Weekly Digital Breakdown

Facebook Considers Removing Likes

After more than a decade of building its business around likes, Facebook will begin testing removing the count from public view in user feeds. Much like Instagram, the parent company intends to shift focus to content quality to better foster a sense of online community and keeping people connected. The like or reaction count would be visible to the post creator but would be hidden from view from others and could be permanently implemented across the platform. 

While the potential change would likely not have much impact on brand advertising, it could dramatically affect their relationships with influencers. Brands currently review influencer follower and like counts when choosing partnerships. Without this information, evaluation would require other aspects of an influencer account, such as content creativity and follower interaction, when determining which partners would be the best fit for the brand. This could create an additional hurdle for content creators when seeking brand sponsorship opportunities.

The company currently has no projected timeline for if or when they plan to implement the change to all users but, it does appear the shift could be on the horizon with testing now taking place on both major platforms. This combined with other recent changes by Facebook, imply a refined focus by the company on creating quality content and rebuilding user trust in the wake of ongoing privacy concerns. The process of rebuilding may also come renewed faith by marketers, driving engagement and advertising dollars. 

With social platforms being a relatively new industry, there is still much that’s unknown on creating maximum effectiveness and peak usability without the invasion of user privacy.  As people continue to evolve their use of social media, the platforms themselves will need to be prepared to adapt in order to stay relevant.

https://marketingland.com/facebook-confirms-it-is-considering-removing-like-counts-266535?

Binge-watch With The Help of Google 

If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by all of your streaming options, you’re not alone. Looking for the right program can sometimes take longer than the actual show or movie itself. To help those undecided viewers, Google announced the release of a recommendation feature connected to searches to make binge watching that much easier. 

The added feature will customize suggested titles by considering entered search terms, selected providers, and historical reviews of movies or shows previously viewed. Prior to the update, Google supplied program details such as ratings,critic and user reviews, and the cast list but search criteria had to be specific. Now, users can look for suggestions more broadly with terms like “80s movies,” “romantic comedies,” or “good shows to watch” and a list of top picks will populate.Once suggestions appear, users can further customize by creating a profile of likes and dislikes under “Top picks for you.” The feature will display 5-10 show and movie titles with the option to like, dislike, or skip which helps the algorithm understand the user future search suggestions. Users can also opt to indicate which streaming services and cable options they use which will allow for direct links from programs to services available.   

The basis of the addition is all about customization users crave and expect online. Google confirms that the information is strictly used to help viewers and is not leveraged for advertising opportunities. Based on the wealth of entertainment data available if you can’t find something with Google’s assistance, you may be better off going to bed.

https://techcrunch.com/2019/09/05/googles-new-feature-will-help-you-find-something-to-watch/

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It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year...Already

The calendar may only say September, but holiday shopping is already on the minds of marketers. For the rest of the year, it remains the primary strategy focus and will only continue to gain momentum.  Understanding the shifts in shopping behavior is essential to brands for messaging and utilizing the proper channels to reach consumers during this peak shopping time. While shoppers remain divided on their approach, a recently released Coresight Research Holiday 2019: US Shopper Survey,noted the increasing shift to online shopping continues.  However, an overwhelming number of shoppers, 55% of Gen Z shoppers and 54% of Boomers will continue to go in-store to check off their holiday shopping list. While this is good news for retail locations, it leaves much uncertainty as to whether shoppers continue to come in-store simply to browse and price compare and then complete their final purchases online.

Shopping behavior continues to be mixed as many survey respondents indicated they will use a combination of online shopping and visiting brick-and-mortar locations while others are happy to never stepping foot in a store. Reasons for continuing to go into retail locations ranged from the need to browse for the perfect gift idea, tangibly seeing and testing items before purchase, and simply enjoying holiday shopping time and being part of the festivities. Although many plan to continue to shop in-store, over 44% of survey respondents felt just the opposite and liked the convenience of online shopping to avoid crowds followed by those who liked the ease and time saving elements of digital shopping. Consumers planning to do at least some holiday shopping online, are largely choosing Amazon over Walmart and Target, which were popular stops in previous years.

A somewhat surprising finding from the survey was the impact of recent economic changes on behavior.  Nearly 60% of the 1,784 shoppers surveyed reported concern of product price increases this season due to newly imposed tariffs on items coming from China. This uncertainty may have a larger effect on brands as it could require an adjustment in strategy to overcome shopper hesitation. 

The overall consensus from the survey data and behavioral trends illustrated primary concerns for shopping decisions come down to four common themes; price, product availability, promotional opportunities, and finding the best product quality across brands. Overall, consumers are not committed to one way of holiday shopping and will continue dividing their efforts online and in retailer locations. While the behaviors continue to evolve, there are still a large percentage of people who simply enjoy the energy and magic of the in-store experience during the holidays. 

https://www.retaildive.com/news/walmart-target-could-lose-holiday-customers-to-amazon/562203/