Creator Union aims to regulate the influencer marketing industry to protect the rights or freelancers and creators. 

In this digital age, the influencer marketing space had been getting bigger and bigger. Many apps today are influencer-based and created to give them a space to express themselves and monetize their skills in the process. It’s a space where brands and creators meet together to expand their reach. 

Creator’s pleas heard

Influencers in the UK have been asking for a unified voice that would air out their interests. Just this June, the Creator Union launched in the UK to address the issues and to represent the many bloggers, creators, influencers in the country and to ensure that they are treated fairly in all aspects related to their work. 

Nicole Ocran, the founder of the union, explained that influencers have been creating digital content for more than 15 years, and they’ve been monetizing these content before brand deals and partnerships came to exist. This market is now estimated to be worth $5.5 billion and expected to grow to $22.3 billion by 2024. 

Issues to address 

There are issues surrounding influencer marketing, including working for free, working with a tiny amount of products, and most often, not enough money to fund their creation process. Accordingly, ethnicity plays a huge role in the pay gap as white creators are paid more than creators who are Black, Asian, and Middle Eastern. Pay gaps also occur due to gender, age, religion, and disability. People who belong to the other side of the spectrum are paid much less than those considered normal by society’s standard. 

The union will be a community for influencers where they can seek out advice, a networking space, and a sounding board. The union also offers contract templates, pricing range advice, and the strategies for creating content in their niche. The organization aims to be more connected with industry leaders and make sure that the needs of creators are met. 

What does this mean for you?

Creators now have more room to be protected and treated equally regardless of their social status. The union will serve as a warning to brands and other businesses who want to partner with influencers. Compensation conversations are easier with an organization that will standardize the pricing. As a networking space for influencers, the organization is another way for them to be discovered by small businesses and brands as well.

Google Ads advertisers can now get leads while people are watching videos on YouTube as Google extends lead form to ads on YouTube. 

Image credit: Google 

Advertisers now have a new way to capture leads. Using lead forms extensions to YouTube and Discovery campaigns. These forms will appear after users show interest in products when they click the ads in the videos. The ad extensions have been in pilot testing since October last year but it as only made available in the Search campaign. Google announced the lead form ad extension will be made available in the Display campaign settings within the year said

The lead form extensions were tested out by Jeep and the company reported a 10x increase in the completed forms. Jeep said that the extension is a cost-efficient way of capturing leads as compared to other ad platforms. 

Optimizing leads 

The goal isn’t just to capture leads but also being able to qualify the leads coming in to ensure revenue. To do so, businesses need to connect their converted leads to their online campaigns. Advertisers will now have an easier time to import their offline conversions by using the information that people have given them in the lead form. It’s faster to integrate the information into their CRM system as well. Aside from qualifying leads, advertisers can also optimize their campaigns by using Customer Match. Customer Match allows businesses to continue their conversation with their prospects and their existing customers. Google said that they are working with Zapier to create a Google Ads integration. It will be easier for advertisers to import their data from Google Ads to their CRM system. This allows businesses to have a seamless view of their data from one platform to another. 

What does this mean for you?

Lead extensions help advertisers capture leads from their search ads and now, from YouTube ads and Display ads. The trick about leads is to monitor the leads coming and in and qualifying them since not all leads are valid leads. Google has been cracking lead forms in ads as it tested ou the contact form in extensions in 2010 and the cost-per-lead-ads in 2011. 

The results of the tests aim to help small to medium-sized businesses to capture more leads from their campaigns. Recently, Quora also made the same changes as it launched its own lead generation forms. Quora teamed up with Zapier to send the leads to other platforms including SalesForce, Gmail, and Marketo. 

Walmart Media Group announced its omnichannel analytics offering for advertisers.

Image credit: Walmart Media Group

Walmart launched its campaign performance dashboard for advertisers recently. It is on-demand access to omnichannel reporting for all of Walmart’s displays and sponsored product campaigns. At the moment, Walmart is now the largest omnichannel retailer across the US. With this omnichannel analytics, Walmart advertisers can now connect with their customers to their digital properties. 

Walmart’s self-serve ad platform was launched early this year and it gave advertisers access to real-time data on their ad performance. Walmart’s updates for its ad platform is very similar to the offers of Google Analytics. Customers these days want omnichannel integration, they expect for their order history and customer profile to follow them whatever platform they are. Walmart’s efforts are focus on omnichannel integration. 

The company has allotted $1.2 billion to improve its integration system focusing on omnichannel shopping. CEO Doug McMillion said that they are the first company to deliver a seamless shopping experience at a larger scale. He also shared that shoppers will have a better experience as they check out using their mobile devices (online) or when they are at a physical store purchasing what they need. 

