SocialCam? More Like SocialSpam.

I’ve been in digital marketing for a long time. About as long as you can be, really. I’ve seen a lot.

There is a special “hall of shame” that should exist for products that have tried to force their way into people’s lives. Products like Gator. X10. About 50% of antivirus software. Self-installing toolbars.

I’d like to nominate SocialCam (not even linking to them) as the latest entrant into the those not so hallowed halls.

They have abused Facebook’s Open Graph (shame on Facebook for letting them) to frictionlessly broadcast videos to newsfeeds everywhere. They have been scraping YouTube videos to place into their player because most users’ content isn’t interesting enough to share. Most engagement with SocialCam is potentially embarrassing for the engager.

If they don’t change something soon, it’s likely going to end very badly for them.

Take this as a lesson, and a suggestion. As a user, be vigilant when you grant apps permission to publish on your behalf. as a marketer, you are who you associate with.

**UPDATE** Looks like Facebook just implemented the crackdown. Read it on TechCrunch.

The One Where I Analyze Salesforce’s Acquisition of Buddy Media.

My latest piece in Advertising Age can be read here.

Here’s an excerpt:

As Peter Kafka at AllThingsD reports, CRM and cloud computing company will be acquiring social media management tool company Buddy Media. Just last week, CRM, cloud, and database company, Oracle, acquired Vitrue, one of Buddy Media’s chief competitors.

You should care about this because the last two weeks could very well be the catharsis that advocates of true social CRM have been waiting for – or at least the beginning of it. Vitrue and Buddy Media (full disclosure: my agency, Deep Focus has been a client of both) have offered successful social marketing suites for quite some time, and many brands choose their tools to power the social modules on their Facebook (and other platform) pages, and report on their effectiveness. Now that they are both parts of huge (huge!) companies, they have access to resources that could exponentially grow their businesses and the results they deliver to their clients.

Read the rest here.

Is This The Beginning of Facebook’s Google-Killer?

Facebook Users’ Data Can Now Be Used To Serve Ads Outside Facebook.

This is a really big deal.

Facebook’s terms and policies were updated on Friday to allow them to use users’ data to serve them ads while they are on websites outside of Facebook.

TechCrunch notes that Facebook currently helps Zynga serve ads on their sites. But this is the biggest privacy policy change yet.

If you’re a conspiracy theorist like me that believes that it is only a matter of time before Facebook unleashes an ad network (like I’ve speculated many times before, such as just last week in Ad Age) then you just got more fuel for your fire.


And to clarify, as my friend (and former Googler) Ari Paparo states:


“Fake Verified” Twitter Accounts Are Fake.

Been seeing this a bunch lately.

Pretty sure the same person is behind this fake Instagram account, too:


Has anyone else seen any others?

UPDATE: so apparently the globe icon is real and denotes a “translator” account. But it seems that this is being abused here. These are not translating accounts. They are transmitting content in the name of the accounts they are obviously trying to get mistaken for.

Do Not Go Into Advertising. Do Something About It.

This is a counterpoint to Gawker’s piece, Do Not Go Into Advertising.

True. Advertising is an industry that many people fall back into. As Gawker writes, “Advertising is the industry that people who were not lucky enough to get actual “creative” jobs end up in.” Yes. Many who are in it are content to trade up their titles every few years by switching agencies while staying the course in their careers, managing the whims of their clients.

That is because when you get down to it the advertising industry is actually a service business. But the services we render have shifted from leadership to execution, and therein lies the problem.

A problem that can be solved if we start thinking about it and selling it differently.

Gawker’s claims are correct, if not jaded, if we purely think of the advertising business as a creative one. But our products are hours — the hours needed to deliver great creative. No one “pays for the work” like they would pay an artist. They pay for the work needed to make the deliverable.

In order for this to change, and to make people WANT to work in advertising (which is easy to do before they actually start doing it), we need to do something radical. Current agency models and silos need to be blown up and reassembled into leadership-focused integrated solutions, because that what is needed now; not antiquated commodity-creating mass machines — which is what holding companies have brought about. That antidote was the revelation that led me to start Deep Focus 10 years ago. And it’s something I’m still trying to figure out.

People will want to work in a place where their creativity and leadership is respected internally and externally, and where that expectation is set and met regularly, no matter how many procurement exercises that place has to go through. These places should be places that lead, because that is what is asked of them. If you want something else, go hire one. There’s a lot of them around.

Advertising is evolving. And the places that conduct business in that industry are evolving too. You just need to look for them and not make blanket statements.

