Our Favorite Seattle Interactive Conference 2020 Sessions

The Seattle Interactive Conference took the virtual stage this year, delivering inspiring sessions that hit at the intersection of innovation, UX, design, and strategy. Members of Portent’s social media and analytics teams enjoyed two days of live and on-demand content from some of the best in the industry. Here are the top takeaways that Rommel Alcobendas, Rosalina Felipe, Whitney Norton, and Jessica Taylor wanted to share.

We’re Always Wrong: Testing Your Way to Big Ideas on Social

Presented by: Rachel Hofstetter, CMO, Chatbooks & Elise Davis, Head of Mobile and Connectivity, Facebook

You’re running an ad campaign…do you know where your results are?

This question was prompted early on in the discussion between Rachel Hofstetter and Elise Davis. Their presentation focused on a collaborative effort between the Facebook Creative Shop and Chatbooks, a company specializing in photo books, cards, and custom prints.

Chatbooks had been running campaigns on Facebook, driving great results, but were stuck, as Hofstetter put it, “optimizing into a hole.” They were choosing incremental wins like headline variations or different colored creative elements over something larger and more experimental when it came to their ad strategy.

The concerns holding them back, understandably, were related to time and financial investment.

As it turned out, the solution brought to them by Facebook’s Creative Shop was betatyping. By testing creative using multiple, lightweight prototypes vs. fully vetted, developed creative, the Chatbooks team could get results and audience input before the campaign concluded, and their budget was spent in full.

The benefits actually reduced risk for advertisers, rewarded their experimentation, and celebrated “being wrong.” If customers are always changing, why apply a “one size fits all” approach to ad creative?

After a period of creative development, Chatbooks finalized five ad concepts to use within campaigns. By leveraging existing assets to create text-driven videos, the team was able to make these unique ads in an hour and a half.

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In short, their campaign was a big success. But betatyping also led the Chatbooks team to a revelation that entirely shifted the way they approached their branding and company ethos.

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Because of the success of their campaign, “Designed for Kids,” Chatbooks reimagined their business structure around that concept. This meant implementing a “Toddler Guarantee” and leaning into the findings of their beta-typing test with kid-focused messaging as their North Star.

All too often, creative is an “all or nothing” variable within advertising, especially on Facebook. Clients and businesses invest heavily in a single concept and head back to the drawing board once a campaign has wrapped.

This discussion was a great reminder that testing can take many forms, and sometimes breaking the mold of the standard A/B test is required to get great results and game-changing business insights.

Creating Content for the Snapchat Generation

Presented by: Nicole Longo, Head of North America Business Marketing, Snapchat

The way that users interact on Snapchat is different from all other social platforms. Snapchat doesn’t have features such as likes or comments, which alleviates the pressure to focus on the engagement of the content that is posted. As a result, Snapchatters have the freedom to become their natural selves. In addition, the networking opportunity is not about following influencers or celebrities, but instead about building friendships, communities, and taking action on social responsibility.

Snapchat reaches “75% of users within the age of 13-34 in the US population.” As Snapchat learned how this generation engages with content, they’ve discovered themes, including values and behaviors that matter most for this demographic. When creating content on Snapchat, marketers should keep these five themes in mind.

  1. They take social responsibility seriously. 82% of Snapchat users believe they have the personal responsibility to change the world.
  2. They give back to their communities. The Snapchat generation cares more about their communities. 34% of Snapchat users are more likely to buy from brands that support their local community.
  3. They nurture friendships. Their close friends influence their purchasing decisions 4X more than celebrities or influencers.
  4. They celebrate individuality. The Snapchat generation celebrates what makes them unique. According to Gen Z Snapchatters, “be yourself” is the slogan that best defines them.
  5. They communicate with friends in new ways. Snapchat users drive new behaviors. 75% of users say that vertical video is more personal and immersive.

Designing for Trauma

Presented by: Alain Sylvain, Founder & CEO, Sylvain Labs

During his presentation, Alain recounts the 1972 Buffalo Creek flood disaster and the psychological and sociological aftermath sociologists identified as “collective trauma” felt by the community. This collective trauma is felt throughout human history, at all scales of shared experiences, and is present and ongoing this year. One in three people has displayed clinical signs of anxiety, depression, or both since March 2020 in America alone.

What happens when everyone experiences the same trauma? Social fabric changes, and designing to cope has to evolve with it. When communities face collective trauma, two responses result:

  • A divisive retreat is part of that immediate response to trauma. Observed human behavior reveals that a flight-or-flight reaction will find people seeking comfort in their own safe space and community, resulting in shutting out others.
  • Seeking solidarity is another response found in people that experience the same trauma. Habits, behaviors, and continued shared experiences allow showing support and solidarity.

Alain continues to recognize that these coping mechanisms are only a short-term solution, or “surge,” and argues that responding to collective trauma with sustained solidarity is possible through design built on three motives:

  1. Create Shared Languages. Build messages, symbols, and iconography that can be shared to combat a divisive retreat. Creating a shared language can help bring people together to communicate and progress.
  2. Shaping Gathering Places. The designed experience of collective contemplation and ideas. Memorials and museums are examples of physical locations to best serve peoples’ needs for reflection and virtual communities to share ideas.
  3. Reframe Storied Narratives. Shaping stories of a collective trauma that will allow people to witness the experience from another person’s perspective influences a stronger sense of empathy and emotional intelligence. Stories of resilience that retell the experience of trauma will help with reflection. Allow the stories of old to be told for a new audience as an opportunity to learn and understand.

Writing Inclusive Experience

Presented by: Brittney Urich, Senior Experience Designer, Ogilvy

“As UX practitioners, we have a responsibility to build human-centered experiences that are inclusive for everyone. This includes writing that can be understood by all users.”

Though it wasn’t the flashiest of sessions, that was exactly its point. Simplicity and straightforwardness resonate with users and increase conversion.

Users come to our sites to do something. In order to do it, they need the context of content. Regardless of education or reading level, our attention for digesting this content is stretched thinner than ever. Writing in plain language conveys our expertise and respects our users. This is possible—and especially important—for sites promoting highly technical products.

Urich gives five guiding principles for writing in plain language:

  1. Write for your audience. Know their experience level and use words that are familiar to them. Use words that are precise to their discourse community, but avoid slang, idioms, and jargon.
  2. Simplify your language. Be concise. Use pronouns appropriately; use “you,” “we,” and “I” in place of company or department names. Added bonus: this infuses humanity into your content. For guidance, visit plainlanguage.gov.
  3. Be Actionable. Use an active voice. Write descriptive links.
  4. Design for reading. Use clear headers and bulleted lists to allow users to find the content that is most relevant to them. Use tables for complex information and to allow for easier comparison.
  5. Test before launch. Test your content’s readability scores with tools like readable.com. Have a member of your audience read it too.

Final Thoughts

And that’s a wrap! Those were our top takeaways from SIC 2020. We look forward to sharing what we learned with our teams and clients, and applying these ideas and strategies to our day-to-day. Hope to see you next year at SIC 2021!

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