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Marketing Briefing: U.S. marketers prepare contingency plans amid potential TikTok ban

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Marketing Briefing: U.S. marketers prepare contingency plans amid potential TikTok ban

With the possibility of a TikTok ban in the U.S. once again gaining traction, some marketers and agency execs say they’re readying contingency plans. Others, meanwhile, say that the uncertainty of a potential ban makes it difficult to forecast where spend would be moved.

“We’ve seen so many platforms have their peaks and valleys with their growth journeys that having multiple contingency plans for everything that could happen is part of what we do,” said Han Wen, L’Oreal chief marketing and digital officer, when asked about the potential ban. “As one of the largest advertisers in the U.S., we have to be extremely practical when we think about the directions our investment can take, so having contingency plans is part of everything we do for every media partner we have.”

While there is a renewed sense of uncertainty when it comes to TikTok in the U.S., especially after President Biden’s demand last week that TikTok’s Chinese owners Bytedance sell off their shares or deal with a U.S. ban of the app, marketers and agency execs have already dealt with previous rounds of uncertainty with the app, particularly former President Trump’s same demand that Bytedance sell off TikTok. Given that the likelihood of a ban is still up in the air, marketers and agency execs are choosing between making contingency plans and waiting for a firm answer.

“We also know enough to know we are not in a place to read the tea leaves with what may or may not happen,” said Wen. “All we can do is make sure we have plans in place, which we do. And we have plans in place for all of the various scenarios.”

Marketers and agency execs say the conversation around contingency plans tends to focus on other short-form video apps like Instagram’s Reels, YouTube’s Shorts and Snapchat.

“The impact on potential spending is likely to be diffuse — we don’t see brands necessarily planning to move their entire TikTok spend to one other platform,” said Liz Cole, executive director, U.S. head of social at VMLY&R. “From a creative perspective, we can expect the content itself to adapt to a number of other short-form video platforms including Instagram, Snap or YouTube. And for brands further upstream in the creative process, they might choose to tell their story across a variety of other formats.”

Of course, should TikTok be banned, determining where to focus creative efforts or move media dollars wouldn’t be the only consideration for marketers. “If TikTok was banned, other than stopping media on the platform, the other immediate priority for advertisers and publishers would be for brands to remove any TikTok tracking pixel,” said UM global chief media officer, Joshua Lowcock.

At the same time, the potential ripple effects of a possible ban for TikTok don’t stop at TikTok.

 “I think it’s a misnomer to call it a TikTok ban,” said Lowcock. “If you look at the proposed legislation, it’s really about foreign government ownership and control, this could play out as a challenge for other companies that are Chinese-owned, controlled, or have China as a substantial investor.”

The ban could also make advertisers, already a risk averse bunch, even more so now. 

“If TikTok were to become a non-viable channel for advertisers so soon after its entrance to the mainstream, it could increase hesitance among brands to try new social platforms,” said Cole. “Not every advertiser had the confidence to leap onto TikTok when its popularity first surged, and I could see some of the slower movers viewing this as confirmation that a more cautious, less experimental stance is warranted.” 

The uncertainty of the longevity of a social platform — whether in popularity or availability — has also been made clearer this year overall. “We can’t take the longevity of any social platform for granted, no matter how popular or established it seems,” said Cole. “That doesn’t mean brands should hold back from trying any new things — but they need to have a strategy that is grounded in the brand itself and the behaviors of consumers, not just the features of specific channels.” 

3 Questions with OAAA’s President and CEO Anna Bager

OAAA recently partnered with Morning Consult to take a look at the current out-of-home advertising marketplace. Tell us about that.

We wanted to understand how consumers move around. But we also wanted to understand, specifically, how some audiences that are hard to reach with other media formats, from underserved [or] under underprivileged and underdeveloped audiences that are in areas where you may not have access to other forms of media, how they are exposed to our ads, both from an advertising perspective but also just a health and public service messaging. We see that consumers are out and about more often. 88% of these consumers notice out of home ads and 78% recently engaged in some way, which really demonstrates the influence of our medium.

What does this mean for the advertising industry?

