World Cup Report: Twitter, Tinder and Nate Silver

I have some bad news, friends.

You and I will have to endure this entire week, and many more to come, without a single World Cup game to look forward to. As our productivity buzzes back up to normal levels while our morale spirals downward, let’s talk about some of the unexpected winners from this World Cup (besides Mario Goetze, who I doubt will ever have to buy himself a drink at a German bar ever again).

For an app that didn’t even make it into Bateman Group’s list of favorite social platforms, Tinder sure has done well for itself in Brazil. Imagine the legends of Tinder in the Olympic Village, but instead of a few hundred sober athletes in a frigid mountain village, it’s hundreds of thousands of drunk people in one of the most legendary party-loving countries in the world. This appears to have been the case, as Quartz reported that Tinder’s activity rose by 50% in Brazil during the World Cup, and Brazil was already the fourth biggest market for the app.

This should come as no surprise, as Tinder bases initial interactions on purely aesthetic terms. This makes it the perfect app for a country renowned for beauty, and apparently, obsessed with it: Brazil trails only the United States in number of plastic surgeons and cosmetic procedures per year, according to a 2011 report by The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.

 

You know you'd swipe right.

 

But while the lucky few were traveling to Brazil and swiping right, the rest of us had to settle for Twitter, which, despite sounding similar to Tinder, is admittedly less amusing. The World Cup blew up on Twitter: the social network had its sports records shattered during Germany’s demolition of Brazil, with 35.6 million tweets, far more than the 2014 Super Bowl’s 24.9 million. (Sidenote: both of those games involved a well-organized, well-prepared team totally dominating their opponent. Both winning teams were my teams. Coincidence? I think not. Sports franchise GMs, don’t bother reaching out, my fandom is not for sale.)

Part of the reason for the Twitter explosion during the World Cup is that it captured the attention of extremely visible, typically sports-apathetic individuals on Twitter. Everyone from space-pop princess Grimes to venerable UCLA data-guru/geneticist Leonid Kruglyak to twerk-army general Diplo got into the game. And when the people whose (digital) voices are loudest are talking about a subject, the rest of us will take notice.

The 140-character uproar was only part of the fun. For a sport known for being notoriously unquantifiable, media outfits like The New York Times and Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight put together some incredible data visualizations that show in objective detail how great the World Cup really was. FiveThirtyEight’s by-the-numbers breakdown of Leo Messi, who faced off against Germany for Argentina in yesterday’s final game, showed how mind-blowingly better he is at the game than pretty much anyone else on Earth. The article, “Lionel Messi is Impossible,” (a fitting title), came up with countless metrics that most soccer fans had never even considered and crunched an absurd amount of data on every player who has suited up for a professional game since the last World Cup. Any way they sliced it, Messi came out on top. And for those whose teams were eliminated early and had to pick a new team to root for, The New York Times analyzed data from Facebook to determine which countries followed which teams once their own were eliminated. Some interesting, yet unsurprising trends emerged; besides the expected continental camaraderie, fans tend to root most often for countries that speak their same language or were playing against the teams that beat the fans home team.

There really is no other event like the World Cup, as even the rabid attention spent determining which country will host each tournament can attest. Brazil made a fair amount of headlines in the leadup to the tournament due to the controversial construction policies around their newly-built stadiums. The political repercussions of which still have years to play out. This World Cup had many winners and losers, but one of my favorite Twitter profiles, the usually nonsensical and hilariously satirical USA Soccer Guy, put it best: “Today is a day when every soccer fan should realize that as a world, we are all champions.”

BATEMAN GROUP’S CLIENT SPOTLIGHT 7.11.14

Bateman Group clients have been basking in a spotlight of coverage this month, celebrating the release of new apps, partnerships and other tech developments. Forbes published an article on Tidemark’s new Financial Planning for Higher Education app, and Re/code featured a story on Animoto’s new iPad app. App Annie’s expertise came into play in a Wall Street Journal Article to track the success of Cookie Run, a popular video game app. On the same day Amazon announced its Fire Phone, Xamarin announced it would support app development for the new platform. Also, VentureBeat published a feature on Sitecore’s partnership with ADAM Software.  InformationWeek spoke with Rakesh Malhotra, VP of product at Apprenda, about the emergence of Docker’s container technology and what it means for the platform as a service, or PaaS, industry.

