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Brands must pay attention to these emerging social trends

We consume so many great articles and bits of information each week in our quest to stay ahead in today’s ever-changing marketing landscape. It would be a shame to keep them all to ourselves. Here are some key emerging media and technology trends our team is watching to make sure your brand is always looking forward.


What’s a TV? I Watch Twitter.

Twitter kicked off its new strategy of in-platform live broadcasts with Wimbledon on July 6–and the experience is fantastic. Through a partnership with ESPN, Twitter started broadcasting select matches as part of its real-time feature Twitter Moments. It’s an HD-quality stream (which is one differentiator from the more consumer-centric Periscope app, also owned by Twitter), and it allows users to react and be heard in real-time. It encourages easy conversation by displaying the live stream of tweets on the right side of the video, pre-populating comments with the event hashtag, in this case #Wimbledon. This feels like a perfect natural extension of Twitter’s core value to provide real-time news from personal and business accounts.

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Live-streaming is here, and companies need to start experimenting. Launched for brands earlier, and everyone else in April, the Facebook Live-streaming feature is already turning out to be a massive success. In China, the live-streaming phenomenon is now an established revenue stream that shows staying power. Wimbledon is no one-off for Twitter, which isn’t just playing catch-up either. In April, it reached a $10 million deal with the NFL to live stream football games this fall. Companies should have open minds to any and all live-streaming opportunities that align with brand values. It’s been shown that people will watch longer if a video is live and has urgency. I’m curious to see how Twitter and Facebook begin to monetize live-streaming for advertisers.


Does Snapchat Have an Identity Crisis?

If Twitter’s live-streaming of sports broadcasts seems like a natural extension, Snapchat’s announcement of Snapchat Memories on July 6 seems like a betrayal of its core values. What makes Snapchat unique is that its content disappears after people see it. Snapchat stories were fleeting, in-the-moment bits of content that could only be uploaded as they happened. With Snapchat Memories, users can not only save pictures in the app, but they can also add content to stories after they are finished.

Here’s the thing though: Social platforms have to grow and find a way to be valuable to brands. We all understand this. Users weren’t real happy when Facebook-owned Instagram adjusted its timeline to be more like Facebook’s News Feed. An algorithmic Instagram timeline replaced the chronological one and the new version prioritizes certain pieces of content above others, based on what Instagram (and Facebook by extension) thinks you like. Will Instagram’s user base adapt to it? It remains to be seen whether the user bases of both social networks flee in favor of a better experience.


Step Up Your Game. Facebook’s News Feed Changes Again.

Speaking of changing timelines and better experiences, Facebook has defined what it thinks users want to see and made it official: “Friends and family come first.” It’s that simple. For brands to succeed with organic (nonpaid) content, the material needs to do one of two things (or both for better results): Entertain and/or inform. Brands absolutely still have a place in the News Feed but the onus is on the company to step up its game.

Apart from organic content (which relies on shares and reactions to spread), advertisers that complain about breaking through the News Feed algorithm are probably not using Facebook’s insanely useful paid targeting tools correctly, if at all. Facebook is unmatched at delivering the right content to the right audience at the right time, in a highly cost-efficient way. And while some take issue with the concept of paying to reach Facebook audiences, the reality is advertising shouldn’t be free. It never was. Social media is a content delivery system, and for certain audiences, Facebook is far and away the best. If your content is strategic and it resonates with your target audience, it can be delivered to them seamlessly through Facebook. If this isn’t happening for your brand now, contact us. We can help. We’re really good at it.


MSQRD/Facebook Challenges Snapchat

With its new live video filter functionality, could the Facebook-owned app MSQRD be the new Snapchat? Outside of content that disappears after viewing, the other unique feature of Snapchat was the ability to put all kinds of fun live filters on your photos/videos and create augmented reality content on the fly. Yesterday, Live Filters and Face Swap for Video Selfies became part of MSQRD’s core offering, thanks to a natural integration with Facebook Live. This is a nice head start for MSQRD, with Facebook’s massive user base; it may cause some users who haven’t fully committed to Snapchat to reconsider joining the image-based messaging platform.

Here’s another stat to consider: There was a lot of hype surrounding Snapchat’s recent claim of receiving 10 billion daily video views, compared to Facebook’s 8 billion (last reported in November 2015). A closer look at those measurements reveals that Snapchat measures a video view the moment someone starts a snap, while Facebook doesn’t call something a “view” for at least three seconds. Brands need to design video content with the demographic of the platform in mind, as well as the way in which video will be displayed and interacted with according to user behavior on that platform. Knowing the goal of the video (awareness, click-through, purchase, etc.) ahead of time will make it easier to decide which social platform to use.


360 Degrees of Awesomeness in Facebook News Feed

Facebook launched 360-degree photos for everyone last month. At one time, I would only see brands using this technology, but in the last couple of days I’ve seen a couple of friends upload 360-degree photos. Like any emerging tech, the cost is coming down for consumers–from 360 cameras to panoramic apps. And it’s so easy to post on Facebook, I’m sure adoption will be sky high soon. Again, for brands, this is a matter of creativity and staying ahead of the curve. Companies that offer unique 360 experiences that speak to their audience’s values have a real opportunity to benefit from this as it begins to peak in popularity.

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