Don't panic — there's extreme news at Yahoo, Twitter, LinkedIn and Uber, Super Bowl digital content expands, clicks on mobile banner ads, Apple's apps need work, the best career of the 21st century, the Economist publishes to messaging app Line, Death Star vs. co-op platforms and the sharing economy, a podcast measurement breakthrough, the most effective audience-building tool, a one-hour security drill, the EU data pact needs your attention, why vanity metrics don't tell all, a new search engine, 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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- Don't count on cable cutters just yet. Comcast's numbers are in and they added customers in the Q4 of 2015. The company says it's due in part to its X1 set-top box and improved customer service.
- Netflix has a ban on VPN use with its streaming videos, and that forces the issue of what a global digital video marketplace should look like. Are the days of the staggered region-by-region release over? Does Hollywood need to change, or does Netflix?
- Well, Super Bowl 50 is in the history books, and it's a modern-day digital juggernaut, with social content up 233% since 2012.
- However, brands are less focused on "war rooms" during events. The most regimented brands are behaving this way every day and simply make it part of their culture.
- Here are seven digital marketing trends for 2016, including the phasing out of data-less marketing and the potential rise of Facebook over Google.
- Over 60% of clicks on mobile banner ads are a mistake. We're completely surprised. Surprised that 40% are intentional. Mobile agencies must be thankful for fat fingers.
- Amazon, LEGO and Apple all share this one strategic trick that helps them stay ahead of the competition.
- Speaking of Apple, Walt Mossberg says Apple's apps need some serious work. Complexity, feature gaps, and bugs are ruining what should be segment-leading apps.
- With the huge advance in electric and autonomous vehicles, we all know that the automotive ecosystem is changing. But to hear the CTO of General Motors say it is a pleasant, if unexpected truth.
- Of course, it would be nice if the United Auto Workers joined the movement. In the latest round of contract negotiations, the UAW was caught unprepared for the external forces of social media on its process.
- If anyone tells you that you need a social strategy, look them straight in the eye and tell them that you need a business strategy first. You likely already have one. That's good. Now tie your social strategy to your business goals; don't measure social for the sake of social.
- Lucky you! Marketing is the best career in the 21st century. The worst? Being a day care worker who posts a snap of her middle finger at her daycare center on Snapchat is probably the worst job.
- There's room for improvement at the top, though: 61 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are not active on any major social network.
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- At the beginning of last week, we knew that Marissa Mayer was about to unveil cost-cutting plans at Yahoo. The stock dropped nearly 10% the morning after the announcement.
- The CEO has been at the helm for three years and has failed to turn the company around and indicated the company's core search business would be for sale. Favorite quote from Kara Swisher: "Meanwhile, over on another planet, CEO Marissa Mayer said that Yahoo was going to keep trying to turn itself around."
- Sure enough, in conjunction with its Q4 earnings call, the company decided to layoff 15% of its global workforce.
- Alphabet (Google)
- Meanwhile, over at Alphabet, the company's report of rising profits boosted it to briefly become the world's most valuable company, ahead of Apple. The profits came mostly through the core Internet business, which includes search, YouTube and Android.
- Other news from Alphabet's earnings call: Gmail now has over 1 billion users.
- And YouTube is preparing to premiere its first original movie series from Pew Die Pie on its YouTube Red channel for $10 a month. We'll be watching to see how this stacks up against Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and others.
- All Facebook pages can now reply to comments with private messages to users. A great solution if you're looking to de-escalate situations with irate customers.
- Good news for multiple account holders: Instagram is releasing an account-switching feature for iOS devices. We can't wait for all of the brand fails, when social media 'gurus' forget which account they're logged into.
- WhatsApp has surpassed 1 billion users, making Facebook's purchase of the messaging app another extraordinarily prescient move.
- LinkedIn reported surpassing analysts' expectations for Q4, but the stock plummeted by about 40% when the company issued a slower growth plan.
- The company also announced that it is shutting down its ad network after only a year. It evidently required significant resources. The company instead will focus on sponsored content ad formats, like the other social giants.
- Twitter is cracking down on terrorism and has swung into action by banning 125,000 ISIL-related accounts.
- Early in the week, Twitter stock jumped on the rumors that Marc Andreessen and private equity group Silver Lake might buy Twitter.
- And then leaked API data showed that Twitter usage was down significantly in the last 17 months. A Twitter spokesperson indicated that "the data is [sic] not correct." Whether or not it's true, the report seems to lend credence to the negative news swirling around Twitter recently — and that's the reality Twitter management need to operate in as they manage this crisis.
- Twitter is considering making a change to its timeline, in which it will reorder tweets based on what Twitter's algorithm thinks people most want to see, a departure from the current feed's reverse chronological order. Yes, you can opt out.
- Mashable saw the upside ("easier to follow Tweetstorms and longer conversations"), but most users lost their minds and even drove #RIPTwitter to the top of the trending chart.
- This in turn forced Jack Dorsey to respond to set people's minds at ease:
- The WSJ reported that Amazon is preparing to open 300-400 brick-and-mortar bookstores.
- This was clarified by re/code, who spoke to Amazon's retail executive Steve Keseel, who indicated that “Amazon will indeed open up more bookstores, but it also plans to eventually unveil other types of retail stores in addition to bookstores”. Because that would have been too ironic, after Amazon put so many independent bookstores out of business. Expect robots to put Amazon out of business in another five decades.
- Did brands kill Peach? An interesting parable — for those of you who even knew what Peach was in the first place, that is.
- In a nod to the importance of messaging apps, The Economist will begin publishing charts and other visual content on Line.
