All posts by Tom Thompson

Next to Now for October 7

THE NEW YORK TIMES GOES ALL-IN WITH FLEX

For the past year, the New York Times digital team has been testing a “Flex frame unit” that works seamlessly across devices and integrates more smoothly with the reading experience—including several tests with Verso clients. The overwhelmingly positive results of those test has led the New York Times to begin phasing out standard display units in favor of  the Flex frame unit. This does not signal the death of the standard IAB ad unit—300×250, 728×90, 160×600—yet. But it does signal that sites and platforms need to continue to evolve the best way to show ads to readers in ways that inform and delight. Here is the WSJ on the story.   

#nyt #flexframe

 

“HOW ADVERTISING WORKS TODAY”

A recently released study from the Advertising Research Foundation, “How Advertising Works Today,” investigates best practices for advertising across TV, print, radio and digital in 45 countries. Here are the key takeaways cited by Marketing Land: 

  • “Spending across multiple platforms delivers greater ROI than investing in single platforms.” For example, a campaign across two platforms generally delivers 19 percent more return on investment than on one platform. For three platforms, it’s 23 percent more; for five, 35 percent.

  • “There is actually a “kicker effect” when television is added back to digital spending.” Digital plus TV, the report found, can increase ROI 60 percent.

  • “This is also true for millennials who consume both traditional and new media.” Even for consumers aged 18 to 24, for instance, the optimal mix was found to be 71 percent traditional media (TV, radio, print) and 29 percent digital (including video, display and paid search). In other words, it’s not just mobile.

  • “’Silo investing’ in some digital formats too heavily can have diminishing returns and even cause sales to decline.” However, this finding was derived primarily from banner desktop ads — not exactly the most engaging format.

  • And the most impact for creative comes from an approach that is unified/connected across platforms, but tailored to each platform. “When campaigns are unified [creatively] across platforms,” ARF SVP Dr. Manuel Garcia-Garcia told the audience at the presentation, “memory activation is enhanced.”

While book publishing budgets do not often allow for including TV in the ad mix, it’s worth noting the bolded bit again based on the 5,000 campaigns included in the study: “The optimal mix was found to be 71 percent traditional media (TV, radio, print) and 29 percent digital.”

#data #research #mix

 

“CAPTIVATE VERSUS AGGRAVATE”

The same article in Marketing Land points to a study conducted by mobile ad firm Kargo together with neuroscience research firm MediaScience called, “Captivate vs. Aggravate.” The study looks at performance of common mobile units—the Adhesion Banner, the In-Stream Banner, the Interstitial—as well as a unit proprietary to Kargo called the Sidekick. It found that of the three common units, the Adhesion Banner had “fewer people [looking] at these banners for less time. Interstitials were considered the most “annoying,” drawing attention mostly from people looking for the X to make the ads go away. In-Stream Banners got the most positive results for time spent looking at the ad as well as for feelings about the product.

#mobile

 

CAN A NEWS BRAND GAIN TRACTION ON INSTAGRAM?

A report from Digiday suggests that Fox News is taking advantage of Instagram’s recent approval of longer video clips to gain a major audience on the platform.  With over 3 million comments, likes and regrams in September—growing faster than Business Insider, Washington Post and BuzzFeed, and out performing such stalward social news powerhouses ads the New York Times, BBC and CNN. Digiday notes a similar success for the brand on Facebook, and we would add that this report is consistent with the high engagement we’ve seen with ads across Fox News platforms. If you provide content that appeals to the conservative audience, a digital campaign on Fox News is one of the best ways to reach them.

#instagram #fox

 

CELEBRATING AMARO

We are thrilled to welcome into the world a bouncy bundle of bitter joy, AMARO: The new book that gives you a delicious introduction to  the bitter liqueurs known as Amaro by drinks expert, Ten Speed author, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Director of Culinary Marketing, Brad T. Parsons. Here’s a link to the New York Times piece on the book. A book authored by a Verso client at one esteemed publishing house and published by another? That’s AMARO. Cheers!

