#DailyDigital Trey’s 2015 Tech Trends and Predictions

A couple of weeks ago, I gave a presentation to our sales teams about important ad tech and marketing tech trends that I see. It went pretty well, and it wasn’t — I don’t think — complete BS, so I thought I would turn it into a blog post.  Here it is. Enjoy!

To start, almost every marketing presentation includes a slide with a “map” of the zillions of tech companies that stand between advertisers and publishers. Another cliché of marketing presentations is the line from John Wannamaker: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

The reason these appear so frequently is because they reflect challenges that all marketers face:

  • New tools, new channels, new partners… new everything
  • Marketers are always fighting to get more bang from their buck… not just spending more bucks

These facts bring with them a number of common complaints that we need to address, but we need to do so in a way that speaks to each of our clients’ and prospects’ individual needs.

So, I’ve picked out some trends and predictions that are a step more specific that I think will be part of a lot of our conversations this year.

I should warn you: any predictions you see here are my own, so my own interests and biases probably color them. I’ve tried to include a lot of links to supporting materials, but only time will tell what will actually happen. My hope is that this presentation will give you some food for thought.

Here are the major categories I’ve picked to discuss today:

  • Measurement & Metrics
  • Privacy & Security & Fraud
  • The On Premise-to-Cloud Glacier
  • DMP vs The Marketing Cloud
  • Mobile & Television (R)Evolutions

Measurement & Metrics

Viewability has been a huge topic of discussion for some time and culminated in the IAB issuing a standard for what counts as a viewable ad. Unfortunately, the standard they offered made no one happy at all. It was 50% of the ad viewable for 1 second. Advertisers didn’t like it because it wasn’t strict enough to reflect any significant level of exposure to the ad message and publishers didn’t like it because it wasn’t a high enough bar to distinguish premium publishers from the rest of the pack.

Thankfully, the IAB has improved their recommendation to 70%, which seems more reasonable. So, look for continued discussion around standardizing how this is measured and an increase in the number of advertisers asking for it as part of their CPM negotiations.

Engagement, though, is still an unknown. What do people mean by “engagement” really? Does it mean clicks? Does it mean expanding an ad or watching a whole video? My opinion is that it varies by ad format and even by brand. Even so, I think you can expect to hear lots of people clamoring on about engagement this year.

Both of these, of course, are extensions of the recurring desire for measurement. And EVERYONE is saying measurement is “going to be” huge. I would say that it is already huge and will always be huge.

Privacy & Security & Fraud

I’ve lumped privacy, security, and fraud into one group because they are all concerns related to the viability of the digital advertising business. None of these headlines should be a surprise to us, but what it means is that these topics are going to get even more attention.

In the realm of security, there were over 780 data breaches last year including Sony, JP Morgan Chase, Staples, and Home Depot. Some of these made huge headlines and have spurred some legislative proposals around when businesses have to disclose to customers that a breach has occurred.

And that naturally pushes consumers to be even more concerned about their privacy and what happens to their data. I agree with Acxiom’s Chief Privacy Officer’s, predictions that we will surely see even greater government inquiry and involvement in the realm of consumer privacy.

And, naturally, ad fraud has to be a part of this conversation as well.

I think fraud levels really reached critical mass in 2014. Google said that less than half of ads are ever seen. The WSJ reported that a third of all web traffic is bots. And the IAB issued a reports that said click fraud costs marketers $11B a year. But we saw a little movement from the industry to start taking fraud seriously as well. Google bought Spider.io. The IAB formed an anti-fraud working group. So, I think we will see more market-wide attention given to fighting fraud, although I do also think it will be a long, long fight.

The On Premise-to-Cloud Glacier

I see the move to the cloud as something of an inevitability for 90+% of the market, but it’s going to be a very long, slow process. But the Cloud Computing War is not over. Amazon is clearly in the lead – so much so that the aggregate capacity of the top 15 cloud providers is only a fifth of what Amazon has. But Salesforce, Microsoft, IBM, and Google are still in the fray.

Big Data is such a 2013 buzzword, but it’s real. That means that scale is becoming a major challenge and expense for IT and marketing teams. Some have said that it’s a “red alert” situation already and aside from the Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) that Big Data strikes for CIOs there are definitely some advantages to moving to the cloud. Nevertheless, businesses tend to be understandably conservative about making major changes that could put major assets like consumer data at risk.

