Facebook Testing ‘Unsend’ Messages; Instagram Tries ‘Tap To Advance’

This week in social media news, Facebook adds 3D photos, stays busy deleting accounts, lets users delete embarrassing messages and creates massive Group sessions while Instagram tests a tap-to-advance feature.

Also, Twitter’s character count stops being biased with emojis and Moments will be retired from the mobile app. Snapchat debuts a slate of original shows, Facebook checks in on your co-workers during an emergency, LinkedIn helps diverse hiring and the music industry isn’t happy with YouTube. Instagram sicks AI on bullies, Facebook controls a majority of US social video ad spend, LinkedIn just bought an employee survey company and Snapchat struggles to keep up with Instagram before it’s too late. Facebook unveils its Portal calling devices, Google Plus gives up after a data breach, Twitter tightens its rules ahead of US elections, YouTube TV adds more DVR access and Facebook trains its AI to turn food photos into recipes.

Facebook Messenger Tests ‘Unsend Message’ For Those ‘Why Did I Say That’ Moments

Evidence of an “unsend message” option has been spotted on Facebook Messenger, offering temporary relief for impulsive chat messages you regret.

Why it matters: Saying something you don’t mean, chatting when you’re drunk or sending a message to the wrong person may be a thing of the past if Facebook implements a feature that deletes unwanted messages. The feature may help ease tension in conversations and among users, since no one is perfect.

Details: Developer Jane Manchun Wong spotted a new feature in Facebook Messenger on Friday, posting a screenshot to illustrate a typical use case—messages that sound desperate. According to Wong, Facebook Messenger users will only be allowed to unsend their messages after a certain amount of times.

Instagram Tests Ability To Tap Instead Of Scroll Through Posts

Scrolling through Instagram Stories may become a thing of the past, allowing users to tap through messages and give their thumbs a break.

Why it matters: Tap to advance started, unsurprisingly, on Snapchat so the new feature would be yet another one “borrowed” by Instagram if it becomes official. At the moment, Instagram users have to scroll and maneuver posts in the Explore tab. Reducing the motion needed to advance may encourage faster a high volume of views.

Details: As spotted on Twitter and confirmed by TechCrunch, Instagram is testing the ability to tap through posts in Explore, thus saving time. The spokesperson denied any official plans to make tapping permanent, however.

Facebook Adds 3D Photos For Mobile Viewing

Photos that respond to smartphone movement have rolled out for Facebook and VR, along with tips for creating 3D images yourself.

Why it matters: Duel-lens smartphones have become popular for their Portrait mode—blurring the background while keeping an object or person in focus. Facebook is creating a new use for technology that many of its users already own. The hope is that interactive photos will help Facebook users “feel even closer to the people, places and things you share on Facebook and relive your memories in a way that feels more real.”

Details: Facebook has begun rolling out 3D images that can be viewed in News Feed or through a web browser on Oculus Go or Oculus Rift. The ability to view these images is available to all users and the ability to create them will roll out in the coming weeks.

Facebook Groups Sub-chats Now Support Up To 250 Members

Group moderators on Facebook can now engage more users at the same time—up to 250 in chat and 50 via audio or video.

Why it matters: Facebook claims to have over 1.4 billion active users in Groups, so allowing them to gather en mass for online discussions would keep them coming back.

Details: Facebook Group admins can engage up to 250 members at a time through specific sub-chats. Users can opt in to receive notifications (or not) and choose to receive them only if they are mentioned specifically. In addition, audio and video calls can now support up to 50 members at a time.

Facebook Removes More Accounts Linked To ‘Inauthentic’ Behavior

Over 700 Pages and Accounts have been removed from Facebook that were linked to coordinated behavior associated with spam or misinformation, the company revealed.

Why it matters: Facebook continues to fight an uphill battle against bad actors, especially in light of the latest data breach and looming US elections. Informing the public about any progress they make will help reassure users that the company cares.

Details: In a blog post on Thursday, Facebook announced the removal of 559 Pages and 251 accounts that have consistently broken rules against spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior. Specifically, many of these offenders were using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names to post massive amounts of content across a network of Groups and Pages, driving traffic to websites. This behavior, Facebook explained, isn’t always politically motivated but can also fuel ad farms—websites designed specifically to generate income.

Twitter Fixes Character Count Issue With Emojis

Until now, certain emojis on Twitter counted as more than one character but the issue has been corrected.

Why it matters: Twitter will now count all emojis equally, including those that can be adjusted for skin color and gender.

Details: Due to the way emojis are encoded, certain images were counted higher against Twitter’s 280 character limit. Developers within the company have now fixed this problem. “This update marks significant progress for our service, and everyone can now benefit from the additional room to express themselves with more characters (or more emojis 😉),” wrote Andy Piper, Twitter’s global lead developer advocate on the company’s developer forums.

Twitter Moments Will Be Removed From Mobile App

Citing a lack of use, mobile Twitter users will no longer be able to create Moments after October 23.

Why it matters: Moments allow users to save a series of tweets related to a topic or use them to tell a story. The fact that users aren’t interested in using the feature on mobile means that the platform may be better suited to quick interactions. Nonetheless, Twitter is removing the feature so it can focus on other features users will use.

