Are glimpses of “normalcy” slowly starting to find their way into digital and social media? While brands are finding innovative ways to reach audiences via only virtual means, as demonstrated by a successful CES 2021, others are bringing IRL exhibits to life among social-distance protocols. In these changing times, we’ll always strive to find innovative new ways to stay connected, but we also know our hearts still need comfort food sometimes: YouTube and Instagram were the top two apps (again) this week.

ByteDance is Latest Tech Company to Enter the Pharma Industry

The next big thing in drug development is…TikTok? ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, has joined other leading Chinese tech companies as the latest to bet on the healthcare industry in a move to diversify ad-reliant revenue streams. Job descriptions for the business suggest candidates will work on drug design, identification and simulation using the company’s AI-powered technology. The investments underscore the massive scale at which AI-supported algorithms can be applied and investors seem to believe the healthcare industry is the right place to start.


To Opt-In or Opt-Out, that is the Question…

Facebook and other social platforms are bracing for the impact Apple’s latest software update and its changes the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) feature will have on advertisers. The update will inform users on what types of data an app tracks before they download it from the App Store, with an opportunity to opt-in/opt-out of data tracking. Facebook has been vocal in its opposition to Apple’s IDFA updates, highlighting the detrimental impact it will have on small and mid-sized businesses that rely on using that data to reach new and existing customers. While Facebook has been sharing guidance on how to prepare for iOS 14, the update’s full impact on campaign performance and reporting will be unclear until users begin to either opt-in or opt-out of data tracking. With recent privacy legislation such as CPRA and an upcoming antitrust lawsuit against Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, it’s clear that the conversation around data privacy isn’t going away any time soon.


As CTV Popularity Soars, So Do Ambitious Scammers

Last month, Oracle discovered a Connected TV (CTV) ad fraud scheme now dubbed “StreamScam” that exploited digital ad technology by “spoofing” millions of IP addresses to steal the ad revenue from the advertising platform. Given the skyrocketing interest in CTV from viewers and marketers alike, experts expect to see an increase in fraud attempts as scammers try to take advantage of the higher CPMs from CTV inventory. Still, some say the concern is overblown because CTV is significantly safer for brands compared to digital display since inventory is typically sourced directly from premium publishers rather than on the open exchange. As healthcare marketers, we will continue to find new ways embrace CTV while trying to reduce waste by leveraging unique audience sets.


2021: The Year of the HCP Influencer

In late December, we reported that patient-physician engagement had doubled on Twitter since the start of the pandemic 🤯. We’ve quickly come to learn that this emerging influential group is not immune to various forms of online harassment. In fact, one in four physicians reported being harassed online, with women and physicians of color facing additional risk of attacks grounded in sexism and racism. But that doesn’t mean they should step away from the platform. As the world slowly works toward returning to life as it was pre-COVID-19, reliable HCP voices remain important in encouraging smart health decisions among consumers. As with all influencers, supporting HCPs in all aspects of campaigns and programming is critical to break through the noise and help them get out important messages.


Twitter is Tuning Up So Audiences Don’t Tune Out

Podcast listening has increased tremendously since the onset of the pandemic. Google was quick to recognize this change in audience behavior with the expansion of its audio advertising options last August. In keeping up with audio-focused content consumption, Twitter announced the acquisition of Breaker as an expansion of its voice-based “Spaces” feature. Breaker is a podcast listening app that features user engagement tools. These developments show that Twitter is expanding its features, so users can both read AND listen to their news – all while making a compelling fight to keep audiences engaged within its platform. The rise in audio-first features also marks another step forward for accessibility and inclusion on social media.


In Other News…

Social platforms are starting to resemble each other, but what does that mean for content consumption?

Because we live by our calendars, here’s a 2021 events calendar to help you stay on top of all the key happenings.

For those who love an annual trend forecast: eMarketer shares 10 digital trends that marketers need to track in 2021.

W2O’s The Scoop is brought to you by an editorial collective, featuring industry updates and insights from subject matter experts across social media, digital and influencer activation teams.

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This year, digital became the catalyst for shaping how we experienced the pandemic. For our 2020 recap edition, we wanted to focus on the positives that digital brought to communities around the world. While we couldn’t include every milestone and “talked about” trend, below we highlighted a few areas that made an impact. Thank you to all our readers for following along with us. See you in 2021!

Combatting Misinformation on Social

This year, social platforms were faced with addressing and managing, in real time, the spread of COVID-19 and U.S. election misinformation and conspiracy theories. Their responses ranged from light-touch (driving users to reliable information) to more pointed (tagging posts and freezing ads).

And the Winner Is…How Social Media Took on Voting in 2020

What was social media’s role in the 2020 U.S. presidential election? Though many would point to it being a vehicle for the spread of misinformation, there is also something to be said for the way social platforms, brands and individuals tried to make voting more accessible.

