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Advertising and Media

  • SoundCloud now features Spotify-like personal, curated playlists

    SoundCloud has long been known as a portal for recording artists to upload their tracks, and listeners to indulge in them gratis. But it's also becoming a key player in the content discovery race. The company's new feature, dubbed The Upload, takes a leaf out of Spotify's personal playlist curation handbook. SoundCloud will now provide listeners with a "regularly updated, bespoke playlist of new music relevant to you". "With a constantly expanding mix of music uploaded to SoundCloud every day, we've now made it easier to filter through it all," the company writes in its blog. SoundCloud now features a Spotify-like curated, regularly...

  • Facebook knows when teens are vulnerable, then targets them with ads

    "Don't be evil" is a common phrase uttered by Google executives, but we can't help but think Facebook should perhaps adopt it too. A 23-page document, which sheds some light on Facebook's more sinister algorithm and advertising practices, was leaked Monday and obtained by online paper The Australian (paywall). Later picked up by news.com.au, the document reveals how Facebook Australia and New Zealand employed the hive of user data it gathers to help advertisers better promote campaigns. And no, it's not just talking about age, location or preference in pizza toppings. The document notes that the social network can target teenagers as...

  • Wikipedia’s new crowdfunded newspaper ‘can fix news’

    Today, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales launched Wikitribune -- an online crowdfunded newspaper looking to combat "fake news." According to Wales, media's move to the internet broke news reporting. Whereas before people paid newspapers to give them the truth, now readers expect content for free, forcing publications to rely on ad revenue. Wales argues that this has derailed news media's role as truth-tellers. He also criticises how social media algorithms spoon-feed users what they want to hear to "keep clicking at all costs." His remedy is a publication that hires professional journalists to work "side by side as equals" with the community. This team will author, fact-check, and verify...

  • Cracked: could this comedy site’s model prevent another ‘Shelley Garland’?

    I’ve been reluctant to add my voice to the hailstorm of opinions surrounding the ongoing Huffington Post South Africa 'Shelley Garland' saga (you can read a full summary of the events here). Suffice to say it's a mess. People have used the opportunity to settle personal scores, throw around racial slurs, and defend ethically questionable journalism. Not only is this not helpful, it means that some of South Africa’s most senior journalists have wasted energy venting anger, rather than trying to find practical solutions. That's a pity, because there are solutions. They don't require slamming shut the gates of publishing, or burning the whole...

  • Google doesn’t want you using adblockers, so its building its own

    Google's wildly popular Chrome browser could soon feature its own adblocker, according to sources quoted by the WSJ. "People familiar with the company's plans" suggest that this adblocker, built by Google itself, won't function entirely like uBlock or AdBlock Plus which allows users to block all ads on demand. Instead, it will filter ads that don't meet Google's specific criteria. The criteria, outlined in the Initial Better Ads Standards, deem around 12 current advertising systems and techniques to be unsuitable and downright annoying for users. Pre-content pop-ups, ads that just won't stop playing or shutting up, or ads that stick to...

  • [Updated] Here’s what went down at the Huffington Post SA this weekend

    Update, 20 April: The Huffington Post has revealed Marius Roodt, a white man from Johannesburg, as the man behind the blog. Roodt says he was concerned with "the lack of fact-checking in South African journalism" and used the blog to prove a point. He had also submitted it to The Daily Maverick, who didn't respond. Roodt asserts he did not mean to target anyone, and doesn't think "white men are under attack." His mission was merely to see how far he could push South African journalism. "I didn't want it to cause the storm that it did," he said. Original article: There are a ton of...

  • Burger King’s ‘Connected Whopper’ ad is genius, but Google doesn’t agree

    Burger King just couldn't let Pepsi and United steal all the attention this week, could it? The fast food chain published an advertisement this week, touting the "fresh ingredients" included in its Whopper burger. Sounds fair right? Sure. But as the employee notes in the ad itself, 15 seconds is hardly enough time to sell a product. Burger King solved this by using seven sneaky but utterly brilliant words: "Okay Google, what is the Whopper burger?" This short line activated any Google Home devices within earshot of the ad, and read aloud the Wikipedia page for the burger. Some people labeled the ad intrusive...

