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The phrase “these unprecedented times” has become the 2020 tagline. With everything in our daily lives so uncertain, we’re increasingly looking for meaning. This is especially true when it comes to our media consumption habits. COVID-19 quarantine, remote work, and the additional alone time at home have led us to seek even greater digital connection.

I recently had the opportunity to engage in a virtual webinar on brand growth during times of crisis for the Advertising Research Foundation, an organization for which our own Seth Duncan, Chief Analytics Officer, serves on the board.

I was joined by Emmanuel Probst, author and SVP Brand Health Tracking at Ipsos, who unpacked the many challenges and opportunities brands have during a time of crisis – like the current COVID-19 pandemic. He also discussed how consumers have changed their behavior and are increasingly seeking out meaning through media.

2020 has completely transformed media consumption – we are glued to our phones, constantly seeking information to keep up with the continuously changing world around us. Brands have an opportunity to provide meaning to consumers, but they are also being presented with a challenge in communicating authenticity and purpose in a virtual world.

“What consumers are really looking for, even more so during this unprecedented time, is meaning,” Emmanuel said. “Now is the time to not only talk about your brand purpose, but to demonstrate your brand purpose.”

In other words, 2020 has proved that, if brands talk the talk, they must also walk the walk.

For those brands that take action to be involved in our extremely connected digital world, they must do so in an authentic manner, staying true to their brand and demonstrating their purpose. However, this is easier said than done. One mistake in this digital world can lead to consumers “cancelling” the brand, a challenge brands are facing while they navigate communication during the pandemic. As both practitioners and consumers, we have a responsibility to hold brands accountable and reach consumer culture in this unique virtual moment.

“Social media advertising is going to be very tempting for brands now, even more so than before,” Emmanuel said. “We can drive clicks and we can drive purchase right away.”

A challenge now is combining channels, online and offline, and sequencing them for brand campaigns. While technology has proven to be one of the most effective way for brands to reach consumers, the pandemic will eventually end, and “the world will come back to in-person interactions,” Emmanuel said.

When those in-person interactions resume, what should we take away from this remote experience? Well for one, practitioners and brands need to remember to hone in on social skills and the ability to communicate and interact with consumers in person. Technology is allowing brands to maintain interaction with consumers during this “unprecedented [virtual] time,” but eventually we will move back offline and return to a time where nothing can replicate in-person interaction and the meaning consumers find in that.


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As we see and track such an influx of happenings on digital and social media each week, it can almost feel overwhelming to identify clear “trends.” But this week, we can establish a firm trend: more brands are taking an indirect political stand in 2020. Digital and social media platforms and advertisers are working to help control the spread of #FakeNews and conspiracy theories. That’s why we simply want to use this opening statement to recognize the outstanding work that Facebook, Twitter, Etsy and Peloton have taken to ban or crack down on extreme conspiracy theories impacting our future. 👌

In It to Win It: TikTok Joins Twitter and Facebook in Providing Election Guide for Users

Following the launch of its COVID-19 resource hub, TikTok has created an in-app election guide to provide information in response to election-related searches. The guide is also linked to the bottom of videos with content relating to the election and on videos from verified political accounts. While more than one-third of TikTok’s daily user base is under age 14, a large portion of its users are first time voters who spend their time scrolling on the platform. This is an opportunity to engage younger users, so they are more informed when they do come of voting age. Platforms tailored to younger users such as Snapchat have already seen success in these efforts, prompting 400K people to register to vote in 2020 via its in-app pushes. As younger audiences turn to social platforms for their news, it’s important to provide them with key information where they’re already looking.

Sources: TIKTOK, SOCIAL MEDIA TODAY, THE VERGE

Changing Landscape of Brand Marketing and Influencers

The current COVID-19 digital landscape has brands and influencers alike taking a step back to re-evaluate their content approach to that of a more “unfiltered” aesthetic, creating greater relatability to their followers and their respective new routines. With obvious “work from home” limitations, companies are minimizing production efforts when partnering with influencers to create content that is quick and easy to produce – think Zoom/mobile phone videos and interviews. The result is a sharp contrast to previously over-produced and manicured content. Instead, we’re seeing raw cuts of real people. And consumers are loving it. Earlier this year, Eva Longoria worked on a L’Oréal campaign, promoting a $9 hair cream that she shot on her iPhone, from the comfort of her home. Fast forward to today and this same tutorial is a national TV commercial.

Sources: EMARKETER, REFINERY29

Trust in Facebook is Wavering among Users and Legislators

Despite Facebook’s recent efforts to combat extremism on their platform, Facebook recently ranked last in producing a safe online environment among social media platforms, according to an eMarketer survey, as 32% of U.S. Facebook users did not have confidence in the platform to protect their data and privacy. The mistrust expands beyond everyday users to regulators, with Facebook’s own content monitoring program CrowdTangle not covering posts from individuals or private groups and evading any tracking. Additionally, Facebook is further integrating the systems of its platforms (Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger) rather than remaining a set of complementary apps, which may make it more difficult to break up into separate entities in the future. What does this mean for health marketers? It’s unclear, but we do know that any changes in Facebook will greatly affect the digital advertising landscape.

Sources: EMARKETER, NEW YORK TIMES, BLOOMBERG

TikTok Combats Body Shaming Culture

TikTok recently shared new policies around weight loss products advertised on the platform, including banning some ads and adding stronger restrictions on others, particularly around targeting users under age 18. The announcement came ahead of the National Eating Disorder Association’s Weight Stigma Awareness Week, which featured many influencers, models and others across social media posting about their journeys with body positivity. Conversations over body image online have been part of platforms for as long as social media has existed, but TikTok represents a specific concern due to its popularity with teenage users. This showcases the continued need for healthcare marketing to maintain authenticity in marketing and ensure messaging is appropriately and properly targeted.

Sources: SOCIAL MEDIA TODAY, INSIDER, HEALTH

It’s Programmatic Time

The healthcare industry has been increasing ad spend on programmatic buys more than ever before, and we’re seeing a significant shift from direct display buys to programmatic display buys. eMarketer forecasts programmatic buys in 2021 will be 86.5% of all digital display ad spending, coming out to between $79.61B and $94.97B in 2022. Not only is programmatic display spend skyrocketing, but programmatic podcast ad spending is expected to see ad spend triple, from $31.3M in 2020 to $106.5M in 2022, according to eMarketer. Throughout the pandemic, we have seen medical and pharma advertisers, specifically, increase their ad spend. Brands are now turning this spend toward programmatic for better return on investment, in addition to control and transparency over the ads they are serving. It will be important to keep an eye on the growing programmatic trend and shift spend in our own display campaigns when necessary.

Sources: EMARKETER, MEDIARADAR, EMARKETER

RUMBLINGS

As high schools pivot to hybrid models and students spend less in-person time with friends, teens are missing a way to build stronger bonds with their classmates. HAGS is building a social network designed around high school networks, based largely on Gen Z high school socialization. The network began earlier this year as a digital yearbook built onto Snapchat’s Snap Kit SDK, allowing high schoolers torn from the last weeks of their school year by the COVID-19 pandemic to leave messages for friends in a virtual yearbook. While the HAGS team kicked things off with the yearbook format, it’s staying open-minded about what comes next as it plans for the next feature launches inside its app in the coming months.

…AND IN OTHER NEWS

Colleges are hiring their own students as COVID-19 safety influencers. Like, subscribe and wear a mask.

Are you moving more or less these days? Learn how the pandemic is changing our exercise habits.

Unedited beauty: CVS now labels all photoshopped images in its beauty aisle while other stores are still covering up.

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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It’s been a week of companies securing more ties with the world of Big Data – from Oracle and Walmart’s discussions with Quibi and TikTok, to Fortnite teaming up with the music industry with another video launch (this time with BTS ), to retail tech classic HotSchedules coming in the top ten downloaded apps, morphing into a social platform among a unique target audience swapping tips and news. These headlines continue to illustrate the need for ongoing discussions on regulating and monitoring data use to protect both consumers and advertisers – especially as we head into busy and uncharted months ahead. And if you haven’t registered to vote yet, you can do so here.

Exposed to COVID-19? Your iPhone Will Know

A new iPhone setting offers COVID-19 contact tracing via 14-day data collected through Bluetooth. The setting records when two or more phones are within a certain proximity of one another. If one of those individuals reports a positive COVID-19 test, all of those who came near that person will receive notifications. This feature can be turned on or off at any time by switching the toggle “on” under “Exposure Notifications” in settings, and it is completely anonymous. Apple and Google have stated that there has already been success in identifying positive cases. This simple setting may help boost contract tracing and stop the spread of the virus.

Sources: BUSINESS INSIDER, BBC NEWS, CNN

 

If Healthcare is Going Digital, Why Not Our Homes?

Architects are partnering with health tech companies, including Delos, SilverEco and CaseOS, to incorporate wellness technology into smart homes. Sensors and features are being incorporated into toilets, floorboards, mirrors, water filters and more, with the goal of collecting and monitoring data that is uploaded to cloud-based systems. From there, data is made available to doctors and other medical technicians if an issue is detected. For example, if a homeowner has epilepsy, floorboards could be embedded with sensors to detect a severe seizure. What will they think of next?!

Sources: NEW YORK TIMES, CONNECTED

Free-to-Play and Here to Stay

Gaming and streaming are on the rise and do not seem to be slowing down – they have already become a $150 billion industry and are arguably among the fastest growing components of digital. Juniper Research recently reported that the video gaming industry will exceed $200 billion in 2023, and major media outlets including the Washington Post, Bloomberg and Wired have even begun investing in gaming journalism. The popularity of gaming is largely driven by F2P (free-to-play) games, like Fortnite and Call of Duty Mobile. ScreenRant notes that Fortnite has now been played longer than human ancestry has been on Earth. According to TeleAnalysis, 99% of mobile game downloads in the next three years will be F2P. Recognizing this, HypeFactory and other companies are quickly jumping on the influence of popular streamers to help launch new games. HypeFactory’s recent campaign partnered with 40 influencers to amass 6.3 million impressions. With the pandemic accelerating the global video game market, it is vital that we keep our eye on the game and maybe even our hands on the controllers.

