As marketers, do you ever wonder, “what’s the big deal with Snapchat?” There are a lot more people using Facebook, which continues to imitate the platform unapologetically and yet, young consumers still prefer the original. Just how popular is the disappearing message app? We’ve compiled some key Snapchat statistics every marketer should know.
They’re the largest generation, and they sure love to Snap. As digital natives, today’s young consumers are driven by the need to connect and find meaningful experiences on and off the internet. Snapchat boasts 161 million daily active users, many of which are in that lucrative millennial demographic. In fact, the company says it reaches 41 percent of all 18- to 34-year olds in the US each day.
EMarketer estimates that the number of millennials who use Snapchat every month will reach 43.9 million this year, and account for 56 percent of all US Snapchat users by 2020.
Accept No Substitutions
Regardless of the way social networks “borrow” features from one another, Snapchat comes with its own fan base of loyal users. A study by Survata found that users 13-34 still prefer Snapchat over Instagram and 64 percent think Snapchat is “cooler.” Given the option of having only one or the other, over half (51 percent) of respondents chose Snapchat and 67 percent said that the app had better features.
Digital natives pick up the app’s features with ease, but older generations may find it less user-friendly than what they’re used to. While these generations enjoy similar features now added to Facebook and Instagram, original Snapchatters stay true. A study by Defy Media found that 30 percent prefer Snapchat because their parents don’t use it.
An All-Day Affair
The casual, disappearing nature of Snapchat allows for quick, authentic posts by brands and users alike, creating a fun-loving experience that lasts all day. Seventy-eight percent of US high school and college students said they use Snapchat on a daily basis, compared to Instagram (76 percent) or Facebook (66 percent) every day. In addition, 71 percent turn to the app at least 11 times per day, according to a recent study by SCG.
Video game fans were given the chance to celebrate interactive storytelling this past weekend with the inaugural Tribeca Games Festival, which took place at the tail end of the Tribeca Film Festival. The event kicked off on Friday evening with a crowd play event for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, the newest adventure game to come from Telltale Games. Things went into full swing on Saturday, where prominent developers talked about making their games and how Lawnmower Man helped influence the public perception of what virtual reality should be.
Keynote speakers included Sam Lake, creator of the Max Payne, Alan Wake, and Quantum Break games, which all have a cinematic feel to them. He was joined by Neil Berger, who directed Limitless and the Divergent movies. Similarly, Ken Levine, creator of BioShock (which was remastered last September), was joined onstage by Doug Liman, who directed the Bourne movies in addition to action hits such as Edge of Tomorrow. Liman confessed that parts of The Bourne Identity were heavily influenced by video games, to the point where he was almost tempted to include on-screen icons to help audiences keep track of Jason Bourne’s acquisitions, such as weapons, passports or money. Edge of Tomorrow also has a video game feel, as its main character (played by Tom Cruise) must relive the same day, learning a little more each time, until he can figure out a way to survive and defeat an alien threat.
But perhaps the biggest appearance of the evening was Hideo Kojima, whose self-description on Twitter reads, “70 percent of my body is made of movies.” He was the only keynote guest to appear by himself, flanked by a translator and moderator Geoff Keighley, creator of The Game Awards. The famed Metal Gear franchise creator, who is currently developing Death Stranding (featuring actor Norman Reedus), also happens to be a huge fan of actor and co-founder of Tribeca Enterprises Robert De Niro, stating that he went through a week of watching Taxi Driver every day.
The event is also marked by the second year the Tribeca Film Festival hosted a virtual reality showcase called Tribeca Immersive. Jane Rosenthal, producer and co-founder of Tribeca Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Institute, hosted a conversation with film and VR creator Chris Milk (who also founded the Within VR app) to discuss the storytelling potential of the technology. When Milk was asked by AListDaily whether he saw himself more as a filmmaker or game designer with interactive VR experiences such as Life of Us (which proclaims in large block letters that it is neither a movie nor a game at its start), he said that his approach was that of a human.
