- The Scoop: In addition to pre-roll ads that began testing on Facebook Watch late last year, Facebook is expanding its testing of these video ads into “places where people seek out videos.” Pre-roll ads will begin to appear in search results and page timelines, but not in News Feeds at this time. Another new feature that will begin testing is a “preview” trailer ad format where viewers will be served a short ad before they view the entire episode when they tap on the trailer. With an increased range of opportunities for pre-roll ads, Facebook will also introduce additional ad-eligibility guidelines to prevent low-quality videos and publishers (that may include inappropriate sexual, violent, criminal or profane themes, for example) from cashing in with pre-roll ads.
- The Scoop: Instagram has released an update to Stories on Android (with iOS availability coming in the following weeks) that allows users to upload multiple photos and videos at once, instead of the previous requirement to upload each one individually. Up to 10 uploads can be selected simultaneously, with the chance to preview the complete Story and add customizations to each frame. Additionally, location stickers will now provide a quick shortcut that automatically suggests locations surrounding where the original photo or video was captured.
- The Scoop: Snapchat has launched Snappables – AR games that use motion, touch and facial expressions to play solo or in multiplayer mode (enabling competition with other users). Snappables can be found alongside Lenses, currently including games such as an Asteroids-style space shooter, a dance party and a weightlifting game. Each game includes on-screen instructions, and friends can be invited to play with you by sending them a snap of you playing.
- The Scoop: M&M’s has launched a new campaign that gives candy fans everywhere a chance to vote for the next crunchy flavor release – crunchy raspberry, crunchy espresso or crunchy mint. The campaign also included an immersive pop-up event in New York City where guests enjoyed cocktails and snacks inspired by the the flavor options, as well as three specialized rooms that featured flavor-specific colors, decorations, scents and M&M’s. Each room was created with social media sharing in mind – for example, the Crunchy Espresso room hosted a giant branded coffee cup and the Crunchy Raspberry room had a pile of pink bean bags.
- The Scoop: McDonald’s released billboards in London that provide real-time weather updates using eight of the restaurant’s famed menu items turned weather icons. For example, an upside-down container of french fries shows rain in the forecast and a Big Mac icon represents sunshine. With the unpredictable weather this time of year, McDonald’s tells consumers in a playful manner that they can be trusted more than the weatherman. These billboards will run until April 28.
- The Scoop: New York City’s Broadway-Lafayette subway station will serve as a massive David Bowie tribute, thanks to Spotify. The music streaming service has plastered the station with photos, wall posters and fan art of the musical icon throughout the many stages of his career. This campaign comes as an extension of the Brooklyn Museum’s Bowie exhibit dedicated to honoring the singer and his influence on New York City. Commuters can also purchase Bowie-themed metro cards and see the ads on display until May 13.
- The Scoop: Target has announced that it will add hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles to its parking lots across United States. The chain retailer first began offering charging stations in limited numbers in 2012, and it has since spread across 18 locations in five states (California, Hawaii, Minnesota, North Carolina and Texas). Target cites the lack of public charging stations as a reason for slow growth in EV popularity. Over the next two years they plan to build more than 600 charging stations at 100 stores in 20 states across the country.
- The Scoop: Amazon has released the Echo Dot Kids Edition, a kid’s version of the Echo Dot that includes parental controls, child-friendly content and a colorful case. Features include child-specific answers to questions, children’s audiobooks, explicit filters for music and more. Having already created the kid-specific Fire tablet, a kid-focused Alexa seems like a natural move for Amazon.