March 6, 2018: Google reveals that the need for ratings & review-inspired video content is increasing, Facebook invests in publishers & kills LittleThings, and YouTube releases new tools for live streaming.
Here’s what’s worth knowing this week:


Standalone product ratings & reviews just aren’t cutting it anymore for today’s consumers. Google has found that consumers are both seeking out – and watching – other people’s personal experiences to help them decide what’s right for them. According to the Googs new research, people want to see people like them explaining, reviewing, and rating products, experiences, and processes in video format. It’s one of the reasons why, in the past two years, Google has seen 6x growth in mobile watch time of travel diaries and vlogs. Forget polished website pictures, people want to see people they can relate to talking honestly about a product – both the good, the bad, and the ugly.

What it means, IRL: Where consumer choice is infinite and brands no longer control the message, social proof is the new currency of success. The bigger implication, is that consumers don’t want to spend so much time making one decision and are looking to short-form content validation to do it (think stars, likes, upvotes paired with pictures & video).

Make it work: Ratings & reviews have always been important – and if you want to accelerate the path-to-purchase, experiment with paring them with IGC. To start, brands have the opportunity gather their ratings & reviews data and use these insights to generate ideas for future influencer marketing campaigns. For example, ratings & review feedback that reveal questions about a product or experience, can be used in your next brief to influencers to review the product via video to help answer the questions.


Hate To See You Go

But Facebook loves to watch you leave?

Based solely on FB’s recent algorithm changes, it would appear that Zuck & Co. have no intentions of playing nice with publishers – but, recent actions would suggest otherwise. Last week, Zuck & Co. announced plans to invest $3 million in new program to help newspapers boost their digital subscription efforts, while also releasing new, full-screen subscription ads for publishers using Instant Articles. Headed by Tim Griggs, the pilot program is designed to help publishers learn about what works to drive people to subscribe to local outlets.

Just like the hottest new juice cleanse, Facebook is pressing the reset button – this time on its relationship with publishers. The launch of the Local News Subscription Generator is evidence that Facebook does want publishers active on the platform and in the News Feed – but not without guardrails. By making publishers pay-to-play, Zuck & Co. gain transparency and visibility into the stories publishers are promoting, the people they’re promoting them to, and why.

Reaching consumers in the News Feed has been a priority for over a decade now – but the extent of which consumers rely on social feeds for credible information is just only being understood. It’s likely that Facebook’s recent actions are designed to control the proliferation of fake news on their platform – something that landed them in the hot seat recently.


Death By Algorithm

Facebook’s recent algo change has claimed its first casualty. LittleThings, a 4-year-old digital publisher that focused on sharing feel-good stories and videos on Facebook, shut down last week as a result of FB’s latest News Feed changes. While LittleThings isn’t the only publisher to have built an audience on Facebook, it was more dependent on the platform than most – losing 75 percent of their organic reach following FB’s de-prioritization of publisher content.

To avoid further algo-induced casualties, brands & publishers should aim for a diversified channel mix, and avoid prioritizing one channel. As such, marketers can also increase their impact by repurposing high-performing influencer content across the breadth of social channels in order to reach the most eyeballs and remain contextually relevant to the masses in this new algo era.


And None For Twitter

Trends on trends on trends. Last week, a Media Village roundup reported that marketers spent a whopping $53 billion on ads in 2017, up 3.7% from 2016. Among the array of verticals, digital was the largest driver of growth, increasing 12% year-over-year. Within the category, Facebook, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and Pinterest all showed substantial growth, while Twitter was the only prominent social media network to see a year-over-year decline in ad rev.

Similar to the growth in digital, influencer marketing has seen notable growth.

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Live, From YouTube

Step aside Facebook & Instagram Live, YouTube is coming in hot. The video streaming giant has one-upped its live streaming services by introducing new tools to improve the experience for creators and users. Starting this week, live streaming will now include chat replay, automatic English captions, location tags, and IFTTT (If This Then That) technology integrated into the Super Chat monetizing tool.

The new features open up a whole plethora of possibilities for brand content, influencer partnerships, and consumer engagement. For brands looking to jump into YouTube’s live streaming waters, start by working with influencers to host or co-host live streams. Then, keep the conversation going by collaborating with engaged influencers and advocates who aren’t directly involved in the live stream leverage the Super Chat feature as a point of strategic communication – calling out unique product features, use cases, or good, old-fashioned fan love.



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