#amaro #drinksforeveryone

 

Photo taken under the stars in Brooklyn during a celebration for AMARO's publication (c) 2016 T. Thompson

Next to Now for September 30

NEW IAB MOBILE STUDY

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) released a report this week on the mobile shopping experience, “Mobile Commerce: A Global Perspective”. While the global payment system is of less concern to U.S. book publishers, the ecosytem of research, engagement and purchase is critical to book buyer’s experience and offers relevant insight even when ads are not directly linking to a buy page. Top results include:

  • 76% of mobile purchasers say they have engaged with an ad in the last six months.
  • 51% of mobile users bought in a store after researching on mobile (this is a good argument for the discovery and research function of ads)
  • Top frustrations with mobile purchasing: Too expensive, Too slow, Hard to use, Previous bad experience, Unstable network

#mobile

 

MOBILE USERS SPEND MORE TIME IN APPS

An eMarketer study released in September suggests that “more than 80% of smartphone internet time was spent with apps” as opposed to the mobile web.

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If you are intent on reaching the mobile user, keep in mind that most of your audiences is using apps. The mobile app versus browser debate has been active since the first iPhone, with convincing arguments made at different times for each. But analysts at Gartner suggest the end of the debate is in sight—as the development of bots and Virtual Personal Assistants (VPAs) threaten to dethrone apps as our mobile device go-to.

#mobile #apps #bots #VPA #gartner

 

NEW VIDEO TIPS PLATFORM BY PLATFORM

This New York Times article reveals the great splintering of video standards and best practices in a world where some platforms (such as YouTube) are watched with full sound and some (such as Facebook) tend to be watched with the sound off. Do we have to cut a different video for every platform now? Well, if you want to optimize engagement for each platform, then the answer is yes.

#video #social

 

TWITTER RELEASES VIDEO STATS

Speaking of video best practices, Twitter released an infographic with insights into the best performing  video ads on the platform. Details include who’s watching, what they’re watching and responding to, and what types of video get the best results.

#video #twitter

 

SNAPCHAT UPS ITS VIDEO GAME

As Snapchat changes its company name to Snap, Inc., the company’s wider play for video content comes in focus. From distribution deals with Saturday Night Live to the expansion of the Discover channel to the launch of the company’s new hardware “toy”, Spectacles, Snap, Inc. is positioning itself as one possible answer to the question, Where does everybody go after TV?

#snapchat #video

 

Photo of Bruce Springsteen heading into his reading at the Union Square Barnes & Noble (c) 2016 by Martha Otis

 

Next to Now for September 23

THE FT: “HOW THE MAD MEN LOST THE PLOT”

In the FT, ad strategist Ian Leslie goes to battle with the notion that legacy media is dead and digital hypertargeting is the savior. Leslie cites the study that showed Pepsi’s decision to forego traditional advertising for a social media campaign delivered a large number of clicks and comments but very few sales. The FT goes on to talk about Byron Sharp’s provocative book, HOW BRANDS GROW:

“Sharp’s first law is that brands can’t get bigger on the back of loyal customers. Applying a statistical analysis to sales data, he demonstrates that the majority of any successful brand’s sales comes from “light buyers”: people who buy it relatively infrequently. Coca-Cola’s business is not built on a hardcore of Coke lovers who drink it daily, but on the millions of people who buy it once or twice a year. You, for instance, may not think of yourself as a Coke buyer, but if you’ve bought it once in the last 12 months, you’re actually a typical Coke consumer. This pattern recurs across brands, categories, countries and time. Whether it’s toothpaste or computers, French cars or Australian banks, brands depend on large numbers of people — that’s to say, the masses — who buy them only occasionally, leave long gaps between purchases and buy competing brands in
between.”

Not many book publishers have enough followers to employ retargeting, but for those that do, this article is worth reading to consider if retargeting is the best use of your limited marketing dollars. While all good marketing starts with the core audience, if you want to turn a predictably solid-selling book into a blockbuster, you need to reach beyond passionate, existing fans to a wider potential readership.

#retargeting #oldschool #mass

 

“ONLY DEAD FISH” REANIMATES THE ZOMBIE PLOT

On his blog, Only Dead Fish, Neil Perkin picks up Ian Leslie’s thread and runs with it in his commentary on a “Google Firestarter” event in London, along with reports on talks by Tom Goodwin and Tracey Follows. Worth a read for a dose of what advertising strategists are thinking these days: invisibility, authenticity, and bio-integration.

