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Silver Level Contributor

India’s IT ministry demanded WhatsApp shelve a planned update to its privacy policy and urged it to reconsider its approach to data privacy, security and freedom of choice for its more than 400 million users in the country, Reuters reported.

In a statement sent to WhatsApp global head Will Cathcart, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology expressed concern over the potential impact on consumer “choice and autonomy”, the news agency wrote.

The ministry accused WhatsApp of “differential and discriminatory” treatment between Indian and European users, which are not subject to the amendments.

India is not alone in criticising the planned changes, which WhatsApp began informing users of earlier this month. Opponents believe the amendments are an attempt by the messenger business to share more user information with parent Facebook.

WhatsApp delayed its original implementation plan from 8 February to 15 May due to what it branded misinformation and user confusion.

It told Reuters the change is designed to make it easier for users to deal with businesses on the platform, explaining the move would not result in more data being shared with Facebook and communications would remain encrypted.

Originally publshed by
Joseph Waring | January 20, 2021
Mobile World Live

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Gold Level Contributor



Disneyland’s parking lot in Anaheim, California soon will become one of the largest drive-through locations to get a COVID-19 vaccine, as the state hits an all-time high for cases of the virus.

Despite the uptick in infections, many consumers are keenly aware of -- and concerned about -- whether or not businesses live up to safety standards. Most consumers still want businesses to communicate their safety protocols.

Yelp launched a feature soliciting customer feedback about how well businesses adhere to pandemic precautions such as social distancing and mask wearing.

The user-generated feedback becomes available for restaurants, food, nightlife, retail and beauty businesses as well as automotive, professional and local services businesses. 

When multiple users leave feedback, the ratings for COVID safety precautions show whether there is a consensus among users who rate a business.

Yelp users must log in to identify whether or not the business follows safety precautions. If the business has multiple locations, the rating will only show for the location where the customer leaves the feedback.

“The COVID-19 section on Yelp business pages will be regularly updated to reflect the consensus of user responses,” Akhil Kuduvalli, head of consumer product at Yelp, wrote in a post.

The way Yelp designed the method to inform consumers is interesting. A green check mark will display with text that indicates “Social distancing enforced according to most users” or “Staff wears masks according to most users” when the majority of responses from users indicate that these measures are being enforced.

If a majority of user responses indicate that these measures are not enforced, an orange question mark will be displayed with text that reads: “Social distancing might not be enforced according to most users” or “Staff might not wear masks according to most users.”

In instances where user responses are mixed but there is still significant feedback from users that these measures are not enforced, an orange question mark will be displayed with text that indicates “Social distancing might not be enforced according to some users” or “Staff might not wear masks according to some users.”

At launch, the orange question mark is only displayed on a couple hundred businesses out of the millions of businesses on Yelp.

Businesses can promote how they take precautions, similar to the way they identify offering outdoor heated seating, DIY meal kits, private dining, covered outdoor seating, and take out and/or delivery.

Businesses also can list basic health and safety measures such as social-distancing enforcement, mask mandates for staff, and that they use disposable or contactless menus.

Yelp saw consumer interest rise 41% for businesses that added COVID-19 business updates to their Yelp pages between September 1 and December 31, 2020. 

This new update highlights how businesses have adapted to keep their customers safe, and aims to infuse confidence in consumers to continue supporting local businesses, which is very important these days.

Originally published by
Laurie Sullivan | January 14, 2021

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Gold Level Contributor

General Motors made big news last week with the announcement of a logo change and a new brand campaign focused on bringing electric vehicles to the masses.

However, it was a little hard to focus on marketing news, considering what was happening in Washington on Wednesday. 

I wondered out loud if GM had considered delaying the announcement (which was tied to this week’s CES) in light of the state of the country and the fact that many people, like me, were pretty distracted.

“We are certainly mindful and paying attention to world events and working through that as people ourselves, but developed this campaign with optimism and inclusion as main themes and feel those are the types of messages the world needs to hear moving forward,” a GM spokesperson told me Friday.

Several days have passed and as the news of the insurrection sinks in, companies are now reacting, with a large number deciding to rethink their Political Action Committee donations. Some are suspending contributions specifically to the Republican members of Congress who challenged the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

General Motors issued a statement that is noncommittal about future actions, but assures that “character and public integrity aligning with GM’s core values are considered when making PAC contributions, according to the automaker.”

“For 2021, as is standard in any contribution cycle, PAC contributions will be evaluated to ensure candidates align with our core values,” the automaker told the Detroit Free Press.  "GM PAC is committed to supporting and building relationships in a bipartisan manner, funds are contributed by GM employees and are distributed to support the election of U.S. federal and state candidates who foster sound business policies and understand the importance of a robust auto industry.”

Ford Motor Co. is being more definitive, saying it will pause political donations in light of Wednesday’s attack on the Capitol and that it “condemns the violent actions that happened this week, which contradict the ideals of a free and fair election and a peaceful transition of power.”

“As we have said, events over the past year have underscored the need for a broader, ongoing discussion about other relevant considerations when it comes to our employee PAC," Rachel McCleery, director of government relations for manufacturing policy, told the Detroit Free Press.  "In order to give these important discussions the time and reflection they deserve, the Ford PAC will be suspending new contributions for now.”

Automakers are likely keeping a close eye on President-elect Joe Biden’s likely nominations for his cabinet. The companies may soon have a well-known former Michigan politician to deal with in Washington. 

President-elect Biden says he intends to nominate Jennifer Granholm to serve in his cabinet as energy secretary.

Granholm will draw on her experience with the auto industry as a two-term Michigan governor to advance the incoming administration’s climate goals. If confirmed, she is expected to play a key role in expanding the development of electric vehicles and 500,000 charging stations across the U.S., as promised by Biden.

Environmental officials lauded her selection. 

“I think it’s a very insightful pick,” said Nathan Murphy, state director of Environment Michigan, in a blog post. “Gov. Granholm has been a champion of renewable energy, both as our governor and since then. She understands how Michigan’s automotive industry fits into building a path away from dirty fossil fuels.”

Granholm would work with former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, who Biden nominated for transportation secretary. Buttigieg has pledged to restore Obama-era vehicle emissions standards and supported making the U.S. carbon-neutral by 2050.

So maybe’s GM’s electric campaign is well-timed after all. 

