Instagram Ousts TV; YouTube To Remove Twitter Auto-Sharing

This week in social media news, Instagram beats TV as the main platform to advertise to young people, YouTube will remove built-in Twitter and Google+ sharing options, Instagram will see its digital ad share double, Twitter will start streaming NBA games, Instagram will allow users to post to multiple accounts at once, Twitter is working on new publisher tools and Snapchat introduces end-to-end encryption to protect user privacy.

Move Over TV, Instagram Is The Top Way To Advertise To Young People

A study by Cowen, a financial firm, surveyed U.S. ad buyers and revealed they would pick Instagram over TV for new branding campaigns.

Why it matters: TV is losing its importance. The future is in social platforms.

Details: The financial firm surveyed 50 ad buyers to “to identify the primary platform they would use for a new branding campaign.” Business Insider reported that 61 percent of respondents targeting consumers ages 13 to 34 chose Instagram as the primary platform first, then YouTube/Google Video followed by Snapchat. For the demographic 35 and over, TV is still the choice platform for respondents to launch their new campaign.

YouTube Plans To Drop Twitter, Google+ Sharing Options

The major video sharing platform announced YouTube users will not be able to automatically share their content on Twitter and Google+ after January 31.

Why it matters: Users will need to find other ways to post automatically or do it manually.

Details: A Team YouTube employee wrote a post disclosing the removal and pushed the feature @mentions as a better way of social sharing.

Instagram Shows No Signs of Slowing Down

Facebook is struggling, but Instagram is its golden child. A study by Cowen—the same one that found Instagram is the main way to advertise to young demographics—also finds the photo-sharing platform’s ad share will double from 2018 to 2020.

Why it matters: Even though Facebook owns Instagram, consumers still see them as separate entities.

Details: Bloomberg reports Instagram’s “Stories” was a vital feature to make the app popular for campaigns. A representative from Cowen noted more ad buyers allocated some money to Instagram Stories last year compared to 2017.

Twitter Will Begin To Stream NBA Games

Twitter announced it signed a partnership with the NBA to stream parts of the game and they’ve come up with an innovative way to get viewers involved.

Why it matters: Sports personalities and news became a huge part of the Twitter ecosystem years ago. Companies like Twitter, Amazon and Yahoo continue to compete for these deals as we reinvent the way we stream TV and sports.

Details: To differentiate themselves from traditional channels like ESPN, Twitter is only streaming the second half of the games starting at the All-Start Game in February. Also, don’t expect to see the full court, the camera will only focus on a single player. During the first half, fans can vote at the @NBAonTNT Twitter account for the player they want the camera to follow.

Instagram’s ‘Self-Regram’ Allows Posting To Multiple Accounts

Instagram launches a new feature that lets users post to multiple accounts at the same time.

Why it matters: It’s a time saver, especially for high-volume brands and influencers.

Details: Instagram told TechCrunch the feature, called “self-regram,” will appear when a user is about to share a post. It will be in the same section where users can tag people and point location. The option will be labeled “Post to Other Accounts” to easily switch to another account. The feature will initially be available to iOS users, There is no word when it will roll out.

Twitter Works On New Publisher Tools

At CES 2019, Twitter announced its working on two new features—an events dashboard and activity tracker—to assist marketers.

Why it matters: The goal is to allow marketers to see who is interacting with their content on Twitter. Marketers will get topical information in real-time instead of after-the-fact.

Details: TechCrunch broke the news reporting Twitter is looking for more ways to monetize beyond traditional advertising. The events dashboard will show major events and breaking news in real-time and give insights. The new activity tracker brings the function in-house with access to direct data. There is no word when these features will roll out.

Snapchat Adds End-To-End Encryption to Secure Users 

In an effort to prevent videos and photos from being seized by outsiders, Snapchat adds end-to-end encryption.

Why it matters: In a climate of constant data theft and fraud, it’s a move by Snapchat to protect user privacy.

Details: Snaps were originally unencrypted and would be stored on servers for around 30 days. Now, Snapchat’s content will be less vulnerable to hackers or security services. The Telegraph also reported this new encryption is only for snaps and not group chats or messaging.

Twitter Will Start Testing New Features To Promote ‘Healthy Conversation’

Twitter told Engadget at CES this week it’s going to start the beta program of its updated conversation features in order to get users to talk to one another.

Why it matters: The changes will not only switch-up Twitter visually, but how we use it.

Details: Twitter is experimenting with new features, one of them will indicate when users are online and it might include a current status setting under your username; another feature is the “icebreakers” a prewritten tweet in order to initiate conversation. Twitter has also dabbled with the idea to let users pin the icebreaker to the top of their profile. Another feature being tested is an easier way of responding to threads and individual people.

Snapchat Brings Joy To Users Study Finds

Snapchat commissioned Apposphere to study around 1,000 users between the ages of 14 and 44 to get more information on their emotions, which apps they use and how much time they spend on them.

Why it matters: Snapchat hasn’t been super successful retaining users, but new information that Snapchat makes users “happy” could boost their appeal to advertisers.

Details: Brand commissioned surveys should be analyzed with a healthy dose of suspicion, but according to Mashable this one is similar to other independent studies. Per the study, about 95 percent of users feel happy using Snapchat compared to other apps. It also emitted feelings of silliness and playfulness.

Samsung’s Facebook App Is Just A Placeholder

Samsung users received news from Bloomberg that they couldn’t permanently delete their Facebook app, but it turns out to be just a disabled shell.

