Notes: A majority (56%) of US smartphone owning adults have abandoned a mobile transaction, according to Jumio, though this figure is down from 66% in a similar survey conducted in 2013. Among those who have abandoned a mobile transaction, purchase uncertainty (45%) was the top reason cited, followed by slow load times (36%) and difficulty with navigation (31%). These usability concerns appear to outweigh security concerns around payment (27%) and personal (26%) information, per the survey’s results, though other research suggests security con! cerns ar e still prevalent.
According to a detailed study from Ofcom, the UK version of the FCC, different generations have vastly different attachments to internet devices: the grandparents can’t live without the TV, and (surprise surprise) you’d have to wrest the smartphones from millenials’ cold, dead hands.
drag2share: Amazon shut down a popular ad product to stop companies like Google getting access to its data (AMZN, GOOG, GOOGL)
Earlier this week, Amazon confirmed it was shutting down its pay-per-click “product ads” that showed links and photos at the bottom of search results and diverted traffic out to other sites.
Product ads were popular among e-commerce brands because the format allowed them to partner with Amazon, but without Amazon seeing their transaction data. Ad sellers like Google were able to use the ads to get information about Amazon’s users, which enabled them to hone up ad targeting on their own platforms.
Amazon is now plugging that hole, which was allowing hundreds of companies to essentially steal chunks of its online advertising share by using its own data (for a price.) Now brands that want to advertise their products on Amazon.com will be pushed towards selling their ads on Amazon.com too. Amazon is offering an olive branch for those that still want to link out of Amazon.com to their own sites by testing “text ads,” but as the name indicates, these won’t offer the imagery that is more likely to capture users’ attention and will be less of an attractive offering to retailers.
Amazon did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider about the reason for the discontinuation of product ads. A spokeswoman e-mailed this statement to Reuters: “At Amazon we are constantly reviewing the services we offer partners to ! help the m best reach our customer base and grow their businesses.”
According to analytics company Similarweb, Amazon sent 3.4 million desktop visits to Google.com ads over the past six months (February to July) in the US. That might, on the surface, seem like just small change to Amazon: outgoing visits to Google.com are less than 0.1% of the total 4.5 billion US desktop visits to Amazon.com over the same period. But each of those 3.4 million visits provided Google with valuable data.
Moshe Alexenberg, head of content at SimilarWeb, told Business Insider: “That does not seem significant to me, in terms of revenue. However, the data that Google collects through these ads may have more value than the percentages suggest. Thus, Amazon may want to prevent Google from collecting such information on its users and their online shopping habits.”
By shutting off outside access, Amazon’s move is in-keeping with a wider trend of platforms building up “walled gardens” around their advertising technology stacks. Earlier this month Google confirmed it was restricting marketers from buying YouTube ads via third-party companies through the DoubleClick ad exchange.
drag2share: Facebook cancelled a student’s internship after he highlighted a massive privacy issue (FB)
Facebook cancelled a Harvard student’s internship after he created a Google Chrome plugin that highlighted serious privacy flaws in the social network’s messaging service, Boston.com reports.
In May, computer science and mathematics student Aran Khanna built Marauder’s Map. It was a browser plugin that made use of the fact that people who use the Facebook Messenger share their location with everyone they message with by default.
Upon installing the plugin, users could use it to precisely track the movements of anyone they were in a conversation thread with. This included users who they were not friends with on Facebook — and was accurate to within a meter.
The app went viral, was downloaded 85,000 times, and saw widespread press coverage by The Guardian, The Daily Mail, Huffington Post, and elsewhere. Three days after he launched it via a Medium post, Khanna disabled the plugin after Facebook told him to. At the s! ocial ne twork’s request, he refused to speak to press, and the company released a new version of Messenger a week later, changing how users share their locations.
Earlier this week, Khanna published a case study for the Harvard Journal of Technology Science about his experience. Here’s the student on Facebook’s initial response:
[On] the afternoon of the 27th, one day after the Medium blog post’s publication, Facebook contacted me. My future manager phoned and asked me not to speak to any press; however, I was told that I could keep my blog post up. By that evening, the global communications lead for privacy and public policy at Facebook called me to clarify Facebook’s expectations that I not speak to the press, saying that his objective was to hamper the spread of what had become a damaging story.