#onlydeadfish #googlefirestarter

 

PANDORA INTRODUCES NEW SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

In an announcement that included improvements to their paid model, Pandora also announced changes to their ad supported model: with opportunities for brands to sponsor more playbacks and skips. Pandora continues to lead in the business of offering listeners value in exchange for their attention. They have proved a strong partner for book advertising in the past, and this announcement makes it clear that they intend to stay that way in the future.

#pandora #streaming

 

ADIDAS SAYS SNAPCHAT USER ENGAGEMENT IS “INSANE”

Adidas has seen much more engagement from their Snapchat videos than they have from YouTube. Here’s Business Insider with more details about what’s working for them on Snapchat, from experiments with Stories to Geofilters.

#snapchat #sports

 

ARE VIDEO ADS WORTH IT?

New surveys from various video measurement companies—including Nielsen and Limelight—suggest that 52% of U.S. users skip pre-roll whenever possible, and a majority do not like video ads at all. In fact, nearly 27% of users surveyed in the U.S., Australia, UK and Canada say that without an option to skip pre-roll they’d abandon the video they’d wanted to watch. So, while video engagement remains strong, it may be that paid ad resources are better put to other outlets.

#video

 

FACEBOOK ADMITS TO INFLATING VIDEO METRICS

So if pre-roll isn’t the answer to getting people to watch your video, is Facebook? While the social network has touted itself as the premier advertising platform for video, Facebook recently revealed that it has inflated its users’ average time spent watching video for the past two years. Here’s CNET on the controversy. 

 

#facebook #video #metrics

 

TEENS ALL IN WITH YOUTUBE

A new poll from the National Cyber Security Alliance and Microsoft suggests that many more teens use Gmail than use social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat—and even more (91%!) use YouTube. Here’s the link to eMarketer’s story about the findings.

#teens #youtube #social

 

Photo (c) 2016 Martha Otis: A view from the Park during the fall PAMA event sponsored by Goodreads, and hosted by PAMA president Christian Toth

Next to Now: Sept 16

MIC REIMAGINES SPONSORED POSTS

The Wall Street Journal reports on how the millennial news platform .Mic is rethinking video sponsorship. Mic is allowing advertisers to sponsor their highly popular videos on Facebook:

“Instead of selling…ads based on content genre or audience demographics, Mic is putting its editorial videos into categories, such as clips that elicit emotions or videos that celebrate innovation—two popular genres that typically incite people to share, and letting advertisers run ads next to these types of videos.”

While this kind of sponsorship is not useful for any book that needs time to tell its story, it could be very interesting for a book with immediate appeal to millennials with a high education and relatively high HHI.

#mic #facebook #news

 

GOOGLE DISPLAY BENCHMARKS

Have you played around with Google’s Display Ad benchmark tool recently? It can be very useful for setting expectations. Click-through rates seem to be going down across the board. If you set it for U.S. Book ads, the display CTRs range from .04-.6% depending on the size. Mobile only sizes such as 320×50 fare a little better with a .18% CTR. While this is certainly the case for the industry as a whole, Verso’s own click-through rates continue to beat industry averages—ranging from about .10% for desktop to twice that for mobile.

#CTR #Google #data #benchmarks

 

OUT OF HOME GAINS AN EDGE WITH DIGITAL

Long a staple of advertising plans for all manner of products, out-of-home advertising has gained a new edge with digital billboards. Digital capabilities mean advertisers can move much more quickly on campaigns instead of having to plan six to eight months ahead for each iteration. As CMO magazine puts it:

“The integration of data and technology means advertisers can tap into OOH like never before. ‘And it’s really shifting into bringing back the things that digital has kind of lost–the sensory experiences, feelings, and interactions.'”

There’s a reason spending on out of home advertising continues to grow.

#billboards #OOH #digital

 

ESPN BRINGS LONGFORM SPORTS JOURNALISM TO PODCASTS

As part of IAB’s recent podcast upfronts, ESPN announced that it’s bringing it’s acclaimed 30 for 30 series to podcasts. With in-depth reporting about sports news, 30 for 30 videos appeal to sports fans of a more thoughtful bent . . . which is to say, sports fans who might be inclined to buy books on a subject in an effort to go deeper than in-game color commentary or talk show style chatter.  For book publishers who might not be able to afford a :30 ad on ESPN, running mid-roll on a podcast might be a highly targeted ad solution.

#sports #podcasts #espn

 

Next to Now: Friday links for Sept 9.

