Opt-In Video Ads Could Help Fix AdBlocker Dilemma, Report Says

Digital advertisers all face the same problem. As users become increasingly dissatisfied with the number of ads they’re shown online and on mobile devices, they download ad blockers to stop them from showing up.

A recent survey conducted by adtech company OpenX in partnership with the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and MediaMath shows that 80 percent of consumers feel overwhelmed by ads, with eight in ten considering ad blockers. That’s in addition to the estimated one in three people who have used them in the past. But fortunately, the study also provides a solution in the way of opt-in video ads.

Opt-in ads, also known as rewarded videos, let users choose to watch in exchange for something such as a discount coupon or digital goods. They’re primarily used in mobile video games where players receive in-game currency or other bonuses in exchange for watching an advertisement. These rewarded videos enjoy exceptionally high returns in terms of engagement and completion, but brands outside of gaming have been slow to adopt them.

The OpenX study explains that one of the reasons for this is some marketers believe that the opt-in ads only works for games, but testing across multiple app types shows that the ad format is ready to go beyond gaming and into other app categories like photography, social networking, music and dating.

This determination matches well with findings from video ad technology company Tapjoy, which reported an astounding 97 percent completion rate for the 30-second Ferdinand movie trailer when it was converted to a rewarded video and coupled with some interactive minigames. However, those trailers were found in existing mobile games, which already has a highly receptive audience.

The OpenX paper states, “They (consumers) expect to be valued for their time spent engaging with a brand, and they see the opportunity to do this with a variety of advertisers and in all sorts of app environments.”

According to the OpenX survey, respondents said that they were willing to watch 15-second ads for certain value exchanges such as retailer discounts, free streaming music or an hour of premium streamed video content, but advertisers aren’t necessarily limited to that standard. Over half said that they were willing to watch a full minute of ad content in exchange for a retail discount while 77 percent would watch a 30-second ad for the same reward.

The survey data also shows that mobile advertising in general, when done well, can deliver high brand recall among consumers, strong click-through rates and purchases. Additionally, opt-in ads are ranked significantly higher than other formats, including pre-roll, mid-roll, social/native or pop-up/interstitial advertising.

Despite how opt-in videos align with key KPIs, particularly viewability, marketers haven’t been eager to use them. Responses from over 100 global marketers found that opt-in videos were used the least while the most popular format was in-feed/native ads at 59 percent—even though the overwhelming majority agreed that rewarded videos deliver better consumer experiences and ROI.

The study concludes that consumers are ready for deeper brand engagement, and ads need to provide more consumer-friendly experiences, but marketers may still need more time to come on board with the opt-in format.

Burger King Brings ‘Pink Tax’ Awareness In New Chicken Fries Campaign

Burger King launched a cause marketing campaign to end the “pink tax,” the practice of charging more for a similar product simply because it’s marketed to women.

In a video posted on YouTube, female customers were asked to pay more for chicken fries because they were packaged in a custom pink box. When the women refused, the manager asked if they speak up while experiencing the same price disparity in a drug store. The answer was no.

“We created this experiment with fan-favorite Chicken Fries to demonstrate the effect of pink tax and how everyone should pay the same for the same products—whether it’s pink or not,” Christopher Finazzo, North American president for Burger King said in a press release.

To spread awareness of the campaign, Burger King is offering its Chicken Fries at a lower price of $1.69 in select US restaurants. The pink chick fries box was available on Thursday for a one-day promotion in select locations in Miami, New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago—and cost the same as regular Chicken Fries.

Burger King’s “Chick Fries” campaign encourages viewers to support H.R. 5464, the Pink Tax Repeal Act introduced by Congresswoman Jackie Speier in April. If passed, the act would allow the Federal Trade Commission to enforce violations. In addition, charging more for similar or identical products based on gender may result in civil action by the State Attorneys General.

According to a 2015 study by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, the female version of many products cost more 42 percent of the time.

The quick service restaurant has advocated for equality in previous campaigns, such as its famous Proud Whopper—a Whopper hamburger with no changes except for a rainbow-colored wrapper that said, “We are all the same inside.”

GSMA Announces Event Updates For 2018 Mobile World Congress Americas, In Partnership With CTIA

The GSMA today announced several additions to the Mobile World Congress Americas event line-up, including new speakers in the conference program, additional participating companies and exhibition experiences, and new programs and events.

The show will take place in the Los Angeles Convention Center from September 12-14, 2018.

“With its new location in Los Angeles, this year’s event—our second in North America—shifts the focus to the intersection of mobile with content, entertainment and media,” said Michael O’Hara, chief marketing officer, GSMA. “This is an exciting and transformative time for the industry, as evidenced by recent merger and acquisition activities to create truly integrated communications providers. Mobile is becoming the preferred way of consuming entertainment content, and the 2018 Mobile World Congress Americas will convene decision-makers from across these industries to explore the opportunities and challenges in this new converged world.”

New Keynote Speakers Announced

The GSMA announced several new speakers for the Mobile World Congress Americas keynote program, with executives representing mobile, sports and entertainment organizations, including:

  • Dan Beckerman, president and CEO, AEG
  • David Christopher, president, AT&T mobility and entertainment
  • David Hagan, chairman and CEO, Boingo Wireless
  • Michael Sievert, president and COO, T-Mobile
  • Ronan Dunne, group president, Verizon Wireless
  • Rick Fox, entrepreneur, actor and former NBA player

These executives join previously announced keynote speakers:

  • Sunil Bharti Mittal, founder and chairman, Bharti Enterprises and chairman, GSMA
  • Meredith Attwell Baker, president and CEO, CTIA
  • Mats Granryd, director general, GSMA
  • Richard Plepler, chairman and CEO, HBO
  • Seleta Reynolds, general manager, Los Angeles Dept. of Transportation
  • Rajeev Suri, president and CEO, Nokia
  • Tim Baxter, president and CEO, Samsung Electronics North America
  • Marcelo Claure, executive chairman, Sprint and chairman, CTIA

In addition to the keynote program, the Mobile World Congress Americas conference will address an array of topics including 5G and next-generation networks; artificial intelligence (AI); sports, entertainment and media; immersive content; connected vehicles; the digital consumer; the Fourth Industrial Revolution; regulation and policy; privacy and security; sustainable development and smart cities, among others.

Recently confirmed conference speakers include:

  • Sameep Tandon, CEO and co-founder, Drive.ai
  • Lesley Young, global director, growth at Workplace, Facebook
  • Ronalee Zarate-Bayani, CMO, Los Angeles Rams
  • Soma Velayutham, head of global industry development, AI and deep learning, NVIDIA
  • Kevin Crull, chief strategy and business development officer, Sprint
  • Maryanne Morrow, CEO, SurgeXLR and 9th Gear Technologies
  • Angela Shen-Hsieh, director, predicting human behavior, Telefónica
  • Dr. Rosanna Chan, founder, Therefore
  • Molly Battin, EVP, global CCO and CMO, Turner
  • Nicola Palmer, chief network officer, Verizon Wireless

For more information on the conference program, including the agenda and keynote speakers, click here.

