Snapchat’s Generation Global Report Reveals Users’ $4.4 Trillion Spending Power

This week in social media news, Snapchat publishes new research on its users’ spending power, TikTok and UFC strike a multi-year partnership, LinkedIn offers free job posts and ads to speed up the vaccine roll-out, Twitter launches a full live test of its audio DM feature, Facebook launches a new site dedicated to helping app marketers respond to Apple’s new IDFA changes and more.

Snapchat’s Generation Global Report Highlight Gen Z’s $4.4 Trillion Spending Power

Snapchat’s latest research reveals global insights on its user demographics, values, spending habits, usage of augmented reality and views on brands, highlighting the ways marketers can engage the Gen Z audience, which Snap says holds $4.4 trillion in global spending power.

Why it matters: The top reason Snapchatters say they use the platform is to connect with friends and family, with 70 percent reporting that they’re spending more time with their families due to the pandemic.

The details: According to Snap’s findings, its users are willing to outspend non-Snapchatters on common purchases across every retail and service category—52 percent more on a new cell phone, 50 percent more on a specialty drink, 50 percent more on shampoo and 25 percent more on a music service.

Brands that create compelling narratives and interactive experiences can build strong connections with the cohort, as half of them enjoy learning the backstory of products they buy. Additionally, Snap users are three times more likely than non-Snapchatters to say they’re using augmented reality (AR) to try on products more than they did one year ago.

Fifty-three percent of users believe they have the power to make social changes and contribute to activist movements using social platforms, and half say they’re less likely to buy from a brand that chooses to promote the opposite side of social issues that matter to them.

Three out of four view themselves as inclusive—in the US alone, Snap users are over twice as likely to be black, and almost three times more likely to be Hispanic or Latinx than older generations.

Snapchatters are authentic and value the ability to form their own opinions, with 70 percent of Snap users saying they want their online image to represent the “real me.”

TikTok And UFC Strike Multi-Year Partnership

TikTok and UFC announced a multi-year partnership to deliver exclusive weekly livestreams featuring pre-and post-fight access, behind-the-scenes footage and engagement with UFC athletes.

Why it matters: UFC has 6.3 million TikTok followers, making it the third most-followed sports league since joining the platform in October 2019.

The details: The partnership will kick off on February 20 with a livestream from Blaydes vs. Lewis at UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Throughout the year, users will have access to hundreds of pieces of content via UFC’s TikTok channels, including UFC, UFC Russia, UFC Brasil and UFC Europe.

LinkedIn Offers Healthcare Companies And Nonprofits Free Job Listings, Ads

In an ongoing effort to accelerate vaccine distribution, LinkedIn said it will let healthcare companies post jobs for free, and offer free ads to select nonprofits that are recruiting volunteers to distribute the vaccine.

Why it matters: LinkedIn first announced its support to help full critical healthcare roles get in April when it enabled sectors such as hospitals and nonprofits to post new critical jobs for free for three months. In addition, it pledged to bring similar healthcare roles front and center on the LinkedIn homepage and jobs homepage.

The details: Now through May 15, healthcare organizations, pharmacies and governments with hiring needs in direct support of the vaccine can post jobs for free on LinkedIn. Members will be notified of these jobs through push notifications, real-time alerts, in the LinkedIn feed and in job search.

Additionally, LinkedIn is offering free ads to select nonprofits and disaster response organizations that are recruiting at least one thousand volunteers to help distribute vaccines through June 30. Organizations that distribute critical information about the vaccine, such as the UN Verified Initiative, World Health Organization and The Ad Council, will also have access to free ads.

Twitter Debuts Test Of Voice Message Direct Message Feature

Twitter is rolling out a test of its voice clips within direct messages to users in Japan, India and Brazil, reports Social Media Today.

Why it matters: The latest experiment is an extension of a feature that enables iOS users to record and tweet with audio, which Twitter rolled out last June. Enabling audio within DMs could work to enhance the experience for vision-impaired users, or simply mimic a voice-enabled texting experience to encourage users to spend more time on the app.

The details: As per Social Media Today, voice recordings in DMs are currently only available on iOS, and must be capped at 140 seconds long.

Facebook Launches New Site To Help App Advertisers Navigate IDFA Changes

Facebook has rolled out a new site where app marketers can access resources and information to help them monetize their app and respond to changes to Apple’s Identifier For Advertisers (IDFA), which are anticipated to arrive in early spring.

Why it matters: Apple’s IDFA updates will enable users to withhold their IDFA data, which will significantly hinder the way game and app companies target audiences. Apple will enforce the change for all third-party data sources and data-sharing agreements. However, Apple can still use data per their terms of service.

The details: Facebook’s new site includes gaming app monetization guides that will be updated frequently, a Blueprint Course on monetizing with Audience Network, case studies on how other app developers grew their app and tips on integrating bidding in your app business.

TikTok Kicks Off Its Second Virtual ‘Fashion Month’ 

After giving TikTok users access to runway shows and luxury fashion in September of last year, the platform is kicking off its second Fashion Month, which aims to celebrate inclusivity and diversity in fashion. Together with IMG, TikTok’s official editorial partner, TikTok will host a series of live streams featuring shows and moments with popular fashion creators.

