Unilever Pulls Back On Influencers; Amazon Kills It With Twitch

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Weed Whacks Influencers

Influencer marketing has a fraud problem, and Unilever CMO Keith Weed has had enough of it. At the Cannes Lions festival, Weed said Unilever will no longer work with influencers who buy followers to inflate audience and engagement metrics. Unilever will never buy followers as a brand and will also prioritize partners that work to eradicate fraud in influencer marketing. “At best it’s misleading, at worst it’s corrupt,” Weed told The Wall Street Journal’s Suzanne Vranica. “For the sake of a few bad apples in the barrel, I believe there is risk in the area of influencers.” More.

Ahead Of The Game

Go back five years or so, and YouTube and Facebook dominated online gaming (Farmville, anyone?). Today, it’s all about Amazon. While Facebook set its sights on advertising after its IPO, Amazon outbid Google for Twitch, the video game streaming startup. At this point, “Amazon’s lead may be all but insurmountable,” writes John Herrman for The New York Times. The average number of people watching Twitch streams last quarter was 953,000, up from 788,000 the quarter before, according to data from Streamlabs, a monetization tech company for video game livestreamers. YouTube Gaming averaged 272,000 concurrent viewers, down from 308,000 the prior quarter. But this isn’t necessarily evidence that Google or Facebook were wrong to focus on ads over gaming revenue. The purchases and subscriptions that Amazon gets from Twitch are peanuts compared to the mobile game app ad dollars that flow to YouTube or Facebook.

Retail Wagging The Dog

Google announced a $550 million investment in JD.com, the second largest ecommerce seller in China. The tie-up helps JD get products listed in the US and Europe, where it doesn’t have much consumer traction, while Google is in a frenzy to add retail partners to stave off (or win back) Amazon product search market share gains, writes CNBC. Google launched a partnership with French retail giant Carrefour last week, and in March, it introduced Shopping Actions, a platform for retailers to sell and integrate loyalty card or Android Pay wallets – Google’s foray into the shopper marketing budgets that Amazon has lucratively brought online. The large investment in JD, as opposed to a partnership, also points to the impossibility of breaking into the Chinese market without going through one of the top national tech companies.

The Writing On The Wall

Google and Facebook policy changes this year for GDPR prohibit advertisers from connecting each platform’s IDs to broader campaigns, thereby wreaking havoc on agency services like omnichannel attribution or frequency capping. Not so long ago, agencies and attribution vendors were chasing the holy grail of multitouch attribution, but the unbreachable nature of walled garden platforms may make true multitouch more myth than possible reality. Even so, it’s not all doom and gloom for measurement companies. One marketer tells Digiday it’s now working with Amazon and Nielsen to cobble together targeting across platforms, since it can no longer do so with its DMP. More.

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