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This week: Video rising; the Facebook ultra-update issue; new consumer behavior insights; a test to pay for content; the arrogance and poetry of Silicon Valley; Twitter gets NFL rights; what you need to know about Snapchat; the collaborative economy market is maturing; Tesla is not a disruptor, but the decision to buy one isn't rational either; cities aren't ready for autonomous vehicles; what top-performing marketers do differently; insights on Millennials from JD Power; applying healthy skepticism to data; why you should take more handwritten notes; the Zignal Labs chart of the week, our weekly trivia challenge, podcast pick and more.
Virtually everything you need in business intelligence. If you’re on Flipboard, you can get these links — and additional ones — by subscribing to The Full Monty Magazine at smonty.co/fullmontymag.
If you're around at 9:30 pm ET on Sunday evenings, you can get a preview of a couple of topics from the week's via the live video on Facebook. If not, you can always catch the replay here:
- I'll be giving a keynote address at CeBIT Australia in Sydney on May 3, 2016. If you're Down Under on the days around this time, let me know — maybe we can meet up.
- McKinsey has new insights on consumer behavior. With uncertain economic times, some 58% of consumers around the world report having modified their buying behavior when it comes to their favorite brands. Five insights: 1) consumers are searching for savings; 2) they're brand loyal at the right price; 3) if they trade down, they might not trade back up; 4) they splurge - but selectively; 5) they shop across channels.
- If you'd like to know more about tourism in Sweden, the country has its own number — and it's staffed by regular Swedish residents who'll answer your questions. Years ago, Sweden turned over its Twitter handle to random Swedes to promote tourism in a wildly successful venture.
- Native advertising will be a significant driver of ad growth. In a study, Facebook and IHS determined that native ads will make up 63% of mobile display ad spending by 2020. Native ads typically have a higher engagement rate than banner ads.
- Just over one-quarter of Spain's internet users block ads. Their reasons? Pretty much the same as everywhere.
- The New Yorker is testing its readers' willingness to pay to access content. The culture magazine actually drew more visitors after implementing a paywall and has raised subscription prices to counter a slump in its print advertising business. There may be lessons here for other quality content providers.
- A recent comScore study indicated that 80% of time on social media sites is spent on mobile devices. In terms of engagement, Facebook has nothing to worry about; we're all hopelessly addicted.
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- Speaking of mobile, here are five ways consumers connect to stores with mobile shopping from Think With Google.
- The arrogance of Silicon Valley, summed up: "Silicon Valley, in its own mind, creates the future, while the rest of the world (by virtue of zip code or differing world view) should follow suit or risk being left behind...Because most of today’s [Silicon Valley] entrepreneurs have their basic needs taken care of, their problem-solving often seems frivolous to the rest of the country."
- The good news is that if you're a poet, there's a job for you in Silicon Valley. AI bots need to sound human, so why not make it poetry?
- Mashable is undergoing a "pivot." The site laid off about 30 staffers this week in a move away from hard news to entertainment video content. I know what you're thinking: "Mashable had a hard news team?" C'mon. Don't be so cynical.
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- Yahoo is giving bidders another week — until April 18 — to get their bids in for Yahoo's core business.
- Verizon is still pushing ahead, and Google may even consider bidding.
- Facebook rolled out a number of updates to their Live Video feature, including the ability to go live in Events and Groups. They also included filters, live feedback, livestream discovery and sharing capabilities. Clearly, this is a shot across the bow of both Periscope and Shapchat (Facebook's real competitor). Facebook wants to use its already sticky platform (see stats above) to hook people on live video.
- Eventually, Facebook may plan to share live video revenue with broadcasters. A clear incentive for publishers and brands to get active with live video.
- And the reasoning behind the push for live video is clear: embrace the video-centric trend and crush the competition.
- However, as some "gurus" get in a tizzy about live video, keep this in mind: "Social live video seems like a particularly strong candidate to be viewed in retrospect as a fad—or, more likely, a niche medium that appeals to some public figures and publishers and their audiences without ever revolutionizing how ordinary individuals communicate with one another." This is a solid point and worth dwelling on. Most individuals are passive consumers of content, not creators of it.
