While social media platforms race against each other to stay on top, new and upcoming apps seem to pop up every day to cater to the various socializing needs of connected consumers.
Interest in social media and instant messaging apps continues to increase, which means consumers are constantly looking for niched platforms for more interactive and real-time conversations. In fact, today Canadians spend more time than ever on social media platforms, with 56.7 per cent of adults actively using them.
Since they’re not all a hit for audiences of all ages, some platforms resonate with certain demographics more than others. While some apps are for more personal networking and socializing, others are used extensively for professional and business purposes. Based on the growth in the usage of these platforms, it’s important to dig a little deeper and see which social media platforms are poised to break out this year.
User stats: Not available
Notable brands: Radiolab
First on Gary Vaynerchuk’s list of apps to pay attention to right now is Anchor. Podcasters who want to be heard, yet haven’t felt comfortable using other mediums, have found a community on this free iPhone app. It makes it easy to broadcast short audio clips on the fly, in a matter of seconds, to a global audience.
Listeners can provide feedback and join in the action by replying to clips, which can spark instant group conversations. When not recording, users can listen to authentic humor, knowledge, inspiration, and debates from Anchor’s global collective of personalities. Anchor is what might be called the “gen next of broadcasting.” For businesses, Anchor offers a great opportunity to listen and engage in the conversation in the form of collaborative podcasting, as opposed to generic broadcasting.
User stats: 1 million
Notable Brands: Monster, USA Today
Some users strive to cut through the clutter and simplify the conversation with their connections on various messaging and social networking apps. Yo leads the pack of context-based notification; it’s an iPhone app that has been redesigned to be a content notification clearinghouse.
Yo allows users to send push notifications to other users in the app in the form of “Yo!”. Since its launch in 2014, Yo’s user base has grown to more than 1 million, and the app has been downloaded over 3 million times. Over 100 million “Yo”s are sent in one day, including a few from brands such as Monster, which cleverly used the app as part of their “ILOVEMYJOB,” “IHATEMYJOB,” and “INEEDMYJOB” campaigns.
Publishers that have jumped on the bandwagon include USA Today, which used Yo to deliver updates from the November 2015 election. Other possible uses include receiving Yo notifications for pizza orders, shopping deliveries, or when laundry is ready for pickup.
User stats: 664 million
Notable Brand: Buzzfeed
From the simplified “yo” to emojis and stickers, the Millennial generation never runs out of unconventional ways to communicate. Perhaps one of the most prominent instant messaging apps ready to accommodate this trend is Viber. Founded in Israel, it now has 664 million users worldwide.
In addition to being one of Millennials’ favorite instant messaging apps, Viber has paved the way for its users to follow the conversations of celebrities, brands, and sports personalities through its Public Chat feature. Buzzfeed is a great example of a publisher using this app. True to its mission of bringing the content to the audience, Buzzfeed allows followers to get involved in the discussion through Viber’s Public Chat. Brands also have the option to incorporate their own voice in the form of promotional sticker packs.
User stats: 100 million
Notable brands: HP, Honda
Vimeo was the first video sharing site to support high definition videos: Users can share, upload, and view high-quality videos. It has over 100 million users composed mostly of those in the creative industry, including filmmakers, photographers, and marketers who focus in showcasing the production quality of their videos.
Vimeo stands out from its competitors with its customizable branded player, where premium users can replace the Vimeo logo with their own. There’s also the option to customize the URL of the video, which makes it easier for subscribers and viewers to remember it (as opposed to a random string of numbers or alphanumeric characters). Brands like Hewlett Packard and Honda looking to engage with their audience through collaborative storytelling and user-generated videos have managed to tap into the close-knit community of filmmakers through Vimeo.
User stats: 10 million
Notable brand: Backed by Justin Bieber
Backed by Justin Bieber, the Shots comedy app now has over 10 million users and is a great platform to share funny videos, photos, and clips. Unlike most social networking platforms, Shots was purposely built without any direct-messaging option, follower count, or public comments. Those features tend to help spread negativity, something Shots’s founders aimed to avoid. Instead, it wants to entertain people and spread positivity among its young audience—65 per cent of which are 16 years old—by eliminating the usual avenues for bullying. Brands looking to engage with the young audience (who are often glued to their phones) may use Shots to give their fans a sneak peek of upcoming movies or exclusive content in the form of bloopers.
