American/multinational companies are re-organizing their operations to fight Covid-19

Why it’s hot: Not only are many companies donating money to governments and non-profits, but they are using their existing manufacturing infrastructure to manufacture essential supplies that healthcare workers and hospitals need and are in short supply.

Non-healthcare manufacturers (auto companies) are manufacturing ventilators and apparel and fashion companies (clothing/footwear) are manufacturing masks and hospital gowns.

These are great examples of large companies re-orienting their business to support people at large in times of a global crisis.

The pros and cons of population density in general and in times of disaster

Image result for dense city street new york

Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York was blunt about the rationale behind this time of quarantine.

“There is a density level in NYC that is destructive,” he tweeted Sunday, after similar comments at one of his daily press briefings. He’d seen New Yorkers out in parks together, behaving as if this were a normal sunny spring weekend, and he was dismayed. Togetherness itself could now be deadly.

“It has to stop and it has to stop now,” he tweeted. “NYC must develop an immediate plan to reduce density.”

This has been an especially painful realization in major cities: The very thing that makes cities remarkable — the proximity of so many people to one another — is now making them susceptible in a pandemic. Density, suddenly, is bad for our health. And we are trying everything we can think of to dismantle it.

Special grocery store hours for older people — those are about reducing density. Closed schools and dispersed children — the same.

 

Telework is the least dense version of office life; takeout the least dense way to eat someone else’s cooking. Governor Cuomo has even suggested opening roads normally reserved for cars to pedestrian traffic. An empty street is the least dense way to walk somewhere, even in a seemingly empty city.

What feels so disconcerting about this is not just that density normally brings urban perks — diverse restaurants, rich cultural institutions, new business ideas — that we can’t enjoy right now. Even more than that, density, in the right conditions, is good for us. It even protects against other kinds of calamities.

Density makes mass transit possible. It allows for more affordable housing. It creates environments where people can walk and where children can find playgrounds. It enables us to pool risks. It supports big public hospitals and stronger safety nets. It allows us to curb climate emissions, which present a public health problem of an entirely different kind.

Crucially, it enables the kind of redundancies that make communities more resilient during disasters.

How, then, do we reconcile the benefits of density for a healthy society with the threat of density in a pandemic? And what happens if we lose sight of those benefits — including the ways they are operating even now — while we are preoccupied by the harm?

Since the 1990s, researchers and planners have increasingly come to argue that dense urban environments, derided historically as diseased, can actually foster health. They don’t mean overcrowded tenements, but places where people live close enough to one another to walk where they need to go and to support one another. Such environments offer an alternative to sedentary, car-dependent sprawl, an antidote to growing health problems like obesity.

“This does feel like something that’s going to set all of that back a little bit,” said Sara Jensen Carr, a professor of architecture, urbanism and landscape at Northeastern University. She is working on a book, due out this fall, looking at how urban landscapes have been designed in response to epidemics, from cholera to obesity.

Cholera outbreaks helped lead to the design of modern sanitation systems. Respiratory diseases in the early 20th century encouraged city dwellers to prize light and air, and something that looked more like country living. Now Ms. Carr worries that the coronavirus may teach people to further fear density, even in the form of new housing proposed nearby.

But if the earlier history of American cities is full of public-health horror stories about substandard housing, factory pollution and poor sanitation, more recent history tells of the health and resiliency density can provide.

In practical ways, density makes possible many of the things we need when something goes wrong. That is certainly true of hospital infrastructure — emergency response times are faster, and hospitals are better staffed in denser places. When one store is closed or out of toilet paper, there are more places to look. When people can’t leave home for essentials, there are alternative ways to get them, like grocery delivery services or bike couriers. When people can’t visit public spaces, there are still ways to create public life, from balconies, porches and windows.

When New York’s subways were inundated during Hurricane Sandy, the city could lean on its bus system (made possible by density). And now that the buses seem off-limits, the city’s bike-share system offers backup (that also exists thanks to density). When all else fails or floods or shuts down, walking is still possible in New York and Washington, San Francisco and Seattle. And many of the things people need are close enough to walk to.

