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Report: Digital Transformation and the New Customer Experience

Brian Solis

We’re under attack! Social, mobile, real-time, cloud, big data…it’s coming at us all at once! Rather than miss out, many brands are jumping from trend to trend as a way of staying relevant in an increasingly digital market.

Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Foursquare, Instagram, Pinterest…we’re covered. We have and had a strategy for a while now.

Mobile. Yep, we’ve got an app for that…plus we’ve got adaptive and responsive web design that makes old sites new again!

Snapchat…our brilliant strategy vanishes in 5,4,3,2,1.

Jelly? We’ve got the answer.

Whisper, Secret…shhh, don’t tell anyone, but we’re already marketing there.

There’s a difference though between marketing AT people in new channels and learning about their behavior, values, and expectations to optimize their digital experiences and introduce mutually-beneficial outcomes.

Social, mobile, and real-time strategies are not enough. These disruptive technologies are merely just the beginning of a still shaping era of connected consumerism.

Each in its own right is significant affecting how business is done. But customer behavior and expectations, and that of employees for that matter, continue to evolve. And, the list of disruptive technologies that’s pushing business leaders and processes out of their respective comfort zones is far more exhaustive and constant.

Continue reading…

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Continues Stellar Start With Windows Azure

CloudTweaks

At last week’s BUILD developer conference in San Francisco, Microsoft announced major changes to their cloud computing platform, Windows Azure. These changes included added support for foreign languages and third-party tools, and the introduction of the Azure Preview Portal, which allows developers to build and manage instances while they are running. These improvements will go a long way to helping Microsoft compete with other cloud computing giants like Google and Amazon.

When Satya Nadella was appointed CEO of Microsoft in February 2014, the company was stagnant in terms of product innovation. The man Nadella replaced, Steve Ballmer, does deserve credit for raking in enormous profits for the company. But under Ballmer’s tenure Microsoft lagged behind the technology developments of its competitors, especially in the realm of cloud computing.

Nadella is steering the company into a new direction. In an interview released just hours after he was named CEO, Nadella stated that his primary objective was to make Microsoft a “mobile first, cloud first” company. Then is not surprising when you look at Nadella’s experience and see he was previously the Head of the Cloud and Enterprise department at Microsoft.

In his few weeks as acting CEO, Nadella has taken many big steps towards his “cloud first” objective. He resurrected Microsoft Office for iPad, a program that was killed two years ago by Ballmer. Microsoft has also released OneNote on the Mac. His willingness to work with the competition for mutual benefit reflects Nadella’s pragmatic side, while the products being offered here over Apple systems highlight his devotion to the proliferation of cloud-based apps.

Before we get too carried away, it is important to remember that Nadella hasn’t even been CEO for 100 days yet. There is still plenty of time for him to make mistakes. But if the past few weeks are a true indicator of the decisions Nadella will make in the future, Microsoft is well on its way to being a top innovator and competitor in the cloud computing market.

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For Facebook, Measuring Across Devices And Apps Is A Huge Focus

AdExchanger

Facebook is increasingly focused on connecting audiences across screens and channels, and helping clients measure those results.

Graham Mudd, the company’s director of advertising measurement for North America, described aspects of the company’s approach to AdExchanger at the IAB’s Mobile Marketplace conference.

“We believe the future of marketing is being able to find specific consumers based on what the publisher, advertiser or intermediary knows about the consumers,” Mudd said. “And [to do that] we need to move beyond panels and cookies to census-based measurements.”

Instead of relying on consumer panels, which Mudd said fail to provide the necessary scale to measure diverse audiences across channels, Facebook is focusing on a combination of CRM data and third-party data from companies like Datalogix, Acxiom and Epsilon to help clients enhance their measurement capabilities.

Mudd also confirmed that the new “people-based measurement capability” that Facebook ads product VP Brian Boland alluded to in an AdAge op-ed will include partnerships with other data providers, although he declined to name the providers.

Facebook uses Nielsen’s Online Campaign Ratings (OCR) and Datalogix to measure the effectiveness of ads on both Facebook and Instagram, even though the latter is positioned as a separate brand and service. The company does not however, target users with ads based on data collected from both Instagram and Facebook.

Continue reading…

Programmatic, mobile boost adspend

Warc

LONDON: Global advertising expenditure is forecast to grow steadily over the next three years, according to new data from ZenithOptimedia which also highlighted the growing impact of programmatic and mobile.

Figures in the media agency’s latest Advertising Expenditure Forecasts report show growth in adspend at 3.9% in 2013 but increasing to 5.5% in 2014, 5.8% in 2015 and 6.1% in 2016.

