Insights From Learn Inbound That You Won't Want To Miss

After a little sabbatical from blogging due to exams, travel and relocating to Dublin - I am back writing again. Last week I attended Learn Inbound and I was blown away by the speakers and such a well run event. It was excellent to see such a high caliber marketing event being run here in Dublin and I am already looking forward to the next one already. A big shout out to Siobhan McGinty and co for having me and making 'Charlie the Unicorn' almost became a reality. Unicorns being a hot topic during the keynotes at Learn Inbound. Here are some of the key insights and Unicorn analogies explained.

Brian Dean - How To Create Content That Converts

Brian literally 'woo'ed the room when we walked on stage and continued to give a powerful presentation on conversion rates. Brian began by explaining that every website should have a clear purpose. For his, this is capturing people's email addresses. Brian came to learn that the only way he was going to achieve that goal was through popups. Despite hating popups, the Backlinko founder decided to give them a shot to increase conversion rates on his website and as a result, he saw a massive increase in conversions. Brian gave many exceptional insights and tips including the following:

Add a form to your about page

Brian's first insight was into the about page on, the reason being - it converts like crazy! The people that visit it are already interested in you and in Brian's experience, far more likely to hand you over their precious email address.

Give people what they want

Brian added that in order to improve conversions you have to give people what they want. When people give you their email address. They understand they will get a small practical piece of content. For example if your blog post about golfing than an e-book or even an online course about golfing is very appropriate.

How can I give someone reading this what they want?

Test fun AND upbeat CTA's

Brian reckons we should ditch the corporate voice in calls to action and instead have more fun less formal CTA's to grab attention and reduce anxiety. 


Make pop ups appear on exit

After making it clear that Brian was not a fan of pop ups he introduced his work around - a pop up that only appears as the user is exiting the page. Brian favours these types of pop ups since they do not interrupt or annoy the visitor.

An exit pop up on the Backlinko blog

An exit pop up on the Backlinko blog

Create a complimentary resource and CTA for each blog post

Where possible create complimentary content, that users can access only by providing their email address. Brian explained that hyper relevant resources to the blog you are writing are a much better idea than having a general resource that is not as relevant to the blog post. Brian added that using this strategy can improve conversion rates by 10-30%.

On a side note Brian warned that marketers should be cautious in copying their competitors when it comes to CTA's and popups as they may not know what they are doing (and he speaks from experience).

Stop copying your competitors - they don't know what they're doing either. 

Brian noted that it might not be feasible to create extra resources or content for the CTA on every blog so one should start adding them in with the content that gets the most traffic. He explained that checklists work particularly well. Giving the example of a golfing blog who would have a downloadable checklist of their tips that you can print off and bring to the golf course.

Use lead boxes rather than forms

Brian explained we should make the most of user behaviour and add a lead box instead of a sign up form at the end of each blog. People get turned off when they see they have to fill a long form but once people click a lead box and start the action they are more likely to finish it. Brian is not alone in his thoughts on lead boxes Ian Brodie boosted response by 59% switching from a regular opt in the use of lead boxes.


Joanna Lord - The Habits of High Growth Companies

Up next was Jonna Lord, who gave a fantastic presentation on the secrets of high growth companies. Beginning with some statistics Joanna hit the room with a stat that only one in ten start-ups survive. She proceeded to explain the what the typical successful, billion dollar, high growth company (unicorn) looks like.


She explained that often the co-founders have history together and they start the companies in San Francisco, New York and Los Angles (she also mentioned Dublin). Joanna also explained why everyone should care about growth.

We should care about growth not because we wanna be a 'unicorn' but because we wanna be a successful business.

The owner of Growth has changed over time

Joanna explained that the marketing department alone used to own growth but this has changed dramatically over time. While in the not so distant past product and marketing owned growth, it should now be owned by product, marketing and engineering. Joanna pointed out that no internal silos should exist as they go against growth. She shared an example of the growth team at LinkedIn. It consisted of four parts SEO (and optimisation), Onboarding (and activation), Network Growth and Communications.

The T Shaped Marketer

One of my favourite insights from Lord was her idea of the T shaped marketer who fosters growth and has one or two of the following skills; technical, analytical, creative, product, design theory, paid, inbound, CRO, content, statistics modelling, database SQL or physiology.


Pillars of High growth companies 

Joanna explained the pillars of high growth companies; Product, Team, Community and X-Factor explaining that it is hard to survive without having all four. She also stated the ways to grow your company, through acquisition, monetisation and retention explaining that monetisation is the quickest tactic. She then proceeded to share her favourite quote from Paul Graham.

Here’s a common way startups die. They make something moderately appealing and have decent initial growth. They raise their first round fairly easily because the founders seem smart and the idea sounds plausible. But because the product is only moderately appealing, growth is ok but not great. The founders convince themselves that hiring a bunch of people is the way to boost growth. Their investors agree. But (because the product is only moderately appealing) the growth never comes. Now they’re rapidly running out of runway. They hope further investment will save them. But because they have high expenses and slow growth, they’re now unappealing to investors. They’re unable to raise more, and the company dies.
-Paul Graham 

Creating moments of delight 

Lord also recommended creating moments of unscalable delight just like Simple did. They crafted unique packaging that although expensive really impressed their customers and a result made them promoters of their brand. Joanna also complimented Simple for telling people their pin was ridiculous when it was too easy to guess rather than using corporate language.

Airbnb was another brand Joanna praised for their innovation and creation of delightful content such as their travel magazine Pineapple.

Larry Kim - Hacking Rankbrain and Machine Learning

To finish off Learn Inbound, Larry Kim came back from the future to warn us all about Rankbrain the near future of Google's ranking algorithm. Larry spoke about strategies to survive SEO on judgment day. 


Adwords technology will soon arrive to search

A large part of Larry's argument of why we should all listen up and prepare for Rankbrain was that the technology was currently being used for ad targeting on Google Adwords and this same technology could also be used on Google Search.


How WordStream began

Kim also recalled the story of how he started his business Wordstream, which now manages over billion dollars of ad spend. 


Rankbrain Explained

Larry explains Rankbrain as a smarter version of Google search that will rank pages based on the habits of other searchers. In other words, Google will reward pages where the user clicks on a result and stays on that page rather than coming back to the search and choosing another result (explained in the diagram below).


Go After Unicorns not Donkeys

Larry's keynote also featured unicorns, making them a hot topic at Learn Inbound. In this instance, he was not referring to billion dollar companies but content that gains an above average amount of click through from Google. The donkey's in the graph below perform much worse than the unicorns - which is why Larry suggests going after the unicorns.



Kim also recommends that emotional headlines are used to increase click through rates. These headlines should play out 'the bearer of bad news', 'the hero/villain', 'the comedian' or 'the feel good friend'.


Until the next Learn Inbound

That is your round up from the fantastic speakers at this session of Learn Inbound. It was action packed, inspiring and provided lots of great take aways for marketers and business owners alike. I highly recommend attending the next Learn Inbound event.


Oh and did I mention, I also won a Fitbit - shout out to all those at iProspect for the wonderful competition. As always thanks for reading and if there is something you would like me to blog about in the future send me a tweet.


Are emoji worth millions? Snapchat just said so

Snapchat pays $100 million to acquire customised comic and emoji app Bitstrips.

If you are an avid social media user like me, you are bound to remember when your Facebook newsfeed almost turned into Comic-Con a few years back. Newsfeeds flooded with personalised comics called Bitstrips in late 2013, to be precise. If you go looking, I'm sure you will find an album of yours on Facebook entitled 'Bitstrip Photos.' It seems there is no getting away from Bitstrips. Snapchat just purchased the company for almost $100 million according to Fortune. You might see Bitstrips on Snapchat very soon. 

Talking about social media crazes from my teenage years makes me feel old despite being just twenty-two. I remember the first Bitstrip I created before heading off to a college ball. In case, you don't know what a Bitstrip looks like, here's mine from 2013:

That is me and my friend Sharon in the Bitstrips.


What are Bitstrips, I hear you ask?

In the words of Jacob Blackstock, Bitstrips CEO and Creative Director:

"Basically, it's an app that turns you and your friends into a cast of cartoon characters. Then you can take those characters and put them into crazy scenes. It's a new way to express yourself and interact with your friends."

The concept for the mobile application came about when Blackstock was in high school. He drew comics and passed them to his friend Shahan Panth (now VP Marketing at Bitstrips). Although the pair were reprimanded by their teacher, Panth encouraged Blackstock to continue expressing himself through comics. They turned their love for comic drawings into a business in 2007 and Bitstrips was born.

Later they developed Bitmoji an application that allows you to create personalised emoji. The app generated $8 million from Horizon Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in 2014.


"All the movies, all the television shows, all the fashion houses, all the pop stars, they all want to be bitmojis because we somehow became the determinant of who has made it," - Jacob Blackstock, CEO Bitstrips


What brands can learn from the acquisition 

When Snapchat gets serious with emoji's, we should all pay attention. I knew emojis were popular but I did not know they were $100 million popular. Emoji add a personal, more emotional touch to writing that can be very 'black and white' in nature. Brands should use emoji's to connect with customers particularly younger customers such as millennials and the upcoming generation Z.


A look to the future of Snapchat and Bitstrip

It will be interesting to see if and how Snapchat will integrate Bitstrip in its current product. Neither company has commented on the acquisition thus far or how it will affect the brands into the future. Snapchat currently features emojis in their application but not the ability for users to personalise emojis.

The Bitstrips deal could help the quick growing social media messaging platform to extend its emoji keyboard. They may even charge for personalised emoji given the failure of their in app lens store that they closed in January.

Bitstrips is probably not the last of Snapchat's acquisitions. The company seems to be on an acquisition streak. According to leaked emails from Michael Lynton, a Sony executive and Snapchat Director they acquired eyeglass maker Vergence Labs, video-chat service AddLive and QR-scanning app Scan for as much as $50 million.

We will have to wait and see if emoji are worth the millions Snapchat just paid.


What do you think of Snapchat's latest move? Do you think they will be able to monetise their new acquisition? Let me know in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading, if you want me to cover a particular issue or topic on my blog send me a tweet @oconnorpadraig

Live Stream, Trolling and Facebook Mentions For Marketers - With Live Video Expert Lisa Illman.

As Facebook prepares to launch their livestream service Facebook Mentions worldwide I felt it was very timely to discuss where live video is going in the future, the challenges ahead and how these platforms can be used by businesses.

Lisa Illman - Bio Photo

There is no better person to speak to about live stream than live streaming and business development expert, Lisa Illman.

Lisa was an early adapter to Meerkat, BLAB and Periscope. Seeing an incredible potential with live-stream, Lisa immediately began holding private Periscope workshops while creating an additional live-stream income for 

A few months into her live-stream journey, Lisa was featured by in an article that describes her journey on Periscope. She now offers live-stream business development consulting for entrepreneurs and small business and started the first and only Meetup in Philadelphia, USA for speakers and live streamers.

Thank you so much for agreeing to interview with me Lisa. It must be almost six months since I found you on Periscope (that's Twitter's live streaming platform for those that don't know). Back then you were doing very well as an early adaptor and growing a substantial following, how has it been since?