Tidemark Aims to Give Education Institutions an Edge,” Forbes- Forbes contributor Ben Kepes wrote a feature on Tidemark’s new Financial Planning for Higher Education app, a resource aimed to help colleges and universities better manage growth.

Animoto Makes Quick Work of Creating Movies on an iPad,” Re/code- Re/code’s Walt Mossberg found Animoto’s iPad app to be a simple, quick way to show compelling collections of photos and videos while maintaining what every director wants — creative control.

Mobile Games Help Messaging Apps Succeed,” The Wall Street Journal- In his article on Cookie Run, Jonathan Cheng of The Wall Street Journal used App Annie data as a proof point of the video game’s success. The App Annie data tracker was used to demonstrate the popularity of the app, which happens to be the most downloaded app on both iPhone and Android devices in Japan, Taiwan and Thailand over the past six months.

Xamarin Offers Developers Same-Day Support for Amazon Fire Phone” eWeek- On the same day Amazon announced the Fire Phone, its much-anticipated foray into the mobile phone world, Xamarin announced it would support app development for the new platform. Darryl Taft covered the support in a highly detailed feature on Xamarin’s latest technical announcements, including a deep dive on Xamarin 3, the latest version of Xamarin’s cross-platform development software.

Sitecore Teams Up With ADAM to Build Better Site Experiences, Easier Workflow,” VentureBeat-Following a briefing with Sitecore marketing VP Mark Floisand, VentureBeat’s Hanqing Chen published a feature on Sitecore’s partnership with ADAM Software.

What Docker Needs From PaaS: Apprenda’s Take” InformationWeek- InformationWeek spoke with Rakesh Malhotra, VP of product at Apprenda, about the emergence of Docker’s container technology and what it means for the platform as a service, or PaaS, industry. Rakesh shared his insight into the growing trend and why it will be a part of developers’ outlook in the future.

 

Q&A with Lauren Scherr: Whipping Up a Mix of PR and Content Creation

Lauren recently joined the Bateman Group in June and is already feeling right at home! Her bright smile lights up the office as she works on both the PR and content teams. Her strong writing background, passion for content creation, keen interest in tech, and everlasting love for San Francisco make her a perfect fit for Bateman Group. Below, Lauren shares her story.

Where are you from and how did you end up in San Francisco?

I’m originally from Honolulu and moved to Washington, D.C. for college. After college, I wanted to try somewhere new, and I always felt like I’d enjoy living in San Francisco, probably from watching Mrs. Doubtfire a few too many times as a child. So, I moved here and landed a job in PR.

What do you do at Bateman Group and what is your favorite part of your job?

At Bateman, my job involves 50% content creation and 50% public relations. So I do media relations and PR strategy, and I also work on the content team. My favorite part of the job is writing. I enjoy interviewing clients and their customers, learning about what they’re doing with technology, and writing stories that show why those things are meaningful.

Why PR?

I studied English in college because I’ve always loved reading and writing. Once I decided I was going to live in San Francisco, I knew it would be a missed opportunity not to be involved in the tech industry in some way. PR allows me to explore what some of the most interesting companies in the world are doing — and to use language strategically to tell those stories.

Why did you choose Bateman and what are your impressions thus far?

I chose Bateman because of its content-first approach and willingness to customize my role to fit my strengths and interests. 99 Problems was playing in the office when I walked in for my interview and I knew this was a good sign. I’ve been incredibly impressed by the music selection – and even more so by my coworkers and everything they’ve taught me so far.

If you had to live on an island for a month and could only pack 3 things, what would they be?

I’d bring a guitar because I’ve always wanted to learn how to play but have never had the time. I’d bring Anna Karenina because I’ve always wanted to read it but never had the resolve. I’d also bring a crossbow because it seems like the most badass and efficient method of hunting my own food.

If you could be anyone for one day, who would it be?

Keith Richards. I’m really curious how his brain works at this point.

