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Companies using social media to connect to people and places need to support the multiple tools and methods that their audiences use. However, if you were to ask 10 media savvy users how they send an update with a photo attachment, you’d probably get more than 10 answers.

LocaModa now supports even more interaction models via mobile or web using email, txt, Twitter and more….

For example, we support all the strange things that mobile phone email clients do, such as unusual MIME structures, or including the numeric mumbo-jumo that many carriers have implemented and include in their email subject lines. So friendly.

If a message includes a URL or short URL which looks like it might point to an image, we can display that image (assuming the message passes our filters and the image is moderated).

We also support a whole host of photo sharing apps on Twitter clients including yFrog (which also supports video), TwitPic, Lockerz, TweetPhoto, Instagram, img.ly, Lightbox and can display JPEG, PNG, BMP, TIFF and GIF images.

We also get requests from customers that want their audiences to be able to email directly to local screens. Every LocaModa-enabled screen has a unique address such as JOESBAR. This address can also be used as an email address for example JOESBAR@Wiffiti.com. In this case, any text in the email’s subject line can be copied into the body of the Wiffiti message. That method can also be used to email a photo to a screen, with the photo’s caption being the email subject line.

Some of this might seem a little geeky, but we now enable networks with over 30,000 venues and our platform has also enabled 80,000 Wiffiti screens for events, as well schools and churches, so we’ve given up being surprised by what our customers want to do with our platform.

If there’s a feature that you want and we don’t support, we’d be happy to consider it for our roadmap (but if it’s too esoteric you might need to bring your checkbook!).

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Nearly two years ago (Feb 2008), LocaModa launched Jumbli – a mobile and web based word game that was the first cross-channel game to use DOOH and Facebook. Today, Jumbli is still going strong on over 1,000 U.S. bar and cafe screens and in Times Square.

When we launched the game, the first sponsor was AT&T and during their sponsored month, we saw over 300,000 plays and reported that the top “interactive cities” (measured by the percentage of total mobile plays) were: LA 18%, Boston (17%), New York City (17%), and Chicago (10%).

That’s old news – but hang in there… We have Jumbli running on a loop on one of the screens at Loca HQ, and it’s surprising that people are still playing the game (90% via Facebook) from all corners of the world and at all times of the day and night.

Just how much time are the top players spending on Jumbli? As you can see from the above table (click to enlarge), the top player has so far spent the equivalent of 48 days of continuous play!

That’s a lot of time for a word game invented for DOOH screens.

More interesting info on Jumbli can be seen from the Facebook demographic data above (again, click to enlarge) which tells us that outside of USA, Philippines is the top country, then UK. And the top cities are Makati Quezon City and Jakarta, followed by New York. Well that was unexpected!

By the way – KenRandall, ranked #9 in the Jumbli top 10, is my Dad, and now I know he spends way too much time most mornings (from London) being distracted by Jumbli. 28 days to be precise!

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Fig.1. Place-Based Social Media Modes (Click to enlarge).

I’ve just returned from a road trip where I’ve been explaining the different types of place-based social media to brands, agencies and networks. I’m committing my talks to a white paper, but in the meantime, I thought it would be useful to post parts of it here.

This first post describes three types of place-based social media engagement; Passive, Active and Interactive.

Place-based social media does not have to be real-time, interactive or require a specific lean-forward mode of engagement. Understanding how to optimize out of home engagement requires an awareness of the end user’s availability (to consume content) and ability to participate as well as an appreciation of the environment for their engagement, the Digital Out of Home network’s capabilities and the stakeholder’s objectives. Those considerations map to three modes of out-of-home engagement; Passive, Active and Interactive (See Fig.1), each of which maps to distinct applications that can optimize the engagement strategy for locations (retail, hospitality, fitness, health care etc) and brands.

PASSIVE PLACE-BASED SOCIAL MEDIA
Passive place-based social media is best used where the dwell time and or the available time on the DOOH content loop is under 30 seconds. The key attributes of passive place-based social media are:
- It displays contextual, targeted, curated, social media on DOOH screens without a call to action.
- It cannot be influenced by the DOOH audience.
- It can be operated by DOOH networks of any capability.
- As its name implies, passive place-based social media, without a call to action or enough time to engage, does not support any DOOH user interactions.

ACTIVE PLACE-BASED SOCIAL MEDIA
Active place-based social media is best used where the dwell time and or the available time on the DOOH content loop is at least 30 seconds. The key attributes of active place –based social media are:
- It displays contextual, targeted, curated, social media on DOOH screens with a call to action.
- It can be influenced by the DOOH audience but not in real time – either due to limitations of infrastructure or time required by brands/venues to ensure content is adequately filtered, moderated and/or curated.
- It can be operated by DOOH networks with minimum Internet connectivity.
- Active place-based social media, with a call to action and up to 15 seconds to engage, typically has enough time for only one DOOH user interaction.

