Bitmoji Gets an Upgrade: This week we spent WAY TOO LONG customizing our Bitmoji Deluxe avatars for use in iMessage and Snapchat. The update brings hundreds of updates for your digital doppelganger, including new skin tones, hair styles, colors and forehead lines (because you have to get those forehead lines just right). It was only 2016 when Snap bought Bitmoji for $64 million and integrated them into stickers, world lenses and geofilters. Time to give your cartoon self a 2018 makeover! (LINK)
Instagram Adds Posts Scheduling (finally!): This week Instagram updated its API to add post scheduling, which is extremely great news for community managers everywhere. Right now the scheduling feature is only available to the big social media tools (e.g., Hootsuite, Social Studio, Spredfast), but this is great forward progress for increasing utility for brands on Insta. Sometimes it’s the little things. (LINK)
Nick Cage in Every Film, Ever: Artificial intelligence and neural networks are changing the way we think about driving (autonomous cars), personalization (facial recognition), and the connected world (Watson, Alexa, Siri). But there is entertainment value here, too. And no, we’re not talking about putting celebrity faces on porn. This is a SFW blog. We’re talking about training machines with the face of Nicholas Cage and inserting them onto the faces of iconic characters in film like James Bond, Lord of the Rings and Indiana Jones, replicating the original actor’s movement and emotion. Look at this SNL Weekend Update example. To be clear, nobody asked for this. But pandora’s box has been opened, and the Nicholas Cage memes can’t be stopped now. (LINK)
Snapchat Gets into the Merch Sales Biz: This week Snap launched a merchandise store called the Snap Store, nested in the Discover section of Snapchat. For sale today: a $20 Dancing Hot Dog Plushie, a $30 Dog Lens T-Shirt, and a $50 Winkface Sweatshirt. Items disappear once they’re sold out. We’re watching this closely because of the potential for in-app e-commerce, particularly targeting Snapchat’s active teen base. Lots of publishers are shifting to affiliate sales strategies these days, and it’s not surprising Snap is experimenting with finding new ways to capture revenue from its core audience. Plus that dancing hotdog is still hilarious. (LINK)
Super Bowl Commercial Weekend: We hear there’s a sports game happening during the one time a year the entire United States tunes their televisions to watch awesome commercials at the same time. That day is Sunday, and it’s almost here. If you want to be the person at your ‘Superb Owl’ party saying, “Oh yeah I already saw that one,” or “Be quiet, this commercial is SO GOOD!” you’ll want to watch a bunch in advance. Our go-to place for pre-gaming ads is SuperBowlCommercials.co, the NFL’s collection, and of course, the USA Today Ad Meter. Go Sports!