Jan 11 2015
Aubry Parks Fried

Tap Into The Power Of Social With This Platform Breakdown


Every day it seems the world is getting more social. As time on mobile devices rises, the time people spend logged into a social network also climbs. The average Facebook user is connecting to their feed via a mobile device for almost an hour every day. In fact, over a quarter of Millennials say they are logged in "almost constantly."

This increase in consumption has created a shift in where marketers are funneling their dollars. Reports estimate social spending will account for 20-30% of digital spend in the next couple of years. For advertisers rooted in traditional display, this can be a concerning stat. However, transitioning some budget to social makes a lot more sense once you understand how and why people are consuming on these platforms.

Not all social networks are created equal but they each have value for advertisers because users are flocking to them for specific reasons. Here's a breakdown of a few of the top players and why they are important to consider for any media buying plan.

Facebook: The Power of Data

Today, there are 157M active Facebook users in the US. So chances are, if you're reading this post, you have an active Facebook account. There's even a chance you checked that account right before reading this. As a result, social ad spend is following suit -- Facebook currently accounts for 71% of social ad spend by platform. There’s no denying Facebook leads the charge in this space. And just as the platform has evolved from a user perspective, so have the advertising opportunities. It's no longer the place you go to simply "buy likes." Using the right tools and partnerships, marketers are now able to ensure they are getting the right message, to the right user, at the right time. The ability target with such precision lies in data. As a platform, Facebook is focused on making sure consumers and brands alike are getting the most out of interactions. For many of us, it is our home base in the digital world. It houses our memories, connections and information. As Zuckerberg has stated, it’s our "personalized newspaper" and brands can leverage the massive amounts of data to have premium placement on that "newspaper" in a scalable and affordable way.

Instagram: The Power of Inspiration 

Instagram is currently having its moment in the spotlight. With advertising opportunities opening up to a larger base, brands are eager to get into the feed. It’s important to understand that users are coming to Instagram for inspiration. They want to see highly creative and visual storytelling. Brands needs to be ready to deliver quality content that users expect from this platform. If not, they will find their campaigns falling flat. However, if they mimic the authentic content that has made the platform a staple for users, they will reap the rewards, particularly in brand lift, ad recall and affinity.

Twitter: The Power of Conversation

The best real-time marketing plays of the social age are almost always rooted in Twitter. Remember the Oreo Superbowl tweet or when DiGiorno Pizza live-tweeted NBC’s The Sound of Music? If a brand is looking to align themselves with current events or popular topics in a timely and relevant way, Twitter is the place to be. It's like being able to "sponsor" the conversation happening around a friend's Oscar Party. But instead of connecting with ten people crammed in front of a TV, you are able to reach millions of engaged users all at once!

Pinterest: The Power of Purchase Intent

Unlike the platforms mentioned above, Pinterest has something all marketers are looking for: purchase intent. Users are logging into to Pinterest in order to plan for future purchases, which is simply not the case for other platforms. It's an extremely effective tool for driving traffic to a website, second only to Facebook who has a much larger user base. However, that doesn't mean it's a place for all brands. The platform skews heavily towards females, something Pinterest is looking to evolve, and only certain verticals will feel like a natural fit, such as fashion, beauty, home goods, and travel.

Snapchat: The Power of Mobile

As the new kid on the block, Snapchat is doing what Facebook and Twitter did before – change the way an entire generation communicates. They already have quite a following - 60% of US 13-34 year old smartphone users are Snapchatters. With a growing audience and a mobile-first UX, this relatively new platform has users and publishers taking notice.

So there you have it – a quick snapshot of the current major platforms* in the social media sphere. But there is also a second layer of niche social networks that users access to satisfy their other needs; Goodreads for book lovers, Soundcloud for audiophiles, and Flixster for movie buffs just to name a few. So while it’s extremely important to tap into the power of Facebook, Instagram and the others mentioned above, marketers should have a pulse on the landscape as a whole. Most importantly, don’t approach social as a single tactic to a plan, but rather as a holistic approach to the digital landscape.

Your audience is out there and they are social. Are you?

*note – YouTube is a whole other conversation for another post. Keep your eyes peeled, as there is more to come on this popular platform.