“I’m trying not to make a film or a video game, but I’ve learned a lot from both of them,” said Milk. “You’re trying to craft a moment for another human being to experience firsthand, so it’s more about what a human being would find exciting spending seven-and-a-half minutes doing.” Rosenthal added that Milk’s curiosity and creativity contributed greatly to his VR experiences and that it was a privilege to share them.
AListDaily sat down with Rosenthal at Tribeca Games to talk about the growing connection between film and video games and where technologies such as virtual reality fit in.
What is the Tribeca Games Festival about and what inspired it?
What inspired it has been my personal curiosity for years as a filmmaker and storyteller in non-linear storytelling. That goes back to early stuff such as the dataglove. In the mid-’90s, we ended up producing a CD-ROM (9: The Last Resort) that featured Aerosmith, Cher and Ellen DeGeneres. So, I’ve always had an interest in how you can keep pushing the boundaries of storytelling years.
In the early years, I liked any sort of gameplay with novelistic storytelling, and I kept looking at that. A lot of the films that I have been involved with have had a sort of novelistic feeling—in film terms, that meant they were too long—and for well over five years, we’ve been doing work that has been transmedia, which launched into our VR Arcade.
We were also the first festival to screen a game—LA Noire with Ellen Paige from Rockstar Games. We also brought League of Legends here two years ago and did a behind-the-scenes look at the creativity behind it. For me, it’s another form of expression, and there’s such amazing talent in story-based games.
What I’m trying to say is that it wasn’t just an overnight decision. There was a lot of thought that went into it.
Does the timing of the event, the end of the Tribeca Film Festival, signal a connection between film and video games?
It’s a good dissolve from one to the other. It’s (movies) the influence that so many game creators have had, and so many filmmakers have been influenced by game culture. So, we’re having conversations with Doug Liman and Neil Burger with Ken Levine and Sam Lake (respectively), and it’s a nice way to dissolve that. Also, this morning we kicked off with [a panel featuring] the 25th anniversary of Lawnmower Man. Brett [Leonard] talked a lot about the change in storytelling from just talking out to your audience to more of a story world, and Jaron [Lanier] Skyped in for that.
You also moderated the conversation with Chris Milk about VR. What are your thoughts about how VR fits into the entertainment space and how it relates to film and video games?
We’re still in such a nascent stage with that. Broken Night from Eko Studios is influenced a lot by Sam Barlow’s Her Story, and it’s not so much a film as it is an episode—part of something more that we should see. So, I think we’re still figuring that out. I think that until some of the technology is at a point where you have these massive goggles on your head, it’s going to take a while. I think the work that Chris is doing, where you can share an experience together (Life of Us) is interesting. But in terms of entertainment, I think we’re still seeing it as more of marketing and not yet as full VR movies. Narrative VR (as opposed to documentary) is still experimenting—I think some of them are amazing, and we have them here.
Attendees could purchase combined tickets for both Tribeca Games and Tribeca Immersive in the future?
I haven’t thought about that, per se. I think that gaming is immersive, so having both go on at the same time is something that we’re connecting here for this specific event. I think, as we look to the future of Tribeca Games, we will probably include Immersive, but it’s a work in progress. In the inaugural year of anything, you’re going to learn something about what your audience wants. The fact is, there’s a vibrant community in the gaming world, and as our audiences change with the generational and technological shift that’s happening, it becomes an exciting time to tell stories and meet creators of all types as they work on all different platforms. This is the first event that we’ve done this, and we’ll see where it goes from there.
How did you decide to include Sam Lake, Hideo Kojima and Ken Levine as keynote speakers?
It was obvious. If you follow Kojima on social media, he says he’s 30 percent water 70 percent movies. Ken’s work on BioShock is beautiful, and it tells a story. Ken has also been interested in writing screenplays. So, those were obvious choices. There are other creators I want to come next year.
Have you taken inspiration from consumer events such as PAX when developing Tribeca Games?
