Winners and losers in a rapidly consolidating digital advertising market

Good News for digital ad sellers:  Digital Advertising is expected to finish the year with a year-to-year growth rate of 11.5% in 2017 and grow again in 2018 by 11.3%.  That information comes from GroupM/WPP, the world’s largest buyer of advertising.  Magna (IPG Mediabrands) pegs 2018 digital growth at 13%. Bad News for digital ad … Continue reading Winners and losers in a rapidly consolidating digital advertising market

Quartz: Android phones send location data even when location services are turned off

“When you use Google services, we may collect and process information about your actual location. We use various technologies to determine location, including IP address, GPS, and other sensors that may, for example, provide Google with information on nearby devices, Wi-Fi access points and cell towers.” – Google Privacy Policy Google says it collects location data when you use … Continue reading Quartz: Android phones send location data even when location services are turned off

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.

Year-long Google study of the dark web shows how accounts get hacked

The folks at Google teamed up with Carnegie Mellon to undertake an extensive study on how accounts get compromised. By searing the dark web, they identified some troubling things: 788,000 potential victims of off-the-shelf keyloggers 4 million potential victims of phishing kits 9 billion usernames and passwords exposed via data breaches and traded on black-market … Continue reading Year-long Google study of the dark web shows how accounts get hacked

Where does Google go when it wants to roll out a new product?  Television.

YouTube TV is rolling out across the country, starting in select markets, which will feature a so-called “skinny bundle” of TV channels, including local channels.  It is designed to compete – at a much lower price point – against cable and satellite packages in this era of “cutting the cord.” The YouTube TV service will … Continue reading Where does Google go when it wants to roll out a new product?  Television.

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

Online Ad Campaign Bill would require more disclosures for digital ads

It’s been a long time coming.  Television and radio stations have had to live up to often onerous regulations on political advertising.  From requiring identification on funding, how large and prominent certain disclosures are, and maintaining online political files showing who bought what, where it ran, and how much they paid.  In some cases, long … Continue reading Online Ad Campaign Bill would require more disclosures for digital ads

One of the creators of Google News calls the search site “shameful and irresponsible” in spreading fake news

Google's already under fire for its role in spreading "Fake News."  Now, one of the engineers who helped create Google News had quite a bit to say about the search site and it wasn’t flattering.  Krishna Bharat helped lead the team the creation team, but posted to Facebook that Google News has become “shameful and … Continue reading One of the creators of Google News calls the search site “shameful and irresponsible” in spreading fake news

Apple ditches Bing for Google search

In 2014, Apple dropped Google for its search and switched to Bing for iOS and Mac.  Now, it’s dumping Bing and going back to Google.  The same goes for Siri as well. “Switching to Google as the web search provider for Siri, Search within iOS and Spotlight on Mac will allow these services to have a consistent … Continue reading Apple ditches Bing for Google search

Dominating Digital Ad Revenue: Google, Facebook, Amazon, and … ?

Amazon has gotten a lot of attention lately for its move into the advertising sales space, but another online retailer is making moves as well.  Wal-Mart is now in the advertising business.  Both companies have a dizzying array of consumer information in their databases to target consumers. Wal-Mart is positioned to offer display, native ad, … Continue reading Dominating Digital Ad Revenue: Google, Facebook, Amazon, and … ?

How to check if your website violates new Google Chrome “Annoying Ads” filter

Google recently announced its going to penalize websites that have poor ad experiences in its upcoming update to the Chrome browser.  Starting next year, Chrome will block sites with “annoying ads” in search results.  If you think because you’re a name brand publisher, you’ll be exempt, think again.  Google has analyzed 100,000 sites so far … Continue reading How to check if your website violates new Google Chrome “Annoying Ads” filter

Facebook to punish slow loading websites

Here’s another reason to make sure your website loads quickly.  Facebook will give priority placement to sites that load fast. “…we’ll soon take into account the estimated load time of a webpage that someone clicks to from any link in News Feed on the mobile app. Factors such as the person’s current network connection and … Continue reading Facebook to punish slow loading websites

If Programmatic Ad Buying is the future, why are advertisers not buying it?

