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YouTube Tests Product Tags in Selected Creator Videos as Part of Larger Shift Towards eCommerce

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In a move that will come as little surprise to most industry watchers, YouTube is working on a new process which will enable creators to tag products displayed in their video clips, eventually leading to more direct shopping options on the video platform.

As reported by Bloomberg:

“[YouTube] recently started asking creators to use YouTube software to tag and track products featured in their clips. […] The goal is to convert YouTube’s bounty of videos into a vast catalog of items that viewers can peruse, click on and buy directly, according to people familiar with the situation. The company is also testing a new integration with Shopify Inc. for selling items through YouTube.”

This is not the first time YouTube has ventured into eCommerce. Back in 2018, YouTube added a merchandise ‘shelf’ for product tie-ins, which enables creators to showcase their branded products beneath their video clips.

YouTube

YouTube also added ‘merch alerts‘ for live-streams earlier this year as another means to help creators boost awareness of their products, while it also has AR try-on videos for make-up tutorials and other eCommerce related ad tools, which could additionally be used to provide more pathways for creators to generate direct revenue from their content. 

But tagging products within the videos themselves could add another level. With this, YouTube would essentially be looking to single out specific items within a video frame, which users could then tap on as the clip is playing in order to get more information about that specific product.

Really, this is what every video platform is now moving towards – TikTok, for example, which is still looking to establish its revenue generation process in order to ensure its creators get paid, began testing tappable product links on its video clips late last year.

eCommerce will be a key element in TikTok’s future expansion. In China, the Chinese version of the app, called ‘Douyin’, has seen significant monetization success via eCommerce integrations in the app. 

Douyin eCommerce

Douyin generated over $122 million in revenue last year, mostly generated by eCommerce, which is more than 2x what TikTok brought in. That’s a pretty clear indicator of where TikTok will be looking to evolve, and with Walmart seeking to buy into the platform, with an eye to expanding its eCommerce ambitions, it seems evident that the next stage of broader video monetization will focus on in-stream buying, and providing means for viewers to shop for the items displayed in these clips.

Instagram, too, has flagged its intention to include shopping options in Reels videos soon.

Given this, it’s little surprise to see YouTube also looking to advance in this respect – though from the sounds of it, YouTube’s initiative will go a little further than simply including a shopping button overlaid onto the video playback.

As Bloomberg notes, YouTube’s process will ‘tag and track’ products within video clips. That could lead to a new, habitual process, where users become accustomed to being able to simply tap on any product they see in a clip for more information.

How, exactly, this will work in practice is unclear, but it does seem like YouTube is taking a more advanced approach to video eCommerce, which could be a significant evolution of note. That will provide more revenue generation options for creators, who’ll be able to include more items in their clips, and new advertising opportunities for brands, tagging onto popular YouTubers to help showcase their products.

It could be a major development – we’ll have to wait for more details, but definitely, integrated product listings within videos, in general, is set to become a major focus moving forward.   

Socialmediatoday.com

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Key Notes on Building Your Brand via Your Social Profile Visuals [Infographic]

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Key Notes on Building Your Brand via Your Social Profile Visuals [Infographic]

Looking to give your social profiles a visual refresh for the new year?

This could help – the team from Giraffe Social Media recently put together an overview of the whys and hows of building your brand via your social profile visuals.

There are some good notes here – a key consideration is consistency, which ensures that you’re building your brand with every post and update.

Check out the full infographic below.

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Publicis Performance Marketing Unit Acquires Influencer Platform Perlu 01/30/2023

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Publicis Performance Marketing Unit Acquires Influencer Platform Perlu 01/30/2023

Publicis Groupe-owned performance marketing agency CJ, which specializes in affiliate marketing, has acquired Perlu, a Syracuse, New York-based influencer networking and technology platform.
Perlu’s platform enables companies to activate, network, and collaborate with a community of influencers.   