Sources: CNN, TELEANALYSIS, SCREENRANT, CISION

Messaging Platforms and Chatbots Unite

Messaging platforms, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, continue to advance in capabilities, further shaping how we communicate. eMarketer found that, in 2020, people are communicating more via messaging apps than traditional social media platforms, indicating a shift in consumer behavior. With most people still at home, it makes sense that messaging platform use is growing at a rapid rate, and as a result, healthcare-specific chatbots are emerging. Furthermore, the global healthcare chatbot market is expected to rise to $542.3 million by 2026. With its large reach of 2 billion and chatbot capabilities, WhatsApp poses an optimal opportunity for advertisers as the shift from social to messaging platforms continues. If we are already activating ads on Facebook, why not catch everyone’s attention 24/7 and activate them on Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp and other messaging platforms.

Sources: DIGITAL JOURNAL, YOURSTORY, THE VERGE, CTPOST

YouTube’s Leap Forward in Contextual Targeting

YouTube continues to make inroads into the TV advertising market by increasing the ways marketers can manage their CTV campaigns, offering increased access to additional inventory and introducing new advanced targeting capabilities. While contextual targeting has been around since the first wave of digital advertising, YouTube is taking it to another level with its new advanced contextual targeting (ACT) capabilities, which allow advertisers to dig deeper into the content that audiences are watching. Instead of broadly targeting topics like sports, travel or wellness, ACT understands sub-interests within a category (e.g., Super Bowl highlights or OTC treatments vs. Rx treatments). This targeting update comes amid growing concerns about audience targeting and data privacy but adds new opportunities to more effectively reach viewers along complex patient journeys as they seek related content.

Sources: Ad Exchanger, Marketing Dive, AdWeek

Making a Brief but Lasting Impact on Gen Z

Gen Z is no stranger to online advertising. As members of the first truly digital native age group, they have spent their lives engaging with brands online. And it shows. Snapchat, in partnership with Kantar, recently released a study demonstrating Gen Z’s ability to recall ads faster than their elders. 55% of Gen Z’ers who watched a skippable ad for less than 2 seconds remembered it correctly compared with only 46% of Millennials and 26% of Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers. This younger generation is quickly becoming an influential power in the spending space, presenting a great opportunity for brands to tap into online.

Sources: SOCIAL MEDIA TODAY, MOBILE MARKETER

Facebook Returns to its Roots: Introducing Campus

Students around the country continue to settle into a socially-distant on-campus college experience, and social media platforms are stepping in to help form lasting connections. Though young adults have recently flocked to newer platforms – TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram – Facebook is now making a play to get back in favor with the demographic it originally intended to reach through its new offering, Facebook Campus. Campus will operate as a separate, enclosed network for users at an individual college or university, and require a .edu address to use, reminiscent of Facebook’s early days. While Facebook was a pioneering platform for college kids when it started, its popularity has waned with younger generations. This new offering could be a way to re-engage with this influential group. If it succeeds, Campus could help provide new insights into the behavior of this demographic during an unprecedented time, before these students go make their mark on the world.

Sources: SOCIAL MEDIA TODAY, TECH CRUNCH

…AND IN OTHER NEWS

Voting gone viral? How TikTok Creators Plan to Influence The 2020 Election.

The Italian Mafia is on TikTok. And it’s an insight into the changing world of organized crime.

General Mills taps into audio marketing toward children. Have kids, or just feel like a big kid yourself? Join Lucky’s Magical Mission on Your Smart Speaker.

The future of everything – health data after Covid-19: More Laws, Less Privacy.

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.

This week, like many, has been filled with disinformation* fueled by social media. To counter that, we are sharing news from our feeds showing good and innovative ideas. Ideas like that from the amazing Yes Theory team, which collaborated with our favorite app Headspace to launch a podcast designed to spread inspirational messages. And this out-of-this-world prototype from Synapse, which uses machine vision as context to help improve audio experiences for apps like Alexa or Google home. But if those don’t pique your interest, there’s always our default: the Apple (virtual) event was yesterday 🍎 😊 !

*Our newsletter content is curated from a variety of industry-leading resources and/or reputable news organization or thought leaders. We link to articles we are referencing.

The Ethical Tight Rope of Back-to-School Advertising

Increased scrutiny is being placed on the predatory methods higher-education institutions are using to attract enrollees amid the COVID-19 pandemic. A report from The Century Foundation, a nonpartisan thinktank and consumer watchdog, found some institutions are aggressively marketing healthcare programs, while others are leveraging questionable safety messaging – such as Park University’s “Stay Safe. Study Online” slogan. Institutions also are using keywords associated with healthcare, even when their programs lack a healthcare connection. According to Bob Brock, president of the Educational Marketing Group, the prioritization of degree programs perceived as in-demand and playing on student concerns over contracting COVID-19 is “a lazy way of advertising that doesn’t do your brand any good.” We agree.

Sources: THE CENTURY FOUNDATION, INSIDE HIGHER ED, PATTERN89 

BOPIS May Be the “Seatbelt” for Shopping

While convenience and cost were defining factors for retail shopping in the past, an unsurprising 71% of people surveyed say safety is a top consideration when choosing where to shop. Buy Online, Purchase in Store (BOPIS) allows for customers to participate in contactless shopping, without having to wait for items to be delivered. The top three categories for BOPIS are restaurants, groceries and pharmacy. As retail stores are declining and e-commerce is projected to grow by nearly 20% in 2020, inclusive of e-pharmacies, many are leveraging BOPIS to continue driving traffic. Walmart’s e-commerce sales were up 97% last quarter, and the company has now expanded its BOPIS offerings with grocery pickups. As stores continue to find ways to navigate this new normal, we’ll see how independent and chain pharmacies apply these new retail trends into the healthcare space.

Sources: FB BUSINESS, TECH CRUNCH, RETAIL WIRE

Envisioning Digital Healthcare 2.0: Technology Integration

As telehealth and digital healthcare technology continue to mature, COVID-19 has become a catalyst for increased innovation in the space. While there already are multitudes of programs for patients to track health habits and set up appointments, and record-keeping tools for healthcare professionals, Lumeon, Teledoc and other companies are seeking to integrate multiple systems or merge platforms for better usage. Lumeon, for example, aims to improve care, reduce costs and deliver better outcomes by using its AI tool to monitor patients’ data from clinical test results or devices and automatically follow up to schedule necessary appointments. This new technology serves as autopilot between multiple systems to coordinate teams, which is helpful for meeting growing demands associated with the pandemic. However, some are concerned that the pivot to support innovation around COVID-19 is outside some companies’ expertise and will not pay off in the long run.

Sources: FIERCE PHARMA, MOBI HEALTH NEWS, STAT

The Comeback Kid: Influencer Marketing

At the start of the pandemic, the financial outlook for many industries was questionable. Influencer marketing was no different – in fact, many even suggested that this would be the end of an era due to the growing skepticism of the tactic. Fast forward to today, branded content is up 21% from March, with total engagements more than doubling to 57.2 million actions. According to Shafeablee’s CEO Tania Yuki, this might signify that the increased use of social is driving the higher engagement rate – or that people are just bored. While we can’t pinpoint the exact reason for the steep uptick in engagements, influencer marketing appears to be more resilient than expected.

Sources: ADAGE

Instagram Wants You to Scroll and Stay a While

Instagram has unveiled another new platform function, this time providing suggested posts to users who have reached the end of their curated newsfeeds. Instagram experts claim users seek out more content after exhausting their feeds, so now, new content can be continuously viewed in the same place. (Hey, TikTok – sound familiar?) Instagram users have not been shy about their negative opinions about the update and have taken to other platforms to share their thoughts. With more platforms and increased competition for user engagement, the question becomes: should companies make assumptions based on user behavior data, or should they directly ask users what they’d like to see next?

Sources: LATER, FAST COMPANY, THE VERGE

What Happens to Fall TV Budgets if Fall Sports are Not the Same?

While the NBA, MLB and NHL all relaunched their seasons recently, with mixed ratings results, there is massive uncertainty about the state of the NFL and college football. College football captures over $1.5 billion in TV ad spend and, as the playing status of each conference is in flux, 38% of advertisers are considering pulling funding completely without reallocating their budgets. Those that are reallocating are focusing on digital formats, which allow flexibility and support e-commerce or different, creative ways to reach fans on social media.

Sources: EMARKETER, REUTERS

…AND IN OTHER NEWS

Esports is the new frontier for competitive entertainment. Early-adapter Amazon is quick to capitalize with a new HCBU Esports League.

Love it or hate it? Why Netflix built its first global brand campaign around one of the most hated parts of its UX.

There’s always more that can be done. So Instagram is providing expanded efforts to address systemic bias within its systems.

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’re into our third refreshed Scoop and would love to hear how we’re doing.

You know what’s catching our eye lately (besides the fact that AI is now writing blog posts that go viral 🤯)? We continue to see Facebook struggle as a social network leader, as it juggles managing millions of eyeballs seeing mountains of health misinformation with trying to help drive systemic changes, per its announcement to help support Black-owned businesses, Black creators and nonprofits serving the Black community. And for the most imitated platform of late, TikTok, we continue to see companies vying to buy it. What an exciting time to be in digital marketing!

Can Social Media Really Help Treat Mental Health?

The uptick of mental health conversations among Gen Zers has created an untraditional space for experts to provide support. With 90% of Snapchat users between 13 and 34 years old, Headspace is attempting to reach this previously untapped doomscrolling audience with the addition of Headspace Minis. Users can participate in group meditations and send encouraging messages to positively boost friends in need. Despite the positivity and increased employer partnerships, experts are worried that users are relying too heavily on the app’s offerings in lieu of other support for serious mental health conditions. Some experts see this as a “both-and” problem – ensuring specialized access for those in need and meeting demand.