Why it matters: With in-person fashion shows canceled due to the pandemic, designers and brands have a major opportunity to promote their collections through TikTok’s live streams and hashtags during fashion month, including #TikTokFashionMonth, #Upcycling, #OnTheRunway and #StyleHacks.

The details: TikTok has seven live streams slated for February and March, including a ‘Get Ready with Me’ makeover session with Tan France, a Balmain runway show and a finale party during which users can shop looks modeled by creators and athletes.

TikTok will feature premium editorial content across the IMG network throughout global fashion weeks from New York to London and Milan to Paris.

It has partnered with the coordinator of Paris Fashion Week, La Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode (FHCM), to spotlight emerging designers and brands.

Additionally, Tiktok is working with the British Fashion Council to help support emerging designers via mentoring and masterclasses as part of their NEWGEN program.

Twitch Sees Over 2 Billion Hours Watched In January

In January, Twitch surpassed the 2 billion hours watched threshold, and Facebook Gaming exceeded 439 million hours watched, according to StreamElements and’s ‘State of the Stream’ January 2021 report.

Why it matters: The huge boost means that Twitch and Facebook each increased over 117 percent in hours watched year-over-year.  

The details: StreamElements notes that for the first time in a long time, all of Twitch’s top 10 games experienced significant growth, particularly Rust—which saw a 1,226 percent boost in month-over-month hours watched. Still in first place for hours watched is Twitch’s ‘Just Chatting.’ Twitch’s Music category entered the top 20 with more than 24 million hours watched in January, compared to 4.6 million last year—a 428 percent YoY growth.  

Pokémon Launches Global Music Campaign, Brand Partnerships And Collectibles For 25th Anniversary

In celebration of its 25th anniversary, Pokémon has launched a limited-edition collection with Levi’s featuring the denim brand’s signature styles updated with the franchise’s bright colors and graphics.

Among the playful pieces for adults and children are graphic T-shirts, trucker jackets, jeans, crewneck sweatshirts, bags and headwear emblazoned with the game’s popular characters, including Pikachu, Charizard and Snorlax. Fans can customize their picks with a personalized message, laser-etched design and more using Levi’s customization tools online.

The Levi’s Pokémon collaboration is just one part of the franchise’s massive 25th anniversary celebration, which includes a global music campaign with Universal Music Group (UMG), dubbed P25 and headlined by Katy Perry, as well as year-round programming involving artists from UMG’s labels.

Pokémon is kicking off the festivities with a free virtual Post Malone concert on February 27, which fans can watch on Pokémon’s YouTube, Twitch or anniversary website. After the show, the company will reveal details about Perry’s participation and how the P25 Music program will come to life this year.

On the day of the concert, Pokémon will be running music-themed episodes of Pokémon the Series via Pokémon TV and the Pokémon TV mobile app.

In addition to music-themed activations, Pokémon has partnered with a host of brands on promotions and merchandise. From now until March 8, fans can visit participating McDonald’s to receive four Pokémon Trading Card Game cards and a new toy in every Happy Meal. Pokémon also has collaborations lined up with Build-A-Bear Workshop, General Mills, Jazwares, Scholastic, Mattel, Funko, PowerA and The Wand Company.

In-game Pokémon events are slated to take place as well. Starting February 25, players can add a special Pikachu to their Pokémon Sword or Pokémon Shield with a special password they can access on the game’s website, social media channels, and Trainer Club newsletter. In keeping with the P25 music theme, this Pikachu will have the ability to perform a move called Sing.

Fans can shop from a line of branded Pokémon collectibles throughout the year, which will include a 25th anniversary-themed skateboard by Bear Walker, and a special collector’s binder for Pokémon trading cards available at participating retailers.

Forget 2020? Party City And Julie Roehm Have Made The Best Of It And More

On this 247th episode of“Marketing Today,” I speak with Julie Roehm, the chief marketing and experience officer at Party City. More than most, Party City had to make a massive pivot in response to the pandemic, as parties became all but outlawed.

We start our conversation talking about Roehm’s unusual path to where she is today, actually beginning with a degree in environmental engineering before moving to finance and ultimately marketing. Roehm then explains how each industry taught her to view challenges “as opportunities rather than an obstacle.” Next, Roehm dives into the beginning of her marketing career at Ford Motor Company, stating, “that’s where I started to get the taste for this out-of-the-box, different way of thinking about marketing.” As she made the jump from company to company, Roehm stayed true to her No. 1 rule, “culture eats strategy for lunch.”

We then discuss the challenges presented by the pandemic to her current company, Party City, during a time when “pandemic and party were not synonymous.” Roehm explains how she was able to set up a same-day delivery service with Hertz in just eight days as her team made an attempt to “get people to see celebration around every corner.” People need something to be happy about during the pandemic, and Party City is trying to give it to them. Finally, Roehm talks about the importance of knowing “yourself and the kind of environments you’re going to thrive in!”

