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Non-square images and vertical video! Things are changing in social media

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Our social media photos and videos are evolving. Things aren’t as square or as horizontal as they used to be. Instagram now supports images that aren’t square and Snapchat wants you to use vertical video. What does it mean?!

Be there or be square no longer

Today Instagram announced support for portrait and landscape images. They’re moving beyond the iconic square for the first time in nearly five years. This is a huge move for the company that forced millions of us to rethink how we take and share images. Early on, the square format took some getting used to – it was just so different from what many of us knew. But since then, we’ve adapted and come to love the square format. It required more creativity in our photos’ framing, subject and distance.

Instagram now says that 20% of photos uploaded to their app are not square and include some horizontal or vertical padding. For purists who like a neat stream, the padding others added to their images before uploading interrupted the Instagram experience. But for photographers who want to truly capture the full experience of their subjects, the square format can be limiting. Sometimes things just look better in a landscape or portrait orientation. So now we can opt to share these images in Instagram, without modifying them in a third-party squaring app. This changes things on Instagram.

non-square photo on instagram

Vertical video vertigo

And then there’s vertical video – another change to the way we format visual content on social media. Two years ago, the internet was irritated about vertical video syndrome, calling for a ban on portrait videos and asking everyone to remember to rotate their phones before they shoot. But now, we’re being encouraged to do more vertical video. It’s hard to keep up with.

Snapchat is leading this charge into vertical video, but even Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are all adding deeper support for it. Snapchat says vertical video ads are nine times more likely to be watched than the horizontal ads. Mobile phones encourage a vertical experience, and it’s harder than it may seem to rotate the phone. Especially when things are happening fast, like they do on Snapchat; you may not even have a chance to rotate your phone before a snap is over. So embracing vertical video seems like a great idea, and will let us capture more video more naturally.

vertical video on snapchat

So what do you think? Do you shoot more vertical video now or are you a landscape purist? What about non-square photos on Instagram? Will you give in?


Written by Jenn D

August 27th, 2015 at 12:17 pm

Posted in Trends

Tagged with , , , ,

The Week in Social #165

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We spend the week reading the best things we can get our eyeballs on and on Fridays we share them here with you. Leave your thoughts in the comments, or come find us on Twitter at @UnionMetrics.

What marketers struggle with: Multichannel, influencers, video.

Why Marketers Haven’t Mastered Multichannel? While marketers say they want to make this a focus- “84% of senior marketers worldwide said multichannel marketing was a key focus of their current marketing strategy”- many struggle with understanding and buy-in from higher ups, as well as time to invest in planning and the necessary tools to comprehensively and continuously measure their efforts.

multichannel marketing challenges

As for that last challenge, we know a good Social Suite marketers should look into.

You’ve probably heard of this strange phenomenon of moving pictures used in marketing at this point, but how you do you Start Smart, Scale Up, and Stand Out With Video? Robert Rose takes on these challenges for Content Marketing Institute:

  1. How do businesses empower themselves to create videos (cost effectively) in the first place?
  2. Once businesses are creating videos, how do they scale this ability across the business?
  3. Once businesses have a functional process for creating videos, how do they use this new skill to differentiate the content they’re producing?

Click through to read the whole piece and see what themes address successful video creation and more.

Working with a social influencer is one of the best ways to boost reach across a target audience, but that doesn’t mean it’s free of challenges and Ayaz Nanji takes this on in Marketers’ Biggest Challenges With Social Influencers:


We would add one very important caveat: Be sure the partnership matches brand values on both sides. Throughly vet anyone you decide to partner with, be it brand or personal brand/influencer; that goes a long way toward “predicting behavior”.

The platform-specific info you need.

Because you can never get too good at Instagram, Jim Dougherty has 10 Pro Tips for Instagram from the pros, via Cision.

Heard about the Twitter Q2 announcements but weren’t sure what to make of them? SHIFT Comm has a great breakdown from Chris PennState of Social Media 2Q 2015: Twitter Users Plateau. The best takeaway?

