Brands Take A Bite Out Of Shark Week With A Tide Of Activations

Shark Week is back for its 31st year and is riding the wave of partner tie-ins to celebrate the longest-running cable TV programming event in history. Last year, Shark Week reached 34.9 million total viewers on Total Day and 3.5 million streams across all Discovery Go digital platforms. 

This year, Discovery is bringing back the experience to viewers through digital and social media platforms with new episodes on Snapchat, exclusive original programming through Discovery’s streaming Go app and over 100 new shark GIFs and stickers via Giphy.

Thanks to Discovery’s acquisition of Scripps last year, the company is also leveraging sister networks Food Network, HGTV and ID by turning their promos into Shark Week spots.

In addition to returning partners like Southwest, Build-A-Bear and Vineyard Vines, a plethora of new brands have launched Shark Week-inspired merchandise and campaigns. Here are the Shark Week partnerships that are making the biggest splash.


Hyundai, the only auto sponsor of this year’s Shark Week, hopes to boost brand metrics by partnering with Discovery on the beloved event. The partnership includes programming of the brand’s latest “Better Drives Us” campaign video spot which blends footage of sharks swimming and footage of a Hyundai SUV. The automaker will also have the ability to run targeted video on demand (VOD) and over-the-top (OTT) ads in a series—based on the Discovery channel’s first scripted feature-length film called Capsized: Blood in the Water—that will live on the Go app.


In its sixth consecutive partnership with Shark Week, the airline launched an augmented reality (AR) filter that allows fans to “swim with sharks” via mobile devices and Southwest’s site. Additionally, a never-before-seen episode of the series is available for viewing inflight on all Southwest flights.

LandShark Lager

Beer company LandShark Lager is adopting 100 sharks and giving fans a chance to swim with one of them at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville Resort in Hollywood, Florida. Six winners will have the chance to win the grand prize, an all-inclusive trip for a two-night stay and a shark dive. To enter, fans 21 and over must text SHARK to 78896 and can do so through August 24.

LandShark Lager also created Shark Week-inspired video spots poking fun at Corona with the messaging, “This week is our week.”


The sneaker brand is new to the lineup of those getting in on Shark Week action. Launching in stores and online in July, the partnership includes a Vans line of kid and adult footwear, t-shirts and accessories featuring graphic shark overlays. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Oceana, an organization dedicated to protecting the world’s oceans.

Red Lobster

To give its seafood lovers something new, Red Lobster created a pairing menu for Shark Week to make “hosting a Shark Week party easier and more fun than ever.” The restaurant is suggesting which dishes to order based on the shows airing throughout the week.


Kellogg’s teamed up with the creator of viral children’s song Baby Shark, Pinkfong, to launch a Baby Shark breakfast cereal. Starting August 17, the cereal will be available at Sam’s Club, and in late September at Walmart.


Returning partner Build-A-Bear created a new collection of furry shark stuffed animals and clothing, available in all stores and online. The brand also released a behind-the-scenes video showing rough sketches that formed the final toys.

Vineyard Vines

The brand is back with a selection of almost 50 styles of apparel, swimwear and beach accessories for kids, men and women.

Coors Light Takes To Social To Urge Millennials And Gen Z To Disconnect From Social And Drink Beer

Coors Light is launching a 360-degree marketing campaign called “Made to Chill” meant to inspire Gen Z and millennials to disconnect from social media and enjoy a beer while unwinding. With 30-second video content playing across Hulu, YouTube, ESPN and Shark Week, the campaign will reach 90 percent of 21 to 34 year olds an average of nine times in August. 

After teasing the campaign on its Instagram, Coors Light published four 15-second video spots featuring people in their 20s—two in English and two in Spanish—to its YouTube. Slogans like, “The official beer of drinking in the shower” and “The official beer of being done wearing a bra” reflect the campaign’s championing of “the active choice to chill.” The former message plays out in a spot that shows a young guy drinking Coors Light in the shower as Gipsy Kings play in the background. In another spot, we see a young professional woman come home from work, remove her bra and start sipping a Coors Light in favor of white wine.

“Because breaking through with drinkers has gotten more difficult amid fragmentation in the media, we’ve learned that we’ve got to go even further to connect with them. Drinkers turn away from what they view as typical beer ads, so we have to give these younger legal-age drinkers a reason to reach for a Coors Light,” said Ryan Reis, vice president of marketing, Coors Family of Brands.

Coors Light plans to execute more than 500 out-of-home (OOH) displays nationwide, with messaging like “Nothing’s more chill than shower beer,” and sponsorship of Will Ferrell’s Ron Burgundy podcast. As part of the campaign, the brand will revamp its social media look and feel, spending more money next month than in any other month in its history, according to a company blog. More experiential activations are planned through the summer, fall and holiday season 2019.

