SAP Announces New DSP / DMP : Exchange Media

SAP announced Exchange Media, adding another DSP / DMP to an already crowded ad-tech ecosystem.

Advertisers are increasingly demanding transparency in their advertising, from where and how ad dollars are spent to the true impact and ROI of those advertising dollars.  Adtech providers can either give advertisers what they want or watch as advertisers bring those solutions “in house”.

This also further underscores the importance, and value, of first party data.  The companies who control access to advertiser first party data hold the keys to the kingdom.

Time will tell whether Exchange Media will be perceived by clients as an important value add, or just another platform solution in an already fractured marketplace.  Flexibility will be key, as marketers have been wary of “walled garden” approaches that lock their data into specific systems.

Source:  AdExchanger

Google Announces New Changes at I/O

Google I/O recently wrapped up, and here’s a great recap of “what’s new at Google”.

Some of my personal favorites include:

Google Home: Google’s competitor to Amazon’s Echo.  Consumers will find value in the ability to add voice commands to their home “Internet of Things”,Google will find value if Google Home leads directly to increased consumer purchases.

Duo & Allo: Google’s response to Facebook’s WhatzApp and Messenger, Duo is a video chat app with advanced “sneak peak” features, and Allo is a pure play text messenger app (important for regions constricted by low bandwidth issues).  Much like Gmail displays ads based upon the context of the message in your email, these apps will offer options for goods and services based upon the text of your message.

Daydream VR: Google has entered the VR space.  This vertical is getting very crowded, very quickly … and its success will largely depend on content creators ability to build these hardware solutions into their games, programs, etc.   Stay Tuned!

Instant Apps: Google is making moves to seamlessly connect the mobile web with apps.  To date, they’ve been separate experiences.  Google’s Instant Apps will enable users to download critical portions of apps in realtime, as they interact on the mobile web.   This will require developers to change how they build apps, but the changes will be retroactive through numerous previous versions of Android.

Sources:  The Next Web ; AdExchanger

Book Review : Decisive

Decisive Book Review – How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

Should I or shouldn’t I ?  It’s a difficult question that we face every day.  Chip and Dan Heath have written a guide to helping you better make difficult decisions, in all aspects of life.

It seems like every time I turn around, there are more opportunities and consequently more choices to make.  I’ve found this book tremendously helpful, allowing me to avoid “analysis paralysis” and make better decisions more quickly.

I’ve recommended this book to several friends and colleagues, who have also found Decisive to be a powerful tool.

Here’s an overview of the book.

Chapter 1:

They go over the four key reasons we have difficulty making decisions:

  1. You frame up choices based upon your own, narrow,  experience. 
  2. Your confirmation bias skews the information you gather. 
  3. Your short term emotion tempts you to make bad decisions. 
  4. And once you’ve made a decision, you stick with it out of pride and overconfidence.

So how do you solve for this ?  By widening your options, reality testing your assumptions, getting a different perspective (expanding your focus) before deciding, and embracing your mistakes (and quickly fixing them!)

Chapter 2: Avoid a narrow frame.  Your decisions are typically not binary; you have more than two choices.  You can shift your focus from the current options to other options by thinking about the opportunity cost of your decisions.  Try eliminating your current options, and forcing yourself to come up with new options.  It’s easier if you step outside the solution, and look at it as an outsider.

Chapter 3: Multitracking.  Embrace considering numerous options simultaneously, which allows you to shape the problem while keeping egos in check.  Just beware of unrealistic options that can lead you, the decision maker, towards an option that only appears to be the best compared to the others.  Switch between a mindset that avoids negative outcomes and pursues positive outcomes.

Chapter 4: Find some who has solved your problem.  Look internally and externally (even with competitors) to find the best solution, even to problems you may not know that you have.

Chapter 5: Considering the opposite.  Acknowledge your confirmation bias, which leads you to confirm you initial assumptions.  Encourage groups to bring dissenting opinions.  Ask the uncomfortable questions (“why doesn’t it work?”).

Chapter 6: Zoom out, zoom in.  The value of your information is critical to your decision making process.  You need to pivot your decision making from close up to outside views, to get the best, most accurate, information.

Chapter 7: Ooch.  You don’t need to make big decisions.  Make many small decisions, and evaluate each one to make sure it is ultimately leading you to the right outcome.

Chapter 8: Overcoming your short term emotion.  All of our decisions are impacted by our own biases.  We’re apt to hold onto our original ideas out of pride, to stay within our comfort zones, to avoid losing – all of which affect your decision making.  Try looking at the decision from the outside, … what would you tell your best friend to do ?

Chapter 9 : Honor your core priorities.  By identifying (even documenting) your core priorities, you’ll make your decision making process easier.  Zappos does this, and you should too.

Chapter 10 : Bookend the future.  Give yourself best case and worst case scenarios (much like investing in stocks) and use those as guidelines.  Anticipate problems, create tripwires to quickly identify them, and quickly implement solutions when problems occur.

Chapter 11 : Set a tripwire.  Make sure that you’ve documented your ultimate goals, and set up best and worst case tripwires which automatically trigger when you need to make a decision.

Chapter 12 :  Trusting the process.  Whether you are making a decision alone or with a group, you have to trust the process.  For group decisions, make sure that the “rules” are established ahead of time, and that the process is perceived as fair for everyone.