How Social Media Supported Social Good

As racial injustice protests and hard conversations about race swept the United States and reverberated around the world, social media was at the center – aiding organizers, driving conversation, educating and broadcasting real-time events. These difficult discussions also drove meaningful change. Brands and platforms responded and adapted in record speed.

The World Evolved, and So Did Those Influencing It  

Many questioned how the influencer industry would fare amid economic insecurity and stay-at-home orders. But influencers across industries adapted, connecting with audiences in creative ways, like sharing ideas for keeping kids occupied at home, hosting Live workouts or concerts and encouraging healthy habits.

Massive Growth in Familiar Digital Tactics

For many, 2020 brought radical change to daily routines and greater insight into the world we live in, but within the digital media industry, the year only accelerated predicted trends. The popularity of streaming video and connected TVs exploded while we were at home, forcing advertisers to double down on the flexibility of programmatic advertising and targeted B2B marketing.

10 Months Later: Staying Together While We’re Still Apart

None of us anticipated that we’d still be practicing social distancing and varying levels of shelter-in-place after all this time. Despite this lack of physical closeness, consumers and brands have found a new way to stay connected through the adoption of live online activations, the joys of shared interests and meaningful brand partnerships.

W2O’s The Scoop is brought to you by an editorial collective, featuring industry updates and insights from subject matter experts across social media, digital and influencer activation teams.

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We recently learned that according to psychology, making lists makes us happy. We took that advice and made a list of five things that made us happy since the last Scoop [📝❤️]:

  1. Spotify showcases the top podcasts in 2020 for the first time in their Wrapped feature (US & Globally)
  2. TikTok adds an accessibility update to include photo sensitivity warnings
  3. The best Tweet of 2020 (so far) is Guy Fieri raising $21.5M in seven weeks for unemployed restaurant workers
  4. Twitter updates its hateful conduct policy to include abuse and harassment posts based on race, ethnicity and culture
  5. Drone technology is being used to rebuild forests destroyed by devastating fires

The Most Important Healthcare Campaign of the 21st Century?

With the possibility of FDA approval and initial distribution of COVID-19 vaccines mere weeks away, the healthcare industry is gearing up for the communications campaign of the century. Messaging will attempt to educate the public about vaccine science and the approval process – no small feat given society’s growing anti-vaccine sentiment and a recent Gallup poll indicating that only 58% of American adults are willing to take a coronavirus vaccine. Former FDA Associate Commissioner Peter Pitts believes “PSA campaigns really don’t get the job done” and that communications “absolutely should play into the controversy.” Glen Nowak, director of the Center for Health and Risk Communication, acknowledges the campaign needs to be “large and multilayered” given the variety of vaccines, dosing requirements and audiences. It’s a historic moment that will require overcoming seeds of distrust to help push the nation closer to a recovery from the pandemic.


Fighting COVID-19, and Misinformation, is a Team Effort

The influx of promising announcements about COVID-19 vaccines has resulted in increased efforts to preemptively combat misinformation about them by a consortium of social media platforms. Recently, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube announced a joint effort to partner with fact-checkers, researchers and governments to combat misinformation surrounding the vaccines. The group plans to roll out an initial framework for addressing these issues in January, which will include standards for qualifying “misinformation” in these circumstances as well as plans for marking, responding to or removing such content. As much about the vaccines remains unknown, this effort is sure to be useful to all those in the healthcare space seeking to ensure that accurate health information is shared on social media.


The Power of Connection for Mental Health Communication

Given the combination of the holidays, seasonal depression and isolation due to the pandemic, many marketers are paying special attention to the topic of mental health and finding ways to connect with consumers or bring awareness to the topic. Successful campaigns, such as the UK’s CALM ad, Instagram’s #HereForYou campaign, and Sheba’s Healing Powers mini documentaries, all tap into ways to reduce the stigma of mental health and build connections. Given the rising interest in the subject, the Ad Council commissioned a report on loneliness to help readers understand that it’s a syndrome that plagues younger people as much as older adults. The report highlights ways people across the world are coping using a mix of technology (video chats, social media) and social engagement (religious services, time with pets, visiting family) to connect with their community.


More Apps in a Snap

A few weeks ago, we featured Snapchat’s expansion of partnerships with apps such as Vivino and Yuka. Snapchat has now announced the rollout of several new options that will allow app developers to continue cross-linking their functions within the app. Additions include Augmented Reality Lenses, app conversions as an ad objective, and a minimum return on spend. With the creative Lenses, app marketers can promote their brand in a way that entices users to then potentially install the app (just ask Yahoo Fantasy Sports). The app conversions ad objective allows marketers to optimize for app installs as well, enabling installation tracking from the Snapchat Lens. These new features will help increase brand awareness and overall engagement. And with Snapchat’s rapid growth this year driven by “older” audiences, it’s never been a better time to reconsider including Snapchat in your marketing plans for the year ahead.


