There has been a lot of dialogue about Millennials (Gen Y, born roughly between 1980-2003) and their self interested attention spans driven by the instant gratification from this internet thing. Firstly, they know this, they are a generation that 1 in 4 define themselves primarily by their use of technology.

Secondly, they have been labelled the ‘Me-Me-Me’ generation, which has been manifested in their obsession with social media and ability to create their own brand. Probably our best know Millennial (or she may even fall in to Gen Z) Lorde said it best. “All the internet is, is doing your own PR.’  They don’t consume media, they are the media.

What has been an interesting development in the past 12 months has been firstly the meteoric rise in both Instagram and Snapchat use, driven by Millennials as smartphones become more accessible, connectivity becomes seamless and affordable and people look to escape the conformity of Facebook from their elders and advertisers. 

Both Snapchat and Instagram have benefitted from this and have grown huge millennial audiences, both focus on image and video sharing to a more youthful and tech savvy audience. Now they are both looking to monitise their platforms with two quite different models. Instagram, owned by Facebook is going after a similar approach to their parent company, with sponsored posts which compared to Facebook are very much like glossy brand ads in Vogue over the newspaper style of their counterpart (and priced as such). Instagram have to approve all content and their current focus is to work only with brands that can enhance the platform with crafted native content that feels like the rest of the stories created on the photo sharing site.

First Look: Brand Carousel Ads Begin to Rollout with Showtime from Instagram on Vimeo.

Snapchat, have gone for a more traditional broadcast type of model, where they are creating partner channels with key broadcasters, namely Time Warner and are publishing short form video content for the Millennial age. It’s basically TV meets Tinder. Snapchat Discover then allows brands to tap into this content from partners such as Vice and CNN to create branded content and ads.

With all this being said, both platforms have taken a very slow and cautious approach to working with brands and have partnered exclusively with key brands in big markets which mean it’s both unaccessible and expensive. With that being said many brands are already taking advantage of this platform with other native strategies to ensure they can engage their audiences in the places they are hanging out.

These past two weekends at Coachella, Instagram takeovers,  which have been around for a while but not really gain traction beyond early adopter brands, go mainstream, with many brands jumping on the bandwagon. Like celebrity endorsement of the 80’s much of this revolves around influencers who are aspirational and that X-Factor. Burberry, Alexander Wang and Coachella themselves were among the big brands here, utilising their influencers credibility and personal content creation style to bring a raw, insiders edge to events and experiences bringing their fans closer to the experience with moments and intimate stories.

@abelxo, #TheWeeknd kicks off #Coachella with a takeover of the #AlexanderWang @Instagram account. Follow his experience 4/10 through 4/12 on @AlexanderWangNY #WANGxo

A video posted by ALEXANDER WANG (@alexanderwangny) on


Beyoncé and Jay Z at dinner by @MarioTestino #MetByTestino #MetGala

A photo posted by Vogue (@voguemagazine) on

With our strategy work with Tourism New Zealand, we have seen this roll out closer to home with Wanaka’s Instameet... Amazing content created by a handful of influencers from around the world.    

1578 metres above worry level with @chrisburkard!! Wouldn’t you love to wake up to this view?? #lovewanaka #instameetWanaka A photo posted by Lake Wanaka, New Zealand (@lakewanakanz) on

It won’t be long until more brands hit this up, brands beyond the fashion and music circles.They have always nailed it with youth… As this is an exceptional way for brands to grow communities for Instagram or Snapchat without features like Like Ads. This is also a smart way to co-create content cost-effectively and authentically, keep your content fresh, by providing a new lens from the new celebrity… the social media influencer.