The best Christmas tech gimmick of the year: Google's "Let it Snow" Search result

Tech companies great and small always have a gimmick or two up their sleeve, and Google has been known for their screen adaptations and their playful renderings of their logo on the main Search page. But this year’s “Let It Snow” frosting of the search result page takes the icing on the cake.
Just do a search for “let it snow” and watch the flakes fall across your screen until the search result window gets completely ‘snowed’ over and the blue ‘Search’ button at the top becomes ‘Defrost’.  What’s even cooler is that once your screen gets completely fogged up you can also draw on the Google search results page like a finger on a window.
As of today (three days past Christmas) the trick is still on, and it may be a nice idea for Google to keep this on through the cold season. So, yes, even in Dubai, we can sit back at our offices or at home and enjoy the snow.
We hope you had a good 2011 and are celebrating the arrival of the New Year. At Innovations_Digital we wish you all the best for the Season. So, let it snow…

Published on: the Innovations-Digital blog

5 Ways to use the Power of Social Media

You can have a thousand friends on Facebook, and 10,000 Likes, but what do they mean? If you’re running a social media campaign for your brand, how do you convert “Likes” to sales, friends to customers? The whole idea behind setting up a successful brand page on Facebook, and of course getting ‘Likes’ is to truly engage with your best fans – your loyal followers, your brand believers. If you are able to identify – and cultivate – people out there who are genuinely interested in your products or services, they will in some way or another tell others about it. And, eventually, with the trickle down, and with friends trusting friends etc – your following increases – and your chances of selling and moving product gets better.
One way of genuinely engaging your target audience via social media include finding out what your target customers are interested in and then talking to  them about it. That’s “content marketing” and this emerging leader in the tools of the trade game is showing up as one of the strongest performing channels – a very close second to e-mail. Yes, brands that are becoming “content publishers” – providing engaging, interesting content are winning the game. When you find it difficult to hard sell – and social media is not for hard sell anyways – creating and publishing content is a great tool.

Content is a great trust tool. If you provide value addition via content, people get to trust your brand. They find your brand and everything they associate with it relevant to their space. They end up trusting your product, believing in it. You get to the top of the top-of-mind position.
Another way is to ask your customers, your target audience about what they really want from you as a brand, or from your product or your industry. When you ask your ‘audience’ what they want to hear, you’re playing their hits, they’ll listen without hesitation – because it’s theirs, not yours. It’s relevant, and meaningful. That’s engagement, not monologue. If you are able to talk to your audience about what their interests are – and then build (or revise) your profile, your benefits around that dialog, you’ve got a winning strategy.
Lead them to where they want to go, not where you think they should. Follow their interests, listen to them, see what they’re really clicking through to, and provide a destination, a result that they want to see, to experience. If you are offering information on a new feature on a camera, no point taking them to a home page. If you’re selling a low-interest car loan, don’t take them to the Financing section on your bank site – take them to a page on the loan and a form that they can apply on.
Hard sell is the last thing you should be doing on social media. Think about it, you don’t go over to a friend’s place for dinner and start selling him your golf set. Friends don’t like that. If you’ve really gotten into “social” media, please do be social. Engage them, tell them a story, provide some information, share a joke, show them an interesting video. You can sell the product downstream.
And, finally, social is about shared experiences. If they genuinely “Like” what you have for them, they’ll tell friends, and friends will tell their friends, and like that it rolls forward. Make what you say easily shareable. If it genuinely adds value, brings a smile to someone’s face, causes a positive reaction – they’ll share it. But it’s your job to make that process easy. Provide all the buttons, the links, the encouragement. And, of course, the right stuff.
First posted on Innovations Digital blog. At Innovations_Digital, a digital marketing agency in Dubai, we work closely with our clients to harness the power of social media.

Notworking on Social Networking: Why brands fail on social networks

According to the social media analysts socialbakers, only 5% of queries posted by consumers on social networks are answered by brands! Forget being proactive, most brands are not even reactive – they are absolutely ignorant of what’s out there on social. What then is the point of having a facebook page if you’re not going to respond anyway? While the numbers keep growing both globally, and here in the UAE and the region, it kind of seems pointless from a brand perspective if there is no dialog.
Telecoms and airlines seem to have the highest rates of response, while the automotive sector is the least ‘socially correct’. Only 2.5% of social media messages are ever answered by the wheeled heeled. Oh, and the media industry? Just 1% of queries are answered!
In the US, for example, social networks and blogs reach around 80% of active internet users. The US market’s brand-in-social metric is amazing. Around 55% of active adult social network users follow a brand. But are brands responding? In the UAE, there are 2.62 million facebook users. Where are the brands?
Agencies that work with brands are also to blame on this for not showing the way. While the agency scenario is rapidly changing, a lot of the large ‘do-it-all’ ‘through-the-line’ agencies haven’t warmed up to the social trends yet – leaving their brands in the dark and the silent.
At Innovations_Digital, we call this amazing pall of silence and lack of response the ‘whisper mode’. And, this is difficult to understand. Clearly, the numbers are showing where the wind is blowing, but brands don’t have any idea on how to play with the wind. This amazing consumer channel – with its instant feedback, it’s open source field of consumer action and reaction is being ignored. Imagine, the sheer ignorance or arrogance of a brand like British Airways – who started their facebook interface with a wall closed to posts (now you can, though, they’ve learnt quickly).
Social media has both a long tail and a short response time lag. Things happen in the instant. Brands should not sit back and wait to respond – because word about the brand (specially negative) spreads rapidly in the here and now. And brands who shut down communications or delete negative posts when they happen are committing social suicide.
The whole point of being in the social media space is to be social. And being social means to engage in dialog – brands need to realize that it’s not another billboard or newspaper ad. Brands need to remember to be ‘socially correct’ – too many posts, too frequent tweets are also not done – that’s shouting. But to not respond, to wish it away, to hope for the best is just playing ostrich and sand. And that’s dumb. That’s why brands fail in social networking.

Using Social Networks to check on Job Applicants

90% of recruiters look at your social network profiles and activities when you apply for a job! And, around 70% end up rejecting an application based on ‘negative’ content found on social networks about the candidate. That’s the way the power of social media has taken hold. Social media monitoring service Reppler surveyed hundreds of recruiters and turned in an anteresting infographic on how social networks and what a job applicant says on them is affecting the hiring process.
So, be a little careful about what you’re posting on Facebook – those wild Friday nights and parties may end up on the recruiter’s desktop. Recruiters definitely check LinkedIn, but most profiles on the ‘business-minded’ profile and networking site are fairly clean. It’s the Facebook wall post, the crazy tweets and the ‘anti-social’ comments across all social networks that have a nasty long tail.
As a digital agency in Dubai, Innovations_Digital works closely with clients’ brands to help develop their social media marketing solutions, and helping their recruiters to use social media is just one aspect of the spectrum.

