Total US Games Industry Sales Reach September Record Of $4.4 Billion

According to The NPD Group’s September US games industry sales report, consumer spending on video game hardware, content and accessories reached a September record of $4.4 billion, a 3 percent increase when compared to a year ago. Year-to-date (YTD) consumer spending reached $42.3 billion, a 12 percent increase when compared to the same period in 2020.

Starting with hardware, NPD found that September sales surged 49 percent year-over-year (YoY) to $412 million while YTD hardware spending also gained 49 percent when compared to the same period a year ago, totaling $3.4 billion.

September’s best-selling hardware platform in both units and dollars was PlayStation 5. In dollars, PlayStation 5 is also the best-selling hardware platform of 2021 YTD, while Nintendo Switch leads in units.

This month marks the end of Nintendo Switch’s 33-month streak as the market’s leading platform in hardware unit sales. The last month that a platform other than Nintendo Switch dominated the market in unit sales—PlayStation 4—was November 2018.

The full-game dollar sales September spotlight is on Madden NFL 22, the best-selling game of the month and the second best-selling game of 2021 YTD. The game was the best-selling game in September on both PlayStation and Xbox.

Tales of Arise set a new launch month dollar sales record for any Tales Of franchise release, coming in as the fourth best-selling game of September according to NPD.

Life is Strange: True Colors, which launched in September, was the 10th best-selling game and generated the highest launch month dollar sales for any Life is Strange title to date.

WarioWare: Get It Together, which also debuted in September, landed the 15th spot for the overall best-selling game of the month, while also ranking second on Nintendo Switch. In addition, it achieved the highest launch month sales for a WarioWare franchise release since WarioWare Smooth Moves debuted on Nintendo Wii in January 2007.

Moving on to mobile spending, data for which was provided by Sensor Tower, the NPD reports the market exceeded $2 billion in consumer spending in eight of the nine months of 2021 to date including September. The average monthly mobile gaming spending is about 28 percent higher than that experienced in the first nine months of 2020.

September’s strong mobile games performance in the US was in part due to the second highest-earning title, MiHoYo’s Genshin Impact, which celebrated its one-year launch anniversary with spending up nearly 120 percent month over month.

Among the top-performing mobile titles in the US by consumer spending in September were: Candy Crush Saga, Genshin Impact, Roblox, Coin Master, Garena Free Fire, Pokemon GO, Homescapes, Clash of Clans, Bingo Blitz and Candy Crush Soda Saga.

When compared to a year ago, September spending on video game accessories dropped 12 percent to $171 million. YTD accessory sales reached $1.8 billion, a 9 percent increase YoY.

Once again, the Xbox Elite Series 2 Wireless Coordinator was the best-selling accessory of September, while the PS5 DualSense Wireless Controller White remains the top-selling accessory of 2021 YTD.

The NPD Group’s total video game sales figure reflects total content spend on video games, including full-game, downloadable content, microtransactions and subscription consumer spending across console, cloud, mobile, portable, PC and VR platforms. For its assessment of the broader consumer spend on the industry, the NPD utilizes its monthly point-of-sale tracking services and consumer data from other NPD trackers, monitors and reports.

Intel Announces New Developer-First Products And Technologies At Inaugural Innovation Event

At its inaugural Intel Innovation event keynote, broadcast live from Fort Mason in San Francisco, Intel chief executive Pat Gelsinger and the company’s executive team members debuted new products, tools and technologies as part of its renewed commitment to the developer community.

“Our recent actions in the ecosystem must be built on core values that are essential to you, but we haven’t done a great job recently. Today, this changes. We can and we will do better. Today we are recommitting to delivering what you expect and need from us—a complete portfolio of hardware, software tools, technologies and products for developers,” Gelsinger said.

According to Gelsinger, Intel’s new developer-first strategy is built upon three elements: creating an open ecosystem and unlocking the garden gates for developers, a belief in horizontal ecosystems where developers can choose their own setup, and solutions with world-leading security features to ensure trust.

First up, Intel announced a new unified Intel Developer Zone, which gives developers access to a consolidated Intel Developer Catalog of key Intel software offerings in addition to an improved Intel DevCloud development environment to test and run workloads on several of Intel’s newest hardware and software tools.

Next, Intel said it’s gearing up to ship oneAPI 2022 toolkits with 900 features since it shipped last year. As noted in a press release:

“This new launch adds cross-architecture software development capabilities for CPUs and GPUs through the first unified C++/SYCL/Fortran compiler and Data Parallel Python and expands Advisor accelerator performance modeling, including VTune Flame Graph to visualize performance hot spots and improves productivity through extended Microsoft Visual Studio Code integration and Microsoft WSL 2 support.”

