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Marketing in the Digital Age: News Round-Up (week ending Mar 15, 2019)


First Party Auctions (sounds more fun than it is)- Google changes its ad bidding strategies, Twitter “Stories”, and free access to Google’s Marketing Live Event streaming for the first time ever.

Google Switches to First Party Auctions for Ad Buys

Summary: Google is switching to a highest price wins the bid to place ads across their Ad network. Previously, they employed a second-price model, in which that advertiser would only pay a penny more than the runner-up bid. As a buyer, in theory, you could bid an astronomically high amount and only a penny more than the person who bid second lower than you. Now, you pay what you bid. Although seemingly straightforward, it leaves a lot of questions on the optimal bid amount.

Opinion: This is like the equivalent of Instagram being down for a day for Google Ad buyers. Buyers (including yours truly) will have to adjust pricing to get it to an optimal rate. Bid shading (which is like a compromise for first party auctions) sets a fair price by the vendor (and also seems a little like a fox guarding the henhouse).

Twitter Developing “Stories”

Summary: Twitter has released its own version of Facebook/IG Stories. When you swipe left on your Twitter feed, you’ll be taken to a camera to capture content. There aren’t additional stickers or filters yet, but they are likely to come.

Opinion: I feel like all socials are going to look the same in about 2 years. What is going to be the differentiator? These platforms did once have separate strengths (like Twitter for live events, Instagram for visuals, etc.), and these are strengths that should be developed over convergence.

Google Streaming Marketing Event

Summary: Google announced it will stream its Google Marketing Live Event for the first time ever. As explained by Google "Did you know that searches for "best” have increased by 80% in the last two years? For example, in recent third-party research, we saw that some people spend over 50 days searching for the “best chocolate” before making a decision.

Google Marketing Live is happening on May 14th - register now to discover how to take action on new consumer insights like these and learn about the latest digital marketing products from Google. For the first time, we'll also be live streaming 8+ hours of additional content from the event. Engage directly with product managers through live Q&A, learn new best practices, and get an inside look at how our latest products are developed."

Opinion: Sign-up! Courtesy of the best blog ever. ;)

Marketing in the Digital Age: News Round-Up (week ending June 15, 2018)


Now that AT&T and Time Warner's merger was approved by the department of justice, will confirmation bias slip even more into traditional advertising channels?   

AT&T-Time Warner- What It Means for Your Advertising

Summary: The DOJ approved AT&T's $85B takeover bid for Time Warner.  Over the past year, AT&T has been building out an ad and analytics units that they claim will do for automated advertising for premium video and advertising like how social media revolutionized digital advertising.  Their goal is to be more precise with targeted advertising. 

Opinion: I spoke about this a few months back when the merger was announced. While I like the idea of seeing ad content that is more relevant to me, my concern arose when thinking about confirmation bias in this setting.  For example, I lean left politically.  With this deal, I imagine I would be served more content that is left leaning.  However, I like to know how people who lean to the right politically are considering views to better educate myself.  With targeted traditional advertising, I would have make a concerted effort to seek out that info still.  It is that much more effort I (or anyone) would have to put into learning from an opposing view, which may further confirmation bias.  

Snap Announces SnapKit

Summary: Snapchat has launched a developer platform.  Using its APIs, developers can integrate Snap's login, create Bitmoji avatars into their keyboards, display public Our Stories and Snap Map content, and generate branded stickers with referral links users can share back inside Snapchat.  Initial partners include Tinder (allowing users to bring Bitmojis into chats) and others.  Their biggest selling point is privacy on the Kit, not allowing anyone to share social graphs with apps, to prevent a Cambridge Analytica mishap.  

Opinion:  Snap has a window of privacy advantage over Facebook right now, and it's good they are capitalizing on it.  User privacy, especially on this platform which originated based on stories disappearing within 24-hours (things you don't want others to see for long), is especially key.  

Google's Revamped Ad Settings

Summary: In an effort to be more transparent and educate people about data collection, Google has highlighted features of Why This Ad and Ad Settings, where users can turn off targeted ads to them.  These have existed for some time, but many people haven't seen how it exists. 

Opinion: Transparency and communication always help with user trust instead of people coming to their own conclusions on how their data is being used.  

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 16,2018)


In this week's edition of Marketing In The Digital Age, there have been lots of updates and redesigns to Google and Snap which will affect marketing planning.  How will your company evolve with the changes? 

Snapchat Redesign Under Fire From Consumers

Summary: Snapchat took to a redesign earlier this week, which launched a petition signed by 1.1m+ users and counting to go back to the old look.  A complaint highlighted by CEO Evan Spiegel said a user complained that celebrities used to feel like a friend but they don't anymore with the new ways Stories are presented, to which Spiegel responded, "...exactly. They're not your friend."

Opinion: Ouch, Spiegel!  Why wouldn't you want a key differentiator from dominant competitors in the space?  Even though Snap's earnings were better than expected this week, it still has a ways to go to stay on top of its business and colossal giant Facebook.

Google's New Ad Blocker

Summary: Google rolled out a new ad blocker to help mitigate annoying ads, like ones where sound automatically plays or ads you can't close until a certain amount of time has passed. Google is essentially blacklisting sites that violate the terms and also blocking all ads on the violator's site.  With a major source of its revenue coming from Google Ad Network, Google is taking this preemptive measure to keep people from installing more aggressive ad blockers that hurt revenue even more.

Opinion: Although it may be painful to some advertisers with annoying ads in the short run, the move helps advertisers since Google is helping keep the door open for ads to be seen still.  

Google Emails to Upate Automatically

Summary: Google unveiled it will roll out a demonstration of dynamically updated emails, which would allow for emails to be continuously updating with information and greater interactivity.  An example could be automatically updated flight info in a booking confirmation email.  The feature is coming out of Goggle's AMP, Accelerated Mobile Pages, division, which strips out technology to make pages load faster.

Opinion: There have been instances where I have needed original information from an email, and I wonder how these automatic updates will affect the flow of information.  Web developer critics are also saying that this gives Google too much say in the way the web operates.