22 June 2018
Why it Matters by Andrew Foote
This week’s Cannes Lions has been packed with inspirational panels, workshops, and interactive sessions on the state of creativity, technology and marketing.
With a thousand plus speakers this year, it was impossible to hear the range of ideas and perspectives shared.
Here’s a quick rundown of what caught our eyes on the ground:
A Smaller Festival
The vibe at this year’s Lions feels much more subdued – attendance is noticeably down, it’s less frenetic, and there are 21 percent fewer entries than last year. It’s the result of a tough agency business climate, as well as the Lions organizers restructuring the event after complaints that it had become too big and expensive.
A Renewed Focus on Creativity
There was a noticeable and refreshing emphasis on creativity this year – how to arrive at culturally-connected creative ideas (the Hackvertising panel was brilliant), how technology enables creativity (Colleen DeCourcy and Evan Sharp spoke about this), using the power of humor to build brands (Conan O’Brien & Shaq led a hilarious session about humor + storytelling), and a new Cannes site called Lovethework.com, which as you can imagine is entirely about viewing and celebrating the work. This is a welcomed change from the past few years, which had drifted too far into media and broader marketing/business topics.
Business-Driven Ideas Start to Make a Comeback
While purpose-driven work continues to dominate the awards and shortlists with powerful ideas like The Talk and Trash Isles, there is a noticeable (and welcome) trend towardscelebrating the value of creativity and innovation in service of good-old commerce and brand-building as well. While the jury is still out, a few of the more commercially-oriented projects that are likely to take home Lions are a fake movie stunt for Australian Tourism, an AR sneaker drop for Jordan cleverly named A / R JORDAN, a music video enabled by the Facebook Live delay, and KFC’s brilliant 11 herbs and spices stunt.
Brand Safety is a Hot Topic
Multiple sessions highlighted the ongoing battle between brands and the social platforms over brand safety (keeping branded ads from appearing next to inappropriate content and comments). During a panel with Unilever’s Keith Weed, Google announced that it will be rolling out a self-serve tool for advertisers to better manage and understand the brand safety risks when buying across YouTube/Google. This is another step in the right direction to give marketers more control.
Big Ideas can Come in Small Packages
The Lions have increasingly acknowledged the importance and power of fast and nimble creative work – content creation, issues response, and audience engagement executed quickly and in a meaningful way. We’re proud that our entry, Samsung Puts Trolls Under the Microscope, was shortlisted in the new Social & Influencer Lions category alongside work like Verizon’s What You Missed and Wendy’s Talk Social to Me.
Overall, the scaled-back structure of the Lions has been well-received by many attendees we spoke with. Thanks to Ascential for revamping it for the better.
18 June 2018
Facebook’s new ‘Memories’ section will incorporate all of your moments, ‘friendaversaries’ and ‘On this day’ reminders in a single place.
More than 90 million people use On This Day everyday and Facebook stated that this kind of reflection has a positive impact on people’s mood and overall well-being, fitting in very well with their personal connections initiative.
There’s nothing new in the this section, it just simply puts all the above content in one place for you to reminisce at ease.
Facebook are hoping that it may get more people engaging with it and discussing more of their old posts. Although the platform continues to add new users, various reports have indicated that original content sharing has slowed significantly, with more and more people now preferring to engage within the private confines of messaging apps.
Facebook is rolling out a new video posting option, another advance towards full virtual reality social, their new 3D-180 video option for Facebook is a huge step in the right direction.
You’re not going to get a full, immersive experience of this video without a VR headset, however if you have one you may be impressed by what they can produce.
Facebook stated ‘3D-180 videos immerse your audience in scenes with a full 180-degree wide-angle view in News Feed, and gain extra dimension with 3D depth when viewed in VR.’
You can upload a 3D-180 video through your Page via the video upload flow, or through 360 Director for Profiles. There is a level of technical experience required in both shooting and uploading such content but Facebook is seeking to simplify the process.
After receiving many complaints about traders on their site the social network are working to weed out the bad ones!
Once you’ve clicked on a Facebook ad you will be able to provide feedback about that business via your Ads Activity tab. Users will also be prompted to provide feedback when they’ve clicked through on an ad to make a purchase.
