So-Called Social: Week of March 5
Your weekly dose of social news
FRI-YAYYYY!!! Hooey, I’m glad it’s Friday. I’m currently in sunny Austin, TX preparing for my first SXSW. I can’t wait to share with you all the trends, takeaways, and cool innovations I’m sure to see this weekend. Get. Ready. Meanwhile, here’s what happened this week in the land of social.
Social nets update stuff
Facebook is ending the Explore Feed less than four months after it’s launch. Apparently people don’t actually want two feeds. Facebook’s Explore Feed was designed as a separate feed for content from publishers and public figures they might be interested in based on their own interests. It arrived after News Feed algorithm tweaks prioritized posts from friends and family, while cutting off the organic reach of brand pages. I guess it was just a test, but alas, it didn’t work.
Understandably, advertisers are clamoring for uncontroversial environments to buy ads. Feeling a bit opportunistic, Facebook is pitching a brand-safe program to advertisers which essentially offers the chance to buy ads against what it considers its most brand-safe videos. FB is asking advertisers to commit to spend $750,000 over three months to participate in the program. But here’s the kicker… Facebook is only giving these advertisers very limited control of where their ads would appear and they’re (rightfully so, IMO) leery of trusting Facebook to determine what videos are brand-safe or not.
It looks like Instagram might want to be your phone, not just your camera. And naturally, it wants to be better than Snapchat. Someone super smart dug up some files buried in the Instagram and Instagram Direct standalone app’s Android Application Packages that just might indicate calls and video calls are coming to an Insta near you.
Twitter wants to be the easiest place for brands and agencies to buy ads in social media. And that’s fueling its current exploration of ways to connect its advertising inventory with external programmatic platforms and agency trading desks. Rivals like Facebook and Snapchat operate their own automated ad platforms, but they are cordoned off from the rest of the digital ad ecosystem. What Twitter is testing is more seamless integration with agency trading desks and demand-side platforms.
Ruh roh. Another shakeup at Snap is around the corner. 120 engineering employees will be laid off in the coming weeks, and other parts of the organization are bracing for potential layoffs as well. Investors don’t seem to be panicking hoping the layoffs are just “cutting out dead weight.”
Adobe does stuff
Adobe celebrated #InternationalWomensDay today, and we celebrated it hard. Adobe Spark created remixable templates to honor the women we admire, we featured Luisa Dörr as she shared the #DiverseVoices of 46 women who are changing the world, we talked all about the all-female leadership team behind “RBG,” the Ruth Bader Ginsburg feature documentary, Paul Trani created a special design for IWD using Photoshop and Illustrator, CMO.com compiled a bunch of inspirational quotes from female digital leaders, I mean, I could go on forever. What a great day.
Other brands do stuff
Okay, so first of all, if you don’t have a pair of Allbirds, get one. They’re the comfiest “tennis shoes” I’ve ever owned. It’s like walking on a cloud (and I swear this is #notsponsored). Anyhoo, the brand has created a multicolored, limited edition shoe for its second anniversary that fans can only buy on Instagram. The tactic for this campaign was the culmination of months of discussion about experimenting with debuting new products through the social platform, where the brand has developed a rapidly growing following.
I don’t usually talk about specific products / vendors in this here newsletter, but this one sounds super interesting. It’s called Influential and it is an AI powered influencer marketplace. Yeah. Basically, it’s using IBM Watson Social Intelligence technology to examine factors such as psychographic and contextual relevancy so that brands can identify their audience, profile, and personality on social. Fascinating.
Are branded podcasts the ads people actually want to listen to? Quite possibly. Brands such as ZipRecruiter, MasterCard, GE, and Microsoft are creating sponsored podcasts with content that relates authentically to their brands. Podcast advertising is on track to hit more than $220 million in 2017, up 85 percent from 2016. And…people aren’t skipping the ads. I know I can practically recite the Blue Apron ads in Pod Save America (“Blue Apron: A better way to cook”). Watch this space for more on this trend.