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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
The outcome of quarterly retail earnings season has once again certified the Home Depot’s marketing and sales success in the overly competitive field of the American home improvement industry. It has continued its dream run for the successive fifth year. The following graph will tell this story in a much clearer way.
Lowe’s stock gains have nearly kept pace with Home Depot’s, but Home Depot’s profit growth has more than doubled that of its arch-rival. Skeptics may say that macroeconomics has authored this success story of Home Depot. But if that is the case, all the players in the home improvement segment should have thrived. But that’s not the case. The fact is, lots of strategic decisions in every perceivable business activity have been the reason why it is experiencing this hard-to-earn taste of success.
Inspiring Home Depot Marketing Strategies
In an effort to upgrade its offering, Home Depot has successfully integrated its web and store inventory. Not only do they understand that customer needs are shifting but also the fact that they are now more digitally engaged than ever before. They also ensure a continuous boost in experiences across all consumer touchpoints. In addition to enabling shoppers to check product availability through site or app, they are also incorporating voice and visual search. Their “buy online, pick up in-store” also provides quick access to customers to home improvement supplies and this feature has proved to be one of the major drivers of online conversion.
Their promise of low prices and great customer service is continuously garnering the trust and loyalty of their target audience. To build better relationships, they are focused on do-it-yourself workshops, YouTube instructional videos, the strong social media presence, and the increased presence of store associates ready to help customers figure out what they need.
Home Depot’s marketing, sales, business development, and e-com teams have all played a huge role. We will examine those decisions one-by-one.
1. Better Stores > More Stores
The company finished 2015 with the same store count it had in 2008: 2,274. What is interesting to note here is despite not increasing the number of stores, its sales didn’t stop to grow. It saw 30% growth in its bottom line. Clearly, the avoidance of heavy expenditure and investment that come up with new stores has helped Home Depot.
Besides, the somewhat lackluster performance of Lowe’s in terms of profit, which opened 191 new stores between 2008 and 2014, also suggests that Home Depot was right in its belief that a higher number of stores doesn’t necessarily mean a higher number of sales.
Instead of spending on establishing new stores, Home Depot’s marketing, business development, and operations teams invested strategically in opportunities like targeting professional contractors – the source of 40% of its sales — and improving its supply chain. The most notable thing is, Home Depot smelled the value and worth of e-commerce much earlier than most of its competitors. That’s why it invested heavily in e-commerce. It guessed rightly that by enhancing the web of physical stores, it will compete only with other physical stores. Amazon, who is steadily making inroads in home décor and home improvement industry, will remain out of its radar and there’s no question that buying online is only going to get more convenient over the coming years.
2. Better Supply Chain And Inventory Management
From the past few years, Home Depot has been reviving its supply chain and inventory management. Each Home Depot store stocks about 30,000 to 40,000 different products. Almost 700,000 products are available on the company’s websites, www.homedepot.com and www.homedecorators.com. This massive collection is not just acting as a prime differentiator between Home Depot and its competitors, but it is also assisting in product customization and reduction in the space requirement at stores. And anyone with a fair understating of how floor space matters will realize how it improves sales productivity metrics.
You will see that sales per square foot at Home Depot has been always higher than its competitors.
Similarly, to improve the inventory turnover, Home Depot came up with two programs to speed up order pickup time and save on storage and costs: Buy Online Ship-to-Store and Buy Online Pickup-In-Store. Not just that. It started conducting stock-taking on days the stores are closed, so the customer’s shopping is uninterrupted. Of course, many people will think that it was a small or insignificant change. But such things matter. All these efforts proved extremely fruitful, as inventory turnover improved from 4.2x in fiscal 2010 to 4.9x in fiscal 2015.
3. Thoughtful Acquisitions
Home Depot has never been an aggressive or impulsive decision-maker when it comes to acquisition. It has always tried to strengthen its market leadership via customer service, product authority, and disciplined capital allocation as well as productivity and efficiency. And thus its decision last year to buy Interline was the talk of the town. It was the first large acquisition for Home Depot in nine years. But in hindsight, we are realizing that it was a pure and cold business wisdom based on pure numbers and logic. The acquisition of Interline helped Home Depot to fortify its maintenance, repair, and operations solution and it catapulted it way ahead of its competitors in the home improvement sector.
