National Geographic plans to immerse viewers more deeply in exotic experiences through virtual reality, partnering with YouTube on three projects. The first VR series begins next week, exploring Africa's Okavango Delta in four five-minute episodes.
Amazon Music listeners can now engage in more natural conversations with Alexa, using suggestions and responses to find the tunes they want. The new capability helps users explore genres as well as such factors as mood, tempo and occasion.
TBWA\Chiat\Day's latest "Unboxing the Truth" spot for the Thomson Reuters Foundation features David Cogen of YouTube's The Unlockr channel opening a box that includes "slave-made" headphones. A short digital spot shows Cogen opening the box with no knowledge of what's inside and becoming increasingly disturbed as he's confronted with facts about child slavery in the tech industry.
MMI Agency's Benjamin Spiegel writes about his informal research into #sponsored posts by influencers across YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, which found that Instagram produces by far the highest engagement whether content is sponsored or not while sponsored content on YouTube performed better than organic content. The main lesson from the research, however, is that "[y]ou need to make sure that you're choosing authentic influencers who have an audience relevant to your products or services," he writes.
Customers will organically talk about brands that offer excellent customer service and build trust that instills loyalty, writes Wendy Marx. Brands should make it easy for customers to share about their good experiences online and seek out advocates who are passionate about the brand.
Instagram's Stories format is exerting a wide influence and presenting a new challenge and opportunity for marketers. Members of the Forbes Agency Council reflect on how this is likely to shape the future for both content marketing and branded content.
App-based ride service Lyft has applied for an initial public offering, beating Uber and a list of other tech companies to the IPO punch. Lyft's Wall Street listing could come as soon as 2019's first quarter, providing a key test of investor enthusiasm about tech in the new year.
Potential conflicts of interest are keeping the head of the Federal Trade Commission's Consumer Protection Bureau from touching cases involving dozens of companies including Facebook, Twitter and Uber. Critics say Andrew Smith's various business ties are effectively preventing him from doing his job.
"If you're highly successful, your achievements are obvious. It's more novel and inspiring for others to learn about your mistakes," says Harvard Business School Assistant Professor Alison Wood Brooks. Sharing past failures can actually improve the working relationships that a manager has with employees because it reduces resentment.
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., has written to the Federal Trade Commission demanding greater investigation into digital ad fraud and closer scrutiny of Google. "As long as Google stands to profit from the sale of additional advertisements, the financial incentive for it to voluntarily root out and address fraud remains minimal," wrote Warner.