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Marketing News and Week in Review : March 12,2017

Marketing newsFor those who love marketing AND sports (especially college basketball), this is a big week coming up! March Madness brackets opened up today and the first games start Tuesday. So before we all get sucked the vortex that is college basketball, here’s some marketing news and tips we think you need to know. Facebook with Messenger Day, Facebook 360, and midroll ads on non-live videos, YouTube’s new app, and advancements in VR/AR—here’s the scoop.

The battle continues as Facebook launches Messenger Day in yet another attempt to unseat Snapchat. Facebook has most definitely perfected the art of launching products that compete with Snapchat and Messenger Day is its newest feature.

So what is Messenger Day? Just like Snapchat Stories and WhatsApp Status, users can share video and photo messages with text, drawing, filters, and emojis that will disappear after 24 hours.

While there are many similarities, the biggest differences that set Facebook apart are the size of its user base and the fact that Messenger Day is set up with the intention of allowing friends to make plans and communicate about getting together. While Snapchat has 158 million daily active users, Messenger alone has one billion users all over the world.

The blog post announcement of Messenger Day included information about how users can post images to their Days to not only show what they are up to and how they are feeling, but also to invite friends to join them.

Will Snapchat be successful in the marketing world? For marketers, Facebook and Instagram provide more detailed analytics that help with social media strategies. Unfortunately, Snapchat’s only metrics for Stories are number of views and screenshots and the numbers have to be recorded in 24 hours, before the content disappears. However, Snapchat has a devoted user base, concentrated in the 18 to 34-year old age range, which means potential for bigger sources of revenue as time progresses.

It will be interesting to see how Facebook and Snapchat spar for top advantage over time. For loyal Snapchat users, they appear to be unimpressed. For many Messenger users, the interface is familiar and comfortable, and easier to use than trying to figure out the nuances of Snapchat. One thing’s for sure, time will tell who will prevail on this front.

Speaking of Facebook advancements, last week Facebook debuted Facebook 360, its first virtual reality app. It’s well known that Facebook has devoted billions of dollars to virtual reality but there has always been a clear line between VR and the main Facebook app—until now. On March 8, Facebook intertwined the real and virtual Facebook worlds by launching its first dedicated app, called Facebook 360.

According to Facebook reports, there have been more than one million 360 videos and more than 25 million 360 photos shared to date. At launch, the Facebook 360 app will only be available for the Gear VR mobile headset and users can download the app in the Oculus Store.

Facebook 360 will feature four main “feeds” that will deliver content to users. The “Explore” tab will give users a bird’s-eye look at popular content from a variety of media companies and creators. The “Following” tab is where content from friends is viewable. Facebook 360 allows users to save content and that is stored under the “Saved” tab, and lastly “Timeline” is where users can check out their own 360 photos and videos all in one place.

According to Facebook blog posts, more social features are on the way but for now the app allows users to post reactions to content, while also being able to save and share 360 photos and videos.

This rollout makes it clear that Facebook has a grand vision in mind for bringing its nearly 2 billion users into the VR world and it sounds like this app may be one of their first steps in doing so.

This is definitely a topic worth paying attention to and developing initial marketing content plans around. TechCrunch

And here’s a little more news from the VR/AR world of marketing:

MediaPost reports that some 67% of Agencies want to see more VR/AR in Ad Campaigns. What this means is that many agencies are seeing value in augmented reality advertising, while clients seem to lean more toward virtual reality. Results come from a recent study by Vibrant Media that polled a whopping 43 executives (pardon the sarcasm, but that’s not an especially large data set, by any measure).

With creating consumer engagement as top priority, and building brand awareness a close second, most companies have chosen to embrace VR to meet client demand, even though they see AR as a potentially more successful route. The reality, to our way of thinking anyway, is that mixed reality is what’s going to shake out as the real winner. More on that in another post, though.

Even though brands and their agencies are still figuring out the kinks, results consistently show AR/VR gaining a place in the marketing and advertising world.

