Sunnier Side of the Office

Google, Facebook and Twitter Testify Before Congress

Last week executives from Facebook, Google and Twitter testified before members of Congress about Russian election interference on their platforms. (I’m a nerd so I watched these live.) Those companies earlier revealed that a Kremlin-linked entity bought ads on their platforms with the intent to sow discord and misinformation around the election and its aftermath last year. All three companies said last week that the ads the Russian entity purchased reached further than originally thought. Facebook, for example, revealed during the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Wednesday that the effort by the Russian troll farm Internet Research Agency reached 146 million people, with 20 million reached from ads on Instagram.

Lawmakers were ultimately frustrated, according to the New York Times, with how little progress is being made toward preventing foreign powers from meddling online in American elections. Some members of Congress also talked at length about the problem of organic content, as the ads purchased were meant to drive people to pages created by the Internet Research Agency, which then exposed people to countless organic posts about a variety of topics.

It should come as no surprise that Facebook’s earnings weren’t fazed by this, and if anything, it actually shows how wide and effective Facebook’s reach can be.

The hearings also gave us a view into the ads in question. See Ad Age’s rundown of the ads, which took just about every side of any hot-button issue, with the intention of fomenting discord.

Cheatsheet: What You Need to Know About Influencer Fraud

Influencers’ popularity continues to grow in popularity as Instagram amasses both more ad dollars and users. Influencer demand also continues to flourish as the opaque online ad buying system is under scrutiny, in part thanks to fraud. Marketers often see influencers as a media buy that has more certainty than a media buy bought through an ad exchange.

But the world of influencers is not without its own fraud. Digiday has a nice rundown of various forms of influencer fraud and how to spot it. Also up for debate in the article is where influencers disagree on what constitutes fraud.

Influencers, for instance, disagree on whether the formation of pods is actually fraud. Pods are a practice in which influencers band together to comment and like each other’s posts, ultimately gaming the Instagram algorithm by increasing engagement, although artificially.


Pinterest Users Start Thinking About Christmas in July

By Katharine Painter
Are you one of those people who starts thinking about Christmas before Halloween is even here? Well, you’re not alone. Pinterest just released their Holiday Insights report showing that Pinners start to plan for the holidays up to 5 months in advance.

Last year, there were more than 576 million holiday pins saved, up 20% year over year. The most popular content categories for holiday pins included home décor, food and drink, style, and beauty — all with multiple trends popping up throughout the holiday season. Here are a few tidbits:

What does all of this mean for marketers? Holiday Pins should be promoted a few months in advance as Pinners start looking for inspiration early. Content should be relevant as Pinners are looking for non-traditional, trendy ideas for the holidays. Branded content should evolve from more general ideas to more specific, niche ideas as the holiday nears.

Check out the full webinar here!

This Week in Social: Animoji Karaoke

By Melissa Santiago

Last Friday Apple’s iPhone X was released. There is, unsurprisingly, no shortage of buzz about the X’s new tech-forward features. The most glowing mentions were for its cameras and brilliant edge-to-edge screen, while the most vilified feature is the infamous notch.

Another highly anticipated feature was its facial-recognition Technology, which unlocks the phone, but also allows for the creation of what Apple is calling Animoji—a hybrid between Snapchat face filters and giant animated emojis. As people began to set up and use their new iPhone X, it didn’t take long before they used their Anomoji to lip-sync their hearts out and shared the videos on Twitter & Instagram.

If you’re thinking of making your own, check out this Animoji rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody first. It’s going to be tough to top this one, but I have faith someone on Twitter with too much time on their hands can do it.