Opinions And Ramblings By Adam Kmiec On All Things

Tag Archives: Video

My Take On Mary Meeker’s 2016 Internet Trends Report

Christmas is in December, you say? On the 25th? Well, perhaps it is for society at large. But, for nerdy marketers like myself, Christmas is whatever day Mary Meeker releases her Internet Trends Report. It’s generally considered the official, “State of the Internet.” I like it because it takes a macro look at how global trends are shaping micro moments and decisions. With that said, here’s the report:

It’s always a great read. So much to think about. So much to unpack. It usually takes me a good month or so to form opinions that have implications to the work I do and who I do that work for. That said, we live a world of “now”, and to that end, I look for some immediate take-aways that make me go hmmm.

  1. Voice will overtake typing. I see it happening every day. My daughter loves to ask Siri questions. For her, it’s equal parts more fun and simpler. I struggle with it, right now. But, that’s because my expectations are too high and I want specific and precise answers. The core of voice is still the basic data structure and taxonomy foundation that makes traditional search work. It’s the non-sexy, but significantly important work around SEO, data integrity and APIs that allow voice to be beneficial. Companies who have invested in sound SEO principles, clean data and great content will excel in shifting from typing to voice.
  2. With more people than ever on the web and more options competing for their time, it’s no wonder inflation in digital media is so high. Earlier in the year, I forecasted that 2017 would see a digital media inflation of 12% – 20%. This report seems to substantiate and validate that range.
  3. Apps need to do more than one thing well, to be sticky. Slide 80, does a great job of hitting this point. I’d also add, if you want your app to do just 1 thing well, you might need multiple apps. This is exactly what leaders in mobile, like Facebook, have done. They unbundled the app and are reaping the benefits.
  4. Keep in mind, messaging is still in it’s early days. We’re just now being given the ability to leverage those platforms as a business/brand. But, considering the pace that things move at, just because it’s early days, doesn’t mean you can’t/shouldn’t be experimenting with how to find your place in this channel shift.
  5. Slide 45 is a big time moment for marketers who believe in digital (yes, there are those who still don’t). This is the first time, since the report has been coming out, that advertising spend in digital equaled or surpassed usage. That’s a big tipping point. But, wow, look how underspent mobile is.
  6. Walgreens was founded in the 1900s. Look how many retailers born after us are on life support or defunct. I feel that our longevity is a testament to the innovative spirit and the focus on the customer, that we’ve always had.
  7. Slide 78 is the one area where I’d pick a LARGE bone with Ms. Meeker. The data is very misleading. On the surface it looks like Snapchat outperforms Facebook. But, when you consider that Facebook measures a video view using the IAB standard or equivalent, but Snapchat counts a view, the minute you tap, this chart means is not fairly representative of reality.
  8. There are limited reasons today to outsource your media buying and optimization. In an ad/marketing-tech world, so long as you have the horses in your stable, you’re more efficient going direct, in digital. The toughest part, of course, is getting those horses. It’s difficult to get an unfair share of high talent, out there, today.

Those were my immediate takeaways. Anything you disagree with? What would you add? I look forward to all the dissecting that different people, companies and publishers will do.

Being Healthy Can Make You Smile

Walgreens is at the corner of “Happy” and “Healthy.” Too often we see these at mutually exclusive. Health is something we talk seriously about. It’s a topic we aren’t supposed to have fun with. But, with the growth of companies like SoulCycle, it’s clear you can enjoy and dare I say, become happy, in your quest to be healthy.

Our internal social, creative and content team is fantastic. This is a great example how we can reinforce how easy it is to be healthy at Walgreens, while delivering it in a way that makes you happy.

Also, if you haven’t already, download the award winning Walgreens app, sign up for Digital Health Advisor and check out Pharmacist Chat. Let me know what you think via email. Thanks.

Don’t We Deserve A Better Video Experience From Marketers?

It’s 2013. We’re nearing 2014. Today, we can start watching a movie on Netflix on our iPad, pause it, pick it up on our iPhone at the exact same spot, 2 hours later, and then complete the movie from the confines of our couch, later that evening, via our AppleTV. Impressive, right?

Earlier this year, from Sydney, Australia I used Apple’s FaceTime to video chat with my daughter back home in Minneapolis. That’s technology, in the video space, working hard to deliver an amazing consumer experience.

Despite the growth and innovation of consumer video experiences, the branded video content and video advertising categories continue to struggle with both growth and traction with consumers. It would be easy to point the finger at the myriad of video formats marketers need to plan against, lack of measurement standardization or the overall fragmentation of the web. But, I think the lack of progress in digital video stems from 2 critical challenges.

