Twitter Celebrates #HashtagDay, Signs Deal With Overwatch League

This week in social media news, hashtags turn 11 and Twitter’s esports partnership dreams come true.

Also, Facebook is all about that transparency, inviting publishers to scrutinize ads and banning a popular app. On the brighter side, Facebook has made it easier to create video ads on the platform. Pandora listeners share music on Snapchat, LinkedIn helps job seekers, Facebook could be testing voice controls and has deleted more bad actors from its platforms. Instagram sees if it can keep users scrolling, Facebook tries to make MRIs less of a pain and GIPHY creates its own version of Stories. Meanwhile, Snapchat users get a peek at the new Android design, Twitter vows to promote conversational health and LinkedIn invites economic research.

Twitter Celebrates 11 Years Of Hashtags

Just over a decade ago, Twitter started the trend of adding a hash/pound sign in front of a phrase so that users could sort tweets by topic.

Why it matters: Twitter says that over 125 million hashtags are shared on its platform each day. The hashtag has helped gain worldwide awareness for everything from social causes to brand campaigns and has spread to other platforms as a universal way to share ideas.

Details: Users on Twitter can celebrate the 11th anniversary of the hashtag with—what else—a hashtag. Using #HashtagDay in a tweet will add the emoji of a hashtag inside a blue heart. The site is also asking users to share which hashtag has made the most impact on them this year.

Overwatch League Partners With Twitter For All-Star Weekend

Blizzard’s Overwatch League has signed a multi-year with Twitter that includes a weekly show, match highlights and on-demand video.

Why it matters: Overwatch League attracts the kind of viewership Twitter is looking for when it pursues video partnerships. The Overwatch League Grand Finals in July, for example, averaged over 861,000 views per minute. This partnership would allow Twitter to reach a wide audience of 18-34 consumers, which extends to brands that want to time advertising around events.

Details: Twitter will show highlights of the Overwatch League All-Star Weekend tournament this weekend, and continue its partnership with the 2019 season. The partnership includes a live weekly show and match highlights.

“From the inception of the Overwatch League, the community on Twitter has always been one of our most passionate and engaged,” said Daniel Cherry, vice president and chief marketing officer for Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues. “That’s why we are particularly excited to announce this collaboration, beginning with the Overwatch League’s All Star-Weekend.”

Facebook Creates New Video Editing Tools For Advertisers

Advertisers on Facebook can now access a suite of editing tools to create mobile video campaigns.

Why it matters: Facebook claims that mobile-first creative has a 27 percent higher likelihood of driving brand lift video ads that are not optimized for mobile. As brands find it harder to gain traction in Facebook’s ever-changing algorithm, a video may prove beneficial for standing out in a saturated Facebook ad marketplace.

Details: Facebook has introduced a number of video tools for advertisers on its platform, including the ability to edit, crop and create video ads from templates or existing photos.

Ad Archive API Lets Journalists Scrutinize Marketing On Facebook

Facebook is accepting applications for journalists and researchers to access a new Ad Archive API. This tool would allow users to view detailed information about an ad in order to better understand its origins.

Why it matters: Facebook is gearing up for mid-term elections with all the transparency it can muster.

Details: A new Ad Archive API will be tested with publishers, educators and academics in the US before being offered to other users. The API offers ad creative, start and end date, and performance data, including total spend and impressions for ads. It also shows the demographics of people reached, including age, gender and location.

Facebook Bans myPersonality App For Data Abuse

Psychometric app myPersonality has been banned from Facebook after an investigation found misuse of user data.

Why it matters: Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook is taking a second look at the hundreds of apps it allowed to access user data. The social media giant has updated its policies regarding data usage and security which has resulted in numerous app suspensions and investigations.

Details: myPersonality, a Facebook app introduced in 2007, refused to comply with an audit of its security practices and thus was banned from the platform. In ablog post, Facebook said “it’s clear” that the app shared user information with only limited protections in place. Facebook is now notifying roughly 4 million people who chose to share their Facebook information with myPersonality.

Pandora Premium Gets Snapchat Integration

Special album cards can now be shared on Snapchat by Pandora Premium users.

Why it matters: Albums or playlists shared on Snapchat redirect users back to Pandora, offering a new trackable source of traffic and incentive for users to upgrade to Premium. Snapchat, meanwhile, gains a new method of engagement for a user base that has dropped in recent months.

