What We’re Reading–February 17th

We’ve searched for the most pressing marketing news so you don’t have to. Here’s what’s happening so far the week of February 17th.

Are You Using Your Data, Or Just Collecting It?
Harvard Business Review

HBR examines the underlying psychological and cognitive dissonances keeping you from using your data properly, referencing the Gambler’s Fallacy and the concept of “flashbulb memories” to dissuade you from trusting your gut over analytics.

Why it matters: In essence, marketers will remember major successes when taking big chances over minor successes that are won through less risky betting and a deeper search for the underlying odds. That’s a bias that needs to be counterbalanced by using data for business intelligence.

The Importance Of Talent And Culture In Tech-Enabled Transformations
McKinsey & Company

A solution-oriented approach to survey results that point to building culture and acquiring talent as major barriers to meeting digital priorities.

Why it matters
: “Building the talent and culture required to activate the benefits of tech-enabled transformations requires a fundamental change in whom industrials recruit, how they recruit, and how the recruits do the work.”

How Brands Go Viral On TikTok
Business Of Fashion

Why dance challenges are an entry-point for brands wanting to throw in on TikTok.

Why it matters
: It goes without saying that going viral on purpose is less likely to yield results when compared to unintentionally going viral. Still, you might want to start with sponsoring TikTok challenges and preparing for a future where the platform is shoppable.

Influencer Marketers Share Which Platforms They Are Spending On And Instagram Crushes The Competition
Business Insider

A new survey from Collectively found that the overwhelming majority of influencer marketers pay for sponsored content on Instagram compared to just 7 percent of respondents who said they were spending on TikTok.

Why it matters: It’s the aesthetic.

Despite promising results for TikTok, Instagram is still more appealing for influencer marketers (specifically within the fashion/lifestyle vertical) because of swipe-up conversions.

The Best Burger King Ads That Burned Its Rivals
The Drum

A collection of the best burns from “McDonald’s cheeky younger brother.”

Why it matters: It’s a reminder that Burger King once offered free Whoppers to the first 500 clowns to show up at their flagship London restaurant on Halloween as a dig at McDonald’s—a tone they’ve continued to tap into.

How Brands Need To Adapt To A Changing Landscape

Brands are becoming more like people and people are becoming more like brands. The former CEO/founder of NatureBoxBrands, Gautam Gupta, shares his thoughts on how brands will need to marshal their resources to adapt to changing times.

Why it matters: “One of the big things I encourage brands to think about is just don’t be constrained by the current business model, the current set of distribution options, but just really think about the use cases for the consumer and be willing to do things that maybe don’t look like they could scale.”

How To Elevate Black Culture Rather Than Just Benefitting From It

“Despite black culture’s influence on the mainstream, advertisers continue to shy away from investing in it.”

Why it matters: By not elevating and empowering black cultural conversations authentically, advertisers could lose out on unprecedented growth.

Pepsi Links Gamified AR To Packaging, Social As Part Of Global Soccer Push
Mobile Marketer

Pepsi’s latest international marketing campaign, part of its sponsorship of the annual UEFA Champions League tournament, features international soccer superstars and lets consumers compete using mobile AR.

Why it matters: Pepsi’s campaign, as noted by Mobile Marketer, “deploys several mobile tactics that are increasingly popular individually, but not always used together to create a cohesive cross channel experience.”

Three Critical Skills For CMOs In 2020

An overview of the general remit of chief marketing officers in 2020, including how to enhance your abilities by seeking mentors and learning opportunities while building your network.

Why it matters: Re-focus on the most critical areas in which chief marketers can deliver value to keep ahead of the competition.

These Are The Brands Gen Z And Millennials Hold Near And Dear

Agency MBLM’s Brand Intimacy 2020 Report examines brands based on emotion. These are the brands that Gen Z and Millennials have formed emotional bonds with.

Why it matters: “Intimacy builds longevity, and the more intimate you are, the more you are willing to pay, and the less you are willing to live without it.”

What DTC Challengers Can Learn From Brandless’ Demise

Direct-to-consumer challenger brands should heed the cautionary collapse of billion-dollar DTC brand Brandless and learn what they can from its demise.

Why it matters: The sustainability of the DTC model has been discussed in-depth over the past year, but even more so now with the shuttering of Brandless. As this piece from Adweek notes, “the most important part of DTC is staying in front of your customer consistently with meaning, not just a high overall frequency.” These tips can help keep it all in focus.

The Importance Of Brand In The Digital Space

A look at why companies should allot a portion of their digital advertising budget to brand marketing.

Why it matters: This article covers important aspects of why (and when) you should consider marketing your brand, not just the products and services your brand offers, to develop customer loyalty over time.

Gen Z Craves Multifaceted Content, Audio – And Even Likes (Relevant) Long-Form Ads

Gen Z’s media consumption habits are captured in a new multi-generational media consumption study from video tech company Connatix.

Why it matters: Familiarity with generational consumption habits can help drive your brand strategy when it comes to video. Also note: respondents reported a greater willingness to pay for content.

How A Challenger Mindset Drives Marketing For Digital Commerce Platform
Ad Age

Hear from the chief marketing officer of MATRIXX Software on how a challenger mindset impacts their overall brand marketing.

Why it matters: “Kyriakakis understands how to differentiate her brand—MATRIXX enables telecom companies to quickly create and test digital commerce applications—while remaining tightly focused on serving one vertical industry.”

Spotify Celebrates Black History All Year Long And Fans Love It—4 Important Lessons From Their Campaigns

A look at Spotify’s best-in-class marketing for celebrating Black History year-round from Amanda Butler, Spotify’s director, head of music marketing.

