Archive for the ‘Advertising’ Category

Media Heads Up for 2015: 12 Takeaways

Media visionaries looked to the future at the Gotham Media’s Digital Breakfast at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz and made some predictions about social, mobile, TV and more for 2015 and beyond. Here are some highlights:

1. Ever-faster change – new things rise higher faster and fall faster.

2. Sensors all around that are passively aware of you. All cell phones have omnipresent computing.

3. Mobile payments. Apple’s entry will determine whether they make a difference. Most are safer than plastic, says John Abell, Senior editor, LinkedIn.

4. Continued migration of devices to mobile – even Facebook and video on mobile. Increasing importance of the second screen, though it’s still primitive. Monitors are losing to individual devices. “When the first screen gets boring, people go to the 2d screen,” reports Paul Berry, RebelMouse Founder and CEO

5. The steady growth of Facebook and mobile pose a challenge of how many pages per person can be sustained on your site.

6. Niche social networks will be big – a space for passionate sharing. (ED: Vertical networks were lumped into discussion of the category.) Niche networks will be combined with the 2d screen in the future – but with more than Twitter’s limited characters, predicts Berry.

7. People talking in a real voice as opposed to the institutional voice of mainstream media so that you hear individuals.

8. Infinite choice in content. “The quality level has been raised,” said Lockhart Steele, Editorial Director of Vox Media. “Now you have to do great stuff to get attention because there’s so much choice. . . The biggest challenge to media is the conversion to mobile. A lot of journalists are still writing in newspaper style.”

9. “Content is still king. It’s entirely defined by great talent,” according to Eric Wattenberg, Co- Head of Alternative Television at CAA.

10.“Traditional ads aren’t working. Only bots click. Millennials don’t even see the ads,” says Berry. At Vox, an in-house creative agency helps advertisers create native advertising. “The agency relationship is broken,” adds Steele. Every company has the opportunity and responsibility to be a media company, continues Berry. You need a product to be worth someone’s obsessing about it. Then put your money behind them. How do you measure social media effectiveness? Do viewers click? Share?

11 “But then we still don’t know how to measure TV,” Abell reminds us. “Yet, I don’t see how anything can supplant anything as unifying as TV.”

12.“The challenge for TV is how to get and keep an audience and grow it. It may be a combination of traditional TV with live elements in other forms of entertainment so that every week you’ll have to tune in and it’ll be fun and exciting to see what happens,” speculates Wattenberg.

Provenance: Gotham Media’s Digital Breakfast at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz 12.9.14. Alan Sacks, moderator – Counsel, Frankfurt Kurnit Klein I& Selz PC Panelists: John Abell, Sr. Editor, LinkedIn Paul Berry, Founder and CEO, RebelMouse; Lockhart Steele, editorial Director, Vox Media, and Eric Wattenberg, Co-Head of Alternative television, CAA

Secrets of Mobile App Success

With 1.6 million apps in two app stores alone, how can yours be discovered? Once discovered, how can yours get someone to use it? To download it? To keep coming back? What types of apps are out there? Where’s the future opportunity? How can you make money from an app when 80 percent are free?

The title of PluggedIn’s March 27th roundtable was App Engagement, but one question led to another and soon a virtual primer on the business of mobile apps took shape.

Discovery. A huge issue, but, truly, it’s fundamentally Marketing 101. People are not looking for apps. Apps have to go to users by understanding user DNA. (80% of apps are games.) Deliver real value for a specific user. Deliver sufficient value for users to want to talk about and share it – word of mouth is key. Facebook is good for this. Cross-promote your game through others with appeal to similar audiences. Most push notification is annoying, but intelligent push notification that respects boundaries can work.

