Alexa, Draw a Line Between Convenience and Control

It’s that factor, consumer data and Amazon’s vast store of it, that stands out most in Jason Del Rey’s reporting on Recode’s new podcast series, Land of the Giants. Specifically striking is the episode on Alexa, in which Amazon employees openly speculate about a future in which smart microwaves will hook up with Amazon’s growing healthcare ambitions to tell you when it’s time to stop making popcorn and smart countertops will join the intelligent kitchen conversation. As Del Rey notes, Amazon execs talk about this future openly, dropping tidbits about customer obsession along the way and appearing truly unperturbed by the thought that such interventions into our domestic lives may go too far or generate unintended consequences. Optimism for the quality of Amazon products and a fervent belief in the company’s benefit to consumers—without due consideration for products’ risk and would-be limits—seem to pervade the corporate culture.

Heard on the Street, Episode 31: CDPs and Israeli Innovation

As data science continues to collide with digital marketing, customer behavior metrics are reaching new levels of actionable insight. But counteracting that advantage is the growing fragmentation of devices and platforms used in the path to purchase, making it harder to get a single view of the customer.

This is the world of customer data platforms (CDPs), and it is where Optimove hangs its hat. Founder & CEO Pini Yakuel explains to us on the latest episode of Heard on the Street how the company helps brands and multi-location retailers get the insights they need to better serve their customers.

Consulting Firms and Agencies Are the Perfect Complement for Data-as-a-Service

External data is incredibly hard to use and make sense of. After all, it is just data. It is usually delivered via a big CSV dump or API call.  Most data companies just hand off the data to their customers and say “good luck.” In fact, a decent amount of purchased data just sits on the shelf and is never used.  

This is where the forward-thinking consulting firms and agencies come in. They have a massive opportunity to help organizations make use of external data.  

Half of Organizations Send the Wrong Marketing Messages to Customers

The result of this data deluge? Organizations lack the insight into their customers they desperately need to deliver meaningful experiences, secure sales, and retain customers. New research estimates 48% of them struggle to gain these insights due to the data silos and more than half admit they don’t have a full picture of their marketing data and their customer journey.  

Given the many challenges marketers are up against, it’s no wonder they struggle to define their customer journeys and optimize customer interactions. Below I offer some advice for those in this data struggle.

Spotlight On: Creative Testing Best Practices for Q3 2019

User acquisition advertising is evolving rapidly. Every quarter for the last few years, either Facebook or Google has made significant changes to their platforms that make it more and more possible to automate user acquisition advertising. Because these changes are available to everyone, competition has increased. Any competitive advantage that third-party ad tech tools had given is gone. 

The last thing the machines have not automated or started to automate – creative – ends up being a UA manager’s last competitive advantage. 

This makes every aspect of creative vital to success. 

Data Trends with the Highest Impact In 2019

At the beginning of the year, we like to take time and speculate on which data science trends will make the biggest splash in the year. Now that we’re entering the second half of 2019, it is a good time to take a look at our initial assumptions regarding these trends and re-evaluate each one’s impact on the industry.

How Targeting Fuels Audience Activation and Satisfaction

Consumers benefit from targeting. When there are clear rules and guardrails in place for tracking and targeting, shoppers enjoy a more relevant online experience and a panoply of ad-funded digital services.

Traditional ads still have a place in the marketing mix, of course. But the future of marketing is digital. Online ad spend is expected to surpass traditional ad spend (likely for good) this year. How is it that targeting, while respecting privacy, makes the consumer internet better?

Transparency and Brand Purpose Dominated Cannes

The big topic of the week was industry change, driven largely by transparency. Agencies are evaluating opportunities and challenges to their business model as buyers demand more oversight of media, fees, and attribution. Increasing interest in ad tech in-housing has also stoked soul-searching.

Every brand also talked about reflecting an authentic, real world in its marketing—from the people in front of and behind the cameras, to creative and targeting strategies. The campaigns that seemed the most likely to succeed were all “purpose-centric,” with the brand rallying around a specific and common cause.

Studying the Relationship Between Phone Price and Income

The results of our study show that the more expensive your phone is, the more likely you are to come from a higher income bracket. Our model predicts that, for every dollar that the average price for a cell phone in a given zip code increases, the median income for that zip code will also increase by $122.70 — in other words, by a fairly significant amount.

5 Consent Management Platforms for Brands and Publishers

For brands and publishers that work with multiple ad tech partners, the process of obtaining user consent for data processing is overwhelming. To simplify the workflow, publishers have started using consent management platforms (CMPs). Not only have CMPs been designed to help brands and publishers obtain and manage user consent, but they also help with monetizing users, even when users haven’t opted-in to sharing data.

