At a brand seminar last week, TIME’s Managing Editor Richard Stengel was straightforward: he doesn’t consider TIME to be in the news or the information business like, say CNN. He says TIME is in the knowledge and wisdom business. He was explaining how his team tried to differentiate TIME (the #1 magazine brand on college campuses – go figure) from the deluge of information raining down on all of us. “What can we do?” he asked as he flipped through recent covers. “We can convert information into knowledge and wisdom. We can be a trusted guide through the chaos.”
Web bots, the “internet of things”, machine learning and other converging technological advancements offer an early glimpse of our artificial intelligence future. And marketers need to start paying attention.
The ultimate proactivity of the Web is the semantic future of marketing. Every interaction is about data, and with enough of it, predictive analytics are possible. Is Big Data simply an idea to you - or do you have a plan to activate around information?
I'm thinking of Jobs - not the big Steve variety - but the kind being discussed everywhere from Davos to Washington to the Main Street or kitchen table nearest you. The economists can debate how best to create jobs - my thoughts center primarily around how they are changing and how organizations are reading those changes from top to bottom.
In what seemed like a tribute to the cute little kid from Jerry Maguire who kept repeating "the human head weighs 8 lbs," Fast Company recently published a Mr. Egghead infographic that illustrated an astounding fact from the brainiacs at UC San Diego: the average American, on the average day, consumes 34 gigabytes of information. And from 1980-2008, bytes consumed increased 350%. That eight pounds can sure pack a punch. For the purposes of explaining the infographic, writer Maccabee Montandon uses information, content and data interchangeably to argue that Americans are ravenous for "data." But hold up -- do we want to gorge on data? I'm not sure I buy his conclusion about our appetite.
As the year ends, we look back at the most read and shared posts from Unbound Edition's contributors, and a few more favorites chosen by our editorial team. We appreciate your continued readership and commentary and look forward to more dialog in 2010.
Two autumns ago, Chevron, working with the Economist Group, launched Energyville as part of its "Will You Join Us" campaign. Not surprisingly, the campaign, the site, and the game drew a lot of criticism and vitriol for alleged greenwashing and hypocrisy. By posing a question the way it did, Chevron also invited negative answers (“No, I will not join you” on the blog) and word play that twisted the URL (Will you join us in protesting Chevron?). Despite all this, Chevron has persisted.
Q&A with Jay Sears, svp of development for the Rubicon Project.
Music Choice Isn't Just a Matter of the Heart
The world’s top newspaper companies are realizing they need to invest heavily in data analysis to maximize their business opportunities.
In Areas Recovering From Government Abuse, Data Privacy Is Considered a Right.
Right now, companies get by by pushing more and more stuff we don't need. But with data and personalization, they might earn our loyalty and dollars by giving us exactly what we do.
Kleenex isn't just about cleaning up after sneezes anymore: The Kimberly-Clark Corp. brand has created a tool to predict when your sneezing will start.
While Twitter hashtags help drive exposure on the social network, new data shows that Facebook hashtags have the opposite effect.
Big data is all the rage in HR recently. But more immediately promising is the talk of small data — of more effectively managing the data we already have before we start thinking about analyzing more complex datasets.
Although data visualization has produced some of the most captivating artistic displays in recent memory, some of which have found their way into exhibits at the New York Museum of Modern Art and countless art installations around the world, business leaders are asking: is data visualization actionable?
"The Infographic History of the World" is a UK book that uses some artfully arrayed data to chronicle our collective past--everything from Roman armies to top selling albums.
As part of its efforts to generate new sources of revenue, Foursquare is working with ad-tech company Turn to allow advertisers to use its treasure-trove of location data to retarget Foursquare users on other websites, according to executives familiar with the situation.
Which countries have the best reputations? What does that even mean?
The European data protection activists behind the Europe v Facebook (evf) campaign group, that has long been a thorn in Facebook’s side in Europe, have filed new complaints under regional data protection law targeting Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Skype and Yahoo for their alleged collaboration with the NSA’s Prism data collection program.
Do you know what you need to map out your own blueprint?
There is a pressing need for more businesspeople who can think quantitatively and make decisions based on data and analysis, and businesspeople who can do so will become increasingly valuable.
The NSA might be able to tap into your electronic data just like every other company, but it turns out that your personal information isn’t worth much at all--and you can calculate it just to make sure.
Many would like us to believe that privacy is dead. Yet, privacy is a societal choice — it is only dead if we allow it to be.
San Francisco federal judge tells Mountain View company to comply with FBI's warrantless National Security Letter requests for user details, despite ongoing concerns about law's constitutionality.
Advertisers don't want to invade any of their customers' sense of privacy. They just want an effective way of serving relevant ads or content to consumers.
Cisco’s chief technology and strategy officer describes how the exponential growth of connectivity between people and devices, both mobile and network, will change commerce, business systems, and individual behavior.
As a data scientist, if your data causes co-workers to lose sleep, you've done your job, perhaps too well.
Customers are in the midst of a total mind shift. As a result of their perpetual mobile connections, their expectations have changed.
The word visualization encapsulates a process. And it's really that process that's the essential part, not the thing that results.
The more screens you have, the more likely you are to engage in media multitasking.
How next-generation apps will market your brainwaves.
We’re more fooled by noise than ever before, and it’s because of a nasty phenomenon called “big data.” With big data, researchers have brought cherry-picking to an industrial level. Modernity provides too many variables, but too little data per variable. So the spurious relationships grow much, much faster than real information.
Any effective approach to content has to put the consumer at the center and must be able to adapt based on cultural trends and consumer insights. The action of being quick-to-market with compelling content based on real-time cultural trends is a much tougher challenge.
According to 39,000 consumers, 18 to 65 years of age, drawn from the nine US Census Regions, who self-selected the categories in which they are consumers, and the products and services for which they are customers, the desire for real brands is driven by emotional engagement.
While for-profit companies and governments are able to engage in “building a smarter planet” with the likes of IBM, nonprofits and the organizations that make up the social sector lack the means to engage such sophisticated talent. And yet money is not the major factor keeping the social sector from embracing the data age.
Marketers are blessed to have so much insight into their customers’ behavior and interests, and the volume of this valuable data is growing exponentially. What is clear is that CMOs are struggling to take advantage of this great blessing.
Waste in advertising is historically endemic and significant. For example, half of all online display impressions are never viewable. Eliminating waste is a C-suite imperative in the new normal. Big data is the gas tank of the new marketing machine, and analytic systems are becoming the engine, but we're missing a few parts
644 million people worldwide accessed online newspaper sites in October 2012, making up 42.6% of the total internet population. Mail Online was the most popular online newspaper, attracting more than 50 million unique visitors during the month.
Many CMOs seem to be struggling to gain alignment and to build consensus across their lines of business and into the board room. As a result, the C-suite can be plagued with uncertainty and misunderstanding, and CMOs are starting to worry about losing relevance. What does it take to get us all on the same page, pulling together?
One of the hottest marketing catchphrases of 2012 is "data is the new creative." The premise is that all the creative in the world won't help you if your decisions are not data-driven.
ROI needs rethinking -- not because it’s no longer effective, but because it may result in the strategic emphasis being placed potentially on the wrong kind of marketing activities.
It used to be that brands and agencies would create ad campaigns, push them live, and use the resulting consumer reaction to help inform the next campaign. But with the rise of real-time data, marketers can now keep tabs on real-time consumer reaction and use that knowledge to make smarter decisions around all facets of creating, distributing and measuring brand campaigns.
In case you didn’t notice over the past several years the amount of patent battles between some pretty big brands have been waged in the courts. Samsung vs. Apple. Google vs. Facebook. And on and on and on. The folks over at visual.ly put together this handy dandy graphicso you can keep score at home.
Companies like Google and Facebook have had access to vast amounts of data on how consumers behave on the web for years. Now you can get access to this same kind of Big Data, even if you don’t have their scale.
With consumers already uncomfortable about their data being collected for marketing purposes, promoting a term that sounds a lot like other industry-based labels with negative connotations has some marketers scratching their heads.
One dirty secret of web analytics is that the information we get is limited. If you want to see how someone came to your site, it's usually pretty easy. When you follow a link from Facebook to The Atlantic, a little piece of metadata hitches a ride that tells our servers. There are circumstances, however, when there is no referrer data. This means that this vast trove of social traffic is essentially invisible to most analytics programs.
A two word phrase that marketers concern themselves with all the live-long day or at least a significant part of their day: Big Data. And depending on who you listen to and/or believe either marketers are handling their new found wealth of prodigious piles of information quite well and are using insights gleaned from the data to their benefit or, quite simply they are not.
The headline conclusion of Pew's latest monster survey of the media landscape was the demise of TV news. "There are now signs that television news is increasingly vulnerable," the authors wrote, "as it may be losing its hold on the next generation of news consumers." But the larger story is the rise of the Web, which has surpassed newspapers and radio to become the second most popular source of news for Americans, after TV
A recent IBM study of more than 1,700 CMOs stated that approximately 90% of all the real-time information being created today is unstructured data. CMOs see the data explosion as a game-changer, but continue to struggle with leveraging the data to make smarter business decisions.
Large-scale data gathering and analytics are quickly becoming a new frontier of competitive differentiation. In a recent Harvard Business Review article we explore how companies require three mutually supportive capabilities to fully exploit data and analytics.
While there is a lot of Hadoopalooza in the technology press about the tools for managing big data, and they are wonderful, it's also true that they are a) widely available, and b) mostly free. Neither can be said of data scientists. Simply put, you can't do much with big data without data scientists. They are the magicians who transform an inchoate mass of bits into a fit subject for analysis.
Historically, companies have decided which markets to focus on and have allocated sales resources based on looking at past results and using gut instincts. But today, "big data" and deep analytical capabilities give sales and marketing leaders a better way to make decisions
Google Maps Street View is fine for eyeing what a business looks like on the outside. But Google just made it much easier to open up Maps, then open up doors of select businesses to see what it looks like on the inside. Now when you open up Google Maps, you can pull out the orange Pegman and drop him on top of any of the new orange dots that will appear to take a tour inside a business.
How much more profitable would your business be if you had, for free, access to 100 times more data about your customers? That's the question I posed to the attendees of a recent big data workshop in London, all of them senior executives. But not a single executive in this IT-savvy crowd would hazard a guess.
After I wrote about doing personal analytics with data I’ve collected about myself, many people asked how they could do similar things themselves. Now of course most people haven’t been doing the kind of data collecting that I’ve been doing for the past couple of decades. But these days a lot of people do have a rich source of data about themselves: their Facebook histories.
Seeing things in context is one of the most important features of human intelligence, and it plays a vital role in our relationships with others, including the relationship that a customer has with a company. By focusing on deepening the context of your customer relationships, you can ensure greater customer loyalty and probably higher margins as well.
Human behavior is nuanced and complex, and no matter how robust it is, data can provide only part of the story. Desire and motivation are influenced by psychological, social, and cultural factors that require context and conversation in order to decode.
Selling solutions allows companies to differentiate themselves in commoditizing markets and to benefit from economies of scope across multiple profit and service capabilities. For customers, these solutions offer better value than the products and services that went before. After all, who would not prefer a "solution" to their business problems rather than simply buying services and products?
How much should you know and record about your customers? How about their businesses? What should you do with the information? How much is too much?
Forget loyalty in the body care market. Most consumers seem less interested in the name on the label than on price and attributes, per a new study on the segment by Chicago-based Mintel.
Being relevant-at-scale helps marketers to truly benefit from a competitive advantage in the market. At the heart of being relevant-at-scale is an ongoing commitment to harnessing data and analytics. How can you be relevant to your consumers if you don’t know where to reach them and if you don’t know anything about them when you interact?
Customer experience goes to the heart of everything you do--how you conduct your business, the way your people behave when they interact with customers and each other, the value you provide. You literally can't afford to ignore it, because your customers take it personally each and every time they touch your products, your services, and your support.
Pfizer, like Dove and Prudential before it, has gone topical. The pharma giant’s new corporate image effort eschews gauzy TV ads in favor of a microsite where consumers can find and share third-party information about the vicissitudes of aging.
It's a paradox of the information age. The glut of information that bombards us daily too frequently obscures true insight. Intelligence should drive better innovation, but unless it is strategically collected and used, it functions like a summer beach novel — an engaging distraction.
In the late 1990s the dot-com boom made every organization look at the potential for online presence and examine its business model. But the pace has been heating up with emerging social (Facebook), mobile (smart phones and iPads), "cloud," and "big data" technologies that are creating new ways to compete, and, along with them, new ways of working.
A recent CEB study of nearly 800 marketers at Fortune 1000 companies found the vast majority of marketers still rely too much on intuition — while the few who do use data aggressively for the most part do it badly.
Marketers' Obsession With Audience Data Could Teach Media a Thing or Two. Brand marketers research their audiences exhaustively until they understand them instinctively. So it's strange to remember how magazines I've known kept their editorial and advertising sides operating not just separately, as they should, but entirely divorced from each other, with each side in near-denial of the other's existence.
How do you get your message across? And via what channel? Email has long been -- and still remains -- the most effective communication mechanism, but too often the message doesn’t resonate with its recipient, usually due to poor targeting or segmentation.
search engine and e-mail referrals are more than holding their own against social media sites when it comes to generating sales in the second quarter of 2012. Social media sites only contributed to 2.85 percent of online shopping traffic in the second quarter.
Getting older can also mean getting better if you keep a fresh outlook and stay young at heart. The wisdom that comes with age is priceless but don’t get too stuck in your ways. Look at Madonna who rose to fame in the 80s topping the charts in the 90s and can still fill large arenas and entertain Super Bowl crowds in the 2000s! How does she do it and what can we in business learn from her success?
Apps may already track your workouts, your finances, and your temperature preferences, but until now they’ve largely overlooked the most telling data feed of all: your location. Saga, which is launching on Tuesday, uses your phone’s GPS, Wi-Fi capabilities, and accelerometer to track every move you make
Sophisticated sales organizations now have the ability to combine, sift, and sort vast troves of data to develop highly efficient strategies for selling into micromarkets. While B2C companies have become adept at mining the petabytes of transactional and other purchasing data that consumers generate as they interact online, B2B sales organizations have only recently begun to use big data to inform overall strategy and tailor sales pitches for specific customers in real time. Yet the payoff is huge.
The next great quest in applied science: the assembly of a unified health database, a “big data” project that would collect in one searchable repository all the parameters that measure or could conceivably reflect human well-being.
The projected growth of data from all kinds of sources is staggering—to the point where some worry that in the foreseeable future our digital systems of storage and dissemination will not be able to keep up with the simple act of finding places to keep the data and move it around to all those who are interested in it. How could Big Data be significant? A 2011 industry report by global management consulting firm McKinsey argued that five new kinds of value might come from abundant data.
Ah! The great P word. Scott McNealy famously declared "you have zero privacy anyway -- get over it". Eric Schmidt told us that anyone concerned about online privacy "had something to hide". But privacy isn't dying. It's being reinvented.
Back in April you may have tweeted how much you hate doing taxes. Sometime later you may have been browsing the Web and noticed ads for TurboTax popping up. That probably wasn't an accident.
The hierarchy of customer interaction methods starts with face-to-face, followed by websites, channel partners, call centers, traditional media, advisory groups and finally, social media. That won’t be the case in a few years. According to an IBM survey of 1,709 CEOs from 64 countries and 18 industries, social media will leap to the number-two spot while traditional media plunges to the bottom within the next three-to-five years.
It’s become practically mandatory that brands incorporate social media into their business strategy, causing retailers to compete for popularity in stores and on the Internet, too. Campalyst has provided this infographic, which covers the largest Internet retailers in the U.S., and their presence on the five key social networks: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and Pinterest.
According to a new report from Nielsen, mobile consumers are downloading more apps than ever before, with the average number of apps owned by a smartphone user now at 41 — a rise of 28 percent on the 32 apps owned on average last year.
If customers suspect you’re using their data in less-than-desirable ways, they may lash out and possibly stop using your product. What’s a data-driven business owner to do?
Users’ ability to access data immediately through apps and web browsers and through contact with their social networks is creating a new culture of real-time information seekers and problem solvers. The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has documented some of the ways that people perform just-in-time services with their cell phones.
As far as phone sensors go, the GPS sensor appears to be one of the most coveted by developers, after the camera. For a consumer, the trade is quite simple: offer your location at a specific point in time, or your patterns, and in exchange for that information, an application will offer you something — a deal, a coupon, or information about who and/or what is around you.
Yahoo says that it has helped millions of businesses get online and grow their presence on the web. Today, the company is debuting a new marketing dashboard to give users additional insight into online reputation, web metrics and more.
With an estimated $2.1 trillion in spending power, moms influence 85% of all purchase decisions and buy nearly everything for everybody. What’s more, we now know that moms are even better shoppers than might be perceived in the marketplace due in large part to neurological research that didn’t exist until recently.
Having a helpful and knowledgeable sales staff and making the shopping process easy are key drivers of customer satisfaction, according to the study, which measures customer satisfaction with home improvement retail stores based on performance in five factors.
On the heels of acquiring sales data analytics company Varicent last week, Big Blue is making another buy in the data space today— Vivisimo. Vivisimo provides enterprises with search software that helps organizations access and analyze big data across the enterprise.
Just a few months after the Nest’s introduction, it’s clear that Fadell and his new company also took another Apple lesson to heart: the constant need for tiny tweaks that are laser focused on making the user’s life easier. And also: the need to introduce big changes to the consumer slowly, over time. By looking at how Nest’s second-generation thermostat has evolved, we can see those two crucial ideals at work.
Nearly three quarters (72%) of adults are quite attached to following local news and information, and local newspapers are by far the source they rely on for much of the local information they need. In fact, local news enthusiasts are substantially more wedded to their local newspapers than others.
Two out of every three adults who are online use social media. That’s amazing. It truly is. Wonder how many are still out there who still think social media is just a fad?
Paul Matsen can only shake his head when he reads yet another study about marketers failing to measure the impact of their work, especially in today’s bottom-line-driven environment. As chief marketing officer at Cleveland Clinic, a highly rated non-profit academic medical center, Matsen says measurement is as critical to marketing success as understanding consumer insights, developing strategy, and evaluating creative.
Adidas will embed its miCoach data tracker in uniforms worn by players competing in the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game on July 25. The “professional soccer team tracking system” riffs on the miCoach Speed Cell introduced last year, and Adidas says it will provide coaches with real-time data about player position and performance.
There's a lot of speculation today about why Facebook would spend $1 billion to acquire the uber-hip photo-sharing app Instagram. To some, it seems obvious; to others, it's the biggest sign yet of a growing Web bubble. To me, it just raises question after question, and the biggest one is "why." What does Facebook gain from buying Instagram?
New research from analytics firm Nielsen confirms what most have suspected about the symbiotic relationship between tablets and television, and offers some hope for a growing crop of startups looking to capitalize on the second screen experience.
