KEY Social media marketing trends
1. Second-screen viewing is increasingly a part of millennials viewing habits. This trend offers an opportunity for marketers to use certain signals to identify when someone is watching a TV ad while simultaneously using a mobile device. 88% of consumers use mobile phones while watching television and 53% of them look at social networks. Marketers need to design campaigns that integrates these dynamics.
2. Images are more likely to be clicked on, liked and shared on social media. Facebook and other social networks are focusing more and more on improved image resolution and visual storytelling. Ads that appear within the news feeds have proven to be successful. To further reap on these benefits, Facebook is introducing larger images and auto-play video ads into the news feed.
3. Video is increasingly popular, as evident with the flux of video social networks appearing the past few years. This includes YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, Stellar. The number of online video watchers is expected to double to 1.5 billion by 2016. Currently, only 24% of national brands use online video to market to consumers.
4. Personalized and meaningful news feeds. Social media accounts for the majority of time on the Internet and has become the dominant way of consuming information. While immediacy used to be a priority here, current trends are showing a shift towards increased personalization and quality content with lasting value. Facebook’s algorithm is highlighting this effect by surfacing not the newest posts but the best and most enduring ones, regardless of whether the source is a friend, news source or brand. If a brand is able to create quality content, the natural environment on Facebook improves the likelihood of earning impressions for virtually no extra cost.
5. Small data. Small data, the information consumers send out online and offline, including search traffic, shopping habits, brand preferences and social identity, is increasingly dominant for tailoring content. When this information is combined with external data, like time, weather and seasonality, small data allows marketers to micro-target real time campaigns that are relevant and responsive.
6. Hyperlocal. Using hyperlocal data, often utilized by small businesses relying on local marketing to attract foot traffic and consumer dollars, companies can analyze buying trends and behaviors across all geographic location and target their ads suitably. Google has enabled click to call technology when people search for a specific business, a feature that Facebook and Twitter are likely to enable soon.
7. Mobile. It is predicted that the use of mobile broadband connections is 1.2 billion. The developing world continues to connect via a mobile device and that enables further opportunities to connect with people in inventive ways. According to Econsultancy, 51% of advertisers plan to use mobile ads in 2014.
Millennials are significantly more likely than older generations to be influenced by their friends’ social media posts about products and services. According to a January 2014 polling conducted by Harris Interactive for The Webby Awards, 68% of 18-to-34-year-old social media users surveyed were at least somewhat likely to make a purchase after seeing a friend’s post.
In comparison, 78% of social media users 65 and older said they were not at all likely to make a purchase based on what they saw on their friends feeds.
According to Emarketer, the majority of posts about products and services come from women. Only 18% of millennial women said they had never posted about a new service or product.
Millennial males are the most inclined to share photos and thoughts whenever they have tried a new product or service, 6% reported always doing so. Nearly 6 in 10 millennial Internet users said they had been first out of their friends and family to try a new product or service compared with 19% of Internet users 65 and older who said the same.
Millennials are in the forefront of embracing the most current and new social media platforms. However, if a brand has limited time and resources, investing in profiles across all sites is not worth while considering most millennials spend all their time on a small portion of what is available. It is important to recognize where your niche audience spends their time and for marketers to get familiar with the sites they use and adapting their advertising efforts accordingly.
Millennials Social Networks
-91% have Facebook accounts
-46% spend time on Instagram
-39% on Twitter
-30% on Tumblr
-27% on LinkedIn
-17% on Snapchat
-27% LinkedIn and Pinterest
This data is based on seven social sites comScore scouted.
Despite using lots of different social media sources, millennials spend 76% of their social time minutes on Facebook. The site is not as popular as it used to be, but 85% of millennials check the site daily. 10% of non-facebook social time is spent on Instagram and 6% on Twitter, while the remaining social sites report time below that level.
A study from Buzz Marketing conducted with 500 millennials across the United states found that 49% of 18-34 years olds spend over six hours online on a daily basis and 31% spend between 3-6 hours per day using the Internet. 92% own a smartphone and a laptop.
Surprisingly, the study found that 86% of millennials prefer physical magazines and 89% choose actual books over their online counterparts. However, they prefer to get their news online.
In fact, 68% of millennials get their news through social media platforms according to a 2013 Ypulse Study. Facebook and Twitter ranked first as news sources ahead of word of mouth (63%), news websites (62%) and television (55%).
57% of millennials report following brands on social media exclusively for competitions and free stuff. 39% wanted product recommendations, 30% wanted entertaining media and 15% wanted overall fun conversation.
Millennials reported that the most important thing for a brand to avoid is “over posting”. The number one reason they feel irritated is brands posting too much on social media and branded hashtags are doomed desperate and annoying. It is better to join in on current popular hashtags and add value to the conversation.
In addition, forcing millennials to use Facebook Connect and social plugins is a big mistake. They should be provided with alternate options to log in. 50% of millennials have used social media to inform ahead of a purchase.
With the increased use of mobile and accelerating technological developments, privacy and security issues are also raising concern, especially among the younger millennials. A survey conducted by the USC Annenberg Center for Digital Future and Bovitz Inc. revealed that 70 % of millennials agreed with the statement “no one should ever be allowed to have access to my personal data”. However, 56% said they would share their location with a nearby company in return for a relevant coupon or promotional deal.
