Why Big Retailers Are Ramping up Holiday Shopping Promotions – and What Advertisers Should Do

Why Big Retailers Are Ramping up Holiday Shopping Promotions – and What Advertisers Should Do

Advertising

It still feels a bit like summer in early October, and retailers are already starting to ramp up their holiday shopping promotions:

  • On September 29, Walmart announced its Top-Rated by Kids Toy List, “featuring the must-have toys of the holiday season.”
  • On September 30, Target announced that its Holiday Price Match Guarantee would kick off October 10 (earlier than ever) and that Target Deal Days would be back October 10-12.
  • Amazon quickly responded on October 4 by releasing “Black Friday-worthy deals.”

Why are these retailers getting out in front of the holiday season, and what are the implications for other advertisers?

Digging Deeper in Major Announcements

The announcements require a bit of unpacking.

Target’s Holiday Price Match Guarantee allows shoppers to request a price adjustment on all qualifying items purchased if they go on sale before December 24. This news sends a signal that Target expects shoppers to begin looking for deals earlier in the season.  On the other hand, Target Deal Days and the Walmart Top-Rated Kids Toy list (the largest ever such list by Walmart) are clearly intended to stoke shopper demand for the holidays. As Target announced, “For three full days, shoppers can get a head start checking off their holiday lists with incredible deals on favorite products like Beats, fleece, kitchen gifts and more.”

Amazon made the most overt holiday land grab with its October 4 announcement. The company’s epic-length 3,000-word press release looked like a laundry list of holiday deals and related news, ranging from discounts for “need to have electronics” to a detailed list of gift guides. The announcement was peppered with references to Black Friday – an attempt to gain the upper hand on traditional offline Black Friday events.

What the Announcements Mean

Retailers want to stoke demand now for a few reasons:

  • They want to capitalize on the anticipated surge in holiday spending resulting from pent-up demand for discretionary goods. Buoyed by stimulus checks, consumers have been confounding economists with their robust spending, showing once again how unpredictable consumer behavior can be during the pandemic.
  • Retailers also want to encourage people to buy now before the effects of the global supply chain crisis kick in. The lingering supply chain bottleneck is expected to result in higher prices and product shortages later in the holiday season. Retailers want people to spend now when consumers are more likely to find what they want.
  • Retailers are also following a practice that has prevailed since before the pandemic: extending Black Friday. For the past few years, retailers have been tinkering with the Black Friday format as holiday shopping becomes more multi-channel. Black Friday as an in-store event still matters very much, and in 2021, with shopping returning to pre-pandemic behaviors, we should see the offline Black Friday becoming more popular again. But Black Friday has changed forever: it’s an online event, too, and retailers are no longer constricted to saving Black Friday deals until the day after Thanksgiving.

So, in a sense, bellwether retailers are following a pattern they started in recent years – creating holiday shopping demand earlier – but with a newfound sense of urgency to get out in front of the impact of the supply chain bottleneck.

What Advertisers Should Do

  • Realize that when big retailers launch holiday promotions, they create general consumer awareness of the holiday shopping season. As a result, retailers should expect an uptick in searches for holiday sales and promotions. Now might be a good time to capitalize on that increased search activity to activate your own campaigns.
  • Create a sense of urgency in your holiday campaigns – but don’t overplay your hand. If you expect the supply chain bottleneck to create limited inventory later this season, do get proactive about promoting deals now, and let shoppers know why they need to act sooner rather than later. But be careful with your tone. A “shop now and avoid headaches later” approach could backfire if your inventory levels are not affected as seriously as you thought they would.
  • If you’re an Amazon Advertising customer, optimize your holiday advertising now by maximizing the value of Amazon’s various advertising products, such as Sponsored Ads. Amazon also recommends experimenting with video with shoppable links, Amazon Live, and actionable ads (voice and remote). Amazon raising awareness for holiday shopping deals is like the rising tide that lifts all boats. With increased awareness for holiday deals comes more search traffic on Amazon, and you should capitalize on that.
  • Capitalize on Google advertising products. Inevitably, the increased chatter about the holidays from these big retailers will create an uptick in searches for holiday merchandise online. For example, Discovery ads are designed to show more relevant products in moments where customers are exploring their interests in Google’s feeds.
  • As shoppers respond to the holiday blitz, make sure you are using all tools at your disposal to accelerate the path to purchase. For instance, we’ve discussed on our blog the rise of social commerce options on apps such as Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and TikTok, which make it easier for shoppers to browse and shop with an easy click. Snapchat recently shared a holiday shopping guide with detailed campaign strategies. Snapchat notes that most Snapchatters start planning gift purchases and creating wishlists two-to-three months before Christmas. Snapchat urges retailers to launch holiday ads in October to stay top of mind with shoppers who are browsing for gifts and building wish lists.
  • Manage your expectations – and shoppers’, too. Yes, there will be an uptick in search and shopping behavior sooner than normal. But human nature is not going to change: many people will continue to wait until the last minute to do their shopping. Have a game plan in place to respond to shoppers who experience product shortages (if indeed predictions for the 2021 season play out as expected). Be ready for an uptick in negative reviews, and be ready to respond. Retailers should also be ready to offer top rated alternatives to products out of stock as this example shows.