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • Julie created The Conversational Podcast in her free time after she successfully flipped an auto body company. 1:27
  • Throughout her career, Julie has been able to know some incredibly successful people on a personal level. 2:26
  • Julie’s Holy Shit moments have given her direction throughout her life, leading to her greatest success. 3:18
  • Born in the Midwest as the oldest child, Julie’s family moved around a lot before attending Purdue for college. 5:22
  • Upon finding out that engineers were paid well, Julie decided to go into engineering at Purdue. 6:26
  • After her first year in college, Julie chose civil engineering to buy more time to figure out what she wanted to do. 7:00
  • Julie ultimately chose environmental engineering and being accepted into a co-op program. 8:36
  • During her time in the co-op program, Julie learned that she did not want to be an engineer, but she did want to be a businesswoman. 9:10
  • Once she began attending business school in Chicago, Julie worked for American Airlines as an intern in the New Business and Marketing area. 9:55
  • Julie ultimately chose to work in marketing for Ford Motor Company right out of business school. 11:05
  • Back in 1999, Julie helped launch the first Ford Focus in the United States. 11:36
  • After Mercedes bought Chrysler, Julie made the jump and created the Grab Life by the Horns campaign. 12:00
  • Spending under a year at Walmart, Julie decided to start her own consulting company that lasted for five years. 12:56
  • Julie was excited to work as CMO for Abra Autobody & Glass because of the incredible culture that had been built. 14:00
  • After flipping Abra, one of the board members extended an offer to Julie to come to Party City. 15:50
  • Before agreeing to join Party City, Julie made sure to spend time with the executive board to make sure the correct culture was there. 16:33
  • With enough skills, training, and confidence, you can do anything, but the culture will be what ultimately launches you to success. 18:10
  • Party City Holdings Inc. designs, produces and manufactures around 80% of what is sold in Party City. 19:00
  • When the pandemic hit, Julie’s team adopted the fail fast forward strategy to thrive during a time where parties had disappeared. 21:03
  • Utilizing Hertz, Party City started its same-day delivery service, something that was vital to the survival of the business. 23:15
  • Julie’s team went deep to understand the customers’ needs, focusing on virtual celebrations and parties. 24:20
  • Once summer hit, Party City created camp itineraries for their customers who had jobs and kids at home. 26:07
  • Party City leaned in heavily to influences, how-to videos, and other forms of content to make fun accessible and easy. 27:00
  • Now, we all have a language to celebrate with others that aren’t in the same room as us. 28:50
  • Party City celebrated the end of 2020 with its “F U 2020” campaign, that being Forget You 2020. 30:10
  • In 2021, many people and organizations look to redo or blowout in honor of missed celebrations from 2020. 32:27
  • The role of digital services in the shopping industry has exploded as a result of the pandemic. 34:39
  • Party City has positioned itself well to succeed in the post-pandemic world with many locations and a solid online presence. 36:36
  • Julie attributes her childhood of constantly joining new schools and making new friends to her success in multiple industries. 39:00
  • Looking back, Julie would trust her gut more when prioritizing culture over strategy. 41:47
  • Big tech, pharmaceuticals, and environmental protection are three areas that Julie is interested in moving forward. 44:43
  • For Julie, experience is just what marketing is now, whether from the customer or the employee. 47:28

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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.

Listen In: Ad Council And The Evolution Of Social Good

Ayzenberg’s VP of brand integration, Bill Buckley, leads a wide-ranging conversation with Ro Patrick, senior vice president at the Ad Council. Questions answered include: What are the critical issues being tackled today that we need to create communications for and how can brands get involved? How does research empower strategy for the Ad Council when developing the right approach, message and audience?

Patrick explores the origins of the Ad Council, an American non-profit organization that develops the advertising for public service announcements, or as she puts it, uses “the power of communications to do good.” As SVP, Patrick leads the development of these public service campaigns for national nonprofits and government agencies.

“We believe in everyone coming together to do good,” says Patrick. She shares the content development and deployment process that ultimately led to 77% of Americans seeing at least one form of a PSA around COVID-19 from the organization. “We got that message out there and it’s really thanks to the industry coming together and not having an ego.”

Patrick also discusses how there’s room for anyone in the industry under the “really big tent” that is the Ad Council. She shares how the pandemic galvanized the Ad Council’s core mission established over 80 years ago. “We were wired for crises,” says Patrick. She also reflects on the Ad Council’s role in externalizing and internalizing racial equality. “As an industry… we’ve got to do better.”

“There’s a lot of work to be done for us to become a more inclusive and diverse industry. For us, at the Ad Council, we launched a host of new commitments and processes to really ensure we have a foundation to foster inclusivity.” 

Patrick states that to become an anti-racist organization involves continual public accountability and involved leveraging the Ad Council ‘machine’ to elevate existing BIPOC social justice movements.

Other topics include how the Ad Council is fostering STEM education among young girls and women with Dare To STEM, approaching sensitivity around retirement messaging (especially in light of the current economic uncertainty) and efforts around vaccine education informed by public health research.

About Listen In: Each week on Listen In, Bretz and a rotating cast of hosts from Ayzenberg will 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.

