Mobile Advertising Is Still Where Web Advertising Was in the 90’s

iStock_000016927626XSmallI wrote before about how bad occasionally mobile advertising gets nowadays (see this blog post here). That was about 6 months ago — and I was hoping things started to change in the meanwhile. (After all, in the Valley we hear a lot about how quickly the world changes, right? :D) Well, it appears not — some companies are still stuck in the silly mentality of using in-app advertising to just annoy the hell out of the user until they buy some premium service. And today I had just encounter another case of really really bad advertising.

This one is extremely bad because it’s not just nagware where you get shoved advertising in your face at each step until you pay for a premium service. (And by the way, that in itself makes a really bad case for advertising because it is actually stating upfront to user that “look, we know advertising doesn’t work — soooo not true by the way! — and we don’t really value it either but we know you hate it and we’ll keep shoving it in your face not because we hope you might be interested in the products we advertise, but because we hope you will get so annoyed with it to buy our premium service and get rid of it”. In other words, advertising is not used to trigger user interest in other products or services, but instead just to annoy the s#@$t out of the user.) No, in this particular case advertising actually prevents the user from using the application!

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Love Thy History

iStock_000021005439Large_little_boyThis is another speech I’ve given at Valley Toastmasters and it’s part of the Competent Communicator manual, project #10: “Inspire Your Audience”.

(The speech is actually based on a Ted talk given by Terry Moore titled “Why is ‘x’ the unknown” and you can watch it here: http://www.ted.com/talks/terry_moore_why_is_x_the_unknown )

As a reminder, the objectives of this project are:

  • To inspire the audience by appealing to noble motives and challenging the audience to achieve a higher level of beliefs or achievement.
  • Appeal to the audience’s need and emotions, using stories, anecdotes, and quotes to add drama
  • Avoid using notes

With that in mind, here’s the speech I delivered.

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23andme Holiday Party

Goodbye Old House, Hello New House!

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Advertising vs Digital Marketing

Computer devicesIt’s been known for a while now that I have taken on the role of CTO of The Linus Group. It has been said at the time about this that I am changing my area of expertise, since I left Magnetic / Cognitive Match who were clearly focused on online advertising to join a company which operates in digital marketing space. This statement is something which I disagreed to from the beginning, as I don’t see this as a change of direction on my side at all (on the contrary!) — so I’m setting off to shed a bit of light into this matter in this post. I’m going to make a bit of a side-by-side comparison in between the online advertising and the digital marketing and see how much they are alike to each other as well as complement each other.

To start with, let’s look at who is a heavy user (and by user I mean someone who buys advertising inventory not just consume it, the way any web user nowadays does) of online advertising. It turns out it’s exactly digital marketers! These guys are looking at ways to increase brand awareness, develop a regular user base or increase their sales by using all sorts of channels, one of these channels being online advertising. The concept is very simple: you buy advertising to attract users to your website — with a view in mind to sell them a product/service, have them join the ranks of your regular users and so on. It’s the typical sales funnel with the advertising at one end and sales at the other end. The thing that one might not be aware of working in online advertising is that most of the online advertising budgets come as a result of a marketing strategy — and as such are approved by marketers.

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Marketing Automation Companies Have a Lot to Learn from Tech World

businessman shows modern technologyAs you might know by now, I’ve adjusted a bit my career recently. My core experience is a techie in the online advertising world — and as of recently I’ve moved into an adjacent segment: digital marketing. It sounds like a drastic move, but to be honest, when you look closely, it’s actually the same thing, but from the other side of the fence (and to be honest at a much smaller scale).

The advertising world deals with ad views, impressions, clicks, conversions, visitor profiling… and the digital marketing world deals with the same: any digital marketer is constantly looking at conversions, page views, call-to-actions, landing pages, profiling visitors, lead nurturing (which is very similar to visitor scoring we’re applying in advertising) and so on.

In fact, back in the day when I was in Cognitive Match, the original idea of the business was exactly that: to take ownership of the whole sales funnel. (Sadly a few things went wrong somewhere at the top and we had to ahem pivot a bit…)

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(Don’t) Blame the Techie

Working with the laptopI’m a techie by trade, I’m sure you figured that out from the sort of things I blog about here. As such, I do get rubbed up the wrong way when I hear of so many companies complaining on a regular basis about their technical team. It’s either because they don’t deliver on time. Or the functionality is not quite what it was needed. Or because they are assigning priority to other projects than the ones which should be top priority for the company. Or that they are not engaging in discussions with the outside world to find out what the “real” needs are… The list goes on, and while I’m hoping you have no idea what I’m talking about, I think the sad reality is that most of us have heard (or even more so, have been involved in) these sort of discussions and accusations against techies.

As I said, I feel I need to defend the techies here — having been myself involved in these on both sides of the table.I’m going to look at some of the situations I’ve encountered and explain how and why that has happened. And while I am obviously partial in this, hopefully you will see that a lot of these situations were not entirely the techies fault.

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Xmas 2014

Restarting My Rugby “Career”

After my first game for Silicon Valley Rugby — guess who played at blind side? ;)

Snow in My Hometown – 01/Dec/2014