AI-Powered Machines Will Now Write Marketing Copy At JPMorgan Chase

Chase announced a five-year deal with artificial intelligence (AI) leader Persado to power its creative marketing capabilities after a pilot saw a boost, as high as a 450 percent increase, in click-through rates in messages created by Persado’s Message Machine versus human copywriters.

The bank began the pilot in 2016 with Persado’s secret weapon—the Message Machine—a platform of advanced marketing language, including more than one million tagged and scored words and phrases. The tool successfully redrafted marketing messages in Chase’s Card and Mortgage business using data science and AI, transforming them into more personalized and compelling messages to individual customers. 

Chase plans to scale its artificial intelligence efforts, widen the use of data-driven messages and create enterprise-wide omnichannel personalization in 2020.

“Machine learning is the path to more humanity in marketing. Persado’s technology is incredibly promising. It rewrote copy and headlines that a marketer, using subjective judgment and their experience, likely wouldn’t have. And they worked. We think this is just the beginning. We hope to use Persado not just in marketing, but in our internal communications to make things more relevant to employees, as well as in our customer service prompts,” said Kristin Lemkau, CMO of JPMorgan Chase in a press release.

The day Chase announced news of its Persao partnership, Lemkau also tweeted: “I’m super passionate about this. CMOs need to skill up in AI and tech if they’re going to drive growth. Our partnership with Persado is a big one to help make marketing smarter AND more customer focused.”
In 2018, the bank released a strategic update report pledging to adopt a long-term digital strategy that would allow a digital account opening process with the aim of ridding customers’ need for a branch visit. Chase’s active digital customer base has 48 million users and 32 million users in its mobile customer base, as reported by The Financial Brand. The company currently operates a traditional mobile app, Chase Mobile, Finn, a mobile-only bank meant for millennials, JPM Mobile, a digital wealth management app and ChasePay, a digital wallet.

China Leads Ecommerce Innovation And Sales, EMarketer Report Finds

China will lead the global ecommerce market in 2019 with $1.935 trillion in ecommerce sales, representing 54.7 percent of the market, according to eMarketer’s 2019 Global Ecommerce Report. Competitive experiential marketing launched by Alibaba’s online marketplaces, namely Tmall and Taobao, are helping Chinese brands give its consumers a fully realized, highly personalized experience online and offline, which is ultimately driving increased sales. 

With ecommerce sales in the most populated country more than three times that of the US market—which came in second on the report—China has its robust business-to-consumer (B2C) online marketplaces to thank. US brands have noticed the uptick, and are getting more involved in this booming market, too. Vans, Oral-B and others are starting to leverage Alibaba’s latest efforts, a data-driven experiential retail center that Tmall recently opened in Shanghai. The study shows that Tmall and Taobao ranked first and second globally for gross merchandise volume. Though China is currently leading the global ecommerce market, it only surpassed US ecommerce sales in 2013, and has been steadily growing since.

“Despite its reputation for parroting the U.S.’s digital success stories, there is a growing sentiment that China has become the nexus of ecommerce innovation,” the report noted.

Global ecommerce as a whole, eMarketer estimates, will rise 20.7 percent in 2019 to $3.535 trillion. This growth rate reflected a decline from the previous two years when ecommerce grew 28 percent in 2017 and 22.9 percent in 2018. The figure is on track to approach $5 trillion by 2021.

Three of the top six ecommerce markets include the UK at $141.93 billion, Germany at $81.85 billion and France at $69.43 billion. The top-growing overall ecommerce market is Latin America, with Mexico at 35 percent. It’s India, however, that ranks first for the fastest-growing ecommerce market within the top 10, as eMarketer expects its sales to jump 31.9 percent to $46.05 billion in 2019. One market that has traditionally lagged in the market is Canada, whose geographically dispersed population hinders its ability to build out ecommerce distribution centers, making delivery capabilities cost-prohibitive.    

The global retail market, on the other hand, will reach $25.038 trillion in 2019. Yet this prediction also reflects an enfeebled economic environment internationally. The figure represents a declining momentum from the five years preceding that when global retail sales grew between 5.7 percent and 7.5 percent annually.

Snapchat Celebrates Real-Life Friendships In Global Campaign

Snapchat announced its first global marketing campaign called “Real Friends” to showcase 70 Snapchatters from 12 countries and the backstories of their friendships. To introduce the campaign, the company released a 38-second teaser spot showing real snaps that best friends or partners have sent to each other as their voice-overs play in the background. 