Usage and Download. It’s all about delivering real value. What constitutes value depends on the purpose of the app. Is the purpose utility – to help someone achieve a task? Media – to help someone get information they want? Entertainment – a third of the time people spend on their phones is spent playing games? To get beyond one-time use to download requires meeting the No. 1 requirement: focus on doing one or two things superbly. Start by talking/messaging with your first users personally and get feedback. Turn them into passionate advocates. Without perceived value, you’re just adding to clutter. (40 apps is typical for most phones today.)

Repeat Usage. Here’s where engagement comes in with a vengeance. It’s about getting an app to become a habit. It happens when the app helps a customer accomplish a task – when the user finds what the app offers to be valuable enough to share. Gamification – i.e., rewards – is necessary on all apps to get people coming back. Marketing automation – such as that offered by Appboy – can make a big difference. In advertising, engagement is about loyalty to a brand. It’s a different use case for apps – satisfying a need. App engagement is also different from website engagement – and 98 percent of apps do not lead back to a website. The mobile app is in the context of the user’s life, and the user is multitasking, hard to engage, pops in and out of the app.

Types of Apps. Utility (Yelp). Media. Entertainment – video, Kindle, games (Candy Crush). Loss aversion (Whisper).

What’s the Future? Location – location – location. It’s unique to mobile app. It has huge potential and has yet to bloom

Revenue Models. In the beginning, 80 percent of apps were paid. Today, only 20 percent of Apple apps are paid, and all Android apps are free. The model is freemium – start free, then add paid features. Keepy, which helps families share memories, will generate revenue long-term through subscriptions. But the first step is user engagement, the second monetization through ads and partners. Then they can advertise payable features. Appboy sells “picks and shovels,” i.e., infrastructure, to app developers. Insticator, which lets viewers predict TV show events, will sell licenses to TV show producers.

Words from the Wise. Message your first users personally to get feedback and turn them into passionate advocates. Start small and gradually build the product to get more people on there. Go both small and international – two-thirds of the market is international. Focus on 1-2 things that work and do them well to get the data you need to learn. Keep functions atomic – no app is for everyone – take a focused approach to distribution and discovery. Measure things like time and frequency to assess and build engagement. Keep the app transparent so it allows user to do what they want but doesn’t get in the way.

Innovation from Within: Google

The very name Google denotes innovation.  Thousands of engineers are at play at Google Labs, with a steady outflow of amazing experiments.  But what if innovation is about more than engineering?  What if it is also about the human dynamic of technology?  That’s where Abigail Posner comes in – not an engineer but a social anthropology practitioner who’s changing how Google innovates – in subtle ways.

Her major at Harvard, where she took honors, was social anthropology, the study of human culture and society.  It turned out to be right on for account planning at global agencies like Publicis and DDB. She joined Google in 2011 after a 16-year career in advertising and management consulting.  Her title is Head of Strategic Planning, Agency Development.  What’s planning?  Insight and strategy, she explains.

Google knew they needed her but could not define exactly in what ways, she reported at a recent Women Innovate Mobile event.  She had to use whatever processes it took to get political and emotional sponsorship and to build her practice.  And so progressing in her role became not about moving up but about moving out, spreading her impact in many directions, probing for feedback.  “And then they all help each other as opposed to doing only one thing well,” she said.

Her first job is to help clients – marketing agencies – develop ideas.  Her role is not to make sense of data but to help creatives come up with creative ideas that inspire people.  To do this means understanding the symbolic value of brands and products.  Her second responsibility is to develop insights using Google tools and anthropological research; her third is training.  She developed a course on insight development for internal marketers; then clients asked for it..

According to Abigail:  “Because people spend so much time with digital media, we need to get value to them.  It’s not about screens but points of contact and communication.  We need to leverage those.  We’re all social strategists.  Everything we do is social.  The social platform space is unlimited.  What does it mean to be social?  Mobile?  Search?  Everything will be social and mobile.  How can technology amplify this?  Are we getting that fulfilled?