Instagram Proves that Platforms Must Evolve to Stay Relevant

As social media continues to grow, platforms face the decision to adapt or fade. Instagram is facing this head on, opting to evolve to maintain its steady flow of engaged users. The platform recently announced new branded content opportunities, allowing for greater partnership, monetization and collaboration opportunities for brands and creators, particularly through Reels and Live. This announcement comes at the same time as an additional update that allows users to search by keywords, making content more discoverable. As new platforms make their mark in the social landscape, the more experienced need to remain agile and receptive to new practices. Otherwise, they risk losing the attention of their audience to the shinier new offering. Each platform serves a purpose, but if it can’t identify its role within the media landscape and capitalize on its strongest offerings, as Instagram has done here, it may soon join the likes of MySpace and Vine.



Another day, another streaming service: Discovery unveils Discovery+, its DTC streaming service.

Different downtime choices lead to different kinds of relief: How teens use downtime to connect, distract or reflect.

W2O’s The Scoop is brought to you by an editorial collective, featuring industry updates and insights from subject matter experts across social media, digital and influencer activation teams.

Get the latest marcom news directly to your inbox! Sign up to receive The Scoop updates here.

The Oxford Dictionary declared the 2020 word of the year “unprecedented,” and we couldn’t agree more. This week alone fits the bill of a “typical” 2020 news cycle, jammed packed with updates reflective of a truly unpredictable time: Microsoft and Zoom are removing time caps for Thanksgiving, Pinterest is suddenly the platform to watch in 2021, Snap is giving away $1M to creators for their new inspiring in-app update called Spotlight and TikTok teens are following senior citizens. We’re grateful to be able to share the latest and greatest with you all, so ping us if you want to hear more on these topics or the ones below. Happy Thanksgiving to our American family and friends. 🦃

Is Local News Making a Comeback?

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only accelerated innovation within healthcare, it has also sped up trends and revealed new opportunities within the local media landscape. Media companies including Axios and NPR – and entrepreneurs like David Klotz – are looking to fill the void of regional newspapers by introducing localized e-newsletters and podcasts. The pandemic also has resulted in media talent spreading beyond the hubs of New York and D.C. as people move to remote work models. Additionally, the evolution of the media landscape in response to the pandemic has shown the value of local news coverage. The specificity of different local regulations leading to higher audience numbers and increased subscriptions shows how some of these organizations will become digitally based in the future to reach local audiences.


The New Streaming Service Every Healthcare Marketer Should Know About

The Able Channel is set to fill what it believes is an “information void” with a streaming channel dedicated to healthcare content. CEO and former Novartis and Disney exec Brian McCourt says he can’t believe this void exists in a world where healthcare represents approximately 18% of U.S. GDP. The debut of this new channel may be perfectly timed as new reports suggest connected TV will be the only device to grow its share of video ad impressions, up to 41% from 33% just a year ago. Viewers can preview the channel’s fresh storytelling approach now by watching “Surviving Suicide,” its first series. Produced in partnership with the Cleveland Clinic, the series profiles survivors who have gone on to help others struggling with suicide. With the right conditions and advertisers such as Ochsner Lafayette already on board as its first hospital system partner, advertising opportunities are primed to grow.


“Point of Care” Advertising Is in It for the Long Haul

Despite dips in in-office doctors’ appointments due to the pandemic, industry experts still tout the enduring value of point of care (POC) media as new deals are being struck with content developers such as Meredith, which has just joined forces with Health Media Network. Doctors’ offices around the country will now be displaying video content from several Meredith brands through Health Media Network’s existing relationships with healthcare professionals (HCPs). The POC advertising will focus on TV (as magazines have been removed from waiting rooms) and is designed to educate patients about treatment options, facilitate patient and doctor engagement, and improve health outcomes through engaging and informative content. While targeting in an in-office setting seems limited, much of the audience for healthcare marketers has proven to be those sitting in a waiting room. POC is rapidly growing as experts have found that targeting a patient while they are currently seeking medical care is critical and effective.


Fostering Community and Influence with Social “Hubs”

The purpose of social media has evolved since its initial development, and platforms that served to connect us with others now also serve largely as educational resources. YouTube, one of the most searched platforms, has long been a hub for educators and influencers alike to share longform, informative videos on a variety of topics and now offers learning-focused playlists and URLs. TikTok is working to strengthen this area within the platform as well, testing a “Learn” tab in the UK market. And LinkedIn recently followed in similar fashion with the launch of its resource hub dedicated to supporting underrepresented groups. Specific “Learning” focused sections of platforms could be key areas for HCP influencers to congregate and help consumers find the resources they are seeking. These hubs also go a step further to reinforce the benefits of social media.



