News You Can Use, January 31st

"picture of an envelope with a speech bubble coming out of it with question mark, indicating there is big news from the industry news"

Facebook, Amazon, Google and YouTube—what have our favorite media giants been up to since our last news roundup? A ton of changes occurred these past few weeks, here’s what you need to know:

Publishers Take a Hit with Facebook—But Not Influencers [Digiday]

  • Facebook is changing their algorithms to favor content from their family, friends and certain publishers.
  • This gives brands an incentive to form stronger relationships with influencers, and influencer marketing a major boost.
  • There won’t be any major changes in paid promotion, although ad rates may increase.
  • The algorithm is meant to punish clickbait style language, forcing brands to make meaningful and authentic content.
  • Under the new algorithm, business pages might be negatively impacted.

Our take: Organic reach on Facebook is already incredibly difficult—but this recent change in Facebook’s content feed has virtually eliminated organic reach altogether. Brands and agencies will have to allocate higher investments in their facebook ad budgets in order to create their desired results. Apart from monetary expenditure, Facebook campaigns will require more strategic planning; execution and optimization, and reporting. There will be higher expectations of paid social media specialists to be meticulous and knowledgeable media planners.

Amazon Is Acquiring Who? [Business Insider]

  • Amazon is predicted to make an “unconventional acquisition” this year in one or more the following verticals: pharmaceuticals, live ticketing, apparel, and other retail businesses.

Our take: As Amazon acquires businesses in different industries, their advertising platform will become increasingly valuable. Brands and agencies should start developing an Amazon Marketplace ad strategy as Amazon is a great B2C channel that can streamline the prospecting process and lead customers directly to product pages to make purchases. We see Amazon acquiring another retail business that caters to a wide consumer base, and perhaps smaller purchases that serve a niche consumer base such as lululemon athletica.

With Google’s New Tool, You Can Create Machine Learning Without Code  [Tech Crunch]

  • Google recently announced the launch of AutoML Vision, a program for developers and non-developers to build custom image recognition models.
  • The idea behind this project is that anybody can upload images, tag them with names and then have Google create a “customer machine learning model” for them. This can all be done through a simple drag-and-drop interface.
  • Google manages all the training and fine tuning of your model.

Our take: The AutoML vision makes machine learning much more user-friendly.  The tool organizes images into more accurate categories, helping product images rank better within Google images and search results. This is what would be called “supervised AI” because the images are manually tagged first before Google can perform image recognition. This is a time-saver for Google, because they can sort out billions of indexed images much faster. Agencies and brands benefit because their product images can be organized according to qualities or features that customers are looking for. For example,  if you’re a skincare store and the most searched item within skin care is facial masks, you can organize your products according to these keywords. From there, you can narrow down. Within masks, maybe charcoal masks are the most popular—you can train the AutoML to recognize these products when your consumers are searching for them in your eCommerce store.

YouTube Changes the Advertising Game for Content Creators [Adweek]

  • Brand safety has become a particularly hot topic as with the misuse of contextual targeting.
  • Due to concerns from companies looking to pull ads away from controversial creators, YouTube has now revised its monetization policies for influencers on the platform.
  • Channels with less than 1,000 subscribers and 10,000 views and 4,000 hours of watch time are not eligible for paid partnerships.
  • This also means the end of programmatic premium ads. Google Preferred, a program that allows brands to run ads on the 5% of content, is now being heavily vetted for brand safety.  
  • YouTube is developing a three-tiered system where brands are given more transparency with where their ads appear: They can choose an option that is more brand-sensitive, or one that allows them to buy ads across different channels.

Our take: With controversial videos like Logan Paul’s Japanese Suicide Forest video, brands need to be extra cautious about where their ads are running—especially with popular content creators. Now, we are seeing brands prioritize brand safety over premium ad space. For publishers like YouTube, this will necessitate a more thorough vetting process for independently published content. Brand marketers will need to keep an even closer eye on both the quality of their ad-buying partnerships as well as the alignment of their brand and programmatic content served.


Our bi-weekly series covers relevant industry news and forecasts how these developments will transform in 2018. What are some of your predictions? Let us know at @katana_media, and check out our blog on Medium for news, insight, case studies and more: For more information about our services, contact us here!

Also published on Medium.