Saturday, June 24, 2017

Yoplait Turns to Mom "Empowerment" for New Ad Campaign

Yoplait, a division of General Mills, launched their newest ad campaign this week' "Mom On", whose focus was combating mom-shaming on social media.  The campaign which features television ads portraying mothers in various situations - breast feeding in public, older mothers, working mothers, full-time mothers and non-breast feeding mothers - seeks to start conversations about the frequent mom-shaming that is endlessly discussed on various blogs and social media sites.  Their tagline for the campaign and the 40 Mom Night Out events held across the nation in June is "Let's come together and celebrate the unique ways we all choose to #MomOn".  Their main ad chooses to focus on all the ways that moms are judged for their parenting choices by other moms.  While checking out their campaign on their website I have to say that their message really fell flat with me.  They seek to empower women to feel secure with their parenting choices - breast feeding vs not breast feeding, working mothers vs full time mothers - which I think resonates with a large section of women.  But at the end of the ad they encourage mothers to give their children a high sugar snack (Yoplait regular strawberry yogurt has 18g of sugar) whenever the child asks for it.  Upon looking at Yoplait's facebook page, it seems that more than half of the commentary for their new posts do not feel the same way as me, so maybe I'm missing something here. They did enlist the hugely popular I Mom So Hard duo to film some videos for their online content, who I find extremely funny, but I found their videos to fall flat and look painfully scripted. I don't think this ad campaign will help Yoplait to move up from their #3 sales spot behind Chobani and Dannon.

Yopliat nutritional info


What Does These Statistics From Cannes Lions Mean For Marketers?

Cannes Lions is the buzz word this week if you are working in the advertising industry. This international festival of creativity is a community for the most creative and talented people to spark new ideas and discuss the trend of the advertising world. This article pointed out a few outstanding stats and they may give marketers insights into what brands should consider in order to fully engage with their audience:

The power of Instagram still continues

In just two months, users of Instagram’s story format have increased by 50 million (Now 250 million users) .  Brands and agencies need to be cognizant of the latest demographics of both existing and new users so they can determine what content needs to be placed there to attract users in a way that they find entertaining or informative while not causing too much social media experience interruption.

Find each possible brand relevance

Today’s sports-gear market has become fragmented. New players such as Lululemon and Gap’s Athleta have successfully cornered a niche yoga market - such strategy is a threat to sport-gear giants Adidas or Nike, which has decisively made their brands be the top choices when considering where to buy yoga gears. Adidas is not known for making yoga gear. But it created a live streaming video to celebrate international yoga day and summer solstice. This video was posted on its social media and received a large number of clicks. A message as such could resonate with yoga practitioners and later on impact their purchase preference. 

The link of the original article:


Youth Shift in Media Consumption - 5

With multiple ways to consume your favorite TV programming, one must wonder how television marketing with adapt to all the options available. One study in the UK shows that teens are starting to migrate towards on-demand media consumption.

"The research, carried out by MediaCom, shows that a third of teenagers regularly view TV content on their smartphones. This has risen from 25% in 2016. On demand services are increasingly popular amongst younger consumers, with 38% saying this method is the way they watch most of their programmes."

What will tv marketers do to adapt? Some content providers have shifted to making ads mandatory to watch. They have removed the fast forward option when consuming on-demand content. Most of the major cable providers have moved to this option.  Will there be a player to follow a model similar to Netflix, with an adless option for a premium price? This will be interesting to watch as time goes on, but for now, it appears the race for content will continue to dominate this space.



Comcast announced a new platform at the Cannes Lions advertising festival for buying television ads via blockchain. It would allow marketers to “match their data sets, target audiences across pay TV and streaming device users and have access to reporting and attribution metrics by leveraging the technology”. The encryption element of the technology provides consumer privacy and gives participants on the platform more control over their data. This is another example how digital marketers are increasing their influence over the convergence of streaming, social and traditional entertainment channels. This effort is clearly in early days; however, the increased transparency and encryption of the method should be attractive elements, addressing top concerns of the industry.


Want to advertise to 39 million people for free? All you need is a good product

Casey Neistat is a YouTuber currently with 7.3 million followers. Last September he was flying on Emirates when he was magically upgraded to first class for free. Before reading any more of this post, please watch the video of his flight here. Trust me, it's worth it. I'll wait.

First off way cool, right? Second, the sunglasses thing is a bit creepy. Third, and most relevant to this blog is what a brilliant stroke of digital advertising this is by Emirates. Emirates has a flagship product. It knows its first class is second-to-none. Rather than spend a fortune on celebrity endorsed commercials (oh wait, they did that too:, they gave this YouTuber a free upgrade which essentially cost them nothing. The odds of the upgrade being totally random are very low. Either Emirates is savvy (and big brother) enough to have a watch list of VIPs to upgrade or more likely the whole thing was staged from the get go. Yet it doesn't matter. No one watching this video really cares. What they do care about is feeling like the average Joe could get that experience. Jennifer Aniston's ad on YouTube only has 6 million views, Casey's has 39 million! Without a big budget production company filming a high priced celebrity, Emirates was able to showcase its brand and flagship product for free all while giving the viewer the feeling that they too could have a piece of the dream. Odds are low that the average YouTuber will ever go out and buy a $22,000 first class ticket on Emirates. However, odds are high that after seeing Casey's video the viewer will have a favorable view of the Emirates brand and perhaps choose to fly them in economy the next time the opportunity presents itself.

