“… this is a great idea, one worth replicating elsewhere. But it’s also a reminder of the power publishers have to use their article metadata to improve public understanding — and how little they use it. When one of your old stories is floating around social media in a way that causes confusion, you can do something about it.” Read More
Is ad blocking past 2 billion worldwide?
Doc Searls: “The answer is, we don’t know. Also, we may never know, because”… Read More
Journey mapping: 9 frequently asked questions
Journey maps are useful for building common ground in an organization, but practitioners often have questions and misunderstandings about their scope and how to create them. Read More
Bitter lesson + better lesson = lesson
Many of you will remember the rules vs data debates from the early days of machine translation and image recognition. There is a similar debate currently going on in AI research. The main differences are the dramatic improvements in deep learning, facilitated by the availability of massive computing power. The current discussion seems more secular, and concerned with relative costs and efficiencies. This post, “Better lesson” is by Rodney Brooks, but also checkout Rich Sutton’s “Bitter Lesson”, which Brooks links to. Both posts are short and very accessible. Read More
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.
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.
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
attack is also a problem for other deep learning algorithms, for example in image recognition. Read More
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
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
Thanks to our hosting provider LuxSci for sponsoring this issue, and for 15 years of great customer service.
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.
Workshop D. Adaptive Content Modeling for Omnichannel UX
Speaker:Noz Urbina, Consultant and Founder, Urbina Consulting
Thursday, December, 4: 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Your users need you to come to this session, even if they don’t know it. Multi-channel, or “COPE (create once, publish everywhere)”, content is a bit of a holy grail. Our trade is discussing content being freed from the browser, available for reuse, and accessible in apps, kiosks, responsive mobile deliverables, eBooks and syndication services to our partners – even in wearable technologies. All this should improve the experience of users, and benefit the organizations that serve them. Adaptive content is content that is nimble enough to realize all these ambitions. But making our content adaptive means addressing a topic that sends many running for the fire exit or nearest window: semantic modeling of structured content. This session will connect the dots between adaptive content, responsive design, multi-channel delivery and user experiences to show you why you want and even need to have semantic content structures. It will then go through a non-terrifying introduction to getting started with modeling your own content in a future-proof way. Learning objectives:
The knowledge that their content is already more structured than they realize.
A solid sense of what semantic, structured content actually is and its relationship to adaptive content, multichannel, and UX.
This workshop is designed for either intermediate or expert attendees. Bring your laptop and go home with samples and templates.
Workshop E. CMS Implementations: The View from the Implementor’s Side
Speaker:Deane Barker, Director of Business Development, Blend Interactive
Thursday, December, 4: 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Ever wanted to know how CMS integration shops approach projects, and how you can better work with them or use their techniques in your own organization? In this workshop, Deane Barker will explain the ins and outs of CMS project work from the perspective of a veteran integrator, with the goal of helping you understand how best to find an integrator, work with your chosen integrator, or manage your project and team. Learn about how integrators:
Manage client expectations
Execute and manage development
Support existing implementations
Workshop F. What’s it Worth? Assessing the ROI of your Content
Speaker:Lindy Roux, VP, Content Marketing and Strategy, Rauxa
Thursday, December, 4: 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
No matter how well researched and deliberate your content strategy is, the proof lies in the pudding and the most successful content professionals continually evaluate the effectiveness of their content and adapt their strategies to improve the return. Too often, content is evaluated or audited only when a major digital shift is in play (a move to a new CMS, a new marketing automation tool, a new campaign launch.) In order to be truly successful, that evaluation should be ongoing, providing the opportunity to learn from past content marketing successes and failures. Lindy Roux will demonstrate an approach to content evaluation across multiple channels, based on qualitative and quantitative assessments, which has been used to help organizations understand the true ROI of a piece of content. The session will end with a practical exercise in content evaluation where participants will try their hand at developing assessment criteria and then applying these to real content. Participants in the session will learn:
How to establish content goals that are measurable and realistic
A way to evaluate content against these goals
How to establish a regular review workflow and process
An approach to optimization across all channels
The appropriate team structure for ongoing content performance
In another installment of Speaker Spotlight, we posed a couple of our frequently asked questions to speaker Pamela Kostur, Partner at Parallax Communications. We’ve included her answers here. Be sure to see additional Speaker Spotlights from our upcoming conference.
