Signal April 21: No Ads For Glass – Yet.

Google’s terms prevent third-party Google Glass developers to serve ads to users.

In this week’s Signal: No ads on Google Glass; authenticity is the first casualty in the social media war; Twitter allows advertisers to target; Is it time to make critical distinctions within the Native Matrix?; Data is a hardcore business imperative; Google’s human strategy to combat impression fraud; CMOs are preparing for the digital revolution; Target’s content strategy behind “A Bullseye View”; Is AOL back from the dead?; and much more.

To the links….

Google Bans Devs From Serving Ads on Google Glass (Mashable) Early last week, Google released its Google Mirror API, which lets third-party developers begin building applications for Google Glass. In the terms of service for the API, Google states clearly that developers cannot serve ads to users, or even sell user data for advertising purposes. The company also notes that developers cannot charge users for apps, raising questions about how developers will be able to monetize their services on the platform.

The Rapidly Diminishing Authenticity of Social Media Marketing (ETB) Augie Ray, Director of Social Media for a Fortune 100 financial service company, posits that in the social media war for fans, authenticity was the first casualty and the weapons deployed were sweepstakes, giveaways, contests and social game freebies. “According to the social media gurus, people who fanned a brand would be signalling their authentic affinity for it,” he writes, “and this genuine expression of brand love would ripple through trusted relationships in social networks, multiplying awareness and purchase intent from one consumer to the next to the next. This is not what happened for most brands, because most brands did not start with the most important thing: Fans with authentic affinity. No one benefited from the fact marketers used inauthentic means to amass meaningless fans.”

Twitter Tool Allows Advertisers to Target Tweets (CNBC) As part of its plan to work on new tools to make its ads more effective and boost advertisers’ ROI, Twitter announced on Wednesday that advertisers can now target tweets based on the keywords in them and on the keywords in tweets retweeted or replied to. For example, if someone Tweets about liking a new album from a favorite band, the venue hosting that band’s next performance could target that Twitter user— with a link to buy tickets—based on their location and their conversations about the album.

The Native Matrix (CJR) Felix Salmon takes a stab at drawing useful distinctions between popular terms like content marketing, sponsored content, native advertising, and even brand journalism. Who writes brand material? Was it commissioned by the brand itself, rather than any editor? What happens when content is syndicated? “Trying to draw these distinctions is always going to be a bit silly and futile,” Salmon writes. “Ultimately, they’re all different flavors of the same thing: attempts by companies to get consumers to read things which the company in question, or its executives, wants those consumers to read. There are lots of different ways of trying to skin that particular cat, and none of them is easy. In fact, trying to get consumers to read anything at all, in a world where those consumers are faced with almost infinite choices, has never been harder.”

5 Mistakes Publishers Make With Data (Digiday) Digiday asked industry leaders for their take on what many publishers miss when diving head first into the data-drive media world. The rookie mistakes include tasks such as not knowing where your data is, hiring to the wrong people, and parsing data improperly.

Secret To Google’s Ad Quality Edge: Human Review (Ad Exchanger) Fraudulent ad inventory spawned by bot traffic or browser plug-ins that manipulate ad space on a webpage is often dumped on real-time bidding exchanges, creating a burden of responsibility on the operators of those marketplaces to clean things up. Google, widely regarded as the standard-bearer of policing ad fraud, includes in its strategy a manual review process involving the efforts of hundreds of people. According to the tech giant, those people “review web pages, test our partners’ downloadable software, and prevent ads from showing on sites that violate our policies. Depending on the severity and persistence of the offense, they may stop ad serving on that page or site, or across the publisher’s entire account.”

The Rise of the Digital CMO (HBR) Should CMOs and all marketers be shocked to learn that when it comes to marketing spending, analog still outstrips digital by a factor of three to one? “Sure,” writes Jake Sorofman, “an ample pile of dollars can be attributed to big spending on a few analog media channels, like Super Bowl ads, for example. But I would suggest that there is something more fundamental happening behind the numbers; something lurking in the very nature of digital marketing and what it asks of leadership and what it means for accountability.” Some CMOs are preparing for the digital revolution by filling the gap between expertise and authority; others are afraid of the digital disruption — or exhausted by what it will take to convert digital resistors in the executive suite.

Target’s ‘Show Don’t Sell’ Content Strategy (Digiday) Eighteen months ago, Target began publishing its online magazine called “A Bullseye View.” The site tells the stories behind Target’s products, events, partnerships and other happenings at the company, and now gets about 100,000 unique visitors each month. One thing it doesn’t do: pitch products. The site instead adopts the old journalism mantra, now co-opted by public relations: show, don’t tell. Target’s digital agency, Group SJR, writes the content for the site, and the company’s PR has editorial meetings once a week to discuss what’s going on at the company.

AOL’s Second Life: Reinvention as Media Company (The Economist) AOL’s Tim Armstrong, a former Google executive whose first job was running a small newspaper in Boston, has tried to turn a flagging dial-up internet firm into a content company. Among the properties AOL owns are TechCrunch, a tech-news site; Patch, which provides local news in America’s richer cities, among others; and the Huffington Post, the fourth-most-widely-read news site in America. Armstrong is the company’s biggest individual shareholder, so he has an incentive to do right and has done much to revive a firm that others thought dead. But after just one quarter of growth, is it too early to tap the kegs?