Intel also announced 11 new partners including Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of California Berkeley, who will deliver strategic code ports, additional hardware support and new services and curriculum to enable further ecosystem adoption of oneAPI.

The company also unveiled its 12th Gen Intel Core processor family, which includes the launch of six new unlocked desktop processors, including the 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900K gaming processor and 60 processors set to power more than 500 designs from Intel’s partners.

In addition, Intel’s new solution for data scientists—available on Linux-based workstation PCs from Dell, HP and Lenovo—will enable them to iterate, visualize and analyze complex data at scale “with the highest memory configuration of any similar offerings,” according to the press release.

In expanding developer accessibility to AI, Intel shared an overview of its Aurora Supercomputer, which will exceed two exaflops of peak double precision compute performance, enabling it to handle high-performance computing, AI/ML and big data analytics workloads.

“Developers are the true superheroes of the digitized world – a world which is underpinned by semiconductors. We will not rest until we’ve exhausted the periodic table, unlocking the magic of silicon and empowering developers so that, together, we can usher in a new era of innovation,” said Gelsinger.

What We’re Reading—Week Of October 26th, 2021

YouTube Gets Serious About Podcasting

The Verge

Google has hired Kai Chuck to manage its “large volume of existing podcasts and relationships across the YouTube platform,” a spokesperson told The Verge. Chuk has been at YouTube for nearly 10 years, focusing mostly on media partnerships.

In addition, Bloomberg reported that Canada’s YouTube Music app is going to support background music listening for free users.

Why it matters: Given podcasters already upload and host videos on Google’s servers and Google monetizes those videos for them based on user data, it’s yet to be seen how YouTube’s possible podcast plans will be changed or managed. YouTube also already sells audio advertising for when listeners are running videos in the background.

How To Manipulate Customers… Ethically

Harvard Business Review

Born from the field of behavioral economics, nudges are changes in how choices are presented to influence people to take a specific action. While nudges can be very effective, business leaders must examine critically how they nudge users to understand whether they’re truly acting in their best interests.

Why it matters: The following three principles should be used to design and evaluate nudges: one, preserve and protect user autonomy—namely leaders should consider mechanisms to obtain the user’s consent before influencing their behaviors, even if it’s for their benefit. Next, leaders should secure users’ wellbeing, or minimize risks to participants and maximize benefits to both participants and society. Lastly, leaders should evaluate whether nudges are negatively impacting one group over another.

What’s Your Return On Visibility?

MIT Sloan Management

Growth in management’s ability to track what and how workers are doing increases the risk of institutional and interpersonal conflict, as well as challenges cultural norms. With the convergence of performance analytics and cultural analytics, leaders are looking past legacy KPIs to assess how well employees align with espoused values. In doing so, they must rethink how they balance principles and productivity.

Why it matters: Visibility is a company’s asset that requires purpose, policies and management. Return on visibility—the belief that measurable value can be had from ethically monitoring people and processes—is a credible KPI. Ensuring that greater visibility enhances work and empowers employees is now leadership’s duty and obligation.

How Out-Of-Home Execs Are ‘Battling’ Client Fears As Ad Budgets Lag Other Channels

The Drum

According to the latest IPA Bellwether report, UK marketers will see the biggest boost to budgets in four years, while one outlier will be out-of-home (OOH), the only main media category to record a net cut.

Why it matters: Alistair McCallum, Kinetic Worldwide UK chief executive, believes that some clients need to be convinced that OOH audiences are there, especially amid the prevalence of remote work. McCallum also wonders if OOH ad spend anxiety could be the result of anxiety about future lockdowns, but adds that the sector now has protections in place for clients.

Mastercard Wants To Engage All Consumers—And Their Senses


Mastercard’s latest Touch Card launched in the US was designed to serve the roughly 252 million people in the world who are either blind or significantly visually impaired. The development of the card started in mid-2019 and includes a series of three cards for covering debit, credit and prepayment formats. The designs rely on a system of different shaped “notches” on each card type’s side to help consumers identify the correct one.

Why it matters: Touch Card is part of Mastercard’s broader effort to demonstrate that inclusiveness and addressing discrimination across race, sex or degrees of ableness is as good for business as it is for social marketing. Raja Rajamannar, Mastercard’s chief marketing and communications officer, told Adweek: “Financial inclusion is a big part of our business strategy. We have a responsibility to ensure that the digital economy is enabled for all.”

