The Digital Download: Another volume of video vignettes

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The past week in digital was once again dominated by video: interactive videos on Facebook and Instagram, YouTube’s live streaming and Amazon challenging Netflix.

Once again, video was the main theme of this week’s biggest deals in digital. Facebook, Instagram and YouTube announced new ways for their users to experience it, while some Hootsuite integrations make it easier for marketers to schedule and measure it.

Amazon also threw the gauntlet down to Netflix, but while video was this week’s dominant driver of digital news, there were some notable non-video updates, as well. Twitter launched a segmenting tool, while new research illustrated that the ad blocking issue could potentially get much bigger.

Facebook announces interactive video, new partners

Facebook and Instagram have both been focused on beefing up their video offerings in recent months, as well as changing up their algorithms to favor video. On Wednesday, both platforms announced new interactive videos.

By rolling over the video, consumers can learn more about a brand or product. One early tester was Taylors of Harrogate, a British tea and coffee brand whose ad included a button that had options to take a quiz about perfect coffee flavors, buy products and sign up for emails. Taylors’ video saw a 35 percent engagement, with more than 4,000 likes, in addition to 250 comments and 400 shares.

In other Facebook news, the social juggernaut announced partnerships on Tuesday with Nielsen, comScore and Integral Ad Science. Facebook aims to improve transparency for its advertisers, who can use the three partners to measure and verify their photos’ and videos’ effectiveness on the platform.

Google follows Facebook into live streaming

Facebook isn’t the only one making new friends this week. Also on Tuesday, YouTube announced a partnership with Oracle Data Cloud with an intention to show consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands the effect their video ads have on-store sales.

Seventy-eight percent of TrueView ads have resulted in an increase in sales, according to Google tests with brands like Doritos, Gatorade and Pedigree. A 2015 spot starring Serena Williams earned Gatorade $13.05 in sales for every dollar the brand spent advertising on YouTube.

Facebook has been shaping up to be YouTube chief competitor for quite some time now. Following the launch of Facebook Live, YouTube unveiled a 360-degree live streaming feature of its own on Monday. One of the first brands to try out the new format was T-Mobile, which streamed performances during Coachella this week.

Amazon challenges Netflix, Hulu with live-streaming option

Already the most dominant force in ecommerce, Amazon is taking on video-streaming with an unprecedented offering. Starting Sunday, Amazon Prime will be available as a standalone streaming service for the first time, making it more competitive with Netflix and Hulu.

Amazon Prime will be doubly competitive with the former, given the service’s pricing model. Earlier this month, Netflix announced that it will be raising the standard plan’s monthly price to $9.99 from $8.99, which is how much a monthly streaming subscription from Prime will cost.

Also for the first time, Amazon will offer Prime on a month-to-month basis. Users can pay $10.99 per month with the option to turn it on and off, rather than pay a flat rate for the entire year.

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Hootsuite integration simplifies social video management

It’s not just the social platforms; their management tools are also focusing on video this week. On Wednesday, Hootsuite announced video integrations with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, making it easier for marketers to manage their videos in one place.

Users can approve, schedule and publish video content across the four networks. With the YouTube intergration, in particular, users can manage both owned and unowned channels.

The move illustrates the symbiotic relationship video and social have. A Hootsuite survey of 400 American and British adults found that 58 percent of people are more likely to watch a video if it’s been shared by someone they know on social media.

New stats show growth potential of ad blockers

It’s common knowledge within the industry that ad blocking is a huge issue, but it’s also becoming increasingly well-known to the general public. Surveying 28,000 people from around the world, Accenture found that 61 percent of consumers know about ad blockers and 42 percent are willing to pay for them.

Ad blocking awareness is particularly pervasive among younger (nearly 70 percent of those between 18 and 35), Middle Eastern (69 percent) and Latin American (78 percent) consumers. As awareness grows, use is sure to follow, which can result in advertisers losing even more money.

A commonly-offered solution to the ad blocking issue is for advertisers to create better ads, though that’s easier said than done. Industry leaders will gather in New York City on June 6 to share their most successful strategies at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)’s invitation-only Ad Blocking & User Experience Summit.

Twitter updates ads editor with targeting tool

On Monday, Twitter updated its ads editor with a feature that enables users to reach smaller segments within larger audience groups. The sublayers gives marketers more control of their campaigns, in addition to better measurement options based on audience and schedule.

But mostly, Twitter’s new function improves targeting for its advertisers. Subcampaigns can be created to target specific audiences. Advertisers can also set campaign objectives focused on metrics such as engagement, video views and followers.

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