Opinions And Ramblings By Adam Kmiec On All Things

Tag Archives: Facebook

Don’t Make Your Strategy, Platform Dependent

Two things, this past week, caught my eye. The first, was a great article from The Economist, titled, “The message is the medium.” Take the time to read the article, in its entirety. It’s definitely worth your time. But, since we all now, everyone seems to be TL;DR, these days, this is the one graphic you need to remember:

Texting Is Dying

After years of hockey stick-like growth, we’re seeing SMS, flattening, and ultimately, declining. This doesn’t mean that messaging is declining. WhatsApp, iMessage, Facebook Messenger…and yes, even snapchat, are exploding in growth and eating SMS for breakfast.

The 2nd thing that caught my eye was this article from AdWeek, that outlined YouTube “star”, Michelle Phan’s plans to launch her own content/influencer network, called Icon. Michelle’s growth came from YouTube. Without YouTube, you could very well argue, many of us wouldn’t even know who Michelle Phan, was. But, to be loyal, in this space, is to miss out…or, as Michelle, stated:

“I’m platform agnostic,” Phan said. “I’ve been platform agnostic ever since I went online. I’m not saying I’m jumping ship (from YouTube). Platforms—they come and go, but storytelling is forever.”

Well, first, she states the obvious, that she’s not leaving YouTube. Difficult to leave the golden goose, eh? But, what’s really important is what she says about platforms. Platforms, indeed come and go. 20 years ago, it was AOL. 15 years ago, you had things like GeoCities. Nearly 10 years ago, Newscorp, purchased MySpace for $580M…only to be sold 5 years later for…$35M.

Strategies can’t be platform dependent. Building your strategy on top of a platform is like building a house on quicksand. It just doesn’t work. Don’t take my word for it, ask Zynga or DataSift. This isn’t to say that a platform shouldn’t be part of your strategy. For example, your consumer connection strategy, might indicate a need to understand, “Hopes, Wishes and Dreams.” That might mean, Pinterest, is a critical part of bringing that strategy to fruition. But, while you’re riding the Pinterest wave, you need to be keeping an eye out for the next wave, and more importantly, the right moment to move on to the next wave.

As exciting and initially lucrative as it can be to invest in a specific platform, your strategy, needs to take into account an understanding of your business, your customer and the macro-level environment. As, Brodie, told Rene in Mallrats, “Breakfasts come and go, Rene, but Hartford, “the Whale,” they only beat Vancouver once, maybe twice in a lifetime.” Today, platforms, come and go. And instead of Hartford (the underdog) succeeding only once, maybe twice in a lifetime, it’s more likely that the underdog, we weren’t paying attention to, becomes the leader. Platforms are quicksand. Be careful where you step.

The Battle For The Right To Be Anonymous

Marketers love to track things about consumers. We track who you are, where you’ve been, what you’re saying, the sites you visit, the apps you download and a whole mess of other characteristics. The idea, for years, has been…the more we track about you, the more we learn about you and the better we can customize offers and content for you. Great in theory, poor in practice…usually.

Marquette Appliances Warranty Card

One of the earliest attempts at this was the warranty card a consumer would send in, after buying a product. When you purchased that new stove, back in the day, the store collected some information about you. They knew your address, your name and how you paid (cash, check or card). If they were sophisticated, they kept a log of what you bought, how often you bought and when the items you purchased, needed servicing. That information rarely made it back to the manufacturer though. The way the manufacturer gained some type of understanding about the consumers who purchased their products, was that warranty card. The carrot (or stick, depending on your POV) they used to ensure compliance, was the warranty itself. There was NO warranty covering your product, without a completed card. Sneaky, yes. Smart, at the time, yes.

Cookie Tracking 101

When we graduated to the dawn of the internet, things got a bit more sophisticated. We had cookies. Cookies left a digital set of crumbs that helped marketers understand where you went and what you did on the web. From there, we made assumptions about who you were and what you were interested in. But, we were bad marketers. Instead of using that information to better the customer experience, we used it to retarget them to death…serving them pop-ups at every corner and forcing them to…

Delete Cookies?

