Nike, Adidas Saw Biggest Boost From Influencers In 2019

Originally published on ION.

(Editor’s note: AList is published by To get up to speed on the rapid changes affecting the influencer marketing landscape, click here.)

Nike and Adidas are leaders of influencer marketing as both brands received over 300,000 mentions from US influencers in 2019. This is according to a new report from Traackr, “2020 State of Influence: Fashion,” which examines top-performing influencer strategies in the fashion vertical including luxury, contemporary, fast fashion and activewear categories. 

Traackr ranked brands by their overall Brand Vitality Score (VIT), a measurement of reach, engagement and brand affinity. A balanced distribution of VIT indicates a brand leverages a mix of influencers with different follower size.

In this report, Traackr defines six types of influencers: VIP influencers who have over 5 million followers, top influencers who have over 1 million followers, macro-influencers who have over 500,000 followers, mid-influencers who have over 50,000 followers, micro-influencers who have over 10,000 followers and nano-influencers who have over 1,000 followers.

Nike and Adidas top the VIT ranking in the US, UK and France. Nike received 221,739 mentions in the US, 44,497 in the UK and 13,069 in France while Adidas received 100,227 mentions in the US, 28,356 mentions in the UK and about 8,000 in France. In the US, Louis Vuitton earned the third spot. In the UK, ASOS landed the top spot. In France, Zara came in second, followed by H&M, ASOS and Adidas.

Nike’s use of influencers across tiers attributed to its high ranking in 2019. Though Nike and Adidas outpaced other brands in terms of influencer mentions, Under Armour in the US and UK outperformed both brands in terms of influencer loyalty, or repeat posts and content performance, posts on an individual mention basis. Coming in third and fourth on the loyalty list are Puma and Reebok, respectively.

ASOS’s success in the UK is due to its activation of top-tier influencers, from which the brand has amassed 10 percent more VIT than the average for the UK and fast fashion.

The data shows that micro and mid-tier influencers in the US dominate while micro-influencers lead the way in the UK and France. Nano-influencers in the US and UK saw the highest engagement across categories. 

Influencers in the US and UK post more about fast fashion and activewear while those in France mention fast fashion and luxury more. VIP influencers in the US contribute over 50 percent of contemporary and luxury brands’ total VIT and 35 percent of activewear brands’ VIT value. In addition to mega-influencers (up to 5 million followers), mid-tier and macro-influencers drive the most VIT value for activewear brands. In the US and the UK, most of the VIT for fast fashion brands comes from mid-tier, macro- and top-tier influencers. In the UK and France, across all tiers there’s an equal distribution of VIT in the luxury category. 

These findings suggest that activewear, fast fashion and luxury brands saw the most success in 2019, while contemporary brands—those with clothing priced below luxury but above fast fashion—are struggling due to lack of a balanced activation of paid and earned influencer content across tiers. 

Still, contemporary brands like & Other Stories and The Kooples have been chugging along thanks to their repeated use of mid-influencers.

Another interesting thing to note is that influencer mentions of sustainable fashion increased by 55 percent from 2018-2019 and mentions of secondhand fashion increased 137 percent. Engagement among these topics also grew—engagement rates on sustainable fashion and secondhand fashion posts increased 150 percent and 106 percent, respectively.

Findings are based on 2,032,000 posts from 111,110 influencers across 123 fashion brands in the US, UK and France between January-November 2019.

Report: How The Web Reacted To Coronavirus Coverage

Interactions to over 1.5 million articles about coronavirus reached 500 million in just a week during February, according to a new report from NewsWhip, “Coverage of the Coronavirus on Web and Social.” The report tracks the spread of coronavirus coverage online, which publishers have driven conversation around the issue and how brands are keeping an open line of communication with their customers.

In early January, the first English media mention of the virus came from a disease tracking website called FluTrackers, capturing the attention of other publishers. During that week, fourteen articles on the topic were published, with around 1,500 engagements. 

Coverage picked up in the mainstream press, including The New York Times and NBC, in the second week of January, resulting in 90,000 engagements on around 1,300 articles.

Engagement reached a tipping point in week three of January when 3,500 articles were published, with engagements per article increasing from 70 to 350, resulting in over a million engagements that week. Accounting for over half of the 1.2 million engagements was a story from BBC News confirming cases had tripled through infection. The story received 767,000 engagements.

Interaction to coronavirus web coverage increased from 36,701,100 engagements in the fourth week of January to 58,519,451 engagements in the fifth week.

Brands have prioritized communication with their customers during the pandemic, with many brands like Google and Walmart quickly releasing statements on their preparation and response for coronavirus while others announced updates to their policy to allow paid employee sick leave. 

The most engaged articles about coronavirus from brands include one from Microsoft (119, 512 engagements) about protecting its employees’ health and income of hourly workers, one from Walmart’s corporate site on how it’s responding to the virus (22,023 engagements) and one from Johnson & Johnson on what consumers need to know about the virus (14,060 engagements).

The most engaged websites for coronavirus content include NBC and its local affiliates (over 41 million engagements) and CNN (20 million engagements).

Engagements to political stories about the virus ranged from 767,000 to 2.1 million.