No. I’ve taken inspiration from our own festival and what it means to be a creative center—focusing on the creator and the voice—allowing an audience behind the curtain of what a creator has tried to do. Whether that is doing something with Scorsese and Coppola [with The Godfather marathon]; doing something with Ken Burns, who is doing an 18-hour piece for PBS on Vietnam; or when talking about non-linear storytelling, we want it to be about the creator’s point of view.
What do you hope will be some of the big takeaways audiences will get from today’s event?
That there’s more interaction between both (movie and gaming) communities, there’s more experimentation, and that people who have never tried gameplay will like that, as with social impact gaming. We’ve worked with Games for Change for a number of years, hosting events here for the past four years.
Mostly, I hope that people will have a good time and enjoy it.
GameStop is offering its customers the chance to get a taste of esports and competitive gaming with its latest partnership. The video game retailer is teaming up with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for the Injustice 2 GameStop Hometown Heroes tournament, which will be used to market the upcoming May 16 launch of the fighting game, developed by Netherrealm Studios.
The tournament will offer an all-new way for amateur players in the United States to participate in an esports program and battle for cash prizes. Operated by ESL, open online qualifier tournaments will begin June 4. Eight Regional Finals tournaments will take place in local GameStop retail locations on August 12, leading up to the finals, held at the GameStop Managers Expo at the Venetian Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada on August 27.
Eric Bright, senior director of merchandising at GameStop, told AListDaily that a lot of the esports competitions around the world today are focused exclusively on professional gamers.
“We’ve learned over the years that we want to provide an opportunity for amateur game players to get involved and compete against each other for incredible prizes, hence the name ‘Hometown Heroes’ for this esports tournament with Warner Bros. and Injustice 2,” Bright said.
Bright said this tournament has been in the works for about a year, as the retailer and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment have been mapping out the competition. “We’ve always had an interest in participating in esports, but we wanted something that our consumers would be able to play, instead of playing against a pro or being intimidated by some of the world class players that are out there,” Bright said.
GameStop is tapping into ESL’s network of pro gamers to help customers prepare for this competition. “We’ve teamed up with two pros that are going to be out there to provide tips to players,” Bright explained. “On the West Coast, we have Michael ‘Michaelangelo’ Lerma and on the East Coast, we have Bryant ‘Kitana Prime’ Benzing. Both of them will be on GameStop’s Facebook page providing tips to players in our Hometown Heroes competition to compete and progress through the tournament structure.”
Bright said that the theme of the pros helping the amateurs compete in Injustice 2 will continue with GameStop PowerUp Rewards customers. GameStop has over 50 million PowerUp Rewards members and those customers will have the opportunity to get personal online training sessions just before the finals with one of these two pro fighting gamers. Lerma and Benzing will use GameStop’s Facebook page to relay details directly to gamers.
GameStop is also communicating directly to its fan base through Facebook Live. Last week, the retailer featured another pair of ESL pro fighting gamers to announce that Darkseid will be a playable character in Injustice 2, and Bright believes Facebook Live will also be used to host the Hometown Heroes Finals from Las Vegas in August.
The idea to tap into the annual GameStop Expo with this tournament came about after an experiment at last year’s Anaheim event, which drew over 2,500 hundred attendees.
“One of the catalysts of how we got to this was hosting a tournament for Ready At Dawn’s Deformers game, which is a GameTrust title that just released,” Bright said. “That event offered fans a first chance to play the game and compete, and it was a huge success.”
This marks the first time GameStop is combining its online presence with physical retail using a tournament structure. It is also the first time the GameStop Expo will occur over a weekend, which is expected to attract a large fan base.
“The GameStop Expo is one of the largest collections of the entertainment software, hardware and collectible companies all coming together for consumers,” Bright said. “We open our doors and let our customers experience it. It’s unique in retail.”
Back in October 2015, GameStop partnered with Nintendo to host a Super Smash Bros. 3DS National Open Tournament across 15 stores in the US, with the finals taking place at the Nintendo World store in New York City.
