Is the value of a Snapchat Ad really worth $750,000 per day?

This month Snapchat announced plans that they’re going to start charging brands the astronomical figure of $750,000 or about £500,000 for ads on the platform per day. For this amount of money brands get to show an ad to the social networks youthful and teenage audience…which will promptly disappear in 24 hours. So let’s break this down further. That means a brand would be paying $31,250 an hour, or $520 a minute or $9 a second. For me the figure that is most telling is how much brands are paying a second, as Snapchat ads, stories and messages only last up to 1-30 seconds. So if you’re posting an ad that lasts 30 seconds, you’ve just coughed up $270! Of course there’s no guarantee that the recipient will see out the whole ad, as they might just delete it, thus money wasted!

The other drawback of Snapchat’s ads, if the cost hasn’t already made you faint, is the fact you can’t target them to specific users. So it literally is a mass Snapchat message with no personalisation or anything. I mean for something generic like food this might be ok, but for something specific such as womens clothing, I personally don’t really want to see that (my days of wearing womens clothing are behind me). So the fact you aren’t able to target is a big issue. But I guess the cost is the reason for this. If Snapchat decides to release a targeted ads system, the cost I presume might be lower as you are hitting fewer users. Although it might actually be higher as you’re targeting more specifically!

The question to ask is why and how can Snapchat ask for so much from brands. One of the reasons is that it’s one of the fastest growing apps and social networks around with over 30 million users and this isn’t showing any signs of slowing down as more people sign up and brands look to exploit it. Also there’s a high value to get ads to people’s smartphones and through Snapchat’s ads brands can achieve just this. That’s because when you receive the snap, this is the only ad you see, as it’s not like a website page with loads of banner ads, it’s one ad that takes up your screen. Some might compare this to Instagram’s ad strategy too.

Is there actually any benefit in paying this amount of money? I mean is there actually any value in it, will you get a decent return or any if that. It’s quite hard to determine the ROI of these ads, and a lot will depend on the call to action. If it’s ‘opens’ then this isn’t really a great metric although clicks or website visits/sign ups might be a better determinant of success. Either way it appears Snapchat hasn’t really thought about this yet, nor really has any brand.

So only time will tell whether brands pay the handsome sum of $750,000 for an ad, or will Snapchat rethink this cost strategy. Thanks for reading and please do comment on your views of Snapchat’s ad cost. In the meantime, please do follow my blog and me on Twitter @DigitalStuart for more digital marketing and social media news.

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How many Friends do we REALLY have on Facebook

I was looking through my Facebook timeline not too long ago (and to be honest I last looked at it a few minutes ago), and I was wondering how many of these people do I actually talk to, or even see anymore. I think I got to something like the 50 mark, maybe a bit more, don’t really want to be seen as someone with no friends. But I know of people who have about 1,000 friends on Facebook and you kind of think how can someones life accommodate that many…and then you release that they probably only see and speak to about 10% of them.

I recently went through all my friends and did a nice cull, which was both satisfying and freed up lots of space on my newsfeed which has been promptly replaced with brands! I did this not to be cruel or horrible, I did it because to be honest if I carried about them I’d probably see or talk to them, but as I don’t why should I still have them on my feed? There are of course people who like to see what their old pals are up to, and I do too, but there’s a limit to the caring. I was quite shocked to look through my friends and think ‘I haven’t even spoken to that person’, but just added them because we had like 900 mutual friends!

In a world of information overload where we have to digest so much in our newsfeeds, we only really have time for family members and close friends that we want to know what they’re up to. Also whenever we meet people at a party or when we’re out and about, gone are the days when we ask for a phone number, it’s more ‘add me Facebook’! But when do you add someone on Facebook? How many times do you have to have seen the person before you do it? Should you add work colleagues? And of course we’ve all done the Facebook stalk of someone. It’s interesting to know what everyones Facebook etiquette is, as we’re all different. One thing I don’t do though is have my parents on Facebook, for me that’s a social media no no! I mean it’s not because I’m doing anything embarrassing (not usually) or bad, but I find it strange to think they’d be stalking me all the time. Plus I speak to them regularly so they know any important ins and outs!

So it’s safe to say that we all have lots of friends, but we don’t necessary see or speak to them all the time. It’ll be interesting to see whether our Facebook friends grow as we meet more people or decline as we cut out people from our social media lives. Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment on your Facebook friend experiences. For more digital news follow this blog or catch me on Twitter @DigitalStuart.

My Marketing and Social Media Predictions for 2015!!!

