Onto the news you may have missed:
- Google held their Pixel 2 event and announced more than just phones. The Verge has a good summary of all of the Pixel event announcements. The highlights you need to know include Pixel Buds, bluetooth earphones that can automatically translate languages; Google Home Mini, a hockey puck sized Google Home; and Google Clips an AI and machine learning powered camera that you can put anywhere and it will automatically take interesting pictures.
- WhatsApp introduced a beta of their own Emoji keyboard in the Android app. The emojis are near identical to the iOS standard emoji’s. This could be Facebook trying to standardize the experience across devices (reminder, emoji’s may not look the same across devices) or it could be Facebook preparing for advertising (and branded emojis) on WhatsApp. As an FYI, Apple is adding some new emoji’s in iOS 11.1
- Instagram stories can now be cross posted to Facebook. Not yet available on business accounts and you can’t post the reverse (i.e. Instagram to Facebook). This is definitely a signal that Facebook is prioritizing Stories as a posting format.
- also in Instagram news, there is now the ability to add polls to Instagram stories. These can be added with a poll sticker. This is a nice way of adding fun interactivity to stories and mimics the functionality of the app Polly, which is popular with Snapchat users.
- AOL is shutting down AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) on December 15. Given the world has long since moved on to FB Messenger, WhatsApp, iMessage, etc. the shutdown is not a surprise. It does show you that being first won’t save you if you don’t innovate.
- YouTube has signed on to be the presenting sponsor of the of the 2017 World Series. Underscoring just how important sports rights and content is in the digital era.
- in more sport news, Amazon reported that 372,000 people watched Amazon’s Thursday Night Football live stream. The numbers are interesting because it was only available to Amazon Prime users – so one of the best insights on raw numbers you can get on Amazon Prime video as a platform.
- expect Amazon to get more aggressive in the fashion category, with the recent acquisition of BodyLabs, that specialized in creating 3D models of bodies to assist with everything from fashion, to custom products and services. The website now only has a PR message, but this YouTube video from the BBC has some detail on BodyLabs original pitch.
- Publishers may start getting better insights on their audiences, with Google testing sharing aggregated search history with Publishers. The data is being made available under Google’s Insight Engine Project and will be surfaced in Doubleclick. Data will include age, gender, search history, in-market and shopping history.
- Google abandoned their First Click Free policy for publishers behind paywalls, now leaving the decision to publishers. Expect a change in the way publishers look to monetize audiences sampling their content, although don’t expect a rise in forced prestitials which are against the Coalition for Better Ads Guidelines. (on a more personal note, this also means may not get to read as many paywall articles for free)
- Snapchat continues to lead with interesting uses of AR. Most recently launching an AR gallery with Jeff Koons. This is interesting from a brand perspective, as Snapchat is openly inviting artists to submit portfolio’s for consideration. So there may be an opportunity for a brand to partner with an artist to turn this into a media activation.
- a handy stat to have, Snapchat revealed that they have sold 150,000 Snapchat Spectacles since launch.
Something fun to distract you as we head into a new week. We’ve all received questionable digital and adtech sales pitches, well now you can generate your own with the corporate gibberish generator. I ran it for me and would have to agree with the conclusion: if you synergize intuitively, you may have to enhance wirelessly.
Have a great week!