This joyous exclamation may not seem relevant to anyone who’s done with school or those without children, but to us in metro-Atlanta this means our commute time feels a lot more manageable. Of course, summer is about more than less-crowded highways. This season ushers in warmer weather, higher humidity, and much needed trips to the beach or lake. On top of basking in the sun, our nation has also been basking in the glory of, well ourselves, with a long weekend kicked off by Independence Day and topped off with our U.S. Women’s soccer team winning their 4th World Cup. Speaking of glory and summer heat, our prestigious newsletter is back with more hot content.
In this addition you’ll find: a meditation on social media’s role in the loneliness epidemic, concerning news from Facebook about a new feature that may reduce targeting capabilities, fascinating Multicultural data on Hispanic culture and immigration changes, a look at some inspiring creative, a recap on the litigation over census citizenship question, and news on the assorted elements of our government trying to reign in BigTech. Ready? Vámonos!
In late April, Mark Zuckerberg stood on stage at the F8 keynote with four words projected behind him, “The future is private.” The real-world impact of this statement is that Facebook unveiled a redesign giving Groups a more prominent position on the home feed and a shift to focus on the company’s messaging apps. This change continued onto Instagram in the form of in-app commerce and more private interactions. AdAge had a good piece going into further detail which started with the striking subtitle, “We’re entering the post-social era.” This statement deserves some consideration. The implication that we were living in “the social era” for the last decade seems obvious given the unbelievable growth of various social media companies. However, the last few years have also been marked by frequent commentary on the loneliness epidemic in America, the phenomenon in which nearly half of Americans say they are lonely. The evidence shows that the people who use social media the most feel lonelier than those that use it the least.
So, we can only hope that this turn to privacy is a serious one that will fulfill the original promise of social media: to connect us to more people. If these social media networks can actually facilitate socialization, rather than drive social isolation, then marketers may face an interesting shift in the U.S. consumer’s mindset. It could accelerate the desire for privacy online, which may affect the range of tools for digital advertising. If consumers feel accepted and cared for by real people, they might care less about whether a brand “gets” them. Whatever the fallout from this is, it’ll be well worth our attention.
In response to the Cambridge Analytica user data monetization scandal in May of last year, Facebook announced a new privacy feature called “Clear History.” This feature will allow users to disconnect their internet browsing history data from their Facebook profiles. According to Ad Age, “Some of Facebook’s most popular marketing technology like the Facebook Pixel and Custom Audiences could be rendered useless if a person erases their tracks.” In a blog post from May, Facebook was very explicit is saying that the feature may impact targeting and that “[b]usinesses should keep this in mind when developing strategies for these kinds of campaigns in the second half of the year and beyond.” It should be interesting to see how Facebook reducing advertisers targeting capabilities will play out. But keep in mind, the majority of Facebook users haven’t even navigated to their settings unless they needed to block someone or change their password. So, will it affect Facebook’s targeting and advertising? Of course. Will it be detrimental? Probably not.
An article from Forbes by Isaac Mizrahi has highlighted some great multicultural data from Kantar’s 2018 Monitor Study. Mizarhi points out that, “Hispanics lead and over-index all other ethnic segments in cultural connection elements such as family, history, food, language, recipes and music.” This is connected to another point he emphasized later in the piece, which explains that a majority (57%) of Hispanics believe the Spanish language is more important to them today than it was five years ago. But, the most salient point is about dismantling the dated concept of assimilation. The idea that people assimilate into a new country has been around for decades and can still be found in some parts of the advertising industry, but Hispanics are trying to break that construct. According to the Kantar study, “92% of Hispanics believe that it feels natural to live in the U.S. and connect to its culture, yet still retain the culture of their country of origin.” The fact that almost every Hispanic, including Hispanic millennials, share this mentality is a huge insight. It also underscores the importance of rethinking cultural assimilation and moving towards a biculturalism model.
A new analysis of immigration data released by Pew Research explains the differences between recently arrived immigrants and long-term residents. Immigrants who have lived in the country for five years or less make up 17% of the U.S.’s foreign born population. This group is more likely to have more education, higher unemployment rates, and lower personal earnings than longer-term immigrants. The other major change is that South and East Asia are closing the gap for top origin region for recently arrived immigrants. In 2010, Latin America’s share of immigrants that arrived in the past five years was 48% compared to Asia at 30%, but now Latin America has dropped to 38% while Asia has climbed to 35%.
Nike won the World Cup’s advertising competition with their inspiring “Dream Further” ad, which featured soccer stars from around the world. The ad put the spotlight on players like Martens, Sam Kerr, Crystal Dunn, and Wang Shuang as well as a cameo from Alex Scott, the men’s Barcelona team manager. The empowering ad is a beautiful metaphor for how young players are inspired and lead by the current all-stars, a message that especially rings true for young girls who want to see themselves represented in every part of society. Nike ended their women’s World Cup ad with another powerful ad celebrating the U.S. Women’s World Cup victory with their “Never Stop Winning” ad.
There were plenty more examples of representative advertising, especially during Pride month this June. The fashion label, Diesel, released a Pride-themed collection and posted a lot of Pride content on their social media during Europe’s Pride Week. Usually, most brands base social media success around gaining followers, but when Diesel lost 14k Instagram followers, they doubled down and unabashedly flexed their support by celebrating the loss. AdAge had a really thorough article covering how a wide range of brands were celebrating Pride Month. The article features examples from Harry’s, MAC, Kind, Smirnoff, Twitch, and more. It even goes into detail on Disneyland’s first Pride parade at Disneyland Paris.
The federal government is continuing their litigation over placing a citizenship question on the 2020 census. This came after a complex Supreme Court decision in late June that found that the Trump administration had failed to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act. USA Today has a fairly comprehensive breakdown of the whole debate, with one side arguing that the citizenship question will help the government enforce the Voting Rights Act and the other side raising concerns about reducing response rates among immigrant groups who could be worried about their responses being used for immigration enforcement. While the legal battle is far from resolved, a recent Harvard CAPS/Harris poll found that 67% of registered voters believe the census should be able to ask about citizenship.
Let’s wrap things up with some BigTech news. The titans of the tech world are currently under fire from several different angles. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Justice Department has authority in antitrust investigations over Google and Apple, and the Federal Trade Commission has oversight on Facebook and Amazon. Additionally, the House Judicial Committee has launched an investigation into possible anticompetitive conduct in digital markets. In our highly partisan times, it seems as if one of the few things left with any bipartisan agreement is that the government should be suspicious of, if not outright antagonistic towards, BigTech. For example, the bill proposed by Sen. Warner (D-VA) and Sen. Hawley (R-MO) that would require social media companies to disclose how they are monetizing their user’s data. It seems likely that we will have a divided government at least through 2022, it is very possible that the only serious bipartisan legislation passed in the near future will be aimed directly at Silicon Valley.
That’s it for this edition. Have a great summer, we’ll see you in the Fall!