Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Technology as a Driver of the Consumerization of B2B

I am at the Founder.org conference right now, where I see many young B2B and B2C startups pitching to silicon valley investors (Founder.org is a VC fund investing in student founders in North America and Europe. I am working for the organization as an associate who sources and screens startups in Munich, Germany and New York City.)

What I found interesting among many of the B2B companies here is how they approach marketing and sales and how it differs from how traditional B2B marketing is often understood and taught. It's not just that their technology is the necessary 10x better (according to the rule of thumb for adoption) than the current market solutions, most of them are also trying to create a competitive advantage by using marketing technology to outpace traditional players.

There is Konux for example, a sensor startup that develops the hardware and software for the future of industry, an internet of sensors. They are automating and structuring marketing in a way that traditional sensor companies just cannot perform because they lack the digital mind set and skill set. They are doing content marketing to tell stories about their team and how their sensors are being used. They build up a CRM and an automated sales cycle that allow a leaner organization, wider reach and faster and more personalized follow-ups.

There also is Building Radar, a lead generation platform for the construction and interior design industry. Their algorithms not just screen the internet for future construction projects, their data management system also allows them to personalize their service and address the best matching supplier for any project.

I've talked to both teams and studied how their competitors are doing marketing and sales. For a so called digital native it is shocking how manual they still work and how slow they have grown over the years. Leads are being generated mostly offline, sometimes fax and telephone still are their preferred means of communication. They are operating in multi-billion dollar industries and they are now threatened by new companies who not just disrupt the technology used but first and foremost the marketing and sales technology. The Economist already brought up the topic in 2014, hinting to the fact that technology is one of the drivers that leads to a personalization of B2B sales. The core idea of this trend is that also businesses are run by people and business to business sales decisions are being made by human individuals. For me, it is exciting to see how digital technologies allow to transform not just products and services but also all aspects of business in any particular industry.


Dunkin’ Donuts and AirBnB master the art of location-based digital advertising

Until recently, location based advertising  remained a small part of mobile ad budgets, primarily because it's difficult to pinpoint the exact person with the right type of ad on the fly. But if you get Google on board for targeting your ad campaign, you can be the trend-setters in the field. Dunkin’ Donuts and AirBnB took the initiative to monetize the most frequent activities done by tourists from out of town.

Dunkin' worked with Johannes Leonardo  and Trilia Media to build a Google campaign timetocoffee.com, which crunches two sets of data—the walk times to Dunkin' locations in the Times Square area, and current wait times at each—to determine which Dunkin' will get you coffee quickest.Users just need to search for "coffee near me" on Google Maps or in Google Search on their mobile phone and they will see an ad that says, "Find the fastest coffee." Clicking the ad brings up Google Maps, which auto-populates the user's location and points to the right Dunkin' to patronize.

Airbnb, not behind in the race, is launching a campaign called "Hosted Walks". This particular venture helps NYC tourists to see and explore tracks off the beaten path and not just the usual tourist traps. Airbnb also partnered with Johannes Leonardo, to tap into the site's vast hosting community to provide host-led audio tours of Midtown Manhattan via Google Maps. When a user searches for touristy things to do in the Times Square area, or input their tourist destinations into Google Maps, an ad will prompt them to see New York like a local. Clicking on the ad brings up Google Maps, which auto-populates user's location and calculates a route to their location that takes them by hidden gems—which are then narrated by Airbnb hosts in audio as well as speech bubbles.

Both these firms have leveraged the most popular tourist activities and combined it with a convenient simple local service and a digital ad to sell their products. The digital experience which accompanies the ads is quite unique, simple and addictive for new comers to the city. Who thought consumer experience was only limited to physical stores? Transcending the ad experience to a doable action to monetize a service physically within 15-30 minutes of seeing the ad is a stellar achievement in the digital world. Moreover the convenience and simplicity of using the pop- up ad makes it all the more sticky and is the unique selling proposition of these Google campaigns.

Christina Yoo, associate programmatic media director at Essence, states how a new version of the location-based campaign is now using better targeting tactics alongside programmatic buying, improving accuracy."In the beginning, one of our biggest problems was getting accuracy at scale," Yoo said. "We want to have these perfect location-based experiences for the individual, but we also want to make sure that the information that we're getting is accurate."Part of the reason why advertisers are struggling with place-based mobile advertising is because marketers aren't looking for data outside of apps, which have built-in location metrics for brands to measure against.When locations are brought together and people are targeted in real-time based on where they are, brands have to go beyond that [app] signal!