Why it matters: When brand marketers set out to celebrate diverse communities, they should look to and learn from brands who have been successful in their initiatives.

How Adidas Is Using WhatsApp As A Direct Marketing Channel

Advertisers are building presences on WhatsApp for more direct, one-on-one communications with consumers.

Why it matters: The managing editor for Adidas’ London newsroom notes that WhatsApp has “allowed [Adidas] to build direct relationships with a smaller community of influential people in an ongoing way that doesn’t feel transactional and allows for a conversation, rather than just a broadcast.”

SMS Marketing To Rise By 52% By 2023, Reports MessageMedia
MarTech Advisor

“MessageMedia’s research found that 93 percent of Americans open SMS messages, 81 percent have opened an SMS from a business, and 94 percent have clicked through a link within SMS.”

Why it matters: SMS marketing is one of the most effective tools marketers have at their fingertips, supported by these latest MessageMedia survey findings.

Five Charts: Understanding Gen Z’s Devices And Digital Usage

EMarketer shares important data regarding Gen Z device and digital usage in the form of five charts.

Why it matters: Knowing how and where teens spend their time online can support marketing initiatives based around connecting to Gen Z.

The Mystery Of The $2,000 Ikea Shopping Bag
Harvard Business Review

Unraveling the mystery behind Balenciaga’s Ikea-modeled purse and what it says about inverting status symbols.

Why it matters: “High-end brands can stay relevant by incorporating select downscale styles and trends in their collections.”

How Brands Are Cleaning Up The ‘Wild West’ Of Influencer Marketing
Marketing Week

A look at how brands are handling influencers in light of negative perceptions of influencer marketing.

Why it matters: Recent coverage of the less-than-law-abiding aspects of influencer marketing have led to perceptions of distrust, a perception that brands are working to change.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly reading list is updated daily. This installment is updated until Friday, February 21. Have a tip? We’re looking for must-read articles related to trends and insights in marketing and media. Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.com.

Twitch To Reach 47 Million Views By 2023

This week in social media news, eMarketer released Twitch viewership forecasts, TikTok is reportedly testing direct website links in profile bios and launched parental controls for parents of TikTok users while Twitter rolled out a new option to add tweets to previous tweets.

Twitch To Boost Monthly Users To 37.5 Million This Year

Twitch’s audience is growing at a rate that positions it to rival the viewership of traditional media channels. 

Why it matters: “Twitch … is now too big for the internet giants to ignore,” according to eMarketer forecasting analyst Peter Vahle. Ostensibly, Twitch’s growth forecast is a signal-flare to mobile marketers to invest more ad dollars in the platform.

The details: Mobile Marketer reports that Twitch’s viewership will see a boost of 14 percent, reaching about 16 percent of the U.S. audience for digital video. The platform is set to reach 47 million viewers by 2023.

TikTok Looks To Add Direct Website Links To Profile Bios

The new update could help brands drive traffic to their website directly within the app.

Why it matters: TikTok has been working on ways to boost marketing appeal and direct website links are just another step in the right direction as currently it’s testing shopping links in videos. 

The details: The feature, spotted by TikTok user Sam Schmir, would include a custom link highlighted in pink text at the bottom of TikTok bios, allowing brands to increase awareness.

Twitter Rolls Out New Option To Add Tweets To Previous Tweets

Twitter announced the feature on its page via an animated video tutorial showing how to connect old tweets with new ones.

Why it matters: The feature will help brands add more context to old tweets or provide updates on announcements and sweepstakes winners. However, Twitter users weren’t that impressed with the added option as a majority responded to Twitter asking when they can expect an edit button to revise tweets. 

The details: To connect new tweets to old ones, users can compose a tweet, pull down to view older tweets then select the tweet they want to add to.

TikTok Announces “Family Safe Mode” To Help Parents Keep Teens Safe

The feature links a parent’s TikTok account to their teen’s and once enabled, parents will have access to screen time management and other aspects.

Why it matters: The feature, which will be available in the UK first and roll out to additional markets in the coming weeks, builds on the screen time management feature TikTok introduced in April 2019. Now with more control over how their teen uses TikTok, more parents might be inclined to let their kids join the platform.

The details: “Family Safety Mode” gives parents and guardians access to how long their teen can spend on TikTok each day, control over who sends their teen direct messages and the ability to restrict the appearance of inappropriate content. These features were previously available to all TikTok users, but now the app is giving parents the option to manage them.

Instagram Total Audience Surpasses Total Audience Size On Facebook

Socialbakers’ Social Media Trends Report for Q4 2019 found that for the first time, when it comes to the top 50 biggest brand profiles, Instagram has a larger audience than Facebook. The report also found that there was a relative decline in social engagement during the holiday season.

Why it matters: The data found that while the top 50 brands published more posts on Facebook, the engagement there didn’t reach the numbers that Instagram produced. A drop in engagement during the holidays suggests that brands should be more strategic about what content their audience wants to see and create quality content in smaller volumes to increase engagement. 

The details: In addition to Instagram’s total audience surpassing Facebook’s total audience size, the total interactions on Instagram were nearly 20 times larger than those of Facebook.

Holiday engagement was low for even the most successful industries, such as fashion on Instagram, which decreased by 19.4 percent. Similarly, the top industry on Facebook, ecommerce, decreased by 9.6 percent compared to Q3 2019. The services category, however, saw a 66.7 percent increase in engagement.

Additional insights from the report include: vertical videos perform better than horizontal videos across the board, women account for the majority of followers of brand pages on Instagram and Facebook and Facebook Feed remains the ad spend leader, accounting for 58.3 percent of total ad spend. 