Math nerds and historians, it’s time to get excited. Minds of Modern Mathematics, a new iPad app released Thursday by IBM, presents an interactive timeline of the history of mathematics and its impact on society from 1000 to 1960. The app is based on an original, 50-foot-long “Men of Modern Mathematics” installation created in 1964 by Charles and Ray Eames. Minds of Modern Mathematics users can view a digitized version of the original infographic as well as browse through an interactive timeline with more than 500 biographies, math milestones and images of relevant artifacts.
The gadgets of your smart home now come with software updates. Nest Labs today released the equivalent of version 2.0 software for its smart thermostat available for the Web, iOS or Android. The software tweaks for the $249 Learning Thermostat are designed to help people better understand how thermostat changes affect energy usage.
Marketers overwhelmingly recognize that leveraging massive data sets can help them improve business, but most feel they lack the tools to mine customer insights adequately, according to a study from marketing technology company DataXu Inc.
When an aircraft crashes, investigators are able to retrieve useful information about what went wrong from the flight data recorder, more commonly known as the black box. (The data recorder itself is actually not black, not until it’s retrieved from charred remains.) Statistically speaking, plane crashes are rare occurrences compared to car crashes, so why not install a black box for cars?
Wikipedia’s Next Big Thing: Wikidata, A Machine-Readable, User-Editable Database Funded By Google, P
Wikidata, the first new project to emerge from the Wikimedia Foundation since 2006, is now beginning development. The organization, known best for its user-edited encyclopedia of knowledge Wikipedia, recently announced the new project at February’s Semantic Tech & Business Conference in Berlin, describing Wikidata as new effort to provide a database of knowledge that can be read and edited by humans and machines alike.
Companies are learning to turn Big Data into Big Dollars. How are they doing it? With the help of data scientists, a new generation of business leaders who understand that today, data drives revenue.
While Board of Directors, CEOs, and CFOs these days are demanding proof that marketing dollars work, a new study reveals that 57% of CMOs are simply going with their gut feeling when setting marketing budgets, without any consideration for Return On Investment analysis.
Playing a kind of “smartball” on brand teams today means insisting that digital players be leveraged against a larger strategy. In short, that a brand’s playbook is not a story of technological possibilities, but a diagram of brand profitability.
In most well-meaning organizations, once important information comes to light, it cannot be ignored, no matter what level of an organization is affected.
If you pay attention to advertising, you may have seen some charming, pencil-figured ads entitled “Good to Know” about managing your privacy options. After midnight, Google will start linking your data across all of Google’s products.
As the volume of data skyrockets, it's useful to step back and consider the different types of data, where they come from and how they can be used most effectively. Unique and highly focused data can be used as a signal booster for more effective intent-based targeting.
Design company QA Graphics has created an interactive digital kiosk for a McDonald’s franchise in Richardson, Texas, that provides customers with nutritional information about the menu items and lets them make an informed choice about their meal.
None of us would agree to play a card game with cards missing from the deck. We would know that the odds of winning would be significantly diminished. Yet surprisingly, many marketers are willing to implement marketing programs sans analytics.
The trends that are rocking B2C companies are just as relevant to the B2B world: multiplying customer touch points, changing customer behaviors, massive floods of big data. And like their B2C counterparts, B2B companies need to put the customer at the center of everything they do.
In January 2012, we sit again on the cusp of three grand technological transformations with the potential to rival that of the past century. All find their epicenters in America: big data, smart manufacturing and the wireless revolution. Information technology has entered a big-data era. Processing power and data storage are virtually free. A hand-held device, the iPhone, has computing power that shames the 1970s-era IBM mainframe. The Internet is evolving into the "cloud"—a network of thousands of data centers any one of which makes a 1990 supercomputer look antediluvian. From social media to medical revolutions anchored in metadata analyses, wherein astronomical feats of data crunching enable heretofore unimaginable services and businesses, we are on the cusp of unimaginable new markets.
There are many people who have gifts for selecting the best items, and helping you buy wisely. This has always been a hot trend. Reviews have an impact on buying behaviors. Aside from trying to game or buy reviews, which I don't recommend, how can you find what really affects behavior? Social influences is part of that. Which is why tools that allow people to display what they read, listen to, and buy are making such strong inroads. For example, my boards on Pinterest are a mix of things I have done, and things I might like to do.
Worried about your data? If you’re not, you’re kidding yourself. It’s become clear over the past few months that the risk of security breaches has reached a new and frightening level — from sophisticated tools in the hands of national governments and organized crime to spontaneous attacks harnessing the resources of thousands of loosely connected vigilantes. Add to that the dizzying array of devices now used to access, move and store data. Security strategies that seemed airtight only a few years ago now look like so much Swiss cheese.
Is Google's Public Data Explorer the first step toward a universal data format?
We are experiencing a big data explosion, a result not only of increasing Internet usage by people around the world, but also the connection of billions of devices to the Internet. Eight years ago, for example, there were only around 5 exabytes of data online. Just two years ago, that amount of data passed over the Internet over the course of a single month. And recent estimates put monthly Internet data flow at around 21 exabytes of data.
At TEDxChange, Melinda Gates makes a provocative case for nonprofits taking a cue from corporations such as Coca-Cola, whose plugged-in, global network of marketers and distributors ensures that every remote village wants -- and can get -- a Coke. Why shouldn't this work for condoms, sanitation, vaccinations too?
At the height of the Great Recession we set off across America in search of stories of hope. We were armed with data from Young & Rubicam's BrandAsset Valuator that showed how most people were thinking, feeling and spending in new ways. We traveled through nine red and blue states, talking with people across kitchen counters, in restaurants, supermarkets, factory floors and boardrooms. In the hipster enclaves of Brooklyn and the techno hubs on the West Coast we found ample evidence that economic pain had moved vast numbers of people to reconsider their values and priorities. In these places, thoughtful spending and a commitment to sustainability, environmentalism and community had replaced consumerism. In fact, in 2007 -- even before the crisis -- our data showed Americans were becoming uneasy with debt and excess spending, distrustful of leaders and skeptical of materialist values.
Thanks to the emergence of location-based services such as Foursquare, Gowalla, and now Facebook Places, millions of users are recording their daily adventures and broadcasting digital breadcrumbs to their social graph. However, the brand value of a check-in on a location-based service is debatable, and its ROI unclear.
Journalists are coping with the rising information flood by borrowing data visualization techniques from computer scientists, researchers and artists. Some newsrooms are already beginning to retool their staffs and systems to prepare for a future in which data becomes a medium. But how do we communicate with data, how can traditional narratives be fused with sophisticated, interactive information displays?
Influence has been a hot topic here for the past few months. But what determines someone’s influence on Twitter? Number of tweets? Number of followers? Number of followers' followers? Researchers from Northwestern University seem to have found the answer, and it’s a lot more complicated than who follows who. Ramanathan Narayanan, a Ph.D candidate at Northwestern University, and his professor Alok Choudhary developed a project that tracks influence on Twitter based on specific topics.
Facebook has been collecting thumbs up on everything from Levi's black denim leggings to Sarah Palin videos since April. But where do all those clicks of approval go? And when are brands going to benefit? When the social network launched its open graph and "like" buttons that could be seeded anywhere across the internet, it began to layer brand and media preferences onto its more than half-billion user profiles. At the time of the announcement, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg evangelized about a web that could morph to suit individual users' likes and social networks. In exchange for hosting its like buttons and spreading the gospel, brands and publishers could gain access to approving users' Facebook feeds, but not much else -- until recently. Now, some new programs from the likes of shopping search engine TheFind and Urban Outfitters point to a future where brands can actually flip the pipe to use all that data to personalize their own websites.
This morning at Nokia World 2010 in London, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, widely known as the inventor of the Web, addressed the audience in a keynote speech where he spoke about the future of mobile technology, including both the positive impacts it brings as well as the areas of concern. After encouraging developers to build for the Web, so as to deliver applications that work on all types of devices, even the ones that haven't been invented yet, he then proceeded to detail areas which need addressing, specifically privacy, accountability, network neutrality and the 80% of the world that doesn't have access to the World Wide Web.
We are fascinated here at ReadWriteWeb about Hadoop. It can be used in so many ways. It gives you that sense of excitement that shows how big data can open up all kinds of possibilities. So we got a tad excited tonight when we ran across a post by Mike Pearce about "10 Hadoopable Problems: or in other words, 10 things you can do with Hadoop. But excitement turned to disappointment when it reminded us of how limiting we can be when thinking about big data in standard terms. We won't go into detail about each of the 10 ways Hadoop can be used. You can go check out the post yourself. Instead, we'll highlight a few and provide our own little view about big data, the failings of geek culture and the role information plays in our interface culture.
In most businesses, not knowing how well a particular product is performing would be almost unthinkable. But newspapers have always been a peculiar business, one that has stubbornly, proudly clung to a sense that focusing too much on the bottom line can lead nowhere good. Now, because of technology that can pinpoint what people online are viewing and commenting on, how much time they spend with an article and even how much money an article makes in advertising revenue, newspapers can make more scientific decisions about allocating their ever scarcer resources.
The Internet of Things is what happens when you take everyday ordinary objects and put Internet-connected microchips inside them. These microchips help you not only keep track of your belongings, but many of these devices sense their surroundings and report it to other machines as well as to you when you most need it. From RFID to the Nabaztag Bunny to Arduino hobbyists, innovation is growing at a rapid rate. Our collection features popular videos about how to make your own objects, as well as overviews, interviews and lectures. The intent of these devices is to make our lives easier, yet as David Orban suggests in the eighth video, this is not guaranteed. Issues of data-overload and a lack of privacy may interfere with how these devices ultimately help us. As the growth of this trend continues you'll be seeing many more videos about the Internet of Things.
