Tag: YouTube

How Google’s ‘Fundo’ is Reimagining the World of Virtual Events

With COVID-19 restrictions still in place around the world, the need for virtual events is more apparent than ever. Numerous platforms have stepped up in an effort to fill the void with a variety of features from Facebook’s paid online events and Instagram’s announcement of monetization in IGTV to LinkedIn’s introduction of virtual events into pages. One thing is clear from this flurry of updates — these options are here to stay and will likely be utilized long after the pandemic is behind us.

Today, Google is getting involved and providing more tools in this space through an expanded launch of its Fundo virtual events platform aimed to help creators and brands seamlessly schedule and host events through simplified organization and promotional tools.

Creating meaningful experiences online

Originally developed in 2018 by Google’s Area 120 incubator, Fundo began as a tool to allow YouTube creators a way to organize host paid, ticketed virtual meet-and-greet events. Following a beta launch last summer for several hundred testers including fitness instructors, business and lifestyle consultants, Fundo is now available for anyone to use and can be leveraged for a variety of cases including workout and cooking classes and workshops.

“Over the past year, many parts of life had to move online and become virtual. While we didn’t build Fundo specifically because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the mission of creating meaningful experiences online is even more important today,” shared John Gregg, General Manager at Fundo in the official announcement.

The one-on-one focus is an important way for creators to host an intimate event with a single individual or small group while workshops are an important feature during a time when small businesses including are facing substantial obstacles. Outside of presenting more ways to spread the word and share content, the option adds greater flexibility in which creators can schedule an event in advance, or let fans request a time and have the option to bring in co-hosts or special guests.


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“In 2020, a lot of things are online,” Gregg said in a separate statement to Variety. “We’re not exclusive for YouTube creators. We think it provides value to any kind of creator… There are lots of different ways it can be used.”

Taking the complexity out of virtual events

A primary goal of Fundo is to take the headache out of hosting a virtual event, especially when you’re dealing with a ticketed experience. Through a single end-to-end platform, creators and businesses can schedule their event, manage sign-up and payment processes, communicate details about the livestream, and more.

There are no apps for external software necessary for Fundo: Event hosts and their guests access everything on the site through a special-purpose video-chat system separate from YouTube. A fan favorite feature? The built-in “photo booth” feature, in which each attendee gets a photo with a creator-customized frame.

Hosts are in control of the price to sign up and any discounts and whether they want a given event to be free, though Google takes a 20 percent cut of revenue generated per Gregg. Furthermore, some creators using YouTube Channel Memberships are able to offer Fundo Meet & Greets exclusively to channel members as a premium perk. To help fuel cross-channel promotion, Fundo users are able to create an account including their other social media profile details, as well as a personalized URL for easier access.

Safety and discoverability

Fans are able to find events happening on Fundo through the home page, or through links that their creators share. Once they’ve chosen an event iall they simply have to do is answer a few basic questions, and complete a ticket purchase. Fundo manages everything else including generating the event link and sending reminders leading up to the event. The platform also provides technical support if it is needed.

While Fundo prides itself on putting creators in control of their event, safety is also a top priority. To support in this regard, Fundo checks every event guest’s ticket and monitors for reporting and flagging of potentially harmful or abusive content

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The post How Google’s ‘Fundo’ is Reimagining the World of Virtual Events appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/09/how-googles-fundo-is-reimagining-the-world-of-virtual-events/

What You Need to Know About TikTok and Teespring’s Partnership

A few weeks ago TikTok launched a $200 million creator fund with a goal of helping more leading creators in its community sustain themselves financially solely through TikTok. Fast forward to today, creators will soon be able to sell merchandise they design and create directly to fans via the app itself thanks to a new integration in partnership with realtor commerce platform Teespring.

This isn’t TikTok’s first foray into e-commerce, however. Last year it tested social commerce links in videos and piloted an advertising format with a call-to-action button that links marketers to social influencers. More recently, it introduced its ‘Small Gestures’ digital gift-giving program as a gentle reminder to practice digital empathy and not overlook the power of a small act, especially in these uncertain times.

A move towards non-apparel

As TikTok accelerates its e-commerce plans it wants to make clear its community will be at the center of its decisions and efforts.

“We believe, based on the current trend, that non-apparel items will be outselling apparel by this time next year,” Teespring CEO Chris Lamontagne told The Verge. “Layering in really smart commerce opportunities is key, so it could be physical merchandise or it could be something more digital…we as a collective need to think about creators in this way where they’ve got super engaged fans who love them — there’s already this connection.”

According to the official press release, creators will have a choice from over 180 different products in addition to having the opportunity to create bespoke products uniquely catered to their personal brand. Think beyond your typical t-shirt and hoodie and more along the lines of Skateboard decks and smartphone covers for instance.

