Event Date Location

Mobile Insider Summit

08/17/2014 - 08/20/2014 LAKE TAHOE CA

Social Media Insider Summit

08/20/2014 - 08/23/2014 LAKE TAHOE CA

iMedia Agency Summit (Malaysia)

08/25/2014 - 08/27/2014 Kota Kinabalu Malaysia

The 6th annual Mobile World

08/28/2014 Seoul

iMedia Brand Summit (Australia)

09/01/2014 - 09/03/2014 Gold Coast Australia

iMedia Brand Summit (India)

09/03/2014 - 09/05/2014 Adao Waddo, Salcette India

Data+: Analyze, Predict, Monetize

09/07/2014 - 09/09/2014 Phoenix AZ

iMedia Brand Summit: Marketing in an Always-On World

09/07/2014 - 09/10/2014 Coronado CA

Content Marketing World

09/08/2014 - 09/11/2014 Cleveland OH

Video Insider Summit

09/14/2014 - 09/17/2014 Montauk NY

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Facebook’s New Focus Changes the Game for Brand Advertisers


Facebook’s recent focus on direct-response advertising is leaving fewer options for marketers with branding goals, according to a new eMarketer report, “Facebook Advertising: Next Steps for Brand Advertisers.”

174294 Facebooks New Focus Changes the Game for Brand Advertisers

Not so long ago, the common belief was that Facebook—and social media in general—would be best suited for building awareness and engagement, not for influencing conversion or sales. However, the majority of Facebook’s most recent ad initiatives are aimed at marketers with performance goals, while the company has de-emphasized ads aimed at driving social interaction and engagement, a concept that brought many brand advertisers onto the platform.

“Companies still see Facebook as a platform for social brand interactions, but that’s no longer the way Facebook is presenting itself,” said Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst of social media at eMarketer. “Facebook has moved on, but many brands are still marketing there the same way they did two years ago.”

Facebook accounts for a growing share of digital ad spending, and eMarketer expects the company’s worldwide advertising revenues to increase 56.4% in 2014 to reach $10.93 billion. That figure represents a 7.8% market share of global digital ad spending, increasing from a 5.8% share in 2013 and 4.1% in 2012. eMarketer estimates that digital ad spending worldwide will reach $140.15 billion this year, growing 16.74% over 2013.

Facebook does not publicly break down its ad revenues along branding/direct-response lines. But based on how the company’s business has evolved, and comments company executives have made, it is likely that direct response represents a majority of ad revenues.

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7 Global Social Media Day Events You Should Attend


This year marks the fifth-annual celebration of Social Media Day. In just a short time, it has grown to become a truly global effort, with hundreds of events taking place all over the world.

On June 30, people will come together, either at in-person events, or by using the #SMDayhashtag to connect with others on social media.

If you live in the United States, there are multiple Social Media Day events that you should consider attending. But if you’re located outside of the U.S., there are still plenty of opportunities to celebrate Social Media Day with others.

Here is a list of international events you should attend if you’re in the area:

Melbourne, Australia

When: June 29, 2014 from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. AEST
Where: Inspire9, Level 1, 41 Stewart St, Melbourne, AU 3121

Melbourne’s third-annual Social Media Day Unconference (#smdmelb) encourages digital enthusiasts to come together to network, and share stories about their personal experiences with social media.

Throughout the day, several simultaneous 30-minute sessions will take place. The majority of session topics are proposed on the spot by attendees who will jot down their ideas or questions on a piece of paper. A session can be in any format — whether it be a presentation with Q&A, panel of experts, demo or roundtable. As per unconference guidelines, all attendees are expected to be active participants in the sessions.

Panama City, Panama

When: June 30, 2014 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET
Where: City of Knowledge, Panama City, 7336, Panama

Panama City’s fifth-annual Social Media Day celebration is sure to be another hit, as past celebrations have had up to 1,200 guests.

