Marketing in the Digital Age: News Round-Up (week ending Mar 29, 2019)


Checkout on Instagram, Facebook Ban on White Nationalism, and E-Commerce reports on Google Analytics in this week’s Marketing in the Digital Age.

Facebook Announces Ban on White Nationalism

Summary: In the wake of the New Zealand mosque shooting (the shooter broadcast the crimes on Facebook Live), Facebook announced it will put a ban on rhetoric touting (“praise, support and representation”) for white nationalism and separatism. If a person searches for terms associated with white supremacy, they will be redirected to resources on helping people leave behind hate groups.

Opinion: I assume the issues of First Amendment rights will come up with the block of free speech and something I struggled with, even though I vehemently oppose the content like this. What I see as the difference with this, hate speech can exist but it doesn’t mean a company has to provide the platform to distribute it. People are granted access to free speech, not distribution.

Introducing Checkout on Instagram

Summary: Instagram announced launch of a beta test where you can buy products directly on Instagram without leaving the app. “When you tap to view a product from a brand’s shopping post, you’ll see a “Checkout on Instagram” button on the product page. Tap it to select from various options such as size or color, then you’ll proceed to payment without leaving Instagram. You’ll only need to enter your name, email, billing information and shipping address the first time you check out.”

Opinion: Impulse shopping at its finest!

Google Analytics Ecommerce Report: Standard vs Enhanced

Summary: “Although the Enhanced Ecommerce reports offer more information, setting them up requires more work. Only make that extra effort if you don’t have another tool that helps you analyze your customer journey and sales funnels and how they generate revenue. And if you’re just getting started with Google Analytics Ecommerce reports, the Standard option is a great choice.”

Opinion: Having clients who struggle with the investment (time and money), this article outlines the benefits of enhanced over standard ecommerce reports on Google Analytics.

Marketing in the Digital Age: News Round-Up (week ending Nov 30, 2018)


Google and Facebook launching new products in this week’s Marketing in the Digital Age.

YouTube Launches Stories

Summary: YouTube launched a Stories features for select prominent influencers. Much like Snapchat and Instagram Stories, which will allow them to post temporary video content. Unlike Snapchat and Instagram, though, these Stories will live for 7 days.

Opinion: Given the success of Snapchat (at a point in time) and Instagram Stories, it makes sense for Google to get in this game. For most brands, Stories should become an element of marketing in the coming year if it isn’t already.

Small Thanks, Google

Summary: Google created a program, Small Thanks, to enable businesses to create digital posters to post for their business based on reviews or offers.

Opinion: This could have been useful for the soon to be defunct Google+ in making it easy for users to post content about their business easily. Regardless, it is now an easy way for businesses, particularly small businesses, to promote their business online through these generated pieces of content from Google free of charge. And Google benefits from the added engagement.

Facebook Tests Live Video Mode for Sellers

Summary: In a discreet rollout, sellers can sign up for a waitlist for “Facebook Live Video Mode,” which enables Pages to showcase products in their stream. Viewers can then send in screenshots of products they would like to buy and a transaction is made via inbox.

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Opinion: I think this may make more sense once it’s rolled out. Reading the description, it seems like an unnecessary step to have to take a screenshot to purchase a product. I would prefer a number or description to be able to tell the retailer what I want instead. The exploration into added e-commerce functionalities is also a good way to have people stay on Facebook longer.

Marketing in the Digital Age: News Round-Up (week ending 11.16.18)


The headlines are particularly self-explanatory in this week’s edition of Marketing in the Digital Age.

Instagram Adds Shopping Features

Summary: Instagram unveiled three new shopping features ahead of the holiday season.

  1. After tapping a product tag in a Story or on a post in their feed, a user can tap the save icon button which will prompt a “Save to shopping collection” option.

  2. Branded videos can include a a hopping icon which will feature products and prices of items in the video.

  3. A shop tab will be added for business profiles, which will also users to browse products from the retailers.

Opinion: If I were Instagram, I would go a step further and setup an affiliate sales program to take a small fee from sales originating from the platform to expand revenue. This would require making the links clickable. As a retailer, I would welcome this since it’s a new avenue from which to directly sell via clickable links (another method of paid media).

Netflix Testing Cheaper, Mobile Only Plans

Summary: Netflix is testing out cheaper mobile only plans in order to test out expansion into Asia. The first test is in Malaysia at about $4/month.

