September 6, 2018: Instagram introduces new tools for account security and transparency, Twitter tests unfollow suggestions, Amazon reportedly has plans to launch ad-supported video service, Facebook releases new insight into how people engage with video and Dunkin Donuts adds mobile ordering to Alexa
Here’s what’s worth knowing this week:
Keep Calm & ‘Gram On
Instagram has introduced a set of new tools with security and transparency in mind. The three-part plan covers the launch of an “About this Account” section to provide more details and context into the authenticity of highly followed accounts; expanding access to blue badge verification through a global application process; and support for two-factor authentication apps from third parties.
What does this mean for the influencer marketing industry?
With increasing levels of transparency – influencer search and influencer databases are quickly being commoditized. Which means demand for influencers who are great to work with, who drive product demand, who are priced correctly – is only going to increase. Influencer relationships, and a talent pipeline is going to be critical for marketers interested in maintaining an scaling an influencer marketing program.
It’s great to see platforms taking on more accountability and responsibility for who’s engaging on their networks (vs. marketers relying on their own teams + partners to do the heavy lifting). However, it’s far from eliminating fake accounts, or requiring 2-factor auth. Nonetheless, the update is huge for communicating transparency and validation that the influencer is a real person – since it requires legal documentation; conservative marketers could move to work with ‘verified’ influencers only.
The bigger opportunity is the new access and transparency to an influencer’s account:
- Competitive analysis – know any ads the account is currently running, and understand which brands are amplifying IGC through brands directly, as well as which brands are amplifying IGC. Influencer-brand relationships become even more transparent.
- Influencer recruitment and trend-spotting – if you have an existing relationship with an influencer or group of influencers that you love and who effectively increase your reach and frequency with a target audience, ‘accounts that share the same followers’ makes it easy for marketers to find influencers who share the same audience. If the influences are diverse, understanding these dynamics can also lead marketers to uncover new trends about the interest of their target audience and new influencers they may not have considered before.
Twitter has begun testing an option that gives users suggestions on who to unfollow based on user disengagement. The test is not based on account activity, but instead on actual user engagement with their content.
Why is Twitter doing this?
Users’ social media habits are ch-ch-changing – as also indicated by Instagram’s ‘recommended posts’ test. In the past, users have seemingly been more willing to follow more Pages and connect with more people, which is what lead to Facebook News Feeds becoming overloaded, hence the algorithm. On Instagram, this new test indicates that a significant number of users are reaching the end of their fresh content stream regularly, leaving an opportunity for more discovery. It will be interesting to note if suggesting profiles to ‘unfollow’ becomes a larger trend as consumers seek more curated, authentic, and relevant experiences.
For influencers and marketers, it’s first critical to understand the shifting users behaviors and use cases for each of the social networks you’re activating on — they are not the same, and that needs to be incorporated into your influencer’s content strategy.
What Amazon Plans to do with All That IMBD Data
Amazon is reportedly launching an ad-supported video service for its Fire TV device users. The new offering, which may be called Free Dive, will be separate from Amazon Prime, the ad-free subscription service. IMBD, Amazon’s movie and TV information site, is reportedly developing the service and Amazon is working with major studios to license older TV shows for it.
It seems like just about every other major digital company is expanding their premium video offerings. Most recently, Facebook announced that Watch has gone global and also said it is expanding its Ad Breaks program to help partners monetize their video efforts. As Prime members reach saturation in US household penetration — ad-supported video becomes a funnel by which it can matriculate and upsell new Prime members; and compete with the now global Facebook Watch.
Nothing sells quite like nostalgia – Amazon is literally developing a video product based on users’ IMBD browsing habits. In addition, ad-supported video service offers Amazon yet another avenue to grow its ad revenue and compete against Facebook and YouTube; especially since it is mining IMBD data to understand what “older” shows will interest each demo and psychographic not completely tapped to its Prime subscription model; as well, if it negotiates exclusive rights for those older shows, anticipate to see even more cord-cutters leave cable to access the reruns they know and love.
Facebook’s Video Insights
Facebook has released new insight into how people engage with videos across platforms. TLDR; Zuck & Co. say people’s video experiences lie on a spectrum – quick and bite-sized at one end, when they are in discovery mode throughout their day, and deliberate and longer at the other end, when there’s time and attention for longer consumption.
Marketers and influencers should tailor their videos and video ads based on context – where displayed, how it’s being displayed, when it’s being displayed, to whom and in what stage. Facebook recommends:
- Match your message to what people expect from an experience
- Build ads catered to your audience’s viewing behaviors – even if that means a 6-second ad.
- Measure performance based on where your ad is shown
Alexa, I Want A Donut
Dunkin’ Donuts has added mobile ordering to Alexa, Amazon’s voice-enabled digital assistant. Members of Dunkin’s DD Perks Rewards program can order drinks and food on Alexa-powered devices like the Echo smart speaker for pickup in stores.
Tell me more
To place an order, customers say, “Alexa, order from Dunkin’ Donuts.” Guests are then asked which Dunkin’ Donuts location to send the order to, and the time they want their order to be ready for pickup. Guests can also order from their saved “favorites” with the Dunkin’ Mobile App.
The future of voice-enabled, location-based purchases starts with voice ordering (similar to online shopping) – but will quickly also include, “Alexa, read me reviews for this product.” “What did XYZ influencer think of this product?” “What promotions are available?” OR enable customers to hear influencers share their own reviews directly. Influencers may literally become the ‘voice’ of the brand. It also speaks to the customer journey acceleration that will occur as voice search evolves to voice commerce.
Is voice-activated customer experiences (aka “voice commerce”) the bridge that will connect online/mobile and offline retail? Marketers in all types of retail, e-comm need to understand what these types of voice-activated integrations mean, what information needs to be available, etc. to enable an entirely voice-activated customer experience.