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.

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 .

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 

Ding Dong to Taco Bell’s Social Media Strategy

When you’re about to launch a ground breaking and unique app for your business, you want to create awareness of it don’t you? A great way to do this is obviously through the power of social media, one of the most influential sources of media there is in the modern era. I mean you’d be a fool not to take advantage of the opportunity to promote something like your new app. How would anyone know about it? How would they download it? So, promotion of it is pretty crucial you’d agree. However, not if you’re Taco Bell. When Taco Bell ‘launched’, and I use that term loosely,their new mobile payment and ordering app they decided to take the unique social media strategy of not promoting the app at all, but instead shut down and black out there entire social media network.

So when users went to Taco Bell’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, they weren’t presented with the usually creative content, but instead blacked out screens, such as the one below on their Twitter.

taco bell

For me this is one of the oddest and most innovative social media strategy launches I’ve ever seen. The last thing you’d think about when launching a new app is to not promote it at all. On the contrary, you’d invest more time and money in promoting it. Maybe through promoted posts on all the main social media channels. It’s such a bold move!

However, Taco Bell is one of the most established brands in America, right up there with McDonalds and Starbucks, and with over 12 million followers across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, this strategy isn’t as risky as you might think. When you have market clout like Taco Bell you can afford to do this, as all it takes is a small hint, like the hashtag they used ‘#OnlyInTheApp’ to your massive social media audience and the awareness is there!

You couldn’t imagine a small, lesser known fast food brand doing a similar strategy otherwise that would be social media suicide.

The strategy by Taco Bell was incredibly successful as 90% of the chains 6,000 US stores began accepting mobile orders and payments with 75% of all stores already having processed a mobile order 24 hours after the apps launch.

So overall, I feel that as far as social media strategies go, Taco Bell’s is certainly up there as one of the best and most unique I’ve ever seen. It’ll be interesting to see whether other brands do something similar in the future, I guess they might given the success Taco Bell had.

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to comment. For more social media and digital news, follow me @DigitalStuart.

WhatsApp Facebook? Buy the Competition or Diversify

So this week saw the quite surprising news that Facebook is set to acquire messaging service WhatsApp for a reported $19 billion, not much then! But for me it does pose the question in the social media and mobile landscape of whether Facebook’s major acquisitions are simply a ploy to buy the competition, or diversify into other areas and markets.

Taking that first theory, Facebook has a reputation of trying to buy out mobile platforms, most notably their successful acquisition of Instagram and again a few months ago with their failed bid for Snapchat. So you could argue that Facebook sees WhatsApp as a threat to their Facebook chat service, or any potential mobile platform that they might be developing in the future. Therefore, instead of sitting idle and watching WhatsApp rake in the money and become a competitor, they simply buy them! I mean it’s clever of Facebook to do this, as they clearly know what the market is doing and what’s (App) popular with consumers, and growing. But is this strategy a good one? I do feel Facebook is trying to become too embellished and wanting to become too much, and have their finger in all these pies. This could come to their detriment if they take their eye off their main channel, and basically the one thing they’re known for. So I suppose the saying would be. ‘If you can’t beat them, buy them’!

However, another school of thought is that it’s quite ingenuous of Facebook to buy out these companies, as they don’t have the skill, nor the user base to compete or create something such as a messaging app, or a photo sharing app in the case of Instagram. Facebook has tried and failed to diversify its platform into photo sharing and messaging, so the next best thing is to buy an established player. Acquiring WhatsApp is a smart move as here you have a very popular service that’s used by millions and growing everyday. Facebook doesn’t have to invest in R&D, product development or marketing, as the value of the WhatsApp branding  will do that automatically for them. Thus, these diversification strategies increase Facebooks market presence and tap into knowledge and well-established brands to take them to the next level.

But what of the future of WhatsApp. Facebook say that nothing will change, and it will remain as it is. Well, it’s maybe only a matter of time before advertising comes into the picture! I do actually believe Facebook a bit when they say they’ll keep everything the same, as they’ve not radically changed Instagram, as so many thought they would.

