September 25, 2018: Facebook set to release first smart home device, Pinterest expands Shop the Look, TripAdvisor to unveil new website & mobile offering with  focus on social sharing, Instagram rolls out Shoppable Stories to all brands and Google rebrands News Feed

Here’s what’s worth knowing this week:

Bringing Facebook Into Your Home

The Story

Facebook is set to release its own smart home device, Portal, next week. As reported by Cheddar, the device is Facebook’s first move into hardware outside of Oculus, and is believed to look something like Amazon’s ‘Echo Show’ device – with a video screen and camera above a speaker.

Go on

In addition to its A.I.-powered video chat technology, Portal will feature integration with Amazon’s Alexa and let users play music, watch videos, see cooking recipes and get news briefs. Not only will the Portal camera use facial recognition, but it will also reportedly be able to ‘follow individuals around the room,’ tracking their every movement. Any such tracking would be used to further fuel Facebook’s massive data banks, as will any task you perform via the device – the shows you watch, the music you listen to, the people you call, etc. Creepy AF or cool? You decide.  

Ok, but why is FB doing this?

All major tech companies are working to play offense and defense in the full ecosystem – where Facebook is currently locked out. Where  the competition for standalone devices is so crowded, FB’s larger play here is to create an Apple-TV like device that connects with your TV or portal app (similar to the current FB Watch app). The opportunity for Zuck & Co. lies in their to use their own proprietary data to personalize consumers’ TV-watching experiences (which is currently  subpar, at best).


Think about a future when you no longer have the burden of deciding watch when you turn on the TV – but instead are presented with a personalized, curated feed based on the shows your friends are watching, engaging and sharing –  that’s FB’s move. As such, influencer recommendations and content will become integrated with TV, and other voice-enabled search & discovery features.


Pinterests’ ‘Shop the Look’ Expansion

The story

Pinterest is expanding access to its buyable ‘Shop the Look’ Pins, giving all businesses the capacity to utilize the engaging eCommerce option. Previously, only large companies could use Shop the Look Pins.  

What are Shop the Look Pins?

Shop the Look Pins allow businesses to tag products within organic pins. The tags appear as small white dots. When users tap on one of the white dots in a Shop the Look Pin, they’ll see more information, including pricing and availability, and a link to buy the item.

Your move

Pinterest first launched the Shop the Look Pins in Feb 2017, offering them only to large businesses. Companies had to go through Pinterest Marketing Partners Olapic and Curalate to gain access. Now, all SMBs and influencers can manually tag items with Shop the Look Pins via a self-serve tool available to all business accounts. Pinterest still recommends large retailers work with Olapic or Curalate to automate the tagging process. Influencers can manually tag items with Shop the Look Pins via a self-service tool available to business accounts


TripAdvisors’ Push Into Social  

The Story

TripAdvisor is unveiling a new website and mobile offering later this year that will give consumers the option to connect with friends, influencers, brands and publishers to build social feeds and plan trips.


TripAdvisor wants to be a one-stop-shop for consumers to share, plan and learn about new trips – and it’s easy to understand why. According to TripAdvisor data, 66 percent of trip planning incorporates reviews from other travelers, and 62 percent comes from friends and families sharing tips. By transforming into more of a social site, the brand will have an opportunity to be a destination for inspiration.  


TripAdvisor is quite literally the Amazon of travel – it’s where consumers go to research and evaluate their travel purchase decision before buying. Travel influencers will have the opportunity to translate and extend their following & influence to TripAdvisor, who has the backend (similar to Amazon) to connect that influence and content to the point-of-purchase.


Spending Paychecks One Shoppable Instagram Story At A Time

The Story

Instagram is rolling out Shopping on Stories to a wider array of brands in addition to testing a Shopping feature on its Explore hub. These launches come as the brand is rumored to be working on a standalone shopping app …  and on the heels of Instagram’s founders leaving the company. Yikes.  


One thing’s for certain – Instagrammers love to shop. According to the company’s most recent earnings  call, more than 90 million people a month tap posts to reveal shopping tags. And many brands have already taken advantage of this  – more than 25 million businesses already have Instagram accounts, and 2 million of them advertise with Facebook.


With Instagram coming out with a plethora of new features, brands have the opportunity to experiment with formats that directly lead to to transactions. In doing so, it’s important to  partner with influencers to create the content required for the shoppable Instagram experience (and to make sure influencers are using the shoppable tags). And for luxury marketers in particular, relying on stock photography is a no-go.  


Discover Google’s New News Feed

The Story

Google has officially rebranded its news feed to Discover. While you’ll still see the same listing of current topics and upcoming events, it will be even more tailored to your interests. Additionally, Discover will no longer just live in the app, it’ll appear in the Google mobile homepage as well.

Tell me more

Aside from the new name, you’ll also see new topic headers explaining why you’re seeing a particular  card in Discover and you’ll be able to dive diver deeper on topics that catch your eye. Next to each topic name is  a Discover icon, which you’ll also start to see in Search for a variety of topics. You have the opportunity to follow topics to  start seeing more of certain topics in your experience. Lastly, you’ll see new types of content in Discover – think more videos, fresh visual content, as well as evergreen content – articles and videos that aren’t new to the web, but are new to you, according to Google.


With Discover pulling in content all over the web, the opportunity for marketers lies in discoverability –  not in paid (for now). Marketers have the opportunity to repurpose existing influencer- and user-generated content across high priority SKU listings.



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