Listen In: The Future Of Work With Charlie Fink

We’re back with another episode of’s weekly series Listen In, created by Ayzenberg principal and ECD Matt Bretz. This week we’re featuring a conversation between James Wiley, social media strategist at, and XR consultant, author & columnist Charlie Fink on the future of work.

About Listen In: Each week on Listen In, Bretz and a rotating cast of hosts from Ayzenberg interview experts in the field of marketing and advertising to explore uncharted territory together. The goal is to provide the audience with actionable insights, enabling them to excel in their field.

Gender And Racial Inequalities Persist In Ads

In 2019, representation of black and brown people in ads reached 38 percent, down from 43.1 percent in 2018, according to a study on inclusion and bias in advertising from Cannes Lions and The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. The report analyzed representations of gender, race/ethnicity, LGBTQ+, disability, age and body size in Cannes Lions ads from 2006 to 2019.

Despite the 5.1 percent decline, racially diverse characters garnered 46.4 percent of screen time in 2019 ads.

Since 2006, the first time the organizations analyzed race in ads, the number of black and brown people shown in ads grew by 12.1 percent, from 25.9 percent in 2006 to 38 percent in 2019. On the other hand, white characters saw a decrease, from 74.1 percent in 2006 to 62 percent in 2019.

Still, the industry has a long way to go in eliminating racial bias in ads as white characters are more likely to be shown working than those of color (20.5 percent compared with 17.2 percent). White people are also more likely to be portrayed as smart than black and brown people (10.1 percent vs. 7.6 percent).

The report also found racial differences in depictions of work, eating/drinking, exercising and in a classroom, as well as a discrepancy in representations of intelligence. So while advertisers have made creative more racially diverse, they’ve also continued to reinforce negative stereotypes.

Representation of women in ads has remained mostly stagnant. In 2019, male characters outnumbered female characters two to one (61.4 percent vs. 38.6 percent). What’s worse, male actors have twice the screen time and speaking time as female actors (69.3 percent vs. 30.6 percent).

Gender equality in ads has fluctuated over the past decade; representation of women peaked at 40.2 percent in 2014 (vs. 59.8 percent for men). Since then, the percentage of males shown in ads has also fluctuated, but has never dropped below 59 percent.

This gender imbalance can also be seen in the portrayals of work, leadership and personal attributes in ads. Nearly twice as many male characters are shown working as female characters (22.2 percent vs. 13.3 percent). Male characters are also more likely to be depicted as leaders than female characters (16.6 percent compared with 10.1 percent). Additionally, more male characters are shown as funny than female characters (22.1 percent vs. 15.4 percent). Female characters are nearly twice as likely to be shown as partially nude, and four times more likely to be shown in revealing clothing than their male counterparts (10.8 percent compared with 2.2 percent).

For LGBTQ+ characters, the figures are worse: just 1.8 percent of characters with a discernible sexual orientation in ads are LGBTQ+, compared to 10 percent of people globally.

Advertisers also represent LGBTQ+ characters differently than non-LGBTQ+ ones. For example, non-LGBTQ+ characters are more likely to be shown working than LGBTQ+ characters (18.9 percent vs. 6.9 percent), and as smart (8.9 percent vs. 6.8 percent).

The groups most underrepresented in ads include people with disabilities, those over the age of 60 and characters with large body types. In 2019, people with disabilities accounted for just 2.2 percent of characters in ads; people over 60, seven percent; and those with large body types, 7.2 percent.

While characters ages 60 and over are nearly twice as likely to be shown as leaders than younger people, characters with large body types are more likely to be shown as stupid than other characters (9.1 percent vs. 1.8 percent).

Findings are based on an analysis of 251 English-speaking or English-subtitled Cannes Lions Film and Film Craft ads from 2019, from the US, the UK, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia.

Newzoo Expects 2020 Global Games Market To Reach $159 Billion

This year, the global video games market will reach $159.3 billion, a 9.3 percent increase year-over-year, according to Newzoo’s annual global games report.

The pandemic has accelerated the growth of the already steadily rising gaming market.

Since stay-at-home orders were implemented, most game segments have seen an increase in engagement and revenues. Mobile games, the largest segment in 2020, will generate $77.2 billion in revenue—$63.6 billion from mobile games and $13.7 billion from tablet games—growing 13.3 percent YoY. Console games, despite being adversely affected by the pandemic, will generate $45.2 billion, a 6.8 percent growth YoY. Downloaded/boxed PC games will reach $33.9 billion, a 6.7 percent growth YoY.