In terms of influencer marketing, Walmart was the top Instagram brand profile in the world associated with influencers, with 854 mentions from 619 influencers in Q4 2019.

Snapchat Launches Swipe Up To Call Or Text Ad Format

Snapchat rolled out a new ad format called “Swipe Up to Call or Text,” which it says was built to help brands deliver leads, conversions and sales.

Why it matters: Snapchat’s goal is to give businesses more control over the user experience and streamline consumers’ decision and purchase journey, citing the example of prospective home buyers being able to immediately call their sales representative and consumers booking restaurant reservations and ordering food.

The details: The new feature lets users swipe up on an ad to directly call or text a business from their mobile phone as well as swipe up to different actions like visiting a website or downloading an app. To use the new feature, brands can create a campaign with “Instant Create” in ads manager on Snapchat and choose “call & texts” as their advertising goal.

Facebook CEO Calls For Regulation Of Big Tech

In an op-ed that originally ran in The Financial Times, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg championed a more democratic tech regulation process as part of Facebook’s efforts to push for new legislation and its support of existing US proposals to prevent election interference, like the Honest Ads Act and the Deter Act.

Why it matters: Zuckerberg’s call for more regulation of big tech companies arises amid this week’s kickoff of EU leaders’ debate about new rules governing data and artificial intelligence (AI). Since 2017, the European Commission has fined Google $8.9 billion in antitrust penalties and in December 2019, the Commission launched investigations into how Facebook and Google compile and use data for ad purposes.

The details: Zuckerberg wrote that big tech needs more oversight and accountability and more clear rules on portability while he pondered the role of regulators: “But who decides what counts as political advertising in a democracy? If a non-profit runs an ad about immigration during an election, is it political? Who should decide—private companies or governments?”

Facebook’s New White Paper Addresses Content Regulation Questions

Facebook released “Charting A Way Forward: Online Content Regulation” today.

Why it matters: From the words of Mark Zuckerberg himself: “It’s impossible to remove all harmful content from the Internet, but when people use dozens of different sharing services—all with their own policies and processes—we need a more standardized approach.” Poor design of regulatory mechanisms could mean less innovation and expression online, a trap to avoid when instituting new policies regarding content.

The details: Facebook’s white paper addresses the following topics: how to protect free expression while reducing harmful speech and the relationship between regulatory bodies, regulations and internet platforms. Additionally, the guidelines outline the stakeholders for such decisions.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, February 21. 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.

The Inner Circle Names Sanneke Boesveldt CMO

This week in marketing leadership moves, Domino’s UK sees the exit of CMO Emily Somers, Deschutes promotes Neal Stewart to VP of sales and the American Heart Association announces its new EVP of marketing and communications, Katrina McGhee. Stay tuned for more executive shifts as they happen.

Dating App The Inner Circle Names Chief Marketing Officer

Campaign Live reports that Sanneke Boesveldt is joining The Inner Circle, a membership-based dating platform.

Boesveldt began the lead position this month and was previously head of marketing for Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) at Vice. She also served as head of marketing for the same region, this time for Twitter, from 2015 to 2017.

Emily Somers Steps Down From CMO Role At Domino’s UK

Domino’s UK is losing its CMO, according to The Drum.

Emily Somers, who joined the Domino’s UK team from her previous role as VP of marketing and food development at McDonald’s UK, has stepped down from her role as chief marketer for the brand.

Domino’s UK will be announcing her replacement “in due course.”

Deschutes Brewery Names Neal Stewart VP Of Sales

Brewbound reports that Deschutes Brewery has promoted their VP of marketing to the position of VP of sales, effectively bridging the two departments.

Neal Stewart, who joined less than a year ago after serving as VP of marketing for Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, will take on new responsibilities in a dual-role capacity, a suggestion Stewart passed along to Deschutes founder Gary Fish and CEO Michael LaLonde.

Katrina McGhee Named EVP Of Marketing At American Heart Association

Best-selling author and marketing executive Katrina McGhee has been named executive vice president of marketing and communications at the American Heart Association. 

McGhee’s remit as EVP of marketing and communications includes “leading the Association’s renewed focus on enhancing brand relevancy” as the association’s new brand ambassador.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment is updated until Friday, February 21. Have a new hire tip? We’re looking for senior executive role changes in marketing and media. Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.com.

Job Vacancies 

VP Of Marketing OperationsCalifia FarmsLos Angeles, CA
Head Of Media, Digital Marketing And CommunityCalibraMenlo Park, CA
SVP, Integrated MarketingZillow GroupPasadena, CA
Head Of MarketingAspyr Media, Inc.  Austin, TX
Chief Marketing OfficerNPRWashington D.C.

Make sure to check out select job vacancies on our Careers page.

Supreme’s Red Oreos Are Going For $10,000 On eBay

Supreme created a red branded Oreo cookie of the double-stuffed variety in partnership with Mondelez International as part of its spring-summer 2020 collection, which launched today. A three-pack of cookies goes for $8 at New York City Supreme stores and will be available to buy online next week.

An image of the red cookie was leaked three days prior on a Supreme super-fan and reseller’s Twitter account, @TheSupremeSaint. The post received 67,000 likes and nearly 19,000 retweets. 

Yet before Supreme dropped the Oreo in the brand’s signature red, the cookie made its way to eBay. One package of the three “rare” cookies has a current bid of $10,000 with 51 bidders and 176 watchers.

Hype around the Supreme Oreo cookie started months ago on Reddit, a potential leak from a Nabisco plant worker. Users responded to the image in confusion, with one Redditor in disbelief saying, “This is wild if it’s real. Hype cookies, I never thought I’d see the day.”