Understanding Customer Journey Analytics


According to Beth Sanville, senior vice president of analysis for Merkle, the six steps of the customer journey execution cycle should connect and influence each other. Those steps are: identifying, collecting, synthesizing and acting upon multiple dimensions of data; forging insights into actionable business strategies; creating a test design and contact strategy; putting the data into action; applying real-time decisions and optimization, and lastly, measuring.

Why it matters: Great, relevant customer experiences attract customers and build locally and advocacy, thereby driving interactions and revenue. As Sanville notes: “Building and delivering optimal customer journeys is a business discipline and process that must start and end with data.”

What You Missed At Advertising Week New York 2021

Advertising Week New York has officially ended but the wealth of insights shared during the four-day event is still accessible and available to watch on-demand until November, 30.

We’ve compiled some of our favorite content from the week below, including sessions on moving from talk to action with inclusive marketing, betting on culture as opposed to ads, maximizing CTV reach and more. Next month, on November 23, the event will continue with a return to global events, starting with the digital-only Latin America Advertising Week.


Diversity, Equity And Inclusion: Perspectives On Authenticity

Anjelica Ortega Kempis, senior enterprise account executive at GlobalWebIndex led a discussion about data being used as “unique and beautifully diverse as the people it represents” and what that means for businesses. Kempis offered an overview of a diversifying population, identity at the intersection and the necessity of a mindset shift.

Key Takeaways:

  • Americans are becoming older, more urbanized, more open-minded to diversity and inclusion (D&I), and are recognizing that identity goes beyond race.
  • Americans’ connection with their heritage is changing and intersectionality shapes how Americans experience the world, therefore a mindset shift toward greater D&I is necessary.
  • Social justice and D&I are driving consumers’ demands of brands as 33 percent of consumers want brands to support D&I, 31 percent want brands to be respectful and 28 percent want brands to be inclusive.


Inclusive Marketing: Moving From Talk To Action

Imani Ellis, the founder of CultureCon and The Creative Collective NYC, hosted a discussion with Barry Wade, managing director of cultural partnerships and identity at OMD, and God-is Rivera, director of culture and community at Twitter, that addresses inclusive marketing and how marketers can break the cycle of “talk without action.”

Key Takeaways:

  • The responsibility to create more inclusive marketing lies with all of the players within the advertising ecosystem.
  • Brands, agencies and platforms are doing more to better represent and connect with consumers from historically excluded communities.
  • There are actions everyone can take to hold ourselves accountable to ensure this effort is long-lasting and creates meaningful change.


Bet On Culture, Not Ads With Triller CEO, Mahi De Silva

Marketing Dive reporter Peter Adams spoke with chief executive officer of TrillerNet Mahi de Silva about how Triller is owning sustained cultural moments, its acquisition of Verzus founded by Timbaland and Swizz Beats, Triller TV, and how the creator economy is shaping the future of marketing.

Key Takeaways:

  • As government pressure mounts, companies are increasingly turning to Triller for its unique method of empowering creators to create culture, not ads.
  • In order to create a cultural phenomenon through content, brands must recognize that tastemakers need a platform upon which to thrive creatively and to use short-form content as a gateway to more long-form experiences (where the monetization ought to be).
  • A creator-friendly ecosystem matters for brands and marketers.
  • Cross-media brand activations are the future of content.

Is Precision Possible? Making CTV Measure Up

Beau Ordermann, head of advanced TV sales and strategy at Yahoo, hosted a panel with Lisa Herdman, senior vice president and executive director of strategic investments at RPA, and Ken Norcross, senior director of data strategy at Vizio, about how the pandemic elevated connected TV (CTV) from an emerging channel to a leading one. The trio discussed how advances in CTV planning, data and measurement have helped advertisers utilize the medium to maximize reach.

Key Takeaways:

  • Develop a best-in-class, full-funnel CTV strategy to reach your audience, regardless of category.
  • The consumer experience is influenced by lots of media touchpoints across various devices and formats. That coupled with data showing that CTV helps drive lift when combined with other digital channels point to the importance of an omnichannel approach.
  • The biggest needs or issues in the industry, according to Herdman, include the intersection of privacy and how that affects contextual targetability and, as a more immediate innovation, the industry’s collective ability to predict inventory for certain target groups.
  • According to Norcross, the most exciting innovations Vizio is bringing to advertisers are its innovation team’s improvement on interactivity with the TV and the mobile device, in addition to unique content with brands tailored specifically to certain segments of Vizio’s audience.

Building Brand And Business Value Through Multicultural Community Engagement

Seraj Bharwani, chief strategy officer at AcuityAds Inc., and Ariela Nerubay, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Curacao, discussed culturally relevant marketing, Curacao’s role in the Hispanic community, building brand trust and privacy. The two shared strategic business advantages that derive from strong customer relationships that nurture future growth opportunities—such as Curacao’s partnership with AcuityAds—and help the brand resonate with a diverse, multicultural community.

