Today Apple will release iOS9 and all will be right with the Apple marketing machine as it lays the ground work for another stellar holiday season.  The tagline could be "Facetime with Friends this holiday season, but only on your Apple Device". 

The hidden business plan of iOS9 is really the disruption of an existing one: the online ad model. Specifically the type of online adverts that appear when using the browser on your mobile phone (Mobile Safari).  Apple aims to disrupt this or rather, provide the tools for others to disrupt.  

Why?  Apple wants to improve user experience.   Well, that's the optimistic and naive part of me talking. There's clearly more to the story beyond user experience, but we'll tackle that in the next post.  

AuthorDennis Yuscavitch

Adweek's April 29th - May 5th issue covered "Twitter Taking on Youtube".  Immediately you realize how important and forward-looking Google's 2006 purchase of YouTube has become, despite years of trying to sort out a monetization strategy.  Google does have the benefit of a dominate search ad business, allowing them a long-term strategy in money-losing units others cannot sustain.     

Adweek properly points out that Twitter and Facebook should be concerned, they've unwillingly become YouTube's affiliate and referral partners.  According to Experian Hitwise data, for the month of May 2013, 23.5% of Youtube's upstream visits came from Facebook. In that same month, 8.2% of all the traffic leaving Facebook was headed directly for YouTube.  When you consider Facebook's volume of traffic those are sizeable trends.  The upstream/downstream Hitwise measures for Twitter are much lower because most of that traffic is originating from third party applications, not, thus difficult to track in aggregate.  However, we can safely assume they are of similar magnitude to Facebook and the mobile trends are likely to be skewed further. 

In addition, YouTube and online video content is rivaling TV for consumer's time and attention, particularly in the younger audiences - a key demographic for marketers. Nielsen reported monthly time spent streaming online video has increased from an average of 5:04 to 7:30 (December 2011 vs. December 2012). In my own home YouTube is often the preferred channel for listening to music despite an iTunes library pushing 20GB and a paid Rdio subscription - and I'm not the culprit! I'm expecting the recently released iTunes Radio will figure into this scenario. 

Twitter has responded by allowing in-tweet video viewing  with pre-roll ads.  My preference would be be to get users comfortable with the video capabilities before layering ads, but Twitter doesn't have the luxury of Google's long-term strategy, but it does have a large and loyal following.  Facebook has a similar challenge in acquiring ad dollars to support video content and I have to wonder if the Instagram deal would have been better spent on video content.  That said, Facebook has few downsides and a purchase of Vevo or similar video content site may help them expand beyond the social graph. 

It'll be interesting to see what strategies these social services deploy to compete with YouTube in the $4.14 billion digital video ad market.  Stay tuned. 


AuthorDennis Yuscavitch
Categoriesvideo ad

Comics aren't just for kid and while I never enjoyed them as much as my siblings I was happy to pickup "See What I Mean" by Kevin Cheng.  This easy to ready guide outlines how to use comics to communicate ideas.  It emphasizes that no artistry is required but you need to be practiced at storyboarding and getting a well-defined script together before launching your comic.  

More to come on what I've learned from this amazing resource, but here's my first cut using, which outlines the changing online search environment. 

AuthorDennis Yuscavitch

I dread "what if" analysis for the product we haven't finished developing, it's a highly subjective process with too little structure and inefficient time spent across many stakeholders. Having participated in and eventually leading several of these sessions got me opening old texts to find some structure.


Lately, i've been turning to "Designing and Marketing of New Products" by Glen Urban and John Hauser, 2nd edition.  It's a complete text and in particular has a thorough review of various "what if" analysis for estimating sales potential. Several ideas that needed reinforcing or that I simply did not realize are mentioned in chapter 12:

    • The type of "what-if" analysis depends upon product's point in the lifecycle 
    • Tracking historical sales and having multiple ways to slice that data is an extremely useful benchmark for estimating new product sales.  Perhaps obvious, but something I'm currently struggling to track effectively within our organization. 
    • An active and reliable channel, either using in-product surveys or other tools, can help gather the necessary client feedback inexpensively and quickly
    • Sales teams are inherently biased and it can be difficult and misleading to gather feedback through account teams.  They are best for context, but can't fully replace the voice of the customer. 
    • Intent and probability scales provide the best "what-if" scenarios for early development analysis, while Logit Analysis is better for late-cycle 

    The process remains subjective and intuition remains an asset - but be sure to buttress it with a framework you can support.  What techniques have served you best when building sales models and "what-if" analysis?  

