Did you see our TikTok Report? It was featured today in @adage: Everything you need to know about TikTok advertising https://bit.ly/2WMyux7
We partnered with @Anomali on critical new research into the cybersecurity implications of digital vaccine cards. Check out this piece in @FastCompany to learn more about the challenges facing vaccine passport adoption https://bit.ly/3BQSMWa Full report: https://bit.ly/37cwJeq
Our early polling on the Olympics gauges interest Americans had before the Games began, what could draw viewers or cause drop-off, & how this could impact advertising brands. More to come once the Games wrap up - check out the preliminary analysis here: https://bit.ly/3rIH8YN
Americans are increasingly convinced that retailers should do business more sustainably, but they're not willing to give up cheap and speedy shipping.
Driving the news: Two-thirds of Millennials and Gen Zers, 55% of Gen Xers and 42% of Boomers said retailers should consider the environmental impact of their businesses, according to a new survey from Retail Brew and Harris Poll.
- But 56% said faster shipping trumps shopping sustainably.
Why it matters: The annual package delivery emissions of FedEx, UPS, and USPS combined equal the annual emissions of more than 7 million cars, per an EPA calculator.
The bottom line: The pandemic has only intensified America's e-commerce habit.
- Being stuck at home pushed existing online shoppers to make more purchases online and pushed in-person shoppers to turn to e-commerce, accelerating the growth of online shopping by five or ten years, experts say.
Read the full story at Axios.
By Erika Wheless | Ad Age | Aug 2, 2021
After a year of quarantine boredom spurring people to download “that dance app,” TikTok has quickly solidified itself as one of the social media powerhouses—and has emerged as a brand go-to for creator and influencer marketing.
The Chinese-owned app had a tumultuous start in the U.S. due to a push by the Trump administration to have the company sell off its U.S. business. But with the political scrutiny behind it, TikTok has gotten to work on its advertising offerings, creator courting, and agency partnerships. In the first half of this year, TikTok became the most downloaded non-Facebook, non-gaming app globally, topping 3 million downloads. While some brands might be hesitant or unsure of where their brand fits into the app, those who have taken the plunge have often been rewarded (even if fleetingly).
Below, Ad Age has compiled what advertisers should know about TikTok creators, e-commerce opportunities, TK, and more.
HOW BRANDS AND MARKETERS CAN WORK WITH CREATORS
TikTok, of course, is nothing without its user-generated content. Over the past few months, the platform has taken steps to balance the interest of creators and the brands that want to work with them.
This includes introducing new product features like TikTok Jump, which allows creators to add links to their videos leading to additional content built into the app, such as recipes, quizzes, flashcards, movie reviews and beauty tutorials. The integration is similar to the mini apps in Snapchat, which launched Snap Minis in July 2020. So far, TikTok’s version is different in that the experience isn’t centered on e-commerce, at least not yet.
Another feature is TikTok Shoutouts, an answer to Cameo. Shoutouts allow users to pay creators for a personalized video, with about a week between payment and final product. While TikTok has not officially announced the feature, creators and influencer marketing agencies have seen it pop up.
On the brand side, TikTok has taken steps to ensure brands feel more comfortable in terms of brand safety. In early July, the app quietly rolled out rules around branded content. The policy sits within a new branded content section under its business and creator monetization rules, separate from its ads policy. Creators have to identify if they are making branded content, and TikTok has cracked down on content promoting financial services, like cryptocurrency and dating sites.
TikTok has also added new tools that connect brands with user-generated content, like Spark Ads, which allows advertisers to tap into pre-existing creator content and use it as part of campaigns, with the creator’s permission. The move is meant to help brands keep up with trending content, and even supplement larger campaigns.
DISCOVERING TIKTOK-DEDICATED STUDIOS
The potential success from TikTok is leading to the birth of TikTok-dedicated studios, as well as changing the business models and headcounts at agencies. For example, media company Attn launched its own TikTok Studio, and has worked with Unilever, Clorox, Madewell, Google, MTV and Geico. Warner Music Group's IMGN Media opened its own shop, Vertical Studios.
Ad agencies are also hiring Gen Z staff with TikTok followings of their own. Their job is to understand the culture on platforms, discover consumer insights, and create content.
UNDERSTAND YOUR TIKTOK MUSIC STRATEGY
One of the perks and headaches of TikTok is that sound is just as important as the creative. Music and sounds can give brands an opportunity to be part of current trends, and make themselves more memorable (Olivia Rodrigo, anyone?). In a November 2020 survey, MRC Data found that 67% of TikTok users would prefer to see videos from brands that feature popular or trending songs.
