July 2019 Digital Marketing Updates
Just like the technology it calls home, the world of social media and digital marketing is constantly changing. It seems like every day some new feature becomes available for users on social platforms.
To the casual user, these changes often go unnoticed – but for marketers, it’s a different story.
At Holbrook Multi Media, we like to stay on top of the latest news, no matter who it pertains to. Here are some of July’s updates that we thought were the most interesting for both marketers and casual social media users.
Instagram Brand/Influencer Engagement Decreases
Instagram experienced a boom in business profiles over the past few years, with brands trying their best to take advantage of the new direction the social platform began to take.
This shift made it easier than ever for consumers to interact with their favorite brands, and even buy their products directly from Instagram.
Despite this increase in businesses signing up, it looks like the platform’s engagement rates have begun to decline, according to a new study by Trust Insights.
Trust Insights studied millions of posts from thousands of different brands to see how their engagement was stacking up. Findings showed that brand and influencer engagement has definitely decreased since the beginning of the year.
We’ve seen this trend before, over on Instagram’s sister-platform, Facebook. With more brand competition, users began to engage less with business posts. Facebook claims that this is because users prefer to use social media to interact with friends and family. While that may be true, Instagram still has the potential to prove otherwise. Previous studies have shown that nearly 80% of Instagram users follow at least one brand on their profile, which could indicate that a majority of the platform’s users are also using it to view business content.
The question this leaves marketers pondering is whether or not we will see the same restrictions with organic reach as with Facebook when it comes to content placement.
In our experience, we haven’t seen a downturn in engagement on Instagram just yet, but it’s important to note that a majority of influencers and brands on the platform are retail-based businesses rather than B2B or other services. No matter the type of business, our opinion here at Holbrook is that as long as you find a genuine way to connect with your followers and potential clients, you shouldn’t have a problem engaging with them. People want to see the faces behind your company!
Facebook’s Creator Studio Continues to Have Problems
Facebook invented its ‘Creator Studio’ tool in order to make it easier for businesses, brands and other creators to monetize and track analytics of their videos.
They even took several features out of the Publishing Tools and moved them over to the new Creator Studio. Unfortunately, while its intent is to make the publisher’s life easier, it appears that the tool may be failing in that regard.
Creator Studio has been implemented for almost a year, and users have expressed mostly frustration with the new Facebook feature.
The tool completely stopped working twice in one week at the beginning of the month, and then again when its search feature malfunctioned barely a week after the first outages.
That’s not the only thing that has creators angry with the tool. There’s a laundry list of other complaints, one of the most serious for some content creators being that videos scheduled for publication are not being published at all. Here at Holbrook, we haven’t experienced that particular problem, but we have noticed obvious inaccuracies in the at-a-glance summaries of individual videos’ analytics – which is nothing new for Facebook.
Despite the complaints, several video publishers think that once the kinks are worked out, Creator Studio will be a vast improvement over Publishing Tools – especially for those managing multiple business accounts.
Instagram Tests Hiding Likes
Speaking of Instagram engagement, the platform has decided to test hiding the total number of likes and video views in a few countries.
If you live in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Japan or New Zealand, you may have noticed the number of likes under photos replaced with “liked by [user] and others.” According to Instagram via Twitter, they “want your friends to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get.”
Many expressed their dislike for this test, most of the negative comments complaining about the previous update that changed the chronological algorithm.
One Twitter user wrote:
Another user concurred, accusing the new update of having an ulterior motive:
At Holbrook, we’re wondering what sort of impact this will have on influencer culture. Instagram rose to fame and has made a large amount of their advertising dollars due to influencers. Will their ‘influence’ be the same when users can’t see who likes what and how many people liked a post?
If user comments are anything to go by, this test won’t last long.
Marketers Are Seeking Streaming-Based Promotional Tie-Ins
If you’re a big fan of the paranormal, you’ve probably already watched the new season of Netflix’s Stranger Things.
The show was a massive success in its first two seasons, but even more so in the third. Just four days after its release, Netflix reported that 40.7 million accounts had begun streaming the new season, with just over 18 million already finished with all eight episodes. That easily makes it one of the streaming service’s most successful shows to date.
For those who haven’t seen Stranger Things, the sci-fi thriller takes place in the 80s; fashion, locations and pop culture from the neon decade plaster every corner.
In this new season, there was a particular callback that garnered attention: New Coke, the infamous change in Coca-Cola’s recipe that had the world begging for its favorite soda back.
Coke took advantage of the brand placement, relaunching New Coke for a limited time and selling merchandise that meshed their brand with the sci-fi mega hit.
Coke wasn’t the only brand visible in Stranger Things 3. More than 100 brands appeared throughout the season, although Netflix insists that they weren’t paid placements. “They’re all part of the Duffer Brothers’ storytelling, which references 1980s consumer and popular culture,” a Netflix executive revealed to Marketing Dive. It’s important to note that Stranger Things displays far less products than other shows produced by Netflix, such as House of Cards.
Why are we talking about this?
This brand recognition has marketers calling about getting their brands placed into streaming-based shows, whether it be on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
This type of placement has the potential to reach a new generation of consumers that don’t like watching ads – and certainly no longer pay for cable or satellite television. With brand giants such as Burger King, Baskin-Robbins, Coke and more jumping on the Stranger Things bandwagon, Concave Brand Tracking estimated there was over $15 million in advertising value from product views in the show.
It seems pretty obvious that brand placement is making a comeback with streaming services, especially ones with shows as critically acclaimed in the press as Stranger Things.
At Holbrook, we love seeing stuff like this – streaming services and social media have forced the world of modern marketing to change with the new generation. Gone are the days of a marketing campaign only consisting of TV commercials. Now, we have to get more creative than ever to be successful in this new age of technology.
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