What is the best overall strategy for delivering content to web, multiple mobile, and upcoming digital channels? What is the biggest challenge? Development and maintenance cost? Content control? Brand management? Technology expertise?
For me, it’s always content first. Content should serve its audiences, yet too often, organizations put themselves first, basing their messaging on what they want to tell customers instead of on what customers want to know. So, regardless of the delivery mechanism—web, blog, video, webinar, tweet—I always start with the following questions:
What are you trying to say? To whom?
Why? What do you want them to know? What do you want them to do?
What content and delivery method will best serve audiences’ needs, based on your answers to these questions?
The biggest challenge I see in many of the organizations I work with is definitely content control. Many organizations don’t think beyond individual departments. So, Marketing may “own” one component of the content, but Customer Support owns another version that is different, and possibly inconsistent. I’ve even found inconsistent product descriptions throughout companies’ websites, saying different things about the same products, and providing inconsistent types of information about similar products.
Further adding to the content control problem is that many organizations don’t know what content they have, so instead of modifying/retiring existing content, they add new content to the mix, introducing more inconsistencies. A content strategy should consider all iterations of content, for all outputs, for all users, and bring them together into a unified message that serves the audience and promotes brand consistency.
Catch Up with Pamela at Gilbane
Track C: Content, Marketing, and the Customer Experience
Decades of experience with XML technologies and content strategies provide unique ability to help organizations make appropriate technology choices and leverage industry best practices. New blog at https://gilbane.com/xml
Cambridge MA, January 29, 2008. Gilbane Group Inc. today announced the launch of a new practice area dedicated to helping organizations of all types utilize XML technologies and best practices. Well-known industry expert and long-time Gilbane associate Bill Trippe will be the practice’s Lead Analyst. Trippe is joined by industry veterans and Gilbane senior analysts Leonor Ciarlone and Mary Laplante.
Gilbane’s XML Technologies and Content Strategies Practice is designed for IT and business managers who need to gain control of critical content, increase collaboration across enterprise applications, improve efficiencies through faster and more flexible information distribution between business partners and customers, and implement new business models that can keep pace with today’s internet-speed competitive requirements. The amount of XML content being generated today is staggering, as large infrastructure providers like Microsoft, IBM, Google, Oracle, and others offer tools and technologies that generate and manage XML information, While many organizations are taking advantage of XML within departmental applications, most companies are not even close to taking advantage of the XML information being created and utilized by popular applications including office software and database repositories. Significantly, many executives are unaware of the XML content and data that are untapped assets within their organizations.
“As most of our customers know, XML (and before that SGML) technologies and applications have always been core to our content and information technology consulting and coverage.” said Frank Gilbane, Gilbane Group CEO. “Our team has deep expertise that comes from roles in enterprise IT organizations, software development, standards bodies and industry associations involved in development and adoption of markup language technologies for key business and government applications. While XML cuts across all our analyst and consulting activity, today’s proliferation of XML content means that many businesses need to consider XML as strategic to their information infrastructure. Our group’s experience and market knowledge uniquely qualify Gilbane to provide that expertise. I am thrilled that Bill Trippe, who is always in demand, will be the lead analyst and consultant for the Group.”
“Project leaders, IT managers, and business executives have always depended on Gilbane Group to help them understand the value of applying standards and technologies to their businesses,” said Bill Trippe, Lead Analyst, XML Technologies and Content Strategies Practice. “With this new practice, we are bringing together research, best practices, and advice and guidance on XML implementation and technology acquisition that they cannot get from any other single source.”