March 27, 2018: Facebook attempts to bounce back and introduces new tools for creators and retailers, where have  all the ad budgets gone?, LinkedIn releases new filters for video, and Google takes a stance against fake news
Here’s what’s worth knowing this week:

Facebook Welcomes Creators With Open Arms

When Zuck & Co. aren’t busy fighting to stay out of the latest fake news scandal, they’re experimenting with new tools and experiences geared towards making Facebook more appealing to content creators and influencers. Scheduled to roll out in the coming weeks to a select group of creators, the new features are aimed at helping creators drive more fan engagement and earn revenue from their Facebook activities. To start, Facebook is piloting a subscription service feature that would grant fans access to exclusive content from their fav creator for $5/month. Creators will also be able to set up a portfolio highlighting speciality areas and brands will be able to search a creator database to source influencers for branded campaigns. Lastly, top fans will receive a badge next to their name so they can be identified by creators.

What it means, IRL: By granting influencers first-party access to their own audience data and introducing a more formalized and streamlined infrastructure, Facebook is hoping to succeed where other platforms have failed in providing services to influencers to create more content (i.e. YouTube). But, as FB continues to receive increasing scrutiny over ongoing issues of brand safety and transparency, influencers continue to prefer other platforms (i.e. Instagram).

Make it work: Influencers want more tools to produce content across all platforms … not just Facebook. As such, marketers have the opportunity take a plan from FB’s playbook and be as invested in influencers’ experience with their own brands. The easier it is for influencers to create amazing content with your brand,  understand what features influencers enjoy, and implement this type of studio in-house – the more successful your partnerships will be. #shamelessplug – we can help you do that.


Facebook Gets Personal(ized)

This week, Facebook is announcing three new tools to drive mobile and offline retail sales – and by new Zuck & Co. mean extensions of previously existing solutions: store sales optimization, Tabs for Canvas and product categories for dynamic ads. All features use Facebook behavioral data for varying degrees of personalization. Now, when shoppers see and click on a collection ad in feed they will be taken to a fullscreen experience and will see pages of a personalized catalog organized according to their interests. The goal? Drive sales through replicating a catalogue-esque experience for consumers in a much more hyper-relevant way.  

With great personalization comes great responsibility – for more content, that is. As such, brands should partner with influencers to develop the breadth of content production needed for hyper-personalization. Once you’ve found the right influencers for your brand, take it a step further and identify the right influencers for each of your sub-audiences. These individuals will not only create branded content relevant to each of your audiences, but they can also provide you with key insights from a research perspective. As such, you should work with influencers to identify the top-performing content and amplify & repurpose that content. This presents a major opportunity for the idea of influence to go beyond just content creation but transgress into insights as well. Double win.


Where Have All The Ad Budgets Gone?

Long time passing is right. According to a new report published by Media Village, overall ad spending will vary from 2% growth to 2% declines into the foreseeable future, and only three companies predicted to have meaningful ad spend growth. The lucky companies? Google, Amazon and Facebook  – yes, Facebook. Of the 750 advertiser and agency executives that Media Village surveyed, 64% of respondents stated plans to ‘definitely/probably’ increase their ad spend on Facebook in the coming year, making Facebook the platform with the highest likelihood of increased ad spend. But before Zuck & Co. start jumping for joy, it’s worth noting that this survey was conducted last December – aka before any of FB’s latest drama. And given the recent turn of events, it’s likely that FB would now surrender that top seat. #FakeNewsProbz


For Your Coworker Who Wants A Work High-Five

Even LinkedIn can’t resist the urge to copy Snapchat. Last week, LinkedIn announced plans to  jump on the video-editing trend by allowing users to add new filters to videos shared on the professional network. And by filters, LinkedIn means stickers. Think Snapchat and Instagram-esque but with only three options for stickers, so actually not at all like Snapchat and Instagram. With sooo many established players in the employee advocacy space, it’s unlikely LinkedIn will actually be able to steal any equity from Slack & co. Time to find a new side hustle, LinkedIn.


Google Combats Fake News  

On Tuesday, Google announced plans to support the media industry by fighting fake news from its search results to YouTube which will focus on credible media sources and covering breaking news by including a ‘top news’ section on YouTube for only ‘verified’ media. The new program, known as the Google News Initiative, has three specific goals: highlight accurate journalism while fighting misinformation, especially during breaking news events; help news sites continue to grow from a business perspective; and create new tools to help journalists do their jobs. And with plans to invest $300 million in this program over the next three years, it’s safe to say Google is taking this very seriously.

PSA: With Google planning to re-examine the verification process on YouTube, it’s going to be important for influencers to make sure they they are verifying their fans and followers and making sure that they are only syndicating from trusted sources. Failure to so could have major implications for influencers in the future.



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