Media companies must become smaller and more nimble to reach readers and the niche groups advertisers covet. Facebook and other social media platforms could become more important than company websites during this transformation. As that happens, Web companies and social networking, including Google and Facebook, will have to become more transparent and share information about the data they collect on customers, or so says Steve Rubel, SVP-director of insights for Edelman Digital.
The second move in about a year for a little-known data storage company highlights how big technology companies are scrambling to help their larger customers do more with the massive amounts of information they are collecting.
If you surf the web, congratulations! You are part of the information economy. Data gleaned from your communications and transactions grease the gears of modern commerce. Not everyone is celebrating, of course. Many people are concerned and dismayed—even shocked—when they learn that "their" data are fuel for the World Wide Web. Who is gathering the information? What are they doing with it? How might this harm me? How do I stop it?
Wired asked Tim O’Reilly and John Battelle, the creators of the Web 2.0 conferences, to debate the issues raised in our Web RIP cover package. Over a number of days, Tim and John traded emails with Wired magazine editor in chief Chris Anderson, who wrote one half of “The Web Is Dead.” Surprisingly, Tim agreed that the Web is the “adolescent” phase of the Internet’s evolution and that we are seeing a shift toward a more closed phase in the networked age’s cycles. John, however, was having none of it…
All of us in the direct response industry talk about the importance of gaining further understanding of our client's customer. And today, frankly, we're all in direct response in one way or another. So we employ the use of syndicated data to reveal demographics of the category, we ask our clients for studies against their own customers and we even conduct surveys ourselves in order to gain additional insight. What we are often missing in this exploration is capitalizing on our client's own database and improving our understanding of the complexity of a target through segmentation.
Advancing technologies and their swift adoption are upending traditional business models. Senior executives need to think strategically about how to prepare their organizations for the challenging new environment.
Last month we bemoaned the way some marketers offer cash or other rewards in return for lying to one’s friends, while other dodgy companies sell bundles of 10,000 Twitter followers to help particular brand look well loved, among other funny business. However, the ongoing collision of marketing and social networks doesn’t necessarily have to involve trickery or deception. Picture this: You’re sitting next to the pool at a Vegas resort, when you decide to tweet a picture of where you are to your friends at their fluorescent-lit day jobs, just to, you know, assault their sanity. A few minutes later, a waiter shows up with an ice-cold beverage on the house, explaining, “thanks for the tweet.” Guess what your next tweet will be about? Staying at the BEST HOTEL EVAR!!
A confidential, seven-page Google Inc. "vision statement" shows the information-age giant in a deep round of soul-searching over a basic question: How far should it go in profiting from its crown jewels—the vast trove of data it possesses about people's activities?
As early data on iPad apps trickle in, one thing is clear: It's going to require mountains of metrics for advertisers to pony up for the new platform's ads -- and their high prices. But early data from Conde Nast will bolster the argument the iPad is worth a premium, as it's delivering on reader attention better than other media channels.
When Peter Eckersley recently clicked on to one of America’s biggest online job sites, he was not alone for long. Using software to monitor programs running on the page of CareerBuilder.com, the researcher for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an advocacy group, saw data identifying his computer being whisked off to at least 10 outfits that track where people go on the internet. More troubling was his inability to tell what the companies did with the data. His experience goes to the heart of a battle that could shape the future of life on the web – while also having very real knock-on effects in the physical world. The digital dossiers that companies are building from the browsing, searching and other habits of ordinary web users are becoming increasingly refined. At the same time, a deluge of personal information has been unleashed publicly on the web, with Facebook’s 500m users at the forefront. With rapid inroads on both fronts being made into many traditional expectations of personal privacy, the results could prove explosive.
Raw data generated by users online fuels billions in ad revenue annually; why do you think Facebook is so grateful to its 500 million members today? Between personal profiles, search queries, photo-sharing, and other social web behaviors, Google, Yahoo, Facebook and others are gathering information to refine and target their online ads. Cue Bynamite, a San Francisco-based start-up now ramping up a digital business that aims to help consumers turn their online thumbprint into some value for them — or at the very least, make it visible.
Get ready: Nielsen is once again trying to challenge one of the industry's oldest chestnuts -- that consumers over 50 aren't worth the expense to target. The measurement-and-data giant is out to prove that it is advertisers' continued focus on younger customers that's out of date, thanks to a massive and aging population of baby boomers as well as changes in consumers' lifestyle sparked by new technology.
Burt’s presentation at Cannes elaborated on their experiences working with some of the world’s top agencies to change how they make and measure large scale, digital advertising – and how drastic improvements in ad effectiveness can be achieved using existing, proven technologies.
There is a good chance that if you are reading this article you already have a personal Facebook account. There's also a possibility that many of you may be trying your hand at tapping into the power of the 400 million-plus members on Facebook. However, Facebook's recent announcements on how its platform is evolving may be as clear as mud. To that end, the goal of this article is to break the latest news into four areas: 1. Graph API 2. Analytics 3. Storable data 4. Social plug-ins. Within each area, we'll translate the technical into what it means (at a high level) and, most important, how brands will benefit.
In this tough economic climate, companies are doing everything they can to optimize profitability. Or are they? We have spoken with dozens of companies recently about the state of their customer data and how they are using those data to support one-to-one marketing-and nearly all of them are leaving money on the table by not optimizing in this area. Here's why better data are worth the effort, and how to take this route to increased profitability.
It's not enough to just chase after new statistics for social media to ensure today's brands soar in this increasingly digital environment. Regardless of their product, CMOs must become obsessed with three kinds of data to make sure any social media campaign contributes to the company's profitability.
For the last two years, unlimited data plans have given app-hungry smartphone users an all-you-can-eat buffet. But will customers react to AT&T’s new, limited menu by simply eating less? Some software developers fear they will, and if that happens, the caps on data use that AT&T has imposed could also make consumers lose their appetite for the latest innovations.
The Pew Research Center released an interesting study last week that offers some sobering — if unsurprising — insights for the news business. Researchers examined top news stories in the mainstream press as well as what news got traction on blogs, Twitter and YouTube. A main finding was that what’s hot on social media differs — a lot — from what leads in the mainstream press. But what’s even more interesting, I think, is that what’s popular on one form of social media differs significantly from what’s trendy on another. For example, Twitter’s domain is technology, not surprisingly. Blogs and the mainstream press focus more on politics and government. Also not a shocker. As my kids might say: “No duh.” But what isn’t so obvious is what this might mean. I’ve written before about how I believe the real reason many people don’t subscribe to news online — or in print — is about commitment, not money. This study crystallizes my thoughts. I suggest these findings illustrate the radically different way today’s consumers think of news, compared with the past. It’s not brand based. It’s not even platform based. It’s based on niche, which many have said before. But the niche isn’t just in the content or the subject matter; it’s in the mechanism of transmission.
Access to digital data has brought a wealth of opportunity to marketers, allowing them to reach buyers and prospects anywhere online. Yet that abundance creates its own unique problems. Managing the vast amount of data associated with digital ad exposures and interactions -- especially as agency relationships change -- is a challenge that marketers must deal with in order to realize the full potential of digital media.
Research scientists Cameron Marlow and D.J. Patil have unprecedented windows into the social interactions of people around the world. Marlow is manager of a data-science team for Facebook Inc., which has more than 400 million members who come to socialize online. Patil is chief scientist and senior director of product analytics at LinkedIn Corp., which has more than 65 million members of a social network that concentrates on building professional relationships. They are at their computers each day, extrapolating information from more than just the tiny "representative samples" traditionally employed by pollsters. These in-house researchers have access to the interactions of groups of people that outnumber populations of whole countries, giving them the kinds of documentable insights into human behavior that generations of researchers before them could only imagine.
Your gut is overrated. Really. Don't trust it. It deserves skeptical vigilance, not quiet deference. In the heat of the moment or — sorry, Malcolm — the blink of an eye, your gut instincts and gut feelings will betray you. No business cliché is more worthy of repudiation, annihilation, and eradication than "you've got to trust your gut."
Calling the output of writers, musicians, moviemakers and even the artisans of branding's dark arts "content" is like referencing the substance of every meal "food," or labeling the specific events of human experience "life." It has slipped into common usage due to the prevalence of technology and, since qualitative attributes don't necessarily register on site architectures or CRM flowcharts, it replaces substantive description with referential convenience.
Facebook Inc. announced an ambitious plan to get its tentacles further out into the Internet by better linking people, places and things, as it looks to turn a massive audience into a pool of well-understood consumers.
Launching its universal "like" button, Facebook extended its tentacles across the internet today, setting up pipes to gather user data from anywhere on the web. And now that users can add what topics, products or content they like to their Facebook profiles, the social-networking site is sitting on a data treasure chest. At the F8 developers conference today, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a platform that aims to connect the entire internet through the social network. With those like buttons appearing on major publisher sites directly after the announcement, users can thumbs-up individual pages with one click and publish that to Facebook. Meanwhile, that Like is stored for later.
Today at Facebook’s F8 conference), Mark Zuckerberg laid out his plan to turn the Web into “instantly social experiences.”
For decades, shoppers have taken advantage of coupons. Now, the coupons are taking advantage of the shoppers. A new breed of coupon, printed from the Internet or sent to mobile phones, is packed with information about the customer who uses it. While the coupons look standard, their bar codes can be loaded with a startling amount of data, including identification about the customer, Internet address, Facebook page information and even the search terms the customer used to find the coupon in the first place.
Companies are figuring out how to profit from anonomized customer data.
Wolfram Alpha may not call itself a search engine — rather, a “knowledge engine” to process questions that can be answered with objective data and computation — but it faces a similar challenge to wannabe-Googles that want searchers to come to their destinations. Simply put, Wolfram Alpha needs users. And so the wonky company, under the leadership of new managing director Barak Berkowitz, is now moving from polishing its product to getting people to actually use it by changing up its distribution strategy.