“Real Friends” marks Snapchat’s first global integrated marketing campaign since the appointment of its first chief marketing officer, Kenny Mitchell, earlier this year. The campaign, which includes 26 additional 31-second video spots featuring friendship duos from all over the world, will extend to cinema, broadcast, print and digital in the US, Australia and India. The campaign will come to the UK, France, Germany and Spain later this year.

Ahead of the campaign launch, Snapchat tested the campaign for two weeks via out-of-home, print and streaming services with quotes on friendship from notable figures, Campaign Live reported. Messaging like, “A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself,” will appear on Facebook and Twitter as a subtle swipe. 

Among the 5,000 Snapchat users across 12 countries selected to participate, Snapchat interviewed 313 best friend pairings and landed on the final 37 duos for the “Real Friends” campaign. Snapchat launched the integrated campaign just in time for the United Nations’ International Day of Friendship which falls on July 31.

In 2018, Snapchat introduced Friendship Profile, a place for images, videos and messages that friends have saved in Chat. Each Friendship Profile is only visible to the user and their friend on Snapchat. 

More Than Half Of US Consumers Want Mobile Messaging Notifications From Favorite Brands

Amazon, Walmart, Target, Home Depot and Kohl’s tend to attract the most positive sentiment among US consumers who own a smartphone, according to the 2019 US Mobile Consumer Report from Vibes, a mobile marketing solution. The data also took a close look at consumer behavior and revealed that shoppers are warming up to mobile wallet adoption but deleting apps at a dizzying rate. Most important for marketers to note is that loyalty programs are a major factor for consumers when deciding where to shop. 

What may come as a surprise to some marketers is the fact that conversational commerce via text message is anticipated to be the most important way to engage customers in the coming years. The most likely ways in which consumers will use their phones in the next 12 months are to access rewards and discount coupons, as the survey notes that seven in ten already save coupons to their phones. Fifty-three percent of all consumers surveyed said they’d choose a brand with a mobile messaging platform and 56 percent cited deals as their primary reason for opting into texts from brands.

Customers still want to be rewarded for their brand loyalty via reward programs and they strongly prefer programs with mobile messaging. Nearly two-thirds are interested in saving loyalty cards on their smartphone, not via paper, as digital coupons are more convenient, according to 63 percent of respondents. 

Deals still dominate when it comes to moving customers to make purchases. However, brands must pay attention to the frequency at which messages, even deals, are delivered as 86 percent of people unsubscribe because they either get too many messages about deals or messages they feel are irrelevant. To avoid bombarding consumers with deals, Vibes notes the importance of tailored content and good timing, that’s because another 34 percent said they unsubscribe when the deals aren’t delivered at the right time.

To get the best ROI for your marketing efforts, Vibes suggests communicating deals to consumers via text messaging or mobile wallet as opposed to apps which can easily be ignored or deleted.

More efficient delivery of offers and deals may be easier to achieve with the rise of mobile wallet adoption. While 65 percent of respondents have security concerns about mobile wallets, 71 percent are interested in trying it. Tap-to-pay is also gaining momentum as 75 percent of consumers said they used this feature in 2019. 

Out of nearly a dozen brands mentioned in the survey, consumers ranked Amazon, Walmart, Target, Home Depot and Kohl’s as their favorite with 56 percent noting that they “have products that suit [their] lifestyle and budget,” and 48 percent citing excellent customer service. Chase, PetSmart, Macy’s, Southwest and Bank of America came after.

“Consumer smartphone thoughts and habits are no longer determined by age, as previously uncovered in our 2018 Mobile Consumer Report. Consumers have diverse profiles and it’s time for marketers to take notice and not group only by demographic. Instead of creating marketing campaigns based on age, income level or gender, consider your consumers’ unique mobile personalities,” said Vibes CMO, Sophie Vu. “In this year’s report, we identified four strong personalities: ‘My Phone, My Enemy’ (33 percent), ‘I Love My Phone, Keep It Safe’ (23 percent), ‘I Like My Phone, I Don’t Love It’ (18 percent) or ‘My Phone, My Life’ (26 percent). It’s crucial that brands take the time to truly get to know and understand their consumers and not fall into the trap of generational, or other demographic stereotypes.”

The online survey was completed by 1,000 US consumers between the ages of 21 and 74 from May 17-May 23, 2019. 

All The Ways Brands Are Invading Area 51

Yes, the United States Air Force warned us to stay away, yet these brave brands are not ashamed to hop aboard the major hype cycle surrounding the social media prank “Area 51.” 

While the event is a spoof (we think), the marketing opportunity is definitely real. AList gives you a roundup of brands “hijacking” #Area51 to target young humans and aliens and will update this audacious list (we don’t doubt there is more to come) as more companies launch activations and creative campaigns.