Supreme celebrated 25 years last year and has a slew of brand collaborations under its belt. In 2017, it started a luxury-meets-streetwear revolution when it partnered with Louis Vuitton to launch luggage and apparel that replaced the designer’s signature brown for Supreme’s red.

In October 2019, Supreme released a North Face Statue of Liberty Baltoro jacket for its fall-winter 2019 collection, coinciding with the opening of its San Francisco store.

Shortly after, Supreme and Rimowa announced their second partnership in November 2019—aluminum suitcases wrapped in a broken glass motif and Supreme logo.

What started as a small skateboard shop with roots in Manhattan’s Lafayette Street in 1994 now boasts a $1 billion valuation after the Carlyle Group invested $500 million in Supreme last year. The brand operates 12 stores, six of which are located in Japan.

Marketers Continue To Shift Away From Traditional To Omnichannel

A majority of marketers (88 percent) have shifted away from traditional campaign activities to omnichannel strategies, according to the third installment of Merkle’s Customer Engagement Report. The report explores marketers’ data usage, barriers to personalization and marketers’ measurement capabilities.

Merkle’s research shows that personalization is growing, but there’s a need for growth toward real-time personalization. On where they have high visibility into their customer journeys, 84 percent of respondents cited digital channels such as website, social media and email; followed by 59 percent and 44 percent who have high visibility into customer journeys in offline channels and mass media, respectively. A quarter of respondents said their focus is on real-time personalization tactics whereas the remaining three quarters prioritize pre-defined personalization or somewhere in the middle.

The report also found that brands have a strong reliance on customer input as well as management technologies in their martech efforts. Eighty-two percent of respondents answered seven or higher when asked what degree of customer input they apply to product strategy and improvements. More respondents (58 percent) are investing in databases and management tech over campaign and decision management tools. 

When looking at overall implementation of personalization to date, 54 percent of US marketers have implemented personalization in five or more channels compared to 57 percent for UK marketers.

For greater personalization, Merkle suggests applying martech investments to operational activities such as identity, data and insights given that 29 percent of marketers have dedicated 21-25 percent of their budgets to identity solutions.

There’s room for growth when it comes to how brands are measuring the effectiveness of their marketing efforts as only 54 percent of respondents said they have clear definitions for each key performance indicator (KPI) across their business. Similarly, 23 percent of marketers have only a data management (DMP) platform or neither a DMP nor a customer data platform (CDP). 

One of the case studies highlighted in the report includes British daily newspaper The Times’ success in growing click-through rates by 200 percent via artificial intelligence-driven models applied to newsletters. 

Findings in this report are based on a survey conducted by a Merkle Company, Ugam, in November 2019 with 400 marketers at major US and UK brands across different verticals.

Burger King’s Moldy Whopper Campaign Spurs Reactions On Social Media

Burger King released a stomach-churning 45-second spot that shows the transformation of its Whopper over the course of 34 days go from picture-perfect and edible to extra moldy. The video is part of the fast food chain’s larger ad campaign and move to launch Whoppers made without artificial preservatives, which will be available at all Burger King locations in the US by the end of 2020. Currently, over 400 US Burger Kings and most European countries are selling Whoppers free of artificial preservatives.

“The beauty of real food is that it gets ugly,” Burger King wrote in its caption of the video. The decision to display its signature burger decaying resulted in mixed responses across social. One disappointed user questioned the food from Burger King she had previously been eating, “So this means that we have been eating artificial preservatives all this long…” while another more optimistic user wrote, “Oddly enough this could be considered as art.” While others questioned whether the video is a genius marketing ploy or just a bad idea.

A video spot that borders oddly satisfying and nauseating is in line with Burger King’s out-of-the-box marketing history. The tactic is on-brand, but it’s also just smart marketing. Studies show that emotions drive purchasing behaviors, and good marketing utilizes the concept that consumers must be engaged by an interaction with a brand. 

In his research on neuromarketing, author Martin Lindstrom found that consumers engage most with products and ads that utilize a sensory aspect. Burger King’s moldy whopper campaign might not induce the most enjoyable sensorial experience, but it definitely got a reaction out of people.

As consumers demand more transparency, an ad campaign highlighting the removal of artificial preservatives was expected of Burger King. In fact, for having been so inventive with its marketing thus far, the fast food giant is late to the real food game. 

In 2018, McDonald’s removed artificial additives from seven classic burgers and updated its Big Mac sauce. That same year, the Golden Arches introduced fresh beef for its Quarter Pounders across most US stores. The costly decision, which took over four years and cost its meat suppliers more than $60 million, resulted in McDonald’s selling 30 percent more burger during Q1 2019 versus the year prior and its regaining of market share for the first time in five years.

For Q4 2019, Burger King’s parent company reported net income of $257 million, down from $301 million a year earlier.

Planet Fitness With New CMO Jeremy Tucker

During this 195th episode of “Marketing Today,” I interview Jeremy “JT” Tucker, the new CMO of Planet Fitness. Tucker has worked for world-renowned brands such as Frito-Lay, PepsiCo, Disney and Nissan.  

We discuss JT’s background and his first few weeks at Planet Fitness, including his strategy for jumping headfirst into big changes at a new company. Jeremy shares what changes he made quickly after arriving, the actions he saw others taking in the fitness space, and what inspired the successful “Bull Fit” campaign.

Tucker also addresses the importance of approaching marketing from a human and emotive space. He remarks that as they collected research, “We really just wanted to understand the perceptions that kept people from actually coming into a club.” 

When describing the exhilaration of kicking off their ad campaign in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, he advises, “There are a lot of crowded big moments out there. It’s so hard to break through, but if you’re authentic, and it makes sense, you can nail it.” 

