Kahlúa Wants To Liberate Instagrammers From Social Media Pressure

Kahlúa has launched a digital campaign called, “Zero Likes Given” to celebrate Instagram users’ least-liked photos and encourage users to spend less time worrying about “likes,” and more time enjoying the present moment. The campaign comes after Kahlúa conducted a study that found more than half of millennials missed an important moment because they were trying to capture it on social media. 

In the study, commissioned by Kahlúa and conducted by Wakefield Research, over 90 percent of US millennials surveyed on social media said it’s important to live in the moment. At the same time, over 60 percent agreed it’s important that their Instagram pictures get liked. The ugly truth about millennials’ obsession with seeking validation from Instagram is reflected by the fact that more than a third of respondents admitted they check for likes one minute or less after posting to Instagram.

Based on these findings, Kahlúa created the “Zero Likes Given” campaign with a special landing page on its website, called #BottomNine, that features a tool to generate user photos on Instagram with zero likes. To see their #BottomNine, consumers log in with their Instagram account and the app serves up the least-liked images, what Kahlúa calls “forgotten gems.”

In an effort to liberate social media users from the pressures of their like count, Kahlúa is also opening a pop-up exhibition in New York City from July 25-July 28. Hosted by actress Jackie Cruz (Orange Is The New Black), the gallery will display dozens of “unliked” images that consist of zero-liked photography originally posted from consumers from around the world. The pop-up will feature the oldest zero-liked Instagram post, which was first published a day after Instagram launched in 2010.

“Life has become too serious, with social media showing an artificially perfect view of life. Even coffee and cocktails are now required to be picture-perfect! We at Kahlúa embody the fun side of coffee, so we’re taking likes less seriously in the spirit of our own brand and providing a call to action for everyone out there to do the same–we want consumers to enjoy hanging out with friends more than they enjoy garnering likes,” said Giancarlo Martins, Kahlúa global communications lead.

T-Mobile Continues Partnership Push With Taco Bell Pop-Ups

To lure new audiences, celebrate their customers and give consumers who use other carriers major FOMO, T-Mobile in partnership with Taco Bell will open “T-MoBell” pop-up stores in three cities in different parts of the country for three days, starting July 23.

The concept pop-ups are a part of the larger mobile carrier’s initiative, called T-Mobile Tuesdays. In support of T-Mobile Tuesdays, T-Mobile and Taco Bell launched a widely successful for both partners (and immediately profitable for Taco Bell) “Taco Tuesdays” brand activation around Super Bowl 2019. The initiative, which is a T-Mobile rewards program, supplies the loyal customers with free tacos, exclusive swag and discounts “Every week. Anytime.” Within the rewards program, T-Mobile shows customer-appreciation with anything from baseball and movie tickets to the trending Stranger Things inspired “Scoops Ahoy’ ice-cream.

For T-Mobile’s partner Taco Bell, the pop-up store brand activation is familiar ground, as it already offers wedding services at some of its Cantina locations and in August, the fast-food giant will invite the guests to its The Bell hotel, which features exclusive merchandise and menu items (very much like the T-MoBell brand activation) and was sold out in two minutes. 

The T-MoBell-goers will be treated to free food, offered limited edition T-MoBell Freeze and mobile swag, as well as meets and greets and Instagrammable moments with celebrities, such as Colton Underwood from “The Bachelor.” The participants will also get a chance to win a $500 Taco Bell gift card which translates into a full year of free tacos. 

Those who want the chance to snack on free tacos for 365 days or win Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earphones, an Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 speaker and other prizes, don’t have to be physically present in NY, LA or Chicago or even be T-Mobile customers. Anyone can join the mobile company’s social media campaign and follow @TMobile on Twitter for giveaways starting July 23. 

John Legere, T-Mobile’s CEO said in a statement, “When we launched free tacos every week on T-Mobile Tuesdays, TacoBell.com had its highest online order day ever and T-Mobile Tuesdays was number one in the App Store. Since then, Un-carrier customers have snagged more than 14 million free tacos from the app! People love tacos. And they love their phones. T-MoBell is the ultimate fusion of those two loves, and we can’t wait to show everyone what we’ve cooked up.”

Havaianas Creates Virtual Storefront Using AI-Enabled Tropical Mural

Havaianas dipped its flip-flop clad toes into the world of augmented experiences, creating a virtual storefront on the Venice Beach Boardwalk for a campaign called, “Step into Summer.” The brand collaborated with street artist Buff Monster to create a colorful, one-day mural at Windward Circle near the beach’s skatepark.

The street art held more than just bold designs. The expansive tropical art installation was layered with Google Vision artificial intelligence (AI) to give boardwalk visitors a fully immersive experience and the ability to shop Havaianas on the spot. 

