Customer-centricity should be on your mind, the future of advertising belongs to..., social media marketing isn't working, digital priorities for 2016, back to the basics at Tumblr, India refuses Facebook Basics, why teens are leaving Facebook, the potential and the zaniness behind Snapchat, Twitter's numbers are down, the trust-factor of Airbnb, the importance of reputation, autonomous vehicles may affect much more than the auto industry, the future of Pandora and SoundCloud is in question, digital advertising for small business, resilience, the Chart of the Week, plus our trivia challenge, our podcast pick and more, it's The Full Monty.
A roundup of relevant links affecting our industry. If you’re on Flipboard, you can get these links — and additional ones — by subscribing to The Full Monty Magazine at smonty.co/fullmontymag.
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And, if you're around at 9:30 pm ET on Sunday evenings, you can get a preview of a couple of topics via the live video on Facebook. If not, you can always catch the replay here:
- In my speaking engagements, I address how the advertising model is broken twice over, from analog to digital and foisted on social platforms. Ben Thompson brings you through the history on Stratechery, noting that Google and Facebook are the best positioned to succeed in the future of advertising.
- According to a Gallup poll of some 18,000 people, social media marketing is a myth: 62% of people think social networks are not effective in driving shopping decisions. Of course, the networks themselves aren't (nor are clumsy brand ads), but the interactions they have with individuals there are. And as we've noted for years, it's more important to engage your existing customers to help attract new ones.
- Time, Inc. acquired the last vestige of MySpace, which also nets them a significant ad tech network. In the words of Dave Pell, "as history has shown, nobody knows how to pick a great internet opportunity like Time."
- A new app by Quartz will use texts and emoji to send you news updates. The new iPhone app uses a chat interface and push notifications to deliver curated news stories. If you think visuals, grunts, beeps and boops are overrated, wait until you get to the Snapchat section below.
- Now, there are an increasing number of talent agencies, networks and matchmaking services for influencer marketing. What's the influencer strategy for this program? Communications teams, pay attention, lest marketers buy their way into relationships that may be on the earned media side. There's certainly room for both, but it must be balanced.
- Reputation management is in high demand, as more instances of lying, cheating and other unseemly activity come to light:
- Zenefits, the benefits company for small businesses, lost its CEO last week after it was discovered that the company developed software to help benefits brokers cheat on the licensing process. For a company selling benefit services, this is as bad as Volkswagen faking its emissions tests.
- A Michelin-starred chef fought back on TripAdvisor to defend his restaurant's reputation.
- How five tarnished brands managed a comeback.
Regard your good name as the richest jewel you can possibly be possessed of. — Socrates [TWEET THIS]
- The techiest Super Bowl ever happened last week. How techy was it? Looking at the wifi analytics from the stadium showed that cloud storage was the #1 application type used this year — after two years of social netorking dominance. Clearly lots of content being created and shared.
- This shouldn't be a shocker, but here are the top digital transformation trends you need to be paying attention to in 2016:
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- With all of the tumult going on a Yahoo, it's not surprising that suitors are lining up to make a purchase. Chief among them is Verizon, to add to its AOL kingdom. It would make an interesting combination of users, platforms, ad tech and content.
- It looks like it's back to basics at Tumblr, where sales team integrations that were put in place last year are being rolled back.
- Alphabet (Google)
- Google is officially shutting down Picasa in favor of Google Photos, which has 100 million active users.
- India has banned Facebook's Free Basics service. The ruling was not directly aimed at Free Basics, but the general practice of zero-rated internet services — those that let users access certain apps and websites without eating away at their mobile data. The reasoning: a single service should not be determining the winners and losers of the marketplace.
- Related: Indian startups have taken a hit, as funding has slowed. People want to invest in sustainable businesses rather than the more risky tech startup space.
- Instant Articles are generating the same amount of ad revenue on a per-view basis as the pageviews on their mobile properties. The reason has to do with Facebook’s relaxing of its ad rules, including its decision to allow more ads per page. This is good news for publishers who are looking to generate revenue from the platform.
- Tired of your phone battery draining too quickly? You might think about removing the Facebook app from your phone.
- We're seeing a wider adoption of messaging apps in favor of (or at least in addition to) the traditional social networks. Teens have a smart reason for choosing alternatives to Facebook and Twitter.
- Viacom has signed a multiyear agreement to directly sell ads on behalf of Snapchat in which Viacom will have access to Snapchat’s owned and operated inventory on Live Stories and on Discover, the app’s media portal. For Snapchat, the deal makes it easier for big TV-buying brands to put ads on Snapchat.
- If you're a marketer, you'll want to know how you can win with a smart strategy for Snapchat.
- And if you're over 30, you're probably struggling with Snapchat. A glimpse inside the world of a prolific 13 year-old Snapchatter should tell you all you need to know about how the next generation is being trained to read and think:
"No conversations…it’s mostly selfies."
"How are you able to take in all that information so quickly?"
"I don’t really see what they send. I tap through so fast."
- Video watch time on Instagram is up 40% in six months and now Instagram is planning on showing video view counts instead of likes. This should help advertisers get a better sense of video performance, as well as influencer status.
- Tommy Hilfiger is hosting the first 'InstaPit' for Instagram content creators at Fashion Week in New York.
- It was a big week for Twitter, with its earnings call. The numbers went pretty much nowhere: earnings were on target, but user growth stalled significantly. Twitter says it is dedicated toward making the service less confusing in its letter to shareholders discussing its fourth-quarter earnings.
