Welcome to 3MZ’s monthly social updates. In these posts, our digital team will fill you in on what’s been happening in the world of social media over the past month. Here are our updates for September:
Amazon Advertising Continues to Look “Prime”
E-commerce giant Amazon.com continues to climb the ranks of the digital advertising realm. Specifically, a recent market research report from eMarketer suggests that Amazon’s estimated ad sales doubling this year will vault the company to the third-ranked spot among all ad platforms in the U.S.
While the growth is primarily due to the advertising platform having the ingredients and structure for a strong digital ad business, the platform is also becoming increasingly easier to use, which is attracting new advertisers. In early September, Amazon announced that all ad services would fall under the umbrella that is now called “Amazon Advertising.”
The company’s ad services range from native display to search advertising, allowing brands and others to intercept consumers who are already browsing the website (and likely willing to make a purchase). Furthermore, Amazon’s consumer data and built-in product search functionality separate it from other digital advertising kings like Google and Facebook.
Although approaching the number-three rank, Amazon (4.1% of all digital ad spend in the U.S.) is still significantly behind the duopoly that consists of Google (37.1%) and Facebook (20.6%). That said, the company is expected to continue to pull shares of both Facebook and Google over the coming years.
With this rapid growth in mind, will more advertisers take a fresh approach to digital ad buying by carving out a chunk of their budget for Amazon Advertising? If they do, it may just mark a shift in objectives that consists of doing much more than selling ad impressions.
China’s new social credit system sets a dangerous precedent for the negative impact of social media on everyday users.
Big news recently from China, where they have accelerated plans to introduce a disturbing social credit system that will make every aspect of Chinese citizens’ life subject to scrutiny. A combination of facial recognition technology, widespread state CCTV, and credit ratings, subjects will have their every move monitored. Each significant movement will affect their overall ‘score’, which will consequently affect things like job prospects and their standing in society.
If this all seems familiar, it’s probably because it is. An episode of Charlie Brooker’s dystopic masterpiece Black Mirror, called ‘Nosedive’, featured a similar system, with the episode’s protagonist becoming a typical casualty of the system. And herein lies the problem: while the system may achieve its goal of rewarding high-achieving members of society and giving those who have a negative impact nowhere to hide, it also sets a dangerous precedent. Those that are struggling are highlighted and scrutinised very publicly, and run the risk of their ‘score’ plummeting to disastrous levels.
We have seen a huge focus on mental health over the last few months, and the effects of social media on it have also been highlighted. Instead of hiding ‘likes’ and follower counts to protect users, China’s new system threatens to heighten their importance and their potential effect on the mental health and overall success in life of social media users. This is why it’s a concerning development, and one that we should work to ensure does not become the norm.
Facebook enters the world of Online Dating
Match.com (does anyone still use that?!), OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, Tinder, Grindr, Bumble, Hinge … the list goes on, but it was never going to be long before Facebook joined the online dating party. Currently only available in Colombia, Facebook Dating’s algorithm empowered homepage suggests romantic matches based on all those things Facebook knows about you - which is where the other apps and sites miss out. Those who are looking for love can answer up to 20 questions to try and find a match – no swipes needed. Will it roll out globally? Watch this space…
Ads are now available on Facebook Stories
It’s been possible to advertise on Instagram Stories for a while now, but now Facebook has just rolled out ad placement on its Stories platform for the first time. It’s thought to be in anticipation of brands embracing vertical mobile within their ad campaigns and has been tested with a number of big brands in recent months. Instagram continues to dominate the Stories space, but perhaps this change will give Facebook’s version the boost that it needs.