Trivia question: In an effort to crack down on driver abuse, Uber is turning to which children's toy? *
- Uber surprised everyone by suddenly changing its logo. In a blog post and video, the company said that they stand for the confluence of bits and atoms. And here's the back story. But the logo is puzzling people. From "mini Death Star" to "Pac-Man with an intestinal blockage," people don't seem to know what to make of it. To us, this move is a clear indicator of Uber's broader potential. And if you look at the old 'U' logo, you can achieve the new logo by turning the U 90 degrees and having it envelop everything within it. Again, indicative of Uber's vision.
- And as an aside, just to show you what kind of control freaks there are at Uber, their blog post cannot be flipped into Flipboard, nor can their video be shared or embedded. You have to visit their site to see the update.
- If you think the Death Star and control freak comments are off base, read this piece on how the sharing economy faces a threat as the rise of platform wars is on: platform co-ops vs. the Death Star platforms (Uber, Airbnb). A long but important read.
- As Uber tries to undercut its rivals with fare cuts, it alienates its most important set of stakeholders: its drivers — to the extent that they're going on strike. Drivers striking at Uber. This must be how the company knows it has arrived.
- Uber partnered with Dick's Sporting Goods to deliver Super Bowl champion t-shirts before the game was even over. Although, after seeing the game, it was pretty clear from the first half who would win.
- Podcasting in 2015 feels like blogging circa 2004. The same trends we saw a decade ago — professionalization on one hand, platformization on the other — sure seem to be playing out again.
- SoundCloud is getting ready to launch its own "radio stations" features. Similar to other radio services, like Pandora, Stations allow users to listen to an endless stream of music based on a track, search terms, or other content stream.
- The public radio industry has developed a set of measurement guidelines that can help advertisers in their quest to sponsor podcasts.
- Podcast Recommendation of the Week. This week, in the wake of Super Bowl ads, check out The Beancast, the definitive weekly conversation on trends that are affecting your brand. Each week Bob Knorpp hosts a panel of marketing pundits to cover topics of interest. Do you have a podcast recommendation for us? Add yours to our Google Sheet: smonty.co/yourpodcasts
Content / Customer Experience
- We know that video is an important aspect of content marketing this year; but interactive video should be a focus: it helps to drive greater engagement, longer viewing time and heightened understanding of audience behavior.
- Equally as important: the email newsletter. It remains the most effective audience-building tool you have as a publisher.
- If you're trying to succeed at content marketing, it's not just about the content creation; you need to have a good process flow to make it all work.
- The missing link in the customer experience? Emotion. It's less about what happens to them and more about how they feel about the experience - which the numbers may not tell you. The solution? Put yourself in your customers' shoes for a day.
- Here's a customer experience no one should have: the thin-skinned CEO gets personally offended and bans you from buying the product.
- Fear is a powerful emotion. Do you use fear to motivate your audience? Try this more positive approach instead.
Privacy / Security / Legal
- Here's a one-hour security drill you should perform with your devices and accounts to be sure you don't become the victim of a hacker.
- Europe’s highest court on Tuesday struck down an international agreement that allowed companies to move digital information like web search histories and social media updates between the EU and the United States. The decision left the international operations of companies like Google and Facebook in a sort of legal limbo even as their services continued working as usual.
- The implications for not following the General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) are potentially vast: as in tens of millions of dollars for companies with global infrastructures. This is a significant development, and one that can't be written off as just a European regulation; this applies to any company that processes data of Europeans in any fashion.
Measurement / Metrics / Data
- Companies benefit when they give up a measure of control with regard to consumer data. Democratizing data may result in a competitive advantage.
- The Internet of Things is changing the way media and entertainment companies operate: digital business models, high-speed networks and the wide availability of consumer data.
- Ted Cruz beat Donald Trump in the Iowa caucuses last week; here'a a look at what vanity metrics (a la Donald) have to do with results.
- Adobe and Econsultancy's Digital Trends Report looks at which digital opportunities are the most exciting for marketers right now and five years from now. Right now? Optimizing the customer experience. Five years hence? Data-driven marketing focused on the individual. We have to wait five years for that?
- Strange, as technology especially technology that exists today should take four to six months, on average, according to recent research.
Chart of the Week
Brought to you by Zignal Labs, a realtime, cross media analytics platform (also a client of Scott Monty Strategies).
While emoji may be more of a recent phenomenon with press releases (Chevrolet), pizza ordering (Dominos) and Facebook's pending Reactions, it's nonetheless something on the mind of those who need to perform analytics. This week's chart is an emoji cloud related to the political candidates.
* Answer to the trivia question above:
- In an effort to crack down on driver abuse, Uber is turning to a children's toy to occupy the attention of drunk passengers. Sure, it may occupy drunk passengers, but by the end of their shift, after having listened to it for hours on end, will Uber drivers want to attack someone?
When You Have the Time: Essential Watching / Listening / Reading
- From the always deep thought-provoking Brain Pickings: how to treat the symptoms of a rising reputation. Or, as P.G. Wodehouse put it, "The usual drawback to success is that it annoys one's friends so." [TWEET THIS]
- One of the most important aspects of a manager is emotional intelligence: the ability to manage conflict and stress, overcome obstacles, and inspire others. If these are essential leadership traits, then we should hire for emotional intelligence.
- Here are 25 of the best free iPhone apps for business. Lots of winners here; we had only heard of a handful of them.
- Just for fun: TrumpDonald.org. You'll thank us for two minutes well spent.
- The story behind a new search engine that pairs Simpsons quotes with screenshots. That's right, it's Frinkiac.
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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.