Chris Younger On Navigating The Pandemic With An Audience-First Approach

In Edelman’s special report on brand trust amid the coronavirus pandemic, 62 percent of respondents said the country will not make it through the crisis without brands playing a critical role in the challenges we face. While adjusting to the new normal, how well brands heed the voices of consumers coupled with the strength of their audience-first mentality will influence their fate later. Ayzenberg president Chris Younger emphasized this notion in a recent company leadership meeting. We spoke with Chris about what makes a strong audience-first approach and the pandemic’s impact on brand behavior in an increasingly virtual ecosystem.

How does Ayzenberg approach an audience-first mentality?

How the company is built and what we do day-in and day-out is designed to engage with audiences. We spend just as much time talking about what we’re making as we talk about who we’re engaging with. Engagement for brands and for marketers is about time, so we ask ourselves, how is that time being spent and where are they spending it? And why does it matter? At our agency, we manage over 300 million relationships for brands. We prioritize understanding how consumers are spending time, then we develop our message.

Storytelling is still extremely valuable and is at the core of our message, but the format of the stories has completely changed. As we all know, we’re no longer constrained by a limited selection of fixed platform formats as we are only constrained by our ability to think differently in this digital first, social forward landscape. 

We’re an agency that last year alone produced well over 20,000 pieces of content. So what does that agency look like? Old planning meant buying your share of voice (SOV) in key markets on network television, radio and print. Today that isn’t how audiences behave nor how brands buy. They once had to buy that way because they didn’t have any other way to understand how to reach audiences. 

Today those audiences either garner their first impression or their last impression in social media. They’re influenced through friends and they’re looking for validation on the decisions in ways that don’t live in an ad platform. So our job is to ensure we are making an impression and engaging with audiences when that intersection takes place.

If you want to be in the business of having relationships with audiences, you better understand what you’re curating and understand how to navigate it. We’re spending a lot of time listening right now because the playbook is being rewritten. The rules of engagement and work time spent are being re-evaluated. The type of content, experiences and stories that are being told are being redefined.

What are some characteristics of an effective audience-first mentality?

Being able to actually operate within an audience-first mentality requires a great deal of rigor, patience and sharp listening skills. Listening is the key to achieving a foundation that allows the services, the creatives and the currency by which you’re communicating with, to create these assets and has extremely high value when done right.

So it’s about listening and then the ability to act on that listening. There’s the data and the insight and then there’s acting on these details in a way that connects back with the audience, connects back with a brand and connects back with the entire value proposition.

How can brands get better at listening?

It’s being able to know what part of what’s being communicated should impact their business. Like anything, it takes practice. You’re probably never really running into anything but more so acknowledging. And once you get to that point, you start forming a very comfortable relationship like you would with a good friend over an extended period of time. Eventually you’re able to finish each other’s sentences and thoughts. 

For a brand to get there will take time, talent and chemistry. We also have to acknowledge that like not all relationships, not all brands are for every individual in the audience. So it’s also important to know when those are a good fit, know where your place is and where your place isn’t in certain dialogue and certain conversation. People respect that.

What makes great content right now? What we’re noticing in very early insights is this idea that as human beings and for society as a whole we’re going through an incredible experience right now. So being truthful and transparent and adopting a tone that relates to your audience will drive a positive journey for those you wish to maintain a relationship with in the future.

If done right, these actions can leave a lasting impression because consumers don’t forget how brands treat them. As we often say in our business, it takes two years to develop a relationship and it could take two minutes to lose it. You might not have necessarily done anything wrong, you just didn’t take a moment to pause and listen or you failed to acknowledge.

I can see a whole new genre of content, strategy and relationship building coming out of this pandemic. I don’t think there will be a “light switch” moment where everything goes back to business as usual. We’re going to start seeing trends of people actually showing more of themselves. The virtuality this pandemic has created will make people yearn for reality more than I think anyone realizes.

Some brands believe that now is not the time to pull back on ad and media spend while others continue pausing or reducing budgets. What do you think is the best approach here?

First off we all need a great deal of resilience during this time and until the economy becomes stable, everybody is making decisions and predictions in the dark. Assuming that the economy becomes stable to a degree of logical predictability, brands that have invested in budgets and reinforced their consumer relationships by adding value to their consumer will end up ahead. We’re going to find out who are the true expert marketers and leaders in this marketplace. However there is no baseline now. It’s being all reset.

In what ways do you predict marketing will change after the pandemic is over?

There are some incredibly polarizing conversations happening about the ability to build relationships and service your audience in ways that brands couldn’t fathom prior to coronavirus. How do virtual presentations of your brand, your experiences and your products take place in this setting? If you’re a consumer products company, you’re relying on that last point of sale to make that final purchase decision. How do we develop that in a virtual space? How are we creating touch points?

