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.


The Top 10 Things I Learned Interning @ ISL (as Expressed in Drake GIFs)


I never thought I’d learn so much from a single internship as I’ve been taught working for ISL this spring. I felt spectacularly lucky to be chosen to join my favorite agency in DC, and I feel even luckier now that I can call so many of them friends.

I feel like I started from the bottom and now my whole team’s here. #sorrynotsorry #yolo

And what better way to express these feels than with reactions from the boy? Here are the top 10 things I learned (though there are so so many more) as illustrated by the Internet’s treasure trove of priceless Drake GIFs.

1) Feedback that’s difficult to hear is the best feedback.


Another set of eyes is arguably one of the most valuable things on Earth, especially if those eyes come with an intelligent mind. ISL’s key cultural strength is the high value placed on honest feedback, including praise and criticism. Everyone here works for the best product for each client; often that means many (many) rounds of revision. But it’s all worth it for amazing final outputs like the Facebook Mentions Box.

2) Writing copy is a weirdly great way to learn new things.


Researching a brand’s products and associated cultural significance is key to writing relatable, effective copy. I’ve learned way more about barbecue, appetizers, engineering, and cocktail mixing than I ever would have expected from working at a marketing agency (and loved every second of it). Also, I got free whisk(e)y sometimes. So…there’s that too. 

3) Choose a better starting point than scratch.


Starting from zero is daunting. But at ISL and most other accomplished agencies, there’s usually a previous project you can draw on for inspiration, if not a solid foundation. Synthesizing ideas from past projects may seem like a cop out to being creative; it’s precisely the opposite. One needs inspiration to be creative. Capitalizing on the best pieces of projects-gone-by is an excellent technique to doing even greater work this time.

4) The team should have your back.


ISL accomplishes astounding work in short time frames thanks to a thorough task assignment system and amazing support staff. There’s a workflow for every deliverable, which means nothing is ever lost and everyone knows what’s up on a project. It also helps to have an office culture built on trust and responsibility! 

5) Take impossible tasks in stride.


I can’t even count the number of times a strategist approached me with a task I had no idea how to accomplish at first blush. So I just said yes. Lo and behold, I figured it out. Expect to be stunned by the seemingly huge mountain of work agency assignments require, and sometimes how to blow up those mountains (in a good way).

6) Accept that everyone knows more about projects, clients, marketing, and life in general than you do.


If you’re interning at an agency, you’ll almost certainly be the youngest person at the company. Expect to be overwhelmed by the circles your co-workers will run around you and ask them to explain what they’re doing (all the time).

7) Ask for help before banging your head against walls.


Remember those impossible task mountains (and subsequent explosives) from number four? The only way to tackle them is to enlist the help of your experienced co-workers. Experience counts for A LOT in client projects ranging from experiential stunt planning to social media analytics, so make friends and have a chat about that new assignment. There’s a solid chance you’ll get it done in one hour instead of six. 

8) Never coast.


If you want to constantly grow at your internship, no matter where it is, complacency is not an option. I try and ask for different kinds of assignments as much as possible and to ask questions even more. It’s how I pursued interesting work like drafting content, writing case studies, and creating pitch decks.

9) Work in your own way.


ISL does a wonderful job of embracing different work styles, so getting your stuff done well is all that matters as an intern (and an employee). But it’s important to say what you need and how you work so the team knows what to expect. Knocking assignments out from the couch? No worries, just make sure they’re awesome.

10) Being yourself is a lot better than being “the intern”.


Being yourself in a company full of strangers is hard, especially in your first few days. But at ISL, you’re hired for you, and encouraged to act as such, nerdiness and all (I played trading card games semi-professionally for a while). My passions didn’t make me “weird”; they made me human. Plus everyone at ISL is kind of a super nerd for something or other, so you’ve got nothing to lose. It’s a beautiful thing.

Bonus: GIFs are important.


So is smiling :)

-Spencer Swan, @spentronswan

Note: Spencer was ISL’s strategy intern of Spring 2015. You can now find Spencer crushing it in Texas for Facebook’s Community Operations Division. #LikeABoss  

Cultural Strategy: How Brands Can Become Cultural Icons

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Cultural Brand Strategy is the link between creative and strategy that can elevate brands, campaigns, and creative work to achieve a culturally iconic status.

These creative executions side-step conventional marketing value propositions and categorical benefits — in favor of positioning Brands to address, disrupt, and resolve specific cultural tensions in a social context.

Often ‘snuck in’ by agency creatives and missing from explicit client creative direction — Cultural Strategy provides the basics of how to identify, create and execute creative in a more consistent, culturally relevant way.

Originally advanced as academic theory by Douglas Holt in How Brands Become Icons, he partnered with Douglas Cameron to create Amalgamated Marketing Agency to apply those concepts for real Brand campaigns, and provides case studies in the follow-up text Cultural Strategy.

Often ‘snuck in’ by creatives, Cultural Strategy isn’t typically outlined in existing Brand positioning statements or conventional marketing vision. Rather, powerful narratives — ‘cultural myths’ from ‘populist worlds’ — capitalize on cultural values, tensions, and collective ideologies to deliberately position Brands at the center of a specific cultural context.

In this presentation, learn how brands like Corona, Coke, Nike, Volkswagen, and Red Bull play the role of ‘cultural activists’ to advance an iconic brand story.

Famous ads like Coke’s ‘Hilltop’ (1971), Nike’s “If You Let Me Play” (1995), and Volkswagen’s “Lemon” (1959) provide a historic context for how Brands have executed on cultural strategy in the past — and examples like Red Bull and American Apparel show current brands that co-author cultural and advance cultural myth on behalf of the Brand.

Read more in the deck above, or click to view and download on Slideshare.