5 SEM Essentials for Brand Managers

While Search Engine Marketing is growing by leaps and bounds (specially here in the Middle East), brand managers need to have a simple check list when working with their SEM strategy agencies to make sure Search yields the results they need.

A typical scenario we come across often is when a consumer in Dubai jumps on to google and searches for a LCD TV. Typically, within 0.17 seconds he gets around 6 million + results, but we know he will probably look through only the first few pages. The Search Engine will quickly look through its list of advertisers and place the most popular ones immediately as ads. And, of course, depending on how well the brand or retailer has done on their organic search strategy (SEO), their listing will appear on the page.  And fight for attention with review sites, auctions sites, an Amazon or two, and a blog by a geek. This is where good SEM strategy can kick in to ensure that the consumer is empowered and enabled to make a positive decision for a particular brand, and a particular model being marketed.

1. Each specific search term (keyword, model name, key descriptor, brand, feature etc) should lead to a specific landing page. When I am searching for 'lcd tv' I should not have to trawl through a Home Page and try and locate Products > TVs > LCD > Brandname etc. How often have you searched for a 'car loan' and been proudly introduced to a "Our Leadership" feature on a Bank's silly home page?

2. The specific landing page should be a sales tool for that specific offering. If I am looking for a 18 megapixel camera in my search query, oh, please don't lecture me on the benefits of high megapixel. Sell me the D900. It's not about persuasion in general (time is precious online), it's about specific empowerment information. Don't waste the consumer's time, and don't waste your budget.

3. On the specific landing page you take them to, reiterate the offer you made in your ad copy in the search result. If you have brought them in to your site with a lure of "lowest interest rates on car loans", talk about it clearly, re-sell and shout about that specific feature. They did not click on "free credit card with loan" – so why put that in your landing page headline? Scream "Lowest Interest Rates on Car Loans".

4. Be clear on context (see above) and be clear on content. Make all the information easy to understand, the offer transparent and clear, and the benefit of a purchase decision easy to see and understand. Gather the information you need – ask nicely, and give the consumer what they are looking for  – which for the most part is a sense of direction, assurance and the enablement of a positive decision in your favor.

5. You'll be tempted to say a lot since you have already started a conversation per se, but here brevity is key. Try not to provide dozens of links to your main company home page, other product pages, corporate mumbo jumbo etc. When you're saying too much you end up not saying what's really key. And what you say should be relevant – locally contextual, available, and immediate.

Do, of course ake sure that your organic search works hand in hand with SEM, and that your website content – particularly the landing page you created (yes! specific to the keywords you bought) has all the right words in there.

When working with your Search agency, or even developing a basic strategy, set goals and tick the 5 SEM Tips above. You'll be five steps closer to the consumer making the decision that you want him or her to make – in your favor – right there. And armed with that, hopefully, he'll click through to buy, or head off to the nearest retailer. Or bank, as the case may be.

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Because the people who think they are crazy enough to change the world are the ones who do.
To Steve Jobs, thank you for changing my world.

Blackberry OS6: Low Battery Life and how to fix it

Let’s admit it, the Blackberry OS6 is a battery drainer! There are numerous blogs and forums that talk about this issue, and a lot of them are helpful. We’ve put together a few easy tips on how to improve your battery life using OS6. It is a neat system, with a lot of useful features, but if your battery drains half way through the day, it isn’t going to help.

 1. Keep your battery charged, topped up whenever possible. This does no harm to the battery, and this is the first step. Plugging it into the wall socket, rather than use the USB on your desktop. Charge it to the max.

 2. Check your network connections and switch off Wi-fi and Bluetooth if you’re not using it. (under Manage Connections). This is a huge savings.

 3. Your screen display consumes a lot of juice. Two things: Under Screen Display, turn down the brightness to as low as you are comfortable with. Second, turn the Backlight Timeout setting to as low as possible – like 20 secs or less.

 4. Turn off GPS whenever you don’t need it. Under Location Services, turn Location Off. This is a huge and constant power consumer, and this helps a lot.

 5. Under Typing and Input, turn off the first option – Key Tone. This adds up through the day, and helps conserve power.

 6. Turn off as many Applications you may have running in the Background. On Android, this is a key power saver, and it’s the same with Blackberry. Use the Close feature on the Apps when you are done with them.

 7. On the powerful new Browser, you can create shortcuts to your often used websites. Create icons on your home screen to save multiple steps.

 8. Limit Media usage. Exit your music player using the Esc key, to shut it off.

 9. Switch power off when you know you won’t use your handset.

 10. In some cases, this still does not work. And the only way out is to revert back to OS5. This is a bit silly, but hundreds of BB users have had to do this, and are quite reluctant to upgrade to OS6 knowing their battery life will be a problem. See this useful link on how to downgrade:

Published and written for the Innovations_Digital website:

10 Hits from the 70s we love – thank you YouTube!

YouTube. Gags, stupid pet tricks, car stunts galore. But what we don't realize is that it's a digital treasure trove of all things archived. Including a massive collection of music you otherwise would have had to mixtape or totally file in that draw called oblivion. Thanks to the world's second most popular search engine (yes, YouTube is only 2nd behind Google), today we can find music we grew up on, music we played in our car on our first date, music our folks listened to and today's up and coming music as well. Imagine life without YouTube...

Imagine | John Lennon (Imagine, 1971)

5 Essentials for Building a Successful Website

Five key elements that you need to keep top of mind when looking to build a successful website are Idea, Ease of Use, Value Addition, the Details and the Team. Everything else is dressing. If you’ve focused on the key elements when building – or re-building, refreshing or looking for a solution – most everything else falls into place.

1. A core idea

A website is a creative project – and it needs a central, pivotal idea – a purpose. No matter how well it is designed, how well the information flows, if there’s no central idea, you haven’t got much to build on. Like Shakespeare’s plays, there has to be a central theme, a good creative proposition. Then it’s easy to flow the rest, to build the parts, the dialogue, the engagement, the stickiness. Decide early on what you are setting out to do – what is the purpose… And, ideally, the purpose is well defined and then implemented via a good idea. The Louis Vuitton site is built around – appropriately – journeys. And it unfolds so beautifully. Old Spice use the tongue-in-cheek Old Spice Man as a storytelling theme and have been doing it well. When commissioning a web project, ask “what’s my core central idea and how are we telling that story?” – and you can ask this question regardless if you are building a site for kids, for transaction, for a bank or for adidas.