When onlookers scanned their favorite part of the mural with their mobile devices, they were redirected to the Havaiana’s site where a pair of sandals that matched the color of that mural’s section appeared. Those who stepped onto the mural to shop the boardwalk store received styling tips from celebrity wardrobe stylist Tara Swennen.

The company partnered with Buff Monster because of his Hawaiian heritage and natural compatibility in his art and the brand’s style. In the creation of the mural, Buff Monster used his signature bright colors and bold lines.

“The U.S. is a huge opportunity for Havaianas and a lot of people haven’t discovered us yet. We want to change that,” said Fernanda Romano, executive director of Digital Channels for Havaianas’ parent company Alpargatas.

The company is known for creating multi-channel campaigns internationally. The brand’s recent Local Soul Project gave local artists in Ibiza, Tel Aviv, and Mykonos the chance to showcase their design skills using Havaianas as their canvas. To complement the initiative, Havaianas hosted summer beach parties that brought a touch of Brazil to the Mediterranean at each of the three locations. Six pairs featuring designs that paid homage to the three cities were available to buy from retailers exclusively in those areas.

This year, Havaianas also created a 90-second video spot vshowing the quirks of Brazilian culture with a Stranger Things tie-in. The spot tells the story of Brazilians who bought Havaianas in 1985 only to remove the straps and flip over the soles with the belief that they looked nicer and more colorful. An upbeat version of the show’s theme song plays as the spot closes with: “So, what’s stranger: the city with the upside-down world or the country with the upside-down flip flops?” 

38 Million US Consumers Expected To Shop Via Smart Speaker By 2021

More than four in 10 US smart speaker users are expected to use their devices to make purchases, according to a forecast from eMarketer. This year, the number of consumers who shop via smart speaker is set to rise 31.6 percent to 31 million consumers, and another 11.8 percent to 34.7 million in 2020 and 38 million by 2021. EMarketer defines shopping as “browsing, researching products, and adding things to a shopping cart.”

The smart speaker market shows no signs of slowing down. In a June 2019 survey, Bizrate Insights found that 21 percent of US smart speaker owners said they purchased entertained via their smart speaker. Comparatively, 11 percent said the same in October 2018. Additionally, 14 percent of those surveyed said they made a repeat purchase product in June 2019, compared with 11 percent in October 2018.

This year, 21 million people will make at least one purchase on a smart speaker. Per eMarketer, the majority of these smart speaker purchases will comprise electronic media, namely music and movies.

Increased adoption of the smart speaker doesn’t mean that consumers are going to start utilizing the device as their preferred shopping method, though. Among smart speaker owners who asked for product recommendations, the number declined from 18 percent in October 2018 to 15 percent in June 2019.

In 2018, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) reported that 70 million households will own a smart speaker by 2022. The IAB expects there will be over 870 billion voice assistant-enabled devices in the US by that same year. 

“Although smart display speakers like the Google Home Hub and Amazon Echo Show are growing in popularity, they still make up a small share of the market, so the main hindrance to buying through smart speakers—the inability to view products—will remain relevant. In addition, many smart speaker users are simply uninterested in using their devices for anything other than the tried-and-true functions with which they were meant to assist: news and weather updates, playing music and asking basic questions,” said eMarketer senior forecasting analyst, Jaimie Chung.

US Online Retail Sales Slow, Hits Inflection Point, Study Finds

US online retail sales growth has slowed for four consecutive quarters YoY for the first time since 2012, according to FTI Consulting’s “2019 US Online Retail Forecast.”

The findings suggest that online retail sales may have reached an inflection point, if for no other reason than its underlying size. In the most recent four quarters, growth of online sales has slowed to 13.3 percent from 16.1 percent a year earlier, and has decreased even further to the low 12 percent range in the two most recent quarters.

FTI expects US online retail sales will be $575 billion in 2019, a 12.3 percent increase over $513 billion in 2018. The numbers, however, are low compared to the 14.2 percent increase in 2018 where the market topped $500 billion for the first time. The company predicts the figure will reach $645 billion in 2020, a 12.1 percent increase and $1 trillion by late 2025.

Despite the deceleration of online spending growth, the e-commerce channel captured nearly 43 percent of total retail sales growth in 2018, the report notes. By 2025, online retail sales will hold a market share of total retail sales of 21 percent compared to 15 percent in 2019.

While no single event can explain shoppers’ spending slowdown, the report cites negative developments in 2018 such as the government shutdown and escalation of trade tensions.

“For omni-channel retailers, recognizing an inflection point for their product categories should impact business planning decisions. Failing to do so could result in over-investment in costly online expansion projects, such as distribution centers and logistics support, under a potentially erroneous assumption that high growth rates are sustainable for a prolonged period,” said Christa Hart, a senior managing director in the Retail & Consumer Products practice at FTI Consulting.