Key Takeaways:

  • Broadly, it takes authentic engagement and participation in the community to establish trust. More specifically, Curacao has offered their “neighbors” access to items through their stores and has taken chances on them by offering financial guidance and lines of credit to immigrant families and underserved communities who need that jumpstart in life. The most important element in building trust has been the direct assistance program in partnership with Hispanic and multi-cultural non-profits where Curacao donates furniture and appliances to the most impoverished families in the community.
  • Curacao wrote the playbook on how to attract Hispanic audiences through focusing on building relationships with community. Here, trust is the key factor. Doing so has secured a lifetime value with its customers. 
  • Curacao has multiple rules that keep its customers returning for 20 years or more, such as one that limits the prices and interest customers pay to those offered by competitors.
  • Curacao nurtures its relationships by incorporating community center elements into its stores, for example by playing music the locals enjoy, by offering creative kid zones for little ones and cooking classes or education seminars for older children.
  • The brand views the data it collects on customers as an asset that provides it with insights needed to help better serve those customers on their own terms; such as how well a customer pays, when they shop and whether they’d rather shop in-person or online. 

Game Consoles Are Occupying More Time In Consumers’ Lives

Today’s consoles provide a different kind of value to consumers. Beyond gaming, they offer an online network to communicate with friends and form relationships, an arena for a spectator sport with fervent followers and a device to stream TV, movies and music.

Confirming that sentiment is a new report from Hub Entertainment Research, “Game Consoles 2021: Respawned and Leveled Up,” which found that game consoles are occupying more time in the lives of many consumers as spend, usage and ownership have all experienced an increase since the pandemic started.

While 36 percent of respondents said they play console games about the same amount as in 2019 (33 percent), 51 percent of console gamers told Hub that they play every day—up from 39 percent two years ago.

Forty-two percent of console gamers who play at least once a week told Hub that they’re playing their consoles more this year than last vs. only 32 percent who said the same thing in 2019.

Game sessions are about 20 percent longer this year. In 2021 weekly console gamers estimate their average session is about 110 minutes, up from about 90 minutes in 2019, according to Hub.

Ownership of multiple game consoles is up too. The share of all players ages 13 to 74 who play console games is about the same in 2021 as in 2019—36 percent vs. 33 percent—however, the density of ownership is considerably higher. Hub found that in 2019, just a quarter of console gamers owned both a PlayStation and an Xbox but in 2020, more than a third of respondents said they own both.

In addition to owning more consoles, gamers are also spending more on games. 53 percent of console gamers said they spent more on gaming this year than last vs. slightly more than a third who said the same thing in 2019.

Thirty-nine percent of weekly console gamers said they buy digital copies of console games at least a few times per month—up from 25 percent in 2019. Another 38 percent regularly download downloadable content or expansion packs for games they already own—up from 22 percent two years ago.

As engagement grows, so does the impact of in-game advertising. Hub’s data show that 70 percent of regular console gamers play titles with branded in-game content—up from 61 percent in 2019. Among those exposed to in-game advertising, 44 percent said they prefer in-game ads to regular commercials and 72 percent said that branded downloadable content makes the game more fun to play.

Lastly, the role gaming has played in helping consumers maintain relationships during COVID can’t be overlooked. More respondents mentioned communication or connection with friends as a reason for gaming than in 2019. Plus, 45 percent of weekly console gamers told Hub they have at least one in-game friend that they’ve never met in real life.

Hub Entertainment Research’s findings are based on an online survey conducted among 2,601 US consumers ages 13 to 74, including parents of kids under age 13, in late August and early September 2021.

The Integration Of Acting And Film In Marketing With Variety’s Dea Lawrence

Dea Lawrence is the CMO of Variety, where she oversees public relations, media partnerships, creative communications, live media, virtual events, video development, and custom content.

In this episode, Dea and I discuss her role as CMO, her previous acting career, and how it helped shape her approach to marketing. Dea says, “we always have to think of what we are going to do next and what’s new and different to meet the competition and keep our brands going.”