Source: http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/how-dunkin-donuts-and-airbnb-are-turning-google-searches-experiences-nyc-167216


YouTube's Most Native Ad Yet Puts Shoppable Cards Into Organic Videos

With new native ads, YouTube has the potential to change the ad game completely. They have recently incorporated advertisements into actual organic videos i.e. how-to tutorials - no longer are ads regulated to the space between each video or seen as an interruption, but it instead it will become a more seamless and relevant integration. The videos will begin to feature shoppable cards (think Pop-Up Video) that are relevant for consumers who are watching i.e. beauty ads for products featured in a beauty blogger's tutorial.

This new "native" advertisement is incredibly impactful for the marketer - allowing their brand to become relevant and making the purchase much easier for the consumer.  

The one down-side to these shoppable cards, is that marketers may not be able to prevent whether or not their product ad appears in a negative or inappropriate video. However, YouTube claims its algorithms will prevent such a disaster - only time will tell when they roll out the program. 



Smart toys' effect on children development and marketing

With the emergence of smart toys for children, producers and academia have conflicted views on the effect of these on children's development. While producers claim the smart toys help develop and stimulate children's brains, critics are concerned that the constant stimuli of smart toys are inhibiting children's imagination and could cause problems focusing. Furthermore they also worry that companies are using the toys to push their own commercial agenda and obtain sensitive customer data before the child even knows he's a customer. However, in a world that is increasingly smart, tech-driven and multitasking, what time is the right to introduce children to this world and in what manner? Or are the skeptics just pushing their regular pessimism about technological change?



Bid Boosting On Bing: Discover The Untapped Value

Are you using bid modifiers in your Bing Ads campaigns? Columnist John Cosley explains what bid modifiers are and how bid boosting works.

Reaching the right audience at the right price is the goal for every advertiser, but that goal can be frustratingly elusive. Fortunately, there’s a powerful tool at your disposal to do just that: bid modifiers.
Bid modifiers provide you additional control to ensure your ads are shown to the customers you care about most — and not shown to those you care about least — while helping you optimally manage to your campaign goals.

How Does Bid Boosting Work?

Bid modifiers allow you to change keyword bids based on a number of parameters, helping to ensure your ad wins the auction and appears on the search results page. They can be applied to a searcher’s geographic location, the day and time of their search or the device they are searching from. Bid modifiers also allow you to bid on audiences using remarketing.
These modifiers are applied in real time during the auction when a Bing user’s search triggers your paid search ad, and they alter your base keyword bid.
For example, let’s say you own a boutique called Van Ness Dress that designs custom-fit dresses and want to improve the odds of showing your ads to customers who live in the city of San Francisco. Your bid on the keyword “dresses” is $1.00. You add a 20 percent incremental bid for people who live in San Francisco. Now, when a search user in the targeted city searches for “shoes,” your bid is $1.20, and it’s more likely to be a winning bid that gets your ads displayed.
If a particular search user matches against multiple bid adjustments, the adjustments are combined using addition. Using the Van Ness Dress example, if we added another bid boost of 10 percent for users searching on Wednesdays, the potential maximum bid amounts would look like this:
Lives in San FranciscoSearching on WednesdayMax bid
Search User #1(Add .20)(Add .10)$1.30
Search User #2(Add .10)$1.10
Search User #3$1.00

Bid boosting is not just about raising bids; it can be equally effective at helping you manage the return on your ad spend by boosting down (i.e., below zero) against various parameters.
Advertisers may find that certain demographics, devices, audiences or locations do not convert as effectively or do not spend as much when they do convert. In these cases, adding a negative bid boost reduces the chances an ad will show, but each click will be at a reduced cost, allowing an advertiser to have further control over campaign performance.

