“…language can also corrupt thought.”
This quote could very easily be a part of our Monday Jumpstart series with how well it rings true for those of us who write in the digital space. Friend of the blog and frequent contributor Josh Mortensen uses the quote to open a blog post for his own digital home GlibHippo, a post about language we thoroughly enjoy.
Here is an excerpt:
“Two words never used in advertising or media before the rise on the Web:performance and optimize. Not Ogilvy nor Burnett nor Draper ever uttered them. Apple’s 1984, The Man in the Hathaway Shirt, Clairol’s Does she … or doesn’t she?, VW’s Think Small – none of them had their performance optimized. Brand advertising is about story telling, narrative if you prefer academic sounding jargon, not about tuning.
But in online advertising we have a stunted vocabulary. It is a language devised by engineers who have only a binary understanding of what advertising can or should do. And it is confusing. We use the language of response marketing universally to discuss both tactical and brand. But the two are mutually exclusive. Orwell would recognize this immediately. Language shapes our sense of reality.”
Form is function and language is meaning. Read the rest of Josh’s great blog post here.
Friend of the blog, Josh Motensen answered the following questions for Exchangewire.com. You can follow him on Twitter @razzmuzzen
ExchangeWire: Can you give some overview on your sales house proposition in Germany?
Josh Mortensen: GlibHippo operates on more or less the same model as other sales houses in Germany but we do not sell for German publishers. We work with US based companies who have significant audiences in Germany and Scandinavia.
Like other sales houses operating in Germany, we sell inventory only for specific publishers on a very traditional and transparent commission model. We do all of our own adserving and any optimization.
EW: How do you work with local publishers? Why would they use a sales house to monetize their inventory?
JM: Our publishers use a sales house for 2 reasons:
The first reason, specific to GlibHippo, is – for Americans – Europe is really a challenge. It is too fragmented. Way too many languages. Operating an international sales team is often beyond the resources of medium size web properties. Without a sales house, their only way to monetize inventory is some form of automation, networks, exchanges etc.
The second, more important, reason: Publishers, and I think this is true worldwide, don’t really like automation. They tolerate it – but they know offering inventory to the algorithms is the equivalent of “empty calories”. It is revenue with little long-term nutritional value. The economics just never work in their favor. (They don’t really work in the advertisers favor either. Another advantage for sales houses)
Publishers know when their inventory is in the hands of the robots, they get arbitraged in a way that gives shameless a bad name. Particularly in markets where they do not have local knowledge.
EW: Do small-to-medium sized German sales house have proprietary technology – such as audience targeting capabilities? Or is the relationship with publishers more consultative?
JM: Sales houses in Germany have their own technology to varying degrees. Many have built their own adservers, for example, in order to accommodate the specifics of their inventory. But broadly speaking, it is more consultative. If they do use audience targeting or any sort of more sophisticated tech, it is usually third party. Sales houses are not in the tech development business.
EW: There are currently German 400+ sales houses? Is that number sustainable? Will there be consolidation in the sales house space?
JM: I think when non-Germans look at the country from the outside, the sales house phenomena is confusing. Americans and Brits make the mistake of seeing the German auto industry as symbolic of the whole economy. The stereotype is that Germany is a model of scale, efficiency and mechanization.
For online advertising, the automated ad-platform and algorithm gee-whizzery in the US and UK makes the dominance of sales houses a disconnect. They are just so, so analogue. So improbably quaint.
But the sales house is reflective of Germany’s macro economy. Small and medium sized businesses, creating highly specialized products and services, in German they are called Mittelstand. They are the country’s commercial engine. These businesses are not anti-scale. They just prefer focus and quality.
Sales houses are the Mittelstand of online advertising. Each house is quite adept at representing their specific inventory and delivering the sales.
The 400+ sales houses in Germany may prove to be a surprisingly stable number. Some consolidation is inevitable, for example along certain verticals. But I would not bet on seeing the German market develop on the same model as the UK or US. The emergence of two or three dominant players is unlikely. For both cultural and economic reasons, fragmentation and diversity are tenacious with a capital “T” in Germany.