Contact True Interactive

At True Interactive, we help businesses maximize their online spend all year-round, and we have deep experience managing holiday shopping campaigns online, ranging from campaigns on Google to Amazon Advertising. Contact us to learn how we can help you.

Why Snapchat Is Attracting More Advertisers and Users

Why Snapchat Is Attracting More Advertisers and Users

Snapchat Social media

Snapchat’s turnaround in 2020 was no fluke. The company recently reported a monster quarter, reaching its highest year-over-year revenue and daily active user (DAU) growth rate in four years. It’s time for businesses to seriously consider Snapchat as part of their game plan for reaching Gen Z and Millennial audiences. Many are already, which is why Snapchat’s ad revenue keeps rising. Let’s take a closer look.

Snapchat Reports Stunning Quarterly Growth

Snapchat’s growth for the second quarter of 2021 was nothing less than stunning. Its revenues increased to $982 million, a 116 percent increase compared to the prior year. That growth was accompanied by an increase in DAUs, an important metric because more people using Snapchat means a growing audience for advertisers. DAUs were 293 million for Q2 2021, an increase of 55 million, or 23 percent year over year. DAUs increased sequentially and year over year on both iOS (Apple) and Android (Google) platforms.

Evan Spiegel, CEO of Snapchat’s owner, Snap, said in a statement, “Our second quarter results reflect the broad-based strength of our business, as we grew both revenue and daily active users at the highest rates we have achieved in the past four years. We are pleased by the progress our team is making with the development of our augmented reality platform, and we are energized by the many opportunities to grow our community and business around the world.”

Why Is Snapchat Is Growing

Spiegel noted that Snapchat is succeeding for three reasons: a growth in augmented reality (AR) features, new content, and new advertising features. Examples of all three:

New AR Features
  • Connected Lenses, enabling Snapchatters in different locations to interact with each other through AR.
  • Several try-on capabilities with Lens Studio 4.0, including multi-person 3D body mesh, advanced cloth simulation, and a new visual effects editor for more realistic Lenses.

These are significant because AR has always been an important competitive differentiator for Snapchat, as we noted on our blog recently. Medium recently commented, “One of the reasons that Snapchat is able to carve out its own niche in the increasingly combative social media arena is its singular focus on AR-powered visual communication, which differentiates Snapchat from its competitors.”

Source: Snap investor presentation

Indeed, businesses have capitalized on Snapchat’s embrace of AR and are doing so as they gear up for the 2021 holiday shopping season. In a recent webinar, Snapchat shared example of Ugg boots, which is part of Deckers Brands. A spokesperson from Deckers Brands said that Deckers used AR in Snapchat for their holiday campaigns in 2020 to allow customers to use Ugg filters to “try on” their boots. This year, Deckers will probably do something similar with apparel, since Ugg is expanding its products into all kinds of apparel. (Deckers is no stranger to Snapchat. In this 2020 investor call, Snapchat describes how Ugg has successfully applied Snapchat’s dynamic ads feature.)

New Content
  • Eight new and renewed Snap Originals, including Swae Meets World, a documentary featuring American musician Swae Lee as he prepares to launch a solo album.
  • A record 177 new international Discover Channels, including 36 in the UK and 24 in India, one of which is a partnership with Sony Pictures Network to launch five Shows.

These developments arrived on top of Spotlight, which is Snapchat’s feature for monetizing individual creator content, launched in November 2020. New content features geared toward businesses and individual creators alike are important because they provide advertising sponsorship opportunities for brands and the growing creator economy.

