In case certain other tech news this week had you distracted, here’s what’s new with Instagram, the app beloved by amateur food photographers and selfie addicts the world ’round. On August 8, the company announced that it had reached 150 million users. And 50 million of them signed up for the service in the past 6 months.

With that kind of user base, it’s no surprise the company made a second announcement: the previously ad-free app plans to roll out advertisements within the next year.

Instagrammers have known this day was coming since the site’s $750 million acquisition by Facebook in April 2012. As Facebook experiments with sponsored posts in addition to its ubiquitous pay-per-click sidebars, it’s no surprise that the social sharing pioneer wants its trendy little sister to start pulling her weight.

There’s been murmuring throughout the tech world on what an Instagram-ready ad might look like. Why the commotion? Other apps and platforms have been able to integrate ads without much user pushback. But Instagram has it a little tougher.

The app has a certain cool factor that just won’t mesh with “Lose Belly Fat with this One Weird Tip”-type ad trash. If the app wants to keep its loyal user base, it’ll have to find a way to make advertising hip.

Don’t panic yet. We’ve got plenty of #throwbackthursday-s to go before we have to deal with ads on the ’Gram. Until then, here are my predictions of what those ads might look like:

• Targeted ads based on a users’ activity and following lists. Facebook already knows how to mine users’ data to sell stuff. And because there are already many successful consumer brands using the app, developers will have a pretty good idea of what users—plus those they’re following and are followed by—are in to. Users can also share their genders and birth dates, allowing for further demographic targeting.

• Embedded posts á la Twitter and Facebook. Because Instagram posts already show up in a feed, it would make sense for ads to look like just another pic in the stream. Posts could link to an advertiser’s external website, or function as a “suggested account” for users to follow based on their interests.

• Integration of video. Instagram added functionality for 15-second video posts in June, a feature that advertisers are sure to cash in on. Imagine having to watch a full-screen interstitial ad (think YouTube) each time you wanted to comment on a photo or refresh your feed. For brands, these are a great way to sell to a captive audience. But used too often, these ads could get majorly annoying, and might repel users.

• Hate ads? Upgrade to Instagram Gold. It seems likely that Instagram will roll out in-app purchasing features over time, like paid filter options. So why not a premium version of the app? This could work well with the Instagram’s curated aura of exclusivity, and would allow the app to earn money without degrading its product.

Here’s the unfiltered truth: this could either go okay for Instagram’s popularity, or it could go really, really badly. It will all depend on whether ads are designed with consumers—or advertisers—in mind. Hopefully, Instagram will learn from the mistakes of its parent company and avoid the ad-weary “fatigue” that has plagued Facebook this year.

Time will tell whether Instagram can grow up, get a job, and still remain cool. We’ll be paying close attention to the platform’s evolution.

By the way: brands interested in connecting with consumers on Instagram don’t have to wait for the big ad rollout. Many retail and B2B brands are already maintaining viral, content-rich Instagram accounts for their businesses.

In fact, given the obstacles Instagram advertisers will likely face, focusing on great content marketing over paid ads on Instagram may be brands’ wisest option.


Does your business need to get more social? Give Atomic a call, and we’ll help you build some buzz.


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Everybody loves Chipotle. But nobody likes getting to the last bite of their burrito and finding that all they have left is a dry tortilla and a few bits of lettuce.

Here at Atomic, we have innovated a new way of managing your burrito to ensure that your last bite is as full of good stuff as your first. It involves carefully mixing your burrito innards before you begin eating.

Here’s what to do:

  • Drive to your favorite Chipotle.
  • Order your burrito. Be sure to pick up a knife or fork for mixing.
  • Sit down, then unwrap your burrito and carefully mix the innards. Try not to rip the burrito!
  • Rewrap your burrito tightly. If tearing occurs, don’t worry. Wrap the foil around it, and use that to keep everything in place.
  • Then, enjoy. No more worrying about ruining your burrito experience with a yukky last bite!


It’s the time of year when people sit back and reflect on the things they appreciate in life.

