February 13, 2018:  Facebook cracks the whip on its influencer content, Snapchat launches biggest update since launch, Facebook launches Branded Groups, VSCO unveils new Discover feature, and LinkedIn becomes content distro for publishers
Here’s what’s worth knowing this week:

Cracking The Whip

Thanks to changes Facebook made to its branded-content guidelines last month, publishers are no longer able to rely on influencers for content amplification. The guidelines, which explicitly forbid Page owners from accepting ‘anything of value’ in exchange for sharing content that they didn’t help create, are designed to limited the use of Facebook Pages sharing links to third-party websites in exchange for money.

What it means, IRL: Gone are the copy/paste days where influencers are used solely as content promoters and syndicate things verbatim – and it’s about time. Influencers should have a hand in creating said content and, more importantly, should have a hand in that process. But what happens when that does happen, but Facebook’s algorithm does not agree? If influencers are a part of the creation process and influencer platforms are facilitating this collaboration, how is Facebook planning to police that? TBD – Facebook needs to be more explicit in these guidelines.

Make it work: Bring on the influencer partnerships. If Facebook needs proof that an influencer had a hand in the creative process, developing deeper partnerships with influencers is the only viable solution. Influencers, by definition, have such rich knowledge that not including them at the point of initial campaign research, ideation, strategy, and planning is a significant missed opportunity. As marketers struggle to remain influential and trustworthy themselves, not inviting the Influencers who are influencing their target audiences into the boardroom is not only lost business insight – but now, a liability.

To start, work with influencers to validate ideas and concepts you’re developing to bring to market, and ask for feedback about their brand experiences for new insight. By bringing influencers into the marketing process as extensions of your marketing operation, you will have all the proof and evidence needed to validate that the influencer was involved in the creation of the asset itself.

For more ideas on how to incorporate influencers into your marketing process, check out our 2018 Influencer Marketing Strategy & Planning Playbook.


Snap, Crackle, Pop

‘Imagine if we sent you food you didn’t order, anyways the new Snapchat update just dropped’ – Carls Jr.

Last week, Snapchat rolled out its biggest update since the app launched in 2011 and the majority of its users aren’t thrilled – to say the least. In addition to an almost entirely new UI, the move aims to make the app more personal by separating the ‘social’ from the ‘media’ – dividing content from friends and content from publishers and influencers.

Swipe left and you’ll see a new ‘Friends’ page that includes snaps, stories, and messages from friends and family. Swipe right and you’ll see the new ‘Discover’ page that includes stories from publishers, influencers, and the Snapchat community-at-large. Sound familiar? The Snap redesign seems to take a page from Facebook’s playbook: creating separate ‘feeds’ for friends/family & publishers/media/influencers.



Snapchat has been considered popular among younger users but has struggled to attract and retain older demographics. The redesign, aimed to attract an older audience and reach advertisers with more spending power, intended to make the app easier to use and increase time spent watching relevant Stories (prioritized by a new algorithmic feed)

Whether it was worth pissing off its core user base remains TBD, and leaves us hoping this is all one giant A/B test.

Better Than the New Busta Rhymes / Missy Elliot Collab

Mark Zuckerberg is on a quest to bring the world together. Over the past few months, Facebook has adopted many new features that provide users with opportunities to connect with one another. One of these new features, Branded Facebook Groups, make it possible for page owners and/or brands to own Groups – providing brands with another method to engage audiences in a personal, more controlled environment.

While Groups are not entirely new to FB, they are growing increasingly popular among users & marketers alike. For marketers, Facebook Groups are a low-cost, engagement-driving solution to Facebook’s News Feed algorithm changes that have made organic reach practically impossible (unless you’re willing to pay up). In order to make the most of Facebook Groups, get started by surveying influencers to understand which FB Groups they’re apart of – who the admins and moderators are, and how to start building a relationship to authentically engage those communities while picking up best practices before launching a brand-owned comm.


Second That Emotion

Earlier this week, photo-sharing app VSCO launched a new ‘Discover’ feature which aims to recommend pictures in a unique way. The feature will use Ava, a machine learning AI, to help users discover pictures (or creators) that match emotional and aesthetic aspects of content that they’ve previously engaged with – unlike other “discover” features that simply recognize followers/products. If you’re not familiar with VSCO, get the low-down here.

Although VSCO is currently not as popular as Instagram, it’s a destination among younger Millennials & Gen Z-ers. VSCO could serve as a major opportunity for brands & marketers to reach a younger demographic. With the possibility of a VSCO revolution on the horizon, marketers should begin to explore and familiarize themselves with the somewhat overlooked app. Who knows, VSCO could hold the key to the future of photo-sharing apps. You can thank us later when you win your next pitch.


The New New Facebook

As Facebook continues to de-prioritize news, publishers are beginning to choose LinkedIn as a content distro platform. Since LinkedIn updated its news feed and analytics tools for publishers last May, business-focused publishers have seen increases in traffic on the platform. And, as for LinkedIn, news feed engagement is up 40 percent year over year. Despite this relatively new space for publishers, brands who have content appropriate for LinkedIn should continue to actively monitor the space. Will it be appropriate for some influencers to have a LinkedIn presence? Despite the tricky nature of finding LinkedIn influencers, it remains a massive opportunity.



“We were on the inside. We know what the companies measure. We know how they talk, and we know how the engineering works.” – Tristan Harris, a former in-house ethicist at Google.

A group of Silicon Valley technologists who were early employees at Facebook & Google have banded together to create the Center of Humane Technology – a non-profit group created to combat negative effects of social networks and smartphones and directly challenge the companies they helped build. If platforms like Google & Facebook are forced to change an unethical tactic, they’re going to be forced to limit the time spent, decreasing ad inventory, increasing ad spend, and directly challenging their entire revenue model.



Trending insights to slay your next meeting: