Conner GalwayImpending Black Friday, Adele’s new album, Miley Cyrus’ birthday, Jon Snow’s resurrection? This was an incredibly busy week in the social media feeds. With all of that going on, it’s amazing that anyone was able to get any actual work done. Somehow, a good portion of our industry did press on, and this week’s social update is made possible by those dedicated professionals.

First off, Snapchat is starting to pull the curtain back on allowing brands to target their content.
As of right now, brands have two options on the disappearing social network:

  1. Create content into an account that can’t be searched, shared or discovered, building an audience only through word of mouth, or advertising in other channels.
  2. Fork out over a quarter million dollars to be one of the lucky few who are able to appear in the short-lived Snapchat ads

That hasn’t changed, but one of the reasons that prices are so steep is because there is no ad targeting on Snapchat. That means that every ad that their team sells gets served to every one of its logged in users, so your audience alternatives were: All, or nothing.


Image source: AdWeek

As of this week, it is now possible to attach ads to just an “audience bundle” of the Discover channels in the app – advertisers can appear inside of bundles like: News, or Lifestyle, or Music. While that still only makes it accessible to some of the largest advertisers, it does signal a willingness to further segment the audience, potentially even down to the level where it can fit any ad budget, like Facebook has.

The biggest problem with Snapchat’s ads, so far however, has not been its lack of targeting, but its lack of shareability. Smart marketers have started to embrace and take advantage of the fact that advertising in shareable places means that you only pay for the eyeballs that the publisher can guarantee, but when readers start sharing their content organically, then they start getting thousands, even millions of impressions at no extra cost.

A classic, but perfect example of that sort of advertising done well is Friskies “Dear Kitten” campaign. In short, rather than pay for the audience that Buzzfeed could show on a spreadsheet, Friskies teamed up with their content studio to create a video that people would love, whether it was was an ad or not, that naturally featured its product for only a short period of time. The result was that they paid for a couple million viewers, and received well over 50 million total impressions along with hundreds of thousands of social shares and a bucket of earned media.

We’ve adopted that same technique on a local level, creating content for sites like VancityBuzz, where we know for sure how many readers and social media viewers will see the sponsored content, but knowing that if we created content that people legitimately loved and felt was worth sharing, that we’d huge results for our clients. We did, and they did, so we continue to do it.

The fact is, that some of the big advertising budgets are starting to confirm the very thing inspired us to start our agency years ago: For the first time in history, advertisers everywhere are getting rewarded in a huge way when they create content that people want to share with each other.

The TV shows that ran after the Super Bowl in the 90s that showed all of the best Super Bowl ads were the first example of this: The advertisers didn’t have to pay for that extra audience and all of those valuable impressions.

Now, the same thing is available to literally everyone. For $5 you can create a Facebook ad that will get in front of a couple hundred people, and if those people love it, they share it with a few more, and who knows – if you get lucky, that little $5 investment can get you in front of millions of people.

The problem is, big budgets demand large, scalable ways to spend it, and display ads are by far the most efficient way to get the most amount of money out of your account in a hurry. Only when Snapchat figures out how to achieve the ability for advertisers to get financially rewarded for great content will they join the ranks of the Buzzfeeds, VancityBuzzes, and Facebooks as places where budgets can multiply themselves.

Thanks for making it to the end of this week’s Social Update, which somehow managed to work the 90s, and ad from 2014, and a startup story from 2012 all into a posts that’s suppoused to be about what’s happening in social this week.

Agree with me? Disagree? Have your own wildly off-topic references that somehow work their way back to your central point? Tweet at us: @JunctionYVR

I’ll see you next week,