Recently, TechCrunch wrote an analysis/commentary about the growing concern with Facebook’s page reach. The article, “Why Is Facebook Page Reach Decreasing? More Competition And Limited Attention,” identifies a decline in the value of Facebook fans as a function of the amount of content posted to the social network.

To paraphrase the article, the decrease in organic reach is natural and, in fact, unavoidable. EdgeRank Checker analyzed 50,000 posts from 1,000 Pages and revealed that Facebook organic reach has actually been on a steady decline for the past two years:


Simply stated, although the amount of Facebook status updates will continue to climb, the amount of time people spend viewing this content will not.

In my opinion, it’s imperative that marketers understand the implications of this reality. They have spent A LOT of money building Likes so that they could harness Facebook as a channel within an overall marketing or service offering. Going forward, however, Facebook will continue to tweak its filtering algorithm to hide/show content unless marketers pay to promote their posts. Without doing so, brands’ customers may never see the content in their feed.

To be clear, I of course understand the content overload challenge that Facebook has to address. That said, I am not sure I buy it. This smells and feels like a monetization plan for Facebook (FWIW – most of the commenters on the TC article seem to agree).

Furthermore, if you do a quick Google search (“Facebook filtered feed”), you will see that this subject is not exactly a new topic. Leading sites have been discussing and debating this for some time now:

Twitter, on the other hand, right now is not doing any filtering. I’ve heard plenty of complaints that the feed reads like a firehose and people must layer in other tools to filter out the noise. Does that seems like a better approach though? I personally would rather have the tools to customize my feed AS I SEE FIT.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the market. If big brands vote with their feet (…and their wallets) and shift their attention to Vine, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest, Facebook will have to answer their concerns.

In the meantime, here is my simple piece of advice: Leverage these social channels to build your audience, but make sure you are driving those followers/fans/likes/etc. to a channel where you OWN your data: an email or mobile subscriber database.

The excitement around the Waterfall and mCordis partnership is pretty special, and this comes from someone who might be described as “old timber” in the mobile marketing industry. I’m very excited to be working at Waterfall; there’s an enthusiasm and dynamism here much like my first days at the company I co-founded, iLoop Mobile, with Michael Becker back in 2004. So now we’ve come full circle, as my personal and professional relationship with Michael Becker at mCordis goes back to the dawn of mobile marketing in North America, when we were a company of two guys and laptops in a “ready suite” in SOMA, San Francisco. Those were heady and exciting days, when the idea of engaging with consumers or delivering content via a cell phone was the realm of Star Trek communicators. The word we used for many years as we introduced and educated companies to a new customer engagement channel was “evangelism.” I feel Waterfall’s partnership with mCordis has that same passion, yet in a different, more focused and real way as the industry has matured.

Back in the early days of mobile, we had to approach mobile marketing the same way Vince Lombardi, the legendary football coach, would start every training camp: with a locker room speech that began “Gentlemen, this is a football.” Only for us, it was in boardrooms with the words “Ladies and gentlemen, this is a short code.” How times have changed. Evangelism today is no longer techno-centric; it’s now the excitement around helping companies understand how incredibly effective mobile messaging can be in driving mission critical marketing and business operations objectives—when done with correct strategies and tactics. And when I talk about objectives, I mean objectives that directly affect customer engagement, loyalty and bottom line revenue, in ways never seen before. The data on customer behavior and preferences that can be captured by mobile, when integrated with CRM data from other channels, is even more powerful. Mobile can provide value to both marketers and consumers in a win/win relationship that is nothing short of magic. When done well, there can be altruism to consumer communications that is the new paradigm in marketing. To be blunt, any marketer, publisher, or company that does not understand how essential mobile messaging is to customer communications is losing the plot.  But understanding how to harness the power of mobile devices, in a way that enhances your ability to create that win/win relationship with your target customers/audience, is the million-dollar question. Certainly the tried and true concepts of marketing apply to mobile, yet the channel presents unique challenges and opportunities that require core competence and expertise. That’s where a partnership like Waterfall and mCordis comes in.

