In October, there were many opportunities for brands to jump on the latest news items from Back to the Future Day to Halloween. But alongside these, there were also some new insights into how we are using digital – especially the fast-growing platforms of YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat.
Instagram Advertising for UK Brands
Ever since Instagram was bought by Facebook, it has just kept growing. This year has also seen the first adverts on the platform (with this being available to the majority of UK advertisers this month) which has seen a significant increase in the amount of brands using the social media app to get their messages across.
According to a study by eMarketer, 71% of brands will be using Instagram by 2017. Currently, approx. 32% use the platform and this is predicted to increase to 49% next year.
However, the new advertisements have seen a breadth of negative criticism from users who liked that Instagram was one of the few ad-free platforms available.
We’re not going to be surprised that in 2016 and onwards, the social media landscape will change drastically. We know that millennials hate ads and are one the most prominent groups to use ad-blocking software and pay for ad-removal subscription packages.
Personally, I think that in the next few years, new social media sites with subscription models like that of Spotify and Netflix will start to become popular – if they have enough incentive for users to part with their money.
Our advice: Whilst at the moment, we always recommend using a modest budget on sites like Facebook, your strategy should begin to focus on smarter strategies to engage your target market without the need for in-your-face advertising.
YouTube Red & Video Content
Subscription models became very popular this year with Spotify releasing new features, Apple Music becoming a new competitor and now YouTube Red launching.
YouTube Red is a package that allows ad-free streaming of videos, offline playback of videos, new original content and this is all on top of ad-free music streaming from Google Play.
The ad-free streaming of videos will become a well-received feature for audiences who are tired of ineffective and un-personalised adverts.
However, creators have not been as happy. Creators believe that adverts are the primary source of their revenue but we know from managing many of our clients’ activity that adverts that appear ‘salesy’ like these are not the best way of getting your messages across to your target market. Creators (which are, in essence, brands) need to find other ways to grow their business.
Video content is great marketing collateral for brands if done correctly. Many big brands are on YouTube but many independents are not yet doing so.
Our advice: For growing businesses, brands and even independent retailers, this new launch means that YouTube and video content is on a significant rise and therefore you should be taking advantages of what video can offer.
Snapchat Sponsored Filters
We know many business owners are skeptical about Snapchat – it’s an app that, on the face of it, allows you to send messages and images to other people, that then disappear.
But Snapchat has begun adding new features to the platform to widen the appeal to users. One of these features has been the introduction of new Snapchat filters. These are overlays to images that add text, icons or images to your selfie – whether this is adding the New York skyline to the bottom of your image or a bunch of fries falling on your head.
And like any other social media site, these can now be bought by big brands. Brands can promote a filter at a considerable cost (up to $700,000). Whilst it’s likely that you won’t have this budget, it’s important to look at the success of Snapchat.
Our advice: If you have an in-house team who can take snaps on an ad-hoc basis, trial a Snapchat strategy.
If you want to have a chat about how you can use these digital opportunities for your business, feel free to get in touch.