Recent years have seen unprecedented growth within the world of social media.
Gone are the days when Facebook and Twitter alone, led the pack of companies in this race. Research shows that the two social media giants have seen significantly slower growth over the past two years in comparison to other platforms, such as Instagram and Pinterest. Both have seen their number of users double over the past three years, with Instagram making the longest strides in growth over the past 18 months.
The photo-sharing platform gained 100 million of its now 400 million user base between March of 2014 and September of 2015. In contrast, Twitter continues to struggle to reach new heights. The micro-blogging service only saw a growth of about 45 million, up from its 255 million active users in 2015.
These social media growth patterns aren’t particularly surprising. In fact, they fall in line very closely with recent trends that show that consumers are gravitating more and more towards visual content. This is a trend that has been evident since as early as 2012, as users moved away from traditional blogging in favor of the shorter, more succinct Facebook status. Twitter took things a step further by limiting posts to their signature 140 characters.
Now, it seems, social media users agree that a picture can be worth a thousand words. While the popularity of text-based platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn wane, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr are seeing explosive growth in their respective active user bases. Even before then, studies show, consumers were much more likely to interact with a brand if the brand posted pictures, rather than other forms of media.
This is a movement advertisers need to keep an eye on, as the most lucrative areas for placing ads seem to be shifting towards these newer applications. For example, although Facebook is experiencing a slower growth rate than Instagram, the company will still reap any benefits to be had from future marketing opportunities on the platform due to their acquisition of Instagram back in 2012.
1. Snapchat to Allow Branded Selfies
Remember the craze of the limited time rainbow vomit special effect on snapchat? Well now companies can make their own filter and users can have branded selfies — an effort by Snapchat to make money. Previously companies could only have sticker filters, but now the opportunity is being expanded to custom lens creations to allow a unique experience for users to connect with companies and brands.
2. Facebook Scores Ads
Think of it as a review of performance, Facebook plans to start scoring the ads and sharing this information with the companies. This information is already used by Facebook to make decisions on ad placements among other things. Initially the scores will be on a scale of 1-13, Facebook hopes companies will use their scores to optimize their ads.
3. More Shopping Opportunities for users on Twitter
Users have been able to directly buy from twitter from select companies. Now Twitter has just extended that opportunity to more retailers with their new partnerships. This will allow more companies to offer the “buy now” feature and offer users the opportunity to shop directly on Twitter.
4. Digicel blocks ads. What does this mean for the rest of us?
A small celluar company, Digicel, has made the decision to block mobile ads unless they pay. Alone, this does not seem like something that directly effects anyone outside of Digicel, but this could open up another branch of the war against advertising. The company says they just want to receive some of the money being taken by ads using their infrastructure. Will this start a trend with carriers?
5. The Real, Real Life campaign
In an effort to reach the average consumer, Campbell Soup’s new Real, Real Life Campaign shows parents with their children in a 15-30 second bit that tells about a moment, not a whole story. This campaign not only showcases what real American families looks like, but will also be tailored to the weather. If a snowstorm comes through, the commercial will be shown on the weather channel website and will even use the name of the blizzard as the mom stocks up on Campbell soup for her son.
1. LinkedIn Introduces Elevate
LinkedIn launched a new content curation and social sharing platform called Elevate. Elevate allows companies to maximize their marketing potential by turning their best assets into marketing tools. Elevate permits employers to curate both internal and external web content which employees can then share through their personal social media accounts. This platform allows employers to maximize their content reach and generate further online engagement with new audiences.
2. Dove Looks to Improves Teenage Girls’ Body Image
The latest installment of Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” has teenage girls talking about the one thing that they would change about themselves. The video is composed of interviews with teenage girls, each of which as a physical feature that they would like to change. The story is displayed through a cycle, ending with the first girl that appeared in the video. The video looks to foster a positive body image in young girls by showing that everyone has problems with confidence and body image.