“Should marketers be concerned with Twitter’s lack of growth? Perhaps, but that’s a determination marketers will need to make on an individual basis. Look in your web analytics at Twitter’s traffic over a multi-year period. Here’s an example:

shift comm

In this particular instance, while Twitter’s overall membership may not have increased, Twitter’s ability to drive traffic to a desired web destination has improved substantially in very recent times.”

Emphasis added.

Last but not least, Jay Baer is laying down 5 Reasons You Don’t Buy Likes with Facebook Advertising over at Convince and Convert. The bottom line?

“Remember: clicks first, fans second.”


So what’s the best thing you’ve read this week?

The Week in Social Analytics #147

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It’s Friday and that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics with our favorite posts of the past week in the world of measurement, analytics, and social media. See a great piece we missed? Link to it in the comments, or tell us about it on Twitter or Facebook

On content marketing

How to Overcome Content Marketing Struggles [from eMarketer; written by staff]

“In order to overcome resource, strategy and budget issues, marketers should consider having someone directly responsible for an overall content marketing strategy, as well as auditing, reusing and repurposing content.”

The 10 New Rules Of Visual Content Marketing [from Jeff Bullas]

8. The Law of Consistency 

Apart from engaging customers, the role of visual content is to reinforce your brand. For that to happen, your content needs to have consistency.

This isn’t strictly a new law, but it’s worth reinforcing. We’re not referring to publishing visual content consistently. It’s more about elements in your visuals that tell your target market that the visual is from your company – even if you’re not linked or tagged in it.

You can do this by using the same:

  • Fonts and colours as your website
  • Images in your company’s social media accounts and profile page headers
  • Design element like a background, banner, or logo.

Video Content Marketing: Pros, Cons, Examples and Best Practices [from TopRank Online Marketing Blog; written by James Anderson]

“Video has to be done right to be effective.”

Do YouTubers Fuel Purchase Intent Among Teens? [from eMarketer; written by staff]

Normally when you see a headline that ends in a question, you know it can immediately be answered with “no”. In this case, however, the answer is a resounding “yes”:

“YouTubers also had a much bigger influence on purchase intent among teens, as 63% said they would try a product or brand suggested by a YouTuber. In comparison, fewer than half of respondents said the same about recommendations from a TV or movie star.”

emarketer youtube

On social for events and making the most of social employees

Planning an Event? Don’t Get Skimpy With Your Social Media [from Marketing Profs; written by Joe Matthews]

“. . .to truly develop real-time, online buzz for an event, marketers must seek out genuine, nonintrusive ways for the brand to be included in the event content being shared to social. This means marketers need an event marketing strategy that taps into existing social habits of the audience.”

The Social Media Opportunity Most Businesses Miss (Do You?) [from Heidi Cohen]

Employees are the major social media opportunity most businesses overlook.

. . .

Change how you view your employees. See them as real people who have their own relationships, needs and interests beyond your business. Further, they’re experienced social media users who engage with their family and friends on a variety of networks.”

Emphasis original.

On campaigns

How to Create an Unforgettable Integrated Campaign [from Convince and Convert; written by Jessica Gioglio]

Not everyone has Oreo’s resources, but it’s always inspiring to see a clever and well-executed campaign across platforms and in the real world.

9 Word-of-Mouth Campaigns That Rocked [from Cision; written by Jim Dougherty]

“In 2015, social networks have demonstrably changed the word-of-mouth distribution model. Forty-seven percent of all U.S. adults use Facebook daily, 25 times the number of total daily social media users a decade earlier. While Jonah Berger’s research in Contagious: Why Things Catch On indicates that face-to-face word-of-mouth is more effective than social media word-of-mouth, social media is not an insignificant contributor to word-of-mouth ‘buzz.’”

Written by Sarah

March 27th, 2015 at 8:54 am

3 tips to maximize video marketing using Twitter

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Visual content marketing- particularly in the form of videos- is the hot topic of marketing at the moment. Videos are attention grabbing, and when done well, attention holding. They can elicit strong emotional response. Brands like Budweiser have capitalized on this with their horse-and-puppy friendship Super Bowl commercials. Most brands don’t have the same level of resources, however.

