One simple rule of thumb in marketing: be where the attention is.
It is the reason why TV commercials during the Super Bowl, billboards in Times Square, and the back cover of Vogue all command a premium.
This year we invested more than ever in ensuring our clients are noticed when their prospective customers are using social media – which seems to be most of the time.
A recent report found that Brits spend the equivalent of a full day per week on their phones (!) and much of that time is spent on Facebook and Instagram.
And as crazy as that might be, it means there is a real opportunity for brands with something to say.
Two trends in social media are especially interesting.
Sharing has become more personal and intimate with the growth of Stories, a feature that Instagram (and parent company Facebook) shamelessly stole from their struggling rival Snapchat.
The ephemeral nature of Stories provides brands with cover to experiment more freely and spontaneously, without the pressure to create the perfect “Instagram-worthy” photo and caption.
With 400 million daily Instagram Story users it is a no brainer for brands large and small to get involved.
We have used Stories to help our clients build a closer relationship with their followers, for example through sharing behind the scenes content – from diamond setting to beer brewing – and the response has been phenomenal.
Another change is the rise of Instagram as a place where shopping is done.
We are increasingly seeing how consumers are discovering new products on Instagram, through both influencers and sponsored posts, and then clicking through to buy from brands, all without leaving the app – especially in categories like beauty, interiors, fashion, and jewellery.
Amazon may get all the e-commerce glory, but shopping there is a pretty joyless experience, and works best when you know exactly what you want.
Instagram offers brands a place in a kind of magical department store, where finding something new to buy feels serendipitous, nestled between warm filtered posts from friends. And it comes complete with a tacit endorsement from people you trust.
With 1 billion active monthly users it can pay to pay attention.