3. Call of Duty’s Controversial PR Stunt
Call of Duty, a massively popular video game franchise, made quite a stir this week when they sent out 20 tweets about a “terrorist attack” in Singapore. The “attack” was fictitious and was meant to set the scene for the first mission of their new game, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. Even though the “attack” was fabricated, Call of Duty’s marketing ploy caused outrage around the world. Many believed the move to be extremely insensitive and thoughtless, and the stunt has lost them a lot of support.
4. Twitter Rethinks 140-Character Limit
Twitter has been known for its 140-character limit since the platform’s conception, but that could be changing in the near future as the social media site questions its limitations. Twitter’s potential move to expand the character limit has had varying reactions. Many see the potential for increased customer service, with retailers being able to provide more complete troubleshooting in fewer tweets. However, others fear that the increased character limit could lead to more “long-form” content, which goes against Twitter’s to-the-point sufficiency.
5. Snickers New Name-Calling Wrappers
Snickers has taken a page out of Coke’s marketing book and is putting names on their wrappers. However, unlike Coke, the names on Snickers’ wrappers aren’t necessarily nice. In conjunction with their “You’re not you when you’re hungry” ads, Snickers’ wrappers have adjectives, or “hunger symptoms,” such as Cranky, Grouchy, Curmudgeon and Spacey.
Week In Marketing: Virtual Reality Videos, Twitter Polls, Best Posting Times, New Beverage Ads, Starbucks Express
1. Facebook Goes Virtual
Facebook has added 360-degree virtual reality videos to its newsfeed. Brands such as Disney and NBC have already jumped on this new feature with others soon to follow in the near future.
There is a lot more coming with Facebook in the future.
2. Love the Smell of Instagram in the Morning
Research has been conducted to see when is the best time for brands to post. Studies have shown that brands get more attention between the hours of 6 a.m. and 12 p.m. How will this affect future brands? How will this change the way brands interact with consumers?
3. New Beverage Ads
Pepsi and Heineken have come out with some new commercials that are worth checking out:
– Seattle Seahawks standout Marshawn Lynch is featured in Pepsi’s new TV spot. Lynch is known for his dynamic attitude during post-game interviews and this ad doesn’t fall short of him living up to this. The commercial features him mouthing words as someone else does the talking for him. He then takes a swig of the Pepsi and finishes with a one-liner. Well done Pepsi.
– Heineken’s new ad features Daniel Craig as the infamous James Bond. The commercial gives a cinematic feel different from what other brands have done in the past. It is action-packed, suspenseful, and highlights the brand in a new light to drive the consumers’ interests.
4. Twitter experiments with user-generated polls
Twitter is testing a polling feature within tweets. Using the feature, Twitter users can ask followers to pick between two choices, with the number of respondents showing up within the tweet. Each poll lasts 24 hours. A handful of brand accounts, such as the U.S. Department of the Interior and NFL on ESPN, have already taken advantage of the tool. The company hasn’t announced details nor when the service would roll out to all profiles.
5. Starbucks Express Checkout?
The wait is literally over! Starbucks has implemented a new app where customers can order through the app and pay to avoid waiting in those long, winding lines. This opens up a door for the brand, making it more convenient and accessible for those coffee lovers. Make it to your destination on time and order online!
Week In Marketing: Advertising on Social Channels, Retweets of Love, Marketing Stunts, and Silent Ads
1. Starbucks brings back a Fall fan favorite Tumblr promotion
With Fall ready to make its debut, Starbucks fans are on edge waiting for their first chance to grab a Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL). What better way for Starbucks to introduce its new Tumblr account. This year, if you were a MyStarbucksRewards member, you were lucky enough to get your pumpkin-fix early through a Tumblr promotion. By entering the password “pumpkin” and a mobile phone number, members were sent a pass to show to their barista for their first PSL of the season.