Bid Boosting Drives Advertising Success

Bid boosting not only allows advertisers to be more (or less) competitive during the auction process, but advertisers that adopt bid boosting in ways that align to their campaign goals see increases in campaign performance across both click-through and conversion rates. There are four important areas where you can apply bid boosting to help you achieve better performance:
1. Boost By Demographics
Advertisers who are boosting bids on Age and Gender characteristics are seeing the greatest click-through rate (CTR) performance gains, according to internal data here at Microsoft. In fact, advertisers using bid boosting based on gender-related demographic information are seeing normalized CTR rates averaging 125 percent higher than their non-bid-boosted counterparts. However, less than two percent of campaigns are utilizing gender-based bid boosting, so the opportunity is wide open.
Advertisers using age-related bid boosting are seeing normalized CTR rate boosts an average of 133 percent over non-boosted rates. But like gender, we’re seeing that less than two percent of Bing Ads campaigns have bid boosts implemented on age-related demographics.
Advertisers using bid boosting for demographics are seeing impressive improvements in conversion rates. In the retail segment, for example, advertisers see 60 percent and 120 percent higher conversion rates for age and gender bid-boosted clicks, respectively.
At Bing, we’ve made significant improvements in our coverage of targetable users based on age and gender — which has more than doubled — helping you reach more customers who are more receptive to your message.
Bid adjustment for demographic targets can range from -90 percent to +900 percent.
Example Scenario: Expanding on my example above, Van Ness Dress may decide that it wants to bid boost ads targeting female searchers, as they are the most likely to convert to a purchase, either via a phone call or through a store visit. Knowing their average conversion rate, margin on those sales, and CPC allows them to know how much they can bid boost and still maintain a positive return on investment.
2. Boost By Location
Bid boosts can also be applied based on geographic location, working in conjunction with geotargeting (country/state/metro) and radius targeting (ZIP code, for example). Using advanced location options, advertisers can be more selective on location intent, identifying customers searching for/viewing pages about their targeted location ortargeting ads to customers physically in those locations.
Bid boosting by location is far and away the most popular form of bid boosting. Advertisers using this tactic to reach customers in the most highly desired locations are seeing normalized CTR gains on the average of 40 percent over non-boosted rates.
Bid adjustments for location targets can range from -90 percent to +900 percent.
Example Scenario: In this case, our hypothetical Van Ness Dress decides to implement two bid boosting strategies similar to demographic bidding. First, they bid boost up for searchers located in San Francisco, knowing their store proximity increases the likelihood to call or visit. However, residents in the Bay Area also hold value in that people will often come into the city over the weekend for shopping and entertainment. In this case, they may decide to bid boost down a small amount (say, for example, -20 percent), knowing Bay Area searchers still convert, but their purchases tend to be smaller, giving them a lower ROI.
3. Boost By Device
While not quite as popular as location targeting, a substantial (and growing) number of advertisers are taking advantage of bid boosting across device types, including PC/tablet and mobile. And those advertisers are seeing normalized CTR gains averaging 32 percent over non-boosted rates.
Tablet bid adjustments can range from -20 percent to +300 percent of the desktop bid, while mobile bid adjustments can range from -100 percent (to exclude smartphone traffic) to +300 percent.
Example Scenario: Mobile offers some significant opportunities for advertisers, and our friends at Van Ness Dress know this. Because they value store visits and calls very highly — and because mobile searchers offer them the unique opportunity to get in front of customers who are ready to take action now — they add a small bid boost to searchers on mobile devices.
4. Boost By Audience
Finally, advertisers are able to apply bid boosters against custom audiences. In this case, advertisers first must deploy tracking code on their site (called Universal Event Tagging on Bing Ads), create a remarketing list and make at least one association to an ad group. Once this is complete, advertisers can utilize bid boosting when remarketing to custom audiences, which could include visitors who have taken some sort of action on an advertisers’ site.
Bid adjustments for location targets can range from -90 percent to + 900 percent.
Example Scenario: Van Ness Dress knows that custom-fit dresses are not an impulse purchase and that customers shop around before making a decision. Therefore, being able to remarket to people who have visited their site is imperative to capturing that final conversion opportunity. With appropriate tagging, Van Ness Dress boosts bids significantly for searchers who have visited their website.

Advertiser Takeaway

When bid boosting is thoughtfully applied to campaigns, advertisers experience significant CTR improvements — especially in categories where their competitors aren’t using it. By increasing or decreasing your bid boost when a user (or their search) meets specified parameters, you can increase the likelihood that your ads will be shown — and likely improve their positions. In addition, you may find that a combined approach to bid boosting will allow you to realize the best performance gains.
Most important, though, you’ll increase your chances of reaching the audiences you care about most at the price that is right for you, and you’ll reduce waste by avoiding consumers who don’t fall within your target.


Maybe Google Adwords are too complicated. Bing uses bid boosting, and simplifies bid modification. It helps focus target group, time of day, geographic location, and more. And it's cheaper than Google too!


Virtual reality presents new opportunity for digital marketing

Making Predictions about digital marketing is difficult partly because the landscape will likely change so much, digital marketing will have to stretch its definition to include the new variations it will encompass. One such change is the continued development of virtual reality technology. Facebook acquired one of the largest players in virtual reality, Oculus Rift. Facebook just announced last week that the virtual reality technology they have been developing will be compatible with sites like Hulu, Netflix and other personal streaming services. As the article discusses, this means that virtual reality audiences will be available for ads through those services creating a new platform brands can reach their consumers.

