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The Story On Stories: Snapchat Vs. Instagram

August 16, 2016 Leave a comment

Blog Post-FB vs Twitter v2

I have written previous articles about how marketers should be testing, learning and quickly iterating on platforms like Snapchat and Instagram to tell their brand stories. And recently, Mary Meeker helped drive home the point about the relevance of such social platform in her 2016 annual Internet Trends report. As a refresher:

The report showed how smartphones are increasingly used to combine several powerful storytelling tools via camera+storytelling+creativity+messaging, combined with social sharing network effect. Meeker mentioned that she and her team believe Snapchathas a “perfect trifecta” for this, especially given their daily video growth rate.

Marketers such as Wal-Mart, Sony Pictures, Ford and Dick’s Sporting Goods are just a few that have jumped into Snapchat to leverage massively engaged audiences with cool filters, storytelling and ads. An insight not to miss is that all these Snapchatters (and Instagrammers) are sending geo-specific signals each time they share. For brick-and-mortar retailers, this geo-location is a massively untapped opportunity to reach customers during a store visit and when purchase consideration is happening.

Given the combination of geo-location and marketers’ quest to reach customers in store, attribute traffic and conversion, it’s no wonder marketers are finally embracing Snapchat and Instagram in new ways. And also why Instagram’s launching of “Stories” should not surprise anyone.

Silicon Valley has a long history of companies copying each other. Steve Jobs famously saw GUI at Xerox Parc and that inspired the Mac. Many say he stole it. As Apple’s Bud Tribble is noted for saying: “If you take something and make it your own…it’s your design and that is the dividing line between copying and stealing.” That concept is part of Apple’s DNA and certainly many other tech companies in the valley. Kevin Systrom, Instagram CEO/founder, hasn’t run from the obvious copying of Snapchat. In fact, he said “they [Snapchat] deserve all the credit”. In my opinion Instagram has innovated by making the “Stories” feature much more seamless and intuitive vs. Snapchat. Snapchat will almost certainly refine their UX. But the Instagram feature and better UX is just the tip of the spear.

Instagram is owned by Facebook and has a uniquely strong capability to tap into mobile “storytelling” to augment data (especially geo-data) to fortify cross-device insights with Facebook Insights (think purchase data). This combination can be an incredibly powerful for tool for marketers. As marketers, we have become better at understanding our data streams and applying smart strategies and tactics to drive engagement and purchase. Search and social have been a proving ground for following intentions all the way to purchase. As search evolves outside of “traditional” search into platforms such as Instagram (note no search available on Snapchat), marketers will have more ammunition to target audiences and truly track path to purchase while giving attribution to the right events.

I love both Snapchat and Instagram, but the amazing cross-device, geo-targeting and massive network effect of Instagram+Facebook is why I’m betting on Instagram in the long game.

As marketers, you should already be well underway in testing and learning with these platforms and have deft understanding of your first-party data and how it can be combined with the ever increasing rich data set derived from helping consumers tell their stories. Holiday 2016 should be your best season ever with all the tools you have at your disposal. Are you ready?

Reposted from my published artciles on Mediapost and Medium

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A Perfect Trifecta For Live-Streaming: Video, Image, Messaging

My latest Marketing:Entertainment post from @Mediapost

In the past week, I’ve been talking with a lot of my marketer and ad-tech friends across Silicon Valley and Madison Ave. Much of the conversation starts with, “Did you see Mary Meeker’s 2016 Internet Trends Report?” “What do you think?” Of course, I’ve seen it! My hunch is that nearly everyone reading this post has seen it, at least in some part. Meeker’s annual report is akin to everyone waiting eagerly to see if Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow every year. Of course, Meeker’s report has much more accurate prognostications than the weather predictions of a furry rodent.

I typically ask friends, “What about the report did you find most interesting?” Several conversations have focused on mobile, media and entertainment, specifically with regard to trends and topics I’ve discussed here over the past 18 months. Here are a couple of areas from the report that get me excited and why I’m so bullish on the convergence of mobile, video, entertainment and how brands have only begun to engage.

The report showed how smartphones are increasingly used to combine several powerful storytelling tools via camera + storytelling + creativity + messaging across a social platform with network effect. Meeker mentioned that she and her team believe Snapchat has a “perfect trifecta” for this, (especially given their daily video growth rate). Snapchat has come a long way pretty fast, since starting with personal stories, then personal plus professional, and now curated live stories with Discover, which brands can sponsor.

While Snapchat may have the perfect trifecta, the other services highlighted in the report such as Instagram, Periscope and Facebook-Live all represent a similar theme of incredibly high user growth (daily) and the chance for brands to find unique ways to help users engage with consumers. For example, “Love at First Bite” from KFC, and “World AIDS Day – Join the Fight” from (RED) had tremendous lift and engagement for those respective brands.

Of course, the report also highlighted Candace Payne in the Chewbacca mask and how that user-generated content demonstrated a new order of magnitude to viewing and sharing. I have long mentioned these tools as great ways to help consumers engage with each other as well as with brands. But we are still only at the tip of the iceberg.

Meeker went on to talk about the impact of a paradigm shift for live broadcasting. The advent of Periscope, Facebook-Live and Twitter’s integration of near real-time replays (now real-time as well) is changing how consumers can engage with each other for live events as well as share. Again, we’ve seen this coming as I have pointed out in a few posts. And as frequent readers of my column know, I have been very bullish on the opportunities for live events + streaming + sharing.

As Meeker pointed out, “Live sports viewing has always been social. In many ways it’s just getting started.” I couldn’t agree more. She highlighted how viewers are able to watch live events from the sidelines, live-stream and wrap it all with social media tools and share in real-time. As brands get behind this for the upcoming sports and other big live event season, we start to see just how big an impact it will have.

The big platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram) will be rolling out new features in the coming months for the Fall sports season. The NFL will be broadcasting Thursday night games live on Twitter and functionality will include (not confirmed) live analysis, replays and notifications. Remember when I wrote about Twitter’s acquisition of SnappyTV to build out their replay services? Bundle those replay services with live broadcasts and more sharing tools, and this season’s social sharing for big games and other live events should be through the roof.

These are just two areas of real-time video, messaging and sharing that marketers should be very excited about testing in the second half of this year and certainly well beyond. We are still early in this space and there is a lot to be built and designed. The more brands get in early and test, the better chances they have for helping guide platform partners like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and many others. There are going to be a lot more tools for brands and their agencies to come up with cool and compelling ways to engage with consumers.

I encourage you to review “The 2016 Internet Trends Report” as a way to start thinking how you will engage in a rapidly growing marketing and entertainment realm.

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