February 2014






Untapped Potential…

is everywhere, even in the tools we use every day. This month, we look at a wave of new features that expand the potential of LinkedIn, and we offer insights on making the most of a YouTube channel. We also see how the Federal Housing Finance Agency helped struggling homeowners discover they had more options than they thought, and we see how Disney Parks found new potential in Twitter’s 140 character limit. All this, plus a look at a Connector’s approach to getting things done, February’s noteworthy headlines and stats, and much more.

Cover photo: London’s Natural History Museum
Social Stats
Social Networking Stats

  What’s Trending

Facebook Acquires WhatsApp
“Facebook notes that WhatsApp has over 450 million monthly active users, with 70 percent of those active each day. In a staggering comparison, Facebook also notes that the messaging volume of WhatsApp approaches the SMS volume of the entire global telecom industry — and that it’s adding 1 million users a day.”
Source: TechCrunch

The WhatsApp acquisition was motivated primarily by new user integration and gaining stronger footing in mobile messaging. Facebook has been heavily investing in their messaging tools over the last few months, and for good reason. WhatsApp’s success demonstrates the growing impact that “direct messaging” and smaller, bespoke groups have on content sharing, as an alternative to public posting… something Facebook may have gleaned from watching Twitter mature.

Global Trend

Twitter Use Down as Facebook Holds Steady in South Korea
“Despite an increase of 1.5 million account holders, the number of users who tweeted at least once per month fell by around 16.7% to 1.0 million, and the overall number of tweets during November 2013 was down more than 7.1% since the previous November, to 128.9 million.”
Source: eMarketer

Twitter is seeing a decline in monthly active users all over the world, not just in South Korea. But that doesn’t mean that its core active user base isn’t still engaged. Those 18-34 are highly engaged on the network. Nevertheless, it’s a problem for Twitter and they need to find a solution to the overwhelming feeling and speed of the platform. Our bet is on some new services and possibly a site redesign coming up to boost active usage among those who sign up. Twitter is maturing, but that doesn’t mean there is no novelty left in its utility.

Active Users: 1,230,000,000
Monthly U.S. Visitors: 167,400,000

Monthly U.S. Active Users: 54,000,000
Monthly Active Users: 241,000,000

Monthly U.S. Visitors: 73,200,000
Monthly Global Visitors: 206,100,000
Registered U.S. Members: 93,000,000
Registered Members: 277,000,000

Users: 150,000,000
Monthly U.S. Visitors: 27,100,000

Blogs: 175,500,000

Users: 70,000,000
Monthly Unique Visitors: 38,600,000

Monthly Visitors: 60,000,000

Monthly Unique Users: 1,000,000,000

Monthly Active Users: 300,000,000

Monthly Active Users: 465,000,000

Registered Users: 239,000,000
Monthly Unique Users: 60,000,000

Users: 65,300,000
Monthly Unique Users: 41,900,000

Users: 36,000,000
Monthly Unique Visitors: 19,000,000

Registered Users: 194,000,000
Monthly Active Users: 54,000,000

Users: 600,000,000
Daily Active Users: 220,000,000

Monthly Active Users: 712,000,000
Monthly Global Visitors: 101,500,000

Users: 50,000,000
Monthly Active Users: 15,000,000


“Polarized Crowd social media networks feature at least two large dense groups that have little inter-connection or bridge between them. These networks are often focused on divisive topics and are especially likely to involve political content.”

– The Pew Research Project, describing one of the six types of “topic networks” it identified on Twitter.
Advertising Trends


Twitter Rewards Promoted Accounts with Higher Placement in Search Results

“In a blog post today, Twitter said it would add to its paid Promoted Account offering by giving owners of those accounts optimal placement in user searches. For example, if you’re looking for ‘coffee’ or ‘mattresses’ in the Twitter search bar, the first few results you’ll see will be the Twitter handles of brands that have paid for Promoted Accounts.”
Source: The Hub

Twitter’s promoted products can support campaigns in lead generation, branding, advocacy, engagement… you name it. As they continue to build out their advertising offerings and self-serve ad dashboard, brands should consider looking into Twitter advertising to support communication goals, particularly as visibility in the space becomes more and more monetized.




