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September 20, 2017

Maybe Facebook’s Data Problem Is Your Data Problem (Thinks Out Loud Episode 203)

September 20, 2017 | By | No Comments

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Maybe Facebook's Data Problem Is Your Data Problem (Thinks Out Loud Episode 203)

Maybe Facebook’s Data Problem Is Your Data Problem (Thinks Out Loud Episode 203) – Headlines and Show Notes

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Heil Sound PR 30 Large Diaphragm Multipurpose Dynamic Microphone through a Cloud Microphones CL-1 Cloudlifter Mic Activator and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 12m 11s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed )(or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.

Maybe Facebook's Data Problem Is Your Data Problem

Maybe Facebook's Data Problem Is Your Data Problem: Introduction

Well hello again everyone and welcome back to Thinks Out Loud, your source for all the digital marketing expertise your business needs. My name is Tim Peter, today is Wednesday, September 20, 2017 and this is episode 203 of the big show. Thank you again for tuning in, I really do appreciate it and I think we’ve got a terrific show for you this week.

Maybe Facebook's Data Problem Is Your Data Problem: Situation Analysis

So, a couple week’s ago, I made a reasoned, rational argument for why Facebook’s data problem is their problem, not yours. I set up my thesis, I built some supporting arguments, and I think, I nailed it. Brilliantly. Well done me, right?

Well, wait for it.

Because later that same day, the day I posted that episode, news broke that alleges Facebook sold ads to Russians looking to influence the US presidential election.

Um… whoops.

That same day, ProPublica proved that you could target Facebook ads specifically to anti-Semites using some horrific language on the site.

Um… Bigger whoops.

And, then, to add insult to injury, two days later, the Equifax news hit.

Which is just like “whoops” times infinity.

Now, I’ve mentioned a few times that data represents the crown jewels for your business. Right? Content is king, customer experience is queen, and data is the crown jewels. And if you’re somebody like Facebook or Equifax (or for that matter, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple), that’s putting it mildly. These folks live for data. These are massive companies, with massive influence in our lives, who choose the news we read, the ads we see, our ability to get credit and buy things and a whole host of other behaviors we engage in and rely upon every single day. That’s not just the crown jewels. That’s the whole bloody treasury, palace, and kingdom.

And while I’m leery of excessive regulation, a number of influential thinkers all across the political spectrum have begun to ask, rightly, whether these folks have too much power in our lives — and more importantly, whether they’ve demonstrated the ability to wield that power wisely.

The biggest threat facing Facebook and Google and Equifax and all the rest right now isn’t from their traditional competitors. And it’s not from a stereotypical couple of brilliant kids in a garage. Their problem, their biggest threat, is much bigger than that.

Because the real threat that Facebook and Google face is from consumers turning on them, losing faith in their ability to keep our data safe, and driving regulators to, well, regulate. Equifax underscores these dangers. Big. Time. And if customers begin to see the tech giants in a similar light, watch out.

According to TechCrunch, Facebook had to give testimony to special investigator Robert Mueller. The Atlantic Magazine published a series of articles detailing how and why Facebook should be regulated. Pierre Omidyar, who founded eBay and is nobody’s idea of a luddite, has been ranting on Twitter for the last several weeks about why Facebook should be regulated.

And it’s not just Facebook. Google faces increasing scrutiny in Europe for alleged anticompetitive practices. The New York Times in an article this past April asked, “Is It Time to Break Up Google?” Fortune Magazine suggested in July that Google and Facebook may need antitrust regulation.

And don’t get me started on Equifax. In this specific case, I agree they deserve almost anything that’s coming to them. But I don’t take pleasure in any of this. Nor should you.

Yes, there are editorials online, in newspapers, and in magazines. Yes, there will be hearings in Congress. And, yes, there will be consequences, at least in terms of additional regulation. The industry has done a terrible job taking care of the crown jewels. Others are getting set to step in to say how it should be done.

But that’s why you can’t take pleasure in this. Because at that point Facebook’s data problem might be your problem. Because those regulations might fall squarely on your shoulders too. Talk to anyone who’s beginning to deal with regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation in Europe (better known as GDPR) and they’ll tell you what I’m talking about. It’s an onerous, complex process. And that’s before any of this happened.

This is a big, honkin’ deal, one you’ll likely have to deal with too.

