Aug 9, 2016

WeChat and VR in China

I toured with a talk about messengers [link / German] in the first half of 2016, speaking about their differences to social networks and the opportunities that may open up through bots, and the feedback was great. But the most interesting thing for the audiences was the part about WeChat - given its size and impact on life in China it gets surprisingly little coverage in Europe and the US, and since we can't experience the services ourselves from here, there are a few myths about it, but also many chin-dropping facts that most people are simply not aware of. Here is one good, newer article about WeChat:

http://www.economist.com/news/business/21703428-chinas-wechat-shows-way-social-medias-future-wechats-world  


Also, speaking of China, it has a short but great history about hardware, and WeChat shows that software and platform development have caught up to our standards. Put the two together and don't be surprised that there's a myriad of VR hardware and platforms we have never heard of, and that some of the big innovations in VR may come from the far east.

https://medium.com/@amitt/vr-will-be-huge-in-china-41de0c75841c#.d6viht5u4

7 futurists predict the next decade

We have read all those things 20 years ago, and 10 years ago, only now they seem to be more realistic: Futurists predicting that wearable tech will change our understanding of our bodies, that better diagnostics will change the way we treat diseases, that scientists will be able to hook our brains to computers and so on. The most interesting bit in my eyes is the last statement by Mark Stevenson: It is not the technology, but what society does with it - and in the end, it is about how we organize ourselves. Facebook organizes information in a unique way (although that's Google's mission, and Facebook wants to connect the world - but it does so by organizing information), Uber organizes empty car seats, Airbnb organizes empty beds, Amazon is less an online seller than an excellent organizer of stock and logistics. It's all about using information technology to organize our lives, our societies, us.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/12/futurists-next-10-years_n_7241210.html

Instagram portrait

This article is from before Instagram introduced stories, but it's a great read and gives some nice insights and numbers about the service. They make over 1 USD per user annually and still have the biggest growth momentum among all social networks.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kathleenchaykowski/2016/08/01/instagram-the-50-billion-grand-slam-driving-facebooks-future-the-forbes-cover-story/#55239bd6278f

App & Bot Discovery

The app ecosystem is somewhat dysfunctional, and many people think that bots might replace apps in the mid term. We're nowhere near of being able to predict that, but at least bots seem to have that potential - and that's huge in itself. Still, as long as bots have to be discovered like apps and "installed" inside your messenger, we may run into the same dynamics as with apps - that people will spend 80% of their time with 5 bots instead of five apps. Nice read about how a bot ecosystem could / should be designed:

https://chatbotsmagazine.com/just-make-them-appear-fe362bdbfae3#.2ufytpii3

[German] Onefootball Portrait

Die Headline des Artikels - "Wie Onefootball zur weltweit größten Medienmarke im Fussball werden will" ist ein wenig übertrieben - zur weltweit größten Medienmarke im Fussball wird es ohne Medienrechte an Bewegtbild nicht kommen, und Onefootball ist davon so weit entfernt, dass dieses Szenario im Artikel gar nicht erst auftaucht. Aber ein sehr interessanter Einblick in die Funktionsweise einer erfolgreichen App in einem Markt, in dem jeder gesagt hätte "Finger weg, viel kompetitiver geht es nicht". Geht eben doch. Vor allem die Entwicklung tragfähiger Geschäftsmodelle in einer Welt, in der Display Banner keine Rolle mehr spielen werden und in der - in einem schiefen Verhältnis von Video-Rechtekosten versus Video-Werbeeinnahmen - auch Prerolls wenig beitragen können, ist Onefootball eher zuzutrauen als einem der Giganten aus den großen Verlagshäusern.

http://www.onlinemarketingrockstars.de/onefootball/

How Facebook prevents office politics

There's not much to say about this article. Really interesting read about Facebook's approach to get things done in a fast growing, huge corporation. Anyone with some experience in bigger organisations will find some inspirational thoughts there:

https://hbr.org/2016/06/how-facebook-tries-to-prevent-office-politics

First numbers on PokemonGo

Slice Intelligence and App Annie were among the first to put together some statistics around PokemonGo. Since the game is so new - not even a month old, we have to be careful with these numbers, but they give us an idea about the impact the game may have. Slice points out that PokemonGo lures new players into the mobile gaming market - 53% of those who made a purchase in the Niantic-run AR game had "one or fewer" in-app purchases within the last six months. App Annie assumes the game makes around 10 million USD a day - and does not cannibalize other games (which supports the Slice observation in some sense). It could be a real breakthrough for location based /alternate reality / augmented reality apps of all kinds.

https://intelligence.slice.com/poke-profits-game-purchases-pokemon-go-accounted-half-entire-mobile-game-market-launch-weekend/

http://venturebeat.com/2016/07/29/app-annie-pokemon-go-makes-10-million-every-day-without-cannibalizing-other-games/

Jul 18, 2016

The stone age of bots

All of us are excited about bots, but we don't have our "PokemonGo" moment yet, the one bot everyone gets batshit crazy about. So it is hard to pitch bot ideas to management when, if you were honest, in most business case columns you would have to write "we have no clue". You can rather win budgets with "gathering insights, learnings, experiments" and "it won't do harm to our core business" currently. Evidence? Try out these: "8 bots you should add to your Facebook messenger app". And then tell me which one is great:

http://linkis.com/www.makeuseof.com/ta/2v3sC 

None is. The long term vision may be that people will text businesses rather than call them. And that not a person, but a computer will answer them. I am excited about the possibilities, too. But until the computers texting back aren't smarter than people - "if you want this, press one" - until then, letting people talk with people will be a major customer service advantage. Check for example the experiences of Indian heavyweight "Helpchat". I mean, it's even in their name, but they clearly found out where a chat helps - and where not.

https://inc42.com/resources/moving-away-chat-hard-earned-lessons/

The tragedy of PokemonGo

Interesting article on The Atlantic that puts PokemonGo into a gaming history perspective. I personally believe that, more than "augmented reality" and "location based gaming", the Pokemon franchise is the reason for its success. People who are 32 today have had great afternoons and evenings playing Pokemon on their 90s consoles. Kids know the franchise from their Nintendos. it is just the perfect brand and set of characters to move Nintendo away from the consoles and onto the mobile phones, although Niantec probably did the hard part of the moving: But without the Pokemons, it wouldn't work that well - it would just be another interesting experiment and not such a mass phenomenon.

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/07/the-tragedy-of-pokemon-go/490793/

But maybe Pokemon will be the ice breaker for similar apps or augmented reality in a business context as already now I am being asked what to learn from PokemonGo's success, but for now, after having the game for a week, I guess the answers are a lot simpler than one would expect:

1. The power of an established "love"-brand

2. The power of the consumer - even if you plan to launch in different countries subsequently, they will simply find the APK from other countries and start playing

3. Don't ignore the history of games that have paved the way, this success does not come out of nowhere (esp. in game concept/tech side), see link

4. Don't underestimate, even in 2016, the tech & server power needed for realtime, location based games on a global scale

5. Don't think that without any foundations (Niantec's Ingress database & experiences, Nintendo's Pokemon brand) you could build a similar app for your bank or chain of supermarkets and could put "if we only reach 4% of PokemonGo players" in your business plan excel sheet, you would succeed




Jul 4, 2016

Danish agency uses AI to make advertising (media) decisions

There has to be something about Denmark and Mathematics. If you like football (not "handegg" like they play in the US), the name "Midtjylland" probably rings a bell. Yes, that Danish club that made it to the group stage of the UEFA Champions League. Its owner, Matthew Benham, made his fortune with mathematical models predicting the results of football matches. He started to manage the club on statistical models and was vastly successful, winning the league.

Now we hear of Blackwood Seven, a media agency founded in 2013 in Copenhagen. It is not really a media agency, though: Thy consider themselves a software and analytics platform, charging their clients a software fee, no kickbacks, No media commissions, no gut feelings: You feed the algorithm with your KPI's and budget, and the thingy uses predictive modeling to try and determine the best media mix incl. TV, OOH, and of course digital. This approach won them the huge Volkswagen account in Germany, and it threatens the whole way media agencies make their business. Not only the kickbacks and the special rates which are often not disclosed to clients - meaning companies like Blackwood Seven make the whole market more transparent - but also when it comes to media planning decisions. When computers beat the best Chess (long time ago) and Go (recently) players in the world, why shouldn't they, fed with Big Data, beat your media buyer, who most probably isn't the best in the world?

