What We’re Reading—Week Of February 22nd

We’re rounding up the news and insights you need to know this week.

Cancel Culture Primer For Marketers


With the rise of cancel culture, the public backlash that brands and influencers face when contradicting consumers’ values, brands must adopt congruent branding, or risk getting burned.

Why it matters: According to cognitive dissonance theory, we have an innate drive for consistency. Once the mind registers an incompatibility, we automatically resolve the dissonance by sticking with our own values and thereafter change our allegiance to a brand or celebrity that has contradicted our values.

Nielsen Introduces Cookieless System To Track Online Actions

Marketing Dive

Nielsen launched a cross-platform audience measurement solution called Identity Sync that doesn’t rely on device IDs or the browser ecosystem, but instead on first-party identifiers, to track shoppers’ online activities and responses to ads.

Why it matters: When Barceló Hotel Group used Identity Sync, 96 percent of conversions were attributed to actual marketing touchpoints. The company also unlocked nine percent of potential savings in key areas like paid search by moving away from keywords not leading to conversions.

General Mills CMO Shares Outlook On Purpose, E-commerce And Data As Pandemic Boosts Sales

Marketing Dive

Last February, when China was in the thick of COVID-19, General Mills launched an Accelerate strategy to reinvent its business. It’s based on four directives—building brands with purpose, relentless innovation, unleashing scale and being a force for good at the local and global levels.

Why it matters: Ivan Pollard, chief marketing officer at General Mills, said that five years ago, the company would’ve bought pre-roll on YouTube, whereas today, in response to consumers’ demand for ease, the company adopted a click-to-buy function and infrastructure that sends consumers to the right place to purchase–be it Instacart,  Walmart.com or Amazon.

Spotify To Launch Spotify Audience Network, An Audio Ad Marketplace


In an effort to monetize its podcast investments, Spotify is launching a new audio advertising marketplace, the Spotify Audience Network, which will enable marketers to reach listeners across Spotify’s original and exclusive podcasts and ad-supported music, as well as on Anchor and Megaphone (which it recently acquired).

Why it matters: In Q4, Spotify’s podcast ad revenues grew by more than 100 percent year-over-year, with a 50 percent increase in the number of advertisers compared with Q3. Its total monthly user base grew 27 percent YoY to 345 million, an increase that 

founder and chief executive Daniel Ek attributed to podcast usage.

Adweek Podcast: Challenger Brands Continue To Shake Up The Landscape


Those tuning into Adweek’s third annual virtual Challenger Brands Summit will hear from headline speakers like Jennifer Garner, co-founder and chief brand officer of Once Upon a Farm, a line of cold-pressed organic baby foods. Upon launching in 2016, the company had to rethink its retail placement due to the lack of refrigerated baby food sections, eventually ending up in the produce aisle near juices and sliced fruit.

Why it matters: Adweek reports that the purpose-driven brand grew from less than $1 million in revenue to more than $30 million during Garner’s tenure.

Making The Hybrid Workplace Fair

Harvard Business Review

Hybridity, or working with employees who are co-located in the same physical space as well as employees working remotely, will be the future of the workplace because it offers, among other benefits, a reduced carbon footprint and stronger cultural socialization.

Why it matters: Differences in power will inevitably arise in a hybrid work environment, which could harm relationships, affect collaboration and reduce performance. For hybridity to succeed, managers must communicate with their employees and shift resource accessibility when necessary.

Ashley Owen On Ayzenberg’s Marketing Science Principles

One valuable lesson the pandemic has taught brands is that constantly aggregating and applying usable consumer data can enable them to pivot on a moment’s notice. Research and data-fueled Ayzenberg’s marketing science department, MarSci for short, long before the crisis hit, but in the past months, an increasing number of brands have turned to the agency’s division to help identify the best ways to engage audiences and quantify performance.

Ayzenberg marketing science vice president of strategy, Ashley Owen, applied 2020 learnings to the department’s updated strategy, which comprises five mindset and behavioral shifts– including thinking audience-first rather than vertical-first, letting the problem guide the work, starting with the “so what?” and more. It’s her hope that these shifts will both empower the MarSci team to listen, create and share more effectively, as well as better serve their clients, in the ever-evolving industry.

Let The Problem Guide The Work

Owen encourages the team to not feel confined by their job titles, but instead to reorient how they view themselves—not merely as strategists and data analysts, but as collective problem solvers who explore new routes to reaching a solution. To apply this mindset shift, she suggests identifying the problem and spending time thinking about how to solve the problem first before jumping into action.