Arby’s Food Truck And Top-Secret Menu

There won’t be a lack of gastronomic variety at the “Area 51” raid (that is if it happens). 

Arby’s announced its 2,000-mile road trip to feed the nearly two million people who marked themselves (on Facebook) as going to the event. The restaurant chain said it will bring a food truck to the event in September, regardless of whether it remains an “Area 51” raid or an Area 51 music festival

Per Arby’s CMO, Jim Taylor, “[Arby’s] can’t confirm if there are aliens at Area 51. But, if they do show up, they deserve the best meats on Earth. If not, Arby’s will still be there serving the planet’s best meats to everyone else attending this historic event.” 

ASOS Alien Shopping Spree 

For fashionistas who also love aliens, the British online fashion and beauty retailer ASOS incorporated the “Area 51” meme in their social media strategy.  They shared a tweet which portrays an alien who went all out shopping ASOS and bought pretty much everything.

Bud Light Beer Giveaway 

Bud Light promised to treat aliens escaping the raid to free beer. If they make it out, of course.

DiGiorno Delivers On September 20th 

DiGiorno pizza shared a fun fact: “No pizza place delivers to #Area51 and aliens obviously eat pizza so they OBVIOUSLY EAT DIGIORNO.” They are betting Nevada aliens love a good frozen pizza. 

Kool-Aid Posts Their Own Meme 

Kool-Aid didn’t miss out on a chance to appeal to their “kool” younger audiences on Twitter who are getting ready to “see them aliens” in September. 

Funyuns Rings For Aliens 

Funyuns believes aliens are no strangers to snack attacks and imagines them chewing on onion rings while waiting for the humans to come and raid them.

Remember Who’s King 

Burger King came up with a self-centered, clever message to those heading to “Area 51” and asked them to remember who’s king. 

Aliens Try Wendy’s 

According to Wendy’s, an alien’s first interaction with the brand’s earthly burger will look something like this. 

Xbox Is In 

Just so Xbox’s Twitter followers know, the video game company is planning to storm “Area 51” and is looking for like-minded daredevils to join them.

Will We Miss Instagram Likes When They’re Gone? One Expert Thinks Better Campaign Measurement Lies Ahead

As Instagram rolled out a test to “Hide Likes” across Canada, Japan, Italy, Ireland, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia, the world paused and, well, panicked.

The effect it will have on users’ posting habits is yet to be understood, but it’s clear that brands and influencers, who monetize their content mostly in relation to the number of likes, comments and views they receive on social media, will have to adapt to this change the most.  

While Instagram wants users “to focus on the photos and videos [others] share, not how many likes [they] get,” marketers are trying to wrap their heads around the initiative. To help them understand what hiding likes really means for influencer marketing, AList reached out to an influencer marketing agency MediaKix and sought the advice of the agency’s vice president and general manager, Zoe Marans. 

The Challenge 

According to a MediaKix survey, Instagram is seen as a crucial element in the marketing strategy machine, with 89 percent of marketers finding the social media giant important to their influencer marketing strategy, and over 73 percent saying that Instagram “Stories” and posts are the most effective content formats in their strategy. 

However, as the platform transforms the way in which it reflects content performance, these numbers may shift. In fact, “Instagram’s change may pose a challenge among the influencer marketing industry on how to price sponsored posts and stories because there won’t be a public metric to standardize pricing against. This may lead to more negotiation room as brands and influencers find new ways to work together, share messaging and determine the effectiveness of ad spend,” Marans said. 

The Benefits 

It is important to note, though, that besides calling for quick adaptation from marketers, “Hide Likes” might have unintended positive consequences and help solve important social media marketing problems, such as bots and fake followers. Per Marans, because vanity metrics will no longer be the only factor determining content performance, eventually, both marketers and influencers will be encouraged to value other behavioral metrics, such as video completion and audio on/off. The change might also inspire influencers to concentrate more on quality content and not on the content they believe will gain the most likes, views and comments. 

“This will also put a bigger emphasis on transparency as brands will rely on influencers to share first-party analytics to better understand the audience they’re reaching and how sponsored content is performing. With tracking ROI being one of the biggest challenges marketers face according to the survey, this new change on Instagram may initially exacerbate marketers’ frustration if they’re accustomed to measuring performance on reach and engagement, however it may make measuring ROI easier in the long run as performance shifts to actionable metrics such as clicks and sales,” Marans said. 

The Strategy 

In terms of strategy, the agency is forecasting that if “Hide Likes” does indeed roll out globally, marketers will need to pay more attention to Stories, IGTV and Instagram Shopping, as these content formats provide actionable metrics in the form of swipe ups and purchases, which will still allow brands to track performance metrics as well as calculate ROI. 

