While ad blocking continues, trust blocking seems to be of greater concern, the Internet idiot of the week, the future of TV is the web, Google is under antitrust scrutiny, Facebook gives journalists better tools and everyone better Notes, the one line that works for every New Yorker cartoon, how to get your Uber rating, how Airbnb used design thinking to succeed, Oyster shuts like — well, like an oyster — seven golden rules for content marketers, it's not a funnel, it's a fish, the OPM data breach included fingerprints, the four human desires, our regular trivia feature and more, it's The Week in Digital.
A roundup of relevant links affecting our industry.
Each Monday we publish 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. A new issue is available every Monday morning. Please subscribe to keep up to date on developments.
News items are in regular text; additional commentary has been added in italics.
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- The ad blocking continues: in the US and UK, 1 in 10 people block ads; in Germany, it's 1 in 4; in France, nearly 30% of its online population blocks ads. And it's not getting any better.
- Case in point: Millennials in the US, two-thirds of whom use ad blockers.
- And they're not alone in their dislike of mobile ads: baby boomers hate them too.
- Anyone see a trend here? Yes, ads are a necessary trade-off for the content we want, but holy hell — what are we doing when there's this much aversion to the craft? Sure, there's a technology and even an ethical angle to address, but what else should the marketing industry be doing at this point?
- Related: click fraud continues to be a significant issue, with ad spending being counted against "bot" views of ads — including traffic that publishers buy without the knowledge of the advertisers who pay them. It's been an issue for some time, but in an era when trust and transparency are at a minimum and technology — particularly ad tech — drives more decisions, the industry needs a better code of ethics to prevent this kind of thing.
- Volkswagen experienced a major corporate crisis this week when it was found to have evaded proper emissions testing on some 11 million vehicles through software that was designed specifically for that purpose. It now faces a huge crisis of trust.
- Martin Shkreli, the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals didn't know when to quit as he defended the 5000% price increase of a 62 year-old drug his company just acquired, and he made himself the Internet's Most Hated Man (of the week) with his tone-deaf tweets. Crisis and executive communications 101: when you have a problem — particularly when that problem is a mouthy CEO — stop talking.
- The Apple Car is getting closer to reality, as the company indicated it would "ship" its electric vehicle in 2019. It should be interesting to watch Apple go from one of the highest-margin businesses to one of the lowest. Hope the shareholders are ready.
- Business Insider, one of the hottest online news sites, may be purchased by German publishing behemoth Alex Springer for $560 million. An impressive feat for editor and CEO Henry Blodget, who made a second career for himself after he was banned from the securities industry.
- Netflix's CEO doesn't want you to get wrapped up in TV vs. online video. In 20 years, it's all going to be the same.
- That's probably a relief for TV executives, who last week saw a huge dip in TV viewership for the opening week of the fall season.
Trivia question: What common mobile activity has claimed more lives than shark attacks this year?*
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- Google is under antitrust scrutiny — in the US this time, not the EU — for favoring its own apps and services in the Android platform over those of its competitors.
- Autoplay video has now come to app ads in Twitter. With 82% of users watching video ads on Twitter, this will have a net positive impact on app advertisers.
- Twitter is introducing the ability to create polls on its native site and mobile app. Expect to see this rolled out more widely as election season nears. a) Wise product development or b) Waste of time?
- eMarketer slashed its ad sales expectations for Twitter on Wednesday, and on Thursday and Friday, Twitter's stock took a nose dive, losing more than 4% each day.
- Facebook's new Mentions app for Verified users is more Twitter-like than Facebook, with up-to-the-minute trending topics, integrated live video and Q&A sessions. It's a valuable tool for journalists and other media personalities, and we've been experimenting with it (see above).
- The Washington Post is going all-in with Instant Articles, publishing every single one of its 1,200 or so stories per day directly on Facebook.
- Reminding us that it purchased Oculus Rift for $2B, Facebook has released 360-degree video that allows viewers to interact with the content, shifting their point of view as the video plays. Initial collaborators are GoPro, Saturday Night Live, VICE and others.
