Category: Digital Next

3009340-poster-instagramDuring Facebook’s Q2 earnings call, Mark Zuckerberg alluded to the possibility of advertising on Instagram someday, but hardly seemed hurried.

Considering Facebook’s aggressive and successful mobile advertising business throughout the past year, many were surprised he wasn’t jumping at the opportunity to profit from Instagram faster. Facebook paid almost a billion dollars for Instagram, so one might expect that advertising would be just around the corner.

Rather than focus immediately on advertising, Facebook recently launched Instagram’s new video feature, a competitor to Twitter’s darling Vine. Instagram videos record up to 15 seconds of content, a perfect length for mobile ads. Some brands have already recycled old ads as Instagram video.

So why wait on rolling out Instagram advertising, which would compel brands to capitalize on the platform’s quickly growing user base?

As it turns out, Facebook can make money from Instagram by charging brands on Facebook, where ad budgets are already growing aggressively, especially on mobile.

It’s as simple as this: brands create Instagram videos, share them to their Facebook pages and then boost them into paid media that hits the Facebook Newsfeed, in the same way that they boost text or photo posts. This enables brands to reach Facebook’s 818 million monthly active mobile users, which dwarfs Instagram’s 130 million. It’s profiting from Instagram without having to advertise on Instagram.

Facebook isn’t the first major tech company to take an indirect approach toward increasing advertising revenue. Google sunk a significant investment into Google Analytics and then offered the product for free. But ultimately, website managers watch their traffic ebb and flow, decide they want more visitors and pay for ads on Google.

Although Google doesn’t make money directly from its analytics product, the product acts as an incentive to distribute ads on websites in the form of Google AdWords. Similarly, Facebook doesn’t make money directly from Instagram video, but the engagement that videos get on Instagram acts as an incentive to distribute them as paid ads on Facebook.

Facebook has a history of growing a thriving user base before turning to advertising. When Instagram grows bigger, advertising might ultimately become a direct part of the platform, with many foreseeable opportunities ahead. Beyond native ads within Instagram, Facebook could use Instagram hashtags as a new way to target. Someone who posts CrossFit photos using #crossfit, for instance, might see a CrossFit ad in his Facebook Newsfeed. The two social networks have massive potential to leverage each other for highly effective advertising.

Facebook will have an opportunity to disrupt video advertising by itself if, as rumored, it rolls out 15-second newsfeed spots in the near future. Advertisers then could run both boosted Instagram videos and premium ad videos. The Instagram videos would allow for more active Instagram brands to distribute their content outside of the network in an efficient manner.

The company has yet to confirm this plan. But even it just stays its current course with Instagram, Facebook’s strategy turns out to be a win-win for the social-media giant. In the short-term, it can make money from Instagram videos indirectly on Facebook without changing the user experience on Instagram. Down the line, advertising directly on Instagram may become a huge moneymaker, but for now it’s all about capturing and sharing the world’s moments — and paying to distribute them on the world’s largest social network.

By:  James Borow

From: AdAge

Label: #DigitalNext

trackingAs mobile advertising dollars race to catch up with consumers’ evolving behavior, a number of startups have emerged with a tempting proposition: target the same user across both his mobile and desktop devices. It sounds logical: one core driver of advertising performance is frequency of exposure, so increasing this frequency across devices should help. After all, a consumer doesn’t undergo a change of identity when he closes his laptop and opens his smartphone, right?

Yes, but it’s not that simple. Consumers do exhibit different mindsets and behaviors as they use different devices. Though a person remains the same person as he watches prime-time TV, searches for a product on Amazon or checks his Facebook feed, he has a different level of receptivity to advertising in each of these contexts. We can’t effectively use cross-device advertising without taking this into account.

From a retention standpoint, it sounds intriguing to be able to identify the same consumer as he navigates from one device to another. Sending the wrong catalog to someone’s house is very expensive. Accordingly, customer-relationship management uses purchase data and other information to improve return by cross-selling or upselling to identifiable customers across multiple channels (voice/call centers, in-person/customer service, digital/email and print/direct mail). Retention and win-back marketing tactics personalize different offers to high and low-value customers. This may require identifying the same customers across multiple devices, often with personally identifiable information.

On the other hand, acquisition marketing relies primarily on anonymous identifiers to attract new customers (since by definition these consumers don’t yet have a relationship with the advertiser) and does not require identifying the same user across multiple devices. The only reason such a technical feat would be useful is if it drove down acquisition-marketing costs. However, since the reach is diminished and the cost increases with the technologies that try to stitch the same user across multiple devices, marketers should treat this new tactic with caution, beyond any concerns with privacy.

Tracking device-to-device activity for the same individual means you’ll have to limit the size of the targeting pool to the specific audience that you can trace across these multiple channels (PC, smartphone, tablet, TV, radio or out-of-home). Imagine the Venn diagram showing the overlapping audience holding those devices. And imagine the smaller and smaller subset of those individuals who fall into the middle. Since there are techniques to target the people who closely resemble the very same people on all these devices — but with a much wider net — why pay more to reach far fewer?

