Where there's a kid in school or sports... there's a fundraiser. It's a fact of life — especially mine. With countless children I know and love, I'm constantly seeing brochures filled with cookie dough, caramel corn, pizza kits and Christmas wrap. They're doing a read-a-thon to raise money for this. They're selling T-shirts for that. And that bake sale to save the [insert animal species here]? Yeah, that's tomorrow.
While I'm not yet a parent, I see the pressure this puts on them. Of course, they want to do it all. They want their kid to have it all. But, they probably can't help but groan when they pull the PTA letter from their backpack.
Enter this elementary school in Lexington, Kentucky.
Instead of hosting fundraisers upon fundraisers throughout the year, their savvy strategy was a one-time request for donations — hilariously straightforward and refreshingly relatable.
With five donation tiers:
These options were music to parents' ears, and one dad couldn't help but post a photo to Reddit. "Shoutout to the PTA at my kids' elementary school for the most hilariously honest fundraiser I've ever seen," he captioned it.
There, users left more than 2,500 comments. Most were wishing their schools would follow suit, as it's easy for everyone. Members of the PTA aren't spending hours orchestrating every detail of an event. Kids aren't going door-to-door collecting money and delivering goods. Parents aren't pestering people to participate. Win, win, win.
Interestingly enough? This isn't the first school to try this sort of fundraiser. In 2015, a Texas middle school sent an almost identical letter. However, they included an extra tier. Donating $75 meant: "I don't want to attend any fancy balls, so here is the money I would have spent on a new outfit."
While final fundraising amounts couldn't be found, it's worth noting that these effortless fundraisers earned some serious chatter... and I have to assume some serious cash. With no fundraising company to work with, 100% of all proceeds went to the school. For that, I give it an A+.
As we near the end of the year, we begin to question the year to come. What is next? What can we do to prepare? Specifically, where is media going in 2019?
For a while there, users were engaging in shared experiences, and while that is still very accurate, media consumption is shifting into more curated and connected content for consumers. Ever notice the "Recommended For You" feature on Instagram...their algorithms understand our every move, like, share, view and want to provide more carefully selected content like that to us.
So, what is next for media consumption in 2019? Let's take a look:
What else can marketers expect from 2019? Read up on the latest in:
YouTube's algorithm invites you to keep on watching and watching... It starts with a simple ask, a clip from a talk show you missed or maybe a tutorial to get that beachy wave look. Before long, you've consumed dozens of cat videos and lost track of your original intentions. You're not alone, according to a recent survey by Pew Research Center. Some 35 percent of U.S. adults tune in to YouTube videos for instruction on how to perform tasks and 13 percent of find YouTube helpful in understanding world events.
+It's by design. The researchers also found that YouTube's recommendation algorithm "encourages users to watch progressively longer and more popular content." 81 percent of YouTube users watch the recommended videos at least occasionally; that includes 15 percent who do so regularly. Kids are watching too. YouTube says it's not kid-friendly, but 81 percent of parents with children 11 years old or younger have allowed their children to watch YouTube content.
Droid's New Following
Android users connect with businesses using Google Maps app. A recently launched "follow" feature on the Google Maps mobile app allows Android users to stay current with their favorite IRL stores, restaurants and other businesses and discover places that are opening soon (TheVerge.com, 25 October 2018). It works a lot like Facebook Pages.
+The Google Maps for Android app now lets consumers follow businesses, much the way they follow friends on social media. After tapping the follow button to track a business, the app's users receive news of events, offers and other information from that business in the app's For You tab. Profiles of places that are about to open also appear on the app, with the projected opening date in orange. Businesses set to open within three months can create a free Business Profile to be included.
More App'd to Deceive
Ads in apps relentlessly target the youngest consumers. Children's mobile apps are crawling with advertising, much of which is distracting and/or deceptive, according to a study by University of Michigan researchers. The study focused on the most-downloaded paid and free apps for kids under 5 years old—south of kindergarten.
+Of the 135 apps the team reviewed, 95 percent contained at least one kind of ad. 42 percent of the ads featured commercial characters, like Strawberry Shortcake; 46 percent were teasers to upgrade to a full app; and 30 percent promoted in-app purchases. Others were advertising videos that interrupted the child's play; nudgy ads to rate the app or share about it on social media; and distracting ads, including banners and ads camouflaged as gameplay items. Based on the research, 22 consumer and children's advocacy groups sent a letter to the FTC requesting an investigation into the practice of using in-app ads to target young children (NYTimes.com, 30 October 2018).
