Valentine’s Day Boosts Entertainment, Food, and Social Apps

The data shows that Valentine’s Day marks a major uptick in app usage across verticals. Compared to an average February day last year, on Valentine’s Day, entertainment app usage was up 24%, food and drink apps 20%, and social 16%. Consumers also spent an unusual amount of time on transport (7%) and gaming (6%) apps.

The Pivot Stuck: Video Ads Dominate App Revenue

Digital marketing journalists touted the pivot to video so incessantly that mention of it after a certain point sparked obligatory mea culpas. Redundant as the proclamations may have proved, fresh data from mobile ad firm AdColony suggests those who heralded video as the future of digital advertising have been vindicated.

Retailers Succeed at Listings, Struggle on Rankings, Review Response

Retailers scored best on average on listings, suggesting that management is succeeding at getting multi-location stores to optimize the fundamentals of their online presence. The poorest average category score, rankings, indicates brands are failing to pop up when consumers search for unbranded items. At a time when consumers are increasingly searching for items “near me” instead of brand-name stores where they could find those items, businesses stand to gain if they invest in non-brand-specific keywords.

How Viewers Watch the Super Bowl—And Its Ads

Even the Super Bowl does not make for entertaining enough television to get today’s fickle viewers to glue their eyes on the big screen and set cellphones aside. During the game, viewers also text (29%), play mobile games (28%), and browse social media apps (27%), mobile firm AdColony found in a global survey.

The numbers may even seem low; it seems fair to bet more than one in three viewers takes an eye off the game to text a friend. But AdColony manager of strategy and planning Gabriella Stano Aversa said marketers should not treat the multiscreen environment as a dilemma, seeing it rather as an opportunity.

Why and How Often Consumers Share Location Data

Location is among the types of data consumers are most likely to weigh disclosing based on the utility of the scenario. Asked about eight different types of data, including marital status, social security number, and physical address, a higher percentage of survey respondents said whether they’ll share location data “depends” on the situation than for any other category. It’s neither an automatic yes or no; companies need to make a case.

Mobile Marketing Firm Verve Acquired by Germany’s MGI

The companies underscored Verve’s location data-driven ability to drive prospective customers into brick-and-mortar stores, adding a cutting-edge ad tech capability to MGI’s suite of existing media solutions. Verve will also help the European enterprise increase its presence in North America.

Telnet Passwords Leaked for Half a Million IoT Devices, Servers, Routers

The breach is particularly significant given the rapid expansion of smart or IoT devices. Given that consumers already struggle to secure basic electronic devices including laptops and smartphones, the Telnet breach indicates how much larger the security risk for personal devices may become in coming years as smart speakers, TVs, and fridges join the legion of devices open to hackers.

Roundtable: How Google’s Third-Party Cookie Announcement Will Disrupt Search, Ad Tech

Google indicated it is making the change to boost user privacy on the Web, and the company believes digital advertising can survive on the back of evolving, more privacy-aware data sources. Chief among those sources, at least in the case of Chrome, will be Google’s privacy sandbox, which will offer advertisers and ad tech companies personalization opportunities based on browser data without granting them direct access to user-level information.

To size up the impact of Google’s announcement on ad tech and hyperlocal marketing, we turned to a slate of industry professionals for their takes on the move.

What Consumers Believe About Ads: Effectiveness, Creepiness, Transparency

The good news for advertisers is that members of Gen-Z, while finding ads just about as threatening to privacy as respondents of every other age group, appear to see their benefits, too. Forty-six percent of Gen-Zers said personalization can be beneficial, compared to 30-36 percent of older age groups. About three quarters of respondents in all age ranges said personalizations imperils privacy.

Brave CEO Brendan Eich on a Privacy-by-Default Future for Digital Advertising

In light of last week’s enactment of the California Consumer Privacy Act and our monthly theme, Pursuing Privacy, Street Fight posed questions on surveillance capitalism, privacy, Big Tech, and the future of digital advertising to Brendan Eich, CEO of Brave, one of the leading companies championing privacy-first solutions in the tech industry.

“The entire industry is in need of a fundamental shift from tracking to privacy by default and by design,” Eich said. “To truly preserve consumer privacy, Big Tech needs to switch to a privacy-by-default approach. Nothing will change otherwise. Until then, consumers will remain confused about where their data is being used, and tracking and data monetization will remain pervasive on the web.”