Think Audience-First, Not Vertical-First

Owen believes that narrowing MarSci’s expertise to a particular channel or vertical does the subsidiary a disservice. To create content that genuinely resonates with a brand’s audience, she encourages the team to think holistically of all the tools at its disposal. For example, applying creativity and storytelling to a dense deck, using more than the data readily available and applying a variety of strategic approaches and frameworks.

Leaders, Not Members, Backed By A Team

In replacing the old mindset of viewing members within a team or part of a department, Owen challenges each and every member to view themselves as a leader backed by their team. To apply this shift, Owen says the department is exploring different approaches to bi-weekly “Syncs,” where each person gets assigned one and brings something to teach, share or discuss. In addition, to embrace the messiness of problem-solving, she encourages the team to be open to sharing half-baked work, not just work that’s in progress, and reaching out for help and feedback whenever necessary.

Start With The “So What?”

When working under tight deadlines, it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture, but Owen cautions against thinking of deliverables as the end point. To continue adding value to clients, she says it’s critical for the team to think beyond the deck and start with a definitive point of view, or a “so what?” factor for each project or brief being worked on. Even if a client has only asked for a deck, basic metrics or a few slides, she believes it’s important for the team to share their point of view with clients every change they get.

Power The Agency With Inspiration, Not Information

Data is undoubtedly one of MarSci’s most powerful tools, but Owen believes that what they do with that data is even more important. She encourages the team not to call something an insight if it’s simply an observation. Instead, she urges them to “keep digging” and investigate the data until there’s an insight that inspires, as galvanizing others around that interpretation is when they’re most effective.

Hyundai Elevates Thomas Schemera To Global Chief Marketing Officer

This week in leadership updates, Hyundai promotes Thomas Schemera to global CMO, Array taps Jeff Tobler as CMO, IHOP appoints Kieran Donahue CMO, Pressed Juicery hires Michelle Peterson as CMO, MAC Cosmetics taps Aïda Moudachirou Rebois for SVP, global marketing and more.

Hyundai Motor Company Names Thomas Schemera As Global Chief Marketing Officer

Hyundai has promoted its EVP of product and strategy, Thomas Schemera, to global CMO.

Shemera first joined Hyundai in 2018 after working as head of BMW M and the BMW Individual Collection in the Americas.

Array Taps Jeff Tobler As Chief Marketing Officer

Array, Ava DuVernay’s film collective dedicated to amplifying films by people of color, has appointed Jeff Tobler as CMO, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Tobler joins from Warner Bros. TV, where he spent the last decade, most recently as senior vice president, worldwide television, publicity, communications and social media.

IHOP Taps Kieran Donahue As New Chief Marketing Officer

IHOP has named Kieran Donahue as its new CMO.

Donahue joins IHOP from Marriott’s Americas division, where she was vice president of brand, marketing and digital for five years.

Prior to Marriott, Donahue served as VP of marketing for Hilton Americas.

Pressed Juicery Names Michelle Peterson Chief Marketing Officer

Pressed Juicery has hired Michelle Peterson as CMO.

Previously, Peterson was global VP at Holiday Inn Express, as well as VP and general manager at LifeSpa. She also worked at General Mills for 13 years in various leadership roles across brands including Betty Crocker, Nature Valley Snacks and Pillsbury Frozen.

MAC Cosmetics Names Aïda Moudachirou Rebois Senior Vice President, Global Marketing

MAC Cosmetics has appointed Aïda Moudachirou Rebois to SVP, global marketing.

Moudachirou Rebois joins the company from Revlon, where she was SVP, global marketing for Revlon and Almay brands.

ViacomCBS Promotes Olivier Jollet To SVP Of Strategy And Business Development, Streaming And Mobile

ViacomCBS has elevated Olivier Jollet to the newly created role of SVP of strategy and business development for its streaming and mobile businesses.

Jollet was previously SVP of emerging business for ViacomCBS’ Europe, Middle East and Africa for eight months. 

Walmart Elevates Denise Incandela To Executive Vice President, Apparel And Private Brands

According to WWD, Walmart has promoted the SVP of its women’s group, Denise Incandela, to EVP of apparel and private brands.

Prior to Walmart, Incandela served as chief executive of Aerosoles for six months.

Adweek Taps David Saabye As Chief Product Officer

Adweek has elevated David Saabye to the role of chief product officer.

Saabye worked for nearly three years as Adweek’s SVP, customer experience. Prior to that, he was managing director, digital operations, for Digital Prism Advisors.

