Link Building Trends For 2018

My relationship with link building started a little over a year ago. What began as just a few emails, dipping my toes in the water of offsite SEO marketing quickly began a torrid love affair with one of the most important tactics of marketing in 2018. I dreamt about link building. I had pictures of link building saved on my phone. Hell, I’d spend hours upon hours with link building. Okay, okay, I didn’t mean to get too spicy, but seriously, link building quickly became a passion of mine. It’s often seen as one of the most difficult aspects of a marketing initiative, but it was the problem-solving and communications aspects that drew me to this tactic. Well into my second year as a link builder, and I feel confident enough that I can pass along some useful information. Below we’ll take a look at some of the best link building trends for 2018.

Link Building Trends For 2018

Using Data and Research to Create Content

With such a saturated industry, it’s no surprise that the link building trends for 2018 are tactics that will push you above and beyond your competitors. The first tactic you should take advantage of is using research and data to create interesting and authoritative content. In an industry where “content is king,” there is no content more valuable than current, and previously unpublished industry insights. Holding creative control over this original research means earning backlinks whenever anyone writes a new blog article or social media post that references your findings.

link building trends for 2018

Not only can the original data generate backlinks, but you can also recycle it into other forms of content. Perhaps you want to turn that data into a shareable infographic. Another way to repurpose that content is to create a video of the researchers themselves talking about the data they’ve found. Original research is a great way to provide important information while scoring a variety of different backlinks from recycled data.

Adjust Your Campaign For Mobile

We’ve already covered the rise of voice search in previous blogs, but many marketers will fail to consider mobile when link building. Your mobile-friendly content is going to be some of the most valuable link bait that you have. 20% of all web searches are voice searches. This is important on two fronts. If you’re optimized for voice search and landing some valuable rich snippets, this will increase the chances of snagging natural backlinks without lifting a finger.

On the other side, targeting backlinks from sites that rank frequently for mobile search is a great way to snag backlinks that are both valuable and relevant.

Backlink Reclamation

When it comes to some of the best link building trends for link building, reclaiming backlinks is often an undervalued but highly important tactic. As Google puts more and more value into links, losing them can be detrimental to your website. A good backlink reclamation campaign will ensure that there are few backlinks getting lost in the shuffle. A backlink analysis tool like SEMrush or Majestic will allow you to export all lost backlinks. The next stage, outreach, is as easy as emailing the link origin’s site owner with the updated URL. Pointing out dead links is going to be in their best interest as well because it improves user experience and SEO.

Link Building With Videos

We’ve touched on videos a little, but one the biggest link building trends for 2018 is starting link building with videos. Similar to infographics, videos are a great piece of visual content that can garner a lot of traffic, views, and backlinks. Many experts have seen a lot of success in self-hosting videos on their website and/or sharing them on their social media pages. Users consume hours of video content via social media, so it’s a no-brainer that you should be taking advantage of those eyes. First, you’ll want to promote your videos via social media just like you would on any other. Next, you’ll want to use YouTube analytics to find out who is sharing your video or embedding it on their website. This is a great way to request a backlink from those who have been sharing your content.

These are just a few of the many link building trends for 2018. If you haven’t thought about a link building campaign, now’s the time to start. It will help boost those search rankings as well as increase traffic to your site. If you have any other trends or tactics you’d like to share, feel free to comment below!

Social Media Trends For 2018

Any marketer knows how important social media is. With smartphones seemingly becoming an extension of our lives, we’re quickly melting our real presence with our social media presence. Whether you’re recruiting, marketing, or consuming products, social media will continue to play a vital role in your marketing campaign. With 2018 well underway, it’s important to take a look at the latest trends in the social media world. Below you’ll find some of the top social media trends for 2018.

Social Media Trends For 2018

Live Streaming

When it comes to social media trends for 2018, this is one that might not come to mind right away. When we think of live streaming, we usually think of people playing a popular video game, or a celebrity detailing a daily makeup routine. However, many marketers are figuring out that they can use live streaming as a way to increase brand awareness.