Perlu will initially retain its name and organization as it is
integrated …



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Reports Show that Facebook Usage is Up, as Meta Continues to Develop its AI Targeting Models

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Reports Show that Facebook Usage is Up, as Meta Continues to Develop its AI Targeting Models

While Facebook is no longer the cool app, especially among younger audiences, it remains a key platform for many users, and its capacity to keep people updated on important updates from friends and family is likely to ensure that many continue to return to the app every day for some time yet.

But more than that, Facebook usage is actually increasing, according to internal insights viewed by The Wall Street Journal, which also include some interesting notes on overall Facebook and Instagram usage trends.

As per WSJ:

Data gathered in the middle of the fourth quarter showed that time spent on [Facebook] was up worldwide, including in developed markets, over the course of a year.”

Which seems unusual, given the subsequent rise of TikTok, and short form video more generally. But actually, Facebook has been able to successfully use the short-form video trend to drive more usage – despite much criticism of the platform’s copycat Reels feature.

Indeed, Reels consumption is up 20%, and has become a key element in Meta’s resurgence.  

How is it finding success? Increased investment in AI, which has driven big improvements in the relevance models that fuel both Reels and its ads, which are also now driving better response.

On Reels, Meta’s systems are getting much better at showing users the Reels content that they’re most likely to be interested in. You’ve likely noticed this yourself – what was initially a mess of random clips inserted into your Facebook feed has now become more focused, and you’re probably finding yourself expanding a Reels clip every now and then, just to see what it’s about.

Reels has actually been too successful:

“Because ads in Reels videos don’t currently sell for as much as those sold against regular posts and stories, Reels’ growing share of content consumption was denting ad revenue. To protect the company’s earnings, the company cut back on promoting Reels, which lowered watch time by 12%.

So again, while Meta has been criticized for stealing TikTok’s format, it’s once again shown, just as it did with Stories, that this is a viable and beneficial pathway to keeping users engaged in its apps.

You might not like it, but replication works in this respect.

But for marketers, it’s likely the development of Meta’s AI targeting tools for ads that’s of most interest.

Over time, many performance advertisers have been increasingly recommending that marketers trust Meta’s AI targeting, with newer offerings like Advantage+ driving strong results, with far less manual targeting effort.

Advantage+ puts almost total trust in Meta’s AI targeting systems. You can choose a couple of targeting options for your campaigns, but for the most part, the process is designed to limit manual impact, in order to let Meta’s systems determine the right audience for your ads.

Which may feel like you’re ceding too much control, but according to Meta, its continued AI investment is now driving better results.

Heavy investment in artificial intelligence tools has enabled the company to improve ad-targeting systems to make better predictions based on less data, according to the interviews and documents […] That, along with shifting to forms of advertising less dependent on harvesting user data from off its platforms, are key to the company’s plans to overcome an Apple privacy change that restricted Meta’s capacity to gather information about what its users do outside its platforms’ walls, the documents show.”

That’s likely worth considering in your process, putting more trust in Meta’s targeting systems to drive better results. At the least, it may be worth experimenting with Meta’s evolving AI for ad targeting. 

It’s not all good news. Meta also notes that while time spent in its apps is on the rise, creation and engagement is declining, with fewer people posting to both Facebook and Instagram than they have in the past.

That’s particularly true among younger audiences, while notably, usage of Instagram Stories is also in decline, down 10% on previous levels.

So while Meta is driving more engagement from Reels, which draws on content from across the app, as opposed to the people and Pages you follow, that’s also led to a decline in user posting.

Is that a bad thing? I mean, logically, engagement is important in keeping people interested in the app, and Meta also relies on those signals to help refine its ad targeting. So it does need users to be sharing their own content too, but if it can get more people spending more time in its apps, that will help it maintain advertiser interest.

In essence, despite all of the reports of Facebook’s demise, it remains a key connective platform, in various ways, while Meta’s improving ad targeting systems are also helping to drive better results, which will keep it as a staple for brands moving forward.

If you were thinking of diversifying your social media marketing spend this year, maybe don’t reduce Facebook investment just yet.

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