Marketing Magazine recently published this article by me Renting social is good, but owning is even better. They’ve been kind enough to let us reproduce it in full below.
Facebook may have the volume of users, but it also has the controlling power to limit brands’ organic reach – which it is increasingly exercising. Amaury Treguer of We Are Social suggests that creating brand-owned social content hubs could be the answer.
As marketers continue to grapple with the ever-changing nature of social platforms, one thing has become clear: the days of vast organic reach on Facebook and other social channels are over. Social platforms continue to evolve their revenue models based on charging marketers rather than users, so brands have to adapt their strategies to survive.
Organic reach on Facebook is dropping month-on-month. In addition to the changes made by Facebook, the sheer number of brands competing for space on users’ newsfeeds continues to increase, further reducing brands’ exposure to their audiences. Social platforms also continue to change their agendas and strategic direction without warning. For example, Facebook’s shift towards becoming a video platform and the continued monetization of Twitter, Instagram and other networks, effectively leaves marketers to ‘rent’ space on the platforms rather than ‘owning’ it. Brands are also at the mercy of inexplicable social platform algorithms, that even the platforms can’t explain – who knows what’s next?
As a result of the changing social landscape the very definition of what constitutes an ‘owned’ channel has changed. Facebook and Twitter’s increased focus on advertising revenues have pushed them into the ‘paid’ media space, leaving marketers to redefine what ‘owned’ channels look like for their brands.
It’s important brands don’t leave themselves at the mercy of these ever-changing algorithms and shifting strategies. By developing new channels for their content, marketers can leverage their social assets and extend their digital eco-systems with new owned channels. Blogs are not the only option. Brands are increasingly developing content ‘micro-hubs’ housing aggregated content from their social channels. Snickers and Pepsi have both created successful content hubs, where their communities can go to add, discover, and share content.
Micro-hubs are not without their challenges. Driving traffic to the newly created channels is crucial for success. Using paid media such as Google Adwords and the advanced targeting tools of Facebook and Twitter ads are effective for creating awareness. Using social logins (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin) can facilitate sharing and conversation, resulting in increased engagement with the community.
Ultimately, it’s not about the social platforms or a brand’s channel ecosystem, but about creating genuine dialogue. The aim of marketers still needs to be on facilitating conversations – between individuals and between brands and their audiences, wherever they happen. Creating ‘owned’ channels is an important part of this process and offers brands an insurance policy against the ever-changing social landscape.
Brands embrace the social Women’s World Cup
Twitter has brought back its Hashflags for the Women’s World Cup which kicked off in Canada over the weekend. Hashflags are being used by brands to cheer on teams, while the Australian national team are creating personalised images for fans via Twitter.
Twitter update links conversations together
A new update to Twitter for web has made it easier to follow conversations by showing links between chains of conversation. The update is currently rolling out to users and is web-only for now so don’t worry if you’re not seeing it just yet.
Facebook Lite comes to not-so-smartphones
Facebook has started the official rollout of Facebook Lite, the stripped-down version of its mobile app designed for those on slower connections. It’s missing some data-intensive features, like video or location services, but allows picture uploads and most of the Facebook ‘basics’. Asia gets Facebook Lite first, but it’ll soon be around in parts of Africa, Latin America and Europe.
Facebook tests Saved Replies
Facebook is trying out ‘Saved Replies’, a feature that will allow Page owners to write, save and re-use messages when talking to customers. It’s one for community managers, particularly those with lots of customer service enquiries.
Instagram bulks up ad offering
Instagram is looking to increase its ad revenue. That’s the message that comes from its latest updates, which include new buttons (‘Install Now’, ‘Shop Now’ and ‘Sign Up’), demographic and interest targeting and an API for managing large campaigns.
Ad Age discussed the move, stating that the updates would open up Instagram’s ad platform beyond brand advertisers to ‘direct-response advertisers’, who are willing to pay more per ad for the ability to accurately target their preferred group. It’s also good news for the likes of fashion brands, who can now use the visual platform as a shopping site. Instagram is looking increasingly like a strong destination for all sorts of advertisers.
Pinterest adds shoppable pins
Instagram wasn’t the only social network to launch a ‘Buy’ button this week. Pinterest, another social network that’s particularly visual in its nature, is adding the feature. Brands including Macy’s, Kate Spade, Cole Haan, Nordstrom and Ethan Allen are already on board.