2. Diet Coke shows fan appreciation with “ReTweets of Love”
Diet Coke is taking fan appreciation to a new level with their new “ReTweets of Love” campaign, but its more than just a simple ReTweet. When Diet Coke fanatics tweet about their love for the popular soft drink there is a chance they could see their tweets used in jewelry, framed artwork, a large-scale outdoor mural in New York City or even in the pages of their favorite magazine. This is just one way Diet Coke is returning the love to their fans.
3. Cadillac hits new heights for latest Marketing Stunt
The west side of Manhattan was taken by surprise as Cadillac airlifted vehicles from their new XT5 luxury crossover line. This stunt was part of the launch plan and partnership with a fashion and design firm. Cadillac is hoping to grab the attention of a different audience with this campaign, the main focus being fashionistas rather than car buffs.
4. A Silent McConaughey in new Lincoln ads
In the latest version of Lincolns ad campaign with Matthew McConaughey, the actor uses no words to captivate viewers, but the ad tells a story through events and the product itself. Under new direction, the three part ad series tells a story that can be followed and further explored on the Lincoln website where viewers can also learn more about the Lincoln MKX series.
5. Instagram offers more options for Advertising
Instagram has been slowly expanding its advertising game for the past two years. Now its opening up the option to any advertisers as well as expanding to 30 global markets. Along with this expansion they are introducing a “home-page takeover” called marquee, as well as techniques to utilize the new non-square photo options. The same tools used for purchasing Facebook ads will be used to purchase ads on Instagram.
1. Bud Light Introduces NFL Fan Cans
As the individualized packaging craze continues, Bud Light is back at it. Out of 32 NFL teams, Bud Light sponsors 28 teams. Bud Light is promoting each team through the new individualized cans that all have a particular team-related tagline. Bud Light is successfully making a personal connection with its consumers.
2. Twitter Increases Mobile-Friendly Promoted Ads
Marketers using the Twitter platform can now target audiences outside of just the Twitter app. Through the Twitter Audience Platform, users can now “retweet” or “favorite” ads and videos without even being on the Twitter app. Multiple apps outside of Twitter are on the Twitter Audience Platform (previously the Twitter Publishing Network).
3. Microsoft to Introduce Band 2 in October
After the reveal of the Apple Watch and an increase in sales on FitBit trackers, Microsoft is taking round two with its watch, the Band. With available connection to Windows Phone, iOS and Android, Microsoft provides an option to many users outside of the general Microsoft realm. Band 2 is rumored to release in October alongside the Surface Pro 4, Microsoft’s computer-like tablet.
4. American Express Starts “You Vs. Sharapova”
Brands have recently been toying with Virtual Reality technology, a new and upcoming technology that is getting closer and closer to feeling “real.” With the upcoming U.S. Open, American Express is marketing a virtual reality experience to tennis fans. In the new experience, U.S. Open attendees can “play” Maria Sharapova in “You Vnms. Sharapova.”
5. Tumblr Releases New iOs Update
This past week, Tumblr released a new iOS update. Although, no one is entirely sure what it entails. The copy of the Tumblr iOS update is a long, humorous text that focuses on putting pressure on other apps to have a better copy of its updates. Consistently, Tumblr is the fun and creative app that targets the humorous nature of its users.
1. Miller Lite Targets Male Millennials On Instagram
Instagram has opened up ads to more companies, and Miller Lite has been waiting for it. Miller Lite is marketing to male millennials after seeing a shift from Facebook to Instagram as the most popular social network for its target group. Miller Lite is using existing hashtags and movements, such as #typography and #thedailytype, as well as its own new ads to engage male millennials in the re-emerging, trendy interest in typography.
2. Periscope Hits 10 Million Users Mark
Four months after the livestreaming app’s debut, Periscope announced this week that it hit the 10 million mark on users. The app’s users are watching 21 million minutes a day on the app, which equates to 40 years worth of footage every 24 hours. There is competition in livestreaming apps but due to Periscope’s affiliation with Twitter, it has pulled ahead and currently has the largest user base.