New to Insta
8 Instagram Updates your brand should know about. A lot can change in a year. Perhaps you cut your hair? Changed jobs? Bought a house? Did something arts and crafty? Did you post your updates to Instagram? And did you notice their new features? Let's break it down.
A lot can change in a year. Perhaps you cut your hair? Changed jobs? Bought a house? Did something arts and crafty? Did you post your updates to Instagram? And did you notice their new features?
Let's take a look at the top eight platform updates Instagram made in 2018:
Shop in Instagram Stories. According to the platform, more than 400 million accounts globally utilize Instagram Stories for sharing content. In addition, one-third of the most viewed stories are from businesses, and 90 million accounts are tapping to reveal tags in shopping posts. With all that in mind, Instagram now has the capability for advertisers to tag their products and for users to tap to shop. Perhaps you'll find some holiday shopping inspiration?
Utilize full screen support for all ads in Instagram. Businesses uploading a single image or video under 15 seconds are also able to promote content on Instagram Stories at full screen. Using pixel matching technology, Instagram will select a gradient background color and turn the ad into a full screen format.
Send GIFs in DMs. Users can now send GIFs in their direct messages to other users. This feature can be selected in the conversation tab within the platform. Once opened, users can tap on the gif button and then scroll or search for relatable gifs.
Use carousel ads to Instagram stories. In February of 2018, Instagram launched Carousel Ads for Instagram Stories. Advertisers can use up to three pieces of media per Story ad. This allows for more meaningful content to be consumed by the user as brands get to share their story.
Catch up on the latest activity. Ever scroll through Instagram to make sure you're not missing out on the latest posts? In other words, FOMO? Well, scroll no further. Instagram introduced the "You're All Caught Up" feature that alerts users when they have viewed all the recent content since their last visit to the platform.
Access recommendations. In addition to the "You're All Caught Up" feature, Instagram has also included their recommendations of accounts users should follow based on their activity within the platform. Users will see the list of recommended content right after the "You're All Caught Up" in the "Recommended For You" section.
Ask and answer. Instagram Stories has seen multiple updates throughout the year. One of the most popular? Ask and Answer. Users and brands can add this sticker to their Instagram Stories to get more insight. Where should a brands next pop-up store be located? Ask your users. Does your brand want to know what flavors they should try in their next coffee concoction? Ask your users. The answers just may end up on your menu or give you a little insight as to what your consumers want.
Simplify your inbox. Over 150 million users communicate with business and brands through Instagram each month. To make this messaging easier, Instagram debuted new features for brands to message users using their Direct inbox, instead of the pending folder. In addition, they rolled out new "quick replies" so brands can respond quicker to commonly asked questions.
Need more on Instagram? Perhaps you need to update your Story strategy? Read: 7 Instagram Story features you should be using. Or maybe you're hoping your content is engaging? Read: 5 ways marketers can stand out on Instagram.
Who's the most popular girl at the tech party? How can you reduce your bounce rate? Are Facebook support groups okay? Find the answers here, as well as what marketers can expect in 2019 for Health and Wellness, Cause Marketing and Technology.
Vitamin B & P
What marketers can expect in 2019: Health and Wellness. What was hot in health and well-known in wellness for 2018 might not carry into the new year. As 2019 approaches, brands should reflect on the messages to bring with them. And those to leave behind. Here's a look at the top consumer health and wellness trends for 2019.
Heartbeat takes health tech from wearable to useful. We love wearable technology. But who's willing to crunch the numbers, study the patterns and analyze the results? This high-tech, high-touch cardiologic care provider is disrupting healthcare by meeting consumers before they have heart disease.
What marketers can expect in 2019: Technology. Alexa became the most popular girl at the tech party in 2018. What's ahead for the Internet of Things (IoT) in 2019 and what are the key marketing challenges and opps?
What marketers can expect in 2019: Cause marketing. From #MeToo to the Times Up movement, March for Our Lives to the #NeverAgain campaign, causes and cause marketing became a huge focus for brands and consumers in 2018. Marketers can expect more of the same in 2019.
'Facebook (is) the only way': the perils – and promise – of Facebook's emotional support groups. It's becoming increasingly common for patients with rare diseases or cancer gene mutations to turn to Facebook for emotional support. But these groups often face privacy and financial concerns.
10 ways to reduce your website bounce rate infographic. Simple, concise and on target.
Looking to market to all generations but don't have the budget? Not a problem. There's one common denominator across each audience. Can you guess what it is? Download our free guide, How to market healthcare to all generations, to learn more.
