July Industry Trends Report

Summer is in full swing and the communications industry is as dynamic as ever.  From the largest global sporting event holding a firm grasp on public attention to the debate over which social media platform can give advertisers a better return on investment, Proof Strategies is here to break down the latest news and trends for July 2018 so you can stay informed.  


Instagram’s latest launch and possibly YouTube’s first major threat

Photo Courtesy of Instagram Corporate

At the end of June, Instagram made two huge announcements. First, the photo-sharing app now boasts over one billion users.  This showcases the app’s continuous growth since its launch in 2010 and purchase by Facebook in 2012. Second, the app’s newest content platform just dropped: Instagram TV (IGTV).  IGTV launched as a part of the Instagram app and as its own dedicated platform, showing the company’s commitment and belief in this expansion.  Some predict IGTV is the first major competitor and threat to YouTube and YouTube TV. Others are eager to hear how Instagram will monetize this new platform for digital marketing purposes.

With IGTV, creators can produce and upload vertical videos of up to 60 minutes in length and in 4K resolution. (This refers to a horizontal screen display resolution). With this tactic, Instagram hopes to create a better and easier user experience for those who want to watch longer content.

Influencers are also behind IGTV. The New York Times reports that social media influencers and creators are jumping onto the IGTV bandwagon to keep their large groups of Instagram followers on one app. With YouTube suppressing some creator content and Facebook Watch not taking off as planned, will IGTV succeed like Instagram hopes it will? We will have to wait and see.

Read more about IGTV here:


Did your brand score a goal during the 2018 World Cup?

With the eyes of the world fixated on the 2018 FIFA World Cup (it’s estimated that 900 million people watched the final match between France and Croatia), some brands scored big with their campaigns and communications.  

Brands implemented digital marketing campaigns and took to social media to engage with global soccer fans, get their story across and experience the excitement. Tapping into a cultural phenomenon is tricky. Communicators need to be specific and personalize their message in order to connect says Agility.

Image Courtesy of Twitter/Paddington the Bear

For example, Paddington Bear played into England’s 2018 World Cup rallying cry, “it’s coming home,” and the British coach’s fashion choices in a social post right before the semi final match, shown here. The Paddington brand understands their largest audience, English fans, and their connection to this rallying cry.

This post generated extremely positive reactions from soccer fans alike; for the Paddington Twitter this post is one of their most popular yet, with 14K likes and over three thousand retweets. A lighthearted gesture, packed with some childhood nostalgia, that fit the bill of pre-semifinal game excitement. The Paddington brand stayed true to its messaging of being a key and relevant component of British pop culture, chiming in for an event that captured the nation.  

Also playing into fan emotions, Coca-Cola tapped into Iceland’s reinvigorated energy coming into the World Cup this year by creating a video that showed the country coming together to enjoy the sport and a glass of Coke. The video has over 1.65 million views on YouTube and generated buzz on Twitter, with Telegraph Sports tweeting, “This is EPIC!”

With the United States failing to qualify for the World Cup this year for the first time since 1986, US-based brands had to navigate how to connect with global fans. 23andMe ran a digital marketing campaign about finding your genealogical roots so one could discover what team they should root for in place of the US. The DNA/genealogical search company wasn’t an official sponsor of the games, but their connection with fans was authentic and even more personal.  One lesson all communicators can take away from the World Cup is to always be prepared for change – whether that be a team not qualifying for the first time in over three decades or breaking news that interrupts your media outreach. Having a backup plan is essential and Brand Berries agrees.  

Read more about the 2018 World Cup here:


Companies that care get media attention

Starbucks recently announced their decision to phase out plastic straws from their stores by 2020, citing environmental reasons. Corporate social responsibility has always been a key pillar of Starbucks’ business and their communications strive to show that. As a result of this new decision, the larger conversation surrounding corporate social responsibility and corporate-consumer values has been reinvigorated.

The push to eliminate plastic single use straws overall has been brewing over the years, notably a viral 2015 video that that showed marine biologists pulling a straw out of a sea turtle’s nose, contextualizing the issue. More recent actions that spurred this decision are new government regulations that ban the sale of single use plastics around the world and campaigns such as ‘Stop Sucking’ which have recently partnered up with high-profile celebrities for the #StopSucking challenge. Cold beverages account for more than 50% of Starbucks beverage mix in the U.S., up from 37% just five years ago; Starbucks needed to respond to this market shift in a sustainable way.

This was an opportunity to communicate their message of being environmentally conscious and to make a better business decision – thus the new ‘sippy cup’ style lid. There will also be biodegradable straws put in all stores for those who need to use them, alleviating some concerns from those with certain disabilities. The buzz on social media about this new lid was massive, proving to Starbucks that making better business decisions can result in high scale media attention.

To connect and engage with younger audiences, communicators must find a core value of beliefs and connect messaging to them. Corporate social responsibility should be integrated into company culture and all aspects of work.  

Read more about CSR here:  


Snapchat vs. Instagram – Users vs. Price

Instagram Stories are now twice as popular as Snapchat, with more than 400 million people using Instagram Stories every day, a 60% increase from last year.  So why are more communicators suddenly pushing for Snapchat ads? The price is simply too good to beat.

As the demand for Snapchat fell over the past year, so have prices for ad space. Snapchat is now seen as the reasonably priced social media platform, says Digiday, which is great for clients with a tighter budget that still want to reach a wide audience. Cost per thousand impressions (CPMs) on Snapchat are so cheap now, that return on investment has improved drastically as compared to last year.

Snapchat also recently changed their ad capabilities, improving tracking, measuring and targeting. Regardless, Instagram and Snapchat have their unique strengths. They can cater to your brand, story or campaign in different ways – by storytelling capabilities or user audience.  Instagram feels more curated and artistic, while Snapchat feels energetic and spur of the moment. In hopes to stay relevant and battle Instagram Stories’ large user base, Snapchat now offers an augmented reality (AR) lens studio, easy measurement and viewability data, all while focusing on brand data safety – an aspect that intrigues some in light of Facebook’s ongoing Cambridge Analytica and data scandal.  

Read more about Snapchat vs. Instagram here:

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