This year’s celebration will include speakers from Waze and Google, social-media workshops, as well as meet-and-greets to mix online connections with IRL networking. The ambitious 12-hour celebration will include breaks for attendees to view the World Cup quarterfinal matches on that day. Attendees will be encouraged to use the hashtag #SMDayPA, as they make new connections.

Gold Coast, Queensland

When: June 30, 2014 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. AEST
Where: 194 Varsity Drive, Varsity Lakes, Gold Coast

The theme for this year’s Social Media Day Gold Coast (#smdaygc) event is “putting the social back into social media.” The event will include a 45-minute panel discussion with speakers such as Andrew Richardson, the former creative director at News Ltd., Evie Mitchell of Daytona Powersports and Melissa Groom, the founder of Empowered Mums. The event will conclude with an interactive social-media scavenger hunt throughout the building.

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You’d have to be crazy to start a media company, right?


The publishing climate today is, in a word, messy. Display advertising, the industry’s lifeblood, is on the ropes. Readers don’t seem to care where their news comes from, and publishers are competing with the likes of Facebook, Netflix and YouTube for surfers’ attention.

So why start a media company today? You’d have to be crazy, right?

Not so fast. Despite industry uncertainties, founders of sites like The Daily Dot, Skift and The Information have made the brazen, almost crazy, move to jump head-first into the world of publishing. And they seem to be pretty optimistic about it, against all odds.

Here, then, is a look at what’s driving the latest crop of publishing entrepreneurs, for better or worse.

In two years, travel site Skift has gone from being the travel industry news rookie to its daily must-read. That’s rarely easy to pull off, but Rafat Ali, the company’s CEO, said that Skift did it by finding an underserved vertical and developing a strong brand and product offering around it. And the Web makes all of that easier, not harder, to do.

“The building of a brand matters a lot in media,” Ali said. “You want to be in the position where people grow to be fans, not just readers. It’s hard to achieve that in any other sector.”

Having a strong vertical focus also opens the door to a range of new business lines. For Skift, this means being able to sell research reports, events and data to its target audience.

The Information
The Information, which launched in December, is rare among technology sites in that it asks readers to pay for its content. And while that seems like a nutty proposition in the age of infinitely free information, Jessica Lessin, the company’s CEO, argues the opposite: Readers are willing and able to pay for content — assuming you know who those readers are and how to best serve them.

“The economics of what we’re trying to do are favorable because we have a lower cost equation and a much greater demand for our product,” she said. “What we found was an area with greater-than-ever demand and lower-than-ever costs.”

The Daily Dot
Few in the digital publishing world  would argue that the industry has everything figured out. But Nicholas White, CEO of The Daily Dot, said that the messiness is actually a good thing — particularly for smaller, more nimble media companies.

White shares the view of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who often argues that the companies that thrive are the ones that are able to do things well, even though they’re difficult. “Starting a media company may be one of the hardest things to do in business right now,” he said. “But it is worth doing.”

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Native Advertising Test: Does Your Campaign Make The Cut?

Media Post

For all the buzz about native advertising, the term lacks a real definition. Related article links, promoted post advertising on social channels and even display ads tucked in between paragraphs of a blog post have all been umbrellaed under the term “native advertising.”

It’s time for the industry to solidify a single definition for native advertising, before this powerful form of advertising slips deeper into marketing buzzword territory. Here are five key characteristics that pass the test of true native advertising.

1. Showcases content, not a display. Content, not banner! Sticking a banner ad in between the paragraphs of a blog post is not native advertising. One of the core tenet of a native ad is it should be native to the platform, which means a tweet on twitter, a post on Facebook or an article on a site is a true native ad that keeps user engaged and weaves brand’s message in user’s experience on the platform.

On the other hand, connecting with an influencer who is a trusted source of content for your target audience, and working with them to create sponsored content, is native advertising.

Native advertising is branded content that pulls consumers in by telling a compelling story. Display ads gain impressions; native ads make an impression.

