That was certainly the case at MediaPost’s Social Media Insider Summit on Friday, where attendees shared their insights into Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and other still-niche platforms.
Instagram and Pinterest are both highly visual and open platforms, social experts agreed on Friday. Compared to Facebook and Twitter -- where users are prone to moaning and mouthing off -- Instagram and Pinterest are also “very, very happy networks,” in the words of Sharad Verma, co-founder and CEO of social analytics startup Piqora. That creates a friendlier environment for most brands, he said.
Yet at least from a marketing standpoint, the similarities end there, Verma and his peers suggested. For one, audiences on Pinterest skew older and far more female, noted Aliza Freud, founder and CEO of female-focused content network SheSpeaks.
Pinterest is also much more like a product and design “wish list” for users. Put another way, Instagram is at the top of the classic purchase funnel, while Pinterest is right near the bottom, she said.
Also, the shelf life for content posted to Pinterest is much longer, said Verma. For example, Pinsters commonly buy products that others have pinned many months in the past.
As such, the content that brands are creating for Pinterest should be targeted for an “active evaluation type consumer,” while Instagram is for “love letters back to [brand] loyalists,” said Zach Baze, SVP of strategy, insight and content at digital marketing agency IMM.
Failures can equal success for a marketing industry trying to make sense of newer social platforms, said Dave Rolfe, director of integrated production at BBDO. “If we rotate failure, that’s the liberating [model]," he said on Friday. That’s not to say Rolfe isn’t “mortified” by Snapchat and similarly untested networks, he admitted. "If you use Snapchat, you're going to fail."
In return, however, brands can improve their social approaches -- and possibly discover their voices and what they want to say with them, Rolfe added.
Unfortunately for beleaguered brands, the social ecosystem is only growing more complex.
Among other big changes, Jason Mitchell, cofounder of social agency Movement Strategy, said further fragmentation is inevitable. “The big social network is not as cool anymore,” he said.
While some have suggested that anonymous social networking is a fad, Carmen Sutter, product manager at Adobe Social, disagrees.
Across the social space, Facebook still controls time spent, but Snapchat is growing fast, according to a recent JPMorgan research note, citing comScore data. In July, Facebook accounted for 18% of overall Internet time, and 20% of mobile time. Albeit from a smaller base, Snapchat’s total minutes more than doubled (up 114%) in July, year-over-year.