Is it just me, or do digital platforms seem to be getting more expensive? Obviously, with clever optimisation tricks and insider knowledge, as an agency we’re ahead of the curve when it comes to making sure our clients get the best bang for their buck.
However, what we, and everyone else, can’t control is the sheer saturation of the market on the ‘traditional’ digital marketing platforms.
It can’t be denied that competition on these platforms has steadily increased across the years as advertising on them becomes more mainstream, which in turn drives up the cost. There is also pressure on brands to reach audiences with organic social content, which is ever-increasingly difficult when the market of traditional channels (Facebook and Instagram) are already saturated.
It’s a vicious cycle, and one we want to break free of! So how can we do this? In a nutshell this can only be achieved by trying new platforms to see if better results can be had. In this blog we’re going to look at some up-and coming digital platforms, both social and display, paid and organic, as well as some which have been around for a while that you may not have considered.
TikTok – Where Gen Z hang out
TikTok is primarily known as the ‘young’ platform, mainly because its users are early or pre-teens. The demographic was relatively un-represented on social platforms in the past. This was because of a few reasons; you need to be at least 13 to have a Facebook or Instagram account, and because smartphones were not as accessible to earlier generations from a young age as they are for Gen Z’ders now.
This left a relatively un-tapped market for TikTok to capitalise on. TikTok’s appeal for Gen Z’ders is its easily digestible content, comprising of short form videos. It’s like Snapchat, but with popular Instagram features such as hashtags, a social feed and a profile which shows your previous posts. For the youngens there’s also the appealing fact that not many adults know about it…
However, even though this is a platform mainly populated by Gen Z, there are some prominent adult influencers on there. Elle recently published an article with the top beauty and fashion influencers you should be following on TikTok. Elle is not particularly targeted at teenagers or pre-teens, rather at women in their 20’s and 30’s, so the fact the magazine is publishing about TikTok, shows the gradual slide towards an older demographic.
Back in the mid 2000’s, Facebook used to be where allll the cool kids hung out, but it slowly got dominated by a much older demographic. Nothing drives the kids away faster than knowing your mum and grandma are seeing photos from your latest night out. No doubt the same will happen with TikTok. So, a note to advertisers, get on there fast if you want to target Gen Z’ders!
Vero – For the security conscious
Vero is a social platform without ads, collective gasp! Claiming to have no ads, no data mining, and no algorithms. Similar to TikTok, Vero has a setting in which you control who sees your posts, you can choose to share your posts between close friends or acquaintances for instance.
As well as sharing videos and photos you can also share your favourite music, movies and TV shows, books or recommend places you’ve been. You can even donate to your favourite charities within the platform. In this way Vero sets itself up as a platform that’s more than just about personal physical image, it gets under the skin a little more by displaying the interests mentioned previously. Due to the lack of algorithms Vero also has an entirely chronological feed, so you actually see content that people post, regardless of how many likes they get. You can then share things from your feed which resonate with you, therefore spreading posts beyond the creators’ friend or fan base.
But, how does this platform benefit me as a brand manager I hear you cry! Well brands like GQ already feature prominently on Vero’s website, utilising their already well-known place in popular culture to push organic content into users’ feeds.
Critically Vero has e-commerce capability for brands to utilise, this is not classed as advertising by Vero, but rather allows brand accounts to sell their products online directly through the app. This means brands will need to create a beautiful, inspirational feed and content as well as using the right hashtags to get people to share their posts or follow them, instead of just paying to get e-commerce ads into relevant audiences’ newsfeeds.
Ad Colony – One for the gamers
This is not a social platform, but a paid display platform which displays ads to gamers playing in-app games and rich media ads and display ads across a network of websites. Ad Colony has also created ads where the product itself has been gamified, such as this game for US fast food chain Jack in the Box. As well as this, it has the capacity to create ads with dynamic end cards and Instant-Play video.
Reaching an audience of 1.4 billion engaged users and being one of the largest mobile advertising platforms in the world, this certainly isn’t a channel to dismiss. The platform uses programmatic advertising to serve the ads to your relevant audience and they also have an in-house creative team to help bring your ads to life and fulfil your brief.
Gamification is a great way of engaging your audience for a relatively long period of time whilst increasing their exposure to your brand. On the downside they can be expensive to create, so make sure you’re creating your ad with a clear objective and a great concept!
Lasso – Facebook’s baby
Lasso is a short form video app created by Facebook as a direct competitor to TikTok. It seems that Facebook is more than aware of its ‘leaky bucket’ situation, young users are falling out faster than they’re coming in. According to Pew Research comparing 2019 to 2014-2015 data, people of the ages 13 – 17 using Facebook has gone down by 71%.
Within Lasso you can play music over the top of your film and edit the video in the app, as well as share your video on Facebook and Instagram. In this way it seems to be more of extension to Facebook and Instagram rather than a social platform in its own right, like TikTok.
What is striking is Lasso’s similarity to TikTok. From a user’s point of view it seems that a more striking differentiation might be required, otherwise, why use Lasso over TikTok, which is already more established? Facebook does seem to have a habit of effectively stealing other companies’ ideas. Who remembers when short, snappy stories and face filters were the sole preserve of Snapchat?
However, Lasso is not something that should be ignored by marketers, it’s ability to edit videos could help your brand create some quality content, even if you mostly use Lasso features to share it on your more popular Instagram channel for instance.
Hopefully this blog has given some food for thought when it comes to looking at new digital platforms to expand your brand reach and audience base.
Even if you just trial some of these platforms, you won’t know the results until you test. There may a whole tribe of fans out there you didn’t even know you had!
If you need help getting started with any of these platforms, or simply want to understand more about them, get in touch with our Campaigns team who’ll be happy to help.