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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Ahead of the holidays, expect to see more ads in your social feeds from companies you’ve never heard of.

Why it matters: Users are spending more time and money with new brands that are using data to form direct relationships with them online, and traditional retailers are struggling to keep up.

Social media companies have become particularly adept at helping users discover products that they are more likely to buy than traditional media companies, like TV or radio.

  • Facebook, Instagram and now Snapchat all offer marketers the ability to sell products via multi-product ad units that most closely mimic old print catalogs.
  • Instagram is reportedly testing a standalone shopping app, given how successful its shopping experience has been.
  • More than half of all consumers report buying products online after stumbling across them on social media, according to a Curalate consumer survey.

Podcasts are also becoming a hot destination for personalized marketing, with brands like Away, Shopify and Casper creating their own podcasts to market to consumers directly.

Between the lines: Traditional consumer product companies that used to be mega-stocking stuffers are struggling to keep up with new companies that have mastered the art of social commerce.

  • Gillette’s share of the U.S. men’s razor business fell to 54% in 2016, from 70% in 2010. Most of the market share has shifted to Dollar Shave Club, Harry’s, etc., according to the IAB’s latest brand economy study.
  • Walmart, one of the country’s biggest mass retailers, considered buying suitcase company Away, per Business Insider. It’s already purchased online clothing companies, like Bonobos and Modcloth, in an effort to bolster its relationship with consumers online.
  • Allbirds, a sustainable sneaker company that specializes in social media marketing, is now valued at $1.4 billion.

These brands have gotten so good at launching customizable business online that dozens of companies, like Everlane and M.Gemi, have built their own brick-and-mortar stores after launching online.

The bottom line: Social media is the new storefront, and ads are the new catalogs.

Go deeper

Chris Cuomo accuser: On-air "hypocrisy" spurred report

Journalist Chris Cuomo. Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

A woman who accused fired CNN journalist Chris Cuomo of sexual misconduct said Sunday she decided to come forward after learning of his comments about women who made similar accusations about his brother. He denies her allegations.

Why it matters: Her attorney Debra Katz said in a statement that she heard "the hypocrisy" of his on-air words about his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and was "disgusted by his efforts to try to discredit these women," so "retained counsel to report his serious sexual misconduct against her to CNN."

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise" — Two years of COVID-19 — Prior coronavirus infections may not protect well against Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Data demonstrates most-vaccinated counties less vulnerable to worst of COVID — Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles downWHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Vulnerable Democrats: Less Trump talk

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Vulnerable House Democrats are convinced they need to talk less about the man who helped them get elected: President Trump.

Why it matters: Democrats are privately concerned nationalizing the 2022 mid-terms with emotionally-charged issues — from Critical Race Theory to Donald Trump's role in the Jan. 6 insurrection — will hamstring their ability to sell the local benefits of President Biden's Build Back Better agenda.