Sources: FORBES, THE VERGE, STAT NEWS

…And with Mental Health Apps Comes Privacy Concerns

The increased demand for and use of mental health apps yield questions around user privacy and the utilization of health data. Talkspace, an app offering programs tailored specifically to managing COVID-19 stress and anxiety, has been flagged for its conflict between the core values of professional therapy, including strict confidentiality and patient welfare, and its startup mentality/practices. Private user-therapist conversations are being mined for research and analyses to improve the app and advance new customer targeting. Many users may be unaware that legislation around privacy for these types of apps has not yet caught up to privacy rules in hospitals, so until privacy laws are passed, consumers are left to educate themselves on how their data is collected and make their own decisions about using these tools.

Sources: NY TIMES, STAT NEWS

B2B Ad Spend Is Growing – Where Is It Being Spent?

Since we reported in our last scoop on a 56% year-over-year uptick in medical and pharma ad spend, specifics of what’s driving the accelerated growth are continuing to emerge. While telemedicine and PPE have proven to be solid drivers, exclusive eMarketer research indicates B2B marketers are also making big contributions, citing a 22.6% year-over-year increase in B2B digital ad spend and specifically calling out the healthcare industry as a leading category. Where are the dollars going? Marketers say budget allocated for in-person events and traditional B2B tactics are flowing into search, LinkedIn, publisher partnerships and podcasts.

Sources: THE SCOOP, THE DRUM

Let’s Get Political: Video Advertising Across the Political Aisles

Advertising for primary elections and the upcoming general election has provided a lifesaver for some media companies. Forecasters expect between $7 billion and $15 billion in additional spending this fall and, given the TV production challenges, we expect an increase in advertising competition and costs in September. We also expect to see an increased investment in Connected TV platforms to target hard-to-reach voters. Political campaigns are faced with similar limitations as healthcare companies. Both rely heavily on TV ads and face additional limitations around targeting and content due to the nature of the content, requiring consistent innovation versus that of “mainstream” brands.

Sources: DIGIDAY, AD WEEK

Gen Z Is Positive that Social Media Can Be a Good Influencer

Market research has often shown that younger consumers prefer to purchase products from brands that align with their values. A recent study revealed social media works the same way. 75% percent of Gen Zers reported TikTok helped them learn more about social justice, politics and activism, with 94% saying they believe TikTok has generated meaningful action for various social movements. Several brands have recently used TikTok for social movement-inspired campaigns that have been positively received, including Chipotle’s Pride Month campaign. TikTok’s ability to hold interest and spread information among younger audiences is unparalleled, and this study shows the power the app can have to affect users’ actions, when taken with the right tone and focused on their concerns.

Sources: MOBILE MARKETER, MOBILE MARKETER, REACH3 INSIGHTS, CBS NEWS

15-Second Multi-Clip Videos and Dance Trends Replicated: TikTok Should Feel Flattered!

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, a concept taken to heart in the social media industry (hello, Instagram Stories/Snapchat, Zoom/Facebook Room and Pinterest/Facebook Hobbi). TikTok is the latest to be replicated, with the launch of Instagram’s Reels and now Snapchat using TikTok influencers for dance challenges featuring AR Lenses. Copycats are nothing new, and it remains to be seen which platform users will ultimately take hold of, based on which has the best user experience and which fosters the deepest, most loyal influencer relationships.

Sources: VOX, THE WASHINGTON POST, SOCIAL MEDIA TODAY

…AND IN OTHER NEWS:

Your old radiator is a pandemic-fighting weapon. How coronavirus revived the role design plays in fighting diseases.

Educational slideshows are the new sunset pics on Instagram. How “PowerPoint activism” took over social media.

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.

So much has happened in a short amount of time. There has been an abundance of headline news on our favorite platform TikTok, spanning everything from banning, buying, journalism and race. Last week also saw app Triller rise to the top of the charts. On the topic of data and privacy, Google announced the “chrome cookie” is finally being phased out and will focus on trust tokens. With all of that going on, do you know what impressed us most? Pharma’s reputation has soared during COVID-19, proving relevance remains a key strategy for helping pharma align with stakeholder expectations.

Winners & Losers: Q2 Earnings Highlights

Living through a quarter inclusive of a pandemic and civil unrest, it would be safe to assume that advertising spend would be down on all platforms. But based on recent earnings calls, the results were mixed: Twitter was down, Facebook was up and Google was in the middle. Twitter ad revenue dropped 23% year-over-year. On the flipside, Facebook saw a 10% ad revenue increase. Even so, it’s worth noting that advertising on the platform is still relatively inexpensive, which can be directly attributed to the economic impact of the pandemic. And on Google, there was a 10% decline in Search and Network year-over-year, whereas YouTube was up 6% year-over-year, highlighting one constant throughout 2020 so far: when it comes to advertising, video reigns supreme.

Sources: FACEBOOK, ALPHABET, TWITTER

Up, Up & Up: Pharma is Spending

Medical and pharma ad spending is up: there was a 56% increase in spend year-over-year in May alone. Prescription drug brands are among the largest drivers, with budgets 123% higher than typical spending levels, highlighting telemedicine and PPE. Biotech spend surged with ads targeting professionals with messaging focused on COVID-19 antibodies and testing.

Sources: FIERCE PHARMA, MEDIARADAR

Is the Era of Network TV Heading Off a Cliff?

COVID-19 has accelerated the changing landscape of TV. New streaming platforms quickly emerged (we see you HBO Max, Peacock and Quibi!), and streaming viewership is at an all-time high. As the pandemic continues to put production on hold, many broadcast networks are forced to adjust their fall programming while streaming competitors such as Netflix are seamlessly continuing to parse out their catalogue of shows lined up for release into 2021. Despite the uptick in streaming, newer platforms have premiered with lackluster results. With limited video inventory across mainstream networks and ad-free streaming sites, we’re eager to see the evolution of traditional video advertising on social media platforms and emerging channels.

Sources: AXIOS, THE RINGER, BLOOMBERG, AD WEEK

Social Platforms Seek Treatment for Misinformation

Social platforms have struggled with how to address COVID-19 misinformation, even as understanding of the virus grows around the globe. Recently, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have taken firmer stances against accounts sharing information on cures proven inaccurate, going as far as banning accounts and adding a “false information” caption on content, respectively. While official policies have not been implemented around COVID-19 misinformation yet, it’s clear that social platforms are working to maintain public confidence amid myriad false claims as the pandemic continues.

Sources: SOCIAL MEDIA TODAY, WASHINGTON POST, BUSINESS INSIDER

Is COVID-19 Driving Micro-influencer Engagement?

The influencer marketing industry is set to reach up to $15 billion by 2022. But as audiences turn more attention to social media, niche or micro-influencers are seeing higher engagement than their macro-influencer counterparts, with 22.2 times more “buying conversations.” The demand for these niche influencers is symbolic of the types of content that audiences want today. Sources: FORBES, BUSINESS INSIDER, BUSINESS 2 COMMUNITY, WWD

RUMBLINGS

Raiinmaker, a new influencer marketing platform that utilizes blockchain technology to provide traceable, secure data transactions, recently rolled out its beta release. As one of the first companies in the industry using this technology, Raiinmaker believes that it will reduce the cost per influencer for brands, better measure impact of campaigns and create a better experience for influencers by rewarding them fractionally based on their engagement and performance.

…AND IN OTHER NEWS

Frequent handwashing and an abundance of anti-bacterial wipes aren’t only for us earthlings. How NASA spent the last 7 years protecting Mars from humans.

Want to change the world? This mobile game lets you build ecosystems that will help solve real-world ecological problems.

 

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.

 

After a critical pause, or as a close colleague referred to it back in March as “The Great Pause” a la Cuomo, we are back as The Scoop.

During these last several months, we as people and team members have evolved so much personally and professionally, it only made sense to realign our newsletter. So, without further ado in these accelerated times, we’re here to bring you a more personable and valuable piece of content to meet your MarCom needs. And in the spirit of authenticity, transparency and engagement, feel free to reach out with suggestions, comments or praise!

Storytelling in the Time of COVID-19

Since the height of COVID-19, nine in 10 marketers have reported adjusting their creative messaging. Sharethrough Research Labs analyzed 70,000 creatives within 3,000 campaigns to provide clarity on how brands are better aligning messaging with their audiences – and the measurement data highlights how they’re doing it. Empathetic headlines, unedited real-life stories, corporate social responsibility promotion, and content featuring home-oriented products led to higher click-through rates and video views. Have you made the shift, too?

Sources: DIGIDAY, MARKETING CHARTS, WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM

Ready or Not, Influencers are Unionizing

Content creators are looking for ways to standardize brand deals to ensure fairness across the board. This started among influencers within the fashion industry (and it’s only a matter of time before this consumer category trend trickles down to healthcare) through the creation of unions that foster transparency around wages and provide added protections via standardized guidelines. By forming unions, influencers hope to close the wage gap and increase representation for diverse groups, who are often underpaid.

Source: VOGUE

 “Unpacking” Mental Health on Social Media

Regardless of whether backpacks will be worn to schools or kitchens this fall, back-to-school staple JanSport is finding relevance with Gen Z thanks to its #LightenTheLoad campaign, intended to help this generation tackle mental health challenges. A YouTube testimonial video series and Instagram Live videos feature mental health experts discussing isolation, compassion fatigue, uncertainty and family. Twitter and Instagram are also making strides to prioritize mental health: Twitter added a new feature in its help center specifically for reporting tweets mentioning self-harm. Instagram announced a new Guides feature focused on wellness content, including tips for managing anxiety and grief.

Sources: PRESS RELEASE, ADWEEK, MOBILE MARKETER, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM 

Platform Usage Soars in an Effort to Keep Off the “Quarantine 15”

As COVID-19 shut down gyms and group fitness classes nationwide, audiences are turning their attention to social media to stay in shape. Popular programs and fitness instructors/influencers are livestreaming classes and sharing workouts via YouTube, Instagram Live, IGTV and TikTok (with TikTok-ers dubbing this new content “FitTok”). The virtualization of fitness is reaching users where they already “live” on social and has contributed to the increased usage of Instagram’s Live content: a 70% increase in use of the feature was seen in April alone.

