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 Aug 3, 2018)


"Wake up hustlers, let's get this bread. No days off"! Google news in China, WhatsApp ads, Apple App Store ads, and mascot selfies in this week's edition of Marketing in the Digital Age.  

Google Censored App for China

Summary: Google's recently leaked plans revealed their attempt to enter the Chinese market with a mobile search engine app and also getting into a censored news business.  The app would be powered by AI and provide customized info to each user.  It would also be censored, government friendly information.  

Opinion: China is a massive market, largely untapped in this space.  For any company to enter it is a huge milestone.  As far as censorship, on a related tangent, news everywhere is regulated to an extent.  The government of any nation releases and focuses on what news it wants the public to hear, not all of it.  China is of course a more extreme example of it, but it's a seemingly huge step to allow for the development of this technology.  

WhatsApp Launching Advertising

Summary: WhatsApp will rollout pay-to-use advertising for customer related inquiries, like information or service updates. "According to BBC news, the fee will be based on confirmed delivery, on which advertisers will pay between 0.5 cents to 9 cents (0.3p to 7p), depending which country the user is based in, meaning the service could actually be more expensive than standard SMS messages."  The advertising is meant to encourage a dialogue between customers and businesses, as it will be free for businesses to respond within 24 hours but the charge described beyond.  

Summary: I  wonder if responding with an automated "we'll get back to you soon" within 24-hours will buy businesses time to respond properly later.  As a business, this could be a challenging (and expensive) way to keep up communication with customers.  On the business-side, I would proceed only if the proper response infrastructure is in place to serve the potential volume of customer requests. As a customer, this could be great to get immediate responses out of businesses. 

Apple Store Search Ads Expansion

Summary: In an effort to take on Google and Facebook, Apple announced it will expand search ads on the Apple Store in Germany, Korea, Japan, Spain, France, and Italy. The ad expansion has already taken place in 7 other countries, including the US.  Apple ventured into search advertising only two years ago quickly rising from 23rd in ranking to 3rd.  

Opinion: With its recent $1T valuation, Apple is technically not in need of new revenue sources.  This move does help to keep its place on top, though, by not resting on what they had done in the past.  

Wake Up, Hustlers! Mascot Selfies

Summary: Jay, @iPurrple, posted a selfie with the caption "Wake up hustlers, let's get this bread. No days off" to his Twitter and it went viral overnight, appearing even on Diplo's Instagram Stories.  Soon, others joined in on the fun.  Soon, others chimed in with their own words of encouragement on making money and with their own mascot selfies.   

Opinion: Twitter was made for this!  I like the positive support. :)

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Marketing in the Digital Age: News Round-Up (week ending Jun 8, 2018)


In this week's Marketing in the Digital Age, several subjects of A.I. have come up and Facebook has a breach of data, again.  With A.I. rapidly progressing and coming into the forefront of media, what type of regulation needs to be in place to keep humanity protected? 

Facebook Breaches Data of its Users

Summary: New York Times reported this week that Facebook gave 60 device makers access to users' data and that of their friends without express permission.  Facebook denies this.  However, they have confirmed that a data-sharing partnership with Chinese firms including Huawei (a company flagged by US intelligence as a security threat).  Apparently the information transferred was stored only on a user's device, not Chinese company servers.  

Opinion: A lot of what has been happening in the social media space has gone unchecked, largely because it's a new arena and the implications from it haven't been planned for or  contemplated.  I imagine that will quickly change with the massive breaches Facebook has undergone the past several months.  

Google Won't Use A.I. for Evil

Summary:  Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced yesterday an emphasis of Alphabet's philosophy of "don't be evil" when he confirmed that Google won't use its A.I. tools for weapons or surveillance.- with some caveats.  It will work with the government and military on cybersecurity and surveillance but nothing that violates "internationally accepted norms".   

Opinion: What is one woman's/man's evil is not necessarily the other's.  A.I. is coming, but as you see from the Facebook breaches, a level of regulation also needs to be set here to ensure humanity's safety.  Using a vague avoidance of what violates "internationally accepted norms" could likely vary on more subtle points from one person to the next (or one country to the next country).

A.I. Training in the Dark Corners of Reddit

Summary: Researchers at MIT trained an artificial intelligence psychopath machine, Norman (as in Norman Bates), using Reddit.  The purpose was to show that the data used to train machine learning algorithms influences its behaviors.  “Norman suffered from extended exposure to the darkest corners of Reddit,” the researchers state, “and represents a case study on the dangers of artificial intelligence gone wrong when biased data is used in machine learning algorithms.” Example of what Norman responded with: 



Opinion: See opinion above.  Don't let it get to be a problem before potential solutions and regulations are explored! 