Opinion: If a company wants to expand into Asia, mobile plans are the right target given its penetration rate over smart tv’s and laptops. It also allows the company to enter at a more favorable price point in countries where salaries are lower.

Facebook Fundraisers Raised Over a Billion Dollars

Summary: Facebook announced it helped raise over a billion dollars for charities through its fundraising and donate tools. They have over a million non-profits registered in 19 countries that can receive donations directly through Facebook and over 20 million people have donated or started a fundraiser.

Opinion: I thought I would end this week’s edition on the positive that can also come from social media and community giving.

Marketing in the Digital Age: News Round-Up (week ending Oct 12, 2018)


How Pantene can help fix your #BadHairDay and more in this week’s Marketing in the Digital Age.

Having #ABadHairDay? Pantene Can Help

Summary: Pantene's "14-Day Challenge" invites Instagram and Twitter users to post pictures with the #BadHairDay hashtag to receive a personalized consultation from a Pantene Hair Advisor. The haircare brand has enlisted an "army" of social responders in a new #GreatHairDay Studio to engage with each #BadHairDay post. They encourage people to post videos on social media with to be used as ads from “real people” using the product. The brand saw 17x more photos with #BadHairDay than with #GreatHairDay.

Opinion: I am sure the stylists are in need of well-deserved time off after answering that many posts/tweets! The engagement is interesting in that people wanted to share more of the “embarrassing” photos to get advice. Makes sense since there isn’t much interaction needed on a great hair day.

Snap Originals in AR

Summary: Snap will be releasing a dozen new shows catered for their format. It will be leveraging storytelling through an AR focus to make the viewing more interactive. The video will be filmed in a 360-degree format so that the viewer can walk through the scene as if you’re inside of it.

Opinion: Still struggling after the controversial redesign, it begs the question: why doesn’t Snapchat go back to its old format? These videos could be a good addition but still don’t address the fundamental, mass attrition issue.

Facebook Interactions Influence Instagram Feed

Summary: If you like or comment friend’s posts on Facebook, you will be more likely to see this friend’s content on your Instagram feed. Because your Instagram feed is no longer ranked chronologically, a majority of content from friends and family were being missed. Facebook uses machine learning to prioritize what content may be most relevant for you.

Opinion: They are the same company. It’s not rocket science to put one-and-one together to see that they would cross-use data. Especially with the amount of data breaches Facebook has seen, we know they use a lot of data to market.

Marketing in the Digital Age: New Round-Up (week ending Aug 10, 2018)


Controlling Google's algorithm, Instagram's makeup trend, and Facebook large page verifications in this week's Marketing in the Digital Age.  

Google's Celebrity Video App, Cameos

Summary: Google is releasing an app for celebrities to search for the most asked questions about them and respond with vertical video.  It's like a Reddit-style AMA (Ask Me Anything) that allows celebrities more control over what people see about them.  These videos will appear at the top of search results, and allow celebrities to weigh in ahead of Google's algorithm feed.  

Opinion: Some celebrities will need a publicist to control this, ahem, Kanye, Trump... 

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Instaception: Instagram's Newest Makeup Trend

Summary: Instaception is being used by makeup artists to paint borders on one's face to look like the frame of an Instagram post.  

Option:  Although I couldn't see walking out of the house with a painted still frame on my face personally, props to these artists for a new, literal facial expression.  

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Facebook Pages with Large Followings to Require Location Verification

Summary: In an effort to crack down on fake accounts, Facebook will require pages with large followings to verify their physical location.  The definition of "large" accounts was not released, but these accounts will receive a notification in the top of their News Feed.  If an account chooses not to verify the info, they can no longer post.  Facebook managers will also need to verify his/her location.  This action will start this month primarily on accounts with large US followings.

Opinion: It feels like there is still a way to circumvent the verification process if the Facebook account was setup via a VPN or something to the like.  Since this is not my area of expertise, I am sure the security team at Facebook has already addressed this (well, hopefully). 

Marketing in the Digital Age: News Round-Up (week ending Jul 27, 2018)


Colleges using targeted marketing, Facebook drops big, and the $60B company you probably have never heard of (yet). 