Roughly 7,000 TikTok creators in total are part of the initial program though details surrounding which creators will be eligible to participate is still being hashed out. Another outstanding question — how will the products appear in the videos themselves? While details are still worked out the platform knows one thing: it wants to ensure a full shop functionality to make things as streamlined and simple as possible.

Tapping into underrated features

Amidst all of the conversation and social chatter around what TikTok’s future has in store, including the possible $30 billion price tag being discussed, former CEO of Vine, Rus Yusupov, used the opportunity to give TikTok some of his own advice in a CNN op-ed reflecting on the learning lessons garnered from his experience in the short-form video space.

“TikTok hasn’t stopped innovating. They’ve made bold moves we should have made. Specifically, its algorithm-driven distribution model is extremely accurate and effectively surfaces new personalized content. And allowing creators to monetize their content through live streaming is an underreported, underrated feature, and is key to their success.” In short, where he feels Vine failed is in not fully embracing new challenges and opportunities to experiment. It is one thing to become popular very quickly, but another to sustain yourself by constantly pushing the boundaries.

The growing role of exclusive merchandise

During an age of social distancing, e-commerce and exclusive merchandise continue to surge in popularity. Artists and creators enjoy leaning into digital experiences like shopping as a way to connect with their fans, gather feedback, and get creative in ways they haven’t before and are using various platforms to achieve these ends.

Earlier this summer YouTube dropped a feature that lets users include a virtual “shelf” underneath their videos displaying their merch. In June, Instagram opened up its own commerce platform for creators. Finally, late last month, TikTok took this trend a level further by hosting its first shoppable livestream in collaboration with Ntwrk — a home shopping network targeting Generation Z — and artist Joshua Vides. These are just a few of many examples.

With current findings showing that e-commerce is now five years forward due to the global pandemic, there is no shortage of white spaces to consider. The brands that will ultimately stand out above the crowd, however, will be those that can hit a sweet spot of premium content and experiences driven by gaming, shopping, and other means of engagement that feel fresh and accessible.

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The post What You Need to Know About TikTok and Teespring’s Partnership appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/09/what-you-need-to-know-about-tiktok-and-teesprings-partnership/

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How YouTube Is Helping Marketers Capitalize on Online Video

COVID-19 has fast-forwarded several prominent consumer behavior trends in the marketing space — a major one centering around online shopping where tech giants are shifting their investment dollars in the hopes of propelling their growth on the other side.

Earlier this spring Pinterest introduced new ways to shop from pins, from pin boards, and directly from search results. More recently, Facebook and Instagram rolled out “Shops,” essentially converting business profiles into online storefronts and tested shopping tags in captions. Separately, Snapchat unveiled an expansion of dynamic ads for e-commerce retailers in June.

Building a stronger e-commerce presence through video ads

Looking ahead, YouTube unveiled several updates to its platform in a push to help marketers capitalize on the growing trends of e-commerce and online video. Primarily, a new ad format called “Direct Response” will enable brands to add browsable product imagery to their videos to make them more actionable and shoppable.

“As businesses begin to reopen, they have an opportunity to use video to drive both online and offline actions on YouTube, where 70 percent of people say they bought a brand as a result of seeing it on our platform,” YouTube’s parent company Google explained in the official announcement.

As a result of using the new format in a test phase ahead of its spring 2020 campaign, Aerie, the underwear company owned by American Eagle, reported sales conversions 9x higher than that garnered by its traditional media stack. The company also reported a 25 percent higher return on ad spend compared to 2019.

To use the ad format, retailers will need to synchronize their Google Merchant Center feed to their video ads, per the announcement. Ultimately, they will also be able to place greater emphasis on certain products through an expanded call-to-action button.

A more cost-effective way to boost conversion rates

Limited marketing budgets and other key resources have put significant strains on marketers these past few months but this hasn’t kept them from seeking more simple, cost-effective ways to drive reach and convert demand. As part of the update, YouTube announced Video Action Campaigns that will automatically distribute video ads “that drive action” to the YouTube home feed, watch pages, and Google video partners, all within a single campaign.

“In the last few months, Mos saw 30 percent more purchases for their service at a third of the cost compared to their previous YouTube benchmarks,” Google stated of the startup that seeks to help students find funds for college to avoid large debts. As a newer company, it was eager to test the campaigns to gauge how quickly it could scale.

Adding transparency around a consumer’s path to purchase

Beyond building an e-commerce presence, YouTube is cognizant of the fact that in the digital age the process for tracing the exact origins of a conversion and keeping tabs on a consumer’s full path to purchase isn’t always clear. To address this, brands will be able to evaluate their efforts on YouTube directly from their Google Ads attribution reports. There are two major benefits of this including having a better understanding of how to allocate ad budgets and what new tools to consider in addition to enhanced transparency around your Google ads campaigns.

Overall, the effort is not only one to create an even playing field around emerging formats like video, but more importantly, to help marketers save valuable time to put against broader strategic initiatives such as aligning creative with the right message for a particular audience.

