Social Shorts: Twitter bans political ads, Facebook’s Preventive Health tool, new CMO at Tommy Hilfiger
The social media marketing week in review: A round up of news and announcements you may have missed.
This collection of social media marketing and new hire announcements is a compilation of the past week’s briefs from our daily Marketing Land newsletter. Click here to subscribe and get more news like this delivered to your inbox every morning.
Twitter reports an uptick in data requests. Between January and June of 2019, Twitter received 7,300 demands for user data, with the majority of requests coming from U.S. government agencies (2,120 demands for 4,150 accounts), reports TechCrunch. Requests for data was up 6% compared to the same time period last year, according to the company’s latest transparency report. “Twitter said it removed 124,339 accounts for impersonation, and 115,861 accounts for promoting terrorism, a decline of 30% on the previous reporting period,” writes TechCruch. Twitter has also added impersonation data and insight to the report, offering up numbers on actions taken against accounts posing as another person, brand or organization. During the first half of the year, Twitter said it took action against 124,339 accounts for violating its impersonation policy.
No more political ads on Twitter. If you missed Wednesday’s news, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced on Twitter, minutes before Facebook’s earnings call, the company will stop allowing political ads on the platform. “While internet advertising is incredibly powerful and very effective for commercial advertisers, that power brings significant risks to politics, where it can be used to influence votes to affect the lives of millions,” tweeted Dorsey. The CEO said the company plans to share more on the final policy by November 15 and begin enforcing its ban on political ads November 22. The timing of Dorsey’s tweet — right before Facebook’s earnings call — was arguably an indirect dig at Facebook in light of its stance not to fact-check ads from politicians. Facebook argues its policy is about free speech, and that political ads will account for only 0.5% of its total revenue next year.
Facebook files lawsuit against OnlineNIC. Facebook is suing OnlineNIC and its privacy/proxy service ID Shield for registering fraudulent domain names, such as www-facebook-login.com and facebook-mails.com that were created to look as if they were connected to Facebook. “By mentioning our apps and services in the domain names, OnlineNIC and ID Shield intended to make them appear legitimate and confuse people,” writes Facebook Director of Platform Enforcement and Litigation Jessica Romero, “We don’t want people to be deceived, so we track and take action against suspicious and misleading domains, including those registered using privacy/proxy services that allow owners to hide their identity.” Facebook said there millions of such fraudulent domains, and that it actively reports such abuse to domain name registrars. But, in some instances, domain name registrars and privacy/proxy services fail to take down the domains. “This was the case with OnlineNIC and ID Shield, and that’s why we’ve taken this action to stop this type of domain name abuse,” writes Romero.
Sprout Social files to go public. The social media management platform Sprout Social has filed for its IPO, reports Crunchbase. Founded in 2010, the company currently has 23,000 customers in 100 countries per its S-1 filing, with the lion’s share of its revenue coming from software subscriptions. “The company estimates that the market opportunity for its product is $13 billion in the United States. And since about 30 percent of its revenue came from customers in other countries in 2018, Sprout believes the international opportunity is, at least, as large,” writes Crunchbase. Sprout Social revenue in 2018 was $78.8 million, up from $44.8 million the previous year.
Hootsuite and Proofpoint deliver compliance tool. Hootsuite and Proofpoint, a security and compliance company, have partnered to offer a real-time compliance verification feature for composing and publishing social media content via the Hootsuite composer platform. “This feature will put up the guardrails, and give our customers in regulated industries the confidence to empower their people to capitalize on the power of social media to achieve their business objectives, particularly around social selling,” said Hootsuite SVP of Product and Technology Ryan Donovan. The tool will be integrated into Hootsuite’s composer platform so that social media posts will be automatically screened — alerting Hootsuite users to common compliance policy violations as they type. Users will not be able to publish a social post until the violation is corrected.
Buffer adds scheduling feature for Instagram Stories. Earlier this month, the social media management tool Buffer rolled out a new feature that allows users to plan their Instagram Stories in advance, with the option to storyboard their posts, create draft captions, and schedule a reminder for posting for the Story. “We spent months talking to consumer brands that are using Stories as a key channel for their marketing, and found that there was a common theme; they were spending too much time navigating between tools to prepare their Stories, and scrambling to keep up with their audience’s appetite for regular content,” said Buffer Product Marketer Mike Eckstein. The feature is available on Buffer’s web application, as well as its iOS and Android apps.
