Sunnier Side of the Office

Facebook Overhauls Newsfeed Again, Affecting Brands and Publishers

The biggest news last week in media circles was Facebook’s plan to make big changes to its news feed. The move is set to affect both brands and publishers, as the company plans to prioritize posts by people’s friends rather than publishers’ and companies’ posts, including video. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post announcing the change Thursday: “We’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content—posts from businesses, brands and media—is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.” Zuckerberg noted that engagement and time spent on Facebook will likely go down, but he expects that time spent on the platform will be “more valuable.”

This all comes, of course, after Facebook was scrutinized post-election for the distribution of fake news articles, which were often fabricated or extremely hyperpartisan stories.

Publishers are bracing for an impact on their traffic. For the last few years, Facebook has been deprioritizing clickbait headlines, but the New York Times called this update “the most significant overhaul in years,” noting that over the next few weeks, Facebook users will see less viral videos and articles shared by media companies.

Digiday reported that Facebook told publishers “it will favor content that’s shared by users or otherwise actively engaged with. The thinking goes, according to those briefed, that Facebook believes prioritizing content that’s acted on will reduce the occurrence of fake and offensive content in the news feed.” Publishers worry, though, that legitimate articles may not surface on the news feed if people don’t comment on them enough.

For brands, it will likely impact engagement as users see fewer organic posts from brands — though again, organic reach has been in decline for years. It could prompt marketers to invest more in paid posts on Facebook, and the Wall Street Journal noted media buyers are already expecting ad prices to increase in light of this change.

“It’s simple mathematics for a display business: Less time on Facebook and fewer ads can only mean that the ads that do show are more expensive,” Paul Mead, chairman of London-based media agency VCCP Media, part of our parent agency VCCP, told WSJ.

Google To Vet Premium YouTube Videos Amid More Content Concerns

Google is planning to better vet top-tier YouTube videos that it bundles for Advertisers, Bloomberg reported. The move will better filter YouTube videos that are part of Google Preferred, its platform of YouTube videos that Google sells to marketers are higher prices, as concerns over inappropriate content running alongside brand ads continue.

Since last year, advertisers and observers have complained about inappropriate and sometimes exploitive videos involving children, as well as popular YouTube stars like Logan Paul, whose debacle in Japan we wrote about last week.

According to Bloomberg, “Google told partners that it plans to use both human moderators — the company recently announced it will have 10,000 employees focused on the task — as well as artificial intelligence software to flag videos deemed inappropriate for ads.”

5 Takeaways on AR and VR from CES 2018

By Ben Shapiro

With CES 2018 in the books, marketers are buzzing about the tech trends for the coming year. One of those trends is the growth of augmented and virtual reality. Ad Age outlined 5 things they learned in Las Vegas about the current state of these immersive formats. While VR has been a staple at CES for a few years now, it appears AR is primed for a big boost.

  1. Because of the technology currently available to everyday users, there are higher barriers to entry for VR. AR, on the other hand, already presents a tangible value to consumers, whether it’s Pokémon Go or Wayfair’s home décor preview tool.

  2. Because immersive video is unlike any format to come before it, the direction it will take is difficult to project.

  3. The growth of immersive video will be driven by advancing mobile computing power. Though developing rapidly, contemporary technology is not built to maximize the potential of AR and VR. Soon enough, the average user will have access to a device that supports seamless integration of and more powerful uses for immersive formats.

  4. Though tech represents a pivotal factor in AR/VR development, quality content will also be key to mainstream adoption.

  5. As AR/VR is a new video format, advertising norms have yet to be set. First movers in the virtual space will have the advantage of helping to set these standards.

This Week In Social: Snapchat User Data Leaked

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

By Jessica Gaylord

Snapchat has always held its cards close regarding internal operations and data, giving only overarching statistics on daily active users since going public in March 2017. New reporting from The Daily Beast, however, reveals possible reasons why CEO Evan Spiegel has kept so quiet.

The report combs through months of confidential daily active user (DAU) metrics for every feature of the app, ultimately revealing that Snapchat is more of a chat app than a nascent social media platform. The data also reveals that many of its once-hyped features, like Snap Maps and Discover, saw a sharp decline in daily active users post-launch.

These numbers could help explain why Snapchat is planning on a major app redesign—the most significant since the app’s launch in 2011.

The report also paints a dim picture of the company’s culture, which is shrouded in secrecy and leaves many non-engineering teams in the dark on most aspects of Snapchat’s latest features.