The only segment that will see a decline is browser PC games, at $3 billion. This 13.4 percent decrease YoY is a result of browser games transitioning to mobile.

By the end of 2020, Newzoo says there will be 2.7 billion gamers worldwide—2.5 billion playing on mobile, 1.3 billion playing on desktop and 800 million on console—an increase of over 135 million from the previous year driven by emerging markets in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Dominating the global games market is Asia, which will generate revenues of $78.4 billion, accounting for 49 percent of the market and representing a 9.9 percent growth YoY. The 1.4 billion total players there will account for 54 percent of all players worldwide.

The second largest region by revenues will be North America, which will account for a quarter of this year’s global games market at $40 billion, or an 8.5 percent increase from last year. However, the US will have the fewest players of any region this year (210 million).

Europe, the second most mature gaming market after the US, follows closely with $29.6 billion, a 7.8 percent growth. There are 386 million players there.

Gaming will increase in Latin America by 10.3 percent to $6 billion, making up four percent of the market this year. The region includes 266 million players.

The Middle East and Africa will reach $5.4 billion, a 14.5 percent increase. Combined, the regions have 377 million players.

Many new players in the aforementioned growth markets, however, have entered gaming via mobile, whose free-to-play business model makes it difficult to convert them into payers and eclipses the growth of paid games on mobile. In-game transactions accounted for 98 percent of mobile game revenues. Newzoo sees the figure reaching 100 percent in the coming years.

Newzoo also expects full-game revenues to be marginalized by the increase of in-game revenues, which will be a focus of publishers and developers as subscription revenues replace full game sales.

By 2023, Newzoo predicts the games market will reach $200.8 billion, with the number of players worldwide surpassing the three-billion mark.

Given the inherently social experience they provide, gaming platforms will continue to undergo a cultural shift into fully functional social networks. Whereas before younger generations ditched traditional media for social media, now they’re leaving behind social for the interactive experiences gaming can offer. Amid lockdowns, gaming became even more popular as people searched for alternative ways to socialize.

Another trend expected to shape the games market is next-generation consoles like Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 leading to new business models. If these brands’ cloud gaming services can replicate the experience of playing on next-generation consoles, a monthly fee will act as an alternative to a console’s upfront cost.

Gaming has also proved to be a viable alternative to in-person events. In April, Fortnite displayed this ability to bring people together in lockdowns when it hosted a virtual Travis Scott concert, which drew in 12.3 million viewers.

The globalization of China’s games market will also influence the industry. In 2018, China’s games market was disrupted by a nine-month-long licensing freeze. To offset the fallout and lost revenue, Chinese game companies shifted their focus to overseas markets after having long operated in a vacuum. As a result, Chinese companies are now creating development studios for all platforms around the world. 

Findings are based on a survey Newzoo conducted in February and March 2020 among over 62,500 invite-only respondents, between the ages of 10 and 65, across 30 countries.

What We’re Reading-Week Of June 22nd

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

Vice Calls On Brands To Rethink Keyword Blocklists Associated With Racism

Ad Age

At its virtual Digital Content NewFronts, Vice Media urged advertisers to stop blocking “Black Lives Matter” and related keywords.

Why it matters: Vice’s internal analysis revealed that content related to the police killing of George Floyd and ensuing protests were monetized at a rate 57 percent lower than other news content.

Entering A New Decade Of AI: The State Of Play

McKinsey & Company

In a recent global survey on artificial intelligence (AI) among 2,300 executives, the McKinsey Global Institute found that across the board, the use of AI in standard business processes has increased 25 percent year-over-year.

Why it matters: Despite significant growth in AI adoption, organizations have a long way to go to scale impact, manage risks and retrain the workforce.

Jimmy John’s Makes A Rare Move To Jolt Sandwich Sales


As foot traffic to Jimmy John’s plummeted during the pandemic, the brand launched a number of promotions, then enlisted laid-off production talent from around the country to shoot footage for accompanying television spots.

Why it matters: When COVID-19 hit, many creative agencies immediately initiated layoffs and furloughs. This Jimmy John’s campaign not only lured customers back to its restaurants but also helped the creative community.

How To Overcome Your Fear Of Making Mistakes

Harvard Business Review 

To channel mistakes into better decision making, former clinical psychologist turned writer Alice Boyes, PhD, recommends saying your fears out loud, accepting reality and directing worries toward behaviors that will realistically reduce the chances of failure.

Why it matters: The pandemic and recent protests over police brutality have made people fearful of making mistakes.

