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District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez ruled that Apple Inc. may not restrict developers from using external links that direct users to third-party payment services outside of their apps on the iOS platform. This is a considerable win for developers, but Apple Inc. may still have a chance to appeal the ruling.
The ruling as it stands reads, “Apple Inc., and its officers, agents, servants, employees and any person in active concert or participation with them (“Apple”), are hereby permanently restrained and enjoined from prohibiting developers from (i) including in their apps and their metadata buttons, external links and other calls to action that direct consumers to purchasing mechanisms, in addition to In-App purchasing and (ii) communicating with customers through points of contact obtained voluntarily from customers through account registration obtained within the app.”
From a financial perspective, the portion of Apple’s revenue derived from transaction processing—payment services required of users for any in-app purchases—is likely to take a significant hit. This redistribution of revenue to developers and other payment services could also fuel the creator economy and further boost social platform investment in creators. This change is set to take effect December 9, unless the ruling is overturned following an appeal.
Facebook has paused the development of an Instagram app for kids amid rising concerns from parent groups and lawmakers. The new version of the popular image-sharing app would be intended for preteens, with restricted content and better parental controls than those on the existing Instagram app. Children often find ways to get around the age restrictions to sign up for these social media platforms, so the logic is to provide a more suitable option that would deter kids from using the flagship app.
Lawmakers and parents are concerned about the irreversible mental health effects that the photo-sharing platform may have on children, especially with regard to body image. Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, said they are pausing their development to listen to these concerns and do more to demonstrate the value a kids’ version of the ad-free platform will have for both parents and kids. Mosseri also mentioned that other social media platforms already have kids’ versions of their flagship apps, including YouTube and newcomer TikTok. There is a senate hearing on the subject scheduled for October.
TikTok is increasing its e-commerce appeal by trying to position itself as a product hub and shopping destination in time for the upcoming 2021 holiday season. The platform has provided more revenue potential for content creators and brand partnerships that may increase advertising activity on the platform, as they are developing their unique blend of “Community Commerce,” or creator-driven word-of-mouth marketing.
TikTok touts that its platform offers marketers the ability to maximize engagement with their products through entertainment. TikTok studies claim that around a third of people want commerce to be more entertaining. Another way the platform could be useful to marketers is their hyper-relevant “For You” page, which uses the algorithm to recommend content based on user engagement rather than followed user accounts’ content. This allows the platform to provide relevant content deep within a niche to fuel discovery. The platform has also streamlined the purchasing funnel by facilitating product discovery, engagement, and purchase all without leaving the app.
Last winter, Pinterest published its Predictions report, highlighting 30 trends that would take hold in 2021. The platform claims that 80% of those predicted trends have indeed gained traction throughout the year. This demonstrates how beneficial this report can be for brands in search of resources that can better position them for success. Pinner activity may be able to inform brand strategies through predicted new habits, behavioral shifts, and rising user interest in specific niches or aesthetics.
Most internet trends last about six months before fading out. But with Pinterest, trends are sustained for more than 20% longer, which means that content from creators and brands have a longer lifespan on the platform. Pinterest has also become an important tool for product discovery and buying during the pandemic, and Pinterest has improved that experience with expanded product tag options and Idea Pins that tie into video consumption trends.
The pandemic has caused shoppers to change their purchasing habits drastically, and brands have been adapting and finding new ways to convert browsers into purchasers on their e-commerce channels. According to a recent study by Stackla, 83% of consumers want brands to provide more authentic shopping experiences, and 70% want personalized shopping experiences online.
The survey of more than 2,000 consumers also found that only 19% of consumers find brand-created content to be authentic, and only 10% found influencer content to be authentic. Nearly 60% of responses found UGC to be the most authentic, with 80% also saying that UGC has highly impacted their purchasing decisions when shopping online.
Industry Dive has published an article outlining key business innovation trends that arose during the pandemic. Unsurprisingly, during the pandemic many brands were forced to expedite innovations that may have already been on their improvement lists, a few of those being online purchasing, store pickup, curbside service, in-store touchless technology, and more self-checkouts. These innovations were adopted swiftly by the big-box retailers that were deemed essential and allowed to continue operations during lockdowns.
Companies need to be agile and innovative, both in physical stores and on e-commerce sites. An adaptable online presence is crucial and can be best achieved by partnering with vendors that can handle the technical investments and maintain and update systems at scale. Not all online orders are simply mobile site purchases; brands need to have multiple avenues to purchase and to facilitate customer interactions through virtual chats, phone calls, video consults, and virtual demonstrations. Providing a personalized customer experience continues to be an important innovation, but businesses are being forced to get even more creative. The labor shortage is making companies focus more on digital shelf labels to reduce the need for manual tag updates, freeing up employees to focus on customer experience.
To summarize, Industry Dive recommends that businesses large and small start innovating in a few key areas:
Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) update is impacting advertising effectiveness and reporting on Facebook. The key areas affected are the platform's ability to retarget users following specific interactions with an ad or website and the ability to track when a conversion has been completed. Some retargeting and conversion tracking may still be active, as the number of iOS users opting out of tracking is only a portion of the global device share. Reportedly, 60% of Apple users have opted out to date.
Facebook is working toward implementing new systems for estimating conversions based on system learnings to account for the approximate 15% of underreported conversions coming from iOS consumers. As Facebook continues to find ways to work around the tracking change, they have released a list of tips for advertisers to mitigate the impact of the ATT update on performance:
Thanks for reading this month's marketing and tech-related news. We found these articles insightful and helpful in navigating the changing marketing landscape and hope they are of value to you too.
Until next time.
Seth Slone | Digital PM