Snapchat, Instagram, and the Rise of Video and UGC Marketing

— April 10, 2017

We’ve entered a new era in digital marketing. The Snapchat and Instagram era is officially upon us, and old-jack internet marketers have begun focusing their intent and aspiration toward learning how to fully leverage these increasingly popular platforms.


Unfortunately, most marketing departments aren’t up to par yet. The annual CMO survey put out by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the American Marketing Association found as many as 59.9 percent of respondents don’t believe that their firms’ social media marketing strategy is effective.


Maybe it’s because new platforms like Snapchat and Instagram are somewhat confusing to the older generations. Will Oremus, writing for Slate, sums up the generational issue in his article, “Is Snapchat Really Confusing, Or Am I Just Old?”:



Facebook’s evident fall from favor among whippersnappers has, over the past two years, gotten every venture capitalist and tech blogger in the world asking the same question: What’s the next Facebook? That, of course, is a question only an old would ask. The youngs implicitly grasp that there can no longer be a single dominant social network. If there were, all their parents and guidance counselors would soon be on it, and then they’d have to find something else… The closest thing to a new Facebook, however, is probably Snapchat.


The Secret to Snapchat’s Success


The reason that Snapchat and Instagram are successful, however, isn’t because a growing Gen Z is simply looking to get away from their parents. According to Kelly Samuel, writing for Forbes, this may be one factor. However, she credits the success of these new platforms to simplicity and video content. She claims that the as platforms gain age, more users and advertisers log on and pollute feeds with uninteresting and unoriginal content. Not only is content on Facebook and Twitter often recycled, unoriginal, and not engaging, there’s far too much of it to wade through. No wonder the kids are migrating to the new, fresh platforms.


Samuel’s advice for internet marketers trying to leverage these new platforms is threefold. First, don’t overload your audience with multiple posts daily. “Post less content and boost your posts more frequently,” she advises. Secondly, on that same note, make sure that your content is more than just advertisements. There are plenty of other ways to raise brand awareness such as UGC (more on that in the next section), and plenty of other types of content to post. The third piece of advice is, whether advertisement or any other type of content, make sure that it’s interesting and engaging. Nowadays that means video–yours and others’.


Video and User-Generated Content


There are plenty of reasons that modern companies need video marketing, including YouTube search optimization and attention economy–but even moreso, marketers should be creating video because it’s driving social now. If you look at Snapchat adoption, for example, growth has been steady since 2014 when it began outpacing all other platforms–that is, until Instagram Stories launched in mid 2016 and Snapchat growth concurrently slowed 82 percent.


While this may be not be great for Snapchat backers, this is a great for digital marketers. This shows us that video is the name of the game, and gives us an indication of how brands will build their visibility and credibility in the future. Platforms like Snapchat and Instagram are also great at promoting user-engagement, as well as for leveraging user-generated content (UGC) strategies.


This is important information considering that, according to the Nielsen Consumer Trust Index, 92 percent of consumers trust organic UGC more than they trust traditional advertising. For good examples of UGC, check out this piece by Eric Siu over at Hubspot.


The point is that with the growth in popularity of platforms like Snapchat and Instagram, marketers of all types can no longer afford not to build social strategies around video and UGC. Be wary of the ups and downs of these strategies, but don’t get left behind for wont of them.

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Author: Andrew Heikkila


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