Snapchat -- much like TikTok -- is positioning itself as a more commerce-friendly space. Companies like Target and Dior now have Brand Profiles, as do dozens of others pre-approved brands, but more are likely to follow. The introduction of shoppable AR filters seems to be a particular draw -- and through its Brand Profiles, Snapchat appears to be making itself the proof of concept for shoppable AR as a future medium of commerce.
For the past decade, Instagram has dominated the marketing strategies of DTC brands trying to reach younger customers. Now, new startups like skincare brand Habit are finding reason to focus on the Gen Z-friendly TikTok, in hopes of becoming less reliant on Instagram and parent company Facebook.
Direct mail marketing is nothing new. Yet the strategy to send print catalogs to customers homes is becoming more popular among brands and retailers. In recent years, DTC brands have successfully tested out direct mail to acquire and retain customers. With people stuck at home due to the coronavirus and the volatile digital advertising market, the traditional method is getting even more traction.
Over the past few years, Google has been testing out a variety of ad formats designed with e-commerce companies in mind. Now, it's starting to slowly change some of those advertising formats. These moves are indicative of Google's current strategy: streamlining its shopping advertising formats in favor of making it easier for merchants to run campaigns, as well as to run ads across more Google properties.
Five months in, and strategic differences between TikTok and Reels are emerging for brands. In particular, Reels has become the platform of choice for big, established brand accounts. In contrast, challenger brands -- and their influencer partners -- are gravitating more toward TikTok. That is thanks to a mix of algorithmic differences between the two platforms and an existing comfort with Instagram from incumbent companies.
The number of monthly broadcasters on Twitch nearly doubled in 2020, from 3.6 million to 6.9 million. And last month alone, viewers consumed over 2 billion hours of content. As Twitch grows and its demographic diversifies, many brands -- including those that might not conventionally associate themselves with gaming -- are realizing that their potential customers are already on the platform.
Following into the steps of DTC brands like Harry's and Bevel, Old Spice is opening a barbershop concept store that doubles as a content studio. According to parent company Procter & Gamble, the Columbus, Ohio shop will be open to the public for grooming services. And it shows Old Spice trying out some new experiential marketing strategies.
Driven by the forthcoming direct listing of Roblox, plus the juggernaut success of Animal Crossing and Fortnite, agencies are springing up to help brands find their way in the gaming ecosystem -- a new and arguably belated recognition of the power that gaming communities can hold for brands of all stripes. Companies with direct ties to gaming, like headphone makers, are no strangers to the space, but most other brands have avoided marketing to gaming communities. Yet the rise of these agencies suggests that brands are finally eager to break into platforms like Twitch and into virtual, in-game universes in games like Fortnite.
TikTok has become known as a "food porn" destination, filled with trends like whipped coffee and mini pancake cereal bowls. Now that the platform has established itself among large retailers and emerging brands, food brands are seeking to capitalize on TikTok's engaged young audience. The latest of these manufacturers is hot chocolate bombs maker Modern Gourmet Foods.
At the very beginning of the pandemic, podcast listenership dipped dramatically due to the lack of commutes. While downloads recovered throughout 2020, brands that advertise on the medium have tweaked their marketing strategies to cater to the new listening habits.
YouTube's build-out of its e-commerce capabilities has been slow, especially in comparison to other platforms like Facebook and TikTok. But starting this spring, the video sharing site will begin testing a more robust shoppable video tool, which could allows for more effective brand advertising.
The ongoing alcohol delivery boom has prompted brands like Anheuser-Busch to move ad spend to platforms like Drizly and Minibar. In turn, Facebook is courting both platforms and brands to advertise their beverages to local 21-plus customers.
For the past several years, more and more people have started abstaining from or cutting back on alcohol during the month of January, as part of a campaign known as Dry January. For startups that sell alcohol-free versions of beer, wine and cocktails, that means this is their month to shine. Modern Retail spoke with founders of startups like Curious Elixirs, Ghia and Ritual Proof Zero about how they are trying to attract new customers this month.
While still a niche social marketing channel, Twitch is gradually being considered by more brands for digital activations. Following in the footsteps of gamer-friendly brands like Mtn Dew, Papa John's and Red Bull, hard seltzer brand White Claw recently began experimenting with virtual events for the platform's engaged users.
With the right video, any user -- and any brand -- can find themselves catapulted to viral fame overnight. But bigger companies figured out those same lessons -- and by crafting their own branded songs, leaning into self-parody and, in some cases, encouraging their employees to post on their behalf, retailers in 2020 finally learned how to use TikTok effectively.
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