CMPs were largely developed in response to the GDPR — most are built on the IAB’s transparency and consent framework — which means the systems themselves are still relatively young. Nonetheless, the popularity of this type of platform has led to a spring of new players entering the space. Here are five examples of CMPs on the market right now.

Cannes Roundup: A Triad of Innovation is Capturing Advertisers’ Attention and Spend Right Now

This year, we saw the rise of three elements of technology-driven outcomes that, I’d suggest, represent a triad of innovation — and those elements are agility, speed, and the product-development capabilities to allow early-adopting brands to actually access emerging marketplaces (such as audio, as we saw this year). The first two terms are interconnected, and each fuels the drive for innovative products that big-name brands are beta-testing already. 

Heard on the Street, Episode 27: Location & Brand Evolution with Factual, Part 2

Factual, one of many companies in the location intelligence space, emphasizes offline foot traffic and “visitation insights.” Tracking the elusive online-to-offline buying journey is the name of the game, and Factual touts the advantage of a 300-million device observation graph. Factual VP Ocean Fine breaks down her company’s approach to location on our latest podcast.

Consumers Still Do Not Understand How Companies Use Their Data

More than one year after the implementation of GDPR in Europe and with CCPA looming, consumers still have no idea how and why companies like Google and Facebook collect their data. That’s according to a global survey by mobile marketing firm Ogury, the largest of its kind to ask consumers about their understanding of marketing and privacy.

Nearly 40% of respondents in both Europe and the US were ignorant of what GDPR is. But more significant is that 52% of consumers report not understanding how their data is used.

Behind the Rise of Data Transparency

As technological capabilities accelerate and data regulations increase, brands should home in on data privacy. Focusing on data transparency will ensure you stay out of legal trouble while also earning more loyal, trusting customers. Consumers understand that you have data — it’s how you use it and share your practices that can make or break these important relationships.

To Share or Not to Share: How Gamification is Swaying the Modern Consumer’s Loyalty

Although 94% of C-suite leaders consider customers’ data to be of paramount importance, privacy continues to be a hot-button issue. Data privacy practices have come under increased scrutiny with the passing of regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation, aimed at protecting individuals from the misuse and exploitation of personal information. Even as consumers continue to debate the tradeoff between convenience and control, one thing is clear—they are craving a more intuitive and personalized experience. How, then, can companies reconcile the differences and walk the tightrope as they acquire a 360-degree view of their audience?

Gamification is one path forward.

Why Marketers Still Struggle With One-to-One Personalization

Personalization has long been touted as the future-proof way for businesses to connect with and retain customers. With Gartner predicting enterprises will win or lose due to customer experience in 2019 and beyond, offering customers meaningful, personalized experiences takes on even greater importance.

To uncover the truth about how personalization efforts are affecting the bottom line of the Global 2000 and just how much one-to-one personalization is taking place, we conducted a survey with Forbes that asked 200 marketing leaders just that.

To Understand the Tech Industry’s Responsibilities, We Must Think Differently About Humanity

These questions would be preludes to less abstract ones that will seem more familiar to the creatures of Silicon Valley. Is Facebook responsible if people use WhatsApp and Messenger to spread false news and incite genocide? Is that just the fault of (heinous) people being (heinous) people or should the platforms be held accountable? As for privacy and data collection, what rights do people have to safeguard their information from the communications platforms they use? What does data scraped from Google search or Amazon’s facial recognition technology have to do with our identities? Can data be human?

How to Survive the Coming Data Privacy Tsunami

Just as we have gotten used to the idea that the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a fact of life and have made modifications in our data collection procedures, the Brazil General Data Protection Law (LGDP), the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and waves of proposed new data privacy laws are swirling in the calm preceding a privacy tsunami heading our way. All these privacy regulations share a number of commonalities, and by addressing them now, you will be on high ground as the waves begin to pound.

Facebook Expects Record-Setting FTC Fine for Privacy Violations

Five billion would be a record for FTC punishment of a tech company and would signal harsher scrutiny to come for an industry that has accrued unparalleled wealth and power with little regulatory oversight. Facebook’s fine comes after a saga of instances in which it failed to protect user data. Most damningly, the company vowed to shore up its data protection practices in 2011 and can now be accused of failing to uphold that promise.

The High Stakes of Identity

Identification is the key to relevant, timely, and cohesive cross-channel marketing that increases sales and builds brand loyalty. Do it right, and you’ll achieve the kind of truly personalized marketing of which our predecessors could only dream. Here are the major tenets of a successful, privacy-aware strategy for storing data on consumers in a multichannel landscape.