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MARKETING

The 5 Types of Social Media and Pros & Cons of Each (Research)

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The 5 Types of Social Media and Pros & Cons of Each (Research)

Marketers commonly use social media to increase brand awareness, generate leads, and improve traffic.

If you’re tasked with starting a social media strategy for your company, you might be wondering which type of platforms you should be on. Your platform choice will likely change based on your audience.

The list of social media platforms is growing, and well-known platforms like Facebook are always evolving and adding new features.

With a greater and greater need for a social presence and an overwhelming amount of platform choices, it can be hard to pick which social channels to use.

You might not want to spread yourself too thin by managing a channel on every imaginable platform, but you also don’t want to miss great brand-awareness opportunities.

To help you make informed decisions about which platforms to use, this post will guide you through some of the core types of social media, examples of platforms within each category, and the pros and cons that each type might present.

By the end, you should have a much clearer idea of what kind of social media strategy will work for your business.

→ Free Download: Social Media Calendar Template [Access Now]

Social Networking

Examples of Major Platforms

Social networking is possibly the most traditional form of social media.

Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are often called “networking” platforms because they allow user accounts to interact with each other in a variety of different ways.

Professional Uses

If you’re a small business, like a restaurant, a platform like Facebook could be a great place to start your social strategy. With Facebook, you can build a business profile that includes links to your website and details about your menu.

Once your profile is all set up, you can post regular updates about your business, “like” other pages, and answer customer post comments or messages. Business profiles also allow other Facebook users to give you reviews.

You can also leverage Facebook’s community feature and set up a community page for customers to ask questions or rave about your products and services.

In fact, we found that businesses that leverage social media communities will see excellent results in the marketing strategy.

According to our State of Social Media Survey, 90% of marketers say building an active online community is crucial to a successful social media strategy in 2023.

This makes sense, considering our Consumer Trends survey found 20% of social media users joined an online community in the past three months, and 22% actively participated in one.

For companies looking to offer a professional service, B2B or publishing companies, LinkedIn is another great way to grow your following. LinkedIn emphasizes career-related networking.

Brands looking to build an audience of professionals from a certain industry can create a business profile there, categorize it with an industry type, and then use posts and messaging to publish updates.

They can also use messaging and comment features to interact with their audiences, or users who comment on their posts.

A Twitter account could be helpful to companies in a wide spectrum of industries, from entertainment to e-commerce. This platform similarly allows you to create a profile where you can list and link company information.

You can then use Twitter to post about company updates, tag companies or customers in posts, retweet positive customer tweets, and respond to customer questions via tweet or direct messages.

Like Facebook, you can also post content like photos or videos.

On all three networks, users can easily communicate with others through simple actions like tagging, hashtagging, commenting, private messaging, reacting to posts, and re-sharing content.

Aside from social interaction, newsfeeds on common social networking platforms are designed to show off a mix of text and visuals, rather than one primary content type.

This flexibility makes social networking platforms easy to begin a social strategy on because you can experiment with different forms of content before branching out to platforms that require more specific content types.

Here’s an example of Facebook’s newsfeed:

Facebook newsfeed

For those who want to dabble in video or graphics, these platforms could be a great place to test this new content.

With the growth of video marketing, many have begun to launch more advanced features like Facebook Stories and Twitter’s live streams.

Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have also started to encourage native video and photo uploads more heavily.

Recently, Facebook even adjusted its algorithms to favor live video and image uploads. This has caused these types of native content to gain greater user engagement.

If you’re still not sure where to get started, check out our beginner’s guides for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

Photo Sharing

Example of Major Platforms

One of the biggest platforms that specialize in photo sharing is Pinterest. Pinterest describes itself as a “visual discovery engine” for users looking for cooking, style, home decor, and general visual inspiration.

If you’re wondering why Instagram isn’t mentioned here — don’t worry! We’ll have more on that when we get to the video platforms. 

Like the social networking platforms above, Pinterest users on most photo-sharing platforms can interact with others through tags, likes, comments, or direct messages.

Professional Uses

Photo-sharing platforms would be helpful to companies like restaurants or stores that want to take photographs, display content, and update followers about their food, goods, or products in a crisp, clean way.

Pinterest is well-suited for ecommerce companies, such as those who sell home goods, and businesses that would like a place to share crisp standalone product images with links.

It similarly offers a photo-based feed with posts that can include a photo and short description. The platform also allows all users to link directly to websites or product landing pages in posts.

One interesting aspect of the platform is that users can heart posts from others, or assign them to a themed “board.” For example, users might make boards centered around topics like “Inspirational Quotes” or “Bedroom products.”

Once a board is created, other users can also follow it. A business could potentially make a board with their own product posts, or find their products on another user’s board.

Here’s an example of what a board looks like:

Pinterest Home and DIY board

Before getting started on a platform like Pinterest, you’ll want to determine whether your goal is to gain brand awareness or link-based traffic.