Livestream, especially Periscope has been very good for me and my business. It continues to bring tremendous value at record speed.


Now for those that don’t know Lisa Illman - you live stream about business development and sales, right? 

Yes, that is correct. My favourite topics are creating revenue streams for business and I even offer virtual office hours where I'll walk a professional through the development of a robust sales pipeline. That individual gets action items, feedback and direction during the live broadcast, and the other viewers can also apply it to their businesses. 


Lisa Illman shows off her the lastest article she has been featured in (Entreprenur Magazine) 

Lisa Illman shows off her the lastest article she has been featured in (Entreprenur Magazine) 

I wish I could check out more of your scopes, they are always so interesting and packed with great content, but I simply can’t watch Periscope on the go because of capped/limited data. I think this is something that is holding live streaming back worldwide, have you noticed any other challenges that the live streaming platforms are facing?

I understand your predicament; it is a challenge to keep up with all the broadcasts. Using the app offers a library of live broadcasts for viewers to enjoy at their convenience, but just like anything (emails, blog posts, Facebook posts) it is hard to keep up with all the content. I don't see live stream as being held back though. Live stream is another channel for any message to be communicated globally. Just like anything on the Internet, there will be people who use it for negative messaging. That is probably the biggest challenge I see; oh and copyright infringement will be difficult to police.


You are right, that said, Periscope must be doing something right. I read recently that they hit over 100 million live broadcasts. They are growing at an incredible rate, have you noticed the increase in users on the platform itself? Have viewers on your live streams increased?

Wow, that is great; I hadn't heard 100 million, but I might have missed it. I see new people coming to Periscope every day but not everyone broadcasts and a smaller percent broadcast regularly. First to market and user-friendly I think really help Periscope be as popular as it is.


You took to live streaming like a duck to water; you are such a natural at it. A lot of people would shy away from the camera. Have you any tips for someone who wants to get started with live stream?

For folks who are a bit shy about live stream, I recommend short broadcasts at first. No more than 5 minutes. Plan and write out what you want to say ahead of time and practice it a few times before going live. On Periscope there is a private session option.

I offer this one on one in my Periscope for beginners consulting. This is extremely beneficial to someone who wants to make a good impression but is shy and bee to Livestream. Practicing in front of someone first via Periscope can be very beneficial and really help with nervousness.


I love the interactive aspect of these streaming platforms. The way that you can ask a question or make a comment during the broadcast but I find that a lot of the time what someone says in a five-minute live stream would be explained in a YouTube video in about a minute. There are so many distractions for the speaker like questions and comments that slow down what they are trying to say. Have you noticed this?

Yes totally - the distraction can be very annoying. It is bittersweet I guess; being interactive is something that really bridges a relationship with broadcaster to audience but the broadcaster needs to field the comments in a way he is engaging and staying on topic too. Not easy coming right out of the gate, but it can be done.


And let’s not get started on trolling, I know you have experienced this in the past. How did you deal with it?

Trolls are a major deterrent for many.  

What I did instead of walking away from Periscope and ultimately giving into the troll fear was ask myself some questions. I seriously did this prior to going live my first time on Periscope. You see, in addition to my fears, I had this overwhelming sense of excitement about live stream. I didn't really know why or how this little app Periscope would fit into my plans with, I just had a sixth sense instinct that it would be of great value. Since these two, very strong and opposing feelings, enthusiasm and fear, were so contradictory to each other, I sat down and scratched out a brainstorm on two questions.

1) What is the worst that can happen?

2) What is the best that can happen?

Instead of ending up with a list of bullet point items, I wrote about eight pages of my fears, dreams and goals. At that time, I had no idea Periscope would help me in so many ways(and it still continues to be a tremendous resource providing more and more value at record speeds) but I did know live streaming would be a great place for me to practice my craft of public speaking. I knew live stream would offer prospective clients a channel to get to know me quicker than traditional social media. I knew live stream would help me accelerate the trust process with prospective clients. As I continued writing, my enthusiasm magnified. I was writing so fast and furiously I was literally squashing the fear. Ideas started flooding my mind, and I was having a hard time staying seated while I wrote. As this enthusiasm heightened, the trolls became smaller in my mind and I started visualizing how I would handle them. After my writing frenzy, there was no way anything was going to stop me from pushing broadcast especially not a bored 12 year old boy getting a kick out of watching other people squirm (which is really what most trolls are).

I literally took a 'come and get me' attitude about Trolls. I would laugh when they came on and tell my viewers that trolls come to scopes when you are successful because they hate success. I would say...

"The more trolls I get today, the better. I know I am on the right path if I am upsetting the trolls."


I love how you embrace the trolling Lisa! We have certainly given these live streaming sites a lot of things they can improve on throughout the interview so far. Listen up Periscope, Meerkat, Facebook Mentions and co! You must be well used to this all as an early adapter to live streaming. 

Moving away from the challenging aspects of these platforms, what do you think is the single most significant benefit for people who live stream? 

It depends what type of business the broadcaster has. I would previously had said live stream accelerates the trust process among the broadcaster and his viewers, but now that I have been broadcasting for 6 months, I see the value in many areas. The experience of being a regular live streamer is extremely valuable in itself. For instance, I am haveing more speaking opportunities because of this knowledge and experience, and I am able to help more clients with my knowledge as well.


There are going to be a lot of marketers who are asking themselves now is live streaming worth it, for themselves or their company. What do you say to them?

Almost always, yes but it really depends on the company, the resources, and the business models. Most importantly it is important to identify the short term and long term goals of the company too. There are some legal concerns with certain industries too, like the Financial companies and even Law Firms. I see the biggest value so far among small businesses. 


And is live streaming something they can make money from? I know you offer a range of courses on public speaking have you seen any sales come from live stream?

I have seen sales from live stream through a few channels. My one on one Skype sessions are the biggest money generator from Periscope at this time, and my private Periscope workshops are also a new revenue stream for 


I know you have gained early access to Facebook’s live streaming platform; Facebook Mentions and I have some shots of you in action here for my readers. How has your experience on there been so far?

Lisa Illman Facebook Live Stream - Facebook Mentions 

I am very excited about Facebook live streaming. The number of people an entrepreneur can reach on Facebook is incredible; the only challenge I see with this platform for business is if the businesses ideal client is who the broadcast is reaching. For now, you can only stream from your profile. Once Facebook opens it up so pages can also broadcast, that is really going to be exciting. 


Very recently they launched it for all iPhone users in the US, how has the uptake been over in the States?

Pretty good for me. I know Periscope is struggling with some hiccups on Android and iOS but I think Facebook is rolling at pretty smooth.


We are certainly looking forward to getting it in Europe! 

Finally, Lisa, I have to ask the burning question on everyone’s lips - what is going to happen Periscope and the other live streaming platforms when Facebook open live streaming to everyone?

Great question! I think just like all other platforms, Facebook will dominate in numbers and other platforms will dominate in quality and audience. As we saw Facebook buy Instagram, I am curious to see what gaps they will fill with live stream purchases.

Lisa, it has been a pleasure speaking with you, thank you for being the first person I have interviewed here on - where can people find you?

Always a pleasure Padraig! My website is I am on Twitter and of course Periscope @lisaillman.


As always thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog. Let me know your thoughts on live streaming or any comments you have in the comment section below or via Twitter @oconnorpadraig

Padraig O'Connor Signiture

What Life Above 140 Twitter Characters Will Look Like

It is the end of a social media era as Twitter plan to drop their signature 140 character tweet limit.

Growing up with Twitter I developed a unique skill. The ability to write 140 characters without even counting! It is a skill I am proud of and one that almost every millennial marketer must have developed by now. In the future, quick character counting is a skill that won't be needed as Twitter plans to allow users to share tweets much longer than the social media giant's current 140-character limit.

Recode broke the news of the planned change explaining it was unclear what the new product would look like but it would allow users to publish long-form content. Twitter CEO and Co-founder Jack Dorsey later chimed in with a message that appears to confirm the very limited character count will soon no longer exist.

We've spent a lot of time observing what people are doing on Twitter, and we see them taking screenshots of text and tweeting it. Instead, what if the text...was actually text?  
- Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO & C0-Founder

This is the closest the company has ever come to speaking publicly about the feature. Recode suggest the new Twitter character limit will be a larger 10,000 characters. A number that makes sense given it is the same as the current character restriction on direct messages. The company similarly scrapped the 140 character limit on direct messages last August. You may wonder why the small character count that makes the social networking site so unique began.


Why The Character Count Exists

I never remember Twitter without a character count. The social media site's character limit trademark goes right back to day one. Twitter started when a group of young programmers created a program that sent SMS messages to and from small groups of people. The standard length of a text message is 160-characters. As a result, Twitter founders restricted each tweet to 140 characters to ensure the full tweet could be sent in a single text message along with a Twitter username of up to 20 characters.

The program later evolved into what would become popular social networking site Twitter, consisting of both mobile and web-based messaging. The character count has remained the same until now. Twitter plan to roll out the new less limited character count as soon as the end of this quarter.


What The New Character Count Means For Marketers

The way people communicate on Twitter is different to every other social network. We are forced to be concise and squeeze our marketing message, photos, videos, links, tags, memes, emojis and hashtags in a mere 140 characters. Marketers like myself won't have long to pick up on the new Twitter etiquette that will come with the almost limitless character count.


1. Links Will Not Be Shortened
The days of shortening links will be gone. At least, it won't be a must to do. While shorting tweets keep links neat and come with extra tracking capabilities, it won't be necessary to save characters.

2. The Days Of Writing Tweet '1/4' Are Numbered
You will no longer need to write multiple messages to communicate something that just simply can't be explained in one 140 character tweet. Writing one of god knows how many tweets will not be necessary as you will be able to write to your heart's content in one single tweet. 


3. More Room For Emoji’s And Photos
You hit gold. You crafted a tweet to exactly 140 characters but then realise you forgot to add an important emoji or photo. Time to figure a way to cut a character or even a couple of them! We have all been there, but that problem is gone one the character limit has been lifted. Marketers are free to go crazy with content.

4. Prepare For Customer 'Rants.'
One of life's great pleasures was listening to customers frustrations in only 140 characters or a couple of tweets. It eliminated a ten-minute earful over the phone or a complaint email the length of my hand. Twitter made managing customer experience a little easier but prepare for the rants. A less limited Twitter message means our beloved customers can write (and write) to tell you how they feel.


5. More Hashtags
Hashtags were limited on Twitter because of the tight character count. This will no longer be the case. Up to 30 hashtags are permitted on Instagram. A far less limited Twitter character count will likely mean people will use more hashtags than they currently have room for.


6. Microblogging Will Start On Twitter
Right now the only way to but your writing on Twitter was with a link to your blog. When the character count increases people will be able to microblog on Twitter itself with little limitation on how much they write.


Is Twitter Turning Into Another Facebook?

I have to ask. When you look at points one to six above, you will notice they are already happening on Facebook for a long time. When your competitor has 1.4 billion global users, and you have 300 million, perhaps you might just look to them for inspiration. 

Twitter is unique to Facebook in many ways, one being they do not use an edge rank on their primary feed. What you see in your feed is a live version of what your followers are Tweeting. The addition of Twitter's 'While You Were Away' section took away with Twitter's real-time uniqueness.