2. Ease of Use

Usability is a buzzword that’s been around, but frankly and simply put, this is all about ease of use. How well is your site sign-posted? Is content easy to find? Is information available without digging through seven layers? Are all the relevant bits in the right places? Have you asked the developers to check for intuitiveness – meaning, for the most part – is the journey not down the road less traveled. If it is, they will leave. A good website makes it easy – but exciting, and yes, there is a happy medium. Both outgoing information (what your website says) and incoming messages (what your target audience says or does in response) should be easy – and (not boring, but) predictable. When you arrive at an airport, you don’t want to have to guess where the taxis are.

3. Value Addition
People don’t come to your website becuase they have time to kill. And if they are, you better have some really cool games on! Seriously, ensure that you are adding genuine value to the user experience, no matter what. Are you providing useful, relevant information that they’re looking for, or is it a lot of chest beating in an ‘About Us’ section that’s only relevant to you and your CEO? Does the end-user buying your product really want details on when and how your mission statement was written? Come on! Give them value on every page. Provide details when you feel they’re looking for it, and keep it simple when simple will do. Content, specially copy. is best written by web writing specialists who can look at the project from a user perspective – not from the company’s. And whether it’s images, videos, games, coupons, whatever – it should all add some intrinsic value to the visitor’s experience – and that way they’ll remember your site and come back. And, so remember to refresh the value.

4. Details

Detail is key. Have you provided everything that’s needed to complete and enrich the user experience? Have you provided all the information? And that information is up to date? And the links all work, the copy is fluid (and spelled correctly), the visuals are optimized, the forms easy to fill and return, the price points are correct, the social links all lead to the right destinations – God’s in the details. Get the development team to pre-flight check everything, and have a new set of eyes look through it all before you launch a site or add new content. The best way is to prepare a check list of everything that goes on your site – down to the last level of links, the tiny Like Us icons, the Home buttons – everything – and make sure they all work and they all are aligned, in the right place, the right colors etc etc etc. Restaurants have soft launches, websites have beta. This is so that the wrinkles can be ironed out.

5. The team

Once you set out to build a website, identify a core team. We’re not talking about the agency or the company or the department that’s building the site. But the core team. They are the ones who will drive the project, manage the milestones, reign in the costs, ensure that everything that was promised gets delivered – and on time. Usually it’s no more than two to three people. Seriously, after that you’re crowdsourcing, and websites usually are difficult to manege when you’ve got a stadium working on it. Insist on a lead team that manages the product. All you need is a comfort level, a sense of trust with this core team. After that, it’s their headache to get the best designers to design, and the best code-warriors to do the back-end. Your project may be huge and may need a team of forty programmers – but you still need just two, max three people driving it. Fall guys. Which is why, often, smaller agencies who manage out sourcing well often deliver to tight schedules and high quality demands better. The fall guys are for real, and they have a lot riding on it. Find a good core team, and you’ve got success – you’ve offloaded your headache.

First published in the Innovations_Digital blog

3 Top Viral Videos 2011. Viral Videos Happen, they're not made "to be viral"

We often get clients calling us up and saying "We want to make a viral video". As we know by now, viral videos are not made, they happen. If the content is amazing, if it's an experience that people will gladly, enthusiastically share with their friends, that's viral. Here are three top viral videos, with millions of views on YouTube and other peripheral viewing channels and blogs.

5 Digital driven Trends in the world of PR, Media and Advertising

Advancements in digital technology, increasing demands of the consumer and the client, and changing habits of media consumption are all creating a new landscape in the ad world. What is emerging is scalable, adaptable, lean, multi-dextrous and nimble. And collaborative. Smart. The new ice age is dawning and the cold wave is technology.

We’re seeing different trends like ‘snacking’, ‘time-shifting’, ‘place-shifting’ in media consumption. Consumers aren’t doing what it tells them to do on TV Guide. They’re not taking orders from brands, but ‘liking’, ‘viralizing’, and commenting/sharing what they like, what they feel in control of. Social media is enabling that. And Search is helping them find the truth. Separating the Well Told from the Real Truth. All of this is catalyzing change. Agency sizes are adapting to what’s needed. Talent is quickly learning to be multi-talented. And revenue streams are increasing every day – yet overall revenue is tightening. The zeroes and ones. They’re affecting us all.

1. Media consumption habits are changing – forcing agencies to think different.

While here in the Middle East, tv is still king, there’s no denying that media consumption is evolving. In Egypt, the revolution and Tahrir Square was not driven on tv, it was written on the wall via facebook. With better connectivity, higher speed, more bandwidth, and the proliferation of mobile – specially the smartphone – it’s now a digital world. And in that world the consumer is choosing when, where and how. Not media moguls and agency planners.

Consumers are clearly defining consumption trends because, with their adoption of newer technologies and channels, and a proliferation of devices, everything changes quickly. They’re watching tv programs downloaded on to their iPads. They’re using coupons built into apps. Catching a brand message built into a MMORG (massive multi player online role playing game).

Entertainment at home has gone full circle. It’s done the lean-back-to-forward-and-now to-back-again.We used to consume media at home leaning back on our sofas. Then, with online, and hulu and YouTube and facebook, and Video on Demand, we looked towards our computer screens for our entertainment – leaning forward. Now, with tv manufacturers building internet right on to the massive LED 3D sets, we’re leaning back again. Except that out attention is now divided.

How many of us watch tv today, with our iPads in our hands? It’s a fragmented attention society we’re in. We’re driving but talking on our mobile. We’re watching tv, but the computer is on, the skype is beeping, the phone is ringing and the washer dryer LED screen is playing an YouTube How-to video. As agencies we want to help our client’s brands cut through this clutter?

We’ll have to think different. Successful campaigns kick start with integration and 360° thinking built in. Not facebook added on in the end, or a sms broadcast done with a leftover few dollars. And genuine, media neutral strategy needs to drive communications and engagement – which may or may not result in every possible media channel being used. Some campaigns work great on tv. For others a simple Search campaign on google combined with a good SEO strategy maybe enough. Or a twitter drive. What needs to happen is a for agencies to start taking a honest look at need and then deliver on that. Unchained to the what they learn in ad school or what their CFO’s bully them to do.

