Celebrating Social Media Day with a Toast to GIFs, Memes and Emojis

June 30th is Social Media Day! Mashable launched the holiday in 2010 (and then disowned it to give everyone control of the day last year) as a way to recognize and celebrate social media’s impact on global communication.

And for marketers, communication is really what social media is all about, right? Social media allows us to express the personality of our brands and share stories in a way that engages with our audiences. So, to celebrate the holiday, we wanted to toast a few of our favorite tools for communicating on social media. That’s right, we’re talking about GIFs, memes and emojis.

Choosy marketers choose GIFS

In 1987, a team of developers at CompuServe headed by Steve Wilhite needed a way to make computers display an image while also saving memory. The result was a compression algorithm that Wilhite dubbed the Graphics Interchange Format – aka, the GIF. (For the record, Wilhite prefers a soft G to pronounce GIF as a play on Jif Peanut Butter: “Choosy developers choose GIF.”)


More than three decades later, Wilhite’s creation remains a fan favorite on social media. GIFs allow us to quickly express our feelings, synthesize our thoughts and formulate responses to today’s hottest topics, all without having to actually formulate complete sentences.

Want to celebrate your brand’s recent successful initiative? Hit ‘em with a GIF:


Want to express confusion or frustration? Britney has you covered:


No matter what point you’re trying to make, GIFs make it way easier and more entertaining. And for marketers, they can be huge for increasing social media engagement. The value of using GIFs in social media posts

Less work and higher engagement?! Yeah, we’re going to need a GIF to demonstrate how we feel about GIFs.


Relax, there’s a meme for that

Cheers meme

Let’s cheers to another creation that helps us express ourselves on social media without requiring us to come up with original ideas – the meme. The idea of a meme had been around since the 1970s but Wired’s Mike Godwin (the creator of the famed internet adage Godwin’s Law) popularized the concept for online usage in the early 90s.

Godwin conceptualized the term “meme” as an idea that functions in the human mind the way a gene or virus does in the body. The more popular (i.e., infectious) the meme, the more efficiently it spreads from person to person. Now, Godwin wasn’t focused on memes as a marketing tool; he was actually trying to explain how internet arguments had a disturbing habit of devolving into Nazi comparisons.

But, memes can be used for good as well as evil. For marketers, memes are a valuable tool for making simple points and responding to trending topics in a funny way. For example, by tweeting out a meme in real time during the 2013 Super Bowl, Oreo racked up almost 7,000 likes and more than 14,500 retweets for a marketing message that cost $0 to send out.

Given that Super Bowl commercials cost millions of dollars for a 30-second spot, that sounds like a pretty good return for Oreo – and it’s all thanks to having the right meme at the right time.

Emojis: Express yourself without words

Sometimes, words just can’t convey a point as well as an image. And, if a picture is worth a thousand words, a tiny image has to be worth at least a few hundred, right? Well, that’s the idea behind the emoji.

In 1999, Japenese artist Shigetaka Kurita wanted to find a way to convey complex information in a simple, succinct way. The result was a library of 176 emojis to provide information like weather forecasts (sun, clouds, umbrella, snowman), traffic (car, tram, airplane, ship) and technology (landline, cell phone, TV, GameBoy).

Today, there are more than 3,000 emoji characters in the Unicode Standard, including variations, and there’s no reason to think this will slow down any time soon. In fact, Wired’s guide to the emoji predicts emojis will play an even larger role in our communication in the future:

In the future, as the world becomes increasingly digital and increasingly globalized, emoji will become important tools for translation and communication – a lingua franca for the digital age.

We already put a lot of pressure on emojis to illustrate some of our most complex, personal and – if we’re being honest – juvenile thoughts and feelings. Given the importance of brevity and the need to visually stand out on social media, this makes finding the right emoji an important skill for marketers. In fact, marketers who perfect their emoji game reap some pretty decent spoils.

The value of using emojis in social media posts

We want to know: What are your favorite ways to share your story on social? Let us know by sharing your thoughts – and your favorite GIFs, memes and emojis – with us.

Recapping Our Connected TV Series: Top Takeaways for Marketers

There’s no denying it, connected TV is here to stay. With its mass appeal and innovative advertising capabilities, it’s important for marketers to get familiar with the power of connected TV. But, between confusing acronyms (OTT, SVOD, MVPD, etc.) and unfamiliar terms (cord-cutter, cord-trimmer, cord-never, etc.), the connected TV landscape can get pretty confusing.

Recently, we published a series of blog posts jam-packed with information that marketers should know about connected TV. If you haven’t had a chance to read them all, here’s a look at the highlights to get you up to speed.

Connected TV Terminology

Let’s start this recap with a quick look at a few connected TV definitions to clear up those confusing acronyms and unfamiliar terms.