Without listing the details of their resumes (which would take another 2,000 words, check them out here here), Michael Becker and Paul Berney at mCordis represent the highest degree of experience and expertise in mobile marketing, worldwide. Before founding mCordis, they were respectively the managing directors for the Mobile Marketing Association North America and EMEA. This means that they worked with, and learned from, the perspective of EVERY industry sector—brands, technology providers, publishers, enterprises and end users themselves. They bring the unique background as both global academic researchers and real-market mobile marketing practitioners. Partnered with Waterfall’s executive team, which brings decades of combined experience in designing and delivering successful mobile campaigns and messaging services, the mobile marketing education and best practices program offered by Waterfall and mCordis is a priceless opportunity to learn from the best. The really cool thing about this program is that all it costs you is the time to participate. The real world price on this kind of strategic learning would make you blanche, so I encourage you to take advantage of this great resource. We have webinars and live events in SF, NYC and Chicago where you can meet the team personally. Learn more about our first event here. We look forward to meeting you.

You can read more about Waterfall’s partnership with mCordis in the press release.

For those not following me on Twitter @matthewsilk and reading my conference updates in real-time, I jotted down some notes on the sessions from the recent AdAge Digital conference. If you missed the show, below I’ve included links to articles published by AdAge with more details on the specifics. 

[X+1] and Empower MediaMarketing 

Kicked off the breakfast session on Tuesday by describing how Rust-Oleum re-invented itself by moving positioning away from products and focusing instead on delivering customers content around DIY Projects. Fascinating to hear the story and transformation of a brand that decided to focus on engagement as a way to rejuvenate customer relationships. In the end, Rust-Oleum figured out that customers weren’t passionate about paint, believe it or not, but were about home improvement projects. By providing a forum to discuss ideas and solicit advice, Rust-oleum captured a ton of data and eventually became a part of their customers (slash prospects) lives. I would have loved to see the brand on stage with the vendors, but the case study set the tone for the day.

Mark Addicks, CMO General Mills

Drove home how marketing for General Mills is changing in this new digital age. He described how to lead with a clear purpose and engage customers in an authentic way. The company’s “Betty Loves All Families” campaign was a great example of how to harness customer pride, as General Mills deployed photo booths and online tools to capture people’s stories and spur more dialogue on diversity in our culture today. The other example that jumped out at me (though not sure as connected to his theme) was taking the 50-year old LuckyCharms brand and matching it with pop culture sensation Pentatonix to remix the theme song.

Clive Sirkin, CMO of Kimberly-Clark

Gave a rousing talk equating today’s marketing professionals to people standing on ice afraid to move. In his words, “Change = more risk is often a flawed assumption.” He challenged the audience to take a leap forward and learn from any mistakes. He argued that even calling the AdAge conference “Digital” is limiting and silo’ing, a mistake of which all organizations are guilty. Above all, customers do not think about traditional vs. digital vs. mobile when they interact with marketers, so organizing around these artificial walls makes little sense. I also like how he encouraged folks to re-think the current creative brief process, arguing that we way too often optimize around getting the best of particular solution before discussing the problem we are actually trying to solve.

Aaron Evanson, ECD at VML

Had a quick sponsored spot that revved the audience’s tastebuds and funny bone as he told the Wendy’s Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger Cheesy Love Songs Case Study. Wendy’s literally took actual tweets and posts and made them into the lyrics for cheesy songs which they then turned into online videos. Hilarious and fun way to engage customers, as you can see for yourself:

Elyssa Gray, Head of Creative & Media, North America Marketing at CITI 

Ended day one recounting the story on how the CitiBike program came to be in NYC. With a $41M six-year sponsorship, CITI launched a program that now has 100K members and boasts millions of miles trekked (Elyssa has received lots of phone calls from other cities that want to launch their programs as soon as possible). She talked through some of financial troubles the program has had, but is confident the the owners and city will figure out how to drive success. When asked about the plan after initial sponsorship, she joked that she has had a tough time imagining the program being referred to as anything besides “CitiBike.” From an advertising perspective, CITI claims earnings of $4.4M in media already, so Elyssa is extremely happy with the success to date.