With a long weekend stretching out in front of us, Ryan and I thought we’d take a minute to write about some of the things we’re thankful for. Call us sentimental … but we want to share some of the things that are important to us … things that we appreciate every day.

  • Our awesome clients. Your support and belief have helped us grow from just an idea to the thriving company we have today. It’s been great to work with each and every one of you. Thank you.
  • Our staff. It’s exciting every day to walk into our shop and know that we’re working with such a talented group of people. Everyone from our designers and developers to our project managers and SEO specialists are the best at what they do. They’re also excited about learning new things – helping us and our clients “push the envelope” and constantly take advantage of new technologies.
  • Our space. We’re so glad to be in the Firefly Building and to be part of the revitalization going on in our downtown. It’s inspiring every day to be in this space – to see how a few visionaries took a “junk” building and turned it into something amazing.
  • Our city. Yeah, we know Dayton’s not New York. Got it. But there’s a tremendous amount of creativity here – c{space and the new group culturemash are just a couple examples of many. And there’s a tenacity that we admire – people who see opportunity and interest in a landscape where others see only waste.
  • Our technology. Of course, at heart, we’re geeks. And we’re crazy about the technologies we work with and the possibilities they bring for our clients. So we’re thankful for the hackers creating holograms using XBox Kinect, our own developers creating new apps for the iPhone … and everyone in between.
  • Our families. Sometimes going the extra mile for our clients means extra hours at work. So here’s a final shout out in this Thanksgiving edition to our wives Nikki and Lisa. Thank you for supporting us in this venture and picking up the slack whenever we can’t. You’re the best.

Enjoy the next couple days off … spend some time with the people who are important in your lives … and we’ll catch you next week. Thanks to everyone for being part of the Atomic family.


Internet marketing means more than just having a website, more than just having a fan page, it involves having what we refer to as a web presence. Developing a web presence requires a precise measurement much like a good suit…because one size does not fit all. This is also the reason why so many single-man operations cannot achieve the ROI that customers expect. As an example, think of an attorney. One attorney being proficient in all types of law is virtually impossible, there are simply too many variables at play; corporate law and personal injury law are altogether two different animals. To achieve proficiency in all types of law, law firms are assembled. Internet marketing is much the same.

Experienced web designers are needed to design navigation-friendly websites. Properly writing clean code requires highly skilled developers. Creating search engine friendly/user friendly text requires the skill set of a trained web-based copywriter. Developing a social media campaign that people will relate to demands the attention of someone with a strong marketing background. Also, having a project manager oversee all aspects of a fully integrated internet marketing campaign, ensuring that it reflects a given organization’s brand, is vital to success. While it’s possible that someone could go to school for 2 years of design, 2 years of IT, 2 years of copywriting and editing, and 2 years of marketing; it is impossible that a single person could stay up to date with the changes.

The internet changes everyday, some would argue every second or even nanosecond. Staying relevant in design, coding, search engine optimization, and social media trends requires a continuing education in each facet. It’s simply too much for any one person to handle…it’s also the reason why, as a team, Atomic has been able to create so much success for our clients. As we like to say, “The proof is in the pudding.” So, we encourage you to search for “dayton web design” or even “ohio web design.” As a 3 year old company competing in a 20+ year old business, we’re proud of the results we’ve created for ourselves, but more proud of the results our team has created for our clients.

One of the things I love about working at Atomic Interactive is that every project gives me a chance to learn something new. That’s because the culture here is not about hanging on to old processes just because “that’s how we’ve always done things.” Instead, it’s about being open to new ideas and expanding our minds!

For me, a key part of that is going back after a project has been completed to analyze what we could have done better. Maybe we could have worked more efficiently, or used a different tool. Maybe we could have communicated more clearly with the client – or even within our own team.

Mind you, this review isn’t about finger-pointing. It’s all about understanding that, no matter how good we are, there’s always something we can improve upon. (As a dear friend of mine used to say, “the biggest room in the world is room for improvement.”) That’s especially true in the interactive environment where new technologies pop up daily. It’s our job to try them out – and if they’re promising, becoming familiar with them and adding them to our toolbox.