Introducing the performance dashboard 

 Before the launch, Walmart piloted the Performance Dashboard to a dozen of its major marketers such as Procter & Gamble, Clorox, Mondelez, Nestle Purina, and more. The Director of Commerce Sales at Nestle Purina from North America, James Kristof shared that the new tool provided them with relevant data to help with their campaigns. 

The performance dashboard capitalizes on the strengths of Walmart, which is its omnichannel retail. Walmart is still the reigning giant when it comes to the brick-and-mortar industry as about 90% of all US households shop at Walmart’s physical stores. While Amazon is a giant in its own rights, it hasn’t been able to have the same retail presence.

There are two separate dashboards – for the display advertising campaign and for the sponsored product campaign. Each of the hubs has a specific function and distinction. The Performance Dashboard is accessible via Walmart’s new Ad Center, it’s an all-in-one center for ad managers to check and manage all their campaigns. 

What does this mean for you?

Walmart’s enhanced ad marketplace gives advertisers more options and control over their ad campaigns. With the available metrics and analytics, they are also given more transparency. Targeting has also been improved so as to reach a more specific audience. 

Congress said that months of grueling investigations led to more than a million documents to support their case. 

Lawmakers will be facing the chief executives of the most powerful tech companies – Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Google in a long marathon of hearings. Over the years, the tech industry has been skirting many scrutinies for many reasons, mainly on antitrust. Since June, Congress has been investigating the aforementioned companies and this investigation ends with a showdown with the CEOs this Wednesday. The immense power that these tech giants hold and its implications in the economy will be the main topic in the hearing before the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee. 

Companies fight back

The companies are taking in varying measures to fight back. In their opening statement, all CEOs went into different approaches as well. Amazon Apple argued that they have opened jobs and opportunities for millions of people. Their platforms have also allowed others to set-up their businesses. Despite the power that these companies hold, both said that they are still facing intense competition from the global market. 

Tech giants speak of competition 

Amazon is the biggest online retailer in the US but Bezos points out that his company is facing competition fro other companies including Walmart, and newer ones such as Instacart and Shopify. Bezos also points out that his company is opening opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses. Amazon has been able to create more than 2.2 million jobs globally. 

Google as well claims that even when it’s the most used search engine, there is still competition from other platforms such as Amazon’s Alexa,  WhatsApp, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Twitter. All these platforms also provide information that users are searching for. Google Ads will also be included in the upcoming hearings. 

What does this mean for you?

Critics are pushing both Google and Facebook to promote competition and to reduce the concentration of power. In the 90s, Microsoft was found guilty of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. The court asked Microsoft to divide the company, however, the company appealed and overturned the decisions. Later on, the case was settled. 

This may be a precedent to the present case. The companies may face fines and other punishments but it’d be a long shot to say that these companies be forced to be broken down into smaller companies. Whatever the decision may be, businesses that are in any of the platforms may be affected by the changes. 

CEO Sundar Pichai broke the news to all its employees in an email early this week. 

Image credit: The Verge

The Wall Street Journal reported that Google is planning to keep 200,000 of its full-time and contract employees to work remotely until July 2021. Other companies have expressed the same long-term plans of keeping their employees in a work-from-home policy because of the restrictions brought about by the pandemic. Google, however, is the first to set a time frame and extend its new work process until next year. 

Employees at Google received an email from Pichai of the said arrangement. In the mail, it said that Google is “extending its global voluntary work through June 2021 for roles that don’t need to be in the office.” He further added that the next 12 months can be used to make sure that all of Google’s employees are safe and are staying with their family in this time of uncertainty. 

Being an industry giant, other companies may follow suit in announcing their extensions as well. This working remotely news came in despite Google’s effort of reopening 42 offices globally. This includes smaller offices in countries that are less affected by the health crisis like Greece, Thailand, and Australia. The reopening was to give their staff more options. They could staff to return to their offices if they choose to or need to. The company employed safety precautions and they did it on a limited, rotating basis. 

Welcoming the new normal 

Pichai discussed this decision with an internal group of top executives. Among the things considered was the new normal for many. Most employees of Google have kids and they too are trying to make changes in order to accommodate the academic year, parents have looked into home-schooling and other options.

Tech giants such as Facebook, Square, and Twitter announced their plans to allow their employees to continue working remotely indefinitely. Twitter told its employees to work remotely even when the pandemic subsides. Zuckerberg too said that his organization is gearing for working remotely for the next 10 years. Other companies such as Amazon and Apple on the other hand have asked their workers to come back to their offices by January 2021. 

Working remotely has given employers more options and access to more talents. Companies need not hire from nearby places, they can hire services from people who aren’t living in the same state. 

TikTok has made a creator-friendly platform, this new launch is the company’s biggest monetization effort to date. 