Gary Vaynerchuk

For me, the highlight of the show (if you haven’t heard him speak, make some time to check him out on YouTube). His stories about everything, from growing up in an immigrant family to starting a baseball card business that made $3K/month at age 12 and growing his father’s liquor store business from $3M/year to $60M, are truly inspiring. Moreover, his brutal honesty and no BS tone/advice to “Market in the year we are f–king living in!” is a breath of fresh air. I wish every media buying agency forced employees to watch many hours of Gary’s videos, as they undoubtedly would question some of their existing practices (one good example: why are we spending $66B on TV ads per year when everyone knows that besides live sporting events a ridiculous percentage of the commercials are DVR’d?). For a quick re-cap of his key points check out this AdAge article.

The Futurist Panel

Of course, no marketing conference can happen without the futurist panelProfessor Galloway in particular captured the audience’s attention with his bold predictions and data to back them up.

Jim Squires from Instagram led an insightful session on being authentic when advertising through his company’s channel. However, it sounds like, unless you are spending $1M, this channel isn’t open to the public just yet. I would advise those of you with such budgets (and deep pockets) to reach out and chat directly.


The last session ended the conference on a high note. Two challenger brands, E*TRADE and T-MOBILE, did a fireside chat and talked through all the recent changes you’ve seen, from T-MOBILE’s positioning as the the UN-CARRIER and E*TRADE’s retirement of the baby in favor of the new “TYPE-E” campaign. Liza, E*TRADE’s CMO, discussed the company’s rationale, as Type-E was set to launch just after the show (I was actually at E*TRADE in 2000 when the $2M monkey commercial launched, as well as when the baby launched, so I loved hearing a great story.) Liza described in detail the maturation of the industry and how E*TRADE decided to focus on those investors who can work the online tools, but also aren’t afraid to admit they need help sometimes. T-MOBILE’S DeLuca talked about the company is going against all of the other carriers and trying to shake up the industry. Tactics include no contracts and agreeing to pay the ETF fees if customers want to switch over.


There were of course a number of other sessions, but the above were those that made me stop and think. Across all the sessions and key takeaways that I heard, a few common themes emerged:

  • Engage consumers in an authentic fashion that fits with the channel you are addressing.
  • Re-invent/position/change/kill the TV ad spend since no one is watching.
  • Kill the term “digital” when you talk about marketing. Silo’ing traditional vs. digital vs mobile vs <insertChannelhere> just hurts your brand, as you are not organizing around how modern customers communicate.
  • Though this wasn’t a mobile-focused conference, every speaker mentioned mobile engagement as critical to his/her success.

Next, I’m headed to San Francisco for Forrester’s conference and the VentureBeat Mobile Summit, so make sure you follow me @matthewsilk and subscribe here for the skinny.

On March 29 my colleague and I attended the D3 Unconf at GitHub headquarters. You can view this link to get an idea of what people created and submitted using D3 for the event. 

For those outside the engineering world, “D3” describes “Data-Driven Documents.” Topics include visualization design, API design and requesting new features. To get help with D3, you can use the d3.js tag on Stack Overflow or join in on various online conversations.

Overall, the event was really cool and engaging. The organizers managed to recruit knowledgeable experts and GitHub HQ seemed like the ideal location. I thought that the topics were interesting and well-presented, as each session included coding and analysis. In the future, I imagine the event planners will try to improve some organizational specifics, as there was lots of noise and the program seemed unclear at times. I would also encourage organizers to provide more tools for the classes (it was hard to hear the people, which stifled some discussion).

Below is a photo essay I put together highlighting some of my favorite moments from the conference. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to post them to the comments and I will respond right away.

The entrance to the event was a clone of the Oval Office – very presidential. 


