Will Pongr Be the Next Social Media Giant?

Katie Petrillo
Katie Petrillo Marketing Manager, B2B, Punchbowl

Posted on April 3rd 2013

Will Pongr Be the Next Social Media Giant?

Pongr, a photo-marketing social media company, connects people with the brands they use and love by asking its users to take and submit photos with a brand’s product or ad. The success of sites like Pinterest and Instagram shows the power of visual content. The question becomes, is Pongr the next big thing or a social fad?

How it works

Once a person takes a picture, they email it from their phone or computer to brandname@pongr.com. Pongr technology validates that the logo or product is visible. Pongr incentivizes the interaction by offering rewards once users reach a certain number of points/submissions, and it awards titles to the most frequent submitters. A Pongr user can become “CEO” of a brand, like how a 4sqr user can become “Mayor” of a check-in location.

pongr social network

What Pongr can do for brands

  • Engagement opportunities: Brands can use promotions and sweepstakes, social media sharing, loyalty program integration, and retail intelligence data to encourage consumers to use Pongr for their brand. 
  • Combines traditional and social ads: A consumer takes a picture of a product ad in a magazine, sends it to Pongr on their smartphone, and is directed to a mobile coupon or point-of-purchase page for that product.
  • Crowdsourced content: Brands receive tons of user-generated photos that shed light on how your products are really interpreted by consumers. 

The disadvantages of Pongr

  • Lack of reputation: Because Pongr doesn't have mass awareness yet, consumers don't yet know what to do with Pongr or know the benefits. Ramp up time is daunting when sites like Pinterest and Instragram grow so much each day.
  • Cost: The basic plan starts at $1900/month for up to 2,500 Pongr fans. This is a decent chunk of a marketing budget and Pongr will need to prove it deserves those dollars before brands hand over the money.  

Pongr and moms

There’s no denying that moms love taking pictures—especially of their kids. Young moms, aged 18-30, take nearly 200 photos in a 3-month period, compared to an average of 126 photos for non-moms in the same age group. Moms also use their cameras more frequently: 68% reported using their digital camera multiple times per week, versus just 37% of non-moms.

Celebrations are a major incentive to take pictures as moms want to remember birthday parties, holidays, and themed events. This provides an opportunity for businesses in the celebrations industry to engage with their customers after the purchase of products like tableware, beverages, and decorations, and after the event itself. 

As moms take pictures, Pongr provides an easy way for them to engage with the brands they love and earn rewards. Getting a coupon for sending in a picture is more fun than searching for discounts online or paging through a newspaper insert. 

Brands already using Pongr

Several major brands, such as Dunkin Donuts and Condé Nast, have created successful marketing campaigns through Pongr. Sierra Mist launched a campaign to promote Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash, asking consumers to submit a photo of the product and offering a 3-month supply of Sierra Mist as the grand prize. The promotion has been integrated across social platforms as consumers can also enter by tweeting a photo with #CranSplash. This cross-promotion is a great way to engage more consumers and maximize publicity.

branding with pongr

As social media platforms shift in popularity, it can be difficult to know which ones are fads and which will last. Pongr’s combination of crowd-sourced content and visual media creates a powerful platform. Though it has had campaigns with high profile brands, Pongr is still working to establish name recognition. The long term success of Pongr will depend on its ability to generate consumer awareness and brand engagement. If it can do this, Pongr has the potential to become the next Pinterest or Instagram—moms love to engage with social media and visual content. 

Katie Petrillo

Katie Petrillo

Marketing Manager, B2B, Punchbowl

Katie is the Marketing Manager at Punchbowl, where she contributes to the Punchbowl Trends blog. Follow her on Twitter @PunchbowlTrends and find her on Google+

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Posted on April 3rd 2013 at 5:32PM

Pongr's approach reminds me of the crowdsourced old-school images printed in Glamour, which showed readers with their magazine in exotic or unusual locations. Unsure what those readers used to win, other than glory in print.

Katie Petrillo
Posted on April 4th 2013 at 1:15PM

That's true Kerry! A local magazine here in Boston does that as well. But this strategy gets consumers really engaged with the brand - they really want to see their photo in the magazine. Or in this case, have their photo recognized by the brand. The idea of using your customers as advocates is very cool, maybe with some tweaking Pongr will nail it.

Matt Aster
Posted on April 3rd 2013 at 6:00PM

A social media network run by marketing people for consumers... I see this going nowhere :(

Posted on April 3rd 2013 at 10:08PM

I'm liking that it brings together traditional and digital/social media, but that pricing seems way off for a site with so little engagement so far. Why not go free to get public interest, then think about pricing when consumers really 'need' the site?

Katie Petrillo
Posted on April 4th 2013 at 1:12PM

I agree that the price will be a sticking point for Pongr - some people just won't be willing (or able) to pay. Especially when tools like Pinterest and Instagram are free. 

Posted on April 4th 2013 at 12:12PM

Very interesting concept! Although some blast it as a fad and what not, I think it's a very good shot at trying to help brands reach consumers better. 

For improvement, maybe the founding team can think more about what consumers want to do with brands rather than what brands want to do with consumers.