September 24, 2019: Facebook introduces new interactive ads; Publishers lean into IGTV; Nielsen updates content rating system; YouTube changes its mind on controversial verification system; Pinterest updates visual search capabilities

Here’s what’s worth knowing this week: 


Oh, Facebook, It Wants to Have Fun

The Story

Last Thursday, Facebook introduced three new interactive ad solutions: video poll ads, AR ads, and playable ads.  

Tell me about them.

Video poll ads: Facebook is bringing the Instagram poll stickers everyone knows and loves to Facebook mobile feed ads. Based on initial research, poll ads have driven increased brand awareness and conversions, specifically increasing brand awareness in five out of nine brand lift studies when compared to video ads.

AR ads: Facebook announced plans to open up a global beta for AR ad units, making the ad format available to all advertisers. Previously, the ad format was only available for a select number of brands. For WeMakeUp, AR ads drove a 27.6% brand lift in purchases, with the average person spending 38 seconds interacting with the ad unit. 

Playable ads: Facebook also said it was expanding a beta of playable ads–the mobile app ads originally released for gaming advertisers–to all advertisers. The ad unit is now available for reach, brand awareness, conversions, and video views objectives. 

What’s Facebook saying?

People want to be included in your next big idea, and they are using new innovative ways to do it – fewer words, more GIFs, Facebook Live videos, Reactions, emojis, face filters and stickers. In turn, brands and people are becoming more intertwined, and it’s changing digital advertising from a one-way push communication to an ongoing dialogue powered by creativity.” 


Facebook’s latest AR updates help the social network to diversify its ad offerings and appeal to more advertisers – especially considering the fact that YouTube, Snapchat, and Twitch already have AR ads and brands are already leaning into the features as they look to boost engagement. As social platforms and brands continue to shift away from passive engagements (think: vanity metrics), we could begin to see more active forms of engagements (think: poll responses or augmented features) emerge as the new norm for brands. 

With social media platforms and technology companies (hayyy, new iPhone) making it easier for brands to create AR experiences, marketers can think about using AR as a layering technique, adding in different forms of social proof onto existing influencer- and brand-generated content. For instance, influencers could create video product reviews and then layer on a five-star filter with an AR lens. 


Don’t Call It A Comeback: IGTV Becomes a Distro Destination

The Story

In the past couple of months, publishers from the likes of Vice Media to ESPN have begun using IGTV as a place to distribute branded content. 

What’s the deal with IGTV?

Since its launch 15 months ago, publishers have remained skeptical of IGTV due to  its non-existent growth and lack of ads, leaving publishers no way to monetize their content on the platform. However, in the past six months, a growing number of publishers claim that they have figured out how to grow their audiences within IGTV, viewing it as a distribution channel and repurposing the content on Snapchat and Facebook, capitalizing on the homogeneity of platforms’ video products.=

What are the benefits of IGTV?

Added exposure for no additional time, money, or resources. As a result of all the places that IGTV content can surface within Instagram – in-feed, Explore tab, or on an account’s profile page – IGTV content lasts longer and, as a result, sometimes even generates more views than in-feed video. 


As TV viewership on traditional linear TV declines and more people engage with devices like AppleTV and distribution options on social, this very well could be the beginning of a new OTT strategy where content is published on YouTube and then syndicated to Netflix, TV, IMDB TV, Instagram, and Facebook Watch as a distribution strategy. 

While it may still be too soon to tell if IGTV will fuel widespread adoption, the fact that it’s even taking off is somewhat surprising – especially given how much Facebook has struggled to get Watch to take off. Although marketers first looked at IGTV as a “special” channel, marketers are beginning to realize that they don’t need to create original content for IGTV – especially now that IGTV allows for horizontal videos. Additionally, as viewers continue to embrace long-tail video content, the sharing of previews in-feed as a teaser to the full content continues to be best practice. 


Not Unrelated: Nielsen Credits Creators for Boosting TV Show Exposure

The Story

Nielsen announced that its Social Content Ratings solution now measures talent promotion of television programs across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Based on this solution, talent was found to be responsible for driving nearly 60% of all social engagement for TV shows, more than network and program accounts combined. 


According to Nielsen Social Content Ratings data, more than 6,000 talent accounts published over 164,000 pieces of social content during the 2018 TV season, driving more than 170 million engagements for TV programs (equating to nearly 60% of social engagements for all shows).

For example, Jimmy Fallon has taken great advantage of this – uploading short clips from the Tonight Show to YouTube which has boosted the channel to over 22M subscribers and garnered 2.6B views in 2018. These clips have already been approved and reviewed for TV so they play right into YouTube’s increasingly strict and advertiser friendly trending and recommended algorithm. Reaching this larger audience has allowed Jimmy Fallon to become a brand separate from the Tonight Show as shown by his involvement (and the demand for it) in conferences like Vidcon and annual content like YouTube Rewind.


YouTube Says NVM To Verification System Changes

The Story

In a strange turn of events, YouTube has changed its mind on the controversial verification system changes it announced last week.

I missed it. What were the verification system changes?

Last Thursday, YouTube announced updates to its verification program for creators, essentially making it harder for channels to earn checkmarks next to their names and removing verification badges from those that didn’t meet the new criteria. The outlined changes required prominent creators to have a “clear need for proof of authenticity” in order to earn a badge – instead of the prior requirement of having 100,000 or more subscribers. 

So, YouTube went back on its word?

Pretty much. In a new announcement, YouTube has said that all creators who are currently verified will get to keep their verification status, and creators who are not yet verified will still be able to apply for it once they hit 100,000 subscribers. The only change that isn’t being reversed is that YouTube will now actually verify that channels are authentic. 


With the culture of fraud and gamification that persists (and platforms’ inabilities to prevent and police inauthentic activity and bad actors on their platforms), each platform is now dependent on these verification/credibility systems to self-police. 


Pinterest Goes All-In On Visual Search

The Story

Last week, Pinterest made a few updates to its visual search capabilities – the biggest of which was the integration of shoppable Pins (i.e., Pins with products, pricing info, and a direct link to check out) directly into search results.

You said updates.

Yes, we did. In addition to the addition of shoppable Pins into search results, Pinterest also added a new option to Lens, which enables users to save the images of the objects that they capture through Lens (as opposed to just using them as a search template). Other improvements to Lens include the ability to recognize more than 2.5 billion objects across home and fashion Pins. For reference, that’s 1.5 billion more products than Google Lens. 

What’s Pinterest saying?

“Lens is smarter than ever. Computer vision technology is no longer just a futuristic idea – it’s made its way out of the labs and into the hands of Pinners who use the technology every day. From camera search where a picture is entered as the query, to saving Pins, visual signals power search, recommendations and results across Pinterest.”


Not only are 80% of Pinners beginning with a visual search when shopping (versus 58% of non-Pinners), but also 61% say it “elevates their experiences” while in-store, and 49% say visual search helps them to develop better relationships with brands.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: consumers can only discover products that are available to be found.  With Pinterest effectively augmenting shoppable items via Lens over objects, it’s more important now than ever before that brands catalog their IGC by product and incorporate that imagery on product pages. 



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