With OOH ads, it doesn’t really interrupt your media consumption. It’s sort of just there. It’s often seen as a service and it’s being noticed. You can’t skip it, you can’t block it. So it’s a great way of connecting with consumers. Then, we’re a one to many medium. Ads can be perceived as for you only and there are certain environments where it’s very close to that. But for the most part, it’s seen by many, which means that we don’t have the privacy challenges that you have online. That is a plus in today’s environment where regulation is getting increasingly hard when it comes to how you use data and then also how you can do to target consumers.

The OAAA has their annual OOH Media Conference coming up at the end of March. What can attendees expect?

The theme of the conference is breakthrough. We don’t really want to talk about the pandemic anymore. But it’s not a secret exactly that we were down in the pandemic. And now we’re back, so it’s about our industry breaking through. It’s also about the tech coming back. We’re now the fastest growing ad medium of all. We had a great 2022 and it looks like 2023 that as well. It’s also about [how] our industry has gone through and continued to go through massive technological change. –– Kimeko McCoy

By the numbers

People expect more from the brands they shop with nowadays. In response, advertisers have spent at least the last year ramping up more full-funnel marketing strategies, which include brand building and direct response marketing. Expect more of the same this year, according to new research released by Reach3 Insights and The Keller Advisory Group, which reports that shoppers more often prefer brand experiences over traditional advertising. Find more details from the report below:

  • Consumers prefer brand experiences such as social media content, creator content, metaverse happenings and live events over traditional advertising by 69% to 48%.
  • The research shows 80% of consumers have engaged or are interested in engaging with brand experiences, with 43% saying engaging with brand experiences would make them more apt to want to try a brand as compared to just 21% who said so about traditional advertising.
  • once consumers engage with brand experiences, they find them to be more relevant than traditional advertising, with 51% saying so compared to 25% who feel traditional advertising is more relevant. — Kimeko McCoy

Quote of the week

“When there’s mass layoffs, there will be two or three weeks where we as publishers get very frustrated because we don’t get a response.”

— said Phil Ranta, COO of We Are Verified, when asked about the impact of Meta, Snapchat and Twitter layoffs on agency relationships.

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X Faces Restrictions in India and Pakistan Amid Government Orders for Content Removals

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New Report Finds That X May Be Inflating its Ad Performance Results

X is facing new challenges in both India and neighboring Pakistan, with the Indian Government calling on X to censor specified accounts to counter unrest, and Pakistani officials seemingly blocking access to X altogether, amid accusations of vote rigging in its recent election.

Firstly, in India. As confirmed by X, the Indian Government has issued a new order for X to ban users that it has identified as prompting civil disobedience.

As per X:

“The Indian government has issued executive orders requiring X to act on specific accounts and posts, subject to potential penalties including significant fines and imprisonment. In compliance with the orders, we will withhold these accounts and posts in India alone; however, we disagree with these actions and maintain that freedom of expression should extend to these posts.”

X says that even though it is moving to fulfill these orders, it will also continue to challenge the Indian Government’s bans through whatever legal means it has available.

It’s not the first time that the Indian Government has demanded specific censorship from the platform, with both X and previous Twitter management being called upon to remove certain comments and users who’ve gone against official rulings.

Last year, X was forced to remove a BBC documentary that was critical of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi after it was banned in the nation, which many used as an example to highlight X’s inability to uphold its own free speech approach.  

Twitter, meanwhile, was served with a non-compliance notice in 2021 for refusing to action similar account takedown demands from the Indian Government. In that instance, which directly related to civil unrest, India threatened to shut down Twitter entirely in response, while it also suggested that the company’s Indian staff could face up to seven years jail time for failing to comply.

As such, Twitter was effectively forced to action India’s requests, in order to protect its staff (note: The Indian Government has denied that any such threats occurred).

Both incidents serve as reminders of how authoritarian regimes will look to control mass communication platforms, like Twitter and X, in order to manage messaging, and combat noncompliance.

Pakistan, too, has a long history of seeking to control social platforms, though more notably due to “inappropriate content”, as opposed to what users are saying. Pakistan, which is a Muslim country, has banned various apps, at different times, in response to concerns about content, though in this latest instance, it does seem to be taking a leaf out of India’s book in using bans to quell civil unrest.

