Monday, April 20, 2015

Shazam Your Wine to Become an Expert in Vine

A PSFK article "Shazam Your Wine to Become an Expert in Vine" does not only have a catchy title but also covers a very interesting app, Delectable.

The app used to identify a wine, rate and share your drinking experiences with fellow Dionysoses. The updated version now allows users to "shazam" a wine and add it to your history under the titles: Top Styles, Regions, Top Rated Wines, and Drinks With."

To me, this is a flag for Google as an example of the increase in mobile, in-app searches as opposed go googling things as default. It will be interesting to observe how Google will address this challenge.


Apple Watch: a new digital marketing channel?

It seems like all eyes have been on the Apple Watch this month. There has been a flood of articles and blog posts about how Apple is executing luxury marketing strategies to promote the Watch and how this wearable technology is going to be groundbreaking. 

We must accept that, and at this point in time, it's probably not worth it to speculate if the Watch is going to be a fad, because it's Apple-approved. Apple's approval stamp in the modern society means real legitimacy.

So what we must think of now is: how can the Watch be a new digital marketing channel? This forward thinking will get us far, and in fact, PSFK advises us to not crowd the content. Read the whole article here.


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Location Based Marketing is evolving

Location based marketing has evolved in last couple of years. The primary reason is now most of the digital marketing is becoming synonymous to mobile marketing.  The web traffic on mobile phones is going to overtake that of desktop computers sometime this year. The use of social media is now dominated on mobile phones. Various location based apps are primarily applicable only for mobile phones such as Foursquare.
Location based marketing is already been applied in many businesses especially few grocery stores such as SafeWay, Macys, Duane Reade have iBeacons. The primary ways location based marketing helps include:

Mobile Coupons: Mobile Coupons still continue to be one of the most popular uses for location-based marketing. Instead of clipping coupons from the newspaper, customers often have coupons targeted to them based on what store they enter or even where they are in the store. According to eMarketer, in 2014, approximately one in four mobile users were predicted to use a mobile coupon, and that number is growing each year.
Direction to promotions and discounts: Similar to offering coupons, location-based marketing helps in highlighting a current promotion or discount. For example, when a customer using the Donky app walks into the produce department, he or she might receive a message advertising a sale on oranges. Knowing about the promotion, often that customer might stroll over to the oranges and pick some up which he or she might not have done before. Thus, it helps to personalize the customer's experience, resulting in boost of sales for the store due to the targeted ads that location-based marketing provided.
Increased store app downloads and engagement: A grocery store may be one step ahead of many of its competitors if it has its own app. For example, Wegmans' mobile app uses a tool that is similar to but not exactly the same as location-based marketing. The app has a built-in shopping list function that helps customers find the items they need by organizing them by the aisle of the store that the products are located on. If customers have good reason to download and use a store’s app, the more likely they are to download and engage with a brand.

The last aspect is especially of importance.  Mobile location advertising technology firm xAd last week introduced Blueprints as a solution aimed at giving media buyers an assurance that their messages resulted in a store visit or sale. Blueprint is a new technology that automates the creation of the most accurate place data for location-based mobile marketing. According to xAd, Blueprint’s technology derives place data based on physical boundaries of business locations as opposed to the traditional navigational system data that captures the area around a street address. This is particularly important considering businesses are actually set back from the street.
Marketers relying on attribution models based on actual store visits that is usually based on proximity data from navigational systems can lead to misdirected or under-allocated spend because those data sources aren’t specific enough. Update: Google clarified to Marketing Land that it has a large operations team that draws the geometry of stores based on Google Earth and Street View data and that the company surveys stores and does Wi-Fi scans to accurately collect data on where store visits come from.

With Blueprints, xAd says it already has perimeters marked for more than 12 million business locations in the US. Blueprints uses a visual mapping algorithm that automates 70 percent of the place creation and updates to keep up with the over 130,000 new address listings and changes processed by the U.S. Postal Service each day. Blueprints also automatically processed in-store polygons for roughly 4,000 malls worldwide, including 1,900 in the US and 200 in the UK.
XAd claims more than 10 billion ad requests come through its platform daily. It includes companies such as Denny’s, Outback Steakhouse and Toyota Scion among its customers that use the platform to deliver location-based messaging to consumers. I am sure this new innovation of Blueprint would certainly be one of the major thrusts in the location based marketing this year.