More about Midtjylland:
"How data, not people, call the shots in Denmark"
https://decorrespondent.nl/2607/How-data-not-people-call-the-shots-in-Denmark/230219386155-d2948861

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/jul/27/how-fc-midtjylland-analytical-route-champions-league-brentford-matthew-benham

German: http://www.11freunde.de/artikel/midtjyllands-revolution

More about Blackwood Seven:
https://blackwoodseven.com/

http://www.businessinsider.de/blackwood-seven-launches-in-the-us-2016-6?r=US&IR=T

The messenger platform gets an update - and a blog

Messenger bots are for now not as exciting as we have imagined them. It is so important to remember how new the whole thing is, although we have seen chatbots around for more than one and a half decades now. But given some time, we will have a few "blockbuster" bots. In the meantime, Facebook continues to develop the platform and, because there seems to be a lot of need for communication, a blog to let businesses and developers follow closely what they could do on Messenger.

Update/new features:
https://www.facebook.com/notes/david-marcus/messenger-platform-gets-an-update/10155014173359148

Messenger blog:
http://messengerblog.com/

The Washington Post is a tech company now

Remember when Jeff Bezos came and we all wondered what he would do with the Washington Post? A few years later, the company has a CMS from which it not only powers all its digital products, it licenses it to other publishers and someday wants to make 100 million USD from this business alone.
"I want the NYT to call me and say 'Holy shit, I want that', says the Post's head of ad product and technology, who also produces products that will solve ad problems for other publishers, too. Interesting read, especially when yuo notice how little this whole article talks about journalism:

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/06/washington-post-jeff-bezos-donald-trump.html#




[German] 30 Stunden Woche - scheint zu funktionieren

6 Stunden Arbeit am Tag. Das klingt für viele wie "Ferien" oder "Wochenende", ist aber offenbar ein Modell, das man sich genauer anschauen sollte - denn die Produktivität scheint in vielen geeigneten Arbeitsbereichen die des 8-Stunden-Arbeitstages zu übersteigen. Aus meiner Sicht sehr gut vorstellbar, dass das funktioniert. Häufig sehe ich - außer Manager, die den ganzen Tag durchgeplant sind und in Meetingräumen sitzen - viele Menschen, wenn ich denn mal Unternehmen besuche, die zwar 8 Stunden im Unternehmen sind, aber de facto vielleicht fünf bis sechs wirklich arbeiten, und das oft mehr schlecht als recht - denn "das Unternehmen" ist eben ein Zeitfresser, macht Hobbies fast unmöglich, lässt einen nur am Wochenende mal eine Boutique von innen sehen usw. Wissenschaftler argumentieren wohl schon länger so und sagen, dass sich niemand (oder nur sehr wenige Menschen) 8 Stunden lang wirklich konzentrieren und auf hohem Niveau arbeiten kann. Konzentrierte sechs Stunden plus einer halbstündigen Pause in der Mitte - kann ich mir als ein spannendes Modell vorstellen. Die Schweden auch:

http://ze.tt/goeteborg-testet-den-6-stunden-arbeitstag-mit-ueberraschenden-ergebnissen/

You need 17,000 units (and a few streams) to be No. 1 on US Music Charts

Rihanna's album "Anti" is No.1 on the US "Billboard 200". Overall, it says there were 54,000 units moved last week, which is low already for probably the biggest music market in the world. But since last year, they add up streams and units (I guess physical and download) = 1,500 plays of an album count as "one unit sold" apparently. In Rihanna's specific case, the breakdown shows 17,000 units sold, the rest comes from streaming. Forbes says it's the lowest selling No. 1 ever.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/hughmcintyre/2016/03/20/this-weeks-number-one-album-is-the-lowest-selling-in-history/

Jun 14, 2016

Apple introduces App store search ads

... and many people think that apps are obsolete anyway, as stores are fundamentally broken and apps have in no way managed to become accessible (through search and/or interplay among each other) in a way a digital economy would benefit from. An interesting take on all this here on Techcrunch:

http://techcrunch.com/2016/06/12/apples-app-store-at-the-end-of-the-app-era/

A good description of the product on Search Engine Watch:

https://searchenginewatch.com/2016/06/13/apple-to-introduce-search-ads-to-its-app-store/

News use on Social Media by US adults

Great statistics by PEW Research Center about the relation between news and social media, (for us: unfortunately) focused on US users. This is an update to a 2013 study and it shows steep growth of people who access news within social newsfeeds instead of going to homepages of news destinations - a trend that we can observe in Germany, too. Full numbers here:

http://www.journalism.org/2016/05/26/news-use-across-social-media-platforms-2016/

Facebook video rise at the expense of engagement

Facebook (native) video is still growing and will get a lot more important to publishers once Facebook introduces serious monetization models (probably when display and app install ads will start slowing down). The rise of video obviously happens to the expense of engagement (comment, like, share), as shown in a study by NewsWhip. They monitored the top 10 English speaking publishers, including natives like BuzzFeed or HuffPo and traditional publishers like NYT, Guardian or BBC.

https://www.newswhip.com/2016/05/facebook-engagement-restructure/
http://fortune.com/2016/05/30/facebook-video-engagement/

Are websites a model of the past?

We are discussing this for quite some time now. Apps made that question come up first, but no one can seriously think that with their limited discoverability and limited accessability on our phones they could make up for a website - unless you are running a pure app business. But distributed media, where content, advertising and dialogue is distributed over 3rd party platforms, and now messengers, where even more business functions can be "outsourced" to where the customer is, instead of him moving to our websites, the question is valid. Here's a voice from Facebook, a major driver of this development:

http://mashable.com/2016/05/30/facebook-end-of-websites/#nMXm.o0oPSqX

7 business models for bots

For all we know, bots will be a big business. But currently, this is only an assumption - it's the early days. Time to try out things and see how they go. As a first overview, this VB article shows 7 different models that can be used for a start, including retail/sales bots, cost per conversation/task, bots leveraged affiliate marketing and more.

http://venturebeat.com/2016/06/09/how-will-bots-make-money-here-are-7-business-models/ 



CNNs experiences with Facebook's messenger bot here:

http://digiday.com/publishers/one-month-cnn-learned-facebook-messenger-bots/

Snapchat launches advertising API

We will see Snapchat "growing up" - not in terms of filters, but making a (left hand) real messenger with according business models and a (right hand) real newsfeed, too (read my view on Snapchat here). One major step must be the Snapchat advertising API as decribed in this article here. Also, there are a number of interesting stats, like 150mn MAU, 66% of them posting (!) daily, 60% smartphone penetration among US 13-34 year olds. More:

http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/snapchat-launches-colossal-expansion-its-advertising-ushering-new-era-app-171924

May 28, 2016

Automotive Startups Overview

This is less of a great article and more of a helpful overview if you want to research the current state of automotive industry disruption as many startups are listed in this landcape type image (link below). What I like most though is the headline "Startups that are unbundling the car". That's how digital disruption always works: Since the analog world is based on material, we often had to buy bundles that we would have never chosen if we really had a choice. I have thousands of songs I don't like on vinyl records and CDs. I bought tens of thousands of articles in magazines I never read. We were often forced to buy stuff we would not choose: I bought audio and navigation systems at ridiclous prices from car companies that were realy terrible products, but it was just those that came with it -  bundle. So "unbundling" often is one key process in digital disruption, and this thought may even be worth more than this overview here:

https://www.cbinsights.com/blog/startups-drive-auto-industry-disruption/

Facebook tracks non-users

I remember a time when Facebook used to deny that the like button on millions of websites would not track and fingerprint users. Today, this is common knowledge. New is to use this ggantic resource to fingerprint non-users. FB's display abilities are so far ahead of any competition, it's incredible. And they have so much more potential.

http://www.theverge.com/2016/5/27/11795248/facebook-ad-network-non-users-cookies-plug-ins

May 12, 2016

How traditional media companies buy their disruptors

We all know this "disrupt yourself"-blabla any digital transformation consultant will give you, because death, tomorrow. And so on. I know this sentence wasn't fair, but anyway: most media companies have understood that it is way easier to use the cash they generated to invest cleverly in new, natively digital media companies rather than trying to boldly transform their own business in a hurry - they do that kind of transformation, too, but they can take their time and run their (still) profitable businesses as long as possible. Here's one good article with nice graphics about who invests where in media, especially the US media giants, but also Bertelsmann, Springer and others:

https://www.cbinsights.com/blog/big-media-startup-investments/

And also, there's this nice one picture that sums it all up:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/sites/default/files/custom/OldMedia-bankroll-Large.jpg

May 9, 2016

Spotify pushes for (original) video

Why shouldn't Spotify try to attract users for their subscription with more than just re-playing music that probably all other streaming services have, too? In Germany, they dropped a bomb by signing Sanft und Sorgfältig, a hugely popular radio show from public broadcast. But they also push for video, which, in my eyes, makes it clear that "the Netflix market" will end up in an oligopoly with 3,4 global services to satisfy your entertainment needs, and maybe - just maybe - some local or niche offerings. It really looks like "go big or go home".

http://www.theverge.com/2016/5/9/11638954/spotify-original-video-programming-ios-android

Libération on Instant Articles

The French publisher put all their stories on Facebook Instant Articles and share learnings after two months. Some very interesting insights in this LinkedIn piece. Overall: Traffic from Facebook did not suffer, monetization per article compared to mobile website is on par.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/lib%C3%A9ration-facebooks-instant-articles-xavier-grangier 

A bot that could be you

Bots are the big thing currently and I love to observe their development, being involved in chatbot projects more than 15 years ago (like this one). One product I have always dreamt of: A chatbot that emulates me. As a person. Here is one: http://techcrunch.com/2016/05/08/the-chat-bot-club/

Although this is built too much around messenger. What I would like is a standalone cloud code that could serve websites, apps, messenger bots, whatever, and let's me feed it with information. With stories of my past, photos, videos, with my views on politics, love, philosophy, whatever. I could feed that thing until my last days, but then, it would be there for later generations of friends or whoever to be able to talk to me and learn about my life and ideas and whatnot. Anyone wants to build that as a product?

