When Loyal Meets Social

social engagements

The most effective loyalty programs are those where loyalty meets social; where customers engage with and transact with their favorite brands. Annex Cloud has been advising clients and helping them build loyalty strategies that include both components for years. Over the years we’ve seen some customers set on building only transactional program. We’re happy to share … Read more

Beauty Rewards Program Is an Ideal Fit for Loyalty

beauty rewards program

As per a report by Edited, the global beauty industry is valued at $532 billion and counting. Since the bulk of the consumers are millennials, the beauty industry has got the enormous potential for a phenomenal rise. Many companies today are looking at the beauty industry to leverage the potential by designing the beauty rewards … Read more

Social Commerce: the Future of eComm & Customer Loyalty

social commerce

It’s 2019 and social media is evolving way beyond social purposes alone. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram have taken giant strides toward implementing a seamless eCommerce experience into its functionalities. From discovery to conversion, commerce can now be facilitated from your favorite social media channels, across devices and countless supportive apps. Social media and other … Read more

How Referral Marketing Can Combat Facebook’s Algorithm Update

How referral marketing can combat Facebook's algorithm update

In the wake of yet another update to Facebook’s News Feed algorithm, marketers need to shift their focus from brand broadcasting to referral programs and word-of-mouth, earned social media. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg recently sent the marketing world into a flurry when he announced a News Feed algorithm update that prioritizes personal profiles and groups over … Read more

Snapchat Deep Linking + Lead Gen Ads Copy Facebook’s Ad Tech

snapchat deep linking

Snapchat is testing two new ad tech features that take a page from Facebook’s playbook. Given the history of competition between the two social media juggernauts, which has heated up over the past year or so, this move isn’t surprising. However, marketers and advertisers should take note of how Snapchat deep linking and lead gen ads-the two new capabilities–will work and possibly help them.

If we examine Snapchat’s moves over the past few years, its efforts to make itself ad-friendly and shoppable are easily noticeable. In 2015, it teamed up with shopping search engine ShopStyle, which allowed bloggers to create styles for their followers to shop. In 2016, it offered third-party verification from companies like Oracle Data Cloud,Nielsen mobile Digital Ad Ratings and Google DoubleClick to add more measurement capabilities to the ads. But it seems that the multimedia mobile application is far away from putting its efforts in that direction in cold storage. At least, the recent tests made by it reflects that.

With the unofficial launch of Snapchat deep linking and lead gen ads, the company is implementing capabilities that Facebook started using in 2015.

Snapchat deep linking enables users to swipe up and tap a link, which will bring them to a specific place within another application, such as a playlist in a music app or a product page in an e-commerce app. Now, this means that advertisers will be enabled to run ads for a product they want to sell and users can “swipe up” to view and learn more about it. After tapping the screen, they will be directed to that product page.

For those who are not familiar with the concept of deep linking, the following example will illuminate it: A streaming music service may buy a Snap Ad where, after viewing a 10-second video, users are directed to swipe up. From the web-view page, they have the option to tap through to another app. If they don’t have the necessary app downloaded, they could be directed to a page where the app can be downloaded. Clearly, Snapchat deep linking going to be instrumental in giving marketers superior control over the messaging and communication of the ad once they get that initial conversion by enabling users to easily click to their own digital property.

The second new feature is lead gen ads, also known as web auto-fill. These enable viewers to fill out lead-generation forms with one tap on the screen after seeing an ad, and, to protect their privacy, they are asked if want to use the feature every single time it’s utilized. The ad can extract any user information, like name, phone number, email address and birthday. In short, it’s a way of sparing them from repeatedly entering their details on smartphones. This is very significant move considering how agonizing it is to put all your details by typing through the small keypad of the small screen. It will undoubtedly speed up the overall purchase process.

These lead gen ads are a very interesting move in that it could very well be used by a significant portion of B2B companies–provided, of course, that their prospects are on Snapchat. While plenty of B2C marketers use lead gen tactics and forms for a variety of reasons, this shows how Snapchat is trying to branch out to new types of advertisers.

Why are Snapchat deep linking and lead gen ads being tested?

Monetization: Of course, a huge reason for the implementation of new ad technologies is the aim to stand shoulder to shoulder with Facebook and Instagram, who are the current hot favorites of advertisers. The much more evolved functionality and gigantic user base of Facebook and Instagram are the prime reasons for that.

The move appears even more logical when we look at the scenario where about 30% of all online sales in Southeast Asia in 2016 occurred via social networks. And some 80% of shoppers in Southeast Asia used social media to research items and contact sellers. Data from Sumo Heavy puts that that figure in America is at 18.2%, an increase of 8.3% in the past six months. Snapchat is wise enough to understand the growing potential of social commerce…and rightly so, it wants a sizable chunk of a share of it.

Snapchat’s Own Ad Related Miseries: Apart from the monetization, this move also has to do a lot with the Snapchat’s fight with its own demons. Though it has a huge user base of millennials and Gen Z, along with its meteoric rise over the last couple of years, its interface has always been a point of concern for marketers. They have always found it a platform that is hard to sell from.

To begin with, the first issue that markers have with Snapchat is that it’s very difficult to get rapt and undiluted attention on ephemeral brand stories, which vanish after 24 hours. And that’s why to keep up the content feed up, marketers have to use their own resources all the time…and that’s like involving the inventory!

Another issue is that Snapchat’s way of advertising is better suited for brand promotion and creating a buzz about products. For big brands with larger ad budgets, this might work. But relatively smaller companies view ads as a tool that directly lead to sales.

Plus, a Snapchat ad is a costly affair. As per one agency source, campaigns run between six and seven figures, and another said a sponsored lens can run between $350,000 to $700,000 a day. (Nevertheless, there are some kinds of ads you can purchase for under $50,000.) Besides, Snapchat ads need specific filters due to their vertical video or platform nature. It forces agencies to make ads specifically for those filters- and that costs extra money.

Mike Dossett, manager of digital strategy at agency RPA, has accurately put the finger on this pain point when he said, “Their standard video inventory requires new production because it’s vertical, and there’s a 10-second limitation. That makes it challenging to plug and play.”

Naturally, with such a wounded revenue leg, Snapchat cannot run in the race of its planned $25 billion initial public offering. It has to shore up its monetization strategy and position it as a potential growth generator if it has to attract investors to purchase its stock. And through updates like Snapchat deep linking and web auto-fill, the business is trying to keep no stone unturned in the pursuit of profitability.

Note: We always keep a close watch on each and every happening in the social media world. In this blog also we have discussed Facebook’s product tags and Messenger Stories. Here, you will know everything about Facebook’s launch of Marketplace. To know which new targeting tools Snapchat has added in its arsenal, have a glance at this blog. Similarly, to get acquainted with the recent Instagram updates, this blog is a must read.

