This Week in Digital (September 15, 2017)

This week in digital is action packed! With influencer marketing FTC guidelines, impact of AI on news publishing and moderation, and several client vertical updates, this is a (self-reported) top-five update.  

New FTC guidelines have been released on how influencers should disclose paid posts. The FTC sent an initial round of warnings in April to influencers who were not compliant. Another round of letters was recently sent to ask influencers to identify any connections they have to brands. The FTC guidelines can be summed up in four recommendations:

  1. Clearly disclose when you have a financial or family relationship with a brand
  2. Don’t assume that using a platform’s disclosure tool is sufficient
  3. Avoid ambiguous disclosures like #thanks, #collab, #sp, #spon, or #ambassador
  4. Don’t rely on a disclosure placed after a Click More link or in another easy-to-miss location

Facebook reveals new brand safety standards to block ads serving on fake news and on offensive videos in response to advertiser fears of being paired with content that wouldn’t reflect well on their brands, which is largely inspired by Google’s YouTube controversy from earlier this year. The new guidelines apply to publishers that want to run ads on their content and require that they provide authentic proof that they are who they represent themselves to be and have had a Facebook profile or page for at least one month, among other criteria. Publishers that share clickbait or sensationalism, or post false news are ineligible to show Facebook ads.

Washington Post has a robot reporter that has published 850 articles in the past year. The artificial intelligence technology is called Heliograf, and has been around since 2016 when it was used to cover short reports and alerts on the Rio Olympics. Since then, it’s been used to cover congressional and gubernatorial races on Election Day and DC area high school football games. Here’s an example.

New York Times uses AI and bots to moderate comments on the enabling commenting features on articles to increase from 10% to 25%, with a goal of reaching 80%. The bot solves the need to have manpower manually moderate comments.

TV ad updates inspired by digital. Overall there are less 30-second spots in 2017 and more 15-second spots than there were in 2014 (61% of ads were 30-seconds in 2014, now 49%). In fact, Fox is testing 6-second spots during NFL games during pauses in the action and drawing inspiration from digital and social video. Amazon is upping the game by offering in-store attribution (telling marketers if people bought stuff after seeing the ad) for video advertisements that will air during their original content series.

Pew Research reports that two-thirds (67%) of U.S. adults report getting at least some of their news on social media, while a fifth (20%) report doing so “often.”

Vertical updates:


Have a great Friday!

This Week in Digital (September 9, 2017)

This week in digital brings advances in artificial intelligence (AI), Facebook Watch for reality television, and, among other excellent updates.

According to a recent study by Dana Rebecca Designs, which included surveying 2,000 Instagram users to understand how Instagram influences style and fashion decisions:

*   85% followed accounts that are style, fashion or lifestyle-focused
*   63% consider themselves a fashion-forward person
*   72% have made a beauty or style-related purchases after seeing something on Instagram

Although the study exclusively focused on Instagram, the report undoubtedly shows the potential impact of Instagram has on retail.

Artificial intelligence (AI) continues to infiltrate the retail shopping experience, enabling retailers to make shopping across all channels smarter. According to an Apptus study, 52% of fashion retailers will invest in AI within the next 12 months with the aim of leveraging AI for personalization, online merchandising and customer service, creating a faster, more relevant shopping experience for you.

Facebook has officially opened its “Watch” tab, via the TV icon in the mobile navigation bar and desktop site bookmarks, to help users subscribe to their favorite series instead of stumbling upon it in the News Feed. To start, Facebook will focus on highlighting reality shows. continues to focus on user growth with over 200MM global users, with most users at 13-24-year-old girls and women. The platform has just started testing advertising products.

From Slack:
*Instagram testing feature to let users share Stories to Facebook
*Four Ways to use Snapchat’s Paperclip Tool for Business
*19 Tools for Creating Engaging Social Media Videos, Images and GIFS in Minutes
*The Facebook Like button redesigned

This week in dogs:
*Office dog isn’t allowed on couch; rebels.
*Cesar Millan and Amazon are making audio books for dogs


Earned, Owned and Paid Media: What’s the difference?

What is “earned media” and how does it differ from paid or owned media?

Earned media is a term that may be new to many veterinary practices and pet product companies, and sometimes it’s heard right along with Paid Media and Owned Media.  All three types of media can be tactics of a powerful communications campaign, but not all need to be used at the same time.

Here are the definitions:

Earned Media: quotes and features in media outlets including those in print, tv, radio, blogs, online, resulting from an interview or product review or rating that developed as the result of a proactive pitch and/or press release. Also called editorial coverage.

Owned Media: Company website and blog, company Facebook page and other social media pages, branded journals or e-newsletters, brochures, in store retail displays.