And this looks to complicated for me right now .-)
https://www.itsabot.org/

Psychographics vs Demographics: Netflix says forget age, gender

40 is the new 30, 50 year olds listen to the music their children like... we all know that nowadays, a 44 year old guy could be me (eternal 29) or the oldest dude around. Still, many companies define target groups along with demographics. Netflix says that age and gender cannot be used at all to predict taste (may be pretty important when you design products or create advertising for "target groups"). And Netflix doesn't care about Geography either (but for advertising and marketing, I think, Geography is a different case).

Short: http://fortune.com/2016/03/27/netflix-predicts-taste/

Full feature: http://www.wired.com/2016/03/netflixs-grand-maybe-crazy-plan-conquer-world/

A view into Magic Leap

Magic Leap has, before launching a commercial product, raised 735 million USD in a Series C at a 4.5bn valuation. Crazy. But I imagine that investors who believe a 4.5bn valuation may have some insights, and probably product tests, that we have yet to experience. Even if the numbers were half, they would be unbelievable. So I am always keen to get to know more about what exactly they are building. If they fulfill half the promise from this video: give them a 10bn valuation.

https://www.facebook.com/HuffPostUK/videos/1108917512509313/

[German] Snapchat verdoppelt Penetration bei Teens in einem Jahr

Bravo Jugendmedienstudie: WhatsApp ist mit Abstand meistverbreiteter Service bei Teens in Deutschland mit 91% Penetration. Es folgen YouTube, Instagram und - Snapchat. Von 17% auf 35% Verbreitung in einem Jahr. Damit hat Snapchat Facebook bei Teens überholt.
Mehr:

http://meedia.de/2016/04/25/snapchat-ueberholt-facebook-bravo-untersucht-mediennutzung-von-teenies/

Apr 25, 2016

Native & mobile will dominate digital display by 2020

According to a study by Facebook and IHS, native will make up more than 75% of all digital ad spend by 2020, and 63% of that will be on mobile devices (please note that in this context, "native" is pay-to-play-advertising that appears in form and function as content; this includes the "sponsored post" on FB, although the study puts emphasis on the Facebook Audience Network as the main driver of growth).

I could not find the full research, but in these articles you will find interesting numbers and statistics about the study:

http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/native-advertising-facebook-audience-network-study/637217

http://marketingland.com/native-in-stream-ads-63-percent-mobile-display-2020-facebook-171765



or the German takewaway on the stats here:

http://www.horizont.net/medien/nachrichten/Facebook-Studie-Wie-Native-Advertising-den-mobilen-Werbemarkt-pusht-139607

Blockchain as an infrastructure technology/philosophy

Quote: "A blockchain is a ledger of digital events with no central database. It runs simultaneously across thousands of computers, distributing the record across the world. The blockchain is like a collective brain that no one controls and everyone can view. It's both private and public. As a user, you encrypt your personal information, only allowing that data to be revealed when you make a transaction."

Sounds like the internet should be, huh?
I can't describe "blockchain" in easy words and I can't say I fully understood it, but I can say that anyone in digital should at least start to make themselves familiar with the concept. Here's a good way to start:

http://www.fastcoexist.com/3056481/how-the-technology-behind-bitcoin-is-going-to-change-the-lives-of-the-bottom-billion


Facebook recipe videos

The Washington Post made fun of all these recipe videos on Facebook, but I think you can actually learn something for all Facebook videos:

  • Make it square for the newsfeed and autoplay
  • Make it work without sound
  • Add clear, short headlines/subtitles
  • Most importantly: speed it up!!
  • Give me a reason to share, meaning: to express myself by sharing it

Watch it here:

and more about Facebook recipe videos, especially about Buzzfeed's Tasty with more than 8bn video views in barely a year:

The other side of distributed media: publisher panic

Search for "Buzzfeed" on this microblog (Strg+F) and you will find all you need to know about distributed media. The other media paradigm, "destination media", is getting more and more under pressure as the web ad business (banners) declines in price and probably even in volume and audiences are on mobile and social platforms, not typing in "www.newsdestination.xyz" to get their content - content comes to them. Interesting piece on NYT:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/18/business/media-websites-battle-falteringad-revenue-and-traffic.html?_r=0

Also interesting: the fight for attention within social feeds and how Buzzfeed's watermelon stunt marked a milesstone, also on NYT:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/18/business/media/for-news-outlets-squeezed-from-the-middle-its-bend-or-bust.html

One minute on the internet [INFOGRAPHIC]

Numbers none of us can comprehend, but still (or therefore) very powerful in presentations. In any given minute (April 2016):

  • 293.000 Facebook status updates are published
  • 300 hours of video are uploaded on YouTube
  • 47.000 apps are downloaded (Android/iOS)
  • 119,000 USD of goods are ordered on Amazon


more:
http://www.excelacom.com/resources/blog/what-happens-in-an-internet-minute-how-to-capitalize-on-the-big-data-explosion

The art of pricing

Quote: "Pricing strategy is a huge part of many businesses, but - in the world of product and service design - it's relatively rarely discussed. There was no panel at SXSW 2016 discussing pricing strategy."

My experience is the same. We think about building great digital products, but after that out of nowhere comes a guy with a 100page spreadsheet and says that the app, the service, the product will cost an amount of X, and no one really questions this.

Very interesting article about pricing here:
https://medium.com/fluxx-studio-notes/the-first-rule-of-pricing-is-you-do-not-talk-about-pricing-1875caa39b89#.ive58z0r7

and another one on Netflix' pricing strategy here:
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/01/the-behavioral-psychology-of-netflixs-plan-to-charge-higher-prices/283367/

Both at the price of reading minutes, both a bargain!


Do we enter the post-writing web?

Lengthy, yet interesting article with an emphasis on Buzzfeed and their video business (BFMP). The larger question is that with Instagram fully visual, Snapchat fully visual, Facebook more and more video focused - and at the same time video & native being the only advertising areas where prices are good (for publishers), are we entering an era where the simple article consisting of written words and maybe some images becomes (economically) less and less valuable?

Read an article of written words on it:
http://gawker.com/welcome-to-the-post-writing-web-1771871720 

Bots vs. Apps

When Facebook says something like "threads are the new apps", it is hardly a coincidence when people start yelling "apps are dead". Quote from this Facebook news release:

"We're seeing a paradigm shift in how people engage. At Messenger we're thinking about how we can help you interact with businesses or services to buy items [...], order rides, purchase airline tickets [...] in truly frictionless and delightful ways. It is so much easier to do everything in one place that has the context of your last interactions, as well as your identity - no need to ever login - rather than downloading apps that you'll never use again and jumping around from one app to another"

Brace yourselves for the "bots vs. apps controversy". I haven't really made up my mind yet, but right now I think that with bots the way I imagine them, I can easily do without a number of apps that I only use infrequently and for very specific purposes. Here's a different, yet interesting take:

http://dangrover.com/blog/2016/04/20/bots-wont-replace-apps.html



If you want to know more about bots, here's a nice overview on VentureBeat:

http://venturebeat.com/2016/04/14/facebook-just-validated-the-bot-movement-for-businesses/

And one on Medium about different types of bots:

https://medium.com/@mg/bot-is-a-hilariously-over-simplified-buzzword-let-s-fix-that-f1d63abb8ba7#.vcly9swaz

