Apple unveils Business Chat, which brings customer service and shopping into iMessage

The Scoop: Apple has rolled out its plans for Business Chat, a program that allows users to open an iMessage chat between them and a business to ask questions about products, features, recommendations, and more. The company will also be expanding the Business Chat feature to allow complex interactions like appointment scheduling. Customers will even be allowed to buy products within the chat, using Apple Pay. Currently, Business Chat is limited to human-to-human interactions, but in the future Apple will explore chat-bot support options.



Is Facebook Expanding Its Test of Video Cover Images for Pages?

The Scoop: Facebook is expanding the testing phase of its feature that allows videos as cover images. The company has now begun testing the feature on the Flixel Photos page. In a blog post, Flixel Photos’ marketing manager, Cassandra King, shared the tips and specs of the feature for page administrators who gain access to this feature – including details about the 20 -90 second time limit for videos, auto play and auto loop features, and mute and unmute audio. This feature is also in testing stages for BMW of Morristown and Netflix show, Narcos.



Brands Can Use These Two New Facebook Tools to Target ‘Valuable’ Users

The Scoop: Facebook introduces the value optimization and value based lookalike audiences features to help brands better market on the site. Value optimization allows brands to use Facebook’s machine learning capabilities to run ads more effectively. Companies can also utilize the purchase value data mined from Facebook pixel. The second feature, value based lookalike audiences, enables brands to create customer lists, assign value to them, and then target users similar to those on these lists. Both features will be available to approved businesses within the next few months.     


Instagram is testing a new way for celebrities and influencers to identify their sponsored posts

The Scoop: In order to make clear whether or not an influencer’s post is a sponsored post or not, Instagram is creating a new standardized format for paid posts. This new structure includes a notification that reads “Paid partnership with ____”, providing clear and straightforward language to identify the post. Creative Programs Director, Charles Porch, says Instagram will enforce this new format, but only after completing primary phases and receiving feedback.




Amazon Constructed a 79-Foot Echo, the Largest Installation by an Advertiser in Times Square

The Scoop: Amazon has broken the record for the largest installation of an advertisement in Times Square by constructing a 79 foot Echo to promote Amazon’s Music streaming capabilities. In a statement, Josh Fein, Head of Partner and Brand Marketing for Amazon Music, explained that they wanted “to highlight one of our unique and innovative Alexa voice features [and] the lyrics search functionality.” The move to use Time Square and break records was smart, according to Jodi Senese, Outfront Media’s EVP and Chief Marketing Officer: “Amazon Music’s gigantic deployment is a key example of the creative possibilities out-of-home offers brands…Times Square remains one of the most prominent advertising hubs in the world and brands continue to leverage the high visibility space here and large audiences; our historic work with Amazon and Rapport today marks a new chapter in the playbook.”



Hallmark Channel to Cut Commercials by More Than Half

The Scoop: In an effort to compete with other show streaming services, Hallmark Channel has been working to cut the amount of commercials aired by more than half. This is so that viewers can enjoy a less interrupted experience, while also ensuring that the ads that do run are more unique and effective. Some have debated this concept, because prices for these advertisements will increase in order to match the previous profit of frequent ads running. Other networks like TNT and TruTV have also explored reducing the amount commercials aired.




Google’s Interactive ‘We Wear Culture’ Site Invites You to Explore Fashion History

The Scoop: Google has partnered with 180 cultural institutions (such as museums) to upload images of 30,000 clothing items and 450 exhibitions, along with descriptions and little known facts about each piece/article of clothing. This website and app, We Wear Culture, will have multiple features within its search tool, such as allowing users to search items by color and type, or to learn more about their favorite designers. We Wear Culture is distinct from the large pool of online fashion competition by offering “a series of virtual reality films that allow visitors to explore significant objects in museums collections in 360 degree, high-resolution,” which makes the experience even more real and interactive than its competitors.



How To Make A Rainbow Facebook Profile Picture For Pride 2017

The Scoop: In honor of Pride Month, Facebook has given its users many options to show their pride through Facebook Profile Pictures. Users have the option to use the official Facebook Pride frame, search for different frames created by other users within Facebook’s platform, use a rainbow filter, and set a temporary profile picture for the duration of Pride Month. This new feature is not new, however, the Pride themed option is. This is a smart move when considering this new incorporation with a major celebratory month.