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Pro Tips: Pinterest Provides Insights into How to Maximize Your Pin Strategy in 2021



Are you considering adding Pinterest into your digital marketing process, or looking for ways to improve your existing Pin presence?

You should be. The platform has seen a significant increase in usage over the past two years, with the rise in eCommerce activity, sparked by the pandemic, leading more and more people to the app for increasingly personalized product discovery and browsing options.

Indeed, Pinterest is now up to 478 million active usershigher than TwitterLinkedIn and Reddit, and with a dedicated shopping focus, it could be even more valuable as a promotional platform, depending on your brand offering.

So what’s working on Pinterest in 2021, and how can you go about tapping into that rise in activity?

In the first of our new Pro Tips series, we spoke to Elizabeth Mansfield, Head of Americas + APAC for Pinterest Business Marketing, to get her insights into the key shifts and trends of note.

Q: What ad/promotional elements are seeing the best response on Pinterest right now?

EM: As more and more people use Pinterest as a shopping platform, we’re seeing a hugely positive response to ads targeting people who truly love shopping.

Pinterest is not about shortcuts, one-click ordering, and mindless consumption; it’s inspiring, and it’s intentional. So the brands that can harness the magic of browsing, discovery and finding inspiration on the way to buying are winning here. In fact, when brands add Shopping Ads to their campaigns, they drive 3x the conversion and sales lift.

Q: What’s the key to an effective Pin strategy?

EM: Pinterest is fundamentally different from social media platforms. People come to Pinterest to focus on themselves – their real selves. They’re finding inspiration to build the lives they want to create. And brands actually add to that experience instead of interrupting it.

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The key to an effective Pinterest strategy is playing within that inspiration ecosystem by using strong imagery, video, and Idea Pins. It’s really about creating inspiring content that will help Pinners turn ideas into reality – and making your brand or product exactly what they need.

Idea Pins example

Q: What’s the most common mistake you see brands make with their Pin approach?

EM: Brands that aren’t using Pinterest’s rich audience insights to inform their campaigns are truly missing out.

Pinners are planners, so we have insight into not only what ideas and products they’re looking for now, but what they’ll be looking for in the future. Trends grow faster and last longer on Pinterest, so whether it’s a beauty trend like “skinimalism” or a snack trend like watermelon jerky, Pinners are on the leading edge of culture.

Our annual Pinterest Predicts report is a treasure trove of these audience insights!

Q: What’s a good example of a brand that’s achieving strong results with Pin marketing?

EM: Anheuser-Busch InBev’s BON V!V brand absolutely nailed a recent campaign by pairing their sugar-free spiked seltzer with images of occasions that were trending on Pinterest. This was during a U.S. pandemic lockdown, so it was all about ways to create a cozy brunch experience at home.

Pinterest campaign example

The colorful, fun creative was built around trending Pinterest ideas like “self-care checklist” or “brunchable bites.” By building their campaign around Pinterest trends and insights, BON V!V saw 100% full-funnel lifts across brand awareness, message association, brand favorability and purchase intent.

Q: What would be your top tip for someone starting out with Pinterest ads?

EM: Set up shop! Upload your product catalog and install the Pinterest tag, which makes your content shoppable so your brand can get discovered organically.

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People on Pinterest outspend people on other platforms by 80% every month, and you want your products in front of this audience that loves to shop. You want to be their next discovery, their next inspiration, their next purchase! Our Shopping Solutions guide will help you get started.

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Meta’s Developing and ‘Ethical Framework’ for the Use of Virtual Influencers



Meta's Developing and 'Ethical Framework' for the Use of Virtual Influencers

With the rise of digital avatars, and indeed, fully digital characters that have evolved into genuine social media influencers in their own right, online platforms now have an obligation to establish clear markers as to what’s real and what’s not, and how such creations can be used in their apps.

The coming metaverse shift will further complicate this, with the rise of virtual depictions blurring the lines of what will be allowed, in terms of representation. But with many virtual influencers already operating, Meta is now working to establish ethical boundaries on their application.

As explained by Meta:

From synthesized versions of real people to wholly invented “virtual influencers” (VIs), synthetic media is a rising phenomenon. Meta platforms are home to more than 200 VIs, with 30 verified VI accounts hosted on Instagram. These VIs boast huge follower counts, collaborate with some of the world’s biggest brands, fundraise for organizations like the WHO, and champion social causes like Black Lives Matter.”

Some of the more well-known examples on this front are Shudu, who has more than 200k followers on Instagram, and Lil’ Miquela, who has an audience of over 3 million in the app.

At first glance, you wouldn’t necessarily realize that this is not an actual person, which makes such characters a great vehicle for brand and product promotions, as they can be utilized 24/7, and can be placed into any environment. But that also leads to concerns about body image perception, deepfakes, and other forms of misuse through false or unclear representation.

