Samsung And Twitch Rivals Ink Mobile Gaming Deal

Samsung and Twitch just inked a mobile gaming deal around Twitch Rivals North America, the esports competition made for Twitch streamers.

As part of the year-long partnership, Samsung Galaxy will host mobile gaming challenges and events, starting with a live Twitch Rivals broadcast on January 13.

The next activation in the pipeline is a Twitch Rivals Mobile Challenge, a mobile gaming series of crossover events for Twitch users featuring top streamers and mobile game franchises.

In addition, companies will host ‘Mobile Mondays’, a tournament series with cash prizes and other benefits for Galaxy and Twitch users.

Later this year, Twitch Rivals and Samsung will debut ‘Mobile Gaming Heroes’, who will create original content, host exclusive streams and participate in select events.

The news follows Twitch’s record-breaking month of December, when it saw 1.7 billion hours watched, according to a new report from StreamElements and Comparatively, Facebook Gaming ended 2020 with 388 million hours watched. Though that’s way less than Twitch, it’s worth noting that Facebook Gaming’s yearly watch time ballooned by 166 percent–from 1.35 billion hours in 2019 to 3.59 billion hours in 2020, as per StreamElements and

Like Samsung, Verizon is also betting big on esports. In August, it announced a sponsorship deal that makes it the official 5G and 4G LTE network partner of Twitch Rivals, which in 2020 alone hosted over 100 events. In a press release, Verizon wrote, “Together, Verizon and Twitch will collaborate on media and broadcast integrations in Twitch Rivals streams, activations at Twitch events, and innovate together using the power of Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network, 5G built for gamers.”

Agile Research With Rob Holland CEO At Feedback Loop

On this 242nd episode of “Marketing Today,” I speak with Rob Holland, the CEO at Feedback Loop, a technology growth company that provides rapid consumer feedback through its agile research platform.

We begin the interview with Holland’s upbringing in Staten Island and eventually to the West Coast, but wherever he went, it never seemed to be permanent. Holland believes “being comfortable with mobility has been a real game-changer,” allowing him to adapt quickly to new environments. We then move to Holland’s financial background and how it helped him when making the transition to managerial positions. Though he started in finance and eventually found his way to the marketing side, Holland has “always been connected to the consumer in some way.”

Holland then dives into Feedback Loop, defining agile research as a tool that “provides directional guidance early and often to guide decisions that might otherwise be made by opinion or rank, rather than data.” Holland has seen first-hand that “the whole idea of getting rapid consumer feedback to solve rapidly changing needs in very dynamic markets has never been greater,” and it’s not going to go away anytime in the foreseeable future. Lastly, we end our conversation on the current polarizing state of the world and how “it’s forcing marketers and brands to take sides in places that they really have no need to get into.” Marketing teams need to tread lightly!

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • Rob grew up in Staten Island before heading to the West Coast after high school, though he has remained a Mets fan. 1:20
  • Both sides of Alan’s wife’s family are your typical Italian family from Staten Island. 1:49
  • Throughout his career, Rob has stayed connected to the end-consumers the entire way. 2:38
  • Starting in finance, Rob moved into market analytics, where he began to climb the management ladder. 3:16
  • Rob’s operational finance background gave him an advantage when he made the transition to the management side. 4:11
  • Find someone who knows the finance side of the company, as it will always be an advantage. 5:50
  • Feedback Loop provides an agile research platform that serves teams that want to do their own research. 6:06
  • The Founder of Feedback Loop recognized the lack of ability to get rapid consumer feedback. 7:16
  • Over time, Alpha’s platform (prior name) evolved and grew with its customers and product development teams. 8:10
  • After so much growth, Alpha stopped describing the platform accurately, so the company changed its name to Feedback Loop. 8:56
  • Rob has seen the impact of the constantly evolving market on Feedback Loop and the marketing research industry as a whole. 10:48
  • Research teams are having a hard time trying to keep up with the shifting market, and that’s where Feedback Loop hopes to help. 11:36
  • Agile research provides small chunks of information quickly to inform incremental decisions. 12:45
  • The rapid feedback provided by Agile Research is most comparable to using windshield wipers during a storm, allowing you to keep moving forward. 13:55
  • Product teams and research teams need buffers, and Agile Research provides those controlled parameters. 15:05
  • Feedback Loop works with consumer-faced businesses of various sizes across a variety of industries. 17:25
  • Farmers Insurance, a client of Feedback Loop, created Toggle, a direct-to-consumer product that allows them to connect to younger generations. 17:48
  • Due to COVID, the behaviors and expectations of consumers are changing rapidly. 20:50
  • Feedback Loop is working with brands that are being forced to re-evaluate because of the massive shift that the world is going through. 22:17
  • Industries that had pre-understood truths have to re-evaluate what those truths are and show consumers that they are adapting. 23:40
  • Moving around often while growing up gave Rob the flexibility to adapt to new environments very quickly. 25:25
  • Looking back, Rob would have taken more calculated risks by moving faster through his career. 27:06
  • Apple and Amazon are brands that Rob likes to stalk and watch grow by continuously surrounding their consumers. 30:22
  • Digital transformation has shown maturity by blending things that you can’t touch and feel with real physical products. 33:48
  • Differing political and socio-economic views are sucking companies into black holes right now. 35:00