2. Share-friendly. A native ad unit should have an ability to go viral. It could be tweeted, liked, shared, pinned — you get the idea..  Which means delivering banner ads via a social media channel does not make content inherently social, it is just another form of display advertising. Effective native ads contain appealing content that draws target demographics to want to share. That means your content is emotionally or intellectually compelling.

People share content for a few key reasons. For example, an amusing video designed to entertain target consumers, or a well-written industry-specific blog post positioned as thought leadership, will be organically shared many more times than any display ad.

3. Comes from a trusted peer. It may be tempting to drive traffic or social audience growth with bots, but don’t count on this marketing tactic to get you very far. Rather, successful native advertising begins as word of mouth. Nielsen’s recent study on consumer behavior showed that 70% of consumers make purchasing decisions based on online consumer opinions and 84% make decisions based on the recommendations of family and friends.

Directing spend to peer-to-peer native advertising will be much more effective than filling social streams with posts shared or retweeted by marketing bots. Native advertising offers brands the opportunity to have their pitch come from the lips of an actual consumer. Remember, advice from a trusted friend is advice that will most likely spur action.

4. Multi-device-compatible. True native advertising can be consumed via desktop, tablet and mobile. If content is device-specific, whether it be mobile banners or in-app advertising, it is outside the definition of native ads. Content, whether it is in the form of a brand sponsored post, video and social shares, by influencer partners should be easily read, watched and shared from any device.

5. Nondisruptive. Abruptly pausing content with pre-roll, interstitials, related content links, or display ads is not native advertising. Well-crafted native advertising has branding interwoven into the fabric of the content to create a wholly immersive experience. Content that is disruptive to engagement is not only time consuming, but will also interrupt the viewer’s experience learning more about your brand.

Sponsored articles and blog posts have been considered “native ads” for a couple of years now; this marketing tactic has recently gathered momentum with the advent of social media and the ease of connecting with people. Native ads are one of the most effective marketing channels when done right. Advertisers, get it right!

As Google+ nears third anniversary, where does it go from here?


With Google’s social network coming up on its third anniversary, industry analysts are wondering if the company is rethinking Google+ and where it goes from here.

Google+, which has about 300 million active monthly users as of last October, has been in the shadow of Facebook and its more than 1 billion users, taking some criticism for not catching up to its competitor.

Then in April, Vic Gundotra, a senior vice president and the head of Google+, announced he was leaving the company. Gundotra was the public face of Google+, not to mention its biggest cheerleader.

His departure raised questions about the future of Google+ and whether it would falter without its steadfast leader.

Google I/O, the company’s annual developers conference, will be held this week in San Francisco and there isn’t one session about Google+. The scheduleshows various sessions about Android, the cloud, Chrome and Google Play.

Google+, was launched on June 28, 2011, has been left out of the mix.

“I think, and I hope, they’re taking the time to rethink it,” said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research. “It was the wrong answer to the wrong question. The wrong question was, “What do we do about Facebook?” Google+ is potentially a great group collaboration tool, but it’s not a social networking tool. Google has to figure out what to do.”

A Google spokeswoman declined to say Google+ would be mentioned during the company’s opening keynote at Google I/O. She added however, that the company is not revealing any of the elements of the upcoming keynote.

That doesn’t mean Google is pulling back its support of Google+, said Liz Markman, the Google spokeswoman.

“Topics and sessions will touch on multiple products and give developers a more holistic overview,” Markman said in an email to Computerworld. “Google+ is of course an important component to that. And, across the board, we will have fewer sessions this year. This is part of an effort to give developers more time to interact.”

Scott Strawn, an analyst with IDC, said there might be more going on than Google’s not squeezing in time to talk to developers about Google+ and how to integrate it with the company’s other services.

“Vic Gundotra has left and they’ve made it pretty clear that they’re going to take a different approach with it,” Strawn said. “I think they’re going to let Google+ fade into the background.”

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Pinterest ramps up location search

IDG News Service

Six months after adding its Place Pins feature, Pinterest is improving the search technology around the location pins.

