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Instagram requiring birthdates, FTC’s guide to influencer disclosures, and 93% of reporters favor …

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Good morning, PR pros:

The Federal Trade Commission recently issued a guide, “Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers,” which outlines rules for disclosing any “financial, employment, personal or family relationship” that social media rock stars have with the organizations they post about online.

PR/social media pros take note: FTC publishes “Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers” – new guidelines covering the degree a social media influencer must disclose his or her relationship with an organization. (Via ⁦@InstituteForPR⁩) https://t.co/Zy6wza2VQz

— Sonja Popp-Stahly (@SonjaPoppStahly) December 5, 2019

Along with using hashtags such as #ad, disclosures on pictures (including via Instagram or Snapchat) must be superimposed on the image, not just in the description. In a similar vein, disclosures must be included inside videos and not just the descriptions. When livestreaming, influencers should repeat the disclosure periodically. Brand managers should share this information with their influencer partners to ensure these rules are followed.

How do you work with partners on best practices about disclosures? Share your thoughts under the #MorningScoop hashtag.

Here are today’s top stories:

Instagram adds age requirement

The social media platform is now requiring users to enter their birthdate to use the app, instead of the prior practice of checking a box affirming that the user is at least 13 years old.

Starting today, we’ll ask for your birthdate when creating an account, and in the coming weeks, we’ll give you more control over who can message you.

This will help us keep young people safer and enable more age-appropriate experiences. Learn more: https://t.co/j7HuSB9Mng pic.twitter.com/8k1cejWal5

— Instagram (@instagram) December 4, 2019

In a blog post, Instagram wrote:

… Asking for this information will help prevent underage people from joining Instagram, help us keep young people safer and enable more age-appropriate experiences overall. Your birthday will not be visible to others on Instagram, but you’ll be able to see it when viewing your own private account information.

Why it matters: Though Instagram says it’ll use the feature for “more age-appropriate experiences” (read: to keep the social media platform out of a PR crisis), it’s also going to use members’ birthdates to target ads within the app. Marketers, this means that you might soon find more effective ways of reaching certain demographics on the Facebook-owned app.


FROM THE EXPERTS

Are you looking to use podcasts to reach your audience in 2020?

PR Daily Editor Ted Kitterman caught up with the team at Trek Bicycles that launched a podcast to connect with cycling enthusiasts and casual bikers. Brand Director Eric Bjorling shares the lessons he and his team learned by working on the series.

Top takeaways include:

  • Specify your content goals.
  • Get top leaders on board early.
  • Plan to invest plenty of time promoting your show.

Hear the full story here.


MEASURED THOUGHTS

Muck Rack’s “The State of Journalism 2019” report revealed that the majority of reporters view PR relationships as “mutually beneficial,” even though they don’t consider them partnerships.

Image courtesy of Muck Rack

However, that doesn’t mean journalists enjoy being blasted with pitches. About two-thirds (65%) want to be pitched between 9 and 11 a.m. Keep it short and sweet (only 6% want pitches over three paragraphs) and through email, unless you know a particular reporter would like your pitch through Twitter or over the phone (and they probably don’t want the latter).

Image courtesy of Muck Rack.

Google sued for ‘stolen’ song lyrics

 Genius, a website repository of song lyrics, filed a lawsuit against the search giant, alleging Google is “copying its lyrics data,” as Engadget reported. When people use Google to search for song lyrics, Genius says that the lyric-licensing company LyricFind pulls them directly from Genius’ website and places them on Google’s search results, decreasing Genius’ website traffic.

 Why you should care: You might not be locked into a copyright or trademark battle, but you would be wise to carefully observe those laws whenever you create and publish any type of content. Observe the best practice of scanning the internet for your own created content, as well, to prevent images, articles and videos that are yours from being used illegally by others.

Don’t assume you know copyright law, either. Check out these tips from a copyright expert.


TACTICALLY SPEAKING

Ford and McDonald’s have partnered to announce a new sustainability measure: The fast-food chain’s coffee chaff will be used to form a composite that can be used in making auto parts, such as headlamp housings.

PC Mag reported that the production process with coffee chaff requires 25% less energy, another sustainability win.

