March 26, 2019: Pinterest files for IPO; Snapchat and Warner Brothers create voice-augmented AR filter; Walmart takes on Amazon via JetBlack; Delta taps Forbes 30 Under 30 for new partnership; YouTube pulls plug on original programming
Here’s what’s worth knowing this week:
What You Need to Know About Pinterest’s IPO
Last Friday, Pinterest officially filed for an IPO. In the S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company announced plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “PINS” by April.
The TLDR on the S-1 filing.
PINS on PINS on PINS. Although the company hasn’t disclosed its share prices or how much it wants to raise from the offering, Pinterest’s latest estimates put the valuation around $12 billion. The filing also revealed significant deets about Pinterest’s financial growth, like its $755.9 million in revenue last year (up 60 percent YoY) and its $9.04 average revenue per U.S. user (up 47 percent YoY).
The non-social social network.
Throughout the S-1 filing, Pinterest does not call itself a social network. Instead, the platform is positioning itself as a “visual discovery engine that delivers recommendations,” referring to itself throughout the filing as a “discovery platform,” a “productivity tool,” and a “media-rich utility.” This makes one of its primary competitors Google, as well as Instagram as Facebook moves to monetize the network into a visual search engine for shopping.
Pinterest is growing and it’s growing fast. In the growth strategy outlined in the S-1, Pinterest emphasizes its investment in creators in the last year as a strategic driver of both current and future growth. Specifically, Pinterest details plans to “bring additional high-quality commercial content onto the platform by deepening partnerships with brands, retailers and content creators.”
The success of Pinterest as a platform is largely dependent on creators’ abilities to create content that inspires ideas and actions, and as a result, Pinterest continues to be committed to helping creators succeed on the platform. As outlined in the S-1, the platform continues to invest in key features and partnerships that have made it easy to foster brand-creator collaborations.
With 250 million people using Pinterest every month to determine what to do or buy next, Pinterest is the visual discovery engine that every brand should be using in its influencer marketing efforts. There is a unique and timely opportunity to reach consumers as they’re most open and receptive to new ideas. 97 percent of searches on Pinterest are unbranded, providing an opportunity for brands to win consumers at a crucial stage of the customer journey. For tips on where to get started, check out our Influencer Marketing on Pinterest Playbook.
Shazam! Snapchat’s Voice-Enabled AR Lens Is Here
Snapchat and Warner Brothers have teamed up to create the first voice-activated augmented reality (AR) lens as part of the promotion for superhero movie Shazam!
Once Snapchat users open the lens, saying “OK, Shazam!” will activate it and will transform them into virtual superheroes. The lens will be available in more than 20 global territories, including the U.K., France, and Mexico. In addition, billboards in NYC and LA will feature the Snapcode that unlocks the lens.
Now trending: AR marketing and non-social social networks
Snapchat continues to lead the industry with its AR marketing strategy, which saw $281M in Q4 ad revenue, an increase of 74 percent YoY and 38 percent quarter-over-quarter. Adding new elements to Lenses makes sense for Snapchat as the company has previously reported that more than 70 percent of Snapchat’s active users play with or view Lenses daily.
It’s also no secret that, in today’s world, social networks don’t have the best reps – and it’s no coincidence that, similar to Pinterest’s messaging in its S-1, Snapchat has avoided calling itself a social network, instead referring to itself as a “messaging platform.”
Consumers are bombarded with thousands of messages and with the influencer marketing space only getting more crowded, the attentional and visual fatigue is real. How then, as a brand, do you ensure your message reaches your target audience?
The next frontier of influencer marketing lies in influencer-generated sonic content. As seen with the Warner Brothers and Snapchat collab (and Mastercard’s sonic branding), audio content presents the next big opportunity to reach consumers in new, innovative ways.
Walmart’s Secret Weapon for Taking on Amazon
Through a new experiment called JetBlack, Walmart is taking on Amazon by capitalizing on a market that Amazon has mostly overlooked: the high-end customer looking for a curated, personal-shopper-like experience.
An extension of Jet.com, JetBlack calls itself a “members-only personal shopping and concierge service that combines the convenience of e-commerce with the customized attention of a personal assistant.”
Who’s the program for?
Wealthy, working mothers in Manhattan (for now). JetBlack’s services cost $600 per year and, for that fee, members can order anything except fresh food, alcohol, and prescription drugs, and will usually get it the same day. They can also request recommendations on certain items from category experts and have their assistants pick up gifts, complete with gift-wrapping and handwritten cards.
