Major changes to online privacy – except in the U.S.

Some big changes are coming to online privacy, especially when it comes to companies like Google and Facebook.  The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) establishes a new set of rules designed to give people more control over their data. Think about how much of “you” is online.  Things like who you associate with, … Continue reading Major changes to online privacy – except in the U.S.

Retail digital ad spend continues to grow, but TV dwarfs other media

eMarketer’s tracking of digital ad spend shows continued spending growth.  They predict 2017 will see an increase of 15.8% in the retail sector -the largest spending category.  They predict double digit growth in retail online ad spend through the next 3 years. Digital video, per eMarketer, will account for 31% of retail display ad spent … Continue reading Retail digital ad spend continues to grow, but TV dwarfs other media

Is Google Fiber sputtering? Dropping 8 markets and new television services

Is Google Fiber struggling?  The rollout of high speed Gigabit internet has been slower than expected and the company has cut back on the markets where it’s installing.  In October, it scrapped plans to expand into 8 markets.  It’s been hampered by both the cost and time it takes to deploy, while competitors in impending … Continue reading Is Google Fiber sputtering? Dropping 8 markets and new television services

Study: Media Measurement missing 66% of all video consumption

Global marketing company Omnicom handles ad services for more than 5,000 clients in over 100 countries.  They are a big deal in ad circles.  So, when they talk, people do listen.  Here’s what they’re saying: 66% of TV and Video on content consumed by Millennials and Gen Xers is not being captured by current media … Continue reading Study: Media Measurement missing 66% of all video consumption

Bad ads can destroy brand credibility – and cost you money

Bad ads aren’t just hurting your brand.  They’re hurting your sales.  60% of adults in the U.S. says they have stopped buying from a brand because they didn’t like its ad campaign, according to new poll from Civic Science. A great ad can bring new business and reinforce your brand with loyal customers.  A bad … Continue reading Bad ads can destroy brand credibility – and cost you money

Facebook: Tracking your in-store visits and serving ads?

When ads target you on-line from where you’ve gone in the real world If clicking on a website once and having its ads stalk you wherever you go on-line wasn’t enough, now there’s real world targeting.  Go to a physical store and they’ll re-target you online. Now Facebook appears to be getting in the game.  … Continue reading Facebook: Tracking your in-store visits and serving ads?

Find out if your data was compromised in the Equifax breach – 143 million people are affected

Equifax, one of the world’s largest credit reporting agencies had a major data breach – affecting 143 million people (nearly half the US population).  Released was personal data, and some 200,000 SS# and some credit card numbers. You can go online here to check and see if you are affected.  Equifax is also giving anyone … Continue reading Find out if your data was compromised in the Equifax breach – 143 million people are affected

Some good news for the newspaper industry

Here’s some good news for the newspaper industry.  Gen Z (under 18), 18-24-year olds, and 30-34 years olds are increasing their readership. Comparing traditional newspaper use (either in print or online) with the same study done in 2015, Civic Science found a stark increase among the youngest demos.  Newspapers may want to spend time figuring … Continue reading Some good news for the newspaper industry

FTC investigates allegations of deceptive pricing tactics by Amazon

When a company like Amazon buys a company like Whole Food, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) takes a look at a lot of other things than just the business deal at hand.  Reuters reports that the FTC is looking into allegations of misleading price tactics used by Amazon. The investigation comes on the heels of … Continue reading FTC investigates allegations of deceptive pricing tactics by Amazon

Pebble (gone), Jawbone (liquidating) – is Fitbit next?

You couldn't go anywhere this past holiday without seeing Fitness trackers all over the place.  Just about any place that sold electronics, or the big department stores, all had Fitbit displays on hand - many of them right by the checkout lanes.  Wow, what a difference a few months makes for the various companies selling … Continue reading Pebble (gone), Jawbone (liquidating) – is Fitbit next?