This will surely come as a relief for all of the advertisers that have had to adapt to streaming sites themselves, and shift away from television. The development of virtual reality though adds a new opportunity for brands to create an experience akin to in-stores, but actually from the comforts of our homes. We could hold a pair of shoes, try on a sweater or handle a new phone virtually.

This shift will change marketing strategies once again, but may be a shift that works in the favor of the advertiser. 



The Top 7 Online Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2016

Forbes posted the top 7 online marketing trends that will dominate 2016. This is a very insightful and informative in understanding current digital marketing landscape.

1. Video ads will start dominating. Video ads are certainly nothing new, with social channels like YouTube dedicated to hosting billions of videos and advertising platforms like Facebook and Bing already offering advertisers video options. 2016 is set to be different because Google is finally getting on board with in-SERP video advertising. It’s a sign that users are becoming more accepting of video ads online, and as that trend continues, expect to see more types of video ads popping up in more unexpected places. With Google’s ownership of YouTube, the possibilities are virtually limitless.

2. App indexing will lead to an explosion of apps. Google has offered app indexing for a while, but as the ranking possibilities for apps become more complex, 2016 will be the year more business owners realize the online visibility advantages of a dedicated app. A mobile-optimized site works wonders for appealing to the mobile crowd, but soon, apps will begin to replace them. Apps can do everything that websites can, except in more intuitive, convenient, accessible ways. We’re still several years away from apps completely replacing websites as a medium, but 2016 will be a pivotal year in app adoption from business owner’s perspectives.

3. Mobile will completely dominate desktop. 2015 was a big year for mobile—not only did Google announce that mobile traffic finally overtook desktop traffic in 10 different countries, it was also the year they released the “Mobilegeddon” algorithm update to phase out sites not optimized for mobile. But apparently, you don’t have to have an optimized desktop site in addition to a mobile version—according to Google, a mobile-only site with no desktop counterpart is perfectly acceptable. This alone won’t be enough to drive down desktop traffic, but it’s clear what side of the fence Google’s on; they’re banking on desktop traffic fading away, meaning the smart money rests on mobile-focused online marketing.

4. Digital assistants will lead to a new kind of optimization. Search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising are two highly popular strategies for getting your site seen by thousands of previously unknown visitors. But the rise of digital assistants is going to lead to a new kind of optimization. Digital assistants like Siri and Cortana do utilize traditional search engines, but only when necessary to find information. The key to optimizing in this new format is to make sure your business information is easily accessible to these assistants, rather than trying to funnel people to your site specifically.

5. Virtual reality will emerge. There are dozens of different virtual reality devices set to release in the next few years, some of which are dedicated for specific applications like video games, and others which are available for general use. Oculus Rift, arguably the most hyped VR device, is set to release in the first quarter of 2016. Oculus Rift and other VR devices will introduce an entire new medium of online advertising, with integration to popular social media platforms, video channels, and even forms of direct messaging. There’s always a chance VR could fizzle as a temporary fad, but there are billions of dollars of funding in limbo, ready to bet otherwise.

6. Wearable technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) will pave new ground. While not quite to the level of virtual reality, wearable “smart” devices should start gaining more traction into 2016. 2015 saw the unveiling of the Apple Watch, a first-generation smart watch, but more smart watches and similar wearable devices should start emerging next year. Such devices will change the landscape of local marketing, and will do more to blur the lines between “online” marketing and “real” marketing.

7. Advertising will become more expensive. Competition in the online marketing world has increased dramatically over the course of the past few years. 2016 will see it increase even more. As the basic laws of economics suggest, an increase in demand is often accompanied by an increase in price, so all those new online marketing competitors will drive the prices for online advertising even higher. Realistically, online ads are pretty cheap, but the increases in price may drive some smaller companies out of the landscape.


YouTube Introduces Shopping Ads

YouTube introduce shopping ads to its videos. The way it works is basically there will be a little preview in the corner of the video and if you click it - then the user will be taken to a card which will provide more information about the product being featured in the preview.

These kind of relevant and contextualized ads will allow for google to profit from the users desire to purchase right when they want to and how they want to.



Google's New Product Allows Greater Advertisement Customization

               Google has recently unveiled a new product called Customer Match allowing advertisers to upload lists of emails that will be matched to signed-in Google users on Gmail, search, and Youtube. Companies will be able to upload names of people from their CRM system, and then send targeted advertisements to corresponding users. These tailored advertisements will also follow users on other Google platforms, such as Youtube and Gmail. In addition, the program allows advertisers to find similar audiences that have not yet been captured by the list, which could greatly help companies to expand their client base.