I don’t have clear answers, but there are clear trends that are going to open up the palate of marketers to explore, experiment and drive more in a virtual connected ecosystem, one that embodies a social-forward, mobile-first approach. This will ultimately allow marketers and our budgets to be more accountable. 

Being in lockdown has caused digital fatigue—how do brands cut through the noise?

I think most commercials running right now are all some form of capturing people coming together and connecting. But there are always a select few brands that keep coming up and the reason for that is, these brands take the time to listen, create and curate very powerful, very engaging pieces of content. Some of it doesn’t come down to budget but rather strategy and vision. 

This isn’t a race to who gets the most content out there wins. And it really isn’t a race to who creates the most viral piece gets the award. This is a journey for those brands who want to get the right quality over quantity, the right story over a snippet. To be able to move a message that when any one of us talks about a product or service, we have a shared experience of our understanding of what that means.

How can marketers avoid coming across as tone deaf?

It’s about letting your audience know, we know you’re being impacted by these types of experiences and we want to share where we’re at in the journey and we have these types of resources to help you get through it. It’s a really powerful thing to share in a way that isn’t manufactured. Share in a way that is true.

Are there any don’ts when it comes to leveraging an audience-first mentality?

I would say that knowing it’s okay to not be in every conversation. If you’re a brand that understands your audience has many relationships then you also understand and respect the balance between where their time is spent and knowing that your time with them is quality time. Don’t feel the need to react but do feel the need to ensure that the time you’re spending with them is quality defined by the values you set.

(Editor’s note: AList is published by

Why Now Is The Time To Leverage Influencer Partnerships

Originally published on ION.

To understand the scope of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on influencer marketing, Find Your Influence surveyed 380 influencers from its community between March 30-31. 

The responses revealed 86 percent of influencers who created organic content around the coronavirus pandemic saw increased engagement rates. Additionally, 64 percent of influencers said partnership opportunities have been canceled or rescheduled as a result of the pandemic. For brands reducing digital marketing budgets and looking for ways to pivot amid coronavirus, these findings indicate the time is ripe to leverage both pre-existing and new influencer partnerships. 

With creative shoots no longer a viable option, owing to concerns about the pandemic, brands are tasked with the challenge of shifting from traditional methods of content creation to those that fit within the confines of teleworking. In turn, one truth at once becomes clear: brands that invested in influencers pre-coronavirus and have content banked from doing so are in a much safer position compared to those that don’t. 

Influencer partnerships are particularly valuable now given retail sales in the US suffered a record drop of 8.7 percent in March. What’s worse, eMarketer expects global ad spending to decrease by $20 billion. Though eMarketer finalized its estimate in early March, one of its more recent forecasts reveals that spending on search advertising in the US alone will decrease in the first half of 2020 by between $6 billion and $8 billion. 

Now retailers are leaning into influencer relationships in various ways to convert customers. For example, rather than direct-response ads, Pura Vida is taking the influencer approach to stay relevant amid coronavirus, Vogue Business reports. In early 2020, the brand spent one percent of its total annual marketing budget on worldwide influencer trips to generate spring and summer content. With content stockpiled, Pura Vida is able to avoid the kind of tone-deafness that might arise from social media advertisements and instead connect with consumers organically through its influencer partners.

Yet even for brands that have no choice but to whip up new content, influencers can seem like a lifeline. As more brands reduce marketing budgets, some influencers are considering cutting their rates. Mavrck surveyed 600 creators and influencers from its index from March 27-March 30 to see how the pandemic is affecting their content strategies. While 40 percent of influencers said they haven’t adjusted their rates, 37 percent said they have lowered their rates or may lower them in the near future because of coronavirus.

At a time when consumers want ads to inform them and make them feel happy, brands should use influencers as a vehicle to communicate an uplifting message, share charitable actions, spread accurate information about the pandemic and highlight new ways to use products and services in the context of social distancing.

Lively has about 110K Ambassadors in the U.S. that are women who demonstrate the LIVELY values of living life passionately, purposefully, and confidently, according to a spokesperson. When women sign up for the Ambassador program (they sign up themselves), they receive a unique code that their friends, family, and networks can apply to first-time purchases. CEO Michelle Cordeiro Grant founded the brand in 2015 and launched in 2016. According to CNBC, Lively grew by 300 percent in 2017 and was again saw triple-digit growth in both 2018 and 2019. Lively inked a deal with Nordstrom in 2018 and sells its products in 35 Nordstrom locations as well as at its four stores in the U.S.

