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Gilbane Advisor 8-26-15 – Gilbane Program and ad-blocking update

Gilbane Conference 2015 program published

Join us in Boston December 1-3.
See the programworkshopsschedulevenue and register.


Maybe the backlash to intrusive web and mobile ads is finally coming. Maybe the combination of distraction, painfully slow page loads, and overly creepy tracking is about force a major change in how digital content is paid for. Then again, maybe most people will just put up with it — many may not even have noticed the gradual deterioration of the web experience. Either way, things are ramping up and this effects everybody. The use of ad-blocking is growing, and Apple’s imminent release of iOS 9 with support for ad-blocking could dramatically increase its use among a highly-prized demographic. We have chosen three of the many recent articles to get you up to speed quickly.

Ad Blockers and the Nuisance at the Heart of the Modern Web

First up, the New York Times’ Farhad Manjoo does a nice job summarizing the major points of view.

Advertising sustains pretty much all the content you enjoy on the web … many of the world’s most useful technologies may never have come about without online advertising. But at the same time, ads and the vast, hidden, data-sucking machinery that they depend on to track and profile you are routinely the most terrible thing about the Internet. … Now, more and more web users are escaping the daily bombardment of online advertising by installing an ad blocker. Read more

The Ethics of Modern Web Ad-blocking

Next, Marco Arment takes a look at the ‘implied’ or ‘implicit’ contract between  publishers / advertisers and content consumers.

There’s no opportunity for disclosure, negotiation, or reconsideration. By following any link, you unwittingly opt into whatever the target site, and any number of embedded scripts from other sites and tracking networks, wants to collect, track, analyze, and sell about you. … That’s why the implied-contract theory is invalid: people aren’t agreeing to write a blank check and give up reasonable expectations of privacy by clicking a link. They can’t even know what the cost of visiting a page will be until they’ve already visited it and paid the price. Read more

Real-World Results of iOS 9 Safari Content Blocking

Even though iOS 9 is not released yet the beta versions have the content blocking feature and developers are building content blocking apps, so it is possible to see the effect on the user experience. Owen Williams has done just that with side-by-side tests of major publisher sites with and without one of the content blocking apps turned on. Note that iOS content blocking capability includes more than just ads. It will be interesting to see the final options for configuring, and how they end up being used.

Content blockers on iOS are a new type of app that’s able to block incoming content before it’s loaded by the system — it provides a list of sites and scripts to the operating system for blocking. Instead of requiring the browser to process what to block as the page loads, it’s performed on a system level before the page loads which increases speed significantly. … The effect of using a content blocker on iOS is, to be honest, something publishers should be deeply afraid of. I don’t really care about advertising actually appearing on sites, I just care about how fast the site itself loads over a constrained connection. Read more

6 Reasons Marketing is Moving In-House

Digital Agencies finds that in the past year there has been a dramatic spike in the number of companies who no longer work with outside marketing agencies — 27 percent, up from 13 percent in the previous year. This continues a trend The Association of National Advertisers first reported in 2013. … SoDA describes this trend as “alarming” … but stops short of fully explaining why it’s happening. After interviewing several ad agency executives and marketing leaders in a diverse group of businesses — pharmaceutical, high-tech, manufacturing, retail, sports, and others — I’ve found a few common themes that could help explain what is going on. Read more

Learning from PDFs

PDF seemed like a temporary diversion from the road to the future of electronic documents to many even when it was new in 1993. By then HTML and many other SGML based applications existed and the potential was clear but it wasn’t until the Mosaic browser was released, also in 1993, that the web revolution grew the legs for mainstream adoption.

In the 90s there was, largely uninformed, competition between PDF and HTML — there have always been important use cases for both. Our understanding and preferences for content consumption will continue to evolve as computing and information technologies change the landscape of options. Michael Andrews takes a thoughtful look at why PDF is still an important component of content strategy.

What can content strategy learn from PDFs? That some people want to interact with words, and HTML content doesn’t offer them good options to do that… The evolution of content experience is far from over, despite the proclamations that the future of content has arrived. Smart, flexible, modular content is powerful. But on the topics that matter most, people want to choose what’s important to them, and not have that decision made for them. Read more

A Visual Introduction to Machine Learning

Just what it says it is and very nicely done. This is the opposite of a typical insipid infographic. See more


Sponsor

Thanks to our hosting provider LuxSci for sponsoring this issue, and for 15 years of great customer service.

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Short takes

Google analyzed their own app interstitial ad and got rid of it. They explain why in Google+: A case study on App Download Interstitials via the Google Webmaster Central Blog

Mobile:2015 UI / UX Trends… A quick look at what and why. via Medium

Useful background info on the evolution of native ads… Native advertising and sponsored content: Research on audience, ethics, effectiveness via Journalist’s Resource

For a little more technical detail content and page load speed see Why Are Web Pages So Slow? via Medium

Without a doubt Companies Need an Option Between Contractor and Employee via HBR.org

As you might imagine this generated lots comments… Theft, Lies, and Facebook Video via Medium

DAM Industry Heat Maps – Market Share and Customer Satisfaction… a handy quick look. via Real Story Group

Web Content Management Round-Up… Summer news in the WCM space. via Digital Clarity Group

About

The Gilbane Advisor curates content for our conference community of content, computing, and digital experience professionals throughout the year. You can also subscribe via our feed.