Paid Media:  Traditional and digital advertising. Paid search, social media advertisements or boosts, banner ads, sponsorships, direct mail, display, retail/channel, and ads on tv, print, or radio.

Would you like to talk about how these campaigns can be used to grow your business?  Contact Liz at or 877 703 3824 x 105.



Free Tip Sheet for Writing Tradeshow Press Releases

Have you written a press release yet about your pet tradeshow presence?

It’s a hectic time for pet and veterinary businesses around the globe right now, preparing unique exhibit booths for upcoming tradeshows. There are show events to plan, designs to approve, collateral to print, flights to reserve…you name it, and it’s on a long to-do list! 

Where is PR on your to-do list? Have you written a press release to announce where you’ll be in the exhibit hall, and what you’ll show at your booth? No? We get it — and we can help!  Click below for a free tip sheet you can use today to write that release! 

One of Fetching Communications’ public relations specialties is helping pet and veterinary businesses prepare for tradeshows. From a philosophical standpoint, we really love helping businesses that help pets and their people, so we want to help your business succeed and be recognized by the pet and veterinary media. So, set aside an hour or two, and let’s do this!

Follow the eight tips for writing your tradeshow press release, and then submit it for distribution via’s unique news service for the pet industry. Use the promo code HOLIDAY25 to automatically receive 25% off any distribution services you select, with the exception of PR Newswire’s distribution option.


Contact me personally if you need help!  

5 PR Tips for Communicating with Pet Parents

Veterinary specialty practices have been clients of Fetching since 2003. We appreciate a hospital’s dual audience of pet parents and referring DVMs, and understand the nuances of marketing to each audience. Through local and regional publicity, Fetching shares our client-hospitals’ cases, services and innovations, earning coverage for the hospitals’ veterinarians.

Along with the news item is the emphasis on compassion and expertise that is so important to the audience of pet parents, to any veterinary hospital’s integrity and to partnerships with rDVMs.

Here are five ways your practice can reach pet parents through public relations campaigns and veterinary marketing:

  1. PUBLICITYPet parents read the local and regional newspapers and online news sites, watch local and regional television news, and read blogs authored by local bloggers. Each time your practice participates in a community event, or publicizes a positive outcome about a local patient, the pet parent audience gets a glimpse into how your practice operates. News coverage gives you the opportunity to show how you work within the triad of veterinary care, i.e. the specialist/the rDVM/the pet parent; the quality of your client service and facilities; the expertise of your staff; and your connection with the community.  Your publicity specialist can guide you to find newsworthy angles and cases that will spark interest with media outlets.
  1. WEBSITEYour website’s content is usually the very first touchpoint with a potential patient. If the concept of overhauling an old website is too daunting for you right now, you can instead pay attention to a few important pages: Newsroom, About Our Staff and Contact Us. Your Newsroom must be current, with press releases and photographs, and a public relations specialist for media outlets to call. About Our Staff should include well-written, brief biographies that are relatable while simultaneously showcasing your staff’s expertise. The Contact Us page must give a phone number and email address. A “contact us” form can be viewed as impersonal, and a prospect may instead decide to look elsewhere.
  1. TESTIMONIALS: Sometimes there is a natural inclination to wait patiently for a testimonial to appear. We think being proactive will yield a more positive outcome.  Therefore, when a pet owner checks out after an appointment, set up an email system that will automatically ask the pet parent to share how their appointment went. If the pet parent had a good experience, write back or call to thank them for their positive comments, and ask whether you could share that information in a testimonial on your website, on a dedicated page.
  1. FACEBOOK: You’ve heard this again and again, and it’s still true. Pet parents are on Facebook. They want to participate in the pet parent community, stay up to date on wellness tips, and share photos and stories about their pets. Give them a safe and fun forum to do this within your practice’s Facebook page. The key is to generate content and engage with your fans. While Facebook itself is “free,” the effort needed to keep a Facebook page robust is not free; it takes time to write posts, read replies, engage in conversations, update graphics, watch for new Facebook rules, and it takes advertising dollars to reach the right audience and grow the base of fans. But it’s a tool that all veterinary practices should use consistently.  Most practices find that outsourcing this task is a relief from what can become a daily responsibility, consider that possibility.
  1. COMMUNITY EVENTS: Get a booth and join an event that enables you and your staff to meet your community. It could be a local pet expo, heath fair or dog walk – any event that gives you an opportunity to talk to pet owners, share your practice’s marketing materials, introduce staff and gain new fans on Facebook. Your participation is also a good path to earning local news coverage.

Contact Liz at or call 877-703-3824 x105 to get started on a program to reach pet parents more effectively. These tactics will set you apart from your competition.