The Future 

Marans said MediaKix predicts that Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, might be next in line to give “remove likes” a try, as “younger users are competing to get likes to boost self-esteem.”  

But despite the unease around hiding likes on social media platforms, the future of influencer marketing still seems to be bright, as Business Insider Intelligence recently estimated–again basing their estimations on Mediakix’s data–the influencer marketing industry to be worth up to $15 billion by 2022. 

Twitter’s Q2 2019 Revenue And Users Grow

This week in social media news, Twitter announces Q2 2019 revenue and positive user growth, Pinterest allows marketers to create ads on the go, Facebook once again proves it’s unbreakable in its Q2 report, YouTube publishes its first report addressing protocols for active violence incidents, Reddit lets users design and hand out awards and NYC considers banning the sale of mobile location data.

Also, Facebook agrees to pay a $5 billion penalty and reframe privacy policies after settlement with FTC, Snap reports steady numbers in Q2, Twitter allows users to retweet with comment on the same tweet and more.

Stay tuned for more fresh news every day.

Twitter Posts Higher-Than-Expected Q2 2019 Revenue, Shows “Active User” Growth

Twitter released Q2 2019 revenue today and reported on positive user growth.

Why it matters: This marks Twitter’s seventh straight profitable quarter and shows positive signs that the company is effectively tackling the issue of sluggish user growth. The revenue report indicates steady user growth on the platform using a different growth metric than is typical for these quarterly reports.

The details: The platform saw a year-over-year (YoY) revenue increase of around 18 percent, beating estimates and placing revenue at $841 million.

As for growth, Q2 2019 marks the first quarter that Twitter has focused primarily on mDAUs, or “monetizable daily active users,” instead of MAUs or “monthly active users.” Whereas MAUs include users active on the platform that use TweetDeck or other tools that exclude ads, mDAUs do not account for these users. 

Monetizable users surged to 139 million, up 14 percent YoY. According to VentureBeat, this “17 million mDAU hike over the past 12 months can be broken down into 3 million users in the U.S. and 14 million internationally.”

In a series of tweets from Twitter Investor Relations (@TwitterIR), the platform noted how it is encouraging daily activity.

Pinterest Ads “On The Go” Mobile Tools

Pinterest shared a blog post about its new “Mobile Ad Tools.” 

Why it matters: According to the company, “Mobile Ad Tools” enables businesses to easily create and manage Pinterest ad campaigns on a mobile device, anytime, anywhere. 

The details: “Mobile Ad Tools” enables easy ad creation and consolidated targeting options, with which marketers can build brand awareness, reach new audiences on the platform and boost performance while staying within their budget. It also provides the options to check campaign metrics and optimize on mobile.

FOUNT and Little Blue Olive are among the brands who participated in the feature testing. Phillip Wachter, co-founder and CEO, FOUNT said, “We are seeing a drastic increase in engagement when Pins are promoted—up to 4,430 percent. Pinterest is bringing more traffic to our site than Facebook and Instagram, where we also run ads.

Facebook Reports Q2 Earnings, Growth Continues 

Despite all the controversy surrounding the social media giant, including the recent $5 billion fine from FTC, Facebook reports steady revenue and user growth numbers in Q2 2019. 

Why it matters: It seems like no amount of scandals can repel users from Facebook. For marketers who need to go where the users are, the platform remains desirable, at least for this quarter. 

The details: Facebook’s revenue jumped to 16 billion and it is now seeing 2.4 billion monthly active users. The most significant audience growth again came from the Asia Pacific region.

Read the full Q2 report here

NYC Could Ban Sale Of Mobile Location Data

New York City is reportedly considering a move to prohibit the selling of mobile users’ location data without a customer’s explicit permission to do so.

Why it matters: If passed, the bill could cut a source of revenue for telecom companies and apps that collect the information. 

The detail: The bill was introduced by councilman Justin L. Brannan. If passed in its current form, it would establish strict requirements for wireless carriers and apps, requiring them to get explicit permission from users in order to share their location data with third parties. Per The New York Times, Brannan says the bill is a result of the federal government’s inaction on data privacy issues. 

Reddit Users Can Now Design Their Own Awards 

According to The Verge, Reddit has officially rolled out a “Community Awards” feature, which has been in testing since April. 

Why it matters: Reddit hopes that “Community Awards” will complement the specific in-jokes and cultures of Reddit’s 1.2 million-plus subreddits. 