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

TikTok Names New NA Head Of Marketing

This week in marketing leadership moves, Nick Tran has been tapped by TikTok for their lead marketing role in North America, Pacific Life names Kevin Kennedy as senior vice president of sales and CMO of the company’s Retirement Solutions Division, WeWork interim CMO Maurice Lévy is departing after three months at the company, Sprouts is bringing on a new SVP and CMO while Equifax names Lindsay Parker as CMO.

Nick Tran Moves From Hulu To TikTok As Head Marketer

The Drum reports that, following shortly after the departure of Hulu’s head of ad sales, the video streaming service is also losing their VP of brand marketing and culture.

Nick Tran, who has been with Hulu since May 2018 from Samsung, will oversee brand marketing, campaigns and social activity for the company according to The Drum. He begins his new position Monday.

Pacific Life Hires Kevin Kennedy For Senior Vice President, Sales And CMO Of Retirement Solutions Division

According to a press release from the company, Pacific Life has named Kevin Kennedy senior vice president of sales and chief marketing officer of the company’s Retirement Solutions Division which helps consumers with asset growth, retirement income and long-term financial independence. Kennedy will oversee the division’s sales and marketing organization as well as sales execution and analytics.

Prior to joining Pacific Life, Kennedy served as managing director and head of AXA Equitable Holdings’ individual retirement unit. 

WeWork Interim Chief Marketing Officer Maurice Lévy Departs

According to Adweek, Maurice Lévy left WeWork three months after the company hired him as interim CMO. Former CEO of Publicis Groupe, Lévy joined WeWork in November after the departure of CMO Robin Daniels.

The announcement comes one day after WeWork announced it laid off 19 percent of its staff.

Sprouts Farmers Market Names New SVP, CMO

Sprouts released a press release today announcing the hiring of ex-Kroger exec Gilliam Phipps as SVP and CMO, effective immediately. Phipps will lead Sprouts’ marketing, advertising, customer engagement and private label teams, according to the announcement.

Jaguar Land Rover’s VP Of Marketing Steps Down

Kim McCullough is stepping down from her role as VP of marketing for Jaguar Land Rover in North America. Ad Age reports that McCullough’s duties will be assumed in the interim by the company’s North American CEO Joe Eberhardt.

McCullough’s professional relationship with JLR began in 1997 when she began marketing the brand.

Equifax Names New Chief Marketing Officer

Equifax has named Lindsay Parker CMO. Effective today, the role will require Parker to oversee corporate marketing strategy, USIS sales and revenue enablement efforts. 

Parker joins Equifax from Sabre Corporation’s SABR Travel Network where she served as the head of global marketing. Previously she held executive roles in Cisco Systems CSCO, Avaya and BlackBerry BB.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment is updated until Friday, April 17. Have a new hire tip? We’re looking for senior executive role changes in marketing and media. Let us know at

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

What We’re Reading–Week Of April 13th

We’re searching for the most pressing marketing insights this week. Updated daily.

What Is The Future Of Brands Within Closed Ecosystems?

The Drum

Brands can protect consumer privacy more effectively in a login environment like a closed ecosystem.

Why it matters: Consumer expectations are shifting to demand the same seamless digital experience they get using services with walled gardens. 

ANA CEO Sees A Slow Recovery Post-Pandemic

Ad Age

On the level of industry participation he expects for ANA’s Masters of Marketing event, which was moved to October, ANA CEO Bob Liodice said: “We are, candidly, not expecting anywhere near the types of attendances we have had in the past,” he says. “But I think if we get a representative crowd … that will be good enough for us. It gives us an opportunity to bring back the community.”

Why it matters: Dramatic declines in event turnout will be inevitable post-pandemic.

Jägermeister Brings Cold Brew Martinis To Virtual Brunch


Jägermeister will host a virtual brunch on Instagram Stories showing how its digestif can be mixed with cold brew coffee to raise funds for Relief Opportunities for All Restaurants.

Why it matters: Brands that show how they’re adding value to the lives of people and employees will leave a lasting impression on consumers.

Michelob Ultra Streams Workouts While Helping Personal Trainers

Mobile Marketer

Michelob Ultra has launched a series called “Movement by Michelob Ultra Live” on its Facebook Live, Instagram Live and YouTube Live channels to reach consumers stuck at home during coronavirus and give them a chance to tip trainers who appear in the videos. For each dollar donated, Michelob Ultra and Optimum Nutrition will match the donation up to $7,500 a week.

Why it matters: A broadcasting series will help Michelob Ultra reinforce its brand’s positioning in the crisis while also showing consumers it cares about the members of the fitness community.

