Meta Announces Removal Of Targeted Advertising Tools

Photo Via The New York Times

Facebook, now known as Meta, announced its plans to remove advertisers’ ability to create targeted ads and promotions based on data including race, religion, sexual orientation, geographical location, gender, and political affiliation. These changes will also be implemented in Meta’s apps including Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Messenger. 

The removal of data based advertising is planned to take effect on January 19th. Meta explained the changes to its targeting tools are to limit targeted advertisement abuse. In the past, there has been huge controversy surrounding abuse of data by advertisers. 

In one case, advertisers were using Facebook’s ad targeting tools to market body armor, gun accessories and rile enhancements to far-right militia groups on the platform. 

In another instance, Department of Housing and Urban Development sued Facebook in 2019 for permitting landlords and property sellers to restrict certain demographics from viewing their property postings based on users’ data like race, religion and ethnicity. 

Meta vowed to involve outside parties who took part in the legal settlement, including the American Civil Liberties Union, to test its ad systems to ensure the removal of ad based housing discrimination. They have also agreed to meet with groups and experts every six months over the next three years to continue testing. 

In response to complaints surrounding its ad targeting tools back in 2018, Facebook removed 5,000 ad targeting classifications to prevent advertisers from excluding certain demographics. 

Graham Mudd, a vice president of product marketing for Meta, announced, “We’ve heard concerns from experts that targeting options like these could be used in ways that lead to negative experiences for people in underrepresented groups.”

This is a drastic change to Meta’s business model as advertising accounts for $86 billion in annual revenue. This change is widely controversial as millions of businesses use the social network’s marketing and advertising tools to promote their businesses and expand their audience reach. Meta’s advertising technologies have proven more effective and affordable than traditional television commercials. 


Spotify use During Pandemic has Soared

Spotify usage has completely been derailed from the usual statistics. Obviously, spotify usage in cars have dropped because of the Stay-at-Home order. But Spotify usage at home on T.V. or game consoles have soared, reaching an increase of over 50% of usual number.

From their data, Spotify has found that everyday usage seems like a weekend. In the mornings, people are constantly streaming music on the apps that would often only happen more on the weekends.

More Spotify usage has been happening around their family during cooking, chores, family time, and relaxing at home with their numbers doubling. Spotify descriptions such as “chill” or “instrumental” have also seen an increase. This is most likely because an ambient sound is looked for while performing activities with the family.

More US consumers are seen to be using music as a stress reliever according to surveys. Spotify is proud of the fact that they are able to continue providing service with little disruption during this time of chaos.

Opposite of Spotify usage in the US, Italy and Spain has seen a decrease in streams.

People cancelling their subscriptions have said there reason for cancelling was due to the pandemic. They were also said to have renew their subscriptions when economic balance is restored.

Spotify has reached 130 million paid subscriptions, which is above forecasted numbers. But ad-supported revenue has been below forecasted numbers as a result of Covid-19.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, said the company is in better position because the company relies less on revenue derived from advertisements.

Spotify has also began investing more into podcasts which has seen a tremendous leap this year, especially due to the Coronavirus.

Hundreds of Journalists Are Being Laid Off When The Public Needs Them Most

Yes, this is, in fact, another coronavirus article–but unfortunately, it’s imperative to talk about this pandemic and the way we receive information about it.

With the Coronavirus pandemic well underway, the economic state of our country is steadily plummeting it seems. To combat the spread of the virus, our governments (both federal and state) have implemented initiatives to keep people at home and stop them from coming into work where they could potentially contract the virus and further spread it to individuals they encounter. Although in theory, this may sound like a great plan, it has been at the expense of many hardworking peoples’ livelihoods. For people who have to support themselves, their children, and/or their families during this pandemic and have gotten laid off for the sake of the virus’ spread is extremely unfortunate and upsetting.

In this specific case, I am talking about journalists who are now unemployed due to Covid-19. According to CNN,

On Sunday at least 100 people in local newsrooms in the US lost their jobs in March. By Friday, that number shot up to at least 300 people as the impact of coronavirus continues to roil newspapers and digital media companies.

While some companies, like Buzzfeed, are implementing salary reductions instead, this is not the case for many news sources/companies. And the sad, most unfortunate part about these layoffs and restructuring is that they have come at the most inconvenient time–when the public is hungry for information about the pandemic. But because of these layoffs, there are now fewer journalists to provide vital information about it. Traffic is up for many sites and TV ratings have increased as people are stuck at home watching the news, however we lack the adequate resources of journalists to provide us with accurate information on the virus. Unfortunately, all we can do is hope that our country gets back to normal in time.













What happens in the wake of sports death?