The cost benefits seem pretty clear for most companies, but questions about security, a lack of skills/knowledge for handling cloud-based systems, and general worry about change and the unknown are all issues that loom large for many.

So, I think this trend will pick up some additional speed in 2015, but it’s still a very long road.

DMP vs The Marketing Cloud

When it comes to ad tech adoption, one of the big questions is whether marketing clouds will dominate or if advertisers and publishers will cobble together their own solutions from the various offerings out there. And as much as we hear about marketing clouds from folks like Salesforce, Adobe, Oracle, and IBM they are far from dominant.

On one hand, we know from our own experience that there are a lot of customers out there who aren’t comfortable putting all of their eggs in one basket. They prefer to buy solutions piecemeal.

On the other, the value proposition to a marketer looking at that Lumascape diagram is pretty clear and once they’ve adopted one of the solutions within a marketing cloud it’s pretty easy to buy in to another one. And consolidation via M&A activity has been a constant for the past few years and now it’s a real challenge to find a standalone DMP that also has the scale to do what marketers need to connect channels.

A lot of these marketing clouds are being built by M&A activity, though. That means there are likely questions about how well integrated they are with the other solutions. There’s a ramp-up period.

In either scenario, there are gaps between the different solutions that marketers actually use. They don’t live their work lives only in the marketing cloud or on the DMP or in their CRM system.

Mobile & Television (R)Evolutions

Let’s start with mobile. Everything mobile! No surprise: 20% of the world has a smartphone. I was listening to a Forrester webinar recently and they mentioned that something like 70% of Walmart shoppers access their cellphones while in their stores as part of their buying process. I may not have that statistic quite right and I’m not sure what they mean by it exactly, but it’s pretty undeniable that phones and tablets are a major part of the customer journey today.

But marketers are struggling to really break in to it and the numbers on mobile ad tech make it look like it’s still an emerging space. Part of that is because the platforms themselves are so tightly controlled by the carriers and that mobile is still technically constrained (smaller screens, fewer cookies, protected IDs, etc.) compared to desktop. I don’t see anything changing with that any time soon.

And even though ad spending is shifting toward mobile in some pretty big ways the ROI remains unclear. Marketers seem to be following the traffic, but the traffic isn’t necessarily resulting in the desired “engagement” or conversion activities. My best guess there is because the UX isn’t yet completely optimized for mobile and simple tasks on a desktop can be rather tedious on a small screen. The biggest recent change to overcome that is Apple Pay, though. That stands a real chance of changing mobile commerce in a big way. So, keep watching.

Television is a similar story. Overall, television is saddled with antiquated regulations and lots of old technical infrastructure. And, ironically, one of the biggest barriers to technical advancement for TV is the nearly $70B they rake in each year in advertising. It makes them very, very reluctant to do things that might compromise that revenue stream. But progress is being forced upon them.

Spurred by the rise of original content from online-only systems like Netflix and Amazon Prime, as well as over-the-top providers like Roku and Hulu, we are seeing ad tech providers moving to anticipate the technical shift in traditional television providers. For instance, Adobe has relaunched Auditude, their programmatic video system and integrated it with their cloud. And that technical shift is definitely happening. Comcast took a major leap forward in the last 18 months with their launch of their X1 platform. So, the capabilities to manage some portion of the television advertising spend and delivery from digital systems like the Marketing Cloud are coming.

Bonus Bloviations Lightning Round
I know I didn’t touch on some of the key trends and buzzwords that came up in 2014, so I want to do a lightning round on some of those items that came to mind while I was brainstorming for this presentation.

