Advertisers face a fraught start to the year

Hi and welcome to this weekly edition of Insider Advertising, where we track the big stories in media and advertising. I’m Lucia Moses, deputy editor.

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This week: Advertisers are in the hot seat, the rise of Newsmax’s Greg Kelly, and creators warm to Instagram Reels.

National Guard inauguration
Virginia National Guard soldiers are issued their M4 rifles and live ammunition on the east front of the U.S. Capitol on January 17, 2021 in Washington, D.C.

Advertisers are back in the hot seat

The inauguration, once a time for brands to show patriotism and unity, has become fraught with risk.

Some big advertisers are getting pressured by investors to lean on the big platforms for their role in spreading conspiracies and hate that led to the Capitol riots. 

And backers of last summer’s ad boycott of Facebook are talking of resuming their pressure campaign on advertisers to stop spending on the platform.

As the boycott showed, advertisers are loath to quit the platforms they think are essential to their business.

Many advertisers eventually tiptoed back onto Facebook, with carefully worded statements that it was doing better at curbing hate and misinformation. The boycott barely impacted Facebook because advertisers are too fragmented a group to make an impact with their dollars.

But the riots have drawn attention to other enablers of extremism, from the Silicon Valley giants that provided the pipes for right-wing platform Parler to cable companies that distribute pro-Trump content. The boycott organizers are back, demanding the platforms permanently ban Trump.

So while most of the scrutiny has been on the tech giants for their role in enabling toxic content, advertisers are likely to stay in the spotlight of this storm.

Read more here:


greg kelly newsmax 2x1 v2

Inside the rise of Newsmax’s Greg Kelly

Aaron Short profiled the lively local morning show host-turned-far-right defender of Donald Trump.

He’s the face of Newsmax, a fringe cable network that aims to compete with Fox News for conservative viewers.

From Aaron’s story:

On Newsmax, Kelly is the plainspoken outsider railing against the hubris of media elites. But the broadcaster owes his longevity in journalism to family and political connections. He has also been incredibly lucky. He was lucky to get hired by Fox News and tapped to be a local morning anchor when its then-CEO Roger Ailes was friendly with his father. He was lucky to get another gig in cable because the company’s CEO was revamping its lineup. And he was lucky Donald Trump liked him and promoted his show.  

Trump will soon leave office but Newsmax has become devoted to promoting the reactionary forces that backed him. Kelly has become a vessel of right-wing fury perpetuating a false political myth with deadly consequences, and his audience is only growing.

Read the rest here: Ridiculed, overlooked, and under-estimated. As Newsmax’s biggest Trump booster, Greg Kelly may finally be getting his revenge on the ‘fake news’ establishment


Instagram Reels
Instagram Reels

Creators warm to Instagram’s Reels

Instagram’s TikTok competitor launched in August 2020 to mixed reviews, with The New York Times famously calling it a “dud.”

It may be too soon to write off what might have seemed like yet another failed copycat attempt by Instagram parent Facebook. Some creators are telling Sydney Bradley that they’ve cracked the code on using it to grow their audience and many are calling it a “magic bullet.”

The change could be in part because Instagram has been whispering in creators’ ears, telling them how to optimize the algo.

Still, it’s not a zero sum game – creators realize it’s important to keep using both apps.

“I think that’s one of the most crucial things that you need to do as a creator,” said one. “You have to diversify.” 

Read more: Instagram creators say they’re getting supercharged audience growth by posting Reels: ‘I haven’t had this growth in a long time’


More stories we’re reading:

Thanks for reading, and see you back here next week.

– Lucia

Read the original article on Business Insider

How Instagram is Expanding its Branded Content Offerings

Instagram recently unveiled a new redesign of its main home screen on the app in an effort to combat the rise of TikTok. Specifically, the Reels icon is now front and center in the app and directs users to a dedicated page of curated content organized by people they follow and your previous engagement patterns and interests.

Now, the platform is taking additional steps to ensure creators have access to more lucrative brand partnership and revenue options through additional branded content capabilities across Reels, Live, Stories and in posts including product tags.

Here’s a breakdown of the latest:

Integrating the branded content tag in Reels and Live

In an effort to make creation and amplification easier for influencers and brands alike, Instagram is introducing branded content tags to its TikTok-like product, Reels and unveiled plans to test these disclaimers within its Live video product as well in coming weeks. Ultimately, this will allow creators to generate revenue more quickly from their short-form and live video content.

“Branded content is a powerful tool for creators and businesses, and these updates will help them get more out of the content they’re creating together,” Instagram COO Justin Osofsky shared in a statement. “This will continue to be an area of focus for us as we build out a suite of monetization tools that support creators’ various needs and ambitions.”

As social platforms continue to offer creators new tools and platforms in which they can drive direct, measurable sales — the line between affiliate and creator is more blurred than ever. Needs and ambitions continue to shift as a result of the pandemic demanding platform-specific content versus retrofitting one set of assets across all channels.