Will Twitter further lose its authenticity by scrapping the small character count?


What I Learned From Twitter's Limited Character Count

Twitter will scrap their tight character count but my valuable skill of crafting a message of 140 characters without even thinking will never go to waste.

If Twitter taught me one thing, it was to be concise. It taught me there is almost always a way to shorten what you want to say. Being long winded pleases nobody. Being concise allows people to pick up what you say quick and easy with little effort. Thanks Twitter!


Thanks for stopping by and reading my latest insights :)

Signature Padraig O'Connor 

How Relaxing Could Make Your Marketing More Productive

Final exams are done, yearly work deadlines have been met, and many businesses wind down a little before the New Year. It is almost time to relax, crack open the champaign and dust off the dancing shoes for the New Year's Eve party. It is a chance for us all to relax, recharge the batteries and unwind before another busy year ahead.


Too Busy To Relax?

"I'm too busy to relax". No time to take off work because you are in the middle of a project or because you have to study for finals. Then it is time to cram, crash and burn or pull an 'all-nighter'. We have all been there. At times, it's important to ramp up our efforts, but it is equally important to relax and unwind, after all, it is when you will get those eureka moments. 


Relaxing Gives You Bright Ideas

If you are anything like me, you will think of ideas randomly while commuting, taking a walk, listening music or just as you are about to fall asleep (perfect timing!). I think up something I should add to a college project, get an idea for a LinkedIn post or for something new I want to try at work. We have our best thoughts when we are relaxed, free of stress and when the pressure is off. It is no wonder that many companies have created relaxed working environments where employees can relax and work at the same time, it works!


Do What Ever It Takes To Unwind

How we relax can take many different forms. I relax by surfing the net, watching content online, taking some photos or meeting up with friends. Some of my friends say that work is relaxing as it takes them away from the stress or college exams and assignments (wait until they get a full-time job). We all relax in different ways, finding out what makes gets you into relaxation mode will do you the world of good. 


Work & Unwind At The Same Time

It is possible to be very productive while relaxing at the same time. I enjoy reading marketing blogs and articles about marketing to unwind. It is a means of relaxing and educating myself on current marketing trends and hearing other peoples opinions on them.  I also find writing a little therapeutic at the same time as improving my personal brand. If you can overlap some work with relaxation, it could work in your favour.


Aim To Relax More

In 2016 find your balance between working and relaxing. Try to discover how you can relax a little and work at the same because it could make you more productive and feel much better. Many people say the work-life balance is gone. In my opinion, it is not, there is just more of a crossover between the two. We can now relax and work at the same time.

Even the Duracell Bunny runs out of steam and needs to recharge. We all could do with 'recharging our batteries' from time to time. It does not have to slow you down, it could make you more productive. Here's to a relaxing and productive New Year.

What do you to relax and unwind? Have you noticed that being relaxed while working boosts your productivity? What will you do to 'recharge the batteries', in 2016? Send me a tweet or comment below to let me know.


Here's to a relaxing and productive New Year!


The 10 Best Television Ads You Will See This Christmas.

It is time to get excited about commercials again...

And no, unfortunately, it's not the time for the Super Bowl commercials just yet - but Christmas ads are the next best thing!

Too early? 

You might have thought so, but Christmas started a long time ago for marketers involved in producing these television (and now online) commercials. 

Christmas Commercials 2014

Last year John Lewis's 'Monty The Penguin' was one of the most popular Christmas commercials online getting over 24 million views on YouTube.

Christmas Commercials 2015

Many brands making major media buys for their Christmas commercials on television and online. This year looks like an even more competitive year! The themes of many ads surround giving, neighbourliness, kindness and sharing.

I have managed to narrow down my favourites to just ten! These ads not only have a well thought out marketing objective but also a great creative.

10. Cadbury 'Christmas 2015'.

Christmas and chocolate go hand and hand, but this commercial doesn't get the number 10 spot for my love of chocolate. They get the spot for their smart marketing, making their Christmas advert a part of their bigger 'Free The Joy' campaign. This Ad is probably Cadbury's attempt to make their brand appear joyful and fun, they are going a damn good job at it!

9. Harvey Nichols - Avoid #GiftFace

For incorporating a hashtag (a running trend this year) and for creating a commercial we can all relate to, Harvey Nichols take number nine. This gets the number nine spot because everyone knows what it feels like having to pretend you like a gift when you really don't!

8. PayPal - No Presents

Why does it always take so long to check out online? The creative might not be the best, but PayPal want to give customers a clear message. You can check out really quickly with Paypal. I like that this ad is simple and effective while still having the Christmas feel.

Here is where they start to get really good...

7. Asda - 'Because It's Christmas'.

I love how modern Asda's Christmas Ad is, it feels so 2015! I also really like how they have integrated Shazam and a hashtag for use on social media. This is a very smart Ad with an excellent, modern creative!

6. M&S - #TheArtOfChristmas

M&S Christmas commercials are something I look forward to each year and this year I really like their Ad. It is surprisingly like the Asda ad though - did they use the same agency? The Ad brings a modern twist to traditional Christmas advertising.

5. Carphone Warehouse - Aussie Christmas

I debated putting this so high in the list. It is a love hate advert for me. While it is annoying, it is annoying in a good way. I really like that Carphone Warehouse have done something completely different to all other Christmas commercials and made theirs, not very christmasy! It stands out.

There’s nothing wrong with cutesy snowmen and Santas in Christmas ads, but we thought we’d try something different. Keith Lemon in the outback – it’s as wrong as being on the wrong phone deal.
-Julian Diment, Chief Marketing Officer Carphone Warehouse.


4. Coca Cola - Taste Christmas With Coke

It would not be Christmas without great Coca Cola adverts and this year is no exception. In this advert Coca Cola dispel all the things your parents told you not to do - because it's Christmas. This deserves the number four spot because of the exceptional creative and the subtle promotion of their brand.


The Top Three

What is very interesting is that all my favourite Christmas adverts of 2015 tell a story and make you feel a strong emotion inside. They are memorable and they are also longer that traditional advertisements. You could almost call them feature films. They work really well.

The downside is when they appear on our television screens they will more than likely be shortened to save advertising dollars. That is the major advantage of digital advertising. With YouTube advertising the length of your commercial has no effect on the actual cost of the advert. You are charged only if the advert is watched for more than thirty seconds.

It will be interesting to see the full media buys of all these adverts after Christmas - maybe it is an idea for another blog post!


3. Macy's - The Wish Writer

The concept of this advert is so cleaver. It has two important elements story telling and of course that all important Christmas feel to it. I really like that the viewer has no idea who the advert is for until you see the Macy's store at the end of the advert. Macy's got everything right and well deserve the number three spot!

2. John Lewis - #ManOnTheMoon

Where do I start - this commercial is just completely inspirational and very well put together. Rather than advertise the brand John Lewis are more interested in you to show someone they're loved. This John Lewis advert lived up to the very high exceptions everyone had for it and it could very well be the most popular advert of Christmas 2015.


And finally, drumroll please...


1. Sainsbury's - Mog’s Christmas Calamity

Sainsbury's invested a lot in the production of their advert this year which features an animated cat called Mog. Like the other adverts this one tells a story and has a real Christmas feel to it. I like that the commercial draws the viewer along, making one anticipate what might happen and sympathise with the cat. The Sainsbury's logo is only seen in the last part of the advert, they do not over promote themselves and instead focus on the story. Less, is more.

People have a thing for animals and I know they are going to go mad for Mog who originally started out in a children's story book. This might not be the last we hear of Mog, just look at what Budweiser do with the puppy in every Super Bowl advert.

One things for sure Mog’s Christmas Calamity is one hell of an advert and my favourite for 2015. Speaking to Marketing, Sainsbury's Mark Given said;

The Christmas ad phenomenon seems to grow every year and it's about demonstrating you really understand the meaning of Christmas for customers. In this ad, we want to give a real heartwarming feel about a community coming together.
Mark Given, Sainsbury's Director of Planning and Propositions

You can also see the making of the advert here:

Absolutely Amazing Marketing Hacks To Use Right Now.

For us marketers there are never enough hours in the day. We could all do with getting things done quicker and smarter. Here are the ways I have found make my marketing efforts more productive.

1. Use CoSchedule To Write Your Headlines

You probably write articles, blogs press releases or other content that requires a headline. A great headline is crucial. It is the difference between someone clicking into your content and reading it or passing it by - it must be good. You could almost say the headline is more important than the article.

I run almost all of my blog headlines through CoSchedule's Blog Post Headline Analyser. 


The tool even shows you how to improve your headline by adding powerful, uncommon, emotional as well as common words.

It also ensures your headline has the optimal amount of characters and words as well as show you how it would look in a Google search. It is a powerful tool that will help you create smarter headlines, really quickly.

2. Use Separate Email Accounts For Humans and Machines

You should keep one email address strictly for humans and one for machines. Never submit your human email to a form, never put it anywhere online, never give it to a computer. 

Have another email that you provide to download an online marketing report, register for events with and add to email lists. Turn your notifications off for this email, you can do with checking it much less than the human one.

Side Note: Sign up for lots of newsletters related to your area of marketing (on your machine email). There is lots of content that comes in email newsletters but can't be found online. Since doing this two years ago, I have been offered free merchandise, free or discounted marketing services like UserTesting for my website and one to one chats with co-founders of the latest marketing tech like I had with Inkybee after it launched.

3. Follow The Five Minute Rule

The five-minute rules states if something takes less than five minutes to do, you may as well do it there and then. I should follow this rule myself more often than I do.

Instead of adding the task to your to-do list, just do it. Whether it is sending a tweet or replying to an email, you already know what you have to do so it is quicker to get it done on the spot rather than hold off.

4. Use GroupMe For Group Messages

Almost everyone is in one of those group chats, the ones where everything goes off topic and almost nothing gets done. They are almost always on Facebook or WhatsApp. If you need a group chat to get things done, use a dedicated chat app to eliminate the distractions of social media and keep you focused. 

GroupMe is an excellent alternative to get things done quicker and it is free!


5. Find Bloggers Easily Using Inkybee

Accidently stumbling upon bloggers in your industry does not have to be the norm. I am frequently asked do I know of any bloggers in a particular area and I always turn to Inkybee.

It finds the most influential, high traffic blogs for your specific industry or keyword. You can also choose your location so whether you want to reach out to food bloggers in Ireland or tech bloggers in New York Inkybee will find you the best out there. Whether you want to invite us to an event, ask us to do a review or want to sponsor blog posts, now you know how to find us!


6. Use Browser Extensions To Your Advantage

There are some excellent browser extensions out there for marketers. They can tell you a lot at a very quick glance.

One of my favourites is the MozBar that gives you a snapshot of how much page authority a particular website and web page has. This is particularly useful in evaluating the quality of a link to your site or monitoring the quality of your search engine optimisation compared to your competitors.

It also gives scores relating to spam and the amount of social shares the page has. The MozBar sits at the top of your browser and you have the option of hiding it at any time.

Another extension that makes writing content much easier is Grammarly. It checks your spelling and grammar as you write (much better than Microsoft Word) and it even suggests how you can improve your writing.

