Socially Responsible (Online) Shopaholics
American shoppers spent a record amount of money on Cyber Monday (a whopping $7.9 billion dollars, up 19.3 percent from 2017). The figure represents a growing preference for online buying during what is historically the most chaotic in-store shopping weekend of the year.
Of this year’s 165 million Black Friday shoppers, The National Retail Foundation (NRF) reports that 25 percent shopped exclusively online; 21 percent shopped exclusively in-store; and 54 percent went all in, shopping both online and in-store. So what lessons do we have from Spendapalooza?
While the implications of consumer habits aren’t always obvious, we think these are definitely pertinent when informing a company’s digital – if not holistic – communications strategy. Think mobile. Be useful. Make people feel good about what they are doing. Seems kind of simple, doesn’t it?
Follow the Money
And while we’re considering advertising, some important changes are afoot this week that are worthy of our attention.
First, it has long been predicted (in digital terms, so like a year ago) that Amazon would soon start raking in more digital advertising dollars. Perhaps unsurprisingly, data is starting to corroborate this. Projections for the company’s share of U.S. ad revenue revised upward from even just earlier in the year, signaling this growth has already started coming to fruition.
And while large tech companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google fight it out for the top stop, media companies are still puzzling out how to grow – or at least keep – their piece of the pie. Jonah Peretti, chief executive of BuzzFeed, is joining earlier calls for consolidation. He told the NY Times last month that together digital media companies – who rely on social media and search platforms for traffic – will have a stronger negotiating position.
Other attempts at consolidating – albeit for purposes other than collective bargaining – have stumbled. Verizon established Oath in 2017 to consolidate audiences and data streams across its media, email and social media platforms, offering advertisers a more scalable data pool to rival user bases at major social media companies and Google’s search platform.
However, this week it was reported that Verizon may now be turning away from this effort, instead focusing on subscriber growth and other paid content on channels like Yahoo Finance and Yahoo Sports. While Oath is far from out of the ad game, the tentative pivot from the telecoms giant might indicate that the winners and losers of the digital advertising revenue battle should already be apparent.
A More Accessible Instagram
Social media updates are nothing new – platforms are constantly revamping their systems, algorithms and layouts in an attempt to drive engagement (and, of course, revenue). But this week Instagram has announced two new updates, both employing AI, with an eye towards inclusiveness.
While Facebook has long employed AI capabilities to describe photos to the visually impaired, automatic alternative text will now users to enter their own photo descriptions so that people using screen readers can hear the description being read out loud as they browse their Instagram feed and profiles. The other feature, custom alternative text, will allow users to add personalized descriptions of photos once uploaded and will be read aloud via a screen reader. If there isn’t a description, the objection recognition technology will automatically identify what’s in a photo and read it out loud.
From AI chatbots to tools that scan profiles, AI is becoming increasingly ingrained in social media. We’re glad, in this instance, to see that this shift to AI empowered social is also being used to create a more inclusive and accessible environment for all social media users.
The Reading List
Facebook rolls out its local news ‘Today In’ feature to more than 400 U.S. cities NBC News
Facebook Has A Bug-Hunting Tool That Mimics Human Behavior Forbes
The Most Useful New Messaging App Features for 2019 Matt Navarra
Reuters is seeing a revenue bump from monetized video views on Twitter Digiday
Hump Day Helper
What’s not to like about dogs and food?