Agency influencer Q&A with Ian Schafer: The best mobile strategy is a real-time content strategy

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Interested in social and sports with a side of snark? Then you should follow Ian Schafer (@ischafer) on Twitter.

@ischafer is the founder of the Deep Focus (@deepfocus) agency and he recently picked up the Shorty award for “Best Social Media Presence of a CEO” and “Best Social Media Agency.” In November, @deepfocus launched The Moment Studio, a “creative newsroom” that produces real-time content for clients like Pepsi (@Pepsi), Purina (@Petcentric) and Pernod Ricard (@MalibuRum and @AbsolutVodka).

He also happens to be the quick-witted mastermind who started @InvisibleObama during last year’s Republican National Convention and keeps the political zingers coming with the Twitter account. 

@ischafer is one of the industry’s most quotable thought leaders so we asked him to share some pearls of wisdom on his specialty: creating content optimized for social and mobile. Here’s part one of our two Q&As with him to kick off our agency influencer blog series: 

@TwitterAds: How are your clients engaging consumers on mobile and moving the needle? 

@ischafer: Pepsi has been really successful with Twitter which makes sense because their brand tagline is “Live for Now.” They’ve made time a characteristic of their brand. On Twitter, Pepsi gets to contribute to the popularity of its own content and feed into momentum as it’s happening. 

For example, a new Beyonce commercial will get millions of people talking and sharing that ad. On Twitter, Pepsi can further associate its brand with that new content by advertising on the platform that people are using to talk about and share that content.

Plus, we get to, in a sense, pre-test our ads performance on Twitter. We can turn our most shared organic content into ads right away with Promoted Tweets. We’ve been able to double our mobile penetration with all of our clients – we’ve seen 30% to 60% increases – by applying that kind of content strategy. 

That’s where it starts to get really interesting for brands. If they focus on producing content that people are going to want to share versus ads that they hope people click on, they can make much more informed media buying decisions. The best mobile strategy is a real-time content strategy. 

@TwitterAds: How is content that’s optimized for social and mobile different?

@ischafer: One of the most fascinating things about mobile – and Twitter can take significant responsibility for this – is that now the primary screen has reoriented from horizontal to vertical. We live in a feed-based world when it comes to discovering content and being influenced. 

That means that content that’s created for the feed is all about the actual content whereas a few years ago it was all about links. You can now embed content within Tweets and now it’s about getting someone’s thumb to stop scrolling. Brands need to offer something that makes them not only stop but stop and share.

@TwitterAds: What makes mobile consumers stop and share?

@ischafer: The number one criteria is that the content or ad has to be interesting. That means something different to every person but it’s our job to figure out what that means for each campaign and every audience. 

The next criteria is weight. The lighter the content is the better. The lightest content appears immediately in the Twitter feed. The ability to see an image in the feed and not require two clicks to get there is very important now.  

Video playing naturally in the feed through Vine or when you expand a Tweet is both lightweight and potentially interesting so it’s going to get shared more often. 

The other thing is the time-based relevance. So if you’re a retailer, sharing an exclusive offer that has a time limit attached to it. Or the exclusive release of content is something that people are going to want to share because time is of the essence.

That immediacy is what makes mobile so powerful. Whether it’s buying, finding or sharing, there are tons of potential opportunities for advertisers to both close or open sales on mobile.

In part two of our Q&A next Tuesday, @ischafer shares more insights on ROI, what’s unique about Twitter and the next big mobile trend.