The Power Of Audio With Audioburst Founder And CEO Amir Hirsh

On this 248th episode of “Marketing Today,” I speak with Amir Hirsh, the chief executive officer and founder at Audioburst. This AI-powered audio discovery platform helps connect content consumers with relevant audio clips.

Our conversation starts with how people have a tendency to call Hirsh crazy due to his innovative and forward-thinking. Hirsh discusses how 2020 acted as gasoline on the audio fire and how “audio connects people much stronger and creates brand affinity.” In the last year alone, the podcast industry more than doubled in size as more and more people crave content that doesn’t hurl visuals at their eyeballs.

We then dive into Hirsh’s company Audioburst and how it has “built an AI engine that listens to that vast amount of content,” analyzes, and cuts it into short clips to make it more discoverable on the internet. Hirsh explains the massive opportunities that await marketers who can create or participate in their own audio content, as well as sponsor and attach their name to the audio content of others. The power of audio lies in the fact that “it can pretty much follow you throughout your day without interrupting whatever it is that you’re doing at that moment in time.” No matter how many people call him crazy, Hirsh sticks to the guiding principle that has gotten him here. “As long as you are true to yourself, you’ll be a happier and more contributing person in life.”

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • As an entrepreneur that has spent his life in innovation and forward-thinking, Amir has been called crazy plenty of times. 1:13
  • 2020 saw the audio industry explode with more people connecting via audio and technology than ever. 2:20
  • Podcasting doubled to 5.5 million podcasts in 2020 alone as more and more time has been spent at home. 2:54
  • Consuming content through the ears rather than the eyes frees up the consumer to do so much more. 3:40
  • Though Amazon was a little bit late to the audio game, it has positioned itself to be the 800lb gorilla in the room. 4:27
  • Voice penetration through Alexa will allow Amazon to push audio content at an entirely new level. 5:36
  • It’s vital for marketers to think about audio as it becomes more available in all industries. 6:40
  • People can connect with brands at a much higher rate through audio than just being bombarded with visuals. 7:10
  • If you are not moving your ads into the audio dimension, you miss out on half of the consumers’ attention span. 8:00
  • Amir started Audioburst to help podcasts and other audio connect with internet searchers. 9:27
  • By adding as much metadata as possible to the audio clips, Audioburst makes audio much more discoverable. 11:00
  • Other than making it accessible, Audioburst aims to make audio easy to use on many different platforms. 11:42
  • Currently, Audioburst partners with the likes of Samsung and Hyundai to integrate into multiple industries. 13:31
  • Rather than answering questions with an automated voice, Audioburst provides an audio clip from an expert in that field. 15:15
  • Audio finds its power in its ability to follow you around throughout the day without interrupting your activities. 16:44
  • Brands and marketers should be open to opportunities both in audio and on audio. 17:56
  • Opportunities in audio involve brands and marketers creating their own audio content, whether producing or being interviewed. 18:24
  • Placing a brand around a playlist, podcast, or audio event is how brands can participate in audio. 19:28
  • Amir attributes all the ups and downs that created his personality as someone that remains true to himself. 22:00
  • Looking back, Amir thinks it’s important never to lose your inner child as you go through the ride of life. 24:26
  • It’s important to actively care about the world you live in and the people around you. 27:30
  • There’s still time for brands and marketers to get in on the audio pie, but the longer they wait, the more they risk missing out. 29:00

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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.

Steven Monterastelli Unpacks Xbox’s Holiday Social Media Takeaways

With players spending more time and money on games during lockdowns, Microsoft was poised for success when launching its latest Xbox console. The November debut of Xbox Series X and S helped the tech giant top $5 billion during the December quarter, a 51 percent increase year-over-year. It also saw an 86 percent rise in hardware revenue for the quarter.

During a Socialbakers webinar, Socialbakers head of enterprise solutions Bob Gearing spoke with Ayzenberg associate director, data and insights, Steven Monterastelli, who manages all aspects of social measurement for Xbox, to unpack his team’s learnings from the holiday season.

Microsoft and Sony went head to head for their holiday launches, with the former launching Xbox Series X/S on November 10, and the latter dropping Playstation 5 two days later. Still, Monterastelli says Xbox took a collaborative approach to the launch on social rather than a competitive one, retweeting its post from 2013 that congratulated Sony on launching the Playstation 4.

“We have fans that have both consoles and we need to respect that. We’re not here to say ‘Xbox is better than the competitor.’ Twitter has always been a high paced, real time platform driven by culture and community. Leaning into this and creating content based on shared insights has been key to sustaining mass interest for Xbox,” said Monterastelli.

