro-vacation stance, give out random acts of vacation kindness and most importantly show Americans how to vacation in style. Arnett will make stops at some of the most illustrious hotels in top vacation spots across the country: October 5-6: The Perry South Beach, Miami, October  12-13: Mirage, Las Vegas, October 19-20: The Peninsula, Chicago.”

Hmmm, I wonder what kind of “acts of vacation kindness” he’ll be performing.  I know Walt is a reader of VCN and I happen to live in the Chicago area.  If he’s giving out freebies maybe he can tell me where and when he’ll be and he can slip me a travel voucher!

One Million votes cast in the Street King video contest

Fiddy's giving you the stink eye

My friends all know that I’m a video contest nut so every so often someone will hear about a contest and send me a link. A few weeks ago, I got a message from a friend telling me that 50 Cent was holding a video contest on facebook to promote some crappy energy drink company that he owns (what is it with celebrities starting energy product companies??) and that I should enter and try and win the $10,000 prize. So I checked out the rules and man….was I turned off by what I read. I’ve come to accept the fact that most big-money video contests involve public voting, but for some insane reason, people were allowed to vote up to 10 TIMES A DAY for the same video. So instead of begging friends for just one vote, contestants were expected to beg their friends to vote for them 10 times a day, every day for weeks. And to make matters even worse, the voting was happening during the submission period. That means that anyone who entered in the first few days would have an enormous advantage over everyone else in the contest. In fact, when I first learned about this contest I looked at some of the “most popular” submissions and some videos already had thousands and thousands of votes.

When all was said and done, 300 videos were submitted but over ONE MILLION votes were cast! According to my calculator, that’s 3,333 votes per entry. A million votes in a contest with a $10,000 prize is freaking ridiculous. Luckily, I didn’t waste my time and enter this train wreck of a contest. But I still feel bad for the 300 suckers that wasted their time (and their family and friends’ time) trying to win 50 Cent’s ten grand. My friend who told me about this contest is a pretty smart guy but even he didn’t bother to look into HOW a person was supposed to win the grand prize. Like most of the people who probably entered, he just heard that 50 Cent was holding a big video contest and got excited. So the lesson for today is look before you leap. I bet most of the people who entered the Street Kings contest shot entries and THEN read the fine print that explained what they needed to do to win.

Here’s the video that wound up receiving the most votes. It’s actually pretty decent. I’m guessing the guy who made this knew exactly what he was getting into when he decided to shoot a submission:

First Place Winner. Prize: $5,000 & trip to NYC to meet Mr. Cent:

Like I said, that was pretty good. But I’ve certainly never seen so much gun play in a video contest entry before. A lot of contests straight up prohibit the depiction of firearms or realistic violence but this contest was sponsored by 50 Cent’s company so I guess Fiddy obviously doesn’t really mind if people associate him or his “brand” with firearms.

Mike’s Hard Lemonade “Hard Sports” Winners

This summer, asked their facebook fans to “Submit a humorous and original video demonstrating the determination, hustle and spirit you and/or your team bring to your favorite and fun “HARD SPORTS” activity, such as (but not limited to) kickball, dodgeball, ping pong, Ultimate Frisbee, or cornhole*.”  There was a public voting period but it was only run to determine a set of 20 finalists.  Then a panel of judges picked the top three winners.  First place was $10,000 to be used to support the winners sporting endeavors Second place was $5,000 and third was $2,500.  And as a bonus, the 17 non-winning finalists each recived a mike’s hard lemonade “Sponsorship Kit” that included stuff like Mike’s T-shirts, sweat bands and gym bags plus some sporting equipment.  Each of these kits had an AVR of $500.  So it was a pretty sweet runner-up prize.  Here’s the video that took the top prize.

Grand Prize Winner.  Prize:  $10,000:

Not too shabby. I really admire the fact that these guys decided to shoot in the rain. It really added to the wackiness of the video. If it had been me, I would have canceled the shoot for sure. So good for them for going for it.

Overall, this was a really nice of example of how to run a GOOD video contest on facebook. Yeah, there was public voting but there were 20 finalist slots so anybody who really cared could have made the second round pretty easily. And as I said, judges picked the winners so Mike’s was able to avoid pissing off a bunch of their fans by letting some cheater win the grand prize. And 17 runner up prizes worth $500 each really showed that Mike’s actually respected and appreciated all of their finalists. If by chance some contest organizer reads this post, I hope you’ll take a lesson from this contest. It was fun and fair and a good model to follow. The rules are still online if you want to read the fine print for yourself.

