Instagram Goes Live
Instagram’s pulling the best of both worlds when it comes to its parent company Facebook and Snapchat. With elements of live video and ephemeral messaging, the platform’s latest features include live broadcasts that can only be viewed as the stream happens in real life and direct messages to friends that they can watch twice before the content disappears. Instagram Live will be featured in the platform’s Explore tab while Instagram Direct will have a group feature that acts as a collaborative thread. While the ideas behind the updates aren’t new (what is, anymore?), they’re presented in a new way that gives creators the kind of total control over their audience that even Snapchat doesn’t offer.
Why do we care?
While social media has tended to focus on curating the best highlights in life, Instagram’s capitalizing on the “moments” movement, chronicling the everyday, unfiltered occasions that it’s shifting toward with these new features. For brands, live broadcasts and disappearing direct messages are definitely new ways to interact with audiences — and even remain authentic, and perhaps more personal, to a wide range of people, as each relationship with a fan can differ.
Spectacles Take the World by Storm
Tech reviewers love ‘em, and people are keeping track of where they’ll head next. People are waiting in ridiculously long lines that go around the block and down into the subway in New York. All for Snap, Inc.’s latest gadget, Spectacles. That’s right, since the last trend report, Spectacles have arrived and they’re a big hit — so much so that people are willing to pay top dollar for them, at prices marked well above the $200 retail price, or even make round-trips to Australia. Even marketers are jumping on board, with brands like Sour Patch Kids and Esquire sharing new content, from mannequin challenges to motorcycle rides, created with the gadgets.
Why do we care?
Like Instagram Live, the popularity of Spectacles just proves the value of capturing and sharing authentic moments on social. The new wearables are giving way to new first-person perspectives on social media, which gives brands an advantage. And for only $130 (and maybe a few hours of waiting in line), the investment seems worth it. But even if you can’t get your hands on a pair just yet, there’s a lesson learned from the way Snap, Inc. is distributing the products — “Scarcity Value” at its best. The limited roll out has created a huge demand for the products and distinguished Spectacles from previous items like Google Glass. It’s not necessarily a new trick, but a smart idea for marketers.
Pandora Introduces Sponsored Replays and Skips
Music lovers, rejoice! As a new feature on the subscription service, Pandora Plus, brands can now sponsor skips and replays. EBay will be the first brand using this new ad format, offering users a 15-second commercial in exchange for replays and skips on highly used holiday music stations. However, this new feature doesn’t just stop after the holidays — brands can also sponsor workout, Cinco de Mayo, gaming and new music genres.
Why do we care?
As a direct product of the decline in display ad and pre roll CTR, this is yet another example of the “trade-off” advertising trend we’ve seen surfacing, where a brand offers something of value (either gated content or special features) in exchange for a few seconds of a user’s time. If this continues to trend, and produce results, we could see a change in the approach to digital marketing. Instead of bombarding potential customers with display ads, banner ads, newsfeed ads, pre-roll ads, etc., we may see an upswing in something far more in line with offline human etiquette — asking before attempting to engage.
Your Weekly Platform Updates
FACEBOOK TESTS REAL-TIME ADS FOR LIVE
As Facebook keeps pushing its Live feature, it’s begun to test real-time ads for broadcasts, where advertisers can sponsor posts before going live or after they’re done streaming. For example, this fall, Benefit Cosmetics ran a paid campaign for a pre-recorded live video from August and saw much better reach, engagement and views than their other Live videos.
Why do we care?
With real-time ads, Facebook hopes to justify an investment in Live for brands, especially if they can guarantee higher reach and scale. And as platforms become more “moments”-heavy, as is the theme of this week’s trend report it seems, it might be worth it to look into these features. But as people are still testing out what content works best for the Live format, brands will have to start looking into the strategy of promoting, whether live or pre-recorded, and this might end up as the most effective, and easiest, way.
WHO’S DOING COOL STUFF?
In an effort to live up to its first successful Simpsons marathon in 2014, which saved the network and catapulted it to the number one spot for the 12-day period, FXX created a fun, holiday-themed campaign to promote the event that started on Thanksgiving Day. The iconic characters from the long-running animated series are being featured on billboards and signs and bus stops, but they appear as traditional Thanksgiving food like corn, squash, potatoes and pie. The network wanted to create a campaign that matched the scope of all 600 episodes, so it created over 50 unique pieces of content, including one series that follows a man locked in a lab, consuming a donut for every episode. And that’s not all. In order to drive engagement with a younger audience, FXX launched Snapchat filters before and during the event, with a move similar to Fox’s with The Rocky Horror Picture Show through on-screen Snapcodes for fans to capture and unlock additional filters.
Ever wished you had a glow similar to that of a Cheeto? Or, maybe you’re looking for one-of-a-kind holiday presents. Either way, Cheetos has you covered on both fronts with their holiday store full of branded items, including a bright orange speedo, paw-shaped lounge chair, bronzer and $20,000 jewelry set. From cheesy snacks to high fashion, the brand’s jump may seem big, but it’s working, seeing as the leggings and lounge chair are already sold out.
Since 1848, Morton Salt has quietly sat on grocery shelves in the same cylindrical package with its iconic logo of a girl in a yellow dress holding an umbrella. Now, it’s making a statement with a bang, both audibly and visually, by collaborating with band OK Go, known for their elaborate and insane music videos, for “The One Moment.” Run in real-time, the video lasts only 4.2 seconds. But when reduced to super slow-mo, it fits the length of the song and is part of Morton’s promotion of its new platform “Walk Her Walk,” dedicated to making a positive impact, an attempt to connect with millennial consumers on an emotional level. Filled with explosions of color and cameos from influentials, like Seth Maxwell of The Thirst Project and Blair Brettschneider of GirlForward, the moment is worth watching.