Michelob, Bud Light Engage Sports Fans With Caddie Keg, Locked Smart Fridges

During the PGA Championship last week, Michelob Ultra showed off a caddie bag with a built-in refillable beer keg, complete with a tap handle at the top. Other features include a storage compartment for pint glasses, a rechargeable Bluetooth speaker, a tablet for streaming media and decorative LED lighting. In essence, the caddie bag is a portable party for putters.

Discussing the keg caddie in a statement, Michelob Ultra vice president Azania Andrews said, “We are always looking for new ways to innovate and help our consumers live fit and fun, and the Ultra Caddie delivers both. Michelob Ultra has been the official beer of golf for more than a decade, and we’re excited to unveil the Ultra Caddie at the PGA Championship in St. Louis.”

Michelob Ultra’s parent company Anheuser-Busch has engaged with sports fans recently with a series of unconventional activations. In August, the company introduced the Bud Light “Victory Fridge” to Cleveland’s FirstEnergy Stadium along with various bars across the city. Fully stocked with bottles of Bud Light, these smart fridges will open simultaneously if the Cleveland Browns break their losing streak and win their first victory during the 2018 NFL season.

Andy Goeler, Bud Light’s vice president of marketing, said in a statement, “The Bud Light Browns ‘Victory Fridge’ is a fun way to celebrate and reward a fan base that has never wavered in enthusiasm or dedication for their team no matter what happens. …we’re always looking to bring NFL fans and friends together for memorable experiences.”

The Browns lost all of their games last year, and most of their games the year before. The team also hasn’t won a championship since 1964, so perhaps this bit of encouragement will help them pull out of their slump.

It is worth noting that offering free beer to the entire state of California in June was not enough to help Mexico break its World Cup curse. But, the Philadelphia Eagles did win the Super Bowl last year when its city was offered free bottles of beer, so it’s anyone’s guess as to whether the Browns will succeed in a similar way.

AMC And Postmates Deliver Edible Marketing For ‘Better Call Saul’

AMC is once again using its fictional Los Pollos Hermanos restaurant to promote Better Call Saul. From August 20-22, fans in Los Angeles and New York City can order a special mini meal of fried chicken and curly fries, then have it delivered for free.

The activation is a partnership between AMC and delivery service Postmates to promote the fourth season of Better Call Saul—a prequel to the hit Breaking Bad TV show. Deliveries will be available at 12 p.m. local time each day and will continue while supplies last. Delivering meals from the famous chicken restaurant allows viewers to feel somewhat immersed in the show’s lore.

To fans of the two shows, Los Pollos Hermanos is as much of a character as Walter White or Saul Goodman are. Last year, AMC launched a pop-up of the restaurant in select locations including Austin, Los Angeles and New York City. During SXSW, guests lined up to get free curly fries and branded soda cups, as well as see actors from Better Call Saul. Thanks to partnerships with local restaurants, this is the first time fans can get chicken, too.

Chicken and curly fries delivered for the promotion arrived in branded containers as if they originated from the real Los Pollos Hermanos restaurant. So far, the activation has yielded numerous social media posts that show off the Los Pollos Hermanos branding. Some even pretended to have met the manager Gustavo Fring (Giancarlo Esposito).

AMC’s marketing team works closely with the Better Call Call production staff to make sure every detail of these activations is in line with the show.

“Being authentic is incredibly important to us,” Theresa Beyer, senior vice president of promotion, activation and partnerships at AMC Networks told AList. “If we don’t work closely with [the show’s production team], there’s a really good chance of not being authentic. Fans know it the second you are not authentic and they will call you out for it. I would never want to disappoint those fans.”

Beyer explained that her team follows the beats of the show and caters marketing around story developments. The traveling restaurant was conceived last year, for example, to coincide with Fring’s debut on Better Call Saul.

“We’ll always use traditional marketing methods but this sort of fan engagement does something that billboards and digital ads can’t,” said Beyer. “[With activations like the Los Pollos Hermanos delivery] we can provoke emotions and engagement in a way that goes beyond media buys. That makes it a very fun way to communicate.”

In addition to the delivery activation, AMC is continuing another marketing tradition from Better Call Saul season three—training videos. On Monday, the network debuted a security training video for Madrigal Electromotive—a fictional business from the two shows—hosted by Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks). The video playfully ties into the plot of the show, when Mike takes his security consultant job more seriously than his “employers” expected.

Last year, the network launched a series of employee training videos for Los Pollos Hermanos starring Esposito that covered topics like communication, cleanliness and what to do in an emergency.

Based on what happens on the show, Beyer and her team may continue to use Los Pollos Hermanos, Madrigal Electromotive or something else to engage fans in the future.