Unable to make it to SHSMD this year? No worries with our top takeaways. From socially responsible flu shots to socially acceptable breastfeeding pods to all "natural"(?) LaCroix, and more, read our Healthcare Checkup to stay in the know.
Vitamin B & P
9 key takeaways from SHSMD Connections Conference 2018. Learn why you should do more of what makes you happy, love math like you love creative, googlize your website, and more from these key SHSMD conference takeaways.
Flu season ahead: Why it's socially responsible to get your flu shot. Fall is in the air, and unfortunately, so is the flu. While it's beneficial for your personal wellbeing to get your flu shot this year, it's also become somewhat of a social responsibility to do so.
6 SEO best practices every blog should have. Google. It serves our every search. Indulges our every inquiry. And even follows us where we go (on the internet, of course). Get the quick tips on 6 SEO best practices.
5 ways marketers can stand out on Instagram. So you have a brand Instagram account... but is your creative engaging and are you utilizing all the platform features? Here are five ways your brand can stand out on Instagram.
10 things you need to know for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. HemOnc Today has compiled a list of 10 updates on topics impacting people with breast cancer, including breast reconstruction, financial toxicity and treatment.
Breastfeeding pods now trending at sports stadiums. And in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, learn about this new lactation station trend popping up in sports spaces for breastfeeding fans.
Amid lawsuit, LaCroix defends its ‘natural' labeling. Whether legal allegations that the beloved sparkling water is tainted with insecticides and other harmful substances, the brand image of LaCroix has been forever tainted with the harmful rhetoric.
Looking to market to all generations but don't have the budget? Not a problem. There's one common denominator across each audience. Can you guess what it is? Download our free guide, How to market healthcare to all generations,
News To Me
Americans increasingly rely on social media for news—especially Facebook. Pew Research recently asked more than 4,500 U.S. adults where they go for news. Nearly half (47 percent) say they often or sometimes rely on social media, with Facebook being the most popular choice (43 percent), followed by YouTube (21 percent) and Twitter (12 percent). But more than half of the social-media-news consumers consider the information "largely inaccurate."
+But what about that Cambridge Analytic scandal? Are consumers indifferent about data breaches, fake news and Russian trolls? Apparently. Two-thirds (68 percent) of adults use Facebook today, unchanged from April 2016 when the Center last checked in. Three-quarters of users check in at least once a day. Because news.
Millennials love the holidays and have the receipts to prove it. Millennials have been driving holiday shopping for some time now, spending nearly $800 on gifts and goodies compared with around $650 for the average Joe, according to an Accenture survey (BusinessWire.com, 1 October 2018). Nearly half expect to dial it up this season, compared to just 13 percent of Boomers.
+Ready to host or not... Life stage explains a lot here. Millennials are young parents, playing Santa and assuming family dinner duties. This means stocking up on chafing dishes, folding chairs and decorations—items that couldn't argue their way onto wedding gift registries. 60 percent of Millennials plan to host a holiday meal or party compared to 40 percent of Boomers.
Gen We learn how not to do homeownership from Millennials. Most (83 percent) of 19- to 23-year-old consumers plan to purchase a home within the next five years, per a PropertyShark survey. (CBSNews.com, 11 September 2018). And they're determined to avoid Millennial missteps, like raiding retirement funds to make a down payment or taking out a mortgage that's too big for the household budget.
+Both gens cite student debt as the biggest obstacle on the road to homeownership, but it's more of a burden for Gen We (32 percent) than Millennials (17 percent). And though the lure of big-city lights draws more Gen We consumers (40 percent) than Millennials (30 percent), fully 60 percent of the younger group plan to bypass major metros for more affordable, kid-friendly suburbs.
What marketers can expect in 2019: Money & Spending. Will consumers spend confidently into 2019 or save more? Depends on which generation you're asking.
5 ways marketers can stand out on Instagram. How to do your brand Instagram account better.
So you have a brand Instagram account...but is your creative engaging and are you utilizing all the platform features? Here are five ways your brand can stand out on Instagram.
Utilize Instagram Stories (and the unique features). In April 2017, Instagram Stories overtook Snapchat videos in daily users by 25 percent (200 million to 160 million), according to Hootsuite's AdEspresso. Since the platform feature launched in 2016, there are now nearly 400 million Instagram Accounts utilizing Instagram Stories every day (Mashable). Between capturing the branded journey or new products the brand is launching — Instagram Stories is a great way to get quick brand announcements in front of your audience. They are also a good way to interact with your audience with features like polling, ask a question and the emoji slider.
Get comfortable with the vertical canvas. Since all story formats are vertical — your brand should be designing for this layout. Note: there are overlays like the timestamp, account name and image, message and the share functionality to be aware of when designing.