 

PODCAST ADS CREATE HALO EFFECT

While podcasts still don’t deliver the ad metrics of other digital products, evidence continues to mount that podcast advertising is effective.  A new Edison Research study commissioned by the IAB suggests that 65% of podcast fans “are more willing to consider purchasing products and services they learn about during a podcast.”

#podcasts

 

INSTAGRAM IS BIG & GROWING WITH MILLENNIALS

Four charts from eMarketer show how Instagram’s U.S. audience is substantial and growing, that more than half of US millennial internet users are “active” on Instagram, how the app is favored by college students, and how their user base trends toward higher incomes among U.S. teens.

#instagram #millennials #social

 

INSTAGRAM IS KING FOR RETAILERS

As reported in Mediapost, a new study from research company L2 suggests that Instagram is the top social platform for retailer engagement:

“’Instagram remains the king of engagement,’ with interactions that are ’10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84 times higher than Twitter.’

It also says Instagram users are considerably more open to what brands have to say on that platform, with 50% of users following brands. ‘Not all brands are benefiting equally on the platform,’ it says, ‘with the top seven brands in terms of engagement capturing 77% of total Index brand interactions over the past year.’

Further, a third of Instagram users made purchases on their phone, which makes them 70% more likely to do so than non-Instagram users.”

#instagram #retailers

 

WHY FACEBOOK LIVE IS WRONG FOR ADVERTISERS

In an article for Ad Age, Carrie So argues that Facebook Live mid-roll ads are stuck in the past: 

“Essentially, the concept strives to resurrect the 20th-century TV broadcasting model within the context of a 21st-century social network. Having just recently started testing mid-roll ads, Facebook Live wagers that viewers who log onto the site to see photos and updates from family and friends will not only want to watch live broadcasts — but will also stay tuned for the ads that scroll in the midst of the live programming.”

The two main problems: (1) mid-roll ads are easy for users to skip since it’s so easy to put down your phone during a break in the programming, and (2) there’s a distinct lack of quality control; even major publishers such as the New York Times are forced by their deals with Facebook to stream too many video hours to sustain high standards.

#facebook #streaming #video

 

AD FRAUD REPORT POINTS TO CHROME AND INTERNET EXPLORER

A recent ad fraud report cited by the Wall Street Journal suggests the most ad fraud happens with Google’s Chrome and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browsers. While both companies fault the study, it’s clear that since the two companies have the most users they also make the most attractive targets for fraudsters. While Microsoft has failed to patch security holes on IE (especially discontinued but still popular iterations), Google continues to work hard to try to stay ahead of the fraud where possible.

#adfraud #microsoft #google

 

PEW RESULTS ON AMERICAN READERSHIP

The Pew report on reading in America is out, with results in line with what we’ve seen in recent years: overall adult reading is slightly down, ebooks remain plateaued, and the core demos of America’s strongest readers remain affluent, educated women:

“In the most recent survey, those most likely to be book readers included women; young adults (those ages 18-29); [and] those with higher levels of education and higher household income . . . These patterns largely hold for overall book reading and for the different reading platforms – printed books and e-books.

“The average woman read 14 books in the past 12 months, compared with the nine books read by the average man, a statistically significant difference. The median number of books read by women was five, compared with a median of three for men, which was not statistically significant.

“Those with higher levels of education were more likely to have read multiple books than those with high school diplomas or less. The typical college graduate or someone with an advanced degree read an average of 17 books in the previous year, compared with nine for high school grads and three for those who did not graduate from high school.”

#pew #readers #demos

 

FACEBOOK’S FIRST VERTICAL VIDEO ADS

The first vertical video ads have gone live on Facebook, and the results suggest a 3x improvement in performance and efficiency. This might be simply an example of a format getting increased attention mostly because it’s new, but given how video and social consumption have moved to mobile, we do think vertical video is here to stay.

#facebook #video

 

BILLBOARDS CONTINUE TO MAKE NEWS

The New York Times reports on the continued importance of out of home advertising, even as online ads steal budgets from print and broadcast. The continued growth of digital innovation with billboards—both with creative and with user targeting—means the venerable ad platform is just as vital today as it was 100 years ago.