“We’re going to follow the beats of the story because we want to be able to get fans excited about what’s coming up in the season and I think the best way is with some big activation or promotion or partnership that gets them deeper into the story,” said Beyer.

Postmates is making a name for itself in the $20 million food delivery market and partnering with AMC is a good way to generate some buzz. The start-up recently added 100 markets nationwide and has made a number of strategic brand partnerships including Walmart and Jack in the Box.

‘Happytime Murders’ Pop-up Invites Guests Into Sleazy World Of Puppets

STXfilms is promoting its R-rated puppet film The Happytime Murders with a pop-up tattoo parlor and speakeasy in Hollywood. The activation immerses guests into the world of the film while driving home its R-rated humor and providing photo ops for social media.

Open to adults 21 and over, The InkHole is a tattoo parlor and speakeasy manned by puppets and actors where guests can take a glimpse at the greasy underbelly of puppet life as depicted in The Happytime Murders. Visitors can interact with puppet and human characters from the film and get clues about its who-dunnit plotline.

The InkHole was scheduled for one weekend only but STXfilms told AListDaily that demand was so high that the activation returned a week later for another weekend full of puppet mischief.

Talking with puppets in The InkHole will earn guests a secret (R-rated) password, which can be spoken to gain access to a hidden speakeasy. Guests are treated to cocktails with names like “Good Time for You” and “DTF (Down to Fluff)” while being entertained by comedians, burlesque dancers and puppet lounge singers on the main stage.

Delving deeper into the speakeasy will reveal even more adult content, from a puppet peep show to BDSM performances. In the “Sugar Den,” a strung-out puppet named Midge offers guests sweet juices so they can get a sugar high with her.

The “Rotten Cotton Girls,” meanwhile, invite people to join them in the Photo Puppet Opp room where they can pose on a hot pink chaise in front of a neon sign of the film’s title.

Marketing for The Happytime Murders has been focused on the raunchy humor of the film, as embodied with the slogan, “No Sesame. All Street.” A pink van has been spotted driving around Hollywood that promotes topless puppet maids. Murals have been painted in spots around Sydney Australia, made to look like brothels complete with puppet prostitutes outside. The film’s name, hashtag and slogan are painted in the style of graffiti, hitting the message home that this is not a story for kids.

Last week, a public service announcement video was released in partnership with the Alamo Drafthouse that discouraged moviegoers from talking during the movie. Hosted by a puppet named Goofer from The Happytime Murders, viewers are warned that being a “moviefucker” and talking during the movie will get you shunned and send you into a spiral of hard candy addiction.

Paddy Power Installs Massive Drive-Thru Confessional In Dublin

Irish gambling site Paddy Power launched a “drive-thru confessional” to spark conversation about the Pope’s upcoming visit. The tongue in cheek marketing activation pokes fun at the idea of “Catholic guilt” by offering residents a way to gain forgiveness on the go.

A 42-foot (13 meters) wide by 39-foot (12 meters) tall structure was strategically placed over a car wash next to Phoenix Park, where up to half a million people are expected to gather this weekend. The drive-thru confession box is made to look like the real thing, only much larger—“big enough to withstand the full spectrum of sin,” the company said.

“It was a bit of fun, but we also wanted to start a very real conversation about the subject in light of the Pope’s visit,” Rachael Kane, head of Irish PR at Paddy Power told AList.

Paddy Power says it commissioned a study about the decline of Catholicism in the area. Almost 80 percent of survey respondents said they did not go to confession at least once a month and 29 percent couldn’t remember the last time they went. (Details of the survey, including methodology were not cited.)

At the activation, guests can drive through massive red curtains, where they are greeted by a “priest.” With a wave of his hand, the “priest” absolves participants of their sins and they can be on their way.

“We have to confess that he may not necessarily [have] had the full qualifications for the job,” admitted Kane.

Outside, a branded sign encourages visitors to “Repent decades of sins in seconds” and “Filthy souls enter here.” Aside from Paddy Power’s name, there is no designated hashtag for the activation. A video was posted on YouTube that shows different Irish citizens being called to mass by a church bell in the distance.

Several posts on social media indicate that some passersby are getting a kick out of the confession booth, but it will surely get much more attention this weekend when the Pope arrives.

While the Catechism of the Catholic Church does not specifically prohibit gambling itself, the act can lead to other prohibited sins like greed and jealousy—so it’s no wonder a gambling site wouldn’t be a fan of religion. They’re not alone, either, which is part of the reason Pope Francis is paying Ireland a visit. Catholicism has been on a steep decline in the country due to outside influence and revelations of abuse within the church.