Can Silicon Valley Re-Invent Customer Service? (Washington Post) Customer service is increasingly becoming a premium offering rather than a core offering, and it’s time for that to change, says Dominic Basulto. “Almost without exception, companies have attempted to replace expensive customer service representatives with cheap bots, or even worse — to require the consumer to do the job that customer service workers once did,” he writes. “In many cases, companies no longer even advertise a 1-800 number to contact them — once you’ve signed up as a user, they really don’t want to talk to you ever again. It’s become increasingly clear that if there’s a sweet spot out there for Silicon Valley innovators, it’s using technology to restore ‘service’ to ‘customer service.’’’


35 CEOs, CMOs, VCs and media leaders in two days of unscripted conversation. (Recently added: Pinterest founder Ben Silbermann.) Come to the CM Summit to join the conversation about “Bridging Data and Humanity.” New York City, May 21-22. The only conference this year curated by your faithful correspondent.

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Brands Give Over the Social Reins (Digiday) To build followers and position themselves as experts in their markets, some brands have given over the reins of their social media accounts to people outside of the company. For example, AARP let a member takeover the company’s Instagram account last week. Gail Dosik, a Baby Boomer who recently started her own custom cookie business, was given the reins for a day. But is it a good idea? Trusting someone to speak on behalf of the brand is never easy, because the brand is held accountable. That’s why Ford, for example, claims it has never and would never cede control. “Our social accounts are part of the system that is responsible for Ford’s reputation,” said Scott Monty, global head of social media at Ford. “From a legal or regulatory standpoint, not to mention what the SEC might think, it would be incredibly irresponsible of us, a public company, to turn over control of our accounts to non-sanctioned individuals.”

Who’s Winning, iOS or Android? All the Numbers, All in One Place (Time Techland) If you want a clear idea of how the world’s two dominant mobile operating systems are doing, you need to consider lots of data points. Harry McCracken has gathered results from a bunch of studies, focusing on information that’s relatively fresh, and offering some key competitive questions and answers.

Inside Weather’s Data Bet (Digiday) Weather Company, a data company with a media business model, is working with advertisers like Home Depot to serve ads based on intent derived from weather conditions, current and predicted. Weather CEO David Kenny believes weather data is as good of a predictor of intent as search, and, when harnessed correctly, it can signal to advertisers what and when messaging will resonate. “Weather is a path to something else,” Kenny believes. “Most people that are checking the weather are planning something. They’re planning their weekend, they’re planning a trip, they’re planning the day.” The good marketers, he added, are building algorithms around what their consumers are likely planning based on the location they’re in.

Foursquare Planning to Offer Check-in Data to Target Ads on Other Platforms (Ad Age) Foursquare has started pitching a new ad product that would use location and behavioral data to contextualize ads on other platforms. The product is still in development and will eventually allow advertisers to use Foursquare data to target ads purchased through ad exchanges or networks. “We are always looking at ways that could make our data more useful for advertisers and partners, while respecting the privacy of our user’s information,” Foursquare said in a statement. “We’re really excited about our 2013 monetization roadmap, and will provide more details when the time comes.”

As AOL’s Brody Resigns, Will Yahoo Build Ad Tech ‘Dream Team’? (Ad Exchanger) The mixture of Henrique de Castro, Yahoo’s COO; Brian Silver, the company’s VP of ad platforms; and AOL Networks CEO Ned Brody — who just resigned from that post —  as ad sales for Yahoo North America, sounds great on paper. But is it really? None are especially regarded as salespeople, writes David Kaplan, who in this piece focuses on Brody and on Yahoo’s ultimate approach to display advertising, an area it was a long-time leader in until being displaced by Google and Facebook.

And, while we’re on the subject of Yahoo …

Yahoo Joins NY Times And Hits Programmatic Wall (Ad Exchanger) Last Tuesday, Yahoo reconfirmed in its quarterly results that programmatic media has changed its business forever. The statement echoes comments made by The New York Times a few months ago, in which the publisher seemed to pin some of its display ad pain on programmatic. Now Yahoo faces a similar problem. For many large publishers, direct-sold inventory cannot support the CPMs of the past – especially if the content is relatively undifferentiated.

IAB: Mobile Ads Captured 9% Of Online Ad Spend In 2012 (Ad Exchanger) 2012 was another banner year for the online advertising space, with revenues up 15% over 2011. Mobile and digital video led much of that growth. Mobile ad spend grew 111% compared to 2011, the second year of triple-digit growth, accounting for 9% of total internet advertising revenue at $3.4 billion. Digital video revenue increased 29% to $2.3 billion, up from $1.8 billion in 2011. Total online ad spend for the year was $36.6 billion.

RTB Volume Doubles, CPMs Fall As Supply Outstrips Demand (MediaPost) The marketplace for exchange-traded media has doubled in the past quarter and has grown 184% over the past year, according to the latest findings by independent trading desk Accordant Media. The “Q1 Market Pulse” report found that RTB trading increased 98% since the fourth quarter of 2012. The volume of North American media impressions transacted via RTB auctions grew 85% over the fourth quarter of 2012, and 146% over the past year. The data comes on the heels of Tuesday’s release of the IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report, which showed that the greatest expansion of online advertising revenues is coming not from so-called “premium” display advertising publishers, but from biddable media sources such as Google, Facebook, and secondary premium transacted through programmatic exchanges.

Context Seen Impacting Awareness of – and Receptiveness to – Online Ads (Visual Loop) has graphed the the propensity to notice online ads, by environment (shopping, email, information, social media, video and gaming sites) and age (Gen Y, Gen X, Baby Boomers and Seniors), with the percentage of respondents indicating where they are most likely to notice an online ad.

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