2. Technology is calling for multi talented people – single armed dinosaurs are at risk

The specialist today is the great generalist. The genuinely multi-talented guy who can develop strategy, create and design content, delve in and direct conversation in social media and lead the whole agency effort is the much sought after. What is emerging is that increasingly clients are asking their mainstream agencies to do digital, and vice versa. And in both these situations, the client is winning. What we are seeing is that digital agencies are usually staffed and led by people who are digital/analog at the same time – they’re part of a new breed who switched to digital specialization having started off their careers and their training in mainstream advertising, media and PR. Usually, these ‘digital’ focused agencies are far more 360° capable than the bigger mainstreams who are trying to do a late game-saver at digital.

An ad agency used to have Client Servicing and Creative. A media agency had Planners and Buyers. And PR had ‘PR folks’. Life was simple. Today you have Social Media Strategists, Community Managers, User Interface Designers, Search Copywriters, Outsource Management Directors, and YouTube Videoographers. YouTube Videographers are the ones with the iPhones. Who also are Social Media Content Creators, SEM Feedback Specialists, Mobile Game Surveyors and iOS Version Specialists. One device. Ten talents. That’s technology for you.

Don Draper of Mad Men hires a digital juggler

All this means that the talent gene pool is getting smaller with fewer people needed. The highly specialized is being replaced by the highly skilled and multi talented. The fact of the matter is that technical skills are becoming easier, and thanks to online, an incredible bank of resources are at hand. Instant help is a click away, as is a lesson in video editing or HTML5 bug fixing. And, finally, collaboration and outsourcing is making a lot of sense. Smaller agencies are often working with each other, often under white label and producing cheaper, better, faster, and then some. And beating the big ones. The piranhas vs the whales.

3. Social media is changing the control room. As is Search.

Let’s face it. The consumer is in control. It’s theirs vs ours. The facebook wall post, the tweet vs the brand tv spot. The unedited vs the edited. Free vs paid. That’s the consumer manning the control room. And Search is providing even more tools, more information, more reviews, insights and help for the increasingly wary and aware consumer. If the brand message as drafted by the creative agency, as placed by the media agency and as advocated by PR does not resonate with the consumer, it not only doesn’t reach, it self destructs.

Don Draper and Mad Men staff check out the new digital age with a visit to Google

Naturally, social media today has become an integral part of how agencies function. Creative mainstream agencies, media agencies and PR agencies are all fighting to create offerings in the space and gain largest share of the pie. The bigger ‘advertising’ agencies are discovering that while they are still ad agencies, their business model (with or without them) has evolved from advertising into engagement. From one way into two way, or as they say, with social media, into a freeway of multi point conversations.

With Social Media, one cannot guess what works and what doesn’t. One soon finds out – there’s plenty of ways to measure that, but it’s in the here and now, and it’s meandering, changing, adapting. With Search thrown in, you’ll have to realize that there are no more start and end dates to campaigns. Say hello to the long tail. Today, once you’ve started a dialogue, the show must go on. It’s a never ending spot.

Finally, the wall between the media agency and the creative agency is now being pulled down, as social media is marrying the two. The contact point is just as relevant as what you say on it.

4. Revenue streams are increasing. Revenue is decreasing. Huh?

Yes. Revenue streams are increasing. A few years ago, no client would call us and say “we need six YouTube videos shot for our launch”. There was no facebook page. No in-banner game. No SEM. With the advent of technology, social media and online and mobile media we are seeing a huge widening of the revenue stream spectrum. Every day there’s something new that consumers are playing with, and brands want to be in that space. Our world is becoming idea driven media-neutral. Once we know what to say, there are several ways we can communicate that to our target audiences and that all put together for those in this industry mean more revenue streams – more channels, more creativity, more executions, more billings.

But not more revenue, necessarily. More and more clients are discovering that expectations of quality are getting lower, or, because of technology higher, better quality is available cheaper and faster. Also, as mentioned earlier, talent is multi-dextrous, and is able to do five things one a project, thus making it feasible for agencies to lower their costs. And clients are demanding that agencies take a serious look at outsourced work – when outsourcing makes dollars and sense.

Mad Men agency folks meet around Don Draper... A drink is needed as Revenue is down.

Take a PR agency model for example. A brand’s typical PR on a launch would usually wrap around an event, a lot of ink in the media about it, interviews in newspapers, tv about it etc. The revenue stream was about that product, that launch. Today, the PR machine works 24/7. Beyond the launch, beyond the event, way beyond the write-up. It’s maintenance on facebook, the tweeting, the responding, the YouTube Videos, the un-boxing of the product on blogs, what not. Yet, put together, as a new, emerging, tech driven digital focused revenue stream it’s small compared to traditional. It’s less revenue.

5. Medium is the new hip. Agency sizes are adapting to new demands.

As marketing communications are increasingly moving into new media, agencies are moulding, morphing into everyone can (or should) do everything models. Smaller teams are more effective, brand knowledge gets contained better, institutional memory gets sharper, and streamlining helps everyone. Large multi-floor agencies are in a position where they don’t need huge teams working on campaigns any longer. Thus they don’t need to be huge to be effective. And with collaboration, multi talented work forces, advances in technology and smart outsourcing, they can be more effective when they’re just the right size for the need. Which is usually a medium size. Which works rather well with the more-revenue-streams-but-less-revenue model.

Don Draper of Mad Men - realizes in today's digital world, medium sized agencies are doing better

Because new media makes new demands, today’s successful agencies are ensuring that these demands are met as standard rather than specialized, and that the workforce is as adept at working on projects or campaigns that integrate social media, blended search, media and content as one, as they are on traditional media such as ones on tv, radio and outdoor. While it is becoming the trend to try and own as much of the campaign pie as possible, agencies across PR, media and advertising are facing the reality that with technology, with advanced communications, and with a little impetus from clients, it’s possible without being big. Medium is the new hip. Or small. Who are discovering the magic of collaborative wins.

At Innovations_Digital, we pride ourselves as being a multi-dextrous ‘influence’ agency that uses the power of multiple emerging mediums and technologies to drive the brand message home. We don’t create advertising, we help the brand positively influence the consumer. And that can come from anywhere, anyone anytime. We just channelize those energies.

