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.
YouTube Originals Moving Outside of Paywall
YouTube Premium content will soon be available for free to all non-paying YouTube users and will instead be supported by ads. This move was announced in conjunction with the revelation that production budgets for original scripted content will be reduced for 2020.
YouTube Premium originally launched as a paywall between users and exclusive content from some of YouTube’s most prolific content creators, but it also became a place hosting original scripted content from YouTube like Cobra Kai, an original series spinoff of the Karate Kid universe. With Netflix and Amazon increasing their production budgets for premium content, YouTube decided that was a game it wasn’t going to win, at least not directly.
Even though scripted content will no longer be restricted to YouTube Premium, YouTube Premium isn’t going away. For $12 a month, the service will offer early access to original YouTube programming as well as an ad-free viewing experience.
YouTube Premium’s exclusive content was a worthwhile experiment, especially in an age where there’s clearly an appetite for premium, high-quality content. But YouTube’s pivot shows the platform clearly had a tough time shaking the expectations of users who view YouTube as the place to watch free content. There’s clearly no sign that YouTube will be moving away from being an ad-supported platform anytime soon. Instead, it will be that even more so.
News Quick Hits
Just hours ahead of Black Friday Google’s ad-buying platforms was hit with glitches. The Google issue allowed existing campaigns to run, but it was difficult to create new campaigns as well as change the settings of current ones. The Tuesday before Black Friday, Facebook Ad Manager was out for several hours. Obviously, given the importance of the days following Thanksgiving in the United States, these platforms were meant with criticism for the outages.
YouTube is testing “ad pod” delivery. The test includes showing two skippable pre-roll or mid-roll ads back-to-back. Currently, the test is limited to desktop. Showing the ads back-to-back reduces the ad breaks in the rest of the video.
A hearing aimed to delve deeper into Facebook’s data privacy practices was held this week with representatives from the U.K., Canada, Ireland, Brazil, Argentina, Singapore, Belgium, France and Latvia. The one key representative missing was Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who declined an invitation to attend and instead sent Richard Allan, Facebook’s VP of Public Policy. One of the key revelations was that Facebook may have been notified of the potential for Russian manipulation of the platform as early as October 2014.
Facebook and Instagram have passed the first test for it to achieve Media Rating Council accreditation. The first test is an audit of Facebook’s and Instagram's internal data collection process. The next step will be for the MRC to approve Facebook and Instagram’s approach to sharing data with third-party measurement platforms. The move is significant as Facebook is one of the first closed platforms to make it this far in achieving MRC accreditation.
YouTube is expanding its Stories feature, which was originally called Reels, to content creators with more than 10,000 subscribers. Stories works as one might expect with the ability to share videos up to 30 seconds long with text, filters and stickers.
Facebook is no longer going to include publisher advertising in its political ad archive. So publishers who boost their posts won’t be archived in the same way ads from political candidates are. The archive was started following revelations of foreign actors using Facebook to affect elections in the U.S. After that, Facebook added a rule that any ad promoting political content would be placed in an archive that states who paid for the ads and the demographics the ads targeted. Initially, this included political articles promoted by publishers, but Facebook was meant with criticism for categorizing them the same way they do political actors.