An article from discusses how the NBA postponing their season and the NCAA canceling much of their season and tournaments, including all of March Madness, much of the network advertisements are seeing declines on sports channels that are now mainly showing re-runs or older sports highlights.

The ads seeing the highest impressions are from airs during cable dramas such as ‘Law and Order: Special Victims Unit’ and ‘NCIS’ delivered over a billion ad impressions, across over 18 hours of advertising over the weekend. This is the first time that has happened in nearly two decades. Broadcast-network delivery of ad impressions went from 15 percent down to 11 percent. Big money still went to sports though, and while basketball reruns on sports networks didn’t draw the most eyeballs, they did still result in more estimated TV ad spend than anything else on TV over the weekend. 

College basketball topped the list in terms of estimated spend at $26.1 million. Food shows such as “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” had over 300 minutes of ads and delivered almost 465 million TV ad impressions. Airlines and cruise lines pulled their ads off the air amidst travel bans, online booking sites continued to spend, and health insurance companies are switching to creative coronavirus-awareness campaigns. While the big networks are bringing in the higher ad spends, it’s the cable news and lifestyle networks, such as HGTV, and family-friendly networks, like Nickelodeon, that are delivering more reach for the dollar right now.

The disruption of live sports is having a huge impact on brands that depend on college sports programming for massive reach. These are the marketer categories and brands that heavily bankrolled NCAA broadcasts last year: Vehicles: Automakers (est. $155 million), Insurance: Auto & General (est. $99.1 million), Electronics & Communications: Wireless (est. $78.1 million), Restaurants: Quick Serve (est. $58.3 million), Electronics & Communications (est. $49.2 million), AT&T Wireless (est. $68 million), Buick (est. $42.5 million), Geico (est. $36.4 million), Capital One Credit Card (est. $31.6 million), Progressive (est. $27.9 million).

Coronavirus Abroad: ITV forecasts 10% drop in ad revenues

An empty airport
Source: The Atlantic

ITV is a free to air public broadcasting network which serves the UK and acts as a trend leader in the market. Since the beginning of the spread of Coronavirus, or COVID-19, ITV has seen a significant decrease in advertising expenditures from travel-related companies. The company is forecasting a 10% decrease in ad revenue from travel companies, including airlines, travel agencies, and hotel companies. This slump will affect the overall projection for a 2% growth in revenue that ITV had previously predicted.

Additionally, shares in ITV dropped by 8.5%, a seven month low for the company. While the long term effects of the virus are unknown, many professionals project significant effects on the economy, as seen in this case. This does not mean the impacts will be long lasting or permanent, however, many industries may suffer by the loss of profit.

ITV is not the only company or area of the media industry facing the effects of the virus to say the least. Major impacts are expected from the postponement of the new James Bond film. Advertising campaigns surrounding to film as well as associated box office and pre-sale revenue will be delayed. This may inspire a trend throughout Hollywood and international film communities in an effort to follow the suggestion of many professionals to lessen large scale gatherings.

While the world watches to see how this virus will effect life from daily health to the world economy, the most important thing we can do is to prevent spread on a local level. Mass hysteria will only do harm on not only the individual level, but economic and international level.

Article Link:

Why Food Giant ‘Unilever’ Has Vowed To Stop Marketing Its Ice Cream Products To Children

Food giant, Unilever announced recently that they were going to change the way they market their products to children due to the rising childhood obesity rates in America.  According to their company,

“By the end of 2020, we will stop marketing and advertising foods and beverages to children under the age of 12 in traditional media, and below 13 via social media channels…We’re implementing strict controls concerning the placement and content of our ads, and we won’t use any influencers, celebrities or social media stars who primarily appeal to children under the age of 12.”

The company plans to implement a “Responsibly Made For Kids Promise” specifically for their ice cream business that ensures all ice creams will be responsibly communicated, responsibly sold, and responsibly developed. What this means is that they are shifting their advertising to speak to parents and caregivers – the people they feel should be the decision-makers when it comes to their children having a treat. In addition to that, they are going to sell their products with a “Responsibly Made For Kids” logo to further communicate their promise, and by the end of 2020 they are going to make sure that every ice cream in the kids’ range will have no more than 110 calories and a maximum of 12g of sugar per portion.

By making these positive changes, Unilever strives to promote a company that is not only transparent with their consumers but who also puts children at the forefront.



Bloomberg in the Black Media

From NBC News

Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent $3.5 Million to advertise his presidential campaign in the black media, despite his checkered past in relation to the black community.

Historically, Bloomberg supported a stop-and-frisk strategy in New York which specifically targeted minorities. This caused much discontent within the New York community and beyond, and Bloomberg has had to field many questions about his actions throughout his campaign thus far. Despite this, Andre Johnson of the Urban News Service which oversees many black owned publications, said that his efforts in advertisements have garnered a large amount of black support.