I guess the main takeaway here is if you have a great product and you know it, you can do wonders by letting your product speak for itself through digital media.


Will the Big Players in Cloud Buyrite a Second Time Around?

This article examines the ability of larger players in cloud like Microsoft, Oracle and Adobe to fully understand how to harness social media tools as they begin to acquire these smaller companies with the goal of making a foray into social media marketing.
The large cloud computing providers/players have begun to redevelop an appetite for an integrated digital marketing platform that incorporates social media tools into their core. Given the previous record (failures) of these companies in the early 2000’s with their first round of acquisitions of social media companies and the lack of understanding of what these platforms could do, there is a cautious optimism that this second attempt is less disastrous. The hope is that the combination of factors -  a more mature industry, time to better understand how these tools work, an understanding of the importance of these tools to the customer acquisition and advocacy lifecycle and the quantifiable impact of an integrated social media utility for businesses – helps these big players to integrate and utilize their acquisitions more strategically this time around.
While there is an ongoing, buzz about consolidation and acquisitions in the industry at the moment, the direction of these targeted acquisitions is yet to be determined, but everyone hopes that the social media tools that eventually get snapped-up and integrated into existing or new platforms by these players will enable all constituents to derive the advantages of social media for their marketing clouds.


They just want companies to respect their digital space

A recent study determined that young consumers value their digital space and are irritated by advertisers that interrupt their online experience. Conversely young consumers have positive feelings for advertisers that respect their digital space. “Of the more than 1,300 participants aged 13 to 25 years old, 66 percent use an ad blocker on at least one device.” Despite this pervasive use of ad blockers, 62% of the respondents actively follow at least one brand on social media. This active brand engagement is a positive for advertisers, and brands need to consider how their ads are impacting the user experience within social media channels, as well as the effect this has on overall brand image. Although these intrusive display ads may result in some click throughs, it would be difficult to quantify the consumers turned off by the approach.

On the surface, the results of the study seem obvious, yet advertisers continue to place intrusive ads across most digital channels. “In addition to annoying content, these young consumers will also unfollow brands if they don’t like or agree with its political, environmental or social stance. More than half (53 percent) said they will stop buying a brand if it doesn’t live up to their expectations of social responsibility.” Advertisers still seem to be utilizing old approaches, yet as the purchasing power of younger consumers begins to increase, marketers will need to adapt to generate a positive online brand image.


Friday, June 23, 2017

The New E-Sport Stocks

An Intern at Brown Brother Harriman name Jasper Lau has been the mastermind behind a new power move that the firm has taken in the past couple of weeks. While Jasper was interning at Brown Brother Harriman, during his summer break from the Northeastern University in Boston, he proposed the idea of creating stocks out of commodities in online games. These stocks however, does not fluctuated in price but will be valued through the rise in demand of the users and consumers. 

One of the games that uses this stock tactics is a game called Counter Strike: Global Offensive. Counter Strike is an online first-person shooting game. In this game players will receive an item called crates that are given to them when they compete in seasonal and rank matches. Contained in these crates, are items that the users can use in game such as weapon customizations or new skins. To open these crates you need an item called keys. What Mr. Lau did was took money that he received from his father company to purchase a generous amount of keys, and made it available to be purchased. Users on his own website platform, which was owned by Brown Brother Harriman, could view these availabilities and make purchases accordingly- this is considered to be a ground-breaking move in the gaming industry. This tactic allowed Mr. Lau to created a whole new trading system, which was able to fund Mr. Lau's new E-sports company and expanded his business into other games such as World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, and Dota 2.


Google to Stop Reading Users' Emails to Target Ads

I was surprised to come across this article in the WSJ today that talks about Google's change in policy to stop reading Gmail users' emails in order to target them with advertising. I have stated in previous blog posts that I really don't care much about privacy but this one caught me a bit off-guard. Although I am a longtime Gmail user, I had no idea about this and can't think of a time where I was targeted based on something discussed via email. Nevertheless, I feel like this is an invasion of privacy that I'm sure many people out there, similar to myself, had previously thought was sacred. 

I think there is a fine line between monitoring what people look up on the internet and what they are communicating with friends, family, and coworkers. This is no different than tapping our phone lines in my opinion. I, for one, am glad to hear Google is ending this craziness and hope others will follow suit.


Digital Marketing 2.0

The new age for digital marketing has arrived. Gone are the days when marketers used to focus obtaining the highest rank in the paid search category or find the best sites to put their banner adds. 

The new generation of digital media includes 'Live streaming', 'Augmented Reality' and 'Virtual Reality'. In my opinion if marketers learn how to use these tools better, specifically the later two, they can go a long way.The power of being able to experience something new from your living room is completely different. Using these tools, the marketers can interest even those folks who are slightly behind in the purchasing chain. For example, a small girl playing with 'Barbie Games' on the Barbie website will automatically get interested in the product. Additionally, the marketer can also know the popular trends using these features.