    AuthorDennis Yuscavitch

    First. a big thanks to Andy Cotgreave, he does an amazing job explaining ways to make data more visual and thus useful. The main question Andy purports in compiling this list is:  did the visualization impact the audience?  Without a doubt, all these visualizations had an impact and in some cases were a matter of life-and-death, even if their impact wasn't immediately realized.  

    Screen Shot 2013-01-02 at 8.47.27 PM.png

    A few weeks after watching Andy's presentation I watched History Channel's Mankind which profiled the London cholera outbreak, giving special attribution to John Snow's Cholera Map in helping solve the outbreak by tracking households with confirmed infection.  Coincidentally, Snow's visualization makes the top-5 visualization list, because without Snow's meticulous tracking and reporting of the outbreak, officials would not have focused on the Broad Street water pump as a possible source. In fact, even after Snow complied his map (right) he had to plead with local officials to shut the Broad Street water pump, which after investigation had been contaminated with waste water. 

    Next on the list of visualizations is one you may be familar with: Gapminder by Hans Rosling, which visualizes how world health is changing  based on life expectancy.  Watch the presentation speaks for itself and is also one of the top viewed TED talks.  

    Napolean's marched from France to Moscow in his war campaign of 1812.  60 years later Charles Minard created a flowchart, and rather than simply provide data, he visualizes a compelling and tragic story.  The tan line is the size of his army as it marched east, the black the size on the march west.   Minard was also the first to include pie charts onto states or regions within a country, a common practice today.  His graphic on coal exports from England similarly proves that data is more important than the geography. You can view these examples here

    Minard's flowchart of Napolean's March of 1812. 

    Florence Nightingale, better known as the founder of modern nursing,  also had a penchant for data.  Nightingale proved with data that "war-related" deaths could be avoided.  Nightingale detailed the mortality (below) in the Crimean War over a 2 year period with each sector as a month and color coded black, for deaths on battlefield, blue for preventable diseases and pink for all other diseases.  It's easy to see that most soldiers die from preventable diseases rather than the war itself.  A visualization ahead of its time and compelling in telling the story. 

    What's the lifespan of famous poets or warriors?  This was information not readily available during the 18th century and Joseph Priestely along with his many other accomplishments created the Chart of Biography in 1785 (below). The chart represents 2,000 people's lifetime with a mark for each birth and death.  The y-axis divides people into groups like warriors or poets.  This was first published view of well known individuals and the first to include a proper timeline with consistent intervals. Priestley also created another chart of history that showed the beginning and end of various histories. Priestley is also known to have influenced Playfair, who created the first line chart in 1786. 

    Priestley's Chart of Biography 1785. 

    Powerful stories communicated effectively with visualizations that otherwise may have failed to convey the necessary message.

    All datasources can be found here:

    AuthorDennis Yuscavitch

    Master of the Mayors, Michael Bloomberg, proclaimed NYC Data Week at the end of October last month during the Startup Showcase.  The exhibition resulted in 14 finalist that presented a number of interesting big data problems.  As we know, 'big data' is all the rage.  Three of those that looked promising include Privacy Analytics, Paced and Hadapt. 

    Privacy Analytics scrubs medical information to avoid the passing of personally identifiable information ("PII" or "stuff" as I like to call it) from passing to secondary consumers of that data. This is worthy challenge and if we plan to make healthcare more efficient, we'll need to address this problem.  Apparently, Privacy Analytics it the only product in the market that addresses this need.

    Foursquare-on-steroids finalist, Placed, is what founder David Shim calls "location analytics for the real-world" and they incentivize users to share location information with the goal of "quantifying the physical world".  To what end?  If retailers know where and when their customers spend time, they can tune their strategy appropriately.  