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http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/07/how-youtube-is-helping-marketers-capitalize-on-online-video/

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How Major Platforms are Standing in Solidarity with the Black Community

For roughly 10 days Americans have gathered to protest the issues of systemic racism, violence, and brutality that our POC communities have suffered at the hands of the authorities. Protests have erupted in virtually every American state, in small towns and major cities alike, and even overseas in Europe and New Zealand.

Social media platforms have also taken action spanning financial support to organizations fighting against racial inequality and promoting education so we can create a pathway towards better education and understanding of how we can support the cause with empathy.

Here’s what we’ve seen from each of the major companies:

Twitter #Allyship Overview

Beyond updating its main profile to reflect its support for the protests, Twitter is also leveraging its #StartSmall initiative to allocate several grants to support organizations designed to address racial inequality. This includes Colin Kaepernick‘s “Know Your Rights Camp” aimed to advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, and mass-mobilization.

Most importantly, the platform shared its top insights around how people can improve how they respond to racial inequality in a new guide for allyship. In order to respond, people first need to “understand the historical and structural contexts that have led to racism and discrimination…At Twitter, our principles of allyship are simple: Learn, Ask, Show up, and Speak up,” Marium R. Qureshi and Jade Williams explained in a recent blog post. By this definition, allyship is not about who you are but a commitment to be authentic and consistent in your education around these critical topics.

When you ask questions of friends and colleagues, do so empathetically and avoid coming from a place of disbelief. A couple of example questions following these best practices include “If you have the time/energy, do you feel comfortable sharing your experience with me?” and This week is heavy. How are you feeling/coping?” As far as speaking up and showing up, consider donating to organizations fighting for racial justice and police reform to help further the cause and exercise your voice and right to vote. Conduct a self-audit of whose in your circle and who you interact with online.

LinkedIn Learning: A Pathway to Inclusivity

We must invest our time to become better informed and develop a deeper understanding and awareness that will allow us to properly empathize with black communities who are suffering. This is key in gaining true perspective on the current movement, and the more people are educated, the better equipped we’ll be to enact effective, long-term change.

In this vein, LinkedIn has released several free courses within a “Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging for All” track, covering key topics spanning unconscious bias, addressing culturally sensitive issues, how to hire and retain diverse talent, and more. “Investing in our own learning to understand and confront bias, communicate about topics of difference, and create change can help us individually contribute to building a better workplace and society,” said Hari Srinivasan, Vice President of Product for LinkedIn Learning.

Beyond this, the platform also acknowledges that being a strong ally begins with listening, so it is utilizing its social channels to share stories that amplify perspectives from the Black community. Pathways to better understand are integral to success and LinkedIn is positioned well to bring the awareness needed at the moment via its widespread access to professional and educational insights that can help underscore gaps needing to be addressed.

Pinterest: Elevating Content on Racial Justice

Pinterest is taking a broad approach to its efforts starting with its platform and internal team and extending to external audiences directly supporting the movement.

More specifically, within the app content on racial justice is being elevated as a means to help people stay informed. This includes tips for assessing and adjusting your own mentality and how to approach younger children on the subject. There will also be content guiding users to organizations to support and various resources to learn more about the history of systemic racism in the country. Generally, the platform is committed to growing the diversity of content on the platform and avoiding distraction from serving as a hub to support and learn. In this regard, the platform is not serving ads on Black Lives Matter results.

The company is also donating 25,000 shares of stock to “organizations committed to racial justice and promoting tolerance” and investing $250,000 to help rebuild local businesses damaged in the protests. It is also providing $750,000 in paid media to organizations that support racial justice.

TikTok’s Creator Diversity Council

June is Black Music Month and to celebrate TikTok announced it will offer dedicated programming to celebrate Black artists on the platform who “bring new music, shape culture, and help build the community.”

The platform is also doubling down on technology and strategies around addressing potentially harmful content and creating a more user-friendly appeals process. Along these lines, TikTok plans to develop a creator diversity council to lead impact-driven programs led by the voices driving culture, creativity, and conversations necessary in making an even bigger impact on the problem.

Outside of its team and community, TikTok is donating $3 million from its “Community Relief Fund” to non-profits that help the Black community and an additional $1 million toward fighting racial injustice and inequality that we are witnessing in this country. Also in the music space, YouTube is financially stepping up by offering $1 million to organizations seeking to address injustice.

Leading with Empathy

Finally, the leaders behind Snapchat, Reddit, Facebook, and Instagram have all taken a personal approach to their response leading with emotion-driven memos.

Facebook is committing $10 million to racial injustice and lifting Black voices in addition to partnering with civil rights advisors in its efforts. Along with Instagram, it has also switched all profiles to black and white colors in support of recent events. Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri uploaded a personal IGTV response on his own profile underscoring his eagerness and drive to channel frustration, hurt, and anger into positive change.

