Digital

Biz Stone, the Co-Founder of Twitter, Returns After a 6-year Sojourn

Posted May 19, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 3:46 am

Twitter is regrouping and going ‘back to the future’ which its users appreciate and so does the market

Biz Stone, one of the co-founders of Twitter

Biz Stone, one of the co-founders of Twitter, recently announced that he’s back in the company he once helped start. About 6 years ago in 2011, Stone quit Twitter in search of greener pastures, not so much for the money as much as it was to pursue new projects. He had joined Obvious Corporation, where one of the team members was fellow Twitter co-founder Ev Williams. Stone said that he will be known as a co-founder at Twitter although he seemed unsure of what else he will be known as. However, he sounded confident about his KRA at Twitter, which is to guide company culture and shaping its image externally. He did say that the “job description includes being Biz Stone.”

It is now clear from Stone’s explanation that his return was always a possibility after fellow co-founder and permanent CEO Jack Dorsey regained leadership of the struggling San Francisco based social site. Dorsey was expelled by the Twitter board in 2008 but came back strongly as permanent CEO in 2015. He clearly wanted his former partner and co-founder of Twitter, Biz Stone back in the organization and eventually, when the two met some time back, Dorsey asked Stone what he thought about getting back to Twitter. Stone did mention that in addition to Dorsey’s return as CEO, the decision to return to Twitter was also because he realized that the company was “the most important work” of his life.

Twitter’s well-wishers are quite happy with the new development because there are folks who believe that it’s time the social site touched base with its roots that made it such a unique platform. They feel there’s no better way to do it than having one of the co-founders back in company. There’s positive reaction from the market as well as Twitter’s stock went up by 2% immediately as the news of Stone’s return, began trending, reaching $19.62, which is the highest in that last three months. Twitter’s fundamental strengths can’t be overlooked; it is still the site where news breaks before trending. It not just needs to be that but go further with time.

Filed under: Digital

Arianna Huffington’s New Podcast Series Offers Insights on Getting Adequate Sleep

Posted May 16, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 3:58 am

The podcast series, sponsored by Sleep Number, maker of 360 Smart Bed is co-produced by iHeartMedia, whose iHeartRadio has an audience of 70 million

podcast series

Media mogul and sleep advocate, Arianna Huffington’s new podcast series is all about sleep. In this podcast series she talks with the rich and the famous about how they balance their absorbing and fast-paced schedules with getting enough sleep. She said the ability to find that vital balance is something worth paying attention to because it can work for everyone and not just the rich and the famous. The interviews have their own special variety with someone like actress Jennifer Aniston talking about how she manages the time she gives to her phone and someone like billionaire Mark Cuban explaining how he prioritizes between his emails and the meetings he has to attend.

Last year, Huffington founded Thrive Global, after quitting as editor in chief of The Huffington Post. Her new company is focused on helping folks find the right balance between how they use technology and how they set aside time for rest and relaxation to avoid burning out early. Sleep Number, the company that sells the new 360 Smart Bed is sponsoring the podcast series, which is produced by iHeartMedia. The podcast series is an excellent platform for Sleep Number to promote its 360 Smart Bed. Huffington reasoned, “The way we lead our lives—which is multitasking and being buried in our phones the whole time—goes right against our sense of wonder about life.”

The podcast series includes tips for listeners in the form of preroll and midroll ads, to make small changes in their lives. Huffington and iHeartMedia also plans to integrate the advice and interview highlights into ads and other content for iHeartRadio’s broader audience of 70 million. Earlier she had written “The Sleep Revolution,” which is about the struggles she and many others have had with sleep deprivation and how they solved it. “There is a passionate audience that wants to live their lives with less burnout, less stress but also more productivity. So it’s not like a trade-off between achieving and being productive and taking care of yourself,” Huffington said.

Filed under: Digital

Instagram Launches Campaign to Help People Mental Health Problems Know There’s Help Around

Posted May 12, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 1:39 am

Among the hashtags already trending, #HereForYou helps Instagram users suffering from mental illness find resources and support

HereForYou

Instagram recently launched a campaign, which is now trending – #HereForYou. It is designed to help users get help with preventing and recovering from mental illnesses by finding resources and support online and offline with ease. In this minute-long spot Instagram users can be seen speaking about how they have had hard times with indigestion, depression and even thoughts of committing suicide. The Ad spot features three individuals who are not social media celebrities but ordinary folks talking about mental health issues which is helpful for others with similar problems.