7. Setup One Click Social Media Sharing To Share Content Quicker

One-click social media sharing is brilliant! You can share any page you visit instantly on social media. Anytime I see an interesting article I tweet it out via BufferIt is my favourite tool for scheduling social media. Buffer is easy to use and even has a mobile app so you can schedule on the go.


 8. Easily See What Is Popular In Marketing With BuzzSumo

It is always nice to know what is going on in the marketing industry, but that is a lot of ground to cover. If you want to keep up with the news everyone is talking about then you need BuzzSumo.

It tells you what news is the most popular news in marketing right now. You can even narrow down the term to digital marketing, social media marketing or whatever you are interested in and find out what stories marketers are sharing the most.

9. Keep Your Marketing Thoughts On Evernote

When you think of an idea, jot it down in Evernote and you won't forget it. You can organise your thoughts with different notebooks and everything will be there no matter where you go. 

I often use Evernote when I think of an interesting blog post to write. Whether I am out for a walk or commuting Evernote allows me to keep track of my thoughts.

10. Follow My Marketing Blog

My last marketing hack is to follow me here so everytime I write something awesome (I'll let you be the judge of that) you get a notification. You should also follow other markers too!

8 Key Take Aways From Social Media Week London

Yesterday I had the pleasure of traveling to London for Social Media Week UK and it was well worth it! Social Media Week Miami which coincides with Social Media Week London might have even sent us some sun. It was a fabulous day in Bloomsbury, London where Social Media Week London took place. I have so many highlights of the event one being my photo making it to the big screen!

The variety of speakers, companies and especially the topics for discussion made for a very interesting event! Here are my key takeaways:


Future Marketing Decisions Will Be Made Based On Information Outside Of The Organisation

Next on the agenda was 'digital influence', the challenges of getting it, guiding it and growing it. Heidi Myers, Head of Marketing at Meltwater explained that she felt the marketing decisions of the future would be made based on external data rather than internal data. 

Heidi spoke about how powerful the marketing tools of today and into the future.  She said that in the future we will be able to use them to track competitors every move more so than we do today. 

She gave the example of a tech company who operates in a local marketing  serving recruitment advertisements for staff from India. This marketing information can be tracked and used as part of the overall decision-making of companies. 

The buzz around both internal and external big data is not a new phenomenon but as Hedi points out in the future we will be able to analyse more of it.

I am not sure I agree that all future decision making will be based on data outside of the company. I feel it is important not to rely on watching competitors too much because you want to do better than them and not just as good as them. Of course monitoring them is still important, I would just be careful to over focus on what competitors are doing.

The future is not products or services, it is experiences.

BBC television presenter LJ Rich carried on the discussion and made a point I talked about before in previous blogs. Customers no longer was a product or service they want a fantastic user experience from the moment the first touch your brand.

LJ added that on social media the focus should not be on follower count or the number of page likes you have but instead how engaged your fans are. I completely agree Lisa, a smaller less engaged following is better than a large one that is disengaged.   


Brand love does not get you purchasing behaviour

Neil Davidson was next up on the main stage at Social Media Week with a powerful piece of research relating to the behaviour of today's customers and 'brand love'. 

Neil explained it is possible for a brand to become customers very best friend. He said 35% of Apple customers feel Apple is their best friend and 55% went as far as saying they could not live without it. 

But does brand love equal dollars - Neil did not seem to think so. The research he discussed found that although customers loved certain brands they did not buy from them very often. Neil compared it to a 'friends with benefits', relationship. 

Neil had the room chuckling when he said customers of the fast food chain McDonald's seem to have a 'secret fling' with the brand. When asked if they ate in McDonald's prior to the study they said no but actually ended up eating their quiet often. 

It is all very interesting and it shows that it is really important to know how customers use your products and map their entire journey. 

Conversation Is Your Best FrienD

That is according to Melissa Clark she pointed out that customers are more likely to listen to and buy from the voice of the customer rather than some corporate voice over. 


Melissa spoke about her work on branding Punkt a basic mobile phone that can only make calls and send texts.  


Emojis are most definitely in. 

There was lots of talk about emoji's at Social Media Week this year and Adrian Cockle from WWF explained how they created a hugely successful marketing campaign based solely around emoji's

For every emoji of an endangered animal tweeted 10p was donated to WWF. The charity utilised Twitter and influencer marketing to spread the word about their emoji campaign.

The statistics and results of the campaign were very impressive. Not only did they get lots of people talking about their brand they also gained a large amount of donations. 

The lesson is; emoji's work! They are even hoping for a rhino emoji in the update coming next May. 

I also periscoped part of this talk, you can watch it here

We should switch our centre of gravity from story markers to story creators. 

Sarah Drinkwater from Google was one of my favourite speakers of the day (we even had a quick chat after she spoke). 

Sarah said we should focus more on those that create stories and tell stories as part of marketing. She added to constantly keep delighting customers, who does not enjoy being delighted!


Saatchi & Saatchi, spoke after Sarah, and also focused on the importance of story-telling. They felt creating a series off commercials that told stories or a single part of a story in each commercial works far better than creating one traditional commercial and they had results to prove it based on a campaign they created. 


Owned sites and email lists are the best way to grow an audience.  

That's according EY who worked on a case study with a smaller group of people at Social Media Week London. Email is really powerful and relatively low cost thus normally giving a great 'bang for your buck'. 

That may be for most customers but having been on a campus talking to students over the past week, I found they are less reliant on email and more on social. Many said they would much rather communication via Snapchat over email. In my opinion, it is important to examine how your target customer uses email before investing time and money into it.


Spend less money producing YouTube videos 

This is a brilliant take-away for both big brands and small businesses. You do not need a big budget to produce YouTube videos. In fact the less you spend the better. 

The nature of YouTube is the 'home made', type of videos are not studio produced with a film crew or director. Just look at the most popular YouTubers, the majority shoot all their own videos and do not have a big budget.


These are my main take ways from the day, I couldn't stay for the last two speakers, I had to catch a flight home but no doubt they were brilliant too. 

I had a fantastic day at Social Media Week London and I would highly recommend attending the event if you have the opportunity! The topics discussed were very current and the speakers were great.  Shout out to Tyler who was generous enough to invite me to Social Media Week :)

If you have any questions on what it was like to attend the event, feel free to comment below or tweet me.

As always thanks very much for reading!

Signature Padraig O'Connor

My Blog (This One) Has Been Shortlisted For A Blog Award

This week I got super exciting news, my blog (this one) has been shortlisted as the Best Marketing & Communication Blog at the 2015 Blog Awards Ireland.

I can hardly believe it myself!

I started blogging back in January of this year as part on an SEO strategy I developed to get my website to the number one spot on Google for my name, 'Padraig O'Connor'. That happened after about four months but after realising how much I loved documenting my marketing thoughts publicly (which people tell me is a blog) I kept it up and never looked back.

Earlier this month I was long listed for the 'Best Marketing & Communication Blog' for The Blog Awards Ireland and now that I'm shortlisted I felt it warranted a blog post. 

Thanks to everyone who has read, commented, shared, liked, talked, tweeted or mentioned my marketing thoughts in this blog, on LinkedIn Pulse, Social Media Week or any where else they appeared over the past nine months.


If you think my blog deserves to be crowned 'Best Marketing & Communications Blog' I'd be delighted if you vote for it here:

Vote for me here

There is only one of me, even though the button says vote for us!
As always thank you so much for reading :)

Live-Stream Is Blowing Up, It Is Not Just A Fad

Live-stream is well and truly exploding! In the last few days there have been reports of live-stream being in the pipeline for YouTube and Periscope announced they hit over ten million users! Live-stream continues to get even more popular.

About five months ago, I blogged about live-stream, never imagining it could grow so quickly. Back then I described it as being the closest thing to teleporting yourself to an event:

This week I attended an event in Santa Barbara, California...from the comfort of my college dorm room in New York. What is more, it did not cost me a penny! All thanks to live streaming, I watched the event on Periscope!

The Periscope v Meerkat Battle

Back then I could not tell who was going to win the Periscope v Meerkat battle (the two major players in live-stream). With Periscope having the backing of Twitter, an already huge social network, it was going to be tough for Meerkat to come out on top. One hundred and thirty day days after my first Periscope, the results are in:

Periscope Graph

There have been far more tweets about Periscope compared to tweets about Meerkat over the past month. That says a lot, and it is now clear that Periscope is well in the lead when it comes to live-streaming apps. In a blog post last week Periscope said:

10 Million
On August 2nd, we surpassed  10 million Periscope accounts. We launched Periscope just four months ago, on March 26, 2015. We would like to thank every single one of you for taking the time to use something that we’ve worked so hard to create. It means everything to us.

What's even more mind-blowing is that Periscope sees over 40 years of video watched per day. Periscope have not only gained lots of users in a short time, but these users are watching lots of content.

Source: Periscope

Source: Periscope

They also pointed out that they are not just getting people viewing through the smart phone app but also online at

It is hard to get user numbers for Meerkat. Some sources say it has under one million users others put it at two million. Even if we do not know how many users are on Meerkat, the gap between it and Periscope is clear from the number of tweets being sent, and I can only see this gap widening. So far it appears Periscope are winning this race.

Anyone Can Be A Star

Thanks to live-stream gone are the days when being on "Jersey Shore" and "The Only Way Is Essex", were the only ways you could become a star. First YouTube brought a new breed of celebrity and now live-stream will too!

Irish fashion and beauty blogger Rebecca Casserly has well and truly made her mark on Periscope getting thousands of viewers on her daily scopes. Rebecca has already built a following of 5,000 people and collected over 2 million hearts on Periscope.

Rebecca Casserly scoping on Periscope from London.

Rebecca Casserly scoping on Periscope from London.

Professionals Are Live-Streaming Too

You won't just find these new stars and beauty bloggers on live-stream though, you will also find entrepreneurs, business coaches, marketers the list goes on. It appears live stream is for everyone. 

Many business people have already started doing webinars on Periscope like marketer Kim Garst. She refers to them as 'scopinars' and I they are far more interactive and fun than a traditional webinar. For starters, you can see the presenter. That is much better than just hearing a voice and looking at slides. You can also ask questions in real time and 'give hearts' if you like what the person is saying.

In my eyes, the biggest contender in the live-stream space for webinar type activities is Blab. Blab is available on mobile and desktop and allows for four-way streaming. For example three people could give a webinar and leave one seat open for questions. Anyone can jump in the seat and ask their question almost in person - you can see and hear them. 

Blab is only on the live-stream scene for about one month, it will be interesting to see how it does over time and what new early adapters we will see on the platform.

Marketer Kim Garst and Entrepreneur Nathan Latka discuss why webinars are not working leaving seats free for members of the audience to jump in and share their thoughts or ask a question. 

Marketer Kim Garst and Entrepreneur Nathan Latka discuss why webinars are not working leaving seats free for members of the audience to jump in and share their thoughts or ask a question. 

I even live-stream on Periscope myself, on how businesses can win customers by using social media and digital marketing.

Padraig O'Connor @oconnorpadraig on Periscope.

Padraig O'Connor @oconnorpadraig on Periscope.


