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01.14.19

Spotify Unwrapped Rocks It, More Accessibility on Instagram, and Is Facebook Out of Ad Space?

by Miró Cassetta

CASE STUDY: SPOTIFY WRAPPED 2018

Spotify’s annual Wrapped campaign isn’t new, but the digital strategy behind it is only getting smarter by getting savvier with customer data. In addition to putting together a top songs playlist, Spotify creates an immersive microsite experience with fun factoids about your listening habits. The result? Customized content that users can’t wait to share.

Here’s how Spotify kept Wrapped buzz-worthy this year:

Pre-Launch:

A Reminder Tweet
Spotify used Twitter’s “Like for Reminder” ad unit so that favoriting their pre-launch tweet triggered a reminder once custom data was ready. This got people pumped ahead of the campaign (it got 16k favorites)and guaranteed engagement, floating to the tops of Twitter users’ feeds.

Launch:

An Interactive Microsite: The animated experience walked users through their year of listening and even let them guess how many tens of thousands of minutes they’ve listened to in 2018.
Social Sharing Features: Spotify provided easily downloadable images optimized for Instagram and built-in buttons that allowed users to send a thank-you tweet to a listener’s top band.
A Claim to Fame: The pièce de résistance for spotlight-loving Millennials and Gen-Zers? A chance to have their stats featured on a billboard in Times Square or Piccadilly Circus.
1:1 Outreach: When users tweeted their results, Spotify responded with a fun “award,” driving even more incentive to share.

WHY THIS CAMPAIGN GETS A ROUND OF APPLAUSE

Here’s what marketers have learned about social pre-rolls and mid-rolls:

Holiday Sentimentality with a Twist  
It’s December: whether it’s a handwritten list or a Facebook-generated video, the season of nostalgic annual look-backs has arrived. Spotify capitalized on this trend by providing a soundtrack for your year.

Providing a Personalized Story
Over half of consumers expect offers to be personalized. Spotify hit the nail on the head by creating a narrative around individualized user data.

Embrace Your Data (Publicly) 
Some brands (including a different Spotify campaign) have gotten flack for applying data to ad campaigns with a “we’re watching you” tone that didn’t go over well with everyone. But Wrapped has swayed users to embrace the idea of data sharing by giving them the power to decide whether or not to publicly share results, and by providing such interesting info that you can’t help but want to. 40,000 minutes of listening in 2018? Now that’s something to talk about.

More Text, More Accessibility

At the end of November, Instagram announced its two newest features to make the platform more accessible: custom alternative text and automatic alternative text.

Up until now, accessibility for the vision-impaired on Instagram was virtually nonexistent. The only option users have had was to make their captions as descriptive as possible, which has been problematic as many users opt for witty, compelling captions that don’t typically describe the photo itself.

The new accessibility features are meant to not only describe the content of the photo, but to also provide social context so that users can better understand the holistic message of a post. These updates will be incredibly helpful to visually impaired users who will now be able to use their screen readers to hear descriptions of content in the app’s Feed, Explore and Profile sections.

Alternative text has historically been used for websites as a way to convey descriptions of images, helping people with visual impairments contextualize and understand website content. Over the years, it has extended beyond websites to other platforms (and has, in fact, been available on Facebook and Twitter for more than two years), so the addition of Instagram to that list isn’t too big of a surprise.

With custom alternative text now available on Instagram, users can supplement their captions with more colorful descriptions in their advanced settings before or after they publish a post. The functionality doesn’t just hinge on manually entering descriptions, though: Instagram’s object recognition capabilities will also automatically generate a description through automatic alternative text.

Note: The two alternative text options do not extend into Instagram Stories.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR MARKETERS

Instagram’s announcement prompts a larger discussion around inclusion and serves as a reminder to continue to think about every single user when developing our social media strategies:
  • Include alternative text for all channels where available
  • Upload .SRT files to add closed captioning to make video content more accessible to users on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter
  • Focus on high color contrasts between your profile and cover photos
  • Add copy overlays to Instagram videos
  • Refrain from using acronyms in captions
  • Link to web pages in posts where it makes sense when providing more information rather than in the post itself
  • Add descriptive transcripts to YouTube videos
Marketers now have a way to increase accessibility in their overall experience by adding in custom alternative text. As advertisers, we want to provide the same access to social media content to as many people as possible. The first step to doing so is by creating an inclusive experience.

Is Facebook Running Out of Ad Space?

Rumor has it Facebook is running out of ad space, again. Over the past two years, the social media giant has introduced several ad placements to open up new territories for marketers (Instagram Stories, Facebook Messenger, Marketplace ads and In-Stream). The latest? A singular unit featuring two retail brands. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed they are running “a small test that groups product recommendations from different advertisers into a single experience.” The ad unit looks similar to their Collection Ads, which have shown a trend of positive return on ad spend for retailers.

The unit is currently being tested in the US, UK, and Canada. If users respond well, they likely will expand on the unit, making it available to all advertisers.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR MARKETERS

  • Associated Brand:
    • The unit will feature two brands, which could be effective as long as they complement each other.
    • Brands that agree to be featured in this unit do not have control over the adjacent brand. Facebook will manage the placements.
  • Familiar Formatting:
    • Consumers will be familiar with the formatting thanks to the Collection Ad unit, making it likely they’ll engage (unlike the canvas unit which Facebook recently rebranded).
    • While it’s probable that the unit will garner healthy engagement, we expect that will be attributed to the first brand which is fully visible in the feed.
  • Lower CPMs:
    • Featuring two brands in one ad space could deliver cheaper impressions and free up ad space.
    • The pricing model is still being worked out but a big question is whether the brands will evenly split the cost, or if the second featured brand will be charged less.
To date, this unit has only been seen in feed using clothing brands but we will be on the lookout for other industry representation.
Miró Cassetta

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