Connected TVs: The devices that host apps and services that provide streaming video content via the internet (e.g., smart TVs, streaming boxes/sticks, gaming consoles, etc.).

Over-the-top (OTT) services: The apps and websites that provide streaming video content over the internet and bypasses traditional distribution (e.g., HBO Now, Hulu, Netflix and YouTube).

Subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) model: OTT services that give users access to a wide range of original and aggregated content for a monthly rate (e.g., Netflix, Hulu, Amazon).

Network-based OTT model: SVOD services built around TV and cable networks (e.g., HBO GO/NOW, Showtime Anytime, CBS All Access).

Linear OTT model: OTT services that deliver content from multiple TV, cable or satellite channels in real time (e.g., DirecTV Now, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV).

Linear TV: Traditional TV providers made up of over-the-air, cable and satellite services.

Cord-cutter: Someone who once had, but then canceled, a linear TV service.

Cord-trimmer: Someone who cut back on linear TV services but still subscribes.

Cord-never: Someone who never subscribed to a linear TV service in the first place.

The evolution of TV viewership

In the first post in our connected TV series, we looked at how linear TV viewership is holding its own even as more people shift to digital subscriptions and why it’s still a significant media channel for advertisers.

Key takeaways for marketers

No. 1: Thanks to its massive – albeit inefficient – reach and ability to create emotional connections, traditional TV continues to be a powerful top-of-the-funnel medium.

No. 2: Linear TV is especially useful for B2C brands and national product launches.

Key stat

U.S. adults watch an average of 3 hours and 45 minutes of TV every day.

Average time spent per day with TV (in minutes)

Connected TV players

In the second post of our series, we looked at the players involved in connected TV. Specifically, we examined connected TV’s rapidly expanding audience, today’s major OTT providers and the main devices viewers use to watch these services.

Key takeaways for marketers

No. 1: While traditional TV audiences still far outpace connected TV viewers, the gap is starting to close.

No. 2: There is a lot of overlap between traditional and connected TV audience, but the number of cordless viewers is growing.

No. 3: Many OTT services (including the one with the most viewers – Netflix) don’t show ads. But, there is no shortage of major OTT players and lesser-known services that serve ads.

OTT providers with advertising

Key stat

Connected TV viewers will increase by more than 30 percent between 2018 and 2021; during that same period, pay TV viewership is expected to decline by about 7 percent.

Total pay TV viewers vs connected TV viewers (in millions)

Connected TV advertising

Our third post focused on the advertising option available to marketers via connected TV. The post examined cross-device matching which allows marketers to serve ads to specific viewers rather than purchasing ad space based on a TV program’s assumed audience.

Key takeaways for marketers

No. 1: Cross-device matching uses digital footprints on computers, smartphones, tablets and connected TVs to identify specific audience members and serve them ads across those devices.

No. 2: The ability to serve ads to specific viewers is huge for marketers. Rather than hoping to find your target audience based on what shows you hope they’re watching, you can leverage a variety of more specific targeting methods like:

  • Addressable: Targeting consumers based on their home or business address and using geo-fences to serve ads.
  • Behavioral: Targeting consumers based on the behavioral and intent-based signals they display online (e.g., the websites they visit, the content they consume, etc.).
  • Demographics: Targeting consumers based on demographic data from reliable sources like household census, warranty registrations, questionnaires, purchase histories, etc. You can then layer this on top of behavioral targeting to hone in on very specific audiences.

Key stat

There are two primary methods for identifying specific viewers with cross-device matching, each with match rates above 90 percent.

Probabilistic and deterministic matching for connected TV advertising

Ready to harness the power of connected TV to promote your brand? Contact Mindstream Media Group to learn how we can help.

What You Need to Know About Connected TV Advertising

As the lines between traditional and digital video consumption blur – and, in many cases, vanish completely – marketers are scrambling to find the right approach to reach an increasingly fragmented audience. Some marketers see this as a binary choice between leveraging the massive audiences and storytelling prowess of traditional TV or harnessing the targeting precision and tracking capabilities of digital video.

But, with connected TV advertising, you can have both. Connected TV allows marketers to marry the impact of linear TV commercials with the precision of digital advertising.

A shift in TV viewing

In recent years, there’s been a shift from traditional to connected TV in both viewership and ad dollars. Viewers are now watching their favorite movies and TV shows outside the confines of traditional TV providers using a variety of over-the-top (OTT) services, which makes focusing on where to serve ads somewhat trivial. In response, marketers are shifting to connected TV advertising to focus more on who they serve ads to.

“What’s hot right now, for us anyway, is connected TV,” according to Jim White, Senior Vice President, Mindstream Media Group. “It’s taking the best of the digital world in terms of data targeting, different behavioral aspects and personas, then targeting people in a television environment with digital capabilities.”