Sometimes being innovative means rejecting new technology. As Atomic’s project manager, I’ve started organizing all our project information in binders. Yes, I mean an ugly, old-school, three-ring binder. Of course, we use an online project management system, too – but sometimes it’s easier to grab a binder and head to the desk of a designer or a developer with site maps, wire frames or other information in hand. Hey, if a tool helps us work more efficiently, we’ll use it. Even if it’s not flashy or new.

On the other hand, if I discover that a tool is not working, I’m not afraid to pitch it. Sometimes you can get stuck trying to tweak a process to death – when what you really need to do is scrap it entirely and start fresh.

So if you see me bent over my notebook long after a project is completed, you’ll know what I’m doing. Revisiting the project one last time and refining the process that works best for Team Atomic and our customers.

Atomic Interactive‘s new space was well thought out and planned, creating an environment optimized for productivity and creativity. We explored options, looked at swatches, and came up with a unique end product that surpassed expectations (the same thing we do for our clients every day).

Here is a little taste of some of the thought that went into creating our awesome, super-sweet space that has created much more than just a little jealousy.

taurine-free energy

In an attempt to create some natural energy and reduce our addiction to energy drinks, we took advantage of the talents of interior designer Heidi Miller. Heidi helped Atomic balance an organic feel and modern design in a space with an industrial appearance. The balance is one of the first things you notice when you enter the studio – exposed ceilings, brick walls, plants, lots of natural light, modern (yet comfortable) furniture. Yucca Cane and Golden Pothos plants were added for their beauty and because researchers have suggested these plants are capable of reducing air born pollutants caused by office equipment and produce above average amounts of oxygen, which helps feed our brains.  Our collaboration with Heidi ensured that our team would be positioned in a loose framework and bathed in natural light every day to avoid turning into “cubeville.”

hippie tree huggers

We’ve switched to using energy efficient fluorescent light bulbs to reduce our energy consumption. A majority of the new furniture we purchased is made from manufacturing companies with low carbon footprints and we integrated refurbished furniture, which otherwise would have been thrown in a landfill. Even our bean bags are stuffed with environmentally friendly materials! You can call us crazy…and you’d be right, we’re crazy…crazy about the environment.

don’t feed the creatives

Our new space has ten foot ceilings, which researchers determined increases creativity. Upon learning that researchers at Ohio State University concluded that lemon balm plants help increase creative thought, we placed these plants above the desks of our designers and developers. All of Atomic’s employees have access to the community library, which contains books ranging in topic from logo design to CMS development to Ogilvy on Advertising. We even have a nice collection of cheesy self-help books. Our employees have also added their own personal touches, from a mustachioed cactus to a time-traveling DeLorean that help make our office more like our home.

love, peace & ping pong

Along with our happiness and creativity-inducing plants and natural light, we have a number of recreational resources at our disposal that serve as much-needed stress relievers. Namely, our ping pong table, Foosball table, big screen television and Nintendo Wii. Nothing allows you to get away from it all like an overhand smash against your greatest office ping pong rival. For celebrating victories after hours, we have a Red Bull mini fridge stocked with energy drinks and a certain liquor that goes well with energy drinks.

Atomic firmly adheres to the “work hard, play hard” mantra. We believe that ensuring that every one of our team members enjoys coming to work will allow us to continue to create award-winning, industry-leading design work.

so there you have it

A bunch of research + a lot of planning + a team that knows how to get stuff done = the coolest 3,500 square feet in Dayton, Ohio…maybe even the world (excluding all places that have roller coasters which were slightly outside of our budget).

If you’ve read all this, you might be interested in calling us and setting up a tour. Don’t be surprised if you get stuck here.

Dayton Web Design Award

Each year, the Greater Dayton Advertising Association and the American Advertising Federation honors creative excellence in advertising by inviting accomplished advertising and design firms to take part in the Hermes award competition.

There are three levels of Hermes awards: Gold, Silver and Bronze. Recipients of the Gold award are publicly recognized at an annual banquet, given the opportunity to say a few words of acceptance and gratitude among their creative peers and, most importantly, given a life-size bust of Hermes himself.

