Advertisers will be able to create text-based ads and mobile app install ads targeted at specific topics, questions, or geographies – and most importantly from previews they look almost completely native in design and tone. They are even going toe-to-toe with cat videos and unboxing’s preferred platform YouTube by testing video answers. In future we could be Quora-ing how to make fire with a lemon (real video, we swear) instead of leaping to YouTube’s countless self-help guides.
For such a valued resource – where site traffic is literally just people searching for solutions to problems – the native advertising potential is significant, and organisations looking to solve people’s problems (try and name one that isn’t, we’ll wait) should be keeping an eye out for developments.
And speaking of places to find answers on the internet…
Snailmail Meets Search Engine
Algorithms have been getting a bit of a rough ride in recent months. The prominence of #fakenews, and echo chambers built on what machine learning thinks we want to see, has raised questions over the role of search engines and social search in our information gathering process. Google returning up to 4m results in a not-too-shabby 0.72s is all well and good, providing the public has the time to decipher “the truth” through that tranche of information; in recent months, however, it seems that perhaps we aren’t taking as long as we might in fact checking before sharing.
French newspaper Libération thought so, and launched The Right Search as part of their coverage of the French Presidential Election. The public submitted questions that were then researched by a team of journalists, returning a single answer in a few hours – resulting in the slowest (but potentially most accurate) search engine in the world. With 128m impressions, 872 questions answered, 110,000 unique visitors, the campaign was a hit, and there are now plans to keep it online as a permanent part of Libération.
Algorithms and machine learning have come a long way, and in so many ways their power continues to make our lives increasingly easier. Editorial value, and human investigative instincts, however, will retain their value for the foreseeable future.
#WalkersWave, Twitter Waves Back
To borrow from Benjamin Franklin, there are three certainties in this life: death, taxes, and the fact that if given the opportunity to hijack a social media campaign, the internet will oblige. The latest company to fall foul of certainty no. 3 was Walkers in a campaign aimed at promoting this year’s Champions League Final taking place in Cardiff next Saturday.
Asking the public to send in their selfies to be featured in a virtual Mexican wave outside the stadium in Cardiff, brand ambassador Gary Lineker held up the picture in a pre-recorded video segment, before adding the submitted selfie to the crowd. Twitter collectively grinned mischievously and sent in, well, a series of inappropriate pictures including notorious criminals.
While we think the campaign itself was potentially quite neat, most would admit it perhaps failed to take into account some of the potential risks. That said, Walkers are not the first and certainly won’t be the last to fall foul of Twitter’s darker side. From our perspective though, what was notable in this case was the speed and decisiveness with which Walkers acted. Tweets deleted, apology posted and pinned, fingers may have been burned but major damage probably prevented.
Also This Week…
‘The Internet is broken’: @ev is trying to salvage it [New York Times]
Facebook fined $122m for misleading European Commission when purchasing Whatsapp [Tech Crunch]
Conservative Party buys defensive Google ads on searches for “Dementia Tax” [Buzzfeed]
Glasses maker Warby Parker have developed an eye-test prescription app [Warby Parker]
Airbnb’s co-founder designed a line of furniture that snaps together like Lego [Quartz]
The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of FTI Consulting LLP, its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals, members or employees.
FTI’s digital practice in EMEA operates as a centre of excellence for digital communications within the firm and is staffed by a team of practitioners with industry experience of consumer, corporate and financial communications. The team runs an active portfolio of multi-sector brands and partners with FTI’s teams and clients to provide a wide range of online reputation management services.