Make the most of the resources you do have and get the most out of the video content your brand shares on Twitter, with these three tips. The best part? They don’t require a multi-million dollar budget or dedicated video team to execute.

1. Tease pieces of a longer video

Drive traffic back to your YouTube channel or website by posting 6-second clips of your full video on Vine, 15-second clips on Instagram, and sharing both of those on your Twitter account. Pick the section of video that will be the most interesting to the audience on each platform, and take note of which one performs best when shared on Twitter.

2. Make a series of shorter videos leading up to a longer one

Even if what you’re planning to release is a longer video that covers different aspects of change in your business structure or that demos a product, you can still use this approach; just film quick 6-15 second clips of stand-ins acting as customers, asking the questions that your longer video will address. Tweet these with the promise that an answer is coming soon, and use them as an opening to get your customers to share their most frequent questions with you so that you can address them.

3. Use Twitter to source material for your next video

Whether you’re just getting into video marketing or your well of content ideas has run dry, Twitter can help you out. Do you host or attend any Twitter chats? Ask the attendees if there is a topic they’d like to see addressed, and plan your next video around it. Consider hosting a weekly Q&A on Twitter where you collect the best questions and have them answered in video format and shared back on Twitter. Use a unique hashtag for your Q&A so you can track the conversation over time, and so your question askers will have an easier time finding the new video answers as you post them.

The bottom line

Twitter is fantastic for amplification of your video messages, and for connecting with your audience in real-time way that isn’t possible with video comment sections.

Does your brand have a successful video content marketing strategy? What tips would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments.

Below: A quick Instagram demo of the visualization of the Union Metrics for Tumblr analytics we had on display in our suite at SXSW 2013. 


Watch reblog connections grow before your eyes: A visualization of Tumblr data powered by yours truly at Union Metrics, last #SXSWi. #TBT #ThrowbackThursday #SXSW

View on Instagram

Written by Sarah

October 9th, 2014 at 9:29 am

The Week in Social Analytics #99

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It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics and our favorite posts of the past week in the world of measurement, analytics, and social media. See a great piece we missed? Link to it in the comments, or tell us about it on Twitter or Facebook.

Instagram Diverges From Vine By Personalizing Explore Tab [from TechCrunch; written by Josh Constine]

“. . .Instagram’s Explore page is now also personalized with top photos and videos Liked by people you follow. Personalization highlights Instagram’s focus on your own social graph and a subjective vision of beauty, to contrast with Vine, which centers around re-sharing and globally popular expert content creators.”

Pair with MIT algorithm predicts how popular your Instagram photo will be [from The Verge; written by Adrianne Jeffries].

Brands Need to Stop Trying to Play Hero [from AdWeek; written by Gaston Legorburu]

“Remember, the goal is participation, so brands must create experiences beyond the narrative where heroes become immersed and involved. That’s the differentiator between a story told and a story lived.”

Study: 4.7% of Your Customers Generate 100% of Your Online Word of Mouth [from Mack Collier]

“So to put it another way, it is 4.7 percente of your social media following that generates all of the word of mouth results, and by results we mean conversions, not just reach.”

Stop Trying to be Human– Try Being Useful [from Social Media Explorer; written by Tracey Parsons]

 “It is however, un-natural to “engage” with a product or brand. I almost never talk to my pillow. I occasionally talk to my treadmill, but not in a nice, friendly way. So, let’s drop this whole notion of being more human and try instead to be useful.”

The art of storytelling in 6 content marketing context questions [from Fusion Marketing Experience; written by J-P De Clerck]

“Do brands create stories? Or do stories create brands?”

3 Reasons Your Brand Should Be Using Video On Twitter Right Now [from All Twitter; written by Lauren Dugan]

Video can make it possible to create an in-platform experience to connect with your fans, followers, and customers.