INTERACTIVE PLACE-BASED SOCIAL MEDIA
Interactive place-based social media is best used where the dwell time and or the available time on the DOOH content loop is at least 60 seconds. The key attributes of interactive place-based social media are:
Displays real-time contextual, targeted, curated, social media on DOOH screens.
- Can be influenced by the DOOH audience in real time.
- Can be operated by DOOH networks of with real-time Internet connectivity.
- Interactive place-based social media, with a call to action and at least 60 seconds to engage, typically has enough time for more than one DOOH user interaction and supports more complex interaction models.

In 15 Seconds Or More (Part 2) I’ll cover the seven steps in the user engagement path.

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James Davies, Chief Strategy Officer of Posterscope and I have just released a white paper: “Sociable Media. Seven ways to connect online and offline social experiences to deliver engagement, advocacy and brand affinity.” You can download it free here.

Working with James on the white paper exposed me to some of his and his agency’s thinking about the role of OOH as a critical compliment to other channels. Prior to meeting James, I had been guilty of thinking of the digitization of OOH only in terms of digital billboards. But digital billboards are not the most significant movement of OOH towards all things D. In fact less than 1% of billboards are digital (according to the OAAA).

The more significant evolution in OOH is its ability to work in conjuction with other channels so well. OOH has been quietly pioneering cross-channel connectivity because it has to. It recognized (as all media should) that it has to be a complimentary channel because the customer today is not captive to any screen.

The familiar phone number on OOH billboards is today often replaced with easier to comprehend (or remember) Text short codes, QR codes, Twitter hashtags, Facebook fan pages and urls.

As the white paper’s introduction states, a unique new communications dynamic is being created by the convergence of four media opportunities: online social networks, social networks in the real world, mobile and Out-of-Home media, especially digital and experiential. The paper outlines how advertisers can leverage these channels in various combinations to turbo-charge the effects of both online and Out-of-Home activity and enable a more sociable approach to consumer engagement.

In addition to understanding the role of new media channels in isolation, advertisers need to be mindful of how they interact with each other and with traditional media.

The message time and time again is this simple: As media fragments, the ability to work across channels is one of THE most important features of any communications strategy. Traditional media is “getting digital” fast.

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This post is the third in a series of Tips for Displaying Social Media Content on Place Based Screens. Previous posts in the series discussed removing URLs and revealing backgrounds and the value of curation.

Many of LocaModa’s social applications involve pulling in content from Twitter and Flickr. In addition to basic Twitter to Screen and Flickr to Screen apps, more specialized apps like social polls and the Foursquare app also rely on tagged social media content in addition to real-time text to screen capabilities. As discussed in my post yesterday on Moderation v. Curation, engaging content proves essential to grabbing eyeballs for more than a split second, particularly in people-packed places. I’ll say it again: curation proves to be the best route to clean, culled content.

But what if your campaign is on a smaller scale than most LocaModa cross-channel executions, and you choose to rely on tagging alone to bring in relevant messages. Are you instantly hampered by misappropriated, mishmashed content?

Not if you tag smart.

Here’s a round-up of social media tagging tips from our years of experience here at Loca. Although these guidelines overlap in many ways with basic SEO and keyword marketing logic, these tips focus more specifically on place-based displays.

1. For a screen directly correlated to a specific venue, be careful if your bar or cafe name is on the generic side. No one at Joe’s Gourmet Pizza wants to know that “haha… my bro Joe stayed at the bar til 4am and then puked pizza on the cat. lol.” Well, maybe they do. But probably not while they’re eating.

Instead of tagging simply “joe” and “pizza,” tag the entire phrase “Joe’s Gourmet Pizza.” You’ll sacrifice message volume the more specific you are, but you’ll gain precision. If you’re not going to go the curation route, specificity in tagging will save you headaches from patrons later.

2. Watch your homophones. As an example of our current World Cup campaign: the Brazil superstar, Kaka. You giggle; Venue owners won’t. Toilet humor and selling sandwiches don’t mix.

3. Some venues try to take the easy way out and tag their screens with random “fun” tags like “party,” “bash,” and “awesome,” thinking it will pull in light, happy messages. Well, let’s experiment. I just went to Twitter and searched for “party.” The first tweet in the list:

It’s not offensive, but it’s certainly irrelevant, particularly if the venue was going for a fun and light vibe. In short, perform multiple Twitter and/or Flickr searches for the tags you have in mind before committing. Oftentimes, the context you’re thinking about isn’t the prevalent one.

4. Along the same vein, watch your hashtags. If you’re staging the National Safety for Farm Workers convention, you probably don’t want to tag your screen #nsfw. That’s probably not how you want to envision your horses.

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