Highly engaged stories about the science of coronavirus included those from The Washington Post and Vox, focusing on the scientific basis of social distancing to decrease the rate at which people get infected and the importance of washing hands. The Post’s story about flattening the coronavirus curve received 4.3 million engagements and Vox’s article about canceled events and self-quarantine’s ability to save lives received 2.5 million.

Articles explaining why canceled events are crucial in helping prevent the spread of infection were some of the most engaged stories written, including Vox’s mentioned above, one from Bloomberg about the coronavirus conference cancellation (1.9 million engagements) and one from ESPN on the NBA suspending its season (1.5 million engagements).

Restoring The Soul Of Business With Rishad Tobaccowala

During this 199th episode of “Marketing Today,” I interview Rishad Tobaccowala, author of the new book, Restoring the Soul of Business: Staying Human in the Age of Data.

We discuss Tobaccowala’s long career at Publicis Groupe. Then Tobaccowala tells us why he wrote “Restoring the Soul of Business” and what it means to be human in light of all the technology and data that’s flying around us as well as the impact storytelling still has.

Tobaccowala shares why he thinks businesses fail when they focus too much on numbers on data. 

“I believe that it is extremely important that any company, individual, or team, realizes that success is combining what I call the story and the spreadsheet,” says Tobaccowala who emphasizes that the human element is still very important to business as he reflects, “If a company allows growth, purpose, and connections, it begins to attract talent.” 

When sharing some of the top lessons he learned during his successful career, he advises that we should, “Never underestimate how much of your success is due to things you do not control.”

Tobaccowala’s thoughts on the leadership marketers need today can help us think about how we can regain support from our boards as we show them the enduring value of connection and creativity.

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • Rishad describes himself as a resource who combines a long history in the company, a global perspective and someone who speaks truth to power. (01:30)
  • Rishad shares why he had such a long career at Publicis Groupe. (02:51)
  • The mentors that stood out in Rishad’s career. (05:47)
  • Why Rishad wrote Restoring the Soul of Business. (08:21)
  • Rishad has always believed that human relationships were important to business.  (18:46)
  • Learn where Publicis is in the development of its AI platform, Marcel. (26:39)
  • How can executives in the marketing and creative industry restore the soul of their company? (32:20) 
  • What are the top challenges Rishad is hearing from brand and company leaders in 2020? (37:09)
  • Is there an experience in his past that defines who he is today? (42:14)
  • Rishad describes the impact of the women in his life. (44:43)
  • What is the advice Rishad would give to his younger self? (47:55)
  • Are there any brands, companies, or causes that Rishad follows that he thinks other people should take notice of? (50:49)

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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.

Five Critical Things Successful Brands Did To Survive The Retail Apocalypse

Originally published at AW360 by Hadar Paz.

Macy’s has just announced 140 company closures, and 2,000 staff layoffs through 2023. In January alone, Opening Ceremony, Express, Papyrus and JCPenney all announced they will be closing down over 300 retail locations in 2020. In 2019, a record-breaking 9,300 brick and mortar stores were shut down–a 59 percent increase over 2018–and retail layoffs were up 92 percent last month.

There’s less foot traffic in shopping malls primarily due to eCommerce, which is a major driving force behind the massive sea change that’s happening in the apparel industry. In fact, The Washington Post reported that the average US household spent $5200 online in 2018–a 50 percent increase from just five years back.

Some brands are panicking, and as a result, budgets are shrinking, and unfortunately being slashed invaluable categories like CX.

But staying competitive–and even surviving this retail apocalypse–requires a completely new mindset, involving a holistic understanding of customers and their wants and needs when they shop. Select brands that have avoided this fate by doubling down on certain elements of eCommerce: Target and Zumiez, for example, reformatted stores into localized distribution centers, which cut down waiting periods for online orders. Glossier and Carvana integrated their digital and in-store experiences and created more experiential events. The thread here is that they’re doubling down on their eCommerce strategy, and completely enhancing the customer experience, online and off.

What’s the chillingly-named business apocalypse teaching us? It’s that this is the time for brands to restrategize and create a massive shift in how they did business before–and how they will in 2020.

Here are some of the brilliant things brands that are thriving in the face of the 2020 Retail Apocalypse did–and didn’t do.

1. They Integrated Digital with Brick & Mortar

There’s certainly no need to panic. Brick and mortar stores are not going away any time soon–they’re just being reimagined. Many digital companies actually opened brick-and-mortar spots for customers to pick up orders or try before buying. Other traditional brands like Target reduced physical space and encouraged customers to buy online and “ship to store.” In fact, small-format-stores saw a 5 percent year over year increase in sales.

2. They Gave Their Online Customers White Glove Service

There’s not a more inefficient experience in the world than when you email a customer support team about a potential purchase–and get a response 24 hours later; or when the online representative that’s talking to you through the talk bubble can’t help you with a simple question or has no idea that you’re a longtime shopper of the brand. These are the recipes for a shopping cart disaster. Instead, brands that are winning are providing customers with convenience, a smooth shopping journey, and incredible service with a personal touch. These brands put you in touch with someone who knows you’re a valued customer and is aware of your preferences. This is the “white glove” service many are used to when shopping at luxury brick and mortar brands, except transferred online.