FCC signals rollback on net neutrality rules; Nearly 11 million comments filed

Before the Federal Communications Commission takes action, it puts out proposals and asks for public comments.  When it comes to net neutrality rules, the public commented big time.  Nearly 11 million comments have been filed. There’s no question the issue is a lightning rod.  In 2015, the FCC voted in the rules which prohibit broadband … Continue reading FCC signals rollback on net neutrality rules; Nearly 11 million comments filed

Ad Copy that sizzles and sells

GUEST POST:  Adrian Posner, Posner Marketing A successful marketing plan relies heavily on the pulling-power of advertising copy. Writing results-oriented ad copy is difficult. There is no magic formula to write perfect ad copy.  So how is any writer supposed to pen a piece of advertising copy that sizzles and sells? Know the Basics Grabs … Continue reading Ad Copy that sizzles and sells

For every second it takes your mobile site to load, conversions drop by 20%

Use this free Google test tool to see how your site stacks up Google has updated its tool to test your website load speed to show you how many visitors you lose because it takes so long to load. 46% of people say the worst part of mobile browsing on phones is slow page loads.  … Continue reading For every second it takes your mobile site to load, conversions drop by 20%

Amazon moves causes Best Buy to lose $1 billion in market cap overnight

Recode reports that Amazon has been hiring folks to provide in-home installations for electronics and smart home devices.  The operation is up and running in 7 markets so far. Smart home gadgets are selling, but Amazon reports higher than normal return rates, in part because they can be tough to set up the first time.  … Continue reading Amazon moves causes Best Buy to lose $1 billion in market cap overnight

News organizations ask Congress for authority to collectively bargain with Google, Facebook

The New Media Alliance represent almost 2,000 news organizations, primarily newspapers.  This week, the organization starting asking Congress for some help in taking on the big internet companies.  Call it a pre-emptive strike for collective bargaining with Google and Facebook. It’s no secret that Goo-book dominates digital advertising.  In the third quarter of 2016, 99% … Continue reading News organizations ask Congress for authority to collectively bargain with Google, Facebook

Disney, FOX, Turner lead media companies on social interactions

The Walt Disney Company maintains its #1 position with 327.6 million consumer interactions, making up 10.5% of total engagement within the media industry in the U.S., according to Sharablee, which tracks brand data on social media.   Disney also saw 33% growth in content shares and 22% growth in video views.  Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. took second spot … Continue reading Disney, FOX, Turner lead media companies on social interactions

The case for content marketing

The rise in content marketing in advertising circles is staggering.  From native ads to blog posts, articles, and videos, it’s re-framed how some businesses do marketing.  The adoption of ad blockers and concern over where ads are placed has only accelerated the movement. It’s almost become a universal marketing tactic. 93% of business-to-business sellers use … Continue reading The case for content marketing

Mixing GPS location data with advertising

The privacy folks are about to have a whole lot of new things to worry about.  We’ve all been cyber-stalked by ads following us around the internet.  Publishers put a pixel, in most cases, on their website that tie into their ad network buys.  This allows them to track where else we go on-line and … Continue reading Mixing GPS location data with advertising

Gmail will no longer scan your email and target ads

Did you even know that Google was scanning your Gmail messages and then targeted advertising to you based on the contents?  They were.  Now, Google says they won’t do it anymore.  Well, kind of.  They’ll still scan and use the info, but just not serve ads. Consumer Gmail content will not be used or scanned … Continue reading Gmail will no longer scan your email and target ads

Three questions for Ford’s new CEO

GUEST POST:  University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business  The future arrived early for Ford's new CEO, Jim Hackett, who recently replaced Mark Fields after the automobile giant lost patience with its former leader just three years into his tenure. David Kirsch, a management and entrepreneurship professor at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, says … Continue reading Three questions for Ford’s new CEO

New study links social media use to less gray matter in your brain

Too much Facebook = less brain cells, according to a study in the medical journal Behavioral Brain Research. The researchers did MRI scans of active 85 Facebook users. “Higher daily frequency of checking Facebook on the smartphone was robustly linked with smaller gray matter volumes of the nucleus accumbens," the study said. Nucleus accumbens are … Continue reading New study links social media use to less gray matter in your brain

New Study: Cord-Cutting is accelerating in 2017

Cord-cutting is growing rapidly.  After years of relatively small number of consumers ditching their cable and satellite connections, the number of people opting for going it alone or smaller video bundles has grown dramatically in the last year.  According to a Magid Broadcast study of consumers this April (reporter by Axios), the number of cord-cutters … Continue reading New Study: Cord-Cutting is accelerating in 2017