Though it recently launched its fifth Prime Day and reported $14 billion in Prime subscription fees in 2018, Amazon may also experience its own limit as its retail sales growth slowed notably in recent quarters. FTI forecasts the giant’s retail sales growth rate to slow to 19 percent in 2019 from 30 percent in 2018.

“While a slowdown in online sales growth will impact the channel as a whole, it may matter less for established online leaders, such as Amazon and Wal-Mart, as they focus their efforts on getting existing customers to spend more with them,” noted said J.D. Wichser, leader of the Retail & Consumer Products practice at FTI Consulting. 

The Three Major Shifts That Will Make Personalization More Personal: McKinsey & Company Report

Per management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, personalization will become the prime driver of marketing success within the next five years. However, 15 percent of CMOs surveyed admitted that they don’t believe their companies are currently on the right track with personalization. To scale up marketing efforts in the age of personalization, McKinsey & Company laid out three major shifts that deserve attention.

Digitalization Of Physical Spaces 

The survey data suggest that “offline” person-to-person experiences are expected to become huge for personalization, as 44 percent of CMOs say that frontline employees will rely on insights from advanced analytics to provide personalized, in-person offerings; 40 percent believe that personal shoppers will use AI-enabled tools to improve service; and 37 percent are convinced that facial recognition, location recognition and biometric sensors will be used more frequently in the future 

Certain retailers are already successfully practicing personalization in their marketing initiatives. As an example, the researchers use Covergirl’s in-store AI-powered program, enabled by Google’s conversational Dialogflow. The augmented-reality glam stations let customers “virtually test” products. Macy’s, Starbucks and Sephora aren’t far behind, tapping into personalization with the use of geofencing and company apps to trigger relevant in-app offers when customers are located near a store.

Emphasis On Empathy 

Today’s consumers, especially the younger ones, care a great deal about empathy, but feelings are not easily adaptable in the digital world. Fortunately,  researchers say, machine learning is getting much better at reading and responding to emotional cues. More sophisticated algorithms enable programs to interpret new kinds of data (visual, auditory) and extrapolate emotions much more effectively. 

For example, voice assistants like Alexa, are getting smarter and more empathic. With each new upgrade comes new skills. To compare, in 2004 Alexa only had one skill and in 2017 that number grew to 25. 

“In time, these advances could help marketers communicate with customers in a way that’s tied to specific moods, offering specifically curated promotions for music or movies, for example, that match that mood,” McKinsey & Company researchers say. 

Building A Complete Ecosystem For Personalized End-To-End Customer Journeys 

A shopper’s purchasing experience never happens in a bubble. A buyer typically interacts with or benefits from multiple sources. For example, buying a specific branded piece of clothing inside a large department store within a large mall means one consumer touches several organizations. Building smart connections that share insights between all the players in an ecosystem opens up opportunities for personalization, making it possible for brands to deliver more seamless and consistent consumer experiences across all stages of the customer journey. 

Additionally, the researchers advise that investments in customer data and analytics will set the foundations for more personalized and seamless marketing initiatives based on factors that really impact consumers.

“Personalization is impossible if marketers don’t have the means to understand the needs of high-value customers on an ongoing basis. So top marketers are developing systems that can pool and analyze structured and unstructured data, algorithms that can identify behavioral patterns and customer propensity, and analysis capabilities to feed that information into easy-to-use dashboards,” they say. 

“You Have To Be Willing To Accept Risk And Failure,” MediaLink’s Dana Anderson On How To Make Marketing Transformational

Even with a long history and visible presence at Cannes, launching CLX, a new experiential-led area that showcased the best in immersive marketing, MediaLink curiously remains one of the more mysterious organizations at Lions. 

“I am fixing that, let me tell you,” laughs ‘MediaLink’s CMO Dana Anderson as we sit down at the Cannes Hotel. “Most people think of us a company that introduces people to other people, but ‘we’re more of an intersection between Madison Avenue and technology. The way we help marketers falls into six lanes of disciplines: data and tech, brand transformations, media, diligence, entertainment and agency optimization.”

Anderson’s specialization is MediaLink’s brand transformation department, where she uses her wealth of marketing knowledge to help CMOs deliver large, multidisciplinary brand-led projects. She is an industry visionary with a glittering track record when it comes to delivering high-profile transformational projects. She previously ran marketing at Mondelez International, and also served as CEO at both DDB and FCB Global.

She talks about organizational changes that marketers can make to become more effective.

MediaLink’s primary objective is to help marketing departments become more effective; with that in mind, what do you see as the main challenges facing CMOs?

The reason MediaLink calls ourselves a transformation group and not a marketing group is because we always say, ”last year is the least amount of change you’re ever going to experience.” Marketers are in a tricky position right now. They have so much to look after and things are moving fast so that they also have to learn new skills continually. 

