#DailyDigital California Dreaming; Earnings Day; Why Is My Hair On Fire?

OK. Today’s my last day in the office before my move, so I have to hurry hurry hurry and wrap up a bunch of things.  So, forgive me if this post is a bit rushed, scattered, smothered, or covered.  And the next time I see you I’ll be a resident of the left coast. Gnarly.

Display Revenue Flat In Yahoo’s Q1 2014 Earnings
I’m just sharing this as a reminder that it’s earnings time, so lots of companies-to-watch will be posting numbers.  Google is scheduled to post this morning, I believe.

Apple’s iAd Builds Attribution Support, But Lags Behind Facebook
There’s a lot of really good discussion in this article about Apple’s iAd network and attribution offering, not to mention the comparison to Facebook’s capabilities.  Apple is kind of mysterious to me and probably a lot of people mostly because they really keep a lot of stuff locked down behind their firewalls.  And remember a few months ago when they started cracking down on the use of its IDFA in apps that don’t sell ad space? Weird.  And then there’s attribution, which is a huge and fascinating topic.  Last click? Seriously?

The Death Of CPM
If there is anything ad tech writers like to report on it seems to be death. Email is dead! Internet is dead! Social is dead! CPM is dead! It’s like George RR Martin is running this industry or something.  Anyway, apparently someone slipped a bit of The Strangler into CPM’s wine at a wedding now. (Can you tell I am super hyped about Game of Thrones?) This is actually a really interesting article about how changing technology and improvements in targeting display ads will make buying thousands of impressions at a time inefficient.  There’s more to it than just that, so check it out.

One Last Blast:

#DailyDigital No Spoilers

I am really annoyed with Mashable right now.  On Sunday night, they tweeted an article about that night’s episode of Game of Thrones and the headline was a spoiler about the goings on of that episode.  And they tweeted it before the episode even aired on the west coast!  Truly, a d!ck move.  They’ve since removed that tweet.  But still.

Some people have said it’s my fault for going on social media when an exciting show is on, but I think that’s blaming the victim. As a matter of just plain good manners, you don’t post spoilers without a warning.  Come on, folks.

Thankfully, I’ve read the books, so I knew what was about to happen anyway and the show hasn’t let me down in terms of creating a wonderful show to watch in spite of my knowing what’s coming.  So, I’m still excited to watch it in a couple of weeks.

Anyway, I digress.  Here’s some marketing and tech news for you to read:

TV Bounces Back — For a Few Months
First of all, if you haven’t seen last week’s Game of Thrones and you haven’t read the books and you have somehow avoided spoilers then you should maybe not click this link because there’s a spoilery comment in there.  Which is part of why I think this piece is a little bit of a joke. Also the comment about TV being dead. I’m pretty sure that’s a joke. It’s clearly not true, but did you know sometimes people say things that aren’t true on the internet? The meat of the article is about the recent increase in ratings growth for television over the last two quarters. (I’m not surprised, actually. There have been several big television events recently… How I Met Your Mother ended, Walking Dead happened again, Game of Thrones is getting crunk up, Leslie Knope is preggers, Mindy is dating Dr. Castellano… If you’re not watching TV you’re basically missing life.) So, it’s an interesting piece even if lacking in some details and analysis. Here’s one point I took away from it: if ratings growth is flat, then advertisers should really start exploring more efficient ways to spend their television dollars. Addressable television springs to mind.

Americans Spent Almost 18 Hours in February Watching Online Video
I love online videos, but I don’t watch nearly as much as I’d like because it requires more sustained attention than my coffee-rattled brain can manage most of the time.  So, there is no WAY I’m watching anything like 18 hours.  So, WOW.  And what’s even more remarkable about this is that they don’t seem to be counting services and apps like Netflix, HBOGo, and all that.  This is pretty amazing. Lots more numbers in the link.

“On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog” – Still True Today?
Very nice piece on the Acxiom [My employer] blog about matching and recognition online.

What The SAP-Adobe-Accenture Triangle Means For Digital Marketing
As always with my commentary, these opinions and speculations are my own and should not be considered legal advice, investment recommendations, or even really bad mental health counseling. With that disclaimer out of the way, this partnership strikes me as being both impressive and unstable.  The article notes how SAP has been lagging in the digital space what with some of the recent plays by Oracle and IBM.  How long can we expect them to hold their own M&A teams back from snatching up one or more of the ad tech companies out there?  I know that’s a bit flippant because there’s more to it than that and they have a LOT of work to do. This is definitely on my watch-list.