Are you curious about why email is taking center stage in marketing innovation? Most marketers are planning to maintain or even increase their investments in marketing innovation this year, but why email marketing? That’s simple—email works. And smart marketers are hedging their bets by expanding innovation in reliable channels like email rather than gambling on unproven marketing tactics. This makes email marketing a prime target for innovation in 2017.

According to the 2017 Yes Lifecycle Marketing Channel Report (registration required) from Yesmail, marketing innovation is a top priority for marketers this year. Across the board there is a renewed emphasis on marketing as the driver for growth.

There IS a push for innovation, particularly evident in marketers’ planned spending targets, but despite the focus on innovation, marketers aren’t comfortable relying on new frontiers and are instead looking for innovation in already proven channels.

One of those new frontiers is in the VR/AR world. As you can see from previous article, virtual reality/augmented reality is entering the marketing world, and IS worth considering, but most marketers are not ready to embrace them as viable marketing channels at this point. Currently, only 8% of marketers are using VR, and over half of them doubt whether VR and AR are relevant to their brand.

So the consensus for now is that VR/AR is in the future but looming on the horizon and for now, email marketing is at the center of marketing innovation for 2017. As a company who provides email marketing solutions for clients on the regular, we can attest that there is much room for improvement in what companies are doing in their email campaigns, and the results they can realize as a result are pretty amazing. We are all in on a commitment by marketers to focus on email innovation. MarketingLand

Facebook continues to make news this week, and now you can see how Facebook inserts midroll ads in non-live videos. In case you haven’t already experienced it, Facebook has started inserting ads into the middle of some non-live videos.

There isn’t anything particularly surprising about the ad break, at least not for anyone who knew what to expect, but it is good news for the ad publishers because Facebook splits the revenue with them.

The standards for allowing the ads are that the actual video is at least 90 seconds long, the ad appears after at least 20 seconds of viewing, and the ad is no longer than 15 seconds long.

Notably, Facebook does notify the viewer that an ad is coming, how soon it will end, and who the advertiser is. Also more noticeable, and frustrating to many advertisers, is that there is apparently no rhyme or reason for which ads play to which people. For advertisers, this is a cause for hesitation on investing, because there is not guarantee the ads will relate to the video being played or the audience watching. Maybe the lack of contextual targeting will change after Facebook advances on ad breaks from testing to an official product or maybe it won’t. Time will tell. MarketingLand

If you’re curious, here’s a video that shows how the ad breaks work.

In other non-Facebook news, YouTube has now launched Uptime, an experimental app that allows users to watch videos with their friends. For those who are looking to turn watching YouTube videos into a more social experience, this new app launched by Google’s internal incubator, Area 120, will allow users to watch videos with friends. Since I was just reading another article on Gen Z’s preference for hanging out online rather than in person, this makes perfect sense. For now, this app is only available for iOS devices.

The app has a youthful appearance and includes a “reaction” feature, similar to Twitter’s Periscope and Facebook Live. While watching the video, the user’s profile icon floats across the screen and allows for comments or emoji posts on the video. The reactions will display to anyone watching the video, even at a later time.

Other apps have tried to offer a co-watching experience, like YouTubeSocial, WeMesh, and Airtime but what sets Uptime apart is that it is a polished design and offers a way to enjoy the app, even if friends aren’t able to join and watch immediately.

The option to search and share video clips from YouTube to Uptime make it discoverable by others. Users can also notify friends on the service when they post by clicking on a checkbox. Currently, invites can only be sent to friends.

While it doesn’t support live-streaming yet, I imagine other features will be added in time if the app is met with success. If you want to check out the app, the code word “pizza” gets you in.

For now, Uptime is just in its beginning phases but it is one more advancement into the future of marketing.

Photo Credit: securebacklink Flickr via Compfight cc

Eric Vidal
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Eric Vidal

Chief Content Officer at The Marketing Scope
Eric is the Chief Content Officer of The Marketing Scope and Editor at Converge, both BMG properties. He is also the acting SVP of Marketing at BMG and has ran marketing for companies of all sizes. He has extensive experience working to achieve measurable business results for organizations like IBM, Cisco, WebEx, Canon USA, Capgemini, adidas, Subaru, SAP and more. Connect with Eric on LinkedIn
Eric Vidal
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