- Facebook Notes have been updated, with a more modern feel, the ability to include and caption photos, post links, format text and more. In this regard, Facebook is becoming more of a comprehensive publishing platform that rivals Tumblr or Medium.
- But please — Medium is not a publishing tool, according to its founder. It's a network.
- Instagram reached 400 million users last week, 75% of whom are outside of the US.
- There's a new caption that works for every single New Yorker cartoon. And LinkedIn users may find it particularly funny.
- You've given out your fair share of 5-star reviews to your Uber drivers. But do you know what kind of reviews they've given you? Now you can discover your Uber rating in just a few steps.
- If you're in Chicago, you might want to beware of fake Uber drivers who are on the prowl.
- Meanwhile, in China, Uber has debuted UberCommute, which matches drivers and passengers going in the same direction.
- Uber is experimenting with UberEVENTS, a feature that allows event organizers to arrange pre-paid rides for their guests, speakers or employees. Currently only available in New York City, the service will roll out to other locations soon. This is a smart move — one that reflects how many event planners use car services or taxis for their clients.
- Oyster — aka Netflix for books — is shutting down and Google is "acqhiring" Oyster's staff. Can't say we're surprised. If you ask us, there's a precedent for "Netflix for books." It's called a public library.
- Quirky, the crowdsourced inventions company, is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and is putting its smart home platform Wink up for sale.
- Airbnb's secret to success was to pay attention to design thinking and find a solution that wasn't necessarily scalable.
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- Another audio streaming company is going public: this time, it's Deezer, the French music streaming outfit that is a smaller competitor to Spotify.
- The music industry is singing a similar tune as previous years: flat sales overall, but streaming is up.
- Meanwhile, SoundCloud is pushing ahead with its freemium model and doing more deals with major music labels.
- If you're looking for a great tool for storytelling, try creating your own Flipboard magazine. Lots of tips on how to get the most out of it on this #FlipboardChat transcript.
- Everyone wants to know how to create content for Millennials; now you can find out why it's important and strategies for success.
- Just don't forget: Millennials don't all consume news the same way.
- You're doing content marketing? Great. Here are seven golden rules for content marketing. We particularly like #1: create what your audience needs (not what you want).
- Which technologies and content types are important for B2B marketers? Content marketing is in the lead position currently. Looking further ahead, marketing automation is set to take the #2 spot. Interesting that B2B marketers would rather depersonalize the experience in the future.
Metrics / Measurement / Data
- The first in an ongoing series from Christopher Penn on how to build your customer journey.
- If you want to understand the impact of social media on sales, one of the most important things to grok is that it's not a funnel, it's a fish.
* Answer to the trivia question above:More people have died from taking selfies than from shark attacks in 2015 so far. Twelve deaths can be attributed to selfies, while eight are related to shark attacks. And yet the Kardashians somehow manage to keep thriving...
Privacy / Security / Legal
- Users have privacy issues with Facebook in Belgium, where Facebook is being accused of spying on Belgians, akin to the NSA.
- The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) data breach just keeps getting worse. The hack that resulted in stolen personal data now includes some 5.6 million fingerprints. Changing those isn't quite as easy as changing your password.
- Facebook is developing self-protecting mobile apps that know when they're not running on the most updated version of an operating system.
When You Have the Time: Essential Watching / Listening / Reading
- Daniel Pink has analyzed and eviscerated traditional business practices for some time, writing a number of books along the way. What helped him with his thinking? He shares four books that have particularly stood out along his journey.
- How do you interact with customers? If you're busy trying to come up with a way to expand your unhuman, logo-centric cookie-cutter approach, you're doing it wrong. Or, put another way, if you can't figure out how to talk to one person, it doesn't really pay to scale up your efforts to talk to a thousand.
- If you'd like to talk with one or more, you might think about putting down that device and paying attention. Particularly because you might be demonstrating a lack of empathy otherwise.
- If you'd like to reach your audience more effectively, think about the four desires that Bertrand Russell identified that drive all humans: acquisitiveness, rivalry, vanity and love of power. If you ask us, Apple nailed all four.
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I advise agencies and brands to help them improve 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, to consult with your group, or to address an audience at your next corporate or industry event.