Opinion: In 2020, There’s No Place For Universal Thinking In Marketing

Ad Age

To build deeper connections, brands must reinstate the practice of consumer segmentation to ensure all voices are heard and different mindsets are represented.

Why it matters: Consumer segmentation at the behavioral level only gives marketers the “what.” Segmenting with like mindsets and shared cultures produces the “why.”

Burger King Names Ellie Doty As CMO For North America

This week in leadership updates, Ellie Doty joins Burger King as CMO for North America, McDonald’s UK chief marketing officer Gareth Helm departs, Forbes promotes Sade Muhammad to the newly created role of director of representation and inclusion partnerships and more.

Burger King Names Ellie Doty As CMO For North America

Ad Age reports that Ellie Doty has been tapped as Burger King’s new chief marketing officer for North America, a role that has been unoccupied in recent years. 

Doty will take on duties associated with the departure of Burger King’s VP and head of brand and communications for North America, Marcelo Páscoa, who left last month to serve as VP of brand marketing for the Coors Family of Brands.

McDonald’s UK Chief Marketing Officer Gareth Helm Resigns

McDonald’s UK CMO Gareth Helm is stepping down after joining the company in May 2019.

Helm’s departure has prompted a restructuring of the company’s marketing team, leading to UK and Ireland vice president of food, beverage, product development and marketing, Michelle Graham-Clare, taking over Helm’s role while retaining her current position.

Forbes Names Sade Muhammad As Director Of Representation And Inclusion Partnerships

Forbes has promoted Sade Muhammad to the newly created role of director of representation and inclusion partnerships, following the company’s establishment of a three-prong representation and inclusion initiative in January. In her new role, Muhammad will work with marketers and brands on campaigns to drive system change.

Muhammad joined Forbes’ content marketing platform team, BrandVoice, in 2016.

Margaret Jobling Steps Down As Centrica Chief Marketing Officer

Group CMO at Centrica, Margaret Jobling, is leaving the company, according to Campaign. The move comes after Centrica announced that it would be cutting 5,000 jobs, including half of its 40-person senior leadership team.

Jobling joined Centrica in 2014 as brand and marketing director at British Gas before being promoted to CMO in 2018.

Fiona Carter Named As First-Ever Goldman Sachs CMO

Axios reports that former AT&T chief brand officer Fiona Carter has been hired by Goldman Sachs to fill the newly created position of chief marketing officer.

Carter’s most recent marketing position as AT&T chief brand officer found her responsible for one of the largest advertising budgets in the U.S. Carter also served as COO for Omnicom, prior to her five years at AT&T. She is scheduled to begin her new position on September 1.

Smith & Wesson Hires Kyle Tengwall As Vice President Of Marketing

Smith & Wesson has named Kyle Tengwall as VP of marketing to lead the brand’s efforts to grow and increase consumer loyalty.

Tengwall joins from United Tactical Systems, where he served as chief marketing officer and divisional general manager for PepperBall.

Lessons From Diageo On Achieving Gender Equality In Advertising

Women account for 70-80 percent of all purchasing decisions, yet they’re often absent, objectified or portrayed in a regressive way in advertising. Diageo’s global head of consumer planning, Andrew Geoghegan, and global brand director of Guinness, Grainne Wafer, examined this truth in a LIONS Live panel, as part of this year’s Cannes Lions, about Diageo’s endeavors to achieve gender equality in advertising. Here are the lessons they’ve learned along the way.

Diageo found that signals of cultural change come from the top. To normalize greater gender balance, Diageo hired more women, transforming its once nearly all-male executive committee into one made up of 40 percent women. The change also led to senior female leaders representing 50 percent of the company’s global marketing team.

Creating an inclusive organization also meant implementing policies that mirrored Diageo’s mission. In 2019, Diageo equalized family leave across its global offices, allowing men and women six months of fully paid leave, and up to a year off work. The policy applies regardless of gender, sexuality and the method by which an employee became a parent.

Ads can either constrain or inspire how consumers see themselves. That’s why Diageo conducted an analysis of how women are portrayed in popular culture around the world. The findings provided the basis for Diageo’s “Progressive Gender Portrayal Framework,” an actionable framework it developed to be applicable across all its brands, in different stages of communication developments and in various cultural markets. Diageo distributed the framework to 1,200 marketeers and agencies via training modules to help them identify their own biases.

The framework consists of four guidelines: representation, how ads represent different types of women that consumers can relate to; perspective, or who’s framing the story; agency, addressing women respectfully; and characterization, ensuring women have the same depth and complexity as men who are featured in creative.

