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Advertising News & Analysis

Ad Forecasters Offer 'Mildly Bizarre' Glimpse of the Future

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There are two things all advertising geeks love: graphics and numbers – lots and lots of numbers. You can positively hear the crunching sound of those digits whenever you’re in the presence of anyone in an advertising-related industry. (Full disclosure, I once worked for an advertising agency in Chicago.)

With that in mind, Borrell Associates' recent webinar on digital advertising was not surprisingly number-centric – with a bit of ad and social media history, some Miley Cyrus references and a plethora of predictions for what the future of advertising holds in our increasingly digitized world.

For a point of reference, the very first television ad appeared 73 years ago on July 1st, 1941. It consisted of a Bulova watch ticking for 60 seconds with the voiceover: “America runs on Bulova time.”

Length is Everything [Infographic]

All that stuff about size is silly. The real thing to worry about is "How long should it be?" — the question every student has asked since a teacher assigned a report on topic (fill in the blank) for homework. 

Length has grown nothing but more important in the online world, a fact anyone who has struggled to trim a too long tweet understands. 

So how many characters long should a tweet be to get the most engagement, or how many words long should a blog post be so that it actually gets read? The team at SumAll, a company that markets a social media analytics and business dashboard, knows.

LeadSift Promises Smarter Ad Targeting through Twitter

Twitter has yet to reach its full potential when it comes to ad targeting. The social networking site has long been playing catchup to Facebook, which launched its email-based targeting service in 2012. Twitter didn’t announce its “tailored audiences” service until this past January.

With Facebook, advertisers can also target people by the “interests” the site asks new users to fill in when creating an account. Twitter’s answer to this was to let advertisers push their marketing messages to users based on who the user follows.

For example, if a user follows several football players, coaches and commentators, they may receive a targeted ad from a company selling sports drinks. More recently, Twitter announced the ability for advertisers to target consumers based on keywords found within a user’s tweets.

Friday Fun Day: Insider's Guide to Facebook Image Sizes

2014-15-August-Oven-Roast.jpgFacebook may generate a lot of hate. But it generates even more interest — especially from marketers who struggle daily to keep up with its ever changing guidelines on how and what to do everything from encourage page "likes" to keep customers engaged.

So it was with great interest that I stumbled upon a blog by Emily Goodrich. She's a technical writer at Heyo, a Blacksburg, Va.-based startup that wants to help small-business owners gain followers on sites like Facebook and Twitter and convert those followers into email captures and sales. 

Goodrich shared a marketing essential: a Facebook image size cheatsheet.

AdStage Invites Clients to Build Their Own Algorithms

2014-13-August-equations.jpgIn a market where the best known advertising platforms focus on high-end customers, a growing San Francisco startup is aiming for the masses.

AdStage today introduced a simple tool that allows its 1,000 beta customers to build their own algorithms for placing ads across the four networks it currently serves: Google AdWords, LinkedIn Ads, Facebook and Bing Ads.

The company's 11 engineers tried to find the right algorithm themselves, but quickly discovered that normalizing the code for such diverse networks tended to make the result less efficient. So AdStage designed a relatively simple interface called Automated Rules that lets its clients design the algorithm that suits their needs.

Yep, Facebook Generates a Lot of Hate

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Let's face it, social media networks are annoying ... but we can't live without them.

Especially Facebook. The controversy around the social media giant's re-launch of Facebook Messenger has once again stirred up a nest of privacy concerns.

Like all social networks, Facebook has benefits and warts. The benefit is that it is sublimely designed, it works very well, its got a gigantic user base (including most of your friends) and its got a world-class team constantly refining and tweaking it.

The downside is that Facebook is an immensely commercial operation and it doesn't seem to care too much about your privacy. This is not Craigslist. Let's face it: Facebook is chronicling every subtle activity in your life in a gigantic database so it can cash in on your life. 

Facebook Shuts the Gate on Likes

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Here's disappointing news for every consumer who likes to "like" a page on Facebook just to get a $10 off coupon or a by-one-get-one-free offer.

The social network has blocked companies from requiring customers to like a Facebook pages in exchange for contest entries or other company rewards — a practice known as like-gating.

According to a Facebook developers blog post, effective Aug. 7, companies are prohibited from incentivizing customers to “use social plugins or to like a page.” It's still acceptable to ask people to like your page — but they have to like it because, well, they actually like it. Existing apps have until Nov. 5 to comply with the new mandate.

Jim Belosic, CEO of ShortStack, said the move shouldn’t be a big surprise to most seasoned social media marketers. “The overall reaction has been great because I think that many businesses saw this coming, or if not, had turned away from Like-gating on their own over the last six months to a year,” he said. 

So, why have companies moved away from like-gating, and what can marketers use in its place? 