The simple solve for improving any browser/web surfing experience, was to delete your cookies. The minute you did that, marketers, were back to square 1, when it came to tracking, understanding and advertising to customers. This became a constant battle of catch me, if you can.

Track Me If You Can

This chase wasn’t efficient or fun. Thankfully, with social media and specifically, Facebook, marketers finally had a method for understanding just about everything they wanted to know about a consumer. Facebook told us who you were…yes, specifically, who you were. We had name, date of birth, location, relationship status, brand/product interests, what places you’d visited and so much more. As Facebook evolved and launched Facebook Connect, we gained even more information. We knew what other sites you visited and the apps you were using. Quick sidebar – I’m convinced, that at some point, Facebook is going to implement a Facebook tax on every call made from a site/app to Facebook Connect. While this wasn’t a perfect solve, it got us closer.

As mobile went from, “it’s going to be big” to “wow, mobile is huge”, marketers would betrayed the trust of customers. There was probably no greater example than that of Carrier IQ. Companies like Apple, HTC, Samsung, etc. would install Carrier IQ’s software services on phones as a means to collect information that would help them improve the phones. On the surface, not a horrible thing. Except for 1 big detail…Carrier IQ, wasn’t providing information anonymously and they were tracking things that weren’t diagnostic related, like every keystroke you made. No surprise, Carrier IQ was sued. It was situations like this and programs like Facebook’s beacon initiative that, in my opinion, accelerated the movement toward the rise of apps and experiences that focused on anonymity.

Today, apps like YikYak, Snapchat and Whisper are growing leaps and bounds. The minute a company releases a new piece of software or an operating system, articles like this are published to help consumers regain some of their freedom, by disabling features that track them. It obviously didn’t help, that the whole, Edward Snowden “thing” happened. Not exactly a situation that makes you feel comfortable about being tracked. That Snowden revelation lead to the growth of Tor, a free platform, designed to stop advertisers and the government from tracking you.

I believe we’re on the precipice of battle around tracking. The more marketers build new ways to track customers, the more customers will find new ways to remain hidden. How long til we’re wrapping our cars in tin foil to avoid tracking from Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. By the way, it’s completely possible to that…

Wrap A Car In Tin Foil

So, what’s a marketer to do? I don’t have all the answers, but wearing both my consumer and marketer hat, here’s a few thoughts:

  1. I don’t think this can be solved by technology…alone.
  2. I think we’re going to see consumers become brokers of their own data. Imagine a BlueKai style approach for consumers. As brokers of their own data, consumers will get to choose not only what data they share, but with whom. They’ll also be compensated for sharing that data on a case-by-case basis.
  3. We’re going to see some type of dashboard solution provided by companies to show customers the data they’re collecting, why they’re collecting it, who it’s shared with (if anyone) and how to opt-out (along with the consequences of doing so) of that data collection. Google already does this, via Google Dashboard. I think others will follow suit.
  4. Custom, not creepy, will become a mantra. Using data to shape and inform the content, offers and advertising that are put in front of a consumer so that they’re relevant, helpful, interesting and actionable, is going to be the key. Using data in a way to trick, trap or incessantly interrupt a consumer, will become the path to failure.

We’re at an interesting and unique place in time. Never before has there been so much data, so many ways to collect it and so many ways to use it. When that data becomes something truly helpful, our trust in data integrity, increases. If you have a Nest thermostat, think about the moment, when the collection of your data, enabled your Nest to surprise you in a delightful way. Maybe it was coming home to your house, in the middle of Summer, on a hot day, but finding the inside of your home, cool and comfortable. Or, if you’ve ever used Waze, that awesome moment, when you were rerouted on a different path, to avoid a an accident that was causing traffic to back up.

We are all data now. There’s no denying this. We can track our steps, our heartbeat, the purchases we make, the beer we drink and the friends we talk to. The dawn of big data for the little guy, is here. What becomes of that data and how it’s used, will shape the type of relationship we, as consumers, want to have with marketers.

