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At-a-glance: Social Media Profile Picture Overlays
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At-a-glance: Social Media Profile Picture Overlays

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  • 1. S o c i a l m e d i a p r o f i l e p i c t u r e o v e r l ay S … at a g l a n c e At imc², we understand that in the world of marketing, trends can shift rather quickly. To help our clients stay on top of important industry trends, we believe speed sometimes precedes perfection, so we created these “At a Glance” articles. They allow us to quickly share information about trends and technology with the disclaimer that they should be considered “under construction” and not an end-to- end look at an emerging trend. What Are Social Media Profile Picture Overlays? Social media profile picture overlays, or SMPP overlays, allow users of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to add a logo, like a favorite football team or musician, to their profile picture. Users can then suggest that their friends or followers add the overlay to their profile as well. Brands are beginning to use SMPP overlays as a way to get the word out AT A G L A N C E about a new campaign, cause, or issue for followers to support. Users simply log into the chosen SMPP overlay site—there are currently two options, Twibbon and Avartize—to create their profile and overlays. Then, the brand adds the overlay to its profile picture on Facebook and/or Twitter and publishes an update to notify followers and encourage them to add the overlay to their profile as well. Why Should I Consider Social Media Profile Picture Overlays? SMPP overlays are hot right now for power Twitter and Facebook users and can be utilized to increase awareness around a brand or cause. Overlay providers offer additional options for brands and creators to promote their overlay by directly linking site visitors and customers to a custom profile page (such as www.twibbon.com/join/ yourBrand) that is created at registration. Users visiting these sites are given a link to add the overlay to their profile picture and post links in their profiles or websites, bringing to life the phenomena that is social media. The downside? As of November 2009, the overlays and custom profile pages created with them seem to offer little in terms of driving direct traffic to a specific brand property or service. What Options are Available? Currently, there are two providers of SMPP overlays, Twibbon and Avartize. While both offer a similar core service, they do have some differences: • Twibbon currently houses over 20,000 different designs, or Twibbons. It has over 700,000 users and more than 6 million visits to its site as of November 2009. The business model is built around selling targeted advertising on individual Twibbon pages, much like the channel pages on YouTube. Each Twibbon’s profile page provides visitors and Twibbon creators with trend data, lists of recent supporters, and social features. Unfortunately, there is still no summary or area to link visitors back to the website of the sponsoring brand or cause. © 2009, imc2. All rights reserved.
  • 2. 2 S o c i a l m e d i a p r o f i l e p i c t u r e o v e r l ay S • Avartize has an offering much like Twibbon, although currently there is no published data on AT A G L A N C E the site’s traffic or use. Users create an overlay and publish its availability through a number of channels. Followers are brought back to a more basic version of what Twibbon offers. Avatarize provides data and trending information on the profile pages of users and brands, but little or no social communication tools. There seems to be no clear business model as of yet. How Should I Choose? imc2 When considering the use of SMPP overlays to support a campaign, cause, or issue, marketers need to refer back to their goals to determine if it makes sense. If the goal is to simply increase awareness around the cause, and Twitter users map well to the brand’s core target audience, then SMPP overlays are a relatively low-cost way to add to the overall awareness mix. However, if the goal is to drive definable brand actions or outcomes, other alternatives may be a better option. Alternatives or similar methods that can be leveraged to accomplish the same goal may include such social media tools as Facebook badges, gift apps, and ads that can be created for relatively low cost and will provide a greater ability to drive to a more definable action or outcome by sending the user to the brand’s site or other desired online action. In addition, for specialty markets, marketers may even consider targeted Facebook ads as an alternative to this tactic, as these ad campaigns can most often be more cost effective and easier to execute than SMPP overlays. For additional information, please contact: Hensley Evans, President, imc2 Health & Wellness hensley.evans@imc2.com office 845.658.3344 cell 202.257.3124 please contact us for more information or visit imc2.com. dallas new york city philadelphia 12404 Park Central Drive, Suite 400 622 Third Avenue, 11th Floor 1100 E. Hector Street, Suite 100 Dallas, Texas 75251 New York, New York 10017 Conshohocken, Pennsylvania 19428 214.224.1000 212.430.3200 610.729.1310 © 2009, imc2. All rights reserved.