Apr 13, 2016

Speed affects your web KPIs

We all know that, but it is always good to get your hands on numbers & statistics (there are not too many studies and researches accessible to me on this) that can prove his point. In this FT blog post we can see how your site performance impacts key metrics like page impressions per visit. Every second of slower load time costs a few percent:

http://engineroom.ft.com/2016/04/04/a-faster-ft-com/

Apr 10, 2016

Slack has 2.7mn DAU and 800k paid seats

I like Slack. But I uninstalled it because as much as it helped communication, it added too much to my stress level with constant notifications. However, in other work contexts than my specific one, it seems to be highly successful. It has an 8.3 billion evaluation, users spend 10 hours per weekday plugged into Slack... more nice numbers & stats in this TechCrunch article:

http://techcrunch.com/2016/04/01/rocketship-emoji/

Product design help: The "Unstuck Map"

We all know these "business canvas" and "ten types" templates which are great in a strategic context. if you are actually working, like hands-on, on a product, these fall short on so many levels. Here's help: "The Unstuck Map". Really like it.

http://www.designmadeforyou.com/img/unstuck-map-high-res.jpg

Sponsored Content on Facebook

We have seen sponsored content on Facebook for quite a while now. Not a single Football club that wouldn't do this, and "native" efforts from Buzzfeed to small publishers would also need Facebook posts to reach a significant audience. Now Facebook makes this a "real" category with some nice features like the sponsor being able to directly access the post stats and more.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/facebook-to-allow-media-companies-marketers-to-post-sponsored-content-1460116801

Apr 9, 2016

[German] Wie sich Facebook Reactions im Newsfeed Algorithmus niederschlagen

Endlich! :-) Erste Erkenntnisse sind da, wie der Newsfeed Algorithmus mit den Reactions umgeht - den neben "Like" können wir ja jetzt auch "Haha", "Love" usw. clicken. Es war fast zu vermuten: Die Geschichten, die starke emotionale Reaktionen hervorrufen, werden mehr angezeigt. Wobei das eine sicher die Folge des anderen ist, aber die Reihenfolge ist unklar .-)

Fanpagekarma hat sich 1,3 Millionen Posts angesehen und Stats&Research&Study gespielt. Neben einer hübschen Infografik hier ein paar Fakten:

  • Videos mit Wow/Haha Reaktionen werden 6,5x häufiger angesehen
  • Sorry-Links werden 4x häufiger geklickt
  • Angry-Posts haben 50% mehr Kommentare
  • Love-Posts werden 5,5x häufiger geteilt


Mehr: http://blog.fanpagekarma.com/2016/04/05/infografik-facebook-reactions-mehr-reichtweite-und-interaktion/?lang=de

People share less on Facebook

I am not one of those guys who think Facebook's end is imminent and who is convinced that if MySpace lost 250mn users in a few years, Facebook could easily manage to lose a billion in half the time. I think all of this is complete BS, which is why I am always sceptical when I read headlines that predict that Facebook will go down soon etc. But this article here has at least a few interesting stats and numbers in it, and frankly about something that many of us have noticed, but never had any measurable proof for it:

The article says that from 2014 to 2015, updates from users that consist of their own words and images and videos, have declined by 21%.

My personal opinion is that these contents have gone to messaging, and Facebook is well positioned with Messenger and WhatsApp, but for Facebook, the newsfeed, this has to be indeed bad news. Maybe live sharing and - mentioned in the article - algorithm changes that give "original" content by users more reach can slow this momentum down, but my theory is that we are just splitting up the content we produce:
Users now have the choice to decide what they want to "broadcast" on a public social network and what they want to share in flexible micronetworks - messengers. This has to happen on Facebook Newsfeed's expense as previously we just shared everything there. Nice read (unfortunately without the messenger angle):

http://www.inc.com/jeff-bercovici/facebook-sharing-crisis.html

Intercom's first pitch paper that raised 600k

Intercom is one of the most interesting companies out there when it comes to new, digital forms of CRM, customer interaction, systematic development of better customer relations. And i love their blog, by the way (click this link for their blog) - many smart people seem to work there.

The recent blog post is not typical for its content, but interesting for anyone who wants to pitch an idea to potential investors... the first deck that raised 600k (they recently had an investment round for 50mn, so ... they used the 60k wisely). It is 7 (!) slides plus the title page.

https://blog.intercom.io/first-pitch-deck/



Emoji Interpretations - Study

Very interesting research conducted about Emojis and what they mean to their recipients - especially since they are displayed differently when sent cross-plattform (i.e. from Apple to Microsoft). Short article here:

http://grouplens.org/blog/investigating-the-potential-for-miscommunication-using-emoji/

Full paper, PDF:

http://grouplens.org/site-content/uploads/Emoji_Interpretation.pdf

Mar 12, 2016

US Pay TV subscribers down 385k in 2015

Following 150.000 subscribers lost in 2014, and 100.000 subscribers lost in 2013, according to research from Leichtmann Research. The annual study shows a clear and accelerating trend. The statistics count cable, satellite and telco TV as "subscribers" (most Europeans do it differently), so coming from 94 million "subscribers" overall, 385k does not seem much. But the trend accelerates, and my interpretation is that this is not good news for pay-TV as we know it in Europe. Clearly, OTT services with Netflix leading will, at some point in time, substitute our cable, telco or whatever subscription, and will offer the same or even better programming with the cost of internet connection plus OTT service, in most cases much less than cable TV plus packages with exclusive content. If OTT providers are cash-rich and bold enough to outbid traditional pay-TV on sports rights, the avalanche will start.

http://www.rapidtvnews.com/2016031142080/telco-dips-for-first-time-as-major-us-pay-tv-providers-lose-about-385-000-subs-in-2015.html  

Mar 10, 2016

There are sites with 9digit numbers of monthly visits, and you can't track down their owners

Of course it's about adult sites. I find it strange that you cannot include them in any analysis about trends or UX or web developments for obvious reasons, but clearly porn sites are in probably the most competitive area of the web and therefore adapt to change quicker than any other industry. However, isn't it strange that a site with more than 500 million visits in December 2015 has an owner who is very, very hard to track down? But my text messages are saved, stored and analyzed by multiple agencies in a variety of countries?
Interesting piece about adult websites and how they mnage to hide their owners:

http://thenextweb.com/insider/2016/03/03/the-almost-invisible-men-and-women-behind-the-worlds-largest-porn-sites/

Facebook and Amazon bid for NFL live streams

I thought this would take a bit longer, especially after Yahoo's NFL experiment did not go so mega-great, with 2,3mn viewers on average (per minute) and 15mn reach overall - but these would include "tune ins" from autoplay homepage stream. On the other hand, video is the advertising future and both Amazon and Facebook don't really have a cash (or performance) problem, so why not? Keen to see whether this will affect TV rights prices and/or ratings. My guess is: not much.

http://www.si.com/nfl/2016/03/07/facebook-nfl-live-stream-thursday-night-football 



SEO experiments and new developments in Google's algorithm

Super-interesting SEO experiments reveal stuff that most people don't know (at least I didn't) about search. For example that CTR, reminds me of Facebook-style engagement metrics, seems to have very high impact on ranking, and the quality of the clicks (session duration etc.), too. Also, outbound links help your ranking (I once learnt the opposite) and many more findings.

http://seosherpa.com/seo-experiments/

Supercell numbers are crazy

Most people may not know Supercell, but their titles "Clash of Clans" or "Clash Royal" should ring a bell, because they are always among most downloaded and, more importantly, top-grossing apps in any appstore. With less than 200 employees and basically 3 games titles, the company based in Helsinki makes 2.3bn USD in revenue in 2015 - and almost a billion of that is profit. Made from 100mn people who play their games every day. Amazing.

Read more here:
http://venturebeat.com/2016/03/09/with-just-3-games-supercell-made-924m-in-profits-on-2-3b-in-revenue-in-2015/

or check their funny video (Tuvalu!!) here:
https://www.facebook.com/Supercellgames/videos/1153267674718557/


Mar 7, 2016

Some Netflix resources

Every now and then it makes sense to collect numbers on Netflix - because they change so quickly. There's an article where the some VP of NBC says that OTT services like Netflix would not be a threat to traditional TV - I don't think he is delusional, it just shows how many new narratives TV needs to be taken seriously. And the NBC way of doing it is to reveal numbers. Apparently, Amazon's most watched streaming show, "Man in the High Castle", reached 2.1mn viewers (USA). Jessica Jones on Netflix reached 4.8mn viewers per episode, and Narcos 3.2mn. But we should be careful - the numbers are not from Netflix, and not from Amazon, but from a third party using audio recognition on mobile devices (called Symphony), and according to NBC, 18-24year olds spend 62 hours watching linear TV and 12 hours watching YouTube (per month).... so, TV is greatest shape ever and everything will stay the same for the next few decades. Ahem. Here's more:

http://www.adweek.com/news/television/why-nbc-says-netflix-does-not-yet-pose-consistent-threat-broadcasters-168985

A bit more on how these numbers are perceived:
http://concurrentmedia.com/2016/01/14/netflix-is-a-ratings-winner/

Going further, Netflix will spend 5bn on content in 2016, incl 60mn for a Brad Pitt movie. In comparison, HBO spent 2bn in 2015.