We’ve heard so much about “Programmatic Ad Buying” in the past two years, it’s almost become a joke around our place.  Everybody tells us it’s coming and we’d better be ready. If you’ve ever bought a self-serve Google ad or a Facebook ad, that’s really the kind of thing we talk about when talk programmatic … Continue reading If Programmatic Ad Buying is the future, why are advertisers not buying it?

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

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%

Google says no to pop-up and pop-under ads

Google has taken another positive step in trying to help reign in the mess of annoying ads on website. Google will no longer permit placing pop-up or pop-under ads, the company declared in a blog post. They also won’t allow the use of any Google ads on sites that contain or trigger pop-unders. “We do … Continue reading Google says no to pop-up and pop-under ads

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

Canada’s Supreme Court rules Google must block some search content worldwide

Can one country really tell Google what it can and can't show in its search results for the rest of the world?  Read on. Canada’s Supreme Court made a startling ruling that has broad-reaching impact around the world.  In a 7-2 ruling, the court decided to grant an injunction preventing Google from showing certain search … Continue reading Canada’s Supreme Court rules Google must block some search content worldwide

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

Is the advertiser boycott of YouTube over?

Money talks.  Most of the advertisers boycotting YouTube are back in the advertising tent, according to Digiday.  MediaRadar said General Motors, Johnson & Johnson, AT&T, Verizon, and Walmart have ads running on YouTube right now. Major brands pulled their ads from YouTube after worries about brand security and where their ads will be shown.  Google … Continue reading Is the advertiser boycott of YouTube over?

Instagram growth is exploding

ICYMI, Instagram growth has exploded.  It’s now exceeded 700 million active users monthly.  The growth rate itself is incredible, adding more than 100 million users already this year. The growth has come at the expense of SnapChat, which has seen growth slow down some 82% since Instagram launched Stories – a virtual clone of SnapChat’s … Continue reading Instagram growth is exploding

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

Despite a year warning, publishers and ad creators aren’t ready for Flash ad end dates

The Interactive Advertising Bureau advocated for an end to Flash video ads by July 2017.  Instead, it wants advertisers to use HTML5.  Google jumped into the fray by stopping accepting Flash ads as of April and announcing an end to grandfathered Flash ads this July. So, with two months to go, how’s it going?  Not … Continue reading Despite a year warning, publishers and ad creators aren’t ready for Flash ad end dates

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

Website video might hurt, but won’t help Google ranking

Adding videos to your website may be a great idea, but it won’t help your site rank better on Google. “Having a video on your page will absolutely not help you rank better in web search,” said Google’s Gary Illyes in response to a Twitter discussion.   https://twitter.com/methode/status/860454461227106304 So don’t expect it to make a … Continue reading Website video might hurt, but won’t help Google ranking

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

The AdWords Illusion: Forget the sales funnel

I’ve written before about the problem with using “last-click attribution” as a key metric for deciding where and how to place your advertising. Who gets credit for driving customers? The last thing they visited. Many marketers are just counting the click and forgetting about all the other marketing it took to get that click. Why … Continue reading The AdWords Illusion: Forget the sales funnel

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

Self-serve Snap Ads coming to Snapchat

Snapchat is about to launch a self-service ad platform.  Digiday reports the interface will allow you to do Snap ads.  Snap ads are full-screen videos (vertical) that show up between stories. Previously, you had to buy these through a Snapchat ad partner that would manage the process.  That left a lot of small businesses out … Continue reading Self-serve Snap Ads coming to Snapchat

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?

