As Facebook, Twitter, and the other go-to social networks rapidly mature, combating the inevitable ad fatigue is becoming more and more important. The most popular social networks are beginning to feel more like public utilities for users than the goldmines for advertisers they were even a year or two ago.
With the jury still out on whether marketing on Facebook is even worth the trouble anymore, let’s take a look at some of the more unheralded places marketers might gain some traction.
Though less of a secret than the other networks on our list, marketers would be wise to pay a little more attention to the world’s largest professional network. With well over 300 million members in 200 countries, LinkedIn offers both a massive audience and a massive opportunity.
According to an exhaustive study done by the Arketi Group, 85 percent of journalists report having a LinkedIn account, but only 55 percent are on Facebook and 24 percent for Twitter. These are the people who can turn your small, organic marketing efforts into a feeding frenzy. A well-timed, well-written article posted to LinkedIn can garner hundreds of thousands of views in a very short time.
If you’ve ever heard anything about Weibo, you’ve probably heard two things: that it’s China-based, and it’s sort of like Twitter. Both of those things are true, but there’s a lot you haven’t heard about: namely, the fact that the micro-blogging site is astoundingly massive, boasting somewhere around 600 million registered users in over 190 countries.
Since mainland China has banned Facebook and Twitter, Weibo is the only surefire way for most brands to reach these users, and the bigger American companies are starting to take notice: Weibo already counts Coca-Cola and Unilever among its advertisers, and their campaigns are arguably more effective with potential customers than their American equivalents.
Back in 2011, an earthquake off the coast of Japan caused a massive tsunami, resulting in untold damage and virtually wiping out the telecommunications infrastructure for the entire country. NHN Japan needed an Internet-based way to keep the lines of communication open, which led to the development of Line. Within 18 months, 100 million people had signed up for the messaging service, and they’ve been expanding ever since, becoming Japan’s largest social network in 2013.
With both traditional ads and a paid “official accounts” program, Line makes it incredibly easy for marketers to reach their loyal user base.
Also, they have stickers:
Launched in 2006, VK (formerly known as VKontakte), is Russia’s answer to Facebook. With over 280 million accounts (mostly spread across Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan), it’s the second most popular website in Russia. Despite that popularity, the site is an almost untapped resource of potential customers for marketers.
The company offers two different kinds of advertising, the same sort of traditional targeted News Feed ads that Facebook is famous for, and also “paid posts” that appear within the popular communities feature. Either one could be a winning strategy.
While Snapchat has been a popular social destination almost since its launch in 2011, it’s only just now getting serious about advertising. Late last year, the service introduced its ‘Stories’ platform as a way to let brands be seen and heard for more than 10 seconds, and now they’re taking on the news in a big way.
Snapchat’s new ‘Discover’ concept will feature channels for big media outlets like Cosmopolitan, Vice, Warner Music Group, CNN, People, and The Daily Mail, where they will be able to post photos and video that last 24 hours before expiring and (likely) getting replaced with fresh content. Think of it as a news and entertainment aggregator, located entirely within the existing Snapchat application.
Companies within the Discover program will sell their own advertising, splitting revenues with Snapchat. For example, Cosmopolitan will feature ads from Sperry and Victoria’s Secret within its content. Getting in on this before it blows up seems like a no-brainer.
While any of these five social destinations could well be the place where your customers are hiding, they are by no means the only places you should be looking at. Social networks rise and fall like waves in an endless ocean, so the savvy marketer would be well served to keep abreast of every small corner of the advertising universe. You never know what you’ll find tomorrow.
Carmen Sutter is a Product Manager for Adobe Social, focusing on data collection and campaigns. In her role, Sutter is responsible for the social monitoring functionality as well as the integration of Adobe Analytics and Adobe Social. She is a board member of the Big Boulder Initiative, the world’s first social data-focused industry association. Prior to joining Adobe, she led the digital analytics teams at Warner Music Group and Scholastic in New York City.