One last blast:

#DailyDigital Two Work Days Before I Move Edition (And Catching Up from Last Week Edition)

Last week was a busy week for me as I was in the Bay Area for work — and to find a place to live and attend a conference.  Well, I’m back home for a second and it’s going to be an even crazier week.  My goal is to get  you guys three posts before I go offline to actually move house to California.

And in this post, I’m trying to catch up a bit by sharing a bunch of interesting links I found last week as well as more recent ones. Enjoy!

Ad Fraud Creates Worry For Some, Opportunity For Others
One of the great things about having ad fraud as a pet topic of interest is that it never seems like there is an end to articles talking about it. This is about how there are various businesses out there that seek to reduce fraud. They mention True[x] and Integral Ad Science by name. In the same line, Integral also appeared in another article in my feeds for their work with Adap.tv to protect video ad inventory.

IAB: 2013 Internet Ad Revenues Soar To Record $42.8 Billion, Surpass Broadcast TV For The First Time
Some great stats in this piece.  It’s pretty impressive that spending is passing broadcast TV. I’d like to hold my celebration until digital covers ALL TV, but I think the line between video and TV will be gone before that time. AND THEN EVERYONE WILL BE DIGITAL. I would like to put a Tron light cycle on pre-order, pls. thx.

5 challenges of big data
Great tactical piece here about much-hyped Big Data.  There are some parts I want to underline — twice.  For example “The most successful respondents were those who identified a clear purpose to their exploration of big data.” Here’s another good piece about Big Data that discusses the challenges and potential in Big Data.

Social Usage During TV Time Still Small
Here’s why this is interesting: when people talk about the number of people who are using other devices while watching television the underlying assumption is that folks are sitting on their sofa searching Google for the brands they see in the program or tweeting about how particular brand messages spoke to their deeply-held beliefs. Right? I mean, that’s what I thought. But, no. As it turns out, there are a lot of people like me who are “watching” television and playing Candy Crush, reading articles about the mid- and post-credits scenes in Captain America 2, paying bills, or just clicking around aimlessly on things that are COMPLETELY UNRELATED TO THE SHOW. I know. You’re shocked. I’m shocked. We’re all just shocked. SHOCKED. Sarcasm aside, there are some interesting demographic numbers here, too.

Revisiting Email Address Churn
Email is such a great marketing channel. I know some people don’t think it’s very sexy because it doesn’t have the same budgets as television or display. It’s based on PII and pretty rigorous permissions, so there’s no ambiguous sense of danger around it, like dating that guy/girl with the leather jacket. I don’t know. Maybe they have other reasons to disregard email.  But email is a great marketing channel. Anyway, I just wanted to share this piece because I think it’s a great, thoughtful piece on an aspect of managing email lists that has been fascinating to me for quite a while: churn.  Definitely worth a read if you ask me.

One last blast:

#DailyDigital Lots of News to Hold You Until I Get Back

I’m going to be OOO tomorrow and I’m in CA next week, so my posts are likely to be a bit spotty for a bit. So, I’m just going to load you down with a bunch of things I found in my feeds last night/this morning. Here goes!

Twitter details its Manhattan real-time database
This is a little more technical than I usually get with these posts, but I think it’s still interesting and relevant to the future of the market. Twitter’s product vision remains ambiguous to me, but the idea of being a real-time source of unstructured data appears to be a pivotal element of what they’ve got going on.  This necessitates the existence of systems like this “Manhattan” system.  It remains unclear to me, though, how they will use this in the future and how they will sustain themselves against other market pressures.

Ad Tech Execs Debate The Future Of Twitter And Instagram, Market Consolidation
Speaking of those market pressures, here’s a recap of a panel discussion about these various platforms. A lot of the points made echo my thoughts on these platforms. I wish I had been there to hear this discussion!

Digital Ad Spending Worldwide to Hit $137.53 Billion in 2014
Key metric here!

