Square Enix, gumi Launch Final Fantasy Brave Exvius on Mobile

By Thursday, June 30, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Square Enix and gumi announced the release of Final Fantasy Brave Exvius on mobile. The turn-based RPG follows Rain and Lasswell, two knights from Grandshelt, on a quest to save the world.

In Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, players complete level-based missions, which cost energy to enter (new users can enter missions for free until they reach rank five). Energy recharges automatically over time, or players can purchase additional energy instantly using Lapis, the game’s premium currency.

During battles, players can tap their heroes’ names at the bottom of the screen to trigger their basic attacks. Users also have the option to cast spells, trigger their characters’ special abilities, guard against oncoming attacks or use items (like healing items) on each turn. Gamers can also toggle auto-battle.

As players complete battles, their heroes will earn experience points, and they will become stronger as they level up over time. Users will also collect crafting materials as they defeat enemies. Gamers can use these materials to create new equipment and abilities for their heroes.

Finally, users can summon new heroes for their teams over time, and they can customize their teams between missions. As players collect unwanted or excess heroes, they can fuse these extra units into those they’d like to keep to increase their stats.

Outside of main story missions, users can complete special dungeons, including event dungeons, to earn rewards.

Final Fantasy Brave Exvius is available to download for free on the iTunes App Store and Google Play.

Dad probably could’ve used some help dressing his baby for daycare

By Thursday, June 30, 2016 0 Permalink 0

This dad’s fashion sense is nothing if not innovative.

Brooke Hawley-Basso, a mother living in Terre Haute, Indiana, was headed to a job interview one morning, so she left her husband Jeremy in charge of dressing their seven-month-old daughter Olivia.

Little did she know Olivia would soon become an avant-garde fashion icon.

SEE ALSO: Little girl impersonating animals will fill your heart with joy

We’re not entirely sure what inspired Jeremy’s choice to dress Olivia in overalls with no shirt, but we’re guessing he either panicked or is passionate about the movie Minions.

Brooke, of course, thought the outfit was hilarious. She even posted a photo of Olivia to Ellen DeGeneres’s Facebook page, where it’s been shared over 53,000 times. Read more…

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New Facebook Tool Will Allow Users to Fundraise for Nonprofits

By Thursday, June 30, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Facebook is releasing a tool allowing users to fundraise on behalf of U.S.-based 501(c)3 nonprofits.

This follows the social network’s debut last August of “Donate Now” call-to-action buttons on page posts and link ads from nonprofit pages, as well as improvements to the donate button and a fundraisers tool, which were rolled out last November.

Facebook told Megan Rose Dickey of TechCrunch that the new feature is initially available to only about 1 percent of U.S. users, and it is set to go countrywide “in the next few weeks,” adding that while only U.S. users will be able to create donation pages, donations can be accepted from more than 20 countries.

Facebook said in a post on the Nonprofits on Facebook page:

We’re introducing a new tool to enable people to raise money for U.S.-based 501(c)3 nonprofits directly on Facebook.

Fundraisers allow nonprofit supporters to set up a dedicated page to share their story, tell others about a nonprofit’s mission and rally around a fundraising goal.

We can’t wait to see how people support the causes they care about most. Learn more at https://donations.fb.com/.

And vice president of product management for social good Naomi Gleit spoke with Matt Petronzio of Mashable, saying:

Before we actually disburse funds to (nonprofits), depending on how much money it is, we’ll do some more quality control. We just want to make sure there’s no fraud, so there’s an additional layer of vetting.

We want to open this up to everyone in the U.S. to create a fundraiser and donate to any nonprofit in the U.S. So, (this is) in order for that to be sustainable and safe. This is all at cost. We’re not trying to make money.

People are already using Facebook to fund for causes—it was already happening even before we built this tool. I just see this as making it even easier. I think people will continue using those other products, and this will just be additive.

Readers: What are your thoughts on this new fundraising tool?

Snapchat and Tumblr: Platforms for Innovation in Social Media Marketing (Report)

By Thursday, June 30, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Startups are usually the home of the most innovative outlooks in social media. Any startup with a different approach or technology, like Instagram and Periscope, is often bought up by the larger networks. But others, like Snapchat, choose to go it alone. The 2016 State of Social Marketing report from Simply Measured gives us an insight into how these services are leading the industry in different ways.

