Signal March 18: What Facebook Knows, Google’s Glass, The Death of a Reader

Google’s Sergey Brin sporting his Google Glass.

In this week’s Signal: The FTC makes a rule update important to digital advertisers; Google Glass — on your face and in your face?; Digg picks up where Google left users hanging; marketing meets tech at SXSW; Facebook as a modern crystal ball; cookie restrictions are inevitable; publishers’ love fest with data; and much more.

To the links …

Twitter, Facebook Ads Must Show Disclosures (USA Today) Last week, the Federal Trade Commission issued a rule update notifying marketers that digital ads that pop up on Twitter, Facebook and other mobile sites must be accompanied by disclosures to avoid deceptive practices. The disclosure must be placed on all devices that consumers may use to view the ads. The Commission, which may impose a fine on rule violators, also told marketers to avoid using pop-ups to display disclosures.

Death By Notification: Will Google Glass Drown Us In Data? (The Verge) Google’s Timothy Jordan told developers attending a presentation at SXSW that Google Glass is all about “getting technology out of the way.” But The Verge’s Ellis Hamburger believes that Glass “could easily become just another screen, buzzing, beeping, and vying for our attention.” More than on your face, Glass will be in your face, he posits: “When notifications stream to your face every few minutes, or even every hour, “its going to be difficult to avoid becoming a “Glasshole.” He said it; I didn’t.

Google, Don’t Turn Off Reader. Signed, The Internet  (The Verge) Last Wednesday, Google announced that it’s killing off the Google Reader RSS aggregator. Users aren’t happy. Verge has the reactions.

And, speaking of Google Reader …

Digg Building a Replacement for Google Reader (CNET) Digg didn’t waste any time in seizing an opportunity after what many see was a huge mistake by Google: It’s building a reader that “makes the Internet a more approachable and digestible place.” Digg’s Andrew McLaughlin said that the company’s reader project is now at the top of the priority list and that his team is working to make something available by the time Reader shuts down.


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Why Brands Fell for SXSW (Digiday) SXSW is where marketing meets (and hunts for) tech. “Brands are obsessed with how they can speed up their operations and make digital essential to what they’re doing,” says Brian Morrissey, who is covering SXSW for Digiday. “For some brands, SXSW is simply a way to connect with a young, tech-savvy audience. For brands like Oreo, which is deploying heavily here, the goals are slightly different. It’s more about flexing muscles as a progressive brand.”

Facebook Can Reveal Your Secrets, Study Finds (CNN) According to a new study from the University of Cambridge, it’s possible to predict a person’s private traits — sexual orientation, political leanings, religion, intelligence, etc. — just by analyzing their Facebook likes. Researchers looked at the FB profiles, likes, surveys and personality tests of 58,466 individuals, and from that data developed a model that predicts personal attributes with a great deal of accuracy.

Imagining a World Without Cookies (Digiday) Some in the ad biz believe that any move to restrict cookies, whether it’s through browser defaults or regulations, is a threat to the industry. But Digiday’s Alex Kantrowitz believes that the more likely result would be “a period of turmoil, followed by adaption. There would be winners and losers.”

Publishers Branch Out (Digiday) Many publishers are embracing data and have decided that the best way to find scale is to stitch together a network of sites to find their audiences. In the world of programmatic ad buying, where finding specific audiences is easy, the moves are a necessity.

How Does Facebook Exchange Measure Up? (eMarketer) Retargeting company AdRoll partnered with Facebook Exchange (FBX) early on and has since brought over 700 advertisers worldwide onto the platform. At the end of 2012, the firm examined the performance of its advertisers running both online display and FBX retargeting campaigns. Here are the results.

New Microsoft Advertising Study: Consumer Experience is the New ‘Crown Prince’ (MS Advertising Blog) In a new study called Cross-Screen Engagement, Microsoft found that while the notion of ‘Content is King’ is still viable, there’s a new ‘Crown Prince’ coming on the scene: consumer experience. “While marketers once generated content to fit manufactured and static advertising placements,” writes MSFT’s Natasha Hritzuk, “consumers now control their own flow of content—from day to night, and from screens large and small. So it’s even more imperative that marketers understand consumer motivations in order to meet them in their moment.” She provides an outline of the study, as well as some tips for marketers that are based on the research findings.

“Zero TV” Households Now At 5 Million, Says Nielsen, Up From 3 Million In 2007, But Still Just 5% Of Market (TechCrunch) Sound familiar? “Just” is what they said about the Internet in 1994. Even within the cord-cutting group, the TV isn’t obsolete. It’s a platform used for console gaming, watching DVDs and, of course, surfing the Internet.