Now, let’s be fair, this is larger than a marketing problem. But that doesn’t mean marketing shouldn’t care about it. We collect an extraordinary amount of data about our customers. And I have and will argue in the future that we should. But only if we’re:

  1. Clear in our intentions for data use and retention.
  2. Upfront with our customers about how we’re going to use that data.
  3. Prepared to let them opt-out if they don’t want us to use that data that way, and
  4. Ready to protect that data from the thieves and hackers, amateur and professional, who are looking to get their hands on that same data, whether for profit or for the lulz.

If you can’t say, “Yes, I’m ready” to each of those four items, it’s probably worth asking yourself whether you ought to be collecting that data in the first place. In the immortal words of Ian Malcolm in the movie Jurassic Park, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should.” Don’t be that guy.

Maybe Facebook's Data Problem Is Your Data Problem: Antitrust

Now, before you say, “This couldn’t really happen, though,” remember that it already has. There was no antitrust regulation in the US until the late 19th century. But once Senator Sherman declared "If we will not endure a king as a political power we should not endure a king over the production, transportation, and sale of any of the necessaries of life,” we ended up with the Sherman Act of 1890.

And just as Sherman thought it was a bad ides to have a king over “the production, transportation, and sale of any of the necessaries of life,” some other enterprising politician could easily declare, “If our personal and private data about our lives and intentions truly represents the crown jewels, how can we entrust those jewels to any party unwilling to defend those jewels as if the very kingdom depends upon them?”

OK, so I’m not the orator John Sherman was. But you get the point.

Maybe Facebook's Data Problem Is Your Data Problem Summary

Equifax has shown just how dangerous it is to leave the crown jewels in the wrong hands. Facebook and Google have shown exactly how much the data they possess affects our day-to-day lives. And regulators have shown their willingness to act, at least when the public demands it.

You need to get ahead of the situation. You need to work with your IT team and your vendors to ensure that, just like I said before, you’re:

  1. Clear in your intentions for data use and retention. Why are you gathering that data? For what purpose?
  2. You need to be upfront with your customers about how we’re going to use that data. How’s it going to be stored? What’s it going to be used for? And ensure that they’re safe and secure
  3. Prepared to let your customers opt-out if they choose, and
  4. That you’re ready to protect that data from the folks who want to get their hands on those crown jewels for their own purposes.

Because, it’s a pretty safe bet that before too long, Facebook’s data problem — and Google’s data problem and Equifax’s data problem — are gonna turn out to be your data problem too.

Conclusion

Now looking at the clock on the wall we are out of time for this week. I do want to remind you that you can find the show notes for today's episode as well as an archive of all episodes by going to Tim Peter.com/podcast. Again that's Tim Peter.com/podcast. Just look for episode 203. And while you're there you can click on the subscribe link in any of the episodes you find so you get us delivered to your favorite podcatcher every single week. You can also subscribe in iTunes or the Google Play Music store or Stitcher Radio or whatever your favorite podcatcher happens to be. Just do a search for Tim Peter Thinks, Tim Peter Thinks Out Loud, or plain old Thinks Out Loud, we should show up for any of those. And if you'd be willing to provide a rating on iTunes, the Google Play Store, or Stitcher Radio while you're there, I would really appreciate it. You can also contact me by going to Facebook.com/TimPeterAssociates, on Twitter using the Twitter handle @tcpeter, or via email by emailing podcast@TimPeter.com again that's podcast@TimPeter.com. With that I want to say thanks again for tuning in, I really do appreciate it. I hope you have a fantastic weekend, a great week ahead, and I will look forward to talking with you back here on Thinks Out Loud again next week. Until then take care everybody.

Tim Peter

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September 6, 2017

Facebook’s Data Problem (Thinks Out Loud Episode 202)

September 6, 2017 | By | No Comments

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Facebook's Data Problem: Screenshot of Facebook.com

Facebook’s Data Problem (Thinks Out Loud Episode 202) – Headlines and Show Notes

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Heil Sound PR 30 Large Diaphragm Multipurpose Dynamic Microphone through a Cloud Microphones CL-1 Cloudlifter Mic Activator and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 15m 32s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed )(or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.

Facebook’s Data Problem – Thinks Out Loud Episode 202 (September 6, 2017) Transcript

Introduction

Well hello again everyone and welcome back to Thinks Out Loud, your source for all the digital marketing expertise your business needs. My name is Tim Peter, today is Wednesday, September 6, 2017 and this is episode 202 of the big show. Thank you once again for tuning in, I really do appreciate it. I’ve got a terrific show for you this week.

