There have been a variety of changes spicing up the social media world this week. Twitter revealed that posts from people you don't follow will begin showing up on the timeline, Facebook changed its ad policy to allow adverisers to appear more often on a timeline, Snapchat limbered up to offer media and ads in Snapchat Discovery and Vine allowed videos to be imported for the first time.
The Drum asked some of the top agencies in social to tell us which of these changes would make the biggest difference to marketers.
Pete Durant, head of social planning, The Social Partners
Facebook and Twitter
Twitter and Facebook’s timeline and advertising changes will create even more irrelevant noise. Consumers will become even more exposed to brand or “farm” content and asked continually to do all sorts of engagement; consequently causing a consumer social action (like, retweet, etc.) to become habit over choice, and therefore impact influence.
It’ll be harder for brands to connect with consumers in a way that changes behaviour and influences commercial objectives. The two positive trends from this are firstly that brands will need to do less and better ‘broadcast’ content and tell their stories in a braver more creative way with integrated campaigns to cut through.
The second trend will be the need to refocus energy on the creation of word-of-mouth product recommendation where real social communications from friends and family can cut through, be trusted and impact intention to use a product or service.
Elisah van Vriesland, social media account director, Manning Gottlieb OMD
Facebook's change to their advertising policy is the most significant. A social advertising strategy must include highly engaging content alongside relevant targeting.
Brands now need to be doubly aware that they have these elements right, or they risk losing their audience’s interest.
They are forcing brands to not treat social ads the way they’d treat static display ads, as the more they are able to capture their interest and drive engagement, the cheaper the inventory will be.
Steve Cater, head of digital, whynot!
Twitter and Vine
Meeting the needs of the advertiser and the user is a hard line to walk. In my view, Twitter takes the spotlight this week introducing features that will fundamentally impact the user experience and developments to Vine that will introduce greater brand opportunity.
The very fabric of Twitter has allowed the user to dictate what they are interested in. By interrupting this autonomy, Twitter is interfering in this organic curation in what reeks like EdgeRank. They need to be careful or the backlash will grow.
Vine’s content tools are key for marketers. The opportunity to create premium, edited content will ensure brands can bring broadcast quality to the small screen, perhaps reducing the creativity by opening the door to better editing. We shall see.
Michael Litman, founder, Brandsonvine
Snapchat Discovery is definitely one to watch but Vine has overnight become a much more viable proposition for brands.
As a short-form looping video format, Vine is highly effective for reaching and engaging mobile audiences with ever-shortening attention spans. However, it's pretty tricky and somewhat time-consuming to create a really polished and well produced six second video, with the look and feel of a traditional TV ad, using a mobile phone.
Brands and agencies have instead relied on what are essentially hacks to upload video content that has been created offline. These new changes to the platform significantly diminish the barrier to entry for brands by making it much easier to create, import and publish high quality, bite-size video content.
Jordan Stone, strategy director, We Are Social
Twitter and Facebook
The most important changes are those that will allow brands to reach new people they are not currently able to.
From this perspective, Twitter and Facebook's announcements stand out. Facebook's advertising policy changes favour those with deeper pockets, and the need to keep their products and services front of mind.
Twitter will give clever and/or creative brand accounts a new way to reach users, in a slightly more organic fashion. Both are great developments, but Facebook’s scale currently sets it apart as the best opportunity for marketers.
Jason Andrews, executive creative director, RAPP
What concerns me most about a lot of these developments – particularly Facebook loosening its rules around advertising frequency – is that they are starting to eradicate the 'social' bit of 'social media'.
What made this platform so attractive originally was that it allowed for genuine interactions between people, completely free of irritating interruption by brands. Before the rules were relaxed, brands had to work hard at being relevant to justify their intrusion into those private conversations.
To be blunt, Facebook used to look like the future of media. But now it's increasingly looking like the past.