Amazon Launches Its Video Ad
Business With Geico

“The e-commerce giant has begun slotting preroll ads [within the latest crop of original series pilots to stream through its] Amazon Prime Instant Video service. The move combines two of advertisers’ biggest wishes – premium content and a measurable audience…”
Source: AdAge

Amazon can offer an advertising edge that other online video services can’t. By leveraging its data about purchaser behavior, Amazon opens the door for video ads to become a direct-response vehicle, not just a branding tool. Hulu’s premium pricing (on average $110 CPM) may set the range for the price point Amazon rolls out down the road, or maybe even the starting point standard. Amazon’s display advertising has become more efficient over time, and it’s opened itself to more partnerships by lowering its monthly spend requirements. Potentially, Amazon’s video advertising will follow suit in becoming more accessible to brands.

Yahoo’s Ned Brody Touts Tumblr-Powered Ads, Microsites For Brands

“Nine months after acquiring Tumblr for $1.1 billion, Yahoo is using the microblogging service to create a new kind of native ad, an early version of which can be seen on its month-old Tech and Food ‘digital magazines.'”
Source: AdAge

This execution is interesting in that it seems to have more legs than the usual “native ad” offered by publishers. Instead of a quick-hit article that lives or dies based on Facebook shares, this creates more of a long-lasting brand microsite that can be used for specific campaigns and other purposes.

Noteworthy News


The Plus in Google Plus? It’s Mostly for Google

“The value of Plus has only increased in the last year, as search advertising, Google’s main source of profits, has slowed. At the same time, advertising based on the kind of information gleaned from what people talk about, do and share online, rather than simply what they search for, has become more important… The company has also pushed brands to join Plus, offering a powerful incentive in exchange — prime placement on the right-hand side of search results, with photos and promotional posts.”
Source: New York Times

Google has been very open that Google+ is a critical piece in advancing its search and ad platforms, and it’s been fairly transparent in tying participation to other benefits. The strategy is working. To take full advantage of search, brands need to participate in Google+, and Google Authorship through Google+ and hearty participation on the network is now essential for most influencers.


Gap Claims to be First Major Brand on
Anonymous Network Secret

“Over the weekend, someone shared a post on the service, which claimed to be the first from a Fortune 500 company. We’ve since confirmed that the post comes from Gap, which has previously been among the first to advertise on other social networks like Instagram and Vine.”
Source: Mashable

With the growing popularity of anonymous networks like Secret and Whisper, we’ll likely see more experimentation in this vein. But while a few pioneers will get some headlines, there isn’t clear longterm value for brands. When used as intended — anonymously — these networks explicitly hinder branding progress.

Reddit Launches New “Live Updates” Feature

“Reddit has launched a ‘live blogging’-style feature that will eventually allow anyone to function as a kind of Reddit-based news reporter… The feature is currently only open to users who are selected by the site (who then get to decide which reports they include in their stream about an event), but the feature is expected to be rolled out to anyone, at which point the community will get to decide which [reports] are the most reliable by voting them up or down as they do with everything.”
Source: GigaOm

Reddit and other community-edited forums have struggled in recent years with how breaking news is covered by members, with misinformation being circulated quickly and sometimes even spreading to mainstream news outlets. This change hopes to bring some order to the chaos, but the real test will come when the feature is rolled out to the entire community.








What can you say with 140 characters? PNConnect client Disney Parks gathered Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and 137 friends to create the “Ultimate Tweet,” announcing an all-night party at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort this Memorial Day weekend.

























What’s New With LinkedIn

In the past few months, LinkedIn has rolled out a number of features and enhancements that, taken together, have greatly expanded the possibilities for individual members and brands on the platform. This month’s feature provides a bird’s eye view of the changes that have the greatest impact on how our clients use LinkedIn — which is a PNConnect client itself.


1. LinkedIn Pulse

In 2013, LinkedIn acquired the popular news reader app Pulse and integrated its functionality with the LinkedIn platform to provide a new social news experience. Using the Pulse mobile app or the Pulse section of, which has replaced LinkedIn Today, users can follow favorite news publishers and LinkedIn influencers, share stories with their network, and add their own comments. Pulse also recommends content and sources, based on users’ interests and activity.