Now I have to do something a little unusual today and that is provide a disclosure: I’m going to be talking a lot about Facebook and I think it’s important to note that I own a small number of shares of Facebook, that represent about 0.7 percent of my portfolio. I don’t think that introduces any bias into the conversation, but, obviously, you should know that and judge accordingly. Also, of course, I think it’s really important to note that I’m about to look at the company from the point of view of marketing professionals, so please don’t take any of this as investment advice. This is all about what you do as a marketer, not as an investor.

Now with all that out of the way, it's really interesting what's happening with Facebook these days. They really represent a study in contrasts for marketers and customers alike and a lot of that contrast really has to do with their data problems. And they have a number of them.

Facebook’s Data Problem: Miscounting Subscribers

According to Fortune and Pivotal Research Group:

…Pivotal Research Group senior analyst Brian Wieser pointed out a large discrepancy between U.S. census data and the potential reach that the social network promises advertisers.

I’m still quoting the Fortune article here:

On Tuesday, Wieser issued a note pointing out that Facebook's Adverts Manager tool promises a potential reach of 41 million 18-24 year-olds in the U.S., while recent census data said there only 31 million people living in the U.S. within that age range.

For 25-34 year-olds, Facebook claims a potential reach of 60 million, versus the 45 million people counted in the census last year.

So to recap that, Facebook claims it’s reaching somewhere between 25 and 35% more 18 to 34-year-olds then the U.S. Census shows exist. That’s not great.

Now, there could be multiple causes for this:

  1. Some people have more than one account. Whether for legitimate reasons or less legitimate reasons (more on that in a moment), it’s entirely possible people have more than one account on Facebook and so the social network is double counting those people
  2. Older people (and, who are we kidding, it’s probably creepy old guys mostly) with only one account might be lying about their age for any number of reasons that I'm not getting into, right, or, most likely…
  3. Some combination of the first two

Still, that is an issue.

Additionally, a year ago, Facebook had to apologize for “artificially inflating” the number of video views on the site. Those are big deals, right? Those are really big deals. But they’re tough to reconcile with the fact that we also think that Facebook knows everything.

Facebook’s Data Problem: They Know Everything

At the same time, Facebook — with the possible exception of Google — has data about that’s second to none. Kashmir Hill wrote a piece on Gizmodo called “Facebook Figured Out My Family Secrets, And It Won’t Tell Me How.” It’s a crazy story, and I have to quote it at some length for you to get a sense of exactly how crazy. So, here’s the quote:

“And then there was Rebecca Porter. She showed up on the list after about a month: an older woman, living in Ohio, with whom I had no Facebook friends in common. I did not recognize her, but her last name was familiar. My biological grandfather is a man I’ve never met, with the last name Porter, who abandoned my father when he was a baby. My father was adopted by a man whose last name was Hill, and he didn’t find out about his biological father until adulthood.

The Porter family lived in Ohio. Growing up half a country away, in Florida, I’d known these blood relatives were out there, but there was no reason to think I would ever meet them.

I’m going to fast-forward through this…

I sent the woman a Facebook message explaining the situation and asking if she was related to my biological grandfather.

“Yes,” she wrote back.

Rebecca Porter, we discovered, is my great aunt, by marriage. She is married to my biological grandfather’s brother; she met him 35 years ago, the year after I was born.

Facebook knew my family tree better than I did.

Now that’s crazy. It's connecting people who, apart from this biological relationship several generations back, have nothing in common in the real world, and knew that these two people should know one another. I had a similar thing happen when Facebook recommended I add as a friend a contractor who’s done some regular work on my house, who I found online about 10 years ago, and have no connection to in any other way. Again, crazy how much they know about us.

Facebook’s Data Problem: Analysis

So, which is it? Is Facebook the panopticon, all-seeing, all-knowing, trapping us in its omniscient vision? Or is it a flawed system that defrauds advertisers and fleeces us using fake data?

The easy answer, of course, is “why not both?” But that’s not really fair to Facebook. And it’s not accurate.

