September, 2013








is often the crucial starting point for doing great work. In this month’s feature, we hear how distributed teams stay connected when they’re separated by many miles. Our latest case study explains how a digital campaign connected Lebanese citizens to their heritage to rally support for architectural preservation, and our September Spotlight subject discusses the challenges of connecting social media to ROI in Germany. All this, plus noteworthy September headlines and stats, a new Burning Question, and much more.

Cover photo: The National Archives in Washington, D.C..
Social Stats
Social Networking Stats

  What’s Trending

Americans Trust Advertisers Only Slightly More Than Hackers and Criminals
“If a new report from Pew is any indication, marketers still have a long way to go when it comes to allaying consumers’ privacy concerns. When asked about which groups they’d like to avoid online, respondents to Pew’s survey ranked advertisers (28 percent) second only to hackers and criminals (33 percent)… The majority of people are so alarmed about spying that they go to great lengths to conceal information that advertisers want to collect.”
Source: Fierce CMO

Privacy and transparency concerns are reaching a boiling point. Firefox will disable cookies by default in its next browser release, European law requires opt-in for tracking, and the ad blocking software market has exploded. Brands should take heed that online advertising and targeting could be vastly different in the very near future. The best long-term, sure bet is to think and act like publishers, not advertisers – and certainly not spammers. Producing the quality content people crave and search engines favor boosts engagement, excitement, trust, and loyalty. That has remained a constant.

Global Trend

China Lifts Facebook and Twitter Ban (For Some)
“A small selection of people in China will finally be able to access banned sites including Facebook, Twitter and other ‘politically sensitive’ links… The ban was placed on the sites in 2009 following riots in the country and China’s ruling Communist Party has restricted access ever since. Yet, people living and working in a new free-trade zone in Shanghai – which covers just 17-square-miles – will be allowed to access these sites.”
Source: The Daily Mail

Some users in China are already “secretly” using Facebook, but not nearly to the degree they’ve embraced homegrown networks like Weibo. Global Web Index estimates 15 percent of Chinese citizens use Facebook, while at least 56 percent use Tencent Weibo, Sina Weibo, or Qzone. At this point, it’s uncertain whether this will continue long-term in the free trade zone, let alone expand throughout China. If you’re looking to reach Chinese audiences, focus on publishing tailored content to local networks.

Active Users: 1,115,000,000
Monthly U.S. Visitors: 163,000,000

Users: 554,700,000
Monthly U.S. Visitors: 92,200,000
Monthly Global Visitors: 200,000,000

Users: 238,000,000
Monthly U.S. Members: 84,000,000
Monthly U.S. Visitors: 78,900,000

Users: 150,000,000
Monthly U.S. Visitors: 25,600,000

Blogs: 137,800,000
Monthly U.S. Visitors: 131,100,000
Monthly Global Visitors: 335,200,000

Users: 70,000,000
Monthly U.S. Visitors: 61,200,000

Users: 51,600,000
Monthly U.S. Visitors: 9,302,000
Monthly Global Visitors: 9,300,000

Users: 218,000,000
Monthly Visitors: 49,200,000

Users: 65,300,000
Monthly Unique Users: 56,000,000

Users: 25,000,000
Monthly Visitors: 1,200,000

Users: 184,000,000
Monthly Visitors: 57,000,000

Users: 503,000,000
Daily Active Users: 46,300,000

Users: 611,000,000
Monthly Global Visitors: 101,500,000

Users: 27,100,000
Monthly Visitors: 15,000,000

Advertising Trends


Adaptly Unveils Paid Media Platform for PR Firms

“The company’s Go platform allows PR firms to create campaigns and set targets across multiple networks in a few clicks, rather than creating them one-by-one, such as on Facebook.”
Source: PRWeek

It won’t work to approach this or any tool as a one-click multiplatform buying solution. In an environment where consumers continually move across screens and networks, automatic integration isn’t a viable option. PR firms need to marry the paid side of the equation with knowledge of how people use the platforms. Adaptly CEO Nikhil Sethi said it nicely: “Members use the platforms in different ways. Advertisers must do the same.” Success depends on content publishers reflecting the network experience and needs of the audience.

