Organization Name: Cosmopolitan
Web References: Cosmo, Forbes, Digiday
Where to next for social media marketing?
Has social taken its place as a major marketing discipline alongside direct marketing, advertising, or PR? Despite its promise, the answer is no.
Organic social media stopped working.” Those words are from the latest Forrester report, “It’s Time to separate the ‘Social’ from the ‘Media.'”
Augie Ray, is Director of Global Voice of Customer Strategy for a Fortune 100 financial service company. His background includes more than 20 years of experience in digital, brand, customer experience and social business. Here’s the gist of his recent blog post:
“Not only is reach falling but social has never succeeded in delivering reliable marketing scale, no matter how many case studies suggest otherwise. Social does not deliver purchasers (accounting for 1% of e-commerce sales, compared to 16% for email and 17% for CPC [cost per click]). Social delivers poor conversions (with a conversion rate of 1.17% compared to 2.04% for search and 2.18% for email). Social fails to deliver trust (with B2B buyers rating social media posts among the least important for establishing credibility and just 15% of consumers trusting social posts by companies or brands.) Nor is social media a major factor in search engine rankings (placing dead last among the nine major factors affecting SEO [search engine optimization] according to MoZ’s 2015 Search Engine Ranking Factors report.)
Brands that win in the social era will not be better at storytelling but in using social media to hear, help, educate, encourage, empower, connect and respond to their customers and prospects as individuals.
Maybe 5% of brands are worth talking about. Apple and Harley-Davidson, for example, create experiences that generate discussion. Movies generate discussion.
Forbes states 2016 will be a host for a variety of new trends and changes in the social scene. Here’s how:
- In-the-moment updates will dominate. Social media is already “in-the-moment” by nature, but there are some posts that are more “in-the-moment” than others. For example, take Periscope, which was recently acquired by Twitter—it allows users to give a live video broadcast of some stretch of their lives. Instagram and Snapchat also support on-the-go, in-the-moment updates.
- Buy buttons will take over. Facebook and Pinterest are just two of the platforms that gained attention this year by introducing new “buy” features for their advertisers and users. Mobile users of Facebook and Pinterest who see a product they like in a sponsored post can now use one click to purchase it, without ever leaving the app. By the end of 2016, most major social media brands will feature some kind of buy button naturally as an element of their advertising campaigns.
- In-app functionality will diversify and spread. Facebook is the king of adding new functionality. Expect this trend to continue well into 2016, giving marketers ever more opportunities to engage with their audiences on one platform.
- New publication options will be available. Social media tools will dream up even more sophisticated forms of publishing for businesses and organizations.
- User privacy concerns will hit an all-time high. After another year full of high-profile security breaches (like Ashley Madison), user concerns over privacy are going to hit an all-time high.
- Competition for organic visibility will increase. Finally, as the ROI of social media marketing becomes more established and social marketing itself becomes more accessible for a wider range of businesses, there will be a greater level of competition for organic visibility.
- Fewer small platforms will emerge. Small social media platforms have tended to skyrocket in popularity to stand on their own, get enough attention to be acquired by one of the big three (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn), or die a quick death. In 2016, we’ll see fewer small platforms as the big players race to gobble up the promising small fry, meaning you’ll have to worry about fewer up-and-coming opportunities.
These trends will permeate the landscape of social media marketing, it’s the companies who adapt to these changes who stand to benefit the most.
According to Content Standard by Skyward… Fringe Social Media
By now we’re tired of hearing how social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn will change the way we market to our customers. That’s old news, the more forward-thinking marketers are looking to fringe social hubs as the solution for reaching niche audiences.
It’s unfair to call networks like Instagram and Snapchat “fringe,” as they’re clear leaders in their respective camps and have dominated news circuits in 2015. A report from eMarketer forecasts Instagram will have nearly $600 million in advertising revenue in 2015, rising to $2.81 billion by 2017.
Besides the rise of Instagram marketing, networks like Snapchat, Periscope, and Meerkat have erupted, giving marketers new avenues to use when connecting with consumers. Currently, Snapchat is valued at $16 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal’s “Billion Startup Club.” A separate report from RBC Capital Markets and Advertising Age found that 72 percent of US marketers were interested in allocating money to Instagram for advertising in the next 12 months. The company’s new features like Discover, lenses, geotags, and other sponsored content solutions have only helped that growth increase.
In fact, the top three networks dominating additional social marketing investments next year focus on visual media.
The case study: what Cosmos say about Snapchat
Cosmopolitan is the best-selling young women’s magazine in the U.S., a bible for fun, fearless females that reaches more than 18 million readers a month. Cosmopolitan.com reaches over 18 million unique users a month, in addition to boasting 5 million+ Facebook fans and nearly one million Twitter followers. In addition to the U.S. flagship, Cosmopolitan publishes 61 print magazine editions around the world.
Cosmo’s Discover Snapchat – January 2015
Snapchat introduced a change designed to make it even more addictive. They announced Discover, a new feature that puts the most important news and stories of the day just one screen away from selfies. Discover launched, with Cosmopolitan as one of 11 Snapchat-selected media channels to deliver daily content to the app’s large and growing user base. “This is a natural partnership and extension of the Cosmo brand, our readers live on Snapchat, ” said Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Joanna Coles.
This quick video shows you what to expect from Snapchat Discover
Snapchat is increasingly becoming more of a media and publishing company first and social network second. They’ve had Our Story for a while and now they have Discover. Both are two big operations that regularly publish content to millions and millions of consumers. But more than that, Snapchat has been able to convince some of the world’s biggest news and entertainment brands that they should publish a daily mini-magazine to Snapchat’s platform exclusively.
According to a new Piper Jaffray survey, Snapchat is more popular among American teens than Facebook, with 19 percent of them saying the mobile app is the most important social network. The most important platform for teens is Instagram (33 percent), followed by Twitter (20 percent), Snapchat and then Facebook (15 percent). Snapchat gets 4 billion video views a day, according to an International Business Times report. That’s the same number as Facebook.
According to Digiday, Cosmo says it’s averaging 3 million viewers a day on Snapchat Discover. The magazine’s digital presence had averaged about 1.8 million views a day, but jumped to the 3 million milestone over the summer. Kate Lewis, Vice President and Editorial Director of Digital at Hearst, says Snapchat plays a big role in this growth.
She also noted that Cosmo delivers high content-consumption rates for advertisers on its Discover channel. Meaning, 72 percent of users who watch the Cosmo channel click through to the story, whether it’s an ad or not. Cosmo’s Discover stories are shared up to 1.2 million times daily, Lewis said.
Lessons for others
Instagram: Twitter’s replacement
Twitter is losing timeshare to other platforms, specifically Instagram. Instagram has become Twitter, but visual. According to TechRadar, engagement on Instagram is also seven times higher than on Twitter and Facebook.
Snapchat: there’s no end in sight
The Financial Times recently reported that Snapchat is on track to hit $100 million in ad sales this year, double its recent $50 million target, with another quarter left in the year. The company has been ambitious with its advertising solutions, testing a variety of features over the last 12 months.
Pinterest: The small yet mighty B2C advertising solution
In total, Pinterest has raised $1.32 billion in funding. It’s a smaller network of 100 million monthly active users, most of whom are further along the purchasing cycle and willing to engage directly with brands. And with a valuation of $11 billion, there’s a lot of vested interest in the success of this network.
So why social media?
Many large companies have tons of great untold stories; and they should feel obliged to tell them as well as they can without looking at short-term sales or similar.
submitted by: Christine Diesbourg, University of Waterloo