Is Apple too late in joining the media content party?

Netflix has changed the media content industry and the way it is viewed. I used to wait for Friday evenings to get a DVD from Blockbuster and enjoy the movies at home. Netflix started to offer DVD's by mailing them to our home allowing us to watch the movies and ship the DVD back to them. Blockbuster stores began to close as they started to loose business.

Netflix then started to move towards online movie where we could access content with the switch of a remote. It produced own content with huge success. Soon HBO, Starz, Amazon and others followed the trend.

Now Apple is joining the bandwagon after a late start. Apple has hired two top executives from Sony Entertainment to co lead their worldwide video programming. This move will allow the company to diversify from being known as a hardware company to someone who offers other products as well.

Time will only tell if Apple can catch up to Netflix..........



Patrón’s Mobile Ads Recommend a Summer Drink Using Data From 12 Million Foursquare Users

Patron is serving up mobile ads that are making tasty drink recommendations based on consumer data. By combining data from 12 million Foursquare users with Patron's "taste" data, the brand is developing an algorithm that recommends drinks to bar and restaurant patrons.

By segmenting data into two groups known as "bros" and "knows", the former being social consumers and the latter being more seasoned connoisseurs, Patron can merge this psychographic and demographic data with their location and taste habits from Foursquare, thus being able to provide a targeted ad with a recommended drink based on their preferences.

Creating more targeted and personalized ads during the summer season, rather than just pushing the brand with an influencer shows that Patron is willing to creatively use data that is available to them from users of social media. In addition to these insights, they can also effectively market to age groups over 21, which can sidestep the issues alcohol brands have with underage viewers.


Wal-Mart squeezing out the little guy, or protecting their turf

Wal-Mart recently announced it would no longer work with technology vendors who run applications for the company from Amazon Web Services platform.  While plenty of cases have been made about Wal-Mart strong-arming suppliers, and setting their own terms in negotiations, it seems this instance has more to do with defending their own secrets.

Wal-Mart's decision is rooted in the fact they don't want their sensitive data sitting on a competitor's servers. In an age where more and more data is used to drive decisions, having unique data or analysis on customers is a source of competitive advantage, and there are few companies who can compete with Wal-Mart in either volume or quality of data; Amazon is likely one of this companies. And if there's anyone who knows what to do with that kind of data, it's Amazon.

Cyber security has been a front-and center issue for all online retailers, though typically it's because of the threat of hackers and outside threats. Wal-Mart's concern is in protecting from competitor threats. With one of Amazon's primary goals being to completely integrate businesses into their AWS platform, it's not very far fetched that Amazon could stumble upon sensitive information.

I don't think I blame Wal-Mart on this one.

Wal-Mart drops tech vendors using AWS


7 Days of Digital Detox: Diary of a Digitaddict

Did you know, the average person will spend 3.9 years of their life staring at a smartphone screen? Let’s wrap our head around that for a second.  Think about what you were doing 3.9 years ago. Now, shut out every memory you’ve experienced between then and now and replace it with texts, memes, Google searches, and YouTube videos.  Anyone feel slightly sad yet? I do.

While advances in technology and the evolution of our world to digital has made our lives easier and more exciting in so many ways, there is no denying that it has also ignited an intense reliance and addiction that some argue has gone too far.  Five to ten years ago, accessibility to the internet on your phone was a luxury.  Now, our overexposure is pushing us in the other direction.  Is offline the new luxury?

Some companies are capitalizing on this sentiment, creating brands and products centered around “digital detoxing.” One company, Digital Detox, offers retreats that focus on off-the-grid experience while being disconnected.  (check it out

There are even apps to help you detox from apps for those completely oblivious to the irony.

This article from Wired features the diary of one digitaddict going through smart phone rehab by trying out another digital detox product called the “Smart Dumbphone” from the brand Punkt.  This phone offers calling and texting, no camera, apps, internet, etc.  And for only the small price of $295, why not?!

Follow his week-long journey to digital sobriety to find out what happens….

Smart Dumbphone by Punkt


Looking for a new job? See how Google, Snapchat, and LinkedIn can help you!

If you are looking for jobs, the internet has newer ways to help you! While Google rolled out a search engine for jobs this week, Snapchat launched ‘Snaplications’ in the US! LinkedIn, on the other hand, rolled out a new tool that makes it easier to know who is searching for your profile.

It is interesting to see how brands are continuously leveraging technology to reach their target audience and simplify processes via digital platforms!

Google’s new job search is powered by AI and lets users find the perfect job listings for a search query. What’s more? It pulls data from some of the world’s biggest job boards, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Monster, Indeed and Glassdoor to give users a dense set of search results and help simplify the tedious job search process.

With the launch of ‘Snaplication’, snapchat is all set to revolutionize the recruiting game! A world’s first, snaplication allows applicants to initiate the job process via snaps! Given the evolution of technology and the change in audience behavior, snapchat is empowering brands to engage directly with its potential talent, especially, millennials.

