As the new year approaches, BIGfish is looking ahead at what 2014 will bring. So far, we’ve discussed two social media predictions for the new year: the importance of visual content as well as an increased influence of Twitter. For our third social media trend prediction, we’re discussing social media’s move to mobile, so here are some ways social media managers can take advantage of this shift.
Bye Bye Desktop, Hello Smartphone
A recent survey found that 25% of smartphone owners ages 18–44 say they can’t recall the last time their smartphone wasn’t next to them. As a result, social media platforms are jumping onto the move to mobile with app versions that give desktops some serious competition. Big names like Facebook and Twitter are rapidly changing to adapt to a smartphone dominated world and paving the way for mobile to become the new go-to access point for social media. As more and more users use their mobile devices to access social media, it’s important for marketers to be aware of the new opportunities mobile apps present.
As stated by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook has become a mobile company, and it expects mobile usage and revenue to surpass that of desktops in the near future. Of Facebook’s billion plus monthly active users, 189 million are “mobile only,” explaining why 41% of advertising revenue comes from mobile ads. Mobile Facebook ads can target specific markets based on demographics, interests, Likes on Facebook and even a relationship status. By using these targeting tools, marketers can tailor the message of an ad to appeal to a specific group. This then increases the chances that users will be interested in the ad, click on it and Like the page.
Another great option for marketers are Facebook’s Mobile Sponsored Stories, which prominently feature friends’ engagement with that page or app, increasing the likelihood that users will trust and click it. Mobile Sponsored Stories generate a click through rate 13 times the rate of Facebook’s desktops ads, creating a big opportunity to generate brand awareness through mobile.
Mobile ads give much room for creativity, but it’s important to remember to design an ad with the mobile user in mind, making sure it looks great on the smaller screen of a smartphone. Also, remember that Facebook ads are most effective when they link back to a page within Facebook, like a profile or event page, depending on the call to action. Use eye-grabbing designs with less text, tailor ads to the specific users’ interests and likes, and feature a strong call to action to increase click through rates. With a little creativity, some research and analytics, mobile Facebook ads will be cost-effective ways to reach new customers in 2014.Twitter
Twitter is another social media giant that has seen significant movement to its mobile app, with more than 75% of its 218.3 million monthly active users visiting on mobile devices. Twitter’s Senior VP of engineering said that Twitter has a history of being mobile-first, so “we make sure every place we’re building a product, we’re building it onto mobile devices.” Mobile accounts for 65% of Twitter’s total ad revenue, proving that Twitter’s “most engaged users are generally those who access Twitter via...mobile applications.” Twitter’s primary ad products are promoted accounts, promoted tweets, and promoted trends, which are all relatively easy for advertisers to set up. Like Facebook ads, Twitter ads can target a super specific audience, enabling advertisers to reach their desired group.
The folks at Twitter are making huge investments in mobile, such as their September acquisition of MoPub, the world’s largest mobile ad exchange. MoPub allows Twitter to fundamentally change how mobile ads are purchased, thus Twitter may become the leader in social ads on mobile. With the help of the new ad exchange, advertisers can better target specific users with extreme detail based on tweets, accounts they’re following, websites visited, and more. With new technology on its side, Twitter may become the most targeted mobile ad medium, so keep an eye out for changes in mobile ads and how they can best be integrated into a marketing plan.
Drive Social Sharing with Mobile Apps
As of October 2013, there were one million apps available in the iTunes Store and 60 billion total app store downloads. In one way or another, almost every business is linked to a mobile app; whether it’s checking in at Target on Foursquare or posting a photo of a Starbucks’ latte on Instagram. Businesses can engage mobile users through apps with a call to action, a discount code, or a simple check-in. Always include share buttons at the end of web pages and articles to make it easy and seamless to share via mobile devices. Encouraging visitors of a business to post on social media creates buzz that often feels more authentic and reliable than an ad.
Businesses can offer discounts and promos for using a hashtag, posting a photo, or checking in to encourage visitors to talk about their brand on social media. For example, A New York restaurant owner encourages diners to use a specific hashtag, and says this involvement makes customers “brand ambassador(s) on behalf of the restaurant." Mobile users love to frequently share via social media, and marketers can use this to their advantage with creative integration of social platforms and their brand.
Mobile Is Here to Stay
As we move into another year dominated by social media and smartphones, BIGfish suggests utilizing mobile migration to your advantage. Social media allows businesses of any size to reach wide or specific audiences with creative ads that foster engagement and create brand awareness. It also offers an opportunity to have some fun and get creative. Give customers something to photograph and suggest they tag you on Instagram. Remind visitors to check in on foursquare. Encourage mobile users to mention you on Twitter by rewarding them with a discount. Whatever you do, don’t overlook the potential of mobile, or you could be left behind in 2014 and the years to come.
What Do You Think?
What has your experience been with ads on social media? Will desktops become obsolete for social media? How else do you think mobile will grow and change next?
Check in next week to find out our next social media prediction for 2014!
-Hannah Duffy, Intern
In part two of five in our series of predicted social media trends for 2014, we discuss the future of Twitter. Here at BIGfish, we love Twitter. It’s a versatile platform that quickly adapts to social trends and provides great opportunities for marketers. Between capitalizing on advertisements, tapping into video and visual content with Vine and expanded photos, navigating the murky waters of second screen apps, and a successful IPO, Twitter seems to be taking full advantage of all the right opportunities. Read on to find out why we predict Twitter will increase in popularity and importance in 2014.
Ads Essential to Twitter’s Growth
While Twitter is newer to the advertising game than Facebook, Adobe’s most recent Social Intelligence Report found that Twitter drives more shoppers to online commercial sites than Facebook does. The same study also states that Twitter experienced a 258% increase in click-throughs from September 2012 to September 2013, and its revenue per visitor increased 300% in the same period, outpacing its competitors. Now that $TWTR is a public company, generating ad revenue is vital; according to CNN Money, “Twitter’s business model revolves around ads.” Although Twitter raised about $1.8 billion through the sale of 70 million shares during its IPO, the company has yet to turn a profit. While the lack of profit isn’t too encouraging, we think the increase in ROI on Twitter ads will drive more marketers to purchase them, creating more revenue for Twitter in 2014.
Twitter and TV are becoming increasingly integrated. “There’s a huge opportunity for Twitter as a second screen for television, especially for events like [TV series] premieres, the Grammys and the Super Bowl, when everyone’s tweeting,” BIGfish president David Gerzof Richard recently told the Boston Herald. Many shows encourage online conversation or voting on Twitter in realtime with the use of a designated hashtag. In addition, Nielsen announced “Nielsen Twitter TV Rating” in December 2012. The rating measures the number of users tweeting about specific TV programs, the number of unique tweets per program, and the number of users viewing those tweets, which further solidifies the growing importance of social TV.
Since 40% of U.S. tablet and smartphone users visit a social network while watching TV, and “the number of people tweeting about TV was 19 million in the second quarter, up 24% over the year-earlier period,” it’s no wonder Twitter and Nielsen partnered. Statistics from Twitter TV Ratings can be impressive. For example, 9.3 million unique users saw tweets about the series finale of “Breaking Bad,” making it No. 1 in the Twitter TV Ratings for the week of Sept. 23.More recently, Twitter partnered with Comcast to create the “See It” program that converts Twitter into a social remote control. With “See It,” Comcast customers can access NBC TV shows, movies and sporting events directly from a tweet. By clicking on the “See It” button, eligible users can then click
through to watch the program live on their computer or mobile device, set their DVR to record it or “queue [the program] up through Comcast’s on-demand feature on their set-top boxes.”
NBCUniversal is also expanding this concept to their movie ticketing app Fandango, enabling users to purchase movie tickets on Twitter via the same “See It” button.
So, how can marketers take advantage of all this?
While large corporations like NBCUniversal, Comcast and Nielsen are making bold moves to become involved in the second screen revolution, Twitter is also making it easier for smaller businesses and brands to tap into online conversations about TV.
We recently received an email from Twitter that said ”starting today, you can more easily tap into, and be part of conversations with people on Twitter talking about specific TV shows, by using TV conversation targeting,” and Twitter’s conversation mapping technology. The email outlined several ways brands already used this tool during beta testing:
“In initial beta testing, we’ve seen advertisers use TV conversation targeting in a number of different ways, to build upon their TV strategies, whether is to extend regional TV spots, add reach to their national buys, or to take advantage of non-traditional TV integrations. Additionally, brands are using TV conversation targeting around live airings of TV shows to promote content that builds upon the on-air storylines.”
While this may not be for every brand, finding connections between your brand and popular TV shows could be another way to actively engage with customers. For example, for our client Iceland Naturally, we’ll keep an eye on “Game of Thrones,” which is partially filmed in Iceland, and look for opportunities to build on that conversation. The popular HBO show averaged 14 million viewers per episode last season and presents the perfect opportunity to experiment with Twitter’s TV tools.
Get ahead of the crowd
Given Twitter’s recent growth and success, we recommend getting your brand on Twitter (if it isn’t already) and investing time and money into this platform. While Twitter itself is a great way to connect with consumers and monitor conversations about your brand, Twitter ads are a cost-effective way to drive traffic and sales. We suggest pairing the new TV conversation targeting with Twitter ads during TV shows to see how your brand can become part of the conversation. Once you’ve run a few ads, analyze your results and see if this something worth pursuing further. We predict that most brands will be taking advantage of Twitter as as second screen by the end of 2014, so now’s your chance to get ahead of the crowd. Start looking for TV shows relevant to your brand, fine-tune your Twitter ad skills and engage with consumers before your competitors do!
What do you think?
Do you currently use Twitter in interesting or unique ways? What do you think about Twitter as a second screen app? Do you already keep track of the most popular shows on Twitter?- Brigid Gorham
As 2014 approaches, the BIGfish team is looking ahead to plan for next year’s social media campaigns. From our experience with social media clients and through some additional research, we’re predicting five social media trends for 2014. Each week we’ll post a new trend on our blog and offer suggestions on how you can incorporate it into your social profiles.
Part 1: A Picture is Worth 1000 Likes, Comments, Shares & Retweets
The popularity of photos has steadily increased over the past few months and we expect this trend to really take off in 2014, forcing existing platforms to adapt to visual content (ahem, Twitter), and allowing for new image-focused networks to form. Below we’ve outlined a few reasons why this trend is important and how you can take advantage of it.
Always attach a photo to Facebook posts (and usually Tweets). According to KISSmetrics, Facebook posts with photos get 53% more Likes, 104% more comments and 84% more click-throughs than those without. As a result, our social media client Iceland Naturally’s posts reached an average of 10,000 people per post last month. We’ve also discovered the popularity of photo albums, with the most recent album reaching 18,720 people.
Consider joining an image-based platform. Image-based platforms like Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr have also benefited from this trend. The value of a Pin on Pinterest, which can drive both pageviews and sales, increased 25% this past year. On average, a Pin garners 2 site visits, 6 pageviews and 10 repins. Instagram has also benefited from photo-loving web users and now boasts more than 150 million users, 16 billion photos shared and 1 billion likes per day. Tumblr blogs, especially popular among the elusive 18-24 demographic, heavily rely on visual content and the site received more than 350 million visits last month.
While a presence on every social media platform isn’t necessary, now might be a good time to consider joining Pinterest, Instagram and/or Tumblr. Each of these platforms has a massive and somewhat unique user base, offering the opportunity to engage with new consumers and increase overall reach. If you do decide to join one of these networks, be prepared to commit some time to building your fan base and having a stock of photos on hand so you can update consistently. We also suggest keeping an eye on Instagram ads. Although they’re not available to everyone just yet, we believe they have potential for great influence and results.