Safari will also limit ad tech, auto-play videos, and tracking

With ad-tech being so intrusive these days in tracking our movements, you had to wonder when people would say “enough is enough.”  Maybe we’re getting closer. Two moves this month certainly should send a message to providers that are pushing the envelope on online advertising tactics that visitors don’t like.  First, Google confirmed that its … Continue reading Safari will also limit ad tech, auto-play videos, and tracking

Game Changer:  Google confirms built-in ad blocker coming to its Chrome browser

It’s been rumored for a while, but now Google confirms it will update its Chrome browser to include an ad blocker.  If your site has what Google terms “unacceptable ads,” it’s going to block all the advertisements on your site.  The list of what is unacceptable will include pop-ups, videos that are set to auto … Continue reading Game Changer:  Google confirms built-in ad blocker coming to its Chrome browser

A virtual explosion of internet-connected devices in homes

If you believe the new study from Parks Associates, there is a virtual explosion of connected devices going into consumer’s homes over the next few years. Analysts predict more than 442 million connected consumer devices will be sold in the U.S. in 2020. These sales totals include connected entertainment, mobile, health, and smart home devices. … Continue reading A virtual explosion of internet-connected devices in homes

Disconnect between what ad agencies think and what real people do

What percentage of average people in the U.S. watch video content on their TV set (versus other devices)?   250 advertising executives were asked that question.  They said 25%.  Umm.  The number is actually 82%. Research Now did the study on behalf of the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB).  They surveyed 250 ad executives (71% agency, 29% … Continue reading Disconnect between what ad agencies think and what real people do

Despite what you hear, 92% of all video viewing happens on a TV set

The Nielsen analysis looked at the total time spent watching video on TVs, connected TVs, connected devices, smartphone, tablets, and desktop computers. “All adult consumers still rely on the TV screen for the lion’s share of their overall viewing.” – Nielsen It isn’t just a little bit more TV viewing, it’s nearly all of it … Continue reading Despite what you hear, 92% of all video viewing happens on a TV set

FCC takes first step towards repealing net neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took a big first step in overturning net neutrality rules.  In a 2-to-1 vote, the Commission began the rule-making process.  That’s the first step in replacing the Open Internet Order adopted in 2015. The net neutrality rules prevent ISPs (Internet Service Providers) from giving preferential treatment (and pricing) to certain … Continue reading FCC takes first step towards repealing net neutrality

It’s over: Mobile has won

We passed the tipping point in 2014.  Since then, the use of mobile has exploded.  If you’re still focusing on your desktop website first, you’re way behind. 71% of web traffic in the United States is mobile, according to ComScore.  Mobile usage is larger than desktop in almost every country.   Developing nations see an even … Continue reading It’s over: Mobile has won

My (failed) attempt to subscribe to the local newspaper

You’d think in this era of declining circulation a newspaper would jump the chance to add a print subscriber. Apparently not. I’m a bonafide news junkie. I watch TV News primarily and I’m online every day. But I still like to sit down and read the Sunday paper. There’s something about the experience that just translate … Continue reading My (failed) attempt to subscribe to the local newspaper

FTC cracks down on Zombie Cookies that track your online behavior even after you opt-out

The Federal Trade Commission has finalized a settlement with Turn over its use of Supercookies (also called Zombie Cookies). The FTC has accused Turn of deception by tracking consumers for ads even after people tried to opt out.  While not admitting any wrongdoing, the settlement will prohibit Turn from misrepresenting what it does in gathering … Continue reading FTC cracks down on Zombie Cookies that track your online behavior even after you opt-out

If you want customers, you’ve got to invite them to buy

Before you can make a sale, you’ve got to get people in your store. Before you do that, they’ve got to know about you, what you offer, and what makes your business different. Imagine this: You’re a salesperson and you walk into a business for the first time to make a sale. You’re shown into … Continue reading If you want customers, you’ve got to invite them to buy

Least Intrusive Video Ads with the Best Recall: Pre-Rolls

It’s the eternal questions for advertisers:  What works?  Just when you think you’ve figured it out, the world shifts again.  One day you hear, it’s all about “snackable” content – short clips that can be viewed in less than a minute.  The next day, it’s all about long-form video ads.  What’s a marketer to do? … Continue reading Least Intrusive Video Ads with the Best Recall: Pre-Rolls

Will people still read long-form content when it’s on a tiny cell phone screen?

