This collection of social media marketing and new hire announcements is a compilation of the past week’s briefs from our daily Marketing Land newsletter. Click here to subscribe and get more news like this delivered to your inbox every morning.

Facebook confirms Groups data breach caused by API bug. The company said that private Groups member information – such as names and profile pictures – might have been accessed by approximately 100 partner developers from video streaming and social media management apps. According to Facebook, developers that may have accessed group members’ information after the Groups API restrictions were announced in April 2018 will be asked to delete member data that might have been retained. There has been no evidence of abuse discovered so far, Facebook said.

Expanding Messenger encryption, despite warnings. On Wednesday, Reuters reported that Facebook plans to expand encryption across its Messenger platform, despite warnings from regulators and government officials that the enhanced security will help protect pedophiles and other criminals. The plans were announced at the Web Summit tech conference in Lisbon earlier this week. Executives told Reuters they plan to detail safety measures, including stepped-up advisories for recipients of unwanted content. The changes have gained the support of civil rights groups and technology experts globally.

LinkedIn adds new language translation settings. In an effort to make LinkedIn more accessible and personalized for international users, the platform has introduced two new settings. The settings allow users to input all the languages they understand but do not want to be offered translations for, as well as the ability to define which language users would like all content translated into. This makes the choice of content experience explicit, and also extends the translation offering beyond the LinkedIn interface languages to the 60 offered for translation by Microsoft Cognitive Services.

Facebook urged to ban political ads ahead of UK election. In an open letter published on Monday, Mozilla, political pundits, and campaigners demanded that the social media giant stop running political ads until Dec. 12. Referencing Facebook’s current ad policies, the letter states: “We are aware that these policies are subject to debate both inside and outside the company. While that debate continues, people in the UK are left in uncertainty about whether they can trust what they see on the platform.” The petition follows Twitter’s recent move to ban political ads, with Twitter’s CEO confirming that the company plans to share more on the final policy by November 15, and will begin enforcing its ban on political ads November 22.


Our ad tech trends roundup of 2019 shows that digital ad spend in the U.S. remains dominated by the Google and Facebook duopoly. Amazon, at 7% share, is the only seller to break out from the pack of would-be challengers. Amazon this year released a number of improvements to its ad-buying interfaces, such as improving the usability of its DSP, extending the reach of Sponsored Products, adding a rewards program tool, incorporating customer acquisition metrics and enabling dynamic bidding for Sponsored Products ads.

However, even as Amazon continues to build up its advertising product, as well as the new mobile, over-the-top (OTT) and connected TV ad inventory entering the space in the coming year, the Facebook/Google duopoly will likely continue to dominate into 2020.

On the Move

Ad platform Criteo has named Megan Clarken CEO. The company is splitting the roles of CEO and chairman, adding Clarken to lead the organization, while Criteo’s founder and former CEO JB Rudelle will continue as chairman of the company’s board of directors. “I am personally very happy to work with Megan on the next phase of our transformative journey. The addition of Megan will significantly strengthen our executive team in its strategic evolution,” said Rudelle. Clarken comes to Criteo after fifteen years with Nielsen. Most recently she served as the chief commercial officer for Nielsen Global Media.    

Michael Londgren has been named chief marketing officer for Seismic, a SaaS sales enablement platform. He will oversee the company’s international and vertical growth and be tasked with growing its position within the industry. “Michael has a strong history establishing companies as market leaders within their respective categories,” said Seismic CEO Doug Winter. The CEO went on to say he was confident that Londgren would help the company deepen its market leadership. Prior to joining Seismic, Londgren held marketing leadership roles at Google Cloud, DocuSign, Adobe and BoardVantage. 

The video technology company KERV Interactive has expanded its C-suite with the promotion of  Marika Roque to chief operating officer and Taylor Pate to chief technology officer. The two will work together to plan, develop and implement the company’s technology roadmap — including its SaaS platform strategies, building on current product features, KERV’s social and YouTube offerings, as well as on-boarding publishers to its system. “We are thrilled to promote them to our C-Suite, and we are confident their leadership will help us continue to grow and reach new milestones,“ said KERV CEO Gary Mittman. While Roque will be focused on managing client-facing needs and operational elements, Page will oversee the technology roadmap and functionality.

The Big Picture

Build trust in your audience with these key email marketing considerations

Gaining permission from a recipient sets the stage for building trust. This includes both the trust of the recipient and the trust of their ISP, which ultimately controls which emails are delivered, which go into the spam folder and which are blocked entirely.


About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is a senior editor for Third Door Media, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land, Search Engine Land and MarTech Today. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.


This collection of social media marketing and new hire announcements is a compilation of the past week’s briefs from our daily Marketing Land newsletter. Click here to subscribe and get more news like this delivered to your inbox every morning.

Twitter reports an uptick in data requests. Between January and June of 2019, Twitter received 7,300 demands for user data, with the majority of requests coming from U.S. government agencies (2,120 demands for 4,150 accounts), reports TechCrunch. Requests for data was up 6% compared to the same time period last year, according to the company’s latest transparency report. “Twitter said it removed 124,339 accounts for impersonation, and 115,861 accounts for promoting terrorism, a decline of 30% on the previous reporting period,” writes TechCruch. Twitter has also added impersonation data and insight to the report, offering up numbers on actions taken against accounts posing as another person, brand or organization. During the first half of the year, Twitter said it took action against 124,339 accounts for violating its impersonation policy.

No more political ads on Twitter. If you missed Wednesday’s news, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced on Twitter, minutes before Facebook’s earnings call, the company will stop allowing political ads on the platform. “While internet advertising is incredibly powerful and very effective for commercial advertisers, that power brings significant risks to politics, where it can be used to influence votes to affect the lives of millions,” tweeted Dorsey. The CEO said the company plans to share more on the final policy by November 15 and begin enforcing its ban on political ads November 22. The timing of Dorsey’s tweet — right before Facebook’s earnings call — was arguably an indirect dig at Facebook in light of its stance not to fact-check ads from politicians. Facebook argues its policy is about free speech, and that political ads will account for only 0.5% of its total revenue next year. 

Facebook files lawsuit against OnlineNIC. Facebook is suing OnlineNIC and its privacy/proxy service ID Shield for registering fraudulent domain names, such as and that were created to look as if they were connected to Facebook. “By mentioning our apps and services in the domain names, OnlineNIC and ID Shield intended to make them appear legitimate and confuse people,” writes Facebook Director of Platform Enforcement and Litigation Jessica Romero, “We don’t want people to be deceived, so we track and take action against suspicious and misleading domains, including those registered using privacy/proxy services that allow owners to hide their identity.” Facebook said there millions of such fraudulent domains, and that it actively reports such abuse to domain name registrars. But, in some instances, domain name registrars and privacy/proxy services fail to take down the domains. “This was the case with OnlineNIC and ID Shield, and that’s why we’ve taken this action to stop this type of domain name abuse,” writes Romero.

Sprout Social files to go public. The social media management platform Sprout Social has filed for its IPO, reports Crunchbase. Founded in 2010, the company currently has 23,000 customers in 100 countries per its S-1 filing, with the lion’s share of its revenue coming from software subscriptions. “The company estimates that the market opportunity for its product is $13 billion in the United States. And since about 30 percent of its revenue came from customers in other countries in 2018, Sprout believes the international opportunity is, at least, as large,” writes Crunchbase. Sprout Social revenue in 2018 was $78.8 million, up from $44.8 million the previous year.

Hootsuite and Proofpoint deliver compliance tool. Hootsuite and Proofpoint, a security and compliance company, have partnered to offer a real-time compliance verification feature for composing and publishing social media content via the Hootsuite composer platform. “This feature will put up the guardrails, and give our customers in regulated industries the confidence to empower their people to capitalize on the power of social media to achieve their business objectives, particularly around social selling,” said Hootsuite SVP of Product and Technology Ryan Donovan. The tool will be integrated into Hootsuite’s composer platform so that social media posts will be automatically screened — alerting Hootsuite users to common compliance policy violations as they type. Users will not be able to publish a social post until the violation is corrected.

