The rise of social TV
Facebook fired the starting gun this week on its bid to challenge YouTube and Twitter for video ad budgets with the launch of its video posts and bold claim that TV is no longer “prime-time”. And with marketers set to turbocharge upcoming strategies through real-time marketing, the race to monetise the emerging second, screen, social TV industry has arrived.
The social network is testing video ads in its news feed as a precursor to the launch of a premium promoted video service. Interestingly, the first advertiser to trial the ad unit is movie studio Summit Entertainment for its latest release Divergent. It’s a clever marketing tactic as click-throughs are likely to be far higher than if it was a utilities brand, for example. With the campaign metrics, Facebook can hope to lure advertisers in the coming months with the promise that the service will not be obtrusive to the current experience because users can scroll away if they do not want it.
The social network can be buoyed by the fact that broadcasters and advertisers have flocked to Twitter’s rival Promoted Tweets, which also include videos but users have click a stactic ad to watch them. With brands such as Trident and Dunkin Donuts already looking at how they synch up television ads and promoted tweets it is not hard to imagine advertisers pushing Facebook to the same around video posts. What could give the social network over Twitter is that they will play automatically with no sound unless clicked or swiped by the user.
FMCG marketers are increasingly turning to real-time strategies to spark timely conversations around TV shows, live music and sports. Imagine how many times an Adidas video for its Brazuca ball could be shared, liked or commented in the build-up to and during the first game at next year’s World Cup.
There was a time when the mere mention of Snapchat, the photo and video sharing app that erases each post after it is viewed, would rouse a snigger as millions used it as a way of “sexting” and sharing naked pictures. Times change and the advent of short-form content is causing marketers to take the platform seriously. Brands including Lynx and Co-operative Electrical were among the first to use the platform in the UK and more are likely to follow in the new year. Key to Snapchat’s growth will be whether it can convince brands to buy into its new Snapchat Stories feature, a temporary timeline that allows users to create reams of shared content that can be viewed an unlimited number of times over a 24-hour period. Marketers should also watch out for other Snapchat ad products as the company’s recently appointed chief operating officer Emily White, formerly commercial lead at Instagram, gets to work on monetising the platform.
Brands get more mature with advocates
Brand advocacy has long been hailed as a silver bullet to elevate a campaign’s reach and marketers have tested countless ways of maximising the potential of their most loyal fans. This trend is set to continue in 2014 with brands offering cash rewards to influencers to seed sponsored content. While not technically fans, advertisers are hoping to exploit their social circles to get cut-through in an increasingly cluttered social media landscape. YouTube was one of the first to jump on the bandwagon and is matching its top talent with brands looking to access millions of potential advocates for a fraction of the price of a celebrity endorsement deal. Agencies have sprung up to the speed up the process, while brands such as Puma and Under Armour have been exploring ways to build a network of influencers.
The past few years of experimentation should move towards major advancements in the coming months as marketers begin to show a more mature digital mindset at moving their business strategies forward.