Latin America Media And Convergent Services Summit Confirmed

Inspired by recent consolidation activity in the industry, the Latin America Media and Convergent Services Summit will focus on the future of mobile and content distribution across the region, addressing key issues facing operators and the wider ecosystem, including innovation and investment, business cases and partnership opportunities for convergent services, and regulatory considerations, among others. Featuring keynotes, presentations and panel sessions, the Latin America Media and Convergent Services Summit will take place on Thursday, September 13.

The first speakers confirmed for the Summit include:

  • Tomas Genenari, executive vice president, Business Bureau
  • Martin Gallone, global digital director, Millicom
  • Rosario Ballesteros-Casas, founder and CEO, VR Americas
  • Michele Edelman, executive vice president, marketing and content strategy, Vubiquity

For more information, click here.

Additional Exhibitors, Sponsors Aand Partners Confirmed For 2018

The GSMA announced new participating companies at Mobile World Congress Americas including AT&T, NBC Universal and Spirent. These brands join previously announced companies including Accenture, American Express OPEN, ARM, Cisco, Dell, Ericsson, G+D Mobile Security, Gemalto, Google, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM, Infosys, JMA Wireless, Mastercard, Mavenir, McAfee, Nokia Solutions, Samsung Networks, Sprint, Synchronoss, Syniverse, TELUS, Verizon Wireless, VMware and more.

On the show floor, country and regional pavilions will feature companies, products and services from around the world, including Canada, China, Finland, France, India, Ireland, South Korea, Turkey and the United Kingdom. Attendees visiting the pavilions will be able to explore and experience the latest cutting-edge technologies and innovations from the regions.

Another major exhibit floor attraction area is the IoT Zone, with interactive demonstrations and connected products from KORE, Microsoft, the Open Network Foundation, Pycom, Sitch Ai, U-blox and many other exhibiting companies. The IoT Zone will showcase the role 5G plays in the IoT, enabling connectivity across diverse, real-world applications for consumers and enterprises, including health and wellness, fleet management, autonomous vehicle experiences and more.

Also on the show floor, the NEXTech Zone will feature new and established companies that are disrupting today’s ecosystem including Asocs, Mimosa Networks, Sunitor, Syncleo and others. NEXTech will demonstrate the use of next-generation technology, such as AI, augmented reality, virtual reality and robotics, in everyday scenarios including in hospitals, homes and schools, to name a few. For more information on the Mobile World Congress Americas exhibition, click here.

Cisco has joined as the headline sponsor for the show’s IoT and 5G Industry Theme, while NBCU Code is the headline sponsor of the CMO Industry Theme. CBS Interactive, LinkedIn and the Wall Street Journal have signed on as official media partners for Mobile World Congress Americas, alongside Fortune. For more information on sponsors and partners, click here.

New Speakers, Partners For 4YFN Startup Event

Over the three event days, the 4YFN Startup Event will provide an opportunity to connect international startups, investors and large corporations. A highlight of 4YFN is the 4YFN Stage, which will host the startup and innovation program, startup pitching sessions, the exclusive investors networking program, 4YFN Americas 2018 Awards finals, and the 4YFN Talk Series.

The first 4YFN Startup Event speakers include:

  • Yossi Vardi, 4YFN event chairman
  • Edith Yeung, partner, 500 Startups
  • Michelle Klein, senior marketing director, North America and global, Facebook
  • Jonathan Perelman, head of digital ventures, ICM Partners
  • Dan Shiebler, machine learning modeling engineer, Twitter Cortex

Rivetz has been confirmed as the 4YFN Silver Sponsor; additional 4YFN partners include Boston Consulting Group Digital Ventures, Expert Dojo, Grid110, Qualcomm Ventures, Tech in Motion and Verify Investor. For more details on 4YFN, click here.

Updates For Women4Tech Program In Los Angeles

The Women4Tech program at Mobile World Congress Americas will feature a range of activities, including a speed coaching and networking session on Wednesday, September 12 and the Women4Tech Summit which will be held on Thursday, September 13. The GSMA announced several additional speakers who will be participating across the Women4Tech program, including:

  • Michelle Morris, vice president, global marketing solutions, Facebook
  • Hilary Gosher, managing director, Insight Venture Partners
  • Anarghya Vardhana, principal, Maveron

YoMo To Attract 6,000 Students And Educators

In its first year at Mobile World Congress Americas, the Youth Mobile Festival (YoMo) is set to welcome over 6,000 students and educators from across Los Angeles and Southern California to a major showcase featuring more than 500 hours of unique content designed to encourage studies and careers in science, technology, engineering, art and design and math (STEAM) fields. The GSMA today announced the first official YoMo partners for the Los Angeles event, including arc, Los Angeles Convention Center, Propel LA, Star Education and Think Together. The inaugural YoMo Los Angeles will be held September 12-14 in Kentia Hall at the LACC. For more information on YoMo, click here.

New Partner Programs Added To Agenda

The GSMA announced a number of new Partner Programs at Mobile World Congress Americas, including the IDE Drone Summit, the Sports and Entertainment Summit, and the SmartDeviceLink (SDL) Connected Car Developer Conference by FordDev. Additional Partner Programs will be presented by A10 Networks, AirFuel Alliance, ATrack Technology Inc. and VisTracks Inc., Award Solutions, CBRS Alliance, Circle, mGage and Vodafone. Spanning the three-day show, Partner Programs will be held both onsite the LACC in the Theater District in Concourse Hall, Level 2, and at the JW Marriott LIVE! LA hotel. To learn more about Partner Programs, including Power Hour sessions, click here.

Get Involved At Mobile World Congress Americas 2018

The official Mobile World Congress Americas Opening Party will take place on Wednesday, September 12 at 4:30 p.m. in the Networking Gardens of the LACC. For more details, click here.

Attendees can also participate in the MWC Americas Sunrise 5K Run in the heart of the vibrant L.A. Live entertainment district. The run will start at the LACC South Hall Entrance at 6 a.m. on Thursday, September 13. For more information and to register, click here.

More information on Mobile World Congress Americas 2018, including how to attend, exhibit or sponsor, is available here. Follow developments and updates on Mobile World Congress Americas on Twitter @GSMA using #MWCA18, on our LinkedIn Mobile World Congress Americas page or on Facebook. For additional information on GSMA social channels, click here.

About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators with over 350 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organizations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress, Mobile World Congress Shanghai, Mobile World Congress Americas and the Mobile 360 Series of conferences.

For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website. Follow the GSMA on Twitter: @GSMA.

About CTIA
CTIA represents the U.S. wireless communications industry and the companies throughout the mobile ecosystem that enable Americans to lead a 21st century connected life. The association’s members include wireless carriers, device manufacturers, suppliers as well as apps and content companies. CTIA vigorously advocates at all levels of government for policies that foster continued wireless innovation and investment. The association also coordinates the industry’s voluntary best practices, hosts educational events that promote the wireless industry and co-produces the industry’s leading wireless tradeshow. CTIA was founded in 1984 and is based in Washington, D.C.