               This is not the first time Google dipped its toes into Facebook’s territory with app install ads and email-based advertising. Since earlier this year, Google has leveraged its larger networks in areas like search-to-promote apps as it felt the push from the wider market and the competition from Facebook. In May, Google rolled out new mobile ad products, namely the click-to-buy buttons in search and shoppable ads on YouTube videos.

               These two products share the same concept but differ slightly in that the click-to-buy directs shoppers to a Google checkout page, enabling one-click purchase; whereas the click-to-shop ads on Youtube convey users to retailers’ e-commerce sites. Small retailers, who would otherwise shun from e-commerce for lacking funds to build the website, could open their store on Google. Brands relying heavily on videos to provide users with reviews and tutorials could now take viewers directly to their product pages with one click. Companies such as Wayfair and Sephora have tested the ads in beta, and have successfully increased impressions for their demographic of 35-to-64-year-old women. Owing to the traffic boost, these brands intent to create more original video contents in the near future.

               As Google now aims at chaperoning users from the start of their search journey till the end of their transactions, competitors have been carrying out similar initiatives. In early 2014, Pinterest unveiled its “Promoted Pins” product that targets only specific customers and allows users to see product information and availability directly through their Pinterest feeds. Facebook have long since been cooperating with advertisers utilizing its “Custom Audience” platform which let businesses plug in CRM email addresses to target customers with relevant ads. Most recently, Facebook is trying out an artificial intelligence-powered Messenger assistant that can answer questions and direct users to relevant businesses.


Apple's iOS 9 brings ad blocking to the center

After Apple announced that it was going after Google's main revenue stream, publisher's became increasingly worried about users blocking ads, which support most of the content generation online.

Studies suggest that ad blocking is costing publishers about $22 billion per year. While ad-blockers developers state that their products are necessary to keep the industry running and help publishers to stay in control of the context in which their content is shown, digital ads companies disagree. It is true that completely blocking all ads because some of them may be very intruding and hurt the users' experience seems to be an overkill. But the industry should think about why users are increasingly adopting ad-blockers and what they should do in the future.

It looks that there are two ways out of this conflict: the industry starts to auto regulate and users will cease to demand ad-blocking software or, alternatively, a compromise solution can be found, like it happened in the music industry and piracy.

This battle will be decided in the next few years but it is clear that some action will have to be taken, otherwise free content will cease to exist, and users are not very fond of paying for it.

Public's love for ad blockers infuriating publishers


YouTube Introduces Shopping Ads

Today, YouTube announced a new ad unit today called Shopping ads, making their videos more "shoppable."  This will work similarly to Shopping ads on Google search, targeting ads based on context and audience.  

For example, an icon may appear in the corner of the frame while you are watching a YouTube video.  Clicking on it will produce product ads, and clicking again on those ads will direct you to the merchant's website to make a purchase.

"The point is, Google really wants advertisers to promote their products on YouTube, and to allow consumers to start the purchase process directly from those videos."



Facebook introduces changes to video ads

Facebook is one of the sites with most viewed videos, but this is kind of controversial, as a person does not have to click the video for it to play.
Innovating in the video ad arena, Facebook announced that it will let advertisers pay only for video ads if it appeared 100% on a person's screen. This is definitely a move in favor of the advertisers as it will remove the uncertainty if the was played just because it is the way Facebook is considered or the person was actually interested.


Big data hits the road

Very interesting article about how big data and connectivity is revolutionizing the car industry. Car manufacturers begin ti see themselves more as mobility companies and less as manufacturers, and incorporating at a very fast pace all the connectivity and data sharing breakthroughs.
Worth mentioning, the article points out a very interesting fact about the ownership of the data itself and the problems that could arise around it.
[...]"The second entails the ownership of the data that the vehicles are generating, storing, and sharing. The issues are deceptively thorny. If the car is leased or financed, does the driver "own" the information or share it? Does the car maker that created the data-management systems own the information? Will automakers and software developers be compelled to pay drivers for data access?"[...]

Full Article Here


How could chat services evolve to generate more competitive advantage?

In order to strengthen the position in the ecosystem and value chain, it's a good idea to think about how we could maximize the impact for existing product to enter new segment or market.