I don’t think Facebook willfully lies to people. I strongly suspect, like many companies, they may view data through whatever prism is most aligned with their incentives. They clearly need to attract advertising dollars to drive their continued growth and where they have the greatest opportunities and incentives, they’re re going to position those numbers in whatever way makes those numbers most attractive to advertisers. Which might sound like they're lying, but I think it's more looking at the world through rose-colored glasses. They may not be saying things that are hundred percent accurate but I do think it is something that they’re incented to see most positively.

I also strongly suspect that they’re going to struggle to find those ad dollars in the future without seriously changing their product. Now they're doing some of this will already, which talk about in a moment, but I mentioned a few weeks ago that P&G cut $140 million from its digital advertising spend due to “brand safety concerns and ineffective ads.” P&G is the biggest advertiser in the world, spending $2.4 billion last year according to Advertising Week. Now, when Facebook cut its spend, the Wall Street Journal reported that “P&G indicated it wouldn’t pull back on overall Facebook spending.”

But, let’s be fair, they haven’t indicated whether they’re increasing that spend either. And this is where we get to the crux of the issue and how I would look at it if I were you.

Facebook’s Data Problem – Reach vs. Targeting

P&G has a very specific need: They want reach. That’s why TV advertising still works brilliantly for the company; they can put their message in front of more people on TV than just about anywhere else. And that’s why Facebook is itself getting heavily into the video space to compete not only with YouTube, but with traditional television as well. Its Facebook Watch offering is only the latest step in that direction.

But Facebook’s greatest strength right now — despite its 2 billion monthly active users — is not reach. It’s the ability to target those users individually. Even the “bogus” numbers of “how many 18-34 year olds are there on the site” aren’t terribly important in that context. Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying it’s great that Facebook’s numbers are off. It’s just not as big a deal as the Fortune article would have you believe… unless you’re trying for the broadest possible reach.

If you’re looking to connect with a tightly-targeted audience, especially at the top of the funnel, nothing compares with Facebook. Facebook knows more about your customers than just about anyone, including, possibly, Google. And marketing on Facebook works brilliantly. According to recent research from CPC Strategy and available on eMarketer,

…over one-quarter of US internet users had made a purchase after clicking on an ad they came across on Facebook. Meanwhile, just 7% of those who didn’t click on an ad completed a purchase as well. The survey also found that those who did click on a Facebook ad were roughly 3.5 more times likely to buy a product than those who didn’t.

Those numbers were dramatically higher for Facebook than other social networks. The same eMarketer article shows that “…just 1% of respondents ages 13 and older said they made a purchase based on a Snapchat ad they saw, and only 4% said they bought anything based on an Instagram ad.” By contrast, 16% of Facebook users bought something based on an ad. Now that's different research in the same article but given that those numbers:

  1. Are self-reported, as opposed to behavioral, and,
  2. Include internet users who are not active social media users

It’s pretty safe to assume Facebook’s influence is much higher. My own research and research from friends of mine like Rob Petersen certainly suggest so.

Facebook’s Data Problem: Summary

So, yes, Facebook has a data problem. It’s likely miscounting people for any number of reasons, most of them likely innocent at least as far as Facebook’s behavior is concerned.

If you’re looking for reach, Facebook’s data problem is your problem too. They need to understand exactly how many unique individuals your advertising will reach. That’s going to be a problem for the company as they look to expand their video offering to compete with YouTube via Facebook Watch.

If on the other hand, you’re looking to connect with a richly targeted audience, don’t worry too much about the numbers Facebook reports. Instead, look at your own numbers. See whether Facebook is driving profitable traffic and conversions through your own channels. If they are, does it really matter whether how many people they’re reaching? In fact, their miscounting might actually make Facebook’s performance look worse than it is by artificially increasing your impressions, and undercounting clickthrough rates.

The point is, don’t believe the hype. I’ve mentioned many times content is King, customer experience is Queen, and data is the crown jewels. This is a perfect example of why you want to use your data to see if Facebook is producing the results you want. It’s not great that Facebook has a data problem. But that doesn’t mean you have to make it be your problem too.