By midday of the 28th, the global communications lead for privacy and public policy at Facebook requested by email that I disable the extension. I complied within the hour by deactivating the Mapbox API key associated with the extension so that all current and future users could no longer load the map used to display geo-location data.
Then, three days later, Facebook got in touch again — to say it was cancelling his internship:
On the afternoon of the 29th, three days after my initial posts, Facebook phoned me to inform me that it was rescinding the offer of a summer internship, citing as a reason that the extension violated the Facebook user agreement by “scraping” the site. The head of global human resources and recruiting followed up with an email message stating that my blog post did not reflect the “high eth! ical sta ndards” around user privacy expected of interns. According to the email, the privacy issue was not with Facebook Messenger, but rather with my blog post and code describing how Facebook collected and shared users’ geo-location data.
Business Insider has reached out to Facebook for comment and will update when it responds. A spokesperson told Boston.com that “this mapping tool scraped Facebook data in a way that violated our terms, and those terms exist to protect people’s privacy and safety … Despite being asked repeatedly to remove the code, the creator of this tool left it up. This is wrong and it’s inconsistent with how we think about serving our community.”
The spokesperson also adds that the update wasn’t developed just in response to Khanna’s plugin. “This isn’t the sort of thing that can happen in a week … Even though we move very fast here, they’d been working on it for a few months.”
In the case study, Khanna writes that he thinks it is the media attention that forced Facebook to act when it did. “It is possible that before my extension and blog post, the degree of location data collection and sharing by Facebook Messenger was hard for an average user to notice and thus did not raise significant concern. Without public pressure, Facebook may have lacked significant incentive to change. My extension and blog post made the data collection and sharing practice real and transparent.”
He concludes with a set of questions: “What does this say about privacy protection? Can we reasonably expect Facebook or others with an interest in collecting and sharing personal data, to be responsible guardians of privacy? Could this work have been done inside Facebook to understand how its users view the collection and sharing of their data?
“Must future priva! cy guard ians always be on the outside?”
drag2share: TV networks are stuffing more and more ads into the commercial breaks in a ‘desperate’ attempt to counter plummeting ratings (AMCX, CBS, DIS, DISCA, FOXA, TWX, SNI, VIAB, SPX, FOX)
Almost every major TV network in the US is stuffing more ads into their commercial breaks in a “desperate” attempt to prop up ad revenues as ratings across the industry decline, according to a report from investment research and management company Bernstein.
The report shows that prime-time TV audiences (as determined by Nielsen C3 measurements: TV watched both live and three days after the show was first aired on catch-up services) are down 9% year on year, yet ad loads on some networks are up as much as 10% on last year.
Bernstein senior analyst Todd Juenger writes in the report: “The continued ad stuffing is an obvious and unsustainable (some would say “desperate”) action by the networks to prop up ad revenue in the face of declining audiences. Not only can this not be sustained going forward, it further contributes to the audience declines, making SVOD (streaming video on demand) that much more preferable for viewers made numb by the absurd amount of ads (as well as decreasing the efficacy of the advertising that is still seen).”
Here’s how ratings have been dropping since last year.
Source: BrightEdge [download page]
Notes: Consumers engage with 20% of B2C content on average, though average engagement with B2B content is higher (50%), according to a BrightEdge analysis. Content engagement – defined as traffic, conversions and revenue – differs widely by industry, with hospitality the highest of those measured and retail the lowest, based on varying strategies. In each industry, however, engagement rates are higher on desktop than on mobile, which BrightEdge believes translates into a “massive opportunity for marketers to improve the quality of their mobile content.” › Continue reading
Facebook is rolling out a new way to sell things.
It’s letting certain stores sell their products directly through the social network via a “buy” button on their Pages, BuzzFeed’s Alex Katrowitz reports.
