Signal, January 6: Look Up!

Battelle's yearly predictions. Prescient.It was a wonderful break, and we’re finally back. This week in last week’s best links, we’re walking distracted, predicting 2014, spending money on mobile, mining private messages, cheering on the lowly banner ad, Facebook’s evolution, we broke the internet, money changes hands, ad tech challenges through SAS, through ad viewability and the importance of supporting hard news.

More than half of cell owners affected by ‘distracted walking’ | Pew Research Center A mid-2012 survey found 23% of cell owners have physically bumped into another person or object because they were distracted by using their phone — a marked increase from the 17% of cell owners who said that this had happened to them in May 2010.

Predictions 2014: A Difficult Year to See | Battelle Media
From action on climate change to the auto industry, from Twitter to tech acquisitions, Battelle’s 2014 predictions recommend we squirrel our nuts away.

Mobile Advertising Projected to Increase 64% in 2014 | Mashable “Companies nearly tripled the amount of money spent on mobile advertising, from $1.2 billion in 2012 to $3 billion in 2013, according to LinkedIn Marketing Solutions. Roughly 65% of both ad agencies and marketers plan to invest in native advertising, for an estimated total of $4.3 billion, in 2014.”

Facebook faces suit for allegedly intercepting private messages Facebook is being sued by users who have claimed that Facebook “intercepts private messages, without consent.” They are also claiming that Facebook will mine this data for its own profit.

Why the Lowly Banner Will Go Down as Hero of Post-Search World | AdAge From the request to the process to the response, the banner ad and everything called “ad tech” will be the model for our worldwide processing layer behind nearly all of our real-time transactions. “That layer deserves to be named as perhaps the most important technological artifact extant today.”

Facebook’s so uncool, but it’s morphing into a different beast | The Conversation Sixteen to 18 year olds are fleeing Facebook in droves to Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp. Lessons learned include: surveillance doesn’t matter, kids don’t want to be where their parents are, and slick isn’t always best.

The Year We Broke the Internet | Esquire “A look at our year of internet whoopsies — asking hard questions about our current breakneck journalistic model. Give me the viral pictures, and I’ll give you the truth. And then, after an appropriate waiting period, I’ll give you the other truth, and capitalize on that traffic too.”

Content, good pricing drove media deals in 2013 | USAToday U.S. media and entertainment companies completed $75.8 billion worth of acquisitions and mergers this year, a 47% increase on 2012, according to Thomson Reuters. The number of deals was up, as well — 766, vs. 596 a year ago.

The Complications Of Merging Marketing And Ad Tech | AdExchanger A conversation with Wilson Raj, SAS Intelligent Advertising global customer intelligence director about the coming integration of advertising and marketing technologies, the data challenges companies will face and the future for SAS in ad tech.

Viewability Is Just A Beginning, Not An End | AdExchanger Jonah Goodhart, CEO of analytics services provider Moat, shares his view that ad viewability is only a starting point. It’s not the only way we can determine the worth of a display placement.

Rob Norman: Advertisers, the Future of Hard News Is on You Too | LinkedIn Advertisers have traditionally shied away from being close to hard news. This needs to change — with the evolution of journalistic placements, with links, traffic and attention showing up in different ways, we need to be prepared to advertise anywhere.

Signal, Dec. 23: Local Tweets, Everybody’s Onto TV

Twitter appears “Nearby,” Google’s headed for brand advertising, a leaked strategy from Facebook, digital video ads surge, IAB’s marketing 101, predictions from the money-people, programmatic is table stakes, Facebook’s video price, NSA hurts business, ad viewability and those in love with fraud.

Twitter Tests Localization Mobile Feature ‘Nearby’ | MarketWatch For some users who’ve location-enabled Twitter on their phones, Twitter seems to be testing a new timeline for its mobile app called “Nearby.”

