The Britton Digital Update—Week of February 13, 2017
Five minutes to get you up to speed on this week’s digital, business, social media, entertainment, and marketing news
Let’s talk for a second about influencer marketing. It occurs when a brand, which has identified key people who have influence over a group of potential customers, executes a marketing plan around those influencers. This week, YouTube’s top star, Felix Kjellberg, also known as PewDiePie, who makes a living by pushing the boundaries of sarcasm and offensive humor, found himself in the middle of an influencer-marketing firestorm.
In addition to his YouTube channel, with 53 million subscribers, PewDiePie creates content for the YouTube Red paid service. This week he found out where the line between acceptable and too far is. In an attempt to critique the service Fiverr (where you can pay people $5 to do just about anything), PewDiePie tried to see how far people would go to earn $5. He posted videos of two men holding up signs that said, “Death to All Jews” and “Hitler did absolutely nothing wrong.” I’m not here to say how moronic and offensive his stunt was. I’m pretty sure we all agree on that part of the story.
My thoughts here are about the results of his actions. The Walt Disney Company terminated its relationship with him. I have no problem with that part, but why would a wholesome brand like Disney have anything to do with a provocative YouTube star in the first place? Even with 53 million viewers, in what world does it make sense to align with him? PewDiePie shouldn’t have aligned with Disney, knowing its brand didn’t fit with him, either. Choosing influencers who align with your brand and values is as important as using influencers to market to new customers.
I see a lot of value in influencer marketing. With the right influencers, you can achieve fantastic results. The key here is choosing the right influencers. Don’t align with someone because they have a big audience. Align with someone because they fit your brand, message, and marketing plan.
Whether or not you are influenced to be careful about who you align with, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest happenings of the week in digital, marketing, and more. Here’s this week’s latest news.
This Week in Mapmaking
Raise your hand if you think that Google Maps is a social network. (Exactly as I thought, crickets.) I would venture to guess that not one of you raised your hand. However, new features added this week make Google Maps act a bit like a social network—well, at least they make it act similar to Yelp or Foursquare (yes, they both still exist). Google Maps added a “Save” feature that acts like a to-do list (or bucket list) for locations. You can create multiple lists, which can come in handy if you are planning a vacation or a list of stores you need to stop at this weekend. So how does it act like a social network? You can follow your friends’ lists by clicking on a link they share with you. TheNextWeb reports that when your friends follow your list, ”the list will then show up on their own Maps, updated as you make any changes.” It turns maps into a social experience.
This Week in Facebook-ing
Keeping with our “This Week” theme, Facebook added more features and rumors over the past week. First, Facebook added new video features, including videos that auto-play with sound in your news feed (they were without sound previously); a larger preview of vertical videos so they look better on mobile devices; and a watch-and-scroll feature that allows you to watch video as you continue to scroll, giving you a picture-in-picture effect. Also, Facebook announced a new video app for the Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Samsung Smart TV to give users the ability to stream videos to their big screens.
Second, Facebook rolled out a recruitment feature for brands that it tested last year. The new feature allows businesses to add job postings to their brand pages and gives applicants the ability to click an “Apply Now” button to pursue jobs through Facebook Messenger. Of course, Facebook—looking to add to its bottom line—is hoping that brands also will pay to boost their job postings. It’s clearly a run at some of the recruitment market that LinkedIn owns on social media. It’s one thing if you apply for jobs when your profile lists all your accomplishments. It’s another thing when your profile displays your keg-stand photos and true feelings about the last election. So maybe it’s time to reexamine your profile’s privacy settings?
And finally, LinkedIn isn’t the only company in Facebook’s crosshairs this week. Bloomberg reported that Facebook is trying to work out music-licensing deals with the major record labels. This would allow the social network to legally stream music videos and songs (and stream commercials before them to make more profit), as well as allow users to add music as a soundtrack to videos they post. This is a real threat not only to YouTube but also to music-streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora, as well as music-video-creation social networks, like Musical.ly. It would be a game changer for these competitors and provide a new revenue stream for record labels. Mark Zuckerberg is determined to make this happen, so expect handshakes on this in the near future and new Facebook features later this year.