Watchdog Concerned About Native Advertising

“The National Advertising Division’s inquiry comes as the Federal Trade Commission prepares for a hearing in December on sponsored content, a category projected to attract nearly $1.9 billion in spending this year. The FTC is seeking clarity on the advertising strategy, which doesn’t have clear guidelines. Labeling across sites is inconsistent and sponsored content can mean different things to different publishers and readers.”
Source: Ad Age

As the course of native advertising unfolds, brands should keep two fundamental dividing lines in mind. The first is the clear, black-and-white separation of editorial content and pay-for-play content. Attempts to blur the two have consistently attracted scrutiny and backlash. The second is keeping advertising out of organic search results. Google has made repeated moves to treat non-earned content (press releases, widgets, advertorials, and native content) as non-indexed content. Advertising is a great supplement to a well-planned brand-publishing program, but brands still need to earn shares, reblogs, likes and links.

Advertisements Coming to Instagram

“Emily White, Instagram’s director of business operations, said that the service should be ready to begin selling ads within the next year. While Facebook has already confirmed plans to ‘monetize’ Instagram, White’s comments are the first explicit recognition that Instagram will eventually contain ads.”
Source: The Verge

While it’s too early to say how the ad platform will work, keep Instagram ads in mind for long-term planning. Engaging your audience with organic Instagram content today will give you a solid understanding of what works and what doesn’t when it comes time to advertise.

Noteworthy News


YouTube Adds Advanced Comment Moderation

“YouTube is introducing advanced moderation features that will allow video publishers to block individual users from commenting on their videos. Publishers will also be able to ban certain keywords altogether from their channel’s comments.”
Source: GigaOM

YouTube comments have long been the backwater of the Internet, with any meaningful interactions drowned out by overwhelming nastiness. Advanced tools that would help publishers manage comments more fully and efficiently are as welcome as they are overdue, and they could open up a new avenue to gathering fan sentiment and feedback.

How Coca-Cola Killed Its Corporate Site for a Digital Magazine

“With nearly 11.1 million visitors since its November 2012 launch, Coca-Cola’s Journey website functions more like an online magazine, which now draws a bigger Web audience than the Chicago Sun-Times… Coca-Cola’s strategy has been to produce content that will ‘surprise and delight’ viewers. [Group Director of Digital Communications Ashley Brown] said at least half of the website’s content now has nothing to do with the brand, compared with 80% when it started. This includes user-generated content such as pictures and video, lists, behind-the-scenes articles, pop songs, and stories about companies Coca-Cola invests in. The single most popular piece of content generated by the site was a recipe for Coca-Cola cake, said Brown.”

Source: PRWeek

Journey’s traffic gains demonstrate the strong potential of brands acting as publishers. And thinking long term about what information people will find useful over time, as with the Coca-Cola cake recipe, is always a smart approach. Coke has been adept, too, in driving traffic to its site through paid advertising. Taken together, this demonstrates how corporate communicators are taking not just one but several pages out of the brand marketing playbook.

Google+ Adds Embedded Posts

“We want to make it easy to expand your audience across the Web, so today we’re introducing embedded posts. With embedded posts, site owners can now add your public Google+ posts to their Web pages — as a primary source, for example, or to highlight your point of view. Text, photo and media posts are all supported, and the embeds are fully interactive, so visitors can +1, comment and follow you inline.”
Source: The Google+ Developers Blog

This is a big move for Google+, which joins Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others in finally embracing the idea of posts living outside their networks. While Google and the others still want people’s activity to primarily be on their proprietary platforms, at least now people can take the really interesting posts they see and put them on their own sites.




“We will deliver the next big thing… We will change the world again.”

– Steve Ballmer, in his final company meeting as Microsoft CEO



Best Practices for Distributed Teams

Most Connectors work closely with colleagues in different offices, often across time zones and in different countries. For some teams, in fact, nearly all day-to-day collaboration happens online or over the phone, with only occasional in-person sessions throughout the year. But while geographic distance can be a challenge, it’s hardly a handicap anymore, thanks to a combination of robust tools and proven habits. We asked three distributed team veterans to share their secrets to success.

Remote Leadership

Mike Manuel is the PNConnect General Manager, and the lead on several key Porter Novelli accounts.

I think there are three common factors that have influenced my ability to lead distributed teams successfully (and sometimes unsuccessfully). I’ll call them the three A’s:

  • First, it’s critical to provide Access. I try to book a regular 1:1 call with all my direct reports. It’s the simplest way I’ve found to step away from day-to-day distractions to stay on top of priorities and needs.
  • Second, I strive to make Accountability crystal clear. I like using project management tools like Basecamp and Asana to delegate activities and track progress, and then using the 1:1 call to identify roadblocks and solve problems.
  • Finally, I recognize that face-to-face Assembly is still important. Google Hangouts can scratch this itch, but I try to plan touch points for in-person meetings throughout the year, be they for work or simply social purposes.