Saturday, April 18, 2015

Vlogger Influence on Beauty

In the beauty industry, youtube stars are our new spokespeople.  Product developers such as myself have to be obsessed by formula quality, ensuring we only put the best-in-class on the market in order to get these girls to talk about it and share it with their hundreds of thousands of followers.

On the flip side, one bad product can be ruined if it gets in the hands of a popular vlogger and she posts about it.  It is as bad as having an obscene photo of yourself living in the social sphere.

8 weeks ago, we launched a new mascara called Lash Sensational which has been quite a success thus far.  There are already over 14,000 youtube videos on this product.  Beauty Vlogger Lilfeefifofum is the first to pull up and thankfully with a very positive review.

See below!


Dare to Go Nude

I just wanted to share a recent campaign that we did for Maybelline which proved to be very successful for us.  In 2014, we launched an eyeshadow palette called The Nudes.  We decided to shift our media spend strategy to be 50% digital from typically between 20-25% (I know, that's sad, we are working on it).

Dare to Go Nude is a viral campaign done using Social Supermodels, Jourdan Dunn and Devon Aoki.  It was an authentic piece where we interviewed a few girls in their hotel room about the eyeshadow palette and why they like it.  Questions were a bit vague and the girls were surprised at the end when the final question was "So would you say you are a nudist?".

The interview was genuine, the content was authentic and the reach was significant.  We hit 1.8 million hits on youtube within 2 weeks which is a milestone in the beauty industry.


Fun Facts in the Digital Marketing Space

Just wanted to share some fun facts in the Digital Marketing space in recent weeks.

1.  99% of Game of Thrones videos on youtube are User Generated Content.

2.  Over-the-Top devices such as Apple TV and Roku will generate $31.5billion by 2018, up $8.4 billion this year.

3.  Kik has 200 million users but has fallen under the radar due to Snapchat.  60 brands have recently decided to use it for content.

4.  In the last year, 64% of social media content about Golf happened on Twitter.

5.  54% of boomers use a laptop to purchase Consumer Packaged Goods.

6.  Women are moving up in ad-tech, 41% of AOL staff is female.

7.  Only 21% of online users say that branded digital content is "usually relevant."


Snapchat ranks best for youth

Snapchat taps into a new trend for the young audience which is anonymity.  One reputation-burning post on Facebook or Twitter can follow you for years and even the young generation knows it.  However there is still something enticing about sharing a scandalous piece of gossip or a racy photo without leaving a trace.  Multiple apps have been developed since to cater to the same insight but none with such success.

71% of Snapchat users in the US are between 18-34 compared with only 40% on Facebook and Twitter.  It is still to be seen how Snapchat will catapult their revenue model but for the moment they are generating the critical mass.


Is Google+ already dead?

A recent Forbes article sites that Google has made all the right mistakes to sink the Google+ initiative.  It has had a 97% decline in engagement year over year.  An NYU marketing professor cites the following causes for failure:

  • Misalignment with the Google vision of organizing the world's information.
  • Google+ isn't fun like other social networks such as Facebook or Twitter.  It seems very manufacturer and hence doesn't engage the millennial with as much efficacy.
  • It was a frontal attack on Facebook but offered nothing newer or better.
  • Google did not identify an un-tapped consumer segment.  They took a broad-based approach similar to Search Engine but in a space that already had an incumbent player.
I never even started using Google+ until this class.  I saw no added utility in it.  I guess Forbes might be right.


I'm No Angel

Recently one of the top digital ads in terms of engagement was called #ImNoAngel by Lane Bryant.  The premise of the campaign is to celebrate full-figured women in Lane Bryant lingerie.  The girls authentically speak to the camera touting they are sexy, they have more to give and that not everyone needs to look one way to be beautiful.  The campaign is a direct attack on Victoria's Secret who has a cult following behind their supermodel Angels, all skinny "perfectly-proportioned" women.

