Bold Moves During A Big Week In Social Media

February 6, 2013

It’s only Wednesday and it’s already been a big week for social media advertising. Many of the big players have come out of the woodwork to make announcements that may shape social media advertising as we’ve known it, including developing new marketing tools, launching new platforms or even acknowledging that they’ve been left out of a major event.

FacebookFacebook

Monday morning brought big news that Facebook is out to push the boundaries of social media privacy… again. The social network giant is developing a new app to track user location and report the information to friends and advertisers – without being logged into the mobile application.

The app is due to be released mid-March and holds big promise for advertisers and local businesses. Imagine you and friend share an affinity for Muddy Waters baked goods and visit the restaurant frequently. Integrating a location-sharing app to Facebook’s mobile app could work two-fold:

  1. Facebook will notify you when your friend is at Muddy’s (or the other way around) so you can either surprise your friend with a visit or chastise them for blowing off your coffee date.
  2. Local businesses can tap into this information and target frequent customers and/or promote deals to those who patron local competitors.

While most feel highly-targeted ads are a good thing, the idea advertisers could market to consumers beyond the respective platform raises questions of privacy and whether social media users should be able to opt-in or opt-out of advertising.

Reddit

This week, the social news site announced the company will require all ads be “non-intrusive,” meaning users won’t be bombarded by animated ads or rich media ads that play when the page loads. It comes as a huge win for Reddit users who may find video and music ads annoying or distracting without detracting from Reddit’s ability to bring in ad revenue. I’m sure many will keep an eye on Reddit to see if the move is sustainable for the site, but it just goes to show that the squeaky wheel doesn’t always get the banner ad.

Instagram

Instagram launches web-based feed with the capability to view and interact with photos.

Instagram launches web-based feed with the capability to view and interact with photos.

BlackBerry users rejoice, Instagram announced Tuesday that its full feed is now available via www.instagram.com and users no longer need to rely on the mobile app to access, like and comment on photos. The web-based feed means content is available across desktop and tablet and (even though I was skeptical at first about why the announcement mattered) it’s incredibly easy to scroll though photos and check out comments.

As Instagram looks to make good on its updated user agreement, the move to a full web-based feed could create a more natural platform for advertising integration. The site flaunts a similar interface to the mobile app but features ample unused space on both sides of the feed. It wouldn’t be a stretch to see targeted ads fill the margins – similar to Facebook feeds – or brands capitalize on the opportunity for sponsored content. Think fashion designers or companies wanting to promote a campaign-based Instagram photo via blogger partnerships.

YouTube

For the fourth year in a row, fashionistas everywhere can have a front row seat to New York Fashion Week via live stream. However, this is the first year that YouTube won’t be used to showcase New York’s finest on computer screens around the world. This season, host IMG partnered with Rightster to live stream the shows on mbfashionweek.com – driving fashion-lovers to the branded site and keeping owned storytelling under the brand’s umbrella.

It only makes sense that brands and companies would want to keep content under one roof and drive traffic primarily to the brand’s website, allowing for more engagement opportunity and building more brand loyalty. And it could have bigger implications for the video sharing service. The move by NYFW could make other event partners like Lollapalooza, Coachella, etc. rethink decisions to stream via YouTube and instead drive eyeballs their own online presence, leading to questions about what 2013 will bring for YouTube partnerships.