Monthly Archives: July 2015

Next to Now: Good News / Bad News Edition


Pandora’s sponsored listening program leads to higher ad engagement by *decreasing* the frequency of the ads. We think that advertising which helps users get what they want works much better than advertising that interrupts what they want.




The opening of its ad platform could well mean that Instagram will make more from mobile in 2017 than Google or Twitter.




With all the big streaming news coming from Netflix (on which we can’t yet advertise), you might wonder if Hulu (on which we have run many successful ad campaigns) can keep up. Turns out they’re doing very well, thank you: With brand-new content deals for Showtime (including Homeland, The Affair and Masters of Sex) and getting the Hulu remote app up and running on Apple Watch, they’re continuing to stay ahead of a fast-swimming pack.

#video #streaming




Younger demographics are abandoning traditional TV in droves. (via @BenedictEvans)

Also a BI article about the same study. 

The change in TV consumption is in its infancy, but it’s far enough along that we can start to see trends in how it’s developing. Here are some of the ways.

More signs of the switch in TV consumption: For the first time, more people are using Comcast for internet than for TV . . .

Or you could pay up to $200k for a thirty second spot on Caitlyn Jenner’s new show.

#video #probablytechnicallygoodnews




It hasn’t been a great time to lead, read, or work at Gawker recently. We trust they’ll turn it around.




Bad news for Twitter and its advertisers: A June 2015 study suggests only 3% of Twitter users find ads on Twitter relevant. This is fixable, but will take better work on both the creative and targeting sides.

There was some good news in Twitter’s earning’s call on Tuesday, where it announced higher than expecting revenues, but investors were unimpressed with user growth. 





“If a thing is designed to kill you, it is, by definition, bad design”: Mike Monteiro in Dear Design Student.

(via @NextDraft )





“Parents are blowing-off back-to-school shopping.” The article blames this on poor mobile advertising, but we think it is simply more a reflection of larger trends: toward flexibility and buying what you need when you need it, and away from the long-term planning style of household management.

#backtoschool #mobile



Google uncovers trends and shares advice about reaching back-to-school shoppers based on search trends. Since search interest for “back to school” rose 48% last year, it’s worth giving them a listen.





ClickZ published a useful thought piece about targeting: The more smartphones know about us, the better advertisers (like us) can target ads. Generally, we think this is a positive thing when it’s applied with care and respect for people. But do we want a world where the health tracker on your phone suggests you have indicators of heart disease . . . so you get served an ad for a book on heart disease? Yes and no.

#mobile #targeting




Next to Now: Heart of the Summer Edition


It’s alive!

Twitter makes it easier to link your advertising campaign to live events.

#social #live


Are interstitials worth it?

Google says they deliver great click-through numbers but also high levels of bad feeling.



Peep shows, drones, and caffeine-ready concerts.

Check out some early marketing experiments with Perisocope.

#streaming #social


YouTube getting VR-ready.

“YouTube launched its first 360-degree video ad yesterday.”



Apple gets into the streaming radio business.

“Earlier this year, Apple extended its mobile advertising network to iTunes Radio, its web streaming service that competes with Pandora, through programmatic ad buying.”

#programmatic #audio



For your next ad, might we humbly suggest an artisanal font made expressly for Kanye? Inspired by Kanye’s tweet, “Sometimes I get emotional over fonts,” Yeezy Display will add a mere $50,000 to your production cost.

(Via Dark Matter Issue 049)

#design #yeezy


The return to the couch.

OTT Devices (“Over the Top” boxes such as Apple TV or Roku) are bringing Hulu viewers, and presumably other streamers, back to the living couch—which means TV is regaining its “real-life” social component (because the couch is where we can watch with other people), without necessarily losing its digitally social component.

#video #streaming


Email on the fly.

There’s no more question about it, email is majority mobile-first.

#email #mobile #samething


The end of Inbox Zero?

It’s probably not a coincidence that the move to mobile with email is happening at the same time as we are rethinking workflow:

“Inbox Zero, while a great concept within the limits of email and paper (“Clean Desk policy”), is a fundamentally authoritarian high-modernist concept. It creates a strong, bright line between profane and sacred regimes of information, and encourages you to get to illusory control (a clean inbox) by hiding precisely the illegible chaos that’s tempting and dangerous to ignore (if you use folders, you likely have one or more misc folders even if you don’t call them that). This is dangerous because you’re just moving unprocessed chaos from a procrastination zone with strong temporal cues (the Inbox) to a denial zone with broken temporal cues (the set of de facto misc folders).”