Wetchat launched Wechat Payment which is bundled in the Wechat account and connected to the users' bank account. It differs with Ali Payment because Wechat Payment connects with the offline stores, such as Walmart and 711. Users transfer money from bank account to Wechat Payment, and pay the bill thru Wechat App in the phone in the stores. Since the users carry their mobile everyday, and Wechat has more than 800 million active users, Wechat gets popular very quickly and surpassed Ali payment which is mainly used for e-commerce that happens only online .  Wechat payment is also different with Venmo because Wechat leveraged its existing and highly captivate user base of the chat service to increase the users of finance service.  It's very effective. That's how Wechat successfully penetrated its business in new area and encroach its competitors' market share, and eventually becomes more impactful in the value chain.



How wearables are changing digital advertising

With the preview of Google Glass, advertisers have been wondering how the product will impact the digital marketing world. Though at present Google has no plans of showing any ads on Google glass, it is hard for the company that solely relied on advertising for 80% of its revenue to not utilize the new platform.
There are a couple of things that digital advertising on such mediums can take advantage of:
1) Coupon ads- Key to this is to find the exact location of the user and its intentions and then providing relevant coupons
2) Personalized Ads - This is again based on identifying what the user wants next. Companies such as Google are spending a lot of R&D to get more information about customer behavior which is key to providing personalized ads
3) Game-fication of everyday life - Including game in everyday life. For example, you are walking somewhere, I you suddenly receive another lifeline which is a free coffee from Settle's Best Coffee. Apps such as Foursquare are already making use of such techniques.
4) Video recording - You record a 10 sec video of a new perfume that you bought that you can share with everyone.

More details on this can be found here:http://mashable.com/2013/01/23/google-glass-advertising/#JKtsABZoDEqQ


Startups: R/GA Says If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them

This article gives an interesting overview of a large creative agency that is struggling to stay relevant in the world of start ups and the internet of things. R/GA has decided to create their own think tank and invest not only in the funding of start ups but also in their development through a mentorship program. What does R/GA get for all of their time, effort, and money? An equity stake in the startup as well as a little more credibility when it comes to establishing themselves as an agency that can help startups succeed.

It seems that a lot of companies are following this trend now where they invest in products and services that might have nothing to do with what their core brand does but it makes them seem more connected to their consumers and to the businesses they are trying to sell to. For instance, several years ago, Citigroup launched a hackathon titled the Citi Mobile Challenge. They go to different countries and open up their APIs for developers to come up with creative solutions in the banking space. It has been a major success for the company both in terms of gaining PR for being "cool and connected" with the younger, digital connected generation as well as from a business perspective to generate new, forward thinking ideas for the company.

LINK: http://adage.com/article/special-report-advertising-week-2015/startups-r-ga-beat-join/300632/


How Much of Your Audience is Fake?

When digital first emerged as marketing channels, they held huge promise to marketers looking to cheaply and efficiently show relevant ads to an audience of potential customers.  However, the effectiveness of digital advertising has been less than stellar. As this article states, 

Digital’s return on investment was around 2 to 1, a $2 increase in revenue for every $1 of ad spending, compared with at least 6 to 1 for TV. The most startling finding: Only 20 percent of the campaign’s “ad impressions”—ads that appear on a computer or smartphone screen—were even seen by actual people."

Bots are a huge problem for advertisers and this means publishers have  a new challenge on their hands - to prove to advertisers that ads served on their sites will be seen by actual humans.  Facebook has recently claimed that it can do just that, and I expect other big publishers will follow suit.  As some publishers are able to distinguish themselves as more effective conduits to potential customers, they will be able to charge a premium for their inventory.  On the other hand, publishers who don't make efforts to address bots will quickly be cut out of marketing budgets.



Apple & Facebook vs Google & Web

Google and the Web: How does the web earns money to exist? Well, most of the web with original content earns by ads. And who owns that market? Google does with its Doubleclick (Adserver), which is serving ads for every major publisher; with its AdX (programmatic apps, that follow you around the web). So basically Google owns the Web. So how would you disrupt Google's hegemony if you are Apple or Facebook? Fight not in the current market, but in potential spaces
Apple and the Device: What does Apple have? Mobile. It would be nice for them to take mobile ads further away from Google; and with people shifting more and more to mobile they can seriously damage competitor. AppleiOS 9 has its own AdBlock! They finally delivered what everyone wants - now you can "Plug that RSS firehose straight into your optic nerve and surf surf surf 'til you die". But, of course, it blocks all the ads, except ones, Apple wants you to watch. So now if you want to run ads, which often means survive - you need to partner with Apple.
Facebook and the app: What does Facebook have? Eyeballs inside their app. And of course, they want to show only Ads they want, and they  did their Ads unblockable inside the app.
Google vs Apple vs Facebook - who will win?: it seems that it doesn't matter for ordinary user. However"small publisher on the web ... can't invest in proprietary platform distribution, native advertising, and the type of media wining-and-dining it takes to secure favorable distribution deals on proprietary platforms. It is going to be a bloodbath of independent media". So how will they adapt? Read the full article below for free (yet):

Article by The Verge - Welcome to hell


What does 'Digital' mean?