Image credit: The Verge

Despite the threats of the US and India banning the app, TikTok continues to grow in popularity. The platform has become one of the major channels for brands and celebrities. To keep their interest and to encourage others to the platform, the company launce a $200 million creators fund. 

In its statement, TikTok said that the fund aims to support creators who are looking for opportunities to earn a living using their innovative content. The fund will be distributed in cash by the end of 2020. Their content is another way for creators and brands to make money in the app. In the past, creators can only earn income and monetize their accounts via live streamings or when they partner with other brands. 

Vanessa Pappas, TikTok’s general manager said that the platform wants to pay its creators regularly. The Creator Fund will help creators “realize additional earnings that reflect the tie, care, and dedication they put into creatively connecting with an audience that’s inspired by their ideas.” This new monetization method will help TikTok keep its creators in the platform instead of focusing on other social media platforms where they could monetize their content. 

The fund

Users who are 18 years old and above can be eligible for the cash fund. It’s also only available for users living in the US and those who post their videos that comply with the company’s guidelines. Creators can start applying for the program beginning next month, however, TikTok has not announced the exact number of creators that can avail the program. 

TikTok’s battle 

The US government continues to be vocal in its plan of banning the app due to Chinese ownership over security risk claims. Despite that, TikTok is unfazed and recently announced its plans of opening 10,000 jobs over the next three years. The company has also separated itself from China and made its app unavailable for the country. ByteDance also said that it’s planning to make a corporate restructuring and establish its HQ outside China. The Creator Fund is also another strategy for the company to keep its app working in the US soil. As the fund is made available to only US creators, it’s strongly positioning itself as a company that committed to the US. 

The partnership between Microsoft Advertising and Shutterstock allows advertisers to make high-performing ads. 

Image credit: Microsoft

Microsoft advertisers now have access to Shutterstock’s collection of more than 320 million images. The advertisers can search, preview, and use the stock images in their Microsoft Advertising user interface. With this, they can create beautiful campaigns much faster. They no longer have to exit their ad creation workflow

Haily De La Cruz, the Senior Program Manager at Microsoft Advertising said that this seamless integration with Shutterstock enables their customers more resources especially in this time of difficulty due to the pandemic. Despite the ad budget cuts that many startups and brands have made, Microsoft Advertising aims to let their advertisers deliver effective and top-performing ads that will resonate with their target audience. Shutterstock is home to high-quality images that’s applicable to peoples’ daily lives. The site also has images that are region-specific, thus imperative for localized ad campaigns. 

How to use Shutterstock images

Microsoft advertisers can just tap on the Add images when creating new ads for their Audience campaign. They will then have to choose the relevant image or images from the Stock Images. You maybe see watermarks on the images but these won’t appear in the ads. 

Advertisers have to check Microsoft’s image policy. There should be no hate speech or text within the images that promote hate speech. Animations are also not allowed including animated GIFs. Advertisers can use the images in Shutterstock but they can’t edit the photos they have selected. The images can’t also be used for other reasons except for their Microsoft Advertising campaigns. 

What does this mean for you?

Images have huge effects on the performance of your ad campaigns. Images attract attention and many people may not remember the tagline, but most often, they remember the images attached to your brand. The right images can connect you to your target audience, however, if you use the same mages repeatedly, you are likely wasting an opportunity to engage with your audience. You need the right images, not just a single image. 

With this partnership, Microsoft advertisers now have access to millions of photos giving them more options. The stock photos are now available for all advertisers across the US and the UK for those who are participating in the beta for the Microsoft Audience Network. The feature is expected to roll out to other markets within the year. 

Hulu offers cheaper ad solutions to small businesses and brands with smaller marketing budgets. 

Image credit: Hulu

Hulu has just released a self-service tool for small and medium-sized businesses. The self-service allows businesses to buy ads on its service. The new Ad Manager tool launched and according to the company, it’s getting businesses to join in the beta test. Hulu’s director of Self Service Platform Sales, Faye Trapani said that this advanced advertising solution will allow small businesses to have a high-quality advertisement in the premium streaming television space. Using the Ad Manager, businesses can manage and track their ad campaigns in Hulu. 

The ads service costs $500 and advertisers who have the budget to invest or spare will be able to launch their ads in Hulu and manage their ads performances on the platform. Hulu has been working with several top brands in the US but the company wants diversity and thus created the cheaper offer. 

Hulu said that its ad selector is 150% more effective when compared to the regular TV ads. Looking at the stat, putting ad campaigns in Hulu works for businesses. Hulu air commercials and the company is very forward in how they will get the ads in front of the brand’s target audience. Hulu has choice-based advertising, unlike the traditional TV ads where campaigns are shown to anyone viewing the content, Hulu’s ads are more specific. This will be cheaper for advertisers in the long as they need not put out ads in multiple contents, they can put out fewer ads in content that matters to their audience. 