“Check-in” companies that were all but unheard of a year ago are making noise due to the simple game mechanics and competitive element they added to their start-ups, which took social networking into a new, location-based direction. Now, the youthful founders of this new breed of start-ups say that checking in – created as a solution to “social networking fatigue” – could in turn lead “check-in fatigue” if people do not find novel things to do with this location data.
Imagine visiting a website and finding that it already knows who you are, where you live, how old you are and who your Facebook friends are, without your ever having given it permission to access that information. If you're logged in to Facebook and visit some as yet unnamed "pre-approved" sites around the web, those sites may soon have default access to data about your Facebook account and friends, the company announced today.
Recently Edelman Digital launched a brand new web site, which features rich insights from across the organization as well as interviews with different people inside and outside the firm. Definitely check it out. One of the cool things we're running are interviews. For one of the first installments, my colleague, Blagica, conducted an interview with me on some of the latest trends
The internet has changed the way we do research. Sure it's cheap and fast, but is the ability to get instant data actually making executives smarter about market opportunities? Not always. In too many companies, online research creates an illusion of rigor while actually sowing confusion about market truths, leading executives -- in particular CEOs and CMOs -- to miss the big picture and waste opportunities right under their noses.
Digital-marketing companies are rapidly moving to blend information about consumers' Web-surfing behavior with reams of other personal data available offline, seeking to make it easier for online advertisers to reach their target audiences. Advertisers say the push could enhance their ability to target ads at specific types of consumers, but it is drawing scrutiny from Congress, federal regulators and privacy watchdogs, who are already concerned about the use of Web-surfing data.
Payroll and unemployment data released Friday offered a snapshot of the labor market's health last month. But some researchers say they can get a read on such trends days or weeks ahead of the official numbers by studying Google searches, tweets and even queries at an online phone directory. Economists painted a mostly positive picture of the latest government data, which showed the economy shed fewer jobs than expected in February and the jobless rate held steady. For people who look at early-warning indicators, the figures were no surprise. The Web-based data have been telling a similar story for at least a month: The job market is getting better—very slowly.
Gary Flake demos Pivot, a new way to browse and arrange massive amounts of images and data online. Built on breakthrough Seadragon technology, it enables spectacular zooms in and out of web databases, and the discovery of patterns and links invisible in standard web browsing.
Organizations love data: numbers, reports, trend lines, graphs, spreadsheets — the more the better. And, as a result, many organizations have a substantial internal factory that churns out data on a regular basis, as well as external resources on call that produce data for onetime studies and questions. But what's the evidence (or dare I say "the data") that all of this data is worth the cost and indeed leads to better business decisions? Is some amount of data collection unnecessary, perhaps even damaging by creating complexity and confusion?
All these examples tell the same story: that the world contains an unimaginably vast amount of digital information which is getting ever vaster ever more rapidly. This makes it possible to do many things that previously could not be done: spot business trends, prevent diseases, combat crime and so on. Managed well, the data can be used to unlock new sources of economic value, provide fresh insights into science and hold governments to account.
I am in Tampa waiting to fly back home to New Jersey and, thanks to the snowicane but rather than sitting in the usual information vacuum to which airlines subject us, I am watching as Continental shows us the status of the flights that were supposed to bring our jet in from LA to Cleveland to Newark to Tampa. I saw the flight to Cleveland canceled, then the one to Newark canceled, and I figured we were doomed when I saw the aircraft number for my flight erased. But then I saw us assigned a new jet, one that flew into Tampa from Houston last night. That’s simply amazing. Continental is practicing operational transparency. It opened up information is already has to us, the customers, so we can be informed and empowered.
Utilities are gradually installing smart meters that can tell homeowners the price of the electricity they’re using at the time, including discounts for off-peak hours. But those meters aren’t yet in all that many homes. There will soon be new options, though, for consumers who want to save money by using energy more efficiently. Companies are coming up with dozens of computer-based devices that monitor electricity costs, outlet by outlet, inside a home.
Hundreds of messages on the boards at PampersVillage.com have criticized changes to Pampers Cruisers in recent months, but a closer look shows an outsized portion of them came from a couple of posters. Social media might be all about big numbers, but in a surprising number of marketing mishaps, a relatively small handful of people were the sparks that turned into online brushfires.
On the surface it may appear that Google simply created Buzz as a social network add-on for Gmail. But in reality the Mountain View, Calif. search engine launched the beginning of a hub that could eventually connect to forums, third-party PC and mobile applications, as well as other social sites. Google recognizes the need to allow data and people to seamlessly travel between portals and Web sites. Gmail Buzz users will get a better picture of that soon.
A year ago, it looked as if the Internet would find itself in Washington's crosshairs. A new Democratic administration was moving into the White House with a huge majority in Congress. A reckless Wall Street was blamed by many Americans for nearly destroying the economy. Regulation was hot. And besides, in the minds of many lawmakers, the Web was full of shady crooks and needed policing. These days, fears of heavy regulation have abated somewhat, as the online ad market bounces back from a brutal recession, and lawmakers continue to be distracted by bank failures, wars and healthcare legislation.
Sociologists have developed elaborate theories of who spreads gossip and news — who tells whom, who matters most in social networks — but they’ve had less success measuring what kind of information travels fastest. Do people prefer to spread good news or bad news? Would we rather scandalize or enlighten? Which stories do social creatures want to share, and why? Now some answers are emerging thanks to a rich new source of data: you, Dear Reader.
Recently, at CUNY, we held a roundtable for ad sales people from hyperlocal blogs to big newspapers to hear what they are hearing from local merchants. We’re wrapping up our research for the New Business Models for News Project — indeed, it was Alberto Ibargüen, head of the Knight Foundation that funded this work, who said he really wanted to hear sales people’s perspective — and beginning research for Carnegie-funded work on new ad models, products, service, and sales methods, working with The New York Times on The Local.
What does your search engine say about you? Well, if it's Bing, you're probably an early adopter, but you also visit, shop and ultimately make purchases from Walmart more than other search-engine users. Google searchers, on the other hand, are partial to Target and Amazon, and Yahoo searchers have a strong preference for wireless service from AT&T and Sprint.
The rate that things happen online tends to influence the rest of our world. It began when instant messaging on PCs made a move to SMS text message on mobile phones, giving friends and lovers instant access to each other whenever and wherever, as long as both were in an area with cellular service. Now, Twitter and Facebook status updates on Google, Microsoft Bing and Yahoo real-time search let us know the moment someone goes to the bathroom. You get the message.
There's no such thing as real-time search. Without the context behind the status updates on Twitter and Facebook, the characters and words strung together in semi-quasi-sentences reflect a bunch of data points -- or garbage in an endless chain of gibberish. Now that Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and others have figured out a way to make the Internet come alive as events happen, the next challenge will become filtering the garbage that real-time search creates.
In the digital age, filing income tax returns should be a snap. The important data from employers and financial institutions have already been sent to the government’s computers. Yet taxpayers are still required to perform the anachronistic chore of preparing a return from scratch. And, in many cases, they pay a software company for the privilege.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, will on Thursday launch a website hosting hundreds of sets of data - including previously unreleased information - about the capital, as part of a new scheme intended to encourage people to create "mashups" of data to boost the city's transparency and accountability.
If you threw me on a desert island (one with internet connectivity) and said that I could use only one website, it would be Gmail. For the last five years Gmail has become the most indispensable tool in my communications and productivity system. I've even found a full-fledged Twitter client, Twitgether, that integrates into Gmail. My use of Gmail is unorthodox in that I also use it as a massive database -- a backup brain. For years now I have been e-mailing myself articles that I think I might need later. Along the way, Gmail gives me a preview of what the algorithmic, personalized future of advertising and media will undoubtedly resemble.
Most people think of the grand challenges in computing as big science projects, like simulating nuclear explosions or protein folding. But with the holiday shopping season just ended, consider another: retail marketing.
Yesterday we posted the first five digital-marketing predictions from Millward Brown and Dynamic Logic, which looked at mobility, geo-location, viral marketing, gaming and online display. Today, we bring you the final five. And we want to know -- do you agree? What do you think will be the big issues of 2010? Here's the rest of the predictions for 2010.
Every address, every building, every business has a story to tell. Visualize your world that way: Look at a restaurant and think about all the data that already swirls around it — its menu, its reviews and ratings and tags (descriptive words), its recipes, its ingredients, its suppliers (and how far away they are, if you care about that sort of thing), its reservation openings, who has been there (according to social applications), who do we know who has been there, its health-department reports, its credit-card data (in aggregate, of course), pictures of its interior, pictures of its food, its wine list, the history of the location, its decibel rating, its news… And then think how we can annotate that with our own reviews, ratings, photos, videos, social-app check-ins and relationships, news, discussion, calendar entries, orders…. The same can be said of objects, brands — and people.
In my last blog, I argued that people don't care enough about their information environments to prevent overload. This week I am focusing on a related behavioral change that has important implications for companies that produce information products and services: As information grows in quantity, consumers of it are willing to accept lower quality. I call this willingness satisficing — being satisfied with sacrificing quality.
“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” – Mark Twain Remember that quote. In 2010 the very best marketers, PR professionals, and social media consultants will put data at the center of everything they do. For anyone unfamiliar with these concepts, just as with social media, data marketing may seem opaque or intimidating at the beginning. The only way you ever learn is by jumping in headfirst — become a data nerd, because data nerds are changing the world.