Conclusion

Now looking at the clock on the wall we are out of time for this week. I do want to remind you that you can find the show notes for today's episode as well as an archive of all episodes by going to Tim Peter.com/podcast. Again that's Tim Peter.com/podcast. Just look for episode 202. And while you're there you can click on the subscribe link in any of the episodes you find there so you get us delivered to your favorite podcatcher every single week. You can also subscribe in iTunes or the Google Play Music store or Stitcher Radio or whatever your favorite podcatcher happens to be. Just do a search for Tim Peter Thinks, Tim Peter Thinks Out Loud, or plain old Thinks Out Loud, we should show up for any of those. And if you'd be willing to provide a rating on iTunes, the Google Play Store, or Stitcher Radio while you're there, I would really appreciate it. You can also contact me by going to Facebook.com/TimPeterAssociates, on Twitter using the Twitter handle @tcpeter, or via email by emailing podcast@TimPeter.com again that's podcast@TimPeter.com. With that I want to say thanks again for tuning in, I really do appreciate it. I hope you have a fantastic weekend and I will look forward to talking with you back here on Thinks Out Loud again next week. Until then take care everybody.

Tim Peter

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September 15, 2016

The Future of Digital Arrived Last Week (Thinks Out Loud Episode 177)

September 15, 2016 | By | No Comments

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The Future of Digital Arrived Last Week (Thinks Out Loud Episode 177): Woman wearing wireless headphones

The Future of Digital Arrived Last Week (Thinks Out Loud Episode 177) – Headlines and Show Notes

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about how to lead mobile-focused digital transformation within large organizations (a topic we’ve been talking about a fair bit lately). Here are the slides for your reference:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 12m 19s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed )(or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.

Tim Peter

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June 1, 2016

What Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Can Teach You About Digital Marketing (Thinks Out Loud Episode 165)

June 1, 2016 | By | No Comments

What Amazon's Jeff Bezos Can Teach You About Digital Marketing: Woman using AI

What Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Can Teach You About Digital Marketing (Thinks Out Loud Episode 165) – Headlines and Show Notes

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about how to lead mobile-focused digital transformation within large organizations (a topic we’ve been talking about a fair bit lately). Here are the slides for your reference:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 16m 6s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed )(or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

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April 15, 2016

6 Awesome Insights About Mobile Payments, E-commerce and Even More: E-commerce Link Digest

April 15, 2016 | By | No Comments

6 Awesome Insights About Mobile Payments, E-commerce and Even More: Customer paying with mobile device at store

Hello, Big Thinkers and Happy Tax Day! (I hope, anyway…) Let’s skip any big setup this week and instead get you right into this set of 6 digital insights about mobile payments, e-commerce, and even more from the past week. Enjoy:

  1. Leading off, Bryan Kramer over on The Future of Commerce blog looks at why so many companies fail at creating value. Excellent read and well-worth your time. While you’re at it, you might want to review this look at building a brand story and check out the two most important questions you must answer to put your marketing to work.
  2. Business Insider reports that Amazon’s new video feature should make YouTube extremely nervous. Very interesting. Amazon’s making a lot of noise in the digital space overall. For instance, according to CNBC, Amazon is also expanding payments to take on PayPal. More on that in just a moment.
  3. So, since we’re talking about payments, there’s a ton of information out this past week that you should know. First, Marketing Charts says that mobile banking and payments use continues to grow. Meanwhile, Fortune talks with OpenTable’s new CEO about digital payments and the company’s plans for premium reservations. And adding color to the story, Mobile Commerce Daily rounds-up a list of the top 10 mobile payments developments of Q1, many of which you should watch closely. And, finally, TechCrunch says that Facebook is pushing businesses to Messenger with new tools for Pages including Snapchat-like scannable codes. All of these trends help illustrate why I’m bullish on mobile payments and messaging.
  4. The Facebook development just mentioned is particularly interesting for a number of reasons. Facebook held its annual F8 Conference this week and announced one of the most compelling visions we’ve seen for how the world will work in a few years’ time. Considering it altogether, it seems like it’s Facebook’s world and we’re all living in it. You can also watch video of the Thinks Out Loud podcast episode about Facebook’s vision on our Facebook page (where else, really?) or take a look at it right here:
  5. Speaking of the future, the Future of Commerce blog also has a thought-provoking piece by Dean Afzal explaining why it’s time to embrace modern mobile literacy. Good read. You might also want to review these 6 mobile commerce and strategy insights from the ongoing E-commerce Link Digest series.
  6. And, finally, as you do things like build your brand story and create value for your customers, don’t forget Content Marketing and the idea that we’re all publishers now.