With more and more traffic going to mobile, specifically smart phones, every day, is there a future for long form journalism on line? That’s one of the questions a Pew Research Center study tried to answer. Researchers looked at 125 million cellphone sessions accessing 74,840 articles encompassing 30 news websites over a six-month period. They … Continue reading Will people still read long-form content when it’s on a tiny cell phone screen?

Would you rather pay for content or put up with advertising?

85% say give us ads. 75% say they would drastically reduce their online activities if they had to pay. In fact, Americans assigned a value of nearly $1,200 per year to the array of free, ad-supported services and content currently available to them on computers and mobile devices, according to a survey conducted by Zogby … Continue reading Would you rather pay for content or put up with advertising?

Ranking in Local Search: Location is the top factor

What's that saying about real estate?  Location, location, location.  It appears the same can be said about what it takes to be listed in the local listings on Google. With the big shift to mobile occurring over the past year, it’s no surprise that the biggest signal Google looks for in picking a search for … Continue reading Ranking in Local Search: Location is the top factor

Is Google getting ready to launch its own ad blocker?

The Wall Street Journal reports that Google is readying its own ad-blocker as part of its Chrome browser.  Chrome is the undisputed most used browser in the world with a market share north of 41%. The ad blocker would be added to both mobile and desktop versions, per the report, and target what the company … Continue reading Is Google getting ready to launch its own ad blocker?

Despite new tech chips in credit cards, fraud jumps 33%

I got that call on the weekend.   Somebody had used our credit card to try to book an Uber ride.  Since we hadn’t left the house that morning, I knew it wasn’t a legitimate charge.  I’m happy the folks at Chase knew it wasn’t right and called. One of the things that tipped them off was … Continue reading Despite new tech chips in credit cards, fraud jumps 33%

Overall news consumption is up 18%

Overwhelming majority of consumption happens on TV Adults in the US spend more than 72.5 BILLION MINUTES consuming news during an average week.  The Nielsen folks say total new consumption across platforms was up 18% last year.  Broadcast TV (local and national) accounted for the biggest chunk of viewing (29.4 billion) followed by cable news … Continue reading Overall news consumption is up 18%

175 TV stations sell off spectrum, nearly 1,000 will move to new channels

A bunch TV stations got a windfall from the FCC’s spectrum auction. Some got so much they opted to go off the air forever and take the money and run. Altogether, 987 TV stations must change channels.   [ FULL LIST AFTER THE JUMP ] The spectrum auction raised $19.8 billion dollars for the government. … Continue reading 175 TV stations sell off spectrum, nearly 1,000 will move to new channels

I love my cable / satellite / streaming / internet provider (said nobody ever)

Nobody, it seems, is happy with their cable, satellite, or streaming provider.  Overall cost, hardware problems, streaming issues, and quality – take your pick.  When you’re paying that much money, you just want to watch something of quality and have it work right without issues.  When it doesn’t, people get mad.  Sometimes, really mad. Echelon … Continue reading I love my cable / satellite / streaming / internet provider (said nobody ever)

A huge number of Millennial Men aren’t watching any TV on any device

  How big a deal is this cord-cutting thing for TV?  It may depend on who you ask.  The number of people cutting out cable has slowed, but it’s still a growing number.  But when you slice and dice those dropping (cord-cutters) or never subscribing (cord-nevers), this new report shows one demographic that’s cutting at … Continue reading A huge number of Millennial Men aren’t watching any TV on any device

Facebook is taking on the music industry

YouTube is the world’s largest music service.  With Facebook’s big push into video, the social media services wants in on the music action, according to Bloomberg Technology. It’s important to Facebook for several reasons:  There’s money to be made there. There’s an audience to be gained. User-generated videos often contains music that neither Facebook nor … Continue reading Facebook is taking on the music industry

Cable company hit with $25 million penalty, $8 million legal bill for not cracking down on music piracy

Known fact:  people pirate music online.  It’s hard to track down each offender, and even taking individuals to task, it’s like the little boy sticking his finger in the dam only to have another leak pop up.  Music publishers have tried to put the burden on internet service providers (ISP’s) to crack down on pirates. … Continue reading Cable company hit with $25 million penalty, $8 million legal bill for not cracking down on music piracy