Buffer adds scheduling feature for Instagram Stories. Earlier this month, the social media management tool Buffer rolled out a new feature that allows users to plan their Instagram Stories in advance, with the option to storyboard their posts, create draft captions, and schedule a reminder for posting for the Story. “We spent months talking to consumer brands that are using Stories as a key channel for their marketing, and found that there was a common theme; they were spending too much time navigating between tools to prepare their Stories, and scrambling to keep up with their audience’s appetite for regular content,” said Buffer Product Marketer Mike Eckstein. The feature is available on Buffer’s web application, as well as its iOS and Android apps. 

Facebook aims to keep users healthy. Facebook has rolled out a new Preventive Health Tool designed to connect users with health resources and check-up reminders. “To help you keep track of your checkups, we collect information you provide, such as when you set reminders or mark a screening as done. We also log more general activity, like frequency of clicks for a specific button, which allows us to understand how the tool is being used, in order to improve it over time,” wrote Facebook on its Newsroom Blog. Users will be able to set appointment reminders, schedule health tests and find affordable care using the Preventive Health tool. The company says recommendations for checkups offered by the tool are based on a user’s sex and age per their Facebook profile. At first glance, it looks like a helpful resource, but it’s worth noting just how much information you’re giving a platform that has never been all that good about keeping user data safe.

Employees want Facebook to change its ad policies. In response to Facebook’s policy of not fact-checking ads from politicians, a group of 250 Facebook employees signed a letter asking the company’s leaders to rethink how it handles political advertising, reports the New York Times. The employees said the policy is a “threat to what FB stands for” and that they “Strongly object to this policy as it stands.” The letter, which was posted on Facebook’s internal Workplace platform, was shared with the New York Times by three employees who asked not to be named. Facebook spokesperson Bertie Thomson told the New York Times, “Facebook’s culture is built on openness, so we appreciate our employees voicing their thoughts on this important topic. We remain committed to not censoring political speech, and will continue exploring additional steps we can take to bring increased transparency to political ads.”

Twitter confirms certain users will see more ads. Twitter has confirmed that users with high follower counts may be seeing more ads in their timeline. The company sent the following statement to Marketing Land when asked about the uptick in ads for certain users: “Historically, people with high follower counts have seen fewer ads. Recently, we’ve taken a more consistent approach of showing ads to everyone who uses Twitter and as a result, people with higher follower counts will notice an increase in the number of ads they’re seeing.” When asked what it deems a “high follower count,” Twitter would not divulge any numbers.

On the Move

Michael Scheiner has been named chief marketing officer for the Tommy Hilfiger. The retail brand says Scheiner will be tasked with bringing the company into a “new era of innovative marketing strategies” across digital and experiential platforms, aiming to reach the next generation of shoppers. Tommy Hilfiger CEO Daniel Grieder said he believes Scheiner will help fuel the company’s ongoing digital transformation. “I am excited to work closely with Tommy, Daniel and the company’s talented marketing teams around the world to write the next chapter,” said Scheiner. Before joining the company, Scheiner was the SVP of global marketing for Hollister Co.

Nationwide has promoted Ramon Jones to chief marketing officer. He has been with the insurance company for nearly 20 years and will be replacing Terrance Williams who announced he will be leaving the company in November. Jones will report to Nationwide CEO Kirt Walker and will oversee brand and marketing strategy, creative services, social media and corporate communications. “During his nearly two decades at Nationwide, he has held numerous leadership roles in the business and in marketing that make him uniquely qualified to promote and protect the Nationwide brand and position him to drive further business success,” said Walker about Jones’ appointment to CMO. Jones most recently served as Nationwide’s financial services marketing leader.

Beyond Meat has recruited Stuart Kronauge to serve as its chief marketing officer. The producer of plant-based burgers is bringing on Kronauge to help advance product sales in retail stores and build partnerships with more restaurants open to vegan offerings. Kronauge comes to Beyond Meat from Coca-Cola where she was employed for more than 20 years. Kronauge is credited with the resurgence of Coca-Cola’s Coke Zero, Diet Coke, Sprite and Fanta product lines during her time at the company. She will officially join Beyond Meat in January, 2020. 

Jeff Herzog has been appointed chairman and CEO of the digital marketing agency ZD3. “I am excited to be back in the industry as the CEO of ZD3 and grateful to my team and clients that continue to support our innovation and drive forward into rapidly expanding and changing digital landscape,” said Herzog. Prior to being named CEO, Herzog founded ZOG Digital in 2011. That agency was acquired by Inventis Digital in 2017. He is also the founder and former CEO of iCrossing before it was purchased in 2010 by Hearst Magazine.

Toronto-based agency SDI Marketing has named Tom Sorotschynski vice president. He will be tasked with driving the agency forward and report to Senior Vice President Kim Harland. “His passion for emerging technologies and understanding of the ever-evolving digital landscape allows him to create programs that are all-encompassing and truly connect consumers to brands,” said Harland. Sorotschynski most recently served as the vice president and general manager for Traffik & 5Crowd agencies owned by Sgsco, a global collective of brand agencies.

BrandStar, a full-service production and marketing agency, has hired Bradley Saveth to fill the newly created VP of strategic partnerships role. “Saveth joins BrandStar with a wealth of relationships, experience, and expertise to match clients with strategic opportunities and expand the agency’s global footprint,” said BrandStar CEO Mark Alfieri. Before joining BrandStar, Saveth launched two startups: goCharge and Vital Motion. He most recently was the president of Big Salad Consulting. During his career, Saveth has worked with a number of consumer brands, including Verizon, Wells Fargo, Wendy’s and more.

About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is a senior editor for Third Door Media, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land, Search Engine Land and MarTech Today. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.


The web development platform Squarespace has acquired Unfold, an app used to create Story content on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. The company did not release any financial details for the deal, but confirmed Unfold’s founders, Alfonso Cobo and Andy McCune, are joining the Squarespace team.

“Unfold and Squarespace share the same DNA and vision for empowering creators,” said Cobo and McCune in a statement on Squarespace’s website, “Together, we’ll continue to rethink how people share stories to connect and inspire.”

Why we should care

For SMBs and marketers without the design resources of a major brand, having a tool like Unfold to create Stories across Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat can help elevate their social content at a relatively small costs.

This is Squarespace’s second acquisition this year. The company bought Acuity Software in April, an online appointment and booking tool for businesses. Squarespace had previously integrated Acuity’s capabilities into its development platform, but the acquisition allowed for a more integrated solution.

“We will now be able to deeply integrate our product lines in the same way we have done with our commerce and marketing tools to enable a seamless experience for our customers,” wrote Squarespace CEO Anthony Casalena at the time of the Acquity acquisition.

The company’s recent moves, first with the Acquity Software purchase and now the Unfold acquisition, demonstrate it’s goal to be a comprehensive platform that goes beyond web development tools, now offering a social creation app for marketers.

More on the news

  • Unfold is a startup founded by Cobo and McCune last year.
  • Squarespace reports Unfold users have created more than 700 million Stories using the app, and that it ranked No. 1 in the App Store’s photo/video category in nearly 12 countries.
  • There is a free version of the Unfold app available via download on the Apple App Store and Google Play, and a premium version with template collections and features available for Unfold paid members. A paid membership costs $2.99 per month or $19.99 per year.

About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is a senior editor for Third Door Media, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land, Search Engine Land and MarTech Today. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.


This collection of social media marketing and new hire announcements is a compilation of the past week’s briefs from our daily Marketing Land newsletter. Click here to subscribe and get more news like this delivered to your inbox every morning.