“Place making, a fundamental insight of social anthropology, is an innate desire to make sense of places, to constantly remind us of who we are.  Cell phones allow us to make places like crazy.  We find information on a restaurant as we pass by.  Then we find a dish we like and photograph and share it.  All this creates value.  Being connected is an opportunity to leverage place making.

“Mobile phones allow us to tap into deep-seated needs and desires.  What’s new is the interest in understanding the human dynamic of technology.  How can we use this to elevate our lives?”

How might understanding the human dynamic of technology relate to product development?  Product development used to be largely engineering, she responds, with some usage research.  She hopes in time to have more input into product development.  What a thought:  products designed with the human dynamic as important as the technology or usage!  That sounds to me like the true basis for a great user experience.

Whither Online Content?

Sponsored content may not be new, but its role as a replacement for traditional advertising certainly is. So is the new acceptance of the collapse of the long-standing wall that separated content and advertising. What makes this new situation acceptable is transparency about the sponsor and assurance that the editorial content was created independently of the sponsor.

These were among the takeaways of a lively discussion among content and advertising experts about Content and Commerce organized by Gotham Media Strategies and Frankfurt Kurnit at yesterdays digital breakfast. Rick Kurnit, of Frankfurt Kurnit, moderated; Glenn Hall, of TheBlazecom; Eason Jordan, of NowThisNews; Scott Kurnit, of KEEP Holdings; Rob Rasmussen, of Story Worldwide and Rebecca Sanhueza, of Time, inc. were panelists.

However “native ads,” i.e., branded content, is not acceptable when it tries to trick people into believing it’s not advertising. And everyone agrees that advertising sucks when it’s annoying and intrusive. But even overt paid content, i.e., ads, can be great. Three campaigns were cited that have won universal acclaim; Nike’s advertising, which delivers inspirational content that empowers consumers; Dove’s, which establishes a relationship with consumers about beauty and how you see yourself and is more like direct marketing, and AT&T’s It’s Not Complicated series, which uses kids’ imaginations to turn boring brand attributes into pure fun.

Interestingly, online e-commerce businesses like KEEP, are bypassing advertising altogether and simply delivering thousands of products for consumers to buy and share.

So then comes the question can any brand create content? The answer is a flat No. Not all brands have the legitimacy to create content. They need to have both a point of view that carries throughout all the brand’s actions and audience respect for that point of view.

The big question about unbranded content, i.e., pure news, or journalism, is the business model. Originally, this relied on the monopoly of news media, which enabled content scarcity and exclusivity. Gone! Today, we have content abundance and ubiquity. One requirement has never changed: relevance to viewer/user interests and needs. So traditional media, like Time Inc.’s magazines, aim to serve both consumers and advertisers by delivering targeted niche audiences to advertisers and targeted content to those audience segments.

What TheBlaze is attempting carries this one step further, developing special content products appropriate to specific advertiser messages and also relevant to TheBlaze audience.

What’s the future business model for journalism? No one knows. But probably a hybrid of subscription fees and advertising with quite probably some commerce as well!

The New Communication: Electronic, Social & Mobile Media

By Eleanor Haas

For some years, I had six phone lines on each of two instruments and a phone at one ear or the other – sometimes both – many hours a day.  I also had a third instrument with my private line to be sure I could call out no matter what and certain key people could always reach me.

Now I’m so rarely on the phone that I often don’t even bother to check for voice mail messages.  It’s easy to manage with merely one land line phone and a cell phone!  Lots of people find all they need is the cell phone.

What happened?  We abandoned synchronous communication and gained control of our time.  We send and receive text and email messages instead of calling.  We also went from long-form to bite-sized messages and, at the same time, to more frequent brief interactions,

Not long after the new communication formats started, social media entered my life – Facebook about 2002, Linked In a few years later and Twitter after that.  I have what one friend calls “a robust presence” on all three but spend little time on Facebook, not much more on Twitter and probably the most on Linked In.  On Facebook, it’s fun to interact periodically with distant friends at times we’d typically have no communication.  On Twitter, it’s helpful to discover and share insights.  Linked In has become an invaluable reference tool, only rarely used to communicate, let alone interact, but the only way to reach some people at times.  So all three add value for me in different ways.  They supplement live interaction uniquely.