Google to Seek Brand Ad Billions with YouTube | USA Today Through YouTube and new display ads, Google is stepping into the world of brand marketing. This is different from its previous focus on performance ads, like AdWords, where it’s already a leader.

Facebook Leak Reveals Plan to Nab TV Ad Dollars | Techcrunch Sent to Facebook’s Preferred Marketing Developer partners in late November, this leaked presentation urges buyers to be where people are, reach all of the people who matter to you and be in the most engaging digital real estate. As well, don’t disparage YouTube.

The Number of Online Video Ads Is Up 205% in the Last Year | AdWeek Says Vindico president Matt Timothy, “The number of ad impressions have exploded, but it’s totally manufactured viewing.” The biggest problem is autoplay ads below the fold — not viewable, but counted just the same.

IAB Releases Content Marketing Primer | MediaPost Content marketing is defined in the IAB’s newest primer, outlining guidelines for transparency as well as useful, educational and entertaining information.

———- AD ————

We love this post for Best Buy from FM site How to be a Dad showing “How to give gifts that are actually for you.”


Venturing Into 2014: Predictions From The Investment Community | AdExchanger Looks like the men with the money are making predictions about the future in digital advertising. Lots of programmatic, lots of cross-media play.

Marketer’s Note: Programmatic Is Table Stakes | AdExchanger Thanks to efficiencies and targeting, programmatic actually encourages ad buyers to spend more.

Tech executives to Obama: NSA spying revelations are hurting business | Washington Post In a meeting last week, tech executives reiterated their demands that the administration stop bulk data collection of e-mails, address books and other information. Also requested — limits on the ease of court orders from the NSA

———- AD ————

Uncrates’ Outdoorsman collection from Levi’s makes me want to grab a bespoke canoe paddle, and head for the nearest Levi’s store.


On Ad Viewability: Why the V­-Word Needs to Become a Common Currency | AdAge Greater integrity, better insights, transparency, actionability — all of these things are what better ad viewability will offer marketers.

How an impressionable media industry fell in love with fraud | CNN Money The media is happy to overlook fraud in digital advertising as long as it pads the bottom line. The industry shouldn’t be resisting fraud reductions efforts, rather embracing them for long-term success.

Signal, December 17: Premium, Programmatic, Profit?

Illustration: Dale Edwin Murray

Illustration: Dale Edwin Murray

This week in last week’s best links: The Guardian goes programmatic, 72andsunny shines, David Simon lays it out, the big guys fight back with the Reform Government Surveillance coalition, Google+ takes recommendations to ads, cookie hacks, retailer’s data, identity and the internet, nerds fuel Rocketfuel, mobile raises CPMs, Discuss tries Native, Hearst sues Aereo, ads ain’t that bad, Digiday learned from ad tech and Twitter MoPub evolves.

The Guardian’s Programmatic Play: Performance First, ‘Premium’ Second | AdExchanger Using MediaMath’s DSP, The Guardian will be gathering data about user behavior on the inventory of other sites. Most of this programmatic activity is through private marketplaces instead of on the open exchange.

72andSunny Is Adweek’s 2013 U.S. Agency of the Year | AdWeek Taking over the Smirnoff account, while working with Target, Samsung, ESPN, Google and Starbucks — 72andSunny wins Adweek’s biggest accolade.

David Simon: ‘There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show’ | The Guardian From a speech given in Australia, the creator of The Wire lays out a frank examination of how far our stratified economy has to go. Laying blame at the metric of “capital is the metric, that profit is the metric by which we’re going to measure the health of our society is one of the fundamental mistakes of the last 30 years.”

Facebook, Google, Twitter, and more create the Reform Government Surveillance coalition | Venture Beat The big guys, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, AOL, LinkedIn, and Yahoo, have created the Reform Government Surveillance coalition — aiming to change tactics in spying throughout the entire world. From the letter, “We urge the U.S. to take the lead and make reforms that ensure that government surveillance efforts are clearly restricted by law.”

