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US media groups rely less on ads

Warc

A number of major US media groups have taken a strategic decision to reduce their reliance on advertising revenues, according to new analysis.

After studying the Q2 2014 results and earnings conference calls of CBS, Walt Disney and several other media conglomerates, financial analysts SNL Kagan concluded that some want to boost other sources of revenue, including subscriptions.

Among the examples highlighted in the study, CBS CEO Les Moonves told investors that the company is now “much closer to a 50/50 split of advertising and non-advertising revenue”.

Revenues in its entertainment division fell to $1.84bn in Q2 2014 from $2.01bn in Q2 2013, and CBS intends to earn more from licensing and syndication revenues.

“One of the things that clearly has changed about our businesses is that the back end of the show’s revenue is now as important, if not more important, than the front end from advertising,” Moonves said. “Ownership of content is the key to our success.”

Similarly, Walt Disney is moving to diversify its revenue streams, SNL Kagan said, pointing to recent comments from Disney CEO, Bob Iger.

“We’ve made a conscious decision as a company to essentially not be as reliant on advertising as we were in the past. So it represents probably somewhat in the neighbourhood of the low-20% range of our total revenue,” Iger said.

Disney has become less reliant on advertising partly because of increased revenues from other sources, such as its theme parks.

Despite this, Iger said Disney will continue to participate in digital advertising although he thought traditional advertising platforms would continue to come under pressure.

When looking at some other media groups, the report said NBCUniversal Media had a weak quarter in terms of advertising revenue, which fell 2.2%.

And there was a mixed picture for 21st Century Fox, which posted both big declines in advertising revenue in its TV segment but large increases for its cable networks.

A LinkedIn Executive Shares The #1 Tip For Using The Professional Social Network

Business Insider

Steve Johnson, LinkedIn’s VP of user experience, is the guy in charge of designing the site’s look, feel, and function.

Naturally, he’s a LinkedIn whiz, and in a recent interview he shared his favorite tip for members: Don’t be afraid to show your personality.

“LinkedIn profiles aren’t like the printed resumes of old,” he says, “You can bring your professional story to life. We are giving you the opportunity to share your career aspirations, showcase your unique character and what you bring to the culture of your company.”

You can give your profile some extra flair by adding professional photos from events or conferences, writing about your experience more in-depth with LinkedIn’s publishing platform, seeking out recommendations from past colleagues that highlight more than just your day-to-day duties, listing volunteer experiences, or uploading a presentation that you’re proud of.

Johnson also explained that he’s personally driven by the idea of helping people achieve their aspirations through empowerment.

“As a child, I grew up with practically nothing so I understand what it’s like to feel that your dreams are out of reach,” he says. “I want the LinkedIn experience to make our members feel that they are taking a step closer to their goals and aspirations. When they are building something like their LinkedIn profile, I want people to feel proud of what they’ve created and empowered to make their dreams a reality.”

Read the rest of the interview here

So Many Social Users, So Little Trust

eMarketer

The US social network audience is big—172.6 million people in 2014, or 54% of the population and 68.6% of internet users, eMarketer estimates. Based on June 2014 research by Harris Interactive for WP Engine, many of those users are likely worried about privacy on such platforms.

177602 So Many Social Users, So Little Trust

Among the US adult internet users polled, 66% said they were concerned about their privacy on social networks such as Facebook—the top response. That’s not even the entire social picture. The study broke out platforms that many consider social networks into their own categories. More than one-third of respondents were worried about privacy on social photo-sharing platforms such as Instagram. Around one-quarter were concerned about security on microblogging sites like Twitter, and a similar percentage said the same about disappearing photo-sharing apps such as Snapchat.

A May 2014 study by Rad CampaignLincoln Park Strategies, and craigconnects’ Craig Newmark found similar results. Among the US adult internet users polled, 57% had little or no trust at all in social media sites like Facebook or Twitter. Meanwhile, 22% of respondents had some trust in social platforms, while 7% trusted social a lot.