Majority of millennials say they don’t think pirating video is illegal

There's more evidence that this Millennial generation is really different than Boomers. Taking a look at two studies, one done by YouGuv commissioned by Irdeto and the other by Anatomy Media,  shows than more than half of millennials watch content illegally. The survey also asked  if they felt any guilt or remorse for watching pirated video.  … Continue reading Majority of millennials say they don’t think pirating video is illegal

Everytime there’s new technology, someone figures out a way to hack it, exploit, or infect it

Doesn't it seems everytime there’s new technology, someone figures out a way to hack it, exploit, or infect it?  16 million homes have had a serious virus problem in the past two years.  The conflicker virus alone has infected nearly 9 million computers. Even cars are being hacked. And there’s this ugly ransomware thing going … Continue reading Everytime there’s new technology, someone figures out a way to hack it, exploit, or infect it

FTC smacks Vizio for tracking what you watch on TV and selling data without permission

Consumers have bought more than 11 million internet-connected Vizio televisions since 2010. But according to a complaint filed by the FTC and the New Jersey Attorney General, consumers didn’t know that while they were watching their TVs, Vizio was watching them. The lawsuit challenges the company’s tracking practices and offers insights into how established consumer … Continue reading FTC smacks Vizio for tracking what you watch on TV and selling data without permission

How long does a digital ad really need to be visible on screen to get counted as a one-second viewable impression?

The Media Research Council says 50% of an ad has to be showing and visible for at least one second to count as an impression. The Interactive Advertising Bureau is looking to update its viewable impression stat to say the ad must be visible on the page for at least one second.  In other words, … Continue reading How long does a digital ad really need to be visible on screen to get counted as a one-second viewable impression?

Auto sales off to a slow start in 2017, but projections show another record year for auto industry

Following a strong close to 2016, January's retail new-vehicle seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate (SAAR) is expected to slow to 13.9 million units in 2017, down 200,000 units from last year, according to a forecast developed jointly by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive. U.S new-vehicle retail sales in January are expected to reach 874,400 units, … Continue reading Auto sales off to a slow start in 2017, but projections show another record year for auto industry

Facebook testing targeted ads in Messenger app

A test in Australia and Thailand this week may lead to more ads from the folks at Facebook.  This time, they’re testing adding advertisements to its Messenger app. “This means that a business is able to place an ad in an area of Messenger below your recent conversations, similar to how we surface birthday notifications … Continue reading Facebook testing targeted ads in Messenger app

75 million U.S. homes now have internet connected TV

Nearly three-quarters of broadband-connected homes now have a TV connected to the internet.  The adoption of internet-connected TVs has mirrored the adoption of broadband in the US, but has slowed recently as more homes were connected. According to new research from The Diffusion Group (TDG), the penetration of Internet-connected TVs among US broadband households has … Continue reading 75 million U.S. homes now have internet connected TV

Shoppers only buying when on sale leaves retailers with dramatic drop in margins

Shoppers love sales, but it appears now that retailers have created a “sale culture,” where the majority of shoppers don’t buy unless it’s on sale. Dynamic Action bills itself as a retailing tech firm.  It recently released its Retail index at the National Retail Federation show in New York with some startling results: 44% of … Continue reading Shoppers only buying when on sale leaves retailers with dramatic drop in margins

Is your TV set gathering and sharing your habits?

I knew my “Smart TV” was a little different when I got my first one and discovered that just like a computer, it might sometimes reboot for no particular reason. I certainly never thought it was listening to me and sharing what I said. Things certainly have changed now the TV’s are connected to the … Continue reading Is your TV set gathering and sharing your habits?

Broadband Only homes rising, 15% get TV without cable or satellite

  In 2013, just 9% of US residents did not subscribe to pay-TV (cable or satellite)  to get television.   By the third quarter of 2016, that number had risen to 15%. That equates to 17 million broadband-only homes, according to TDG (The Diffusion Group) as reported in MediaPost.  Park Associates shows the trending:  last year, … Continue reading Broadband Only homes rising, 15% get TV without cable or satellite

Advertising groups say online “opt-in” rules violate First Amendment

Is advertising protected speech? And can internet companies use your personal information in advertising without your permission? These answer to these questions seems to be yes if you agree with the advertising trade associations that are asking the FCC to change its opt-in privacy rules for online service providers. The Association of National Advertisers, the … Continue reading Advertising groups say online “opt-in” rules violate First Amendment

Cord Cutting and Skinny Bundles: More hype than hope?

