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Web Experience News & Analysis

Facebook Tackles Clickbait, Reels In Rockin' Headlines

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Facebook could be the ultimate social media party pooper. Earlier this month it shut the gates on ‘Likes’ and this week it's clamping down on funky, attention grabbing headlines, which fall under what Facebook describes as clickbait.

Flying in the face of about a gazillion years of best journalism practice, Facebook has decided that it will be cracking down on headlines that attract reader attention if Facebook believes the headline doesn’t truly reflect the content of the story.

ESPN Slam Dunks Its Public API

2014-26-August-In-The-Air.jpgSay it ain't so, Joe! API fans everywhere suffered a heartbreaking defeat when one of the most prominent public content APIs packed it in and said there might not be a next season.

Digital Marketing Consultant 'Lucky' As Napa Quake Rocks Home

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As a digital marketing consultant, Andreas Mueller-Schubert knows a bit about the technology revolution.

But around 3 a.m. this past Sunday morning in his Napa, Calif. home, technology was no help. It was him, his wife and two children and Mother Earth.

Mueller-Schubert and family live just 10 miles outside of the epicenter of the magnitude 6.0 earthquake that rocked Northern California this past weekend, the largest in the Bay Area since 1989.

"Everyone was a little shocked. The kids haven't experienced anything like this," said Mueller-Schubert, a German-born digital marketing consultant for WSI Next Gen Marketing who lives with his wife Georgia, daughter, Annika, 20, and son Zachary, 19.

Everyone's OK -- but the family's home saw plenty of shattered glass and some damage in the garage.

Marketing Wisdom from Netflix's House of Cards

(8-26 UPDATE) If you're a digital marketer, odds are you didn't learn everything you needed to learn in kindergarten. Nope, you probably learned it from TV — that shining source of all modern wisdom.

In the past year, we've shared what marketers could learn from AMC's Breaking Bad and HBO's Game of Thrones. Now we're shifting the focus to the Netflix exclusive House of Cards, the drama that surprised many people by failing to win the big prize at this year's Emmy Awards. 

Monetate, a provider of marketing personalization solutions, is a fan, despite the show's surprisingly poor performance at the Emmys. In fact, the loss may even make the insight shared by the characters on the show all the more interesting.

Why? Because the true test of great marketing occurs not when situations unfold as expected but when they fall apart faster than a ball of string in the paws of a kitten.

Is It the Right Time for HubSpot's $100M IPO?

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Digital marketing technology is all the rage in the CRM space and HubSpot co-founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah must believe Wall St. knows that.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based marketing automation provider filed for an IPO late today hoping to raise as much as $100 million. It will trade as HUBS on the New York Stock Exchange.

The IPO market for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) vendors is lukewarm at the moment. But investors like General Catalyst, which owns 27.1 percent of the company, and Matrix Partners, which owns 17.1 percent, must think that now is the time.

Move Over, Google AdWords?

Amazon may be trying to step on Google's online advertising toes.

The online web shopping giant is producing software for placing ads online much like its long-time cyber nemesis does so well with Google Adwords, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

What will they do? Replace ads on its own pages that Google owns with its own.

Marketing Automation: 3 Trends to Watch

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As of December 2013, 58 percent of all top performing companies were using marketing automation according to a Forrester report. That number has only increased since then. Why? Because automation’s benefits are impossible to ignore in the current marketing landscape.

Sophisticated, plugged-in customers require marketers to look at them as more than a catch-all audience. Regardless of what they’re buying, they want brands to provide truly unique journeys for them. And if you don’t deliver, then you’ll be tuned out, cast aside with the rest of the generic content they’re bombarded with.

Parents Aren't the Only Winners When Kids Return to School [Infographic]

2014-25-August-vintage-back-to-school.jpgAs a major office store so accurately suggested in a TV ad a few years ago, it's back to school season … the most wonderful time of year for parents everywhere.

But before the kids are back on the bus, crowded into classrooms and discovering all new reasons to whine and complain, parents have to engage in the annual ritual of back-to-school shopping.

While many parents look at back-to-school shopping as rituals in frustration, they are important drivers of revenue for companies and brands. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2014 Back-to-School Survey, the average family with children in grades kindergarten through 12th grade will spend more than $669 on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics, up 5 percent from the nearly $635 average last year.

Total spending on back to school will drop slightly to $26.5 billion because the survey found there are slightly fewer students in households this summer.