Atlanta illustrated the opposite lesson in 2014, when two inches of snow brought the entire region to a standstill, trapping tens of thousands of people in highway gridlock, some for 12 hours or more. The region, critics pointed out, had for decades failed to invest in a transit system that could have offered an alternative to those highways — and in the density that could make transit viable and highways less essential.

Hurricane Katrina survivors displaced to more walkable communities around the country later showed signs of health benefits. Older Chicago residents in the 1995 heat wave were more likely to survive in neighborhoods dense with neighbors, stores, public spaces and street life.

“Dense social networks in communities save people,” said Jacob Remes, a historian at N.Y.U. who has studied urban disasters. “That’s what makes communities resilient, and it’s what then helps communities recover.”

But it’s unclear how we’re supposed to leverage all those dense connections this time.

“What does that look like when the thing we have to do is stay apart from each other, when what we need to do is further isolate ourselves?” Mr. Remes said. “I don’t know. I don’t know what the answer is.”

One hopeful note is that Singapore, Hong Kong and parts of Taiwan, places as dense or denser than New York, were able to pursue early testing and extensive tracing of coronavirus cases rather than widespread isolation.

Mr. Remes, Ms. Carr and others are also sure of this: It will be a shame if we come away from this moment skeptical of density itself, or if some of the benefits of density, like mass transit and bustling commercial corridors, suffer lasting damage. Whether or not we fully appreciate them right now, we may need them in the next disaster.

Why it’s hot: Will there be a move away from walk-able neighborhoods and dense cities for businesses and young people in the post Covid-19 world? Will there be greater migration into suburbs for both businesses and people? Will this affect housing, building, and transportation patterns in the years to come?

Source: New York Times

During this pandemic, there is a market for Coronavirus themed products online

As Covid-19 turned into a global pandemic within the last few days, some sellers saw an opportunity to sell Coronavirus themed products on Amazon and Etsy. While some of these products are harmless, many made misleading claims about protecting from or curing Covid-19.

Quarantine Cup COVID-19 2020 image 0

Screenshot of product listings on Amazon

Why it’s hot: In the age of Covid-19, digitally-focused companies have an added responsibility to make sure that their customers aren’t falling for fake news or unproven product claims. Facebook is using AI to stop people from posting fake news, Twitter is asking people to remove fake Coronavirus-related tweets, and Amazon has removed one million products for false Coronavirus claims.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

Facebook allows political campaigns to sponsor content on both IG and FB

These are among the nearly 30 Instagram accounts have posted memes for Bloomberg:

@fuckjerry (14.9 million followers)

@GrapeJuiceBoys (2.7 million followers)

@Tank.Sinatra (2.3 million followers)

@KaleSalad (3.5 million followers)

@ShitheadSteve (5.3 million followers)

@moistbudda (2.2 million followers)

@WhitePeopleHumor (4.3 million followers)

@cohmedy (3.7 million followers)

@FourTwenty (3.8 million followers)

@DrGrayFang (2 million followers)

@TheFunnyIntrovert (2.4 million followers)

 

Reuters reported last week that political campaigns can now sponsor content on Facebook as well, not just Instagram.

To use Facebook’s branded content tool, political campaigns or groups must be authorized as political advertisers through the company’s ID verification process.

Why it’s hot: Political campaigns might believe they can rely on sponsored influencer content to influence young voters, but young voters might not be as easily influenced as politicians might think.

Sources: One, two, three

Is Chipotle as ethical as they’d like you to believe?

Spread of Chipotle food offerings on a table

Chipotle Mexican Grill was fined nearly $1.4 million on Monday over accusations that it routinely violated Massachusetts child labor laws, with the authorities estimating more than 13,000 violations from 2015 to 2019, the Massachusetts attorney general’s office said.

The authorities examined the records of six Chipotle locations across the state, finding that the chain regularly let dozens of 16- and 17-year-old employees work more than nine hours per day and more than 48 hours per week, in violation of state law, according to the Massachusetts attorney general. The authorities then used those findings to estimate that Chipotle had violated child labor laws 13,253 times across 50 locations in the state.