What We’re Reading—Week Of February 8th

Accelerating Post-Pandemic Data Strategies In 2021

MarTech Series

A recent McKinsey & Company report found that ecommerce deliveries in the US increased as much in eight weeks as they had in the previous ten years, while telemedicine grew tenfold in just 15 days.

Why it matters: During these unpredictable times, brands must organize and activate their data in near real-time to understand who their audiences are, what they desire and how best to reach them as their preferences shift.

CSR Reaches A Tipping Point


In August 2019, a group of nearly 200 of the most powerful CEOs in the US, known as the Business Roundtable, declared that businesses should act in the benefit of all stakeholders, including shareholders, customers, employees, suppliers and communities. As a result of the events of 2020, companies are playing a more active role in environmental, social and economic issues—a move that would be unfathomable a decade ago.

Why it matters: As companies continue to shift their focus and become more purpose-driven, the bar for corporate responsibility will continue to rise. Companies that have developed their “purpose strategies will thrive in this new world” as research shows that companies that have acted with purpose outperformed markets by 42 percent in 2018.

How To Support The New Generation Of Creative Talent

The Drum

Despite concerns regarding lack of motivation, discipline and experience, young individuals are an asset to any company, in part, because they bring with them creativity, perspective and enthusiasm. Ensuring young talent is utilized requires a unique approach to conducting business, including being value-driven, prioritizing authenticity and transparency and providing opportunities for them to develop their skill set.

Why it matters: Companies that establish an environment conducive to nurturing young creatives will experience growth and evolution. A few ways that brands can do this is to listen more, show care for their mental health, communicate authentically and provide both positive and constructive feedback.

Target’s New Activewear Brand Generated $1 Billion In Just One Year, Cashing In On Americans’ Pandemic-Driven Shift To Athleisure

Business Insider

Capturing the work-from-home market, Target’s in-house athleticwear brand, All in Motion, is one of 10 Target brands out of over 30 that reached at least $1 billion in sales during 2020.

Why it matters: Target attributes the brand’s success to both the timing of lockdowns and to its mass-market appeal. All in Motion’s advertising features a variety of sizes and body types, and most of the line costs less than $30.

Comparatively, competitor brand Lululemon reached $1 billion sales 14 years after launching, and Athleta almost hit $1 billion nine years after Gap acquired it.

Opinion: Why Brands Need A Chief Entertainment Officer

Ad Age

As collaborations between the entertainment business, brands and technology platforms continue to grow in 2021, brands need a chief entertainment officer to build out their business in new, exciting ways—be it through content creation, events, licensing, influencer marketing or capitalizing on major cultural moments.

Why it matters: Chief entertainment officers differ from chief marketing officers in that they’re solely focused on securing strategic entertainment partnerships that enhance the product experience for artists, brands and consumers alike.

TikTok E-commerce Could Harness Hyper-Engaged Gen Z

Vogue Business

TikTok is rolling out new ecommerce capabilities like self-service advertising, affiliate links and in-app brand catalogues, the company confirmed to Vogue Business.

Why it matters: The new features give fashion brands the opportunity to showcase their products in what could become viral challenges—which Gucci and JW Anderson benefited from last year—that reach its 1 billion monthly active users.

Universal Music Group Partners With TikTok for Artist Collabs, Data & More


Universal Music Group and TikTok inked a global agreement to compensate artists and songwriters when TikTok users feature their music in clips. Under the agreement’s new licensing deals, TikTok users can incorporate clips from UMG’s full catalog of music across its expansive network for the first time.

Why it matters: TikTok’s viral dance challenges have helped break new songs and revive old ones. The platform says that more than 70 artists who broke on the app have since signed major label deals, including Priscilla Block, Powfu and others.

The Rising Value Of Industrial Brands

McKinsey & Company

Of the more than 5,300 industrial brands that McKinsey studied, the top five percent capture 95 percent share of voice, enabling them to charge price premiums of five to 10 percent, thereby generating higher return on invested capital (ROIC).

Why it matters: The top quartile of companies that improved visibility the most grew five-year ROIC by about three percentage points more than the bottom quartile, namely those whose visibility decreased the most.

Finding Direction When You’re Feeling Lost

Harvard Business Review

According to executive coach and psychoanalyst Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries, when people transition from “time to live” to “time left to live,” a new sense of urgency emerges about identifying their purpose of existence.

Why it matters: The five pillars that define how we experience the meaning of our existence include: investing in affectionate interpersonal relationships, finding a clear sense of purpose, being utterly immersed in our unique talents, feeling like we have control over our choices and connecting ourselves purposefully to our community and society.

Skipping The Super Bowl, Budweiser Is Donating Its Ad Dollars To Covid-19 Vaccine Awareness Efforts


Budweiser is donating its Super Bowl ad dollars to the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative to raise awareness of the COVID-19 vaccines. In lieu of a game-day ad, it released a 90-second video set to the song “Lean On Me” featuring moments characteristic of lockdown life, including a dog appearing on Zoom, NBA players kneeling while wearing ‘Black Lives Matter’ T-shirts, masked grocery shoppers and people getting vaccinated.

Why it matters: Anheuser-Busch US chief marketing officer Marcel Marcondes says several of the company’s other brands will still air ads during the game, but they “won’t have quite the same tone as usual.”