The common perception out there is that the average CMO is only ever really at a place for three years. Well, if that’s the case, then we’re finding that the first year is critical. Many structures need putting in place. Not only do you have to change the strategy, but you also have to figure out procedural changes, like how to make an electronic SOW system or how you bill your clients. They also need to get out there and put points on the board.

How do CMO’s need to adapt to meet these challenges?

I think more people in marketing need to see their roles as more of a long play. CMOs should have a three-year contract, at least. Some work, especially content work, can’t possibly pay out even within a twelve-month framework. You’re running two journeys at the same time. One is the immediate sales journey, the other is the long-term funnel. It helps when you have time to accomplish both. 

Conventional wisdom tends to see the CMOs role as more of a firefighter, dropping in to solve a problem and rotating out.

That’s true, but I also think it’s causing a bit of a problem as CMOs move around so much. I can see the point of it. Giving people two years here and two years there is an excellent way of rounding people out, but there are benefits of having people who can bring longevity to the role.

For example, when I was on the agency side of things, I worked on Miracle Whip for eight years. During that time the leadership changed every two years, so we ended up being the knowledge keepers of the brand. Even that isn’t true anymore; agencies are way too volatile, and they move around too much as well. I think this lack of continuity means that the retention of insights and knowledge is becoming a big problem. 

Haven’t insights and analytics departments moved into this role?

Perhaps, but I’m seeing organizations starting to have conversations that begin with the question, ”Are we measuring the right thing?” If you’re living by a metric that isn’t truthful, then you’re just playing a game. 

”How can I get insights actually out of the door?” is one of the most common requests we get at MediaLink. It involves a lot more than just collecting data. You need to look at everything from how the company is structured, where it sits in an organization and where the information goes. You also have to ask what kind of people you need and how to define an insight as an organization. 

If you redefine an insight, not as a data outcome but as a fact that can lead to a business outcome, suddenly everything is different. It’s also crucial for marketers to use hypothesis in their work so that they can come to useful conclusions and not just notch everything up as a quirk of the consumer.

How do marketers go about figuring out what a useful metric looks like, opposed to a bad one?

I used to have a dashboard of twenty-six indicators on one piece of paper. I mean, talk about mouse type! You’d need a magnifying glass to read it. To this day, I couldn’t tell you what was measured though. I think people just wanted to look at everything laid out on a page and see if there was anything on there that told them if things were going up or down. 

Like many people, I think we were attempting to use analytics to tell us which metric, out of all of this data we were collecting, was telling us the truth. Another problem is that these established metrics are for large data companies, and they’re not designed to show tactical-level events. They are not right for everyone. I like to call them numerical fig leaves; they cover up more than they show.

In the end, the answer to what makes a useful metric very much depends on the particular industry that you operate in. It takes a lot of backward work to figure out a good indicator of success and growth.

In your experience, what are the major stumbling blocks that marketers need to overcome?

Creativity is a sticking point. Not in the sense of coming up with creative campaigns, but how to teach people in a different way. I think companies have realized that you can’t be fast and agile if you aren’t willing to take the appropriate risks. You have to accept [some] risk and failure. 

It’s especially true in process-orientated businesses like banking and pharma where the way of working is intrinsically cautious. Bringing in a more collaborative approach is a great way to bring those processes back in, but it can be a slow process. It’s a case of biting off a little bit, realizing that you haven’t died yet and going back for another little chunk.

Netflix And Google Bring ‘Stranger Things’ AR Experiences To The Masses In Print Ads

Netflix went old-school with a twist, running three ads for Starcourt Mall, the hangout mecca in Stranger Things season three. The print ads, featured prominently in The New York Times, are activated with Google Lens for a more immersive, AR experience.

Netflix upped the ad game for Stranger Things in the July 11th print edition of the New York Times. The print ad, featuring iconic, brightly-colored ’80s styling, went deeper than the printed word. Readers who applied Google Lens over the paper got several augmented reality (AR) snippets of scenes from the fictional mall which is central to the plot of season three. 

In a Google blog post, the company explained, “It’s 1985 in Hawkins, Indiana, and summer’s heating up. School’s out and the newly opened Starcourt Mall is center stage. Romance blossoms and complicates the group’s dynamic, and they’ll have to figure out how to grow up without growing apart. Meanwhile, danger still looms beneath the surface in Hawkins. For those adventurous enough to look beneath the surface, they’re bound to find a lot more than they bargained for.” 

Just like most of the other prominent Stranger Things season three brand activations, the ads have the nostalgic ‘80s feel to them, complementing the aesthetic of the show, and they certainly look perfectly strange in the contemporary newspaper with the faded colors, neon special effects and outdated hairstyles of the “models.” 