Similarly, Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel in his own statement called for the creation of an American commission to address racial injustice, and comprehensive tax reform as the way forward. Taking even more drastic measures, Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian has resigned from his position urging the board to replace him with a Black candidate and will use future gains on his Reddit stock to serve the black community, beginning with a $1 million donation to Kaepernick’s ‘Know Your Rights’ initiative.

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http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/06/how-major-platforms-are-standing-in-solidarity-with-the-black-community/

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Why TikTok is Partnering with Brands to Promote Gift Giving During COVID-19

During this continued period of social distancing technology fulfills an extraordinarily important role. It’s helped us adapt our lifestyles around remote work and finding the balance of personal and professional lives that comes with this, how to self organize to help those in need, and most importantly, letting loved ones know you’re thinking of them while the coronavirus pandemic keeps us apart.

“SMALL GESTURES”

TikTok is embracing this through a new collaboration with its brand partnerships, a program titled “Small Gestures.” Small Gestures offers the connectivity in demand through the small act of sending a gift to someone who may need a simple boost whether that be creative inspiration for a video, exercise ideas and ways to support their mental health during this time of crisis.

TikTokers can use the Small Gestures feature up to three times apiece to send gifts to loved ones and friends free-of-charge.

HOW IT WORKS

  1. Search for ‘Small Gestures’ on the Discover Page
  2. Click on the purple banner at the top of the page
  3. Browse through several partner offerings and select the one you want to send
  4. Tap on the offer and send it via message

The gifts available in the app cater to a wide variety of interests and passion from food to podcasts, to fitness to learning new languages and how to make videos, and more. Here are the highlights:

  • A 90-day subscription to Adobe Premiere Rush
  • A 1-month free DashPass subscription from DoorDash
  • A 90-day trial for Pandora
  • A two-month premium membership for Skillshare with unlimited access
  • A $120 credit towards Talkspace’s online and mobile therapy sessions
  • A 30-day trial to Alo Moves’ on-demand yoga, fitness and mindfulness classes
  • A 90-day trial to for the elite personal training platform Fitplan
  • A free 90-day subscription to the language-fluency app Fluent Forever
  • A $30 discount off any purchase from The Bouqs Co. for any flower arrangement or plant
  • A code for 15 percent off online purchases of any Rebbi coconut-milk-based beverages
  • A limited offering of game tiles including Lara Croft Go, Hitman Go, and Deus Ex Go from publisher Square Enix

THE NEXT PHASE: E-COMMERCE

Per TikTok, the stated aim of the Small Gestures is to “provide comfort and “thinking of you” reminders to friends and family while we’re apart.” However it’s worth noting that another significant element at play here is a push into the e-commerce space. Recently, the platform unveiled a set of tools and external linking options within bios and uploaded videos in order to provide more revenue generation options for creators. In tandem, TikTok also launched an influencer marketplace.

YouTube is carving its space in the territory with ‘Shorts‘ its own take on short-form to exist inside the current YouTube app. Details remain scarce but the platform shared it will allow creators to take advantage of YouTube’s catalog of licensed music and create clips similar to those seen on TikTok.

Much like Pinterest, TikTok amidst COVID-19 is eager to expand on the activities that users can undertake within the app — more specifically be a destination for shopping and discovery. The hurdle is, of course, starting virtually then transitioning to a shopping experience that feels more like ”real life.” Making this seamless will translate into habitual behaviors that will feel genuine and provide context to time spent within the app itself.

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The post Why TikTok is Partnering with Brands to Promote Gift Giving During COVID-19 appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/04/why-tiktok-is-partnering-with-brands-to-promote-gift-giving-during-covid-19/

YouTube Cuts Video Quality Worldwide To Ease Internet Traffic During Lockdowns

Image via AngieYeoh / Shutterstock.com

YouTube will play its videos on the default standard definition to all users globally instead of its usual high-definition quality to help ease the burden on internet networks as usage spikes during lockdowns worldwide.

The video streaming platform previously intended to reduce its viewing quality in Europe, but will now extend its policy to the rest of the world. YouTube estimates to run its videos on standard definition for 30 days as people stay indoors during the COVID-19 outbreak.

However, the platform told CNN that users will still be able to switch to a higher definition by manually changing the resolutions of their videos.

YouTube explained that the move was initiated “to minimize stress on the system during this unprecedented situation.”

The website has additionally shared a thread of some of its creators’ videos to provide company to those in self-isolation. Check out a few of them below.

For those of you who can #StayHome, some creator #WithMe videos to help you keep boredom, hunger and cabin fever at bay.