The Xbox Series X/S launch turned out to be the most successful debut in the brand’s history. In the first 24 hours of launch, more new consoles were sold than any prior generation, with Xbox Series S adding the highest percentage of new players for any Xbox console at launch. During that same period, 70 percent of Series X/S consoles ended up tied to new and existing Xbox Game Pass members.

Part of this success can be attributed to the brand’s strong social presence. With users flocking to games to play, socialize, and connect with others during lockdown, Monterastelli says the pandemic has underscored the importance of understanding the Xbox community.

“People are coming to social because they want to engage with the brands they love. They’re looking for brands to amplify their shared values. Because of the pandemic, there are new feelings and emotions that haven’t been present in prior years. Being aware of that is key to staying credible and authentic. That’s been the insight we’ve gained. We need to be the fans. We need to show the fans that we understand them,” said Monterastelli.

To engage fans accordingly, Monterastelli says customizing content for each social channel has been critical, namely creating a presence on channels that service the community instead of your own brand priority. He and his team applied this thinking to Xbox’s foray into TikTok in September. Its first video, which teased the new Xbox Series S, amassed 1.3 million likes and 33,000 comments. Today, it boasts 1.5 million followers and 11.6 million likes.

“Take time to understand who your target audience is on the platform, but also how the platform itself behaves and why people use it the way that they do.”

For Xbox, engaging with its fans doesn’t start and stop with a picture, video or meme. Monterastelli notes that a consistent dialogue and voice carried out throughout every piece of content helps build meaningful connections with fans. To do so, the Xbox React team is constantly in the trenches looking for opportunities to engage fans and connect with them one to one.

As for content that helps the brand reach its marketing goals, social giveaways are top of mind for Monterastelli, but he cautions against the passive nature of such contests as entrants tend to quickly satisfy the entry requirements, then never think about the giveaway again. At Xbox, getting around this means creating lasting experiences for fans. 

To promote the Series X launch, Xbox partnered with Taco Bell on a giveaway. Fans who purchased any medium or large drink via the Taco Bell app or in-person received a code on the cup for a chance to win a new Xbox Series X bundle. 

Instead of promoting the giveaway with a post that simply asked fans to like or comment, Xbox created a Reels that encouraged its followers to debate on which came first: the cup or the console. The result: 1.3 million views, 113,000 likes and nearly 2,700 comments.

The brand is also famous for its viral memes, which offer players moments of levity.

“The great thing about memes is that you often don’t need to know the origin of the content to understand the insight. When we posted this meme around the K/D ratio, which is regarded as a prestige stat within first-person shooters, we were trying to convey that some fans may not be good at the games, but that we still value them.” 

Snapchat Says It Now Reaches 70 Percent Of 13 To 24-Year-Olds

This week in social media news, Snapchat now reaches 70 percent of 13 to 24-year-olds, Twitter aims to double its total revenue by 2023, Pinterest gives users access to virtual fashion week content, a new Facebook study shows the growing importance of online groups, Twitter’s latest research shows the top trends driving conversations on the platform and more.

Snapchat Now Reaches 70 Percent Of 13-24 Year Olds

On its first investor day, Snapchat revealed to shareholders that 70 percent of its reach is 13-24 years old and 80 percent is above 18 years old.

Why it matters: New forthcoming ad offerings in high traffic areas like Snapchat’s Snap Map and Spotlight video platform will give brands a lucrative opportunity to reach the highly engaged ‘Snapchat Generation,’ which opens the app an average of 30 times a day.

The details: Snapchat’s chief business officer, Jeremi Gorman, told investors that Snap Map, its opt-in function that lets users share their location with friends on a map, currently has over 35 million businesses.

The company expects new ad products to contribute to a 50 percent increase in revenue year-over-year for the next few years.

Marketers should take advantage of the platform’s augmented reality lenses, as users said they’re 2.4 times more likely to convert when they use AR filters to try on products.

Twitter Aims To Double Total Revenue By 2023

Twitter plans to double its total annual revenue from $3.7 billion this year to $7.5 billion in 2023, the company announced on its Twitter Investor Relations account.

Why it matters: In Q4, Twitter reported reaching 192 million monetizable daily active (mDAUs) users–a bit shy of the 193.5 million it projected. It’s continuously adding new features including stories-like Fleets last year, and exploring new ones such as a subscription plan.

The details: Twitter anticipates reaching a minimum of 315 million mDAUs by Q4 2023, which would equate to a 20 percent increase from its 152 million mDAUs in Q4 2019.

