Real-Time Marketing Isn’t Just About Twitter

MTV uses Snapchat, ESPN's on Twitter, and Hyundai works Tumblr

When MTV announced the nominees for next month’s Video Music Awards, it leaned on social media, of course, to create buzz. But the channel it selected for the big reveal underscores how real-time marketing is suddenly becoming a fragmented affair. 

MTV used neither Facebook, where it counts 50 million fans, nor Twitter, with its 11 million followers. It instead chose Snapchat where it has just 150,000 followers.

Celebrities revealed the awards contenders on the mobile app, helping the network reel in 70,000 new Snapchat followers, according to Tom Fishman, MTV’s vp of content marketing and fan engagement. While those numbers are modest, a swarm of Snapchat users posted screenshots of the messages to Twitter and Facebook.

“When going to a new place like Snapchat where we have a smaller community that we want to grow, we reward people for being the first followers there,” Fishman said. “And we know Snapchat has this great community where they take screen grabs and share.” 

MTV isn’t alone in turning to smaller social platforms for real-time marketing. Hyundai’s World Cup strategy focused on Tumblr, while ESPN recently made use of Pinterest for posting pictures from the red carpet of the ESPYs.

Snapchat, Tumblr and Pinterest “have the potential to change the way the industry thinks about real-time marketing,” said Kevin Lange, Starcom MediaVest Group’s svp of social.

To Lange’s point, the Electric Daisy Carnival this summer used Snapchat’s nascent Our Story feature with fans sharing scenes from the concert grounds.

Snapchat messages disappear in seconds and stories—montages of photos and videos—are viewable for up to 24 hours. Pinterest’s real-time proposition is different, as brands share more lasting messages.

Kraft, a Starcom client, pinned recipes for corn dog muffins during last week’s Hot Dog Day, for instance. “It’s not just about being first with a timely tweet anymore,” Lange said.

Such niche cultural events and festivals are the next area for second-screen marketing, predicted Jordan Bitterman, chief strategy officer at WPP’s Mindshare. “Brands are not just sitting around waiting for the Oscars,” he said. “We’re moving away from tent pole events and focusing more on clients.”

Bitterman has clients enrolled in Pinterest’s beta tests for paid media, buying promoted pins. Snapchat does not carry paid ads yet, but industry insiders expect an amplification product from the platform within the year. Tumblr and Instagram also sell ads.

“Real-time marketing cannot just be about owned and earned—it needs to harness paid,” Bitterman said.

MTV said it always has a paid strategy for its big events, too. The VMAs will share moments through Twitter Amplify, which lets the network’s sponsors pay to share multimedia tweets that night, Aug. 24.

“A massive amount of planning goes into creating branded executions,” Fishman said. “We are looking to activate real-time across every platform. It just looks different on each one.”



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