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Snapchat: Why isn’t your brand on it?

Updated as of June 2014.

Every now and then someone will write a post encouraging you to bandwagon on to the latest trend in digital. This is such a post. Snapchat is now mainstream and pretty huge in Ireland. IPSOS MRBI says 21% of adults aged 15+ are on Snapchat in Ireland. 9 months ago it was 11%.

June 2014 Snapchat in Ireland stats

The data is there to show that for younger demographics, it’s not just Facebook anymore. And these younger demographics marched Bebo, Instagram, mySpace and Facebook into the mainstream. Right now, there are 500 Million photos or videos uploaded to Snapchat every day. That’s about the same as the number of photos uploaded to Facebook and 5 times as many as Instagram.

Snapchat, the sexting thing?

Get over yourself. People were sending silly pictures of themselves well before Snapchat but Snapchat is seen as one of the enablers of this. Snapchat is a great little app that allows you to send pictures or videos taken right now to your friends and they are guaranteed to expire/evaporate in ten seconds or less when clicked on. You can write a teeny amount of text on the image or video and draw on it too. The images are not on their phone, they’re not on the Snapchat servers. Lost forever like tears in the rain. Ephemermal media they’re calling it.

SnapchatPicture

If someone manages to take a screenshot, Snapchat informs you of this so you know not to trust that person again. In extreme cases, when you basically hack into the phone and connect it to a computer, you may find a picture in a temporary file on the phone but that’s it. Pretty safe really.

So your brand isn’t there, why?

Hardly any companies are using Snapchat in Europe to market, which is a shame. If one of your core audiences are Irish people ages 15-20 then Snapchat is one place they’re at. Some companies in America are using Snapchat to connect to the “right audience” and do stuff around competitions and vouchers. Still, hardly any case studies right now. 16 Handles and Taco Bell are rolled out again and again right now but that will change.

What some companies are doing to Market on Snapchat:

  • Vouchers: Discount codes, 10% off vouchers. Show at till type things.
  • Contests: Submit a picture type contests. Take a picture of a product and add a comment.
  • Interactions: Just having a fun back and forth with users e.g. Holding a sign with loads of people’s names.
  • Exclusives: Tell Snapchat first before other channels. (A great way to build numbers)

Snapchat Stories are made for brands

Now that Snapchat has serious investment and it has a huge audience, it needs to commercialise what they’re doing. Everything these days is about the timeline so Snapchat is now going to try and do something with that. First comes creating something that end users will appreciate and then they can make money off it later. Enter Snapchat Stories.

Snapchat Stories allow you to weave Snapchats you made into a piece of content that is viewable for 24 hours. You can add to this Story any time you want and it gets tacked on to the end of the story. When people log in, they can see in the timeline, any Stories from friends. This is mine:

SnapChatme

This is a Vine of a Snapchat Story I made:

And stats released this week (June 23rd 2014) show that Snapchat Stories are getting … dun dun dun, 1 billion views PER DAY. Highly successful. There still aren’t any tools for brands to use but give them time, they’ll have them.

In the week that Facebook (who?) released Slingshot (what?), Snapchat announced a new feature for a single brand (for now). People will be able to add their content to the Snapchat Story of a brand at a specific location. It’s called Our Story. Done around a music festival for now. Body and Soul was last week and various Snapchatters were keeping me in the loop via photos and videos. Perfect alignment. Expect to see big brands host these around music festivals, launches, fashion weeks etc.

Some tips:
If you bung a load of photos or videos together on to your Story, they can become quite boring, even if just a minute long. Make the shots snappy and have an actual story in place. This means pre-planning for it. Use text in your Story to accentuate or explain the content. Fail fast and fail cheap: Try things, mess about. It’s Snapchat, silly mistakes do disappear.

I await a band making a music video and sharing it as a Snapchat Story. 10 second bursts, it can be done.

Snapchat Drawbacks

Right now Snapchat is mobile only and everything needs to be done through the mobile app for iPhone or for Android. There are no official apps for businesses that can be used. You can’t “officially” upload premade material to Snapchat so you can’t have highly produced content. (There are obviously unofficial ways around this, same for Vine) I’m sure if you are a huge brand though, there probably is a tool you can use for Snapchat that does allow uploading of pre-made video. Vine definitely has this.