Pulse is a useful tool for keeping up with what’s going on your industry, both within and outside LinkedIn. The new social features also give brands and company leaders new opportunities to reach important audiences, both through participating in discussions and curating interesting content.

2. Showcase Pages

Showcase pages give companies a way to create multiple content curation pages focused on particular subjects, in addition to maintaining a main company page. For example, a brand might set up separate showcase pages for enterprise and consumer divisions, individual pages for different product families, or showcase pages for specific key initiatives or industry topics. For example, HP created a Converged Infrastructure page, Microsoft created an Office page, Adobe created a Creative Cloud page, and Cisco created an Internet of Things page.

This is a great option for brands with multiple, distinct audiences who have different interests but don’t necessarily have the critical mass of content to have their own dedicated publishing hub. LinkedIn members can keep up with news they’re interested in, without being turned off by other content that isn’t relevant to them. To get started with an initial set of Showcase pages, look for topics that are central to your business and tap into the passions of a specific audience group. Built-in analytics tools make it simple to gauge interest and track audience growth. Another advantage is that agency partners (such as PNConnect team members) can also be added to a Showcase page as administrators and can take the lead on content publishing and curation.


3. Publishing Platform

In February, LinkedIn started rolling out long-form publishing capabilities to all network members. The new tool, previously limited to select Influencers, gives members a way to share knowledge and points of view in blog-like posts, connected to their professional profiles. While the long-form publishing platform is geared to individual LinkedIn members rather than companies, it opens up new opportunities for many brands. As company representatives, executives, evangelists, or spokespeople can contribute long-form posts that demonstrate expertise, comment on issues of the day, and exhibit thought leadership.

As with the LinkedIn community as a whole, contributing regularly and engaging in discussion is key to long-form publishing success. Be prepared to answer questions or respond to comments, and continue to participate in relevant LinkedIn groups and discussions. It’s also important to balance these efforts with a true owned channel strategy. For now, it’s useful to think of LinkedIn as its own ecosystem: Content published there will take on a life of its own within those walls, but it’s not an all-in replacement for a rich catalog of content on a brand’s own site.

4. Help for Small Businesses

LinkedIn has been paying a lot of attention to small business support recently — most notably with the additions of a Small Business Resource Center microsite, a Small Business Playbook, and a study of small business activity on social media, presented as an infographic. The new resources focus on how small business can use LinkedIn features and paid solutions for branding, marketing, sales, and hiring, including a collection of daily and weekly checklists in the playbook.

5. The Future: The Economic Graph

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner has laid out an ambitious long-term company goal: to develop the world’s first economic graph, a comprehensive digital map of the global economy. The overall vision is to represent all people, opportunities, skills, and higher educational institutions in the global workforce, in order to spur economic growth and help everyone find and seize opportunities. As LinkedIn pursues this initiative in the coming years, watch for new developments and research.
On Workflow: Megan King
Order in Chaos

In our continuing “On Workflow” series, we hear how Connectors and clients tackle their day and get things done. For this edition, we take a look inside the office and work style of Megan King, Executive Vice President, Consumer Marketing & Creative at Porter Novelli.

What are your tips for
leading teams?

I believe that the best leadership comes from having a vision, and giving people the guidance they need to help fulfill that vision and the room to take that guidance and run with it. Needs vary from person to person, so recognizing when to step in and when to step back is important. The when to step back piece is harder – not from a micro-management perspective, but when I can see failure on the horizon my natural instinct is to protect. I am a mom, after all. But, I know that just like a kid learns to walk by falling a million times, we all learn as much from what doesn’t work as what does.

What does your desk look like?

My desk is a disaster area. I do have an innate skill of being able to find anything on it. In fact, it is my party trick. I also have a selection of different types of candy in my office. This attracts all kinds of people and results in many spontaneous idea generation sessions and many debates over the relative merits of Swedish Fish versus Reese’s Cups.

What’s your approach to note-taking?

I love notebooks. If someone wants to get me a gift (all you vendor reps take note), bring me a nice 5” x 8” spiral notebook with thick cardboard covers and lined or graph pages. I don’t want anything fancy on the inside – no flourishes or inspirational quotes please. I like spiral because they lay flat and you can tear out pages easily to give someone. The thick covers keep them from getting messed up when I throw them in my bag.