Vital Cyber Monday + Black Friday Lessons, 2016 Edition

black friday lessons

Much to the relief of many marketers, this year’s Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday sales have displayed a spectacular performance. Thanksgiving online sales posted a 17% gain to $1.3 billion, while Black Friday jumped 19% to just under $2 billion pushing holiday season-to-date growth rate to 12%. Cyber Monday, meanwhile, broke e-commerce records with $3.45 billion! The numbers aren’t as readily available yet for in-store results, however. But amidst the clamour of all the numbers and success stories, Black Friday lessons deserve contemplation. So, let’s understand what exactly they are.

Black Friday Lessons: Mobile Has Become Even Bigger

Let’s get the most obvious takeaway over with: Whether it’s customer service, promotions, loyalty programs, buying activity or product search from the customer’s side, mobile is inevitable. The two main holiday events of Black Friday and Thanksgiving has reaffirmed that inevitability and the growing clout of mobile in the shopping scenario. 39% of online purchases made this year were done so via mobile device (smartphone or tablet). Mobile sales totaled an incredible $449 million, an increase of 58% from this same time last year.

It was a reflection of the fact that people increasingly try to shop online from the comfort of their own homes. Plus, they often shop on the sly. In 2014, a full 10% of respondents in a Paypal survey admitted to shopping during their Thanksgiving dinner in order to find the best deal on a product online. Now that two years have passed and mobile technology is even faster and more ubiquitous, that percentage must be higher!

Certainly, mobile emerges as the best candidate to fulfill both the above-mentioned demands. And that’s why this lesson of becoming mobile-friendly is not something that must be utilized only during the holiday season. This should be like an ever going act from the marketer’s side.

Black Friday Lessons: Creativity is Crucial

All throughout this week of promotions, marketers kept trying to outdo themselves with richer content.  It was much beyond the traditional ways of discount offers, coupons and vouchers. Marketers went ahead with interactive and gamified campaigns not just to differentiate themselves from the competitors, but to attract the customers who are vulnerable to get swayed by the competitors counter-campaigns.

Many online sellers used video and GIFs in their marketing emails to get attention. Forever 21 even used GIFs instead of static images for certain products on its category pages to boost click-throughs!

And this trend wasn’t only observed during the American holiday season. Even Singles’ Day in China experienced brilliant creative ways of giving one-of-its-kind experience to the customers. Alibaba launched an AR game to market the electronics it sells, in which customers can chase its mascot cat around their cities to find discounts.  Watch an example of a customer playing it below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEchxT4C7Jw

Black Friday Lessons: Don’t Hide Your Deals

Today’s shopper is inundated with price-comparison apps, alerts, browser add-ons and sites. Within a moment, they can know which retailer is offering a better offer…and those who are price sensitive will make a move towards a retailer who is offering a better bargain. This leads to a significant dent in the customer footfall. That’s why we saw that most of the retailers posted Black Friday specials on their websites ahead of time.  It’s one of the most important Black Friday lessons to follow throughout the year as even when we’re saving money, we still want to make sure we’re saving the most money.

Black Friday Lessons: Timing Does Matter

Along with the creativity and messaging in the Black Friday communication, the equally important factor is the timing of the promotion of the Black Friday offers. It has always been a conundrum for many retailers. If they start to post about the offers too early, they risk the chance of missing the excitement…and if they begin to post too late, there is a fear of getting lost in the noise. But this season has shown that the best time to post information about Black Friday sales is about 10 days before Black Friday. Marketers should repeat it several times over the next week and a half. It sounds logical as shoppers begin the research about the products that they want to buy at least 2 weeks before the Black Friday. And if your communication meets the shopper somewhere in between his research journey, he may finally end up buying from you.

Black Friday Lessons: Capitalize on FOMO

FOMO (fear of missing out) has always worked well irrespective of the product segment, market conditions or holiday season. This is because people generally like to have best things at the lowest price possible and they have the fear that others might be having rewarding experiences from which they are absent. They don’t want to miss out.

Thus, it didn’t surprise us to see that Black Friday promotions were also designed in the same fashion. Lands’ End’s subject line of the offer email, hence, was like this. “Today only: 50% off sweaters + 40% off everything else.”  And really people fall for such offers. Otherwise we wouldn’t have seen people waiting up in a long queue in the middle of the night to grab a Playstation, Hatchimal, or iPhone.

Black Friday Lessons: Tap into Downtime

It’s not a rare sight that the marketing machine winds down once the big holiday events end along with the year. The excuse for this lethargy is that not many are going to buy now. But this is actually naive thinking.

Due to the multimedia nature of the current business world, shopping journey has become more complex than ever and it can be a bit longer sometimes. That’s why the engagement with prospects need to be ‘always’ on. There is no dearth of customers who like to take time to think and let the dust of the fury of holiday season settle. Meanwhile they take note of the stock and go for it after the holiday season.

We understand how much importance the holiday season has for marketers like you. And that’s why we have created this blog where you will get to know what millennial holiday shoppers want. We have also documented The Biggest Holiday 2016 Retail Trends here. And, for a consumer’s and marketer’s point of view on Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers, don’t miss “Where Black Friday Went Wrong: A Personal Take.”

The Definition of Advocate Marketing

definition of advocate marketing

As marketers, we all wish that we had more people representing and promoting our businesses at a minimal cost. It’d be even better if they would actually get involved in projects like content creation or finding new potential customers! Is that too much to ask? Well, in a sense, that’s the definition of advocate marketing. Before moving ahead, it’s a must to understand the exact and accurate meaning of the term advocate marketing. There is more than one definition of advocate marketing, but the two following ones should illuminate its concept.

The Definition of Advocate Marketing, #1

Advocate marketing is the art of identifying your highest-potential customers, nurturing their potential, and motivating and empowering this “Golden 5%” to preach positive about your company. In this two-part series, you’ll learn how to capitalize on their work.”

Source: Marketing Watchdog Journal

The Definition of Advocate Marketing, #2 

Advocacy marketing is a form of marketing that emphasizes getting existing customers to talk about the company and its products.” Source: Big Commerce

In short, it’s a process where you identify a group of your customers who genuinely love your products and are willing to spread the word about you in areas where they can have an impact. It can be in any format like social media posts, videos, emails, mobile messages or white papers. An advocate may build a community around himself too.

Now that we’ve reached a definition of advocate marketing, let’s take a closer look at how it can help your business.

The Definition of Advocate Marketing: Leverage the Power of Social 

You don’t have to be a marketing maestro to understand that no marketing effort can stand on its feet without the clutches of social media and the internet in general. No points in guessing here- the reason is the gigantic mass reach that it gives to the business. This explains why almost every business has an online presence. It’s in the line of normalcy then that more than 80% of shoppers research online before buying.

posey facebook murad share
Advocates make product recommendations on social platforms, forums, over email, via text, and in-person combination.

That’s precisely what makes having your advocates to go vocal about your brand on internet becomes so unavoidable. The content shared by your advocates will somewhere cross the path of the buying journey of your customers. The feedback, reviews, videos, and pictures that your advocates share online are crucial for painting a positive image of you.