@tinycarebot vs. @infinite_scream

Summary: Two Twitter bots have been stuck on a seemingly endless loop of "conversation" for hours on Twitter.  @infinite_screeam will respond to any tweet with a poignant "AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH" while @tinycarebot sends out uplifting, emoji-filled messages. So every uplifting tweet is met with virtual screams.  

Opinion:  Hah, just a stupid and fun way to go into the weekend before A.I. takes over writing these blogs for me.  

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


Since it's been in news still and I've gotten questions on how Facebook's data leak happened, I think it's worth addressing here as a 50 million users' identities have been unknowingly shared. This user info helped get Trump elected.  

How Facebook Allowed Cambridge Analytica to Get Data for 50 Million Users

Summary: A Cambridge professor gathered data on 270k people for this website who used their Facebook login info to login to his site.  When you do this, the third party often can receive additional info, like your name, location, or friend list.  So, the site's developers took this data and built profiles for user's friends list from the original 270k.  Collectively, they were able to gather data like photos, status updates, check-ins, for a group of 50 million Facebook users.  For 30 million of those users, enough data was able to be extracted (because it was public) to build psychographic profiles on them.

This was all on the up-and-up until... the professor shared this with Cambridge Analytica. Facebook contended this did violate its terms of service.  Now, Zuckerberg and crew will be facing the FTC on its privacy violations.  Moreover, because there wasn't a straight ownership and apology of the mistake from Facebook, public mistrust grew giving rise to the campaign #deletefacebook.  

Opinion: You know when you have the option to login into other sites using your Facebook login information?  That's how data was shared across 50 million profiles on Facebook.  It's not worth the amount of data you share with third parties to save 2-3 steps in a login process.  

Snap Maps Hidden Easter Eggs

Summary: Snapchat added hidden Easter-themed surprised to Snap Maps.  Starting today, you can hunt for AR eggs and compete with friends for points.  Like Pokemon Go, it's a physical location based game, so you have to travel to different locations to collect eggs.  

Opinion: This is a great way to get people using Snap Maps, which has been deemed a priority product for the company.  Related to above, I wonder how Facebook's massive data leak will benefit Snap as a "secure" place to be digitally in comparison.  

Google's Articles for You Tab

Summary: Since adding a personalized article tab for "Articles for You" on Chrome mobile, it's driven 341 million article reads up from 15 million.  

Opinion: I like the convenience of being served articles that I may read.  However, I feel this could add to news bias in seeking out content that validates our views instead of coming across articles from both sides to try to understand different points of view.   


Marketing in the Digital Age: News Round-Up (week ending Feb 23, 2018)


The tweet that cost $1.7B... Kylie Jenner tweeted out that she no longer uses Snapchat, and the market price tumbled staggering $1.7B.

Kylie Jenner Wipes Off $1.7B Market Cap for Snap

Summary: In addition to above, Citigroup downgraded Snap's stock to a sell primarily based on the redesign launched last week.  

Opinion: Words are powerful.  As marketers, we have to carefully choose what we put out in the world to represent brands and ourselves.  

Maybelline Asks Followers If It Should Quit Snapchat

Summary: Maybelline tweeted out a poll asking its followers if it should leave Snapchat.  After 6,000 people responded, Maybelline deleted the tweet.  A spokesperson from Maybelline said the tweet was made by an individual and does not reflect the views of the company. 

Opinion: Good week for Twitter, bad week for Snap.  This example is why it's important to put a seasoned professional in social media who know the effects of their power.  Oftentimes, which may or may not be the case at Maybelline, marketing professionals put millennials mistakenly in place simply because they grew up with the technology and not because they have the skills to master the job.  

Black Panther Highest Grossing MCU Film in First Week

Summary: Black Panther took in $292m in North America during its opening week, which is higher than any other Marvel Cinematic Universe title. 

Opinion: Being a woman of color, it's not often that I see someone who reflects either of these fundamental aspects of me in mainstream media.  I hope the success of having a quality film with an actor of color as the lead opens the eyes of brands that there is still money to be made when exercising the social good of diversity. 

Google Puts AR on 100 Million Phones

Summary: Google released its augmented reality, ARCore, to its 1.0 release to bring the technology to over 100 million phones.  The company said it will be bringing ARCore to Samsung, Huawei, LGE, Motorola, ASUS, Xiaomi, HMD/Nokia, ZTE, Sony Mobile, and Vivo. 

