With the much-anticipated final season of Game of Thrones looming, everyone is abuzz about who will claim the Iron Throne. With multiple contenders clamoring for this iconic yet uncomfortable seat of power, it’s difficult to predict who will come out on top and who will crash and burn.
With the controversies, chaos and volatility of the current social media landscape, advertisers are grappling with similar uncertainties when it comes to their social media marketing strategies.
For years, Facebook has been the dominant platform, monopolizing brands’ social spend. However, with rising privacy issues and usage on the decline, marketers are starting to doubt this investment. Other platforms are capitalizing on this vulnerability by offering innovative units, providing ecommerce avenues and even releasing camera features to drive usage.
So, who will sit on the Iron Throne? The unpopular yet powerful reigning patriarch? The innovative up-and-comer? Or perhaps someone altogether unexpected?
In the Game of Social, which platform will rule them all?
Facebook: Cersei Lannister
Who else could this be but the conniving queen herself? Despite constant controversy, scheming and backstabbing, every time Cersei is knocked off her high horse, she bounces back—or so we thought. Just as we’re finally starting to see Cersei’s stronghold waver, the same can be said for Facebook. While Facebook’s days on top may be numbered, it’s still a leading contender right now, so don’t discount its reach and impact in your social strategy just yet.
Instagram: Daenerys Targaryen
This powerhouse absorbs existing resources to suit her own interests, such as the Unsullied and Dothraki armies. If you’re not sold on her follower size, her weapons are also appealing: Stories, Checkout and IGTV. She’s a key component to any social strategy, and we’re betting her popularity (and character) outlive Facebook’s.
WeChat: Night King
He grew his power stealthily on the other side of the wall (aka outside the U.S.), waiting until the right moment to strike. Ranking above Instagram in total global users, WeChat similarly commands large numbers but hadn’t been considered a real threat previously. While WeChat may never come to the states, its features are clearly invading, leading to its impact on social.
YouTube: Jon Snow
Coming in with the hot take! Jon’s reluctance to accept titles is mirrored in the debate over YouTube’s validity as a “social platform.” He’s clearly a fan favorite with the likeability to lead billions. He’s certainly stepped up after learning some hard lessons about trust and leadership, but is he prepared to rule all seven kingdoms? While he may not do it alone, those that discount the channel now will regret it as other brands pursue the efficiencies and scale seen there to reap the rewards.
And now for our supporting heroes, the characters who may not be fighting for the throne, but still have a unique place in social strategies (and in the fight for the Iron Throne).
WhatsApp: Jaime Lannister
Despite its close ties to “bad blood,” WhatsApp (owned by Facebook), is an underrated force to be reckoned with. WhatsApp has the third highest number of users worldwide, despite its lower visibility in the U.S. Much like Jaime, WhatsApp’s utility may lie a more behind the scenes (e.g., customer service) but should not be discounted.
Twitter: Tyrion Lannister
He’s our resident sarcastic, drunk smart aleck—it’s no surprise he’s Twitter. The platform’s quest for redemption is reflected in Tyrion’s own story of turning his talents to war strategy. Ignore Twitter at your own risk as this seemingly smaller channel can offer big value.
Pinterest: Sansa Stark
Ah, the redheads. Pinterest and Sansa took a while to grasp their potential but now see rapid growth. While Pinterest’s quest for respect continues, it’s headed in the right direction. Discredited early on for her femininity, both male and female users are increasing. As with some of these supporting players, reach is smaller (being up North can do that) but powerful.
After all, he is the most connected person in the seven kingdoms. He always knows how to keep himself relevant and useful. Include him in a social strategy when you want to stay connected to the top of the food chain (e.g., an executive target).
Snapchat: Arya Stark
Both fan favorites, they are quick, small and recently went through an evolution: for Arya, it was when she became an assassin and for Snapchat, it was their redesign. This channel is still valuable in providing impactful results, though on a small scale—like Needle.
Google: Bran Stark
A vault of infinite wisdom, Bran Stark knows everything from who Jon’s mom is to probably how it will all end. Truthfully, there’s almost no way to integrate him in a social strategy. Did we only include him for the metaphor? You’d have to ask him.
In conclusion, social is due for a shakeup. We’ve been ruled by one giant for a long time (Facebook) and are likely to see brands shift alliances as they follow consumers toward more interesting social solutions, ultimately impacting your strategies and paid spend.
So, who will take the Iron Throne? The combined forces of Instagram and YouTube may take it all, but only time will tell.