Friday Five – July 18, 2014

Google contact lenses: Tech giant licenses smart contact lens technology to help diabetics and glasses wearers
Talk about the internet of things, being something more than just a scale that can tweet your weight. Google and Novartis are partnering up to create contact lenses that among other things, could measure a wearer’s vitals and eliminate the need for painful blood tests.

How The World Cup Played Out On Facebook Versus Twitter
Good insight. I won’t bury the lead, “Twitter is where people go to talk about surprising, unexpected events as they’re unfolding. Facebook is where people go to record their feelings about big, shared milestones somewhat after the fact. The World Cup told us what we already know.” definitely worth reading and for a more in-depth analysis check out twitter’s publicly released info about the activity surrounding the World Cup http://bit.ly/1zMVxCM

People remember ads more when they binge on TV shows
“A binge watching audience is different than the traditional one because binge viewers are more invested in the content on the screen, and that includes the ads, said Pamela Marsh, director of primary research and insights for Annalect, which conducted the study.” While this is great for advertisers, it could be bad for people in general. A recent study indicates that binge watching TV kills us faster http://nbcnews.to/1zMVPtc

Publishers have an updated evergreen strategy: Make the old new again
Publishers are starting to realize that “news” and “content” doesn’t have to be new to perform really well. Content from a few months to a few years back can be just as engaging, if not more, than content that’s new and fresh. This really isn’t too crazy when you consider the great images that are shared by people, across social networks, on every Thursday (aka Throwback Thursday). As Don Draper once remarked, nostalgia is potent.

An Actually Useful Version of Yo Is Warning Israelis of Rocket Strikes
Have you heard of “Yo!” – it’s a messaging app that lets you say “Yo!” to all your friends. Yes, I’m serious. Stop shaking your head. It’s real. There’s no shortage of jokes about the app. As ridiculous as the concept seems, Yo! Is now serving a higher purpose. “Yo users can now follow “RedAlertIsrael” to get a “Yo” at the same time that the sirens go off. The user typically receives a warning via smartphone 15 to 90 seconds before a rocket hits.” Impressive and innovative.

Friday Five – April 25, 2014

The Rise of the Mobile Addict
Hearing the mobile is big, doesn’t come as a surprise. You need only to look around a conference room table as people wait for attendees to enter to know that we’re practically voluntarily chained to our phones. Flurry, a mobile analytics company, conducted an in depth study to understand how people engaged with their mobile phones. The research and analysis uncovered a group of people called “mobile addicts.” What’s a mobile addict you ask? It’s someone that launches an app more than 60 times a day. Apps, like it or not, are the reason we have our phones and they’re the conduit to our experiences on the web. There’s a lot more data and insight contained in the link. I highly recommend you making 5 minutes to check it out.

Facebook Knows Everything About You, And If You Don’t Believe Us Here’s Proof
Ubisoft is launching a new video game called Watch Dogs. The game centers around the character Aiden Pearce, a brilliant hacker and thug. Aiden will identify “targets” of interest and then take them out. Of course, a good hit-man, knows a lot about his target and that’s where the Facebook part comes in. To promote the game Ubisoft has created a tool/app that shows just how much Facebook knows about you. I won’t spoil the fun. It’s a fun experience that shows, how powerful social data is, why privacy concerns exists and why, as marketers, we need to strive for a balance between targeted and creepy…while always protecting the user experience

To Encourage Holiday Sex That Results In Babies, A Danish Campaign Offers “Ovulation Discount”
Despite continually being named for having some of the most happy people in the world, Denmark’s birth rate sits at a 27-year low. This is real concern for Denmark. No really. I’m serious. It’s an epidemic. To fix the problem, a travel agency, called “Spies Travel” used data. Yes, data. They found that Danes have 46% more sex on vacation and that 10% of all Danish babies are conceived abroad. See, real data. Capitalizing on that data, they’re offering discounts to Danes who want to take a vacation for the purposes of getting pregnant. Yes, this seems crazy. But, it’s also insights driven. Playing it safe hasn’t worked for Denmark, the past 27 years. They needed something different. If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.