Speaking in terms of numbers, the deal allowed Home Depot to immediately capture 5% of a $50 billion market in maintenance, repair, and operations solutions. Indisputably, the acquisition of Interline substantially advanced its market position among professional customers.
4. Apt Use Of Mobile
Everyone knows that mobile is a pivotal part of the modern customer journey. But it’s just not enough to use it as a mere shopping destination or a discovery tool. It should become an inherent part of the customer’s buying process by assisting him in all possible ways. Home Depot captured this need with surgical precision.
Home Depot’s marketing team realized that the indecision while selecting color has been the biggest hindrance from the customer’s point of view. 41% of customers delay a purchase due to the indecision of which color to purchase, while 31% delay projects as a result of not knowing which products are right for them. So, the challenge was to approach this color problem in a nontraditional way and digitally replicate the store experience. And thus, their marketing pros came up with a Color Project app. It allows customers to the right shade of the color by visualizing how it will look in their dining room or bedroom areas.
Similarly, app users were in a position to use the app to match shades to furniture items.
Needless to say, the app has helped solve many shoppers’ color woes. It also enabled Home Depot to further its seamless omnichannel experience, which is like a currency of today’s marketing efforts.
The definition of groundswell is when people use technologies to get the things they need from each other. It can be in the form of audio, video, or by just talking. Home Depot’s marketing team knew how important it is to be there whenever customers need you. It’s not possible in-person, 24/7, but you can always be there virtually for your customers.
That’s why Home Depot’s marketing and customer support divisions teamed up to make YouTube how-to videos. They’ve answered many questions about how to do many things around the house, for which people would generally come to the store. Now, customers were able to see the solution in an elaborate way without moving from their places.
Additionally, consumers who hadn’t shopped at Home Depot but were searching for home improvement tips would be much more likely to come across the brand and learn to trust them.
They made clever use of the comment section as well. While a video is a great way to visually show a solution, Home Depot constantly provided more information by just adding some comments. The better and enhanced customer engagement and interaction were organic outputs of this wonderful activity.
6. Connecting to a Noble Cause
People like to be associated with a brand that believes in caring about the world in which we live. Therefore, corporate social responsibility programs are very helpful in building an ideological and emotional kinship with consumers.
The Home Depot associated itself with a theme which is close to its domain: homelessness. They came into an alliance with social responsibility agency Impakt to eradicate the glaring reality of homeless youths. It launched The Orange Door, an initiative and $10-million commitment to embark on repair projects, develop programs and fund research. What stood out in this program was its base, which was developed with the skills and expertise of those who know their work inside and out, including academics, organizations that work with homeless youth and young people themselves.
Just recently, they came up with a 60-second video as an effort to support the Orange Door Project. Directed by Duane Crichton, it begins with a young and lonely homeless man looking at his empty bag. Through flashbacks, we get to know that after leaving the house, which gave him abuse all the time, he was robbed on the streets. The spot ends the same way it began – by suggesting that the homeless youngster has the past and the reason why he is in this situation.
Indeed, it has enough to stir the hearts and minds of customers and make people believe that Home Depot is contributing greatly to ease the pain of the less fortunate.
To Conclude… If one analyzes rationally, he will understand that what Home Depot did was not completely revolutionary. The use of videos and mobile is not that unusual in the current scenario. What stands out here is what the Home Depot’s marketing team did with those ploys. They were innovative in the sense of the way they used the various channels rather than the use of innovative channels. In short, they proved that how you do is as important as what you do!
Content is not merely the written word anymore, and it shouldn’t only discuss your products. Content, whether it’s blog articles, videos, pictures, GIFs, emojis, or whatever else, has become a way to inform, entertain and educate your audience about everything that happens in and around your respective industry. Indeed, content is changing and so is the way it is being presented and marketed. Here are our picks for the hottest content marketing trends in 2017.
Content Marketing Trends for 2017 #1: Click Bait Will Cease To Exist
There isn’t a single person in the whole world who hasn’t been victimized by click bait. The catchy and intriguing headlines prompt us to click to see if anything new or interesting is there. Instead of that, we are bombed with ads, pop-ups and a page that seems impossible to navigate away from.
But there’s good news here that makes more one of the most relieving content marketing trends for 2017. Now social media platforms have realized that nobody is happy with this infinitely irritating ploy. In a recent CNN Money article, Facebook, perhaps the biggest social media giant, issued an earnest diktat to marketers: Stop creating click bait titles or we’ll put a blanket ban on you. Facebook is also working on a new algorithm to kill click bait headlines along with the provision to ban repeat offenders.