Does any of this replace live interaction?  No way!  My calendar is full – and it's only thanks to email and text messages that I can keep it straight!

Sherry Turkle, social scientist, author and MIT professor, argues that our increasing use of email, text messaging and social media has a negative impact on the social fabric and demonstrates evidence of diminished expectations of our relationships with other people and of a personal power-grab for control of interactions.  Bah, humbug!

Any media can of course be used for positive or negative reasons and with varying results.  But, in my experience, contrary to Dr. Turkle’s perception, the new ones enrich the social fabric with an infinite number of contact points that have never existed before, they provide the convenience of communication on demand – free of interaction – and they allow each of us to manage our time more productively without losing touch


Advertising is dead! Long live advertising!

By Eleanor Haas

As everybody knows, paid media
advertising is declining in effectiveness. Why? Because audiences have too
many options. They have more and more
media to choose among. They are deluged
with messages – to the point of information overload. They have found ways to skip TV ads.  And they are captivated by new kinds of
media, such as You Tube and Facebook.

Three technology-enabled alternatives
to the status quo were discussed this morning by a panel sponsored by the law
firm Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz. The
focus was on who owns creative content and how these ideas are paid for. What the new accepted practices will be will
have to evolve over time. But clearly,
advertising is undergoing a metamorphosis.

The challenge is what it has
always been: how to come up with a
compelling creative concept that will make the cash register ring for a product. Technology has added a new twist. Aren’t ads simply a form of content? Can’t they be interactive games or
songs? How does user-generated content
figure in this as opposed to ads created by professionals?

But once ads become content, the
creative brains behind them take on an importance greater than that of a hired
hand, something comparable to that of a star screen writer or songwriter. That’s when you get into serious questions of intellectual property ownership and compensation.

One new direction comes from, which calls itself “the world’s first online marketplace for buying
and selling advertising, marketing and design ideas.” OpenAd wants to democratize the ad businesses
by enabling students, professional free-lancers and ad agencies to compete side
by side. In addition, it wants to give
creatives a chance to benefit financially from really great ideas that work.

Creatives all over the world who
have registered with OpenAd create ads in response to briefs from ad agencies
or advertisers. Buyers who have enrolled
as OpenAd members get access to diverse creative approaches and can license these
ideas as they use them. Creatives are
compensated proportionate to the value the buyer perceives in their ideas – as
expressed in frequency of use – as opposed to the traditional one-time fee
based on time and materials.

Grey Worldwide has been
pioneering another new direction for at least five years: creating ad content as branded
entertainment. It’s also helping brands
get ownership of songs they use as well as using songs as key branding
tools. The agency becomes the brand’s
A&R consultant, proposing artists and songs as well as their interaction
with the brand. In one ad, for example,
Rihanna plugs both her own album and Cover Girl products in a format
reminiscent of MTV. In another the Black
Eyed Peas chant hip hop lyrics owned by Dr. Pepper to promote sales of Dr.
Pepper soft drinks.

GO Film, a production company,
collaborated with McCann Erickson to produce two music videos by Christopher
Guest that pitch Intel processors through original songs that incorporate
technical terms specified by Intel. The
videos, which were posted on various techie and non-techie Web sites, are
designed to deliver pure entertainment value as a basis for an enhanced brand
image. One video tells a story about a
soft-rock singer – representing Intel software – and a hard-rock singer –
representing Intel hardware – and the pleasure they bring their audience of
office workers.

Advertising is still a message
controlled by a sponsor who is identified and who pays for distribution. But the nature of the message is taking on
radical new dimensions, dimensions that at times seem to erase the line between
entertainment and advertising.  The times they are a’changing!