Facebook makes space for news. Facebook has confirmed to Marketing Land it will not be placing ads in its newly introduced News tab, but publishers will still be able to monetize their content as usual with Instant Articles and other options.

The Washington Post first reported Facebook would be launching a news tab on the platform. Sources told the paper that the news stories featured in the tab will include articles from hundreds of news organizations, some of which will receive payment from Facebook for their content.

“Facebook’s service will include some human curation by a small editorial team of journalists, who will select top stories. But mostly the News tab will rely on computerized algorithms that seek to match user interests with offerings from a wide range of reports on politics, sports, health, technology, entertainment and other subjects,” reports the Washington Post. 

The Washington Post listed itself among the approximately 200 news organizations that will be included in the launch.

Other publications named by sources include the Wall Street Journal (which is owned by News Corp.), Business Insider, BuzzFeed News and local news publications. Sources told the Washington Post that the New York Times was also likely to participate, but terms had not been finalized. According to the report, payments by Facebook to news organizations will range from “hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.”

New look for LinkedIn’s Daily Rundown. LinkedIn has redesigned its Daily Rundown, the platform where the site curates news stories selected by an internal team of editors. The redesign includes new navigation that makes it easier for users to move between stories and go deeper into specific topics. By clicking on a headline within the Daily Rundown, users will be able to see conversations happening on the platform about the story. The site has also started a pilot program allowing users to subscribe to regularly published pieces by industry thought leaders. LinkedIn mentioned two available newsletters: the “Get Hired” newsletter and one called “The Hustle” — both offering insights into the job hunt and professional goals. Users who have access to the pilot program can find more newsletters by clicking the “Newsletters Related to Your Industry” option under the “My Network” tab.

TikTok touts its safety measures. The short-form video app TikTok, which boasts more than 500 million users, has released a second set of videos that are part of its “You’re in Control” video series, highlighting the platform’s safety and privacy features. “Educating our users on the options we provide to help them craft their optimal TikTok experience is one of our top priorities,” writes TikTok on its newsroom blog. The company has enlisted 12 of its most popular creators to produce videos on six different topics, including how to block a user, how to filter comments, reporting inappropriate behavior and how to disable or enable the duet feature which allows two videos to be posted side-by-side in the same screen. 

Majority of political tweets come from only 10% of users. After analyzing a random sample of tweets from U.S. adults with public accounts, Pew Research found the majority of political tweets are made by a very small segment of users. According to their findings: 97% of tweets mentioning national politics came from only 10% of users. Those who are tweeting about politics are also more likely to follow others who feel the same way they do. “Political tweeters – defined as those who tweeted at least five times in total, and at least twice about national politics, over the year of the study period – are almost twice as likely as other Twitter users to say the people they follow on Twitter have political beliefs similar to their own,” writes Pew Research.

Facebook’s latest efforts to safeguard elections

Facebook is doing some crisis control this week after receiving much criticism for how it handles political content and advertising on the platform — allowing candidates to run ads containing false information. The company announced a number of new updates to its Ad Library, launched the Facebook Protect program and made Pages more transparent. None of these updates reverse the company’s decision that, as the Washington Post put it: “Opens a frightening new world for political communication — and for national politics.” 

Here’s a rundown of the company’s recent moves to keep its platform safe during elections:

Updates to Ad Library offer more insight into political ads. Facebook’s Ad Library, the platform that archives all ads run on the platform during the past seven years, will now include a feature that tracks spending by U.S. presidential candidates. Facebook is also adding spend details for candidate campaigns at the state and regional level, and clarification around where the ad ran: Facebook, Instagram, Messenger or Facebook’s Audience Network. Starting next month, Facebook said it will begin testing a new database that allows researchers to download the entire ad library and pull daily snapshots to track day-to-day changes.

Facebook Protect: A program to keep political accounts safe. Launched this week, Facebook Protect is designed to secure Facebook and Instagram accounts belonging to candidates, elected officials, federal and state departments and agencies, and party committees in the U.S. Participants must enroll to be part of the program, and once accepted, will receive advanced security protections and monitoring for potential hacking threats.

“If we discover an attack against one enrolled individual, we can review and protect other accounts that are enrolled in our program and affiliated with that same campaign,” writes Facebook on the Facebook Protect website, “Additionally, all Page admins of enrolled Pages will be required to go through Page Publishing Authorization to ensure the security of the Page, regardless of whether or not individual Page admins choose to enroll in this program.”

To enroll, Page owners must already have received the blue-verified badge. Once a Page has been verified it can enroll via the form listed at the bottom of the Facebook Protect site.

More transparency for political Pages. Facebook is adding an “Organizations that Manage This Page” tab to Pages to clarify what organizations are behind political Pages on the platform. The tab will list the organization’s legal name and verified city, phone number or website. For now, this information will only be included for Pages with large U.S. audiences that have already completed Facebook’s business verification process and any Pages that have been authorized to run ads about social issues, elections or politics in the U.S.

“If we find a Page is concealing its ownership in order to mislead people, we will require it to successfully complete the verification process and show more information in order for the Page to stay up,” writes Facebook executives Guy Rosen, Nathaniel Gleicher and Rob Leathern on the company’s Newsroom Blog.

On the Move

Rob Goldman, Facebook’s VP of ads, announced on Twitter that Tuesday was his last day at the company: “Some personal news: After more than 7 years, today is my last day at Facebook. What I will miss most are the people, who are among the smartest and most talented I’ve ever met. I wish them all the very best in their important work.” wrote Goldman. He first joined Facebook in 2012, and was named director of product ads and Pages in 2014.

Twitch, the Amazon-owned game streaming site, has named Doug Scott as its new chief marketing officer. He is replacing Kate Jhaveri, Twitch’s former CMO who left the company earlier this year. “Doug has deep experience extending brands into new markets across games and entertainment industries, making him the ideal fit to lead Twitch’s marketing strategy,” said Twitch COO Sara Clemens. Prior to joining Twitch, Scott led marketing for the social gaming platform Zynga and was CMO for the music startup BandPage. 

Hyundai Motors has hired Angela Zepeda as its next chief marketing officer. Zepeda will oversee all U.S. marketing and advertising efforts for the automaker, including strategic direction, brand development, national and regional advertising, experiential and social marketing, lead gen and more. “Angela was already a member of our extended family and we’ve seen firsthand her creativity, business acumen and talent in building our brand and leading teams,” said Hyundai COO Brian Smith. Prior to joining the company, Zepeda was the senior vice president and managing director of INNOCEAN USA, Hyundai’s agency of record.

Heidi Bullock has been named chief marketing officer for Tealium, a customer data orchestration platform. CEO Jeff Lunsford called Bullock a fantastic addition to the team. “Heidi will undoubtedly help us expand our market position in a high growth market and continue to solidify us as a global leader in the industry,” said Lunsford. Prior to joining Tealium, Bullock most recently served as the CMO for Engagio. She also held the role of group vice president of global marketing at Marketo.

The marketing performance management platform Allocadia has hired Julia Stead as the new chief marketing officer and added John Stetic to its Board of Directors. Stead will focus on working with Allocadia clients, guiding marketing leaders in developing strategy, investing intelligently and optimizing their marketing investment results. “I’m thrilled to be joining a team that is focused on helping other marketers achieve the same growth I’m passionate about driving for my own company,” said Stead. Before joining Allocadia, Stead was the VP of marketing at Invoca. Stetic, a veteran in the martech product industry, currently serves as the senior VP of innovation and partnerships at ServiceMax.

