Social media is continuing to get a bad rap right now. In between the memes and the videos of cats, users are seeing content they aren’t particularly comfortable with, from trolling to unusual political advertising.

Certainly social has some very real challenges to address in terms of trust and brand safety but it also has unparalleled reach and an ability to speak intimately - and appropriately - to consumers when done correctly.

Facebook and Twitter seem to get the lions’ share of attention - good and bad - but as new features continue to be rolled out to help the platforms monetise their content, we should be looking to the diverse range of social platforms if we’re going to understand social’s brand potential.

Figures from 4C insights show Instagram and Snapchat have both seen increases in ad spend on their platforms by 55% and 73% respectively as a result of new features that are delivering proven value to advertisers.

SnapMap and geofilters deliver advertisers insights on how their customers shop. The augmented reality function is expected to be able to deliver a wide range of opportunities to advertisers who want to pin digital assets to real-world locations.

Snapchat is also arguing that the AR feature will push its Stories feature ahead of rival Instagram with more creative filters. For brands who understand the instantaneousness and disposability of Stories, there are opportunities to engage audiences. Live reporting for news brands is a clear fit, as Mashable saw with New York’s Snowmaggedon in 2016. So too is highly targeted flash sales - limited time only adding to the hype as Amazon found with Black Friday Snapchat Stories deals.

If you’re looking to measure discoverability and intent then you need look no further than screenshotting. This is where Snapchat’s potential weakness for brands - the fact that content disappears - becomes a strength. Any time a user screenshots a Story or a message, the sender gets a notification. Screenshotting a promo or a great image is a clear message of intent - and one that lands directly in the brand’s inbox.

We can also expect to see social get more heavily involved in search marketing. One of the great challenges of search to date has been to pin down exactly what point in consideration customers are searching for an item, how it relates to the occasion they want the item for and when to bring in the brand discussion.

Pinterest is hoping to solve this with extended keyword campaigns. Used predominantly as a planning tool, users pin items months in advance of an event, or collate information ahead of starting a project. In both instances, Pinterest targeting can be scheduled to coincide with the date of a specific event, capitalising on that heightened moment of consideration.

Even in spite of concerns over fake news and viewability, advertising sales on Facebook grew 49% in the last quarter due to the platform’s detailed targeting and measurement capabilities. Twitter was only just behind on 26% for similar reasons, boosted by the travel industry increasing spend 250%.

Brands need to delve into the essence of each platform’s functionality, understand how each twist and trick engages with users to find ways that drill down deeper into consumers’ interests and needs. Then and only then will marketers be able to discover the true potential of social campaigns.


By Amit Dar, strategic partnerships lead at Taptica

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