Walmart is making its moves to compete against the retail giant, Amazon. 

Walmart Media Group is gearing up to launch its first self-serve advertising tool along with an API next year. Walmart has long relied on its relationship with sales reps but it looks like it’s not going to stay that way for long. The company has been busy hiring marketing partners and acquiring ad tech companies to support its goals in growing its advertising business. 

What you need to know about Walmart’s upcoming ad tool

Advertisers and marketers who wish to buy Walmart ads need to speak with human reps. The company hasn’t been able to play with the major leagues in the advertising industry partly because of its position in the mix. Other big companies including Facebook, Amazon, Google, Pinterest, and SnapChat all who all use APIs to connect with their marketers. APIs let advertisers have free reign for their ad prices and ad spend. 

Similar to Amazon’s API, advertisers who wish to put up ads in Walmart can buy search and display ads. Wavemaker’s director of e-commerce, Kacie McKee, noted that Walmart is pushing itself to be like Amazon as it slowly builds the infrastructure to become a big name in media. Walmart is already testing the self-serve tool with CPG advertisers and its planning to make it available early next year. 

Walmart’s media effort

Walmart ended its partnership with Triad last February and since then, it’s been busy improving its advertising program. It acquired Polymorph Labs, a San Francisco ad-tech startup to help deliver full campaigns and reports to brands. 

The addition of Polymorph Labs strengthened Walmart Media Group’s ad platform. This acquisition has helped the company take full advantage of its cost per click and cost per impression metrics as it evaluates real-time bids from buying models. 

What does this mean?

As far as the ads industry experience goes, Amazon is much more advanced as compared to Walmart. Amazon already has search tactics that enable marketers to target their competitors or target their specific audiences. As of now, around 70%-90% of the overall ad spend of e-commerce businesses go to Amazon. 

With Walmart’s new self-serve tool, advertisers may soon consider investing and putting their ad spend to Walmart instead of putting it all in Amazon. A few years from now, Walmart may become a worthy competition of Amazon in the advertising industry.

Marketers and creators can now use their social media stories as ads for Instagram and Facebook. 

The world’s biggest digital discovery and publishing platform added a Story Cloud suite and Issuu Promote last Monday at the Adobe MAX conference in L.A. The newly released Issuu Promote is a story integration tool that allows marketers to shoot two birds using one stone. They’ll be able to create and launch their social media stories directly from Issuu. Additionally, these stories can then be turned into actual ads for Facebook and Instagram. 

Create and share everywhere 

Issuu partnered up with Adobe InDesign to create the Story Cloud, Issuu’s suite of storytelling products. With InDesign, users can create and quality designs for print and digital media. The features in InDesign are now available for Issuu users and this will result in a seamless creation of Story ads. 

Stories now play a huge role in content marketing and the company capitalized on the brands’ need to create compelling stories and share these with their social platforms. 

Joe Hyrkin, Issuu’s CEO said that stories are now used by marketers and it has opened many opportunities. However, the time and effort that goes into creating content can be too much for many brands thus leaving them out of the game. He further added, their goal is to reduce how complex it is to make Story ads and to allow marketers to recreate their existing assets and use them as ad campaigns. The Issuu Promote feature also makes it easier for marketers to link their Facebook Business Manager and Google AdSense account to their Issuu account to make the creation more efficient. 

Issuu stories for marketers 

You can start using Issuu Stories by downloading the plugin for the InDesign. Then the “Create Story for Social” option will be visible in InDesign.  

The stories created can be integrated into your brand’s marketing strategy and shared across social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Issuu Stories has several templates that users can choose from.

What does this mean for you?

While some companies a have creative team to craft Stories for them, other startups and new brands may have limited manpower and funds to pour to your story ads. Issuu Promote makes it easier for you to create high-quality stories and turn them into story ads that would resonate to your target audience. 

A guide detailing the proper practices for Influencer disclosures

Influencers are a great way for businesses to promote their products or brand without doing it directly. Influencers have become so common that users almost expect brand promotions from those in the limelight. It’s so prevalent in fact that the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has released a guide to help inform those that have such an influential platform.  

The influencer industry isn’t something new that was born out of social media. Social Media Today touches on a prominent example of a clever potter profiting from a Royal Influencer. In 1760 a potter named Wedgwood made a tea set for the Queen of England, and due to this product promotion, the “Royal Approved” brand stands today.   