CPM Rises, CPC Drops for Facebook Advertisers

Advertisers are becoming more sophisticated in their Facebook advertising strategy. That's one of the key takeaways in the latest data about global Facebook advertising from social marketing software provider SHIFT.

Of course, Facebook is a big target, with seven percent of the total digital ad spending in the world. The data in the report is based on activity from SHIFT's advertising platform, its Open Marketing Cloud for social ad campaigns that was introduced in spring of last year.

"Advertisers are beginning to learn how to leverage the user data available to them," SHIFT co-founder and CEO James Borow told CMSWire. They are also "applying that data to set the strategies around ad creative, content, ad type and device type," he said.

Digital Ad Alliance Boss: We Can Police Ourselves

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The biggest challenge in mobile marketing may not be what the technology can do, but how the benefits of data-driven ads affect the privacy of the consumers they target.

Much has been said about the "creepy" factor of compiling information about your kids, location, financing and health. At the same time, studies show 70 percent of consumers prefer to see ads that align with their personal interest. 

Lou Mastria, executive director of the Digital Advertising Alliance, has been at the eye of the privacy hurricane for years while working in public affairs, government and the ad industry. He also holds a masters degree in public policy. In his current role, he reflects his industry-backed group's push for self-regulation of advertising practices. He's had plenty of success.

Quaero Reinvents Itself (Again) After Buyout

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Everything old is new again at Quaero. Fifteen years after it was founded, the data analytics company is a start-up again — now that it bought itself back from the parent company, CSG, that had acquired it in 2008.

The deal closed in January, and now Quaero, a firm that wants to connect data management and analysis to advertising, is using it as an opportunity for innovation. It's shifting its strategy from hosted data services to a data analytics platform, an iteration the CEO calls "Quaero 3.0."

Marketers: Brace for the Impact of the Internet of Things

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As more devices become connected to the Internet of Things (IoT), our already hyper connected lives are becoming even more immersive. But the connected device space is still struggling to find heterogeneity. 

Marketing and advertising, while not the only industry waiting for a fuller convergence of devices and platforms, certainly stands to gain much from the endless stream of data that is produced by the myriad devices used in homes, offices and anywhere else.  

Marketers and advertisers want to leverage this information to entice us into purchasing an array of goods and services. 

But is the industry ready for this seismic change?

AOL Unveils Plan to 'Mechanize' Ad Purchases

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Maybe you haven't thought about AOL in a decade or so, but Tim Armstrong has thought about little else.

Today the company's CEO unveiled the culmination of the company's four-year string of acquisitions of advertising technology companies -- a new cross-channel platform called One that he vows will do for ad sales what containerized cargo did for shipping.

The company not only unveiled a "mechanized" platform, but rebranded AOL Networks to AOL Platform just to ensure that the 600-plus marketers in the audience at ad:tech San Francisco got the point. The formal launch of One will follow later this year.

For our 20-something readers, AOL got  big -- really, really big -- when you and the World Wide Web just still toddlers. As use of the Web soared in the late '90s, as many as 30 million people relied on America Online to get onto the Internet.

Internet Fake Out: The Clickbait and Ad Fraud Explosion

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Do you ever log on the Internet and think: Wow, there's a lot of crap in here? You're not alone.

Millions of salesmen are competing for your time -- and there are many tricks to the clicks. In fact, the Great Fake Internet is growing as ad fraud and clickbait metastasize.

A Look Back: Mobile Enterprise Trends from 2013

Mobile enterpriseMobile enterprise trends gathered momentum in 2013 as the smartphone and tablet juggernaut rolled from the consumer space into the enterprises. Vendors tweaked their operating systems to be more enterprise friendly as the bring your own device (BYOD) concept knocked down more doors.

The increasing trend toward mobile business provides both entrepreneurs and hardware or service vendors with more opportunities. The reality is that anything you currently do on a laptop or desktop computer is or will soon be a mobile-enabled task. 

While 2014 will be headlined by the arrival of sleeker, curvier and more powerful smartphones, behind-the-scenes features will interest businesses and marketing. Smartphones offer — in increasing detail — a wealth of information about customer behavior, mood and location, allowing for new levels of tracking and interaction. 

Shake Up at BlackBerry: Fairfax Deal Crumbles, CEO Out, More Cash In

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Trading in BlackBerry shares was temporarily halted this morning, as the company put out a major announcement. Because of the failure to close a deal with Fairfax Financial Holdings — and perhaps emboldened by the success of the BBM launch for iOS and Android — the company has abandoned plans to find a strategic partner. Instead, it is setting out details for new funding. 

Is this the start of a much-predicted move to a software and services company? Certainly a shake-up of the board is just the start, with incumbent CEO Thorsten Heins to be replaced by John Chen, and other executives on their way out.

Although Fairfax failed with its original bid, it will take part in the $1 billion investment that should help the company refocus and restructure under the new management. 

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