The overall effectiveness of the campaign in its first week was 2.67% share of voice, 1.8 million hits and 25,000 social posts.

New York Daily News says that while engagement has been high, product sales have not been dramatically impacted because the fashion industry continues to promote the alternative image.  That being said, it is one small step to hopefully what becomes a longer-term movement.  It also will help maintain existing customer loyalty.


Social Superstars in Fashion/Beauty

Social Superstars such as Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner may not have the typical face for the beauty and fashion world but their numbers make them prime targets for beauty and fashion brands hoping to address the millennial.  "Social media has allowed these girls to have a voice and a platform and not just be some random anonymous model," says Teen Vogue editor Amy Astley.  "Young people today are totally open to a self-invented person who uses technology to launch their career and put their message out there."  People are fascinated by the world these girls live in and use social channels to be a part of it.

What does this mean for brands?  Having a social supermodel in your roster allows greater connection to potential consumers, increased brand loyalty, and in the short-term, instantly higher sales.  With Instagram accounts reaching up to 25 million followers, these girls can market a product with more efficiency than any TV campaign with just a simple photo.  The content appears authentic and as users are checking their Instagram accounts multiple times a day, the retention is higher.  Estee Lauder and Maybelline New York have recently signed onto this strategy and they have doubled their own number of followers on their Instagram pages.


Facebook Marketing for Financial Institutions

A recent article in the Financial Brand talked about the role that Facebook plays in financial services marketing, particularly with regard to mobile.

Traditionally, banks have been very hesitant to move into mobile marketing. This occurs for a couple reasons
  1. Regulatory - many banks have compliance groups that worry about selling on a mobile device. Given these concerns, the advertising would be focused on brand-building, which is hard to attribute to actual sales, so often would be overlooked.
  2. Its a new channel - making the switch to a new channel is always difficult. Since most customers do not actually complete the transaction and fund while on their mobile device, it is very tough to make the business case for mobile marketing
 In the article, they talk about the large number of customers that login daily on their mobile device and monthly more broadly. Given this volume of customers and the attention that consumers give to their mobile device on News Feeds and Instagram, this is clearly a medium that will only grow over the next couple of years.


Friday, April 17, 2015

What Will Snapchat ads look like? The Company Isn't Sure

According to Advertising Age, Snapchat is pulling back on its first first ad format and rethinking its pitch to advertisers.  The current line?  "It's like traditional media -- but on a phone and with a big audience of people less likely to check out traditional media such as linear TV or print magazines."  AdAge may be joking, but either way, Snapchat has a little work to do.  

The company has stopped selling Brand Story ads that let advertisers pay to promote a standalone piece of branded content within the mobile app, the article says, and will potentially rework feeds to look like actual feeds featuring photos from live events as they happen -- name is still to be determined.

Snapchat's problem isn't necessarily having a platform that its user might love.  The issue is helping advertisers understand the value.


ComfyBalls Underwear -- Digital Marketing at its Best? -- Slightly NSFW

So.. the US Patent & Trademark Office turned down the name of a Norwegian men's underwear company as too vulgar. So they went all out in their mission to find a new name while getting very much on the edge.

Since my blog quota is up already, I'll just leave it here without a tag. :)


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Paypal will be free to work with Amazon and Alibaba

The article "" give me some ideas about payment methods online. Paypal and eBay worked together for more than ten years and the cooperation  at first proved to be successful. However, as the market grows and the whole marketing environment becomes sophisticated, such as the arise of Google Wallet and Apple pay, eBay and Paypal will split their business in the next following years.

I think the payment method is a very important part for online transactions give the fact that convenience  and safe is valued by many customers. Alipay of Alibaba now is very popular in China not only due to its easy to use, but also it acts as a bank( offers higher deposit interest rate than those in traditional banks). Alipay works in a very simple with smart phone, with scan of QR code on the screen, you can pay directly from you Alipay account. Safe and reliability play important roles in Alipay. 


Back to the Paypal and Amazon/Alibaba, the free work of Paypal and Amazon will be beneficial for both organizations. And Palpal and Ebay's split will also give the two companies more space to grow and develop other systems. Therefore, it might not be a bad idea for the two groups. I think payment is an important part of online market and good cooperation will definitely generate margins for companies.

The article I read is from ";postID=3367066928431884996"


subscription based music service taking over Yuan (Danny) Xu

The music industry is going through some of the most significant changes in retailing models in recent years. Ever since the start of internet era, we have seen challenges of piracy, P2P circulation that the music industry has been combat for years. However, this transformation of the revenue model might have just crushed the traditional record selling retailing model. 

The market seems to be very optimistic about Spotify's future. According to WSJ:

Analysts at Manhattan Ventures Partners forecast Spotify had 2014 revenue of $1.3 billion, meaning the company is being valued at about 6.5 times its revenue. That is higher than Pandora, which is trading at about 3.9 times its 2014 revenue of $920.8 million.

Spotify is also valued at roughly the same amount that SoftBank Corp. offered to pay Vivendi SA to acquire Universal Music Group in 2013. Vivendi rejected that $8.5 billion deal. EMI Group—the smallest of the four global music companies—was split into two and sold collectively for $4.1 billion in 2012.

Spotify was valued at more than $5 billion last September, according to filings by GSV Capital Corp., a private investment fund that owns the shares.

Spotify is raising another $400 Million which put their evaluation at $8.4 Billion now. According to WSJ:

The deal would place Spotify in the upper ranks of the world’s most highly valued private tech companies. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and an Abu Dhabi sovereign-wealth fund have agreed to invest in the round, and Spotify has held talks with a range of asset managers and venture-capital firms around the globe, the people said.

The terms have been set and the funding round is expected to close in the coming weeks, one of the people said. Nine-year-old Spotify, which previously raised more than $500 million in equity funding, hasn’t established any timeline for a possible IPO.

This evaluation again probes people to think about the changing business landscape in the music industry. The idea has been floating around that the millennials in general have a stronger preference for shared economy compared to owned economy. For example, for city residents, Zipcar has become a popular choice due to its simplicity and no hassle for parking, car registering, insurance, etc. Music industry, similarly, has moved along that trajectory in response to the demand of the young customer groups. With lowered prices for data usage and internet access, streaming has become feasible without much cost. This accommodates people's need to constantly trying out new music which, preferably, are similar to their existing stock. However, this new business model are impacting the traditional record sales significantly. The possibility to access millions of songs instead of buying all of them educates consumers today to give up their purchase intentions, therefore reduce the overall revenue stream for record companies. It provides both challenges and opportunities for these big name traditional entertainment companies to rethink their business strategy, maybe it is still not too late to join the crowd? 


LinkedIn's Newest Acquisition

LinkedIn acquired an online education company few days ago for $1.5 billion - this acquisition is LinkedIn’s biggest ever and will allow the company to have access to instructional videos on topics including web development, photography and design, wherein these courses will be promoted to LinkedIn’s 350 million users.

Considering that the digital economy is becoming increasingly data-driven, LinkedIn could potentially utilize Lynda data in the following fashion:
  • LinkedIn recently launched a product that allows advertisers to buy ads across the web using its data. LinkedIn can now append Lynda's valuable first-party data to the offering should it so choose. Lynda's data is goldmine for some advertisers – Adobe would probably love to get ads for its Creative Suite in front Lynda's design students -- and Lynda already seems to be using that data in some way. A visit to its Design section brought up 28 ad tags according to the browser extension Ghostery. Included among them were the ad exchange AppNexus and retargeter Criteo.
  • Much of LinkedIn's revenue comes from its Talent Solutions platform, so it's not a stretch to imagine recruiters getting notifications about people who complete courses for the skills they're looking for. This could be a win for both parties. Recruiters get the people they need, and people in need get jobs. It would also make LinkedIn more indispensable, raising the bar for competitors to challenge it.