Sources: BUSINESS INSIDER, FORBES, ION, SOCIAL MEDIAL TODAY  

TikTok is Taking Over and We’re Just as Shocked as You Are

TikTok continues to prove it’s not a flash in the pan as its explosive growth continues. Reaching 2 billion downloads in the last quarter, it’s the most downloaded app of 2020, and it has surpassed Reddit, Twitter and Snapchat’s  monthly active users at 800 million. COVID-19 lockdowns may have helped spur this growth, as individuals of all ages stuck at home turn to the app for entertainment and connection through various “stay at home” dance challenges and other meme videos. In the United States, kids’ average TikTok usage time hit 95 minutes/day during stay-at-home orders.

Sources: CNBC, THE VERGE

Dancing for a Better Tomorrow: How Alex’s Lemonade Stand Found the Spotlight on TikTok

Do you feel better when you’re dancing? The unanimous answer from TikTok users is “yes.” Since early July, brand and platform influencer participation in the #DanceWithALSF challenge has swept the platform, helping the campaign garner 97M+ hashtag uses (transitioning over to Twitter, too!) and raising $40,000 in just one week. The #DancewithALSF trend is one of the first healthcare awareness campaigns to gain widespread traction with Gen Z on TikTok.

Sources: ALEX’S LEMONADE STAND, TIKTOK

RUMBLINGS

A new app called Repixel can expand your retargeting reach without significantly expanding costs, while also allowing brands to send social ads to individuals who recently visited another brand’s website. Repixel will create a marketplace of businesses that are willing to partner with brands that are complementary, but not competitive.

…AND IN OTHER NEWS

Measuring passion and enthusiasm! What Counts as a Streaming Hit? A Start-Up May Have Answers

Maybe the future is already here? From floating guts to ‘sticky’ blood – here’s how to do surgery in space 

 

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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Ask the average pharma marketer about their competitors on social and they’ll name a handful of pharmaceutical companies in the same therapeutic area. In reality, they’re also competing with savvy consumer marketers armed with flashy creative determined to reach the same sets of eyeballs.

Therefore, being “pharma good” on social is just not good enough.

Simply put, your social creative and the strategy behind delivering it needs to keep pace with other industries or you risk being left behind.

The good news is that social, if implemented properly, will drive true business impact for health marketers. Read on for creative and strategic tips to up-level your social media game.

Develop Creative That Resonates

All things being equal, compelling, eye-catching creative is still the most important tool in the social marketer’s toolkit.

Regulatory requirements do handicap pharma ads right out of the gate, but that’s no excuse to put out anything other than great work. Aim to deliver “thumb-stopping” creative that resonates with your target audience and the rest will sort itself out.

Here is your creative checklist:

  • Data is the great differentiator. Do the homework to learn about your audience and make sure those learnings are reflected in your creative. Use social listening to understand your audience, their attitudes and the language they use to discuss their condition. It’s a whole lot smarter than guessing.
  • Be as nimble as your regulatory and legal teams will allow. Testing makes perfect but prioritize tests that matter. Yes, you can test different color backgrounds but is that the most important creative learning you are after?
  • Best practices are best practices for a reason – they work! Here are a few:
    1. Use attention-grabbing images/video to stop users in their tracks. Twitter internal data reports that Tweets with video attracted 10x more engagements than those without. On LinkedIn, posts with photos or video have a 38% higher engagement rate. Creative is the first and potentially only element of your ad that users will see as they scroll – make it count!
    2. Front load videos with a compelling “hook.” It takes 5 seconds to consume content on desktop and 1.7 seconds to consume content on mobile. We are serious when we say users scroll fast. A video’s opening frames must convince your audience to keep watching. Make sure your message is quickly understandable and that your branding appears early and often.
    3. Design for sound off. According to Twitter, only 4% of target audiences will click to engage sound. Use text overlays and captioning to move your video storytelling along as the majority of views occur without sound.
    4. Think mobile. Think vertical. 57% of LinkedIn users, 80% of Twitter users and 90% of Facebook users access the platform from their mobile device. Assume that just about all of your social impressions will come on phones which, you might notice, we tend to hold vertically (94% of the time).

Paid Strategy for The Win

Too often pharma marketers think of paid social as a button to be pressed or a box to be checked after creative is (finally) approved. But the days of simply “boosting” your content are over, or they should be.

For the best chance of success, it’s essential that targeting and paid strategy be in place before creative is developed and that all these aspects are tightly aligned.

A lot goes into developing an impactful strategy but don’t be intimidated by the jargon.

Here is your strategic cheat sheet:

  • Campaign objectives determine results. Choose wisely. Be sure to select an objective that supports your true business goal. Social can be a powerful driver of reach and awareness but can also efficiently net lower funnel results like conversions and leads. What is it that is going to move the needle for your stakeholders?
  • Look beyond “‘interest” targeting alone. Yes Facebook, Twitter, et al. offer robust targeting built right into their platforms, and yes it can be an uphill battle to gain approval to use first-party (e.g., CRM lists) or third-party (OTC purchasers) data, but it’s well worth the effort. In particular, we advocate for building lookalikes off of first-party lists to use your current customers to find more.
  • Facebook is more than just Facebook. Pharma marketers conceptually understand that Instagram is a Facebook-owned property, but few take advantage of Facebook’s mixed placement capability to seamlessly distribute impressions between Facebook and Instagram (not to mention Messenger, Audience Network, etc.) The approach can add scale and efficiency to your campaigns and streamlines asset creation.
  • Aim for sustained reach and lasting impact. Many pharma companies dip in and out of paid social but an “always on” approach is needed to drive lasting awareness.

The life sciences vertical is known for its cutting-edge thinking and innovation and this should extend to how it is marketed. There is no reason why pharma needs to be behind the pack in its use of paid social.

With the proper collaboration between agency, client and regulatory, paid social success is within reach.

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References

1. Business Twitter Blog
2. LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Blog
3. Omnicore Agency
4. wearesocial.com

Check out the latest social updates in this week’s Social Scoop, including new Facebook insights for using messaging as a tool for business use, a look into Generation Z’s unique online behavior, common social mistakes you may be making and how to fix them, and how influencer marketing is on track to become a $15B market.

Facebook Shares Insights for Messaging as a Business Tool

With more than 20 billion Facebook messages sent between consumers and businesses each month, it’s easy to see why brands are turning to messaging as an important tool to connect with customers. According to Facebook, 71% of customers expect businesses to communicate with them in real time, with 64% of people saying they prefer to message instead of calling a business. The rise in popularity for messaging provides an opportunity for companies to deliver a convenient, real-time messaging experience.

What this means for brands: Messaging is an intuitive way for healthcare companies to interact with their customer base in real time. The rising popularity of Messenger as a business communications tool means brands can facilitate personalized communication on a large scale. Enabling chatbots allows companies to converse with many customers at the same time, allowing for an easier customer experience.

Additional resources: Social Media Today, Facebook, Facebook IQ

(via Facebook)

Video Content Trends of Generation Z

The next generation of purchasers is here – known as Generation Z. Just as generations before, these young adults, who make up 40% of consumers, have their own unique purchasing habits and media consumption behaviors. YouTube, Snapchat and TikTok are all popular platforms for these consumers and important for brands to understand when creating marketing strategies. In fact, 85% of teens use YouTube, making it the most popular platform among Gen Z. Snapchat reported a 40% increase in total daily time spent watching its Discover content, while TikTok became the most downloaded app in 2019. Both apps report their largest audiences are between 16 and 24.

What this means for brands: This shift in video consumption from Generation Z is a key insight that healthcare brands should consider when evolving their ads to connect with younger consumers. Gen Z craves authentic, meaningful video content. Brands should consider tailoring their marketing strategies to include video on popular platforms to reach a new generation of young adults.

Additional resources: Social Media Today, Google, Oberlo, Forbes, Fast Company

(via Forbes)

Common Social Media Mistakes

Social media mistakes can happen to even the most seasoned marketers and brands. Recognizing the common flubs and knowing how to fix them is critical in reducing the likelihood of errors occurring. Some of the most common slipups include being overly promotional, not responding to comments or complaints, and not defining clear social media objectives. Luckily for brands, there is an easy fix to address these mistakes.

  1. Follow the 80/20 rule of posting 80% non-promotional content and reserve 20% for calls-to-action and promotion.
  2. Respond to comments in a timely manner, always keeping a positive tone.
  3. Create specific goals and outcomes for your social media presence, outlining what you would like to achieve. Use the SMART goal method for your social media strategy.

What this means for brands: For healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, focusing on how to fix common mistakes and understanding how to avoid them can help to build better relationships with audiences. Consider incorporating the 80/20 rule or SMART goals into your social media approach to remain complaint and transparent on key topics.

Additional resources: Medium, Social Media Today, Huffington Post

(via Medium)

Influencer Marketing Set to Become a $15 Billion Market

Influencer marketing is a booming market and is estimated to become a $15 billion dollar one by 2022. With the rise in popularity of influencers, the advertising landscape has drastically changed in recent years. According to Sprout Social, 74% of users make purchase decisions based on content they saw on social media. Consumers say they are more likely to look to people they know rather than celebrities to recommend products or services. Brands also report seeing higher ROI for influencer content.

What this means for brands: Consider adding influencers to your marketing strategy in 2020. Enlisting influencers is an effective option for creating authentic, informative content for your brand. Examples of healthcare and pharmaceutical brands that have seen success adding influencers to their campaign strategies include Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc.’s Take Cholesterol to Heart and Mucinex’s #TooSickToBeSick activations.

Additional resources: Yahoo, Business Insider, X-Cart, Social Media Week

(via X-Cart)

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The latest social updates? IGTV to welcome ads, Instagram rolls out new follower categories, Facebook develops new business capabilities on Messenger, and Reddit makes its way to broadcast.

 

IGTV To Welcome Ads

  • Instagram recently announced that it will soon enable ad capabilities within IGTV. This update will provide content creators and brands the ability to earn compensation by sharing ads throughout their long-form content. It is believed that content creators will earn a specific percentage of revenue through “Ad Breaks.” A similar revenue approach for content creators is used across Facebook Watch and YouTube. By monetizing IGTV, Instagram’s hope is that IGTV will be able to better compete with those other platforms. 
  • What this means for brands: This new feature will make influencers and brands more inclined to leverage IGTV. Currently, of Instagram’s 1 billion+ users, only an estimated 7 million have installed the IGTV app. In addition, the lack of monetization capabilities is believed to have contributed to the absence of stellar content across the platform. With monetization involved, content creators and brands are likely to generate content specifically for IGTV, bringing their large audiences with them. Healthcare brands will need to stay apprised of capabilities and limitations around monetization to assess possible impacts to their IGTV strategies – both for owned and influencer content.