To help you embrace this shift, here are answers to some of the most pressing questions marketers have about shifting to connected TV advertising.

How do connected TV ads differ from traditional commercials?

Connected TV ads look and feel like linear TV commercials but they are not bought, sold or delivered the same way.

With traditional TV advertising, advertisers purchase ad spots at designated times on designated channels during designated programming. Advertisers decide ad buys based on the size and makeup of each program’s audience. To determine this, media sellers use Gross Rating Point (GRP) to determine the number of people from the desired audience who have likely watched the program.

Here’s how media sellers determine GRP:

How does connected TV advertising work?

With connected TV advertising, ad buys are not based on air times or channels. Instead, connected TV ads are delivered one at a time based on the specific viewer watching a program. The advantage here is that you don’t have to guess which shows your target audiences are watching. Instead, you can build a target audience based on demographic and behavioral signals, then serve ads to specific viewers.

How do you identify specific viewers?

The key to serving ads this way is cross-device matching, which allows advertisers to identify consumers across a variety of connected devices. Cross-device matching uses digital footprints on computers, smartphones, tablets and connected TVs to identify specific audience members and serve them ads across those devices.

There are two primary methods for identifying specific viewers with cross-device matching.

Probabilistic and deterministic matching for connected TV advertising

What targeting options are available to reach the right connected TV audiences?

Now that we’ve looked at how you can identify viewers, let’s go over what types of targeting options are available. There are a number of connected TV advertising vendors with variable targeting options based on each provider’s specific tech. As an example, let’s look at the targeting capabilities available through Simpli.fi’s connected TV solution.

(Disclosure: Mindstream Media Group partners with Simpli.fi to provide programmatic advertising solutions with advanced geo-targeting capabilities.)

Addressable targeting

This type of connected TV targeting uses prospect lists to serve ads to specific members of a target audience with precise geo-fences around their addresses.

Behavioral targeting

This type of targeting allows you to serve ads to consumers based on the behavioral and intent-based signals they leave as they consume content online. You can target based on:

  • The link and tag data from webpages your target audience members visit
  • The contextual categories of the online content your target audience members consume
  • The searches your target audience members conduct online
Demographic targeting

Demographic targeting relies on data from reliable sources like household census, warranty registrations, questionnaires, credit bureau record and purchase histories. You can then layer this on top of behavioral targeting to hone in on very specific audiences.

With Simpli.fi’s technology, you can target households across the country based on more than 1,500 demographic attributes.

Demographic categories for connected TV advertising

How does this impact local businesses?

Connected TV advertising presents a significant opportunity for local businesses and multi-location brands to hone in on viewers based on very specific geographic information. Here’s a look at the geographic targeting available through Simpli.fi’s connected TV solutions.

Targeting options for connected TV ads

What apps and OTT services can I serve ads on?

The beauty of connected TV advertising is it allows you to focus more on the who (i.e., the specific viewers seeing the ads) than the where (i.e., the programs and services hosting the ads). But, this question is still common from advertisers that are new to connected TV advertising. Here’s a look at which OTT services serve ads to give you an idea of the connected TV ad inventory that’s available today.

OTT services that serve connected TV ads

Want to learn more about connected TV advertising? Check out the first two installments of our connected TV series:

Ready to get started with connected TV advertising? Contact Mindstream Media Group to learn how we can help you marry the power of traditional TV ads with the precision of digital advertising.

Breaking Down the Periodic Table of SEO for Multi-location Brands

This year marks the 150th anniversary of Dmitri Mendeleev’s original Periodic Table of Chemical Elements. To celebrate, Search Engine Land updated its popular take on Mendeleev’s work – the Periodic Table of SEO Factors. While Search Engine Land designed its version to apply to any type of business, we wanted to look at how it impacts SEO for multi-location brands.

The Periodic Table of SEO

But first, here’s a little background on the table itself. Search Engine Land originally published its Periodic Table of SEO Factors in 2011. Since then, it’s been a premier resource for search professionals looking to gain a better understanding of what it takes to build a winning SEO strategy. The original version has been downloaded almost 100,000 times by marketers in more than 70 countries and referenced by thousands of blogs and websites.

With this year’s version, the foundation has remained the same but the table’s creators added categories for toxic ranking factors and emerging verticals on top of the groups of successful SEO factors. Below, we’ll provide an in-depth look at how your multi-location brand can use the learnings from each group of success factors to guide your SEO strategy.

Navigating the Periodic Table of SEO for multi-location brands

Now that we know what the table is, let’s dive in with our list of actionable tips for each group of elements as they pertain to multi-location brands.


Periodic Table of SEO for Multi-Location Brands – Content Group

The Content Group of the Periodic Table of SEO explores the facets of creating high-quality, in-depth content for your website and other digital properties. Here’s how your multi-location brand can optimize your site for this group.