177620 So Many Social Users, So Little Trust

One-third of internet users ages 55 to 64 said they didn’t trust social media sites, while just 1% did, with a similar trend among the 65-and-older group. Meanwhile, 24% of 35- to 54-year-olds didn’t trust social networks, compared with 6% who said the opposite. The under-35 bracket was the only one where those who trusted social media outnumbered those who didn’t—but by a small gap of 4 points (16% vs. 12%).

“The tablet magazine has been flawed from the start”

Digiday

Magazine publishers have a tablet problem. According to one designer, they always have. Four years after Apple introduced the iPad, tablet apps are stagnating. A combination of design, pricing and discovery issues has made tablet magazines a hard sell, both for publishers and the digital readers they’re trying to reach.

“There are still a lot of issues,” said Joe Zeff, vice president of tablet app software company ScrollMotion, who helped launch apps for Fast Company and National Geographic.”These magazines are too hard to deliver, issues take a long time to download, and Apple’s Newsstand doesn’t make them easy to find. There are just too many things that have to go right.”

There was a time, not so long ago in the grand scheme, when the iPad was thought to be the savior of digital publishing. Magazines rushed out digital editions, many of which were flawed in both their pricing and in technology. The promised manna did not materialize. And now tablet sales are plateauing.

Zeff said that while publishers still have a lot of work to do with tablet apps, hope isn’t lost. Digiday spoke to him the magazine app’s successes, its failures, and why publishers should think of themselves as utilities.

Tablet magazines were supposed to save publishing. What went wrong?
The tablet magazine has been flawed from the start. They were conceived based on what publishers wanted and not what consumers wanted, so there was a lot of emphasis on extending old work flows and old reading habits rather than creating new products. We had the opportunity to put magazines on computers, which should have made magazines smarter. And that hasn’t really happened.

Are there any success stories?
There are some tremendous ones being created, yes. Wired is always a lot of fun, and Hearst, overall, seems to be doing a pretty good job at selling subscriptions, but I’d say that the success stories are few and far between.

Is this something that publishers can turn around? What are the opportunities?
There are some real opportunities to rethink the idea of a tablet magazine in order to recreate something that’s compelling. A tablet magazine should be smarter than the current set of publications. They should give me options about what content I receive and how and when it’s delivered. To do that, content has to be more modular. Today content is wrapped up in a magazine format, where everybody gets the same product. It really should be mixed and matched based on what works for me, not what works for the publisher. Content should be tied to where I am and what I’m doing, and become much more part of my regular routine.

That’s not happening now. Now, I’m getting a magazine that is very similar to what I can get anywhere else, and it’s not been created for me. It’s been created and looks in a way that suits the publisher, not the consumer.

Click to continue reading…

Organizational Tips for Leading the Marketing Transformation

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 300x99 Organizational Tips for Leading the Marketing Transformation

By Kathleen Schaub 

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the marketing transformation? You aren’t alone.  An IDC analysis of tech marketing staff changes since 2009 reveals that CMOs have had to squeeze traditional staff functions to accommodate five new roles: analytics/business intelligence, marketing technology, social marketing, sales enablement, and campaign management. In 2013, these new five roles collectively made up 14% of the total marketing staff. 