This Week’s Exec Shifts: Anheuser-Busch, Bally Appoint CMOs; Unilever CMO To Head Advertising Association

This week, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Bally appoint new marketing heads while Unilever’s CMO agrees to lead the Advertising Association. Also, Group Nine Media names a VP to lead marketing for its digital brands, Virgin Australia names marketing director, LA Phil announces marketing vice president and the Nielsen CEO announces retirement.

Anheuser-Busch InBev Promotes CMO To Dual Role

Anheuser-Busch InBev chief disruptive growth officer Pedro Earp has been promoted to chief marketing officer in addition to retaining his previous title as the brewer consolidates the number of regional management zones around the world. The position goes into effect on January 1. Earp joined the brewery in 2013 and is its former VP of marketing for Latin America North.

Group Nine Media Hires VP To Oversee Brand Marketing

Rachel Baumgarten has joined Group Nine Media as its as executive vice president of marketing. In this role, she will be responsible for the company’s brand and for creating multi-faceted initiates for the company brand portfolio, which includes Thrillist, The Dodo, Seeker and NowThis. Baumgarten will also lead the company’s sales marketing activities. She most recently served as Omnicom Media Group managing director and is a former senior vice president at Viacom Velocity Integrated Marketing.

“As Thrillist, NowThis, Seeker and The Dodo reach super-fan loyalty levels, Group Nine is increasingly becoming the go-to partner for advertisers that want to be part of action-sparking storytelling,” said Christa Carone, President of Group Nine. “Rachel brings her own marketing storytelling to our business, helping us further build on our momentum and creating even stronger connections with industry, client and agency partners.”

IMAX Premieres New Marketing Lead

IMAX revealed that JL Pomeroy is its current chief marketing officer, having taken charge of the movie technology company’s global marketing efforts on July 11. She replaces Eileen Campbell, who has served in the role since 2013 and moved on to “other interests,” according to the company. Pomeroy is the founder of the JumpLine Group agency, which she ran before joining IMAX.

Virgin Australia Picks Up Former Bank GM As Marketing Director

Michael Nearhos, who previously served as the general manager of brand experience at the National Australia Bank, has been appointed to the newly created role of marketing director at Virgin Australia. Nearhos has served in multiple senior marketing roles throughout his career at institutions such as the Commonwealth Bank Australia and Interbrand in London in addition to having experience in the airline and hotel industries.

Bridgestone VP Retirement Triggers Marketing Appointments

Bridgestone Americas made several executive changes to the marketing divisions for both its consumer tire business and retail operations. The moves follow the announcement that Phil Pacsi will officially retire as the company’s vice president of sports and events marketing and training on September 30.

Amber Holm has been promoted to vice president of marketing, consumer and customer engagement in the US and Canada, where she will lead activities on sports and entertainment platforms such as the NFL, NHL and the PGA Tour.

Jeffrey Lack is taking the role vice president of marketing for the consumer tire division in the US and Canada. Lack is tasked with leading marketing efforts across the company’s consumer tire business, which includes brand building and digital engagement programs.

Dave Nientimp has been named vice president of marketing and merchandising for Bridgestone Retail Operations. In this position, he will oversee the overall marketing strategy for the company’s retail locations, which includes brand building, digital initiatives and tire and service merchandising.

Constellation Brands Beer Up Marketing VP

Alcohol beverage company Constellation Brands has promoted John Alvarado to senior vice president of brand marketing for its beer division. Alvarado will provide strategic direction for the company’s marketing teams across several beer brands while serving on Constellation’s marketing leadership team.

LA Philharmonic Names Marketing VP

The Los Angeles Philharmonic has appointed Philip Koester to be vice president of marketing and communications. Koester was previously the vice president for sales and marketing at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, and he steps into his new position on September 10. In this role, he will lead and manage all of the organization’s marketing communications and sales operations.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Phil to the Los Angeles Philharmonic,” said CEO Simon Woods in a statement. “His experience both in Chicago and Los Angeles, his understanding of digital marketing, and his commitment to reaching audiences across traditional social boundaries make him the perfect person to lead the LA Phil’s audience building into a new era.”

JPMorgan Chase Hires Chief Media Officer

Investment bank JPMorgan Chase announced that it has hired Andrew Knott to serve in the newly created chief media officer role. Before the appointment, Knott served as the chief marketing officer for the National Australia Bank and held a high-level marketing role at McDonald’s. In his new position, he is tasked with overseeing Chase’s paid, owned and earned media as the financial institution continues to grow its digital media strategy.

PepsiCo Marketing Chief To Depart

PepsiCo chief marketing officer Kristin Patrick announced that she is leaving the company effective July 27. Patrick has been with PepsiCo since 2013, and most recently oversaw the company’s in-house content studio, the Creators League Studio.

Unilever CMO To Head Ad Association

The Advertising Association has named Unilever CMO Keith Weed as its newest president. He replaces Travelopia CEO Andy Duncan who had served in the role since 2013 and will head the organization in its mission to further strengthen the UK’s ad industry. As CMO, Weed most recently called for reforms in influencer marketing space to reduce fraud.

Bally Names CMO

Swiss luxury fashion brand Bally hired Eva Quirrenbach as chief marketing officer at the same time it promoted Silvia Onofri to chief executive officer of the EMEA region. Before joining Bally, Quirrenbach served as Tory Burch’s vice president of global brand marketing. Onofri will continue in her role as the company’s vice president of global wholesale.

Yeti Hires Marketing Head

Kristi Jackson will lead all the marketing initiatives for Yeti Cycles as its newly hired marketing director. She most recently served as director of digital media and commerce for Nike North America, where she executed a variety of acquisition and engagement programs.

“Kristi’s experience leading strategic marketing programs will be vital as we look to the future of Yeti,” Yeti president Chris Conroy said in a statement. “Her passion for creating consumer-led marketing programs and ability to manage multifaceted campaigns to support business priorities uniquely position her for success with Yeti.”

Nielsen CEO To Retire At Year’s End

Mitch Barns, Nielsen’s chief executive officer and member of the Board of Directors, announced that he will retire at the end of 2018 after serving with the company for over 20 years. The current chairman of the board James Attwood has been named executive chairman, and he will direct the search for Barns’ replacement. In his two-decade career, Barnes has held leadership roles across all of Nielsen’s major businesses.

“Mitch has left an indelible mark on Nielsen—his commitment to integrity, openness, values and engagement will continue to be the heart of this company for years to come,” said Attwood in a statement. “I, along with the rest of the Board of Directors, thank him for his service.”

Universal Studios Hires Former Bank Exec To Lead Marketing

Mariela Ure, who was previously the head of enterprise consumer segments strategy at Wells Fargo & Co., is now the new chief marketing officer at Universal Studios Hollywood. She will lead the theme park’s overall brand direction in addition to CityWalk’s dining, shopping and entertainment experiences in Universal City.

Hearst Magazines Names President

Hearst Magazines announced that Troy Young will be assuming the role of president, succeeding David Carey, who announced his departure last month. Young previously served as president of Hearst Magazines Digital Media, a role he has served for five years.

