Transformation Of Petco With Tariq Hassan

During the 179th episode of “Marketing Today,” I interview Tariq Hassan, chief marketing officer at Petco. Petco is a leading specialty retailer that’s been serving pets and the people who love them for more than 50 years. The company currently has about 1,500 locations throughout North America and employs approximately 26,000 people.

On the show today, Hassan discusses the transformation that is taking place at Petco, the significant investments they are making in nutrition and how all of this impacts their employees, which they call their partners.  

Hassan shares advice for CMOs looking to get on the same page with their CEOs and organizations. “The line of trust around your leadership table is having shared accountability with your partners, and I think if you want to have aligned trust with your CEO, it starts with being aligned with your leadership team.” 

How does Hassan view career risks? “Sometimes, what is a risk on paper, actually presents itself as the biggest opportunity you have going forward.” Also, learn what Hassan believes is vital about brand ethos: “Brand Ethos is really capturing and understanding what that brand purpose is. Then shaping it and bringing it to life in a way that your internal organization knows how to activate. Additionally, you need to be sure your customers know how it is being brought to bear for their benefit.” 

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • What kind of pet does Tariq Hassan have? (01:05)
  • How did Tariq Hassan start his career toward Petco? (02:34)
  • What advice would Tariq give to improve relationships with employers? (04:36)
  • What has Tariq’s first year at Petco been like? (06:16) 
  • What gave Tariq business confidence at Petco? (09:46)
  • How does he think about brand ethos? (11:10)
  • What has Tariq had to do with partners (employees) to drive change? (15:05)
  • How does he think about transformation, and have there been any factors that have been critical to success? (17:00)
  • Alan and Tariq discuss the pet market and Petco’s involvement in it. (21:00)
  • How does Tariq think about pet nutrition? (25:03)
  • Is there an experience in Tariq’s life that has defined who he is today? (27:15)
  • What fuels Tariq Hassan to keep going in his career and life? (30:29)
  • Are there brands that Tariq thinks we should pay attention to? (31:37)
  • Where does Tariq Hassan see the future of marketing going? (34:40)

Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on opportunities around brand, customer experience, innovation and growth. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine startups.

What’s Working Right Now In AR Marketing

Back in March, eMarketer estimated that in 2019, as many as 68.7 million US customers will use augmented reality (AR) at least once a month. And this year, many brands seized the opportunity to enhance their user experiences with the advanced tech.

The world saw a myriad of innovative augmented reality campaigns: from Net-A-Porter’s AR pop-up window shop to the recent Disney and YouTube AR make-up experience for the roll-out of Maleficent: Mistress of Evil and the latest Panera Bread AR ad unit for mobile that allows customers to rotate a menu item and share on social media. Another big plus—the tech is maturing quickly, and all the major tech giants–Apple, Facebook and Google– invested heavily in AR in 2019. 

Despite all this, there are still a lot of uncertainties around AR and its future in marketing. To help marketers understand the ways in which audiences consume immersive experiences, Rene Amador, CEO at AR tech company ARwall, breaks these experiences down into three modes.

The first mode, he explains, is “futurist,” where “AR is a novel illusion” and the target audience is those who seek futurist types of experiences. Avid consumers of media and technology are most interested in how well the experience explores or displays its futuristic and entertainment potential. Snapchat filters and Spark AR are a perfect example of futurist modes of  AR. 

The second mode is “realist,” which is likely how the majority of AR content is currently consumed for education or training. Here the goal is to provide informative content. Success, in this case, is typically defined by information recall, which is appropriate in the enterprise, industrial or educational setting.

The third mode is “escapist,” which is similar to what we expect from cinema. You lose yourself in the action on the screen and begin to identify with the story and its characters as if they were your reality. In these experiences, the content itself becomes far more vital, and a successful escapist campaign requires executing a technical and artistic experience that delivers story, fidelity and performance.

According to Amador, “futurist” mode is the safest choice in marketing right now.

He also predicts that AR tech will soon become flexible enough to be “objective-agnostic.”

“[This] means it [will be] able to lift the overall awareness of a campaign and support the full spectrum of business goals a marketer might have: whether that’s a product launch, recruitment drive or customer service. AR has been a tough nut to crack for marketers because it can feel disconnected from the rest of the campaign, but if you consider that it’s flexible enough to fit nearly any need, you can see that it’s just an immersive and interactive way to build experiences of any kind,” he said. 