Understanding the Digital world and the vast possibilities that it brings to businesses, especially to start-ups, has been quite intriguing for me. But with no background in Technology or Marketing and personally being methodology driven, I wanted to start from the basics. And there is no better place to start than to understand what digital really means from a business perspective. In my quest to understand the business definition, I stumbled upon an article authored by one of the Principal’s from the consulting firm, McKinsey & Co.

McKinsey‘s definition of digital is “implementing cyclical dynamic processes and capabilities that evolve based on inputs from the customers.” McKinsey identifies three attributes to bringing this definition to reality:

Creating value at new frontiers: This requires reexamining the entire way of doing your current business and identifying where the new frontiers of value are. This approach could also mean to unlock value from emerging growth sectors and how they might present opportunities and threats to your existing business. Both of these approaches of looking internally or externally, can be easily understood by keenly observing how the customer decision journeys are evolving in the broadest sense, inside and outside of your business or sectors.

Creating value in core business: The second attribute requires an analysis and change to the cultural component of the organization. This requires focus on implementing a mindset that promotes: a) Proactive decision making based on decisions made on continuous intelligence which, delivers content and experiences personalized to customers. b) Contextual interactivity which refers to understanding how consumers are interacting with your brand and using that to improve customer experiences. c) Real-time automation required to help resolve customer problems quickly, personalize communications to be more relevant and deliver customers a complete journey. d) Journey focused innovation refers to being innovative in interaction with the customers. This innovation can introduce existing customers to new businesses, fuel more interaction, create more information and increase the value of the customer brand relationship.

 Building foundational capabilities: Finally it is about the system and data architecture focused on creating two-part environment by decoupling; a) Legacy systems that support critical functions and run at a slower pace; b) Customer interacting systems that support fast processes. And the key feature of the new digitized IT is to build networks that connect devices, objects and people in both of these environment.

For me having a clear definition allows me to understand a commonly shared vision across the industry and how to put that to use to capture value from it. On the contrary, it also helps me avoid tripping up because of lack of alignment and common vision about where the leadership or the business needs to go.

To read the full article please visit the following link: http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/high_tech_telecoms_internet/what_digital_really_means


Digital Marketers Banking on Mobile, Social Channels

In this article, some statistics from Salesforce's research (survey of 5000 marketers worldwide) clearly states that marketers now view digital channels as the cornerstone of their strategy, and many of these channels now anchor marketing functions. 

According to the research, 45% of marketers plan to shift spending from traditional mass advertising to advertising on digital channels. The report looks at marketers’ top priorities across all digital channels, and how their budgets, metrics, and strategies are shifting to support their goals.

As part of the survey, Salesforce asked marketers to share their top challenges that they face while executing their strategy. And among the top concerns marketers worry about most is the need to constantly stay on top off all the new marketing technologies and emerging trends. 

The article also revealed some stark contrasts between marketing in 2014 and 2015 — significant changes for such a short period of time. In 2014, the top areas in which marketers planned to increase spend were scattered across multiple disciplines and disparate initiatives. In 2015, the top five areas are all tied to social and mobile channels.

According to the report, 78% of marketers today have integrated mobile into their overall strategy, and 46% rate mobile website or app traffic as the most important mobile marketing metric. The Salesforce report singles out two specific mobile opportunities: loyalty and location-based campaigns. Marketers running mobile-based loyalty campaigns say they are extremely effective. They also recommend that you don’t wait any longer to test location-based content. “The consumer appetite for location-based content is there,” says Salesforce. “You just need to discover how your business can respectfully and relevantly use customer locations to create a more cohesive journey in the real world as much as in the online world.”

Social media is no longer seen as the fringe marketing outlet that it once was. In the study, 66% of marketers rated social media as core to their business. 78% have a dedicated social media team, up from 57% in 2014. Salesforce says it’s time to get serious about social, and test new channels. you need to invest the resources — both headcount and budget — to support social as a viable channel. If you’re not yet seeing significant business results from social, they recommend starting small and focusing on just one platform. What’s the one channel where your social audience is most responsive? Direct more resources to growing that space instead of spreading your efforts too thin.