Live streaming is a medium or implementation of social technology that’s uniquely positioned to take advantage of hardware improvements for the next several years. The resolution of an image the size of a phone screen can only get so good before you have to zoom in to see a difference. We could also begin to see “live commercials” which will take advantage of the immediate feedback that can be provided by viewers.

social media trends for 2018

AR and VR

Augmented and virtual reality initially seemed like a gimmick. It was something that looked cool in the movies, but would never live up to expectations when put to practical use. However, when it comes to social media trends for 2018, AR and VR will play a major role in the marketing industry. After a handful of highly successful AR apps, rising sales of VR headsets, and greater technological sophistication (including faster internet speeds and better visual rendering), 2018 could finally be the year that AR takes off.

More users will be using VR and AR, which mean that social media will quickly become the link to connect these people. How soon will it be until we can virtually sit across from our loved ones who are across the globe? You’ll want to keep an eye on this technology and think about how you can implement it within your marketing initiative.

Generation Z

Another one of the social media trends for 2018 to be aware of is the importance of generation Z. A recent study conducted by Goldman Sachs concluded that Generation Z was more valuable to most organizations than millennials. Today, the oldest Gen Zers are 22 years old. They are just beginning to enter the labor force and will have increased buying power for some time. While it’s easy to discount them as just a generation of youngsters, they’re easily the savviest when it comes to social media, which is why it’ll be so important to market accordingly.

This young generation could be the key to your brand’s success, so make sure to do your market research to figure out whom exactly you should be marketing to on social media.

Social Call-Out and Accountability

Another major shift in social media is the growing necessity of social accountability when it comes to your brand. Previously, there were only a few places that a customer could voice his or her opinion. However, with the rise of social media, millions with just a few clicks can see a customer experience. According to the Sprout Social Index, 81% of consumers agreed social media increased accountability for businesses. But what causes consumers to voice their opinions online? The same index found 3 in 5 consumers said dishonesty from brands causes their social call out.

However, you can use this to your advantage. Transparency and honesty will increase your reputation as a brand and ensure that they’ll continue working with you.

We hope we’ve provided some stellar tips for enhancing your brand. These social media trends for 2018 should ensure that your marketing initiative is successful. If you’d like to provide some other trends, feel free to comment below!

Benefits of Social Responsibility: Kicking Off the Holiday Season with Acts of Kindness

The holiday season is quickly approaching, along with the motivation to help others. Holiday kindness shouldn’t just stay siloed in your personal life. Engaging in socially responsible activities as a company can positively impact your brand, your consumers, and the community. Check out the benefits of social responsibility and learn how to add social responsibility to your organizational operations!

Benefits of Social Responsibility

Despite the many benefits of social responsibility, many businesses hesitate to participate in socially responsible events, usually due to economic reasons. Planning social responsibility events and activities will benefit your community, brand, and employees.

It’s Good for the Community

When acting socially responsible, you shouldn’t only be concerned with selfish interests. At its core, social responsibility should be altruistic. Choose a cause that is meaningful to your organization or find an issue that affects your local community. Make partnerships with nonprofits in your community and see what types of resources you can provide to help them fulfill their mission.

It’s Good for Your Brand

At first glance, social responsibility may not seem worth it. Helping out a nonprofit or a cause will cost your organization time and money upfront. Although this is a turnoff for many business owners, the value added to your brand in return for acts of social responsibility is incalculable. When you give back to the community, you earn trust and generate publicity. A 2006 Cone Communications study found that 83 percent of Americans find organizations more credible if they are socially or environmentally responsible. The Cone study also revealed that 74 percent of Americans pay greater attention to messages when companies are deeply committed to a cause. While participating in community events, your organization is bound to capture the attention of local media outlets. This publicity will positively impact your brand (and it’s more cost-effective than paid advertisements).

