What’s Hot in 2011
Tablets such as the iPad are set to explode in terms of sales with a long line up of new devices set to launch from leading technology companies including Apple (with the second-generation iPad), HTC, Samsung, HP and Research In Motion.
eMarketer expects worldwide tablet sales to reach 81.3 million units in 2012, from 15.7 million in 2010. Apple is expected to remain as the market leader through this growth with the iPad. Since the iPad’s launch in April 2010, Apple has sold 14.8 million units, with analysts expecting 2011 sales to be from 27-35 million.
What does this mean for brand marketers? Time spent on digital devices will shift towards this rapid adoption of tablets, and brands must understand how to best leverage these new platforms that provide an experience that is aligned to the brand while maximally using the unique form factor and capabilities of the device.
Should you have the same strategy that your brand on the iPhone to the iPad for example? Absolutely not. Research has found that users prefer different experiences in terms of engaging with advertising on tablets versus smart phones. They prefer tablet ads that utilize richer features such as video and interactivity, whereas on mobile they prefer more basic ads. This should not just apply to ads, but to apps as well.
Mobile Photo-Sharing Apps
Mobile photo-sharing enable users to take photos with their smart phones (e.g. iPhones, Android phones, etc), apply filter effects to the photos (e.g. “the 70’s” to make the picture look like it was taken in the 70’s) to quickly and easily transform the photos to make them look more eye-catching, and then share the photos either publicly or privately on the network.
As Instagram is the most popular service, let’s dig deeper into its features. When you sign up to Instagram, similar to Facebook and Twitter, you can connect to your friends on the service. This can be through finding friends from your phone’s contact list, your Facebook or Twitter account, or a list of suggested users.
When you open the Instagram app on your phone, by default you will see a feed of photos from your network of friends. Each photo has a comment by the uploader and can also optionally include the location where the photo was taken. The photo can not only be shared through Instagram, but also on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Posterous, Tumblr and Foursquare. People who are connected to the uploader can “like” and also comment on the photos, creating a social experience. Comments can include hashtags (e.g. #starbucks) so that photos can be grouped and viewed around the same topic.
This presents a new opportunity for brand managers to visually engage with consumers by providing a stream of interesting, timely and relevant photos in their Instagram feed. Several brands have already begun using Instagram in this manner, including Pepsi, Starbucks and National Geographic.
Tumblr is a micro-blogging platform launched in 2007, which unlike Twitter, does not have any character limitations. So what is the difference then between Tumblr and full blogging platforms such as WordPress and Blogger? Tumblr enables its bloggers to “effortlessly share everything” including text, photos, quotes, links, music and videos, creating a very fast and easy to post blogging experience. It allows you to customize your blog with themes, set custom domains, and share your Tumblr posts out to Facebook and Twitter.
Tumblr runs over 13 million blogs with over 3 billion posts to date. Traffic to the blogs are increasing rapidly, surpassing over 4 billion page views a month.
Tumblr presents a way to engage consumers with short, rich content that does not require the more time-intensive commitment required to run a normal blog. As consumers’ preferences for how they consume content vary, it is important for brands to be present on multiple social networks where their customer base is actively engaged.
This new form of customer engagement has recently caught the eye of one industry in particular – fashion. While many leading fashion brands already have a presence on other social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, Tumblr offers a unique, customized and more visual experience.
Currently, 180 of the top 1,000 blogs on Tumblr are fashion related, which makes it an ideal platform for fashion brands to tap into. Tumblr has even hired a fashion director to continue to build the fashion community within Tumblr. For the 2011 New York Fashion Week, Tumblr sponsored more than 20 Tumblr bloggers to cover the event. Active fashion brands on Tumblr include Kate Spade and Oscar de la Renta.