2017.10.20 Last Week in Digital Media

Here’s all the news you may have missed:

  • Perhaps the biggest news of the week is that there is now a bill before Congress to regulate political advertising on Facebook and Google in the same way as other media publishers. The bill (called the Honest Ads Act) is sponsored by representatives from both US political parties and would require disclosure of the advertising, targeting and spend used for a political ad. This is hot on the heels of an announcement last week by the UK Office of Communications (Ofcom) that they are reviewing the prospect of classifying Facebook and Google as publishers not platforms.
  • Snapchat continues to double down on original content. Partnering with NBC to launch Snap Studios (in Hollywood) to develop original scripted and other genre content. This is Snap’s second content partnership with NBC (reminder, NBC is an investor in Snapchat).
  • in what feels like another step by Facebook to position WhatsApp as both a Snapchat competitor and a commercial advertising service, WhatsApp can now be used to share your location. If you don’t see the feature yet, don’t panic, as it’s rolling out over the next few weeks. More details on the user experience are on the WhatsApp blog.
  • twitter has rolled out a new video advertising product on promoted tweets. The basic premise is when you click on a link in a promoted tweet that has video, the video will continue to play in the top 1/3 while the website loads below. Called Video Website Card, twitter reports it shows higher click and conversion rates and can be optimized across various KPIs (i.e. video views to website conversion actions) which makes it interesting for clients like Hulu or Sony that have video content and variously promotional and subscription goals.
  • Pandora’s Video Plus ad product is now available to all clients. Video Plus is a 15 second CPCV (Cost per Completed View) offering, With users incentivized to watch the video, in exchange for unlocking Pandora Plus (subscription) like features e.g. track skipping.
  • you may recall 2 weeks ago, Instagram added the ability to add polls to posts, functionality already proving popular with influencers. Well Facebook seems to be increasing their focus on polling, acquiring the tbh (to be honest) app earlier in the week. Terms have not been disclosed (rumor is it’s $100MM) and tbh will operate as a standalone entity. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Snapchat acquired Polly, a similar style app in the coming weeks or replicated that functionality. Either way, brands should be taking advantage of polling within social apps.
  • there are various work around options for getting Netflix viewing data (Samba, alponso), now you can add Nielsen to that mix. Nielsen is using ACR (Audio Content Recognition) to report Netflix ratings although it can currently only report and track on connected TV viewing in the US (so no mobile or tablet data). It’s also worth noting that this is Netflix only data – no Hulu or Amazon ratings data (yet).
  • in Amazon Alexa news, Garmin has made a $150 Alexa-enabled device for use in your car. Another reason clients need to be thinking about voice-enabled media opportunities. Another reason clients should be exploring not only voice services, but in car media opportunities (e.g. Waze) as in car assistant and advertising will become an increasingly important media space.
  • some interesting AI and neural networks news, there is a proof of concept of AI that can build software code from design mockups. It’s called Pix2Code (you can download the tools from Github, or you read the academic whitepaper here). It’s fascinating because it makes app development accessible to all and raises the possibility that other specialist tasks could be delivered the same way e.g. you can hand draw creative and AI will build basic the assets needed.

Ending the week with something fun. With Halloween coming soon, Snapchat has your back. They’re now selling a $79.99 Dancing Hotdog costume on Amazon. So you can dress as everyone’s favorite AR meme.

Have a great week.

Joshua