Wag The Dog Agency's Blog

One button to unite them all
February 28, 2011, 5:24 PM
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Facebook has taken something from the Frodo, Sam and the LOTR series and finally realized that the most power lies in simplicity.  They are going for a ‘one button to unite them all’ approach, by effectively simplifying the range of buttons (and other stuff) available to publishers wanting to integrate Facebook into their sites.

Previously publishers were faced with a rather bewildering array of options – including ‘Like’ (in various flavours), ‘Share’ and ‘Recommend’ plus other, older choices.

They have now introduced a new ‘Like’ button that combines the functions of the old ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ button,with the comment option switched ‘on’ as a default – which more or less reduces the range to one.

So, the new ‘Like’ button actually performs much of the same stuff the old ‘Share’ button did, re-publishing a headline, an excerpt of copy from the publisher or the article, plus a thumbnail – but without the user needing to give extra permission for this to happen which was required from uses using the old button. Plus the comment option is always enabled, which encourages further, user generated, content.

The new content resulting from use of the button (article stuff and comments) is also favorably (read: higher) raked by Facebook, meaning it will be seen more often, near the top in news feeds that other recent user activity stories generated by you or your friends.

What do we think?

Well for one Facebook, as I’m sure they are hoping, should become a more powerful ally in terms of the amount of traffic that their shared links provide to sites, and so all of this will help make the case for the new forms of paid Facebook ads such as the promoted stories which were recently introduced.

It’s definitely a good move for FB, and potentially one that helps publishers.   It can be argued that users ‘lose out’ as their permissions are not sought, but I’m sure FB and publishers will argue that users benefit from the move as they are better able to review content before visiting a site if they have a bigger look at it in their news feed – and there is an element of truth to that.

You can get a longer look at and review of the change on the Inside Facebook blog.


Facebook make (previously leaked!) changes to brand pages
February 11, 2011, 12:30 PM
Filed under: Uncategorized

Those pics we saw some time back of the ‘new’ brand page layours from facebook have proved, predictabky, to be largely correct. The new brand pages rollout from now and bring brand pages visually into line with personal pages, and, appropriately enough also allow brands to interact with content on other parts of facebook much more like a person does.

There are 5 key changes (really 4 and a improved setup options), shown in the gallery below, taken directly from the tour Facebook is showing page admins at the moment. There appear to be 2 main aims to the changes – first to bring consistency between the brand page and personal profile UX, and increase interaction by doing this. The second is to allow how pages interact on Facebook to align more closely with how people do.  This will increase the value of brand pages, and, combined with other changes (especially sponsored stories, see our earlier post) advertising revenue.

1) Photos / media gallery for page  shown above wall

2) Navigation for pages moved to left hand side, like personal profiles.

3) New filters to sort page content, including by popularity (as opposed to origin, or recency, as at present)

4) Admins can now engage with content on other pages ‘as’ the brand page. This is massive. We can like other pages, see their activity in our news feed, and vice versa.

5) New admin settings, linked to the above, to control if admins post elsewhere on Facebook as their personal profile, or their brand page (4).



New Facebook ad capabilities are hugely significant
February 11, 2011, 8:28 AM
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Facebook makes a lot of changes. Anyone who has developed on the platform, or worked with us on marketing in Facebook, wull know that. Some changes are minor, some are technical, some relate more directly to brand presence on Facebook. In the last few days they have made 2 big changes that directly affect how brands can use Facebook for marketing purposes.

The first chnage is the introduction of a new ad unit. The unit, called ‘sponsored stories’, allows brands to promote engagement taking place on their brand page to a wider audience of friends of those participating users. But, I’m sure many of you will say, doesn’t that happen anyway? Isn’t that the whole point of Facebook – the viral possibilities it offers when users engage with page content?  Well, yes it is the point, but no it doesnt always happen or always work the way a brand wants it to. Like Google, the algorythm rules and guaranteeing lots of ‘pass on’ from user engagements with a post or piece of content on your page wasn’t possible. Until now.

In the past, how many of your friends see an action or interaction you take on a brand page depends on how engaging that piece of content is. If the content has a high interaction (that is, generates a lot of likes, comments) more of your friends will see your action. If it’s not as popular, only a few might. Facebook determine this.  What this ad unit does is removes that ‘quality filer’ in the viral mechanic. If the brand chooses to buy this ad, every one of your friends will have seen that action you took, guaranteed. So it removes doubt, but it also pushes out content that might not be as engaging. True, there has to be a user action taken, but now there is no process that reviews the content across all users to get a normalized ‘average’ of how good that content is. Every person that likes it is deemed to have endorsed it, and all their friends will know about it, all the time.

