Two easy ways to build your brand on Snapchat (without a brand account!)

Posted on Thursday, November 16, 2017 by Kate

There’s no denying Snapchat is a powerhouse in social media, but for brands, the idea of having a constant presence on the platform can feel daunting, even overwhelming. But, good news! Your brand can reach people on Snapchat, without having to commit to an account. Here’s how.

Geofilters

No doubt Snapchat users love their lenses (you know, the graphics that give you puppy ears or make you look like you’re barfing rainbows?), but creating one takes a professional designer and they start at around $100,000!

Instead, try a geofilter. When users take a photo or video, they can swipe within the app to see a series of available filters. What users see depends on where they are, what day it is, etc. Some make note of the city or neighborhood the user is in, but others are reserved especially for events.

They’re relatively easy to design (Snapchat has its own design tool you can use, or you can create your own with their specifications), then you choose the time you want the filter to be available, and exactly which area you want it to be shown in, all for an extremely reasonable cost! A geofilter for an event like a football game, a fair, or concert that lasts a couple of hours in a relatively confined space can easily cost under $100.

Custom Snapcodes

If you do any print material, custom Snapcodes are an easy way to get Snapchat users to your website. Users take a photo of your code using the Snapchat app, then are immediately directed to the site of your choosing.

Creating one yourself takes just a few seconds. The Snapcode is e-mailed to you and can be incorporated into posters and signs. It’s especially helpful if you’ve got a longer or more complicated web address, or if people won’t be able to spend much time engaging with your material.

Need advice?

Need more help navigating Snapchat? Contact us here.

Web Design Trend: Small Movement

Posted on Monday, November 13, 2017 by Ben Jones

If you’ve perused the internet sometime in the last six years, you’ve probably spotted the small (and often funny) images that loop to infinity—the animated GIF (GIF stands for graphic interface format, but you don’t really need to know that). What used to be a gag in blogs and group text messages is now becoming more common in web development. In 2018, these short animations will become more refined. For example, expect to see custom branded GIFs replacing static logos (Google and Uber have already done this).

Adding a bit of tasteful movement to key elements of a brand makes web content more engaging for users. Small movements can also draw attention to key elements of a page in a very beautiful way. Instead of placing an entire GIF on a webpage, some web developers are employing cinemagraphs. At first glance, a cinemagraph appears to be a normal photograph—but look closely, and you’ll notice a subtle, sometimes looping animation.

At Pilch & Barnet, we implement cinemagraphs on client sites when appropriate. We also use GIFs in many of our promotions. And, if you ever want to ignite a superficial squabble in the office, ask if it’s pronounced “GIF” (like gift) or “JIF” (like the peanut butter).

Facebook Feed Changes – Don’t Panic Yet

Posted on Thursday, October 26, 2017 by Kate

Facebook Feed Changes – Don’t Panic Yet

You might’ve heard that Facebook is beta testing a news feed that completely eliminates content from brand pages. Then you probably felt a little ill. So do you want the good news or the bad news first?

Bad news? Ok. It is true that Facebook is testing two separate news feeds – one for content from friends and family and one with content from brand pages. The good news is, unless you live or market heavily in Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala or Cambodia, you’re not likely to be affected by these changes. Those are the only six countries currently involved in the testing and Facebook says they have no plans to roll it out globally.

If we head down the rabbit hole of despair a bit further, it’s discouraging to hear that since the test launched in Slovakia, that country’s 60 largest pages are seeing four times fewer interactions. That said, take heart, Facebook is just doing what it always does – trying to optimize and create the best experience for its users.

What about the “Explore Feed?”

So, is the “Explore Feed” unveiled in the U.S. just a pre-cursor for this insanity? Deep breaths. No. Explore is an ad-free news feed made up solely of brand pages content (including brands you don’t follow), but it is not going to be the only place you can see brand posts. It’s merely a warehouse for articles, videos and photos customized for each user based on what Facebook thinks you might find interesting. Just another way to bring you shareable stuff.

The only thing you can be sure of is change

One thing we know for sure – Facebook never stays static for long. Just a few years ago, your brand posts were reaching 17% of your fans organically. On average, that’s down to 2% now. But here at Pilch & Barnet, we’ve been utilizing Facebook ads to improve reach and engagement for years now, so our clients haven’t felt the painful sting of Facebook’s brand-punishing algorithm. In fact, despite Facebook’s best efforts to keep brands down, our clients’ Facebook pages are growing strong.

We can help

Wish your social media accounts were doing better? Let us help. Find out about all the services we offer here.

Link Friday: The 2017 Fall Travel Edition

Posted on Friday, October 20, 2017 by Kate

Fall is what we travel folks like to call a shoulder season. For those of you not in the know, shoulder season = good deals.

