Facebook, Google and Twitter need to pay more attention to the abuses of their platforms; 10 things you need to know about machine learning; we need a Peter Drucker of AI; Smart speakers are driving shopping decisions; self-driving cars need eyes; influencers aren’t always what they appear to be; storytelling works for employees too; what Sears can teach us about Amazon’s strategy; specific changes that retailers need to adopt; Twitter’s character assassination; Facebook’s Workplace goes large; video is getting yanked from various platforms; the good, bad and ugly about Uber; no assembly required with Ikea; a new metric: URR; a secret I’m sharing just with you; and more in the Hey! Over Here! edition of The Full Monty from Brain+Trust for the week of October 2, 2017.
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- Russia weaponized social media in the 2016 elections, that much is clear. What isn’t as clear is Silicon Valley‘s embrace of that—particularly how willing Facebook is to admit that it has a problem and step up to solve it. Given that its business model is based on selling advertising and attracting eyeballs, the new mantra regarding news “If it’s outrageous, it’s contagious” seems to be in direct opposition to halting the problem.
- So what else is being done?
- Facebook is sharing data with Google to help review the extent of the Russian meddling.
- Meanwhile, Twitter found that Russia Today purchased $274,000 in ads and promoted 1,823 tweets in the U.S. in 2016, and indicated it will work with the FEC and Congress on political ad disclosure.
- In an appearance before Congressional committees, Twitter disclosed that it found 200 accounts tied to the same Russian sources on Facebook.
- But evidently Twitter’s testimony was inadequate, as Senator Mark Warner noted: “I understand Facebook and Twitter have very different business models and very different approaches to how they utilize the internet, but the presentation that the Twitter team made to the Senate Intel staff today was deeply disappointing… showed an enormous lack of understanding from the Twitter team of how serious this issue is, the threat it poses to democratic institutions, and again, begs many more questions than they .”
- Oxford University released its findings regarding the 2016 election and the Twitter bots which clearly had an impact on the results.
- Nationally, Twitter users got more misinformation, polarizing and conspiratorial content than professionally produced news.
- Users in some states, however, shared more polarizing political news and information than users in other states.
- Average levels of misinformation were higher in swing states than in uncontested states, even when weighted for the relative size of the user population in each state.
- The bottom line: it’s time for the tech companies to pay attention to what’s going on and grow up to the responsibilities of multinational media organizations. While these platforms allow you to share goofy gifs, wish family and friends happy birthday, and share ideas with anyone, the fact is they rely on paid advertising to survive and they provide a platform for individuals and entities to use them in nefarious ways. They need to marshal resources to address these broader societal issues.
Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning / Autonomous
The latest in AI, machine learning, bots, and autonomous everything.
- As long as you’re reading this section, it’s worth grounding yourself in 10 things everyone should know about machine learning. “Data! Data! Data! I can’t make bricks without clay.” – Sherlock Holmes
- If you’ve read any articles about what AI can mean in the years ahead, you’ve undoubtedly come across one or more of the seven deadly sins of predicting the future of AI. Many of them have to do with overestimating the numbers or time frame.
- The next great management leaders need to realize that machine learning goes beyond automating workflows — it actually automates decisions. This means we should see a paradigm shift in the way leaders lead companies: We’re Waiting for the Peter Drucker of Machine Learning.
- Amazon unveiled six new devices at an event at its Seattle headquarters last week, including the Echo Plus, Echo Spot, Echo Button, Amazon Connect, and the next generation of Echo smart speaker.
- Smart Speakers are influencing shopping decisions. They allow for the same calls to action — but now with an additional layer of targeting and interactivity, according to Edison’s Tom Webster. It’s no mistake that Amazon is in the lead here.
- But Google is following quickly as it is developing a smart screen competitor to the Echo Show. Additionally, Google has pulled YouTube off of the Echo Show platform, which means cooking demos and music videos are no longer available to viewers who wish to have screen-based education and entertainment via Amazon’s platform. They’re not kidding around.
- Amid all of this technology, here’s perhaps a helpful reminder about humanity.
- Ford has signed an agreement to place self-driving vehicles on Lyft’s first-of-its-kind open platform.
- The self-driving cars of tomorrow will need to be able to perceive the world with about as much information and as easily as we do or they’re not likely revolutionize how we get around.
- Self-driving cars are coming faster than you think. What will it mean for public radio? And more than that: what will that mean for podcasting and audio streaming overall?