“Things have evolved since that Nintendo tournament,” Bright said. “Now we can take advantage of players playing online via dashboards and then bring people together as we host eight regional tournaments around the country. Once they qualify from the online competition, from there the top four players in each region will play inside of GameStop stores before moving to the GameStop Expo.”
Injustice 2 also gives GameStop and the esports ecosystem another fighting game on console to help grow that audience.
“There’s a lot of demand for gamers who want to compete in esports through a console,” Bright said. “This is a great way for us to partner with Warner Bros. and bring in our customer base that’s interested in such an opportunity. There’s huge potential here.”
Bright said this tournament also ties into the GameStop brand, which focuses on giving power to the players. It’s something that every customer who walks through the retailer’s doors can participate in and compete for cash and prizes.
“There’s definitely appeal to open up special opportunities for our customers to allow them to experience video games in a whole new way,” Bright added. “Look for us to explore more things like this to excite customers overall. We’re excited about the potential with esports.”
Car rental company Enterprise shifted gears in brand positioning last year to better reach consumers. The turn was designed to highlight their menu of offerings beyond just car rental. The 60-year-old car rental brand wanted to be known as a total-transportation-solutions company. To support this move, a new marketing strategy surrounded by content was introduced.
Since the reposition last August, which was billed as “Moving You,” Enterprise has gone the extra mile with a content marketing mix leveraging sports, music and travel, including: experiential through a concerts partnership and video series with Live Nation, a digital magazine heavy on travel, destination and lifestyle topics (Pursuits with Enterprise), an ad campaign featuring TV and digital and most recently, the debut of The Road Through Warroad: Hockeytown USA, a long-form documentary that premiered on NBC Sports Network.
The 30-minute Enterprise-created-and-produced story marked a major milestone for the brand because the film was their first long-form piece as part of their fundamental redirection.
The made-for-TV story—originally expanded off of a four-minute short—is about Warroad, Minnesota, a town of about two-thousand people that has produced seven Olympic hockey stars, five NHL players and more than 80 Division I college athletes. The story chronicles the town’s overachieving DNA and ties in to their seven-year-strong sponsorship with the NHL and converting a group of 40 million fans and ice hockey lovers into Enterprise customers.
According to a September study from Forbes, branded content leads to 59 percent better recall than other digital advertisements, and consumers are 14 percent more likely to look for additional content from a company after a single impression of branded content. Marketers from a variety of brands like Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Cap’n Crunch, Nutella and Lexus are increasingly using branded content in favor of traditional ads—which typically have a limited shelf life—to improve recall, brand perception, intent and consideration.
Lee Broughton, vice president of Enterprise North American brand marketing, joined AListDaily to explain why their passion-oriented branded approach is more than just being snackable pieces of scroll-through content and sticking to definite business boundaries.
Why was content creation in the form of a documentary the next step for the Enterprise? Why was this a specific story you wanted to tell?
Creating a documentary wasn’t necessarily the next step for Enterprise. It came quite naturally out of a quest to tell the best story we could. The days of brands simply talking to customers are long gone. Today, in order to truly form a connection, brands need to move customers emotionally. Creating those connections, for us, is about bringing our brand to life in the form of compelling content. So, we are placing a big bet on storytelling. One of the stories that we felt we just had to tell was about hockey in Warroad, Minnesota. Warroad is a town with a deep passion for hockey. Everyone is connected to the game. In partnership with our creative agency of record, Cannonball, we first profiled the town in a four-minute video. But there was so much more to tell, and we needed a longer form to do it. That’s how the documentary came to be.
What are the engagement insights you can share for The Road Through Warroad: Hockeytown USA?
While ratings were significantly up year-over-year for the timeslot the documentary debuted in and the teaser videos we released on social promoting the documentary before it aired earned nearly two million engagements (views, likes and/or shares), the key component to recognize is that this was created for a specific group of hockey fans, and not broad reach. That level of targeting is something new we’re trying.