Why it matters: People like the freedom to chose the apps they download on their phone and feeling like its been forced upon you isn’t good from a brand perspective.

Details: Bloomberg reported Samsung owners couldn’t uninstall the Facebook app from their phone, but thankfully you can. Reverse-engineer wizard Jane Manchun Wong clarified the pre-installed app isn’t active until you decide to update it. In fact, it’s just the Facebook app manager/installer.

Twitter Impacts Financial Markets

Finding Trump’s tweets cause declines in the stock of certain companies, Barron’s went further to examine how much Twitter affects global markets.

Why it matters: Twitter impacts the news and markets, more than traditional news outlets do.

Details: The study compared Twitter with traditional news outlets in how they impact the euro zone’s sovereign bond market. They analyzed the Greek debt crisis because of its global interest and tracked the word “Grexit” to examine Twitter’s power.

PGA Tour Renewed Deal With Twitter

The association announced it will stream via Twitter, offering around 140 hours of free viewing during the 2018-19 season.

Why it matters: PGA Tour’s chief media officer Rick Anderson said the partnership with Twitter has led to “extraordinary feedback” from fans. They also saw an increase in sponsor enthusiasm and buzz around the sport.

Details: The live coverage will feature 28 tournaments and additionally a ‘Fan Vote Fridays,’ where viewers can vote via Twitter on the two featured groups showcased on Friday coverage. Viewers can also get pre-tournament access from the driving range weekly.

Bloomberg Media Plans To Broaden TicToc

The one-year-old news brand has proved its success, getting over 500,000 followers and around 2.2 daily views.

Why it matters: Bloomberg Media has plans to expand TicToc to other platforms like dedicated apps and TVs. The news site geared at millennials wants to be the main news outlet for younger generations.

Details: At the start of 2019, Bloomberg is getting ready to launch TicToc’s video platform and the outlet will be aired on TV screens in major airports due to a new partnership with Reach TV.

Instagram Causes Anxiety Compared To Other Platforms

Psychology of Popular Media Culture found Instagram affects our mental health in a bad way and those who use it for work like Influencers can suffer the most.

Why it matters: The author of the study believes Instagram can confuse our social comparison radar because we naturally compare ourselves to gauge social standing. Influencers are on Instagram all day long and many of those interviewed for the study revealed they feel “tied to a static, inauthentic identity.” Keeping Instagram realistic helps to turn the negative feelings around to more positive ones.

Details: The research found it increases depression and anxiety in users when they spent too much time on it. Additionally, viewing a stranger’s profile causes more anxiety than ones of people you know.

Facebook Rejects GRIS Ad For Being ‘Sexually Suggestive’

Devolver Digital, game publishers of GRIS, don’t understand why an ad for the game’s trailer was rejected, being deemed “sexually suggestive.”

Why it matters: Facebook made the promise to crack down on inappropriate, hateful content, but it seems there is some overkill. A Devolver representative told Kotaku “This is stupid” and that their appeal was also rejected.

Details: The ad, featuring a statue of a woman crumbling, doesn’t seem sexual even for the most critical of puritans. See for yourself.

Facebook Users Leaving To Other Social Media Platforms

Facebook’s market share is falling, while other ones like Pinterest and Twitter grew. Last year, Facebook’s market share dropped from 76 percent to 66 percent globally.

Why it matters: According to Forbes, Facebook is still king of social media with about 30 percent of the world still actively using the platform. However, if something drastic doesn’t happen to help Facebook’s image, we might just be seeing its demise.

Details: Facebook is still far ahead from other social media platforms, but the scandals are definitely making an impact on their numbers. In June, they reached an all-time low market share of 63%. Last year, YouTube’s market share grew 4.8 percent, Twitter rose 8.2 percent and Pinterest grew its market share the most by 16.3 percent.

Instagram Is Full Of Fake Influencers

Authenticity is a big priority in marketing, but some brands are paying out over $200 million on phony Instagram influencers.

Why it matters: As the primary influencing platform, Instagram’s strength lies in its focus on ecommerce. But, some influencers are buying fabricated followers in order to charge more for their product reviews. Neither marketers nor consumers like to be swindled by these influencers toting fake comments. Vetting should continue to get stricter as brands look to combat fraud.

Details: A report released by Captiv8 revealed about 11 percent of reactions on influencer channels are fake. The company believes this shows how the system isn’t perfect when spotting out real and automated engagement. Recently, Instagram and Facebook tasked themselves with removing millions of fraudulent accounts.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, January 11. 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

Marketing Automation Survey Reveals Need For Experts

Many marketers need to find ways to close the loop and plenty still need skilled talent to successfully use marketing automation at their organization. These were key issues found in a marketing automation survey report—the first of its kind.

The recent study by CleverTouch, a British marketing automation consultancy, surveyed 200 marketing directors, heads and CMOs from a variety of regions in the U.K., U.S. and Europe, Africa and the Middle East (EMEA). The biggest takeaway: these companies need more experts. The survey found 40 percent of respondents believe the lack of skills and competence is stopping them from fully succeeding in its marketing automation strategy.

The press release stated the worldwide survey “reveals a gap in the perceived benefits of marketing automation in contrast to the reality of adaptation.” Marketing automation is supposed to maximize efficiency and increase revenue, but the survey found 48 percent of respondents use marketing automation recruiting specialist talent. To get employees to understand and master the company’s marketing automation tools, 49 percent of respondents rely on vendors and 48 percent recruit specialist skills.