    Finally, and most interesting, is the intersection of an analytics database with the scalability of Hadoop.  Hadapt does this and bridges the divide between a Map/Reduce programmer and a business analyst who works in SQL and traditional BI tools like Tableau. 

    Several other interesting firms presented as part of the Startup Showcase, including Precog, Axemblr, Datacratic Inc., Next Big Sound and WibiData.  We'll cover these in a future update, but you can find them on the Startup Showcase page.

    AuthorDennis Yuscavitch

    Many of you are familiar with the content we've been covering at -  a mix of digital advertising, economics and tech.   We're taking the opportunity to recast our blog to include mobile and product management topics, given our much adored platform provider, Squarespace recently launched a new version.   Therefore, we are staring fresh, aiming to provide more timely, and consumable updates while using our reader comments as a catalyst for your next discussion.

    Rebuilding our knowledge, one idea at a time. 

     Manhattan Bridge, 1909

    Manhattan Bridge, 1909

    AuthorDennis Yuscavitch

    I found myself recommending this article to a few people over the last several week and I think it's worth another mention.  Return on Investiment or "ROI" is so frequently used as a measurment of online markeing success that we fail to see that in some cases it is either extremely difficult to directly associate an investment with a particular return, or simply not feasible given the resources required to fully measure the impact. 

    In There is No ROI in Social Media Marketing by coppyblogger's, Sonia Simone and Sean Jackson, they content social spend should not have direct ROI associated with it.  They are not claiming full ROI malfescence or lack of measurment, but moreso it needs to be framed differently from a financial perspective. 

    Give it a read and post comments on on their site or below. 

    AuthorDennis Yuscavitch

    Google recently announced a new product called "Google Consumer Surveys".  The service is designed as a low-cost but more effective way to survey consumers online.  The improvement comes from Google's abilty to build on their existing information by targeting the preferred group of online participants and thus recoding higher response rates from the targeted audience.  In ohter words, Google already has information about users it can use to make the survey more effective. 

    Using bits of tracking software (Doubleclick cookies) Google knows ther users' previously visited websites, which provides an excellent proxy for the respondents age and lifestyle interests.  They also have the users I.P. address, which can be mapped back to geography and thus tied to census data for household income.  This means Google can skip asking any of the proilfe questions like age, gender, income, geography questions when conducting a survey, a nice advantage that saves time for the respondant and ultimately increases response rates.  Google didn't mention their ability to leverage G+, GMAIL, or other Google property data from signed-in users, but I suspect it's not far off. 

    The Google Consumer Surveys are deployed into Google's display network, which are websites and content creators that have oopted in to have ads placed on thier page. Google pays the publishers now for ad placement and will do the same for allowing surveys to be presented to users.  The catch is that users will see two survey questions before being shown the publishers content.   Answer the questions and the user is brough through to the content.   In a nod to user experiene only a maximum of two questions are presented, like "do you have a DVR in your home" or something similar.  Nonetheless, an arguement could be made that this is intrusive.

    Google's whitepaper on the topic claims their Consumer Surveys are more accurate than other probability and non-probablity sampling methods.  It also aids the publisher by providing additional monetization opprotunities while the user is able to view the content they intended to visit (which is often otherwise paid or has some other limitation). Researches or brands now have another cost effective mechansim for deploying a survey quickly and as Google charges 10 cents for each respondent. 

    There are limitations around user experience, namely why the expected outcome (visiting the webpage) is delayed in order to answer a few questions, but Google tries to offset this with pages branded "powered by Google".  Also, selection bias can be evident as the online population tends to skew, young, wealthy and educated, but all online models are subject to this limitation. Google also cites their display netowrk as a limitation, but it's large enough to have a represenative sample in my opinion. 

    Nonetheless, Google is able to leverage their existing dispaly network relationships, payment system and experitse in reporting to change the game (in a big way) in custom data gathering.  Now you have no excuse to not validate that business problem or bring scale to your research efforts.  

    AuthorDennis Yuscavitch

    PWC released their 15th annual CEO survey this week and the results are interesting in the context of strategy, talent acquisition and the differences between global markets.

