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Who are you? In the good old days when the desktop computer was the only way to access the internet, tracking a user’s behavior and assessing the effectiveness of online advertising was a pretty easy process. Now, more consumers are accessing the internet through multiple devices. So, how can you tell if the person who saw your ad on their desktop is the same person who purchased your product on their mobile device? If you’re Google and Facebook, that’s pretty simple. Once they log in, you know it’s them. But for the rest of us, it can be challenging to figure out who is who. Now a new generation of adtech companies are using probabilistic cross device tracking. By looking at billions of behaviors over time, they can guess that this visitor on the desktop is “probably” the same as this visitor on an iPhone. Implications for marketing: The great promise of digital advertising was supposed to be ROI. But how can you know what has been effective when your customers can’t be tracked? With these new technologies you can have more certainty which of your ads are effective in ways that are far beyond outmoded measures like click-thru. Availability: Tapad and Drawbridge are two companies have this technology in market right now. Read More B2C is the New B2B Today’s consumers live in the on-demand economy. Their assumption is that anything they want to purchase is right at their fingertips (through their smartphone) at any time. This represents a massive shift in behavior from a time when users would go to a retail store and physically handle the product before purchase. As a result, individual consumers are making more rational decisions based on price and product, rather than emotional, impulsive purchases. People are acting more like businesses. Application to Marketing: Inevitably, packaging and branding will transform to reflect what displays best on a tiny mobile screen vs. what displays best on a shelf in a store. This means that graphics and packaging must be simplified. Small type, detailed photographs and multiple product claims simply don’t translate in a thumbnail. Availability: Now is the time to evaluate packaging for digital output. One set of packaging for retail and another for online probably makes sense. Read More Should we be making ads for the iWatch? Short answer, no. The Apple iWatch is increasingly looking like a rare flop from the company that has reshaped the way consumers live their lives. Apple still refuses to share any sales data on the iWatch, so it’s hard to know exactly how much or how little the watch is selling. However, an independent research firm has unearthed evidence that seems to suggest sales have gone into freefall. There are many possible explanations for this apparent failure. But the simplest explanation may be that no one has ever seemed to be quite sure what the iWatch is for. Even Apple has struggled to identify its single point of difference. Application to Marketing: Someday, someone will get wearable right. And then we will all need to figure out how to advertise in a new medium. But for now, the implication seems to be “do nothing.” Availability: Absent a sudden turnaround in sales or a new version of the watch with better features, stick a fork in this one right now. Read More UX and UI. Aren’t they really the same thing? Short answer, no. As design moved beyond the static page, new roles were carved out in design to reflect the deeper interactions now available to companies and consumers. A UX designer is different from a UI designer is different from visual designer is different from a interaction designer. The article below lays out the differences between these roles and helps to explain why each job is now a necessity. Application to Marketing: Understanding all of these new roles and why they are important allows marketers to begin to understand and evaluate interactive design. Frequently, a marketer is forced to evaluate dense digital experiences based on a few representative screens. Thinking about all the kinds of design expertise that will be engaged in a project helps the marketer to ask the right questions before time and money has been wasted on the wrong approach. Availability: Every marketer should receive training to understand these terms. Read More Flash is dead. So what’s next? Amazon announced this week that they’d no longer accept Flash-based advertisements on their sites. While Flash was terrible in many ways, it was great for building complex animations. So how can companies create complex 3-D animations now that Flash is no more? WebGL is the answer. WebGL or Web Graphics Language has actually been around since 2006 but it’s only been recently that a majority of browsers could support the format. WebGL allows you to create three dimensional animations that don’t require the user to load a separate plugin. Application to Marketing: Most ad serving platforms continue to set a file limit of 40K for display ads. Eventually, logic dictates that they’ll have to raise those limits so marketers can use HTML5 more effectively. Once that happens, expect to see a lot more WebGL used in advertising. In the meantime, it has been used very effectively by brands on owned media.. Availability: This technology is almost ten years old, but new javascript libraries that improve on the basic technology are coming out all the time. Read More

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