  • Programmatic is here to stay. I am actually kind of shocked that the adoption curve hasn’t been steeper, but I feel like these tools legitimized themselves in 2014 and we’ll start seeing this become more of a capability or feature of other tools rather than a distinct set of tools unto themselves.
  • Wearables are emerging tech and the marketing opportunities are not clear yet. I did see a couple of weeks ago that a company announced some capability for advertising on the Apple Watch which isn’t even out yet. That sounds like the most obnoxious user experience ever, so I’m not hopeful for that company. In fact, I hope they never sell a single unit.
  • My tech feeds love talking about new communities and emerging social apps like Kik and Yik Yak. It’s always about what the kids are or aren’t doing these days. I think, though, for marketers the best approach is going to be to wait and see. Monetization strategies for these apps aren’t always clear and advertising opportunities seem experimental. There are going to have to be some major brands willing to just throw some money and do some experiments.
  • The Internet of Things is similarly emerging. Could it feed into that Big Data nirvana that so many marketers imagine? Maybe, but if this is the silver bullet then we have a couple bazillion years to wait until it’s ready.
  • Last year there was an increase in use of the phrase “Deep Learning.” I find the notion to be a really nerdy and interesting evolution in the Big Data story. But developing Deep Learning capabilities is expensive and time-consuming. It’s also an area where there may be a lot of people talking about insights that either aren’t all that actionable or don’t deliver any notable incremental lift in revenue. But I’ll keep watching it because it’s neat.

So, there you have it! My 2015 trends, predictions, and observations.

#DailyDigital Second Christmas anyone?

Happy Friday!  I don’t know about you, but I don’t know if I’m ready for full work weeks again yet. Who’s up for Second Christmas? Anyone? Anyone?  Alrighty, then.  Back to work, I guess.

A mile wide, an inch deep
Here’s a REALLY great discussion about the trouble with comparing metrics between completely different types of businesses. The basic idea is that each and every business has to choose the metric that is best for them in terms of assessing the value and success of what they’re putting out in the market.  I think it’s a lovely sentiment and insofar as his message is directed toward people who are doing their own measurements of their own products, I agree with him 100%.  But I think it’s kind of silly to expect journalists or other parties who are outside of a business to use a custom metric for every business they assess.  There are a zillion reasons why someone might want to compare disparate businesses like Twitter and Instagram even though they’re completely different businesses. And most people who need to do that won’t have the luxury of time or data to develop some sort of custom measurement for the two.

Op-ed: ‘Dark viewability’ and why the IAB has it right
Another installment in the viewability debate. This piece is discussing the situation where the viewability measurement itself fails. I do NOT agree with the author that a technical failure constitutes fraud per se, although I do think a 30% failure rate supports the point that a 100% viewability is an untenable standard in today’s ecosystem. But it does sound like the debate is moving to increase the viewability standards to a more aggressive, but still practical, level.

What the Million-Dollar Netflix Prize Taught Me About Marketing
Here’s something a bit different, but a very interesting take on analytics and marketing.  I don’t have anything more to say about this, really, except that it’s a great read. Check it out.

Your tech predictions are wrong, but they aren’t pointless
I am admittedly not a fan of all the prediction articles that are floating around out there, but I don’t think those exercises are pointless.  And I say that seriously, unlike the author of this article.  To me, the reason prediction articles are at all interesting is because they represent the distillation of what one particular point of view found significant in recent history.  It’s not so much about whether or not the prediction is correct about what’s coming, but about the perceived impact of what has already passed.  The really good predictions are the ones that hone in on the things that really, truly did change the course of things in a significant way. So, I don’t think it’s just about selling clicks or pandering to someone’s vanity.

Dish’s new Sling TV service will murder traditional pay TV (hands-on)
This is the TV solution that I’ve been hoping for for about 10 years now, but I think it’s still a little early to say anything about murdering regular TV. But it’s coming!  Now, I wonder what the ads infrastructure behind it looks like…

One last blast:

#DailyDigital Every Reason to Look Up

2015 is already shaping up to be an exciting year. Acquisitions and funding announcements are flying in right and left. And CES — say what you want — has had several really neat gadgets show up.  So, I think there are lots of reasons to be optimistic for this year!

Why mobile advertising is much smaller than you think
Almost every day I see some headline about how mobile use is skyrocketing and it’s the new hotness.  Here’s an tempering look at what all this has actually meant for advertisers.  Definitely worth checking out.

Privacy: What to Expect (and not) in 2015
A great write-up on the current and coming landscape for privacy and security from my employer’s Chief Privacy Officer. Jennifer’s predictions are echoed in this piece from AdAge that also quotes her.

Pageviews stink — but engagement is still a hard sell as an alternative
Ev Williams isn’t the only person whose been up on their soapbox about web media measurement. And he’s not the only one talking about engagement, but it’s still not clear to me that there’s a clear understanding of what engagement actually is. Even so, this article is a good discussion of some of the challenges facing engagement models in online media.