Buckle up, grab your coffee, and see how we’re teaming up with @McDonaldsCorp to drive #sustainability forward from an unlikely source. pic.twitter.com/kFomPKSRVc

— Ford Motor Company (@Ford) December 4, 2019


WHAT YOU SAID

We asked how involved your executives and leaders are with your branded content and campaigns, and 40% of you said there is a lot of interaction on certain projects, while 33% said executives are involved only when asked or given specific directives. Though 20% have leaders who are the face of their organizations, 7% struggle with executives’ not understanding the value of PR.

How involved are your executives and leaders with your branded content and campaigns?

We want to hear how you get your executives involved with internal and external efforts. Share your struggles and successes below and under #MorningScoop to be featured in our roundup.

— PR Daily (@PRDaily) December 4, 2019


SOUNDING BOARD

What’s your view on branded podcasts, and how are you planning to use them in 2020?

What’s your view on branded podcasts and how are you planning to use them in 2020?

Weigh in below and share your favorite podcasts below and under #MorningScoop to be featured in our roundup.

— PR Daily (@PRDaily) December 5, 2019

Share your insights, along with what you’re listening to, under the hashtag #MorningScoop.

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INSTAGRAM

Instagram’s VP of Product Provides Insight into its Hidden Like Count Test

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Instagram’s hidden like counts test has been a source of much debate since the platform first announced the trial back in April last year.

Why would Instagram do this? What will the impacts be on measurement? Will it cause people to post more or less as a result?

Thus far, Instagram hasn’t provided many answers, but this week, we got a little more insight into the thinking behind the test, and its current impacts, via Vishal Shah, Instagram’s VP of Product, who took part in an interview on ‘The Social Media Geekout’ podcast, which is hosted by social media expert Matt Navarra.

The interview is well worth a listen for anyone looking to get a better understanding of Instagram’s internal thinking, on many aspects, but on the hidden like counts test specifically, Shah provides an overview, and some explanations to help clarify where they’re at. 

Shah first notes that the origin of the hidden like count test came from internal feedback from its various teams.

“This one came from the team that works on interactions and feed, so this team is incentivized to try to drive more likes [and] more comments, but in all of their user research, they heard so loud and clear that people felt like the public like count was a very high area of pressure for them when they produce content on Instagram […] the act of expression itself is what we cared about, not the validation, or perceived validation, that a public like count gets people.” 

Shah says that when Instagram was first launched, a public Like count made sense (“that was sort of a norm at the time”), but now, particularly when you consider the rise of the Stories format, public engagement metrics are no longer the things that drive behavior.

“If people were deleting the stuff that they posted to feed because they felt like they were competing with themselves [or] they were competing with public figures and celebrities and influencers that they felt they could never be on an even playing field, we thought this was one of the most effective ways to even that playing field and remove some of that pressure for performing.”

Shah says this is one of the biggest changes that they have ever sought to make, and the reason that it’s taking so long to test is because Instagram’s internal team needs more time to be able to measure the true impact of the update before moving ahead. With such a significant change, Shah says, some shifts in behavior will occur in the short-term, but to really understand the behavioral effects, you need a longer time frame to see whether it’s actually altering usage.

And while he doesn’t go into depth about the results they’ve seen thus far, Shah does provide this little indicator of what’s happening:

“We knew going into this that we would likely have to trade-off some amount of engagement to do this work, and we are very comfortable doing that if in the end it makes people more comfortable expressing themselves and sharing on Instagram.”

That would likely suggest that they are seeing a reduction in post engagement in regions where like counts have been removed.

That would align with a recent study by HypeAuditor, which found that total like counts have fallen for influencers operating within the regions where the test is active.

HypeAuditor hidden like counts report

That test is confined to influencers only, but based on Shah’s comments, this may well be indicative of the broader trends – that people are, in fact, seeing less engagement on their posts, overall, as a result of like counts being removed.

What Shah doesn’t note, however, is how Instagram is measuring the relative success, or not, of the test.

How will Instagram decide if it’s ultimately a success or a failure, and what metrics is it looking to improve as a result of the trial?

If there’s a reduction in the amount of people deleting their posts, is that an indicator of success?