— YouTube #StayHome (@YouTube) March 18, 2020

@zoeherdt Real Time Read #WithMe for storytime 📚 – Find more page-turning vids on this Read With Me playlist: https://t.co/790HQ47vYb

— YouTube #StayHome (@YouTube) March 18, 2020

Terri-ann’s Kitchen’s for that awesome Jerk Chicken 🍗 – Find more delicious vids on this Cook #WithMe playlist: https://t.co/OhsTRZGc2t

— YouTube #StayHome (@YouTube) March 18, 2020

@drawwiffwaffles sketch #WithMe for getting the creative juices flowing ✏️ – Find more creativity-sparking vids on this Draw with Me playlist: https://t.co/cGg6zejtpw

— YouTube #StayHome (@YouTube) March 18, 2020

[via CNN, cover image via AngieYeoh / Shutterstock.com] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/409195/YouTube-Cuts-Video-Quality-Worldwide-To-Ease-Internet-Traffic-During-Lockdowns/

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Google Outlines Latest COVID-19 Tools on Google and YouTube, Including Changes to Content Reviews

Google has announced a new set of updates and tools as it seeks to help the community amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/google-outlines-latest-covid-19-tools-on-google-and-youtube-including-chan/574236/

YouTube Brings Shopping Ads to the Home Feed: What It Means for Your Visual Advertising Efforts

Nearly two-thirds of consumers claim that online video has informed and inspired their decision to make a purchase according to recent research and more than 90 percent report having discovered a new product or brand from YouTube.

To tap into this trend and how more shoppers are using video in their buying journey, the Google-owned platform is introducing Shopping ads to its home feed and search results.

Capture users earlier and make it personal

“Consumers are continuing to watch more content on the YouTube platform and we want to be where they are, to reach and engage them,” said Rick Almeida, Vice President of E-commerce at Puma Group. “This new opportunity will enable Puma to extend our shopping strategy into a new property and inspire consumers.”

Puma is just one debut advertiser of the Shopping ad product, but the company’s experience points to promising results for other brands eager to expand their visual advertising efforts.

As depicted below, the display will be very similar to other ads delivered through Google’s platform including Search, Shopping, and various partner websites and the larger Google Display network. More specifically, they’ll be targeted and delivered based on a user’s interest leveraging details about the product and the brand.

Instead of having to specifically enter the name “Puma” in a search bar to see ads for running shoes, simply expressing an interest in running could trigger ads from other retailers offering related gear highlighting different products and prices.

The new YouTube ads are just one update from Google as it looks to become more of a visual advertising option for brands.

Drive action through interactivity

The company also shared that it’s working towards enhancing the interactivity of ads within videos themselves so they’re more actionable. For example, clicking on a video to be directed to store location specifics and interest forms. In the coming months, this will be expanded to sitelink extensions for TrueView for action ads, making it more seamless to navigate to additional landing pages such as holiday catalogs. A beta test conducted with 30 advertisers yielded a 23 percent boost in conversions after added sitelinks.

Fuel inspiration through rich imagery

In a study led by Google in partnership with Ipsos, 85 percent of people take action within the first 24 hours of discovery — spanning actions including reading reviews, comparing prices, or committing to purchase.

In the spirit of these findings, Showcase Shopping ads are now available on Google Images with the intent of making it easier to browse more products from a single click through grouping related products together. With additional categories like cosmetics and electronics, the hope is to boost consideration and create a unique experience for those unfamiliar with a specific brand.

Online shopping is most definitely not a one-size-fits-all game. People expect personalization and targeted ads whether they’re shopping for themselves or someone else and they have less time to do it. It’s up to brands to make experiences frictionless and efficient through listening, anticipation, and being present when it matters.

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http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/11/youtube-brings-shopping-ads-to-the-home-feed-what-it-means-for-your-visual-advertising-efforts/

4 Major Platforms Pushing to Overhaul Vanity Metrics and What This Means for Marketers

The internet was founded on the promise of a digital utopia that would enable a natural flow of information sharing and connectivity. Today, however, we face an inflection point in which there are growing concerns that we’ve squandered this opportunity in lieu of chasing reach and scale and prioritizing content that distracts and interrupts, in turn promoting divisiveness and narcissism.

When a post doesn’t perform with big numbers, people instantly feel bad. Conversely, when they see a high volume of interaction they are triggered with an instant feeling of satisfaction equivalent to a hit of dopamine.

Several platforms are hoping to make radical changes addressing this issue. Let’s take a look at some of the latest updates making headlines and what they mean for marketers:

Instagram

Image via Instagram

Following the recent F8 developer conference this past April, Instagram announced that it would be conducting tests for a new feature that would hide users’ public like counts on videos and photos. Kicking off the process with Canada, likes would be hidden in the Feed, permalinked pages, and on profiles.

In a quote shared by The Verge, Instagram stated the motive behind the decision was that it wants followers to “focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get.”

Initially, the test was met with uncertainty regarding how it would impact how it would influence the way the platform was used, particularly by influencers who heavily rely on such metrics as a measure of how their content is performing. After a few months of testing, however, sentiments have seemed to shift with people acknowledging the benefits of the feature.

One user, Matt Dusenbury, shared, “Without seeing the likes count on feed posts now, I find myself more clearly focused on the actual quality of the content being posted.”