“Troy understands how vital it is for our brands to engage more actively with consumers across platforms,” Hearst chief operating officer Mark Aldam stated in a memo. “His innovative approach to product development and high-quality brand experiences will continue to propel our industry-leading magazines forward.”

NBC Sports Picks New President

Pete Bevacqua has joined NBC Sports Group in the newly created role of president. He officially steps in the position in September, and will be tasked with overseeing marketing, programming and digital for the group in addition to the NBC Sports Regional Networks and all golf businesses. Bevacqua was most recently CEO at PGA America, a position he held for the past six years.

HyreCar Appoints Independent Director

Ridesharing service HyreCar announced that Brooke Skinner Ricketts has joined its board of directors. Skinner Ricketts is currently the chief marketing officer at Cars.com and has extensive experience related to the automotive industry.

In a statement, HyreCar CEO Joe Furnari said, “Brooke brings a wealth of invaluable experience and strategy to our board of directors. Her tenure at industry-leading technology companies, such as Cars.com, has been focused on ensuring that their digital marketplaces are well trusted by both consumers and partners, while enhancing the overall brand and image. We are eager to leverage her experience as we gain critical mass and grow our platform.”

Restaurant Group Reinstates CMO Role

The Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group announced that Mia Meachem will oversee the organization’s overall marketing, innovation and consumer engagement strategy as chief marketing officer. Meachem served as chief marketing officer at Highland Park Village before joining Del Frisco’s, which is comprised of 84 restaurants across 24 states and Washington, DC. The group revived the CMO role as part of its ongoing expansion efforts.

“We are thrilled to welcome Mia to the Del Frisco’s family. Her significant industry experience and knowledge paired with her strong leadership skills is a testament to our continued commitment to assemble a strong leadership team,” Norman Abdallah, CEO of Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group, said in a statement. “Mia’s past experiences working with consumer-focused companies will be undoubtedly instrumental to elevate our marketing and innovation efforts moving forward.”

Multiple SVP Promotions At Intel

Technology company Intel announced three executive promotions, including Michelle Johnston Holthaus as senior vice president. Holthaus currently serves as Intel’s interim chief marketing officer and general manager for the company’s sales and marketing group and is responsible for Intel’s global sales and revenue as it adopts new marketing approaches.

The two other appointments are Daniel McNamara and Allon Stabinsky, who were both promoted to senior vice president roles at different Intel divisions.

Ottawa Senators Score Chief Marketing Officer

Professional NHL team The Ottawa Senators announced that Aimee Deziel is joining the organization as chief marketing officer. She officially assumes the role on August 13 and will be responsible for strengthening the Senators’ marketing, sales and creative capabilities. Deziel most recently served as chief operating officer for the Momentous holding company.

Former Deloitte Partner Joins Blockchain Network

Aion Foundation, a blockchain technology network, has hired former Deloitte partner Ian Chan as a senior executive. In this role, Chan will lead operations in addition to the marketing and communications team as Aion continues to build its brand. Chan served at Deloitte for 13 years and was most recently a senior partner for its global innovation and disruption team, where he was tasked with tracking global technological trends.

“Ian has been a mentor of mine for some time, and I couldn’t be happier that he’s agreed to join our team as we position Aion to lead the blockchain ecosystem for years to come,” Aion Foundation CEO Matthew Spoke said in a statement. “This is a meaningful milestone for the growth of the Aion Foundation and for our ability to execute on our vision.”

Children’s Healthcare Organization Hires First CMO

Nonprofit healthcare organization Nemours Children’s Health System has hired Sarah Sanders (not the current White House press secretary) to the newly created role of chief marketing officer. In this role, she is tasked with leading local, regional and national marketing strategies across Central and North Florida in addition to the Delaware Valley. Prior to joining Nemours, Sanders served as the associate chief marketing officer for the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

“As a parent of three children, including a special needs child, I understand first-hand the challenges of navigating a complex health situation,” Sanders said in the announcement. “For a marketer, this is an exciting opportunity to apply my expertise in data and technology to create personalized, relevant and value-added engagement opportunities for patients and their families.”

Vauxhall Motors Appoints Former Toyota Exec As Marketing Head

Patrick Fourniol, a former executive at Toyota, has joined Vauxhall Motors as marketing director. Fourniol’s career includes marketing and sales roles at Toyota, Renault and Volkswagen in France, Germany and Belgium. According to a statement, he will be working to support the automaker’s brand recovery.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Patrick to our Company. Having started his marketing career in sales forecasting and research, and having taken full responsibility for product marketing and marketing communications, Patrick is one of the few top-level automotive professionals who can genuinely claim 360-degree marketing management experience in our industry,” said Stephen Norman, group managing director at Vauxhall Motors and Opel Ireland.

Former Madison Square Garden Company Marketing Chief Joins Betting Platform

Sports betting and gaming company William Hill announced the appointment of Sharon Otterman as its new chief marketing officer in the US. Most recently, Otterman served as executive vice president and chief marketing officer for the Madison Square Garden Company.

“We are thrilled to welcome Sharon to our rapidly-expanding team at William Hill, particularly during such an exciting time in our growth process,” said William Hill US CEO Joe Asher in a statement. “Sharon is a proven leader, and we are thrilled that we could pull her away from one of the most high-profile jobs in sports marketing to join William Hill.”

GAME Shuffles Executive Team

UK-based retailer GAME underwent restructures of its senior management team amid store closures. As a result of these changes, David Howard, who was the UK retail and property director, is now the UK managing director. In this position, Howard will oversee all of GAME’s commercial and marketing teams. Although there was no formal announcement, this shift means that Natalie Amosu, who joined the company as chief marketing officer last year, is no longer serving the post.

Marketing VP Moves Into YES Communities

YES Communities, owner and operator of manufactured home communities, announced that it has hired Vanessa Jasinski as its new vice president of marketing. Prior to joining YES, Jasinksi was the executive director of marketing for RE/MAX World Headquarters and has worked for both international and national corporations in Boston, New York, Seattle and Denver. In her new role, she will oversee the company’s strategic marketing vision by developing brand experiences with a focus on digital platforms while supporting the company’s team and residents.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, July 27. Have a new hire tip? We’re looking for senior executive role changes in marketing and media. Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.com.

Job Vacancies 

Executive Director, Chief Marketing Officer Lenovo Chicago, IL
VP, International Marketing Carl’s Jr. Franklin, TN
VP, Head of Marketing PacSun Anaheim, CA
SVP, Digital Marketing Enterprise Technology GM Financial Irving, TX
Brand Director, Emerging Brands Heineken USA White Plains, NY
Chief Marketing Officer Banker’s Toolbox Austin, TX

Make sure to check back for updates on our jobs page.

Twitter Denies Shadow Banning; Facebook Suspends ‘Infowars’

This week in social media news: Twitter fixes its allegedly biased search results and Facebook follows YouTube’s lead for dealing with hate speech on the platform.