As the world’s largest youth employer, McDonald’s for instance is already using Snaplication to hire more than 200,000 workers this summer! Since ~48 percent of Snapchat users are between the ages of 18 and 24, it makes a lot of sense for a brand like McDonald's to leverage snap for recruitment.

Lastly, I noticed that LinkedIn rolled out a new feature that lets people see who searched for their profile!
The Search Appearances feature is visible on a user's personal profile page (see image), for both mobile and desktop versions. It lets the user find out how many times they've been discovered. With the roll out of this feature, LinkedIn wants to give its users a sense of how frequently they're appearing in queries and how they can strengthen their profile. It also helps people see the companies and job titles of the people who found them in search to help signal what types of opportunities you may be a fit for!



How to avoid fake impressions

As we have discussed in class, those purchasing digital advertising space need to be cognizant of the risks of false impressions, whereby programmatic techniques are used to create the illusion of traffic to a page. This article highlights the flaws of the current traffic verification firms and processes and provides some ideas for how to avoid false impressions. It suggests that advertisers should work with verification services that separate human and "bot" or programmatic traffic and should utilize newer and more transparent advertising platforms that reach authentic human audiences. The article also proposes that new incentives and metrics be put in place to discourage the inflation caused by false impressions. It will be interesting to see how the advertising industry shifts to mitigate the issues caused by false impressions and "bot" traffic and is clearly an area that will increase in relevance as programmatic resources become more complex and broad reaching.


Extra, Extra, Read All About It….On Facebook!

News Corp. in Advanced Talks With Facebook on Subscriptions

In a move that recognizes Facebook’s reach and expansive user base, News Corp. (publisher of the Wall Street amongst other periodicals) is holding “very advanced” discussions about subscriptions to its content online. This blogger, for one, thinks it’s an amazing idea!

It’s no secret that traditional newspapers and magazines have been getting killed over the last few years and this is a great solution to the problem of content dissemination. If the publishers could get access to Facebook’s portal and make inroads to its social graph, it could be hugely beneficial to them financially. I know that this type of relationship would make my life easier if I didn’t have to visit multiple websites to get my daily information (i.e., birthdays from Facebook and the news from The possibilities for this type of relationship seem truly extraordinary and have the potential to generate a lot of new subscriptions.  Imagine if you see a bona fide WSJ article pop up on your news feed because a friend has shared it. I know that I would click on it if it was interesting. Let’s be honest, most of the stuff shared on Facebook is trashy – and some have proven to be completely fictitious all together.

By acknowledging that Facebook (and Google) dominate the online advertising space and approaching the situation collaboratively I think that both parties stand to benefit immensely. Facebook’s current events and news get an instant boost to credibility and the publishers get access to a network that they can monetize.

Talk about your “win win” – sign me up!


What can DJ Khaled teach us about branding?

For anyone that has followed DJ Khaled on social media, it goes without saying that it is one of the most surprising stories of popularity ever. Ever since that fabled jet ski trip, he's had one hit after another culminating in his number one album, "Major Key".

The story is yet another example of the power of social media within the digital marketing toolset and the potential huge gains (or losses) in brand equity. An example of a large marketing ROI of backing a "celebrity" / individual (in both traditional ads and social media) is in Dos Equis 'most interesting man in the world' campaign. An example of a major loss is BWW's backing of an actor who lied about being in the WTC on 9-11 (see below).


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Social Media Prenup, Wait What?!

Social media has become an integral part of our lives, especially the millennials and the younger generations. In fact, studies by Mediakix shows that an average person spends ~2 hours per day on various social media channels. This number is staggering given that an average person is projected to spend a total of 5 years and 4 months in his or her lifetime in social media. See the infographics below for the breakdown.

Given this fact, social media can have meaningful impacts on one’s relationship. Have you ever feel frustrated that your significant other’s nose buried in Facebook app? Is one of you obsessed with Snapchat or Instagram? For many, social media could be so tempting and addictive that it causes problems between couples. Alternatively, the type of information shared in social media can also cause rifts between couples. For example, revenge porn pictures and videos can significantly harm one’s future and reputation.

With these growing concerns, more and more couple in Americas are adding social media clauses in their prenuptial agreement. Examples of these clauses include rules governing the types of information or photos that can be shared, type of accounts that should be accessible to the significant other, permission to share or upload photos, ban on revenge porn, and many more. See a full example of social media prenup drafted by Fusion here.

In my opinion, it is truly sad that technology advancement has this type of un-intended side effects. One could easily argue that if couples have to use these clauses to control each other’s social media behavior, there may be something wrong with the relationship. However, one’s future and reputation are also at stake, which may justify the paranoia.

Readers, what do you think of social media prenup? Do you think it’s ridiculous? Or the way society lives forces us to be on the defensive side?



Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Death to Bad Ads

Internet (ad) giants Google and Facebook look ready to begin cracking down on bad ads and their presence on the web. $0.70 of ever $1 spent on online advertising goes to either of these two companies, which understandably means each move or change they make has a widespread impact. According to the article, Google is developing technology that will filter out ads based on standards of quality that are set by the Coalition for Better Advertising.  Sounds good, no? But this will have major consequences for the industry as a whole. Meanwhile, Facebook has modified its algorithm in an attempt to weed out clickbait, and will begin to punish advertisers who utilize these kind of ads.