Making money from live-stream could be on the cards sooner than you might think. Periscope has already implemented a 'featured' section that highlights cool live-streams. In the future, this section could be used to highlight big brands who are willing to pay for the extra exposure.

I see Periscope making money in a similar way to Snapchat, by doing sponsored or featured scopes. They highlight your scope in exchange for a payment. I think this might not happen for some time. Periscope is still gathering users, working on fixing glitches and adding new features. Sponsored content is no doubt on the way - it is just a question of how long before they bring it in.

The Big Guys Might Be Here Soon

Major players like YouTube and Facebook might roll out live-stream for all their users shorty. Facebook has already begun allowing some celebrities to live-stream in their 'live' for mentions feature.

Photo via Facebook

Users can interact with the celebrity by commenting on the live-stream, and the celebrity can use the front and rear camera of their smartphone just like Meerkat and Periscope.

YouTube also appears to be testing out live-stream. They recently streamed a soccer match; Bayern Munich vs. Hamburg which attracted over two thousand people at kick off. If and when YouTube launches live-stream remains to be seen.


Is Live Stream The New T.V.

Live-stream will not replace television anytime soon. People on Periscope, Meerkat or Blab, do not have the dollars to invest in the production of television like shows. That said there is no doubt that live-streaming apps will reduce the amount of time people spend watching television even more. YouTube and online video content, in general, has done this already. These apps are another outlet consumers will turn to for more video content, particularly the younger millennials.

I can not see big brands taking to live-stream anytime soon. They will stay where the big audience is, and that won't be on live-streaming for a while. Yes, live-streaming is seeing tremendous growth and we should take notice of it but the advertisers will not take notice of it until the large audience numbers take to it. Right now that audience they are looking for are watching television. Television is not going anywhere anytime soon, but the likes of these live-streaming apps will certainly create a dip in television viewing in the future. Viewers of video content will enjoy the interactive experience of live-stream.


Live-Stream Market Research Toys - In The Palm Of Your Hands

Periscope puts very expensive market research equipment in the palm of your hands. You can find out a comprehensive amount of information by analysing your scope at the end of the broadcast.

1. You Can Judge Sentiment
By looking at when people are 'giving you hearts' (the equivalent to likes on Facebook), you can judge sentiment and what people like.

2. You Can See When People are dropping Off
Periscope shows you the number of people watching your scope at any given time. By looking back on your scope you can see what might have triggered people to exit the scope (was it something I said?).

3. You Can See Exactly Who Viewed Your Scope (Demographics)
After each scope you can view who watched your scope and in most cases you have access to their bio and twitter handle. If you were willing to put in the time you could probably find out the industry each of the people who watched you were in. You could have a good guess at their age, see how many followers there are and even reach out to them directly! 

Periscope provides you with lots of information about your audience. Something that television doesn't. These three areas about your audience and their behaviours are something that television networks and television studios invest lots of dollars in. They want to know what parts of their shows people like, when they would be most likely to drop out and the types of people that tune in.

You have these key three areas (to some degree) in the palm of your hands on Periscope - watch out Nielsen!


Live-Stream Is Here To Stay. 

There has been significant interest in it from the public; there are new live-stream apps out every month, and the numbers of live-stream views continues to grow. Although it is not a replacement to television just yet and advertisers have not shown much interest - give it time. Live-stream is still new, but it most certainly not a fad!

Watch this space.

Have you tried any of these live-stream platforms? What are your thoughts on live-streaming? Will it disrupt the television industry? Let me know in the comment section below or on twitter @oconnorpadraig


Does Real-Time Marketing Work On Social Media?

Big brands love real-time marketing particularly newsjacking, the art of getting your brand involved with the latest news story. Does real-time marketing on social media really work? Absolutely - it works even better on social media because you can get your message out there much quicker than any other medium.


Brands Rocking Real-Time On Social Media

When I think of real-time marketing or newsjacking, I always think of Oreo's post during Superbowl XLVII. The Superbowl is perennially the most watched television program is the United States. Superbowl XLVII was interrupted by a power cut, and as viewers flocked to social media to talk about what happened quick thinking brand Oreo released this:

Oreo Social Media

The tweet was retweeted over ten thousand times received eighteen thousand Facebook likes, and over five thousand people shared it on Facebook, at the time of the event. It seems real-time marketing is almost a part of the Oreo brand. Lisa Mann, VP of Cookies at Mondelez International said:

 Oreo is a real-time brand, a real-time marketer, and we are a part of our culture and the fabric of our community. It is our objective to be as relevant today as we were 100 years ago when we launched.

This single post gained Oreo countless press mentions and more than 525 million earned impressions, the equivalent to over five times the number a Super Bowl commercial would have.

KitKat has also been hugely successful at real time marketing. Shortly after news broke that the iPhone 6 plus could bend in your pocket the brand tweeted the following:

KitKat Social Media

KitKat reaped the rewards; their tweet was retweeted over twenty-five thousand times.

Real-time marketing is becoming increasingly popular on social media. Do you remember the debate over the colour of "the dress" earlier this year? Some saw black and blue while others saw white and gold. It was probably the most talked about dress ever. The Salvation Army responded by newsjacking on social media, and their post was genius: 

Salvation Army Social Media

This social media post also earned a considerable amount of publicity online, and it even spilled into offline.


Real-Time Does Not Always Work

Brands do not always get social real-time marketing right. This is understandable because real-time marketing gives you far less time to consider what you are putting out there. You have to rush which sometimes causes slip ups.

Delta decided to engage in real-time marketing during the last World Cup, but it did not go to plan. The airline posted a tweet congratulating the USA soccer team on their 2-1 win over Ghana, West Africa. The tweet pictured the final score as well as the Statue of Liberty representing the USA and a giraffe representing Ghana. 

Delta's real-time social media marketing efforts turned out to be a fiasco when Twitter users informed them there were no giraffes in Ghana.

Delta Tweet

The company later apologised for their mistake:

Delta Social Media Response 

Real-time marketing is challenging, and it can be risky but also very rewarding.


The Best Social Network For Real-Time

Real-time marketing goes down well on most social networks because people like to see what is current, but Twitter is the king of real-time social media marketing. Twitter is based on the principle of real-time. The feed you see is comprised of the latest updates from your following. By using Twitter, you can make sure that your post is seen instantly, exactly what you want for real-time marketing.

Another significant benefit of using Twitter for real-time marketing is the excellent organic reach post gain. A major part of real-time marketing is virality and Twitter has that ability. Added the fact that Twitter is the social media site of choice for people to go and discuss television programs, sports and live events to name a few.

Chris Kerns, Director of Analytics & Research at Spredfast and author of Trendologyanalysed the Twitter accounts of 106 major brands that engaged in real-time marketing and found:

Brands tweeting about unexpected occurrences during major events saw a 1,200% lift in retweets per follower.

This massive increase in organic engagement highlights the immense effect real-time social media marketing can have when it is done well.


Real-Time Planning

While you might think brands come up with incredible content on the spur of the moment a lot of planning goes into real-time marketing. More than likely all the brand mentioned have a real-time strategy. Although the content is released in real-time, it is not necessarily made in real-time. While you can not predict a power cut during the Super Bowel, you know what World Cup matches are being played ahead of time. You can also probably guess a couple of likely endings to the latest popular television series that everyone is watching and create unique posts based on each of them.

There is more to real-time social media marketing than meets the eye you can at least prepare for real-time social media marketing if not plan it. The fundamental principles of real-time marketing apply to real-time social media marketing. Traditional newsjacking should happen just after news breaks and as or before writers scramble for information.

Newsjacking Graph

(Graph: David Meerman Scott)

The same applies to real-time social media marketing. You should try and get your content out there as soon as possible after the event has taken place as people begin or are talking about on social media.


How To Get Real-Time Social Media Right

To get real-time social media right, you need an active follower base that regularly engages with your brand on social media. Without an engaging following or fan base, nobody will know about your real-time marketing efforts.

Below The Belt Grooming did a pretty good job with their real-time outdoor advertising at this years Wimbledon Tennis Championships. The outdoor advertisement was not just noticed by London motorists but also by the press. This real-time marketing gained a relatively weak response on social media. The size of the brand's social media following was probably the main contributor to the downfall.

BTB Social Media

Planning ahead is vital. You should research upcoming events that your fanbase will be talking about. These events do not have to line up with your industry for example KitKat has nothing to do with the Super Bowl but their fans watch it. Just avoid controversial events that could lead to an adverse response on social media.

Do your homework prior to the event you are aiming to generate real-time content on. Know the people involved with the event, whether they are actors or singers, celebrities or other brands, engage with them as part of your real-time marketing efforts, they might even help spread the word!

To engage in real-time marketing you do not need to reinvent the wheel. It can be as easy as checking out the latest topics in the 'trending' section of Twitter and joining the conversation!

Thanks for reading my blog, if you have any thoughts on real-time social media marketing, let me know. I would love to hear what you think. Until next time, happy marketing!


The Best Drink Driving Social Media Campaign Ever

If someone told you about a heartwarming drink driving YouTube video, you probably would laugh at them and rightly so. Normally the people behind these initiatives, like the RSA in Ireland, attempt to scare us from driving under the influence of alcohol by depicting crash scenes and quoting shocking statistics about road deaths - but not this time. 

Instead Budweiser and advertising agency Momentum did something different. They played on drivers emotions using a cute labrador puppy in the good old Budweiser fashion!

This Drink Driving Video Is Brilliant - Budweiser "Friends Are Waiting."

The video did not air on television, it was originally posted on YouTube and shared on other social media sites. Budweiser created a mini social media campaign after the release of the video on YouTube and it was extremely successful! 

The positive social media response of the campaign was outstanding:

  • YouTube: 20,000,000+ views and counting
  • Facebook: 87,819 Likes; 108,727 Shares
  • The video went viral and was featured on AdAge, BuzzFeed, Mashable, Huffington Post and more.
Twitter Post

How and why did Budweiser do this? 

Below is my analysis of the social media campaign video (purely my opinion, I have not gained any insights from Budweiser.)

Description of Campaign:
The Budweiser 'Friends Are Waiting’ campaign, is an emotional social media marketing campaign that promotes road safety as well as the drinking of Budweiser. The video pulls on the audiences heart strings as it shows a broken hearted labrador whose owner never came home after a night of drinking Budweiser. Similarly, the other online aspects of the campaign also use the labrador to play with the target audiences emotions. The campaign contains a clear message; drink Budweiser but don’t drink and drive. The campaign was launched to promote Budweiser’s Global Beer Responsible Day. The campaign instantly went viral, the video receiving over ten million views online within a number of days after.

Target Description:
The target audience of the campaign is young people aged between 21 and 30 years of age, particularly men of that age. The campaign targets both new and existing Budweiser customers.

The video features a group of young people, mainly men, in their twenties throughout its entirety. Similarly, the banner on the Budweiser’s website also portrays a man in his twenties.

Budweiser Website

Budweiser Website

Target Problem:
The consumers target problem is that after drinking alcohol they may have the desire to drive home.

The video shows the dogs owner carrying bottles of Budweiser while walking towards a car with his friends. Later a car's headlights flash past but the owner never comes home.