In addition to the child labor violations, Chipotle was cited for breaching sick-time rules and failing to make timely wage payments, the authorities said. As part of the settlement, Chipotle will pay $500,000 to train young workers and fund education and oversight programs about child labor, bringing the total cost to around $2 million.

Why it’s hot: Chipotle would like customers to believe that it’s an ethical company based on the ethically raised meat that they serve in their restaurants, the sustainable ingredients they source, as well as the harmful chemicals they ban from their overall food preparation. However, their labor practices are not always as ethical as they might aspire to be.

Source

Ikea Spain tries to change perceptions through experiential marketing

Ikea furniture can have a reputation for being low quality and overly focused on functionality rather than style. Furthermore, in Spain, many people have reportedly been reluctant to purchase Ikea furniture for fear of having rooms too similar to their neighbors. But by inviting museum visitors to differentiate between furniture made in 2018 and opulent historical pieces from the 18th century, Ikea showcases the tastefulness and versatility of its designs.

Why it’s hot:

This campaign is also part of a wider strategy to position Ikea furniture as high quality as well as affordable by placing its modern pieces next to furniture from an era famous for its grand décor helps Ikea shift perception of its products.

SOURCE

Facebook and Twitter don’t agree on political advertising

After Facebook said it would not fact-check political advertising, Twitter’s CEO announced that they would ban all forms of political advertising on their platform, taking a completely different stance on the issue, than Facebook’s stance.

The announcement immediately became partisan with the Trump campaign blasting Twitter and Democratic candidates for President applauding the decision.

Twitter only has a small piece of the pie when it comes to political ad spending. A majority of the digital ad spending from political campaigns goes to Facebook, with its sophisticated demographic and psycho-graphic targeting.

Although Facebook runs a live-video service, it is not considered a broadcaster as defined by the F.C.C. Neither is YouTube. Social media was exempt from Federal Election Commission disclosure laws, which require political advertisements to state who is paying for them, until December, 2017. The Honest Ads Act, first introduced in Congress, in 2017 aimed to require social media platforms to meet disclosure laws. It was blocked by Senate Republicans in October 2019.

Which is why it has been so much easier for political campaigns to run exaggerated or factually ambiguous ads on social media as opposed to on television or radio.

Why it’s hot: Political advertising on social media is not as regulated (financial disclosure laws, fact-checking) by the government as it is on TV or radio, making it much easier to run disinformation campaigns on such platforms (precise demographic targeting makes it even more appealing).

Sources: The New Yorker, The New York Times, Jack Dorsey Twitter

 

 

Ever wondered how much money social media companies make per user?

Not every social media company makes the same average revenue per user. There are many factors in how much money a company makes per user. To name a few:

paid subscriptions

user demographics

types of ad units

pricing of ad units

Why it’s hot: Certain social media channels (Facebook and YouTube) need scale (number of active users) to generate meaningful revenue, while some (Twitter and LinkedIn) are able to generate substantial revenue from a much smaller number of active users compared to their rivals.

Source

Have you wanted to avoid seats next to babies on flights?

Japan Airlines has started giving passengers as much information as possible to help them decide where they want to sit on a flight in order to avoid sitting too close to a baby.

The move will be a boon for travelers who like to avoid babies.

View image on Twitter

On the other hand, to make traveling parents’ lives easier, the airline provides a number of strollers for rent in the airport, and will accept baby strollers as checked baggage for free.

Passengers traveling with infants also enjoy priority boarding, and offers hot water for bottles as well as diaper changing facilities on board.

Why it’s hot: These little perks can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty for airlines, especially on long-haul flights, and help them compete with other airlines much better.

SOURCE

Amtrak axes dining cars

Why it’s hot: Amtrak claims that switching to packaged food and allowing passengers to pre-select and pre-order meals will save it $2 million a year.

So is this really about cost savings or lack of consumer demand for hot food and tablecloth dining services?

