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 Jun 1, 2018)


Mary Meeker keeps PPT slides alive!  The highly anticipated internet trends report was released this week.  Given the depth of her knowledge and report, this Marketing in the Digital Age edition is solely dedicated to its findings.  


  • The smartphone penetration rate has slowed. (This comes as no surprise to me given the penetration rate of cell phones globally.  Literally, I was in Petra, Jordan, with kiosk vendors ready to sell me items using Square or its equivalent from their smartphones.)  
  • Messaging services (like WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook Messenger) are growing exponentially.  (I sometimes forget even that I can call a person to make plans instead of trading confusing messages over messaging platforms.)
  • New content types are emerging: Twitch (where you watch people play video games) has increased hours viewed YOY by millions
  • Social media is driving product discovery.  Facebook 78%, Instagram 59%, Pinterest 59%, Twitter 34%, Snap 22%.
  • Ad costs are increasing faster than reach on Facebook  (because of the volume of advertisers on the platform, you are paying more to reach less people)
  • Commerce driver went from utility to personalization of a curated product discovery
  • Many are moving from buying to subscribing (Netflix, Spotify, etc.)
  • Many Americans view YouTube before purchasing products 
  • Freelance workforce is growing 3x faster than total workforce (I am available for freelance projects 😉)
  • There are 33M global lifelong learners, increasing YOY.  (I am elated to see this.  Continual education is important and not often emphasized in North American culture.)
  • 56% of the most valued companies were founded by 1st or 2nd generation companies (Remember that when voting on immigration policies)