In addition to the hashtag #HereForYou, users have been using positive tags such as #ItsOkayToTalk, #RecoveryIsPossible, #EndTheStigma and #SelfLoveClub to connect with folks struggling with mental health. Marne Levine, Instagram’s Chief Operating Officer, said, “People come to Instagram to tell their stories in a visual, and through an image they’re able to communicate how they’re feeling, what they’re doing. So what we decided to do is to create a video campaign highlighting these communities of support that exist in Instagram.”

Elyse Fox, an Instagram user, who suffers from depression, is one of the three individuals running the campaign. This three member team has built positive communities of support on the platform for individuals with similar problems, struggling with mental illness. The 27-year-old woman says in the campaign video, “I knew that something was off, but I didn’t want to speak about it because I didn’t want to feel like an outcast. Through Instagram I was able to connect with other girls who were going through similar things. My main thing is to bring girls together and to let the girls know that they’re not alone.”

Instagram co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom, writing in a blog post, mentioned that in the US, half of all chronic mental illness problems begin by age 14. He wrote “Every day on Instagram, we see people share their mental health journeys and connect with communities of support. From dedicated accounts around an issue to unique hashtags adopted by groups, these communities are helping to make illnesses that are often invisible to friends and family visible through photos and videos.”

Filed under: Digital

AI has the Ability to Optimize Digital Marketing Achievements Better than Ever Before

Posted May 11, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 5:36 am

AI should be seen as an effective collaboration between people and technology rather than something that will make humans redundant

Artificial Intelligence

AI or Artificial Intelligence has the potential through to make many of the challenges faced by advertisers look less daunting. By lending power and insight to current programs such as, ad effectiveness, consumer engagement, brand safety and cross-device targeting, AI can actually be the ideal partnership between agencies and brands where people and technology function seamlessly for more effective and faster output.

In UX or User Experience, more data and more powerful machine learning will have the ability to figure out minute details and personalize the customers’ experience even as AI evolves and becomes more efficient. With the help of image recognition and natural language processing enabled by AI allows users will be able to interact with their devices much more closely and for more uses. Like super efficient sales personnel, chatbots powered by AI will provide product recommendations. Beck Kloss, senior director ads and merchandising at eBay, explains, “In the future, we can instantly know the person, steer them to the right part of the store, surprise them with something they didn’t even know they would love.”

Media buying is a major challenge especially when planning on an advertiser’s schedule, e.g. buying time when a show is on. There is the risk of showing the same ad to the same consumer on different devices when digital buys across various platforms are not in sync with each other. Since TV audiences are found across traditional linear TV, over-the-top, on-demand platforms and digital and social channels, a lot more optimization is needed while buying media space. It is now possible to pinpoint a customer’s receptiveness to an ad with the incredible number of data points that AI processes in real time.

“Ultimately, the marketer is becoming smarter with AI, and can use their smarts and expertise in various active and leveraged ways to help campaigns do better,” says Mark Torrance, CTO of Rocket Fuel, a predictive marketing platform that uses real-time data and AI.

Filed under: Digital

Turner Broadcasting is Betting Big on its Digital Platforms Especially Bleacher Report

Posted May 8, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 4:01 am

More than 400 million millennials regularly visiting Bleacher Report and consuming the content for good measure

digital marketing

Digital Content NewFronts held near the Hudson River in New York’s West Village saw attendance by around 700 marketers in Turner Broadcasting interactive event, where they experienced a range of innovative and exciting digital presentations. They touched and leaned into pliable, synthetic walls that allowed them to watch and listen to videos from Turner Broadcasting’s digital platforms like CNN Digital, Bleacher Report and Great Big Story. Dave Finocchio, CEO, Bleacher Report, inaugurated the show by making a virtual appearance on screen although he was there on site. Casey Neistat, a social icon and partner at CNN was also present at the event; he announced that his viral-news-styled program which is eagerly awaited will be launched in two-three months. And then, Jeff Zucker, chief of CNN, announced that exclusive videos of Ted Talks will soon be distributed from that popular tech events platform.

It was Turner’s 2012 acquisition, Bleacher Report, which seemed to be toast of the event. More than 400 million millennials regularly visit Bleacher Report and consume the content for good measure. This explains why social and mobile are the key to success. With 4.3 million followers on Instagram, where it is gaining 8,000 followers every day, Bleacher Report is the platform to look for. This hub of millennials uses Facebook and YouTube to viral its videos and GIFs. Finocchio said, “Young people have a really low tolerance content that isn’t relevant to them. Don’t miss the boat marketing to a [sports] culture that no longer exists.”

Bleacher Report’s focus on basketball may be good idea, since it is growing internationally and is on the way to become the second most followed sport after fútbol. The site gets about 30-35% of its traffic from overseas especially during the English Premier League, one of soccer’s biggest annual events. In fact, half of its social engagement is driven by traffic from overseas. “Whether or not (basketball) gets to where people really care about whether a team loses or not, I don’t know. But the players and the culture of basketball resonate globally,” said Finnochio.