Cord cutting is real and it’s gaining traction, but not as quickly as predicted.  Nielsen’s latest report shows homes that subscribe to pay-TV (cable or satellite) is down 1.7% from last January.  That’s hardly a tidal wave of cord cutters. At the same time, the number of TV households actually grew by 1.7%.  Yes, overall … Continue reading Cord Cutting and Skinny Bundles: More hype than hope?

Paul Dughi named as one of 16 “Media Influencers” by Local Media Today

I was honored to be included in the list of 16 "media influencers" as named in the 2017 monthly edition of Local Media Today, by the Local Media Association (an industry trade association of more than 2,400 newspaper, TV, radio, pure plays and other media partners). It's a pretty impressive group to be included in and I was … Continue reading Paul Dughi named as one of 16 “Media Influencers” by Local Media Today

Half of Americans say they plan to cut back on social media in new year

How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions so far? About half of Americans count cutting back, or dropping out, of social media is one of their resolutions for 2017, according to data from Treem.  How they came up with that number (51%), I have no idea as they don’t list their source.  But … Continue reading Half of Americans say they plan to cut back on social media in new year

Virtual advertising on windshields aimed at the driver?

I’ve started to wonder if we’re putting too much tech in front of drivers. As they navigate down the road, there are an awful lot of things that can add to your distracted driving. My new car has a screen that shows current radar and weather forecasts. I’ve found the find-the-nearest-gas-stations and display their current … Continue reading Virtual advertising on windshields aimed at the driver?

Shifting consumer shopping habits lead to surge in major retailer bankruptcy filings

2016 saw a surge in retail bankruptcy filings, most of which were blamed upon shifts in consumer spending behavior. Some of those that filed for bankruptcy reorganization or liquidation were Aeropostale, Direct Buy, Sports Authority, Vestis Retail Group, Golfsmith, Movie Stop, Backwoods Retail, Nasty Gal, Pacific Sportswear,  Hancock Fabrics, and Total Hockey. Additionally, just before Christmas, the Limited stores … Continue reading Shifting consumer shopping habits lead to surge in major retailer bankruptcy filings

Bipartisan investigation demands answers on cable TV’s “misleading fees and sales practices”

In a bi-partisan effort, Senators from both parties are calling on Charter Communications (which also acquired Time Warner) and Comcast to stop what they call “misleading placement of fees on customers’ bills, and inadequate advertising disclosure for service promotions.” They've asked before and say they've never got an answer to their complaints even after holding … Continue reading Bipartisan investigation demands answers on cable TV’s “misleading fees and sales practices”

Are restaurants that don’t accept cash the next trend?

Sweetgreen restaurant chain is in the “fast casual” category, serving up healthy food choices.  What won’t be on the menu in 2017 is... cash. Starting mid-January, they will stop taking cash at 64 locations.  The  company says it will speed up transactions by as much as 15%.  Employees touching cash and then handling food is … Continue reading Are restaurants that don’t accept cash the next trend?

Key insights in examining a trillion social media posts

When you can comb through data, trends emerge.  When you can go through a trillion social media posts, you can gauge the conversation well. Crimson Hexagon is in the business of providing business insights, such as turning a data analysis of social media into strategy.  Crimson Hexagon mined its own data repository from six years’ … Continue reading Key insights in examining a trillion social media posts

At what point does new technology become mainstream?  

Commercial mobile telephones were actually invented in 1949 by AT&T, but it wasn't until the early 70's that phones were truly mobile - not tethered to vehicles.  I remember when neighbor kids would want to ride in my car so they could call Mom at home and tell her where they were calling from. They … Continue reading At what point does new technology become mainstream?  

Four times people were threatened or sued for leaving bad reviews on Yelp… and won

Put a bad review on line and you risk not just making the business mad, but maybe lawsuits and fines. You may not even know you’re doing something that could get you in trouble, but buried in the TOS (term of service agreements) you never read, or buried in some small type on a contract … Continue reading Four times people were threatened or sued for leaving bad reviews on Yelp… and won

Biggest ad fraud in history?  Hackers stealing $3-$5 million dollars a day using video ads

White Ops security researchers have exposed the most profitable and advanced ad fraud operation ever seen by the industry. Dubbed "The Methbot Operation" after references to "meth" in the code of the bot itself, a group of operators has siphoned off as much as $180 million from major U.S. media companies and brand advertisers. Controlled … Continue reading Biggest ad fraud in history?  Hackers stealing $3-$5 million dollars a day using video ads