Why Did Companies Take So Long To Divest From White Supremacy?

Harvard Business Review

Brands are speaking out or withdrawing funding to politicians and organizations that played a role in fueling the US Capitol raid because appearing to support a president who challenged the election could cut into earnings.

Why it matters: Many US companies proved they’re willing to profit off of racial inequality until the political costs of doing so were judged to be too high. To make good on their efforts to reduce racial inequality, businesses can rid their company of practices that help produce the very racial inequality they claim to disapprove of.

Consumers Trust UGC More Than Content Created By Brands


According to TINT’s ‘State of User-Generated Content 2021’ report, brand messages were reshared up to 24 times more when distributed by employees versus the brand.

Why it matters: To ramp up their UGC, 75 percent of marketers say they’re currently working with influencers who have less than 1,000 followers to create engaging content.

TikTok Shares Insight On Top 2020 Categories In ‘What’s Next’ Report

This week in social media news, TikTok publishes its What’s Next 2020 trends report for 19 global markets, Pinterest announces its first marketing summit, Instagram says it won’t promote reposted TikToks, Pinterest reaches 459 million monthly actives, Instagram debuts a ‘Recently Deleted’ feature and more.

TikTok Publishes Its 2020 Trend Report For 19 Markets 

TikTok published its ‘What’s Next’ trend report for 19 global markets, including the US, UK, Korea, France and more. The reports are based on TikTok’s performance from January to November, and highlight the content categories that grew the most in 2020.

Why it matters: TikTok’s trends recap is part of the app’s larger effort to help brands reach its 1 billion user base and get the most return on their ad investments. It recently announced three forthcoming ecommerce integrations, including affiliate links for creators, the ability for brands to showcase product catalogs and live-streamed shopping within the app.

The details: The findings of the report are based on nearly a year’s worth of performance, as well as the biggest hashtags related to the top categories on the platform.

Among the most popular content categories on TikTok in 2020 globally were: diary/vlog, comedy, video games, movie and TV, pets, romance, cartoon and animation, cooking, sports and outfit.

The content categories that saw the highest growth last year were: news and events, music, photography, sports news, environment protection, livestock and poultry, education, interview and experiment, home and garden, and camping.

In the US, the home and garden topic grew 156 percent, camping increased 113 percent, video gaming grew 104 percent and cooking grew by 57 percent.

Pinterest Announces ‘Pinterest Presents’ Advertising Summit

Pinterest is set to host its first-ever summit for marketers, ‘Pinterest Presents,’ on March 3. Marketers from the US, the UK, Germany, France, Canada and Australia can tune in on March 3 to hear from local speakers from their respective regions.

Why it matters: The pandemic accelerated Pinterest’s growth, as evidenced by its Q4 update which shows it added 17 million additional monthly actives and grew its revenue by 76 percent year-over-year.

The details: As per Pinterest: “Pinterest is going to share your audience’s plan for 2021. Make sure you’re part of them. We’ll share Pinterest’s plans, too, like a different vision for the future of the internet and online advertising from our co-founder & CEO Ben Silbermann . . .”

Speakers for Pinterest’s US summit will include five members from the platform’s leadership team, as well as Tilting the Lens founder and CEO Sinéad Burke and vice president, global brand engagement and design, American Express, Walter Frye.

Instagram Says It Won’t Promote Repurposed TikTok Videos

Many users have been reposting their TikTok on Instagram’s TikTok clone, Reels. In a new post featuring Reels best practices, Instagram is discouraging that behavior, noting that “these types of reels won’t be recommended as often to people who don’t yet follow you.”

Why it matters: Instagram confirmed to The Verge that it has updated its algorithm to downrank posts such as reposted TikTok videos, saying:

“We’re building on what we’ve learned from Explore to recommend fun and entertaining videos in places like the Reels tab, and personalize the experience. We are getting better at using ranking signals that help us predict whether people will find a reel entertaining and whether we should recommend it.”

The details: In its new list of Reels do’s and don’ts, Instagram suggests not posting a Reel that: is blurry due to low-resolution, is visibly recycled from other apps (i.e. contains logos or watermarks), is uploaded with a border around it, or has the majority of the image covered by text.

It says that these kinds of Reels will be shown the way they always have been to their followers, such as on their profile or in feed, but that they won’t be recommended as often to new followers.

Pinterest Debuts New iOS Widget, ‘Interests’

After a strong Q4, Pinterest has launched a new widget option for iOS called “Interests,” which enables users to receive their favorite Pinterest content daily based on their preferred cadence.

Why it matters: According to Pinterest, since launching the iOS widget in October, more than 2 million users worldwide have added the widget to their home screen.  

The details: The widget aims to make it easier for Pinners to regularly access the content they love most.

Pinterest Adds 17 More Million Users In Q4, Reaching 459 Million Actives

According to its latest performance report, Pinterest welcomed 17 million additional users in Q4, taking its total user base to 459 million monthly actives.

Why it matters: Pinterest was able to maintain its growth from Q3, during which time it reached 442 monthly actives. In 2020 overall, Pinterest added 124 million additional users.