The company announced Friday an enhanced and faster version of its places search tool. The result is a more streamlined search for users, with better smarts under the hood. The tool suggests places near where people are searching, and provides ranked results based on geography, population and data quality.

Pinterest’s places search runs on Foursquare data. It’s available on iOS and the Web, the company said, with an Android version coming soon.

Pinterest is known for the profiles or “boards” its users create, filled with images of desired retail items, event planning ideas, or cooking recipes. Since the company launched Place Pins, users have created more than 1 billion travel Pins, and more than 4 million Place Boards, the company said Friday.

Previously, users had to separate their search queries into two different boxes: one for the place’s name and the other for where it was located. Users found it to be non-intuitive, Pinterest said Friday. “We set out to build a more natural place search interface based on just a single text input field,” the company said.

Pinterest’s places search is also designed to be more natural, so people don’t need to type the specific name of a place to find it. If someone has a pin saved on the AT&T baseball stadium in San Francisco, the person can search for “Giants SF,” and AT&T Park will appear as the first result, Pinterest said.

The enhanced technology could help broaden Pinterest’s usefulness as a discovery engine, and also draw in more local advertisers as the company ramps up its advertising efforts.

What Facebook’s targeting changes mean for brands


Facebook, a company not necessarily known for transparency regarding data privacy issues, announced on Thursday it was giving users more insight to and control over how their personal information is used by advertisers. But also included in that announcement were details of how Facebook was increasing interest-based targeting capabilities.

That is, Facebook simultaneously made its ad targeting capabilities more robust, yet easier for users to opt-out of.

Agency executives welcomed the move for being both pro-consumer and as way for brands to waste less time and money advertising to consumers whose interests were incorrectly marked.

“If Facebook can educate consumers more about advertising, consumers are going to be in a far better position to reward good advertising and object to bad advertising,” David Berkowitz, CMO of digital agency MRY, said.

Chris Bowler, head of social media at digital agency Razorfish, echoed that sentiment.

“If you don’t want to hear about my brand, I have a bigger issue than advertising, and an ad on Facebook won’t overcome that,” he said. “Perhaps some users will use these ad preferences and I won’t reach them and maybe that’s a good thing.”

Every ad in a user’s news feed will now come adorned with a drop down menu allowing users to give feedback — such as liking the advertiser’s Facebook page in order to receive more messages from them, or opting out of receiving ads from that company entirely.

The drop down menu will also feature an “About this Ad” tab marked with the Digital Advertising Alliance’s (DAA) blue AdChoices icon. The tab leads users to a separate page which explains to them why they received that particular ad, and to opt out of the targeting practices used to serve it to them.

The “Why am I seeing this?” option will send users to a page showing them the interest the advertiser used to serve them that ad. If a user selects the “Why am I seeing this?” option on a World Cup-related ad from Nike, for instance, she might see that Nike served her that ad because she had expressed an interest in soccer. From that page she can customize which interests she’d like to be used for ad targeting purposes.

Opting out of soccer would not make her completely ineligible for Nike’s World Cup ad, however. If Nike decided to target a broad demographic that included her, she could see that same ad again, albeit based on different ad targeting criteria.

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Facebook Is Expanding the Way It Tracks You and Your Data

The Atlantic

There’a a key nugget buried in this morning’s New York Times story about how Facebook is going to give its users the ability to see why certain ads are targeted to them. Starting this week, the Times reports, “the company will tap data it already collects from people’s smartphones and other websites they visit to improve its ad targeting. Users can opt out of such extended tracking, but they will have to visit a special ad industry website and adjust their smartphone settings to do so.”

In other words, Facebook is giving users a glimpse of what marketers already know about them, but it is also going to allow marketers to target users based on more detailed information, even though it won’t actually give the marketers the user data—which makes sense, given that Facebook’s business model is largely built on the data you provide.