Cord cutters are cutting cable AND broadband internet at home

First it was cutting landline phones for mobile.  Next, cord cutters dropped cable TV and opted for streaming devices.  Now, in what Ovum researchers call “triple cord cutting,” we’re seeing people start to trim their broadband connections at home and use cell phones to do their online viewing. “Cord-cutting started in landlines and gave way … Continue reading Cord cutters are cutting cable AND broadband internet at home

Talking cars could help make roads safer, help the environment

If you’ve bought a new car lately, you know there’s an incredible amount of tech going on that has nothing to do with driving.  My new car has weather radar maps, sports scores, movie times, and even Open Table available on the touchscreen.  But a proposed rule from NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration) would … Continue reading Talking cars could help make roads safer, help the environment

Proof that Facebook users live longer (says Facebook)

Ok, you have to consider the source, but Facebook is now reporting that using Facebook can extend your life. Follow the logic here:  People with lots of friends tend to live longer.  BTW, Facebook calls these “strong social networks offline.”  Social relationships, they say, are as predictive as smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity.  So, does … Continue reading Proof that Facebook users live longer (says Facebook)

Bah humbug. Almost nobody likes holiday store shopping

Holiday sales this year are expected to increase 3.6% from last year with a retail spend of $655.8 billion dollars in retail stores and another $117 billion on line, according to the National Retail Federation. So what do shoppers like about doing their holiday gift buying in stores?  Apparently, nothing. According to a Civic Science … Continue reading Bah humbug. Almost nobody likes holiday store shopping

The dirty little secret of digital ad networks

In the rush to move to digital advertising, there’s been an awful lot of ad dollars wasted because people didn’t really know what they were buying. Remember the early days of the world wide web?  People reported “hits” – which we then learned equated to server calls and could be as little as a pixel … Continue reading The dirty little secret of digital ad networks

If you spend $1 on advertising, how much ROI would you expect? Assessing ROI on advertising consumer products

Are you familiar with what’s called FMCG brands? I had to look it up.  It means “Fast Moving Consumer Goods.”  These are the type of products you reach for on the store shelves at the grocery or drug store.  Think Kimberly-Clark, Unilever, Lindt, or Pfizer. Typically, they are long-standing brands that built their marketing on … Continue reading If you spend $1 on advertising, how much ROI would you expect? Assessing ROI on advertising consumer products

Top 15 Smartphone Apps in the US

I figured Facebook would be the #1 app, so that was no surprise.  I was, however, surprised who was #2 on the list. It's Facebook Messenger coming in at #2, beating out YouTube, Google, Gmail, Snapchat, Instagram, and the rest.  It’s been just over two years since Facebook pulled messaging out of the core social media app … Continue reading Top 15 Smartphone Apps in the US

Millennials are now the majority in the U.S.

You may have missed the official announcement this year, but Millennials have overtaken Baby Boomers as the country’s largest generation. US Census Bureau population estimates put Millennials (age 18–34) at 75.4 million in the U.S. while Baby Boomers (age 51–69) at 74.9 million. It’s kind of a natural progression. As populations age, people naturally will die … Continue reading Millennials are now the majority in the U.S.

Brand loyalty is not dead, even for Millennials and new parents

Brand loyalty dead?  It makes for a catchy headline and fits the narrative new-age brand marketers are selling: 90% of the leading household goods brands are losing market share on consistently low-growth categories – Study by Catalina The story goes that in the post-media age (whatever that is), consumers – especially Millennials – aren’t flocking … Continue reading Brand loyalty is not dead, even for Millennials and new parents

A complete overhaul of digital ad units

Deciding which size ad to run on the internet can be confusing.  300 x 250, 728 x 90, 468 x 60… does size matter more than placement?  It’s especially difficult in the mobile space and, quite frankly, the industry standards haven’t kept up with the way people are consuming content (mainly mobile). So the Interactive … Continue reading A complete overhaul of digital ad units

Should internet providers be held liable when its users illegally download content?

“In this copyright action, the putative owners of more than 1,400 musical composition copyrights seek to hold Cox Communications, Inc. and Cox Com, LLC (collectively, "Cox") contributorily and vicariously liable for alleged copyright infringement taking place over its high-speed internet service." With those words, the court’s opinion in the case against Cox Communications for copyright … Continue reading Should internet providers be held liable when its users illegally download content?