Filed under: Digital

Online Retailer Zappos is Disrupting the Public Conveniences Space with Refreshing Ideas

Posted May 1, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 5:25 am

The company is using its internet-connected washrooms called Porta Party, already a hit with users, to boost its brand image

digital marketing

Amazon-owned online retailer, Zappos, which has a reputation for cool customer service, came up with another great idea – Porta Party, which are internet-connected rest rooms in festivals and events that offer a unique experience to users who come out beaming after answering nature’s call in a new, refreshing and engaging environment. This is an excellent example of user connect at a place where the marketer can engage with the customer when he is alone and in a reflective mood. A lasting impression here can ensure a world of goodwill for any brand that handles the opportunity well.

These rest rooms have been so popular that Zappos have run out of units as they are sold out for 2017. The Porta-Party which Zappos first introduced in 2015, have been a runaway hit, prompting CEO, Tony Hsieh to say that it is a great way to disrupt this $2 billion industry by making the pee and poo chores somewhat more interesting if not inviting in crowded and messy places like the music festivals sporting events. These innovative washrooms also provide some data (anonymous) about how users behave in the rest rooms once they are alone inside.

The Zappos Porta Party washrooms a perfect selfie station, a motorized squatty potty, 40-inch weatherproof TV along with the refreshing fragrance of lavender. Users are also rewarded for good behavior with little gifts like gum, temporary tattoos, condoms, lip balm, glow sticks after every flush. Zappos used sensory data to get some analytics of washroom behavior by users – 77% went for the selfie station, 53% activated a feature called squatty feet for better comfort while on the potty and many other details. Hsieh said, “It’s not a great experience anywhere, but imagine if you went to a festival or something and you saw a Zappos porta-potty. I mean, we’ve talked about how it could be as simple as there’s a DJ out front so it’s a port-party while you’re waiting. Or it’s just a really amazing, clean experience.”

Filed under: Digital

More Than Half of Digital Advertising Spending in the US is Now on mobile

Posted April 28, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 5:15 am

Advertising dollars are being gobbled up by ten mega sites with traffic numbering in hundreds of millions

digital marketing

Total spending in digital advertising in the US was $72.5 billion in 2016 per the advertising revenue report released by the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) based on a study by PwC. In 2015 the total spending on digital advertising in the US was $59.6 billion which means that in 2016, advertisers spent 21.8% more on digital advertising than what they did in 2015. In keeping with the trend, spending on mobile increased by a remarkable 15 percentage points in 2016 as compared to spending in 2015. Spending on mobile was $36.6 billion in 2016 accounting for 50.5% of the total expenditure on digital advertising; in 2015 the spending on mobile was $20.7 billion accounting for about 35% of spending on digital advertising.

David Doty, EVP and CMO at IAB, said, “Mobile is the driving force in digital media and marketing throughout 2016, and that’s because of a simple reason: Consumers are on their phones, their mobile devices all the time, so marketers with their brand dollars are following them.”
Over the last couple of years, the bulk of this money has gone into the coffers of 10 leading companies. There has been no official communication about any of these 10 companies and neither has IAB disclosed their identities. However, it is common knowledge that Google and Facebook along with a few other leading social networking and ecommerce sites are the preferred platforms for digital advertising and it’s not difficult to figure out why this is so. These are huge platforms with millions and billions of people actively using them every day. In fact it has been confirmed by a report from eMarketer that most of the digital advertising dollars go to sites like Google and Facebook and on a smaller scale, to sites like Yahoo, Twitter, Snapchat and Amazon.

According to the IAB report, “Despite the emergence of a few heavyweights in internet advertising publishing, the concentration of top 10 revenues have remained relatively unchanged over the past 10 years, fluctuating between 69 percent and 75 percent.”

Filed under: Digital

Ads on Washington Post Will Now Load in Less Than Two Seconds

Posted April 26, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 6:01 am

The Post’s chosen ad-tech application Zeus is the new wonder tool that making ads more acceptable to viewers than ever before

Viewability of ads on the Washington Post has increased by 100% compared to the industry average since every ad loads in under two seconds, according to the Media Rating Council. On mobile devices, the increase in viewability of ads on the Post from using Zeus is a robust 40%. There has been an increase of 32% in click-through rates for Zeus-enabled ads on the Post. No wonder, Zeus is the X-factor for the Washington Post which smartly utilized this amazing tool to get its ads to load faster.