Later in the conversation, we talk about how Variety kept customer interest during the pandemic and virtual events and how film and the TV industry integrate with marketing.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How acting prepares you for business
  • Keeping customers interested during virtual events 
  • How film integrates with marketing

Key Highlights:

  • [01:24] Dea’s acting career
  • [04:44] From actor to CMO
  • [09:55] How acting prepared her for business
  • [13:11] Who is Variety
  • [15:00] Transitioning from in-person to virtual events 
  • [21:30] Why being CMO at Variety is different than most CMO positions
  • [23:17] Variety’s content studio
  • [29:52] Achieving growth in publishing
  • [31:20] An experience that defines Dea, makes her who she is today
  • [33:32] Dea’s advice for her younger self 
  • [34:50] What marketers should learn more about
  • [36:03] The brands and organizations Dea follows
  • [37:58] The biggest threat for marketers today

Resources Mentioned: 

Follow the podcast:

Connect with the Guest:

Connect with Marketing Today and Alan Hart:

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 brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth opportunities. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine companies.

IAB: The Economic Impact Of The Market-Making Internet

The internet economy grew seven times faster than the total US economy during the past four years and now accounts for 12 percent of the US GDP, that’s according to a new study from Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Harvard Business School.

To be exact, the internet economy’s contribution to the US GDP grew 22 percent per year since 2016, in a national economy that grows between 2 to 3 percent per year. In 2020 alone, the internet economy contributed $2.45 trillion to the nation’s $21.18 trillion GDP.

IAB’s 136-page report, “The Economic Impact of the Market-Making Internet – Advertising, Content, Commerce, and Innovation: Contribution to U.S. Employment and GDP,” is the fourth in a series of reports that measure the economic value of the commercial internet, published every four years since 2008.

Since IAB began measuring the economic impact of the internet in 2008, the internet’s contribution to GDP has grown eightfold, from $300 billion to $2.45 trillion.

The commercial internet generated more than 17 million jobs in the US, 7 million more than four years ago. This marks a dramatic increase compared with just 3 million jobs when IAB began measuring employment growth in 2008.

IAB’s research estimated that 850,000 people are self-employed and 450,000 work for small businesses in jobs that couldn’t exist without the internet.

The study also found that the commercial internet directly generated 7 million jobs and indirectly provided jobs to another 10.65 million people fulfilling service needs created by internet-based companies.

In addition, more internet jobs—38 percent—were created by small firms and self-employed individuals than by the largest internet companies, which generated 34 percent.

Upon analyzing thousands of smaller firms as aggregations, IAB estimates that those with annual revenues over $40 million created 27 percent of the internet’s jobs, and firms under $40 million created 19 percent of the internet’s jobs. Self-employed individuals and people working in small teams of five or fewer people made up a further 19 percent of the internet job total.

In the online creator economy alone, there are 200,000 full-time equivalent jobs (FTE), just short of the combined memberships of craft and labor unions SAG-AFTRA (160,000), the American Federation of Musicians (80,000), the Writer’s Guild (24,000) and the Authors Guild (9,000), according to the IAB.

That 200,000 figure, when combined with Airbnb hosts, Uber and Lyft drivers, Amazon flex drivers, Instacart workers, Amazon sellers, eBay sellers, Esty sellers, Craigslist sellers, Shopify-enabled websites and WooCommerce-enabled websites, adds up to a total of 1.3 million FTE self-employed jobs and jobs in teams of five or fewer people.

Platforms like Airbnb, Uber, DoorDash and Instagram directly employ more than 26,000 people in the US and sustain over 632,000 FTE jobs among independent workers on the platforms.

In 2020, podcasting, streaming video and digital gaming, which IAB notes “barely existed as industry segments when we did our first study in 2008,” employed 34,000 people and generated more than $40 billion of US revenue from internet-related activities. 

IAB also found that more than half of the employment in the advertising and media fields is internet-related, while digital entertainment companies doubled their employment during the last four years.

Additionally, news and information companies like Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters, digital publishers like Vox and The Knot, and multi-platform publishers such as Reddit and Hearst employed more than 142,000 people in internet-derived jobs in 2020, three times the 46,000 they employed in 2008, and 73 percent more than they employed in 2016.

With 2020 US ecommerce revenues of $213 billion, Amazon is the largest ecommerce firm. The next nine US ecommerce companies generated $118 billion in revenue, which is 46 percent of total 2020 US ecommerce revenues, according to the report.

The study also highlights congressional districts’ dependence on internet-dependent jobs. Seven congressional districts have at least 10 percent of their residents working directly in the internet ecosystem, accounting for 9 percent of total US internet employment. The remaining 91 percent of internet employment is spread across 425 congressional districts. Of those, 272 districts have at least 10,000 internet-dependent jobs.

So too was the human resources (HR) function. Prior to 2016, IAB found no firms producing internet software for use by corporate HR departments. In 2016, IAB attributed 5,600 jobs to HR software development. Four years later in 2020, IAB found 83,000 jobs, a 13-fold increase.