How will the documentary connect with your target audience in ways that typical brand sponsorships don’t? Do you think it will turn heads among other advertisers?
We’ve been an NHL sponsor for the past seven years. This documentary, and the other content we’re creating, is a natural facet of our marketing mix. It delivers what people want from stories—inspiration, engagement and emotional connections. We know that many of our customers are passionate about hockey. We’re excited to share this documentary with them, a piece that tells the rich story of one of the most hockey-crazed towns in America. We know they’re gravitating toward it. The thesis that we’re working on is based on the belief that we don’t want to be the brand that interrupts what you’re interested in. We want to be what you’re interested in.
What are you trying to accomplish in the content production and storytelling space? How has your content marketing strategy evolved to what it has become today?
Our marketing team is innovating like never before. We’re focused on creating emotional connections with customers that go beyond the car rental category. Sure, we rent cars, but so do other companies. We’ll win today, and into the future, with storytelling. What do I mean by storytelling? At its core, I’m talking about compelling content that—through laughter or tears—really moves you emotionally. At the end of the day, it’s the things that move us that make the biggest difference in our lives. Making that difference is an important way for us to differentiate our brand. One of the most exciting elements of our content strategy has been the launch of a new digital magazine we call Pursuits with Enterprise. It features travel-related content that you can’t get anywhere else. This is content that may make you laugh; it may make you cry; it may do both. But ultimately, you’ll form a connection with the people and places featured in our stories. You’ll learn about what moves them, and what they’re passionate about. It’s content that explores places around the corner from your neighborhood—a car ride away—that haven’t been told, at least from the story angles we’re taking.
How does allocating a budget on something that doesn’t sell Enterprise a good marketing method to further grow your brand equity?
When you think about it, effective sales and marketing have everything to do with creating emotional connections with customers. These connections will drive brand affinity, and ultimately in our case, we believe, increase car rentals. Take the Warroad documentary as an example. In my view, it’s a natural way to develop a group of passionate hockey fans into loyal customers. You see the documentary and our passion for the game. So next time you’re taking a road trip to watch your favorite hockey team play, we believe Enterprise is in a better position to be at the top of your consideration set. We’re finding that “love of a brand” directly correlates to relevancy—and relevancy correlates to brand preference.
What has been the main learning from the change in your brand positioning campaign announced last year?
At Enterprise, we obviously rent cars—but we do a lot more. We also rent trucks and luxury vehicles. We sell cars. And we have a car-sharing arm, too. We like to think of Enterprise as the one place to go for all the places life takes you. Our new brand positioning campaign highlights our comprehensive transportation offerings beyond car rental. And our new content strategy aims to move you emotionally. So we’re a brand that has you covered at the functional level and the emotional level. As we continue on our content and storytelling journey, I think it’s important for us to keep pushing boundaries, and testing new and different approaches. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to content.
Why is branded entertainment currently in favor over traditional ads? Why does that kind of content outperform traditional pre-roll ads?
We view branded entertainment as a part of our comprehensive marketing mix. There is no “favorite” type of marketing execution, per se. All must work in concert together. Branded monologue is of a different era.
Are advertiser-sponsored programs a sign of the future for TV?
Innovation is a constant in the advertising space, and every brand is different. Speaking for Enterprise, I can tell you that we’re focused on creating emotional connections with customers. And we will keep looking for ways to do that successfully, which is why we’re trying new things.
What are the best content marketing practices you’ve learned? Anything you plan on building out on for this year?
Content marketing isn’t easy—there’s no silver bullet. It requires constant creation and is insatiable. The consumer is sophisticated, wants to be entertained or emotionally moved versus sold to and also wants their problems solved. In the age of experience, we don’t think there’s a destination or a finish line so much as it’s an evolutionary journey.
This week in video game promotions, hearts race on an alien-infested space station and everyone’s favorite plumber races to 150 million downloads.