Details: Effective October 23, Twitter is retiring the ability to create Moments out of tweets on iOS and Android devices. While many users agreed with the decision, others argued that Moments allowed artists to curate their posts into one location to share. Moments will still be available through desktop.

Snap Originals Debuts With New Slate Of Programming

Snapchat users can now watch exclusive shows through the app’s Discovery tab, with new episodes released daily. 

Why it matters: Snapchat is struggling as a public company and needs to make itself competitive not only with its young users but with advertisers as well. Offering exclusive video content could help the app compete with Instagram’s new IGTV.

Details: Snap Originals debuted on Wednesday with a slate of exclusive programming that includes Co-Ed, a new comedy from the Duplass Brothers, Class of Lies, a mystery thriller from one of the minds behind Riverdale, and Endless Summer, a docuseries following rising stars in Laguna Beach. Each show comes with a Show Portal, allowing users to swipe up to “step inside” a scene. Snap Originals will also come with Lenses and Filters so users can talk about the shows through their own feed.

Facebook Adds ‘Safety Check’ To Workplace

An enterprise version of Safety Check has been added to Facebook Workplace, designed to allow co-workers to check in during times of emergency.

Why it matters: Facebook said there are 30,000 companies currently using Workplace including Vodafone, GSK, Telefonica, and Chevron who announced joining on Wednesday. During times of disaster, designated safety officers would be able to send push notifications to team members that have been potentially impacted. The tool may prove useful to identify team members who are missing or in need of assistance.

Details: After a successful beta test and internal use at Facebook, a specially designed version of Safety Check has been added to Workplace. Potentially affected employees are located, then notified via a Workplace Chat, push notifications and email. The process continues until all employees have been contacted and accounted for.

LinkedIn Uses AI To Encourage Gender Diverse Hiring Practices

Recruiters will now be shown an equal view of diverse job candidates through LinkedIn’s Talent Insight product.

Why it matters: Diversity in the workplace has been a hot topic, especially in the marketing industry. This new tool would allow recruiters to view an equal view of qualified male and female candidates so they don’t miss out on potential talent.

Details: LinkedIn is making an effort to encourage diverse hires through its recruiting tools, the company announced on Wednesday.

“Say I search for an accountant, and there are 100,000 accountants in the city I’m looking at,” said John Jersin, VP of Product Management for LinkedIn Talent Solutions. “If the gender breakdown is 40-60, then what Representative Results will do is that no matter what happens in our AI, the top few pages will have that same 40-60 gender breakdown.”

In addition to displaying a more even breakdown of male vs. female candidates, LinkedIn will track and report how listings are performing in terms of gender.

YouTube’s Expansive Music Library Has The Industry Concerned

An annual study by The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) found that 35 percent of respondents don’t subscribe to a paid music service because they can find what they want for free on YouTube.

Why it matters: As the music industry adapts to a digital age, YouTube has not been IFPI’s favorite company because of its low royalties paid each year. Nearly half of all time spent listening to on-demand music is on YouTube, the study found. While YouTube’s global head of music, Lyor Cohen tries to repair the company’s relationship with the music industry, Facebook has made several licensing deals that add music elements to user posts.

Details: According to IFPI’s Music Consumer Insight Report 2018 watching music videos on YouTube accounts for almost half of all on-demand music streaming. While this gives YouTube bragging rights, the company has made it less attractive for its own users to pay for a subscription. Thirty-eight percent of consumers admitted to pirating music through “stream ripping,” the act of downloading music from a video online.

Instagram Releases AI, Positive Filters To Combat Bullying

Newly appointed head of Instagram Adam Mosseri expressed his commitment to keeping Instagram a safe place with the launch of a bully-detecting AI and a camera effect to spread positivity. The initiative is part of National Bullying Prevention Month but will continue as part of the site’s everyday practices.

Why it matters: Instagram has proven to be a very wise investment for Facebook, to say the least. It continues to capture young users, even as Facebook loses ground with Gen Z. Keeping the site safe and happy will help Instagram continue to foster its growing community, and therefore attract valuable ad dollars. Pew Research recently reported that 59 percent of US teens have experienced some form of bullying online. Mosseri said that most users who experience bullying don’t report it, so Instagram’s AI will do the work for them.

Details: Instagram is now using an AI to detect bullying in photos and video, Mosseri announced on Tuesday. The company will use machine learning to help identify captions, photos and videos that violate anti-bullying policies, then direct them to a human team for review. In addition, a new Kindness Filter has been added to Instagram’s camera effects, in partnership with user Maddie Ziegler. The effect adds hearts to a selfie or kind messages to a rear camera image, then encourages users to tag friends that they support.

Facebook Captures Majority Of Social Video Ad Spend In The US, Quarter Of All Video

New forecasts by eMarketer place Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram at number one for video ad spend on social networks in the US.

Why it matters: With its new Watch video platform, Facebook continues to push ad sales and dominate the market for video ad dollars. While Twitter and Snapchat also pivot to video, Facebook and Instagram have a strong lead that will be hard to surpass in the coming years.

