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Cannes 2014 - Bridging The Divide Between Madison Avenue and Silicon Valley?


Ad creatives are a lucky bunch so far as careers go. They get to showcase their creative chops for 30 seconds during the Super Bowl, have entire TV shows written about them, and each year, they flock to the stunning French Riviera to celebrate the best of their industry at Cannes Lions. It’s a cumulative conference done in such spectacular style that few other industries’ annual gathering —maybe aside from The Oscars—can’t really measure up. And while the festival bills itself as honoring creativity, this year’s celebration, which ended just this past weekend, should have included another headline alongside it: discussing the potential of ad tech. Industry analysts noted that ad tech firms and players were just as present at this year’s awards. It wasn’t just the business deals that they brought to the table, either. The heightened ad tech presence this year became emblematic of advertising community’s shifting dynamic, and how it’s quickly bridging the divide between Madison Avenue and Silicon Valley.

A Glimpse Into The Future of Advertising?

Traditionally, Cannes has been a playground for advertising execs to showcase their best work. This past week though, Silicon Valley had just a big of a presence—and they weren’t there to just sip rosé on the French Coast. Instead, their presence was both strategic and symbolic. Big tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Yahoo! crowded in along the coast to boast about their ad offerings and reach. Ad tech companies like Rubicon Project attended to nail down business deals and showcase their digital platforms for advertising. And in Cannes’ “cyber” category, or its digital advertising field, there was a 39% increase in submissions this year from last year.

All of these trends suggest just how integral technology has become to advertising, and how it’s shaking up what once was an archaic process. One of this year’s biggest takeaways? There’s no need for the Don Drapers of the world to be timid when it comes to advertising technology— these new advancements in how ads are bought, sold, and placed will only help to boost business and solidify an agency’s offerings to a brand.

Cannes - The Next SXSW?

If this year’s increase in media attention around Cannes Lions is any indication, Cannes has not only shifted in its attendees, but within those paying attention as well. Once a niche industry event, it’s clear that Cannes Lions is rapidly developing into a more mainstream event. Cannes Lions was once limited to recapping the past year in advertising. Now it forecasts what we can expect from the next year as well. This shift parallels another mainstream tech conference, SXSW, and its own meteoric rise. And like SXSW, which began as a conference for the film and interactive industries, Cannes Lions may soon become a showcase not only for the ad world, but also for exciting, emerging technology. At this rate, who knows— with all these changes within the ad world and the conference itself, maybe we’ll see Cannes Lions 2015 decorated with a few indie band acts a la SXSW, too.

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June 25, 2014 - 2 months ago

Posted In events

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Data Visualization: Putting the In-store Experience Back on the Map


For consumers, data visualization often seems like a distant buzzword only applicable to marketers or merely another trend. A lot of us aren’t even sure what data visualization means outside of marketing jargon. In its simplest form, data visualization is code that sits on a huge database of numbers and transforms those numbers into images that allow you to interact with them. Data visualization can be implemented across disciplines and in a number of cool ways, too. Some of data visualization’s greatest hits have documented and visualized entire NBA game movements and even the history of the 20th century.

There’s no need for data visualization to be relegated to the pages of websites and marketing reports, though: it actually has a huge impact on consumers and brands alike, especially in retail. Data visualization has essentially become a new way of putting “big data” to good use for brands. Retailers are starting to use data visualization in very tangible ways as a means of competing with digital and e-commerce giants — and it’s affecting consumers in a very real way.