- In 2030, 36% of all mileage driven in Europe will be in shared-use vehicles, and 42% in self-driving vehicles. Making money in the roboconomy is getting harder.
Industry developments and trends, including retail, fake news, customer experience, content marketing, and influencer relations.
- For reference: the top 10 most valuable brands of 2017. Facebook is the biggest mover here, with an increase of 50% of its value. And the top three are Apple, Google and Microsoft. Keep an eye on Amazon.
- The New York Times‘ motto has always been “All the news that’s fit to print.” Well, in the age of “All the news that fits,” it has come to an interesting conclusion online, focusing on the personalization of news. What if the New York Times home page looked different for everyone?
- With some 70% of brands using influencers to boost reach and enhance content, many brands struggle to find consistently profitable results from influencer marketing, highlighting the idea that influencers are not always what they appear to be, despite what their follower counts may say.
- As media and device habits change to include more voice and visual search, search ad spending continues to grow robustly in the US, largely due to mobile. Spending increases are in the double digits, despite declines in desktop-based search ad outlays.
- Everyone loves a good story. So it should be no surprise that when used internally, great storytelling connects employees to their work.
- New research from the Content Marketing Institute has revealed habits of top content marketers. Nearly 65% of B2B marketers’ content marketing programs are more successful than a year ago.
THIS WEEK IN RETAIL:
- In the wake of the Toys R Us bankruptcy, there have been the usual screeds about the “death” of retail. The problem isn’t with physical retail itself but with the inability of legacy firms to adapt to a new model. The reality is the basic function of a physical location has changed.
- Jet.com is getting into the grocery delivery business, with a new brand called Uniquely J that will stock, sell and deliver non-perishable items.
- Walmart is showing some strong footing in its perpetual battle with Amazon. How? Offering clean-fast-friendly and price-convenience-quality means focusing on what matters to customers.
- Want to predict Amazon’s business strategy? Everything you need to know happened in the last century with Sears. A mail-order business that moved into physical retail? In-house branded products? Check. A shift from selling products to services? Check. It’s all been done before.
- Customer loyalty is no longer what it once was. Things need to change, and here are seven facts in retail that demand change.
If you’re seeing this, maybe you’d like to see your company’s name here too. Let us know.
News to know about relevant social, virtual, and augmented reality platforms that may affect your business.
- Big news from the micro-platform: Twitter is expanding its character limit on text posts to 280 characters from 140, starting with a subset of users.
- While some have welcomed the news, there are others who think that the shorter format created an environment that encouraged creativity and thought that went into crafting clever tweets. Except for the bots and trolls of the platform.
- After the president threatened North Korea with annihilation, a blatant violation of Twitter’s terms of service, the platform said he would never be banned, because his tweets are newsworthy. And remember, this is a platform that needs eyeballs to justify its advertising rates. They may be slightly ethically conflicted in this case. Just as long as he can still insult hurricane victims. Warmest condolences.
- Should Amazon buy Twitter? Here are five reasons why they should.
- There’s some great video programming on Twitter — if you can find it.
FACEBOOK / INSTAGRAM / WHATSAPP
- Facebook is aiming to make businesses more aware of ways to make people more aware of their Messenger accounts, so “messages” are a new objective listed in its Ads Manager tool.
- China blocked Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging app ahead of a big Communist Party gathering next month.
- Here are three changes to Facebook’s algorithm that you need to know. tl;dr: Messenger Ads, powerful new ad metrics and Page insights; the News Feed favors faster-loading pages.
- Facebook’s bid to take on the Slack, Microsoft and the rest of the players in the market of business chat and collaboration — Workplace — has signed Walmart as an enterprise customer.
- Over the past month, Instagram recorded two million businesses buying ads on its platform, on pace to catch up with Facebook’s 5 million.
- Snapchat is taking its World Lenses augmented reality feature and opening them up to brands.
ALPHABET / GOOGLE / YOUTUBE
- YouTube has some new tools to create custom ads at scale, sequence videos and more. Director Mix can create huge numbers of ads tailored to custom audiences based on actions taken on other Google services. You’ll have the ability to personalize ads, target with Google Maps or with other installed apps.
- Google will create a standalone unit for its shopping unit and require it to bid against rivals for ads, in order to satisfy EU antitrust concerns.
- Bookmark this: 15 of the best free Google tools digital marketers should be using.
The latest in the world of streaming video, audio, and the advertising, pricing and bundling models related to them.
- Last September, Time Inc. launched an ad-supported video streaming channel, the People/Entertainment Weekly Network, the content for which was mostly created in-house. Now, the company has renamed the channel to PeopleTV and plans to fund more original content for it.
- Video platform Vimeo is acquiring Livestream and has launched its first-ever live video product, which it is calling Vimeo Live. Live entertainment is where it’s at.
- Fox’s FX is pulling more of its shows off of rival streaming services like Netflix and Amazon, and putting them on its homegrown FX+ service.
- In-flight Netflix will be available on more airlines in 2018 thanks to mobile streaming services.
- Hit-making songwriters and producers reveal the ways they are tailoring tracks to fit a musical landscape dominated by streaming. How Streaming is Changing the Sound of Pop.
- There’s big money in streaming. Spotify could be worth $20 billion when it goes public.
- Audio sharing platform Anchor picked up $10M in funding from GV, Google’s venture capital arm.
- Program of the Week: This week, we’re going a little more light-hearted (because we need it). Meg Tripp suggests Comedy Bang Bang, a weekly podcast that blends conversation and character work from today’s funniest comedians. Do you have a program to recommend? Add yours to our Google Sheet: smonty.co/yourpodcasts.
Regulatory / Security
Business disruptions in the legal, regulatory, and computer security fields, from hacking to the on-demand economy and more.
SECURITY / HACKING:
- Equifax CEO Richard Smith stepped down last week, following the massive data breach at the credit bureau. He’s in line to collect a pay day of up to $90 million. Ninety. Million. Dollars. For allowing 143 million records to be accessed. The only silver lining is now maybe he’s a target for identity theft or a personal banking hack.
- The new CEO of Equifax apologizes and offers free credit locking/unlocking to any customer.
- People are concerned about the Department of Homeland Security’s plans to gather “social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information, and search results” of immigrants.
- The FCC asked Apple to activate the iPhone’s hidden FM radio to aid the public in times of critical safety events. Apple‘s response: we can’t activate imaginary radios that our phones don’t have. Your move, FCC.
- Uber is back in the news, and as usual, there’s the good, the bad, and the ugly.
- The good: Uber shut down Xchange, its US auto-leasing business, affecting about 500 jobs, to find “a less capital-intensive approach” after it underestimated the loss per vehicle. Recall our initial assessment in June 2016.
- Also good: Uber drivers will receive an extra fee for every rider they pick up in UberPool. The end of extra work for no extra pay.
- The bad: After the London shut-out of Uber, New York is considering ways to further regulate ride-hailing companies.
- More bad: Uber’s legal troubles keep coming, as a Texas city’s firefighter pension fund is claiming the company and Travis Kalanick misled them.
- The ugly: board member and former CEO Travis Kalanick named two new Uber board directors without telling the company or its management. So, Uber is aiming to change its governance. They said the new board members are welcome; they just didn’t appreciate Travis’s underhanded approach. Like the rest of the world.
- Ikea has purchased TaskRabbit. Well someone has to put all of that furniture together!
Measurement / Analytics / Data
The future is not in plastics, but in data. Those who know how to measure and analyze it will rule the world.
- Facebook‘s and Snapchat’s self-serve ad-buying tools estimate the size of advertisers’ target audiences. Here is how those sizes stack up.
- If you want to get the most out of data analytics, reward intellectual curiosity across your company, according to KelloggInsight.
- Have you heard of URR as a new metric? Jay Acunzo tells us that—and this is a technical definition, mind you—it’s a metric to save content marketing from creating more crap.
Other links to help you reflect, improve, or simply learn something new.
- For no reason whatsoever, here’s An Oral History to Rodney Dangerfield’s Back to School. “Remember, always look out for number one. But don’t step in number two.”
- Forget “what keeps you up at night?” Optimism and an eagerness to seize opportunities can be a far more useful source of executive inspiration than fear. What Gets You Up in the Morning?
- Who are the most interesting women and men in the world? The archivists, guardians of our forgotten stories. They’re the Keepers of the Secrets.
- I’m going to share this secret with you because you’re awesome and I know you’re going to put it to good use.
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Upcoming Brain+Trust Speaking Engagements
- MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum in Boston, October 3-6, 2017 (Tim and Scott)
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Top image credit: Echo and Narcissus by John William Waterhouse (Google Cultural Institute)
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