What will be the implications of these changes across the industry?  Given the duopoly that currently exists and continues to grow, it's possible that it will cost many in the media business their jobs. The article states there have already been layoffs at Time and HuffPost, as their share of online ad revenue continues to become more marginal.  If these changes continue to push advertisers to Facebook and Google due to the reputation benefits their ad hosting provides, this attack on jobs will continue. Also, as we saw in "The Search" changes to an algorithm can have a drastic effect on business and businesses, especially on those who rely on Google and Facebook for their traffic.

For these companies and those in the ad tech space, what can be done? The only solution is to find a way to challenge the duopoly, but as time passes and these two companies continue to grow and increase market-share, the likelihood of challenging them lessens.


The Race to Challenge the Google-Facebook Duopoly

Google (#1) and Facebook (#2) collects approximately 50% of global digital advertising spending and no other company comes close to being ranked #3.  Many ad executives believe Amazon has the greatest chance of taking on the duopoly.  Amazon currently provides access to its consumers’ shopping habits to help marketers analyze where best to place their ads.  Snap is another contender as its advantage is its 18- to 34-year-old audience.  Overall, Amazon, Snap and other digital marketing companies have a lot of catching up to do and may need to create new premium content or new technologies that are not mainstream (i.e., Google and Facebook) yet to better compete.

I would think both advertisers and ad agencies are hoping for the emergence of a legitimate #3 player.  Advertisers would like more leverage to negotiate better pricing and ad agencies would want avoid the scenario where they are cut out of the process since Google and Facebook have the resources to deploy entire teams to work with advertisers directly.    


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Yoplait Empower Women - Blog 5

Just like Special K is creating messages to empower females through the movement of eating, General Mills’ Yoplait is doing the same. 

72andSunny along with Redscout were chosen to handle General Mills’ $700 million ad budget. 

Yoplait is focused on gaining momentum by showing that women do it all and should do it all without judgement.   Yoplait is stepping in to vocalize that they support moms and want to encourage them. 

The strategy is definitely in line with their competitors, such as Kellog’s Special K’s “Own it”, hoping females will be responsive to it. 

If females begin to connect with the message, hopefully, this will increase Yoplait purchases. 


Time Warner Said to Invest $100 Million in Snapchat Shows, Ads

The article discuss Time Warner's plan to invest $100M to produce TV shows and advertising on Snapchat. The investment imitative show that traditional media companies are actively utilizing and expanding to social media platform space in order to gain wider audience and target specific age groups. It is important for media and advertising companies to change their medium as consumers' preferences change. A Snapchat exclusive TV shows seem very interesting as the concept contrasts with the popular binge watching culture.

As discussed in class, Snapchat advertisements can really be effective with different filters and ability for the app to use geo-location to maximize local stores to gain attractions. I am looking forward to see how media companies collaborate with various social media platforms (for example, vertical format for Snapchat will not work for Facebook and how they plan to have consistent message and advertisements across different platforms).


Monday, June 19, 2017

Is Trevor Noah funny?

My favorite digital media marketing campaign – and the campaign that, to me, best epitomizes how social media marketing can be used most effectively – is the campaign that Comedy Central ran right as Trevor Noah was taking the reigns as host of the Daily Show.

There was a lot of curiosity and doubt surrounding who Comedy Central thought could fill Stewart’s shoes, so Comedy Central capitalized on this curiosity, and, via Google, purchased search terms such as “Trevor Noah age,” “Trevor Noah girlfriend,” “Trevor Noah gay,” and “Trevor Noah sucks.” When searched, Comedy Central content (ads) would appear with exclusive videos made by Noah, each a short funny commentary on the given term. The videos could only be found via search, were un-embeddable and were free-standing (not linked to any other videos in the “series”).  And (arguably, most importantly), they were funny, giving viewers who were anxious about Stewart’s departure confidence in the show’s continued relevance and success.

To add further buzz and anticipation, Comedy Central did not release the total number of videos that existed (or do much real-time commenting on the videos) which only added to the efficacy of the campaign: by not doing so, Comedy Central kept viewers searching and clicking – good for the campaign’s bottom line and simultaneously good for the social chatter building in anticipation of the new host’s arrival at the TV show.

So – why do I like this campaign so much? It’s so simple, yet so innovative. Comedy Central realized that people would be searching to find out all they could about the show’s young new host, so they capitalized on it, and used the opportunity to reinforce the sensibility and sense of humor of the show. Additionally, the content feels fresh and the campaign feels cool; the mystery surrounding the “Easter egg (read: secret video) hunt” on the internet that the network created kept people searching! And, at a moment of transition for The Daily Show, at a time when viewers could be ready to leave, Comedy Central increased online engagement and got people talking more about the new host, only building chatter and excitement in advance of his television debut.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Spotify: Successful at creating playlists, not profits

It seems impossible that a company with 140 Million users and growing wouldn't have a hard time delivering profit growth -- but Spotify finds itself in that position. 