BitPay, a global blockchain payments provider, has appointed Bill Zielke as the company’s first chief marketing officer. In his new role, Zielke will be tasked with executing marketing strategy that supports BitPay’s growth objectives, building a strong business and consumer brand, and cultivating an increased awareness around cryptocurrency and its use. “We realized we needed a seasoned marketer to advance the company to the next level. We are excited to have Bill on board as we attract more users to BitPay and drive greater merchant acceptance of cryptocurrencies,” said CEO Stephen Pair. Zielke’s former marketing leadership roles include time at Ingo Money and Forter, serving as CMO at both venture-backed startups.

About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is a senior editor for Third Door Media, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land, Search Engine Land and MarTech Today. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.


Just imagine you’re visiting Montreal in January, walking down Saint-Laurent Blvd.

It’s noon, you’re hungry, and it’s freezing.

To your surprise, you see 70 people freezing while waiting in line to get in a restaurant called “Schwartz Smoked Meat Sandwiches.”

It can’t be THAT good… can it? Curious, you hop in line…

That’s the power of social proof.

So, what’s the equivalent in the digital world?

Let’s grab a sandwich, dig out some of the theory, and look at concrete examples on how to apply it.

What is Social Proof?

From a very young age, we try to replicate and mimic the behaviors of others. The words we use, the actions we take, and the things we like/dislike, usually come from observing our environment and the people in it.

Social Proof is a convenient shortcut that we take to determine how to behave.

That’s one of the conclusions Robert Cialdini makes in his book, Influence: The psychology of persuasion, after studying human behaviors for decades. According to R. Cialdini:

Robert Cialdini

When we are unsure of ourselves, when the situation is unclear or ambiguous, when uncertainty reigns, we are most likely to look to and accept the actions of others as correct […] The greater the number of people who find any idea correct, the more the idea will be correct.Robert Cialdini

Two important things to unpack here:

  • Social proof is more efficient in a new context.
  • It has a greater impact when more people are involved.

So, whether you’re looking for a restaurant while walking on the street or dealing with an empty bag of popcorn at the end of a movie, the actions of those around you will be important in defining yours.

How To Use Social Proof

The research is clear, social proof does modify human behavior, but how can we apply it in the context of a product to drive growth? Here are the steps:

  1. Understand your audience

    First and foremost, if you’re in the product business, you need to understand the desires, pains, and barriers of your target market. What do they want? Why would they use your product? What fears do they have regarding your product? What stops them from buying?

    The best way to find those answers is to pick up the phone or go outside your building to talk to your users.

  2. Create your customer journey map

    Once you have a better understanding of why your customer sticks around (or doesn’t!), you need to map out the full experience of your product, to understand where the experience fails your users. We have plenty of examples of customer journey maps at the end of our case studies.

    When your users experience your brand, how do they feel? What’s at stake for them? How do you welcome them? Do they leave on a high note? Are they exhausted?

    Those questions will give you a better view of where psychological biases can help your users make the right choices with less effort.

  3. Find your low experience points

    What you really want is to make sure you level up the worst parts of the experience and make them as easy as possible. Social proof can ease decisions for your users if used at the right moment.

  4. Test different types of social proof

    Last but not least, you need to test different ideas. To ensure you choose the right hypothesis, be sure to understand the different types of social proof, how they can be applied, and the impact they can have.

7 Practical Examples Of Social Proof

Here they are, the 7 types of social proof, with fictitious examples, to help you choose which one is best for your product.

1. User Reviews

One of the most common types is reviews. It’s been proven that they work (up to 270% lift 1) and that even if they’re coming from people we don’t know, we still value their opinion.

Here are two variants of reviews applied to an imaginary e-commerce site selling mid-century chairs!

Example of user reviews social proof

Note that there are a lot more ways to create compelling reviews with current users. You can highlight the last review (like above), present the top reviews, ask users to create their own video reviews, establish verified users, etc.

2. Wisdom Of The Crowd

This type of social proof is when a large group of people is used to demonstrate the endorsements of your brand. 2

In the example below, we tried two different variants:

  1. We used platform interactions to show what people are looking at.
  2. We extracted the sales data to show which of the styles was the most popular

Example of most popular items

For the 2nd variant, this change could potentially increase sales of the light grey fabric by 13-20% 3. This was validated in one of Mr. Cialdini’s studies, where they helped a restaurant increased sales of specific dishes just by highlighting them as “our most popular dishes.”

There are plenty of ways to represent the presence of the crowd. In our Calm case study, you can see an example of how highlighting the number of people meditating with the “Daily Calm” can turn a simple add-on into a great motivator.

3. Certification

Did you know that adding a stamp from an authoritative figure in your industry can increase conversions by 42%? 4

Next time you’re on the fence of putting a lot of resources into a certification process, make sure you take this into account, it might be worth the effort!

Example of certification social proof

Let’s see a real example of the Amazon purchase experience (subscription). Notice how the prime badge is perceived as “Amazon certified”.

Also, in this screen they used another social proof type that we just saw: Wisdom of the crowd.

4. The Expert

Getting approval from a credible expert, blogger, or maker in the industry, can have an incredible influence on your product.

This would be the equivalent of having Robert Cialdini sharing this “Social Proof Guide.” Share this to make it happen!

Below, we used, Frank Gehry, a famous American architect, to elevate the status of the chair.

Example of expert

5. Celebrities

Similar to the expert, star power is an excellent way to boost the status of an item, thanks to the Halo Effect 5.

We are more likely to buy a product when endorsed by a celebrity we like, because some of us aspire to be more like them6.

Example of status power

Celebrities endorse brands all the time. It’s the actual foundation of the massive wave of Instagram influencers (but we won’t dive into this now!).

Back in February, Expensify surprised more than one with their “Expensify this!” campaign endorsed by none other than 2Chainz. Great stunt!

6. Close Friends And Family

This type of social proof is when people see their friends approve your product.

In a study by Nielsen 7, 92% of people interviewed said they trust the recommendations from the people they know.

Example of close friends and family

Try to leverage a connection from one of the major social networks, to show potential interactions from your users’ network. Do they have friends on the platform? Did they buy something? What did they do?

⚠️ Warning: Make sure you respect people’s privacy. Even in the fictitious example above, without the proper consent, this could be ethically questionable.

7. Similar Users

At last, social proof is most effective when users are observing the behaviors of people just like them.

We will use the actions of others to decide on proper behavior for ourselves, especially when we view those others as similar to ourselves.

Robert Cialdini

In this example, we’re playing with the fact that users had the same intent or the same goal.

Example of similarity

According to psychologists at Columbia University, social proof by similarity could increase conversions by 212%! How?

The researchers dropped lost wallets containing a letter that made it evident that the wallet had been lost not once, but twice. The letters were written in standard English, while the other letters were written in broken English, simulating a foreigner. In other words, the person who had initially found the wallet and had tried to return it was depicted by the letter as being either similar or dissimilar to most Americans.

Well, only 33 percent of the wallets were returned when the letter was seen as dissimilar, but 70 percent were returned when the letter felt relatable. See the full study in Cialdini’s book: Influence.

Bonus: Don’t Use Too Much Social Proof!

As product creators, we have to be aware of the limits of our users.

While mixing a few different types of social proof can be the most effective way to convert users, you have to be careful not to fall into the temptation trap…

i.e., using all the different types all at once! ❌

Example of too much social proof

Remember that your brand reputation is on the line. When users feel pushed too hard, they react the opposite way of what you want them to do.

Your Key Takeaways

Remember this waiting line, in a cold winter day… Well it was totally worth it! Thanks to all those people waiting.

If you already have a product that people love and recommend. Social proof will only multiply this factor and drive better growth.

Before you go, here’s a short summary of what you just learned:

Key Takeaways
  • Social Proof is very useful for users when faced with a new or uncertain situation.
  • It has a more significant impact when the number of people performing the same action is higher.
  • It can have a high lift when users have hard decisions to take, making the experience more enjoyable.
  • There are 7 types of social proof that all have different impacts, and that can be used at various moments in the customer lifecycle.
  • Test different variations depending on your industry and your product.
  • Don’t go overboard.