Feedback comes in the form of a questionnaire where you can provide insight about your experience with that brand. Facebook will then share the information with the provider and give them a chance to improve their practices.
The initiative also appears to be linked to the recent Facebook Page ratings system which they tested last month.
Twitter has launched a new site to help media and publishing organisations get the most out of the platform.
The site includes resources and guides detailing how to use Twitter’s various features, and case studies highlighting best practices in action.
There are also links to Twitter’s various ad tools and elements like Media Studio, which will enable users to better manage images and videos for re-use on the platform.
Twitter has announced a range of new updates aimed at uncovering individually relevant, happening discussions, and highlighting them to each user.
Twitter is adding new topic tabs to users Explore page. The topic tabs will highlight trending discussions, similar to Trending Topics.
Twitter’s also looking to get users involved by adding new push notifications for major events, customised based on who they follow and what they tweet about.
The last major update relates to Twitter Moments. The feature will be constructed vertically as opposed to horizontal and multiple timelines in some US moments to add more coverage.
Twitter has announced that it’s making its in-stream, pre-roll video ads available to all advertisers globally, including those using the platform’s self-serve ads platform.
Twitter’s pre-roll ads are skippable and are shown ahead of video content from approved publishers. Through their process, Twitter maintains more control over their ad partners, which is how they can assure brand safety.
So far, Twitter claim in-stream ads are producing result, people who saw In-Stream Video Ads on Twitter were 70% more likely to recall the brand’s ad, 28% more likely to be aware of the advertiser’s brand, and had a 6% higher purchase intent.
Snapchat are launching their own developer platform which will enable brands and publishers to connect their apps to Snapchat and utilise Snapchat tools outside of the app itself.
Following the Facebook data scandal, Snapchat are working to make it absolutely clear that usage is very restricted via SnapKit. Developers can access your username and Bitmoji avatar, that’s it.
This development is more for higher end companies and will enable businesses to connect to their apps via Snap log in and share their content within Snapchat.
There are four elements to SnapKit:
Creative Kit – helps developers integrate their own stickers, Filters, links, and other highlights – like high scores and workout stats – right into the Snapchat camera, so you can add your own touch and share it with friends.
Login Kit – lets you unlock new features on Snapchat and other apps
Bitmoji Kit – lets your conversations come alive with Bitmoji stickers when messaging on other apps.
Story Kit – lets developers filter and embed publicly shared Snapchat Stories into their own apps and services.
it will help Snapchat expose more of its functionality and content options to a wider audience, which they’re hoping gets more users coming across to the app.
Keen to hit Facebook back after the site repeatedly stolen their ideas, Snapchat will now allow users to delete previously sent messages.
To delete you simply hold down on a text, image, video, memory, sticker or audio note in a one-on-one or group chat Snapchat message thread where you’ll see a delete button. Tap it and Snapchat will retract the message if the user has an internet connection.
They have also introduced some new ad options, firstly a partnership with SeatGeek to build a ticket-buying experience within the Snapchat app. The full process will be available within the app, another move forward in terms on Snap’s growing eCommerce tools.
Snap are also developing a new ad format that will show a carousel of purchasable items along the bottom the screen when viewing Stories.
Instagram is testing a new option which enables users to add multiple images as stickers to a Story frame, including video stickers.
The new option also enables users to create single frame collages of images, with the moving video being the standout option.
It provides yet another creative way to use Stories, which, according to Facebook, are on track to become the dominant social sharing option sometime this year.
Instagram has announced that selected brands will now be able to use new shopping tags within Instagram Stories.
The new option is effectively an extension of the platform’s in-stream Shopping Tags, which have been in circulation since late 2016 and are gradually being rolled out to more businesses.
An ‘Also featured in this story’ feature is another new addition. Similar to Pinterest’s ‘Shop the Look’ Pins, the new option will enable businesses to showcase their content more directly, and within the Stories format.
Other Interesting Stuff…
Reddit is making a big push to boost its revenue potential, this time with the addition of native video ads, which will auto play in feeds.