Advocates are talking about your brand and products on platforms like Instagram.
Advocates are talking about your brand and products on platforms like Instagram.

The Definition of Advocate Marketing: A Heightened Ability to Influence

It has been proved an umpteen number of times that people trust peer recommendations more than any other marketing ploy. That’s understandable too. Watching an ad on TV is less likely to convince me than the recommendation by a peer or an expert.

Nielsen’s 2015 Trust in Advertising Report found that 83% of consumers placed the most trust in the recommendations of friends and family. Furthermore, 66% trusted the opinions of consumers they found online. Naturally, it means that peers and online customers possess the highest ability to influence the opinions of other customers.

traeger review
This glowing review from a Traeger Grills customer is an example of the trust-building user generated content that advocates create.

Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point discusses three unique kinds of people can make social movements possible: connectors, mavens (experts) and salesmen. The beauty of a brand advocate is that he seamlessly blends the strengths of a connector and a maven without looking like a salesman.

Furthermore, studies have found that advocates are 70% more likely to be seen as a source of reliable information. Under any circumstances, people will believe him. Brand advocates are also 50% more likely to create content that influences a purchase.

advocate chart

Thus, it’s not at all shocking to see that with just a 12% increase in advocacy, on average, companies can experience a 2X growth in revenue, according to a report in the Harvard Business School Press.

In a recent Annex Cloud case study, we saw a client use our Sharing and Referrals advocate marketing solutions to grow their orders by 38% in one year and achieve a 10:1 ROI! Clearly, advocates are likely to have an ultra-positive impact on businesses sales.

The Definition of Advocate Marketing: Cost-Effectiveness

 At the end of the day, your marketing campaigns need to be cost effective and sustainable. Advocate marketing is budget-friendly, as in its simplest forms it purely works on word-of-mouth- the cheapest and oldest model of reaching out to people.

Just think. How much money is required to create and run a TV or digital ad? I am sure the amount will be much higher than the amount that is needed to run an advocacy program. Also, after spending that high amount, you will realize that you have spent on the medium which is going through a rough credibility crisis. According to research by Nielsen that looked at consumer trust, 92% of respondents trust recommendations from people they know, which is well above any other information source. Ads on TV are only trusted by 47% of respondents, while online banner ads are trusted by a measly 33%.

So, it comes down to two things: You are missing out the most trusted source to affect people and second you are spending too much on the source which people don’t trust much. It’s like completely going off the track! Moreover, with advocates you’re now targeting people who are just like your best customers. It automatically makes your targeting much sharper. Obviously, your response percentages will increase. This lets you eliminate less effective sources for acquisition.

Also, the unseen benefit of this targeting is those targeted customers are likely to be less cost-sensitive because they have been influenced by someone they trust. This inherently means they trust the price and value they get from the product or service.

The Definition of Advocate Marketing: Strengthening Your Other Marketing Efforts

It’s not that you should use your advocates only to recommend your brand to people. They are much more valuable assets than that. Remember that they contribute valuable content that can power your other marketing campaigns in-store, online, on social, and in your app.

Given that they’re fans of your business, they’ll also be more than happy to participate in your own content efforts, like videos. These videos can be used on your website, social media or other digital media campaigns. By doing this, you will be giving a human face to your marketing campaigns…and nothing moves people more than real stories! Indeed, nobody wants to attend a party where the host speaks about himself all the time. The world of marketing can learn a lot from it. Whether it’s B2B or B2C marketing, customers are not at all interested in knowing what you as a marketer is saying about your products. They want to know what customers are saying about your product. Advocate marketing lets you do just the same!

Note: To run a successful advocate strategy, you need to have advocates first. Go through our white paper to discover how to convert your loyal customers into advocates. To know more about advocate loyalty and how to implement it effectively, this white paper is all that you need to read!

Is Twitter Dead, or on the Verge of a Revival?

twitter dead

Just in time for Halloween, we have to ask ourselves: Is Twitter dead? Or will it be making a supernatural rebirth?

Only a few days ago, at their Q3 2016 earnings call, the company announced results that beat analysts’ expectations but still make it a loss-making company. More dramatically, it announced layoffs of 9% of its workforce, as well as the eventual demise of Vine, the short video-looping and sharing platform it owns.

Of course, this state of affairs didn’t come about overnight. The readings of all the experts- as far as the Twitter dead march is concerned, pinpoint towards the fact of lack of innovative spirit in the Twitter head office. It looks like Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, is trying everything to bring back the boat safely to the shore. Albeit it’s too late and too little, but he is trying to overhaul the product from top to bottom. We will dive into what changes Twitter is planning to do to turn the tide of the current danger.

Is Twitter dead? Well, Vine is, but it’ll be preserved for mourners to view…

Twitter is all set to close down Vine, a looping video app. In this announcement, it said that users will be able to download their Vines and that the Vine website will remain online so users can continue to watch previously posted content. Twitter also says that the website will remain online because the company thinks that it’s important to still be able to watch all the incredible Vines that have been made.

Of course, there is a scope to believe that Twitter wants to focus more on its Periscope product and live streaming rather than the short looping video service Vine, but the reality is different. Twitter acquired Vine before it had officially launched in 2012 for a reported $30m (£24.6m). Considering its six-second video nature, it was a perfect match for Twitter’s crispy 140-character posts and it began with a bang.  It became no. 1 app on the iTunes App Store only six months after joining the company. The app reached 200 million active users…and then it stagnated. Just like its rapid rise, the world saw its rapid decline.

vine sensor tower
If Sensor Tower’s data has to be believed, year-over-year worldwide downloads of the Vine app declined 55 percent in Q3 across both the Apple App Store and Google Play. The major reason for this decline was the fact that six seconds videos alone were not enough for Vine to compete with Snapchat and Instagram. By this time last year, all of Vine’s three co-founders had left Twitter, some due to layoffs.

Twitter had to get rid of it somehow! But having said that, it would be interesting to see if Twitter plans to integrate Vine-like features into its main app. Vine still has a dedicated fan base, including celebrities.

Is Twitter dead? Abuse on the platform might just kill it.

One of the biggest pain points of Twitter is its inability to control ceaseless and crass comments, which invariably takes the form of abuse. So much so that it has become synonymous with the platform. It is leaving people with no alternative than to stay away from the platform.

As usual, the most common victims of this slur have been celebrities. We saw how actor Leslie Jones quit the service. But it is not just repelling users, but the prospective buyers of Twitter are also not in favor of this indecency.  The CEO of Salesforce, Marc Benioff, said he walked away from a deal with Twitter due to its price, work culture, and the amount of abuse on the site. It’s quite clear from this example, how the unacceptable use of language plays a huge role in ruining the deal.