Spotify Tops Ranking Of Brand Intimacy During Pandemic, Study Says

Mobile Marketer

Spotify ranked number one in a study of brand intimacy during coronavirus according to MBLB’s “Brand Intimacy Study 2020.” Facebook, Instagram, Pandora, Snapchat, Twitter, Airbnb, Uber, LinkedIn and Venmo rounded out the list. MBLB defines brand intimacy as a measurement of the emotional bonds that consumers form with brands.

Why it matters: Spotify may have outranked brands on intimacy but Quartz reports that in Italy the top 200 most streamed songs on Spotify averaged 18.3 million total streams per day in February but dropped to 14.4 million on March 9th. 

‘We’ve Stopped Being So Strict About Brand Positioning’: Burger King CMO Fernando Machado On Marketing During Coronavirus 


As per Burger King CMO Fernando Machado: “For us, we’ve stopped being so strict about whether or not something makes sense for our brand positioning. We did what we thought would be helpful to people. In the case of Burger King, we gave away free kids meals. Why? Because we know that many peoples’ kids eat at school. Without kids in school, we know many parents struggle to put something together. We have provided roughly a million meals in the US.”

Why it matters: Marketers should take a page out of Burger King’s pandemic playbook: help communities by doing concrete things and repurpose existing advertising assets to remain relevant.

Oreo’s Local-First, Globally Connected COVID-19 Strategy Around Playfulness

Campaign Live UK

With guidance from its team in China, Oreo pulled irrelevant content from its marketing and created a video spot featuring user-generated content of consumers doing the brand’s #CookieWithACause challenge on TikTok. The challenge calls for participants to place an Oreo on their forehead and try to land it in their mouth in creative ways. For every post marked with the hashtag, Oreo is donating to Save the Children for the first 1 million video uploads.  

Why it matters: Adapting your marketing strategy to social distancing orders is paramount to staying relevant.

Opinion: Brands Should Not Stay Silent During The Pandemic, But They Should Avoid The ‘Hero Trap’


Brands like Budweiser, LMVH, Verizon and Nature’s Bakery are letting their actions speak for themselves by hosting American Red Cross drives at stadiums, converting production to make hand sanitizer and offering practice advice on how to keep kids active in quarantine, respectively.

Why it matters: Instead of relying on “sweet words and piano music,” brands should explore how to turn people into heroes instead of posing as heroes themselves.

How To Win At Instagram Live

The Business Of Fashion

Designers, celebrities and creators alike are doubling down on Instagram live stream programming that features quarantine versions of “a day in the life of,” career advice and tips on handling the new normal.

Why it matters: Brands are increasingly using Instagram Live to connect and inform—not to sell products.

Frito-Lay’s New COVID-19 Ad Is An Anti-Brand Manifesto. Too Bad It’s Still A Commercial

Fast Company

Frito-Lay’s new television commercial scolds other brands for advertising during coronavirus yet its spot does just that—by humble-bragging about its efforts to help create jobs and donate to relief efforts. 

Why it matters: “The risk, of course, is that this approach also draws the more critical eyes of an audience who, sitting at home, has nothing better to do than look for holes in the Frito-Lay story.”

Young, Shafted And Black: Is Anything Being Done To Close The Influencer Ethnicity Pay Gap?

The Drum

After being paid in the “low £100s” for a style content activation, black plus-size influencer Stephanie Yeboah found out that white influencers were paid in the “£2,000-£3,000 range” for the same job.

Why it matters: The racial influencer pay gap drives down black influencers’ prices, affecting their ability to afford to pursue such a career, in turn leading to less creators available to activate the community for brands.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly reading list is updated daily. This installment is updated until Friday, April 17. Have a tip? We’re looking for must-read articles related to trends and insights in marketing and media. Let us know at

Nearly All Sellers Expect Ad Sales Revenue To Be Down For 2020

Nearly all (98%) sellers believe ad sales revenue will be down for the year against original 2020 plans due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) report. “Coronavirus: Ad Revenue Impact On Publishers & Other Sellers,” published April 15, confirms what we already know: that the pandemic will rattle media spend and revenue to their core.

Seventy percent of both buyer and seller respondents have already adjusted ad revenue or are making adjustments. Both buyers and sellers expect the greatest impact on media spend and revenue from March to June with digital ad revenues less impacted than traditional ad media revenues. Depending on channel, digital ad revenues are down 19 percent to 25 percent while linear television and print ad revenues are down 27 percent and 32 percent, respectively.

The crisis has fueled significant growth in news consumption with digital news site visits reaching 523 million from March 9-15 according to comScore, the highest week of news visits in 2020. Still, publishers are unable to monetize this growth. News publishers are hit the hardest with pauses and cancelations from buyers and they’re twice as likely to have ads blacklisted because of coronavirus content (17 percent blacklisted for news publishers versus eight percent for non-news publishers). All publishers are creating flexible advertiser options by either publishing campaigns to a later date, creating different content and sponsorship opportunities or creating entirely new content.

