June marketing round-up: The latest insights and innovations

Posted By Emma Dodd on 2nd July 2018

June has been a busy month here at Axonn Media, but we’ve still managed to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in the marketing industry. From new frontiers in the battle for video supremacy, to making your own employees advocates for your brand, to Google doing a bit of remarketing itself; here is everything the Axonn team feels you should know from the last month.

Facebook-owned Oculus launches Oculus TV

Oculus TV has just launched, offering users the opportunity to watch shows in virtual reality. The Facebook-owned platform is making a definite play to take on YouTube, which has long reigned supreme when it comes to digital video.

While subscribers will be able to watch content from any number of video on demand (VOD) providers, Facebook Watch will be a significant focus for the company. If it has the desired effect and the viewership of its exclusive video options increases, then this will be a coup for Facebook.

Areas where Oculus TV are likely to be particularly popular include sports coverage, with those wearing Oculus headsets feeling like they’re actually at the game. With projections suggesting one million new headsets will be sold this year, it looks set to take off.

Joanne Lam, community manager at Axonn Media, said: “Whilst it sounds like a bit of a gimmick, if they get things right and increase their viewership, it could be another avenue for them to expand their advertising capabilities.”

Facebook isn’t the only social media platform attempting to make video an integral part of its offering. June also saw Instagram announce the launch of IGTV. To take an in-depth look at what this could mean for marketers, click here.

LinkedIn ticks the boxes when it comes to helping with employee advocacy

Employee advocacy can be a hugely powerful tool, but few brands are managing to take full advantage of it. LinkedIn is now aiming to help businesses make use of this mainly untapped resource with its new guide, The Network Effect of Employee Advocacy.

Among the resources it has created is the 9-Step Checklist to Building Your Employee Advocacy Program. From setting clear goals, identifying your team and creating incentives, it offers bitesize steps to point companies in the right direction.

True advocacy creates person-to-person engagement, which is gold dust on social media. Templated posts can easily fall flat, especially if the audience is connected to more than one employee at the company. It’s time for firms to take staff advocacy seriously and develop it slowly to make effective growth in this area.

AdWords becomes Google Ads

Say goodbye to AdWords, which has been a feature of Google for the past 18 years, and welcome in the new era. It is epitomised by a rebranding of sorts, with Google Ads taking its place, complete with new logo, new organisation and a new way of working.

One of the biggest developments for businesses will be the Smart campaigns feature, which will allow campaigns to go live seamlessly across Google services at the touch of a button. Another change is the Google Marketing Platform, which encompasses the DoubleClick products for those advertisers with Google Analytics 360 Suite.

Meanwhile, DoubleClick for Publishers and DoubleClick Ad Exchange have come under the banner of Google Ad Manager. While it may take a little bit of time to become familiar with the changes, much of the functionality remains the same or similar.

Peter Yates, chief operating officer at Axonn Media, said: “News of the AdWords rebrand has been met with minimal excitement. Most likely because larger brands already running complex campaigns will be mainly unaffected.

“However, the winners are small businesses starting out in the world of advertising. They will get a simpler user interface and the Smart campaigns feature that uses machine learning will mean they can set up campaigns that deliver results quicker and easier than ever before.”

Ad-free YouTube hits the UK

In yet more digital video news, YouTube has launched its premium services in the UK. What that means for fans of the video-sharing site will mainly mean ad-free viewing. YouTube Red, as the premium version has been dubbed, comes in two modes: YouTube Music and YouTube Premium.

On first inspection, YouTube Music seems a lot like YouTube, with access to music videos, albums and live performances, but it comes in its own app. As well as an ad-supported version, there is the option to pay £9.99 to get all of this content ad-free.

In addition to the above, subscribers to YouTube Premium will receive exclusive content from top video makers and sitewide benefits. For just £2 extra it seems like a no-brainer for avid YouTube fans.

Influencers are useful in marketing, but they’re not the be-all and end-all

If you have you ever wondered how all those lists of top influencers are actually compiled, then Colin Lewis confirmed your suspicions in Marketing Week recently. In the wake of the closure of Klout – the influence-scoring app – which ceased to be in May, it is even harder to work out an individual’s reach on social media.

What Lewis confirmed is that application programming interface (API) data is only really available for Twitter. That means that figures for Facebook, with its nearly two billion monthly users; YouTube at 1.57 billion active viewers; and Instagram at 800 million cannot be properly judged.

Going off Twitter, therefore, means relying on data from 328 million users and simply guessing at the reach influencers have on other platforms. What this results in is a self-perpetuating situation where so-called influencers are included in these lists and share them with their followers to help drive traffic to the publisher’s site.

While influencers can be very useful for marketers, it’s worth bearing in mind the lack of science behind such lists. Lewis goes on to highlight that those people who are going about the everyday business of world-class marketing simply don’t have the time to tweet in the vast numbers that others do and therefore do not make it to the top of such lists.

Naters Philip, head of project management at Axonn Media, said: “Influencers are an interesting topic for me and I do see the benefit of them, particularly with outreach and backlinking campaigns. However, as this article points out, influencer marketing is usually heavily constructed, and influencers are almost always given an incentive to shout about a product or service.

“How trustworthy is their opinion? I suppose it depends on the influencer and the situation, but the most important point for me is that marketing campaigns ought not to rely solely on the gravitas of influencers; they must be a small part of a campaign that will already knock your socks off.”