Gilbane Advisor 5-9-18 — Ad cost, engagement, consent, speech

Annoying online ads do cost business

Nielsen Norman Group reports on a new research study involving 35 million Pandora users over 21 months. The study showed increased advertising caused a 2.8% reduction in use. As they point out, this is not a huge amount, and your mileage may vary.

ads effect on listening time

What is significant is the convincing quantification. Nobody wants to have to defend a drop in customer activity. Read More

Predicting content attention and behavior

Content strategist Michael Andrews argues that “The biggest weakness in content strategy today is that it lacks predictive explanatory power. … To provide predictive explanatory power, content strategy guidelines should be based on empirical data that can be reproduced by others.”. Andrews summarizes, and points to, a new study presented at the 2018 World Wide Web Conference by Nir Grinberg of Northeastern University that provides some data and interesting analysis. The summary and Grinberg’s paper are both worthy of your time, and a must read if you’re a content strategist. Read More

How Axel Springer is getting consent for GDPR

They’ve been running some tests and are kindly sharing the results.

So far, the publisher’s readers are far more likely to give consent when they receive a fact-based static message, rather than a video message or one written in a tone that requests the readers’ support. Read More

Speech recognition systems vulnerable to adversarial attacks

Nicholas Carlini and David Wagner invented a novel attack against speech recognition AI. With the addition of an imperceptible amount of noise, the attack can trick speech-recognition systems into producing any output the attacker wants.

The Gradient’s Hugh Zhang points out that this kind of

targeted deception in nature

attack is also a problem for other deep learning algorithms, for example in image recognition. Read More

Also…

The Gilbane Advisor curates content for content, computing, and digital experience professionals. We focus on strategic technologies. We publish more or less twice a month except for August and December. See all issues

Gilbane Advisor 4-25-18 — deep learning value, martech size, no-click searches

Notes from the AI frontier: Applications and value of deep learning

In 2011 as the excitement about Big Data was becoming mainstream, McKinsey published what was the most useful early report for executives. Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity, took a smart and measured look at use cases and value across industries. Given the symbiotic relationship between data and AI / machine learning, companies who were paying attention and invested in Big Data then are likely positioned well ahead of others to benefit from today’s advances in machine learning technologies and techniques.

AI performance improvement by industry

McKinsey’s new report provides a knowledgeable overview using accurate terminology in their “… analysis of more than 400 use cases across 19 industries and nine business functions highlights the broad use and significant economic potential of advanced AI techniques.” Highly recommended. Read More

A flaw-by-flaw guide to Facebook’s new GDPR privacy changes

Josh Constine provides a useful take on the changes rolling out now to European users illustrated with screen shots. But I think it’s safe to say that whether they are meeting the “letter of the GDPR law” is still a matter for debate.

Overall, it seems like Facebook is complying with the letter of GDPR law, but with questionable spirit…Facebook struck the right balance in some places here. But the subtly pushy designs seem intended to steer people away from changing their defaults. Read More

Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic (2018)

Scott Brinker has just released the latest update to his famous “Supergraphic”. The number of marketing technology vendors continues to grow. As Scott puts it, “Water continues to flow into the martech tub faster than it’s draining out.” Check out his post on what it all means and to see/download the graphic and a spreadsheet. Read More

Uh oh, click counts count less

Click quality and measurement has always been a bit iffy. But the biggest challenge to click value yet may come from a combination of mobile trends and Google’s strategy of reducing the need to click away from the search results page. Rand Fishkin’s post, New Data: How Google’s Organic & Paid CTRs Have Changed 2015-2018, looks at some interesting numbers. Back to brand marketing banners?
No-click searches desktop vs mobile

Ultimately, I think this data shows us that the future of SEO will have to account for influencing searchers without earning a click, or even knowing that a search happened. That’s going to be very frustrating for a lot of organizations. Read More

Also…

The Gilbane Advisor curates content for content, computing, and digital experience professionals. We focus on strategic technologies. We publish more or less twice a month except for August and December. See all issues

Gilbane Advisor 4-13-18 — GDPR, AI and content management, Chrome referrals

GDPR – a big deal for small publishers

“… think about this in relation to a new visitor. Someone that you have no prior relationship with… What data can you actually collect and use for that person? The answer is … nothing! … a first time visitor hasn’t done anything that could be considered consent, so you have nothing to work with.”

