January 9, 2018: Anddd we’re back! We missed your pretty faces. Meanwhile, social media apps have been all about that #NewYearNewMe lifestyle – Instagram launches ‘Recommended for you’ & Insta Live Direct Messaging, Snapchat develops cross-platform video sharing, Facebook improves facial recognition, and Apple #slays.
Here’s what’s worth knowing this week:

The Hunger Games – (Marketing Ed.)

May the odds be ever in your favor – the odds for ad dollars, that is. The hunt is on for ad space and the competition is real. In Instagram’s most recent quest to drive feed engagement and generate ad rev (more time spent = more imps to serve), it’s experimenting with a new feature that displays posts in-feed from accounts users don’t yet follow, but were engaged with people in their network.  Similar to the ‘Discover & Explore’ section, ‘Recommended For You’ posts is be entirely free from #sponsored posts.

And that’s not all FB has been up to over the holiday hiatus. It also made significant investments in Facebook video while still talking about taking the news out of News Feed.

What it means, IRL: Ad space is a valued commodity – whether this is the result of an oversaturated ad market or declining engagement, no one really knows…yet. What do we know? Ads alone are not drivers of engagement – if they were, Zuck & Co. wouldn’t be desperately trying to drive feed engagement on Insta & FB. In their latest pursuits, they’re prioritizing three things to drive engagement – video, a separate News Feed for friends & family, and last but not least, original content. Like attracts like – by leveraging users’ own network engagement to recommend posts and accounts they might be interested in, Zuck & Co. are relying on social proof to drive further News Feed engagement. Sounds like a good strategy if you ask me.

Make it work: As Insta & FB shift their strategy to prioritize time spent, original content, video and sub-communities are going to continue to be key factors in 2018. With the amount of experimenting to optimize each – marketers should take a note from this playbook. Marketers should understand the core group of influencers their target audiences follow and engage with (regardless of follower count), and work with those influencers to create original content and video to increase a brand’s time spent with those audiences. Only after which, should marketers scale – sponsoring high-performing posts to amplify reach.

Not Unrelated

Don’t count Snapchat out just yet – the company is rumored to be developing a new feature that would promote video sharing across other publishers. Currently, Snapchat content is only viewable to Snapchat users and does not exist outside of the app. However, the release of the ‘Stories Everywhere’ feature would allow content to be embedded and shared with non-Snapchatters – for the first time in the history of the app.

When it comes to increasing reach & frequency, social media platforms are continuing to turn to off-chat display networks – it’s why Facebook created an audience network and why Snapchat is working to promote video sharing outside of the app. For marketers working with influencers on Snapchat, the release of the new feature is a great way to garner additional reach. Curious on how to optimize influencer marketing on Snapchat? Check out our cheat sheet. disclosure – we made this #shamelessplug

It Goes Down In The DM

Instagram has yet again one-upped its Live feature – now users can privately send live videos using Direct Messaging. Simply tap the Direct icon and you will be given the option to send your own live video, or a live video you’re watching, to a friend or group of friends. For awhile now, Instagram has been introducing tools that make users’ experiences more interactive (i.e. Polls, Stickers, etc.) – making it easier for brands and influencers to create engaging content in real-time. However, this update allows followers to join the conversation in a more real and intimate setting. In addition to working with influencers to hold exclusive chat sessions, giveaways, Q&A’s, brands should also work with influencers to hold Marketer & Influencer Focus Groups for brainstorming and idea validation where the actual activation would occur.

Tag, You’re It

Facebook is expanding its facial recognition tools to notify users any time someone uploads a photo with them in it – even if they’re not tagged. The user will then be given the option to tag themselves, leave themselves untagged, or report the photo. From an influencer marketing perspective, this not only increases influencer brand management & safety, but also helps to manage copyright issues. Now, if people are reposting influencer images without credit, or if users are fraudulently posting on their behalf or creating disparaging content, the influencer will be notified and will be able to report the photo. Watch out frauds, there’s a new sheriff in town.


‘We’ll focus on both their intermediate experience and other perceptions about the long-term value. We want to be as rigorous in measuring our human impact as we are in every other part of our business.’ – Angela Ahrendts, Apple Retail Head.

#Fact – You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Take it from Apple – brands that measure every aspect of the customer experience create a better experience for their customers. In doing so, it’s important for marketers to survey customers who are especially meaningful to their business, aka those with influence. It’s likely that these consumers will have a slightly different perception of your brand than others. If you’re not measuring the input of the people who can make or break your brand, you’re missing a big opportunity to tap into an important cohort of your audience.


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