The report notes that Snapchat’s innovative approach has led it to a unique position in the market, making it:

[A] hub for robust brand content and discovery, event-based interaction and visual communication, Snapchat is an extension of many brands’ identities, and it is emerging as a core component of the social strategy for brands … Its most recent evolution came in March with what the network deemed “Chat 2.0,” including features like auto-advancing stories, instant video and audio chatting and sticker enhancements.

Snapchat recently crested 150 million daily active users, and it has a 100 percent mobile audience. Despite being relatively young, it has managed to tap into the market by offering an experience that no other network was offering at the time, and we’ve since seen most of the other networks scramble to catch up. To do well on Snapchat, your business must be like the service: open to change, agile and ready to move quickly with the demands of your audience.

Social blogging site Tumblr has been around since 2007, but it was acquired by Yahoo In 2013, and it has also been a testing ground for new marketing tactics. The site has 550 million active users and is one of the most trafficked websites online. Despite the quick amplification power and high engagement on Tumblr, only 54 percent of the Interbrand 100 use the site and only 30 percent post monthly. However, brand adoption on the network grew 15 percent since last year, partly because brands are starting to understand the platform better.

Tumblr’s strengths lie in its focus on highly visual, sharable content. Marketers that create GIFs, capitalize on Tumblr trends or just behave strangely enough to be intriguing can rally a very loyal user base that’s itching to share their latest content. Posting the same content to Tumblr as you do to all your other networks is a wasted opportunity on Tumblr, and it likely won’t have enough originality to see vital shares.

Each time one of these more agile services makes a change, we see others pivot in order to follow them. While it may seem like a risk to invest in less proven services, marketers that get it right early can really capture audiences and write the playbook for an emerging network.

For more insight, read the full 2016 State of Social Marketing report, or view our previous coverage.

Image courtesy of Wachiwit/Shutterstock.

Facebook’s latest feature helps you raise money for your favorite charity

By Thursday, June 30, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Facebook just made it a lot easier for users to raise money for the causes they care about.

Several months after the social network launched a new “fundraiser” feature for nonprofits to collect donations, Facebook announced it has expanded the tool to individual users. Starting Thursday, users in the U.S. can create dedicated fundraiser pages to raise money for verified nonprofits.

The tool is now available to 1% of U.S. users — standard for new Facebook products in order to gather feedback and make sure there aren’t any bugs — but it will roll out to all U.S. users in the coming weeks.

SEE ALSO: Facebook launches new website to help nonprofits master the platform Read more…

More about Nonprofits, Charity, Social Media, Facebook, and Social Good

Reliance Games Launches The BFG Game on iOS, Android

By Thursday, June 30, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Reliance Games and Amblin Partners announced the launch of The BFG Game on iOS and Android. The match-three puzzle game is based on the upcoming film The BFG, which hits theaters July 1. In the game, players join Sophie and the BFG as they travel through London, the Dream Country and more.

Each level of The BFG Game asks players to complete a different objective before running out of moves. For instance, one stage may ask players to earn a required number of points, while another stage may ask users to clear wooden tiles from the board by creating matches on top of them.

As players create matches with four or more symbols, or matches in special T, L or square shapes, they’ll create power-up symbols that can be used in future matches to trigger special effects on the board. For instance, one power-up may clear an entire row or column of symbols when activated, while another may clear every symbol of a single color from the board, and so on.

If users need help finishing objectives, they can purchase and activate special booster items during stages. The net booster, for instance, can be used to clear one chosen symbol from the board.

Users will lose lives if they fail to compete levels before running out of moves. These lives recharge automatically over time, or players can purchase lives instantly with premium currency. Users can also ask their Facebook friends to send them free lives.

The BFG Game is available to download for free on the iTunes App Store and Google Play.

High-Risk, High-Reward: Snapchat’s Advertising Revolution

By Thursday, June 30, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Mobile advertising requires striking what can seem like an impossible balance: attracting users’ attention without interrupting whatever else they are doing. The trick is to be interruptive through engaging, well-placed advertising without interrupting.

Although mobile advertising has evolved over the past 10 years away from SMS messages and pop-ups to informative, relevant banners and native ads, media companies are still struggling to find the best balance of ads that resonate without disrupting the user experience.