Make it playful. It's always fun to have a little fun, especially on Instagram. With their in-platform features like stickers, select font types, Boomerang, gifs, etc., there are several ways for brands to get a little more playful with their content. Notable brands that have fun on Instagram? Target, Starbucks and Ben and Jerry's.
Have an objective (and design for it too). App installs? Show the app and point to the download button. Need registrants? Show them how and direct them to the link. Like any creative campaign, if the call to action isn't easy or the creative doesn't lend itself for the CTA, you'll miss the mark with your audience.
Promote. Not only can you promote your stories and posts, but you can target to audiences and build your campaign by objective (see tip number four).
Need more Instagram insights? Check out our recent piece on the 7 Instagram Story features you should be using.
Not Just Looking
Instagram streamlines shopping, just in time for the holidays. Instagram is making it easier for consumers to acquire what inspires them. The platform's Explore page now has a Shopping channel and, after months of testing, the Shopping feature in Stories has launched globally.
+The Explore Shopping channel is made for browsers, as in "I'm just looking, thank you." Consumers can peruse posts and tap to discover other brands of interest. The Shopping feature in Instagram Stories allows consumers to learn more about products featured in Stories posted by brands. Even before the updates, more than 90 million consumers had been tapping on Instagram shopping posts for product tags (AdAge.com, 18 September 2018). The latest updates are expected to drive even more referrals from Instagram this holiday shopping season. Some analysts are predicting as much as a 51 percent increase over 2017 (AdWeek.com, 14 September 2018).
Do You Hover or Mow?
Helicopter parents have landed. And they're more overprotective than ever. Helicopter parents hover over their kids, sometimes sweeping in to rescue them. Lawnmower parents cut to the chase: They mow down anything perceived as a potential obstacle to their kids, like demanding a teacher raise a child's grade if the parent thinks it's unfair.
+Identified as a "troubling trend" in an essay posted on the WeAreTeachers blog, lawnmower parents "mow obstacles down so kids won't experience them in the first place," writes the essayist. "In raising children who have experienced minimal struggle ... we are creating a generation that has no what idea what to do when they actually encounter struggle" (WeAreTeachers.com, 30 August 2018).
It's Time To Take A Shot
Flu season ahead: Why it's socially responsible to get your flu shot. The flu is expected to be a doozy again this year. It's all over social media. Even if you're willing to risk your own health, is it socially responsible to risk the health of others?
SHSMD In Seattle
9 key takeaways from SHSMD Connections Conference 2018. This year's Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development was equal parts informational and inspiring. We heard from idea farmer Johnny Cupcakes, healthcare brand evangelists and graffiti artists. They challenged marketers to be in constant pursuit of the ideal patient experience, offering both practical and creative solutions.
A surreal social media experience. Want to cut back on social media consumption but aren't willing to quit cold turkey? Try Binky, which offers streams, scrolls and swipes without connecting to actual people. Or wipe the slate clean with Safebook, which erases all of Facebook's content, but keeps the platform's "likes" and other interactive prompts fully functional inside blue-gray boxes.
+It's meta, on purpose. "I find it uncanny how well I can still navigate the site with Safebook installed," says Ben Grosser, the artist/provocateur who created the Chromebook/Firefox extension. "Sure, I don't know what someone posted — or who posted it — but I can still perform the daily labor of liking my friend's posts" (FastCompany.com, 12 September 2018). Exposing the bare-bones functionality that keeps Facebook users clicking is an object lesson in manipulation. "This shows how the design of the Facebook interface is driving much of our daily interaction with it, that it has taught us what to do," says Grosser. "The entire system is constructed in a way that will always make possible (even, possibly, encourage?) threats to privacy, health and democracy."
Steady as Z Goes
Gen Z students seek safe, secure career tracks. Philosophy are harder to find on campus these days. Daunted by the long-tail of student loan debt, Gen Z undergrads remain wary of the recovering economy and are opting for more secure paths to steady careers.
+Don't care much about history. Once-popular majors like history, literature and religion started plummeting after the Great Recession and never really recovered, according to an analysis by Northeastern University historian Benjamin Schmidt (Qz.com, 29 August 2018). The decline of humanities reflects "a new set of student priorities, which are being formed even before they see the inside of a college classroom," writes Schmidt. The priorities are pretty specific. Exercise science was the fastest-growing major in 2017, up 131% since 2008. Other popular choices include nursing (up 78%), health and medicine (up 57%) and computer science (up 50%).
Ready. Set. SEO.