When choosing a platform, you may want to consider your content-related bandwidth. Both require visual imagery, but you might also need to include video creation within your strategy.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • These kinds of platforms help with brand awareness. Approximately 80% of Pinterest users say they’ve learned about products or services on the app.
  • Pinterest provides an outlet for showing off visual content or product shots.

Cons

  • Upkeep on these platforms might require a photo budget or dedicated production time.
  • Some platforms, require you to post from a mobile app.

Video Sharing

Examples of Major Platforms

Professional Uses

Roughly 88% of marketers say video gives them a strong ROI and 90% feel the level of video competition has increased.

Adding a video platform to your social strategy could make your brand look relevant and keep you up to speed with your competitors.

Video can be helpful to a wide range of industries. While a restaurant could have a vlog with cooking tips, a technology company might focus its video strategy around product demos.

To help you pin down a strategy that’s right for your industry and service, check out our video marketing guide.

When it comes to long-form video, YouTube is one of the leading platforms.

While YouTube has the bigger audience base and better SEO capabilities, Vimeo’s smaller platform is very community driven.

YouTube also seems to have better opportunities for advertisers and monetization, while Vimeo offers viewers the perk of no pre-roll ads.

For a longer list of similarities and differences, check out this head-to-head piece where we compare the business capabilities of Vimeo and YouTube.

Along with YouTube and Vimeo, the more traditional social networking platforms have also begun to embrace video marketing more aggressively.

In the last few years, Facebook launched Facebook Stories and Facebook Live, and added a tab on their mobile app dedicated to video. Meanwhile, Twitter has allowed users to launch live video streams which are powered by its Periscope software.

Another top contender for video platforms is Instagram. You’re probably thinking, “But isn’t Instagram a photo-sharing app like Pinterest?”

However, to compete with apps like TikTok, Instagram has shifted away from being a photo-sharing app.

In fact, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri clarified in 2021, “We’re no longer a photo-sharing app or a square photo-sharing app.”

While users can still post photos to Instagram, the platform mainly promotes Reels and video stories. It’s also worth mentioning that Instagram video posts are more than twice as likely to generate engagement than image posts.

Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

Interactive Media

Examples of Major Platforms

Apps like Snapchat and TikTok allow users to share photos and videos, they also have a variety of unique interactive and highly experimental features.

These two apps include AR/VR filters, musical overlays, and interactive games. Their audience bases are also prominently Gen-Z.

Professional Uses

Because mainly large companies are just starting to experiment with these new applications, marketers who are just beginning a social strategy don’t need to prioritize these interactive apps before traditional social networking platforms.

The large companies on these platforms tend to produce high production-level content. Brands with large followings might also publish Snapchat Stories, or videos that are curated from fans.

Without a high-budget or giant online following, these strategies might be difficult for a company that’s just starting out on social.

Brands and influencers on these apps tend to cater their content to the platforms’ younger audiences. For example, on Snapchat, you might see stories that present beauty tutorials, wellness tips, news, or trendy new products.

If you’re really interested in interactive media, there are still a few viable ways you could get involved with Snapchat or TikTok.

While major brands, like VICE and BuzzFeed have become Snapchat Discover partners, the average business can still create a Snapchat business account that can be searched and friended by users.

This account allows you to send publish temporary stories, just like individual accounts can. However, those with a business account can also purchase ad space.

Here’s a comprehensive video that explains how to use Snapchat:

If you’ve set up an account, check out this guide to getting started on Snapchat.

TikTok, an app based around short, repetitive clips offers five types of advertising options for businesses. While large businesses may find value in all five, smaller businesses may lean more towards “In-Feed Ads.”

These ads are 9-15 second clips that can be skipped by the user.

Guess is one notable brand that has used its account to create trending campaigns with trendy hashtags. Universal Pictures has also had influencers create posts to promote its films.

If you do test out these platforms, you might want to make sure your industry and content fits in with the young age demographic.

You should also try to properly estimate the time and money that might go into keeping these accounts up-to-date and relevant.

If you’re unsure of how short video ads can benefit your business, remember short-form videos have the highest ROI when compared to other video formats.

Furthermore, 54% of social media marketers report using short-form videos like TiKTok videos and IG Reels in their strategy.

Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

  • Producing regular content could be expensive and time-consuming.
  • Business accounts aren’t promoted up-front on the Snapchat interface. You may want to promote your channel on your website or other social channels because users will need to search for you with your Snapcode or username.
  • Snapchat and TikTok are limited to mobile and aren’t as easy to use.

Blogging/Community

Examples of Major Platforms

Tumblr and Reddit both allow users to post about interesting niche topics, like memes, events, politics, and pop-culture.

When users publish a post, these platforms allow other users to share them or add to the conversation with their own commentary.

Professional Uses

Both blogging and community building platforms could be helpful to those who want to encourage discussion around very niche industries or topics.

For example, on these platforms, you might see discussion about anything from alternative health to machine learning.

