Sunnier Side of the Office – November 26, 2018

"Whoever said money can't buy happiness simply didn't know where to go shopping." 

- Gertrude Stein 

Ad-Supported Movies Now Available on YouTube
By: Ben Shapiro 

Last month, YouTube began showing free, ad-supported movies. The platform started to offer titles such as “Legally Blonde” and “Terminator” in its movie section, where full length movies have been available for rent or purchase since 2011. This is the first time, however, that users can watch movies for free in exchange for commercial breaks. According to MediaPost, most of the videos feature around 10 ad breaks.

Thus far, about 100 movies have been made available for ad-supporting viewing on YouTube. Most of them are low profile titles such as “Zookeeper” and “Agent Cody Banks.” Blockbusters likely won’t be integrated until studios find a way to offer them free of charge without disrupting their current release model.

The move is beneficial for both YouTube users and advertisers alike. According to YouTube’s Director of Product Management, users have been looking for ad-supported, free movies for a few years. For brands, the move opens up the possibility of paying to sponsor individual movies and exclusive digital screenings. With users invested in the movies they are watching, the environment is an ideal fit for long form video ads, which have become more difficult to place with the rise of 6 second bumper ads.

Black Cyber Friday?
By: Ben Thomas 

If you’re anything like me, you probably spent Friday in a turkey-induced, sweatpant-wearing food coma, intermittently scrolling Instagram to see how friends celebrated the day amongst a barrage of posts from brands spruiking Black Friday deals.

And it’s not just Instagram ads. Reports on digital ad spend over Thanksgiving and Black Friday indicate retailers across the board are focusing their media budgets on digital channels. Across the Thanksgiving period, total digital ad spend is predicted to exceed the $23B mark, with heaviest investments in Google search and display, Facebook (and Facebook-owned Instagram) and Amazon.

Whether it’s cause or effect, brand and retailers’ focus on digital ad spend is reflected in consumer behavior. Online sales on Black Friday were up nearly 24% from 2017 (with a record-breaking $2B sales from smartphones) and brick-and-mortar foot traffic was down, with today’s Cyber Monday online sales tipped to reach $7.8B, up 18% from last year.

Happy shopping!

The "I'm Feeling Lucky" feature in Google search actually cost Google $110 million a year, as 1% of all searches use this feature and bypass all advertising. 
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