Marketing Featured Global

Meta says ‘no good way’ to lay off amidst latest downsizing

California, USA Facebook’s parent company Meta has recently broken the disheartening news that it’s now joining the slew of tech companies that have decided to downsize. In a message by CEO Mark Zuckerberg disclosed by Meta on its website, the chief said, “there is no good way to do a layoff.”  

Meta has decided to reduce its workforce by 13% or translate into a retrenchment of more than 11,000 employees. It is one of the largest layoffs this year for the company, and the firm cites low revenue, attributed to  ‘macroeconomic downturn’ and ‘increased competition’ as the reasons.

According to the company, when Covid initially started, the spike in online and e-commerce led to outsized revenue growth. Meta is one of the companies that predicted a permanent acceleration that would last even after the pandemic, which is not what exactly transpired. Meta said it significantly increased its investments, resulting in much lower revenue than expected once everything returned to normal.

This is the first time in Meta’s 18-year history that it has reduced its workforce. 

“I’m going to watch our business performance, operational efficiency, and other macroeconomic factors to determine whether and how much we should resume hiring at that point. This will give us the ability to control our cost structure in the event of a continued economic downturn. It will also put us on a path to achieve a more efficient cost structure than we outlined to investors recently,” said Zuckerberg. 

He added, “I view layoffs as a last resort, so we decided to rein in other sources of cost before letting teammates go. Overall, this will add up to a meaningful cultural shift in how we operate. For example, as we shrink our real estate footprint, we’re transitioning to desk sharing for people who already spend most of their time outside the office. We’ll roll out more cost-cutting changes like this in the coming months. “

The company stated that it will share more information in the coming weeks about how it will operate as a streamlined organisation to achieve its priorities.

Recently, Big Tech Companies have struggled to deal with setbacks, with other tech firms cutting off staff count such as Oracle, Twitter, Snap, and Netflix

Platforms Featured Global

Facebook shuts down podcast platform

Singapore – Social media giant Facebook has announced that it is shutting down its podcast platform, less than a year since it was launched in June 2021. While the date has not been specified for the discontinuation of the service, the social media platform stated that it is slowly removing parts of the podcast business in the following weeks.

“After a year of learning and iterating on audio-first experiences, we’ve decided to simplify our suite of audio tools on Facebook. We’re integrating Live Audio Rooms into Facebook Live and we will discontinue our other audio products. We’re constantly evaluating the features we offer so we can focus on the most meaningful experiences,” a Meta spokesperson said in a statement.

Some of those components that will be discontinued include Soundbites, Podcasts and the Audio destination on Facebook.

The company clarified that while the podcast platform will no longer be in service, they will be integrating Live Audio Rooms features into their Facebook Live product so that they can offer a comprehensive live broadcasting solution.

“In practice, this integration will make for a more streamlined experience so that, when using Facebook Live, you’ll have the option to go live with audio and video, video-only, or audio-only,” the company added.

Facebook’s podcast platform was launched in dedication to the platform’s growing number of online creators tapping into their platform for online reach. The company aims at growing a creator’s planned show through a social experience that drives discovery and fandom.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Facebook gains momentum in Vietnam through e-commerce service: report

Vietnam – Popular social media platform Facebook has gained new grounds in Vietnam as an alternative to e-commerce services, according to data from marketing research company Decision Lab.

According to their report, Facebook Commerce grew by 2% and 4% for Gen Y and Gen Z respondents respectively during Q4 2021. In addition, around 31% of Hanoi citizens picked Facebook as their choice for e-commerce services. This figure marks a 11% points increase among consumers from Hanoi compared to Q3 2021. 

The report also noted that Facebook Commerce was also utilised by 9% more consumers from Ho Chi Minh City and other key cities such as Da Nang, Nha Trang, Hai Phong, and Can Tho in Q4 2021. In contrast, throughout the rest of Vietnam, Facebook commerce only grew by 2% points, standing at 24% in this time period.

Despite its popularity as an e-commerce platform, Facebook is losing ground as a social media platform in the country. The platform lost 11% of its position as Vietnamese’s primary app in Q4 2021–a continuation of a negative trend starting early 2021. Worse, Facebook seems to be losing Millennial and Gen Z users, who are increasingly favouring other platforms such as Zalo and TikTok.

“The general rise of Facebook as an e-commerce platform reflects Facebook’s push for commercial activities. In Vietnam, consumers can trade goods through not only Facebook Marketplace, but also Facebook groups, shops’ pages, and individual merchants,” the report stated.

Marketing Featured Global

Facebook unveils new company name: Meta

California, USA – In line with the company’s vision in bringing the metaverse into life, tech conglomerate Facebook has announced the company’s new name called ‘Meta’ during its recently-concluded Connect 2021 conference last 28 October, where they laid out plans on the vision of the metaverse as the successor to the mobile internet.

