Apple’s Modern Family + Instagram’s carousel + the app economy

Welcome to The Watercooler, issue 30.

LMTD has picked out some of the most interesting digital and social media stories making waves around the web this week, to keep you up-to-date with developments in the world’s most exciting and fastest-growing industry. Something else you’d like to see? Let us know at

Apple brings you: Modern Family


Modern Family is a hit with audiences, TV critics (largely), and now, Apple users. ‘Connection Lost’ — an episode filmed entirely with Apple products — aired last week, suspiciously sans actual lost connections…but full to the brim with iPhones, iPads and Macbooks.

While the producers have been at pains to point out the episode wasn’t Apple’s idea, and the tech giant provided no financial incentive for bringing it to screen, the benefits are there for all to see. Literally, they’re pretty much all you see for the entire show.

Even if it’s all a coincidence, it’s certainly been a happy one: Modern Family’s cast and crew have been extolling the virtues of filming on the devices for some weeks, and there’s been plenty of coverage on how slick it all looks (including here, we know…and it does look pretty good). What’s more, 21% of all tweets reacting to the episode mentioned Apple. By contrast, only 6% mentioned the show’s characters.

Is this the future of product placement in television? Or advertising in general? Of making television? One thing is certain: Apple have to be happy with the conversation.

Instagram courts advertisers


Good news for marketers looking to reach Instagram’s 300+ million users. The image-sharing platform has finally made a move toward making monetising that much easier: introducing new carousel-style ads that are the first to feature clickable links.

Currently only available for sponsored posts, the carousel lets advertisers ‘build a narrative’ using multiple images, then link to additional content or direct users to a website to learn more. According to Instagram, this isn’t a significant shift from their long-standing position against cluttering feeds with adverts; instead, it’s a further development of the user experience, with brands able to tell a more compelling story than was previously possible.

While this isn’t a completely convincing argument (it’s hard to believe someone who tells you they’re not making changes to appease advertisers while introducing a better way for those advertisers to reach an audience) it’s telling that the clickable “Learn More” links will open a URL in an internal browser within Instagram, allowing users to quickly jump back to their feed with a tap of the top bar. Instagram is far from surrendering control, which will be good news to a user base notoriously resistant to change.

But is this change inevitable? Is it possible for Instagram to maintain its look and feel — and consequently keep its users happy — while going after serious advertising money? Brands will be queuing up to find out.

Do you advertise with Instagram? Are you happy with the new developments? Let us know!

The app economy: an infographic


Thinking about building an app? There are some things you need to know. Software company CA Technologies has just released the results of its study into app loyalty between consumers and businesses, handily summarised in this infographic. Our top takeaways for the would-be app star include:

– If it doesn’t load in 6 seconds, your audience won’t wait: consumers have less time (and less patience) than you may think, and taking too long to get started is a definite no-no. Whatever you’re selling, get to it fast!

– No feature drives brand loyalty better than ease of use: 79% of those surveyed say they would keep coming back if your app promised a relatively stress-free user experience. Ease of use even finished above an app’s security (69% ranked this as a factor), which has been a pretty thorny issue of late.

– Oddly, given the above priority, financial apps are the top business app for consumers, with social media second and retail a distant fourth: so if you’re developing an app to sell your product, you’ll have to work hard to stand out from the crowd!


(In Case You Missed It)

This week’s 10 must-see digital stats

Geo-targeting gets even more targeted at Mobile World Congress

YouTube for Android gets built-in video trimming

Google+ doesn’t look like this anymore

Reimagining that annoying pre-roll ad


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