Facebook aims to keep users healthy. Facebook has rolled out a new Preventive Health Tool designed to connect users with health resources and check-up reminders. “To help you keep track of your checkups, we collect information you provide, such as when you set reminders or mark a screening as done. We also log more general activity, like frequency of clicks for a specific button, which allows us to understand how the tool is being used, in order to improve it over time,” wrote Facebook on its Newsroom Blog. Users will be able to set appointment reminders, schedule health tests and find affordable care using the Preventive Health tool. The company says recommendations for checkups offered by the tool are based on a user’s sex and age per their Facebook profile. At first glance, it looks like a helpful resource, but it’s worth noting just how much information you’re giving a platform that has never been all that good about keeping user data safe.
Employees want Facebook to change its ad policies. In response to Facebook’s policy of not fact-checking ads from politicians, a group of 250 Facebook employees signed a letter asking the company’s leaders to rethink how it handles political advertising, reports the New York Times. The employees said the policy is a “threat to what FB stands for” and that they “Strongly object to this policy as it stands.” The letter, which was posted on Facebook’s internal Workplace platform, was shared with the New York Times by three employees who asked not to be named. Facebook spokesperson Bertie Thomson told the New York Times, “Facebook’s culture is built on openness, so we appreciate our employees voicing their thoughts on this important topic. We remain committed to not censoring political speech, and will continue exploring additional steps we can take to bring increased transparency to political ads.”
Twitter confirms certain users will see more ads. Twitter has confirmed that users with high follower counts may be seeing more ads in their timeline. The company sent the following statement to Marketing Land when asked about the uptick in ads for certain users: “Historically, people with high follower counts have seen fewer ads. Recently, we’ve taken a more consistent approach of showing ads to everyone who uses Twitter and as a result, people with higher follower counts will notice an increase in the number of ads they’re seeing.” When asked what it deems a “high follower count,” Twitter would not divulge any numbers.
On the Move
Michael Scheiner has been named chief marketing officer for the Tommy Hilfiger. The retail brand says Scheiner will be tasked with bringing the company into a “new era of innovative marketing strategies” across digital and experiential platforms, aiming to reach the next generation of shoppers. Tommy Hilfiger CEO Daniel Grieder said he believes Scheiner will help fuel the company’s ongoing digital transformation. “I am excited to work closely with Tommy, Daniel and the company’s talented marketing teams around the world to write the next chapter,” said Scheiner. Before joining the company, Scheiner was the SVP of global marketing for Hollister Co.
Nationwide has promoted Ramon Jones to chief marketing officer. He has been with the insurance company for nearly 20 years and will be replacing Terrance Williams who announced he will be leaving the company in November. Jones will report to Nationwide CEO Kirt Walker and will oversee brand and marketing strategy, creative services, social media and corporate communications. “During his nearly two decades at Nationwide, he has held numerous leadership roles in the business and in marketing that make him uniquely qualified to promote and protect the Nationwide brand and position him to drive further business success,” said Walker about Jones’ appointment to CMO. Jones most recently served as Nationwide’s financial services marketing leader.
Beyond Meat has recruited Stuart Kronauge to serve as its chief marketing officer. The producer of plant-based burgers is bringing on Kronauge to help advance product sales in retail stores and build partnerships with more restaurants open to vegan offerings. Kronauge comes to Beyond Meat from Coca-Cola where she was employed for more than 20 years. Kronauge is credited with the resurgence of Coca-Cola’s Coke Zero, Diet Coke, Sprite and Fanta product lines during her time at the company. She will officially join Beyond Meat in January, 2020.
Jeff Herzog has been appointed chairman and CEO of the digital marketing agency ZD3. “I am excited to be back in the industry as the CEO of ZD3 and grateful to my team and clients that continue to support our innovation and drive forward into rapidly expanding and changing digital landscape,” said Herzog. Prior to being named CEO, Herzog founded ZOG Digital in 2011. That agency was acquired by Inventis Digital in 2017. He is also the founder and former CEO of iCrossing before it was purchased in 2010 by Hearst Magazine.
Toronto-based agency SDI Marketing has named Tom Sorotschynski vice president. He will be tasked with driving the agency forward and report to Senior Vice President Kim Harland. “His passion for emerging technologies and understanding of the ever-evolving digital landscape allows him to create programs that are all-encompassing and truly connect consumers to brands,” said Harland. Sorotschynski most recently served as the vice president and general manager for Traffik & 5Crowd agencies owned by Sgsco, a global collective of brand agencies.
BrandStar, a full-service production and marketing agency, has hired Bradley Saveth to fill the newly created VP of strategic partnerships role. “Saveth joins BrandStar with a wealth of relationships, experience, and expertise to match clients with strategic opportunities and expand the agency’s global footprint,” said BrandStar CEO Mark Alfieri. Before joining BrandStar, Saveth launched two startups: goCharge and Vital Motion. He most recently was the president of Big Salad Consulting. During his career, Saveth has worked with a number of consumer brands, including Verizon, Wells Fargo, Wendy’s and more.