3. Bic Attempts to Celebrate Women’s Day
A controversial past in its relationship with women, Bic tried to patch it up earlier this week. In an attempt to celebrate Women’s Day in South Africa, the company’s celebratory ad encouraged women to “look like a girl” and “think like a man.” After realizing the plan backfired, Bic apologized on Facebook to women everywhere.
4. Tinder Has A Twitter Meltdown
After an article released in Vanity Fair about the negativity surrounding Tinder, Tinder attempted to strike back in the form of 31 tweets. While mentioning both the journalist and Vanity Fair itself, Tinder’s social media team challenged the statistics and surveys mentioned in the article. Tinder ended its string of tweets with #GenerationTinder. Vanity Fair has yet to respond.
5. Target’s Toy Section Goes Gender Neutral
As consumers shift towards political correctness, Target took a leap to do the same earlier this week. In a blog post, Target announced that it would no longer affiliate certain products with gender in areas such as toys, entertainment and home. The change will involve removing aisle signs related to gender in these departments. Some of Target’s customer base has pushed for this change while others protest it.
Week in Marketing: Braille Watch, Twitter’s News Tab, Millennial Marketing, Mobile Moments and Swaying PowerPoint
1. South Korean Startup Turns Text to Braille
Visually impaired smartphone users currently rely heavily on text-to-voice automation in order to use their digital devices. Dot, a South Korean tech startup, hopes to change that. Their goal is to provide low-priced, high quality technology to aid the 285 million visually impaired people around the globe. The Dot device straps around a user’s wrist like a watch and uses a magnetic, movable braille interface. Right now, its targeted price is under 300 dollars when pre-orders start this year. Your move, Apple Watch.
2. Twitter’s Getting a News Tab
Tired of seeing your friend’s funny pet video retweets mixed in with the top stories on your News Feed? Twitter hears you. This week, they debuted a separate news tab so that these headlines will be easier to locate. This could also serve as a new way for brands to reach their target audiences and provide them with a more strategic outlet to respond to news stories.
3. MillerCoors Targets Millennials
Brewing company MillerCoors and digital media company Woven wanted a new and effective way to reach a millennial audience. Their approach? A web series called “Human” that features everything from watchmakers and surfers to motorcyclists and “master penmen”. The first three episodes have already acquired almost three million views from Woven’s website and MillerCoors’ social media channels, a strong move for their partnership.
4. New York Times Gets Timely with Mobile Moments
Users of the New York Times mobile app were complaining that random pop-up and banner advertisements interrupted their morning news readings. The NYT is re-designing their mobile format to include more native advertising content. They’re also giving these ads a new name: Mobile Moments. The Moments are customized to air during the seven times of day that are most likely to engage readers, including early morning, lunchtime and right before bed.
5. Sway: The New PowerPoint?
Microsoft’s newest tool seems a bit too much like their familiar slideshow generator at first glance. Unlike PowerPoint, however, Sway will design a format all on its own after users send in any pre-created content. Sway is also intended for easy access on any screen, allowing users to develop presentations on their mobile or tablet devices. With an established reputation in corporate environments, PowerPoint isn’t going to go away any time soon, but Sway can create a strong following in its own niche, one that includes community groups and more informal gatherings.
1. Is YouTube the new matchmaker?
VidCon had more than 21,000 attendants this year, meaning endless opportunities for the 100+ brands that sponsored the event. YouTube invited its top creative partners to spend a few minutes with 12 different brands and the results could mean major creative partnerships. So for example, YouTube star Bethany Mota was paired with Proactiv. LaurDIY was paired with Purina. The idea was to get creative conversations flowing and to pair YouTube stars with brands that might have similar values, potentially resulting in new campaigns down the road. Tinder who?