Google is reinforcing how organizations such as museums, magazines and retailers can employ Google Lens to overlay digital information on everyday objects, bringing fun and functional AR to brands and consumers.  In May 2019, the company upgraded Google Lens with new artificial intelligence (AI) features which allows it to recognize objects with a smartphone camera, like visual language translation of signs, audio reading of text, video demonstrations of recipes, etc. and is now trying to make full use of it with Netflix’s original Stranger Things providing  all the necessary hype. 

IAB Study: 48 Percent Of U.S. Consumers Shop Disruptor Brands, Especially Those Who Use Purchases As Vehicle For Self-Expression

U.S. shoppers are increasingly opting to buy from direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands, leading to even bigger disruptions in the retail market. The study, conducted by IAB, in partnership with Cassandra, found that a strong community and the ability to provide feedback to brands was one of the leading reasons that consumers, especially younger shoppers, became loyal buyers. 

Direct-to-consumer loyalists tend to be younger buyers who want retail purchases to reflect their personal expression, that’s according to the newly-released IAB “Disrupting Brand Preference” study. The research found that 84 percent of respondents who prefer disruptor brands are under 54 years old and tend to have a household income of $75,000 and above.  

Other key takeaways of the study include:

  • DTC buyers find value in their ability to contribute ideas and feedback to brands and enjoy the sense of visibility they feel as part of sizable social communities. 
  • Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp lead the pack for sharing brand attitudes, especially by older, traditional brand shoppers. 
  • Disruptor brands can best build consumer loyalty—as well as lifetime value (LTV)—through cross-channel interaction. 
  • Search, shopping and social media sites together are nearly equal to traditional TV for brand discovery. 
  • Disruptor consumers expect 24/7 omnichannel access.  

The most insightful trend, however, revolves around Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) buyers using their favorite brands as resources for personal branding and self-promotion. Thus, 47 percent of respondents said that they are more likely to familiarize themselves with a Direct Brand if it aligns with their personal style (which is twice as many, compared to traditional brand-only buyers, who say that they purchase brands to express “who [they are]).” 

These avid DTC brand consumers make up a part of a new audience group, identified by the researchers as “Super Influencers,” who strategically re-post and/or create brand-driven content to increase their own influence on social media, the study suggests.  The expectation is that DTC brands can rely on influencer strategies in their marketing efforts. 

Senior vice president, research and measurement at IAB, Sue Hogan, said on the matter, “There is a tendency to think that the online social activities of younger consumers are incidental—frivolous. But they are not. The differences between disruptor brand consumers and incumbent-only shoppers are stark. For disruptor brand consumers, social behaviors are calculated and deliberate, feeding their need for self-expression.” 

The study was conducted via a 20-minute online survey among a diverse sample of over 3,000 consumers and sponsored by Google, PebblePost and Spotify. 

YouTube’s New Monetization Features; LinkedIn Improves Campaign Manager

Plenty is going on in social media this week—YouTube rolls out new features to help creators monetize, LinkedIn updates its “Campaign Manager” tool, Twitter is officially testing “Hide Replies” and opens ArtHouse to help brands make better content, Facebook publishes a new diversity report and updates “Why am I seeing this ad?” and “Ad Preferences” features and Mobile Marketer shares the mid-year industry stats. 

YouTube Introduces More Monetization Opportunities For Creators 

This week at VidCon, YouTube announced new features and revamped a host of existing monetization options for creators. 

Why it matters: As social media giants battle for users, YouTube is updating monetization features to help creators drive tangible traffic to the platform, including coveted young, engaged audiences. 

The details: The new features include “Super Chat,” which according to the company’s blog post, allows fans to purchase messages that stand out within a chat during live streams. Another new feature, “Super Stickers,” lets fans purchase animated stickers during live streams and Premieres to show their favorite creators their appreciation. “Channel Memberships” update introduced membership levels, with which creators can now set up to five different price points for channel memberships. YouTube also added five new partners–Crowdmade, DFTBA, Fanjoy, Represent and Rooster Teeth–to “YouTube Merch shelf with Teespring.  

In addition, the company introduced  “Learning Playlists” aiming “to provide a dedicated learning environment for people who come to YouTube to learn.” 

LinkedIn Introduced A More Powerful Campaign Manager

LinkedIn shared a blog post announcing changes the company made to its “Campaign Manager.” 

Why it matters: This effort aims to solve one of the biggest marketing challenges of ensuring that campaigns can meet increasingly complex business goals. 

“Whether you’re a new start-up trying to increase share-of-voice or an established B2B player looking for leads, you need solutions that are flexible and can adapt to your unique objectives,” the blog post reads.  