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/netflix-will-spend-5-billion-on-content-in-2016-the-ridiculous-6-the-most-watched-film-on-the-service-in-first-30-days-20160107

More interesting than that mere fact is how Netflix will spend all this money. Is it a myth that everything they produce in the creative department is still data driven? It is a really long read, but extremely interesting about the influence of data on the creative process.
Worth the time to go through.

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/01/how-netflix-reverse-engineered-hollywood/282679/

Feb 17, 2016

Revenue / Profit of Internet Giants in realtime

Embeddable and nice for presentations. Would have loved to see BMW, Exxon, Walmart, Goldman Sachs and Lufthansa in comparison.

http://pennystocks.la/battle-of-internet-giants/

WeChat 101

Here are three articles that give a good overview over that one service that is among the top5 downloaded apps (regardless of pre-installed apps like Google on Android) that dies not belong to Facebook: WeChat. Messengers are big, China is big, WeChat is huge. It now celebrates 5 years and - be strong now - made more transactions over Chinese New Year than PayPal made in the whole year of 2015.

Here's a good overview of the 5 year history of WeChat:
https://www.techinasia.com/5-years-of-wechat

April 2015: great article about WeChat's influence on publishing:
http://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/global-currents/wechat-publishing-changing-chinas-mediascape

WeChat NYE transactions in numbers:
http://www.thedrum.com/news/2016/02/09/wechat-had-more-mobile-transactions-over-just-chinese-new-year-paypal-had-during

How to Snapchat like a boss

Funny piece on BuzzFeed about Snapchat and how teens and millenials use it. Want to be even more afraid of using it than you are now? Read this. And then think of how representative research with n=1 is.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/benrosen/how-to-snapchat-like-the-teens#.ho0ra0eDO

BuzzFeed and Distributed Media

I wrote a lot about Buzzfeed and many others did, too. Because it is simply impressive and we can learn so much about the workings of today's digital media. One core aspect of all this is the decreasing importance of destinations and the increasing importance of distributing your content, meeting the consumers wherever they are. Here's a good article that explains in detail how BuzzFeed does that (today, because tomorrow, this may change completely).


https://www.journalism.co.uk/news/distributed-news-how-buzzfeed-curates-stories-for-social-platforms/s2/a609312/

About the API Economy

If you read one 5-min article today, make it this one. It is not the deepest, but well written and to the point. I strongly agree with most points that it makes (and forget Uber as such, it's just an example). We have to think about building platforms and systems instead of destinations and applications (almost two years ago, May 2014, I first saw a bigger-scale expirement like this in Germany, "About me"/Otto - Link here).
I don't know if having the right API strategy will determine the success and survival of companies, though, like the article concludes. Too many companies heard way too often that survival is at stake, they are all still there, moving at their own pace, and are neither culturally nor in their access to respective resources (developers etc.) ready for such moves that almost everytime touch the core of these corporations. But I agree that almost every company should develop and evaluate their view of API strategy approaches very frequently in the coming years.

https://medium.com/@almarrone/the-secret-behind-uber-s-industry-disruption-the-api-economy-46a2f68e60d#.bj10x5fce

[German] Alles zum Facebook Newsfeed Algorithmus, Stand 2/2016

Die Grundzüge von Affinity, Weight und Decay halte ich für wichtiges Basiswissen für jeden, der damit beruflich auch nur am Rande zu tun hat. Meistens reichen die aber auch. Wer tiefer bohren will, findet hier zumindest eine Aufstellung weiterer Faktoren, die auch alle (irgendeinen) Einfluss auf die organische Reichweite von Facebook-Posts haben. Immerhin.

http://allfacebook.de/pages/facebook-newsfeed-algorithmus-faktoren

[German] Artikel Optimierung mit User Feedbacks / Tagesanzeiger Datenblog

Ich sage es ungern, aber für mindestens eine der Grafiken empfehle ich einen PC statt Smartphone. Mit der #12-Auswertung herumspielen macht dafür doppelt Spaß. Insgesamt ein hoch interessanter Artikel über Daten, die nicht aus Beobachtung, Algorithmus-Magie und Facebook-Profil kommen (nicht, dass das immer etwas schlechtes wäre), sondern aus direktem User-Feedback. Und was man aus diesen lernen kann. Was mich immer wieder zu meiner aktuellen Haltung bringt: Journalisten sollen das tun, was sie am besten können - spannende, interessante, tolle Inhalte produzieren. Und wir müssen ihnen mit Informationen, Handwerkszeug und Distributionswegen helfen, ihr Publikum zu finden.

http://blog.tagesanzeiger.ch/datenblog/index.php/10974/12-auswertung

BMW Labs is how it's done

I am quite impressed with BMW Labs. Because I found them through a friend's post and then was reminded again by driving in a friend's BMW, and not through that 19page Wired-Special with 17 chief executives taking credit for the world's innovation efforts in general, and then showing us their loft offices in Palo Alto, Helsinki and Munich. Nope, all you get to see is a website, a service here and there (being a fan of IFTTT, I admit I am biased) and a text that states that the services from labs are not ready, may not always work, may disappear etc. If you have ever worked for a big brand that considered itself leading, you know how tough it will have been to get that approved. Check:

https://labs.bmw.com/

Dec 23, 2015

State of Content Marketing 2016

Content Marketing has reached its tipping point in 2015 and will become mainstream next year. I even think we will see a few acquisitions where manufacturing or retail companies will actually purchase media companies. This article provides a good overview without focussing on native or social too much, but rather on the big developments: https://contently.com/strategist/2015/12/17/state-of-content-marketing-2016/?

Nov 23, 2015

State of the Nation: Buzzfeed

Very interesting article by Jonah Peretti about Buzzfeed's status quo and where they are heading. Every media executive should read this. Yeah, they serve 5bn content views a month now. Yeah, there was a story that went viral in Germany (Techniker ist informiert) and after that viral in the US (did that ever happen before?). For Buzzfeed, that's a sign of their globalization. But the most interesting sentence to me is this one:

"We help advertisers transform and evolve their advertising and marketing for a world where audiences have shifted to social and mobile media consumption, where disruptive and intrusive advertising is blocked or ignored, and where consumers expect branded content to earn their attention."

So is this video here - how to bake brownies with nutella + 2 ingredients - advertising or not? It achieved 75 million views in 5 languages. It sure was relevant. It made an impact. It entertained people. BuzzFeed is betting big on this as the future of advertising. Most publishers see social and mobile happening. But are they preparing for the according advertising world, where the golden rule of money following eyeballs still applies?

http://www.buzzfeed.com/jonah/2015memo#.jyEaA2DMX

YouTube embedded player - a hail Mary pass?

According to Wikipedia, a Hail Mary pass is a very long forward pass in American football, made in desperation with only a small chance of success. Seeing YouTube's numbers, you have to be reluctant to think of "desperation" and "small chance of success". Then again, you hear rumors about YouTube paying huge bonuses to their big channels to not abandon their platform as soon as Facebook is finished with suggested video. And Facebook announces they have 8 bn video views a day, doubled since April, and without even having really rolled ou the video news feed, the true product behind all this.
Who cares of FB counts three seconds of autoplay as a video view and that in minutes served, YouTube must still be far ahead of Facebook? How far, that is the question, and can they stop or reverse the dynamic? One step to do so could be the embedded player. News and video sites had to invest a lot of money in video display and delivery, content and asset management etc., just so that they could serve their own video pre- and midroll ads on their own video infrastructure. That time seems to be over soon since YouTube will offer their technology to them. As a side effect, their content is so easily published on YouTube, they won't abandon the site. Could be a hail Mary after all.

http://thenextweb.com/google/2015/11/06/youtube-offering-news-publishers-big-incentives-to-lure-them-back/

Strategy, not technology, drives digital transformation

Says me, the strategist. And says Deloitte, the strategy consultancy. Says MIT Sloan, the business school of the Massachusetts Insitutue of Technology. So yeah, there might be a bias. But the report is worth a read, interesting and inspiring thoughts come up, and from my experience with digitization (or digitalization), I agree with most points of their executive summary:
I also think that

- the digital agenda is driven from the top (and in most cases, that's a bad message)

- taking risks has to become a cultural norm (again, a bad message. I am accompanying a German company in trying to implement a "launch fast, kill fast" culture, and it is incredibly hard to collect the recognition someone deserves who kills a project fast instead of somehow managing to let it survive)

- employees want to work for digital leaders (see driven from the top) and that many skills have to be built within a company. There are not enough data analysts who have successfully done that exact data analysis that you will need in your company. And if they are, you can't pay them. "Bake them" instead of hiring them.