Facebook wants to know where you’re from, how old you are, who you’re friends with, what industry you work in, your likes, your relationship status, where you vacation, etc., etc., in large part because marketers want to know those things. I’m reminded of this every time I log on. I never told Facebook my hometown, but it’s been guessing ever since—New York City? Philadelphia? Honolulu? Baltimore?—in a box that appears prominently on my profile page. I keep avoiding answering, mostly because I relish the fact that there’s at least something Facebook doesn’t know about me. There’s plenty else the site has figured out. (I wrote recently about the time Facebook guessed what shoes I was wearing.)

And though it seems like a plus that Facebook is giving users the chance to click through their “full marketing dossier,” as the Times put it, the move raises a question that people have been asking for a long time: Why don’t individuals in the United States already have access to this kind of information about themselves?

Elsewhere, people have to give their consent before a data broker like Facebook or a social analytics firm can distribute personal information about them. There are regulations in several European countries that mandate individual access to data profiles, and give people the power to change or remove information about them. In Argentina, data tracking companies that want to collect personal info—that is, anything about an individual that isn’t found in publicly available government databases—have to tell a person why they’re collecting the data and who will receive it, as well as detail the individual’s rights to access, change, or remove their data. In Chile, individuals have to give written consent to data brokers who want to create marketing profiles about them based on personal information.

No such protections exist in the United States. The Federal Trade Commission has been pushing for such measures—last month it issued an extensive reporton the scope of data collection in the United States, including recommendations for consumer protections. Congress has introduced a couple of bills that would let consumers opt out of data collection, or otherwise be notified about the extensive personal profiles marketers collect.

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How Comments Shape Perceptions of Sites’ Quality—and Affect Traffic

The Atlantic

There’s a game I like to play sometimes. It’s called “How many Internet comments do I have to read until I lose faith in humanity?” All too often, the answer is: one comment.

From The Atlantic to Yahoo to YouTube, online comments are often ignorant, racist, sexist, threatening, or otherwise worthless. But you knew that already. There’s plenty of anti-comment sentiment on the web—some humorous, some more scholarly—and despite the hopes of media democratizers, there’s now widespread agreement that Internet comments are terrible. “Even in places with smart, thoughtful readers, the comment sections tend to be more like lists of unconnected ideas than genuine conversations,” The Atlantic‘s Rebecca Rosen wrote in 2011. Some publications, like Popular Science, have given up on comment sections all together.

A couple of weeks ago, National Journal changed its comments policy, opting to eliminate comments on most stories as a way to stem the flood of abuse that appeared on the site. Naturally the comment-section reaction to that announcement helped reinforce the reason editors said comments had to go in the first place.

For all the boycott threats and comparisons to Hitler, though… the site seems to be doing better now. If anything, user engagement has increased since the comment policy changed. Pages views per visit increased by more than 10 percent. Page views per unique visitor increased 14 percent. Return visits climbed by more than 20 percent. Visits of only a single page decreased, while visits of two pages or more increased by almost 20 percent.

What happened here?

One theory: By cutting out comments, the site is better able to draw attention to its most deserving content—the articles themselves.

This intrigued me because I found it somewhat counterintuitive. I supported removing comments not because I thought traffic would spike but because it seemed a way to better preserve civil discourse; I assumed we’d lose some rubberneckers who gathered around the train-wreck comment section, but it seemed like a worthwhile trade. Yet the fact that traffic actually improvedsuggests that sites are better off without comments—or at least better off without unmoderated ones. That’s a lesson that other news organizations are learning. As Nieman Lab wrote last month, if news organizations aren’t moderating their comment sections, they can’t really expect them to foster quality discussion.

But what about the many sites that opt for a less hands-on approach? Plenty of journalists will tell you that they not only don’t reply to commenters, but that they don’t even read the comments to begin with. An ignored comment section can’t be all that harmful, right?

To find out, I ran a quick study using respondents from Amazon’s crowdsourcing platform Mechanical Turk. I asked 100 Americans to read a snippet of a National Journal article from late April. Half of them saw the article alone. The other half saw the article along with a representative sample of actual comments (user accounts redacted) on that article. In both groups, respondents were asked to read the article—the existence of comments was never acknowledged.

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