I rocked my V2 Waterfall hoodie, which I think paired nicely with the event badge:


I was ecstatic starting off the day with a delicious and fresh breakfast (my colleague Joby felt that these were the best croissants in SF):


I tried to take advantage of my free time to explore the grounds. Some furniture items made me feel right at home.



The open space at the event’s entrance was packed with people sharing and discussing data visualization ideas and projects:


I really enjoyed meeting Stewart Noyce from He’s got an excellent blog.


After breakfast we moved to the conference room for the first introduction.


Irene Ros started her presentation about D3 and described some of the D3 projects on which she had worked:



One of my favorite aspects of the day was that attendees proposed and decided on the discussion to create the final program. Here’s a snapshot of Class #1, which provided an introduction to D3 from Irene Ros


Class #2 was a performance of D3 and canvas presented by Kai Salmon Chang. Here’s some of the code and examples we discussed. I particularly enjoyed chatting with a data scraper who has a portfolio of excellent work available on GitHub.


Had to be sure I didn’t leave the event without souping up my computer with some new schwag. 


Lunch was delicious, though not as good as breakfast. 


In Class #3, we looked at Data Scraping and Storing with Peter Bakkum. Irene Ros came back for Class #4 to look at some D3 examples and challenges. Class #5 involved visualizing neural networks. After staring at this whiteboard and formulas, you’ll get a sense for why a full belly was essential. 


A special thanks to the event organizers and hosts. It was a wonderful learning experience and I look forward to participating in the future.

A talented, versatile developer and designer, Federico Bucchi was recently brought into Waterfall’s Special Projects team. When not writing poetry, trying to fix our aging Wii, learning about D3 or any other forward thinking technology, Fed enjoys telling everyone he is Italian. 

Destination CRM recently published our advice to marketers about integrating data into a mobile marketing strategy. The article, “Meeting the Mobile Marketing Data Integration Challenge,” walks through three straight-forward tactics marketers can use to augment mobile messaging with segmentation and targeting, including: 

  • Capturing Demographic Data From All Customer Touch Points
  • Creating Individual Experiences Easily Analyzed in Aggregate
  • Integrating Systems Rather Than Maintaining Channels in Silo

Check out CRM Magazine for the full details about switching from a channel-centered approach to one focused on customers. You can follow CRM Mag @CRM and us @Waterfall.

To quote peers of mine, SaaStr and Jason Lemkin, Waterfall’s cavalry has arrived. Official today, Waterfall has added more than 40 years of mobile marketing sales experience in hiring Jay O’Sullivan, Michael Weaver, Michael Ahearn and Mark Shelley. Needless to say, I’m ecstatic about the leadership qualities, sales skills and professionalism each one brings to the Waterfall team. 

As CEO of an enterprise software company, one of the most difficult tasks to accomplish once you find product / market fit is recruiting and building a dynamite sales team. Relaunching as Waterfall, with the amount of energy we put into our platform and customers, sales leadership was the next building block to add to the equation. Once we acquired and rebranded, we were fortunate to land on the radar of some of the most prominent sales and business development executives in the industry. As the saying goes, sales guys don’t join companies to sell tier two products. They join places where they see an opportunity to make some serious dough.

The moment I met each of these industry veterans was instant validation for the hard work Waterfall has put in over the past years. At Waterfall, we’ve been able to develop a self-aware vision of product success, but selling to–and closing–the sellers provides further proof that your company is really onto something. My initial conversation with Jay, Mark and the two Michaels was similar. They started by saying something along the lines of, “You guys are onto something very big,” and “Why do we not see Waterfall in the market more often; your reputation is beyond compare.”

We then dove into how they each felt they could help us realize our vision to become the most dominant mobile and social CRM company on the planet. Now, with such experienced and talented individuals on board to evangelize Waterfall’s mission, we can help brands and agencies reap significant monetary benefits from their audience of mobile customers.

And so it begins, meshing the top product with the top sales talent in the industry.