Originally published by
Tanya Gazdik | January 11, 2021
Media Post

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Bronze Level Contributor

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- The U.S. Army continues to explore new technologies to improve warfighter performance on the battlefield, and researchers believe augmented reality, or AR, is a vitally important part of that process.

Researchers from the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, now known as DEVCOM, Army Research Laboratory discovered a new technique for AR to overcome bright lighting conditions during the day by using low contrast dimming highlights. They said this opens up new research questions that will improve warfighter AR and heads-up display performance in outdoor operations.

“Imagine a Soldier of the future, searching for a target in an urban jungle,” said Dr. Chou Hung, a neuroscience researcher at the lab. “He looks out in the street and sees drones searching outside. He looks back down the dark hallway. The goggles instantly highlight the location of the target that the drone saw behind the wall, and the highlight is automatically adjusted to the right level in the dim environment, so that the Soldier also sees a second target in another room that was missed by the drone.”

In this scenario, the highlight worked. It was at the right level of contrast to attract the Soldier’s attention, but not so strong that it caused him to miss the second target that wasn’t highlighted.

“We knew that AR displays work well indoors, but outdoors, the icons disappear because the displays have limited brightness,” Hung said. “Even at the brightest level, they’re up to 100 times dimmer than a bright sunny day, so the icons and target highlights become invisible.”

Hung said it’s difficult to make the displays brighter due to the amount of power needed and it’s hard (and computationally expensive with existing technology) to make sure the highlighting isn’t so strong that it prevents the Soldier from paying attention to the rest of the scene.

“We proposed a new approach, low contrast dimming, that can be used to titrate the visibility of target highlighting, but we were concerned that strong lighting variations on the retina as we shift our gaze would drown out the signal,” Hung said. “Our research shows that it should work; our visual system is actually very resilient to strong luminance dynamics; we can see very low contrast (10%) immediately after looking at something 100 times brighter.”

Researchers said future warfighters will need AR in outdoor and mixed indoor/outdoor environments.

“Our discovery paves the way towards enabling that use, including in challenging desert, snow, marine, and dense urban environments,” Hung said. “The same approach could also improve situational awareness for other display technologies such as image intensifiers, infrared and fused night vision displays. This approach would also enable indirect optics and has potential for laser eye protection as well.”

According to Col. James Ness, professor of engineering psychology at the U.S. Military Academy, “Indirect viewing optics are definitely needed as laser powers that shift blue when hitting optics designed to filter harmful wavelengths become transparent.”

The researchers studied high dynamic range, or HDR, luminance – images in which the brightest and darkest pixels differ by up to 100,000-to-1 ratio in brightness – and how it affects visual processing.

“We believe this should increase situational awareness and Intel, and avoid situations where information is lost because the display is simply invisible under bright conditions,” Hung said. “For example, if you’re in hotel room looking outside, we see both inside and outside simultaneously, but a typical camera can only see one or the other because of limited dynamic range, and current AR technology would have the same display problem. This would ensure that the information is visible on both parts of the screen, when it’s shown against the outside and when it’s shown against the indoor environment.”

Researchers said success will also make future commercial AR more functional in daytime environments.

“Imagine extreme snow sports like a biathlon, for example, with AR, or something as simple as shopping for a few hours on a bright sunny day,” he said.

Originally published by
U.S. Army DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory Public Affairs | January 5, 2021
U.S. Army News

Results and rationale using AR with variable occlusion, to overcome daytime invisibility of existing AR and to titrate attention for aided target recognition have been published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Perceptual Imaging, Low-contrast Acuity Under Strong Luminance Dynamics and Potential Benefits of Divisive Display Augmented Reality, and the SPIE paper, Divisive display augmented reality (ddAR) for real-world warfighter performance.

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Gold Level Contributor

Image: Unsplash - Christian Wiediger

The best-reviewed products are not always the highest quality -- at least not on Amazon. More consumers will realize this as they dig into their holiday purchases.

Timothy B. Lee, senior tech policy reporter at Ars Technica, learned this firsthand after a “cheap drone” he bought his five-year-old daughter for Christmas took a dive, and he went to Amazon to research his options.

“The kids enjoyed the drone so much in its few brief hours of functionality that I thought I might buy them another one,” he wrote. “If I did more research and spent a bit more money, I hoped I could find a higher-quality model that wouldn't fall apart after a few hours.”

He went to, searched for "children's drone," and sorted by "average customer review," in hopes that the best-reviewed drones were likely to be high-quality.

They weren’t. It turns out the first result of his search was a $23 drone with 6,400 reviews and a five-star average rating. But when he read through the five-star reviews, they were for honey, not a drone.

More consumers are relying on reviews on Amazon and engines like Google to make the correct buying decision as more consumers shop online. In Lee's case, the older reviews were all about honey.

The manufacturer got Amazon to display thousands of reviews for an unrelated product below the listing for the drone, helping the product to rise to the top of Amazon's search results. As marketers know, Google works in a similar way.

“The story was similar for the second and third results in my drone search. Both had thousands of reviews with five-star averages,” he wrote. “In both cases, many of the five-star reviews were obviously for other products — including a bottle of vodka, a bracelet, and a box of Christmas cards.”

Amazon acknowledges that the bogus reviews violate the company’s policies, but some remain on their marketplace.

Lee wrote that the product -- which once had more than 6,000 reviews -- now has 55, and its star rating has dropped to three-and-a-half stars. He pointed out in an email to Amazon that others remain unchanged.

Originally published by
Laurie Sullivan | December 30, 2020

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Gold Level Contributor

Image: Unsplash - Mitchelll Luo

How do you reach younger generations? Put the content on TikTok. The company not only hosted a live forum earlier this month to mark the UK's COVID-19 vaccine rollout, but also plans to host a virtual New Year's Eve celebration to help bring friends and family together as the world continues to battle COVID-19.

TikTok is saying #bye2020 and #welcome2021 with new visual technology and a live broadcast from the platform.

The first virtual New Year’s Eve celebration will allow spectators to ring in the New Year from their couches, while connecting to friends and loved ones.

On December 31, beginning at 9:30 pm ET on the TikTok account, the platform’s hosts Brittany Broski with 5.9 million followers and Lil Yachty with 5.6 million followers will kick off the live event, featuring musical performances, creators, Year on TikTok: Top 100 trend explainers, and special segments for social causes.