First posted on:

Five web design trends for mid-2011 that you cannot ignore

The lines between design and development are fading. It’s the marriage of form and function, and that is a true beauty. Which essentially means that design has grown up, become responsible, and it is is now a team player with technology. Halfway through 2011, and there are a few dominant web design and development trends that seem to have emerged leaders. Before we go into detail, we need to remember that lately, emerging technology is affecting how web designers are planning and executing their work. Let’s look at five interesting mid-year trends…

1. Adapting to touch screens

Thanks to Steve Jobs and Apple, navigating the world wide web is moving fast from being driven by mouse and keyboard to thumb and finger. Thanks to the huge rush and take-up of the tablet format (a bow here to the iPad of course,), and smartphones, and even some desktop hybrid monitors – navigation has become a lot more tactile. It’s now touch, not click, and everything is at our fingertips. This is going to change web design hugely.

The tablet format, or even the mobile has thrown a curve ball at designers by introducing viewing orientation change. We need to be conscious that the viewer can via one flick of the wrist switch from horizontal to vertical. This is called ‘liquid layouts‘.

Then of course, with touch screen navigating, there is no hover or rollover. So how does the visitor know which one’s a link, which one’s not? How do we indicate links? How does a finger successfully navigate, hold and then go into a sub menu on a pulldown? It doesn’t. So, design needs to be aware and change.

2. HTML5

Yes, HTML5 is here for good. Thanks again to Apple and their avoidance of Flash, new format sites with any form of animation are headed towards HTML5. Our clients are increasingly asking for it. Flash-based uber designers are feeling the heat. Even in its infancy HTML5 is making huge inroads. Flash is still very much around, (see our post on HTML5 vs Flash earlier), but it’s a changing world, a new order.

While on this topic, one must mention the emergence of CSS3 in design. Elements like transparency of images, text handling etc are now easily done using code, not Photoshop. Yet another hit at Adobe?

3. Small screen vs big screen

This is a conundrum. Yes, for web design we have to be, we must design (thanks to smartphones) sites ready for mobile, ready for tablets, ready for anything. Without blinking and forgetting that while every one’s rushing off to do mobile-ready main sites (not made for mobile sites,but one site that can play on both screens), there’s this new trend of absorbing online media on our tv screens. All major tv manufacturers have introduced ‘internet-TVs‘. It’s tv and internet together at last, and designers are scrambling to utilize all that wonderful open space. The best trends are towards a happy medium. The best designers are searching for the holy grail – the one common solution that will work from 6cms to 60 inches!

4. Ready for a thumbnail view?

Increasingly, today’s Google user is making a go/no-go decision by using the magnifying glass next to the result of the search query. People want to see what you have out there on your site or the page quickly. They use the Magnifying Glass icon and there’s a preview. No longer do they need to go to your site by clicking through. Designers need to be aware of this quick look trend. How does the page look like in micro mode? Oh, and if it’s in Flash, then forget it. As today’s web visits become shorter and more user driven rather than design or brand driven, the ability to grab quick attention is key.

5. Simplicity and large scale photography

Forget the small format tiny little photos. Large, full sreen or widescreen photography is here, at least for the Summer of ’11. Web designers are going where no man has gone before, and treating us to full screen, high-resolution visual treats. Thanks again to the tablet format, I would say. And, it’s not just designers and photographers or magazines. Tech companies like Teletech, restaurants like Kuletos, and retail sites like Chicago L Shirts are all now fullscreen widescreen and gorgeous!

The other design trend is color simplicity. Monochrome or two-color sites are suddenly the norm this year. Web design in primary colors or across a single palette are pleasing to the eye, uncluttered and making big impact. Shun the temptation of the 256 color web safe palette. Minimal is now in.

This is 2011. And it’s liberating. Design is collaborating with tech and bringing us harmony and intuitiveness. At Innovations_Digital, we call it design ergonomics.

From the blogposts at:

What does a media agency do?

Traditionally, a media agency strategically plans where and when your advertising and marketing message should appear. The agency, ideally, helps you buy the space and puts your message on it. Today, media agencies have evolved beyond that definition and morphed into ‘communications agencies’ meaning they do a lot more than just tell you where to put your message or when to put it. Today, because consumers have changed the way marketers plan their strategies, and have adapted so many new channels – mostly due to the advances in digital – agencies have to have multiple efficiencies, including strategic planning, buying clout, social media muscle, content development, mobile media versatility and more.

With digital, the lines haven’t just blurred, they’ve auto-erased. Media agencies worldwide are fast acquiring, hiring, renting, even, content creation talents or agencies to become a complete solutions provider for their clients. That’s the nature of how today’s consumer’s use and dependence on digital focused channels of communications have changed the way media planning agencies behave in the ecosystem. You cannot put your head in the sand (and there’s lots of it around here) and stay in a silo.

We don’t look at digital in isolation, because digital is part of every day life and can no longer be viewed (as is often done in this region) as a ‘by-the-way channel’. Agencies today provide strategic consulting and execution on how best to leverage digital for a brand’s communication; how to optimize digtal touch points, develop strategic engagement plans across all media, look at new areas like social networking, search, viral, mobile and web 3.0 for true integration. Media solutions today include a 360° approach where clients are being provided with knowhow, expertise and final product including the development, design, programming and full content.

But one cannot forget that life at a media agency is not all zeroes and ones. Online and mobile isn’t everything, and at least here in the Middle East, tv is still ruler of the domain. And no Arab Spring is going to change that, facebook or no facebook. At the end of the day, come Ramadan month, the sofa and the tv are the hot zones in the home. So, understanding traditional media channels – tv, radio, newspaper, magazines, outdoor – and being able to tell the client how, where, why and when his message should go on is still key.

Media agencies first of all need to understand their client’s business needs, understand the market dynamics and be able to focus the message to consumers via channels that best resonate with the target audience. Beyond that, media agencies bring efficiency to their clients across media planning and negotiation points as they have the specific expertise, volume leverage and theoretically deliver economies of scale and reduce per media booking transaction cost. That’s the basics. A typical media agency in this region would be UM – one of the biggest media agency networks in the MENA.

Today, media agencies will help you plan how you play in the social media space, they will help you market your brand on Search engine pages (SEM), they will put your message inside taxicabs, organize events, do mail-drops at door steps, send out emailers, write on the sky or the beach, blog, post on facebook, manage your website, put pretty girls with handouts in a shopping mall and almost any other way you can think of communicating. Point is, do they know if someone’s listening?

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5 freebies for your next Mobile App Design

Mobile app design has completely revolutionized the work that goes into icons. While we’re big fans of intricately designed glossy icons, they’re nothing like a good set of clean monochrome icon sets that we can throw into mockups, prototypes and designs.

