“The first is clearly a mobile play: Apple and Google are the players who control the critical app ecosystems for iOS and Android,” he adds. “Today, Facebook users who access the service with tablets or smartphones predominantly do so through iOS and Android apps. Facebook is intent on crafting a future strategy that is independent of competitors for a myriad of reasons including fees, data, control, etc. They are doing this by, among other things, pushing for HTML 5 based web-apps to eventually circumvent the need for app stores altogether.”
“Currently, there are several limitations that prevent this and photo apps sit at the heart of those (e.g. use of camera/photos and other native device functionality),” Katz continues. “Facebook is making a huge, strategic push into mobile through everything it does, and Instagram will be a very important part of that effort.”
Facebook has indeed been placing a great deal of emphasis on mobile, since citing it as a major risk factor in its IPO filing. For one, they’ve initiated the RingMark initiative (and recently open sourced it), a mobile browser test suite to increase the functionality of apps on mobile browsers, working with the W3C in the process.
Instagram is a very popular mobile app that fits right into Facebook’s home turf, and the deal makes a great deal of sense for a variety of reasons.
“The second, and less obvious reason Facebook made this acquisition, has to do with the changing state of the social media landscape,” says Katz. “Though Facebook has a massive user base, what it lacks are the passionate communities that have fueled the growth of companies such as Pinterest and Instagram. This is a fact that hasn’t been lost on marketers. It’s for this reason that large and small brands alike have recently started running Facebook campaigns that incorporate their Pinterest and Instagram marketing efforts.”
“New Belgium Beer’s work with Friend2Friend is an interesting example of creative bridge-building between audiences on different social channels -- Facebook, Pandora, and Instagram -- and how to expose engaging content from one channel to another,” says Katz. “The Apps ensure that content is shared among friends on Facebook, to further widen the reach. It gives them content to share on their pages, which also improves engagement. And, the content may be fan created, or may be corporate created.”
The brewing company launched a new beer called Shift Pale Lager, and teamed up with Pandora to build custom radio stations. They use a Facebook app to promote the stations to fans.
They also held a live streaming event and had fans invite their friends to a beer-drinking celebration to be entered into a contest to win an all-beer-expenses paid party.
New Belgium used an Instagram Facebook app to greatly increase the reach over what was available on Instagram itself. The app automatically updates with the latest photos posted to the company’s Instagram channel. Fans can comment and share posts to their friends on Facebook.
"We are not working on an Instagram campaign for Universal", Katz tells WebProNews, though apparently, Universal is doing campaigns apart from Friend2Friend. "F2F doesn’t yet have a client using both Instagram and Pinterest together,” he says. “But that's just a question of time. However, Universal is leveraging Pinterest/Facebook for their current Snow White and the Huntsman campaign.”
“In this campaign, based on an engagement tab for the movie Snow White and the Huntsman, users can view the movie trailer, see images from the movie or submit pictures that, as Universal states ‘could be featured on the Snow White and the Huntsman Pinterest page,’” he says.
“The user either submits an image file from their PC/Mac, or adds an image via URL,” he explains. “Universal Pictures (the admin of the Page and contest) reviews all images selected and determine which are a good fit for their Pinterest page.”
“This is all pretty straightforward, but represents a trend that Friend2Friend is seeing across its customer base,” he says. “Featuring more niche-oriented social networks (like Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest) on their much larger Facebook pages, and ensuring that Facebook fans become fans on the other networks as well.”
The general strategy is not new by any means, but probably often overlooked. There are certainly a lot of social channels to pay attention to, or at least options. You don’t have to target all of them, and certainly not with every campaign, but the developer ecosystem of Facebook, for one, allows for a lot of cross-service opportunities like the ones on display here.
With Facebook’s new timeline feature and the still fairly new ticker, there are a lot of opportunities to get actions from your fans seen by their friends. What’s the best example such a campaign that you’ve seen?