Current state of mobile marketing
Brands are desperate for meaningful ways to connect with consumers on the platform that matters most — mobile. With 52% of all screen time currently on mobile, it’s critical for brands to reach consumers through this highly personal medium currently dominating consumers’ attention. Further, mobile is practically the only way to reach the much-coveted Millennial demographic.
Unfortunately, traditional ad models don’t work on mobile. Consumers despise interruptive mobile ads eight times more than on television, and the meteoric rise of ad-blocking software is proof that consumers will do whatever it takes to bypass ads on their mobile devices. According to a report by PageFair and Adobe, ad-blocking cost publishers $21.8 billion in 2015 — and Apple didn’t even enable ad-blocking apps on the iPhone and iPad until September 2015. With ad-blocking now available across most web browsers and smartphones, Fractl and Moz report that 63% of Millennials are using ad-blocking software. This is a full-on crisis for marketers.
Facebook, the “best of the bad options”
As a result of these trends, many brands have turned to Facebook, moving billions of dollars from other platforms to the social media giant that raked in $5.6 billion dollars in ad revenue in Q4 2015 alone, 80% of which was from mobile. Since Facebook mobile ad views are largely from within their own app and not a mobile browser, they avoid ad blocking, which circumvents a key challenge the rest of the industry is facing. Facebook also allows for powerful micro-targeting and can reach a staggering 1.5 billion people worldwide on a monthly basis. There’s no denying it’s a powerful platform, but many brands refer to Facebook as the “best of the bad options.” Why? Because on Facebook their ads are interruptive. So even though they avoid ad blockers, the ads are still largely unwanted by consumers. In an attempt to be less interruptive, video ads on Facebook are auto-play without audio, meaning brands are being charged for “views” with no sound that users scroll right past and ignore as unwanted messages. As a result, the ROI on these ads is only a fraction as compelling as Facebook’s own revenue windfall would suggest. Further, brands are concerned that the concentration of their spend in one place, Facebook, puts them at risk and they only see this problem as getting worse as they are faced with the need to shift tens of millions, in some cases hundreds of millions of dollars out of television and into mobile – unless other viable options arise.
User-generated marketing vs. user-generated content
Early entrants into the authentic user-generated content space like This Moment, Spreadfast, and Olapic understand and get the authentic content part of the equation right, but miss the other half of the equation – peer distribution. These platforms go out and find authentic content that has been created by consumers and aggregate it, but then rely on the brand for distribution via the brand’s own websites and social channels. This is authentic for sure, but it’s not consumers distributing to their own peers and so the content loses personalization and relevance, and thus impact. The user-generated content model also doesn’t offer brands an opportunity to dramatically expand their reach.
Arriving next on the scene, Snapchat has greatly evolved these early models and has nailed both consumer creation and distribution by enabling people to create branded content and distribute it to their peers at scale with Snapchat’s branded filters. This model, whereby consumers both create and distribute the content, is user-generated marketing. There are several straightforward reasons that user-generated marketing works so well:
- User-generated marketing offers the authenticity and relevancy consumers crave. Authentic content is best created at scale by giving real consumers great mobile tools and empowering them to create messages and then distribute them to their own peer groups – peers who will find those specific messages most relevant and trusted and, therefore, those who will watch and respond.
- User-generated marketing is not interruptive. It’s content created and shared by one's own peers which is what people do on social networks anyway, so it’s not only relevant and authentic, it’s welcome and fitting for the medium.
- User-generated marketing videos are played with sound, in full-screen and often viewed to completion because that’s how people want to experience their friends’ content on social networks. With all the debate about what defines a “view” for a mobile ad, advertisers and publishers and are missing the point. Let’s stop trying to trick users into viewing something they don’t want to see and focus instead on including brand messaging in the content consumers crave.
Snapchat is the proof user-generated marketing wins on mobile
The numbers don’t lie. Snapchat’s engagement metrics with branded filters, particularly with Millennials, are through the roof, and brands are starting to recognize this. The overwhelming success of the campaign Gatorade ran with Snapchat during this year’s Super Bowl has awakened brands to the power of user-generated marketing. Gatorade’s use of a branded filter allowed Snapchat users to shoot and share selfies with a virtual Gatorade shower automatically added to their videos. The campaign generated over 165 million views — proving that when brands are able to tap into content not only created, but also distributed by real people, the opportunity is massive. Many brands are now lining up with Snapchat in an attempt to snag the same success, but before they do, there’s a “but” they must consider. A big one.
How do brands protect themselves from brand-inappropriate content
The Snapchat opportunity is powerful but also incredibly risky for brands because they have absolutely no control over what consumers will shoot and share with their brand now incorporated directly into the videos. Snapchat does not have a way for brands to monitor or manage the content being created in their name. That means there’s no way for a company to take down inappropriate content that could be associated with their brand. Giving users unfettered access to and control over valuable brand assets and elements makes marketers wary of handing the reins over to Snapchat. Marketers need oversight and moderation.
This is exactly why we created Vivoom. Vivoom is the only mobile media company that enables brand-safe storytelling between advertisers and consumers at scale. Brands see Vivoom as “Snapchat, but with brand safety and universal access, versus being limited to Snapchat's platform.” With Vivoom, brands have almost unlimited creative possibilities for creating branded filters, which consumers can add to their videos to instantly transform them into powerful branded messages they share with friends. Vivoom can be accessed by consumers to shoot and share from within a brand’s own app or chatbot or from a branded mobile web experience – no download required! Users then share the videos with their peers across their own social platforms just as they would any other content, but the videos — regardless of where they are shared — can be flagged by the brand and removed immediately if any content is off-brand or inappropriate. Peers view the user-generated marketing across social, email or text as they would any other content shared by their friends.
Finally, unlike with Snapchat, brands also retain the rights to the videos that are created and can republish them on their own social channels, website or even play the best ones on the Jumbotron at live events (just as one example). Brands can view live performance reports on the campaigns and embed calls-to-action in the videos, which are seeing conversion rates that are outperforming traditional mobile ads by 300%.
Leading brands including Citibank, General Mills, TCU, Universal Pictures, L’Oreal, NCM, Lilly Pulitzer’s “In the pink” and others are seeing incredible ROI with Vivoom, and we’d love to speak with you about the power of user-generated marketing.