Bulls-eye marketing: Finding the sweet spot

  To maximize the effectiveness of your advertising, you have to place it squarely in the target for consumers. You already know it’s not enough to have a great product.  It’s not enough to assemble your unique selling proposition - what I call your Weapon of Mass Distinction.  It’s not enough to have a great … Continue reading Bulls-eye marketing: Finding the sweet spot

If you want customers, you’ve got to invite them to buy

Before you can make a sale, you’ve got to get people in your store.  Before you do that, they’ve got to know about you, what you offer, and what makes your business different. Imagine this:  You’re a salesperson and you walk into a business for the first time to make a sale.  You’re shown into … Continue reading If you want customers, you’ve got to invite them to buy

It’s Really About Thinking “Inside the Box”

In the mid-90’s, I used to teach a seminar called “Thinking Outside the Box.”  But that was way back when “thinking outside the box” really was a new way of thinking.  It’s not so new now.  In fact, it’s a cliché. I realized that it’s really about thinking “inside” the box that really matters.  What … Continue reading It’s Really About Thinking “Inside the Box”

If you’re blaming poor performance on the economy, read this

A friend of mine owns a one-location mattress retail store and provides outstanding customer service and inspires customer loyalty.  She’s one of those “always positive” types.  Well, I was on the phone with her the other and asked how business was going. “We’re down 8 percent year-to-year,” she said.  I knew she really knows her … Continue reading If you’re blaming poor performance on the economy, read this

FCC on privacy – Internet Service Providers will no longer be able to share data without your explicit consent

The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) voted to require broadband/internet providers to get “explicit consent” before sharing data with marketing companies.  That means no more forcing people to “opt out” of obscure user agreements.  In other words, if they want to share our data with advertising companies, they’ll need to ask us… and we’ll have to … Continue reading FCC on privacy – Internet Service Providers will no longer be able to share data without your explicit consent

Facebook wants you to order your next meal without leaving Facebook

Some major announcements this week from the Facebook Newsroom. Facebook really is trying to make it so you never need to leave the walled garden to do anything, like, you know, have a life.  And it is taking on other apps at the same time. Like Yelp or Trip Advisor.  Soon, you’ll be able to … Continue reading Facebook wants you to order your next meal without leaving Facebook

Why do people keep giving their personal info when they don’t trust social media to safeguard it?

It’s an interesting case study.  People give up incredible amounts of private, personal information everyday on social media:  Who they date, where they go, what they eat, where they live, who they are connected to, and on and on.  At the same time, just about nobody trusts social media to keep things private. More Americans … Continue reading Why do people keep giving their personal info when they don’t trust social media to safeguard it?

Google loses accreditation for viewable impressions

You may have never heard of the Media Rating Council (MRC).   It was established in the 1960’s as part of US Congressional hearing on accuracy of audience research.  The MRC’s mission is to make sure the audience measurements being used by media are valid, reliable and effective. So when the MRC pulls its accreditation for … Continue reading Google loses accreditation for viewable impressions

Comcast gets caught charging customers for stuff they never ordered and hit with largest FCC fine ever given

Comcast hit with the largest civil penalty ever given to a cable operator about consumer complaints and ordered to put in place a compliance plan  “In some complaints, subscribers claimed that they were billed despite specifically declining service or equipment upgrades offered by Comcast. In others, customers claimed that they had no knowledge of the … Continue reading Comcast gets caught charging customers for stuff they never ordered and hit with largest FCC fine ever given

When did we become an opt-out world?

We all know that nobody reads Terms of Service on anybody’s website, or User Agreements when downloading an app. We have just come to accept that there’s probably bad stuff in there that we won’t want but it’s the price we have to pay. I say enough! It’s time to become an opt-in world. Want … Continue reading When did we become an opt-out world?

Majority don’t trust media, but one source does better than all the others

We’ve all heard that people don’t trust the media anymore.  Heck, I’m in the media and I view everything through a skeptic’s lens these days.  Through it all though, one media source continues to do better than all the others: Local TV news operations. The numbers for all media sources have plummeted to historic lows. An … Continue reading Majority don’t trust media, but one source does better than all the others