Meta Doesn't Understand the Assignment

The company keeps rolling out half-baked AI tools, rather than focusing on platform stability.

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In Today's Issue

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Instagram • Dropping Comments on Your Stories

A new Instagram feature meant to encourage engagement could be a trouble spot for marketers.

The app is working on something they call Hype, which are publicly visible comments overlaid on top of an Instagram Story. Currently, as you probably know, any comments left on a Story are sent via DMs.

But now, those comments will be put on top of the Story.

So far, this has only been spotted in the wild as a test, and we can only assume there’ll be some controls over what appears overtop of our brands’ Stories.

Instagram has been pushing out features at a pretty decent clip — Collaborative Posts, Close Friends sharing, a comment wall which is still in testing, and so on.

Meta needs to find new ways to encourage original content sharing, because while Facebook and IG activity has been rising in 2023, original posting has continued to decline. And without that, Meta’s apps lose a significant aspect of their appeal, and their power as connective engagement surfaces.

I mean, hosting entertainment apps is obviously working out, as it amplifies more video content. But Meta also gleans major value from interaction, and facilitating participation among users.

Pinterest • Grandpa Fashion, Jellyfish, and Home Cafés

It’s the season for gift ideas, holiday sales, and year-end trend lists; several platforms this week releasing what they say is coming next that marketers can take advantage of.

(I spent about 20 minutes reading TikTok’s, and it really was the most generic unhelpful thing I’ve read — it went on about curiosity and discovery and, honestly, not a lot helpful for marketers.)

Pinterest’s report, which came out today, was a bit more helpful. They outlined 23 topics they see gaining traction for next year. Three examples:

Eclectic Grandpa: They call out retro streetwear, cardigans and customized clothing, saying Gen Z and Boomers lead the growth in searches for “grandpa style.”

Be Jelly: Jellyfish apparently are also capturing some interest, especially among Gen Z and Millennials — they’re increasingly searching for “jellyfish lamp,” “jellyfish hat” and even “jellyfish haircut.”

And Cafécore, where people are trying to remake the coffee shop vibe at home. Things like “cafe chalkboard” and “coffee station décor,” are trending.

Google Ad • Brand Safety Deep-Dive

The in’s and out’s of keeping bad content away from your Google ad campaigns — everything from negative keywords, to account-level exclusions, to staying away from the “bad” placements.

Our Google Ad correspondent Jyll Saskin Gales from Inside Google Ads joins us to discuss.

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Meta • AI Releases Are Underwhelming, At Best

Both Google and Meta announced some big AI news today. Google’s was the introduction of Gemini — which they say now makes their Bard chatbot smarter. There’s not a lot of marketing-related stuff there, so I won’t spend any more time on that one.

Meta’s, though, does have some implications for our work.

Reimagine

First, they’re adding a text-to-image tool called Reimagine inside group chats.

Meta’s AI generates and shares the initial image you requested, then someone else in the chat can press and hold on the picture to riff on it with a text prompt and Meta AI will generate a new image.

The developers there clearly think this is the most fun you could possibly have:

Now you can kick images back and forth, having a laugh as you try to one-up each other with increasingly wild ideas.

Or, if past history is any guide, people will kick the tires, send a laughing emoji, never use it again, and Meta will quietly sunset it in two years.

Image Generator

They also opened up an image generator at imagine.meta.com

Some of the early reviews so far have been less than generous — Gizmodo called it a “flop.”

And I think it’s broken, actually.

When I tried to use it, I got some weird prompt telling me I had to merge my VR account with my Meta account or some other typical Meta nonsense.

(Like, literally, any time I try to do anything these days on Meta, it tries to make me connect accounts, or merge usernames, or some weird shit that you know is going to go horribly wrong.)

Reels Discovery

Inside chat sessions, you can now ask their AI to recommend videos and Reels. The example they give is asking it for the the best places to visit on a trip to Tokyo, and the app returns a shelf of matching Reels.

This is, of course, more a search tool than anything specifically AI-based.

Write It For You

They’re also adding text generation for people too lazy to write status updates on their personal profiles.

Somewhat depressingly, the example they showed was someone asking Meta to write a post saying how grateful they were for their family.

You’ll also start to see this as suggested replies in Instagram DMs aimed at getting brands and creators to reply to their messages faster.

This is all in-app, of course. None of this is in the API, meaning this functionality isn’t in any third-party social media tool you might be using.

Graphics Tools

One nice touch for marketers is they’ve made a new option in the Stories creation workflow to automatically crop a wide image to a tall image, and try to figure out the best place to do that crop, based on what’s in the image.

And one final note — sadly, most of these releases are available only in the U.S. for now.

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Amazon • Did They Steal Amazon from the Amazon?

The head of the region covering the Amazon rainforest says he’ll demand royalties from Jeff Bezos for using the Amazon rainforest's name as the ecommerce company.

He plans to raise this issue at the upcoming climate summit in Dubai.

IN TOMORROW’S ISSUE

A big update for one of LinkedIns lesser-known B2B marketing tools.

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