Other analysts agree that AR marketing will keep rapidly expanding into consumer retail experiences. Earlier this year, Hanna Karki, principal research analyst at Gartner, said: “Retailers are under increasing pressure to explain the purpose of physical stores, and take control of the fulfillment and return process for cross-channel execution. At the same time, consumers are progressively defining the value provided by the experiences they receive from retailers. As a result of these pressures, retailers are turning to AR and VR to offer customers a unified retail experience inside and outside retail stores.”  

The main appeal of AR lies in increasingly convenient applications that customers can access on their mobile devices, which gives companies the advantage of creating immersive experiences that are highly visual. In addition, brands can put a fresh spin on products or services through gamification and other engaging tactics to increase familiarity and drive loyalty. 

If the predictions are right, by the end of 2022, the number of mobile AR users will reach 3.5 billion globally, which will give brands access to an extremely broad audience and will help them generate a high volume of qualified leads.

“For the brand, the richness of the experience opens up opportunities for opt-in capture of email, phone numbers and social media profiles. Those are solid meat-and-potatoes marketing milestones, and I think more and more marketers will realize AR can drive those traditional goals more effectively,” Amador said. 

Don’t Be Held Techno-Hostage By Legacy Measurements

Originally published at AW360 by Charlene Weiser.

Navigating the transition from collecting and mining data to actually applying it in addressable advertising is a talent that Paul Haddad, President, a4, has in abundance. With an engineering background and extensive work in collecting data at the set-top box level from his tenure at Cablevision, he has a keen sense of how the addressable landscape looks and what the underpinnings of data and analytics need to be to ensure a seamless, real-time, targeted experience for both consumers and advertisers.

His evolution from entrepreneur to data geek (an epithet that we both agree is a source of pride) to President has been facilitated by his early work at Cablevision, the mentorship of then Department Head, Kim Norris (currently the Division Vice President, Spectrum Reach), the acquisition of Cablevision by Altice, Patrick Drahi’s support of disrupting status quos, Dexter Goei’s coaching on building growth-driven business, and the recognition by the industry of the value and power of data and targeting.

A One-Stop Advertising Shop

a4 uses data culled from many sources and offers, as Haddad described, “A one-stop shop for audience-driven, integrated, multi-screen advertising and end-to-end ROI analytics across the U.S.” But as complete as that sounds, that is not all it is. Owned by Altice, which purchased Cablevision in 2015, a4 is actually a large advertiser in its own right, representing Altice’s $200 million budget as an in-house agency. So, a4 not only offers capability in both the buying and selling aspects of advertising, it also manages and stewards small $250 campaigns to multi-million-dollar campaigns, as well as national and local accounts through an interface platform controlled by the advertiser. a4 is helping to transition the media world by “inventing the way advertising works,” and it has been very successful. “We now have over $500 million in total media revenue, over 500 employees and the fastest growing business at Altice,” he added.

Going From Local to National

But transitioning from local MVPD operation to a national footprint was not without some internal questions. “What is an audience to us?” Haddad posited. “Is it market-driven or is it location-driven or is it size-driven?” After two years of tests, he realized that “audience targeting has no location or specific size.”

So, the conclusion was that “when it comes to audience, we do not see the world as local or national at all,” he explained. “We do not see the world as TV or digital. We see the world as household targets. We deliver a household-based audience-targeted campaign across all screens anywhere in the U.S., any time, and at any size of segment.” In sum, a4 essentially removes the need to label anything other than audience at a household level–and that appears to be the wave of the future.

Haddad noted that those still operating under the legacy mindset of local versus national are “limiting” themselves and warned that his competitors who stick to the old parameters of measurement are “being held as techno-hostages.”

