Sunnier Side of the Office

Twitter Soars After Ad Spend, Video Content Increases

Twitter’s earnings report last week surely made investors happy. The company posted its first revenue growth in four quarters, driven by improvements to its app and added video content that are persuading advertisers to boost spending on the social network, according to Bloomberg. It also reported profit for the first time, after aggressively slashing spending.

From Bloomberg: “The report adds to positive momentum in recent months for Twitter, which spent the second half of 2017 explaining how Russian-linked accounts — including automated bots — influenced content on its platform around the 2016 U.S. presidential election. [CEO Jack] Dorsey has been working to broaden Twitter from a microblogging site into a destination for users to see ‘what’s happening now’ by striking live-streaming partnerships with news outlets and sports leagues.”

Some observers have questioned whether Facebook’s pain is Twitter’s gain. With Facebook’s recent news that it’s de-prioritizing brands and publishers’ organic posts, you could argue that marketers may find Twitter more attractive. It’s possible that’s true to some degree because brands and publishers still have a shot at organic reach on Twitter. But then again, it’s not necessarily a zero-sum game wherein one platform’s changes equal a total win for another.

After all, many marketers are probably spending on both platforms. And with Facebook’s tweak, the fact that brands’ organic posts will be seen less may prompt marketers to spend even more on Facebook in the form of paid posts.

Who Is Poppy?

YouTube stars have come into the spotlight recently, and not always for good reasons. A few weeks back, we wrote about YouTuber Logan Paul, who faced backlash after he posted a video of a dead body — complete with callous commentary — during a recent trip to Japan.

But there are far more interesting YouTubers who pull in hundreds of millions (or even billions) of views and sometimes millions in ad dollars. New York magazine’s The Cut last week profiled one such luminary: Poppy, a mysterious YouTuber whose persona leads some to wonder whether she is a robot and whether she’s satirizing YouTube fame or if she’s earnestly pursuing it. (Who knows!)

“Is she a robot, a troll, a high-concept art project, a postmodern cultural critique, a cult leader, a clever satirist?” asks The Cut. “Do I get the joke? Is there a joke? What is reality, even? But somehow, Poppy has confused people into paying attention to her.”

In reality, she’s an actual human, probably inspired by the likes of Andy Warhol, Banksy and Matthew Barney. She and her “collaborator-slash-Svengali-figure” Titanic Sinclair, are keenly aware how to use an identity shrouded in vagueness to their video-view (and ad dollar) advantage. She’s even becoming a pop star now, touring to promote her album. Her mystique has prompted countless YouTube conspiracy-theory videos (of course) that declare she’s a robot and/or a member of the illuminati. Again, she is a human being.

For a fascinating look at Poppy and YouTube fame, read the whole story here.

Amazon’s Echo Look Joins Forces With Vogue and GQ 

By Zuli Mohammad

Amazon is continuing to exhibit ways in which their line of Echos can work towards supporting e-commerce. Most recently, their “Echo Look” line, which includes a camera and companion app, announced its first ever publisher collaboration with Vogue and GQ that will debut on Feb. 19.

This collaboration will allow these publications to insert everything from fashion recommendations to celebrity content, some of it being shoppable, within the Echo Look’s companion app. The most exciting part of this collaboration will be how it will serve in increasing sales for certain brands. Additionally, the publisher will be receiving a cut of the sales made.

Currently, the Echo Look is only used by a small percentage of the 31 million people that use Alexa-powered devices. It is also important to note that purchasing the Echo Look can only be done after requesting an invitation (and Amazon has yet to disclose how many it has sent out), so it is unclear how many people this test will reach.

M/H is eager to see how these tests with GQ and Vogue rollout, as the results (positive or negative) will help to establish further ways in which brands can integrate into AI and help drive sales on an emerging platform.

This Week in Social: Platform User Growth Is A Long Way From Stable

Social-media platform growth is big news these days as media dollars shift from traditional channels to social. Instagram is the front-runner for platform growth, but there are deeper levels to those numbers and they paint a clearer picture of what ages are contributing to new user growth. They also can reveal where people under 25 are consuming media.

While Instagram has seen steady growth and the news is full of headlines about how Instagram released their Stories feature and essentially killed Snap — Snap isn’t done yet. According to Ad Age via eMarketer, “… Snapchat might be the new destination of choice among youth, according to eMarketer. Snapchat already has more 12- to 24-year-old users than Instagram, and is still adding more users in that age range than Instagram.”

The two more fragile platforms, Twitter and Snap, both reported positive revenue results to shareholders last week while Facebook reported the first daily user decline for the first time in recent memory. What are marketers to make of this rapidly changing landscape and how can they avoid whiplash from all the chaos? Partner with social-savvy media teams and agencies with nimble teams who are fully immersed in this constantly changing landscape.