(Via Dark Matter Issue 049)


Next to Now: The End of Big Tent Marketing?

This week, new data from Instagram, YouTube, NPR and more suggests that the shift away from big tent marketing—where all your customers will hear your message at one, pre-determined moment—is well underway. Time to set up lots and lots of individual tents.


Instagram builds on its lead as the most important social network among U.S. teens.

Teen Social Net Prefs




Instagram announces that it will open its network to everyone this fall. Rates, minimum spend, and other requirements have not yet been released to us at Verso, but as soon as we learn more we’ll let you know.


What does a customer-first approach mean for marketing? “Marketing is no longer a department,” says IBM’s Michelle Killebrew:

“Businesses of all sizes are (truly) embracing the concept of customer centricity and understanding that marketing is no longer a department, because everyone (customers and employees alike) has a voice that can be amplified through social and mobile channels. Every interaction with a customer is part of their experience with your brand. It is why companies are focusing on employee engagement now more than ever—employees are the face of the company to the customer.”

This type of insight doesn’t easily map to book publishing, since every publisher is caring for hundreds to thousands of different brands (aka authors or series), but it’s undeniable that editors, marketers and publicists for every house are gaining public voices—and this is a good thing.


On the subject of one-to-one advertising, this outdoor campaign for a Swiss vacation spot is brilliant at literally starting a conversation.


YouTube viewing habits are going mobile: 50% (and growing) of YouTube views are mobile. 


TV viewing habits are changing: 28% of all TV watching is now streaming.


In another sign that the NPR audience is beginning to shift from live listening to on-demand, NPR podcasts have nearly doubled in hours downloaded over the last year. 



Next to Now: New Habits in Bloom

This week, we peek into changing consumer habits in messaging, video viewing, marketing, and searching.


Instant messaging is on the rise and ready to overtake email as the primary communication tool by 2019. Get your marketing skills up to speed.


Who What When Where Why: The modern quest reveals itself across all our autocompletes (apparently we still really want to know “Who killed JFK?”):

via Dark Matter 


The rise and fall of persona marketing, continued: Why personas are like Marmite.

via Dark Matter


The decline of kids TV—now so much less popular than tablets it’s a punishment:

“Mobile devices are so popular with kids that nearly half of the 800 parents quizzed by Miner & Co. reported that they confiscate their kids’ tablets when they act up and make them watch TV instead”

via Dave Pell

Next to Now: July 4th Edition

Happy 4th of July everybody. We’re getting this week’s edition of Next to Now out a little early so people can get their book-related ad industry reading in before fireworks prep work tomorrow. Here’s what we’ve been reading this shortened week:


When we say video is exploding online, we really mean that *mobile* video is exploding, and when we say mobile we really mean mobile phones, which are at 34% of video viewing as of March 2015 (up from 15% in March of 2014). The really good news from our point of view is that people are more than willing to watch ads to get their content free:

“IAB found that 78% of respondents would rather watch free mobile videos with ads, vs. 15% who would rather pay for a monthly mobile video subscription with no ads and 8% who would rather pay for each mobile video with no ads.”



Virtual Reality comes to retail (at least in demo). If they can bring a SoHo shopping experience alive to festival-goers in Cannes, maybe we can also start talking about translating the real physical indie bookshop experience online in the near future?  What I wouldn’t give to be able to noodle around Chicago’s 57th Street Books basement stacks from my New York City apartment.


Benedict Evans’ newsletter is worth subscribing to if you’re interested in all things mobile (and you should be). Here he is from his most recent newsletter on search, discoverability and how to find what you’re not really looking for:

  • “Google is very good at giving you what you’re looking for, but no good at all at telling you what you want to find, let alone things you didn’t know you wanted.”
  • “Amazon, after 20 years of ruthless execution, still only has under a third of the entire print books market. Most people buy most of their books in physical retail, because book shops are not just relatively inefficient end-points to a physical logistics network, but also filters and recommendation platforms. They’re high-latency but also high-bandwidth.”
  • And the pay off:  “Though some companies can make it entirely through organic search or Facebook virality, most cannot . . . For the rest of us, that means marketing. In effect, by removing all other constraints, the internet makes advertising more important than ever.”