The role of the CMO in the culture wars, the future of customer experience, new search and targeting features on Instagram, Facebook wants you to stay on Facebook, "liberté, égalité, fraternité" does not apply to the sharing economy, speed listening, the numbers can lie, the evolution of a Truffle Pig, raising your digital quotient, the interplay of algorithms and humans in curation, Cannes in is the can and more, it's This Week in Digital.
A roundup of relevant links affecting our industry.
Each week, we compose a newsletter that includes a series of links about current events and trends in the worlds of technology, business, digital communications and marketing in order to keep leaders up to date on changes, newsworthy items and content that might be useful in your job. Please subscribe - either to the full feed or just to this newsletter to keep up to date on developments.
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- More than ever, the CMO sits at the intersection of the brand experience and culture - in a world where the customer experience is an increasingly powerful differentiator.
- The Washington Post has created a social network for its freelancers, to help match skills to stories.
- Social media is a rising factor in the customer experience, according to the C-suite. Within three years, online assistance support, web self-service and social media will be as important as face-to-face communications, according to a study by the Economist Intelligence Unit sponsored by Genesys. Note that automated processes remain stable - which means that social needs to be more social, not more automated. It can't be about the programmed targeting of ads, but must focus rather on interaction.
- CEO Evan Spiegel, speaking at Cannes, said that the company is committed to changing perceptions about vertical video, tells brands to cool it with their frequency, and swears that he doesn't want the company to be "creepy."
- Here are 10 things marketers need to know about Snapchat's Discover.
- Jack Dorsey shouldn't get too comfortable in the CEO office at Twitter. The microblogging platform only wants a full-time CEO. Dorsey is currently the CEO of Square as wel.
- Instagram is now searchable in real-time, with its revamped Explore feature, including Trending Tags, Trending Places, curated content, and a new Places Search.
- Just in case you need some inspiration, check out what such disparate brands as Airbnb, Lenovo and Bacardi Limon are doing on Instagram.
- The future of Facebook mobile ads will keep you on the Facebook app or site, interacting with advertising content directly within Facebook instead of clicking through to the advertiser's website. Brands - particularly those that are accustomed to measuring web traffice - need to get comfortable with this idea now and to think about how to create engaging experiences that make users want to interact with their ads.
- Also, the company is expanding its desktop video ads to have more features similar to mobile video ads, and mobile video will now have a carousel option, similar to desktop video.
- Mondelez has renewed and expanded its global strategic partnership with Facebook, which gives it access to beta testing programs in 52 countries and will drive "impulse snack purchasing online." Not sure I would have purchased Oreos online after that dunk in the dark tweet - particularly because I was stuffed from the Super Bowl smorgasbord I had just inhaled.
- Great news for real-time video junkies: if you missed a live video on Periscope, you can now catch the replay on Periscope's website.
- Engagement with brand content on social platforms rose 52% in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the same time period a year prior. Segments that performed best include media and sports verticals. It could also be that this is a result of more paid promotions, which elevates the content.
- PayPal and Uber have extended their payment partnership to 19 countries.
- Did you ever wonder how Uber takes over a city? Here's how it went down in Portland.
- That's not quite how things played out in Paris, as the French government filed a legal complaint against UberPOP, in which the interior minister called the company cynical and arrogant. That's pretty bad when the French think you're arrogant.
- Not satisfied to let the government do its job, taxi drivers got straight to work burning tires and overturning cars and blocking access to main transport hubs like train stations and airports in protest. Because nothing says "we embrace innovation" like crass riots. That'll show 'em! It's too bad France isn't concerned with doing something that will benefit consumers.
- Not satisfied at throttling transportation, it would seem that Paris would like to also take on tourism from the hospitality side with inspections and fines for Airbnb hosts.
- That doesn't seem to be stopping the company, though: Aibnb raised another $1.5 billion in its latest round, putting valuation at $25.5 billion for its 1.4 million listings - placing it between Hilton and Marriott in valuation size.
- Incidentally, Marriott has a plan to win over Millennials. It involves making the stay less predictable and an incubator lab to try new things.
- Grocery delivery service Instacart is giving its contract workers the option to become employees in Chicago, following the non-binding decision on one of Uber's drivers last week.
- Is the crowd a disruption or an opportunity for large companies? Crowd Companies founder Jeremiah Owyang explores what's in the collaborative economy for enterprises.
- Speed reading has always helped readers skim through content in order to make best use of time. But when it comes to audio, can you really speed listen? Shouldn't be a problem for me - I grew up listening to Alvin and the Chipmunks.