Google Launches Google+ Social Ads on Other Sites | All Things D Google is running posts from Google+ on sites that use their ad network. Calling them “+Post” ads, they’re currently testing. The question posed, “Since the ads aren’t going to run on Google+, why go through the effort of making them seem like “real” Google+ posts?”

*************** Ad ****************

Carry-on travel tips help everyone this holiday season. Learn more from Brett McKay from Art of Manliness shares his tips on MyLifeScoop.


NSA uses Google cookies to pinpoint targets for hacking | Washington Post Internal presentation slides show the NSA is “secretly piggybacking” on cookies and location data that allow advertisers to track consumers.

Study: Retailers Struggle With Data ‘Readiness’ | AdExchanger “Eighty-three percent of retailers profiled in EKN Research’s “Big Data in Retail” study said they are either “at par” or “lagging behind” similar vertical competitors in their strategic use of analytics.” Sixty-eight percent of retailers said “data organization” as their biggest challenge.

The Future of Advertising Hinges on Understanding Identity | AdWeek We need better systems to understand privacy and identity by service and object. “The way we measure identity now severely lacks in accuracy and robustness. The future of identity lies in digitizing the physical world, and the context in which we collect data about identity needs to become transparent.”

2014 Forecasts: Global Ad Dollars Surge, Driven By Mobile, Social | AdExchanger More money will be allocated to mobile and social buys and programmatic growth. Thanks to more specific metrics, CPMs will likely rise nearly 5% by 2017.

*************** Ad ****************

Shape a surfboard, take off for Mexico. FM site, The Inertia, made a video for Subaru that gets us in the mood for a coastal adventure.


Rocket Fuel CEO: ‘Nerds Are In Charge’ Of Brand Media Teams | AdExchanger In an interview with Rocketfuel CFO Peter Bardwick and CEO George John, AdExchanger talks about their growth and plans for video.

Native Ads Are Coming to Internet Comments | Digiday Disqus follows Outbrain and Taboola with a promoted-post ad product.

Hearst Pushes for Ban of ‘Most Dangerous’ Aereo | MediaPost Hearst is suing Aereo, like other TV broadcasters across the country, saying Hearst will suffer “irreparable harm” if Aereo is allowed to continue operating.

5 Things We Learned About Ad Tech in 2013 | Digiday Ad tech taught Digiday that ads won’t save online publishing, Wall Street doesn’t get it, it has a significant fraud problem, mobile-centric ad businesses are hard, and ad tech can generate big margins. Hmmm.

Twitter MoPub Opens Up Native Advertising | WSJ Twitter’s MoPub – a Twitter-owned mobile-advertising exchange — released a product to allow the mobile-app publishers on its exchange to use native advertising.

Signal, December 9: Automation Nation

This week in last week’s most interesting links: AOL’s automated creativity, anthropological thinking, ad supported phones, brand newsroom challenges, DRM removal = more sales, Mediadata startups, Amazon aims at Apple, Cyber Monday records, Apple + Topsy for search dominance, 2014 global dollars in media and entertainment, Native ads, barbells and Viacom staff merging, Ad Tech extrapolated, Adblock extortion? Twitter’s tailored audiences, Facebook’s strong arm and the FTC weighs in on native. Onward!

AOL Networks’ Bob Lord: In 2014, Marketers Will Fall In Love With Automation | AdAge AOL Networks CEO Bob Lord says that automation through programmatic is key for 2014 — and that automation allows marketers to be more efficient in more creative content expressions.

To Understand Consumer Data, Think Like an Anthropologist | Harvard Business Review Deriving meaning from all that quantitative data requires a change in thinking — here, using an anthroplogical approach to performance is recommended. “…Social-listening data is inherently qualitative. That means learning to appreciate the value of the stray remark and synthesizing bits of information into a higher-order sense of what’s going on.”