Many brick-and-mortar stores leverage data visualization as a means of competing with their e-commerce rivals. Nearly everyone is aware of the well-documented infringement of digital on the in-store shopping experience. A recent study from Deloitte only serves to emphasize this fact —it found that digital technologies, like mobile, social and more, influence 36 percent of $1.1 trillion of in-store sales. That number will likely increase to 50 percent by the end of 2014. So how does data visualization fit into retail’s struggling digital equation? Brands are beginning to implement it in a number of different ways as a means of keeping up with rapid shifts in technology and e-commerce. Check out a few of the ways below that consumers expect to see data visualization come into play in their brick-and-mortar experience:

In-store mapping

Retailers are now putting the power of location analytics to work within the in-store retail experience, much in the same way that e-commerce has leveraged it. One of the best examples of this is popular jeweler, Alex and Ani. By using their stores’ existing security cameras, Alex and Ani has been able to monitor their customers’ shopping behaviors and patterns, and modify the layout of their store accordingly. For example, if they notice that an item is not picking up many sales because it’s in a lower-trafficked area, they may move it to a more frequently visited area instead. The next time you step into a store, consider that stock may not have been placed in each location merely for aesthetics. Instead, there’s a good chance that a savvy retailer has carefully laid out their inventory in a specific way due to data visualization.

Social data showcase

As it turns out, everything that you like and share on social media isn’t just for your friends to ogle at. It’s actually become useful data for retailers to determine a better, more personalized in-store retail experience for you. Take Pinterest and Nordstroms’ recent collaboration. Nordstroms pulled the data from their Pinterest community and highlighted specific merchandise in their store based on their most popular pins. It’s just one example of how brick-and-mortar stores have been able to incorporate social feedback into an in-store experience with the aid of data visualization. Consequently this combination has strengthen their ability to compete with e-commerce sites.

Price check in 5 minutes…

E-commerce sites are notorious for toying with their prices all day long depending on data on consumer shopping habits and variables like the time of day, weather, and more. Now brick-and-mortar stores are aiming to do the same as retailers embrace data that allows them to make speedy, digital price changes. Thanks to digital price displays within stores, customers may want to double check an item to see if the price shifted since the last time they went down the aisle. Clearly data visualization is becoming an integral part of brick-and-mortar strategy as it aims to stay relevant in an age of e-commerce, and it will only continue to affect our shopping habits as consumers.

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June 25, 2014 - 2 months ago

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Advertising To The Flip Flop Generation: Reaching Millennials On Social Media


Read any article on social media and millennials these days, and you’re likely to stumble on one consistent message: “Facebook is so 2010.” While the media’s understanding of millennials’ social media preferences and Facebook’s waning influence may be overstated, it does accurately convey the inherently fickle nature of millennials’ social media inclinations, often leading to the confusion (and frustration) of marketers.

Millennials, or those between the ages of 18 and 34, are a crucial demographic for marketers. As one of the fastest growing populations in the country, these 72 million Americans play a huge role in swaying trends across the industries. With an impressive combined purchasing power of $245 trillion, they also play a powerful role in market performance. But above all, millennials may be best known for their addiction to all things digital, and in particular, their attachment to social media. Having grown up on digital technology, they are the first generation to become true “digital natives” and often define what’s cool in social media. However, their preferences can be equally indicative of what’s on its way out, which has a tendency to leave marketers anxious that they’ll be left out of the next big thing in social media (remember MySpace Tom from the early 2000s?).

Facebook is so 2010

As millennials have fast-tracked big changes in social, the social media ecosystem has become increasingly fragmented. Up until a few years ago, social media was pretty easy to understand, even for those “out of the loop.” There were just a few key platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. What’s more, monetizing those platforms and advertising to the crucial millennial niche was relatively straightforward. In recent years though, millennial engagement with these platforms have been on the decline. A recent study found that 25 percent fewer U.S. teens use Facebook now than they did in 2011, and only 23% of teenagers cite Facebook as the most important social network.

Advertisers don’t need to run for the exits yet — the big platforms still maintain a stronghold on the landscape. According to a Pew Research study, a whopping 81 percent of millennials have a Facebook account, and a study from ComScore found that 46 percent of millennials used Instagram. Even so, their influence is clearly waning. So if not Facebook, where are these millennials headed, and how can marketers continue to reach them?