How Much Consumers Value Transparent Privacy Practices

Potential legal troubles and CCPA’s enforceability weaknesses aside, the Tealium study suggests a strong record on privacy will be a boon to brands as privacy increasingly takes center stage in the public consciousness. Ninety-seven percent of consumers said they are at least somewhat concerned about data privacy, and 85% said they won’t forgive a company’s misuse of their data.

The California Consumer Privacy Act’s Promise and Limitations

At first glance, the California Consumer Privacy Act marks a major achievement for privacy advocates, the first statewide bill in the US to offer consumers control over how companies handle their personal information. It’s all the more significant that CCPA happened in California, a frequent bellwether for federal legislation and the state where many of the world’s top tech companies are headquartered.

It’s not entirely clear, though, that CCPA will put significant fetters on Silicon Valley’s hitherto unrestrained collection and monetization of user data. Major weaknesses include the law’s enforcement protocol, continued lobbying efforts to defang it, and its opt-out structure.

Apps Dominate Mobile Holiday Shopping

App fatigue, the feeling that a consumer simply cannot add yet another corporate app to her phone at a time when all enterprises seem to be competing for a place on mobile displays, is a major roadblock to successful app-based mobile strategies for retailers. But data from this holiday shopping season suggests that consumers are willing to download apps for the right incentives.

Report: Reviews for Local Businesses Are Essential. Ratings Below 4 Stars Are Deadly

If it had not already been clear that building up a significant inventory of positive online reviews is key to attracting new customers to a business, let doubt linger no further. 

A whopping 52 percent of consumers ages 18-54 “always” read reviews when searching for local businesses, and only 53 percent will consider a businesses with fewer than four stars, according to survey of 1,005 US-based consumers by marketing platform BrightLocal. Eighty-two percent of consumers overall read online reviews.

Jeff Glueck Passes the Torch as David Shim Steps up to Foursquare CEO

Shim now faces the challenge of steering a fast-growing tech business through uncertain times for data-driven companies. While location tech is a lucrative business that provides crucial insights for brick-and-mortar companies and has yet to hit peak productivity, the industry is also facing concerns of an unprecedented scale about how much it knows about the people who power its insights.

TripAdvisor Buys Listings, Menu Management Company SinglePlatform

As SinglePlatform’s name suggests, the acquisition is a sign of changing and challenging times for search-related internet businesses. Facing pressure from a Google juggernaut that is increasingly mapping out any imaginable search experience on its own properties, digital services that connect consumers with restaurants or places to visit when traveling are consolidating, aiming to offer holistic information that keeps searchers coming back.

Retailers Hoping for Record Cyber Monday to Follow Friday Windfall

US retailers set all-time records on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, wracking up $11.6 billion in online sales. Adobe predicts that Cyber Monday will also set a fresh record of $9.4 billion, pushing the Thanksgiving weekend total to nearly $30 billion.

The increasing importance of online sales has forced traditional retailers to compete with e-commerce natives like Amazon not only by offering their own robust set of deals but also by investing in delivery infrastructure and reducing friction for consumers ordering online. 

The Risks and Outsize Rewards of Political Branding

In a time of unprecedented political partisanship, the risks and rewards of corporate political messaging are amplified. Viral marketing strategies including Nike’s partnership with racial justice activist and football star Colin Kaepernick, Gillette’s toxic masculinity ad, and Chick-fil-A’s anti-LGBTQ stances rally political sympathizers to a brand’s side and alienate ideological foes.

Street Fight checked in with Jen Capstraw, director of strategic insights and evangelism at growth marketing company Iterable, to get a sense of how significant the benefits and drawbacks of political branding are, which ideological direction political ads are predominantly taking, and how strong the evidence is for the efficacy of partisan messaging.

95% of Consumers Plan on Buying Most Holiday Gifts Online

While brick-and-mortar sales remain a robust part of the holiday shopping experience, online shopping is asserting clearer dominance than ever before this year. A walloping 95% of consumers plan to do the majority of their holiday shopping this season online, according to multi-channel engagement platform Leanplum.

US Businesses Lead on Reputation Management

Loyalty to local businesses may never cease to be an important factor in brick-and-mortar commerce, but the boom of “near me” searches and the emphasis on convenience in the age of mobile search make a prime online presence for the quick-querying passerby more important than it has ever been. This latest Uberall data indicate that responding to reviews can provide the slight 5-star rating bump that guides an unfamiliar customer into a store she may otherwise pass up for a higher-ranked competitor.