SRAX Recap: Apple Pay expands, Netflix crowned the king of buzz, Google and Facebook ramp up lobbying efforts

In this week’s digital news, Apple Pay spreads to more retailers, Netflix creates more buzz than the rest, Google and Facebook increase spending on lobbying efforts, and more.

Apple Pay expands to Target and Taco Bell, now in 74 of top 100 U.S. merchants

Apple announced this week that Apply Pay will expand to Target and Taco Bell restaurants and a few smaller brands. These additions include Jack In The Box, Hy-Vee supermarkets, and Speedway convenience stores. Target locations will add this feature in all 1,850 stores over the next couple weeks. However, 7,000 Taco Bell locations and 2,200 Jack in the Box locations, will gain the feature within a few months. Apple has been slowly rolling the service out to retailers over the past year: CVS Pharmacy, Costco, 7-Eleven, and eBay. Major companies such as Walmart, Kroger, and Amazon are still holding off. Nonetheless, Apple Pay is now used in 65% of all retail stores in the U.S., and 74 of the top 100 merchants in the country.

Via pixabay

Netflix has strongest consumer buzz among brands in annual ranking

Netflix took the number 1 spot on YouGov’s annual Buzz rankings, with an average score of 33. For reference, the rankings are based on a scale from -100 to +100. Amazon came in close second with a score of 29.3. The strong performance of Netflix and Amazon Prime suggests that each are established as go-to streaming services. Others have found it difficult to break into the market. And with a high number of people canceling their cable service, Netflix’s marketing team is hard at work. In fact, they increased their budget from $1.3 B to $2 B last year. Just like Netflix, Amazon has been using their original programming to grow membership. In sum, the platform’s top shows led roughly 5 million people worldwide to a get a Prime subscription in early 2017.

Google and Facebook spend more than ever before on lobbying efforts

A new report shows Google and Facebook have officially surpassed their past records for spending on lobbying efforts this year. Google spent a company-record high of $21.2 million in 2018, exceeding the previous record of $18.22 million in 2012. Likewise, Facebook spent $12.62 million in 2018 lobbying, eclipsing the roughly $11.51 million spent in previous years. Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai says that the company supports the idea of the national privacy legislation above all. However, he denies any accusations of stifling competition and having a political bias in its search results. Facebook continues to lobby the Federal Trade Commission specifically, which is currently investigating data security practices. Facebook said discussing “election integrity” was among its new lobbying areas in the fourth quarter.

LinkedIn’s ‘Interest Targeting’ lets advertisers target ads based on users’ professional interests

LinkedIn has introduced the “Interest Targeting” feature; a tool developed to cater to their custom Campaign Manager platform. The feature was designed for collecting information from users’ professional interests. Marketers will use it to target their specific audiences. Now, the vast amount of content read and shared by LinkedIn members will give advertisers a stronger edge, targeting users with specific content that serves their interests properly. Advertisers running ABM campaigns can reportedly use Interest Targeting to “deepen their influence” with the buyer committees for targeted accounts. “Now you can kick it up a notch by using account targeting along with Interest Targeting to reach an audience of potential buyers.”

Twitter experiments with ‘Original Tweeter’ tag on threaded conversations

The buzz around the Twittersphere is all about the new “Original Tweeter” tag. Since this tag is in an experimental stage, only a small percentage of users are noticing the tag appear under their names. The “Original Tweeter” tag appears for users who post the first response on a thread, giving all of their responses priority in the entire conversation thread with other users. Therefore, the most authentic and reliable responses will become more noticeable on conversation threads, regardless of the time posted. In sum, Twitter hopes that this experiment will encourage deeper discussions between users which will give scammer accounts a lot less power to influence topics. “Twitter’s purpose is to serve the public conversation,” said Twitter Director of Product Management, Sara Haider. “We’re exploring adding more context to discussions by highlighting relevant replies – like those from the original Tweeter.”

Published on January 25, 2019

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