Source: Snap investor presentation

New Advertising Features
  • Public Profiles for businesses, which allows any business to create a profile on Snapchat showcasing their Lenses, Highlights, Stories, and shoppable products.
  • An integration with Salesforce, allowing brands to leverage their first-party data to reach Snapchatters with relevant ads.
  • The Creator Marketplace (within self-serve Ads Manager), connecting advertisers with certified Lens Creators and facilitating the AR development process.

The Salesforce integration is especially noteworthy. With Google phasing out support for third-party cookies on the world’s most popular browser, Chrome, businesses are under more pressure to figure out how to maximize the value of their first-party data. Snapchat is sensing and responding to this need.

The news media reacted positively to Snapchat’s strong quarter. The “Yes, but can they do it again?” tone that characterized coverage of Snapchat’s positive results in 2020 subsided. For example, Meghan Bobrowsky of The Wall Street Journal portrayed Snapchat as a feisty and innovative company successfully fighting back at is copycat rivals.

She wrote, “The company, best known for disappearing photos and messages on its Snapchat app that is popular with teens and young adults, has impressed investors with its growth during the pandemic, outpacing much larger rivals. It has introduced new features to appeal to businesses beyond traditional social-media advertising, including a push into augmented reality.”

What Advertisers Should Do

We believe advertisers should take a closer look at Snapchat. Start with the creation of a Snapchat Public Profile (similar to a Facebook page) to understand how to interact with Snapchat’s audience. And understand how the Snapchat audience interacts with content. According to Snapchat, its user base, which skews toward Gen Z and younger Millennial generations, has these characteristics in common:

  • 150 percent more likely than non-Snapchatters to prefer to communicate with pictures over words.
  • Snapchatters are three times more likely than non-Snapchatters to say they are using AR more than they did last year to try on products.
  • The Snapchat Generation is 1.4 times more likely than non-Snapchatters to gravitate to immersive video and mobile games, including AR experiences.

If your brand already rocks Instagram with visual content, chances are you are well positioned to succeed on Snapchat!

Contact True Interactive

Is Snapchat a good partner for your brand’s reach? Contact us. We can advise. Learn more about our expertise with social media platforms here.

For More Insight

How Snapchat Keeps Innovating with Augmented Reality,” Bella Schneider.

Snapchat Spotlight: Advertiser Q&A,” Max Petrungaro.

Why Snapchat Keeps Growing,” Bella Schneider.

How Snapchat Keeps Innovating with Augmented Reality

How Snapchat Keeps Innovating with Augmented Reality

Social media

As we’ve blogged, Snapchat has been demonstrating a profound appetite for investing in augmented reality (AR). It could even be argued that Snapchat is the most AR-driven platform out there, continuing to reimagine what AR experiences might be on mobile and beyond. Let’s take a look at how Snapchat is leading the pack when it comes to AR innovation.

AR: the “Ace in the Hole”

AR is such an area of strength that it might be considered Snapchat’s “Ace in the Hole.” As Medium observes, “One of the reasons that Snapchat is able to carve out its own niche in the increasingly combative social media arena is its singular focus on AR-powered visual communication, which differentiates Snapchat from its competitors.”

Snapchat Data

Recent Developments with AR at Snapchat

That’s a message Snapchat has energetically promoted, and underlined with a commitment to new AR features. Consider the following additions:

  • The Connected Lens allows two Snapchat users to share an interactive AR experience, whether they are sitting side-by-side in the same room or located miles apart from one another (in a demo, Snapchat partnered with Lego to show how two people can build a virtual Lego set together using the AR lens). In a post-pandemic world where social interaction has become a sort of Holy Grail, AR facilitates connection. And that makes AR more relevant than ever right now.
  • Snapchat has also worked to improve Scan, its built-in visual search tool. Scan, which helps users ID everything from songs to car models, now has a new feature, Screenshop, which recommends clothing purchases based on photos of outfits.
  • Snapchat also hasn’t forgotten the importance of sometimes . . . just having fun. The Cartoon 3D Style by Snapchat lens scans your face and then imposes upon it a 3D cartoon look — as if the user has just stepped out of a Pixar film. The lens uses AR technology, and results are impressively realistic.

Calling All Creators

Snapchat isn’t just expanding its AR features willy nilly; its investment in AR is informed by the desire to grow a vigorous creator community. It does this by giving creators useful tools—and the possibility of rewards.