It’s Good for Your Employees

A large percentage of Americans, especially millennials, take social responsibility very seriously. Being socially irresponsible can hinder your organization from recruiting new talent. The Cone study found that 56 percent of millennial Americans would refuse to work for a socially irresponsible corporation. Social responsibility helps to build your organizational culture. Participate in community-related activities, and give your employees a sense of purpose and engagement.

How to Be Socially Responsible

Change your organizational actions and start taking advantage of the many benefits of social responsibility. Get started with social responsibility by checking out the events and activities that are already happening in your community. If you’re looking to stand out for your efforts, try organizing your own social responsibility campaigns.

Participate in Community Events

One of the easiest ways to start your social responsibility efforts is to check out what’s already going on in the community. Many communities coordinate days for charitable donations. Here in Central Pennsylvania, the City of Lancaster hosts the Extraordinary Give annually. The event encourages businesses, organizations, and individuals to donate to local charities.

When searching for avenues of social responsibility, be sure to look for events and organizations with connections to your brand. Our AllTruckJobs.com brand teamed up with the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Mother’s Day Truck Convoy.

Organize Your Own Social Responsibility Campaigns

For the last three years, our Track5Media team has participated in our annual Day of Giving. We visit nonprofits in the city throughout the day dressed in holiday swag. We deliver gifts to children in the community dressed as Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, and elves!

benefits of Social Responsibility

We continued our tradition of social responsibility this year by starting a scholarship program with our TravelNurseSource.com brand. The scholarship will reward a deserving nursing student seeking help with college tuition costs. By starting your own social responsibility efforts, you can tailor your activities to match your brand’s message or support a cause that’s close to your heart.

Looking to start a new career with our socially responsible team here at Track5Media? Check out our open positions and apply today!

Social Update: A Story About Stories

If you’re an avid social media user, you may have recently noticed several new updates: Instagram added its most talked about social update yet, allowing users to post multiple pictures at once without using an app to create a photo collage. Before that, they jumped on the “story train,” an idea started by the creators of Snapchat. Most recently to add stories to their platform was Facebook, and consumers don’t really know how to feel about it. A new social update happens so often, users quickly become frustrated and hate the new additions before settling down after a few weeks. But will the frustration with the new story addition last a little longer?

The Social Update Story

With reports that Instagram and Facebook have been stealing Snapchat’s users, its hard to believe such a crossocial updatesover would occur. From a social standpoint, the three social platforms seem to be used for different reasons by different people. According to a study from the Pew Research Center, about 8 in 10 American adults use Facebook while nearly one-third of Americans use Instagram. Over the years, we’ve seen the number of teen Facebook users decline and the number of users 25+ increases – but why? Probably because no teens want the parents, or worse, their grandparents, to see what they’re up to! That is what makes Instagram and Snapchat stories usage more popular.

Showing their dislike of the added feature, users took to social media to put Facebook on blast for the stories update. Some went as far as editing photos of random objects and unlikely applications to feature stories giving their take on an overused feature.

Part of what makes the idea of Snapchat such an interesting platform for younger users is its ability to delete their messages. It’s one of the quickest means of distributing a message or photo to show what you’re up to before it disappears anywhere from 1 second to 24 hours later. Instagram now work in a similar way with its stories, but photos still remain on your feed and page until you manually delete them. The new feature on the Facebook social update, however, causing users to feel forced to use the stories.

New Form of Ghosting

A year or so ago, when you heard the term ghosting, you may have believed it to be when you simply just stop contacting another person and never hear from or see them again without any warning or reason. Now, it takes on a whole new meaning. When Facebook first introduced their stories update, unless your friends posted to their story, all that remained was your story “bubble” – a little circle you click on to add pictures or videos (basically Snapchats whole deal). Now, whether it was to fill the white space at the top of feeds or otherwise, Facebook created story bubbles for all of your friend too, even if they don’t post.

Now, where Facebook may be going wrong here, is using the ghost versions of your best pals. On Instagram, once you have completed viewing a story the bubble of your friends fades to an opaque shadow. But, nothing will show up unless those you follow post. On Snapchat, if one of your friends posts a story, nothing shows up at all until they do. And when the story is gone, so is the icon (or newly added Bitmoji).

What Facebook seems to be doing is forcing its users to look at the stories section like a “hey, check me out and use me!” instruction. The story bubbles appear with your friends profile picture, but slightly grayed out and “ghostlike.” Only after you tap on their bubble does Facebook tell you they haven’t added content “recently.”

Snapchat’s Stand

With the recent social update on what is still the most widely used social media platform, Snapchat didn’t respond right away. About a week after, however, the timed message sending application sent out a new filter making any picture posted look like an Instagram post. The filter was released on April 1st a joke. For now, jokes aside, whatever comes next, let’s hope each social media platform starts releasing some more original ideas instead of cloning each other’s creations.

Emoji Marketing | How You Can Join In

What may have seemed like a passing fad could actually be making the leap to a full-fledged marketing tool. What witchcraft is this you may ask? I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but we’re talking about emojis, emoticons, and those ubiquitous smileys permeating just about every inch of social media and online content. And while the library of emojis continues to grow and reflect our desire to communicate abstract concepts using…eggplants and disembodied hand gestures? It can all be very ambiguous at times, although most people probably feel that way while looking at Egyptian Hieroglyphics — the ‘original emoji.’ Here we’ll explore just how emoji marketing can work and things to consider.

emoji marketing

From Adweek.

As it turns out, emojis are not only here to stay, but they may actually represent a new tool for marketers to start taking advantage of. Certain reports have shown that including emojis in tweets can increase engagement by 25.4 percent versus their emoji-less counterparts. Not only that, but adding emojis to your Facebook posts can encourage a higher volume of ‘likes’ — 57% more in some instances! So with numbers like that, it’s no surprise that these micro-cartoons are getting the attention of digital marketers and similarly minded entrepreneurs. But how can emojis be implemented in your marketing efforts to produce greater social media success? Get your alternative keyboards ready, folks.

emoji marketing

Dominos at one point allowed people to actually order pizzas with emojis! Talk about real-time engagement!

First thing is first, what are these little pictures trying to communicate? I mean the emoticons (emojis depicting emotions) are relatively obvious, but then there are the more cryptic characters, things like spirals, raised hands, or goblins. But like any form of communication, the context that emojis are used in constitute most if not the entirety of their meaning. Knowing this becomes particularly important for companies using them in their branded tweets, posts, or any other place where emojis can be found.

Conceiving Your Emoji Marketing

Nothing says brand authority like using the wrong emoji at the wrong time — and believe me, it’s not THAT difficult to know when the situation warrants emojis or not. Still, what can start as a distasteful joke or a simple lack of attention to detail can blow up as a PR disaster for online presences.  For all intents and purposes, I present to you the Emojipedia — your guide to avoiding unsavory tweets and posts featuring the common emoji.

Real-Time Engagement with Emojis

Even while a thoroughly planned emoji-laden post can sometimes come up short, finding the right timing to take a more colorful and visual route can be just the kickstart your brand needs for the day. Some might even go so far as to design an entire emoji based post, save for a contextual hashtag:

emoji marketing

A mix of creativity and the proper messaging can make for a very effective post that will engage users here and now. Increasing your engagement with emojis means finding what people are responding to and coding fun messages without being too cryptic. Beyond tracking which posts contain emojis and which don’t throughout your marketing campaigns, you can see just how often people are using certain emojis via the Emoji Tracker.