#outofhome

 

MOBILE APPS CONTINUE TO GROW

An article in Marketing Land points to a new report from ComScore that shows that two-thirds of all time is spent on mobile, and over half of time spent on mobile happens within apps.  But while mobile has most total user hours, desktop still is king of the conversion. When the consumer is ready to pull the trigger, s/he still heads for the desktop. Here’s Business Insider’s take on the ComScore report.

#desktop #mobile #apps

 

Ceiling photo detail (c) 2016 Martha Otis

Next to Now: Labor Day Weekend

Whether you’re planning on watching the U.S. Open, mourning and celebrating the life of Gene Wilder, or just sitting in traffic trying to make it to the beach, there’s a lot of news to catch up on over Labor Day weekend. Read on.

 

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED AND FOX NEWS TEAM UP

In an effort to take on sports powerhouse ESPN, Sports Illustrated and Fox News have agreed to an editorial and ad sharing deal across their businesses. According to the WSJ:

“Combined properties operated by Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports brought in about 68 million unique visitors in July, which would make it the second-largest sports publisher behind ESPN, which brought in about 79 million visitors, according to digital measurement specialist comScore.

On their own, Fox Sports ranked third in the sports category in July, while Sports Illustrated came in 10th, according to comScore.”

#sports #fox #si

 

YOUTUBE GEARS UP TO GO MORE SOCIAL

As the premier video platform sees increasing competition from Facebook  and Twitter live video platforms, YouTube is looking to develop more social tools to help video creators interact with their audience. They are calling the new effort, “Backstage.” According to VentureBeat’s Harrison Weber, Backstage’s features will “live alongside the Home and Videos tabs within individual YouTube channels,” and content posted through Backstage will be included in channel subscribers’ feeds and notifications.”

#youtube #video

 

KNOW YOUR DATA

In programmatic advertising it’s vital to know what kind of data you’re using and whether it’s first, second, or third party. This ClickZ article provides a good primer on the differences and advantages of each. 

#data #programmatic

 

FORBES JOINS PODCAST ONE

After testing the podcast waters with “Women@Forbes”, the venerable business publication is going all in with podcast network Podcast One. 

#business #podcast #forbes

 

World's Fair Globe photo (c) 2016 Martha Otis

Next to Now for August 25

IS THE FUTURE OF ADVERTISING A BOT?

Venture Beat details how messenger bots in services such as Facebook Messenger, Kik, and more are changing the nature of how we can advertise, bringing the promise of 1:1 customized marketing closer to fruition. While current messenger bots are fairly crude, more nuanced bots are in development:

“A.I. bots with advanced brains . . . will change the advertising industry — both online and offline — forever. They can create and deliver completely measurable advertising campaigns that bring together all the elements of integrated marketing: video, mash-ups, voice, music, images, photos, personalization, and mass coverage on an individual basis. They do this by automating their analysis of ‘conversation logs’ generated in the code’s back end when you interact with a bot — with your permission, of course.”

#bots #messaging

 

INSTAGRAM KEEPS UP THE PACE OF INNOVATION (OR IS THAT COPY-CATTING?)

On the heels of introducing its version Snapchat Stories, Instagram introduces a new channel called “Events” that will live within its “Explore” tab and allow for live video. Innovation or high-speed copy-catting, either way it will prove a serious entry in the live video market with Periscope and Facebook Live.

#events #streaming #video

 

IN HOLIDAY EMAIL MARKETING, IS GREEN THE NEW BLACK?

A study from Yes Lifecycle Marketing suggests that the best time to send a holiday marketing email might be December 12, 2016—a date dubbed “Green Monday.” A retail industry-created holiday like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, Green Monday  falls on the second Monday of December:

“Only 10% of retailers deployed Green Monday campaigns in 2015, according to Yes Lifecycle Marketing, indicating that competition for the inbox may be lower than more popular retail holidays such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

Green Monday saw an average email open rate of 14.5% in 2015, while open rates for Cyber Monday email campaigns has an average open rate of 12.9%. In addition, Cyber Monday open rates fell year-over-year while Green Monday open rates have increased.”

#email #holiday

 

THE STATE OF FACEBOOK (FOR MARKETERS)

eMarketer posts seven charts about the current state of Facebook: over-35-year-olds v. millennials, mobile v. desktop use, and more.

