Category: Social Media

8 Takeaways From The Snapchat Redesign


I just updated the Snapchat app on my phone and felt familiar upon seeing the Camera in a seemingly similar interface the first time I opened it. As I explored further, I realized that the pages to the left and right had received an unrecognizable facelift. I had to relearn how to use it.

As a Snapchat fan and active user, I found the new interface to be un-intuitive and this made me annoyed. I was not alone – 1.2 million people feel the same way – I guess we all find comfort in routines and dislike radical change.

But as a marketer, I wanted to know more. Was this redesign pivotal to Snapchat for some reason? Was it an attempt to provide a better experience for us? Or was this driven by brand advertising? Either way, the response has not been positive and has left Snapchat dealing with public criticism from celebrities and a tumbling stock value. Although the motive for the update remains speculative, there are 8 factors I find interesting  about the redesign that that we can apply to our user experience and app development strategies:

Separate ‘Social’ From ‘Media’

Snapchat provided another interpretation of social media that we have not seen before – by splitting friends’ updates from branded/promotional content. The app has a clear focus on interpersonal relationships:

“Our service was really built on this idea of helping friends communicate, we chose friends.” – Snapchat CEO Spiegel 

Opposite to the old version, where content from friends, celebrities, influencers, and publishers were all tangled together in one place.

In the redesign, Chats and Stories from friends are on the left side, and Media Stories from celebrities, brands, and the community are separated on the right side. If you understand how Snapchat set themselves apart as being a private messaging app, you would agree that this move by stays true to the brand image.

Tap Into Psychology (Feelings)

I still remember how the app amazed me at first. Once knowing that pictures would be gone after the recipient viewed them, I felt so relaxed sending pictures to my pals on Snapchat, even if I might look a little messy. In fact, this was part of the fun of it.

This “everything-happens-in-real-time-and-disappears” form of ephemerality taps into the majority’s fear about personal information being hacked or distributed elsewhere on the internet. And the tips from Snapchat made users consider ‘what does it feel like’ rather than ‘how does it look’ which was a new concept for this audience.

Focus On Mobile

In the mobile era, people have access to all sorts of digital content right in the palm of their hand, therefore everything needs to be optimized to suit that. The worldwide philosophy that ‘mobile is everything’ has been keenly reflected in the app design and features exclusively tailored for mobile, and often described as what happens in Snapchat, stays in Snapchat:

  • Making the selfie camera the default screen to cater for the urge of capturing photos – we are the “me generation” after all.
  • Easy access to texting, video call, and voice call without leaving the app.
  • Option to save images and videos to the Memories tab (not your iPhone’s photo album), and all the content are searchable.
  • School newspapers, custom stories, news and even TV shows are all provided in the app – all focusing on local content.

Data shows that there are 178 million active Snapchatters, and they open the app 25 times and spend 30 minutes every day on average.

User-friendly Advertising

(Source: Business Insider)

The rise of ad blockers is affecting text ads and display ads on search engines and websites, and meanwhile making video ads on social media channels like Facebook and Snapchat a viable alternative. However, advertising costs on Snapchat are too high for small businesses. Snapchat’s struggle was how to improve user engagement and offer more competitive advertising options for businesses:

So far, the app has been paving the way to mobile advertising with constant updates:

  • Snapchat Ad Manager, a self-serve ads tool for creating maximum 10-second full-screen vertical video ads.
  • Geofilters, location-based illustrations featuring brands or events for users to decorate selfies.
  • Context Card: show business information (reviews, contact information, business hours, websites, etc.) based on locations.
  • Snap Map: show other users’ locations and activities on a world map.
  • Allowing hyperlinks in posts which is a big change – Instagram has yet to do this.

These features all have super user-friendly designs and are expected to generate in-app transactions, location-based advertising and online-to-offline sales, at least that’s what they were hoping.

Analytics Are A Must

(Source: Snapchat)

In-app analytics tools have also been added to Snapchat’s new update – amid the latest controversial redesign after neglecting influencers’ demands for years and experiencing a painful audience growth in 2016. Now, the app has to make a move to catch up with Instagram in order to win back influencers by focusing on:

  • A data-driven content strategy: metrics like story views, time spent viewing stories, and audience interests help creators produce the right content for their target audience.
  • More sponsorship from brands: using metrics like audience demographics and daily unique story viewers help brands to understand and define potential opportunities doing advertising or partnership with influencers who has huge followers on the platform.