- It's a good time for Facebook to focus on increasing engagement and usage; because people are sharing fewer updates on Facebook.
- Facebook has dropped its ban on third party paid content on pages. Anyone who runs a verified Facebook page — a publisher, brand or celebrity, for instance — can now post articles, videos, photos, links or other content to that page that someone else paid for without needing Facebook’s permission or cutting the company in on the proceeds. It's not yet clear whether this is FTC-compliant (our guess is no).
- You can now post your Medium updates...on Facebook. Instant Articles opens to all publishers on April 12, and that includes Medium.
- Instant Articles are getting video too. Facebook will now allow advertisers to place video content at the bottom of articles to drive more engagement. And presumably more revenue for Facebook, with the improved results it delivers to brands.
- Facebook Messenger now has 900 million monthly active users and is adding short URLs and Snapchat-like scannable codes for starting conversations with businesses and individuals. And they'll announce live chat APIs and chatbots at their F8 developers conference this week. Again, trying to out-do Snapchat and making Facebook more appealing to brands. When you combine bots with live chat (and the poets from the above section), you get semi-automated customer service.
- Everyone thought Facebook would win the NFL's Thursday Night Football streaming rights; but that honor went to Twitter, who picked up the deal for just $10 million.
- Twitter just made it easier to figure out conversions made on an advertiser’s website with the introduction of website conversion tags for advertisers.
- Users can now share tweets to direct messages with a single click. A small but meaningful improvement.
- In India, you can tweet your healthcare questions to physicians via Practo Consult. Loosely informed medical advice, in 140 characters or less. What could go wrong?
- If you're a brand and trying to grapple with Snapcaht, start with some filters.
- And here's some advice directly from a Snapchat influencer.
- What you need to know about Snapchat. Including how to sign up, add friends, adjust your settings, send a snap, user stories and more.
- Oh, and if you haven't added me on Snapchat yet, my username is wsmonty. Go for it.
Trivia question: What is Spain doing to make itself more in step with the global economy? *
Collaborative / Autonomous Economy
- Recently, there's been some fretting over the state of the collaborative/sharing/gig economy, as a number of these startups have folded or changed direction. Jeremiah Owyang wisely points out that this is simply a signal of a maturing market.
- Chariot for Women is a new women-only ride-sharing service. Sounds great for safety purposes; but it may not be legal.
- Uber has some serious competition in Latin America.
- Uber and Lyft battled legal troubles in California. Uber paid $10 million to settle a case on background checks after claiming its driver-vetting procedure was better than in traditional cab firms. And a court rejected Lyft’s$12.25-million settlement offer in a class-action suit by drivers who claimed the company was denying them employee benefits.
- Uber is getting into the loan business in Michigan and California. The ride-hailing serivce is teaming up with Clearbanc for a program called Advance Pay which loans drivers up to $1,000 with no interest.
- Investments: BMW is teaming up with RideCell and has invested $15M into ReachNow, a Seattle-based car-sharing business. And Hertz is journeying on with a $50M investment in Luxe, the valet parking startup. Big brands continue to find ways to partner with collaborative economy startups, rather than trying to outmaneuver them — a recipe for success, as they're usually too big and inflexible to do it themselves.
- Bike sharing may be the way to go: there hasn't been a single death in the bike-sharing industry in the U.S.
- Self-driving trucks may be the future of commercial transport in Europe. Six convoys of trucks, tethered together via wireless, made their way to Rotterdam last week. Sing it with me now...
- Venture Capital firm Andreessen Horowitz is investing $3.1 million in Comma.ai, a company that creates aftermarket semiautonomous vehicle kits. Homebrew self-driving vehicles? It's not out of the question. We'll see if automakers are interested, as they were with GM's $1B Cruise acquisition (Reported in our March 14 edition).
- Toyota has created university partnerships for its autonomous vehicle initiatives. The UM campus will be responsible for fully autonomous cars, the Stanford campus will be working on partially autonomous and the MIT campus will work on machine learning.
- The HBS Growth and Innovation Forum claims Tesla is not a disruptor; but they forget that the decision to buy a Tesla isn't necessarily rational. Remember how the iPhone unexpectedly took the market by storm?