3. They Stuck to Products Their Customers Wanted

Successful brands got laser-focused on their digital presence and on what products were most desired by their customers. Despite closing over 100 Macy’s stores, the company sees success with its Bluemercury subsidiary. Customers can visit one of their 171 standalone storefronts to try products, get recommendations, and utilize spa services; or shop online for items they love. In fact, Macy’s pivot may be the right move–they’re maximizing the use of their best real estate and focusing on their boutique, luxury elements that have proven successful.

Brands that did not survive expanded into a variety of departments and a hodgepodge of new products with little research to find out if customers actually wanted these. Or it was business as usual, paying no attention to the changes going on in the industry or world around them.

4. They Doubled Down Budgets on Digital Channels

Brands that didn’t survive cut corners on digital budgets, while those that won invested correctly in eCommerce, on the best online retail tools, and committed to providing the same level of “white glove” service on their websites as inside their stores–particularly luxury brands like Gucci and Valentino. Truly, eCommerce overhead is significantly lower than brick-and-mortar and if properly executed could skyrocket your sales figures. Brands that opted for budget solutions pay the price later on as they struggle to keep up with competitors who did it right in the first place. Invest in only the best online retail solutions from the get-go to save valuable time and resources further down the line. eCommerce isn’t going anywhere.

5. They Avoided Mass Layoffs Through Smart Retraining

Successful brands retrained in-store staff for their online customer service team, given these teams tend to be well-educated on product information and in creating a personal customer connection. These people are your biggest brand ambassadors and simply pivoting the way that they work allows them to provide the best service online as they would in your store. This unified offline and online agent team reduces training time and lets the brick-and-mortar sales team transition easily into online sales, reducing the need for mass layoffs.

With the “death of the high street” keeping many brands up at night, it’s important to forge ahead armed with tools to do everything in your power to give the online shopper the in-store experience of their dreams. It can be done, because it’s already being done, by brands that are braving the apocalypse and opting instead to consider it an opportunity–a retail revolution.

Social Media Consumption Grows Amid Coronavirus

Coupled with coronavirus induced self-quarantines, nationwide closures of bars, restaurants and public venues have inevitably led to an uptick in social media consumption, particularly on Instagram and TikTok. Tracking user behavior, examined 260 of its own campaigns including over 7.5 million Instagram posts and saw a 76 percent increase in daily accumulated likes on #ad posts over the last two weeks. Q1 Instagram campaign impressions also increased 22 percent over Q4.

The company also analyzed data from 2,152 TikTok influencers and saw engagement jump by over 27 percent on average from February to March.

eMarketer predicts the pandemic is also likely to boost digital media consumption across the board including over-the-top video and online gaming, with the biggest growth in usage and time spent going to subscription based video on demand (SVOD). 

Pew Research Center found that over half (55 percent) of US adults got news from social media often or sometimes in 2019, up from 47 percent in 2018. As anxiety over the coronavirus pandemic grows, many will turn to social media not only to consume news updates, but also to connect with friends and family.

With the US in its first week of widespread school closures and the White House calling for millions of people to home-school their children wherever possible, social media apps favored by Gen Z and millennial such as TikTok, YouTube and Instagram will continue to see increased user behavior. As a result of the suspended NBA season, many professional players are also filling their time by creating TikTok content.

In response to deep fake videos and misinformation about coronavirus, YouTube said it would demonetize creators’ videos that mentioned coronavirus as part of its “sensitive events” policy. However, the platform made a U-turn when YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki tweeted recently that, “To better support the sharing of information we’re enabling ads for content on the virus for a limited number of channels, expanding to more soon.” 

Perhaps the platform had a change of heart because many employees are already working under telecommuting policies and people across generations are practicing social distancing—a winning combination for more screen time and social media scrolling, which could benefit YouTube’s views.YouTube said in a blog post that it’s taking new measures to remove videos that discourage people from seeking medical treatment or claim harmful substances have health benefits. It says automated systems will help with some of the content removal process normally done by human reviewers.

4A’s Provides Guidance Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Amid major event cancellations and a 14-day nationwide closure of restaurants in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) said in a community post it will postpone its media conference, Decisions 20/20, to early 2021 and the Management Practitioners Forum to this fall. 

The organization also implemented new staff policies including a travel ban on domestic and international flights, mandatory work-from-home procedure for all its employees until further notice and a case-by-case approach to in-person events and training. Still, the 4A’s notes that agencies, “must make the best decisions for their employees and businesses.”

In the same post, the 4A’s shared a list of resources to inform business decisions during this time. This includes a survey conducted in partnership with 4A’s Research and Suzy on March 9 including 1,000 global consumers on their workplaces’ responses to coronavirus. Most (75 percent) of the respondents said their workplaces have communicated to them about coronavirus and the top three procedures employers are implementing include hand washing instructions/encouragement, increased cleaning and distribution of hand sanitizer. Thirty percent of respondents who work in urban areas said their employers have issued a mandatory work-from-home policy and 25 percent say it’s optional or at a manager’s discretion.

