Apparel Meets Tech
THE STORY: Last week, athletic clothing company Under Armour purchased exercise tracking platform MapMyFitness for $150 million. One of the largest brand deals to date in the growing business of the “quantified self,” the purchase speaks to Under Armour’s faith in a rapidly growing trend: the intersection of fitness, wearable technology and social media.
WHY IT MATTERS: Under Armour is now being described as a tech company, but they may be more accurately considered a lifestyle brand, pitted against competitors that have built huge digital athletic communities, namely Nike. But, by purchasing a platform that boasts over 20M registered users, many of whom use the app regularly, spread across 400 devices, Under Armour didn’t just buy a platform. They bought access to a growing community of potential consumers right within their target demographic. In doing so, they opened a vast, new marketing channel and a trove of real-time data. For brands, a takeaway is to seek opportunities working with existing, robust platforms: meet potential consumers where they are online, add value, and build brand loyalty.
Facebook Plans Roll Out of Auto Play Video Ads
THE STORY: Following Facebook’s launch of mobile video ads earlier this year, the social network has been developing a plan to launch auto play video ads in 2014. According to some in the industry, introducing auto-play video ads could be “one of the biggest changes the site will ever undergo." The platform is currently testing the offering with consumers.
WHY IT MATTERS: Facebook stands to benefit greatly in terms of ad revenue, hoping to steal away TV ad dollars from major brands, and marketers have the chance to reach consumers in real-time. The new format will give marketers the opportunity to get prime-time ad placements in front of what COO Sheryl Sandberg calls “Super Bowl-sized audiences” daily. However, auto-play ads are a different medium than TV. There’s already concern that auto-play ads might anger consumers wary of advertisements on their feed. Quality content that is relevant to the specific Facebook user, is cinematographic or contains special promotional offers will be crucial to the success of auto-play ads. But we think it will be impossible to make them not intrusive, and in light of the news about lagging audiences on Facebook, this could scare them away for good.
Twitter Announces Custom Timelines
THE STORY: Following Twitter’s IPO, the platform announced a new feature to their site called custom timelines. Custom timelines allow users to create their own feeds of tweets around topics, surfacing what they believe to be the most noteworthy. These public timelines are easy to share with others and can be embedded on sites around the web.
WHY IT MATTERS: Custom timelines are an appealing offering for brands looking to capture and preserve key impact moments through Twitter. Twitter’s new feature will allow brands to curate tweets around relevant conversations and events, making lasting accounts of what happened - rather than letting ownable moments get lost in the vast Twitter ecosystem. For example, if a brand is hosting a launch event for a new product or running a social media-enhanced Super Bowl campaign, they can use Twitter custom timelines to present conversation around those moments in an organized, narrative way. Previously, the startup Storify tried to do just this.
Pinterest Introduces Place Pins
THE STORY: This week, Pinterest announced Place Pins, which lets users map the locations they share on their pinboards. The tool adds a map, images, and relevant information to the pins, and allows pinners to view the places they’d like to visit both online and on mobile. In its announcement on Wednesday, Pinterest also unveiled a new “send” feature that lets users share pinboards directly with other users on the platform.
WHY IT MATTERS: The announcement of Place Pins comes hot on the heels of Pinterest’s release of their first API tools, which allows retailers to embed pins directly on websites and mobile apps. Both moves expand the social network’s relationship with brands as they work to translate pins into purchase, online and in-store.
While Pinterest didn’t mention monetization plans with its announcement of Place Pins, there is an immediate opportunity for businesses to showcase their locations, highlight local products, and put their branded spin on travel destinations. In the future, Pinterest could potentially offer Promoted Pins as an option for restaurants, hotels, or stores.
Spotify Becoming More Brand Friendly
THE STORY: To promote Bravo’s November premieres, the TV network partnered with Spotify to create playlists around each show. The playlists appear on the Bravo Spotify page ,are embedded within each corresponding show page on BravoTV.com and are mentioned during commercial breaks during each show’s airing. Bravo has been known to be a first mover in advertising across new platforms, and this partnership is another example of that.
WHY IT MATTERS: This is the first time Spotify has partnered with a TV network in the United States, and the announcement comes shortly after the platform said they would be building out brand profiles further to grow its advertising revenue. Spotify is working on positioning its brands as tastemakers, especially as the platform specializes in serving as a music discovery service. If the goal is to get people using Spotify to find new music, the platform sees brands as a potential partner in drawing in consumers and fostering that relationship. Bravo is one of the first to jump on this opportunity.