Bloomberg’s concerted effort to advertise to the black community has raised the question, how can other candidates compete? Despite the objections against Bloomberg’s past, many feel that it can be overlooked to support the common goal, elect a new president, one that isn’t Donald Trump. Due to the caliber of Trump’s connections and resources, many believe that Bloomberg is one of the only candidates who can produce the kind of funds needed to truly compete. One New Yorker summed up much of the sentiment of the nation, “We’re for anyone who can beat Trump. That’s where we are.”

According to the National Newspaper Publishers Association, Bloomberg’s investment in advertising to the Black community is a record high for a presidential campaign. The impact of the ads is still up for debate “I truly don’t think you can buy the black vote by buying ads in the black print media, and anybody who thinks that is wrong” says Johnson of the Urban News Service.

Article Link:

Facebook Contemplating Transparency on Platform

In an article for CNBC, Julia Boorstin covers the most recent development in FaceBook’s ongoing transparaceny debacle that this time involves Presidential hopeful Mike Bloomberg.  Facebook is apparently concerned about the lack of transparency regarding Bloomberg’s campaign in regards to campaign staffers and activists using the platform to garner support for the former New York Mayor’s Presidential campaign.  Currently, posts advocating for Bloomberg’s campaign don’t specifically indicate that these endorsements are in fact created by paid campaign staffers and supporters. According to the article, Facebook is in the process of considering necessary steps to increase transparency and make these campaign posts more obvious in their partiality.  In recent months, the social media juggernaut has been progressively taking steps to gain users trust through increased transparency regarding campaign advertisements as a result of the Cambridge Analytical debacle the company faced in early 2018. That particular scandal arose after it was reported that the company had unethically gathered user data to target political ads supporting Donald Trump for President in 2016.  Since then Facebook has instituted new policies such as flagging political ads and launching a database that reports ad purchases in relation to politics and special interests. 

I find it interesting that Facebook is now reactively making transparency regarding advertisements on its platform a priority after years of ignoring the issue altogether.  The mounting distrust and negative press the site has received in recent years has obviously had some kind of effect on the company’s standards in relation to transparency on the platform.  It remains to be seen however if the company can rebound from the awful public relations issues the site has been facing in recent times and potentially gain consumer trust.

Burger King’s New Moldy Burger

In a time when breaking the norm is becoming the norm, Burger King has just released an ad showing the ugly side of food advertisement. In promoting their new stance on removing artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, Burger King has caught the attention of millions by advertising a moldy old burger. Founder of drinks brand Tenzing Natural Energy, Huib van Bockel, said, “I love it. It’s about time. It’s so important to be open and honest. Of course, food perishes what is controversial about that? Only thing that worries me is: were there actually artificial preservatives in there?” It’s a step into marketing real product.

Not only does this promote realism, but it also has attracted a lot of attention towards Burger King. Conversations on social media platforms have almost doubled about Burger King. A divide between people who praised and criticised the advertisements has also formed. There are just as many critics and people who like the real advertisement.

Johnny Shaw, chief strategy officer at VCCP New York, thinks the advertisement has gotten the target audience all wrong. The people who are talking about it are people who wouldn’t step foot in a Burger King to begin with. The advertisement has reached an audience past it’s normal target audience.

Why Brands Are Moving Away From Unrealistic/Retouched Photos in Skincare Ads


Within our current society, beauty and reaching ‘perfection’ are very much emphasized ideals that consume our visions and thoughts surrounding our self-worth.

In saying this, many people have grown outraged at the fact that brands (makeup and skincare brands specifically) constantly share unrealistic/retouched photos of models to promote their products within their brand campaigns.

In fact, just over ten years ago, Olay came under fire in the UK for a magazine ad for a beauty product featuring English model and actress Twiggy, which the company admitted had been retouched. However, since then, many brands (Olay included) have moved away from altering photos in their advertising to promote being comfortable in one’s skin and embracing all imperfections.

To move away from this false portrayal of perfection,  Olay recently announced that they will stop retouching skin in its advertising by the year 2021. Kate DiCarlo, Olay’s senior communications leader, said during a panel at the announcement that the brand had tested out the new no-retouching policy in its Super Bowl ad. “We tested ourselves with the Super Bowl shoot; Our Super Bowl shoot was also unretouched,” she said. And in addition to this, the brand plans to attach their ‘skin promise’ to each ad/campaign in the U.S. and Canada to show that the skin on women featured has not been retouched.

This “Skin Promise” will expand to all of the brand’s ads on print, digital, out-of-home and with influencer partners by 2021.

Do you think that other beauty/skincare brands should follow in Olay’s footsteps, or do you feel like retouching is necessary in certain instances?