Second, brands can now dictate the landing page (what we commonly call tabs, or FBML tabs) that users are directed to within a brand profile. Before, the ability to do this was limited to only user who were not fans, and only one page could be specified. Now ads can direct to a nominated tab, and ‘organic’ traffic to a different ‘welcome’ type tab, OR we can develop multiple tabs and ‘split test’ their effectiveness at generating likes, engaging users in a specific action, or capturing data.  It’s certainly arguable that this new capability makes Facebook brand pages one step close to being viable as the sole web presence for a brand or business, replacing the ‘traditional’ website.  Whatever your view, this is a big step forward and one Wag The Dog will be looking to test in the coming weeks….

Twitter starts on the long road to revenue
April 13, 2010, 7:22 PM
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

Twitter has launched it’s “promoted tweets” advertising service, and so started the long and one suspects painful march to monetization.

It’s early days, but this was always going to have to happen – much like at some stage facebook may start looking to monetzize corporate “fanpages” more directly than just through the advertising these companies occasionally buy. Mashable has the basic details at http://bit.ly/cYvjJP.

Has anyone seen a sponsored tweet in a search result or in their feed yet? What do you think – good move or the start of the end?

We like you too, facebook (but what do we call fans now?)
March 31, 2010, 2:24 AM
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As reported all over the place in the last day or two, facebook is changing the terminology behind how users interact with brands. In the future, users will be able to indicate they ‘like’ brands, as opposed to being ‘fans’ of them. They say it’s a more natural action – and we have to agree.

The good news for brands is that as a result of the change the perceived endorsement threshold is lower (like is an easier action to ask users to take than to become a fan, we think, and we’ll get more ‘likes’) and yet the meaning of a ‘like’ in terms of brand opportunity to engage with users is the same – brands get the same functionality in terms of building a database of essentially opted in consumers with whom they can engage, and those consumers interactions with the brand are still promoted virally through the wall to their friends.

The interesting result of the change by facebook is this – what do we call our pages and our users now? The aren’t ‘fanpages’ and ‘fans’ anymore…..what do you think?  We’re struggling –  ‘Likers’ doesn’t exactly work….?

Home sweet home!
March 30, 2010, 4:19 AM
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We’ve made the move across town, finally! We’re now bedded down at 31 Dacre Street, where we already feel a whole lot better. Must be the natural light, air con and space. A year in a garage (basically) can do that to a team.

SO – from now on, this blog will be coming to you c/o a bunch of folks, and as such cover a bit more ground than it has to now and hopefully be a bit more regular.

First step is the shabby ‘upgrade’ which you can see in our new header, up the top there. Jamie and the guys in the studio have worked on him to make the old fella look a bit perkier, a bit more ‘waggy’ and generally a bit less lopsided in the cranial area.

Hope you like him. As you can see, we liked him so much we put him on the wall!

31 Dacre St

The name is on the door at 31 Dacre St

March 23, 2010, 9:27 PM
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We’ve just heard that Wag The Dog has been shortlisted in the best use of digital category in the 2010 CAANZ Media Awards, for our work on the 2degrees Mobile ‘Know anyone that knows’ campaign. In fact, we’ve also been shortlisted a second time, as per of the entire agency team (along with Mitchell & Partners) in the best integrated campaign category.

This is bloody great news to be frank. For a new indie agency, and a digitally centric one at that, to get 2 shortlists in our first year of operation and with our crack at award first entries is a massive achievement. Both categories are pretty competitive so there’s no chicken counting going on just yet, but we’re really happy to have made two shortlists and we’ll be there on the night to enjoy the occasion whatever happens.

Interestingly, best use of digital has the most shortlisted entries of all categories in 2010, and I think its fair to say looks like the most hard fought category. I’m comfortable enough to say that this is the result of a growing recognition that digital is key to client and agency success in 2010 and beyond, and we think that as a full service agency which started with digital and who live and breathe it every day (not one that tacked it on later, when it become the next big thing and a must have) this unique position stands all of us at Wag The Dog is pretty good stead for the future.

The full shortlist can be downloaded from the CAANZ website if you want to check out the other categories. Predictably, the 3 agencies winning the ‘weight in gold’ quest seem to be the ‘same old’s’ – OMD, Starcom and Spark PHD. I think that the best in show (best campaign) award will be a more interesting one to try and pick this year though. Any thoughts? Does 2degrees stand a chance? I quite liked Orcon’s ‘Together Incredible’ as a potential rival on the telco front, but there isn’t much else that jumps to mind immediately…..