Spotify has gotten the user model right. Sales are up 52% in the last year, with users continuing to climb. This is not only financially beneficial for them, but a critical part of strengthening their recommendation algorithm that is fueled by user generated input. In just a few short years it has become the world's largest streaming service globally, surpassing its key competitor, Pandora.

However, Spotify doesn't seem to have mastered its financial cycle yet. Paid subscribers do not offset the large cost of paying royalties to musical artists, and not enough free subscribers are 'trading up' to the premium paid service. Advertising costs only represent about 10% of revenue, so paid subscribers, must continue to deliver the lion share without a change in business model. 

Spotify is rumored to already be in conversations with banks to facilitate an initial public offering. However, it is unclear whether they will be under or overvalued given the history of losses. This negative is offset by the sheer size and value of a dedicated subscriber base. On the other hand, users may face increased subscription costs or reduced free services once Spotify becomes beholden to wall street and profit pressures increase. 


Snap’s Challenge: How to Grow Without Getting Awkward

This article in the WSJ details the challenges that Snapchat will face in generating advertising revenue.

According to Barclays, the best ad lever that Snapchat has is it's stories feature, which stitches many different snaps together, and makes them available for 24 hours. Ads using the stories feature currently generates about 25% of the company's ad revenue, with the rest coming from sponsorships and other publisher content.

Outside of Stories, Snapchat doesn't have any algorithms to allow for seeing ads in the user experience, unlike Facebook. Facebook has a news feed where ads are placed between posting to posting.

The problem is, using Stories to create ads is costly, and since there's no share feature, it doesn't have the ability to go viral. The valuation of Snapchat is quite impressive, but it sounds like the business model still needs to be determined, and there's risk that it never is. Given this, I'd probably short the stock.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Think dirty…?

According to a University of Edinburgh study of 400 Facebook users, 25% said they would be “extremely” worried about sharing a provocative ad (like for Durex), and 75% said they would be unlikely to share the ad or be associated with the brand. By contrast, less than 1% was worried about sharing an ad for Coca-Cola. Why? Researchers believe individuals with a diverse network are more conservative sharing certain topics or experiences if it has an unknown effect on part of their network. “It also has implications for Facebook’s site designers aiming to maximise brand engagement, who may need to consider new privacy settings or options for ‘secret likes’”


Start thinking about chatbots

Adweek's article look at the rise of chatbots and their implications.

In 2016, messaging apps has surpassed social networking apps in terms of monthly active users. As we continue to see the shift in smartphone communication from voice to social messaging (complete with texts, photos and animated gifs), we are also seeing the adoption of social messaging at an unprecedented pace. If brands have to be where users are, my opinion is that as marketers, we will need to identify opportunities in this new unchartered realm. 

For mobile-first brands, chatbots have become the new hotspot. With automation on the rise, my belief is that more brands will serve consumers using conversational interfaces, which in itself, presents the opportunity for brands to deliver 1-on-1 experiences in terms of personalization, curated content and engaging customer service. For example, retail brands can personalize the shopping experience through AI-powered chatbots, to imitate the service you'd receive from an assistant at a brick-and-mortar store.

For those of us who are completely new to the technology, we have to start wading into it. As digital marketers, we ought to start thinking about how to build capabilities to serve consumers in conversational mobile moments.  Buzzwords of today such as "natural language processing", "artificial intelligence", and "machine learning" — they will become part of the digital/mobile marketer's tools to harness successful chatbots so as to reach out to more people, and to engage with them on a deeper level.

So start thinking about this technology today!


Amazon's Whole Foods Buy Is Just the Beginning

Now that Amazon has acquired Whole Foods, experts are expecting another wave of consolidations as other grocery giants such as Walmart, Kroger’s, Target, and Sprout’s are facing the pressure of competition from Amazon’s growing dominance in the grocery space.

Last year, Amazon increased its ad spend by 30%, and the Whole Foods deal will add a competitive advantage with a brick and mortar presence. The influence of Amazon in brick and mortar will be an interesting trend to watch. This is pure speculation, but digital innovations with Amazon Go could be implemented in Whole Foods or other future brick and mortar acquisitions. Whole Foods is primarily located among affluent populations in high income, high density, high education metro areas, where the customers are often cash-rich and time-poor. Amazon Go fulfills the need for convenience. Using the same technology as driverless cars, it allows customers to swipe on the Amazon app, take what they want from shelves and walk out without inconvenient check-out lines or register hassles.

Amazon can acquire higher quality first-party data, and gain a competitive advantage among other retail giants by integrating their online shopping platform with the brick and mortar experience. It will be interesting to see how other retailers respond to the growing threat of Amazon's grocery expansion. 


Apple Doubling Down on TV

Apple announced Friday that it had poached Zach Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, two high powered TV executives, from Sony. Van Amburg and Erlicht are known most famously for their work on the hit series Breaking Bad and the preamble Better Call Saul that were tremendously successful for AMC and have since become a binge watching favorite on Netflix.