If you want learn even more about how your customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure and register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

  • Missing that connectionWhy so many companies fail at creating value?
  • Driving Seamless Experiences in 2016 (Thinks Out Loud Episode 149)
  • Adobe Summit: IoT Moves Into ‘Systems’ Phase
  • US Execs Look for the Next Silver Bullet Innovation – eMarketer
  • Trends for 2016: Is Execution the New Innovation? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 145)
  • Stop Chasing the Next Big Thing in Digital (Thinks Out Loud Episode 150)
  • Tim Peter

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    April 13, 2016

    It’s Facebook’s World and We’re All Living In It (Thinks Out Loud Episode 160)

    April 13, 2016 | By | No Comments

    It's Facebook's World and We're All Living In It (Thinks Out Loud): Woman using social media on mobile phone

    It’s Facebook’s World and We’re All Living In It (Thinks Out Loud Episode 160) – Headlines and Show Notes

    Tim Peter

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    February 23, 2016

    Five Reasons Marketers Need to Get Ready for Mobile Messaging

    February 23, 2016 | By | No Comments

    Five Reasons Marketers Need to Get Ready for Mobile MessagingI don’t know about you, but it seems like we’re starting to see a lot of traction around tools like Snapchat, Kik, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and WeChat lately among a number of forward-looking brands and businesses. But what’s the big deal here? What’s it all about. Here’s a quick primer for you on five reasons marketers need to get ready for mobile messaging:

    1. Messaging has emerged as a serious platform for consumers. According to Business Insider, Messaging apps are now bigger than social networks noting, “Messaging apps are about more than messaging. The first stage of the chat app revolution was focused on growth. In the next phase, companies will focus on building out services and monetizing chat apps’ massive user base.” As we’ll look at in a moment, we’re already seeing that in some countries, and expect more to come.

      And depending on where your customers live and work, it may offer some opportunities for your business, too. The key takeaway is that you need to keep an eye on how your customers interact with their friends, family, fans, and followers, and whether those interactions start to move away from social.

    2. Messaging is already huge in Asia. As just mentioned, messaging is bigger in some parts of the world than others. For instance, eMarketer looked at WeChat as an effective platform for marketing in China. eMarketer talked with Thomas Meyer, co-founder of Mobile Now Group, who said,
      “…large coffee, fast-food or luxury companies—whether they’re retail or brands—they look at WeChat as the central component of their mobile strategy. WeChat is the biggest piece of the cake. It is the mobile commerce and mobile CRM [customer relationship management] enabler in China.”

      I want to emphasize that point again, because it’s absolutely the key to understanding messaging: “…companies… look at WeChat as the central component of their mobile strategy.” Messaging isn’t secondary to mobile. Messaging is organically mobile.

      Mobile Commerce Daily illustrated how that’s shaping customer behavior, noting that WeChat users exchanged one billion red envelopes containing Lucky Money on Chinese New Year’s Eve in 2015, with greater increases predicted for this year. If your customers live, work, or connect with friends and family in China, WeChat needs to be on your radar now. Similarly, if you’re looking at Korea, you have to get onboard with KakaoTalk, while brands focused on Japan, Thailand, and Taiwan really want to look into Line. Europe isn’t far behind generally, where WhatsApp (owned by Facebook) rules. But it’s not quite as mature a marketplace as Asia overall yet.

    3. Millennials and younger consumers seem ready to embrace messaging as their primary communications channel. It’s no secret that established social networks such as Facebook aren’t attracting younger audiences the way they once were but messaging style apps, such as Snapchat, are. A recent CNBC post explains why Snapchat is better than Facebook among Millennials, which Inc. unpacks further (but doesn’t dispute) looking at why Millennials have stopped loving Facebook.

      For a clearer picture of the shifts we’re seeing in Millennials’ behaviors, take a look at this Buzzfeed piece that explains why teenagers are much better at Snapchat than you. The money quote, for me: “I just need to mention this: While I was talking to Brooke [the author’s teenaged sister], she mentioned that she has 700 unanswered texts ‘just from today.'”

      Snapchat has business value as well. Just as with WeChat, Snapchat users can send one another cash (up to $2,500 in some cases) directly from within the app.

      Smart brands have already jumped onboard to attract a younger audience. Luxury Daily notes that retailers have turned to Snapchat to share Fashion Week with their clientele—a trend we should expect to see more of in the year.