  1. Infrastructure: In 2012, I wrote about how the increased focus by mobile providers to throttle data usage or increase the cost for data usage would hold the industry back. It has. When you have a choice between watching a great, funny, entertaining video or refreshing your Facebook stream 10X a day, it’s rare you’ll choose the video. Mobile data is life and you don’t want to reach the end of your life quickly.
  2. Quality Content: The reality is, the majority of video content from manufacturers isn’t interesting enough to earn the right on to a user’s screen. The last time a brand created content that was so good, you’d pay to watch it, was BMW Films. Since then, marketers have been copying that formula to try and drive success. On the whole it hasn’t worked because the content still pales in comparison to the content BMW presented in 2002. Yes, I said 2002. Video content from 11 years ago is better than the majority of video content being produced today. Then again, we’re a culture that thinks Old School was a better movie than Animal House.

As a marketer you could wait for the infrastructure to evolve. But, the reality is, infrastructure always evolves. I think your better bet is focusing on creating the type of desirable content that transcends infrastructure, data caps, screen sizes, platforms and languages. It also, wouldn’t hurt to stop advertising a 60 second pre-roll in front of a 15 second piece of content on YouTube.

*These thoughts were included in the recent CMO.com Wants to Know Article.

We’re On A Collision Course

We’re on a collision course. It’s going to be an epic collision. Not the type that everyone slows down to look at. Nope. Something far more catastrophic is going to occur. We’re consuming more and more “data” on our phones. There’s no sense in even referring to our devices as smartphones; the segment of people with “feature” phones is dwindling faster than our ice caps. As our phones become more powerful, the battery life longer and the ecosystem of apps more dynamic, it’s becoming second nature for us to be connected.

So we download an app. We check Facebook. We tweet. We check-in. We stream videos from Netflix. We instagram. And instagram. And instagram some more. We consume. We consume like crazy. And why shouldn’t we? The web is how we learn, discover, share, communicate and enhance our relationships. Today, we can do all of that, all the time, from anywhere. Our whole life fits in our pocket.

We’re moving forward like a turbo charged race car on a highway without speed limits. But, as we try to accelerate, as we try to enjoy the buzz that comes from speed, we’re getting read to hit speed bump after bump and eventually a wall. Those bumps and that wall are our antiquated wireless infrastructure. AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and eventually Sprint are capping our access. Their data plans act like governors that keep us stuck in 3rd gear.

Consumers want to access the web on demand and on the go. As marketers we want to deliver content and information that enhances their experience. But, we can never realize the potential that comes from a unique situation where consumers want the same thing as marketers; the web…on tap. We talk about the power of the cloud. But, the cloud offers little value if we can’t access the cloud without fearing a data overage charge?

Could you imagine a world where Comcast throttled how much TV you could watch? A world where ever month you could only watch X minutes of TV? Of course not. And one major reason why you’ll never have to imagine that world is advertisers would never allow it. You can’t siphon off one of the largest pipes that allow advertisers to reach consumers.

TV is at scale. No one questions that. No one questions TVs ability to reach massive amounts of people quickly. That’s why I think we are headed for a collision. With smartphone penetration over 50% and consumption on a hockey stick growth curve, we’re going to see advertisers fight with service providers. It’s inevitable. For once, no one is disagreeing that mobile is the future. Where there is still disagreement though, is if the future is now. That disagreement is what allows the Verizon’s of the world to put up speed bump after speed bump and keep us all from fulfilling on the promise of mobile.

The collision is imminent. It’s approaching rapidly. But, it won’t happen because you, the consumer, wants a better mobile experience…wants unmetered data…wants an on demand and on the go world. Nope. It’s going to happen because advertisers will refuse to operate in a world where their ability to market to customers is being constrained by the “pipe” providers.

Blink To Win

As kids we’re taught that the way to win a staring contest is to not blink. We’re supposed to keep our eyes open longer than our opponent and not blink. But, have you ever considered that if no one blinks, both players lose? I mean sure, by the technical rules of the game, no one is a winner, but if no one is a winner then, aren’t both players losers? Watch this parody of commentators covering a Staring Contest “event” and then try to tell me both players aren’t losers if neither blinks.

The other night I voluntarily watched, in the theater, Something Borrowed. If you haven’t seen it, you really should. It’s well scripted, with witty dialogue and an outstanding performance by John Krasinksi. There’s a great many themes, but one of the most important, I think, is the the least discussed or acknowledged: The Staring Contest. In the movie, we have two people who want to be together. They deserve one another. They should be together. But, neither has the confidence to express their feelings to the other. This leads to both characters being miserable with other people, instead of being happy with each other. Neither character wanted to blink. Neither wanted to make the first move. Tragic.