It's Google's internet; We just search here. Search engines are precious about the results they serve. So, if you publish web content and want prospects to see it, you need to abide by search engine rules. While there are many tips to consider, we've prioritized the most important ones to give your content a much needed boost in rankings: 6 SEO best practices every blog should have.
Exploring Other Options
Younger consumers are more likely than older gens to break up with Facebook. The Cambridge Analytica scandal prompted many Facebook users to take action to protect their data. 54% of all Facebook users age 18 and older adjusted their privacy settings in the past year, according to a Pew survey (PewResearch.org, 4 September 2018). 42% take frequent breaks from the platform, and 26% have deleted the app on their smartphones. All told, 74% of Facebook users have taken at least one of those three precautionary steps.
+Gen Z and Younger Millennial are especially leery. 44% of 18- to 29-year-olds deleted their Facebook phone app in the past year, compared with just 12% of users age 65 and older. And just a third of 65+ consumers have adjusted their Facebook privacy settings, compared with 64% of younger users. This is the same cohort that is voluntarily cutting back on screen time in the name of mental health.
Back-to-school season has been good to brick-and-mortar stores this year, and mobile retailers too. The average household will spend $510 per household on school supplies this year, up from $501 in 2017, according to a Deloitte survey (CMO.com, 5 September 2018). Traditional retail stores are expected to lead the class as 71% of back-to-school shoppers plan to shop in-store (Morning Consult).
+It could be that parents and kids enjoy shopping together for backpacks, calculators and crayons. 77% start shopping at least three weeks before school opens, up from just 64% a decade ago, according to a National Retail Federation survey. Kids definitely want their sway. They are projected to influence $21 million worth of back-to-school shopping in 2018, according to the Deloitte survey. What does this mean? Experience can trump convenience (Amazon) and kids know how to work it.
Devout but Different
Most Americans are religious, but their beliefs are shifting over time. Pew Research Center has been studying how Americans view religion for several years. Personal beliefs about religion can have an impact on how consumers behave, whether in the voting booth or supermarket. Pew organized believers into seven religious types—from highly devoted Sunday Stalwarts to Solidly Secular (PewResearch.org, 29 August 2018).
+Both ends of the spectrum cut across the swath of organized religions. Stalwarts are mostly Protestants, but include Catholics, Mormons and Jews, while the Solidly Secular cohort includes people who identify as Protestant, Catholic and Jewish. These findings reflect the fact that younger generations may profess the same faith as their parents, but don't always share the ways they practice or view social issues. The bottom line? Americans cluster in three primary groups that include all seven types: "highly religious" (39%); "somewhat religious" (32%); and "non-religious" (29%).
Is the patient medical bill part of your consumer journey mapping? With 83% of Americans finding high medical costs a big problem, it should be. Are you communicating properly with your burgeoning multi-cultural audiences? Taking advantage of Instagram Stories? Thinking about self-driving autos as your next nontraditional media vehicle? Learn about all this AND find out what a "clinical quarterback" is in this month's Checkup.
VITAMIN B & P
What your healthcare journey map is missing. Your healthcare system is a marketing marvel. You've mastered and meticulously addressed every step of the consumer journey. Except one. Learn how and why it could all be undone by a couple pieces of paper delivered by a mailman.
Closing the multicultural-consumer healthcare gap. Multicultural consumers conceptualize and experience health and wellness through a distinctive cultural lens that is ill-suited for the one-size-fits-all attitude adopted by the majority of the American healthcare system. With $1.3 trillion in multicultural healthcare spending, connecting with this burgeoning audience is key to marketers.
How autonomous vehicles are driving the future of advertising. As the conversation about self-driving cars shifts from "if" to "when," it's important to set your brand up or success in this new era. If the next great media channel is the self-driving car, will you brand be ready to kick it into gear?
7 Instagram Story features you should be using. Since launching in 2016, Instagram Stories has increased in popularity with nearly 400 million Instagram Stories every day. Here are seven features your brand should be using.
Everyone deserves a holistic, patient-centric health care system. Aetna's president, Karen Lynch, summarizes the results of the company's Health Ambition Study. Learn how "clinical quarterbacks" work with members to create personalized, holistic care plans to answer consumer needs and achieve true transformation.
Americans are closely divided over value of medical treatments, but most agree costs are a big problem. According to new Pew Research Center survey, 83% of Americans, regardless of their income, say a big problem is that the high cost of medical treatments makes quality care unaffordable.
Looking to market to all generations but don't have the budget? Not a problem. There's one common denominator across each audience. Can you guess what it is? Download our free guide, How to market healthcare to all generations, to learn more.