Branded Emojis

That said, Twitter has been designing custom emojis that accompany specific hashtags as means of monetizing the platform. First to try such an emoji marketing feat was no other than Coca-cola — arguably more of a marketing company than a soft-drink company. Using #shareacoke will actually generate a pair of classic coke bottles to accompany your remaining characters in the tweet. Pretty nifty! Since then gigantic brands like Star Wars, Ikea, and others have taken advantage of the phenomenon.

emoji marketing

So it’s clear that emojis are becoming more useful in marketing and while attempting to engage your audiences. Just make sure you’re fully aware of what all of these wacky little characters mean and don’t over do it — emojis do only go so far!

Video Marketing: The Rundown

We’ve come a long way from the traditional “viral videos” that would be passed along through email chains and Facebook shares. What was once a medium for showing cats doing typical cute cat things has now become one of the most important marketing platforms for many brands and companies. Video is the new newspaper, or magazine, or blog post. As our attention spans continue to shrink, many companies are leaning on video marketing to lead the way as they head into 2017. Here’s what you need to know about this rapidly emerging marketing initiative.

Video Marketing Should Be Authentic

One of the biggest things many brands will assume is that they have to spend tons of money on production costs and promotion to make their video go “viral.” The truth is, we can’t really predict what makes a video explode on the Internet. However, we do know that the amount of money spent on production and promotion has minimal effect.

Obviously, it’s good to have some editing and production skills, but you don’t need to be the next Michael Bay to produce a great video marketing campaign. Case and point…Furkids Kitty Commercial. In just a few weeks, this rudimentary video has garnered almost 5 million views. It’s combination of humor, and tongue-in-cheek production quality has become a viral hit and shows that timeliness and humor can go along the way during your video marketing campaign.

Go Platform to Platform

Another important thing to think about for video marketing is adjusting your video campaign to be successful across all platforms. Many assume that YouTube is the only outlet that should be focused on, which is not the case. Social media outlets like Facebook and Snapchat have become very important channels to consider during your marketing campaign. Marketers can no longer post a video on YouTube and expect it to perform well across all channels. Snapchat and Instagram videos will obviously need to be shorter, and hashtags are also an important way for consumers to find your video.

Another interesting finding is that many users of social media prefer to watch videos without sound. For instance, multiple publishers say about 85% of all videos on Facebook are watched without sound—making captions crucial and music less so. Whether it’s because many of us are hiding from the boss at work while watching videos, or just prefer silent media, it’s important that your video translates well even without sound.

Don’t Overdo It

It sounds simple enough, but many companies will be quick to try and copy whatever the viral video is that month. While it’s smart to follow the trends, your audience will easily know when you’re just trying to jump on the bandwagon. Like stated before, overproduction can also be another sign that a company is not taking into account into who their audience is. Most social media users, especially millennials care more about timeliness and speed, over production value, and intricacy. Don’t try to get hip with the times just because those around you are marketing in that area. Make sure your brand has a clear and distinct video marketing campaign that highlights your strengths in a clear and concise manner.

5 Marketing Lessons From the Obama Candidacy

This past Tuesday, Barack Obama delivered his last major speech of the Obama Candidacy. After 8 years of leading the nation, and despite your personal opinion of him, Obama has certainly backed up his mantra of “change.” Whether it’s the Affordable Care Act, the automotive industry bailout, or implementing same-sex marriage across the nation, the soon-to-be-former president has ushered in a variety of change. With that being said, he’s also marketed himself and the Obama candidacy unlike any president before. It’s time to take a look at what we, as marketers, we can learn from his time in office.

5 Lessons From the Obama Candidacy

Be an Unconventional Marketer

It would have been very easy for president Obama to stick to traditional media appearances. Yes, he made the State of the Union Addresses and was quick to acknowledge the variety of tragedies that plagued his 8 years in office, but it was his willingness to go with the flow and make media appearances on other outlets that truly makes him stand out.

Take the show Between Two Ferns for example. A satirical show hosted by Zach Galifianakis that often pokes fun at their guests would seem to be the last place the president would want to make an appearance. However, through this appearance, Obama was able to show a more personable side of himself, and one that was willing to poke fun at himself and others.