IDC invited organizational change expert, Dr. Rick Mirable, to advise our clients on insights for leading more successful organizational change initiatives. Here are some of the tips that Dr. Mirable, who has more than 20 years of diverse business consulting and academic experience, offered:
  • What we believe about change determines how we will respond to change. People hold beliefs about the capability of both company culture and individual people’s ability to change. Good change initiatives raise awareness of these biases.
  • Successful change initiatives require that leaders be included. It’s not only individuals deep in the organization that need transformation, but leaders must also be role models for the change they want to see.
  • People resist change for many reasons. Change can threaten our sense of security (What will happen to me?) and our sense of competence (Can I learn new skills?). People may worry they will fail. They may not understand why change is needed. Companies may inadvertently reward people who resist change by penalizing people who try new things and fail.
  • Some resistance to change comes from unspoken resentment. Companies must allow for expression of the relevant “inner conversations” that people have with themselves about the change — views that are not explicit to others. Resentment is like dirty laundry — if you don’t get rid of it eventually it starts to smell!
  • Some change initiatives fail simply because the organization isn’t ready.Assess your readiness and then bring those areas found lacking up to speed before embarking.
  • The communication portions of most change efforts are weak and not consistent over the long haul. The communication must be open and bidirectional. Messages and goals need to be regularly repeated and reinforced.
  • Company culture is essential to sustaining success over time. One cultural attribute proven to accelerate change is the empowerment of individuals to make decisions that further the change goals. It is a best practice to ask people what they want to do (and ask for management permission to do it) rather than telling them what to do. This practice encourages innovation and accountability and drives change deeper in the organization.
  • Don’t confuse “movement” with progress. When you get off the freeway during a traffic jam, you may be able to move faster; however, that movement doesn’t guarantee that you are actually moving toward your destination or will get to it any more quickly. IDC notes that marketing teams that measure activity rather than outcomes are making this error.
  • Create circumstances for people to motivate themselves. Motivation can include extrinsic rewards such as money. Proven to be even more effective are intrinsic rewards — challenge, learning, responsibility, contribution, and career path advancement. Intrinsic rewards tap into the power of people’s passions. Companies are advised to structure people’s work so as to allow passion to surface.
  • Reduce resistance by creating a “burning platform.” Clarify the risks and benefits of the change and involve the collective wisdom of the group. Give people a role in the change. Involve a person’s “head” and “heart” as well as the “feet” of required actions.

For more blogs and research from IDC, click here

Publishers: Ditch your apps; focus on mobile Web

Digiday

Publishers know they must grapple with media consumption shifting to mobile devices, but merely having a mobile focus is not enough. Consider this: While time spent on mobile devices increased by 24 percent from June 2013 to June 2014, app usage grew at a greater rate (52 percent) than mobile Web consumption (17 percent).

That’s just one takeaway from a new comScore report on mobile consumption, a murky, continually shifting behavior. Below are more key statistics from the report.

Apps, not mobile Web, are driving mobile growth
Mobile now makes up a majority (60 percent) of all time spent on the Web, with mobile apps themselves constituting 52 percent of all Internet consumption.

 Publishers: Ditch your apps; focus on mobile Web

It’s important that news publishers don’t take this as a sign to start forcing their apps on an unwitting mobile populace, however. Rather, it’s a sign they should be more focused on using mobile to drive “side door” traffic to their mobile websites. Because …

News apps aren’t popular
Only three news-related apps — Yahoo Stocks, Yahoo Weather and The Weather Channel — were among the top 25 mobile apps in terms of the number of U.S. unique visitors, and those all have a singular focus. All of the other apps in the top 25 were social platforms (such as Facebook, Snapchat and Pinterest), utilities (Google Maps, Google search) or entertainment (YouTube, Pandora, Netflix) and commerce-related (Amazon).

Not a single straight news app made the list, but that doesn’t necessarily spell doom for publishers. Instead, it indicates they should concentrate having their stories widely distributed on the popular mobile apps — Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google and, perhaps soon, Snapchat — and have a slick mobile website waiting for readers who tap through. The New York Times acknowledged as much in its innovation report which was leaked this March.

Continue reading

How Social Networks Are Changing Mobile Advertising

IDG News Service

For digital marketers, the road to riches on mobile screens has been long and riddled with holes of divergence. But the pursuit, which harkens back to the pre-smartphone era, has gotten more promising thanks to social media.