 Additional Resources: Social Media Today, Ad Week, TechCrunch

(via TechCrunch)

Instagram Enables New Insights on Engagement

  • Instagram has rolled out new categories within the ‘Following’ tab. With this update, users are now able to see which accounts they “Least Interact With” and those that are “Most Shown” within their feed. The “Least Interact With” category displays the accounts that a user may be inclined to unfollow or mute based on lack of engagement with their content. The “Most Shown” category gives the user insight into their preferred accounts and the type of content they engage with most frequently.
  • What this means for brands: As this change is implemented, Instagram users will likely become more selective with who they follow. Recent trends have shown that platforms such as Instagram have started encouraging users to curate their feeds to maximize engagement. Brands will now be able to pinpoint fans who are no longer engaged with their content and focus on the ones who are. By focusing on engagement, brands will be able to monitor insights from their followers and update content strategies on an ongoing basis. Healthcare brands may leverage these new features to continually evolve their Instagram follower strategies.

Additional Resources: Social Media Today, Business Insider, Ad Week

(via Social Media Today)

Facebook Extends New Messenger Capabilities for Businesses

  • Facebook has launched the beta version of a ‘one-time notification’ for businesses on Messenger. Prior to this update, businesses had 24 hours to respond to a message initiated by a user and were allotted one additional message outside of the 24-hour window. With this update, businesses on Facebook will be allowed to send automated follow-up messages and allow users to opt-in to receive further updates based on their initial inquiry. The new API includes restrictive parameters to ensure brands do not bombard or spam users.
  • What this means for brands: This update allows brands to stay engaged with users through Messenger on an ongoing basis. As a result, users will no longer need to reach out to a brand for a second or third time to receive further information. This change will reduce the effort needed on the user’s side to stay up-to-date on a particular topic or to resolve an issue. If fully implemented, brands can use this as an opportunity to build relationships with users over time. As healthcare brands determine opportunities around this feature, they will want to be particularly mindful of legal and regulatory impacts.

 Additional Resources: Social Media Today, Facebook for Developers, Ad Week

(via Social Media Today)

Reddit Partners with Tagboard

  • Reddit has partnered with Tagboard to enable a partnership with TV broadcasters across the platform. In addition to serving as a hub for users to exchange views across a wide range of topics, Reddit has recently become a popular platform for news to break and trending stories to be shared. This new partnership allows broadcasters to use Reddit content in their programs, helping media companies streamline their approach. Reddit has already partnered with broadcasters, including the NFL Network and local news networks, to provide direct updates sourced from Reddit threads.
  • What this means for brands: Reddit has more than 430 million monthly active users and prides itself on strong user engagement. Brands may feel inclined to use this partnership as a way to make strategic ad and media placements. Because this partnership will make it easier for Reddit content to make its way into broadcast, it is important for brands to be strategic with their content across the platform.

Additional Resources: Social Media Today, TechCrunch, Reddit Blog

(via TechCrunch)


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This week’s Social Scoop highlights recent updates on Instagram and Twitter, including new features that have become popular on other social media sites. Read more to learn about how these updates can help you streamline community management.

DM’s on Desktop

While most brands focus on the mobile user experience, Instagram is expanding its capabilities to the desktop by testing direct messages (DM) in its desktop version. On January 14, Instagram launched DM’s to a small percentage of people and plans to expand to all accounts soon. Having access to Instagram DM’s via desktop will be helpful for community management processes, especially for reporting adverse events and easily reviewing and responding on a desktop view.

(via Instagram)

Source: Social Media Today, The Verge, Forbes

Repost Story Mentions with Ease

Instagram is adding a new feature to Stories that makes it easier to find and share Stories that mention a user’s profile. This will be available under “Instagram Stories Create” mode, where users can swipe through the carousel of filters on the bottom of the screen until they find the “@” symbol, which populates any live Stories that mention their profile. For profiles that receive a high volume of DMs, Story mentions may get lost in a user’s inbox. This feature will allow community managers to quickly find and engage with Stories featuring user-generated content, customer reviews or during live events (e.g., employees attending an event or a medical meeting).

(via Instagram)

Source: Digital Information World, Social Media Today, @MattNavarra on Twitter

IGTV Button Removed from Instagram Banner

Instagram has removed the IGTV button that was previously found at the top right corner of the app because no one was clicking it. The longer-form video accessory on Instagram has experienced slow uptake because of the success of Tik Tok and because users are unwilling to click away from their Instagram feed to watch/engage with longer-form videos. IGTV is not going away and users will still be able to post content and share longer-form videos on Instagram. Tik Tok has IGTV beat for downloads by nearly 80%, with content creators finding success on this new viral platform, suggesting that it’s an ideal place for content creators.

(via The Verge)

Sources: CNN , The Next Web, Gazette Review

Twitter Direct Messages to Become More Animated

Have you ever stared at a DM trying to think of the perfect response when a simple emoji would do? Twitter recognizes this dilemma and is taking yet another trick from Instagram’s playbook by incorporating emoji reactions in DM’s. A user can tap the small heart and plus icon on the right of each DM or double tap the message on mobile to access the emoji reaction menu. This will be a useful tool for community managers who want to casually acknowledge a DM.

(via 9 to 5 Mac)

Sources: The Verge, Search Engine Journal, Tech Crunch


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The start of a new year brings new changes on the social media front! The importance of privacy and truth take center stage as social platforms dive into the new decade. Facebook has taken steps to update its privacy checkup tool and is cracking down on manipulated media. Twitter is extending its promoted trend spotlight option, and privacy concerns around TikTok continue to swirl. Read on for additional information.

Facebook Updates Privacy Checkup Tool

  • When Facebook launched Privacy Checkup in 2014, it included only three areas – who could see your posts, what information was on your profile, and third-party apps. Now, the updated Privacy Checkup includes eight areas split into four sections – who can see what you share, how to keep your account secure, how people can find you, and your data settings. The purpose of Privacy Checkup is not to limit the data collected from your profile, but rather to serve as an overview of the information you’re sharing. However, users can access wider privacy shortcuts such as Ad Preferences in the same drop-down menu as Privacy Checkup.
  • What it means for brands: This update may prompt users to take a second look at their profiles and re-evaluate the content they’re openly sharing. Updates made in the data settings section may limit access to certain information that brands use for key audience targeting. This update may also prompt an additional conversation surrounding privacy settings when it comes to targeted ads. Healthcare brands will need to have a clear understanding of their audiences in order to develop relevant messaging, and all brands should be prepared to address transparency around their targeting practices.

Additional Resources: Wired, Social Media Today

(via Facebook.com)

Facebook Cracks Down on Manipulated Media

  • Facebook is getting real about deep fakes – artificially manipulated videos that distort reality, typically faces. According to the platform, millions of photos and videos are shared each day. While the majority are truthful, some images/videos are created specifically to mislead the public. To combat this, Facebook has dedicated its efforts toward investigating AI-generated content and fake accounts, partnering with academic, government and industry experts to expose the creators of these misleading efforts. Facebook also announced it will remove the manipulated media if it has been edited beyond adjustments for clarity or quality or is a product of AI and machine learning that merges, superimposes or replaces content onto a video. Facebook’s announcement comes at the same time that Snapchat and TikTok announced they are working on new deep fake type features.
  • What it means for brands: A strong creative asset could be the difference between a user scrolling past your post or not. But to what extent are some willing to go to ensure their message is heard? With this update, the line has been clearly drawn. Brands connect with audiences through engaging creative that clearly tells a story, not by manipulating the truth. For healthcare brands, a continued focus on truthful storytelling is key, letting the message speak for itself. A patient testimonial or stand-out graphic can be effective on its own, without additional enhancing. While using new technology and techniques can lead to innovative offerings, it is important to use them in a way that best represents the brand.

Additional Resources: Social Media Today, Tech Crunch

(via TechCrunch)

Twitter Extends Promoted Trend Spotlight Option

  • Twitter announced it will officially launch its Promoted Trend Spotlight ad option in 15 markets worldwide after testing it in select countries since July 2018. Ads in the Promoted Trend Spotlight area appear at the top of the Explore page for the first two visits per person, per day. After the first two visits, the ad moves to the standard Promoted Trend placement, and organic content resumes its spot at the top of the page. The placement supports static images as well as six-second GIFs and videos.
  • What it means for brands: It’s been reported that people spend 26% more time looking at the Promoted Trend Spotlight section compared to the standard Promoted Trend area. The prolonged engagement time led to a 113% increase in ad recall and 18% higher brand consideration. This is great news for new brands looking to make a splash on Twitter, or established brands wishing to share an important message with audiences. For healthcare brands, this is a great opportunity to stand out from the conversation on a key awareness day or to introduce a new campaign. The Explore page is a popular destination for Twitter users, so running an ad in this highly coveted placement increases the likelihood that audiences will connect with your brand and take the desired action of your message.

 Additional Resources: Marketing Land, Social Media Today

(via Social Media Today)

U.S. Military Bans Members from TikTok

  • The U.S. Department of Defense recently instructed all military personnel to remove TikTok from government-issued devices. The popular app, which has been downloaded more than 1.5 billion times worldwide, belongs to Chinese parent company ByteDance. Under China’s cybersecurity laws, all Chinese-owned companies must comply with any and all requests for user data. While TikTok has reported that it does not store American data in China, concerns still exist, particularly because the app is able to identify users’ locations.
  • What this means for brands: The jury is still out on whether TikTok will become the next big advertising platform. While some brands have already capitalized on its popularity, branded messaging on the platform is still in early stages. Concerns surrounding data and privacy standards may make other brands hesitant to jump on board. For healthcare companies, this could be an additional point to consider when deciding if the platform is the right fit for long-term social media goals.