Details: Beginning August 22, Pandora Premium users can share a song, album or playlist with their Snapchat followers directly from the Pandora app. Snapchat users in the US who tap on the music card will gain access to Pandora’s entire music library. Listeners can already share Pandora content via Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Twitter, so Snapchat integration rounds out the list for engagement.

Voice Control Code Found Inside Facebook App

A dictation feature has been located inside the code for Facebook and Messenger, indicating that the company hasn’t given up on zero UI.

Why it matters: Facebook put its smart speaker plans on hold amid privacy scandals this year, but finding code inside the app may show that the company plans to continue its voice-controlled ambitions. As the third most popular entry point into the internet, Facebook stands to gain tremendous market share with a smart speaker . . . so long as users trust the company enough to use it.

Details: As reported by TechCrunch, App investigator Jane Manchung Wong discovered code within the Facebook and Messenger mobile apps that allows users to dictate text to a voice assistant called “Aloha.” Speaking while in a message thread will transcribe a user’s voice into text. In addition, the code describes the feature as having connections with external Wi-Fi or Bluetooth devices.

Facebook Removes Over 5,000 Ad Targeting Categories

Amid accusations (and lawsuits) over ad targeting discrimination, Facebook has announced the removal of over 5,000 targeting options.

Why it matters: Previously, marketers on Facebook could exclude certain groups such as race or religion from seeing an ad, but that extended to housing and other industries that prohibit discrimination.

Details: Facebook has announced plans to remove over 5,000 targeting options for advertisers, including ethnicity and religious beliefs. To help curb any discrimination, Facebook will also roll out certification programs for all advertisers, beginning in the US. Advertisers will be required to complete this certification in order to continue advertising on Facebook.

LinkedIn Upgrades Job Search Features

Job hunters on LinkedIn now have access to a dashboard that consolidates search results, in addition to new features to help make decisions.

Why it matters: Building a reputation for matching businesses with job hunters allows LinkedIn to attract more users, as well as solicit paid features.

Details: New features have been added to LinkedIn Job Search that include notifications when a company posts an opening, salary comparisons and the ability to work remotely. The updated interface also eliminates the need to open multiple job posts and allows users to search by more parameters like telecommute.

Facebook Removes More Accounts For ‘Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior’

The fight against fake news and outside political interference rages on as Facebook removed multiple Pages and accounts designed for this purpose.

Why it matters: It’s important for Facebook to be transparent about its efforts to curb foreign interference ahead of the mid-term elections, as the company fights to regain its reputation after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Letting users know what they are up against—and when they are successful—will help ease concerns about Facebook’s spread of misinformation.

Details: Facebook has announced the removal of “multiple” Pages, groups and accounts for coordinated inauthentic behavior on Facebook and Instagram. These accounts were found to originate in either Russia or Iran, although Facebook has not found a link between the campaigns. Facebook explained that they often find it necessary to sit back and watch this behavior before removing it.

“There is always a tension between taking down these bad actors quickly and improving our defenses over the long term,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy wrote. “If we remove them too early, it’s harder to understand their playbook and the extent of their network. It also limits our ability to coordinate with law enforcement, who often have investigations of their own.”

Instagram Tests Recommended Posts

Beginning Tuesday, Instagram is testing recommended posts that will appear once a user has caught up on their news feed.

Why it matters: Instagram recently implemented the “all caught up” feature to prevent endless scrolling and promote digital wellbeing among its users. Recommended posts are less prone to endless scrolling and users are given the choice as to whether they want to see them.

Details: When a user has caught up on Instagram posts from accounts they follow, two choices will now appear—view past posts or scroll to view recommendations. Instagram says they will refine the product based on user feedback.

Facebook Collaborates To Speed Up MRI Scans

Facebook and NYU School of Medicine’s Department of Radiology have announced a research project dubbed fastMRI that uses AI to make the process up to 10 times faster.

Why it matters: In its quest for world data domination, Facebook has amassed an arsenal of advanced technologies. Using this tech to help others would paint Facebook in a more favorable light as the company faces worldwide scrutiny, lawsuits and bad press. MRIs currently take up to an hour, which is difficult for young children, those who are claustrophobic and patients who experience pain when lying down. Speeding up the process would not only ease this tedious process but free up the machine for more patients.