One recent report suggested that the actual aim of Instagram’s hidden likes test is less about user wellbeing, as such, and more about getting users to post more often. CNBC reported last month that, according to three former Instagram employees, internal research at the company suggested that hiding like counts would “increase the number of posts people make to the service, by making them feel less self-conscious when their posts don’t get much engagement”.

That makes some sense, and as a side benefit, maybe it also reduces that performance pressure which Instagram is using as the main impetus for the change. Less pressure, more content – Instagram wins in the long term, and in that sense, it’s possible that increased post frequency per user is the key metric that Instagram is looking at in order to measure the ultimate success or failure of the trial.

Shah says they haven’t made a decision at this stage as to whether the test will be rolled out to all users, but he notes that they remain excited about the project, and that they will continue to push forward with the test.

In addition to this, Shah also discusses the development of Instagram’s ‘Threads’ messaging app, the expansion of messaging access to the desktop version, and the future of the app more broadly. Shah shares a lot of interesting notes – if you’re looking to get a better understanding of the platform and where it’s headed, you can (and should) check out the ‘Social Media Geekout’ podcast here.

So nothing concrete on the future of hidden like counts as yet, but it’s interesting to consider what these insights mean for the current impacts, as well as the motivations behind the actual implementation and success of the test.

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INSTAGRAM

Instagram Gets New SloMo, Echo, and Duo Filters for Boomberang

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Facebook-owned Instagram on Saturday introduced three new options to share Boomerang Stories: SlowMo, Echo, and Duo, along with a new few feature to trim their length.

“Your Instagram camera gives you ways to express yourself and easily share what you’re doing, thinking or feeling with your friends. Boomerang is an iconic part of that, and one of the most beloved camera formats. Instagram is excited to expand on the creativity and give you new ways to use Boomerang to turn everyday moments into something fun and unexpected,” the company said in a statement.

The new filters are available in the Boomerang composer located in the Instagram Stories camera.

With SlowMo, as the name suggests, Boomerang videos are slowed to half their original speed. Echo creates a double vision effect, enhancing Boomerang and Duo, both speeds up and slows down Boomerang, adding a texturized effect.

It’s also possible to trim and adjust the length of recorded Boomerangs with the update.

The new effects come as an over-the-air (OTA) update.

To access these new effects, take a Boomerang as usual, open the Story camera, swipe over to “Boomerang” on the carousel, then tap the shutter button or hold it down and let go. Next, tap the infinity symbol along the top of the display to access the new effects.

Instagram recently launched new “Layout” feature that will allow users to include multiple photos in a single story.

With this, users now create their Stories with up to six different photos, although this new feature was already on third-party apps to create similar images.

A user just need to do is open the Stories camera inside Instagram and look for “Layout” to start combining the photos. Once finished, just publish the Story just like any other.

NDTV Gadgets360.com

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FACEBOOK

4 Million Advertisers Are Using Stories Across Instagram, Facebook, Messenger

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The total topped 3 million last May

Facebook highlighted recent Stories campaigns by Grove Collaborative and Clinique

beer5020/iStock

Facebook said at CES 2020 Tuesday that 4 million advertisers are now using Stories ads across Instagram, Facebook and Messenger.

The company’s Stories advertiser total topped 3 million last May.

The social network also highlighted recent Stories campaigns by two brands.

Direct-to-consumer brand Grove Collaborative—which makes eco-friendly household products in areas including cleaning, personal care, babies, kids and pets—created full-screen vertical video ads for immersive mobile viewing.

Facebook said the style of the videos was “personal and casual,” making it seem like actual customers were sharing videos of Grove Collaborative products being used in their homes, adding that viewers were able to swipe up to access the company’s online store.

Grove Collaborative said 37% of its new customers came via Stories, and the campaign resulted in a 25% lower cost per acquisition compared with all of its placements and a click-through rate 2.1 times higher than all of its other placements.

Skin care product manufacturer Clinique used its global #FindMyiD campaign to leverage data from Facebook’s platform and identify the top three concerns around skin.

In what the social network called a “great demonstration of personalization at scale,” Clinique then delivered personalized ads based on consumer signals, driving conversions online and in-store.

The campaign delivered a 114% lift in offline conversions in Malaysia, a 13-point lift in brand awareness (compared with the luxury benchmark of four points) in France and ad recall in 14 out of 20 markets that was two times the norms.

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