That’s why Twitter is planning to deal with these issues of abuse and trolls with new tools and policies in November. The sources have said that company is working hard to put important safety features in place to make Twitter a pleasant digital place. The company said in its third quarter shareholder letter that next month, it will be sharing meaningful updates to its safety policy, product, and enforcement strategy. Hence, in this November we may expect that the planned solution of Twitter will act as a deterrent to all-too-common abuses. As of now, though, we don’t know many details…

Is Twitter dead? Well, its feed is being reborn.

Every social media network is working on making its timelines/feeds more and more engaging. Twitter’s personalized timeline has been already in testing. This testing also involves video broadcasts, which are based on people’s interest graphs and key influencers’ tweets. The motive behind this move is the simplest to understand. I have been saying that the wisdom is not in showing people what you want them to see. It’s in letting people see what they want to see. That was the main reason why Snapchat removed its Auto Advance feature, which automatically played every story in the user’s feed in a reverse chronological order. People want freedom of selection. Making them see something forcibly is a big no. And Twitter has realized this…at least it seems!

Really, is Twitter dead? Not yet, but we might be close.

Looking at it very, very objectively, I can say that these are some desperate attempts by Twitter to stay relevant and survive somehow. Its demise is imminent if it doesn’t make big changes, though. It will be interesting to see if these changes move hearts of potential buyers like Disney and Salesforce.

The responses so far have been mixed, though. A TechCrunch writer is in some testing for a new @ reply design and is reporting that it’s a mess, while the stock market has been showing more encouraging signs.

Note: We always keep a close watch on each and every happening in the social media world. In this blog also we have discussed Facebook’s recent updates for marketers, including product tags. Here, you can find out everything about Facebook’s launch of Marketplace. To know which new targeting tools Snapchat has added in its arsenal, have a glance at this blog.  Similarly, to get acquainted with recent Instagram updates, this blog is a must read.

Finally, to know what’s fresh in user generated content for next year, don’t miss out on our guide, “The New Wave of User Generated Content: 7 Concepts for 2017 and Beyond!”

Instagram Live Streaming May Debut Soon

instagram live streaming

That time is not far away that all social media platforms will look almost identical, if not similar. Snapchat created a ripple by coming up with its one-of-its-kind Stories. Instagram was quick enough to replicate that feature. After the resounding success of live video–first debuted by smaller platforms by scooped up by Twitter and Facebook, everyone is realizing the real power of it.  And now, Instagram live streaming may be just around the corner.

There has been no official announcement from Kevin Systrom and the gang about Instagram live streaming. But as per one Russian news site, which has images and video of the feature running on a Nexus 6P, a new “live” section in Stories will feature “popular live broadcasts”. The feature looks something like this…

instagram live streaming

As you can see, there is a big red button at the bottom with the label “Go Insta!” This is the button that lets you start your Instagram live streaming. There is also a “Schedule” button in the top right corner, which is similar to that of Facebook’s recent scheduling option for video streaming. If you are going live from Instagram, your followers will be able to see your profile along with the stories.

Instagram Stories recently made their way to the “Explore” tab, and you can see that the live Story has a banner reading “Live” overtop its icon. After clicking on that button, you would be directed to a page called popular live broadcasts. But as it’s not yet functional, it wouldn’t load.

instagram live streaming 2

Though Instagram has received severe criticism for deliberately ripping off Snapchat’s stories idea, it did help it in stepping up its game.  And thus it’s outrightly sensible that their team chose Stories as its platform to launch the Instagram live streaming functionality. The Instagram Stories feature has all the technical framework ready to host the live broadcasting. Similarly, people are already hooked to this feature with more than 100 million daily users. Thus, there is a little to worry about the probability of reach and engagement. In fact, it will help Instagram in further boosting engagement.

There is no doubt that Instagram live streaming makes perfect sense for their road map. But as I have said, it is still in a testing phase. If the early beta testers don’t like it, the company might drop the whole plan altogether. The rumors also say that if everything goes well, Instagram may integrate it with VR (Virtual Reality). But it is not confirmed yet, and these are just speculations. We will have to wait for some sort of official announcement from Instagram. And considering that it will definitely add up in the already competitive market of social media, the wait is worth!

To Conclude…

I have always believed that social media is increasingly becoming a visual place with a dominance of videos. The development of Instagram live streaming just further confirms my belief. But there is a ringing message for marketers all across the globe and that message is: If you aren’t thinking in terms of videos to present or communicate your products or service on social media, you are at the opposite end of the future!

Note: We always keep a close watch on each and every happening in the social media world. In this blog also we have discussed Facebook’s new marketing tools. This post tells you everything you need to know about Facebook’s launch of Marketplace. To know which new targeting tools Snapchat has added in its arsenal, have a glance at this blog.  Similarly, to get acquainted with recent Instagram updates, this blog is a must read.

For more ideas on how to boost sales, recognition, and engagement with visual social content, take a look at our guides:

Snapchat Fashion Marketing: Fendi Gives More Life To Snapchat Stories

Snapchat Fashion Marketing

Whether it’s the use of drones to show its catwalk fashions or having its models walk on water to mark its 90-year anniversary, Fendi, the Italian high fashion brand, always knows how to market itself differently.  Currently, the fashion house is subverting things by taking content from Snapchat–which is famous for disappearing within 24 hours–and giving it a longer life. This Snapchat fashion marketing campaign is using Fendi’s website as a content hub for users to explore and be inspired.

Fendi’s Snapchat fashion marketing endeavor is called its “Snapchat Tour.” The brand is recording all the big events associated with it through the prism of influencers’ eyes. Fendi is such a huge brand that its events happen in many cities all across the globe. In each city, the brand has used influencer takeovers to let popular Snapchatters become the voice of the account. For example, it asked South Korean blogger Irene Kim to document its Peekaboo Auction in Seoul, South Korea in November 2015. There are other events too- the opening of Fendi’s Roman Palazzo, fashion shows, its 90th anniversary, and advertising shoots are a few to name.

Instead of giving a life of 24 hours to all these photos and events, Fendi wants to enhance the reach of that content to more and more people by giving it permanence. This Snapchat fashion marketing campaign then compiles all of its Snapchat Tour stories in one place. With the help of a digital map, consumers can explore all the main events via its website.

Fendi Snapchat

As you can see in the image, the hub will play the content vertically along with the countdown in the upper right-hand corner. To go to the next piece of content, the user just has to click on the video box. Of course, the need to differentiate its social presence is only one of the key reasons why Fendi is doing Snapchat fashion marketing campaign.

It’s not a secret that there is a tremendous curiosity in the minds of ordinary customers about the behind-the-scenes of any popular and influential fashion show. With documentation by expert influencers, users have a chance to peep into the internal and intimate environment of fashion shows which is often hidden from customers’ eyes. Naturally, this assures a higher level of engagement.

