🐇 Rabbbit Spottting: 🔭 The Memeconomy
According to Google Docs auto-summary: This is a big one. Google is going to be a big player in the AI space. And it's going to be a big one. (Seems suspect.)
Hey, it’s Kyle, the guy who set a publishing schedule and immediately couldn’t stick to it. Here’s to better luck next weeek. Before we get into the trends, I wrote some other things this week:
How to Turn Your Brand into a Cult Brand (think: Nike or Crossfit)
The Trinternet Does Skynet (China and the US are in a race to see who can export more facial recognition systems, but it may be more than just that)
Can Apple Out-Google Google? (Apple launching its own search engine would be a $15B+ gamble)
When Brands Act Against Type: Intuit & Shell & Balenciaga (what happens when brands do something unexpected?)
This weeek: The Memeconomy, checking in recent plots that are thickening, tips and tricks to steal for your playbook, The Meta Memo, a tip for your podcast art, More Ads in More Places, a riddle about ad spend forecasts, & #Hacked (& Other Attack Vectors)
🦠 The Memeconomy
Memes are the Ron Burgundy of the internet (kind of a big deal). And the lifeblood of many a social/content platform.
They are also big business. And maybe a key to unlock marketing.
I am by no means an expert resource for the meme-averse (which is much less theoretical than the metaverse currently), so I am going to highly recommend this piece by Liz Hagelthorn and treat a few slides as memes here.
The whole Microsoft+OpenAI vs. Google thing just keeps going.
Seems like each day brings a new report of [enter Microsoft product name here] to get [insert AI capability here] comes out. But Google has a plan, and it’s: launch over 20 AI products this year, including a demo of its own search chatbot. (well that escalated quickly (how many join the Google Graveyard by 2025?))
And it turns out, Microsoft Cloud is doing great. And it hasn’t even gone full ChatGPT yet. This success, when compared to Google Cloud Platform, shows the advantage Microsoft has when it comes to enterprise infrastructure and sales.
Google knows scale. Microsoft knows sales.
Let’s pivot to a space where Google has the power stance: the monetization of Shorts. YouTube and TikTok are locked in as the top two platforms for short-form video and now reports are coming out that TikTok monetization is not great and going viral is getting harder.
So maybe my idea that brands that want to create digital community should start a Mastodon server was a bad one. The points made by the Financial Times Alphaville team are apt, and the most common thread is liability. Definitely something I’d be wary of in light of pending cases that could put platforms on the hook for what users post.
I do wonder if there is a way to do it as a private community. I’m not willing to let this idea go yet, but it’s not looking great.
Is this the start of The Great Un-TikTok-ening?
Probably not, but Instaglam pulled the plug on its TikTok overhaul. And Head of Da Gram, Adam Mosseri, admitted they went a bit too cuckoo for video puffs.
The new goal is an even mix of video and photo and let and further video-fication of the platform be driven by user engagement.
From Inside.com: How do you balance creativity with data-driven decision-making?
Data wins for direct response outreach. Creativity wins for brand outreach. Period.
-Daniel James Scott
Want to level up your Instagram numbers this year?
Focus on SEO and Reels.
Like Pinterest, Insta uses all available signals to figure out what your post is about. Use that to your advantage and spell it out for the robots.
It may not be "all Reels, all the time" anymore, but the format is still hugely important to the platform. Looking for direction?
Creator Olivia Noceda leverages trending audio with original storytelling to build a lasting community. And saw a 75% increase in follower growth after going Reels-only.
But don't try to go viral.
Stay true to you and the growth will follow.
You can also use your business profile CTA button to generate lead form fills. Platforms love when you don’t try to take users off-site, lead forms are a great hack to make the platform happy while you get a direct line to a potential customer via a platform you “own.”
Newsletter discoverability, courtesy of LinkedIn:
Use Reddit and Twitter to see what your audience really thinks of you.
From Stacked Marketer:
Twitter: search for tweets containing your company’s name or one of your competitors’. Look for tweets like, “Has anyone used [company name]?” or replies to tweets like “Anyone know a way to [do the thing your product does]?” Sometimes, customers write the copy for you.
Reddit: See if you can find people talking about your product or similar products and focus on the things they care about.
Google: People still write product reviews as blog posts. If you can find one for your brand, read what they’re saying.
Another audience finding tip from from Social Media Today: poke around the platform’s ads manager to see the estimated audience size for your target (and aspirational) audience.
From the tea leaves:
A study found that caffeine consumption boosts hedonic purchase behavior. You could test increasing ad budgets during common coffee consumption times. Or campaigns that only run in the morning. Or AM flash sales. Or try to microtarget around coffee shops and other caffeination destinations.
A twist on the marketplace concept, curate a collection of complimentary products from other brands related to your niche / sector. For example, a high-end pajama company that started a relaxation and sleep product shop within its stores.
The Meta Memo
Instagram saying “we pivoted too hard to video” might be code for “we pivoted too hard away from revenue.” Reels Ads are the cheapest of the Meta lot at the moment, so competing with TikTok cost more than just cred.
