Marketing in the Digital Age: News Round-Up (week ending Sept 28, 2018)


How many new ways can we get advertised to now? Let me count the ways…

Facebook Shadow Profiles

Summary: Even if you changed your ad settings not to target on Facebook, Facebook has still found a way to target ads to you with near psychic like prediction. By using information you handed over for security purposes, like a cell for two-step verification, or even info you didn’t hand over at all, like your contact number stored in your friend’s contact list that s/he connected to Facebook, these “shadow profiles” are being used to target ads to you. This practice wasn’t limited to Facebook but also extended to Pinterest, Google, and Twitter.

Opinion: I would have that Facebook would get a jump ahead on rectifying this situation with the amount of security breaches and scrutiny it has been under the past few months. I guess not. In addition, it seems none of the other culprits are learning from what Facebook has endured either and are doomed to repeat the same mistake. These actions seem all too familiar when it comes to seeing businesses thinking they are too big to fail (i.e. banks, entertainment industry).

Snapchat’s New Monetization Strategies

Summary: Snapchat announced Collections, which will allow brands to provide links to purchase their products without having to swipe up on the ad. Collections will appear between users’ Stories and in the Discover section. In addition, Snap also announced it will allow users to purchase products on Amazon by pointing the Snapchat camera at an object around them.

Opinion: These seem like great tools to bring more concrete engagement metrics to brands that advertise on Snapchat. One thing to note, with Instagram announcing a similar purchase link a week and a half ago, it’s suspect how independently these companies actually run.

Facebook Goes After YouTube Advertising

Summary: Facebook announced In-Stream Reserve which will allow advertisers to reach people watching video from a selection of the most watched videos. Advertisers can select specific categories to advertise within, like beauty, sports, etc. YouTube has a similar option called Google Preferred. Facebook also announced ThruPlay, which allows advertisers to pay for ads that are viewed through completion or at least 15 seconds only (akin to TrueView with YouTube).

Marketing in the Digital Age: News Round-Up (week ending Mar 16, 2018)


I will be speaking on VR/AR at Innovation Enterprise next week, so I thought it appropriate to start off with VR.  

How Walt Disney World VR Ruined My Vacation

Summary: This was an opinion piece focused on the writer's trip to Disney World.  Many of the latest attractions include a dose of VR making many sick form the attractions.  

Opinion: Since I will be doing a fireside chat on VR next week, I figured this was a good one to highlight today.  Nausea from VR experiences has been a common complaint coming out of the experiences, and it's something that needs to be rectified if VR will truly go mainstream.  No one wants to pay to be sick! 

Sierra Leone Ran the First Blockchain Based Election

Summary: In a country of 7.4 million people, Sierra Leone has implemented blockchain technology in their voting system to help reduce the cost of voting ballots and to reduce corruption in the voting process.  

Opinion: This is a huge step in the use of blockchain technology.  It helps eliminate corruption in societies where there isn't an accepted form of recording nationally, like Sierre Leone.  It's a technology that will help establish a stronger foundation for counties that need it.  

Amazon's Top Shows Drove 5 Million Prime Subscribers

Summary: Amazon's bread and butter is Prime Subscription, and they use original content programming to drive those sign-ups. Although not tracking isn't specific, Amazon tracks how soon after watching a show that a person signs up for Prime.  

Opinion: What I appreciated was the use of approximate data to derive the lift in Prime subscribers.  Often in marketing, we can use approximate tools to track lift and conversion which some may forget.  This is a good reminder of its efficiency and effects.  

Google Bans Cryptocurrency Ads

Summary: Similar to Facebook's ban earlier this year, Google has blocked cryptocurrency ads from showing up in its ad network starting June 2018. Their reasoning was that they have seen enough harm to consumers that they want to approach the area with caution.

Opinion: With its penetration and access, this could be a positive step in regulating what has been a largely unregulated industry.  Think fake news.  However, my concern would be penalizing those cryptocurrencies who have been legitimately operating in the space.  

Marketing in the Digital Age: News Round-Up (week ending Feb 2, 2018)


Why isn't Google or Facebook threatened by Amazon's projected $8 billion ad business in 2019?  Because they will be playing in different playgrounds... 

Instagram Is Turning into Facebook and That's Bad

Summary: Instagram is getting transformed into many of the facets its big brother Facebook has: ads are increasing in frequency, seeing recommended content from people you don't know, and even showing when users were last active.  

Opinion: This article was the opinion of the author, and I agree with many of the points made.  Instagram was built as a different platform from Facebook, and it's why its popularity grew.  Morphing it into another version of Facebook will strip away the reason why people use Instagram.

Amazon Ad Business

Summary: At a projected $8 billion in revenue by 2019, Amazon's ad business still isn't a threat to Google or Facebook. Why?  Because as Google and Facebook are looking to pull dollars from traditional media spending and digital ad budgets, Amazon is focused on the trade promotions arena (think in-store promotions, coupons, and samples).

Opinion: With the mass amount of data Amazon already has on its customers, moving into this new ad world can surge new life into the trade promotions arena by expanding advertisers spends in this area.  

Snapchat Launches Snap Store

Summary: Snapchat has launched a store in its platform, which you can find by searching for it or via Snapcode.  You can buy t-shirts, hats, and merchandise with Snap branding on it.  

Opinion: I've never been a fan of buying clothing or merchandise that sports a brand's name.  I feel like I should be paid to advertise for them instead of the other way around, but, hey, if it's your thing, the Store is waiting for you.   


Marketing In The Digital Age: News Round-Up (week ending Jan 5, 2018)


First news round-up of the year! I managed to get the year right instead of publishing 2017, so we're off to a good start!  It's the little wins, friends. 

New Era of "Digital Media" Architecture

Summary: Digital media (think projections) on buildings are changing our urban landscape, though urban policy isn't necessarily evolving alongside it. 

Opinion: For advertisers, this could pose a new way to spread awareness for products and services. I tried this in the past, but legal regulations prohibited exploring this within the Los Angeles region.  With a balance of aesthetics and changing urban needs, hopefully policy evolves to respect that as well. 

Amazon Plans to Take on Facebook and Google in Digital Advertising

Summary: It's estimated that 86% of digital ad growth in 2016 came from Facebook and Google.  While Amazon is approximately eat fifth larger producer of digital advertising revenue, it controls only about 2% of the market.  

Opinion: Disruption within the current duopoly is needed.  If any company has a chance of succeeding, Amazon is the one to do it. 

Acton's New Camera Sunglasses

Summary: Acton's new sunglasses allow you to livestream to Facebook, Instagram or YouTube.  It's specially priced at $99 as a pre-order (orig $199).  

Opinion: On the surface, this seems to have a greater chance at market penetration than Snap's Spectacles since you can go beyond the 10 second limit and have a variety of places you can post content.