Consider the standalone iOS app, Story Studio, which provides a suite of vertical video editing tools. Or the new Gifting feature, which attracts creators with the promise of monetization. Gifting gives users a way to tip their favorite Snap creators. Also new: a Creator Marketplace, which allows businesses to locate and pair up with Snapchat creators. 

AR Platform for Brands

So, are businesses spiking an interest? There’s certainly reason to: according to Medium, Snap has said its users “are two times more likely to make purchases if they have interacted with a product via AR lens than not.” That’s a powerful incentive for brands.

 

Snapchat data

Some, like Estée Lauder, have already risen to the challenge. According to Medium, the cosmetics giant has been recognized as “one of the first companies to integrate their product catalog through Snapchat’s API, which makes it easy to create and publish new Dynamic Shopping Lenses that include price, availability, and a path to purchase.” Other brands that have successfully employed AR try-ons and shoppable lenses include Gucci, American Eagle, and the eyewear brand Clearly.

What Should Advertisers Do?

Could your brand likewise benefit from a partnership with Snapchat — and an exploration of AR? Ask yourself the following:

  • Might AR provide some fresh opportunities for your advertising? If so, Snapchat is an excellent platform to try it on.
  • What do you know about AR? According to Threekit, a tiny one percent of retailers are currently using AR or virtual reality in their customer buying experience. And yet a whopping 61 percent of consumers indicate that they prefer retailers that incorporate AR experiences. Does it make sense for your brand to get in on the ground floor?
  • Finally, are you hoping to reach the Millennial and Gen Z audiences? The Threekit stats also note that 70 percent of consumers aged 16 to 44 are at least aware of AR. Snapchat — and AR — can be a meaningful way to reach this group.

Contact True Interactive

 AR can be a powerful go-to in a brand’s toolkit. Contact us to learn more. We can help.

Snapchat Spotlight: Advertiser Q&A

Snapchat Spotlight: Advertiser Q&A

Social media

When Snapchat launched in-app feature Spotlight in November 2020, the company opted to flex its muscles — and take on short-video-making app TikTok—by making daily disbursements of cash to participating Snapchatters. The rationale: to spark public creativity, incentivize public sharing amongst influencers, and build a following. Their efforts were successful: by January, the platform had grown to more than 100 million monthly active users. Curious to learn more about Spotlight and why it matters to your brand? Read on.

What Is Snapchat Spotlight?

Spotlight is a space within Snapchat where users can watch a vertically scrolled feed of short, engaging videos (up to 60 seconds long) backed by music. Rather than the day-in-the-life content traditionally associated with Snap, Spotlight offers content with a meme-like, jokey feel.

Why did Snapchat launch Spotlight?

Spotlight’s raison d’être may go beyond the obvious move to take on behemoth TikTok. It is also the place where Snapchat can branch off from the strategies that made the app a household name in the first place. Snap’s mandate since its inception in 2011, of course, has been privacy first, with photos and videos simply disappearing in 24 hours. It was a successful formula, and one that completely reimagined what online sharing could be. But the app seems to be acknowledging that some permanence can be a positive: with Spotlight, viewers can tap on favorite videos and save them.

Why Is Spotlight Popular?

Although comparisons to TikTok are inevitable, users claim the two are in fact different beasts. As Ad Age reports, CJ OperAmericano, who goes by her online name, explains that “Snapchat and TikTok have pretty different users and I am seeing higher rewards for originality and creativity on Snapchat Spotlight. You’re more likely to pop off on an original idea [on Spotlight] than just following along with a cookie cutter trend like you are on TikTok.”

Another difference: unlike TikTok, Spotlight does not have a function allowing public like counts or comments. But right now contributors are being rewarded another way. Based on a formula which includes number of views and length of views, among other factors, Snap is recognizing Spotlight contributors by awarding cash to the most popular creators. Users might make a minimum of $250 per Snap, but if someone has an extremely viral video, they could take home a big chunk of the pot. The approach has gotten attention because it’s not just existing influencers and TikTok stars who are benefitting. Average users are also making a profit after their videos go viral.

Consider Andrea Romo, who works at a Lowe’s in Albuquerque. Romo was shocked to find out that her Spotlight video—her sister deep-frying a turkey at Thanksgiving—was so popular it had earned her approximately half a million dollars. “You don’t have to ask to be paid, you don’t have to join any program, you just post a video and if it does well you get paid,” 19-year-old Dax Newman, a ceramist who has made about $30,000 on Snapchat, tells The New York Times.

