Apple Gave Epic a fortnight, Influencer Resilience & Reeling in TikTok

August 21, 2020 by
Apple Gave Epic a fortnight, Influencer Resilience & Reeling in TikTok
Lighthouse IT Solutions, Matthew Almendinger

The Lighthouse IT Podcast - August 21st, 2020

Matt and Griffin discuss "Proof" that criminals have no boundaries, how Apple gave Epic Games a fortnight before getting kicked off the app store, the launch of Instagram's TikTok competitor (Reels), the uphill battle that TV Ads have had to face, and finally two of the largest influencer ad agencies merging.

Listen here! Want to skip the intro? Go to the 1:45min mark.

Security News


Brown-Forman, headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky is a multi-million dollar business that is the latest high profile company to fall victim to "new wave" ransomware operators. The company, better known for its properties of Finlandia vodka and Jack Daniels, among other major global brands, was the target by the REvil crew.

In new wave ransomware, the group operates on a 3 stage attack, an additional tactic over the normal 2 stage.

  • In the first stage, they scope out the network to see if it is worth their time. Checking out backups, administrative tools, and more.
  • In the second stage (the new stage), they steal the data - called exfiltration.
  • Finally, the attempt to encrypt network files.

The idea is that even if you do have backups, the stolen data can be used for blackmail.

But there's some good news here... Brown Forman didn't pay. And when blackmailed told them to go fly a kite.

The whole system works because people pay. If there's no longer money in it, ransomware will start to die. To which, I say personally say "cheers."


Apple Gives Epic Games a fortnight before getting kicked

The developer of the very famous game "Fortnite" has been given, entertainingly 14 days before they will be removed from the developer program for violating the terms of service. Earlier this month, Epic decided to go on the offensive against the Google Play and Apple App Stores and introduce their own payment collection system - a violation of the rules on both platforms, causing Fortnite to be removed from both stores.

In prepared response, Epic has filed suite with Apple, claiming that the fees charged by the organizations are oppressive - which, by the way, is 30% of any transaction). Game companies are constantly criticized for costs, but they are expensive to make. Having to lose 30% to an app store has to come from somewhere - and it appears that Epic is looking to make a statement.

Epic is also being prevented engineering efforts for their Unreal engine - an engine resold to other developers as the basis for their games, making the ban hammer much heavier.

The timing isn't random, however - Apple just recently got off pretty easily from antitrust investigations in July - and many of the accusations in the Epic suit are nearly identical language to the investigations.


Marketing News

The TikTok Saga Continues & Instagram Launches TikTok Competitor Reels

Here's what you need to know about the lookalike:

  • In the U.S., Reels is now embedded in the Instagram app.
  • The vertical scroll feed on Reels is eerily similar to TikTok's.

Last month, Facebook reached out to some popular TikTok creators and tried to recruit them to Reels. Where these creators go, their audiences— and sponsors— follow.

Reasons to drop everything and get on Reels right now:

  • With the threat of a Tik Tok ban looming, savvy TikTok creators could try to lure followers to Reels as insurance
  • Other advertisers such as Hulu and HBO are already on it.
  • Reels could tap into Instagram's 1 billion users vs. TikTok's 500 million.

Reasons to reel in the Reels excitement:

  • Facebook has tried to replicate TikTok before with Lasso, which failed to attract audiences.
  • Gen Z tends to prefer regular-people over the celebrities using Reels right now.
  • Which means there's not as much reason for the average TikTok user to prefer Reels when their favorite creators are still on TikTok.
  • Twitter and TikTok are in early talks about combining, though everything is still unclear.
  • But this merger could make both companies better able to compete with Facebook (who owns Instagram and therefore Reels)
  • TikTok recently announced the first recipients of its $1 billion fund created to help major TikTokers earn a livelihood

If TikTok is banned (or significantly changed under Microsoft), Reels should be on every marketer's radar.


The TV Ad Market's Uphill Battle

Even with shows getting back to (sort of) normal filming, they won't reach the peak they were at before COVID for a while at least. We discussed small businesses Hulu Ad potential before and this does raise some questions about whether or not you should just use other means of advertising instead. If TV shows aren't getting made a quickly, there will be less interest, means your ads might not do well.

but the influencer market is still huge... somehow.


You & Mr Jones Runs Influencer Marketing's Glow Up

You & Mr Jones (kind of like an influencer ad agency) (influencers are content creators that advertise on social media) acquired Collectively, one of the oldest influencer marketing companies in the U.S., last week. Any marketer who has worked with influencers knows it can be tough to measure performance due to fake followers and a lack of analytics tools.

Pre-pandemic, the influencer marketing industry was forecast to grow from around $8 billion in 2019 to $15 billion in 2022, per Business Insider Intelligence. And despite what we thought (which was that they were going to all lose their jobs), it doesn't seem like COVID-19 will shake that forecast too much.

  • The industry did take a quick hit in March— influencer campaigns dropped 3%— but campaign volume normalized in April and May, per Forrester.
  • Jones said that because shooting traditional ads has become more difficult during the pandemic, he's actually seen increased demand for influencer marketing strategies from advertisers.
  • 74% of Collectively influencers saw the engagement levels on their posts rise since March, probably because we all couldn't stop scrolling Instagram during lockdown.

Influencer marketing has been relatively resilient in the pandemic— agencies, brands, and followers are all still on board and are likely to continue growing.