- Here's a potential direction: maybe Twitter needs to dial back its ambitions, focus on a smaller user base and take itself private.
- Meanwhile, Twitter officially announced its tweak to the timeline, with the option to see the best tweets first that occurred while you were away.
- Meanwhile, the company unveiled First View, a video ad unit that places ads at the top of the feed.
- Jay Carney, former press secretary to the Obama administration, is now Amazon's vice president of global corporate affairs.
Trivia question: Which two words/phrases is the city of Seattle banning from use by its employees? *
Collaborative / Autonomous Economy
- Uber has settled a class-action safety lawsuit regarding its misleading driver background checks. There's $28.5 million available in the fund, and some 25 million claimants. I'd do better looking for loose change in the back of my next UberX ride.
- Airbnb de-listed some 1,000 rentals in New York City because they might have been illegal rentals. "Good for them!" you say. Not so fast: the data dump occurred just prior to Airbnb publicizing the release of its data, making Airbnb look squeaky clean in the process. The reality was much different.
- It was a much different reality for an Airbnb host whose disgruntled neighbor took over her rental by using an alias and then refused to leave. Call it a harsh lesson in the realities of San Francisco rental laws and the pitfalls of the sharing economy, which largely relies on trust.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has declared that for the sake of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, Google's self-driving car system will be considered the driver. The implications for the insurance industry here are massive, should the FMVSS be rolled over into insurance standards.
- With the looming reality of autonomous vehicles (albeit much farther in the future), many other industries will be affected. Here's an infographic that contains just a few:
- What do you do when your child's imaginary friend is a podcast? “I must stay optimistic, and I know it could be worse. One of the kids in his class has an imaginary friend who’s an imaginary Twitter feed. What a strange kid.”
- Behold, the power of podcasts: the ultimate guide to getting featured on podcasts.
- I was lucky enough to be featured on Episode 501 of Six Pixels of Separation, Mirum's podcast, hosted by my good friend Mitch Joel.
- Pacific Content specializes in a very different kind of podcast without advertising: the branded podcast.
- SoundCloud reportedly has $44 million in losses and there is significant doubt on the company’s ability to continue as a going concern. And Pandora may be exploring a sale. Shall we call this the sound and the fury?
- Podcast Recommendation of the Week. This week, you might want to listen to a few episodes of Invisibilia, which is about the invisible forces that control human behavior – ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions. Do you have a podcast recommendation for us? Add yours to our Google Sheet: smonty.co/yourpodcasts
Content / Customer Experience
- Whether it's content for yourself or a larger audience, keeping a daily journal is an essential habit to make you a better writer and to help you retain information.
- The Washington Post's content management system is pretty powerful: it optimizes and promotes the headlines and images for the most clicks.
- If you're trying to handle customer complaints on social, it's not just enough to be fast; you have to answer every single one of them.
- There's a new trend in video used by news organizations, but few brands have taken up the mantle: less than a minute with no sound.
- Are 'snackable' videos dead? Lengthening social video ads "has very little to do with what's convenient or preferable for users and everything to do with appealing to marketers and competing for advertising dollars." If that doesn't tell you who rules the roost, I don't know what will.
- Related: retailers are still struggling to put the customer at the center of the business.
- The former CEO and chairman of Apple advises a customer-centric approach, advocating marketers to not worry about the technology, but rather focus on the customer. Sensing a trend here?
- One of the topics I speak about regularly is customer centricity. If you're interested in having me address your group, please get in touch.
Privacy / Security / Legal
- It's time to change your Netflix password: hackers are selling stolen Netflix passwords for only $0.25. I think I could have commanded at least a dollar.
- It might be time to familiarize yourself with the scary new ways the Internet is profiling you. And by 'Internet,' we of course mean advertisers.
Measurement / Metrics / Data
- If you haven't yet cracked Google Analytics, you might want to hold off on this one: how to use IBM Watson analytics for advanced social media insights.
- Here's a comparison of a limited digital advertising budget at work on four different platforms, as a small business would do: Facebook, Google AdWords, Twitter and email. Who wins?
- A quick primer on how to use UTM codes to track every link and all social media traffic. What's more, it's free.
- Measuring content marketing is hard. But there are options.
- The ad tech industry is trying to figure out the ROI of emoji. Kill me now. How about the ROI of the letter 'T'?
Chart of the Week
Brought to you by Zignal Labs, a realtime, cross media analytics platform (also a client of Scott Monty Strategies).One of the breakout hits of the Super Bowl last week (not counting #PuppyMonkeyBaby) was T-Mobile's ad starring Steve Harvey that called out Verizon for getting things wrong (not Harvey), and clearly goading them on to #ballogize. The resultant spike in mentions and conversation put T-Mobile in the thick of things:
* Answer to the trivia question above:
- Seattle has implemented a policy that bans government employees from using the words "brown bag" and "citizen," because they might be offensive to people of color and non-US residents of the city. Let's also ban the use of the phrases "government intelligence" and "let's plan a trip to Seattle" while we're at it.
When You Have the Time: Essential Watching / Listening / Reading
- Resilience is a familiar concept: the ability to rebound from setbacks and keep forging ahead. But how much of resilience is built into our personalities and how much can be taught? Maria Konnikova delves into it in The New Yorker. [P.S. Buy Maria's latest book The Confidence Game.]
- Ten CEOs give their one killer question for new hires. My favorite: asking every employee that the prospect came into contact with how they were treated by the person.
- Pee-wee Herman's big comeback, nearly three decades after he disappeared from the public, is a familiar one.
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I advise brands and agencies to help them improve their communications 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.