Universities Are Starting to Crack Down on Graduation Selfies
It finally came to this. Perhaps this will be the tipping point for ending the habits of selfies. It probably won’t. But, this just goes to show you how pervasive this consumer behavior is. Not unlike our Danish travel campaign, we have some real insights here about consumers and their love for expression. While the selfie itself may go away, the idea of seeing ourselves in media won’t. That’s a behavior that’s been around for hundreds of years…vanity, it’s definitely my favorite sin.

Facebook activism rarely goes deeper than a single click
From the research study abstract: “Despite the tremendous amount of attention that has been paid to the internet as a tool for civic engagement, we still have little idea how “active” is the average online activist or how social networks matter in facilitating electronic protest. In this paper, we use complete records on the donation and recruitment activity of 1.2 million members of the Save Darfur “Cause” on Facebook to provide a detailed first look at a massive online social movement. While both donation and recruitment behavior are socially patterned, the vast majority of Cause members recruited no one else into the Cause and contributed no money to it.” Let that sink in. It’s really powerful. The answer can’t simply be, “oh, we’ll just put it on Facebook and people will share it.” We need a real insight, a solid story and simplicity. If you want to read the full research, you can download the PDF here: http://bit.ly/1lJgciu

Friday Five – April, 11, 2014

Facebook announces News Feed cleanup to get rid of spammy messages, “like-baiting”
If you were a fan of content from Upworthy, Thought Catalog or Buzzfeed, you might be in for a change in your news feed. FB, in an effort to make sure high quality content enters your news feed, is cracking down on link and like-baiting. Link-baiting, are articles with a headline that don’t match the content on the page. Like-baiting is when a brand says to fans, “like this post if, you…” – Make no mistake, the best quality always wins. Great quality isn’t spammy or gimmicky. Facebook is trying to make sure all brands adhere to this belief.

A look inside publishers’ content studios
When it comes to creating great content, there is not one-size fits all approach. Every company and industry has a unique culture, set of business challenges and staffing models. This article from DigiDay does a great job of highlighting how publishers (e.g. NY Times) are rewiring their organizations to produce better content, faster and cheaper.

NFC Nails Could Change The Beauty Industry
NFC in your phone? Sure, that’s awesome. But, now, we have NFC in your finger tips. Takara Tomy Arts in Japan has created a line of press on nails that light up when near NFC powered phones. Fad? Or the future of “wearables”?

The Internet Of Caring Things
This is a long read. But, I have a feeling it’s going to be a link you come back to, again and again. This great post from Trend Watching, highlights the future of connected devices, with a point of view, that the best connected devices will be the ones that create and improve our daily lives.

The Steve Jobs email that outlined Apple’s strategy a year before his death
An email, used as evidence in Apple’s ongoing patent case against Samsung, reveals how Steve Jobs planned the next few years for Apple. I share this, not because it’s a Steve Jobs email, but because it shows the importance of betting on behaviors (e.g. People wanting access to all their things all the time) and the need to keep innovating quickly. This passage about the iPad 2 sticks out the most to me:

2011 Strategy: ship iPad 2 with amazing hardware and software before our competitors even catch up with our current model

It’s an interesting concept and something that’s very applicable to us, given our omni-channel focus. It’s not good enough to ship one great product or launch when great campaign. The bar is now, launching several great products and campaigns, with a pace that leaves the competition gasping for air, as they try to catchup.

Friday Five – March 14, 2014

The mobile single-purpose app strategy
Probably one of the best reads I’ve come across in a while. 1 app to rule them all is a concept that can’t sustain and it doesn’t drive growth fast enough. You can see this play out in Facebook’s app strategy. By having multiple apps, they’re able to learn faster, introduce features and then improve the main Facebook app quicker. Google has a similar approach. Amazon, ditto. If you’re thinking about your mobile app strategy and you’re not considering having multiple apps, you might want to rethink your approach.

Soft Skills Are Hard to Assess. And Even Harder to Succeed Without.
Great post. Assessing the soft skills and seeing their value is one of the critical elements that separates good managers from great managers. When you go beyond the things that are highly quantifiable, things get tougher. But, having the “soft skills” is what makes for high potential employees.