Instagram’s New Partner Discovery Feature Gives Creators Priority With Brands

This week in social media news, Instagram announces a new creator discovery feature and dedicated inbox folder for partnership messages, Pinterest debuts its first-ever in-product monetization program and an original content series for creators, Snapchat shares tips for optimizing mobile ads on the platform and TikTok reflects on its community’s positive response to longer videos.

Instagram’s New Branded Content Features Help Creators Get Discovered By More Brands

Instagram is testing a handful of new branded content partnership features that aim to help creators and brands connect and partner on the app, including a partner discovery feature for brands, a dedicated inbox folder for partnership messages, branded content Reels ads and more.

Why it matters: Instagram continues to amp up its creator monetization tools in an effort to help creators “make a living doing what they love while helping brands drive business outcomes by tapping into new trends and audiences,” it said. 

The debut of its new branded partnership features comes as TikTok just launched its inaugural “Discover List,” highlighting 50 TikTok stars across five categories. In July, TikTok also rolled out the ability for all users to publish videos up to three minutes in length, giving creators the ability to break up videos into two- and three-part series.

The details: First up, Instagram creators can now add participating brands that they’re interested in working with to their preferred brands list using Instagram’s ‘Partner Discovery’ feature. This gives the creator priority when brands are searching for creators to work with.

Instagram has also debuted a new folder within Instagram DMs exclusively for messages regarding brand partnerships. With the influx of message requests creators receive on a daily basis, this feature will help creators easily identify and sort through opportunities as these messages skip the requests folder and get priority placement.

For brands, this new update means they can use data and unique filters to find and select the right creators for their campaign, then organize shortlists to manage multiple campaigns at once.

Instagram is testing the branded content features with a small group of US creators and brands including e.l.f. Cosmetics, Eva NYC, Dr. Dennis Gross, Hawthorne and Keys Soulcare.

In addition, Instagram is letting brands create branded content Reels ads. With this, creators can enable trusted brand partners to create branded content ads from any of the creator’s tagged feed posts, Stories and Reels featuring the brand.

For the first time, Instagram will let creators boost branded content posted in feed, Stories and Reels right from the app to help expand their content’s reach. Instagram says this feature will roll out globally in the coming months.

Lastly, Instagram is giving creators who are part of its affiliate US test the ability to add a digital storefront to their Instagram profile where they can spotlight all the products they recommend in one place. This digital storefront will appear via the “View Shop” button on their profile which will earn them a commission for the purchases they drive.

Pinterest Debuts Inaugural In-Product Monetization Program And Original Content Series For Creators

At its second annual Pinterest Creators Festival, Pinterest creators helped the app debut a suite of new creator and Pinner products and experiences, including a new “Watch” feed viewing experience, a new product tagging tool via Amazon, an original content series called Creator Originals and a $20 million Creator Rewards program—its first-ever in-product monetization program for creators.

Why it matters: Pinterest’s new “Watch” tab enables a feed viewing experience akin to TikTok where the full screen is populated by one video at a time. As per Pinterest:

“Providing both a “watch” and a “browse” option puts the power in users’ hands to choose how they’d like to get inspired. The new experience will be available to Pinners in markets where Idea Pins are available on iOS and Android starting today.”

Pinterest’s other new products are aimed at bolstering its creator community. Its new Creator Originals content series will feature over 100 creators across 10 countries who “represent the best of Pinterest.” 

At the same time, a new monetization option will allow creators to make their Idea Pins automatically shoppable by enabling shopping recommendations on their Idea Pins. Pinterest research shows shoppers who visit Pinterest weekly outspend non-Pinners by 2x every month and have an 85 percent larger basket.

The details: Pinterest is investing $20 million in its new “Creator Rewards” program and other initiatives to support creators. The program is currently available in the US through the app’s all-new global Creator Hub, where creators can manage their Pinterest presence with tools, tips and insights. In addition, Pinterest is providing micro-grants for projects that creators are passionate about or want to bring to life—for example funding a new beauty look or starting a community garden.

On the shoppable Pins front, Pinterest is expanding its product tagging tool to include the Amazon Associates Program so that US creators can add affiliate links from Amazon and earn commission on qualifying purchases.

Pinterest has also integrated Idea Pins with AR Try on, its augmented reality beauty try-on feature. This new capability will enable creators to tag their Idea Pins with a new ‘Try on’ sticker to add lip products.

Creators can also now make their Idea Pins automatically shoppable by enabling shopping recommendations on their Idea Pins. According to Pinterest:

“The ‘shop similar’ feature uses Pinterest’s visual search technology to recommend Product Pins that are visually similar to the content within the Pin, giving Pinners the ability to shop what they see. With this new feature, Pinterest is enabling visual search on video content for the first time.”