EW: Do all these sales houses fight to get on agency media plans?
JM: Yes. But sales houses are often organized around verticals as well so they are talking to different planners. Sales houses do face the serious disadvantage of media planners’ schedule. It is a problem of limited time however, not a question of inferior product.
JM: If the market moves towards automation how do small sales houses compete with SSPs and exchanges? Can SSPs and exchanges really aggregate supply without working with German sales houses?
JM: Sales houses will compete by creating their own networks much like Forbes or CBS Interactive have done in the US.
Sales houses will remain the gatekeepers, retaining control of the inventory to keep pricing transparent and, more important, maintain comfort for advertisers.
If SSPs and exchanges hope to aggregate supply, it will be through the sales houses. Neither publishers nor sales houses have any interest in the commoditization automation brings.
Do not underestimate the strength of sales houses’ relationships with their publishers. It is very unlikely an exchange could come with a proposal that would threaten a sales house’s arrangement with a publisher.
It is worth noting that German publishers seem hesitant to monetize their remnant traffic at the risk of compromising their inventory. This does not mean they won’t. You see premier German publishers appear on exchanges but only for seriously remnant inventory, cross border IPs for example.
Also worth noting: even über american media companies like Turner Networks have pulled their inventory from exchanges for reasons very similar to why German publishers never joined in the first place.
EW: How critical are sales houses to the growth of automated buying and the adoption of RTB?
JM: Just like the growth of aggregated supply, Sales house will be the key drivers if RTB is to take-off in Germany.
EW: How do sales houses view the data-driven display space and RTB? Is it a threat to their business model? Will they have to evolve model to stay competitive?
JM: In the case of Germany, the whole data-driven display slash RTB discussion reflects an Anglo-American cognitive bias toward technology, scalability, venture capital and exit strategy.
The “platformification” of online advertising is a silicon valley phenomena finding considerable resistance in Germany. And it is not because Germans are Luddites, they are just not driven by the same imperatives as their anglo-saxon cousins.
These companies are not interested in becoming a Techcrunch Series-A Page Three Girl. Their directors do not spend every waking moment so consumed by creating shareholder value that they dare not ignore even a fraction of a cent from a ringtone peddler. They are not building companies whose real purpose is a sale to Google.
For that reason, sales houses are only tangentially interested in data-driven display. Ad-tech is a tool not an end in itself. Data-driven display and RTB will grow in Germany but it will grow slowly and on German terms.
Data and RTB are no more of a threat to the sales house model than Wal-Mart was a threat to Germany’s retail model.
EW: How do you see the market evolving over the coming 12 months?
JM; For the next 12 months, data-driven display and RTB still face two significant challenges.
Despite the hype, they have not reached the penetration and volume needed outside Germany to make them a must-have in Germany.
They remain very much a tool created by and mostly for the American market. Both the German online space and the data RTB industry will have to evolve together for their to be more uptake.
In 2012, I think we will see more serious dabbling in the data-driven space, with the active word being “dabbling”. There is too much attention on this space right now for it to be ignored. Do not expect to see a tipping point, however. Not this year.
Posted by Tattletech on Nov 14, 2011 in networking
, Smart folks
, Women entrepreneurs
The front page story of this month’s edition of Olivia Magazine, is all about the importance of networking. Olivia, a Finnish monthly for women striving for a well-rounded life, decided to focus on networking, and specifically why it is important for women. For expertise in this area, they turned to friend and contributor for Tattletech, Hanna Manninen, who dropped some knowledge.
In the article, Hanna shares some advice on networking and its real life application. In one anecdote, she talks about meeting with a young woman who sent her an application, not to hire her but rather to mentor her entrance into the PR industry. Hanna stresses the importance of sharing, urges that we should not be afraid of it, and suggests that with less fear of idea theft and more outstretched hands of support, one can succeed in business while simultaneously paying success forward.
