Harnessing the Power of Fandoms: Q&A With Canvs

Fandoms are incredibly influential and engaged groups, and brands are just starting to understand how to harness their power.

The fandoms of today are incomparable to simple fan clubs of the past. Highly connected and organized, Millennial fan groups have taken fandom to a new level, creating active communities online that go far beyond fawning, and have real world clout. According to Ypulse’s research on Next Level Fandom, 36% of Millennials say they belong to a fandom like Little Monsters, Cumberbitches, Swifties, Bronies, etc. (We'll be revisiting this massive trend in our upcoming Ypulse Quarterly report.) Massive amounts of content—videos, artwork, GIFs, and fanfic—are being created daily by these fandoms, who connect, engage, and grow online. 

All of that content and communication can be a massive resource to brands. To learn more about harnessing the power of fandoms, we spoke with Jared Feldman, the founder of Canvs, a technology platform created to measure and interpret emotions of fans and provide real-time metrics of their feelings. He told us about the importance of listening to passionate audiences, and how fandoms are shaping marketing and entertainment content today.

Ypulse: How were fandoms a part of Canvs’s start?

Jared Feldman: The content started with HBO, which has to have one of the most rabid fan bases, with True Blood and Games of Thrones. Their shows air Sunday nights, and Monday morning they say, “How did I do last night?” There really was no qualitative way to figure out what fans cared about. You could certainly understand how much they were talking, but when it came to what were they feeling, what were they responding to, what resonated, there was no way to do that, that was automated, trustworthy, and scalable.

So my co-founder Dr. Sam Hui—he's a…


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"I am not religious, basically I act purely based on my personal morals and beliefs."—Female, 21, MN

Instagram’s latest “It Girl” is trendy and talented—but not human. That’s right, @lilmiquela is a digitally animated celebrity with hundreds of thousands of followers. Like the Gorillaz and Hatsune Miku before her, she’s making people question what it means to be a celebrity—but mostly, she’s making everyone wonder who she is. Dubbed “Instagram’s biggest mystery” by The Washington Post, she’s hot off the release of her first single, “Not Mine,” and not dropping any hints as to “who’s pulling her strings.” (Vogue)

Hundreds of U.K. Millennials attended the country’s first mindful drinking festival, where like-minded people sipped on alcohol-free cocktails, wines, beers, ciders, and more. “Mindful drinking” has been moving into the mainstream, starting with the success of Alcohol Concern’s Dry January campaign in 2013. Temperance organizations have been popping up ever since, including Club Soda, who hosted the event. Brands have noticed the sober event trend, too: The Big Drop Brewing Co is all alcohol-free and Heineken is unveiling 0.0, an alternative to their alcoholic beers. (The Times)

A major boost is predicted for holiday season sales—but mostly online. While total retail sales are expected to grow just 3.1%, ecommerce is predicted to jump nearly 17%, widening the “gap” between the two. (Which we saw among Millennials last year.) Online holiday shopping will reportedly make up 11.5% of total holiday season sales, and 9% of 2017’s retail total, according to eMarketer. A low unemployment rate and a high confidence in the current economy are some of the reasons why ecommerce is expected to accelerate. Better start building your Amazon wish list. (eMarketer)

Teen users are moving from Facebook to Instagram and Snapchat—no, really this time. EMarketer predicts monthly 12-17-year-old Facebook users will fall 3.4% this year, following a 1.2% drop in 2016. While many are moving to Facebook-owned Instagram, eMarketer says Snapchat will overtake both Facebook and Instagram by the end of the year (our latest Social Media Tracker backs this up). Facebook still has the highest user penetration with 2 billion global users, but there’s no denying that more teens “are having their heads turned by Snapchat.” (Business Insider)

Minimalist Millennials and Gen Xers won’t take their parents’ stuff, and Goodwill is “overrun” with the excess donations. Younger generations are no longer concerned with “keep[ing] up with the Joneses” by stocking up and showcasing fine china. Besides, the average age of home ownership has been pushed back and young people more often think that Less is More and value experiences over things. Because of this, the storage business is booming and some seniors are paying up to $5,000 to de-clutter, with Goodwill receiving “about 20% more donations of everything than in previous years.” (NY Times, Yahoo!)

“[Antiyoy is] a game that you can only play on your phone, and I use it to help with anxiety...”—Female, 24, MN

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