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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.

CES 2021: 5G’s Impact On Education, Entertainment And Beyond

To kick off this year’s digital Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Verizon chief executive officer and chairman Hans Vestberg delivered a keynote on how 5G is transforming everything from the way students learn to the way people experience sports, concerts, museums and even deliveries.

Vestberg announced a new activation that Verizon is launching tomorrow called The Met Unframed, an immersive virtual art and gaming experience that gives people access to augmented reality (AR) versions of the Met’s art collections. The move follows a similar activation for which Verizon teamed with the Smithsonian to bring parts of the museum to life through AR by scanning a QR code on Verizon’s virtual museum site. 

As the pandemic forced people indoors, Verizon leveraged 5G to bring immersive sports experiences into people’s homes. For example, in November it debuted its 5G SuperStadium experience in the NFL app, enabling fans to watch the Giants vs. Buccaneers game from seven different camera angles, see real-time stats and experience a “holomoji,” or video overlay, of their favorite player via AR. Vestberg says that in 2021 Verizon will roll out 5G to 28 NFL stadiums. 

To help bridge the digital divide, Verizon’s chief responsibility officer Rose Stuckey Kirk says the company is equipping underserved middle and high school students with virtual reality (VR) technology through its Innovative Learning program to help bring lessons to life. Its goal is to deploy 5G technology to 100 schools by the end of 2021.

Mariah Scott, president of Skyward, also appeared during Vestberg’s address to explain how 5G enables her company to manage drones remotely to deliver packages, a method it’s testing in partnership with UPS.

The cancelation of live musical events also called for 5G. In November, Verizon and Snapchat launched the first 5G-enabled Landmarker Lens that brought to life a performance by Black Pumas at the New York Public Library. The performance was shot in Verizon’s branded content studio RYOT, using motion capture technology to track the lead singer’s movements and come to life through a 3D Bitmoji on Snapchat.

Verizon also outfitted the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles into the first 5G-enabled music club with a live, 360-degree multi-cam experience that lets people enjoy live music shows from home. Vestberg says Verizon is deploying the same technology to 15 Live Nation venues in the US, from Miami to New York.

“My own hope and aspiration is more than often that we use [5G] for good—for learning, for sharing, for preserving and protecting and community-building…to reap the greatest outcomes for everyone in our society,” says Vestberg. 

Merkle: How Brands Are Preparing For The Demise Of Cookies

As the phase-out of cookies approaches, brands are concentrated on enhancing their first-party data practices and creating new ones. According to Merkle’s Q1 2021 Customer Engagement Report, 74 percent of brands are increasing investment in technology and vendor solutions due to growing data restrictions.

Some brands have yet to understand the impact of the Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), both of which were introduced in the past two years. Merkle found that only 59 percent of brands have a very clear understanding of the impact of privacy-related restrictions on their systems and operations; the remainder were less clear.

When asked what aspects of marketing they expect to change due to new data laws, 41 percent of respondents said digital media activation, followed by 39 percent who said web analytics.

Merkle suggests that one near-term solution to this shift is a focus on contextual targeting. A long-term priority should be exploring new ways to capture first-party data, such as loyalty and form capture strategies. Already 52 percent of respondents are prioritizing the collection of more first-party data from digital experiences.