More here:
http://sloanreview.mit.edu/projects/strategy-drives-digital-transformation/

Facebook bets on three technologies

This article was shared by Mark himself and a bunch of employees. So I guess they won't be that wrong:

To further grow these services and any others that Facebook develops or acquires, Zuckerberg is betting his company’s future on three major technology initiatives. One is developing advanced artificial intelligence [...] The second is virtual reality [...] which Zuckerberg believes will be the next major technology we use to interact with each other. And the third is bringing the Internet [...] to the 4 billion–plus humans who aren’t yet connected.

We read this and it seems so logical and downright normal that we don't even realize what that actually means. But AI is not only M, facebook's answer to Amazon Echo and Siri and Cortana, but also really understanding people through advanced math, algorithms, their interests and their behaviours, running a lab that would probably make many universities proud, with bright minds who figure out academic, yet someday economic challenges. The second enables us as users and Facebook to use that intelligence not only for communication, but for immersive, full body-and-mind-experiences. The Oculus VR headset of today is just a start. Read this lengthy piece about Zuckerberg and his company to not only see the creepy, but also positive side of where we're heading.

http://www.fastcompany.com/3052885/mark-zuckerberg-facebook

Fantasy meets betting: money printing

I keep pushing for a legalization of betting in Sports, as I believe that as long as stuff like smoking isn't banned, gambling should be ok. And with some smart combination of legal age, pre-paid activities and maximum stakes across industry you should be able to track and influence the behaviour of 98% of sports fans, the 2% being those who will ruin their lives over gambling anyway, be it legal or not. As soon as you start betting on a game, it becomes more and more exciting. The most lame and boring, 3-0 standing soccer match from Sweden becomes fun when you can bet on which team will score next, who will have the next corner and so on. How great for any TV station showing sports! And when betting meets fantasy, the whole thing becomes even more exciting. If you don't believe me, look at the numbers from FanDuel and DraftKings. Any professional Sports league (or even clubs) should be very interested in their business models.

http://deadspin.com/damn-fanduel-and-draftkings-bring-in-shitloads-of-mone-1743825648

WhatsApp vs. Turkish Airlines

There's a picture going around in the web from a presentation, comparing Turkish Airlines and WhatsApp. There couldn't be a more apples-oranges-comparison, but it is bizarre and intriguing anyhow:

Founded 1933 (TA) vs. 1999 (WA)
Employees 23000 (TA) vs. 55 (WA)
Market Cap 4.3bn (TA) vs. 19bn (WA)
Assets Planes (TA) vs. Servers (WA)
Function transports people (TA) vs. transports messages (WA)

I disagree with the assets thing because I think that's an old-school, physical-asset-perspective for balance sheets, as the true assets for WA will of course not be servers, but maybe a) the address books of people and b) their 55 engineers who serve 900mn users. And whoever now thinks that "old economy" like airplane companies are dead and only software will survive is a naive weirdo. But it is still amazing to see how few people in how short a time can create something that we trust so much more to be creating value than transporting millions of people safely and comfortably around the globe.

https://www.facebook.com/interestingengineering/photos/a.139188862817493.25247.139188202817559/990038151065889/?type=3

Oct 24, 2015

Demographics of Social Media Properties

Very interesting overview by Verto Analytics about the distribution of users on social media properties and which target groups tend to use which social service more. Facebook again proves to be the great dominator, Google+ shouldn't be included at all, but then it is interesting to see how KiK, Snapchat, LinkedIn and other services are positioned vs. Facebook including its own messenger and What's app. These are numbers that are rarely found and are typically drowned in statements like "there are 400mn people on Instagram, I bet our target group is among them, so shut up".

http://vertoanalytics.com/2015/10/the-demographics-of-social-media-properties-looking-beyond-downloads/

Oct 21, 2015

(German) Deutscher Entertainment und Media Outlook von PWC

Einige hilfreiche Zahlen über den deutschen Markt 2014 und seine potenzielle Entwicklung bis 2019. Big Picture: Print leidet massiv, TV stabil, Online wächst, mobile Advertising ist die große Herausforderung - wissen wir alles, hier aber bekommen wir Zahlen dazu, die einen PWC Stempel tragen. By the way: Dort tut man immer noch so, als würde man mit einer Studie wertvollste Leads generieren. Also müssen wir alle uns als "Birol Ekmek" registrieren, mit irgendeiner Uralt-Hotmail. Dafür PDF und Excel-Export.

https://outlook.pwc.de/

Oct 7, 2015

[Infographic] The European Video Streaming Challenge

Great numbers I have not seen before in any article about Netflix or their competitors, compiled by Statista and published by Horizont, about Video on Demand and OTT offers in Europe. Some highlights include that Germany with less than 10% of population using SVOD (compared to approx 30% in US and Canada) shows a big potential, and that in 2015, German SVOD market reaches 175mn USD (projected 473mn by 2020) and the US has reached 4,7bn (!) in 2015.

Great infographic.

http://www.horizont.net/news/media/15/Stati-zei-die-weltwe-Entwickl-des-Videostream-Mar--142917.jpeg

Facebook video vs YouTube video

A few weeks ago, news headlines stated that both platforms are on par now with approx. 4 bn video views daily (and recently, Snapchat said they have 4bn views daily, too). Whenever I talk about these numbers, I always mention that Facebook counts a video view when an autoplay video has been going for three seconds, and that in "minutes delivered", YouTube ought to be way ahead of Facebook. Well, now we have some numbers. I will switch to "years delivered": The world spends 46,000 years (!) every day in front of YouTube. In the US: 8,000 years streamed daily. And on Facebook? 713 years.

So that's that.

http://venturebeat.com/2015/10/02/facebook-v-google-in-digital-video-battle-youtube-is-11x-bigger/

Facebook Atlas Value Calculator

Maybe I am over-estimating what Facebook Atlas is expected to deliver over the next years... but I think it will be huge. Like mega-huge. One small indicator for that: Openly targeting cookie-based delivery of ads (which basically the entire market does) and comparing it to people-based delivery (where Facebook is the grandmaster and no one can even think about competing). Imagine they will be able to lobby cookies away one day. Chances are not so bad - every normal user hates cookies.

http://atlassolutions.com/2015/09/28/introducing-the-atlas-value-calculator/

Google's AMP project aims to slow down or kill Facebook Instant Articles

At least that's my take on it. One of the key arguments for Facebook to persuade publishers into Instant Articles is that they load ast, offer a slick user experience, simplay work brilliantly - while most mobile publisher pages would not be optimized for Facebook browser, work slowly, etc.

So Google helps publishers in its DNI initiative with a huge open source project. When they launched the initiative, my interpretation already was that this was aimed to defend against Facebook (http://epapa100.blogspot.de/2015/05/my-take-on-googles-new-publisher.html), but now with the headline "Instant. Everywhere." it should become very clear where they are heading.

https://www.ampproject.org/

Ad Blockers on iOS can now also block ads in native ads

I always thougt a) Apple is planning to kill Google by making everyone build apps instead of websites, b) offer a a superior in-app-search-engine to Google, and to do so they would allow ad blockers on (mobile) websites so everyone moves to native apps and uses iAds as a service.
Now they even approved an app that blocks adds in native apps, even in their own.
Someone explain this to me, please. Because the TechCrunch article below does not.


http://techcrunch.com/2015/10/06/apple-approves-an-app-that-blocks-ads-in-native-apps-including-apple-news/#.nxx18u:EXtI

Homeland, full episode, in your Facebook newsfeed confirms FB's development to a media house

You need social networks to run a newsfeed, and Facebook has turned the newsfeed to Social Media, the biggest Flipboard anyone could imagine. So I guess the times when we describe FB as a social network should be over. With Instant Articles, Suggested Video and such they are showing a clear orientation towards becoming a media aggregator while user to user communication moves away to messengers and smaller groups. One more proof: watch the first episode of season 5, Homeland, in full length, without geoblocking, IN your Facebook newsfeed. Would love to get the stats. One day, a producer may not need a TV station to distribute their contents.

https://www.facebook.com/HomelandOnShowtime/videos/1080053292015240/

Vice Media's view of Content Marketing

Everybody and their mothers are doing content marketing currently, and I believe they are doing the right thing. Companies like Vox, Vice and BuzzFeed are considered leaders and are, even though overall with much smaller numbers, in a kind of "incumbent situation" compared to traditional media when it comes to content marketing, native advertising or branded entertainment. That's why they sound like an incumbent at times. Listen to Mark Adams, Vice Media's head of innovation, here:

http://www.thedrum.com/news/2015/10/07/vice-media-why-content-marketing-so-much-more-ad-smart-media-buy