Remember, social proof is one of the most powerful ways for new and returning users to validate, in their mind, that they’re at the right place…

Last thing… If you enjoyed this insight, make sure you join the community.


This collection of social media marketing and new hire announcements is a compilation of the past week’s briefs from our daily Marketing Land newsletter. Click here to subscribe and get more news like this delivered to your inbox every morning.

Event planning on LinkedIn. LinkedIn has rolled out a new Events feature that makes it easy to create and share event announcements. The feature can be found in the “Community” panel on the  left side of the newsfeed, and allows users to enter their event description, date, time, venue and invite connections using filters such as location, company, industry and school. “You’ll be able to seamlessly create and join professional events, invite your connections, manage your event, have conversations with other attendees, and stay in touch online after the event ends,” writes Ajay Datta, LinkedIn India’s head of product. Once an event is posted, users can track attendees, post updates and interact with the users they have invited. Users who have accepted an event invite on the platform will be able to see their events under the “My Network” tab. 

Twitter defends its policies for world leaders. Twitter is defending its policies for allowing content from world leaders that may otherwise be prohibited. After listing enforcement scenarios for why it may remove a Tweet from a political figure, such as “promotion of terrorism” and “Clear and direct threats of violence against an individual,” the company goes on to say, “We will err on the side of leaving the content up if there is a clear public interest in doing so.” The company said it understands why users want clear yes/no decisions regarding what’s allowed, but that it’s not that simple: “Our mission is to provide a forum that enables people to be informed and to engage their leaders directly.” 

Reddit pushes back against lawmakers. On Wednesday, executives from Reddit, Google and the Electronic Frontier Foundation took questions from Congress about possible modifications to the 1996 Communications Decency Act currently being considered by lawmakers, specifically Section 230 of the law which gives social media platforms immunity from being held responsible for content posted by users. “Lawmakers from both major political parties have said Congress could make additional changes to the law to restrict companies’ immunity,” reports Reuters. Reddit CEO Steve Huffman published his comments to Congress on Reddit’s Upvoted blog, explaining why Section 230 is critical to the company: “Reddit uses a different model of content moderation from our peers — one that empowers communities — and this model relies on Section 230. I’m here because even small changes to the law will have outsized consequences for our business, our communities, and what little competition remains in our industry.” 

An easier way to create Story Ads. Facebook is launching customizable templates for Story ads that can be used across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. The templates allow advertisers to choose from a variety of layouts once they have uploaded their creative assets to Ads Manager, and come with editing tools to select background color, text and cropping options. “We’re making it easier for businesses of any size to create for fullscreen vertical stories placements,” writes Facebook on its business blog. Streetbees reported a 40% increase in incremental app installs and a 29% reduction in cost per incremental app click when using the new templates.

Instagram launches new data-security features. Instagram is giving users more control over their data with a new feature that allows them to remove third-party apps connected to their account. Under the account “Settings” page in the app, users will be able to click on “Security” to find the “Apps and Websites” option. From there, users can remove any third-party apps to keep them from accessing their data. The social media platform is also launching an authorization screen that will list all the information a third-party app is requesting to access. Users will have the option to cancel access to their data directly from the authorization screen. Unfortunately, it may take some time before all users have access to the new features — Instagram reports they will be rolling out over the next six months.

Reddit opens up its content to Snapchat. Reddit announced a new Snapchat integration, making it easy for users who have Snapchat downloaded on their mobile device to share Reddit posts on the app. “Simply tap the ‘share’ icon on an image, text or link-based post on Reddit’s iOS app and select the Snapchat option. Then choose a few friends to send the post to, or add it to your Story,” writes Reddit on its Upvoted Blog. Once posted to Snapchat, the content will include a sticker with the Reddit logo and source information. This is the first content-sharing integration for Reddit. Sharable content is limited to posts from “Safe for Work” communities and communities in good standing on the platform. At launch, the feature is only available on iOS, but will be rolling out on Android devices soon.

More bad news for Facebook Libra. Things are not looking good for Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project. Last week, PayPal announced it was pulling its participation in the network, and now eBay, Stripe, Visa and Mastercard are following suit. According to Gizmodo, the only two remaining payment platform partners are Mercado Pago and PayU. Visa said it would continue to evaluate the project and that its ultimate decision would based on the Libra Association’s ability to meet regulatory expectations.

“Visa’s continued interest in Libra stems from our belief that well-regulated blockchain-based networks could extend the value of secure digital payments to a greater number of people and places, particularly in emerging and developing markets,” a Visa spokesperson told CNBC. When Facebook initially launched the Libra Association, it had 28 companies that had agreed to be part of the group. That number is now at 22 — with each member agreeing to pay a $10 million fee to be part of the association and have voting rights. The Libra Association is scheduled to meet next week in Geneva to review the charter and appoint board members, reports CNBC.

Pinterest Lite. Pinterest is taking efforts to make sure its platform is available to users in emerging markets. The company launched its Pinterest Lite app last week, offering users an app that downloads faster and takes up less space on their mobile device. This is the second go at offering a Lite version of the app — according to TechCrunch, a Pinterest Lite app was pulled from Google Play last year. The latest Lite app is the result of a project that Pinterest started in July of 2017 when it formed a team tasked with rewriting its mobile web app from scratch as a progressive web app, reports TechCrunch. The new app is designed to offer a better user experience for people in low-bandwidth environments on limited data plans.

Facebook holiday preparations. Facebook is rolling out new Story Ad templates across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger in time for holiday promotions. “We know businesses have limited resources and time, and it may not always be possible to create new assets for ad campaigns. So we’re making it easier for businesses of all sizes to create vertical, full-screen assets,” writes Facebook on its News Blog. For Messenger, the company is rolling out instant replies in the coming weeks so that businesses can automatically respond to customer communications and create saved replies for commonly asked questions. It is also making it possible to set up an “away message” in Messenger for when a business is closed. 

New Twitter app for Mac users. After sunsetting its Mac desktop client last year, Twitter has launched a new Twitter app for Macs, but it is only available on the latest version of macOS Catalina. Twitter reported in June its plans to take advantage of Apple’s Mac Catalyst, a toolset that allows developers to bring iPad apps to the Mac desktop, reports TechCrunch. “Twitter had been one of the more highly anticipated Catalyst apps,” writes TechCrunch, citing that many users were left to rely on third-party apps, like TweetDeck or paid applications like Twitterific 5 or Tweetbot 3, when Twitter stopped offering its Mac desktop app. According to TechCrunch, the new app is free and the interface is consistent with the rest of Twitter’s platform apps, but the timeline doesn’t refresh in real-time. 

On the Move

The Minneapolis-based TV ad agency Marketing Architects has hired Marin Suska as its new VP of client growth. Suska was the agency’s former director of media services and is now returning after serving in various marketing roles at multiple agencies, including Haworth Marketing Media, The Nerdery and Digital River. “Marketing Architects is a different agency than the one I knew working on the media team years ago,” said Suska, “The strategic nature of how this agency does business with clients, the colossal shift from radio to TV, and the greater goals lying ahead all played a role in my interest in returning to be a part of something big.”

Richard Nicoll has been named chief commerce officer and managing director at Liquid Omnicommerce, a Dubai-based retail consultancy. In his new role, Nicoll will be responsible for driving regional growth and enhancing the agency’s offerings. “He is the real pioneer of shopper marketing in the UAE,” said Liquid Omnicommerce Founder Sachinnn Laala, “With a wealth of experience in highly competitive global markets, the insights he will bring will benefit our clients tremendously.” Before joining Liquid Commerce, Nicoll served as the chief shopper marketing officer for Publicis Communications in Asia. Marketsmith Inc., a woman-owned marketing agency in New Jersey has added three new hires to its executive team this month.

