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Author: Sam Dwyer


I worked in digital PR and marketing for several years before joining Econsultancy as an analyst.

Why people hate Klout, and how to fix it

Since inception, online influencer targeting has been a fraught activity.

In the early 2000s, brands had to fight the temptation to simply create their own fake influencers. Perfection of mommy blog targeting (one product for you and one to give away to your fans) was often achieved at the cost of polarizing their community over issues of authenticity. If individuals can’t trust their community leaders to not be unduly influenced by what are perceived as bribes, who can they trust?

Klout, which familiarized a mass of consumers with influence measurement, has regularly been the subject of withering criticism. “Kill me if I Klout,” wrote the gadget-catchall Gizmodo. “If I've ever interacted with Klout... punch me in the face,” said the net-comic XKCD.

Econsultancy's latest report, Influencer Channels: From Klout to Klouchebag, takes a look at these issues, asks why, and explores ways for marketers to effectively work around these antipathies.


Viacom & DirecTV take their fight online

Popular Viacom channels, including MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and more, have been dropped from the DirecTV network after negotiations broke down over a contract renewal.

Neither company is looking very good as they each try to control the narrative and paint one another in a negative light. How could these companies be so insensitive that they would choose to seperate viewers from the programs they love?


Young people: twitchy, nervous, not listening

Time Inc. and Innerscope research presented findings from their biometric media consumption study today at the Collaborative Alliance gathering.

Among the discoveries? Young people switch between media platforms on average 27 times per hour, prefer to text rather than talk, and are 14% more likely than Gen X and Boomers to say that they "get nervous easily."


Always adapting, Gilt prepares for big mobile push

A steady spring rain served as little deterrence for the hardy attendants of the New York American Marketing Association’s Monday night event featuring Gilt Groupe cofounder Alexis Maybank.

Currently serving as chief strategy officer, Maybank discussed Gilt's four year maturation into the big-data-weilding, five-million-member established player that it is today. 

Gilt has thrived, Maybank emphasized, by prioritizing flexibility. When the company hosted it's first invitation-only sale for Zac Posen in 2007, only ten days had passed since the initial customer contact, and the returns section of the website had yet to be built. During the rapid growth that followed, more people were hired in some quarters than had been working at the company.

The first big change of direction occured when the company realized that their partnering brands weren't just looking at them for inventory liquidation, but instead saw Gilt as a marketing channel. The latest pivot, occuring now, is towards mobile.


WSJ reveals readership trends across different devices

The Wall Street Journal revealed some interesting data about readership trends by device and time today at the Business Development Institute's social and mobile conference for Financial Services.

While a live Twitter feed streamed the thoughts of the audience, Michal Shapira, Associate Vice President of Digital Marketing noted that the organization is not just a traditional media company anymore and claimed that, compared to a jury of its peers, the company is number one in terms of mobile access.

Supplementing print readership, the WSJ's desktop, tablet, and phone applications extend the company's product consumption levels far beyond its traditional reading hours.


Microsoft News Roundup: Binging on the Nook

Following Microsoft’s acquisitions and “partnership,” palm greasing is getting more exciting by the hour. 

The headlines have been coming fast since the end of Q3 11: $8.5b Skype acquisition. $250m quarterly infusion to Nokia. $24m in subsidies for Windows Mobile app developers. $1b Aol patent grab – now flipped to Facebook for $500m. Vague, behind the scenes dealing with Comcast. And now this: a $300m investment in Barnes & Nobles’ Nook division.

Something is up.


Gawker sides with a different vision of internet publishing

With two posts this morning, Gawker, the bête noir of American online reporting, articulated a new direction for their popular comment section.

The first post described how the new commenting section would work. After starting a discussion, commenters are empowered to approve or deny replies to their original comment and each comment can be isolated to an individual branch.

Users can navigate through comments by the categories of Featured, Latest, and Inbox (which contains personal comment notifications). 

The second post, by founder Nick Denton, described the reasons behind Gawker's new anonymous login system, Burner.


Cross-pollination: Digital Electioneering is much like digital marketing

Many of the challenges being discussed at the Campaign Tech 2012 conference today in Washington DC will be familiar to Econsultancy readers in the brand world.

How do you reach influencers? What can you do with “big data?” What’s going on with mobile? Where are viewers headed?

And above all else, how do you get your message in front of them?


Why do people love Instagram? Looking at GM and Apple in order to understand the appeal of altered photos

Apple’s products contrast sharply with the mid-century General Motors cars that brought the jet-age into people’s garages.

And yet, beginning in the 1920s, GM was able to snatch market dominance away from Ford by better catering to people’s fantasies – much in the same way that Apple has been able to poach market share from Microsoft and others. 

2012 isn’t 1952, and cars and computers are not the same, but being able to sense and articulate a vision is still the job of marketers. What’s our vision for our own future, today? And why do so many people want to use their minimalist iPhones to take altered pictures of their friends?

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What the Lumia 900 means for Nokia and Microsoft, and how they're bringing it to market

Nokia and Microsoft’s sharp-looking new phone, the Lumia 900, is coming out today, and while there are no visible signs of panic, both companies desperately need a winner.

Nokia has been struggling for years now to compete in the rapidly changing mobile market, and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 OS has achieved only 2% penetration. Both companies are in danger of being locked out entirely, and need a smash hit.

So far, the results of their labors look pretty good. But will that be good enough? Nokia lost $1.4b in 2011, which includes a fourth quarter cash payment of $250m made by Microsoft. If the Lumia isn’t a breakout, is Microsoft willing to keep Nokia afloat?


Will Microsoft beat Apple and Google to make Connected TV work?

Microsoft and Comcast recently announced that Xbox Live users will now be able to stream on-demand Comcast Xfinity content through their gaming consoles. It’s been insinuated by some that Microsoft is making some form of payment to Comcast for the deal.

This doesn’t seem outlandish. The 20 million paying Xbox Live users (out of 66 million Xbox 360 units sold) now spend slightly more time streaming content than they do playing video games. Microsoft will keep stoking this trend, pushing its hardware further into the profitable mainstream of entertainment content consumption.

But, will the Xbox grow up to become a more dominant mode of delivery?


“Citizen CoSponsor Project” brings Republican Congress inside Facebook

Republican House Majority leader Eric Cantor launched the Citizen CoSponsor Project today, a landmark digital application that allows conservative activists to “cosponsor” bills on Facebook, share the activity with their friends, and track legislative progression through Congress.

While other services such as the non-government affiliated govetrack.us and the Library of Congress’ public resource Thomas have enabled web browsers to monitor the congressional process in the past, this is the first time that bill tracking has been integrated directly into the Facebook media matrix.