Opinion: I think the potential for AR is so much stronger than VR in our current state, and it's often overlooked by industries as a powerful marketing tool.  With VR, there is still too much education, content, and devices needed in circulation to make a true effect.  This integration of AR into everyday devices gives marketers a powerful tool to share experiences about their products.  

Marketing in the Digital Age: News Round-Up (week ending Jan 26, 2018)


Like what you just watched? Consider a tip of $3... 

Facebook Tipping for Live Gamestreamers

Summary: Facebook Live is launching a monetization strategy allowing viewers to tip a minimum of $3 to creators on their desktop site.  If you are gamer who is reading this, you can sign up here. 

Opinion: This is a great way to get even more creators using Facebook Live.  It incentives more creators to use Facebook Live over competing platforms.  

Twitter AI Photo Recognition

Summary: Twitter will use an AI technique called "saliency" to zoom in on the part of a picture where a user is likely to look to make. Meaning, instead of only seeing a cat's neck when you first upload a pic onto Twitter, AI has learned what most people will focus on and will provide for that as the center of the image.  

Opinion: It's a good move towards improving user experience, but there needs to be a lot more improvement to see a noticeable shift in user engagement. 

Google's Local News App

Summary: Google is testing a tool, Bulletin, that will allow users to publish local news stories and events.  

Opinion: Even though this will be on a local scale, Google will hopefully be integrating checks to prevent contributions towards fake news. 

Super Bowl Advertising Costs and Rejections

Summary: An ad in the Super Bowl will run a pretty penny, at least $5 million pretty pennies to be exact for a 30 second ad.  The NFL rejected an ad from AMVET using hashtag #PleaseStand in reference to players kneeling during the anthem.  NFL spokesperson said the ad was rejected stating the Super Bowl "has never been a place for advertising that could be considered by some as a political statement."

Opinion: Having worked tangentially on a Super Bowl ad, it's definitely not a spend to be taken lightly.  Make sure your ad is unique, to put it lightly, and have clear awareness goals in mind when creating the ad.  


Marketing In The Digital Age: News Round-Up (week ending Jan 5, 2018)


First news round-up of the year! I managed to get the year right instead of publishing 2017, so we're off to a good start!  It's the little wins, friends. 

New Era of "Digital Media" Architecture

Summary: Digital media (think projections) on buildings are changing our urban landscape, though urban policy isn't necessarily evolving alongside it. 

Opinion: For advertisers, this could pose a new way to spread awareness for products and services. I tried this in the past, but legal regulations prohibited exploring this within the Los Angeles region.  With a balance of aesthetics and changing urban needs, hopefully policy evolves to respect that as well. 

Amazon Plans to Take on Facebook and Google in Digital Advertising

Summary: It's estimated that 86% of digital ad growth in 2016 came from Facebook and Google.  While Amazon is approximately eat fifth larger producer of digital advertising revenue, it controls only about 2% of the market.  

Opinion: Disruption within the current duopoly is needed.  If any company has a chance of succeeding, Amazon is the one to do it. 

Acton's New Camera Sunglasses

Summary: Acton's new sunglasses allow you to livestream to Facebook, Instagram or YouTube.  It's specially priced at $99 as a pre-order (orig $199).  

Opinion: On the surface, this seems to have a greater chance at market penetration than Snap's Spectacles since you can go beyond the 10 second limit and have a variety of places you can post content. 




Last round-up of 2017! Guess what the must have app is for millennials?  And, no, it's not a social media app...

New comScore study: Five of the top ten “must-have” apps among millennials are utility apps

Summary: And the #1 most downloaded app amongst 18-34 year olds is... Amazon! Five of the top ten most downloaded are utility apps. 

Tech Trends to Watch Out for in 2018

Summary: VCs are moving away from productivity apps or games and more towards entrepreneurs looking to solve global problems. 

Google Extends Practices Stemming From U.S. Antitrust Case

Summary: Google is voluntarily removing restrictions on use of AdWords (online search advertising platform), which the FTC was concerned would make it more difficult for advertisers to coordinate campaigns on AdWords and on competing platforms. 

Apple Finally Issues an Apology after its iPhone Battery Fiasco

Summary: In response to recent backlash on older iPhones being slowed down intentionally by Apple, the company has reduced the price of replacement batteries from $79 to $29 starting Jan 2018.