Out-Of-View Impressions Can Be Valuable
Speaking of measurement, the folks over at Adobe have come up with a clever way to get value out of impressions that users DON’T see. They’re basically using them as a control group!

One last blast:

#DailyDigital If You Aren’t Sick of Hearing about the Internet of Things, Go Read Something about CES

CES is completely dominating my feeds right now. That and Mark Zuckerberg’s reading list.  But here are some goodies to check out:

What does ‘premium publisher’ mean, anyway?
I think a natural result of the fact that behind much marTech and adTech is a bunch of marketers and advertisers is that no one really seems to know what anyone is talking about and we spend a whole lot of time debating what terms mean. Even technical terms that one might assume are pretty straight-forward are subject to lots of obfuscation. So, it’s no shock that a term like “premium” is used mostly for its connotative weight and not so much for referring to any clearly denoted value.

A Call To Arms: Marketers, Seize What’s Under Your Nose
It’s the latest from Joanna O’Connell.  I think the three items she selected as notable for the future of marketing are as important as the things she didn’t highlight.  So, check it out.

Verizon CEO Says Video Effort to Debut in Second Half, AOL Acquisition Report Inaccurate
Almost as quickly as rumors about Verizon buying AOL popped up, Verizon smacked them down.  Nevertheless, I think Verizon is a company to watch for adTech.  They rolled out Precision Market Insights product last year as well as a media arm in the form of SugarString.  The latter a flop the former… I’m not sure.  Anyway. I think they’re going to continue pushing into the space, so keep watching them.

Why CRM data is having a moment
I like this article about how CRM is seeing a boost in business because I think it’s often a good idea to step back from the hype of new tech and remember the foundational elements that have helped the ecosystem get where it is today.  Ironically, even as the author refers to CRM as “dusty” one of the quoted sources makes the prediction that CRM will become “part of the fabric of a brand’s content play.”  UM. Yeah. It had better!

10 Important Things To Ignore In 2015 ”
I was really torn over whether the last item I would share today would be about the new internet TV platform from Dish or this blog post. I chose this post because it’s just so spot on.

One last blast

#DailyDigital Let’s Start 2015 with a Brief Rant

Happy New Year!

There were a bunch of really interesting articles over the last couple of weeks, but my feeds are so full right now that I’ve just declared bankruptcy and started over.

The big news, of course, is that CES is going on in Vegas right now. I don’t think we’ll see a lot of ad tech headlines made at that event, but it’s still sure to generate some buzz in the world of wearables and the “Internet of Things” realm. So, I’ll be watching that a bit.

We’re also not out of the woods yet with our 2014 retrospectives and 2015 crystal ball posts.  There are a LOT of those. Additionally, net neutrality is picking up steam again and you can expect to hear a lot more about that as we move toward February when some sort of decision is expected from the FCC.

Unfortunately, I only found one article I wanted to comment on at any length before my browser said, “Please stop opening tabs. I’m still hungover from New Years here.”

Life’s A Breach: The Coming ‘Arab Spring’ Of Consumer Privacy
I don’t like the metaphor of comparing marketing data collection to dictatorial regimes, but I understand folks need clicks and the interview subject here as a CEO of a data security company has a vested interest in spreading some fear, uncertainty, and doubt about consumer data.

There are two things that I find annoying in articles like this. First, there’s no distinction made between types of data. There is a universe of difference between a data element like a credit card number and gender. Second, it is simply not true to that businesses can do whatever they want with consumer data. (That’s not an argument made in this article, but it’s implied.) Unless, of course, you mean it in the sense that one has the capacity to do something. I can drive my car straight into the ocean, but I’m not going to. And businesses are legally required (by legislation and by tort) to protect consumer data. (See also point #1.)

Bonus gripe: There is a distinction between privacy and security.  Connected, yes. Interchangeable, no. 2014 saw a number of stunning and terrible breaches in data security and I think it’s safe to say that businesses need to step up if they aren’t already when it comes to keeping their data out of the hands of ne’er-do-wells. What is not clear is what that 91% of consumers who, according to Pew Research, aren’t comfortable with how companies collect and use their personal data think companies are actually doing with their data. Nor is it immediately clear what harm they think has or will come of those activities. (I can give some examples of consumer gripes, but I have yet to find examples of actual rights-violating harm/damage. Would love to hear about them if they exist.)

