future of advertising

Never Mind Millennials—Gen Z May Be the Hardest Marketing Nut to Crack

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 20, 2014 03:13 PM

Step aside, Millennials, because Generation Z is here to steal the spotlight in social, marketing and advertising from their elders.

Born after 1995, Gen Z accounts for 25.9 percent of the US population and contributes $44 billion to the US economy. The group of aspiring entrepreneurs are no strangers to using social media for research, including collaborating with classmates online. According to research from Marketo, more than 50 percent use YouTube for research projects, and 72 percent of current high-schoolers say they want to own their own businesses while 76 percent aspire to turn hobbies into jobs. 

But with an ever-decreasing attention span (which, for the moment, is about eight seconds), Gen Z may be a bigger obstacle for marketers than Millennials, but that's not stopping brands from trying.Continue reading...

going mobile

Will Apple's iWatch Win with Fitness Freaks?

Posted by Caitlin Barrett on July 14, 2014 11:29 AM

With the release of Apple’s iWatch months away, there’s plenty to speculate about, from its operating system to its screen shape. But for those of us who care more about reps than specs, our iWatch anticipation is all about what the device might reveal about our physical state—and how to improve it.    

Apple, it seems, has started its iWatch tryouts with the fittest among us. Kobe Bryant has been spotted at Apple HQ, presumably trying out its ability to assess the wearer’s hydration, sweat, heart rate, and number of steps. Makes sense for a pro athlete: someone at the top of their game can use iWatch data to tweak their routine and programming to help them compete at an optimal level. 

But what will this mean for the rest of us? For starters, streamlining. There are a lot of wearables out there. A lot. And even more apps that use existing devices to assess everything from our sleep to our diet to our golf swing—something Apple’s already showcasing in its “Strength” spot. 

But for the iWatch to win with folks already using Fitbit or UP24 by Jawbone to track movement, sleep, and diet, it’s going to have to aggregate all of the data it collects on each wearer and turn it into something meaningful (not to mention helpful). Because data alone isn’t enough.Continue reading...

tech innovation

More Brands are Pinging Consumers with Help from Beacon Technology

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 11, 2014 01:52 PM

The use of beacon technology has been fast-growing among retailers who use the smartphone function to push special offers and information to consumers as they wander through their stores. But now, other industries, especially travel, are experimenting with the technology to convey information and boost loyalty programs. 

Brands are hoping their use of the new tech will attract Millennials and other digitally-connected consumers who are open to sharing data in return for a more personalized experience.  

Marriott is currently testing beacons in its hotels to push deals for nearby retailers as well as in-hotel discounts to loyalty club members who have the brand’s app open on the premises. According to Adweek, members could get offers for such things as “test drives of Porsche or Lamborghini cars and a discounted rate at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai” on their mobile devices.

"(We're) taking aim at the next generation traveler and really making sure we're addressing their needs," Karin Timpone, global marketing officer for Marriott, told USA Today. "They like the instant gratification and encouragement along the way while they earn points."Continue reading...

big data

With #ReclaimYourName, FTC Looks to Reel In Big Data Behaving Badly

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 7, 2014 10:55 AM

PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi wasn't the only high-powered woman to make waves at the Aspen Institute's Ideas Festival last week. One year post-Snowden and his NSA revelations, FTC Commissioner Julie Brill said in a chat that the "state of privacy is improving."

Brill said that awareness of consumers, the public and media has grown on both the government and commercial sides. Now that awareness will help consumers push back against a growing number of data brokers that collect vast amounts of data on hundreds of millions of consumers to resell or use in targeted marketing.

“Some data brokers have 3,000 data points on each consumer in the United States—they have it for just about every US consumer," Brill said, noting a recent study. "Three billion transactions per month put into profiles about consumers.”

According the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the privacy regulations that exist today don't often protect consumers from big data analytics. “Many notions of privacy rely on informed consent for the disclosure and use of an individual’s private data. However, big data means that data is a resource that can be used and reused, often in ways that were inconceivable at the time the data was collected.”Continue reading...

social media watch

Facebook's Sandberg Apologizes as Emotions Test Stirs Up Emotions

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 2, 2014 01:29 PM

Facebook’s signature blue face is turning red as the social network faces inquiries from Europe’s privacy regulators following its data scientists' experimental tweaking of the emotional content of posts in the news feeds of nearly 700,000 users.

