While Netflix's Stranger Things took over social TV conversations over the summer, HBO's Westworld dominated the fall.
The major digital media platforms—full of big gains, big hype and often a lack of transparency—have made the advertising universe a complicated, fragmented place. And with eMarketer predicting digital ad spending to swell to $77.4 billion in 2017, up 16 percent versus this year, it's a domain that's poised to evolve even more rapidly.
If you visit Reddit frequently enough, you'll notice the abundance of accounts that just keep posting old content over and over, reaping the site's "karma" points. But why? Reddit karma is just an imaginary number with no real value. Or is it? A common theory is that Reddit accounts are created and loaded—possibly by bots using algorithms to identify popular content—with lots of old posts. Then they are sold to companies looking to make viral revenue off Reddit accounts that seem legit due to their high karma and historic activity. Now, a Redditor has spotted what appears to be this exact scenario in action. As a video of a baby orangutan, seemingly building a tower from large Lego-type blocks, exploded in popularity on the Videos subreddit, some savvy viewers noticed the clip was actually reversed footage of the ape dismantling a tower. But then user dublzz pointed out a more fiendish deception:
Over the past few years, it's become increasingly hard for social marketers to pick which sites and platforms are worth their time and investment and which ones are passing fads (R.I.P. Peach and Yo). For eBay, its social strategy spans 16 social networks and includes the usual mix of big platforms including Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest. But the brand is also putting big money and resources behind smaller, niche sites such as Imgur, We Heart It, Tango and Reddit that target specific audiences. "The ecosystem is fragmented," said Llibert Argerich, global director of social and content at eBay. "There are more and more platforms that cater to more and more specific audiences. Those platforms are fragmented, but they're still very big." Photo-based Imgur, for instance, is geared towards geeky millennial guys and pulls in more than 150 million monthly active users. Meanwhile, female-focused social platform We Heart It hones in on women interested in fashion and lifestyle content, and has more than 40 million users. "I didn't know Imgur 18 months ago," Argerich said. Then in July 2015, eBay ran one of the first promoted posts on Imgur, an online community notoriously averse to advertising. The ad promoted drones and explained the differences between the different types. It generated more than 800 comments. Surprisingly, users weren't turned off from the ads. "We started getting people saying, 'Wow. It's amazing. I want to work at the marketing department for eBay, doing posts for Imgur,'" Argerich said. So, the brand created a follow-up campaign to show users what it's like to be a marketer at eBay. The brand dressed up content creators in costumes that Imgur users could buy.
Just six months ago, Reddit—whose famous slogan is "The front page of the internet"—was a dangerous place for marketers because of its reputation as a pool of trolling and harassment.
Earlier this month, Axe released its latest campaign, "Shower Thoughts." It was quickly accused of being stolen
Has Comedy Central's late-night talk lineup lost some of its intellectualism since the departures of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert? Yes, according to quite a few viewers on Reddit, and they can tell you the exact moment they noticed the change.
While Reddit may be "the front page of the Internet," CEO Steve Huffman says it's a front page that could use some retooling.
Reddit is often called "the front page of the Internet," but for many brands it's remained a no-go zone, given the likelihood of getting flamed or trolled by anonymous users. There's just as much potential on the social platform's forums (called subreddits) to make money and generate influence and goodwill, but it too is fraught with danger.
REI will be closing its stores on Black Friday and paying 12,000 employees to take the day off, a move that has generated lots of goodwill—except on Reddit.