The second, and perhaps the most important reason for Fendi’s style of Snapchat fashion marketing is the acknowledgment of the power of user- generated content and influencer-generated content. In the past, Fendi experienced how much impact influencer testimonials had on its sales. This sort of a content is too valuable to be alive only for 24 hours. Moreover, there are all the chances that people might miss the snap due to its short digital life. Thus, there has to be some alternative way where people can see those beautiful and influential stories. This Snapchat Tour is that alternative.

To Conclude… Every marketer is using a variety of social media platforms to be in front of consumers’ eyes all the time. But that’s hardly a trend now…it’s a need. But from now on what is going to matter is how you use it. How are you going to customize it to suit your marketing requirements? I think Fendi has answered this question by challenging the basic ephemeral nature of Snapchat Stories.

Indeed, Snapchat, which is going through lots of changes, is an exciting platform to follow and analyze. We recently discussed how they’re developing a more personalized form of Snapchat Stories. Don’t forget to read this blog either to know which new ad targeting tools it is going to use in the future.  

Where Instagram’s Comment Moderation Tool Falls Flat

instagram's comment moderation

It made headlines a few weeks ago when Justin Bieber had to shut down his Instagram account after his fans began leaving hateful comments on a photo of him and his new girlfriend, Sofia Richie. The Bieber isn’t the only one who gets hate–plenty of other celebrities and everyday people get harrassed online too.  Amidst such turbulent times when abuse is running amok on social media platforms, Instagram announced a new comment moderation tool. The aim is to allow users to flag keywords they do not want appearing in the comments on their pictures. Let’s take a look at how Instagram’s comment moderation capabilities work and what they’re really capable of…

bieber instagram

How Does Instagram’s Comment Moderation Work?

Instagram has made it incredibly simple. You just have to follow the following steps-

  • Go to your Profile tab.
  • Tap the Settings gear icon in the top right corner.
  • Find and tap “Comments.”
  • Toggle “Hide Inappropriate Comments” to automatically hide keywords that are “often reported as inappropriate.” Or, add your own custom keywords in the text box, separating each with a comma.
  • Tap “Done” to save your changes.

 

instagram comment moderation
In short, there are two options of how to block comments under Instagram’s comment moderation tool: default and custom. With the help of default option, you can hide unsuitable comments as per the standard list of keywords decided by Instagram. The custom settings permit the user to add his own words, phrases, hashtags and emojis that they would like to be filtered out of comments on their pictures. The custom option will certainly help Instagram account owners in keeping certain topics away, even if the words themselves weren’t considered abusive. You can block the hashtag of that particular viral topic.

Customized comments moderation is definitely bolder and more direct in comparison to Instagram’s already existing safety tools such as swiping to delete comments and reporting for inappropriate content. By giving full control over what they don’t want to see in their comment sections, users will be the whole and sole of the self-designed censorship. But just like with every other feature or app, there are some concerns with this moderation tool too. Some are technical, while some are conceptual. We will throw a glance at them.

Filtering Comments Doesn’t Hide Them From All Users

With this moderation tool, users have the power to filter comments containing specific keywords or phrases from appearing on their profile feed. But it’s important to know that they are just hidden. Instagram doesn’t remove them entirely.

If you hide certain comments of some user, they will remain hidden from you and your followers. However, anyone who knows that particular user can see them. This is especially worse for businesses who try hard to maintain their online reputation. Simply because without the knowledge of the user, it is allowing unacceptable comments to stay on a feed for longer than normal. The malicious content may begin its damage even before businesses realize that it exists in their comment sections.

Filters Cannot Be Completely Robust

The fans and social media followers of big brands and companies are not confined within the boundaries of only one country. Consequently, comments on photos and videos will be in different languages. Insults and slang from dozens of different languages will be hard to keep track of unless a company has a native from every country contributing to its social team. Regardless of how strong Instagram develops its filter, it’s almost impossible to check and verify each and every word of each and every language.

Chances of Further Upsetting Customers

There is a dilemma here. If you allow rants of a dissatisfied customer, which can be full of curse words and unacceptable tone, the page may look indecent. It may put other genuine people on your Instagram profile in an awkward position. However, if you use Instagram’s comment moderation capabilities to remove anything with a single curse word, customers may feel that you don’t listen to them. They may get angry seeing that their comment is being removed. In that sense, this comment filtering tool is like a double–edged sword. Thus, you have to be very careful while deciding what you wish to exclude from the comment.

Ambiguous Emojis

Instagram’s comment moderation tool lets you block emojis too. The problem with the emoji is its meaning or importance in the comment depends on the context in which it is being used rather that the imagery of the emoji itself. The same emoji may have a different meaning in different comments. And for any machine learning operation, the toughest part is to understand the context. Evidently, it will be difficult for this feature’s filter as well.

But, despite all the concerns that I have discussed here, this move by Instagram must be welcomed. And one also has to understand that it has born out of the necessity. Instagram is inherently public and people post private photos there. If the trolling and unmentionable words keep flooding the comment sections of the peoples’ and businesses’ accounts, it might result in a decrease in interest and engagement.

In a Nutshell…

Just 4 to 5 months ago Twitter came up with Comment Moderation Tools in Periscope broadcasts. And now Instagram has done the same thing. Instagram has even said that this is not the end, as it is trying to make Instagram a fun and safe place to be. Without a doubt, the coming times will see more and more social media platforms will give more power to their account holders when it comes to comments moderation and other parts of their user experience.

Note: We always keep a close watch on each and every happening in the social media world. We just discussed Facebook’s recent marketing updates, including the ability to tag products and create Snapchat-esque Stories in Messenger, and also covered everything you need to know about Facebook’s launch of MarketplaceTo know which new ad targeting tools Snapchat has added in its arsenal, have a glance at this blogSimilarly, to get acquainted with the latest Instagram updates, this blog is a must read.

6 Vital Holiday Retail Drivers for 2022

holiday retail drivers

The holiday shopping season is just a few weeks away. All retailers, including you, will be immersed in the gigantic preparations to make this holiday season a real treat for your customers. But all those preparations may fail to yield great results if they are not in line with what customers actually want and which trends are expected to hit the e-commerce industry. That’s why we’re laying out the most important holiday retail drivers for 2022.

Holiday Retail Drivers for 2022: Higher Budgets

Due to better economic conditions or growth in job creation, according to PwC’s new Holiday Shopping survey, this year’s holiday spending will be increased by 10% as compared to the last year. Besides, consumers with annual household incomes less than $50,000 will increase their percentage expenditure levels even more than the overall consumers. But it’s also important to note that 42% of holiday spending will go towards travel and entertainment, leaving 58% for gifts. And that 58% is the sector where e-commerce retailers will have to focus. Naturally, they’ll have to compete with smaller, independent retailers and local artisans who are offering consumers unique and personalized products.

