The 5 Social Media Platforms Shaping 2019

Social media couldn’t be more vital for marketing nowadays. Especially for retail marketers and ecommerce brands who need to continually engage with customers to drive brand awareness, and conversions.

Many marketers will default to the major platforms when it comes to a social media strategy, but beyond Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat what else is out there?

Which new social channels and platforms are coming to the fore? Where are your customers active? And which do you as a marketer need to know about?

There are virtually hundreds of social media platforms out there catering for every niche imaginable. But we’re cutting through the noise to look at the top 5 social media platforms that we think you need to be aware of for 2019.

We’ve looked at user bases, ad formats and targeting so you can see which of these platforms may be getting some of your ad budget very shortly.

3 of them you’ll probably want to be looking at right now, and 2 of them will be creeping on to your radar over the coming months.

 

Tik Tok

There’s a lot of buzz around this short form video app from China at the moment and for good reason.

With over 800 million daily active users the app is making a concerted push into Europe and the Western Hemisphere by treading the ground that Vine did previously, but with a much more structured approach.

In the UK they’ve got a 58:42 female to male split with users spending an average of 41 minutes per day using the app. The demographic is young too, predominantly made up of millennials, Gen Z and even some of the older Generation Alphas (born from 2010 onwards).

This makes it an ideal platform for youth brands or those looking to target younger consumers such as Fashion or Beauty brands.

Tik Tok have recently begun testing ads in the US and UK with 4 ad formats available:

 

 

  • Brand takeover – which direct users to your brand’s landing page and is category exclusive meaning only one advertiser has a brand takeover per day.
  • In-feed native videos – these are full screen ads that show up on a user’s “for you” page and support CTAs so you can drive traffic elsewhere
  • Hashtag challenges – Used to encourage User Generated Content (UGC), build brand awareness and easily work with influencers on the platform
  • Branded lens – Similar to the Snapchat functionality where a customised lens can be added to videos. These are currently only available in 2D, but 3D and AR formats are coming soon

Facebook are clearly wary of Tik Tok’s popularity. They launched Lasso late last year which has very similar functionality, so Tik Tok has obviously got the established social media players on high alert.

 

Twitch

 

The digital video streaming site has been around since 2011, but the growing popularity of e-sports is making the platform vital for marketers looking to tap into fans and the gamer market.

Twitch has over 15 million daily users. 81% are male and 55% of those males are between 18 and 34,  making it a crucial channel for brands with a millennial male focus.

Interestingly, 82% of Twitch users say sponsorships are good for the gaming industry and 80% are open to brands sponsoring gamers or teams, so the user base on Twitch is definitely open to advertising.

The ads Twitch provide for brands fall into 2 categories, video and display.

Video

Twitch video ads can be run solely on mobile or desktop, or as cross-screen ads across all devices pre, mid and/or post-roll. Sure stream, which is a new video ad product, seamlessly weaves ads directly into a broadcast as either pre-roll or mid-roll ads.

Display

Twitch display ads take the form of carousels, takeovers or other on-screen ad units like rectangles, leader boards or synced units.

Twitch do also offer custom executions, so if you want to do something special on the platform the opportunity is there.

 

 

Waze

A “social sat nav”, Waze is a community-based GPS navigation app. It aims to give drivers the best routes to their chosen destination based on real-time help updated by other drivers.

There are currently just over 90 million users globally who spend an average of 438 minutes per month on the app –roughly 15 minutes a day.

That suggests people are using Waze for short journeys so there’s massive potential for local marketing activities at origin and destination locations. There’s also opportunity for brand building and awareness over time, especially if you can target people on regular journeys making it an ideal platform for marketers at Food & Beverage or Travel & Leisure brands

Waze currently offer 4 different types of ad, largely on a CPM (cost per thousand) basis:

  • Branded pins – digital billboards that let drivers know you’re on or near their route
  • Takeovers – a large branded canvas that appears on screen when a driver has stopped
  • Arrows – a signpost that appears just after someone opens the app to let them know you’re nearby
  • Promoted search – bumping your business up the results page when someone’s searching in the app

The great thing with Waze is you can also target your ads based on a number of things, like driver type, where they’re driving too and other environmental factors like the weather or time of day.

 

Vero

Billed as an Instagram competitor due to its highly visual nature, Vero is the antithesis of Zuckerberg-owned platforms with a focus on “more social, less media”.

Vero offers zero ad functionality, it doesn’t collect personal data, and it tells users how long they’ve been on the platform to discourage overuse. It’s currently free to use but a subscription model is imminent.

Marketers may think there’s nothing here for them, but brands can still set up profiles and engage with followers organically. Like GQ have, leading the charge for other life style and fashion focused brands.

As users become frustrated with ads on other platforms and look for alternatives, Vero could be a great place to start engaging with people naturally. It also gives you a chance to grow a following based on what your brand stands for and how you do things, rather than the budgets you’ve got to throw around.

This will obviously mean dedicating more time to the platform, but the results in terms of brand perception and awareness could be huge.

 

WhatsApp

There’s no need to really introduce the messaging platform we use to send 60 billion messages every day. But, with the with the upcoming integration of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, it’s worth making a note of the impending introduction of ads on WhatsApp.

This already started in a small way last year with ads on Facebook clicking through to a WhatsApp chat, but following the integration we’ll probably see ad functionality appear within WhatsApp itself.

How users respond to this remains to be seen but there are a number of brands already using WhatsApp to great effect, such as Absolut, Clarks, and Agent Provocateur.

However, these brands have used WhatsApp in a much more organic way, with the user engaging the brand first rather than receiving push notifications, so it will be interesting to see what the brand pick-up is like and how users react to it once ad functionality is made live.

 

 

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