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


Trend of more from less? Twitter and Snapchat both report decline in monthly users but an increase in revenue. LinkedIn finds a way for more people to see content from the non-1%.

Twitter Q3 Revenues Up

Summary: Twitter reported an increase of 29% in revenue year-over-year, including the same increase in advertising revenue as well. They’ve done a better job of removing spam-like accounts at sign up and are introducing efforts to make it easier to follow events, topics, and interests. However, monthly active users have dropped.

Opinion: Although a bit of a ways off, Twitter could go the way of the telephone with this trend—a few people will hang on to it that you can charge more, but the overall numbers are down.

Snap Q3, Revenue Up but MAUs Down

Summary: Snap was in a similar situation to Twitter, up $14.34M above earning expectations, but down nearly 1 million monthly active users. The stock took a beating on this news

Opinion: So what’s the difference between Twitter and Snap? My theory is that Twitter has been (arguably) improving on a situation whereas Snap is facing decline in users without much on the horizon indicating there will be a turnaround.

LinkedIn Algorithm Change

Summary: LinkedIn recently made changes to its algorithm allowing more posts to be seen by the non-1% . Prior to the change, most posts that were seen were produced from the top 1% of content creators, discouraging others from posting because posts wouldn’t be seen. With the new changes, 8% of the feedback is being redistributed from the top .01% creators.

Opinion: Now maybe people will start seeing my LinkedIn posts to this blog!

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: News Round-Up (week ending Sept 28, 2018)


How many new ways can we get advertised to now? Let me count the ways…

Facebook Shadow Profiles

Summary: Even if you changed your ad settings not to target on Facebook, Facebook has still found a way to target ads to you with near psychic like prediction. By using information you handed over for security purposes, like a cell for two-step verification, or even info you didn’t hand over at all, like your contact number stored in your friend’s contact list that s/he connected to Facebook, these “shadow profiles” are being used to target ads to you. This practice wasn’t limited to Facebook but also extended to Pinterest, Google, and Twitter.

Opinion: I would have that Facebook would get a jump ahead on rectifying this situation with the amount of security breaches and scrutiny it has been under the past few months. I guess not. In addition, it seems none of the other culprits are learning from what Facebook has endured either and are doomed to repeat the same mistake. These actions seem all too familiar when it comes to seeing businesses thinking they are too big to fail (i.e. banks, entertainment industry).

Snapchat’s New Monetization Strategies

Summary: Snapchat announced Collections, which will allow brands to provide links to purchase their products without having to swipe up on the ad. Collections will appear between users’ Stories and in the Discover section. In addition, Snap also announced it will allow users to purchase products on Amazon by pointing the Snapchat camera at an object around them.

Opinion: These seem like great tools to bring more concrete engagement metrics to brands that advertise on Snapchat. One thing to note, with Instagram announcing a similar purchase link a week and a half ago, it’s suspect how independently these companies actually run.

Facebook Goes After YouTube Advertising

Summary: Facebook announced In-Stream Reserve which will allow advertisers to reach people watching video from a selection of the most watched videos. Advertisers can select specific categories to advertise within, like beauty, sports, etc. YouTube has a similar option called Google Preferred. Facebook also announced ThruPlay, which allows advertisers to pay for ads that are viewed through completion or at least 15 seconds only (akin to TrueView with YouTube).

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 16,2018)


In this week's edition of Marketing In The Digital Age, there have been lots of updates and redesigns to Google and Snap which will affect marketing planning.  How will your company evolve with the changes? 

Snapchat Redesign Under Fire From Consumers

Summary: Snapchat took to a redesign earlier this week, which launched a petition signed by 1.1m+ users and counting to go back to the old look.  A complaint highlighted by CEO Evan Spiegel said a user complained that celebrities used to feel like a friend but they don't anymore with the new ways Stories are presented, to which Spiegel responded, "...exactly. They're not your friend."

Opinion: Ouch, Spiegel!  Why wouldn't you want a key differentiator from dominant competitors in the space?  Even though Snap's earnings were better than expected this week, it still has a ways to go to stay on top of its business and colossal giant Facebook.

Google's New Ad Blocker

Summary: Google rolled out a new ad blocker to help mitigate annoying ads, like ones where sound automatically plays or ads you can't close until a certain amount of time has passed. Google is essentially blacklisting sites that violate the terms and also blocking all ads on the violator's site.  With a major source of its revenue coming from Google Ad Network, Google is taking this preemptive measure to keep people from installing more aggressive ad blockers that hurt revenue even more.

Opinion: Although it may be painful to some advertisers with annoying ads in the short run, the move helps advertisers since Google is helping keep the door open for ads to be seen still.  

Google Emails to Upate Automatically

Summary: Google unveiled it will roll out a demonstration of dynamically updated emails, which would allow for emails to be continuously updating with information and greater interactivity.  An example could be automatically updated flight info in a booking confirmation email.  The feature is coming out of Goggle's AMP, Accelerated Mobile Pages, division, which strips out technology to make pages load faster.

Opinion: There have been instances where I have needed original information from an email, and I wonder how these automatic updates will affect the flow of information.  Web developer critics are also saying that this gives Google too much say in the way the web operates.  

Marketing in the Digital Age: News Round-Up (week ending Feb 2, 2018)


Why isn't Google or Facebook threatened by Amazon's projected $8 billion ad business in 2019?  Because they will be playing in different playgrounds... 

Instagram Is Turning into Facebook and That's Bad

Summary: Instagram is getting transformed into many of the facets its big brother Facebook has: ads are increasing in frequency, seeing recommended content from people you don't know, and even showing when users were last active.  

Opinion: This article was the opinion of the author, and I agree with many of the points made.  Instagram was built as a different platform from Facebook, and it's why its popularity grew.  Morphing it into another version of Facebook will strip away the reason why people use Instagram.

Amazon Ad Business

Summary: At a projected $8 billion in revenue by 2019, Amazon's ad business still isn't a threat to Google or Facebook. Why?  Because as Google and Facebook are looking to pull dollars from traditional media spending and digital ad budgets, Amazon is focused on the trade promotions arena (think in-store promotions, coupons, and samples).

Opinion: With the mass amount of data Amazon already has on its customers, moving into this new ad world can surge new life into the trade promotions arena by expanding advertisers spends in this area.  

Snapchat Launches Snap Store

Summary: Snapchat has launched a store in its platform, which you can find by searching for it or via Snapcode.  You can buy t-shirts, hats, and merchandise with Snap branding on it.  

Opinion: I've never been a fan of buying clothing or merchandise that sports a brand's name.  I feel like I should be paid to advertise for them instead of the other way around, but, hey, if it's your thing, the Store is waiting for you.   


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.  

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.