Pinterest and Snapchat coming back like mail-in ballots
A newsletter about branding, startups, and mission-driven companies aiming to make the world a better place.
👋 Welcome to For The Love, I’m so happy to have you all here! Especially happy as of mid-afternoon yesterday!
Today we’ll be discussing:
Pinterest and Snapchat are bigger than ever — why and how brands are getting involved.
A roundup of new things that launched this week, including a new Tesla product too cliché to be a simulation.
The Four Season Hotel is to Four Seasons Total Landscaping as Alexa is to Joel
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💣 For The Love of Startups
This week, the stock of both Pinterest ($40 billion market cap) and Snap ($67 billion market cap) reached an all-time high.
It was almost three years ago that Kylie Jenner had declared Snap(chat) dead — and the company had lost a billion dollars. By December of 2018, you could have snapped up the stock for under five bucks.
It now trades at almost fifty and the company turned in a profit last quarter.
There are a few things this can be attributed to, not insignificantly the many brands that suspended their Facebook ad spend in July (and funneled those dollars to other platforms), after the ”#StopHateForProfit” campaign to influence Facebook to stop the spread of hate speech and misinformation on the platform.
But there’s another reason they’re both seen as such strong players in the social media world, especially now — because they’re both focused on positivity.
Obviously, there’s no perfect place on the internet (and I should note both organizations had racism claims from ex-employees over the summer), but in terms of content, they are generally happier places than the alternatives.
According to Sadia Latifi, previously Head of Creative at Pinterest, people are flocking to Pinterest, because, unlike Facebook, it’s a happy place. “It pays to be positive.” Pinterest aims to be a place for “inspiration, aspiration, and dreaming,” and, importantly right now, not political discourse — so it’s an escape.
Whatever Snap’s original use case was (in its early days there was some speculation around its usefulness for cheating partners), now it’s about friendship. It’s focused on quick, lighthearted, authentic content shared between close friends.
But of course, the billion-dollar question is, what does this mean for brands?
More than 442 million people use Pinterest every month, and most of them (a whopping 89%) are looking for things to buy. It’s often the beginning of a consumer’s journey. It’s a consideration platform — where consumers go to get clarity on what they want.
Users are over 60% women, but notably, the number of men on the platform is growing almost 50% year over year. Gen Z and Millennials have been driving most of the platform’s recent growth. Also, the fact that we’re all stuck in our apartments and looking for DIY projects to entertain ourselves with probably hasn’t hurt.
So, Pinterest is populated with Gen Zs and Millennials looking to shop — it makes sense that brands want in.
There are a few things that brands should think about when creating content on Pinterest:
Pinterest is a visual platform, but it may surprise you to know that some of the best-performing pins aren’t actually the most perfect images — they're the most useful. How-to’s, recipes, and styling tips are all highly pinned and shared. Imperfect Foods took advantage of a number of these formats, creating content around food waste facts, recipes for Imperfect Foods, and storage tips to get the most of your produce delivery.
Tell a Story
The more inspiration you provide, the more successful your pin will be. Providing context for items you’re selling allows consumers to envision how they’ll use your products and how to incorporate them into their own lives (and in the meantime, their Pinterest boards). For example, when Ikea wanted to target new college students, they styled their products in a variety of ways to populate different dorm room decoration searches, highlighting different themes, color palettes, and styles so whatever a new student searches, Ikea has the inspiration for them (and the product for them to execute on it when they’re ready).
Make Them Beautiful, Inspiring *and* Actionable
Since Pinterest is all about inspiration and discovery, sometimes people forget there should be an actionable step to follow — and if they continue the inspirational journey, all the better. A few years ago, for the holiday season, Etsy built the Etsy Gift Finder. They designed a pin to look like a gift tag to be filled out to include what kind of gift the shopper is looking for, who they’re buying for, and what the recipient likes. Once filled out, it would link to a page full of customized gift recommendations. Would it have been more straightforward to link to an individual product to shop? Yes. But given that the Pinterest user is looking to explore, giving them tailored options to peruse allows them to seamlessly continue the experience, but on Etsy’s site.