Tucker also reflects on the creative aspects of his work when he says, “Good ideas come from anywhere and everywhere.” Tucker’s optimism and leadership will inspire you to approach your work with curiosity and joy.

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”: 

  • JT’s background and how he ended up at Planet Fitness. (01:34) 
  • JT describes opportunities he had to work for brands where brand drives business decisions. (04:51) 
  • JT describes jumping into Planet Fitness during their busy season and the challenges of jumping in headfirst. (06:23)
  • Learn about the changes JT made very quickly upon joining Planet Fitness. (08:58) 
  • Why JT believes in the business and how he feels Planet Fitness can break down barriers to support regular Americans. (10:59) 
  • Learn about the research that went into the Bull Fit ad campaign. (12:13)  
  • Some of the best social content they’ve ever created was when they had kids scrub fitspo accounts on Instagram. (14:37)  
  • The importance of addressing marketing from a human and emotive place. (15:54) 
  • They discuss the eight and twelve-minute circuits at Planet Fitness for people who want quick workouts. (16:51)   
  • The rewards of marketing that attempts to change behavior in meaningful and purposeful ways. (19:27)  
  • JT tells us about the experience of kicking off their ad campaign on New Year’s in Times Square. (21:51) 
  • What’s coming next for JT in 2020? (23:51)  
  • Is there an experience in his past that defines who he is today? (26:15) 
  • What advice would JT give his younger self if he had to start all over? (28:02)  
  • Are there any brands, companies, or causes that JT follows that he thinks other people should take notice of? (30:15)
  • As a marketer, what does he feel the biggest opportunity or threat that is facing marketers? (32:45) 

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.

Making The Case For Native Advertising

Originally published at AW360 by Kathleen Petersen.

Article Takeaways

  • What a native ad is and why they cause confusion in the consumer journey.
  • Some examples of when you should use native advertising in your campaigns.
  • How to test, learn and improve the efficiency of your native advertising efforts.

Consumers see native ad units all the time. A native ad is paid content disguised as editorial content, called “native” because it appears to be a natural part of the page it’s on. So, you can be scrolling down your favorite news site and see what appears to be another story, but it has a “sponsored” note in the corner. Or underneath an article you’re reading, you may see small images with attention-grabbing titles encouraging you to click. Even ads we see in Facebook feeds are native.

These ads can spark interest and lead consumers down a rabbit hole of information, but they can also make consumers wary that they’re spam. And we can all agree there’s nothing worse than clickbait that brings you to a site you didn’t want to go to. So, what’s the case for native advertising?

With no clear place along the consumer journey, it’s the channel we love to hate (and hate to love). It’s also one that advertisers dove into before they knew what to use it for.

When native ads gained popularity, advertisers saw it as a great way to drive site visits. Native networks offered ease of execution with a low price point, boasting an ability to drive visitors to your site or provide specific written content about your products. In other words, it was finally another channel intended to drive clicks besides paid search, and at a low cost per contact to boot.

Drive clicks, yes. But drive last-click conversions? Not the case.

Native can be powerful if you’re using it for the right thing, but unfortunately, a last-click conversion is not one of those things. People clicking on native ads aren’t normally in the mindset of making a purchase–instead, they’re more likely looking for information on a particular topic. So even if your ad targeting is right on and you get in front of a user who would value your content, don’t expect them to stop what they’re doing and convert. Expecting this is like expecting someone who sees a banner ad to immediately click and purchase a product. It’s just not how the tool works.

But approached correctly, native has its place. Here are examples of when to use it:

Awareness, Education And Consideration

Native is great for achieving high-funnel goals related to awareness, education and consideration. Using content to inform people about a topic and subtly introduce a brand as either a thought leader or a solution is native’s true superpower. Because of this, it should be measured as a high-funnel tactic and not seen as a failure if it doesn’t drive last-click conversions.

And because it can be used to efficiently drive users to your website (again, to visit, not convert), it’s a great way to add new users to your retargeting pool. If an individual is interested enough to click to read your content, you’d be remiss not to message them again to increase consideration and be top of mind when they’re later looking to convert.

Test And Learn

Native is also a great way to test and learn. Flexibility with written copy and imagery allows you to learn not only which “reasons to believe” your audience find most compelling, but also which copy and image combinations spark the most interest. Findings from tests like this can then inform larger, more costly ad units.

To maximize success, be sure to take the following into account:

  • Have a variety of copy and images available for rotating and testing. Use these learnings to inform your other channels, and vice versa.
  • Ensure ads drive to rich content that informs, educates, or entertains; this content should not be geared toward driving a hard sale.
  • If you aren’t using your agency’s internal trading desk for placing media, make sure the partner you’re purchasing ad space through uses websites/placements/creative that align with your goals. Some partners are known for a spammy, widget, bottom-of-page placements, while others offer quality in-feed placements. It’s crucial to remember that not all native is a good native.
  • Use engagement metrics to measure performance and gauge success (for example, how much time users are spending immersed in your content?). Native is a channel that introduces and educates and should be measured as such.

At the end of the day, there are many benefits to running native ads–as long as the channel is planned and measured correctly. With the right implementation and management, native ads can introduce precisely targeted audiences to the benefits of your product or business, begin a relationship with new prospects, and offer a wealth of knowledge that can be used to optimize your overall media mix.

What We’re Reading–February 10th

We’ve searched for the most pressing marketing news so you don’t have to. Here’s what’s happening so far the week of February 10th.

5 Ways To Boost Customer Loyalty
Business Of Fashion

Customer retention demands that brands build customer loyalty, which in turn means that consumers feel that they have a relationship with the brand.