    Posting more salient points shortly, but click through the above link for a quick glance.  

    AuthorDennis Yuscavitch

    Avinash Kaushik of Google Evangalist fame chatted about mobile advertising opportunities.  The bleow are excerpts and thoughts from Avinash.

    Mobile platforms are more exciting because the opportunities are infinite, but also because content is much more readily available.  The ability to create great experiences for consumers is at the heart of why mobile is having so much impact.  Oh, and apparently smartphones are becoming more popular so much that Avinash said "trillions of people, including friendly aliens on Pluto, have mobile devices".  Botton line, mobile is growing.

    But, it is worth considering why mobile (all by itself) is an important platform as it allows marketers  to connect to the mobile-using demographic AND capitalize from the marketing opportunites that are not available through other mediums.  Finally, the behavior of people through mobile platform is so different, that it is truly a unique environment.

    Should we take Avinash's word and jump into mobile analytics?  Only if we can measure it!

    Brand Marketing Opportunity

    Mobile allows brands to own the relationship with consumers.  Avinash cited the example of QR code on box of strawberries in the supermarket.  QR code results in visit to a branded experience that included charitable endeavors of the company, contest entry, recipes and option to input email address to stay in touch.  Now the brand is connected to the consumer and is not disintermediated by the distribution channel.

    Building Apps & Connecting with Customer

    Searching for 'surf reports app' on Google mobile, top ad is from Skullcandy,  that links directly to Android Marketplace.  App allows for updates across a number of activities and captures the interest of the consumer based on the app.  They are thinking about the platform in a differen way and delivering the content you are looking for. 

    Non-linear markets

    Another QR code example was used by LG and bing user to thier spec website for the TV which included user reviews.   Looked at page on mobile phone, but went home and continued reading on desktop.  LG did not rely solely on retail support, but ensured they were able to present data.

    Evolution of Mobile ads - Example locked out of house and the add has phone number listed in the top of the ad without the search reports.  Many of the ads incorporate maps, reviews, places page and phone numbers into their mobilie adwords ad.

    Don't think of mobile ad as way to drive traffic but more about click, call, drive allowing users to choose how they wish to connect through how your advdertising is performing, how your website is performing and how mobile is performing. 

    Get testing, keep learning.



    AuthorDennis Yuscavitch

    Which Way Google?

    Kicking-off SMX East was a power-packed panel from the digerati elite that include Jeff Jarvis, Steven Levy and Marc Rotenberg, the lone man left out of the Google fanboy club.  Chris Sherman of Search Engine Land moderated the panel and focused on some contentious topics, which ultimately pitted Jarvis against Rotenberg on Google and privacy.  Levy was caught in the middle, often philospically between Jarvis’ notion that “technology is not bad, rather how it’s used” and Rotenberg’s “we need to ask the tough questions about how companies with market power such as Google deploy things like Google Street View and facial recognition”. 
    Marc highlighted the power of Google by citing the ranking of YouTube videos pre- and post-acquisition.  He argued the standard order for ranking sites, which had been hits, user ranking, and relevance had been deployed in reverse order post-acquisition, causing Google-focused content on YouTube to float to the top of the search engine results, giving Google an advantage by promoting their own content.  This claim has been well documented by the Electonic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) which Marc leads. Jarvis simply quipped “YouTube search sucked, they needed to make that change”, but can it be that simple? 
    The panel discussed the ongoing challenges that Google will have in the legal arena, coming off the $500m settlement with pharmaceutical industry and further prodding of the government by Microsoft and ATT that Google’s deployment of their search algorithms be investigated further. And Google Buzz didn’t help, which also resulted in a legal settlement (Google recently announced they'd be closing Google Buzz in favor of G+). 
    Good news is that Google is pushing the limits in some technologies, which means the public will need to continue asking the tough questions to ensure balance in technological advancement.  It is good to know the market has institutions like EPIC offering a check on this power.
    However, based on the recent launch of Google+, Google is learning from their mistakes, but will forever be put under a microscope because as Jarvis put it “the public loves ‘big’ and hates ‘big’”.   In other words the growth of Google is a love story, but the mature Google is hegemony.
    Find more about Jeff Jarvis’ view of technology and the public in “Public Parts”.
    Stevel Levy’s book, “In the Plex” chronicles the growth of Google. 