Jason Derulo, Saweetie, Aly & AJ, Tai Verdes, and others will perform. Cardi B, Liam Payne, Charli & Dixie D’Amelio and others will make special appearances, as well as the iconic Mick Fleetwood, who was born in 1947 and began his career in 1963, long before many TikTok users were born.

While he is not scheduled to perform on New Year's Eve, legendary artist Paul McCartney earlier this year, welcomed TikTok users into his studio for a revealing and whimsical peek behind the music he created for his most recent album McCartney III. 

TikTok also will introduce new visual effects for iPhone 12, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max. The effects — Snow Playground, and Confetti Celebration — are powered by the LiDAR Scanner technology, which adds depth-sensing capabilities for better images. The visual technology can immerse viewers deeper into the images. LiDAR, which stands for light detection, is new to Apple phones.

Allowing creators to become more creative, a smartphone with this type of LiDAR tech sends waves of light pulses rather than infrared dots and can measure each one with its sensor, creating a field of points that map out distances and can "mesh" the dimensions of a space and the objects in it.

The effect go live on December 26, allowing users with the new iPhone 12 to create unique videos in celebration of 2021.

originally published by
Laurie Sullivan | December 28, 2020

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Gold Level Contributor

Image: Unsplash - Third Serving

It’s been an increasingly satisfying couple of months for WarnerMedia executives tired of being pelted with predictions of the early demise of the company’s now seven-month-old HBO Max streamer.

Since AT&T’s third-quarter report at the end of October, WarnerMedia has clinched deals with both Amazon and Roku, opening access to HBO Max for many millions of Fire TV and Roku device owners (with self-reported global MAUs of 50 million and 46 million, respectively) just prior to the key holiday streaming season. So that’s an end to the constant mentions of Max’s lack of distribution through those devices by analysts and the media (including yours truly).

The Amazon Fire integration, in place as of the end of November, helped drive a 4-million jump in the number of HBO subscribers who have authenticated HBO Max, to 12.6 million, in the two months between the Q3 report and the second week of December.

The Amazon and Roku distribution factors will undoubtedly continue to drive up the Max authentications — and new, non-HBO subscribers — particularly in combination with WarnerMedia’s “hybrid” movie release strategy.

Controversial as it’s been in the industry, the company’s decision to simultaneously release “Wonder Woman 1984” and all 17 of its major movies during 2021 on HBO Max and in theaters is bound to make Max’s relatively high, much-maligned $14.99-per-month fee pretty palatable, since all subscribers will get access to those big movies at no additional charge for the first month after their releases.

That strategic move almost certainly also helped add pressure on Roku to finally come to mutually acceptable terms for Max distribution on its devices.

WarnerMedia also just announced that HBO Max is now accessible through Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Flex platforms—again, in time for holiday family binge-fests.

To add fuel to the fire, HBO Max is also currently offering a 20% discount on six-month subscriptions, for those willing to prepay.

Next year, of course, we'll also see a rollout of another tier of HBO Max — which is increasingly looking like it will be supported by a lower-cost consumer fee structure, in addition to advertising.

And now, in the latest boost for HBO Max — albeit a more technical one — WarnerMedia has completed its acquisition of You.i TV, an Ottawa-based provider of cross-platform development tools for TV and media companies.

Originally published by
Karlene Lukovitz | December 22, 2020

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Bronze Level Contributor

Image : Kon Karampelas -Unsplash

With 58% of people open to watching digital content made by creators of any age, YouTube saw a growing number of boomer-age creators surfaced. Not just in the United States, but around the world in MexicoGermany, and Korea

Older creators are not exactly new to YouTube, but an innovative wave of creators started channels on the platform to share what they know. Younger audiences craved a connection to older generations as more families remained separated.

As consumption spiked in 2020, YouTube wanted to know how viewing behaviors shifted in 2020, so it created the first-ever Culture & Trends Report released Monday.

It looks at the top new trends across the platform, spanning a range of creators, content and viewers.

The report also shares insights on how creators evolved to match the needs of a more diverse audience, how innovative formats rose to meet a world craving social connection, and how digital tools for storytelling helped us face personal and societal challenges. 

In 2020, 66% of people in Germany used YouTube to develop a new hobby, and 94% in India who use YouTube relied on the platform to learn to do something themselves, according to data from YouTube and Ipsos.

Audiences looked for indigenous culture from their homes with regard to their language, heritage and musical styling, leading to a sub-trend of indigenous rappers who penned songs about their life experiences. Those searching for content sought traditional lifestyle values.

Musicians like Pat Boy Rap Maya -- a rapper of Maya heritage from Mexico, who raps in the Mayan language -- uses the art form not just to express something about their culture and heritage but to actually preserve their language and keep it fresh and relevant.

Originally published by
Laurie Sullivan | December 14, 2020

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Gold Level Contributor

Image credit: Robin Worrall

A recent study finds a powerful correlation between the extent to which users trust Facebook, and the intensity of their Facebook use. The study also finds what contributes to that user trust.

“We looked at both trust and distrust, testing for them separately,” says Yang Cheng, an assistant professor of communication at North Carolina State University first author of the study.

Broadly speaking, trust is when you expect a person or entity to behave in a positive way, whereas distrust is when you expect a person or entity to behave in a negative way. But in the context of this study, it’s also fair to think of trust as being more cognitive in nature (the way you think about an entity), whereas distrust is more intuitive (or the way you feel about an entity).

To begin addressing issues of trust and social media use, the researchers conducted a survey of 661 social media users in the United States.

Survey questions addressed a variety of issues, including:

  • The extent to which study participants trust Facebook;
  • The extent to which they distrust Facebook;
  • Information trustworthiness, or the extent to which they think items posted on Facebook are true;
  • Information elaboration, or the extent to which they think about the consequences of misinformation on Facebook;
  • Self-efficacy, or how good participants think they are at avoiding misinformation;
  • Prescriptive expectancy, or the extent to which they think Facebook should be pro-active about addressing misinformation; and
  • Intensity of Facebook use, or the extent to which they use and rely on Facebook.

The researchers found that trust was very strongly correlated with the intensity of Facebook use. Distrust, however, was not.

“This is an important lesson for communicators: you need to cultivate trust,” Cheng says.

But what builds trust?