The details: In the US, Pinterest’s monthly usage grew 11 percent year-over-year (YoY); globally, it grew 46 percent.

In Q4, Pinterest generated $706 million in revenue, a 76 percent increase YoY, primarily driven by an “earlier and sustained holiday season and product improvements that helped advertisers scale budgets and achieve more conversions.” 

Said improvements include Pinterest’s new Story Pins and product tagging features.

Instagram Debuts ‘Recently Deleted’ Feature

Instagram has announced a new feature called ‘Recently Deleted’ that lets users review and restore deleted content in the app.

Why it matters: Instagram says people have been asking for the feature, and that it will help users restore content that hackers might have deleted when they gain access to an account.

The details: To access the new feature, users can go to their Settings then to Account, where they’ll see the Recently Deleted folder. Instagram will first verify they’re the rightful account holder when permanently deleting or restoring content.

When users delete photos, videos, Reels, Stories and IGTV videos, the content is removed from their account immediately and moved to the ‘Recently Deleted’ folder.

Deleted Stories that aren’t in their archive will remain in the folder for up to 24 hours, but everything else will be automatically deleted 30 days later.

Facebook Is Testing A Feature That Would Promote Instagram Reels On Facebook Watch

Facebook is building on a feature it has been testing that would enable users to share their Instagram Reels to Facebook Watch, reports Social Media Today.

Why it matters: In December, Facebook started testing a new option that would let Reels creators share their clips to the Facebook News Feed and to Facebook Watch. Now, it seems a more official version of that test is underway with a select group of users on Instagram.

The details: As seen in this post from Varun Banur, Facebook is prompting users to share their Reels clips to Facebook, noting that their content will be shown as recommended content on Facebook to anyone based on what’s relevant to them. The prompt also notes that the user doesn’t need a Facebook account to access the feature.

Facebook Launches A Series Of Initiatives For Black History Month

As part of its ongoing commitment to uphold black voice and businesses, Facebook is launching a docuseries called “Written By” on its company page to promote conversations about black history and a miniseries showcasing emerging black musicians.

Why it matters: In June, Facebook committed $200 million to support black-owned businesses and organizations as part of its broader $1.1 billion investment in black and diverse suppliers in the US. 

Facebook says that over the years it has invested $25 million in support of black content partnerships.

It has also allocated $10 million over two years to fund the Black Gaming Creator Program, which helps black gamers apply for partnerships status and exclusive benefits such as mentorship and training on the platform.

The details: Facebook’s “Written By” docuseries will feature stories by director and cinematographer Bradford Young.

Facebook is also launching a new four-episode miniseries to highlight emerging and veteran black musical artists, viewable on Messenger’s Watch Together.

The network is also debuting We The Culture, a creative community started by a team of black Facebook employees. The page’s goal is to partner with black creators and spark community.

On Facebook and Instagram, the hashtag #ShareBlackStories and virtual workshops will celebrate black innovation.

Minnesota Vikings Name Martin Nance As Chief Marketing Officer

This week in leadership updates, the Minnesota Vikings appoint Martin Nance as EVP and CMO, Snapchat hires Doug Frisbie as VP of business marketing, Forbes announces its third annual CMO Next List, the San Diego Padres taps Chris Connolly as SVP of marketing, Spin Media names Mark Stroman CMO, Hallmark’s Mahogany Brand hires Alexis Kerr as VP, Happy Money taps Sadira Furlow as CMO and more.

Minnesota Vikings Hire Martin Nance As Chief Marketing Officer

The Vikings named its former receiver, Martin Nance, as the team’s executive vice president and CMO.

Nance most recently served as senior director of marketing and sports intelligence at Gatorade.

Spin Media Taps Mark Stroman As Chief Marketing Officer

Spin Media has named Mark Stroman as its new CMO.

Stroman joins from McGhee Entertainment, where he spent over 11 years as senior vice president of marketing and sales.

Hallmark Cards Appoints Alexis Kerr As Vice President Of Mahogany Brand

Hallmark Cards, Inc. has named Alexis Kerr as VP of the Hallmark Mahogany Brand, the company’s greeting card line that celebrates black cultures.

Previously, Kerr served as head of multicultural marketing at Cadillac.

Happy Money Hires Sadira Furlow As Chief Marketing Officer

Happy Money has tapped Sadira Furlow as its new CMO.

Furlow joins Happy Money from PepsiCo, where she was VP of marketing for Frito-Lay.

Snapchat Appoints Doug Frisbie As Vice President Of Business Marketing

Snapchat has named Doug Frisbee as its new VP of business marketing.

Frisbee most recently served as the head of business marketing for North America at Facebook.

Forbes Announces Its Third Annual ‘CMO Next’ List

Forbes’ third annual CMO Next List spotlights marketing leaders who are revolutionizing and redefining their role, their business and the marketing industry.

Distinguished picks include Melissa Grady, CMO, Cadillac; Jessie Becker, SVP of Marketing, Impossible Foods; Tesa Aragones, CMO, Discord; Everette Taylor, CMO, Artsy; and Nick Tran, Head of Global Marketing, TikTok.