Nearly every industry is in a hyper-evolutionary state these days. For example, it would be easy to say that journalism is dead or dying, but there are places that are trying to re-think the model, like Gawker. It would also be easy to say that blogs are the places that journalists go to work when they can’t get journalism jobs. But I don’t believe that. Gawker is attempting to redefine/re-imagine the journalism business in its own way, just like many companies in the advertising space are so Gawker can continue to make money (see Nick Denton’s awesomely candid Rock Center segment from a few weeks back). Love ya, Nick.

But Hamilton, ask the people that have been laid off in the last few years because ad spending was down, if advertising is stable. Ask the people that are still looking for work after their clients’ company hired a new CMO. Advertising is anything but stable. I risked everything I had to build a business that could help change advertising. This thing is hard freaking work. Stable my ass.

So yeah. Don’t go into advertising if you want a comfortable life where you do things to make people happy all day and compromise your integrity. F- that. I’ve fired clients that have threatened to take us there. But if you want to really do something about what advertising has become for many (including @hamiltonnolan, obviously), and actually make it something that it could actually work towards enhancing the daily lives of people that engage with it AND make money while doing so, then Deep Focus is hiring, and not just for the positions listed here.

Or you can check out

But if you still hate advertising, there’s always Pit-Pat.

UPDATE: Gawker has actually published its own counterpoint, titled (of course), “What the Fuck Makes You Too Good For Advertising?”.

Pre-Roll Video Advertising and Cognitive Dissonance.

As I watch more video online these days, I’m exposed to a lot more pre-roll advertising. But one thing I’ve noticed is that unlike other forms of online advertising that are racing towards more attributable models, pre-roll video seems to languish in a sea of sameness and passivity.

I get it. It’s because we’re trying to create a frictionless way for those TV dollars to migrate onto the web.

But let’s not succumb to the cognitive dissonance that replaces common sense with a belief that ads that we don’t pay attention to on TV will magically get us to pay attention online. Buying video ads on a GRP basis online without care for context and attribution is a slippery slope that gets us in the same sticky situation — chief executives questioning ROI.

We need to find, fund, and test solutions that break free from this trap, and land somewhere in between reach (which we [correctly or incorrectly] assume works) and engagement (such as interactivity, which people have historically rejected in their video advertising).

Ive seen some progress in this area with Hulu Ad Selector, and YouTube’s skippable videos. What I’m also seeing is that the right level of video ad targeting for a brand is a factor of the viewer multiplied by the amount of context, choice, relevance, and frankly, intrusion these video ads bring with them. There will be continual pressure — as more data is available, and more consumers become “connected” — to bridge the gap between view to an action. The demand for being able to do this online is inevitable. Innovations in mobile payments will eventually help us close the gap completely to offline spending.

In full disclosure, I sit on the board of directors of Solve Media. I’ve been impressed with the developments that they’ve made in their quest to address this cognitive dissonance in the video marketplace, and their effort to move things forward. It rocks the boat, but this pre-roll boat needs rocking. Now that I know video advertising that can also deliver engagement is possible, this is a call to all the brands and agencies that create and buy video advertising, and the other vendors, networks, and exchanges that run and sell them: figure out better ways to attribute the effectiveness of video ads based upon their ability to not only affect typical brand health metrics, but also drive engagement. Understand how different kinds of engagement contribute to the achievement of your business objectives. Do the research and the math. As digital video and television remain on a collision course, you have less time than you might think to figure this all out.

Thoughts on “Generation C”.

Today I had the pleasure of being interviewed by the great Kai Ryssdal on NPR’s & American Public Media’s Marketplace about Nielsen’s latest report, calling Americans 18-34 “Generation C”. That’s “C” for “connected”.

It’s the first segment, so just click play to listen (topic starts around 01:00). Coincidentally, they interviewed students at The George Washington University (my alma mater) in the prologue.

In other words, the feeling I had (and a point that I made during our Evening of Connectedness at Social Media Week in NYC) was that “connectedness” is actually an evolutionary state — not a demographic. It’s also as much of a technographic as it is a psychographic. What I left out in the radio interview was that because of all the data that we are creating, “Generation [anything]” is becoming less relevant than ever before. When you can speak to consumers in ways that are personally and contextually relevant, it makes being generationally relevant irrelevant. You could even argue that there are generations within generations as the speed of everything increases.

Here’s Nielsen’s infographic:

Click to enlarge.

What are your thoughts on “Generation C”?

** UPDATE: Here’s the full transcript.

Is @Oprah Real?

Seriously. What’s going on here?

(thanks for the heads-up, @garyvee)

Is this a hack?



UPDATE #2: The full story, from the always-thorough Brian Stelter of the NY Times.

by Ian Schafer