Amazon Buys Shoefitr

News surfaced yesterday that Amazon had acquired Shoefitr, a footwear product recommender that helps place online shoppers in the right size shoe.

You may have interacted with the Shoefitr widget in the past on,, REI, or other retailers' sites.  It will be interesting to see if the technology will continue to have a home with these Amazon competitors, or if "outside" business will be shut down. Shoefitr works by using proprietary 3D scan technology to scan the insides and outsides of sneakers, then storing this info in their database. Previously, the more companies it partnered with, the stronger its product recommender became, because they had access to more shoes to scan and include in their system.

Partnership with Amazon could mean that every footwear product sold on Amazon's site could eventually be scanned and catalogued, which would provide very useful info for an online shopper to make a fit-based or similarity-based shoe selection. However in my opinion, the Shoefitr experience still does not replace the experience of actually trying the shoe on, so having this in conjunction with seamless delivery and returns is a nice one-two punch for Amazon subsidiary Zappos.


Nissan and Adobe digital marketing cooperation

I read an article about "Nissan Deploys Adobe Marketing Cloud Globally to Deliver Integrated Brand Image". I think the idea behind this newly developed platform is interesting. I would like to know how it works.

Nissan launched a platform with adobe to create a new digital marketing solution. Since Nissan has broad markets around the world, Nissan was trying to deploy special marketing tactics for different locations.  This new system creates a unified platform for the different regions of Nissan markets. Due to Nissan has a variety of platforms around the world, this action would let Nissan to create new customer experience and give customers around the world consistent brand image (for Nissan' three main brands). Therefore, the main purpose of the action is to create a platform that could fix the situation of inconsistent brand images of Nissan in different places.

Nissan and Adobe made the platform through these main digital channels, mobile, social and dealer networks. Adobe Marketing Cloud is in charge of the platform. Adobe Marketing Cloud helps companies to create personalized customer experience utilizing data and many channels such as web and Apps. In my perspective, it would be interesting to find out how this platform actually works to help Nissan achieve the goal of consistent brand image. The idea would be interesting.

This blog is based on the article from


Mobile Chat is the Next Killer App?

Facebook recently announced on F8 Conference that its Messenger app has reached 600 million users, a 50% growth from last year. Considering similar mobile chat apps such as WhatsApp and WeChat, the number of mobile chat accounts is approximately three billion.

Messaging apps are clearly the killer apps on mobile, but U.S. brands and retailers have not yet made themselves available via mobile chat. With an effective, omnipresent messaging experience, brands may now be able to effectively leverage mobile, which has been the thorn in the side of marketers for years as apps and advertising have both failed.

For consumers, being able to interact with brands via messaging apps would provide obvious benefits: highly personal support instantly; all communication kept within a single thread; the elimination of phone calls and interaction via other customer support channels; and anytime, anywhere communication on the apps they are using every day. Brands could better nurture relationships, drive loyalty through better customer experiences and decrease operational costs if artificial intelligence is leveraged to automate most of the interaction. The biggest game-changer, however, is that messaging leverages on-demand explicit intent (i.e. the person is stating exactly what they want, when they want it) combined with implicit intent -- if brands could carry context forward.

Message to Marketers: Mobile Chat is the Next Killer App


What LinkedIn Lynda Deal Means for Advertisers

With the $1.5B purchase of online professional services company by LinkedIn, it seems much has been said about the allignment of mission statements, LinkedIn looking to connect people to jobs and offering the services to improve job candidacy.

An article from re/code did a nice job of outlining how the deal will create value for LinkedIn in digital marketing speak.

Beside a similar mission, Lynda offers a foothold in the college segment, while instantly beefing up LinkedIn's content library.

Here, LinkedIn is looking to increase penetration across outbound students as they enter the professional world, while the lack of original content across LinkeIn creates less reason for members to check in more frequently.