Content Marketing Trends for 2017 #2: Live Streaming Video
This is undoubtedly the most vital and dominant of content marketing trends for 2017, and there are plenty of reasons behind it. If we consider the overall consumption of all content formats, videos are a clear winner. Even if we talk about engagement, hardly any other content format beats video. That’s why many are predicting that video will comprise 70% of all internet traffic by 2017. Besides, videos don’t just ensure higher penetration and engagement. They positively affect the conversion rates and thus the bottom line too.
As live streaming videos are unedited, authenticity naturally comes with them. Through videos, you can have a question-answer session with your customers, which is as interactive as anything. Sometimes, reading an article on mobile can be taxing and may repel people from your content. Consuming content via video is way too easy. Besides, you can often explain your product or service in a better and detailed manner with videos.
In short, live streaming videos satiate the basic needs of customers- authentic, interactive and easily digestible content. It is not at all surprising then that all social media platforms are developing live streaming capabilities to get ahead of the curve. Some are even going further by integrating niche live stream apps such as Twitch and Periscope. Just like Snapchat, Facebook is even testing advertising during live video broadcasts as well as live video filters. Indeed, the future is video.
Content Marketing Trends for 2017 #3: Native Advertisements
The biggest truth of modern advertisement is that people hate ads that are entirely salesy and interruptive. That’s why ad-blocker use is at an all time high. Users want a natural feeling in the ads they see. That is, the ad should match the form and function of the platform on which it appears. That’s what native advertisement is all about! The ability to keep the user experience untouched along with the smooth integration into its host environment has been the core reason why native advertising has been extremely successful. So much so that The New York Times has cited it as a singular reason for surviving in an ad-block-heavy digital environment, as companies like Buzzfeed are built on native advertising. The following Buzzfeed example explains how the native news feed ads work. These are promoted posts that show up next to real news in a publisher’s news feed like the one you can see here:
Even social media has embraced it with open arms. As you can see below, apart from the “Promoted by” text, a promoted tweet looks just like any other.
Their non-interfering nature in the customer experience certainly enhances the chances of ad views…and that’s the beginning of any conversion process. Thus, upcoming times will see more of such ads, as well as new formats. Maybe we’ll see clickable promoted filters on Snapchat, ads inserted into Facebook comments, or something entirely different.
Content Marketing Trends for 2017 #4: Long Form Content Will Dominate SEO
Contrary to what many people think, the study conducted by Search Engine Land concluded that long form content not only gets read more, but gets ranked better, too.
But, it’s not at all surprising. When someone is looking for articles on the particular topic, he is in need of quality and relevant information. The length is not a hindrance if the content is able to fulfill the above-mentioned criteria. In fact, Google has mentioned the following advice in its Google Webmasters Blog: “Users often turn to Google to answer a quick question, but research suggests that up to 10% of users’ daily information needs involve learning about a broad topic. That’s why today we’re introducing new search results to help users find in-depth articles.”
Not just that… Google is gratifying long form content writers and distributors with better saturation in their “Answers” features and enhanced rankings. As the green signal for long form content has come from Google itself, we can be assured that this trend is all set to shine. But Google is well known for the incessant introduction of algorithms to keep the content unique and relevant. As a marketer, you should keep a close eye on what Google does. This trend of long-form content may not be a permanent thing!
Content Marketing Trends for 2017 #5: How We Publish Will Continue To Evolve
This is a content marketing trend in 2017 that, well, will continue far past next year. The past few years have shown that your own website isn’t the only destination to publish your articles or blogs. Social media platforms have innovated themselves in terms of how marketers can publish content on them. For example, LinkedIn released Pulse – a native blogging platform in 2014 and in 2015, Facebook came up with Instant Articles – a feature to enable publishers to post interactive articles inside Facebook. The rationale here is very simple. Social media enjoy immense user base all across the globe.
The kind of reach that social media will give to your blogs is almost impossible to get by posting blogs solely on your website. Marketers, as well as social media leaders, have a complete realization of this fact. And allowing marketers to post the content on various social media platforms may become a simpler way to monetize the platform. Marketers will get maximum mass reach. Thus, it’s kind of a win-win scenario. It gives a reason to believe that more social media platforms and other digital platforms will be the places where content marketers like you might place more and more content.