As a marketer, it’s important to be flexible and to be willing to take an unconventional approach to marketing. While it’s important to cover traditional media outlets, don’t be afraid to look elsewhere to attract an audience. Our industry is constantly changing, so it’s always important to keep your eye on the future to make sure your brand is doing everything it can to keep up with the changing environment. However, make sure you implement your marketing plan correctly. Some older brands that have tried to get hip with the times have failed miserably.

obama candidacy

Obama’s appearance on the show garnered millions of views

Look Toward Others For Support

The Obama candidacy didn’t just create itself; it took a variety of volunteers, sponsors, and spokespeople to market the campaign and to get the Obama train on the right track. With the help of many others, Obama created a brand that was marketed well through a variety of outlets. Marketed as a family-oriented president struck home with many while on the campaign trail and in office.

As a marketer, don’t be afraid to lean on others during your campaign. A good marketing campaign takes a variety of ideas, opinions, and jobs so be sure to surround yourself with a team that’s willing to work together to create the best possible campaign.

Use Social Media Correctly

This might be one of the biggest factors when it came to the Obama candidacy. With the rise of Twitter, Facebook, and other various forms of social media, these outlets can quickly become the demise of your campaign. Luckily, Obama was able to have his social media presence be created by a trustworthy organization called Organizing for Action. The non-profit ran the majority of his social media account and was able to paint a positive picture of the president through his tweets and posts.

We’ve already seen how our incoming president Trump uses social media, which is much different than Obama.

Make sure that your social media presence remains stellar during your own campaign. Make sure to not just acknowledge the good responses, but the bad as well. Use this as a way to not only market yourself but also show some personality behind it. Obama would often tweet photos of his family and even post about what he’s been watching on TV.

obama candidacy with Biden

Finger guns may or may not increase your marketing prowess

Make Sure Your Website Works

It seems simple enough, right? Well, unfortunately even the Obama candidacy has web issues from time to time. After Obamacare went into effect, millions of citizens flooded the site, hoping to get on an affordable healthcare plan. Unfortunately, the sheer amount of users would ultimately crash the site, leaving many customers at a standstill.

Make sure to test any websites and platforms that you’ll be using before the launch. Although none of us can predict future crashes after launch, it’s still important to go over any possible issues that could arise. Also, make sure your landing page looks good and that the site is easy to navigate.

Know How to Handle Crisis Management

As president, Obama had to deal with a crisis on an almost weekly basis. From terrorist attacks to weather emergencies, it was important that he remained composed and coordinated with the rest of his team. Any of sign of fear or confusion would be seen as a weakness, so crisis management was key.

Make sure that your company and marketing team have a plan implemented in case of a crisis. Whether it’s a leaked inappropriate picture or a shocking resignation, make sure that you and your staff remain on the same page and know how to handle the situation. Disorganization can look bad on the company and can make your audience wary of trusting you

Social Media Trends For 2017

You’re probably tired of reading all of the predicting 2017 posts that have been plaguing your timeline. The truth is, nobody knows what this year is going to hold. If you told me that the Internet world would mourn over a dead gorilla and that Vine would cease to exist, I’d call you crazy. That being said, we can still do our best to predict some of the social media trends for 2017.

We’ve looked at some of the SEO trends and engagement practices that will emerge this year, as well as some hiring trends that employers will engage in. It’s time to look at something that can’t be avoided; something that integrates it’s way into our lives on daily basis. I’m talking about social media. Here’s what social media trends you can expect for 2017 and how your business can use them.

Social Media Trends For 2017

Authentic Video

It’s no secret that video is set to become the biggest way we share via social media. Video is a way to show authenticity and transparency during your marketing campaign. Another key to marketing using video will be the audience. Millenials are the most active video watchers in 2016, and we can expect even more growth this year. With a smartphone in almost every hand, video has become a way to consume news, entertainment, and hopefully, your business plan. Facebook live has already led the way by allowing users to live stream at any moment, with Instagram and Twitter joining the movement. Video will be vital for your social media campaign, so make sure you’re putting out visual content that is informative and entertaining.