Diageo says it was also important to remain honest about any creative they’ve developed that didn’t meet the mark on gender equality. For example, its Bailey’s brand realized that a former brand proposition about making women shine resulted in stereotypical portrayals of women. Bailey’s shifted this messaging to one around adult treats, thereby improving the brand’s health.

To ensure creative meets your standards for gender equality, the duo recommends measuring consumer perception of ads. For example, Diageo’s Guinness brand ran a spot highlighting a Japanese rugby team of females that made it to the 1991 Women’s Rugby World Cup despite social disapproval. A survey after the fact showed that 81 percent of people agreed the ad portrayed women as positive role models.

To encourage gender equality in creative, in 2019, Diageo partnered with Creative Equals to help women return to the industry following a career break of a year or more. The Creative Equals Returner scheme, #CreativeComeback, saw 58 women complete the course and a majority return to creative industries afterward.

Diageo’s commitment to closing the gap in creative leadership stems from efforts made by the company’s outgoing chief marketing officer, Syl Saller. In 2018, Saller sent a letter to agencies calling on them to disclose the percentage of women on their leadership teams and how they plan to address any gender imbalances. Saller will retire this summer after 20 years at Diageo.

Marc Pritchard On P&G’s Response To COVID-19 And Systemic Racism

When the pandemic hit, the ad industry suddenly became paralyzed. Then, just as brands started to find their footing again, Black Lives Matter protests broke out, exposing the deep cracks of systemic racism in everyday American life. Brands responded with statements, donations, a blackout and a Facebook boycott. Consumers demanded action. All the while, Procter & Gamble (P&G) kept a low profile for what the company’s chief brand officer Marc Pritchard says was an intentional display of action, not headlines.

During his Cannes Lions presentation on LIONS Live, Pritchard explained P&G’s behind-the-scenes response to COVID-19, the anti-racism protests and gender inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic. In addition, he shares the racial equality roadmaps P&G brands will follow as an example of how brands can use creativity to lead change.

P&G’s pandemic game plan began with a review of every communication through the lens of being useful. In addition to creating how-to content such as cutting hair at home and skincare after wearing a mask all day, P&G donated products, money and personal protective equipment to families in need through over 200 relief organizations worldwide.

In response to a request from Ohio governor, Mike DeWine, to help encourage young people to social distance, P&G enlisted TikTok mega-influencer Charli D’Amelio, who has 65.9 million followers, to create the #DistanceDance challenge. P&G pledged to donate products to families in need for the first 3 million videos that remixed the challenge. The challenge went viral: 3.4 million users created their own version of the dance and D’Amelio’s video has been viewed 16.9 billion times since. P&G, however, didn’t make its involvement explicit.

P&G also launched programs and campaigns aimed at supporting hard-hit communities such as women and BIPOC (Black & Indigenous People Of Color). One such initiative included the re-release of a film P&G first launched in 2019 called “The Look,” designed to highlight the racial bias black men face every day.

Having never dealt with inequality issues in race, healthcare and gender, many brands are willing to initiate change but don’t know where to start. Pritchard recommends taking the time to learn about the history of racism and having difficult conversations to induce understanding, empathy and action.

To continue its anti-racism efforts, P&G has set a goal of achieving 40 percent multicultural representation within P&G North America. It also plans to increase investment in black-owned or operated media companies, agencies and marketing suppliers. A comprehensive review to ensure P&G advertising “accurately and respectfully portrays black people and all people” is also underway. Lastly, P&G is ensuring that it’s not advertising on or near discriminatory content.

Instagram Rolls Out TikTok-Like Feature To France And Germany

This week in social media news, Instagram rolls out its TikTok-like function, Reels, to new markets, TikTok announces the formation of its Creator Diversity Collective, CPMs surge by 100 percent in May, Snapchat announces the upcoming premiere of its first shoppable show, Instagram expands ecommerce eligibility to creators and very small businesses, Facebook rolls out a Limited Data Use feature to help brands comply with CCPA and Microsoft says it’s transitioning Mixer to Facebook Gaming.

Instagram Expands Its Reels Feature To More Regions

Instagram is launching its TikTok-like function, Reels, which it first introduced in November 2019 in Brazil, to new markets, as reported by TechCrunch.

Why it matters: Instagram’s gradual expansion of Reels and its broader sharing options could help prevent it from losing users to TikTok.

The details: With Reels, users can make 15-second looping video clips, set them to music and splice them together from various clips. Instagram displays popular Reels in the Explore page, which other users can then remix, similar to TikTok.

