Good morning, have you tested ads in Google’s Discover feed?

Last Spring, Google announced ads were coming to the Discover feed – a surface that reaches some 800,000 mobile users per month. Advertisers who have been testing ads with new Discovery campaigns are, for the most part, impressed with the initial results. You may not have even seen ads in your own Discover feed yet (much less run Discovery campaigns), as they still remain in closed beta.

Nevertheless, advertisers have said Discovery ads – which are image-heavy and closely resemble social creatives – compensate for control and visibility limitations. “We are OK with the lack of channel reporting right now since the benefits outweigh the lack of transparency,” said Moses Chang, group media director at MMI Agency. The verdict is out on whether Discover will prove to be yet another vein in the Google goldmine – and the company is treading slowly with this initial effort, as indicated by the rare ad sighting and little chatter in the industry since Discovery ads launched. What are your thoughts?

In other news, Nielsen’s Podcast Listener Buying Power service has landed its first agency client, IPG Mediabrands, Nielsen announced on Wednesday. The license grants IPG Mediabrand companies (including Universal McCann, Initiative, ID Media, Cadreon, Brand Programming Network, Orion, MAGNA and Healix) access to Nielsen’s podcast audience insights. IPG will be able to access data across 18 podcast genres and over 90 individual podcasts. That data can also be cross-referenced with the purchasing behavior and usage data that Nielsen also surveys for. 

There’s more below, including news on a recent Instagram data breach that exposed thousands of passwords. Enjoy!

Taylor Peterson,
Deputy Editor


Brand protection should be carefully monitored in 2020

In today’s ultra-competitive business environment brands cannot afford to solely be reactive to potential infringements to their brand and customer experiences. Rather, they must proactively seek to protect these assets and that can only happen with increased visibility at the C-suite level. 

In 2019, we witnessed quite a few leading brands elevating the importance of what it means to protect your brand – whether it comes to trademarks or overall brand perception and value.

Patagonia and Anheuser-Busch battled it out over potential trademark infringements. Co-founder of shoe company Allbirds approached Amazon about selling identical-looking shoes, but perhaps more importantly, called out that the e-commerce giant should also “steal our approach to sustainability.” 

What we saw last year with these brands taking a stand to protect their missions, values and customer experience, we will continue to see more of this in the coming year as brand protection gains greater mindshare in the boardroom and beyond.

– David Naffziger is CEO of BrandVerity


Develop the content your target audience actually wants

Content pollution is real. We’re producing more than ever, but quality of content marketing has slipped. How we can make our content marketing better? What tools, strategies and tactics can we deploy? In this issue of Agency Perspectives from SharpSpring, you’ll learn how to develop content your target audience actually wants and get tips on sharing and distributing content across relevant channels.

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Social Shorts

Thousands of Instagram login credentials exposed, Facebook rolls out new ‘inclusivity’ toolkit for game creators

Instagram password leak. Social Captain, a social tech startup aimed at helping users boost Instagram followers, last week experienced a data breach resulting in thousands of Instagram passwords being made visible in plain text. TechCrunch reported that any user who linked their Instagram account to the platform could view the page source code on their Social Captain profile, displaying their Instagram username and password in unencrypted text. What’s worse – a website bug allowed anyone to access any Social Captain user’s profile without having to log in by simply entering a user’s account ID into the web address, which granted access to their Instagram login credentials. Social Captain confirmed to TechCrunch it had fixed the vulnerability by preventing direct access to other users’ profiles. Instagram said the service breached its terms of service by improperly storing login credentials.

Facebook preaches inclusivity for game creators. Facebook has announced a new toolkit designed to help promote inclusivity among game creators. Facebook collaborated with the Fair Play Alliance — a coalition of gaming companies working to establish healthy online communities — to develop rules that creators can choose to implement before they go live. The eight preset rules include: ‘Be accepting’ (no matter a community member’s race religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity); ‘Respect boundaries’ (in terms of not making advances or comments based on appearances); ‘Don’t criticize’ (someone’s gameplay or game choices); ‘Don’t be rude’ (in terms of threats or insults); ‘Don’t flood the chat’; ‘Don’t self-promote’; ‘Keep it clean’ (with respect to obscene or inflammatory content); and ‘No profanity’. Creators can select a preset rule in the ‘Chat Rules’ section of their dashboards, with fans prompted to accept them before being allowed to comment. The toolkit is currently in beta with plans to roll out globally in the coming months.


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What we're reading

We've curated our picks from across the web so you can retire your feed reader

DTC company Shapermint is spending 80% of its marketing budget on Facebook and Instagram – Digiday

Personalization: Opportunities, Pitfalls and How To Get it Right – Facebook for Business

Publisher Advertising And Marketing Teams Are Starting To Converge – AdExchanger

How to Run a Business in 2020 – New York Times

Amazon quietly publishes its latest transparency report – TechCrunch

Tinder, Bumble, and Grindr Are Under Investigation For Allowing Minors – Gizmodo

New U.S. Regulations on Counterfeit Goods Target Marketplaces – Practical Ecommerce