Friday, February 26, 2016

Super Bowl!

- Super Bowl
- Private messaging comes of age
- B2B online
- Niche Technology

Special Bonus: Walk off the Earth cover of Adele’s Hello

Super Bowl

- Since the last time we got together, the Super Bowl came and went and with it another display of profligate advertising spend. A :30 spot on the superbowl now commands $5Mn to reach the game's 112Mn viewers That was a 11% increase in cost over last year for the 3rd largest TV audience of all time. Of course, as with all TV ads, many of the audience aren't interested in the brand's that are advertising. But on the other hand, according to a study by the National Retail Federation and Statista, 1 in 4 viewers are there mainly just to watch the ads.

But in a digital world, that begs the question: 'wouldn't the money be better spent on digital platforms that not only offer precise targeting but trackable engagement as well?' That same $5Mn would buy 250Mn Facebook video views, 10 days of YouTube Mastheads, 750Mn paid search impressions or 15Mn paid search clicks. In fact,

Gatorade did a weeklong snapchat campaign sponsoring a filter that animated the traditional pouring the Gatorade cooler over the subject of the snap. That weeklong campaign cost them 350K per day or half the price of a Superbowl ad and completely engaging and trackable.

Companies should especially be evaluating this in light of the decrease in effectiveness of Social Media extensions of the super bowl ad content this year over last year. Trickle down views of extended content were just about non-existent. In fact, the 4 extra snickers ads, 5 additional TurboTax ads, and 14 additional Shock Top videos that were available online only accrued a total of about 85K views. And interestingly, social uplift from SuperBowl ads was almost 3x higher BEFORE halftime than after. OK, enough about the Super Bowl and congratulations to whichever team won. Just kidding, I know it was Denver.

Private Messaging

We've spent quite a bit of time discussing messaging in it various forms on this call. I think I even mentioned that it seems like advertisers are starting to try to use native messaging to reach out to their customers. Most of that is spam now, but advertisers are getting smart about making text a notification option for many routine business transactions. For instance many sellers now offer the options of delivery updates by text and once you've said yes to that, you may be in for other updates, like promotions and such. I let Delta give me flight status updates by text and now I also get notices when there's a discounted fare on a route that I've flown and when I pass frequent flier milestones. We've also talked about the prevalance and popularity of private messaging apps like WhatsApp, Viber, Line, and WeChat. These have become vibrant communities of their own, some of which offer rich communication options like video and livestreaming.

Up until now, most of them have had a hard time monetizing these apps, but that's about to change. Facebook is about to bring targeted texts to it Facebook messenger app. And that means that it'll be coming to their WhatsApp service as well. It'll be pretty restricted at first and again, dependent on the consumer initiating a chat with a business. businesses will be able to send ads as messages to people who previously initiated a chat thread with that company. To prepare, the document recommends that businesses get consumers to start message threads with them now so they'll be able to send them ads when the feature launches. So fair warning.

And hey, how many Facebook fans do we have? Let's see if we can get them to engage in a text conversation with us. According to TechCrunch, Facebook has also launched a short url that instantly opens a chat window with that company, this is, reportedly, already operational, but I couldn't find a way to make it work.

Where Facebook goes, others will follow so look for this as the dawn of a new advertising medium. And with the young user-bases these apps have -- many hundreds of millions worldwide -- it's going to be a big important and powerful one, So let's get onboard and take advantage of the opportunity.


In the B2B space, we often hear that B2B ecommerce doesn't work either because of the long sales cycles or the high ticket items. So I was interested to see a new report from Accenture that finds 59% of B2B organizations see a third of customers transactions happening online. 86% allow customers to make purchases on their site. Only 14% offer no online purchasing options. And 92% say email marketing is the most prevalent B2B tactic. But we already knew that, right?

Niche Technology Technology Head Fakes

- Earlier this month, Scott Galloway released a bit of a rant about what he called Technology Head Fakes, calling 'LOSER' on anyone who's bought into technologies which will never rise beyond a niche market. At first look these are surprising because they've all recently been touted as the next big thing. The technologies are Mass customization, Internet of Things, beacons, 3D printing, and virtual reality. Scott is a bit of an agent provocateur and he's also the first person to say he gets this stuff wrong all the time. So let's dig into these a little bit. I'll tell you what I think, and you guys should feel free to jump in and agree or disagree.

Let's start with Virtual Reality. The hype around this has been deafening of late, with Samsung even opening a purpose built Virtual Reality studio in lower manhattan last month. Nonetheless, I agree with Scott on this, at least in it's current incarnation, because it requires a crazy looking headset and the 3D aspect of it literally gives many people a headache. I'm one of those people. So those seems like pretty significantbarriers to widespread adoption.

Internet of Things, we hope isn't limited to a niche becasue it's a significant part of our healthcare and lighting businesses. While there has been some overhype - connected blender? -- I think there's a lot of potential for wide adoption for many IoT applications.

Mass Customization. I strongly agree that this was a concept doomed to failure. A great example of this is Nike allowing people to pay a premium price to design their own sneakers. Now, remember, I'm not saying no one is going to do this. But I do think it will remain a niche because most people buy products from top brands becasue they like the edgy designs that the brands come up with. Very few people can out-design Nike.

Beacons - In case anyone doesn't know, Beacons are bluetooth devices that are being placed in stores around the country -- actually around the world. In a store, beacons use Bluetooth to detect nearby smartphones and try to bridge the physical and digital experiences, sending media such as ads, coupons or supplementary product information. I agree that nobody has figured out a way to make beacons really benefit their bottom line yet, certainly not in a directly trackable way. But I have seen some uses that positively impact the Customer Experience and that can only be a good thing. And remember, nobody made money with a Web site for many years after the Web started to happen. Beacon technology is still developing. So I think there's a good chance that we'll see them play an important role in the omni-channel environment.

3D printing - again, there are customers who will benefit from this tech. College engineering departments, manufacturers, etc. It IS exciting technology, but I've never been able to see how it's going to go mass market. Just print anything you need right in your own house. You'd have to keep a huge inventory of materials around to be ready to print whatever you needed on demand, The cost of the various materials is just too high. And it seems that there would be too much wasted material and energy. I think we're all waiting for a star trek type replicator anyway. Now THAT I'll be ready to adopt.


Couple random interesting stats...

Google made 74.5 Bn in 2015, and the new holding company, Alphabet reported earnings of 21.3 Billion just for the last quarter.

61% of retailers have a transactional moble app and half of retailers say 21-50% of their Web sales come from an app.

I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: 74% of all Web traffic will be video by 2017. This needs to be part of all our marketing strategies. And to be efficient, we need to look at how we can produce more video in-house. I'm not talking about fully produced ads on YouTube, but short, engaging videos on Vine, FB, Insta, etc. I'm very interested in your ideas about how to produce and use video in our marketing. Can you guys post some of your video-related successes in the comments?