Additional Resources: New York Times, Slate

(via Slate)


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Everyone aims to put their best foot forward in the new year as social platforms work to improve user experience and safety across the board. Instagram is expanding efforts to fight misinformation, joining Facebook in the fight against discriminatory targeting. Twitter is working to strengthen its Trust and Safety Council, and TikTok is launching safety seminars.

Instagram Expands Anti-Misinformation Efforts

  • The fight against “fake news” is familiar to most in the digital world, and Instagram recently announced that it will strengthen its efforts in this fight by expanding its investigation into misinformation. In May 2019, Instagram began employing third-party fact-checkers to identify, review and label false information in the U.S. to help combat its spread. When false or partly false information is identified by users and/or Instagram’s automated technology, it is labeled as such and removed from the Explore and hashtag pages. Now, Instagram’s latest expansion allows third-party fact-checkers around the world to review content and label it “false Information” globally. In addition, if content is labeled as false or partly false on Facebook, identical content on Instagram automatically will be deemed the same.
  • What this means for brands: While Instagram’s efforts to increase trust in its platform may seem like a positive, brands should remain aware of the type of content that may be deemed wholly or partially false. Pharma brands, in particular, should take extra care when making claims, using claim-like language, or using images that could be deemed misleading to avoid triggering a misinformation label.

Additional Resources: TechCrunch, Social Media Today

(via Instagram)

Facebook Adds Additional Measures to Combat Discriminatory Targeting

  • Facebook is expanding on previous updates to enforce targeting restrictions on potentially biased or discriminatory ads. The platform’s previous update outlined Special Ad Categories for which advertisers are prohibited from targeting based on “age, gender, ZIP code, multicultural affinity or any detailed options describing or appearing to relate to protected characteristics.” These ads are also shown in the relevant Page’s Ads Library to increase transparency for users. With the latest update, the ad targeting restrictions for the Special Ad Category of housing and employment opportunities will now apply to all Facebook-owned ad buying platforms, including Instagram.
  • What this means for brands: This increase in transparency across Facebook-owned ad platforms will primarily affect brands running housing and/or employment opportunity ads. Under Facebook’s stricter targeting rules, advertisers must take extra care to ensure that targeting for all ads complies with these updated restrictions. Pharma advertisers that run employee recruitment campaigns on Facebook or Instagram must find ways to reach qualified candidates without violating these updated guidelines. For example, they might target users based on qualifications, key interests and broader location targeting.

Additional Resources: Social Media Today

(via Social Media Today)

Twitter Builds Upon Trust and Safety Council

  • In a recent blog post, Twitter announced that it is taking steps to strengthen its Trust and Safety Council, which was established in 2016 with 40 organizations. The Council helps Twitter develop the rules, regulations and guidelines that will ensure it remains a platform for safe and productive conversation. In 2020, Twitter will add organizations that specialize in the following areas to address emerging trends and risks to ensure the safety of its users:
    • Safety and online harassment
    • Human and digital rights
    • Child sexual exploitation
    • Suicide prevention and mental health

By including these difficult topics, Twitter hopes to help ensure the safety of its users by adapting to address emerging trends and risks.

  • What this means for brands: As the Council continues to issue new and updated guidance for posting and engaging on Twitter, brands should ensure that all content aligns with current guidance. Healthcare brands specializing in mental health, in particular, should be particularly mindful of content and targeting that may be impacted by the addition of new organizations to the Council.

Additional Resources: Social Media Today

(via Twitter)

TikTok Looks to Highlight Younger User Safety

  • TikTok announced in a recent blog post that it will partner with The Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) on a series of internet safety seminars in early 2020. The seminars will provide tips for parents, including how to establish ground rules for the safe use of connected devices, how to start conversations with your teen about responsible internet use, and how to be a good digital role model. The seminars will also cover the existing controls, security and privacy measures currently in place via “TikTok for Younger Users,” a limited app experience available to those age 13 or younger. TikTok’s focus on protections for younger users follows similar updates in the industry, such as the addition of age-gating on Instagram.
  • What this means for brands: This announcement highlights TikTok’s existing security measures and best practices, underscoring the platform’s professed commitment to providing the best possible environment for safe, compliant ad delivery. For pharma brands that enforce additional age regulations, TikTok’s commitment to stricter rules for its youngest users should instill a sense of confidence that ads will be shown to only the intended and appropriate audience.

(via TikTok)


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Social platforms are continuing to evaluate relationships with their users and advertisers. In this week’s Social Scoop, Reddit shares its 2019 end-of-the-year statistics and trends; Instagram explains how it has implemented updates to support the safety of underage users; YouTube outlines how its new modifications could help reduce the spread of misinformation; and Twitter announces the expansion of its Brand Survey tool, which is designed to show brands how their ads are resonating with intended audiences.

Reddit Releases 2019 Performance Statistics and Trends

Reddit reported that, as of October 2019, it had reached 430 million monthly active users for 2019, a 30% jump from 2018. With that increase, Reddit now reports more monthly active users than Twitter, which has 330 million monthly active users, and Pinterest, which reports 322 million monthly active users. Reddit continues to experience increased growth in both usage and engagement. In 2019, Reddit reached over 199 million posts and 1.7 billion comments. Advertising opportunities are becoming increasingly popular on Reddit as it continues to improve community guidelines to ensure advertising is compliant.

What this means for brands: Brands have an opportunity to advertise on a platform that continues to deliver increased engagement from highly active users. With Reddit’s recently released trends report on the most popular subreddits, brands can create ads that not only resonate with their target audience but best fit the needs of Reddit users. For healthcare brands this offers an opportunity to advertise more strategically. For example, knowing that acne and aging are the most discussed skin care topics can help brands customize their messaging to connect with Reddit users seeking information on these topics.

(via Reddit)

Sources: Reddit, Social Media Today, Twitter

Instagram Now Asking for Date of Birth to Ensure Underage User Protection 

Instagram announced that it is now requiring users to enter their date of birth when creating an account. The rationale for this security check is to ensure that individuals younger than 13 cannot join the platform and that those using the platform have a more age-appropriate experience. However, the social giant will not ask for documentation to prove the accuracy of a user’s birth date. An Instagram spokesperson said, “It is critical we get this right and figuring out how to do this accurately – without, for example, excluding large numbers of users who may simply be unable to prove their age – is difficult and involves trade-offs.”

What this means for brands: For brands that advertise on Instagram, the platform is committed to remaining a safe and supportive community, especially for youth. For healthcare brands, this latest protection will help prevent product ads from displaying to an underage audience.

(via TechCrunch) 

Sources: Social Media Today, Instagram, NBC News

YouTube Shares Ongoing Efforts to Stop Spread of Misinformation

YouTube has joined the conversation with other social giants on how they intend to stop the spread of misinformation. The platform stated that, “…since January 2019, we’ve launched over 30 different changes to reduce recommendations of borderline content and harmful misinformation. The result is a 70% average drop in watch time of this content coming from non-subscribed recommendations in the U.S.” The platform is also working on prioritizing “authoritative voices” for news and information queries in search results and “watch next” capabilities.

What this means for brands: Brands can be assured that the content being shared on YouTube is reviewed and held to high standards. YouTube’s content guidelines ensure that videos are not only informative, but also accurate. For healthcare brands, this update will positively impact content shared on the platform. With the rise in misinformation on a variety of treatments, this platform update will prioritize “authoritative voices” when users search for a health-related topic surrounding a treatment or disease.

(via YouTube) 

Sources: Social Media Today, YouTube, CBS

Twitter Creates Brand Surveys to Measure Campaign Launches

Twitter announced that it will make Twitter Brand Surveys available for all managed accounts in the U.S., UK, Canada, Japan and Brazil. Brand Surveys are designed to help marketers measure the impact of campaigns. Previously, there were requirements for survey study minimums, which limited Twitter accounts that fell short from understanding how a campaign moves awareness, consideration, intent and other branding goals. Twitter released a statement noting, “We developed Twitter Brand Surveys while keeping accessibility and actionability in mind – we wanted campaigns, small or large, to have access to survey studies and for brands to understand which specific Tweets drove the highest lift.”

What this means for brands: Brands will now have access to the reported metrics from Twitter Brand Surveys regardless of size. Brand Surveys can help identify which part of a message caused an interaction with the ad, called “brand lift.” Additionally, brands will have increased understanding around which parts of an ad are lifted (caused an interaction) compared with others advertising in the same space. This will allow for more accurate optimizations and custom messaging development that will resonate with target audiences. For healthcare brands, this is an opportunity to gauge how messages compare against other players in the field. If two brands offer a treatment for the same disease state, and Twitter’s Brand Survey “lifts” part of the messaging, the creative and messaging may not be differentiated enough between the two competitors.

(via Twitter)

Sources: Social Media Today, Twitter,  AdWeek


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Fostering an environment that sparks creativity and ensures users are safe – both physically and mentally – are the top priorities for social media platforms. In this week’s Social Scoop, we report on Instagram expanding hiding likes globally and Twitter adding an additional social listening feature in its Media Studio. Facebook continues to update its community standards, and TikTok begins to test monetization tactics

Instagram Continues to Dislike Likes, Globally

Instagram announced that it will continue to test hiding total like counts, rolling out the update to select users globally this month. This is a continuation of previous tests Instagram launched in several other countries earlier this summer, including Canada, Australia and Japan. According to the platform, “While the feedback from early testing in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand has been positive, this is a fundamental change to Instagram, and so we’re continuing our test to learn more from our global community.”

What this means for brands: Instagram has not provided information about how use of the platform will change without likes. Brands and individuals can see their like counts, so this will not prevent content performance evaluation. Instagram has acknowledged that this will likely affect influencers and is “actively thinking through ways for creators to communicate value to their partners.” In a recent study conducted by HypeAuditor, Instagram influencers received fewer engagements on their posts in regions where Instagram tested hidden likes. Brands should continue to track influencer partnerships and create content that encourages engagement.

(via TechCrunch)

Sources: Social Media Today, Hyper Auditor, TechCrunch

Twitter Creates Conversation Insights in Media Studio

Twitter recently added a Conversation Insights tool to its Media Studio. This new tool provides specific data on tweet mentions, account mentions and filters to help users better understand the types of accounts engaging with a profile. Media Studio users who have more than 1,000 followers will be able to use the Conversation Insights tool. While TweetDeck and third-party tools have similar functionality, Conversation Insights has listening tools that go beyond mentions and hashtags to capture more relevant conversation.

