BRAND: James is a bigger star than ever. He and Carter co-founded Uninterrupted, a platform for first-person athlete stories hosted on Bleacher Report; he made a well-received crossover into film with a prominent role in Judd Apatow's "Trainwreck"; and whispers abound that he will succeed Michael Jordan in the Looney Tunes sports movie "Space Jam 2."
MEDIA: Over the past nine months, NewsWhip says, the research shows a fairly sharp decline in engagement of all kinds: Likes, the most dominant form of interaction, dropped by about 55% between July of last year and April of 2016. And sharing activity also declined sharply: Shares fell by 57% and comments by almost 64%.
ECOMMERCE: Product Hunt has begun selling directly to shoppers with help from merchant partners who list products. The business model is a blend of publishing and ecommerce that may start a trend and open up another way to sell online. The Product Hunt website, which was launched in November 2013, curates community-posted product reviews of a sort, offering a list of hot new items each day. Savvy ecommerce marketers already know that being featured on Product Hunt will drive sales.
ECOMMERCE: Twiggle was founded in 2013 by chief executive officer Amir Konigsberg, who was one of Google’s first employees in Israel, and chief technology officer Adi Avidor, formerly a lead software engineer at Google Israel. It has already struck deals to be integrated into several major e-commerce sites this summer, but hasn’t revealed exactly who its clients are. It’s reasonable to assume, however, that they will include platforms owned by its investors.
BRAND: The purpose of marketing is to drive sales, which is why brands hire agencies. But many times, when a new technology comes out — be it QR codes, wearables, augmented reality or virtual reality — agencies push clients to jump onto a shiny project even while fully aware that it will not lead to return on investment. As a CEO of a digital agency described it, “Agencies use new tech when they know it will fail.”
MEDIA: Facebook has changed its algorithm to put more video in people’s feeds, publishers have shifted resources to video production, in some cases, focusing predominantly on video. So even if publishers are still posting more text articles than video, each video is likely reaching more people. (It’s hard to know just how much, though; NewsWhip only provides that data to individual publishers about their own sites, but doesn’t share an industry-wide view of that data.)
MEDIA: Once you're into a mobile world, there are two dominant platforms: Android and iOS. Inside of that, there's this ecosystem that exists. I think all of those forces have worked together. The really interesting thing is Apple just believed that native experiences were better than mobile web experiences — that's really driven the success of apps. I think we're about to move into a new phase where bots are a really interesting dimension.
BRAND: U.K.-based regional airline easyJet is trying to solve that problem, at least in theory, with a new pair of internet-connected sneakers that signal to wearers when to turn left or right by vibrating underneath the respective foot. This way, sightseers' heads can stay up, taking in the surroundings while they walk, without losing their way. The shoes buzz twice to indicate a wrong turn, thanks to a connection to Google Maps via Bluetooth, and easyJet's proprietary app. They also adjust to provide a new route if a user veers intentionally off course. Upon arriving at the destination, both sneakers will buzz.
DATA: Donald Trump has garnered a lot of attention as a Republican presidential candidate. But how has this attention impacted his business interests? Are sales up or down? The Trump brand is associated with a variety of hotels, apartments, and products. On one hand, a growing number of political supporters could boost sales of Trump products; on the other, a growing number of political detractors could lead people to avoid his brand. Also, here is how this data is potentially skewed.
ECOMMERCE: Twitter disbanded the team working on 'Buy' buttons, as Recode reported on Thursday, and shifted its focus on commerce to other initiatives. The 'Buy' button technology still exists, and retailers can still use Stripe's new product, Relay, to sell products on Twitter. But the perception that Stripe's biggest partner no longer considers it a priority doesn't look good. You could imagine the challenge convincing potential retail partners that they should invest in a program whose biggest platform partner no longer appears to be interested.
Last Word: Bottling Virality
My position on content and commerce is not very conventional. Though the fanfare has simmered since 2012’s early iterations, a symbiotic relationship between an eCommerce brand and an independent media organization would address two primary issues that hinder each category.
eCommerce: Building a consistent flow of quality traffic is difficult. PR is expensive.
media: ✗ banner ads ⇢ ✗ native ads ⇢ ✗ branded media ⇢ what next?