Similarly, 88 percent of marketers say collecting and storing first-party data is a high priority in the next six to 12 months. Another 84 percent said that integrating this data will also be a priority this year.

Increasing investments that enable brands to take more control of their first-party data will also be important, reports Merkle. This includes developing new experience strategies that build a first-party data asset with a private identity graph. In fact, 74 percent said they plan to invest more in technologies or vendor solutions in response to stricter data regulations.

As in-store shopping slows, consumers expect the same level of personalization in digital interactions, which ultimately rely on customer data and an integrated data platform. Nearly half (44 percent) of respondents see this as their biggest gap in delivering personalized omnichannel experiences.

Nevertheless, 77 percent of respondents feel they deliver a better customer experience online compared to in-person or over the phone. For 76 percent of respondents, a full continuity between their brands’ online and in-person experiences is missing.

Across industries, 81 percent said having an audience management platform that centralizes and activates data across all online and offline channels is their highest priority.

Zero-party data, that which a customer voluntarily shares with a brand, is also becoming a high priority for brands. They can acquire this type of data through transactions or during conversations with customers online and in person. Alternatively, a brand can request this feedback through forms or surveys in exchange for a coupon, discount or limited products/services.

Another valuable source of data brands should invest in is second-party data, data that’s shared by partner companies, alliances and consortiums. Forty-nine percent of respondents labeled second-party data a high priority. One example of this when Amazon partnered with Buick on a campaign to reach young buyers to the brand while also promoting Alexa. Nearly 60,000 people participated by asking their Alexas about the activation, and 150,000 people have visited the digital showroom on Amazon to date.

To make sense of all their new data, businesses should also look to invest in data clean rooms, where multiple sources of data can be analyzed to protect privacy and data ownership. Sixty-one percent of respondents said they’re increasing investment here.

Merkle’s findings are based on a survey among 800 marketing, analytics and technology executives of major companies from the US and UK.

If Given The Choice, Nearly Half Of Consumers Prefer To Shop In-Store

According to Raydiant’s 2021 consumer behavior report, 40 percent of consumers have decreased their visits to physical stores because of COVID-19, but if given the choice, 46 percent would rather shop in person than online.

Raydiant’s findings, based on a survey among 1,000 US consumers on December 8, give marketers insight on what customers value about physical shopping experiences, and how brands can adjust their strategies to meet evolving preferences in the new year.

Despite concerns around COVID-19, nearly half of consumers said that if given the choice, they prefer to shop in person rather than online—a nine percent decline from Raydiant’s 2020 report.

One major reason for that preference is the ability to interact directly with products. For example, 33 percent of respondents like to see and feel products, while 26 percent enjoy the overall experience of shopping in person.

In addition, 13 percent say they appreciate the immediacy that in-store shopping provides, as opposed to waiting for delivery. Nine percent prefer a visit to the store because it lets them avoid high shipping costs.

Still, 40 percent of consumers have shopped in store less frequently due to the pandemic, while 13 percent have actually increased their trips to the store to a “major” degree.

Interestingly, perceptions of customer service have generally remained the same during the pandemic. A little over half (52 percent) said they haven’t noticed a change in customer service quality over the past 12 months, while 17 percent said it’s gotten worse.

COVID-19 has undoubtedly impacted brand loyalty, with many consumers switching from brands they used to purchase in-store to online competitors. In fact, 49 percent of respondents said they’ve done so. Another 25 percent said they switch brands more frequently than ever.

For marketers, this means creating a superior, seamless in-stores shopping experience, as 60 percent of respondents said that they’ve abandoned a brand for good due to one poor in-person experience. What’s more, 90 percent said that a good in-store experience makes them more likely to return, and 60 percent said they’ll spend more as a result.

The same is true for online experiences. Sixty-five of consumers said a good in-store experience will inspire them to buy other products online.

According to respondents, the top characteristics of an excellent in-store experience include availability and variety of products (33 percent), quality of service from in-store staff (30 percent) and the layout of a location and organization of products (14 percent).

To win consumers’ loyalty, 31 percent of respondents said brands must offer discounts exclusive to the physical location, 15 percent said brands need to have clear health and safety protocols and another 14 percent said businesses should offer exclusive products not available online.

When asked what kind of items they’re most likely to buy in-store, 70 percent said groceries, 65 percent said medicine, 47 percent said household supplies and 47 percent said alcohol.