Holiday Retail Drivers for 2022: Flash Sales During the Holiday Season May Disappear

Time and again, it has been proven that customers who seek out “flash-sale” deals fail to deliver long-term value.  According to research by Retention Science, Black Friday shoppers churn 274% faster than other customers. Frankly speaking, it’s not at all shocking. Through these sales, retailers are utilizing their customers’ current need to shop. But they don’t understand that the shopping season can be used to nurture and extend the buying habits of these shoppers beyond the holiday period. What it means is it’s always logical to get associated with them as completely and as personally as possible instead of having a mere need base association. Thus, we may see that retailers will start viewing their Thanksgiving customers as “holiday shoppers”, and consider this period as their first engagement with holiday shoppers.

Holiday Retail Drivers for 2022: Mobile, Once Again, Becomes More Important

M-commerce is hardly a new thing now. It has dominated holiday seasons for last few years. But its grip will become even tighter. With stats like 43% of mobile shoppers in consumer electronics have purchased products on their phones while looking at those products in the store, it’s not even a question whether mobile will hold a key in holiday sales. The question is how much impact it will exert on holiday shopping. I am not just talking in terms of plain buying and selling activity. I am considering how mobile plays an important role in promoting your products and deals via ads and how “anywhere, anytime” shopping access that mobile guarantees affect the buying decision of a customer. The following chart will show a relationship between phone and shopping decisions during the holiday season. Holiday Retail Drivers   Due to apps, beacon technology, SMS, mPOS, and click-and-collect, this holiday season will see an unprecedented rise in m-commerce.

Holiday Retail Drivers for 2022: Visual Content Reaches a New High

Shoppers who used to go through oversized catalogs looking for gift inspiration are now turning to the internet. It’s time-consuming to go through various thick books, which will always be limited when compared to the internet. That’s the reason why YouTube has become the prime destination for getting gift ideas. According to a June 2022 study by Google/Euromonitor International, 64% of smartphone shoppers turn to YouTube for ideas about what to buy in the Home and Garden industry. I won’t be surprised if we see more and more retailers will come up with more and more content on Facebook Live, Snapchat, Instagram, and so on, which might help buyers in deciding what to buy.

Visual Commerce on merchants’ sites will also become crucial in inspiring shoppers during this time of the year.  Sellers should use their visual galleries to merchandise items based on different categories, like gifts for men, women, fashionistas, frequent travelers, parents, children, pet lovers, and so on. For more ideas on how to best implement and display your Visual Commerce, check out our best practices ebook, A Picture’s Worth 1,000 Words!

Holiday Retail Drivers for 2022: Unification of Online and Offline Data Collection

Today, customers don’t interact with your products through only one way. There are multiple channels available for customers to explore your product range and it is true for both online and offline modes. This shopping season will see more and more retailers are investing in analyzing online and offline data together. By doing it, retailers will be benefited immensely as they will have a clear cut picture of their buyer’s journey.

Nordstrom just launched a new omni-channel feature, for example, in which mobile shoppers are allowed to reserve and try on clothing, shoes, and accessories in brick and mortar locations before purchasing them. Other sellers are going all-out with their data tactics. JC Penney recently invested in buy online/pick up in store, a new mobile app, and mobile POS, among other technologies. While the chain is still struggling, total sales during Q2 2022 grew 1.5%.

Holiday Retail Drivers for 2022: A Craze for the Best

Today, holiday shopping is more than just choosing between the red or white scarf. The customers are overwhelmed by the immense heaps of items and various varieties of the same item.  Amazon sells roughly 225,000 scarves. Once customers know what they want to buy, they filter their choices by searching for the “best” products. According to Google, searches related to “best” products have grown by more than 50% in the last year (May 2015 v May 2022). And naturally, it will be at an all-time high during the holiday season as customers don’t just look to shop for themselves only. They also want something nice to gift their near and dear ones.

You can easily take the benefit of this trend. You can brainstorm with your content team and come up with blogs like “Best Gift For Parents” or “Give The Best Gift To Yourself In This Holiday Season”. Understand that by doing this you are not just promoting your products, but you are giving a reason for your customers to buy from you.

In A Nutshell… If you closely look at the above-mentioned trends, you will realize that most of the trends deal with three main things: Use of technology, customer journey and ways to find a connection with customers which go beyond the holiday season. And that will differentiate a retailer with a successful holiday season from someone with a failed one!

Note: We understand how much importance the holiday season has for retailers like you. We’ll help you discover what millennial holiday shoppers are looking for this year. We have also documented The Biggest Holiday 2022 Retail Trends here. 

More interested in strategy for 2017? Don’t miss these white papers…

Snapchat’s Story Playlist Caters to Personalized Experiences

Snapchat's Story Playlist

A social media platform, in essence, is a digital hangout place where people want to express themselves and see what is happening in the lives of their friends. But they want to do it as per their will, wish, and comfort. They need the freedom of not viewing updates from the friends that they don’t wish to see. That’s where Snapchat’s Story Playlist comes in.

Snapchat’s Auto Advance feature, introduced in an update earlier this year, automatically played every story in the user’s feed in a reverse chronological order. It automatically directed the user to the next story available. Naturally, it irritated users as they could not avoid seeing the stories of all friends before being brought back to the Stories page. Manually backing out of the Story menu was the only solution.

Thus, Snapchat users have been eagerly awaiting the demise of this blatantly frustrating feature. This blog post circulated by the app’s team says that it is replacing Auto Advance feature with Snapchat’s Story Playlist — a feature through which users can create a list of friends’ stories and they can watch that list back-to-back by hitting the play button at the bottom.

Understanding The Changes That Snapchat’s Story Playlist Will Bring:

There are two main changes that will stem from the advent of Snapchat’s Story Playlist. The first change is that the individual stories of people will now appear at the top of the Stories tab, and Discover publishers’ channels and Live Stories will be placed below it.

snapchat story playlists
Note the new format, and users’ ability to check the stories they’d like to watch.

 

The second change deals with the functionality. Until now, due to the Auto Advance feature, people were not able to automatically return to the Recent Updates feed to choose what they wanted to see next.  Now, after viewing someone’s Story, they’ll be returned to the Recent Updates feed.

The new update has enabled users to add individual stories of their friends to Snapchat’s Story Playlist. To do that, you just have to tap the story thumbnail to the left of their name. Once you are done with the selection of friends, you have to hit the purple play button that will pop up at the bottom of the screen. After that, Snapchat will automatically transport you from one Story to the next.  But note that if you wish to see stories from the same 10 friends every day, you’ll have to build the list manually each time.

 

Recent Updates feed
Users can check the Stories they’d like to view, then press the large play button at the bottom to watch them in a playlist format. Here it is in action.

So, in essence, it will make Snapchat something like video-on-demand service. Pick out exactly the Stories you want to watch, add them to a Story Playlist and watch them and only them.

Why is Snapchat’s Story Playlist coming out now?

It’s not a change made in haste. Snapchat is trying to achieve some concrete goals by coming up with this change.