I found this move by Apple to be interesting as I did not foresee the hardware/software giant wishing to compete in such a crowded arena, where new competitors are popping up left and right. While Netflix is at the forefront of the market due to similarly significant investments in content, players like Amazon and Hulu continue to plug away as well, making Apple a bit late to the party. Nevertheless, the production business and live streaming will actually be accretive to Apple's P/e trading multiple, which I found to be very interesting. To my knowledge, Apple and Amazon do not do much in the way of advertising and drive the majority of revenue through subs. With that said, I think it will be interesting to see if Apple plans to employ a different model that leans more heavily on advertising, or chooses to differentiate itself based on its viewing platforms or, what Van Amburg and Erlicht were likely hired for, content.


Lions and Tigers and…CPV?...oh my…

Three Ways Performance-Based Location Metrics Can Cause Brand Missteps

Just when you thought that there couldn’t possibly be another metric to measure digital marketing, guess what…there is!!

In the ever evolving marketing landscape, new metrics to measure an ad’s effectiveness, and how to appropriately charge advertisers, seem to be popping up on a daily basis. Cost Per Visit (“CPV”) is another example of a new metric that, in the words of the article’s author, “aims to charge advertisers only for new store visits that are driven by media, and so increase the efficiency of an advertiser's spend.”

The fact that advertisers are going to be charged based on what, in my eyes at least, is such a subjective metric is mind blowing. It seems to me that these metrics are getting TOO subjective – I mean in the case of CPV how can you legitimately measure such a statistic, and then CHARGE base on it?!? You know, 87% of people believe all the statistics that they see.

It seems to me that you can find more than a few metrics that would make your campaign appear successful. Conversely, you could find more that make the same campaign look like such a disaster. With all this data and ways to substantiate and/or justify advertising effectiveness it seems that marketers face the risk of turning spin doctor as opposed to cultural disrupter or influencer.

Let’s hope that too many don’t fall prey to half-baked ideas on how to justify their existence – maybe that was harsh but it seems to this blogger that this might be the case for some…


Amazon Declares A War with Traditional Retail Stores

From this article, we know that Amazon again caught everyone’s eyeballs this Friday - the giant ecommerce retailer announced a buyout deal for Wholefoods that values over 13 billion. It now officially entered offline grocery business. Just like the author mentioned, this acquisition will change the retail landscape again as it will have an impact on how and where consumers buy perishable products, a retail category that Amazon used to be unable to compete with brick and mortar stores.

A great advantage it will receive from Wholefoods is to leverage its local network and supply chain for grocery delivery. If consumers are aware that such perishable products are delivered from local stores on the same day, they may just click the button and complete an order to avoid unnecessary and troublesome commute. If this scenario occurs, Amazon will successfully shift consumers mindsets and purchase behaviors again, just like how it made them abandon Barnes and Noble for books.

While Amazon is trying to tap into each offline market, other traditional retail stores aim to establish an ecommerce presence, competing against Amazon’s dominance in today’s market. For example, Walmart acquired last year and Bonobos, a menswear ecommerce site, just on Friday. It seems to be the only way for these traditional retail stores to be visible among consumers, given the fact that brick and mortar stores have lost favors and were forced to shut down or go bankruptcy. 

The link of the original article:


We found a Dr. Doom for Digital Display Advertising – or did we?

This article summarizes a recent research report that forecasts the end of digital and display advertising as we know it as consumers move away from experiences in which they can be interrupted.
I recently read an article summarizing a recent report from Forrester – the venerable research group based in Cambridge, Mass – that, for all intents and purposes, seemed to be ringing a death knell for digital display advertising. This article essentially points to a future where AI and digital assistants are the dominant technological framework for our everyday existence and states the obvious… display may not necessarily fit into those mediums as they exist today.
The idea here is that the shift away from traditional display advertising as it exists today is a near certainty because of a handful of factors including: (1) lack of transparency from publishers to advertisers on the impact of their very sizeable ad spend; (2) consumer indifference to the interests of advertisers looking for their attention; (3) fewer opportunities for consumer interruptions on interruption-friendly devices, which themselves are disappearing; (4) digital display that may not be as impactful as marketers and advertisers would like it to be, based on a single, albeit poignant statistic – that “only 40% of the $7.4Bn of display ads pitched in 2016 were seen by consumers”.
On the surface, one cannot help but notice the irony of a tech world eager to evolve new technology and grab more advertising cash by creating more devices that may short-circuit the growing allocation of funds for display advertising. Since the new devices being introduced require a potentially shift away from traditional display advertising. After all, one might argue that Siri, Alexa, Echo and all their other friends, can’t exactly show catchy ads in their current form today.
While all these points (especially point #3 and #4 above) make sense, one must acknowledge the flip side of the argument, which is that innovation is good. Anyone remember the first iPhone? Compared to today’s iPhone, that thing was not exactly a marketing agency’s dream at the time, yet it has created an ecosystem that thrives and drives billion’s today. Same for the advent of search and Google. In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, nobody in television advertising could readily see how Google, YouTube or anything else would change the ad world, yet today, we have an arguably more buoyant multi-billion-dollar marketing industry thanks to the new media opportunities spun out of these innovations.
In my opinion, the Forrester report and Lisa Lacy’s article are less of a death knell for display and more of a wake-up call that there is the potential opportunity to move into a new mode of advertising that will shift the way consumers are reached, as more people embrace the new and perceivably less interruption-friendly devices. In essence, the way to capture the consumer’s attention may be shifting but marketers and advertisers have to adapt or get ahead of the technology to influence the direction of technological evolution and the art/science of reaching consumers.


