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This week, The Internet is rigged and so are apps, digital strategy is hard, digital access via mobile only, the likely buyers of Yahoo, Facebook's push for live video adoption, social network penetration, Snapchat is big because it outsmarted the older generation, Google's accident, the growth-centric corporate economy isn't prepared for disruption, how Spotify keeps current with music suggestions, the Engagement Manifesto, prepare for a hacked vehicle, good news and bad news about display advertising, what a post-weekend House of Cards hangover will do, the Zignal Labs chart of the week, plus a trivia challenge, our podcast pick and more.
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- This week, I'll be in Ottawa and Toronto speaking to the Trillium Auto Dealers Association.
- If you missed my webinar on getting better at Publishing on LinkedIn, it's available on demand.
- A high Digital IQ has always signified the same thing: the ability to consistently make the kinds of digital investments that deliver and sustain value. Achieving it requires technological acumen, but not just on its own; it must be linked to a clear strategic direction for the enterprise. A global survey of business leaders shows how the smartest companies develop and wield their technology strategy.
- One company that gets technology and digital strategy is GE. Their chief creative officer (yes, GE has a chief creative officer) talks content, commercials and change.
- Back in the day, the Internet evolved at the same speed for everyone. But big brands and publishers seem to get an early crack at things as platforms contemplate changes. From Dave Pell: The Internet is Rigged.
- Life's not so easy on the app side, either.
- McDonalds is making a Happy Meal box that turns into a virtual reality headset. Is getting our kids hooked on VR better than getting them hooked on fast food and cheap toys?
- More and more people in the US are relying on their mobile device for digital access. Some 31 million people will go online only using a mobile device in 2016. Amazingly, in 2016 we still come across websites that aren't optimized for mobile.
- Email shows success metrics that look better than social media advertising and banner ads: only 9% of brand emails are deleted without being read.
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Some of the results are going to really surprise you.
- Google is experimenting with a feature for local businesses, allowing them to promote specific content from a carousel in Local Business Cards. Sounds like a defensive move to be more competitive with Facebook.
- Another experiment is called Hands Free and it involves not having to take your phone out to pay at a register.
- Now that Yahoo has said that its core business is up for sale, who would buy it? Odds on favorites are Verizon, Time, or a private equity group.
- Meanwhile, Yahoo may have to write down the goodwill value of Tumblr. This is after it paid $1.1 billion for the social platform and took a $230 million impairment charge.
- Facebook wants to win the live video war. So much so that it's willing to pay celebrities six figures to use the service. That's it. I need a talent agent.
- At least Meerkat is one competitor they won't have to worry about any more, as Meerkat is abandoning live video. Wait, wasn't this the star of SXSW last year? Oh right, just like Foursquare...
- Here's the story behind the oddball team that brought you the Facebook Advertising Network that uses your Facebook data to show you relevant ads outside of Facebook. This is an incredibly smart use of data.
- Facebook's f8 conference is coming up next month and Facebook will announce that publishers will be able to distribute content through Messenger.
- While it fought hard to become your news source, Facebook seems more like cable news these days.
|US Social network users and penetration, by platform, 2014-2020|
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr
- Social media holdout Apple has finally joined Twitter, mostly around a customer service function as it looks to "provide tips, tricks and helpful information when you need it most." We'll see how long it takes Donald Trump to get into a Twitter war with them.
- Speaking of which, the Associated Press is debuting Election Buzz, a tool that uses Twitter and Google data to track the US elections.
- If you watched the Academy Awards last week, you might have noticed that Snapchat brought its Live Stories to the web for the first time. This could be a potential framework for making Snapchat a more news-like destination in the future. We already know that the Quartz app is acting as a nontraditional news source.
- The additional boost of traffic probably didn't register, but Snapchat is already surpassing Facebook's 8 billion daily video views.
- In a move designed to regain some controle, Snapchat's new audience-based ad strategy could wrest control from Discover publishers.
- How did Snapchat build its business with a younger audience? By confusing olds.
- Let's be frank for a moment: how a person uses Snapchat is fundamentally different from how a business could/should use Snapchat. So let's step off the Snapchat Hype Train for a moment and watch this together:
The Snapchat Hype Train
I like Snapchat, but the stuff we're hearing from marketers these days is a tad overboard.
Trivia question: According to its latest 10-K filing, Twitter has lost how much money over 10 years? *
Collaborative / Autonomous Economy
- One of Google's self-driving cars got into an accident last week. But unlike previous accidents, this one was at least partially the fault of the self-driving car.
- No harm done this time, but can Google's autonomous vehicle program survive a fatal accident?
- Interesting factoid: the population that may most benefit from self-driving cars is the elderly.
- Uber is starting a motorbike taxi service in India, and India's homegrown favorite Ola followed suit.
- As the company has expanded, so have Uber's deficits. In 2014, the company lost $237 million, nearly a 10-fold increase over the previous year.
- Uber's New York City drivers may be feeling the pinch from Uber requiring them to discount their fares. Some drivers are under investigation for using fake vomit to charge customers for cleaning fees. Hold on, I think threw up in my mouth a little.
- Meanwhile, Juno is trying to outdo Uber by treating its drivers more humanely.
- If you want to know the difference between an Uber driver and an Airbnb host, it's like the difference between a labor market and a capital market. That's a lot of inequity for a sharing platform.
