June 12, 2018: Amazon’s Indie Beauty Shop, Pinterest’s new Promoted Video offering, Instagram’s hour-long push, Facebook enters the music industry and lines blur between editorial and commerce

Here’s what’s worth knowing this week:

Amazon Goes Pretty Indie

Is there anything Amazon can’t do? This week, Amazon announced plans to launch an Indie Beauty Shop within its Marketplace, providing emerging beauty brands with an opportunity to sell their products via Amazon’s massive distribution channel. To be listed on the storefront, brands must be at least 50% independently owned and can’t be available at major retailers such as Ulta, Target or Walmart. Brands will also be required to give Amazon a 15% commission on its sales and pay a monthly $39.99 fee.

What it means, IRL: Similar to Amazon’s utter dominance in the majority of the other industries it has stepped foot in, the beauty industry is no exception. Not only does the e-commerce giant own 21.1% of U.S. beauty market share (compared to Macy’s 17.4% and Sephora’s 15%), but its beauty sales grew by 30% in the first quarter of 2018 to $900 million. As Amazon continues to expand its footprint in the beauty industry, category retailers like Ulta & Sephora have also announced plans to diversify their product mix, with a heavy emphasis on the same “indie beauty” segment that Amazon is trying to capture.=

Make it work: With Amazon & other retailers’ indie beauty push, it’s safe to assume that specialized retail holds the future for the industry – at least for the next few years. If your brand falls within the qualifying criteria to sell in Amazon’s Shop, explore it as you would a new touchpoint to engage consumers. Marketers have the ability to integrate influencers in the same way they would a regular Amazon product page, leveraging the 12+ widgets of social proof and Amazon’s A+ Content offerings. As well, the new storefront offers marketers the opportunity to commission exclusive product and influencer partnerships to drive demand – there’s just enough time to plan for a “brandXinfluencer exclusively on Amazon” collab for Holiday 2018.  


Will Pinterest’s Maximum Width Bring Maximum Results?

Size does matter. Pinterest is continuing its push into video by announcing plans for a promoted video tool that takes up the entire width of the screen. Unlike to the standard Promoted Video format that plays on one column, the new video format spans across the entirety of the app’s two-column feed, offering brands an “enhanced ability for storytelling, as well as an immersive canvas that will inspire Pinners to discover new products and services.”

While videos are not the primary medium on Pinterest, evidence suggests it is growing in popularity on the platform. Unlike on other platforms where video ads disrupt people as they’re trying to enjoy content from friends and family, Pinners say videos from brands add to the experience (1.6x), feel authentic (1.6x), and are higher quality on Pinterest compared to competitors (1.4x). Videos on Pinterest also drive action. Users are 2.7x more likely to make a purchase on Pinterest if they first see a brand video.

While Pinterest might not be right for every brand, if your audience is on Pinterest, you should be prioritizing it for influencer marketing as well. It has become the 5th most relevant brand for U.S. consumers, with 53% of Pinners considering their time well spent on the platform – higher than users of any other social platform.  

Instagram All Day in All Ways

Watch yourself, YouTube – Instagram may soon allow one-hour videos. According to sources, Instagram is planning on scratching its one-minute limit for video content and adopting an hour-long limit, with a focus on vertical video. Instagram already supports hour-long live streams, but videos you post to your profile can only be up to one minute long and story clips are capped at just 15 seconds.

Video content (both long- and short-form) continues to be an opportunity for marketers engage consumers and relay information. Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in text. With the possibility of a long-form video revolution on the Insta horizon, brands should begin working with influencers to experiment with the new content length. And if you’re not sure how to maximize this content for Instagram’s feed, here’s how it works.


Facebook’s Lip Sync Battle

Facebook has officially made its way into the music industry with the announcement of two new ways to enjoy music on Facebook. First, the platform is beginning to roll out a function allowing users in select countries to add copyrighted music to their personal videos they share in feed. It is also launching a new feature called “Lip Sync Live,” which allows users to lip sync songs in Facebook Live, accompanied by camera effects and backgrounds. With Facebook’s syndication of mainstream music, brands & influencers should include music to make video more engaging.


For Your Coworker Who “Hates Siloes”

Lines continue to blur between editorial and commerce – publishers, influencers and the like. Despite the longstanding notion that editorial content is supposed to be objective and separate from outside interests or influences, separation is dwindling as publishers are increasingly committing resourcing to promoting advertisers’ products in their editorial content. As such, the lines between editorial and commerce are blurring and, according to a new Digiday survey, only 29% of publishers think editorial content should be independent from commerce efforts. Similarly, influencers are in many ways publishers who also blur the lines –  consumers are very much already used to this.



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