2020 threw curveballs for everyone. As marketers, we were forced to re-evaluate everything we knew about building a brand. As in-person events and sampling opportunities became a thing of the past, we relied heavily on digital marketing and social media to reach our target consumers. Consumers who now were spending double the time online consuming media compared to pre-COVID. To be successful in 2020 brands had to learn to meet their consumer where they were and adapt quickly to the changing media and new social trends. With immerging platforms like Clubhouse, expanding apps like Fortnite, Cameo, and Twitch, and, of course, the reigning kings, Instagram and Facebook, consumers were looking for ways to still find human connection in what was becoming a very lonely and siloed world. Below we take a deeper look at how 2020 has accelerated opportunities for digital marketing and made room for more platforms and apps to create human connections with their consumers.
New Apps: Clubhouse
By now you may have heard of Clubhouse. It is the members-only social media drop-in audio app. Currently, still in beta, Clubhouse is “invite-only” and not yet available to the public. The app allows you to join and listen in on discussion panels, network with like-minded individuals or host a panel of your own. Currently, Clubhouse users are primarily industry leaders, entrepreneurs, celebrities and marketers. The app has allowed for people across all industries to come together, share knowledge and network with one another. With in-person events, trade shows and conferences non-existent in 2020 Clubhouse has allowed humans to connect on a level that was no longer possible in a COVID world. Clubhouse is showing us a future where brands and individuals alike can become thought leaders and build an online network without the need of being face-to-face. As Clubhouse plans to go public in the future we will see how this app expands and shifts how we connect in a still primarily virtual world. Will this replace the need for multi-day marketing conferences? Will this app open the doors for more marketers and individuals to network like never before? It will be interesting to see how this platform evolves and where brands and marketers will be able to make their mark.
Expanding Apps: Fortnite, Cameo and Twitch
These three apps are not new to consumers, but all saw impressive growth in 2020. As we all lived in a primarily virtual world, consumers used these apps to connect, distract and communicate.
Fortnite offers you the opportunity to escape reality and drop into an island where you compete to be the last player or team standing. You can also hang out within the app and do activities with your friends virtually. In a COVID world where in-person hangouts are no longer possible, many found an escape within Fortnite. Allowing the opportunity for friends and family to still make a connection. With the popularity of this app some mega brands and celebrities have found ways to partner with the app for co-branded in-app gaming experiences and challenges. As more and more people spend time with each other in augmented reality gaming vs. in-person, we as marketers should look for ways to get involved.
Cameo lets its users book personal video messages from their favorite movie stars, celebrities and influencers. This concept gives the consumer a more personal experience to hear a shout-out from their favorite celeb! In recent months, the app has now expanded to allow brands to partner with these influencers/celebrities for “promotional cameos”. “A Promotional Cameo video can be used to promote a company/organization/product on the company’s website and Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.” Brands or companies license the usage rights to those videos for a select duration of time. Many say using this popular platform can be a roundabout way to promote celebrity endorsements without the large price tags. As this platform continues to gain traction we will see if this form of endorsement takes off.
Twitch is a video live streaming service that started over nine years ago. What was originally used primarily by gamers is now widely used by influencers, entertainers, and of course, still gamers. With COVID and consumers staying home consuming media, Twitch saw record-breaking growth with both viewership and new profiles being created. As users are spending more and more time watching streaming on Twitch this gives brands once again the opportunity to meet their consumers on yet another video-based platform.
The Reigning Kings: Facebook and Instagram
Facebook and Instagram soared in 2020 with more eyeballs than ever on content, influencers, and brands. Both platforms are continuing to grow in monetizing products and brands through expansions on shop-ability and in-app purchasing. As brands already play in this space it will be increasingly important in 2021 to jump on these new trends to maximize their ROI on the platforms and keep up with algorithm changes. Find ways to use all of the Facebook’s/Instagram in-app features for your brand and you will be more visible to your consumers on the platform. For example, use new features like Reels (they are currently favored in the algorithm and offer higher reach and engagement). Try to incorporate all in-app features on Instagram Stories (i.e. stickers, tags, geo-tags, polls, questions). These also are also favored and create higher engagement opportunities.
With all eyes on digital in 2021 having a deep understanding of these platforms and what they have to offer will be the key to beating the competition and standing out among the digital white noise. With such an increase in consumption and the lack of in-person experiences, brands must engage with their audience online. At Konnect Agency, our digital/social media team specializes in identifying these opportunities across multiple platforms for brands to create meaningful partnerships and promotions that drive awareness, engagement and sales. As we kick-off 2021 in what feels like a continuation of 2020 with lockdowns and social distancing, I challenge you as marketers to continue to push the envelope, re-evaluate your social strategies and try new things in 2021.
– Christina Dobson