Furthermore, the survey found 33 percent of organizations use external consultants to cultivate marketing automation skills and only 13 percent keep its delivery strictly in-house. Despite these findings, 70 percent of companies without marketing automation technology intend to train and educate their staff on it.

Many organizations realize sales and marketing delineation is becoming an antiquated process and nurture the growth of their alignment. Marketing Automation is a big asset to help combine these forces and the survey found 44 percent of respondents use it for lead generation, 41 percent use it for lead nurturing campaigns and 40 percent use it for account-based marketing. Nonetheless, there are still certain attitudes and judgment towards each department. Around 31 percent of respondents see their marketing department as equals to the sales department. On the flip side, 28 percent of those surveyed see marketing as a “change agent and driver of new thinking.”

When it comes to competing technologies, the survey revealed 31 percent of respondents say customer relationship management (CRM) is more valuable to their organization than marketing automation. Around 51 percent believe they’re both equally important.

In a response to the survey, CleverTouch launched a “War for Talent” campaign to get more people interested in marketing automation. The campaign’s site states the 120 percent growth in the technology calls for more experts. They also highlighted the U.K.’s high unemployment rate as a pool to tap into in order to train more people on marketing automation. Essentially their goal is to kill to birds with one stone: open a new career option and relieve the issues many companies are facing.

Shutterstock Launches ‘It’s Not Stock’; First Campaign In Six Years

Shutterstock, a New York-based technology company that serves as a cornucopia of assets for marketers and creative professionals, hasn’t had an ad campaign in six years. The company’s new campaign aims to highlight the quality and variety of the brand’s stock photography library.

The campaign, “It’s not Stock, it’s Shutterstock,” launches in January and invites the subscribers to take another look Shutterstock as not just a mine of images, video clips, music tracks, services and tools, but the source of endless creative inspiration. The platform’s users will notice six new categories, which will include “Fierce to Friendly,” “Bold Background,” “Sunshine Style,” “Home Sweet Home,” “Another Dimension” and “The Look of Love.”

The campaign ad, in its turn, features the fetching Jack Russel terrier dressed in a casual business suit and a shirt, with a message that reads, “Furrystock. Fashionstock. Fetchingstock. It’s Notstock. It’s Shutterstock.”

There’s also a stern-looking sphynx cat with the message that reads, “Fiercestock. Meowstock. Wildstock. It’s Notstock. It’s Shutterstock.”

The “It’s not stock, it’s Shutterstock slogan was designed to draw attention to the high variety and quality of the Shutterstock library items, contributed by over 550,000 artists, musicians and photographers, and to highlight the convenience of the search tools offered on the site.

The company’s chief marketing officer, Lou Weiss, said in the campaign press release, “Creativity is now mission-critical for businesses of all sizes. Customer expectations are simply too high­– companies with mediocre advertising or visually dull websites are being left behind…. Our campaign is a celebration of the amazing artists who contribute these incredible assets to our platform and highlights the extraordinary value that they bring to creative endeavors every day.”

Shutterstock’s last major campaign came after a rebranding for the company six years ago. The brand’s now ubiquitous “O” was placed around objects like giraffes in high-quality photography–much like a camera’s viewfinder.

The “It’s not stock, it’s Shutterstock” campaign will launch across digital and social channels in the US, UK, Canada and Australia this month and will begin in mainland Europe, Latin America and Asia in the spring.

AList Shares Shutterstock Launches 'It's Not Stock'; First Campaign In Six Years

Shutterstock Launches 'It's Not Stock'; AList Shares First Campaign In Six Years

Expert Predictions On The State Of VR And Marketing In 2019

If your entire understanding of virtual reality and augmented marketing came from science fiction films, you’d be sorely disappointed with the progress current platforms have made up to the current year of 2019. But, for those of us living in the here and now, you’re just waiting for the technology to become easier to use and for the ubiquity of AR and VR in marketing and advertising.

That’s not to say companies haven’t tried: Google Glass, AR and VR advertisements have all come and gone and mostly failed to penetrate the zeitgeist (with the exception of Snapchat’s AR Lens and Instagram’s copycat, face filters). For consumers and even brands, the threshold of ease and ubiquity hasn’t been crossed, but when it does, the changes to the marketing industry will be massive.

To that end, we’ve gathered experts from across the virtual reality and augmented reality industries to answer some questions about the state of these technologies and what might happen in 2019.

What changed in VR and AR over the course of 2018?

Jason Yim, CEO and executive creative director, Trigger: 2018 was a year of democratization for AR, starting with Snap opening up its Lens Studio, Facebook joining the fight and the year ending with web AR finally becoming a viable platform. Not only was there more AR content available for the consumer, but it would also be easier to reach and experience.

Rick Rey and Andy Vick, co-presidents of VR/immersive entertainment, STXsurreal: [What changed was the] enthusiastic adoption of dedicated VR devices like the standalone Oculus Go and PlayStation VR—which don’t require a PC to deliver high-quality VR experiences. It’s clear that there is a passionate (and growing) “casual” audience out there for premium VR, and it’s only going to grow as hardware prices come down and the quality of VR content goes up. Now with big Hollywood talent actively engaged in the space, we think premium scripted entertainment in VR can be a major driver of adoption.

Brad Herman, CTO and co-founder, SPACES: Hundreds of location-based VR entertainment destinations have opened all over the world.       

Micah Jackson, CEO, Angeles Vista Creative Ventures: I feel that 2018 was a year where lots of groundwork was done for the future of VR. However, the overall interest cooled off a bit. Borrowing a “Wall Street” analogy, I’d say 2018 was a year where the VR market was correcting itself. We saw a lot of small studios close and a lot of major players like The Void, SPACES and Dreamscape emerge.

