Are Facebook’s garden walls finally being knocked down?

Anybody who’s come into contact with Facebook Ads Manager knows that accessing any useful insights into your campaigns is like drawing blood from a stone. As such, we could only dream of them giving us access to a competitor insight tool – think the business version of trying to stalk your blind date after Facebook upped their privacy settings in 2014. Paid Search has Adthena, SEO Linkdex – so why doesn’t Facebook have one? All that could be about to change with the introduction of a new feature that will essentially allow businesses to ‘spy’ on competitors ads.

One minute you’re not able to even pull a report split by your chosen targeting segments, the next they give you the means to see every single active ad your competitor is running, – along with how much they’re spending and who they’re targeting – with one single click. So what prompted this giant step? It all stems from that time it came out that a Russian political group had been pushing political messages in ads during the US presidential election. The ads were seen by approximately 10 million people and focused on race, immigration and LGBT treatment, and 44% were seen before the election on the 8th November 2016 – some starting as early as 2015.

The new feature, named ‘View Ads’ (bonus points to the genius behind that one), will enable anyone to click a single button on any Business Page which will then display all active ads across the three platforms (Facebook, Instagram and Messenger), even if the person looking is not in the target audience of that ad. It’s being rolled out in Canada first, with plans to extend this to the US by summer and hopefully all other countries will shortly follow suit.

facebook view ads tool for transparency screenshot

The difference with political ads moving forward is the extra layer of security, requiring buyers to verify their identities, and all election-related ads to include a disclosure that tells the consumer who they were “Paid for by”. Of course, you cry, there will be hundreds of organisations that will point blank refuse to do this!? Well, Mark Zuckerberg announced the company’s plans to hire 1,000 people to review the content, context and targeting of adverts, as well as investing in machine learning to assist and automate the process.

Further steps Facebook is taking to manage the above include tightening restrictions on advertiser content and expanding their policies ”to prevent ads that use even more subtle expressions of violence”. What exactly Facebook classifies as ‘subtle violence’ is currently unclear. They also mention working together with other companies such as Twitter – who have also admitted to being affected by Russian interferers – as well as governments to share information of known malicious accounts, ads and the strategies troll use to banish them from every platform.

So, is this Facebook giving us a competitor analysis tool? Perhaps not, but it can only be a good thing. After all, no one can forget about that ad category disaster back in September (if you’re reading this Facebook, we still want targeting strategies as a reporting breakdown).

Related posts:

The post Are Facebook’s garden walls finally being knocked down? appeared first on Harvest Digital ™.

Demystifying the Design Process with Sketch

For non-designers, there is often a level of mysticism around the way we work. In your job, it may well be your responsibility to brief a designer, but as for what happens in between that stage and finally seeing the fruits of their labour – well, this may be rather alien. While it’s not necessarily important to know the ins and outs of this (in a similar way that I can’t claim much knowledge for what our developers do code-side), this post aims to demystify the process and shed light on one of my favourite design programs at the moment, and equip you with good reason to convince any digital or web designer you work with to pick it up if they don’t use it already. Not to mention that having a top-level overview of design software makes it a whole lot easier to communicate with those that do use it.

If the above doesn’t quite apply to you, don’t click off just yet; there is still value to be had if you are:

  1. A designer – learn how this program and accompanying tools can improve the way you work.

  2. A jack-of-all-trades – discover how you can improve the design aspect of your role

  3. A manager – as if by magic  find out how to streamline your team and processes

Still here? Great, let’s begin.

Disclaimer: This is not an advertorial.

While it would be nice to have been sponsored to write this post, it’s worth clarifying first of all that any hints of sales chatter that may ensue should just be read as pure enthusiasm for the product.

So, to cut to the chase, my most-recommended piece of design software at the moment is Sketch. It’s my partner in design if you will. I started using it around two years ago and haven’t looked back since. Before getting on to the ‘why?’  and ‘how?’ though, let’s briefly touch upon what it actually is (and isn’t)  for those in the dark.

Sketch? What’s that?