Jo Maggiore has joined the agency as Creative Director, Samantha Foy has been named senior director of digital media and Rachel Schulties is the new VP of client performance. “We have brought in strong, accomplished women who each bring something unique to us, but all embrace data, analytics and modeling,” said Marketsmith President Rob Bochicchio, “More importantly, these leaders have made their mark with great clients and bring that expertise to Marketsmith to take outcomes for our client partners to a whole new level.” Before joining the agency, Maggiore was the director of digital creative at GNC. Foy previously worked at Active International and Schulties was in managed services at Digital Media Solution.

About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is a senior editor for Third Door Media, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land, Search Engine Land and MarTech Today. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.


Zenith, a media agency owned by Publicis Media, predicts global social media ad spend will grow 20% this year, reaching $84 billion. According to Zenith’s data, social media advertising will account for 13% of total global ad spend and rank as the third-largest advertising channel, behind TV and paid search.

2019 will be the first year that social media ad spend outperforms print ad spend, says Zenith, with newspaper and magazine ads generating less than $69 billion this year.

SMBs and digital brands driving social ad growth. Zenith attributes the growth across social media ad channels to SMBs shifting and adding budgets in order to take advantage of the targeting and localization capabilities offered by platforms like Facebook.

“Small businesses in the U.S. are spending heavily on social media and paid search, and are fueling much of the global growth of these channels,” writes Zenith.

Facebook reported last Friday that it estimates more than 140 million businesses are currently using its family of apps (Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp) every month, “To find new customers, hire employees or engage with their communities.” During the company’s first quarter earnings report call earlier this year, COO Sheryl Sandberg said that Facebook’s top 100 advertisers accounted for less than 20% of the company’s ad revenue. “Our advertiser base is more diverse compared to the same period over last year,” said Sandberg in April, backing up Zenith’s theory that the surge in social media ad spend is a direct result of SMB ad investments.

Zenith expects social ad spend growth to level-out over the coming years. “It’s growth is slowing as it matures,” writes Zenith. The company reports social media ad spend growth will slow from 20% this year to 17% in 2020 and 13% in 2021.

Paid search ad spend tops social. The ad targeting capabilities offered by social networks is enough to help push social into the top three ad channels, but it still falls behind paid search. According to Zenith’s report, paid search ads will take in $107 billion in 2019 and own 17% of global ad spend. This is the first year paid search ads are expected to generate more than $100 billion globally, up 8% from last year.

TV accounts for 29% of global ad spend. TV remains the top-ranking ad channel but is losing momentum. Zenith reports TV ad spend is suffering from “shrinking ratings in key markets,” and that the total spend on TV ads will decline by $2 billion during the next three years, dropping from $182 billion this year to $180 billion in 2021.

Why we should care. Zenith’s forecasts are based on its own client data (historical ad spend across channels, future budget plans, price negotiations with media owners) combined with local media market conditions and competitor campaign analysis. The media agency’s data underscores how traditional advertising is losing its footing, while digital channels continue to pull more ad dollars from SMBs and brands aiming to reach nicheaudience.

By offering sophisticated targeting capabilities and unparalleled reach for businesses of all sizes, social and search platforms have chipped away at traditional advertising sources.

About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is a senior editor for Third Door Media, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land, Search Engine Land and MarTech Today. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.


Social media by its very nature is fast, bi-directional communication, but many companies are plagued with social media policies that hinder agility. Is your social media policy agile? If not, it’s time to jump into modern marketing and have your brand be part of a conversation, not a pushed message.

An agile marketing company uses social media to have one-on-one conversations with customers, and social media policies must encourage, not discourage this type of rapport.

Social media turnaround times are critical

A recent client I worked with reported that before starting agile marketing, its social media policy requires at least 10 separate approvers and 10 to 12 revisions on messaging for any social media campaign to go live.

They soon realized by the time they got their social messages approved, it was too late. Messages were outdated, irrelevant or didn’t add much value.

The other big problem was the approval process made it impossible for them to have any real dialogue with customers on social media.

Traditionally, social media policies were put into place to protect the company from bad publicity. But In a world where brand relationships mean everything, we need to be willing to take on a little more PR risk or we’re faced with something even riskier – our customers going elsewhere.

Empower the team to respond quickly to customers

Social media is by its very nature meant to be two-way communication and its critical that even large, regulated companies are able to trust and empower people to react and respond in real time.

If employees are required to get approvals, communication is delayed and customers will feel ignored and under-valued.

So, what’s a reasonable turnaround time for companies to respond on social media? According to HubSpot, 80 percent of customers expect companies to respond to social media posts within 24 hours. In fact, 50 percent of customers claim they would cease business with a company that fails to respond to a negative social media post. And 62 percent of customers are influenced enough by negative social media comments on a brand that they would cease business with them.

KLM Airlines has some of the best social media response times in the industry since 2014, which has helped them to build better relationships with their customers, according to Econsultancy.  The airline goes above and beyond by allowing customers to tweet lost items directly to the company. A staff member then picks it up off the plane and brings it to them – quick, easy, and a much better way to keep customers happy.

Gap has an interesting social media policy that recognizes mistakes can happen. They simply state, “If you #!%#@# up? Correct it immediately and be clear about what you’ve done to fix it. Contact the social media team if it’s a real doozy.”

Bring legal closer to your team

If you can’t give 100 percent control to your social media team and still require legal sign off, then the next best thing is bringing your legal department to your team.

If legal involvement is needed on a daily basis, having a person from legal as a regular part of your agile team is imperative. This person should attend daily stand ups and be aware of any social media content that may need to be approved that day. She should also be available in real-time for any negative responses from customers that the team needs to immediately address.

If your legal needs are more sporadic, it may be overkill to have a legal representative on your team, but he should be a dotted line team member. This means accessible and available to the team when needed, but not a regular contributor to the team’s work.

Regardless of which structure suits you best, if legal counsel must be part of your social media policy, you need to be closely aligned on response times and the cadence in which your team operates.

If you have a legal team that is used to responding to all of the company, a better structure in agile marketing is to have a representative affiliated with teams. Depending on how often they are needed, it may be a 1:1 relationship or 1-to-several.

Put customers first

While social media policies began as ways to protect the company and controlling how we respond, we need to loosen the reigns and take into account the risk of not being there for our customers. It’s time to focus on relationships with our customers and tearing down the guard rails we’ve put up during the last decade.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Stacey knows what it’s like to be a marketer, after all, she’s one of the few agile coaches and trainers that got her start there. After graduating from journalism school, she worked as a content writer, strategist, director and adjunct marketing professor. She became passionate about agile as a better way to work in 2012 when she experimented with it for an ad agency client. Since then she has been a scrum master, agile coach and has helped with numerous agile transformations with teams across the globe. Stacey speaks at several agile conferences, has more certs to her name than she can remember and loves to practice agile at home with her family. As a lifelong Minnesotan, she recently relocated to North Carolina where she’s busy learning how to cook grits and say “y’all.”


This collection of social media marketing and new hire announcements is a compilation of the past week’s briefs from our daily Marketing Land newsletter. Click here to subscribe and get more news like this delivered to your inbox every morning.

Facebook gives businesses new Messenger tools. Facebook has rolled out two new features for businesses on Messenger and is testing a new dynamic persistent menu and composer. The latest updates include the ability to send images, template quick replies within messages sent in response to a post or comment on their Facebook Page. It has also added app link support for URL buttons shared via a message. “Now when people click URL buttons with the App Link metadata, it will enable developers and businesses to provide a button that will directly open the target native app,” writes Facebook on its Developer Blog. The beta test for the dynamic persistent menu and composer is designed to make it easier for businesses to personalize conversations on the user level. Developers can sign up to be part of the closed beta here: User Level Menu Beta for Messenger

LinkedIn renames Groups. LinkedIn sent an email to Group Admins to notify them that, in the next few weeks, it would be updating the names for Group types and introducing a separate permission process for inviting new members. Soon Groups will either be “Listed” or “Unlisted” — listed groups will be included in search results on the platform and visible on members’ profiles; unlisted groups will not be included in search and won’t show on members’ profiles (but can be shared using the group’s URL). Also, Group invitation settings will now, by default, allow members to invite their 1stdegree connections. This setting can be disabled so that only Admins have permission to send Group invites. All requests to join a group still have to be approved by an Admin.