You can read more about Waterfall’s newest sales hires in the press release. 

This is the second of the two-part series analyzing the white paper “Unsubscribe Predictor.” The first installment describes the concept of unsubscribe rate and how it impacts marketers.

This week we published the white paper Unsubscribe Predictor, which teaches brand, agency and product professionals how to maximize mobile marketing customer retention using various factors such as industry, time of day and message content. Today’s installment of our two-part Cliffs Notes version, a “Marketer’s Guide to Unsubscribe Predictor”, reveals our research approach and findings.

Research Approach

Having developed our thesis of how unsubscribe rate impacts customer lifetime value, we set out to develop a research approach. We started by trying to think about the common characteristics across each outbound mobile marketing blast. After some boardroom spitballing, we determined that all characteristics fit into two general categories:

  • Broadcast-specific: those characteristics innate to the broadcast itself. Examples include the time the broadcast was sent, the content of the broadcast, the frequency and “recentness” of previous blasts.
  • List-specific: those characteristics representative of the recipients of a broadcast. Examples include the age of the list, the size of the list and subscriber demographics based on factors like carrier and length of time subscribed.

To clarify with an analogy, think about how we decide on the proper value of a house. On one hand, we have to consider factors about the house itself, such as square footage, number of rooms, types of window dressings, colors of the blinds and the condition of the roof. On the other, we have to think about external factors, such as school district, city, proximity to grocery stores and neighborhood crime rate.

Math is math of course, but the general concept isn’t overly intimidating. We know that each of these factors has some impact on house price. Some of those have a huge impact, such as size, whereas something like window dressing type will only have a minimal – if any – effect. The mathematical model simply quantifies the impact for each characteristic so that once you input all the parameters you can accurately calculate the house’s value.

Straight forward, right? That’s exactly what we did with mobile marketing. The coolest part is that the models we used, which included multinomial mixture models, topic models, lasso logistic regression and random forests, allowed us to investigate unsubscribe rate without knowing a priori which characteristics had the largest impact. We let the data tell us what was most important, so that we could pass this information on to our clients and other marketers (you can read about our process in detail in the section “Feature Selection”). Across all our analyses, we averaged an 85% success rate, demonstrating the power and accuracy of our predictive analytics.

Our Findings

You can find our complete findings in section 5.3 of “Unsubscribe Predictor,” but most interesting to us are the insights about industry, call to action and list age.

The Impact of Industry on Unsubscribe Rate

Across all industries, the political vertical is least prone to unsubscribes. Logically, this makes sense. For better or worse, people’s emotions connect much more emphatically with their political views than their brand tastes. Companies in the political vertical use mobile not only to spread “Rock the Vote” style messaging, but also as an organizational tool for unions, NGO’s and lobbyist groups. Thus, for marketers in politics, capturing mobile subscribers has enormous value creation potential. Marketers outside of the politics can compare their unsubscribes to politics to understand and approximate the degree to which their customers demonstrate head, hand or heart loyalty (#Nordhielm).

The QSR industry, on the other hand, is most prone to unsubscribes. Again, logically this makes sense. Due to a lower cost of acquisition, QSR customers’ allegiance to a brand is less firm. QSR marketers should take away three lessons from this fact: one, unsubscribes should cause particular concern for QSR marketers when overall list size growth slows down or ceases. Second, QSR  marketers should launch tagging campaigns that isolate the most loyal customer groups. Finally, QSR marketers should execute in the face of competition, as customers seem more willing to switch brands.

An analysis of the retail industry revealed a less transient subscriber base, meaning that retail subscriber lists are less prone to decay over time. The largest unsubscribe events come as a result of delivering less than optimal content. So, as far as takeaways, retail marketers need to make sure that they preplan their ongoing marketing messaging upon launching an initial campaign. Furthermore, the follow-up directly after an acquisition campaign has a huge impact on the degree to which retail marketers can positively impact customer lifetime value.