Pins, Tweets, and the Law [from TheBuzzBin; written by Dave Folkens]

A must-read if you’re planning a social contest:

“The issue for the brand in this case, and for all brands across any social network or site online, is disclosure and transparency of the connection between an activity and the incentivized nature of that action. Would a Pinterest user potentially create a board of fashionable shoes they liked? Absolutely. If the reason for the board, though, is a chance to win a prize, then they are essentially advertising to followers on behalf of the brand. Based on FTC guidance within its .com disclosures material, social media pins or posts are equivalent to providing an endorsement of the products. The use of a hashtag as part of the contest was also required and some might argue that was enough to identify that it was a promotion but it didn’t clearly indicate the potential financial connection so it failed in that sense of the disclosure. So while the brand was not (in my opinion) trying to deceive or trick users, it did not meet the true standard of the disclosure guidelines.”

Plus two more pieces on Pinterest from Social Media Today: Pinterest: The Gentler, Kinder Side of Consumer-Generated Endorsements and 9 Marketing Tips for Pinterest.

The Social Media and Device Facts You Need In 2014 [from Heidi Cohen]

“. . .what’s critical for marketers using social media and content marketing is that consumers want the content they choose on the device of their choice when they want it.

Emphasis original.

How to Succeed with Snapchat Marketing [from Social Media Today; written by Chris Syme]

An in-depth breakdown of marketing on the platform famous for its ephemeral content.

Written by Sarah

April 25th, 2014 at 9:38 am

The Week in Social Analytics #95

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It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics and our favorite posts of the past week in the world of measurement, analytics, and social media. See a great piece we missed? Link to it in the comments, or tell us about it on Twitter or Facebook.

6 Brands That Will Have You Rethinking Your Social Media Marketing Strategy [from Jeff Bullas dot com; written by Elli Bishop]

The big boys have bigger budgets and resources, but smaller brands can still take queues and get ideas from their strategies.

On Instagram, faces are 38% more likely to get ‘Likes’ [from Futurity; written by Jason Maderer]

“Researchers looked at 1.1 million photos on Instagram and found that pictures with human faces are 38 percent more likely to receive likes than photos with no faces.

They’re also 32 percent more likely to attract comments. The number of faces, gender, or age didn’t make a difference.”

Instagram Hits 200 Million Users: What Does This Mean For You? [from Social Media Today; written by Avtar Ram Singh]

“If your target audience is the younger demographic between the ages of 12-24, then you should definitely have a presence on Instagram – even if it’s one that involves you not talking about your product at all, but simply engaging and interacting with your fans to understand what they like.”

The Top 5 Brands on Instagram to Follow [from Jeff Bullas; written by Jason Parks]

Look to some of the best on the platform for inspiration in  your own strategy.

Pinterest Tacks On Paid Ads [from the Wall Street Journal; written by Mike Shields & Douglas MacMillan]

“. . .Pinterest Inc. now has a new goal: to reinvent online advertising.”

Who’s Engaging in Social TV? [from Marketing Charts; written by staff]

“Broken down into demographic groups, the study finds that the most socially engaged were Hispanics, for whom 10.5% of viewing occasions could be deemed ‘socially connected viewing.’ The next-most engaged were 25-34-year-olds (9.6%) and 15-24-year-olds (9.2%), while Asians (4.2%) and 45-54-year-olds (4.4%) were by far the least likely to engage in this activity.”

G.M. Uses Social Media to Manage Customers and Its Reputation [from The New York Times; written by Vindu Goel]

“G.M.’s dual approach — going about its normal business while trying to help specific customers — reflects the tightrope the company must walk on social media like Facebook and Twitter, where a customer’s perceptions of a brand are shaped by both what the company does and what other people say about it.”

Who, What, and Where Can You Personalize? Real-Time Personalization is Simpler Than You’d Think [from the Marketo Blog; written by Mike Telem]

“If you’re worried about creating enough personalized content for your real-time campaigns, stop worrying — you can personalize the content you already have. Real-time personalization can leverage existing content, personalizing your calls-to-action, user experience, images, and product offers.”