Sometimes you have to think about things in a different light. I try to do this all the time. Maybe too much. But, I think I’m on to something in this case. Have you been out with a group of friends when the topic for where to eat comes up? Have you been part of the misery that is, everyone not wanting to make a decision or a recommendation and instead electing to just be agreeable? Painful, right? That’s everyone choosing not to blink.

Blinking takes courage. It holds you accountable. You’re on record as being the person who blinked. Could this be why everyone middle school dances are always portrayed in movies as the girls on one of the gym and the boys on the other, with only a handful of couples in the middle? Rejection is certainly a deterrent from blinking. We fear rejection by default. We’re conditioned to be fearful of it. And why not? It stings.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink, he discussed at length, with great examples that our brains are smarter than we think. Our ability to make smart decisions quickly is there, but we’re conditioned not to make decisions quick because when we do they are considered rash and irresponsible. We applaud the person who takes a methodical approach to solving a problem or reaching an answer and we frown upon the person who is quick to arrive at an answer. There’s a litany of data that discusses the psychology of jurors and how even when they know “their answer” they deliberate longer so that they can feel better about the decision they arrive at.

But, the world needs blinkers. We need people are willing to take the lead, make a decision, be bold and go after what they want. Maybe, that’s why I love blinking so much. I love being on the offensive. Ironically, as I kid, I was also pretty awesome at playing the staring contest game. Guess, I’m just lucky!

The Hot-Crazy Ratio

I’ve gotten into How I Met Your Mother.  As in I have roughly 40 episodes unwatched on my DVR.  Was watching several episodes today when I came across a true gem.  Barney provided his perspective on the dynamic between Hot and Crazy.

Hysterical and by my estimation true.

The Dark Side Of Passion

One of the characteristics I look for in people, especially those I hire, is passion. It’s a powerful trait. Passion coupled with a some serious smarts is a cocktail for success. Passion drives us to the edge. It keeps our interest peaked while it’s waining for others. Passion creates an internal desire to keep being better. It separates the front line from the “line.”

But as much as I love passion. As much as I crave it in the people I surround myself with, passion can be dangerous when misguided. Enjoy!

Admittedly, I’ve never experienced anything like the above video, but I have seen the dark side of passion. It’s a scary place, but something you can’t avoid.

We Got Ourselves A Game

Stumbled on to this late last night. Chilling and inspiring.

The theory of evolution claims that only the strong shall survive. Maybe so…maybe so…But the theory of competition says just because they’re the strong doesn’t mean they cant get their ass’s kicked. Thats right. See what every long shot, come from behind underdog will tell you is this. The other guy may in fact be the favorite, the odds maybe stacked against you, fair enough. But what the odds don’t know is this isn’t a math test. This is a completely different kind of test. One where PASSION has a funny way of trumping logic. So before you step up to the starting line, before the whistle blows, and the clock starts ticking. Just remember out here the results don’t always add up. No matter what the stats may say, and the experts may think, and the commentators may have predicted, when the race is on all bets are off. Don’t be surprised if someone decides to flip the script and take a pass on yelling uncle. And then suddenly as the old saying goes, WE GOT OURSELVES A GAME!

All I Have Are The Choices I Make

Earlier today, I caught the movie Black Swan. I highly recommend it, especially for all of you out there obsessed with being perfect. I’ll probably work up a post on the movie because it really hit home on a lot of levels.

Moving on, the best part of a movie at the theater, for me, is the previews. The previews before Black Swan did not disappoint. The one movie that stuck out was called the Adjustment Bureau. It’s a horrible name for a movie and honestly doesn’t tell the story like the actual trailer does. Check it out here.

The line that sticks out to me is “All I Have Are The Choices I Make.” It’s subtle, but provocative. I think we’d all like to believe that we’re in control of our own destiny. The choices we make impact that destiny. While we may rely on others for input, the reality is we are the person making the decision…we are the ones responsible.

But, here’s the rub, we can make our own choices. But, it still takes other people to participate, in order to fulfill on the destiny you want. Matt Damon’s character may in fact believe all he has are the choices he makes, but unless Emily Blunt’s character (the female lead) says “ok” when he tells her “I need you to trust me” – his choice is irrelevant. Think about it. Sure, he’s made the choice, or as he says, “I choose her.” However, he will never have a chance at fulfilling his wants, desires, hopes, wishes and personal destiny unless she’s “in.”

As much as we like to believe we are in control of our own destiny, the harsh reality is while we can make the choices, we need other people to play ball in order for us to become who we want to be.