More than 60 percent of the $6.8 billion expected to be spent on social advertising in the U.S. this year is controlled by Facebook, Google and Twitter, according to eMarketer. Overall, mobile advertising revenue in the U.S. is projected to grow to $58 billion and comprise 71 percent of all digital ad spending by 2018.

eMarketer also expects mobile ad spending to overtake desktop PC advertising by 2016 and TV advertising by 2018. Facebook has reformed its business to capitalize on this opportunity in mobile to great effect. The company currently controls 71 percent of the market, which is the equivalent to 10 percent of all digital ad spending in the U.S.

Why is Facebook — and now Twitter to a lesser and more recent extent — doing so well in mobile advertising while most others continue to struggle? Mobile advertising is on course to comprise 68 percent of Facebook’s revenue and 84 percent of Twitter’s by year’s end, according to eMarketer.

Are they doing something different or are their platforms so unique and powerful that no advertising network or ad technology could possibly contend with?

Mobile Advertising Has Arrived on Social

“There is no question mobile has arrived — it’s here, it’s big, it’s growing,” says Lars Albright, co-founder and CEO of the mobile loyalty platform SessionM. “The bottom line is it’s working.”

Mobile advertising went through various formats and implementations before it reached the scale now enjoyed by Facebook, Twitter and Google. This last leg of innovation, which is now paying off for marketers and advertisers, has been all about the granularity of targeting that these platforms can bring to deliver a successful transaction or sales conversion, says Albright.

“They have so much scale in mobile now that they’re able to do targeting to clusters that are meaningful,” Albright adds. Now they can take that top-level targeting and go much deeper… All of a sudden you start to get much more focused, and even though you’re so much more focused you still have the scale that you can deliver meaningful results. So having that big audience, then having very detailed information and that relationship is where you’re seeing things separate.”

That direct relationship with users coupled with all the data and behavioral traits gleaned from their social activity makes all the difference.

“Traditional networks, as they are, are the ones that are really going to hurt here because they don’t have that first-party relationship with the consumer… That’s one of the key differentiators to bring to marketers,” says Albright, who previously founded Quattro Wireless, a mobile ad network that was acquired by Apple in 2010.

Click to continue reading

Why Are PC Sales Up And Tablet Sales Down?

TechCrunch

When iPads first came out, they were hailed as the undoing of the PC. Finally, a cheap and reliable computing device for the average user instead of the complicated, quirky PC. After a few years of strong growth for iOS and Android tablets and a corresponding decrease in PC sales, the inverse is suddenly true: PC sales are up and tablet sales are “crashing.” What happened?

The tablet slowdown shouldn’t be a surprise given that tablets have hardly improved beyond relatively superficial changes in size, screen resolution, and processor speed. The initial market for tablets is now saturated: grandparents and kids have them, people bought them as Sonos controllers and such, and numerous households have them around for reading. People that want tablets have them, and there’s just no need to upgrade because they more than adequately perform their assigned tasks.

Businesses and consumers alike are again purchasing PCs, and Mac sales are on the riseyear-over-year. Businesses in particular are forced to upgrade older PCs now that Windows XP is no longer supported. When purchasing a new PC, the main driver to choose a PC versus a tablet is fairly obvious: If you are creating any type of content regularly, you need a keyboard, a larger screen, and (for most businesses) Microsoft Office.

Reigniting Tablet Growth with “Super Tablets”

For the tablet category to continue to grow, tablets need to move beyond what Chris Dixon calls the “toy phase” and become more like PCs. The features required for a tablet to evolve into a super tablet are straight from the PC playbook: at least a 13” screen, 64 bit processor, 2GB of RAM, 256GB drive, a real keyboard, an actual file system, and an improved operating system with windowing and true multitasking capability. Super tablets form factors could range from notebooks to all-in-one desktops like the iMac. Small 7” and 9” super tablets could dock into larger screens and keyboards.