Here are 5 really cool freebies you can use – compiled by Mayank Garg at innoavations_digital – the leading digital agency in Dubai.
And here is the link to the main post...
5 freebies for your next Mobile App Design

Serving Social Media at Wimbledon this year

No matter what happens to Andy Murray and the great British hope, taking on defending champion Rafael Nadal – they’ll never look back on how social media is heralding in a new-ish era of ‘open’ tennis – making players and the tournament both easily accessible.

The opening serve or volley, if you will came from Andy Murray and Head. Murray, being Britain’s great hope, is being followed with huge interest as he bumps now into Rafa Nadal.

But it’s not just Andy. Wimbledon, the only remaining lawn (or grass) tennis grand slam has taken up social with aplomb. The official Facebook page does live feeds, and photos are being updated almost as they’re being clicked. There are just under 660,000 fans. The posts are interesting, and sometimes outside the box. I saw a post that linked to a evian promoted page on Wimbledon. Nice bit of code-sharing on that.

They’ve raised the roof so to speak at Wimbledon. With a £100 million roof over Centre Court, Wimbledon will not be held under the weather. And both the official tournament and players are playing it pretty big on social media, mixing tennis on the lawns, strawberries and cream with a healthy dose of facebook and twitter.

Real time online access is now the norm. And, yes, Andy Murray did kick off the Wimbledon-on-Social wave this year with that ‘intended-for-viral’ film for HEAD – the tennis brand that’s trying really hard to keep head above social water, competing with the big brands like adidas, nike, and the new rising ranker – Babolat. HEAD’s ‘Get Closer’ campaign was published on both Facebook and YouTube, aiming to get fans ‘closer’ and more interactive with Andy Murray.

The iPhone App is also a big hit, but overall it’s the Facebook and Twitter feeds and updates that are catching every one’s fancy. The iPhone App of course is not new this year. This is the third year it’s been available, but every year technology partners IBM are working on the app (yes, IBM) to make it both intuitive and useful for spectator and couch watcher alike. With video updates, lots of pics, ground maps, scores, schedules and news, it’s a handy tool for all fans of the purple and green.

Nadal, who’s up against Murray in the ‘really important and nearly the final’ semi-final is also huge on social media. The Spaniard has more than 7,361,073 likes on his Facebook page. That’s over seven million! So are many other players. Sharapova, grunt and all, with just under 5 million fans also has a pretty cool page – and some of her wall photos are rather intersting beyond the grass court. Roger Federer, who had yet another early exit this year at Wimbledon has over 8 million fans on Facebook, and 75,000 followers on his news tweet – but the tweet lines are cold, newsy and impersonal almost. Not very social.

Overall, social media is having a great year at Wimbledon. It has matured in a nice way, and increasingly sports tournaments, sponsors, players as well as fans are being able to genuinely benefit from it all.

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HTML5 vs Flash. The Battle for Web Content design

As we speak, more and more web developers are moving away from Flash for animation, video and navigation towards the new standard HTML5. The war over Flash is ongoing, and while it seems that HTML5 is emerging with a slight edge, one has to recognize that it is still under process. It is being continuously developed and improved over time.

Here’s the basic: HTML5 is a language used by developers to present (and structure) content for online. It is the latest version of the HTML (stands for HyperText Markup Language) standard first created in 1990. The very purpose of HTML5 is to improve video or multimedia presentation, while keeping it all easily accessible and understood by multiple computer devices, browsers and platforms.

Flash is still the choice of excellence – if you are building a fully interactive Rich Interactive Application experience – it’s becoming acceptable to nudge away and embrace HTML5, JavaScript and CSS3. With Flash not available across most mobile devices (specially anything from Apple), the migration seems natural. I’ve had clients call me and say “our site isn’t working” only to find that they were checking Flash driven content on their iPads. Core content built in Flash is a downer. Sorry Adobe.

Unlike as in previous HTML versions, where we depended on added-on, propreitary software such as Flash to view video or play a YouTube or audio stream, HTML5 allows for simple tags such as 'video' or 'audio' to do the trick. And do the trick on mobile devices just as well, just as easily. That’s a win.

But wait. There are speedbumps. HTML5 as supported heavily by Apple is dependaent on the H264 codec. And that requires a bit of a licensing fee. Others like Mozilla and Google have pushed for open source formats as support. Mozilla’s Firefox 4 uses Ogg, and Google is pushing for WebM. Sounds familiar? Reminds the older generation of VHS vs Beta?

But do not lose heart. Firefox, Apple’s Safari, Google Chrome, Explorer 9 and Opera are all HTML5 friendly. And it is tilting. Things are finally shifting towards the new format. But there are brands and platforms still holding on, playing both sides of the fence. RIM’s new Blackberry PlayBook is being touted as ‘better than the iPad’ because it plays Flash.

While the Flash player has been free, Adobe’s development kit for us designers/developers has been expensive. HTML on the other hand is free. But all those games developed in Flash are not going to render in HTML5 and this will be a problem going forward. Because HTML5 is executed by the browser itself, and it is not a added-on plug-in, it will possible become the choice of new age developers. As long as the interactivity depicted is simple, ’5′ wins. For complexity Adobe’s Flash is still ahead. And the the jury is still out on which one overall. We’ll see.

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Writing for the web: Less is More

I’ve been asked this week if there’s some such being as a ‘web writer’ or a specialized copywriter for the web. My answer is yes and no.

Yes, because your average copywriter is usually very adept at writing for tv, radio, print etc and pretty much does more of the same when it comes to writing for web content – and ends up with a lot of words. Their craft is built on the the art of clever verbosity. And no, because, once you’ve figured out that usability on the web demands less and lesser, and the mantra is omission, not commission, than really, any one can write. Less that is. So no.

I know of a McCann big wig who claims that his success is based on his ability to write a clear, precise and meaningful brief in one a4 page. I buy that. That’s an art form right there. And, when it comes to writing for the web, it’s the same thing. We need to avoid writing to fill the page, to defy negative space. All those words, reams of it, there just to add to the volume. Not to the music.

Hope page and section header pages are the ones that are guilty of carrying excess loads as far as copy is concerned. I have had clients send back designs because they felt it ‘didn’t say much about who we are’ on the home page. I had thought that the ‘Who We Are’ page was meant for that. But, clients know best.

If it’s relevant to the page, if it adds value, keep it. As long as you keep it precise. I normally hate bullet points – they look great in powerpoint, but not in ad copy. But they work quite well in web writing. They make the point.

Eyeball tests have shown the average user spends less than five seconds on 100 words. Now, that’s not reading, that’s speedreading – that’s scanning. Picking up clues, sub-heads, bold text and the gist of it all on the way. And, if you keep organic Search in mind, it’s crucial to have all the right words in there without having to repeat thoughts or meander along the way to the main point being made.

A client emailed me to remind me that the copy on the site ‘should exactly follow the one on the brochure’. With word count at a premium on the site, I thought that right there was information design suicide. The brochure had large format pictures, beautiful visual support across an a4 page. Here I had around 400 pixels x first fold. Mistake. Sorry client.

The people who get web writing down pat are the ones at the editorial team for BBC news. Remembering that BBC started off as a radio channel, that’s not surprising at all, because, once you read your copy, you soon realize how much of it is blah blah blah. And cut down at least 60%.Try it. That’s how I do mine.

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Digital agency in Dubai, Innovations_Digital refocused and recontextualized

Innovations_Digital. They're going mostly by I_D these days, giving their brand a today twist. And their product a fresh new flavor, and their mantra of No more same old, same old seems to have sloped out of the room – probably being re-engineered to reflect the new stance as 'digital focused influence agency'. I like 'influence agency'. So, that's a kind of a new approach. And a whole new website at to boot.

There never were too many digital agency horses here in Dubai town. Used to be Innovations and Flip. And of course Impact. The LBs (who had Arc) and the other agencies did their bits. Now there seems to be a game where anyone and their uncle's in the game, Macbook Air tucked in the Prada man bag, Media City address on card, and very little real experience. Some of these new comers are good. Some are horrid and are creating a bad name for the whole gamut of digital agencies in Dubai. Specially the ones that claim the Social Media territory and sullen the land with their flag. But I meander.

Well done Innovations_Digital. Good on you.

6Ps of How to Select an Agency for the Digital Age

In this digital focused marketing minefield, it's becoming increasingly difficult to find and select an agency either for a long term relationship or to drive a special project – be it for website design and development, apps, mobile marketing, Search or Social. Post the RFP and the Response to it, or post the initial pitch, how does a brand manager make a choice? How does one appraise the agency?

Here's a quick guide – it's called the 6Ps to selecting an agency that will work with you on your 'digital' project.

6Ps of Selecting an agency for the Digital Age


Has the response to the RFP or the pitch presentation adequately 
demonstrated a clear understanding of what you need done – as per your 
brief or RFP? Is there clarity on how the project will be managed, who 
will work on it, how much time it will need, will it be tested, will 
it be done in-house or managed via outsource etc. Most importantly, is 
there a clear understanding of the scope of work, and at least an 
outline of the content map, or project definition has been provided.


Does the agency understand what you need and are able to process that 
information correctly? Or did they go off brief? Are they able to put 
a thorough and rigid process in place to follow through and deliver on 
your project requirements? Have they defined how and who will work in 
that process, what your involvement is as a brand? Has the agency 
outlined who delivers what and when? Who is responsible for which bits 
of content – who manages all the assets (all the things that make up 
the content)? Is there a clear dependency guideline – and an 
indication of what costs are included, what costs may come up as 
extras? When you get 'everything' is included thrown in, look again.


Who is going to be your key team? Who was in the pitch or the RFP 
document? Google them accurately. How long have they been in the 
business? What is their LinkedIn profile? Are they well established 
and well known? What is their experience? Have they worked on similar 
projects? Check out people's credibility. You're not handing over your 
dream project to an agency brand, you're going to work with people. 
Check them out. In this digital age, a lot of people have suddenly 
gone 'digital'. Avoid the people pitfall. Work with the best. And 
always ask about who's going to work with you. Agencies often fly in 
top guns just for the pitch. Watch out for the fly squad. Ask for real 
people with real creds.


Was the Response to the RFP or the actual pitch interesting? Was the 
pitch professional? Detailed? Looked good? Or was it prepared and put 
together last moment? Did it look high quality? If the pitch looks 
good, your work will; usually look good. If the pitch or RRFP is 
strategically sound, your project will reflect that. The team that 
puts in a lot of effort into the pitch documet, and shows you high 
quality near-finished work is the one that will work best.


This is the most difficult one to tick the box on, but pricing is 
often seen as the number one decision point. That's wrong. Pricing 
should be fair, deliver on value, and be in the ballpark that you 
think is right in the market trend. Keep wiggle room in pricing. Allow 
to add 10-15% for experience and expertise value. There's always a 
cost to someone who has years of experience on projects – and you'll 
get ROI on that in your project. Take away 5% if the agency has given 
extras that are expensive. This means they're making money on it. 
Finally, watch out for the all-inclusive, we will do everything deal. 
This means the agency is making money on everything! The best 
submissions are ones that have pricing broken down and explained, and 
all extras mentioned separately and costed.


You cannot put a price on this. Did the team show passion for the 
project or the brand? Were they enthusiastic? Did they go beyond the 
brief? Did you see details that show care and value addition? Did the 
team look hungry and keen for your piece of business? Did they follow 
up? Was the response to your request prompt and courteous? Did you 
feel the right chemistry? Passion makes a big difference. Seek it out. 
Reward it.

Innovations_Digital looking for summer interns from ASD

This is so cool...

Custom URL's and how they work

Dos Equis, the Mexican beer brand, has recently launched an interesting user-generated video based social media campaign called “The Most INteresting Toast in the World”. Quirky, cool, and typically very Mexican beer-ish, the campaign is just about to really gain traction. What’s intersting is the fact that Dos Equis is driving the campaign via a ‘custom’ URL – one that actually uses their tag line:

Now, that’s not the first time brands choose to use custom URLs for campaigns than use main-brand URL’s with /subdomains. Another beer giant Carib went earlier with – nice again, call to action built into the domain. Like that.

There are some financial institutions who turn their slogans into URLs — like Mastercard who uses as its consumer-facing website — but the overwhelming majority don’t. For instance, BofA doesn’t own Similarly, nor point to Wells Fargo. It’s not just banks and credit unions blowing this opportunity either. The Domain Name Marketing blog points outthat, and, yes, even aren’t used by the brands that coined these memorable expressions.

The main reason for a brand using a custom domain or URL rather than the main brand URL is because usually, the main brand is either a boring name, or is a group domain name, or worse, does not really align the product with the brand domain. But really, let’s face it a catchy tagline, a call to action, a slogan surely makes a better domain name – and one that’s usually easier to remember.