Details: Facebook has announced a partnership with the NYU School of Medicine’s Department of Radiology to improve the MRI process. MRI scanners work by gathering raw numerical data in a series of sequential views and turning the data into cross-sectional images. AI would be able to gather and display these images with less data, thus speeding up the process.

GIPHY Adds Animated ‘Stories’ To Its Webpage

Popular GIF database site GIPHY took a cue from social media networks by adding Stories to its homepage.

Why it matters: GIPHY may not be a social network unto itself, but the site is integrated with multiple platforms including Twitter and Facebook. These curated Stories have obvious implications for social media, should the company make it available to users.

Details: GIPHY has updated its website to feature Stories, a series of animated GIFs with subtitles curated by the site’s editorial staff. GIPHY Stories are displayed as a slide show that users can swipe through vertically on mobile devices and viewed horizontally on desktop. GIPHY’s first Stories include “The Bachelorette Finale in GIFs” and “The best GIFs for your summer out of office email.”

Snapchat Redesign Is Faster, According To Android Testers

Android users with root access can try out Snapchat Alpha, a new experience being created from the ground up.

Why it matters: Snapchat’s users have dropped this year following a controversial redesign. In the company’s Q2 earnings call, CEO Evan Spiegel said that re-engaging Android users will be a “higher focus” for the company moving forward. One of the users’ biggest complaints was how slow the new app was, so early tests are promising.

Details: Early testers of Snapchat’s new Android design say that it runs “smoother,” and shows improvement in terms of speeds. The app is far from being polished, however, and lacks several features like being able to send chats.

LinkedIn Invites Economic Researchers To Mine Data

LinkedIn is attempting to digitally graph the global economy and is inviting researchers to join the team.

Why it matters: In the short term, data mining raises questions about the safety of user information, although LinkedIn says it has privacy restriction in place. In the long term, LinkedIn wants to positively impact the global workforce by better understanding the economy. According to LinkedIn, its existing graph has been leveraged by organizations such as the World Economic Forum, the World Bank, state/local governments, and nonprofits to help identify macroeconomic trends and opportunities.

Details: LinkedIn says that its economic graph allows the company to connect users with job opportunities on a massive scale. The company is inviting economic researchers to help out, but proposals must be approved. In addition, data will not be available for download to prevent abuse.

Jack Dorsey Says They Are Ready To ‘Question Everything’ About How Twitter Works

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey continued his media tour this week with an interview on CNN, during which he reiterated the company’s willingness to change drastically.

Why it matters: Dorsey expressed his displeasure at how Twitter has become a hub for abuse and an echo chamber for ideas when it was originally designed to spawn conversation and discovery. Twitter takes a risk giving the site an overhaul but could benefit in the long term if it proves to discourage abuse.

Details: In an interview with CNN, Dorsey was reluctant to commit to a timeline for changes and seemed to ask more questions than offer answers.  He did, however, admit that Twitter’s design encourages users to follow certain behaviors in regard to likes and follows.

“We are aware of some of the silos and how we’re isolating people by only giving them crude tools to follow accounts. We need to broaden our thinking and get more back to an interest-based network,” he said.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, August 24. 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

L’Occitane’s New Experiential Store Combines Social Media And IRL Interaction

Beauty brand L’Occitane has opened a retail concept store in Midtown Manhattan that centers around experiences.

The new 1,870-square-foot store combines digital with hands-on interaction that encourages consumers to share on social media. A video live feed of L’Occitane’s Instagram account is displayed with the hope that visitors will follow them and perhaps be inspired to take pictures of the colorful displays.

“L’Occitane wants fans to walk away from these experiences understanding the brand’s identity and commitments through each exclusive and interactive touchpoint throughout the store,” Paul Blackburn, vice president of concept design, construction and merchandising at L’Occitane told AList.

A number of installations virtually transport shoppers to France—the brand’s country of origin. Stationary bikes are set against the background of a French countryside, inviting shoppers to “bike through Provence.” L’Occitane’s first virtual reality experience takes users on a hot air balloon ride through the south of France, over the Lavender Fields of Provence. Users can enjoy the view via 360-degree video, all while receiving a complimentary hand massage and smelling real-life lavender.