In other news, YouTube adds social elements to its VR app, Snapchat begins an influencer ad pilot program and LinkedIn adds voice messaging. Facebook adds social video, tackles discrimination and is challenged by a former employee, Twitter questions anyone named Elon Musk, Snapchat signs its first LGBT+ partner and sells commercials in Australia. Meanwhile, China swiftly puts an end to Facebook’s subsidiary.

Also this week: Twitter gives agencies a less-than-subtle push to invest in video and protects its API, Facebook quietly sets up shop in China and Pinterest has the highest customer satisfaction, according to a new study. Snapchat’s payment system comes to an end, YouTube sees how many videos it can cram into a user’s feed and Facebook keeps looking skyward to deliver internet access.

Twitter: ‘We Do Not Shadow Ban’

In a Friday blog post, Twitter denied allegations of purposely making certain users disappear from search results.

Why it matters: Twitter insists that it is a fair and unbiased community forum, dedicated to “healthy public conversation.” However, Republican and right-leaning accounts have long accused social media of censorship—a claim that both Twitter and Facebook deny, but were concerned enough to hold secret meetings with Republicans and conservatives to address the matter. Social media platforms, while admittedly left-leaning, are walking a thin line between censorship and regulation of hate speech, made even more difficult as algorithms react to how other users interact with these accounts.

Details: Earlier this week, several media outlets reported that a number of controversial Twitter accounts may have been demoted in search results. Accounts belonging to Republican Party chair Ronna McDaniel, conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec and others failed to appear in the search drop-down menu, while far-left counterparts were unaffected. In a statement posted on Friday, Twitter explained that the problem stemmed from a glitch but it has since been resolved. The company went on to say that “hundreds of thousands” of accounts were affected, including Democrats and those not affiliated with politics.

‘Infowars’ Host Alex Jones Suspended From Facebook

Citing violations of its policies against hate speech and bullying, Facebook has banned conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from Facebook for 30 days.

Why It Matters: Facebook has been criticized for allowing controversial accounts and posts to remain on the platform, opting to demote them in the News Feed instead. The suspension of Jones’ account is a sign that Facebook could be taking a stance against such content, albeit with a temporary solution.

Details: Facebook has removed four Infowars videos deemed to violate policies against hate speech and bullying. After a review, the company has temporarily suspended Jones’ account. Infowars has also been banned from livestreaming on YouTube for 90 days.

YouTube VR App Gets Social

Beginning Thursday, YouTube’s VR app will be available for Gear VR headsets. A new feature called “Watch Together” has also been added to Daydream View and Gear VR headsets, allowing YouTube users to watch and chat about VR experiences with others in a communal space.

Why it matters: VR adoption has been a slow one but developers are placing their hope in social experiences. A VR headset, by design, shuts off its user from the outside world to allow for immersion and adding a social element back in could be the key to success on the platform. Video, in general, is becoming more of a social experience through livestreams and social media features like those on Twitch and Facebook Watch Party. YouTube recently launched a Premiere feature that allows users to promote an upcoming video ahead of time, then premiere it before a live audience.

Details: The YouTube app is now available on Gear VR headsets in addition to Daydream View, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR. YouTube now hosts 800,000 experiences, including exclusives like behind-the-scenes and action adventures.

“Marketers need to have a real desire for consumers to interact with their brand or IP in VR,” Zeda Stone, head of business development for RYOT told AList. “We will probably get to the point where consumer interaction in social becomes a priority and [will] dictate whether or not VR will succeed in the end.”

Snapchat Promotes Influencers With ‘Storytellers’ Program

Popular Snapchat creators can now be featured on ads that appear on Snapchat’s Discover and Stories, giving them wider exposure to audiences and potential brand partners.

Why it matters: Snapchat has been notoriously behind the curve when it comes to fostering talent on its platform. The company is trying to make up for lost time by launching the “Yellow” incubator program and began inviting popular creators to its headquarters last spring for meetings.

Details: Snapchat has launched a pilot program called Storytellers that places ads across Discovery and Stories sections, TechCrunch reports. The ads highlight popular creators on the app at no charge to them while allowing each influencer to highlight their expertise. The pilot program is limited to a select few creators but if extended to others, could lay the foundation for a monetization platform.

LinkedIn Adds Voice Messaging; Overhauls Control Manager

LinkedIn users can now record messages for instead of typing. In addition, LinkedIn has updated its Campaign Manager to allow for more personalized navigation.

Why it matters: Hearing someone’s voice allows for better inflections and helps avoid misunderstandings that could be interpreted through text. Recording a voice message also allows users to communicate faster. The campaign manager tool lets advertisers customize views, switch between accounts and slims down the ad creation process.

Details: Leaving a voice message is now an option for mobile LinkedIn users, with the feature being added to desktops later on. Users can record a message up to one minute in length.

The refreshed Campaign Manager tool rolled out Thursday with one-click breakdowns of campaign data. Agencies can toggle between client accounts or campaigns and choose which reports they want to see.

‘Watch Party’ Goes Live For Facebook Groups

Watch Party has come out of private testing and is now available to Facebook Groups, the company announced Wednesday. The feature allows a host to stream a pre-recorded or live video while interacting with audiences.

Why it matters: If you think Watch Party sounds a lot like Twitch or YouTube’s Premiere feature, you’d be right. The difference is, Facebook’s users can select pre-existing videos and allow friends or Group members to suggest new ones as well. Video is Facebook’s next big ad-generating push that would encourage users to spend more time on its platform—and Facebook isn’t shy about copying its competitors.

Details: Facebook Groups can now host a Watch Party with its members. A host selects a pre-recorded video or begins a livestream and invites members or friends to watch together. Facebook is also testing the ability to hand the feed off to another Facebook user and let viewers suggest additional videos.

Twitter Battles Scammers Using Elon Musk Display Names

Anyone who changes their display name to Elon Musk will have their accounts automatically locked, requiring an extensive verification process before the account can be used again. The move is Twitter’s latest efforts to curb scams on the platform, particularly those around fake cryptocurrencies, an effort announced back in March.

Why it matters: Scammers always seem to be a step ahead, but Twitter has honed in one of their most popular methods. Twitter has not confirmed whether other celebrity names will trigger the new process as well.

Details: Cryptocurrency scammers have taken to changing their name to Elon Musk, the SpaceX and Tesla CEO, before replying to one of Musk’s many Twitter posts with links to “get in on the ground floor” by purchasing a cryptocurrency no one has heard of . . . because it’s fake. To curb this behavior, Twitter will now lock any user that changes their display name to one of these common offenders.

Facebook Tackles Discrimination On Ad Platform

After considerable pressure from the State of Washington and other groups, Zuckerberg’s social media giant has vowed to eliminate the ability to exclude target advertising groups based on race.

Why it matters: Facebook allows advertisers to select target groups based on a number of factors including race and family status. This means that renters and other groups can discriminate as well based on the same criteria. Facebook has vowed to amend its platform within 90 days so this discrimination is no longer possible.

Details: On Tuesday, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced that it will close its ongoing investigation into Facebook’s discriminatory advertising practices, as the social network has signed an agreement to fix the problem within 90 days. The agreement is legally binding in Washington but Facebook says it will implement changes nationwide.

