Monthly Media Mashup #2 Media & Industry News – October 2017

Taylor Swift Announces Fan App ‘The Swift Life’

In partnership with Glu, a company known for mobile game development, Taylor Swift will launch a social app for fans later this year. Described as “A creative, inclusive and community-driven place for users to better connect with each other… and Taylor!”, the app could set a new precedent for fan engagement and promises to provide exclusive content and direct engagement with Swift herself. Exclusive and well-run fan social networks could be the fan club hubs of the future.

Snapchat Context Cards & Targeting

Amid reports concerning Snapchat’s potential for growth, the company launched Context Cards last month. Context Cards allow users to discover more information about venues tagged in photo or video Snaps like restaurant reviews, Uber ride-hailing, contact information and more.

The company also announced that more sophisticated targeting will be coming to the app with a new tool called ‘Snap Pixel’. Snap Pixel will allow advertisers to track conversions (like email signups or purchases) across platforms in real time and analyze user data within 28 days of viewing or engaging with an ad. Users will be able to opt-out of targeting if desired. The company aims to have the tags include ad targeting by the close of the year, allowing brands to target specific audiences and groups of people who have visited their websites.

The introduction of a range of new features this year like Snap Map has contributed to ad spend growth of 73%, helping Snapchat become closer to competing with the likes of Facebook, Instagram, and Google. Snapchat is still deemed as an experimental bucket for most marketers, even though it provides unique creative potential and allows brands to reach a younger audience.

Facebook Launches Stories for Brands & Battles Fake News

Facebook opened up Stories for pages in October. Stories have been available for users for a while now but they haven’t proven as popular as Instagram Stories so the company hopes bringing brands into the mix may boost awareness. There are no advertising features associated with Facebook Stories yet, but expect to see monetization in the future should it prove successful.

The company acquired a new iOS app this month called ‘tbh’ (short for ‘to be honest’). The anonymous teen polling app lets kids vote on complimentary categories like ‘Who has the best smile?’ or ‘Who makes you laugh the most?’. Users can’t communicate directly with each other and anonymous polls are the only way to participate at this time. The app actually bills itself as “the only anonymous app with positive vibes” which is a welcome change from other anonymous apps.

As the largest social media network in the world, governments are questioning whether Facebook and other tech giants need to be held responsible for the worldwide fake news phenomenon and online bullying and trolling. One of the attempts to stem the spread of fake news on Facebook involves testing buttons attached to article links so people can further understand the context of the publisher and topic.

Instagram Polls for Stories

Instagram added a new polling option to Stories last month. Users and brands can now add a two-answer poll on top of Stories. The new element lives in the same place as the other Instagram stickers like location, #hashtag and more. This new feature will allow brands to engage with fans beyond typical Instagram comments.

Instagram Stories now has a polling option
Source: Instagram blog

Pinterest Opens Self-Serve Search Ads & Adds Auto-targeting

Pinterest opened its search ads up to all advertisers last month, allowing brands to use its self-serve ad-buying tool, Pinterest Ads Manager. Brands can apply broad or exact match keyword targeting as well as phrase-match targeting, plus list any negative keywords.

The company also introduced a form of auto-targeting, which allows Pinterest to automatically target search queries that may not include the specified keywords but are considered relevant according to Pinterest’s Taste Graph.

New Twitter Features & Measures Amid Criticism

With online video being the fastest-growing ad format in Q2 2017 and spend up 142% from Q1, Twitter launched a new ad format called the Video Website Card. Twitter describes it as “a creative format that combines the power of video with the ability to drive users back to a site to learn more or take action in the moment.” The auto-playing video will allow brands to select eye-catching clips to promote their product and extend brand engagement with consumers. Brands will also be able to customize the headline and destination URL.

Twitter will soon let users bookmark tweets with a ‘save for later’ option. As the name implies, this will allow users to return to bookmarked tweets and stories later. Historically, Twitter users ‘like’ posts to return to them, which isn’t always the most appropriate response to a tweet.

Twitter has been under scrutiny for harassment happening on the platform.  To combat the issues, the company released a calendar last month which outlines upcoming changes to the social network stretching from October 27 to January 10. The changes cover a range of topics from hateful imagery to violent rhetoric.

Like Facebook, Twitter has also pledged to ensure that election advertising is clearly identified as such and organizations behind the ads are named. Disclaimers will be introduced in ads to let audiences know the identity of the buyers behind the ads, the target demographics used, and the spend for each campaign. In the coming weeks, the company plans to open an Advertising Transparency Center so the public can see all ad campaigns currently running on the social network. The independent Media Rating Council (MRC) will also audit its ad measurements so brands understand what they are buying.

YouTubers Talk Demonetization

YouTube influencers like Casey Neistat and Chris Broad spoke out last month about how the video streaming service has been too heavy-handed with demonetization. Earlier this year brands began to remove ads from the YouTube platform in response to extremist propaganda videos profiting from ad revenue on their videos. YouTube adjusted their algorithm to automatically review videos and enforce new guidelines, demonetizing those the algorithm deemed to be inappropriate.

The changes though have been deemed too sensitive and inefficient by the creator community as typically appropriate content has been demonetized. Upon appeal, creators have been able to get their videos approved for monetization, which doesn’t help as most ad revenue comes in within the first few days of video upload. Creators use the ad revenue to fund their channel and its content, and some even depend on this revenue as their main source of income. Ultimately, although the creator community loves the YouTube platform, they can’t help but feel slighted which may lead to an exodus to other platforms should this continue.


Musictoday’s Monthly Media Mashup summarizes the latest media and industry news for your convenience.

About the Author: Jasmine Van Schaick is a Senior Marketing Specialist at Musictoday. She manages projects across affiliate marketing, display remarketing, organic SEO, corporate content development and more.