    AuthorDennis Yuscavitch

    I've been testing Amazon Cloud Player and I like the experience.  Knowing it's competing with a well-designed ecosystem in the ipod/itunes, Amazon had to get this right the first time.  I think they nailed it. 

    After installing the uploaded I had a window telling me how many songs, albums and space worth of music was on my machine.  I have  fresh install of itunes with only less than a GB, so I started the upload process and it provided me the time it would take and music was available for playing during the upload process. 

    I quickly switched to my Amazon MP3 app I've have installed on my phone (it had an update pushed recently) and saw that it was now able to play my cloud-stored music (it provids you the option of playing cloud-based or local music).  With a few clicks I had cloud-stored music playing from my phone Droid X alongside cloud-based music on my mac.  

    Unfortunately, no iOS support yet, so iPad and iPhone are not going to work, but *if* Apple allows an app through the App Store, it's only a matter time before it's possible to listen to your Amazon Cloud tunes on your iphone (I doubt this will happen given Apple's track record and pending competitive offering). 

    side note: Apple recently sued Amazon for trademark infringement for use of "App Store." 

    Amazon tosses in 5GB of free storage, lowering the switching cost, then allows you to store any music you purchase for free.  It's a powerful pricing model that Apple is unlikely to match.

    Despite Amazon receiving little attention for their music selling service, their Cloud Player + Cloud Drive gives them another part of the ecosystem (storage, interface, delivery) alongside thei content and they'll likely extend this to the kindle in the near future while immediate support for Android devics offers an alterative to exsiting solutions like doubleTwist (which I also dig). 


    AuthorDennis Yuscavitch

    . . .  why do we care about this now?  You  may not, but I'm wondering why after an announcement that was made almost a year ago they continue to keep the old tool active?  Admittedly I'm not logging into my Adwords account as often as I should, but I'm still seeing the option to work from the old tool.  Seems extraneouos after all this time. 

    AuthorDennis Yuscavitch

    Somtime in mid-2010, I wrote the following "Post:Definition of Online Ad Display Technology".  I'm not sure what the impetus was, but I was clearly thinkging aboout the impact and breadth of display advertising.  What caused me to come back to this approximately 6 months later? 
    In short: Luma.  More imprtantly Luma published their "Display Advertising Technology Lanscape" slide at the end of last year and the visual is complex.

    Display Ad Technology is an amalgamation of various parties, agencies, DSPs, ad exchanges, ad servers, data suppliers, and other various cogs in motor of displaying ads online.

    How do we define Display Ad Technology?  Well, without consulting any officical industry publication, I define it as the process by which creative advertisement inventory is bought, sold and delivered into a particular medium (usually digital), including insertion, tracking andreporting.  As you can see from the LUMA lanscape, this includes hundreds of companies across dozens of industries.

    Therefore, rather than tackle this as a whole, we'll start to break this down into pieces and disucss the disparate players in the ecoystem that delivers lots of "flash" (figuratively and literally!). 

    Any preference on a starting point?  I'm likely to begin with Agencies and work forward, but glad to adjust based on you feedback.  We'll also try to feature a company ortwo in the write-ups that help tell the story of the ecosystem. 

    AuthorDennis Yuscavitch

    The Mac App Store Launched today and I was very surprised at the iOS-ification of OS X.  The install process and the application I chose to install, Twitter, was much more iOS-like than OS X.  

    I'm concerned about the pricing model as it appears I get no benefit if I've already paid for an app on an iOS device.  Hey Apple - how about some package pricing for those that want to install the same app on iOS and OS X?  This is unlikely to deter users now, but longer-term a simple pricing model should allow apps to be brought across the Apple ecosystem (eventually Apple TV?). 

    I'm happy to see free apps featured prominently on in the store, at the very least visibility will be a boon to both free and paid apps - all in a single place with a simple distribution model.  This hasn't been available across any operating system until now (unless you want to talk about Chrome OS and browser-only apps). 