The details: The latest version of “Campaign Manager” offers the following: 

  • Brand awareness. The marketers can now increase share-of-voice for their product or services through top of funnel campaigns that charge by impressions (e.g. cost per thousand or CPM).  
  • Website conversions. LinkedIn built a tighter integration with their conversion tracking tool, making it easier to create campaigns optimized for specific actions on a website, like purchases, downloads or event registrations.
  • LinkedIn “Talent Solutions” customers can now create ads using “Campaign Manager” and drive applications on LinkedIn or their own site. 
  • Click pricing was optimized to the companies’ campaign objectives. “If you select website visits as your objective, you will only be charged for clicks that go to your landing page. For social engagement campaigns, pricing will be optimized to include all social actions (likes, comments, shares, etc.),” the company stated in a blog post. 

Twitter’s “Hide Replies” Is No Longer A Rumor 

The company shared a blog post, announcing that the users in Canada are now able to hide replies to their Tweets. 

Why it matters: With this feature, Twitter gives the users more control over their conversations, letting them “mute” toxic or unreasonable comments. 

The details: “Starting next week, people in Canada will have the option to hide replies to their Tweets. Anyone around the world will be able to see and engage with hidden replies by tapping the grey icon that will appear. We want to be clear and transparent when someone has made the decision to hide a reply, and will be looking at how this feature gives more control to authors while not compromising the transparency and openness that is central to what makes Twitter so powerful,” the blog post states. 

“Mobile Marketer” Publishes “Key Stats At The Half” 

Mobile Marketer published a report, highlighting the key statistics and trends seen in the marketing industry since January 2019. 

Why it matters: The data gives an insight into the key trends for users and marketers, helping to guide strategies for the remainder of 2019.

The details: Here is what marketers need to know:

  • Location matters. According to the report, location-based marketing is set to grow 14 percent to $24.4 billion in ad spending this year; and 89 percent of marketers reported sales lifts after using location data to boost their ad campaigns. 
  • Voice and virtual assistants are most popular among millennials (49 percent); and not so much among Gen X, Baby boomers and Gen Z with 20, 16 and 15 percent respectively. 
  • Social media keep growing, as Instagram’s expected 2019 revenue is 14 million; the average revenue per Snapchat user grew by 39 percent (from $1.21 last year to $1.68 in 2019); TikTok’s worldwide in-app sales surged 500 percent in May from 2018.

The complete report can be found here

YouTube Simplifies Copyright Claims Process 

The Verge reported that YouTube is updating the way it handles manual copyright claims to simplify the process for video creators.

Why it matters: According to The Verge, copyrighted content owners, such as a record label or a film studio will now have to specify exactly where in a video their copyrighted material appears, which wasn’t the case before when the infringement was being reported manually. Creators can more easily respond and verify whether or not a claim is legitimate, and where to possibly make necessary changes to their content. 

The details: With this update,video creators will be able to see the portion of the video that’s been claimed, mute the audio in that portion, replace it with a free-to-use song from YouTube’s library or completely cut out that chunk. If they choose any of those options, the copyright claim will automatically be released.

Facebook Publishes A New Diversity Report 

Facebooked published “Facebook 2019 Diversity Report: Advancing Diversity And Inclusion.” 

Why it matters: The report highlights the company’s inclusivity efforts and unveils Facebook’s goals related to diversity, in a move that the company will likely use an example of transparency. 

The details: “We envision a company where in the next five years, at least 50 percent of our workforce will be women, people who are Black, Hispanic, Native American, Pacific Islanders, people with two or more ethnicities, people with disabilities, and veterans. In doing this, we aim to double our number of women globally and Black and Hispanic employees in the US. It will be a company that reflects and better serves the people on our platforms, services and products. It will be a more welcoming community advancing our mission and living up to the responsibility that comes with it,” the company said in the blog post. 

Facebook Helps The Users Understand Why They’re Seeing Certain Ads 

Facebook shared a blog post, announcing the updates to “Why am I seeing this ad?” and “Ad Preferences” features. 

Why it matters: Facebook has updated the features (which were introduced in the first place for greater transparency and control), but the feedback the company received from the users stated that “they can still be hard to understand and difficult to navigate.” 

The details: The company will show people more reasons why they’re seeing an ad on Facebook with more detailed targeting, including the interests or categories that matched you with a specific ad.

Facebook is also updating Ad Preferences to share more about businesses that upload lists the users’ information, including an email address or phone number. 

Twitter Opens ArtHouse For The Brands 

Twitter announced a new creative team for brands producing video content.

Why it matters: The effort aims to help match brands with high-quality creators, influencers, artists, video editing and optimization experts in a move to help brands create more, and higher quality content. As social platforms compete for ad revenue, this is another way to further boost advertisers’ ROI.