Instagram gets creative. Instagram is launching a new “Create” mode in Stories that, according to TechCrunch, will initially highlight an On This Day feature. The feature surfaces previous posts by users that they can share in a Story as an embedded post. “This new mode helps you combine interactive stickers, drawings and text without needing a photo or video to share,” an Instagram spokesperson told TechCrunch, “On This Day suggests memories and lets you share them via Direct and Stories.” The On This Day feature includes a dice button that lets users click to view different On This Day posts. Instagram has made the feature easily accessible to users, placing it as part of the new Create Mode that lives inside the Stories composer. To find the Create Mode, swipe right at the bottom of the screen from the Stories camera.

Bad video metrics cost Facebook $40 million. Facebook has agreed to pay $40 million in a settlement with the ad agencies that accused the company of miscalculating video metrics. According to The Hollywood Reporter, most of the payment will go to the agencies that purchased video ads, but $12 million of the settlement has been earmarked for the plaintiffs’ attorneys. Facebook was charged with, not only miscalculating metrics, but knowingly inflating video ad metrics by as much as 150% to 900%, per the complaint filed by the plaintiffs. Facebook agreed to the settlement, but still claims the case is “without merit.” The plaintiffs said, had they gone to trial, they could have received as much as $100 to $200 million in damages, according to the report.

Instagram says goodbye to the Follower Tab. Instagram is disabling its Follower Tab, a feature that allowed users to view likes comments and follows from their connections on the app. The heart tab, where users could view their friend’s activity, will display only the user’s own activity now, according to BuzzFeed News. “People didn’t always know that their activity is surfacing,” Instagram Head of Product Vishal Shah told BuzzFeed, “So you have a case where it’s not serving the use case you built it for, but it’s also causing people to be surprised when their activity is showing up.” Shah said simplicity was the driving factor for removing the tab since it wasn’t a feature many were using — or even knew existed. 

“Emails from Instagram” helps identify phishing attacks. To help prevent phishing scams, Instagram has launched a new feature that lets users check if an email they received was a legitimate email sent by Facebook or Instagram — or if it was part of a phishing attack. The new “Emails from Instagram” feature is contained within the app’s Security settings and lists every email sent by Facebook or Instagram during the last two weeks. “If you see an email in there then you can be sure it’s legitimate, and you can safely click any links it contains,” reports The Verge, “If it’s not, then it could be a phishing scam, whereby someone impersonates a service to trick you into giving them your username and password.”

Facebook launches app to compete with Snapchat. Threads from Instagram is the company’s new standalone, camera-first messaging app. Similar to Snapchat, users will be able to send text and videos with augmented reality filters to their friends. Unlike Snapchat, though, the app only allows you to communicate with your Close Friends — the private list of VIPs that you designate within the main Instagram app. 

Additional information such as a location description, battery level and statuses is where Threads diverges from Instagram’s built-in direct messages. This information can be shared to give your Close Friends an idea of your availability to interact with them. Precise locations are not shown — for example, “At the gym” may display as a status but without the gym’s name or address — and the app does not include a map. Currently, Instagram has no plans to show ads or monetize Threads directly, nor will Facebook use location data for targeting, TechCrunch reported.

Facebook plans to challenge global content takedown ruling. “It undermines the long-standing principle that one country does not have the right to impose its laws on speech on another country,” Facebook said in a statement to TechCrunch, regarding the European Court of Justice’s ruling that it must remove content on a worldwide scale if any of the national courts of its 28 member nations determines that the content is illegal or defamatory.

Facebook currently complies with requests to take down illegal content, but reserves the right to leave it up for global users so long as it obeys the platform’s Community Standards.

Google in talks to acquire TikTok rival. Conversations are being held between Firework, a Redwood City-based company and app used to share short videos with other users, and Google. The app tries to surface viral videos for its users, separating itself from the industry leader by emphasizing an older audience. In a fundraising round held earlier this year, the company was valued north of $100 million and, although the Wall Street Journal reported that pricing has yet to be discussed, the acquisition is expected to cost Google more than that. This potential deal is something to keep an eye on as Google’s dominant position has garnered more regulatory pressure and raised issues of anti-competitive practices at home as well as abroad.


Gartner CMO Spend Survey: Social wins biggest chunk of digital ad dollars

Digital Ad Spend Broken Out Across Channels

In its latest CMO Spend Survey, Gartner asked more than 400 marketers how their company’s 2019 digital ad budgets would be allocated. Social won the biggest piece of pie, getting 23.7% of digital ad budgets, followed by display ads and video ads. “Overall, CMOs maintain a positive outlook for digital ads, with 78% of CMOs confident that they’ll increase investments in 2020,” reports Gartner.

Based on the survey findings, nearly a quarter (22%) of marketing budgets are going to agencies. While this is still a significant portion of marketing investments, that number has steadily dropped during the last two years: 25% of marketing budgets were allocated to agencies in 2017 and 23% last year. Gartner reports marketing budgets in North America and the UK have shrunk since 2018, dropping from 11.2% to 10.5% this year.


On the Move

Brinker International has promoted Ellie Doty to senior vice president and CMO of Chili’s Grill & Bar restaurant chain. In her new role, Doty will lead U.S. and international brand marketing for Chili’s, managing everything from menu innovation to advertising, media and public relations efforts. “Ellie’s innovative leadership has helped the Chili’s brand achieve positive results in fiscal 2019 and I am confident she will continue to drive success for the business,” said Brinker CEO Wyman Roberts. Doty joined Chili’s in 2017 as the restaurant’s VP of marketing. Before coming to Chili’s, Doty held leadership roles at Yum! Brands, working with Taco Bell and KFC.

Denise Karkos has been named CMO for SiriusXM. She will report to SiriusXM President of Sales, Marketing and Operations Jennifer Witz and oversee brand and digital marketing for both SiriusXM and Pandora brands. “She and her team will execute a cohesive marketing strategy to drive brand relevance and consideration through to customer conversion, with a deep focus on digital, social and mobile marketing,” said Witz. Prior to joining SiriusXM, Karkos served as Ameritrade’s CMO and was named the 2019 CMO of the Year by Ad Age.

Traeger Grills has named Todd Smith as its new CMO. The industry veteran will be focused on brand building and storytelling to help elevate the company as a lifestyle brand and further expand its community. “We’re most excited to bring in Todd for his dedication to culture and leadership,” said Traeger Grills CEO Jeremy Andrus, “Todd’s ability to build and lead great teams to do innovative things will help strengthen what it means to be part of Traeger Nation.” Before joining Traeger Grills, Smith was CMO for EXOS and has held various marketing roles at The Coca-Cola Company.

About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is a senior editor for Third Door Media, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land, Search Engine Land and MarTech Today. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.


In December 2010, something unexpected happened: Facebook surpassed Google in terms of website traffic according to The Economist. Over the next few years, the Facebook-dominant phenomenon would repeat in other ways: time spent, usage on mobile devices, user growth, etc. Ten years ago there seemed to be no ceiling to how high, or how fast, social networking would grow. Even when social networks began to stratify – e.g LinkedIn for business and Instagram specifically focused on sharing visual content – there seemed to be market share for every unique segment or audience. The only limiting factor seemed to be the number of humans on the planet, hours in the day and the ability of a given platform to grab their attention. That was nearly ten years ago. That isn’t the case today.

emerged. Not all social network platforms were created equal. Some of the names that fell by the wayside include: Vine, Yik Yak, Google , Google Buzz, Friendster, Meerkat, Orkut, Yahoo! Buzz and others. Today, social network usage is steady, but user adoption is declining.