Take The Next Web, which launched a new ad format that pushes articles out of the way and automatically starts playing a video ad that is nearly impossible to exit. One commenter called it “the most infuriating hide-the-content ad ploy I’ve ever seen.”

Or consider The Atlantic, which found itself embroiled in a controversy for publishing sponsored content in the form of an advertorial from the Church of Scientology.

Mistakes like these make consumers feel annoyed, deceived and unfavorable toward brands. This is especially true for millennials, and impactful advertisers and publishers are adapting their strategies in an effort to achieve more than simply the default “not annoying.”

Today, they are striving to deliver ads that are relevant, engaging and even interactive. In a world where advertisers hunger for millennial eyeballs and dollars, relevant and engaging means delivering ads that are “authentic.”

Snapchat realized that if ads are not authentic and sharable, they are unsuccessful, and it is ushering in a new era of advertising through a wealth of new ad formats that blur the lines between advertising and content.

In what some are calling a pre-initial public offering push, Snapchat has unveiled sponsored creation tools for brands to create ads with facial-recognition selfie lenses and geofilters. It is also offering the services of its creative partners to help brands build snap ads, including new formats like “expandable” snap ads.

The Snapchat advertising revolution underscores that advertising is becoming content and brands are creating content in the hope that it will get shared, maybe even go viral, which in turn makes the brand relevant by association.

Authenticity: Advertising’s secret sauce (and Achilles’ heel)

No segment of the population values authenticity more than millennials. This presents a challenge to brands because millennials perceive ads as unauthentic.

Forbes conducted a study with Elite Daily, which revealed that just 1 percent of millennials say a compelling advertisement would make them trust a brand more. They believe that advertising is all spin, so they ignore ads completely.

Some brands try to fabricate authenticity by paying “influencers” to feature their products in ways that seem natural.

Chiara Ferragni, the woman behind wildly popular fashion blog The Blonde Salad, formed partnerships with Burberry and Dior.

Famed food blogger Joy Wilson (a.k.a. Joy the Baker) published a post on how to make buttermilk biscuits in conjunction with Land O Lakes European Style Super Premium Butter, using the product in her recipe.

While this strategy may seem to work out well for brands and influencers, many consumers see through it. They are the latest incarnation of celebrity endorsements, and their luster is beginning to fade. In fact, according to a recent survey by Collective Bias, 70 percent of 18- through-34-year-olds prefer peer endorsements over celebrity endorsement, the former of which is perceived as true and valid versus fake and manufactured. It is clear that Joy the Baker is being paid to feature Land O Lakes, which makes the reader doubt whether the butter, is in fact, “fantastic.”

Fabricating authenticity?

Advertisers face a Catch-22: Authenticity is clearly driving millennials’ purchases and loyalty to brands, but it’s not exactly something that can be manufactured. When brands try, there’s a high chance that it will come off forced and inauthentic, which drives millennials away for good.

Take Mountain Dew’s “twerking” commercial. Twerking may have emerged as a viral internet phenomenon, but Mountain Dew didn’t win any points for its bizarre ads with inanimate objects twerking in a basement. Or Dunkin Donuts’ attempt to leverage the hashtag and Generation Z slang with #BreakfastWhenevs”–not only are consumers unlikely to share these ads, but they can have a negative impact on the brand.

The key to creating a successful ad campaign in today’s world lies in a brand’s ability to offer an experience that users genuinely want to engage with and share. This content is not heavy-handed or overtly promotional, and many of the best, most successful examples are emerging in mobile ad campaigns on Snapchat, which has pioneered what has been called “crowd-distributed advertising.”

Gatorade created an interactive Snapchat filter during the Super Bowl that let users take a “Gatorade shower” by pouring a virtual Gatorade cooler over other people’s snaps. The campaign generated an astounding 160 million impressions, more than the 115 million people who tuned into the game.

Why? Because users chose to share the brand instead of being paid to do it. The filter was, quite simply, fun and social. It reflected an understanding of who the users are and what they like, and in the process showcased Snapchat as a platform for brands to reach new audiences. It also enabled users to participate in an iconic Super Bowl moment using their mobile device.

The World Wildlife Fund is another example. The nonprofit waged the #LastSelife campaign in order to raise awareness about animal populations at risk of extinction. The idea was to leverage the ephemerality of Snapchats as a way to emphasize the fact that species are disappearing. Moreover, the animal images tugged at the heartstrings, an effect that was heightened when the image disappeared. The combination of emotion and millennials’ interest in social causes packed a powerful punch.

Brands are also using Snapchat in innovative ways to engage users with exclusive content. Heineken sponsored a stage at Coachella and used Snapchat to send people clues about surprise shows during the festival. Users who responded quickly with the right band or artist got an early confirmation of the act on their smartphones. Again, this campaign was not overtly promotional and imparted real value to users. Festival goers were motivated to engage with Heineken because they got something they cared about in return.

All of the examples of successes and failures outlined above demonstrate the importance of authenticity, as well as of providing value. If you are going to interrupt someone as they browse on social media or read a news article, then it better be for good reason.

Millennials are not going to engage with content for the sake of engaging with content. There has to be a point. They have to find the content funny or poignant, or gain something from interacting with it. They are less interested in being passive consumers than they are in being active participants, and Snapchat provides an invaluable opportunity for brands to begin building a two-way relationship

If you are able to create something people love, like Gatorade did, you’ll knock it out of the park. If not, your ad campaign may end up being unwelcome and invisible.

Ragnar Kruse is the founder and CEO of mobile ad platform Smaato.

Zynga Launches CSR Racing 2 on iOS, Android

By Thursday, June 30, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Zynga announced the launch of CSR Racing 2 (CSR2) on mobile. Developed by Zynga’s NaturalMotion studio, the drag-racing game is the sequel to the original CSR Racing. In CSR2, players can compete against the computer or other players in multiple race modes, including ladder and regulation races, crew battles, live multiplayer races and more.

Before each race, players can tap a gas pedal button to rev their engines. This causes the needle to move across the tachometer at the bottom of the screen. Players have the goal of keeping the needle in the green area on the tachometer to achieve “perfect starts” in races. Once races begin, users are challenged to tap the plus button to shift gears as the needle reaches the green area on the tachometer for each gear.

Users receive money as they complete races, which can be spent on car upgrades. Users can purchase upgrades in multiple categories (tires, transmission, engine, nitrous, etc.), with each upgrade affecting a car’s stats (power, grip, shift time and weight). Once users reach certain upgrade levels for specific categories in their cars, they’ll unlock tuning, which allows them to further modify their cars’ stats without spending additional money.

In addition to performance upgrades, users can spend free and premium currency on visual changes for their vehicles. NaturalMotion worked with every car manufacturer featured in CSR2, including Ferrari, Lamborghini and McLaren, to ensure that each car was accurately re-created in the game.

Users can interact with their vehicles in between races to view each car’s details. This includes the ability to open a vehicle’s hood or doors, as examples. Users can take pictures or videos of their vehicles and share them with others on social media. Gamers can purchase additional cars from the store using free or premium currency, or they can win them through the game’s story mode.

Finally, in addition to live multiplayer matches, the game includes a multiplayer crew feature, which allows users to join crews, or clubs, with other players. Gamers can chat with other users in their crews, and they can also unlock boosts and other content via crew perks. Crews can compete against one another to earn respect points.

In a statement, Torsten Reil, CEO of NaturalMotion, commented:

CSR Racing has a passionate fan base that lives and breathes the world of cars. With more than 190 million downloads by auto enthusiasts around the world, the original CSR Racing and CSR Classics brought never-before-seen levels of visual fidelity and vehicle authenticity to the racing genre on mobile. In CSR2, we’ve built on this legacy by amplifying the drag racing experience and introducing new social elements, higher-fidelity graphics and enhanced levels of customization to create the most immersive and realistic mobile racing experience for our players.

CSR2 is available to download for free on the iTunes App Store and Google Play.

An official BBC Facebook account just totally shut down a random commenter

By Thursday, June 30, 2016 0 Permalink 0

LONDON — When it comes to Facebook, you don’t want to mess with the BBC.

Particularly the BBC Daily Politics & Sunday Politics page, who apparently aren’t adverse to taking on users who might not have fully thought through their comments.

SEE ALSO: BBC presenter caught messing with her phone on live television

It all started on Wednesday, when the BBC posted this.

Image: facebook/bbc daily politics & sunday politics

Graham Sclater, clearly not realising exactly who he was messing with, wrote the following comment beneath the story.

Image: facebook//bbc daily politics & sunday politics

At which point the BBC hit back with this. Read more…

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