What this means for brands: Brands will have a clearer picture of their audience and who interacts with their content. Social listening is crucial to understanding a brand’s audience and to creating content that resonates best. For healthcare brands, this is another way to monitor the conversation surrounding a new product launch and for social listening during medical conferences. A new drug may not have a hashtag or users may not tag a brand when tweeting about them at a conference. Having Conversation Insights enables brands to see which users are talking about a product or a healthcare brand at a medical conference.

(via Twitter)

Sources: Social Media Today, Social Media Examiner, Twitter

Facebook Updates Community Standards Enforcement

Social platforms are taking a greater stance in what content can be uploaded to a platform, and Facebook is at the forefront of that. Facebook says it is significantly improving the safety of its users by implementing more transparent guidelines on what content can be posted to the platform and who can post it. Facebook is taking strong actions to delete content and fake users to prevent the spread of false information. According to Facebook, “In Q3 2019, we removed about 11.6 million pieces of content, up from Q1 2019 when we removed about 5.8 million. Over the last four quarters, we proactively detected over 99% of the content we removed for violating this policy.”

What this means for brands: Brands can feel more confident that their audience is real and not comprised of fake accounts. These guidelines also provide a better understanding of what content can live on Facebook and what content users are most likely to see. Brands should feel more secure that their audiences are safe and seeing content that they want to see. For healthcare brands, this can ease concerns that false information about a new drug launch is being posted and can help reduce attacks on their corporate reputation. As the healthcare conversation increases on social media, the likelihood of misinformation spreading is greater. This effort to reduce misinformation should positively impact healthcare brands.

(via Facebook)

Sources: Social Media Today, Facebook, Entrepreneur

TikTok Tests eCommerce Links in Videos 

TikTok continues down the path to full monetization by testing options to add links into user bios and eCommerce links to uploaded videos. However, both options are still in the testing phase, and official rollout plans have not been released for users to add eCommerce links to TikTok videos. Content creators will have the opportunity to develop brand partnerships with affiliate links in their content. This may help TikTok establish a long-term presence among the other social platforms and avoid an app shutdown like its predecessor, Vine.

What this means for brands: TikTok currently only measures success based on video views. Brands will have the opportunity to see what content users engage with most and which content creators engage their audience the most. Tracking referral traffic will let brands optimize influencer partnerships and evaluate which ads resonate with their audience. For healthcare brands, this is an opportunity to expand their presence on an up-and-coming social media platform with analytics tracking the success (or failure) through links. It also expands opportunities to work with younger influencers while learning what key messages resonate best with this Gen Z-dominated audience.

(via Hyperlink Video)

Sources: Social Media Today, The Verge, TechCrunch


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Since the genesis of social media, personalization and connection have been an expectation for interacting with people and brands online. This week’s Social Scoop looks at how Instagram hopes to improve connections with others by removing likes, Facebook wants to help you find a doctor, and Twitter looks to further personalize your experience. We also share industry news and potential new Twitter features in 2020.

Instagram Dislikes Likes

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri announced that the platform will continue to test hiding total like counts, rolling out the update to select users in the U.S. this month. The social giant launched this test earlier this summer in several countries including Canada, Australia and Japan. Mosseri said he hopes removing likes will help “depressurize Instagram, make it less of a competition, [and] give people more space to focus on connecting with people that they love, things that inspire them.”

What this means for brands: Although Instagram has yet to provide information on how use of the platform will change without likes, it’s likely this change will affect influencers the most, who may change their content strategy to be more creative and diversify from content that usually receives the most likes. Brands and individual users will still be able to see their like counts in the backend and continue reporting as usual.

(via CNN)

Sources: CNN, Social Media Today, Later

Facebook’s Preventive Health Tool

Facebook launched a preventive health tool in the U.S. to connect people to health resources, including a locater to find affordable places to receive care, checkup reminders and a checklist for scheduling tests. The tool will prompt users based on their age and gender. It will not store any information about a user’s results. The recommendations available in the preventive health tool are based on standards from the American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others.

What this means for brands: This tool brings healthcare front and center on this social media platform and provides an opportunity to increase disease awareness, although there is no opportunity to advertise.

(via Social Media Today)

Sources: Social Media Today, Facebook’s Preventative Health, The Verge

Twitter Topics to Improve Tweet Discovery

As of November 13, Twitter is rolling out a new feature, Twitter Topics, that allows users the option to follow subjects to further tailor their timeline to their interests. Users can opt in to topics they are interested in, and Twitter will suggest topics based on what the user likes and shares. Initially, Twitter has created a list of 300 general interest subjects including gaming, sports and entertainment.

What this means for brands: Brands can align their content to Twitter topics to expand reach beyond those who follow their page.

(via Social Media Today)

Sources: Social Media Today, The Verge, Engadget

Federal Trade Commission Issues Disclosure 101 for Social Influencers

The FTC released new disclosure guidelines for social media influencers on how and when they must disclose sponsorship to followers. The guide offers resources around the legal responsibility of influencers to disclose compensation, as well as perks, to provide transparency for consumers. For example, while influencers are not required to use hashtags in their post, the copy must say “ad” or “sponsored.” To learn more, check out W2O’s full blog on the news here.

What this means for brands: Although this guide was created for influencers, brands should stay informed about this topic to remain compliant when working with influencers.

(via FTC)

Sources: NPR, Marketing Land, FTC

Potential New Twitter Features in 2020?

Twitter’s VP of Design and Research Dantley Davis recently tweeted a list of five new features that he’s looking forward to in 2020, including expanded community management tools and features that will increase the moderation ability users have in conversations. These new features have not yet been confirmed by Twitter, but it’s likely they will be rolled out next year in some capacity.

What this means for brands: The potential update to Twitter’s community management offering will allow brands to establish a clearer moderation among people violating community guidelines and further control their online presence.

(via El Mundo)

Sources: Social Media Today, Mashable, @Dantley


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Authenticity and trust need to be at the core of effective storytelling, especially for social media influencers promoting a product or service. Yet that trust between an influencer and their audience is often in question these days and they don’t always disclose brand partnerships in accordance with FTC endorsement guidelines.

That’s why we’re excited to see the FTC released new influencer-friendly resources focused on transparency.

New Influencer-Friendly Tools

The FTC published a series of new tools for influencers which include:

  1. New website landing page gov/influencers
  2. PDF guide: Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers
  3. A series of short videos you can download or watch on YouTube, including: Advice for Social Media Influencers

These tools give influencers straightforward instructions on how to be legally compliant when working with brand partners. It clearly defines when to disclose that you’ve worked with a brand, correct terminology to use and where to place the disclosure.

We’re impressed the guide is aimed at influencers rather than lawyers and marketers, as it’s written in plain language that social media influencers will be able to easily understand. According to their news release, the new tools summarize existing guidance, including the Endorsement Guides and a 2017 question-and-answer document.

Companies are Responsible, Too

While the FTC is targeting influencers with this new set of tools, we can expect they’ll continue to monitor the brands partnering with them. It should come as no surprise that companies are responsible for requiring influencers to disclose and ensure it’s happening properly. Yet, we still regularly hear stories from influencers who are asked NOT to disclose by the companies who are paying them to partner on content.

A Few Surprising Tips

Our clients rely on us to stay on top of FTC regulations for influencer partnerships and know them inside and out. Here are a few of the top tips we share with clients (and influencers they partner with) that are often unknown.

  1. Perks are compensation – The definition of a financial relationship between an influencer and a brand was previously a gray area. The guide helps clarify this, stating: “Financial relationships aren’t limited to money. Disclose the relationship if you got anything of value to mention a product.” This includes free products, discounts, travel arrangements, meals, gift cards or any other perks, even if an influencer is not under contract or required to post about it.
  2. Hashtags are not required – Despite what’s been ingrained in our minds over the years, you are not required to use hashtags on your “#ad” and “#sponsored” disclosures. You can use the words in a sentence in a more conversational and relatable way if you clearly identify the partnership. Reminder: “thanks” and “spon” are not adequate disclosure.
  3. Platform tools are not enough – Influencers need to use straightforward partnership language in the body of their posts, in addition to any disclosure tools the social platforms require, such as Facebook’s Branded Content Tool.
  4. Be conservative – It’s important to err on the side of caution, especially in regulated industries, such as healthcare and finance. For example, if you’re working with a patient influencer to promote a disease education campaign, require they disclose the company name on all posts in addition to disclosing that the content is sponsored. Not doing so can appear to veil the partnership and could cause a great backlash of mistrust among your target audiences.

Encourage Understanding and Compliance

We recommend socializing these new tools within your company, especially with social, legal and compliance teams. Consider proactively sending an email to influencers you work with to ensure they’ve seen the new tools and reinforce that you take endorsement laws seriously. We’ve already decided to include a link to the new Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers in influencer contracts.

 

Article contributed by Managing Director of Social Media & Influencer Activation, Missy Voronyak and Hannah Byl, Associate, Influencer Engagement


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Facebook is making several changes to their platform, from advertisement placement to post timing options, as well as timely change to the way news is organized and shared. Additionally, Snapchat is seeking to reduce barriers to entry for advertisers and partnering with Reddit on content- sharing possibilities.

Facebook Updates Ad Availability and Options

Facebook has updated defaults and availabilities for advertisers on its platforms. Ad campaigns using Automatic Placement settings will now also appear in Search Results, including in Marketplace Search Results. Ads will utilize design features to fit in with other search results and include the same transparency and control options as News Feed ads, which includes a “Sponsored” label, and will also follow the same audience targeting as other Facebook ads. However, Search Results is not a placement that can run on its own, advertisers must also run on the News Feed at the same time. All advertisers on Facebook are now able to access these options.

What this means for brands: Audiences who see targeted ads across Facebook’s connected platforms are more likely to lead to conversions. Search results give advertisers another area of the platform to be seen in, and potentially avoid areas with competitor advertising present. This can be very useful for advertising products in highly- competitive industries, such as consumer healthcare. Also, it’s important to note that the introduction of inventory in Facebook Search is not coming with keyword targeting.