#facebook #userdata

Corn at Union Square Market photo (c) 2016 Martha Otis

Next to Now for Thursday, August 18

 

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON LEAVES HUFF PO

A chain of acquisitions that started with Huffington Post being bought  by AOL, then AOL being bought by Verizon made this a likely scenario, but now it’s official: Arianna Huffington is leaving the site she founded in 2005 to concentrate on her health and wellness startup Thrive. We’ll have to see what this means for Huffington Post. While the site has moved beyond relying on the celebrity connections that Huffington brought to the table, it has also lost some of the relevance it once had.

#huffingtonpost

 

iOS 10 UPDATE LIMITS USER TRACKING

For the 14% of iPhone users who have turned on the “Limit Ad Tracking” feature on their mobile phones, the coming iOS 10 update will limit far more  of their information. This won’t stop those 14% of iPhone users from seeing ads; they’ll see just as many. But it will mean that the ads they see will be less suited to their own needs, habits, and desires.

#tracking #iphone

 

FATHERLY REACHES MILLENNIAL DADS

If you’re looking to reach millennial dads, Fatherly.com is a site to watch. They’ve been growing their audience through a strong Facebook presence but are smartly moving beyond that to build a direct connection with their audience through email. Click here for the Digiday article on Fatherly’s viral video strategy.

#dads #millennials #targeting

 

WATTPAD INTRODUCES NEW AD TOOLS

The popular user-generated writing site Wattpad is introducing a new ad product that puts ads between the chapters of select writers on the site, and sends some of the revenue toward the writers. This experiment looks like a win-win: writers will have a stake in building their audiences and book advertisers will have a clutter-free, reader-friendly environment in which to advertise. We look forward to watching this develop.

#wattpad #targeting

 

 

New York Public Library photo (c) 2016 Martha Otis

Next to Now for August 11

 

Highlights of the week: New announcements from Hulu, Instagram, and Nielsen released in the high heat of summer—with changes coming to the competitive landscape of  video, social, and email marketing that are so vital to book advertising.

 

HULU UPS ITS EFFORTS

With this announcement that Time Warner has taken a 10% stake in Hulu, the major cable player takes a stake in the platform that’s a redoubt for cord-cutters everywhere. It’s a smart move by Time Warner, and provides more cash for Hulu to invest in areas that are ripe for expansion including live events and new content.

#hulu #streaming #timewarner

 

NIELSEN GETS SERIOUS ABOUT SOCIAL

This article in USA Today reveals that Nielsen is now adding Facebook to its social ranking of TV shows. While Twitter remains a major player as a second screen to TV, any mention of social has to include Facebook. This shift makes the Nielsen social rankings much more relevant.

#social #tv

 

WHAT VERIZON’S YAHOO ACQUISITION MEANS FOR EMAIL MARKETING

ClickZ has a good article on how the combination of AOL and Yahoo’s email data is a boon to marketers:

“Scale in users is great. That’s more eyeballs for ads served via AOL technology on the plethora of media properties the combined companies own.

“Scale and depth of data are even better. Verizon will have ownership of consumer data not only on phones and mobile devices; it will be able to pair that with consumer behavioral data from the media sites that AOL and Yahoo own.”

There are dangers with any merger that a confused transition can alienate customers, but Verizon’s acquisition of AOL has proceeded relatively smoothly. So this will certainly be a merger to watch for email marketers everywhere.

#email #verizon #aol #yahoo

 

WHAT INSTAGRAM’S NEW “STORIES” FUNCTION MEANS FOR SNAPCHAT

According to this insightful article from The Next Web, Instagram’s “Stories” spells trouble for Snapchat: Instagram’s bigger, better monetized, and easier to use for both consumers and advertisers. That said, there is something to Snapchat’s difficulty from a teenager’s point of view, precisely because  parents can’t figure it out. As long as the Generation Z can claim Snapchat for their own, they’re unlikely to give it up.

#instagram #snapchat

 

A PRIMER ON ATTRIBUTION

User tracking is a major part of any marketing toolkit. As tracking has gone beyond desktop cookies to reach user log ins via Google, Facebook, and email, it has become easier to track users with a greater degree of confidence in the data. Digiday has a useful primer on the state of the art of user tracking across devices.

#tracking

 

EMAIL DELIVERABILITY IS DOWN

Email marketing platform Return Path reports that fewer emails are making into consumers’ inboxes:

“In the second quarter, the average inbox placement rate was 79% in the second quarter, down from 81% in the same quarter a year ago and 82% in the third quarter of 2015.”