If the deal helps LinkedIn to strengthen these areas, it will surely widen the platform's appeal to digital marketers as new marketing opportunities open up.  Targeted display around deeper/wider content opportunities and enhanced data sets will only help to increase advertsing demand.


Who want some engaging digital ads without intruding on viewer experience

It has been proven that creating interesting, unique advertising content without intruding the user experience is critical
In Showtime, a mobile marketing agency, the app team, as well as our digital creative design team, started partnering with our program marketing department. Program marketing is essentially the brand managers for the shows and the company is trying to do thing differently.
“The program marketing team also has the responsibility for creating the creative in our paid media campaigns,” said Ken Todd, vice president, of digital content syndication and mobile development at Showtime Networks, Inc., New York. “So, as the mobile marketing spends continued to grow, we wanted to go beyond the typical banner ad that we have been doing, which was basically program promotion, tune in with a tap to watch the video.
“There’s obviously a great space for that type of mobile advertising, but we wanted to carve out a couple of special executions on the media plans to try to really focus on using some more interactivity using the experience that have developed using native applications for mobile devices.”
The network is known for its attention grabbing mobile material across all platforms, advertising and its own content.
Data integration
Todd displayed some examples of some of the company's most successful ad campaigns.
The premium network sponsors the application for the annual SXWX festival that creates a way for Showtime to develop something out of the ordinary instead of the traditional banner advertisement. 
In the second year that Showtime sponsored the app, it tapped a real-time trending data approach used in the previous year’s version of the app but incorporated it with show promotion. 
For instance, the Showtime show Penny Dreadful was promoted on the SXSW go app with tarot cards that users could get a digital reading from, incorporating trending data from the festival.

Tarot card feature in the SXSW Go app in 2014

In this year’s festival, Showtime provided a streaming loop of programming to watch while waiting in line as well as an on-demand feature. The banner ads on the app were themed to coincide with the festival and Showtime programming such as “tempted to sneak away, Join the stream,” for the show The Affair.
The banner ads also integrated with the landing page of the app.
Standing out
The network also executed a takeover of the New York Times’ tablet app for the launch of the show, Ray Donovan, where consumers could view an interactive video promoted the show. Consumers could tap on the video, pausing it and providing more information about the character.
This was a simple and engaging way for viewers who were not familiar with the show to become involved and get an overview of what the show was about.
A shake-to-reveal ad was developed for the show Homeland, too. Users would shake their mobile devices to uncover more about the show and could click to watch the trailer.
Engineers also created a way for users’ mobile devices to vibrate coinciding with an explosion for the season four trailers of Homeland. 

Homeland Season Four's mobile ad campaign 

A recent Penny Dreadful ad campaign allowed users to pan through the environment of the show and tap anywhere interested consumers would want to learn more.

“As we go through the creative process every time, we’re thinking about how can this be different, how can this utilize the capabilities of the native device and how can we stand out in the crowd to make our programming really jump out at the consumer,” Mr. Todd said. “We know that the mobile device is a very intimate and personal device and we’re trying to be very careful not to disrupt your experience.
“But if we catch your attention, we want to immerse you in our programming that Showtime provides and give you a memorable experience,” he said.


To Catch a Dragon, HBO starts a Drogon Hunt

HBO, the creator of the hit cable TV series “The Game of Thrones”, is launching its 5th season premiere with a social media twist and a new themed Twitter hashtag. This hashtag, which will go live at 11 AM on Sunday, is #CatchDrogon.

For viewers not familiar with The Game of Thrones, Drogon is a dragon that terrorizes various neighborhoods of this fantasy medieval-inspired adaptation that has enough dark intrigue to resemble another hit HBO series, The Sopranos.

The interesting thing here is that Twitter followers are being asked to subscribe and follow #CatchDrogan and retweet in a certain timespan as soon as they see the hashtag. Those that catch it in time will be rewarded access to exclusive content, such as sneak peeks, previews, and even real physical prizes.

This social media strategy appears to be consistent with the best practices of viral marketing techniques. Social media followers are generally looking for free but high-quality content, new product announcements, previews, freebies, or product launches. This hashtag media campaign just about satisfies all of those criteria.