Chris Reese, CEO, VRX: In addition to the Vive Pro coming out, there were many more titles that came out for VR. Location-based VR arcades are still struggling to find a sustainable business model, but some have. The greatest issues are in the areas of equipment durability and licensing. Unique, multi-player experiences such as Disney’s Void and virtual escape rooms seem to do the best. Additionally, we saw technology take a leap to high-quality HMD-only devices like the Oculus Go, freeing the user from the PC tether.

Ricardo Justus, CEO, Arvore Immersive Experiences: User adoption went up, great games were released that are more solid full experiences and games of their own instead of the more experimental stuff of 2016 and 2017. Certain titles achieved great success and explored the medium in completely new ways. Also, a great market opened up in the form of fully immersive location-based entertainment, showing that beyond being interesting for home use, VR can become a great form of out of home entertainment.

What are some broad expectations you have for these technologies over the next year?

JY: Web AR will become standard across all browsers. Allowing consumers to access “light” AR features without downloading an app and directly from any webpage or even social media. This will broaden the adoption of AR, and encourage users to try more powerful app-based experiences.

5G will enable “heavy” AR experience over-the-air for consumers with high-end devices, paving the way for everyone else to catch up in 2020. AR HMDs [head mounted displays] will gain significant traction in the Enterprise market, but will still be too early for consumers.

RR and AV: We believe we’ll see the adoption of hardware continue to trend up as the quality of products increases and price points drop. That, in combination with larger mass-marketing campaigns from the manufacturers, will drive overall awareness to a new level that goes far beyond the “early adopter” audience.

There will also be a continuation of breakout content that utilizes the unique attributes of immersive tech in new and interesting ways. This will ultimately lead to even larger adoption as the behavior for VR will become more commonplace.

BH: VR Headsets will get lighter, higher resolution, and more evolution of wireless technology. The start of the 5G revolution’s impact on VR will show up.

MJ: I believe 2019 will be an exciting year for VR. With the release of the upcoming Oculus Quest and Magic Leap headsets, I think mass audience interest in VR will rise.

Also fueling the interest in VR will be premium, location-based VR centers like the Void, Dreamscape and SPACES. This “perfect storm” combination of new hardware and experiences should reignite curiosity in VR for the next couple of years. 

CJ: I anticipate we will see increases in display resolution. The screen door effect is still an issue at HD resolutions. I’d also like to see more improvements in kinetic controllers and AR integration.

RJ: With the release of true stand-alone devices with six degrees of freedom inside-out tracking like the Oculus Quest will change things a lot, as with these devices VR is no longer an “accessory” to a PC or console but becomes the device/console itself. I expect a lot will change with the market and possibilities with this category.

What do you believe VR/AR can do for marketing and advertising?

JY: People have made their purchase decisions based on small, static, 2D photographs since the Sears catalog in the early 1800s. AR will completely change all that. In the near future, we will come to expect an accurate, life-size, 3D preview of every object. And while consumers can already drop an AR couch in the living room to see how it fits, a year from now they will be dropping an entire volumetric 3D commercial into their living room trying to sell them a new couch.

RR and AV: Marketing dollars help introduce consumers to new tech and allow creators to fund their experimentation in unique ways.  We’ve already seen this impact over the last few years, and we see a massive potential to do it bigger and better now that the content creation process has gotten more sophisticated. It just takes the right brand with a vision and eye towards innovation.

While consumers can already drop an AR couch in the living room to see how it fits, a year from now they will be dropping an entire volumetric 3D commercial into their living room trying to sell them a new couch. —Jason Yim

BH: It’s not the medium, it’s the message. If you want to deliver a message in an immersive and all-encompassing way then VR is the best way to do that. If you want to activate your message on mobile phones and mix the real world with digital then AR is right for you. Just look at all the amazing work being done in 2018. 

MJ: If done well (and tastefully) VR and AR could be the most immersive and engaging forms of advertising we’ve ever seen. I’m actually exploring this angle myself at the moment. If you allow people to engage with brands and products in three dimensions, I believe it will have a much greater impact than traditional media. In the future, I believe VR/AR marketing will play a major role in introducing consumers to products and getting them to engage with them willingly. As people skip Youtube commercials, scroll past mobile ads and stop watching live television, VR may be the only qualitative advertising platform.

CR: I anticipate we will see increases in display resolution. The screen door effect is still an issue at HD resolutions. I’d also like to see more improvements in kinetic controllers and AR integration.

RJ: The ability to create actual living experiences with XR that go beyond traditional storytelling, where you bring people into actual immersive story worlds can be a powerful tool for marketing, especially when talking about companies that sell a brand experience.

Do you think we can expect to see a marked difference in the amount of AR and VR advertising in 2019?

JY: We expect a big increase in 2019 in AR advertising. Web AR and new platforms will provide additional channels for the advertiser on top of Snap and Facebook/Instagram. While brands that experimented in 2018, will commit to larger campaigns that deliver content across many AR platforms instead of just one. An AR strategy will take its place next to a brand’s web, mobile and social strategy.

RR and AV: As the immersive space continues to mature in 2019 there will be more innovative brands jumping in and pushing the envelope. The benefits that come with treading new ground will pay off nicely if properly executed because the end consumer is growing tired of the more traditional interaction with brands. Experiential activations will be even more crucial to breaking through the noise of the digital age.  The companies that choose to wait on the sidelines will have to play catch up, but at the risk of looking like, they’re late to the party. 5G will also start to become a part of the conversation. The telcos need to find strong use cases for this exponentially more powerful pipeline. Hopefully, AR can play into this evolution along with the tetherless VR headsets.

