March 20, 2018: What Amazon’s influence means for consumer shopping behaviors, Pinterest’s new report on ‘The Deciders,’ Facebook suspends Cambridge Analytica & tests new section of Watch and #TimesUp in the ad industry
Here’s what’s worth knowing this week:

Only Amazon Allowed

Amazon-Only Shoppers are on the rise. According to PwC’s 2018 Global Consumer Insights Survey, consumers shopping exclusively on Amazon increased to 14% this year, up 4% from last year’s numbers. This year, 59% of respondents said they have shopped on Amazon, up 3 percentage points from last year. But some of their shopping behavior has changed – behaviors like checking prices on Amazon (41%) and starting product searches on the platform (36%) decreased year over year.

What it means, IRL: Few companies consistently incorporate the diversity of social proof into customer experience touchpoints as Amazon – it’s why it is the leading destination for product research and the number of Amazon-Only shoppers are on the rise. On the long scroll down to read a review on any given Amazon product page – now becoming the first and last touchpoint on any given customer journey – consumers have the opportunity to engage with no fewer than 12 different indicators of social proof, varying from recommendation widgets displaying influencer and user-generated content to star ratings and product reviews.

Make it work: It’s no longer enough to compete on products or services alone – Amazon has made sure of it, almost systematically rendering entire industries obsolete through elevated experiences, prices, and customer service – and doing so, it’s changed customer’s brand expectations fundamentally. It’s why Amazon is emerging as a marketing discipline in its own right. As such, 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 we all need to be prepared for. As your brand evolves its Amazon-facing strategy, make sure you are fully maximizing Amazon product pages – leveraging the 12+ widgets as social proof to guide decision-making and accelerate the path-to-purchase.

Disclaimer: Despite Amazon’s growing presence, the majority of sales are still happening offline. As such, it is equally important for brands to have a buttoned up in-store strategy, with an emphasis on the customer experience. Failure to do so can ruin a brand. #RIPToysRUs


Pinterest’s X Factor

Pinterest released a new report into how women aged 25-54 use the platform, a segment they’re naming  ‘The Deciders.’ Not only does this audience makes the majority of purchase decisions in U.S. households, but they are responsible for 80% of household buying, and they control more than 50% of the wealth in the U.S. And – that’s not all – Pinterest says that their platform reaches 83% of all women 25-54 in the U.S. – more than Instagram, Snap and Twitter.

This isn’t exactly surprising – with over 200 million monthly users, Pinterest is still among the fastest growing social networks today. Its platform more closely resembles Google than a social feed and it has completely changed how consumers shop online. In fact, in the pivotal customer decision journey, Pinterest is second only to search when determining purchase intent – 93% of users use Pinterest to plan purchases. While it also drives 7% of all social referral traffic on the web, which is 10x that of Instagram.

With the highest growth rate among all social media platforms, Pinterest is poised to become the go-to social channel for advertisers in the next few years. As such, brands should work with influencers to create and curate Pinterests boards and then amplify that content to other social channels. In turn, influencer-generated Pinterest content should be optimized for Pinterest’s most popular categories so that it’s discoverable.


Facebook’s Battle With Fake News Gets Personal

Things aren’t looking too hot for Facebook, who has – once again – found itself in the hot seat over the role its policies may have played in the 2016 presidential election. Over the weekend, two reports by The Guardian and The New York Times surfaced claiming that more than 50 million Facebook users had personal data used without their knowledge by Cambridge Analytica, a U.K.-based data firm employed by Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016.

According to Facebook, the episode was not a “data breach” but instead was the work of an academic researcher who obtained the user data legitimately (via an app that offered “personality tests”) but misused it when he passed it to the data firm. Nonetheless, Facebook has released a statement suspending Cambridge Analytica from its platform, banning the company from buying ads or running its Facebook page.


Publishers Give Facebook Watch the Side Eye

Facebook’s relationship with publishers remains complicated. Over the  weekend, Facebook announced plans to launch a news section of its Watch platform and is testing different video partnerships with around 10 publishers. In an effort to ‘help publishers connect with audiences outside of the News Feed,’ the new section would be the first standalone news product for national news in Watch. Previously, news had been hosted on the platform mixed in with other publisher content through delivery mechanisms such as Instant Articles and Facebook Live. Given Facebook’s track record of introducing new initiatives with news organizations, the move’s got publishers feeling suspicious.

Will Facebook’s complicated relationship with publishers end in a break-up? Too soon to tell. Facebook’s  struggling with a lot these days – from fake news to inappropriate content to its current relationship with publishers. Afterall, Facebook once was publishers biggest referral source, but after effectively removing news from the News Feed, publishers were left wondering WTF. While Facebook’s latest news edition to Watch may gradually give some publishers access to the platform, it may be a little too late.


#TimesUp In The Ad Industry

This week, a group of more than 180 senior female ad execs announced the launch of Time’s Up Advertising, the first official vertical under the Time’s Up movement – #YASSS! The program’s goal is ‘to take a critical look at the organizational structure and systemic imbalances to ensure safety and equality for everyone, everywhere.’ The group will host the first community meetings on Monday, May 14th in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles – women within ad agencies are invited and encouraged to bring their voices and recommendations to these meetings.



“Influencer marketing is gaining scale. Essentially, people are becoming media. But our clients lack the data to systematically choose the right influencers. Influencer campaigns are being done very ad hoc.” – Doug Rozen, Chief Digital & Innovation Officer at Omnicom

Influencer marketing is growing – but the space is not without its challenges. As fraud continues to plague the influencer marketing space, brands like Nike and HelloFresh are bringing influencer marketing in-house and are relying on AI tools to get the job done.



People move past product reviews for purchase decisions


Rihanna protests ad on Snapchat that mocks domestic violence


Zara sharpens focus on digital