Popular with millennials, a headache for marketers

In stark contrast to the exhaustive over sharing characteristic of Facebook and Twitter, there has been a new rise in the social media world: private messaging apps. Apps like SnapChat, which has popularized the disappearing picture message, is now used by one in five millennials. Whisper allows its fast-growing user base to post messages to followers and the public anonymously.

While the perks of these new apps have proved wildly popular with millennials, marketers are a little less keen on the idea as advertising capabilities are slow to catch up to what’s hot on social. Advertising plays a huge role in social networks long-term viability due to the revenue ads produce. Young, wildly popular social apps generally don’t have the resources to offer advertising options as their focus is on scaling fast. Pinterest, for example, only just launched paid advertising. Pinterest launched in late 2010 and has since become a hugely popular social platform with an estimated 40 million active users, but its introduction of ads just last week signifies just the lapse of time that happens as companies grow and can invest in ad capabilities. By the time advertising launches on these new platforms, millennials have oftentimes moved on to the next cool app, and brands are fearful that will happen with these new social media networks as well.

These new forms of social media have also proved logistically problematic for marketing. With pictures that disappear in a flash and sometimes limited consumer data, advertisers have found themselves in a bind. With no intuitive place for ads and monetization, how can advertisers connect with millennials on these popular new platforms? It’s a question that leaves marketers squirming.

Making Room For Marketing

Traditional social media may well be feeling some competitive heat, but that doesn’t have to spell doomsday for marketers. Instead, marketers should take some fresh perspective on these new social mediums. Private messaging apps and anonymous logins offer an opportunity for marketers to move into consumers’ everyday mobile activity. Moreover, while marketers may initially be intimidated by the prospect of working advertising into these new formats, they can push marketers to think more creatively on how to best reach some of their most valued customers.

Some of the most creative (and relevant) brands today have already pushed into these domains. For instance, Taco Bell recently launched a creative campaign that leveraged Snapchat stories (a visual, video equivalent of a Facebook status) to zero in on its Gen Y customers. Hulu similarly unleashed a clever campaign on anonymous secret sharing app Whisper by targeting specific keywords that users search for, and providing images of its new show alongside it. Even WeChat, a popular Chinese texting app similar to WhatsApp, is proving that simple texting apps are a new opportunity for marketers by integrating e-commerce into their platforms.

While millennials may jump around on their social networks, it’s no reason for marketers to sweat. Consider it an opportunity to get more creative in advertising and you won’t be left feeling left out like MySpace Tom.

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June 18, 2014 - 2 months ago

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What’s the Big Deal with Big Data?


The term ‘big data’ may seem like Silicon Valley jargon, but don’t write it off quite yet: it’s more than just a buzzword. Big data is a real, applicable tool that helps businesses to better reach their audience, and consumers to better relate to and interact with the brands they love most. The big data explosion is only just getting started, too: analysts project that there will be a 4300% increase in data generation by 2020. If big data is too big to wrap your head around, here’s one easy way to think of it: big data is your data. In other words, it’s all the information that’s been stored about people’s various habits online that is then analyzed and processed to provide them more relevant content online, and businesses a more effective way of reaching them.

And just as its name implies, big data has a big array of uses as well. All types of businesses, from massive corporations to tiny startups can put big data to good use. It’s often just a matter of understanding how, why, and what type of data a business should leverage. We decided we make things easy and break down a few of the ways advertisers are harnessing the power of big data to better engage consumers.

Location-based data

We’ve established that big data is instrumental in providing more relevant advertising to people while they’re surfing the web. But what kinds of specific data do advertisers leverage from this targeted advertising? One form is found in location-based data. By detecting their device’s location when they’re online, advertisers can serve people ads, targeted emails, or other marketing messages based on what’s relevant to that location. In fact, location data is so powerful that it is expected to net as much as $600 billion in consumer surplus.