I am very visual so I write down everything so I can see it. I remember things by the act of writing them down. I have notebooks full of stuff that I will never refer back to – but I could. I make lots of brackets, arrows, boxes and lines for emphasis.

How do you manage your
to-do list?

I am a great believer that if you can get it done quickly – get it done now! Writing something on a to-do list that actually takes 5 minutes or less – make a quick call, send an email, talk to someone about a task – is a waste of time in itself. I do have a list but it tends to be very short and have very big things on it. The little things get done along the way.

How do you get started with a
new client?

My philosophy is that once you are on a client’s team you should treat their business like their own. One of the truly special things about being in a consulting-type business is that you get to know the ins and outs of loads of different industries.

Generally my work with a client begins well before our first meeting. I try to get some information about them, their competitors and their industry under my belt before that first meeting, so that I am armed with questions and conversation starters. I like to read what they are reading. I look at how they are competing, how their stock is doing, who are the major players in their space. I look at their business before I look at their communications.

What’s one thing you do that everyone else thinks is crazy?

I am actually compulsively neat at home so every once in a while my messy desk gets the best of me and I literally sweep everything off into the trash can. I usually do it when people are in my office and are having a hard time balancing laptops and coffee mugs on my desk. I just do a clean sweep. The reaction is really funny.

I do the same thing with email. I get hundreds of emails a day, so the only way that I can survive is heavy use of “delete.” I am a serial deleter. I don’t keep much. This annoys some – like my husband – who will ask me hours after sending something to look at it, and I have to tell them I deleted it.

Do you have any routines or processes to help you get through your day?

I search for inspirational work from Porter Novelli colleagues and the world at large every day. I scan a number of daily emails including The Hub, Digital Doughnut, Harvard Business Review, 4A’s Smartbrief, AdFreak and PRWeek Breakfast Briefing looking for interesting nuggets that will challenge and inspire me and my team. I try to post one thing a day out to my team that will get them thinking. Other than that the Starbucks ladies know my name and my order. I am there nearly every morning at 8 a.m.


“We know that we will laugh nostalgically when someone in a distant movie set in our era tweets, and acts as though it matters, as we laugh now at the microwave ovens in American Hustle. Knowing that the future will laugh at us, we still cannot take part now in the laughter without being alienated from our age, and that is a sad thing to be.”

– Adam Gopnik, in a BBC News editorial on why he doesn’t tweet

PN Case Study
Surfacing Solutions

In the past five years, homeowners have faced considerable new challenges on top of the ordinary demands of keeping up a house. The decline in home values put many families underwater on their mortgage — in many cases, without a good understanding of their options or what help was available. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) engaged Porter Novelli to increase awareness about the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), a refinance program for underwater homeowners current on their monthly payments.

To reach and interact with homeowners directly, the PN team recommended the FHFA host a Google+ Hangout. In the Hangout session, moderated by Zillow, FHFA spokesperson Meg Burns explained the benefits of refinancing with HARP and answered questions directly from participants. In the week leading up to the event, the team spread the word through paid media, including paid search, display, and Facebook promotion. Additionally, they supported the event with earned media and marketing efforts including email, blog posts, press releases, website placement, and a Facebook app.

The paid media and marketing efforts increased awareness of the Google+ Hangout efficiently, garnering more than 8.5 million impressions and 3,000 clicks, with a cost-per-click of $0.62.

In addition to keyword targeting and segment-targeting around refinancing and mortgages, Facebook’s new advertising capabilities allowed for more specific third-party behavioral targeting to reach homeowners and people who were receptive to online mortgage offers, and the HARP Facebook app alone led to 3,260 users. In total, the Facebook activation drove 63% of the campaign’s engagement results. To make information accessible for online users, all search and display ad traffic drove to the Zillow HARP education page while Facebook ads directed to the tab on Zillow’s Facebook page. Post-campaign analysis on the paid portion compared which ads, headlines, and keywords performed best for future optimization.