Now, Instagram is expanding Reels to France and Germany, as well as introducing new features including the ability to share Reels to both the main feed and stories. For public profiles, Instagram has also added a dedicated section on profiles for Reels.

TikTok Announces Formation Of Creator Diversity Collective

TikTok announced the formation of a Creator Diversity Collective, made up of seven creators who will meet regularly with TikTok employees to share the perspectives of the creator community in order to curb racism and discrimination on the platform.

Why it matters: TikTok’s new diversity group is part of the app’s larger efforts to create an inclusive experience for users and support the black community. In addition to providing clarity around its removal processes of racist content, TikTok will also donate $2 million to organizations that support diversity, $1 million to the Center for Policing Equity, $850,000 in micro-grants to organizations working to undo systemic racism through public policy and $150,000 to black museums across the country.

The details: Following Black Lives Matter protests, TikTok says it invited black creators to a town hall with TikTok’s CEO, head of culture and diversity and additional members of its leadership team to share their concerns and experiences with racism.

The inaugural members of TikTok’s diversity collective will first meet in July. More creators from different backgrounds will join the collective in the coming weeks.

TikTok also announced the addition of Mutale Nkonde to its Content Advisory Council, which it launched in March.

Facebook Rolls Out New Live Producer Tools To More Users

Facebook is rolling out new tools for its Live Producer streaming platform, including graphic overlays, featured comments and a featured link, to more creators, as spotted by social media expert Matt Navarra.

Why it matters: The updates will add a level of professionalism to livestreams and help drive more direct traffic from them as viewership of Facebook livestreams has surged 50 percent since January.

The details: Among Facebook’s updates for Live Producer are different kinds of graphic overlays, plus the ability to run polls and display viewer results in real-time, highlight viewer comments at the top of the stream and add a news ticker that scrolls along the foot of the broadcast. A feature link option will also enable users to highlight a website link accompanied by a description.

CPMs Increase 100 Percent In May As Stay-At-Home Restrictions Are Lifted

According to research from Customer Acquisition, CPMs rose from $5 to $10, a 100 percent increase, over the course of May, when officials began easing stay-at-home orders.

Why it matters: The rebound comes after CPMs decreased 250 percent as a result of mandatory lockdowns that began in mid-March.

The details: For one unnamed client with $12 million, Customer Acquisition says CPM surged 284 percent, from $6.11 in the beginning of the pandemic to $17.41 in May.

Snapchat To Stream Its First Shoppable Show Selling Streetwear

During Snapchat’s virtual presentation for the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Digital Content NewFronts, the company announced that this year, it will start streaming its first shoppable show, “The Drop,” featuring streetwear collaborations with designers and celebrities. The company shared additional details on its original programming lineup, as well as updated data about its audience and their behavior.

Why it matters: As consumer behavioral shifts to online shopping accelerate, Snapchat will have to compete with the likes of Instagram and Facebook, which recently launched a feature enabling businesses to create virtual storefronts.

The details: In addition to a streetwear show, Snapchatters can also expect a makeup competition show called “Fake Up,” featuring augmented reality lenses that let users try on the looks that makeup artists create in the show. The second season of Snapchat’s original series about custom cars, “Driven,” which drew in 15 million viewers, will premiere at the end of 2020 or in early 2021.

Snapchat says it now has more US daily active users (DAUs) ages 25 and up than all of Twitter’s monetizable DAU base for all age groups. Snapchat also fueled on average an additional 23 percent reach to television campaigns among advertisers’ target demographics.

Instagram Expands Ecommerce Eligibility To More Businesses, Creators

Instagram is now letting more businesses, including creators, who have at least one eligible product, to sell on the app. It’s also providing transparency on its on-boarding, rejection and integrity check processes.

Why it matters: The move comes shortly after Instagram rolled out Shops, or virtual storefronts for businesses, and after users spotted Instagram testing shopping tags in post captions. The expansion will likely benefit creators and very small businesses who are looking to sell merchandise or jumpstart new ventures.

The details: Instagram expanding access to shopping on the platform will enable any eligible business or creator account with at least one eligible product to use shopping tags to drive customers to their website. The new policy requires these businesses to tag products on Instagram from only one website they own.

Instagram is also providing clearer guidance to businesses into the types of businesses that perform best on Instagram and reasoning for why a business isn’t approved.

Facebook Rolls Out Limited Data Use Feature To Promote CCPA Compliance

Facebook is introducing a new feature called Limited Data Use, which will restrict Facebook’s use of the California data they send to it. The feature was designed to help businesses meet California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) regulations.

Why it matters: Facebook’s new feature will simplify the process of creating separate parameters for users in different regions and ensure compliance with the CCPA.

