The facebook algorithm makes fools of us all

Facebook Algorithm Changes: What You Should Know

By now, you’ve probably heard that Facebook is going to make news publishers work harder to have access to their audience. While details are fuzzy, it looks like the Facebook algorithm will shuffle the news feed and favor posts from people you know, versus brands and publishers you follow. The social giant claims this is to help them combat the spread of fake news and include more valuable information to people. It’s almost certainly about generating more ad revenue.

This is scaring a lot of people, especially online publications who derive a ton of traffic from Facebook right now. It’s a legitimate challenge to their current business model. Should you be worried, too? Let’s look at what’s happening and what you can do about it to figure that out. Read More

Net neutrality is just as confusing

What Reversing Net Neutrality Really Means

We’ve treated the internet like a public treasure until now, thanks in large part to the net neutrality policies championed by many technology advocates. This has led to widespread adoption of online connected services, many technological breakthroughs and the creation of an entirely new economy. Because the internet is unfiltered and uncensored, information travels freely in a utopian, libertarian dreamland. It’s a blessing and a curse, net neutrality.

Hold onto your smartphones, though. The FCC announced a change in the way it would regulate the internet. Essentially, the government is going to stop restricting internet service providers (ISPs) like Verizon or Comcast from blocking or otherwise slowing down data streamed from the websites you visit online. That means these companies will for the first time ever have the legal right to block content that travels over their internet pipes.

Some are decrying this as the end of the free and open internet. Here’s why that isn’t true on its face, and what you can expect as companies shift control over what you do online. Especially what that might mean down the road for marketers like myself. Read More

Digital advertising begins and ends with the computer

Digital Advertising Is Not Traditional

We’ve been very active over the course of the last few months. Many, many consults with local businesses about how they can get more out of their digital advertising. Of course, these meetings are always part education, part salesmanship, and always enlightening.

In many of these consults, we answer a lot of the same questions about digital advertising and how it works. In fact, these questions keep us grounded because we often forget what other people don’t know. This way, we slow down, explain the process and reassure them that their campaign will be constructed the right way. It keeps us focused on the fundamentals so that we don’t stray too much form what works.

Most business owners think of digital advertising in terms of traditional media. When will the spot run? How much does it cost? How do I know people will see it? We hear these a lot in new client consults. So this week, we’d like to clear up a few of the most common misconceptions about digital advertising and how it works differently than print, radio, TV and other traditional channels. Read More

Algorithms Gave Us Charlottesville

We’re all still trying to process what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia. You probably know white nationalists met with otherwise peaceful protesters, resulting in several deaths. By now, you’d think we were over this kind of outward racial animosity. We were wrong.

What was striking was the appearance of the average marcher. All looked young. All looked like they had some means, as if they could fit into any crowd in America without being noticed. Yet at the same time, they could harbor this hate and spread their misinformation. Such is the nature of the internet communities that fan these flames.

There’s a hidden culprit, though. One that fomented the flames faster than any man could. Predictive algorithms took what might have started as a simple curiosity and turned it into outright hatred through a series of escalating and insulating options. And that doesn’t bode well as we move to an even more digital future. Read More

Your social media strategy starts with figuring out what to say

Social Media Strategy: What It Is and What It’s Not

We get a lot of requests to handle social media, which means a lot of talk about social media strategy. First, though, we have to bring clients expectations into line with reality.

So many brands and business owners think social media is this free gamechanger that, when leveraged properly, can unlock tons of direct revenue. They’re mostly wrong. Social media at best supplements your sales channels and chips in extra revenue. At worst, it becomes a major distraction from what really matters. Your social media strategy will determine which version you get.

This is a condensed version of the discussions where we explain exactly what clients can expect from their social media strategy when they work with us. Use it as a guide. Or a word of caution. Read to the end, though, to understand how we can actually help. Read More

It all comes back to the comments section

Lamenting the Comments Section

We just watched one of the best championship games in football history. In years past, I would be live tweeting it with my comments on the ads. This year I didn’t. It was a much better experience, and not because of the game.

Without my commentary, the game went on. Commercials aired one by one. Pundits continued to conjecture over who’s ads landed best and who whiffed on the big stage. In the end, I missed none of that by staying out of the conversation. And all that discussion was there for me to review once I wanted to come back to it.

That’s when it hit me. Not everything needs commentary. Some things should stand on their own merit. In fact, the proliferation of the comments section may just be one of the most deviously unnoticed threat to reality as we understand it. Read More

Wonder what he's algorithmic thinking?

How Algorithms Will Defeat Us

If you wire a rat’s brain in such a way that every time he pushes a button he receives a pleasurable sensation, he’ll push that button until he dies. At the expense of eating, drinking and everything else that makes life worth living. Just pushing that button, over and over again, until he perishes.

This, in a nutshell, is how algorithmic thinking works in practice. And their liberal use is starting to affect our society.

We’ve already discussed how algorithms think, how they’re created by humans, how they can be flawed and how you can outsmart them. But what if you don’t want to? What if you want to lay back and accept the almighty algorithm as your lord and savior and heed it’s every word? That’s when things get messy.

The endless march of optimization wants to amalgamate the world’s information, guess your desires and shorten the route you take to get pleasure at the expense of all else. It’s how the Facebook news feed works. It’s how Google search results work. It’s how Pandora and Amazon recommendations work. It will be how the world works, if the robots have their say.

And that may be the end of curiosity, ambition and the human independent thought experiment. Allow me to explain. Read More

Social Media Strategy Chalkboard

Stay Ahead of Your Social Media Strategy

We had the pleasure of taking on not one, not two, but three new clients last week, all of which needed help with their social media strategy. Coincidence? Not at all. Most businesses we talk with still don’t understand what social media can mean for them.

This is where branding is so important. If you can’t think of your business in terms of its brand, stay away from social media. Your business has no personality and contributes nothing to the conversation. So invest your time in something else.

If you can make the leap and give your brand a voice, there’s a lot to get your head around when it comes to social media strategy. Here are the steps we take to maximize our effort on every platform. Read More

Think Like An Algorithm and Win

How To Think Like an Algorithm

Algorithms very well may be the future of marketing, as well as life in general. These powerful and mysterious beings are all-knowing, all-seeing and determine everything from Google search results to Netflix recommendations to driverless Uber cars. And they’re getting stronger every day.

I, for one, would like to welcome our new robot overlords. Their control of our every hope, thought and desire has really ushered in a new era of peace and prosperity for all. Long may they reign! /sarcasm

In all honesty, algorithms aren’t really anything to be afraid of. Except when they are. What does that mean for marketing? And what can you do about it? Can you really compete with an algorithm and outsmart it? Let’s explore. Read More