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May 9rd, 2016:  AdBlock Plus takes a seat at the mediation table, everyones playing video [ad] games, and Facebook wants to wish you a good morning:

Block and Load

The news that ad block usage has doubled in the past year isn’t exactly new, but this concrete number reveal is: AdBlock Plus has announced that it will be closing in on one billion downloads in the very near future, with active device installs on over 100 million devices.

AdBlock Plus has seen such immediate and rampant user adoption in the last year that it has decided to take up the role of mediator between ads and the channels it’s keeping them from.  The company is launching the “Acceptable Ads” program, which “offers a whitelist of ads that play nicely” with consumers on digital channels. The program operates on the premise that users don’t hate ads unilaterally, but rather they hate the intrusion that ads often impose. Whether the Ad Acceptance program will see the same enthusiasm from advertisers that AdBlock Plus has seen from consumers is another story- stay tuned.

Rise, Shine & Buy Our Product!

In the latest ad engagement strategy on social media, Facebook has announced a joint venture with DigitasLBI to offer “Rise and Shine,” a brand-friendly live morning show that will appear three to five times a week on user news feeds in the morning. But here’s the catch: the videos won’t focus on any news or current events. Rather, the videos will offer weather reports, workout and recipe ideas and more; Digitas LBI described the initiative as “a deconstructed morning talk show… build-for-feed, audience-first branded programming.”

All of this fancy jargon is another way of saying: maybe this will be a more effective way to advertise to consumers. Whatever brands that are involved (to be determined, as of now) will be able to shape and contextualize their morning show the way they see fit. “Rise and Shine” is the latest domino in Facebook’s live video push.

Nat Geo is Crossing the [Video] Border

There are brands on Instagram, and then there are brands on Instagram. As the number one media brand on Instagram, National Geographic is in the latter category, and it just decided to up its game. Until now, the company has been whipping other brands on the photo sharing platform without even trying that hard (49 million followers, all from a basic photo strategy of crowdsourcing a bunch of photographers), but it recently announced several new digital initiatives, including 10 digital series, an Instagram video series and a virtual reality program.

Nat Geo’s video push isn’t exactly a groundbreaking strategy initiative, but it may be a test case for how successful video strategies on social can be for brands that are already pushing out content like wildfire. For the unicorn brands like National Geographic that are organically thriving on social media channels, they pose a unique advertising opportunity for potential brand partners.

An Influen-star is Born

Youtube is officially getting its hands dirty in the influencer game: at Digital Content NewFronts, the video sharing platform announced the latest version of Google Preferred, with “Breakout Videos.” The goal of the Breakout Videos initiative is to help brands find the next Youtube star or viral video before it takes off. Google Preferred already gives advertisers access to the top 5% of the most popular content from “established creators’” channels, but Breakout Videos tracks and packages the fastest-rising YouTube videos to give brands an early heads up. Not sure what the buzz about influencer marketing is all about? Check out our blog, “5 Things You Didn’t Know About Influencer Marketing.”

Youtube has a plethora of other video-ad pushes coming up on the horizon, with improvements to Google Preferred, the release of Sesame Studios as a Youtube kids channel, and mentions of virtual reality in the near future.

Bird’s Eye View-count

Periscope announced on Monday that it will soon be launching drone broadcasts with iPhone, new search capabilities, and more control over saved videos for users. The video app will soon allow users to search for live broadcasts by topics, and will have a specialized search feature called “First Scope” that helps people search for new broadcasters.

Periscope’s live streaming enhancements not only echo the push towards virtual, in-the-moment advertising experiences, but also will undoubtedly serve as an additional platform for influencers to engage and partner with brands via the “First Scope” feature.