This won’t just be a phenomenon on social media. Many retailers–whether they’re in the same or disparate industries–team up to do contests, one-off product lines, and more. Tons of merchants are also syndicating their Ratings and Reviews and should be syndicating their Visual Commerce. There will definitely be more and more content collaborations, guest posts, takeovers, and so on between different companies as well as influencers.
Content Marketing Trends for 2017 #6: Objective Algorithms Will See A Surge
Quality is highly subjective. What is great content to you might be bad for someone else and vice-versa is also true. It can really be a great source of conflicts as it’s really hard to decide how to decide what actually quality content is. Thus, we will see that more and more publishers will rely on objective algorithms, similar to Facebook, to govern which content will get more attention on their sites. It will result in a focusing on true engagement and distribution rather than just getting more clicks to divert people on the content piece. Naturally, quantifiable measures like data on finish rates, time on site, readability, and engagement spans will get more prominence. It will affect the way marketers take efforts to publish their content on right platforms that have more traction and traffic.
Content Marketing Trends for 2017 #7: User Generated Content
With the easy availability of mobile phones and a plethora of social media and video sharing platforms, your customers are taking and uploading photos even of the least important events and happenings in their lives, as well as the most important. Thus, it’s a logical step to make use of such an authentic and easily available content to remain in the eyes of the people by using user customers’ photos. User generated content has thus got importance and it will go on increasing.
Truly, users and customers are your best marketers. In fact, 70% of consumers place user generated content above generic written content. UGC is not just about photos- it includes reviews, recommendations, comments, and questions and answers too. In short, UGC is like asking your customers to create content for you to display it on your website, social media networks and even in-store. People have 12 times more trust in such content as it is derived from the common lives of everyday people. They relate to it more easily and naturally. Besides, it’s very difficult and time-consuming to come up with a fresh content on a daily basis.
Not long ago Evan Spiegel, co-founder and CEO of Snapchat, famously said that he doesn’t want for the network to “creepily” target users. But it looks like reality has dawned upon him. And that reality is to monetize any social media or digital platform, targeting audiences on the basis of behavior is a necessity. Of course, he was right in the sense that random and unwanted ads play a huge role in repelling user bases, but there are always ways to it in a better way. And a social sharing platform like Snapchat, which has an immense user base of 100 million active daily users with a 10 billion daily video views, shouldn’t make the mistake of missing out on such a huge opportunity of revenue generation. That’s why Snapchat’s new ad tools are exciting for both marketers and the Los Angeles-based company. Here’s a look at its three new targeted formats.
A) Snapchat’s New Ad Tools: Snap Audience Match
This product of Snapchat will enable marketers to take existing lists of email addresses and mobile device IDs and anonymously match that data with Snapchat’s own set of consumer data to enhance ad targeting. But care will be taken that while executing these ad campaigns, it will not disclose any personal data beyond what marketers already have. Besides, consumers will have the option to opt out of the Audience Match product, but until then will have to tolerate any unwanted ad attention.
But the truth is that Snapchat is not rolling out anything new here. The company is following the ad-targeting playbook popularized by, if not written by, Facebook and already adopted by other major ad-supported digital platforms like Google, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. It’s a clear cut attempt to compete with the Facebook’s dominance on the social web.
B) Snapchat’s New Ad Tools: Snapchat Lifestyle Categories
It’s just not enough to target customers based on their age, gender or geographical location, if only because people who belong to the same age or gender group may have different interests. The core of targeted advertisement is to target the interest and that’s what Snapchat Lifestyle Categories will do. With this tool, advertisers will be able to target people based on the types of videos they watch, like gaming or beauty.
C) Snapchat’s New Ad Tools: Snapchat Lookalike
Using the same process as Snap Audience Match, once you’ve uploaded your audience data, Snapchat will be able to use those matched users as templates and create a similar audience based on related characteristics and behaviors. This should prove an easy entry point for first-time Snapchat marketers to see how Snapchat users act and, ideally, compare that to the behavior of audiences on other targeted channels.