Instagram has yet to officially publish data around how effective hiding likes has been on people’s posting habits, but last week, as of May the test has expanded to six more countries: Ireland, Italy, Japan, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand.

Individuals who are part of this test group can still the number on their own content as long as they tap through it, but must opt-out in order to show the likes publicly.

Facebook

— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) September 2, 2019

Fast-forward to this month, Instagram’s parent company is taking a few notes and confirmed to TechCrunch the platform is contemplating hiding the Like Counter on News Feeds posts in an effort to dissuade censorship and inhibit sentiments of envy. In other words, there is a desire to take away the popularity contest that comes with engaging on the social platform.

The test was first reported by Jane Manchun Wong who took to Twitter to reveal that she had spotted Facebook prototyping the hidden Like counts within its Android app.

No further details have been shared by the platform regarding exact motives, or any schedule for starting testing but one can assume it would be gradual to allow for implications with respect to response and ad revenue from brands to be identified.

USA Today recently shared some feedback that has already surfaced on the Internet regarding the potential move.

“Bad thing,” said Facebook user Phil Leigh, “Likes give the poster a way to measure whether her content is useful to others, especially as it is tracked over time.”

On Twitter, reviews were mixed, some claiming they have since stopped using Facebook, others pointing to a reduction in scalability. Monica Reddy, however, is an advocate for pushing back against the notion that dominant the social landscape of ‘keeping score.’

YouTube

Per a recent Marketing Land report, as of this month, YouTube will begin showing abbreviated subscriber counts for channels with 1,000 or more subscribers.

“Beyond creating more consistency, ​this addresses creator concerns about ​stress and ​wellbeing, specifically around tracking public subscriber counts in real-time.​ ​We hope this helps all creators focus on telling their story, and​ experience less pressure​ about the numbers,” explained a YouTube team member on the site’s Community Forum Blog.

Creators and Developers instantly had questions and expressed a desire for more details about how the YouTube Data API Service would change. The platform clarified describing that Creators will still be able to see their exact subscriber numbers in YouTube Studio and YouTube analytics. Examples outlined how public-facing subscribers counts would now appear. For instance, channels with 12,345 subscribers would show a subscriber count of 12.3K, channels with 1,234,567 would show 1.23M, and channels with 123,456,789 subscribers would display a subscriber count of 123M.

As far as reactions, one individual, Martyn Littlewood pointed to the impact this would have on brand partnerships and their accuracy stating on the forum thread, “Business partners could go elsewhere if they believe their quota can’t be met — alternatively it could low ball initial offers from them and undermine brand deal opportunities. Sure, you could argue that they [brands] will get in touch, then you can send accurate information, but what if they never call at all?”

Another, Terry Ghast, raised similar concerns about authenticity claiming, “If this is to discourage ‘cancel culture,’ make this an optional setting that is defaulted to abbreviation but still allow viewers the ability to turn it off so they can track sub count to celebrate milestones together…Showing full sub count would be a badge of authenticity, and more believable than abbreviated. Please listen to the community and not be caught in your echo chamber.”

LinkedIn

This past Spring LinkedIn rolled out a new assortment of reactions targeted to provide ‘more expression ways to respond to the variety of posts you see in your feed.” Added options including Love, Celebrate, Insightful and Curious also serve the purpose of helping users better understand the impact your posts are having and additional insight into why someone is engaging with the piece of content.

“We took a thoughtful approach to designing these reactions, centered around understanding which ones would be most valuable to the types of conversations members have on LinkedIn,” said LinkedIn’s Cissy Chen in the official announcement. She pointed to examples as to how each could be used for instance using Celebrate to praise an accomplishment or work milestone, Love to express deep support around topics of work/life balance and mentorship, and Insightful or Curious when you encounter a thought-provoking idea.

What does it all mean?

Now that we’ve broken down the latest proposed and existing changes across these major platforms, let’s dissect what this means in the grand scheme of marketing.

Influencer content specifically will pivot to more higher quality content as metrics they’re accustomed to leaning on won’t carry as much weight as they previously did. What the hope is with this transition is that we will ultimately see cases of deeper, more meaningful engagement through incentivizing users to focus more on the content and not on the competition. For instance, it may pave the way to a spike in commenting behavior which arguably is more productive than a simple ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down.’

On the flip side, without such easily trackable metrics, influencers inevitably become harder to scout.

For brands, hiding the number of likes makes it more challenging to legitimize their partnerships and in fact, may discourage them from working with influencers and instead lean on targeted ads as guaranteed drivers of the results they’re after. If they do decide to collaborate with an influencer, they’re more likely to put paid media support behind their influencer posts, and also opt for ephemeral content that has a finite lifespan before it disappears.

Ultimately, there are pros and cons to this movement but one thing remains clear: it has the potential to radically change the social media system we’ve come to know over the past decade.

