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Marketing in the Digital Age: News Round-Up (week ending Jul 13, 2018)


How many followers did you lose?  Twitter (and Facebook to an extent) purging of fake accounts, AR ads, and Instagram Stories question stickers in this week's Marketing in the Digital Age.   

Twitter Removing Fake Accounts

Summary: On Thursday, Twitter started purging fake accounts off the site.  The move aims at restoring trust to the embattled platform.  In part, this move came from threats of brand advertisers, like Unilever, who put pressure on Twitter to ensure the influencers they were paying actually had the influence they claimed.  Otherwise, they would be pulling funds out from advertising on Twitter.  

Opinion: The proliferation of fake accounts should not have gone on this long to begin with, but at least Twitter is working on rectifying the situation now.  

Facebook Augmented Reality Ads

Summary: Facebook has released ads which allow people to virtually try on products.  So instead of just imagining how that new chair would look in your living room, the AR in the Pottery Barn ad can allow you to use your camera to see how it would virtually look in your living room.  For now, the ads will only roll out on Facebook (not Messenger or Instagram, yet).  And also to come, you can buy the product directly too. 

Opinion: Having returned a couch that just didn't look right once it arrived at my place, something like an AR integration could have saved the poor delivery people the hassle and money on my part.  

Instagram Posts Sticker Questions 

Summary: Instagram will now allow users ask questions using a sticker with followers on Instagram Stories. 

Opinion: How are you? What should I have for lunch today?  Tell me something good (okay, technically not a question).  Endless interaction possibilities for brands with their followers! 

Marketing in the Digital Age: News Round-Up (week ending Jun 29, 2018)


Getting creative with music, ad transparency, and more consumer protection in this week's edition of Marketing in the Digital Age.  

Instagram Stories With Music

Summary: Not only did Instagram announce this week that Instagram Stories has 400m active users, it announced that Stories' users in the US and 5 other countries will be able to add music to videos and photos they shoot on the platform.  They did a deal with all major labels to include hits users can time their photos and videos to and post.  

The growth itself to 400m users, up from 300m in November, shows a growth rate of six times that of Snap's entire app.  

Opinion: Watch out,, Facebook is coming for you next!  I could see there being some antitrust issues if this were a more regulated space, but social media is still a Wild West (which Cambridge Analytica exposed).  

Twitter Launches Transparency Ads

Summary: In response to their role in the spreading of misinformation, particularly with the 2016 presidential election, Twitter launched an Ads Transparency Center.  From this, anyone can view search any Twitter handle and see what ad campaigns the account has placed in the past seven days.  For political advertisers in the US, there will be added info like billing, ad spend, impressions per tweet, and demographic targeting. Facebook will be announcing a similar ad transparency initiative.  

Opinion: It still floors me that our presidential election was tampered with by people who were not within the confounds of Facebook.  This is a good step, and my guess is that there will be people who monitor these buys and report on them a-la-blog style to make a living out of it.  Wait, maybe I should be that person...

California Passes Historic Privacy Bill

Summary: California lawmakers unanimously signed a historic privacy bill into effect.  As reported in Wired, "The new legislation gives Californians the right to see what information businesses collect on them, request that it be deleted, get access to information on the types of companies their data has been sold to, and direct businesses to stop selling that information to third parties.... The ballot initiative would have prevented businesses from denying service to consumers if they opt out of having their data tracked and stored. The law contains similar language, though it creates what Hertzberg calls the "Spotify exception," which allows companies to offer different services or rates to consumers based on the information they provide—for instance, a free product based on advertising. But, the bill states, the difference must be 'reasonably related to the value provided to the consumer by the consumer’s data.'"

Opinion: First, something was finally done unanimously within the government!  That in and of itself seems to be a victory in our current political climate.  Second, this seems to be a great step in protecting consumers' data.  Third, I do wonder how this will indeed affect technology innovation.  

Marketing In The Digital Age: News Round-Up (week ending Jan 12, 2018)


Ikea wants you to pee on their ads.  Well, not every ad, but a specific ad to reveal if you are pregnant and receive a discount on the product shows. 

Hulu Subscriber Base Growth for 2017

Summary: Hulu's subscriber grew 40% over the previous year, which still leaves a big gap from Netflix's base of 52.8 million. 

Opinion: Will this lead to more cord cutting?  Having tried several live TV streaming services, YouTube TV, Hulu Live, and DirecTV Now, the services still leave something to be desired.  The stream often cuts out and each service has its limitations on what channels are available. 

What Is Snapchat Now That Story Sharing Has Stopped Growing

Summary: Instagram Stories has halted growth from Snapchat's most promising moneymaker, Stories.  Prior to Instagram Stories, Snapchat grew 17.2% compared to last quarter's growth of only 2.9%. 

Opinion: It's good to have competition and alternatives to Facebook/Instagram, and I was rooting for Snap.  Sadly, it seems it will continue on this downward trend given other functionalities introduced, like Snap Map live location sharing and geo-tagged content search have continued to decline.  

Pee On This Ikea Ad To Find Out If You Are Pregnant

Summary: You pee on a section of the ad to see if you are pregnant and, if you are, you get a discount on the product shown in the ad.  

Opinion: It has me talking about it here as a marketing update so it's done it's job at innovation, and there could be other applications for this from a medical standpoint in the future.  But, ew.

The Subliminal Trick Netflix Uses to Get You To Watch More Movies and TV Shows

Summary: Most people make their viewing decisions based on the image since it is less of a time commitment than reading about the work.  Because of this, Netflix serves up different key art to you based on past watching behaviors.  For example, you may see Good Will Hunting pop-up in your recommended section.  If you were a viewer of romance based content in the past, you could be served an ad of Matt Damon and Minnie Driver kissing.  If you watched a lot of comedy in the past, you could get served an image of Robin Williams for the same film. 

Opinion: I think this offers a way to cater to individuals.  Different individuals may be drawn to the content for different reasons, so I think it's smart to offer different pieces of art from the same film to attract different people.