Again, it’s no different than the Facebook namesake. It works as per the lookalike algorithm that differentiates and picks the consumers based on certain similarities and characteristics of existing audience
It’s quite clear that Snapchat is sharpening the sword of their targeted ad efforts. Snapchat’s new ad tools will make the focus as narrow as possible to make sure that the right advertising is reaching out to the right customers. Regardless of how good an ad’s content is, if it’s irrelevant to the customers it’s essentially useless. It will be interesting to see if this new shift, at least for Snapchat, will answer the growing pain points of platform monetization.
“If they see a girl wearing a red dress, they want to go out and buy that red dress and they don’t understand that it’s a season. For them, it’s just a red dress”. These words from Kate Phelan, creative director of High Street giant Topshop, exactly mirror the psyche of most fashion customers. More than the need, the fashion industry has always been driven by the desire to have that particular piece of a beautiful garment. Thus, the months-long delay between seeing a new collection and having it in your hands was always frustrating. But the industry has sensed this latent urgency and it is trying everything to drastically minimize this time gap between seeing and buying. Tom Ford and Tommy Hilfiger made their collections available for buyers as soon as they were displayed at New York Fashion Show. British luxury brand Burberry also traveled on the same path during London Fashion Week. Its entire September collection, 250 pieces, was available to be purchased as soon as it was previewed on the London catwalk. Unlike Ford and Hilfiger, Burberry connected this see now buy now debut to an immersive social media experience. The see now buy now approach is a more advanced form of a direct-to-consumer presentation. For a little while now, Burberry has been reaching out to digital fashion fans by broadcasting its fashion show and entire presentation via live stream on its website. But now it has decided to make full use of all the available social media and other platforms to reach out to the maximum number of people. For this season, Burberry live-streamed the show using Facebook Live. It allowed users to see the show in real time. Besides, to make the presentation as interactive and as engaging as possible, it also harnessed the potential of Facebook Messenger to answer any questions that customers generally have about the pieces shown. Promotional image for Burberry on Facebook Messenger Along with Facebook Messenger, the luxury giant used Chinese social messaging application WeChat for the first time. It used it as an e-commerce platform, as WeChat users were able to purchase directly from its live stream. Burberry introduced its ‘see now buy now’ collection on WeChat platform directly after it was shown on the catwalk. It included the purchase of its two new variations of its Bridle bag along with 83 looks for both men and women. Burberry’s Bridle handbag for September Collection 2016 Snapchat was another vital tool in Burberry’s see now buy now kit. It used Snapchat to engage with consumers in London during London Fashion Week as well as New York and Beverly Hills. Burberry launched geofilters about show’s content from 18th September for users nearby Makers House, where the London presentation occured. To symbolize its love for the craftsmanship and artisanship, Burberry joined hands with The New Craftsmen, a British brand that promotes the work of “makers” and “craftsmen” — ceramicists, potters, leather, textile and jewelry designers, woodworkers, silversmiths, and illustrators. Their works will be exhibited in the Makers House from 21-27 September. Apart from celebrating the love and respect for the craftsmanship, these installations will also reveal the creative process and other factors which have inspired this new collection. For an outsider, all of Burberry’s aforementioned undertakings are just ways to gain maximum viewership, which social media unquestionably assures, and thereby boost sales. Of course, that’s true…but that’s not the only truth. These trends of see now buy now and expert social media coordination go much deeper than this obvious benefit. Due to intense competition, luxury houses are finding it hard to retain their best creative directors. They are losing them at a rapid rate. With department stores in decline, fast fashion companies speedily updating their wares, and the advent of direct-to-consumer fashion businesses like Everlane and Reformation proving that customers love these models, the notion of fashion’s seasonal calendar seems to be outdated. Burberry reacted by paring down its offerings and amping up its marketing–it merged their men’s and women’s lines and thereby reduced its number of shows per year from four to two. Now, the fashion house can release seasonless collections twice a year. It can have a huge impact on the customers who live in numerous climates all over the world who may not experience fall or spring at the same time. Naturally, this is allowing Burberry to be in the reach of a global audience as it is breaking the barrier of the season. In short, see now buy now is tackling the gloomy problem of unavailability of skilled art directors along with the fine outlet to reach out to the world consumers. Also, as per Isabel Kieszkowski, paid media coordinator at Blue Moon Digital, correctly promoting the collection through digital channels can also meet other goals for the brand such as improving customer experience. With this being the first direct to consumer show, Burberry will have the ability to improve future collections with the help of data insights from its digital channels. Thus, it’s clear that pure sales are not the only goal which would be achieved by this live streaming!