The characteristic most strongly correlated with trust was self-efficacy.

“In other words, the better you think you are at sorting misinformation from accurate information, the more likely you are to trust Facebook,” Cheng says. “And the more you trust Facebook, the more likely you are to be a high-intensity Facebook user. Unfortunately, thinking that you are better than other people at identifying misinformation does not mean you are actually better than other people at identifying misinformation.”

The other variable that was positively correlated with trust in Facebook was information trustworthiness, or the extent to which people thought posts on Facebook were true.

“While our work highlights the importance of building trust, it also highlights the challenge this poses for a company like Facebook,” Cheng says. “Facebook can promote media literacy, but actual media literacy is not necessarily related to self-efficacy. And Facebook has not shown that it can ensure the posts on its platform are true. If people don’t trust Facebook, they’re less likely to spend as much time there, or to engage as fully with content on the site. And it remains unclear how much control Facebook has over the variables that contribute to trust in the platform.”

The other variables the researchers examined were both negatively correlated with trust in Facebook. In other words, the more people thought about the consequences of misinformation shared online, the less they trusted Facebook. And the more people thought Facebook should proactively work to limit misinformation, the less they trusted Facebook.

Again, neither of those variables are things that are inherently within Facebook’s control. However, one could hypothesize that increased efforts from Facebook to reduce misinformation on its platform could reduce the negative correlation between those variables and distrust in Facebook.

Originally published by | December 10, 2020
Yang ChengMatt ShipmanNC State News

The paper, “Encountering Misinformation Online: Antecedents of Trust and Distrust and Their Impact on the Intensity of Facebook Use,” is published in Online Information Review.

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Bronze Level Contributor

FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 6, 2017, file photo, shoppers check out smart phones at a store in Beijing, China. Companies including the Chinese arm of TripAdvisor Inc. have been ordered by regulators to overhaul their mobile phone apps in what the Chinese government says is a crackdown on pornography and other improper content. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)

HONG KONG (AP) — Companies including the Chinese arm of TripAdvisor Inc. have been ordered by regulators to overhaul their mobile phone apps in what the Chinese government said is a crackdown on pornography and other improper content.

The National Cyberspace Administration ordered the removal of 105 apps including TripAdvisor from app stores this week, although it gave no details of what each app was accused of doing wrong. It cited what it said were public complaints about obscene, pornographic and violent information or fraud, gambling and prostitution.

The ruling Communist Party tightly controls what the Chinese public sees online and has launched repeated crackdowns on websites and apps.

TripAdvisor China, a joint venture between TripAdvisor and its Chinese partner, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Following the removal of its app in China, Nasdaq-listed TripAdvisor’s stock price was down 1.68% to $29.59 at the market’s close in the U.S. on Tuesday.

TripAdvisor owns a 40% stake in TripAdvisor China, with owning the other 60%. Under the partnership, the companies share its travel inventories and content.

Originally published by
Zen Soo | December 9, 2020
Associated Press

Associated Press writer Joe McDonald in Beijing contributed to this report.

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Silver Level Contributor

Image: Unsplash - NordWood Themes

YouTube has shared some new insights into how its feed algorithm works, addressing some common questions from creators around video distribution, and how they can align in order to maximize reach.

The video builds on the algorithm insights videos that YouTube shared back in July and in October, which also provided answers on some key distribution questions. If you're looking to improve YouTube performance, it's definitely worth watching them all, while ii may also be worth checking out YouTube's 'How it Works' explainer platform, which includes additional notes on video distribution.

Here's a look at the questions and answers that YouTube shares in this latest installment.

1. If a video is not performing well, will updating the thumbnail improve performance?

YouTube says that this can be a good way to improve video performance, though there is nothing within the algorithm which changes as a result, or gets triggered by a thumbnail change.

"Changing the way your title or thumbnail looks is a really effective way to get more views, but in general, we only recommend making changes when your video has both a lower click-through rate, and it's receiving fewer views and impressions than usual."

YouTube notes that when you do change your thumbnail, you may notice a sudden change in performance, initially, but this is not due to anything built into the algorithm, it purely relates to how people are engaging with your content.

"When you change your title and thumbnail, you may notice that your video starts getting more or fewer views, and that's generally because your video looks different to viewers and that's gonna change up the way that people interact with it when it's offered to them in recommendations. Our systems are responding to how viewers are interacting with your video differently, not the act of changing your title and thumbnail. There is no trigger if you change your title and thumbnail that will cause our systems to increase or decrease impressions, it's all about the audience."

So your thumbnails can obviously have an impact on click-through rates, but YouTube's system doesn't factor in changes and re-assess content based on this.

2. Does your video's click-through rate among your channel subscribers impact the likelihood of it being recommended?

Some creators have raised concerns that performance among their channel subscribers could impact their reach to non-subscribers, which would then mean that channels should look to clean out older and inactive subscribers to improve performance.

YouTube says that this is not factored into its recommendations as a major driver:

“Our recommendation system doesn't really focus on the subs feed as the primary signal. In Discovery, we focus on how well the video performs in the context that's shown. So ranking on ‘Home’ for a given viewer is mostly based on how a video performs when it is shown on ‘Home’ - so, do viewers click-watch and enjoy the video when it's offered to them on their homepage?”

YouTube also notes that its algorithm understands which of your subscribers haven't watched your videos in a long time, and it will avoid showing it to them, which lessens any potential impact in this respect. So no need to clean out your subs lists.

3. How does YouTube's algorithm determine the order in which videos appear in relation to a search query?

YouTube says that its search algorithm is very similar to the one used by parent company Google in ranking its search results.

"Just like Google, search on YouTube has a similar goal where we wanna’ show the viewer the most relevant results for their search query."

YouTube's video search results are predominantly ranked based on:

  • Relevance - How well your title, description, and the content of your video match the viewer's query
  • Performance - This includes total views of the video, how long people have watched the video for, likes, shares, etc. 

"Search is not a list of results of the most viewed videos for a given query, it's very much the most relevant, and the videos that we think you're most likely to watch."

4. If YouTube doesn't show your videos to all subscribers (based on, for example, subscriber inactivity), why is this a relevant metric? 

YouTube says that subscriptions are one factor used in its algorithm rankings for user video feeds, but that doesn't mean that your subscribers will see all of your videos.