Also on the publisher side: they’re suffering more from cancellations than programmatic specialists. Eighty-two percent of publishers said buyers have requested advertising pauses versus 60 percent for programmatic specialists. While both sides are having to adjust advertiser buys, more buyers are canceling campaigns for publishers than they are for programmatic specialists (77 percent versus 49 percent).

On both the buy and sell side, short-term spend shifts are affecting legacy channels more than digital channels with publishers more optimistic than buyers about the extent of digital ad reductions—69 percent of sellers expect revenue change versus 70 percent of buyers.

Respondents said the most reduced advertising categories from March to December will include travel and tourism (68 percent), brick-and-mortar retail (56 percent), restaurants (49 percent), automotive ad related (48 percent) and apparel and fashion (26 percent). Seller categories expected to be least impacted include cosmetics and toiletries, household products and online retail.

A majority of ad buyers and sellers haven’t changed revenue forecasts for Q3 and Q4—25 percent of buyers said they’re adjusting spend forecasts for Q3 while 30 percent of sellers said they’re adjusting revenue forecasts in Q3.

On the sell-side, IAB surveyed 205 publishers, media platforms and programmatic companies from April 1-8. IAB conducted a similar survey on the buy-side among agency media buyers and sellers and brands on March 25.

Houseparty Saw 50 Million Sign-Ups This Past Month

This week in social media news, Houseparty reveals it received 50 million sign-ups amid coronavirus, YouTube says it’s testing a Video Chapters option, IGTV gets a makeover to benefit creators on the platform, YouTube officially lifts their ban on COVID-19 content and TikTok shares their relief efforts.

Houseparty Reveals It Saw 50 Million Sign-Ups Amid Coronavirus

The video chat app acquired by Fortnite maker Epic Games said that in the past month, its app saw 50 million sign-ups, as reported by TechCrunch.

Why it matters: Releasing data about its dramatic growth could be Houseparty’s way of diverting attention from a data breach it was recently accused of by users who claimed the app was using user data to access other accounts like Spotify and Netflix.

The details: By Houseparty’s estimates, the app also saw boosted mobile downloads—17.2 new downloads across iOS and Android. Due to the pandemic, Houseparty has also seen wide-scale penetration in international markets like Spain and Italy.

Snapchat Launches Coronavirus Business Resource Center

Snapchat’s new COVID-19: Business Resource Center includes resources on the pandemic’s impact on the mobile economy, insights on Snapchat user behavior, and ways brands can respond with new updates added over time.

Why it matters: On April 1, Snapchat reported a 50 percent increase in video calls and 25 percent more time spent playing with Lenses. With usage up, marketing on Snapchat amid coronavirus could prove lucrative for brands.

The details: Snapchat released three industry-specific trends on the dining, shopping and entertainment behaviors of Snapchatters: 66 percent of users are likely to use a select food delivery app in the next month, 35 percent expect to do more shopping on website and/or apps in the next month and 64 percent say they’re watching more live television during lockdown. The data also shows that time spent watching Snapchat Shows is at an all-time high. 

Facebook Rolls Out New Features To Ad Library

According to Facebook Integrity Team lead Rob Leathern, Facebook has started rolling out new features to the Facebook Ad Library to make ads more transparent and searchable.

Why it matters: The update will not only provide transparency on political candidate spend but also help marketers determine effective ad approaches. 

The details: Facebook added “potential reach,” which represents an estimate of the size of the audience that’s eligible to see an ad. It also plans to group similar ads together to avoid unnecessary scrolling and enhance search filters.

Instagram Is Testing A New Challenge Sticker

Reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong spotted a new Challenge sticker on Instagram that would allow users to nominate friends to different challenges.

Why it matters: Challenges are at the heart of content and engagement on TikTok so it was only a matter of time before Instagram attempted to create its own iteration.

The details: As per Wong’s findings, the Challenge sticker would be added to the sticker dropdown in Stories. When applied, users could tag friends to participate and also search challenges based on trending content. The feature is similar to TikTok’s Duet mode which lets users respond to clips of challenges. 

Twitter Releases Survey On What Consumers Want To See From Brands Amid COVID-19

Twitter conducted a survey in the US to understand how consumers feel about advertising during COVID-19. Just seven percent of respondents said brands should continue using their normal brand tone of voice.

Why it matters: The data can inform brand messaging during this stressful time and help brands avoid coming across as tone-deaf.

The details: Sixty-four percent of respondents said brands should continue advertising products as normal, 52 percent agreed that seeing/hearing ads gives them a sense of normality and 77 percent agreed they feel more positively about brands making an effort to support society right now. Additionally, 80 percent said brands should show how they’re supporting their employees. 