What Should Brands Know?

Spotlight doesn’t show ads yet — with the operative term being “yet.” While Snapchat is, for the time being, simply giving Spotlight space to become a habit with users, the early surge of creators are exactly the people brands partner with and sponsor online. And it could be argued that Spotlight’s egalitarian approach — the fact that you don’t have to be a celebrity or have famous parents to get a leg up — is bringing attention to a new crop of budding influencers. Influencers that brands can look forward to partnering with down the line: according to Ad Age, “advertisers expect to be able to tie into the program and its creators in the future.”

Contact True Interactive

While Spotlight may not be open to advertising yet, digital opportunities for brands abound. Eager to learn more? Contact us. We can help.

Three Reasons Why Snapchat Is Back

Three Reasons Why Snapchat Is Back

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Snapchat has come roaring back. Its parent company, Snap Inc., was once on the verge of collapse, but recently it posted stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings: according to a FactSet poll, while analysts had estimated revenues around $557 million, Snap’s quarterly revenue in fact enjoyed a 52 percent rise to $678.7 million. And its stock value is soaring, with shares gaining 74 percent this year through the October 20 close.

Why is Snapchat rebounding?

Reasons for the Rebound

Understanding Snapchat’s renaissance means understanding the factors in play during a complicated year:

  • Snapchat’s user base has grown. According to Adweek, the social media company has seen 249 million daily users in the third quarter of 2020: that’s an 18 percent increase from the 210 million users noted for the same period last year, and 11 million more new daily users since last quarter. Notably, the growth is not restricted to the United States: in India, for example, daily active users in the third quarter are up almost 150 percent from the same time in 2019. The growth makes sense: as The New York Times reported earlier this year, “Stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic . . . Americans have been spending more of their lives online.” That online phenomenon has been repeating itself again and again around the globe during this year of COVID-19, and at least some of those users are gravitating to Snapchat.
  • Advertisers are spending money on Snapchat. The July ad boycott of Facebook, which protested the company’s policies on hate speech, may have helped Snap in terms of where advertisers are channeling their dollars. TikTok’s troubles, both domestically (attempts by the Trump administration to ban it) and abroad (India’s successful TikTok ban) also likely gave advertisers pause. While Snap has declined to draw a direct line between other companies’ struggles and its own resurgence, Chief Business Officer Jeremi Gorman said in a prepared statement, “As brands and other organizations used this period of uncertainty as an opportunity to evaluate their advertising spend, we saw many brands look to align their marketing efforts with platforms who share their corporate values.”

In another example of innovation, Snap Inc. worked with Headspace to mark World Mental Health Day on October 10, releasing two new meditations in Snapchat’s Headspace Mini. During a year when Snapchatters in the U.S. are feeling significant stress — a survey by independent research company GroupSolver indicates that COVID-19, finances, politics, and school are leading sources of that stress —the meditations, called Snap Minis, are “bite-sized utilities” that require no installation and are accessible via chat and search. Headspace director of meditation Eve Lewis guides the meditations, which run approximately six minutes each and focus on practicing kindness and navigating uncertainty during the school year.

What Should Advertisers Do?

What does this news about Snapchat mean for brands? We recommend that advertisers:

  • Consider Snapchat if you are interested in the Millennial and Gen Z markets. As we’ve blogged, the app appeals to these demographics. Meet your desired audience where they are at—and right now, these powerful demographics can be found on Snapchat.
  • Consider Snapchat to be a complement to your advertising with Amazon, Facebook, and Google. Snapchat is not going to challenge the Big Three. But if you are interested in experimenting with technologies such as augmented reality, Snapchat is a good platform to try.

Contact True Interactive

Should Snapchat be part of your digital plan? Contact us. We can help.

How Brands Are Succeeding with Voice Technology in 2020

How Brands Are Succeeding with Voice Technology in 2020

Branding

In December, I predicted that voice search would become smarter and more useful in 2020: “I continue to see more people using their voices to find things with their smart speakers, phones, and in-car devices,” I wrote. “But what’s changing is that people are getting more comfortable buying things, not just searching for things, with their voices.” Of course, I had no idea that a global pandemic was about to radically change our behavior, including how we use voice assistants. Let’s take a closer look at what’s been happening during the first half of 2020.

