Thismoment's new Content Cloud offering lets marketers mix owned, earned, and user-generated content into scrollable card decks, or playlists, as the company calls them.
Taking a cue from popular music streaming sites, Thismoment wants to let brands create content playlists and then distribute them across websites, devices, and social media. The company claims it's the first to offer an authoring tool that lets brands distribute content in the cards format first used by Twitter Cards. Cards enable rich and linkable content that can be viewed across devices.
Its new content marketing platform, Thismoment Content Cloud, is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering that allows brands to include earned or owned content, photos, videos, and even apps into scrollable card decks, or playlists, as Thismoment calls them, that combine consistent display with social functionality.
The curated playlists can be mixed and reorganized for specific audience segments or individual users. And, when content within one is changed, the syndicated cards automatically update.
"Customers tell us they're struggling with engagement in mobile and, in particular, with engagement with their advertising and posts in the social environment," says Thismoment chief executive Vince Broady. Noting that Facebook and Google+ also use the card format, he adds, "All of them have independently come to the conclusion that this is the appropriate format for content for users, especially in mobile."
According to Broady, the card format is more user-friendly than conventional ads in social media feeds, where clicking on one takes a consumer either to another page within the social network, a different site on the mobile or fixed Web, or an app store.
Microsoft has used the Thismoment platform to deliver a variety of consumer experiences, including building out its Facebook tabs, managing its YouTube front page, creating branded domains, and delivering content to Microsoft.com properties.
Now, the company hopes Content Cloud will allow it to get more attention from mobile users, says Stephen Bury, senior marcom manager for Microsoft.
"Cards are one of the most exciting pieces I'm waiting to deploy. I focus on engaging folks better in our news feeds that they're already consuming on a daily basis. Content cards provide me with the ability to drop a whole bunch of content into a container that's responsive, will render well on any device but specifically mobile, and allow folks to engage with that. The hope is we see greater engagement with that content, given the form factor," he says.
Content Cloud lets marketers find content within their own assets or elsewhere on the Web, including user-generated content on social media sites, via keyword search. The platform integrated with existing digital asset management systems and cloud-based content systems, and it also can connect via APIs. In addition to finding and accessing content of all kinds, marketers can obtain usage rights from within the dashboard.
The rights process could be as simple as leaving a comment asking a consumer to agree to let the brand use a piece of content. Or, the content owner might be sent a link and asked to fill out a consent form. "What our customers want varies. Different lawyers at different companies have different ideas," Broady says. Brands specify what kind of rights process they want and choose content. The platform automates the rest of the process.
Says Bury, "Microsoft is a very legally minded company, and we're excited about quickly getting permission to use user-generated content seamlessly."
Bury, who is charged with managing social media for the Microsoft Office brand, notes that Microsoft has a large number of subsidiary marketers that look to Microsoft to provide usable social content. Another question Thismoment's new product can answer, he says, is, "How do we rapidly deploy content to sub-marketers that they can use locally, and that's both ready for production and provides assets that need to be localized? That's what I'm looking to build Content Cloud out for."
The Content Cloud platform is available to existing customers, which include Coca-Cola, Microsoft, and Kia Motors. It will be generally available in the second quarter of 2014.
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