And you can’t use third-party plugins like ad partner scripts or social widgets that collect data. GDPR is complicated and how much of it will be interpreted is unknown.

Google forcing consent for GDPR
Thomas Baekdal explains why, and how, all publishers need to get started. Read More

The top 25 AI use cases for content management

What we used to call “unstructured data” is the raw material of content management, and this same raw material is where machine learning will have the largest impact. Kashyap Kompella has put together a list of use cases you’ll want to look at. Read More

Chrome’s Articles for You a major new referral source

Google Chrome’s Articles for You is an under-publicized feature of Chrome on both Android and iOS that is now the fourth most prominent referrer in the Chartbeat network (behind Google Search, Facebook, and Twitter). Even though Chartbeat is currently only tracking Articles for You referrals from Android and not from iOS, its Android referrals alone are now about two-thirds the size of all of Twitter (desktop, Android, iOS) in terms of the volume of traffic sent… Articles for You traffic grew a shocking 2,100 percent in 2017 — from driving 15 million visits per month to publishers using Chartbeat to 341 million visits per month.

There are lots of questions about how this works. Josh Schwartz reports on what he’s been able to find out. Read More

It’s time to rebuild the web

Most of what is written about this topic assumes radical decentralization and blockchain. But this won’t happen quickly even though there are lots of blockchain applications already popping up. The general problem is just too big, the user experience changes alone are daunting, and there are still technical challenges. Mike Loukides takes a thoughtful look at a simpler path. Read More

Also…

The Gilbane Advisor curates content for content, computing, and digital experience professionals. We focus on strategic technologies. We publish more or less twice a month except for August and December. See all issues

Gilbane Advisor 3-26-18 — Facebook (duh!), Google & news, personal data, IAB & GDPR

This is so much bigger than Facebook

The Facebook / Cambridge Analytica scandal is Facebook’s most serious crisis so far because it exposes the particular weakness of their business model at a time, and in a way, that can no longer be ignored by those who understood it, namely, investors and paying customers. There is no obvious fix that does not reduce Facebook’s value. And then there are the Facebook users paying with ‘only’ personal data – how many of these will now become woke? And what will they do? As Ethan Zuckerman, points out though, and the reason I singled out his excellent article, the problem is much bigger.

… Zuck didn’t mention that Facebook’s business model is based on collecting this demographic and psychographic information and selling the ability to target ads to people using this data about them… This is a known bug not just for Facebook and other social networks, but for the vast majority of the contemporary web. Read More

Duopoly not all-powerful?

eMarketer estimates that the combined Google and Facebook share of the digital ad market will shrink from last year’s 58.5% to 56.8% in 2018 “as smaller players such as Amazon and Snapchat are experiencing faster-than-expected growth.” Also, Google and Facebook’s share of new digital ad dollars is declining… This year, they will garner nearly 48% of new expenditures.” Down from almost 73% in 2016. Read More

Facebook vs Google share US ad spend

Google News Initiative

Google has been more successful than Facebook in working with publishers. And of course they need to be, for all the same reasons they need to support the Open Web. This week they launched the Google News Initiative to pull together all the relevant projects and partnerships into a coordinated effort and are committing $300m to fund the activity over the next three years. Self-interested of course, but lots to applaud here. Read More

Eager to sell your personal data?

Should marketers pay consumers directly to access their personal data? The idea isn’t new but it’s become more popular as people see the huge profits that Google, Facebook, and others make from using that data, as consumers become more aware of the data trade, and as blockchain technology makes low cost micro-payments a possibility.

David Raab takes a look at the current vendor marketplace, and reaches the realistic conclusion that “You’ll have to wait”. Good advice. Read More

Why the IAB GDPR Transparency and Consent Framework is a non-starter for publishers

The IAB and IAB Europe, which are charged with representing a much broader set of stakeholders including hundreds of ad tech companies, Google, Facebook, Oath, and many others with significant intermediary interests, has released its plan to handle the GDPR roll-out. The IAB framework, which was submitted for industry commenting, was clearly designed by ad tech companies and included endorsement from 23 ad tech companies and, most notably, zero publishersRead More

Also…

The Gilbane Advisor curates content for content, computing, and digital experience professionals. We focus on strategic technologies. We publish more or less twice a month except for August and December. See all issues

Gilbane Advisor 3-6-18 — What’s open, why decentralization, blockchain for publishing, breakthroughs

Why decentralization matters

Chris Dixon has a really useful post explaining the intense interest in decentralized cryptonetworks and why he thinks they will drive a return to a more open internet less dominated by the major platforms. His post is short, clear, accessible, and a great starting point for strategic discussions.

Platform dynamics | decentralization

The 140+ comments are useful as well but keep in mind there is a natural tension between centralized and decentralized networks in the same way there is between all proprietary and open architectures — there is a role for each and a tendency for one or the other to dominate at different points in time and usefulness. There are also different types of decentralization which can too easily be conflated. Read More

The meaning of open

Google’s Alex Komoroske digs into the tension and interplay between open and closed systems in a thoughtful piece that is a good companion read (not a response) to Dixon’s piece on decentralization. In the context of what it means to be open in general, you’ll get some insight into Google’s thinking about the balance between their own platform components and being part of the open web. Read More

The next platform for media and makers

Jarrod Dicker, who you may know from the Washington Post, Time, Huffington, and The RebelMouse content management system, believes it’s time for a blockchain-based platform for content creators and publishers. Dicker just left the Post to be CEO of Blockchain startup Po.et. This will be interesting to watch. Read More

10 breakthrough technologies 2018

MIT Technology Review’s annual list is always worth reading. It comes as close to a carefully curated and neutral list as you’ll find. And while their broad coverage means not all the technologies will have a near term impact on your business decisions, they are likely to be “technologies that will have a profound effect on our lives.” Read More

Also…

The Gilbane Advisor curates content for content, computing, and digital experience professionals. We focus on strategic technologies. We publish more or less twice a month except for August and December. See all issues

Gilbane Advisor 2-16-18 — Marketing & AI, publishing & AR, blockchain & media, IoT

How is AI disrupting marketing?

An excellent summary from Scott Brinker on the current/near-term reality of “AI” marketing applications. “…here’s the irony: as much as the hype has overstated what AI

Overhyped Marketing Buzzwords | chiefmartec.com

might do formarketing in the next 12-24 months, the reality of how AI is already working in marketing today is often under-recognized.” Tis true. Read More

The NYT is boarding the AR train — here’s what that means for storytelling

One of the areas we’re paying attention to this year is the use of AR content for serious enterprise applications and truly useful consumer use cases. In the case of publishing, The New York Times, Quartz, Axel Springer, and others, are experimenting with how the unique characteristics of AR content can enhance customer experiences rather than distract. As powerful as the AR promise is we don’t know how news consumers will react to the extra, more active, effort involved. But it’s time to find out. Read More

How blockchain could kill both cable and Netflix

Not this week, but there is keen interest in using blockchain technology to build decentralized peer-to-peer content management and distribution applications. There are a number of these kinds of projects planning to go live this year. Rizwan Virk describes much of the collective vision and potential disruption. A good place to start learning more. Read More

Smart homes and vegetable peelers

Andreessen Horowitz’s Benedict Evans doesn’t have a unified vision of the future of smart homes, but he does have some ideas and lots of enlightening questions. In this post he looks at smart home ecosystems and questions smart thing use cases, market dynamics, platform roles, integrations, and how we’ll interface with them. He remains “extremely skeptical” of voice as a new major platform, and rightfully so. This a must read for anyone building or investing in products or businesses around smart things – not just for the home. Read More

Also…

The Gilbane Advisor curates content for content, computing, and digital experience professionals. We focus on strategic technologies. We publish more or less twice a month except for August and December. See all issues

Gilbane Advisor 1-30-18 — Molecular content, beyond bitcoin, ML data value, Facebook “platform”

Molecular content & the separation of concerns

The creation and management of content continues to increase in complexity as we need to design for nmachines in addition to n screens. Content Strategist Michael Andrews lays out why we need to move beyond, single sourcing and modular content.