So what do marketers need to know?

Rocket Fuel to the Moon and Back

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Investors in ad-tech specialist Rocket Fuel have been on quite a thrilling ride. Drawn by the buzz of the company’s automated platform, which uses artificial intelligence and big data analytics to purchase ad spots on digital exchanges, traders last September rushed into the IPO: the stock was priced at $29 and opened at $59.95.

Rocket Fuel shares by late January were at a new post-IPO high of $71.89, a gain of 147 percent from the offering price. Today, they change hands at around $14.50.

So what caused Rocket Fuel to run out of gas?

Discussion Point: Can One Firm Provide Complete Digital Experience?

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The complete digital experience from one digital provider. Ah, sounds refreshing, doesn't it?

Or maybe it doesn't. Maybe being locked into one vendor sounds scary.

The truth is -- most experts think the industry is far from having an all-in-one.

Forrester Research reported this in its first Wave for Digital Experience Delivery Platforms last month. It determined no vendor offers a truly "end-to-end solution."

Heck, when even vendors admit they don't offer the complete digital package, you know it's the truth.

"Our end goal is a common user interface for everything end-to-end," one software company product manager told Forrester researchers. "Currently we only have that for the first third of the journey."

We asked three professionals in the digital industry to weigh in on this question of "all-one-in."

Ann Handley: Great Content is the Soul of Your Brand

Connecting with Bill Sobel

Ann Handley knows content is the secret to a successful website. In fact, she maintains, great content can be the soul of your brand. Her advice: show rather than tell, share insight or solve problems, reimagine rather than recycle.

As she explains, "Good writing and (more broadly) good content strives to explain, to make things a little bit clearer, to make sense of our world… even if it’s just a product description or a blog post or a video or a graphic novel."

Handley is Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, a company that likes to boast it provides real-world education for modern marketers. She's the author of the forthcoming book Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content and co-author of the best-selling Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business.

'Lizard Squad' Targets Sony in New DDoS Attack

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Today brought more hacker woes for Sony's PlayStation Network (PSN) and Sony Entertainment Network in the form of a crippling distributed denial-of-service (DDoSattack from a vandal collective known as "Lizard Squad.”

In addition, the FBI is investigating the diversion of a flight carrying a top Sony executive amid reports of a claim that explosives were on board. An American Airlines flight carrying Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley from Dallas to San Diego was grounded because of a bomb threat.

It appears that the same group behind the current PlayStation Network outage is responsible for the bomb threat on flight 362, which was safely diverted to Phoenix. The group, in fact, retweeted Smedley's tweet: 

News Bites: DIYers, Over-Achievers, Testing-Providers

The latest in growth, apps and testing from the Little Cottonwoods City, the Big Scrapple and the Old Colony State.

Part II: Buy or Build a Marketing Cloud? What Practitioners Say

digital marketing, Part II: Buy or Build a Marketing Cloud? What Practitioners Say

Scott Brinker's marketing technology landscape graphic is the face of the space. It captured plenty of air time at Brinker's first Marketing Technology Conference in Boston this week.

Isaac Wyatt built his very own marketing technology landscape at New Relic, a San Francisco-based real-time application monitoring platform. It includes the approximate 30 technologies he uses to get his job done.

Sums it up, right? More than 1,000 digital marketing platforms in more than 40 categories. At the heart of it all is the "buy vs. build your marketing cloud" debate, sparked this week at #MarTech by presenter Travis Wright, chief growth officer for MediaThinkLabs.

Yesterday, we caught up with vendors on buy vs. build. Today, we conclude our series with marketing veterans who have had to face the question themselves.

Keeping Marketing Up with the Speed of Innovation

2014-22-August-Scooters.jpgFrom Google glass, to smart thermostats, self driving cars and beyond, digital innovation is on the move. The iPhone was introduced seven years ago, and today we’re predicting a thirty fold increase in Internet connected physical devices in the next seven years. 

The speed of innovation doesn’t only apply to the introduction of new gadgets and products. Today’s consumers turn to websites and apps for information, entertainment and services, so companies need to evolve their processes and toolsets to move faster in the digitally disrupted world of business. It used to be that digital excellence was a competitive differentiator. But now companies must move beyond excellence -- and move at a faster speed of digital innovation. Otherwise, they risk becoming extinct from Digital Darwinism.

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