Prior to the company name change, Facebook had already revealed interests in developing metaverse-related endeavors, such as their recent US$50m investment in research programs that will explore how to develop the digital metaverse responsibly.

In a company statement, they noted that the metaverse will feel like a hybrid of today’s online social experiences, sometimes expanded into three dimensions or projected into the physical world. They also added that it will let audiences share immersive experiences with other people even when not being together — and do things together you couldn’t do in the physical world.

“The next platform will be even more immersive — an embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it. We call this the metaverse, and it will touch every product we build,” Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, now Meta, said in an online letter posted on Facebook.

He added, “The defining quality of the metaverse will be a feeling of presence — like you are right there with another person or in another place. Feeling truly present with another person is the ultimate dream of social technology. That is why we are focused on building this.”

Zuckerberg further added that their role in this metaverse journey is to accelerate the development of the fundamental technologies, social platforms, and creative tools to bring the metaverse to life, and to weave these technologies through our social media apps.

“The metaverse will not be created by one company. It will be built by creators and developers making new experiences and digital items that are interoperable and unlock a massively larger creative economy than the one constrained by today’s platforms and their policies. We believe the metaverse can enable better social experiences than anything that exists today, and we will dedicate our energy to helping achieve its potential,” he stated.

As part of the ‘Meta’ announcement, the company has also announced new tools to help people build for the metaverse, including Presence Platform, which will enable new mixed reality experiences on Quest 2, and a US$150m investment in immersive learning to train the next generation of creators.

Marketing Featured APAC

TBWA\MAL, Apple’s agency, names Kenny Blumenschein as ECD for APAC

Singapore – TBWA\Media Arts Lab, the Los Angeles-headquartered creative agency solely dedicated to Apple, has named a new executive creative director for the Asia-Pacific region, Kenny Blumenschein. Blumenschein was most recently from advertising agency Energy BBDO, and before that, worked for Facebook as its creative strategist for the Greater China Region for almost three years.

TBWA\Media Arts Lab currently operates in 25 markets globally, with five regional hubs outside its HQ—London, Miami, Singapore, Shanghai, and Tokyo. The agency solely creates work for the tech and smartphone giant Apple.

As the new ECD for APAC, Blumenschein will be based out of the Singapore hub and will be partnering with Managing Director, Michaela Futcher and reporting into Global Chief Creative Officer, Brent Anderson.

At Energy BBDO, Blumenschein held the same role of ECD alongside being the agency’s senior vice president. During his time there, he notably worked on the award-winning Wrigley’s ‘For when it’s time’ campaign. Meanwhile, at Facebook, he assisted global brands in crafting their stories and reaching business objectives through Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, according to his LinkedIn.

Blumenschein said that joining Media Arts Lab is a no-brainer as he always had a ‘crush’ on the agency.

“It’s a very rare opportunity to work on such an iconic brand with the smartest and nicest people in our industry. To do this in APAC, which is one of the most diverse, fastest-growing, and exciting regions is a further privilege,” he said.

Blumenschein is of Thai and German descent. He has amassed experience across multiple continents, including Europe, North America, and Asia, bringing with him valuable global perspective to his work. Aside from his most recent roles at Energy BBDO and Facebook, he also previously held posts at Ogilvy as ECD Digital & Content, and as head of creative at VMLY&R. Back in Germany, Kenny has also spent time at BBDO and Isobar.

In the new role, he will be working with teams stretching across the APAC, from India to Australia, to develop business building and culture-defining work for one of the world’s most recognizable global brands.

Futcher commented, “This part of the world couldn’t be more important to us, and ensuring that we have the creative firepower to deliver on our ambitions has been a critical focus. I’m so excited to have found someone of Kenny’s creative caliber, humanity, and experience to help us do that. His background as a ‘cultural chameleon’ is critical to us unlocking the diverse opportunities across a region as vast as APAC.”

Meanwhile, Anderson said, “Kenny is a strategic, innovative, and artful creative leader with great instincts and taste. He’s led dynamic, modern teams across agencies both in Asia and North America. He’s spearheaded cultural, integrated work that breaks through for challenging clients. Kenny is a creative soul with a reputation of mentoring, building atmospheres wherein creativity thrives and protecting great ideas.”

Marketing Featured ANZ

Business Council of Australia brings Aussies ‘one shot closer’ to return to normal life in new campaign

Australia – Business Council of Australia, the association of business leaders that gathers and engages in professional, intellectual, and leadership development, has launched a new campaign, aimed at bringing together employers of all sizes from across the economy to boost vaccination rates in the country.

Titled ‘One Shot Closer’, the campaign, which was created in collaboration with creative agency M&C Saatchi and supported by Facebook, seeks to reach at least 80% of Australians and give every business in the country access to a toolkit of messages and assets to let them speak with a united voice. 