- I once had a boss who was fond of declaring, "If it isn't growing, it's dying." While that's patently false and demonstrated through this HBR article that talks about reaching a level of maturity and maintaining viability, there is grave concern over an inability to continue growing at all costs. But as we see a rise in disruptive technologies and business models, there's a real concern over the way the rules of corporatism, written hundreds of years ago, mesh with the rules of digital platforms we’re writing today.
- Similarly, listen to why media scholar Douglas Rushkoff is alarmed about the failing state of our digital economy.
- WNYC's Note to Self sent 300,000 texts to 15,000 listeners. What they learned might surprise you. Email and radio are more alike than you might realize.
- As such, the integration of messaging apps and audio is next: Spotify is the first music platform to integrate with Facebook Messenger. The audio craze meets the messaging craze.
- Spotify uses a core group of 50,000 anonymous hipsters to constantly inform its Fresh Finds. These tastemakers are an early-warning system for music, keeping Spotify on the cutting edge. Insert your own hand-crafted artisanal hipster joke here.
- Podcast Recommendation of the Week. This week's recommendation comes from Erik Deckers, who says 100 Proof: The Badass Radio Show is "Jason Falls' show where he interviews badass people doing badass things." And this recommendation occurs on the 8th anniversary of our meeting Jason Falls at SXSW. Do you have a podcast recommendation for us? Add yours to our Google Sheet: smonty.co/yourpodcasts
Content / Customer Experience
- You've got great content in the form of an ebook. But how to get it out there? Here are 22 ways to promote your ebook.
- Visual storytelling is nothing new. But if we delve into our past, we can better understand how visually dependent we truly are.
- Emojis are visual communications tools, and The New Yorker isn't shying away from them.
- What's up with the customer experience of newspapers? The Engagement Manifesto is a three-part series on reimagining the relationships between news organizations and the communities they serve. It's an important series to read, if for nothing else than to understand how to think about, analyze and communicate to different audiences about a single issue.
Privacy / Security / Legal
- Aptly named, your smartphone knows who you are and what you're doing. It may even know if you had sex last night.
- The US military has launched cyber attacks on ISIS. If it revoked their Netflix access during the House of Cards weekend, brace yourselves for major retaliations.
- With connected vehicles comes the inevitability of hacked vehicles. Just as long as it doesn't reveal how I've connected my GPS with the Krispy Kreme Hot Light app.
- As difficult as it may be to get into an iPhone (as the FBI is discovering), it's easier to use an iCloud loophole — or any online backup — in most cases.
Measurement / Metrics / Data
- MediaShift has a new site on media metrics worth following.
- With your content being distributed across so many platforms, it can be difficult to normalize the data. It's available from ComScore — if you want to pay for it.
- We all know that video on social platforms is hot. But do you know the value of social video on your brand?
- Good news: marketers are shifting their 2016 budgets toward marketing technology, with growing interest in display advertising (69% today, 81% planned).
- Bad news: display advertising might not be as effective as your agency wants you to believe. As a matter of fact, it's fundamentally broken.
- Related: refer to my remarks of the "twice-broken model of advertising" with Mitch Joel on Six Pixels of Separation #501.
Chart of the Week
Brought to you by Zignal Labs, a realtime, cross media analytics platform (also a client of Scott Monty Strategies).
The Apple / FBI case continues in the courts and in the media. And when we take a look at the clustering of stories using Zignal Labs' Spidey chart — which in all fairness, is much more interesting as a dashboard, as it's moving and growing — we get a sense as to where the conversations are centered. The blue dots are the domains and in this case, Techcrunch is a center of activity, out of which is coming a single story (orange) that is being tweeted about fairly significantly (pink). In the active dashboard, each one of these dots is clickable and fully interactive.
If you're in Austin next Tuesday, you might want to join Zignal Labs for breakfast tacos and a tour of their Command Center. Tell them I sent you.
* Answer to the trivia question above:
- In its decade of existence, Twitter has burned through $2 billion: "Since our inception, we have incurred significant operating losses, and, as of December 31, 2015, we had an accumulated deficit of $2.09 billion."
When You Have the Time: Essential Watching / Listening / Reading
- March 4 marked the return of House of Cards to Netflix, and undoubtedly viewers barricaded themselves indoors and went without sleep or showering for 13 hours as they binge-watched. It's no wonder then that Netflix was responsible for half the decline in US television viewership last year.
- But what to do after you're finished binge-watching a season of programming? With higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression, binge watching may be bad for your health. Let's hope you have another series to immediately begin bingeing on. If not, you'll be force to binge and purge.
- Americans spend five and a half hours a day on digital media. We're more comfortable staring at a screen than interacting with others or even sitting reflectively. Are we becoming hopelessly hooked?
- Our brains are gradually shrinking and are evolving to become addicted to Facebook and Twitter. Previously, bigger brains were necessary to deal with the complex social situations early humans found themselves dealing with. Oh, I don't know. Sometimes passive/aggressive and sarcastic comments online are difficult to wrap my head around.
- 11,000 blog posts will take a toll on your body and mind.
- What's more important the structure or size of your network? According to researchers, it's the structure.
- Your friends can make something seem more important than it actually is — it's the social network illusion. Or, don't believe everything you read.
- An incredible story about the different methods of public speaking and how one TED speaker procrastinated almost to the point of no return.
- It's never too late. Here are 12 powerful mini-habits that you can practice daily for a better life.
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I speak to groups and advise brands and agencies to help them embrace the fundamentals of human communication in the digital age. 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.