BH: I think that the smart marketers will continue to do what they have always done, make compelling messages for their clients. AR and VR continue to provide a best in class experience and reaction that can’t be achieved with other platforms.

MJ: I’m sure the headset makers will increase their spend on advertising next year, which will benefit the VR industry overall. I’m optimistic that the interest in new hardware will trigger an appetite for content, which will, in turn, make VR/AR advertising more viable. However, I’m not sure we will see much of an increase in AR/VR ad content overall. As the new headsets enter the market and people buy them, then we’ll begin to see the increase in ad-supported VR content.

CR: I think we are already starting to see an uptick in AR advertising. It’s a way to entice customers to download the company’s app so they can interact with the AR Easter eggs hidden in the product packaging. At VRX, we see huge opportunities here as well as for convention and visitor bureaus. What can be done with the technology to tell the story of a community or create interaction with local retailers are virtually unlimited.

RJ: VR is evolving more and more out of the “novelty” stage to becoming a medium of its own, which means deeper and more powerful experiences. Any brand that is interested in creating immersive communication will possibly want to turn to out of home VR.

In AR and VR, will brands be ahead of consumer adoption? Will they help drive consumer adoption?

JY: Brands will play their part in consumer adoption by filling the ecosystem with content. However, what will really change user behavior will be the maturation of the underlying technology. Each improvement will bring more users because AR itself will become suddenly more useful.

RR and AV: Brands have already been ahead of consumer adoption in virtual reality, but they have to keep the drumbeat going if they want to truly get value out of the foundation they started building. Looking specifically at brands that launched VR apps and channels – the opportunity to funnel premium content into these channels is tremendous right now, and those viewers are actively engaged and looking for more. I can’t think of a more loyal and dedicated audience than VR users.

BH: Location-based VR entertainment has always been a focus of ours, back to our use of it for marketing at Dreamworks in 2014 and beyond. As a team, we have introduced many tens of thousands of people to VR. People who don’t have headsets at home. Having a great experience in Location Based VR Entertainment is a great funnel for consumer adoption and nearly all marketing VR falls into that category.

MJ: Depends. If there is a significant increase in new users, brands will follow. However, I think major brands will take a ‘wait and see’ approach. It took years before companies like Nestle or Coke partnered with box and PlayStation to market to gamers. However, more ‘edgy’ brands have already been experimenting with VR/AR and I’m not sure it drove much consumer interest. In the end, I believe content will drive adoption and brands should be looking to partner with content creators.

CR: I think most brands are still trying to figure it out. They went through the whole 3D phase which passed rather quickly. However, we see VR and AR as here to stay. I think brands will continue to push into AR, and VR will lag behind. The challenge at the moment with VR for brands is the small adoption numbers.

RJ: I think more than anything, good content is what drives consumer adoption, not brands. If more and more compelling games and interactive experiences are released, more people will try it and adopt it.

What is your bold prediction for AR/VR in 2019?

JY: In 2019 AR will no longer “wow” the consumer, but instead it will begin to become useful. Like GPS, AR will become a powerful and useful ingredient in many applications and use-cases.

RR and AV: VR filmmaking will have its House of Cards moment where a star-driven VR movie gets on everyone’s radar – making it a truly must-see experience – and pushes forward VR interest and adoption in a huge way.

BH: 2019 is the year of whole family social fun in VR.

MJ:  My guess is that Sony will announce their next generation console and PSVR replacement at E3 2019 and Apple may get into the VR space as well. Outside of hardware speculation, I believe 2019 will be a significant year for VR content creators like me!

CR: I believe VR will move from early adopters into a heavy growth phase.

RJ: Steady growth of the home-use space, amazing new location-based experiences, and new and surprising device announcements.

Holding Companies Target MarTech; Spent $33 Billion On M&A In 2018

Consulting firm R3 Worldwide released its December M&A global league table, showing that holding groups are spending substantial amounts of money in the marketing sector, primarily on martech acquisitions. Adobe made the biggest splash of the year when the company purchased Marketo for $4.75 billion.

Although this was Adobe’s only transation in 2018, the number of acquisitions of this type was up 16 percent YoY. Overall, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the marketing industry hit $33 billion last year—up 144 percent from 2017.

After Adobe, Alibaba had largest acquisition. In July, they announced they would buy a minority stake—around 6.63 percent—in China’s Focus Media becoming their strategic investor. The company also said they would invest $511.1 million “in an entity controlled by Focus Media’s chairman Jason Jiang by subscribing to newly issued shares.”

Greg Paull, principal at R3, told CNBC, “MarTech (marketing technology) is making fringe digital tech more centralized in marketing options.”

Ranking fourth in the global table, AT&T acquired AppNexus—an advertising software platform serving publishers, agencies and marketers for $1.6 million. In a press release, AT&T stated they would continue to “invest in and build” on AppNexus technology. It will merge with AT&T first-party data, video content and distribution.

“This is an important milestone in the young history of our company,” said CEO Brian Lesser in the release. “With the addition of AppNexus, I’m excited about the role AT&T will play in rethinking advertising not just for today, but for the future—advertising that’s better for brands, publishers and consumers.”

The acquisition was seen as AT&T’s OTT advertising chess move against Comcast and Google.

Accenture—ranking fifth globally and seventh overall in North America—bought martech company Adaptly in 2018. The New York-based company helps brands manage data-driven campaigns across major platforms. It was a move to strengthen Accenture Interactive’s (digital marketing division) programmatic services. However, they’ve been blamed for conflict of interest for their move into programmatic because Accenture has an auditing division that inspects its competitors.

Overall, Accenture gained eleven acquisitions for around $1.2 billion.

On R3’s North American list Cision ranked 14 with its acquisition of Prime Research. In a press release, Cision, a public relations and media software company, explains the decision as an effort to “enhance its global leadership position” in the media measurement service arena. They also outlined Cision’s goal to be the go-to provider for brands when choosing the best influencers and strategies for campaigns.

Forrester, a market research company, ranked 15 on the North American list. They acquired SiriusDecisions and Glimpzit for about $248 million.

SiriusDecisions, a B2B research and advisory firm, will aid Forrester in better serving their combined customers by expanding SiriusDecisions’ global reach, getting them into new verticals such as healthcare and extending their products to new roles like CIOs and CX leaders. It’s the biggest acquisition in Forrester’s history.

Disruptor Brands Are Growing More With Facebook, Insights Suggests

Facebook might have encountered a few road bumps in 2018, but the social media platform announced it has been essential for DTC brands. Facebook, in collaboration with Ipsos, debuted its new research during the first day of CES.

The study revealed roughly three in four disruptor brands have grown more compared to non-disruptor brands and about nine in 10 of those online companies reported that Facebook assisted with reaching customers. Most importantly, the research shows disrupter brands are more inclined to build their business on Facebook. Around 72 percent of those brands report fast or steady revenue growth.

“Our success on Facebook pushed us to think about international expansion for earlier than we would have otherwise,” said Dan Rosen, Hubble Contacts’ head of creative, in a Facebook blog post.

“I would urge companies not to underestimate Facebook’s depth; if you think a little bit harder, you can probably find more efficient spend opportunities on the platform.”

Hubble Contacts has always been pretty transparent with their investment in Facebook. In 2017, co-founder Jesse Horwitz told Forbes their marketing is mostly digital and noted they spent 95 percent of their ad dollars on social media giant. Co-founder Ben Cogan added there was no content lens spend on Facebook, so they had little to no competition.

The new research highlighted the use of Facebook and Instagram is good for consumers too. Customers are more likely to get more perks and incentives. Around 39 percent of the disruptor brands offer lower prices versus 23 percent of other brands, 33 percent offer free shipping versus 16 percent and 32 percent offer increased payment options versus 24 percent for non-disruptors.

Peloton, the at-home digital cycling platform, launched in 2012 and since then it’s been a game changer for the fitness world. It’s even been described as “Netflix for fitness.” In 2017, the startup made around $400 million in sales and it was recently valued at $1.25 billion. Despite its fast and large success,  Peloton admits social media is the most valuable way of interacting with consumers.

“In our first year of sales, when no one had heard of Peloton, Facebook was the only marketing channel that drove results for us at any scale. Five years later, Facebook and Instagram are still among our top methods for engaging with current and future Peloton Members,” said Graham Stanton, co-founder and SVP, digital sales & marketing for Peloton in a Facebook blog.

The study also noted how these disrupter brands support each other. Around 73 percent have collaborative connections with other companies on Facebook and nearly 80 percent share business information to others. See the rest of Facebook’s report here.

Cadbury Hijacking Other Brands’ Ads With Easter Egg Hunt Campaign

It’s not quite Easter, but you can already join in an egg hunt. Cadbury announced a new campaign in which they will be hiding their popular Cadbury Creme Eggs in other brands’ TV, outdoor and print ads.

The Mondolez-owned is promoting the White Chocolate Cadbury Creme Egg with the new campaign. On their website, there are step-by-step instructions on how you can spot the eggs and maybe be a lucky winner and earn yourself £10,000 or about $12,730.

The underground hacker-style video about the campaign at shows a woman with Cadbury Creme under her eyes instead of camouflage paint. The video delays and freezes as she explains how to play the egg hunt.

“White creme eggs are back, thousands of them, but these gooey goodies aren’t just in stores anymore,” she said. “Somehow these devious delights have infiltrated TV ads, social feeds, billboards, websites and who knows where else.”

A 10-second spot on Cadbury’s YouTube channel uses the same secret mission style theme. This time a man yells “Creme egg hunting season is back!” and proceeds to put the creme under his eyes. Not much explanation of the hunt, but the shot is followed by the campaign’s website in an effort to drive potential “hunters” to learn more.

Cadbury’s infiltration of other ads plays on the idea of brand hijacking and comes after Tide’s brilliant “It’s a #TideAd” during last year’s Super Bowl. “Hijacking” and brand safety have been huge issues in marketing lately, spawning extreme seriousness and humor. No one is quite sure how Cadbury will insert itself into other brand’s ads, however, the “hunt” doesn’t start until January 13. The campaign concludes on Easter, April 21.

According to Adweek, only 1,000 vouchers will be awarded for the white eggs and 30,000 vouchers for the traditional eggs.

Last year, Cadbury did another egg hunt through Facebook. The one-hour live event invited Australian users to search for the egg in a 360-degree virtual landscape. The first person to spot the egg won some chocolate goodies. The event attracted about 220,000 visitors. In 2017, the company got some heat from the Church of England for not using the religious holiday in their marketing, even though Cadbury dismissed the claim and said they did visibly use the word ‘Easter.’