Here’s the amazing thing when you couple quality content with a large social media presence (15 million FB likes, 2.3 million Twitter followers). On hashtag launch day (which coincides with season 5 premiere), HBO will establish a war-room style command center staffed by celebrities, producers, and folks from 360i and Giphy (where GoT has an enterprise account) to drive engagement with all the hashtag retweeting that’s going to be keeping Google’s “currently trending” servers busy analyzing.

We look forward to catching a Drogan, or at least get a sneak-peek and maybe win some prizes.


Friday, April 10, 2015

Does "don't be evil" apply to content marketing?

A consumer group just asked the FTC to investigate the YouTube Kids app. Their claim is fairly straightforward - Google came out with the app as a "safer" place for kids. Parents and kids searching for episodes of Barney or clips of Disney songs could all too easily stumble on disturbingly mature content. The consumer group claims, however, that the app is actually stuffed with ads and product placements, and that this medium should be subject to the same restrictions as TV with respect to marketing to children.

On one hand, the consumer group has an easy case; why should content produced for consumption online not have the same protections for kids as content produced for TV? On the other hand, regulating internet content itself would be a massive precedent for a legal and regulatory system that has shied away from it. The middle ground that the FTC could carve out is that the app itself is a concrete product that, while it uses the internet, is not a public place like a website; rather, the youtube kids app is a product specifically aimed at children, and therefore it could be regulated differently than youtube itself.

In the next few decades, we will see a number of intriguing legal and regulatory questions like this, and the rulings all put together will have a significant impact on what kind of internet we have.


YouTube Kids App - Part 2

Adding to the prior post on the YouTube Kids App, I wanted to highlight 2 aspects of the complaints against the app:
"Many of the [unboxing] videos on YouTube Kids appear to be user-generated. Some, however, have undisclosed relationships with product manufacturers," reads the complaint. Unboxing videos are immensely popular on YouTube accounting for 20 Million searches alone last year. From one perspective, if the unboxing video truly provides entertainment and/or informative value to the viewer, then does it qualify as native content or an ad? Furthermore, if the unboxing video does not include a call to action to buy the product but simply concludes by showing the unboxing, can it still be characterized as an ad?
- Secondly, the complaint points out that videos and advertising on YouTube Kids are played in a continuous stream, counter to the TV rules that require a five-second "bumper" between ads and shows. The ads are certainly denoted as promotional considerations by the sponsoring brands, but the ads themselves purportedly come across as content such that the viewer (in this case a child) isn’t immediately aware that they are watching an ad.

Both these complaints hold weight (pun unintended). YouTube is definitely waltzing on the blurry lines between ads and content here. And it doesn’t help that the viewing audience is more gullible. This is another example of how digital, mobile-first guidelines need to be contemplated keeping these mediums and platforms in mind; and that advertisers will constantly push the envelope to break through to their audiences.


A divorce between ebay and PayPal

Since 2002 when eBay acquired PayPal, at a price of $1.5 billion, the merger was successful. PayPal boasted more than 162 million active digital wallet users globally in 2014 and processed some $624 million in payments every day.

However, as more payment companies showed up in the payment market, bundle of two companies seems to be a disadvantage for both ebay and PayPal. They limited each other and start losing chances to corporate with other companies. For example, PayPal after divorce with ebay would be able to corporate with Amazon and Alibaba. Meanwhile, ebay could work with Apple pay and Google wallet.

 “As independent companies, we expect eBay and PayPal will be sharper and stronger, and more focused and competitive as leading, standalone companies in their respective markets,” according to the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “EBay and PayPal also will benefit from additional flexibility and agility to pursue new market and partnership opportunities.”

The arrangement would increase both companies’ competitive power by remaining independent of each other but excluding prohibition on each working with the other’s core competitors.

Like real divorce, if PayPal’s share of the transactions falls below that level, eBay must pay its former subsidiary restitution. The deal will last for six years, including a one-year transition period.