A) To Counter The Threat Of Instagram:

Instagram’s Story section is a clone of Snapchat’s Stories. Even Instagram has admitted it. But Instagram did it in such a way that it accumulated 100 million daily users. The Facebook-owned company made the feature unmissable by planting it at the top center of its main feed, instead of hiding it in a separate tab. Due to this, people started to believe that Instagram cares more about its user’s friends than Snapachat as Snapchat’s Discover channels were at the top. Certainly, it could have hampered Snapchat’s growth prospects. Hence, Snapchat also decided to follow Instagram.

Clearly, it’s a demotion of publishers’ Discover content. But the rationale behind it rings resoundingly true as Discover already has its own page in Snapchat. And thus, it eliminates the need to cross-promote it. Similarly, though Discover is effective, it’s a common sense that Snapchat is not Twitter where most of the people are interested in following celebrities. People come on Snapchat to interact with the people that they know. It clarifies Snapchat’s intent to give more prominence to the connected people of its users’ accounts. It’s very much like Facebook’s recent News Feed change that ranks “friends first” above publishers.

B) Monetization:

Either directly or indirectly, the ulterior motive of any functional change in the field of social media is monetization. The story of Snapchat’s Story Playlist is no different.

One has to understand that Snapchat will make intelligent and better use of ads in this whole ecosystem of Story Playlist. The mid- roll ads, which Snapchat used to insert between auto-advance Stories, will now appear mixed into Story Playlists you watch.  Besides, there is a new ad placement. Even if you watch only a single story, post-roll Snap Ads may appear at the end of that story. And you might also see an ad when you finish watching a Story Playlist. Therefore, Snapchat will earn money no matter how you watch Stories, either singularly or in bulk.

Moreover, it has been observed that people are spending more time on watching Story Playlists than before. Accordingly, if this Story Playlist makes people spend more time on Snapchat, it automatically means the possibility of ads getting more viewings by more people. Also, there is always a possibility to monetize this feature by allowing Sponsored Stories or Promoted Stories as brands could pay to have their Stories in people’s feeds.

This monetization effort is particularly important at this point in time, as Snapchat is planning an IPO as soon as March at a $25 billion or higher valuation. That’s why it needs something substantial to create a perception that it has enough modes of revenue generation. If everything goes well, it would be the biggest one in the U.S. since 2014, when the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba raised $25 billion through a public listing. Snapchat just can’t let this opportunity slip through its fingers!

Key Takeaways:

1- Never force people to do what you want to do. Instead, try to help them in accomplishing what they want to do on social media platforms. Otherwise, like Snapchat’s Auto Advance feature, you will have to remove it sooner or later.

2- Keep a close eye on your competitors. Analyze what they are doing and how it can threaten your position in the market and try to come up with a solution to lessen that threat.

3- Think about better ways of monetization every time you bring some new feature or modifications in the existing feature.

Note: We always keep a close watch on each and every happening in the social media world. We just discussed Facebook’s recent marketing updates, including the ability to tag products and create Snapchat-esque Stories in Messenger. We also covered everything you need to know about Facebook’s launch of Marketplace.

To know which new ad targeting tools Snapchat has added in its arsenal, have a glance at this blogSimilarly, to get acquainted with the latest Instagram updates, this blog is a must read.

Facebook Marketplace: What You Need to Know

facebook marketplace

Facebook has evolved far beyond a digital hangout platform crowded your friends. Buying and selling–albeit informally–sprung up on the social media platform long ago. It began with simple statuses advertising concert tickets or old furniture for sale. Facebook Groups devoted to selling have now become common, where more than 450 million people visit to buy and sell each month. Facebook finally codified it all this Monday when it announced the launch of Facebook Marketplace, a new feature and standalone app that facilitates buying and selling between peers.  Integration with Facebook Messenger lets people bargain or arrange a meet-up. In short, it allows members of a community to meet, discover, buy and sell items within the community.

How Does Facebook Marketplace Work?

It’s as easy as any other typical buying-selling mobile app. It works in four steps.

A) Explore:

You have to tap on the shop icon at the bottom of the Facebook app to begin exploring with Marketplace.

B) Discover:

The opening screen of Facebook Marketplace displays photos of items for sale by people who live in a user-defined geographic area. You can sharpen your research by filtering your results by location, category or price. With the help of a built-in location tool, you can decide in which region you want to focus.

C) Buy:

If something of your choice catches your eyes, by tapping on the product images you can know more about the product and the seller including a product description, the name and profile photo of the seller, and their general location. Besides, you can also save the item to find it later if you don’t want to buy it right now.

facebook marketplace 2

 

Once you have made up your mind about buying it, you can send a direct message to the seller through Marketplace to tell them you’re interested and make an offer. The role of Facebook Markplace ends there. It is not responsible for payment or delivery.

D) Sell:

If you want to sell on Facebook Marketplace, all you have to do is…

  • Take a photo of your item
  • Enter a product name, description, and price
  • Confirm your location and select a category
  • Post

facebook marketplace 3

 

The important thing to note here is that you can maintain a close eye on all of your transactions. In the Items section, you can view your saved items, products you’ve posted for sale, and all of your messages.

While this sounds very convenient for people looking to set up a digital garage sale or score concert tickets, why is Facebook doing this? And, why should marketers care?

A) Spontaneous Shopping:

The number of people who use Facebook and its Messenger service is high, and these users spend tons of time on these platforms. Nobody goes on Facebook deliberately to shop, but then again nobody goes on Facebook deliberately to see videos either. They end up watching them because the feed intelligently inserts them. If people suddenly stumble upon a product that they may like, they may buy it. That’s why Bowen Pan, Facebook Marketplace product manager, compares the experience of Marketplace shopping with the offline shopping behavior of going to a Sunday market or to the mall. You might not know the items you want, but you’re open to seeing them. In a nutshell, Facebook Marketplace can do to shopping what Facebook did with video consumption: make it utterly spontaneous!

This may have a strong spillover effect for mid-size and enterprise retailers. If users get habituated to shopping or browsing on Facebook through Marketplace, it’s probable that they’ll become more responsive to ads from bigger sellers.

B) Competitive Edge:

Craigslist and eBay have a strong hold on community buying and selling. Through Marketplace, Facebook will be in a position to threaten their dominance. A few of its features or benefits have been clearly developed by keeping in mind the weaknesses of both the competitors–Craigslist’s specifically. With buying and selling on Craigslist, you never know with whom you are involved in talks due to its anonymous nature. Buyers and sellers on Craigslist know little about each other, and thus there’s a trust deficit. In other words, Craigslist sellers have partially earned their sketchy reputation!. But that problem will be ironed out with Facebook Marketplace as this app is related to your Facebook profile.

As ABI’s principal analyst Michael Inouye said, “Sellers are going to feel compelled to be more honest and forthright, because their activity is attached to their account. You don’t want your friends to see that you’ve been doing bad, shady things.” Moreover, it will also give Facebook direct access into mobile commerce, which is growing more quickly than e-commerce as a whole.