The Business Council’s CEO, Jennifer Westacott, shared that the campaign is carefully researched and geared to complement existing state and federal advertising with messages that remind Australians that safe and effective vaccines are their path back.

“This is critical to the economy and the mental health and well-being of all Australians, as businesses across the country are pulling out all stops to reach our vaccination targets and put Australia on track to reopen. We have shown we can bounce back if we plan now to safely reopen, but that all depends on our ability to get Australians vaccinated,” said Westacott.

Meanwhile, Will Easton, Facebook’s managing director for AUNZ, noted that they have supported Aussie businesses and the community in staying connected during these challenging times.

“We’re thrilled to be able to offer our support to the ‘One Shot Closer’ campaign and help the Business Council of Australia amplify this important message on our platforms,” said Easton.

Alexi Boyd, the CEO of Council of Small Business Organizations, believes that without a clear roadmap out of COVID restrictions small businesses will struggle to reopen and stay open.

“This initiative will help small businesses by encouraging more Australians to get jabbed, get our communities flourishing again and support Australian businesses,” said Boyd.

The campaign comes as more than 160 businesses employing millions of Australians sign the Business Council’s joint letter backing the National Plan, which is to help the residents to be freed from the pandemic lockdown.

SME Featured APAC

APAC’s Plug and Play unveils new programs to accelerate startup, SME growth

Singapore – Global innovation platform Plug and Play has recently concluded its APAC-centric summit last 1 to 2 June, in which the firm introduced three new programs for startups and SMEs. 

The three new programs are the ‘Sustainability Program’, ‘Business Solutions Accelerator by Facebook’, and its ‘GK – Plug and Play Program’. 

In the virtual event, it was announced that the ‘Sustainability Program’ seeks to provide the tools and network for startups with disruptive technologies that will allow them to empower big corporations to meet their green initiatives.

Part of the solutions instated include equipping SMEs forward thinking into creating sustainable supply chains, implementation of digital technologies for sustainable production, training and advisory for sustainable practices, and compliance or certification of sustainable practices. 

Jupe Tan, managing partner at Plug and Play APAC, commented, “This year we celebrate our 15th anniversary with a global team of almost 600 across 35 cities around the world. We will look to actively invest in technologies that focus on enhancing our living environment and address our resource constraints in a sustainable manner that reduces emissions and efficiently uses natural resources.” 

Meanwhile, the ‘Business Solutions Accelerator by Facebook’ will be made possible by Facebook and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to which Tan describes as an innovation catered to looking into areas such as cleantech and clean energy, sustainable agriculture, inclusive fintech as well as inclusive healthcare.

Through the accelerator, Facebook is looking forward to nurturing and collaborating with technology partners that share Facebook’s commitment to improving the merchant experience for businesses across the Facebook family of apps. Program benefits include product education, dedicated Facebook mentors for guidance on product development and business growth, networking with fellow startups and ecosystem enablers, insights into industry and innovation trends.

Lastly, the ‘GK Plug and Play’ aims to make innovation within reach for enterprising groups and individuals. Plug and Play aims to build a smart future by connecting innovation to the brightest minds, as well as building a unique ecosystem as their mission that connects change-makers and leading organizations. So far, the accelerator program has run 8 batches and accelerated 123 startups giving them enhanced access to mentors, investors, and corporations.

On the program with Facebook and ADB, Tan said, “I am proud to announce that we have embarked on a regional partnership with the Asian Development Bank through ADB Ventures, the new venture arm of the ADB. Together with ADB Ventures, we hope to source for and invest in bold technology startups that are working to solve Asia Pacific’s biggest unsolved problems. 

Technology Featured Global

DoubleVerify partners with Facebook to launch expanded brand safety, suitability integration

Singapore – DoubleVerify (DV), the global software platform for digital media measurement, data, and analytics, has partnered with Facebook, to expand brand safety and suitability integration.

DV provides advertisers with comprehensive brand safety and suitability controls, category options, and languages. The platform’s brand safety technology protects a brand’s equity and reputation across all media environments and is built for the modern brand suitability era.

The partnership aims to extend verification to new premium inventory channels such as Facebook In-Stream Reserve, which is Facebook’s invite-only program that gives certain, high-quality ‘video pages’ access to premium advertising opportunities, while providing new tools to boost control and efficiency. With the expansion, DV will now offer comprehensive brand measurement solutions on Facebook and Instagram, optimizing campaign quality.

Through the partnership, the advertisers on Facebook using DV can now manage brand safety and suitability settings with precision and accuracy using 53 content avoidance categories and 39 supported languages, as well as to create ‘Allow Lists’ for Facebook In-Stream Video inventory, supporting brand and content suitability and alignment. Furthermore, the advertisers can create ‘Block Lists’ that work across In-Stream Reserve, In-Stream Video, and Instant Articles, as well as Facebook Audience Network. And lastly, they can improve operational efficiency with automated Allow and Block List updates and delivery.