The Omni-Channel Paradox
I’m so contrary that when someone says something is impossible, I immediately want to argue against them; however, the author here makes some good points about the barriers to aspiring omni-channel solutions in today’s market.  This isn’t to say it will NEVER happen, but the fact is that today’s digital marketplace is best summarized in a word: fragmented. It’s not just about technological fragmentation, either. And although I’m a big fan of all the consolidation and disintermediation that is going on, I also see a lot of disruption happening. And let’s not forget that “omni-channel” is about more than digital. WAAAAYYY more than digital.  Anyway, very good discussion here even if I think it’s a bit pessimistic.

Merkle Acquires Digital Player New Control
I don’t typically follow the services side of the business very closely, but Merkle is a known powerhouse, so this expansion into digital — which includes several big name accounts — is significant.

Calm Down. Facebook Is Not Screwing You.
In case you missed it because your eyes were closed and you had your fingers in your ears while shouting, “LALALALALA,” there have been a lot of complaints recently about how Facebook has tweaked its newsfeed algorithms and now brands and publishers aren’t turning up in feeds like they used to. The CMO of Salesforce sees all this complaining as “naïve, at best.” His POV deserves some consideration, I think. But I would offer the following counterpoint: when I blogged about moving to the Bay Area my post was shared to FB; however, many of my friends found out long after the fact and discovered that my post was hidden from their news feeds. I’m not Buzzfeed and that would seem to be the sort of thing that is of interest to my FB audience. It was timely, relevant, and genuine, which are his criteria for being important to the newsfeed.  Ok. Maybe it’s not shareable. But what gives?  Don’t get me wrong: I’m sympathetic to his argument up to a point. I think tech journalists and commentators sensationalize their POV a bit to get attention. But I do also think FB can do more work on their newsfeed algorithms to balance the various needs of all their users.

Reengagement Campaigns: When Should You Drop Inactives?
You know I love email. SUCH a good marketing channel. Anyway, this is a strategy piece on trying to re-engage those inactive subscribers which can be such a drag on your deliverability rates.

Today’s Burning Question: Reaction To The MRC’s Ad Viewability Decision
The Media Rating Council (MRC) has given the OK to the use of “viewable impressions” as a metric for display ads.  This is an important step, but I think it’s just a step in terms of reaching standardization in display measurement and combating some of the bad practices in the market. I also share some of the market’s concerns about whether their definition of “viewable” really goes far enough in order to even meet the basic expectations marketers have for calling an ad viewable.  But still. It’s a step in the right direction.

One last blast:

#DailyDigital April Fools’ Day Hangover

I trust everyone survived April Fool’s Day mostly unscathed. If you are among the unfortunate victims of a prank yesterday, I offer the following pro tip: Don’t draw your eyebrows back on with a Sharpie. Just use a cosmetic pencil or something that will wash off because if you make a mistake you don’t want to find yourself in a client presentation looking overly surprised or angry at the questions you receive.

April Fools’ 2014: The Round-Up Of The Best
Today’s the day where everyone is posting round ups of all the jokes from yesterday, so let’s just get that out of the way. By the way, the Google “shelfie” gag didn’t show up for me until this morning, so I just thought that Google was out of their minds.

Sorry, Facebook — Twitter Plays Keep-Away With Analytics Firms
This is a piece about Twitter’s recent M&A activity and how it puts them in competition with Facebook on certain axes of analytics. I remain interested to see what Twitter’s long-range product strategy will be. Here’s another take on the trend.

Starwood’s Crazy Facebook ROI and 5 Other Surprising Brand Reveals
I just love stories like this.  They’re basically little case studies and factoids from various brands’ marketing experiences.

One last blast:

#DailyDigital “April is the cruellest month” – TS Elliot “The Waste Land”

I thought about trying to work in an April Fool’s Joke into today’s post like I did last year — which went disturbingly unnoticed — but I saw a post on Facebook this morning about how Firefly was coming back on Netflix and it turned out to be a joke. So, now my heart is too broken to make jokes.  Congratulations, Internet. You’ve won. You’ve destroyed me.

Anyway, here are the headlines. (Seriously.)

The Difference Between Programmatic RTB And Direct
So much in the advertising technology space is full of marketing-speak and fluff that makes clarity on what particular words and phrases mean impossible (I actually saw a panel at a conference once where the panelists debated the meaning of “retargeting.”) that I think it’s almost always useful to review what different concepts in the space actually are.  And here’s a remarkably clear explanation of several new terms in the space. Enjoy!