Find interesting visual content. While it’s easy to post photos of Iceland’s unique, beautiful landscape, finding appropriate visual content can be more difficult for other brands. While high quality, high resolution photos are recommended, sometimes it’s a personal touch of a photo that instead attracts attention. For small business, we suggest posting photos of employees, company events, your office and any other interesting or fun office-happenings. Larger brands should invest in high quality photos of and might want to take a look at the top brands on Instagram for some creative inspiration. For our client Iceland Naturally, we hold a monthly cover photo contest where we encourage fans to submit photos of Iceland. We then choose one as our cover photo for the month, credit the photographer, and create a photo album with all photo entries. This is a great way to both engage your audience and outsource some photos. Aside from helping increase engagement online, this will also help humanize your company’s presence on social media, which can improve your relationship with followers and fans and increase interaction and engagement.
Still, all photos don’t have to be centered around your company or brand. For example, the BIGfish Pinterest account has a board titled “Big fish… literally” where we post photos of, you guessed it, big fish. We also have boards for favorite local restaurants and photos of our home in Brookline Village. Users don’t want to be inundated with information solely about you, so get creative with some of your posts and have some fun with it! Test out different categories and research what other companies in your industry are doing well. As always, study any analytics you have available to learn about your followers and create content accordingly. Finally, never be afraid to just ask your fans what they like and want to see more of!
What do you think? Do you know of any other applications for visual content on social media? Have you experienced similar results by posting photos to Facebook and Twitter?Make sure to check back in next week to see what our next 2014 social media trend prediction is! -Brigid Gorham
Did you know that blogging on Thursdays will maximize social media shares, but posting on Mondays will drive more traffic to your site? A recent article titled “A Scientific Guide to Maximizing Your Impact on Twitter, Facebook, and Other Digital Media,” explains the best times to post to various digital media platforms. The article, which was republished in Fast Company, received more than 10,000 shares on social media and certainly caught our attention.
As the author of this article mentions, results can vary depending on industry, company and audience, so readers should “use this guide as just that—a guide to help you work out what to test for your own audience, so that you can see what actually works best in your specific case.”
After looking at the data featured in this article, it’s easy to see the value of experimentation and analytics when it comes to social media. For example, if the below graph represented reactions to your tweets, you would certainly make sure to send out tweets on weekends.
Many studies on timing of social media posts are contradictory. Therefore, it’s important to study your past posts and determine when your specific audience is online, and there are several tools available to help you do this.
Evidence on the best content to post is more conclusive, though it varies per platform. For Twitter, links get the most retweets, and you can better your odds by simply asking for an “RT” or “retweet”. Check out this list of the most commonly retweeted words and phrases. Including at least one relevant hashtag per tweet is also recommended.
For Facebook, the new Facebook Insights page is a great place to determine what to post and when. With Insights you can view audience demographics and explore what kinds of posts (links, photos, videos, etc.) garnered the most likes, comments and shares. You can also look at your page’s progress over several months. As far as timing goes, posting at the end of the week and weekends generally helps boost interaction and engagement, but again it’s best to study your post history and see what’s working for your page.
We’ve discovered a few Facebook content tips while working with our social media clients as well as through some research. One thing we know for sure: Facebook users love photos. Some other Facebook pointers:
Shorter posts are more popular (under 140 characters but ideally less than 70)
Question posts get 100% more comments, but fewer likes and shares
Facebook fans love contests and coupons
We’ve seen success using these tactics with our own client, Iceland Naturally, which has more than 113,000 Likes. We post to their Facebook page daily, always attach a photo, usually include a link and often ask questions. As a result, last month’s posts reached an average of 10,000 people. We’ve also discovered the popularity of photos albums which we post monthly, with the most recent album reaching 18,720 people.
Truly understanding your audience is at the heart of every successful marketing campaign. Social media enables you to directly connect with your audience, ask them what they like, analyze their online habits and adjust your strategy and tactics in real time.
What works best for you? Do you have any social media content rules you live by?
BIGfish President David Gerzof Richard appeared on NPR this morning to discuss the social pressures of the digital world. “Some people feel that if a certain amount of time goes by and they haven’t updated or they haven’t tweeted, that there’s something wrong with them,” he says. “It’s almost like this hamster wheel — that they need to constantly be getting content out there.” To listen to the full segment, click the photo above or click here.