What We’re Reading—Week Of January 4th

How Leaders Can Optimize Teams’ Emotional Landscapes

MIT Sloan Management Review

Research suggests that suppressing emotions can erupt in counterproductive ways, which is why leaders must respond to their employees’ heightened emotions by either nurturing them, aligning them, acknowledging them or diversifying them.

Why it matters: The playbooks of emotional management—pep talks and sounding the alarm—that leaders employ today are outdated and can hinder their organization’s strategic objectives.

2021: The Year Of The Package


Pandemic-induced behavior in 2020 led to a surge in the amount of plastic and non-sustainable packaging, one of society’s biggest environmental hazards.

Why it matters: Sustainable packaging communicates that a brand is acting responsibly, and that builds consumer trust. For that reason, many brands including Mars, Inc., H&M and Kimberly-Clark are switching to recyclable packaging in 2021.

Ford Appeals To Patriotic Duty With Campaign To Curb COVID-19

Marketing Dive

Ford launched a campaign and 30-second spot called #FinishStrong, urging people to protect themselves against COVID-19 this year as part of the brand’s patriotic duty to help the nation recover.

Why it matters: The initiative follows Ford’s earlier pandemic initiatives, which include producing 20 million face shields, 50,000 ventilators and 1.4 million washable gowns.

The 30 Best Creative Brand Moves Of 2020

Ad Age

Upon looking back on the past year, Ad Age’s creativity editors found that creative ideas flourished under all the turmoil of 2020, including those from brands like Michelob Ultra, Lego, Burberry, Epic Games and Jeep.

Why it matters: One digital campaign that stands out is Hellmann’s Animal Crossing Island, which let players drop off virtual turnips they were unable to sell at Hellmann’s Island and convert them into up to 50,000 real-life donated meals for Second Harvest Food Rescue.

Instagram Has Privately Advised Some Creators On How Often To Post, Offering A Rare Glimpse Into How Its Mysterious Algorithm Works


Three Instagram creators told Business Insider that Instagram has contacted them in the last few months to share specific tips on how often and what kind of content to post to boost their audience and engagement.

Why it matters: According to the creators, Instagram recommended that they post a high volume of content, and use the entire suite of Instagram products—in-feed posts, Reels, Stories and IGTV videos. For one micro-influencer, the network suggested three in-feed posts per week (including in-feed Reels or IGTV posts), eight to ten Stories per week (and at least two per day), four to seven Reels per week and one to three IGTV per week (including Instagram Live).

How Consumers View VR Experiences In Gaming, Travel And Beyond

According to the results of a new consumer survey from Myplanet, virtual reality (VR) in the entertainment space is the most accepted form of VR technology, with consumers expressing a 32 percent comfort level with VR gaming and 30 percent comfort level with VR movies.

Myplanet distributed a survey to 500 US respondents aged 18 to 65 in November 2020 to gauge consumer perceptions of VR technology in different areas of their personal lives versus their workplace. The findings suggest that consumers favor VR more in situational uses, but aren’t necessarily ready for VR in travel and tourism experiences.

When asked about VR headsets on their own, 26 percent of respondents expressed active comfort, a figure that Myplanet says remained consistent in 2020. Comfort levels increased when asked about situational uses of VR tech, for example VR gaming, VR calls with friends and family and VR movies.

The youngest demographics surveyed conveyed the most comfort with VR headsets. Myplanet observed a similar generational trend with VR gaming. Compared to their older peers, those from the age group 18-44 were also significantly more favorable to VR education. On the other hand, those aged 35-54 expressed more comfort with VR technology in the workplace as compared to their younger and older peers.

“Workplace uses are a fairly new use case still, and so there is limited exposure . . . But that will change, especially as VR starts to become more accessible at the consumer level. Prices for devices are falling, and as we are seeing with voice activation and smart controls, when people get used to a technology in their personal lives, they start to want and expect it in their private lives too,” Myplanet CEO Jason Cottrell tells AList.

In general, consumers prefer VR tech in their personal lives such as gaming (32 percent comfort level) rather than VR at work (24 percent comfort level). Thirty percent of respondents said they feel comfortable with VR movies and 29 percent expressed comfort with VR wellness sessions.