Popular culture, including TV shows such as "Mad Men," would have us believe the practice of marketing in an ad agency is a straightforward exercise, calling only for understanding the customer, coming up with a big idea, then creating something interesting and relevant to engage consumers. Not quite. Marketing organizations today are under the gun as never before -- from a media landscape growing increasingly convoluted and a fleeting consumer universe to the mounting pressure of accountability for any marketing dollar spent. Today's new universe demands a different approach to the design and execution of any marketing effort. And yet, little intellectual brain power or emotional energy is being invested in improving the fundamental marketing process.
Nielsen will continue to make live viewership data for local TV viewers available in the wake of a furor from media buyers who argued that removing such information would leave them paying for inflated audiences who often skip past ads by using digital video recorders. After saying just a few weeks ago that it intended to stop making available easily digestible data showing the size of live local audiences, Nielsen said in a preliminary draft of a letter to be sent out to clients that it will now keep that data available for an interim period while also measuring viewers who watch shows on a live-plus-same-day basis. The plan, which Nielsen is expected to announce shortly, is set to go into effect on Jan. 7, 2010, and stay in place through March.
Google is stockpiling a wealth of user data. With its search engine, its advertising services, its applications, its new free DNS service, and more, the company has an incredible perspective on exactly what users are looking at. Many fear that Google could abuse this information or allow it to be abused, either for profit or to prosecute citizens who aren't necessarily guilty. In short, fears that "Big Brother is watching you" have been replace with fears that "Google is watching you". Google's recently responded to such doubts, blasting those that would harbor them. Google CEO Eric Schmidt commented to CNBC, "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."
Next Jump may well be the most intriguing Internet business that you’ve never heard of — though that’s likely to change as the company seeks a wider audience. The handful of industry analysts who were invited into the company’s New York offices recently have come away impressed. Next Jump, they say, represents the future of online commerce and could emerge as a counterweight to Amazon, the giant Web merchant. And this patiently gestated start-up, they add, shows one path to the still-elusive promise of Internet advertising: using data to greatly improve the efficiency of marketing.
Even as his advertising offensive against arch-rival AT&T continues to be the talk of the industry, Verizon CMO John Stratton took to the podium to explain why the "Maps" campaign was necessary. In this seven-minute video, he recaps Verizon's entire nine-year marketing history. In its latest move, the company abruptly threw out its prepared holiday ad campaign to replace it with the results of a data survey it commissioned of its own and AT&T's national G3 footprints.
It's an unpleasant, abominable idea, submitting something as delicate as culture to the rack of metrification. But here's why it's necessary. There's so much going on "out there" in culture, so many different people creating so many different innovations, subject to change so violent and frequent, that unless we have metrics at our disposal, well, we're done for. We have no real hope of canvassing all that water front.
Twitter turned on its long-awaited Geolocation API today, meaning that users can opt-in to having their messages annotated with their exact locations. The significance of this is made clear by comparing it with last week's release of 500 million time-stamped Twitter messages for analysis. "You take this data, mash it up with any other very large corpus of data with timestamps," Flip Kroner of data marketplace Infochimps told us, "and you've got a web app." Today's announcement of the availability of location data means the same thing: you take this data, mash it up with any other data with location information and you've got an app. From Digg or StumbleUpon for your favorite coffee shop to political and disease tracking - there's a whole lot that's possible.
If you put an energy meter inside a home and show people total usage in real time, a miraculous thing happens: they use about 10 percent less energy. The simple act of placing data in front of people changes their behavior. Data makes people smarter and inspires them to make small changes to save money and energy. You can use this powerful tool in business not only to cut costs, but to drive innovation and revenues.
The folks at McKinsey, Bain, and BCG should be happy that Roger Martin likes his job. Otherwise, he could cause them a heap of trouble. As it is, the dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto is traveling the country, throwing down the gauntlet to companies who hope to analyze and strategize their way out of a recession by bringing in armies of management consultants. You'll get what you pay for, he warns, and it won't be innovation. "The business world is tired of having armies of analysts descend on their companies," he says. "You can't send a 28-year-old with a calculator to solve your problems." The problem, says Martin, author of a new book, The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage, is that corporations have pushed analytical thinking so far that it's unproductive. "No idea in the world has been proved in advance with inductive or deductive reasoning," he says.
The Twitter community is abuzz this week about the site's new "Lists" feature, which allows users to create collections of interesting people to follow on the micro-messaging service. From lists of sports stars to comedians to political pundits, Twitter has provided its members with the tools required to splice a torrent of updates into a series of relevant, topic-based streams. In doing so, the social networking startup may have hit upon the long-overdue cure to information overload and birthed a new breed of editor: the real-time Web curator.
When it comes to deep smarts, curiosity, with practical advice and sprinkled with a healthy dose of good humor, I cannot think of anyone more qualified than Avinash Kaushik. He's not only a real dynamo in all matters analytics, he's also a genuinely passionate, interesting, and kind person. Think that he wrote the answers to our conversation while his hand was healing from an injury because he had made a promise. Every single one of his posts - and now I can say the same for the books - is packed with step by step actionable insights that will make you think about online accountability as an art. I don't know about you, but he's changed the game of analytics for me - I now have a totally fresh appreciation for what you can do with data.
Data mining and the proximity of the internet to most of what we do is changing the proximity of proof to decision. Now, you don't need to do a lot of research, the data is just a click away. What are you going to do when your hunches don't match the data that's now pouring in? The data shows, for example, that texting while driving is more dangerous than driving drunk. It doesn't feel that way, of course, but will you respect the data and stop, cold turkey?
What's the first thing that goes through your mind when someone says the word "data"? For many of us, the first image is line graphs, pie charts and spreadsheets with columns and rows full of numbers that leave you bleary-eyed and a bit dazed. But what if someone were to say data can also mean what you post on Facebook and Twitter, the ratings you gave a restaurant, the photos you uploaded to Flickr or even, perhaps, what you feel. A bit of a reach? Not anymore. An emerging set of tools is making it easier than ever to track and compile all sorts of "data" and display it in a way that's relatively easy to understand.
Nobody's arguing that SEM (both in its paid and organic subspecialties) can deliver ROI. But viewing ROI as a primary and exclusive goal for your organization's search campaigns is dangerously myopic. Here's why:
Last month, we reported on a survey that found that 84% of social media programs don’t measure return on investment (ROI). The comments in that post indicated that a lot of individuals and businesses want to be able to measure the ROI of their social media strategies and campaigns, but they don’t know where to start. Companies and executives are finally beginning to really jump on the social media bandwagon, and that’s fantastic. However, for social media to fully work (for everyone), businesses and brands need to be able to evaluate the impact their social media use is having, both positive and negative. Measuring social media ROI isn’t impossible, but it can be difficult because many of the pieces that need to be evaluated are difficult to track. This guide is designed to help you track down those pieces and determine the ROI you’re getting on social media.
Fact: Most people never click on web ads. And that poses a problem for marketers who want to know if their display ads are working. Google, though, is starting to provide an answer. In a bid to build a brand-advertising business, the search giant is using its vast trove of data culled from search queries and web traffic to measure the effectiveness of brand advertising. The system, called Campaign Insights, has been in beta test in the past year with marketers like PayPal and Simplexity and beginning today, the company will start offering it to its bigger advertisers in the U.S. and U.K. Ultimately, like Google Analytics, Google will offer it to all of its display advertisers for free.
The company last month launched a new advertising campaign to announce that Wachovia Securities had become Wells Fargo Advisors, one of the more recent steps by the fourth-largest U.S. bank to fold Wachovia into its brand since acquiring it last year. Invoking "150 years of financial strength," the campaign sought to reassure Americans that Wells Fargo was on solid footing despite the multitudes of bank closings around the country.
When Google's renowned visual design lead, Douglas Bowman, left the search giant at the end of March, he wrote a passionate blog post about his reasons for quitting. He claimed that the company's reliance on data was so extreme, it prevented it from making any daring design decisions, and quoted one instance when a team couldn't decide between two blues, so were testing 41 shades between each of the choices to see which one performed better. Bowman's post sparked a heated debate on the web. Irene Au, Director of User Experience at Google, acknowledges that Bowman is an extraordinary designer who made huge contributions to the company's products. However, she insists there's a clear logic behind Google's approach. "It's very much a culture of experimentation," she explains.
The search advertising market is coming back, and Microsoft's Bing is slowly gaining share of search-ad dollars. With Google's third-quarter earnings announcement coming Thursday, two digital agencies released aggregate client search-spending data from the third quarter. The takeaway: Search spending among U.S. marketers is on the rise, gaining from the second quarter and getting close to matching spending levels of a year ago after several quarters of decline.
A 20-minute talk by Jeff Veen from Small Batch, Inc., also known from WikiRank, which was originally given at the Web2.0 Expo in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago. During the talk, he focuses on some of the classic examples of information visualization (John Snow pump, Minard's map, the tube map, and so on), the issue of "decorating" data versus making it accessible, and the emerging challenge to empower lay people to participate in visualizing and analyzing their own data.
I know it's all PC and cool to say that numbers don't matter. Number of fans, followers, readers of your blog -- none of that matters. It's all about just writing and sharing great content because that is the core of social media. [dramatic pause while I hug myself] Personally, I disagree. I think it's easy to say numbers don't matter when you have 30,000 followers on Twitter and 10,000 fans on Facebook or an email list with over 100,000 readers. And it's easier to fall prey to that thinking and not challenge it, poke at it and see if well maybe... it's flawed somehow. I think numbers do matter for two reasons.