On paper Sketch is a ‘proprietary vector graphics editor’. From a user perspective though, it’s essentially a blank canvas in which you can design and create anything from a macro website right down to the nitty-gritty aspects of a user-interface.

Rather than just rattle through more points about what Sketch is and what it’s capable of, I want to throw in a quick lowdown as to what it isn’t:

  • It isn’t anything to do with SketchUp (which happens to be a 3D graphics modelling programme) so best not to get them confused.

  • It isn’t an illustration, photomanipulation or text-setting tool – these are best left to Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign, respectively.

  • It isn’t going to work in Windows/Linux etc. – sorry! It’s an Apple macOS-only program; though the benefit of this being that it’s incredibly well-designed and intuitive for Mac users.

  • It isn’t going to break the bank! Sure, it was the free trial that roped me in to give it a go, but it was the very reasonable price tag that converted me to a paying user.

Life before Sketch

Before Sketch came along, my go-to design programme had always been Adobe Illustrator. Illustrator and I go way back, to my teen years, before I ever thought of myself as a designer. Over the years I’ve built up a bank of knowledge and can convincingly say that I now have a pretty good understanding of its features, and am more than happy to sing its praises over the likes of Photoshop. Similarly, when I joined Distilled, the other designers here were also keen advocates of Illustrator, and so it never occurred to me to question the process. Until one day I was chatting with a designer from another company, and on finding out our process, looked at me with incredulity and asked: “You use Illustrator for web build design?!” To be fair to us, there are plenty of designers who did, and still, do this. But importantly, this set the wheels in motion for me to look beyond our tried and tested tools. After some research it seemed a lot of people in the design community were raving about Sketch – this relative ‘new kid on the block’; so I set myself the task of using it for the next project I was assigned to.

I was immediately sold; and here are three reasons why you should be too.

1. Designed for digital, with a kickass online community to match

Unlike Illustrator, Sketch is designed for digital-first use cases in mind. With that comes an understanding that us digital folk want things done fast, we want them now. The time it took for me to go from deciding to try it out, to downloading, installing and opening the app, was less than five minutes. Anyone who has ever tried to get Illustrator on their machine before can relate to how amazed I was at the speed. That’s not a surprise, considering the app itself comes in only at 45.2mb, in comparison to Illustrator CS6 at 259.8mb.

Sketch’s UI is laid out in a clean, modular fashion, with no potential for toolbars to become unwieldy and disparate  (which I’m definitely guilty of in Illustrator), and this ease of use if further reflected in the way the programme operates:

No matter how intuitive a tool is, questions are bound to crop up when you start doing more complex things. Luckily I quickly learnt what a great online community Sketch has fostered. My favourite forum is where you can generally expect pretty fast response rates.

Not only is this community great in sharing knowledge on a case-by-case basis, there are also those who eagerly contribute by writing plugins (often open source and free to use) which enhance the capabilities of Sketch. For example, just the other day I came across AnimateMate, allowing users to create simple animations. This is just one example amongst many. Usually, if I know something I specifically want to do that isn’t natively built into Sketch, I’ll consult Google – ‘[blank]  plugin for Sketch’. Or, I might occasionally browse directories like this and this to discover new goodies.

All in all, the payback far outweighs the minimal learning curve of familiarising yourself with slightly different keyboard shortcuts.

2. Save time (and money) by streamlining the route from design to development

Prior to Sketch, my process from taking a design into development typically looked like this:

  1. Create layouts in Illustrator.

  2. Write up a detailed spec document for the developer, including aspects such as font weights and sizing, and hex code colours to name but a few.

  3. Export a series of flat image or PDF from Illustrator for the dev and manually save any assets they might need, e.g. icons, images or logos.

  4. Dev then goes away and uses the above to code and build by eye to match the design.

  5. Expect a few feedback rounds on getting sizings, padding etc spot on.

Instead, my process is cut pretty much in half and now consists of just three steps:

  1. Create layouts in Sketch.

  2. Export layouts into Zeplin (third party plugin) project.

  3. Invite developer to the Zeplin project (which literally just takes seconds).

Zeplin is my second most favoured tool when it comes to design. Its saved me hours by eliminating the need to do a write up a spec, manually export assets and cuts down the back and forth with developers by a mile. In fact, it almost deserves another post all to itself, but in the meantime, they’ve got the ground covered in a couple of quick overviews as to how Zeplin is good for designers and also developers.

If I still haven’t convinced you yet, just know that a lot of these new time-saving tools only support Sketch and not Illustrator 😉

3. Work with a tool that’s as agile and iterative as you

Sketch is an app that’s constantly improving and pushing out updates. There’s even a part of their site dedicated to showcasing the latest changes. From a user perspective, I love this – it shows that I’m getting a product that’s at the forefront of technologies. And of course, it’s not cumbersome to update, no machine restarts etc.  The majority of them are done in the time it takes to go make a brew. Given that there’s not a single day in which the digital landscape isn’t changing, it’s great to know that the tool you’re working with is also changing and improving with it.

In fact, as much as it is about delivering the best user offering, it is a market as competitive as any other. As well as die-hard Illustrator and Photoshop fans to try and lure away, there are others trying to steal market share, for example, Adobe XD and soon-to-be InVision Studio. The Sketch folk know they can’t rest on their laurels, and I’m looking forward to another year of great updates fuelled by a dose of healthy competition.

Closing thoughts

To summarise, Sketch has revolutionised the way I approach design, forcing me to think more about the power of automation and in turn benefiting from that with shortcuts that don’t compromise on quality. I urge anyone working with designers to get them to give it a go. And with a one-month free trial, there’s really no excuse.

McDonald’s Launches Tantalising Data-Driven Roadside Campaign

McDonald’s has today launched Traffic Busters, a unique roadside campaign that uses traffic data to automate contextual messages, aimed at tempting drivers to visit their nearest McDonald’s restaurant. The nationwide campaign reacts to the speed of traffic at each location to deliver tactical messages across premium roadside billboards from 6 th –15 th November.

Created by Leo Burnett and produced by Grand Visual, the campaign features tantalising shots of McDonald’s most well-loved burgers, fries and shakes, but when congestion levels rise, and traffic slows, the creative switches to display the brands iconic illuminated golden arches with the simple, relevant, call to action: “Stuck in a jam? There’s a light at the end of the tunnel”.

The media was planned and booked by OMD and Talon and spans multiple screen formats across 10 key cities and spanning 7 different media owners. The dynamic campaign is managed and distributed through QDOT’s digital OOH ad tech platform OpenLoop. OpenLoop analyses real-time data from Google Traffic API and triggers the relevant geo-targeted playout of content to each roadside location.

Katie Parker, Head of Marketing, at McDonald’s, said:

“This data-driven digital OOH campaign uses traffic speed to contextualise copy, reaching drivers with targeted and tactical messages that tap into their mindset in that moment.”

Dan Dawson, Chief Creative Technology Officer at Grand Visual, added:

“This tactical campaign is a great use of the medium. Simple, tantalising, recognisable product shots stimulate the appetite during fast flowing traffic, whilst longer contextual copy lines run during heavy, slow moving traffic, acknowledging the delays to deliver a relevant and powerful call to action.”

Helen Saffer, Business Director at Talon commented:

This campaign is the perfect example of Talon’s smarter as standard approach to planning, fitting seamlessly with how the client and agency want to use media and push the boundaries. Using relevant data we hand selected key sites on the busiest roads in the UK. Through smart use of data we have used Digital OOH to the best of its capabilities to ensure a contextual, striking and relevant message for consumers.

The post McDonald’s Launches Tantalising Data-Driven Roadside Campaign appeared first on Grand Visual Creative.

Google Launches Data-Driven Roadside Campaign to Promote Google Pixel 2

Google is launching a tactical, data-driven digital OOH campaign to promote its second-generation smartphone, Pixel 2. The campaign uses location, audience, traffic, and moment specific data, to run contextual messaging across road, transit, and retail locations in a nationwide push from 6th November – 18th December, followed by a Christmas specific push which runs through to 31st December.

Created by BBH and produced by Grand Visual, the campaign highlights 5 key features of the new Google Pixel 2; Assistant, Lens, Storage, Battery, and Camera. The campaign brings each feature to life by responding to conditions at each location to trigger the most appropriate feature in that moment and to contextualise creative at a city and even fashion, food or nightlife hub. The campaign also takes into account, traffic delays, time of day and key dates such as Bonfire Night and New Year’s Eve to provide relevance in its messaging.

On Friday night, for example, digital billboards close to nightlife hotspots could ask “Did my nightlife just get brighter?” whilst displaying the Pixel 2 with low-light camera. Alternatively, heavy traffic at roadside and transit locations could trigger creative for Google Assistant and query “Could it win me points for punctuality?” with an image of someone running for transport. All photo imagery used in the campaign was shot on a Pixel 2 and taken by fashion and food influencers.

On London bus lines, digital, geo-targeted side panels will display messages such as “Pixel 2, now at an EE store in Hackney” will display and adjust depending on the neighborhood or particular landmark the bus is passing.

The media was planned and booked by OMD and Talon and spans 8 cities and 7 different media owner inventories. To enhance the contextual relevancy of the campaign, artwork is dynamically triggered through OpenLoop which integrates traffic, rail, time of day, and location data, and automates the delivery of specific creative when predefined conditions are met.

Dan Dawson, Chief Creative Technology Officer at Grand Visual, said:

“Using data to inform digital OOH creative keeps messages targeted and useful throughout the consumer journey. By exploiting the context effect, Google has created a compelling call to action that is aligned with the consumer mindset.”

The post Google Launches Data-Driven Roadside Campaign to Promote Google Pixel 2 appeared first on Grand Visual Creative.

All the MMA SA Smarties 2017 Winners!

The Mobile Marketing Association South Africa (MMA SA) celebrated creativity, innovation, and talent across mobile marketing at the MMA SA Smarties Awards 2017, held at The Capital Moloko Hotel, Sandton on Thursday, 2 November.

The evening drew attention to pioneering mobile campaigns, following the Smarties Forum held earlier in the day at the same venue, and revealed the winners of the sought-after Smarties Awards for mobile marketing excellence.

The Liquorice unicorns came out as a big winner overall with five individual awards for three different campaigns and the title of agency of the year. This follows their excellent showing at the EMEA regional awards held last week.

Yonder Media also did very well in receiving five awards for two different campaigns, as well as the title ‘publisher/media company of the year in mobile’; while Havas Boondoggle brought home four awards as well as the best in show accolade for the Durex ‘The big O’ campaign.

Gorilla was another top performer, responsible for five awards; with Mobitainment & Brainbow Conscious Creatives and AAT (Always Active Technologies) responsible for three awards each, for their ‘Ariel impossible made possible’ campaign and ‘info4africa – Omnichannel mobile user experience’ work respectively; with Boxer Superstores’ ‘Dreams come true at Boxer with Sunlight’ receiving an award; as did Strika Entertainment for ‘KFC Supa Strikas golden shakes’; Conversation Lab for ‘Dunlop lead generation’; Jupiter Drawing Room Cape Town for ‘Burger King #SWHOPPER’; as well as Mobiclicks for the ‘CNA June holiday’ campaign.

MMA SA’s mobile marketing industry awards 2017

  • Agency of the year: Liquorice
  • Enabling technology company of the year in mobile: Google
  • Operator of the year in mobile: Vodacom
  • Publisher/media company of the year in mobile: Yonder Media


Winners of MMA SA Smarties Awards 2017


Category Award Agency Brand Campaign Name
Brand Awareness Gold Havas Boondoggle Durex The Big O
Silver Liquorice & FCB Amarula Amarula #Namethemsavethem
Bronze Mobitainment & Brainbow Conscious Creatives Ariel Ariel Impossible made Possible
Bronze Yonder Media Shoprite Shoprite Low Price Christmas Brand Awareness Campaign
Lead Generation Gold Havas Boondoggle Durex The Big O
Silver Yonder Media Government Employee Medical Scheme (GEMS) GEMS Evo Switch Campaign
Bronze Boxer Superstores Boxer Superstores Dreams come true at Boxer with Sunlight
Bronze Conversation Lab Dunlop SA Dunlop Lead Generation
Product/Services Launch Gold Strika Entertainment KFC KFC Supa Strikas Golden Shakes
Silver Yonder Media Government Employee Medical Scheme (GEMS) GEMS Evo Switch Campaign
Relationship Building and CRM Bronze Liquorice Surf – Unilever Surf School of Shine
Social Impact / Non for Profit Gold Liquorice Amarula Amarula #NameThemSaveThem
Silver AAT (Always Active Technologies) info4africa info4africa – Omnichannel Mobile User Experience
Cross Media Gold Mobitainment & Brainbow Conscious Creatives Ariel Ariel Impossible made Possible
Silver Gorilla Lux – Unilever We are More
Cross Mobile Integration Gold Yonder Media Government Employee Medical Scheme (GEMS) GEMS Evo Switch Campaign
Silver AAT (Always Active Technologies) info4africa info4africa – Omnichannel Mobile User Experience
Messaging Bronze Gorilla SHIELD – Unilever It’s Your Move
Mobile Website Gold Liquorice Amarula Amarula #NameThemSaveThem
Silver Havas Boondoggle Durex The Big O
Mobile Social Gold Havas Boondoggle Durex The Big O
Silver The Jupiter Drawing Room CT Burger King #SWHOPPER
Bronze Gorilla Mondelez – Stimorol Stimoji
Location Based Services or Targeting Gold Yonder Media Shoprite Shoprite Local Awareness Campaign
Silver Mobiclicks CNA CNA June Holiday Campaign
Bronze AAT (Always Active Technologies) info4africa Non Profit Organisation info4africa – Omnichannel Mobile User Experience
Silver Gorilla AXE – Unilever You’ve got Something
Bronze Gorilla LUX – Unilever We are More
Mobile Video Bronze Liquorice SA Home Loans SA Home Loans House Rules
Mobile Audio Silver Mobitainment & Brainbow Conscious Creatives Ariel Ariel Impossible made Possible
Havas Boondoggle Durex The Big O

Follow the #MMASASMARTIES17 hashtag for the latest updates!


The post All the MMA SA Smarties 2017 Winners! appeared first on Conversation LAB.

Behold A Glorious Night of Fire

Don’t Panic appreciates that sometimes the best way to puncture the tension and threat of complete annihilation is with a little satire. Humour can help broach even the tensest of conversations and deliver some of the most complicated messages. After all, there’s no more ambitious rebrand than that of North Korea’s most glorious general.

Don't Panic Fireworks Feature

Working in partnership with one of the world’s most volatile and rotund leaders, Don’t Panic proudly presents this Bonfire Night’s must-have missile – Kim Jong-Un’s very own branded fireworks! As the North Korean dictator gets his new product launch off the ground, he has released a statement in support of this exciting new partnership:

“This 5th November, I am delighted that Don’t Panic are helping me to bring my unique brand of fiery death to you, the dishonourable imperialist dogs of the USA and United Kingdom. I send Don’t Panic my greatest appreciations for enabling you all to experience my ballistic joy explosions and create seas of hellfire in your very own gardens. Now we will see just who is the Little Rocket Man!”

Many kind regards and death to the West,

Invincible and Triumphant Leader

Don't Panic Kim Jung-Un Fireworks spread

Numbers are limited, so to get you hands on a box, contact this very instant, as they’re going like incredibly hot cakes. Then light the fuse, stand back and make this a 5th of November that you will most certainly remember, remember.

Kim Jong-un with military band

The post Behold A Glorious Night of Fire appeared first on Don’t Panic London.