Digital Down Low: October 14
YouTube buys FameBit, a Santa Monica start-up that pays video makers for product placement
- YouTube’s acquisition Tuesday of a Santa Monica start-up that connects advertisers with online video creators gives the streaming video service a new tool to fend off rivals Snapchat and Facebook. FameBit is a portal where digital video producers with more than 5,000 followers on social media can solicit product placement or promotion deals from sponsors. Companies such as Adidas, Canon and Office Depot have bought in, viewing inclusion inside YouTube videos from personalities with names including StunnerBabe15 and Spreadinsunshine15 as a way to gain exposure among young consumers.
- YouTube has informally helped direct companies to video makers whose style may fit well with their advertising plans. But with FameBit in the fold, the Google property will now be able to point its deep roster of advertisers to a self-service option and gain revenue from the deals.
- If the direct tie leads to more advertisers using FameBit, as YouTube is betting, it also could mean a significant revenue increase for many more video makers, who often rely on sponsorship for the bulk of their income. Such a boost could go a long away in persuading companies and individuals to post their videos to YouTube instead of Facebook and other apps with exploding viewership but more uncertain moneymaking opportunities. Video industry experts regard FameBit as the largest of several influencer marketing companies, many of them also located in Los Angeles. The fate of others is unclear, but YouTube said it hopes FameBit’s competitors thrive as well.
Why Facebook suddenly blacked out all ads in Thailand
- Facebook is taking a very unusual step for a company that makes it money off advertisements: It will stop showing ads on its network in the entire country of Thailand in a gesture of respect for the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The social network announced the decision on its blog for advertisers, saying that it is removing ads in observance of a “cultural custom”:
- Why make such a drastic move to pay respects to this particular beloved world leader? Facebook hasn’t said why outright, but Thailand is a significant market for the social network and is home some of Facebook’s most engaged users. When the company first opened an office in Thailand last fall, Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg noted that Thai users tend to post three times more often than the global average. At the time, an estimated 37 million people in Thailand were using Facebook — most on mobile.
- Facebook ads are also particularly well-received in Thailand, with according to a report from the Thai newspaper The Nation. (That paper has adopted a monochrome design to show its respect for the late king.)
Google adds ballot information to search results
- Google is again stepping up its efforts to provide U.S. voters with all the information they need ahead of Election Day with the addition of ballot information to Google Search results. Web users who search for a query like “who’s on my ballot,” will now be presented with detailed information about the candidates, as well as information on your own state’s referendum.
- A search for “my ballot” and other phrases will also surface this same information, which is presented in a card that appears at the top of Google’s search results, titled “2016 election.” Google will first ask you to enter in the complete street address of where you’re registered to vote, before you’re able to see your ballot details. Once Google knows where you’re voting, it will present the candidate details about who’s running in the election, both on the national and state level.
- Candidates are presented with their name, photo, and party affiliation. You can also click on individual candidates which will take you directly to a Google search for their name. That will help you more easily locate the candidate’s website, Wikipedia entry (which is also used to power the informational card to the right of the search results), and any current news where they’re mentioned, among other things. In addition, Google is today beginning to display your polling place location in the search results, when you search for “where to vote,” or something similar.