Bethesda and Arkane Studios’ promotion of Prey is one part flash, one part immersion and one part influence—reaching a wide variety of potential fans through some rather creative means.
A sci-fi thriller set in the far future, Prey tells the story of Morgan Yu, who awakens aboard a space station called Talos I, orbiting around the moon. “Morgan is the key subject in an experiment that is meant to alter humanity forever,” saysPrey lead designer Ricardo Bare on Bethesda’s website. “But when you wake up—when you step out into the main lobby—you immediately see that things have gone terribly wrong. It’s up to you as the player to figure out, ‘How did I get here? What’s going on? How do I survive? And how do I get off this space station?’”
In the game, Talos I is as much of a character as Morgan so Arkane has laid the groundwork to immerse gamers into the space station and the challenges they will need to overcome as they battle an alien force called the Typhon. Care packages were mailed to various influential YouTubers such as Chaos that included “regulation rations” for the space station such as toilet paper, coffee and even a banana.
Gamers can explore Talos I early with a special, one-hour demo ahead of the game’s launch as well as a number of official livestreams with the development team. Sponsored livestreams with microinfluencers on YouTube and Twitch aided in creating awareness for Prey, as well, although the developer isn’t too worried about spoilers.
“That’s the world we live in,” Raphael Colantonio, creative director at Arkane Studios told AListDaily. “I think some players will want to know as much as they can before they touch the game and some others will protect themselves from any kind of spoilers. As long as both are happy, it’s cool with us. The game tailors itself to how you want to play and the experience you want to have. So, even if you’ve seen someone else play, your experience will still matter and be different.”
To celebrate science fiction horror films that inspired Prey, Bethesda and GameStop teamed up with the Alamo Drafthouse for a free, month-long nationwide sci-fi film festival featuring a series of movies and a hands-on gameplay experience for fans. Films included Aliens,The Matrix, Pitch Black, Total Recall, Starship Troopers, Edge of Tomorrow and Moon. Another festival took place in the UK thanks to a partnership with Sony UK and Prince Charles Cinema in London.
Of course, gaming is more fun on a brand-new console, so the official Prey Twitter account gave away a custom PS4 Pro, asking users to share what they’re excited about in the game. For UK residents, gamers can enter to win a copy of the game, a custom PS4 Pro, 4K TV and merch galore by taking a “psychometric test” to determine which Prey character they are.
For those who love behind-the-scenes, Bethesda has been generous with developer diaries and tutorial videos. In Melbourne, the Australian Center for the Moving Image (ACMI) will host a special Q&A session May 3 with Raphael Colantonio.
This weekend, the game made an especially fast appearance on a sponsored race car driven by Erik Jones in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Mario’s debut onto mobile devices seems to be going rather well, according to Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima. Super Mario Run “will soon reach 150 million downloads” for iOS and Android combined, nearly double from 78 million as of January. Releasing first on iOS devices this past December and then on Android in March, Super Mario Run offers World One (four levels) for free (as of the most recent update), and unlimited access thereafter for $10 US. The update added additional characters which Nintendo hopes will further extend gameplay enjoyment and time spent in the app.
When the game launched in December, experts were concerned about the $10 price tag, especially in a market where consumers are used to the “freemium” model—that is, free with optional microtransactions. Despite the price—as well as the need to always be online—a worldwide love for the Super Mario franchise and availability in 165 countries/regions is making up for most concerns. The price tag includes any future updates, which is good news for players, but bad news for Nintendo who is now missing out on high-spending users.
“We aim for Super Mario Run to be an evergreen application with broad popularity worldwide that can be played without worrying about additional purchases,” Nintendo said in its Financial Results Briefing for Fiscal Year Ending March 2017. Super Mario thus far remains evergreen by offering special events for both single player mode and competitive “Toad Rally” mode. Going on through May 11, for example, the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Release event will reward Super Mario Run players with Mario Kart-themed items based on how many times Toad Rally has been played.
Thank you for your continued support and readership.
-The AList Team
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