Forest for the Trees ….

I recently had the pleasure of having dinner with the new defensive coach of our football team.  He mentioned that he was just coming off a year long “sabbatical”, as he transitioned from his previous city to ours.

I was really curious – what exactly does someone do when they take a year off?  Travel?  Repaint the house?  Binge watch missed episodes of The Walking Dead?

He spent the year doing what he loves – from the other side.  He went to football games: high school, college, and professional.  He used this time to challenge preconceptions he’d built over the span of his career.  He studied the new defensive techniques, and questioned why coaches made certain decisions.  He walked the stands and spoke with parents (something that would assist his scouting efforts in the coming years).

He explained that every Spring he would get together with fellow coaches to share the previous year’s plays, discuss new coaching techniques, etc. But given that every team plays at the same time within a set season, this only provided limited value.  He never had an opportunity to truly interrogate the way his colleagues were playing the game.

Taking the time to step outside of your role, and look at something from a new perspective, is critical – especially when you’ve been doing the same thing for over a decade.

The more you challenge yourself to look at things through a different lens, the more impactful your time off will be.  And you don’t need to take several months to a year off …. you can even do this over short periods of time, like a weekend.  All that’s required is that you disconnect from your current assumptions, and view your world from a different perspective.  Do this, and even Mondays will seem easier.

Pivoting Through Acceleration : The Value Of Data

Entrepreneurs are tested as their start up grows up “the hockey stick”, from initial concept to full execution.  They must be able to pivot, changing from sole contributor to team leader.

And through that metamorphosis, their reliance on data increases.  Data, like revenue, is oxygen for businesses.  From pipeline bottlenecks, to revenue forecasting, to funding valuations, data drives everything.

Here’s a great article on just a few ways data is important.


Your Favorite (Former) Politician Might Be Selling Access To Your Data

In the world of high power politics, marketing is king.  And the foundation of that marketing is the CRM file.  Who donated, how much, and when?  This just the tip of the data iceberg that sophisticated campaigns collect.

This data is used to power all aspects of the campaigns, from direct mail to digital campaigns to the door to door ground campaign.

And after a campaign ends?  What happens to the voter data?  It’s rented to other candidates, of course (using a trusted third party, of course).

You can read more about the “ins and outs” of political campaign marketing in the articles sourced below.

Sources:  AdExchanger, AdAge

FCC Proposes Sweeping Privacy Changes

On the heels of reclassifying broadband providers under last year’s net neutrality regulations changes, the FTC recently proposed sweeping changes to broadband privacy requirements.

“The plan would require broadband providers to obtain consumer consent, disclose data collection, protect personal information and report breaches. Broadband providers currently collect consumer data without consent and some use that data for targeted advertising, which has drawn criticism from privacy advocates.” – noted

Giving proper notice and choice is a self imposed standard for the digital marketing industry.  As seen with the AdChoices standard, consumers need to be notified that they are receiving a targeted advertisement and have the option to opt-out of the targeting.  Ironically, the AdChoices opt out is managed through a cookie – and this opt-out is only valid as long as the consumer maintains the AdChoices opt-out cookie.

Presumably broadband providers will enable a similar notice and choice system, though likely system wide rather than ad specific.

These changes apply to broadband providers like Verizon and AT&T, but do not apply to Google, Twitter, nor Facebook.

The proposal goes to a vote on March 31, 2016.


Newsweek Drops Its Paywall, Sort of…

Following in the footsteps of The Sun, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Financial Times, Newsweek has decided to remove its paywall.  It will still offer digital subscriptions, giving paid subscribers access to premium digital content and early access to monthly issues before non-subscribers.

This move is not entirely surprising.  With topical news content freely available through numerous media channels, paywalls represent a significant barrier to entry.  Digital publishers struggle with the delicate balance between driving traffic with free content, versus monetizing premium subscriber-only content.  If they make it too difficult to access content that can easily be found elsewhere, overall revenue (whether through subscription or ad revenue) will fall.

Newsweek is looking to take at least one page out of Netflix’s playbook.  Netflix creates its own custom content, designed to keep subscribers coming back month after month.  Netflix is betting that just a few “favorite” shows could be enough to justify a sub ten dollar subscription fee, every month. While topical news isn’t as unique as entertainment content, Newsweek’s ability to sustain subscription revenues rest heavily on their ability to deliver unique content worth paying for.

Another option would be to increase revenues from non-subscriber traffic.  Offering programmatic segments, reselling behavioral data segments, or optimizing free content in real time based upon advertiser demand are just a few options to increase advertising supply revenues.

In any case, Time (or Newsweek) will tell.

Source: AdAge

Facebook Offers Businesses Insights On Nearby Shoppers

A feature launched on Facebook last November is starting to get the attention of small businesses.  Facebook now allows businesses to gain important insights into the people who frequent the area around them.  These summarized insights are updated daily, and provide several “look back” window options.

This tool has broad implications beyond simply advertising on Facebook.  Marketers and commercial realtors can use this data to better determine where to open retail locations.  Pop-up stores and mobile retailers (think: food trucks) can use this data to determine the optimal time and place to “set up shop”.  Combined with other partners (think: Uber, ClearChannel, Lamar) this data could help identify demand for future services, or target out of home advertising , in a manner which respects the privacy of the consumer.

Source: AdAge