Pinterest, Launchmetrics Debut Shoppable Fashion Week Initiatives

Pinterest has partnered with Launchmetrics to give Pinners exclusive access to images and videos from fall/winter 2021 virtual fashion shows and presenting designers.

Why it matters: Pinterest’s ‘Pinterest Predicts’ report found that searches for fashion-related terms like reworked clothes, soft outfits, cotton jumpsuits for women and custom hoodies surged in 2020.

The details: Starting February 14, Pinners can check the ‘Today Tab’ to discover New York Fashion Week content, including behind-the-scenes images from designers like Anna Sui and Alice+Olivia, as well as collection reviews and street style ideas. They can shop the looks directly from pins when clicking “shop similar.”

Snapchat Study Finds Increased Video Consumption Is Here To Stay

Snapchat and Omnicom Media Group conducted a two-part research study between July and October 2020 among 1,000 Gen Z and Millennials, which found that Snapchat videos drive longer and more frequent instances of higher immersion and that increased video consumption is here to stay.

Why it matters: The findings revealed that Snapchat video ads were eight percent more immersive than ads on other apps tested, and 36 percent more immersive than the overall ad industry benchmark. Respondents indicated a strong preference for watching videos on mobile that are five minutes or less.

The details: In part one of the study, 61 percent of respondents said they’re watching more videos on social media apps, 56 percent are watching more videos on streaming apps on a television and 52 percent are watching more videos on streaming apps on their phone. Over half say this increased viewing behavior will continue.

Part two of the study, which leveraged neuroscience measures to understand the emotional response to viewing social media videos, found that Snapchat videos were less likely to cause stress for younger generations than those on other social media platforms.

Videos on all three platforms tested drive attention and emotional response, but Snapchat Friend Stories had the strongest immersive index, perhaps due to the greater likelihood that stories there are viewed by real and close friends.

Facebook Study Highlights The Growing Impact Of Virtual Communities

The most important group that people worldwide belong to is a primarily online one, according to a new study conducted by Facebook and the Governance Lab. The companies interviewed leaders of 50 Facebook groups and 26 global academic and industry experts, and worked with YouGov to survey 15,000 internet users in 15 countries.

Why it matters: Despite the lack of physical proximity, online groups give their members a strong sense of community, and empower marginalized groups by cutting across traditional boundaries of race, class and other divisions.

The details: Every month, Facebook Groups are used by 1.8 billion people, more than half of which are members of five or more active groups. In the past month, there were 70 million people acting as admins and moderators of these groups.

According to the YouGov study, in 11 out of 15 countries studied, the largest proportion of respondents said that the most important group to which they belong to is virtual.

From the 50 interviews, Facebook and Governance Lab found that the flexibility and unmodified operations of online groups have created a new class of leaders. Additionally, the most successful Facebook Groups host deliberative and often contentious conversations about topics their members value, and therefore demand strong moderation.

Twitter Releases Report On Top Trends Shaping The Platform

Twitter’s latest report, ‘The Conversation: Twitter Trends’ gives brands a glimpse into the biggest trends driving conversations on the platform based on an analysis of billions of tweets from the last two years.

Why it matters: Twitter closed out 2020 with 192 million monetizable daily active users worldwide, up from 187 million in Q3.

The details: The trends driving Twitter conversations are personal and mental wellbeing, creator culture, spirituality and escapism, sustainability, technology and self-expression.

The pandemic inspired honest conversations about mental health and self-care, with mentions of mental health increasing by 74 percent and conversations around sleep as a form of self care growing by 43 percent.

Pandemic-induced unemployment coupled with the rise of the gig economy led to a 32 percent increase in conversation around entrepreneurialism and a 121 percent surge in mentions of “side hustle.”

In their search for meaning and comfort, users explored topics like astrology, embracing solitude, healing and paying it forward, leading to a 48 percent rise in conversation around spiritual energy and a 109 percent rise in conversations about tarot and psychics.

Users also considered their consumption habits, leading to a 53 percent increase in conversations around clean corporations and 29 percent increase in conversations around irresponsible packaging.

A demand for ease increased conversation around online shopping by 173 percent, and conversation around social/emotional dependence on tech by 96 percent.

A growing sense of awareness around social activism inspired a 33 percent rise in conversation about ethics and morals.

TikTok Introduces First Group Of Black Creators For New Incubator Program

After first announcing its three-month Black Creatives incubator program in January, TikTok has introduced the first 100 creators and emerging music artists selected for the initiative, which aims to nurture black creators on the platform via motivational town halls, community-building forums and educational events.

Why it matters: TikTok says it received more than 5,000 video applications in less than 24 hours after announcing the program, which it’s conducting in partnership with MACRO, a media company that represents voices of people of color.

The details: The program kicks off today with “a full day of educational programming” where the inaugural class will hear from Gabrielle Union on the importance of setting their goals and knowing their worth. Over the next three months, the creators will join the TikTok team at virtual events led by successful black business leaders, entrepreneurs and celebrities.

LinkedIn Debuts New Tools For Company Pages

LinkedIn has rolled out new tools to help companies strengthen the connection between their employees, customers, partners and brand supporters, including updates to the “My Company” tab, an analytics feature to measure the impact of employee advocacy programs, free Lead Gens for product pages and more.

Why it matters: The new community-building features are in response to user feedback regarding how difficult it has been to stay connected with colleagues and customers in this new virtual environment. LinkedIn also cites research from a Glint Employee report, which found that feeling disconnected was the highest risk factor to burnout for 41 percent of employees.

The details: First up, LinkedIn’s updates to the “My Company Tab” will enable page admins to curate organic content through a new “Recommend” tool and suggest trending articles for employees to reshare via a new “Content Suggestions” tool. Plus, a new analytics feature will help companies measure the reach of their employee advocacy program.

LinkedIn has also added Lead Gen Forms—which help companies boost high-quality leads through pre-filled forms populated with a LinkedIn member’s profile data—to product pages, for free.

Additionally, a new feature for LinkedIn Stories will give pages and page admins a way to add a destination URL to their Story right from the Story frame to maximize engagement and conversion.

In the coming months, LinkedIn Elevate customers will gain access to employee verification for free on all pages with more than 10 employees.

YouTube Adds New 24 Hour Comparison Tool In Analytics

YouTube has added a new feature to creators’ channel analytics that reveals how their video performed in the first 24 hours after publishing.

Why it matters: Though a video’s performance in the first 24 hours isn’t indicative of its future performance, YouTube says it added the feature because the first 24 hours is typically when creators want to compare their video performance.  

The details: Creators can find the new feature under channel analytics in advanced mode, then click “compare to” to see the “first 24 hours video performance.” There, a scatter plot compares several videos across the same time period, and lets you choose what metrics to compare against.

Snapchat Research Shows Length Isn’t A Predictor Of Ad Efficiency

According to the findings of a joint study by Snapchat, Magna and the IPG Media Lab, six-second Snapchat ads convinced more consumers to consider buying the products featured in commercials compared to 15-second ads.

Why it matters: Snapchat notes that 15-second ads are valuable for increasing awareness, but specifically for ads that market new products. Overall, Snapchat was shown to be more effective at improving awareness and purchase intent than the online video platforms tested.

The details: Leveraging a digital lab-based experimental design, Magna surveyed over 7,700 participants from a panel representative on both PC and mobile devices, with their media habits assigned to either Snapchat, a video aggregator or a full-episode player.

Magna controlled the ads served to participants, who were asked to complete an online survey measuring awareness, brand perception and purchase intent.

They found that regardless of length, full-screen vertical ads on Snapchat drove more than twice the lift in awareness than other platforms tested.

Six-second ads on the platform were also more persuasive than 15-second ads for both younger and older generations, with participants considering the shorter ads “immersive and innovative.” Younger participants were less likely to feel that 15-second ads were “innovative” or “offer new info.”

Snapchat gauged the incrementality it could offer by developing creative custom for the platform rather than cutting down from longer-length assets. It found that cut-downs and customized creative performed similarly, and upon reviewing persuasion across all ads tested, the delta was consistent for the two separate creative executions.

Shoppers Will Pay More For A Product Online From Brands They Trust

According to the latest Salsify Consumer Research Report 2021, nearly half of shoppers compared prices online across brands before buying something in the last three months. But an even greater amount–86 percent–are willing to pay more for a product online from a brand they trust.  

With 43 percent expecting to shop online more than previously, Salsify set out to uncover what it takes for digital brands to earn consumer trust, which came down to one factor: the quality of a brand’s product detail page.

The qualities consumers care most about when buying from a brand include high-quality ingredients, materials and craftsmanship (40 percent), corporate social responsibility (27 percent), good customer service (16 percent) and a brand’s support for charitable causes that the consumer cares about (12 percent).

In addition, 42 percent of shoppers said that high-quality images and detailed product descriptions were one of the top three reasons they trust a product online. An additional 31 percent said that a lack of information was the top reason they didn’t buy a product online.