Another thing to note for Pinterest? It’s a great resource for brands to gain consumer insights. By taking a look at where your products are saved, you can literally see consumers’ intention for them — how they intend to use it, and what they’re using it for.
Some retailers (*cough* Target), reportedly even look to Pinterest trends to make merchandising decisions, since people often start pinning at such an early stage in their discovery process. Want to know what comes after cauliflower rice? Pinterest has your answer.
Snapchat has a highly engaged audience of over 249 million daily users — case in point the average user opens the app over 30 times a day. (Editor's note: Twitter, for the sake of our sanity, please do not tell us how often we’ve been opening your app this week.)
Users are primarily teenagers and young adults, women aged 20-29 accounting for the largest demographic at 20%.
They’re coming to Snapchat, not to create content for the world to see, but to connect with their existing friends. According to Snapchat, their mission is “to foster and facilitate authentic communication between friends, wherever they are.” Given the fact that most friends are connecting digitally these days, that’s probably a good business to be in.
Given the unfiltered nature of the platform, brands need to create specific content for it to blend in. Luckily, Snapchat has created a number of ways to accomplish this:
Create An Experience To Inspire
Over 75% of the Snapchat community engages with augmented reality within the app every day. It’s a way to literally bring your brand into user's lives.
Take Gucci’s virtual shoe try-on activation, in conjunction with a new sneaker release, that had 18.9 million unique views. While this campaign primarily raised brand awareness (both through users engaging with the brand sharing their try-ons with friends) it also generated sales (Snapchat did not, however, share data).
Tell A Story (Yes, Here Too)
Given Snapchat’s short video format, it’s especially useful for giving consumers insights into your brand’s story, what problems you’re solving, and what customers can expect from you.
Take Hubble, for instance, a subscription contact service. They made their value proposition very clear through minimal copy — “the more affordable daily contact lens brand,” and gave viewers a preview of the unboxing experience, giving potential consumers a look at how easy (and stylish) their contact lens experience could be.
Keep It Casual
According to Snapchat, “ads featuring user-generated content (UGC) and/or Snapchat inspired features typically get viewed in full compared to more polished ads, and make your ad feel more conversational.”
The benefit of UGC is that, on a platform where users are already interacting with their closest friends, this informal content feels almost as if it’s your friend sharing a new brand with you.
Both Pinterest and Snapchat have had impressive growth, but the stocks went up because investors see the potential for more. We’ve been through a time of hectic news cycles — maniacal tweets and nefarious Facebook campaigns.
Clearly, we’re all ready for something new — getting inspired and connecting with friends sounds pretty good.
🔥 For The Love of Newness
Elon launched a tequila. Yes, he’s now officially a parody of himself.
Tabu launched the first “sexual wellness kit” made especially for women going through menopause.
Better & Better is a new organic, vegan, vitamin-infused made in the USA toothpaste.
Lesjour! (pronounced leisure) is here to fulfill all your 70’s leisure-suit dreams, and it’s made in LA.
🔍 For The Love of the Details
I knew that this was a “God’s Got This” week even before I discovered the *must have* product of the upcoming holiday season:
It’s an inspiring religious app for people who, instead of wanting apps, would rather have a physical device with limited storage capacity and no touch screen.
If you’re in need of some inspiration may I direct you to Joel and his new product, Joel.
Human Joel is a multi-millionaire televangelist while product Joel is an off-brand Alexa device with a 90’s Discman display and buttons to match.
For the low price of just $39.99, Joel will show up at your house.
I think they mean the box, right?
It’s confusing because they’re both named Joel and have matching outfits.
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Written by Aja Singer, a brand and creative strategy consultant interested in all things startup, mission-driven, and community. Born in Canada. Based in Brooklyn. You can also find me on Instagram and Twitter.