The installations will rotate each month to coincide with featured products, beginning with the new Aqua Reotier Skincare Collection and Verbena Collection. This will allow L’Occitane to appeal to different audiences.

“It’s imperative that anything we introduce enhances the overall customer experience, and as a sensorial brand, it’s imperative that any technology we introduce is well balanced with a human connection,” Blackburn added. “We have always had wonderful products, promising pleasure through beauty and well-being, and that alone used to be enough, but Retail is constantly evolving, now at a faster pace than ever, and we must evolve too.”

Beauty brands are using experiential retail to attract consumers that are as eager to post on Instagram as they are to try on new products.

Glossier is opening a pop-up retail location this week in Chicago that will be decked out in Instagram-worthy style with stark white and pink decorations. The experiential retail store will feature a “Glossier Canyon” selfie station and “hidden sound moments” meant to set the desired tone in each section. NYX Beauty Bar integrates traditional retail with social media inspiration in-store and interactive tutorial stations. Touch screen displays allow consumers to search Instagram posts in which users are wearing a particular shade or product.

L’Occitane is growing its presence worldwide and was the first French company to go public in Hong Kong. The Manhattan location has already attracted over 2,400 visitors during its soft open, making it L’Occitane’s most popular American location in terms of foot traffic.

While the brand reported a 27.1 percent drop in revenue for the year ending March 31, the company expressed confidence in its expansion efforts, especially in China. Appealing to a young, digital audience with experiential retail may help L’Occitane reach new demographics.

Procter And Gamble Attempt To Trademark ‘LOL,’ ‘WTF’ And More

Procter & Gamble (P&G) is trying to adopt—via trademark—a number of social media abbreviations to be used in cleaning and air freshening products.

As reported by Bloomberg, the manufacturing giant has filed several applications with the US Patent and Trademark Office for phrases like “LOL,” “WTF,” “NBD” and “FML.” According to the applications, these abbreviations would be used to label non-medicated liquid soap, dishwashing detergents, hard surface cleaners and air fresheners.

The move could be a sign that P&G plans to launch a millennial-focused brand using these phrases, as applications say they would be considered a standard character mark. This term refers to words, letters, numbers or a combination thereof, but does not lay claim to specific fonts, size, color or design element.

P&G’s applications do not, however, indicate whether these trademarked phrases would stand for their original meanings, which are “laugh out loud,” “what the fuck,” “no big deal” and “fuck my life,” respectively. For purposes of branding, “WTF” could stand for “wash the floor,” or “FML” may translate to “for maximum lather,” considering P&G owns Pantene hair products.

Creating a new label for common household items may be P&G’s plan to woo the generation blamed for killing industries en masse. P&G board member Nelson Peltz acknowledged that Millennials want a more intimate relationship with their products, saying that younger consumers do not want “one-size fits all” brands.

“Millennials want these little brands, these local brands that they have an emotional attachment to,” Peltz said.

Young consumers aren’t buying fabric softeners the way their parents did, forcing the company to rethink its marketing—relabeling bottles “fabric conditioner,” for example. P&G’s president of NA Fabric Care Shailesh Jejurikar told The Wall Street Journal that millennials don’t know what the product is for.

Adopting “the lingo” of young consumers can be a fun way to engage, but brands run the risk of appearing disingenuous. Several brands have employed marketing campaigns using popular memes or emoji, some with great success.

However, marketerss should make sure any use of popular phrases is in line with its brand message. A 2016 study by Sprout Social asked social media users what annoys them about brands online. For 29.9 percent of respondents, using slang or jargon that doesn’t fit the brand was listed as a major reason for an unfollow.

OpenTable Partners With Kellogg’s For Pop-Up Cereal Residency

Kellogg is partnering with Food Network star Duff Goldman and OpenTable to launch a pop-up culinary residency at Kellog’s NYC Café this fall to benefit the nonprofit organization No Kid Hungry.

For two days in September, Goldman is taking over the café to add his culinary spin on various dishes featuring Kellogg’s cereal brands. The event will let attendees pay what they want, and all donations will go toward the charity to fund its mission to end child hunger in America. As an added bonus, attendees can purchase limited-edition cereal bowls designed by Goldman, and those proceeds will also go to charity.