Voice Assistants Are Gaining Even More Currency

The pandemic has moved the needle when it comes to consumer openness to voice assistants. The Wall Street Journal reported,

Euromonitor earlier this year noted that consumers were buying more AI-enabled home appliances and virtual assistants, like Amazon.com Inc.’s Alexa. But now, such devices have a new draw, says [head of Euromonitor’s lifestyle research Alison] Angus. “Voice-control technology limits the need to touch surfaces so much, so that’s why they are appealing,” she says.

Though states are starting to lift COVID-19-related restrictions, many consumers will remain cautious. Concerns about health and safety going forward will make voice’s touch-free nature ever more attractive.

Voice Assistants Are Increasingly Becoming An Integral Part of Daily Life

In a national survey published by Edison Research and NPR, 1,660 adults across the United States were asked about their use of voice assistants. As Voicebot.ai reports, the survey demonstrated that during the COVID-19 pandemic, voice assistant usage jumped: results reveal that more than 50 percent of smart device owners are using voice commands at least once a day now—an uptick that occurred between the start of 2020 and the beginning of April. At the same time, there is a drop in the number of people who are using voice commands less frequently. Habits are indeed changing, and the change started during the era of COVID-19.

Voicebot.ai also reports that:

  • In 2019, smart speaker owners used voice requests for an average of 9.4 different tasks a week. In 2020, that number has inched up to 10.8 different tasks.
  • Fifty-nine percent of smart speaker owners who also own a smartphone voice assistant perform different voice-related tasks with each device.

Changes in work/commuting habits during the pandemic have also informed voice assistant usage. “With tens of millions of Americans no longer commuting, smart speakers are becoming even more important as a conduit for news and information,” Tom Webster, Edison Research senior vice president, said. He believes those habits will persist, and evolve, noting that “this increased usage and facility with voice assistants will likely increase demand for this technology in vehicles once our commutes resume.”

The Business Response

Some businesses are reading the tea leaves and responding by making voice an ever more useful utility:

  • Snapchat, for example, will be rolling out a new way to sort through the million+ augmented reality (AR) Lenses that Snap makes available through its Lens Studio platform. As TechCrunch reports, “the app’s new voice search will allow Snapchat users to ask the app to help it surface [Lenses] that enable them to do something unique.” Potential applications here could range wide: imagine asking Snap to show what you will look like wearing a particular brand of makeup, say, or how a specific television might look on your wall.
  • Google, meanwhile, has launched a new voice assistant called Diya. Diya’s mandate? To help kids learn to read. According to Voicebot.ai, Diya is part of a new educational app for Android, Read Along, that aims to help parents home-schooling their kids during the COVID-19 shelter in place. Diya “listens” to kids read, correcting errors and offering encouragement and congratulations. Students can also ask Diya for help pronouncing words they don’t know how to say.
  • For Dunkin’ Brands, having a voice search strategy was already a priority at the beginning of 2020. Then the pandemic hit. Coronavirus changed the rules for food and beverage availability, and as Ad Age notes, “Dunkin’ saw a 10x rise in people using voice to search for open locations with access points like drive-through, delivery or curbside pickup.” The company adjusted to the new normal, tailoring its paid online search results to respond effectively to the uptick in voice requests. As Keith Lusby, VP of media at Dunkin’, noted, consumers were often already driving when they made their request, and couldn’t type on their phones to determine whether a nearby location could in fact serve them. “When you think about our business pre-COVID, it was nice to know when I got to the store and they had a drive-through,” Lusby says, “but now it’s determining whether I go or not. We were able to modify our results to make sure we matched what the person was looking for.”

What You Should Do

Lusby’s comment is a perceptive one, and echoes what we’ve discussed on our own blog. Brands looking to optimize voice in ads and websites will want to evaluate typical voice search queries and pay attention to the conversational text that occurs. As Lusby notes, “That’s our view of voice—meet the customer; they’re giving us more info, so let’s give them a better result.”

But how to achieve this? To begin with, advertisers want to pay attention to the nature of conversation, which tends to be more complicated than the verbiage used in a simple Google search. In short, people express themselves differently in voice search than they do in Google searches. Google searches are more brusque. Advertisers hoping to connect well with voice searches will want to write copy consistent with how people speak. “Who,” “What,” Where,” “When,” “Why,” and “How” are great words to focus on. Queries that include natural phrases such as “near me” or “can I get the number for” can also be useful/telling. In the end, sites or copy that match conversational tone are likely to help brands looking for hits from voice-based searches.