Other than creating an analytics tool, some changes on Snapchat like allowing people to store old videos and images to Memories seem smart and could be potential for remarketing opportunities in the future, but are they getting away from the original premise of the app? Does it matter?

Seize Video Power

Recognized as a video messaging app since it first started in 2011, Snapchat has proved to be a pioneer in the video category. Some great learnings from its success are:

(source: Snapchat)

  • Make the video part of your design: the camera-centered design is quite a feature of Snapchat that generates millions of video clips on a daily basis.
  • Distinguish yourself from the masses: you need a special value so people know when and why post to your channels. For example, Snapchat video is raw and authentic, while Instagram video is thoughtful and elaborate.
  • Always optimized for mobile: ALWAYS!
  • Be fun and creative with features: people love Snapchat AR Lenses, Geofilters, Bitmoji, etc, – so much so that the puppy dogs ears have become a part of our pop culture.

Algorithm-based Feed

No matter how great your design or content is, the algorithm is queen. An algorithm-based feed is key to user engagement on social media by showing the content that users are interested in.

Snapchat is using a new “Best Friends algorithm” to show content on a friends-come-first order rather than a chronological order. Messages and videos from friends will be sorted by who you interact with most, not people who update the most. And content from the media like celebrities and publishers, and Snap Map in the Discover section will be sorted by your past viewing behaviour. Although it takes time for the updated algorithm to learn the user’s information, but the idea is saving users the trouble of scrolling and searching.

User feeds are packed with more content than ever, without a smart feed, Snapchat could face a stalled user growth. Finding the right way to serve the right content to the right person is an ongoing effort for all social media products.

Be Fun, But Creatively

(Image resource: AdAge)

People love to laugh and feel good about themselves, and Snapchat keeps adding new features to make sure that. Users can take goofy selfies, doodle on images, create custom Bitmojis, personalized ScanCode, AR Lens, Geofilters… all interactions and activities that fun in a creative way. And that’s why Millennials and Generation Z are crazy about the app!

So far, the app’s redesign seems unpopular among millennials, and the ongoing disses from celebrities have wiped out over 1.3 billion in Snap’s market value in a week. Losing profit is definitely not pleasing, but since the loss has already started in 2017, we hope the redesign could be a trade-off between profitability and user growth.

Are you still a loyal Snapchatter? Tell us on Twitter!

WeChat: Why China’s Largest Social Network Matters In Canada


You may consider yourself savvy with social media, but what if we told you there’s a social media platform out there that outranks Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat and Pinterest – and you’ve probably never even heard of it?

This is the reality for many of us because even though WeChat is 5th largest Social Media/Messaging app in the World, it is unheard of to most Canadians.

Most famous social media networks worldwide as of April, 2017

(ranked by number of active users in millions)

(Stats from

WeChat use is not exclusive to China though, its usage outside of China spans 70 million active users from 200 countries and over 2% of mobile users in the United States alone. Nearing a million monthly active users worldwide, WeChat is an app that dominates daily life in China. What started out as a messaging app has evolved into a complex social media platform, now engrained in all aspects of modern Chinese culture – expanding social networks, consuming information, shopping, transferring money, buying tickets and playing games to name a few. So much so, that WeChat generates over 1 million transactions every minute! It is no exaggeration to say that the super-fans of this super-app are not going anywhere.

By combining social media, messaging and e-commerce functionality, WeChat has a direct influence on the behaviour of its users, which is why it is such an important platform for B2C businesses looking to tap into the Chinese market anywhere in the world.

The popularity of WeChat produced a wave of successful digital marketing campaigns from a variety of brands. What these brands do on WeChat ranges from regular account updates and seasonal promotions, to over-the-top offers from some of the world’s most premium names. Luxury brands like Chanel, Dior and Cartier have all contributed to turning WeChat into a buying force to be reckoned with.

There are thousands of Chinese immigrants and international students arriving in Canada every year, and they continue to use WeChat to take advantage of no-cost messaging and calling features to keep in touch with friends and family. As such, ethnic marketing has become an essential investment for brands who want to keep up with Canada’s growing population, tap into new markets, or better spend their advertising dollars by communicating to specific communities. For marketers, this means the ability to take culturally resonant content and distribute it to a very targeted audience. By having an official WeChat account, brands get an opportunity to convert online followers into offline buyers and thus collect data that drives results.

So tell us, is your brand on WeChat yet?  




Six Steps To Bootstrap Your Business On Social Media

Social media for small businesses is as important as having a company website. In this day and age, it almost doesn’t make sense to have one without the other.

What’s surprising though is that there are still a lot of small business owners who aren’t on social media, or don’t use it to its full potential. Social media marketing can be a powerful tool, but only if crafted strategically. Otherwise, all the time and effort invested in it can go to waste.

Follow these six steps below to start your social media marketing today:

Determine your business objectives for social media

Set goals that are concrete, measurable and achievable. Social media takes time and you may not see the rewards as early as you anticipated. However, once established, your feed has the potential to grow your audience by engaging new and returning customers.

Define your audience

Before hastily jumping onto the social media bandwagon, ask yourself — who am I talking to and why am I doing this? Remember, in order for social media to grow and be successful, you need to build an audience on an authentic level. Find out what their interests are, what they are looking for, what concerns they have and what’s endearing to them.

Establish a social media presence

Figure out which social media platform works best in reaching your audience. Facebook and Youtube have the highest number of users, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t explore other channels as well. Every platform has its own unique offering and audience, even if its overall user base is low. Flickr may only have 92 million users, but if those users are your audience then it may be more effective than being on Youtube which has 1 billion users. It all depends on where your audience is and how much time you want to invest creating content.

Content creation and engagement

Start building brand awareness by getting people to recognize your name and associate it with your product. Write a blog to establish your brand’s voice and nurture your audience. And don’t forget to engage your audience – get them involved in the discussion, share their experience, listen to their concerns and create incentives to get them to act.

Promote your social media channels online and offline

Look for opportunities to promote your social media channels not only online but out in the real world as well. If your business has a store, make sure you have signs showing your social media handles in highly visible areas. Though you may want your feeds to draw new customers, the greatest value of social media is the ability to convert existing customers into brand ambassadors, so inform customers of your feeds at every touchpoint.

Consider third-party consultants

With social media, the money you save on traditional marketing will be invested in time. Social media marketing is a long-term investment, and not all companies have the time or the resources to sustain it. This is where you should consider hiring a consultant or content curator to manage it for you. Their expertise and experience will work to your advantage.

To get started, click here to download this free guide to Social Media for Small Business (PDF).

Need social media advice or content curating services? Let’s talk!

Memories of 2016: A Social Media Yearbook

Social media marketing has come a long way since it took the world by storm in the mid-2000’s. From the beginning as a trend, it has become an essential part of a consumer’s life and a marketer’s plan. The platform has been evolving ever since: every year, new developments and launches create new opportunities and challenges.

2016 was no exception. Remembering last year, it is hard not to talk about the Pokémon Go frenzy and how the world lost its political balance. However, the year belonged to the progression of the platform, through innovations, reforms and shutting the lights on the obsolete.

Last year, more brands entered the world of social media to understand their customers and provide a better experience. Social media platforms became more engagement-oriented, fuelling the craze of connecting and sharing; encouraging users to post more frequently and more candidly about their lives.

Overall, customer experience remained the main focus. Let’s review the most impactful news which was noise worthy in 2016.

Express More

Acknowledging that “like” isn’t the right sentiment for every occasion, in February, Facebook went beyond the ubiquitous thumbs-up button with a new way to express thoughts and feelings. The new feature not only improves user’s ability to express emotions, but it has also been used to take surveys which has improved fan engagement.

TV Camera In Your Pocket

Facebook released a new feature, ‘Live’, in April which changed the rules of broadcasting, making it possible for the site’s users to broadcast videos of almost anything to a huge audience in real time!

Read The Official Announcement

Tell A Story

Early August, Instagram introduced ‘Stories’, a feed of temporary content that is available for only 24 hours from the time of posting. The feature is nearly identical to the central feed in Snapchat, which is also called ‘Stories’ and which helped supercharge the company’s growth rate after it was introduced in 2013.

See The Launch Video

Put A Pin In It

Pinterest introduced Promoted Video Ads mid-August, allowing users to expand its existing, animated Cinematic Pins to access a full auto-play video ad with sound. Brands can display six Buyable Pins beneath each video as it plays to improve conversion compared to other platforms. Video content has been on Pinterest for many years now, but it has only now been available as an advertising vehicle thanks to its new native video format, which integrates seamlessly with the platform.