I think it’s about cost savings over anything else. Millennials have killed many things, but I doubt they’re responsible for the death of the Amtrak dining car.

SOURCE

Nestlé launches luxury KitKat bars in the UK

KitKat is one of the most successful brands of chocolate in the world with more than 3 million made and sold every single day. They were actually first made in the UK in 1935 and now sold in more than 70 countries around the world.

KitKats have cult status in Japan and Nestle has developed over 300 flavors for the Japanese market over the past 20+ years with varying price points depending on where they are sold.

“The Kit Kat in Japan has range. It’s found in department stores and luxurious Kit Kat-devoted boutiques that resemble high-end shoe stores, a single ingot to a silky peel-away sheath, stacked in slim boxes and tucked inside ultrasmooth-opening drawers, which a well-dressed, multilingual sales clerk slides open for you as you browse.” – NYTimes

As of today, Nestle will begin selling “luxury” handcrafted versions of KitKat bars at John Lewis stores in the UK. These will be available from now until Christmas Eve and will cost £14 (US $17).

People will be able to mix and match flavors, and also will be able to opt for British classics like Eton Mess, Cherry Bakewell, and Earl Grey. Whisky & Ginger bars are also available — as is a flavor the company doesn’t describe but calls “Jewels of the East.”

Each bar is hand-crafted.

Why it’s hot: Can Nestle replicate it’s Japanese business in other markets by marketing more expensive flavors to not just elevate the brand to a more premium space but also capture greater market share within the chocolate category?

Uber now offers enhanced safety features

Uber rolled out a new safety feature called RideCheck for all users in the US.

When there’s a long stop that keeps you in the same location or it appears like you’ve been in a car crash, the Uber app will check on you — and the driver.

Right now, most instances when RideCheck is triggered turn out to be innocent – like traffic jams, drive-throughs, quick dry cleaning pick-up, etc. Uber saw how it could incorporate real-time data to see if your long stop makes sense and isn’t problematic, like if traffic maps show your location in a dark red congested zone.

RideCheck works as a 3-step process:

Why it’s hot: In the future, Uber wants to expand this feature to be able to check on users when their ride veers too far from the route or away from a destination. However, that feature isn’t built yet. This feature would be eagerly welcomed in certain markets where safety is a huge concern.

SOURCE

Walmart and Nordstrom are opening stores that don’t sell anything

Both Walmart and Nordstrom are building physical stores where you can’t actually buy anything. These new types of stores are being built purely for shoppers to collect their online orders.

Walmart opened Walmart Pickup Point, a 40,000 square-foot prototype store outside of Chicago in Lincolnwood, Illinois, to cater to customers’ online pickups and deliveries. Customers drive up to the site to designated parking spots, and a Walmart worker will load up their trunk with their order. Customers are not allowed to go inside.

Nordstrom has been operating similar stores longer than Walmart. Nordstrom Local gives customers a place to make pickups and returns and take advantage of Nordstrom’s alteration and tailoring services. Nordstrom has three Local stores in Los Angeles and is slated to open its first two in New York City in September.

Nordstrom Local in Melrose doesn't carry inventory. Nordstrom has three Local stores in Los Angeles and is slated to open its first two in New York City in September.

Walmart's online grocery pickup location in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Why it’s hot: Even though, Nordstrom offers pickup at all its more than 100 full-priced locations around the United States, while Walmart is on track to offer pickup at more than 3,000 of its stores by the end of 2019, these stores are designed for shoppers who want to grab their stuff and go without waiting in checkout lines or interacting with sales workers on the floor. Picking up orders from stores can also be faster than home delivery.

SOURCE

 

The more you recycle, the more you can save on your train rides

Rome started a program where commuters can get a 5-cent credit for every bottle they put into the newly installed recycling machines.

Every 30 bottles gives you a free ride.

The credit is received into your account by scanning your phone on the machines once you’ve deposited by bottles into the machines.