"Our recommendation system doesn't actually push out viewers to anyone, but actually finds or pulls in videos and ranks them for viewers when they visit YouTube based on what we think they're most likely to watch."

So YouTube's system will show each user the content they're most likely to engage with, and while subscriptions are a factor within this, they won't necessarily ensure all your subscribers see all of your latest updates.

Why is that?

"We did actually run experiments where we prioritized videos from subscriptions above all recommendations from all other channels, but in all of those experiments, it dramatically reduced how much viewers watched and how often they came back to YouTube. So for that reason, we really focused recommendations on videos that viewers are most likely to watch and enjoy, and while subscriptions are used to inform that, the data shows it's not always the most highly predictive factor about what videos people want."

This is a key note - if your subscribers aren't regularly engaging with your content, YouTube won't keep highlighting your videos to them. So, for one, you can't assume that you're reaching all of your subscribers, and two, that subscriber count on channels may not necessarily be indicative of reach. View counts per video are a more accurate indicator.

YouTube notes that it does have a 'Subscriptions' tab to give people the option to see the latest updates from the channels they subscribe to.

5. If you upload several videos at once, but keep some of them as 'unpublished' till you choose to activate them, will that reduce your video reach?

This relates to a note in one of YouTube's previous algorithm insights video, where they said that viewers will only get three new video notifications, per channel, each day. So if you upload more than three videos per day, you may not get the same amount of reach with your content.

But does that also relate if you upload several videos, but then make them active over the course of, say, a week?

YouTube says that this will not impact reach.

"What matters is how viewers respond to your video after it's been published. That's what a recommendation system is learning from. So if you set a video as scheduled or unlisted and you flip it to ‘Public’ later on, no impact. Don't worry about it."

That doesn't necessarily answer the query in relation to notifications - i.e. will your viewers still get notifications of your new videos if you upload more than three in a day, then make them active over time, but it YouTube says that this won't impact overall reach.

6. Does uploading videos in two different languages impact content/channel performance?

YouTube says this can have an impact, because your viewers will respond based on the language they understand.

"Uploading in two different languages can sometimes confuse your viewers, unless your audience is mostly multilingual and they can enjoy videos in both languages. We often recommend spinning off into multiple channels per language if you're catering to your audience. You can imagine if you're subscribed to a channel and you're seeing videos that are, for example, in German and English, but you only speak one of them, you're gonna ignore the one that’s not in your native language."

That makes sense - your performance will be impacted by viewers ignoring one or the other, while having a dedicated channel for each could see better performance.

“If you have a mostly multi-lingual audience, then keep your channel that way. If your channel is designed around the specific type of viewer, probably we recommend separating them or spinning them off.”

7. Does it take a certain amount of hours of watch time before a video is highly recommended?

Some creators have noted that some of their older videos have gained traction at some stage, despite them being active for a long time. Does that mean that they've reached a key number which then sees them get more distribution.

YouTube says that this is not the case, and that there's no particular threshold which a video needs to meet in order to start getting recommended.

"A lot of viewers don't watch videos in chronological order or decide what they wanna' watch based on when a video is published. If you go to your homepage today, you might notice that a lot of those videos were published weeks, months, sometimes even years ago. If you’re showing more interest in an older video, it could be that the topic that your video is about is increasing in popularity, a bunch of new people discovered your channel and they're going back and watching more, or a few other reasons."

YouTube says that it's fairly common for older videos to pick up steam later on, but there's nothing within its algorithm that triggers wider sharing based on view counts.

These are some good insights, and as noted, they add to the other algorithm insights YouTube has provided throughout the year. If you're looking to make YouTube a bigger priority in 2021, it's definitely worth checking them out, and getting a better understanding of how you can maximize your video performance.

Originally published by
Andrew Hutchinson | December 7, 2020
Social Media Today

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LinkedIn is looking to provide more ways to utilize its vast professional dataset, this time via a new tool called 'Sales Insights', which will provide a real-time overview of key business opportunities based on your chosen market niche and parameters.

As explained in the clip below, Sales Insights will provide users with specific information on employee trends, contacts, and potential connection opportunities, cross-matched against your staff listings on LinkedIn.

As per LinkedIn:

"Sales Insights gives you clear visibility into the size and fast-growing nature of specific departments, functions, and accounts, so that you can accurately plan your sales strategy in order to point your sales teams to the right accounts and drive more revenue."

As you can see here, the Sales Insights dashboard enables you to hone in on specific data, based on location, job function, growth trends, etc. That can help you better identify key opportunities, in order to connect with the right businesses at the right time.

From there, Sales Insights can also show you who, among your employees, is connected to people at your target companies, providing an 'in' to improve your response rate.

It's LinkedIn's latest effort to better utilize its unmatched professional data set - through its map of professional connections, career details and other data, LinkedIn can provide a range of valuable insights into how modern business is conducted, and how you can reach the right people, and identify the right opportunities, to boost your efforts. 

Sales Insights is just one example of this in practice - there are also expanded implications for recruitment, HR, education, etc. 

If LinkedIn can harness these insights in effective ways, it could become an even more significant element in various business processes. LinkedIn has been very protective of its data access over the years, but now, at 722 million members, it's looking to find more ways to help business partners glean more information. LinkedIn also recently added a new tool called LinkedIn Career Explorer, which shows users potential career paths based on the skills that they already have, including links to relevant LinkedIn Learning courses to align with key areas of demand. 

No other platform can provide such insights to the extent that LinkedIn can. That's a significant advantage, and the more LinkedIn can tap into this, the better placed it will be, especially as we move beyond the pandemic, and likely into a new period of business growth. 

This is a valuable tool, which will only become more valuable the further you examine the data. 

Originally published by
Andrew Hutchinson | December 2, 2020
Social Media Today

LinkedIn says that Sales Insights will be generally available in February.

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(Josh Hallett/Flickr)

Amazon will exclusively stream an NFL matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals on Saturday, Dec. 26 on Prime Video and Twitch.

According to Variety, Amazon will also simulcast an NFL playoff game for the first time when it streams CBS’ Wild Card game on Jan. 10, 2021.

The exclusive stream is part of Amazon’s deal with the NFL that was renewed earlier this year. At the time, the companies said that the game will still be available on free, over-the-air television in the participating teams’ home markets.

