Hundreds of social media platforms are born every year which meet the needs of niche audiences, but few see the success of Facebook and Twitter. Many networks have an incredibly short lifespan, such as Peach, a mobile app that reached top 10 most downloaded and then shut down in one week. With your business, customers and clients in mind, we’ve devised a list of social networks that have slowly climbed the ladder and could develop into serious competitors in the online world.
Location: iOS and Android app stores
Platform: Mobile only
Demographic: Most popular between ages 16 and 34. Of the 10 million users, 29% are female. The top three countries using the platform are Brazil, Turkey, and the USA.
Owned by: Twitter
Twitter’s bite-sized word count and emphasis on current information are the closest things we have to a global livestream. News, opinions and mundane thoughts can be shared with millions of users in the blink of an eye. Periscope, in some ways, acts as both a companion to Twitter and a stand-alone service—It takes the instant information delivery to a new level with live video broadcasts.
Purchased by Twitter, the two apps work within each other. Having a Twitter account means you’re also one app download away from using Periscope, although not the other way around. To begin the simple process, open the app, sign in with your Twitter handle and hit record. Users can watch streams by searching location with an interactive global map, or by topics and username. A recent update finally merged the two networks together so that Scopes are published directly in Twitter feeds, allowing users without a Periscope app to see what the network has to offer.
Periscope doesn’t currently offer ad placement in the app or give companies the ability to sponsor streams. Streams can be promoted when posted through Twitter, however Periscope posts only last 24 hours. So far the platform has been successful with influencer marketing, and some companies have made accounts for themselves or products. Nestle was the first major successful company to advertise on Periscope, with the help of a corporate account and approximately 100 hired influencers. The streams were cross-published and promoted on Twitter, resulting in the famous Drumstick cone’s own, and very popular, Periscope account.
What we think: Periscope is an incredible idea, there’s no denying that. It’s the next evolutionary step in instantly sharing—swapping text for live video. Although it posts to Twitter automatically, its lack of fully-seamless integration is going to cause problems down the road. The simultaneous launch of Facebook Live has proven to be a much more immediate success because it’s handled like any other post on the site. Periscope is something to look in to, but it won’t last long if it doesn’t fully merge with its more popular partner.
Platform: Web and mobile app
Demographic: The largest portion of its audience falls in the 18 to 24 age group. On mobile, it has seen the most success with Android devices. Current data shows that 40% of all Android users have posted on Whisper.
Owned by: WhisperText LLC
Social media, in many ways, has become unavoidable. Whether it’s for businesses or private use there’s always a desire to take part. For those who wish to join the fun while keeping their name and information private, queue Whisper. The network combines the types of content from many other websites into one while providing anonymity. Users can share secrets, jokes, opinions, confessions and even helpful tips. These short text posts are superimposed over an image that usually relates to the topic being commented on.
The catch is that it’s completely anonymous. The only information shared about each poster is the location, and even that’s optional. Some posts indicate cities while others may be blank or tagged as sent from “somewhere” or “my brain,” whatever the user decides to write as their location. As co-founder Michael Heyward put it in an interview with Adweek, “The whole idea with Whisper is allowing people to share things like, ‘Hey, I’m 19 and I’ve never had a girlfriend.’ You are probably not going to share that on Facebook.” Users enjoy Whisper’s anonymity because it allows them to say the things they hide from others. Popular posts are featured on the homepage or are aggregated into “best of” lists based on user votes. The developers created the platform to promote online anonymity, but also feel it has helped combat cyberbullying amongst its userbase with its strict rules on how users interact with one another.
Whisper is currently in the process of expanding its ability to advertise. It remains focused on anonymously shared content, however it has run several successful campaigns that work around it. Coca Cola ran an anti-cyberbullying campaign where they shared branded photos featuring information about bullying. The campaign urged users to share their own ideas on how to combat cyberbullying. 20th Century Fox also took part, asking users to share what keeps them up at night and then hashtag it for the release of Poltergeist. Advertising on Whisper can be done, but must remain true to the original purpose of the site. If it doesn’t, advertisers run the risk of community pushback or having their campaign fall flat.