Why it’s hot: This is a great way to get people to recycle more by offering a cost saving incentive and helps with corporate social responsibility. Not just cities, but supermarkets, restaurants, and certain types of brands could offer similar discounts for recycling or similar environmentally friendly activities.

Source: FastCompany

The doctor is ready to see you – at the mall

With the steady rise of online retail, brick-and-mortar retail has been having a hard time for a few years now. Nearly 5,900 stores were closed in the US in 2018, and nearly 6,000 are expected to close in 2019. Which means that mall vacancies are at all-time highs in many parts of the country.

Mall of America in Minneapolis, America’s largest mall, announced plans last week to open a 2,300-square-foot walk-in clinic in November with medical exam rooms, a radiology room, lab space, and a pharmacy dispensary service. Mall of America is teaming up with University of Minnesota physicians and a Minnesota-based health care system to operate the clinic.

Here’s another example of the growth of “medtail”. The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is planning a 34,000 square-foot oncology and hematology outpatient facility in the Patriot Place shopping center in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

Mall leases for apparel retailers declined by more than 10% since 2017, while leases for medical clinics at malls have grown by almost 60% since then.

Why it’s hot: Mall landlords are betting that when patients visit for a flu shot or eye exam, they’ll shop around for clothes or electronics. Adding medical clinics also makes sense for mall owners because they draw in doctors, nurses and technicians every day who may shop and eat at restaurants.

Sources: CNN. NYT.

Block Renovation: a new way to renovate

Block Renovation is a start-up in the home renovation services space – currently only focusing on bathroom renovations.

But they don’t employ any contractors themselves. Instead, it partners with licensed and insured contracting and architecture firms. It does however employ an in-house design team.

4 steps in starting the renovation:

  1. Get a free estimate by answering a few multiple choice questions on their website
  2. Share photos and videos of your space
  3. Your renovation is prepared by designers and architects
  4. Rapid build begins by a contractor from their vetted network

Why it’s hot: It’s all about the customer experience and entrepreneurs are looking to improve the customer experience even in more blue-collar service industries.

There’s a new location for ad placements and ad targeting

 

A startup named Cooler Screens is piloting a new door for commercial freezers and refrigerators that’s equipped with a

  • camera
  • motion sensors
  • eye tracking

in six Walgreens pharmacies around the country, including the one by Union Square in NYC.

The doors can discern a couple of things:

  • you gender
  • general age range
  • what products you’re looking at
  • how long you’re standing there
  • and even what your emotional response is to a particular product

The company’s research has shown that 75% of shoppers make decisions about what they’re going to buy from coolers on impulse.

For instance, if a man is standing in front of a cooler where Coke is displaying ads, the cooler might show a Coke Zero ad since that particular product skews more male, while a woman might see a Diet Coke ad.

Similarly, the doors also use contextual information like the time of day to convince you to buy more. You could pass by the beer door, and [the door] may notice that you’re picking up a six-pack of Miller Coors. It’s 4 p.m., so it’s near dinner time. [It might] offer to you, buy a DiGiorno pizza for a special price if you’re buying a six-pack of Miller Coors.

Cooler Screens already has advertising deals with more than 15 of the 20 top consumer packaged goods companies, including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nestle, and MillerCoors.

Why it’s hot: It’s real time consumer profiling and ad targeting in a physical store location.

Source

E-scooters could soon be on the streets of NYC

Lime in New Zealand.

Pick your Lime vehicle.

New York City has been a holdout in the electric scooter craze. A 2004 New York state law banned any motorized scooters.

City Council will soon vote on four bills that include a pilot program for shared e-scooters and legalizing e-scooters that can only go up to 15 mph.

A similar bill would allow for the use of e-bikes with a max speed of 20 mph.

If legalized, Lime is very eager to start operations in New York City like it does in over 100 cities around the world.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has given the OK for cities to figure out for themselves what to do about e-scooters so NYC is planning to vote on it.

Why it’s hot: Legalizing e-scooters could forever change the streets on NYC and add a new layer to the bike-share program.

