If I’m being honest, I’m glad summer’s over. As much as I like to whine and kvetch about the weather (they say if Canadians didn’t have politics and the weather, we would have nothing to talk about), I love the changing of the seasons. It always feels like a time of renewal. Time to regroup and take stock of one’s life. Plus, as a bonus, us Canadians get to celebrate Thanksgiving in one short week! Wheee! Bring on the turkey and trimmings!
On that glutinous note, let’s kick back and have a look at some of the tech news you might have missed last week.
Here’s the latest edition of “Things You Need To Know This Week.”
According to PwC’s annual Digital IQ survey of 2,000 business and technology executives, 73 percent of CEOs said they are helping promote their companies’ digital strategies. That’s a telling increase, compared with only 57 percent two years ago. And it’s about bloody time. If there’s one thing we preach, it’s that CEOs have to wake up and get on board when it comes to digital. As Dylan once said, the times, they are a changin’, and that change is only going to continue its steady march forward.
Businessinsider.com reported, “This shift towards a more hands-on approach by CEOs means that companies are looking to invest in technology that impacts all of their business lines. The survey found that 31% of respondents said their companies are steering more than 15% of their revenues into technology investments that cut across all areas of their business, not just the IT department.”
Yay! Standing ovation, CEOs!
Anyone who knows me knows I can’t add two plus two. I don’t know why. Numbers freak me out. I’m a highly visual learner, and while I totally geek out at what analytics and data can reveal, being able to dig in and figure those results out myself is definitely on my list of things to try and learn more about (and hopefully conquer my numbers phobia at the same time)!
It seems marketers everywhere are actively reaping the benefits of big data. According to a survey by Forbes Insights of senior data and IT decision-makers, big data and analytics were a significant business priority, with 21 percent saying it was the single most important way for them to gain an advantage, and 38 percent putting it in their top five priorities.
The survey also found that location-based data was the most commonly used type, and the only one cited by a majority of respondents worldwide. With the massive rise of mobile, that’s not surprising. What is surprising though, is that, as cool as location based data is, the old lead generation stalwarts of email addresses, personal information such as names and telephone numbers, and overall demographics data are still being used to great success to drive targeted advertising and overall marketing success.
There’s an inappropriate joke in here somewhere, but I am not going to go there, lest Shelly fire me when she returns from Guatemala. 😉 Apparently, according to Marketing firm MBLM, when Millennials think of their “most intimate brand” Sony’s PlayStation gaming division ranks third. And, that third place spot falls ONLY behind two behemoths—Amazon and Apple.
In this case, “intimacy” is described as a tight relationship between a person and a brand that can help a business grow. Ugh. I just don’t get the whole “gaming” thing, but I must be close to alone in that regard: The worldwide gaming market is worth around $100 billion, a figure that frankly blows my mind.
According to VentureBeat.com, Sony’s PlayStation 4 console has sold faster than any Sony system ever—based largely on the company’s reputation among fans. Reputation is everything, whether personal or business, and Playstation is a great example of just how powerful a roll reputation can play in a brand’s success.
I would rather gouge both my baby-blues out with a spoon than watch videos on my smartphone, BUT, as the mom of a Gen Zed’er (Canada, yo!) I get it—the kids are doing it, and that’s all that counts. On that note, Verizon’s new mobile video service go90, which is aimed at capturing a younger demographic who spends more time watching video on their phones than with traditional TV, is now out of beta, and available on both the iTunes App Store and Google Play (“go90” refers to the way users flip their phone horizontally to watch videos).
Now, there’s a lot of competition out there facing go90, with rivals like Dish’s Sling TV, a cross-platform streaming version of cable TV, as well as two streaming services from Comcast—Stream, and Watchable, their newly launched video app focused on web series’ and online content. Verizon aims to differentiate themselves from these competitors by focusing only on mobile devices, iOS and Android, instead of connected TVs, streaming media players, or the desktop.
And they’ve got a nice lineup of content, including networks like Comedy Central, Food Network, ESPN, NFL Network, One World Sports, Discovery, VH1, MTV, SPIKE, TLC, Adult Swim, HGTV, BET, Investigation Discovery, New Form Digital, Univision, Viacom, AwesomenessTV, Vice, Tastemade, Maker Studios, Fullscreen, Stylehaul, Collective Digital, Machinima, EliteDaily, DEFY, Legendary, AOL/HuffPo, and more.
Phew, I have to take a breath after that last paragraph!
There’s a new penguin coming to town, and it should be here in the next few months. If you’re not familiar with Penguin, it was first launched by Google back in April, 2012, and the goal of the algorithm was to fight webspam in search results, and crack down on sites using spammy or black hat techniques to game the system, like paying for links or keyword stuffing.
According to Google’s Gary Illyes speaking this week at SMX East, the next Penguin update will be deployed in the “foreseeable” future, adding, “I hope” by the end of the year and will be the real-time version of the algorithm.
The key thing to note from what Illyes said is this: Real time. Once the update is released, when Google discovers that a link is removed or disavowed, the Penguin algorithm will process it in real time, meaning a much faster recovery from a Penguin penalty. And, as anyone—or any brand—who’s ever been hit by a Google penalty knows, that’s a very good thing.
Ok. This is kind of fun. I have some friends who already have this feature, and it’s been a blast watching them use it. Facebook users can now upload a looping video clip in place of their regular profile photo on its mobile app. According to company officials, “Profile videos will let you show a part of yourself you couldn’t before, and add a new dimension to your profile.”
But wait a second, back up—this feature is only being rolled out to users in California and the U.K. Two stranger bedfellows I’ve not heard of! LOL That said, see above re: Me and big data—I have no doubt those smarty-pants’ at Facebook have a very good, very data driven reason for those two choices. I would love to know what it is!
Also, once recorded and uploaded, the new profile videos will move only if someone visits a specific profile. They won’t move in newsfeeds. Thank GOD.
Oh boy. It’s like a bad version of Groundhog Day! Week after week, more Twitter changes (we kind of have a running joke here on “Things to Know” about this), and this week’s “change” has many people—myself included—really up in arms. No. More. Share counts. What??? Share counts have been a feature in Twitter share buttons for the last five years, and they play a huge role when it comes to determining social proof, and certainly when it comes to influencer marketing strategies. As warfareplugins.com reported, “Off the cuff, that may not sound like an earthshaking development – but the potential ramifications are huge. It could even signal the beginning of the end for social media metrics as we know them or it may signal a giant step towards a paywall-anchored internet.”
To back this up, look at what Twitter has to say about this move, “Twitter REST API’s search endpoints are the best way to gather ad-hoc information about a URL shared on Twitter; full-archive search counts are available from Gnip.” It looks like smaller publishers and businesses may have to pay Twitter for access to share information and share counts.
Money talks, folks, and Twitter’s been giving the milk away for free for quite some time now.
BUT WAIT!! If I’m up in arms about the Twitter share counts vanishing, this next change is going to make my head blow off! According to a report from Recode, Twitter is working on a new product that will let you share tweets that are longer than 140 characters. This news follows Twitter’s decision to remove the character limit from direct messages.
I just can’t. The 140 character count is what makes Twitter, Twitter. Remove that, and it just becomes…well…Facebook. And Facebook’s already doing a bang-up job. My prediction? Remove the 140 limit character count, and watch Twitter crash and burn.
Also, there’s one other change Twitter should make to its tweets long before they mess with their length. The ability to edit. As one wry guy tweeted the other day, “Found water on Mars. Still can’t edit Tweets.” I laughed and laughed and laughed….