Chatbots

What was once a fun way to pass time (and pretend you had friends) has now become integral to customer service for many businesses. Chatbots are a kind of artificial intelligence that can have a conversation with someone. Facebook has integrated them within Facebook Messenger, and businesses are now using them to communicate with customers.

Chatbots have steadily been improving over the last decade, so it’s no surprise that companies are starting to use them to increase customer service. Whether it’s via Twitter, Facebook, or another form of social media, chatbots can be a great way to provide quick and direct customer service for your audience.

social media infographic

Simplicity and Speed

Sadly, every year our attention span decreases and a number of media increases. So how can we ensure that our marketing campaign not only reaches the audience but keeps their attention long enough to have an impact? The solution is actually pretty easy if executed correctly. Your content should be timely, short, and easy to digest.

There’s a reason that pictures and videos are increasingly more popular than traditional written posts. We process images and video much easier and more quickly than text, so it’s important to incorporate visual media into your campaign. As 2017 approaches, some millennials are taking a step back and reevaluating their social-media usage and determining which platforms they want to participate on and what kind of content they want to consume. That being said, video is here to stay.

Privacy Awareness

One of the most surprising social media trends of 2017 deals with our desire for privacy on social media. Although social media and privacy don’t exactly go hand in hand, millennials and a good amount of other social media users are beginning to become more and more aware of privacy on the Internet.

Millenials also admit that social media generally makes them unhappier, despite the increase in usage. Your marketing campaign should be mindful of privacy when trying to connect with your audience.

These social media trends for 2017 should give you a good idea of what this year will look like. The social media landscape will continue to change, but Track5Media will make sure to keep you in the loop.

VR Marketing: Looking Toward A Virtual 2017

With the holidays quickly approaching and 2016 coming to an end, we’ve seen all sorts of interesting tech trends and new products shaping everything from energy to SEO. When it comes to marketing, I can’t help but think about how we’re constantly being guided toward immersive experiences – whether through a brand or the content itself. New platforms like Blendle and even things like Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) are making it so users avoid the fluff and get right to the content they’re looking for.

At the same time, mobile video is still poised to make huge strides forward as one of the fastest-growing ad formats in 2017. It all feels as though it’s leading to one thing: Virtual Reality Marketing.

Okay, it sounds a little out there, but just hear me out with this one – the technology is finally hitting the market and platform support is here, so inevitably that means an outpouring of marketing opportunities and considerations as we step into the void of VR.

vr marketing

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg demos a VR headset during the Oculus Connect 3 event in San Jose, California.

Adopting a Virtual World

As with most things in the world of technology, whether it’ll be adopted by consumers all comes down to pricing and platform support. Seeing as VR is available on a massive scale for the first time during the holiday buying season, it’s not unlikely that users will only become more comfortable with this technology from here on out.

2017 is likely to bring cheaper options for things like VR headsets and its sister technology, the 360-degree camera – because what’s the point of total digital immersion if you’re still in 2d?

Platforms like Facebook and YouTube are already well on board with 360-degree video, providing a pretty stimulating experience even for those viewing via standard computer monitors or smart phones.

VR Marketing: Video Ads and More

Once we reach a point when YouTube’s VR section is alive and thriving, a 2D advertisement is going to look magnitudes less appealing than its immersive counterpart, so the industry is preparing early. All digital psychedelic adventures aside, startups like VirtualSky are looking to trailblaze the concept of creating 360-degree video for advertisers, allowing viewers to interact with an ad rather than simply seeing how quickly the ‘skip’ button can be clicked. That being said, it’s still a relatively trippy experience even if they’re trying to sell you something:

So yes, soon we’ll all be flying around the inside of commercials like some sort of capitalistic lucid dream, but that shouldn’t take away from the other potential ways the digital world may use VR marketing.