Facebook adds a rocket to its lineup

  You may have noticed a little rocket icon pop up on your mobile version of Facebook.  Tap it and it will take you to alternative news feed.  No, not “alternative facts,” but an algorithmic design feed of content similar to what you interact with on your regular feed, but from sources you don’t follow.  … Continue reading Facebook adds a rocket to its lineup

Social Media sites under increasing pressure to police themselves – or risk huge fines and prosecution

  It’s not just advertisers putting increasing pressure on social networks and platforms that share user-generated content.  In Germany, the government is considered legislation that would fine Facebook, Twitter and the like fines of tens of millions of dollars for failing to remove hate speech quickly enough. In the UK, they are debating prosecuting Google … Continue reading Social Media sites under increasing pressure to police themselves – or risk huge fines and prosecution

Website hacking on the rise – check out the new things hackers are doing

  Google reports an increase in the number of hacked sites.  They estimate that there were roughly 32% more hacked sites in 2016 compared to 2015. “We don’t expect this trend to slow down,” Google said in a recent post.  “As hackers get more aggressive and more sites become outdated, hackers will continue to capitalize … Continue reading Website hacking on the rise – check out the new things hackers are doing

More heavyweight advertisers stop using digital ad networks

Some of the world's largest advertisers are pulling advertisements from Google's ad networks and YouTube along with other third-party ad networks.  The list is growing literally by the day. Verizon and Johnson & Johnson have now announced a halt to their digital advertising in ad networks, according to the NY Times.  Also pulling digital ad … Continue reading More heavyweight advertisers stop using digital ad networks

Heavyweight advertisers join the Google/YouTube boycott

The boycott Google movement may be gaining some ground.  Ad Contrarian Bob Hoffman reports that AT&T has now announced it will pull all display ads from Google properties.  This comes on the heels of some of the U.K.’s biggest advertisers, including the government and The Guardian newspaper, pulled its ads from Google and YouTube. It … Continue reading Heavyweight advertisers join the Google/YouTube boycott

Should Google & Facebook be regulated, pay license fees for news content?

The British government has officially opened an inquiry into “fake news.”  Damian Collins MP, Chair of the Committee investigating, summed it up: “The growing phenomenon of fake news is a threat to democracy and undermines confidence in the media in general.” Now British publishers have responded.  The newspaper group News Media Alliance is advocating regulation of … Continue reading Should Google & Facebook be regulated, pay license fees for news content?

Lawsuit: Google is reading emails and using info to target ads (whether you use Gmail or not)

Settlement on hold as judge trashes agreement We’ve been watching the case of Matera V. Google for some time now.  At issue is the practice of scanning emails sent on Gmail accounts and using the information to send targeted ads to Gmail users.  The case alleges that Google violated the Wiretap Act by intercepting the … Continue reading Lawsuit: Google is reading emails and using info to target ads (whether you use Gmail or not)

Google/You Tube, Facebook agree to audits from Media Rating Council

Amid industry clamor, Google is joining Facebook in announcing they are willing to do an independent audit by a third-party.  The Media Rating Council (MRC) is an independent industry group that accredits media measurement and isn’t afraid to deny that accreditation if the measurement isn’t up to industry standards.  They’ve denied or withheld accreditation from … Continue reading Google/You Tube, Facebook agree to audits from Media Rating Council

World’s largest advertiser tells digital agencies to fix the problems or else

The largest advertiser in the US (and the world), Procter & Gamble, just shook up the digital advertising industry. "The days of giving digital a pass are over," said Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer at P&G, at the IAB Annual Leadership meeting.  He’s mandating new requirements for digital agencies and media if they want to … Continue reading World’s largest advertiser tells digital agencies to fix the problems or else

Google ad changes hurt organic search

When Google announced expanding text ads in April allowing publishers more characters to use in text ads, it claimed it could lead to up to a 20% increase in CTR (click-through-rates) for advertisers.  So how did it do? Expanded Text Ads have yet to clearly outperform older text ads, Merkle reports in its Q4 2016 … Continue reading Google ad changes hurt organic search

Trouble in Paradise? Digital ad spending growth rates plummet

Standard Media Index (SMI) unveiled its review of online digital ad spend in 2016 and the numbers show some warning signs for publishers. After years of high double-digit growth in online ad sales, the market slipped into mid-single digits in 2016.  By 4Q 2016, the number slipped into the low single digits, and in December, the … Continue reading Trouble in Paradise? Digital ad spending growth rates plummet

Are voice-enabled devices a threat to Google’s ad revenue?