Law of diminishing returns

Like everything else before it, Snapchat Stories will work really well for the first while but as more people and more brands start to saturate your timeline, they’ll become less effective. Same has happened with Banner Ads, Google Ads, Facebook Ads and it will happen with Twitter promoted tweets too. Get in early, make the most of it and then analyse what is coming next and be ready for it.

Do have fun on Snapchat.

Update: June 2014

Mulley Communications does training courses and consultancy around strategy. Sign up to the courses list or our mailing list.

A nation of chocaholics, Red Bull losing their wings?

The Checkout magazine Top 100 brands list is out. Coca-cola is top dog again but really it’s chocolate that we Irish buy a lot.

12 confectionery brands featured in the Top 100 list; Cadbury Dairy Milk (5th), Galaxy (36th), Nestlé KitKat (49th), Haribo (53rd), Maltesers (55th), Kinder (56th), Nestlé Rowntree (67th), Cadbury Roses (75th), Nestlé Aero (82nd), Cadbury Snack (87th), Cadbury Twirl (95th) and Mars (100th).

With all the huge online and offline media coverage of Red Bull in the past 12 months, Red Bull has actually dropped four places in the table to 26th from 22nd last year. Coke is 1st, Red bull 26th and Pepsi is 48th. Were I an agency I’d be pitching to Pepsi this week.

And in terms of the bad for you brands: Budweiser is still the number one off-trade alcohol brand, Blossom Hill is Ireland’s leading wine brand, Smirnoff is Ireland’s top spirit, and Silk Cut holds on to its position as Ireland’s leading tobacco brand.

When Jamie Heaslip Tweets about you…

So what happens when someone with about 100,000 Twitter followers Tweets about you?

Recently Jamie Heaslip tweeted a link out about a project:

When Jamie Heaslip Tweets
When Jamie Heaslip Tweets

It gets 9 Retweets and 11 favourites.

Since Jamie used Bit.ly as a way to link, we can measure the clicks: https://bitly.com/1eh2TAL+

So it got 1096 clicks and you can see all of them were in the first few hours and then nothing.

1096 lifetime clicks
1096 lifetime clicks

400 in first hour. Bit.ly timestamp is EDT, 8pm EDT = 1pm Ireland. (add a + to any Bit.ly link you see and you too can see the stats)

Clicks on a Jamie Heaslip Tweet
Clicks on a Jamie Heaslip Tweet

So 1% of Jamie’s followers clicked that link. 99% didn’t. We could argue that it was a Saturday so less clicks but sport fans might be tuned in more that day too though and just before 1pm would seem like a good time, no?

So what if you’re just a small fish in a big pond?

Have a look at this Tweet from Sex Siopa, a Sex Shop looking for help. Boy do they get it:

Sex Siopa 133 RTs
Sex Siopa 134 RTs

133 Retweets later and a few new followers for them. They get mentioned on Broadsheet.ie and Joe.ie and other places. They seem small and genuine so people in a way are more interested in helping them out. To date they only have 401 followers but this small fish makes a lot of waves in the big pond.

133 Retweets means that Tweet was easily shared into the timelines of 40,000 ore more people. (The average active Twitter user is followed by about 2-300 accounts.)

So being rough about the numbers, that sex shop with all their RTs got half as much reach as Jamie Heaslip’s Tweet. So you don’t necessarily need to have big numbers if you have a genuine message to share or if the message is fun or controversial or anti-establishment.

9 Twitter Music posts before they’re even written

Twitter Music just launched and we can expect a glut of posts on it any second. Portent.com have this handy content idea generator where you bang in a few words and it gives you headlines for stories. I tried it with Twitter Music and odds on these will be blog posts within 24 hours.

  • Twitter Music by the numbers.
  • Where Twitter Music is heading in the next five years.
  • If you read one article about Twitter Music, read this one.
  • 7 freaky reasons Why Twitter Music can get you fired.
  • Why Twitter Music sucks more than the new Star Wars.
  • Why Twitter Music is the key to Hillary 2016.
  • How to stay popular in the Twitter Music world.
  • 18 Ways Twitter Music can make you rich.
  • The complete beginners guide to Twitter Music.

Tweetrank: Is Twitter going to do their own Edgerank, charge to push all your Tweets?

