ISL Named Social Media Agency of Record for Volkswagen USA


We’re incredibly excited to announce that we’ve just been named the Social Media Agency of Record for Volkswagen USA after a 6 month competitive review! Volkswagen has tapped us to manage their social media strategy, content creation, social engagement, social analytics and more. 

ISL has become the go-to social and digital agency of record for brands looking to disrupt the status quo of social media marketing. Our exemplar digital + physical work has enticed other clients of ours (like KrogerWilliam Grant & Sons, and Prestige Brands) to trust us with their day to day marketing as Volkswagen has — and led us to taking home AdAge’s Small Agency of the Year last year.

Four years ago, we launched an incredible project at VW’s global HQ in Germany called the Socialsphere, visualizing social data on massive projection displays. Becoming VW USA’s Social Agency feels like we’ve now come full circle. Simply put: we are ready to help make VW the coolest auto brand in social.

– DJ Saul, CMO & Managing Director, ISL

ISL brings a truly unique and inventive approach to their work. We are extremely excited to partner with them for our social media marketing.

– Mike Awdish, General Manager, Digital Marketing, Volkswagen USA

There’s so much more to come, but for now, we’ll just tease you with a prototype we built for VW which we call the “Social Dash” — a custom wood-enclosed dashboard visualizing real time “MPH” (Mentions Per Hour) and “TPM” (Tweets Per Minute). The icons flash blue with a new follower or RT along with custom audio effects. It works. It’s awesome. See it in action below!


Social Memo: Instagram Introduces Trending Tags


While using hashtags on Instagram is commonplace, the platform has done little to surface top trending hashtags for users. That is no longer the case; with their newly developed Explore Page, Instagram is providing real-time trending tags. This is a major step for Instagram, making the platform more of a real-time reactive network and a potential contender to Twitter.

Facebook, who owns Instagram, has been fighting to gain some of the market share that Twitter has a stronghold over with its own “Trending” product (in fact we c0-created a data-visualization of the Trends API, with Facebook, that launched at F8). That said, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that Instagram is following in suit. Forbes has reported that active usage on Facebook declined in 2014, whereas Instagram increased by 46% in active users. It is likely that because of the active usage switch that Facebook feels trending topics will be more effective on Instagram, a platform where discovery and search are more organic.


Adopting the new trending tags feature should be simple for brands to incorporate into their strategy. Similarly to how brands currently create content on Twitter around trending hashtags, the same can now be done on Instagram. This will likely involve a little more work for brand managers, as Instagram limits its API access, meaning trending tags will need to be checked exclusively on the mobile app.


Social Memo: 3 Ways Twitter Is Crafting A “Newsfeed” Timeline


Back in late 2014 Twitter’s CFO Anthony Noto stated that Twitter would eventually look into changing its content delivery system from a strict chronological timeline to something more akin to Facebook’s Newsfeed. Noto expressed how implementing such a feature would help alleviate the issue of top content being buried and make the Twitter experience more relevant for the end user. Fast-forward to mid 2015; Twitter has yet to make the full switch, but there have been gradual changes to the platform that will ultimately make the transition feel less jarring to users.


Check out the three ways Twitter has started to craft a “Newsfeed” Timeline:

1) Better Data!

Twitter has always lagged behind Facebook in regards to providing insightful post and page performance data. However, continued updates to the Twitter analytics platform have helped to close this gap. One of the most significant updates made is to the “Impressions” metric, which now counts the times the Tweet is served in the timeline natively or in search results. This makes the Impressions metric more comparable to Facebook’s Impression metric. This is significantly better than the accumulation of all followers of accounts who Retweeted the Tweet, a metric Twitter once depended on as its Impressions total. Having more accurate Impressions information will give Content managers a better idea of how many individuals are actually seeing each piece of content.

2) While you were away…

Launched earlier this year on the iOS Twitter app — and now fully rolled out to the Web interface — the “while you were away” feature resurfaces relevant, most engaged content to the top of your timeline that you may have missed since your last login session. These Tweets (typically three to five) appear to be pulled into this feed based on the Twitter’s Retweets and Favorites metrics. While only a feature now, one can easily see how this feature could expand to become a Newsfeed-like implementation to Twitter’s timeline.