What we think: It’s a sink-or-swim market and Whisper stands on the remains of apps like Secret that have already attempted anonymous content sharing. The world of “dark social media” may never be as successful as Facebook, but Whisper currently boasts 10 million users and counting. We see it sticking around for some time and think it’s a valuable platform to get more open and honest answers from audiences in regards to social change.
Location: iOS and Android app stores
Platform: Mobile only
Demographic: 77% of all university students in the U.S. consider themselves frequent users. 71% of Snapchats 100 million daily users are under the age of 34.
Owned by: Snapchat, Inc.
Sharing experiences is one of the main reasons why social media exists. Users love the ability to see glimpses of what their friends are doing and share some of their own experiences. This remains true until someone catches you in an embarrassing moment. The makers of Snapchat describe it as a solution to growing fears about the longevity of personal information on social media. There’s no longer a need to shoot the perfect photo every time or untag yourself from embarrassing ones.
Snapchat is like Instagram with an expiration date. Users can send photos to people on their friends list instantly, but once it’s opened, that photo can only be viewed for a maximum of 10 seconds. After that, it’s locked and viewers can never see it again. It began as a very basic photo sharing network—users could take a photo, add a caption and/or draw on them. These three functions are still the mainstays of Snapchat, but it has also expanded to include videos, filters and stories. Stories are replayable snaps posted to a user’s profile and can be viewed and replayed by friends for 24 hours. Some story snaps can be submitted to categories based on events or specific locations. These submissions then form a special story that every Snapchat user around the world can see. The company has also implemented messaging and a money transfer system.
In October 2014, over 100,000 Snapchat images were recovered by hackers. Media outlets covered it extensively as it followed closely behind the celebrity iCloud hack incidents. At first glance, this was damaging to Snapchat’s core values and founding principles, leading many users to believe they had been lied to. In a press release, Snapchat pointed out that their servers were not breached and that the photos had come from 3rd party apps. Apps like SnapSavd and Snap Box are 3rd party programs that save Snapchat messages, a practice that Snapchat is constantly cracking down on with new security updates.
Advertising on Snapchat has skyrocketed in the first few months of 2016 alone. Companies can sponsor filters or stories for events, Snapchat has provided these services for everything from political campaigns to movie releases. The most recent example is the Dawn of Justice selfie lens that uses 3D reactive technology to let users become Batman. The makers of Snapchat boast that users are 3x more likely to take positive action in response to an ad, and 93% have favorable opinions about the content they see.
What we think: As a team of Snapchat enthusiasts, we love it. It’s an amazing platform for goofing off but it also provides some promising opportunities for advertisers. The platform is estimated to be worth billions of dollars and gets bigger everyday. This is a platform that’s here to stay and is certainly worth having your business experiment with.
Platform: Web or mobile app
Demographic: Journalists, photographers and artists ranging from their late 20s to early 40s.
Owned by: This.
Our love of social media has been running strong for close to a decade now and, just like any hobby, our collection is starting to pile up. A common complaint about sites like Facebook, Twitter and Reddit is that there is just too much information to sift through. Algorithms on major networks like Facebook, Instagram and Reddit keep content shuffled and ranked so that you aren’t missing out. Twitter is chronological, but a Tweet only survives 15-20 minutes before it’s lost in the ether, only to be found by those willing to dig.
This. hopes to bring a little bit of silence to the constant noise of media sharing. Users can post photos, stories, articles and videos much like they can on any other blog platform. The major change is that they can only post once per day. Its creator hopes that users can build a strong network of thinkers and publishers to create a daily timeline of information. It aims to be curated by your needs and interests to keep you more engaged. The 24-hour post cycle provides users the ability to take more time with information without the fear of missing out on other content. It’s like a daily newspaper put together by users you choose to follow, giving you more information you find relevant and interesting. This. has no intention of replacing Facebook or Twitter, instead it offers a more focused alternative.
This. is still a small platform, and advertising isn’t its main priority right now. The content typically leans toward industry or news articles focusing on big picture topics. While it may not be the key to selling your products or services, it’s certainly a valuable blog sharing device to improve your company’s SEO.
What we think: We’re not quite sure where to rank This. just yet. The network is aimed at a very small, patient audience as opposed to the large, energetic population that currently fuels social media. We don’t see it exploding any time soon without going against the reason it was created. For now, it’s a small, simple and professional network to keep you informed.