In addition to its brand safety and suitability capabilities, DV has partnered with Facebook for fraud protection and viewability measurement across their inventory. The platform enables advertisers to leverage a single viewability metric to measure performance across Facebook, Instagram, other large platforms, and publishers, as well as open exchanges. With DV, brands gain a holistic view of viewability performance across platforms and can use those learnings to validate their media plan and adjust budget allocation.

“We are excited to enter this phase in our work with Facebook. We are expanding our partnership to ensure an even more brand-safe and brand-suitable advertising environment for the global brands we serve across the Facebook ecosystem,” said Mark Zagorski, the CEO of DoubleVerify.

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Google, Facebook Ad Networks still key for market retention in SEA: report

Singapore – Southeast Asia brands still see ad networks Google Ads and Facebook Ad Networks holding significant relevance in achieving retention among target consumers as well as in applying remarketing, a new report from mobile marketing analytics company AppsFlyer showed.

According to the report, Google Ads ranked number one when it comes to retention in Southeast Asia (SEA), while Facebook Ads fare better when delivering high-quality users from remarketing campaigns across Asia Pacific (APAC).

Google extended its lead over Facebook at the top of the index report, claiming first spot in all gaming and non-gaming categories, especially finance-based apps. Indonesia’s financial consultant app, Pendanaan Teknologi ranks third place in the overall finance-based apps in SEA, followed by Cashcash and Akulaku. 

Meanwhile, in all lifestyle non-gaming categories such as shopping, life, and culture, as well as social, Facebook ranked first in SEA, followed by Google Ads and Apple Search. 

As the report stated on the high index ranks of finance-based apps and well-known gaming apps, share of non-organic installs (NOI) on iOS dropped 17% in the second half of 2020 in Southeast Asia compared to the first half of the year, while NOI on Android saw the opposite effect — increasing by 9% in the same period. This is especially relevant in Southeast Asia, where AppsFlyer’s data from July to December 202 shows that Android users contribute 84% of organic installs, versus just 13% for iOS.

“2021 is going to be significantly different to previous years for marketers with end users enabling Limited Ad Tracking (LAT), and growing attention around user privacy alongside Apple’s privacy changes. iOS reliant networks and advertisers using them need to start thinking of active solutions to limit impact now,” said Beverly Chen, marketing director for APAC at AppsFlyer.

AppsFlyer also noted a 30% jump in the cost per install (CPI) on iOS in July to December 2020 which was a key factor behind the significant drop (Android cost increased by only 10%). As a result, mobile app marketers generated fewer installs for the same budget. The rise in media cost for iOS users was driven by two main elements: an increase in demand due to accelerated digital transformation caused by Covid-19, and a decrease in supply due to a 40% rise in the share of users who enabled Limited Ad Tracking (LAT). 

Other key insights noted in the report are TikTok Ads’ significant growth on iOS (+52% in its share of the pie). From 2019 to 2020, TikTok Ads recorded 82% more NOIs in APAC, climbing five spots in the global iOS gaming power ranking to reach an impressive 9 position from 14. Meanwhile, Unity Ads is still establishing its dominance in the gaming battleground, specifically in hypercasual gaming.

Marketing Featured South Asia

Facebook India releases second film for ‘More Together’ campaign series

India – Facebook in India has launched the second film ‘Dhara’ as part of the platform’s ongoing ‘More Together’ campaign series, done in collaboration with dentsu international’s creative agency Taproot Dentsu India.

The ‘More Together’ campaign intends to celebrate the first anniversary of Facebook’s consumer marketing journey in the country. The campaign series showcases the platform’s power of connections and communities through inspirational stories.

The previously released film focuses on the life of ‘Richen’, a female football coach in Ladakh – a region in northern India, who shares her players’ videos on the social media platform. It highlights how the power of connections not only creates a fan-following for her team but also drives her and the team’s career forward.

The sequel, meanwhile, focuses on the life of Dhara, a book lover who rescues books from being consigned to the bin and that with the help of Facebook, finds homes for many of her rescued books.

The story continues to explain how people can do more together and that there are endless possibilities one can achieve through the power of Facebook.

According to Neeraj Kanitkar, senior creative director of Taproot Dentsu, the film is a sweet and simple demonstration of Facebook’s inherent power which is to supercharge the efforts of one person when the community gets behind it. 

“It is quite rare to be in the advertising business without having some love for the written word. So when Gauri Burma – the most passionate book lover amongst us – came up with the idea, we knew we simply had to make it happen. We hope that it inspires people to consider using Facebook to give a new lease of life to old, forgotten, and about-to-be-turned-into-pulp books,” said Kanitkar.