News & Insights

Digital Dive: Commerce Media Networks Shine at Cannes 2024, US Surgeon General Calls for Warning on Social Media, and Google Rolls out June Spam Update

By Alyssa Carino

The Digital Dive - Digital Intelligence Newsletter.

The Big Story

Commerce Media Networks Shine at Cannes

At the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity this month, the growth of retail media, now often referred to as commerce media, was in full force. This growing channel extends beyond traditional retailers like Target and Walmart, with brands such as Chase and United launching new ad networks and making their presence felt with cabanas at Cannes. Established retail players like Kroger are also debuting cabanas and dedicated programming, looking to engage festival attendees and potential advertisers.

Brian Spencer, marketing director at Kroger Precision Marketing at 84.51, emphasizes the significance of retail media’s presence at Cannes. He views the festival as a crucial platform for participating in industry conversations and advocating for retail media’s role in driving positive changes in the digital ecosystem. Rich Muhlstock, president of J.P. Morgan’s new ad network, Chase Media Solutions, highlights the importance of creating awareness for this new ad network and exploring potential partnerships.

The goal for these ad networks is clear: attract marketers to consider their platforms, secure test budgets, and eventually become a regular part of the media mix. The allure of rich first-party data from commerce media networks is particularly compelling in the age of AI, as noted by Craig Elimeliah, chief creative officer at Code and Theory. He believes that the need for data to train AI models will further enhance the appeal of commerce media.

However, challenges remain, particularly in measurement and attribution. Advertisers are concerned about how much data commerce media networks are willing to share and whether there will be any consolidation in the industry. With limited ad budgets, marketers must carefully select which networks to invest in for testing and learning.

Despite the competitive landscape, Spencer from Kroger sees the growth of commerce media networks not as a competition among retailers but as a collective effort to improve the media industry. He argues that the real competition lies in outdated media practices characterized by third-party cookies, irrelevant ads, and significant advertising waste. By advocating for commerce media as a category, Spencer and a growing number of advertisers believe that the industry can overcome these challenges and drive more effective and engaging advertising experiences.

Social Updates

US Surgeon General Calls Warning on Social Media

US Surgeon General, Dr Vivek Murthy, has called for a warning on social media as the mental health crisis among young people continues to rise. According to studies, adolescents spending over three hours daily on social media face increased risks of anxiety, depression, and negative body image. A proposed solution is a surgeon general’s warning label on social media platforms, highlighting the associated mental health risks, which could prompt parents to regulate their children’s use. Legislation should also protect young people from online dangers, restrict data collection, and limit features that encourage excessive use. Additionally, the Surgeon General suggests schools and parents must create phone-free environments to foster healthier habits. The safety of social media requires collective efforts from public health leaders, clinicians, and regulatory bodies to ensure a safer online experience for children.

Meta Opens Beta for Threads Expansion into the Fediverse

Towards the end of last year, Zuckerberg announced his interest in integrating Threads within the Fediverse. Meta is now allowing users aged 18 and up with public Threads accounts in global markets to participate in the beta for sharing to the Fediverse. The beta allows federated post authors to like and see replies from the wider Fediverse, though responding to replies is not yet available. Meta is also focusing on educating users about the Fediverse, explaining how it works and encouraging broader exploration Initially launched in March in the U.S., Canada, and Japan, the beta has now expanded to over 100 countries. Threads has quickly become the largest app within this network, boasting 150 million monthly active users, while the wider Fediverse has over 11 million users, with 800K active on Mastodon monthly.

Reddit Releases New Conversation Ads

In an effort to position themselves as the leaders in contextual advertising, Reddit has unveiled a major update to its conversation page ads, introducing a premium ad placement within discussion threads. “Conversation Ads” aim to capitalize on the platform’s strength in contextual advertising, emphasizing authentic conversations amid an AI-dominated digital landscape. Reddit highlights that two-thirds of users are likely to purchase a product after seeing an ad on their platform, underscoring its impact in the consumer buying journey. The new ads, which will appear between individual comments, are designed to leverage the 47% of Reddit screen views happening on conversation pages. Early results show that combining Feed and Conversation Ads significantly boosts action intent and brand awareness, with case studies like Lenovo’s showing notable improvements in cost per acquisition. This latest development offers advertisers new opportunities to engage with highly contextual and active audiences on Reddit.

Digital Updates

Google Rolls Out June 2024 Spam Update

Towards the latter half of June, Google has started rolling out its monthly update, which aims to target websites violating its spam policies. Beginning on June 20th, the update will take about a week to fully implement. This update is designed to improve search results by reducing low-quality and deceptive content, such as automatically generated content, link manipulation, and hidden redirects. To clarify, this update is not the algorithmic component of the site reputation abuse update, which will be announced separately. While the update seeks to refine spam detection, it may cause fluctuations in search rankings, potentially impacting both spammy and legitimate websites. Once the rollout is complete, Google will provide an update on its Search Status Dashboard.

Study Shows Google Favors Ecommerce Sites & User-Generated Content

A recent study by the digital marketing agency Amsive has revealed significant changes in Google’s search rankings, which seem to favor e-commerce sites and user-generated content (UGC) over product review and affiliate sites. With a quick Google search, it’s clear that E-commerce websites now dominate the top search positions for many commercial queries, replacing product review sites. Platforms like Reddit, Quora, and YouTube are also seeing increased visibility for various searches, particularly for longer, more specific queries. For e-commerce sites, this shift offers an opportunity to gain more visibility and traffic by leveraging customer reviews and UGC.

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