In April, Amazon announced a new deal for 11 NFL Thursday Night Football games. The league didn’t disclose financial details for the agreement but CNBC reported it’s a three-year deal and it’s worth more than the $130 million Amazon paid in 2018 for its previous two-year deal.

"We are thrilled to renew our Thursday Night Football deal with the NFL and are excited to expand our relationship to include exclusive global streaming rights to an additional regular season game in 2020," said Marie Donoghue, vice president of global sports video at Amazon, in a statement. "We know Prime members and the Twitch community around the world love the NFL, and we remain committed to giving them the best and most customizable streaming experience possible, with a broad selection of premium content available at their fingertips."

Amazon and the NFL have partnered on Thursday Night Football since 2017. In 2019, the games delivered an average audience of 15.4 million viewers including Fox, NFL Network, Fox Deportes, NFL digital, Fox Sports digital, Prime Video, Twitch and Verizon Media mobile properties. The companies said digital streaming across Prime Video, Twitch, NFL digital, Fox Sports digital and Verizon Media mobile properties in 2019 recorded an average minute audience of more 1 million – up 43% versus the previous year when the average minute audience was 729,000.

Originally published by
Ben Muson | November 30 2020
Fierce Video

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JAAGNet Comment:

If you share/publish to Social Media/ Blogging sites on a regular basis or manage these type of sites for your clients the ability to automate the publication and monitoring of one set of generated content across a wide range of different sites with differing formats and content limitations is critical! If you don't do this then you can spend a lot of resources and time on repetitive tasks for no value. So tools that can do this are critical in "spreading the word"  and are an important part of the toolchest. This specific article features and to be totally open we use another product so we dont necessarily endorse as we havent tried it, but the concepts of automation and the benefits that it brings to this industry are important and potential resource/money savers.  Peter


Social media advertising can be daunting, especially as brands  juggle multiple social media platforms. The average person uses around eight different social media accounts, which can make it tricky for brands to keep their branding and communication consistent and up-to-date. 

As a result, many leading brands have turned to automation to solve time-consuming processes that involve audience engagement and customized content. Automation has become critical especially for brands looking to scale up. 

Ironically, automating your social advertising can lead to a more personalized social media experience for your customers, making it easier to create meaningful connections and build loyal customer relationships. In addition, social advertising platforms help you focus on more important things, like marketing strategy and creative concepts. 

Automating isn’t only about saving time, but managing resources and gaining better insights into how you’re performing across platforms. It’s great for quick pivots — great social advertising means staying on top of trends: you should be able to respond instantly to a global phenomenon or a viral meme across different platforms. 

We spoke with Mark de Bruijn, Director of Marketing for EMEA at, a company that specializes in social advertising — their platform and automation capabilities include everything from creative production to campaign management, ad buying, and reporting, all in one platform.

“When we talk about automating social advertising, there are almost unlimited options — the question is where automation can help to provide a better customer experience,” de Bruijn explains. enables the collaboration between performance marketing and creative teams. “That is still quite unique,” says de Bruijn. “However, we have seen that successful brands who automate their social advertising are also able to break silos by encouraging these teams to collaborate closely resulting in great results.”

Here are four reasons why social advertising automation is a smart move.

1. Automation is faster, making your brand more agile

The most obvious benefit of automation is speed. 

Social advertising management can be tedious and repetitive, especially when you’re doing it in bulk across different platforms that each have their own media formats and dimensions. 

“Think about managing campaigns, developing various ads for every product you sell, for example, all of that can be much faster,” notes de Bruijn. Brands still retain control over the look of an ad, but importing, pricing, resizing and other technical tasks can be automated. 

“Being agile is imperative for brands nowadays,” he says. “Think about what happened with COVID and  the retail industry, for example: brands had a big focus on communicating opening hours and store locations and that changed to meeting customer needs with curbside pickups and flexible delivery options.”

And here’s another huge benefit: automating social ads also frees up time and resources for creative work. “Even though we’re talking about automation, the big potential for automation lies in creative production,” says de Bruijn. “Automation helps you to always stay on-brand while saving a lot of valuable hours that you can instead invest on creating new concepts — creative is what essentially attracts people and makes it a better experience.”

2. Next-level advertising

Automation means you can create next-level advertising that keeps up with real-time, real-world changes. 

One of de Bruijn’s favorite case studies is a weather-based ad campaign for Dutch retailer HEMA. The Netherlands has notoriously fickle weather, and HEMA wanted to do something different for cold and rainy weather forecasts. Being able to pivot ad content around the weather required a fast, agile solution.’s Automated Ads and Instant Experience templates helped HEMA to connect local weather forecasts to their product catalog. If the forecast expected it to rain, ads would display products suitable for the weather. If temperatures were going to drop, HEMA would advertise warm clothing. 

The campaign also included stock availability and pricing that helped create a personal relationship with the HEMA customers — a relationship that felt like HEMA was really looking out for someone caught in the rain. The result wasn’t just emotional, it was material, too; helped them to get a 27% higher ROI and a 25% lower CPA compared to other weather-based ad campaigns. 

3. Automation offers better insights

With better results, a smart marketing team also needs better insights. 

“If you have one platform for your social advertising, with crystal clear reporting across all channels, you’re able  to see the ROI from all the channels, and to even see results on the campaign level. It gives clarity and transparency, especially for performance marketers.”  

Better insights can lead to the holy grail: ad conversions. helped the Brazilian real estate portal VivaReal to adapt their Facebook Lead Ad campaign to ease user experience and make sure no prospects were left behind. The result was four times more conversions, with 80 percent less cost per lead. 

In a totally different field, helped bring real-time insights to ThirdLove, a bra and underwear company that champions confidence and comfort. Working directly with data from ad buying, Thirdlove was able to create, test, and optimize creative content across different channels quickly and effectively, with a 23% increase in ROAS. 

4. It’s way more efficient

Finally, automation frees you up to try new things, work on strategic planning, and conduct better tests. Besides the fact that automation creates a better end product for the customer, it means you can spend more time working on creating even better customer experiences. 

A great example is the campaign for the Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn, which focused on weekly offer advertising. Using’s Digital Circular tool, Albert Heijn reduced time spent on campaign management from three hours to five minutes, saw a 38 percent increase in reach among their target audience, and 26 percent more traffic to the website. It also created a much more dynamic (and accurate), personalized experience for shoppers. 