The details: Per Twitter, “Twitter ArtHouse connects brands with the creative capital and talent of influencers, artists and editors who can add a new dimension of relevance to their content. The global team brings together content strategists, digital producers and influencer marketing specialists to help brands launch new products and connect to what’s happening in culture.” For more information brands need to contact their Twitter representative.

Facebook Entices Video Creators With New Features 

At Facebook Creator Day in Malibu, California, the company announced the rollout of several new features, similar to those of their competitors, such as Amazon’s Twitch, aiming to attract more video creators, CNet reports.

Why it matters: With Facebook’s premium content hub, Watch, being less popular than competitive offerings, this move should serve the social media company and marketers well, as creators bring young audiences like Gen Z’ers to the platform. 

The details: New features include payment incentive functionality like Stars, which most likely will function like Twitch’s Bit Emotes–a tipping system where users can reward creators with small payments during streams. 

Also similar to Twitch, Facebook is adding more intimate groups that are only accessible to subscribers of a particular creator. 

Per CNet, the company said it will offer more flexibility, enabling midroll ads to be placed on creator videos and more analytics tools in Brand Collabs Manager. 

Pinterest Introduces A New Video Uploader 

Pinterest doesn’t want to lag behind other social media giants in its effort to court more video creators and introduces the new and revamped video uploader. 

Why it matters: With the new feature, Pinterest wants to encourage paying users to post actionable and inspirational how-to videos and tutorials targeted at the platform users. 

“Because videos on Pinterest surface and resurface over time,” the company explained to TechCrunch, “videos uploaded directly to Pinterest will have a longer shelf life and, in theory, more engagement than if posted to other platforms.”

The details: The new video tab now available on business profiles, will allow brands to conveniently feature all their videos in one place. In addition, an analytics tool will aid them in understanding and analyzing traffic and performance. Also, with a new Pin Scheduler tool, creators and businesses will be able to schedule videos in advance. 

Instagram Influencer Engagement Is Declining 

Along with the general drop in brand engagement on the platform, influencer engagement is at its lowest too, according to the report from InfluencerDB

Why it matters: Per Mobile Marketer, the declining engagement rates for Instagram influencers signal important trends that marketers need to be mindful of when strategizing their social influencer campaigns. Thus, according to InfluencerDB report, sponsored posts tend to generate higher engagement than non-sponsored posts. On the other hand, when Instagram feeds get cluttered with sponsored posts, engagement rates for influencer content drop. 

The details: The researchers report that the engagement rate for sponsored posts dropped to 2.4 percent in Q1 2019 from 4 percent in 2016, and the rate for non-sponsored posts dropped to 1.9 percent from 4.5 percent respectively. 

Snapchat To Launch Shows With Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kevin Hart 

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Snapchat is further expanding its video efforts, tapping deals with digital and traditional creators, among which are Arnold Schwarzenegger and Serena Williams who will be creating new shows for Snapchat.  

Why it matters: Good quality video content is proven to attract younger and heavily engaged audiences to the platform. 

The details: Per The Hollywood Reporter, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s new show, Rules of Success will provide motivational advice. Serena Williams, Kevin Hart and influencers Emma Chamberlain and Rickey Thompson will also launch shows on Snapchat soon.  

Report: Instagram Brand Engagement Drops

A report by Trust Insights studied 1,430,995 posts from 3,637 brands (Stories excluded) for overall average engagement rate and found that brand engagement on Instagram is in decline. 

Why it matters: Although some decline in engagement is expected as the platform matures and competition grows, marketers should understand the depth of engagement and plan accordingly.

“If you’re marketing heavily on Instagram, a decrease in engagement means a decrease in visibility in the Instagram feed, creating something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Fewer engagements means less visibility means… fewer engagements,” the report states. 

The details: The overall findings included the maximum average engagement rate year-to-date for this selection of branded accounts being 1.54 percent on April 15, 2019 and the minimum engagement rate being 0.8 percent on June 23, 2019. Beginning in May, average engagements declined over time and now are around 0.9 percent, which makes up a 1.1 percent decrease from earlier this year. These numbers signal an 18 percent drop in average engagements (mostly likes) since the beginning of 2019. 

To improve engagement the researchers recommend the following: 

  • “Some marketers have begun promoting feed posts in their Instagram Stories to catch attention and bring specific posts’ engagement levels up
  • Some marketers, of course, simply take out ads to boost post performance
  • Some marketers use external marketing to bring up feed engagement, such as sharing posts on other platforms or linking to posts in emails, etc.”

Facebook To Cut Fan Subscriptions In 2020 

Facebook made a series of important announcements regarding monetization on Facebook at VidCon this week. 

Why it matters: The company will cut up to 30 percent of fan subscriptions, starting January 1, 2020.