The details: The new feature is an addition to already existing Reddit’s awards. Now, every Reddit’s community will have a choice to offer up to six awards. The prices for “Community Awards” will vary between 500 to 40,000 Coins (which translates to between roughly $1.99 and $99.99), and 20 percent of any coins spent in a subreddit will go directly into the moderator’s coffers where they’ll be able to use them to give out moderator-exclusive rewards, The Verge reports. 

YouTube Shares “Global Internet Forum To Counter Terrorism: An Update On Our Progress”

In a blog post, the company says it is introducing joint content incident protocols for responding to emerging or active events, such as the terrorist attack in Christchurch. 

Why it matters: The blog post states, “The objective of the GIFCT has always been to substantially disrupt terrorists’ ability to promote terrorism, disseminate violent extremist propaganda and exploit or glorify real-world acts of violence on our services. We do this by joining forces with counterterrorism experts in government, civil society and the wider industry around the world. Our work centers around three, interrelated strategies:

  • Joint tech innovation
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Conducting and funding research.”

The details: In its effort to fight terrorism, the social media company is releasing its first GIFCT Transparency Report and a new counter speech campaign toolkit that will help activists and civil society organizations challenge the voices of extremism online.

Facebook Will Update Its Privacy Policies After Settlement With FTC 

Facebook announced that the company finally reached an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission. The social media giant will pay a $5 billion penalty and reframe its policies on protecting users’ privacy and information. 

Why it matters: According to Facebook, the agreement will require a fundamental shift in the way the company approaches its work and will demand additional responsibility from people building its products at every level of the company. “It will mark a sharper turn toward privacy, on a different scale than anything we’ve done in the past,” the blog post states. 

The details: The company CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, said in a statement: “As part of this settlement, we’re bringing our privacy controls more in line with our financial controls under the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation. Our executives, including me, will have to certify that all of the work we oversee meets our privacy commitments. Just as we have an audit committee of our board to oversee our financial controls, we’ll set up a new privacy committee of our board that will oversee our privacy program. We’ve also asked one of our most experienced product leaders to take on the role of chief privacy officer for products.

To implement this, we’ll have to review our technical systems to document any privacy risks and how we’re handling them. Going forward, when we ship a new feature that uses data, or modify an existing feature to use data in new ways, we’ll have to document any risks and the steps we’re taking to mitigate them.” 

Snap Publishes Q2 Update 

In its Q2 update, Snapchat reported steady growth in revenue and user base, reaching record levels for both.

Why it matters: In Q2, Snapchat reports 203 million daily, highly engaged users, which is an increase of 190 million users versus Q1. 

The details: A major new feature in the app, credited for driving a large number of downloads, was their gender-swap feature. Thanks to the update, Snapchat was downloaded approximately 41.5 million times around the world in May. Snap also continues to invest in its “Discover” platform, which more than tripled users’ total daily time spent watching Shows in this quarter compared to Q2 2018. The company also invested heavily in AI lenses, creating over 500,000 Lenses by the end of Q2 2019. 

For more insights, read the full report here

Tweet And Retweet With Comment On The Same Tweet Is Now Possible 

Twitter shared a tweet announcing that users can now both retweet and retweet with comment on the same tweet. 

Why it matters: This feature means the users will have an option to add context to every tweet. 

The details: Twitter users are no longer limited by choosing one option, retweeting or retweeting with a comment, and the update ensures the original poster is alerted and can add their own opinion with a comment to the thread. 

Study Finds Mobile Web Usage Is Higher Than Time Spent On Facebook 

According to Mobile Marketer, mobile-only ad firm Kargo study showed that mobile web usage is overtaking Facebook app usage by three percent.

Why it matters: The study suggests that marketers need to make a careful decision about whether their ads appear in social media apps or on the mobile web. Whats’ great about apps is that they offer targeted audiences to marketers in a variety of social content and games (typically higher in engagement). At the same time, however, the mobile web offers more reach and can be more relevant in high-value advertising categories. 

The details: Per the study, mobile web usage makes up approximately 17 percent of all time spent on wireless devices. And average time spent on Facebook has decreased in the past two years, with nine percent of Facebook app usage being spent on web content, behind other apps like Flipboard. 

The study also suggests that mobile app usage is more fragmented now because people spend more time in apps, such as YouTube, Gmail and Instagram. Per Kargo, although app usage is mostly limited to social, entertainment and games, mobile web usage covers a broader range of content, such as automotive, shopping and finance.

WhatsApp Finally Expands To Basic Cell Phones 

WhatsApp can be now downloaded on the KaiStore, which will make the social media service available to millions of KaiOS cell phones (like the Nokia 8110 remake) with at least 256MB of RAM.