Source: https://mashable.com/article/e-scooters-nyc-legalize/

A demographic snapshot of Post-Millennials or Gen Z

New data from the Pew Research Center gives us a demographic breakdown of the newest generation many marketers will be targeting, if they’re not currently targeting them.

The oldest members of this generation have already reached adulthood.

The generations defined

Nearly half of them are non-white, they’re more likely to attend college than previous generations, and their own parents are more likely to be college educated than previous generations as well.

Nearly half of post-Millennials are racial or ethnic minorities

They’re significantly more likely to be Hispanic than previous generations, slightly more Asian, and noticeably less likely to be white.

One-in-four post-Millennials are Hispanic

They’re more likely to have foreign-born parents than millennials are, but slightly less likely to be foreign-born than millennials were in 2002.

Post-Millennials, especially Hispanics, are less likely than Millennials to be foreign born

Why It’s Hot: Gen Zs are a unique generation like any other and understanding them demographically and psychographically will be important as more marketers begin to target them.

Source: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2018/11/15/early-benchmarks-show-post-millennials-on-track-to-be-most-diverse-best-educated-generation-yet/

Payless performs a social experiment for PR and advertising

Shoe retailer Payless recently took over a former Armani store in Santa Monica, CA, stocked it with Payless products, and then invited fashion influencers to attend a “party” celebrating the store’s opening.

These influencers were made to believe that they were attending a store opening for a new high-end designer called “Palessi”.

These influencers paid between $200 and $600 for Payless shoes traditionally priced between $20 and $40. Many called their purchases “sophisticated” or “made with high quality materials”.

Of course, later, all the influencers that made purchases did get back the full amounts and got to keep the shoes.

Why it’s hot: It’s easy to fool anyone with the right marketing, branding, and positioning. And Payless had the opportunity to prove that its very affordable shoes could pass off as high-end designer shoes.

Source

Uber introduces rider loyalty program after Lyft announces one

The Uber rewards program is available this week for users in NYC metro area, New Jersey, Denver, Tampa, Miami, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Atlanta, and San Diego; and Uber promises it will roll out to all U.S. riders in the next few months.

Uber has also set up different status levels for its customers: Blue, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond. Every six months, an individual’s Uber points are tallied and at 500, 2,500, 7,500 points respectively, they jump to the next tier for the next six months.

Since the program looks at your ride history from the past six months, by the time you’re enrolled in the program you might be Gold, Platinum, or Diamond status to start.

You’ll get one point for every dollar spent on Uber Pool rides and Uber Eats orders. Two points for ordering an UberX, UberXL, UberSelect, or UberWAV ride. Three points for ordering UberBlack and UberBlack SUV rides.

Uber users will get a $5 credit for every 500 points they earn. And this credit can be used for rides or Uber Eats.

Tiers:

Blue – less than 500 points

Gold – between 500 and 2,499 points: Free cancellations within a 15-minute window, priority customer support

Platinum – 2,500 to 7,499 points: Gold benefits + price locking between two set places (home and work, for example) on UberX, priority pick-ups at the airport

Diamond – 7,500 points and above: Gold + Platinum benefits + dedicated phone support, free upgrades to Uber Black, access to highly rated drivers, no delivery fees on three Uber Eats orders every six months

Riders can keep their current status level for six months. If during that time period they don’t spend enough, they can drop down the tiers. For example, a Gold member would need to earn 500 to 2,499 points over six months to maintain that level for the following six months.

Why it’s hot: modeled after airline rewards programs, time will tell if this rewards/loyalty program will boost Uber ridership among existing users.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/14/travel/uber-and-lyft-launch-rewards-programs.html. https://mashable.com/article/uber-rewards-loyalty-program/#IOoZZomZtsqW

Facebook must deal with negative sentiment

In October, Fortune magazine and Harris Poll surveyed over 2,000 American adults representative of the overall population to measure their perceptions of large tech companies.

Why it’s hot: With repeated news of how Facebook mishandled the private data of its users, Americans seem to have an increasingly negative perception of the company. And this might be reflected in the stagnation of its daily active users in North America.

