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When mobile marketers first started talking up big data, the most pressing question was, “what are companies going to do with this information?” Years later, we finally have the answer: contextual commerce. Because your smartphone (and the myriad of apps loaded onto it) stores information about your interests and purchasing behaviors, it can suggest places to eat (based on your location and past OpenTable check-ins), when to call an Uber (after you’ve used your device to pay for your meal) and where/when to buy those shoes you’ve had in your cart for three days (based on your location and web browsing behavior). Shoppable social will amplify this effect by making it even easier to purchase items directly from social media. Rather than going to Instagram, seeing a product you want to buy and then going to the product website to buy it, you will be able to buy items directly from Instagram.
“Shoppable social is a huge win for mobile marketers, as they are finally able to use all of the data they’ve been collecting to reach consumers at an opportune moment to make a purchasing decision. As a consumer, I’ve purchased things I’ve seen on Instagram the “old-fashioned way” (i.e. I saw a post on Instagram about a flash sale, so I pulled out my laptop and manually went to the website to make the purchase). I have also experimented with shoppable social, and to be honest, it scared me; I was asked to comment on an Instagram post to add an order to my cart, and I was required to leave my email address in the comment (this made me uneasy, so I promptly deleted it). Addressing concerns about privacy settings will be a huge issue for shoppable social, especially in today’s cybersecurity environment.”– Brittney Miller
A recent study by analytics and reporting firm, Locowise examined the impact of hashtag use on engagement rates on Twitter and Instagram. Surprisingly, the research indicated that engagement rates on Twitter were not impacted by the use of hashtags, and in fact, tweets that included hashtags slightly underperformed those that did not. On Instagram, the story was a bit different. Here, three seems to be the lucky number for hashtags. Instagram posts that used three hashtags achieved the highest rates of engagement.
“While useful, this research may be providing companies and brands with a bit of a false indicator for using hashtags on social media. It’s easy to look at this article and conclude: hashtags should be annexed from Twitter and every Instagram post should have three hashtags. However, the research misses several key points. The research looks at engagement rates as a whole across each social media platform, not the impact on engagement rates when hashtags are used by brands. I would venture to guess the results might look very different if it solely looked at brand usage of hashtags. Engagement is also not the sole, or even primary reason, you use a hashtag on social media. Hashtags can be a mechanism for people to filter for relevant content. Using the right hashtag is an effective tool for companies to separate themselves from the noise and get in front of the right audience. There is also the age-old chicken and egg question here. Are people not engaging with the content because there is a hashtag, or are they not engaging with the content because the hashtag is irrelevant or the content is bad? It’s a pretty safe bet that the latter is a bigger factor. Hashtags are not dead. It’s still important to use the right hashtag for the right audience and as always, focus on creating compelling content. #longlivethehashtag”– Chris Iafolla
For those of you unfamiliar with Periscope, it’s an app owned by Twitter that allows users to live stream video content from their smartphone to their followers. Unlike Meerkat, Periscope’s live stream competitor, the video will also be available for a user’s Twitter followers to view after the stream has ended. Periscope calls itself “the closest thing to teleportation.” It’s especially popular among celebrities, and allows their fans to feel closer to their favorite celeb. The author, Mark Senak, has speculated in the past that it may be useful for health companies to act as their own reporters during developments and announcements at medical meetings. Senak found that at least 10 of the top 25 pharma companies are already on Periscope. But what about regulatory concerns?
“The beauty of Periscope is also its biggest danger; you can’t edit what’s being broadcast in real time. So how might pharma companies be expected to deal with this? According to the FDA’s June 2014 Draft Guidance, companies are not expected to correct misinformation coming from a third party if the company does not participate in the discussion and it is explicitly clear that the company did not create the content of the discussion. It stands to reason, then, that if a pharma company is broadcasting an event via Periscope and they have no influence over the content of the event, they will not be held responsible for correcting misinformation. However, as Senak mentions, further FDA explanation is necessary regarding off-label use and adverse events. Therefore, it will likely be up to individual companies how, and if, they want to use Periscope. This will be an interesting development to keep an eye on, as it could be a very useful tool, but it will likely take an adventurous company to be the first to really push the envelope.”– Sarah Casey