The details: According to TechCrunch,  Kate Orseth, director of media monetization at Facebook, said that Facebook is committed to letting creators keep 70 percent of fan subscription revenue, of course, not including taxes and fees. Then, when the mobile platforms collect their 30 percent fee on first-year subscriptions, Facebook won’t collect and when the platforms lower their share to 15 percent in the second year, Facebook will take the other 15 percent. 

On desktop, however, Facebook will be able to take a cut of 30 percent right away. 

It is important to note that the new policy will only apply to new subscribers starting in January and will not apply to the users who subscribed before then. 

And even more importantly, the company also made a number of ad-related announcements, such as allowing creators to limit ads on a video to “non-interruptive” formats (pre-roll and image ads) and share their audiences with advertisers in the Brand Collabs Manager for ad targeting. In addition, creators will be able to view their Instagram data in Facebook’s Creator Studio.

“Alexa, Open YouTube”

YouTube is officially back on Fire TV, after almost a year and a half since Google removed the app, Amazon shared in a blog post

Why it matters: YouTube on Fire TV provides a more convenient way for the viewers to engage with video content on the social media platform. 

The details: According to the company, the official YouTube app on Amazon Fire TV is now available worldwide on Fire TV Stick (2ndGen), Fire TV Stick 4K, Fire TV Cube, Fire TV Stick Basic Edition, and all Fire TV Edition smart TVs. And YouTube TV and YouTube Kids will launch later this year. 

Report: Apss See A 15 Percent Revenue Jump 

App research firm Sensor Tower discovered that during the first half of 2019, app revenue increased by 15 percent to $39.7 billion on Apple’s App Store and Google Play, compared to last year. 

Why it matters: The numbers, as analyzed by Sensor Tower, signal the app economy, for the most part, is steady and healthy.

The details: Per the report, App Store revenue grew 13 percent to $25.5 billion, compared with Google Play’s 20 percent gain to $14.2 billion during the period. 

Tinder became the highest-grossing, non-game app during the first half of 2019, with revenue increasing by 32 percent to an estimated $497 million worldwide in both Apple’s App Store and Google Play. 

Netflix, which was the leader in 2018, removed subscriptions from the app’s iOS version in December to avoid fees, which resulted in total app store spending on Netflix dropping to $399 million.

Facebook’s WhatsApp, Messenger, Facebook and Instagram maintained their dominance in the ranking of downloads and TikTok took fourth place with the app first-time installs increasing by 28 percent to 344 million. 

YouTube Doesn’t Need To Move Children’s Content To A Separate Platform 

Bloomberg reported that during a July 1st call, Chairman Joseph Simons and Republican Commissioner Noah Phillips responded to the children’s privacy advocates, saying that YouTube wouldn’t need to move all children’s content to a separate platform.

Why it matters: Removing ads from the video platform would negatively impact video creators’ viewership and revenue. 

The details: Simons and Phillips proposed that instead, individual channels could disable ads to make sure that YouTube stays in agreement with a U.S. law’s ban on collecting information on children under age 13 without parental permission.

Study Finds Social Ad Growth Drops 50 Percent

According to a study conducted by WARC, the ad revenue growth rate for major social and messaging companies dropped in Q1 2019 to 26.2 percent, compared to 52 percent in Q1 2018 due to user base growth slowdown in North America and Europe. 

Why it matters: The biggest problem facing growth in social shopping is the lack of trust, especially with frequent data privacy scandals. In fact, three-quarters of consumers limit their online usage, due to the belief that their personal data is  misused, according to a YouGov study, which WARC cites in the report.

The details: WARC reports the biggest market for social advertising is North America, at about $8 billion in Q1 2019. Per the report, user growth has slowed significantly for the major social media platforms. Also, time spent on the platforms has plateaued at approximately two hours a day for the past three years. 

On the other hand, Asia (India, Indonesia and the Philippines, especially) is the biggest growth region for social media giants. Time spent on social media platforms in Asia increased to two hours and 11 minutes a day from two hours and nine minutes in 2018. However, monetization rates in these countries are lower than in North America and Europe, WARC reports. 

Instagram Is Committed To Fighting Online Bullying 

Instagram shared a blog post, in which it announced two new features that will help the company fight online bullying. 

Why it matters: The new features should improve user safety while creating a more welcoming environment on the platform, especially for younger users, who reportedly suffer from bullying on Instagram the most. 

The details: One of the new features is powered by AI and it notifies the users in case their comment may be offensive before they post. The second feature “in progress” will start testing soon and will enable the users to “restrict” others looking at their account. 

“We wanted to create a feature that allows people to control their Instagram experience, without notifying someone who may be targeting them,” the blog post explained.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, July 12th. Have a news tip? We’re looking for changes to and news surrounding social media platforms as they relate to marketing. Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.com.