Meet the New “Mega-Thread” Ad Format

PLUS: LinkedIn lets you sponsor anyone, Microsoft cleans up its Ads Manager UI, YouTube will alert you to product errors, and Stripe hits $1T in sales.

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Meet the New “Mega-Thread” Ad Format

PLUS: LinkedIn lets you sponsor anyone, Microsoft cleans up its Ads Manager UI, YouTube will alert you to product errors, and Stripe hits $1T in sales.

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MEDIA BUYING • Reddit’s “Mega-Thread” Ad Format

For better or worse, one of digital marketing’s big trends in the last few years has been the slippery slide toward ads looking more like organic posts.

  • Ads on Twitter once had a Sponsored label pretty clear; now, they’re nearly indistinguishable from regular posts, save for a two-letter disclosure in the top-right.

  • Google search ads, too, have toyed with various formats that make them look like unpaid organic listings.

Now, Reddit is jumping into the mix with a new ad format designed to replicate organic posts that get a lot of traction. Those posts are known informally as a mega-thread.

The new ad format is called a “free-form” ad, and advertisers can combine image, video and text, or use a predesigned template. They will have some disclosure — some light-grey text at the top that reads “Promoted.”

Reddit says free-form ads outperformed all of their other ad types in average click through rate (CTR) by 28%. But, as always, take these numbers with a grain of salt, because the platforms rarely report when other metrics might not be as strong.

Free-form ads are available now to all advertisers on Reddit globally. You’ll find them in the self-service Reddit Ads Manager.

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B2B • LinkedIn Now Lets You Sponsor Anyone

LinkedIn is now letting businesses spotlight not just their employees' voices, but any user's content within the app. This marks a big change from the platform's previous limitation of promoting only verified employee posts through its Thought Leader ads.

Now, companies can extend their promotional efforts to include content from customers, industry experts, or any influential figure, even if they're not on the payroll.

Setting up these Thought Leadership campaigns is pretty straightforward with LinkedIn's Campaign Manager. You can use new search tools to find and sponsor the exact content you wish to amplify, whether by searching for a specific person or post.

It's worth mentioning that the original creators of the promoted content won't receive any compensation, other than the boost in visibility they'll gain within the app. And those creators can approve or deny promotion requests, just in case they’re from a brand they don’t want to be associated with.

Thought Leadership ads are only available for brand awareness and engagement campaigns, for now, and will only work with single image or video posts.

MEDIA BUYING • Microsoft Cleans Up Ads Manager

Microsoft is rolling out a new design for its Ads Manager.

It’s more colorful, a little more modern looking, maybe more efficient, though that’s often a subjective thing.

Microsoft last updated its UI back in 2020.

There’s also a change to the sidebar navigation:

And it incorporates Microsoft’s AI chatbot which can help you do some basic things in the ads manager.

YOUTUBE • Clips and Product Tags Updates

For livestreamers — whether on Twitch or YouTube — making a big mistake on stream, or having something amazing happen, or finally winning the boss fight… these moments can be captured by a video format known as a Clip.

In livestream parlance, a clip is usually about 60 seconds that is taken from the livestream — usually at the command of viewers.

One embarrassing example — I was livestreaming playing Rainbow Six Siege with my squad… our job was to protect the hostage… and I accidentally killed the hostage. That mistake was gleefully clipped by one of my viewers, and it now lives in infamy on my Twitch site.

YouTube has that as well, and now has added a way for you to easily find all the clips viewers have created from your uploads. You can also find those you created.

From that screen you can delete those embarrassing moments (note to self). This is being rolled out starting this week on Desktop, and mobile is coming soon.

YouTube has also introduced new alerts for channel managers to notify them when products are not displayed in their uploads due to some kind of issue.

Creators will see a banner in the video details if there are products that are tagged but can’t be served because of tag quality issues, products under review, products that have not been approved, or products that have been deleted.

YouTube

That, too, is being rolled out this week in YouTube Studio.

STRIPE • Exceeds $1 Trillion in Processed Payments

Stripe, the digital payment giant, is making waves with its annual letter [PDF], revealing a business that's not just thriving but outpacing the payment space itself.

They logged a staggering $1 trillion in total payment volume last year. That’s a 25% increase from the previous year.

Needless to say, they’re projecting another cash flow positive year in 2024, and hinting at a future public offering without the immediate need for additional capital.

Interesting to note from their update, they say they observed a record number of startups being founded in 2023, particularly in the U.S., Canada, the Netherlands, and Sweden. This despite something of a pullback from VC companies.

Stripe is currently valued at $65 billion.

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