Finding Intent in Targeting

a4 has access to a myriad of datasets at the MVPD set-top box level, at the device level, at various digital touchpoints and through third and first-party partnerships. To ensure privacy and create effective reach pathways, “our datasets are focused on household targeting,” he explained. “To target a household, you need to understand and provide to our advertising clients the means to create a segment. And the way to create the segment is to collect data that finds intent.” He noted that intent on a household level is based on:

  • Viewing and content consumption (a4 currently covers 12.5 million homes at the set-top box level covering 210 DMAs)
  • Spending patterns (such as luxury items or beauty products or tech-gadgets)
  • Consumer profile data (totaling 300 million homes)
  • Geo-location data (sports stadiums visits or high-end stores or auto dealerships visits)
  • IP targeted data with a platform deployed behind the firewall at most MVPDs in the U.S. (accessing 50 million household data on digital and mobile devices for in and out-of-home addressability).

“So, when you put it all together,” he explained, “you can use the data for audience creation on the front of a campaign. You can then use the ‘same’ segment to plan when and how to reach them. And finally, you measure and report all the impressions for that ‘same’ segment across all their devices, and clearly analyze the effect and whether you reached these audiences or not and what was the ROI.”

In addition, a4 gives the client an on-boarding, self-service, full stewardship platform, where proprietary CRM data can be uploaded privately and safely and matched with all of a4’s data free of charge and within hours, not days. So, from audience creation to media planning to media activation across all screens (which includes linear and optimized TV, OTT, digital video and display, social media, mobile display and in-apps banner), “we provide the measurement at the household level, plus all of these screens for the campaign, from the exposure to the medium to how often, and then we post at the end of the campaign.” This all done through one company, which offers cost efficiencies for the advertiser.

As far as privacy is concerned, Altice applies a strict and disciplined compliance approach to all its data operations and business use cases “privacy is extremely important and serious to us.”

Time For a “Datalution

Giving the client full access and control over all aspects of a campaign by targeting the intent of households is something that few companies offer. Haddad shepherds his company in a new direction that is poised to change the business of advertising as we know it. “The advertising world is broken into a fast lane of born-data companies and the slow lane of legacy processes. The slow lane has no choice but to revolutionize the way they do business. It’s a question of time.”

The clock is ticking.

PopSugar To Host Winter Wonderland Pop-Up With Curated Brand Activations

PopSugar is throwing an immersive holiday consumer experience called “Sugar Chalet” in New York City’s Bryant Park Overlook. The free, one-day winter wonderland pop-up, set to take place on November 23, will feature interactive activities targeted toward female millennials. 

The digital lifestyle media outlet is capitalizing on the fact that 84 percent of holiday sales are still made in-store. Central to the event will be curated activations at the interactive shopping bazaar from brands such as e.l.f. Cosmetics, Athleta and Nature’s Way, providing in-person consumer engagement for brands who rarely meet customers face-to-face. Other immersive experiences at the two-story Sugar Chalet will include a meditation den, yoga classes, a beauty oasis where e.l.f. Cosmetics will offer mini makeovers, palm readings and curated culinary workshop. 

“Guests will have the opportunity to browse, discover and shop within the Sugar Chalet.  Our aim is to leverage this one-of-a-kind experience to create meaningful relationships between our attendees and our brand partners. While attendees will have the opportunity to purchase on site, many consumers will also be shopping holiday gifts on mobile this year.  That said, the digital marketplace is cluttered and what we have created with The Sugar Chalet is the chance for brands to break through that clutter and to be top of mind so that when consumers ultimately make their purchase decisions, they think of these brands first,”  Lindsay Leaf, PopSugar VP of experiential told AList.

By taking a modern approach to the traditional holiday pop-up, PopSugar’s hope is to push consumers through the entire marketing funnel, from discovery and intent to purchase, with the added intention of inspiring purchasing decisions far beyond the one-day bash. The event’s success will be measured through attendance and engagement as well as the digital and physical footprint that PopSugar produces.

The holiday event is just one of PopSugar’s most recent experiments in experiential marketing to deepen the connection between consumer and brand, part of the publisher’s overall omnichannel strategy.

Earlier this year, the media company took its female-focused digital strategy offline for its second annual “POPSUGAR Play/Ground” festival in New York City. The two-day event focused on experiences that fueled attendees’ wellness and career goals including panels with celebrities, workouts from fitness gurus and pop-up shopping with beauty and lifestyle brands. Single-day general admission tickets went for $65, two-day tickets for $105 and VIP tickets for $225. The event saw more than 15,000 attendees.
While PopSugar continues to expand its monetization opportunities into content opportunities, retailers are finding themselves trying to adapt to changing shopping patterns. The result is more partnerships between PopSugar and ecommerce and brick-and-mortar brands. Last year, Kohl’s teamed up with PopSugar to create an apparel line, which became available at 500 Kohl’s locations. With a quarterly subscription box and makeup collection, PopSugar has reimagined the role of a traditional publication to evolve into a lifestyle brand with a monthly global audience of 400 million.

Marketers Place More Importance On Cause Marketing

Marketers now consider alignment with social issues as one of the top three benefits of a content campaign, according to a new study from World Media Group. “The Future For Content-Led Marketing Around The World” explores trends in branded content campaign strategies.

When asked which key performance indicator (KPI) provided the best approach for content-led marketing, a majority of respondents, who are marketing decision-makers, cited engagement (34 percent), followed by the opportunity to change perceptions (20 percent). Compared to last year’s survey results, marketers are finding that measuring shifts in brand perceptions and time spent with content are more important than brand awareness. 

There’s a greater opportunity for marketers to leverage societal and environmental problems too. Brand activism is viewed by respondents as a critical route to engaging consumers with 18 percent citing “aligning a brand with a trend, issue or topic” one of the best reasons for launching a content-led campaign.

The survey also found that 80 percent of respondents predict their investment in content-led marketing will grow over the next two years. Drivers of growth will include voice technology, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), audio and podcasts. World Media Group also predicts growth in live video and 360 video, but a decrease in short- and long-form video.
Findings are based on a survey of 269 advertisers, media agencies and media owners across nine global regions between September 2-October 7.

Panera Seeks To Highlight Transparency With AR-Powered Mobile Ad Unit

Panera Bread launched an augmented reality (AR) ad unit for mobile devices that lets customers rotate a menu item and share the content across Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook. 

Given the AR experience utilizes OS-level frameworks in iOS and Android, it requires no app download, making it the first of its kind in the food space. This new technology allows a user to place Panera’s Mediterranean egg white breakfast wrap anywhere in front of them, enhanced by interactive buttons that animate in the menu item name, nutritional information and ingredients list. 

Panera’s interactive ad unit is running exclusively on sports site Bleacher Report and can be reached by clicking on an ad. When visitors encounter the ad, they’re encouraged to, “Play with your food, open in AR below.” Unlike other brands utilizing AR ads, Panera gives users the option of sharing the AR banner assets across three different social media platforms. 

Compared to an online menu, this kind of ad allows consumers to find information fast and help Panera push an overall category innovation, according to Panera VP of marketing, Scott Nelson. Nelson added that measurement of the ad’s success will be determined via shares and engagements. The company has plans to expand the ability to a variety of menu items.

Highlighting food transparency through AR technology could be Panera’s attempt at ameliorating the public backlash caused by a leaked video last month. The video, which was posted by a Panera employee to her personal TikTok account, showed her dipping a frozen pack of the chain’s white cheddar mac and cheese into hot water then removing it and emptying the bag’s contents into a bowl before serving. The clip received 950,000 likes on the app.

Earlier this year, Panera’s first foray into AR arose in conjunction with South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. There the company launched four Snapchat AR lenses that let users create “hacks” of Panera’s soup offerings, visually adding other menu items to customize their own.

Kohl’s Pull Out All The Stops For Omnichannel Holiday Campaign Centered Around Snapchat

Kohl’s has launched an omnichannel campaign called “New Gifts at Every Turn,” that includes a pop-up in New York City which Snapchat users can shop from nationwide with a dedicated lens. 

Kohl’s will host the pop-up for the public from November 7-November 10, and for the first time, targeted Snapchat users nationwide can attend the event with a Snapchat portal lens. The portal lens will replicate the pop-up event space in 3D and allow users to shop featured products. Attendees can also take photos with an avatar of bridal fashion designer Vera Wang through a Snapchat marker lens.

Kohl’s has also extended its partnership with Snapchat through a lens that lets users fill their cart with Kohl’s gifts within a football-themed game.

Rounding out the campaign’s social media component is activations on Twitter and Pinterest. Consumers can receive on-demand same-day product delivery during key holiday moments when they engage with Kohl’s on Twitter.

