The Figaro Digital Monthly Digest: March 2019

by Figaro Digital

March brings winter to its conclusion with a warm reminder that we’re already a quarter of the way through 2019, meaning brands and agencies are already well into their yearly plans. As always with the ever-changing world of marketing, the industry has shifted and developed quickly this month:

The Latest Social News

Facebook Throws Its Hat Into The Cryptocurrency World

Following months of rumours, Facebook has confirmed it is launching its own type of cryptocurrency for use in its messaging platforms. Similar to Chinese messaging service WeChat, Facebook’s “Facecoin” will bring the possibility of instant payments on its messaging platforms through blockchain technology. That means users can pay online through Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram using Facebook’s proposed currency.

So far, Facebook has been tight-lipped, with the social media giant releasing one solitary comment:

“Like many other companies, Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology. This new small team is exploring many different applications. We don’t have anything further to share.”

While this colloquially-termed “Facecoin” may be a way off, it is perhaps an early indication of how purchasing will operate on Facebook in the future.

Twitter Opens Up Testing For Its Reply Redesign

Twitter has begun testing of its much-advertised reply and engagements redesign. Announced back in October, Twitter has explained the nitty-gritty of the update, which hopes to de-emphasise the importance of engagement  numbers on the platform. Replies from people will appear in blue, with likes and retweets hidden until a user clicks on a reply.

With Twitter speaking again and again about wanting to rethink every aspect of the platform, it seems the social media giant is beginning by re-evaluating whether likes and retweets equate to the importance of opinion.

Twitter Confirms Upcoming ‘Subscribe to Conversation’ Feature

Continually returning to a juicy bit of drama or a series of news will be made easier in the future with an upcoming “Subscribe to Conversation” feature on Twitter. The company confirmed the addition earlier this month after renowned reverse-engineer Jane Manchun Wong discovered the feature:

Users will receive a notification each time a subscribed thread is followed. Twitter said this is an effort to make “[the platform] more conversational”.

Instagram Adds In-App Checkout To The Platform

Instagram has increased its commerce credentials by adding an in-app checkout functionality. With the checkout, users can store payment information on Instagram to make purchases more efficiently. The checkout feature is currently being utilised by fashion brands like Uniqlo and Zara.

Companies can tag a photo with a price tag and name. Upon clicking on this tag, users will be funnelled to a checkout and ordering page entirely in-app. Previously, these type of purchases would take users out of the app, which left users feeling frustrated by the buying process.

Mindless Instagram scrolling just got more dangerous, y’all.

The Latest Google News

Google Announces Streaming-Based Digital Gaming Platform Stadia

Google, up until this month, has steered clear of the mainstream gaming industry, but the tech giant officially has thrown its hat into the ring with a platform known as Google Stadia.

Stadia is an attempt to bring modern games to streaming, meaning the games can be played on any platform or device. In essence, users can have a centralised platform where they can play the newest games in seconds while moving across Google’s platforms. It’s a bit like a Netflix for games, but more complicated.

In addition to streaming, Stadia allows users to interweave gameplay with Google’s search, YouTube and social media functionality. Without getting too nerdy, Stadia is an attempt to bring gaming into the digital space, complete with new avenues for marketing, social media and video.

Google Receives €1.5bn Lawsuit For Preventing Competition

The EU has continued its crackdown of Google by footing the company with a €1.5bn lawsuit for unfair censorship of rivals. The lawsuit relates to its AdSense service, wherein Google prevented rivals from appearing in online search ads via a complex array of “exclusivity contracts” with employers.

Following the lawsuit, Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager stated:

“The misconduct lasted over 10 years and denied other companies the possibility to compete on the merits and to innovate — and consumers the benefits of competition.”

Google has been under fire continually from EU officials for its lack of regulation and shady practices around competition, with this being the third fine the EU has brandished in two years.

The Latest In Brands

McDonald’s Responds To Coffee Snobs In Hit New Ad

In a move that has got a lot of engagement on YouTube and social media, McDonald’s has gone meta and responded to the world of coffee snobbery with a satirical ad. The ad, which contrasts the McCafe range of coffee with the complexity and convolution of usual coffee ads, is looking like an early winner for the year:

Mercedes-Benz Looks Inward For International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is an incredibly important day which brands are increasingly recognising. This year, Mercedes-Benz turned inward and celebrated a woman close to the company’s hearts: Bertha Benz, the wife of the company’s founder.

The four-minute, Western-styled video boasted incredibly high production values, telling the tale of Bertha Benz’s cross-country trip in a primitive carriage. The video was immensely popular online, racking in 4.5 million views as of writing:

Our Favourite Campaign Of The Month

Burger King Literally Deletes The Competition

Despite its invention over 30 years ago, augmented reality is still awaiting a watershed moment in advertising. However, Burger King has embraced the technology in an ingenious fashion, allowing users of its app to literally delete competitor’s advertisements in exchange for a free Whopper.

The ad campaign, entitled ‘Burn That Ad’, allows users to photograph a rival company’s ad and turn it into a Burger King ad:

Available only in Brazil, the ad’s purpose is to promote the company’s new ordering service, which helps customers skip lines. By embracing technology with their usual competitive, tongue-in-cheek advertising philosophy, Burger King has raised the game for app-based fast food marketing.

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