“If the Catholic hierarchy have anything they’d like to get off their chests too, they are more than welcome to take a spin through our mega drive-thru confession box while they’re here,” Paddy Power added in a blog post.

Paddy Power has gained a reputation for controversial advertising, riding popular issues like politics, sports and religion. When then-presidential candidate Donald Trump visited Scotland in 2016, for example, the gambling site greeted him with a Mexican mariachi band. Ahead of the big Euro 2012 soccer game, a 108-foot statue of England manager Roy Hodgson was erected to provide “divine intervention.”

What Peloton Shows Us About The Future Of Video Marketing

Written by James G. Brooks, Founder & CEO of GlassView

I don’t have to convince you that screens are the future. You’re staring into one right now.

If you’re like most Americans, you will spend about 12 hours today gazing into one screen or another. That may seem like a natural limit, but consider how screens have proliferated in recent years. There are screens at gas pumps, screens at supermarket checkout lines and screens on exercise equipment.

Take Peloton for example. The hit $2,000 exercise bike has transformed the home workout experience by linking consumers to live broadcast exercise classes. But Peloton, which just raised $550 million for a $4.15 billion valuation, isn’t the only sign that the IoT age is upon us. A recent Samsung ad points to another smart use of video—a family uses a screen on their refrigerator to take a video call and then mom shuts off the TV in the other room when dinner’s ready.

All of this signals that the Internet of Things is not a future technology. It’s here now. That means that very targeted video ads on IoT devices will soon become the norm. Here’s why:

  1. They will reduce the cost of hardware. We already live in a world in which consumers can get free versions of apps, news articles and streaming music services in exchange for viewing ads. If they’d rather pay extra, they can skip the ads. Hulu also offers a more expensive ad-free experience for those willing to pay extra not to see ads. Subsidizing IoT devices the same way then is plausible. Imagine if ads on a smart refrigerator reduced the cost by a few hundred dollars?

  2. They will offer helpful IoT apps. What would you use the video screen on a refrigerator for anyway? In the Samsung ad, it’s for placing a video call. Another use would be for showing recipes or videos of chefs preparing those recipes. Such content will either come from subscription, web browsing or via apps. The latter two will likely be ad-supported. Sitting through a 30-second targeted ad is a small price to pay for a time-saving recipe. There are other applications. A garage-based screen could deliver DIY videos and apps. A laundry room screen could offer info on apparel care or cleaning.

  3. Marketers will be able to target the right user at the right time. Someone who is calling up a recipe obviously cooks at home and is a great target for a food ad or for a service like Blue Apron. The latter, which extensively advertises on podcasts, might find that targeting a consumer when they’re just about to cook a meal is the perfect time to pitch its services. Similarly, when a consumer is cleaning or doing wash, their minds are focused on those activities, creating opportunities for marketers of relevant products.

  4. Consumers will be able to control their ad exposure. Consumers are aware that their attention has value. The interruptive advertising model is an affront to this calculation. But offering consumers the choice of seeing an ad in exchange for something—an app or service—is a fair deal. Research has shown that such opt-in ads engage users at eight times the rate of autoplay ads.

There are two trends that are paving the way for IoT ads. One is the growth of IoT devices in the home. The other is the possibility of opt-in advertising, which offers consumers something of value for their time. The merging of these two trends points to a future which is attractive to both advertisers and consumers. Consumers get control and marketers get a willing audience. That’s as close to a win-win as you can get.

Originally published at VideoInk.

HBO Pop-Up Invited Bumble Users To Watch Movies In A $30M Home

HBO reminded younger viewers about its movie offerings by hosting a “stay home to the movies” event in a $30 million townhome.

For two weeks, users on the Bumble Date and BFF apps had a chance to attend an exclusive event at the Brownstone in New York. Those selected were invited to hang out and watch movies in 10 screening rooms across multiple floors, as well as take photos in several branded areas with the hashtag #StayHometotheMovies. Stay Home to the Movies is a campaign that HBO started earlier this year.

An interactive wall in the house asked people to share their reasons for staying in, and an “excuse generator” helped come up with those reasons. There were also colorful areas like a bathtub filled with movie candy. A wide array of movies was available to appease any genre craving, including Girls TripIT and Back to the Future.

“We’re doing this because for all the buzz we get for original programming, we don’t want people to forget out about movies,” Jason Mulderig, vice president of brand and product marketing at HBO told AList. “The whole idea of the campaign is that staying in can be as good as going out.”

The exclusive event ran from August 15-16, with around 65 people attending each night. An additional 1,200 people signed up for a waitlist that HBO and Bumble launched just 24 hours ahead of the event. Guests took a quiz upon arrival to receive a movie recommendation but were allowed to wander about, mingle and of course, take social media photos to their hearts’ content.

