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 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.  

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 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.