Pepsi, Walmart Debut Ads During Golden Globes; Netflix Rebukes Commercials

The Golden Globes pulled in 18.6 million viewers this year. Pepsi and Walmart, in what seems like a pre-Super Bowl test, premiered new campaigns during the event.

Pepsi’s 60-second spot featuring William H. Macy was met with positive reviews. It’s not a campaign, but more a content series Pepsi will release through 2019. Walmart, on the other hand, launched its “Walmart Grocery Pickup” campaign, featuring famous film automobiles, appropriate for the show which recognizes excellence in film and TV.

Netflix did its own stint, but with a tweet. The streaming service got awards for a few of its shows.  However, Netflix doesn’t submit its audience to ads and they recently made big waves with its hit “Bird Box.”

Pepsi’s Alien Encounter with William H. Macy

The hilarious spot features an Arrival-like alien invasion and the military has hired “the best decoders in the world” in order to communicate with the extraterrestrial creatures. However, a lonely janitor—played by William H. Macy—breaks through with Pepsi. Macy looks at the ship, walks over to it without fear and offers the alien the carbonated drink.

Todd Kaplan, vice president of marketing for colas at Pepsi, told Variety they want to create entertainment and “something people want to look for and lean into.” The ad will only be online for viewers to watch and not be aired on TV again. Kaplan added he wants consumers to “find it on their own.”

Walmart Promotes Their Grocery Pickup With ‘Famous Cars’

The “Walmart Grocery Pickup” campaign kicked off during Golden Globes. It’s the company’s inaugural cross-platform national marketing campaign for the service. In their press release, the company said they chose these “famous cars” because it would be “instantly recognizable to our customers.” The cars were also picked to indicate how simple and easy the service is and most importantly it’s for all walks of life and all types of vehicles.

The 60-second spot features the Ghostbusters car, Ecto-1, the Dumb and Dumber dog van, Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine and several other iconic rides. It demonstrates various Walmart employees delivering the goods to the vehicles. The main platform for the campaign will be TV, but the “famous cars” content will be seen on social media, radio and Walmart stores.

Netflix’s Snide Golden Globes Tweet

The streaming service tweeted “Shoutout to everyone who is watching commercials for the first time in several months.” The tweet got approximately 64,000 likes and about 5,000 retweets. One tweet user responded by saying “Skipped the Golden Globes and just watched #BirdBox instead.” Certainly relevant, after the movie got about 45 million subscriber accounts to watch it during its first week.

Netflix wasn’t ignored at the Golden Globes. They won five awards, two for The Kominsky Method, The Bodyguard got one for best performance by an actor and Roma got one for best director of a motion picture.

Bumble’s Super Bowl Campaign Stars Serena Williams; Produced Entirely By Women

Tennis champion Serena Williams will star in Bumble’s year-long marketing campaign “The Ball is in Her Court.” The campaign will debut during the 2019 Super Bowl on February 3 and will appear across multiple platforms. It was also produced entirely by women.

A 30-second video preview with Bumble CEO and founder Whitney Wolfe Herd and Serena Williams has been released. The two women are sitting in a tennis court discussing the campaign—aimed at female empowerment. It will also promote the social networking app’s newer, platonic features, Bumble BFF and Bumble Bizz.

“When the ball is in your court, we have the opportunity to take the first step,” said Williams in the spot. “Is it in life, is it in relationships, is it in career, it’s in your court and it’s for you to make that decision.”

Williams isn’t only the face of the campaign. The new Bumble advisor also used her creativity to help the all-female team develop it. In a highly male-centric sport like football, debuting it on Super Bowl Sunday is a notable step especially after 2018’s #MeToo movement.

Founded in 2014, Bumble requires female users to initially message—or make the first move—when matched with a male user. In the last four years, the app has boomed and branched out, now allowing users to search for platonic friends through Bumble BFF and business relationships through Bumble Bizz.

The company has also experimented with getting users to connect in person.

In November, Bumble partnered with Moxy Hotels to create “Bumblespots,” staging an event where users could meet up. The event launched in New York City and appeared in other cities like Chicago, Denver and Seattle. The experiential partnership was designed to highlight Bumble’s friendship features and business networking.

The event offered a consultation with Bumble’s profile doctors who gave users advice on filling out their profiles. Attendees could also show the app at the bar to get food discounts and a customer drink menu.

Last summer, Bumble and HBO invited a few select people to watch movies and mingle in a New York brownstone, encouraging them to spend a night in. The Bumble Date and BFF app users could sign up, but only 65 people could attend each night. The event had 10 screening rooms on different floors and branded areas to take pictures with the hashtag #StayHometotheMoves.

Currently, Bumble has about 47 million app users worldwide.

This Week’s Exec Shifts: Kellogg Promotes For Chief Marketing Officer; Calvin Klein Hires EVP From Bulgari

This week’s executive shifts include new chief marketing officers for Walgreens, Freshly, Tastytrade and Kellogg North America.

Check out our careers section for executive job openings and to post your own staffing needs.

Kellogg Promotes For North American Chief Marketing Officer

Gail Horwood has been named chief marketing officer, North America, at Kellogg. Horwood has been with Kellogg for two years and previously held the position of SVP integrated marketing.

