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Resolution: Embrace the social landscape of 2015

By: Harry

When the world-renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman’s string broke on stage, he continued to play. Modulating the melody, he created a symphonic masterpiece. At the end, he wiped his brow and said, “It is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.”

With the hefty recent changes over at Facebook and Twitter, much of the brand and agency social world is also wiping their brows with both excitement and wary anticipation. While social media is abuzz with changes at the Big Two, we decided to pick out the ones to watch for social marketing in 2015.

Tumblr Certainly not a new kid on the block for social media users, but Tumblr is finally embracing marketing by supporting video content via posts and sponsored video ads. Brands can count Tumblr as a new place to promote video content that may be a lot more visible to followers than on Facebook.

Instagram After surpassing Twitter with 300 million users, Instagram is considered the ultimate millennial app with 90% of their user base being under 35 years old. The app has allowed for small but significant changes, like the introduction of hyperlapse capability and editing of captions. As with their updates, they’re taking things slowly but very successfully with advertising. So far, only a handful of brands (Adidas, Ben & Jerry’s, General Electric, Burberry, Lexus, Macys, Michael Kors, PayPal, Starwood, and Levi’s) have been introduced to Instagram’s ad platform. Our advice? Watch and learn how these and other big brands on Instagram use the app to promote unique, highly creative content and get inspired.

Snapchat Coming up hot and fast on the heels of Instagram as a millennial app favorite, Snapchat is on the fast track towards sponsored updates. Better yet, they’re keeping their sponsored updates non-intrusive by allowing users to either opt in to watching the ad or simply ignoring it for 24 hours until it disappears.  This is an incredibly valuable indication of trust, respect, and commitment to their users, ensuring that the right content will reach the right audience.

The playful effect of stitched snaps began as an update feature on Snapchat, allowing users to stitch together a number of snaps taken at various events (World Series, New York City marathon, college football games, etc.). Now Coke, McDonalds, and Taco Bell have already jumped on board to use the feature to tell an ad story. Between Universal Studios’ successful debut of movie trailers on Snapchat with Ouija and Amazon using Snapchat to promote Black Friday deals, the app has officially become a hotspot for quick, creative ads.

Spotify Unlike Snapchat, audio ads have become the mandatory norm on social music apps like Spotify. Users don’t have a choice but to listen as lowering the volume during an ad causes it to pause. With Spotify boasting over 30 million free users, they’ve naturally recognized that their advertising game needs to be more on point. Now, they support multiple initiatives for brand messaging such as:

  • Sponsored session: watch this video and get 30 minutes of free music.
  • Video takeover is when a banner takes over the page you’re on until you click out.
  • Audio and display ads are self explanatory
  • Homepage takeover allows your brand to block out the page all day.
  • Branded playlists: are custom user-generated playlists with brand logo, custom text, and optional link to your campaign.

Medium Let’s not underestimate the power of good old-fashioned written content. Our hot favorite is Medium, a clean and insightful new blogging platform. Medium is currently based on recommendations as much as interests. The blog posts are much longer but presented in an easy-to-read format that also estimates how much time it will take the user to get through a post. With more details, high quality images, and expert writers, Medium content is gaining esteem particularly among Twitter and LinkedIn Users.

Slideshare At first glance, Slideshare is a presentation hosting service. It supports Power Point, PDF, keynote, and word documents. Thanks to LinkedIn (another powerhouse with its publishing features and Pulse newsfeed), it’s becoming a popular medium for businesses and influencers to share professional content like infographs, presentations, documents, white papers, etc. with their followers. It’s considered a social network because users have the ability to like, comment, and share any of the documents and presentations. The platform also allows for content to be embedded in blog posts or with rich media like videos and GIFs.

There you have it, folks. Much like Perlman, we like to think we’re artists in our own little ad world and it’s our job to make the best of what we have. Which, incidentally, happens to be quite a lot.

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