You know that feeling when you come across a really great idea and you immediately want to kick yourself?

It’s that sort of simple genius that makes you ask yourself “why didn’t I think of that first?”.

With the rise of new media formats such as VR and live streaming and updated formats for paid social strategy like Carousel Ads and 360 video ads, companies have an unprecedented number of fresh, new ways to get consumer attention.

From startup to enterprise level companies, the brands that stand out aren’t always those with the most budget, but those who can tell a compelling story.

We’ve gone ahead and collected some emerging trends and clever marketing hacks that we’ve seen in the industry this past year.

Here are our favorites:

1) Using Snapchat Filters In Place Of Google Ads

NYC-based digital recruiting platform Reflik wanted to target attendees at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco earlier this month. There was only one problem – Reflik wasn’t actually at the conference.

So, the company ran a nine hour Geofilter Ad over Pier 4, where the conference took place. The ad cost just $58.20, 2% of the $2,995 general admission ticket price to the conference, and generated a total of 749 views.


Snapchat Geofilter Ads are a great alternative to Google Ads because they are hyper-local (you can set them to display in a specific building), timely, interactive, and shareable.

With Snapchat’s newest On-Demand Geofilters running for as little as $5 a day, it opens up the floor to a lot of companies and emerging brands who want to test on the platform without shelling out a big investment.

2) Crowdsourcing New Media Content

St. Giles Hotels, partnering with creative shop Piranha, recently launched a contest to find the best amateur VR filmmakers. The two companies decided to use this opportunity to turn the camera over to their guests and ask them to create a 360-degree film of their travels.

This contest is a winning combination, because St. Giles Hotel and Piranha are leveraging the expertise of influencers and incentivizing them with a free trip and exposure, all while driving up hype for a video that’s yet to be created.

The two brands get to experiment with new media formats without the heavy investment of technology and resourcest. Influencer marketing is also a sure fire way to drive brand integrity, since 8 in 10 people say that user-generated content influences what they buy.


“With VR, there’s such a focus on the high end with Oculus, but how do we make this technology accessible to the masses?” Sabatini said. “We really tried to find the tone that would help amplify St. Giles’ message as well as show how this tech can be used in a commercial landscape—it’s not just for the people that have headsets; it’s for people on Facebook or YouTube,” says says Rob Sabatini, creative director and co-founder of Piranha.

3) Being There Around The Clock

Last week, mattress startup Casper launched Insomnobot3000, an SMS chatbot that is designed to keep you company when you just can’t fall asleep.

The bot is programmed to identify keywords by category and emotion, and is able to generate over 2,000 responses in total.


“[Imsomnobot3000] really helps us tell our brand story,” said Lindsay Kaplan, Casper’s VP of communications. “As a company, we not only produce great products but also create great experiences and conversations around sleep.”

Casper’s chatbot, built to be more conversational than informative, is meant to deepen customer relationships and create a more personalized experience.

With apps like Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp making it easier for companies to build bots for shopping, customer service, and more, we’ll only see conversational commerce continue to grow in popularity and sophistication.

The Here & Now

From geofilters to VR and chatbots, the technology these companies used was undoubtedly impressive. Tech aside, the key to success is simple. It starts with building an interactive experience that allows consumers to be a part of the story.

Keep consumers engaged throughout the customer experience journey by producing content that’s consistently branded and personalized across all channels and devices.

Today’s consumer is looking for real, highly relevant, interactive experiences that bridge together the online and offline. They engage with the here and now.

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