With the average person owning seven social media accounts, it seems that social platforms are no longer simply doing the same thing in different ways. As our time spent on social media continues to grow year-on-year, we are increasingly dependent on a toolkit of apps which fulfil unique needs and occupy distinct spaces in our digital universe.
Snapchat have termed this toolkit our ‘Apposphere.’ In a recent study carried out with Murphy Research, the social platform gathered qualitative and quantitative data from 1000 app users aged between 18 and 34, in order to investigate how we interact with the apps within our apposphere and the behaviours and emotions that are tied to them.
The findings support what most social advertisers know but few truly integrate into their strategies. Notably, that different social platforms are used at different times, in different contexts and evoke very different emotional responses. As a result, advertisers should consider the inherent differences between social platforms when deciding where to place content, who to target and how to target them.
What were the findings?
The study highlighted the nuances between social platforms and the roles that they play in our daily lives. For example, Facebook was strongly tied to family with respondents stating that when they were not using the app they felt that they were missing out on updates from more distant family members. Instagram, on the other hand, was associated with influencers and finding communities around hobbies or niche interests. Twitter and YouTube were strongly linked to learning and staying up to date with news and events and Snapchat was tied to close friendships, creativity and private conversation.
In addition to investigating the use cases for each app, the study also asked users to list the emotions which they most strongly associated with social platforms. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many of these were negative with respondents saying that Twitter made them feel anxious, isolated and guilty, whilst Instagram made them feel self-conscious. However, those surveyed also stated that Twitter and Facebook made them feel informed and Snapchat and Instagram made them feel playful and creative. Top attributes for Snapchat also included ‘silly,’ ‘spontaneous’ and ‘flirtatious’ likely following recent product launches from the platform which encourage users to play with lenses and AR technology.
Finally, the study placed emphasis on the different contexts in which people use apps and how these differ by platform. Twitter and Snapchat for example are typically used on the go, when travelling or attending social events. In contrast, Instagram and Facebook are more passive and tend to be used to pass time when at home, struggling to sleep or waiting.
What does this mean for advertisers?
By considering the emotional and physical contexts in which people are using social apps, we can more effectively tailor our social advertising to each platform and make our messaging more relevant and impactful.
For example, the silliness and spontaneity associated with Snapchat gives advertisers more freedom to experiment with novel ideas and whimsical themes in our creative. Brands are already building on this notion, with brands like Three and Oreo launching playful campaigns using AR and filters to capture users attention when they’re most likely to be engaged.
Advertisers should also consider when and where people are using social apps as they plan and produce ad content. For apps like Twitter and Snapchat, creative should be bite-sized and get the message across quickly as users often use these platforms in-transit. Longer brand awareness ads are better suited for Facebook and Instagram which users tend to browse at home when they have time to spare.
As apps continue to evolve and integrate new functions and technology, adopting a one size fits all approach to advertising on social platforms is no longer sufficient. Brands must adapt their approach to the nature of the platform on which they are advertising. Only by adopting a truly platform-specific approach can we ensure that we’re consistently delivering the right message in the right place.
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