Why it matters: These helpful suggestions gear the reader toward building a loyal base of repeat-shoppers, with aspects from measuring loyalty to building programs around it and developing a sense of community covered. The time is right, now that “It’s harder than ever to hold onto customers, who can shop online with any brand at any time.”

Why Purpose Means Nothing If You Don’t Extend It To The People Who Run Your Business

If you’re outwardly positioning your brand as a force for good, you’d better walk the walk internally, too.

Why it matters: Brands whose values are more than mindless accrual are successful when the goal isn’t simply just touting brand-purpose, but rather, baking it into the operational structure of a business and extending purpose to employees. The results can be manifold, including the ability to attract better talent and retain it.

The Shelf Life Of Creative Is Getting Shorter For DTC Brands
Modern Retail

A muddled DTC market and the quest for fashionable freshness mean more differentiation in branding and design. And that means more creative assets generated.

Why it matters: Good design creates copycats. How are you differentiating your DTC brand design from others in its category?

Kraft Heinz To Boost Media Spending By 30% While Cutting Agencies
Marketing Dive

Kraft Heinz is boosting their media spending by 30 percent (see: Super Bowl commercials for Planters and Heinz ketchup) while “narrowing its number of creating agencies,” reports Marketing Dive.

Why it matters: Kraft Heinz’s latest moves could be a bellwether for the CPG industry at large. More popular Kraft Heinz brands, or those with marketing momentum, will see a boost from the media increase. Note also that creative agencies they are working with have dropped from 36 to 19 in an effort to improve efficiency.

How Marketers Can Improve Their Impact And Influence
Marketing Week

How can we elevate marketing’s reputation when it has been in a decades-long decline?

Why it matters: Marketing’s positive influence is on the chopping block and the CMO role is looked at with skepticism and criticism. It’s an existential crisis for the position, but all is not lost: it’s time to regain consumer (and C-suite) trust.

How Marketers Can Future-Proof The CMO Role
Forbes Council

CMOs should complement their marketing skills with technical and analytics chops due to the data deluge organizations are facing as technology advances.

Why it matters: The often-discussed evolution of duties associated with the CMO position necessitates that marketers have a grasp of data collection and analysis practices.

What Brandless’ Downfall Says About Brand Building In The Digital Era
Marketing Dive

Hard-earned lessons from the demise of DTC darling Brandless.

Why it matters: Legacy brands adopting DTC tactics should heed the recent failures of brands in that category.

Personalisation Must Focus On The Meaning Rather Than The Method

As marketers, simplification is a necessary heuristic. Seeing the patterns shouldn’t obscure the complete picture, though. Here’s a handy guide for keeping the human front-and-center of what you do.

Why it matters: On the other side of the work of marketing, beyond the morass of data and the diet of buzzwords and acronyms is ultimately a human interaction.

AdQuick Raises $6M To Conquer An Advertising Market Google And Facebook Won’t

OOH is having a moment and AdQuick is evidence of renewed investment in a space where brokers are needed.

Why it matters: OOH is picking up as brands spend offline due to Google and Facebook’s duopoly of dominance when it comes to online channels.

Global Brand, Local Market: 5 Ways To Put ‘Glocalization’ To Work
Chief Marketer

Chief Marketer shares five ways to help global brands succeed in diverse local markets.

Why it matters: Don’t let your brand get lost in translation when marketing internationally.

‘Everything We Do Is About DTC’: Inside L’Oreal’s Tech Hub

L’Oreal is investing in tech incubation to develop new ways for consumers to personalize products, moving the beauty brand toward a more direct relationship with consumers and giving them greater domain over user data.

Why it matters: “Traditionally, store retailers have held consumers’ data and shared it with manufacturers only on a need-to-know basis.” Data is powerful and L’Oreal has accounted for owning that power, not ceding it to retailers as has been the case in the past.

Tiffany’s Flagship Next Door Brings Iconic Brand To Luxurious Life

Tiffany’s is experimenting with installations and partnerships in their new test space, a vacant spot next door to Tiffany & Co. while the flagship store space undergoes a 2-year renovation.

Why it matters: “One of the great things about doing the temporary space is we can learn, trial and test—and build some of those learnings into the flagship store.”

With Sluggish DTC Growth, Under Armour Lowers 2020 Expectations
Modern Retail

With shipping delays and unsatisfactory 2020 first quarter earnings, it’s not looking too hot for Under Armour.

Why it matters: A major sore spot for the brand is its DTC strategy (not to mention shipping woes blamed on the spread of coronavirus) which has yielded less growth than expected.

Does The Rest Of The C-Suite Have Confidence In Marketing?
Marketing Week

Deloitte finds that there’s a lack of communication and trust between CMOs and the rest of the C-suite.

Why it matters: Who “owns” the digital transformation conversation? Who is responsible for customer experience? Deloitte’s survey results may give you pause when questioning whether your colleagues in the C-suite have a good understanding of where you fit on the team and what you are responsible for as chief marketing officer.

The Rise Of Experiential Marketing: Beyond A Buzzword
Marketing Profs

The ins and outs of experiential marketing: what it is and why it works.

Why it matters: Experiential marketing is an effective tool if used properly. Get a ground-floor explanation of the concept and how it’s being used by brand marketers to move the needle today.

‘A System That Is Out Of Alignment’: Online Ad Industry Faces Its Identity Crisis At IAB’s Annual Meeting

Audience-based advertising is in crisis and contextual advertising may not be enough to fill attribution gaps. Where do we go from here?

Why it matters: “How long have we seen the regulation freight train coming? Twelve years? Now it’s here, and all behavior has to change.”