LEARN HOW TO DRIVE SALES USING TIKTOK
TikTok, like all the social media platforms, is pushing to become not just a marketing vehicle for brands, but actually drive sales. There's growing momentum around the ability to discover new products on TikTok; not only can brands partner with creators to promote products, but often creators make organic content featuring clothing hauls, Amazon finds, or viral recipes.
An Ad Age Harris Poll study found that 57% of millennials have purchased items featured on TikTok, while 38% of Gen Zers have done the same. The hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt has over 4 billion views.
And retailers have been quick to get in on the trend. Walmart was the first to host a live shopping event in December of 2020 featuring its own-label clothing lines. Other major names such as L’Oréal and Kate Spade have also found shoppable success on the app.
SUPPORTING TIKTOK CREATORS OF COLOR
One of TikTok's biggest issues as of late has been criticism regarding its support of creators of color. While companies promise diversity and inclusion standards, BIPOC creators are still facing inequalities around partnerships, sponsorships, and credit for their work. Such tensions led to Black creators going on strike on TikTok in July to make a statement on how they weren’t receiving credit for the many dances that go viral on the app.
USING TIKTOK TO RECRUIT
TikTok has become not only a place to market products, but to find potential employees. Brands like Chipotle are experimenting with using the platform to tap into the Gen Z workforce. The TikTok Resume program goes beyond the traditional resume and cover letter, letting possible employees be more personal. The program can also be a good way for brands to find employees that can also serve as brand ambassadors. Potential employees are using the Resume program to pitch themselves for creative internships, project manager positions, and social media manager roles. The hashtag #TikTokResumes has over 271 million views.
HOW TIKTOK IS HANDLING DATA CRACKDOWN
Like other platforms, TikTok has had to reassure advertisers that are concerned about the Apple iOS 14.5 privacy changes. which requires users to opt in to sharing data with apps. TikTok has opted to use pixelsto collect first-party data, but their usefulness will still depend on whether or not a user has consented to cross-app tracking. TikTok currently auto-enrolls users into personalized ads based on their activity while they are on the app. But TikTok users will still have the option to prohibit advertisers from targeting them on the app based on data collected from TikTok. Opt-outs will make pixels less powerful.
Read the full story at Ad Age.
The coronavirus pandemic changed a lot of things for Americans, including work, family life and more.
It also made many reconsider their personal finances.
Now, as the health crisis seemingly wanes, 51% of Americans said having an emergency fund is now a higher financial priority than it was before Covid, according to a survey from financial services website Personal Capital. The survey of more than 2,000 American adults was conducted online by The Harris Poll for Empower Retirement between March 23 and April 5.
“I think the pandemic really highlighted for a lot of people how important it is to have an emergency fund,” said Michelle Brownstein, a certified financial planner and senior vice president of Personal Capital’s private client group. “I think a lot of people were put in a very tough financial position, to put it nicely.”
How much to save
While everyone’s financial situation is different, experts recommend having at least a few months of living expenses, such as rent, utilities and necessities, in an emergency savings fund.
“Our general rule of thumb is that you should have three months to six months of expenses in cash savings at all time,” said Brownstein, adding that the exact amount is based on individual preference.
For example, if you’re part of a two-income household where both people have steady employment, three months of expenses in savings may be enough. But if your situation is more volatile, like you’re self-employed or make most of your money from commissions, you may want to have more in savings, she said.
“You have to decide how much risk you’re comfortable taking,” said Tania Brown, a CFP and coach at SaverLife, a nonprofit focused on saving.
Ways to save
Of course, some people may find it difficult to save, especially if they went into debt during the pandemic.
The first thing people should do is make sure they have the basics covered, such as food, rent and other necessities. Then, they should plan to rebuild savings, even if it will take some time.
“I may be slow, but it’s OK,” said Brown. She suggested that families earmark any excess in their budget — even if it’s $5 per week, or month — just to get started.
“Start below what you think is comfortable — like, really easy — and then slowly bump it up,” said Brown. Making an attainable savings goal sets you up for success and helps you build a good savings habit.
For many, the goal of having three months of expenses saved seems insurmountable and may keep them from starting at all, said Brownstein.
“Putting it off is only delaying getting there,” said Brownstein.
Another good way to begin saving post-pandemic is to work against lifestyle creep, which is increasing your budget as you return to work or make more money.
“It is so tempting, once you have a job, to immediately go back to your old lifestyle,” said Brown. “But this is a perfect opportunity to really establish a firm financial foundation.”
By keeping your budget in check, you will have more money to allocate to savings, she said.
