Luxury marketers bullish on Instagram, wary of Snapchat

Correction: An earlier version of this article characterized Judy Bassaly as a "Giorgio Armani executive." Bassaly is a former Giorgio Armani executive; she has not worked at the company since the fall of 2014.

Dive Brief:

  • Luxury retailers are still not up to speed on social media channels like Snapchat, according to a panel of marketing consultants presented at South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi). 
  • Brands such as Burberry and Chanel have been quick to tout their Snapchat presences, the panel said, but may be doing so at the expense of more effective platforms. 
  • Luxury marketers seem to like Instagram’s capabilities, and often create exclusive features and collections for display on the Facebook-owned photo-sharing platform. 

Dive Insight:

Last year’s social media darling, video messaging platform Snapchat, is not the answer for luxury brands looking to tell their stories, according to a panel of veteran luxury marketers speaking at this year's South by Southwest Interactive in Austin, TX.

While Burberry, Chanel, Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton and other luxury brands have made splashes with Snapchat campaigns, Gregory Pouy, CEO of LaMercatique (a marketing firm that works with luxury brands like TAG Heuer), said Snapchat's signature video clips, which do not exceed 10 seconds and disappear from device screens once they are viewed, can’t beat YouTube’s searchable content, even with millennials.

Pouy and other SXSWi panelists cited Instagram as a particularly effective platform for luxury marketers, who often take advantage of its magazine-like photo spreads and shopping functions to offer exclusives to diehard brand fans.

Former Giorgio Armani executive Judy Bassaly contended that luxury messaging is wasted on the mass media. "Digital is now about creating content and amplifying the noise," she said. "You don't want to communicate your messages to the masses—you're going to want to geo-target and go after specific target groups. And you're able to do that on Facebook, but it comes at a price."

What’s the most promising platform for conveying a luxury brand’s story? Experts cited virtual reality, which promises to transport users into realistic scenarios such as a Louis Vuitton store or a Hermès runway show. 

A survey of social media users published in late 2015 indicates that sponsored social media messaging is a strategy that eclipses traditional media such as radio and print in effectiveness. Respondents to the survey, produced by Lightspeed GMI, Halverson Group, and The Right Brain Consumer Consulting, ranked sponsored social media messages on Periscope, Snapchat and Instagram as the top three tools. Television ads were judged fourth in effectiveness, and were the only old-media format to make the survey's top 10.

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Top image credit: Flickr: AdamPrzezdziek