Instagram Has Completely Lost Its Mind

ALSO: Twitter adds a new campaign objective.... Amazon adds some new podcast tech.... and an entire country is now investigating fake reviews.

Twitter's New 15-Second View Objective

Twitter has added a new campaign objective to its ads platform — the 15-second view. 

This in an attempt to meet the needs of advertisers who rely heavily on quality of video views and video completion rates. It is, of course, 15 seconds or 95% completion — whichever comes first.

And because it's an ads platform objective, it's also an optimization event; Twitter says their prediction models will serve your video ad to the users it thinks have the highest likelihood to watch a video longer.

Indeed, they say their test-run of this found an 89% average higher completion rate at a 25% cheaper cost per completed view.

One important note: Starting today, the 15-second view unit will be the new default bid unit for all campaigns under the Video Views objective.

It is available now to all advertisers globally.

UK Investigates Fake Google/Amazon Reviews

The British competition authority is investigating whether Amazon and Google broke consumer laws by not removing fake reviews.

The agency said:

Our worry is that millions of online shoppers could be misled by reading fake reviews and then spending their money based on those recommendations.

For its part, Amazon told media they devote “significant resources to preventing fake or incentivized reviews” from appearing on its platform — and, oddly, took great pains to note (I'm paraphrasing here) 'Hey they're only investigating us, guys, we haven't been found guilty yet.'

It's quite possible Amazon knew this was coming and tried to get ahead of it. As we reported last week, the company put out a blog post that both acknowledged the problem and threw unnamed-platforms-but-totally-Facebook under the bus by saying Zuckerberg and crew weren't fast enough in removing Facebook groups devoted to gaming Amazon's review system. Which kind of sounds like a driver blaming her speeding on the smoothness of the road surface.

Specifically, Amazon said in that blog post last week:

While we appreciate that some social media companies have become much faster at responding, to address this problem at scale, it is imperative for social media companies to invest adequately in proactive controls to detect and enforce fake reviews ahead of our reporting the issue to them.

For its part, Google says it too tries to take down inappropriate reviews when it finds them.

If, indeed, the UK does find fault here, enforcement actions could range from making them promise to do better ('cause, you know, that's always effective) to possible court action. 

Amazon Acquires Monetization Platform ART19

Amazon continues to dive into the potentially lucrative podcast space — today announcing they've acquired the podcast distribution and monetization platform Art19.


Art19 inserts premium, host-read ads across programs...

With the acquisition, Amazon continues to ramp up podcast dealmaking, an attempt to close the gap in an area where it's a relative latecomer. Late last year, the e-commerce giant bought the podcast network Wondery, which is responsible for popular shows such as "Dirty John." The deal, reportedly valued at over $300 million, was centered on securing more exclusive premium content after Amazon Music introduced a podcast section in September.

Yet Another Interface for Instagram Posts

Instagram's test of web publishing has opened to more people.

This gives users the ability to publish posts from the desktop version at That's posts only — you still can't do Stories. Or IGTV. Or Reels. 

Look, I'm old now, so I always appreciate when these mobile apps make a desktop version for us marketing veterans. 

But this one's a little strange, given that you've been able to do this using Facebook's Creator Studio for more than two years now. And you can even post IGTV videos from there. And Stories — but not all Stories, only Stories on Facebook. For some reason, Creator Studio can't handle Instagram Stories. And not all of Instagram's editing tools, only some. 

There are three big advantages to using the web interface, if you have it:

  1. Any account can use it, not just Business accounts, like over on Creator Studio.

  2. It seems to have most of the editing options that the mobile app has.

  3. You don't have to use Creator Studio — which, according to new research I just made up, is universally hated by all marketers.

You'll know if you're in the test group if you have a + icon in the top navbar at

Instagram says this new web interface will "enable a more centralized approach for social media managers" — which... wasn't that the point of Creator Studio? Or was that Creative Hub? Actually, no, it was Business Suite?

I give up.

And finally…

Well, it finally happened. A listener of this podcast found me in an Overwatch match. We were playing Route 66 and, I have to say, demolishing the other team. Poor guy was on that other team and messaged me on Xbox after: "Hey, aren't you Tod Maffin?"

All I can say is thank god I didn't teabag in that game — though he, like me, is a Mercy main and, well, some of us have honour.

It's going to be a hot, hot weekend here in British Columbia, and apparently 46 degrees celsius in Las Vegas. That's 115 F. Does anybody believe that city will even be inhabitable in 20 years?

My wife and I made the mistake of going to Vegas a few years back in May, and the resort we stayed at — which, yes, it was off the strip, but it was still a really nice place — it literally did not have cold water in the taps. You couldn't take a shower because regardless of which tap you opened, the water was hot. Scalding hot. The front desk said the solution was to run a bath with only the cold water tap on, let it sit overnight, then bathe first thing in the morning. Again, that was May. Not August.

So, wherever you are, stay cool and I'll see you Monday.