4A’s also linked to the PandemicEX Survey recently conducted by Forrester, which revealed that 53 percent of US working adults are afraid of the spread of coronavirus and 29 percent are afraid to go to work due to the risk of exposure. Additionally, nearly half of respondents think the coronavirus will disrupt their work life.

Another helpful resource shared by 4A’s: An MIT Sloan Management Review study that found quarantined Chinese areas saw a dip in manufacturing, evidenced by the decrease in nitrogen dioxide emissions. For example, in Hubei Province, emissions fell by 53 percent and in areas around Wuhan City, emissions fell by as much as 85 percent. MIT Sloan Management Review estimates this will equate to a loss of up to $215.6 billion to Chinese manufacturing from January 24-February 21 2020.

Using China’s response to the pandemic, MIT Sloan Management Review provides steps managers can take to mitigate the impact of coronavirus. These include allowing employees to telecommute, training your leaders, identifying employees who are most crucial to maintaining business continuity and developing a disaster scenario in the event of an emergency quarantine. 

Lastly, the 4A’s shared Q&A-style sample agency communications messaging for others to use, courtesy of two 4A’s members.

Robots In Training; Virtual Car Tours Become Routine

This week we’ve got some stories focusing on virtual reality. From bathroom cleaning robots to virtual car tours, VR is changing how jobs work and how consumers get “hands on” with physical products from anywhere. 

Bathroom Cleaning Robots Programmed Through VR

What’s Happening: Somatic utilizes VR to “train” robots to handle the dirty work of cleaning bathrooms. The team involved uses virtual reality in simulations to show the robot how and where to clean in the bathrooms. The robots are then free to clean and refill/recharge and repeat.

Why it Matters: This shows a way that VR is starting to apply in day-to-day uses. Beyond using VR for training people, it can also train robots.

Virtual Car Tours

What’s Happening: Porsche announces VR tours of the Taycan before the cars have reached those dealerships. This virtual reality experience lets would-be buyers explore the car, interior and exterior, view it in different colors, and additional visual information. This isn’t the first VR car tour we’ve seen, but it looks like Porsche is aiming to make this a part of their ongoing efforts in the future.

Why it Matters: We’ve talked about VR travel before, but this is a new way to bring the digital product to people when there’s no physical product available, and this opens a whole slew of doors. 

As the virtual reality install-base increases, consider thinking about how we can use this newish medium to bring our product to our audience. How can you convert the physical experience to a digital one that accurately represents your product?

What We’re Reading–March 9th

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 March 9.

How Are Businesses Preparing For A Post-Coronavirus World?
The Drum

Businesses are planning for a post-Coronavirus world as we’re right in the midst of a pandemic. Here’s what they anticipate after the virus subsides.

Why it matters: “Businesses in the US and Europe should consider long-term industry trends that will continue even after the travel rebound dies down and begin adjusting their focuses accordingly.”

How To Survive A Brand Quarantine During Coronavirus

Cancel those scheduled posts.

Why it matters: How agencies and brands deal with the Coronavirus crisis will speak volumes about the class of marketers they employ.

Coronavirus Stopped All Sports. Will it Crush Sports Marketing This Year?

A look at what happens to sports contracts and sponsorships should Coronavirus’ impact extend into the second half of the year.

Why it matters: “Some brands will hopefully see their sponsorship partnerships as more of a two-way street, and find ways to stick with athletes and leagues instead of hitting pause.”

Half Of Gen Z, Millennials ‘Don’t Know How They’d Get Through Life’ Without Video
Marketing Dive

“Video consumption is especially important to Generation Z and millennials, with half of respondents in the demographic groups agreeing with the statement that they “don’t know how they’d get through life” without video.”

Why it matters
: New research from Google suggests that “mobile marketers need to create branded content for YouTube that provides helpful information for target audiences or to collaborate with influencers who have gained a following by sharing their expertise about a topic.”

The BoF Podcast: Retail Futurist Doug Stephens On How Coronavirus Will Shift Consumer Behaviour
Business of Fashion

Doug Stephens and Imran Amed discuss the principles fashion brands need to adopt to survive the effects of Coronavirus on the industry and what to expect on the horizon.

Why it matters
: While Stephens and Amed forecast a consumption spike post-Coronavirus, Stephens also notes that marketers should, “use this time to reinvent how you do what you do, bring consumers new alternatives, new value and in the process even reinvent your own brand.”

KFC Pauses Finger Lickin’ Ads Amid Coronavirus Panic And 150 Complaints
The Drum

KFC would rather not highlight the urge to lick your fingers in the midst of a global viral pandemic.

Why it matters: Sensitivities around normal social behaviors are obviously a bit heightened right now, leading some brands to pull back on relatively innocuous messages.

Cannes Lions Unveils Contingency Planning In Case It Needs to Postpone

Unlike other organizations that are out-and-out canceling their planned events, Cannes Lions is banking on a contingency plan.

Why it matters: Your Cannes Lions plans now have a contingency should Coronavirus interfere substantially with the event’s regularly scheduled programming.

Only 6% Of The Ad Industry Is Happy With The Digital Advertising Ecosystem
Ad News

“More than 100 brand marketers, agencies and digital publishers were surveyed, with 6 percent saying they’re satisfied with the current digital advertising ecosystem.”