    4. The big guys aren’t taking this lying down. What, you don’t expect the AGFAM group to let new players romp all over their field, do you? Facebook in particular depends on advertising—and in particular, mobile advertising—to make its money. And anything that challenges its dominance in mobile and social could provide a death blow to the company’s growth, both near-term and in the future. Which explains why Facebook is testing SMS integration in Messenger, as reported by Venture Beat. For instance, take a look at this fascinating highlight:
      “…a Facebook spokesperson told VentureBeat:

      At Messenger, we are always trying to create new ways for people to communicate seamlessly with everyone. Right now, we’re testing the ability for people to easily bring all their conversations—from SMS and Messenger—to one place. It’s a really simple way to get, see and respond to all your SMS messages in just one app. By choosing to access your SMS messages in Messenger, they’re right alongside all the other enhanced features that Messenger offers.”

      Messaging might be getting bigger than social networking, but don’t be surprised to see the social networks fight back.

    5. And the big guys plan to expand their offering to make messaging more profitable. eMarketer interviewed Facebook’s director of product marketing for Pages, Benji Shomair, about why Facebook believes it’s ready for commerce. While the whole article is really worth reading, this part of the interview in particular stands out:

      eMarketer: Do you see Messenger as unique in what it can offer as a channel?

      Benji Shomair: Without a doubt. Messenger is a one-point reaction. It’s personal. It’s intimate. And so I think it’s a unique opportunity for businesses to interact with people both where they’re already spending their time and having these meaningful conversations, but also in this context of one-to-one. It fits this broader theme of on-the-go accessibility.

      Messenger also has additional context. [For example], ‘You bought this jacket already, would you like it in a different color?’ Or, ‘Hey, you were browsing for this and it was out of stock, now it’s back in stock, would that be of value to you?'”

      Cool, huh? Shomair continues:

      “One of the most exciting things that we’ve seen is that a lot of the outreach with Messenger and Pages is pre-transaction. So in the messaging ecosystem, when people are thinking about making the transaction, they’re finding this channel is a really valuable way to help with their questions, clarifications and availability.”

    Now, it’s unlikely that messaging will completely take over in the next 6 months. And, as we’ve talked about before, you don’t want to waste your time constantly chasing some fictional “next big thing.”

    At the same time, it’s important to note that messaging is starting to gain traction. And if your customers live, work, or connect regularly with friends and family in Asia, you really need to start looking at how to leverage messaging into your marketing plan. For everybody else, consider this:

    • Start asking (and watching) your customers. Begin surveying your customers about how they’d like to hear from you. Include messaging services such as WeChat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Slack, HipChat, and Snapchat as options to see what’s popular among your customers.
    • Create a Snapchat geofilter for your business. If you have a physical location, create a geofilter on Snapchat to let your customers customize their experience when they’re nearby (you can review some solid examples here). Then see whether your customers connect to gauge interest in your brand on Snapchat.
    • Test. Learn. Test again. This one’s probably old hat for many of you. But while it’s probably too soon to dive into messaging in a big way (unless again you’re targeting Asia or, possibly, have a hardcore Millennial focus), it’s not too soon to test. A number of case studies exist of brands who’ve had success with mobile messaging. It may be time to include your name on that list.

    Again, mobile messaging has some runway here. But, as we’ve seen with many digital trends, they tend to “sleep, creep, then leap” into dominance. We’re well past the point of “sleep.” Whether 2016 is the year mobile messaging leaps into the mainstream remains to be seen. But that moment is unlikely to be too far in the future. No better time than today to start ramping up your team’s skills to be ready to make the leap yourself.

    And if you want learn even more about how your customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure and register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

    You can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

    And, if you’re looking for still more insights and information to guide your marketing this year, check out some of the best of Thinks here:

    Tim Peter

    By

    November 25, 2015

    Giving Thanks for Digital – Thinks Out Loud Episode 142

    November 25, 2015 | By | No Comments

    Giving Thanks for Digital

    Giving Thanks for Digital – Headlines and Show Notes

    You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about how to lead mobile-focused digital transformation within large organizations (a topic we’ve been talking about a fair bit lately). Here are the slides for your reference:

    Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

    Technical details: Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

    Running time: 13m 47s

    You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

    Tim Peter

    By

    October 13, 2015

    Should Facebook Take the Place of Your Brand’s Website?