The Impact of Creative Calls To Action on Unsubscribe Rate

The data reveal that content containing URL’s, phone numbers and email addresses increase the likelihood of unsubscribes. When we looked closer, we concluded that customers across all verticals look for calls to action that are creative and self-contained. Unsubscribes came as a result of customers feeling like brands tried to use mobile to forward them through to another channel.

Thus, marketers who want to use mobile to acquire customers for other channels need to make sure that they make these attempts within a mobile conversation. Mobile campaigns that ask customers to click a link or submit an email address – without any more context – have a negative effect on customer loyalty. To secure long-term customers via mobile, make sure to create personalized engagement that uses customer data to enhance targeting and incite action.

The Impact of List Age on Unsubscribe Rate

To be clear, “list age” describes an average of the number of weeks each individual customer has spent on a mobile marketing list. Younger lists denote a newer campaign, whereas older lists show campaigns active for a longer period of time. Of course, list age has a dynamic value, as an influx of new customers will make a list younger overnight.

What’s fascinating is that the data show that older lists are much less likely to have major unsubscribe events than younger ones. What this means is that, although established campaigns never escape the inevitability of losing customers, older lists escape the growing pains of large droves of customers simultaneously opting out. So, again, marketers need to make sure that they preplan the first follow-up messages of new campaigns to ensure the retention of the largest amount of customers as possible. By the same logic, marketers with older lists can experiment with new products and services, as remaining customers will be (and remain) loyal to the brand. All in all, knowledge of the state of your list, especially in terms of message count and list age distributions, provides pivotal insight to inform an engagement strategy.

The Future Of Unsubscribe Predictor

Here at Waterfall HQ, we’re really excited as to how we can run predictions based on these types of results. Now and going forward, we can instantaneously analyze any broadcast as it’s being created.  With our data insights, we will inform clients with greater accuracy which broadcasts seem to evoke a higher than normal level of unsubscribes. An actionable recommendation engine will empower our clients to maximize customer retention across all their mobile marketing outreach. And that, in a nutshell, is what makes us most excited: using the power of data to help marketers become even better and more strategic about their respective roles and responsibilities.

To download the “Unsubscribe Predictor” white paper free of charge, please go to

Today we published the white paper Unsubscribe Predictor. This research teaches brand, agency and product professionals how to maximize mobile marketing customer retention using knowledge of various factors such as industry, time of day and message content.

As marketers ourselves, we know that occasionally you need an academic perspective to mine for details. Other times, however, you just want something that resembles a Cliffs Notes version. For those in the latter camp, we wrote the “Marketer’s Guide to Unsubscribe Predictor”: a two-part layman’s terms walkthrough of our analysis and findings.

In today’s first installment, we’re going to look at the challenge we set out to solve with Unsubscribe Predictor. Stay tuned for the second installment, which discusses our research approach and highlights the paper’s key findings.

Unsubscribe Rate Minimization: The Challenge We Set Out To Solve With “Unsubscribe Predictor”

Just like any type of direct marketing, one of the most meaningful KPIs in mobile marketing is unsubscribe rate. Lower unsubscribe rate results in higher customer retention and, as a result, greater customer lifetime value. Those marketers with the lowest unsubscribe rate are most successful at earning maximum mobile ROI.

Here’s a simple back of the envelope: ACME has one million customers in its mobile marketing database. Each time the marketing team sends out a mobile coupon, costing ACME 5% of revenue, 20% of customers redeem the coupon and spend $10. Notice how a 1% change in unsubscribe rate affects Gross Profit for one blast:


Savvy marketers know that the above tells just a fraction of the story. The ACME team has to factor in not only how unsubscribe rate affects the first outbound blast, but also subsequent messages sent to the same list:


To be clear, even leaving everything else constant, a 1% increase in unsubscribe rate to 2% causes ACME marketers to lose ~$106K after sending five blasts – not even one month’s worth of content. In addition to these two issues, ACME marketers also have to consider re-marketing versus new acquisition costs. Given that re-marketing remains significantly less expensive than acquisition marketing (regardless of industry), unsubscribe rate has an even more pronounced impact on bottom line profit.

With such dollars and cents at stake, we wanted “Unsubscribe Predictor” to address the challenge of unsubscribe rate minimization for marketers. From common sense and practical experience (with all marketing channels, not just mobile), marketers know that sending any outbound content results in some non-zero unsubscribe rate. It’s the nature of the business, as customers’ individual preferences and unique purchasing histories lead them them to opt out once a brand’s content is top of mind. That’s why minimization of unsubscribe rate holds paramount importance.

Now, Waterfall first started tracking mobile marketing outbound content in 2005. With almost 10 years of data, we knew that we had the ability to objectively determine the precise characteristics that impact unsubscribe rate, and to what exact degree. Running the data through a solid mathematical model, we could provide marketers with specific instructions about how to alter the various factors under their control to maximize customer retention. Plus, with new data coming in every minute, we can add to the model’s data set everyday and improve it constantly.

To download the “Unsubscribe Predictor” white paper free of charge, please go to Stay tuned for the next installment of A Marketer’s Guide To “Unsubscribe Predictor,” as we take a look at our research approach and findings. 

PETA, a long-standing leader in mobile marketing, has just announced another innovative and compelling mobile campaign to increase customer engagement. In what is a first for the mobile marketing industry, PETA has implemented a campaign powered by emoji

Cool right? Here’s how it works:


To capture people’s attention, PETA’s campaign elegantly conceptualizes “Beyond Words.” In addition to aptly describing cruelty to animals of any kind, the phrase embodies why people use emoji to communicate via mobile.

Once captured, PETA wants to mobilize (pun intended) supporters of animal rights to take action. Using a variety of digital channels, PETA develops an engagement strategy designed to maintain interest, enthusiasm and participation.

Call To Action

PETA’s design team deserves a round of applause. Emojis create graphic images of ways that animals suffer cruelty. Emphatic while remaining understated, an iPhone text bubble asks people to text the Heart Emoji or keyword HEART to 73822. Below is one example:

Campaign Spotlight- PETA Launches Emoji To Increase Mobile Marketing Engagement-Knife CTA

Running the call to action through the standard evaluation methodology, the two biggest reasons for its effectiveness are clarity and the secret sauce. Thanks to the added text keyword, participating in this mobile campaign is straightforward for anybody – emoji savvy or not. Moreover, the CTA aligns perfectly with the campaign’s goal and PETA’s overall brand. It catches the eyes of supporters and spurs them to action. Here’s one more example of a CTA – this with a different emoji-fied image:

Campaign Spotlight- PETA Launches Emoji To Increase Mobile Marketing Engagement-Chain CTA

Why Emoji

Emoji have captured the attention of consumers and media everywhere. They have become part of the mobile experience, recognized by anyone who owns a cell phone and universally spoken by everyone under the age of 30.

Plus, the emoji character harnesses the concept of a picture being worth more than words for social action marketing. The emotional connection of supporting a cause like PETA’s by texting the word “HEART” might only be eclipsed by sending a character that encompasses everything the five-letter text represents.

The use of emoji is cool, timely and on brand. Dynamite mobile marketing.

Customer Experience

Those who text the keyword or emoji to 73822 opt in to receive PETA Mobile Alerts. They then receive a prompt to share the campaign video on Twitter:

Campaign Spotlight- PETA Brings Emoji To Mobile Marketing

After clicking the URL, supporters automatically access Twitter to retweet one of PETA’s posts:

Campaign Spotlight- PETA Launches Emoji For Mobile Marketing

Upon accepting, the tweet instantly posts to Twitter (those not logged in automatically receive a prompt to log in):

Campaign Spotlight- PETA Launches Emoji To Increase Mobile Marketing Engagement

Additionally, all participants receive a pre-scheduled series of campaign-related messages.

All in all, an excellent use of cross-channel marketing by PETA to bring the campaign to life.

