Because One Isn’t Enough
Ready or not, here it is. After a few not-so-secret weeks of testing, Instagram has launched its latest feature: Albums. Now users can post up to 10 photos in a single "post." While this slideshow feature might present some interesting opportunities for brands eager to leverage content to snag reader attention, it also raises immediate concerns for agencies. Those 10 photos could mean multiplying production levels 10x. It could impact agency scopes and influencer agreements by upending the definition of what constitutes a “single” piece of content. No matter what, it’s an all-new function that’s opened the door to fresh new ideas. How will you take advantage of the extra room?
It’s been some time since autoplaying videos became the norm on Facebook, but historically they’ve been silent, prompting some brands to use creative tactics to get around it.
Those tactics may soon be less necessary: Facebook has started to roll out an update that will play audio automatically as a video pops up in your newsfeed. That’s unfortunate news for anyone attempting to surreptitiously browse Facebook in a class, meeting, or elsewhere in public. If that’s often you, don’t panic. The app will obey your phone’s silent mode and can (thankfully) be disabled entirely by digging through your Facebook settings.
Since Instagram launched its “Stories” war on Snapchat, headline after headline has given marketers reason to be concerned about investing too heavily in the latter platform. So is Snapchat on its way out?
Not necessarily. Instead, brands are adjusting how they use the platform. Some notable statistics:
- Snapchat users aren't watching ads...
- ...but they are tuning in for the branded content
- Brands are posting less frequently overall
- Brands are also packing in less when they do post, typically posting fewer snaps per story (the current average is 7 or fewer snaps per story, down from 15 snaps per story last year)
Additionally, Snapchat continues to push its brand position as something akin to "TV for millennials," distancing itself from the dreaded social media label.
"Snap is three things, and everyone else is two of them. There are plenty of chat apps, and Stories is being copied successfully by Instagram... but Snapchat's unique Discover section... could evolve into something game-changing: the premier place for premium mobile video." –Josh Constine, TechCrunch
Per Snapchat, the platform wants to be thought of as "HBO of the Smartphone." Their current content roster (Planet Earth, The Bachelor, SNL, ESPN, E!, and more) certainly helps show what their future might look like, and, as the article notes, Snapchat-as-TV has several big things going for it:
"Cool Factor" (TV shows want to seem in touch with the latest trend—why not Snapchat?)
Snapchat is based in LA (Rather than Silicon Valley—obvious ties to networks and programs)
- Changing TV-viewing habits of millennials (18- to 24-year-olds spent 35% less time watching traditional TV per month during the Q2 of 2016 vs Q2 2010)
Attack of the Clones
While both companies seem to want to be like TV, Facebook’s properties are doing a great job of borrowing hallmark Snapchat features. Joining Instagram in adopting a “Stories” clone, Whatsapp has introduced “Status,” which should look a bit familiar. The feature is rolling out to users now and marks Whatsapp’s first big dip into social content as the possibility of ad placements looms overhead.
Hashtags Are (Maybe) OUT
This year, only #30percent of #SuperBowl #Ads used a #hashtag, continuing a decline in their usage (apparently, at their peak, 57% of Super Bowl ads used a hashtag; last year that number was down to 45%). So what are brands using instead of hashtags?
“This year’s promotion tool of choice appears to be URLs, which were included in 41% of ads shown. It’s the first year, according to Marketing Land’s research, that URLs have overtaken the hashtag.” –Megan Farokhmanesh, The Verge
While hashtags are still a valuable tool in the social media toolkit, they are no longer the anchor of a social media game plan. It sounds obvious when you consider what social platforms currently look like, but still feels a bit shocking.
This seems to reinforce the philosophy that hashtags should always serve a specific utility and shouldn’t be thrown into every execution just to make it seem like a “social idea.” #Winning.