Putting forth another example of this spirit of mutual success, the article also includes a story about Future Female, a network for women working in ICT or interested in technology, co-founded be Hanna, Krista Järvinen and Annikki Laine in October 2009.
Hanna concludes that younger generations of women are less jealous of each other and embrace change more than older generations, which is good because women are still a minority when it comes to power and authority do each other a disservice getting mired in competition.
It’s often easy to lose sight of the fundamentals behind networking since it has (1) become so much more immediate and transparent in the social media age (2) remained a business buzz-word for decades. However, networking is at its core the promise of mutually-implied success, a partnership of convenience perhaps, but still a partnership. We would all do well to focus less on competition and remember that people are involved at all levels of business, and therefor the most important part of networking is helping people and being open to help from others.
The November issue of Olivia is now available from kiosks, book and grocery stores across Finland.
Posted by Tattletech on Oct 20, 2011 in Apps
, Smart folks
Friend of the blog and frequent contributer Geoff Casely has been appointed Managing Director for the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region for NetQin Mobile Inc., a leading provider of mobile security and productivity applications.
Over the last 20 years, Geoff has led business development teams for numerous start-up and rapid growth companies and recently, he developed strategic alliances with major device vendors, operators, and key distribution channel partners as vice president of global business development for Nimbuzz. So clearly, Geoff is the man. We will be checking in with him in a few weeks to see how things are going and get some of his thoughts on new endeavor, so stay tuned!
Check out Geoff’s last post (and one of our favorites) on what we can learn from supermarkets here.
With all this talk about the future of TV and how video will be getting from publishers to consumers (at events like IBC 2011 among others), we figured it would be a good time to speak to somebody whose job it is to keep up with all these changes and see how they are adapting. Head of Marketing at Videoplaza, Katy Turner was kind enough to sit down and let us know a bit about her perspective on New TV.
Tattletech: Videoplaza has a slogan “Helping media companies to monetize the New TV.” How exactly do you define New TV and is it killing Old TV?
Katy Turner: What has been called “online video” has been our business since we started almost four years ago. We’re dedicated to helping publishers monetize their video content and we first thought our role would be in an almost exclusively in the web environment. But this is changing. We’re entering a time where the PC is just one of many devices where IP delivered video is consumed. We have to look beyond putting pre-rolls on Flash-based video players in the browser and realize we’re building a new category. This is not a new online buzzword or a feature of the web; this is about the evolution of moving images. We are in the middle of the biggest and most disruptive change the world of moving images has ever seen. The “New IP Delivered TV” is here and it has already begun to change all the rules.
We’ve been working hard to push our business and product towards delivery across multiple devices and platforms. We are looking beyond online video and are making all IP delivered video our business. And now we’ve arrived at the point where we’re serving ads on all major devices and platforms including PC (Flash, HTML5 and Silverlight), mobile (iOS, Android, etc), tablets, IPTV (SFR and Free in France, for example), games consoles (PS3), and connected TVs from Samsung and LG amongst others.
Our client M6, France’s leading broadcaster, is a perfect example of the adoption of the New TV. Not so long ago, their content was only delivered to PC via a couple of web-based platforms. Now though, they are present on a wide range of platforms from mobile to PC and tablets. And, with France having almost a quarter of all global active IPTV subscribers (10m), we are now serving ads on their SFR and Free IPTV platforms.
Around a third of our clients are present on multiple devices with some exclusively on non-PC devices and, to judge by what our clients have planned and the volumes we’re seeing today, we expect ten percent of our traffic to be on non-PC devices by the end of the year, and at least doubled by end of 2012.
This all points to a bigger shift that is happening now and “online video” has become a redundant term. With more and more opportunities to distribute and consume video over IP, it is our business is to help publishers monetize those opportunities.
So, is the New TV killing the Old TV? The New TV is really a much wider category, where there are multiple access points to enable the user to consume different types of content in whichever form they choose. Different types of content work better on different platforms–for example, short-form content on the mobile vs. long-form content on the IPTV. Traditional TV will still be a part of this mix, but publishers and broadcasters need to realize they inherently limit their reach if they do not evolve to take into account the multiple platforms that are now available to them, and the changing way that consumers are viewing content.