Reddit states that video hosting is the dominant way that user are viewing and posting video content, within a year of its initial launch in August 2017.
In testing, Reddit says that engagement with native video ads “lifts up to 5x when compared to non-video campaigns”, however brands should be cautious with the Reddit community notoriously intolerant of blatant ads; it can be a difficult platform to break into.
5 June 2018
Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook’s been working to add in new ways to eliminate electoral meddling by foreign groups.
Facebook officially launched its new political ads disclosure tags, which will highlight “issues-based” ads in News Feeds and give users the ability to learn more about who’s funding them.
By highlighting the funding sources behind each ad revealing and the specific targeting data, users will be better equipped to understand why they’re seeing each promoted post which should, theoretically, help reduce interference.
Using the latest GDPR changes as an impetus, starting this week, all Facebook users in all regions will be shown an alert when they visit the News Feed, which will prompt them to review details about the information they’re making available on the Social Network. This move is in a bid to reduce distrust in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Over the coming weeks, users will see a customised message that puts the following information in front of them:
How Facebook uses data from partners to show more relevant advertising
Political, religious, and relationship information users have chosen to include on their profiles
How Facebook uses face recognition, including for features that help protect users’ privacy
Updates to Facebook terms of service and data policy that they announced in April
Facebook has announced the latest steps in its efforts to stop the spread of fake and misleading news on the platform. The company is releasing a new, 12-minute video on their back-end processes, along with several explainers and a new website dedicated to providing oversight into the News Feed process.
The video is deemed as being a great insight into the platform – never has Facebook provided as much access to the inner workings of their algorithm, and how its team addresses specific concerns.
From a digital marketing perspective, the new measures should have little direct impact, however the information does provide new insights into how the News Feed algorithm works, which can be hugely valuable for those trying to maximize their Facebook reach.
Facebook’s rolling out a new option for Facebook Marketplace, with a ‘Home Service Professionals’ directory being made available to all users within the US ‘within the coming weeks’.
the new directory will enable users to search through, and connect with, relevant contractors for home services. The listings, formulated in partnership with Handy, HomeAdvisor and Porch, will include star ratings, and will make it easy to obtain a quote from your chosen sources.
Facebook has been putting emphasis on groups recently, with The Social Network seeing them as a way to keep users more engaged, while also enabling a level of user moderation, lessening the load for Facebook’s internal moderation team.
It’s likely that Facebook sees groups like way reddit operates – each community (or subreddit) is moderated by volunteer moderators – but to boost user participation, they need to push groups to the fore, and empower group admins to best manage their communities.
New features are to be rolled out include a group button on the main app as well as specific support pages and guidance for group moderators.
Facebook Adds Polls to Messenger Stories
Last week, Facebook added a new feature to their ‘Messenger Stories’ variation in the form of Messenger Stories polls.
The polls are a duplicate of what is seen on Instagram with users choosing the question and two answers. Users will also get feedback in the same as Instagram users.
Messenger stories may come with some confusion as the feature is not yet an option on the main Facebook story
Following various controversies around how their system works, and how Facebook may or may not have used the module to influence the news cycle, The Social Network has announced that it’s getting rid of its Trending News section.
Facebook claims that it was only available in five countries and accounted for less than 1.5% of clicks to news publishers on average, suggesting it wasn’t as popular as anticipated. The feature faced criticism in 2016. Facebook was caught up in controversy over suggestions that it manually amplified and/or supressed stories in its Trending headlines, sparking questions of the company’s role in the media cycle. Research shows that an increasing number of people use Facebook to get their news and information, so manipulation of the stories presented is clearly editorial bias.
Facebook is currently working to put more focus on local news with their ‘Today In’ sections, in test mode. This shift better aligns with Facebook’s efforts to help inform communities and prioritise local engagement as opposed to broader news coverage.
To improve the validity and accuracy of political information being shared on their platform, Twitter is rolling out new labels which will be visible on the profiles and tweets of candidates in the upcoming U.S. midterm general election. These Badges will appear on profiles from May 30th.Twitter Adds New Badges for Profiles and Tweets of Political Candidates
Accounts, and tweets from accounts of candidates will be marked with a small icon of a government building. Tap or click on the label and users will be able to access additional information about that candidate, including the office they’re running for, the state the office is in and the district number (where applicable).