Why it matters: “Digital advertising is still suffering from the same issues of transparency, fraud and fragmentation,” comments Christiana Cacciapuoti, executive director at AdLedger.

What Does The Symmetry Of Your Logo Say About Your Brand?
Harvard Business Review

A look at how symmetry in logo design impacts overall brand messaging.

Why it matters: Your logo is front and center. It’s often the first impression potential consumers have and should be emblematic. What does your logo, symmetrical or otherwise, say about your brand?

Five Barriers To Delivering A Truly Customer-Centric Marketing Strategy
The Drum

“Having consulted with hundreds of marketers, we’ve identified the key pain points in realising a truly data-led, customer-centric marketing strategy.”

Why it matters: These barriers, including siloed teams and poor in-store experiences, demand breakthroughs for truly customer-centric marketing strategies to have a chance.

Snap Is The World’s Most Innovative Company Of 2020
Fast Company

A look inside Snap, Fast Company’s most innovative company of 2020, with CEO Evan Spiegel.

Why it matters: Get an inside look at Spiegel’s day-to-day, including insight into the challenges Snap has faced and how the CEO has confronted them.

‘Downright Frozen’: DTC Funding Environment Tightens In The Age Of Coronavirus
Modern Retail

How the outbreak of COVID-19 is having a dampening effect on VC funding for DTC companies.

Why it matters: An economic downturn, coupled with the existing challenges for new DTC brands, has had a freezing effect on funding. Take an in-depth look at how the category is being affected.

CFOs: The Marketer’s Key To The C-Suite
Chief Marketer

New research from Deloitte upends previous thinking about the trust between CMOs and CEOs.

Why it matters: Previous research framed the role of the CMO as having a deficit of trust from the CEO, however, this new research shows that “CEOs are the C-suite members who rate the performances of their CMOs most highly—even higher than the CMOs themselves.”

ANA: Advertisers Extend Time To Pay Agencies For Marketing Services
Marketing Dive

“Advertisers have tried to improve their cash flow by taking more time than they did in the past decade to pay for marketing services.”

Why it matters: “The ANA’s study found various reasons for advertising agencies, research firms and production houses to set their payment terms based on the service they provide and the competitive landscape.”

As Events Get Canceled Or Delayed, Experiential Marketing Businesses Are Struggling

The struggle is real. Events are being canceled left and right due to COVID-19, with many experiential marketing businesses left holding the baggage.

Why it matters: Providers of brand experiences are looking to digitization to surmount the growing impact of COVID-19 on their campaigns.

Industry Has A Year To Master Metrics Around Podcasting, Says Spotify’s Liam Hickey
Ad News

Liam Hickey, head of automation for Spotify AUNZ, remarked that by 2021, “we can’t be sitting around talking about how to buy and measure it or we won’t have been doing our jobs,” at IAB Australia’s Audio Summit in Sydney.

Why it matters: Podcast metrics have been historically isolated to ‘downloads,’ but settling on standards for measurement has to be a focus this year for an industry more and more reliant on audio advertising campaigns.

Marketing 2030: Five Ways To Survive And Thrive Over The Next 10 Years
Marketing Profs

Jennifer Chase, SVP of marketing at SAS, gives invaluable advice on which skills to build to prosper as a marketer in the next decade.

Why it matters: In our industry like no other, it’s imperative to keep a future-oriented mindset while keeping one foot in the day-to-day. No simple task, but these tips can help bring it all back home.

The Age Of Data Privacy: Personalization’s Existential Crisis?
Marketing Dive

“How much do the latest data privacy regulations limit customer journey data that powers personalized online experiences?”

Why it matters: Personalization has, without question, been impacted by recent data privacy legislation. However, when customers come to expect personalized experiences, leading to a conundrum for marketers.

How To Market A Product When Your Buyer Isn’t Your User
Harvard Business Review

Follow these techniques to overcome the buyer-user divide.

Why it matters: “For companies playing in a market where users and buyers are disconnected, there are three main problems to solve. First is fully recognizing all the buyers and users. Second is effectively and efficiently coordinating across all buyers and users. Third is understanding and aligning the interests of all the buyers and users.”

‘Basically Irreplaceable’: Olympic Ad Dollars Could Evaporate From Market If Coronavirus Causes Cancellation

Billions in ad dollars could be irreplaceably lost due to cancelations from coronavirus, so what are advertisers to do?

Why it matters: Coronavirus’ impact is penetrating all areas of advertising. A glance at the tea leaves: Advertisers will hold at least a portion of their Olympic ad dollars due to having a difficult time finding alternatives for those ad dollars that could compete with Olympic reach.

5 Ways Brands Such As Disney And BMW Approached Digital Transformation
The Drum

Familiarize yourself with five examples of how major brands are approaching digital transformation.

Why it matters
: Learn from the best by taking a page from these strategies employed by major brands like Disney and BMW.

Infographic: A Day In The Life Of A Modern Marketer

A recent survey of 400 advertising and marketing managers suggests that the sweet spot between productive and creative time is related to having a healthy work-life balance.

Why it matters: “To be productive and creative, we need to allow ourselves time to decompress.”

