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Remember Foursquare? Google does. Five short years ago, location-based social media like Foursquare was all the rage. Two of my employees staged an epic battle to become the “mayor” of Dressler. Then like a Robin Thicke song, it faded instantly into collective forgetting and shame. The problem with these technologies was that they seemed like a good idea without having a real purpose. Google Maps does not have this problem. Everyone, except Apple employees (who are contractually obligated to use Apple Maps) uses Google Maps all the time. Now Google is experimenting with new ad forms on their Map product like “promoted pins” that allows companies to buy searches for similar companies and have their own pins appear as well. Application to Marketing: Search transformed marketing. While traditional media and digital display were both collapsing into fraud and irrelevance, search offered a measurable, valuable way companies could promote their products. People got excited about location-based social for a good reason. It was a marketing solution tied to a thin layer of gamification. But that wasn’t enough. Google Maps is the way we search for physical reality. Google’s attempt to monetize this is good news for marketers. Next Steps: If location matters to your core business, pilot one of these marketing programs with Google. Read More Facebook Triples Down on Mobile It’s been a couple years since Facebook announced that the majority of their traffic was coming from mobile. Reflecting the extent to which Facebook has truly transformed into a mobile app, Facebook is shutting down the exchange that allowed advertisers to buy desktop-only retargeting ads. Retargeting will continued to be offered across mobile and desktop, but a desktop-only exchange doesn’t make much sense when mobile advertising is almost 80% of Facebook’s business. Application to Marketing: There’s a school of thought that the desktop internet is slowly drying up. While it will never completely disappear, the desktop internet seems to shrink every year like the Sargasso Sea (look it up.) The mobile internet offers portability, privacy and convenience. So it’s no surprise that consumers prefer to conduct their private internet usage on their mobile device. Large screens are more convenient and more appropriate for shared media. Next Steps: B2B marketers will continue to see lots of benefits from desktop internet marketing. B2C marketers will see more utility with mobile ads. Read More What’s Beyond 140 Characters? Twitter has finally mastered the immense technical complexity of 141 characters. Actually no, they haven’t. However, Twitter has announced that they will no longer include media against that character limit. So you can post that gif. Just make sure you pronounce it the right way. Application to Marketing: Short form video is fun. So it makes sense to allow people to share funny gifs through Twitter with the minimum of hassle. But I can’t help but feel that this is a sign that Twitter really has lost their way. The brevity demanded by tweets created new styles of communication and challenged people to be direct and focused in their communications. The benefit of Twitter is the character limit. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature. It hurts me to say this, but I question their long term prospects for the first time. Next Steps: Marketers still love Twitter, so we’ll keep putting it on websites. But I remember that Digg share button. Nothing lasts forever. Read More Stop Pretending to Understand API’s There’s a new model for software development. Rather than build everything from scratch for yourself, it is much easier to find the functionality you need and integrate it into your software via an API (Application Programming Interface.) It helps to think of software as a series of interlocking sets of functions (like lego blocks), API’s are a way of putting together the different parts, usually through web-based technologies. The ability to build and utilize API’s is one of the most useful skills any developer can have nowadays. Application to Marketing: We’re just at the start of the API era. (See article below.) But marketers would be well served to understand how this technology can apply to them and their products. A few years ago, I was working with a large education company. I recommended to them that they make all their content licensable and usable through an API so they could make money off the raw knowledge that Ed Tech startups needed. This would be an additional revenue stream with little to no additional cost or effort on their part. They looked at me like I had two heads. They were wrong. That’s the point of this. I was right and they were wrong. Thanks for listening. Next Steps: Just read the article. It will probably be the single most career-advancing thing you will read this year. Read More

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