Fun fact: The Big Blue App generates 2/3 of Meta’s Zuck Bucks™️.
Reports were flowing after the holidays that Facebook performance was the gift that kept on giving. Sounds like Facebook expects that to be the norm and not the exception moving forward. Thanks in part to improving AI prediction machines for ad targeting and content (Reels) delivery. The money tanker may have finally finished adjusting course post-iOS privacy changes.
But if you only remember one nugget, remember this:
While Reels is often publicly associated with young users and Instagram, Facebook users appear to be the more avid consumers of the short videos.
Meta needs engagement. Which means more users spending more time in the apps. Which means more content for them to look at, interact with, get incensed by, etc. Which means more people making that contact. Which leads us to The Eye of Sauron paying Buzzfeed millions of dollars to help bring in that sweet, sweet content.
Boring but maybe helpful: Updating ad measurement terminology to align with Accounts Center (more name changing as product update (and more monkeying with metrics to look better))
🌈 The More You Know
Have a podcast? Thinking about starting one? Make sure your image communicates the topic (as much as possible in a small square) and is formatted right:
3000x3000 pixels (this is the new size Apple is pushing for)
JPEG or PNG
RGB color space (if you don't know what this means, you probably don't need to worry about it)
More Ads in More Places
It may soon be possible to measure ad viewability in games (and other virtual experiences (trying not to say metaverse)).
This could be the shark that needs jumping as it would start to hint at awareness and reach numbers.
The big question: what counts as viewable?
Current IAB video impression standards are:
50% of the ad’s pixels are visible in the browser window for a continuous 1 second.
Disney+ Announces Exciting New Ways to Show Ads to You and Your Kids (age, gender, and geo-targeting now, then the “full suite of targeting” options available on Hulu)
Twitch is going to make pre-roll ads way less annoying / Twitch is also adding a bunch of features for streamers and sharing what it’s working on for creators in 2023 and beyond. (the changes will de-emphasize ads and potentially make them easier to pause/skip, but that could make them less annoying to users and thus boost their value (looking for a new platform to test? Twitch is worth a look if it has your demo)
This Search Engine Land post on consent-based targeting is worth a read for any PPC manager. Nothing groundbreaking, but a great refresh and primer for the new year. Topics include:
First-party vs. Native (platform) data
How to use native data in your campaigns
How to collect more 1st party data
How to make your messaging relevant to these audiences
Ad Spend Forecasts: A Riddle
Forecasts for 2023 ad revenue and spend aren’t so rosy (and the survey results seem downright contradictory at times). But the number of new business applications have been off the charts lately.
So if few businesses are planning to cutback on their marketing spend and a bunch of new businesses are starting up, why is ad revenue / spend forecast to only grow by a small amount (if at all)?
You can read a bit more on this here.
Google Giveth, Google Taketh Away
Giveth: YouTube is working on updates to make it easier for uploaders to figure out what part of their video caused violations. You know, instead of the vague email devoid of any info to help you even start trying to solve the problem.
Giveth: Chrome is adding support for Scrollend,a browser event that fires when:
The browser is no longer animating or translating scroll.
The user's touch has been released.
The user's pointer has released the scroll thumb.
The user's keypress has been released.
Scroll to fragment has completed.
Scroll snap has completed.
scrollTo() has completed.
The user has scrolled the visual viewport.
Sounds like a useful event to track if you’re interested in how people engage with your content and where they lose interest.
Giveth: How Vimeo improved Video SEO for their customers (an official Google case study, so worth a read if relevant)
Giveth (but not by Google): It’s easy to setup a Performance Max campaign in Google Ads, but it can still be a little difficult to figure out how it’s really doing. Thankfully, Collin Schmelebeck has a handy Twitter thread to help shed some light on shopping performance. You have to wait for your follow request to be accepted before you can see the thread, but I don’t want to steal his thunder, so here’s a taste:
Merchant Center ID (/ MC ID) row
Taketh: Optimize will be sunset on September 30. A/B testing and other experiments will be moved (unsurprisingly) to Google Analytics 4. Presumably the feature will even be live and relatively stable by then.
Another week reading the tea leaves:
Luxury just treading water?
Walmart says the water's fine, thanks
How some retailers are surfing the "returns tsunami"
The benefits of caffeinating your customers
& some headlines
#Hacked (& Other Attack Vectors)
U.S. ‘No Fly List’ Leaks After Being Left in an Unsecured Airline Server
Riot Games receives ‘ransom email’ for stolen source code following social engineering attack (humans are always the weakest link in the security chain)
TikTok is facing threatened bans in the EU and the US House and Senate.
Apple’s Privacy Policies Under Fire From Ad Tech Industry (specifically about its “hypocrisy” (who could have seen this coming?))
DOJ Poised to Sue Google Over Digital Ad Market Dominance
Thanks for reading! As usual, I didn’t have time to write you a short post so I wrote a long one. Catch you next weeek.