Opinion: If Influencer Marketing Was A Male-Led Industry It Would Have Been Taken Seriously Long Ago
Ad Age

Implicit bias and subsconscious discrimination within the advertising industry has affected the perception of the importance of influencer marketing.

Why it matters
: Confronting long-held “truths” and biases within our industry is the only way to cast a light on serious, perennial issues related to diversity and equality. Vickie Segar notes that “Right now, the ​discussion we’re having about influencer marketing is whether it’s “legitimate,” a “fad” or “wasteful”—all while it continues to be one of the best-performing verticals within advertising.”

How Will The Coronavirus Change Consumer Behavior?

eMarketer’s newest podcast features a conversation around the impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior.

Why it matters: Coronavirus is here and already making its presence known in shifting social dynamics. Think about it: how might social distancing impact experiential marketing? Look no further than the recent spate of marketing event cancelations to get a glimpse of what’s to come should industries fail to equip themselves with the right mindset toward this global scare.

Is Technology Subsuming Marketing?
Harvard Business Review

“When we looked at the top five compensated officers of a firm between 1999 and 2017, we found a dramatic decline in the number of chief marketing officers (CMOs) in this top rung — about 35 percent. Meanwhile, the number of officers representing information or technology in the top five, highest-paid category increased, and now far exceeds the number of CMOs.”

Why it matters: HBR’s data suggests a stark decline in the importance of the chief marketing officer in organizational hierarchies.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly reading list is updated daily. This installment is updated until Friday, March 13. Have a tip? We’re looking for must-read articles related to trends and insights in marketing and media. Let us know at

Mazda CMO Steps Down

This week in marketing leadership moves, Mazda’s CMO resigns while Kirdis Postelle joins Amazon Music as global marketer and Tom Peterson joins Lazydays RV as CMO.

Mazda CMO Dino Bernacchi Resigns

Dino Bernacchi has resigned from his position as chief marketing officer for Mazda North American Operations, effective March 20, reports MediaPost. Bernacchi recently led Mazda’s “Feel Alive” campaign and has been with Mazda since May 2017.

Brad Audet of Garage Team Mazda will lead the marketing team in the interim.

Lila Gerson Joins APA As SVP Of Strategic Marketing & Brand Partnerships

Variety reports that the Concerts department of APA has named Lila Gerson as senior vice president of strategic marketing & brand partnerships. Gerson previously served as senior vice president of global marketing and communications at Nielsen Entertainment.

South Korean Entertainment Company SM Entertainment Appoints CEO And CMO

K-Pop company SM Entertainment appointed a new CMO and CEO, according to an update from Forbes.

Lee Seong-su will take over as chief executive officer for the entertainment company and will serve alongside Tak Young-joon, the company’s new chief marketing officer.

Kirdis Postelle Joins Amazon Music As Global Head Of Artist Marketing

Billboard reports that Kirdis Postelle, who recently served as executive vp and general manager at Hitco Entertainment, has been tapped in the newly created role of global head of artist marketing at Amazon Music.

Lazydays RV Appoints New Chief Marketing Officer

AIThority reports that Lazydays RV has appointed Tom Peterson as chief marketing officer. Peterson comes from Youfit Health Clubs, where he served as CMO. Prior to that, he served as CMO of Ovation Brands and The Krystal Company.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment is updated until Friday, March 13. Have a new hire tip? We’re looking for senior executive role changes in marketing and media. Let us know at

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.

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TikTok Hits A Record 113 Million Downloads

This week in social media news, TikTok hits 113 million downloads while Facebook is testing a new option that would allow the cross-posting of Facebook Stories to Instagram.

TikTok Hits Record Number Of Downloads In February

TikTok was downloaded by nearly 113 million people worldwide, marking a record number of downloads for the platform last month.

Why it matters:
Not only did TikTok hit a record number of downloads, the platform also saw its “highest-ever monthly user spending in February, with the $50.4 million it generated equalling a 784.2 percent Y/Y increase,” making TikTok the third highest-grossing non-game app worldwide for February behind Tinder and YouTube.

The details: February was the TikTok’s best month ever “for both installs and revenue,” according to Sensor Tower Store Intelligence, showing that ByteDance has what it takes to compete with other apps.

Snapchat Releases Lens Web Builder For AR Ads 

Snapchat’s Lens Web Builder includes self-serve software tools that marketers can use to create high-quality AR content without any specialized expertise. The difference between Lens Web Builder and Snapchat’s Lens Studio is that the latter is for 3D developers who have more specialized technical expertise. 

Why it matters: Increasing access to AR ad content gives brands with smaller budgets a chance to beef up their interactive content, which up until recently only companies with bigger ad budgets could afford to experiment with.

The details: Marketers can browse Lens Web Builder’s library of templates, 3D objects and animations without paying creative fees, though minimum campaign spending requirements still apply. 

All Chinese Internet Users Will Be Social Network Users By 2023

The number of social network users in China is slowing, however, there will be at least 30 million more of them annually between 2020-2023, according to eMarketer.

Why it matters: Despite China blocking popular Western social media apps like Instagram and Facebook due to censorship, China’s digital ecosystem has exploded due in part to the popularity of apps including WeChat, Douyin and Sina Weibo.