I think the prediction of a major consumer uprising to demand more security AND privacy is a bit overblown, but we can safely predict that our government representatives will continue to be vocal about these issues.  And I think it’s pretty safe to say that governments both in the US and around the world are likely to pass some laws around consumer privacy.

Consumer data privacy and security are two very important topics and will remain top of mind for consumers and marketers.  But I, for one, would appreciate a bit more clarity around these issues… especially by those who purport to be experts in the matter!

One last blast:

Destiny: I Have Been Tricked!

OK. So, I played Assassin’s Creed: Unity for a while. Meh. After playing most of the side missions, none of the coop missions (more on that in a minute) I eventually got to the point where I just wanted it to be over, so I blasted through the story missions and gave up.  Between the boring story and glitches, it just does not have the power to hold my attention like some of the previous parts of the series… especially Black Flag.

Anywhoodles, I moved on to a game called Destiny. I was reluctant to get into it because it’s a first-person shooter. I don’t much care for those, but everyone has been raving about this game.

But here’s the trickery part: It’s also apparently a MMO.

I know what you’re thinking: “You are an idiot. You should have known that going in because everyone knows that.”

Well, I didn’t. And now I’m playing some kind of World of Warcraft thing where I’m trying to go about my business and there are strangers bouncing through my scene. I don’t like MMO games. I have zero interest in playing with other people.

Part of it is that I don’t consider myself a very good player, so I don’t want to let people down by mucking up missions.  Secondly, I am not interested in being berated by 14 year olds.  Third, I don’t play video games to interact with strangers on any level. Hell, I actively avoid leaving my apartment for that.  I played that James Bond game a long time ago with some other people and I still have anxiety about it. So, MMOs aren’t really for me.

Also, a couple of people have invited me to join them or something in this game and I have no idea how to do that. *shrug*

But I have to say: It’s not bad.

I mean, I play video games for the pretty images and the story, really.  I like interacting with those things. And this game lets me do that. My favorite games involve huge explosions and widespread destruction and this game has that. My most favoritest games involve me with a sniper rifle and a rocket launcher causing explosions and widespread destruction from a shadowy nook up on a mountainside somewhere. THIS GAME HAS THAT.

I’m only a level 8 exo something or another lady with really cheeky hair and I’m loving it. I have a sniper rifle and I can wander the countryside shooting badguys in the head. If the badguys are really sassy I can shoot them with my rocket launcher. It’s totally boss.

The graphics are pretty much the average of what I expect of a PS4 game.  They’re pretty and they satisfy, but my socks are still on. In particular, there seems to be a bit of a disparity between the movie bits of the game and the graphics in the game play portions.  The movies are great. The game graphics are just OK. Sometimes they seem blurry.  But it’s OK.  Nothing terrible.

The story seems really good, though. Right now, I am enjoying the mystery and the way things are unfolding. The set up of being some sort of resurrected guardian is neat. And there’s some sort of weird, light-based magic system going on.  So, that’s fun.

Yeah, that’s right. I have magic powers in this game. So, if the badguys get in my face, I can tell them to talk to the hand. And my hands are full of purple light that makes them disintegrate. Fun!

There’s a lot in the game that I haven’t figured out because I’m a solo player focused on the story.  I understand there is a place where I can battle other guardians somewhere. And there is some way you can team up with people on parts of the story or on side missions.

Sometimes people pop in and help you with your missions. Last night, I was in a shoot out with a low-level monster critter or something and it was taking a while. I was winning, but it was slow progress. Suddenly, this other person sailed through on their flying skidoo and shot up the bad guy. I was like, “Cheers!” and went on with my story.  So, sometimes if I see a shoot out somewhere, I shoot badguys in the head from the top of my mountain just to be helpful.  I think that’s a nice thing to do.

So, it’s a fun game!

What isn’t clear to me is how long it will take me to get through the story. If it’s like World of Warcraft where you play for eleven thousand years and don’t get anywhere I’m going to be pissed.

In the meantime, I will keep talking to Rahool and enjoying myself.