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Deepfakes, in particular, may be problematic, with Meta citing this campaign, with English football star David Beckham, as an example of how new technologies are evolving to expand the use of language, as one element, for varying purpose.

The well-known ‘DeepTomCruise’ account on TikTok is another example of just how far these technologies have come, and it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where they could be used to, say, show a politician saying or doing something that he or she actually didn’t, which could have significant real world impacts.

Which is why Meta is working with developers and experts to establish clearer boundaries on such use – because while there is potential for harm, there are also beneficial uses for such depictions.

Imagine personalized video messages that address individual followers by name. Or celebrity brand ambassadors appearing as salespeople at local car dealerships. A famous athlete would make a great tutor for a kid who loves sports but hates algebra.

Such use cases will increasingly become the norm as VR and AR technologies are developed, with these platforms placing digital characters front and center, and establishing new norms for digital connection.

It would be better to know what’s real and what’s not, and as such, Meta needs clear regulations to remove dishonest depictions, and enforce transparency over VI use.

But then again, much of what you see on Instagram these days is not real, with filters and editing tools altering people’s appearance well beyond what’s normal, or realistic. That can also have damaging consequences, and while Meta’s looking to implement rules on VI use, there’s arguably a case for similar transparency in editing tools applied to posted videos and images as well.

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That’s a more complex element, particularly as such tools also enable people to feel more comfortable in posting, which no doubt increases their in-app activity. Would Meta be willing to put more focus on this element if it could risk impacting user engagement? The data on the impact of Instagram on people’s mental health are pretty clear, with comparison being a key concern.

Should that also come under the same umbrella of increased digital transparency?

It’s seemingly not included in the initial framework as yet, but at some stage, this is another element that should be examined, especially given the harmful effects that social media usage can have on young women.

But however you look at it, this is no doubt a rising element of concern, and it’s important for Meta to build guardrails and rules around the use of virtual influencers in their apps.

You can read more about Meta’s approach to virtual influencers here.

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Meta Publishes New Guide to the Various Security and Control Options in its Apps



Meta Publishes New Guide to the Various Security and Control Options in its Apps

Meta has published a new set of safety tips for journalists to help them protect themselves in the evolving online connection space, which, for the most part, also apply to all users more broadly, providing a comprehensive overview of the various tools and processes that it has in place to help people avoid unwanted attention online.

The 32-page guide is available in 21 different languages, and provides detailed overviews of Meta’s systems and profile options for protection and security, with specific sections covering Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

The guide begins with the basics, including password protections and enabling two-factor authentication.

It also outlines tips for Page managers in securing their business profiles, while there are also notes on what to do if you’ve been hacked, advice for protection on Messenger and guidance on bullying and harassment.

Meta security guide

For Instagram, there are also general security tips, along with notes on its comment moderation tools.

Meta security guide

While for WhatsApp, there are explainers on how to delete messages, how to remove messages from group chats, and details on platform-specific data options.

Meta security guide

There are also links to various additional resource guides and tools for more context, providing in-depth breakdowns of when and how to action the various options.

It’s a handy guide, and while there are some journalist-specific elements included, most of the tips do apply to any user, so it could well be a valuable resource for anyone looking to get a better handle on your various privacy tools and options.

Definitely worth knowing either way – you can download the full guide here.

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Twitter bans account linked to Iran leader over video threatening Trump



Twitter bans account linked to Iran leader over video threatening Trump

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meets with relatives of slain commander Qasem Soleimani ahead of the second anniverary of his death in a US drone strike in Iraq – Copyright POOL/AFP/File Tom Brenner

Twitter said Saturday it had permanently suspended an account linked to Iran’s supreme leader that posted a video calling for revenge for a top general’s assassination against former US president Donald Trump.

“The account referenced has been permanently suspended for violating our ban evasion policy,” a Twitter spokesperson told AFP.

The account, @KhameneiSite, this week posted an animated video showing an unmanned aircraft targeting Trump, who ordered a drone strike in Baghdad two years ago that killed top Iranian commander General Qassem Soleimani.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s main accounts in various languages remain active. Last year, another similar account was suspended by Twitter over a post also appearing to reference revenge against Trump.

The recent video, titled “Revenge is Definite”, was also posted on Khamenei’s official website.

According to Twitter, the company’s top priority is keeping people safe and protecting the health of the conversation on the platform.

The social media giant says it has clear policies around abusive behavior and will take action when violations are identified.

As head of the Quds Force, the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Soleimani was the architect of its strategy in the Middle East.

He and his Iraqi lieutenant were killed by a US drone strike outside Baghdad airport on January 3, 2020.

Khamenei has repeatedly promised to avenge his death.

On January 3, the second anniversary of the strike, the supreme leader and ultraconservative President Ebrahim Raisi once again threatened the US with revenge.

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Trump’s supporters regularly denounce the banning of the Republican billionaire from Twitter, underscoring that accounts of several leaders considered authoritarian by the United States are allowed to post on the platform.

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