Why We’ll See The First Ad-Supported Phone In 2014 | AdExchanger Russell Glass from Bizo makes a case for ex-Facebookers or ex-Googlers going down the funded free phone funnel. With the average person seeing their lockscreen 110 times a day, those impressions could be put to good use.

The myth of the brand newsroom | The Guardian Although it is turned around much faster than it used to, real-time marketing isn’t there yet. To act like a brand newsroom, companies need to plan for three significant investments. They need flexible and anticipatory planning, relevance and permission and to plan for technological advances.

What Piracy? Removing DRM Boosts Music Sales by 10 Percent | Torrent Freak A new study comparing album sales of four major labels before and after the removal of DRM has been released. It finds (no big surprise) that digital music revenue increases by 10% when restrictions are lifted.

************* Ad ***************

The American Express Open Forum continues to engage small business owners for six years running. This time, with a forum connecting small business owners — to succeed together.


Here Come The Mediata Startups | LinkedIn Mediata companies — that pair up data and presentation — look to present data through a lens that is “hybrid, curated, lean, API-hungry, open and multi-faceted, built at the intersection of design and user-experience.” Building revenue and speed to market both enable this growth.

Amazon Kindle Fire commercial mocks the iPad Air with a Jony Ive parody | The Verge Matching Microsoft’s Apple potshots, Amazon’s Kindle Fire commercial takes on the iPad in a “startling” point by point comparison.

Cyber Monday Sales Surge to Record $2.29 Billion | USA Today So far, it seems Cyber Monday was a record breaker, IBM’s Digital Analytics Benchmark, put the sales increase at nearly 21% compared to last year.

Apple+Topsy: It’s Not About Twitter (And Twitter Is Probably Cool With That) | Battelle Media “Apple most likely bought Topsy because Topsy has the infrastructure to address one of Apple’s biggest problems: the iOS interface. Let’s face it, iOS (and the app-based interface in general) is slowly becoming awful. It’s like the web before good search showed up. To move to the next level, Apple needs a way to improve how its customers interact with iOS. Topsy will help them get there.”

Media Execs Bullish on Deals in 2014, Survey Says | Hollywood Reporter There’s more money loosening up globally in light of positive spending sentiment. Some of the industry’s biggest executives predict more investment in media and entertainment. Great news for all.

Report: ‘Native’ Ads to Drive Digital Media Growth | NYPost The IAB released a white paper looking at different forms of native marketing investment — and finding significant growth in paid search, advertising and recommendations — namely, content.

Putting Some Weight On Your “Barbell” Strategy | AdExchanger Steve Goldberg, senior adviser at EmpiricalMedia writes that simply, “Programmatic is bought, not sold.” For premium publishers, this is not business as usual and can lead to unconventional solutions.

Viacom Merges Ad Staff to Sell Across Platforms | Broadcasting Cable Merging television, digital and mobile ad sales teams, Viacom has made a big shift at its music and entertainment networks. Jeff Lucas, Head of Sales for Music and Entertaiment says, “For a client-centric organization like ours, a convergent structure will keep us on the leading edge of marketing innovation.”

************* Ad ****************

Rachel and the family behind FM site Handmade Charlotte creates a thrilling video for Subaru featuring a two-in-one adventure.


Can Ad Tech Really Change the World? | Digiday  From real-time pricing used to help large retailers maximize inventory, to the way doctors treat hospital patients, to better traffic management to the environment, the way real time auctions work could have a huge impact.

Is it ethical to block adverts online? | BBC Technology A look at AdBlock’s practices consider whether their whitelist is extortion or smart business.

Twitter opens up ‘tailored audiences’ so brands can target their Promoted Tweets using browser cookies | The Next Web After experimenting, it’s ready for action. Businesses will supply browser cookies to Twitter — and then Twitter will match that information to corresponding Twitter users for a Promoted Tweet, making sure that promoted tweets are seen by users who have visited a brand’s web site.

