Is your brand ready to put on a good show?

Photo by Libby Penner on Unsplash

Social commerce is poised to take off in the U.S. after years of anticipation and laying the groundwork, thanks in part to the pandemic-driven boom in ecommerce and increased social media consumption. As the mall-ification of Facebook and Instagram continues apace, independent social commerce platforms are also emerging to help brands sell directly to consumers. Meanwhile, new features from other popular platforms are set to give social shopping another boost, which should prompt more brands to re-evaluate their social strategy.

When we talk about social commerce in the U.S., there tends to be a conflation of concepts. Is it “an…

Challengers to Google’s search monopoly bet on user privacy as a key differentiator, but the future of search is far from clear

Google built its sprawling empire on the foundation of its search ad revenue. Its enduring dominance on the global search market has resulted in its very name being used as a proprietary eponym for online search. Over the past few years, Google has been able to hold onto its market share, despite various contenders threatening to unbundle search. Yet, its enduring market dominance has also attracted intensifying regulatory scrutiny, prompting a larger conversation about its role in the market and opening an opportunity for a new crop of privacy-minded search engines to make a play for users.

Google’s Enduring Dominance in Search

In our 2019…

Netflix is getting video games, Instagram wants to become TikTok, and TikTok is selling its algorithms — would audience attention stay fragmented for long?

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

After writing about the diverging paths that the major social platforms are taking to secure their futures, I started to think about the broader shifts happening in the attention economy today that are disrupting the way brands capture eyeballs and engage with consumers. There are a number of factors at play that are changing audience behavior — technological, social, cultural, etc. Taking a deeper look at the status quo, however, a counter-trend of convergence and bundling is emerging as well, as digital platform owners endlessly copy each other’s best features in fear of being left behind. What does this mean…

What brand marketers need to know about ecommerce solution providers like Shopify, Affirm, and Square

Photo by Mark König on Unsplash

Fintech has always been part of the ecommerce infrastructure. After all, running an online shop requires digital payment solutions. Some ecommerce platforms, such as Amazon and Shopify, develop their own integrated payment solutions, while others like Squarespace and BigCommerce rely on fintech partners, such as Square and Stripe to provide payment solutions for merchants. Regardless of their different approaches, all of these companies, excluding Amazon, are B2B companies that typically don’t have a direct bearing on the consumer.

We tend to think about B2B companies and B2C companies separately, and what enterprise companies do typically recedes into the backend, invisible…

Charting the development trajectory of major U.S. social media platforms and dissect what they mean for marketers

Photo by Caleb Jones on Unsplash

We are now well over a decade into the social media era, during which the cultural zeitgeist has become increasingly shaped by public discourses that unfold across social platforms, resulting in various social, economical, and political implications. Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the public opinion on social media has decidedly taken a turn for the worse in recent years, as more and more people start to question social media’s net negative impact on society and mental health. …

Understanding the compounding shift of investor mindset and behavior as well as the opportunities they present for financial services brands

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

The consumer attitude and expectations towards financial services are changing rapidly. From digital goods like NFTs, to meme stocks to DogeCoin, the way that younger generations are approaching personal finance management is marked by a distinct mindset shift away from conventional investment vehicles.

Meanwhile, the rise of digital-native alternatives led by neo-banks and fintech services, combined with the rise of the creator economy, is further changing consumer behavior and expectation around personal finance management.

For financial brands, this compounding shift of mindset and behavior spells great opportunities as well as enormous disruptions. To capture this new generation of retail investors…

How Apple aims to turn its entire ecosystem into a social network, put Siri on third-party devices, and enable more brand opportunities

All image credits: Apple

Editor’s note: This posted is an abridged edition of our Fast Forward newsletter. For the full version, please contact our VP of Client Services, Josh Mallalieu ( to send a request.

Executive Summary:

  • New “Shared with You” and SharePlay features deconstruct content sharing and group activities anchored around FaceTime and iMessage
  • New privacy features double-down on Apple’s stance on user-empowerment
  • New features positioning Apple Wallet as an identity authentication hub
  • Siri on third-party devices and Matter interoperability standards help Apple extend smart home reach
  • New ways for brands to test different versions of apps and promote in-app events
  • Surprisingly light on AR…

Facebook enhances business messaging tools and rekindles platform ambitions with low-key virtual developer event

All image credit: Facebook

Editor’s note: This is an abridged edition of our Fast Forward newsletter. For the full version, please contact our VP of Client Services, Josh Mallalieu ( to send a request.

The big tech conference season continues this week with Facebook’s annual F8 developer event. Compared to the Google and Snap events that took place two weeks ago, this virtual event was relatively low-key and understated both in terms of its production value and Facebook’s announcements. Aptly named “Facebook F8 Refresh,” this single-day event offered a refresher on Facebook’s developer tools and business-friendly features, with a particular focus on its messaging…

Here’s everything brands should know about Snap’s latest announcements and its platform ambition

All images credits: Snap Inc.

Editor’s note: This is an abridged edition of our Fast Forward newsletter. For the full version, please contact our VP of Client Services, Josh Mallalieu ( to send a request.

Our coverage of the tech developer conference continues as the third annual Snap Partner Summit took the stage on Thursday. Although somewhat flying under the radar compared to its more high-profile competitors like Facebook and TikTok, Snapchat has been going strong over the past year, growing its global user base to 500 million monthly active users. At the top of its keynote, CEO Evan Spiegel proudly claimed that “nearly one…

Here is everything brands need to know from Google’s latest developer event

All image credits: Google

Editor’s note: This is an abridged edition of our Fast Forward newsletter. For the full version, please contact our VP of Client Services, Josh Mallalieu ( to send a request.

Google kicked off the 2021 tech conference season on Tuesday with its opening keynote for its annual Google I/O developer event. Over the course of two hours, Google focused entirely on its software services, including new features coming to Google apps, Android 12, and a revamped Wear OS.

A common thread waving all the new services and features together is Google’s AI prowess as it weaves features powered by advanced…

Richard Yao

Manager of Strategy & Content, IPG Media Lab

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store