Sources: Facebook, MarketingLand, Wersm

Image: SocialMediaToday

Facebook Pilots “Suggested Time” Feature for Scheduling Posts

Page admins scheduling a post will now have a new feature for determining when to post – a “Suggested Time” button, which schedules the post for times a Page’s audience have previously been most active. Facebook takes into account when a Page audience has been active for the last seven days and recommends options according to that. The tool is being tested in select audience, and full roll-out has not been announced.

What this means for brands: This tool takes some guesswork out of scheduling a post. You’ll know when your audience is online and sending out posts during that time-window should lead to greater organic reach. This tool makes reaching a highly-specified audience, from a disease space to a unique demographic, more efficient and effective.

Sources: SocialMediaToday

Image: SocialMediaToday

Snapchat Introduces Ad Creation Feature – “Dynamic Ads”

Snapchat has announced a new creative feature, dubbed “Dynamic Ads”, which will begin rolling out in the U.S. in the coming weeks. Dynamic Ads allows brands to create ads on Snapchat by uploading batches of relevant photos, video and copy; choosing from a series of optimized templates provided by Snapchat. Copy and media are then dynamically combined in multiple combinations and tested against one another within the same campaign and against the same audiences.

What this means for brands: Snapchat remains an incredibly popular platform for younger audiences, and an important opportunity to reach audiences with exciting content. Dynamic Ads represents a new way for brands to test effectiveness of ads on the platform and hand over additional control to the platform for real-time creative optimization. This can be particularly useful for consumer health brands who may often find their target audiences on the platform. Snapchat hopes that advertisers using Dynamic Ads will see greater efficiency with less work.

Sources: SocialMediaToday, Mobile Marketer, Snapchat, MarketingLand

Image: Snap

Reddit Introduces Snapchat Content Sharing Integration

Reddit has launched their first native content sharing capabilities with another social platform; partnering with Snapchat to allow content to be shared directly in the platform through a sticker which links an image back to the original post. Users who tap the sticker will be directed to the original post in Reddit, or to download the app if they haven’t already. Sharable posts will be limited to “Safe for Work” communities, who have good standing on the platform. Reddit hopes this will lead to greater content sharing opportunities for users and expose new audiences to Reddit content.

What this means for brands: Reddit has shown to be key in getting a pulse on upcoming trends and provides a platform for brands to converse authentically with highly-engaged, niche audiences.This new integration with Snapchat increases the potential reach and viability of any Reddit activation, and allows those niche audiences to more easily find brands to connect with.

Sources: TechCrunch, Social Media Today – Announcement, Social Media Today – Reddit Usage, Search Engine Journal

Image: TechCrunch

Media Updates

Facebook Announces “Facebook News”

Facebook is approaching news sharing in a new way, announcing a new “Facebook News” tab, separate from a user’s main feed. The focus is on delivering reliable news information, combating issues of viral fake news sharing on the site. It will be curated by both machine learning and human editors, drawing from a curated list of news organizations that will be subject to certain quality control standards. The tab will also show users news from local outlets.

What this means for brands: Facebook has had a strong hand in the success or demise of many publishers, particularly the downfall of small, local outlets. This new organization of news shows potential for repairing this relationship, as well as the promotion of more accurate, rather than sensationalized, news stories. This is useful to keep in mind when planning an earned media strategy integrated with other social media plans.

Sources: Medium, Facebook

Contributions by Kathrin Harhoff

When it comes to digital maturity, there is no more reassuring concept than a well-conceived roadmap. Roadmaps are designed to bring clarity to an inherently uncertain process. A roadmap also suggests a specific destination, but, as we’ve already discussed in the first section of this series, digital maturity is an ongoing process.  

In practice, a roadmap can be very different. Often a grand vision is presented to senior leadership as a roadmap, leaving the team on a path forward that is difficult to negotiate. Conversely, a roadmap can become overrun with minutia to the point where it’s unreadable and susceptible to the smallest pivot. 

We advise clients on drafting a roadmap that is clear enough to communicate the vision of digital maturity, but flexible enough to hold up to any changes in environment, priority, or technology.   

1. Start with Goals, Strategic Initiatives, and Tactics

In last week’s section of this series, we discussed how to set up goals. Conveniently, these goals, strategic initiatives (SI), and tactics will inform your roadmap directly. Start by laying out your high-level goals and prioritizing them. Assign SI to the goals they support. If you do not think your current set of SI will complete your prioritized goal, don’t worry, you’ll have an opportunity to add more in later. Here is an example of what one digital maturity goal might look like.  

Goal 1. Move approval process from paper to digital  

SI 1Complete RFP of digital approval vendors 

SI 2Onboard vendors 

SI 3Pilot with one department 

SI 4Roll out 

2. Create a Backlog

You may hear a backlog referred to in different ways, but the general idea is that you need a place to store ideas that are not fully formedYou’ll regularly go back to the backlog and flesh out these conceptsTo put meat to the bones of these ideas, you will need the major stakeholders and the people executing the digital maturity to work in one room. We often see that these sessions can contain a lot of back and forth, but the end result is an entire team that has a single vision of the path forward. Once this is achieved, these new items can be inserted into the roadmap. 

3. Be Flexible

The number one mistake when constructing a roadmap is locking a team into a year’s worth of work that is likely to change in three months time. To avoid this, make sure to align the specificity of the roadmap item with the timing of its execution. In the example above, the high-level goal of “Move approval process from paper to digital” can be scoped out to twelve or eighteen months. However, specific tasks under any of the SI, for example, “Open ticket with IT” will only be brought into the roadmap weeks in advance. The result will be constant goals with SI that span a few months and tasks that quickly come into the roadmap before they are completed.  

4. Socialize with Frequent Updates

Once the roadmap is in good shape, it should be socialized with management to gain alignment. Additionally, we often work with clients to use roadmap socialization as an opportunity to gain excitement with other internal stakeholders. Because the roadmap is updated frequently, it should also be shared on a regular basisusually quarterlyto show how the digital maturity journey is evolving. In this way, the roadmap becomes not only the path forward for the team(s) involved in digital maturity efforts, but also the main socialization vehicle.   

Key Takeaways:

  • Formulate a clear plan that is flexible enough to tolerate any unforeseen changes. 
  • Establish goals, strategic initiatives, and tactics. 
  • Create a backlog of underdeveloped ideas that can be revisited and enhanced. 
  • Frequently share updates with interested parties.  

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What’s new in the world of social media? Facebook released a new CTA feature and templates for its Stories function and added enhancements for Instagram Direct Messaging, LinkedIn introduced additional features for its targeting and reporting tools, and Quora added more ad targeting options.

Facebook Introduces ‘Send Message’ Call-to-Action on Stories Ads

Facebook recently enhanced its “Send Message” feature by allowing its use on Stories ads. Users of the platform can now start direct conversations when viewing a Stories ad simply by swiping up without leaving the app they are in. Prior to this update, users who interacted with a “Send Message” call-to-action on feed posts were brought to the Messenger app to continue their engagement. With this new update, users can direct message brands from the Stories ad without leaving the app.

What this means for brands: With the number of daily users of Stories increasing to more than a billion, this update makes it easier than ever for users to interact with ads. As a result, brands should be prepared to engage and respond to users who are served Stories ads.

Additional resources: Social Media Today, MarketingLand, TechCrunch

(via Social Media Today)

Facebook Launches New Stories and Instagram Direct Features

Facebook recently added two new features in an effort to help businesses gear up for the holiday ad season. The first is a new set of customizable templates for Stories that can be used across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. These templates provide easy-to-use options for brands to create visually appealing content within Facebook Ad Manager. The variety of fonts, music and call-to-actions provide brands with plenty of options for developing assets for Stories.  The second is a change to the functionality of Instagram Direct. Brands will now be able to manage both Messenger and Instagram Direct messages from their Facebook page and access a variety of organizational tools. Some of the tools include the ability to add labels to contacts to better organize inboxes, set up instant replies and away messages, and sort direct messages into folders.

What this means for brands: These updates will allow brands to add more creativity to campaign assets, which will help ads resonate with target audiences. Brand community managers will also be able to streamline direct message monitoring and responses through the updated platform.

Additional resources: Social Media Today, Facebook Newsroom

(Social Media Today)

LinkedIn Releases New Reporting and Targeting Tools for Advertisers

LinkedIn announced the release of new reporting and targeting features within its Campaign Manager to provide brands with added flexibility in reaching specific audiences. The platform released more capabilities for its demographic reporting. Brands will now be able to see which audiences are viewing video ads, filling out Lead Gen forms, and opening Sponsored InMail messages.

New targeting capabilities will allow brands to create custom audiences that can target categories such as top industries, years of experience, and company size. Additionally, the existing Boolean targeting logic has been updated from an “and” targeting structure to an “and/or” structure. This update will allow brands to reach broader demographics within one campaign and have more options when defining an audience.

What this means for brands: The updates to the campaign forecasting panel give brands access to more sophisticated insights than ever before. Use these insights and reporting functions to inform future campaigns for optimized ad performance. Also consider leveraging the new Boolean logic targeting structure to reach a more tailored audience.

Additional resources: Social Media Today, LinkedIn, Lotame

(via Social Media Today)

Boolean Logic, Illustrated

(via Lotame)

Quora Adds More Ad Targeting Options

Quora announced last week that it will release new ad targeting options to improve how brands reach their target audiences. The updates include keyword use history, gender-specific targeting, and email targeting, giving brands more meaningful customizations for campaigns. The platform also released a helpful checklist for brands outlining important guidelines when creating a campaign. This checklist is aimed at helping brands launch higher-performing ads.

What this means for brands: Similar to the targeting updates on LinkedIn, these added parameters will be important to understand when developing targeting strategies. Refer to Quora’s helpful checklist when setting up campaigns to ensure ads are fully optimized. With more than 300 million monthly users, Quora provides an opportunity for brands to fold the platform into 2020 digital marketing strategies.

Additional resources: Social Media Today, Quora Insights


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