For the meal kit company HelloFresh, helped drive a 300% increase in efficiency thanks to its Automated Ads and Video Templates.

For a seasoned marketing veteran like de Bruijn, isn’t just about technology and intelligent automation. “The true value is that you save time and can do more of the things you love. By creating a memorable experience across platforms, you meet and connect with your customers at different stages of their shopping journeys and that helps build trust and long lasting customer relationships.”

Orignally Posted By:   — November 23rd 2020 in  SOCIAL MEDIA

Link to original article

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Netflix says its current limited series, “The Queen’s Gambit,” which profiles a young woman's chess-playing abilities in the 1960s, has hit a major viewing milestone worldwide.

The premium streaming platform says the series has been seen in part or as a whole by a “record-setting” 62 million global households in terms of views, in its first 28 days -- the best result for any “limited series,” the company says.

Nielsen’s ongoing “Tiger King” series took in 64 million views in its first 28 days. Netflix counts views by measuring whether a household account watches at least two minutes of a series or movie.

In the U.S., Nielsen says, “Queen’s Gambit” has amassed 551 million viewing minutes of the show over its first three days of release for the week ending October 25 -- putting it in tenth place among Nielsen's weekly top-ten streaming show list.

Netflix says show has made the top 10 in 92 countries and was number 1 in 63 countries, including the U.K., Argentina, Israel, and South Africa.

The series has seen a major boost in Russia, Hong Kong, France, Taiwan and Australia, and there is strong consumer spending and interest around the series.

According to Goliath Games, a chess set maker, sales have increased over 170%. In addition, the number of new players has increased five fold on

Originally published by
Wayne Friedman | November 23, 2020


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The Facebook logo is displayed during the F8 Facebook Developers conference on April 30, 2019 in San Jose, California.   Justin Sullivan | Getty Images
Key Points:
  • Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s chief technology officer, revealed the figure in a blog post, adding that it is up from 80.5% a year ago and just 24% in 2017.
  • Social media firms such as Facebook, Twitter and TikTok have been criticized for failing to keep hate speech, such as racial slurs and religious attacks, off their platforms.
  • Facebook said it has also developed a new tool to detect deepfakes.

Facebook announced Thursday that artificial intelligence software now detects 94.7% of the hate speech that gets removed from its platform.

Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s chief technology officer, revealed the figure in a blog post, adding that it is up from 80.5% a year ago and just 24% in 2017. The figure was also shared in Facebook’s latest Community Standards Enforcement Report.


Social media firms such as Facebook, Twitter and TikTok have been criticized for failing to keep hate speech, such as racial slurs and religious attacks, off their platforms.

The companies employ thousands of content moderators around the world to police the posts, photos and videos that get shared on their platforms. On Wednesday, more than 200 Facebook moderators said in an open letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg that the company has risked their lives by forcing them back to the office during the coronavirus pandemic.

But humans alone aren’t enough and the tech giants have become increasingly reliant on a field of AI known as machine learning, whereby algorithms improve automatically through experience.

“A central focus of Facebook’s AI efforts is deploying cutting-edge machine learning technology to protect people from harmful content,” said Schroepfer.

“With billions of people using our platforms, we rely on AI to scale our content review work and automate decisions when possible,” he added. “Our goal is to spot hate speech, misinformation, and other forms of policy-violating content quickly and accurately, for every form of content, and for every language and community around the world.”

But Facebook’s AI software still struggles to spot some pieces of content that break the rules. It finds it harder, for example, to grasp the intended meaning of images that have text overlaid, and it doesn’t always get sarcasm or slang. In many of these instances, humans would quickly be able to determine if the content in question violates Facebook’s policies.

Facebook said it has recently deployed two new AI technologies to help it combat these challenges. The first is called a “Reinforced Integrity Optimizer,” which learns from real online examples and metrics instead of an offline dataset. The second is an AI architecture called “Linformer,” which allows Facebook to use complex language understanding models that were previously too large and “unwieldly” to work at scale.

“We now use RIO and Linformer in production to analyze Facebook and Instagram content in different regions around the world,” said Schroepfer.

Facebook said it has also developed a new tool to detect deepfakes (computer-generated videos made to look real) and made some improvements to an existing system called SimSearchNet, which is an image-matching tool designed to spot misinformation on its platform.

“Taken together, all these innovations mean our AI systems have a deeper, broader understanding of content,” said Schroepfer. “They are more attuned to things people share on our platforms right now, so they can adapt quicker when a new meme or photo emerges and spreads.”

Schroepfer noted the challenges Facebook faces are “complex, nuanced, and rapidly evolving,” adding that misclassifying content as hate speech or misinformation can “hamper people’s ability to express themselves.”

Originally published by
Sam Shead | November 19, 2020


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Image: Unsplash -

GroupM is reporting and “unprecedented drop in consumer confidence” due to financial worries related to the pandemic in a new report on changing consumer attitudes, behavior and media usage. 

The global research underlying the report found that a majority of people (52%) feel “tense” or “distressed” as a result of pandemic-induced pressures. Less than one-third feel “secure.” 

Most consumers (70%) say they are now more mindful of how and where their money is being spent with a new focus “essentials versus the frivolous and adopting a thrifty, self-sufficient mindset.” 

In-home entertainment media has been a big beneficiary. Gaming, for example, has seen a 47% year-on-year leap in daily usage. As the report notes, “gaming as a platform has been able to fulfill several new and differing roles,” including an escape from unpleasant realities presented by the pandemic and time-filling entertainment as millions remain in quarantine or under shelter-at-home restrictions. New users tend to be slightly lighter users and older. 

Daily usage of the internet for TV and video content has increased 19%. 

And digital generally “has become the lifeblood for everyone, everywhere and the key to survival,” the report asserts. The pandemic has had the largest impact among “digital laggards” who been forced to learn the benefits of activities like online shopping driving a more “balanced  global profile” of the digital audience. 

The report found a “massive uptick” in the number of people using streaming and other paid on-demand services on a daily basis (76%). Case in point: Netflix added 26 million accounts between January and June 2020, more than double the 12 million added in the year ago period. 

Not surprisingly, video communication activity such as video conferencing has soared. Globally digital communication activities have grown 31% on a weekly basis. In just one month (March) video conferencing app downloads totaled 62 million. 