This Week in Retailer-ing
Two stories caught my attention in the space where retail and marketing intersect this week.
- Retail giant Gap is using augmented reality in its new virtual-dressing-room app in an attempt to reduce the 30–40 percent return rate that most retailers see online. Shoppers use the app to enter their height and weight to see how clothing items might fit their body size. It’s an interesting use of AR that could reduce returns, although I am skeptical that it can replace trying on clothes in real life. The app is currently only available for Google Tango smartphones (I know, right?!), but it could be expanded after successful testing.
- With all the attention given to millennials by marketers these days, it’s easy for a nonmillennial customer to feel left out. This is exactly the case, according to a recent report from Survey Sampling International. Eighty-eight percent of baby boomers do not feel like they are getting the attention they need from brands, and “they don’t expect brands to take the time to get to know and understand what they want,” according to FierceRetail.com. Millennials have other generations beat when it comes to numbers, but it’s boomers who have spending power that is being ignored. “Boomers control 70 percent of the country’s disposable income,” the website reports. That’s a lot of dollars to ignore.
This Week in Hater-Dating (Just Try-ing to Keep the Theme Go-ing Here)
Did I just type that? Hater-dating? This is completely out of hand now. Be honest, you weren’t keeping up on the news this past week in hater-dating anyway, were you? A new app called Hater takes on the theory that “people who dislike the same things form closer bonds with each other.” Hater aims to find all the things you dislike and then connect you with someone you can dislike things with. Basically, you can hate everybody and everything as a couple. After logging into the app through Facebook, you answer a bunch of questions to determine which things you hate by swiping left and right (like you do with Tinder). Hater matches you with people who hate similar things. By the way, the idea for the app actually started as an idea for a sketch on a comedy show. If you think it is a ridiculous idea, you wouldn’t be alone. You also wouldn’t be alone if you joined the app—more than 200,000 people already have.
This Week in Reality TV Shows Distributed by a Music App
OK, the theme is starting to get out of hand now. But once you commit, you have to see it through, right? Apple previously announced it was getting into the content-creation business. Like Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu, it is creating its own original content. This week, in addition to releasing a trailer for “Carpool Karaoke,” Apple released a trailer for Planet of the Apps. When you watch it, it reminds you of Shark Tank with a hint of The Voice, except instead of singing, developers pitch their iOS apps. It’s not an elevator pitch, though. It is an escalator pitch. Yep, developers who make an appearance on the show have to get the attention of celebrity judges before they get to the end of their 60-second escalator ride. The developers who make it past that round compete for funding from venture capitalists. Personally, I love Shark Tank. I had been looking forward to this trailer and the release of this show since it was announced last year. Even though it looks a bit cheesy, I definitely plan on giving it a shot. Apple plans to distribute this TV show through its Apple Music app. You’re not the only one scratching your head on that one.
E.T. Home Phone
I know, I sort of failed on trying to keep the theme through the subheadings. #SubheadFail, right? I just really wanted to use “E.T. Home Phone,” and it was becoming harder and harder to justify the theme. Should I have called it “This Week in Home Phoning” or “This Week in E.T.-ing”? (But then you may have read it as this week in eating, which is different.) OK, back on track. Remember how we all grew up with home phones that were actually connected to a wall? (How did we even survive that era?) These days, home phones are pretty rare since we carry our cell phones with us everywhere. CNET reported this week that both the Amazon Echo and Google Home devices may add voice-activated-calling features. To be honest, I’m surprised these devices couldn’t do this already. Amazon and Google both declined to comment on the rumors, but it seems like a logical evolution of the devices. Of course, your kids will still never understand the 15-foot cords attached to the phone handset that allowed us to go around the corner and talk to our friends for hours.
For the rest of the news this past week, here’s a compilation of the best news stories that we don’t have time to expound upon but that you should probably take notice of:
- Facebook Ready for Independent Ad Audit
- Alexa Now Supports Outlook Calendar
- Free Storytelling Lessons from Pixar and Khan Academy
- Periscope Added to Twitter Top Trends
- Snapchat’s Pre-IPO Problems
You think you know Britton? Well, This Is Britton.