First of all let me take this moment to wish you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!! In this blog I’m going to highlight some of my predictions for 2015 in the social media and marketing space.

Instagram to Continue its Growth 

I recently wrote how Instagram now has more active users than Twitter and in 2015 I expect the photo sharing app to continue its growth in users. It wouldn’t surprise me if Instagram introduced many new features in the coming months of 2015 in addition to the recent ones. Also Instagram for business will increase as brands look to take advantage of Instagrams growing audience.

Social Advertising Spend

Many brands are now allocating funds for social media usage whether that’s for Promoted Posts on Twitter, Facebook ads, or investing in creative content, I expect more money to be spent on this growing trend. Brands are now spending more money on digital marketing activities such as social media, search or mobile, meaning greater focus is on these areas rather than traditional marketing.

The Rise of Snapchat

2015 should see the mobile app Snapchat increase it’s presence on the social media space. At the moment Snapchat only allows you to send photos but recently they announced plans to introduce a payment system called Snapcash, so more new features could be added to the app. I expect Snapchat to add greater enhanced features such as profile pages, more filters on Snaps and possibly a greater messaging system. Of course these are features that would enhance Snapchat’s service.

Mobile to Grow Even More

Every year we say that mobile will grow in the coming year, and you kind of think how much more can it grow?! But 2015 will once again see brands and consumers presence on mobile increase. This rise will see brands spend more money on mobile whether that’s creating or developing a mobile optimised site, introducing mobile payments or releasing an app, this sector is rising. Additionally, mobile advertising will grow as brands try to secure the screen on smartphones, as apps such as Twitter and Facebook enhance their advertising platforms. Also more people now have smartphones so brands are seeing this opportunity to advertise to a whole new audience as well as offer their products and services online.

Wearable Technology All The Rage

Wearable technology is going to rise even more as the year progresses through releases such as Smartwatches. This could see more watches that now offer users the chance to send texts, access email and other apps…oh…and maybe it’ll tell the time too.

Big Data will be…Big

Gone are the days of looking at data from your customers and ignoring it, but now these figures are becoming even more vital to gain great insights into a brands audience. 2015 will see social media and marketing managers analyse more data than ever to really find out who their audience is and what they like. This will see an increase in brands using analytics tools to see for instance what interests their social media followers are in to, where they are from, who they follow, whether they’re male or female and a whole multitude of other stats. All these demographic, geographic and psychographic insights will enable brands to create content that is more tailored to the audience, thus increasing engagement.

Content is the King of 2015

The marketing term that has been banished round for some time is ‘content’, and how ‘it is king’, and this will continue to be the case in 2015. There’s never been a more valuable time for brands to create and post content whether that’s a photo, a video or a status update which is interesting, shareable, creates awareness, is fun and of high quality. That’s why brands will invest money in developing this content whether that’s in house designers or outsourcing it to agencies.

Real Time Marketing (RTM) is the REAL Deal

More brands are now taking the opportunity to exploit internet trends and popular news stories with creative and humorous content. I’ll take you back to the summer when Apples ‘Bendgate’ was in full flight, and brands quickly jumped on the bandwagon. This is a classic example of a news story creating a massive influx of hilarity and fun from brands. I’ve previously written about how Real Time Marketing is the way to go as it illustrates to a brands audience that they’re current and at the same time keeping an eager eye on what’s going on in the news. I fully see more brands allocating time and money to creating great RTM campaigns in the year to come.

Of course, RTM isn’t always the best strategy to take as if you, and your competitors are all doing it, it doesn’t make it unique anymore. Thus it’s very important to have the first mover advantage of getting there before anymore else and getting something out quickly. However, always be aware that misfortune could happen to anyone…so it was Apple one day, it could easily be you another day…

Storytelling

When we say storytelling we aren’t about to tell you a fariytale…or maybe we are depending on the brand, but this is how brands can differentiate themselves by telling us a story of their brand or campaign. Take for instance John Lewis’ successful Monty the Penguin Christmas advert. This told us the romantic story of Monty and Mabel the penguins and their search for love and to spend Christmas together. These stories add emotion to us as viewers and in some cases make us relate with the narrative…maybe the love side, not being a penguin! Having a great story behind how your brand started or your campaign attracts the audience and creates fantastic social media content!

Personalisation

Brands more than ever are not trying to just post content that is targeted at the masses, but now is aimed at niche and specific people who can then in turn relate to it. The upcoming year will see brands trying to be much more personal with their activities. Obviously this won’t mean posting 100,000 different Twitter status’ for 100,000 followers, but a greater number of posts will target a brands audience. This comes hand in hand with big data and analysing a brands audience, as when they can see who their audience is, personalisation becomes easier.

There’s a lot of Talk about Chat Apps

One thing I’ve noticed over the past year is how much chat apps such as WhatsApp and We Chat have grown, and 2015 won’t see this stop. However, brands haven’t really exploited them yet, maybe because of their nature, but I’d be excited to see how brands in 2015 will use these as the apps audience base grows.

A New Social Network? Is it needed?

There’s always one social network that suddenly grows and takes the social media landscape by storm. 2011 was Google+ (more a drizzle), 2012 it was Pinterest, 2013 was Instagram and 2014 was Snapchat, so who will it be in 2015? There might be a growth in current networks but could an entirely new one come to our attention. But is another social network needed? I mean I work in social media and am amerced in it everyday but even I struggle to follow what’s going on, on my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn and all the others, so how someone that doesn’t work in social media copes I don’t know! I don’t think my life at the moment needs another social network. I’d maybe prefer it to replace a current one. However, if the new network was unique and did something completely different I might find time for it!

So there’s some of my 2015 predictions! I’ll probably be writing a blog post in December to see if any of these happened…or if my mystic meg abilities are totally wrong! if you have any predictions for 2015 please feel free to comment. For more digital marketing news follow this blog, and me on Twitter @DigitalStuart .

Like or Dislike the Idea of a New button on Facebook

After much speculation and public demand, Mark Zuckerberg recently suggested that he’s considered putting a ‘Dislike’ button on Facebook in addition to the standard Like button. But this was merely a consideration, not something that would be installed anytime soon as Facebook tries to add more emotion to its posts.

I think a Dislike button isn’t a great idea due to the potential berating it could give Facebook users. Consider for a minute. I’ve updated a lovely photo of the London skyline, and bang! Someone clicks Dislike. I immediately feel depressed and sad that someone doesn’t like by post. So a Dislike button in this context is a nightmare! Although the other side of it is if you do update your status with a sad post such as a family member passing away, people would engage with that. There’s nothing more awkward that Liking a sad and emotional status!

So Facebook wants to add more emotions to their posts. Maybe it could be like a questionnaire answer template. ‘Like A lot’, ‘Like’, ‘Moderately Like’, ‘Moderately Dislike’, ‘Dislike’, ‘Dislike A lot’. Or maybe I want to indicate that I’ve ‘Laughed’ at your status or ‘Felt Sad’. Whatever the type of engagement you get it’ll be quite complicated with so many emotional options, but at the same time gives the user more freedom over engaging with status’, rather than just to Comment, Like or Share.

It appears that Facebook is in the early stages of this new engagement approach, but this could be the next big change for the social network.

Many thanks for reading and please feel free to share your comments. To keep up to date with the digital marketing industry please follow me on Twitter @DigitalStuart, or click Follow on this blog.

Instagram now the real deal with more active users than Twitter

Earlier this week it was announced that Instagram now has more active users than Twitter with 300 million compared to 271 million. This now means Instagram both in a personal and business sense must be taken even more seriously within the social media space. We assume that the two big social networks are Facebook and Twitter, and I think quite rightly, as they’ve been around longer than Instagram and have established themselves in the market. However, now I feel there’s a shift from these two to the ‘Big Three’; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Of course we need to note that this is ‘active’ users, not total users. But for me determining a social networks users through how many people actively use it is a million times better at indicating whether it’s more popular or not. I would call this the Google+ syndrome. Famously Google+ boasts million of users, but those users don’t actually use the site, they just have a Gmail account.

These new stats is something that brands need to be aware of and take advantage of. I’ve already written about how brands can successful use Instagram but its never become more essential to set up an account and start using it in the business sense. Gone are the days that a brand can just set up a Facebook and Twitter account and then leave it or update it when they feel like it. Now brands have to keep up with these trends, and if these latest stats don’t wake up people to the potential of Instagram I don’t know what will. Instagram is such an effective and visually powerful tool to promote, create awareness and general buzz around your brand. I previously wrote that Instagram needs to change a few things to be a better social network but with the announcement this week came a few changes that should see more people and brands using Instagram.

One of these is verified accounts which is something I’ve been surprised they’ve not done sooner. It can be hard to determine the fake celebrity or brand accounts from the real ones sometimes, so this badge should add authenticity and enhance the users experience. Also there’s going to be a crack down on fake or SPAM accounts which has become one of the most annoying aspects of the social network! We’ve all seen it. An account that has posted one photo but seems to have 10 million followers and follows about 50 million people…!