While social media has brought people together, it’s also created a platform for some. To prevent the genuine promotion from being confused with paid promotion, the FTC has drafted the “Disclosure 101 for Social Media Influencers.”  

The FTC’s job is “to protect consumers and promote competition.” Part of this job is protecting consumers from ads that are disguised as a p2p promotion of a product. Additionally, this guide can protect influences from legal action if they aren’t properly informed. The FTC’s guide is complete with videos and could be seen as preemptive protection for consumers. Though the guide has the potential to prevent consumers from falling for an ad.  

The FTC now requires any relationship with the brand to be disclosed in the description of promotional materials. “Telling your followers about these kinds of relationships is important because it helps keep your recommendations honest and truthful, and it allows people to weigh the value of your endorsements,” explains the FTC.  

A good place to start when disclosing a sponsorship is adding #ad #Sponsor or #paid

Knowing the guidelines provides influencers with the information to avoid legal action while also being transparent with their audience.  

Google adds new add placements to Youtube to prepare for the holiday season.

Over the coming holiday seasons, users could see more advertisements based on their gift research. Google is increasing the visibility of Showcase Shopping ads that will be released to take advantage of shoppers’ activities when looking for the best holiday gifts. Based on their searches shoppers could see scrollable images of products they might enjoy.

Earlier this week Google announced Sitelinks will be included in TrueView for action ads. 

Google explains TrueView for action ads as, “TrueView for action campaigns help drive leads and conversions by adding prominent calls-to-action (CTAs), headline text overlays, and an end screen to your video ads.”

A TrueView ad is one that gives users options an example of this is the option to skip a video after 5 seconds.  Part of this holiday push will be Google’s extension of these ads to YouTube. Part of these changes includes ad space on Youtube’s home feed. With these new ad updates, users will see “suggested products” that users can cycle through that will be displayed as search results and between videos.

Most popular digital platforms are working hard to make the buying experience as seamless as possible. This keeps users on the platform and creates more opportunities to build revenue for those who are advertising and the platforms themselves. Google adds that in beta testing these new ad updates increased conversions by almost 25%

These updates to Google’s ad offerings can provide, brands, marketers, and businesses with new tools that could prove really useful as customers begin to plan gifts for family and friends.

In Google’s blog detailing the updates, Nicky Rettke, a product manager at YouTube writes, “we’ve made YouTube video ads more interactive, giving viewers useful and actionable information like store location, interest forms, and additional calls-to-actions to help you drive more conversions.”

The addition of these ads has been simmering for a while, and since 2015 the site has seen a growing audience that uses Youtube during the holiday season to learn what the hot gifts are. In Google’s blog post, Rettke added in the near future Google will add Sitelinks to these new ad additions. 

Facebook has released its News Tab and announced to pay publishers for their headlines. 

It has just recently been released that Facebook’s News section and the social platform’s app will show the headlines from online news including Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, BuzzFeed News, Business Insider, NBC, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, and others. 

Users who tap on the headlines will be directed to the publisher’s websites. If the user has already installed the publisher’s app, then the app will open automatically. The intention behind this effort is to address the spread of misinformation on the site. 

Zuckerberg urges other tech rivals to pay for news

Facebook’s founder has said that Facebook as a platform is responsible for helping support the news and with this innovation, he is hoping that other platforms will follow the model that they are helping to set-up. 

The News tab has been tested with 200,000 users since its launch and it is expected to expand to more countries early next year. Zuckerberg acknowledged that the new service will not solve the problems in the media industry but it will hopefully bear a positive impact on both big and small publishers. 

Google is already helping publishers by monetizing their content via the traffic that the search engine sends to their sites. The news companies also get revenue  from Google’s ad platforms. Google reported that it sends over 24 billion clicks to publishers’ websites and these clicks bring in revenue and publishers get 70% of the ad revenue. 

Facebook to pay the publishers 

Zuckerberg said that they are going to pay some of the publishers to encourage higher-quality content on the platform. Not all the publishers will be paid directly but Zuckerberg confirmed that it’s making a ‘multi-year financial commitments’ to a few of its partners. 

The Wall Street Journal reported that some deals may reach up to $3 million a year. The other details on how much other publishers are getting were not disclosed. There were two criteria presented that publishers need to meet to get paid directly: if the publisher has a paywall and if Facebook wants more of the site. Publishers have the freedom to choose to either run their own ads and get 100% of the revenue or use Facebook’s ad network and share the revenue with Facebook. 

What does it mean for you? 

The news section isn’t open to advertisers for now but many are hoping that ad placements will be open when the News tab generates more users and high engagement rates. If so, the decision won’t come as a surprise considering the new ads in search results and ads in Group tabs.

The ads will roll out in the US first. 

Snapchat launched its beta for Dynamic Ads, a tool that automatically creates and updates product ads to run in the app. It has several templates advertisers can choose from that are all targeted to retail, e-commerce, and DTC brands with product catalog in the platform. 

For Snapchat, the Dynamic Ads will create Snap ads for you based on the products you have cataloged in the platform. The system will automatically make the ad and display the products to relevant audiences. It will select a template from its in-built templates to create different Snap ads in a vertical view format. Advertisers will be able to choose from the templates and the system uses is to build more relevant ads. You also need to select your prospect clients and audiences and enable the Snapchat’s system to deliver the ads in real-time. 

The ads adjust accordingly so advertisers can set the ads to always run the campaigns and tailor the shopping experience to users’ preferred interests. 

Dynamic ads target direct response advertising 

Dynamic ads allow marketers to create up-to-date ads and target users based on their Snapchat users’ experience. Snapchat has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to digital advertising when compared to other social media giants. As of now, it’s moving at the same rate as Instagram and Pinterest. 

Advertisers will have access to the beta but the ads will only be shown for US users. The dynamic ads will be available to other countries and across markets in the coming months. Advertisers who wish to join the beta will have to reach out to Snapchat. 

This dynamic system will be good for retailers, eCommerce, and DTC brands the most as it helps these entities to increase their ROI. the templates available now are all compatible with mobiles. 

What does this mean for you?

The holiday season is coming fast and brands will be all out looking for ways no how to attract more audiences and increase their revenue through Dynamic ads. Snapchat could be able to pull a fair portion of the ad budget allocation that is usually intended for Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram. 

Snapchat is a great platform for brands to reach out to Gen Z and millennials. Shady Rays Polarize Glasses was among the first ones who had early access to Dynamic ads and it reported a 66% decrease in cost per purchase and 286% in ROAS. This is how it is expected to work for other brands as well. 

Facebook is contemplating ads within the Groups Tab.

Groups are a great place to find individuals in specific individuals and demographics. Facebook might capitalize on this by permanently adding ad placements into the group tab. The select advertisers will be able to utilize the new features in the Ads Manager. 

Business 2 Community explained their thoughts on the increased focus on community in the platform. Facebook has poured into its campaign aimed at increasing group engagement, and an example of this is an ad created by Facebook called “‘Game Day’ Commercial – More Together.”

Facebook’s Product Manager, Melissa Tokmak explained in an email to Marketing Land, “We’re running a small test to place ads in the Groups tab and will evaluate whether these ads are beneficial for people and businesses before deciding whether to expand it further.”

Lately, Facebook has been making frequent updates to their ad platform, whether it’s to recoup ad dollars lost during the Cambridge Analytica breach or because users are becoming more aware of their privacy, Facebook wants to make their ad platform more attractive.  Updates have included increased transparency, tools to better track ROI, rebranded ad offerings, and integrations with Facebook Pixel.   

The social media superpower has also had increased competition from platforms like Microsoft Advertising, Amazon, and Google Ads. These preliminary Group Tab ad tests further prove Facebook’s need to grow and offer more personalized offerings that are competitive in the crowded ad competition.   

This ad offering could give users the ability to take in products and ads that line up with their sensibilities. Marketers being able to aim ads at a target market within a group could be a huge benefit to brands from large to small.  

Google makes the sales funnel slicker by adding a feature that enables sellers to add photos from consumers

Earlier this month, Google released a feature that implements Images of products from users to help consumers through the research and purchase process. With the addition of this feature consumers can tac images of their products onto the product reviews. 

Though the service is currently refined to the U.S., Google has plans to expand the feature to more devices and additional countries.  

This new addition to Google’s search features could be a huge help to brick and mortar stores as well as solely digitally-based business that want to promote their wares through review with images. Pinterest has made a lot of recent additions to their platform to do just what Google is trying to accomplish with their new user-generated image feature.  

Why does it matter?

