Signal March 11: Twitter Rising, Healthy Data, CM Summit Coming

Adam Bain discusses his marketing vision for Twitter (Photo by Julio Fernandez)

In today’s (rather lengthy) weekly Signal: Why mobile ads are “lousy”; Adam Bain’s marketing vision for Twitter; another Facebook makeover; is Scroogled evidence of Microsoft’s obsessive-compulsive disorder?; data’s role in serving humanity is captivating; how digital publishing interacts with profit; your body, your interface; and so much more.

To the links …

Why Mobile Ads Stink: It’s Not Just a Tech Deficit, It’s a Digital-Attention Deficit (The Atlantic) Derek Thompson, a senior editor at The Atlantic, writes of the conundrum that surrounds mobile advertising: “We spend most of our lives ignoring ads while we also spend hours browsing websites, reading articles, using apps, and ‘consuming’ other ‘content’ that could not exist without them.” He offers four reasons why mobile ads are “lousy,” and three acute deficits that companies staring down the mobile ad challenge face.

Tumblr to Introduce Mobile Advertising to Help Achieve Profit (Bloomberg) Tumblr will soon allow companies to promote their posts and blogs to bigger audiences on its mobile application, similar to the way promotion works on the Web version. The product has been tested, and Tumblr is looking to it to be the source of its first annual profit this year.

Adam Bain On Display Advertising, Bluefin Labs, And Competition (AdExchanger) I spoke with Adam Bain, president of global revenue for Twitter, at the Adobe Digital Marketing Summit last Wednesday afternoon about his marketing vision for Twitter. First, he shared an update on Twitter’s survey tool for brand marketers, which was launched in beta in October, and then I got him to share his thoughts on several digital advertising issues, including the difference between Twitter and the competition, and display advertising and attribution. But the most interesting tidbit? It’s written up here: Who Owns The Right to Filter Your Feed? (Searchblog)

Facebook Remakes The Newsfeed, Ad Impact Is Vague (AdExchanger) Last Thursday, Facebook rolled out organized, parallel and more photo-centric newsfeeds geared to various user information needs. The plus for advertisers? Paid placements are likely to be larger and more engaging. The full impact, however, is still unclear.


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Why Microsoft Shouldn’t Have Bothered ‘Scroogling’ Google (ReadWrite) Joachim Kempin, a former top Microsoft executive and author of a new memoir, Resolve and Fortitude: Microsoft’s ‘Secret Power Broker,’ wonders if Microsoft’s Scroogled campaign is a sign that the company is returning to its “innately competitive, if not exactly pleasant, roots.” He notes that people in the software business shouldn’t behave like politicians. The campaign “seems to be built solely on fear. Has Microsoft’s obsessive-compulsive disorder spread so far that it can’t get past fear to uncertainty and doubt?” The foundation for success is a combination of ease of use, performance and affordable prices, he posits.

Reimagining The Brand Experience ( Acxiom CMO Tim Suther believes that data’s role in serving humanity is captivating, and I’m with him on that. So much of advertising is wasted, and there’s a strong case to be made that it’s due to poor data in marketing decision-making. From becoming healthier to finding love, data solves problems and increases the quality of our lives. Imagine what can be done if brand experiences are reimagined to help the human race live even better.

How Much is a Piece of Content Worth? (PandoDaily) Many freelance journalists feel that their work is undervalued. But is it? Bryan Goldberg shares his understanding of how digital publishing interacts with profit, offering three major ways in which an individual piece of content can contribute to the revenue of its digital publisher: 1) Contributing to Measured Reach and Brand Efficacy, 2) Contributing eyeballs to the site, and 3) Contributing directly to sponsorship opportunities. In the end, he writes, the market is the great leveler.

YouTube Programmers Complain About Video Advertising Dollars (ATD) Will YouTube be able to generate enough ad money for content makers to support the “premium” programming it has been trying to attract so it can compete with traditional TV? ATD’s Peter Kafka asks, and answers.

EU Caves In to Pressure on New Data, Privacy Law Changes; U.S. Tech Firms Breathe Sigh of Relief (ZDNet) After some of the U.S.’s biggest tech companies lobbied European member states and politicians, the European Commission is forced to climb down on certain elements of the new proposed data protection and privacy law. The U.S. government has also lobbied heavily to ensure that its own laws, particularly surveillance and counter-terrorism laws, are not hampered in any way by the new rules. Here’s what’s ahead.

Why The Human Body Will Be The Next Computer Interface (FastCoDesign) Fjord, a global service design consultancy, envisions a future where evolved technology is embedded inside our digestive tracts, sense organs, blood vessels, and even our cells. But to see the future, we must first understand the history of the human-computer interface.

Esther Dyson: They Personalise My Adverts — Why Not My Medicine? (Wired-UK) On March 1, Esther Dyson, chairwoman of EDventures, spoke at the London Web Summit about how the healthcare sector is currently ripe for innovations from startups. Looking to invest in innovative healthcare products based on data collection, she argued that five years from now, we won’t take serious medicine without knowing it’ll work for us. She also promoted her belief in the privatization of space travel: “We are going to ultimately develop a backup planet, which will be handy as we’re messing up the one we’ve got.”

Google-Apple Value Gap Widest Since 2005 on Ads (Bloomberg ) On March 5, Google’s shares climbed to a record high. Investors are now willing to pay more for each dollar of Google’s earnings relative to Apple amid optimism that Google, with more than 40 percent of the U.S. online-advertising market, will command even more of the $37.3 billion that businesses spend each year to reach Web audiences.

Unreported Side Effects of Drugs Found Using Internet Data, Study Finds (NYT) Using data-mining techniques similar to those used by services like Google Flu Trends, which has been used to give early warning of the prevalence of the sickness to the public, scientists at Microsoft, Stanford and Columbia University have found evidence of unreported prescription drug side effects before they were found by the FDA’s warning system. Researchers are now thinking about how to add new sources of information, such as behavioral data and information from social media sources. The challenge, they note, is to integrate new sources of data while protecting individual privacy.