Facebook tests ‘News’ feature, Lyft offers rides to job interviews and doctor visits, and YouTube’s 20M trees campaign

Also: 25 years of banner ads, CIOs’ crucial role, Chipotle ballyhoos burritos on TikTok, and your top content priorities for 2020.

Good morning, PR pros:

Sunday marked the 25th anniversary of the banner ad, which started with AT&T’s ad on former publication HotWired (now Wired), which read: “Have you ever clicked your mouse right here? You will.”

AdAge reported:

… AT&T’s ad lured 44 percent of readers to click, a miracle click-through rate by today’s standards. The click led to a landing page with links to webpages for museums like Paris’ Musée d’Orsay, and, naturally, a link to more information about AT&T.

However, today’s banner ad gets a click-through rate of roughly 0.5%, partially because the average consumer is faced with 1,700 banner ads every month. Given the sea of content and branded messages bombarding consumers’ attention, marketers must be even more innovative with their tactics.

There’s room for improvement—along with budget dollars to support experimentation. This is especially important as chief marketing officer roles are rolled into executive communications positions, putting PR pros in charge of finding ways to break through the noise.

AdAge reported:

Online advertising is expected to generate $120 billion in the U.S. this year, growing from just $100 million in 1995, according to an advertising forecast from Publicis Groupe’s Zenith.

How do banner ads affect your overall PR and marketing campaigns? Share with us your thoughts under the #MorningScoop hashtag.

Here are today’s top stories:

Facebook partners with journalists and publications for ‘Facebook News’

The social media platform is testing a feature that offers its U.S. users a “dedicated place for news,” which includes top stories of the day, personalized recommendations, topic sections, options to hide articles or publishers you don’t want to see, and the ability to link your Facebook account with your paid news subscriptions.

In a blog post, the social media platform announced that it gathered “insight from journalists and publishers before we started developing a product,” asking them “what they’d like to see included in a news tab, how their stories should be presented and what analytics to provide.”

The upcoming features have had mixed reactions from journalists. Vox’s headline read, “Facebook has finally decided that the best way to deliver news is to act like a newspaper.” However, Breitbart is one of Facebook News’ partners, to which CNN reacted: “If Breitbart is ‘high quality’ news, what’s low?”

Why it matters: Facebook continues to grapple with social media users’ mining its platform for news—and their having to weed out the rampant misinformation that’s tarnished the company’s reputation and eroded users’ trust. As more users get their news and commentary from social media sites, communicators have a responsibility to help employees, executives, customers and partners be more savvy consumers of information.

Related reading:


According to new research from Edelman, chief information officers have become important guardians of trust for many organizations.

Over half of CIOs say they have a public-facing role, and pressures about topics like cybersecurity, data use and regulatory compliance are making the CIO a key protector of corporate trust.

Edelman also asked what helps build trust in the CIO, or how the CIO comes to trust vendors and other stakeholders. Interestingly, it depends on how long the CIO has been in the job.

CIOs with less experience in their role tend to place trust in emotional connections; more experienced officers are more likely to rely on a more cerebral approach when looking for trustworthiness.

Lyft offers free rides to job interviews and doctor appointments

The ride-hailing app recently launched its Jobs Access Program in more than 35 cities across the United States, partnering with nonprofits such as United Way and Goodwill to provide free or discounted rides to and from job interviews, training programs and job sites for the first three weeks of employment, to those in need “making their way through the employment pipeline.”

Lyft also announced that it’s expanding its non-emergency medical transportation program for Medicaid patients to Tennessee, Missouri, Michigan, Georgia and Virginia. Already available in Arizona, the program has the “potential to positively impact … an average of 17 percent of the population” with its currently enrolled states.

Why you should care: Whenever possible, your corporate social responsibility efforts should align with your organization’s offerings and provide a noticeable and necessary benefit to included communities or the world at large. Lyft’s programs highlight gaps in areas where a ride-sharing company could be a perfect fit.

When sharing your initiatives, ditch the marketing messages and instead focus on the people who need your help and have inspired the program.

 Related reading:


Chipotle is again offering discounted burritos booritos for customers who show up in costume on Halloween:

This year’s promotion comes with an added twist, via TikTok: Consumers are encouraged to post before-and-after videos of them in costume with the hashtag #Boorito, and five users whose posts grab the most “likes” will each win free burritos for a year. Chipotle calls it the “TikTok Transformation” and has partnered with a few influencers to promote the contest:


With more and more Gen Z consumers gravitating to social media apps such as Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok, PR and marketing pros should expect to see highly creative approaches to reaching them, leaving standard messaging for platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

YouTube creators come together to plant 20M trees

 Influencer and content creator Jimmy “MrBeast” Donaldson organized a fundraiser in what he calls the “largest YouTube collaboration of all time.” The campaign seeks to raise $20 million to plant 20 million trees by January 2020. Donaldson partnered with Arbor Day Foundation on the fundraiser, dubbed #TeamTrees, in which more than 600 YouTube influencers have joined so far.

Why it matters: Similar to the Ice Bucket Challenge, this fundraiser is already going viral, thanks to influencers taking up the cause to make a difference. It’s a timely reminder that you can partner with social media superstars on more than just your next marketing message.

YouTube also committed to covering the donation transaction costs for the initiative, which also helps promote the social media platform’s new “Donate” button. The tool can be useful for organizations of all stripes launching a fundraiser or corporate social responsibility campaign that asks consumers to pitch in.

Related reading:


We asked what your No. 1 content priority is for the upcoming year, and 36% of you said video is your focus. Social media content came next with 28% of you naming it as your priority, followed by long-form web content (26%).

Though long-form web content wasn’t the top choice, communications pro Kamreshan Moonsamy said capitalizing on that type of content enables you to boost customer experience while steering traffic to your website, whether through your blog or other webpages:

No matter your content priority for 2020, ask yourself how you can better tailor each piece to your audience and how you can repurpose what you create across channels and campaigns.


As we near Halloween, lots of things—including unforeseen PR crises—can frighten even the calmest communicator. What’s the scariest thing (outside of a crisis) that you might encounter this week?

Please weigh in and share your thoughts under the #MorningScoop hashtag.


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No Responses to “Facebook tests ‘News’ feature, Lyft offers rides to job interviews and doctor visits, and YouTube’s 20M trees campaign”

    Ronald N. Levy says:

    Any corporate good deed will bring your management SOME goodwill, hopefully a lot, but which corporate good deed will bring your management the MOST goodwill?

    It depends on how much good you do. If you give free Lyft rides or if you plant 20 million trees, you’ll certainly deserve gratitude. But if instead you spend the same amount of money to support one of the major anti-cancer research programs of famed Dr. Anas Younes at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center:

    .1. A million or more Americans may not only appreciate your management but actually PRAY for the success of your management’s effort to help the public.

    .2. TV and newspaper pictures will show your top executives not planting tees nor posing near a car but in a research lab working with world-famous doctors and nurses fighting cancer. Your execs tell how brilliant the doctors are, and the doctors tell how helpful your company’s support may be in saving lives.

    .3. Washington political leaders know they may look like heroes by attacking big business but are less likely to attack a major sponsor of health research.

    .4. Your lobbyists may get a warmer greeting from legislators, and your sales reps from retailers, and your retailers from consumers who have suffered through cancer in the family or in the neighborhood.

    .5. If the medical team you back succeeds at something, your “breakthrough” announcement or whatever is justified may bring you worldwide media coverage. Media are hungry for possibly promising news.

    .6. Your employees will be more proud of the company and your Human Resources people may have more success recruiting top candidates.