Furthermore, much ad spending would be wasted using cross-device tracking to send a similar message to someone whose attention is very different, depending on which device he’s using and his current activity.

Given relatively low call-to-action response rates on acquisition marketing, it stands to reason that the optimal approach would be to target advertising at a wide array of those who best reflect clearly observed behavior and interests that would most resonate with the advertiser’s products and services.

To target consumers across devices, it is important to evaluate whether the reach and ROI of tactics are being applied to the right marketing goals. Because of limitations and privacy implications, tracking the same individual across devices is best for retention marketing.

Acquisition marketing can benefit from cross-device analytics and planning. However, given the different mindset with use of each device, and the huge number of consumers targeted by acquisition marketing, the best approach is to take advantage of the channel-specific targeting abilities of each device rather than trying to cobble together techniques to find the same user on each of his devices. Marketers should use techniques to analyze all of the channels at their disposal – and not be singularly focused on trying to connect the mobile and desktop experiences.

Author: Joshua Coran

Label: #DigitalNext



LinkedIn_Offices_1_270x126LinkedIn did it again, posting earnings Thursday that blew past expectations Wall Street expectations.

LinkedIn earned 38 cents per share on revenue of $363.7 million in the second quarter, an increase of 59 percent from the year ago quarter. The professional social network, which now touts 238 million members, posted net income of $3.7 million, when accounting for all expenses.

Analysts were looking for adjusted earnings per share of 31 cents on revenue of $353.85 million.

“Accelerated member growth and strong engagement drove record operating and financial results in the second quarter,” CEO Jeff Weiner said. “We are continuing to invest in driving scale across the LinkedIn platform in order to fully realize our long-term potential.”

LinkedIn’s biggest money-maker continues to be Talent Solutions, a suite of hiring-related products for company recruiters. Revenue from Talent Solutions grew 69 percent from a year ago to $205.1 million. LinkedIn made $85.6 million from its marketing products and $73 million from selling premium member subscriptions. The businesses grew 36 percent and 68 percent respectively from the year-ago quarter.

The Q2 earnings report comes a week after the widespread release of Sponsored Updates, a Web and mobile in-stream ad unit similar to Twitter’s Promoted Tweets and Facebook’s Sponsored Stories that the professional social network believes will funnel more revenue to its marketing solutions business.

LinkedIn’s stock spent most of Thursday climbing in anticipation of the report. Shares closed the day up 4.5 percent at $213, and are now up an additional 6 percent in after-hours trading.

Label: #Digital-Media

0225p43-adam-kleinbergReason #1. The Freedom.

The theme of Mr. Wieden’s talk was freedom. The freedom to fail. The freedom to dream. The freedom to take a different path.

Add to that now the freedom from the vested interests of the holding company. POGs (short for Publicis and Omnicom Group agencies) are already motivated to leverage the relationships, investments and proprietary trading desks of their parent companies. But those relationships and investments may not be in the best interest of clients. Further, the solutions those trading desks provide are formulaic and leave less room for innovation. Formulaic approaches lead to mediocre returns. Clients don’t get promoted for delivering mediocre returns. These challenges will only be exacerbated by this consolidation.

This provides an opportunity for small agencies to differentiate ourselves. While perhaps we can’t compete on the cost of every impression bought, we can devise strategies that focus on the value of every impression made.

More and more, brands are viewing small agencies as a viable alternative to big ones. Freedom is a key reason why.

Reason #2. The Fallout.

Pepsi and Coke may or may not decide to put their concerns about conflicts of interest behind them. Certainly some brands will — and others will not.

That means that inevitably, there will be some degree of shakeout. And, having just nabbed silver for Ad Age Small Agency of the Year in the West Coast region last week, I think it’s not too big a stretch to imagine that Traction might find itself in a review or three on some of those right-sized pieces of fallout.

Reason #3. The Message.

Perhaps the biggest reason I see this merger as an opportunity is the message it sends. This is a big story everyone is paying attention to, and it clearly underscores that there is a difference between big and small. Like so much of society, the rich get richer — and that’s not necessarily a good thing.

From: AdAge.

Author: Adam Kleinberg

Personal-BrandYour personal brand reflects the information that’s available about you on the Web, mostly on social media platforms. This post explains how to create your personal online brand online, based on interviews with four of the smartest people in the branding business:

1. Know yourself and what you’re good at.

Your personal brand reflect who you are, so you can’t possibly brand yourself if you’re clueless about yourself. This doesn’t mean navel-gazing, but rather a realistic assessment of your strengths and weaknesses, what you love doing, and the skills that you’ve mastered or are working to master.

2. Create a memorable brand name.

If you’ve got a unique name, make that your brand name.  If not, create a brand name that’s a hybrid of your name and your career direction. “You want people to find you, not somebody who’s got the same name as you,” explains Dan Schawbel, author of Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future.  Remember, though, if you put your direction in your brand name you’re tied to that direction. (That’s why Step 1 is so important.)