The Gilbane Conference on Content, Technology, and Customer Experience helps marketers, IT, and business managers integrate content strategies and computing technologies to produce superior customer experiences for all stakeholders.

Gilbane Advisor 6.3.15 – The future is mobile and apps, except that it isn’t

The future is mobile and apps, except that it isn’t

You may have read other articles making similar arguments but this post by Ben Evans is certainly one of the best.

There are two charts that capture a lot of the way we think about mobile today. In the first, we see that mobile devices are approaching a majority of traffic, and in the second, that a large proportion of all web traffic (a majority in the USA in this instance) and the vast majority of mobile traffic is coming from apps rather than the web. … However, if you’re not careful you can get quite the wrong impression from these. Read more

And if you’re a marketer how do you think about the tradeoffs?…

Apps versus the web

There’s an involved, technical and (for people like me) fascinating conversation in tech about smartphone apps and the web – what can each do, how discovery works, how they interplay, what Google plans with Chrome, how watches affect things, whether the web will take over as the dominant form and so on. … But for an actual brand, developer or publisher wondering if they should do an app or a website, I generally answer that the calculation is much simpler and less technical: Do people want to put your icon on their home screen? Read more

Ad blocking software has figured out native content

This is going to get messy. Just one of the problems…

… ad blockers have grown exponentially in every market, and are now threatening the whole ecosystem.Their reach now extends to native advertising—which was, until now, relatively spared because native ads can be managed by the publisher’s Content Management System instead of an ad-server. But ABP’s engineers found a way to spot and remove any phrase like “sponsored content” or “sponsored by.” This creates pernicious side-effects, as the user won’t be able to distinguish between commercial and legitimate editorial content on websites. Read more

A Murky Road Ahead for Android, Despite Market Dominance

Farhad Manjoo provides a well done summary of Google’s challenges with Android. Read more

Speaking of mobile challenges…

Mozilla, mobile, and the web

Mozilla has a mobile problem. It also wants to keep the web healthy and provide an alternative to mobile walled gardens. Its mobile operating system, Firefox OS, is a worthy attempt to address both these issues. But this is a huge challenge. Read more

Influence People by Leveraging the Brain’s Laziness

For designers and marketers to consider…

… there is still an assumption that the environment is treated as a reflection of information that should drive preferences. For instance, it’s assumed that people tend to stick with the default option because they do not know enough to change it. … This view of decision-making assumes that information is always at the core of the cognitive economy. But in fact, energy is the key currency that the cognitive system seeks to preserve. … people are not treating the environment around them as information in most deliberative processes. Instead, they are performing the easiest actions with as little thought as possible. So if we want to influence other people’s behavior, we must make desirable behaviors easy and undesirable behaviors hard. Read more

Speaking of lazy brains…

Beware Spurious Correlations

A quick look at a graph can be a dangerous thing.

We all know the truism “Correlation doesn’t imply causation,” but when we see lines sloping together, bars rising together, or points on a scatterplot clustering, the data practically begs us to assign a reason. We want to believe one exists. … Statistically we can’t make that leap, however. Charts that show a close correlation are often relying on a visual parlor trick to imply a relationship. Read more

UX is UI

A little long but food for thought for product managers, UX/UI designers, and their execs.

… Product Managers: You might think you have all the answers with a combination of Google Analytics and your own hubris, and that’s fine if you can afford to be wrong. But please, stop hiring UX Designers to just implement what you’ve already decided. … UX Designers: If you want to make the world a better place, you have to take a strategic hand in defining what gets put into the world, not just how that thing works.  Read more

4 topologies of integrated marketing technology stacks

Will there ever be a dominant marketing technology platform / ecosystem? Will there be n overlapping platforms with competing components and centers of gravity? Where will there be stronger links? weaker links? Scott Brinker frames up the situation… Read more

And now for a look at another kind of ecosystem…

Apple Watch and Continuous Computing

Ben Thompson’s non-review review and analysis of the watch and its place in the computing ecosystem is excellent. Read more

Short takes

What do service providers really care about? Less lipstick on the As-a-Service pig please… via horsesforsources.com

A techie experiment with cross-posting on Mediumvia Medium

Inside Quartz’s thinking and a little bit of what’s coming… Quartz is an API via NiemanLab

A reminder that your Instagram photos aren’t really yours: Someone else can sell them for $90,000 … Well, not exactly, but still an interesting storyvia the Washington Post

Some good points on the supposed Power of the Screenshot via Medium

Mary Meeker’s 2015 Internet Trends report may not be, or have much news, but has lots of stats. via Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

Tim’s Web Decay Graph is a bit depressing, as are the broken links on my 19 year old site even after multiple link updating efforts. via tbray.org

Lenovo’s smartphone that can project apps right in front of you is interesting but what we need is a configurable movable holographic display. via Business Insider

About

The Gilbane Advisor curates content for our conference community of content, computing, and digital experience professionals throughout the year.

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