Facebook Is Testing Stories That Last Up To Three Days

Facebook is working on stories that would stay active for up to three days, reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong found.

Why it matters: On its Q1 earnings call in April 2019, Facebook said that Facebook Stories has 500 million daily active users. An option to prolong the life of stories could increase usage among and appeal to the older Facebook audience.

The details: Facebook Stories, like Instagram Stories, expire after 24 hours. Stories that are active for up to three days could potentially sour user experience or increase engagement on limited-time promotions from brands.

YouTube Tests Video Chapters That Would Provide A Description About Each Segment 

According to YouTube Creator Insider host Tom Leung, YouTube is testing a Video Chapters option that would section playback timelines into variable chapter lengths and include descriptions about each segment.

Why it matters: The tool would give viewers the ability to skip through videos and more easily find the section they’re looking for. Given Google prioritizes YouTube videos in search results, the Video Chapters option could become an SEO consideration as it contains more specific data on what each video clip contains.

The details: As Leung says in his video, “It helps viewers with more context and information associated with a particular time in your video – it’s basically making time stamps a little bit more official. [Video chapters] utilize the time stamp data that you publish in your description, and are completely opt-in.” YouTube is testing the Video Chapters feature on Android and desktop.

YouTube Makes Video Builder Tool Accessible To More Businesses

In a company blog, YouTube said it’s “accelerating the next stage of Video Builder availability” after working on it for the past few months. Its goal is to help businesses strapped for time and resources amid coronavirus to create videos through an advertising campaign, website or email. 

Why it matters: With creative studios closed, brands are seeking out ways to create promotions via nontraditional methods. YouTube’s Video Builder will help brands achieve just that, and in turn, strengthen their communication with consumers.

The details: Video Builder is free to use but businesses can only create videos of up to 15 seconds and they can’t download the videos—they can save the video to their YouTube channel or use it in an ad campaign.

Instagram Updates IGTV App With Redesign

The Verge announced that Instagram is redesigning its IGTV app with creators in mind.

Why it matters: While the company has declined to offer user numbers on the standalone IGTV app, it’s clear that moves are being made to make the app more appealing to potential users and speaks to content exploration challenges on the app.

The details: According to The Verge’s reporting, the IGTV app has been redesigned “to feature a creator up top, tailored to each user based on who they follow and whose content the app thinks might be interesting to them.” Additionally, the IGTV app is getting a Discover tab which will impact how users surface new content.

Facebook Is Testing A New Annual Data Use Check-Up Process

As part of its ongoing efforts to responsibly handle data, following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has announced the early testing of “Data Use Checkup,” a new annual self-service tool that all apps using Facebook’s APIs will be subjected to for the purpose of ensuring API access and data use comply with the platform’s policy.

Why it matters: An enhanced version of Facebook’s current App Review system, Facebook’s Data Use Checkup will add an extra layer of protection to people’s privacy and potentially help prevent another scandal like Cambridge Analytica.

The details: As per Facebook, “Developers enrolled in testing should complete this request for each of their apps within 60 days, or risk losing their API access.” 

Instagram Live Becomes Viewable On Desktop 

According to Android Police, many users have noticed the ability to watch Instagram Live broadcasts on the web.

Why it matters: A desktop version of Instagram Live will give creators more ways to reach followers while they’re quarantined.

The details: Unlike Instagram Live streams on mobile, the desktop version positions comments to a scrolling window on the side for an unobstructed viewing experience. However, users can’t start live broadcasts using the desktop version.

Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, April 17. 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

Nearly Two-Thirds Of App Categories See Revenue Boost Worldwide

Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of app verticals saw an increase in revenue worldwide during the first week of April from mid-March, according to an AppsFlyer’s study, “The Coronavirus Impact on App Installs and Marketing Budgets.” Forty percent of verticals saw increased revenue of over 20 percent.

AppsFlyer found that across the world streaming apps doubled revenues since the last week of February but dipped by 35 percent during the week of March 31-April 6. Across categories, since March 23, health and fitness revenues jumped 35 percent, shopping revenues grew 15 percent while organic installs flattened and food delivery revenues increased 25 percent. Gaming app revenues are all seeing lifts in revenue.

In the US, installs and app usage have been stable, with revenue growing 42 percent since March 23. Streaming apps saw a 52 percent lift in non-organic installs as they focused on user acquisition between March 3-23. These same apps maintained organic growth of eight percent from March 17-April 6, resulting in a revenue increase of 23 percent during the same time frame.

With US schools closed until through summer and students learning from home, education apps are experiencing an increase in usage and revenue week-over-week, growing 86 percent since March 23 and no less than 154 percent since March 2.