In the last two decades, social networks have redefined how we connect with one another, engage in discourse, read news and partake in a grand online experiment of sharing memories, experiences and ideas. Despite the cosmic scale achieved by social media platforms that didn’t become obsolete, or get swallowed by bigger competitors, there’s a movement away from social media. But if people aren’t running towards social networks anymore, where are they going?

email. In fact, email was always quietly operating in the background as the vital support for the Social Media Age and even proved impossible for the social network Gods to conquer. So, what makes email so steadfast, ubiquitous and complicated and how can marketers respect how people use email, while using it to their advantage?  

Email as identifier

Email was integral to the birth of the Social Media Age – and played a vital role in the meteoric ascent of social networks to the near-ubiquitous roles they play on the internet today. Email facilitated social media’s first identification method. That identification method is still, oftentimes, the only, or most common means, of creating an account with an endless array of service providers. When new SaaS companies are born that offer services, portals and applications, users have to create a profile. That profile will always have email at its heart – it will never be a question of email or some other identifier – it’ll always be email and other identifiers. 

The social network as mailbox provider

At one time, during the reign of MySpace, users could have email addresses. It seemed like a great idea to get people to use their social network as their inbox. Facebook tried it too. However, in 2014 Facebook decided it wasn’t in the business of providing mailboxes. Instead, the goal was to  provide a platform for people to connect with one another. Why did Facebook abandon email? Operating a mailbox service is as difficult as sending email at scale. There are problems and dangers that only manifest when the service or the volume approaches a critical mass. Once a platform achieves critical mass, and let’s face it, the day that Facebook turned on their email service, they were at critical mass, cyber criminals turn their attention to the mailbox service as a new audience and new set of vulnerabilities to test and exploit. The social network then is not only focused on preventing abusive accounts, they also need to prevent external attacks to its mailbox service. One has to pause and ask a basic question: what’s the purpose of a social network and where do you invest limited resources? There’s probably another reason why Facebook might’ve abandoned it’s email service: change is hard because our inboxes are the documentation of our daily lives. 


Email’s power comes from it’sarchivability and recall. Email inboxes are infinitely easy to search, organize and recall. On social networks, posts and conversations become buried, vanish, and can be deleted by their owners. The ownership chain can be confusing because unless you started the conversation, you don’t own it. Whatsmore, a complaint against the conversation by someone else can mean that entire thread could be deleted and blocked – saving, screen snapping, copying the text and downloading is necessary to preserve something with certainty. Email is by default a system of record – everything that enters your inbox can be auto filtered, sorted, foldered, tagged and will remain there until such time you choose to delete it. 

Hitting the pause button

Email gives recipients the ability to pause a conversation. The pause can take multiple forms, and here’s where marketers need to pay attention. There are good pauses and there are bad pauses. A good pause is one that can be communicated through a preference center. The more robust a brand’s email preference center, the more utility it can provide the recipient to customize the cadence and frequency of conversations. Poorly designed preference centers will by default give recipients the impetus to use a different form of pause: marking a message as spam. When that happens the overall sending reputation of a brand takes a hit. So which would you as a marketer prefer? Delivering less email that’s regarded as high quality enough to keep in the inbox, or being banished from altogether and impacting if you can or can not deliver email to other inboxes?

Self segmentation

I often ask this question when I’m on stage: who here has more than one email address? I’d say 99% of the audience raises their hand (the other one percent is too busy scrolling through their social media). And then I ask how many people have more than two accounts, more than three, more than five, more than 10? Invariably there are those in the audience that will keep their hands up even when I hit double digits. Most people fall into the category of two to four email accounts. The reason for this is self-segmentation of communications. It’s not uncommon for recipients to funnel all of their marketing emails to one account. Often times this account is a catch-all for both transactional and commercial messages. More personal communications or more valuable services are tied to another account so as to diminish the noise. Most users have a work email address and sometimes might have a professional email address distinct from their personal email address that has been around for 20 years and isn’t firstname_lastname@domain.

How does this benefit marketers, you ask? It demonstrates the value that recipients place on email. Going through and opening an account to use as a catch-all or a place to store marketing emails for perusal later in the day or at one’s leisure demonstrates the relative value these communications hold. There are services out there that claim to identify primary, secondary and tertiary email addresses. Although it might seem tempting to uncover the numerous email addresses of a given recipient, I would caution against this. Imagine the surprise when a communication arrives in an inbox it was never meant for? The surprise might turn to anger, which in turn becomes a spam complaint and possibly total disengagement from the brand across multiple accounts.

We are in an era of authenticity – pundits have beaten the drum for some years now about how social media can fuel envy, anxiety and lead to unhealthy comparisons. It’s part of the reason why social networks are resonating less and good old-fashioned email is undergoing a renaissance. Sometimes being content with the status quo, and respecting how people have organized their email, is ok. 

The real time email 

Email is both real-time and passive. Email is sent and delivered, in most cases, in mere seconds. Transactional email especially needs to be as real-time as possible because it’s entire purpose is to substantiate and close the loop on userinitiated transactions. Imagine what happens if it takes more than a few seconds to receive a password reset? How long would you wait around for one before you navigated elsewhere or thought twice about using that service?

At the same time, received email can be viewed on the recipient’s time. Marketers use every trick in the book to convince recipients that a particular communication needs to be opened right this second. This, as we observed on Black Friday, can have a detrimental effect on overall opens.

Society is experiencing social media burnout. The simple fact is that we’re aware of how much time Facebook, Twitter and other social networks demand from us. Social networks are ad-driven, which gives marketers the ability to create uniform experiences across channels and gives users the ability to determine only the relevance of the ad, but not how often they see it. Email, on the other hand, is designed so that users can determine both frequenc, relevance and cadence. 

It’s never ‘either,’ ‘or’

I can’t imagine a future without social networks. They have their place. I have some friends that prefer to communicate over Facebook Messenger, others via Slack, yet others rely on SMS and some use all of the tools indiscriminately. The point is that people have choices – just as marketers do. Making the right choice starts by acknowledging that people are unique and need to be treated as such. For marketers, it’s not just about the right message for the right person at the right time, it’s also via the right channel. However, research clearly shows that consumers across generations prefer brands to communicate with them via email versus social.  This doesn’t mean that marketers should abandon social media – quite the contrary. Marketers need to better understand how social media can spread authentic messages while reinforcing the brand and humanizing it.

The scandals following the 2016 election, Cambridge Analytica, Brexit, violence in Myanmar, and the polarization of our political discourse, echo chambers, bias confirmation and weaponization of social networks have led to people thinking twice about how much time they spend on social and the kinds of information they share. Email, on the other hand, is the perfect “Goldilocks channel.” It’s not too hot, not too cool, pre-built with a shut-off valve and already in operation for 40-plus years. It’s the place people are turning back to find a little quiet and new, previously forgotten value.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Twilio SendGrid. Len serves as an evangelist and proponent of best practices and drives thought leadership and data-driven insights on industry trends. Len represents Twilio SendGrid on the board of M3AAWG (Messaging, Malware, Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group) as vice chair in addition to co-chairing the Program Committee. He’s also part of the MAC (Member Advisory Committee) of the Email Experience Council where he serves as the organization’s vice chair. The EEC is owned by the Direct Marketing Association of America, a nearly 100-year-old organization where he also sits on the Ethics Committee. In addition, Len has worked closely with the Email Sender and Provider Coalition on issues surrounding data privacy and email deliverability.