X will now have to find a way to maintain an adequate balance between adhering to such requests, while upholding its own “free speech” ethos, though X owner Elon Musk has been clear from the start that his free speech push will not go beyond the bounds of local laws in each region.

So while Twitter has challenged India’s requests in the past, and X has vowed to seek further legal clarification around the same, it will be aligning with the Indian government’s requests, and removing users and content in line with their requirements.

Does that mean that X isn’t willing to stand its ground on its much lauded open speech approach?

No, not when the alternative is to see X banned entirely, which would eliminate all speech for the impacted individuals, and reduce all protests against government action.

And no matter what your opinion of X may be, it is still a highly influential platform, in many ways, which is why officials are still looking to control the discussion in the app.

Though the bigger for question for Elon specifically is how such actions could impact his other businesses.

Tesla is still working to get into the emerging Indian market, which could become a huge sales opportunity for the company. Tesla’s been working with the Indian Government to enact new concessions on import duties, in order to bring its vehicles to market, and it’d be interesting to know whether Indian officials have used such as a lever to pressure action at X.

Based on what we know, it does seem like X would have little choice either way, but it’s another consideration in this instance, which could cause some uncomfortable internal discussions around the same.



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How I Landed Job Interviews Without Experience

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Working 9 to 5 Emily In Paris?width=398&height=256&fit=crop&auto=webp

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wilfrid Laurier chapter.

As a university student, entering the workplace can be a difficult transition for more than one reason. For starters, simply finding a job to get experience on your resume and begin your career can be one of the most difficult parts. Most jobs want you to have experience, but you can’t get experience without experience in the first place! In previous years, I was unsuccessful in landing summer internships in hopes to kickstart my career. This year, I decided to do my research and do everything possible to land interviews because I knew once I got to that point, I could sell myself into the position. Here are my tips on how to at least get to the interview portion of the stressful job search process.

Finding Jobs

First off, you need to be able to find jobs in your field. As a communication studies student, I was searching for public relations, marketing and social media focused jobs. I used a few search engines in order to find them. I began on Indeed, making my job search varied by using “Summer 2024 student internship” as a starter, and going more specific into marketing, social media and public relations after. Indeed was helpful, however, it seemed very limited. I then went to Google with the same searches. This led to a few more job search websites that gave me a few more job postings. My final place to search was LinkedIn. Prior to this year, I wasn’t using the platform for my job search. Getting a 30-day free trial of LinkedIn Premium helped tremendously, as they give more specific job postings based on your profile as well as tips and tricks to updating your profile to match with those hiring. One thing to remember if you’re looking for a summer job is to start looking early. I applied from January through February, searching for new postings almost daily. I also kept a spreadsheet in Notion to keep track of jobs I’d applied to, the status of if I’d heard back and links to the company websites for future reference once an interview was in place. Keeping this organized will allow you to not only know which jobs you apply to, but how long it’s been and whether you’ve heard back or not.

Resume and Cover Letter

Your resume and cover letter are extremely important because with many applicants, hiring managers may only glance or skim through both. You want your resume to look clean upon first sight, nothing too flashy or dramatic and preferably on a single page. Highlight your education, job experience and skills and abilities without writing too much or too little. I found that once I summarized my roles to two or three points each, I became more successful in landing interviews. If you have stellar grades, adding your transcript to applications is always something to consider, as even if you have little to no experience, your dedication to school may assist you in this. As someone with only retail experience wishing to enter a whole new field, making sure my roles reflected leadership skills, collaboration and possibly marketing skills was important. Any extracurriculars that may highlight the field you wish to enter and apply to is also a key feature to reflect in a resume. As for a cover letter, there are so many templates online as to how to make your cover letter look clean and professional by adding the company’s address, hiring manager’s name and your signature at the bottom. If you’re someone with no experience, talk about personal projects. I ran a TikTok account for years where I discussed books and collaborated with publishing companies and I found that when I had put that information in my cover letter, more companies reached out to me for interviews. The way you shape your interests and extracurriculars is a make it or break for a cover letter.