Key Insight/Brand Message:
The key insight of the campaign is that Budweiser cares about its customers and their friends. It seeks to portray itself as a sensible brand that looks out for its customers. The campaign helps the company to for fill its corporate social responsibility and makes them appear responsible and not just out to make money.

In the closing sequence the video displays the text “Make a plan to make it home, your friends are counting on you - #FriendsAreWaiting”. It also uses the word “we”, to show that Budweiser are part of helping to get their customers home - together they and the target can change things. The social media aspect of the campaign also uses the same slogan “#FriendsAreWaiting” this plays on the targets emotions who respect and look up their friends.

The secondary insight is that young, trendy people who have lots of friends drink Budweiser.

The video shows the main actor, a young male Budweiser drinker who is popular; surrounded by his trendy, sensible friends, relaxing by the water, having fun at a barbecue and drinking Budweiser.

What they want the targets to do:
The video wants the target to drink Budweiser but be safe and not drink and drive. The campaign is not like typical drink driving campaigns that feature a car accident or shocking accident statistics. Instead, it looks to the targets values, such as their friends and dependents portrayed by the labrador in the campaign and how they would feel if something should happen to them. 

In the video time passes and the dogs owner does not return after leaving with the Budweiser. The music slows, the labrador is heard crying as it sits by the door and text on the screen reads “For some, the waiting never ended”. The audience can only conclude that something has happened the dogs owner and he will not return. It scares the target into thinking of the consequences of drinking and driving. In the event advertisement although it seeks more so to inform consumers about Budweiser's Global Beer Responsible Day the labrador is once again seen waiting for its owner.

Positioning Statement:
The positioning statement is that sensible people who value friends and life drink Budweiser. 

The text in the campaign “Your friends are counting on you” and in the social media “You’ve got friends waiting for you”, accurately portrays this positioning statement that those who drink Budweiser value friendship. In the final moments of the video the dogs owner arrives home, apologises to his dog and says “I decided I shouldn't drive home last night, I stayed at Dave’s”. This insinuates that sensible people drink Budweiser and get home safe. This ties in with the overall key insight of the brand appearing responsible.

The campaign seeks to emotionally engage the consumer. Like previous Budweiser commercials, a labrador puppy is used to gain an emotional response from the consumer. The target will have a positive emotional response to the puppy that will influence them in their future beer buying decision and their choice of whether or not to drink and drive.

The labrador is seen in almost every shot of the video as well as in social media images and on the website. In the video the target watches it grow up into and adult labrador. The target becomes emotionally attached to not only the dog but also the relationship between it and its owner. A question that will cross almost all consumers minds later in the video is; should anything happen the owner what will happen to the dog. It makes the target think of how their decision to drink and drive will influence those in their lives. This hidden message is reinforced by “#FriendsAreWaiting” and the Budweiser logo in the last image of the video and on social media.

What are your thoughts on this social media campaign? Do you like it as much as I do? Share your views in the comment section below or tweet @oconnorpadraig


What To Know When Marketing To Millennials

This post was originally posted to my LinkedIn Pulse Page and was written as part of the #MillennialMe series, which is tied to LinkedIn’s student editorial calendar.

We do things different to any other generation; we live the "YOLO life" (you only live once) and take selfies rather than ask strangers to take our photos (god forbid). Despite this, I still wonder why brands find it so hard to market to #MillennialMe.

I have never seen so much fixation over any other generation, perhaps I don't see the fuss because I am a Millennial myself. 

Many brands admit they have a tough time figuring Millennials out which is what spurred me to write this post. Here is what a Millennial (me) feels a brand should know when marketing to them:


Millennials Express Themselves Through Brands

Millennials express themselves through brands and want brands to have much more than a just a logo. They want brands to have a personality that they like and can relate to.

Millennials use brands to show who they are, particularly the younger Millennial. It is important that Millennials either want to be like your brand or already are like your brand. Half of millennials aged 18-24 years feel that brands say something about who they are, their values and where they fit in. Forty percent are even willing to pay extra for a brand or product that reflects the image they wish to convey about themselves.

Almost sixty percent of millennials say that the brands they buy reflect their style and personality (BCG Perspectives)

Worldwide studies show that the majority of Millennials agree it is important for them to find brands that reflect their personality. Brands should look at their Millennial customers and create a brand personality that mirror that of Millennials themselves. 


Millennials Want To Be Your Friend

Friends are hugely important to Millennials, and they have a large circle of friends. Millennials have more friends online and probably offline than any other generation. They also look up to their friends and marketers should develop their brand in such a way that Millennials would like to befriend it.

Millennials most of all want friends who are trustworthy but also genuine, sociable, mature and humble. Brands should bring these qualities across in their brand when marketing to Millennials.

Coca-Cola attempted to make friends with Millennials by developing the hugely popular 'Share a Coke', campaign. It was probably the first time the company made major changes to their packaging. They probably realised the need to connect with Millennials.

The campaign had a lot to do with brand attributes and the personality traits of Coca-Cola. Aoife Nagle from Coca-Cola Ireland explains that Coca-Cola was losing share and brand relevance. The ‘Share a Coke’, campaign was aimed engaging consumers in a way that reinforced core brand attributes.

‘Share a Coke’ Campaign

‘Share a Coke’ Campaign


They Want To Experience Your Brand

"Spend money on experiences, not things" - is true for Millennials more so than any other generation. Millennials love experiences, after all they are the ones attending the parties, concerts, festivals, shows and sports games. Nearly 8 in 10 Millennials say some of their best memories are from an event or live experience they attended or participated in.

Based on recent studies, 78% of Millennials are more inclined to become part of a brand if they have face-to-face interaction with it. This signals that brands should engage more in experiential marketing when targeting Millennials.

It is no wonder that many of the top fifty brands for Millennials are engaging in experiential marketing. Coca-Cola, which comes in at number eight, has done plenty of experiential marketing where Millennials hang out. 'Coke Hug Me', took place in numerous college campuses around the US and Canada. 

Similarly, Dove also engaged in experiential marketing for their 'Choose Beautiful Campaign'. 


Brands that understand Millennials are eager to sponsor events to bring their brand down to a Millennial level. Alcohol brands like Budweiser love sponsoring sporting events that many Millennials attend and mobile phone networks like Vodafone sponsor music events and festivals.

Check out how Vodafone Ireland attempts to interact with live events - I think you will agree it screams Millennial marketing. It is clear that Vodafone understand Millennials. 

Millennials are also more likely than any other generation to share their experiences with others on social media. This is great for marketing because it increases the reach of your brand much further than just the people attending the event.


Millennials Love Word Of Mouth (even from strangers!)

Most customers trust word of mouth but Millennials in particular love online word of mouth more than other generations. Eighty-four percent of Millennials say that user-generated content on company websites has at least some influence on what they buy, compared to seventy percent of Boomers. In fact, there are many purchase decisions – big and small – that Millennials won’t make without user generated content.

When it comes to recommendations from friends and family, Millennials value their opinions much less than boomers. While Millennials still value friends and family considerably, they trust strangers just as much - in fact slightly more. Fifty-one percent of Millennials trust strangers compared to only thirty-four percent of boomers.

No wonder there has been an increase in the number of YouTube videos and websites reviewing everything from makeup to cars. Many Millennials listen to people online and through social media. That is no surprise because many millennials grew up with it.

When looking for opinions on products, millennials are more than three times as likely than Boomers to turn to social channels. Also, Millennials believe that companies should offer more ways for them to share their opinions online in the future.


Millennials Don't Like Traditional Marketing

I feel the biggest challenge in Millennial marketing today is that Millennials don't like traditional marketing: Eighty-four percent of Millennials don't like traditional advertising nor do they trust it, according to a recent study. The marketing industry is changing to keep up with Millennials. For example, Millennials did not like Facebook advertisements, so they introduced sponsored posts. Marketers realised Millennials were doing research online before they buy, so inbound became popular, and HubSpot was born.

I don't want to see a traditional advertisement for a Travel Agent that reads: "Cheap Holidays For Spring Break". Instead, I want to see a sponsored post for "The Top 10 Destinations For Spring Break". Millennials love native advertising (which is far from traditional). According to AdWeek, fifty-seven percent of Millennials are willing to check out sponsored online content, as long as it's interesting.

Brands need to market to Millennials in non-traditional ways that involve thinking outside the box. Whether you are creating an advertisement or hosting an event aimed at Millennials you need to think different rather than marketing like you would to boomers and other generations. You need to empower Millennials offline, online and on social to put them at the heart of your marketing and win them over.


They Want You To Care

Millennials are loyal to brands who listen to them and care about them. When you look at the top fifty Millennial brands, you will recall most of them doing just this. They care about their customers and listen to what they say. For example, I will always defend my Apple iPhone (number 2 on the list) against my friends claims that Samsung phones (number 3 on the list) are better, and they will do the same. These brands have done a good job at making us Millennials loyal.

As the inquisitive and opinionated people millennials are, we question why brands collect our thoughts. The majority of Millennials (71%) say companies care about customer opinions simply because they impact how other consumers will view the brand, rather than genuinely caring about what they think. We want you to care.

Also, both Millennials and baby boomers believe consumers care more than brands. This might suggest why we don't hold back on sharing our thoughts about brands and products on social media.

Brands should care more about their Millennial customers and take into consideration what they say. Engage in social listening, respond to Millennials positively and do what they tell you. That is the recipe for success.

Millennials Need To Be Marketed To

Millennials must be considered as a target market for the majority of brands today. There are now as many Millennials as there are Baby Boomers and Generation X. While they are all given the one label 'Millennials', they vary in age quite a lot. That said they have a lot in common. Millennials are the social generation and founders of social media. They should be marketed where they know best through social channels. 

By 2017, Millennials – currently in their mid-teens to mid-30s, will have more spending power than any other generation. Millennials also have considerable influence on other generations so by marketing to them you can indirectly target other generations too. Jeff Fromm of Forbes explains:

Millennials are a hyper connected cohort that has influenced the consumer market in general.  Now, consumers who are not millennials by definition have adapted to a Millennial Mindset. 

Spend less time trying to figure out Millennials and more time listening, caring, befriending and of course marketing!

Do you have any thoughts on Millennial Marketing or Millennials in general? I would love to hear what you think - let me know in the comments below.


Thanks for reading, if you enjoyed my thoughts subscribe to get notified everytime I write a new blog post. Until next time, happy Millennial Marketing!


How to Best Promote Your Job opportunities on Twitter.

There is a point where human resources and marketing overlap. You need to market your company to prospective employees. Having just worked in the human resource department in Pace University, partly focusing on how to market their job opportunities to prospective employees, I witnessed this overlap regularly. Twitter is a great way to market your job opportunities to potential candidates as many people search for jobs on Twitter.

Here are seven steps to ensure your job opportunities are being seen by potential employees on Twitter.

 1.     Use a job search related Hashtag

You should always start the tweet with a job search related hashtag for example #JobOpening #Job #JobSearch #Jobhunt #JobListing etc. People looking for jobs will search these hashtags so by hashtagging them your jobs come up in the search. 