“Bumble was a brand that was on our radar and when we started to think about their audience being younger, socially connected [and] always out looking for something to do, this idea felt like it was a really good fit with something experiential and something [Bumble’s] audience would like. It felt like a perfect match.”

Despite the partnership with a dating app, Mulderig said HBO was not inspired by the idea of “Netflix and Chill.” Instead, the brand wanted to invite people together to recapture the excitement of HBO Saturday night movies for the modern age.

“This [campaign] is really steeped in our heritage,” he said. “Back in the ’70s and ’80s, HBO was one of the first to bring movies into the home and they were special events. That was something that older audiences are nostalgic for, but when you look at the behaviors of someone under the age of 35, they grew up in a streaming and on-demand environment. They may not know of all the places where you can get movies.”

HBO’s core audience tends to skew in the high 40s, Mulderig observed, while Bumble’s audience is a bit younger. He estimated that the Stay Home to the Movies attendees were anywhere between the ages of 18-34.

“We want to be top of mind, so we were trying to figure out how you can bring that experience into the real world and reinforce the specialness of the occasion,” said Mulderig. “The townhouse was reflective of the high quality of movies that we have. Maybe not everyone can hang out and socialize in a $30 million townhouse in New York City, but you can still have the same quality movie experience wherever you are.”

In a digital age where cord-cutting has become more popular, HBO wants audiences to perceive value in its offerings, especially when it comes to movies. To succeed, however, HBO needs audiences to talk about it—something that has happened naturally over several decades already.

“Whether it’s our heritage of movies on Saturday nights or Sunday nights when everyone is watching together, the brand itself have always been inherently social. We kind of own the water cooler.”


HBO’s ‘Random Acts Of Flyness’ Experiential Pop-Up

Random Acts of Flyness may not seem like obvious material for a pop-up experience, but that’s exactly what’s happening over the next two nights as the HBO show takes over a space in New York City.

The recently debuted six-episode late night show created by artist, musician and film director Terence Nance features a variety of interconnected stream-of-consciousness vignettes to showcase some of the major issues facing the black community today.

Aspects of the show, including set recreations and some of its fictional counter-racism products, are featured at the pop-up experience alongside artistic installations. These include a “Black Women Won’t Save Us All” room—where attendees are encouraged to write the names of influential black women on its walls—an audio experience where users can listen to the everyday sounds of black culture, and a meditation room located behind the “Everybody Dies!” game show set.

Lucinda Martinez, senior vice president of multicultural and international marketing at HBO, told AList that, “When developing our promotional efforts for this series, we recognized that Terence’s style of storytelling is unique and thought-provoking and required a non-traditional approach in translating it to our audiences. Watching his show felt like an experience, so why not bring that very experience to life and have potential viewers experience it for themselves?”

Martinez added that the pop-up was one in a myriad of ways HBO reaches its audiences create awareness for its show. Random Acts of Flyness was shown at a variety of festival screenings and it even has a related mobile game called Kekubian Assassin, where a female black character must fight off racist and sexist threats.

“We’re targeting a multicultural millennial audience that feels this series resonates with them,” Martinez explained, stating that this audience appreciates authentic experiences that can be shared with others via social media. The pop-up experience, which will only be shown in New York, is being promoted through the press, social media influencers, tastemaker networks and the artist community.

But even though Random Acts of Flyness deals with sensitive political and cultural topics, HBO regards both the show and the experiences as celebrations of black culture, and they’re not meant to be at the expense of any other culture or point of view. Martinez said that it is this kind of unique storytelling, which covers a variety of topics, that defines the HBO brand.

At the same time, Martinez said that working with sensitive issues requires HBO to “be more thoughtful and intentional” with its targeting and efforts.

“We don’t see these as challenges necessarily, but rather as opportunities to develop new audiences and to present new forms of storytelling, new artists and new voices to our existing audiences,” she said. “As marketers, it is always exciting for us to innovate and explore innovative ways to promote our content.”

Dunnhumby And The Future Of Supermarket Data

Every time you use a supermarket loyalty card, you’re doing more than getting discounts—you’re giving away data. British firm Dunnhumby is one of the best-known pioneers of data-aggregating supermarket loyalty card programs thanks to groundbreaking work with Tesco in the UK and Kroger/Ralphs in the United States.

But like many innovators, Dunnhumby faces a dilemma. Marketing data has become democratized over the years, and it’s easy for retailers and ecommerce brands to do in-house analytics which previously required outside assistance. For companies like Dunnhumby, which come from the world of multi-year contracts and on-loan consultants, that’s a big sea change.