Keep On Trying

Landing an interview is a long process sometimes. It can become disheartening seeing friends around you land interviews and jobs in their fields as you continuously apply. I’d nearly given up a few weeks in, with no emails or updates on jobs I applied to. But I kept trying, getting feedback on my cover letters, resume and profiles throughout the process and ended up receiving interviews for multiple companies within the same week. The job market is a combination of experience, how you shape yourself through a resume and connections you may have. Don’t be too hard on yourself if it’s taken longer than you wished to land an interview. With a few hours a week dedicated to the search and writing of cover letters, you’ll have interview requests in no time.

Whether you’ve just graduated, are currently in school or just want to kickstart your career, job searching can be a scary thing. With dedication and constant feedback, you’ll become more and more sure of yourself and ability to get the jobs you want. Good luck on the job search and remember all good things come with time.

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LinkedIn Shares New Insights into How Public Group Posts are Distributed

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LinkedIn Shares New Insights into How Public Group Posts are Distributed

Could LinkedIn groups be making a comeback?

I mean, probably not. Long gone are the Halcyon days of robust LinkedIn groups, most of which have since been overrun by spammers and scammers looking to get attention at all costs, which has rendered most groups, and group notifications, as spam themselves.

But maybe, there is a way for LinkedIn to get at least some groups back on track.

Maybe.

Today, LinkedIn has published a new overview of the work that it’s put into building public groups, which is an option that LinkedIn’s still in the process of rolling out to all users.

Public groups, as the name suggests, are wholly viewable by members and non-members, as opposed to having to join a group to see what’s happening within it. Up till a year ago, LinkedIn users could only create “listed” or “unlisted” groups, with listed communities showing up in relevant searches, and unlisted ones hidden from non-member view. So you could find a listed group, but you’d still have to join it to get a view of the discussions happening within. But with public groups, they’re both listed and the content is viewable.

Which, according to LinkedIn, has been a positive:

Over the last few years, the Groups product has evolved significantly across feed, notifications, creators, group discovery, content moderation, and other domains of organizer tooling. In continuation of these improvements, we launched public groups to help non-group members see valuable conversations happening in groups, and to help group organizers and creators foster more engagement and a stronger community. This has led to a 35% increase in daily group contributors and a more than 10% incremental increase in joins in these groups.

Which makes sense. Enabling users to view what’s happening within groups, especially highly active, well-moderated ones, is going to attract more members. But it is also interesting to consider whether there might be value in switching your group to public, and making it more of a focus.

Within the new technical overview, LinkedIn explains that public group posts are eligible to be distributed in member timelines, as well as their expanded networks.

“For posts created inside public group, we set the distribution to MAIN_FEED to allow for distribution on the home feed to group members, first degree connections of the author, and first degree connections of any members who react/comment/repost on the post. This helps increase distribution of public group posts.”

That could facilitate good distribution for public feed posts, and could help to increase engagement within your LinkedIn group.

As you can see in this example, another strong lure is that only group members can comment on a public group post. Anyone can react to a public group update, but you have to actually join the community, which you can do via the CTA, to participate in the discussion.

In combination, this could be a powerful way to maximize group engagement, and depending on where that fits into your strategy, it could put more emphasis on LinkedIn groups as a means to broaden connection and community.

Though, as noted, many soured on LinkedIn groups long ago, once the spammers settled in. Back in 2018, LinkedIn actually tried to initiate a groups refresh, with new regulations around spam, and limits on notifications about groups activity, to discourage misuse.

That, seemingly, didn’t have a huge impact, but as LinkedIn notes, it has continued to update its group rules and processes, in order to make it a more compelling product.

Could it be worthy of consideration once again?

There are definitely things to like here, and for those who already have active LinkedIn groups, making the switch to “Public” could have some benefit.

I do think that LinkedIn groups require strong moderation to maximize their value, and establishing a core focus statement for your group, and what it’s for, is also essential to help to guide your direction.

But maybe, they’re worth a look once again.

Maybe.

You can read more about LinkedIn’s latest public groups updates here.

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