Leading retailer Macy’s puts location-based data to good use through its app and personalized promotions. The app uses data by detecting when a shopper and her smartphone is in the store and will then send relevant promotions and personalized notifications for items she’s passing in the store. The retailer can then take this location-based data to the next level by analyzing where customers have been lingering in aisles or passing through quickly to redesign their store layout. This is a core example of how location-based data can benefit the consumer in the moment and in the future.

Purchase data

Advances in tracking and analytics online have made the e-commerce experience a whole lot more convenient for shoppers, as well as more useful for advertisers. Data is collected and studied on what people do prior to purchasing and what they end up buying. Then, it’s used to identify trends.

You’re probably familiar with one of the best examples of purchase data in action from e-commerce giant Amazon. Amazon uses a hybrid technique of analyzing a member’s purchase history, what they’ve placed in your shopping cart, and what they’ve recently been searching and browsing to create a highly personalized online shopping experience. This technique pays off for Amazon too — it’s cited that its conversion to sales of on-site recommendations could be as high as 60 percent.

Social data

So how does social media fit into the big data equation? Contrary to popular belief, the typical person’s Facebook feed isn’t all Farmville updates and Upworthy videos. And it’s fairly informative for advertisers. All of the content that people produce by posting status updates and liking posts generates data — a huge amount of it. It’s estimated that Facebook, for instance, takes in 500 times more data than the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). It’s no surprise, then, that social media is one of the biggest sources of data for advertisers out there. If you think about it, when you Like movies on Facebook or Favorite tweets on Twitter, you’re declaring your likes and dislikes in a few data points. That data subsequently becomes an opportunity for businesses to understand  your preferences, and accordingly deliver ads that would be interesting to you (and effective for them).

Here’s one instance in which social data is useful for businesses and you, too: ever been stuck searching for a perfect gift for a friend? One startup is leveraging social data to help you overcome that exact barrier. With your permission, Spanish company Giftri, taps into Facebook’s data mine to offer you personalized gift recommendations on Amazon. By using algorithms to study what pages your friends have liked, how they describe themselves on their profile, and who their friends are, their software is designed to take out all the guesswork for you and deliver perfect gift recommendations. It’s just one more way that big data works for you and advertisers.

So tell us, how do you incorporate big data into your strategy for connecting with consumers?

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June 6, 2014 - 2 months ago

Posted In trendstechnology

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You Can’t Spell “Capitalism” Without “API”


We live, work and play in an API-driven economy. Apple has more than one million apps in its store, many of which wouldn’t exist without the ability to build off of other existing platforms like Twitter, Square and Google Maps.  When a company decides to create an open API, it can connect to the ecosystem of existing apps and in turn bolster a company’s ability to drive revenue and innovate. 

An API is, put simply, a way to share data between programs, services, or companies. Often this means an app talking to a database, or a script talking to a website. For example, Amazon connects its own services together with a federation of internal APIs, while Twitter makes its data available to the outside world with its API.

Open APIs’ Greatest Hits

Sharing data on open APIs with the Web community may initially seem counterintuitive to some companies. But if you’re serious about growing your platform, then you should consider allowing other hackers to tap into your API. And by “hackers” we mean people who make stuff, as opposed to “crackers” who break stuff. Hackers are always looking for interesting raw material for building interesting apps in innovative ways that can inspire your business thinking. After all, some of tech’s greatest hits (and likely future successes) have been born out of open API innovation.

Let’s look at Netflix for starters. A few of the streaming service’s most revered applications, including the algorithm that suggests which flicks you should watch next, are the result of developers experimenting with an open Netflix API. What’s even more exciting is that new innovations (and improvements!) are constantly created via open API competitions. Case in point: a recent submission at a Netflix hackathon produced a feature that uses data from FitBit to determine if you’ve dozed off while streaming a movie and pauses the film accordingly. While you won’t see this feature on your Instant Queue anytime soon, it’s clear that an open ecosystem fosters creativity.  