And, any extra money should immediately go into savings, she said. For example, families eligible for the new monthly child tax credit payments should use some of that money to rebuild emergency funds once their needs are addressed.
Luckily, many Americans seem to have made necessary changes in order to save more for the future. Nearly 40% said they were spending less on non-essential items, including 46% of Gen Z respondents, 48% of millennials and 47% of Gen Xers, according to the Personal Capital survey.
In addition, 37% said they found that post-pandemic, they can be happy spending less than they’re used to and 35% said they can live off less than they previously thought.
Read the full story at CNBC.
Some are calling for broad digital privacy legislation to ensure health information is kept safe.
By RUTH READER | Fast Company | July 29, 2021
Efforts to get Americans to adopt digital vaccine proof have been slow. A new Harris Poll reveals that 80% of Americans are worried that getting a COVID-19 digital passport could put their personal data at risk.
Among the majority of Americans who have cybersecurity concerns about the new digital vaccine credentials, the survey found that slightly more than half were uneasy about the potential for identity theft. On top of that, less than half of Americans believe that either businesses or the government are prepared to defend passport apps against a potential cyber attack.
The overall disquiet about digital vaccine systems aligns with how likely Americans are to actually get a digital vaccination card. Only 68% of Americans say they are likely to sign up for one, according to a recent Harris Poll conducted in collaboration with cybersecurity platform Anomali. Just 45% say they were very likely to use a digital vaccination certification.
Most states and the federal government have stopped short of requiring their employees to get vaccinated. Only San Francisco has so far issued a vaccination directive for city employees. Both New York State and California are telling workers to get vaccinated or else face weekly COVID-19 testing. President Biden has now made a similar mandate for federal workers. Meanwhile, Veterans Affairs is planning to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for frontline health workers.
With less than 50% of people in the U.S. vaccinated, according to CDC data, digital vaccine credentials have the potential to play an important tool in preventing disease spread. With proper standardization, such credentials may be less susceptible to fraud than the paper cards. However, without consistent adoption and strict rules, digital vaccine credentials may not live up to their promise.
In April, the White House decided against developing a federal digital vaccine standard. While some states have banned or proposed bans on so-called vaccine passports, others have launched their own, such as New York’s Excelsior Pass, which launched in March. Roughly 12 million New Yorkers have received both doses of the vaccine and about 2 million have downloaded the app. Meanwhile, only 1.55 million Californians out of the more than 21 million who have been vaccinated have downloaded their digital record since the app went live on June 18. There are also private options: Clear’s Health Pass and the Common Pass, which is run by The Commons Project Foundation. IBM makes a Digital Health Pass for business, which is also the framework that New York State is using). Still, the most widely available form of vaccine proof remains remains paper cards.
A coalition that includes Apple, the Mayo Clinic, Microsoft, the CARIN Alliance, University of California San Diego Health, and the Commons Project Foundation has built a secure standard for digital vaccine credentialing called the the Vaccine Credential Initiative that hopes to garner wide adoption. The organization’s digital health record turns test results and vaccine status into a QR code that can be scanned at airports and other venues that accept it. So far, the VCI’s Smart health card has gotten buy-in from a long list of health systems as well as Walmart, CVS, and electronic health record giants Epic and Cerner.
IN ORDER FOR AMERICANS TO START FEELING MORE AT EASE, CONGRESS MAY HAVE TO ACT.
Researchers at the Brookings Institute, a think-tank in D.C., say part of the problem is the federal government lacks comprehensive digital privacy legislation. While medical information retained by a health system is protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), health information inside of other apps is not similarly secured. “Moreover, it is unclear whether CVS, Walgreens, and other clinics—which are storing vaccination data for millions of Americans—have the same legal responsibility as medical providers to protect [personal health information],” write Brookings’ researchers.
In their argument, they call for regulations that prevent companies from selling or mishandling personal information. Without specific laws addressing digital privacy, they say, Americans are at risk. In order for Americans to start feeling more at ease about using a digital vaccine credential, Congress may have to act. Broad digital privacy laws may not come soon enough.
Even in the case of the VCI’s Smart health card, JP Pollak, cofounder and chief architect at The Common’s Project, says that entities issuing the credential and credential verifiers are ultimately responsible for ensuring that an individual’s health data is secured or deleted after it’s been verified. The VCI created a verification app for venues that simplifies that process. It also has an open-source framework for companies who want to develop their own proprietary apps. However, Pollak acknowledges, venues are not obligated to secure anyone’s personal health data.