The candidate tagging system comes at an interesting time for twitter, as the company noted late last year, there’s confusion as to what their verification tick means. The new badge would suggest that twitter is still unsure on what the blue tick indicates.
Twitter appeared to be take a backwards step when the company shut down its TV apps on Roku, Android TV and Xbox on May 24th.
The change is related to the coming GDPR shift – the low usage of Twitter’s TV apps apparently doesn’t justify the effort required to ensure compliance, so they’re doing away with them instead.
It may appear that Twitter is stepping away from original content broadcasting, however, the company recently showcased 30 new video deals at its Newfronts event; including programs from NBCUniversal, Disney/ESPN and Vice Media. Twitter also highlighted the growth of its live-streaming content in their recent Q1 ‘18 results, noting the global audience for such content.
Instagram has this week officially announced its new option to mute profiles, enabling users to stop seeing updates from people without having to unfollow them. Users can choose to mute posts, stories or both.Instagram Rolls Out Option to Mute Profiles
Users can still see each of these users’ posts on their profile pages and will still be notified if they mention or tag them.
Instagram is testing two new features that will keep users informed of how much time they’re spending in the app and when they are caught up with all updates from users they follow. These updates are in a bid to improve mental health amongst users and remove the endless scrolling that came with the new algorithm.
Both measures aim to provide more insights to help users understand their habits and reduce non-productive usage – which looks set to become a bigger focus for Instagram, and parent company Facebook, moving forward.
Instagram has provided some more insight into how its feed algorithm works, as the platform seeks to better ingratiate itself with its community – both of users and brands – and provide more transparency into their process.
Instagram’s algorithm considers three main factors, which weight the system more than anything else- Interest in content, Timeliness and Relationship
Whilst Instagram received backlash when it first introduced the algorithm timeline, it has seen an increase in time spent on the app by users; going from 21 minutes to 24 per day. More than this, Instagram users under the age of 25 are now spending more than 32 minutes per day in the app.
And finally …
Facebook – The Social Network has added some new variations of its popular Pride frames for your profile image. Facebook’s also adding Pride-themed text backgrounds for users News Feed posts and activating new masks, stickers and effects in the Facebook Camera.
Instagram – will have a new rainbow background in Type mode, and rainbow versions of the mention, hashtag and location stickers in Stories. Instagram has also worked with GLAAD to identify hashtags that people throughout the LGBTQ+ community gather around and use to connect. The social network stated that a rainbow gradient on these hashtags will be used to encourage more people to discover and explore the photos and videos from people throughout the community.
And finally,Twitter – the platform has added automatically triggered emoji which will appear whenever you use any of these hashtags.
22 May 2018
Facebook is reportedly working on a new scoring system for business Pages, which would rate them out of ten stars, and consider a range of measures.
Facebook’s states that they are testing a new score out of 10 to help people find great places more easily. The score is based on multiple ratings, reviews and recommendations people share.
By considering more than direct audience ratings, Facebook would expand its capacity to uncover more relevant business for users. This could also make the scores harder to game, as businesses wouldn’t know, for sure, what impacts them, helping to eliminate the impact of false reviews and concerted efforts to reduce a businesses’ standing.
Facebook has launched a new reporting feature within Messenger on mobile, making it easier to flag concerning conversations and users direct from the app.
the new option is available under the ‘Something’s Wrong’ option in user settings. To access it, users tap on the name of the person or group with whom they’re having a conversation and scroll down to the bottom of the options list.
Facebook is also hiring thousands more moderators to deal with these reports, and other concerns.
Face says that to date thousands of apps have been investigated and around 200 have been suspended pending a thorough investigation into whether they did in fact misuse any data.
This means that up to 200 different apps may have logged and stored user data, which would greatly expand upon the initial estimate of 87 million accounts affected by the Cambridge Analytica data-mining effort.
When Facebook finds evidence apps did misuse data, the company will ban them and notify users on this website. It will show people if they or their friends installed an app that misused data before 2015.