Second Screen Tools for broadcasters by Facebook

Because of its newsfeed algorithm, Facebook is way more successful than other social networks. But the advantage to show users relevant posts that occured when they were away turns into a disadvantage when it comes to live coverage - some posts are only relevant in a very small, near realtime window. And since FB is chasing TV advertising budgets like crazy, becoming the preferred second screen (also in visibility, because in volume they probably are already) may also be a priority A objective.
To achieve that, Facebook just announced a new arsenal of second screen tools, like app voting and polling, a photo and video submission app and more. Event-, show- and sports-TV will love this.

http://techcrunch.com/2015/10/06/facebook-unveils-new-arsenal-of-second-screen-tools-for-broadcasters

Oct 6, 2015

User stats for Instagram Germany: 3.4mn, 35% u. 19yo

Facebook still does not release market by market numbers for Europe - not for Facebook, and certainly not for Instagram. But then again, they want to make money and let us use the ad planner, so we can at least make some... "educated assumptions". Instagram user statistics in Germany, some interesting numbers that should leave Twitter in the dust.

Sep 23, 2015

The Washington Post will publish approx 1,200 articles a day on Facebook Instant Articles

It was clear that Facebook would not give up on Instant Articles - we should expect the opposite, especially when after an initial phase of excitement the topic gets very quiet. The potential of this product is too big, and if you want proof that Facebook means business, think about what a blog post like this means:
https://developers.facebook.com/blog/post/2015/09/22/instant-articles-from-CMS/?__mref=message_bubble

But what about the publisher side? According to recode (link below), FB will now put Instant articles in more users' newsfeeds and expand the number of publishers who can use it, including the Washington Post, which goes "all in". It may be hard to understand that a few weeks after they announced that they will be integrated in Amazon Prime, they basically give away their full content of 1,200 articles daily in Facebooks newsfeed - but the overarching story remains the same: Can a newspaper produce quality journalism and survive on the advertising business models that run on their own platforms like apps and web? WP says: probably not. So prime integration as well as articles that become own little business cases floating around newsfeeds, attached to advertisements that the operators of the newsfeed sell, may be an answer.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/pr/wp/2015/09/22/the-washington-post-launches-instant-articles-on-facebook/

http://recode.net/2015/09/22/facebook-ramps-up-its-instant-articles-and-the-washington-post-is-all-in/

http://techcrunch.com/2015/09/16/amazon-prime-members-can-now-get-the-washington-post-for-free-for-6-months/#.nxx18u:poUR

In the US, apps (continue to) kill the mobile web

New numbers are in, and the trend continues. While in 2013 the split in the US was 80% apps and 20% mobile web (in time spent), we now have 90% apps and 10% mobile web. And the time spent, in the same period, has significantly increased from 2:38 (hours per day) to 3:40.

http://uk.businessinsider.com/time-spent-mobile-browsing-vs-apps-2015-9

The end of the ad supported web?

I dislike all these "This is dead"... "that will die"... "the end of xyz" headlines. But this article is worth reading since it at least points out which problems display advertising will face in future. And there are some huge ones: first and foremost, the mobile shift as such. Second, at least in the US, the mobile shift drives people into apps. Third, ad blockers on iOS.... and so on.

http://venturebeat.com/2015/09/22/hurrah-its-the-end-of-the-line-for-the-ad-supported-web/

Instagram grew 100mn users in the last 9 months to reach 400mn

In its 5th year only, it has reached 400mn MAU - monthly active users - and is officially bigger than Twitter. 75% of its users come from outside the US. Instagrammers create 80mn photos and 3,5bn likes daily. Some predict that in its first year, served through the Facebook advertising editor, Instagram can make around 600mn USD with ads (including video ads in a TV-style 30 seconds format), and surpass the billion in the year after.


http://blog.instagram.com/post/129662501137/150922-400million
https://business.instagram.com/
http://recode.net/2015/09/18/how-facebook-turned-instagram-into-a-5-billion-business/


Also see a comparison between Twitter and Instagram growth:
http://uk.businessinsider.com/instagram-is-leaving-twitter-in-the-dust-2015-9

Sep 8, 2015

Facebook tests new mobile ad format

It's kind of an instant article, only fopr advertising. with autoplay video and image carousels. See the demo video... advertising on mobile is still one of the biggest issues the publishing industry has to solve. Native will not be the answer to all problems, and real time bidding/programmatic will only work well with ... the right format. And I don't mean skyscraper versus medium rectangle, but rather targeting and media format. The only ones who seem to be seriously developing and testing new things are Facebook.

http://recode.net/2015/09/03/facebook-is-testing-its-fancy-new-mobile-ads/ 

US Mobile Apps top10: 8 of 10 owned by Facebook or Google

According to comscore, Facebook has the #1 and #2 spots with the social network and messenger, and Instagram on #9, while Google dominates the middle (positions #3 to #6, #8) with YouTube, Play, Search, Maps and Gmail, in order of popularity). Only Pandora Radio and Yahoo! Stocks, both probably very US-American phenomenons, make it on #7 and #10. Note that the comscore metric only counts distribution (downloads) and not usage.

http://time.com/4023369/facebook-app/ 

The whole model of search may change

Facebook challenges Google on so many levels. With most publishers, Facebook is already the #1 traffic source, unthinkable only a few years ago, and with instant articles and suggested video (in-stream) and atlas (destination) they will get into the value chain of virtually any publisher in the world. As they announced M for Facebook messenger, we could take it as a serious sign that Siri and Cortana were not pet projects or marketing gimmicks. Probably search will change (also consider Amazon's Dash & Echo activities), and who knows if Google is in a pole position here?

http://techcrunch.com/2015/09/07/facebooks-messenger-and-the-challenge-to-googles-search-dominance/

Will action sports overtake team/ball sports with millenials?

Interesting article in NYT about "2nd tier sports" - actions sports. Apparently, they are more popular than football (american & soccer), Basketball etc. if you look at the online consumption. This might have various reasons, the major one probably being the value of license rights that makes the popular team sports less present online, but would count for more rather than less popularity. But: Less presence may easily lead to a shift in interests. "Action sports" may not have the huge mega-events the way traditional sports work, so they are less interesting for linear TV broadcasting, but are much more suitable for highlight clips, on demand, activity that is taken out of the competitive context - something that makes 90-99% of traditional sports clips attractive. We will see that in other content categories, too: on-demand capabilities that we "overlooked" because we used to produce for traditional TV first. And with on-demand capabilities comes audience, with audience come new production budgets like with Red Bull or, popular example in this article, "We are blood", probably the most expensive Skateboarding film ever made.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/08/technology/for-online-sports-videos-the-action-is-no-longer-on-the-field.html?_r=0 

Sep 7, 2015

Everything you need to know about branding

Ok, not everything. But a lot. From 1969. In this pitch video to rebrand Bell Systems, later AT&T. You can actually feel the Mad men type of guys behind this video. They knew something.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=1168&v=xKu2de0yCJI

Jul 24, 2015

Benedict Evans: Mobile changes everything

Most people who work in this area have used Andreessen Horowitz' presentation "Mobile is Eating the World" as a resource and inspiration. Now there's kind of an updated version from a talk Benedict Evans gave, along with some nice explanations and interpretation. 26 minutes well invested:

http://a16z.com/2015/06/19/mobile-it-changes-everything/

Social Logins overview for Q2 2015

Great overview on the use of social logins. Identity providing is, in my eyes, an underestimated business. Given that Facebook leads globally in this area, and their ability to a) individualize (and "socialize") each page that has a Facebook-logged-in user and b) to play out targeted advertising to these users, based on their Facebook profile, once a site would integrate their ad server, I think this can be a huge business.

http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/q2-facebook-still-most-popular-social-login-provider-infographic/623914

Interesting Infographic on Social Logins:

http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/gigya-privacy-personalization/623408

NBA will offer live streaming of single games at 6,99USD

No reports on the availability of the offer internationally, but in the US, where the "League Pass" offers "out of market" games (not shown on national TV or by your local networks), these games can be now booked without a full subscription as "pay per view" for 7 US. We will see similar offers for all sports rights that are not sold to TV stations - or are sold, but not broadcasted.

http://time.com/money/3968843/stream-nba-games/

"Download our app" interstitials can be counterproductive

Many people seem to be annoyed by huge interstitials on mobile websites promoting the respective app of a provider instead of showing the content right away. Google plus has now puublished their results and they are stunning, showing more proof that the mobile user is even more impatient than we may have thought - with their interstitial, 9% clicked on "get the app" (the article linked below does not state how many of them ended up downloading the app) and an amazing amount of 69% of users abandoned the site without viewing the content they initially wanted to see at all.

http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/google-case-study-on-app-download-interstitials.html

PopularPays markets Instagram reach of Influencers

Just like with MCNs on YouTube, we will see more and more marketing services pool popular users and influencers with significant reach and connecting them to brands wanting to reach people in non-traditional ways. One of those services is "PopularPays". They have 25,000 Instagram influencers signed up and brands can choose among them which they would like to integrate in their campaigns - and pay them.

http://www.popularpays.com/

http://techcrunch.com/2015/07/23/popular-pays-funding/

Jul 2, 2015

Facebook Video gets serious

A 45/55 split, just like YouTube, is the offer Facebook gives content owners to capitalize on their video uploaded to Facebook. Given the crazy reach Facebook has and the huge amount of video views - the NBA had 100mn views during the finals - this will be attractive even for those who already have a running pre-roll business on their sites. And 45/55 is the negotiation base for those with premium content, like sports or MCNs (bizarre, but in their own way, both are premium).