New workflow and age restrictions

Previously, Branded Content ads were created by promoting already existing posts produced by creators. In a revised workflow, however, Instagram is placing emphasis on co-collaboration by allowing advertisers to post Branded Content ads without the need for creators to post organically on Instagram first. On the surface, this allows for greater efficiency and flexibility while still giving creators the control to approve or pause any ads published from their handle.

The process follows a simple three-step approach:

  • The advertiser sends a request for ad creation access.
  • The creator accepts ad creation access, with a notification sent to the advertiser upon acceptance
  • The creator receives a notification of the created ad for their approval

Finally, businesses and creators can set a minimum age for branded content feed posts. Specifically, they can choose to set a default minimum age or a minimum age for specific countries, or a combination of both options, per the official announcement.

Promoting branded content in Stories and with product tags

Brands will now also be able to promote branded content posts with product tags. Prior to today, branded posts from creators that included product tags were not able to be promoted via Branded Content Ads making it harder for them to reach target audiences.

“More and more, people are shopping directly from the creators they love on Instagram – this new ad format is another way brands can provide a seamless shopping experience on Instagram. This new format will begin testing in the coming months,” the platform shared.

What does this ultimately mean? Brands have a more streamlined ecosystem in which they can get more value out of the content that makes it easy for people to shop directly from creators that inspire them. Within Stories for instance, Branded Content ads can include tappable elements, such as @mentions, location and hashtags in an attempt to give brands wider access to organic Stories’ creative that is “native and authentic to the Stories experience.”

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The post How Instagram is Expanding its Branded Content Offerings appeared first on Social Media Week.

How Snapchat is Preparing for the Next Creator Movement

2020 has seen many brands and platforms step outside of their comfort zones and experiment with ways they can deliver content at scale and create personal experiences. A player of late that has stood out in departure from the original focus on intimate communications is Snapchat.

Here’s a breakdown of what the company has released these past few weeks and what they could mean for marketers and creators.

Making video creations and communication more expressive with ‘Sounds’

Earlier this fall Snapchat released ‘Sounds,’ a TikTok-rival feature that allows users to enhance their Snaps with music from a curated catalog of both emerging and established artists. Tracks can be added pre or post-capture and then shared either publicly, via your Story, or directly to specific connections.

To add music before recording video, select the Sounds tool designated by the music notes icon on the right-hand side of the Camera screen and select a track from the Featured Sounds list. Alternatively, use the Sounds tool after taking a Snap to drop in a song after you record.

The current Sounds catalog offers “millions” of licensed songs from Snap’s music industry partners including Warner Music Group, NMPA. and Universal Music Publishing Group. Per Variety, beyond music, Snapchat is also working on introducing the ability for users to create their own sounds and add them to Snaps — an update expected to roll out globally on the platform in the coming months.

Acquiring mobile music app Voisey

Delving even further into the music industry space, Snapchat parent company Snap Inc. recently acquired startup Voisey, a mobile music app founded in 2018 that allows users to record short videos using professional vocal effects and backing tracks provided by producers. Clips are one-minute in length following the ever popular short-form format dominating the social media sphere.

Think of it as a musical equivalent of stickers and filters, where users can pick from a selection of user-created backing beats, hit record, and then customize the content by overlaying to the track with their own vocals. More specifically, they can add auto-tune, choral, spacey amongst other voice effects.

“We are on the verge of a revolution in music creation with the boundaries between creator and audience blurring like never before. Apps like Voisey focus on giving consumers tools that enable them to go from zero to 100 faster than ever before,” said Mark Mulligan founder of MIDiA Research in a statement to Business Insider.

The move seemingly follows a trend in which apps are more eager than ever to deliver unique creative at scale. Instagram, for instance, allows users to create high quality photos, TikTok the ability to create share-worthy short-form videos, and now, the window of opportunity centers on the next generation of music creators and giving them the tools to collaborate and work efficiently and effectively.

Unveiling ‘Spotlight,’ a short-form video feed

Taking a page out of TikTok’s playbook and Instagram’s ‘Reels,’ Snapchat introduced a short-form video feed option, ‘Spotlight,’ showcasing the top Snaps submitted on the platform by more than 249 million users and offering financial incentive for the most entertaining content. Snaps in this designated feed will play on a continuous loop until the user swipes to the next one. Previously, Snapchat users were limited to seeing snaps posted by their friends or posted by publishers in the app’s Discover feature.

As part of the push, Snapchat is offering a million dollars per day in funding, which it will distribute to the best Spotlight clips. The app will utilize a similar algorithm to TikTok in ranking each clip based on engagement. In particular, factors like total views, view time, and number of Favorites and Shares will be weighed. Clips are displayed in full screen, so the intent is for the platform to utilize specific indicators to better tailor the feed over time. In terms of how brands can get involved, a spokesman said Snap expects it will introduce ads to the product in coming months.

Instagram’s Explore page, TikTok’s ‘For You,’ YouTube’s recommended videos, and now Spotlight — it’s clear that a discovery engine is no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have as creators become the crux of social media engagement. With an emphasis on exclusive content, these feeds are evolving as the key differentiator that will continue to etch platforms out above their competitors in the fight for online talent.

Photo credit via The Verge

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The post How Snapchat is Preparing for the Next Creator Movement appeared first on Social Media Week.