Create high-quality content to help searchers learn everything they need to know about your products, services and locations. When it comes to SEO for multi-location brands, creating in-depth, high-quality and keyword-optimized pages for each of your locations is essential.

Research and Keywords

Start by researching and identifying the terms your target audiences are likely to use in searches for your products, services and locations. Include geo-specific keyword research to identify which terms your audiences are searching for across your specific markets.


Complement your product, service and location pages by continuously creating and optimizing thought-leadership pieces like blog posts and long-form content (e.g., e-books, case studies, infographics, etc.).


Develop high-quality multimedia content (images, video, audio content, etc.) to support and complement your other content pieces.


Create content that addresses popular questions your audiences ask in search results (use keyword research to determine these questions). For multi-location brands, FAQ pages can be a huge boost to search engine rankings and help you earn featured snippets.

Related – How Featured Snippets Help You Conquer Google’s Search Results


Periodic Table of SEO for Multi-Location Brands – Architecture Group

For the Architecture Group, the overall learnings apply to SEO for multi-location brands the same as most other businesses. Here’s a look at a few of the most important elements in this group.


Make sure your site is easy for search engines to crawl so they can find all your product, service and location pages.


Make sure your site is optimized for smartphones and tablets. If you’re not sure if your site is optimized for mobile, use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to find out.


Multi-location brands often have issues with duplicate versions of location pages. Make sure there is only one version of each of your webpages by using canonical URLs and 301 redirects.


Your webpages should load quickly on any device. If you’re not sure if your site’s speed is up to par, you can run it through Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.


Periodic Table of SEO for Multi-Location Brands – HTML Group

This element group deals with the HTML tags your brand should include on its website. For multi-location brands, it’s important to make sure these tags include geo-modifiers to optimize the pages in local search results.

Title tags

Include the city and state in the title tag in every location-specific webpage.


Add Schema Markup and other localized structured data to help search engines understand local information like phone numbers and business addresses.


Use geo-modifiers and market-specific keywords to optimize header tags (H1 – H6 tags) for each location page.


Periodic Table of SEO for Multi-Location Brands – Trust Group

Last year, Google introduced an update to its algorithm that SEO pros dubbed the “E-A-T update.” E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. This group of elements speaks directly to those measures for both SEO for multi-location brands and other businesses.

Related – What Multi-Location Brands Need to Know About Google’s March 2019 Core Update


Create content that will drive incoming links, shares and other authority signals to boost search rankings.


Create high-quality content to drive activity and engagement on your website.


Work on building trust over time. Sites that operate the same way for years carry weight in search engine rankings.


Periodic Table of SEO for Multi-Location Brands – Link Group

This group of elements has been a mainstay on the Periodic Table of SEO since the beginning and is as important as ever. According to Search Engine Land:

When Google burst onto the scene with its then-revolutionary PageRank algorithm in 2000, the company made clear that links were a factor in how well a website would perform in search. The higher quality and more relevant the sites that link to your own are, the better it is for your SEO.

In terms of SEO for multi-location brands, here’s how you can improve your incoming link portfolio.


Seek links from trusted, high-quality websites in your business vertical or from locally-focused websites and online directories.


Make sure your incoming links are from relevant pages and use your target keywords as the anchor text.


Work to build a robust stable of high-quality links naturally over time.


Periodic Table of SEO for Multi-Location Brands – User Group

The way users interact with your site is crucial to search rankings. Search engines don’t like it when users click on a result and quickly bounce back to the results when they can’t find what they need. To make sure searchers don’t abandon your site, here are a few things you can do to optimize for the elements in the User Group.


Target specific cities or neighborhoods by including your addresses on location pages and specifying the markets you serve.

User Experience (UX)

Make it easy for potential customers to find specific location pages with an easy-to-use store locator tool and a section on your website dedicated to finding nearby locations.


Create localized content that provides specific information your target audiences are searching for (i.e., content based on search intent).

Need help implementing these efforts?

Contact Mindstream Media Group and we’ll show you how our SEO and Content Marketing services can amplify your multi-location brand’s presence in search results.

Here Comes Gen Z!: Are You Ready for These Up-And-Comers?

Still marketing to Millennials and their elders to bring in the business? Good! Not marketing to Gen Z yet? Maybe not so good.

Depending on your franchise’s products or services, waiting to captivate this audience born in the mid-1990s through early 2000s could be a costly oversight. Google calls Gen Z “the most informed, evolved, and empathetic generation” – and they now represent over a quarter of the U.S. population. Moreover, research states that Gen Z will beat Millennials as the most populous generation at 32 percent of the global population by the end of 2019.

Not only should their collective and personal buying behaviors be appreciated, so should their influence on family purchases, estimated at $200 billion.

Read the original post on Franchising.com to learn more about Gen Z buying behaviors and how to reach these teen- and college-aged kids.