While adoption of digital vaccine credentials remains relatively low, Pollak thinks we’ve reached a turning point. “I think the rise of Delta variant coinciding with a time period where there’s lots of vaccinated people who are ready to get out and start doing things has forced us into a place where there is a greatly increased demand to be able to verify people’s vaccination status,” he says. He believes that the real incentive to adopt a digital credential will come when people are ready to travel. The Common’s Pass is currently being used as a means of vaccine verification for U.S. visitors to Hawaii and Aruba.
“It’s the way to get exempt from quarantine or testing if you’ve got vaccine passes,” he says. “So we’ve seen quite a bit of demand for that.”
Read the full story at Fast Company.
Ready, set, stop.
America's long-awaited return to working from the office – at least part of the time – was all set to begin in the next few weeks, culminating in something resembling normalcy around Labor Day.
That looks less likely amid growing concerns about the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus, coupled with the fact that about 3 in 10 Americans still haven't gotten a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
About 1 in 4 Americans never worked from home during the pandemic, and about 1 in 5 had gone back to their cubicles as of May, and some went in occasionally, according to a Harris Poll survey provided exclusively to USA TODAY.
About 1 in 3 employees hadn't gone back. Many of them anxiously await word on whether they'll be required to return, encouraged to go back or told they can stay home for now.
Can my boss force me back to the office during COVID-19?
In general, yes.
"Without a question, no doubt," said Johnny Taylor, CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management. "And many are doing that."
Employers have a lot of legal latitude to tell employees where to work. If they want you in the office, they can make you work there, as long as there are no state or local restrictions preventing it. If you don't like it, you can quit.
One exception: If you're represented by a union, terms negotiated in your labor contract may govern what your employer is allowed to require.
What would stop my employer from forcing me to return?
For starters, concerns about liability linger. If your boss forces you to go back and you contract COVID-19 because of it, you could sue. They don't want that. You might not win, but even the possibility of legal liability is enough to keep corporate lawyers awake at night.
Employers can face financial liabilities if they don’t implement safety measures to protect their workforce. Those liabilities include lawsuits, worker compensation claims or fines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration on a state or local level.
“Employers have a moral duty, some might argue, but definitely a legal duty to ensure they create a safe and healthy work environment,” said Angela Reddock-Wright, an employment attorney in Los Angeles.
Would threatening to quit matter?
It might. That doesn't mean you should do it since the economy remains unstable in some areas.
Concerns about hurting employee morale are a factor in employers' decisions on whether to bring people back. In various areas of the economy, there are severe labor shortages. The last thing your employer wants is for you to quit because they made you come back.
"If the will of your employee base is that they won’t do it, then you’ve got a problem because we’ve got a war for talent," Taylor said. "Everyone’s talking about the resignation tsunami. It’s real."
Can I negotiate an extension of remote work?
It might be worth trying. Amid labor shortages and employers' desire to keep their workforce happy, they may be willing to consider it.
“People will look at their own circumstances and say, ‘I understand why you have this policy, but I feel like I’m a very valuable employee and I can do this work from home,’” said Adam Galinsky, a professor of leadership and ethics at Columbia Business School.
Galinsky expects that in many cases, employers will allow their high performers to work from home if that's what they want.
"You’re going to see the higher status individuals that will be able to negotiate deals that will allow them to work remotely," he said. "It might actually become a status symbol to have remote work."
Will my employer require me to get vaccinated?
Some major employers have taken steps to do so, including New York City, California, The Washington Post and various health institutions. In many cases, they have exceptions, such as mandating regular coronavirus testing for anyone who refuses to get vaccinated. For some, it's not optional.
Another possibility is that your employer could require vaccination to work from the office.
Most employers, at least for now, strongly encourage but don't require vaccination.
Are they allowed to require vaccination?
Yes. Federal law is clear that employers can require vaccination. Court rulings have upheld that precedent.
"Definitely from a legal perspective, employers can mandate it, can require it and I think we are going to see more employers doing that," Reddock-Wright said.
Will I have to wear a mask at work?
The CDC's initial guidance was that anyone who is vaccinated would not have to mask. After the delta variant surged among unvaccinated people, the agency changed its guidance this week to urge masks for everyone in COVID-19 hot spots, regardless of vaccination status.
That could mean your employer would require you to wear a mask at work, depending on where you're located.
"Employers have an obligation under (law) to address, if not eliminate, to significantly remediate known hazards," Taylor said.
Instead of requiring you to mask up at work, employers may extend your remote-work situation until cases subside. Bloomberg reported that Apple delayed its return at least a month until October.
Read the full story at USA Today.