November 14, 2018: Pinterest redesigns “Following” tab, Facebook preps for inevitable brand safety issues with Watch, Netflix overtakes live TV as viewers’ preferred platform for favorite shows, connected cars may be the future of advertising, and an ad agency launches a DTC brand in the name of research.
Here’s what’s worth knowing this week:
Pinterest’s “Following” Tab Glow Up
Pinterest’s “Following” Tab had a major redesign on mobile, transforming the iconic two-column grid into an “immersive single-pin format” (AKA: a feed). There is also a horizontal row of Pinterest-recommended accounts that users can follow. Aside from the layout changes, the chronological feed still works more or less in the same way that it did before.
Bring me up to speed on Pinterest’s “Following” tab.
Previously, the Pinterest experience didn’t take into account who you followed. The “Following” tab launched back in March and provides users with a dedicated section of the app where they can follow posts from other Pinners. The “People You Follow” tab is almost entirely chronological; posts don’t appear higher because they’ve received more engagements or because its feed AI thinks you’ll like them more.
What’s Pinterest saying about the update?
“In continuing to respond to Pinner feedback, today we’re launching an immersive single-Pin format for easy scanning from idea to idea. And, now just one tap on a Pin in the “Following” tab will take you directly to the website for more information from the creators, driving traffic to influencers, publishers and brands.” User feedback, FTW.
As Facebook & Co. realize and come to terms with the fact that its News Feed does more to divide and depress rather than inspire (as indicated by the new time-spent metrics, among others), Pinterest has the opportunity to redefine what the news feed is. For Pinterest, the purpose of its feed is to bring people together by inspiring positive action, where users think “more about themselves than what others think of them.” While my #PinterestFails may suggest otherwise, at least I tried, right?
But it brings up another point: does a news feed need to inspire in order to connect? If a news feed stresses us out, will we abandon it? With more than 200 million monthly users, the importance and value of Pinterest continues to increase for marketers and influencers alike. Pinterest’s “Following” tab redesign allows both brands and influencers to more directly engage with people on the network – which is a massive opportunity (think the benefits of Instagram, but actionable and measurable). For tips on how to get started on optimizing influencer-generated content (IGC) for Pinterest, check out our latest webinar.
Watch How Facebook Is Learning From YouTube’s Mistakes
Since the beginning of 2018, Facebook has seen a 14x increase in viewership of Watch video content. As a result, Zuckerberg has hinted that the company may be “phasing out” its classic News Feed to focus on its Stories and Messenger features. In doing so, Facebook may be taking a page out of YouTube’s playbook in how it approaches marketers’ brand safety concerns, as evidenced in a recent Ad Exchanger interview with Kate Orseth, Director of Media Monetization Product Marketing at Facebook.
Earlier this summer, FB rolled out Watch globally and, as part of the rollout, allowed creators and publishers with Pages to set up and fund their own Watch shows through Creator Studio. Facebook is not only driving user adoption and engagement through the release of new Watch features (i.e., Watch Parties, algorithm changes), but it is also actively incentivizing publishers to create their own Watch programming in a rev-share model from mid-roll and pre-roll ads.
How is FB preparing for inevitable brand safety issues with Watch?
We’re glad you asked. In a nod to YouTube’s mistakes, which resulted in Marc Pritchard famously yanking his ads from the platform, Facebook has released a slew of features for Watch designed with brand safety in mind. Among them: publisher page blacklists to avoid delivering ads in certain environments that may not align with your brand and content guidelines for monetization that dictate what types of videos are ad-safe, among others.
Brand safety continues to be top of mind for many marketers – and it’s easy to see why, especially given FB’s recent challenges. As evidenced above, FB is learning from YouTube’s mistakes in planning and designing for brand safety earlier in its video advertising lifecycle. Despite FB taking steps to become a safe advertising environment for brands, marketers still need to remain hyper-vigilant when advertising on any platform.
I Want My
MTV On-Demand, Bingeable, Commercial-free Netflix
According to Hub Research’s 2018 “Conquering Content” study, Netflix has overtaken live TV as the platform where TV viewers prefer to watch their favorite shows, with 32 percent of respondents citing Netflix as the source of their favorite shows. Live TV, which had previously led the category, only secured 26 percent of the vote.
Tell me more.
While results from 2017 marked the first time the majority of respondents preferred online viewing (as opposed to on a set-top box), the results of this year’s study indicated an acceleration of that shift. Additionally, when considering the effectiveness of advertising, word-of-mouth and social media continue to be the driving factors for new show discovery online. In contrast, for shows watched on set-top boxes, the majority of respondents learned about shows through traditional advertising.
Hub principal Jon Giegengack says it best: “These findings illustrate how content that’s available online spreads more efficiently — from person to person, rather than being driven by marketing spend. So far, this has mostly benefited streaming platforms. But it also suggests that making at least some episodes available on demand is an effective way to help new linear shows cut through the clutter.”
Many traditional TV networks do make some episodes available online, but not without significant hurdles (cable companies aren’t exactly known for their amazing customer experience). It’s not enough anymore for marketers to have show stars live-tweet episodes to drive tune in. There are major efficiencies to be gained by leaning into the digital capabilities available and leveraging those same stars and fans to drive online viewing.
Connected Cars & the Next Battleground for Attention
Tech companies ranging from Google to Apple to Uber are investing in self-driving tech. However, we’re only just beginning to understand what that future looks like. With the average person spending more than 200 hours per year commuting, it’s an area that’s long overdue for disruption, and a massive opportunity to capture attention.
What does the future of the automotive industry look like?
In the battle for eyeballs and time spent, the car will become the hardware and software to deliver new, connected consumer experiences. The convergence of technology and entertainment could mean that the car becomes the new living room (think of the surround sound and screen potential). And, as we continue to enter the post-Facebook era, it’s important to think about where consumers’ attention will shift to next. Self-driving, connected cars have the potential to capture the interest of generations who have begun to reject mediums that have become central parts of marketing (i.e., television, radio, newspapers, social networks).
Will influencer suggestions influence the routes that our cars take? Where consumers are already looking to influencers to inform their next travel destination and itinerary, imagine an autonomous car that could be programmed to deliver that same experience or suggest recommendations as you pass influencers’ favorite spots. Too soon to tell, but we’re excited.
Are Agencies The New Brands?
Independent agency Decoded has decided to “put its money where its mouth is,” by launching its own brand, 42 Birds, an eco-friendly cork yoga equipment company.
You know it, we know it, and Decoded CEO Matt Rednor knows it: the in-house (and agency) model is flawed on both sides. As a response, Rednor created his own DTC brand to “learn this world and become experts in it… and take the risks needed by controlling the full end-to-end.” As well, 42 Birds provide Decoded with a test-and-learn gateway to becoming a master of Amazon and other marketplace giants.
Should agencies test brand concepts to maintain relevancy and expertise? If agencies are the experts in brand-building and marketing, why should they not lead by example? Agencies have the in-house resources needed to succeed (i.e. paid media, creative, PR chops) – why not work to solve more of consumers’ problems? There’s no better way to learn what actually works than from direct experience.