Finally, consider how you might use voice to improve the customer experience overall. As brands like Dunkin’ demonstrate, businesses can use voice technology to create a more pleasant customer experience as people continue to look for ways to avoid touching screens.

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How can you implement voice? Contact us. We can help.

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

Why Snapchat Keeps Growing

Why Snapchat Keeps Growing

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Snapchat has experienced its ups and downs in the past few years, but one undeniable truth prevails: the app continues to flourish. Snapchat is, in fact, exceeding growth expectations: eMarketer, for one, expects Snapchat to gain more than 63 millions users by the end of 2023, as contrasted to an original estimate of 52 million. In addition, according to The Street, Snapchat is on course to be profitable in the very near future, after years of losses: “Analysts expect Snapchat to soon reach its ‘break-even’ point in profits, most likely by 2022. A group of 34 technology analysts estimates the company will earn a profit of $48 million in 2022.”

Why the Growth?

Why is Snapchat continuing to grow despite increased competition from apps such as Instagram and TikTok? Some possible reasons include:

1 Continued Innovation

Snapchat’s owner, Snap, was just named Fast Company’s most innovative company in 2020, which speaks volumes about why Snapchat has rebounded from the brink. TechCrunch also reports that new products are bound to boost engagement with Snapchat and, crucially, ad views. Snapchat’s recent innovations include Cameos, which allow users to edit their own face onto an actor in an animated GIF. And Bitmoji TV features comical cartoons that star the consumer’s customizable Bitmoji avatar. For users who have always dreamed about being a secret agent, say, or a zombie president, Bitmoji TV brings those fantasies to life via episodes featuring a main story as well as shorter, single-gag clips. User avatars appear in the regularly scheduled adventures, which range from sit-coms to soap operas and infomercials. “It’s scripted but its personalized,” Bitmoji co-founder and CEO Ba Blackstock has said. “First and foremost, I hope that everyone who watches this has kind of a mind-blowing experience that they’ve never had before.”

2 Excellent Timing

Snapchat came along at the right time, as the Millennial and Gen Z population began to swell—and come of age. Launched in 2011, the app appeals to the Millennial and Gen Z populations with its promise of content that is both ephemeral and authentic. As co-founder Evan Spiegel noted in the company’s first blog post, “We’re building a photo app that doesn’t conform to unrealistic notions of beauty or perfection but rather creates a space to be funny, honest or whatever you might feel like at the moment you take and share a Snap.” And the platform has captured a sizable demographic. As Statista notes, Millennials and Gen Z, together, now comprise about half the U.S. population.

3 International Expansion

Snapchat continues to expand effectively into international markets, one profound example being the uptake of Snapchat in India. As TechCrunch observes, “Snapchat’s user growth has been on [a] tear thanks to international penetration, especially in India, after it re-engineered its Android app for developing markets.”

The Challenges

It’s not all smooth sailing, of course. As 24/7 Wall St. points out, Snapchat’s features can be—and in fact have been—easily copied by competitors like Facebook. When Snapchat introduced Stories, which allows users to share snaps in a narrative style, it was making a successful bid to keep users engaged and coming back for more. Facebook’s response? Its own version of Stories on both Facebook and Instagram; and the release of Instagram Threads, a camera and messaging app for “close friends.”  As Wired notes, Facebook chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has made it clear to employees that doing what’s best for users might include replication: “Zuckerberg’s message became an informal slogan at Facebook: ‘Don’t be too proud to copy.’”

Furthermore, Snapchat lacks the reserves of cash that Facebook enjoys. 24/7 Wall St. opines, “While it’s still too soon to assess the impact of Instagram Threads on Snapchat, the salient point is that Instagram’s owner (Facebook) has a virtually unlimited war chest and a seemingly visceral need to stomp on Snapchat, if not to stamp it out entirely.”

Staying Viable

The key for Snapchat? Staying nimble and creative in the competitive and ever-evolving social landscape. In short, the app will continue to thrive if it keeps on generating features that both users and advertisers will love – especially advertisers, whose revenue Snapchat needs. One example of courting advertisers with more features: Snapchat’s Swipe Up to Call ads, which give users the opportunity to swipe up on their screen and immediately and directly call or text the advertiser.

Contact True Interactive

To succeed with online advertising in 2020, contact True Interactive. Read about some of our client work here.