Office Depot Puts Customer Experience at the Center of Its Marketing
Refreshing insights directly from a company about how their changing based on consumers needs. The whole post is solid, but this last line is tremendous: “But most of all, Office Depot considers its experience from the individual customer’s point of view. “We treat different customers differently,” he said. “All marketers need to think about customers not as an ID number, but as individuals.””

Twitter Data Shows When We’re Happy, Sad, Hungover
On the one end of the spectrum, this is just cool and yet another example of how much fun data can be. On the other end of the of spectrum, if a brand was pulling the same data and analyzing it similarly, they might change the communication strategy based on the data. For example, if there’s a clear time period when people are hungry and you’re a snack brand, you have a match made in heaven. A tweet is not an insight. Many tweets can be.

Mondelez Inks 52-Country Ad Deal With Facebook
Bonin Bough continues his PR onslaught. I actually think, Mondelez has cloned Bonin so that he could attend all the events he speaks at. Following on the heels of their global partnership with twitter, Mondelez inked another deal with Facebook. One thing you have to admire about Mondelez and Bonin is that when they say they’re going to do something, they actually do it. They’re committed to digital and it shows in everything they do.

Friday Five – February 7, 2014

Johnson & Johnson Takes Newspaper Readers Back With Ads That Smell Like Baby Powder
Print advertising doesn’t have to be boring. It can be fun, interesting and multi-sensory. I love how Johnson & Johnson took a relatively predictable ad channel, like print, and turned it into something you’re intrigued to interact with.

This just in: Paper is the best Facebook app ever
I think the Facebook team has been really smart in how they’ve approached mobile. By building stand alone apps that run outside of the core Facebook app experience, they can test different designs, features and approaches, without messing with the core experience. Then, after they’ve learned enough, they fold the best features into the base/core app. This allows them to innovate and improve quickly. It’s smart. It’s also why I like Paper. The other reason I like Paper is how simple, intuitive and fun the interface is. Definitely worth the time to download.

Foursquare Gets $15M And Licensing Deal From Microsoft To Power Location Context For Windows And Mobile
I guess all that Foursquare data must be worth something? Good move by Microsoft and another validation that Foursquare’s stubbornness to sell or change strategy, is going win, long term.

Arby’s Social Media Manager Gives Inside Scoop On Tweet To Pharrell That Rocked The Grammys
Sometimes being lucky is better than being good. But, when preparation meets lucky/opportunity, you get something truly outstanding. I love this article from Arby’s social lead on how they quickly took advantage of Pharrell’s strange hat choice during the Grammy’s. Three things really stuck out. First, there was no warm room or command center. Sometimes simple, wins. Second, they were prepared and clearly didn’t have 100s of layers of approval to work through. Third, I loved this quote “Our CMO has created an environment for our team to have freedom and flexibility.” It’s nearly exactly what I said in predicting why most Super Bowl Real Time Marketing Efforts would fail: “Fast doesn’t come from committee. It doesn’t come from running every single tweet by the brand team, legal team, corporate communications team, media team and so on. Fast comes from trust.” Kudos to their organization and to Josh Martin for being prepared, on brand and fast.

Hashtags win in Super Bowl ads, and Facebook gets even with Twitter
The game was a snoozer. The ads were hit and miss. But, one thing that was clear, social integration is here to stay for a while. 58% of Super Bowl ads integrated hashtags into their commercials. Some did it really well. Some just tacked it on at the end. The 58% number shows us that more and more brands are trying to solve for the multi-screen use of their consumers.

Friday Five – January 3, 2014

Google And Audi Likely To Announce Infotainment Partnership At CES
I’ve been saying it for nearly 2 years, but the future is mobility, not mobile. Our cars are one of the most mobile “devices” we own and yet it’s been fairly technology limited. Ford really changed that with their Microsoft Sync relationship. It was only a matter of time til someone turned your car into something that resembled your phone. If the rumors are true, it’s Audi and Google who are committing to bring you the future of mobility.