Marketers vs The Instagram Rapture

This shouldn’t be news, but people are really freaking out about it.  Here’s the gist of things:

You may recall that last week, Instagram announced having more mobile users than Twitter.  Well, they quickly followed that up with an announcement that they were aware of a lot of fake accounts and they planned to remove them. And yesterday they did.

Most of the coverage I’ve seen has focused on the kazillions of followers that celebrities lost in the process. Others have turned it into social commentary.

I am sure that there are a number of Instagram users who use their follower counts as some sort of measurement of their self-worth.  That is truly sad and I hope those people take a minute this holiday season to really take a hard look at what matters in life.

But I think all this fuss belies one of the (many) problems with online — and especially social — media.

Why do all these fake accounts exist in the first place?
As far as I can tell, there are two main reasons:

  1. Because they are spammers
  2. Because people who pay for them

Marketers of ill-repute may be involved in either practice.

The motives of the first scenario are obvious. Maybe they’re selling Viagra, penis enlargement, or letting everyone know about the sexy singles in the area. I don’t know. It’s a heavy-handed and unseemly practice. It’s gross.  They could also just be luring users to click on a link and ultimately get some malware on their computer. There are lots of reasons behind that as well.  It’s pretty clear to most people that people who do this are just awful human beings.

The motives behind the second one probably trap more people, though, who think there’s no harm in it. They probably think they’re engaging in fair play as far as marketing is concerned.  They aren’t.

See, if you have more followers, then you get more attention. You’re more likely to get featured on “who to follow” lists.  Becoming a social media star means you can command more for whatever sponsors you acquire, partnerships you negotiate, or advertising you sell. I see no reason not to call this practice “fraud.”

And let’s be clear: this isn’t a problem exclusive to Instagram. Every other social network has a similar problem.

The practice of buying followers or impressions is not exclusive to upstart bloggers, either. Brands and publishers actually engage in this as well.

Where do fake followers come from?
Fake followers may be real people or bots.

The real people might join a network or “club” and get a small cut of the pay out.  It’s not clear to me if these people know they’re doing something wrong. It’s hard for me to believe folks don’t understand it, but I suppose it’s possible they aren’t connecting all the dots.

The real people accounts were not, as I understand it, the focus of Instagram’s “rapture.”

My understanding is that Instagram was focused on the bots and zombie accounts.  These are just accounts run by computers somewhere and when someone pays for followers they all just immediately start following the account in question.

What if I didn’t pay?
Some people probably lost followers who didn’t pay for them. It’s conceivable to me that many of the celebrities who lost followers didn’t pay for all those bots. So, they may be wondering why they were affected.

This is because bots and other fake accounts need to do what they can to appear legitimate. So, these accounts follow celebrities and even random individuals in order to seem like they’re a real person and not a bot. Even more sophisticated fraudsters, may even warm their fake accounts by having them create normal-seeming posts for a while before they start spamming for following for pay. This gives them a small chance to avoid purges like the Instagram Rapture.

So, just because Justin Bieber or some big brand lost millions of followers does not mean he paid for any of them.  (I am not sure what would motivate a legitimate celebrity to pay for followers when they’re pretty much guaranteed a following based on their “talent” alone. Maybe that insecurity I mentioned?)

Why shouldn’t I do this?
In case you haven’t picked up on this, I do not approve of buying followers or traffic nor do I approve of being paid to be a fake follower or visitor. I think it’s patently unethical. I think it’s wrong to trick Joe Schmoe individual into thinking you have more followers than you do. And I think it’s wrong to negotiate an advertiser out of marketing dollars based on numbers you paid to have trumped up.

So, the main reason you shouldn’t do it is because it’s immoral.  And that immorality comes with some practical impacts:

  • You could get your account removed.
  • You could destroy your reputation.
  • You could destroy whatever business relationships were predicated on  your follower count.
  • You’re not actually getting any customers. Because they are FAKE followers!

That last one is a big one to me. I think some marketers just pull their traffic dashboards together and say, “Yay! We’re winning!” based on clicks, impressions, or whatever. And so some of them may buy traffic in order to look good to their management.  That’s a complete disconnect from the purpose of marketing, which is to drive sales.

So, I think the fuss over this “Instagram Rapture” is really stupid. Legitimate marketers and anyone with a basic sense of integrity should not be concerned that a bunch of fake accounts were wiped out.  Those waking up to the reality that this is fraud should just chalk this up to a “teachable moment” and start working on building real traffic and real engagement.

