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POWERSHIFT MARKETING THIS WEEK

May 29, 2020

THIS WEEK – As businesses reopen, here are some marketing tips and research thoughts. As always, contact me if you have any questions or topics you would like me to cover.

UNCOMFORTABLE RESEARCH

Can research tell you something you don’t want to hear? Yes, it happens all the time. Take the case of a recent Facebook Study that showed that the company’s algorithms weren’t bringing people together. They were driving people apart. As reported in the Wall Street Journal: “Our algorithms exploit the human brain’s attraction to divisiveness,” read a slide from a 2018 presentation. “If left unchecked,” it warned, Facebook would feed users “more and more divisive content in an effort to gain user attention & increase time on the platform.” That presentation went to the heart of a question dogging Facebook almost since its founding: Does its platform aggravate polarization and tribal behavior? The answer it found, in some cases, was yes.”

Executives largely shelved the basic research, according to previously unreported internal documents and people familiar with the effort and weakened or blocked efforts to apply its conclusions to Facebook products. Why? Divisive content is good for business. It builds engagement (time on the site) even it is bad for society. Marketing lesson here: Self-interest is the real interest in society today.

MORE WAYS SPEND AD DOLLARS

People have been using Instagram to build their brands and businesses for years. Influencers often make deals with companies to create sponsored posts or set up revenue sharing to recommend specific products. Unlike YouTube, Instagram has never put its content creators on the payroll, until now.

Instagram has now announced two new ways for users with “creator” accounts to make money: ads on IGTV (Instagram TV) and badges for Instagram Live. Instagram will split the revenue, with at least 55 percent going to creators. The company will also give fans the chance to sponsor their favorite creators and businesses with paid “badges” on Instagram Live videos, which cost less than $5 and place a small heart-shaped icon next to their name. Instagram is testing right now.

ANOTHER VIRUS VICTIM

News Corp (they own the Wall St. Journal) will stop printing more than 100 Australian newspapers, closing 36 outright and moving the rest 100% online, citing media shifts accelerated by the pandemic. The New York-based media company said 76 local and regional newspapers in Australia would become online only, with 36 closing altogether. There is no question that the stay at home order has increased internet media viewing and decreased print advertisers. Another sign of the times, Wall Street Journal now has 3 million total subscribers, a record—more than 2.2 million of whom are digital-only subscribers.

ANOTHER ACRONYM

When I was in the Navy, I thought the military had a corner on abbreviations and acronyms – shortened forms of words and phrases.. But keeping up with marketing today continually adds new ones. How about OTT? That stands for “over-the-top” media – delivering media over the internet, bypassing cable, broadband and satellite platforms. Think Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video, Hulu and others. It is the fastest growing media option today. Many research studies are showing that OTT viewing is changing due to the growth of services, content, and devices as well as the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on consumer behavior. Marketing takeaway: the ability to reach consumers is changing rapidly. You need to keep up.

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