In the end, hundreds of people tuned in to watch the Google+ Hangout, submitting a total of 54 questions. Hangout participants were not only interested, but fully engaged.

When promoting a one-time event, particularly in a crowded space such as mortgage banking, a paid media campaign is key to successful attendance and engagement. However, broad campaigns that are based on impressions alone will not garner the right results. With the appropriate targeting, including past behavior and remarketing as well as demo and psychographics, the advertiser is able to reach those who are most likely to be engaged, creating an effective and efficient paid media campaign. It’s important also not to rely on one channel. The combination of search, display and social created the right targeting mix to truly drive engagement.


Making the Most of YouTube

Online video consumption rates are on the rise, and original video content is an increasingly attractive investment for brands. Yet in the clamor for fresh content, many brands overlook a critical element: packaging. Some viewers will find your videos and then move on. Others will browse or even follow your channel. Video content is most powerful when it’s served up well, and making a good first impression is critical. Below, our tips for bringing it all together.

1. Fix Up the Front Door

An effective YouTube channel is more like a Facebook page than a Twitter timeline. The activity feed is just one component, alongside more static, evergreen content. Last year, YouTube rolled out the “One Channel” layout, designed to help users create attractive, welcoming layouts that adapt to multiple device screens.

The most prominent channel page element is the “channel art,” a banner-size graphic at the top of your channel. For best results across browsers and devices, make your channel art 2120 x 1193 pixels, with the key elements centered in a 1280 x 350 safe area that will be visible at all sizes. Channel art also appears in “hover cards,” visible when a user mouses over a channel name.

When unsubscribed visitors come to your channel, a “channel trailer” will play automatically at the top of the page. For your trailer, consider creating a short welcome message that explains what your channel is all about, helps viewers navigate your content, and encourages subscribing to the channel. Alternatively, rotate the video featured in this prime real estate to highlight recent important and high-quality content.

2. Set Up Your Sections

You can add multiple sections — collections of videos or playlists — to your channel home page, below the trailer. YouTube lets you set up sections based on a predefined measure, such as popular uploads, or add custom sections for specific video categories. Consider how you can categorize and organize your videos to align with your audiences’ needs and likely consumption behavior.

3. Choose Your Words Wisely

YouTube success depends not just on video quality, but on words. Spend some time getting titles, descriptions, and keywords right. Keep SEO in mind, but never forget the first impression you want to make on viewers. Make the title descriptive and inviting, and ensure that the most important information appears in the first few lines of the description, so it will appear in search results.

Additionally, give attention to hyperlinks at the top of video descriptions. Around 200 characters will appear above YouTube’s “show more” line on the video’s page, and adding a full URL with http:// will create a live link. Consider adding a link to a related video or your main Web site.

DC Entertainment YouTube Channel
4. Connect Your Videos

Your videos don’t have to stand alone. Consider adding consistent elements across videos to provide a cohesive experience and support your ongoing strategy. For example, you might include a five-second “credit sequence” or a personalized way to welcome viewers and tie video series together. You can also add calls to action in annotations on the video, encouraging viewers to comment, subscribe to your channel, or find more content.

5. Participate

If you allow commenting on your videos, keep up the conversation to engage viewers with your content. Look out for persistent negative or inappropriate conversations — YouTube commenters are notorious for bad behavior. If conversations are largely unproductive, it’s often best to disable commenting.

Whether or not you see productive discussions on YouTube, you can foster video engagement on other channels as well. Where relevant, share your videos on your blog and other social networks.

6. Analytics Galore

YouTube’s analytics suite lets content creators dig into views by date, location, and time spent. You can learn a lot about your viewers, too. YouTube users are linked to Google+ accounts, which can give you information about location, age, gender, traffic sources, and behavior. With some thoughtful analysis, you can glean valuable insights from these data. Checking in regularly with metrics helps you adjust your channel and programming to maximize their impact.


PNConnect is the global digital services offering from Porter Novelli. Our global team spans 60 countries and brings the combined digital resources of our social media marketing, creative production, paid promotions and web development capabilities together for one purpose — to help our clients share their story with the world.

For more information about our team and approach, or to learn how we can help your organization with digital strategy, development and measurement, please visit the PNConnect site.