The details: The amount of social network users in China will increase by 4.8 percent to 860 million in 2020. By 2023, 97 percent of internet users will be social network users. Still, penetration will be 62 percent in 2020 due to just 62 percent of the population having access to the internet. eMarketer predicts this number will reach 71 percent by 2023, as a result of improved telecommunication in rural areas. In 2019, over half of Chinese internet users ages 34 and younger were social network users while those 55 and older accounted for just 13 percent. With increased digitization, that figure will grow to 17 percent by 2023.

Twitch Partners With Comscore On Audience Measurement For Advertisers

According to an announcement from Comscore, the partnership will make available third-party data and insights into Twitch’s audiences in the US and Canada, giving advertisers a better understanding of Twitch audience behavior.

Why it matters: Twitch’s growing audience—which is expected to exceed 40 million US viewers by 2021—creates new opportunities for advertisers, who, with detailed Twitch audience insight, can make strategic campaign moves and create better ad placements.

The details: Comscore will measure live streaming video consumption habits including total view across desktops, smartphones and tablets as well as person-level video audience measurement across digital content and ads. The companies have plans to launch the audience reporting in additional marketers and roll out of category and genre-level reporting.

TikTok To Open A Transparency Facility In Los Angeles Office

TikTok is set to open a transparency center in May where outside experts from around the world can view its content moderation practices and policies, the company announced in a blog post.

Why it matters: TikTok has come under fire for its access to US user data and censoring content related to the Chinese government. A transparency center that allows experts to examine its day-to-day operations relating to its trust and safety practices could combat those concerns.

The details: Per TikTok, at the center experts can see “how our trained content moderators apply those Guidelines to review the technology-based actions that are escalated to them, and to identify additional potential violations that the technology may miss, how users and creators are able to bring concerns to our attention and how those are handled [and] ultimately, how the content that is allowed on the platform aligns with our Guidelines.” Experts will also be able to provide “meaningful feedback” on TikTok’s practices. 

Engagement Rates Decreased On Instagram, New Report Finds

RivalIQ released its Social Media Industry Benchmark Report, which analyzed 2,100 of the most engaging brands and over 5 million posts, tweets and updates to understand their success on social and how engagement on different social platforms has changed.

Why it matters: It’s interesting to note that Facebook and Twitter’s engagement is stagnant and influencers saw above average performance on Instagram despite losing 25 percent of their engagement on the channel this year.

The details: Facebook’s engagement stayed flat this year while brands posted less on the platform by about 14 percent. Engagement on Instagram took a hit, with the all-industry median decreasing by 23 percent. Posting frequency on Instagram declined by five percent. Twitter’s engagement remained consistent for the third consecutive year, with tweeting frequency declining about 10 percent. 

Alcohol brands saw the most success on Instagram in terms of posting frequency and engagement rate. Though influencers’ Instagram engagement dipped, their Facebook engagement increased thanks to a 10 percent increase in photo engagement.

Facebook Invites Users To Test Social Virtual Reality App Horizon

According to UploadVR Facebook is now sending out invites to a closed alpha program for Horizon, the company’s VR multiplayer app which was announced last year at Oculus Connect 6 conference and is scheduled to launch for Quest and Rift.

Why it matters: Facebook is doubling down on VR in response to decreased posting and user engagement on the platform. Horizon could mean more opportunity for marketers to display ads on virtual billboards and other establishments within the game.  

The details: A Reddit user shared a screenshot of the invite email Facebook sent them, which shows that the program will launch later this month and participation will require users to sign an NDA. Facebook Horizon gives users the ability to design their own avatars and travel through virtual locales.

Google Examines Viewing Habits Via Worldwide Survey

In a company blog, Google released the findings of a survey it conducted that asked 12,000 people worldwide what they watched in the last 24 hours and why.

Why it matters: The data shows that 46 percent of global viewers use video to learn something new, reflecting video’s shift from an awareness-only medium to a tool for learning and exploring personal passions. 

The details: A majority (70 percent) of respondents said their moods dictate their content choices. Half of Gen Z and millennials said they “don’t know how they’d get through life” without video. 

Global respondents cited videos’ ability to help them relax and unwind as the top reason for watching what they watched, followed by teaching them something new and allowing them to dig deeper into their interests. 

Lower on the list were reasons such as the content was shown on a network or platform they like, the video’s high production quality and the appearance of famous actors—indicating that traditional television-era markers are less important than they once were. 

Facebook Tests ‘Stories’ Cross-Posting To Instagram

Facebook is testing a new option that allows users on their platform to cross-post their Stories to Instagram.

Why it matters
: This could ease cross-posting between the two platforms. While cross-posting from Instagram to Facebook has been possible, this new option to do the opposite is a first.

The details: Jane Manchun Wong shared details on the new option, which will appear in your Facebook Stories visibility options and is activated with a toggle to switch on cross-posting of Facebook Stories to Instagram.

Pinterest Uses Custom Search Results To Hedge Against Coronavirus Misinformation

Pinterest is guiding users searching for coronavirus on the platform toward a “custom search experience” to combat coronavirus misinformation, reports The Verge.