Since 2014, roughly 18 new Instagram features, updates, or changes to the app have been released. Every time something changes, have to step back again, pause and think about how to frame these Instagram updates for your strategy. Considering the fact that the photo app has roughly half-a-billion users and more than 300 million active users on the network each day, you have to be on your toes all the time to adapt to all these new upgrades. Here’s an overview of what’s happened recently.
A) Instagram Stories:
This is one of the more important recent Instagram updates that has come out of the company’s goal to motivate users to create and share more content on the platform. As many are saying, it’s a near replica of Snapchat Stories and like Snapchat, the photos and videos shared in your Instagram Story are short-lived and can’t be viewed once 24 hours have elapsed. Unless you specifically select this option, the content won’t be visible on your profile grid or in the main Instagram feed.
These stories can be easily shared by all Instagram accounts. A colorful ring around a profile picture is a sign that there is a new story. To view the story, you just have to tap on the profile picture and you can see all the content they’ve posted in the last 24 hours in chronological order from oldest to newest. But what does this mean for businesses and brands?
There is always a danger of turning a business account on Instagram into a place of too polished and glossy photos. This can affect the authenticity which often comes from connecting with your audience on social media. Instagram Stories can be a great way to maintain that connection with authenticity. Through behind-the-scenes content, brands can take their followers on a journey and tell the story behind the posts in their feed. In fact, Pencils Of Promise, a non-profit organization that builds schools and increases educational opportunities in the developing world, and UFC have already used Instagram Stories. The former took their followers behind the scenes in their New York office and the later used stories to show one of their athletes at the supermarket sharing the food he eats during training camp.
B) Increased Video Length:
Longer videos have been one of the more inevitable Instagram updates, as time and again, it’s been proven that videos are the objects to which peoples’ eyes are naturally glued. It is the medium with the highest ROI. Thus, it’s not surprising that Instagram rolled out an increased time limit for videos from 15 to 60 seconds in April. It is functional with the latest version of the app. Apart from the ability to shoot directly from the app, it also allows you add filters, turn off the sound, and choose the cover photo. Similarly, you can find out how many people are viewing your videos on Instagram. All you have to do is look at the view counts.
After clicking on the number of views, you can see the number of likes, along with the option to follow those who liked your video.
For brands, it’s a useful advancement as they can clearly understand the exact nature of the engagement vs. reach. If your brand video is getting enough reach but very few are liking it, then you can conclude that it is not appealing to people. It can tell you that something has gone wrong with the video and you can make timely changes. Moreover, the enhanced video length is also a positive change as it is giving more time for the video appeal.
C) Instagram Comment Moderation:
Another one of the most recent Instagram updates is a comment moderation tool for business pages. Available on new brand profiles, this tool will allow brands to block comments with words or phrases often reported as offensive from appearing on your posts.
Spam comments have been around for a while and have always acted as a pain in the neck. A false or malicious comment that may be intended for a pure fun or preoccupied hatred for a brand is a great repellent for other genuine people. It doesn’t just corrode the decency of the profile, but it also creates doubts about the brand’s quality and credibility among few credulous viewers. And it can hurt the prospect of brand promotion. Similarly, it’s not at all a rare thing to see gorilla marketing stunts from some small retailers where they post about their business in a comment section of the profile of bigger retailers. This new tool can act as a deterrent to all such nagging activities.
D) Push Notifications:
Along with Instagram Stories, this is also one of the most important recent Instagram updates. You should have noticed that Instagram’s new algorithm doesn’t care about chronology that much. Instead, you’ll see posts in the order that Instagram think the most important to you. In short, rather than recency, relevancy runs the show on Instagram. For example, a photo with 19 likes and 5 comments from three hours ago from someone you regularly engage with is several posts ahead of a photo with 180k likes and 640 comments from an hour ago from a celebrity with a verified profile whom you rarely engage with. What does it mean is you have to ensure that your targeted audience will not miss even a single update from your brand profile and for that you have to take proactive measures. Otherwise, people will never hear from you. Instagram’s Turn On Post Notifications are custom-made for this purpose only.
This newly launched feature is available on mobile apps. Your customers will have to go to your profile, click the three dots (hotdog icon) and select “Turn on Post Notifications.” Once selected, they will receive updates every time that account posts new content.