Thank You


Many thanks to our February contributors.

Andy Stoltzfus in San Francisco, Dave Coustan in Atlanta, and Tom Harris in Raleigh collaborated on this month’s Feature about recent changes to LinkedIn. Miguel Rubio Espinosa in Madrid and Mark Avera in Atlanta shared Insights on optimizing YouTube profiles. Chris Thilk in Chicago and Chad Hyett and Robert Veliz in New York City contributed stories and insights for the Social Networking Stats and Noteworthy News sections, and Amanda Wu provided the latest stats. Allison Brill in Washington, D.C., shared updates and insights on Advertising Trends, in addition to our Case Study on HARP. Megan King in Washington, D.C., took the hot seat for this month’s “On Workflow,” with Chris Edwards providing the accompanying photos.

Josh Hallett in Winter Haven, Florida, provided our cover photo. The background photo for our Welcome is courtesy of Little Visuals; the #140characters photo, @DisneyParks; and the economic graph in the Feature, faberNovel. Some backgrounds courtesy of

Thanks to Jennifer Laker, John Ciacia, Peter Schiebel, Jeremy Harrington, and Sean O’Shaughnessy from the Platforms team for providing design and development support, and to Mary Gaulke, Dave Coustan, Tom Harris and Lauren Sandelin for editorial oversight and proofing.

Drop Us a Line

We’re eager to hear your thoughts on this edition and your suggestions for future issues.



Top iOS Apps

iPhone Top Paid

Bridge Constructor – Games
Minecraft Pocket Edition – Games
Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock – Health & Fitness
Plague Inc. – Games
Heads Up! – Games
AfterLight – Photo & Video
Duet Games – Games
Card Wars – Games
Papa’s Freezeria to Go! – Games
Emojify – Productivity

iPhone Top Free

Smash Hit – Games
Red Bit Escape – Games
Frontline Commando 2 – Games
Flappy Wings/span> – Games
Bridge Constructor – Games
Snapchat – Photo & Video
Flappy Rainbow – Entertainment
Flappy Fail – Games
Instagram – Photo & Video
Facebook – Social Networking
iPad Top Paid

Minecraft Pocket Edition – Games
Calling All Mixels – Games
Block Fortress: War – Games
Bridge Constructor – Games
Card Wars – Games
Survivalcraft – Games
Frozen: Storybook Deluxe – Entertainment
Kick the Buddy – Games
Toca Pet Doctor – Games
Notability – Productivity

iPad Top Free

Smash Hit – Games
Disney Movies Anywhere – Entertainment
Frontline Commando 2 – Games
Red Bit Escape – Games
Farm Heroes Saga – Games
Disney Infinity: Toy Box – GamesFlappy Wings – Games>
Calculator for IPad Free – Utilities
YouTube – Photo & Video

Top Android & Windows Mobile Apps

Android Top Paid

Minecraft Pocket Edition – Games
SwiftKey Keyboard – Productivity
Titanium Backup Pro Key Root – Tools
Nova Launcher Prime – Personalization
Poweramp Full Version Unlocker – Music & Audio
Card Wars – Games
FoxFi Key – Communication
Root Explorer – Productivity
Beautiful Widgets Pro – Personalization
Plants vs. Zombies – Games

Android Top Free

Facebook – Social
Pandora – Music & Audio
Instagram – Social
Facebook Messenger – Communication
Candy Crush Saga – Games
Clean Master – Tools
Netflix – Entertainment
Snapchat – Social
Farm Heroes Saga – Social
Kik Messenger – Communication
Windows Top Paid

Photo Lock Pro – Photo
Flashlight – Tools & Productivity
Oxford Advanced – Education
Night Stand Clock – Tools & Productivity
Camera Effects – Photo
Device Shot – Photo
FB Pink – Social
Awesome Lock – News & Weather
FlashVideo – Music & Video
Metrotube – Music & Video
Windows Top Free

Pandora – Music & Video
Facebook – Social
Facebook Messenger – Social
Instagram BETA – Photo
YouTube HD – Music & Video
Adobe Reader – Tools & Productivity
Kik Messenger – Social
Music Downloader – Music & Video
Skype – Social
Netflix – Entertainment