Twitter are apparently going to rank our Tweets on quality. None, Low, Medium and eventually High. High maybe being like the “Top Tweets” you see in searches. This will allow the “Best” tweets to be seen. The worry for me is that will also allow other tweets to be hidden away. This is a bit like Facebook’s Edgerank where you don’t see all the updates from your connections but will see more updates from friends or brands you interact with more. Twitter too adopting the filter bubble. With 150k or so people on Twitter in Ireland daily and they allegedly sending out a 1 Million tweets in total, filtering may need to happen.

I’m not the only one that was wondering about “Tweetrank“. Facebook allows you to promote posts on your personal Profile on your business Page to ensure everyone sees your update. So will Twitter start doing the same? €50 and a guarantee your own followers see that Tweet of yours.

PromotedUpdateFB

But with Edgerank doing what it does, you can pay to promote an update so everyone sees it. Is this what Twitter will do too? Pay to ensure everyone that’s connected to you sees your tweet? One of the reasons I like Twitter is that I can dictate the filtering, Facebook doesn’t give me that choice. Now if Twitter allowed people to choose No filter, medium filter, high filter, that would be a great compromise that still makes them money.

Update: August 18th 2013
Twitter is now doing surveys about prioritising your Tweets. It does feel like they are going to do some kind of filtering as the noise on the network goes up.
TweetRankSurvey

More Online Marketing Expertise – Richard Hearne

2012 has introduced more threats and, by extension, more opportunities for Online marketers than at any time since I started my Internet career. Coming from a search background I’ve seen first-hand some of Google’s “jarring and jolting” updates which can literally put site owners out of business. Competition Online is growing exponentially as offline spend transfers to the Web. Mobile will soon outpace desktop in absolute usage figures. These changes are forcing Online marketers to re-evaluate how they interact with their users and focus on delivering real and perceived value across the entire spectrum of Online transactions:

* Getting exposure now requires “real work” – you cant fake/hope your way to eyeballs;
* Customer service is happening online as well as offline, with more use of Social Media platforms to resolve customer issues;
* Trust is becoming more of a linchpin – Google wants us all to become “brands”, perhaps users do too;
* Users expectdemand fast usable websites across platforms – performance is more important than ever now;
* Interaction is happening on many platforms, with many interactions sharing multiple devices – web, mobile, apps etc;

Hang on! That’s a lot of words for the topic “One thing businesses should put some effort into online before 2014 comes along.” Yep it is, so here’s my one thing every business owner should do: focus on engagement. Each of the items I listed above can be considered in terms of engagement:

* What do your customers want/desire/need online? Building content that truly engages your customers and prospects builds loyalty and increases sales. Check out these guys and the cool videos they created.
* Do you have service channels on Twitter/Facebook/Google+? Even Revenue.ie (could you be more staid?) offers customer service on Twitter!
* Are you engaging with customers to hopefully make them your Online evangelists? Offering ways for customers to review and feedback on your products is required not desired. Hands up who looked at the number of reviews in Google’s search results?
* Are you measuring how your website performs? I’m not talking how many visitors (old hat), but how quick, responsive and valuable your content is. Measuring performance is the new analytics. Check out tools like NewRelic.com and RUM, or Google Page Speed and webpagetest.org to slowly on-ramp your site. Collect qualitative data via feedback forms and surveys.
* Does your site work on mobiles and tablets as well as the desktop? Have you looked into Responsive web design, or better still Mobile First Responsive Web Design? Not only will your site look/work great across platforms, but by focusing on what’s really important you also deliver a better overall user experience.

I know there’s a lot to take in there, but each example I give places engagement at the core of how you plan and execute Online. By engaging with your users and focusing on delivering true value your Online business will succeed and flourish.

Online Marketing Experts tell us what to do next

This is an example of letting other people do the work for you. I asked Paul Savage, Kieran Flanagan and David Quaid a question about Online Marketing, here are their contributions. Thanks Paul, Kieran and David.

The statement I asked them to elaborate on was: One thing businesses should put some effort into online, before 2014 comes along.

Paul Savage from Blackdog

While having a website is the first step, I believe that customers now expect a little bit more when they come to the website, they want to know the story behind the business or brand. For example : There are quite a few places to buy gifts online or book hotels in Dublin, but which one has the best story, is unique, stands out from the crowd ?