Atom Design methodology by Brad Frost

Michael proposes an approach based on “molecular content” combined with the concept of the “separation of concerns”. A good read for anyone involved in content strategy. Read More

Beyond the Bitcoin bubble

As most of you know, the really interesting thing about Bitcoin is not the actual currency but the Blockchain architecture it is built on. And while we don’t cover financial technology, Blockchain is very much applicable to the information management technologies and applications we do focus on, for example in publishing or marketing. On a grander scale, a trustable distributed ledger of X that competes with or complements a trusted (or not) central authority of X has broad societal implications. One of these is the walled garden threat to the Open Web. And sure enough, there are serious efforts underway to build /rebuild a sustainable Open Web using Blockchain technology. Steven Johnson has written a non-technical article that provides an excellent explanation of what you need to know and why. Read More

Is your company’s data actually valuable in the AI era?

In the AI economy, the value of your accumulated data is limited to a one-time benefit from training your AI model. And the value of training data is, like oil or any other input, influenced by the overall supply — it’s less valuable when more people have it. In contrast, the value of your ongoing operational data is not limited to a one-time benefit, but rather provides a perpetual benefit for operating and further enhancing your prediction machine. Read More

Maybe Facebook should abandon the news feed altogether

Facebook has almost always wanted to be a platform, if not The Platform. Their recent shift away from news in their news feed back to mostly social interactions raises questions about their long-term future and what kind of platform they will be. John Battelle has an interesting suggestion. He admits it is a long shot, but his thoughts aren’t as crazy as he suggests his solution might sound…

What if Facebook *really* pivoted, and became a … truly neutral platform — an AWS for attention and identity, if you will. What if the company dedicated itself to a set of stable policies that encouraged other companies to tap into its social graph, its vast identity database, its remarkable engagement machinery? Read More

Also…

The Gilbane Advisor curates content for content, computing, and digital experience professionals. More or less twice a month except for August and December. See all issues

Gilbane Advisor 1-16-18 — Open Web, Mobile Mesh, Machine Learning, AR

We’re back after our annual December break and looking forward to a year of consequential, if not yet tectonic, shifts in enterprise and consumer content strategies and applications. We’ll be closely watching how, and how fast, three major technology areas will drive these changes: 1) The tension between the Open Web and proprietary platforms; 2) Machine learning, in particular for unstructured data and mixed data; 3) New content types and uses — AR is here, but when will it grow beyond cute apps to serious industry breakthroughs? Each of these has the potential to dramatically re-arrange industry landscapes. Stay tuned!

A plan to rescue the Web from the Internet

André Staltz published The Web began dying in 2014, here’s how in the late Fall. It was a depressing post but there wasn’t much to argue with except an apparent ready acceptance of defeat. It is a good read, and for those familiar with the history, skim to the second half. Fortunately, he followed up with a post on a plan that already has some pieces in place. The plan “in short is: Build the mobile mesh Web that works with or without Internet access, to reach 4 billion people currently offline”. This is not a quick fix, and its future is not certain, but it is just the kind of bold thinking we need. Crucially, it recognizes the need for both open and closed systems. Highly recommended. Read More

A letter about Google AMP

More than other major platforms, Google has a stake in the Open Web and is largely supportive of it, Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) for example. And while they have been somewhat responsive to publisher concerns, there is reason to worry that AMP could end up as a wall for Google’s garden. There is a lot to like about AMP but ensuring it evolves in ways compatible with the Open Web is critical for Google and the health the Open Web. This succinct letter signed by a growing list of (mostly) developers has a couple of reasonable recommendations for Google to consider. Read More

What does the publishing industry bring to the Web?

The short answer is that the Open Web should not be limited to pointers to either walled gardens or proprietary applications. Complex collections of content and metadata that require or benefit from unique presentation or organization, in other words, documents, are too valuable not to be included as full Web citizens. Ivan Herman goes into more detail on the W3C blog…

Web Publications should put the paradigm of a document on the Web back in the spotlight. Not in opposition to Web Applications but to complement them. (Web) Publications should become first class entities on the Web. This should lead to a right balance between a Web of Applications and a Web of Documents as two, complementary faces of the World Wide Web. Read More

Does long-form content work in today’s small attention span world?

“Social media moves fast and rewards scrolling quickly past one message and onto the next. And mobile devices aren’t usually associated with spending long periods of time sitting and reading. It’s natural for people to assume these trends point toward a preference for shorter, “snackable”

long form content performance

content that can be consumed quickly… And yet, actual research looking into the issue of how content of different lengths performs doesn’t back up that assumption.” Read More

Also…

The Gilbane Advisor curates content for content, computing, and digital experience professionals. More or less twice a month except for August and December. See all issues