- Edison Research and Triton Digital released their assessment of the podcast consumer in 2015 based on some 2,000 surveyed individuals. There are some fascinating takeaways in the report, including the debate of podcasting as a digital or audio medium and the revelation that podcast listeners are more educated and more affluent than non-podcast listeners.
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- WPP is partnering with the Daily Mail and Snapchat in the creation of a new company to help brands who are grappling with content marketing, and will offer Snapchat's video production space to help with vertical-oriented videos. The new agency, Truffle Pig, will be open to working with any media company or platform - not just the two aforementioned ones. Don't know about you, but we've always found truffles to be quite expensive. And if you can't figure out how to shoot vertical video, you've got bigger problems.
- It could turn out to be a wise strategy, as it seems that every company is becoming a media company - from Red Bull's legendary lifestyle content to Coca-Cola's Journey website, and magazines like Airbnb's Pineapple, Uber's Momentum and Marriott Traveler, among others. The real coup will come when they can sell advertising to other brands.
Metrics / Measurement / Data
- Facebook would love advertisers to pay more attention to the data - particularly the creatives - as the company begins to move toward using targeting on Instagram.
- Nielsen has been the go-to measurement source for television for years. But you would think that Nielsen is to blame in the shrinking ratings of TV lately. The company is now expanding on its measurement chops, including multiple devices and platforms to see where people actually spend their time with programming. The outlook for TV is much less bleak than previously thought.
- Measuring engagement: with Facebook changing its algorithm to focus more on the time you're spending on links, it's not a surprise that Amazon has developed a formula to pay self-published authors based on how many pages of their digital works are read.
- Despite being empirically true, numbers can lie. Here are some ways to avoid being misled by data.
- Big data is still a priority (despite the overuse of the term). However, there are certain obstacles to implementation that CIOs and CMOs need to address.
Privacy / Security / Legal
- It turns out that the Chinese hack of the files of some 4 million federal employees through the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) was entirely preventable: the OPM gave Chinese contractors access to every row of its database. But please - don't blame the head of the OPM.
- Facebook has poached Yahoo's chief information security officer Alex Stamos. Earlier this year, Facebook lost its information security chief to Uber.
When You Have the Time: Essential Watching / Listening / Reading
- If you read nothing else in this edition, read this. If you want to raise your digital game, focus on the organization, culture and a strategy that fits. Some key elements:
- Get the strategy right by creating a smaller-scale disruption of your own business model to enter a new space or redefine an existing one; fast-following to ride the wave and capture some of the value created by an industry’s evolution; aggressively reallocating resources from digitally threatened assets to more digitally interesting ones; boosting the effectiveness of existing business models through digital approaches and tools.
- Create capabilities at scale by leveraging data-empowered decision making, connectivity to help companies establish deeper connections between a brand and its customers, automating well-defined processes, and having a two-speed IT system that supports infrastructure and can operate at high speed to deliver rapid results.
- A fast, agile culture that is externally oriented (many companies are too busy being in love with themselves that they miss external factors), has an appetite for risk, tests and learns at scale and collaborates internally.
- Organization and talent are essential elements to your digital success, such as having executive and mid-level talent connections, real-time monitoring to determine the success of digital initiatives, and nontraditional structures to support the speed at which digital changes.
- Here are two on the juxtaposition of human editors versus algorithms:
- There is a need for human intervention when it comes to curation - humans have the taste that helps in decision making in news and the arts. Twitter's Project Lightning and Apple Music are two cases in point. Read this longer analysis on why each are important.
- This killer combo of human editors and data-driven news feeds is the natural evolution of media creation and curation, as pointed out with players such as Facebook, Upworthy, Snapchat, LinkedIn and Techmeme.
- The Cannes Lions wrapped up this week. In case you missed the advertising & PR industry nearly breaking its arm trying to pat itself on the back, here are a few highlights:
- P&G (well, really MSLGroup and Leo Burnett - I mean, this is about the work, not the client, right?) won the Grand Prix for its Always #LikeAGirl campaign to instill confidence in young women.
- AdWeek's David Griner on how his tweeted photo of people having sex on the red carpet wound up in the New York Post.
- Someone clearly not in France last week came up with this creative Tumblr to counter the incipience from Twitter feeds: Cannes You Please Shut Up?
ICYMI, I opened a consultancy to help companies with their corporate and digital acumen. Please get in touch if you'd like to put my experience and digital smarts to work on a project or to advise your group.
Image credit: Buzzfeed