In the years since social media first burst onto the scenes, there’s always been a jostling among the platforms to prove which is best, most popular and actually making a profit. Facebook has emerged as the giant, but that doesn’t mean the second place hasn’t turned into a mad scramble.
At Smirk New Media, we preach that your audience should dictate the platforms your business uses. It’s still true and the cornerstone of many strategies, but when it comes to walling off the contenders from the pretenders, what comes next?
In the case of Instagram vs. Snapchat, it’s the burden of quality.
I’ve been using both channels more over the past year, consuming Snapchat Stories, before Instagram replicated the concept, then continuing to watch them butt heads day after day.
Instagram has always been the better product, both for the user and for an advertiser, as well as an exceptional experience. Why? Because when you step into the Instagram mindset, part of that is an expectation is to post great photos. It’s also about extra takes of the overhead shots of your salad, snagging the best Oklahoma sunset and, of course, the kids.
Something clicks when a user is on Instagram that doesn’t click when they are on Snapchat. Maybe it’s because Snapchat still carries around its grimy reputation that it’s not a showcase of the photos as much as it is of immediacy? That’s all fine and good until they compete on equal ground on something like stories and pursue brands.
A story that tells an experience – a trip to the Oklahoma City Thunder game or a special trip with your family – has so much more vitality on Instagram. When a brand approaches both, ready to spend dollars to promote quality content, they are going to choose (demographics being equal) where quality is built into the social media community.
During this battle with Snapchat, Instagram continues to survive, thrive and innovate under the protective parentage of Facebook. And with more than a billion users worldwide, Facebook remains the undisputed giant of social media, but Instagram is quickly becoming its most gifted and talented child.
Snapchat is one of the most popular apps among teens and young adults. Their most recent update, with the addition of a new search bar, aims to help Snapchat be more accessible to all.
Katie Marshall, a Smirk strategist, has her own opinions about the Snapchat update.
“With Facebook testing stories, in addition to Instagram Stories, Snapchat is struggling to hang on to its users. Recent studies show Instagram Stories have as many viewers as Snapchat. I expect for Instagram and Facebook numbers to rise while Snapchat’s start to fall.”
The search bar gives users the accessibility to search any of their followers’ stories, any of Snapchat’s stories or to quickly send a private message to a friend.
“The new features, like the search bar, were introduced as an effort to make Snapchat more accessible to a wider range of users, but I think there is still confusion on what certain features, like Quick Chat, mean and how to use them,” said Marshall. “I do think the new update is more visually appealing, which is a bonus.”
Avid Snapchat users seem to love the new Bitmoji editing capability within the app. Some edits might include facial features and outfits.
A Bitmoji is a cartoon you can design to look, dress and talk like you. Bitmojis can say anything from ‘hello’ to ‘nope’ to ‘are you there?’
Below is an example of a Bitmoji. They are supposed to look similar to the person they emulate, but you can be the judge of that.
These new features come at a time when Instagram Stories, the mirror image of Snapchat Stories, are now reaching 150 million views. Snapchat has been the social leader for story type video — until now. Snapchat has yet to introduce live video streaming to the app, while Instagram already has live video and Facebook is testing out live video right now.
What does this update mean for Smirk?
“For businesses and brands, Snapchat still doesn’t make much sense because there is no analytics to ensure you’re actually reaching potential customers,” said Marshall. “For many, it’s still seen as a waste of time.”
Instagram’s newest feature is making waves of controversy in the world of social media loyalty as the capability seems eerily similar to Snapchat Stories.
The Facebook-owned photo-sharing app just launched Stories, a new feature that looks almost exactly like Snapchat’s Stories product. Both let users post photos and videos to a timeline that disappears in 24 hours.
The genius lies in the platform having a larger audience for brands and advertisers that Snapchat has failed to really leverage. Unlike Instagram, Snapchat lacks the appeal for users to follow brands on their platform, which is commonly used for more personal interactions between users.
Despite user Stories airing their dislike for the Instagram feature that is “copying Snapchat,” these same users are watching more brands’ Instagram Stories than Snapchat Stories. The fact of the matter is simple: the same audience is more willing to follow brands on Instagram than on Snapchat, therefore providing better access to Instagram Stories by these brands.
Nike has already seen that size difference in action, telling Ad Age that it got 800,000 views on a newly posted Instagram Story versus 66,000 views on its most popular Snapchat Story. Snapchat may have a higher ratio of loyal millennial users than Instagram, but Instagram has way more users overall.
Unlike Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories offers more features that are more advertiser-friendly in nature, including uploading from your camera roll and more creative pen options, including a neon pen. Instagram does lack the geofilters and ever-changing selfie filter lenses that are uniquely Snapchat’s bread-and-butter with their users.
Regardless, though, Instagram Stories is a marketing game changer for brands already on Instagram. Utilizing the new feature is simple and easy to learn, but like all social media marketing, know the platform before you go on a posting frenzy.
For strategic posting on Instagram Stories and other social media platforms, contact us.
Since working at Smirk, I don’t think a single day has gone by (okay, maybe that’s a little exaggerated) without hearing Allie say something about the necessity of putting money behind brand content on social media.
And, low and behold, a recent study by the American Marketing Association has found that to be absolutely true.
The Journal of Marketing reports that, based on their findings regarding company-generated content, social media is “most effective when combined with ads.” Even more than that though, they found that brand messaging on social media “indeed increases sales and customer profitability.”
Of course the report was quick to emphasize that other forms of marketing – the more traditional routes – are not to be neglected. Although 90 percent of customer responses were found to be generated from digital ads, “marketers should strive to achieve a synergistic approach so that ads in all platforms work together to reach audiences in cadence to an established tone and message.”
So, how do we integrate social media – backed by marketing dollars – into our overall marketing campaigns?
The first step to all marketing decisions starts with defining your target market, followed by framing messaging for optimal performance among those audiences.
Only then can you locate where the desired audience spends most of their time, which in the past few years is oftentimes social media platforms. Knowing where and how your target audience communicates allows you to engage customers according to their preferences.
Various features have rolled out in the last few months and years on social media platforms that allow for more specific demographic reach within those networks. These tools allow us to know who we are communicating with in very real and quantifiable ways more than ever before.
To neglect social media is corporate suicide. So, it’s about time marketers recognized the importance of spending money where the audiences are – social media. And with that, making sure the right people with the right training are running those messages and ads on social platforms for the best results.
When Snapchat opened custom on-demand geofilters to everyone, brands and marketers everywhere went crazy about the news. However, these custom Snapchat geofilters have flown largely under the radar, and are most commonly used by cities and some large events. The ability for local businesses to use these filters is relatively untapped.
While these filters could become an enormous business for Snapchat in its scalability, their value for users is also scalable. The feature is a prime example of content and context at its finest on social media.
Brands and businesses should take advantage of the ability to mark events with these custom geofilters. The value of your branding impression compared to impressions on other platforms is high because of geofilters’ ability to really be seen on the platform.
“Filters catch you off guard – they catch your attention and show up directly in your account. Plus, you’re bringing value to the viewer: they have the ability to interact with it in a contextually relevant and fun way.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
Snapchat has a pretty comprehensive guide to all the rules you need to follow when creating a filter. The premise is simple: design, map and buy. These three steps can lead to high engagement and value to users attending various events, especially local events.
For Rayo OKC’s opening night on April 2, Smirk New Media created a Snapchat geofilter to appeal to a captive audience. We wanted the brand to celebrate along with its fans about the first night of professional soccer in the North American Soccer League in the OKC Metro. With over 400 uses and more than 21,000 views overall, the geofilter brought awareness and creativity to fans in the stands.
In creating the filter, we followed Snapchat’s steps:
- Design: We came up with a half dozen examples of what could be done on Snapchat – in the top of the screen, bottom of the screen or corner, in ways that would highlight the brand, but still allow users to create a great photo.
- Map: Snapchat allows you to build a geographic fence on a map in which your geofilter will work. We made a pretty tight boundary for the Rayo OKC filter – just the boundaries of Miller Stadium where the team was playing. This pumped up the exclusivity of the filter and made it a real game-day experience.
- Buy: Snapchat’s custom geofilter offering is priced based on two factor – square footage of your mapped area and time it will be active.
Local brands and businesses have more to offer their audiences through the use of geofilters for events, whether it’s a grand opening or a monthly event. In order to help brands provide more to their audiences and customers, we are now offering services to create and manage event geofilters. Contact us for more information.