2. Move over, YouTube. FaceBook’s videos might have more potential to go viral
Chubbies, the e-commerce site that specializes in shorts, bathing suits and shirts, is making its mark as a brand that dishes out viral-worthy content. As Chubbies targets young guys who love hanging out on the weekends with their friends, social media is the obvious choice for sharing content. Over the past few months, however, they have shifted their videos from YouTube to Facebook. The bottom line is that Facebook has helped the brand accumulate more than 12 million views over the past three months whereas YouTube videos don’t get nearly the same amount of attention. The same video posted on both sites gained over 11,000 views on Facebook and around 300 views on YouTube. There’s really no competition.
3. SnapChat’s Discover Feature Evolves
SnapChat is in its early phases of advertising and its Discover feature is evolving as users do. With the Discover feature, publishers can share up to 20 stories a day allowing room for advertising in-between. SnapChat has recently pushed the feature to its Stories page to gain viewership and its latest change is replacing Warner Music Group and Yahoo. Buzzfeed and iHeartRadio will take their spots, joining People, Daily Mail, Comedy Central, National Geographic, Vice, ESPN, Food Network and Cosmopolitan.
4. JCPenney stands up to bullies in their New Campaign
JCPenney’s latest advertising campaign “Bend the Trend” seeks to promote fashion related compliments that uplift customers. Their goal is to generate positive energy around their company and teenagers. They plan to use YouTube stars such as the Merrell Twins, Josh Tryhane, Sierra Furtado, Paulina Cerrilina, the PrimroseMakeup girls and Hunter March.
5. Target’s Trophy Controversy
Target sells a woman’s t-shirt with the word “trophy” written on the front that has recently caused uproar in online forums. Some take offense to the word, saying it belittles women to mere objects. Others don’t see the problem with the t-shirt or simply don’t care. However, that hasn’t stopped the almost 15,000 people who have signed a petition to have to shirt removed from Target on Change.org. Despite these efforts, Target representatives assert the shirt is just a “fun wink” as they receive positive responses from their guests. Do you think the shirt should be removed?
1. How Marketers are Utilizing Music Festivals to Engage Millennials Bud Light is rolling out what it calls its “most immersive digital toolkit” ever. The brand will provide concertgoers exclusive deals such as fast passes, backstage tours, downloads, photos with artists and free swag. Bud Light is one of many brands stepping up their engagement with younger consumers year after year. Sephora had a beauty patio at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts festival and Malibu Rum brought a freestanding beach house to New York’s FarmBorough. These amenities are key to gaining millennial consumers as upping their engagement.
2. Heineken’s City Guides Give Consumers Insider Recommendations New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago and Miami are experiencing a new wave of brand ambassadors. Heineken partnered with in-the-know insiders in each city to develop local restaurant and bar recommendations in a printed city guide. Heineken logos will be printed throughout the guide.
3. Is Twitter Making Room for More Advertisement Opportunities?
Twitter has removed users’ backgrounds from home pages and profiles pages. Representatives from the social media platform confirmed this is no glitch. While some users are unhappy a neutral gray screen has replaced their custom-made backgrounds, others are curious if this is a step toward more room for advertising. Twitter has yet to comment on that speculation.
4. YouTube’s TrueView Ads Welcome 360-Degree Views
In an effort to better engage mobile users, YouTube rolled out 360-degree ads on its pre-roll video ads that users have the option to skip. Users will be able to tilt their mobile phones and see different angles of the 360-degree advertisement. The first company to take advantage of this for TrueView advertisements is Bud Light. Their “Up for Whatever” campaign is utilizing the new feature for better storytelling, giving users the opportunity to feel as if they are in the ad.
5. EA Introduces First Female Star for their FIFA Video Game
With the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team in the headlines recently for their World Cup domination, EA is following suit recognizing their talents. Alex Morgan will be the first female soccer star to appear on the cover of the FIFA 16 video game alongside Lionel Messi, the world’s top male soccer player. The Canadian edition of the game will also feature Christine Sinclair, captain of the Canadian women’s team. This is a huge step in recognizing female athletes in the gaming world.