Colleges Turn to Corporate Marketing Playbook

Summary: To recruit new students, colleges have turned to consumer-driven marketing targeted at adults and graduate studies (a market for which there isn't as much data as high school surest, where info about students are purchased through standardized test companies). Houston Baptist University found room research that their students had a large interested in recreational boating and fishing.  Using this, they bought targeted ads on Facebook featuring a woman on a boat to show potential applicants that they can still have a social life while pursuing a higher degree.  

Opinion: First, I didn't know data about me from high school was being sold to universities to push schools on me.  With high school students being under 18 for the bulk of the time while enrolled, it feels like there should be more explicit parental consent to have this data sold off.  Second, I think education can and should take more from corporate learnings to apply to their own marketing. It's already been proven in those markets, so I don't think there is a need to reinvent the wheel.  Higher education is still something that needs to be purchased like a good, so it can be marketed the same (to an extent).  

Facebook Loses $120B in Market Cap

Summary: Facebook's market cap fell $120B after its earning call yesterday. This was the single biggest drop in Wall Street history.  Why? Amongst large privacy concerns, Facebook also saw its slowest growth rate ever, user count shrank in Europe and stayed flat in US and Canada, revenue growth would decelerate, and shifting to Stories may (or may not, they don't know) have an impact on advertising.

Opinion: Who do you know that's not on Facebook?  A slowed user growth is inevitable because there are only so many people who would sign up for a platform.  I do also applaud the company for being transparent with the challenges they are facing amongst a shift to Stories and privacy.  There are many public companies, including ones I have seen firsthand, that dress up the bad news instead of addressing it head-on.  

Pinduoduo, China's Latest E-Commerce Force

Summary: PInduoduo just IPOd on the US market raising $1.6B at a $60B valuation.  It is an e-commerce site based in China that allows shoppers not only to shop for their products like home appliances to groceries, but adds a social component to purchases.  Users can invite their contacts on WeChat and QQ to form a "shopping team" to get a lower price for their purchase.  It keeps users engaged as well through coupons and free products.  Its acquisition costs have been low for these reasons and it keeps people coming back to score deals with your friends.  

Opinion: I haven't used this app and don't speak Mandarin to translate it, so I can't speak to it firsthand.  From what I have read, I think it would be fun to shop like this for awhile.  After some time, the novelty of finding the best deal for your friends would wear off quickly for me.  But, maybe that's the method to get people onto the site.  The other free deals and incentives could make it worthwhile to stay.  

Marketing in the Digital Age: news Round-Up (week ending Jul 20, 2018)


Possible hope to keep net neutrality alive, buying movie tickets on Facebook, music selling everything but music, and Netflix big brother eyes in this week's Marketing in the Digital Age. 


Hope to Keep Net Neutrality? 

Summary: Republican Rep Mike Coffman was the first House republican to sign his name on a petition to force a vote on keeping net neutrality.  

Opinion: Net neutrality shouldn’t be a partisan issue, but it has become one.  As a person who has made a living off the internet in digital marketing, repealing net neutrality is an act that harms the consumer.  It will throttle speeds when essentially the government has decided you’ve had enough access to the internet. 

Buying Movie Tickets on Facebook

Summary: Soon, you’ll be able to buy your movie tickets through Facebook via AMC, Fandango, and Atom Tickets.  Facebook’s product manager Swapna Joshi stated, “…This is another way we’re working to make going to the movies fun and easy.”

Opinion: Another way to keep people on Facebook longer, smart.  

Music as a Key Marketing Strategy for Marriott Hotels

Summary: Marriott has said that music has been a successful marketing strategy for them.  In 2016, they held a 3-day music festival called Wake Up Call at the W in Scottsdale.  The event was such a a success that they have decided to launch several more in the upcoming year, starting with the W Hollywood Sept 1.  

Opinion: I once heard someone say music sells everything, except music.  Another case of it here.  These music festivals will book up the W Hotel rooms, naturally, and expose people to their brand to book in the future.  

How Many Times Did you Watch A Christmas Prince? 

Summary: Netflix is facing backlash from its recent tweet stating that 53 people have watched A Christmas Prince everyday for 18 days.  Following with a “who hurt you?” to make it seem funny.  People were outraged at the creepiness of the big brother watching over you.  

Opinion: Uh, yeah, how do you think Netflix is as big as it is?  It’s not by guessing what you like, it’s by watching what you like and making content for just that.