Bold is Beautiful

Posted on Friday, October 13, 2017 by Brianna

Many famous brands this year are using bold and vibrant color combinations in print, web and mobile app design. Just take a look at the biggest companies that have rebranded recently, like Uber or Subway, and you’ll see that brighter colors have worked their way into the new logos.

The rule of thumb is the brighter the palette, the more your brand will stand out. With the popularity of smaller devices, such as tablets and smartphones, increasing over the last couple of years, it’s become essential to use bright bold colors to make sure your designs don’t blend in with your competition—or worse—the screen. As we brand/rebrand our clients, we have been working to choose the right color combinations to help their brands stand out from the crowded tourism markets while also staying true to the unique character of each destination.

One of the Best Places to Work in Madison!

Posted on Thursday, September 28, 2017 by Kate

We’re thrilled to announce we were named one of the 2017 Best Places to Work in Madison by Madison Magazine!

We’re especially grateful because this honor comes as a result of the good words spoken about Pilch & Barnet by our own employees! We value the people who choose to share their time and talents with us and do our best to treat them well. We know that the respect and appreciation we show them reflects in the great work they do for our clients.

If you’re interested in seeing what Pilch & Barnet can do for you, call us today!

More than a Pretty Font

Posted on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 by Brianna

There are tens of thousands of font families in the universe and more appearing every day. In the design process, a lot of care goes into the selection of a font. It’s the key component in communicating messages to potential travelers and arguably the most important element on a website.

In modern web design, fonts are trending bigger.

In many of our projects we’re incorporating larger fonts. When content began moving online in the early days of web design, smaller fonts were the norm, in part a carryover from newsprint projects. Over the years, the design world has shifted toward much larger fonts, for good reason. Careful use of increased font size can boost visual impact and increase readability and usability, particularly on mobile devices. In short, the message connects. We’ve incorporated larger fonts into the new sites we’re designing, in elements like body copy, headlines and pull quotes.

As we select fonts, we also ensure fonts match the tone and feel of the brands we’re executing and the projects we’re completing. Some additional considerations in this process include the use of custom or customized fonts, the legibility of a font, the personality and feel of a font and its application on mobile devices.

While we put a lot of thought into fonts and font size, our goal is simple: capture people’s attention and inspire them to travel.

Link Friday: The Social Media & Hurricane Harvey Edition

Posted on Friday, September 1, 2017 by Kate

Hurricane Harvey is being dubbed the United States’ “First Social Media Storm.” Let’s take a look at the role social media has played in this chapter of history.

  • Facebook users in the path of Harvey were able to mark themselves as “safe” to ease the minds of far-away family members.
  • BuzzFeed worked to compile a list of hoaxes spreading online to warn people of potential scams and fake news.
  • Victims desperately in need of rescue turned to social media when local 911 operations were unavailable.
  • People who had businesses or homes unaffected by the storm used the platforms to offer shelter.
  • Now, pet owners are reuniting with their furry friends thanks to social networking.
  • One of the coolest ways social media helped during the disaster was by raising money. Kudos to Houstan Texans defensive end (and former Badger!) J.J. Watt for kicking off an online fundraiser that has since raised more than $14 million for relief efforts!

Link Friday: The 2017 Fall Shoulder Season Edition

Posted on Friday, August 18, 2017 by Kate

Like it or not (I do not), summer is winding down. The days are getting shorter and it won’t be long before we feel that familiar nip in the air. Pumpkin spice is coming. But good news, lovers of travel – so is shoulder season!

  • Shoulder what? Shoulder season is the time between the high season and the low season for travel destinations. Think spring and fall.
  • Obviously, shoulder season travel can present a few challenges. You know, like hurricanes. But thoughtful planning around the few drawbacks it might present can yield some high returns – like big time travel deals.
  • Other cool perks of shoulder season vacations? Fewer people (did I mention I hate crowds?). Way fewer people. And cooler weather. Even food is cheaper!
  • Check out these awesome destinations that are way more affordable in the shoulder season.

Speed up Sites with Lazy Loading Images

Posted on Sunday, August 13, 2017 by Kate

By May 2015, the average size of webpages had doubled since 2013. Thanks to Smartphones, nearly everyone can understand website size in terms of the amount of data it uses—the larger the size, the more data used, the slower the load speeds (and that’s across all platforms: from mobile to tablet to desktop). Images account for nearly 63% of that data, but images are important, especially for travel and tourism websites. Unfortunately, large websites can also eat up the mobile user’s data plan.

To solve the problem of slow loads and large sites (that cost mobile users money! And hurt SEO!), we’ve implemented what’s called “lazy loading images,” meaning that only the images that appear for the user’s viewpoint are downloaded. The images on the site that users don’t see don’t download unless the user scrolls or navigates to that page.