Details: Facebook, including Instagram, controls nearly 87 percent of social video ad spend in the US, according to eMarketer data released on Tuesday. Facebook will capture nearly one-quarter (24.5 percent) of all video ad spending in the US this year, at $6.81 billion (including Instagram). Both Twitter and Snapchat attribute a little more than half of their ad revenues to video but have a long way to go before they surpass Facebook in terms of revenue.

LinkedIn Acquires Glint, An Employee Survey Company

LinkedIn, which is owned by Microsoft, announced its intent to purchase Glint for an undisclosed sum on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The purchase of Glint would grant LinkedIn access to employment statistics that it could use to design tools and products. “Our insights into people success, along with LinkedIn’s insights into the broader workforce, will be a powerful combination that can help customers attract, develop, and retain the best talent,” wrote Glint CEO and founder Jim Barnett.

Details: LinkedIn has acquired Glint, a company that specializes in employee surveys designed to inform companies about topics like pay, culture and morale. Glint’s clients include Waymo, Dish Network and United Airlines. Although no official statement was made about the purchase price, insiders told CNBC that the deal could have been upwards of $500 million.

Snapchat Hopes To Be Profitable By 2019, Analysts Not So Sure

While Instagram brags about its growing numbers, Snapchat is having a much harder time of it now that the company went public. CEO Evan Spiegel told his employees that he wants the company to be profitable in 2019, but the clock is ticking.

Why it matters: Snap, Inc. went public riding high on its big ambitions but the company has increasingly been dwarfed by Instagram’s user base and usage. In an effort to compete, Snap rushed an app redesign that caused a major backlash, resulting in a drop in users. Will Snap be around long enough for the company to turn a profit?

Details: In an internal memo to employees, Snap, Inc. Spiegel criticized the “rushed” app redesign and said that in the company’s excitement to innovate, they lost the core of what made Snapchat’s communication so fast. Despite Snap’s hopes to become profitable in 2019, analyst Michael Nathanson warned investors that the company is running out of money, leading to a drop in stock prices on Tuesday.

Facebook Launches Video Calling Device, But Will Users Trust It?

Portal, Facebook’s AI-powered video and voice calling device was officially announced, along with a carefully worded statement about privacy and security.

Why it matters: Facebook Portal is being launched as consumer privacy concerns hit an all-time high. The company faces multiple lawsuits and just admitted that 50 million accounts have been compromised. Although Portal comes with a long list of promises about user safety, it may not be enough to convince consumers to shell out $100 for another potential mishap.

Details: Facebook Portal and Portal+ are video chat devices that use Alexa voice commands. The zero UI devices feature a camera that follows users around so they can walk around the room while speaking with the option of AR effects to make video chats more interactive. Both devices come with a camera cover and Facebook promises not to track everything that users do, claiming that all calls are encrypted.

Google+ To Shut Down In Light Of Security Concerns

Google will sunset its social network for consumers, the company announced Monday, not long after The Wall Street Journal reported a massive data breach. Citing low usage and API security concerns, Google+ will exist only for businesses starting next year.

Why it matters: Google says that 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds and that the APIs are challenging to control and maintain. Rather than improve its security measures or redesign the site, Google has decided to let it go. You would think that a tech giant like Google would find API development no less challenging than anything else they work on, but with such low engagement, there isn’t much point in salvaging the platform.

Details: On Monday morning, The Wall Street Journal published a piece stating that Google exposed half a million users’ private data this spring and deliberately withheld the information for fear of bad press. Not long after the story broke, Google announced that it will wind down Google+ for consumers over the next 10 months. In the meantime, users can will be given information on how to migrate and access their data. The business version of Google+ will remain.

Twitter Clarifies Policies To Discourage Bad Actors Ahead Of US Mid-Term Elections

Twitter rules have been updated to provide clearer guidance on violations such as fake accounts, attributed activity and distribution of hacked materials. This comes quickly after last week’s report on Twitter’s fake news ecosystem.

Why it matters: Twitter doesn’t want to be party to the spread of misinformation or abuse, as it was during the 2016 US Presidential election. While clarifying rules won’t stop bad actors, it will help the company explain why certain accounts will be suspended or punished for violating the rules. Twitter has kept itself busy fighting misinformation on its platform, especially when it comes to outside political interference. The company says it removed approximately 50 accounts misrepresenting themselves as members of various state Republican parties.

Details: In a blog post, Twitter announced that it has updated three critical areas of its election integrity efforts—policies, enforcement and product features. The site is partnering closely with the RNC, DNC and state election institutions to improve how it handles misinformation and abuse. Twitter has already removed hundreds of accounts found to intentionally mislead its users.

YouTube TV Offers Instant DVR Access Through Network Partnerships

A new deal with AMC, Disney, FOX, NBC and Turner will grant YouTube TV subscribers instant access to episodes on demand, making the service more attractive to cord-cutters.

Why it matters: YouTube TV users have, until now, been unable to access DVR content on-demand, which defeats the purpose of offering an unlimited cloud-backed DVR. These new partnerships will help make the service more competitive, especially as AMC viewers gear up to watch Andrew Lincoln’s last episodes on The Walking Dead that began this weekend.