- While the tech world single-mindedly salivates over autonomous vehicles, we need to stop and ask the question: are cities ready for autonomous vehicles? The short answer is emphatically no, but the Driverless Cities Project is developing a comprehensive answer, folding in urban design, landscape architecture, transportation engineering, sociology, urban networks, and planning law. Hint: there's more to this than the perfecting the technology in vehicles. For example, have you ever witnessed pedestrian behavior in New York City?
- We've heard this argument before, and it's worth repeating: the podcasting industry has a nomenclature problem. "Podcasting" just isn't that compelling of a term. "Please sponsor my episodic downloadable mp3 files that are playable on any device."
- The New York Times has developed a podcasting team that will launch several new shows this year, backed by advertising and designed to draw broad audiences.
- Audible, long known for audio books, is getting into news and podcasting. Recall that Audible is an Amazon property. This could be game-changing for the audio industry.
- Podcast Recommendation of the Week. This week's recommendation comes from Daniel Lieberman: Stratechery. If you enjoyed the Tesla piece above, you'll enjoy this. Stratechery is hosted by Ben Thompson and Jon Nathanson, and focuses on understanding the strategy and business implications technology. Do you have a podcast recommendation for us? Add yours to our Google Sheet: smonty.co/yourpodcasts
What are the five types of podcasts? What is the common thread that connects each? How can you make your podcast better? Dave Delaney has the answer in The Art of the Podcast.
Content / Customer Experience
- The best brands today aren't creating marketing; they're creating movements.
- Successful branded communities not only result in greater reach, but also boost value along the entire customer journey, such as by encouraging conversions and improving existing customer relationships.
- Content marketing presents us with many challenges; three challenges that top marketing executives face include technology integration, increase in volume and strategy.
- Always a good resource: how to create an editorial calendar for free using Google Calendar.
- The J.D. Power Millennials Insight Report indicates that Millennials are not as fickle or anti-establishment as you think; customer service is critical to Millennial loyalty; the key to their happiness is value for money; they're less concerned with privacy than other generations; they're more optimistic about the economy.
- What Do Top-Performing Marketers Do Differently? They focus on the customer journey, digital transformation and the customer experience.
Privacy / Security / Legal
- WhatsApp just switched on encryption for a billion people. And just like that, terrorists have a new platform of choice.
- The U.S. Senate has drafted an encryption bill and it is 'ludicrous, dangerous, and technically illeterate.' The same thing could be said about the Senate itself. Be sure to read this article. There's a lot a stake.
- With more wearables in the workplace — including for business purposes — there are legal and ethical concerns around tracking employees.
Measurement / Metrics / Data
- Data are just data. How you interpret the data matters — and how you apply skepticism to how others interpret the data also matters. Another brilliant read from Avinash.
- When it comes to marketing automation, we seem set to blame the technology when something goes awry. But the fact is, it's not the technology, it's the humans behind it.
Chart of the Week
Brought to you by Zignal Labs, a realtime, cross media analytics platform (also a client of Scott Monty Strategies).
Ride-hailing is becoming globally prevalent. But like language, there are variations everywhere you go. Even in the U.S., there are regional preferences for certain companies over others. Here's a quick look the dominant conversation over the last month, where Lyft is dominating in many U.S. cities. For more detail this week, follow the Zignal Labs blog on what it means.
* Answer to the trivia question above:
- Spain's prime minister wants to shorten the workday by two hours, so he is recommending that the country end its tradition of the siesta.
When You Have the Time: Essential Watching / Listening / Reading
- Usually, one of the traits of leaders we celebrate is their ability to communicate. However, it's becoming clear that good listening can lead to more breakthroughs for leaders.
- Still, there's something to be said for the hidden power of gut instincts.
- What happens when some of the things controlling the Internet of Things are discontinued?
- Chris Hardwick has waited a while, but now he's something of a nerd media mogul.
- Grab a pen and write this down: handwriting may make you smarter. New studies show that students who take notes by hand outperform students who type. My Moleskine is right here beside me as I type...
- Theodore Roosevelt was an extremely well-read individual. He is said to have read up to three books at day at one point. So you'll want to follow his recommendations for what constitute good reading habits. BONUS: we'll throw in Theodore Roosevelt's reading list as well.
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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.