To finish, here’s one final thought. Apparently looking back on the founder of WhatsApp’s tweets, Brain Acton was turned down by Twitter and Facebook for a job in 2009. Oh the irony.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment. In the meantime please follow this blog and me on Twitter @DigitalStuart 

The Marketing Mix Applied to the Digital World – Promotion

Well grab the tissues, as it’s the final instalment of why the marketing mix applies to the digital world, and today we’re looking at ‘Promotion’!.

So what does ‘Promotion’ mean when we think of it in digital terms? Well it’s how you can use digital channels to inform, create awareness and persuade an audience to buy your products or services.

Out of all the ‘Ps’, Promotion is by far the broadest and most diverse, as when you think about it, the whole digital marketing landscape is based on promotional elements, whether that’s Search, Social Media or Banner ads. Here’s an overview of all those channels.

Websites

  • Found on the internet, a website contains webpages on information on what a brand sells or offers . To explain this a website has certain design elements and includes text, images and or videos to portray this. Website analytics can be used to monitor activity on it

Search Marketing

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimisation): The natural search results in a search engine. The results will appear in a set ranking depending on keywords
  • PPC (Pay Per Click): The paid listings that normally appear directly under the search bar, or to the right of the screen. The ranking of these is based on how much you pay for keywords

Advertising 

  • Banner Ads: Adverts containing rich media, either an image or video, that appear on a webpage. These ads might be interactive or a still image. Clicking on them will take the user to another website related to that ad or to a call to action
  • Affiliate Marketing: A customer sees an advert for an Apple iPad (Merchant) on The Guardian’s website (Publisher) – If the customer clicks on the ad and goes onto to purchase the iPad, the publisher receives a commission on that sale

Public Relations

  • Public Relations: Managing a brands awareness, understanding and reputation through influencing how they are exposed in the media
  • Online PR: Trying to maximise favourable mentions or opinions of your company, brand, products or website on a third-party website

Viral Marketing

  • Online word of mouth (WOM) usually in the form of a video, image, website or link that is fun, creative or entertaining and is sent amongst people

Email Marketing

  • A form of direct marketing where an email is sent to a recipients inbox. The email might be received either as a promotional tool or after signing up to a newsletter

Three types of emails

  • Outbound Email Marketing: Email campaigns are sent out by companies to customers or prospects as direct marketing to encourage purchase or to build an engaging relationship
  • Permission based Email/Opt In: Customers or prospects have given permission to receive email marketing messages, so it’s not seen as cold emails or SPAM
  • Inbound Email Marketing: Where a company manages the emails that customers send to them enquiring about products or services –e.g. customer service, care, support or help

Social Media

  • A network or community where users interact with one another by creating, sharing and exchanging ideas and content
  • Blog: An online diary created by an individual to communicate with an audience their views or opinions…like this one!

Mobile

  • Mobile Ads: Banner adverts that include images or videos that appear on a mobile screen

For a greater in-depth discussion on Mobile, please read The Mobile Marketing Mix (nice cross-blog promotion there!)

Wow, that’s a lot of digital promotional tools! But each one of these techniques has opened up many channels and avenues that brands can use to promote their offering. They all have the ability to generate traffic to the website, relevant calls to action and most importantly, a purchase!

So, alas, that’s it. We’ve delved into the traditional marketing mix, and seen how it has definitely got a place in this dynamic digital world. It’ll be interesting to see how digital adapts and develops over the next few years and how the marketing mix is further expanded.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment. For more digital marketing news please follow my blog or my Twitter account @DigitalStuart.

Here’s a full list of all four ‘Marketing Mix Applied to the Digital World’ blogs for your enjoyment.

The Marketing Mix Applied to the Digital World – Product

The Marketing Mix Applied to the Digital World – Price

The Marketing Mix Applied to the Digital World – Place

The Marketing Mix Applied to the Digital World – Promotion

The Mobile Marketing Mix (MMM)

Image

We’ve all heard of the traditional marketing mix, but there hasn’t been much work done on a mobile version of this. As a result this blog is going to provide a nice summary of the elements that make up the mobile marketing landscape, and creatively called the ‘Mobile Marketing Mix’, or MMM!