Five years ago, we launched a conference based on a simple idea, and that idea grew into a movement. The original Web 2.0 Conference ( now the Web 2.0 Summit ) was designed to restore confidence in an industry that had lost its way after the dotcom bust. The Web was far from done, we argued. In fact, it was on its way to becoming a robust platform for a culture-changing generation of computer applications and services. In our first program, we asked why some companies survived the dotcom bust, while others had failed so miserably. We also studied a burgeoning group of startups and asked why they were growing so quickly. The answers helped us understand the rules of business on this new platform.
Ginger, a 27-year-old living in Indianapolis, is baffled as to why she gets the Pottery Barn catalog, let alone the Pottery Barn Kids catalog, considering that she has no children. Similarly, Jeanette, a Toledo, Ohio woman, has long received Limited Too, now Justice, mailings. At 49, she's far outside the brand's tween target. Lands' End, which she also regularly receives catalogs from, would be closer to the mark, except that she hasn't ordered anything from there in years. Even Amazon, which has better data-based marketing than most, has raised the ire of the occasional customer. Vicki ordered bike gear from the retailer for her husband, Nick, two or three Christmases ago. She was surprised to receive an e-mail just last week plugging complementary items. In today's digital world it's easier than ever for retailers to slice and dice consumer data. Yet many have yet to crack the code and use the data they do have to serve up targeted, timely and relevant offers.
We spent some time recently looking back at the patterns in the content in PSFK to try to identify emerging themes within specific target categories. ‘Four-Wheeled’ is one of three trends we identified from the data found on our site.
The web knows something, but it's not telling us, at least not yet. The web knows how many followers you have on Twitter, how many friends you have on Facebook, how many people read your blog. It also knows how often those people retweet, amplify and spread your ideas. It also knows how many followers your followers have... So, what if, Google-style, someone took all this data and figured out who has clout. Which of your readers is the one capable of making an idea break through the noise and spread?
When an engineering colleague of mine (95% of my immediate surroundings) emailed me a link this past week, I thought for sure it was for a YouTube video. This link was different though, in that it introduced me to Anscombe's quartet, a set of four datasets that share the exact same statistical properties. Each one of these datasets has the same mean, variance and mean of each y variable, variance and mean of each x variable and the exact same correlation between the x and y variables. A little geeky, eh? What's my point, you might ask? When each one of these datasets is plotted out visually, they have completely different appearances (just click on the link above and you'll see what I mean). There are outliers where one would not expect to see them -- identifying both opportunities and risks in your data depending on what you are analyzing. However, one would never see the variance in data patterns if it was not plotted in a chart or graph (or analyzed data point by data point).
The other day one of my clients asked me a deceptively simple question: What is the best market research technique? It turned out to be a leading question, as he had in his hand an article from a recent article in Inc. that said, "Given limited resources ... it generally makes sense to go quantitative." While of course quantitative surveys can generate important learning, it's dangerous to assume there is any single "best" market research technique.
A coalition of privacy groups wants Congress to force online marketing companies to get amnesia about what citizens do online, unless they get permission to remember. At issue is the online ad industry’s increasing infatuation with behavioral ad targeting — which involves tracking a user to divine what her interests are in order to show ads targeted to those interests. Google, Yahoo and Microsoft all have such technology, as does Facebook and dozens of ad networks you have never heard of.
March Madness lasts only three weeks, but Metric Madness goes on all year long. What is Metric Madness? It's the notion you can run anything by the numbers, and it's become the hottest concept in business today.
We're awash in data. Here's how to make yours matter.
Last month I shared what search taught me about running a business. Today, I'd like to list 10 lessons Google taught me -- and the rest of the world, for that matter -- about marketing.
There is a vital lesson buried in the August 19, 2009 Jet Blue announcement that they were suspending sales of the $599.00 "All You Can Jet" promotion they'd debuted only seven days before. Any student of Behavioral Economics could have predicted that an "all you can eat" approach would inspire vastly different behavior than if Jet Blue had charged a lower fixed fee plus $1 per mile. Similarly, over a decade ago when AOL switched to a usage-independent flat price, connection time increased four times more than they anticipated. "All you can eat" is an entirely different price than "very, very cheap."
Computers may be good at crunching numbers, but can they crunch feelings? The rise of blogs and social networks has fueled a bull market in personal opinion: reviews, ratings, recommendations and other forms of online expression. For computer scientists, this fast-growing mountain of data is opening a tantalizing window onto the collective consciousness of Internet users.
Marketers want private, direct conversations with consumers and thanks to technology this is easier to do. We are all GPSed, Googled and Facebooked, put in matrices, files, rankings, etc. The digital environment not only collects more and more private data, but it also offers marketing many tools for evaluation and promotion online and offline. But it raises concerns whether privacy needs more protection.
Last year, Google updated Google Trends and launched Google Insights for Search, allowing advertisers and marketers to track search behavior based on frequency of searches, time frame, or geographic location. Now Google is throwing the element of predictability into the mix. Looking at a particular trend's historical search popularity, Google forecasts the trend's future performance.
At the intersection of art and algorithm, data visualization schematically abstracts information to bring about a deeper understanding of the data, wrapping it in an element of awe. While the practice of visually representing information is arguably the foundation of all design, a newfound fascination with data visualization has been emerging.
We all know what our customers want. We’re confident that we understand the problem. We look at reams of marketing reports. We conduct the focus groups. We survey them. We have plenty of data. Guess what? It’s not enough. Data can only indicate facts.
Sunday Business analyzed new data from the American Time Use Survey to compare the 2008 weekday activities of the employed and unemployed. The comparison may seem obvious, but differences in time spent by these two groups can be striking.
After years of calling the shots, the traditional Mad Men of advertising -- the creative types who cooked up memorable sell-lines like "the ultimate driving machine" -- are increasingly sharing the spotlight with, you guessed it, the nerds. Or as Jon Bond, a co-founder of Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners, which has done work for Target and Panasonic, says, "If we were in India, it would be as if the untouchables had suddenly become the ruling class." What has allowed the lowly quants to sit at the same table as the advertising Brahmin is a new way of thinking about the creation of desire.
Twitter cofounders have talked about the importance of discovery in interviews and at conferences over the last several months. This week a new design for Twitter.com went live featuring top tweets and a search box to find more of what you want, but Twitter and many other web companies could improve discovery much more by incorporating other players’ data.
Nick Carr's classic vision of cloud computing, The Big Switch, spent a lot of time exploring the evolution of the electric utilities in the early part of the 20th century. That history is a powerful one, and one that shows the true value that can be derived from centralized generation and distribution of a critical commodity. However, some have taken electricity as an analogy to cloud adoption to an extreme, and declared that there will be a massive and sudden shift from corporate data centers to entirely external cloud computing environments--public cloud utilities, if you will. They are wrong, and the reason why they are wrong can be captured in a single simple statement. Data is not electricity.
Dawn Pabst hates the wait for a pizza delivery. So after she orders a pepperoni pizza from the Domino's website, she never waits. She tracks. The Air Force technician from Las Vegas tracks the second-by-second status of her pizza via colorful, thermometer-like gauges at Dominos.com. She's one of millions of customers who monitor everything from order accuracy to the moment their pizza is prepped, baked, boxed or sent for delivery. Pabst says she even tracks the name of the person who bakes her pizza.
Why should we fear Google? There's an easy, obvious answer to that, particularly if you're a media or marketing person: because Google is killing us. It is, duh, blatantly steamrollering the business models of countless business sectors, from Madison Avenue to print media. (Despite all the Bing hype, it appears that Microsoft's refreshed search engine -- er, decision engine -- isn't making a dent in Google's dominance.) Annoyingly, it's a cute monopoly -- with a cute logo, a cute motto ("Don't be evil"), cute executives and a cute corporate culture -- that bewitches a lot of people into somehow doubting that it's a monopoly, and prompts even otherwise cynical media people to be unnecessarily polite about it.
Stick around for seven or more decades and you're apt to become the focal point of some stereotypes before you're done. In the case of today's 65-and-older consumers, though, the problem is that the stereotypes of frail-and-lonely ancients are more creaky than the people to whom they're applied. And it doesn't help matters that baby boomers talk loudly about being poised to transform the nature of old age, as if it has heretofore been unchanged dating back to the Stone Age. Looking at some survey data on 65-plusers, and hearing from people professionally engaged in understanding and marketing to this cohort, we get a clearer picture of how older Americans see themselves and the advertising that's aimed (or, often, misaimed) at them.
I love this quote I read recently: The plural of anecdote is not data. Suw Charman-Anderson wrote this in reference to a story published last week about a 15-year-old intern at Morgan Stanley who wrote a report on teen’s use of technology. The report got tons of press from the likes of Bloomberg, the Financial Times, and the Guardian.
Your users, employees, consumers and donors are obsessed with data now. Are you helping them solve their knowledge problem? Years ago, I had an automatic transmission car with a tachometer. Why I needed to know my RPMs when I couldn't do a thing about it is beyond me.
Budgets continue to be slashed. Brands are disappearing. Media is getting more fragmented. The only thing getting bigger is our federal deficit. So as a marketer, how do you capitalize on a world that is getting smaller in so many respects?
The final panel at Friday's CrunchUp focused on the phenomenon of real-time, featuring a high-profile panel complete with representatives from Google, Microsoft, TweetDeck, TweetMeme, Seesmic, FriendFeed, Stanford University and a pair of venture capitalists. The discussion ranged from the opinion that real time was simply yet another feature, or a revolution in terms of application and Web service development, while the panelists discussed revenue opportunity or how large companies would try and control the data from being shared with competition.