Guillaume Bacuvier, a former Google advertising executive, joined Dunnhumby as CEO in 2017. His mandate is to help the company navigate a sea change in marketing and retail data science.

While Dunnhumby’s bread and butter is their work with big-name firms like Coca-Cola, GlaxoSmithKline and Whole Foods, the company is now expanding into new areas: Working with mid-size and smaller companies, for instance, as well as building out a consumer data science platform.

This summer, AList spoke with Bacuvier at a Dunnhumby conference in Chicago about the company, its future plans, and the marketing data landscape in general. Here’s what he had to say:

Audience Targeting Has Multiple Uses

When it comes to the retail world, purchase history—and the inferences that can be drawn from it—is king. This isn’t just because it can be used to predict future purchases, but because it can be leveraged for additional purposes like advertising.

“If you’re a large consumer goods company and you’re about to launch a product,” Bacuvier says, “[Look at] audience targeting, which is built on the kind of data that a retailer has. It’s quite powerful because retailers have a lot of purchase history about people. That’s usually a good predictor of work, whether you’re in the market for a new chocolate bar that you’re about to launch or a new brand of detergent. What Dunnhumby has done—and we’re not the only ones in the market to do this—is help retailers build media revenue streams and advertising revenue streams that come on top of our core retail business.”

Marketing Data Co-ops For Smaller Companies

Bacuvier notes that one challenge facing smaller retailers—that is, retail chains with multiple locations that might not necessarily be Walmart or Kroger sized—when it comes to big data is that they simply have less data to work with than their larger competitors. He says one possible way for smaller companies to gain leverage is through data co-ops. “Co-op models are not foreign to the retail industry,” Bacuvier adds. “They’ve often had co-ops when it comes to dealing with their supplier base and build co-ops to gain purchasing power and get better prices.”

Possible models for marketing data co-ops, for instance, could include regional retailers teaming up to aggregate their data for better insights and advertising inventory.

GDPR As An Opportunity

Marketers and data brokers are still struggling with the European Union’s GDPR regulation, which changes the way customer and user information is processed. Europe’s new guarantees of data portability and information retention are much more stringent than the United States’. Bacuvier says this presents an opportunity.

Speaking of data portability, Bacuvier notes that customers could potentially take loyalty card records and transfer them to competitors.

“This is disruptive in many ways. One is obviously that the kind of intrinsic value of that data set, for whoever is owning that loyalty program, is exposed because all of a sudden, it’s not as protected as before. It is much easier and creates a kind of competitive environment for one company to potentially win over customers from another by being able to very quickly absorb all their historical transaction data—therefore be able to offer something personalized far more quickly than they would before. It also will require us to create a whole ecosystem to enable data portability.”

The Value Of Consumer Data Is Changing

In the past, in-store consumer data was primarily used to create customized promotions and help companies predict the future to varying degrees of accuracy. However, the rise of ecommerce means that consumer data can now be leveraged for advertising and other secondary uses.

“We use data science to help companies create revenue out of that data,” Bacuvier says. “Media is one example where you can create additional revenue streams from the data that you have. Or it could be monetizing in retail; it’s quite a classic as you can commercialize that data back to your supplier base in the form of insights or market research or business intelligence. Many suppliers are willing to pay for it because [it’s] the only way they can really understand what’s going on with consumers.”

Fuzzify.me Browser Extension Pulls Open The Ad Targeting Curtain

For most people, online ad targeting takes place in the background where it happens without notice, but Mozilla fellows Joana Varon, Becca Ricks and Hang Do Thi Duc are have set out to shed a little light on the process. The group have developed a browser extension called Fuzzify.me to educate users on how they’re being targeted by Facebook ads and gives them tools to bypass some of them.

The plugin works in both Firefox and Chrome and requires ad blockers to be turned off. With that done, Fuzzify.me tracks all the ads users are presented with on Facebook along with reasons why those specific ads are being shown.

Although this information is already available through Facebook’s recently installed “Why am I seeing this?” feature, the plugin offers a less subtle way for users to be informed about how they’re being targeted by advertisers. Additionally, the extension provides deeper insight as to how brands are using Facebook, such as what information and categories they’re using to reach specific users and demographics.

As an added feature, the plugin lets users clear out all their ad preferences in one fell swoop to limit the information advertisers can use. Facebook also makes it possible to turn this information off in preferences, but the tools are divided into a multitude of vague categories such as “Frequent Travelers,” each filled with a collection of advertisers and interests that must be disabled individually, making it a hassle for people to use. The extension encourages users to clean out their data on a regular basis to gain more insight about how advertisers are targeting them and to better determine whether Facebook’s privacy controls actually work as they’re supposed to.