Why Catalogs Are Making A Comeback

What’s old is new (or at least effective) again.

Retail campaigns with catalogs outperform those that only rely on email due to a number of factors including cluttered, competitive inboxes and the vividness of a product’s potential use-cases within the glossy pages of a real-to-life catalog.

Why it matters: “Based on our research, we recommend that e-retailers that sell products that people purchase for fun, pleasure, and excitement to consider investing in aesthetic designs and experimenting with the catalog mailings.”

A Call To CMOs To Be Responsible

Lisa Macpherson’s research is centered around technology’s divisive impact and the force of the advertising business model on empathy and connection.

Why it matters: It’s important to examine the industry we inhabit, especially given the strong connection between society and digital technology.

Why Cadillac’s CMO Has Literally Rewritten Its Brand Manifesto
The Drum

A look behind the work that Cadillac’s CMO is doing to widen the brand’s target audience with a new manifesto.

Why it matters
: Cadillac’s reimagined manifesto laid the groundwork for its 2021 “Make Your Way” campaign.

The New Rules For Going Direct-to-Consumer
Business of Fashion

BoF shares an analysis of four DTC brand launches.

Why it matters: While what DTC is exactly has been a topic for debate, this much is true: Direct-to-consumer marketing has altered retail and is being changed itself. Learn from four brands launching into a world where the model has “lost some of its lustre.”

Amazon Maintains Convincing Lead In US Smart Speaker Market

Around 70 percent of total US smart speaker users are expected to use an Amazon Echo device, according to the latest estimates from eMarketer.

Why it matters: eMarketer’s principal analyst, Victoria Petrock, notes that despite market expectations for Google and Apple, Amazon’s Echo device remains dominant in the US through continuous Alexa feature updates and affordability.

10 Steps To Creating A Data-Driven Culture
Harvard Business Review

The biggest hurdles to dealing with data on a foundational level are cultural, not technical.

Why it matters: Companies may have mountains of data, but that matters little if they don’t have the culture to use it effectively.

What’s Next In Marketing: Rise Of The Experiences

“Integrated, experiential marketing is the next era. Let the rise of the experiences begin.”

Why it matters: HBR’s projection about what’s next in marketing takes stock of the evolution of thinking in the industry from “billboard philosophy,” to accounting for digital technology and finally, to focusing on experiences.

After 127 Years, Abercrombie & Fitch Tries New Marketing Approach: Body Positivity

Abercrombie & Fitch is changing its image by taking a divergent approach in their new fragrance campaign: body positivity.

Why it matters: Abercrombie & Fitch, as far as their branding has been concerned heretofore, have not been historically accepting of less-than-sculpted body types. But that doesn’t mean the 127-year-old brand can’t evolve with the changing times.

Sympathy For The CMO

Hear from other CMOs about their top concerns as well as advice on tackling these challenges.

Why it matters: You’re not alone out there. It’s imperative to put an ear to the ground and take note from industry peers to avoid reinventing the wheel.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly reading list is updated daily. This installment is updated until Friday, February 14. Have a tip? We’re looking for must-read articles related to trends and insights in marketing and media. Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.com.

Facebook Launches Pinterest-Like App Hobbi; Instagram Updates Ad Rules

Facebook launched a new Pinterest-like app named Hobbi this week, presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg’s campaign taps into memelords which motivated Instagram to change its advertising rules and more.

Facebook’s NPE Team Launches Hobbi App

Social Media Today reports that the latest app from the NPE, or the New Product Experimentation team at Facebook will allow users to collect images of hobbies and interests while sorting them into boards.

Why it matters: If Facebook puts resources behind launching Hobbi and expanding it, it could be a challenger to Pinterest. TechCrunch notes, however, that the current iteration is fairly niche and lacks a social sharing component.

The details: Facebook’s latest apps from its product incubator capitalize on rising trends with a “relatively unique angle,” as reported by Social Media Today.

Michael Bloomberg’s Campaign Paid Meme Creators For Internet Relevance So Instagram Is Adjusting Its Political Ad Rules

Bloomberg’s meme campaign, conducted with Fyre-festival marketing alums FuckJerry, led to some ambiguity about whether the 2020 candidate was really sponsoring memes.

Why it matters: Firstly, the importance of this news comes down to a distinction between what Instagram sees as branded content and advertising. 

From TechCrunch’s reporting: The difference is due to the fact that with branded content, “Facebook doesn’t receive any payment and it can’t be targeted. If marketers or political campaigns pay to boost the reach of sponsored content, it’s then subject to Instagram’s ad policies and goes in its Ad Library for seven years.”

Contextually, this change also matters since it comes two days after the FTC voted to review influencer marketing guidelines.

The details: According to TechCrunch, Instagram is “now asking all sponsorships, including the Bloomberg memes retroactively, to be disclosed with a label using [the Branded Content] tool. That would add a ‘Paid Partnership with Bloomberg 2020’ warning to posts and Stories that the campaign paid meme pages and other influencers to post. This rule change is starting in the US today.”

FTC To Determine Whether To Penalize Undisclosed Paid Influencer Posts

The Federal Trade Commission voted 5-0 to approve a Federal Register notice that seeks public comment on whether to revise its Endorsement Guides for advertising. 

Why it matters: The current Endorsement Guides require that social media marketing posts created between an endorser and a seller must be clearly labeled as “ad,” “sponsored content” or “paid partnership.” Weak enforcement, however, has led to gray areas around which influencer posts are organic or sponsored. Making businesses liable for civil penalties and for damages could help reduce incentivized and fake reviews.

