Social media ad spends are set to overtake television
Despite the fact it now costs upwards of $5 million to air a 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl, new statistics from eMarketer show that television ad spends will continue to diminish as the spend across social media rises.

The report predicts that ad spend will drop another half a percent in 2018, bringing the annual spend to $69.87 billion by the end of the year. This drop would bring US TV's share of overall ad spend down to less than a third (31.6%). The trend is expected to continue until 2022, with the exception of 2020 when the US presidential election is set to bring viewing ratings and ad spends up. In contrast, digital advertising in the US is set to grow by 18.7 percent this year - taking it to a predicted $107.3 billion.

In the UK, eMarketer has also dismissed the "knee-jerk reactions" of doom to Facebook's recent data scandal, as its recent forecasts have predicted UK marketers are set to spend £3.3bn on social media advertising in 2018, an increase of 24% year-on-year. Facebook is actually set to claim a 21.3% share of digital spend this year, despite a dip in teen users, which could be attributed to the rise of rival platforms (i.e. Snapchat). Forecasts also predict that social media will overtake TV ad spend by 2020, taking it to a fifth of all media ad spend.

The internet is all about April Fools this year

It would have been hard to miss over the Easter Weekend if you were on social media, but in case you were too busy basking in a candy coma - April Fools Day also happened, and everyone seemed to get involved. Tech giants around the globe played their pranks on the world, and I found a particular few to be highly entertaining.

  1. GOOGLE GOES AUSSIE: G'day, Google! The search mammoth went the way of McDonald's Maccas and also gave their name an Aussie spin, changing their social media accounts and search platform to Googz in Australia after being “prompted to examine how our brand might be shaped by rising popular culture and linguistic trends in Australia.” Good onya, Googz.

2) NETFLIX GOES ROGAN: While most of us have probably sacrificed a strong majority of our adult lives to Netflix, Seth Rogan said he sold his entire life to the streaming service on April 1st. That's right - Netflix updated their social media and platform to announce they had acquired the actor for...anything they wanted. In an elaborate prank, the company released a video of the comedian signing over his personal autonomy to the company, stating they could now frame him for murder and have the rights to shoot a docu-series about said murder.

3) SNAPCHAT ATTACKS: Just when you thought their redesign was the biggest joke of Snapchat's year, the platform came out swinging on April Fool's Day with a new filter that overlaid a Facebook-like design (complete with Russian text) onto users' pictures - a clear reference to the accusations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US election. Eagle-eyed uses also spotted references to bots and the age of Facebook's audience in comparison to Snapchat.

But who's the real April fool? That award goes to Elon Musk, who attempted cheekiness by claiming bankruptcy and borderline alcoholism. I mean, I joke about being broke all the time (mostly because I work in social media, so it's believable), but it's about a billion times less funny coming from a billionaire who employs thousands of people and whose self-driving car just killed someone.

For review:

Funny fake drunk/poor:

Not funny fake drunk/poor:

The big D hits the dating world 

I mean Data, duh. Off the back of last week's revelations about Facebook Cambridge Analytica and the crackdown on information misuse, it should come as no surprise that another platform has come under scrutiny for sharing their stats with third parties. Another day, another data breach. Sigh.

Grindr, the popular gay dating app, is coming under heavy fire for sharing the HIV status of their users in what many are considering a breach of privacy. The app currently has an estimated 3.6M active users around the world.

Grindr's chief technology officer Scott Chen shared a Tumblr post saying that sharing data with partners such as Apptimize and Localytics was "industry practice." He then proceeded to unapologetically remind users that Grindr is a public platform, and that they should keep that in mind when deciding what to put in their profiles.

So what happens when your online activity starts to impact your sexual activity? While no #deletegrindr movements have taken off yet, many LGBT+ activists have slammed the app and consider this a major step backward for the community that has progressed so far in tackling HIV - a topic that is still heavily stigmatised in recent years.

Latest internet trend goes latex 

Unlike Grindr, I'm not here to judge anyone's sexual safety or status, but I am slightly judging the people who are sorely misusing condoms by SHOVING THEM UP THEIR NOSTRILS and somehow pulling them out of their mouths. This bizarre YouTube (YouLube?) trend has taken off faster than Tide Pods and is honestly so vile I can't even put the photos or videos here without vomiting a little in my own mouth. Googz at your own risk, people.

Facebook is taking down the Internet Research Agency 

Speaking of data breaches, Facebook announced today that they have suspended 70 Facebook accounts, 138 Facebook pages, and 65 Instagram accounts controlled by the Internet Research Agency. One of the Facebook pages had over 1.09 million followers, while the Instagram accounts had a collective following of over 493,000 followers.

Facebook has consistently denounced the IRA for betraying Facebook’s core ethos of “authenticity.” Last year, it identified around 3,000 divisive ads aimed at American users during the elections, and suspended 30,000 allegedly fake accounts in the leadup to the French presidential election, alongside a system for fact-checking news.

Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos announced the news today, stating that it took "months of work" to track down the pages. Mark Zuckerberg defended their decision in a Facebook post, “This Russian agency has repeatedly acted deceptively and tried to manipulate people in the US, Europe, and Russia — and we don’t want them on Facebook anywhere in the world”.

Facebook rolls out new privacy tools and shakes up data practices
As the social network continues to face increased scrutiny over its data practices in light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook's chief privacy officer has released a statement detailing a new set of privacy tools and a simplified privacy settings dashboard to help users better understand and control the type of data the platform can access and share. These updates also include the simplification of the social network's terms and conditions, translating them into "language that’s detailed, but also easy to understand." In addition to which, Facebook has removed ad targeting options that relied on consumer data from third parties and has halted its long-time practice of providing anonymised data to information brokers.

Instagram introduces automated full-screen creative for Stories
After years of creative format updates putting a strain on advertisers, Instagram announced the launch of a new offering to automatically convert images (both square and landscape) and video (up to 15 seconds) to fit full screen - allowing them to be easily featured as brand Stories. Instagram will use pixel matching technology to ensure the quality of the content remains, and where the sizing of the asset allows, text from the post will also be added underneath the image to help boost engagement.

Snap confirms more layoffs within advertising and sales teams
Following a recent round of layoffs, which saw 120 engineers leave the social media network, Snap confirmed last week that 100 more employees are to lose their jobs in another round of cuts. This time, advertising and sales teams will bear the brunt of the downsizing, and the company cites a new structure for team resourcing to 'support its mission' as the reason for the changes.

Snapchat unveils first TV campaign
As part of its ongoing effort to be seen as a “camera” company, Snapchat has launched its first TV campaign to educate consumers about the app, which aired during the US college basketball Final Four last weekend. The ad was created in 60 and 30-second cuts and will continue to appear on TV in primetime, cable and syndication slots for the next two months, as well as appearing in a broader digital campaign. The social network has also launched its own dedicated website, whatis.snapchat.com, to support its aim of educating wider audiences. The campaign comes at a critical time for the platform, as it struggles to meet investor expectations and continues lay offs as part of its "corporate restructuring."

LinkedIn launches auto-play video ads
A year out from the initial launch of its video ad format, LinkedIn has added auto-play video ads to its Sponsored Content formats - allowing video ads to appear as standalone posts in the feed. The platform says it's going "all in on B2B video" as it looks to showcase how video content can support the entire marketing funnel and build brand awareness in the space. The format has been in testing with more than 700 advertisers since October, resulting in engagement rates nearly three times longer than other Sponsored Content. In addition, the network is also introducing the ability for businesses to include native video on Company Pages. The new updates will be rolled out globally over the next few weeks.

This post courtesy of @codydesmond