Twitter is another example of a company that’s experienced success with an open API. By bringing other developers into the fold, they’ve acknowledged that they can build something bigger than themselves. Popular apps and platforms like TweetDeck and Hootsuite are the direct descendants of this way of thinking — both have not only augmented their user’s experience of Twitter, but have helped to foster a whole new segment of Twitter users. It’s part of how (and why) we founded 140 Proof, too. Because we could use Twitter’s API and access its infrastructure, we have been able to tap into that data and create real, actionable insights for our clients. 

One place you might not expect for an Open API to crop up? The news industry. Of course that hasn’t stopped The New York Times from employing one, though: they’ve added it to their arsenal as a means of staying ahead of a rapidly shifting industry. This move enables other news sites to enrich their sites with content from The New York Times and consequently allows everyone greater access to high quality news content. As The New York Times has become fond of saying, “why just read the news when you can hack it too?” 

Under Lock and Key

Of course not all tech companies have chosen to go the open API route. Facebook’s API, for instance, is more of a closed system, often to the frustration of many developers. They’ve claimed that this closed system has thwarted their ability to effectively create good apps for the platform and its users. Similarly, LinkedIn claims to have an open API ecosystem in place, but it’s contingent on a third party app’s ability to recruit new users to the site, or provide LinkedIn some other kind of direct benefit. A ‘one-way’ or closed API ecosystem like these sites’ threatens to stifle the innovation and creativity that developers can lend a company.  

Another company that’s not keen on sharing its code with developers is music streaming service, Pandora. It’s actually one of the few music streaming companies that maintains a “less is more” policy when it comes to open APIs. They reason that open access to their API would mean that people could access their music without having to see advertisements — which are the crux of their business model. However, closing their API also puts their listener base at serious risk as they drift toward other services that allow them access on multiple platforms. 

The Bottom Line 

Facilitating an open API system is a good idea for a company that wants to push their product into becoming something more. But what does an open API really mean for a company’s bottom line and revenue stream? Opening a site’s architecture to the developing masses is just good economics. This collaborative ecosystem and creativity creates something of a software domino effect — smaller apps continue to build off of pre-established ones and help expand the company’s network. It’s an equation that clearly benefits both sides. Companies are able to add apps — they wouldn’t have had the resources to build — that complement existing products as well as grow their audience. The smaller apps benefit by having the opportunity to work with a pre-existing platform and its users.

In short, an open API not only enhances your product, it stands to grow your reach and revenue, too. Creating an open API ecosystem is a low-risk move (with a low cost, too) that essentially allows companies to outsource research and design projects. With just this minimal investment, companies clearly stand to gain a lot from an open API system. By limiting a product to a closed API, a company risks the potential of their product, and can stifle innovation. 

Like the headline? You can get a “You Can’t Spell Capitalism Without API” T-shirt in the 140 Proof store.

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June 3, 2014 - 3 months ago

Posted In apitechnology

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[Study] People Use Different Social Networks To Reflect Their Diverse Personalities


Today consumers eat, breathe and sleep on multiple social platforms. In fact, multi-platform use is so dominant that more than half of the U.S. online adult population uses two or more social platforms — and 23 percent of those use seven or more! — to serve their various interests. We find this fascinating, which is why we partnered with IPG Media Lab on a study released today that explores how consumers use multiple social networks to reflect the different facets of their unique personalities.

The study, which surveyed 500 people over the age of 18, revealed evidence of “social hygiene” — active management of who people connect with and what they share and engage with on difference social networks — indicating that users are in fact taking a conscious approach to each platform. This includes users’ relationships with brands, which further impresses the need for marketers to evolve their understanding of consumer interests.

Read the Whitepaper: A Network for Every Interest

In this day and age, if companies truly want to understand individuals and provide them with the most relevant content, relying on a single social network simply won’t get them over the finish line. We’ve discovered that treating each platform as a silo doesn’t paint the full picture of who an individual really is, which can put marketers at a huge disadvantage. More than ever before, marketers need to embrace social data — and the multiple platforms that generate it — as the best way to understand the individual at the other end of the ad server.