In-store shoppers can also source gift inspiration via Kohl’s Pinterest pincodes. To do this, customers can open their Pinterest app, scan a pincode on Kohl’s “Jammies for Your Families” hashtags and in-store signage using their camera. Doing so will direct them to the Kohl’s Pinterest board. 

New to Kohl’s holiday initiative this year is the option of Amazon Returns in all stores nationwide, enabling Amazon customers to return eligible merchandise to their local Kohl’s store. The move is part of the brand’s growing partnership with the ecommerce giant and Kohl’s effort to increase foot traffic.

Kohl’s is also boosting its product discovery and checkout processes. A tool called “Snap and Shop” allows customers to take photos of products anywhere and find similar items at Kohl’s. Also, new this year, shoppers can pay for their items in the Kohl’s mobile app. 

Further complementing the campaign is Kohl’s online-only Black Friday flash deals and 20 days of thematic daily deals, two new opportunities consumers can take advantage of throughout November and December.

An array of curated displays will line Kohl’s stores including those showcasing beauty and fashion brands loved by millennials such as LC Lauren Conrad, Levi’s, POPSUGAR and Nike.

Kohl’s holiday campaign takes an invigorated approach to activations that will appeal to Gen Z and millennials. The campaign is aligned with Kohl’s previous holiday strategy which utilized “Kohl’s Cash” emojis on Twitter and a snow globe-inspired Pinterest gift finder that helped source gifts when shaking your phone. 

For Q2, Kohl’s reported a net sales of $4.17 billion compared with $4.3 billion the previous year. Sales at Kohl’s stores open more than a year fell 2.9 percent, wider than Wall Street’s estimates of a 2.5 percent decrease.

Why Brand Marketers Should Take Cues From Fashion’s ‘Drop Culture’

Originally published at AW360 by Richard Larsson.

AW360 had a chance to sit down with Liz Aviles, VP of Market Intelligence at Upshot to discuss the myriad ways brand marketers can (and should) benefit from emulating “drop culture–” one of the fashion industry’s most successful modern tactics.

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your background.

I’m Liz Aviles, VP of Market Intelligence at Upshot. In this role, I’m a member of the research and strategy team at the agency working across all of Upshot’s businesses. In this multi-category and multidisciplinary role, I’m especially interested in the blurring of influences across varied parts of the marketplace. Identifying how trends and consumer behaviors in one sector can inspire innovation for brands in other categories has always been a focus of my work at the agency.

How do you define drop culture and what is its history in marketing?

Drop culture marketing developed with the rise of sneaker culture (catalyzed by Nike’s introduction of the Air Jordan in the mid-eighties). Drops are characterized by product releases with little or no warning, in limited quantities via limited retailers. They now increasingly incorporate collaborations (or collabs) with other brands or designers. Today, they also rely heavily on social media as a vehicle for brands to announce a drop and as a platform for consumers to showcase their achievement in acquiring the scarce and coveted product that’s been dropped.

How can fashion’s drop culture be co-opted by other consumer brand categories for product marketing purposes?

Marketers can leverage the timing tactics, the language, visual style, and social tactics of fashion drops to better drive traffic, test new products, and create excitement about a brand.

What are the differences between traditional LTOs (limited time offers) and “drops” in today’s marketplace?

While brands have long utilized LTO’s to spur interest in their offerings, drops amplify the excitement, aka the hype, with an element of surprise, a greater emphasis on collaborations, a heavy reliance on social media, and most importantly, a recognition that Gen-Z and Millennial consumers are driven by a desire for continuous innovation and novelty from brands. Drop culture brands recognize that drops feed that desire for what’s new and ephemeral most especially in passion categories such as fashion, music and gaming.

What are some examples of forward-thinking brands that are reaching Gen-Z and millennials via drop culture strategies?

Nike continues to rule the drop, but the streetwear brand Supreme is typically credited with mastering this form of hype and influencing the broader fashion industry. Luxury brands like Burberry and Gucci among others have also embraced drop tactics, as they’re no longer beholden to the dictates of a traditional seasonal fashion calendar.

