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Introducing Zuck – Facebook’s new Chief Creative Officer January 18, 2018

Posted by nicholas gill in advertising, facebook, social media, thought leadership, Uncategorized.
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Yet again, a Facebook newsfeed update garners more column inches in our feeds than atrocities happening across the world. But that’s the echo chamber we live in. So here’s my thoughts.

After being lauded for doing ker-azy things as CEO like spending a year in another country or visiting every state in the US just because… because he can, the revelations of Russian interference and blatant click-baiting in both the US and UK political scene, it looks like Zuck got back to work. And has re-framed the conversation to make Facebook seem all cosy again. By making it much more about those real ‘moments of interaction’. So you’ll see more posts from people you want to interact with – your friends and family – and less from people you don’t. I, for one, will be happy to see less of the dreadful memes and those Lad Bible videos. I can but hope.

Basically he’s just weeding out the crap. Again. And again, everyone reacts in horror. How will I get my brand message in front of people now?

Well, stop creating shit content for a start.

In effect Zuck has just laid a red line (I listen to Radio 4 and that seems like a new fangled phrase these days) about shit posts. Unless your friends did it. Shit posts from brands are dead. Find stock photo, add motivational line, add copy, slap it on the page. Dead. Organic posts. Pretty much dead too.

And we should all celebrate that surely?

What is incumbent on brands is to bring back creativity. And align it to a media strategy. Creativity of thought and execution. Thought into those meaningful moments of interaction. Hasn’t marketing always been about that? What is my audience thinking/feeling/doing now and what would I like them to be thinking/feeling/doing? The joy if a platform like Facebook is that it is an advertising platform (because that is what we really should start to think about it as if you are not already) and you can micro target to the niche you want and exactly when you want minimising the wastage of other larger advertising platforms. What’s become the downfall of recent times has been shit content.

The move to video as a preferred format by users also drives the level of creativity up. You’re not going to enjoy a stock film are you? It starts to make the case for better investment in a channel where you’ve built a community. It starts to make a case for treating ‘social content’ like an advertising campaign. Call it moments of meaningful interaction if you like but it’s more advertising mindset than ever.

What can brands and agencies do?

  1. Make better creative content that has relevance and impact.
  2. Experiment with closed groups to truly deepen relationship with your core fans and bring added value.
  3. Experiment with video and live video content.
  4. Experiment with ‘tag a friend’ content but in a non-shit way. Obvs.
  5. Seriously invest in your paid strategy and advertising messages.
  6. Stop thinking of social content as calendar filling fodder.

Won’t you miss those random brand associations with random national day of blah? No, me neither.


Photo by Sticker Mule on Unsplash


facebook new insights one pager download October 25, 2011

Posted by nicholas gill in analytics, data, download, facebook.
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Drowning in data? Fed up of everyone asking you what the new-fangled insights mean? Wading in pages of printout with little insight as to what the data means? Yeah, me too. So I did this. it’s a one-pager to stick the new Insights info into and share with whoever needs it, whenever they need it. It isn’t a substitute for needing a good community manager to spot what’s happening on a micro level and escalate exceptions but it helps put the new data into context. Especially when you start to look at the metrics in a funnel (see my scribble above). As ever, download it (it’s in the Box.net download widget on the right of my blog alongside the Social Content Planner download), and use it, improve it (please share back), credit it but don’t just steal it.

Facebook F8 download September 23, 2011

Posted by nicholas gill in brand experience, facebook.

Last night the Facebook team revealed a whole new set of products to help connect people together and share their experiences more deeply than ever before. This is on top of the News Feed changes already implemented this week.

As is typical, most users had an initial moan about the stories and news feed ticker implemented this week but then you quickly see the benefit. The ticker (top right hand corner of your Facebook home page) lets you see quickly what’s happening; no need to scroll through a large real-estate update of old news feed telling me you checked in at work, I see it quicker. Those of us who are used to scrolling news on Sky News or Sky Sports News quickly become accustomed to this. The stories feed is again based on your relationship with people and uses the Facebook Edge algorithm, which is somewhat like the Google search algorithm that you need a large pointy head to decipher.