The benefits of such notifications are immense. Through such notifications, you can alert followers about product launches, promotions or time-sensitive deals. And timely updates do boost the sales. Localytics’ researchers found that 65% of mobile users who selected to receive push notifications for an app returned within 30 days. Apart from increased sales, visibility and brand presence, it also ensures a constant dialogue with your followers.
E) Manage Your Favorite Filters:
No filter is always the way to go. But if you love to use filters, you have plenty of options. Instagram comes with 40 unique filters, but as a business, you generally want consistency in the style and treatments of the filter. Consequently, a problem arises when more than one person is handling your Instagram account, as maintaining consistency becomes difficult. Don’t worry! You can now manage your favorite filters by selecting the gear icon at the end of the filter list.
It can be a great help to your design team to work on the same thought of line as far as filters are concerned. The same information will be given to the social media manager while he is devising campaigns.
F) Remove Tags of Your Company From Other People’s Photos:
You cannot stop other people from accessing your content on Instagram; Instagram stories being the only exception. That’s why the possibility of random users tagging your brand on photos that are unsuitable or unrelated to your business is a reality. But now one of the recent Instagram updates has given you the immunity from such annoyances. You can go to the “Photos of You” section, click the three dots and either choose photos to hide or adjust your tagging option. You can have automatic or manual tagging to your “Photos of You” section.
Of course, the aforementioned Instagram updates are sure to be followed by more. Just like every other social media platform, Instagram will also evolve. It’s a necessity if it wishes to devise a robust and secure monetization model. But as a marketer, you should take note of all updates. Study them, analyze them, understand them and knit your social media strategy around them. Because if you aren’t doing it, your competitors certainly are!
Apart from being pioneers and once giants in their respective fields, there is one more similarity between Yahoo and Orkut.
They both suffered premature deterioration solely due to their inability to put a foot on the accelerator of innovation. But it looks like Facebook-owned Instagram has seriously gone through their case studies. In the era where everything changes within a blink of an eye, Instagram has certainly done well by staying at the edge of flexibility and innovation almost at all the time. Instagram’s recent announcement of its Explore tab with a new event video channel can be considered as a march towards that vision of innovation. It will be a personalized channel for each user and will feature videos from concerts, sports games, and other live events around the world. The rationale behind this channel is that as long as a real life event is popular and has enough content to create a channel, it can become an event inside Discover.
Here’s what a lot of people are probably seeing now, during the Olympics.
That’s why like other explore channels, users will be the key provider of the content who will take a video and tag it with the event location. What it means is the football game of your favorite team or a performance by your favorite brand can feature in the channel if you take enough efforts to catch every glimpse of those events.
Of course, when you reach the level of Instagram, every move of yours is a calculated and planned one. This ushering into the event tab is no exception. For a long time, Instagram is trying to tell the world that it’s more than just photos; it’s about videos too. They have been heavily investing in that cause and this year’s addition of a
Of course, when you reach the level of Instagram, every move of yours is a calculated and planned one. This ushering into the event tab is no exception. For a long time, Instagram is trying to tell the world that it’s more than just photos; it’s about videos too. They have been heavily investing in that cause and this year’s addition of a video channel, which enabled users to find clips about 23 different categories, such as dogs, comedy and travel, was also a part of that endeavor. And it’s not hard enough to understand why Instagram is doing it. Videos are easily the most consumed and engagement generating content among all other content types that float in digital space. Between April 2015 and November 2015, the amount of average daily video views on Facebook doubled from 4 billion video views per day to 8 billion. Similarly, Syndacast predicts 74% of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video. It’s as clear as a mirror that videos are going to emerge as a channel with highest ROI generator mainly due to its incredible attention grabbing power. Naturally, Instagram is eying for monetization through this videolization. Another noteworthy point is these customized event channels will give Instagram a much needed competitive edge against competitor platforms like
Another noteworthy point is these customized event channels will give Instagram a much needed competitive edge against competitor platforms like Snapchat’s discover channels. Though they also feature curated user-generated videos from major events around the world, they cannot achieve the desired level of personalization due to the fact that Snapchat’s discover channels are still curated by hand. To grasp it completely, let’s assume that Snapchat has a special channel for one of the biggest festivals of heavy metal music. Now, everyone on the Snapchat platform isn’t going to be a fan of heavy metal music. But personalization for this Instagram’s channel will be done by analyzing what types of live events users are interested in, and what type of accounts the user follows. So, this video channel of Instagram will be in a much better position than others when it comes to provide the right content at the right time and more importantly to the right user.