Link to full article:


Google Searches on Mobile Devices Top PCs for First Time

As we learned during the previous class, more Google search requests are being made on smartphones than on personal computer in the U.S..  I think that we could face dramatic change of online behavior.

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015
More Google search requests are now being made on smartphones than on personal computers in the U.S. and many other parts of the world. Google announced the milestone at a digital advertising conference Tuesday serves as another reminder of how dramatically online behavior has changed since 2007.
That's when Apple released the first iPhone, leading to a wave of similar mobile devices that have made it easier for people to stay connected to the Internet wherever they go. Google's average ad prices have been declining for the past three-and-half years, partly because marketers so far have been unwilling to pay as much for the commercial message displayed on the smaller screens of smartphones. The company, though, says mobile ad prices have been steadily climbing and will continue to do so as marketers recognize the value of being able to connect with prospective customers at the precise moment that they are looking for someplace to eat, or comparing products on a smartphone while standing in a store. "The future of mobile is now," says Jerry Dischler, a Google Inc. vice president in charge of the company's "AdWords" service for creating online marketing campaigns.
Besides in the U.S., Google's mobile search requests are outstripping requests in nine other countries. Japan is the only other country that Google is identifying. Google isn't specifying just how many mobile search requests it is getting. It processes more than 100 billion search requests worldwide each month, including queries on PCs.
Google last month overhauled its search-recommendation system to favor websites that are easier to read and load on smartphones. That change, known as "Mobilegeddon," prodded millions of websites to make changes to ensure they work well on smartphones to avoid being demoted in Google's search results. Google also has been introducing advertising formats that tend to work better on mobile devices. For instance, rooms can now be booked within hotel ads, and car ads can now be swiped across a screen to make it easier to comparison shop. Google also introduced on Tuesday a service for comparing mortgage rates in the U.S. That product expands upon a similar service for auto insurance policies that Google unveiled in California in March.


Social Media and the Ideal Length of Everything

Wordstream.com called Kevan Lee's article titled "The Ideal Length of Everything Online" one of the 31 top articles of 2014. Kevan Lee compiled information from social media experts and researchers to tell us, in one long but concise article, what the ideal length is for Tweets, Facebook posts, Google+ headlines, and every other social media caption you can imagine.

Here is a breakdown of some of Lee's most compelling research findings:

TWITTER (tweet)
Ideal Length:  100 characters
Says Who?  Twitter themselves, in their best practices section, as well as Buddy Media research.
Supporting Evidence:  "Tweets shorter than 100 characters get a 17% higher engagement rate." - Buddy Media

Ideal Length:  < 40 characters
Says Who?  Jeff Bullas via a study of retail brands on Facebook as well as BlitzLocal
Supporting Evidence:  "40-character posts received 86% higher engagement"

GOOGLE+ (headline)
Ideal Length:  < 60 characters
Says Who?  Demian Farnworth of Copyblogger and Qunitly Research
Supporting Evidence:  "Google changed the layout of posts so that you only see three lines of the original post before you see "Read more" link... In other words, your first sentence has to be a gripping teaser to get people to click "Read more".

Ideal Length:  7 minutes, 1600 words
Says Who?  Medium, SerpIQ
Supporting Evidence:  "The average total [time that people read blog posts] rises for longer posts, peaks at 7 minutes, and then declines."

Check out https://blog.bufferapp.com/the-ideal-length-of-everything-online-according-to-science to see more research findings on the ideal length of social media posts!



Two Giants in Digital Ads Seek More

Digital advertising continues to evolve, as Google and Facebook both announced  new services this week at Advertising Week in New York. Facebook is attempting to capture television advertisers by allowing them to buy video ads on its platform that allows marketers to see ratings as done in television. Google, on the other hand, introduced a service that will allow marketers to upload mailing lists and push ads to consumers who are already using Google’s email services. Such a service would allow marketers to promote ad campaigns to users who had not recently been to the seller’s store.

Facebook and Google continue to find unique ways to increase their massive digital advertising revenues. Facebook’s foray into video advertising makes sense given that many consumers are using their mobile platforms while watching TV, often tuning out commercials during a program to use such devices. Their new platform allows marketers to avoid this problem of consumers “tuning out” by targeting them on the other platform that they have switched to. Google’s service meanwhile allows marketers to keep in touch with their consumers even if they have not recently been to a store or been on a platform, all the while allowing Google to obtain even more information about their clients, which is key in the digital age.