“Movies, concerts, even theatre… these experiences would probably be best offered in both formats, allowing the consumer to determine whether spur of the moment decision-making is more important to them than the highest quality resolution with no potential for a hiccup or buffering.”

Cottrell says that for many providers, issues around copyright will dictate how they deliver the experience, which will likely mean streaming over downloading. But for customers, he notes, the mix of both would be best, as Myplanet has seen with non-VR movie and television experiences to date.

Consumers aren’t quite ready to embrace VR-powered travel and tourism experiences, as just 22 percent of consumers said they feel comfortable interacting with technology in this setting.

Part of this reluctance toward adoption could be attributed to device proliferation or delivery method of the experience, according to Cottrell. Given that device availability is increasing and the costs to own are decreasing, more consumers have access to devices–the biggest barrier to adoption in the past.

For all of the VR technologies that Myplanet surveyed, male respondents indicated that they’re more comfortable with VR than female respondents, including in the workplace, gaming, movies and headsets.

Research from Omdia found that VR content revenue will reach $4 billion in 2025—90 percent of which will come from games– and $10 billion will be spent on VR hardware and software in 2025. By that point, Omdia predicts there will be 45 million VR headsets “actively” being used by consumers.

For businesses looking to leverage VR, Cottrell says to create experiences that offer real value to users, in both quality and content. He also notes the importance of getting a composable architecture in space.

“With a composable (or headless) architecture your entire digital footprint can be more easily connected and your existing materials can be leveraged to new technologies as they emerge. Composable sets a foundation for adaptation that means your business can test and experiment with and eventually adopt the technologies that make sense for your business when you want.”

Snapchat Relaunches Its Advertising Partner Program

This week in social media news, Snapchat relaunches its advertising partner program, Facebook will launch its smart glasses soon, Instagram shares best practices around creating Reels content, Facebook rolls out new updates for Pages, Instagram tests a new design for Stories desktop, Google tests a short-form video carousel on queries and more.

Snapchat Relaunches Its Global Partner Solutions Program

Snapchat has revamped its advertising partner program, which will feature two kinds of partnerships—strategic partners and certified partners.

Why it matters: Snap’s initial program launched in 2016 and was divided into two partners: ad partners and creative partners. The update comes as many brands look to tap into the network’s Gen Z user base and plethora of augmented reality (AR) tools.

The details: As per Snap, strategic partners develop “specialized technology using the Snapchat Marketing API” to help marketers streamline their ad buying process and provide Snapchat-specific tips on reaching goals.

Certified partners “provide brands with advertising expertise” to help enhance execution, optimization and analysis of ad campaigns.

Facebook To Soon Debut Its Smart Glasses Sans Augmented Reality

According to Bloomberg, Facebook’s smart glasses will arrive “sooner than later” this year, but won’t include augmented reality (AR) technology that enables people to overlay digital objects onto their real-world view.

Why it matters: Facebook announced plans for its AR glasses in 2017, and has since been increasing investment in hardware development. The network’s virtual reality (VR), AR and hardware teams account for more than 6,000 employees, reports Bloomberg.

The details: Hardware chief Andrew Bosworth says that although the glasses don’t include AR, “they are certainly connected glasses.” Developed in partnership with Ray-Ban and Luxottica Group SpA, the smart glasses will hook up to a device and “enhance presence.”

Instagram Shares Do’s Of Creating Strong Reels Content

On its @creators page, Instagram has shared some best practices around creating engaging Reels, it’s TikTok-like feature that launched in August of last year.

Why it matters: Instagram has been ramping up efforts to increase Reels usage. In November, the platform added a dedicated Reels tab and has recently told creators that the sweet spot is posting four to seven Reels per week.

The details: To create standout Reels content, Instagram suggests sharing original and authentic content that has a storyline. It says to use the Reels music library and audio tools and stay relevant with cultural moments. Additionally, it recommends including a surprising or humorous factor, having a fun surprise or twist and following its community guidelines.

As for Reels don’ts, Instagram says to not add music that isn’t in the Instagram music library and not use dated references.

Facebook Debuts Redesigned Pages Experience

Facebook has redesigned Pages to make it easier for public figures and creators to build community and reach their business goals. The updates include a simpler layout, dedicated News Feed, the elimination of page likes, new management features and more.

Why it matters: This marks the first time Facebook is bringing its News Feed to Pages, a move that will enable Pages to find and join conversations, follow trends and engage with fans.

