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Here's a new feature for Fridays, a concise roundup of the most interesting digital stories of the week.
Some you may have already read about, others will have passed you by.
N.B. Cats are included.
Private messaging is social's next big ad frontier, but there’s huge potential for these apps to evolve beyond being just another ad platform.
In the East, platforms like WeChat show how messaging apps can be potent channels for commerce, and all indications are that the same could one day be true in the West.
What if trying to retain your staff was missing the bigger picture?
What if, as the cliché goes, loving something means letting it go?
Well, that's what forward-thinking HR departments are starting to understand, creating alumni groups to learn from past employees and their networks.
Perhaps this could be an important strategy to improve recruitment of digital skills in the ongoing skills shortage?
Deceptive ads that attempt to trick users are a drag for consumers and typically don't do publishers any long-term favours either.
But they could become an even bigger liability for publishers thanks to a new feature Microsoft is adding to Internet Explorer.
Earlier this month, prominent online publisher BuzzFeed denied accusations that it had deleted posts critical of its advertisers at the request of those advertisers.
However, an internal BuzzFeed investigation has determined that it did indeed succumb to advertiser pressure on several occasions.
I'm at Microsoft Convergence in Barcelona. I'm also in the middle of compiling a report on multichannel marketing.
Both of these endeavours leave me bemused as to why I haven't heard people using the phrase 'the year of CRM'.
Perhaps it just doesn't have the ring to it that 'year of mobile' always did. Perhaps it's because a lot of the CRM action is occuring in enterprise B2B and isn't as sexy as above-the-line brand campaigns.
Anyway, the point is that CRM, a very traditional concept, through cloud and mobile, is a sophisticated and rapidly growing market. The market in 2013 was valued at $20.4bn by Gartner.
This growth isn't set to change pace, with Econsultancy's Marketing Budgets 2014 report showing CRM to be the technology most earmarked for investment this year (see chart below).
Microsoft Dynamics itself lays claim to 41 quarters of double digit growth, 4.4m users and 80% year-on-year net seat growth.
It has just announced increased 'omnichannel' functionality and seems to be coming up on the rails in a top five of CRM providers who are all making hay - Salesforce especially.
So, I thought I'd round up some reasons for this rise in CRM.
What about us little guys, huh?
One of the surprising results of brands adopting social media as a marketing channel is the creation of an unpredictable little corner of Twitter known as ‘that weird thing that happens when brands talk to each other’.
As a child of the 80s and therefore a survivor of the Cola Wars, it feels inexplicable that two corporations would even acknowledge each other’s existence, let alone engage in friendly banter with each other in a public setting.
Bitter rivals, divided by capitalism, hurling rocks at each other from behind the safety of multi-million dollar television ad campaigns is what we’re used to.
Are you an advertiser running a PPC campaign? Is there something not quite right with your paid search costs? Does your performance data contain unexplained anomalies?
Have you heard the term ‘click fraud’ bandied around the internet and think that you could be its next victim?
I realise that while writing this introduction I was beginning to sound like a fear-mongering, consumer-based TV show that makes even the most rational people think twice about leaving the house after dark, so I'll stop here.
Is click fraud something you should be aware of, and if so, to what extent does it affect your PPC campaign?
What do censorship and surveillance programmes look for? What can this tell us about internet usage in China?
Can we contrast with the perceived surveillance state of the West? What are the implications for a company in the Chinese market?
Unsurprisingly, there are lots of questions still to be answered about the state of the internet in China.
First Monday has this month published a very interesting paper, presenting an analysis of data from a year and a half tracking the censorship and surveillance keyword lists of two instant messaging (IM) programs used in China.
I thought it would be useful to sum up what Crandall et al. found, so you don’t have to read the whole thing. Although this study looks at IM clients, there are certainly findings that can be extrapolated across public services, such as Baidu and Sina Weibo.
Flat web design and skeuomorphism are two design approaches that could not be more different. In terms of opposites we’re talking a level equal to Take That vs. Slipknot, Barcelona FC vs. Accrington Stanley, The Godfather vs. Legally Blonde, basically, they are not similar!
Microsoft and Apple have been at the centre of this design battle and fans of both companies have been equally passionate in their arguments for the pros of their particular approach for more than a year.
However, in terms of the future, short term at least, one 'team' seems to have been victorious. But is this a defeat, or is the supposed defeated team actually happy to lose the battle knowing that they shall win the war? I’m talking profits!
This blog post attempts to answer that question while looking at what exactly flat web design and skeuomorphism are and the pros and cons of both.
It also discusses the recent shake up at the top of Apple and whether the actor Chevy Chase prefers flat web design or skeuomorphism (yep, you read that right!).
Microsoft recently announced its newly branded Lab of Things. It describes this as ‘a flexible platform for experimental research that uses connected devices in homes.’
I thought I’d use this opportunity to look again at the rise of the connected device, and the future of the so-called internet of things, or IoT. Below you’ll see 10 things that you, the consumer, should expect over the next few years.
This week the tech scene has been alive with buzz about Microsoft’s business model.
CEO Steve Ballmer has yet to make any official statements (at least at time of writing), but speculation is rife that the company are set to undergo a large-scale restructuring, in order to become, in Ballmer’s own words, a ‘Devices and Services’ company.
When we talk about examples of digital transformation, it’s often the assumption that we’re speaking about older, traditionally non-digital businesses attempting to come to grips with the brave new world of digital marketing and ecommerce.
Many case studies show businesses who have long relied on traditional revenue funnels and struggle with multichannel attribution, and who have yet to master social, mobile and ecommerce (or even email in some cases).