Tattletech: As attention shifts from PCs and TVs to non-PC devices, how must publishers and broadcasters adjust their content? How does this shift limit and how does it expand their options?
KT: The definition of a “media company” is now quite different from what we understood it to be in the past. Media companies used to be TV broadcasters, or print publishers for example. Now, with the reach of the internet and mobile, almost any business can be a media company and push their content out via a variety of mechanisms.
Now that content can be delivered over IP, the broadcast model doesn’t work on it’s own. Media owners need to monetize their content by delivering ads dynamically and on-demand, rather than to schedule. So media companies need to consider not only how they operate in a multi-device world (what platforms will they target, where and how their audience consume content), but also how to adjust their content strategies to work with current consumption patterns. For example, I am less likely to view a long video on my iPhone, but I would sit down to watch a longer program in front of the IPTV in my living room.
We believe the IP delivered world presents huge possibilities for broadcasters and publishers, as long as they figure out their strategy around content–delivering it and monetizing it. Where a partner like us can help is in delivering a strong monetization strategy, while reducing the technical complexity of managing multiple platforms, and critically delivering a medium like video–which has its own challenges. Platforms like Videoplaza have been built specifically with video (vs. ‘flat’ display content) in mind, so they can handle the concept of time and aim to empower the publisher or broadcaster to do whatever they want to do, while hiding the technical complexity in the back end rather than on the client side.
You can follow Katy Turner on Twitter @KatyT.
It has been less than a month since I decommissioned my Nokia C6 as my principle business phone. After many years of carrying three devices, it felt a weird but slightly liberating to consolidate down to two—my personal iPhone and my backup “warhorse” BlackBerry. Having been a hardcore Nokia user for the better part of *gulp* 20 years, finally letting it go has made me come to a few realizations. Not only have I not missed my Nokia one bit, this will quite possibly be the last Nokia I will ever own. Moreover, I feel no sense of loss whatsoever (I achieved final closure while disposing of the drawer full of now defunct Nokia chargers amassed over the years).
In spite of the many endearing “come as standard” Nokia device attributes (reliability, great signal quality, battery life, camera, maps, general indestructibility etc.), looking through the current Nokia range, I do not know whether to feel depressed, incensed or a little of both that currently there is not a single device that I would be excited to buy. How can this be?
Next to the dazzling array of big-screen smartphones on display at my local Carphone Warehouse, Nokia definitely seems to be the ugly duckling. But are my negative feelings towards Nokia motivated by the quality of the product or something else? Am I just prejudiced? Have I become one of the ever-swelling population of “app addicted” victims of Apple’s Ministry of Spin, smitten with the glitz and glam of the iPhone and all the wonders of the vast iTunes universe? I am really starting to wonder.
Ordinarily I consider myself to be a creature of habit and I do not normally switch brands without a pretty good reason. The problem with Nokia though is that as much as I wrack my brain, I cannot really put my finger on a defining moment when it all went wrong for me. But, obvious ecosystem limitations aside, the fact remains that my love affair with Nokia fizzled out a long time ago.
Thinking back, when I unboxed my C6 a year ago I did get that same kind of sinking feeling you get when you buy an expensive pair of designer jeans, only to discover that the particular brand or cut went out of style five minutes earlier. The feeling got worse every time I used my C6 around my iPhone and Android totting peers.
So maybe my emotional shift away from Nokia is purely an image thing. Is the Nokia brand itself just uncool? If so, Nokia is in big trouble because, like the demise of flared trousers, being uncool is a brutal, unstoppable downward spiral. Being an industry insider, it really has become impossible to ignore the abundant positive media glam surrounding the iPhone and Android. It stands in stark contrast to the overwhelmingly negative media coverage of Nokia’s fall from glory, the demise of Symbian and the huge question marks hanging over the value and viability of the Microsoft collaboration.