According to Jeffrey I. Cole, director of USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future, millennials are willing to give up some privacy if it can provide benefits to them. Compared to only 19% of users over 35, 25% of millennials agreed to the statement “I am OK with trading some of my personal information in exchange for more relevant advertising.”. The study showed that 48% of millennials visit their social networking sites several times a day and contact an average of 18 people through their social networks. Their older counterparts contact only five people per day.
A survey of 571 millennials conducted by Texas A&M University revealed that millennials prefer online coupons and will repeatedly visit a website that has competitive prices and good shipping rates.They prefer side-panel ads and do not like pop-up advertising, and graphics are highly effective in grabbing their attention. If given an incentive, such as a discount or reward, Millennials will write an online product review. Millennials prefer quality over quantity.
Real time marketing has become a new way to create and ignite earned media. The success of this was proved during the 2013 Super Bowl Oreo Moment when, during a black-out, the company’s marketing team tweeted “you can still dunk in the dark” referring to how you can dunk the Oreo cookie in milk even though it is dark. Real time marketers have teams that are integrated, multi-dimensional and nimble, as well as open technology platforms that enable these teams to transform data into insights into action in near real-time.
Twitter is an important medium to market real time, as this aligns with the nature of the service. Millennials make up nearly half of the total Twitter users, according to a Pew Research Center study.
This medium can be very profitable for a brand to use, especially since corporations are put at the same level as individuals. This enables the consumer to communicate directly to brands to voice their opinions for everyone to see. It is therefore important that brands develop a voice that is consistent with the message they wish to send and keep their voice constant with how they communicate with the individual. Replying directly to a tweet, regardless of whether it was sent directly to the brands, allows them to prove to the public eye that they care about consumers opinions and are willing and able to communicate. Retweeting and favoriting consumers tweets is also a good way to prove to the community that you listen and value your audiences opinions.
Oreo and Nike are known to have implemented a successful twitter-strategy and they consistently reply and retweet their fans relative content. Oreo has a very humorous and funny voice, while Nike encapsulates a more serious brand voice and displays more inspirational tweets. These brands have garnered a lot of success on this platform because they have stayed true to their voice and engaged actively with their fans.
Hashtags are meant to create and foster conversations and let consumers and brands know what people are saying about an event or product at any given time across all platforms. There are various measurement tools to easily measure what people are saying about your brands, some popular ones being: bloglines, addictomatic, hootsuite, wildfire, trackur, socialmention.com.
Unless brands are able to tap into the natural social conversation going on in social media, they will be ignored. In the 2014 Superbowl, 57% percent of the ads featured hashtags, but only five brands had more than 10 000 mentions during and after the game.
By simply adding a hashtag to a slogan does not make it engaging which will generate less buzz and fewer opportunities for young consumers to actually remember the campaign. As more and more brands establish a social media presence and create hashtags, less are actually listened to. Some recommendations include:
- Encourage followers to be creative: an example of how to encourage and reward creative participation is to amplify it. Seamless launched a campaign after the 2014 Oscar nominations, starting the hashtag #oscarnomnoms by sharing spoof posters for nominees with titles of the films changed to be food related such as “herb” and “Gravitea”. When people participated on Twitter, the company created posters for some and retweeted with matching artwork.
- Tap into what is already happening. Popular hashtags amplify moments that are already happening in users lives like #fromwhereistand or #fml (fuck my life). A hasthtag that is only useful in promoting a brand will not be pulled into other conversations, so these organic hashtags are useful to include as part of a tweet. Charmin is an example of this. They managed to find a way to integrate their campaign into the lives of their followers by humorously introducing the hashtag #tweetfromtheseat, tapping into the fact that 40% of millennials admit to using Twitter while on the toilet.
- Join the game. Millennials are more likely to respond to humor and organic hashtags and it is important for brands to play along with established and developing trends rather than come up with their own every time. In 2009, #therejectedcandyhearts became a trending twitter topic in which users used the hashtag to share ironic, sarcastic and humorous tweets about how they were spending valentines alone. This trend has continued as a tradition every year with the brand allowing users to make their own versions of candy hearts and sharing them across social media. This year, brands like Hulu and NBC joined the conversation by tweeting out rejected candy heart concepts that played off their own brands and thus becoming a natural part of the broad conversation unfolding.
A good website to find trending hashtags are www.hashtags.org.
What about smaller brands?
Oreo and Nike are brands that are already widely known among the public and have an easier time attracting fans and followers on social media. For a new brand it is beneficial to invest in promoted tweets (paid advertisements that show up in a news feed) to alert your fans of your presence. However, all though time consuming it is important to invest in identifying and finding potential influencers (popular accounts with significant amounts of followers) and alert them of your brand without seeming intrusive. Add value by replying to their tweets and not bombarding them with tags that you include in your posts. Focus on how you can improve their image on social media, not how they can improve yours.
The important note here is that Millennials are in fact less responsive to the kind of tweets that they know are payed for, automated and general.They are more likely to pay attention to brands that actively engage them through direct, personal tweets. It may be time consuming and an additional investment in resources, but it will pay off.
Brands that are able to build a connection with this segment will foster brand ambassadors and social influencers who organically spread (retweet) the brands message. Millennials enjoy this type of brand engagement and when they connect on a personal level, sharing is a meaningful personal advocacy. Their peers are also more likely to be influenced if the endorsement comes from one of their friends.
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