#DailyDigital Year End Edition (Maybe)

WELP! It’s that time. This is my last post before Christmas. I will try to squeeze in a couple more Daily Digitals before the end of the year, but given the way my newsfeed has been looking I have my doubts that there will be much to discuss.  So, in the event that you don’t hear from me before then, happy holidays to everyone and a wonderful new year!

Are SaaS Companies Just Misunderstood?
Not really ad tech, but it’s an interesting discussion about the pros and cons of subscription model products AKA SaaS.

Red Hat’s success aside, it’s hard to profit from free
And on the topic of business models, here’s a nice article on how Red Hat built a business around open source software.

Walled Gardens: Not As Bad As You Think
Apple is a frustration to many in ad tech because in spite of having tremendous reach and potential they keep their cards close to the chest.  Here’s an article arguing why people should give walled gardens like Apple careful consideration.

Marketing Mixed Opinions On The Future Of Attribution
Attribution is a fascinating topic to me. It’s actually surprising to me that it has taken so long for the market to pay as much attention to it as it does now.  That doesn’t mean that the problem is completely solved. And that’s what this piece is about. It asks a group of professionals to offer their predictions for attribution for 2015.

One last blast:

#DailyDigital Desperate for News Edition

We have seriously entered the doldrums of tech journalism.  Unless you want to read about how North Korean hackers — wait, are we allowed to say that DPKR is behind it? Yes. Apparently, we can now. — forced Sony to yank The Interview from theaters, there really isn’t a lot going on.

Here’s what I scrounged up for you. I was so desperate, I’m even including something I wrote as “news.”

Data Silos Through Your Customers’ Eyes
My first post for Acxiom’s corporate blog went live this morning! WOO! It’s basically about how not coordinating your customer touch points creates waste and a disjointed customer experience. So, instead of writing that sentence there, I wrote a page and a half about that time I bought a new phone.

Move Over, Mobile: Here Comes Cross-Device
Today in misleading headlines, is this article. I thought it was going to somehow argue that the cross-device challenge was not directly connected to the rise of mobile and the marketing needs behind it.  Nope. This is a sneaky year-end puff piece with 2015 predictions.  Spoiler alert: We’re still not getting our flying cars.

Brand lessons from Verizon’s failed publishing venture
I accidentally visited Sugarstring a while back when I heard that they had forbidden their writers from commenting on Net Neutrality or US spying. And I thought it was just very, very, very weird. And apparently it really didn’t stick because Verizon is shutting it down. This article looks at why it could have succeeded and why it didn’t. Bottom line: the author thinks they gave up too easily.

Online privacy will still be a mess a decade from now, experts say
Some interesting perspectives on the future of digital privacy.  I don’t have any interest in the particular timeframe they considered, but I think it is likely that the conflict between differing views about privacy and data ownership will be an ongoing conversation. And until we get a clear, elegant, and widely accepted understanding of what privacy is and what it is worth folks will continue to fight about it.

One last blast:

#DailyDigital Winding Down for the Holidays

Maybe I’m just keeping up with my feeds a little better this week, but I doubt it. I think my usual sources of ad tech news are phoning it in with all their year-in-review and predictions-for-2015 posts.  Who can blame them, though? This will be my last full week of #DailyDigital posts for 2014 as well.  I hope everyone has at least half as much fun planned for closing out the year.

Anyway, viewability. That is the topic that has been percolating just beneath the surface for the past several weeks and now that other news is dying down it’s getting more of my attention.

Videology Questions Reliability Of Viewability Metrics On Successful Campaigns
Videology did a “study” on video ad performance, inventory, and viewability. This article is a recap of some of their findings.

IAB and the Future of the Cookie: Evolving to meet Market Realities
This piece is really just a continuation of the “Privacy and Tracking in a Post-Cookie World” paper that the IAB released this year.  Still, it’s good to be reminded.

Ad Tech M&A in 2014 Explained
This is a great overview of a report from AGC Partners on all the M&A activity that happened in Ad Tech this year.

The Publisher’s Guide To Domain Spoofing
Here’s a good piece on a particular type of fraudulent activity out there in the market.

One last blast: