Marketing in the Digital Age: News Round-Up (week ending May 3, 2019)


Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street? No, but Waze can! Plus exciting Instagram changes rolling out this year, and voice enabled ads that could revolutionize an industry in this week’s Marketing in the Digital Age.

Instagram Changes Coming in 2019


  1. Launching a new camera for Stories: now users can easily scroll through a camera wheel to find features like boomerang, stickers, and zoom. This also includes a “create mode” which allows users to create Stories without having to upload a pic or video first.

  2. Donation sticker for Stories: 100% of the proceeds go to the nonprofit.

  3. Instagram will roll our Creator profiles: this has influencers wondering what the best fit if for them. The Creator profile status will be limited to those with a certain follower count and will allow for added access to data, like who followed and unfollowed you. But, scheduling tools won’t available to Creator profiles.

  4. Buy products from influencers: this feature was previously in beta for some brands. Now, according to Instagram, “public figures, creators, athletes, publishers, and artists”  will have access to sell directly on the platform.

  5. Starting this summer, anyone can create their own filters: Facebook’s Spark AR Studio (the software that brands and designers use to create Instagram Stories filters) will be available to everyone this summer.

  6. Hiding likes is an official test: this unofficially already started (see last week’s recap). Now, Instagram will be rolling this out in Canada to test starting next week.

  7. “Away Mode”: In an attempt to combat bullying and notifications during sensitive periods of one’s life, this mode gives users a chance to step away from Instagram activity and notifications without having to delete their account.

Opinion: These announcements came during Facebook’s annual F8 conference and are significant enhancements to the platform. As a company, it’s pretty smart given the recent turmoil it has faced and a way to continue to evolve with user needs to stay relevant.

Spotify to Enable Voice Enabled Ads

Summary: Spotify announced it will test out voice enabled ads within its free version that will allow a user to use verbal commands to interact with the ad. Initially, the ads will be for playlists within Spotify to “play now” or just continue by listening to the ad.

Opinion: This could be a revolution within the ad industry and could open the doors to a new form of advertising for apps and other voice enabled products (Alexa, etc.). Instead of having to recall an ad for a product, a person could interact instantly with the brand or product.

How Do You Get To Sesame Street? Waze Can Help

Summary: To celebrate Sesame Street’s 50th anniversary, 63rd Street street in between Broadway and Central Park West in New York City is officially being named “Sesame Street.” And Waze will help navigate you there. On Wednesday afternoon, Waze will start in-app messaging for people using the app in the area to get to Sesame Street.

Opinion: I love this brand integration! It’s a fun and relevant way to celebrate a brand milestone while also a boost to Waze over competitors like Google Maps. I hope the Street is filled with children and their parents/guardians who found Sesame Street next week. :)

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Marketing in the Digital Age: News Round-Up (week ending June 15, 2018)


Now that AT&T and Time Warner's merger was approved by the department of justice, will confirmation bias slip even more into traditional advertising channels?   

AT&T-Time Warner- What It Means for Your Advertising

Summary: The DOJ approved AT&T's $85B takeover bid for Time Warner.  Over the past year, AT&T has been building out an ad and analytics units that they claim will do for automated advertising for premium video and advertising like how social media revolutionized digital advertising.  Their goal is to be more precise with targeted advertising. 

Opinion: I spoke about this a few months back when the merger was announced. While I like the idea of seeing ad content that is more relevant to me, my concern arose when thinking about confirmation bias in this setting.  For example, I lean left politically.  With this deal, I imagine I would be served more content that is left leaning.  However, I like to know how people who lean to the right politically are considering views to better educate myself.  With targeted traditional advertising, I would have make a concerted effort to seek out that info still.  It is that much more effort I (or anyone) would have to put into learning from an opposing view, which may further confirmation bias.  

Snap Announces SnapKit

Summary: Snapchat has launched a developer platform.  Using its APIs, developers can integrate Snap's login, create Bitmoji avatars into their keyboards, display public Our Stories and Snap Map content, and generate branded stickers with referral links users can share back inside Snapchat.  Initial partners include Tinder (allowing users to bring Bitmojis into chats) and others.  Their biggest selling point is privacy on the Kit, not allowing anyone to share social graphs with apps, to prevent a Cambridge Analytica mishap.  

Opinion:  Snap has a window of privacy advantage over Facebook right now, and it's good they are capitalizing on it.  User privacy, especially on this platform which originated based on stories disappearing within 24-hours (things you don't want others to see for long), is especially key.  

Google's Revamped Ad Settings

Summary: In an effort to be more transparent and educate people about data collection, Google has highlighted features of Why This Ad and Ad Settings, where users can turn off targeted ads to them.  These have existed for some time, but many people haven't seen how it exists. 

Opinion: Transparency and communication always help with user trust instead of people coming to their own conclusions on how their data is being used.  

Marketing in the Digital Age: News Round-Up (week ending 4.6.18)


Targeted ads: coming soon to your video-on-demand... 

Targeted Ads Coming to Your TV

Summary: A cable company that owns NCC announced it will launch a division dedicated to selling targeted ads to cable systems nationwide. The ads will appear on video-on-demand services. 

Opinion: While I like the idea of seeing ads that would pertain to me more so, my concern is that it leads to more information bias.  Now when watching ads on tv or ads online, I can come across info that may not be part of my current belief system-- for instance, an opposing political view ad.  What I find important is to see how another side views issues and to learn from them hopefully to make more informed decisions.  Being served ads that only cater to my likes could block opportunities to learn about opposing viewpoints. 

Media Ratings Council Gives Facebook Accreditation for Ad Impressions

Summary: The Media Ratings Council has given approval of Facebook and Instagram ad impressions. What this means is that it has been accredited for whether an ad is served.  That's it, not something more like viewability or invalid metrics though this is a positive step.  

Opinion: Well, it's a positive first step.  As marketers, having validity of more meaningful metrics, like viewability, are helpful in creating more meaningful content and targeting for consumers to meet business needs.  

Facebook Scans Messages for Abuse

Summary: Facebook does not listen in on your calls.  What it does monitor is "sensational messages" sent via Messenger, which came about because of some messaging taking place in Myanmar serving up incorrect information to people about Rohingya, the Muslim minority group in Myanmar.  

Opinion: As Congressional hearings progress around Facebook and Zuckerberg, it will be interesting to see where regulation nets out in regards to the social media giant.  Social media has served as a platform and communication tool for many political movements, both good and bad.  A level of regulation seems necessary. 

Snapchat Augmented Reality Lens for iPhone X Only

Summary: Snapchat released iPhone X specific lenses.  The three mask lenses truly do make it look like the masks are painted on you.  

Opinion: Although it's not going to get me to spend $1000 on an iPhone X or use Snapchat more, if you already have them the lenses do look pretty cool.