Horwood began her career in journalism, working for Conde Nast Traveler and Worth Magazine before taking the executive director position at InStyle. Afterward, at Martha Stewart Living, she was EVP digital programming & strategy and subsequently took a high-level strategy position at Johnson & Johnson. According to Horwood’s LinkedIn, as SVP of integrated marketing at Kellogg, she “[led] the Integrated Commercial Planning (ICP) team and omnichannel commercial planning model… overs[aw] experience planning, media, CRM, design, shopper marketing and digital.”‘

Calvin Klein Hires EVP From Bulgari

Calvin Klein, fresh off the exit of Raf Simons from the fashion house, has hired Steven Waldberg as the company’s executive vice president consumer engagement. According to WWD, Waldberg will report directly to Calvin Klein chief marketing officer Marie Gulin-Merle.

Waldberg comes to CK after serving as senior director global communications at Bulgari for the last year. Prior to that he served in marketing, communications and partnerships roles at Lancome, Maybelline and L’Oreal. According to WWD, Waldberg will be in charge of “marketing, public relations, communications, social and corporate social responsibility.”

Freshly Picks Up CMO From Spotify

Freshly announced the hiring of Mayur Gupta as the company’s new chief marketing officer, effective January 7. The meal subscription service picked up Gupta from Spotify, where he was VP of growth and marketing going back to 2016.

Gupta previously held the CMO title at Healthgrades and worked for a number of years in high-level marketing roles at Kimberly-Clark and SapientNitro. According to Gupta’s LinkedIn, he is also an investor in 2ndkitchen and TropicSport. He was also on the CMO advisory board at IBM.

In mid-2017, Nestlé invested $70 million in Freshly, and continues to own a minority stake in the company.

Tastytrade Promotes For CMO

In late December, Tastytrade, a financial media network, promoted Michelle Moore from marketing director to chief marketing officer. Moore joined the company in October of last year from CME Group where she was marketing manager of retail.

In a statement, Tastytrade’s co-CEO Kristi Ross said: “Michelle’s unique marketing expertise with retail investors will support our ongoing momentum and our passion for helping the self-directed investor community.”

Walgreens Appoints Chief Marketing Officer

Over the holiday break, Walgreens announced Vineet Mehra as the company’s new chief marketing officer. Mehra comes to Walgreen’s from Ancestry, where he served as CMO since 2017.

Mehra previously held positions at Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, Avon and General Mills Canada. He currently serves on the board of directors at Effie Worldwide and will become the chairman of the board in mid-2019, according to his LinkedIn. Mehra’s appointment at Walgreens comes as the Amazon presents a major threat to the pharmacy industry in the form of

WCNY Appoint Marketing Head

WCNY, Syracuse’s PBS affiliate, has appointed Cristina Hatem as vice president and chief marketing officer. Hatem was previously the marketing communications manager at JADAK. She also had a four-year stint at Preferred Mutual.

RetailMeNot Promotes CMO To CEO

RetailMeNot, a coupon and discount code company, has promoted their chief marketing officer, Marissa Tarleton, to to the chief executive officer position. As CMO, “since 2015, leading the company’s brand, consumer and B2B marketing and communications initiatives, driving significant transformation for the business,” the press release stated.

Tarleton came to RetailMeNot after 13 years at Dell, culminating in the position of NA marketing vice president for Dell client solutions.

Standard Chartered Marketer Departs

Sam Ahmed, the global head of digital and retail marketing & insights at Standard Chartered, left the company according to MarketingAccording to his LinkedIn, Ahmed joined the bank in 2017 and previously held positions at Mastercard Asia Pacific and Starbucks Asian Pacific.

Historic Hotel Figueroa Hires Chief Marketing Officer

Downtown L.A.’s Hotel Figueroa hired Greg Velasquez as the hotel property’s chief marketing officer. Hotel Figueroa reopened early last year after a lengthy renovation.

According to the press release, “Before joining Hotel Figueroa, Velasquez was the Director of Sales and Marketing at Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills and has previously held sales and marketing positions at several distinguished luxury hotel properties across the country including the Royal Palms Resort and Spa, L’auberge De Sedona, The Phoenician, St. Regis Houston…”

On the hiring, Velasquez said, “What most appealed to me about Hotel Figueroa is the building’s feminist origins. The fact that it was a place built by women, run by women, for other women is a powerful story and one that I would like to see carried through in all aspects of our partnerships and programming.”

Standard Chartered Marketer Departs

Sam Ahmed, the global head of digital and retail marketing & insights at Standard Chartered, left the company according to MarketingAccording to his LinkedIn, Ahmed joined the bank in 2017 and previously held positions at Mastercard Asia Pacific and Starbucks Asian Pacific.

Carluccio’s Hires Marketing Director

UK Italian restaurant chain has hired Hilary Ansell as the company’s new marketing director. She comes to Carluccio’s from Gordan Ramsey Restaurants, where she also served as marketing director.

Greater Texas Credit Union Promotes for CMO

Greater Texas Credit Union has promoted Brandy Conway to the positions of senior vice president and chief marketing officer. Conway steps into the CMO role after spending 12 years as vice president of marketing at the credit union.

Conway previously worked in marketing at AOD Federal Credit Union.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, January 4. Have a new hire tip? We’re looking for senior executive role changes in marketing and media. Let us know at

Job Vacancies 

Executive Director, Chief Marketing Officer Lenovo Chicago, IL
Global Head (CMO) of Print Marketing HP Palo Alto, CA
Vice President, Marketing Strategy and Project Management Paramount Pictures Hollywood, CA
Vice President, Consumer Marketing, Origins North America Estée Lauder Virtual, USA
Head of Integrated Marketing, Fire TV Amazon Seattle, WA
VP, Retail Marketing Yamaha Buena Park, CA

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