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One Small Step for a Brand…

8th november 2016

Danica Ross, Grayling San Francisco US Executive Vice President, on how brands can guide themselves through the ‘the new space race’ – part of our #7for17 trends series.

In an era where brands increasingly focus their marketing campaigns on social channels, we are beginning to feel the burden of platform fatigue and algorithm-driven news stream clutter. Despite their great potential to reach masses, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have become a content battleground, with companies and individuals shouting to be heard.

Locowise study reveals that Facebook pages with over a million likes now have only 2% average organic reach - the higher the number of page likes, the lower the organic reach, it now seems. Followers or subscribers no longer guarantee engagement, especially as content news stream algorithms now prioritize certain content.

So, faced with greater volumes of social content, unfavourable algorithms, and impenetrable messaging platforms (think whatsapp and other so-called dark channels), companies need to rethink their content strategies if they are to cut through the noise.

Pay and thou shalt reach

The change in algorithms across platforms means that FacebookTwitter and Instagram are focusing more than ever on paid content.

This pay-to-reach model, reminiscent of more traditional advertising, means that brands are finding it more and more challenging to reach existing and new audiences on the big platforms without allocating serious proportion of their marketing budget. 

Even with paid sponsorship, competition remains fierce. Every second, we are bombarded with around 6,000 tweets which equates to 500 million tweets per day, leaving brands thinking - how else can we cut through the noise?

We are now seeing a new age ‘gold rush’ for content space. From Airbnb to Spotify, as long as it accepts content, it’s fair game. These new, less obvious content platforms allow brands to, for a moment at least, stand center stage and wave their flag.

But staking a claim is not enough. Non-traditional platforms challenge marketers to create novel, new content, worthy of the space they want to occupy. These new spaces have the potential to be very powerful and far reaching, able to incite word of mouth virality on the back of innovative, creative and inspirational content. A challenge for brands and agency partners alike.

This new space race has particularly seen crowd funding websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo being used not only to raise monetary funds, but also as a storytelling tool by brands. Far from the start-ups and aspiring entrepreneurs for which the platform was intended, established brands and companies now use these platforms to increase exposure, find brand advocates amongst niche audiences and for new product validation. It seems crowd funding has become the new concept store. And we expect to see many more examples in the future, as the new space race escalates. 

Follow Danica Ross and join the #7for17 trends conversation on Twitter.

Danica Ross

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