Tumblr debuts GIF search
You can now search for GIFs on Tumblr. The platform has added a search engine that includes all GIFs posted to the platform natively, which will rank results based on a number of factors, including engagement. Tumblr users can post GIFs using the feature – clicking on a search result will add it to a post, along with a credit for the creator.
Coke adds names to promoted tweets
Coke is using promoted tweets to call out potential customers by name. As part of the brand’s ‘Share a Coke with…’ campaign, the tweets include the recipient’s name in both the post copy and the image. Here’s what it looks like, provided you imagine your name is Christopher.
— Coca-Cola (@CocaCola) June 3, 2015
Ballantine’s creates Instagram magazine
Ballantine’s, the whisky brand, has published an entire magazine issue on Instagram. It can be found at @w_issueone, where you can tap individual pictures to lead to articles.
Twitter-powered ‘arcade claw’ hits Topshop
Topshop’s flagship store, at London’s Oxford Circus, has been reimagined as a ‘playland’, complete with a Twitter-powered arcade claw that fills the entire front window. Winners can expect prizes that range from make-up to a £500 shopping spree.
Twitter follower record smashed
There is a new record holder for the fastest person ever to gain 1 million Twitter followers. The previous record, held by President Obama, took five hours. Caitlyn Jenner has clocked in with 1 million followers in four hours and four minutes. The launch of @Caitlyn_Jenner caused an instantaneous reaction. Break the internet Caitlyn!
I’m so happy after such a long struggle to be living my true self. Welcome to the world Caitlyn. Can’t wait for you to get to know her/me.
— Caitlyn Jenner (@Caitlyn_Jenner) June 1, 2015
Facebook will soon give you no excuse to avoid paying your friends
After a long-awaited move, Facebook Messenger will introduce a payment feature. Dollar amounts in conversations will be hyperlinked and will be treated similar to an address or phone number. Tapping the hyperlink will initiate the process of payment. The feature will also be utilised in group chat.
Facebook introduces GIFs
Following on from the success of its autoplaying videos, Facebook is now allowing animated GIFs to the platform. Unfortunately for advertisers, the feature is not yet available on brand pages, but Facebook hasn’t ruled this out for the future. Meryl’s happy about it…
Food critic reviews to feature on Facebook
Facebook has announced that it will now start showing professional food critic reviews on relevant restaurant pages. Previously, everyone could score businesses out of five and leave a comment, but the platform wants to add another layer of authority to these ratings by letting professional reviews show up too. The move will help Facebook become a more useful tool for finding local businesses and will encourage people to stay on the platform, rather than moving to sites offering similar services such as Yelp or TripAdvisor.
Instagram carousel ads go global
A few months ago, Instagram introduced its new ad offering, carousel ads, so that brands could show up to four images in one post. The ads allow brands to tell more complete and deeper stories without the use of video content. The trial was originally only available for US brands, but Instagram has now rolled this out to the UK, Australia, Germany, France and Brazil.
Twitter launches ‘Audience Insights’
Twitter has unveiled a new analytics tool called ‘Audience Insights’, which allows users to gain a deeper understanding of their followers. The dashboard provides information on audience demographics, interests, lifestyle, purchasing behaviour, TV viewing behaviour and mobile footprint. It will be a useful tool for advertisers when targeting promoted posts, as well as finding out the most popular forms of content amongst their fans.
Twitter makes Amplify simpler
As Twitter’s Amplify function hits its two year anniversary, the platform has launched ‘Auto Amplify’ to simplify the product.While Amplify, which gives broadcasters the opportunity to publish real-time in-tweet video clips that are accompanied by pre-roll or post-roll advertisements, has proven popular on the platform, it is difficult to use. The revamp is designed to make it faster and easier for brands and publishers to create campaigns; Twitter will be hoping it provides a much-needed boost to its ad revenue.
Periscope for Android is here
Periscope, the live-video streaming app owned by Twitter, has been growing in popularity since its release a few months back. Previously, it was only available on iOS devices, but now Twitter has announced Periscope is now be available on Android devices as well.
