The digital download: Video reigns supreme before Valentine’s Day

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Video was a big topic in this week’s industry news, as Twitter and Instagram introduce new offerings,  and YouTube released its monthly list of viral ads.

Sunday marked Super Bowl 50, which was pretty big advertising news. We’ve covered that to death; what else happened this week?

Twitter adds a new algorithm, but not that one

News broke that Twitter would adopt a new algorithmic timeline a la Facebook.

People were outraged, but chief executive (CEO) Jack Dorsey tweeted that actually, Twitter would be doing no such thing.

While #RIPTwitter was much ado about nothing, the platform did sort of change its algorithm. An extension of Top Tweets, the new algorithm is optional and curates users’ feeds based on account interactions and engagement.

Twitter also announced a new offering this week. First View, a promoted video product, gives brands the chance to feature their videos in the highest ad spot for up to 24 hours.

Twitter saw its lowest-ever share prices Monday, but this move could support a turnaround. Video is a profitable and popular ad format, one that may even win the decade, if YouTube’s Robert Kyncl is to be believed.

Brands bested by developers, politicians on YouTube

Video may be a solid strategy for brands, but interestingly, they’re trumped by politicians (no pun intended, ugh) and developers when it comes to views.

YouTube released its list of most-watched ads for the month of January earlier this week. The top four spots went to video games: two for Clash of Clans, and one each for Boom Beach and  Pokémon, the only Super Bowl ad to make the list. Candy Crush also placed at number seven.

Bernie Sanders’ “America” and Ted Cruz’s “Invasion” also ranked, as well as an anti-Trump ad.

The only consumer brand to place was Friskies, whose latest addition to its wildly popular BuzzFeed series was viewed 825,000 times last month.

Google announces end date for Flash ads

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) updated its creative guidelines to favor HTML5 technology over Flash. ClickZ deemed this one of the top industry highlights of 2015, as it was a big enough deal for Amazon to ban Flash almost immediately.

Similarly, Google started pausing many Flash ads and on Tuesday, it announced plans to stop accepting them, as well. Doing so, the search giant aimed to stop malicious code injections.

After June 30, display ads built in Flash can no longer be uploaded to AdWords and DoubleClick Digital Marketing. On January 2, the Google Display Network and DoubleClick will stop supporting them altogether.

Instagram tests video view counts

Back to video. Yesterday, Instagram beefed up its video offerings yet again. The platform started testing video view counts, which will officially roll out in a few weeks and give advertisers a better sense of how their posts are resonating with people.

The view count will be directly underneath videos. Instagram, like its parent company Facebook, considers a view to be three seconds.

In other Instagram news, the platform also just started allowing users to toggle between up to five accounts without signing out.

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Valentine’s Day follows in Thanksgiving’s footsteps

This past holiday season was the most digital yet. While brick-and-mortar retailers struggled, consumers spent more than $11 billion online between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.

According to the National Retail Federation, Valentine’s Day is heading in that direction, as well. The associated estimated that 34.5% of Valentine’s gifts will be purchased at department stores, compared to 27.9% online.

Adobe estimated that ecommerce jewelry sales peaked Wednesday, 168% higher than a normal day that accounted for $13 million. But in general, today is the top online shopping day; more than $30 million is estimated to be spent on flowers and non-jewelry gifts.

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