Every two weeks, our jobs columnist Geoff Michener provides a roundup of the latest hires in the digital marketing and media ecosystems. This week’s edition also includes new hires at Digital Ocean and Acceleration Partners.
The Local Search Association, which brings together over 300 companies intent on connecting enterprises and small businesses alike with consumers, announced on Wednesday morning Bill Dinan as its new president. The announcement follows the retirement of its previous president Neg Norton, who held the role for 15 years.
Digital marketing software firm Marin Software has released its Q4 advertising report, which points to major trends in social, search, and e-commerce. Instagram is taking on an increasingly central role in Facebook’s main business, e-commerce ads are booming YOY, and search remains fundamental to digital advertising, the report shows.
Determined not to fall even further behind their online-only competitors, retailers are investing more heavily in a new breed of review platform. These next-generation solutions integrate written reviews with pictures and videos to create more cohesive omni-channel shopping experiences. Here are six next-gen review platforms that brands are using right now.
There’s nothing more hyperlocal than the on-demand class of startups, which feed off the everyday use cases spurred by a mobile-first world: whipping one’s phone out to order food from a local restaurant (Postmates, GrubHub, DoorDash), hail a ride (Uber and Lyft), or cut out a trip to the grocery store (Instacart, Shipt). Postmates’ founding ingenuity was to apply the convenience of ride-sharing to product delivery. Eight years later, it’s a food-delivery powerhouse, and its value may strike nearly $2 billion.
As the next generation in mobile connectivity, 5G should promise smoother data transmission, higher-quality mobile streaming, and more efficient energy usage. And it’s those benefits consumers are excited about, newly available data from Verizon Media indicates, with 72% of surveyed consumers excited about faster data transfer speeds and 57% eager for higher-definition video content. But industry watchdogs are skeptical.
According to some estimates, as many as 85% of Facebook ads and 60% of YouTube ads are hidden from public view. The practice is even more common on Twitter, where an estimated 90% of ads are hidden. What does that mean, exactly? Rather than posting their messages publicly, major brands are creating social media posts or sponsored content that is only shown to targeted audiences. Unlike organic or boosted posts, these targeted ads don’t show up on the company’s timelines or all of their followers’ feeds.
New research indicates that consumers are actually more aware of how their personal information is being used today than they were last year, with those ages 55 and above showing the greatest level of awareness. These consumers are increasingly willing to share their personally identifiable information with brand marketers—with one caveat. They want a reward for doing it.
Alphabet is investing in its future, spending record funds on R&D and pouring money into non-core businesses such as self-driving cars (Waymo) and its video platform (YouTube). While the company exceeded analyst expectations on the back of ever-strong growth from its core search business, it was actually trading down on Monday, reflecting investor anxiety over the cost and ultimately profitability of its many secondary businesses.
When it came to the Super Bowl, Google opted not to put the spotlight on flashy new products but rather to emphasize the good it can do for the world at a time when it’s “don’t be evil” slogan of yore has become prime material for parody. During the big game, ads for products as seemingly disparate as Pringles, tax software, and beer pointed to a present haunted by tech’s infiltration of domestic life and machines’ superiority to humans.
The Local Search Association announced this week a slate of 20 finalists for its annual awards celebrating the best in local and online-to-offline marketing. Among more than 80 submissions, the finalists have been recognized for their outstanding work in such categories as reputation management, SMB software, and local search.
For brands hoping to compete with Amazon (and potentially looking on with relief at a sign of fallibility from their digital rival), the company’s earnings report brings the news that Amazon Marketplace, where third-party sellers can reach customers, is doing more than twice as much in sales as Amazon’s first-party retail platform. Marketplace is troubled by bad practices and fake reviews, and its prosperity suggests the growing challenge for brands to get customers to even go to their sites at a time when Amazon is essentially the homepage of the commerce-oriented Internet.
Consumer demand for voice technology has never been greater, and industry heavyweights like Google and Amazon are gearing up for a platform war as they work to integrate voice assistants into virtually every area of the connected consumer’s life. But behind the scenes, many brand marketers are struggling to connect the dots and design campaigns around a technology they don’t fully understand.
Not only did Facebook’s “Research” app, which paid 13- to 35-year-old users $20/month to access their search history, emails, and private messages, set off every imaginable alarm on the this-will-look-bad-when-the-exposé-comes-out PR radar (one of the world’s most powerful corporations must be lacking one of those), but the app also blatantly violated the terms of Apple’s Enterprise Developer Program, which proscribes distributing apps to consumers. It probably didn’t help that Facebook was searching tweens’ data for dirt on its competitors.
It will likely take a significant downturn in spending or overall economic well-being for Big Tech to feel some major financial pain. And while great for Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple, that’s got to be concerning for industry watchdogs wondering whether these businesses are too entrenched in digital search, advertising, and commerce to be challenged—because the past year was not hot for Silicon Valley, and yet the presses keep printing dollars.
While the move indeed indicates that Facebook’s chief executives are looking to centralize acquired properties that once operated with relative autonomy, the integration also marks a response to growing concerns over user privacy. Under this new technical configuration, all the messaging platforms will be endowed with end-to-end encryption, warding off the possibility that people other than those taking part in conversations will ever read messages sent on the platforms.