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The Social Networks Are Fighting | Volume 6

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Get your popcorn ready….

Popcorn Eating

This week we’re going to be calling out some relentless theft happening right in front of our eyes. 

There’s an attention war stirring up amongst social networks and this week Twitter took a big swing. 

But that’s not all. We’re also going to talk about:

  • Airbnb’s IPO and one brand’s brilliant response
  • How YouTube is innovating with their ad products again
  • Klaviyo’s big raise and more…

But before we get to that…

Hot Research: What would you say if I told you Foundation recently analyzed over 9,530 different Facebook ads being run by SaaS companies to figure out what’s working today? Hey now… Be nice…. Cause yes… We did. And it’s not behind a gate. Check it out. 

Airbnb’s IPO & How Public’s Taking Advantage

Airbnb was somewhat funded on the back of cereal boxes.

In 2008, Airbnb announced limited-edition boxes of Obama O’s and Cap’n McCain’s. Co-founder Joe Gebbia told NPR on a podcast about how these boxes of political cereal were a necessity for him and Brian Chesky to get out of debt. He states:

“You know those binders where you keep baseball cards? I had one of those except there weren’t baseball cards in it, they were credit cards. We would go through Visa after Visa, to MasterCard then finally to AmEx, just maxing out credit cards.”

This debt wasn’t racked up buying bottles of Dom Perignon. It was the early days of funding their business; Air Bed And Breakfast at the time wasn’t making enough revenue — so the two came up with a way to grow the breakfast side of the company and turned the 2008 presidential election for some inspiration.

Image credit: Bill Aulet

Chesky said they made 1,000 cereal boxes by hand, which were then hot glued together and sold for $40 a piece. The boxes were marketed as “collector’s items” and sold like hot cakes as the team earned $30,000 off the cereal stunt. They used that money to pay off their debt and next month Airbnb will officially launch its IPO. 
With Airbnb’s S1 officially filed, Public.com is paying tribute to the journey from idea to IPO with limited edition “IPOats.” They’re giving away 500 boxes to lucky winners who enter on the site: 

Brilliant right?

This is called reactive storytelling. The idea is simple: 

Take a story that is relevant to your audience and find a way to connect it back to your brand’s story. The incentive to “tweet to win” is another smart move on their end to make add an element of virality to their campaign. People get a chance to win by tweeting and the Public gets a chance to reach more people on the back of their tweets. It’s a win-win. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Don’t be afraid to get creative and scrappy when it comes to getting going. You might not want to go out and start selling cereal (it’s been done0 but you do wan’t to lean into the idea of getting creative and trying something different. As Airbnnb showed, it often doesn’t require a multimillion dollar budget to get creative and scrappy.
  • Use reactive storytelling whenever possible. The idea of jumping on a story, trend or meme and aligning your brand to it can have some major viral rewards.

Stories, Stories, Stories Every Where

Dear Social Networking Sites Product Managers: 

What if we told you…. 

We don’t want stories on every single social media platform? 


Every Community Manager Ever

Let’s not kid ourselves. We know they wouldn’t listen. 

And thus… We’re met with:

Could you imagine being the product manager at Snapchat who came up with “Stories” ? 

It’s an idea that has now been stolen by almost every major social networking site. 

LinkedIn has stories. Facebook has stories. Instagram has stories. 

And as of earlier this week with the introduction of Fleets – Twitter has stories. 

It’s a fascinating time to be a content creator and juggling the development of creating stories on multiple channels continues to become more and more difficult. 

But a bigger topic here and one that is often overlooked is the power of stealing. I know. It sounds harsh. But hear me out — Great artists don’t copy they steal. It’s very difficult to create something completely from scratch and succeed. In fact, it’s nearly impossible considering the plethora of great ideas that have been executed upon and brought to life. Most ideas are iterations of ideas in the past or complete theft like we’re watching with Stories. 

This happens in tech all the time. Google recently launched a Pinterest clone and while it might not be a superior product — Google
has superior distribution. This could be enough for Google to enter this market successfully or… It will dwindle away as a flop the same way Facebook’s attempt to compete with Tinder has.

Key Takeaways:

  • Community managers need to start thinking about how they can leverage stories on multiple platforms. This presents an opportunity for content creation & scheduling tools to deliver a solution that makes this process easier
  • Don’t be afraid to steal ideas

YouTube Wants To Know If You’re Still Listening

Earlier this week, YouTube announced a new product that will allow brands and marketers to reach visitors who are listening and not watching. We’ve all been hearing (meta) about the power of passive content consumption and while all eyes have been on Spotify and Apple Podcasts — YouTube is also a place in which passive content consumption happens.

For years, marketers and brands have developed YouTube ads focused on those who are sitting in front of a screen and watching. But as more people rely on YouTube for background music, podcasts and other formats — the ads prioritizing visual cues and aggressive waving just aren’t that important. 

The launch of an audio ad unit changes the game.

Not only does it open up YouTube as an advertising channel for people who can’t afford a great video ad — it opens up the opportunity to create more interesting audio-first advertisements. The opportunities from a creativity lens are endless. 

During Google’s beta testing of this new feature, they reported a 75% increase in brand awareness from this format. And according to their press release: 

One of our early testers, Shutterfly, used audio ads to influence purchase consideration among interested shoppers, driving above benchmark lifts of 14 percent lift in ad recall and 2 percent lift in favorability among their target audience.

Not bad eh?

Learn more here.

🤖 Boston-based marketing automation platform Klaviyo lands a $200M Series C on a $4.15B valuation. 

🏎  After sitting at around $420 for the last couple days, Tesla’s stock skyrockets with an announcement that they’ll be in the S&P 500 come Monday, Dec. 21.

🌳 Amazon’s 
Jeff Bezos names the first recipients of his 10 billion dollar earth fund.

This is a different type of brain food than usual. 

Rather than finding a solo source that we think would give your brain the jolt it needs to end the week on a high note, we’re sending along a cool 
finding. It’s a site called ‘simple ebooks’ where a handful of volunteers produce a collection of high-quality public domain ebooks that have the visual design standards that a commercial book would carry.

Check it out: Standard Ebooks

Trung Phan has curated a collection of photos that put historical dates into perspective.

Love Goes by Sam Smith (Best Song: Dancing with a Stranger)

Originally Sent Out Thursday, November 19, 2020. Stay up to date with all of our latest findings by subscribing to our newsletter today.

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