Marketing messages with consumers can get complicated… quickly. Time and effort goes into developing each piece of a campaign, and everything’s perfect. There are a lot of moving pieces, but as long as consumers see all of it, it’ll all make sense. Wait… they will see everything, right?
Social networks have gone corporate. From Facebook to Twitter to Snapchat and beyond, the more they move forward, the more alike they become. Instagram has essentially copied Snapchat feature-for-feature with Instagram Stories. Snapchat’s ad product strategy and revenue plans come directly from Facebook’s monetization playbook. Pinterest has launched ad groups to make the platform more attractive to big advertisers by making launching campaigns on Pinterest similar to launching them on other social networks. As marketers evaluate these platforms and what they have to offer from a product perspective, things look quite similar.
Platforms have taken steps to make advertising on them and reaching consumers simple, easy and straightforward with off-the-shelf ad products. Any marketer can select an ad objective, upload some creative and be off to the races, and in most cases, that’s okay. But in other instances, that’s not enough.
The past year has brought about major changes to social platforms from Instagram Stories to Facebook Live to Snapchat Discover. Competition in the space is heating up as platforms work to match each other feature-for-feature while working to outpace each other in the process. The social space at the beginning of 2017 is very different than it was at the beginning of 2016, and you can be sure 2018 will be no different.
Still, many marketers have yet to experiment with many of these new features. Maybe because it’s risky. But there’s a risk in not experimenting. That risk is being left behind. After all, Facebook plans to be all video in the next five years. Marketers have to try because we’ve seen them—the brands that are still looking at social and digital like it’s 2011.
This doesn’t mean experiment for the sake of experimenting. It means being smart, moving deliberately and choosing your experiments and what you hope to learn from them strategically.
It was just about a year ago we were watching and waiting to see what was going to happen with buy buttons on social platforms. Everyone from Facebook to Twitter was rolling them out to see how users would respond and if they would indeed be willing to purchase products that show up in their feeds.
The top five most used mobile apps are Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram and LINE. Other apps like Twitter and WeChat round out the top 10. Mobile behavior is a behavior limited to a select group of apps, and they all have one unifying concept—the feed.
What is Facebook anymore? It’s hard to say. It’s a lot like asking what is Google or Microsoft or even GE. It’s a giant company, supported by advertising. That’s inarguable, but Facebooks is something beyond that. It’s a series of experiments.
The social network is constantly tweaking the formula and trying to find new ways to encourage people to share, and this experimentation is supported by its flagship platforms: Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and now, more than ever, Messenger. Behind all of these is a series of apps that Facebook launched and then learned from.