Tis the season: TikTok adds new option to display non-profit fundraisers on your profile.

Slowing the spread: Twitter may slow down users’ ability to “like” tweets containing misinformation.

Need a screen break? Check out the New York Times’ annual list of 100 notable books.

W2O’s The Scoop is brought to you by an editorial collective, featuring industry updates and insights from subject matter experts across social media, digital and influencer activation teams.

Get the latest marcom news directly to your inbox! Sign up to receive The Scoop updates here.

Is anything predictable anymore? 🤷 With Spotify considering making users pay for podcasts, to Netflix France launching linear TV 🤯 it seems we are in a state of constant pivots and agility in digital. As another industry leader points out, we “used to shy away from the word “scrappy” to describe our work,” and now it’s what brands want for success. Today’s unpredictability is what makes us love being digital futurists, strategists and subject matter experts. If you ask us what we’re tracking these days, it will likely be around privacy, audio and the reinvention of learning in the virtual world.

Marketers Shift Spending Mentality Following Facebook Boycott – Will Google Be Next?

”Thankful”: a surprising characterization shared by Facebook executive Carolyn Everson during ANA’s recent Masters of Marketing conference when asked about the more than 1,000 companies that boycotted Facebook as part of the #StopHateForProfit movement. Everson cited increased organization and accountability as key takeaways from the boycott, though the question remains – what meaningful changes have been made? Outside of Facebook, marketers have shifted their spend approach. Among the most notable is that of P&G’s top marketer, who pledged increased spend with minority-owned media. Other leading brands, such as Coca-Cola, have developed public policies aimed at increasing accountability and transparency among advertisers. If other brands continue to follow suit, their actions could signal a broader willingness to reallocate media dollars that advertisers – not just Facebook – will soon have to account for. This comes as the U.S. Department of Justice and 11 state attorneys general sue Google for alleged anticompetitive behavior, which has us (and others) wondering if the search giant could be next on the boycott list.


Nutrition in a Snap

Visual search has become a common in-app tool to help provide users with information before making a purchase. Snapchat is trying out visual search through its partnership with nutrition app, Yuka, and wine app, Vivino, as an extension of its visual search features. The in-app camera is used to scan a bar code on a food label or wine label, which then displays product information. Specifically, Yuka’s features provide users with nutrition information, ingredients and health benefits, as well as suggestions for healthier choices. Along with Snapchat’s recent partnership with Headspace, the app seems to be moving farther into the wellness space, while leveraging new technologies to engage an active audience.


TikTok’s Latest Partnership Proves Its Intention to Stick Around

As TikTok continues to grow a steady creator base, it’s looking for new ways to continue monetizing. These efforts have led to a global partnership with Shopify, allowing Shopify merchants to run promotions on TikTok and access the core functions of TikTok for Business Ads Manager without leaving the Shopify dashboard. TikTok reports that about half of its users indicated that they discover new products through ads posted by a brand in the app, while 88% reported discovering new content while on the app. This partnership could provide more value for marketers on the app, making a stronger case to integrate the platform into a content plan. Additionally, more ways to monetize could help keep creators on the platform instead of losing them to more robust platforms such as Instagram or YouTube. TikTok seems to be learning from Vine’s failed past while charting a new path for its future.


Data if You Do, Data if You Don’t: New Rules for Digital Data Regulation

California passed new data legislation (that will go into effect January 1, 2023) that will replace and adjust the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 and lay the groundwork for other states or the U.S. as a whole as privacy rules are developed. The California Privacy Rights Act is expected to add more nuance to existing laws and develop a separate oversight agency to monitor companies’ use of behavioral data, but industry insiders have mixed opinions on how this would play out among large tech companies.


Video Streaming into the Future

COVID-19 accelerated the emergence of connected TV devices and streaming as viewers gravitated to on-demand content, with media companies and agencies following suit. Major organizations including NBCUniversal and Disney are prioritizing streaming as the backbone of their content offering as CTV received nearly 25% of advertisers’ up-front budgets. While CTV is stealing more eyeballs away from traditional broadcast and cable, it provides a greater footprint for healthcare advertisers to leverage custom data targeting and limit waste.



On Election night, while their parents were watching cable news in the other room, younger people were gathering online on TikTok for a more communal experience.

The pandemic isn’t a problem when you’re computer-generated. Virtual influencers make real money while COVID-19 locks down human stars.

The “COVID-proof” drug launch? Why telemedicine could become a staple for more pharma brands.

W2O’s The Scoop is brought to you by an editorial collective, featuring industry updates and insights from subject matter experts across social media, digital and influencer activation teams.

Get the latest marcom news directly to your inbox! Sign up to receive The Scoop updates here.

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