If you’re a new addition to the crayon box, what color would you be and why?

I think I’d have to choose something oxymoronic like electric taupe. They seem to have every other color already.

If you were given the day off tomorrow, what would you do?

I’d go to a café in North Beach, drink an espresso and take notes on people walking by. I live in the neighborhood, and whenever I’m walking to work, everyone seems so leisurely, sitting on the sidewalk, eating pastries. I’d love to people-watch and write about it.

Q&A with Kristin Tarr: Why running and PR will take you far

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Kristin Tarr is a marathon runner with a passion for tech PR and Silicon Valley, bringing ten years of experience in communications to the Bateman Group. Originally from San Luis Obispo, Calif., Kristin moved to San Francisco nearly ten years ago with an interest in helping others tell their story. From history whiz kid to PR pro, there’s more to Kristin than meets the eye. She took some time out of her day to sit down and share a little bit of her story with us.

How did you become interested in PR?

I majored in journalism with an option in public relations at Chico State. Originally, I wanted to work in politics and media, so I double majored in political science and public relations. Eventually, I decided I liked California too much and I didn’t want to live in Sacramento or Washington, D.C., where most careers in political PR thrive. So I ended up moving to the Bay Area permanently to pursue a career in PR.

You’ve only been at Bateman for a little over a month. What made you chose Bateman Group, and what’s your impression of the company thus far?

I really love the fast-paced, all-hands-on-deck mentality that startups have, so I knew I wanted to join an agency that had the same feel — that operated like a startup. As soon as I walked into the Bateman Group office I knew I would find that here. Everyone was passionate about their clients, but also about the company and the people they worked with. Many people had been at Bateman Group for a while and all had varying backgrounds. I knew that I could learn from everyone and be exposed to a variety of large and small clients. As a whole, I could tell that the company cared a lot for their employees and that culture was a big focus, making my decision to join an easy one. Since I’ve joined, the company has met and surpassed all my expectations. It’s been challenging yet rewarding, and although I’ve only been here a little over a month, I feel like I’ve learned so much!

What do you do at Bateman Group? What is your favorite part about working in PR?

Before I came to Bateman Group, I spent most of my career working in-house doing communications and PR. I’ve always worked with engineers and I have enjoyed helping tell their stories, getting them speaking engagements, or organizing events. Most recently I had the privilege of seeing everything that goes into a rapid growth startup and working with really great people in tech PR. After a few years of being in-house, I wanted to experience life on the other side. Now that I’m here in the agency world, my job role functions as the lifeblood of the accounts I work on. I work hand-in-hand with clients and I always have my finger on the pulse of what’s going on in their industry. I get to do a little bit of everything, which is one of my favorite parts of working in PR. This is my first time at an agency, and it’s been exciting and fun to try my hand at something new, but mostly I love working directly with clients. It’s pretty cool to be working in an industry with the tech stories of today. There’s a lot going on inside companies that the public doesn’t know about, and it can be really hard for internal teams to tell the story people will be interested in. It’s great to be able to bridge that gap and tell an interesting story that appeals to a wide audience.

What are you passionate about?

I’m incredibly proud of all the running I’ve done.  Each marathon — good, bad or ugly — fills you with a great sense of personal satisfaction when you cross the finish line. I’m proud that I’ve been able to keep up with a successful career in PR while also investing in a passion like running that has nothing to do with my career. It’s a sport that is almost more beneficial to your mental health than your physical health because it provides great stress relief and a sense of accomplishment. All you have to do is put your running shoes on and go out the front door. I’m lucky to have a really supportive network of friends that I have made from running, something I wouldn’t have without developing that passion.

What makes you tick?

I think living in San Francisco and working in tech is such a privilege because you’re surrounded by so many intelligent people and there are always so many interesting things going on. It’s like the golden age of tech. In over 100 years from now, people are going to look back and wonder what it was like to live in this era. It’s exciting to be able to be able to learn and be a part of it. I also love the work that I do and feel lucky to be in this industry. I’m excited to go to work every day because I like my coworkers, clients and work, which is so important. You should always find a place that has a supportive and motivational group to work with.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I grew up riding horses, so I’m obsessed with them. If I could fit one in my studio apartment, I would. I think horseback riding made me the competitive and fearless person I am today. I started when I was six years old. I was so tiny and on this big horse, and when I learned how to ride, it was addicting and awesome. I don’t think a lot of people know that about me!