Why it matters: The new Facebook and KaiStore initiative has a potential to help people who don’t have smartphones to communicate with their friends and family in a secure way and also, have access to more services and even job opportunities. The move is expected to open up WhatsApp use to more users in developing countries without smartphones. 

The details: “We’re thrilled to bring WhatsApp to the KaiOS platform and extend such an important means of communication to a brand new demographic. We strive to make the internet and digital services accessible for everyone and offering WhatsApp on affordable smart feature phones is a giant leap towards this goal. We can’t wait to see the next billion users connect in meaningful ways with their loved ones, communities, and others across the globe,” said Sebastien Codeville, CEO of KaiOS Technologies.

Report: Influencer Marketing Poised To Hit $15 Billion By 2022

Business Insider recently published the “Influencer Marketing 2019” report, focusing on “why brands can’t get enough of an $8 billion ecosystem driven by Kardashians, moms and tweens.” 

Why it matters: In the report, marketers can find key statistics and recommendations on how to most efficiently navigate the constantly evolving market for their marketing needs, as well as develop and grow their relationships with influencers. 

The details: The key takeaways include: 

  • “The influencer marketing industry is on track to be worth up to $15 billion by 2022, up from as much as $8 billion in 2019, according to Business Insider Intelligence estimates, based on Mediakix data. 
  • Every social platform attracts influencers to some degree, but Instagram is the gold standard of the group. Nearly four in five (79 percent) brands predominantly tap Instagram for influencer campaigns, compared with Facebook (46 percent), YouTube (36 percent), Twitter (24 percent), and LinkedIn (12 percent), per Influencer Marketing Hub. 
  • There are two primary ways of categorizing influencers: reach and niche. 
    • Reach. As a general rule, targeted reach, cost-effectiveness, engagement, authenticity, and accessibility all go up as follower count goes down. 
    • Niche. Brands can leverage relevant niche influencers to more intentionally target audiences. 
  • Before pursuing a partnership, brands and influencers alike should ensure brand fit, meaning that an influencer is aligned with the brand and product. 
  • Brands should develop a streamlined but robust network of high-quality influencers to diversify their bets. 
  • Brands are likely to increasingly prioritize longer-term partnerships with fewer, more authentic influencers.”

Business Insider subscribers can access the full report here.

Web Floods With Fakes Offering To Buy Facebook’s Yet-To-Be-Launched Libra Currency 

Washington Post reported that a number of fakes offering Facebook Libra currency for sale. 

Why it matters: Per the Washington Post, this tendency once again proves that the company “is struggling to rebuild trust and fight the fraud likely to surround the new financial system.”

The details: Approximately a dozen fake accounts, pages and groups appeared on Facebook and Instagram presenting themselves as official hubs for Facebook’s currency that hasn’t been launched yet. Some of them offered to sell Libra at a discount price through third-party websites.

Several fake Facebook and Instagram accounts were already deleted and Facebook spokeswoman, Elka Looks, said in a statement for Washington Post, “Facebook removes ads and pages that violate our policies when we become aware of them, and we are constantly working to improve detection of scams on our platforms.” 

Facebook Reduces Ad Space On Mobile News Feed

Facebook announced in a blog post, that the company will change the format for ad appearance in its mobile “News Feed” in August to make the ads look and feel more organic. 

Why it matters: “The changes to text, photos and videos are designed to simplify our formats and improve the consistency of our mobile experience. This will help drive increased ad effectiveness and make it easier to use the same assets on Facebook News Feed and Instagram feed,” Facebook stated in the announcement.

The details: Per the company, starting in August 2019, fewer lines of primary text will show on mobile “News Feed.” Only three lines of primary text will show on Facebook mobile “News Feed,” after which the app users will be able to click to view additional text. Also, maximum media height for photos and videos will be reduced to 4:5, with the tallest supported aspect ratio for images without links and for videos is now vertical (4:5). Media that is taller than 4:5 will be masked on Facebook mobile “News Feed.”

Facebook Publishes A New Report On The State Of Video Consumption In Australia

Facebook also released “My Screen, Video Consumption In Australia” report

Why it matters: It’s crucial for marketers to keep in mind that video consumption behaviors are rapidly changing today and while traditional broadcasters are in a steady decline, online platforms are in high demand and can provide opportunities to reach large audiences, avoiding the traditional costs common for TV ad campaigns.

The details: Per the report, the top video platforms, services and channels are as follows: free to air TV; Facebook; Youtube; Netflix; Instagram; Snapchat. 