Padres Tap Chris Connolly As Senior Vice President Of Marketing

The San Diego Padres has hired Chris Connolly as the team’s SVP of marketing.

Connolly joins from Disney, where he led consumer marketing for the Disneyland Resort.

Gatorade Taps Kalen Thornton As Chief Marketing Officer

Kalen Thornton, former vice president of Nike men’s brand North America, has joined Gatorade as the company’s new CMO.

Thornton worked at Nike for the last decade. He replaces Andrew Hartshorn, who exited Gatorade last year.

Goodwill Hires Onney Crawley As Chief Marketing Officer

Goodwill has announced the appointment of Onney Crawley to CMO.

Crawley joins Goodwill from Serta Simmons Bedding, where she worked for six years, most recently as marketing vice president. Prior to Serta, Crawley was marketing director of Sears’ Craftsman brand.

“You Lead: How Being Yourself Makes You A Better Leader” With Author Minter Dial

On this 246th episode of “Marketing Today,” I speak with Minter Dial, the author of “You Lead: How Being Yourself Makes You a Better Leader.” Dial shares what it takes to use your authentic self to lead a successful brand.

We start our conversation by talking about how the ongoing global pandemic has taken away Dial’s source of energy, that being, talking and communicating with other people. Dial then dives into his new book, “You Lead: How Being Yourself Makes You a Better Leader,” and how he hopes it will “change the way we lead, not just in business, but within ourselves.” Inside each and every individual, Dial feels “that everybody has leadership potential,” but before a person can lead, they must come to terms with their authentic self.

We then break down the disconnect that exists between being authentic and professional, a lesson that he learned when bringing life to L’Oréal’s brand. “Too often, there’s no real link between who you are legitimately…and what you’re doing professionally.” Ultimately, Dial believes that “if you can dial into the kind of person you want to be, then every decision should be orchestrated around making that happen.”

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • Minter has hit a point where his energy isn’t always the highest, something he is trying to stay self-aware of. 1:19
  • The motivation for Minter’s most recent book is his desire to help others be authentic to themselves. 2:33
  • Minter hopes to change the way that we lead in both business and within our own lives. 3:12
  • After writing 30k words in Croatia, Minter hit a wall when PBS reached out to put his story on TV. 3:55
  • Telling a friend about his book idea while on a walk acted as a catalyst to reignite the book. 4:48
  • The initial premise of Minter’s book was getting to know who you are before chasing who you want to be. 5:15
  • Once you have established who you are, you can become the kind of person that works better with others. 6:18
  • Many people want to be authentic without knowing why they do these things besides that they are good to do. 6:45
  • Originally, the name of Minter’s book was supposed to be “Brand NEWS,” as in North, East, West, and South. 8:50
  • The ability to tell a story turns takes people from a professional into someone who can spread a real light. 11:14
  • In reality, on both a personal and brand level, we aren’t doing enough work on authentically connecting to our story. 12:25
  • Beyond life-altering experiences, it takes time to make that connection with your brand or story. 14:30
  • With L’Oreal, Minter learned how to take the brand and bring it to life from the inside out. 15:42
  • In order to move forward, there are some things that brands need to unlearn, but stay practical with what they choose to unlearn. 17:26
  • It was a challenge for Minter to unlearn the thought that home life has no impact on work. 19:08
  • Whether you’re the top person or middle management, everyone should carve out some time to figure out who they are. 20:52
  • Without a clear vision of who you want to be, it’s very hard to get where you want to go. 22:37
  • Chief Marketing Officers must face the challenge of aligning the way the company works internally with how it operates externally. 23:43
  • You must make policies within your company that align with how efficiently you want it to operate. 26:00
  • It’s safe to say that if you haven’t done the work on establishing who you are, then you’ll find yourself on the fast track to mediocrity. 28:10
  • Finding out who you are is a tough process that could take a lifetime of experiences to achieve. 29:27
  • Take a look at who you want to be and make the connection with what you are doing at work. 31:00
  • Think about your top 3 values out of the roughly 75 to choose from and making those specific to you. 33:33
  • Until you’ve established your true North, your authentic self, bad events will always throw you off course. 35:23
  • Having conversations with other people, whether in big or small groups, gives Minter great energy. 36:30
  • Lunch club is Minter’s favorite way to meet new people and set valuable appointments. 37:45
  • Clubhouse is something that piques Minter’s interest as it is based on adding value through solely audio. 40:18
  • The United States of America has forgotten what it is supposed to be united around. 41:41
  • Minter believes that the biggest threat to marketers right now is burnout, as he sees it all the time. 43:13

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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.

Walmart Announces New Display Self-Serve Platform

Walmart announced a new display self-serve platform launching later this year that will enable advertisers to activate and manage display campaigns with automation capabilities powered by ad-tech company Thunder.

Walmart acquired Thunder’s IP and technology, which will offer creative versioning, testing and optimization to help advertisers increase their return on ad spend (ROAS).

“While we expect our largest suppliers to adopt automation technology fastest, we are building this new platform to scale for Marketplace sellers and suppliers of all sizes,” the company said in a press release.

The news follows the retailer’s media business rebrand, from Walmart Media Group to Walmart Connect, with an expanded vision comprising three strategic areas.

