The Sunnier Side of the Office – January 4, 2016
In December, the Federal Trade Commission issued a series of new guidelines for native ads. The most prominent regards the perceived deceptive nature of native ads, which live in homepages and feeds often looking no different than other content. When sponsored content is indecipherable from a publishers native material, many bemoan it as the misleading of consumers. Indeed, a few influential voices were particularly critical of it last year, like John Oliver and South Park creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Meanwhile, native advertising grew 34% up to $4.3 billion in 2015.
Not long after the FTC’s announcement, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, online advertising’s leading trade group, denounced the guidelines, saying that they were “overly prescriptive, especially absent [of] any compelling evidence to justify some term over others.” Ultimately, they concluded “enforcement in the native advertising space is not far behind this announcement.”
While that is likely true, it is important to remember that regulations or no, misleading consumers can have serious consequences. Today, inundating people with ads can have seriously adverse affects, just ask certain daily fantasy gambling services. Consumers may not react well when they realize most of the articles they read are sponsored by big bad American corporations. Ultimately, advertisers should be aware of changing sentiments around native ads and strive to be transparent with their consumers lest they suffer the backlash, social or legal.
It shouldn’t be news to anyone that smartwatches are on the come-up, especially here in San Francisco, where throngs of “early adopters” love to make you feel like your grandparent every time Apple has a new product launch. But growth projections are saying smartwatches will outsell their less intelligent counterparts by 2020, with parallels being drawn to the growth of the smartphone since Apple fist released the iPhone. Currently, 1 in 20 Americans owns a smartwatch or fitness tracker.
It was a busy year for Snapchat, they added Discover, grew to 100 million monthly users sending 400 million daily, got an absurd $16 billion valuation (it has since gone down to a measly $12 billion), and added advanced rainbow vomit capabilities. Now, the app will be creating its own content, which will be predominantly music-centric. They are partnering with Spotify and will be creating a new story about one artist or genre everyday.
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