Since Facebook will play the ads .- for now - in between video plays (before seeing a "related" or "suggested" video), wait for a new optimization discipline to come: how to hack the "Facebook suggests" code.

http://variety.com/2015/digital/news/facebook-video-ad-revenue-partners-1201532366/

Jun 25, 2015

News sites benefit from Google Search update

If you ask me, that is because social takes over more and more of referral traffic to news sites, and Google cannot like it if publishers optimize their content for social, and put their resources into shareability and newsfeed discovery.

http://searchengineland.com/report-last-weeks-google-update-benefited-news-magazine-web-sites-223717

The most installed app outside Google & Apple App stores: Popcorn Time

Imagine you make it really hard for consumers to install your app, because it's will not be available on the app store. And you won't make any paid advertising for it. When you reach more than 1 million downloads on iOS alone anyway, then you must have something that people really want. In this case: free content. But i doubt that Popcorn time is only popular because it's free, it also has a) new content that you would have to wait for and b) there must be room between ridiculously priced and free, Most digital prices for a season of anything go beyond what i used to pay for DVD sets (and I bought many of them). This may very well be another reason for people who would pay 10 dollars for a season of something to turn to popcorn time: because they think 35 dollars is BS.

http://venturebeat.com/2015/06/22/popcorn-time-for-ios-passes-1-million-downloads-on-non-jailbroken-devices/  

Hulu paid 160mn for 5 years of Seinfeld

Old news, but remarkable: Hulu reportedly paid 875,000 USD per episode of Seinfeld - for 180 episodes and 5 years of VOD rights. That makes a little over 14,500 USD for each episode each month. Not so easy to bring this money back, so, similar to sports rights, i guess their excel files will show assumed additional spill-over-effects (and the effect that Netflix won't have Seinfeld). If you spend this money on rights, you should also have a nice budget to activate those with marketing, so Hulu launched a Seinfeld apartment replica in NYC, which is pretty cool for a TV show advertisment to create ongoing buzz.


Apartment
http://venturebeat.com/2015/06/24/hulu-opens-seinfeld-apartment-replica-in-nyc/

Deal
http://variety.com/2015/tv/news/hulu-seinfeld-licensing-160-million-1201483537/

Google Study about App engagement (and re-engagement)

I assume the study is a bit biased towards search, but anyhow we can find a few interesting statistics in Google's research with over 8000 users here. For example, (a to me surprisingly high) 26% of installed apps on a phone are used daily. Social and messaging dominate. And yet, around 25% of apps downloaded are never (!) used. I don't see how these numbers go together unless users bother to uninstall more than to open an app, but again: the tendency is clear. Plus, I wonder how such a study can go on without mentioning notifications. See for yourself:

Full PDF:
https://think.storage.googleapis.com/docs/mobile-app-marketing-insights.pdf

20% swipe right on Tinder advertising

I have written about Tinder advertising before, and I think it's a great way of integrating advertising that does not heavily interrupt your experience and still can make Tinder a lot of money.
Apparently. one in five users actually "match" with a brand, opening a conversation, which is an amazing number. This will, with more and more brands and campaigns, very likeley fall below 10%, but considering the fact that you are more likely to survive a plane crash than to click on a banner ad, everything north of 1-2% is great anyway.

http://time.com/3931132/tinder-brands/

Infographic / Facebook vs. Youtube overview

Apparently YouTube serves around three trillion video views a year, and Facebook will probably reach two trillion (I read somewhere else they were on par, but hey - one trillion videos more or less, Facebook changed the online video landscape dramatically, and will continue to do so. Also interesting the monthly ARPU (average revenue per user) of 0,73USD (FB) versus 0,28USD (YT), without even tapping into preroll ads.

http://venturebeat.com/2015/06/22/facebook-is-nipping-at-youtubes-heels-in-the-race-for-video-viewers-and-advertisers/

Native advertising: WPP, Snapchat and Daily Mail team up.

Interesting combination here. "Truffel pig" is a cheesy name for a native ad agency, but the most interesting thing is Snapchat's participation. The more you think about native advertising, the more you realize that distribution of "sponsored stories" is the key thing, although for many ad agencies and journalists the creative challenge seems to be huge. But after that, it's finding the right audiences, and that's where Snapchat will ad something valuable to this agency.

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/jun/23/daily-mail-wpp-snapchat-launch-native-advertising-agency

Instagram's search & explore overhaul

One of the key issues for Instagram users is exploring and finding new accounts to follow since "reposts" can only be done via 3rd party apps and possibilities for one user to recommend another one are pretty limited. Plus, Instagram can deliver a lot more value than just a stream of feeds - anyone who played around with a few hashtags can imagine. So it was a matter of time until they added some features to their search, and interestingly enough, they focused on location based exploration tools, trending tags and added a curated section. Maybe it is not always and only algorithms that will do the job.

http://blog.instagram.com/post/122260662827/150623-search-and-explore

How Eater uses Facebook video

On Vox.com's food vertical Eater, people share video directly uploaded to Facebook 12x more than video-links. Eater posts videos several times in order to reach more fans with it, and timing seems to have a huge impact on performance.

Jun 16, 2015

Facebook news feed algorithm to factor in "time spent"

Facebook news feed algorithm, formerly the "simple" edge rank", reportedly (according to Facebook engineer Lars Backstrom) factors in more than 100,000 individual weights - not as easy to "hack" as it may have been a few years ago. Now Facebook has announced that they will factor in "time spent" on a story, although they say they do not expect major changes for Facebook pages story distribution.

http://newsroom.fb.com/news/2015/06/news-feed-fyi-taking-into-account-time-spent-on-stories/

How TV newsrooms are using native Facebook video

They are not reinventing the wheel, but with more than 70% of video on Facebook being uploaded directly (that number being well below 50% a year ago), and 4bn video views a day, Facebook has now a way better infrastructure to directly target your audience with moving images than YouTube. Some examples in this article:

http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2015/05/how-tv-newsrooms-are-pushing-original-video-on-facebook/

Site speed / performance is even more critical on mobile

"If you need Facebook to solve the page load problem, then as a media entity you need to be darwined."

As one major advantage of Facebook Instant articles the company promoted its way better performance compared to links opening in Facebook browser - that often take 8 seconds to load, an eternity on mobile. This article shows how critical this is,

http://om.co/2015/05/14/on-the-mobile-web-slow-speeds-kill/

more about performance and instant articles
http://www.wired.com/2015/05/instant-articles-facebook-shows-us-paper/





Apple to allow Ad Blockers on Safari for iPhone, iPad

Sounds to me like: Make apps, where iAds are already well established, or use iAds on mobile web, too, otherwise we'll let the users do the evil that we don't want to do officially. Native for the win!

http://www.niemanlab.org/2015/06/a-blow-for-mobile-advertising-the-next-version-of-safari-will-let-users-block-ads-on-iphones-and-ipads/

Facebook awards 2015

Great resource for Facebook campaigns that were remarkable or performed well - advertising and marketing on Facebook seen from a rather creative angle. Campaigns ran in between Feb 2014 to March 2015, and many include interesting performance figures, Including the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge with 17 million videos that led to 70 billion video views.

https://www.facebook-studio.com/awards


Apple hires human editors

But not to write news, but to curate them for Apple News. This will an interesting approach compared to Newsfeed-algorithms on Facebook or the algorithm-based selection you get on Google News. Apple News will be a Flipboard-style app launched insome markets with iOS9.

http://9to5mac.com/2015/06/15/apple-news-curation-editors/