As email marketing grows in prominence, this is to be expected. It’s worth noting that Verso email marketing partner LiveIntent only  counts emails that are actively opened and downloaded–making a LiveIntent buy the surest way to reach consumers by email.

#email #liveintent

 

Next to Now for August 4

The tomatoes are plentiful and perfectly ripe at the Union Square Greenmarket and the Olympics are set to start in Rio. It’s peak summertime and a terrific moment to think about great books, passionate readers, and finding new ways to connect them.

PEW DATA ON BOOK READERS

A recent Atlantic article on book readers looks at recent Pew data and finds both good news and bad: The bad news is that the number of American who opened a book last year (any book: paper, e-book, audio) declined . . . again. The good news is that the number of kids who read for pleasure has stopped declining and more American than ever are going to college. Book buyers correlation to education is very strong. It’s interesting to note that while education strongly correlates to numbers of books read, HHI above $50k a year is in the same ballpark for books read as HHI above $75k/year.

#readers #data #demos #HHI #education

 

“NOBODY OWNS THE FUTURE”

In this New York Times article on Verizon’s purchase of Yahoo, Tim Armstrong, head of Verizon’s AOL unit, points out that the long-term advertising landscape does not have to be entirely owned by Google and Facebook. The article is a good overview of why Verizon’s been on a buying spree recently, and how their purchases line up with their efforts to become a viable third option for advertisers.  It’s also good on the potential conflicts of interest and privacy concerns that could have the FCC putting breaks on any effort to combine mobile, Web, and broadband user tracking. Watch this space.

#verizon #advertising #data

 

OLYMPIC HASHTAG WRESTLING

The United States Olympic Committee has put non-sponsors on notice that only approved USOC sponsors can use the “official” hashtags #Rio2016 and #TeamUSA. This is patently ridiculous and shows how the old “lock-it-down” marketing mentality is persisting even in new open social channels. If you want to participate in crowd-sourcing your message and communicating on open social channels brands (including the USOC) have to relax their commitment to “owning” 100% of the conversation. There’s no other way to have a conversation unless you want to take the world back to the U.S.S.R.  If you want to own the message, that’s perfectly understandable, but then you have to restrict your participation to the kind of marketing channels that let you have a one-way conversation with your audience. The Olympics are theoretically an event that’s about global openness and free competition. To try to reshape your message of the event with old-fashioned legal bullying is anti-Olympic, anti-American, and bad marketing.

#soapbox #olympics #social  #Rio2016 #TeamUSA

 

HOW TO WIN BACK AD BLOCKERS

The IAB has released a study that shows how advertisers can win back the 26% of users who have turned on ad blocking. Not only are these users open to turning off ad blockers, the path to encouraging them to do so is simple to follow:

“Respondents who use ad blockers stated that the adoption of the LEAN principles (Light, Encrypted, AdChoice supported, and Non-invasive ads), which address a number of the tactics outlined above, would have the greatest influence in getting them to turn off ad blockers. For instance, results showed that men ages 18-34, who are the main ad blocking demographic on desktops, are also the group most inclined to turn off blocking if sites adhere to LEAN.”

Here’s Digiday’s detailed and helpful report on the study. The message is clear for advertisers: deliver ads that are contextually relevant, respectful of users, and fully transparent. These are principles Verso has believed in from the founding of our agency, and they remain best practices for advertising now.

#adblocking #iab

 

THE PLATFORM WARS

Instagram is feeling the heat from Snapchat. To combat the rising new social platform, Instagram has just introduced “Disappearing Stories” Now you can post an image to Instagram that will disappear after twenty-four hours, a direct crib from their competitor Snapchat. eMarketer has an article about the new program:

“’The temporary nature of Stories—on Snapchat and now Instagram—is just part of their appeal,’ said eMarketer senior analyst Cathy Boyle. ‘The way the short video clips and images are strung together chronologically over the course of a day allows users to step into the lives of their friends, a few seconds at a time. The visual and near-real-time nature of Stories makes it a compelling way for friends to connect, not to mention another way for advertisers to engage mobile users.’”

#snapchat #instagram

 

Tomatoes at the Union Square Greenmarket photo 2016 (c) Martha Otis