When the news broke, Facebook initially stated that it was merely conducting user testing to see if emotions were contagious. In this case—they are, and the company’s actions have roused the ire of social media, prompted an apology from COO Sheryl Sandberg, and perhaps violated local privacy laws.

The European agencies involved include Ireland’s Office of the Data Protection Commissioner and the Information Commissioner’s Office of Britain. While it’s not clear where the one out of every 2,500 Facebook users experimented with reside, 80 percent of its total 1.2 billion users are based outside North America.

“We’re aware of this issue, and will be speaking to Facebook, as well as liaising with the Irish data protection authority, to learn more about the circumstances,” a spokesman for the British regulator commented. Sandberg today apologized while on a trip to India, in comments published by the Wall Street Journal.Continue reading...

social marketing

Facebook Opens Up Data Flood Gates for More Targeted Ads

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 12, 2014 05:19 PM

In a move that seems like Minority Report meets The Social Network, Facebook is giving back, to marketers that is, who are eager for more information to better target ads to the network’s 1.28 billion monthly users.

Now instead of just retargeting users, Facebook is turning the social platform into an open market for what it calls a "data-based democracy." 

"Facebook has transformed from a company that disdained ads, to one that said it could figure out a better way to sell ads than everyone else, to one that sells ads just like everyone else, but with a lot more scale and data," Recode commented. "It makes a ton of money doing it.” 

The company explained in a blog post that it primarily learns about interests "from the things you do on Facebook, such as Pages you like. Starting soon in the US, we will also include information from some of the websites and apps you use.”

To assuage fears of an imminent privacy assault, the company is also releasing a tool that provides users with information about why they are seeing a particular ad—which the network calls a value-add for being able to be better plugged-in to users' lives in the real world.Continue reading...


Proximity Marketing Spreads as Safeway, Duane Reade Test iBeacon Tech

Posted by Dale Buss on May 30, 2014 11:02 AM

Long past are the days when privacy advocates merely worried that GM’s pioneering OnStar service could track your car wherever you traveled using GPS technology. Now, an increasing number of retailers and other brands are using new “beacon” technology to track consumers to within several inches of their locations in stores in order to push promotions and encourage spending. 

There are lots of other potentially disruptive uses to come from Apple’s iBeacon and similar technologies though as brand transparency and consumer privacy become top of mind.

Already, for instance, Safeway has been testing an iBeacon installation that automatically offers discounts to shoppers who have downloaded the supermarket chain’s “just for U” loyalty app and walk into the store—at the exact moment when consumers are ready to shop.

Similarly, Duane Reade, the Walgreen-owned East Coast US pharmacy chain, has launched a program to fit its New York stores with iBeacons that delivery weekly ads and coupons to opted-in smartphones. “iBeacons help remove some of the obstacles of engagement and facilitate customer interaction,” Tim MacCauley, mobile commerce director for Walgreen, told Adweek.Continue reading...

privacy alert

FTC Wants Data Brokers, Brands to Know Less About Who You Really Are

Posted by Dale Buss on May 28, 2014 02:43 PM

The US Federal Trade Commission wants to make it more difficult for marketing data brokers to collect and use online information to target American consumers. And that means, in turn, the federal agency wants to make it more difficult for brands to take advantage of today’s digital tools, like big data, to market to existing and potential customers.

The commission said that Congress should require data brokers to tell consumers more about how they collect and use information and give consumers more control over that personal data with tools that could view, suppress and filter that information.

“You may not know them, but data brokers know you,” Edith Ramirez, FTC chairwoman, said on a conference call, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. They have information “including our online and in-store purchases, our political and religious affiliations, our income and socioeconomioc status, and more.”

To reverse that trend, the FTC recommended that Congress should require creation of a website where the data brokers disclose the sources of data they collect about consumers and give consumers the opportunity to opt out of data collection, the Wall Street Journal said. Six companies studied by the FTC already do that, but officials said a single portal is required because of extensive information sharing among data brokers.Continue reading...

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