Why it matters: The continuing conversation around the spread of misinformation highlights questions over the editorial role of advertising platforms.

The details: Pinterest has been working with the World Health Organization over the past year to ensure Pinners are being served “facts about critical health topics, from the new coronavirus to vaccines,” according to a Pinterest spokesperson. They have done similarly for searches around vaccines, highlighting results underpinned by scientific scrutiny.

Facebook Launches Community Accelerator Program

Facebook will fund and train selected community leaders on mentorship as part of its months-long Community Accelerator program.

Why it matters: Facebook’s community initiative indicates they’re willing to fund programs that positively impact their communities from the ground up.

The details: According to the report from CNET, “The Community Accelerator is a six-month program that will provide training, funding and mentorship to selected community leaders.” Facebook will award $3 million in total to up to 80 participants in the program, which is part of the Facebook Leadership Program. Interested parties can sign up here.

Reddit Rolls Out Trending Takeovers Ad Format

Reddit rolled out a new ad product called Trending Takeovers, a feature only available through direct buys that lets brands buy 24 hours of prominent placement on its popular feed and within its search tab. 

Why it matters: Paying to trend on Reddit will give brands added visibility among the platform’s niche communities and 430 million unique monthly visitors. 

The details: Trending Takeovers was in beta testing for six months with 15 companies including Adobe, Spotify and Method before Reddit introduced it. In testing, these brands saw a click-through rate around five percent, equating to two times the industry average. Redditors who click on a promoted trend are directed to a landing page with content from the brand above organic related content from various subreddits. Adobe and Samsung were the first brands to try the new ad format. 

Australia Sues Facebook Over Cambridge Analytica 

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) claims that the personal data of 311,127 Australian Facebook users were disclosed to the This is Your Digital Life app for purposes other than for which it was collected, which is in breach of Australia’s Privacy Act of 1988.

Why it matters: After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which broke in 2018, Facebook shares dipped to 11.4 percent and the company lost $60 billion in value only to then be slapped with a fine from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for $5 billion.

The details: In a statement, Australia’s information and privacy commissioner said that users’ data were exposed and used for purposes including political profiling. Australia’s Privacy Act imposes a civil penalty of up to $1,700,000 per violation. Given the OAIC believes 311,074 users were affected, Facebook could end up having to pay up to $529 billion. 

FTC Settles With Teami For $1 Million Settlement Over Instagram Ads

In a statement, the FTC says that detox tea maker Teami misled consumers and didn’t adequately disclose payments regarding influencer-led promotions of its 30 day detox pack. The FTC also sent warning letters to influencers including Cardi B for not disclosing paid endorsements.

Why it matters: In February, the FTC voted to seek public comment on whether it should create new, stricter requirements and penalties for social media platforms and advertisers. The Teami settlement is in accordance with the FTC’s goal of cracking down on mislabeled influencer posts. 

The details: The settlement comes after Teami was first warned by the FTC in 2018 about not burying disclosures under the “more” button on Instagram to see that posts were endorsed. The FTC imposed a $15.2 million judgment but suspended it after Teami was unable to pay.

Apple Enables Push Notification Advertising 

9to5Mac reported that push notifications can be used for marketing purposes given the user authorizes it, as noted in Apple’s updated App Store guidelines. Apple is also requiring app developers to use its official application programming interface (API) to collect customer reviews that appear in the App Store. Lastly, Apple’s new rule requires app developers that use third-party or social login services also offer “Sign In with Apple” by April 30.

Why it matters: Apple has long banned apps from using push notification ads, but the update comes after Apple violated its own rules when it sent out push notifications that read like ads.  

The details: Push notification ads will benefit mobile marketers looking to reach consumers via targeted ads on Apple devices. However, requiring that app developers offer a “Sign In with Apple” could affect data collection for improved ad targeting.

Twitter Commits To Buying Back $2 Billion Worth Of Stock 

According to a press release, Twitter has agreed to buy back $2 billion worth of stock over time and has welcomed two new board members, one from Silver Lake—which will make a $1 billion investment in Twitter—and another from Elliott Management.

Why it matters: The decisions follows Elliott Management’s efforts to oust Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey for not being able to devote his full attention to Twitter given he also runs Square and plans to spend time in Africa this year to understand its fintech revolution.

The details: According to the release, “The Board has formed an independent five-person committee that will build on the Board’s regular evaluation of Twitter’s leadership structure . . . The Committee will also evaluate the CEO succession plan with the CEO and make recommendations consistent with corporate governance best practices with respect to the elimination of the Company’s staggered board.”

Facebook Expands Political Ad Transparency Measures To 32 Regions

In June 2019, Facebook rolled out its ad transparency tools worldwide, enabling marketers to become authorized to run political ads, place “Paid for by” disclaimers on ads and enter ads in the Ad Library for seven years. Now it’s expanding this requirement in 32 additional countries such as Mexico, Chile, Indonesia and Japan. 

Why it matters: The update will give marketers more regional insights about how much political parties are spending on Facebook ads in their region as well as increase transparency on how Facebook is being used for campaigning.

The details: Expansion of the ad transparency measures will start in mid-March, bringing the total count of regions where it’s required to 89.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, March 13. 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