Market Trends

Written by The Marketing Team April 4, 2018

5 ‘other’ social networks and what advertising looks like

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Here at Paragone, we’92re always talking about the big four social platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter.

So we thought – why not something a little different? In the latest episode of our ‘Hello Social Ad-dicts’ podcast, we’ve covered  5 of the social networks you might not hear as much about – specifically focussing on their target market, their functionality and user experience and what advertising on these platforms looks like.


LinkedIn is the world’92s premier professional social networking site and is available in over 20 languages. It is used across the globe by all types of professionals and serves as an ideal platform to connect with different businesses, locate and hire ideal candidates, and more.

In June 2016, Microsoft announced that it would acquire LinkedIn for a bit over US$26 billion. This represented the largest acquisition ever made by Microsoft.

Ad formats on Linkedin include boosted posts, private messaging (or Inmail ads) and text ads. Text ads is LinkedIn’92s pay-per-click (PPC) option, with ads that display on the side rail or inline.

And, as of last week, Marketers and brands can now leverage video for Sponsored content and Company Pages, to reach their audiences on LinkedIn. Before this, for advertisers, the only way to incorporate videos was to link to other websites. Now, the Microsoft-owned professional network is rolling out a native ad format, where video ads will appear as standalone posts in the feed. The video ads will play automatically, though with the sound turned off initially.

LinkedIn says it’92s been testing the format with more than 700 advertisers since October 2017, resulting in engagement times that are nearly three times longer than those for regular Sponsored Content.


WeChat is an all-in-one communications app for messaging and calling that enables users to connect with the people of their choice. It was developed by Tencent in China and now has close to 700 million active users per month.

The real point of difference with WeChat (compared to other messaging platforms) is the breadth of functionality. It can act as a mobile wallet, allowing you to make in-store payments, transfer money to friends and even split the bill all through the app. You can hail a cab, get your laundry picked up and washed, share your real-time location with friends and send bitcoin, all without ever leaving WeChat.

Advertising options include banner advertising, moments advertising, and something called Key Opinion Leaders. This last option is essentially a structured way to do influencer marketing. Moments advertising are displayed in user’92s moments which is equivalent to Facebook timeline. Users see those ads while scrolling through their feed and typically have an option to interact with such ad.

Targeting options include the classics like location, age, gender, interests, marital status, education level and WeChat behaviour.


Despite having been acquired by Facebook in 2014, this instant messaging platform still operates as an independent entity. Although it arrived on the scene much later than Facebook, WhatsApp has been able to capture the imagination of millions of people across the world by giving them the ability to communicate, call and share instantly with individuals and groups.

Proof of the success is in the numbers – WhatsApp boasts approximately 1 billion active monthly users, and some 60 billion messages are sent through the platform each day.

WhatsApp doesn’t sell ad space yet, or have any business-specific features. That doesn’92t mean businesses aren’92t using it though, and there is one very creative case study available for you in the show notes of this episode.

In terms of advertising, WhatsApp is preparing to finally monetize, and its first move follows the same strategy as Facebook Messenger. Code was discovered in Facebook’s ad manager in late 2017 that lets businesses buy ads with the call to action Send WhatsApp Message.


Launched back in 2010, Pinterest is by no means new. It’s a social network that allows users to visually share, and discover new interests by posting (known as ‘pinning’ on Pinterest) images or videos to boards (i.e. a collection of ‘pins,’ usually with a common theme) and browsing what other users have pinned.

With approx 100 million monthly active users, Pinterest also has some interesting ad formats for businesses.

Promoted pins allow you to to promote any Pin you create so it’92s seen by more people. Any business with access to the Pinterest Ads Manager can buy this standard ad format to support all marketing goals, including awareness, engagement and traffic.

Other formats include promoted video pins, one-tap pins (taking people straight to the source where the content originated from and allowing them to complete a purchase on your site, for example) and Promoted App pins where Pinterest users can discover and then download iOS apps directly from the Pin.


Finally, Vero is an app-only service that launched three years ago. With functionality similar to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Spotify rolled into one, Vero makes money from subscriptions, not advertising.

That means you get not only an ad-free social network, but also the promise of “no algorithms and no data mining, ever.” On the News Feed, you will see your posts as well as the posts of people you connect with or follow, but another major difference is that Vero says it doesn’t manipulate or curate your feed. Posts are sorted chronologically, instead of via algorithms. Their mantra is once you strip out the advertising, clean out the feeds, and put control back in the hands of the user, you’re free to be honest.

In terms of the pricing model for users, the app is currently free for all new signups, with pricing yet to be announced. Vero has previously mentioned that this will be ’93a few dollars a year.’94 So, definitely a new model and it looks to be coming at the right time. But will it catch on? Time will tell!

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