What's next for group-based social media marketing?
From the days of internet chat rooms to the era of social media influencers, brands have consistently sought ways to participate in social conversations. Now, those conversations are increasingly happening in groups.
Google has been adding functionality (like Assistant and RCS) to Android Messages which are useful for group texts. Facebook claims “Group membership is up 40 percent, with 1.4 billion people now using Groups every month,” according to Forbes. Even LinkedIn is rebuilding their group functionality to focus more on conversations and messaging.
So what does advertising look like in a group environment? It will depend on the private or public nature of the group. Imagine being able to add a TripAdvisor chatbot to your family’s reunion-planning group to help you find the perfect summer rental. Or Bumble hosting a group viewing experience/speed dating mash up for fans of The LA Clippers - the NBA team they sponsor.
Sports is an area where we are seeing this shift to virtual group dynamics in a big way. Watching and following sports is increasingly one of the main reasons for using social media in the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America according to Global Web Index. This is true for gaming and esports as well.
“Kids used to socialize in neighborhood pick-up games of football, now they’ve found alternatives in Fortnite and other virtual spaces which have become the place to "hang out" with friends,” says Oscar Garza, gaming enthusiast and EVP, Consulting.
What we’re watching for next:
Twitter rethinking the utility of group conversations which are currently difficult to follow (e.g. Kara Swisher’s interview of Jack Dorsey this month #karajack).
Users and regulators react to recent evidence that group participation is more publicly discoverable than they thought (e.g. FTC complaint that Facebook revealed health data in groups).
Group chat features at play in the rollout of Facebook’s integration of Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
Increased opportunity for brands on Reddit, which has capitalized on anonymized public group conversation on specific topics.