Details: YouTube TV is trying to compete by offering live TV and original content. However, one complaint has been the VOD function, in that not everything can be viewed while it’s still new. These new partnerships will allow users to stay up-to-date with Fall Premieres.

Facebook Teaches AI To Convert Photos Into Recipes

Researchers at Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) group have developed a piece of AI software that can analyze a photo of food and generate a recipe for it.

Why it matters: Considering how many people take pictures of food these days—especially on Instagram—developing a use for all those photos makes sense. Facebook says it isn’t planning a public recipe-generating AI tool at the moment, but the experiment was designed to teach machines how to understand the world.

Details: As reported by Forbes, researchers at Facebook’s Montreal lab have taught AI to generate a recipe based on a picture of food such as banana bread.

“Everyone is always taking pictures of their meals these days,” said Joelle Pineau, head of FAIR’s Montreal lab, in an interview.  “Sometimes there are ingredients you can see but there’s also ingredients you can’t always see, like sugar and salt and things like that. So they train it [the AI] with pairs of images and recipes. But then when they test it they just give the image and it generates a recipe.”

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, October 12. 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.

Consumers Welcome AI But Still Want Emotional Support, Study Says

Implementing AI like chatbots has allowed brands to meet the impulsive needs of today’s young consumers. A new report by Invoca found that while these consumers find chatbots less frustrating than human interaction, a strong emotional quotient (EQ) is still needed, especially during stressful purchase decisions.

Emotions Win: What Customers Expect in the Age of AI” compiles responses from 1,000 US adults to examine the importance of EQ on customer experience.

Nearly all respondents (90 percent) named problem-solving as an important or very important characteristic of brand interactions. Having an even temper and empathy were also valued at 84 and 77 percent, respectively.

That being said, 80 percent of all respondents said that in-person human representatives provide the best EQ, compared to chatbots at 22 percent. Consumers under the age of 35 have stronger faith in the future of AI emotions, with a little more than half believing AI will gain EQ within the next five years.

Expectations that a brand should provide personal service increase with age, the study found, with 64 percent of Gen Z respondents believing this, compared to 86 percent of those aged 65+. Personal service doesn’t necessarily mean interacting with a human being, however. Around half of every age group preferred to interact with a machine over a person. In addition, only 43 percent of consumers under the age of 35 said they would find AI experiences less frustrating.

Women are more hesitant to hand their emotional decisions over to a machine, with 65 percent believing AI would make experiences less personal compared to 56 percent of men.

“While AI plays an important role in the customer journey, consumers don’t want AI to replace human interactions—they want human connection,” said Julia Stead, VP of marketing at Invoca in the report. “The future should involve a combination of automation, AI, and humans working together to deliver emotionally intelligent customer experiences.”

When asked about the EQ of specific industries, respondents named “travel” as the best in terms of efficient interaction and personalization, but lowest in terms of empathy and having an even temper. This may have a correlation between emotions and travel decisions. A little over half—53 percent—said that travel purchases are somewhat or extremely stressful.

Healthcare companies meet consumers’ emotional needs most of the time, respondents claim, especially during in-person interactions. In fact, all industries named in the study—healthcare, home services, finance, insurance, telecoms and travel—scored better with in-person than chat.

The study confirms what many brands already know—that Gen Z and millennials often prefer automated services to human interaction. Invoca points out that young consumers aren’t necessarily opposed to speaking on the phone, but may be unsatisfied with the experience when they do.

“There’s a huge opportunity for all brands to deliver not only the right information over the phone but also the appropriate level of empathy,” wrote Julia Seed, vice president of marketing at Invoca.

McDonald’s Takes Another Stab At Meme Marketing With ‘Bad Luck Brian’ Ad

McDonald’s debuted its new giveaway campaign, Trick. Treat. Win!, and with it a “Bad Luck Brian” revival—the famous Internet meme of an awkward high school teen that came into our virtual lives in 2012. Launched on October 5th, players have a one-in-four our chances to win and even unlucky people can score a prize according to the ad.

Kyle Craven, “Bad Luck Brian’s” real name, stars in the new commercial for the chain’s seasonal game. In the 30-second spot, Craven sits in an apartment with a McDonald’s bag, fries, drink and burger box and next to him the high school photo that made him famous.

“A while back my yearbook photo went viral and not in a good way,” said Craven in the ad, as he gestures towards his picture. He peels off a game piece and instantly wins a Big Mac.  The voiceover concludes it with the campaign’s tagline, “McDonald’s Trick. Treat. Win! game, with one in four odds of instantly winning, you won’t need luck.”

In another spot, Craven recreates the meme and abruptly stands up to get out of it.

The ads are featured on all social media outlets, but have gotten the most reaction on Reddit—where the “Bad Luck Brian” meme was first posted.

Most comments are either supportive of Craven capitalizing on his meme or criticizing McDonald’s attempt a meme advertising. One Redditor wrote, “10 years ago this ad would’ve been good.” Reactions on Facebook are a bit more receptive.

This is not McDonald’s first meme rodeo. The fast-food giant received a lot of backlash in 2012 for its #Shamrocking which was tied to the Shamrock Shake. Lovers of the mint-flavored treat could post pictures of themselves on Twitter posing in an Irish jig-like stance while holding the drink.