While some might believe that the extension was created in response to growing data privacy concerns, that isn’t entirely the case. In an interview with VentureBeat, Varon said that Fuzzify.me came out of a research project that explored how sexist ads are served. It then grew into a project created in partnership with Who Targets Me to “demystify ad targeting.” Over 7,000 people have downloaded the extension, and it found that the majority of ads for baby-related products were shown to women.

According to Varon, “The idea of the extension is to bring transparency [to ad targeting] and start a discussion about who is targeting you.”

YouTube Red Gets Its First Theatrical Release; Twitter Cracks Down On API

This week in social media news, YouTube Red makes its theatrical debut, Twitter explains its API changes and LinkedIn woos sales teams with new features.

Also, Pinterest gives an inside look into its recommendation AI, Twitter considers big changes, Crimson Hexagon is off the hook, Tweetbot loses key features and LinkedIn updates Groups. Facebook advertisers are turning images into video, Instagram addresses widespread attacks and Twitter finally suspends Alex Jones.

YouTube Red Competes With OTT Giants By Going To The Movies

YouTube’s indie film Viper Room is headed to theaters this fall, making it YouTube’s first foray outside the app and qualifying the company for film awards.

Why it matters: Film is thriving on OTT both in terms of viewership and acclaim. This year, Netflix was nominated for eight Academy Awards and a whopping 112 Emmy nods. In order for YouTub Red to be taken seriously as a source for quality entertainment worthy of a subscription fee, it needs to become an award contender alongside competitors Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.

Details: Thanks to a partnership with distributor Roadside Attractions, Viper Room will be released in theaters October 26. The indie film, which stars Susan Sarandon, was acquired by YouTube Red back in March and its theatrical release is timed perfectly to qualify for the upcoming awards season.

Twitter Tightens The Reigns On Its API

Twitter is taking a more “focused approach” to improving its app and controlling its user data, as evidenced by cutting off certain features to third-party apps.

Why it matters: As Twitter woos advertisers, it needs to control how users interact with its platform. While Twitter will still allow certain apps access to its API, some features have been discontinued so that users can only get the full experience through official apps.

Details: In a blog post on Friday, Twitter explained why it has cut off certain features from third-party apps like Tweetbot (see below). The company has removed support for Twitter for Apple Watch and Twitter for Mac, replaced its previous Twitter for Windows app with the Progressive Web App and removed support for some outdated developer tools. Twitter reminded users that the official site and apps were always the exclusive source for tools like Periscope and polls.

“We know some of you don’t like this more focused approach,” wrote Rob Johnson, Twitter’s senior director of data enterprise solutions, adding that the company is still invested in its developer ecosystem.

LinkedIn Supports Sales Team With New Features

In an effort to “win the hearts and minds of the entire sales organization,” LinkedIn has added new functionality to its Sales Navigator tool.

Why it matters: LinkedIn is courting revenue by offering its Premium members more tools to succeed. The revamped Sales Navigator feature is designed to help businesses grow on its platform by acquiring new clients and expanding existing client relationships.

Details: LinkedIn has added new tools to its Sales Navigator feature including Office 365 integration, mobile lead pages, new search options, SNAP partners and tools to oversee the deal pipeline. The features add on to LinkedIn’s existing Premium Insights that the site began offering in 2016.

Pinterest Explains Its Recommendation Framework

A Pinterest engineer shared details about PinSage, an advanced recommendation framework being used for ad recommendations on the site.

Why it matters: Image search is becoming a popular method of discovery and technology companies recognize this. Google recently updated its image search display, Apple is developing image search and Amazon has secretly been working with Snapchat for a visual search feature as well. As a visual platform, it’s important for advertisers to understand how Pinterest technology aids in search results.

Details: Pinterest Labs developed a new graph convolutional neural network called PinSage, one of the engineers explained in a blog post on Wednesday. To put it in layman’s terms, PinSage analyzes more information than a standard deep-learning method, making its recommendations more accurate and helpful. PinSage has been used for ad recommendations beginning in February and for shopping recommendations in June, according to Venture Beat.

Jack Dorsey ‘Rethinking’ Core Parts Of Twitter

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said that he is experimenting with features that would promote alternative viewpoints in Twitter’s timeline. The idea would be to address misinformation and reduce “echo chambers” on the platform.

Why it matters: Twitter, as with other social networks, has been accused of censorship and stifling voices counter to their own personal viewpoints. As global users consume news content from social media, companies like Twitter are considering the responsibility of their impact on ideas. If Twitter offers multiple viewpoints, it invites conversation and exploration of new ideas.

Details: In an interview with The Washington Post, Dorsey expressed concerns about Twitter’s core features that aid the spread of misinformation. In addition to displaying alternate viewpoints in the news feed, Dorsey said he is considering a redesign of like buttons, follower counts and labeling bots.

LinkedIn Updates Group Feature To Promote Engagement

Several changes are rolling out to LinkedIn Groups this month, including access from the homepage and simplifying management.

Why it matters: Making LinkedIn Groups easier to interact with and manage from mobile devices would allow the site to increase engagement on the platform.

Details: Based on user feedback, LinkedIn will soon add the ability to manage groups in both iOS and Android apps and simplify the number of admin roles down to owner and manager. In addition, users will be able to access their Groups more easily from the home page and receive notifications about Group activity.

Tweetbot Loses Features Ahead of Twitter API Changes

Tweetbot has lost several key features due to Twitter’s API changes, including push notifications and timeline streaming on WiFi.

Why it matters: Twitter’s API changes are an effort to better control data accessed by third-party apps. The changes are forcing users to use the official app if they want the full experience, however, which is leaving some developers frustrated.

Details: Tweetbot’s timeline will refresh every one to two minutes instead of in real-time and likes, retweets, follows and quotes have been disabled. In addition, any push notifications for mentions and direct messages are also delayed. Activity and Stats tabs have been removed, and Tweetbot has disabled its Apple Watch app as a result of the Twitter API cutoff.

“Because Twitter has chosen not to provide alternatives to these interfaces,” Tweetbot told its users, “we have been forced to disable or degrade certain features. We are sorry about this, but unfortunately, this is totally out of our control.”

Crimson Hexagon Reinstated After Facebook Investigation

Data firm Crimson Hexagon has been allowed back on Facebook after an investigation found it did not use data for government surveillance purposes.

Why it matters: Facebook suspended the data firm in July after a Wall Street Journal piece drew attention to potentially suspicious clients, including Government agencies and a Russian non-profit. After it was learned how Cambridge Analytica used Facebook data, the company isn’t taking any chances.

Details: Facebook has reinstated Crimson Hexagon onto its platform after several weeks of investigation, the company announced on Thursday.

“To our knowledge, no government customer has used the Crimson Hexagon platform for surveillance of any individual or group,” the company said in a blog post.

Facebook Marketers Can Now Turn Still Images Into Video Ads

New Create to Convert tools have been introduced that allow advertisers on Facebook to animate still images.

Why it matters: Video direct-response ads have become a popular strategy on Facebook, increasing 3.8 times across the company’s platforms over the last year. Cutting through the noise of Facebook feeds could be made easier by creating eye-catching animations. Adding these tools allows Facebook’s advertisers to create low-cost animations and (hopefully) achieve higher ROI.

Details: Facebook introduced new tools on Wednesday that add motion to still images, such as animating a brand logo or creating moving elements to an image. So far, tests of the format with Shopback have achieved 5.5 times higher conversion rate while lowering cost per registration by 5.7 times.

Some Instagram Users Locked Out

Several Instagram users have reported issues accessing their accounts this week due to what appears to be a coordinated hacking effort by scammers. Instagram has issued a blog post providing steps to unlock user accounts that have been impacted.

Why it matters: Instagram has not acknowledged (and may not know) the source of these attacks, but it has become a big enough problem that the company has created an official post about it. One clue can be found in the guidelines put forth by Instagram—”suspicious third-party apps.” Instagram suggests revoking any access to such applications but does not define how users can determine which ones are suspicious.

Details: Following what appears to be a coordinated effort to take over Instagram accounts, the company has issued guidelines on how to regain access. Among the usual suggestions like changing passwords and email addresses, Instagram strongly advises that users revoke access to any suspicious third-party apps. This story is still developing.

Alex Jones Receives One-Week Suspension From Twitter

Infowars host and right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been suspended from Twitter for a period of one week.

Why it matters: Just last week, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey refused to cave to pressure from other social media sites and left-leaning users to ban Alex Jones or Infowars, fearing that the social network will become “constructed by personal views” that can swing in any direction. After being punished or removed altogether by Facebook, YouTube, Apple and others, Alex Jones has continued behavior that violates Twitter guidelines. The move to suspend him shows that Twitter is enforcing its rules for a reason and not banning him out of peer pressure.

Details: Alex Jones has been suspended from Twitter for violating the site’s guidelines—specifically, targeted harassment. In a Periscope livestream, the Infowars host, now fueled by what he perceives as censorship, told viewers, “now is time to act on the enemy” ahead of a “false flag” attack. Jones’ conspiracy theory and right-wing political podcasts have already been removed from Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Twitter has been slow to jump on the “ban” wagon, citing concerns over political bias.

Facebook’s Acqui-hire Points To More Interactive Video

Tech startup Vidpresso has officially joined Facebook, giving the social media giant access to its staff and interactive video tools.

Why it matters: As Facebook places more emphasis on its video efforts, Vidpresso’s tools will allow it to compete with interactive communities like Twitch and attract more high-profile creators.

Details: Vidpresso has joined Facebook effective August 13, signaling a more interactive future for video on the social network. The small tech startup offers interactive video tools like polls, comments and elements from different social networks on one screen. Facebook did not buy the company itself, but rather hired its staff and purchased the technology. For now, Vidpresso will continue to provide its tools to clients like BuzzFeed, Turner Sports and Nasdaq.

Twitter Lite Now Available In Over 45 Countries

A streamlined version of Twitter has been added to the Google Play store in 22 additional countries, bringing the app to over 45 countries worldwide. In addition, push notifications have been added so that users can stay informed and threaded tweets give users the entire story.

Why it matters: Social giants are finding new ways to reach underserved locations that don’t have access to smartphones or reliable data. Facebook released its own Lite APK in the US and 7 other countries in March. Twitter’s availability in more countries puts it at an advantage over Facebook for the time being.

Details: Twitter Lite, a pared-down version of its app, has been added to the Google Play Store in Argentina, Belarus, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Morocco, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Romania, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Yemen, and Zimbabwe. This brings the total of available countries over 45.

Facebook Makes It Easier For Kids To Add Friends

Children using Facebook Messenger Kids can now initiate friend requests, a process normally left up to parents. The feature is opt-in and parents still need to finalize approvals.

Why it matters: Teenagers are using Facebook less, so it would be wise for the site to entice consumers before they turn 13. The new process allows children to initiate friend requests on their own and doesn’t require parents to oversee the entire process (just the finalization). Facebook is making it easier for parents to take a hands-off approach, no longer requiring that parents be friends with their children and now giving friend requests over to the young users themselves.

Details: A new feature has been added to Facebook Messenger Kids, allowing children to begin the friend request process on their own. When parents opt-in, the app will generate a random four-word passphrase that children can share with others. The parent must still approve all friends before they become official.

Facebook Signs Exclusive Rights To Stream La Liga Soccer Games In India

Facebook has signed an exclusive deal to offer free streaming of La Liga soccer games in India and its subcontinents.

Why it matters: La Liga has two of the largest soccer followings on Facebook, offering the social network a built-in following of avid fans.

Details: Spanish soccer league La Liga has signed its first social media deal—a three-year exclusive contract with Facebook beginning with the 2018/19 season. The partnership will include free game streaming across the La Liga Facebook Page as well as individual team Pages throughout India and its subcontinents.

Snapchat Adds Native Ecommerce To AR Lens 

Nicki Minaj’s shoppable AR Lens on Snapchat could mean the feature will open up to creators, as well as native shopping features app-wide.

Why it matters: Often imitated, Snapchat is taking steps to ensure that its signature AR Lenses offer value to brands and its creators. Roughly seven million Snapchat users employ AR Lenses each day, according to the brand, making it prime real estate for brand interaction. Sponsored Lenses have been used for everything from film promotion to makeup, but until now, shopping within the Lens was only available to brands. In addition, users would be directed to an outside website. Opening the shopping feature to creators—and keeping buyers in the app—will allow Snapchat to foster its own ecosystem.

Details: Nicki Minaj is promoting her new album “Queen” on Snapchat with a sponsored AR Lens. Users can try on a bejeweled mask, then tap “add to bag” to purchase a Queen necklace from the artist. Assuming this is a partnership with Minaj and not a brand, the promotion marks the first time shopping through the AR Lens has been opened to creators. Even if the Lens is sponsored by a brand, i.e. Republic Records, it’s a pretty big deal to integrate native ecommerce directly into the Lens.

Facebook Page Engagement Continues Downward Trend

A new study found that engagement with Facebook Pages had declined by over 50 percent in the last 18 months.

Why it matters: Increased competition and Facebook’s algorithm changes are making it more difficult for brands to organically stand out from the crowd. While business Pages are posting more often, overall engagement is on a steep decline. Pages that posted more than 10 times per day experienced the biggest engagement drop-off, while those who posted less than once a day experienced more engagement overall. BuzzSumo found that the optimal video length on Facebook is anywhere between 30-120 seconds.

Details: A joint study by Buffer Social and BuzzSumo examined more than 43 million posts from the top 20,000 brands on Facebook and compared engagement to 2017. The top 20,000 Facebook pages published an average of 135 posts per month during the second quarter, amounting to just over four per day. Buffer observed a 24 percent increase in posts per day compared to the first quarter of 2017.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, August 17. 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.