    How quickly will developers ramp on this effort?  What's been your experience with the Mac App Store? 

    AuthorDennis Yuscavitch

    It won't matter much now the Apple is launching the Mac App Store.  Closely followed by the rest of the tech world.  We've already covered the Chrome store in this blog, which is a pure browser-based platform.  I haven't heard much about how this impacts piracy, but seems that the days of passing an install disc around has gone the way of the Newton.  

    It'll be interesting to see how many apps are available at launch outside of Apple's suite of internal applications. Furthermore, how will the store deal with free apps?  Will there be space allowed for these? I hope so.  

    Finally, MacBreak Weekly (part of the TWiT network) mentioned possibility that iAds would be prevalent within the Mac App Store, which may provide some real estate for free apps and allow another platform for iAd inventory. 


    AuthorDennis Yuscavitch

    The Atlantic posted another decent piece on how data can be leveraged to identify successful teachers.  While no magic formula exists, the recent availability of data from Teach for America, a non-profit which has been compiling data for years from teachers working in difficult urban and low-income environments, provides some interesting trends on successful teachers: their track-record of extra-curricular activities was more important signal of their success in the classroom than their higher education institution. 

    Other qualities included setting big goals for students, tireless planning that focused on efficiency so that most effort was spent on educating not administration and diligently involving parents in the learning process. 

    Not heavy on tech, but an important lesson in the importance of data, which will likely help shape the next generation of teachers.

    AuthorDennis Yuscavitch

    The Google Chrome Web Store launched this week and while I was excited to see some of my favorite apps (Remember the Milk, Gmail, Evernote) many were simply links to their respective web pages (Tweetdeck and Hootsuite were nice fully developed "apps"). Not necessary a bad thing, but not what I would expect for something classified as an 'app'.  Early days for the Chrome Web Store but it will clearly help with discoverability along with setting the foundation for a web-only operating system.  Anyone creating one of those? 



    AuthorDennis Yuscavitch

    It appears as if Google is taking on the world, after all it's mantra is to "organize all the world's information".  A few examples include: 

    • Print via Google News & other print related efforts.  See How to Save the News.
    • Publishing via Google Books 
    • Networks & Media via Google TV and YouTube
    • Social with Google Buzz, Google Places, Google Contacts & Google Groupon (all of these will eventually morph into a linked social/local thing.
    • Telcos with Gmail, GTalk and Google Voice
    • Mobile platforms with Android 
    • Online payments with Google Checkout

    If something significant is happening, online OR offline, Google is likely involved: government (elections), green tech, venture capital, net neutrality, wireless spectrum, even space exploration.  The list is never-ending. 

    It's remarkable that a company can have such wide-ranging influence, all made possible by a business we haven't discussed yet: paid search. Ironically when Brin and Page started Google they struggled to find a business model for their search product.  Advertising was an afterthought and a good one as it's single-handedly underwriting innovation that will impact the next generation of technology.    

    However, the ad model with search only works if you have a superior search product, which Google did/does. Today one can argue other offerings (Bing, Yahoo!) are equally good, Google gained their market share and brand power at time when it is becoming exceedingly difficult to unseat them.  They've also done an excellent job making the switching costs higher for users by offering ancillary services that tie in to Google Search (Gmail, Documents, Calendar, etc.).  In addition, they keep innovating. 

    That brings me to the reason why I actually began this post: to consider the changes Facebook is causing at Google.  Namely the impact to Google's overall strategy that allows its ad business to underwrite other pursuits.  The theory is that Facebook will cause Google to shift outside their strategic zone, chasing something it wasn't intended to: social  (is Google Buzz already proof of that?).  Or, it could have a coalescing effect, causing Google to rein in disparate projects and focus on its core mission.  

    We'll consider Facebook's competitive pressure in the next post, but for now consider: what business is Google in?  Advertising? Technology? Information Management? Answering this should help us understand their expected strategic path and how that may run up against their larger perceived competitors. 

    AuthorDennis Yuscavitch