Cheaper options like Google Cardboard and their push for entry level peripherals may guide daily VR marketing and usage to your average social media user. As immersive as it is, a virtual reality is inherently isolating – everything’s occluded beyond your immediate visual feed within the headset. Naturally, the next step is to pair our disjointed, digitally-mediated social experiences on Facebook with a complete sensory placeholder!

Okay, maybe that was a facetiously low-blow for a technology that could provide some genuinely enriching experiences for people who wouldn’t otherwise choose to be social, or those without the physical ability to do so for that matter. Still, it’s appropriate to be wary when reality comes with download options. Whatever the future holds for VR marketing, it’s a given that 2017 will usher in the golden age of video advertising via social platforms.

R.I.P. Vine: How 6-Seconds Felt Like Forever

The concept of microblogging seemed at first like a pipe dream, something that could only cater to the alleged ever-diminishing attention span of the modern social media user. Yet 317 million active users later, micro-content platforms like Twitter are still going strong (at least for now).

vine

There’s something to be said about the short exchange of a tweet, a Tumblr post, Snapchat, and the soon-to-disappear content of Vine. Character limits and short recording times coax users into streamlining their messages or concepts, something that actually requires more thought than you might expect. In a sense, these restrictions are freeing, allowing people to become equal in how much they can say or express through video.

From a Seed to a Vine

Before Vine’s official launch on January 24, 2013, creators Dom Hofmann, Rus Yusupov, and Colin Kroll were unsure just how the platform would be used. Initially, their idea centered around creating casual glimpses of someone’s life, however, experimentation occurred very early on, ultimately setting the stage for what was to come.

Stop motion animations and time lapse quickly became some of the most interesting posts, popularized by users like Ian Padgham and his ability to seamlessly blend the analog and digital worlds.

This platform also had its fair shares of ubiquitous memes and pop culture phenomena, introducing the public to constantly repurposed sound bites and themes found throughout the platform.

Fast forward to April 9, 2013 and this platform had become the most-downloaded free app in the iOS App Store, gaining over 200 million active users along the way. It seemed like the endless loops of Vine might hold their 6-seconds, yet seemingly timeless place in pop culture, yet recent announcements have confirmed that this app has begun its infinite regression into oblivion.

From a Vine to a Weed

As one of the initial adopters myself back in 2013, I first learned about the impending doom this platform faces through opening the app on October 27th. After making references to Vine-specific memes for months with no one making the connections, it was becoming more and more obvious that the app is, and has been on its way out for some time now.

Vine

Vine just couldn’t outlive the pyramids – something no one could have predicted.

At this point, even the most refined Viners are posting their death-throws and plugs for their other social media platforms like Instagram and Youtube. In all honesty, it’s actually a sad day for all of the people who found their voices through this app. Vine represented a type of storytelling that took on an almost hypnotically comforting repetition of images and sounds, distilling narratives down to something you could watch once without wasting your time, or on an endless loop to your heart’s content.

Beyond the infinite 6-second reels, gags, and occasional endorsement, this platform produced a community that might only be comparable to the early days of Tumblr, encouraging real-life meet-ups and collaborations in building connections beyond digital reactions. This, I believe, is going to be an increasingly rare phenomenon and something that we really can’t take for granted anymore.

Yes, all good things come to an end, yet if that were ever untrue you might just be watching one of your favorite Vine posts.

For your benefit and in honor of a platform that has had an impact on the lives of millions of creators, enjoy these posts while they last, curated by yours truly:

Senan Byrne: “No Animals Were Harmed”

miel: “MTV is getting weird”

Valium Village: “The Grinch Who Stole Halloween.”

Gabriel Gundacker: “Guy who loves music”

WEIRD Vids: “She Whispers to You”