Hulu also has Branded Entertainment Selector (BES) that gives users the option between long commercials before the program starts or ads throughout a program. 

What does this mean for you?

Small and medium-sized businesses often have a hard time picking the ads platform because it’s not up to their marketing budget. Even Facebook with its flexible ads pricing can get expensive for some businesses. This is especially true today where businesses are trying to cut their ad spend and allocating budgets in a way that will help them thrive. 

Hulu’s self-serving ads will be another way for brands and businesses to grow in a different space. Their ads will not be limited to just social media platforms, they will now be able to include TV streaming ads to their marketing strategy. This will help expand their reach and grow their customer base. 

A marketing technology management company is teaming up with a discovery platform. 

CabinetM is a technology management platform for marketing operations. Recently, Stacktus announced it will be joining CabinetM effective immediately. CabinetM CEO Anita Brearton said that they are excited about what this addition to the team and for the future of their platform. This acquisition means that Stacktus’ intellectual assets will be carried into CabinetM’s platform. Slacktus founder Megan Michuda is also joining CabinetM as the company’s advisor and community manager. 

Michuda said that Stacktus was created to serve the internal need of marketers and to address the issues prevalent in marketing technology management. It’s a solution far better than spreadsheets and PowerPoint slides. She further added that bringing the technology of Stacktus to CabinetM will prove to be a win-win for both organizations. With integrated effort, their platform will be the leader in the marketing technology industry. 

Knowing CabinetM

CabinetM is a Boston-based startup for marketing teams, it was founded in 2014 by Anita Brearton and Sheryl Schultz with the aim of making the martech world a less intimidating maze to navigate. CabinetM is a comprehensive database of marketing tools. Brearton said that the startup has been a helpful map for marketers in managing their teams and organizations. It has been a useful tool for managing heir data flows and responding to the reports using visualization demands. Michuda’s contribution to the team and her expertise in the marketing operation will further improve the services offered by CabinetM. 

Stacktus will no longer operate alone but instead, it will be supporting CabinetM to improve the platform and improve its position in the marketing industry.

What does this mean for you?

This acquisition is a good thing for marketers and marketing ops specialist. Other companies and their services offered including G2 and TrustRadius provide customers with several other services across software categories, however, CabinetM and Stacktus are both focused on marketing technology. The company can offer solutions that are niche-specific for marketers. 

Now it’s easier for marketers to manage their martech stack with an improved platform and more efficient processes. It will also be a pool of data for you to help you make informed decisions and investments about your business. It will give you a deeper knowledge of your target audiences and make actionable insights that would save you money and time. 

The new ban will be effective for all advertisers globally starting next month. 

Image credit: Search Engine Land, products with prohibited ads

Google is implementing a restriction on ads specifically regarding spyware and surveillance technology beginning this August. Google explained the updates on the Enabling Dishonesty Behavior policy. The blog post explained that Google will prohibit ads on products and services that are targeted at monitoring and tracking peoples’ activities without their permission. The policy update is applicable to spyware and technology that includes tech that monitors texts, phone calls, and browsing history. For Example, this would include GPS trackers that spy people without authorization such as cameras, dash cams, nanny cams, audio recorders, and the like. 

Enabling Dishonest Behavior policy

The changes will be implemented starting on August 11, 2020. The update doesn’t include two parties: private investigation services and products and services that are meant for parents to monitor their underage kids. 

A study on the ecosystem of intimate partner surveillance in 2018 revealed that thousands of Google ads appear in searches related to terms with the explicit aim of conducting surveillance. Term searches including: 

“Track my Wife’s Phone”

“how to track my husband”

“Track your wife without her knowing”

Google spokesperson told CNBC that it’s continually updating their ad policies and have been restricting ads related to searches related to ones related above. The site is updating its language to ensure that violators are caught. At the moment, Google has already prohibited ads that promote products and services that allow users to have unauthorized access to properties and devices. However, with the new dishonest behavior policy update coming next month, the ads prohibition will be expanded and will affect more products/services. 

Google will have to make the policy more foolproof as many spyware providers have changed their marketing strategy and list their products under child-monitoring apps. 

What does this mean for you?

Google aims to make its ads platform a safe market for brands and other businesses. The tech-giant has limited ads from appearing into surveillance-related searches. This previous effort is now expanded to other services and products. For businesses that market these products, you may need to have them removed from your Google Ads accounts before August 11, otherwise, Google will remove those campaigns from your product feeds. Failure to do so would mean account suspension. Google will send you a notification and warning seven days before it will suspend your accounts.