In music, streaming with its untethering to a physical product has also facilitated artists’ use of drops creating the surprise album dynamic. But, what’s been especially fascinating is the embrace of drop tactics in other less expected parts of the marketplace like in the QSR channel. Yes, LTO’s are standard fare for these brands, but we see them using geographic scarcity, surprise and a bolder social approach to generate desire for their new items.

You talk about “brand excitement” as a method to build consumer affinity.  What are some ways brand marketers can use drop culture tactics to build brand excitement?

While most brand categories can take inspiration from the drop playbook, it’s in passion categories that these types of tactics are most likely to move the marketplace. However, with brand loyalty challenged by today’s fickle consumers and fragmented product environment, most brand marketers should be considering how their brands can leverage scarcity, surprise, clever social media marketing and collaborations to appeal to Gen Z and Millennial consumers today.

Brands Can Now Run Ads On YouTube’s Home Feed, Search Results

This week, Google announced it will display ads on YouTube’s home feed and in search results, Tinder’s in-app video series is going international and Facebook gives creators and publishers greater access to brand partnerships and engagement insights.

YouTube Is Bringing Shopping Ads To Its Home Feed, Search Results  

According to Search Engine Journal, Google is letting brands tap into users’ shopping intent.

Why it matters: Google says nearly two-thirds of shoppers use online video as inspiration for their purchase and more than 90 percent of those shoppers say they’ve discovered new products and brands via YouTube.

The details: Users will now see visual shopping ads, tailored to their interests, on YouTube’s home feed and when conducting searches.

Tinder To Launch New Swipe Night In-App Series Outside The US

The move comes after the in-app video series drove double-digit increases in matches and messages.

Why it matters: The interactive video series was a departure for the dating app that resonated so well with Gen Z users that Tinder will take it international in 2020.

The details: Tinder’s “Swipe Night” allowed users to swipe on a story, the narrative for which they could customize, a style format popularized by Netflix. The in-app series led to a 20 to 25 percent increase in likes and a 30 percent increase in matches. Additionally, the series boosted female engagement on the app.

Facebook Announces Expanded Access To Brand Collabs Manager

Initially, the “Brand Collabs Manager” tool was only open to a limited set of creators.

Why it matters: With greater access to partnership opportunities and deeper insights, creators and publishers alike will be able to make content that resonates with their audience.

The details: Introduced last year, “Brand Collabs Manager” is a database of potential Facebook and Instagram users that businesses can connect with to arrange partnerships. Now, creators in over 40 countries can apply for access to “Brand Collabs Manager.” To qualify, creators must have at least 1,000 followers, and either have 15,000 engagements on their posts over the last month or have 180,000 minutes viewed. Facebook also rolled out new data insights to its Creator Studio, called “Traffic Source Insights,” with the goal of helping publishers and creators better understand their content’s engagement. 

Twitter To Personalize Users Experience Based On Interest In Topics

Social Media Today reported that Twitter’s new feature will enable users to follow specific topics.

Why it matters: Twitter is looking to simplify the way users stay in touch with conversations of interest and boost engagement on the platform.

The details: Twitter will present prompts to follow topics and personalize users’ experience based on their interest in the specific topic. The platform may also match users with other topics they think they’re interested in based on their profile and activity, such as the tweets they view or like. Twitter has curated listings to cover over 300 topics of general interest. These listings will be formulated via a combination of machine learning and human creation. 

Twitter Exploring Major Changes To Retweets And Mentions

According to The Verge, Twitter is testing new anti-harassment features that could impact the very nature of the platform.

Why it matters: The ability to disable a retweet on specific tweets gives users protection against misinterpreted tweets going viral. Additionally, another potential feature that would prevent other users from mentioning you without permission, however, counters the call-out culture that’s foundational to Twitter.

The details: Twitter’s vice president of design and research yesterday tweeted a list of features he’s looking forward to in 2020 including an option to remove yourself from a conversation, the option to disable a retweet on a tweet, the option to not let people mention you without your permission and removing a mention from a conversation.

WhatsApp Announces New Group Privacy Settings 

The new invite system gives users more privacy.

Why it matters: Before today, the group privacy setting was only available in India. The now globally available privacy feature will help reduce spam.