“When it comes to creativity, the sky is the limit when exploring exciting, new ways to play with Kellogg’s cereal,” Goldman said in a statement. “It was so fun to get out of my comfort zone and discover the endless possibilities of cereal—hopefully my creations will inspire everyone to experiment in their own kitchens.”

The event is part of Kellogg’s “Breakfast for Better Days” initiative, which has the goal of making the lives of three billion people a little brighter by the end of 2025. The program, in addition to partnerships such as the one with United Way to combat bullying, reinforces Kellogg’s motto of being “a company with Heart & Soul.”

Kellogg’s NYC Café guests can not only look forward to feeling good by donating to charity, but they can look good too. In a separate announcement, the company debuted its Froot Loops-themed fashion collection developed in partnership with AWAYTOMARS. The clothes featuring colored circles and the character Toucan Sam are available at Kellogg’s NYC while supplies as well as online. These outfits are part of AWAYTOMARS’ Spring/Summer 19 collection, which makes its Paris debut in September.

New York Public Library Launches ‘Insta Novels’ Campaign On Instagram Stories

Although the New York Public Library mainly services its namesake city, it is also a recognizable global brand that is dedicated to the promotion of literacy. As part of this mission, the library has launched an Instagram campaign that brings classic books to the social platform for book lovers everywhere to enjoy in a new way.

“Insta Novels” uses Instagram’s Stories feature to present entire books such as Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland (presented in two parts) to social media using animation and music with others including The Metamorphosis and The Yellow Wallpaper.

“We’re always looking for ways to inspire people to read more, using unlikely places to reach new audiences,” Richert Schnorr, director of digital media at the New York Public Library, told AList. “For a while, Instagram was seen as a younger platform, but I think that is changing dramatically. Our social media base has a lot of New York people, but it’s also national and global.”

Schnorr explained that the NYPL is always looking to find new ways to engage with both local and global audiences and that this campaign perfectly serves the goal of inspiring reading and lifelong learning. The campaign also encourages audiences to download the library’s SimplyE app, which lets readers borrow books from anywhere using a library card.

Although the library engages with users across multiple platforms to spread awareness of its booklists and core services, Instagram is a particularly good fit because of the institution’s visual nature, which includes iconic architecture in the heart of New York City. There’s also the benefit of upending expectations by using a fast photo sharing platform for a contemplative campaign that celebrates the written word.

Users can then decide to follow the library on social media, and perhaps discover that the institution has more to offer than books. The library also has a regular podcast and education classes.

“A campaign like this is exactly what the New York Public Library wants to be known for,” said Schnorr. “We are proud to be thinking in innovative ways, partnering with the best of the best, and always being centered around reading—inspiring reading and a lifelong learning. So, this is exactly the kind of campaign that we’ve hoped for.”

Spotify And New Amsterdam Vodka Partner To Launch Branded Podcast

Spotify is partnering with New Amsterdam Vodka to create Ebb & Flow, a branded podcast, which represents a new revenue path for the streaming service. The five-episode series features music influencer DJ Jasmine Solano and her candid conversations with rising hip-hop artists and entrepreneurs.

Spotify currently hosts a variety of non-branded audio programs and it makes the majority of its revenues through advertising and subscriptions but has to pay out about 70 percent of the money made from each music stream to labels and publishers.

Podcasts represent a promising form of revenue, given their relatively low production costs and high engagement. In 2017, about 40 percent of people in the US said that they listened to podcasts, many on a regular basis. A 2018 IAB study found that podcasts have high ad revenue potential, predicting that they will rise to $659 million in revenue by 2020.

“We chose to do a branded podcast less because of the format and more because of the opportunity with Spotify,” said New Amsterdam Spirits marketing director Michael Sachs in a statement. “When discussing ways to work together, we wanted to be sure that we were supporting the latest and greatest that Spotify has to offer.”

The podcast promises personal interviews with guests that include Bryce Vine, GASHI, J.I.D, Saweetie, and Skizzy Mars, who will talk about their struggles moving up in the music industry. Ebb & Flow also fits neatly into New Amsterdam’s “Our Your Soul Out” campaign, which matches music with the spirts brand. One of the campaign’s first trailers follows the story of a drummer rising up to become a professional musician.