The feature is now accessible to shopping advertisers through Product Ratings. It’s important to note that the feature can only be accessed if the seller is accepted into the program. The quality of product images is important to users and plays a role in whether or not users make a purchase. Google backs this up with research that found that 50% of buyers used images to help them decide on a purchase. 

The first step to make this feature work for you is to apply for the Google product rating program. This new feature could be a great addition avenue by which to attract users who heavily research products.  

For the first time, social media is surpassing print ads says Zenith Media. 

Zenith’s Advertising Expenditure Forecasts announced that social media ad spend will increase to 20% this year reaching $84 billion as opposed to the $69 billion ads spend on magazines and newspapers combined. 

Social media will also be the third-largest means for advertising this year totaling 13% of all ad spend globally, paid search came in second with 17%, and television ads with 29%. Despite the TV ads’ biggest percentage, it’s expected to decrease in 2021 to $180 billion compared to the $182 billion this year due to the decreasing ratings in several industries. 

Digital brands and small businesses are taking the reigns 

The increased social media ad spend is attributed to small businesses putting their ad spend on digital advertising platforms such as Facebook. The social network offers targeting and localization capabilities that greatly help these businesses’ digital presence. 

Facebook reported that over 140 million businesses every month are now using Facebook family apps including Instagram Facebook, Messenger, and WhatsApp. The platforms offer businesses wider opportunities to find new customers and engage in communities related to their niche. Furthermore, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg stated that its company’s revenue is more diverse this year compared last year. 

This surge of ad spend on social media is expected to grow more in the coming years. According to Zenith’s report, this ad spend is predicted to increase to 17% in 2020 and 13% in 2021. 

Social media advertising helps out brands and small businesses 

“Social media advertising gives brands the opportunity to drive growth by using automated tools to optimize their campaigns for key business objectives,” said Zenith’s Global Brand President, Matt James. Businesses and brands identify potential customers on social media platforms and they can convert these potential customers to paying consumers. Their targeting ads are more effective in social media platforms. 

Paid search still leads the race in ad spend as it’s taking $107 billion this year and takes 17% of the whole ad spend budget. Although TV advertising is taking the sweet spot it’s losing its momentum due to the change of viewing culture amongst younger viewers. 

What does this mean for you?

Zenith’s predictions are based on client data and local media market conditions. This report shows how traditional advertising is losing against digital marketing. Brands and advertisers are now shifting their ad spend budget from traditional ads to digital platforms. Traditional ads have limited capabilities when it comes to targeting options and reaching wider audiences. 

Google will be using machine learning in managing ad frequency when third-party cookies went missing. 

Google first made an update in August based on its goal to improve its user privacy and preserve access to ad-supported sites. This week, Google is making progress on their goal. 

The changes will be felt in the coming weeks in both Display & Video 360, and will soon carry over to Google’s ad platform. This change came about in order to further improve user privacy but at the same time, enable marketers and advertisers to serve ads effectively. 

When third-party ads are restricted or blocked by users, the advertisers no longer have control over how many times their ads show. Users might end up seeing the same repeatedly without the advertisers knowing about it. This compromises their ads’ marketability and affects users’ experience. 

Machine learning feature 

The new feature will use machine learning to see and analyze traffic patterns when third-party cookies are used. It then builds models to predict the pattern when the third-party cookies are restricted or blocked. Google’s product manager for ad privacy, Rahul Srinivasan said that the feature will allow them to estimate how likely users visit different publishers who are showing the same ads through Google Ad manager. Even without the third-party cookie, they will be able to optimize how the ads are shown to their users. 

Google raises the bar 

Google is always a front runner when it comes to setting standards in delivering products and at the same respecting users’ privacy. Using AI to manage ad frequency is another step closer to the search engine’s goal of helping advertisers and publishers maintain their access to the content on the internet. 

What should you care?

Cookies have been crumbling down according to reports. This new feature is a response to Apple when it continued to push against cookies and ad tracking to improves Safari’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention. The ITP blocks advertisers and ad networks’ abilities to use cookies. Along with privacy concerns from both GDPR and CCPA, advertisers have been battling against the system. 

Google now relies upon the models to inform advertisers how their ads are delivered when the advertisers don’t have the access to that data. Advertisers can turn to Google to see how their ads are doing and how they can improve it despite the lack of third-party cookies.