Wolff: The inflated world of Internet traffic
Michael Wolff at USA Today looks at some of the huge traffic numbers that publishers are bragging about to attract advertisers. It’s an interesting piece, but I just want to point out one thing: This piece is all about how the internet isn’t truly as measurable as people claim. Meanwhile, there’s lots of wailing about how the internet is spying on consumers and companies are building these omniscient “dossiers” on users.  Knowing what I know about things, I wish the latter were the truth because that’s a much easier problem to solve.

Google Plus Just as Popular as Twitter in U.S., Study Says
The subhead on this article from AdWeek is “And has more visitors than Instagram, Pinterest” and I’m sharing it because I thought it was an April Fool’s Day joke.  But then I read the article.  And I recalled the fact that I have a G+ page somewhere… and my landlord has one… and so does her assistant — and those two are two of the least competent humans I’ve ever met — which means that it must be getting some traction somehow.  It might be time for me to get back in there and check out how Google has updated things.

Twitter, Kantar Expand Global Data Partnership
I’m sharing this because Twitter has been in my feeds quite a bit lately and my hope is that this signals a leap forward in their differentiation, position, and strategy. With the addition of more media and interactivity options, I’ve been a little worried that the platform was going to turn into a pared down version of Facebook’s newsfeed.  But I like this cross-channel play a lot along with this line: “’Twitter plays host to a real-time, public conversation at scale on all manner of topics—including television,’ Twitter COO Ali Rowghani said in a statement today.”  It’s become clear to me that they’re pushing hard on the “real-time” aspects of the platform. But what does that mean for advertisers on the platform? Publishers?

This is what happens when Facebook controls the signal, and it defines you as noise
Here’s another recurring story. I think I shared a bit of the narrative last week, but the debate rages on. Basically, Facebook is constantly tweaking their newsfeed algorithms to determine what you see and what you don’t see.  The issue is that many argue that their recent changes have basically resulted in brands — and even celebrities (as brands) — are disappearing from feeds.  Which means the only way they can get eyes on their FB content is to pay for it. I find the discussion interesting because I’m not a fan of advertising on social media; I’ve long contended that the way to “win” in social media marketing is to generate sociable, that is, engaging, sharable content.  But these changes would suggest that not even that strategy would work very well.

One last blast:

#DailyDigital Slow Tech News + Big Personal News

It was an oddly slow day in my feeds this morning.  But that’s OK, because I have some big news to announce: I am relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area!

Yeah, it’s a work move.  It’s been in the works for a couple of months now, but I’m finally in a spot where I can talk about it publicly.  I’ll be starting work full time in the SFO Bay Area on May 1.  This weekend, I am going to find a place to live and the next few weeks will be spent carrying out all the plans I’ve been making for this. Woo!

Match Rates Are A Red Herring
The match rate discussed here is about connecting users across devices and platforms, specifically from computer to mobile device. The author posits that instead of focusing on the metric of “match rate” we should focus on answering the questions “Are we getting to the ultimate objective of improving audience relevance, and at scale?” I like the the author’s reminder to focus on the essential goals rather than the metric. But I would want technologists to continue to focus on trying to solve the technical problems — and certainly they will.

Completing the picture with unstructured data
Warning: Sponsored content!  But I think unstructured data is a pretty interesting topic when it comes to analytics. So, I’m sharing this video from Simpli.fi.

As advertisers phase out cookies, what’s the alternative?
I feel like I’ve shared this article a thousand times. It’s still relevant, though. This is another piece that talks about the decline of cookies as a viable tool for digital marketers and compares various alternatives.  It’s a nice, clear piece that weighs out the pros and cons of each.  Definitely worth a read!

One last blast:


#DailyDigital Date Night at the Sports Bar/Restaurant Chain for Sportketball Tournament Viewing

Happy Friday!!  After yesterday’s slow news and complete confusion, I have to get down to business before I can head over to Buffalo Wild Wings (Or as it’s called in my household “Beedubs.”) this evening to soak up some March Madness.  Let’s go!

RSVP and Progressive Policies
Because the discussion around online privacy is always very interesting to me, here’s the latest on the Acxiom (My employer) blog.

White Ops On A Mission To Root Out Ad Fraud
Another of my pet topics: ad fraud. This is an interview with the CEO of a company called White Ops which is attempting to work on some solutions to fight the fraudsters.