A Well-Stocked Toolbox

Jennifer Laker is a Project Manager with the Platforms team, a crew of developers, information architects, designers, and researchers in offices across the United States.

For us, collaboration tools aren’t about micromanagement – they’re about helping us do our jobs and maintain our culture from afar on the go, while still making us accountable to one another. Here are some of my favorites:

The Basecamp to-do list is my favorite way to track work from concept to completion. We use a phased set of to-do lists, where each task moves from one list to the next.

Google Docs
We use the Google Drive spreadsheet tool for budget tracking and project pacing, and during project ideation, we use collaborative docs to iron out proposed features, timelines, cost estimates, etc. I especially like the comment/resolve feature, which emails anyone on the team you tag.

In addition to serving as our main “culture-keeper,” Campfire makes it easy to disseminate important info quickly and efficiently.

Several of us have set up personal office numbers using Skype, which will forward calls to our cells if we’re offline. Skype is also a great option for overseas calls.

Shared Google Calendars
Shared calendars give me a holistic view of the day’s docket, including who’s in the office and who’s on vacation, and it’s a great help in scheduling calls.

Google+ Hangouts Video Calls
Video calls are a simple, free way for us to talk face-to-face as a team. When you’re using Google Calendars, it’s very easy to drop a video call link into meeting invites.

Screen Shots
When you’re not in the same office, it’s critical to have an easy way to share what you’re looking at or working on. I like Awesome Screenshot because I can quickly crop, highlight, and circle a screen shot, all within my browser.

Screen Sharing
Sometimes screenshots aren’t enough, and you need a streaming view of someone else’s screen. I like the record feature on GoToMeeting, which lets me record demos when not all stakeholders can attend. The tool easily converts your session into an .mov file, ready to share. JoinMe is a great tool as well, and requires less setup.

Crossing Time Zones

Rebeca Mueller is a PNConnect Supervisor who leads programs for Disney Parks and PlayStation.

Working with a team that spans multiple continents comes with its own special challenges, but we’ve developed a specific set of routines and habits that keep everything running smoothly.

Hold a Weekly Internal Call
We keep a standing agenda to review new and old business, upcoming development work, upcoming events, reporting needs, team member paid time off, pending projects, etc. This helps the team keep its foot on the gas, moving all the parts of the account forward.

Designate a Lead for Each Time Zone
This person is responsible for managing the team members in his or her office. Those team leads then report up to the overall account manager to keep a good flow for escalating issues or concerns.

Transition Between Time Zones with a Handover Email
This email lists the tasks completed for the day, tasks that still need to be done and any extra items to note. The official handover is the most important piece. Once the next team receives the email they should promptly respond with confirmation that they understand all points. It’s like relay runners passing a baton: The next person in line must say, “I’ve got it from here” before the first person can let go.

Nothing can substitute for this. The team members must feel comfortable with each other so they can reach out to anyone else for help. Have multiple lines of communication open and ask questions, no matter how simple or seemingly obvious.

Have Lots of Empathy
When team members are in the same office, they naturally build camaraderie. This is harder to do across great distances, though it’s still entirely possible. It’s essential that the manager make camaraderie a priority. Set up biannual team gatherings and reinforce that the team is one unit even with many miles of physical separation.

Fabian Schütze 

Each issue, we hear from a digital or social media program leader. This month we talk to Fabian Schütze, who heads up F&H Porter Novelli’s digital team.

What role do you play at Porter Novelli?
I’m a social media strategist and a content and community manager in our office in Munich. My aim is to find new ways of interpreting social media trends and embedding them in popular science context.

What developments on the Web are you most excited about right now?
The extension of a sharing economy and capability of people creating their own social space on the Web. In recent years, social media has opened up a huge landscape. But most people have tagged along with existing networks, without realizing they could create their own social space. With all the discussions of privacy around the big networks, people are getting very creative right now, rethinking ways to communicate. They’re putting open source data to work and sharing it with a big community. I really enjoy that because to me, this is a key element of social media: scrutinize the media we’re living with, and if you don’t like what you see, do something about it.

What one thing would you change about the digital landscape today?
In Germany, we have a very strict copyright law, which is quite old fashioned. Sharing content, still referring to the original source, is actually forbidden unless you have the written agreement of the person who has the rights to that content. Some agencies now specialize in buying content just to sue anyone who uses it. You have to keep in mind that one letter could force you to pay several thousand dollars to prevent an indictment. I would change that rule and rethink copyright law when it comes to social media.

