It’s hard to believe the summer of 2012 is already over. For me, the signs that this summer is officially coming to a close is marked by two things:
1) 22squared has kicked into 2013 planning mode.
2) The Labor Day weekend has come and gone.
As I enjoyed my long weekend filled with pool days and barbeques, something became glaringly obvious: everyone was Instagramming everything (myself included). If someone wasn’t taking a picture and choosing a filter, they were browsing their Instagram feed incessantly. This realization has become even more apparent to me as a social media marketer looking ahead to 2013 platforms.
Since early 2012, Instagram has reported tremendous growth, going from 15 million users to hitting roughly 80 million users in July (yes, that’s a 400% increase in just seven months). What’s more promising? Instagram is still very much in its infancy. With its acquisition by Facebook and its continued user growth, it’s safe to say that these next seven months will be just as promising as the last.
So what does this mean for brands headed into 2013? Consider these factors below to help you decide if Instagram should be included in your social media strategy.
Does your target fall into the Instagram demographic? The largest group of users are ages 25-34 and make up about 32% of the apps user base. The next largest group is ages 35-44 with 24% of Instagram’s user base. Gender breakdown is currently split between males and females. While information like household income and education level is not currently public information, it’s important to consider the media consumption preferences of your target. For example, since Instagram is only accessible via a mobile app; does your target own a smartphone and have high mobile usage? What are their social sharing preferences?
What assets will you share? Instagram is a storytelling service; an opportunity to show the personality and characteristics of your brand through images. Consider the assets available to you to share with your customers, as well as how you’ll engage with user-generated images consumers may associate with your brand before you set-up an official account.
Is your brand already on Instagram? Social Media 101 – listen first. Your customers could already be sharing content about your brand on the platform. Use the Explore tool within the app itself and find how many hashtags exist with your brand name or campaign. If the conversation is already happening organically, establishing an official account and creating additional brand content will allow you to extend your reach and create a two-way conversation with your consumers.
Is your competition there? When you’re done searching for your own content, check out what your competitors are doing on the app. How active are they on their account? What are their followers saying? For every minute your competition is on Instagram and you’re not, you’re ignoring the 80 million+ users that your competitors can interact with.
So there you have it- my social platform of choice for 2013. Will your brand have an Instagram strategy for the coming year? If not, what are some reasons for steering clear?
Viewers are increasingly turning to online and on-demand for their weekly dose of comedy, drama and reality television. So where does scheduled broadcast television fit into the mix with the increase in non-traditional viewing experiences? The 25-34 demo still receives the majority of their content via traditional TV, however, they no longer differentiate between “on TV” and “online” viewing. Although traditional television remains king (as of today’s numbers) the number of homes in the U.S. with televisions dropped last year for the first time in over 20 years. Computers, tablets and mobile phones have become the primary content source for a younger audience that has never had to pay for traditional television because of digital content partners such as Netflix, Hulu and YouTube.
So what’s the best way to reach an audience that is constantly viewing content on a variety of platforms? Instead of developing individual strategic TV, Radio and Digital media plans, we need to create plans categorized by Video and Audio. Reaching a viewer while watching the latest episode of New Girl on Hulu should be no different than reaching them while watching it during scheduled broadcast. Streaming your favorite radio morning show at work should be no different than listening while driving to work. With the increase of technology we are forced to think smarter about how we extend our media presence and reach our target in unique ways.
For the past few years, mobile execs have made the bold statement “THIS year is the year for mobile”. When in reality, we haven’t seen it yet. There are still so many developments that need to happen before advertisers can truly embrace all of the revolutionary aspects of mobile advertising. Targeting being one of the MAIN elements that needs to be perfected then standardized across networks. That by itself is a post so I’ll save my opinions on that for later. It is expected that by 2013, more consumers will be accessing the internet via their mobile devices than their desktop computers. This statement alone really puts the evolving media landscape in perspective. To think that 14 years ago, having the game Snake on your Nokia cell phone automatically put you ahead of the game. Fast forward to 2012, feature phones are still prevalent with smart phones only owning half the U.S. market. It is anticipated that this year, smart phone sales will reach 1.8 billion units and by next year, smart phone penetration will increase from 50% to 70% in the U.S. What this means is that if you do not have a phone that can remind you to get the dry cleaning, locate your friends and video chat you might as well go back to playing Snake on your Nokia. Clients are slowing embracing mobile technology and advertising whether it be by optimizing a site for mobile screens, taking advantage of location based services or providing engaging experiences within the ad in case a mobile site experience is not available. For brands to stay on top of evolving mobile offerings, clients should start preparing for how media will work with these emerging trends. A few things to consider to get ahead of the market – how could brands eventually take advantage of Apple’s new patent that allows Siri to go online and make purchases for you? Or how Siri could be used in your brand’s app? Or how mobile ads can be served using Google’s patented technology that would allow for targeting based on environmental factors such as temperature, humidity and speed of movement? What about mobile video – how can your client best get ahead of this curve? Everyday there is new news regarding mobile so the only way to be a leader in this space is to stay on top of it and ask “How can our brand best use this news worthy technology?”
For decades, it’s generally been accepted that all great advertising campaigns sprout from a single “Big Idea” – We Try Harder. The Lonely Maytag Repairman. Ring Around the Collar.
However, in today’s ever-changing media landscape, are we outgrowing the concept of a single Big Idea that sells our product to anyone and everyone lucky enough to hear our message?
Media consumption today is evolving into an ever-more-personalized experience – digital retargeting and behavioral targeting remind us of the shoes we placed in our shopping cart and ALMOST clicked the “Buy” button to obtain…Smart TVs now connect our TV watching to social and digital experiences. Even radio is becoming more and more customized – stations and groups of stations on digital radio (and wired directly into our phones and newer car models) that reflect EXACTLY what we want to listen to at any given time.
As the media landscape becomes more and more cluttered AND targeted, there’s an opportunity to build campaigns that, instead of driving home the same message to a mass customer base, speak to our customers as individuals, reflecting a message that’s relevant both to our product AND to the customer. Beyond the paid landscape, part of this can be achieved through the owned and earned avenues – publishing stories that read more like content than “advertising” messages, and offer added value that reflects the context of what our consumers are engaged in. There are a few campaigns out there that are starting to use this mentality successfully- the US Department of Defense, for instance, has its own TV network (The Pentagon Channel); photojournalists creating content for Flickr; print journalists creating content worthy of publishing in newspaper and magazines; and podcasts for the general public. One such weekly podcast is entitled Armed with Science: Research and Applications for the Modern Military; the goal is to make modern military science more accessible to the general public.
To get through to today’s excessively busy, information-overloaded audience, we need to take advantage of the targeting and information we have available to us – and, as Shel Holtz recently put it, “be inspiring, clarifying, funny, useful or just plain interesting.” Move away from trying to force one slogan, one brand attribute, one message down everyone’s throats, but rather think like our audience, and help them understand that there is something about our product that they truly need.