*I’m going to assume (and hope) that they type of corn-holing they are referring to is a game of bean bags.

Sunkist’s “Share Your Twist on Lemons” winner

When you think of Sunkist, you think of oranges, right?  I do, at least.  But apparently, Sunkist also grows lemons.  I know this because Sunkist just wrapped up their “Share your Twist on Sunkist Lemons” video contest.  For the contest, people were supposed to submit videos that showed the unique ways they used Sunkist lemons.  The grand prize?  $5,000.  The contest was run on facebook and like all facebook contests, “fans” could vote for their favorite entries.  But the folks at sunkist are pretty crafty.  They must have known that vote-based video contests always end with crappy winners and claims of cheating.  So sunkist decided to have their lemons and suck on them too.  Contestants were encouraged to get their friends to vote for their submissions but the fine print in the rules said that votes didn’t actually really matter.  Ha.  So in the end, Sunkist just picked whatever video they wanted.  And here is that video now:

Grand Prize Winner:  Prize:  $5,000:

I like it.  It’s cute.  And the tips are pretty damn good.  I might actually freeze some lemon slices and drop them in a glass of water sometime.  Plus I really liked that yellow backdrop that some of the actors were standing in front of.  I think I’m going to have to try and replicate that look.

Of course, this was a contest run on facebook so all the other contestants think the winner is horrible.  Here’s a little tip from Beardy…If you lose a contest, it’s ok to say that you’re unhappy with who won.  But don’t be a bad sport about it.  There’s no need to post comments personally attacking the winners.  They didn’t do anything wrong.  Check out some of the uglier comments that were left on the winning video:

ya’ll should used the winnings to get lemon drop some invisaline!

I have lost all faith in humanity and will renounce God as a result of the blistering ineptitude in picking a good video. Not only will I never eat lemons again but I will do everything within my power to make sure the lemon industry as a whole recedes into history because of this one video. Shame on you Sunkist. This has all the appeal of watching a sock puppet play in a cancer ward.

I thought this vid was ok, except I didn’t think it would win because of the girl with the greasy lips and tattoos– not clean looking or flattering to the lemons. Like a heroin addict pimping a lemon. Congrats on your win though!

Yeah, people are assholes.  Please don’t do that kind of stuff.  It’s just not cool.  Making fun of the winners’ looks aren’t’ going to get the sponsor to change their minds.  It’s just pointless cruelty.

Anyway, There were also five runners up who each recived $1,000.  If you’re in desperate need of some lemon-related tips and tricks, head here to watch all the winners.

How to remove a facebook contest app

Companies run video contests on Facebook for one reason and one reason only; it’s an easy and fast way to get tons of new people to “like” their page.  That’s why almost all Facebook contests include a public vote phase.  To win, a contestant has to beg all their “friends” to like the sponsor’s page, allow the contest “app” and then vote for their video.  Then after the contest ends, all those people that voted will continue to see updates from the sponsor in their news feed.  Plus, if a voter had to allow the contest app, the sponsor has access to some of their private data.  I know that sounds kind of scary but facebook apps are usually harmless.  The basic ones just collect general data so the sponsor knows the demographics of the people that are interested in their products.

But once a contest is over, there’s no reason for you and your facebook friends to keep seeing the contest sponsor’s goofy updates about how awesome and fun their product is.  Getting rid of a facebook app is a little tricky though.  So here’s a step by step explanation of how you turn off the spam:

STEP 1:  Go to your Account tab and click on Privacy Preferences:

This will be in the upper right-hand corner of the screen

STEP 2:  Look for the Apps and Websites option on the bottom of the page.  Click Edit Your Settings:

This will be in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen

 STEP 3:  The apps you have allowed will come up.  Click the Edit Settings button:

This will be right in front of your face

STEP 4:  Find the app you want to delete and click the little x to get rid of it for good.

This will also be right in front of your face

Step 5:  If you want to stop seeing posts from the contest sponsor you may have to also “unlike” their page.  Just go to the sponsor’s facebook page and look down the colum on the left.  Click on the unlike button. And that’s it, you’re done. That mean old company will never bother you again!

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