Conde Nast's Social Sidekick got off to an iffy start this week when Business Insider dismissed it as a "non-starter."
"It's a nice little feature - one that will increase engagement a bit and allow advertisers some flexibility - but is it really changing anything? Nope."
Kicking the tires on the digital sidecar to Conde Nast's vast array of content, Gucci is the exclusive launch advertiser for Social Sidekick through the end of October.
What is it exactly? An interactive ad unit, updateable in real-time, that aggregates the most popular content from Conde Nast media brands including Glamour, Lucky, Style.com, Teen Vogue and W.
Social Sidekick determines digital content popularity through dynamic analytics, parsing Facebook and Twitter shares, likes, and tweets, collecting and presenting the most popular on a single page.
For advertisers, Social Sidekick was created in-house "to cross-market our own brands and provide advertisers with a dynamic environment that can tell a content rich narrative, while tapping into Condé Nast's editorial strength and readership," comments CMO Lou Cona to MediaPost.
The tool features “most liked/tweeted” content with a bar that hovers and scrolls as a user moves down the page; a plus/minus sign closes or expands to show multiple panes featuring a title’s links with Gucci content – at launch.
“In the Gucci panel, they can determine immediately what has been getting clicked and what has not. It allows them to instantly analyze what’s working and customize the panel accordingly,” Cona told PaidContent.
Robert Triefus, worldwide marketing and communications director at Gucci, told the New York Times that Social Sidekick “allows us to reach the broad and highly qualified target audience associated with Condé Nast brands.”
That would be women aged 18 to 35, and both Conde Nast and Gucci are betting that social media like Twitter feeds and Facebook pages will make Social Sidekick a social success.
“Consumer engagement has become a top priority,” said Cona in the Times article.
Business Insider sees the tool as being in the same vein as the company's other digital add-ons: It's nice to look at, but it won't make a big difference to the bottom line.”
Conde Nast is making up for lost time in a deeper digital dive – but time will tell if Social Sidekick leads to engagement ... or proves a fleeting friendship.