User stats: 100 million users, 400 million-plus snaps daily
Notable brands: Audi, the NBA
What started as a hugely popular app for sharing images and videos (which vanish after a few seconds) is now one of the fastest growing social media apps, and it’s loved by Millennials and marketers alike. Snapchat has over 100 million daily active users who share 400 million snaps per day. According to CEO Evan Spiegel, users are racking up seven billion video views per day. Brands using Snapchat include Audi and NBA: Both use the app’s Stories and Chats features to gather and broadcast content.
User stats: 3.6 million
Notable brands: The BBC
Yik Yak, available on iOS and Android, allows its users to pseudo-anonymously create and view discussion threads within a 5-mile radius. Users can contribute to the stream by replying, as well as "voting up" (aka Yakarma) or "voting down." In other words, it’s an anonymous bulletin board.
Within a year of its 2013 launch, Yik Yak gained considerable popularity among Millennials, reporting 3.6 million monthly active users by the end of 2014. The BBC used Yik Yak as a part of a special week of mental health coverage, asking its audience about mental health issues and taboos people should be talking about.
User stats: 10 million
Notable brands: Taco Bell, DKNY
Acquired by Twitter in early 2015, Periscope allows its users to broadcast live video to the world and get real-time feedback. It is now being used by brands to stream live Q&A sessions, product demonstrations, webinars, and more. Its intuitive and interactive video streaming capabilities have made Periscope an ideal platform for interactive customer service, exclusive events, and product launches for brands such as Taco Bell, DKNY, and others. As of August 2015, Periscope had a total of 10 million users, with 2 million daily active users. This means about 15 per cent of the top brands on Twitter are using Periscope.
User stats: Not available
Notable brands: Asos
The latest social network to emerge is Peach, with elements familiar to users of Facebook, Path, Slack, Snapchat, and Tumblr all rolled into one. This all-new social media app could become as big as the likes of Instagram and Snapchat.
Peach has gained popularity among Millennials as a “space for friends.” It’s a kind of social journaling, with an element of privacy: It is only viewable by friends and friends of friends. According to TechCrunch, Peach currently ranks 120th overall on Apple’s App Store in the U.S. for free apps, and number nine in social networking. Brands that are eager to connect with their younger audiences, like Asos, have jumped onto the Peach bandwagon.
User stats: 11 million
Notable brand: Urban Outfitters
Wanelo, derived from the words “want,” “need,” and “love,” has married shopping and social media. It allows users to browse through millions of different products offered by major brands and online retailers, as well as independent artists and producers, such as those on Etsy.
Users can create wish lists, establish connections, and find out what their friends are interested in buying. With over 11 million users, Wanelo could easily rival Pinterest because of its strong visual components and similar demographics. However, it is better poised for online retailers. In fact, Urban Outfitters and 200 others have started selling products directly on the platform because of its convenient wish list and product management tools.
User stats: 200 million
Notable brands: GoPro, Simon & Schuster
Vine is an entertainment network that allows users to capture life stories on their smartphones and create short, six-second looping videos. Simon & Schuster used Vine to ask their audience what books they were reading on the weekend, and gave them visual cues about what they could be reading. GoPro has also engaged with its customers by encouraging them to create Vine videos and upload them with a specific, branded hashtag. With more than 200 million active monthly users, Vine is used regularly by 10 per cent of the top brands to engage with their fans.
The apps and mobile marketing landscape are evolving fast, and they are paving way for context-based conversations. While social networking giants like Facebook and Twitter are home to billions of users worldwide, brands have the opportunity to bring snackable, fun, interactive content to connected consumers through smaller, more close-knit communities.
In a study released by Google, 71 per cent of in-store shoppers who use smartphones for online research say their device has become more important to their in-store experience. Most of them look for reviews and recommendations from a number of sources to help complete their buying decisions. With these apps at their fingertips, consumers can now be part of conversations with brands that they choose to engage with.
Today, connected consumers are in charge of which conversations they want to be involved in and what stories they want to be part of. It’s a question of whether your brand is poised to be among their top choices.
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