Facebook’s latest experiment is a new ‘Posts from Across Facebook’ prompt which some users have seen appear mid news feed.
Once users scroll past this notification, a white bar remains along the top of the feed, which notifies them that they’re searching the top posts, relative to your interests, as opposed to Pages and people you follow.
The option is along similar lines to their alternate Explore Feed which they experimented with early this year, providing another way for Facebook to push more content into users feed. However, it also runs counter to the platform’s wider News Feed focus – the aim of the News Feed changes was to prioritize content from friends and family, not random discovery of other content users might like.
The new tools are specifically focused on the Indian market – one of the company’s fastest-growing user bases – but will be rolled out to all users soon.
Audio Posts – The first new feature is audio posts, which will enable users to post audio clips to their Facebook Stories, accompanied by a colourful background.
Facebook Stories Archive – Facebook will also add a new Stories archive to Facebook, like what they added to Instagram back in December.
Save to Facebook – The last new update will enable users to save their Facebook Camera clips and images direct to Facebook, as opposed to taking up room on their device.
Facebook says that Facebook Stories now has 150 million daily active users, which they define as anyone who’s opened a Story on Facebook (within the app or on desktop).
Several Facebook executives – including Mark Zuckerberg – have said that Stories are the future of social interaction and will soon overtake the News Feed as the most popular social sharing option. According to Facebook, that’s set to happen sometime this year.
Facebook is now testing its first Facebook Stories ads, with 5 to 15 second, skippable spots now appearing for some users. there are no click-through or call-to-action buttons on these yet, but they will be coming soon. Advertisers can also extend their Instagram Stories ads to Facebook Stories.
Instagram has announced that the capacity to share regular, public Instagram posts to Instagram Stories is now being rolled out to all users.
As per Instagram: “When you come across something in feed that inspires you — like a post from a friend raising money for a cause or a photo of a new design from your favourite brand — you can now quickly share that post as a sticker to your story for your friends and followers to see.”
To share a story, users tap the airplane button below the post and see a new option to “Create a story with this post” (middle image above). Once selected, users be able to use the post as a sticker, with a customised background ready to share. The sticker can be rotated, scaled and moved. The original poster’s details will be included with the re-used post as well.
Twitter has long been criticized for its lack of action against trolls and abuse, which many people would say significantly detracts from the Twitter experience. The new algorithm update, which could be a big turning point for this, will limit the exposure of tweets from accounts which see regular complaints.
If users do fall foul of these rules, the reach impacts could be significant – tweets will not be visible at all in public conversations or search, but they won’t be removed either (as they don’t violate Twitter’s rules). Tweets will be hidden behind a ‘View more results’ note – which, by Twitter’s thinking, will make the conversation better and more engaging.
There are obvious merits to this update however, as this process is automated you won’t be contacted if your tweets are hidden. It’s also concerning as it’s not human-reviewed, there is scope for competitors to cause users penalties by mass reporting their account.
The 6-second ads are not being inserted in or around user content, they’ll only be available within Snap’s shows, the professionally created content published to the app from companies like Disney, Viacom and ESPN.
This move goes against Snapchat’s ethos with CEO Evan Spiegel specifically noting that his company was against the ‘creepy’ targeted ad approach used by other social platforms back in 2015.
Other Interesting Stuff…
Ever since Prince Harry plucked up the courage to propose to Suits actress Meghan Markle over a roast chicken, the Royal Wedding media frenzy has been mounting, and now – for better or for worse – some of the nation’s best-known brands are marked the big day in their own special way:
Tesco: Sticking to the food theme, Tesco married up a few traditional British meals with some American treats. Throwing tradition aside, the superstore created the likes of Earl Grey Iced Tea to toast the happy couple, Full English Nachos to share and Eton Mess S’mores for sweet treats.
Soda Stream: Soda Stream used the Royal Wedding as an occasion to highlight the fight against single-use plastic, as it prepares to auction off a number limited edition bottles for charity. Each bottle is donned with a hat, as per British wedding tradition, with the money raised per bottle being donated to a plastic-free charity.
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