C) Monetization:

We have always believed in the fact that no feature or app will come into existence in the landscape of social media without the ulterior motive of monetization. Facebook Marketplace is certainly no exception. The calculation here is very simple. The greater the number of users of this app, more will be the possibility of exposure to its revenue-generating ads.

Similarly, through Marketplace, Facebook will be collecting very granular information about their users–what kinds of products are getting sold quickly, what types of offers are making people buy, which process affects their buying behavior and much more. Facebook will certainly use it as an input in deciding its future customer targeting strategy. If we are talking about the possibility of immediate monetization of Marketplace, Facebook can generate revenue by selling News Feed ads or sponsored placements to businesses.

Less Positive Aspects

Just like every app, Facebook Marketplace also has some drawbacks. There is no way that the buyer and seller can rate each other, which might have kept control on their irresponsible or unethical behavior. Another significant negative is unlike Craigslist, Marketplace user’s buying experience will be interrupted by Facebook ads.

Even though Bowen Pan has said that nobody is allowed to sell guns, adult services, or other illegal things on Marketplace and strict action will be taken against those who will try to do it, an incident already exposed the vulnerability of Marketplace’s security level. Even a royal python was put up for sale!

Less Positive Aspects

Facebook immediately came up with an explanation that some technical glitch has caused this listing and it is working to fix the problem by closely monitoring its systems to ensure the proper identifying of the items before giving access to Marketplace. But before rolling it out worldwide (it is beginning with the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand), Facebook will surely make sure that such problems will be nipped in the bud!

To Wrap It Up:

The unambiguous reading from Facebook Marketplace is quite clear- Facebook wants its dominance to spread to all possible verticals and solutions. It wants to become a platform for everything that happens digitally. Nobody can be absolutely sure about its success, but in this war of dominance, customers are going to be benefited. We can be sure about it!

Note: In this blog also we have discussed two other new Facebook marketing capabilities–product tagging and Stories for Messenger. We always keep a close watch on each and every happening in the social media world. To know which new targeting tools Snapchat has added in its arsenal, have a glance at this blog.  Similarly, to get acquainted with the recent Instagram updates, this blog is a must read.

Facebook Marketing Updates: Product Tags and Messenger Stories

facebook marketing

One of the major reasons why Facebook has reached the level of being really unremovable from the modern marketer’s life is its endless pursuit of betterment. Its think tank is never tired of exploring new avenues by remaining on its toes all the time. Two recent announcements about Facebook marketing make this especially clear.

Facebook Marketing Update #1: Now, It Will Be Possible For Businesses To Tag Their Products In Photos And Videos

In this post, we explained that the Twitter’s decision to slowly and steadily do away with the buy button is an indication of how difficult it is to monetize any social media platform. But the conundrum that is no social media platform can exist for a long time without methods of monetization. Facebook marketing leadership is too prudent and wise to follow Twitter’s path with social commerce.

Thus, to further merge shopping with Facebook marketing, Facebook is testing letting page owners tag actual products in their photos, videos, and other posts. The functionality, as well as the logic behind this, is very simple: Clicking the tag would take readers to the product page where they can learn more about your products.

facebook product tag

A Facebook spokesperson has said that it will help the page owners get more organic traffic via organic discovery. Though the term “organic” discovery implies that there’s no paid advertising related to tagging products this way, business doesn’t work for charity. We assume that it’s just a matter of time until Facebook adds a paid component to this product tagging feature.

This is especially true when all other social media platforms, including Snapchat, Pinterest and Twitter are splitting hairs to find new ways of monetization. Any timeline for its arrival is not clear, however, as of now, pages with their own product catalog and shop section on Facebook can make use of this feature. But it will be highly interesting to see how the transformation of tagging into a profit-making tool will work out.

Facebook Marketing Update #2: Facebook is Testing the Stories Feature Inside Messenger

facebook-stories

Everybody has understood the importance of visual portrayal of human stories on social platforms as far as engagement and consequently revenue are concerned. The success of Snapchat stories gave this though a solid backing of proof. And that’s why Instagram launched its own clone of Snapchat Stories.

Now the Facebook marketing team is also adhering to this trend by testing its own Snapchat like ‘Stories’ feature inside Messenger. In Poland, Facebook launched “Messenger Day”, which lets people share illustrated filter-enhanced photos and videos that disappear in 24 hours, just like on Snapchat. Most of the functionality is exactly like Snapchat Stories, with the capability to draw or add text to images. The only area where it scores higher than Snapchat stories is the use of graphic filters as suggestions for what to share by not just focusing on celebrating holidays and events.

facebook-messenger

The Facebook marketing team has seemed to make Stories more engaging than either Instagram Stories or Snapchat Stories–Facebook Stories is definitely more expressive with an added flavor of feelings and emotions. It has inbuilt prompts like “I’m Feeling”, “Who’s Up For?” and “I’m Doing”. By tapping on the “My Day” tiles, the user is exposed to a range of filters “I’m feeling…so blue” with raindrops and a bubbly blue font, “I’m feeling…blessed” with a glorious gold sparkly font. And all these filters come up with nicely crafted and eye catchy visual illustrations. The only thing Facebook Stories lacks is Snapchat’s more advanced lens effects. But Facebook’s acquisition of MSQRD back in March will help the social media giant in overcoming this limitation.

It’s not difficult to understand why Facebook is doing this. Messenger is already very popular among people and they use it all day with close friends. There is no point in either creating a separate platform for stories or stuffing it into Facebook’s core app, which the company tested as “Quick Updates” and scrapped. Besides, Facebook has realized that those days are gone when people only posted about really big events from their life- marriage, anniversary, vacation are a few to name. Now even going to the mall or Starbucks is enough for people to share it on Facebook. So, clearly, there was a scope for this sort of feature where a person’s life can be put on display for 24 hours.

There are geographical aspects too. The reason why Facebook is testing Messenger Day and its new Stories feature in Poland is that Snapchat is not very strong there, but Facebook Messanger is. It’s important to note that 60 million people in the US and Canada already use Snapchat daily. The aggressive pushing of Messanger might repel them. But in countries where people aren’t that familiar with Snapchat, it has nothing to lose by experimenting. Similarly, after testing it thoroughly, Facebook could hamper Snapchat’s growth by bringing its Stories to the untapped corners of the earth where Snapchat’s penetration is low. The less influence of Snapchat in Russia is one among many other reasons why Instagram Stories are flourishing there.

To Conclude… Clearly, Facebook is trying to be as rich as possible as far as features are concerned. Simply because it is directly related to people’s engagement and thus the high possibility of revenue generation by creating a mold of monetization around all these features. I won’t be surprised if we see implementations of more and more features directed towards monetization…not just by Facebook, but other social media platforms too. After all, monetization is like oxygen for them!

Note: We always keep a close watch on each and every happening in the social media world. To know which new targeting tools Snapchat has added to its arsenal, have a glance at this blog.  Similarly, to get acquainted with the recent Instagram updates, this blog is a must read.  

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