Your story could come across better from having some of the following aspects :

  • lovely designed website
  • well laid out and logical website and easy process to buy
  • well written copy
  • have a blog about the day to day projects at your company
  • a real company history and staff profile page with
  • user reviews, or links to independent reviews of your business
  • be sociable & reachable via ‘new’ media like twitter / facebook
  • It’s not rocket science, but it does take an effort and a conscious decision. Businesses need to be more personable online.

Kieran Flanagan from SearchBrat

The answer will vary a lot depending on the industry and market you’re in. For example, a typical answer would be around social or mobile. But if you are a B2B business selling medical software (random example I know), I bet there aren’t many leads coming from either of those mediums. In 2014 maybe they could get a little more from each of these e.g. build a community around medical problems to drive both awareness of their brand and prospects to their site, but the point is, how users purchase goods online is changing rapidly, but how rapidly differs between markets, something marketers should keep in mind.

For me, small to medium sized businesses can still get a lot of value from search, both paid and organic (this is across all platforms – desktop, tablet, mobile). Google’s targeting options in Adwords are becoming more complex and a lot more granular. On the other hand, SEO is definitely becoming more unreliable. If you put on your tinfoil hat for a minute, you could say those two are linked. But a working search strategy will still play a big role in most companies success in 2014. If I was going to pick one thing for businesses of this size, it would be split as follows:

  • For sites that are already high trafficked, they should be thinking about CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation). Not enough companies are focusing on both their macro and micro conversions, even though it could have a huge impact on their bottom line. If your conversion rate is currently 1%, then increasing your spend on other parts of the strategy is still going to result in 99% of new visitors you attract, not purchasing your product. Imagine you could double that conversion rate to 2%. How much impact will that have on your bottom line?
  • For sites that need to build up their traffic/brand – it would be telling a story through inbound marketing. Watch Simon Sineks video and start figuring out what your brands “why” is. Then deliver that message through a content strategy across all free platforms (Google, Twitter, Facebook etc – whichever is suited to your market). You then need to plan an integrated strategy across search, social, mobile, etc, anywhere your potential prospects are going to consume that content. Look at platforms like https://join.app.net/. This is a private version of Twitter, so people don’t have to put up with ads. Users are getting more and more adverse to ads online. It’s happening a lot quicker than it did offline. Brands really need to figure out how they can be part of the conversation, rather than an interruption to it.

For Enterprises (or in general, large businesses that hire agencies), invest in really good internal people that are truly great at digital. Spend in digital marketing is going to continue to grow. Having internal people who can manage agencies will be one of the biggest assets you can have in 2014. Agencies can be one of the biggest drains on your budget if you don’t understand what they should be doing or the metrics they should be measured against. Having digital natives in your company will really help with your long term strategy. They should be all over what digital trends are going to affect your future online marketing strategy.

David Quaid from Primary Position

Most people look at Internet Marketing in the same way that they think they understand all other marketing. Marketing is not advertising but some advertising is marketing. So if we implored people to do 1 thing between now and 2014: Stop thinking offline and start learning about online.

Forget about how amazing it would be to go viral because it probably won’t happen and it probably wouldn’t help if it did. If you’re not Nike, don’t be concerned with what Nike do and don’t do. Don’t assume your company or business has a brand. If nobody has heard of you they probably don’t care. Lead with a great product. Websites are not marketing.

Get over having a domain which you think is your brand. If people have a problem, you need to showcase the solution. Ranking well in Google is only part of the problem – knowing well what to rank for is where the solution lies. If you have a single domain name strategy, and you rely on the internet for a certain % of your business, be it 10% or 100% – then you’ve put all of your eggs in a single basket. If you can’t extend the marketing of your current website across more than one country, then go and build a new website for a new market and market it differently.

Do SEO. Do Social. Do AdWords. Everyone who says this: “My audience don’t click on AdWords” is wrong – Google make €40 billion a year by betting against that. It gets 30% of searches but it gets 50% of people because people do more than one search. Blog. Makea video. Make Different videos. Blog about them. Test. Improve. Repeat.

Brand marketers hate Google because they feel they have control. Many choose to ignore it. Remember one thing: The user chooses to search – you cannot control that but you should do everything to be searchable. Ignore search at your peril.