    October 13, 2015 | By | No Comments

    Should Facebook take the place of your brand’s website? Will it replace your mobile app? Maybe. The social giant would sure love to see that happen. It’s recently launched its “Instant Articles” platform for publishers and appears to be actively wooing adoption among SMB’s as a primary platform too with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg stating in a recent Wall Street Journal profile:

    “Thirty-five percent of U.S. small businesses don’t have an online presence. It’s even harder to build a mobile presence. Mobile apps are hard to develop and it’s very hard to get your app downloaded… So as users’ time and attention is shifting to the mobile screen, (Facebook) pages are the mobile presence for most of these small businesses. And there’s nothing else out there that’s this easy and this simple to use.”

    Facebook also continues to invest in “immersive” technologies to attract and retain users. As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said recently:

    “Facebook is meant to give people a way to share anything they want with any audience they want, and so more immersive content like that will be more a part of people want to share.”

    This may be a good thing for some businesses (I mean, apart from Facebook itself) because of Facebook’s enormous reach. Ben Thompson of Stratechery notes:

    “…you increasingly have brand advertising dollars — also an order of magnitude more than direct response dollars — looking for somewhere to go other than TV, and it just so happens that Facebook is the perfect brand advertising platform.”

    I’ll tell you, they’ve impressed me lately. For instance, check out the way the company seamlessly incorporated the score from last night’s playoff game into my personal update (providing me the news prior):

    Should Facebook take the place of your brand's website?

    So this is great news, right? After all, you might find that Facebook finds all the right customers for you and at a relatively low cost.

    Well, maybe. But maybe not. Essentially, I’m not a fan of ceding control to a single entity. As I’ve mentioned in the past, “When someone else completely controls the road to your customers, it shouldn’t surprise you when they decide to install tollbooths.” At present, Facebook’s not installing toll booths, not really anyway. But as they capture more of your customers’ time, the risk remains.

    Does that mean you shouldn’t use Facebook? Not at all. But you should ensure that Facebook serves as a complement to your other mobile and web efforts, not as the whole enchilada. While Facebook may be “easy” and “simple” for businesses and “perfect” for brand advertising, transitioning your customers away from it if it’s the only place you exist online in the future will be anything but easy, simple or perfect for you.

    If you want learn even more about how your customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure and register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

    You can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

    And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including:

    Tim Peter

    By

    June 15, 2015

    Facebook’s Big Beacon Secret

    June 15, 2015 | By | No Comments

    Facebook beacons: What do they mean for your business?

    So, Facebook recently introduced its Place Tips for businesses, offering:

    “…useful information about a business or landmark—like posts from the business’ Page, upcoming events and friends’ recommendations and check-ins—and show it at the top of News Feed to in-store visitors.”

    And to make Place Tips work, the social media giant recommends requesting a free Facebook beacon for your storefront, restaurant, hotel, what-have-you. Linda Bustos over at GetElastic had a fairly fantastic run-down of the pros and cons of the beacons. But buried way down in that list is a brilliant insight, suggesting Facebook could also do this:

    “Collect data on response to offers, like click to claim this offer, so the advertiser could have some form of measurement, record store traffic, not just Page traffic, etc.”

    Now, why’s that so brilliant? Well, quite simply, Facebook makes most of its money from advertising. And what no one has been able to consistently do at all well is connect online-to-offline. Well, until now.

    Maybe.

    First, Facebook hasn’t said they’re going to do this. I can’t imagine they won’t. But they haven’t announced it yet.

    Second, I suspect they haven’t announced end-to-end measurement because:

    1. Facebook hasn’t worked out the privacy details. Facebook, for all its past missteps, appears to be getting better at treating customer privacy with respect. They’re either not sure how to protect consumer privacy in this instance (especially when small businesses/local retailers/restaurants might only drive single-digit traffic in-store), or aren’t sure how to communicate it. Or both, I suppose. And then,
    2. They don’t know if it will work. It’s also possible that Facebook will want to see the data for themselves before opening it up to its business customers. But I suspect that, if their ads really do drive foot traffic, they’ll start telling that story real quick.

    I’m really curious to see where this one goes and will be testing with some of my clients over the next few months. But given that Google has started to lose search share to mobile apps, these beacons offer Facebook an amazing opportunity to steal marketing dollars from the search giant as well. And, if they do, there’s no way Facebook keeps that a secret.

    Do you want learn even more about how your customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing? Be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

    You can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

    And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including: