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Why I Hate Snapchat

 

 

 

This is going to sound incredibly contradictive to my title, but I love Snapchat- I love it a lot.

Let me explain. Snapchat makes up a huge portion of my social media life. I send snaps constantly, share stories (as lame or irrelevant as they can be), I actually like the interaction from Bitmojis, and I even use their messaging system intensively. When Snap IPO’d, I bought around $1,000 worth of stock at $22/share. This was a hefty bit for someone just out of college, but I knew they were going to soar and blow investors away with all their great advertising capabilities and tools for brands to drive revenue growth so it was a no-brainer. Well, I sold my shares for $700 when a few months later I just couldn’t stand seeing report after report continue to tell me about how SNAP was continuing to drop and miss numbers, not by a little, but by A LOT, like by MILES.

 

It hurts me so much to write about this because Snapchat has so much potential. It’s so confusing as to why they don’t embrace things that can drive value for them (advertising, influencer measurement, open APIs) to innovate and push boundaries on things that drive user growth. Sure, Facebook and Instagram probably were sitting back on all these features waiting for the IPO to make sure they could beat Snap at their own game, but damn are they doing it well, and in some cases, even better than Snapchat is.

 

I bought a pair of Snapchat Spectacles at Ultra Music Festival Miami in March and, wow, for a first-generation-tech pair of glasses they’re great. The lenses are nice enough to feel high quality, the plastic is sturdy and weighty, and they don’t look too ridiculous (although pretentious might be another thing). However, as amazing as they were at that festival, I sit in an office for the majority of my weeks. Nobody really wants my 360-degree, 1080p snaps of me browsing my email and LinkedIn. So, when the weekend rolls around, I could use them when I do things like go to the park and play with my dog or even when I hit up a brewery with some friends, right? Ehhh, wrong. I don’t want to be that guy wearing these crazy glasses just so I can take a snapchat more easily. I may care too much about what other people think about me, but in the age of social media I can guarantee I’m not the only one.

The next thing that irks me is that even though Snapchat has been out for almost 6 years (September 2011, I just checked), it is still god-awful on Android. If you are using an iPhone you probably love the quality of pictures and don’t notice too much of an impact on battery, but on Android it absolutely massacres my battery life. It also doesn’t even use the camera. It takes a screenshot of what my camera sees without processing it through my amazing Nexus 6P camera. Can you not give a little love to Android users after 6 years? Please? Evan are you out there?!

 

As far as new ideas for Snapchat go, the new map feature is cool in theory, but all it does is tell my friends that my life is pretty. I can go look at happening spots, but in Atlanta it’s really just the Aquarium and maybe a concert or the pink trap house (ATL Rap is where it’s at). I don’t see much use for the feature and it seems to me more of a, hey you’re missing out on this than a useful feature I want to go look for things to do nearby, but maybe there are grander things in mind.

 

All in all, the race between Snapchat and Instagram is awesome in theory. I love seeing each other fighting to innovate faster and with better tech, but Instagram puts out amazing stuff to build communities of content and brand engagement whereas Snapchat just makes some cool new filters. The hotdog meme thing is funny (and extremely lucky that it blew up), but they’re going to push it too far (mark my words here) and their target audience is gonna hate it. I’m torn between my millennial love of Snapchat’s simplicity, their possibility of the future technologies and innovations in cameras, and simple messaging functionalities, and my professional-minded respect for Instagram’s long-game focus around giving the people who drive real money to the company the tools they need and want, brands.

Snapchat, I want to support you and love you so much, but damn, there’s a million warning lights flashing in front of you that you’re missing out on. I hope I’m just naïve and Evan Spiegel is fooling us all, but until then my investment money and faith is staying with Zuck’s consistency and his proven fluency to drive big dollars for his companies.

 

 

 

 

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Why Fyre Festival Proves How Dangerously Effective Influencers Are

As everyone already knows, Fyre Festival was one of the biggest flubs in festival history (this hilarious documentation of the disaster will catch you up if you weren’t aware). They used flashy models and influencers to promote to a bunch of millennials who wanted to “live the dream”, meet their idols, and party for a weekend on an exclusive island once owned by the infamous drug lord, Pablo Escobar. Music, parties, babes, and sun? Sign me up!

 

Their marketing strategy (see the video below) has been ridiculed, called deceptive, and even hailed as the “death of influencer marketing.” As someone who has been involved in influencer marketing for years, I couldn’t disagree more.

While it was shameful and fraudulent to promise so much and deliver nothing, I think the underlying principal remains that the overwhelming ‘success’ (by that I mean getting tens of thousands of people to spend insane amounts of money to fly to a brand-new festival to the point where it’s overbooked and embarrassingly under-delivered) of the festival came from an amazing marketing strategy fueled by influencers.

 

Let’s take a step back for a second and think about how many 1st year festivals would love to charge $13,000 VIP Packages and sell so many that they can’t even handle the demand. The timing of Fyre coming right off the heels of Coachella is also amazing. I mean, maybe their target audience could afford to do both, but let’s face it; as a music junkie myself, the lineup for Fyre wasn’t exactly polarizing.

 

Let’s not forget this lineup includes Blink-182 who dropped out early.

 

Influencer marketing has been around for over 100 years even though it went by a different name, celebrity endorsements. The hype behind it now comes from the way consumers can feel more closely connected on a day-to-day basis with their idols in a more humanizing way. Influencers now are getting paid for their followings and sure, they can seem like walking billboards, but they have an audience. As a marketer, the only reason you would hate on them for having a large audience is because you can’t generate that buzz on your own or because you don’t think the cost is worth it. Industry “professionals” and marketers want to use excuses like “fake” and “disingenuous” because the real focus only goes towards the few influencer ads that are losing.

 

“Wow they took money or product to post on their feed?! That’s so shameful. How could they promote such a scam?” “I told you influencer marketing was ridiculous!” Influencers have bills. Influencers can choose what goes on their feed and in most cases companies are coming to them with the copy and pitch. Companies who use them are still getting massive ROI, audience engagement, and exposure in front of millions of people. Let’s remember, it’s ultimately up to the influencer. In the case of Fyre, they had no idea it was going to flop, but they were certainly sold the dream, paid a lot, and promised all these things by the company, but how is it their fault?

 

If I came to you (yes, you reading this) and said, “I want to give you a free vacation in Ibiza, at this nice hotel (drinks and food included) and even pay you to go there and relax! The only thing you need to do is post a few tweets and Instagram posts about my brand.” Would you say no? Either you’re lying to yourself or you’re thinking, “Great, when’s my trip?”

 

Now let’s imagine you’re getting 1000 of those requests a day because you’re a top-tier influencer. How do you decide which brands to work with? You’re probably going to do one of a few things: either work with brands you like already, brands you’ve wanted to work with, or you’re going to determine what content seems most beneficial for you and your audience. Think Kylie Jenner’s audience would have loved to see her rocking out on a yacht at a music festival? I’m sure she did too.

 

Just some Instagram influencers posing for Fyre… Hold on, I think I’m gonna go get my ticket for next year

Heidi Cohen published a post about Seth Godin’s 7 truths at the heart of marketing. Let’s see how they relate to this debacle and what you can stand to learn.

  1. People rarely buy what they need. They buy what they want
  2. Choose your customers, choose your future.
  3. Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.
  4. Why waste a sentence saying nothing?
  5. Social Networking that matters is helping people archive their goals. Doing it reliably and repeatability so that over time people have an interest in helping you achieve your goals.
  6. The best time to do great customer service is when a customer is upset. 
  7. Good marketers measure.

 

How many of these apply to Fyre?

  1. They wanted the luxury music festival packed with influencers
  2. They got to target the wannabe, high spending, festival millennials.
  3. They told a fun story about an event that’s never happened before.
  4. They made the content easy to digest, you got the picture- be there or miss out
  5. I saw this ad a million times. The attendees got the ads, got the influencers, got the festival hype, they got the content and ate it right up.
  6. They are promising refunds and extending free VIP to next years festival – while they haven’t refunded anyone just yet, I’m sure that’s coming before the lawsuits put them out of business.
  7. They saw the demand and you can bet they’re gonna be prepared for 2018 (they’ve already stated it’ll be in the US. Gee, that’ll make more logistical sense).

