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TikTok Olympics; Instagram Opens ‘Shops’ To Ads


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Gold goes to …

It’s only a few years ago that the International Olympic Committee begrudgingly agreed to let athletes tweet, post and snap, except beyond specific sponsor-vetted arrangements. And not long before that, the IOC threatened to expel athletes who posted from the Olympic Village or during competitions. This year, athletes were much freer on social media. On TikTok in particular, users saw an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at the athletes’ lives during the games, The New York Times reports. Some athletes did hours-long livestreams documenting their travels and experience in Tokyo. Some younger viewers said they thought this was the best Olympics experience to date, with the fourth wall broken between athletes at the games and social followers. Not that any of that helps NBC, which suffered from lackluster TV ratings – not just because of the transition to streaming, but also partly because viewers moved to social channels. 

Set Up Shop

Facebook took the inevitable next stop with Shops, the virtual storefront tab it launched last year with Shopify as a strategic partner. Instagram is now testing ads for Shop, Adweek reports. The ads will only appear to US Instagram users, and unsurprisingly, big social spenders Away, Boo Oh, Clare Paint, Deux and Donni Davy are the pilot advertisers. Instagram will tread lightly with Shop ads, because it needs adoption more than revenue right now. But retail advertising has been the growth engine lately for Google and Amazon, and Facebookagram won’t sit out the ecommerce ad boom. As a point of comparison, Facebook introduced ads for Marketplace, its Craigslist-ish market, almost two years after launch.  

What’s In A Brand?

For many sellers on Amazon, their brands are what we typically think of as a brand: a recognizable name, an association of ideas, perhaps even a spokesperson or anthropomorphic zoo creature. A brand on Amazon can be some combination of a product’s organic search placement, paid search placement, total number of product reviews and star rating. Which is why some sellers have made a habit of tracking down customers who leave poor reviews, offering refunds, sometimes even greater refunds than the cost of the item, if people agree to delete low-star reviews, The Wall Street Journal reports. Amazon doesn’t provide emails to third-party sellers – it provides city, state and ZIP codes for transactions – and any seller gaming the review system risks expulsion. The sellers typically obtain the name through social scanning software and Google searches, an especially easy bridge if users leave their names in the review. 

But Wait, There’s More!  

An analysis of Apple’s misstep on photo-scanning, privacy and security. [Stratechery]

We can’t say RIP to the RFP yet, but agencies and brands are branching out. [Digiday]

LiveRamp CEO Scott Howe on hiring Microsoft’s former search product leader. [MediaPost]


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The once-clubby world of tech angel investors has a new wave of participants. [NYT]

Amazon lures advertisers from Facebook after Apple privacy shifts. [Ad Age]

You’re Hired

Movable Ink makes new executive appointments. [release]

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