It was in September last year, that the Post began testing its Zeus application for speeding up load time and cutting down data-heavy ads on mobile. The initial results were so successful that Zeus was chosen to power all the ads of the Post on desktop, mobile and apps as it could now claim that the ads will load in two seconds or less. Zeus addresses industry problems like viewability, fraud and latency using internal resources instead of outsourcing the tasks to vendors. RED (Research Experimentation and Development) is a 10-person group that develops ad-tech for the Post and Zeus is a part of this group.

Jarrod Dicker, head of ad product and technology at The Washington Post, said, “The web is slow, there’s a lot of latency that comes to how things load across desktop and mobile and no one wants to seem to fix it. The biggest complaint all along has been advertising—internally, a lot of newsrooms will blame the advertising part of the business and say, ‘Ads are slow, java script is slow’ and so forth.” However, Zeus will know how fast a visitor is scrolling and so will load ads only when they’re on the verge of appearing on the screen. It won’t load the ad if the visitor scrolls too fast. “We’re only delivering these things based on how the user is experiencing our site,” explained Dicker. Zeus usually shows an ad that doesn’t gobble up data from the visitor’s phone as it is able to detect ads that are too heavy to load.

Filed under: Digital

It is Important for Brands to Leverage the Potential of Smartphones in the Evolving Mobile Marketing Environment

Posted April 19, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 1:30 am

Today, many brands are struggling to figure out the best ways to reach their audiences with consumers increasingly using smartphones while at the same time expecting more benefits from their phones. Wendy Clark, CEO of DDB North America said, “We cannot be ham-fisted anymore as a brand. It’s unacceptable and really diluted. It’s not only if you don’t have a strategy, it’s actually negative and dilutive to your brand when you’re not taking advantage of just the basic table-stakes technology that’s out there and how consumers expect you to behave.”

Customers are increasingly shifting toward paying their bills via mobile instead of the plastic credit card and businesses have begun discussing how the shift to mobile is affecting their brands and how they need to start evolving with it. In a world dominated by mobile phones, credit cards are evolving fast and are now hardly looked upon as the ‘plastic money’ that had overwhelmed the market. Rather they are seen more as tech products offering smoother and faster payment solutions. Kim Kadlec, senior vice president, global marketing platform, Visa International, views legacy tech and telecom companies like AT&T, GE and IBM among others as the likely source of inspiration for her brand.

Kadlec said, “Mobility has become a much broader concept. And I think at the end of the day, creativity in any of those formats is important, and certainly from a user’s perspective, enabling seamless payment technologies is our game. And that’s what we’re focused on. Through your appliances, through your Alexa (Amazon’s voice assistant), running shoes—those are all things we’re working on.” However, DDB’s Clark reminds marketers that brands will increasingly begin to appear out of touch with the people they’re trying to reach if they don’t realize the importance of contextually targeting consumers demographically or on the basis of their interests. She spoke of a baby products brand targeting her even though as someone in her forties, she had no use for such products.

Filed under: Digital

America’s ‘Transaction Alley’ – Atlanta

Posted April 13, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 5:06 am

The city’s fintech companies hold the lion’s share of online payments processed in North America

When 70% of all digital payments in North America, not just the United States, are processed in Atlanta, it’s not surprising to see it being called the ‘Transaction Alley’ of America. There are around 100 small and big financial technology companies in Atlanta out of which around 66 are engaged in processing payments made via credit cards and other online modes from all over North America. ATPC or American Transaction Processors Coalition estimates that, of the $4.4 trillion in online payments processed in North America, about $3.08 trillion are handled by fintech companies in Atlanta. ATPC was set up by the city in 2014 to lobby and advocate for fintech at the state and federal level.

Accounting for about 60% of the industry in America the fintech companies in Georgia including Atlanta generate annual revenues of more than $72 billion. That places Georgia at a creditable third after New York and California, in terms of total revenues generated by any state in the US. Many of the biggest names in fintech such as Pindrop, Bitpay, Worldpay, NCR, InComm and Global Payments have moved to Atlanta. And the list is growing: Merchant e-Solutions, the Brazilian payment-processing firm which had its US headquarters in Silicon Valley, recently announced that it is moving to Atlanta with 140 jobs.

The fintech sector has been a boon for Georgia in general and Atlanta in particular for the number of jobs it created. Atlanta alone has around 30,000 to 40,000 people working in the fintech industry right now in addition to employing around 80,000 people indirectly in transportation, infrastructure, construction and technology support among other jobs. Add to that the growth potential, and you have a dream scenario for people with the right skills and experience to make the most of it. Atlanta of course, is not new to the celebrity club as No. 1 – its Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is the busiest airport in the world. It would be unfair to completely ignore this as a factor that made Atlanta irresistible as the topmost fintech destination.

Filed under: Digital
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