It’s also worth noting that, JetBlack is currently employing recent college grads to serve as personal assistants for the service, but if JetBlack really wants to target working moms in NYC, they need to go straight to the source and partner with working moms in NYC. Working moms want to read reviews and receive relevant recommendations from other working moms, not recent college grads.
Sounds like Amazon Prime.
Not quite. While Prime is great when you know exactly what you want (or if you’re a drunk shopper), if you want something new or unfamiliar, Amazon’s interface can be challenging — especially because Amazon has essentially removed the human element from just about every consumer touchpoint, relying on technology to drive efficiencies and maximize scale. For instance, the “Amazon’s Choice” recommendation is algorithm-generated (vs. human-generated) and users must scroll through countless reviews to determine which product is the best choice. But what happens when the item in consideration hasn’t received any reviews, or worse, what if the reviews are fraudulent? Walmart is positioning JetBlack as a means of eliminating those pain-points through human connection.
Discovery shopping is looking like the next big growth opportunity in e-commerce, in part because Amazon has established a dominant position in “utility shopping.” Where Amazon continues to prioritize profitability (as seen through cannibalizing its own ads, for instance), Walmart has the opportunity to disrupt by delivering personalized shopping experiences through human connection, going above and beyond what the consumer expects.
Delta Is Flying High With Influencers As Consultants
Delta is tapping into the Forbes Under 30 community in a first-of-its-kind partnership to develop new and thoughtful flight experiences.
The Delta Under 30 Advisory Board includes Forbes 30 Under 30 honorees representing a diverse set of young innovators, entrepreneurs, and risk-takers who are lending their industry disrupting experience to Delta. The goal? Enhance Delta’s customer experience by reimagining innovative products, experiences, and offerings across the entire journey – from shopping online, to traveling to the airport and the in-flight experience.
What’s Delta saying?
“Bringing together a diverse group of successful and innovative entrepreneurs gives us another window into future-forward minds that think differently about what’s possible. Together, we are exploring scalable ideas that speak to what our customers tell us is important to their experience, and support the Delta-wide effort to transform travel into a part of the journey you can look forward to.” – Julieta McCurry, managing director of Marketing Communications
What are influencers saying?
“I’m so excited and honored to be joining the Delta Under 30 Advisory Board. Travel is embedded so deeply into every facet of my life. As the founder of a travel media brand that inspires millions of people to explore, connect and grow, I have so much invaluable insight from the next generation of travelers that I can’t wait to share with the Delta team. I’m a loyal Delta customer myself and I’m excited to help them reimagine the experience of air travel as they continue to innovate.” – Andy McCune, Cofounder of Unfold
As seen in the example above, there are so many innovative ways to partner with influencers. he value of partnering and collaborating with influencers is found not only in their reach and content, but also in their insights, and using the power of those with influence as consultants and research partners is also news-worthy. Influencers are now the people who best understand consumer behavior, so failing to involve influencers during the ideation, strategy, and planning phases of campaign (and brand) management is a significant missed opportunity.
YouTube Pulls Plug On Original Programming
Just as Apple gets ready to announce its streaming service, complete with original programming, YouTube has decided to call it quits. Specifically, YouTube has stopped accepting pitches for big-budget scripted shows and, most recently, has canceled two of its biggest original series, “Origin” and “Overthinking with Kat & June.”
The streaming service market has become extremely competitive and, unless you’re willing to shell out billions, it’s hard to compete with the likes of Amazon and Netflix, who hold the top spots in the industry. The YouTube news also comes as Apple and Disney are both set to announce their own video streaming services, complete with original content. Apple, specifically, has detailed plans to spend as much as $2 billion on original content this year and Netflix invested $8 billion in 2018 alone. So, while it made sense at first for YouTube to test a subscription-based model, the lack of access ultimately left viewers uninterested and creators frustrated over the lack of viewership.
While it’s expected that YouTube Premium will still be available, its focus will be primarily on music and original content from YouTube creators, rather than on premium content from Hollywood stars. For some time now, influencers have been reluctant to create content for YouTube Premium for Originals programming because of the growing concern that videos weren’t being seen by as many people as YouTube’s free, ad-supported content. If YouTube is serious about relying on content from creators, it’s going to need to first attract creators back to the platform.