January 19, 2018: Facebook prioritizes friends & family over publishers, Google updates Duo app, Amazon inspires potential Walmart Google partnership, and YouTube attempts a comeback. 

Here’s what’s worth knowing this week:

The Purge

Another day, another change to Facebook’s News Feed. On Thursday, FB announced that its News Feed algorithm was being tweaked to ‘prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people [and to] prioritize from friends and family over public content.’ As a result, users will see fewer posts from publishers and brands. According to FB, the update is designed to encourage people to interact more with content that they actually want see – with the thinking that users are more likely to comment and discuss a post shared from a friend/family member than one shared by a brand or publisher.

What it means, IRL: Quality > Quantity. With the change, Zuck & Co. expect that people will spend less time on the platform. However, they also expect that the time people do spend on the platform will be more valuable. With FB prioritizing content from friends & family, where influencer content falls will depend on who they are and how they’re posting. Similar to brands and publishers, for mega- and macro-influencers publishing from their own verified pages, it’s likely their content will be deprioritized (unless it’s paid, of course). However, it’s likely that micro-influencers and advocates, who post from their own personal, private profiles, will get that VIP access to the top of consumers’ feeds. However, macro-influencers that have a community built around them will most likely not be affected by this change as long as they focus on conversational content.

Make it work: For brands to have their content top of feed, marketers need to diversify their influencer marketing mix. Relying on a single influencer persona to create and curate brand content isn’t gonna cut it. To maximize your marketing efforts, brands should work across the spectrum of influence, leveraging influencers, advocates, and referrers to create, co-create or amplify content.

New Phone, Who Dis?

Live video isn’t going anywhere any time soon – you know that, I know that, and Google knows that. In order for Google to compete against Apple’s Facetime (and Microsoft’s Skype, Amazon’s Echoview, FB’s Instagram Direct, etc.), they know that they desperately need to drive adoption of their voice and video calling app, Duo. Last week, it launched a new feature for Duo in which users can call contacts who don’t have the app. For those who haven’t downloaded the Duo app, an incoming Duo call appears exactly as it would appear on the app – the call will fill the screen and you’ll see the camera of the person calling you. Then, you are given the option to answer the call, hang up, mute your mic, or change cameras. At the end of the call, you’ll be prompted to install Google Duo.

I Now Pronounce You WalGoog

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Amazon has emerged as a business strategy and a marketing discipline in its own right. Over the past few months, we’ve seen Amazon’s complete dominance spark some non-traditional partnerships between frenemies. This is why a Google – Walmart (and possibly Target) partnership is likely this year. For Google, Walmart adds a retail entity to its Google Express service, an online shopping market place in need of an anchor. For Walmart, Google enables them to take a step in the right direction of voice-enabled future of commerce. Stay tuned, 2018 is about to get interesting.


YouTube is cracking the whip on its partner program and subsequent video monetization requirements. Moving forward, to apply for monetization (and have ads attached to videos), creators must have logged 4,000 hours of overall watch time on their channel within the past 12 months and have at least 1,000 subscribers. The result? We predict lots of frustrated micro- and emerging macro-influencers – as the subscriber requirements would effectively prohibit them from earning ad revenue. Without the ability to monetize revenue, it’s likely these influencers will have to lean more into brand collaborations and partnerships as a revenue stream. As a result, it could become more expensive for brands looking to collaborate with micro-influencers on YouTube.

YouTube also plans to increase the amount of human vetting for videos that are featured as a part of Google Preferred. Effective immediately, ads will only run next to  videos that have been verified as compliant with guidelines by an actual person – and it’s about time. With a clear emphasis on brand-safety, Google Preferred is pitched to brands as the best way to put their ads in front of some of YouTube’s most popular and brand-safe content in key demographics.


‘Influencer marketing will change to become more of an intrinsic part of the marketing strategy. This could mean taking quotes from an influencer and using it in advertising or using their photos and videos in some form of paid media’ – Anand Narayanan, Head of Digital at Panasonic UK.

In the same way that social impacts multiple organization beyond just marketing (i.e. customer service, research, experience, design, etc.), influencer marketing is emerging as a strategy in the same way. Check out the rest of the four-part video series exploring how top companies will be using social media to shape their marketing agendas in 2018.


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