Snapchat finally releases some user data
Chief Executive of Snapchat, Evan Spiegel, spoke out at Code Conference last week about the impressive user and engagement figures seen on Snapchat. He says the platform has close to 100 million daily active users, with more than 65% of those contributing their own content. Recently, the CEO of Vodafone even stated that Snapchat accounts for 75% of all social messaging traffic. All this data makes the platform very desirable, but Spiegel is not planning on selling out. He turned down a $3bn offer from Facebook a few years ago, instead he wants to take the company public, hinting at a planned IPO.
Pinterest introduces US brand ambassadors
Pinterest has announced it will be working closely with a number of popular users of the platform, also known as ‘ambassadors’. From chefs to DIY-ers to fashion experts, each ambassador will now offer other users the chance to learn and be inspired by their success, through meet-ups and demos to help Pinterest users get a little more creative. Currently, all the ambassadors are based in the US, so all live demonstrations will be taking place there.
Bud-Light testing Snapchat age-gated ads
Snapchat stories have been around for a while, allowing users to submit their own video content to live-streams of popular events around the world. The platform offers brands the opportunity to sponsor this content, which is what Bud Light did for the ‘Whatever, USA’ event this weekend. It was a first for Snapchat as the alcohol brand needed the content to be age-gated so it could only be viewed by those over the age of 21. It’s the closest thing to targeted ads the photo-sharing platform has ever offered.
MaxFactor video banned
The UK’s advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority, has banned a YouTube video featuring popular beauty blogger, Ruth Crilley, as it was believed to be unclear that the content was controlled by MaxFactor. The video sat on the Proctor & Gamble owned channel ‘Beauty Recommends’ along with similar tutorials, all of which have been flagged in the takedown.
The ASA said that the channel, which has featured a number of popular vloggers, gave “no indication” that it was a P&G marketing tool. “It wasn’t until a viewer had selected and opened the video that text, embedded in the video, referred to “Procter & Gamble,” the ASA said. “We considered that viewers should have been aware of the commercial nature of the content prior to engagement.”
The ASA also said that the use of the phrases “sponsored by” and “brought to you by” didn’t make it clear that the videos were paid-for content. “Although they might indicate to some viewers that Procter & Gamble had been involved in the process, they did not clearly indicate that the videos were marketing communications, as opposed to, for example, material that had been financially sponsored, but over which the creator retained editorial control,” said the ASA. “For those reasons, we considered that consumers would not be aware that the videos were ads promoting Procter & Gamble, and instead were likely to believe the videos were impartial editorial content.”
British people love complaining about the Internet
In other ASA related news, the internet has overtaken television as the most complained about advertising medium according to ASA. The authority received 37,073 complaints about all UK advertising last year, 20% more than previous years. They believe this is due to the rise in the use of social media making it easier for consumers to have their say. They saw a 35% surge in complaints relating to online ad campaigns, more than twice the number for TV ads. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Paddy Power took the ‘top’ complaints spot.
“Innovation favours the connected mind”
Steven Johnson, Author – Where Good Ideas Come From
The enlightenment in Western Europe was a fascinating period in the history of innovation, fuelled by coffee and the coffee houses where it was consumed. Prior to this, many of us were drunks who, because of water impurity, were more than happy with drinking weak beer to prevent the spread of water-based diseases.
The switch from booze to beans was happening primarily in coffee houses where experimental thoughts of philosophy, art and science would mingle. The concept of insurance was born in Lloyd’s coffee house. The work of Descartes, Voltaire, Kant, Spinoza and Newton all spread ‘virally’ at this time.
Innovation is driven by curious minds and We Are Social has a global team of inquisitive brains who are passionate about seeking out new ways of thinking happening in the world of tech, content, culture and business.
So we decided to create our version of the Enlightenment coffee shop, where we can get our inspiration in one spot.
We believe that people (not machines) are the ones qualified to curate the content that matters most. So with this in mind, we’ve created ‘Curiosity Stop’ – a monthly snackable report of all things innovative, aimed to interest, inform, and above all, inspire.
The ‘Curiosity Stop’ includes innovative and inspiring ideas from a wide range of sectors, ranging from technology to food, sport to finance and loads, loads more. These ideas provide the latest in original and innovative thinking, with examples such as ‘intelliCabin’ – BAE Systems’ airline cabin of the future. It provides capabilities such as in-seat power, LED lighting, wireless tablet-based in-flight entertainment, and dimmable windows, all managed via a centralised attendant control panel or a crew handheld device.
Or Smarter Coffee, a Wi-Fi enabled coffee machine that allows you to brew the perfect cup of coffee from your smartphone, controlling strength, bean grinding and how many cups to make – and even wakes you up when your coffee’s ready.
How about Goodyear’s electricity generating tires? They have the potential to change the effectiveness of electric cars in the future by charging them faster and more efficiently.
There are plenty more examples and exciting ideas like these included within the report to inspire innovative minds and to get the creative thinking flowing. So grab a coffee and flick through Curiosity Stop. We’d love to know what it makes you think about – and if you’d like to suggest any ideas, drop me an email.
Pizza Hut is in a complicated relationship with Four’N Twenty
A partnership made in meat loving heaven, Pizza Hut has partnered with Four’N Twenty for the football season. The brands are making their relationship very public and using social media to show just how complicated it is.
Brands ❤️ Emojis
Roadshow Films and We Are Social create ‘Mod Max’
Roadshow Films and We Are Social have partnered with Mighty Car Mods, a set of YouTube influencers, to create a four-part YouTube series in which they build the car from the film Mad Max. Dubbed ‘Mod Max’ (yeah? yeah?) it’s an excellent example of creating a content series around a hook that is guaranteed to interest your target audience.
Social media matters to complainers
Social media’s importance is increasing for one of the world’s favourite pastimes: complaining. A survey of over 2,000 people by the Institute of Customer Service found that 12% had used social media to complain, an eightfold increase since January 2014. Another 39% said they’d provided feedback on social and 31% had made pre-sales enquiries.
Google includes tweets in mobile search results
Twitter and Google’s integration continues apace, as the latter has announced it is adding tweets to search results on mobile, via the iPhone and Android apps and mobile browsers. Here’s the move illustrated by two screenshots and both company logos, in case you weren’t sure which Google and Twitter we meant.
Twitter rolls out new desktop search interface
If you like searching for tweets, this is 100% ‘your week’. Not only have you got the Google news above, but Twitter itself has rolled out its new results interface on desktop, with an updated design, increased emphasis on images and advanced filtering capabilities.
YouTube brings ‘click to shop’ button to pre-rolls
YouTube is adding a ‘click to shop’ button onto pre-roll ads; it’s already seen success in trials. Wayfair’s latest ad campaign, which included the button, led to three times the digital revenue of previous campaigns, while Sephora noted an 80% increase in brand consideration and 54% in brand recall.
Pinterest launches animated ad unit
Pinterest is upping its ads offering, with the announcement of new targeting abilities and an animated ad unit. If you want to know more AND kill 44 seconds, the below video is just the ticket.
Spotify adds video clips and audio shows
Spotify announced a set of updates, including video content and audio shows, from news and podcasts to entertainment videos. It also has a set of new partners, including Turner, ABC, BBC, ESPN, NBC, TED, MTV, Vice, Slate, Comedy Central and Fusion.
Marketers and Tinder prove the perfect match
Dating apps and Tinder in particular are proving an increasing opportunity for marketers. Film studio 20th Century Fox is promoting its latest movie, Spy, by setting up advanced screenings in certain US cinemas, which users can RSVP to attend by swiping right on one of four fake Tinder accounts. Similarly, the dating app is offering Zedd’s new album for a discounted price of $3.99 to users who swipe right on the singer.
Kik ads prove successful for K-Swiss
K-Swiss is back and it’s using Kik, the messenger app, as part of its ‘comeback story’. The footwear brand has created a campaign starring Diplo, the DJ, composed of one-minute video ads on Kik, which users can choose to watch in exchange for Kik points. So far, those who have watched an ad are reporting 25 times higher brand awareness, while 55% expressed purchase intent.
Ella’s Kitchen creates YouTube channel for parents
Ella’s Kitchen has launched a new YouTube channel aimed at parents who are attempting to move their children onto solid foods. The channel will include hints, tips and recipes, all of which will look to reduce the mess from the process.
ASA pulls Magnum competition from Facebook
A Facebook competition by Magnum, which asked users to ‘share a selfie’ for the chance to win one of 25 dresses by designer Henry Holland, was pulled by the British Advertising Standards Agency after complaints about the quality of the prizes. A spokesman for the ASA said:
We considered that, given the problems reported with the dresses, the disappointment felt by the complainants was not unreasonable and concluded that the prizes had not been awarded as described because they did not match the expectation created by the implications of the marketing and the value stated in the ads had not been substantiated.