The Scoop: 09.16.20

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.


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.


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.


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?


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.



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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W2O Social Team
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