If information is power, the first step to gaining power is to get the right data. The Obama administration is a big proponent of opening up government data and making it digitally available. Today at the Personal Democracy Forum in New York City, the government’s new chief information officer Vivek Kundra announced USAspending.gov, a new site which launched today that tracks government spending with charts and lists ranking the largest government contractors (Lockheed, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, etc.) and assistance recipients (Department of Healthcare Services, New York State Dept. of Health, Texas Health & Human Services Commission, etc.). There is also the Data.gov project, which is attempting to digitize government data and make it available in its raw form for citizens and companies to sift through.
Steve Rubel, long a maven of PR and the new media, is now committing his life to digital memory. To the right, Steve's diagram of how various media will work to capture and communicate the fine details of his professional life. In a couple of centuries, this may make him our Samuel Pepys, a man who speaks for us all when someone comes to see what it was like in and around 2009.
Apple's "Wall of Applications" developed for its recent developer conference did more to demonstrate the breadth and scale of its applications than any single static ad ever could. It's a great example of the power of data as a compelling form of communication. In Apple's case, it's all about the scale of the information to signify the size of the ecosystem.
The Obama administration's most radical idea may also be its geekiest: Make nearly every hidden government spreadsheet and buried statistic available online, all in one place. For anyone to see. Are you searching for a Food and Drug Administration report that used to be obtainable only through the Freedom of Information Act? Just a mouseclick away. Need National Institutes of Health studies and school testing scores? Click. Census data, nonclassified Defense Department specs, obscure Securities and Exchange Commission files, prison statistics? Click click. Click. Click.
On June 6, 2008, Veronica Noone attached a small sensor to her running shoes and headed out the door. She pressed start on her iPod and began keeping track of every step she took. It wasn't a long run—just 1.67 miles in 18 minutes and 36 seconds, but it was the start of something very big for her.
Customer databases, which cull years of spending and behavioral information to try to boost conversion and revenue, have long been a staple for marketers in industries such as travel, hospitality, retail and financial. But what happens when a massive disruption -- say, a meltdown of the economy -- alters consumer behavior so dramatically that it renders historical data useless?
Micro-blogging phenomenon Twitter Inc. hasn't figured out how to make money, but that hasn't stopped Web giants Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. from racing to establish real-time search capabilities. The growth of Twitter has fueled expectations that real-time search could drive Internet advertising to new heights by allowing marketers to target relevant ads at consumers interested in breaking events, hot topics or their favorite celebrities. Some proponents argue real-time data and search could develop into a billion-dollar market.
On a recent Thursday, Darren Herman, the president of Varick Media Management, was sequestered in his SoHo office. He wasn’t scrutinizing a television ad or images from a photo shoot. He was combing through graphs and Excel spreadsheets. From the “Mad Men” era until now, advertising has been about a catchy tagline, an arresting image, the Big Idea. But Mr. Herman and his competitors are bringing some Wall Street-like analysis to Madison Avenue, exploiting the huge amounts of data produced by the Internet to adjust strategy almost instantly.
Our friend Peggy Ann Salz over at M Search Groove mentioned the diminshing utility of using demographics in marketing segmentation and targeting. I wanted to return to this topic, and argue loud and clear, that the evidence is overwhelming, that we (marketing professional) have experienced in the past few years a total shift where customer demographics have gone from utility to futility. Yes, futility. They are now counter-productive. You, reading this blog, need to start to remove all references to demographics in all of your company marketing.
Companies are working fast to figure out how to make money from the wealth of data they're beginning to have about our online friendships.
It seems absolutely dumb to argue that while the quality of data used to make decisions is important, it is actually not that important to have the highest data quality.
I've been following a fascinating 3-part series of posts this week by Greg Boutin, founder of Growthroute Ventures. The series aimed to tie together three big trends, all based around structured data: 1) the still nascent "Web 3.0" concept, 2) the relatively new kid on the structured Web block, Linked Data, and 3) the long-running saga that is the Semantic Web. Greg's series is probably the best explanation I've read all year about the way these trends are converging. In this post I'll highlight some of Greg's thoughts and add some of my own.
Digital visualizer Aaron Koblin started his lecture at the 2009 OFFF in Lisbon with a quote from Bruce Schneier of the BBC: Data is the pollution of the information age. While it was a theme that seemed to be running through the OFF conference this wasn’t what he was going to talk about. He said while it’s important to be aware of the extreme abundance of data it’s ironic that his job is to use it. With the vast volume of data he argued that we can make insights that we never could have seen before. He said: “Data tells stories about our lives.”
Can a company blunt its innovation edge if it listens to its customers too closely? Can its products become dull if they are tailored to match exactly what users say they want? These questions surfaced recently when Douglas Bowman, a top visual designer, left Google.
March Madness lasts only three weeks, but Metric Madness goes on all year long. What is Metric Madness? It's the notion you can run anything by the numbers, and it's become the hottest concept in business today. One scientist recently predicted that the great discoveries of the future will come from finding patterns in vast archives of data. "The next Jonas Salk will be a mathematician, not a doctor." The marketing community eats this stuff up. Nobody generates more data than they do. Hallelujah! "The Singularity is Near," as Ray Kurzweil wrote in his book of the same name, and marketing people can't wait to join the revolution. I'm not too sure.
A few weeks back I had asked this question on Twitter: Inspire me: If there is one web analytics question you want answered what would it be? What’s your juiciest / mundane, daily, challenge? The result was this post: Top Web Analytics Questions, Twitter Edition. Those 16 questions (!) were just one part of the story. My twitter account is linked to my facebook account , so my tweets get posted as my status updates. That means I got a bunch of questions on the facebook account as well. . . .
If you're like most CMOs I know, you've probably got this love/hate thing going with digital media and reporting tools. On one hand, digital is a clarity engine, in that it demands by its very binary function the expression of "yes" or "no." Numbers are incontrovertibly numeric, so questions of who, what, where, when and why are limited to answers with the precision of how much. The "hate" side of our relationship with all things digital isn't that numbers are incomplete, it's that numbers have no inherent meaning -- which means that they're usually misunderstood or misused.
If you have spent any time on the Internet in the last few months, chances are you have clicked on a shortened link Web address. URL shorteners, which abbreviate unwieldy Web addresses into bite-size links, have been around for years. The most popular service, TinyURL.com, was started in 2002 by a unicyclist named Kevin Gilbertson. But the tools have soared in popularity recently, in part because of microblogging sites like Twitter and Facebook, where messages are limited in length and every character counts.
Apologies to residents of the Lower East Side; Williamsburg, Brooklyn; and other hipster-centric neighborhoods. You are not as cool as you think, at least according to a new study that seeks to measure what it calls “the geography of buzz.”
Newspapers across the country may be scaling back to survive, but online video appears to be one area where they are expanding aggressively. An analysis of 187 U.S. newspaper Web sites by Web video provider Brightcove shows a surge in their video-related activity last year.
Consider, for a moment, what would happen if the identities, geographies and surfing histories of a large number of internet users suddenly became invisible. Yahoo and Google would not be able to target them with advertising based on demographics or behavior. Hulu would have a hard time blocking people from outside the U.S. from watching "30 Rock." The International Olympic Committee would not be able to sell different web rights in different countries. China wouldn't be able to censor YouTube. In short, much of the infrastructure of online advertising and international TV syndication -- let alone the ability of authoritarian regimes to control the web -- would break down.
Sprint Nextel is benching its CEO as pitchman in favor of hipper advertising. The Overland Park, Kan., telecom company is kicking off a new campaign Monday that highlights all the mobile Internet and data services that cellphone users can access on its network.
I suddenly realized my problem with aggregators. When I configure my feeds, I want just about everything.
For marketers and publishers of the social Web, design matters. Creative matters. Ideas matter. It is true that properly utilized data can drive better decision making, but it is also true that all the data in the world doesn't create innovation without interpretation, and data doesn't always lead to great design (especially when the data is about the wrong thing -- clicks, anyone?).
When it comes to analytics, few know the space like Avinash Kaushik, which is why we took your questions to him. He's the author of "Web Analytics: An Hour a Day," a prolific blogger at Occam's Razor and Google's analytics evangelist, where he proudly claims the tagline "Data-driven decision making uncomplexified."
Why spend $10,000 to do a photo shoot for a magazine? After all, all your profit is in the ads. Sometimes it seems like people who build websites and magazines that take the high road aren't paying any attention at all to conversion and revenue and manipulation.
Imagine that a company set up a mall store where, instead of selling trinkets, it sold information about customer behavior. For a few cents, it could tell a saleswoman at Nordstrom that the person who was about to walk in had already stopped at Steve Madden and was looking for red shoes. That is the idea behind two new Internet companies, BlueKai and eXelate Media, which run so-called behavioral exchanges. They do not sell products or ad space, but information about Web site visitors.
What do scientists read when they don’t think anyone is looking? Is it possible to anticipate emerging areas of research before they exist? If we could take a real-time snapshot of innovation, what would it look like? For the first time, we may now have some answers.
Today's consumer seems to have an insatiable appetite for information, but until recently making sense of all of that raw data was too daunting for most. Enter the new "visual scientists" who are turning bits and bytes of data -- once purely the domain of mathematicians and coders -- into stories for our digital age.
Most companies will increase their investment in online marketing in 2009, but the ROI may be sketchy. Fewer than half (47%) of marketing professionals in North America and the U.K. recently surveyed by Alterian reported that they currently use analytics to measure online campaign results.
Last week I was speaking on a panel called "Ask The SEOs" at SMX West. It's a fun panel that I'm lucky enough to participate on at a lot of shows. The concept is very straightforward. Put a handful of SEO experts on stage and give them two fewer microphones than there are panelists and let the audience pepper them with questions.
The essence of capitalism, Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter warned, is "creative destruction" that undermines economic structures, then replaces them with better ones. Today we know all about destruction. We could use a happy dose of the creative element. Welcome to TED.