I hope this finds you, your loved ones, and your community all safe and well. I plan to continue Last Week in Digital Media as there’s still a lot of news out there that is easy to miss.
- Instagram is testing a disappearing messaging feature. This was discovered by reverse engineer Jane Wong; it is currently an internal-only Instagram test.
- there are reports that Disney is looking to sell the adtech firm TrueX. It’s rumored that the original founder may be interested in buying it back.
- Fox Corp (the new Fox not affiliated with Disney) sold its 5% stake in Roku. This doesn’t mark the exit of Fox from streaming, with Fox announcing later in the week it has entered an agreement to acquire TubiTV for US$440MM.
- in an internal AT&T note, the company has expressed a commitment to Xandr (paywall), despite the recent departure of the CEO.
- there’s an alleged internal TikTok content moderation document encouraging the suppression content of “undesirable users”, that is (quoting from the document) “abnormal body shape”, “ugly facial looks”, and “dilapidated shooting environment”. This is not the first time TikTok content moderation policies have been questioned.
- separately, the WSJ reports that TikTok will no longer use China-based content moderators for overseas user content (paywall). TikTok also announced this week an external content advisory council.
- and in one more TikTok update, the company has partnered with The Trade Desk, for APAC inventory monetization.
- Snapchat has launched a Web Lens Builder tool to make it easier to build AR ads. There’s no cost to use the tool and it’s also a good way to teach yourself/experiment with AR lenses.
- Movies Anywhere, a free service that connects all (well most) of your various digital movie libraries are launching a closed-beta called “Screen Pass” that lets you lend friends your movies.
- Linked In is introducing a new ad format (in beta) called “Conversation Ads”. These units are chat response prompts within a message. The prompts can then drive to sign up forms, register for a webinar, etc. Particularly of use to advertisers focused on lead gen.
- Microsoft’s game streaming platform, Mixer, has a new homepage design. The new design has more featured content, which, longer-term, could also be used for premium placement for sponsored or integrated advertising messaging.
COVID-19 MEDIA TRENDS
- Nielsen is seeing an increase in TV viewing as more people work from home and/or are forced to stay indoors. Nielsen predicts a 60% rise in TV consumption.
- online gaming and eSports are expected to rise during this time, with Steam (and online gaming store/platform) seeing a record peak of 20MM users.
- foursquare has shared some data on foot traffic trends. The trends are as expected, as social distancing becomes the norm.
- online challenges and games within apps like Snapchat and TikTok seem to be resonating well (if executed with sensitivity). If your or clients need help with ideation or creative, please let me know and I can connect you to potential partners.
INDUSTRY EVENTS (now streamed)
With all platform developer events canceled and moved to a virtual or streamed experience, here’s where to go to sign up or stay updated.
- Facebook F8, sign up here for updates.
- Snapchat Partner Summit, no public registration is available.
- Adobe Summit, sign up now for free here. (March 31st)
- Google I/O, will not occur (not even streamed) see here.
- Apple’s Developer Conference, visit the website or download the WWDC app.
- NewFronts 2020, details will be posted here.
- Cannes Lions has been postponed until October.
PRIVACY, TRUST, and SAFETY
- YouTube shared that human content moderation will be temporarily suspended and/or slower as work from home policies come into effect globally. As a result, YouTube will rely more on AI and Machine Learning. This may result in a spike of videos being falsely flagged as unsafe. Keep this in mind when reviewing and YouTube safety and delivery reports.
- Facebook has also shared that there will be reduced content moderation as teams shift to working from home. This will see an increase in automated content moderation and a slower approval and appeals process.
- Integral Ad Science (IAS) has published a research study on consumer thoughts of brands advertising around Coronavirus content (PDF, free registration required). While a small sample, it does indicate that people are open to brands advertising around the topic, that for most (78%) adjacent ads have no impact on brand perception, with the exception of the travel and the food & beverage categories.
- an important reminder, DO NOT block Coronavirus or related terms for brand safety reasons. This coverage is on every publisher and platform, is unavoidable, and supporting quality, factual news content right now is important.
- Facebook, twitter, Linked In, reddit, Google, and YouTube published a joint statement on how they’re coordinating efforts (and combatting bad actors). NBC, ViacomCBS, and iHeart are running PSA’s on donated media. UM and Amobee are leading a cross-industry effort for WHO messaging. The AdCouncil has made available assets for PSA’s. If you or your client want to be part of any of these initiatives, let me know.
COVID-19 BUSINESS ANALYSIS / RESEARCH
More than a few of you have reached out, asking for insights or resources on how businesses should respond. These public resources may prove useful.
- McKinsey has published an “Implications for business” document. This is updated regularly, so check in often.
- Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has a dedicated microsite including analysis and leadership advice.
- Forrester has made a lot of their Coronavirus insights and analysis freely available on the Forrester Blog.
- eMarketer has regularly updated videos, audio commentary specifically for the advertising and media industry.
- IPSOS has regular webinars and reports of publicly available consumer research.
- Pew Research has recently started publishing research on the topic, primarily focused on social impact and social welfare.
- Google has a dedicated search trends site and has also published a guide for small businesses here. There are some tips in the Google site that apply to all businesses, like making sure your local search information is up to date (store closures, revised hours, special shopping hours for at-risk groups, etc).Staying with small businesses, Facebook has announced plans for a grants program for small businesses as well as ad credits. Respecting all official directions, if you have an opportunity now or post Covid to support a small business, please make an effort to do so.
Please take care and be kind to yourself and others.
PS. Some distractions, this YouTube supercut of a dog that just loves to jump into piles of leaves made me smile. If you’re more of a cat person, these cats with domino are cool. If you’re looking for a good educational video site for kids (and the young at heart), I’m a fan of The Kid Should See This.