Pinterest is also rolling out a few new tools to help enhance creator community engagement and users’ watching experience. The app’s new “Takes” feature offers a new way for users to respond to a creator’s idea with their own Idea Pin. Pinners’ responses will link back to the creators’ original Idea Pins, and creators can also highlight top takes from Pinners. This feature is available on iOS and Android for Pinners and creators globally.

In redesigning its home feed, Pinterest has also launched the option to “browse” or “watch” content on the app. Its new “watch” tab is a fullscreen feed of Idea Pins users can scroll through while its “browse” tab shows multiple Idea Pins at a time. Starting today, this new feature is available to Pinners in markets where Idea Pins are available on iOS and Android.

Snapchat Offers Best Practices For Optimizing Mobile Ads On The Platform

This year, 67 percent of all ecommerce sales will come from mobile. To help brands capitalize on mobile shopping, Snapchat has shared seven tips for running mobile ads on the platform.

Why it matters: As Snapchat notes:

“Snapchat Ads enable your business to connect with Snapchatters in a way that’s conversational and feels organic to the platform. So when our 293 million daily active users3 who spend an average of 30 minutes every day on Snapchat4 come across your ad, it’s in a way that feels non-intrusive and natural to the way they experience the platform.”

The details: Snapchat’s first best practice for running mobile ads on the platform is optimizing site speed and mobile responsiveness, namely reducing the number of plugins, optimizing site images and transferring your site to a more reliable host.

Next, it advises measuring, optimizing and building audiences for your mobile Snapchat ad campaigns with Snap Pixel. This is a piece of JavaScript code placed on your site that allows you to track the actions Snapchatters take across devices.

Snap also suggests choosing the correct ad format to achieve your business goal: select Story Ads to build brand awareness, Collection Ads to showcase your latest products, or Single Image or Video Ad to boost app installs.

In terms of creative best practices, brands should display their products front and center and include a clear call to action that drives people to the desired landing page. Goal-Base Bidding on the platform is another way to optimize ads toward a specific action that a Snap user is most likely to take, whether it’s swiping up or completing a purchase.

After running mobile ads on Snap for a few weeks, increase engagement by broadening your targeting by Snapchatters’ demographics, geographic locations and interests. Lastly, brands should make data-driven decisions by leveraging tools including Snap Pixel, Split Testing and Audience Insights.

TikTok Shares Takeaways From Expanding Video Length Limit To Three Minutes

In July, TikTok expanded its video length limit from 60 seconds to three minutes. Today, TikTok videos longer than one minute receive up to over 5 billion views globally. To understand what drives the popularity of longer videos, including vlogs and day-in-the-life videos, the app is sharing some insight into the phenomenon from social psychology expert Dr. Shira Gabriel, associate professor of psychology at the University of Buffalo.

Why it matters: According to Dr. Gabriel:

“Entertainment is very personal – what one person finds interesting and inspiring may be very different to their friends or family. Yet vlogs seem universally popular. When we watch vlogs featuring celebrities and personalities, we feel connected to them as we’re getting a peek into their day-to-day lives. By mimicking real-life interactions, video is a powerful tool to help form bonds and relationships. It makes us feel like we belong.”

The details: According to TikTok, creators worldwide embraced creative freedom using longer videos, with videos spanning over two minutes on average. Longer videos are most popular in Vietnam, Thailand and Japan while TikTok users in the US, UK and Brazil engage with longer videos the most.

Based on the positive feedback it’s receiving from creators, TikTok says it will continue to enhance longer videos. To kick that initiative off, TikTok has launched “Discover My World,” where it features popular global creators and celebrities who share longer vlogs.

Restaurant Brands International Chief Brand Officer Paloma Azulay Exits

This week in leadership updates, chief brand officer of Burger King parent Restaurant Brands International Paloma Azulay steps down; BMG promotes Angela Barkan to senior vice president of marketing on the east coast and Cyndi Lynott to senior vice president of marketing on the west coast, and Sony appoints Yvonne Gerald as vice president of podcast marketing.

Paloma Azulay Resigns As Chief Brand Officer Of Burger King Parent Restaurant Brands

Paloma Azulay has stepped down as chief brand officer of Restaurant Brands International, parent brand of Burger King, Popeyes and Tim Horton’s.

Azulay held the position since April 2021 when the company’s then global chief marketing officer Fernando Machado left for Activision Blizzard. 

Prior to her role as chief brand officer, Azulay held several leadership positions at Restaurant Brands International including chief marketing officer of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and Tim Hortons.