Instagram’s popularity is also supported by the fact that a report back in April from Forrester suggested that it’s content gets 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook. This might be due to Instagram photos ‘owning’ the screen more on a phone than Facebook. For example, when you look at Instagram on a phone you can only see one photo but on Facebook you can fit 2-3 posts on that screen. So the focus on the screen is higher on Instagram than Facebook, meaning it’s likely to get more engagement.

Furthermore, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams has said that he ‘doesn’t give a shit‘ that Instagram has more followers that look at pretty pics than use Twitter. Maybe these comments have got Twitter running scared that more people want to see pics of funny cats rather than a status update of funny cats! I don’t think people will use Instagram in favour of Twitter as the two are quite different, but it gives an indication of the ever changing nature of the social media landscape, and active user numbers speak for a lot.

It’ll be interesting to see how these numbers change over the coming months!

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to post any comments. You can catch me on Twitter for more social media and digital marketing news @DigitalStuart.

#PutYourBatsOut – How Social Media Remembered Phil Hughes

Yesterday saw the tragic news of the death of Phil Hughes, an Australian cricketer who passed away after being hit in the head with a cricket ball. Like everyone I was totally shocked by his passing having watched him play for Australia numerous times against England in The Ashes. But also being cricketer myself and playing as well as captaining my local team every Saturday in the summer, when something like this happens you feel it more. You empathise. You know how something like this can happen having experienced the game of cricket. It affects you a lot.

Social media reacted to the passing of Phil Hughes with numerous fitting hashtag tributes such as #RIPPhilHughes #63NotOut and #408. But the greatest tribute was the hashtag #PutYourBatsOut which asks people to place their bats outside, started by Paul Taylor, an IT worker from Sydney. It was such an amazing idea and one that pays huge respect to Phil Hughes.

The power of social media especially on Twitter and Instagram ensured that this tribute went viral and that people put their bats out as a mark of respect. It’s incredible how these trends can snowball, and because its for such an amazing cause it makes it even better to see. People that don’t follow cricket or might not have heard of Phil Hughes have put their bats out and paid their own tributes. Thanks to these hashtags the social media world can find out more about the Phil Hughes and what an incredible player he was.

He was such a talented player who’s life was taken away far to early. But the memories of Phil Hughes will remain and the #PutYourBatsOut tribute is such a fantastic way to remember him.

Here’s my tribute to Phil Hughes. RIP.

batts

Is Snapcash a Wise Move for Snapchat?

Earlier this week Snapchat announced ‘Snapcash’, a new feature that’ll enable users to make payments via Square. This will allow users to send money to each other through the messaging app after Snapchat and payment-processing firm Square unveiled their latest partnership. Square already has a similar platform on its app where friends can make payments to each other, and is called ‘Square Cash’. Ah so that’s where the name Snapcash comes from!

The service will initially be available to US users that are over 18, although for me there are two questions that this new feature poses. Firstly, is it secure? And secondly, why has Snapchat introduced this feature before other potential new features.

Snapchat has had security concerns before, such as users data being leaked, so it surprises me that they’ve introduced probably one of the most security sensitive aspects there is in the exchanging of payments. If simple data like your password is getting hacked, who knows what could happen to crucial bank details. I’m personally slightly sceptical, and wouldn’t really feel conformable about firstly exchanging money on Snapchat, and secondly via a mobile app in general. Additionally, with the problem of sexting and inappropriate images being sent between users, the chances of vulnerable under 18’s getting their bank details stolen rises.

Although having Square built into the system will add authenticity and quality to the security element and give the feature much better safely and control. Also it’s quite a bold move by Snapchat which they should be commended for, as not many mobile apps have this feature so early on in their existence.

For me it’s strange that Snapchat has decided to introduce this payments system before any other major improvements. Obviously they’ve developed new features such as Snapchat Stories and Messaging, but there’s no sign of other aspects that might improve the app. These could include having longer snaps that you can save, creating a profile page or having a commercial platform on it. But the nature of Snapchat is to send snaps to your friends, so why not send payments, it’s still the same C2C theory.

So it’ll be interesting to see whether Snapcash takes off in the US, and then internationally. Will people trust it? Will it bring a whole new market and way of paying people? Or will it be a flop or just a basic feature we forget about.

Thanks for reading, please let me know your thoughts on Snapcash.

For more digital marketing and social media news, please follow me on Twitter @DigitalStuart