Here is an example:


2.     Hashtag the job location

You should hashtag or include the location of the job in the Twitter post so whether it is #Kerry or #Dublin in Ireland or #Manhattan in New York.  You want to make sure to include as this is another popular technique used by social media savvy job hunters. This is important as candidates will not search for a job-related hashtag like #JobOpening alone since then every job in the world posted to Twitter would appear (that Is a lot of jobs!). 

Instead when a person is looking for a job they will combine a job-related hashtag with a location for example '#JobOpening Kerry' or '#Job Dublin'. This way they only see jobs in the geographic area they are searching. If it was a large area like New York, they might even include the field they are in too. 

Like this:



3.     Link directly to the job posting.

When adding a link to a job posting, it should link directly to the posting page rather than the general careers page. You would be surprised how many businesses include a posting number but no link. Adding a link makes it as easy as possible for the candidate to apply, and it makes your business look organised and professional. You should use a shortened link rather than the actual one, to save on charter count that Twitter limits. I recommend using to shorten links as it also offers basic analytics.


4.     Tweet at Job dedicated Twitter Accounts. 

You should also tweet at dedicated Twitter accounts by including them in your tweet. Two examples of these are @jobs4NYC (New York) or @jobfairy (Ireland). You can find others in your area by doing a search on Twitter. By mentioning them in the tweet or in the comment section under your tweet, hopefully they will retweet your tweet meaning their many followers will see it.



5.     Add an advantage or job benefit to the tweet.

To make your tweet stand out from the other job-related tweets and to make the position more attractive to candidates, you should add a job benefit. For example “Competitive Salary” or in the case of a university “Tuition Remission”. 



6.     Add a hashtag unique to your company 

If it will fit you should also add a company related hashtag that is unique to just your job openings. This allows potential employees to search for jobs in you company on Twitter. When I worked at Pace University, their unique hashtag was #PaceHotJobs. The logic behind doing this is that you allow people to separate your job related tweets from all your other tweets.



7.     Add a call to action. 

Finally, you should add a call to action to create a sense of urgency in applying and potential candidates to carry out the action. For example 'Apply now', or 'See more here' are good calls to action. Ideally they should be placed before the link. 

Here is an example of a tweet that a university might craft for the position of an Events Manager:

New #JobOpening for Development Events Manager #NY, Competitive Salary & Tuition Remission Apply today: #PaceHotJobs


This tweet encompasses all of the elements mentioned above to get your job opportunity heard.

A lot goes into perfecting a 140 character Twitter post about a job vacancy. If you follow these simple steps, you will be on the way to creating excellent job opportunity posts that will gain the maximum exposure from potential candidates. 

If you have any questions on how to promote your job opportunities on Twitter or by other means, do not hesitate to send me a tweet or comment below. 


I Just Won The An Post Student Marketing Campaign of the Year.

Last month I got very exciting news. I was shortlisted for the An Post Student Marketing Campaign of the Year. This week I got even more exciting news. I won the An Post Student Marketing Campaign of the Year for 2015!!! 


I could not believe I won, it was a great honour! Here is how it happened:


I flew home from New York to accept the award at a gala event in the Mansion House in Dublin, Ireland. I can only compare it to the Oscars!  

The annual Smart Marketing Awards are sponsored by An Post in celebration of the most ingenious, innovative and creative marketing campaigns of the year. It is a fantastic idea! The big US and UK agencies get plenty of coverage so it is wonderful to have an event just to recognise the great work of Irish marketers and marketing agencies!

Table 24: Zoo Digital, Three Q, Horizon Digital and Padraig O'Connor (UCC).

Table 24: Zoo Digital, Three Q, Horizon Digital and Padraig O'Connor (UCC).

I was in great company at the awards. Sitting beside me was the crew from Zoo Digital, who were nominated for their work on the Red Bull Cliff Dive on Inis Mór among other nominations. You need only glance at my past posts to realise I am a huge fan of Red Bull marketing! I listed Red Bull as one of the 10 Businesses Who are #Winning On Instagram earlier this year. (They put me at the right table!)

I was also lucky enough sitting beside Cora Barnes and the marketing team of Three Q. They were shortlisted for their wonderful direct mail campaign and overall small business marketing, which they won (well done Three Q!). Not to forget Horizon Digital Print, who gave me a marvellous high five after I won, cheers for that!


Here is what my campaign "The Business of Keeping Ahead", was all about:

Imagine this:

You are a business person....

It is 6pm; you just finished work and you are walking down Grafton Street in Dublin, just like you do every day. On this particular evening, something is different. There is a display on the street with a live feed of the people walking in front of you.

You are curious as to what it is. So you stop. It reads "The people in front of you are ahead". 

You wonder what this possibly means till you come to the next display that says "Look behind you". You turn around to see the back of the first billboard you passed, it reads "Now you're ahead. Keep Ahead with The Sunday Business Post online".

This experiential and experimental marketing was part of my overall marketing campaign for the Sunday Business Post online, entitled "The Business of Keeping Ahead".

A mock up of the digital displays as part of the experimental.

A mock up of the digital displays as part of the experimental.


In January, I was tasked with devising a marketing campaign to launch The Sunday Business Post online. I found out two weeks before the deadline, but like any marketer would do, I worked tirelessly on the campaign for those two weeks. I heard that people tend to be more creative late at night - well then it is probably the only time jet-lag worked to my advantage (I was just home from New York). 

The Sunday Business Post needed a marketing campaign that would drive subscriptions of their online offering. The campaign needed to be aimed towards businesses who would buy subscriptions in bulk for their employees and individuals who would buy a subscription for themselves.

Through market research, I found that the main reason people read business news online was, as you might expect, to keep ahead with the latest business news. That is where my campaign all started and when I decided to call it - "The Business of Keeping Ahead".

My campaign cover.

My campaign cover.


When I delved deeper, I found that people were reading the business news to keep themselves and their business or the business they worked for ahead of competitors. These business people from CEO's to MD's, Marketers to Entrepreneurs all needed to know what was happening in their industry and others in order to drive their business ahead of competitors and keep ahead overall. This was the strategy. By having the latest business news and industry insights from The Sunday Business Post businesses and business people could keep ahead of competitors.

A snippet of the research from my campaign.

A snippet of the research from my campaign.


Thus, my strategy for this prestigious national newspaper was devised from my living room couch in Ballyduff, Co.Kerry, Ireland. And there was no better place to do it! Coming from a family of entrepreneurs and business people there was always someone in the house or on the other end of the phone that I could bounce my ideas off! 

After examining the market of readers of business news and non-readers. Online business news readers, offline readers and those that engaged in a bit of both I was ready to choose my target market. I decided primarily to target those that only read business news online.

Why were they the perfect target - They were the easiest target to convert to subscriptions and ultimately sales. They were already online reading business news online, they just didn't know the Sunday Business Post was available online. It had the latest business news they needed to stay ahead, at their fingertips. This target also would not have any effect on print sales since they did not gain business news from traditional media. They were the perfect target. I referred to this segment as the Biz Net-Newsers'.

The Media Consumption of the Biz Net-Newser.

The Media Consumption of the Biz Net-Newser.

My subsequent targets were those that read business news online and offline who I call the 'Modern Savvy Traditionalists.' Finally the business people of the future, college students and recent graduates; the 'Collegians'.

The campaign would show successful businesses and business people who read The Sunday Business Post online as being always ahead. In contrast, it would show business people who did not. In various scenarios, those ahead will succeed, and the others will be left behind. The business people ahead represent online Sunday Business Post readers. The business people left behind are non-readers.

Storyboard for a video advertisement to be used as part of the campaign online and offline.

Storyboard for a video advertisement to be used as part of the campaign online and offline.


Now that the strategy to drive subscriptions was in place it was time to work on tactics. My tactics involved digital static advertisements as well as video advertisements online that lead straight to owned media, just like the one above. It included social media marketing, email marketing, the creation of a microsite, events all over Ireland, direct mail and a small amount of outdoor, television, radio and print advertising.

The media plan involved heavying up on online media as this hit all of the campaign's targets but also had an investment in traditional media to target the Modern Savvy Traditionalists and maximise the visibility of the entire campaign.

A mock up of what the digital advertisements might look like.

A mock up of what the digital advertisements might look like.


The direct mail aspect of the campaign involved sending a gold envelope to business owners with the words ‘Open this if you want to keep ahead’ written on the outside. The inside contained a free trial of The Sunday Business Post online as well as information about the campaign.

The other tactics consisted of a microsite where business leaders would share stories about how they keep ahead. On social media, the campaign would ask people to share how they keep ahead. It also included advertising on the business forum and other business related websites.  Advertising on business television and radio programs and in business related magazines. Outdoor advertising in areas surrounded by lots of businesses and much more. 

That is "The Business of Keeping Ahead" in a nutshell! And my secret to keeping ahead; reading the online edition of the Sunday Business Post.

Padraig O'Connor wins the An Post Student Marketing Campaign of the Year (

Padraig O'Connor wins the An Post Student Marketing Campaign of the Year (

Well done to all the other winners!

Thank you to Gavin Fox and everyone at An Post for hosting the awards, they were a tremendous success.

My deepest appreciation to Anne Cogan, Dr Brian O'Connor and Lisa Herlihy for their exceptional guidance. They have been my marketing influencers throughout my short career.

A huge thanks to everyone who participated in my market research for the campaign and the media who I 'plagued' for media kits over the course of designing the campaign! I feel RTE, TV3, Newstalk,, Google Display Network, Accounting & Finance Magazine, Accounting & Business Magazine, An Post Mail Media Unit and JCDecaux Outdoor all deserve a mention.

To the judges who look fierce in those headshots on An Post Smart Marketing but are lovely underneath it all - Thank you for selecting my entry!

Finally, I strongly encourage all students with an interest in marketing to enter the awards next year. Creating this campaign was a lot of fun!


Until my next post, stay cunning, stay Smart - just like this fox!

My signiture

Meerkat & Periscope: What is all the buzz about?

This week I attended an event in Santa Barbara, California...from the comfort of my college dorm room in New York. What is more, it did not cost me a penny! All thanks to live streaming, I watched the event on Periscope.

None of this would have been possible a few months ago. Most events were not live streamed, most people did not watch live stream, most marketers and advertisers were not interested in live stream but all that has changed due to the rise of live streaming apps Meerkat and Periscope. No wonder there is such buzz about these live streaming apps!

Many brands have become early adapters of these live streaming apps including CNN, Red Bull, Spotify, Madonna, MTV and DKNY. From Red Bull live streaming extreme sports to Spotify broadcasting live streams of musicians like Irish folk singer Conor O'Brien from the band Villagers. These brands are doing Periscope/Meerkat really well tying their brand image right into these live streaming apps.

Spotify's live stream of Villagers Conor O'Brien on Periscope (From: Adweek)

Spotify's live stream of Villagers Conor O'Brien on Periscope (From: Adweek)

While the views these brands and others are getting is not huge, the people that are watching are loyal fans. A lot of the time the live streams are not announced in advance which means the viewers that tune in are willing to drop everything to watch the live stream. They are devoting their time and attention to the live stream at the drop of a hat, if that is not a loyal fan I don't know what is.

Just over eight thousand tune in to the premiere of Madonna's new Ghosttown video on Meerkat.

Just over eight thousand tune in to the premiere of Madonna's new Ghosttown video on Meerkat.