“Facebook’s advertising platform allowed unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, sexual orientation, disability and religion,” said Ferguson in a statement. “That’s wrong, illegal, and unfair.”

PinkNews Is Snapchat’s First LGBT+ Discover Partner

UK LGBT+ outlet PinkNews launched a Discovery channel on the Snapchat app Wednesday.

Why it matters: PinkNews has been featured on Snapchat’s Discover feature in the past but not on a regular basis. This partnership will allow the site to target younger LGBT+ users and provide them with stories and features on a weekly basis, while allowing Snapchat to show off its inclusiveness.

Details: PinkNews has around five million readers with large audiences in both the UK and US. With the launch of its new Discover channel, the site hopes to reach audiences as they are “testing the boundaries of their sexuality.”

‘Pick A Side,’ Exiting Chief Security Officer Urges Facebook

Facebook’s former chief security officer Alex Stamos urged his colleagues to drive positive change in the company and fight back against a “growth at any cost” attitude.

Why it matters: The internal memo shows that while Facebook keeps a brave, non-apologetic face on the outside, there are (or were) employees that feel strongly against the company’s practices.

Details: Facebook gives the outward appearance of remaining neutral on issues by refusing to ban fake news deemed non-violent and allowing harmful content such as those who deny the Holocaust. While Mark Zuckerberg and his constituents staunchly defend their practices, Stamos urged the company to take a stand.

“We need to be willing to pick sides when there are clear moral or humanitarian issues,” he wrote. “And we need to be open, honest and transparent about our challenges and what we are doing to fix them.”

The internal email, obtained and published by BuzzFeed, also urged the company to respect user privacy and listen to people when they say a feature is “creepy.”

Snapchat Offers Non-Skippable Ads To Australian Marketers

After a successful test in the US, Australian brands can now bid on six-second ads that run during Snapchat Shows.

Why it matters: Snapchat began testing six-second ads called “commercials” during its TV-like Shows format in April. The ads were sold exclusively to US marketers but the service will become available to those in Australia and other regions.

Details: Following a testing period in the US, Snapchat has added “commercials” to its suite of options for advertisers in Australia. Beginning in August, over 100 selected Snapchat brands partners and advertisers will have access to the service across Australia, USA, Canada and the UK.

Twitter’s ‘Agency Playbook’ Nudges Marketers To Video

Twitter has released a guide for agencies that includes strategy, case studies and internal statistics to help achieve success for clients on the platform. While the “Playbook For Agencies” reviews everything from organic engagement to managing client expectations, Twitter continually redirects the attention to “video view” campaigns.

Why it matters: Video makes up half of Twitter’s ad revenue, making it an obvious sell to agencies. During its Q1 earnings call, Twitter vowed to improve its core ad offerings and placed a large emphasis on video, especially on live streaming and brand partnerships.

Details: In its newly released guide, Twitter says that video views have doubled in the last 12 months, making it the site’s fastest-growing advertising tool. Among other selling points, the company claims that tweets with video are six times more likely to be retweeted than tweets with photos. The company also outlines residual effects of a Twitter video campaign such as more followers and website visits that advertisers would not be charged for.

[Updated] Facebook Creates ‘Innovation Hub’ In China

Facebook is setting up shop in Hangzhou, China despite its site being banned in the region. Update: China has withdrawn its approval and banned any mention of Facebook in the media, a source told The New York Times on Wednesday.

Why it matters: China’s censorship on foreign news outlets means that brands like Google, Facebook and Twitter are unable to engage with the country’s massive population. Despite this hurdle, Facebook [tried] to make its presence known through training and workshops.

Details: Facebook Hong Kong, Ltd. would have served as an “innovation hub” for developers in the region, the company told Reuters on Tuesday. The company has similar hubs in other countries such as Korea, Brazil, India and France.

Consumers Name Pinterest Most Satisfying Social Media Experience

Pinterest offers the best overall experience, according to the 2018 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) E-Business Report, earning a score of 80—its highest score yet. Twitter and LinkedIn tied for last place with scores of 66.

Why it matters: Pinterest has improved on the ACSI scale for two years running, and respondents are satisfied with advertising on the platform. This is good news for the company, especially if it plans to go public next year.

Details: ACSI reports that customer satisfaction on all social media fell 1.4 percent to a score of 72 out of 100—the lowest of the three e-business categories. Pinterest has doubled its active user base since 2015 and respondents named it the best in terms of privacy (while naming Facebook the worst).

“Privacy concerns, bots, and toxic online discourse have taken their toll on social media,” said David VanAmburg, Managing Director at ACSI in a press release. “But users report they’re even less satisfied with the amount of advertising on social media sites than with privacy protections.”

Twitter Ramps Up API Security Efforts

In a Tuesday blog post, Twitter outlined a series of new developer requirements, including a new portal for managing apps. Eventually, all developers with existing access to Twitter APIs will be required to complete a developer account application in order to maintain their apps, the company warned.

Why it matters: Data privacy concerns have been forced on the consumer conscious thanks to election interference, scandals and, at the very least, a barrage of GDPR privacy policy updates. Twitter is taking a proactive approach to “cleaning house,” as it were, by removing 143,000 apps in June that violated policies and fielding developers that request access to its API from now on.

Details: Although Twitter has been working on tools and processes to better stop malicious apps once they’ve become active, they’re now taking steps to prevent access to its API before problems arise. Beginning July 24, any developers wanting access to Twitter’s API must apply for a developer account through a new portal. All applications, both existing and new, will be required to provide detailed information about how they use or intend to use Twitter’s APIs. The default number of apps that can be registered by a single developer account has been limited to 10, with additional registration available upon request.

Snapcash Will Be Discontinued Effective August 30

Snapchat’s inter-user payment system, dubbed Snapcash, will be unavailable after August 30, both Snap and its partner Square confirmed over the weekend.

Why it matters: Having a native payment system in place would give Snapchat an advantage for drawing ecommerce to its platform. The company has already partnered with several brands to create shopping experiences without having to leave the app. On the other hand, eliminating Snapcash may help curb illegal or at the very least, explicit content on the platform, such as offering nudes for Snapcash.

Details: Text unearthed in Snapchat’s Android app code revealed that Snapcash would be discontinued, ending a four-year partnership with Square. Both Snapchat and Square confirmed this news with TechCrunch Sunday, saying that users will be officially notified soon.

YouTube Tests Off-Topic Personal Recommendations

Android YouTube users have observed a new section called “More Recommended For You,” featuring additional videos based on general interests rather than the video just viewed.

Why it matters: YouTube’s algorithm may encourage viewers to stay on the site longer, venturing down a rabbit hole of videos accessible from a single screen.

Details: Once a video has been viewed on YouTube, the site will display related content. If a user is ready to move on to a different topic, they generally have to return to the home screen or conduct a manual search. As spotted by Android Police, the new “More Recommended For You” section offers an alternative based on a user’s interests, no doubt generated from Google data. When we tried the feature on Android, the section also included similar videos and was not limited to different subjects.