The details: Commissioner Rohit Chopra’s statement says, “But when companies launder advertising by paying someone for a seemingly authentic endorsement or review, this is illegal payola. If these companies are also pressuring influencers to post in ways that disguise that their review or endorsement is paid advertising, those advertisers especially need to be held accountable.” Chopra suggests the FTC focus its efforts on larger platforms like Instagram and YouTube and on advertisers that earn huge profits from undisclosed influencer marketing.

YouTube Tests Donation Feature That Applies To Creators’ Videos, Not Just Live Streams

In an attempt to expand monetization opportunities for creators, YouTube is testing a feature called “viewer applause,” which lets users buy a clapping animation that appears over the creator’s video they’re choosing to support.  

Why it matters: Twitch streamers earn a lot of their revenue from donations, and it seems YouTube is borrowing what works for the gaming platform to benefit its own creators.

The details: Viewer applause is in beta testing for now, but Google notes it’s not a one-time function—users can spend $2 on a clap, $500 per day or $2,000 per week on super chats, super stickers and viewer applause combined. YouTube will take 30 percent of donations made through viewer applause, just as it does with super chat. The applause feature will apply to creators’ videos, not just live streams.

Snapchat Tests Another New User-Friendly Redesign

Snapchat’s major new redesign would separate the app from three to five sections and include a black navigation bar at the foot of the screen.

Why it matters: Snapchat’s previous major redesign wasn’t a hit and made many users ditch the app. Another more user-friendly design could be Snapchat’s way of appealing to a broader audience, which would be its ticket to maximizing revenue potential. 

The details: The redesign would give each of Snapchat’s sections more dedicated space and make it easier for new users to navigate the app. An unfriendly user design, some suggested, was one way for Snapchat to keep older users out of the app to maintain its hold with Gen Z. But in order to grow past 218 million daily active users (DAU), it’ll have to keep old and new users alike happy.

WhatsApp Reports 2 Billion Users

Up from 1.5 billion users two years ago, WhatsApp is now the second app from Facebook to reach the two-billion-users mark.

Why it matters: Though WhatsApp has yet to make a substantial contribution to Facebook’s bottom line. Still, its growth is impressive given it gained popularity without any marketing in developing countries like India.

The details: Despite, and perhaps because of, being ad-free and free for users, WhatsApp has become the most popular messaging app just after Facebook, which has 2.5 billion users.

YouTube Reveals Most-Viewed Super Bowl Ads

The Google-owned platform rounded up the top five overall and most-viewed big game ads on its AdBlitz channel.

Why it matters: Amazon’s Alexa-focused spot starring Ellen Degeneres was the only brand to exceed 60 million views. The popularity of the video reflects the rising usage of voice-controlled smart speaker shopping.

The details: Amazon’s “What did we do before Alexa” spot earned the top spot, followed by Jeep’s Groundhog Day spot featuring Bill Murray, Hyundai’s spot highlighting the Sonata’s newest features, Genesis’ GV80 ad featuring John Legend and Chrissy Teigen and T-Mobile’s ad showing Anthony Anderson test the network’s 5G capabilities.

Facebook Launches Fact-Checking Initiative With Reuters

Reuters aims to identify misinformation on social media together with Facebook’s third party fact-checking program.

Why it matters: Facebook has been slow to direct deep-fake content to fact-checkers. Though the platform has said it’s preventing the spread of misinformation by using downranking, the process doesn’t account for the views it receives before fact-checkers are able to moderate it. 

The details: According to the announcement, Reuters will “now assess the authenticity of user-generated photos, videos, headlines and other content on social media.” The initiative will be in effect ahead of the US election and beyond, verifying for Facebook’s US audience in English and Spanish and publishing findings on a specially created blog. Reuters recently partnered with Facebook’s journalism project to create an online course that helps newsrooms worldwide identify and reject deep-fake content, available in four languages including English, French, Spanish and Arabic.

Snapchat Launches Mental Health Resources Feature “Here For You

In honor of Safer Internet Day, Snapchat is launching a new feature that will give proactive in-app support to users experiencing a mental health or emotional crisis. 

Why it matters: Given Gen Z accounts for most of Snapchat’s user base, a resource that informs users on anxiety, suicide and depression could be helpful in keeping the app a safe place.

The details: The feature, launching in the coming months, will include links to expert-led resources on mental health wellness for users experiencing mental and emotional crises and anyone curious about learning more about these issues. Snapchat said it will also launch creative tools and lenses that promote safety and privacy including new filters and its first-ever “Snappable” quiz.

Instagram Reportedly Developing Monetization Tools For IGTV

Reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong found that Instagram is testing a monetization program for IGTV influencers.

Why it matters: The lack of a monetization program is one of the main reasons creators have been reluctant to create IGTV content. Once in place, the program could inspire influencers on YouTube and Facebook to shift their content creation efforts to IGTV.

The details: With the program, Instagram says “You can earn money by running short ads on your IGTV videos. When you monetize on IGTV, you agree to follow the Partner Program Monetization Policies.” 

Instagram Rolls Out New Feature Showing Interaction Level With Who You Follow

According to a tweet from Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri, as of today, you can see which Instagram accounts show up in your feed the most and who you interact with the least.

Why it matters: Improving the user experience in this way could lead to a boost in ad views for Instagram, because fewer posts that don’t resonate with a user means they spend more time scrolling, which results in more ad impressions.

The details: Instagram added two new categories to the “Following” section of users’ profiles. There you can manage a list that shows who you least interacted with and a list that shows which accounts have shown up the most in your feed. A spokesperson told TechCrunch, “. . .we want to make it easier to manage the accounts you follow on Instagram so that they best represent your current connections and interests.”

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, February 14. 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.