This year’s figures will be helped by a series of ‘semi-quadrennial’ events – the Winter Olympics, the football World Cup, and the mid-term elections in the US – as well as the eurozone finally turning the corner to achieve its first year of growth since 2010.

While growth in the eurozone is expected to be a modest 0.7%, that will change as more countries stabilise – Finland, Italy and Greece, for example, are behind the curve – and adspend growth will accelerate to 1.6% in 2015 and 1.7% in 2016.

ZenithOptimedia noted that television remained the dominant advertising medium, attracting 40% of spend in 2013, nearly twice that taken by the internet (21%), and would gain most from the semi-quadrennial events, growing 5.2% in 2014.

But the internet was by some distance the fastest-growing medium, up 16.2% in 2013 and forecast to increase at a similar annual rate (16%) for the next three years.

The fastest-growing sub-category was display (21%), which was predicted to overtake paid search (13%) in 2015.

Traditional display (banners and other standard formats) was growing at 16% a year, boosted by the revolution in programmatic buying, which, said ZenthOptimedia, provided agencies and advertisers with more control and better value from their trading. Social media (growing at 29% a year) and online video (23% a year) were also starting to benefit from programmatic buying.

The rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets was driving a boom in mobile advertising, projected to increase at an average of 50% a year between 2013 and 2016. In contrast, desktop internet advertising was slated to grow at an average of just 8% a year.

Over the same period, mobile’s share of the market was set to more than double, from 12.9% of internet expenditure and 2.7% of advertising across all media to 28.0% and 7.6% respectively. In doing so it would become bigger than radio, magazine or outdoor, making it the world’s fourth-largest medium.

The rise of mobile apps and the decline of the open web — a threat or an over-reaction?

Gigaom

As the use of mobile devices continues to climb, the use of dedicated apps is also increasing — but is this a natural evolution, or should we be worried about apps winning and the open web losing? Chris Dixon, a partner with venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, argues in a recent blog post that we should be concerned, because it is creating a future in which the web becomes a “niche product,” and the dominant environment is one of proprietary walled gardens run by a couple of web giants — and that this is bad for innovation.

Dixon’s evidence consists in part of two recent charts: one is from the web analytics company comScore, and shows that mobile usage has overtaken desktop usage — an event that occurred in January of this year. The second chart is from Flurry, which tracks app usage, and it shows that apps account for the vast majority of time spent vs. the mobile web, an amount that Flurry says is still growing. I’ve combined the two charts into one (somewhat ugly) graphic below:

If apps are winning, is the web losing?

The implication of all this is obvious, says Dixon. Mobile is the future, and what wins on mobile will win the internet — and “right now, apps are winning and the web is losing.” Not only that, but Dixon argues that the problem is likely to get worse, as more companies realize that an app gives them much more control over the user experience than a website. And with less and less investment in making the web experience better on mobile, it will continue to deteriorate, which in turn will push users even further towards the use of apps.

Continue reading…

BlackBerry plans to renew enterprise focus to lure back customers

IDG News Service

BlackBerry is not going to bail out of the handset business, but needs to return to its enterprise roots to reverse its slide, according to CEO John Chen.

“We’re committed to the handset business and we’ll make it work,” Chen said at a media briefing Thursday in New York.

Chen’s comments about staying in the handset business clarified a statement he made earlier to Reuters, which carried a news report Thursday that quoted him saying, “If I cannot make money on handsets, I will not be in the handset business.”

BlackBerry’s years-long dominance of the enterprise handset market succumbed to the popularity of iOS and Android. Worldwide shipment of devices with the BlackBerry OS totaled 19.2 million in 2013, falling by 40.9 percent compared to 2012, with a market share of just 1.9 percent, according to IDC. BlackBerry was behind Android, which had a 78.6 percent market share, Apple’s iOS at 15.2 percent and Windows Phone with 3.3 percent.

BlackBerry is looking to put recent handset and OS struggles behind it and is increasing focus on enterprise services and premium handsets. Customers want the BlackBerry of old, Chen said.

Continue reading…

Not Android, not iOS: One of these others will win the mobile war

CITEworld

We talk a lot about the platform game in mobile: Is Android winning? Is iOS losing? Does Windows Phone have a chance?

There’s a problem with most of these debates. They mostly focus on the rich world, and that’s increasingly not where the action is.