Facebook Admits Organic Reach Is Falling Short, Urges Marketers to Buy Ads | AdAge Forcing the hand of many marketers, Facebook states: “We expect organic distribution of an individual page’s posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have a meaningful experience on the site.” Marketers will soon see the organic reach of their posts reduce significantly.

U.S. says online ads should be clearly marked, undeceptive | Reuters FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez says, “By presenting ads that resemble editorial content, an advertiser risks implying, deceptively, that the information comes from a non-biased source.”

Signal November 25: The Best Sites, And All Hail Adtech and the Lowly Banner Ad

Image by Ralph Aichinger via Creative Commons
Image by Ralph Aichinger via Creative Commons

This week we are grateful for last week’s best links. Note: There will not be a Signal next week, due to the Thanksgiving break. 

DailyTekk gives us the first list of 2014, traditional publishing v programmatic, facebook privacy (again), the corporate site is dead – sort of, a content marketing overview, Gurley’s Law and Snapchat, MediaMath grows, sponsored content grows faster than expected, tech’s culture and Twitter serves TV audiences.

The 100 Best, Most Interesting Blogs and Websites of 2014 | DailyTekk A great list of the sites to look out for for next year.

We’re proud of our publishers:

Traditional Publishers Are Struggling as Buying Goes Automated | Adweek With 85% of advertisers buying programmatic ads, traditional publishers struggle with dependence on a premium sales model.

Why The Banner Ad Is Heroic, and Adtech Is Our Greatest Artifact | Searchblog Meanwhile, Battelle writes a tribute to adtech and the lowly banner ad, and it kinda goes viral.

Facebook Reasserts Posts Can Be Used for Ads | NYTimes Last Friday, Facebook moved ahead with official privacy policy changes. “By having an account on the service, its 1.2 billion global users are allowing the company to use their postings and other personal data for advertising.”

The corporate Web site is dead, long live the new corporate Web site | Geekwire
As content marketing becomes necessity, Geekwire asks, “Will the future of all corporate Web sites rely on a publishing model that looks more like The New York Times, USA Today, Huffington Post or the entire TechMeme leaderboard — compared to a traditional corporate Web site?”

Samsung defies critics, ships 800,000 Galaxy Gear smartwatches in two months | The Verge Despite initially critical reviews, Samsung has shipped 800,000 smartwatches to retailers. Behind the large shipments, we’ll find luxury marketing and celebrity endorsements.

************* Ad *************

FM publisher, A House in the Hills features American Express Small Business owner, Helene Cornell remaking “canned ham trailers.”


The State of Content Marketing | Blog @ Percolate Originally presented at the Percolate Customer Summit, this overview of content marketing’s ecosystem relates to all digital marketers.

Snapchat plans an API and experimental monetization with ads, emoticons, stickers, and virtual gifts | Business Insider If ‘Gurley’s Law’ plays out, Snapchat reaches $120 million of profit, advertising and virtual goods, experts say Snapchat has an opportunity to be worth its three billion dollar valuation.

MediaMath, Once A DSP, Sees Clients Are Responding More To ‘Marketing OS’ | AdExchanger Recently, MediaMath has grown its staff to 306 and introduced the role of Chief Commercial Officer as it evolves from being a demand-side platform to an end-to-end enterprise solution.

Sponsored-Content Spending Growing Faster Than Predicted | AdAge Thanks to publishers’ attempts to create more bespoke advertising products for brands in an effort to raise ad rates, content marketing spending is growing faster than expected.

The Culture of Technology | Medium Changes to our culture that come from technology aren’t uniformly good or bad, they are simply changes. Lee Schneider examines the need to feel connected through technology.

Twitter Adds Product for Advertisers to Target TV Conversations | Bloomberg Adding a tool that lets advertisers target tv show viewers, Twitter looks to take advantage of the ways people use it. A Nielsen study in August found that Twitter can boost TV ratings when users share their immediate reactions to a show.