Young consumers are going crazy for peer polls, and there’s plenty of room for brands to hop on the trend…
Right after we declared peer polling a trend to watch late last year, we saw it explode in popularity across social media. Sarcastic and anonymous polls are not a new concept, of course, (let’s not forget Whisper and Sarahah), but in the age of relationship-building through social media, the popularity of the poll is only continuing to grow among Millennials and Gen Z–and there’s plenty of opportunity for brands to utilize the medium, too. Brands can not only engage with customers but also “[ask] for feedback about products, creat[e] engagement around topics that are in the media, and [conduct] market research,” the executive of an influencer platform told Glossy. In fact, influencers have already jumped on the trend, but say brands have been slow to ask them to use it for promotions. Influencer network Blog Lovin’ found that 66% of their followers (many of which are influencers) had already used polling, while 87% plan to in the future.
Though still in its early stages, brands are engaging with polling in a number of ways, including posting one at the end of a video in hopes of getting viewer feedback on the footage or to inform them of future videos. When sarcastic polls started trending, Denny’s tried to win Twitter again with a poll of its own, alongside Totino’s and Penguin Books, who all hopped on the trend with their own tweets—receiving both positive engagement and some digital side-eye. MoonPie summed up the sentiment with their poll, which read (when certain answers were selected): “I’m a: brand. Seeking: retweets and attention.” At the time, MoonPie only had 14,000 followers, but earned 32,000 retweets, 144,000 likes, and over 570 comments on the single tweet. Now the brand has 210,000 followers. By poking fun at the scramble to join the party, the brand proved the trend’s worth.
To stay relevant–and relatable–though, it’s important that brands know what polling platforms are out there, and the best ways to use them. Here are the four that are making the biggest impact on young consumers now:
Polling app Polly is the Sarahah 2.0. Like Sarahah, Polly “piggybacks” on Snapchat and allows users to create surveys that friends can answer anonymously on the social platform. But where the controversial Sarahah app brought cyberbullying, Polly keeps it light by allowing users to create multiple choice questions where they define the answers. The quick and easy format has been a smash hit with teens–the app amassed 20 million users and 100 million answers in September, and because you don’t have to download the app to engage with it, teens are even more likely to use it. They can simply “slip away if friends stop posting questions,” as TechCrunch put it.
Another polling platform, tbh (short for “to be honest”), quickly rose to the top of the App Store charts late last year and gained swift popularity with teens as the “nice” app. Unlike the anonymous apps that have come before it, tbh is completely dedicated to exchanging compliments, not insults. Users can find people they know on the platform, and then answer polls about their friends—all with positive questions and answers. The people chosen in the polls are then alerted that they’ve been picked as “world’s best party planner” or “best smile” by someone (they won’t see who) and earn virtual gems as a reward, playing into teens’ penchant for the gamification of friendship. tbh grew in popularity so quickly that Facebook bought the app to add “to the arsenal it’s deploying against Snapchat,” according to Business Insider.
Instagram also introduced a new polling feature last year, which influencers are using to engage followers in their stories (where the tool lives). Users can now crowdsource decisions by creating binary polls for friends to answer, and results can be viewed in real time by the viewers and the creator. The tool is potentially a riff on Polly, but squashing a startup is nothing new for Facebook and its properties. And like it’s purchase of tbh, the company is doing what it can to keep up with young people’s love of Snapchat.
Facebook got into the polling game early on, but may have been ahead of the curve. The OG iteration, Facebook Questions, launched in 2010 as a “Quora wannabe,” according to TechCrunch. They then changed the format to lighter polls, which the social platform discontinued in 2012. Now, the company has gone “poll crazy.” In addition to adding the poll element to Instagram and purchasing tbh, the network officially launched Facebook Polls, which sets itself apart by adding the option to use photos or GIFs as answers. And unlike other trending polling platforms, Facebook Polls’ answers aren’t anonymous and aren’t only visible to a poll’s creator.
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