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Gamification Can Help People Actually Use Analytics Tools

Harvard Business Review

If you’re trying to use advanced analytics to improve your organization’s decisions, join the club. Most of the companies I talk to are embarked on just such a quest. But it’s a rocky one.

The technological challenge is hard enough. You have to identify the right data and develop useful tools, such as predictive algorithms. But then comes an even tougher task: getting people to actually use the new tools.

Why is the people factor so important? It’s easy enough to automate routine decisions, such as identifying likely buyers for a product upgrade. But many decisions in today’s knowledge economy depend on expertise and experience. Think of bankers deciding on business loans, product developers determining tradeoffs between features and cost, or B2B sales reps figuring out which prospects to target. Analytics can help codify the logic of the best decision makers, but it can’t replace human judgment.

Moreover, the tools developed for contexts like these can be complex, often involving a steep learning curve. If decision makers aren’t willing to experiment with the tool and improve their outcomes over time, then your investment in the technology is wasted.

Right here, some say, is where a company could use gamification to encourage people to invest the time and learn how to use the new tools.

 

Gamification means using motivational techniques like those the videogame industry has put to such effective use. Anyone with teenagers in the house knows that they will spend long hours on their own, trying to get to the next level of their favorite game. Motivation experts like Dan Pink would say that the games are tapping into some basic human drives: for autonomy (you control your own pace), for mastery (you get better over time), and for a sense of purpose (you’re aiming at a well-defined goal). The social factor is important, too. Gamers love to match their skills against others and to compare notes on how they’re doing.

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Mobile networks limber up for the Internet of Things

CITEworld

Changes starting to take place behind the scenes in mobile networks may eventually pay dividends to anyone with a smartphone, a connected refrigerator or an IT department.

Carriers have done things pretty much the same way for years, with cellular base stations at the edge of their networks feeding into a series of specialized appliances at central facilities. Now they’re virtualizing those networks in several ways, seeking the same rewards that enterprises have reaped by virtualizing data centers: efficiency and flexibility. The trend will be in full swing at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month.

It’s good news for mobile users that they may not hear much about. A more efficient network leaves more free capacity for the video or application you want to run, and a more flexible carrier could quickly launch services in the future that you don’t even know you’ll need yet. The new architectures may even change how some businesses pay for mobile services.

Just as enterprises used to buy separate servers for each application, carriers often use dedicated hardware for each function involved in delivering a service, such as billing and authentication. Years of mergers have left multiple legacy platforms, adding to the mess. As a result, rolling out a new service for a customer, such as a VPN, can take weeks.

The new approach that’s gaining ground, called NFV (network functions virtualization), turns each piece of the puzzle into software that can run on standard computing hardware.

Continue reading… 

Mobile Video Dominates The Medium

nScreenMedia

The keynote panel at the Digital Entertainment World conference in LA on Tuesday gave a great view of the divergent interests of 20th and 21st century media. Mobile video was very much on the mind of web natives, while mainstream media still seems more interested in extending the reach of its traditional television fare.

Jim Underwood, Head of Entertainment, Global Vertical Strategy at Facebook, threw down the data gauntlet stating that 75% (or 11 hours) of our waking hours are now consumed with the consumption of media. It could be argued that Facebook is a prime mover in this extraordinary statistic. The company has rocketed to the number 2 spot in the delivery of online video, second only to YouTube. In particular, the company has tripled the amount of video it delivers in just 6 months. This is largely on the back of the introduction of autoplay for videos. Mr. Underwood said that, though videos do not play when they are out of the field of view, the mere act of automatically starting the video results in many more people sticking around to watch.

Not to be outdone, Ezra Cooperstein, President and COO of Fullscreen, said that over the last 4 years the amount of mobile video starts the company sees has grown from 20% to 60%. He added some color to this, saying that girls between 13 and 17 years don’t’ even think about a television anymore. Their phone is their TV. Even though much of Fullscreen content is consumed on a phone doesn’t mean it’s cheap to produce. He said that content businesses are capital intensive. To emphasize the point he said a good deal of the cash Fullscreen received when the Chenin Group and AT&T bought the company is going straight into creating great content.

 

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Tech Marketers Embrace Social Media

Screen Shot 2014 07 16 at 10.35.17 AM Tech Marketers Embrace Social Media

According to this 2014 Tech Marketing Priorities study by IDG Research, metrics are key to social media marketing for tech marketers. Although 3/4 of marketers claim to accurately leverage social media as part of their marketing strategy, measurement/ROI is still a top concern when initiating a social media campaign.

This IDG Research survey was conducted of global senior tech marketing leaders providing insights into key marketing priorities for 2015 and beyond.

UK startup Clippet targets millennials with audio news to go

DigiDay

Clippet News has emerged as the U.K.’s first serious contender offering on-demand, audio news for young mobile audiences.

The London-based startup was launched in September and comes with an impressive pedigree: James MacLeod, grandson of Rupert Murdoch, is a co-founder. Each day Clippet offers a selection of 10 news stories digested into one-minute audio clips. It is an interesting twist on the current vogue for daily news digests, such as Yahoo News Digest, NYT Now and others.

The further, perhaps inevitable, twist: Clippet is going after millennials. Its team of six journalists are all under the age of 28. Young, often regional newscasters stand in contrast to the typical tone of British radio news bulletins. Eventually, it’s planning to pursue content syndication and sponsorship deals to turn a profit.

 

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The State of Digital Marketing

Econtent

Ask 10 consumers to define “digital marketing” today, and you’ll likely get 10 different answers. Some consumers may reference irritating browser pop-ups and spam, while others will cite YouTube tutorials and email newsletters. No matter what form it takes, digital marketing is only going to increase–especially in a world where ad-supported free apps and content are more popular than ever.

For George Schildge with Matrix Marketing Group, digital marketing in 2014 and beyond means creating a more connected customer experience via marketing that makes use of every electronic device imaginable to engage stakeholders. “In the past, digital marketing was disconnected. We had sales force automation and email platforms, but the systems weren’t connected. Today, we are beginning to see a full-blown marketing backbone where marketers have greater visibility over consumer habits,” says Schildge.

Consider that marketing leaders will, by 2019, spend more than $103 billion on search marketing, display advertising, social media marketing, and email marketing-exceeding their spend on cable and broadcast television advertising combined-according to Forrester Research. Additionally, a greater majority of industry professionals are taking digital marketing more seriously. Results of a new survey by Demand Metric found that 91% of marketers indicated that digital marketing was “important” or “very important.”

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Time to Celebrate: YouTube’s 10th Birthday

PewResearchCenter

On Valentine’s Day 10 years ago, a group of former PayPal employees founded YouTube as an easy way to find and share videos. Today it’s one of the most visited websites in the world and is widely used by news organizations, politicians and music artists. (Psy’sGangnam Style has over 2 billion views, making it the most watched YouTube video of all time.)

Besides big brands, some regular users have amassed a large following. Recently, a trio of YouTube content creators interviewed President Barack Obama on his policy goals. Overall, the video-sharing firm says that 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTubeevery minute.

On the company’s 10th birthday, here are 5 facts about YouTube and online video sharing:

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Designing Twitter Video

Paul Stamatiou Blog

In mid-2011, Twitter rolled out the ability to natively tweet photos. 2013 brought media-forward timelines with inline photos. 2014 ushered in multi-photo tweets and animated GIF support. We’ve just announced Twitter Video to help you capture the moment and tweet video from within the iOS and Android apps.

In this article, I will provide a sneak peek into my design process for Twitter Video. This is not yet another boring sketches and mockups iteration article. Why is that? Because we truly embraced prototyping.

Continue Reading…

Marketers: Storytellers or Scientists?

According to this 2014 Tech Marketing Priorities study by IDG Research, a successful marketer needs to be the proper balance of storyteller and data scientist.  This is a challenge media companies can assist with on several fronts through the design of custom marketing programs to fuel the “storytelling” … to help with the “science” of designing and managing data-driven marketing strategies.

This One Number Shows How Advertisers Are Wrong About Social Media

Time

Companies like McDonalds, Apple, and Ford all have something in common: They make and sell physical stuff, be it Big Macs, computers or cars. So if you’re considering investing in one of those companies, the first thing you might look at is how much stuff it’s been selling recently — an easily-determined metric that’s a decent representation of a company’s success.

But social media companies like Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat don’t make their money by selling physical stuff. Instead, they make it by selling space to advertisers.

As with all advertisements, digital ad space is more valuable the more it gets seen. And one of the key metrics advertisers use to determine how much they’re willing to spend on a social media company’s ad space is Monthly Active Users, or MAUs.

MAUs are simple enough: Every time you log on to Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and so on at least once a month, that platform gets one MAU.

That interest in MAUs has extended to Wall Street, where investors have come to view them as the be-all, end-all metric for judging a social media company’s potential to make money. MAUs are popular with investors and other market-watchers because they’re easy to calculate, digest and compare.

But a number emerged this week that should make us all question the MAU as the holy grail of social media metrics: 50 million. That’s the number of MAUs racked up last year by MySpace, a social media network you probably haven’t used since you signed up for Facebook. While MySpace used to be a reliable presence in ComScore’s annual list of the 50 most popular sites on the web, it hasn’t made an appearance there since 2012, when it ranked 46th.

Sure, MySpace’s 50 million figure doesn’t touch the numbers boasted by its onetime rivals: Facebook has 1.27 billion MAUs, Instagram 300 million, Twitter 284 million. But it’s still doubtful that figure is truly representative of MySpace’s shrunken userbase, even if the site still has a small but thriving community thanks to its efforts in music and video.

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