Micrsoites or special landing pages have tremendous potential and work much, much harder than a “What’s New” display banner tucked away into one corner on the main website. Giving a campaign, specially one that’s digital-centric and built around social media a custom domain name would be so

SEO Simplified

Organic search or SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can really be made uncomplicated – simple – if it's understood what it's really there for. Often performance driven agencies over-complicate things for clients trying to make it into a science. Of course it is science, but it can be simple.

Well, first things first. Get your content right on your owned media. Your content needs to be compelling, intersting and totally relevant to the what the target audience is looking for. The more relevant the content is, and the more the content, the more search engines will be able to deliver. And not only do you need to get the right content on your websites, microsites, portals, blogs, whatever, you need to keep at it. Getting it right and forgetting it is useless. Regularity of updating your information is key.

"If you build it they will come" doesn't quite wotk when it comes to search marketing. Unless you tell them about what you've built, it all remains a hidden gem. So, you do need to support it by telling the world. You can used Paid media to kick off your "tell the world" campaign, but there are so many channels available to us today. Your twitter and facebook feeds, your updates on Foursquare, your connections on LinkedIn. And then of course, get your friends and colleagues, and staff and their friends to tweet and facebook about your web presence whenever possible. Let them tell the world.

In SEO, an interesting, relevant Title Tag is crucial. This is what appears when someone finds your brand/page/blog on a Search Engine page (it's called an SERP or a Search Engine Results Page). This is what people first see when they google you. It is the link they will click on– or not, so get this spot on. This is your copy headline. This is what all good ads are made of – the magic key.

Along with the Title Tag, the meta description tag is also important. This is the brief description (usually one or two lines at most) that appears on the Search Engine result page just below the title tag. You could write this like a sub-headline or even a call to action. While a meta tag has no real SEO page position benefit, a compelling read often will add to your chances of getting clicked through.

SEO, after that is really about the right keywords throughout your site. Make sure that all the right words that describe what you are selling on the site are covered. What will a consumer type in to google when looking for your product or a competitor's? What are related words? What are the right phrases, what are things that could be used as keywords that aren't directly related but could be used as triggers? At the end of the day, if you've ben able to weave these in, you've made a good start. It's not really that simple, but it does not need to be complicated either. That's a start...

UM, Coke, Casablanca and Tagine

Casablanca in some photographs, specially the outskirts looks a lot like parts of Dubai. Beautiful Spanish style haciendas, tile roofs, pretty landscaped gardens beneath the azure sky. Minus the sand and the dust in the air.

In the main city, French architecture prevails, making its mark over a city that is half lost in time, half very much in the buzz of a modern developing metropolis. Some of the older buildings are stunning. This was my first visit to Morocco, and in two days I felt I had taken a magic carpet ride to a place quite far away. Shining happy people, content with what they have, sharing their simple pleasures, laughing, gregarious, different from the wannabe Dubai world we live in. A real city, with real people, and a soul.

I had gone to Casablanca on a special invitation from Coca Cola Morocco and UM to share with them the State of the Digital Nation. In a half day session, to my rather pleasant surprise, I found a bunch of people in our industry on both sides of the agency-client divide, extremely aware of all things digital, interested , engaged and passionate. The UM bunch were amazing. Fikria Kirani efficiently runs a good media agency there. And Imad Lyoubi, the Account Director on Coke is an asset – a best in breed, if I may say that. And, on the client side, it was a thrill meeting up with a team who were totally with it – enthusiastic, participative, ready for a future we all know is around the corner – with lots and lots of digital in it.

Fikria and Imad were just the most gracious hosts – showing me around the Corniche, the beautiful old parts of town, indulging me in the most wonderful Moroccan food, harissa, tagine, melt-in-your-mouth cookies from a famous old patisserie – this was indeed a business trip I won't forget in a hurry.

But what really left an impression was the business side of things. Their knowledge of digital – online, social, search, mobile etc were par with any one I've met over the last few years, and their thirst for knowledge was pronounced and eager. With a fairly young population, digital engagement seems to have a bright future in that country. And I'm all the more blessed to have a little glimpse of it. Thank you Casablanca.

Facebook marketing. Can I time it right, keep it tight and win?

I used to get up early morning every day and tweet/facebook post. Early morning for me is usually around 4am, when in my part of the world, where most of my followers and friends are, it's ghost town in social media. The same tweet a few hours later or on a weekend would get a lot of re-tweets and likes. I was mistiming my shot.

Day part planning for digital media has been a grey area for a while, but now, that consumers are quickly adopting media absorbtion patterns that are geared to their day cycles, adapting to the new consumption habits through the day is becoming crucial. No more 4am tweets for me. I'm going prime time.

Sure facebook (unlike traditional tv/radio) can be engaged in anytime, anyplace. But around the world, marketers are discovering patterns of on-facebook engagement. A fascinating study from Buddy Media finds that Facebook has three clear peaks – and interestingly enough, these peaks are outside normal 'workday' hours. While it's difficult to directly translate findings in the US markets to learnings for our Middle East social media scenarios, I'm guessing it's possible to draw some parallels. Facebook in the US peaks at 7am (first thing in the morning checking of posts, updates etc), after work at around 5pm (they work 9-5, yes), and one final late night burst at 11pm. Translated to our region, we could say, that's more or less the same, except the 5pm would be around 6pm-630pm.

So, here's the first catch. This means that for those of us who offer professional social media services to brands in our region, having a team that helps with facebook updates during the workday is more or less being a bit of a waste. Or at least somewhat missing the top marks. It's not that the posts don't stay, it's just that they disappear amongst the so many others competing for attention. And, when our target audience is either trawling through the facebook posts and tweets, some posts done during the day are lost in clutter.

Another interstinug aspect of the BuddyMedia study shows Thursdays and Fridays have a lot more engagement in the US. Does that translate to Wednesdays and Thursdays here in our region where we have an Islamic calendar weekend of Fridays and Saturdays? In geographies where Fridays are a holiday, mornings are usually very lazy. Most malls are still empty until past the afternoon prayers. I'm guessing Friday mornings would be a good time – a prime time on Facebook/twitter. And Thursday evenings when the facebook/twitter set are trawling the web to see what's hot, what's not, and who's going where, with whom.

The study also reveals that the length of the post on facebook (twitter is already short at 140 characters) makes a difference in engagement and impact. Posts with less than 80 characters had more impact! My new mantra then for facebook? Keep it short and sweet. Make like a tweet.

My thought for the day on social media engagement on facebook (and twitter): Time it. Keep it tight. Ask for the like. You'll see the light.

Oh, and if you like this, use either google's new +1 button to tell the world, or Like it!