Facebook Satellite Would Deliver Broadband To Underserved Areas

According to emails discovered by Wired, Facebook may use a satellite called Athena to deliver broadband internet to rural and underserved areas across the world. If all goes according to plan, Athena would be launched in early 2019.

Why it matters: A quarter of the world now accesses Facebook, but supplying internet access could increase its user base even more. The process would also open communication to people in rural areas with implications for industries like commerce and education.

Details: The social media giant may have abandoned its drone idea, but Facebook isn’t giving up on plans to tap into global areas without broadband access. Using the Freedom of Information Act, Wired obtained a number of emails between Facebook and the FCC that discuss its satellite plans.

“While we have nothing to share about specific projects at this time, we believe satellite technology will be an important enabler of the next generation of broadband infrastructure, making it possible to bring broadband connectivity to rural regions where internet connectivity is lacking or non-existent,” a Facebook spokesperson told Wired.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, July 27. Have a news tip? We’re looking for changes to and news surrounding social media platforms as they relate to marketing. Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.com.

Twitter Q2 Revenue Growth Credited To Video Ads And Fake Account Removal

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey began the company’s Q2 earnings call by highlighting its strong growth, but also the importance of the social platform and how it connects everyday users and celebrities together. Focusing specifically on moments in sports and athletes, Dorsey recounted how people use Twitter to talk about what’s happening and how the platform provokes conversation and catalogs defining moments in history.

“We see these types of moments every day. They bring us together when we agree, and all too often divide us when we don’t,” said Dorsey. “But they inspire us to do better and they provide the context for the action that we’re taking to prioritize the long-term health of Twitter over near-term metrics.”

Total revenue increased by 24 percent year-over-year to $711 million, driven by ongoing enhancements that improved ad relevance, which led to better ROI for advertisers. To put that into perspective, total revenue from advertising reached $601 million in the second quarter, an increase of 23 percent year-over-year.

Over half of ad revenues came from videos, which Twitter named as its fastest-growing ad format in Q2, and Dorsey said that the video website card brings performance and brands together, driving better ROI across all parts of the funnel. Video and livestreaming will remain top priorities for Twitter, with in-stream ads that allow advertisers to reach viewers at relevant moments. The company stated that it will continue to invest in better quality and performance for the experience while increasing the reach and engagement for content owners.

“We’re receiving positive feedback from customers about our efforts to enhance advertiser transparency and improve the health of the public conversation,” said Dorsey. He also noted that Unilever CMO Keith Weed, who called upon social platforms to take actions against fraudulent accounts, publically praised the company’s efforts to eliminate fake followers.

Twitter’s daily active users grew 11 percent year-over-year, but the removal of suspicious accounts led to a significant decrease in monthly active users, down to 335 million. The company credits much of the user growth to marketing and infrastructure improvements that make it easier for users to follow topics and events.

The system’s primary test came during the FIFA World Cup, which received over 115 billion impressions. In partnership with Fox, Twitter highlighted scores while surfacing relevant tweets in near real-time to the top of users’ timelines.

Twitter signed 50 new video livestreaming, highlight, Amplify and video-on-demand agreements in Q2, with 30 of them from international markets. Some prominent partners include ESPN, NBCUniversal and Viacom, and the company aims to bring hundreds more on board.

The company’s ongoing revenue priorities include nurturing new channels such as online video, ensuring that advertisers reach audiences when they are most receptive, and continuing to build trust with users by improving quality and transparency. The last point includes the formation of the Twitter Ads Transparency Center, which lets the public see who is advertising on the platform.

The platform is now removing twice the number of accounts that are in violation than it did last year, and in June, over 50,000 spammy sign-ups were prevented per day.

Dorsey said that the Twitter shifted much of its focus to behavior and conduct on the platform rather than content because improving the health of the public conversation is an important long-term growth vector.

“When we focus on removing some of the burden of people reporting, blocking or muting, we see positive results in our numbers,” Dorsey explained. He believes that as public discourse improves, users will be encouraged to stay with the platform while getting others to join.

Dunkin’ Brands Q2 Earnings Growth Driven By Modernization Campaigns

Retiring Dunkin’ chief executive Nigel Travis—who will continue with the company as executive chairman focused on international businesses—headed up the company’s Q2 earnings call by highlighting the accomplishments across its Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins brands, which saw a 4.9 percent revenue increase in the second quarter.

But Travis soon shifted the focus to how the company extended its partnership with CardFree, which will allow the company to establish 1:1 marketing technology with the aim of more satisfied customers. The payment platform’s capabilities allow Dunkin’ restaurants to process mobile ordering and mobile payments through the Dunkin’ app. However, the company’s digital strategy extends much further with future initiatives involving catering, delivery, group ordering and curbside pickup.

“I’d like to remind you that one of our strategic pillars is unparalleled convenience, and this deal will fully support this goal,” Travis said before handing the floor over to his successor David Hoffman, who stated that his top priority was to follow the blueprint for growth, which outlines how Dunkin’ is transforming into a modern and relevant brand.

Hoffman said that that the company was making key investments to accelerate two important areas:

  • Improving the restaurant experience for guests and crew
  • Leaning into more innovative—especially coffee—beverages

“I want to make it very clear that this is part of a unique chapter in our brand’s history. One of significant change and transformation to ensure relevance for generations to come,” said Hoffman.

Hoffman later added that “convenience is about being wherever our guests want to use us, including outside the four walls of our restaurants,” referring to branded products such as Dunkin’ Donuts K-Cups. These allow loyal customers to continue experiencing the brand outside of stores. Hoffman indicated that the company is reaching out to new customers outside of restaurant confines, although the restaurants themselves are being redesigned at the same time.

Baskin-Robbins is also evolving to become a more modern and relevant brand by emphasizing “great flavors and memorable moments.”

A prime example of the brand’s shift is with the recent “Got Me Like” campaign, which is designed to appeal to younger consumers using brightly colored GIFs, memes, videos and other media. Although BR store revenues were down 0.4 percent in Q2, Hoffman said that beverage categories especially shakes, saw significant gains for the third straight quarter, which he attributes to the Sundae Shakes offering. Additionally, delivery in partnership with Door Dash continues to expand, with “Try Me Free” offers given to first-time delivery customers throughout July to encourage trial and increase awareness.

McDonald’s Earnings Drop In Q2; Places Hope In Delivery And Automation

McDonald’s reported Q2 earnings of $5.3 billion, a 12 percent drop compared to the same quarter last year. The quick-service giant boasted considerable growth in the delivery space, as well as through the mobile app and restaurant kiosks.

Deals And Delivery

Last year, delivery was offered by 7,800 McDonald’s restaurants thanks to a partnership with UberEATS. That number has increased to 13,000. A saturation of restaurants throughout the country has made it easy for McDonald’s to take advantage of the growing delivery market. In fact, President and CEO Steve Easterbrook told investors that customers order twice as much through delivery than the average restaurant check. The restaurant used its FIFA sponsorship to push delivery and on July 19, the brand offered ’90s-inspired shirts to those who ordered delivery in a promotion called #McDelivery Day.

Easterbrook said the company has identified two kinds of patrons that frequent its restaurants: Budget Basics, those who expect every day low prices and Deal Customers—those who hop between brands depending on who offers the best deal at the time.

