Keep Calm & Amazon On
Amazon’s ad business is growing, and it’s growing fast. While Google and Facebook combined make up more than half of the U.S. ad market, Amazon’s ad business, at 2.5 percent, is growing faster than both of them (not surprising given Amazon’s significantly smaller market share). Nonetheless, it’s predicted that Amazon’s digital ad revenue will grow more than 40 percent year-over year, compared to Facebook’s 25 percent and Google’s 15 percent.
What it means, IRL: Brands want to advertise in a safe environment – free of fake news and biased algorithms. As a result, social platforms like Facebook & Google are under increasing pressure and backlash as brand safety continues to remain a top priority for marketers. Not only has Amazon’s consumer-obsessed culture helped them to win away dollars from FB & Google, but it has afforded the brand a clean slate unlike many of their competitors.
Make it work: Just as we’ve all built out paid and social media strategies and best practices, Amazon is emerging as a marketing discipline in its own right. Marketers need to be cognizant of the variety of programs Amazon offers, with special attention to its emerging voice, video and influencer technologies. More or less, Amazon = the new omni-channel, with new rules that we all need to be prepared for.
Will social video kill the TV star? As many of us have already seen, Facebook’s News Feed has changed (and changed, and changed again) and now, new requirements around YouTube video have emerged. While these updates continue to have some immediate impacts, they also foreshadow a future where social video will emerge as an alternative to TV. With a shift towards content from friends & family on Facebook and new viewing thresholds on YouTube, publishers & content creators are tasked with finding new ways to monetize their content. The result? An overall shift towards premium social video content.
Low inventory + increasing costs = lots of frustrated content creators. With YouTube & Facebook raising the bar and creating more friction for brands, publishers and influencers alike earn revenue from video content, an opportunity exists for a third platform to become home for the creators that no longer have a place on Facebook or YouTube. With the launch of Amazon’s Influencer Program (which initially began as a YouTube play), it’s very likely that Amazon could foster the next big migration of influencers looking to share video content, which is already being integrated among its product ratings & reviews feeds.
For Your Coworker With Trust Issues
In Facebook’s second major announcement of the year, they announced that its News Feed will now be 4 percent news, instead of 5 percent. While this doesn’t seem like much, at scale this will reduce the volume of news users see in their feeds.
In the same announcement, Zuck & Co. also proposed a solution to making sure users see high-quality news – letting users decide which news sources they trust the most. The vetting process will rely on Facebook’s ongoing quality surveys, with Zuckerberg’s hope that ‘the truth about trustworthiness [will] rise to the top.’ Through relying on people’s subjective viewpoints to crowdsource what content is trustworthy (and probably training a new algorithm in the process), there appears to be an obvious problem – 2.07 billion users operate under a vast spectrum of ideologies and, the likelihood of a common consensus … let alone objective measurement … of ‘trusted’ news is near impossible if determined in this way. What could go wrong?
It’s Always Better When We’re Together
Last week, LinkedIn sent a message to group admins detailing their plans to reintegrate Groups into the LinkedIn experience. Among the updates: easier access to Groups right from the homepage, better conversation tools including the ability to post videos, @mention the members you want to weigh in, and reply to comments to keep the conversation going.
Groups have always been an integral part to the online social experience. #Tbt to the good ole’ days where chat rooms, message boards, and forums dominated the online social experience. As these features grew, the news feed was born and a dependence on algorithms to regulate these feeds became standard. But, as we’ve seen, algorithms aren’t perfect – what happens when they fail? The pendulum swings back and now, more than ever, news feeds are being deprioritized as people are reverting back to their early internet days and are turning to relevant groups to obtain relevant information.
Go Big Or Go Home
As issues around brand safety grow, YouTube is taking radical measures to remain out of the hot seat. Last week, we covered YouTube’s new requirements for content creators, this week we’re covering the implications.
Among YouTube’s many new standards is the notion that videos uploaded to the platform will be reviewed by humans, not algorithms, before they are monetized. With YouTube’s latest human vetting strategy, content that’s meant to be realtime is compromised. The use of AI for marketing purposes still has immense potential – and a lot to be desired. When it comes to content, YouTube’s reverting to people first shows just how nascent the industry is if Google is struggling to get it right; meanwhile AI has the ability to solve some of marketers biggest challenges – especially when it comes to vetting & activation. Is this the end of YouTube as we know it? Too soon to tell – but, it’s likely we will see micro-influencer/YouTube break-up in the near future.
‘If you’re not getting notifications that people are liking a photo you posted on Instagram, it’s not because Instagram is trying to play you. It’s just that people don’t like your photo.’ – Madison Kircher, NY Mag
No, Instagram isn’t hiding your likes from you. The platform is just trying to strike a balance between real-time alerts and not over-notifying users.