Welcome back to Last Week in Digital Media, after a brief break, the newsletter is back. Here’s the news you may have missed and I am also including some of the major headlines from the past few weeks.
- twitter is experimenting with new features (announced in a tweet by a twitter Product Manager) to make the platform more conversational. This includes threaded conversations and presence (so you can see who is online). There are also reports twitter is testing an “unfollow” feature.
- Snapchat has a new CMO, Kristin O’Hara, formerly of Warner Media. The appointment of O’Hara is a sign that Snapchat wants to be seen as a video-content platform and came in the same week as Snapchat’s confirmed participation in the West Coast Newfronts (the first time ever for Snapchat).
- Google is making available their digital well-being tool for YouTube. The tool shows how many minutes/hours you have watched over the past 7 days and lets your mute notifications. The balanced use of service is an interesting trend where so much of the focus has been on time spent as a positive thing. As an aside, Netflix is instructing actors promoting series to avoid the term “binge-watching” in marketing and promotion of new series.
- Apple may be getting into VR, purchasing Colorado-based Akonia Holographics, a company specializing in AR lenses. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- Amazon is testing a new video ad format in Prime Pantry. The ad format is an auto-play video with no sound, runs for 10-15 seconds and is anchored next to the product/item listing.
- Facebook Watch is now global (Facebook’s YouTube competitor), a year after being available as a US-only offering. The global expansion also sees Facebook expand the “ad breaks” offering that enables eligible creators to monetize their videos.
Research & Measurement
- The Guardian published an article (sourced from eMarketer) showing Snapchat is on target to outperform Facebook in the UK in the 18-24 demographic. Facebook’s biggest growth will be those aged 55+.
- Last year, Google announced free sales-lift attribution tools. Bloomberg has reported that Google has been sourcing transactional data from Mastercard. The article does flag privacy concerns about the secrecy of the deal and lack of disclosure to Mastercard cardholders.
- Amazon is testing an attribution pixel. The Amazon attribution tool is being tested on an invite-only basis for advertisers who sell on Amazon. Advertising revenue is of growing importance to Amazon, with one analyst predicting that Amazon’s ad revenue will exceed cloud computing revenue by 2021.
Trust, Safety, and Privacy
- Facebook suspended the myPersonality app as part of the ongoing Cambridge Analytica investigation. The app is not associated with Cambridge Analytica, operated from 2007-12 and about 4 million users are impacted (Facebook will notify impacted users). There is no evidence that the app is connected to or used by the advertising industry.
- Firefox will start blocking trackers by default, version 63 of Firefox will block trackers than take more than 5 seconds to load, but from version 65 “will strip cookies and block storage access from third-party tracking content”. This will obviously have a big impact on ad targeting. The change sees Firefox join Apple’s Safari move to block ad trackers. Firefox has about 10-11% browser market share.
- twitter has joined Facebook, rolling out a twitter US issue ads policy. Looking to avoid some of the controversies that plagued Facebook, news organizations will be exempt. twitter defines issue ads as “refer to an election or a clearly identified candidate” or “that advocate for legislative issues of national importance ” (the latter which could catch advertisers in the healthcare and energy categories).
- The WSJ wrote an in-depth article on Oath: (specifically Yahoo!) scanning emails and selling the data (paywall) to advertisers. FYI Google ended the practice of scanning emails in 2017). The WSJ piece highlights growing concern about what constitutes fair and reasonable data collection, use. and disclosure.
- There is a really good and detailed article on Motherboard, about Facebook’s moderation efforts. The article reveals the confronting stat. that back in 2009, with 120million users on the platform, Facebook only had 12 people for content moderation. Definitely worth taking your time to read the full article.
Have a great week.
PS. The fun distraction of the week is TuneMoji (no relation to Bitmoji). If you love GIFs and music, this is the app for you! Every GIF has an attached piece of music or audio. The app is also one of the few with 3rd party integration with Snapchat.