Critics pointed out how the word “shamrocking” already had an offensive definition and felt it was unoriginal, comparing it to the Captain Morgan pose.

However, is this style of marketing a total fail? Meme marketing can be very successful. Memes are usually funny, entertaining and easy to consume. They are also easier to share than a blog. Companies must know what’s trending to use an existing meme and understand the meme because its context can shift over time.

During an Advertising Week session last week, Joe Federer, Reddit’s head of brand strategy, and Maria Vorovich, strategy director at Grey, offered meme marketing pointers. You can use existing memes, learn the meme (understand what its saying and how it got there), and surprise people with a unique approach.

The meme marketing campaign seems to indicate a larger shift in McDonald’s marketing perspective. McDonald’s ‘Trick. Treat. Win’ giveaway continues until after Halloween.

It’s Not About Brand Storytelling: Companies Look To Consumers To Shape Narrative

During Advertising Week New York 2018, storytelling was a common thread among marketing leaders. Yes the idea that marketers are storytellers is not a new one, it’s been universally accepted for a long time, and more recently marketers have taken on other roles, that of educator, inspirational speaker and advocate. But, lately, marketers have been handing over the wheel, in terms storytelling, to the consumer.

This attitude toward brand storytelling has inspired brands to view campaigns more like a producer sees a film. It has become more common, therefore, to tell a brand’s story through more traditional, roundabout means—focusing not on labels but ideals. Heineken recently produced a documentary on NatGeo about a new kind of yeast, for example, focusing on the spirit of discovery to promote its new H41 Wild Lager.

For the entertainment industry, where competition to attract user attention is at its highest, some interesting examples of immersive branded content have emerged. The Blue Ray release of Sony’s Hotel Transylvania 3 will include a 360-degree VR experience that puts viewers inside a virtual vacation with the film’s characters and Snap Stories, a new series of exclusive content on Snapchat, will feature AR moments that allow viewers to explore scenes in augmented reality.

Given all these options, the top-down approach to marketing has shifted. Depending on the campaign, consumers are able to dictate much of the story and brands are finding that collaborating with those consumers can foster strong relationships through storytelling.

“In generations past, culture was a top-down driven process,” said Viacom Velocity CMO Dario Spina. “Big companies, news organizations, sports entities were spewing content down to the masses and it was hard for us regular people to take part in the conversation. Now we see with the advent of the internet and social media that us regular folks actually have a hand in shaping culture.”

Mastercard is shifting its iconic “Priceless” campaign to tell customer stories through an initiative called “Start Something Priceless.” The movement encourages customers to pursue what drives them. Speaking on a panel about the shifting role of CMOs, Mastercard marketing chief Raja Rajamannar called it a shift from storytelling to story-making.

In a recent study by the CMO Council, marketers named “Storytelling in a Digital World” as one of the top skills mandatory to shape a company’s growth agenda.

“Any good story starts with knowing your audience,” L’Oreal USA vice president of marketing Sivonne Davis explained in one panel. “For me, it’s also about talking to consumers whether it’s before, during or after you develop that story.”

From an advertising point of view, this slight change of perspective has opened a door for campaigns that think outside of the box.

“I feel like everyone is saying that advertising is dying, but I actually think it’s the most interesting time to be an advertiser because we’re doing things that used to not be called advertising. It was called entertainment. Based on consumption habits, you’re able to tell stories in more robust ways,” said Ari Weiss, chief creative officer for North America at DDB.

Digital Brands Plan 850 Physical Stores Over Next Five Years

Digital-native brands are adding physical retail to the business model, with plans to open 850 stores over the next five years, according to commercial retail real estate firm JLL Research. Last year saw the greatest number of these “clicks-to-bricks” locations including those from Everlane, Allbirds, Away and MM.LaFleur.

Compiling the expansion plans of over 100 digital retailers, JLL identifies New York City as the top location for both pop-up activations and permanent brick-and-mortar stores. Pop-ups are especially common in SoHo, where 48 percent of them were observed. Wool sneaker company Allbirds recently opened a 4,800-square-foot New York flagship in the neighborhood, with plans for more stores in four cities in the next year.

Los Angeles and Toronto were the second and third most popular pop-up locations. Other popular choices included Detroit, Chicago, Washington D.C. And San Francisco.

These pop-ups may be used as a sort of test case, as many direct-to-consumer brands erect permanent stores in the same city as their first pop-up. The most popular locations for permanent stores were New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, JLL found.

Nearly 75 percent of digital-first retailer locations sell apparel and accessories, followed by furniture and home furnishings. Half of these retailers have high price points, and 32 percent are considered mid-priced.

While ecommerce offers convenience to digital natives, physical locations offer in-person help and aid in visualization.

Casper alone will open 200 stores within the next three years. During Advertising Week New York, Casper CMO Jeff Brooks said that the move to brick-and-mortar was always part of the plan. Retail is experiencing a “rebirth,” he said, through better customer service and the marriage of ecommerce and physical locations.

Showrooms are quite popular, especially among apparel and accessory retailers. A small number of them—15.1 percent—don’t actually carry any inventory and serve as more of an art gallery or experience for curious consumers. A majority do carry goods for sale, however, comprised mostly of apparel, accessories, furniture and home furnishings.