 

Fyre Festival might have been a huge flop, a scam, or just an embarrassment to marketers, but think about this- it’s been about a month since all of this came out and you probably haven’t even thought about it. Attention spans are short and, while they might have a tough time putting a festival together next year with influencers, you can bet it will still be sold out from all the hype of this controversy and promises to do it right.

 

Say what you want, influencer marketing works.

 

 

 

Til next time.

Rylan Albach

 

Thoughts on the Modern Marketer

 

 

 

The marketing landscape is changing dramatically. With all new marketing technologies, insanely deep metrics, and new platforms to reach consumers as old ones are quickly dying, it’s enough to make your head spin. Just like with any job in the 21st century, marketers have to stay quick on their feet and be able to adapt to anything and everything at a moment’s notice.

 

Marketing software to measure things like impressions, sentiment, engagement, earned media, and even identifying and predicting the success of campaigns before they begin are making marketing much easier to quantify, but also much more demanding. No longer can you send some mailers and hope people go buy your stuff or put a TV ad and hope that people were actually paying attention as your precious 30 seconds ran by.

 

It’s pretty amazing though, isn’t it? Now we know exactly who sees our content, how long they were looking at it, and what that can average out as far as value. On top of all that, it’s never been more cost effective to run campaigns by utilizing digital channels. Modern marketers must take advantage of these costs as first movers will see massive increases in the value they get from doing so. Facebook ads are still a steal, but think about how long they’ve been around- they’re getting so targeted and precise that the value will be, has to be, increasing in the near future.

 

Metrics have also been exploding in access and are only getting more deep and insightful. Marketers not only need to be creative, but understand statistics and numbers that can align to create and analyze campaign effectiveness. Risk taking becomes more difficult as numbers are more accessible so even understanding the pitch as to why you should try something is challenging. Why should we try a magazine ad that has no idea how many people will actually do something with it when we can do a PPC google ad (although those are arguably way overpriced for the use). These metrics can also be powerful as well and using them to measure campaign impact can be extremely useful in understanding the value marketing is bringing to your team and organization.

 

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Platforms and channels are also increasing in number and therefore adding pressure to be creative in order to appeal to the users in those channels. Let’s take musical.ly for example. Musical.ly has the possibility to be the hottest way to hit the preteen generation, they love it. It eerily reminds me of Vine 2.0, with people singing, doing skits, and creating humorous videos. Celebrities and influencers are tapping into it to get their fans directly involved and performing alongside with thousands of people. How cool is that? Being featured on someone you adore’s quick video because you were rocking out or playing along too? That’s so impactful, especially to a younger demographic who get to have their 5 seconds of fame and brag to their friends. Brands haven’t entered the platform in any significant way just yet, but think about the interaction possibilities there.Ford could put on a dance off with a celebrity, tapping into two audiences for someone to win a car in a series of competitions spaced out over a month. It’s American Idol where everyone has a chance to be on it- that’s a pretty simple idea, but I’m excited to see what marketers come up with to fully utilize the engaging platform (sidenote: I think this engagement is the future, Facebook Live and Twitter Live is a stepping stone into actually being a feature of the programs).

All in all, there’s more change than ever. TV isslowly dying to platforms on demand like Netflix Facebook and YouTube, Ad spend is switching from traditional to digital more and more each year (and by a massive margin), and our insights into how we are impacting and affecting consumers is more detailed and not at the mercy of the channel in many cases. Consumers have more power than ever and more ways to express their opinions and spend on brands, but so do brands. As marketers, we can now reach out and impact consumers in so many ways and find more and more personal, engaging methods to do so. We just have to learn to adapt, be ok with change, and go where our customers are. It’s a wild world right now, but we are living in a time that hasn’t experienced this much change since TV and radio came out, and that’s really amazing to think about.