The details: As per Facebook, “When a business applies this feature, it will direct Facebook to process information about people in California as the business’s Service Provider. That means we will limit how this information is processed as specified in our State-Specific Terms. When Limited Data Use is enabled, businesses may notice an impact to campaign performance and effectiveness, and retargeting and measurement capabilities will be limited.”

Facebook says an initial transition period will automatically limit how it uses California data. After July 31, when the transition period ends, businesses will need to implement the feature to continue data use restrictions, or if the CCPA doesn’t apply to them, they can override the automatic application.

Microsoft To Shut Down Mixer And Transition To Facebook Gaming

Microsoft is shutting down its streaming platform Mixer on July 22 and giving partnered Mixer streams a new home on Facebook Gaming, both companies announced.

Why it matters: Mixer’s transition is part of a larger effort from Xbox and Facebook Gaming to create new games, which currently over 700 million people play in a gaming group on Facebook.

The details: To help Mixer’s community make the transition, Facebook Gaming is granting Mixer partners “partner status” to honor and match all existing partner agreements as closely as possible.

Facebook will grant streamers who were part of Mixer’s open monetization program eligibility for the Facebook Gaming Level Up Program, which will enable them to continue monetizing streams.

Mixer is also doubling payment for all partners’ earnings in the month of June.

Mixer viewers can connect their Mixer account to Facebook Gaming, which will then display the Facebook Pages that correspond to the Mixer channels they currently follow.

Facebook’s NPE Team Launches Forecast App

Facebook’s New Product Experimentation (NPE) team launched an invite-only beta for a new app called Forecast where members can ask questions and make predictions about the future; first starting with people in the health, research and academic communities to make predictions about COVID’s impact.

Why it matters: The launch comes as brands are boycotting Facebook for its inaction on removing hate speech and preventing misinformation.

The details: The NPE team says conversations will be publicly available on the Forecast website. For now, the app is only available to members in the US and Canada, and on the iOS app. Those who wish to sign up can join the waitlist.

Snapchat Adds New Capabilities To Its Dynamic Ads

Snapchat is adding new capabilities to its Dynamic Ads, the beta launch of which was announced in the US in October 2019, to help brands navigate COVID.

Why it matters: The pandemic has forced brands to pivot digital, including Adidas, who beta tested Snap’s Dynamic Ads recently in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and France, leading to a 52 percent growth in return on ad spend (ROAS).

The details: Snapchat is expanding Dynamic Ads to 12 countries including the US, the UK, Canada, France, Norway and Saudi Arabia, among others. Dynamic Ads will now also support websites and mobile apps.

Other features like diagnostic tools that lets brands quickly troubleshoot issues and pre-designed creative templates for product images are part of the update.

Lastly, a “location-aware” feature lets advertisers include geographical coordinates in their catalogs to create a localized experience.

Google Ad Revenue To Drop For The First Time

Google’s U.S. digital ad revenues will decline— 5.3 percent to $39.58 billion by the end of 2020—for the first time since eMarketer began estimating the company’s ad revenues, according to the researcher.

Why it matters: The decline brings Google’s share of the U.S. digital ad market to 29.4 percent, down from 31.6 percent in 2019; compared with eMarketer’s pre-pandemic prediction that its U.S. ad revenues would grow 12.9 percent.

The details: Facebook and Amazon will see increases in their net US ad revenues despite downward revisions for both. Facebook’s net U.S. digital ad revenues will increase 4.9 percent to $31.43 billion while Amazon’s will surge 23.5 percent to $12.75 billion.

Emarketer estimates the total US digital ad market will grow 1.7 percent to $134.66 billion.

YouTube Tests Shoppable Video Ads

YouTube is experimenting with shoppable video ads that include browsable product imagery and “Video action” campaigns to help brands establish a stronger ecommerce presence.

Why it matters: Despite retail stores and restaurants reopening in most parts of the US, the trend of shopping for both essential and non-essential items online is expected to continue. YouTube’s shoppable video ads aim to help brands capitalize on this trend.

The details: YouTube’s shoppable product ads would allow brands to sync their Google Merchant Center feed to their video ads and choose which best-sellers to feature.

In response to marketers cutting budgets due to COVID, YouTube is also launching “Video action” campaigns, which will help drive more conversions across YouTube by bringing video ads that drive action to YouTube’s home feed, watch pages and Google video partners. As part of each campaign, YouTube will also include any future inventory that becomes available, like the “What to Watch Next” feed.