What I really like about these live streaming apps is that they allow for a two way conversation between the streamer and the viewer. Many brands regularly engage with their viewers, answering questions they have or remarking on comments. Someone who does this well is Dave Kerpen CEO of Likeable Media. 

Dave regularly uses Periscope to live stream Likeable Local webinars, presentations he gives or a discussion dedicated to answering the questions of his almost two thousand Periscope followers. He even runs some competitions via Periscope where he gives away free copies of his books as well as other Likeable Media merchandise, mainly foam thumbs!

I highly recommend tuning into Dave's Periscope live streams where he discusses social media marketing. They are always very interesting!

Who knows what the future of live stream will hold, I can only see it getting more popular with both brands and users. Brands that have just started live streaming will invest in it further as it gets more popular, I feel we will see an increased number of brands coming on board and even new personalities emerging out of these live streaming apps.

One thing is for sure, these live streaming apps mean your event audience can now not just be a local one but a global one. Although in the past events have been recorded and  posted online live streaming is very different. There is more of a buzz watching something live whether it is a sporting event or the original airing of a television programme. Which is why there is such a buzz about these live streaming events - it is natural.

The live streaming space will be very interesting to watch over the coming months and year! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or via twitter.


How To Get Your Customers Good Stories Heard (with two simple steps)

How To Get Your Customers Good Stories Heard (with two simple steps)

The ultimate formula to get your customers good stories or reviews heard through customer service marketing (also know as customer service publicity). Learn how to get good customer experiences out there quick and heard by a large number of current and potential customers.

The Switch: From T.V. To YouTube

Advertisers love T.V. but the future of the T.V. industry will determine the future of T.V. advertising. The advertisers have to go where the viewers are and what we are now seeing now is a shift from T.V. viewing to YouTube viewing particularly for younger audiences. 

Media Storm recently explained that people viewing T.V. online is not a problem for them or advertisers now or in the future because the majority of T.V. viewing is done live/same day. According to them the problem is people watching other videos online that is not T.V. content. For example YouTube videos. See the video below (you need sound):

Through monitoring the viewing habits of six people; two teens, two young adults and two people above fifty years over a seven day period I found that teens and young people are watching Youtube and other online digital content heavily. The fifty plus demographic watched television on some catch up player sites it was mainly via traditional television. These findings back up the data already provided by YouTube below.

YouTube reaches 67% of 18 to 34 year olds and 59% of 35 to 48 year olds in the US. With many YouTuber's getting millions of views per month it is no wonder advertisers are getting more and more interested in striking partnerships with the individuals behind them. Many vloggers are paid for native advertising or making videos that include a segment about a particular brand.

The future of television advertising is in the hands of the views and as viewers use digital more and watch television less companies need to make sure their digital strategy is working. It is well worth investing in a YouTube channel or even in their TrueView advertising if your target market falls within that of YouTube's market and it will for most companies.

tv v digital infographic

If you have any questions about this post or the video above feel free to comment below or contact Sarah or myself directly.


10 Reasons Why You Have To Include Instagram In Your Marketing.

If you are not already including Instagram in your marketing now is a good time to start and you probably won't need any more reasons to after these ten!

1. It's Where The 'Young Ones' Are.

There are so many people now on Instagram you just can't ignore it as part of your social media. A Pew Research survey conducted in the US released earlier this year showed that over half of those aged between 18-29 years and a quarter of those aged between 30-49 years are on Instagram (right). In addition they are are also very active on Instagram with almost half using the social network on a daily basis and almost three quarters using it weekly. Ireland is no exception. Ipsos MRBI research released research (below)  just last month that showed 47% of Irish people use Instagram daily which is a larger amount of active users compared to Twitter, Google+, Pinterest or LinkedIn. Therefore it is a social network that in my opinion business owners and marketers can't ignore.

Frequency of social media site use
The percentage of Irish people who use particular  social media sites  daily  (Ipsos MRBI research).

The percentage of Irish people who use particular social media sites daily (Ipsos MRBI research).

2. High Organic Reach (that marketers love!)

Percentage people actually seeing each of your Facebook posts.  ( Buffer /  Social@Ogilvy  )  Instagram organic reach is higher as posts are shown in real time. 

Percentage people actually seeing each of your Facebook posts. (Buffer/Social@OgilvyInstagram organic reach is higher as posts are shown in real time. 

The major advantage of Instagram for businesses is it has a much higher organic reach compared to other social media sites so you'll get far more exposure. Since Instagram operates in real time you don't need to worry about your post not appearing in your customers feeds.  Unlike Facebook and now Twitter, Instagram does not use algorithms to determine what content is the most engaging and therefore appearing in peoples feeds. Instead Instagram displays the most current photos from those a person follows.

Buffer/Social@Ogilvy claim that a mere 6% of those that liked your page will actually see each of your Facebook posts. The figure is dropping all of the time and Facebook have never been afraid to admit how low it is. Way back in 2012 Facebook for Business stated that "Pages organically reach about 16% of their fans on average. To make sure your fans see your stories, sponsor your posts to increase the reach of your content." In other words you have always needed to pay for a decent number of your Facebook fans to see your content. With Instagram this is not the case, for now. Your photo will appear in all of your followers feeds, of course they won't all see it because all of your followers won't check their Instagram at the time you post a photo. While there doesn't seem to be as much research to show the exact percentage of Instagram followers that see each of your Instagram posts you can be guaranteed far more than 6% will see it.


3. High Engagement (that marketers and customers love!)

Not only will you get a higher reach on Instagram but you will also get higher engagement rates from your customers. You will find numerous examples of this but here is one I noticed over the past few months. This month Fedex shared the photo below on Instagram and they also shared the exact same photo on Facebook. The engagement for each post is very different - much higher on Instagram:

Fedex Facebook:

Facebook Likes: 1,000,431 

Facebook Post Likes: 833

Facebook Post Comments: 32


Fedex Instagram

Instagram Followers: 14,500

Instagram Post Likes: 511 

Instagram Post Comments: 8


Every day is our lucky day because we get to work with you! #stpatricksday 🍀

A photo posted by FedEx (@fedex) on


What this shows: Instagram engages fans far more than Facebook. Fedex has almost sixty-nine times more Facebook page likes than Instagram followers but they got far from sixty-nine times their Instagram engagement rate on Facebook.

On Instagram 35% of Fedex's following engaged with the post by liking it whereas on Facebook not even 1% of their fans liked the post.

When it comes to comments Instagram also did slightly better considering they have far less of a following compared to that of their Facebook page. We are talking in very tiny percentages since there were so few comments. The comment engagement rates are: Instagram = 0.006% v Facebook =0.0003%.

The bottom line is Instagram engages followers far more than Facebook.

This example was updated from Ben & Jerry's to Fedex. The Fedex example listed is more accurate and applies globally.


4. Get A Head Start Over Competitors.

Right now Instagram is the fastest growing social network but only 34% of B2C marketers are using it in their marketing. With less marketers/businesses on Instagram it means you can start building your following early and you'll be an old-timer before your competitors  have even joined! B2B marketers are using Instagram less with only 19% using it as part of their marketing efforts. This is hardly surprising because it is much easier to target consumers on Instagram compared to businesses. Without a doubt Instagram marketing is much more important in B2C marketing right now. You can learn from the businesses who are doing B2C Instagram really well in my past blog post '10 Businesses Who Are #Winning On Instagram'.

The social media platforms used by marketers - Blue = B2B Green = B2C  (Social Media Examiner)

The social media platforms used by marketers - Blue = B2B Green = B2C (Social Media Examiner)


5. It's "Free".

Instagram doesn't have any direct cost which is great - people actually see your content without you having to pay Instagram a penny to sponsor your posts. At least for now. Of course there are indirect marketing costs that have to be taken into consideration like the time and effort that goes into planning, creating your images, monitoring and analysing performance. In my opinion it is well worth the effort if your target market are using Instagram.


6. Ads Are Coming.

An example of Levis advertising on Instagram.

An example of Levis advertising on Instagram.

Just over a year ago Instagram announced they were introducing advertising to the platform. Since then a few select advertisers have been invited to come on board and test Instagram's advertising in the form of sponsored posts, similar to Facebook. Once they roll out their advertising fully I think we will see more businesses showing an interest in Instagram. The down side of coming on at this point is that many companies will have already got a solid following on the site. They will know what works for their followers on Instagram and what does not and as a result it will be much easier to nail Instagram advertising. That is why it is important to jump on the Instagram 'band waggon' right now if you haven't already done so. If you have, you should probably spend more time on Instagram marketing, it is powerful marketing platform as explained above. 

Let's hope that Instagram doesn't go the way Facebook went, making it extremely hard to reach their customers organically. I feel part of the reason for Instagram's rapid growth is because there is little advertising and since posts are shown in real time.


7. Drive Traffic To Your Website.

Instagram is a great way to drive traffic to your website or other relevant content. You can add your website under each Instagram post, in your profile and even in the location the photo was taken. So if the photo you post on Instagram is of a product you can link to that particular products web page driving sales, leads or what ever you you want to drive. Red Bull have a link to their website on their Instagram profile and they often add calls to action under their posts referring to the link in their profile. The disadvantage is that links under each photo won't be hyperlinked. This is probably why Red Bull ask you go to their profile rather than posting a link directly underneath their photo - well done Red Bull.


8. It's Simple To Use.

Instagram is one of the easiest social media sites to use. It is simple to set up an Instagram page for business - you set it up the exact same way as you would set up a personal Instagram profile. Daily use is also as easy as taking a photo, adding an optional filter, some text, hashtags and your done. I find posts with numerous hashtags are generally more engaging than those without hashtags. All you have to do then is monitor comments and make sure to reply to users comments and questions. Instagram have a great business blog full of case studies and examples of great Instagram profiles. You can find it on Tumblr here.


9. Powerful Analytics.

Now that there is powerful Instagram analytics and monitoring software available it makes having a business Instagram very manageable. The best software for Instagram marketing I have come across is Iconosquare. It offers not just analytics but also monitoring in real time like tracking comments users make on your posts and noting the ones you have replied to and those not replied to. Below is an image explaining their scoring analytics. They have a "Love Rate" based on how much your followers like your media. The "Talk Rate" is based on comments and the "Spread Rate" is based on likes gained from non followers.


10. It's Picture Perfect.

Instagram is all about photos and so using it you get a great bank of images to use in future marketing. Whats more is your customers are probably already doing Instagram marketing for you. Try hashtagging your business name and see what comes up. I'm surprised when I hashtag small, medium or even large businesses who are not on Instagram and find numerous pictures from their customers - leverage them.

You can get your customers to help you with your Instagram marketing simply by asking them and reposting their images. Olloclip do it a lot of the time which means they don't even need to take their own photos, how easy is that! Here are some recent photos they posted to Instagram, all taken by their followers. Some Social Media Managers have it easy!

Now that you have all the reasons in the world to start using Instagram in your marketing you might want to check out who is doing in well in my other blog post '10 Businesses Who Are #Winning On Instagram'. Feel free to comment or reach out to me where ever you want and if you want me to cover something just comment bellow or tweet @oconnorpadraig

Thanks for reading, I hope to see you on Instagram!