In the show’s announcement, Spotify said that it is “focused on fueling the discovery of stories, culture and communities through audio-driven experiences. Podcasts are an integral part of this discovery. And as the number two podcast provider in the world, podcasts help us to bring fans closer to the creators and subject matters they love.”

Forever 21 Launches AI-Driven Visual Search To Enhance Shopping

Forever 21 is making online shopping more experiential with its new visual search and navigation tool. With it, users can skip typing terms into the search bar and get straight to browsing apparel that best suits their tastes.

The visual search function is available through the “Discover Your Style” module on the Forever 21 app and its homepage when accessed from a mobile browser. Users narrow down the selection of clothing by tapping icons representing styles, colors, length and more to narrow down their search parameters.

“Discover Your Style” originally debuted in May on the Forever 21 iOS app, but it was limited only to dresses and tops. In that test period, the company saw increased sale conversations, with purchase averages for both categories growing by 20 percent. It is now available for use across a broad variety of clothing styles, using artificial intelligence, natural language processing and computer vision to quickly serve relevant search results to users.

According to the announcement, shoppers tend to abandon ecommerce sites if they can’t find what they’re looking for within three clicks. One study shows that millennials prefer to have a blend of technology and curation when shopping and having fast, personalized and intuitive search tools are critical to engaging with young consumers.

Forever 21 president Alex Ok said in a statement, “Visual search technology bridges the gap between the convenience of online shopping and the rich discovery experience of traditional retail by enabling our customers to search for clothing in the same way they think about it—using visuals, not words. Early data shows that this is one of the most important innovations in the ecommerce space in recent years.”

The company will work to further develop the visual search technology as part of its omnichannel shopping experience, leveraging it for merchandising, recommendations and lifecycle marketing efforts.

Mercedes-Benz Uses IGTV Platform To Release Branded Short Film

Mercedes-Benz has produced its first spot for Instagram’s new IGTV platform, a black and white short film called Bertha Benz: The First Driver.

The branded content is just over two minutes in length and tells the story of Bertha Benz, wife of car inventor—and Mercedes-Benz co-founder—Karl Benz. When Karl invented the first automobile in 1888, it was his wife, Bertha that took it on a 60-mile ride through Germany to prove that it works.

“This was one of those projects that we’d been kicking around for a little while,” Mark Aikman, general manager of marketing services and digital customer experience at Mercedes-Benz USA told AList. “We’ve told the ‘birth of Benz’ story a number of times before but we really wanted to make sure that at some point, we produce a more powerful video to tell the story.”

The First Driver, which was originally considered for National Women’s Day, was launched on Monday ahead of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance this weekend.

“This week felt like a really magical week to launch the story celebrate the 130th anniversary [of Mercedes-Benz] and kick off a week of classic car content,” added Aikman.

The First Driver is filmed in black and white and features no sound other than a piano score, reminiscent of a silent film. The video shows how Bertha overcame odds like the car breaking down and believed in her husband’s invention when he had doubts.

“We liked that culture clash between the most contemporary place that you can put video—the newest channel in kind of the newest vertical video format on IGTV—with something that feels amazingly authentic to the story that we’re telling,” said Aikman, who added that seeing a woman drive by in 1888 was probably like seeing a flying car today.

IGTV launched in June as a platform for short-form video content designed to highlight creators. As a long-time beta tester for Facebook and Instagram, Mercedes-Benz was eager to try out the new format, although they knew it couldn’t be a traditional video ad.

“Because it’s more of an entertainment platform and not an advertising platform at launch,” said Aikman, “we [had to] think about content that feels more like storytelling content. Mercedes-Benz isn’t new to vertical video—we’ve been using that advertising format for a while because of the importance of mobile in today’s world.”

As young consumers increasingly turn to digital content and video for entertainment, Aikman says storytelling is more important than ever for marketers. You have to earn your place on the platforms, he stressed.

“I believe storytelling is critical,” explained Aikman. “It’s always been finding that balance between those stories that brands have to tell with their products, heritage and missions and what really connects you to customers. As a brand, we’re trying to drive those emotional connections with our audience and we do it with authentic, powerful stories that are ingrained in who we are.”