Source: http://fortune.com/2018/11/08/mark-zuckerberg-facebook-reputation/

Smart thermometer helps a marketer advertise more effectively

Kinsa is a tech start-up sells internet-connected thermometers that sync up with a smartphone app that allows consumers to track their fevers and symptoms. These capabilities make the app especially attractive to parents of young children.

Kinsa says its thermometers are in more than 500k American households.

This year and last year, Clorox paid Kinsa for access to real-time data on which zip codes around the country are having increases in fevers.

Clorox then pushes more ads to those specific areas assuming that households there may be more likely to buy their products like disinfecting wipes and sprays. They may also pull back ad spending in healthier parts of the country.

So far, consumer interactions with Clorox’s disinfectant ads increased by 22% after using Kinsa’s data to target these digital ads.

The information shared with Clorox was shared in a privacy-compliant manner because Kinsa says no identifying personal information is shared with other companies.

Kinsa says that such data was also sold to pharmacies and drug manufacturers who used this data to stock more cough and cold products in areas that had increases in fevers.

Kinsa said the data provided unique insight into flu-related illness in specific areas. “We can tell you if it’s high or low, whether it’s rising, if it’s bigger than the three- or five- year average, when it’s going to peak and how severe the symptoms are, too,” said the company’s founder.

Why it’s hot: As more products get connected to the internet, it means more consumer data can be collected, which means greater opportunities for advertisers to effectively target their advertising.

Source

Who seems to be winning the midterm elections on social media?

The New York Times analyzed data from one month’s (9/15 to 10/15) worth of social media activity by nearly all of the Republican and Democratic candidates running for House, Senate or governor this year. This data came from organic-only public content published to the Facebook and Instagram pages of these candidates.

Measuring total interactions on social media is an imperfect way to gauge a candidate’s electoral chances, in part because it does not distinguish between types of engagement. A negative comment left on a Republican candidate’s page by an angry Democrat would still count as an interaction, for example. In addition, it does not account for the fact that some candidates have more followers than others.

But social media engagement can be a crude measure of popularity, and a bellwether of shifts in public opinion that often turn up in polls days or weeks later. In 2016, many polls and pundits gave Mr. Trump little chance of winning, but his performance on Facebook was soaring, bolstered by millions of dollars in targeted advertising. His digital campaign director, Brad Parscale, later credited Facebook’s scale and influence with his victory.

Facebook is the most widespread platform, and for campaigns, it’s like broadcast television,” said Tim Lim, a Democratic digital consultant. “You have so much reach, and so many ad units, and probably more eyeballs than anywhere else.”

Democrats running for House, Senate and governor’s seats in this fall’s elections received a combined 15.1 million interactions on Facebook in the 30-day period, roughly three times the 5.4 million interactions received by Republican candidates.

Why it’s hot: we’ll find out this election day that to what degree we can link social media popularity to winning elections. Will there be a blue wave this election day?

Source

Amazon just opened a physical store in NYC that only sells certain types of products

 

Amazon just opened their first-ever 4-star store. It opened in SoHo in New York City.

And as the name implies, everything on its shelves has earned at least a four-star review average from Amazon’s customers.

The store sells: devices, consumer electronics, kitchen, home, toys, books, and games.

Amazon Prime members will pay lower prices than non-members.

Why it’s hot:

This is essentially a “customer curated” physical store from an e-commerce retailer.

It’s also tailored to local buying habits because it features products “trending around NYC” in addition to the 4-star + products.

More here.

Video streaming is the top source of global internet traffic

Sandvine, a networking equipment company, just released the Global Internet Report 2018.

Key takeaways:

58% of the total downstream volume of traffic on the internet is VIDEO.

15% of the total downstream volume of traffic across the entire internet is Netflix.

19% of total downstream traffic in the US is Netflix. At peak hour, that number can spike to 40% on some operator networks in the US.

The social network rankings are interesting, because user population does not always translate to network usage. More video-heavy social networks are responsible for a greater share of global internet traffic. YouTube was not placed in this category because it would skew the results.