Digital Birds Of A Feather: The Value Of Demographic And Psychographic Validation
Earlier this week, I remarked to a friend about an article on an unrelated topic that sometimes we have to be reminded of even the most obvious facts. This article is one of those pieces. It’s a reminder of some obvious truths about marketing data about which we could all use an occasional reminder.

Facebook Algorithm Tweaks Hurt Viral Sites More Than Other Publishers
I stopped sharing links in this particular discussion because it seemed like it was going nowhere.  The first headline was about how Facebook was hurting regular brands who do normal posts with their new algorithms. And then the claim was that viral sites were being targeted for more “organic” sources of content.  Then Buzzfeed was singled out because they sometimes buy ad spots on Facebook to promote their posts. And then there was an article that said actually none of the viral sites were hurting. Or was it just that Buzzfeed and Upworthy were OK? I don’t remember. Well, here’s one of those articles that includes numbers from comScore. The discussion isn’t any more interesting, but I do like when they cite a third party measurement.

One last blast:

#DailyDigital All Mixed Up

The lateness of my post this morning is due to the fact that for some reason I felt the need to completely abandon my morning routine. I’d like to blame the coffee, but I’m actually behind on my coffee drinking, too.  Maybe it’s the lack of coffee?  I don’t know.  But here it is, better late than never.

AOL Aims To Unify Its Programmatic Efforts With A New Ad Platform, ONE
This is a headline coming out of Ad:Tech SFO.  Basically, AOL is rolling out a new programmatic platform that is intended to allow advertisers to manage campaigns across various silos that are usually managed by separate systems with separate data. From what I can tell, the focus is overwhelmingly digital. It’s hard to say how a platform like this in the hands of AOL might grow in the future.

Turn Makes Big Data Intuitive and Actionable for Marketers With Major Platform Upgrade
Over in the DMP space, Turn has rolled out a bunch of new features.  It looks like the flashiest ones are in the area of reporting and analytics, but improvement of access to data and inventory is key.

One Last Blast:

#DailyDigital Oculus Rift, Google vs. Amazon, Bitcoins & the IRS… and other things I won’t talk about.

“OMG! FACBEOOK BOUGHT OCULUS RIFT!! $2B IN CASH AND STOCK! OMG! OMG!” That’s what all my tech and media feeds look like this morning. The other big news is about Google changing their cloud pricing and picking a fight with Amazon. Oh, and the IRS decided that Bitcoins are property, not currency. So, keep that in mind when doing your taxes.  And guess what. I’m not going to talk about any of those things!

I think the real goodness this morning is in the links at the bottom. There’s a bunch of interesting tidbits in there (including those things I said I wasn’t going to talk about), but none of them really inspired me to lengthy commentary.

Why Trade Bonds When You Can Trade Ads?
I’m not a WSJ subscriber, so I can’t read this article, but AdExchanger says, “The WSJ profiles MediaCrossing and its Wall Street pedigree as the ad business starts to echo financial markets. The WSJ’s William Launder discusses what’s behind the trend: ‘Though in its infancy, … ‘programmatic buying’ of ads is changing the industry. It already has pushed down online ad rates by exposing the vast inventory of available Internet ad space. The question is whether, long term, it will fully marginalize humans from the advertising business.’” And that sounds like it’s a very interesting article.

Who Should Own Customer Data?
And I’m sharing this article mostly because I DON’T like it.  First of all, I thought this was going to be a piece about the apparent conflict between consumers and the businesses they patronize when it comes to data.  But it’s not. Because my second gripe is that it’s about the internal territorial disputes businesses have around handling consumer data and keeping it safe. I don’t have a lot of patience for this sort of debate. Obviously, businesses need to overcome their internal barrier to find greater success! So I think this article is a two-part exercise, one in stating the obvious and one in seeing how hard I can roll my eyes. Maybe I’m in a mood this morning…

State of the media: Not out of the woods by any means, but some reasons for cautious optimism
This piece is about news media across all channels, not just digital, but it does include things like Buzzfeed as part of “news” media. So, you’ve been warned. This is really broad. But it comes because  Pew Research Center published its annual survey “State of the News Media 2014” and they saw some interesting new growth although stability still seems to be wanting.  It’s an interesting read given all the attention in the last five years to the struggles of large, long-standing news sources.

One last blast: