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What the New Lifestage App Means for Marketers

They weren’t lying when they said video is the future of social. Facebook’s newest app, Lifestage, allows high school students to communicate and express themselves solely through video.

Unlike Instagram stories, Lifestage isn’t a direct copy of Snapchat. The new app doesn’t allow for any form of communication outside of video. Rather than serving as a messaging platform, Lifestage will be used for self-expression through video bios.

Lifestage was created for people 21 and under, and designed for high schoolers to “find out more about the people in their school community,” Michael Sayman, the app’s creator, posted to Facebook. “Lifestage looks back at the days of Facebook from 2004 and explores what can be done if we went back and turned the crank all the way forward to 2016 with video-first.”

Did we mention Sayman is 19? How Gen Z is that? The teen has been at Facebook for about two years and had two successful apps under his belt prior to starting there.

Aside from making us adults feel a little excluded, Lifestage has us wondering what potential opportunity could be in store for marketers.

[Tweet “If Lifestage proves successful, this could be a platform full of Gen Z-ers and a lot of possibility.”]

We could be getting a little ahead of ourselves, as the app was released just last week, but a new platform means a new marketing opportunity.

Lifestage app screenshots on iPhones

Here’s what we’re thinking Lifestage could have in store for marketers:

Localized targeting: When signing up for the app, students enter the name of their high school. Talk about a hyper-targeting opportunity. While Snapchat’s advertising platform is nationally focused (and typically used for brand awareness), Lifestage could be used for local advertising. Who’s to stop a local pizza joint from posting an ad just around lunchtime? (Maybe a hefty price tag, but hey, we’re still in the hypothetical stage of thinking.)

Demographic targeting: Brands that advertise on Snapchat are reaching an audience in the 18-34 range. Think about how much your opinions and behaviors changed in that age range. Lifestage is just for high schoolers, so brands can really get personal with their tailored content. Facebook’s ad targeting platform is pretty amazing with its targeting, but that can only go so far if this generation isn’t using the platform regularly.

Native content: Remember the days on Snapchat before an ad would interrupt your peaceful story viewing? The subtler an ad is, the less likely you are to irritate your audience. Branded profiles could serve as a less invasive way to get eyeballs on your business or product. The platform asks its users to fill out a profile using only video. Profile fields include ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’ as well as ‘my favorite song’ and ‘my locker.’  Brands could participate in a similar video profile that users could explore at their leisure.

Screenshot of Facebook's new Lifestage app
Lifestage users fill out a profile using only video, answering fields like ‘my favorite song’ and ‘my backyard.’

Influencers: Gen Z relies heavily on their peers on social media to influence their purchasing decisions and shopping habits. Influencers use any form of social media to get their message across, but are particularly successful on Instagram and YouTube. Lifestage provides a new way for influencers to reach their demographic, so we’re thinking it will be flooded with influencers in no time. Aside from native content, utilizing influencers is a great way for brands to reach their audience more organically.

Since Lifestage is still brand new, we’ll give it some time before joining the fun. But don’t let the fact that a platform is new (or the fact that you have to be under 21 to join) stop you from dreaming. Brands should be thinking on opportunities the moment a platform is released. That way you’re prepared with content that will blow users away when the platform does open up to brands.


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