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Yik Yak Growth Strategy by Victoria Young

Anonymous social media networks often struggle to maintain growth. The product architecture must encourage creation and engagement. Yik Yak is one of the fastest growing anonymous networks and still has much room to evolve as a product. Here are some growth ideas for Yik Yak based on a combination of anonymous network product features and research on social networks.

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Yik Yak Growth Strategy by Victoria Young

  1. 1. Yik Yak Growth Strategy VICTORIA YOUNG
  2. 2. Networks thrive off connection. And connection occurs when people discover a similarity. @victoriahyoung
  3. 3. Research has shown similarity is the foundation of relationships. @victoriahyoung
  4. 4. Similarity means connecting with others over what makes you who you are: - your interests (“you like making pancakes? me too!”) - your background (“you’re from LA? me too!”) - your pet peeves (“i can’t stand cold coffee either!”) - your sentiment (“taylor swift music video is fierce, right?”) - your thoughts (“what if cheerios are just donut seeds?”) @victoriahyoung
  5. 5. Yik Yak helps create a community that shares similarity through physical proximity + anonymity. Anonymity works when local networks have strong existing relationships - like colleges - because there is a given amount of similarity. @victoriahyoung
  6. 6. Anonymous networks can make it harder for people to connect. Anonymity notoriously reinforces the online disinhibition effect, where the divide of a screen reduces a sense of personal accountability online. The dual nature of anonymity presents serious challenges in the design of new platforms with a mission to meet a human need for private social connection. @victoriahyoung
  7. 7. Because of this, anonymous networks struggle to maintain growth. @victoriahyoung
  8. 8. So what are some ways can Yik Yak continue to engage its user base? @victoriahyoung
  9. 9. Design to promote the connection users are looking for in anonymous communities. To connect, users need great content. @victoriahyoung
  10. 10. Anonymity fulfills the human need for sharing without social consequences. Sharing can be categorized as four types of information: sentiment, thoughts, interests, and facts. Posted content tends to be more temporary or permanent, specific or general. @victoriahyoung
  11. 11. The product architecture must encourage creation and engagement: 1) With content 2) Within the community @victoriahyoung
  12. 12. Product Features That Promote Engagement @victoriahyoung Especially in anonymous communities, habit-inducing product features are crucial for momentum. Habits are formed if products fulfill all four psychological needs: trigger, action, reward, investment.
  13. 13. Product features must encourage the creation of great content by making it: ● simple to create (frictionless) ● delightful to create (rewarding) ● interesting to create (variable) @victoriahyoung
  14. 14. Research has shown that to balance variety with consistency, a sweet spot exists between isolation and an echo chamber. sweet *Research from Social Physics by Alex Pentland @victoriahyoung
  15. 15. Current content on Yik Yak is following a feedback loop based on existing social context and revolves around the same topics. @victoriahyoung
  16. 16. Diversity increases the rate of idea flow. To avoid getting trapped in an echo chamber of content, Yik Yak must encourage a diversity of content. More content, more opportunities for people to discover similarities. More similarities, more engagement. @victoriahyoung
  17. 17. To grow, Yik Yak has to design an ecosystem that promotes diverse content. Real-time, temporary content is crucial, but Yik Yak also has an opportunity to become a forum for discussion across a variety of more permanent topics. @victoriahyoung
  18. 18. Fuel Discovery With Content Categories Since content diversity is important in generating new ideas and higher-quality content, introducing new categories that leverage Yik Yak’ s strength can fuel user growth: ● Location: Leverage local news and polls to help locals connect over regional information. ● Featured: Continue to experiment with featured topics and categories by analyzing data on which topics generate most engagement within Yik Yak and other content leaders (i.e. Buzzfeed). ● Interests: Allow people to connect over key interests locally, structured like Peeks so that only locals can engage in a conversation but others can view. Trending Locally Bomb Threat In Downtown LA LA City Council Increase Min. Wage POLL: Ocean, pool, or water park? Featured POLL: Is Tom Brady guilty? Conversation Corner Sports Entertainment @victoriahyoung
  19. 19. Launch Yik Yak At Events Events are central to Yik Yak’s competitive advantage with location-driven content. Drive user adoption at events: ● Increase Awareness: Before an event, establish partnerships so that Yik Yak is a promoted partner amongst event attendees via e-mail and other social media channels (i.e. Shazaam during Billboard Music Awards). This increases the likelihood that Yik Yak will be installed on phones and used day of the event. ● Leverage Top Yakkers: Ensure quality content by partnering with top Yakkers to seed content for each event. Billboard Music Awards NBA Finals Global Environment Summit TechCrunch Disrupt Wall Street Convention @victoriahyoung
  20. 20. Make It Easy To Share Yik Yak Current sharing of Yaks does not include a link back to the mobile app or to download it. Close the viral loop by ensuring all shares have a link: ● Teaser Yaks: Instead of posting the full Yak, consider doing a teaser Yak so that users have to click through the link back into Yik Yak app or download the app in order to see the full Yak ● Pre-Populated Text: Help users share Yik Yak by having text such as “Best Yak I’ve seen on Yik Yak all day + URL” so shares to other social media sites are more engaging. @victoriahyoung
  21. 21. To grow user engagement, Yik Yak has to increase rewards and investments. More so than identity-based communities where prestige, followers, and friends automatically create a sense of investment, anonymous communities must include variable rewards and investment within the product architecture. *Image from Hooked by Nir Eyal @victoriahyoung
  22. 22. Let Yaks Be Loved Increasing investment and switching costs can boost user engagement and retention. By allowing Yakkers to save their favorite Yaks, Yik Yak taps into these psychological triggers: ● Favorite: Let users save and revisit their favorite Yaks by adding a heart icon. ● Search: Create section in “Me” of Yik Yak to allow for searching of favorite Yaks based on keywords or time. ● Spontaneous Yak: Similar to Facebook’s “This Time Last Year” feature, generate Yaks that have previously been liked on the same day of a week, etc. @victoriahyoung
  23. 23. Make Yak Karma More Rewarding Variable rewards are habit-inducing. Create surprises to reward the most engaged Yaks: ● Virtual Gifts: Surprise top Yakkers with stickers or other digital gifts that spark delight. Personal badges that don’t affect ranking of posts but give users a sense of pride leverage game mechanics to help keep top users engaged. ● Premium Features: Allow top Yakkers to get access to premium features (i.e. how reddit gold is structured), such as custom Yak themes or turning off ads. @victoriahyoung
  24. 24. Yik Yak Growth Cycle Diversity of Content Opportunities for Connection More Inspiration Encourage creation of diverse content through product features that help users create by introducing new topics and driving in new users from other social channels. Make it easier for users to connect over similarities in new product features such as chatting and liking posts. The more interaction, the stronger the network effects and rewards of participation. Avoid an echo chamber and introduce variability by encouraging users to model new, unique posts that others create. Lay the foundation for the right social cues. Help users inspire each other. @victoriahyoung
  25. 25. Yik Yak Monetization @victoriahyoung
  26. 26. Yik Yak’s Yakkers: A Coveted College Market Primary Customer: Students Total Number of Colleges In USA: 4,140 Total Number of Enrolled Students: 17.5 M* Top Motivations: Community, Connection, Humor, Opportunity, Recognition “Marketers are competing for an estimated $545B in total student spending, with $163B as discretionary student spending.” @victoriahyoung
  27. 27. Marketers’ Concerns: Context & Relevance “The important thing is to credibly integrate your brand into the college experience and not just get it onto campus, because most purchases are not happening within the campus boundaries. It’s more about these companies developing effective marketing campaigns on the devices that these students are using more often – such as mobile.” - Clark Frederickson, VP of eMarketer @victoriahyoung
  28. 28. Yik Yak: Unique Market Opportunity With strong growth in college communities, Yik Yak is uniquely positioned to be one of the most targeted social media platforms in the market. Advertisers love targeting! Platform MAU (U.S.) 2014 Annual Revenue ARPU Yrs Since Founded Facebook 1.39B $12.47B $9 10 Twitter 288M $1.4B $5 8 Tumblr 230M $100M $.48 7 @victoriahyoung
  29. 29. Paths to Monetization Advertising Data Virtual Goods Sponsored Content (i.e. co-creation in Buzzfeed) Behavioral (click- thrus, shares, upvotes, downvotes, etc.) In-app purchases (stickers, flair, games) Promoted Content (i.e. Promoted Tweets) Content - sentiment analysis, trends 3rd party marketplace purchases (i.e. Facebook gifts, “Buy” button) Contextual Mobile Advertising Demographic, location, etc. @victoriahyoung
  30. 30. Growth of Contextual Mobile Advertising Mobile ad spending is the fastest growing segment of advertising, forecasted to top $158 billion in 2017, with 52% of mobile advertising being location-based.* Yik Yak has valuable data that brands and advertisers need: ● Content - What people are talking about and how they feel about it ● Hyperlocality - Where people are and what places they might be close to ● Trends - Changes in what people talk about and how they feel over time (time based component) ● Community - Social platforms rely on network effects and the virality of community Yik Yak can monetize by creating mobile ad inventory to give advertisers the chance to learn about Yakkers’ interests and jump in on the conversation. @victoriahyoung
  31. 31. Ad Product #1: Sponsored Brand Posts Social native advertising (integrated directly into platform) is expected to reach $5 Billion this year (across desktop and mobile).* It provides context without compromising the UX. At Twitter, to maintain the organic flow of posts, sponsored content are limited to avoid overcrowding the feed. SPONSORED Ready for Spring Break? Red Bull has you covered. #JoinTheRevolution KEY WORDS + LOCATION Based on content in the feed, Yik Yak can apply natural language processing to identify key terms: ex) spring break Yik Yak can provide targeted, contextual advertising by combining keywords with location. *eMarketer @victoriahyoung
  32. 32. Ad Product #2: Location Based Ads Yik Yak has a wealth of user-generated content. Focusing on expanding data science capabilities is important in providing contextual, native advertising options. In Yelp, local businesses are promoted within the relevant results without reducing the quality of browsing. Facebook’s location stories command the highest CTR - at 3.2%. SPONSORED $5 off your order at 24 hr diner! KEY WORDS + LOCATION Based on content in the feed, Yik Yak can apply natural language processing to identify key terms: ex) dinner, breakfast, eateries Yik Yak can provide targeted, contextual advertising by combining keywords with location. @victoriahyoung
  33. 33. SPORTS TECHNOLOGY Ad Product #3: Official Yaks Feed Yik Yak, like Twitter and Facebook, has a chance to allow key influencers and celebrities to join in on the conversation through official accounts. To maintain current Yik Yak democratic, anonymous values, these can be broken out as separate feeds or peeks based on celebrity locations. On Twitter and Instagram, influencers often produce some of the best content and are welcomed by the community. TAYLOR SWIFT When the LA Show is the best night ever! INFLUENCERS + LOCATION Let celebrities, brands, or media be apart of the Yaks organically. Yik Yak can follow a tumblr creatrs or Pinterest HelloSociety model and monetize by connecting influencers to brands. Yik Yak can potentially only allow celebrities, brands, and media to be geo-fenced as well, making their Yaks more special. Local Celebrity Feed @victoriahyoung
  34. 34. Yik Yak can give advertisers valuable insight into a local college demographic that no other social platform can and needs to monetize through data science & analytics. Red Bull wants to engage students during back-to-school Goal: Get a real-time pulse on what students on campus are talking about and doing to join conversation Yik Yak Advantage: Data on student conversations, sentiment, and trends to inform Red Bull’s marketing strategy TOP YAKS 1) Ready for Spring Break? Red Bull has you covered. #JoinTheRevolution IMPRESSIONS: 30K 2) Red Bull is best sipped while living dangerously. IMPRESSIONS: 20K Votes Over Time Trending Topics Ad Product #4: Data & Analytics KPIs (Key Metrics) ● Views of Sponsored Post (Impressions) ● Click Thrus Of Post ● Conversion (Purchase or Sign Up) Business Intelligence ● Trends over time in topics & user behaviors ● Trends in performance of sponsored Yaks ● Suggestions to improve Yak performance @victoriahyoung
  35. 35. To create more opportunities for advertisers to jump in on the conversation without oversaturating the feed with too many branded posts, allow advertisers to pay for branded, direct replies to specific Yaks. Trending Topics Ad Product #5: Branded Replies REPLY Ready for Spring Break? Red Bull has you covered. #JoinTheRevolution KEY WORDS + LOCATION Based on content in the feed, Yik Yak can apply natural language processing to identify key terms and automatically recommend to advertisers which Yaks are the best fit for a reply. ex) spring break Yik Yak can provide targeted, contextual advertising by combining keywords with location. @victoriahyoung
  36. 36. Yik Yak can give advertisers the opportunity to pay to be a featured Peek. To add value for the advertiser, Yik Yak needs to provide additional features for paid Peeks. Ad Product #6: Featured Peeks Reporting & Analytics ● # Views of Peeks ● # of Interactions (upvote/downvote) ● Trends analysis Featured Rich Media Content ● Opportunity to include video and photo at the event as a paid ad Customization & Flair ● Similar to reddit, let each unique featured, branded post have their own logo. @victoriahyoung
  37. 37. SPORTS TECHNOLOGY Trending Topics Ad Product #7: Community Targeting Similar to subreddits on reddit, Yik Yak can create topic-based discussion forums that focus on cultivating specific interest- based communities. This can provide advertisers with the opportunity to hyper-target users based on topics and interests. KEY WORDS + CATEGORY Based on content in the feed, Yik Yak can apply natural language processing to identify key terms to help advertisers find contextual advertising opportunities. For example, Nike can advertise in the Sports feed for a new pair of sneakers if there is a “hot” Yak about basketball. @victoriahyoung
  38. 38. Thank You! Victoria Young victoria@createinteractions.com @victoriahyoung