First, Walmart is growing offerings across its digital properties—, pickup and delivery and the Walmart app—which saw nearly double the amount of revenue and more than double the number of advertisers last fiscal year.

The company is also launching new omnichannel capabilities that enable advertisers to reach its millions of in-store shoppers each week. These include media activations on in-store TV walls and self check-out screens with nearly 170,000 digital screens across more than 4,500 stores. Walmart’s stores and digital properties see 150 million weekly visitors.

Lastly, Walmart has partnered with The Trade Desk to launch a demand-side platform for suppliers and their media ad agencies to drive performance outside of Walmart’s proprietary sites using first-party shopper data.  

Walmart’s first major attempt at competing with Amazon, Google and Facebook came in 2019 when it held an event to pitch its ad business to hundreds of companies including Unilever, NBC Universal and Mattel. Since then, it has launched various in-house ad solutions like its Advertising Partners program, Sponsored Product Interface and Performance Reporting Dashboards.

To keep up with shifting consumer behaviors during the pandemic, in September Walmart unveiled a new modern store design focused on digitally-enabled shopping experiences. The retailer’s new exterior and interior signage reflects the Walmart app icon, and its stores now include self-checkout kiosks and contactless payment options.

How Top Retail Brands Adapted In The Pandemic

According to Interbrand’s “Best Global Brands 2020: Provide in the Decade of Possibility,” strong brands became stronger as a result of COVID-19, with the top three brands alone—Apple, Amazon and Microsoft—seeing an average increase in value of 50 percent. The aggregate value of the 100 best global brands grew by nine percent as their total brand value exceeded $2 trillion.

Interbrand’s latest research provides an in-depth look at how retail brands in particular have adapted and thrived in 2020. Top players in Interbrand’s retail ranking include: Coca-Cola, Nike, Ikea, Pepsi, Zara, Starbucks, eBay, Adidas, Johnnie Walker and Lego, to name a few.

While the pandemic accelerated digital adoption and consumer shifts to online commerce channels, it’s clear this shift was well underway before. In 2019, 9,500 retail stores closed in the US, up 64 percent from the 5,844 closures in 2018, according to Coresight Research. Estimates for 2020 show up to 25,000 businesses shuttering.

The report notes that in the past two decades, ecommerce has risen to 16.1 percent of total retail sales in the US, according to the latest data from the US Department of Commerce. As COVID-19 created a new precedent for online shopping, in just the past year ecommerce sales grew 44.5 percent—outperforming the typical growth rate of 15-17 percent seen in previous years.

Amazon, which Interbrand includes in the technology category, accounts for 38 percent of the US ecommerce market. The keys to its success include its 150 million Prime subscribers, its use of more than 200,000 robots and relentless hiring, with a 50 percent growth rate in employees year-over-year. What’s more, Amazon’s artificial intelligence-driven product recommendation engine is reported to generate as much as 35 percent of the company’s revenue.

“We’re grateful for the trust customers put in us, but we often say: “it’s always Day One.” And the reason we do that is that we recognize that customers can get dissatisfied quickly – yesterday’s invention becomes today’s new normal . . .,” said Neil Lindsay, vice president of Prime and marketing for Amazon Consumer Business.

With 50 years of supply chain dominance and over 11,000 stores in 27 countries, Walmart, too, has proved to be a major force in retail. Though Interbrand’s research estimates Amazon will eclipse Walmart’s revenue by 2024.

To address the thinking that browsing in person is a thing of the past, Walmart is redesigning its store to include more open space, larger signage and contactless payments. Where Walmart has the most work to do, the report notes, is getting consumers to perceive it as an internet retailer too. Interbrand’s research shows that Walmart hasn’t successfully translated its offline grocery credibility into the online space.  

“As companies like Walmart, Google and Amazon increasingly start to play in different sandboxes, the important point will be how they bring a version of themselves into that environment in a way that remains authentic to them, but which meets and ideally surpasses the right consumer drivers for that space,” said Christina Stahlkopf, associate director of research and analytics at C Space.

A major pandemic takeaway for Starbucks is that it needs to optimize its in-store experiences by merging various store formats, including pickup, curbside and drive through, with its traditional brick-and-mortar stores. It’s already in a good position to do so, as the report notes that before the crisis, around 80 percent of the company’s transactions in US stores were on-the-go purchases.

At Diageo-owned Johnnie Walker, the goal was to support the wider industry, a purpose that inspired its creation of Raising the Bar, a global program that provides targeted support to help pay for the equipment needed for pubs and bars to reopen. To reach consumers stuck at home, the brand also launched new initiatives like Johnnie Walker ‘Kitchen Sink Drinks,’ inviting fans to submit ingredients they had at home to its bartenders. Sustainability has also been top-of-mind for the brand. In 2020, all the plastic in its giftpacks were made from 100 percent recycled plastic.

According to Christian Purser, chief executive officer of Interbrand London, the new retail landscape will require brands to create ultra-connected, local experiences, provide seamless omnichannel experiences and live up to their ethics and values.

For Interbrand’s full list of best global brands across all categories, click here.