With the year coming to an end, it’s time for designers and architects to re-evaluate their digital communication strategies. Every year brings an array of new channels, tools, and platforms for marketers to utilise, and 2015 promises a great deal of game-changing news.
This month, Instagram overtook Twitter with over 300 million active users on the network. This increase highlights the emphasis on visual content in the social media space. For architects and designers, this is a great opportunity to showcase designs and projects in a social setting. In 2015, more time should be invested in creating an Instagram content strategy. While Twitter should not be neglected, Instagram postings should be increased and special attention paid to the hashtags used. The increase in users will lead to an increase in content as everyone attempts to capitalise on the shift, and hence standing out will be a challenge.
In addition to the increase in users, Instagram is also expected to be launching its ad platform for the Middle Eastern market in the second quarter of the year. As with Facebook’s promoted posts, Instagram- sponsored stories will be used to increase reach and enhance engagement. Architects and designers will benefit from this added feature as they will be able to highlight their content and easily reach the intended audience. Aside from the sponsored stories, no other ad products have been announced yet. However, promoted trends similar to the ones offered by Twitter are expected.
According to the social media analytics company, SocialBakers, the number of Facebook brand pages uploading videos directly to the site has exceeded those posting YouTube links this month. The growing trend among marketers favoring native videos has been linked to Facebook’s AutoPlay feature which automatically activates videos as users scroll through their newsfeed.
Regional architects and designers have relied on creating YouTube channels to host various videos which are then promoted via social media outlets such as Facebook. The problem with this approach is the prolonged user-journey it creates. The longer the journey, the less likely users are to engage with it. With a reliable video player in place, designers can forgo Youtube channels and directly upload their digital stories onto their Facebook pages to interact with their existing fan base. The new AutoPlay feature coupled with the Video Views ads product introduced a few months back might put YouTube at risk in 2015.
Facebook is not the only danger facing the Google Adwords Network in 2015 as the Apple Default Search Engine deal comes to an end. While loyal Google fans will most probably continue to use the search engine, it is difficult to predict the effect the change will have on Google’s Search Network. For regional designers and architects, Search Engine Marketing has never been a priority, however Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategies have always been emphasised. The focus has always been on reaching the top of the Google search listings, with little-to-no attention paid to Bing & Yahoo. Designers and architects may want to readjust their focus and take the two prospective default Apple Search Engines into account.
The final introduction to 2015 is Snapchat. While no official announcements have been made to introduce the new ad feature to the region, personal speculations have been made about its launch by the end of next year. The company released its first ad in October in North America and the response was generally negative due to the content. Launching the platform with an eerie horror trailer may have been a hit-and-miss, nonetheless the idea is promising. For regional architects and designers it will be a chance to connect with a younger audience through engaging digital stories. It will be a platform to enhance brand awareness, showcase talent, and create a true social experience.
Ayman Jaber is the Brand & Communications manager at LA CASA Architects & Engineering Consultants. He has experience in architecture marketing and is a Google Certified digital strategist and media planner.