Amazon Prime Ads Turn Binge-Watching Into Self-Improvement

Amazon Prime UK has released a series of new ads called “Great Shows Stay With You,” each depicting a scenario in which binge-watching inspired positive change in a viewer.

Each of the four video spots highlights a particular show, beginning with Jack Ryan, which inspires a father to become the best man he can be—working out, gaining fast reflexes and finishing projects around the house.

Lucifer inspires a closed-off young man into exploring his darker, more charismatic side, while Outlander rekindles the romance for a married couple going through the motions. For one timid woman, binge-watching Vikings gives her the strength to stand up for herself in the workplace, going so far as to begin yelling like a warrior when someone uses her coffee mug. Each viewer reaches their potential by the season finale.

Interestingly, the campaign focuses not only on Amazon Original content but programs that originated on other networks such as History (Vikings), FOX (Lucifer) and STARZ (Outlander).

During a time when cord-cutting continues to rise, original and exclusive content have become key to attracting new subscribers. OTT services like Amazon are churning out awards contenders to attract new subscribers and Netflix has considered owning its own movie theater.

“Consumers increasingly choose services on the strength of the programming they offer, and the platforms are stepping up with billions in spending on premium shows,” eMarketer senior forecasting analyst Christopher Bendtsen said in a recent report.

Amazon may have to step up its game if it wants to rely on awards, however. The company took home eight Emmys last month for shows like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, compared to Netlix and HBO, each taking home 23.

Even with fewer awards and a recent price hike, Amazon Prime offers something its competitors don’t—additional perks like streaming music, free shipping, grocery delivery and exclusives on Twitch, which appear to serve the company just fine. Amazon added more Prime members in 2017 than in any previous year and in a letter to shareholders, CEO Jeff Bezos said that 100 million people pay for the service as of April. For the second quarter of 2018, Amazon experienced 57 percent growth YoY for subscription services, including Prime.

OTT Viewers Support, Often Prefer Ad-Supported Video, IAB Finds

New data from IAB shows that ad-supported video over-the-top (ASV OTT) viewers in the US tend to be younger, male and earn a higher income. Cost savings is a major driver for cord-cutting or shaving off existing services, the study found, and reaching this audience through traditional channels may prove difficult.

IAB conducted a joint study with MARU/Matchbox that examines consumer behavior in the US as it relates to watching ad-supported streaming content. Around 250,000 US consumers over the age of 18 were surveyed between August and September of this year.

Ad Receptivity and the Ad-Supported OTT Video Viewer” found that a majority (73 percent) of video-streaming respondents watch ad-supported OTT video and 45 percent said most of those videos are ad-supported. This group was found to be more receptive to advertising, saying that ads on ASV OTT services are better than TV commercials—more engaging, relevant and unique.

More than half of ASV OTT viewers said that they pay more attention to ads when they see fewer of them, and nearly half said they remember the ad even if it was skipped. Just over half—57 percent—said they like when brands support the content they watch, compared to 39 percent of SVOD viewers.

Of those who watched AVS OTT the most, 60 percent were male and 44 percent were between the ages of 18-34. About half of this demographic was married with children and 34 percent earned more than $75,000 per year.

Higher income doesn’t mean they want to spend all that money on cable, however. Just over half of ASV OTT viewers have cut back or eliminated cable, satellite and/or telco services, with “cost” being the top reason across the board. After saving money, the top reasons were convenience and flexibility at 42 percent, while 38 percent claimed better content on their streaming services.

IAB found the majority of regular ASV OTT viewers to watch less cable than SVOD viewers—10.4 hours per week compared to 11.6. Also, these users are watching more on OTT than they were a year ago. ASV OTT viewers are also more likely to follow social media influencers and spend more on subscription services like meal kits.

Wayfair Explains Advantages Of Homemade CRM

Rather than mix and match a technology stack, Wayfair’s marketing team built a CRM from the ground up. During Advertising Week New York, Wayfair’s director of marketing Jessica Jacobs explained how doing so has eliminated silos while offering the brand a holistic view of the customer journey.

Jacobs explains that with a lot of companies, marketers spend an extraordinary amount of time and budget building and rebuilding a tech stack with technologies that don’t always mesh together in the end. This was the onus for Wayfair to build a technology that not only gained customers, but worked to keep the customers who had already bought a products from the company.

In fact, Jacobs has called Wayfair “a technology company that happens to sell furniture.” By not having to worry about things like replacing a part of the tech stack, they can be more mindful of strategy and build tools they need.

“Wayfair, from the beginning, has always had a ‘build it versus buy it’ mentality,” said Jacobs. “At the heart of the technology that we built is a single view of the customer that enables us to think about how we communicate in the most compelling way.”

Through its CRM, Wayfair enjoys a single view across touch points that bring adtech and martech together. This allows Jacobs and her team to custom-tailor a marketing strategy to each customer, wherever they are on their buying journey.

“We want to reach our customer wherever she is so we take a very broad approach to the marketing and media that we use,” Jacobs explained.

Having quick access to all touchpoints allows Wayfair to adjust its personalized marketing strategy on the fly. For example, if a customer is in the process of returning an item, Wayfair will turn down the frequency of its ads to that individual why they go through “high tension” moments.

Wayfair also uses traditional methods to reach consumers like TV, direct mail and email in addition to inspirational posts on Pinterest or Facebook. Post-purchase communication is incredibly important, Jacobs said, down to wanting to have the delivery drivers with knowledge of the products and consumers’ past purchases.

About 60-65 percent of Wayfair’s sales come from existing customers, so the brand uses this information on its quest for acquisition.

“I’d say that retention and thinking about customer lifetime value informs our acquisition strategy,” said Jacobs. “We use our existing customer data as a way to understand who the best people are, [as well as] the best combination of platforms and messages that we want to deploy in order to grow the highest quality customer base that we can.”

Wayfair doesn’t do everything on their own, however, leaning on platforms that allow them to use their own audience segments. For this reason, transparency is vital, letting Jacobs and her team get even more targeted about marketing investments.

The company has attributed much of their success to investing in technology in-house. Wayfair’s Q3 earnings will be released on November 1, but for Q2 they reported net revenue of $5.7 billion YoY.

Sundance Institute CMO Monica Halpert: “People Are The New Brand”

There has been a noticeable shift in the relationship between audiences and marketers in recent years and brands have had to reassess their top-down approach. Resonating with young, savvy consumers requires a healthy dose of authentic storytelling—luckily for Sundance Institute CMO Monica Halpert, that’s what she helps artists do every day.

Please explain your job in the context of Sundance Institute.

I’m the chief marketing officer I sit on the leadership team which is comprised of the key stakeholders in the work that we do. I oversee all of marketing, communications, branding, [as well as] the cultural articulation of both the internal and external voice of the institute.

Sundance has a lot of enterprises, but we are the non-profit institution whose commitment is to support independent storytellers and artists in all stages of their career through a variety of year-round programming including the Sundance Film Festival.

As the head of marketing and communications, I’m the storyteller about the storytellers.

How has the nature of your work changed in the last five years?

Audiences have changed, where they are has changed. Our industry has changed in terms of content. I believe we’re in this golden age of television and there’s good stuff everywhere but it’s so ubiquitous that it’s kind of hard to find. I think it’s very tricky as a marketer now.

I have said for the last three years that brands are dead. I don’t even like the word “brand” now. The audience—the people—are brands now. It’s a very different kind of relationship that marketers need to have with audiences. We as marketers are audiences and audiences are marketers.

Another big shift is how we work. Marketers aren’t just specialists. I’m a marketer but I know how to run a business. It’s no longer about silos… to me, it’s a completely different world. You have to kind of fly the plane as you build it.

What Is Your View On The Prevalence Of Cause Marketing?

There have definitely been corporate responsibility and cause-related marketing efforts within the organizations that I’ve worked for, but this is my first foray into a decidedly non-profit world. I have to say, I can’t really imagine doing it any other way going forward. The fusion of entertainment and mission work feels like the most contemporary and modern way to work.

I’ve sat in many meetings [at previous companies] where it’s been like, “okay, what’s our cause?” They felt like doing good makes people feel good like it was a requisite for organizations to prove to their consumers that they care.

If purpose isn’t linked to craft and motivations, the audience is just too savvy [and will see right through it]. You need to understand who’s growing up in the world right now. Transparency is key—they are much more likely to attach to an organization that doing something that is meaningful and has impact. If it’s not in your wheelhouse, you can’t fake it.

What is the marketing topic that is most important to you as an innovator?

It’s all about being relevant and resonant. Innovation comes from access, intimacy and trust. I’m fascinated with this reciprocal nature of marketing and how to bring audiences into your process in a way that feels seamless.

For us at Sundance, artists are our property. The tricky part is, at what point are artists the product and Sundance the voice of the brand? We’ve done a lot of things lately where it’s not clear who the marketer and who the audience is. How do you look at all those variables and flex those muscles accordingly so you can meet your goals but also shapeshift in the process? Because it’s all about your audience and how they respond to you, being able to pivot in real time. To me, it’s always about constantly making it relevant.

Instagram Tests Location-Sharing; Twitter’s Fake News Ecosystem

This week in social media news, Instagram is testing the ability to share its user’s location with Facebook and the fake news ecosystem that was alive and well during the 2016 election is still… alive and well. Also, LinkedIn aims to improve the quality of clicks on sponsored content and Instagram goes down in the wee hours of the morning

Instagram Testing Location-Sharing

Instagram is currently testing the ability to share users’ location with Facebook.

Why it matters: Facebook continues to weather the storm of a rough couple of weeks. First, the founders of IG leave then a data breach on Facebook, then Instagram goes down earlier this week and now an app researcher has found in-app code that shows Instagram is testing the ability to share users’ location with Facebook.

Details: According to code found by app researcher Jane Manchun Wong, Instagram is testing an opt-in feature that would share your exact location with Facebook, even with you’re not actively using the app. Wong noted this would help Facebook serve more relevant ads, and perhaps better recommend places to users.

Fake News Ecosystem Still Active On Twitter, Study Finds

The Knight Foundation released a new study that found that the “fake news” ecosystem prevalent during the 2016 election is still active on Twitter.

Why it matters: For the last two years Facebook and Twitter have made some small but well-publicized steps in combating fake news. But, according the Knight Foundation report, “more than 80 percent of accounts that repeatedly spread misinformation during the 2016 election campaign are still active, and they continue to publish more than a million tweets on a typical day.”

Details: The Knight Foundation report is split into seven sections. Each detailing how the fake news ecosystem existed during the election and how it continues to flourish. Some of the highlights include:

  • “Twitter has claimed repeatedly that it has cracked down on automated accounts that spread fake news and engage in “spammy behavior.” Yet of the 100 accounts that were most active in spreading fake news in the months before the election—the large majority clearly engaged in “spammy behavior” that violates Twitter’s rules— more than 90 were still active as of spring 2018.”
  • “Contrary to claims that fake news is a game of “whack-a-mole,” more than 80 percent of the disinformation accounts in our election maps are still active as this report goes to press.”

LinkedIn Aims To Improve Sponsored Content Click Quality

In the months ahead LinkedIn will be testing and adding features to improve the quality of clicks for sponsored content.

Why it matters: Users may see a bit of a drop in the amount of clicks, but according to LinkedIn the quality will now improve.

Details: The one example Linkedin mentions is that the ‘show more’ linked will now unfurl rather than register as a click. We’ll have to wait and see what else the platform plans on rolling out.


Instagram experienced a worldwide outage in the early morning on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Just a week after the founders of Instagram departed the company, days after a major security breach at Facebook and shortly after Facebook named a new head of Instagram, the image-sharing app went down for the count for about an hour.Will people try to connect the dots? Probably. Are these related? Probably not.

Details: As the Instagram outage took hold in the early morning hours of Wednesday, the #instagramdown hashtag took over on Twitter. Not Instagram nor Facebook have released a statement about the outage.

Pinterest’s More Ideas Tab

Pinterest introduce the ‘More Ideas’ tab today, available for all users.

Why it matters: Pinterest launched new tools for organization a year ago, this seems very much a continuation of that. The release coincides with the beginning of October, Halloween craft-making season and Pinterest’s Halloween report.

Details: With the More Ideas tab, Pinterest suggests new ideas based no your old saved ones. Users will also see suggestions for new sections to help organize the ideas they’ve saved.

Is Brain-To-Brain The Future Of Social Media?

Rolling Stone published a new article exploring the idea of future social media networks based on brain-to-brain communication.

Why it matters: Scientists are still years out from being able to communicate brain-to-brain through electrodes, but the implications of this kind of technology are terrifying and amazing.

Details: Researchers from the University of Washington announced in late September they had created “the first multi-person non-invasive direct brain-to-brain interface for collaborative problem solving.” They call it BrainNet and it involves electrode-filled caps placed over people’s heads. Using the the interface, the group created a “tetris-like” game of falling blocks wherein five groups of three players had an overall accuracy of 81 percent—using their brains. The abstract published by the group goes a bit into the push for brain-to-brain communication but strays from speaking towards many of the implications.

Facebook Adds Tools To Combat Bullying

Facebook is adding tools across the platform to address bullying.

Why it matters: This is part of an ongoing push by Facebook to make users feel more comfortable in their experience on the platform. Facebook will also be adding more tools aimed at protecting public figures on Facebook.

Details: Facebook is rolling out multiple new tools to combat bullying. Along with being able to report multiple comments at once come the ability to delete comments on your own post as well as report comments on behalf of other users. Facebook is also testing ways to block specific words.

In terms of public figures, Facebook stated that, “In the coming weeks, we will further expand our policies to better protect public figures against harassment regardless of age. For example, severe attacks that directly engage a public figure will not be allowed under the new policy.”

Instagram Gets New CEO

Facebook has appointed Adam Mosseri as Instagram’s new CEO, this comes after Instagram’s founders left the company last week.

Why it matters: Facebook has a pretty bad time in the last seven days—with the news of Instagram’s founders leaving the company being only the second-worst headline of the week. The appointment of a new CEO was surely decided quickly after the departures, but this no doubt helps add some stability to Facebook in the eyes of the public.

Details: Adam Mosseri, a longtime executive at Facebook, has been named the CEO at Instagram. He replaces the founders of Instagram, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, in this role. This appointment comes as many speculate that Facebook will look to integrate Instagram more “tightly” into the Facebook ecosystem.

Pinterest’s Ad Revenue Forecast

Emarketer has released an ad revenue Forecast for Pinterest and the results are glowing.

Why it matters: Long thought of as “your mother’s social media platform,” Pinterest has not only exceeded expectations as they emphasize advertising and visual search, but it seems they will only be doing better in the future.

Details: Emarketer‘s ad revenue forecast for Pinterest show the expectation that the social media platform will cross the $500 million in US ad revenue by end of year. Furthermore, they expect Pinterest to pass the $1 billion revenue mark by 2020.

Monica Peart, senior forecasting director at eMarketer stated that, “audience expansion will help Pinterest reach regular monthly use in a quarter of the US population by 2020, a level reached by Snapchat and Instagram back in 2018 and 2017, respectively.”

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, October 5. 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.