3) Showing Top Tweets in Search

When performing a search on Twitter, by default, users are brought to the “Top” section, which sorts Tweets by top engaged content rather than chronological order. This is yet another example of Twitter transitioning timelines and seeding content in a way that isn’t chronological.


As of today it is estimated that 6,000 tweets are published every second which equates to 350,000 tweets per minute or 500 million tweets per day. With that amount of tweets being published and currently no method of filtering to the current timeline it makes sense that Twitter is slowly marching towards the same conclusion Facebook came to which is establishing a algorithm to determine what content to feature to a user. It not only makes Twitter’s platform more timely and relevant to the end user but also adds potential value to Twitter’s ad product.

Social Memo: 3 Facebook NewsFeed Changes You Need to Know


Facebook has once again made major changes to it’s newsfeed algorithm in a effort to optimize the content experience of the platform. Facebook’s Blog post  highlights three major changes being implemented:

1. More content! According to Facebook, 40% of people’s time on the social network is spent in the Newsfeed. Facebook had previously limited the number of times users saw a story from the same publisher (friend or page) to once per session. However, since the majority of time is spent in a user’s Newsfeed, there started to be a shortage of new content. Now Facebook will display more content including multiple posts from the same source as long as the user is still engaged with the Newsfeed. For brands, this means a potentially greater reach as highly engaging content may appear twice (two different posts) in one Newsfeed session.

2. Friends first! Facebook will start prioritizing your friends’ updates before Pages’ stories. This could be seen as a potential decrease to Brand’s reach as these posts will be featured lower in the Newsfeed. It should be considered that if users are seeing more of their friend’s content they may be spending more time in the Newsfeed thus providing brands with potentially more reach — despite the lower positioning. Only time will tell how this change will change a brand’s reach.

3. Less is more! Facebook is lowering the rank of stories created from friend’s likes or comments on a Page’s post (in some cases choosing to not deliver the content at all). This is the biggest, most impactful change that brands will experience. The organic reach of their content will significantly decrease as the “virality” of posts are reduced to stories created only on Shares. While brands can expect to see their aggregate total reach drop, they may experience an increase in Engagement Rate as content will now be served to less interested parties.

It’s a common theme across the new Newsfeed changes that Brands will see less organic reach, but more focus on reaching people likely to engage. So while aggregate numbers may decrease if you are analyzing your content performance by rates (e.g. Engagement Rate) you may start to see a positive increase in metrics. The key takeaway here is to not focus on increasing reach, but instead to focus on increasing engagement and making sure you are publishing relevant and creative content.

Facebook Brand Battles: Coke Crushes Pepsi, Burger King Gains Ground on McDonalds, And More Epic Rivalries Revealed


If you’ve followed our blog over the years, you’ll know that we love diving into the Facebook Advertising Platform to analyze and report on everything from Facebook Demographics to Fascinating Social Media Statistics. This year, we’re releasing a quarterly report on key brand rivalries on Facebook, looking at their quarterly growth and share of Brand Affinity, i.e. “people who have expressed an interest in or like pages related to a [Brand]”.

Check out the Q1 report & key insights below, and stay tuned for the Q2 update this Summer!

Brand Battles Final

Top Insights:

1) Burger King crushed McDonalds in terms of “% Q1 growth” with 50% growth versus 10% growth. Burger King still lags far behind McDonald’s in overall percent share of brand affinity but The King is gaining ground quickly.

2) While Starbucks remained stagnant, Dunkin Donuts grew by almost 19% in Q1, closing the gap on share of brand affinity as well.

3) Coke maintains its dominance over Pepsi, with 70% share of brand affinity and more than 2x Q1 growth and overall brand affinity.

4) Domino’s saw a sharp decline in brand affinity, likely due to their rebrand from Domino’s Pizza to Domino’s, as affiliated pages of “Domino’s Pizza” were altered and no longer roll up into the top line number reported here.

5) Visa’s impressive Q1 growth (36.4%) also comes around the same time as its Costco deal (supplanting American Express as the retail warehouse giant’s credit card partner). Well played. 

NOTE: As these #’s are pulled directly from the Facebook Advertising platform (In January and again in April 2015), we can’t account for potential factors such as fake profiles, timing of algorithm changes, deactivated accounts, or accounts of the recently deceased. Email if you want the complete data set.