The details: WhatsApp is giving users three levels of group invite privacy options including “Everyone,” an option that allows any users to add you to a group, “My Contacts” an option to let anyone in your phone’s contacts add you to a group and “My Contacts Except” which lets certain contacts add you to a group. Should someone not from any of the aforementioned categories try adding you, the group admin will be prompted to send the user an invite via a private WhatsApp message.

Facebook To Implement Limits On Number Of Ads Each Page Can Run

The update will start rolling out in mid-2020.

Why it matters: According to Facebook, running too many ads could lead to poor overall ad performance, which would, in turn, reduce overall ad spend. 

The details: Facebook said it will limit the number of ads each page can run at the same time, a change that will “impact just a small percentage of advertisers.” It explained that when running many ads at the same time, “fewer ads exit the learning phase and more budget is spent before the delivery system can optimize an ad’s performance.”

YouTube Launches Animated “Super Stickers” For Creators

The stickers will give creators more ways to earn money and connect with fans. 

Why it matters: With new stickers, YouTube is giving creators more ways to deepen their connection with their fans and make more money at the same time.

The details: YouTube’s new stickers were inspired by its “Super Chat feature,” which allows fans to purchase messages that stand out within a live chat and premieres. The super stickers’ initial release come with eight distinct sticker packs including translated packs for English, French, Japanese, Korean and Portuguese. 

Pinterest’s Q3 Report Shows 47 Percent Increase In Revenue

The platform’s latest performance update reveals increases in both revenue and usage for the third quarter of 2019.

Why it matters: Though it saw a 47 percent increase in revenue, Pinterest’s growth is slower than previous quarters. Its commitment to expand on-platform buying options will allow it to capitalize on its capacity as a product discovery and purchase engine for consumers. While Pinterest’s double-digit growth in international monthly active users (MAU) reflects the platform’s potential for ongoing expansion.

The details: This quarter, Pinterest added 22 million more MAU, making its total MAU 322 million, a 28 percent increase year-over-year. Comparatively, in the same period, Snapchat added 7 million additional daily active users while Facebook added 36 million MUA. Pinterest’s international MUA saw a 38 percent increase and its revenue grew to $280 million.

WhatsApp Lets iOS Users Watch Netflix Trailers Directly In App

Engadget reports insights into the new feature which hasn’t officially been announced yet. 

Why it matters: The feature gives users added incentive to remain within WhatsApp while communicating with friends and family about new Netflix shows or planned viewing events. 
The details: This feature only pertains to trailers. WhatsApp users who want to stream a full movie or show will still have to do so in the Netflix app.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, November 8. 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

US Consumers Likely To Source Holiday Gifts Via Social Ads

New research shows that consumers are taking a liking to holiday shopping on social media, giving marketers an opportunity to incorporate more paid social into their holiday campaigns. A survey found that 48 percent of US consumers are considering purchasing products seen in social media ads for holiday gifts. 

The findings indicate that consumers are extremely influenced to buy gifts online after seeing them in social advertising. found that 57 percent of holiday shoppers feel social media ads help them source new gift ideas. Among the 48 percent who said they’re considering purchasing from an ad on social media this year, 40 percent said they’re likely to spend at least $50. 

Brands that create social ads that combine video and static images will see the most return, as 35 percent of consumers said a compelling or engaging video, animation or image mattered most to them when asked about top factors influencing their decision. Other factors that influence decision making include customer testimonials (32 percent) and influencer participation (26 percent).

The apparel and beauty categories have traditionally thrived on paid social given their ability to convey items’ top selling points, however, found that electronics are also finding success via social ads. Seventeen percent of shoppers said they’re most likely to shop from apparel and accessories followed by electronics (15 percent), beauty and wellness (11 percent) and home goods (10 percent).

It comes as no surprise that of those who have purchased holiday gifts via social media ads, 76 percent have done so via Facebook or Instagram, and 60 percent expect to see the most relevant holiday ads on Facebook or Instagram followed by YouTube (15 percent). The brands that stand out from the pack will include those that design ads to be as unobtrusive to the consumer and conform to the native content each placement has. Shoppers have the highest expectations for Facebook and Instagram with 57 percent expecting the platforms to deliver top-quality holiday ads. Consumers said that they’re least likely to find gifts on Twitter and Snapchat this year.