Marketing in the Digital Age: News Round-Up (week ending May 31, 2019)


Is the influencer bubble busting, Twitter allows guests to join live video, and an app that received 5 million downloads in less than a month in this week’s Marketing in the Digital Age.

Influencer with 2M Followers Couldn’t Sell 36 T-Shirts

Summary: An influencer with 2 million followers on Twitter couldn’t sell 36 t-shirts of her own product line. Her post expressing the disappointment, which has since been taken down on her Instagram account, got over 35,000 likes even.

Opinion: Influencer marketing is tricky and often overrated. As a brand or someone who promoting products with them, it’s important to to provide ways to measure a lift of sales, impressions, something so you know this is a line of marketing working for you. (Enter, Sipra Thakur with One Thousand Suns to help :))

Twitter Lets Guests Join Your Live Video

Summary: Twitter rolled out a new function which allows allow audio only addition of up to three guests to your live video stream. Video streamers can take questions, interact with the audio callers, or more.

Opinion: This could be great, like the equivalent of live calls on the air. It’s a cool marketing tool for brands to use for product rollouts, Q&A, album releases, and more. Since it’s also new, there is a lot of space to explore and make a statement. It’s also finally a way Twitter has moved ahead of Instagram and Facebook when it comes to live video. I won’t be surprised when Instagram/Facebook roll this functionality out soon as well.

Yolo: A New Social Media App Built on Snapchat

Summary: Yolo is an anonymous Q&A app that asks followers for feedback. It’s currently at 5 million downloads from its release on May 2. The creator attributes the surprise success to the app’s name (side opinion: branding, it’s a thing!). It’s built around Snapchat. Once you download the app, it redirects you to Snapchat where you can post your question (with or without your Bitmoji avatar) and your followers can answer. Friends/followers can see the question on Yolo but have to go to Snapchat to answer. Though it’s anonymous, if the person is found to be harassing, Yolo will reveal the person’s name.

Opinion: The concept has potential. If this were my app, I would start off the examples that are truly based on positive feedback as it states. The example shots in the Apple App Store center around looks, which is not a jump start off for positive feedback when comments can be posted anonymously. And if I were Snap, I would actively be working with this company to either acquire it or develop it more so that it makes Snapchat more relevant again.


Marketing in the Digital Age: News Round-Up (week ending Mar 15, 2019)


First Party Auctions (sounds more fun than it is)- Google changes its ad bidding strategies, Twitter “Stories”, and free access to Google’s Marketing Live Event streaming for the first time ever.

Google Switches to First Party Auctions for Ad Buys

Summary: Google is switching to a highest price wins the bid to place ads across their Ad network. Previously, they employed a second-price model, in which that advertiser would only pay a penny more than the runner-up bid. As a buyer, in theory, you could bid an astronomically high amount and only a penny more than the person who bid second lower than you. Now, you pay what you bid. Although seemingly straightforward, it leaves a lot of questions on the optimal bid amount.

Opinion: This is like the equivalent of Instagram being down for a day for Google Ad buyers. Buyers (including yours truly) will have to adjust pricing to get it to an optimal rate. Bid shading (which is like a compromise for first party auctions) sets a fair price by the vendor (and also seems a little like a fox guarding the henhouse).

Twitter Developing “Stories”

Summary: Twitter has released its own version of Facebook/IG Stories. When you swipe left on your Twitter feed, you’ll be taken to a camera to capture content. There aren’t additional stickers or filters yet, but they are likely to come.

Opinion: I feel like all socials are going to look the same in about 2 years. What is going to be the differentiator? These platforms did once have separate strengths (like Twitter for live events, Instagram for visuals, etc.), and these are strengths that should be developed over convergence.

Google Streaming Marketing Event

Summary: Google announced it will stream its Google Marketing Live Event for the first time ever. As explained by Google "Did you know that searches for "best” have increased by 80% in the last two years? For example, in recent third-party research, we saw that some people spend over 50 days searching for the “best chocolate” before making a decision.

Google Marketing Live is happening on May 14th - register now to discover how to take action on new consumer insights like these and learn about the latest digital marketing products from Google. For the first time, we'll also be live streaming 8+ hours of additional content from the event. Engage directly with product managers through live Q&A, learn new best practices, and get an inside look at how our latest products are developed."

Opinion: Sign-up! Courtesy of the best blog ever. ;)

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


Instagram Adds “I Voted” Sticker

Summary: Instagram will roll out “I voted” stickers up to two days before the election and on Stories the day of the election on Nov 6. If three or more of your friends use the stickers, then Instagram will create a "We Voted" Story, which will appear at the top of your feed, showing you the posts from everyone who has voted.

Opinion: Vote. Seriously, it’s a right that should be taken with great responsibility. There are people who fight (and die) for this right in other countries.

Twitter Puts #BeAVoter Front and Center

Summary: Twitter is going to remind you to vote via reminders at the top of your timeline with info about the candidates, issues on the ballot, and where their polling place is.

Opinion: Vote. It’s your civic duty.

I’m leaving it with this in this week’s edition because of the critical importance of exercising our right to vote. Your voice matters, your opinion matters, who represents you matters. Read about the candidates and issues and see how they will affect you. Do it over beer/wine with friends, at the beach, inside by a fire, make it fun. And, most importantly VOTE!

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 Aug 31, 2018)


Can political manipulation be stopped? Probably not, but it can be curbed hopefully. 

Twitter Launches "Issue Ads" 

Summary: Twitter announced it will launch issue ads, which will label ads in for stream as political ads.  This is being done in an effort to curtail manipulation by politically motivated groups. If they are paid for by political candidates, they will hold an additional label "paid for by" as well.  Advertisers seeking to run ads in these categories will need to go through a certification process to verify their identity and info, though news organizations will have an exemption to this.  

Opinion: It's apparent some type of transparency is required within this sector. Interestingly, the exemption for news organizations could be a double-edged sword.  On the one hand, it allows news to flow freely; on the other hand, what constitutes a "news organization"?  Does an extremist group reporting on news in that arena classify as an organization? 

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WhatsApp Monetization

Summary: WhatsApp announced its first revenue generating product, the WhatsApp Business API.  This tool will allow businesses to respond to messages for free for 24-hours and then charges for replies after that. The company has opened the service up to a select group of businesses as a test, which seem to be larger companies like Uber, Wish, etc. 

Opinion: This news surfaced a few months ago and will be a great test to monetize a platform in an "organic" sense.  By organic, I mean a way that helps customers and businesses by providing a customer service platform while also helping a business monetize its product.  

YouTube Fundraising Tool for Nonprofits

Summary: As released by YouTube: “Fundraisers enable fans to donate to creator-led campaigns directly on YouTube via a “Donate” button, making it easier than ever for creators and fans to raise funds for causes they care about on the platform. Creators can simply set up their campaigns, and let us take care of the logistics and payment processing.”

YouTube also rolled owed Community Fundraisers, which enables multiple creators to co-host the same event.  

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Opinion: For non-profits, awareness, funds, and marketing expertise aren't always readily available.  This new function can help non-profits raise awareness for their causes. Allowing for Community Fundraisers is akin to crossposting on Facebook, which has been successfully used by brands to promote the same event. 

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 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.