Organic installs for US shopping apps grew 10 percent from March 31-April 6 with existing users generating a 28 percent revenue increase.

Player spend across all gaming categories is also up as of April 6: midcore gaming saw a 22 percent increase, casual gaming saw a 13 percent increase, social casino saw a 12 percent increase and hardcore gaming saw a nine percent increase. 

New York saw the most significant app install growth from the coronavirus lockdown. Between March 10-23, organic and non-organic installs jumped 30 percent and 50 percent, respectively. But since April 6, organic decreased by three percent and non-organic decreased by 10 percent.

App installs and usage in China peaked during the onset of the outbreak from January-February and thereafter dropped and flattened. Since April 6, however, installs grew nearly 50 percent due to the increase in gaming and lifestyle apps—midcore games grew 45 percent and lifestyle organic installs climbed 70 percent.

AppsFlyer’s findings are based on the weekly percentage of app installs and sessions per country, per vertical. AppsFlyer updated the report on April 9 and will update it next on April 23.

Marketing During A Pandemic With Cradlepoint’s CMO Todd Krautkremer

During this 203rd episode of “Marketing Today,” I interview Todd Krautkremer, chief marketing officer at Cradlepoint, an entrepreneurial executive with over 25 years of experience.

Today we talk about his passion for building growth companies, his transition from computer science to the development side, product management, sales, and marketing and his CEO role during the 2008 financial crisis. Krautkremer also shares his advice for what marketers should do during this coronavirus pandemic. 

Krautkremer starts by discussing his early career work, building some of the biggest data networks for carriers and becoming a sales manager for the Northeast region. Working at Gearworks as CEO through the 2008 financial crisis taught him skills that served him well in his current role as a CMO. Krautkremer says, “I have empathy for customers. I understand how my partner in sales works, thinks, what they need, and most importantly, I am a better CMO because I understand what our CEO thinks and needs and the pressure that he goes through every day and the role that marketing has to play in really shaping the strategy and driving the go-to-market and seizing the opportunities.” 

Krautkremer also delves deep into 5G technology and how marketers should be evolving their methods during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. He says, “Every customer is in some type of emergency response mode. It is either survival for the business. It is either a fundamental shift in how people are working or it is mounting a response to the crisis that we are dealing in. Our customers at Cradlepoint include a lot of healthcare providers and first responders. So, we have a smattering of all of that. But as a marketeer, if you’re not dramatically changing everything that you do at this moment in time, you are behind the 8-ball.” 

 Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”: 

  • Todd describes his upbringing and background in computer science. (01:49)
  • He joined his first of four startup companies as the only sales representative. (04:23) 
  • What did Todd Krautkremer learn during the 2008 recession?  (06:40)
  • With coronavirus wreaking havoc on marketing plans, marketers should be doing the same with their marketing plans. (9:01) 
  • Todd describes what Cradlepoint does and how they are responding to the current crisis.  (10:38)
  • Cradlepoint is an enterprise-class product providing wireless connectivity and extending into homes. (14:13) 
  • What is the vision of where Cradlepoint wants to go in the future? (15:48)
  • 5G is going to be fiber-fast but can also literally pop up a network. (17:22) 
  • During the pandemic, Todd advises marketers to have an open-arms approach to engaging the marketplace with your solutions. (19:16)
  • What experience in Todd’s life has helped make him who he is today? (24:20)
  • What advice would Todd give to his younger self? (28:00) 
  • What is a recent purchase of $100 or less that has been the most impactful for you?  (31:00)
  • Are there any brands, companies, or causes that he thinks marketers should be paying attention to? (32:18)
  • What does Todd Krautkremer feel is the largest opportunity or threat that marketers face today?  (35:22)

Times Of Adversity Are Ultimate Stress Test For Relationship Between People And Brands

Originally published at AW360 by Alan Nay.

Brands should be asking what we as a company can do to help?

The relationship between brands and consumers has grown increasingly personal over recent years. Through social media, experiential activations, festivals and more, it’s gotten easier for brands (who know themselves well) to create deeper connections with people by attaching a voice, personality and cause to their brand. In the good times, it’s all fun and games: memes, Twitter wars and tongue-in-cheek campaigns play a huge role in developing a rapport with consumers. But with the global spread of COVID-19, we now find ourselves in challenging times. If prosperity makes friends, and adversity tries them, then this global pandemic has created an unparalleled stress test for the modern brand/consumer relationship.

The difference between brands who are building solid, long-lasting relationships and those who are struggling to keep up is the ability to walk the walk and instill trust. For consumers, and humans in general, trust is incredibly precious–especially when things get tough and the path forward is shadowed in uncertainty. With a global pandemic in full swing, there’s no doubt the going is getting tougher and the path forward harder to see. This means the relationships that brands have devoted so much time and resources to building are now more important than ever.