Voice-enabled apps and devices seem to be the next big thing. It was the clear star-of-the-show at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in December. But using voice to do searches may reveal a vulnerability for Alphabet (aka Google). While its Google Home device may compete in the market, it — and the Amazon Echo and … Continue reading Are voice-enabled devices a threat to Google’s ad revenue?

2016’s top apps were all owned by Facebook or Google

Nielsen’s report on the most widely used mobile apps in 2016 showed one major thing:  the top 8 apps were all owned by either Google or Facebook. So not only do they control the digital ad market, they also own the app market as well.  Facebook grew double digits – 14% - last year with … Continue reading 2016’s top apps were all owned by Facebook or Google

Are legitimate news websites spreading fake news with widgets?

Will Google start penalizing publishers for using Taboola or Outbrain?  Should they? You may not know the names “Taboola” or “Outbrain” but you’ve no doubt seen their work.  These are two of the digital industry’s aggregators that typically mix paid sponsorships, native ads,  and click bait articles into a widget that gets posted at the … Continue reading Are legitimate news websites spreading fake news with widgets?

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?  

Can one country tell the world what it can and can’t see online?

That’s what’s being examined by Canada’s Supreme Court as it looks at a court decision that ordered the censorship of content on Google even outside the country’s borders. Google appealed, as you can expect, and the SupCo is hearing the case now. It stems from a Canadian company (Equustek) that found what it deemed an … Continue reading Can one country tell the world what it can and can’t see online?

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

Google Maps renames “Trump Tower” in NYC as “Dump Tower”

If you googled “Trump Tower” for a while this weekend, you’d find this… Instead of this… Yup, somebody re-named Trump Tower as Dump Tower on Google Maps. It was caught after a while and changed back. As you can imagine, it really ticked some people off. Others thought it funny. Google only says that they … Continue reading Google Maps renames “Trump Tower” in NYC as “Dump Tower”

The battle for the online throne: Content vs Platform

Content may be important, but it’s more like The Prince. The King, of course, is Platform. Think about it for a moment. What’s the world’s largest social media? Facebook. Largest search engine? Google. Biggest video site? YouTube. Notice a trend? They are all aggregators of content, not content creators (with a few exceptions). The internet … Continue reading The battle for the online throne: Content vs Platform

YouTube struggling to get paid subscribers

You really have to wonder about that whole “give it away for free and then later we’ll charge for it” model.  Here’s yet another example:  YouTube is the world’s largest video streaming service and streams more music than anyone else.  It’s been free from inception, but YouTube has been touting its paid service, YouTube Red … Continue reading YouTube struggling to get paid subscribers

Facebook blows away earnings report, so why did stock prices drop?

I can’t imagine any company in the world that wouldn’t be happy with these results.  Revenue in the third quarter – which set a record last year – was up 56% this year.  And it beat projections with 3Q revenue of $7.01 billion dollars vs. projections of $6.92 billion, Facebook reported in its earnings call. … Continue reading Facebook blows away earnings report, so why did stock prices drop?

Copyright, Fair Use, Free Speech, Prince, and the case of the Dancing Baby

Stephanie Lenz thought it was kinda funny when she saw her baby dancing back in 1984. She took video and posted a clip of less than 30 seconds on YouTube. In the background, amid a fair amount of ambient noise (and another child screaming), you can make out “Let’s Go Crazy,” a song by Prince. … Continue reading Copyright, Fair Use, Free Speech, Prince, and the case of the Dancing Baby

Digital marketing needs dramatic improvement

Almost three-quarters of marketers surveyed say they are unhappy with the state of online advertising.  73% of brand marketers and media agency executives say the consumer experience with digital marketing needs to be improved. The report is from the IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau) that’s bullish on digital media.  In its study of 280+ brand marketers … Continue reading Digital marketing needs dramatic improvement