By blogging, you can write posts about topics in your company’s industry and link them to your product or site.

While many people have a blog on their website, platforms like Tumblr might be great to use if you haven’t set this feature up — or just want to see what others in your industry are blogging about.

With a discussion site like Reddit, you could share a link or a post about a specific topic on a discussion board related to your industry and see how users respond.

You could also start your own board if a topic you’re looking to encourage discussion on doesn’t have one yet.

These two platforms specifically encourage web chatter and post shares from users that care about the same topics.

Both also allow users to follow you or subscribe to your blogs or Reddit boards so your content could show up on their feeds. Here’s an example of what Reddit’s feed looks like.

Reddit feed

When someone publishes something on Reddit, other users can up-vote or down-vote it. Up-voting makes a post show up higher in Reddit feeds while down-voting does the opposite.

On Tumblr, the feeds are organized by time. However, a post can show up higher when it is re-shared by other users. When a user shares or interacts with your Tumblr content, they give it a note.

When they reshare, they have the option to post a comment with the post that gets added to a thread.

Here’s an example of how notes and threads can be used to encourage discussion:

Tumblr music recommendation thread

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Both platforms allow you to share text posts, photos, and videos about your business, brand, or individual thoughts.
  • These platforms enable you to start conversations about a topic.
  • Both platforms allow linking to outside websites.

Cons

  • Longer blog posts might take time to craft or write.
  • Getting downvoted on Reddit or no reaction from Tumblr users means your posts may go unseen.
  • Your audience might be too niche or limited to just those on the specific platform you use.

A Few Things to Consider

Before you start logging in and setting up your accounts on a bunch of platforms, be sure to consider these factors:

  • How much time do you have to devote to strategizing around a social platform?
  • Do you have resources for creating graphics or videos?
  • Do your goals involve boosting brand awareness, or traffic and revenue?
  • Will you need an additional staff member to run this platform, or will it be easy to maintain?

Once you’re on a platform or two, be sure to stay in the know of how it’s changing and what marketers are doing. For a current outlook, check out our Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing.

social media content calendar

 



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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples [2024 Update]

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples

Introduction

With billions of users each month, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and top website for video content. This makes it a great place for advertising. To succeed, advertisers need to follow the correct YouTube ad specifications. These rules help your ad reach more viewers, increasing the chance of gaining new customers and boosting brand awareness.

Types of YouTube Ads

Video Ads

  • Description: These play before, during, or after a YouTube video on computers or mobile devices.
  • Types:
    • In-stream ads: Can be skippable or non-skippable.
    • Bumper ads: Non-skippable, short ads that play before, during, or after a video.

Display Ads

  • Description: These appear in different spots on YouTube and usually use text or static images.
  • Note: YouTube does not support display image ads directly on its app, but these can be targeted to YouTube.com through Google Display Network (GDN).

Companion Banners

  • Description: Appears to the right of the YouTube player on desktop.
  • Requirement: Must be purchased alongside In-stream ads, Bumper ads, or In-feed ads.

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Resemble videos with images, headlines, and text. They link to a public or unlisted YouTube video.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that play outside of YouTube, on websites and apps within the Google video partner network.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: Premium, high-visibility banner ads displayed at the top of the YouTube homepage for both desktop and mobile users.

YouTube Ad Specs by Type

Skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Placement: Before, during, or after a YouTube video.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
    • Action: 15-20 seconds

Non-skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Description: Must be watched completely before the main video.
  • Length: 15 seconds (or 20 seconds in certain markets).
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1

Bumper Ads

  • Length: Maximum 6 seconds.
  • File Format: MP4, Quicktime, AVI, ASF, Windows Media, or MPEG.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 640 x 360px
    • Vertical: 480 x 360px

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Show alongside YouTube content, like search results or the Home feed.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
  • Headline/Description:
    • Headline: Up to 2 lines, 40 characters per line
    • Description: Up to 2 lines, 35 characters per line

Display Ads

  • Description: Static images or animated media that appear on YouTube next to video suggestions, in search results, or on the homepage.
  • Image Size: 300×60 pixels.
  • File Type: GIF, JPG, PNG.
  • File Size: Max 150KB.
  • Max Animation Length: 30 seconds.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that appear on websites and apps within the Google video partner network, not on YouTube itself.
  • Logo Specs:
    • Square: 1:1 (200 x 200px).
    • File Type: JPG, GIF, PNG.
    • Max Size: 200KB.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: High-visibility ads at the top of the YouTube homepage.
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 or higher.
  • File Type: JPG or PNG (without transparency).

Conclusion

YouTube offers a variety of ad formats to reach audiences effectively in 2024. Whether you want to build brand awareness, drive conversions, or target specific demographics, YouTube provides a dynamic platform for your advertising needs. Always follow Google’s advertising policies and the technical ad specs to ensure your ads perform their best. Ready to start using YouTube ads? Contact us today to get started!

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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