Implication: Even before yesterday’s raft of updates was announced, this already provides a clear message to marketers. To become a top story, you need to be relevant. Which comes down to content. Be inspirational and involving. Be active and involved. Provide something that is interesting. And be creative.

So, to the changes announced yesterday.


The most significant is the new Timeline. A place where you can see the connected you. It’s really quite lovely. This video explains it rather well:

Implication: It is clear that Facebook is becoming the social layer in your life. As a brand, your apps are the key to become entwined in this Timeline. Apps that are useful, entertaining, imaginative and enduring rather than one-offs. It also means advertising that is more likely to be intertwined with your Timeline become more important so playing with Social Stories rather than the standard ASUs is now a requirement. This also means dialling up your ad budgets.

Apps – from nouns to verbs

Like isn’t dead. It’s just evolved. To actions such as Listening, Reading, Watching, Eating etc. The social layer deepens beyond what has always been a slightly one-dimensional element of Liking. Apps need to become smarter and use Facebook and the way users use Facebook in a smarter way. Spotify shows the way with music. Here you’ll find a list of European launch partners.

Implication: Apps interact with your Timeline. Apps just became a hell of a lot more important than the brazen pursuit of Likes. Which has always been the wrong objective anyway. Facebook has been about what value you can create from your audience there; not just about how many. So this change is hugely welcome. It forces brands to think about how they intervene helpfully and become entwined with their audience rather than just using Facebook as another one-dimensional broadcast channel.

Further reading:

TNW – round up of everything that was announced.

Wired – round up

Dachis Group – a couple of posts

Huffington Post – 7 biggest announcements at F8

Mashable – what the changes mean for marketers

Post also appears on DCH blog.

Facebook moan image from Flo Heiss

wanking and crying? not really an activity we want associated with our brands April 4, 2011

Posted by nicholas gill in facebook, facebook questions, user generated content.
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Facebook have added new Questions functionality. Good as you get people responding in a vote manner and adding comments. Better in that everybody who answers, also has that question & their answer displayed to all their friends’ news feeds. Social graph woo hoo! But all was not rosy in our trials. We picked up some top tips. Make sure you have your brand or product name in the question title though as the branding doesn’t seem to be carried through beyond your page. And make sure you use the check box that doesn’t allow people to add their own, hilarious, options. Because we tried it on London Pride and had someone add the option of “wanking and crying” to what they’ll be doing for the London Marathon. Not the kind of thing you want to associate London’s greatest beer with. Needless to say it’s been changed.

there was this one time… at band camp… March 18, 2011

Posted by nicholas gill in facebook, story telling.
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Memorable status updates. Tapping into the tales we regale/bore each other senseless with. For the Facebook age. Told in status updates. That may or may not be memorable. So far. Cam (legend tells of our legendary Digital Creative Director) has said some memorable things to me. Most of them unrepeatable. With due respect to Cam, I don’t think the four above fit into that. But here’s the thing. Google knows stuff about you. Facebook knows stuff about you. The technology that looks increasingly like Skynet knows stuff about you even you didn’t know. So one day, when they figure out Sarah Connor must be destroyed, you will get a memorable status update that stops you in your tracks. Makes you laugh. Makes you cry. Makes you happy. And you’ll look at it again. Because we tell stories. And we capture them in real-time. Only looking back at photos. Currently. This brings the words and emotion back through yours and your friends narratives.

f-commerce just got a leg up from amazon October 11, 2010

Posted by nicholas gill in amazon, e-commerce, f-commerce, facebook, pampers, social media.