Why it’s hot: video content and video streaming are the future of the internet, at least in terms of its share of global internet traffic. This is true not just in North America, but around the world.

The UK Government Is Planning To Set Up A Regulator For The Internet

BuzzFeed News has obtained details of the proposals, which would see the establishment of an internet regulator similar to Ofcom, which regulates broadcasters, telecoms, and postal communications.

The UK government is preparing to establish a new internet regulator that would make tech firms liable for content published on their platforms and have the power to sanction companies that fail to take down illegal material and hate speech within hours.

Ministers are also looking at implementing age verification for users of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

More here.

Why it’s hot: 

Social media companies are especially watching to see how:

  • State-backed regulation of social media would work and the resources it would require to do so successfully
  • What non-illegal content merits state-backed oversight
  • Whether it is even possible for a European country to impose a legal framework on firms headquartered in the US and elsewhere

Survey says Nike’s brand image has dropped because of Colin Kaepernick ad

A new survey by Morning Consult says that since Nike debuted its stunning new Colin Kaepernick ad, the brand’s favorability and consumer purchase consideration have significantly sunk. According to the survey, before the Kaepernick announcement, Nike had a net +69 favorable impression among consumers. That has now dropped by 34 points to +35 favorable. Before the ad, 49% of Americans said they were absolutely certain or very likely to buy Nike products, and that figure is down to 39% now.

Why it’s hot:

Not surprisingly, Nike’s favorability has dropped dramatically among Republicans and baby boomers who are unlikely to agree with Nike’s messaging. It’ll be important to see how these numbers change in a few months since their overall favorability has dropped significantly among all American adults. This might be a case study on whether or not large brands should get involved in polarizing political discussions and how they might be alienating certain consumers by picking a side in a very divided America.

 

The geographic distances of your Facebook friends from your location reveals lots about you

Social networks like Facebook, far from serving merely as entertainment for youngsters, are central to modern life, influencing the way people work and play. Social connections formed online now help shape many people’s identities in the real world.

New research suggests that our social media networks tell us more about ourselves than we may think. A study published last week in the Journal of Economic Perspectives by researchers from Facebook, Harvard, NYU and Princeton analyses the social “connectedness” of Americans, as measured by friendship links on Facebook. Using aggregated and anonymised data, the authors find that Americans with tightly clustered social networks comprised mainly of friends located within a short distance of their home tend to have lower incomes, lower levels of education and lower life expectancies. Those with more geographically dispersed social networks tend to be richer, more educated and healthier.

More here.

Why it’s hot: 

The geographic locations of your Facebook friends says a lot about your socio-economic mobility, health, and education levels. Those with more Facebook friends close by to them are more likely to have lower household incomes, life expectancy, and lower education rates, for example. The opposite is true for those with more of their Facebook friends spread out around the country & world which probably correlates with higher socio-economic mobility meaning better health and education levels, for example.

 

New York Times Co. Reports $24 Million Profit, Thanks to Digital Subscribers

The New York Times continued its digital growth in the second quarter of 2018, adding 109,000 digital-only subscribers. With that rise came an increase in revenue that counteracted a decline in print advertising.

The company said on Wednesday that revenue from digital subscriptions rose to $99 million in the second quarter, a jump of nearly 20 percent compared with the same period a year ago. Over all for the second quarter, total revenue increased 2 percent, to $415 million, and the company reported a profit of almost $24 million.

The Times now has 2.9 million digital-only subscribers, out of 3.8 million total.

“Subscription revenues accounted for nearly two-thirds of the company’s revenues, a trend we expect to continue,” Mark Thompson, the company’s chief executive, said in a news release. “We continue to believe that there is significant runway to expand that base substantially.”

More here.

Why it’s HOT:

As a “newspaper” media company, the New York Times now has significantly more digital-only subscribers than print subscribers. 76% of its subscribers are digital-only.

Also, subscription revenues are now two-thirds of the company’s revenues which means the company doesn’t rely on advertising for revenues as much as it did in the decades past.