Read The Press Release

A GoPro For Your Face

Taking the social experience to a new level, Snapchat announced a pair of connected sunglasses, in September, called Snapchat Spectacles. The device can record video snippets that automatically save to your Snapchat Memories. The sunglasses feature a camera with a 115-degree lens, with the purpose of mimicking how humans see.

Read The Press Release

Tweet To Touch Down

In September, Twitter’s first live broadcast of a National Football League (NFL) game reached 2.3 million users globally. The game, New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills, marked the first time Twitter sold ads for live sports video. The average audience size watching the game on Twitter was 243,000 people with an average watch time of 22 minutes per viewer.

Read More About This Event

Remember The Vine

October brought the unfortunate news that Twitter was discontinuing the app that gave people six-seconds of internet fame: Vine. Vine was the only social channel that stayed true to itself, but it simply couldn’t stay ahead of the curve. Instagram made Vine obsolete when users realized they could have everything they wanted in one place, on Instagram. A sad demise.

Read The Details Of This Decision

Truth Trumps Lies

With the U.S. election, fake news became incredibly popular on social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, as well as news aggregating services. In light of the damage done, Google and Facebook finally took steps to curb fake news.

Here’s What They’re Doing About It

Every year, we get an inch closer to connecting the world with social media. The consumers are embracing this dynamic world and becoming braver in sharing their personal life online. All the while, we marketers, are making all efforts to learn from it.

At BTI, we believe that there is nothing constant in the world of social media. That’s why our team strives to be ahead of the curve. To know how social media can help your businesses connect and engage with your audience in 2017, Poke Us!


What Is Social Media Marketing?

Is there really a problem with social media marketing? Do you question whether the time, money, and effort you put into social media nurturing is worth it? We believe there is a HUGE problem with social media: the term itself.

“Social media” is an umbrella term that incorporates dozens of websites and apps, each with unique features, benefits, and drawbacks. The problem is that all of these unique platforms are being grouped together and companies feel that in order to have a successful social media presence, they need to be involved in every social media platform.  This stems from the rise of social media in 2006, when to say “social media presence” meant being involved with Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter, which were all of the major platforms.  However, over the past 8 years, there has been rapid growth in the social media industry and dozens of apps and websites now fall under the term, but many marketers are stuck in 2006, when it was the norm to participate in all of them.

How is this a problem? A simple rule of economics is that specialization is necessary for an efficient and profitable economy – the same holds true for social media.

These problems may occur when involved in an excessive amount of platforms:

1) Unique Customer Relevant Content – Customer Presence = Poor Following

You may be providing unique, customer-targeted content for each platform, and spending a lot of time to do so, but since your customer presence may not be strong in all these platforms, the returns and following generated from your efforts and investment may not meet expectations.

2) Reusing = Irrelevant = Inconsistent Following

Another alternative is that you are saving time by posting the same content on multiple platforms, however, customers use different platforms with different expectations. For example, the same post may be very successful on Facebook but irrelevant on Twitter, making your Twitter presence and following suffer.

3) Platform Relevant Content – Customer Relevant = High Following

A third possibility is that you have a strong following in all your social media platforms, and have spent a lot of your budget in doing so. However, the demographics and content of different platforms vary greatly. In this situation, it is likely that content was created to match the audience on each social media channel, rather than to match the company’s target audience. Though following will be high, this does not translate into business because the content is not targeted at your potential customers.

So what is the solution? Strategic social media nurturing! Brands should treat their social media strategy the same way they’d treat any other marketing communication tool. Research each individual platform and strategically plan your approach. Consider the following for each platform: who is the target audience? What are the strengths and weaknesses? What are its unique offerings? Where are your competitors? Can you realistically provide effective content on that platform?

For a great example of effective targeted social media use, look at Apple, who for years only nurtured Twitter accounts. Apple recently joined Tumblr because they felt that Tumblr “separates itself from a creative standpoint”. They specifically use this account to advertise their iPhone 5c because its target audience matches up with Tumblr’s audience; 56% of Tumblr users are under 34, which is the same for the iPhone 5c.

Don’t let social media become a problem. Use effective targeting, strategy and planning to maximize its benefits and minimize waste. If you need a hand in coming up with strong, relevant, targeted social media strategy, we’ll be happy to help.