Wendy Clark: All Marketing Strategies Should Start With ‘Why’
I love this article, penned by Wendy Clark, Coke’s VP of Marketing. Brands are built over time and with relentless focus. There’s a reason Coke, as a brand, is recognized, understood and appreciated across the world. To hear Wendy explain it, it’s their focus on their mission. “In these moments, when we lead with the product (what) and not our mission (why), our decisions get smaller, our perspective less brave, our work less memorable, our world impact more limited.” Purposeful positioning matters. It gives a brand a foundation to build upon and to thrive on.

Zappos is going holacratic: no job titles, no managers, no hierarchy
It’s the kind of thing only Zappos could do AND be successful in doing. Instead of a top down hierarchy, “…there will be around 400 circles at Zappos once the rollout is complete in December 2014—and employees can have any number of roles within those circles. This way, there’s no hiding under titles; radical transparency is the goal.” I love this approach. Then again, I’ve always loved the idea of accountability. Roles are much more valuable than titles. It’s your role that enables you to feel purpose and drive impact beyond your box on an org chart.

More Than 300 Sharks In Australia Are Now On Twitter
“Government researchers have tagged 338 sharks with acoustic transmitters that monitor where the animals are. When a tagged shark is about half a mile away from a beach, it triggers a computer alert, which tweets out a message on the Surf Life Saving Western Australia Twitter feed. The tweet notes the shark’s size, breed and approximate location.” That sums it up. Brilliant. Just brilliant.

Pew Internet Life Project: The 2013 Social Media Report
Always a fan of the work done by Pew. Their reports on internet/digital/social use and adoption always have me leaning forward. In their 2013 report on social media trends we see a few interesting things.

  1. If you thought Facebook was on the decline…think again.
  2. Just about everyone uses social. Ok, not everyone, but 73% of adults online. That’s significant.
  3. While Facebook isn’t on the decline, people are diversifying their time across many social networks…especially Instagram.

The full report can be found here.

Friday Five – December 27, 2013

Big Data and the Role of Intuition
Harvard Business Review is always a mixed bag for me. Often the content is basic/fundamental, masquerading as brilliant. But, every once in a while you get something like this gem on the need to remember that algorithms, platforms and machines can only get you so far. You can’t set them to auto-pilot and think the work is done. As a marketer you have a big role to play, when it comes to making sense of what all that big data actually means. Sometimes, your gut, is pretty smart.

Buzzfeed’s coverage of Justine Sacco story: An ethical issue?
Because we’re dealing with the righteous web, let me get out a quick disclaimer. What Justine Sacco tweeted was dumb. It was wrong. It should never have been said or thought. It also pales in comparison to what’s said on Southpark, Family Guy and Tosh.O. I’ve seen a lot of coverage about the Justine Sacco situation. Some of it good. Some of it bad. I came across this article from Arik Hanson and it was decidedly different. It doesn’t analyze Justine, her tweet or even the mob mentality that followed. No, it takes a look at what’s passing as “journalism.” As we saw with the Boston Marathon tragedy, too many people are focused on being first, not focused on being right. First, wins the ratings battle. Being right, but second, earns you a set of steak knives. One other quick note, you know how Forbes or someone will write an article about how more C-suite executives need to be on twitter? When we see situations like this, it’s more reason for not do me on twitter. On twitter, even the average person is a “celebrity” with all of twitter, the largest paparazzi in the world. Think before you tweet. Your job depends on it.

Redefining Advertising: How 2013 Transformed Digital Marketing
The Google Insights team put together a fantastic infographic covering how much change there was in digital marketing in 2013. While I think there was a great deal of appreciation and understanding, by companies, for the changing consumer landscape; there’s still a significant gap between what’s happening (eg mobile, multi-screen) and spend shifts.

The Trends That Ruled Pinterest In 2013
When asked about Pinterest, I often smile. As a marketer, it’s a goldmine. Pinterest is 100% about expression. When you look at what people pin, you get a view into their hopes, wishes, memories and aspirations. The Read Write Web team built upon Pinterest’s top pins in 2013 blog post and went a bit deeper. Who knew so many people wanted to visit Iceland?

