What’s Next for Social Media Advertising
As the numbers and types of social media platforms and apps continue to proliferate, more and more businesses want to explore ways to advertise on the newest, coolest apps—and for good reason. While each app and platform does some things well, new apps often open up new formats, new audiences, or more compatible content.
In fact, at Cup O Content, many of our new business presentations include a significant amount of time spent explaining exactly how people are using different platforms. We usually start these kinds of conversations by reminding people about the adoption rate and usage of some of the media platforms out there.
According to Pew Research, here’s how Americans are using the major social media platforms:
73% use YouTube
69% use Facebook
37% use Instagram
28% use Pinterest
27% use LinkedIn
24% use SnapChat
22% use Twitter
20% use WhatsApp
11% use Reddit
But Do "Young People" Still Use Facebook?
Among younger users 18-24, there’s been a lot of media buzz around the fact that usage rates spike high for YouTube (90%), SnapChat (73%), and Instagram (75%). While this kind of press encourages some marketers to tell us that “young people don’t use Facebook anymore,” the facts don’t support this. The same Pew study showed that 76% of 18-24 year-olds are still using Facebook, making it the #2 social media platform (behind YouTube). So, while it’s not the only social media young people are using, it is still a major player.
And while it’s interesting to know the number of people using a platform, daily engagement is also a key indicator. Pew research reveals that more than half of Facebook users check in “several times a day.” (See chart below.)
So, what’s the point? Facebook still reaches (almost) the most people and engages them several times a day. It’s also a platform that has trained people to click to learn more, which means that it’s usually a good option for advertisers who want more clicks.
Facebook Isn’t the Best Choice for Every Digital Marketing Campaign
However, that doesn’t mean that Facebook is the best choice for everyone. We’ve found that Twitter is a great tool for some clients, especially if you’re offering business or consulting services.
YouTube is a giant, but users expect advertisers to provide compelling video content. So even though ad space is not especially pricy compared with other platforms, the production investment can be intimidating.
Pinterest has been a good tool for authors and home products. We’ve had great click-through rates in a number of other categories as well.
LinkedIn is a powerhouse for employer brands and business products and services. (It’s also been a great new business tool for Cup O Content.)
Snapchat is good for brands that want to market to 18-24 year-olds in a grassroots, authentic way. (Slick corporate ads tend to fall flat.) Spoiler alert: ad and audience options are still a little clunky on Snapchat compared with other formats, so your ad options are a little more limited.
So, What’s the Next Big Thing in Social Media Advertising?
While Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat offers thousands of advertising options, this is a universe that’s always changing. Here are some of the newer players to watch.
WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, so the introduction of ads was inevitable. Facebook has confirmed that ads will be coming to WhatsApp in 2020, as part of the app's “Statuses.”
Like Instagram's Stories feature, WhatsApp “Statuses” are mobile-screen-sized when you click on them. While a user’s status allows them to "share text, photos, videos and animated GIFs that disappear after 24 hours," it’s unclear exactly how ads will interact with this. But you can be sure they will NOT disappear after 24 hours.
Waze is owned by Google and started offering ad placement opportunities earlier this year. Although you may not get the reach offered by some social media, you are now able to do some pretty straightforward location marketing. This will be especially important to businesses that want to capture “drive-by” customers like restaurants, convenience stores, and hotels.
You can place a Pin Ad, which alerts drivers that your business is nearby.
You can choose a Search Ad. When people search for your kind of business, you will show up at the top of the list. Or you can create a Zero-Speed Ad that will pop up when the user is at a red light, parked, or stuck in standstill traffic.
This apps allows you to film short videos that play on a repetitive loop (like Vine) and you can add fun effects (like SnapChat) such as text, filters, and musical overlays. Once you create your video, you can add hashtags to make it searchable. This app has blown up lately, with an estimated 500 million users, but data on usage still seems a bit spotty. Ad placement is limited, and you must request permission to advertise. The site does not yet list requirements for advertising.
While we’re talking about social networks, we should also mention Twitch. This Amazon product launched way back in 2011, as a “lifecasting” platform (think homemade videos and YouTubers) but has since evolved into a huge social platform for gamers. And because it’s been around for a while, it’s kind of embarrassing to list it as “what’s new” but to most advertisers, this is a “new” ad opportunity. Ad opportunities look similar to those on YouTube, but this is another “gatekeeper” platform, which means you must get permission to advertise. As of 10/14/19, they required a $50K minimum spend for advertisers.
Which Social Media Network is Right for Your Business?
Social media seems to wax and wane in popularity (and sometimes disappear altogether). When you're determining which platforms you should be exploring, ask yourself these questions.
(1) How many people are using it?
You need some critical mass before you even consider a platform. Unless you offer a product that appeals to absolutely everyone, you’re probably going to need to do some targeting to get a viable audience. So you want a big pool of consumers to start with (think millions) before advertising.
(2) Would a more established platform work better?
While it feels progressive to try new platforms, if an older social medium does the same thing, or does it better, stick with what you know. Let other companies experiment on new ventures and add them to the mix once all the kinks are worked out.
(3) How flexible are the ad tools?
Newer apps and companies usually have pretty limited ad tools. More established companies have more options and more targeting choices. When looking into new platforms, be prepared to adapt to their limitations. Sometimes it makes perfect sense to adapt, and other times you’ll decide that too many compromises are required
Want to Know More?
Every company is different. Social media choices and features change every day. So if you want the latest recommendations on what's right for your business, contact Cup O Content today.
(4) Sometimes Risks Make Sense.
For some products and brands, working with a new tech company in a clunky platform makes perfect sense. This is especially true if you’re the kind of company that wants to reach opinion leaders and trendsetters, and feels comfortable being first. You’ll definitely fight less ad clutter, but if you have a conservative board to answer to, being the only advertiser in your category can feel a little scary.