Selling stuff on Facebook is still relatively new for the majority of marketers but it’s a no-brainer if your audience is spending a lot of time there. Why send them somewhere else to shop? It plays into the notion of the frictionless web. And the old die hard usability line, “don’t make me think”.
Amazon, the most powerful online store, has just entered the F-commerce battleground with the opening of their Amazon Marketplace on the US Pampers page in the US. Why? Consumers who remain in Facebook are more likely to complete a purchase compared with those who leave.
Full article on MediaPost.

Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn |nicholas.r.gill@gmail.com

let’s be in a like-like relationship August 17, 2010

Posted by nicholas gill in facebook.
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Via Zappos on Facebook

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getting it culturally right July 19, 2010

Posted by nicholas gill in app, facebook, skin lightening, social media, unilever, vaseline.

Unilever brand Vaseline has launched a Facebook application that allows users to change their skin tone by lightening it. Inevitably there are some that are getting upset by this. But there’ll always be the negative voices out there; one of the joys/pains of the interweb.

I’ll be honest and tell you I was completely oblivious to this skin-whitening cultural reference until I worked on the Unilever account at Ogilvy and we were running through the various strategic plans from around the world and the whitening cream popped up. Fortunately I wasn’t the only one in the room new to the business, so the Asia reps went into great detail about the asian (and no, not just Indian) market having a preference for whiter skin; the complete opposite of the Western world where a Californian tan is desired and indeed referenced as “looking well/healthy”. There are all sorts of creams that not only nourish your skin but also whiten the skin; much as there are creams that give us a healthy tanned glow in the UK and US.

Personally I think this is a great example of dramatising the product benefits in a digital way and being culturally relevant to a local market rather than a one size fits all global machine. And well done to Unilever for not relying on the staples of press advertising and doing something interesting.

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facebook privacy Vs ranting digerati May 19, 2010

Posted by nicholas gill in digital, facebook, george nimeh, privacy, social media.

Oodles of tweets and posts recently about Facebook and privacy and how it’s basically the end of the world and we should all commit Facebook suicide because Mark Zuckerberg is basically evil and out to destroy and discredit all of us through covertly stealing every last minute detail of our lives and selling them to shady mafia organisations.

In my simplistic world, I see these things.

– Zuckerberg is only twelve years old. His company is still only six years old. They are still growing up. They will make mistakes.

– Every time Facebook updates anything there’s huge uproar across Twitter and the digital world for a few days and then we accept it and move on. This is especially true of their user interface updates which are appalling if you are someone with an IA bent or just frustrating until you get used to it if you’re a normal member of the human race.

– The pace at which they’ve grown and scaled and managed to avoid the fail whale that buggered Twitter and now FourSquare is pretty extraordinary. This pace of change has meant that they’re probably like a swan, looking serene on top of the water but paddling like buggery underneath to stay afloat. This paddling like buggery is where their privacy issues lie in my simplistic world. They’ve just built workarounds as the site has spawned out of control and expectation. They are a technology company, not a slick FMCG. They build code. Facebook is a utility. I don’t care that it has no personality or zing, I don’t buy their product. I use their service to connect with friends from today and from yesterday to stay in touch, be entertained and share random and hopefully funny stuff.

– And for god’s sake people, get a grip. You can change the privacy to only show what you want to who you want. And only a matter of time before they make it easier. Here’s a handy little tool to do just that. Yes it may be a ball-ache until they catch up with their growth but flouncing and deleting your account is pretty stupid. 500m users can’t be wrong. The vast majority of whom don’t actually give a crap and enjoy using Facebook day in, day out.

Summed up neatly by George Nimeh (aka @iboy):

“I think that, despite what the ‘digerati’ thinks/says, most folks think FB is fantastic. The numbers speak for themselves, no?”

Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn |nicholas.r.gill@gmail.com

blending of physical & digital – diesel cam & facebook May 18, 2010

Posted by nicholas gill in diesel, digital, facebook, social media.
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While Facebook are currently receiving a lot of negative press about their privacy stuff, this example from Diesel shows why it’s such a compelling platform for people and brands and why it will endure beyond the bickering. And breaking out of a purely digital space makes it so much more interesting too, no?

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