El Salvador First Country to Make Bitcoin a National Currency

Amidst political turmoil and economic struggle, El Salvador has announced it is adopting Bitcoin as its national currency, becoming the first country in the world to do so. But things got off to a rough start this week as the Bitcoin e-wallet went offline for several hours as consumer download demand overwhelmed government servers. El Salvador President Nayib Bukele said the country will spend more than $225 million to launch Bitcoin. Global Bitcoin enthusiasts supported the initiative by buying $30 of Bitcoin, but that didn’t prevent the currency from declining 9.9 percent Tuesday evening. Continue reading El Salvador First Country to Make Bitcoin a National Currency

TikTok Creator Marketplace Connects Brands and Influencers

TikTok is pushing out its Creator Marketplace API, which allows partner firms to optimize campaigns using first-party data and platform integration. The Creator Marketplace aggregates TikTok’s influencers, sharing basic stats that helps them connect with brands that can then mount, manage, measure and track campaigns within the app. The new API takes this to a new level with features including demographic filtering and real-time campaign tracking. Formally debuted in June 2020, Creator Marketplace aggregates TikTok influencers with at least 10,000 followers and 100,000 video views in the last 30 days. Continue reading TikTok Creator Marketplace Connects Brands and Influencers

Developers to Build Widgets and Skill Cards for Alexa Devices

Amazon stated that it would allow third-party developers to create widgets for its Alexa devices, or what it said will be “rich, customizable, glanceable, self-updating views of skill content.” It won’t be an advertising service, according to Amazon Alexa Skills vice president Aaron Rubenson, but users will see personalized results based on the signals they send Alexa. Comedy Central will be one of the first featured skill cards. Amazon also announced that most Echo smart speakers will support the Matter open standard for smart home devices. Continue reading Developers to Build Widgets and Skill Cards for Alexa Devices

China Is First Country to Debut a National Digital Currency

China has begun issuing a digital currency from by its central bank, a move that will give that country’s government new ways to monitor its economy and people. The digital yuan will be aimed at international uses and not linked to the global financial system. At the People’s Bank of China, director of the Digital Currency Research Institute Mu Changchun noted that, “in order to protect our currency sovereignty and legal currency status, we have to plan ahead.” China is the first to issue a national digital currency. Continue reading China Is First Country to Debut a National Digital Currency

TikTok Rebounds in the U.S. But EU Groups File Complaints

During the Trump administration, video-sharing platform TikTok was scrutinized and charged of spying for China, which resulted in the app losing numerous major advertisers. Since Joe Biden won the presidency, however, TikTok is seeing a strong uptick in corporate sponsors, ad dollars and general interest. Mediahub Worldwide VP and director of social media Erica Patrick said the previous administration’s outcry over national security risks was “more of a stunt” and is not a concern of advertisers. Meanwhile, EU consumer groups are accusing TikTok of violating consumer laws and failing to protect children. Continue reading TikTok Rebounds in the U.S. But EU Groups File Complaints

Advertisers Blacklist Hard News, Migrate to Lifestyle Pubs

To avoid having their ads appear next to offensive online material, companies now stipulate the type of web content — or even specific websites — they want to avoid. Blacklists have always existed but are getting longer and more specific for many advertisers. That’s a problem for numerous large and small news publishers, who find their outlets avoided by advertisers in favor of less controversial lifestyle publications. Colgate-Palmolive, Subway and McDonald’s are among many companies blocking digital ads in hard news. Continue reading Advertisers Blacklist Hard News, Migrate to Lifestyle Pubs

Ad Execs Wrestle Over Objectionable Content, Privacy Laws

At this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, attendees aired their concerns about online data privacy and brand safety. The latter has been highlighted over the last years as advertisements have appeared next to objectionable content on Facebook, Google’s YouTube and other digital platforms. McDonald’s, Clorox, Nestlé, Epic Games and AT&T are among the advertisers that froze ads due to this ongoing problem. Some attendees asked for federal privacy regulations to protect consumers and avert state-by-state legislation. Continue reading Ad Execs Wrestle Over Objectionable Content, Privacy Laws