BMG Announces Two New Marketing Leadership Promotions  

BMG has elevated Angela Barkan to senior vice president of marketing on the west coast and Cyndi Lynott to senior vice president of marketing on the east coast.

In her new role, Barkan will lead marketing at BMG’s Frontline Recorded repertoire operations in New York while Lynott leads marketing at BMG’s Frontline Recorded pop and rock repertoire operations in Los Angeles.

Barkan joined BMG in 2018 and previously served as vice president of marketing at S-Curve Records.

Lynott previously served as BMG vice president of marketing and managed projects where she worked on releases from Avril Lavigne, Evanescence and Jason Mraz.

Sony Music Names Yvonne Gerald Vice President Of Podcast Marketing 

Sony Music Entertainment has enlisted Yvonne Gerald as vice president of podcast marketing.

Before joining Sony, Gerald was Time’s vice president of consumer marketing. Gerald has also served in senior marketing positions at MTV, NBCUniversal, Cheetah Digital and Meredith Corporation.

The Importance Of Impactful, Purpose-Driven Marketing Campaigns

As consumers identify ways to make a difference in the world, they expect the brands they engage with most to do the same. That’s why purpose-driven marketing is here to stay—it positively benefits both consumers and brands. During an Advertising Week New York panel led by Megan Cunningham, chief executive officer and founder at Magnet Media, Tripadvisor and key industry experts discussed how to build out a strategy with real impact

Tripadvisor’s business model centers around travel, which, during the pandemic, was almost non-existent. The company was forced to make drastic cuts and dramatically restructure, yet amid the hurdles, it decided to invest further in two teams: its DE&I and social teams. According to Christine Maguire, general manager and vice president of global media business at Tripadvisor, that consistent progress, authenticity and doubling down on values—despite an uncertain economic future—are what purpose means to a travel brand like Tripadvisor.

According to Yesenia Bello, iHeartMedia senior vice president of diversity and inclusion, the company didn’t have a strong focus on diversity and inclusion before 2020. The pandemic changed that and the interest of iHeartMedia’s audience, so a dedicated role ensued. iHeartMedia dove into its mission of giving everyone in America a friend, and transformed the meaning behind that into one of “being there…for diverse audiences,” said Bello. iHeartMedia received feedback and responded by stepping up in moments replete with uncertainty. Bello said it’s important to remember that, “We are all on the path of determining our purpose as individuals, consumers, marketers and companies.”

Reflecting on the past 18 months, Lindsay Stein, the new chief of social impact at Havas, said that the pandemic changed “purpose” from being nothing more than a buzzword a few years ago to an entire movement in marketing today. Consumers, especially younger generations, have been pushing for purpose for years and have shown that they want to purchase from purpose-driven brands, according to Stein. 

Seventy-eight percent of consumers will choose a brand that’s purpose-driven rather than one that isn’t, noted Stein. To capture that business, talent recruitment and retention are vital. Before brands can acquire the best talent and young talent, they must have and live a purpose. As Stein mentioned, there are a plethora of issues in the world, from climate change to hunger, that brands have the option of tackling.

When asked about ensuring that a brand’s purpose isn’t a slogan-only performative element and is actually resonating in the behavior and values of the brand, Stein said:

“Walking the walk is imperative to a brand’s success when talking the talk. It starts from top-down. The brand Thinx centered around and promoted female empowerment at every possible turn, though when it was discovered that its female CEO was creating a toxic culture internally, the brand nearly imploded until she stepped down.”

Still, the notion of purpose is complex and there’s no silver bullet, according to Maguire. Tripadvisor serves three cohorts—employees, partners and travelers—and research has shown how important it is to serve all three, said Maguire. Failing to provide employees with authenticity will translate to them not serving partners and consumers with authenticity. 

Citing a recent study that found 95 percent of people have permanently changed at least one thing about their behavior or values since the pandemic, Maguire said that Tripadvisor believes that there’s good out there and that one of its purposes is to help travelers find that good. In that sense, Tripadvisor’s purpose comes through in the way it services travelers, how it speaks to consumers via its creative assets and language, and ultimately how it shows up externally. Walk the talk before you can sell something through.

Key Takeaways:

  • There are several benefits to brands and consumers of purpose-driven marketing, namely excelling in business but also improving the world. Brands must engage innovative ways to reach consumers through purpose-driven campaigns and cannot simply talk the talk without walking the walk. 
  • Strategizing on how to create brand trust with consumers will produce competitive advantages given how highly valued purpose-driven brands are to consumers. 
  • It is critical to the evolution of purpose-driven marketing that the effectiveness of strategies in this context is measured.