Monthly Archives: July 2015

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    Frankenmetrics: Neuromarketing and the Really Cool End of Privacy

Frankenmetrics: Neuromarketing and the Really Cool End of Privacy

For all their intrusiveness, companies like Facebook really don’t want to hurt us. They want to sell us stuff. And for that reason, we tolerate the cognitive dissonance created by our love for technology and our desire for privacy.

So, it is with the mixed emotions all of us share about such matters that I say, “Facebook studied our neurological patterns and they found out some really cool stuff.”

Chief among the findings was for all our handwringing about dwindling screen sizes, it turns out people are more focused on their mobile screens than their television screens, not less. Equally important, it seems we trust that small screen more, as well. What that means for, say, politicians or the producers of YouTube cat videos is that the advent of mobile has not resulted in a qualitative loss in terms of the ability to communicate with video.

Facebook commissioned the neurological study (basically studying how your body responds to different stimuli) to answer the burning question on every marketer’s mind, namely, “If you keep making screens smaller, will we still be able to sell stuff?” Now, granted, when the government does these kinds of studies, it’s a lot creepier.   Corporations get that, which explains why companies like Facebook and Google hate to see their names linked to government data collection.

This study was done by SalesBrain, itself the brainchild of Christophe Morin and Patrick Renvoisé. Renvoisé’s bio humbly states that he “discovered the buy button inside the brain” which, just for the record, I’m not sure I buy. In any case, the study itself is fascinating in the way watching one’s own autopsy would be fascinating. The “them “of the study is us. And yes, we do act and […]

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    Programmatic Buying: Is Compiled “Big Data” Becoming Obsolete?

Programmatic Buying: Is Compiled “Big Data” Becoming Obsolete?

Huge resources have been poured into “modeling” voters based on compiled consumer data. The problem is that none of those predictive models comes close to beating the latest generation of programmatic ad buying algorithms.

These algorithms are used by Facebook, Google and other online behemoths to sell ad inventory in real time, which is another way of saying it’s how the rest of us buy ad inventory in real time. It is a moment-by-moment auction to see which ads will appear in an individual Facebook user’s news feed, for example. As individuals, we don’t all see the same ads, because advertisers value individual prospective customers (or voters) differently and are willing to bid up the price to place an ad in one news feed, while ignoring another.

That’s the “real” Big Data, and for most online ad buyers, it’s making that endlessly re-modelled compiled data out there seem almost quaint by comparison. When we then import voter file data into the Facebook equation, we suddenly find ourselves with a product far exceeding Big Data’s most grandiose promises. We don’t just talk to users who “look just like our targets”, we talk to our targets.

We can schedule ads to reach only likely voters in a Democratic Primary who vote by mail, for example, while targeting Independents who vote on Election Day, swing 45+ Republican married women, etc. with a different series of ads. Even the phrase “likely voter” is now more science than guesswork. Sophisticated propensity index models use a variety of data points in addition to simple vote history in order to rank voters against increasingly accurate scales.

Here’s the part where it gets dangerous. Agencies that understand this dynamic bid up the price to make sure […]

Why Facebook’s Future Doesn’t Matter

Facebook’s Q2 report makes one thing abundantly clear. No one can possibly predict what this company will look like, or what the Facebook user experience will feel like a year, let along 5 or 10 years from now.   Sure, advertising is up 31% in 2015, but the user experience continues to evolve in ways none of us could have predicted. Digging into the Q2 numbers leads one to the inescapable conclusion that, just as you cannot step into the same river twice, you cannot experience the same Facebook twice. Yeah, it’s changing that fast. So fast, in fact, that the challenge is not to predict what it will become, but to simply stay current with where it is at the moment.

Let’s take a look at the very recent past. Video finally went mainstream on Facebook in the first quarter, (and how that has changed advertising for the top 100 brands is an early indicator of how political advertising is going to change in 2016). Digging into those numbers shows that some companies adapted far more quickly and successfully than others. It also shows that Facebook got it mostly right.
Video is now a major content type, and Facebook users seem to have taken the self-starting videos in stride. The new format has complicated metrics on the back end (which Facebook addressed this morning by shaking up their video ad options). “Likes” are down and “shares” are up, which one would expect as the type of content shifts. People share pictures and videos more often, and that also holds true with ads. Major companies also learned lessons that will help everyone. Simply Measured conducted a study of the Interbrand 100 and recently shared the results. For […]