What are the toughest challenges you and your clients are facing?
The euphoria of social media is finally waning for some clients. They’re shocked to realize that social media isn’t the answer to all their challenges. Now we see magazines and blogs claiming social media is pointless when it comes to ROI, which leads some clients to doubt the possibilities of social media in general. Since we have always challenged ourselves with these questions and regarded our digital campaigns in a broad context, we can prove that our campaigns have a real impact on ROI. But I admit that when I look at what some brands and agencies are doing right now, I doubt whether the campaign has anything to do with the brand, and therefore whether they’re seeing any real benefit.

Case Study

PN Case Study
Work Worth Doing

In recent years, Lebanon’s architectural legacy has faced the continual threat of rapid construction. Builders have been razing historic buildings to make room for bigger high-rises. To reignite the Lebanese people’s interest in their heritage, Bacardi launched the “Dewar’s Worth Doing Campaign.”

Impact Porter Novelli’s challenge was to create a movement strong enough to bring out the campaigner in every Lebanese national, raising social awareness and reinforcing passion for the Dewar’s brand. After kicking off the campaign with a short film about Lebanese heritage, the team invited fans to join the campaign’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages and share their pictures of historic architecture.

With the help of influencer outreach, the campaign was a key driver in reinforcing protective laws for historic buildings, mobilizing more than 100,000 activists. The Facebook page attracted more than 9,380 fans, with a weekly total reach of 13,064. On Instagram, the campaign attracted 907 followers and 2,950 likes.

The team drew connections to the heritage of the Dewar’s brand, but put the movement first, focusing on educating and mobilizing the public. A key factor to success was involving followers in creating core content, the photo collection showcasing Lebanon’s at-risk history.

Burning Question

Burning Question

Q. What’s your most indispensable productivity tool?

Evernote has really come into its own recently. I use it to manage tasks and take notes, and as a catch-all for a number of other things that it just seems to ‘work’ for. On the team level, the shared notebooks are great for quick collaborative brainstorms and sharing meeting notes. The full-price version is well worth the investment.”
– Josh Hallett, Winter Haven
“My iPhone, far and away. I lost it once and was significantly out of it for the day. Luckily I have everything in the cloud in one form or another, so I guess second would be Web-based software, like Google Drive, Evernote, etc.”
– Chad Hyett, New York

“It’s a tie between four different things I can’t live without right now: Tweetdeck for Twitter reading and publishing, Evernote for note-taking and project tracking, Producteev for immediate to-do items, and Pocket for saving articles to read for later. I’m also really digging Feedly as an RSS reader, in the wake of Google Reader’s demise.”
– Chris Thilk, Chicago

Each month we select a client’s “Burning Question” and solicit answers from other clients and our senior staff. Something on your mind? Drop us a line at and tell us about it. 





“Where can we punch stupidity where it hurts?”

– Evernote CEO Phil Libin on where the company’s headed next, in an interview with The Verge



The Nuts and Bolts of Writing Good Tweets

At PNConnect, we place a lot of emphasis on producing quality content. However, even top-notch content will go ignored if it’s shared via social updates that are confusing or dull. Crafting a tweet that’s interesting, readable, and still comes in under 140 characters is an art built on tried and true habits. Here are eleven tips for writing compelling, click-worthy tweets.

1. Standardize Terminology

If commonly used, brand-related terms have a variety of spellings, capitalizations, or wording options, consider setting up a shared team style sheet that can keep things consistent. The style sheet can also include guidelines for recurring tricky grammar situations.

2. Use Dynamic Structure

If a tweet includes a link, consider writing a brief introduction to the link, followed by a hashtag or additional tidbit of information after the link.

3. Use Hashtags Purposefully

Hashtags can be excellent components of an integrated campaign, serving as a conversation unifier and making the volume of a discussion easier to measure. Plan in advance how and why you’re using a hashtag, rather than throwing it in “just because.” Have a plan for tracking hashtag activity as well.

4. Establish a Consistent Tone

Think about your audience segments and the ways in which you hope your tweets will appeal to them. Then use that framework to come up with 3-5 key terms you’d like to describe your Twitter voice – e.g. “friendly,” “knowledgeable,” “passionate about the product.” Revisit these terms and the reasoning behind them regularly to ensure that your messaging is still in line with your desired voice.

5. Tease Links

When tweeting out a link, don’t just think about how to summarize the topic of the link. Think about how you can “cut to the chase” of why someone might want to click the link: What is its utility, or what makes it interesting? Alternatively, rather than trying to encompass the entirety of a link’s content, highlight one intriguing or amusing aspect of what the follower will find, like a direct quote or a callout of a compelling photo.

6. Be Visual

Remember to be media-rich. Embedded images or videos can improve a tweet’s retweet-ability.