3. Capture your online turf.

Buy the domain name that corresponds to your brand name and secure the Facebook page, Twitter account, Google+ account as well. If you find that your brand name is already “owned” create a different brand name. With LinkedIn, you’ll use your real name, so put your brand name prominently in your profile.

4. Build a website for your domain name.

This is easier than you think. There’s no reason to struggle with a complicate website editor when you can create a perfectly usable site using a product like WordPress. (There are alternatives but WordPress is the de-facto standard.) You don’t want a traditional website anyway, since they have an “institutional” feel about them anyway.

5. Set up automatic updating.

To reduce the busywork of all those different social media platforms, set up an application that allows you to simultaneous post to all of them. For that past few months I’ve been using the free version of, but there are many alternatives out there both free and fee.

6. Share useful content on a regular basis.

Don’t try to be a full-time blogger. Instead share “helpful tips relating to the products [you] sell, relevant news, and personal updates that build emotional connection and convey positive character, such as a philanthropic interest,” explains Clara Shih, CEO of Hearsay Social, writing in the Harvard Business Review.

7. Get feedback from people you trust.

The advice and encouragement of others helps keep your “brand development” on target.  Philip Styrlund, CEO of The Summit Group, recommends setting up a “board of directors”–a few trusted colleagues who can assess your ongoing efforts and act as an informal sounding board.

8. Be authentic, even a bit risky.

As long as you don’t come off like you’re crazy or weird, a little opinion in your online presence is a good thing, according to Meg Guiseppi, author of the book 23 Ways You Sabotage Your Executive Job Search. “Don’t assume that being authentic will turn people off,” she explains. “Nobody is interested in working with a cookie cutter.”


Mentos is capitalizing on the narcissism that fuels social media by creating personalized news bulletins that make your Facebook activity look exciting enough to be broadcast on network television.

As part of Mentos’ “Stay Fresh” campaign, Bartle Bogle Hegarty London has launched a global digital platform that creates individual video reports using an app — on Facebook or standalone — called “Fresh News.”

The bulletins make up a 24-hour news channel that serves up a constant stream of humorous news reports by pulling in material from users’ updates on Facebook and connected social media accounts, including Foursquare. Two news anchors present a satirical show highlighting a user’s recent escapades, and emphasizing how “fresh” the subject may or may not be, depending on what he or she has been posting lately.

BBH claims there are millions of possible unique video combinations, all livened up using jokes from a pool of hundreds that have been specially written to suit every possible activity. Users are then invited to share their own bulletins with their friends through social media channels.

Corrado Bianchi, international marketing director at Mentos’ owner, Perfetti Van Melle, said in a statement, “We know we’re in a cluttered category as a brand and even busier social space with this youth audience so we need really distinctive communications. Fresh News is a bold step in the right direction in our mission to help the world be fresher.”

digital-mindWhen will the ad-tech market consolidate? People have been asking this question publicly and privately for at least the past five years. A market with fewer players surely would lead to less confusion.

But the market doesn’t seem to be listening. Terry Kawaja’s Display LUMAScape — the chart of record for those keeping score of ad tech moves — has more net new logos today than it did in 2011.

Still, the conversation continues. Several articles have appeared over the past week alone stating that 2013 will be the year that we finally see a market “shakeout,” as one described it. What’s holding things back? Generally analysts say it’s an inability to raise more venture capital to fund operations.

Here is an insider’s view: inability to raise dollars is a symptom, not the cause. Deeper dynamics are happening at large ad agencies that are far more critical to the future of many players in the market. Which is ironic, because agencies partly fueled the ad-tech boom to begin with.

Rewind to 2005. It was not uncommon to see up to 10 ad networks on a given agency media plan. Ad tech was suddenly very interesting to the investment community as a result, sparking a venture capital boom that birthed hundreds of players over the next half of the decade. This created an entire ecosystem.

It’s important to note that this ecosystem is largely driven by agency budgets, whether directly as a media or tech provider, or indirectly as an infrastructure player that supports the sale. For every media dollar spent by the agencies, that revenue is shared among the different companies that make the campaign come to life: ad serving, measurement, analytics, rich media, etc.

Fast forward to today. A growing trend across agency holding companies is vendor consolidation — reducing the number of technology and media vendors. This was mentioned by several panelists at the recent trading desk panel in Cannes. Streamlining technology platforms and concentrating buys with fewer properties should increase efficiency and free up resources for the agencies.

When this happens, the effect on the market will be significant: dollars being concentrated into fewer, top-tier media and technology partners that already likely are entrenched with the holding company agencies. Point solutions, smaller properties and the broader ecosystem that supports them will start to be choked.

Add to this the recent rumblings of brands pushing for extended payment terms to agencies. As last in line for payment, receivables that go out for months can spell disaster for ad-tech firms with a tight burn rate. When this starts playing out on a broad level, across multiple holding companies, look out below.

So for those looking for clues on a market shakeout, stop following venture capital moves and start paying attention to the agencies. That’s where it will begin.
By: Eric Franchi on AdAge.