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What Marketers Need to Know About Social Media Now

The biggest brand takeaways for social media’s newest features, to make the most out of your efforts to reach Gen Z and Millennials…

A recent Ypulse monthly survey looking into marketing on social platforms revealed that more than half of 18-34-year-olds say they don’t mind seeing ads on social media as long as they are entertaining, and a whopping 68% of 13-17-year-olds say the same. At this point a presence on social media is a given—creatively taking advantage of the new features platforms are constantly introducing is key to standing out from the crowd and keeping up with the evolution of young consumers’ social media behaviors.  

With social platforms launching new features more than ever, it is easy to get lost, especially with the pursuit to secure ad dollars from brands only getting more competitive. To keep you informed, we’re giving you the biggest brand takeaways on the latest features from three of the top social networks so you can optimize your efforts to reach Gen Z and Millennials:  


What’s New:

Instagram is setting itself up to battle Snapchat as marketing star of 2017. The platform, which boasts 150 million daily users, has been closely following Snapchat’s footsteps with their launch of Stories last year and now the incorporation of full screen ads into the feature. According to Instagram, 70% of its users follow at least one business, and one-third of the app’s most-viewed stories have been from businesses, making it a valuable platform for brands looking to reach a young audience. The new ad offering also comes with efficient measurement tools, which allow advertisers to specifically target audiences, and view interactions, likes, time spend, and exits to measure the ads’ performance. Companies like Capital One, ASOS, Nike, Airbnb are already testing out the new feature. Buick is going all in with a 30-second Story ad during the first quarter of the Super Bowl, starring Carolina Panther quarterback Cam Newton and supermodel Miranda Kerr.

Brand Takeaway:

Brand-friendly offerings from Instagram are coming fast and furious—let’s not forget their live-streaming capabilities, shoppable in-post links, and swipe-able Stories pages—making it a worthy competitor to marketing darling of 2016, Snapchat. With all these features being fairly new, 2017 will see a lot of experimentation from brands to craft the best youth-targeted strategies. It is important to join in, but also to keep watch of what other brands are doing on the platform to find what will resonate strongly with Millennials and Gen Z. 


What’s New:

Snapchat may be feeling the heat from competitors right now, but they aren’t slowing down. The platform with the “we won’t tell you what’s cool” attitude is now making it a little bit easier for users to find new—possibly brand—accounts. They recently added a universal search bar, always accessible from the top of the app, where users can find friends, groups, Discover publishers, and Our Stories—essentially letting “[users] dig out of Snapchat the best content and conversations.” In the past, the platform was criticized for having a confusing interface, with features scattered throughout the app, but users can now easily start chats or watch a Story straight from their search results. Snapchat has also recently introduced Snapcodes that can be uniquely created for a website. Users can scan codes with the app’s camera to visit the website within Snapchat so as not to disrupt the ‘URL-free experience.’

Brand Takeaway:

With the new search bar, Snapchat has made it easier for brand accounts to be discovered by users—it is just a matter of making content searchable. Keep this in mind, and also keep a look out for new possibilities to use the feature to build out audiences. Many are predicting that Snapchat is gearing up to start charging brands for sponsored searches to lead to higher content visibility. The new Snapcodes also present an opportunity for brands to promote content that can be found outside of the app.


What’s New:

Not one to be left behind, Facebook is also taking a page from Snapchat’s playbook. In the coming months, Facebook will be launching a Stories feature that allows for the posting of photos and videos that disappear 24 hours later—sound familiar? According to the platform, ephemeral content is no longer just a competitive feature: “The way people share today is different to five or even two years ago…We want to make it fast and fun for people to share creative and expressive photos and videos with whoever they want, whenever they want.” (We spoke about this new in-the-moment social media trend in our 2017 predictions.) The integration is a part of Facebook’s bigger quest to be a video-first network and enhance camera experiences to encourage sharing.

Brand Takeaway:

Facebook may not be the shiny new platform anymore, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t relevant. Our recent social media tracker placed Facebook at the top of social networks being currently used by 13-34-year-olds, and the top social network being used daily, meaning it still has marketing potential. This new feature will most likely take on the same properties as Instagram Stories along with ad offerings, so maintaining relevant and engaging content on the site could help brands prepare for what’s to come.

To download the PDF version of this insight article, click here.