This Week in Social is a weekly digest of some of the biggest stories in social media marketing news. These stories are the show notes for the Brave Ad World Podcast. Each story is discussed at a deeper level on the podcast.
50 Million Facebook User Accounts Compromised
Facebook revealed that 50 million user accounts were compromised following a hacker attack on September 25. The hackers were not able to access any password or credit card information, but they were able to exploit the ‘view as’ tool, which Facebook has since disabled.
The EU is currently evaluating the breach, and it may impose $1.63 billion in fines if it is determined Facebook didn’t do enough to protect users.
The news is just another addition to a slew of bad news that has beleaguered the social network in 2018, which hit a crescendo with the Cambridge Analytic scandal. The hack also came out the same week Facebook shared that phone numbers shared with the social network for two-factor authentication purposes had been used by advertisers to target users. Facebook also collected phone numbers for users when they were uploaded by friends and then used those phone numbers for ad targeting.
2018 can be defined by Facebook as one big apology. It’s share price has not suffered, and its proven advertising performance has kept brands coming back. But public trust is eroding quickly, and Facebook’s reputation among users may be beyond repair at this point.
Still, Facebook has to try. The platform is only as good as the users who turn to it day after day, and its usage among teens is on the decline. If Facebook hopes to continue to attract advertisers, it needs to attract users first, but no one’s going to join a platform they don’t trust. So hopefully, for Facebook, 2019 has a very different narrative.
Netflix Plans Choose-Your-Own Adventure
Netflix has changed the way people consume content in a lot of different ways, and its next season of "Black Mirror" aims to change the way people watch a different way. In one of the episodes of the next season of "Black Mirror," viewers will be invited to choose how the storyline unfolds via a choose-your-own-adventure format.
"Black Mirror" will be the first of other specials from Netflix that offer such an experience.
This isn’t the first time Netflix has experimented in this arena. The show “Puss in Boots,” a Netflix series for kids let viewers choose how different scenarios unfolded, but what Netflix wants to do with “Black Mirror” and shows that follow is more complex.
The content streaming wars and, more generally, content wars are heating up. Coming off of a strong year full of critical successes that put Netflix in the conversation with the likes of HBO in terms of award-winning programming, Netflix doesn’t seem ready to rest on its laurels. Instead, it’s looking to push the envelope as it works to make interactive TV a mainstream experience.
It’s good to see Netflix pushing off of what it did with “Puss in Boots,” as the experiment was deemed a success. Now, we’ll see just how much Netflix is able to push the envelope in terms of how people expect to interact with media.
Facebook Launches New Brand Safe Video Environment for Brands
Facebook has launched a new premium video content environment that promises brands a safe place for their work called in-stream reserve buying. Ads will run next to “thoroughly vetted video” for $100,000, which is lower than the $250,000 Facebook was asking previously for a similar program, but they still come out to around a $30 CPM. Ads that run outside this new program but within Watch run for about a $10 CPM.
All of the video content will be reviewed by humans before being approved for advertising. Ads will run within Facebook Watch, which features premium shows from publishers and studios. Advertisers will be able to purchase ads for individual Watch shows or choose categories of video content.
Facebook is really looking to compete with some of YouTube Premium’s brand-safe advertising options, and at a time when more advertising is being run programmatically, programs like this one that give advertisers more control over placement are becoming an expectation for wary brands more and more. Advertisers can still leverage the ease and scale of buying programmatically, but this offering is all about control.
News Quick Hits
Google Maps has gotten an update that lets users control Spotify, Apple Music and Google Play within the Maps app while navigating. Users also have a new “commute” tab that will let them plan their trips, and as they do, Google will recommend alternate routes as well as warn of any potential delays.
Moat and Ninth Decimal are giving Pinterest stronger measurement capabilities. Moat will help Pinterest measure viewability, which averages 90%, compared to the industry benchmark of 57%. Moat will be integrated in Promoted Pins campaigns and eventually Promoted Video. Ninth Decimal will be used to evaluate foot traffic driven by Pinterest campaigns. So far, it’s found that 93% of Pinterest campaigns were able to drive positive lifts in foot traffic.
YouTube will soon launch what it calls “extensions” for TrueView ad formats. These extensions will allow consumers to research products and even make purchases all within the YouTube platform. The goal is to “encourage viewers to complete lower-funnel actions like finding the next movie showtime, downloading an app or booking a trip,” according to Vishal Sharma, YouTube Ad’s vp of product management.
Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger have left the Facebook owned photo-sharing platform. Now, we know who will take their places. Adam Mosseri will become the head of Instagram. His previous role was serving as Facebook’s vice president of product. His most notable achievement was in overseeing the Facebook News Feed from August 2012 through March 2016.
Messenger is giving developers access to the Persona API, which is now in open beta. The API will allow developers to add different personalities to their Messenger bots. The goal is to give developers more ways to send messages on the platform.
Reddit has announced that it is now seeing one billion “native” video views per month on average, and that equates to about 400,000 hours of hosted videos being served each day, which is up 38% since the beginning of the year. The uptick of video on Reddit is encouraging, given the fact that its native video player just launched in August. Up until that point videos on the platform were served using embedded content from sites like YouTube.
Facebook is expanding the Premieres Facebook Live feature to all pages. Premieres allows pages to pre-record videos and then launch them as live content on Facebook. The goal is to build a groundswell of viewers anxious to view the content for the first time at the same time as others. Live polls are also going to be enabled for all pages as a way for content creators to get real-time feedback from audiences during a live broadcast. Lastly, badges will now show up next to Pages’ most loyal fans within the chat section of live content for all pages. That feature went into testing in March.
Foursquare secured $33 million in Series F equity funding. While Foursquare still allows users to broadcast their locations to friends and get recommendations on places to visit, the platform has proven to be a location data powerhouse. Currently, more than 150,000 developers tap into Foursquare location data.
Apple’s releasing more than 70 new emoji in its iOS 12.1 release. The new emojis have red hair, gray hair, no hair. There are new emojis for animals, food and sports. Plan accordingly.
Facebook Marketplace is getting an AI update. Now, AI will suggest price ranges and categories for various listings to help buyers price and categorize their items in a way that will help them sell. AI won’t just be helping sellers. Buyers will be able to take a photo of products with the Facebook Camera and then receive recommendations for similar products available on Marketplace.
Why wouldn’t Instagram copy Snapchat again? This latest form of sincere flattery is a new nametag feature. Nametags work like Snapchat Snap Codes. Users can create codes that can be scanned using Instagram’s in-app camera to bring up their profiles so others can follow them.