What advice can you offer to aspiring PR professionals? Important lessons you’ve learned along the way?

For one, keep in mind that with hard work, anything is possible. One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in this industry is that it doesn’t matter what budget or timeline you’re given. If you want to make something happen, you can. Having limited resources forces you to think outside the box and think on your feet. Another important tip: Never stop learning. You should always be learning from the people around you. Find the people in your life that are where you want to be ten years from now, seek their advice as a mentor and learn from them. I wouldn’t have reached the point where I am now without the insight and guidance of my mentors. I also believe that investing your time with a partner that is supportive and understanding will take you far in your career.

 

June Recap: Fire Phone, Silicon Valley and Why Facebook is Creepy

This month’s news had us looking past June gloom and towards the radiating landscape of product announcements, weird findings and hot rivalries between corporate giants. Before we all jump on the boycott-Belgium-waffles bandwagon, let’s take a look at the top trends from June and reminisce on Ann Coulter’s random hate for soccer.

The rivalry between Apple and Google continued to heat up at this year’s WWDC Conference, where developers duked it out with competing product announcements and software updates. With the healthcare market estimated to reach a $20.6 billion by 2018, both platforms seem to have their hands full with fitness trackers, like HealthKit, and health apps designed for widespread adoption. Significant developments in Android L and iOS8 were also shared, providing an opportune moment for Sundar Pichai to take a stab at Apple’s late integration with custom keyboards and widgets. And while Google drew back the curtain on its new Android Wear smartwatch, there was no mention of the heavily-rumored iWatch smartwatch, a misstep on Apple’s part given the increasing popularity of wearable tech in consumer technology.

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Speaking of Google developments, more than a million people tuned in to the opening day presentation at Google I/O in San Francisco. Aspects of the keynote covered the company’s interest in mobile platform integration and customizing applications to fit the needs of human interaction. In other words, Google is developing technology for devices to determine when a user is at work or home. Based off of this data, apps will create a more connected environment experience. However, talk of Google Glass was left out of the big picture, as the product continues to receive  public criticism. The glasses were recently banned from UK cinemas over rising piracy fears and privacy violations.

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Meanwhile, Amazon rolled out its very own Amazon Fire Phone, aiming to compete with the top products in the smartphone market. The phone has an exclusive carrier contract with AT&T and in terms of alluring features, boasts a bigger display than the iPhone 5S and comes with a Mayday option for customers. Given Apple and Samsung’s widespread dominance, Amazon’s idea was to target the 42% of American adults who don’t own a smartphone and a younger, tech-savvy audience not specifically committed to an Apple or Droid ecosystem. So how did the Fire Phone fare? Currently, it sits at #61 in terms of top-selling electronics according to the company’s own rankings, a disappointing result despite the phone’s anticipated success. That’s okay Amazon. We still love the Kindle Fire and are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Kindle Fire TV.

 

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Social media continues to get creepier and Internet users are not happy about it. The results of a Facebook psychological experiment, conducted in 2012 using what’s called an “A/B” test, were published this month in the National Academy of Science academic journal. An A/B test is when an online company manipulates the web experience for a small division of users. Companies like Google and CNN have conducted tests like these see what headlines are generating the most clicks. For Facebook, the goal wasn’t totally clear. According to findings, users were shown more negative or positive content to affect their range of happiness for a full week. The result? Those who were shown more negative content were likely to produce negative posts and vice versa. Thus, the social media website has proven itself a powerful controller in the emotional state of its users. Even better is that the testing is permitted in the terms of service and there’s no indication subjects were asked about their interest in participating. Needless to say, we have all been lab rats at some point in the growth of the Internet.

In case you missed it, David Muir is to replace Diane Sawyer in September as the anchor of ABC’s “World News.” Sawyer is stepping down to concentrate on other areas of news, including specials and interviews. Although the move was Sawyer’s decision, her departure marks a rewiring of past traditional broadcasts, where all ABC evening news broadcasts will currently be anchored by white men. Still, she remains optimistic about her future position in prime time news. Go Diane!

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To conclude the news roundup, our guilty pleasure mockumentary, Silicon Valley, wrapped up its first season this month and has been renewed for a second. For the high-tech junkie, the warped story line is a goldmine for humor and promises more than a few socially awkward moments in each episode. “Most start-ups are a soap opera but not that kind of a soap opera,” as Tesla CEO Elon Musk put it in an interview after the premiere.  It’s a hilarious parody of the tech community that can’t be taken too seriously. HBO has not announced when Season 2 will premiere, but it’s guaranteed to be another unique experience.

 

Native Advertising Excellence: Top 10 Tips from Our Expert Panel

Native advertising is in its early days, but there’s no denying its impact — and allure — as the practice that blends owned, earned and paid media.

On Thursday, June 19, Bateman Group hosted a panel discussion about navigating this new frontier. Moderated by tech media industry analyst Sam Whitmore, the panel featured content marketing experts Eric Lai, director of content marketing at Blackberry; Stephanie Losee, managing editor at Dell; and Jason Miller, lead global content marketing solutions for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

Native advertising is an evolving concept, so how should we define it? Stephanie described native advertising as “content sponsored by a brand, published in-line.” Another way to think about it is “content in context:” Branded content, placed or syndicated to appear alongside the content that an audience is organically consuming.

According to the panelists, successful native advertising requires a combination of excellent content and reaching the right audience. Easier said than done, yes, but the discussion provided some great advice for brands looking to achieve this holy grail:

  1. Help, don’t sell. A big part of creating quality content is providing value to your audience. Think about building a relationship instead of selling something. An audience member from esurance gave the example of their company’s best-performing video: a tutorial on how to park on a hill. Not only is it helpful and non-promotional, but it answers a very specific, relevant question.
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  3. Follow the 80/20 rule. On a related note, 80% of your content should be informative or offer a point of view, and no more than 20% should be about your brand. If you are presenting information about yourself, it should be specific, helpful information.
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  5. Think critically about promoting. It’s not enough to have good content; you also have to promote it well. Select channels that will best reach your target audience, whether it’s LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, amplification services like Outbrain, or likely, a mix. Make sure you’re reaching people beyond your inner circle; while inbound leads are great, you should be extending your content further to make the most impact.
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  7. Create a steady cadence. A one-off campaign can be splashy, but success is often built over time. Consider syndicating your content through a sponsored blog, which will drive traffic and create a drumbeat of content.
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  9. Gate your content based on its value. Before you ask someone to provide their email address in exchange for a piece of content, consider whether it’s worth the inconvenience. If it’s a valuable resource, like a very educational white paper, you can expect your audience to provide you with some information in exchange.
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  11. Use video, but use it wisely. Videos are engaging, but they can be resource-intensive. Consider behind-the-scenes or how-to videos that will drive clicks without burning through your budget.
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  13. Don’t forget about your blog. According to Jason, the company blog is “the rug that ties the social media room together.” External channels are part of the integrated campaign, but your strategy is missing a crucial element if you don’t have a hub for your content.
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  15. Pay attention to the metrics that matter. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the different things one can measure in the digital marketing world. The metrics on which you decide will depend on your business goals, but if you are a B2B company, consider looking at referral traffic, engagement and lead quality.
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  17. Integration > fragmentation. There’s a reason native advertising works: It brings together different channels, practices and types of media. Similarly, your content marketing, social and PR teams should be working together to achieve a common goal.
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  19. Observe your own behavior. How do you like to interact with brands? Where do you like to get news and entertaining updates? You’re a consumer– examine the content that appeals to you and use that insight to be a better native advertiser.

It’s an exciting time for native advertising as branded stories are being distributed with unprecedented reach and measurement. With the right approach, any brand — content marketing novices and experts alike — can capitalize on the opportunity. Thanks to our expert panel for sharing their insights into native advertising excellence.