7. Tag Other Accounts

If curating a link from an external source, credit the source’s Twitter handle (if it has one). If referencing a partner or another internal line of business, tag those accounts as well where possible.

8. But Don’t Begin with an @

If you start a tweet with an @ mention, it will only appear in the feeds of users who follow both your account and the account you mention. If you must do it, put a period before the @ so all followers see the tweet.

9. Use Callouts… Sparingly

In some cases, you can begin a tweet with a callout to interesting assets or an exciting announcement.

  • PHOTO:
  • VIDEO:
  • Just announced:

But don’t overdo it. For many readers, it wears thin fast.

10. Ask Questions

When they’re relevant and interesting, questions encourage interaction. Don’t just share information; invite discussion and feedback. But be sure to make use of the answers, by keeping the conversation going or sharing great responses. Otherwise, the interaction falls flat.

11. Find the Rhythm and Flow

Try reading the tweet out loud to make sure it flows naturally and is easy to mentally process while skimming past it quickly. Small touches like alliteration and breaking up long sentences can help.


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 September contributors.

Our distributed team best practices came from Rebeca Mueller and Jennifer Laker in Winter Haven and Mike Manuel in Sunnyvale. Nadine Abdel Khalek in Dubai contributed our case study on the Dewar’s Worth Doing campaign, and Mary Gaulke in Winter Haven brought us pointers for effective tweets. Chad Hyett in New York, Chris Thilk in Chicago, and Helen Nowicka in Washington, D.C., contributed stories and insights for the Social Networking Stats, Advertising Trends, and Noteworthy News sections, and Amanda Wu provided the latest stats. Fabian Schütze took the Spotlight hot seat, and Josh Hallett provided the photos for our cover and welcome page.

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, Josh Hallett, Dave Coustan, and Tom Harris 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

Angry Birds Star Wars II – Games
Facetune – Photo & Video
Fitness Buddy – Health & Fitness
PicPlayPost – Photo & Video
Minecraft Pocket Edition – Games
Emoji Emoticons Pro – Productivity
Free Music Download Pro – Music
AfterLight – Photo & Video
Heads Up! – Games

iPhone Top Free

Deer Hunter 2014 – Games
Duolingo – Education
Gunner Z – Games
Airplane! – Games
YouTube – Photo & Video
SnapChat – Photo & Video
Can You Escape? – Games
Facebook – Social Networking
Instagram – Photo & Video
Candy Crush Saga – Games
iPad Top Paid

Angry Birds Star Wars II – Games
Minecraft Pocket Edition – Games
Peg + Cat Big Gig – Education
Pages – Productivity
Notability – Productivity
Pixlgun 3D – Games
Photon Flash Player – Utilities
iMovie – Photo & Video
Facetune – Photo & Video
Disney Princess Royal Salon – Entertainment
iPad Top Free

Gunner Z – Games
Duolingo – Education
Deer Hunter 2014 – Games
Airplane! – Games
Beard Salon – Games
Inkpad – Productivity
YouTube – Photo & Video
Calculator for iPad Free – Utilities
Doctor X: Zombie’s Halloween Surgeon – Games
Pet Vet Doctor – Dogs Rescue – Games

Top Android & Windows Mobile Apps

Android Top Paid

SwiftKey Keyboard – Productivity
Minecraft – Games
Titanium Backup Pro Key Root – Tools
Nova Launcher Prime – Personalization
Poweramp Full Version Unlocker – Music & Audio
Beautiful Widgets Pro – Personalization
Plants vs. Zombies – Games
Root Explorer – Speed Software
FoxxFi Key – Communication
HD Widgets – Personalization
Android Top Free

Facebook – Social
Pandora – Music & Vido
Instagram – Social
Candy Crush Saga – Games
Deer Hunter 2014 – Games
Brightest LED Flashlight – Productivity
Netflix – Entertainment
Snapchat – Social
Twitter – Social
Kik Messenger – Communication

Windows Top Paid

Scan QR & Barcode Reader – Tools & Productivity
Craigslist Classifieds – Shopping
Flash Videos – Music & Video
Akinator – Entertainment
Instagraph – Social
Facebook – Social
Weather Radar Tile – Local & National
Candy Crush Help – Entertainment
ProShot – Photo
Morfo – Photo
Windows Top Free

Facebook – Social
Unit Converter – Entertainment
Pandora – Music & Video
YouTube – Entertainment
Kik Messenger – Social
Adobe Reader – Tools & Productivity
Skype – Communications
Flashlight-X – Tools & Productivity
Netflix – Entertainment
YouTube HD – Entertainment