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http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/09/4-major-platforms-pushing-to-overhaul-vanity-metrics-and-what-this-means-for-marketers/

Who (or What) Killed YouTube’s Direct Messenger?

YouTube Messenger made its debut in August 2017 as a way to enable sharing of videos (and, as a result, increases in traffic) between users and their friends or followers. The service was added to the web interface in May of the following year. But this week, its shuttering was quietly announced, not with a blog post but with a post in YouTube’s support forums.

“Heads Up: we’re removing the ability to message directly on YouTube after September 18,” the post was titled, with a four line note about its removal. Although their brief message cited a desire to focus on the quality of the platform’s public conversations, such an answer feels incomplete. Further, given the larger move that other popular social media networks have made toward private communication, it’s difficult to justify from a market need perspective. While we may never know the precise reason (or combination of reasons) that led to this decision, we break down a few possible options here.

Possible Culprit #1: Spam

It’s possible that, like Google Plus, the Messenger feature was plaguing users with spam requests, messages, and videos. For my part, I do recall using the now-defunct platform primarily for the Hangouts function, only to find that random users would hop on and off the calls I shared with friends and colleagues. Critics of G+ repeatedly used the term “drowning” to describe their inundation with unwanted or uninvited messages.

But this doesn’t seem like the likely culprit for YouTube’s direct messaging. For one, it’s not as popular enough of a feature to merit that type of throttling from spammers and bots. For another, if this were the case, it’s likely that more users would have noticed or reported the issue. But in this explanation, lies a second, more likely contributor to the tool’s shuttering.

Possible Culprit #2: Underutilization

Even a company the size of Google, which has…everything to burn: money, time, resources, and the like, can choose to not pursue something that isn’t worth the team’s attention. And direct messaging on the site could easily be counted among those things. The company isn’t afraid to shutter products that underperform (see also: Allo, Spark, or even Google Plus when the time came). And has someone who was only fully aware of the feature within the last two months or so, it’s easy to imagine that many other users had similarly overlooked—and therefore, not used—the tool.

This seems like the most likely cause for the feature’s coming shutdown. And yet that doesn’t mean that the brief announcement didn’t come without complaints. Who those complaints came from, though, could hold the key behind the most likely reason that direct messaging is leaving the platform.

Possible Culprit #3: Further Crackdowns on the Kid Experience

Sarah Perez’s examination of the decision for TechCrunch focused on one very specific element of the blowback on the Support post: the most vocal dismay seemed to come from the site’s youngest users. As she highlighted selections from the comments, she pointed out some of the common sentiments. “A sizable number of commenters are complaining that YouTube was the “only place” they could message their friends because they didn’t have a phone or weren’t allowed to give out their phone number. Some said they used the feature to “talk to their mom” or because they weren’t allowed to use social media.” And, to use Perez’s words from later in the piece, “That’s not a good look for YouTube at this time.”

Given their recent struggles with the content being served to kids, as well as the discovery of a pedophile ring in the comments of several videos, it makes complete sense that a space that allowed younger users to flout the authority of their parents would get shut down. Moreover, this could be the “improving public conversations” charge that is mentioned in the support post. As they do that, they claim to be focusing on comments, posts, and Stories (yep, YouTube has those); no one would argue that YouTube and Google should spend their time correcting the ongoing consequences of these scandals.

In the grand scheme, I think YouTube had the right idea when they added direct messaging to the platform a few years back; it allowed them to increase circulation of videos within their own domain. With that said, in the face of scandal around their youngest users’ experience and low utilization in other market segments, I think it also has the right idea in shutting it down. It stands to have a minimal impact on the platform experience for most users, and prioritizes the safety of those who did depend on it most.

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YouTube’s Dropping Its Paywall for Originals – Here’s What It Means for Marketers

With just over 30 days notice, YouTube Premium subscribers got an email from the company: when it came to Originals, they’d no longer be alone.

Delivering upon the promise they made to consumers at Brandcast in May, YouTube shared their plans to drop the paywall on YouTube Original programming beginning on September 24th. On that date, YouTube’s original shows, movies, and exclusive live events will become available to all YouTube users—regardless of subscription status. While this move has been viewed by many as a capitulation to the pressure of the highly competitive streaming wars, YouTube Chief Brand Officer Robert Kyncl views it another way: it aligns their Originals with the rest of YouTube’s strategy. “Everything is available free, and everything is available behind a paywall if there are certain features that you value in order to pay a subscription.”

For marketers, this is an opportunity to take advantage of ad support to target fans of these programs who previously may not have been paying for them. Fans of content creators like Liza Koshy and Gigi Gorgeous—who were creating both free and paywalled content for the site—will likely flock to these “new to them” series and films. Already popular offerings like Cobra Kai and Step Up: High Water can garner new viewers (and potential buyers, for you) with less of a commitment to the platform. And especially in light of many marketers’ voiced desire to increase their ad spends on YouTube, the fact that a new audience segment is opening should the decision even more attractive.

With that said, although Kyncl says that the strategy with Originals has “gone from being focused on driving subscriptions to aligning with our core business,” there are still perks to Premium access for these shows. When new shows are dropped, Premium viewers will have access to a full season at once, while ad-supported users will have to wait for weekly releases. Additionally, any director’s cut and other bonus content that shows opt to release, will be exclusive to Premium subscribers. But for those who elect to access these new shows with ads, the move confirms YouTube’s prevailing model…and, in the process, clarifies a new segment of prospective customers for marketers.

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6 Platforms to Add to Your 2019 Paid Social Toolkit

Paid social is becoming a crowded space, with 97% of marketers reportedly dedicating money to advertising through social media. Between the growing audiences of these platforms, and the rising cost of similar ads in search, ad spends across social make far more sense to the budget-conscious and the efficiency-obsessed. To that end, Hanapin Marketing takes time every year to assess the state of the paid social marketing landscape, and this week they shared their latest learnings with the world.

Where is most of the crowd congregating? To the surprise of no one: Facebook, who has garnered the attention of 91% of the surveyed population. Brand managers and agency reps aside have grown to depend on it for reliable reach and sophisticated analytics. But in a number of ways, new platforms are rising to rival its dominance…especially as 26% of marketers reported they plan to spend less on the platform throughout 2019.

Who stands to benefit from this shift in spending? Depending on your area of comfort with content creation, the age and engagement of your audience, or your “why” for advertising on social, the following spaces could be yours in which to shine.

The Video Villages: YouTube and Instagram

“We are becoming conditioned to favor video as a means of communication,” Hanapin reported in their study, “and it is unsurprising that social media consumption would reflect that behavior.” Moreover, it is unsurprising that platforms who are friendly to video – both algorithmically and in terms of features – will rise quickly as this conditioning takes root. As such, Instagram and YouTube were the two platforms Hanapin found that have the biggest chance of rivaling Facebook.

On each platform, highly dynamic ad formats were found to be both incredibly popular and highly effective. For YouTube, pre-roll (skippable) ads are far and away the most frequently used format; even when skipped, they do play a role in consumer decisions. And for Instagram, compelling Story Ads have fast become the most effective form. Not only has each become more hospitable to how we regularly consume content, but the interfaces that allow us to craft and place ads have grown in sophistication—making our time and energy in these spaces ever more worthwhile.

The Comeback Kids: LinkedIn and Snapchat

LinkedIn and Snapchat are working hard to reclaim their onetime glory not just by improving the offerings on their sites for users, but also growing and improving the ad experience for marketers. And while these ads don’t necessarily do the blockbuster numbers that the top three platforms get, you can get results in a highly specific market if you use these spaces wisely.

Hanapin cites LinkedIn as the platform that currently “pays [most] attention to the needs and priorities of their advertisers.” For the site, a recent overhaul of their Campaign Manager has allowed for highly specific ad targeting. And as more users flock to the platform to take advantage of their live video, document sharing, and educational offerings, those seeking to reach a business-minded client will do well in the space. Meanwhile, Snapchat’s burst of new features and partnerships make it a highly attractive option for those seeking to reach a younger audience. 71% of users are under 24, and 45% are 18-24. This means that spending your time in this once-again booming ecosystem means crafting ads that appeal to that age group: compelling, captivating, and befitting of the space Snap has cultivated there. As with LinkedIn, the clientele is considerably more specific; your approach there should adapt accordingly.

The Dark Horses: Quora and Reddit

“Quora was predicted in last year’s report to be an up and coming platform for advertising,” Hanapin shared in this year’s report, “and it sure has proven itself.” While numbers are still small for paid social, investment in ads on the question-and-answer based platform has quadrupled in 2019. Much of this can be attributed to the attention Quora itself has given to advertising; they’ve released 5 beta programs to target and place ads, and stand to release several more before year’s end. You’d be wise to explore the platform before it too gets crowded; 27% of marketers want to up their spend there (compared to 9% the year before).

For the fringe treatment that Reddit often gets, Hanapin rightfully points out the highly engaged and authentic nature of its users, additionally sharing that its average use and engagement outpaces other outlets we look to more readily for advertisement—including Twitter, Pinterest, and the aforementioned Snapchat and Pinterest. As with Quora, their ad targeting, reporting, and campaign management tools are continuing to evolve, likely to anticipate more advertisers wanting to be there. For brand managers and agencies hoping to help clients stand apart, this pair of rising platforms could be worth your time, energy…and ad dollars.

The full report is worth a read for all marketers, whether you’re actively looking to reconsider your paid social approach, or if something in this rundown caught your eye. How will you let Hanapin’s insight frame the future of paid social for your organization?

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The post 6 Platforms to Add to Your 2019 Paid Social Toolkit appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/08/6-platforms-to-add-to-your-2019-paid-social-toolkit/