The details: First on Facebook’s list of new Pages updates is an easier way to switch between a personal profile and public Page. The network has also added a new text-based Q&A format, removed likes to focus on followers and added the ability to assign different levels of access to admins.

In addition, Facebook says it has “improved our ability to detect activity that isn’t allowed on our platform including hate speech, violent, sexual or spammy content and impersonation.”

Instagram Tests New Carousel Look For Stories On Desktop

Instagram is testing a new design for the desktop version of Stories that would make them appear in a carousel rather than a single tile that fills the entire page, according to Engadget.

Why it matters: The move comes as many people prepare for another COVID-19 lockdown, a time when Instagram Stories usage tends to skyrocket. According to Instagram, over 500 million accounts use Stories every day.

The details: A spokesperson confirmed the Stories layout in testing to Engadget. The navigation of desktop Stories would remain the same, but the carousel view would make it easier to keep track of where you are in your queue.

Google Feature In Testing Compiles Short-Form Videos From Instagram, TikTok

Google is testing a new feature that aggregates short-form videos from Instagram and TikTok in their own dedicated carousel on the Google app for searches on mobile devices.

Why it matters: According to TechCrunch, the new feature is an expansion of Google’s initial “Short Videos” carousel test within Google Discover in early 2020, which gathered videos from Google social platforms like Tangi, Trell and YouTube.

The details: Upon clicking Google’s latest video carousel in testing, users are directed to the web version of the social platform rather than the native mobile app—regardless of whether it’s downloaded on their phone—as a way to keep users on Google for longer.

TikTok Under Scrutiny For Its Underage User Data Tracking

A 12-year-old girl and TikTok user from London is bringing a damages claim against six firms responsible for TikTok for “loss of control of personal data.”

Why it matters: For now, TikTok has dodged a ban in the US, but the app still remains under scrutiny for its handling of user data here and abroad. Though TikTok has taken steps to limit younger users’ experience, users self-report their birth date upon registration. The consequences of this new legal proceeding could prove costly to TikTok given more than a third of the app’s daily users in the US are under 14 years old.

The details: As per Sky News UK, the firms have “misused the claimant’s private information and processed the claimant’s personal data” in breach of EU and UK data protection laws, according to a High Court ruling.

Facebook’s Small Advertisers Say The Network’s Automated Ad Systems Are Hurting Their Business

According to Bloomberg, small advertisers using Facebook are losing business over the network’s inflexible ad system’s account blocking tools and poor customer service.

Why it matters: Facebook has become an increasingly important tool for small businesses looking to grow their online presence. The network says that more than 160 million brands use Facebook, Instagram, Messenger or WhatsApp every month to reach customers.

The details: One digital marketer told Bloomberg that after his Facebook account abruptly stopped working, a $3,000-per-day ad campaign he had set up for a client before his account was locked continued to run—despite the fact that he could no longer manage it. After trying to confirm his identity using Facebook’s automated systems, he received an error message.

Another ad buyer reported a similar experience, noting that it took Facebook 26 hours to unlock his account, during which he spent around $200 in ads without his usual level of management.

Facebook’s lack of robust customer service systems for small advertisers is contributing to the issue. Despite having 10 million advertisers, the company only has an automated chat feature, which is only available to those who have an active Facebook account, which excludes outside specialists who were hired to set up ads for brands.

Ad Council Names Linda Yaccarino Chair Of Board

This week in leadership updates, Ad Council taps Linda Yaccarino as board chair, WineDirect names Andrea Smalling president of marketing and sales, KFC Malaysia CMO Angelina Villanueva steps down, EverQuote hires Craig Lister as CMO, Salesforce appoints Sarah Franklin as CMO, PacSun taps Jenn Washington for director of marketing and more.

Ad Council Appoints Linda Yaccarino As Board Chair

Linda Yaccarino, NBCUniversal chairman of global advertising and partnerships, has been appointed chair of the Ad Council’s board of directors.

Yaccarino replaces Facebook chief revenue officer David Fischer. Her term will end June 30, 2022 as the role of chair rotates among figures in four industries, including media companies, tech companies, ad agencies and advertisers.

WineDirect Names Andrea Smalling Vice President Of Marketing And Sales

WineDirect has announced the appointment of Andrea Smalling to VP of marketing and sales.