Platform: Web or mobile app
Demographic: Journalists and creative writers
Owned by: Twitter
Social media is a predominantly visual format, and for good reason. The platform demands users and content creators be constantly on their toes and rapidly providing news and information as it develops. It gives us unprecedented access to developing stories around the world and gives us the chance to join the conversation. On other platforms, we suffer the price of limiting the amount we write or risk not being heard. For those wishing to break free from word limits and write until their heart’s content, enter Medium.
Founded by Twitter, Medium acts as an unabridged version of our favorite 140 word machine. The goal is for users to come to Medium to self-publish online articles and stories. It allows budding journalists to share their own take on events around the globe and seasoned veterans to editorialize their own opinions away from major publications. Founded in 2012, Medium is still in its infancy and continues to grow everyday. Creator Ev Williams hopes that it moves from publication to interaction, breaking down the barriers that separate Medium from Twitter. The network has created notes, which are comments users can leave about stories. Readers can also highlight important parts of stories for those who need an accelerated read. The latest addition is the ability to quick post short articles from the homepage. Users originally were required to publish through Medium’s in-browser editing program, but the new system allows quick short story and article uploads. Based on the developer’s views from the article above, it seems Medium will further develop fast-response articles and stories along with its original publishing system.
Medium is only just reaching the age where it can provide reliable methods of advertising. In its infancy, it worked incredibly well for promoting yourself. Writers could flex their muscles and show off their skills whereas businesses could use it as a venue for blog sharing to promote SEO and do some light networking. Medium is now experimenting with native advertising, testing the waters with BMW, that sponsored a design focused series called “Re:form.” It combined beautiful design photos and illustrations with industry articles on media and architecture. While Medium still seems unsure of how far it wants paid advertising to be taken on its network, it’s still worth looking in to for SEO purposes.
What we think: Medium caters to the needs of the niche audience like writers and designers who want their work presented in its entirety. With its emphasis on being a “long-form Twitter,” it provides unique opportunities for individuals and businesses to tell stories. We see Medium having a much stronger presence as it takes on a quicker and more user-friendly process later in 2016.
Platform: Web or mobile app
Demographic: Amateur or professional designers and photographers
Owned by: Paul Budnitz
Internet and advertising are two words you hear together like peanut butter and jelly. Since the dawn of the webpage, companies have strived to come up with new ways to reach consumers and get the “message” across. For the most part, this is largely accepted and consumers are happy to engage with the content and learn about what they’re being offered. Although as ads begin to become more prominent on social media, users are starting to react.
For social networkers wanting to avoid the sponsored clutter of Twitter and Instagram, avoid the creepiness of Facebook retargeting ads or exist in a world without corporate accounts, there’s Ello. The creators have stated that, in addition to personally finding web ads obnoxious, Ello is about inspiration. Users are supposed to exist in an environment free of networking and business so they can grow creatively. Their main tenants are refusing to sell user data to third parties, never show advertisements and not enforce a real name policy. The last rule comes riding the tail of a Facebook controversy in which accounts with supposed fake names were blocked. While it did cut down on spam accounts, it also enraged users with nicknames, performers and created a controversy among thousands of members in the LGBT community. The structure of the site is very similar to Tumblr: content is focused on photos and artwork with limited text; users can comment, favorite and reshare posts from other members.
We’ve discussed how viable a network is for advertising, but this one has us scratching our heads. Currently Ello will not host sponsored or branded content of any kind, keeping in line with its anti-advertising approach to social media. However, the company does seem to be changing. In an interview with Adweek, the creators discussed the changes being made to its site, one of which includes a potential “freemium” format. The company has also partnered with Threadless to sell branded merchandise. While Ello may never offer full advertising, it’s modifying itself to make up for the revenue it could be making with sponsored content. For now, advertising is not possible on Ello, but due to the growth of the user community, it’s worth keeping an eye on.
Social media is the boost your business needs to reach new customers. Appleton Creative is an award-winning, full-service online marketing agency located in Orlando, Florida. Appleton works with local, national and international clients to deliver custom content, persuasive online ads and expertly crafted campaigns. By implementing valuable and shareable digital content strategies, Appleton can create the perfect social and online marketing experience for your brand and audience. Your Internet advertising goals are worth a conversation: contact us at 407-246-0092 or firstname.lastname@example.org.