Indeed, it will be interesting to see how this video channel of Instagram, which will be launched in the U.S for now and later in other countries soon, will perform. Social media platforms are constantly trying to find new and robust means of monetization. The failure of Twitter’s buy button isn’t a very old memory. If this event thing strikes gold, it may pave a new direction for social media’s monetization efforts.
Instagram just announced the launch of Instagram Stories, a new format of photo and video sharing in which content disappears after 24 hours.
Does this sound familiar? Well, it should, given that this feature bears a lot of resemblance to Snapchat–the trailblazer in disappearing content–and its Story function. Even The New York Times is noting the similarities, and Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom isn’t disagreeing. Earlier today, he told Techcrunch that Snapchat “deserve[s] all the credit.”
That said, let’s leave aside discussions of authorship and innovations and get back to basics.
How do Instagram Stories work?
Instagram Stories appear at the top of users’ feeds. Instagrammers can tap icons to see photos and videos that’ve been shared within the past 24 hours by users they follow.
Users sharing Instagram Stories content can use emoji stickers or draw on their images. Videos are currently limited to 10 seconds, which is a curious move considering that Instagram’s pattern as of late has been to lengthen video times for both ads and regular content.
Instagram Stories come with enhanced privacy settings for users. Instagrammers can hide their stories from anyone, even followers. They can also highlight parts of their stories by posting them on their profiles.
What do Instagram Stories mean for brands?
As of now, Instagram hasn’t commented on the possibilities that Stories hold for marketers. That doesn’t mean they’re nonexistent, though, as Stories are yet another avenue to connect with your audience. While their popularity is yet to be determined, marketers are in luck when it comes to tackling this new medium.
Why? Well, if you’re successful on Snapchat, you have a very good foundation for Instagram Stories. While you’ll need to learn how your Instagram audience differs from your Snapchat audience, you can look to your current Snapchat strategy to inform your work.
If your business has a strong Instagram following but hasn’t done as well on Snapchat–or hasn’t tried it–this is an exciting opportunity to discover more about your audience. You’ll learn what works (and what doesn’t) for your followers, giving you more insight into your other marketing efforts.
Here are some content ideas to try:
Behind the scenes content
Teasers of new products or campaigns
Live content from events
Individualized feedback to specific users
Beyond this, Instagram Stories could be marketers’ chance to beat Instagram’s relatively new, controversial algorithm. It’s unclear if Stories will be displayed in chronological order or in accordance with Instagram’s relatively new, Facebook-like algorithm. Either way, Stories give you another chance to get your followers’ attention.
The Snapchat patent application offers the example of a user taking a picture of the Empire State Building:
“For example, if the user takes a photograph and an object in the photograph is recognized as the Empire State Building, photo filters associated with the Empire State Building may be provided to the user for use with the photograph. In this example, a picture of the Empire State Building may use a King Kong filter that would place the giant ape on the Empire State Building in the photograph at different perspectives. Therefore, a picture of the south face of the Empire State Building might see King Kong’s back, while a picture from the north face might see King Kong’s face looking at you.
In this example, provision of the King Kong filter may also be constrained by a geo-fence (e.g., geographic boundary) around the area in New York including the Empire State Building. Of course, further Empire State Building-themed photo filters may also be presented to the user. The presentation of the photo filters to the user may be in response to the user performing a gesture (e.g. a swipe operation) on a screen of the mobile device.”
The filing goes on to note that the same technology could be applied to videos. It envisions a bidding system in which different advertisers would pay to have certain objects associated with their content.
Aside from the sponsored filter angle, the Snapchat patent also notes that the same technology could be used to offer coupons, restaurant menus, and more.
Business Insider has an easy-to-read version of the Snapchat patent application in full. The Verge reminds us that this is, as far as we know, only a patent application, but it’s still amazing to consider all the possibilities that image recognition technology offers.
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It looks like this is the summer of the Facebook e-commerce bot! Only two months after the social media giant unveiled its chatbot technology in April, a company called Modiface has launched a bot that lets users try on and buy lipstick. ModiFace is a VR company that’s made apps for L’Oreal and Avon. It … Read more
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