Smalling joins from McBride Sisters Wine Collection, where she was SVP of marketing for a little over a year. Prior to that, she was VP of marketing of wines for Mark Anthony Group.

KFC Malaysia Chief Marketing Officer Angelina Villanueva Exits

Angelina Villanueva, CMO of KFC Malaysia, has stepped down after five and a half years with the company to return to Singapore.

Villaneuva previously worked at Ogilvy for nearly 16 years.

EverQuote Taps Craig Lister As Chief Marketing Officer

EverQuote has hired Craig Lister as CMO, according to a press release.

Lister joins from NortonLifeLock, where he led global consumer acquisition efforts for Norton and LifeLock.

Salesforce Elevates Sarah Franklin To Chief Marketing Officer

Salesforce has replaced outgoing CMO Stephanie Buscemi with Sarah Franklin, a 13-year employee who most recently worked as executive vice president and general manager, Platform & AppExchange.

PacSun Names Jenn Washington Director Of Marketing

PacSun has hired Jenn Washington as director of marketing, reports WWD.

Washington joins from Gucci, where she worked as the senior men’s wear manager for over four years.

CVS Health Taps Michelle Peluso For Its First Chief Customer Officer 

CVS has welcomed IBM CMO Michelle Peluso as its first chief customer service officer.

Peluso will be tasked with revamping the customer experience and enhancing CVS Health’s digital strategy.

Peluso spent five years at IBM, where she spearheaded many of the company’s artificial intelligence initiatives and improved diversity within the tech industry, according to Forbes.

Salesforce Chief Marketing Officer Stephanie Buscemi Steps Down

Stephanie Buscemi is leaving her role as Salesforce CMO, according to Forbes.

A Salesforce spokesperson said that the company’s general manager of Platform, Sarah Franklin, will replace Buscemi, who’s been with the company since 2014.

Olympics Names Lara Silberbauer As Global Head Of Brand, Marketing And Digital

The International Olympic Committee has hired Lara Silberbauer as global head of brand, marketing and digital, reports Campaign.

Silberbauer joins from Viacom, where he served as senior vice president of MTV Digital Studios. Prior to Viacom, he was with Lego for nearly eight years.

Ford Elevates Andrew Frick To Vice President Of Sales

Andrew Frick has accepted a promotion from director of US sales at Ford to VP of sales in the US and Canada.

Frick has been with the company for 25 years.

A Gaming Company’s Guide To Effectively Leveraging Social Media

I’m excited to announce that I’m leading the reboot of A List Games, which Ayzenberg originally launched in 2011 as a digital game publisher.

For this latest iteration of A List Games, we’ll work with indie developers and self-publishers to scale promising games in emerging categories such as free-to-play, mobile, digital distribution and games-as-service. One major advantage A List Games has over other game publishing alternatives is that it leverages Ayzenberg’s 25 years of legacy and expertise in game audience building.

As we hit the ground running, I thought it’d be important to share an overview of how game companies should approach social media platforms given their tremendous impact on reaching players.

The emergence of social media over 10 years ago radically shifted the way that game companies think about engaging with communities. Prior to the rise of Instagram, YouTube and the like, game companies would have controlled interactions with their communities. This mostly manifested through digital forums that the company funded, managed and created content for. For a gamer, the advantage of these forums was that if they got a piece of information about the game, like an upcoming feature or new release, they knew it was authentic. But beyond that, forums weren’t that effective because game companies would tightly control what content was being discussed there. This required a huge amount of manpower and money that wasn’t effective for the community or the game company.

When social media really started to take off, it was a godsend because it allowed the gaming community to self regulate. The number of places where people could talk about your game exponentially grew, allowing for game companies to have a much broader reach. Unlike the old digital forums, these new social media platforms had built-in functionality to amplify messages and create virality around games.

With so many social media platforms out there, you should be cognizant of the type of audience attracted to your game and adjust your social media strategy based on where your players go. In other words, don’t force them to go where you want them, but go where they naturally congregate. 

Social Networks


  • Purpose: Use daily to acquire new users via ads and use “Groups” to maximize organic reach
  • Audience: New and casual players
  • Content: Advertising, video

When thinking about the level of fandom and commitment to a game or brand, there’s a funnel where the least engaged but the biggest net cast of potential users is Facebook. When Facebook originally started, it enabled people to connect with each other. Come launch time, it was very good at having viral organic discoverability. It is not anymore. 

Facebook is primarily an advertising network and a very, very good advertising network. In fact, if you look at the user acquisition spending for most game companies, there probably isn’t a single company that doesn’t list it as number one for ad spend. Coupled with their sophisticated algorithms, their ability to do laser targeting based on individual customer profiles is second to none. They are absolutely a must-have in your game’s advertising paid media campaign.

In an organic sense Facebook is limited, because it suppresses a lot of the organic content that’s posted. This means your community team or social media team aren’t engaging deeply and very frequently with organic content updates to Facebook. Hence why it should be primarily used to acquire new players or help folks discover what your game is about through advertising or the use of Groups, a functionality within Facebook that has more viral capabilities.


  • Purpose: Use multiple times a day for fast community updates
  • Audience: Engaged players
  • Content: Game status updates, memes, direct communication

Home to a much more engaged audience than on Facebook, Twitter is different in that it enables you to share quick updates about changes, issues or new features around your game with your community. For example, if your live-service game goes down, your community team will immediately notify your Twitter followers about it. It’s very important that your community understands that you’re aware of what’s happening within the game, and that you communicate that to them.

Twitter has the ability to do more content marketing, although it’s not as good as some others. Twitter also has lots of content that revolves around humor, whether it’s memes or GIFs or written content.

Media Sharing Networks


  • Purpose: Use daily to tell a visual story of your game through images
  • Audience: New and lightly engaged players
  • Content: Screens/pictures and video that visualize your brand image

Good for lightly engaged and deeply engaged players, Instagram is probably the single best destination for visually setting up your game’s branding and tonality through screenshots and key art, as well as other elements that humanize your brand such as behind-the-scenes photos of you and your team.

The other important thing about Instagram is it’s a wholly owned subsidiary of Facebook, which means it has massive potential from an advertising network perspective, enabling game companies to take advantage of Facebook’s algorithms and deep targeting capabilities.


  • Purpose: Use weekly to give an insider look at your brand and team, “Snaps” are temporary
  • Audience: Hyper engaged users interested in your company
  • Content: “Day in the life” type images, lenses and filters

Snapchat is an underserved social media network that not many game companies are totally capitalizing on. They have several different product offerings that games can use to reach people who want to have a more personal relationship with, say, your development team. These players tend to be a little bit more engaged and more knowledgeable about your product and your development studio. 

I’ve seen really good success stories for community teams and for developers who are sharing the behind-the-scenes of the development studio, whether through imagery of them at work, their studio or hanging out together after work.


  • Purpose: Use weekly for long-form videos
  • Audience: New and engaged players
  • Content: New feature trailers, how-to guides

YouTube should be a primary resource for all of your trailer assets. This is the place where you can create channels featuring video-based content and customize your channels with different video series and playlists. This is critically important as I don’t think there’s a single game company who is serious that’s at least daily or weekly posting new video-based content on YouTube.

There’s a tremendous amount of functionality on YouTube, and because it’s a Google property, it actually is the second largest search engine behind Google proper. This means it has all of the sophisticated algorithmic search capabilities that Google does, but within a video format. It’s a great place to engage new players or very highly engaged players.

Discussion Forums


  • Purpose: Use weekly to replace owned forums, player moderated
  • Audience: Highly engaged power users
  • Content: Discussion topics, game betterment posts

A replacement for old digital forums, Reddit is where long threads of text-based communication and discussion topics about your game can live. The interesting thing here is very rarely does a game company own and manage their own Reddit. You mostly want Reddit to be an organic player-managed outlet for communication. That way, players feel like there’s ownership and that they can be more transparent without getting levee infractions or any of the regulatory baggage that came with old forums.

You can work with your admin on Reddit to increase the visibility of certain content that your fans want to learn more about, for example, Q&A sessions or announcements around new features or content.


  • Purpose: Use daily for community discussion and social connection
  • Audience: New and engaged players
  • Content: How-to and guild/alliance organization

Think of Discord as your social engagement and organization tool with both a voice and text component. This is where alliances or guilds will congregate and talk about what’s going on right now in the game, upcoming events and tournaments. Additionally, it’s effective for organizing people to work together in some format.