The report also quantifies media reach changes for different types of media and looks at a range of consumer attitudes toward shopping and spending money. 

COVID-19 has also accelerated a focus on health and local. The report found that 85% of survey respondents are more careful about hygiene and 44% say they are exercising more. The greater focus on well-being has translated to a big lift for the health supplements market with a 56% gain in those making a purchase in the category every two weeks. 

The pandemic has been “a true game changer in terms of media consumption habits and purchasing behavior,” the GroupM study concludes. “In this new world consumers will hold businesses and brands to higher standards across a combination of factors: empathy, honesty and transparency, being socially conscious, being personal and personable, and ensuring communication is centered on local, health and safety and value/affordability.”

Originally published by
by Steve McClellan | October 16, 2020

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Image: Unsplash - visuals

TikTok, the controversial video-sharing app owned by Chinese tech conglomerate ByteDance, is expected to be officially banned in the U.S. as of today, per an executive order issued by President Donald Trump in August. The White House views the platform as a threat to national security, charging it could share sensitive information on U.S. consumers with Chinese authorities — an allegation TikTok fiercely contests, including through a lawsuit against the government.

But while the deadline for TikTok to secure a sale that could preserve its business in a key market is finally here, one would be hard-pressed to tell the platform is facing an existential crisis on the surface. Marketing Dive easily downloaded and accessed TikTok from the Apple App Store Thursday morning, and marketers, too, appear to be holding fast with their efforts on the app.

"TikTok has continued to grow and thrive through multiple past 'deadlines,' and we believe we'll see that again now," Evan Horowitz, chief executive at Movers+Shakers, an agency that develops TikTok campaigns for brands like e.l.f. Cosmetics and NYX, said over email. "All of our clients are moving full speed ahead with their TikTok campaigns and TikTok channels."

Even TikTok seems perplexed by the state of affairs, The Verge reported. ByteDance and TikTok on Wednesday filed a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals claiming they've stopped receiving communication in recent weeks from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, the agency group reviewing the app's business, after asking for a 30-day extension to iron out an agreement. The companies are hoping the appeals court grants them some additional lead time to work out a deal, as one tentatively cleared by Trump involving Oracle and Walmart taking on ownership of TikTok remains in flux pending the stamp of approval from Chinese officials, per Quartz. Additionally, the government still has until midnight tonight to issue an extension, Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, told Bloomberg.

Which is to say that marketers hoping Nov. 12 would bring some finality to the TikTok saga are likely to be disappointed, if they're still paying careful attention to the months-long imbroglio at all.

"My suspicion is that most marketers will care more about brand safety from the perspective of inappropriate and offensive content than anything relating to accusations around national security," Alex Bronwsell, media editor at the researcher WARC, said over email. "As long as TikTok offers mass scale and helps them to engage otherwise hard to reach consumers, advertisers will likely be content to ride the waves of any political controversy — until such a time, of course, that consumer sentiment sours in a meaningful or lasting way."

No signs of slowing down

When President Trump first issued an executive order pressing ByteDance to divest TikTok's U.S. business over the summer, it set off a mad scramble speculating over the fate of one of the most exciting and innovative apps to hit the market in years.

TikTok has experienced explosive growth and become a favorite of young consumers who are elusive on traditional media channels, an enviable position that's been strengthened as social media usage continues to spike during the pandemic. Marketers have subsequently flocked to the platform in droves, while TikTok has built out a stronger advertising business, including by introducing its first global marketing platform over the summer. The app in recent weeks has signed extensive deals with Sony Music and the e-commerce platform Shopify.

Upward momentum for TikTok has been steady and strong enough that aggression from the White House has almost become a secondary consideration, as suggested by Brownsell. The Trump administration has also experienced some key setbacks.

An order that intended to prevent new downloads or software updates to TikTok starting Sept. 20 was blocked by Judge Carl Nichols of the U.S. District Court in Washington, ensuring the app could continue to acquire users and maintain its functionality. Then, late last month, a federal judge in Pennsylvania issued a separate injunction against restrictions against the app that were set to go into effect today, while not preventing the entire ban order from taking hold.

"There's been some level of uncertainty about TikTok's future for over a year now, and the demand for TikTok among marketers has grown exponentially," Horowitz said, noting that his agency has recently signed blue-chip companies like Amazon and Disney to make their TikTok debuts.

The executive added that Movers+Shakers has "a big pipeline of launches" planned for the first quarter of next year as well.

'Arbitrary and capricious'

In the petition to the U.S. Court of Appeals, TikTok and ByteDance described the Trump administration's actions as "arbitrary and capricious" and pleaded with the court to review the situation and stop the forced divestiture of the app's operations, per The Wall Street Journal.

If the White House remains as inattentive to the issue as the companies allege, and if the administration of projected president Biden is friendlier to Chinese businesses, it's possible that TikTok will be able to land on sturdier footing in the months ahead, helping to enshrine its dominant status in the video app space. However, marketers should still be planning for any scenario, including an outright shutdown.

"Most U.S. marketers, in tandem with their agencies, will have put in place contingency plans in the event of a ban — while seeming unlikely, it won't come as a total shock," Brownsell said.

"We would expect most brands to redirect investment towards other platforms that can deliver youthful audiences, including Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube," Brownsell added. "A temporary ban would allow advertisers to measure the contribution of TikTok to its marketing effectiveness, which is no bad thing. A longer ban, however, would result in further fragmentation of Gen Z audiences, making life harder for marketers chasing those audiences."

Originally published by
Peter Adams | November 12, 2020
Social Media Today

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Silver Level Contributor

Total national ad revenue declined by 7% in this year’s first nine months, according to SMI.

While national news advertising revenue is up 14%, sports as a whole saw a drop of 18%, per SMI stats first reported by Broadcasting + Cable.

National Football League ad revenue is actually up 8% versus last year’s first nine months.

But NCAA football, which had conferences delay their starts until October or cancel their seasons, is down 41%.

Major League Baseball is down 40%.

The National Hockey League and tennis are each down 31%, golf is down 24%, the National Basketball Association is down 22%, and soccer (which last year had the benefit of the women’s World Cup tournament) is down 66%.

NCAA basketball, which had its season cancelled outright, is down 83%.

Originally published by
Karlene Lukovitz  | November 9, 2020

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