Archives for posts with tag: algorithms

Is this an eye-opener or just another fact of life?

Kevin Slavin talks about algorithms and how they affect our lives. Worth the 15 minutes of your time.

Slavin explains how the hidden algorithms play a major role in our everyday lives. Algorithms can give us better search results, help us with recommendations for books or cause a financial meltdown. It sounds as if we’re creating a world we have problems controlling.


Paid Media

This business has been around since brands started to understand that paying for media increases their sales. It doesn’t matter if you’re buying TV, Print, OOH or Digital – the principles are similar. You determine where your placed media gets the best efficiency and effectiveness, and you purchase media placements that work for your brand. The latest wrinkle to this model is to partner with specialized buying agencies that can get you the best bang for your buck. Especially in the digital space, you need to work with sophisticated partners to take advantage of DSP’s, SSP’s, RTB’s and all these other inventions in the age of the quant. Your partner (in most cases an agency) will focus on putting your communication in the most relevant environment for the lowest price.

Earned Media

Earned Media is not free. Instead of paying for a placement or exchanging money with a partner for their execution, you are paying for the time and resources of people who are engaging with your brand on multiple platforms. You can deploy employees, contractors, social agencies, media agencies or your intern. You always have to keep in mind that you need to find a hook for people to talk about you. You can’t buy their attention, you need to earn it. Often, that hook is created by an outside source (agency) since brands don’t have the resources for that specific task. The people talking about you aren’t compensated (unless you want to run an unethical, ineffective initiative), instead you provide triggers to share their love of the brand. This can come in many forms: content curation, sharing content, seeding content, interacting with brand loyalists. We’re still figuring this out but we know it’s real and search engines love that. As a brand, you need to meaningfully participate in the spaces where your brands, products and services are relevant.

What paid media can learn from earned media.

If you’re boring, mediocre or just shill your products, you’ll never make it in the earned media world. You need to find ways to earn attention. This can be done through a remarkable product, service, promotion, initiative or stunt. The emphasis is on “remarkable”. The brand has to develop something that’s worth talking about. When something is remarkable, brands earn the attention of people.

Paid media, on the other hand, is often used to disrupt people. The remarkable thing about digital marketing is the technology behind the scenes. All these new exchanges and trading desks, the quants at works. Just to deliver a more efficient and relevant impression to people. This might be remarkable to all of us but the customer doesn’t care. He might be surprised/annoyed to find the same banner following him throughout the Internet after he visited a brand site. But the actual creative is absolutely unremarkable. Most display ads are forgettable commodities that communicate mainly: “Nothing to see here.” While we focus our whole attention on the remarkable aspect of our technology, we tend to forget what real good creative can do: Get people talking.

Things won’t be getting easier. It will be tougher and more expensive in the years to come to pay for attention. Too many screens, too many things to do. It’s so alluring to focus on better technology and more advanced algorithms. But if your creative/value proposition is not up to par, attention increasingly will come at a high premium.


This column appeared first on Jack Myers’ MediaBizBloggers site

Kirk McDonald, President, Digital, Time Inc. keynoted at the iMedia Agency Summit in sunny Phoenix and predicted the next decade will be the age of storytelling.


The pendulum that swings between art and science in advertising has moved too far to the science part of advertising in the past decade. We have focused on making markets more efficient and not focus enough on moving markets. While there’s a good case to be made to introduce algorithms into advertising, we have gone too far. We forgot that advertising is about people with lives and soul and energy, and we have to re-focus our efforts on developing creative ideas and innovation in advertising to make meaningful connections with people. While a good delivery mechanism is vital to deliver relevant messages to people, we have to put as much (or even more energy) in crafting messages that connect more with the heart and soul of people.

We have to stop the race to the bottom

While his message is clearly self-serving (publishers can’t live on CPM rates of $0.23), it still rings very true. For years, the digital marketing community has been engaged in a race to the bottom. The problem when you race to the bottom: The winner is still at the bottom. For the advertising community to find its footing again, we need to reverse that trend and race to the top again. Connect with the heart and soul of people. Tell stories they want to share. Tell stories that inspire them. Listen to the stories of people and share them with the world. New tools and platforms allow advertisers to co-create and collaborate with people. This is a unique opportunity. The industry is at crossroads: It is our responsibility to stay away from the pull of short-term gains and focus on the long-term health of the advertising industry. And regain its soul again.


A commonly accepted truth is that we live in a snack culture: We devour our cultural input the way we eat sweets and tortilla chips. Bite-size content packages that are easy to digest and allow us to move on quickly to the next cultural snack. A world filled with dumb YouTube stunts, short blog posts and lifestreams. And while we’re entertaining ourselves to death, our old culture filled with thick books and deep, philosophic thoughts is being replaced with vapid content.

As it goes with a commonly accepted truths: It’s just a load of b.s.

Sure, the transformation from consumers to producers has led to an advent of bite-sized content: Blog posts, YouTube videos, Twitter expressions. At the same time, we’ve seen the exact opposite in mass media: Shows like Boardwalk Empire or Lost expects viewers to invest a lot of hours to get the full enjoyment out of them. Movies have gotten much longer, during the holidays season the average movie hoping to win an Academy Award is around 3 hours. Music isn’t limited to 3 minutes anymore because it’s not forced to oblige to the rules of Top 40 radio. Some songs are up 10 minutes long. I’ve heard DJ sets that were more than 12 hours long. Video Games changed from “Pong” to sophisticated games, requiring people to spend a lot of time and energy to master them.

Nostalgia doesn’t move us forward

I grew up in a world of 3 TV channels in Germany, 1 newspaper daily available at the newsstand and many, many books at home and in the library. Since I’m pretty curious, I read “War and Peace” and, yes, even “Ulysses”. And thousands of other books. Frankly, I had no other choices. Besides staring at the wall.

The cultural pessimist in me believes that almost nobody will read these books in the future. There’s just so much more interesting content out there. Thank God, the cultural pessimist in me is almost always wrong. The eternal optimist in me believes that our current feeling of being constantly overwhelmed by information will give way to a feeling of being in control. The challenge is that we feel a sense of excess right now: Internet searches turn up too many results, we continue to add people to our Social Graph, making tools like Twitter almost impossible to deal with. This is a temporary issue. We’re starting to devise ways to cope with the information overload. We will find new ways to select, summarize, and sort, and we will use our human judgment and attention to guide the process.

The reliance on the wisdom of crowds and algorithms has brought us to the point where some feel everything will be bite-sized. New ways of curating and introducing human editors to the mix will help us cope with the avalanche of information. And, who knows, one day we all will read Ulyssess in the subway and not stare at our Twitter feed.