Additionally, Google says it added YouTube to its Google Ads attribution reports to inform campaign budget allocation.

Snapchat Apologizes For Offensive Juneteenth Filter

Users slammed Snapchat for a tone-deaf Juneteenth filter which, in addition to featuring the Pan-African flag in the background, showed the “chains of slavery” being broken when a user smiles. The filter, which has since been removed, prompted Snapchat’s vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion, Oona King, to issue an apology.

Why it matters: Snapchat’s controversial Juneteenth filter comes after the platform announced it would no longer promote the President’s content in the Discover feed after deciding his tweets in response to Black Lives Matter protests incite racial violence.

The details: As reported by The Verge, King said in a letter to Snapchat employees: “This mistake has taught us a valuable lesson, and I am sincerely sorry that it came at the expense of what we meant to be a respectful commemoration of this important day.”

King also noted that black employees were fully involved in creating and approving the filter but admitted that Snap officials overlooked how it might offend people on a holiday intended to celebrate the end of slavery.

LinkedIn Publishes Virtual Events Playbook

As businesses pivot digital amid the pandemic, LinkedIn has published a virtual events guide on the different uses for LinkedIn Live and LinkedIn Events and how to leverage each to conduct successful virtual events.

Why it matters: LinkedIn’s virtual events guide can help brands connect with audiences until in-person events resume.

The details: LinkedIn says that LinkedIn Live is a good option when you want to achieve top-of-funnel goals such as reach and brand awareness; to get the most out of live broadcast, it recommends sticking to content topics that appeal to your existing audience.

LinkedIn Events, on the other hand, is the better option for when your goal is to build community and reach a targeted audience you want to engage more deeply.

Given not all Pages have access to LinkedIn Live, LinkedIn says the best way to get your Page approved is to make an effort to regularly engage audiences, respond to comments and have over 1,000 followers.

The guide also includes the type of events that work best on LinkedIn—community and brand building events, conferences, targeted-audience events and talent branding.

LinkedIn also hinted at forthcoming updates such as the ability to capture registrations directly on the platform and retarget event attendees.

Spotify Adds Self-Service Video Ads To Its Ad Studio

Spotify is adding self-service video ads to its Ad Studio, citing research that shows running both video ads and audio ads produces higher brand results than running just video ads.

Why it matters: Spotify makes the case for running video ads on the platform: “On other platforms, video ads are often viewed while muted, but on Spotify, listeners are engaging with their sound on, offering a valuable opportunity for your message to be seen and heard.”

The details: Brands can choose to run horizontal or vertical video ads, and will have access to real-time reporting within Ad Studio. Spotify videos ads are available in the US, UK and Canada.

Civil Rights Groups Urge Brands To Pull Spending From Facebook 

The Anti-Defamation League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Color of Change, Common Sense Media and Sleeping Giants have launched a campaign called #StopHateforProfit, urging brands to stop advertising on Facebook in July in response to its refusal to remove hate speech from the platform.

Why it matters: The movement follows Facebook’s inaction on President Trump’s post about Black Lives Matter protests, which in part reads, “These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd.” Twitter, on the other hand, placed a “public interest notice” on that same message from Trump for violating its policies regarding the glorification of violence.

The details: Organizers of #StopHateforProfit are calling on brands to stop advertising on Facebook’s services in July. So far, Patagonia, REI and North Face have joined the campaign.

How The Rapid Growth Of Ecommerce Will Change Brands’ Approach To Media

As the pandemic accelerates the shift to digital, ecommerce becomes both an opportunity and a threat to brands. During his virtual LIONS Live presentation, WARC vice president of content David Tiltman and a panel of marketing executives discuss how the rapid growth of ecommerce will change how brands approach media and why brand and creativity will remain key along the way.

Ecommerce’s first implication for brands, Tiltman notes, is that it forces consumers out of usual purchase habits and into new ones. According to a Kantar study, during lockdowns, 56 percent of households with kids have tried new products, which they’ll continue to buy.

To capitalize on changing consumer behavior, brands must look at the total brand experience they can offer, from rethinking packaging and pricing to enhancing the unboxing experience. “What you lose in the ability to talk to customers and let them touch and feel your products, you have to make up for in your customer experience,” says Cheryl Calverley, chief executive officer of Eve Sleep.

Effective marketing in the age of ecommerce also requires marketers to get closer to the supply chain.

“Supply chain is a top-line growth driver for ecommerce, it’s not a cost-cutting exercise. It drives second moment of truth. We see vulnerabilities for brands impacted by damages like leaking, broken trigger sprays and bruised fruit. That’s all damaging that second moment of truth. Supply chain is the opportunity to make second moment of truth outstanding,” says Patrick Miller, co-founder of Flywheel Digital, whose client roster includes Procter & Gamble.