It seems Nokia will need a nuclear powered marketing and branding team to reverse their negative image and to reinvent the winning brand needed to restore Nokia’s street cred to its former glory. So until the likes of Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and major tech circle influencers start being photographed using the latest Nokia Smartphones as their principle devices and lauding its praises on Twitter, I fear Nokia will continue to slip further into mobile B-List celebrity status.
In the meantime, I will be counting myself among the impatient masses fervently awaiting the launch of iPhone 5.
You can follow Geoff Casely on Twitter @geoffcasely
Posted by Tattletech on Jul 19, 2011 in Conferences
, Cool stuff
, Emerging tech
, Good things
, Internet Stuff
, Sexy tech guys
, Smart folks
, Start ups
, Tattletech Hot Seat
Davorin Gabrovec is the Co-Founder of Flowr, a communication service meant to encourage true collaborative work flow.
This week, I exchanged emails with Davorin regarding collaborative productivity and the orgin of Flowr.
Tattletech: I assume that now, if your office, you use Flowr as your primary tool for organization. Before you founded Flowr, what was your project organization like? A mess of emails and shared documents like the rest of us, or were you always ahead of the game?
Davorin Gabrovec: Before we built up Flowr, we used email, skype and scheduled meetings as our major communication tools. However, from the moment we wrote first few lines of code, we started with using Flowr for the development of Flowr and then evolved it based on our needs and our first beta users.
Tattletech: Wow. Using Flowr to develop Flowr, very Inception of you. When was the first time you had an idea that you wanted to create something like Flowr? Was it in a dream?
DG: Haha, it was not in a dream. It was came from thinking about improving our communication/collaboration issues within the small (20 employee) company which I funded before Flowr. We had been using several tools such as wikis, intranets and blogs to manage our internal information along with tons of emails and meetings, all of which were time consuming. At the same time, I was looking at social networks, which provided good examples of how you can easily get an information flow about your network, even amongst people you have never met in person.
Then I started to think about making a very easy “twitter-like” 140 character message box, where anyone inside our team could share a new idea, ask other some questions or just pass on an interesting link, without spamming the rest of the team–this would be great! We could reduce meetings, colleagues could interact when they will had time and all the information and knowledge would stay in one place. When I started talking with few of my colleagues from other companies, they loved the idea. That was the moment when two of my colleagues and I decided to build such a tool.
Tattletech: What was your biggest challenge in development?
DG: Our biggest challenge was making the product beautifully designed and as simple as possible. Our next biggest challenge was scalability from the tech perspective where our CTO Vlada played his role very well.
Tattletech: Have you had to change anything major from your original design to Flowr’s current iteration?
DG: We changed the user interface two times to make the product perfect (from our perspective). After the first redesign we put several analytics in place to start measuring how users actually use Flowr. Now we are much closer to what we want Flowr to be.
Tattletech: What is the next step for Flowr? What can we look forward to in the fall?
DG: The focus for the next few months is integration with third party apps such as customer relationship management, helpdesk and project management tools, as well as further development of mobile apps and an iPad app. We hope that Flowr will become a major communication tool for every small and medium business, with basic social features and notifications from the different applications companies usually use. That way, Flowr will become a major internal collaboration and information hub.
– Jason Oberholtzer
Follow Davorin on Twitter and take a look at Flowr.
Elizabeth Parry from White Bull sits down with 2010 Bully Award Finalist, Paul Veugen (Founder, CEO of Usabilla) to talk about his exciting year. During the conversation, he gives a few good bits of advice to other startups.
“From the beginning, I think a company should be focused on getting the numbers straight and building a good business case. And if you know who your customers are then you’ve already got a nice story for yourself and others as well.”
Read the rest of the interview here, and remember: submissions for the 2011 Bully Awards are open until the end of July.
Posted by Tattletech on Jul 1, 2011 in Content
, Cool stuff
, Deep thinking
, Internet Stuff
, Mobile apps
, Online ads
, Smart folks
, social media
, Wise philosophical words
Analyst firm Canalys projects that mobile apps will generate $7.3 billion in revenue in 2011 from downloads, in-app payments and subscriptions. And they expect that number to double to $14.1 billion in 2012. As huge as these revenue numbers are, a big opportunity is being missed. With a little more thought and understanding of retail psychology, I believe those numbers could be considerably higher.