The smartphone market in the rich world is maturing. The growth is in the emerging markets and, increasingly, as hardware prices go down and connectivity goes up, the growth will be coming from poor countries. Cell phone ownership (albeit of the dumbphone kind) is already very high in sub-Saharan Africa; if Google’s Project Loon doesn’t make cheap wireless high-speed internet ubiquitous some other technology will; and some time soon the equivalent of a second-generation iPhone will be as cheap in poor-country-salary hours as a cell phone is today.

As I argued in a previous column, this actually creates an opportunity for a new platform to emerge. Today, the cheapest smartphones still have limited chip and memory capacity and battery life, which means that a software platform tuned to those limitations is attractive. OEMs like China’s ZTE who are comfortable working at very tight margins and have astonishing expertise making really cheap devices have made a big priority of winning this market, while Samsung and iPhone battle it out for the high-margin segment.

All of this points to an opportunity in the way of the classic disruptive innovation model: Attack an underserved segment of the market with a cheaper, lower-featured product, and gradually eat your way up the value chain as the incumbents spend their time focusing on the premium side of the market.

Continue reading…

App use dominates mobile browser use, but what does that mean for news content?

Poynter

The latest report from Flurry shows mobile users are spending the vast majority of their time with mobile apps, not with mobile Web browsers. So far in 2014, iOS and Android users have spent 86 percent of time with their devices using apps, up from 80 percent in 2013.

That certainly reflects how airlines, food delivery services, ride-sharing startups, and of course Facebook have embraced native apps over the mobile Web, to the delight of users. But the takeaway might be different for news organizations, whose apps still account for a rather small slice of time spent on mobile.

In January, Flurry reported that overall mobile use grew 115 percent in 2013, while the news and magazines category grew just 31 percent.

Cory Bergman of Breaking News has argued that news organizations need to offer apps with real utility in order to capture a bigger slice of the pie. As hewrote for Poynter, “simply extending a news organization’s current coverage into mobile isn’t enough.”

The value of apps like Breaking News and Circa, which aggregate information from all kinds of news sites and make use of push notifications on mobile devices, is that they offer features beyond what mobile websites do. That’s not the case for lots of other native news apps that merely mimic the Web experience.

But what’s interesting about many of the news apps that solve problems — Breaking News with its customizable alerts, Facebook Paper with its news-reading capabilities, and The New York Times’ forthcoming NYT Now with links to outside news sources — is that they are still deeply integrated with the Web. They connect users to Web content.

Continue reading…

MOBILE VIDEO VIEWING INCREASED BY 700% BETWEEN 2011 AND 2013

Fast Company

TV is no longer just a box in the living room. Unless you haven’t been paying attention, you know it also includes smartphones and tablets, and a new report fromvideo services company Ooyala provides more evidence of that trend. By analyzing viewing data from 200 million people, the Global Video Index report found mobile and tablet viewing increased 719% from 2011 to 2013. In 2013 alone, the share of videos watched on mobile phones increased by 10 times.

The holiday season played a role in these shifting viewing habits. Not only were consumers watching product videos to learn about potential gifts, but many also received tablets and smartphones as presents, helping drive growth in December. Overall, mobile phones and tablets accounted for 26% of viewing by the end of December of 2013, up from 18% in October.

More than half of the time people spent watching on mobile devices was on videos that were 30 minutes or longer. However, it was connected TVs that engaged online viewers the longest, with 39% of people watching content more than an hour long.

Read more…

How Twitter Has Changed Over the Years in 12 Charts

The Atlantic

It’s been eight years since Twitter debuted. Like the rest of the social networks that have survived, it has changed, both in response to user and commercial demands. The user interface, application ecosystem, geographical distribution, and culture not what they were in 2010, let alone 2006.

But each Twitter user sees the service through his or her own tiny window of followers and followed. It’s hard to tell if everyone’s behavior is changing, or just that of one’s subset of the social network. Now, new research from Yabing Liu and Alan Mislove of Northeastern with Brown’s Chloe Kliman-Silverattempts to quantify the way tweeting has changed through the years.

“Twitter is known to have evolved significantly since its founding,” they write, “And it remains unclear how much the user base and behavior has evolved, whether prior results still hold, and whether the (often implicit) assumptions of proposed systems are still valid.”

While their paper is directed at fellow researchers, their results might be of interest to anyone whose ever used Twitter. They combined three datasets to come up with 37 billion tweets from March of 2006 until the end of 2013. The key thing to know is that they talk about two different datasets: What they call the “crawl” dataset constitutes all the tweets, and what they call the “gardenhose” dataset constitutes only a sample of either 15 percent of all tweets (until July 2010) or 10 percent of all tweets (after July 2010).

OK, with that caveat, here are some of their most interesting findings.

Click to see charts and continue reading