Why Is Facebook Blue? The Science Behind Colors In Marketing
I had so much fun reading this post from Fast Company. I won’t steal their thunder. Frankly, their writing is much better than mine. Colors do matter and brands clearly pick them with specific purpose and intent.

The Color Emotion Guide

Looking Forward, My 2014 Predictions

It’s that time of year. It’s time for predictions about what the next year will bring in the marketing, advertising, social and technology space. As I’ve done for the past few years, before we start talking about 2014, let’s see how I did in 2013.

  1. “We’re going to see less emphasis on hiring heads of social and digital and more emphasis on hiring heads of analytics and insights.” I completely missed on this. I thought we were going to see the industry evolve. Instead we saw heads leave their organizations for other organizations. For example Shiv Singh left Pepsi to join Visa. Maybe 2014 will be the year of the mass hiring spree on analytics and insights folks.
  2. “We will see a run of acquisitions by older/established organizations on startups or young organizations.” I sorta nailed this one. It happened, but there wasn’t a run on these types of companies. Yahoo! of course, was the big player in this space, buying just about every startup company in the world. And Newscorp’s acquisition of Storyful for $25M certainly helped me feel better about my performance with this prediction.
  3. “There will be too many companies trying to solve the “social TV” question. They will all offer different metrics. The lack of standardization will cause a big problem and set us back. At the end of 2013 or the start of 2014 we’ll see one clear winner.” I missed on this too. Thankfully, twitter made some major purchases, like BlueFin Labs, which has helped bring greater clarity to the social TV question. This is one case, where I’m thrilled to be wrong.
  4. “Twitter will file for IPO. Simple as that.” Nailed it, simple as that.
  5. “Facebook will become less friend and more frenemy. To soften their transition toward frenemy, they will offer a tiered structure/classification that will essentially become a pay for access/feature model.” I’m giving myself a win on this one. While there wasn’t a tiered pricing structure, Facebook’s recent announcement that companies will need to pay if they want their content to be seen by fans, is starting to undo some of the great strides they made this past year thru partnerships with DataLogix.

Well, 3 out of 5…not exactly setting the world on fire. Keep in mind, in 2013, when I looked back on 2012, I nailed 90% of my predictions. That brings my two year average to 80%. Let’s see if I can do better in 2014. Here’s what I think is going to happen.


  1. Agencies will feel the squeeze from two ends of the spectrum. On one front companies like Accenture, IDEO and smaller boutiques take a chunk out of the strategy portion of budgets. On the other front clients will start transitioning functions like social media and insights in-house. This will cause a ripple effect that will lead to more large consolidations. These consolidations will be big, but not quite at the scale of the Omnicom/Publicis merger.
  2. SnapChat will implode. It will grow it’s user base, but won’t figure out how to monetize the platform. All the while, Facebook/Instagram, twitter and Google will come up with extensions to their platforms that will provide the basic utility of SnapChat, but for a mass audience.
  3. Google Glass will come to the mass market, but will flop, UNLESS the consumer version has a built in cellular connection.
  4. Amazon will purchase a grocery retailer to expedite the growth of their Amazon Fresh service. If I were betting, it would be Supervalu.
  5. Über will IPO.
  6. We will see a major movie studio release a semi-major movie available for stream/download before it comes to theaters. My money is on Netflix pulling this off from a distribution standpoint.
  7. Mobile payments will finally gain traction, making up for the poor launches from ISIS and Google Wallet over the past few years.
  8. Companies of all walks of life will start creating “products.” For example, we might see Nestle create a product similar to FitBit, that will integrate with their Lean Cuisine line. P&G might create a wearable technology type of device for babies. It’s coming.
  9. iBeacon and other proximity driven messaging/communication platforms, designed to sync and communicate with your phone, will struggle to take off. The problem won’t be interest or cost. The problem will be the continued relative poor battery life of phones and the privacy concerns of consumers.
  10. The next big mobile platform, won’t be a phone, it will be a car. Ford, BMW or another car manufacturer will bring a custom version of Android to their vehicles.

I feel really good about 5 of the 10. Now, all we need to do is wait and see, if I’m right.