The computer industry is littered with the detritus of failed attempts to simplify PCs ranging from Sun Micrososytems’ Sun Ray to Oracle’s Network Computer to Microsoft’s Windows CE. But this time, it’s actually different. The power of mass-produced, 64-bit ARM chips, economies of scale from smartphone and tablet production, and — most importantly — the vast ecosystem of iOS and Android apps have finally made such a “network computer” feasible.

Businesses Need Super Tablets

As the former CIO at CBS Interactive, I would have bought such super tablets in droves for our employees, the vast majority of whom primarily use only a web browser and Microsoft Office. There will of course always be power users such as developers and video editors that require a full-fledged PC. A souped-up tablet would indeed garner corporate sales, as Tim Cook would like for the iPad … but only at the expense of MacBooks.

The cost of managing PCs in an enterprise are enormous, with Gartner estimating that the total cost of ownership for a notebook computer can be as high as $9,000. PCs are expensive, prone to failure, easy to break and magnets for viruses and malware. After just a bit of use, many PCs are susceptible to constant freezes and crashes.

PCs are so prone to failure that ServiceNow — a company devoted to helping IT organizations track help desk tickets — is worth over $8 billion. Some organizations are so fed up with problematic PCs that they are using expensive and cumbersome desktop virtualization, where the PC environment is strongly controlled on servers and streamed to a client.

And while Macs are somewhat better than Windows, I suggest you stand next to any corporate help desk or the Apple genius bar and watch and learn if you think they are not problematic.

Continue reading…

Facebook raises the frequency cap on ads

Digiday

Facebook has quietly altered its ad policy to allow brands to show ads more frequently to those who don’t already follow the brand.

Brands are now able to hit users with the same news feed ad twice in a given day, whereas previously brands were only able to do so once per day. Similarly, the number of news feed ads brands can serve users they are not connected to — users who have not liked that brand’s Facebook page — has risen to two daily from one. The number of news feed ads brands can serve to their page followers will remain at four, and the total number of ads a Facebook user can see in a given day will also not increase.

Facebook announced the changes in an email it sent to agencies this month.

While the change affords brands greater frequency for their Facebook ads, it also creates a risk of Facebook users becoming annoyed with brands and, correspondingly, Facebook itself.

“These changes raise the stakes,” OMD’s chief digital officer Ben Winkler told Digiday. “Advertisers who send out high-quality, relevant messages will benefit. Those who don’t, will do so at their own peril. People like great content, regardless of the source. But they have zero tolerance for one bad ad, let alone two.”

Jeff Semones, president at M80, said the move is just the latest sign that social media advertising is no longer, in fact, social. The old-school view of social media, he said, was that it would be digitized word-of-mouth marketing: brands would inspire customers, and those customers would in turn speak favorably about the brand on social media. The modern view of social is that it’s an advertising medium like any other.

“We tell our clients to think of Facebook less like a social network, and more like an advertising network,” Semones added.

Facebook’s transformation from a platform for well-crafted creative to merely a platform with reach has been a constant refrain during weeks, especially among attendees at Digiday’s inaugural Platform Summit last week.

“Facebook is now a place to drive reach to your content-marketing programs and less a place to be the center of your architecture,” 360i chairman Bryan Wiener said on Thursday.

Nestle digital manager Emily Cloud said on Thursday that the company has even begun repurposing images posted to Facebook for Pinterest.

And in late July, Sean Ryan, JCPenney’s director of social and mobile marketing, likened Facebook ads to “display ads on steroids.”

Enthusiasm for Facebook has not waned in light of these changes, however. And Winkler thinks that consumers’ may have a greater tolerance for repeat ads than some perceive.

“As long as Facebook continues to improve their product and their ad-targeting, that level may be higher than you think,” he said.

World Tech Update- August 22, 2014

IDG News Service

Coming up on WTU hackers steal data on 4.5 million U.S. hospital patients, Sprint launches a bezel-free smartphone and a Silicon Valley hotel tries out a robot bellhop.