Media Coverage

A ton of media outlets have picked up this innovative mobile marketing campaign, including Time, Co.Create, Adweek, Dailymail, Mediabistro, DesignTAXI, Creativity Online, Complex, LBBOnline BestAdsOnTV, AdLand, Business Insider, TheDrum and many many more (please shoot us a note if you’d like to see the complete list).

In our opinion, this reception speaks to the creativity of PETA’s campaign and its ability to engage customers.

Takeaways For Brand Marketers

Several mobile marketing best practices emerge from PETA’s campaign. The two most important:

  1. Embrace mobile as a tool to create conversations. Unlike email, which is by and large an outbound marketing tool, mobile drives interactivity. To create authentic interaction, speak in the language of mobile and use technology relevant to modern consumers.
  2. Personalize content to increase customer engagement. Certainly, targeting data remains an important means to achieve that end. PETA shows, however, that personalization is also possible by aligning the campaign with modern technology, particularly as it relates to reaching a specific audience (in this case a younger demographic).

Please let us know if you have any questions about this campaign by posting to the comments. Big ups to PETA for a mobile job well done.

You can read more about the PETA Emoji campaign in the press release

There’s no doubt about it. iBeacon is the buzzword of the year. But don’t take my word for it. All you have to do is look at the buzz – no pun intended – surrounding this year’s SXSW event.  

At SXSW, iBeacon had one of its bigger rollouts to date: iOS users who downloaded the official SXSW app could access iBeacon-enabled features in select sessions, as well as when picking up their badges. For example, according to Mashable writer Christina Warren, “When the user is in the vicinity of the SXSW registration area, the user will get a notification containing their Registration QuickCode.”

This means that the SWSW organizers placed a small homing device that accesses a smartphone’s location via a proximity-based Bluetooth connection near the show’s entrance. As conference participants approached the beacon, their phone received a message containing a code that allowed them to more efficiently enter.

Something we talk about a lot here at Waterfall is making mobile communications more personalized – and iBeacon offers another potential way for marketers to accomplish this goal. To date, many show organizers and retailers like American Eagle Outfitters, Macy’s, Target and more have decided to launch iBeacon trials.

In my opinion, there are three keys to beacon technology’s success:

  1. Foster a closer relationship with customers to maintain interest and build brand loyalty. With its location-triggered features, iBeacon allows brands to send more personalized messages, specifically content based on customers’ shopping habits and preferences. This provides customers with the proverbial “warm and fuzzy“ that a brand really cares, making them more inclined to visit stores and refer friends.
  2. Demonstrable evidence of increasing sales. As we all know, the name of the game for any new technology (especially in retail) is sales. Beacons need to prove with verifiable metrics that they can significantly impact a company’s bottom line.
  3. Stay one step ahead of the mobile curve. Brands may hesitate to jump on iBeacon until they see positive results from early tests, but marketers need to have a handle on mobile now. Sure, beacons must prove that they can provide value today and tomorrow as part of a mobile marketer’s toolset, but brands should be aware of this new technology and how an implementation would work yesterday.

If you’re struggling to develop an iBeacon strategy, my advice is to focus on the data the technology provides. At the simplest level, there are two general types:

  1. Store-level. Would your brand benefit from understanding which aisle customers spent the most time? How shuffling around inventory affects the amount of time customers spent in store overall? These types of store-level data sets are available to marketers through the use of beacons and other location-based technology.
  2. Customer-level. Beyond general store data, beacons also allow you to hone in on individual customers. Examples include the frequency customers visit stores, how often they visit and make purchases or the amount of time they spend in certain aisles.

Developing a customer-level iBeacon strategy will take more time, but has the potential to offer more upside. Don’t count out store-level insights, however, as this data can be a good beachhead from which to build a more robust strategy.

For what it’s worth, I think iBeacon will live up to the hype. We’ll see though. Stay tuned to Mobile Demystified for more updates on how beacon technology is evolving this year. I’m going to a bunch of different shows this year and will make sure to provide our readers with the most up to date info.