In addition to IGTV, The First Driver has been launched on YouTube and Facebook, although in a traditional (horizontal) video format.

Majority Of Marketers Believe Digital Media Landscape Has Become Too Complex, Study Finds

With brand safety a major concern, marketers must maintain a fine balancing act when executing campaigns. Whether the issue is choosing between reach and relevance or achieving high performance at the possible cost of brand safety, marketers are challenged with trading off between these different priorities. It’s no simple task, and a study conducted by Sizmek found that well over half of marketers feel that the media landscape has become too complex.

Sizmek surveyed over 500 brand marketers, asking about their current activities, priorities and challenges. When discussing the trade-offs between targeting the right audience and contextual targeting, the majority of marketers said that trying to do both negatively impacts the performance and scale of campaigns.

Key takeaways from the study include:

  • 61 percent of marketers believe the digital media landscape has become too complex
  • 81 percent believe that targeting both audience and context negatively impacts campaign performance and scale
  • 77 percent are using artificial intelligence to scale up their campaigns; 81 percent plan to increase AI use
  • 64 percent said brand safety solutions negatively impact performance
  • Only 61 percent of brands employ third-party brand safety solutions
  • 76 percent want more transparency

Sizmek found that brands are taking responsibility for safety, putting themselves ahead of demand-side platforms, ad tech vendors and media buying agencies. That is likely why organizations have developed brand safety guidelines for their agencies and partners to follow. Meanwhile, media buying agencies top the ‘secondary responsibility list’ followed closely by ad exchange networks, showing that brands expect all parties to participate in the effort.

To this end, brands are taking a number of steps to better ensure brand safety, seeking more transparency for their digital display inventory. At the same time, many reported that they’re seeking to simplify the process by reducing the number of vendors in their supply chain, prioritizing those that offer good value.

“The complexity and fragmentation of the digital ecosystem is clearly a burden for marketers, resulting in a desire to reduce the number of partners they work with and to get more value from those they do,” the Sizmek report states. “Consolidation will in fact make it vital to find the right partners—those that can meet diverse and sometimes competing needs in an efficient, cost-effective and transparent way.

Soulmates.AI Releases Latest Earned Media Value Index Monthly Report

Soulmates.AI proudly announces its latest a.EMVI (Earned Media Value Index) Monthly Report to help brands, agencies and others in the marketing industry see the latest trends in earned media value.

The a.EMVI takes on one of the most elusive questions of modern-day marketing: How valuable are my efforts on social media? Our Index is the industry standard for judging the earned media value of the likes, comments and shares from on social media platforms. The Index provides actual dollar values for interactions and engagements on social media, providing baselines value for the industry to use for comparison and reporting.

While these baseline values (based on our full cross-section of research) are available for each social media network, this month we are highlighting the consumer electronics industry and using our Vertical values, which are available as a premium. These values are based on isolated, industry-specific research to offer the most precise reporting available.

The monthly report spotlights the industry’s earned media frontrunners. This invaluable tool gives a monetary value to the monthly efforts of earned media from these brands:

  • Google leads the pack with $155,841.91
  • Microsoft comes second with $45,601.84
  • ASUS very close behind with $43,714.45
  • Intel comes in strong with $21,340.04
  • IBM finishes off the leaders with $15,069.43

The report also provides a breakdown of which brands are the most influential on each major social platform.

  • Instagram creates a huge market for Google, which brings in $99,895.08
  • Facebook shows to be a big stage for ASUS, earning $19,118.57
  • Twitter also shows how influential Google is, reaching $30,700.58
  • YouTube, although small, provides a platform for Google which is earning $20,211.70

The a.EMVI Monthly Report offers just a glimpse at the utility of the a.EMVI. For more details on using the a.EMVI to help track your social media and gain the exceptional insight it brings, sign up for our monthly newsletter so you won’t miss our trend reports.

To learn more about our methodology, check out our complimentary white paper here.

If you would like to bring the power of a.EMVI to your company or platform, contact us at: to get a list of our dashboard and API options. 

About Soulmates.AI:
A part of, Soulmates.AI helps companies gain a deep and actionable understanding of social speech and expression so they can build relationships between creators, companies and consumers. We are scientists, technologists and marketers who want to fix advertising and make it truly beneficial for all. 
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