In the short months since COVID-19 entered our vocabulary, the virus isn’t the only thing that’s spread far and wide–uncertainty and anxiety have made their way into our homes and our daily lives. Conditions on the ground are changing hour-by-hour, cities and states are shutting down and panic and pessimism are at an all-time high. Sprinkle some rumors and misinformation on top of that, and we have a panicky global mess on our hands. It’s in these times of duress that consumers look to brands they love for a little help and maybe even some guidance. That’s part of the reason that we’re seeing an uptick in video consumption, ecommerce orders and yes, of course, trips to the store to stock up on toilet paper.

So, what do brands do when they’re seeing their customers flock to them in order to feel better in times of turbulence? How do you pass the stress test?

In Seattle, where the virus outbreak got its head start in the states, we are seeing brands quickly step up with a sense of responsibility to their employees, vendors, and customers. For instance, Alaska Airlines is offering free ticket exchanges, Amazon has set up a $5 million fund to help vendors whose businesses are disrupted by employees working from home and Microsoft is continuing to pay hourly workers who are affected by the company-wide shutdown.

This, of course, is not a new idea and is certainly not the first time that brands have stepped up beyond their direct corporate interests in times of need. For example, in 1992, when Hurricane Andrew devastated South Florida, Home Depot reimagined their retail stores as headquarters to assist citizens, first responders and relief organizations. It was a swift action that was entirely motivated by the urge to help people, and Home Depot has been at the front lines of natural disaster defense and rebuilding efforts ever since.

There’s a simple common thread among these examples; executive leadership taking the time to ask, “What can we, as a company, do to help?” Then, acting with sincerity to make a bad situation a little bit better. For brands, this means taking action within your means to help communities as though every person is your most treasured customer.

However, it’s not enough for brands to merely think of their own employees, vendors, or customers. This is a chance for brands to embody their values through action, to be a positive influence in their community and to continue to build trusted relationships. The more brands that participate in these small, tangible acts of assistance, the larger the collective impact.

Unfortunately, the current COVID-19 crisis is happening on a scale that we haven’t seen in generations. It’s like five hurricanes, three oil spills and a giant financial meltdown all rolled up into one big global disaster. But the virus is only fueling one part of our fear. The other–maybe larger part–is the uncertainty of what’s ahead. This is where the strength of the brand/consumer relationship is being tested because dealing with the unknown is much easier when we’re not having to go through it all alone.

Brands have a responsibility to stand up and take action. Whether it’s a program to help affected people in your community, a donation to well-researched and relevant causes or an internal policy to protect your employees, brands need to demonstrate that they’re there in the good times and the bad. People are watching and waiting to see who is joining the cause to help make things at least a little bit better and keeping note of those who aren’t. When this is all over, the brands who acted responsibly and did the right thing during this turbulent time will reap the rewards of having earned strong, trusted relationships with their customers.

And at the end of the day, relationships are our lifeblood. These moments build the bonds that we end up valuing most, and the strongest, longest-lasting relationships are those that weather storms without faltering.

So, with the unprecedented times of adversity in front of us, are we alone or together?

US Spending On Search Advertising Will Fall By Between 8.7% And 14.8%

According to eMarketer, US spending on search advertising will fall by between 8.7 percent and 14.8 percent in H1 2020, $6 billion to $8 billion less than the researcher previously expected on March 6—a 14.4 percent increase in search ad spending for 2020.

A closer look reveals that search ad spending was uniform in Q1 as a result of stable performance in early 2020. However, ad investments in Q1 saw a year-over-year spending increase of 2.8 percent and a decrease in 0.2 percent, indicating major spending cuts started in March.

EMarketer estimates ad investments in Q2 will decline by between 20.2 percent and 29.4 percent on a year-over-year basis, with the most dramatic reduction in spend from travel advertisers and the media and entertainment industry. The impact of the lowered search ad estimate in H1 will vary from sector to sector.

Though search is often viewed as recession-proof, the current crisis is impacting the performance marketing channel in two ways: Many of the conversions that would occur as a result of search are affected by business closures and stay-at-home orders, causing inventory shortfalls. Additionally, search budgets can be paused or pulled at any time because they aren’t committed in advance.

Amazon’s decision to suspend shipment of all non-essential products, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, has made it difficult for consumers to buy multiple items online. This is decreasing the share of search ad spending ecommerce activity usually drives.According to tinuiti, since the end of January Amazon has been dramatically pivoting away from Google Ads across a variety of product categories, and as of March 11, has turned off all of its text ads.