But don’t take our word for it! We’ve included some of the key findings from the study below so you can decide for yourself, and you can check out the full research here.

  • “Likes” and “follows” aren’t forever -  61% of multi-platform users have un-liked or un-followed a brand when there is decreased relevance for them.

  • Social is mobile and mobile is social - 67% of respondents indicated that they use their social accounts to sign in to mobile applications like news, music, and gaming apps, with 91% of those respondents finding it valuable to connect to other apps via their social accounts. This allows a large number of apps to benefit from advanced audience targeting.

  • People convey different interests on different platforms - Multi-platform users tap into each network for various reasons. Of those surveyed, 56% use four or more social platforms, while 23% use seven or more. Furthermore, 60% of respondents agreed that they connect with different types of people, media, and brands on different social platforms, which implies that users are making intentional decisions to expose different aspects of their identity on specific network.

  • Social connections are fully visible across platforms - The proliferation of social networks has led people to connect to different types of people on different platforms. Multi-channel users select networks based on the nature of relationship they are pursuing. The full scope of an individual’s interests cannot be deduced from a single network, as 43% of respondents said that the more social platforms you connect with them on, the better you know them. An almost equal number said that people who follow them on social networks know them better than their friends who do not.

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May 30, 2014 - 3 months ago

Posted In researchtrends twitter

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Personalization Is The New… Everything


There is no denying it, the age of the personalized web has arrived and it is here to stay. Early social networks and the rise of Big Data have certainly been instrumental in transforming how we interact, communicate and digest content. In fact, personalization has crept so far into every facet of our lives that if a TV show, recommended article, or targeted advertisement isn’t relevant or representative of our interests, it might as well be non-existent.

We’re living in a world where we are constantly connected and sharing information 24/7. While this connectedness and open flow of information is what enables personalization, it comes with a caution sign for brands. The traditional idea of privacy has gone out the window and we must define new terms and conditions for how we navigate our digital lives. For marketers this means walking a thin line between engaging consumers in hyper personalized ways and being creepy. We recently explored this topic taking a deep dive into the benefits and potential hazards as personalization continues to evolve.

Personalization hasn’t only changed our definition of privacy, but its heightened consumer expectations. Just take a look at how it has changed the way we consume entertainment — we binge watch entire TV show seasons in one sitting. Gone are the days of anxiously awaiting the next episode of Dawson’s Creek, terrified to miss it for fear of waiting an entire week to catch up.  DVRs may have eradicated that horrible experience, but personalization has forever changed TV consumption as we know it. Netflix was one of the first to leverage user data to package and deliver content that feeds our all-you-can-eat appetite for entertainment. What’s more Netflix, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV look at user data to serve relevant recommendations not just for personalization sake, but because it is the standard experience consumers expect.

However, TV and online video are only at the infancy of personalization, as we continue to see and hear interesting developments in the space. In fact, it may not be long before ads address consumers personally, in real-time as they watch their favorite online videos. It is too soon to tell how far brands will go before consumer’s pull back and draw a line in the sand when it comes to their ‘privacy’, but one thing is for certain: gone are the days of generic ads, mass targeted messages and poor user experiences.

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May 29, 2014 - 3 months ago

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Take a Painkiller For Your Mobile Headache

Now that smartphones are tied to 25% of car crashes in the US, it’s probably safe to say we’re hooked on these glowing rectangular devices. Smartphones have become our on-the-go source for entertainment and news, as well as our shopping companion, alarm clock, and personal assistant. In fact, U.S. adults spend on average 34 hours per month browsing the web on their smartphones, with 82 percent of that time being spent in mobile apps.

It’s clear that mobile is not only where we live, but also where advertisers must focus their resources in order to connect with consumers — so when we came across a recent article on pain points for mobile marketers, it got us thinking about some of the headaches that our friends in the industry have shared with us. We’ve narrowed these down to the top three sources of discomfort and have offered our advice for minimizing the frustration.