According to Facebook, when formulating video plans,marketers should: 

  • Be clear on campaign objectives, and prioritise tactics that reach these objectives.
  • Manage reach and frequency. Focus budget within channels with the highest audience within your demographic – fish where the fish are.
  • Analyze duplication of the audience, and the incremental reach of video services, platforms and channels on your video plan.
  • Understand how various demographics use different platforms, and adapt activity based on these insights to generate maximum value.
  • Have a plan with regard to how your organization will adapt to the proliferation of ad-free channels.
  • Scrutinize the cost premium of video providers – if it’s twice the cost, does it drive twice the return?

Facebook User Engagement Is Still On The Rise 

Facebook is claiming that even as turmoil about privacy on the platform continues, its audience remains steady, at least that’s what they detail in their latest insights report.

Why it matters: After a series of controversies and the tense congressional hearings over Facebook’s digital cryptocurrency project, Libra, these numbers appear to signal good news for marketers concerned with the company’s damaged reputation and what kind of impact that would have on engagement. 

The details: According to Facebook, monthly median engagement levels between Jan. 3 and July 18 increased with posted comments rising from 6 to 8, posts liked rising from 9 to 13, ads clicked rising from 13 to 17 in the U.S.; and worldwide, posted comments rising from 4 to 5, likes rising from 9 to 13 and ads clicked rising from 8 to 11.

TikTok Is Spotted Testing Several Instagram-Like Features

Reverse-engineering specialist Jane Manchun Wong did it again–she spotted Tiktok toying with a few Instagram-inspired features. The details are yet to be revealed, but a TikTok spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch that the company is working on the features. 

Why it matters: Instagram has already proven to be effective in attracting huge, engaged audiences, so it only makes sense that TikTok is copying the features in hopes to repeat Instagram’s success. 

The details: The features in testing include Instagram-style grid, algorithmically generated “For You” page; “Discover” tab, Suggested Users, Sounds and Hashtags in Search page, show number of Downloads on videos, “Send To” section on Share UI, account switcher, “Liked by creator” comment badge, moving the TikCode button from Profile to Settings and adding like counts on each video on Sound and Hashtag page

YouTube And FTC Children’s Privacy Case Is Settled 

Bloomberg reported that YouTube reached a settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission resolving allegations that the company violated rules about collecting data on and advertising to children.

Why it matters: Per Bloomberg, “The settlement resolves a probe into whether the Google video service broke the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which makes it illegal to collect information on minors and disclose it to others without parental permission. A group of activists last year asked the FTC to look into the matter. The FTC declined to comment.” 

The details: The U.S. Federal Trade Commission five-member commission voted to approve the settlement. Although terms of the deal were not disclosed, The Washington Post suggests Google will pay a multimillion-dollar fine. 

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, July 26th. 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

Toys’R’Us Makes Limited US Comeback, Shifts To Omnichannel Retail In Spain And Portugal

Toys“R”Us is reopening a select number of US stores this holiday season with a new strategy: give kids and parents highly engaging retail experiences. The brand, which announced it was closing down its US stores for good in 2018, has partnered with software-driven retailer b8ta to implement playground-like activations around product discovery and interactive brand stations in smaller-format spaces. A partnership with b8ta will allow the once defunct brand to measure how offline experiences translate into online sales. The first toy stores to reopen are at The Galleria in Houston, Texas and Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey.

“We launched b8ta to change the fundamental infrastructure of retail, from the business model to the customer experience. b8ta is proud to bring Toys“R”Us stores back to the U.S. alongside our partner, Tru Kids, and with our Retail as a Service platform as its engine. The new Toys“R”Us stores will be the most progressive and advanced stores in its category in the world, and we hope to surprise and delight kids for generations to come,” said Vibhu Norby, CEO of b8ta.

Changes at Toys“R”Us Spain & Portugal are also happening as it announced it has partnered with commerce cloud software Openbravo, enabling the brand to reduce information technology (IT) costs and shift to omnichannel retail. Utilizing Openbravo’s omnichannel technology will also improve customer experience through a more functional website design. With the launch of Spain & Portugal’s new e-commerce site comes services that streamline the online shopping experience such as Click & Collect and home delivery of toys in stock in three hours.

Toys“R”Us Spain & Portugal stores have also adopted the new motto, “Forbidden NOT to touch!” reflecting the brand’s move toward more visual spaces that encourage kids to test toys on display. Additionally, the stores will introduce services such as meet and greets with YouTubers, in-store birthday celebrations and the launch of the brand’s YouTube channel. The company’s Spain & Portugal stores include a network of 53 locations in Spain and 11 in Portugal.

“Now that this technology has been implemented in all our stores, we are impressed with the capacity of the Openbravo POS, which has allowed us to greatly simplify our processes. This has been key for enabling us to make all our stores operational in just four months,” said Paulo Sousa Marquez, CEO of Toys”R”Us Iberia.