In a high tech mobile world it may seem a little dull to draw inspiration from the humble supermarket chain. But if such immensely successful examples of retail genius exist, wouldn’t it make sense to explore the various ways the same strategy could provide a monetization masterclass for mobile applications developers?
There are few companies better at selling physical goods and services than supermarket chains. They offer a vast array of products and services, creating an in-store shopping experience (with seemingly minimal effort) which sells massive volumes of both necessity and impulse purchases, generating billions of dollars in sales in the process. The customer experience has been refined to an art form—intelligent product placement and subtle but precise special offers cater to all demographic groups while still feeling targeted.
Personally, I am the world’s biggest sucker for such deals and frequently end up spending at least 10% more than I plan to when I do the weekly shopping. Over the course of 10 months this could increase my spend by over $1500! Surely it must be possible to replicate this success within mobile applications.
However, a majority of application developers seem to lack even the most basic understanding of retail psychology when they craft their monetization strategies. Limited availability of end user profiled data should not be an excuse for only using the most basic Freemium model.
Supermarkets don’t work that way; in-store sales are driven not by a static model, but by a fluid one—a combination of seasonal events, timed offers, demographic probability, and knowledge of what’s hot and what the competition is offering. Then, the customer journey is scrutinized and high margin products are placed in “sweet spots” which catch your attention from the time you enter the store to the time you leave.
This model stands in stark contrast to the “one size fits all” strategy of virtual goods and other services, propped up with a bit of blind network advertising that seems boring and grossly unsophisticated. The predictability of Freemium services can be annoying and has an adverse effect on the buying mindset. They are boring and often ignored. Perhaps, replicating some of these supermarket upsell techniques could enliven mobile app market.
Even high profile apps like Foursquare are massively short-changing themselves when it comes to monetizating end user eyeball time. They have a great brand persona, a slick and engaging experience, great social and reward hooks (with Mayorships, check-in leaderboards and badges) and now 10 million users, many of whom (like me) are very active. So where is the revenue source to justify the estimated $600m market CAP? Right now it’s via “special nearby” tabs, many of which are next-to-useless unless you happen to be Mayor. Why hold back? The potential to deliver multi-layer value to partners, brands and the user is immense. You have their eyes, now develop some “sweet spots.”
Incorporating the same sophisticated product placement and special offer techniques used by supermarkets, Foursquare could easily apply numerous special deal layers within the user journey, based not only on location but user profile. They could Optimize UI real estate in the same way supermarkets optimize shelf space to deliver a multitude of well-placed promotions based on the age/sex demographics of people who are likely to visit a location. They could even deliver a variety of promotions depending on what time of day a user checks in. The possibilities are endless and, if deployed in a slick and uncluttered fashion, they could have a significant impact on Foursquare’s earnings potential.
Foursquare is a great example, but I am convinced a more tactical approach to app-based monetization can be applied in varying degrees by most developers. By understanding the profile of the user, analyzing the user journey and deploying a smarter variable upsell strategy within the flow of the application (gaming credits, virtual goods, subscription services, special offers, etc.) there is much more profit to be found in the mobile app market.
You can follow Geoff Casely on Twitter @geoffcasely
Posted by Tattletech on Jun 30, 2011 in Cool stuff
, Deep thinking
, Internet TV
, IPTV World
, New things
, Sexy tech guys
, Smart folks
Acentic’s Vice President Business Development, Juan Aguirre, wrote a post on the Acentic blog addressing today’s multi-device, multitasking environment from the point of view of hoteliers. More broadly, his article speaks to a need in every sector to manage around modern technology culture both in our expectations of consumer behavior and in the way we structure communication in the workplace.
In his words, “As our devices connect, share purposes and build on each other’s strengths, so should we.”
Read the rest of Juan’s article here.