Navigating Mobile Without The Cookie Monster

Unlike on desktop, cookies are simply non-existent on mobile. This means that browser-based tracking tactics don’t apply to smartphones, so when consumers traverse from app to app or app to browser, advertisers are unable to connect the dots via cookies. Smartphone manufacturers, like Apple and Google, are aware of this frustration and have taken a stab at developing unique identifiers that are placed directly into the device. However, this solution isn’t complete, because it only offers intel on people using those specific branded phones. But don’t just take our word for it, the cookie conundrum is a point of contention for many.

If you’re going through cookie withdrawal, don’t fret! Start using social IDs to follow customers across mobile browsers and apps to better understand their behavior. Social and mobile are so intertwined today that we spent more than half of our time on mobile in social apps. Social IDs are not only universal across devices, but they are more integrated into your digital activity than you might realize. Take a look at the apps you use daily — Spotify, MapMyFitness, QuizApps, for example. With these apps, and many others, you often log in through your social networks. Thus, social IDs are the loophole for mobile marketers and a viable solution to cookies.

Using Mobile Location To Your Brand’s Advantage

We’ve all heard of location-based advertising, but is your brand using location to its full advantage? Many brands, especially those in retail, use location to target consumers based on proximity to their nearest brick-and-mortar location. While this is a great tactic, the problem is that not everyone is honest about their location digitally. We don’t mean that people are lying; it’s just that location can lend more to interest or affinity than an actual point on a map.

We’ve termed this “geographic drift.” Too few marketers are looking beyond the definition of location to consider the difference between actual location and perceived location. A great example of geographic drift can be found right outside major metropolitan areas like New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago. Many people may self-identify as being from those cities when in fact they live and work in suburbs several hours away. So that location-based offer for a yoga class in San Francisco? Yup, that was actually sent to a mom who lives in Marin.

The solution, of course, is to fold interest data into your mobile-location strategy. After all, the more complete picture of your target audience, the better you can engage with them and build lasting relationships.

Choosing the Best Native Route For Your Brand

We’ve heard about ‘native’ ad nauseam— everyone is doing it, so shouldn’t you? Up until now, native ads have proven to be a great way to engage consumers without disrupting their digital experience, but this form of advertising is still in its infancy. One factor that is weighing on marketers’ minds is whether to stick with more traditional paid native placements — partnering with Forbes or Buzzfeed, for example — or to journey down the self-produced road. Many brands, especially consumer packaged goods, typically avoid creating their own native ads, instead favoring paid partnerships. Yet big brands like Chipotle have excelled in developing their own content with an integrated message that feels authentic. While paid placements may offer more channel flexibility, it comes at the cost of sacrificing the control and transparency that’s associated with developing and publishing on your environment.

Case in point: Chipotle put a lot of muscle into developing an iOS game accompanied byThe Scarecrow, and all told, the video received more than 6M views and the game had more than 250,000 downloads. By becoming a producer in their own right, Chipotle was able to develop a multi-channel campaign that educated the public about the pitfalls of processed food, all while discretely promoting their brand. The time and resources put into self-production were justified by the end result: an engaging, lasting experience that kept consumers coming back for more.

For marketers struggling to determine the right native path for their brand, there are a couple of factors to keep in mind. Not everyone can follow in Chipotle’s footsteps, as a campaign of that scale demands the resources to create and maintain an app or video portal over a long period of time. Alternatively, paid partnerships not only offer greater flexibility and an abundance of channels, but they are better suited for short-term campaigns. The best advice we can give is to manage expectations. Be realistic about the lifecycle of your native ambitions, and build an “end of life” strategy into your plans if long-term upkeep isn’t in your purview.

Now that’s something for the pain.

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May 20, 2014 - 3 months ago

Posted In trendstechnology

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