(1) Apps

In the past if you’d said ‘App’ you might think there’s two letters, ‘L’ and ‘E’ missing from it, or that it’s half of a fruit. But it is in fact short for ‘Applications’. Yes, that’s where the word App comes from, who’d have thought it. So an app is a small piece of software that performs a certain action. Whether that’s a social network, a calculator, the news, a game or a map, these apps have an intended purpose, and are either pre-installed on your smartphone or can be downloaded from an App store.

(2) Mobile Advertising

One thing that mobile apps bring is the opportunity for adverts to be displayed on them. Just like ads have appeared on websites, nowadays gaining extra revenue from mobile ads has become not optional but compulsory. The great thing about mobile ads is the company can ‘own’ that small screen. Whereas on a website there might be a few ads popping up, on a mobile ad most likely only one can appear.

Mobile ads can come in four forms:

Mobile banners and displays: graphical images or text that could include rich media

Mobile PPC: ad appears when you search for something in the paid listings

Contextual mobile ads: similar to PPC,but more on websites/apps rather than search listings

Idle screen advertising: ads shown while the user is waiting for a page or app to download

(3) M-Commerce

After the word E-commerce was coined from buying online, the term has been applied to the mobile world. Mobile Commerce is the act of purchasing a product or service through your phone. So that could be anything from purchasing shoes from M&S to train tickets from the Trainline. As long as it’s purchased via a phone device, it can be called M-Commerce.

M-Commerce has revolutionised buying online as you can pretty much buy anything from anywhere. M-Commerce sales are rising rapidly and will more than likely explode over the next few years. Although the security aspect of buying via your phone is still a worry for some.

(4) QR Codes

Known formally as Quick Response Codes or informally as QR Codes, these have become an ever growing aspect of the mobile landscape.  A QR code is a barcode that can appear on paper, a product or a billboard, and can be read using a smartphone or a dedicated QR reading device and contains a URL within it. So once you’ve captured the QR code the link could take you to anything from a website to a message or to a special offer. The mysteries of the QR code!

(5) Mobile Coupons

A mobile coupon is an electronic ticket or message sent to someone’s mobile phone usually via a SMS or MMS text for the person to redeem an offer or gain a discount on a product or service. This is a great way to drive either footfall to your store or traffic to your website. Mobile coupons are usually well targeted as they either know you’d be interested in the offer, or you’re in the local area and could take advantage of it.

For instance, you could receive a SMS text to get a 20% discount off a pizza at the Pizza Express ten minutes away; a fantastic way to solve your dinner problems!

(6) Location Based Mobile Marketing

There are kind of two elements to this. The first is interrelated with the previous point about mobile coupons and being in the right location to redeem them. Targeted advertising using GPS is a fantastic way to reach a vast audience and is growing fast!

The second part combines two aspects, apps or websites with location. The main example of this is Foursquare where the app allows you to post an update of where you are. Additionally, Facebooks ‘Check in’ and other social networks location finders have integrated mobile and location together to enable you to tell the world where you are.

(7) Mobile Payments

Picture the situation, your friend wants to buy something online but has run out of money, or someone owes you money. Instead of waiting ages for the cheque to clear you can now make that payment quickly through your mobile. That’s because by downloading an app money can be transferred into your account instantly through the power of your mobile device. Great! No more waiting needed!

(8) Mobile Websites

The eighth and final aspect of MMM is mobile optimised websites, so now we aren’t talking about apps, but more websites that accommodate mobile. For instance, http://m.bbc.co.uk/news is the BBC News mobile site. If you typed this into a search engine on your mobile then this would be the interface you’d see. The site is more compressed with design, usability and navigation features that enable the site to be viewed from a small screen on a mobile. So although you can download a BBC News app there still must be a mobile website version created just in case you access the site from a search engine or another site.

However, we’ve all been there when there still isn’t a mobile optimised site! Frantically expanding and dragging the page up, down and across! Very annoying!

So there we have it. There’s an overview of the eight main elements of mobile marketing which in some way all interrelate. There’s no question that mobile marketing is increasing and probably by next year this list and the mobile marketing mix would have increased further!

Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment. For further digital marketing and social media news please follow me on Twitter @DigitalStuart.