This year, Atomic Interactive was honored to receive its first Gold Hermes Award for excellent creative design in the Public Service category. It is rare for a company as young as Atomic Interactive to be honored with a Gold Hermes Award. We at Atomic showed our appreciation and excitement with the nomination and eventual award when every employee of Atomic, along with our significant others, attended the awards ceremony at the Dayton Masonic Temple.

Atomic was presented with a Gold Hermes Award for creating a website for GetUp Montgomery County, an initiative to encourage the children of Montgomery County to lead healthier lives. Atomic created a beautiful, fun site that appeals to both adults and children alike.

At Atomic, creating an excellent website relies on establishing a functional and pleasant relationship with each client, which is precisely what happened when Atomic collaborated with GetUp. We were more than pleased to work with Lorraine Russel, Chris Schlorman and Jim Gross, Montgomery County Healthy Commissioner. Each of these members of the GetUp team played an integral part in the development of their award winning website. We feel grateful any time we get to work with a client who is receptive to our creative vision and GetUp displayed a great amount of confidence in our abilities as a design team.

For Atomic, the Hermes award ceremony was a tremendous success. Along with the Gold Award, we were also honored to receive three Silver Awards and three Bronze Awards. The Silver Hermes were for the design of Buckeye Business Solutions’ website in the category of Interactive Media; in the Public Service category for the design of a Digital Learning Portal website for the Public Health Department of Dayton & Montgomery County and for a Digital Storytelling website for the ThinkTV Network, also in the Public Service category. The Bronze Hermes were all awarded to Atomic for design in the category of Interactive Media for the following website designs: Bullen Ultrasonics, Siesta Key Vacation and MacTown.

Currently, our Hermes Head is proudly displayed in our Downtown Dayton office. It will serve as a reminder to all of our employees of the fun time had at the awards ceremony and as an incentive for creating websites in the future that are also deserving of the Hermes Gold Award.

Designer Sketchbook

One of the things that we’re proud of at Atomic is that we’re not just a bunch of development geeks. We’re also … design geeks! And part of design is creating logos.

Sometimes we’re working with a new company that doesn’t have a logo yet. So we’re starting from scratch. Other times we’re working with an established company whose logo may be outdated, or just not as strong as it could be.

Whatever the case, we help our clients with logo development whenever it’s needed. A logo is the heart and soul of a company’s brand identity, and when someone’s building a great new website, they usually want to make sure a great logo is part of it.

Creating a logo isn’t easy. You have to blend a company’s products, personality, and presence together and somehow distill the mix into a single image. When I’m working on a logo design, here are some questions I ask to help determine whether or not the design is working.

  1. Is it clear? This refers to both visual clarity and conceptual clarity. On the visual side, can a viewer tell what the logo represents? Can it be scaled larger and smaller and still be readable? Is the typeface legible? And on the conceptual side, what message is the logo supposed to convey? Will viewers clearly understand it?
  2. Is it unique? How well does the logo create a unique identity for your company? Does it set you apart from your competitors? Does it help you stand out – but without being so off-the-wall that it confuses or offends viewers?
  3. Is it clever? In a nutshell, does the design make you smile? Does it have a hidden image, like the arrow in the FedEx logo or the Golden Gate Bridge in the Cisco logo? Does it have a hidden message, like the sun inside the BP logo that suggests renewable energy?

Asking these questions isn’t a magic formula. Logo design is still more art than science. But it can help keep you on the right track, and help you spot weaknesses in a potential design.

Want to talk about your logo or site design? Contact us anytime.

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We had the pleasure over the last three weeks of having Casey Spitnale, an intern from The School of Advertising Art join our team. Casey is an uber-talented young designer with a passion for interactive and motion design. We gave Casey a rough idea for a motion design piece that would show off the killer design work and not-so-serious environment of Atomic Interactive. Casey infused his creativity and technical knowledge to create a fun, professional looking piece that exceeded our expectations.