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.
This week is just a few news quick hits.
News Quick Hits
The days between Christmas and New Year’s tend to be relatively quiet, and that was the case in 2018 until Instagram updated its app. Instagram feeds changed from the infinite scroll top-to-bottom that users have become accustomed to when it comes to viewing their feeds to a left-to-right tap-to-advance experience. The Internet lost its collective mind, and Instagram quickly remedied the issue, apologized and clarified that it has no plans to roll out an experience in the future. While the update isn’t going to happen, it does raise some interesting implications should it ever come to fruition. For example, the tap-to-advance behavior would mean users would have to actively interact with an ad asset before moving on vs. just scrolling mindlessly through a feed.
Netflix released its interactive Black Mirror episode called Bandersnatch. The show lets users choose their own adventures and experience different stories based on their decisions. Netflix has experimented with similar programs as early as 2017, but this is the video subscription service’s most ambitious project yet. The experiment may offer some compelling ramifications. First, what data can be gleaned based on the decisions users make (e.g., musical taste, product preferences, etc.). Second, how can brands get involved from a product placement perspective to let users interact with them?
Roku announced an update to Roku Channel, the set-top box company’s destination for free content. The update will include the launch of individual premium subscriptions to cable networks like Showtime, Starz, Noggin, Smithsonian, Epix and more. Roku doesn’t offer any savings on price as the costs to subscribe will be the same as if users subscribed outside of Roku Channel, but Roku will organize all the subscriptions in a single interface and one, consolidated bill. The move comes with tradeoffs. First, HBO isn’t available. Second, users have to access the channels through the Roku Channel interface. Downloading Showtime’s app, for example, won’t allow access to subscribed content.