When asked what elements help them decide whether to buy from a brand online, consumers cited customer reviews (62 percent), product images (40 percent), product ratings (38 percent), product size and material information (36 percent) and 360-degree or roll-over images (25 percent).

Other factors that influenced their decision include user-generated photos and real-life examples, videos, information about the brand values and company history and assembly instructions.

Brands can improve their product pages by providing the maximum number of allowable images, including details about their product materials or ingredients in feature bullets and description copy and regularly reviewing questions asked on the page then updating their product copy accordingly.

Despite the events of 2020, eMarketer estimates that worldwide retail ecommerce sales increased nearly 28 percent, or $4.280 trillion—a substantial uptick from the firm’s mid-pandemic forecast of 16.5 percent growth. Nevertheless, worldwide retail sales declined by three percent, to $23.839 trillion, reports eMarketer.

Salsify’s findings are based on an online survey conducted in December 2020 among 1,800 consumers who shopped online between June and December.

Improving Customer Engagement Strategies

Brands that message customers across multiple channels saw a 58 percent increase in 30-day retention, customers were 73 percent more likely to make a purchase and four times more likely to increase their lifetime value.

That’s according to Braze’s first annual Global Customer Engagement Review, which shows how marketers can improve their strategies, with case studies from leading brands like Headspace, the NBA, Grubhub and Goat.

In developing a Customer Engagement Index, Braze discovered what sets companies with mature engagement practices—which Braze refers to as ‘Ace’ companies—apart from the rest: they’ve mastered a culture of experimentation across a wide variety of channels.

Excellent customer experience is a requisite for building brand loyalty and improving retention. More importantly, Braze found there’s a direct correlation between the level of engagement a brand provides and business growth. Over half (56 percent) of brands who earned the highest ranking in Braze’s index surpassed their revenue goals. In addition, the brands that rated their practices as “excellent” were more likely than those who rated it as “poor” to reach their revenue goals.

A best-in-class customer engagement approach will leverage both in-product messaging channels such as in-app, in-browser and in-app inboxes or feeds, as well as out-of-product messages including email, push and SMS. Brands with a cross-channel approach experience more buyers, more purchases per user, greater retention and a higher customer lifetime value, according to Braze.

To reach Ace status, brands must harness both technology and teamwork. Braze notes that the companies excelling are more likely to trigger campaigns with real-time data via APIs, to use over three channels and to continuously export data to deliver deeply personalized experiences.

During the throes of the pandemic, the NBA aimed to increase subscriptions to its live game subscription service League Pass. To do so, it created in-app messages with custom HTML that updated daily with upcoming games. It also deployed personalized push notifications with each recipient’s favorite teams and interactive content that allowed fans to sync their calendars to the events. As a result, the start of the season saw a 9.5x increase in daily active users, 25x lift in sessions and a 17x increase in new users.

The NBA’s tactic is an example of how media and entertainment brands can stand out in a crowd, an issue that 40 percent of respondents cited as their top challenge.

For Grubhub, first-party data was critical for creating personalized year-in-review emails and features for each diner. Customized across 32 different attributes, the initiative led to a 100 percent increase in social media mentions year-over-year, and an 18 percent lift in word-of-mouth referrals to the app.

Seventy-four percent of companies are worried that their customer engagement metrics don’t translate into tangible business outcomes. Braze says the source of this concern could be due to their lack of a single, company-wide definition of success for customer engagement across all teams involved—which just 26 percent of marketers say they have.

Marketers plan to ramp up their customer engagement tools, with 60 percent reporting that their budget will increase over the next 12 months.

These findings are based on a Wakefield Research survey conducted between December 15 to December 23, 2020 among 1,300 marketing executives from B2C companies with annual revenue of over $10 million across 10 global markets, including the US, the UK, Australia, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Braze’s customer data, aggregated from over 5 million global users, was also utilized for the report.

What We’re Reading—Week Of February 15th

A quick rundown of the marketing and advertising news we’re reading this week.

How To Make Shopping A Treasure Hunt For Consumers


Pandemic-induced grocery demand drivers include stress-relieving indulgence, immunity and hygiene. Given food shopping may be the only time consumers leave their home, they may be approaching the experience as a treasure hunt to discover new and exciting items. 

Why it matters: Given this new normal, brands have the opportunity to find ways to delight consumers, including promoting grab-and-go meal kits, placing products in less traditional locations and creating a product mash-up with another consumer packaged goods company.