Facebook says it will now publish news even if it violates it standards

Facebook maintains it’s not a news organization.  When the majority of people get their news from you, you are whether you want to be or not. RELATED:  Facebook is in the news business whether it wants to be or not A Knight Foundation study shows 63% of Facebook and Twitter users say Facebook “serves as a … Continue reading Facebook says it will now publish news even if it violates it standards

Google News adds Fact Checking to top stories

In the world of social media and online aggregation, the one thing that is most rare is truth.  Every day I come across stories and posts that stretch the truth or obliterate it completely.  I believe it’s a big part of why the trust in media in general has plummeted to historic lows. RELATED: Trust … Continue reading Google News adds Fact Checking to top stories

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

A billion views a month, but YouTube still isn’t making money

YouTube, now 11 years old, has made a huge impact in bringing user-generated content to the masses.  It has yet to make a profit. According to various reports, YouTube’s revenue was pegged at just north of $4 billion dollars in 2015.  Sounds great until you put it up against the annual cost of running YouTube.  … Continue reading A billion views a month, but YouTube still isn’t making money

Google taking on interstitial ads and pop-ups

You’re visiting a website and interested in what’s there and… suddenly… one of those pesky popup ads shows up.  Or the dreaded “interstitial ad” which blocks the content on the page until you take an action.  Don’t you just hate that? Finally, one of the power players is doing something about it.  Google says it … Continue reading Google taking on interstitial ads and pop-ups

Are people being honest about why they use ad blockers? We may soon find out

The majority of people that use ad blockers claim that it’s about avoiding overly-intrusive and ads that clog up - and slow down - their web experience.  We may get a chance to see if that’s true, or whether it’s just a more politically correct way of saying I don’t want any ads at all. … Continue reading Are people being honest about why they use ad blockers? We may soon find out

Vast majority of search is mobile

How are people searching for your content or business?  These days, it’s all about mobile. Hitwise says that about 58% of all search is done on mobile devices.  They came to that conclusion by analyzing 100s of millions of online searches during April and May, 2016. For news and sports publishers, the numbers were even … Continue reading Vast majority of search is mobile

Organic search clicks are falling dramatically as mobile search grows

If you needed more incentive to invest in paid search on Google, here it is.  Organic search continues to decline as the “natural” listings are increasingly pushed down the page by paid listings. In the latest research from Merkle, organic visits – which had grown over 50% last year – were down 7.7% this year.  … Continue reading Organic search clicks are falling dramatically as mobile search grows

How to make sure your news stays in fans FB feeds

The news that Facebook is tweaking the algorithm to give higher priority to friends posts and pictures and de-emphasizing news publishers will change the amount of referral traffic to news websites. Facebook told publishers to expect a decrease.  This is on top of the 42% decrease reported last month at major publishing sites from the … Continue reading How to make sure your news stays in fans FB feeds

Google unveils new “mobile stress test:” how does your mobile site stack up?

By now, I’m sure you know that most traffic to websites is happening on mobile.  Months ago, Google started “punishing” websites that weren’t optimized for mobile by pushing them down in the rankings and search results.  Those that met the standard were rewarded, including better placement on mobile searches and a “mobile optimized” tag. Test … Continue reading Google unveils new “mobile stress test:” how does your mobile site stack up?

Should lawyers be able to do Social Media searches of potential jurors, check their Facebook pages, and possibly craft specific arguments using that information?

Here’s a new one.  In a big – really big – court case, a California judge banned the lawyers from researching what jurors posted on social media.  Both counsels agreed to the order rather than have the judge announce to the jurors that they were being researched.  The judge noted that the practice of searching for … Continue reading Should lawyers be able to do Social Media searches of potential jurors, check their Facebook pages, and possibly craft specific arguments using that information?

Google is tracking you on 70% of all websites: How you can opt-out of tracking cookies

I thought it was creepy enough when I noticed Google had pulled information from my email (via Gmail) and displayed it when I searched on Google.  Like when I bought airline tickets and got the confirmation through Gmail… and then noticed when I searched Google, it displayed the flight information at the top of the … Continue reading Google is tracking you on 70% of all websites: How you can opt-out of tracking cookies