Ecommerce is also changing the way marketers view performance media to drive sales. One trend that encapsulates this shift is the rise of shoppable formats. For example, Instagram’s recent expansion of virtual storefronts for businesses and Snapchat’s forthcoming shoppable show represent opportunities for marketers to take a consumer directly to sale.

Another trend that has arrived with the rise of ecommerce is livestreaming ecommerce, which has already gained significant traction in China. There, livestream shows combine influencer marketing, video content and ecommerce to create “retailtainment” (retail and entertainment) experiences that drive community and sales.

Elijah Whaley, chief marketing officer of the Chinese influencer consultancy Parklu, points to the success of cosmetics brand Perfect Diary, which launched in 2016 and became a top-selling brand on China’s Tmall in 2018 and again in 2019. Instead of focusing on the top-of-funnel like brand awareness and programmatic advertising, Whaley says Perfect Diary has poured efforts into fostering community. To do so, the brand created a virtual influencer around which it launched a program store and product line. The result: Perfect Diary has over a million customers in what’s called “private traffic,” or online audience, on WeChat.

Lastly, Tiltman advises brands to resist the shift to short-termism, which has produced the creativity crisis. For example, brands have spent more on ecommerce and less on brand advertising, leading to diminished campaign effectiveness.

“Digital channels prove themselves quite well in a silo, but you need to understand how it fits into your whole mix,” says Jerry Daykin, EMEA media director of GlaxoSmithKline.

In addition to looking beyond attribution models, Tiltman suggests reserving budget for brand building.

Study: The Pandemic’s Impact On Gen Z

Timed for the gradual lifting of stay-at-home orders in the US, a new global study from ReGenerations examines how the pandemic has impacted Gen Z’s perspectives on life, mental health, working and learning, as well as their behavior.

Despite the appeal of teleworking, Gen Z isn’t ready to give up the physical office for good, the study found. In fact, respondents say they’d prefer to work in a brick-and-mortar office two-thirds of their workweek. The finding shatters the belief that the tech-obsessed generation has been quick to embrace major tech companies’ recent permanent work-from-home policies, such as Slack and Twitter. On the other hand, 33 percent prefer teleworking.

This thinking extends to Gen Z’s perspective on remote education; 72 percent of participants believe the best way to get a degree is in person and 85 percent prefer learning in person. In contrast, 25 percent prefer a hybrid model and only two percent prefer online learning.

Gen Z are also experiencing Zoom fatigue, with 80 percent of respondents saying they’d prefer to meet in person. The study also reports that only 11 percent agree that Zoom meetings are as effective as face-to-face meetings.

Even for a generation that grew up on video games and social media, being stuck inside has been challenging. Over half (51 percent) say that sheltering in place wasn’t easy, as many missed being able to celebrate milestones like graduation (44 percent) and daily activities such as participating in year-end school activities (63 percent), hanging out with friends (80 percent) and dining out (50 percent).

“What we discovered cuts against the grain of the popular narrative that the post-COVID-19 world will be overwhelmingly online. That’s not what these young men and women want–or say they need,” notes ReGenerations president Jessica Stollings-Holder.

Gen Z’s screen time during lockdowns increased, albeit minimally considering the group’s reliance on tech. Forty-two percent of respondents report spending six to nine hours a day on their device compared with GlobalWebIndex’s finding that they spent four hours a day on their device in 2018.

Though 60 percent of participants say they spent time on entertainment during lockdown, Gen Z’s habits remained relatively healthy. For example, 56 percent report spending time with family, 40 percent exercising, 33 percent learning and 31 percent working.

Still, lockdown led to 66 percent of respondents experiencing heightened loneliness and 43 percent feeling anxiety. Nearly half (47 percent) also report a decrease in life satisfaction as a result of lockdown.

As Gen Z gears up for the new normal, they plan to watch their spending, too—60 percent agree they will not spend money freely given the pandemic’s impact on their financial futures.

“Right now we have a critical window with a generation who wants to connect. As restrictions are lifted, host events that bring people together. Bring learning back to the training room or classroom. Teach skills like emotional intelligence and communication. Don’t exclusively offer remote working–provide options. If restrictions limit in-person gatherings, make sure your virtual events simulate in-person connection,” says Stollings-Holder.

The findings are based on surveys distributed to 500 18-24-year-olds across 29 states and six countries, between April 21 and May 1.