5 Must Read Perspectives on Social Media Marketing Strategy [from TopRank Online Marketing Blog; written by Lee Odden]

Stepping out of your own perspective sometimes can help inform your plans better than anything else.

10 Video Content Elements To Help You Become A Director [from Heidi Cohen]

If you’re going to get into video, do it right. The audience is there:

77% of global Internet users watch video, according to Global Web Index. In total, 1.15 billion people view video on a connected device. Of these, 626 million view video on a smartphone and 297 million view video on a tablet.”

Emphasis original.

Brands Respond To Customer Support Enquiries 8 Times Faster On Twitter Than On Email | STUDY [from All Twitter; written by Shea Bennett]

“Brands who offer consumer support on Twitter respond to tweets on average eight times faster than the typical brand email response, but only two in five successfully resolved the customer’s enquiry on the social network, reveals a new study.”


Written by Sarah

March 28th, 2014 at 9:18 am

The Week in Social Analytics #88

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It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics and our favorite posts of the past week in the world of measurement, analytics, and social media. See a great piece we missed? Link to it in the comments, or tell us about it on Twitter or Facebook.

Your Brand Is the Sum of the Stories We Tell About You [from Mack Collier]

“If you connect with your fans, the customers that love you, those fans will work with you to make sure they tell the story about your brand that you want other customers to hear.  Read that again until you understand just how important that is.”

Emphasis original.

5 Twitter Best Practices to Humanize Your Brand [from Social Media Today; written by Monica Jade Romeri]

Humans like to connect with other humans, not faceless corporate robots. (That’s why Merle has a face.)

The Confluence Of Content And Social Media: Insights For Success In 2014 [from Forbes; written by Jayson DeMers]

“One overarching theme in recent research is the benefit of properly targeting your social media efforts. If you want a better understanding of how social media influences your customers’ decisions to purchase your products and services, there are a few important questions that you’ve got to ask. In this case, a bit of smart consumer research will go a long way toward directing your social media strategy.”

6 Reasons Every Brand Should Create Social Video [from Social Times; written by Constance Aguilar]

“Video is quickly becoming the most effective brand marketing tool, and its popularity will continue to rise in 2014. Already 40 percent of the top 1,000 most popular Instagram videos are from brands, and a branded Vine video is four times more likely to be seen than a regular branded video.”

Millennials’ Social Media Posts Influence Peers to Buy New Products [from eMarketer; written by staff]

“Millennials are significantly more likely than older generations to be influenced by their friends’ social media posts about products and services. According to January 2014 polling conducted by Harris Interactive for The Webby Awards, 68% of 18-to-34-year-old social media users surveyed were at least somewhat likely to make a purchase after seeing a friend’s post.”

Social Media and Millennials: How They Shop [from Heidi Cohen]

“Less than 1 in 6 social media influenced millennials shop exclusively in stores.”

If this is your target demographic and you’re selling on social, be sure you’re engaging in a timely, human way with your customers and followers, and be doubly sure all transaction processes are set up to run smoothly.

STUDY: Interacting With Other Brands Makes Consumers More Loyal [from PR Newser; written by Patrick Coffee]

“Here’s what we take from these findings: brands shouldn’t be afraid of competitors targeting their most loyal consumers. In fact, they might even want to encourage it. In many cases, trying something different just reminds you why you prefer your favorites.”

And finally, a bonus roundup of some posts on social media myths:

Busting The Myths of Social Media and Content Marketing [Geekless Tech] 

6 Social Media Marketing Myths To Avoid [Business2Community]

Written by Sarah

February 7th, 2014 at 8:42 am

What is TweetReach?

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Here’s a quick video explaining what TweetReach is and how it can help you measure your – or your campaign’s – impact on Twitter.

Still have questions? Just ask!

Written by Jenn D

June 18th, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Posted in Guides,Help

Tagged with , ,