Uber Demonstrates Its Drone Delivery Service in San Diego

Uber demonstrated the transport of a McDonald’s meal via its Uber Elevate A4200 drone with custom-designed delivery box. The drone was set to fly only half a mile away, but the trip was canceled due to a 26-knot breeze. The demo is still noteworthy as a practical application of the technology. Uber isn’t the only company pinning some of its high-tech hopes on drone delivery. Google already has the greenlight from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to make similar unmanned commercial deliveries in Virginia, and Amazon also debuted its drone delivery service. Continue reading Uber Demonstrates Its Drone Delivery Service in San Diego

McDonald’s Uses Machine Learning to Modernize its Menus

McDonald’s is buying Dynamic Yield, an Israeli startup decision-logic technology company, for $300+ million with the aim of better personalizing its menus. The technology will let restaurants vary their electronic menu displays depending on the weather, time of day or regional preferences — and suggest meal add-ons. McDonald’s serves about 68 million customers every day, the majority of whom use the drive-thru window. Chief executive Steve Easterbrook has pushed technology to drive sales and lift the company’s profile. Continue reading McDonald’s Uses Machine Learning to Modernize its Menus

Facebook Stock Plunge Proves Tech Firms Aren’t Bulletproof

The myth that the stock of the tech behemoths will only increase in value was shattered this last week when Facebook’s shares tumbled 19 percent, erasing about $120 billion in shareholder wealth. That loss represents among the largest one-day dip in market value that any company has suffered. Facebook’s loss began when it released disappointing Q2 earnings and warned investors of a “sharp slowdown in sales growth” in the next quarters as well as more spending for security and privacy. Continue reading Facebook Stock Plunge Proves Tech Firms Aren’t Bulletproof

YouTube Unveils Tools to Create Hundreds of Ads From One

Just in advance of Advertising Week, YouTube is debuting new advertising tools based on Ipsos research that people who watch online video ads are four times more likely to pay attention than to TV ads. The research also showed that promos played on YouTube garner twice as much attention as other social platforms. YouTube added new targeting options to its Custom Affinity Audiences tool, introduced in January. The targeting options, in addition to search, include downloaded apps or real locations customers have visited. Continue reading YouTube Unveils Tools to Create Hundreds of Ads From One

Intel to Sponsor Olympics, Showcase VR, AI and Drone Tech

Intel has inked a partnership with the International Olympic Committee through 2024 to showcase its virtual reality, 360-degree video, artificial intelligence and drone technologies. Intel has already been using its VR and other technologies for baseball, basketball and football games, and the deal could help heighten its profile in sports. An internal group started exploring deals last fall. Because TV ratings for the Olympics have been falling, a technology sponsor could help the Games reach a younger demographic. Continue reading Intel to Sponsor Olympics, Showcase VR, AI and Drone Tech

Big Tablets Become a Reality in Work and Consumer Spaces

In 2013, Fox News was apparently ahead of the game when it introduced giant touchscreen tablets in its newsroom. What was unusual then is now becoming a trend, as these oversized megatablets are making their way into work and consumer environments. Defined as anything larger than 13-inches, which leaves plenty of room for a range of different sizes, the gigantic tablet has found its way into Carnival Cruise Line ships and McDonald’s fast food restaurants. Continue reading Big Tablets Become a Reality in Work and Consumer Spaces

Cannes Lions Advertising Fest Highlights Branded VR Content

At the Cannes Lions advertising festival, Google issued its first ranking of 360-degree video ads on YouTube, which have already garnered 20 million views. BMW’s VR racing experiences earned a No. 1 spot on the list, which also included McDonald’s, Oreo and Hyundai. Google has distributed 5 million Cardboard viewers for watching VR with a smartphone. The company acknowledges these are early days for virtual reality, but also believes that more access to smartphones will hasten more adoption. Continue reading Cannes Lions Advertising Fest Highlights Branded VR Content

Advertisers Explore Virtual Reality, Luxury Brands Embrace It

Sales of virtual reality headsets and software are predicted to reach $1 billion this year, and advertisers are paying attention. At this week’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, an annual confab for advertisers and agencies, the focus will be on VR. Google executives will talk about the virtual reality platform based on the Android mobile operating system that the company plans to introduce this year, and ad agencies will describe how they’re using VR to promote brands and products. Continue reading Advertisers Explore Virtual Reality, Luxury Brands Embrace It