Last weekend Oscar de la Renta live-pinned their second fashion show ever. What is the goal of such an initiative? The obvious answer is tied to Pinterest’s skyrocketing revenue per click. VentureBeat’s recent article suggests that “instead of simply reinforcing users’ previous interests in the site or providing a navigational method of getting to the site,” Pinterest has the capability to spawn new brand allegiances – a less concrete but equally important validation of expanding a brand’s social network beyond Facebook and Twitter. A new study on the former indicates that users pay more attention to the posts on Pinterest, rather than to profile details, as with Twitter and Facebook. This belies yet another trend – that society is driven more and more by visual cues rather than text.
Taking these stats into account, once an app becomes a necessity for brands, where do we go from there? Once those that were first to market are past their glory days of swollen followings emblematic of their early adoption, where do they go? In this gold rush era of social media, brands are loath to rest on their laurels within one platform at the risk of missing out on the advantages of the next. This leads us to the rise of social video apps like SocialCam, Viddy, and for the sake of mention, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Mobli Media.
The purpose and effectiveness of said apps lies in the successes and failures of those that preceded them. They allow for the beauty and consistency offered by Instagram filters, the shareability via Twitter and Facebook, and perhaps most importantly, an easy-to-use mobile interface. The latter is where Viddy and SocialCam have poised themselves to beat out YouTube. As YouTube views decline, watching times increase (from 3 to 4 minutes on average in the last year), and YouTube adjusts its search algorithm to be based more on common interests, we see users wanting to search and click less and be more desirous of recommendation based on content rather than general popularity. YouTube, which boasts that 60 hours of video are uploaded each minute, is perhaps too much of a behemoth to navigate. There’s comfort in the smaller networks where an understanding of the whole seems achievable.
[A screenshot of one of @LangNYC’s Viddys shot at the Oscar De La Renta Resort 2012 show]
Smaller communities combined with smooth navigability equates to a better user experience and a heightened opportunity for a brand to be a big fish in a small pond. With that said, I’ll refer back to my original example. The aforementioned Oscar de la Renta runway show was seeded out the weekend before last via Viddy. While Erika Bearman - ODLR’s director of p.r., “@OscarPRGirl” as she is more commonly known – has been on Viddy for several months and has close to 600 followers, the videos were shot via 4 proxies with 10K+ followers each. I would hazard a guess that a very small percentage of Viddy users are actually purchasing $2,500 sequin baseball tees (yes, that’s a thing that exists) but for the percentage of Viddy users who have little familiarity with luxury brands, ODLR has now become the one that is accessible to them. On top of that, the authenticity and behind-the-scenes look proffered by brands on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, etc., is made all the more real in video. A customer is now that much more engratiated to a brand and as with Pinterest, may like the brand more after watching a video. Pinterest’s culture encourages curation and inspiration - allowing brands, in particular retailers and magazines, to display content which isn’t necessarily related to them.
The CEO and co-founder of social curation measurement tool Curalate, Apu Gupta, speaks to Pinterest’s optimal traits for luxury brands in particular. He notes:
“Luxury brands invest heavily in cultivating their brand persona and inspiring people by putting products into a visual context that elevates the item from a product to an experience/lifestyle. Brand advocates of storied luxury brands have a deep appreciation for not just the brand’s products but also for the brand itself. These advocates want to know more about the brand’s history, backstory, persona, people, etc. Visual sites like Pinterest can be an ideal platform to help draw in brand advocates and help them form even deeper relationships with a brand. Repurposing visual assets, enabling people to get a behind the scene’s look at the models, the shoots, the lifestyle, etc. all helps feed an insatiable desire to be connected with the brand.”
It would seem then that social video would be the natural next step, but without the same easy link to purchase, can it ever bolster revenue for brands in the same way? Curalate currently only analyzes Pinterest, and Gupta also suggests that “before getting to Tumblr or Instagram, we’d probably focus our energies on other sites like Pinterest such as Wanelo, The Fancy, Supply, and Polyvore.” Perhaps that is his thought as well; with more than 39% of consumers reporting they make more purchases online than in-store, the importance of directing this key traffic of engaged users easily to buy becomes ever more apparent. Tumblr and Instagram and by projection, Viddy and Socialcam, are able to present new dimensions of the brand for users to engage and associate themselves with, but they don’t offer the same facility of purchase that has made Pinterest so rapidly successful.
With all that said, do you think social video apps will become the next big thing for brands? Will Instagram and Tumblr lose out to apps with similar functionalities but more direct paths to sales?