To counteract lost share in the breakfast market and appeal to Deal Customers, Easterbrook outlined plans to offer discounts and specials while allowing local franchises to customize the $1 $2 $3 menu based on neighborhood preferences.

McDonald’s reduced ad spend in the first quarter and considering the drop in Q2 income, acknowledged that the brand needs to be “more aggressive” to compete.

Spending Money To Make Money

Extensive remodeling efforts cut into McDonald’s profits in the second quarter, as did refranchising efforts in China. Restaurants lose between five to 10 days during the retail conversions. However, Easterbrook said the temporary loss of income is worth it, as consumers spend more using kiosks.

With unemployment down in the US, the company is investing $150,000 million over the next five years to educate and train its workforce amid criticism about employee atmospheres. Kevin Ozan, McDonald’s executive vice president and CFO, told investors that they are not alone when it comes to such pressures, calling the labor market “tight.”

Adding fresh beef to its Quarter Pounder burgers resulted in 80 percent awareness from the public at launch, but extra cook time extends serve times too, especially in the drive-thru. Easterbrook said they are trying to address this issue and chocks some of it up to a learning curve.

“Value” is a word that McDonald’s uses a lot to describe its mission statement and goals, but Ozan accepts the fact that their food won’t always be consumers’ first choice.

“We don’t strive to win on value but we won’t lose, either,” said Ozan.

Spotify Q2 Earnings Show Strong Growth Through Partnerships, Mobile And Emerging Markets

Spotify reported positive results in its Q2 earnings report, with 180 million monthly active users and 83 million premium subscribers, both of which increased by 30 and 40 percent respectively year-over-year. Growth largely came from emerging markets such as Latin America which have outpaced established ones. That led to €1,273 million ($1,491 million US) in total revenue, up 26 percent year-over-year.

CEO and chair Daniel Ek kicked off the earnings call by clarifying Spotify’s licensing deals, which allow artists, especially independent ones, to license their music directly with the service instead of going through third-party distributors.

As explained during its March Investor Day presentation, Spotify is building a two-sided marketplace to provides tools and services for labels and artists to focus on promotion and marketing. Ek said that, as a platform, it has always licensed music from rights holders both large and small, and will continue to license music from whoever owns the rights.

“Our goal is to get as much music onto the Spotify platform as we possibly can,” he explained.

There are three long-term success metrics:

  • Growing the number of creators on the platform
  • Increasing the number of musicians using the promotional, marketing and career management tools
  • Growing the number of artists and labels paying the platform for those tools and services

“Licensing content does not make us a label, nor do we have any interest in becoming a label,” said Ek. “We don’t own any rights to any music, and we’re not acting like a record label. Our agreements are specific to Spotify and are not exclusive.”

He later added that the number of artists being heard increased by five percent, and the Spotify for Artists platform has hit a new milestone with over 200,000 artists monthly. Meanwhile, artists such as Metallica use Spotify as a kind of engagement tool, changing their setlists according to which songs are most popular in each city.

Spotify’s ad-supported users grew by 23 percent year-over-year during Q2, totaling 101 million. The company credits a revised interface as a major factor in this growth, as it was the first revision since 2014. The music streaming service expects the new interface to continue driving engagement, retention and conversion.

Premium subscribers increased to 83 million, up 40 percent year-over-year. Spotify names the Family Plan promotion as a major driver for subscriptions, leading to lower churn and strong retention. The company also extended its Spotify + Hulu bundle for premium subscribers in the US, which was made available to customers after the successful launch of Spotify Student + Hulu in the fall.

Ek said that Spotify was encouraged by the early results of the bundles, and it will continue to find more ways to bring more value to its members.

Another key objective is to become ubiquitous on all platforms, including devices such as Echo devices, which often promotes the Amazon Music streaming service. Ek explained that, unlike video, music can be experienced virtually everywhere during almost every occasion.

Spotify also plans to focus on increased sell-through, as ad sales are connected to growth rates. To that end, the company reported slowed growth on desktop platforms and fast growth on mobile.

“Increasingly, it’s a mobile-first business,” said Ek. He explained that Spotify has relatively high margins in their five largest markets, with lower margins in emerging markets where its presence is small. Advertisers looking to buy reach need to take those factors into consideration, but Ek also warns that the markets are dynamic and will change as the service continues to grow.

Ek also assured investors that GDPR had very little impact on the service, using the subscriber number growth as evidence. This stands is in deep contrast to social platforms such as Facebook. He mentioned that some advertisers tried to take advantage of the initial confusion GDPR presented when it went into effect to renegotiate data sharing, but the matters were quickly worked out.

According to Ek, “the overall impact of GDPR was relatively short-lived.”

Spotify’s Q2 earnings report also highlights key changes in its metrics policy. Previous quarterly earnings reports did not include users who use various methods to block advertisements, but the most recent one does. The company estimates that less than five percent of its ad-supported users employ ad blockers.

Additionally, the service is in the process of identifying and removing fake users from its metrics. These include bots and “users who aim to manipulate stream counts for purposes of royalty calculations.” Although Spotify is working to identify and remove these users, it admits that some may have made it through into the report.

Facebook Q2 Earnings Miss Expectations; Messenger Monetization Coming Soon

Facebook reported second-quarter earnings of $13.23 billion, just shy of estimates. While the company treads water against a barrage of controversy and data concerns, Facebook turns to new monetization sources like messenger apps.

Saturation may have finally set in for Facebook users in the US and Canada, as illustrated by a lack of growth between the first and second quarters. Still, the site managed to boost its average revenue per user in all markets from $23.59 to $25.91 in US and Canada and from $5.53 to $5.97 worldwide.

Facebook reassured investors that they are investing heavily in data security—so much that it could negatively impact profits for the near future, CFO David Weiner warned.

The site recently added ad transparency tools such as labels that identify who paid for marketing and allowing users to view all ads served on a page, regardless of whether it was targeted to them originally.

Upcoming elections will be a “real test” for Facebook, the company said, adding that its already removed “thousands” of accounts and groups that violated Facebook policies.

In terms of monetization, Facebook stressed the importance of video a number of times throughout the call. Mark Zuckerberg said that features like Watch and just-added Watch Party are part of a wider initiative to create content that brings people together.

When asked where Facebook will turn next for monetization, Sheryl Sandberg indicated an interest in messenger apps. She said that Messenger has over 8 billion messages sent between businesses and users per month which includes automated messages.

“We’re being very slow and deliberate with monetization but I think we’ve launched some things that people are excited about like click-to-messenger ads,” said Sandberg on the investor call.

Sandberg indicated that they are “very focused” on WhatsApp as well, with more than 3 million people currently testing business solutions.

Instagram is growing at a faster rate than Facebook, and Sandberg sees this as an opportunity for brands.

“I think Instagram is both a direct response opportunity but [also] an opportunity for discovery,” she said. “The format is so visually appealing and people are telling stories with pictures. We see both anecdotally and in the data that this is a great place for people to become aware of a product in the first place.”