Ad Fraud is Getting Much More Sophisticated...And You Might Be An Unwitting Participant

Google just shut down what is considered to be the most sophisticated mobile ad fraud yet. A company hid code in an application available in the Google Play store which automatically "clicked" on websites in the background without the user having any idea it was going on.

While this represents yet another episode in the cat and mouse game between ad providers and those who try and cheat the system, it points to a growing level of sophistication and brazenness. To upload an application to the Google Play or App Store is to not only try and hide in plain sight, but on some level to accept that you will most likely be caught. The fact that this app went undetected for a year and made millions of dollars through ad fraud will no doubt only encourage larger and more sophisticated attacks. It also begs the question as to how many more similar apps are already out there that haven't been identified.

Android is by no means alone in this struggle, "Malvertising" is also affecting iOS devices. One article ( a nice job of tracking how one particular foul product works: 

"This malvertising chain starts off with an ad call from Propeller Ads Media, goes through Real Time Bidding (RTB) via AdMetix, is redirected to RevenueHits, and finishes off with scammy advertisers."

This highlights one of the digital ad world's biggest problems: the complex network and ecosystem of providers that come together to show you an ad are vulnerable to misbehaving participants inserting offending content somewhere along the chain and it's very hard to protect against.


Friday, June 16, 2017

Creative ways magazine editors are trying to appeal with the young audience

Would you tweet about the great cup of coffee you are having with friends on a stylish ambience, shown below, while delicious breads are being baked next to you during a food magazine shooting? New Yorkers will soon be able to do that in the Kitchen of the Future, the test kitchen of Good Housekeeping magazine. Jane Francisco, the magazine editor is trying to innovate creating what she calls “web-ready event space” to enhance the magazine’s brand and attract to young audience that no longer read magazines. 

For more details, read the below:


Drive Costumer Engagement

Just Water- a new water company in the United States of America- has been running an advertisement campaign using social media platform. Just Water claims that by using a paper-base water carton instead of plastic they can help reduce the carbon footprint. Along with the previous benefit of Just-Water they also came up with a campaign which promises a tree grown per numbers of bottle purchased.

Instagram was chosen as their main platform to deploy this campaign. Instagram is often selected due to its high consumer-engagement level of reposts, hashtags, and share-abilities. 
For this campaign, a certain amount of hashtags on Instagram are required to plant one tree. The campaign grew with its unifying hastags and organically reached many A-list celebrities such as Leonardo De Caprio, along with many environmentalist have taken this campaign to their own personal Instagram accounts. 

Whether the success was due to the campaign's original strategies, or through influencer marketing from the organically gained A-list celebrities, we can see that marketing through selected social media channel like Instagram has big potential to captivate large crowds and returns in ROI. 


Look who has filed a patent to block customers from matching prices is all over the news for all good reasons.
All of us are familiar how Amazon took the online shopping experience by storm to leave many struggling retailers to shut down stores. Amazon used clever strategy by building warehouses in states that were tax exempt. It started to undercut competition in prices and the retailers struggled to match up Amazon's prices. In early 2000's, customers started going to stores and asked retailers to match Amazon prices.

Guess....what has changed now in 2017? Amazon has filed a patent to block customers from accessing its competitor's URL's while shopping at one of the Amazon's stores. As we have see that Amazon is experimenting by opening retail stores in a hip format that does not require you to stand in a line to checkout your shopping items.

Amazon's business strategy is simple: Push others out of business and then provide same offerings through different channels in a cost effective way and then safeguard themselves with different patents.

Source :

Link to the Patent:


McDonald's: Fast Food and Fast Job Applications

Regardless of what you think about their food, McDonald's is one of the fastest-growing businesses in the world.  When you combine this growth with a younger workforce, you can run into a few problems. Having a younger workforce tends to have a higher turnover rate. So how do you keep up with the churn and fill the new jobs that growth is creating?

McDonald's has chosen to engage young people in something they most likely do every day to fill their need. In Austrailia, McDonald's has turned Snapchat into a recruiting and free marketing tool to target their ideal worker. Teens can start a job application by simply activating a Snapchat lens. Here they give a 10-second interview on why they want to work for the fast food giant. Meanwhile, every time an interview ends, a whole new audience is reached through the applicant's story.  Micky D's may be on to something here. Is this how my child is going apply for their first job?


Amazon and Whole Foods - Blog 4

Today, Amazon said it would bid for Whole Foods for $13.7 billion dollars.  This is extremely a competitive move. Amazon will be competing against Walmart’s Super Center.  Walmart in fact also just acquired the online retailer Jet for $310M.

The grocery business is nearly a $700 billion per year market.  However, there are some thoughts that it will be a slow start to buying groceries online.  This is because consumers like to pick out their own perishables. 

Amazon has a long way to go until becoming an omni-channel, but we can argue that they are very close to this.  People think if there is anyone who can do it, Amazon is heading in that direction.