Although Facebook’s just testing its so-called “shop section,” the move makes sense, given its recent introduction of peer-to-peer payments capabilities, new ways to let stores communicate with people via messages, and its increasing dedication to keeping people within the Facebook ecosystem as much as possible.
This isn’t the first time Facebook has taken a stab at ecommerce.
Back in 2011, Facebook allowed a bunch of different brands like Gamestop, Gap, JC Penney, and Nordstrom to open stores on the site.
They all closed within a year.
At the time, several merchants said that they decided to close their shops because consumers preferred shopping on their regular sites, so there wasn’t a big enough return on investment.
Of course, ecommerce has swelled hugely since then and its become much more normalized for people to buy things on their phones. Google, Pinterest, and Twitter now all have their own buy buttons too.
Facebook told BuzzFeed it won’t take a cut of sales.
Don’t expect to see a bunch of buy buttons cropping up right away.
“We are planning to expand the test in coming weeks to include more businesses, but it will remain very small for now,” a spokesperson told Business Insider.
Americans are spending more than twice as much time using smartphone apps as they did just three years ago. But we’re spending most of that extra time in a small number of familiar apps, rather than spreading it among a bunch of new ones.
According to research from Nielsen via Statista, American iPhone and Android phone users spent an average of 37 hours and 28 minutes using smartphone apps in the fourth quarter of 2014, more than double the figure of 18 hours and 18 minutes from the last quarter of 2011. But the number of apps used has barely budged, moving from 23.3 to 26.7.
That’s good news for app makers if they can break into the top echelons of popularity, as companies like Google and Facebook have managed to do. But it’s not so good for budding app developers who are hoping that more time on our phones means more time downloading and using new apps.
SEE ALSO: Teens are abandoning TV in droves
Macy’s is in trouble.
The retailer’s same-store sales growth has been weakening over the last several years, and Deutsche Bank analysts expect things to only get worse for the department store chain.
Deutsche Bank analyst Paul Trussell on Monday downgraded Macy’s from “buy” to “sell,” saying he has “low confidence that the company can bust out of its same-stores sales rut.”
Sales declines at Michael Kors, one of Macy’s key vendors, were cited as a primary reason for the downgrade.
“We are especially concerned as we see no obvious juggernaut to replace the lost dollars, and we note ongoing challenges at other key vendors as well,” Trussell wrote, specifically naming Coach, Guess, and Ralph Lauren, as additional venders that could cause problems.
Michael Kors’ same-store sales declined 6.7% in North America during its most recent quarter. The company’s shares are down 43% since the beginning of the year and nearly 52% in the last 12 months.
Michael Kors’ downfall is the result of its widespread popularity. The name became too ubiquitous to remain cool, analysts say.
But Michael Kors isn’t Macy’s only problem.
Trussell also cited concerns about declining revenue from tourists, as well as a major shift in discretionary spending from products (like clothing) to experiences and technology.
Macy’s is also suffering from a shift toward direct-to-consumer business models, in which brands use their own websites to sell directly to customers without going through a department! store l ike Macy’s.
At a recent conference, Bloomingdale’s Chairman and CEO Tony Spring said this changing landscape keeps him up at night.
“Our vendors are our partners and suppliers. But many have also become our competitors,” Spring said at the Retail Marketing Society’s “Reinventing the Store” conference in June, according to Trussell.
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Jun 11, 2015
Hang around the crowdfunding scene long enough and you'll hear tales of campaigns that were too good to be true, or creators who simply took the money and ran. It's scary stuff, we know — but you'll be glad to hear that the Federal Trade Commission now has your back when the host sites' safeguards aren't enough. The government body has taken its first action against a crowdfunding fraudster, reaching a settlement with Erik Chevalier after he cancelled a Kickstarter board game project and reneged on promised refunds. The culprit won't pay restitution, unfortunately (he's allegedly unable to pay), but he's barred from any deceptive crowdfunding practices and obligated to honor whatever refund policies he sets. A slap on the wrist, then? Maybe, but it's still a shot across the bow of scammers who are only interested in padding their bank accounts.
[Image credit: Getty Images]
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
Collaborators – Digital Profs
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