Digital Tools for All, Content Malcontents and LinkedIn’s Page Rebuild in the Americas Download
November 14, 2018
By Zak Mehan
A few years ago, Snapchat’s augmented reality lens feature was off limits to everyone but a few choice brands that could afford to shell out $750,000 for an ad. This week, the company announced that advertisers can create targeted, augmented reality ads in the Lens Studio for as little as $50.
What was once reserved for the likes of Coca-Cola and Procter and Gamble is now more or less accessible to an infinitely larger pool of marketers and companies thanks to Snapchat platform updates made earlier this year. While promoting the ad will still cost a pretty penny, this tremendous drop in price – and resulting rise in accessibility – is endemic of ongoing digital trends.
Once wallet-crippling and highly complex, applications like Photoshop and Final Cut Pro are being edged out and simplified by an army of start-ups aiming to simplify the content creation process.
Animaker, for example, allows users to create “studio level animated videos” for as little as $12 a month. Lumen5 totally cuts out the middleman (the middleman being, ahem, humans) and creates video content using artificial intelligence that analyzes blog posts and matches it up with appropriate photos, video clips and music.
Meanwhile, sites like Canva, Photopea and Fotor have revolutionized photo editing with their simple, affordable (or free) interface. While Venngage and Infogram let anyone visualize data with their cheap infographic creation software.
We stand by the position that for heavily-branded campaigns and custom activations, an expert human touch is essential (you get what you pay for, in a lot of cases). But we also posit that with the abundance of cheap/free digital tools out there, visuals should be accompanying every social media post a company puts out.
Cranks & Malcontents
While the proliferation of design tools is certainly a positive for brands, there are risks that come with open access to increasingly powerful digital tools. We’ve covered “deepfakes” – digitally-manipulated videos that distort real footage to make the resulting video almost indistinguishable from the real thing – and are certainly not the first to express concern over this technology.
But while deepfakes represent probably the most troubling (and creepy) opportunity to spread misinformation they are certainly not the only avenue. Basic design tools are what allowed the spread of misinformation through memes, demonstrating that a simple image/caption combination can pack a strong punch.
A recent spate of high-profile hacks of verified Twitter accounts brings this into focus even more clearly. The hacks – which include accounts from Representative Frank Pallone’s campaign account to Target’s main account – were all part of a broader bitcoin scam. Some accounts had their usernames and images changed to Elon Musk and ran ad campaigns.
There are potentially market-moving implications to this. Consider, for example, that a CEO’s account tweets announcing a major restructuring or shares falsified financial results ahead of schedule. Well-designed visuals created to match the appearance of typical branded content from those accounts would likely add some legitimacy to the post, increasing the likelihood that the misinformation would spread, catalyzing a market reaction.
Companies need to be more vigilant than ever, keeping close tabs on accounts and establishing best practice security protocols. We also encourage a prepared response to regain control of the narrative before misinformation snowballs out of control.
Turning the Page
Let’s move on to something a little less macabre and take a look at a major update from LinkedIn, with the company announcing that it has reconfigured company pages “from scratch”.
The new pages, just called LinkedIn Pages instead of Company Pages, are built on pillars of “join the conversations that matter, know and grow your audience and engage your people.”
The most important features to keep in mind for these new pages are:
An option to share posts only with employees, making this an even more effective tool for communicating with staff
Crunchbase integrations allowing companies to automatically important key financial information for investors looking on their page
New page analytics that allow managers to better benchmark their stats against overall averages for all LinkedIn pages (which we’d assume will allow for sector-specific benchmarking as well)
Better management options, with a Hootsuite integration and the ability to post updates and respond to comments in the LinkedIn app
Greater filtering of organic content targeting through location, topic and job function, as well as new call to action buttons
OK, so who’s ready for an update?!
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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.