  • Why PewDiePie doesn’t care about free speech [Opinion]

    Felix Kjellberg, better known as PewDiePie, has made it his mission to fight The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). The Swedish YouTuber is consistently posting videos for his 54.6-million subscribers attacking WSJ for reporting news. But nothing Kjellberg argues ever holds up, and it's a damning representation of where his priorities lie. For those blissfully unaware, back in January PewDiePie posted a video in which he paid Indian men to hold up a sign promoting Jewish genocide. WSJ wrote an article on it, and contacted Disney for a statement. Disney was producing Kjellberg's YouTube Red show Scare Pewdiepie at the time, and...

  • This website live streams animal shelters, helps you donate too

    When you're caught up in your daily life, it can be hard to find time to give back to your community. Things like grocery shopping will always feel more pressing than walking dogs at a faraway animal shelter. Animals Life NET is a website that understands this, and wants to make helping homeless animals easier so that you can give back quickly and simply. The site offers users free live streams from shelters all around the world, with links on the side to feed the animals, volunteer at the shelter, help a crowdfunding campaign or even adopt a pet. If...

  • Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi ad has gone viral for all the wrong reasons

    Update, 6 April, 10.00am: Pepsi has since issued an apology and removed the advert from circulation. pic.twitter.com/I21nQl68cY — Pepsi™ (@pepsi) April 5, 2017 Many believed the apology to Kendall Jenner -- rather than activists at large -- to be a misstep. @pepsi @KendallJenner Apology to Kendall = ridiculous. Like screenwriter apologizing to actor for being in bad movie after reading script. — Sidaya "Sid" (@SidayaSherwood) April 5, 2017 @pepsi In your next apology, I suggest you apologize to victims of police brutality and those who *actually* protest such atrocities... — Brandy Reese (@blreese) April 5, 2017 Jenner has not yet issued a statement. Original article: Pepsi has long been known...

  • Marvel’s The Defenders’ clever trailer is a video marketing treasure hunt

    Netflix seems to be loving clue-riddled trailers, and no one is complaining. In the latest teaser for the upcoming Marvel's The Defenders series, viewers are allowed their first look at Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Iron Fist together and working as a team. And this isn't all Netflix has gifted. In the teaser, the gang wait in an elevator before Jessica Jones realises a CCTV camera is watching them. She immediately destroys it. But hidden in the seemingly innocuous teaser are two clues to the new series. Marvel's The Defenders' first trailer is a smart bit of video marketing The first is a...

  • Periscope live streams will now feature YouTube-like ads

    After news broke this week that Twitter is mulling a possible paid tier of TweetDeck, the company this week announced a new advertising format for Periscope. The social network will begin to show pre-roll advertisements on the live broadcasting service videos similar to YouTube's pre-video ads. This means that users wanting to watch a clip on Twitter's video streaming service will need to sit through an advertisement first. "Today, we’re introducing a new opportunity for publishers and creators to monetize their content, and for brands to advertise against it, with pre-roll ads on Periscope video within Twitter," the company announced. "Pre-roll ads...

  • Facebook’s new feature will turn it into a digital shopping mall

    In its never-ending quest to connect the world and make loads of cash doing it, Facebook has today announced a new shopping advertising format dubbed Collection that will helps brands showcase products on mobile. And yes, only mobile. "Mobile has reshaped how people discover, learn and ultimately buy from businesses," the company writes in an update. "People are also watching more videos on mobile, and shoppers want to see products as they exist in the real world—but they also expect fast-loading, seamless experiences when they discover and buy on mobile." The company's solution to this is to allow brands to tell their own...

  • Artificial intelligence: how is AI changing marketing?

    2017 is set to be the year of artificial intelligence (AI). With companies such as Amazon Web Services offering AI on tap -- including image recognition and natural language understanding -- an increasing number of machine learning powered services will be finding their way to the consumer. Those involved in marketing and retail might have already seen offerings filter through, with the following pointing the way the AI winds are blowing. Elementary, my dear In the world of AI, Watson is one of the best-known names out there. Built by IBM, this computer system is able to learn from massive amounts of...

  • The Bookmarks 2017: here are the winners

    In case you weren't anywhere near Twitter or Sandton last night, the 2017 and ninth edition of The Bookmarks took place last night. The IAB Bookmark Awards (as it is more formally known) is known in the digital industry for "rewarding excellence in digital and recognising the powerful impact interactive has on the overall marketing mix". You could call it the SAMAs of the digital industry. "South Africa’s top talent and most memorable campaigns were recognised, illustrating how far the digital industry has come and laying the path for future innovation," IAB writes in a press release. So, who won? Memeburn and Creative Spark...