Welcome to Last Week in Digital Media. Here’s all the news you may have missed:
- not quite an edit option, but twitter is experimenting with an undo timer for tweets. There’s no timing on if or when this might become broadly available.
- at the Pinterest ad summit, Pinterest Presents, the platform emphasized its strength as a place for inspiration. An interesting stat is that the platform has seen a growth in male users (+40% men and Gen Z) and increasing use as part of the shopping path to purchase. Product-wise, the big news was “Pinterest Premiere,” an audience-reach-based video ad unit and a desire to better grow their creator community. Pinterest does have an official document that summarizes all of the Pinterest Presents news; please reach out to them for details.
- twitter is testing various eCommerce features. While most of this was shared during twitter’s analyst day presentation, recently spotted in the wild is a new-style “shopping card” that better emphasizes the product, retailer, price, and call to action.
- TikTok is looking to grow its share of small to medium business advertisers. To this end, it will be holding an event called “Ready Set Grow” on March 24th to encourage these businesses to advertise on the platform.
- there was a brief Instagram bug during the week where more users were added to the hide likes trial. Instagram still hasn’t committed on when or if the trial will ever become available more widely or even by default.
- Amazon released an iOS app called “Game On,” which enables mobile gamers to record, edit, and share up to 5minutes of content. This might seem odd, but cloud-based gaming like Amazon Luna (and others) bringing PC-like gaming to mobiles, it stands to reason expect the creator community to also move in this direction.
- Roku announced plans to acquire Nielsen’s Advanced TV Ad Business, including Nielsen’s ACR (Automatic Content Recognition and Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI) technology. Roku will also integrate Nielsen’s ONE measurement product into Roku.
- Paramount+ launched during the week. While it’s too early for data on this service, there was some research last week out on how Discovery+ has performed since the January launch. It suggests that about half of Discovery+ users opted for the ad-free subscription and more than 90% converted from a free trial to a paid subscription.
- first shared with you all back in November, Netflix has officially rolled out its TikTok-Esque offering “Fast Laughs” to all iPhone-users.
- there are rumors that the US House Judiciary Committee will be holding a hearing on March 12th to review the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act. With the expectation, it would offer publishers an Australian-like way of collectively negotiating with tech platforms for payments for content. Microsoft, which publicly supported Australia’s laws, will reportedly testify. To get a sense of the scale of the challenges facing newsrooms, read these Five findings from the Journalism Crisis Project.
- the Biden Administration made a notable hire, with Tim Wu joining to work on Technology and Competition Policy at the National Economic Council. Wu is both a strong advocate of Net Neutrality and a proponent of antitrust and the break-up of big tech.
- Apple is being investigated by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) over complaints that the terms and conditions of the App Store are unfair and anti-competitive.
- separately, Arizona is close to passing a law that would force Apple to allow 3rd party payments on the AppStore. FYI North Dakota is also proposing a similar law. It’s also worth reading this article on Protocol for a perspective on how both Apple and Google are now finding themselves having to directly lobby state legislators as we find ourselves increasingly looking at not only a global splinternet but similar splintering across the US.
- in case it’s of interest, there’s some interesting research out of the UK’s Office of Communications (Ofcom) on the topic of online misinformation. The report is ~50+ pages (PDF link). The research suggests that sources of misinformation receive most of their traffic from social media, whereas quality news traffic is mostly direct.
PRIVACY, TRUST, and SAFETY
- the big news in privacy was Google’s announcement about a more “Privacy First Web.” A key takeaway is that Google double-downed on FLoC, that Google would not build or use alternatives for cross-site tracking, but it will continue to support 1st Party Data for advertisements on its own platform (read the whole post). Google’s news did make waves across the industry and saw programmatic adtech stocks drop by ~20% across the board. In the same week, Google committed to increasing the release frequency of Chrome updates, raising the question about how Chrome will treat non-Google-backed alternatives such as Unified ID. As an aside and FYI, Xandr did share during the week that it would support all industry back identity solutions.
- twitch released its first-ever transparency report. The report makes for good reading, as it clearly explains both how twitch approaches safety and the action it has taken. It also calls out how twitch is working to make advertisers safe on the platform and that to be eligible for ads, a streamer must have “a track record of streaming responsibly.”
- possibly in response to EU scrutiny, TikTok has launched a Trust and Safety Council in Europe. The council consists of academics and individuals who have experience in content moderation and content policy.
- as the platforms decide on how they will respond to Apple’s IOS 14 changes, Linked In confirmed that it would, for now, not rely on IDFA’s moving forward. Over at twitter, the company has started proactive messaging to users encouraging them to opt-in for personalized advertising.
Have a great week.