October 16, 2018:  Facebook’s political ad AI misfires, Publishing company Meredith announces plans to produce 10 original shows for IGTV, Snapchat introduces “Snap Originals,” Reebok is in the process of  building an internal influencer team and YouTube has cracked the whip on duplicative content.

Here’s what’s worth knowing this week:


Facebook’s Political Ad AI Misfire

The Story

Facebook’s political ad police are flagging brands even when their ads are anything but political. The latest “offenders” being Reebok, Nike, and Papa John’s.

What ads were flagged?

A Reebok sports bra, Nike sneakers, and a Papa John’s pizza. Quite the political trifecta.

What happens if an ad is flagged as political?

It’s entered into Facebook’s uber transparent deep, dark political ad archive. Dun, dun, dunnnn. As scary as it sounds, there’s no real punishment for the brand other than being wrongly classified and having their ads kept publicly on file, revealing info about their top-secret marketing strategies, like how much the ads cost and how many people saw them.

What does this mean for brands advertising on FB?

In Facebook’s on-going  push for transparency, any brand that backs a social issue (or influencer who does), will probably be flagged and have some part of their strategy revealed. Reebok has long supported women’s causes – so when it comes out with a sports bra that supports women’s movement (literally) – let’s just say AI has a long way to go and still requires that human oversight.


That being said, this is also a bigger indicator of Facebook’s now conservative approach to brand safety (among other issues). As brands continue to support social causes (including working with influencers who support social causes), marketers should anticipate these types of labels (at least initially) and that some strategy and metrics will be exposed as a result. These types of trade-offs should be considered when evaluating a brand’s risk tolerance within its influencer marketing strategy, which we discuss in detail in our webinar and risk tolerance report card here.

IGTV’s Break-Through Moment?

The Story

Publishing company Meredith has announced plans to develop 10 original series for IGTV based on its titles, including Real Simple and Travel + Leisure. The first set of shows are set to premiere later this year.

Catch me up with IGTV.

It’s no secret that IGTV has been slow to catch on among brands, publishers, influencers, and users. Since its launch in June, many influencers have shied away from creating content for IGTV. Also, IGTV desperately needs user adoption, as indicated by the fact that branded content as we know it (aka ads, branded content tagging) is still not yet available on the platform.

How has influencers’ perceptions of IGTV shifted in the past 3 months?

While some influencers were initially excited to use it, they have since found that their interest levels in it have dropped. Some influencers feel like it’s not worth the effort and time investment, given that it appears their fans & followers aren’t on IGTV.  

Why is Meredith investing in IGTV?

Currently, there’s no single platform where everybody goes to watch video. In comparison with YouTube, IGTV has been slow to catch on and, as a result, is anyone’s game. Meredith sees this as a “great opportunity to move quickly, develop programming designed  for that platform and establish a leadership position.”


What happens when you cross-pollinate audiences? Audience growth, for starts. Publishers also have the ability to tap into the audiences they’ve built – when combined with the collective power of industry influencers, will this be the winning combo that makes IGTV must-see TV?  For brands interested in testing IGTV: invest in serial programming, keep it between 3 to 10 min, and partner with industry influencers to tap into the interests of niche audiences.


Snapchat’s Original Response to IGTV

The Story

Snapchat has introduced a slate of self-produced programming called “Snap Originals.” The dozen shows include a mix of scripted series and reality shows that will premiere over the next several months on the Snapchat Discover tab. Viewers will also be swipe up on their phone screens to open virtual “show portals” and step inside AR scenes from the shows.

Tell me more.

Each episode is about five minutes long and the length of  each series will be between eight and 12 episodes. The shows will include non-skippable commercials of up to six seconds. Snap has also released custom & interactive lenses for the shows, including “Reaction Lenses” for key  scenes that urge users to share their experiences with friends.


It’s no secret that, for advertisers (& and users), Instagram >  Snapchat. With Snap Originals, the network appears to be taking a page from IGTV – but instead of going to publishers, Snap is going straight to TV producers behind some of the most compelling content engaging their audiences already. In doing so, Snap is also incorporating all of the features that make Snap sticky to begin with, like Lenses and Filters.

TBD if the programming will be enough to keep viewers engaged as the company tries to reverse a declining user base.


Reebok’s Influencer Dream Team

The Story

Reebok is in the process of building an internal team dedicated to bridging the gap between its  marketing team and digital influencers.

Go on…

Purvi Patel is spearheading the operation. Patel joined Reebok at the end of 2017, and has since been tasked with creating, essentially, an in-house influencer marketing center of excellence that expands and integrates multiple influence personas – from micro-influencers to celebs like Gal Gadot and Camille Kostek – within the brand’s overarching marketing strategy. Full disclosure, Mavrck is an influencer marketing platform that supports Patel in this initiative.


Reebok’s doing it right. Not only has Patel expanded the types of influencers Reebok works with, but she’s also expanded the role of influencers beyond just content creation, including influencers in product brainstorms, focus groups, and panels, among others. Just last week, Reebok hosted the “EveryBODY has a story” panel where Camille Kostek and other Reebok influencers shared inspirational stories about their personal journeys towards self-love. Through developing authentic relationships with influencers, there is better brand alignment and a bigger relationship investment from the influencers themselves.


No More Seeing Double on YouTube

The Story

YouTube has quietly announced in its help forum that it’s doubling  down on efforts to curb abuse within the YouTube Partner Program. Specifically, a YouTube spokesperson outlined in the post that it’s cracking down on a policy regarding channels posting “duplicative content.”

How does YouTube define “duplicative content”?

YouTube describes the type of content in violation of its policies as:

  • Appearing to be automatically generated
  • Pulled from third party sources with no content or narrative added by the creator
  • Uploaded many times by multiple users and you’re not the original uploaded
  • Uploaded in a way that is trying to get around YouTube copyright tools

What it meals, IRL

If  you’re a YouTube Partner uploading someone else’s work, beware. YouTube is checking in on you and might revoke your Partner privileges. Also, see this as part of the ongoing trend to crack down on influencer fraud  – fraudulent followers, fraudulent engagement and fraudulent content. In addition to content quality, brands should be concerned with copyright  issues, and as part of a brand safety and risk tolerance analysis, evaluate whether or not the  content creators they’re working with are duplicating content – and expressing that content created on behalf of the brand is original content.


In addition to fraud and brand safety concerns, what’s interesting is  for brands to understand the potential implications of posting an influencers’ original content on their own channels (presumed  permission) – best practice is to always have explicit permission and make sure the original creator is credited. All that being said, there’s really none to  speak of yet – but if YouTube continues to crack down in the name of quality, it could be interesting to see how this evolves.



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