Chief Meme Officer: Possibly Marketing’s Best Force Multiplier Right Now

Marketing Dive

Considering that a larger segment of the world’s population may be working from home in 2021 than ever before, that smartphone usage has increased exponentially and that social media usage has spiked, brands are in the midst of a prime opportunity to accelerate engagement with their target audiences. As more brands compete aggressively for share of voice, there might be no better way to grab a slice of the pie than by employing a chief meme officer.

Why it matters: Companies wishing to thrive in increasingly saturated markets should approach their next strategy with a think-outside-of-the-box attitude. Embracing memes as the next potential arsenal of influence campaigns may be what sets the innovators apart from the rest.

Experts From AB-InBev, Havas & Unilever Share Ad Industry Predictions For 2021

The Drum

In U7’s 2021 Predictions white paper, experts say that this year, brands will determine which data sets are truly adding value, media consumption will be even more fragmented, consumers will seek publishers they can trust and companies will need to focus on giving employees a powerful sense of purpose.

Why it matters: Instead of returning to business as usual, brands must use data to develop a deeper understanding of changes in consumer behavior and reflect those learnings in their communication, products and supply chain.

TV, OOH And Radio Set To Drive Return To Media Inflation


ECI Media Management’s Annual Media Inflation Report anticipates a three percent inflation in media globally, with a similar level in the UK, at 3.4 percent. With the exception of print, all offline media is forecasted to experience a reverse in the deflation seen during 2020. In the US, offline media will return to inflation at about one percent compared with four percent in digital. Digital video will see a five percent level of inflation. 

Why it matters: Rising media inflation typically means higher costs for marketers, but it also signals confidence in the sector and the economy. Marketers should wait to see how measures against the pandemic progress, and understand the transparency and effectiveness of their investments.

Maryland Passed A Tax On Digital Advertising. What Happens Next?


In violation of the Permanent Internet Tax Fairness Act, on February 12, Maryland became the first state in the US to enact a digital ad tax to snub Big Tech. The tax is forecasted to generate $250 million in its first year.

Why it matters: Should the discriminatory Maryland digital ad tax survive Constitutional muster, it may give rise to a wave of similar taxes in other states. Although Big Tech is the target, the higher costs of conducting digital ad business will be passed along to Maryland residents, the alleged benefactors of the tax.

Banana Republic Taps Ana Andjelic As Its New Chief Brand Officer

This week in leadership updates, Banana Republic hires Ana Andjelic as its new chief brand officer, State Street names Theresa McLaughlin global CMO, Travel + Leisure Co. taps Noah Brodsky as president, Target elevates Cara Sylvester to EVP, chief marketing and digital officer, Discovery appoints Patrizio Spagnoletto as global CMO, direct-to-consumer, and National 4-H names Ivan Heredia SVP and CMO.

Banana Republic Names Ana Andjelic As New Chief Brand Officer

Banana Republic has hired Ana Andjelic as its new chief brand officer, the company announced in a LinkedIn post.

Andjelic, who Forbes recently named one of its most influential CMOs in 2020, joins from her namesake ad agency, where she served as principal. Prior to that, she was CMO for Mansur Gavriel.

Target Elevates Cara Sylvester As Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing And Digital Officer

As part of a string of updates to its executive leadership team, Target has promoted Cara Sylvester to EVP and chief marketing and digital officer.

Sylvester has been with the company since 2007, and most recently worked as senior vice president of home.

In her new role, Sylvester is expected to strengthen affinity for the Target brand and further its loyalty program and in-house media company.

Discovery Names Patrizio Spagnoletto Global Chief Marketing Officer For Direct-To-Consumer

Patrizio Spagnoletto is joining Discovery as the company’s global CMO, DTC, a newly created role.

Spagnoletto joins Discovery from Hulu, where he was EVP and head of marketing.

National 4-H Council Appoints Ivan Heredia As Senior Vice President And Chief Marketing Officer

The National 4-H Council has named Ivan Heredia as its new SVP and CMO, according to a press release.

Heredia spent the last nine years at Walt Disney Co., where he was VP of marketing, brand engagement and revenue. Prior to that, he served as director of marketing and talent relations at Nickelodeon.

State Street Names Theresa McLaughlin Global Chief Marketing Officer

State Street has appointed Theresa McLaughlin as its new global CMO.

McLaughlin joins from TD Bank Financial Group, where she worked as global chief marketing, customer experience and corporate citizenship officer for eight years.

Travel + Leisure Co. Elevates Noah Brodsky To President

Noah Brodsky, current chief brand officer at Travel + Leisure Co., has added president of Travel + Leisure Group to his title.

Brodsky has been chief brand officer for the company, formerly Wyndham Destinations, for nearly four years.