Retail sales slump after Black Friday/Cyber Monday
Even though retail sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday set records, the holiday retail season overall is shaping up as a disappointment. Through the first five weeks of the shopping season, total dollar sales were down 3%, and retailers are resorting to unusually deep discounting. With more shopping taking place through digital channels, it appears retail shopping activity is becoming increasingly weighted toward the front end of the holiday shopping season, making early figures less representative of actual growth.
Search Engine Watch
Advertisers pay dearly for fake sites
Scams involving fake news sites go beyond just falsifying content - in many case, the traffic is also fake, but the advertising dollars are real. Security company White Ops just released a report stating that a Russian organization ran a series of fake news sites which used bots to simulate traffic. The result was that they were able to rake in up to $5 million a day from legitimate advertisers.
The New York Times
Map accuracy may be a roadblock to autonomous cars
As self-driving cars are tested on real roads, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has raised an important issue: digital maps don't always have the level of accuracy and detail necessary to allow a computer to safely pilot a vehicle. In particular, the NTSB has urged better marking of railroad crossings, which under some circumstances, can be mistaken for road crossings.
The New York Times
Marketing pros disappointed with video ad targeting
A late-2016 survey found various forms of video ad targeting in heavy use, even though only a minority of agencies and marketing executives find the techniques effective in driving sales. Behavioral targeting was the most heavily utilized technique, employed by 64% of survey respondents. This was followed closely by demographic targeting, employed by 62% of survey respondents. 58% of respondents found behavioral targeting effective, but only 40% said demographic targeting worked for them. Sales-based and contextual-based targeting got similarly low indications of effectiveness.
Snapchat and Instagram ads don't impress young audiences
Reaction among teens and millennials to ads on Snapchat and Instagram is often either apathy or hostility. Thirty-seven percent of those groups surveyed said they either rarely notice or are neutral to ads on Snapchat, while 28.4% actively hate them. The numbers are similar for Instagram, though with a little less negative reaction and more neutral reaction.
Marketers put primary emphasis on data
Managing data is now considered the most important aspect of digital marketing by U.S. and U.K. marketers, surpassing efforts such as social media, web development, and SEO. For example, 72% of marketers surveyed said data management skills are now more important than social media skills. Some marketers, though, are late to the party -- 27% of those surveyed still leave data analysis in the hands of the IT department, rather than making it a marketing-driven function.
AOL ad program offers incentives for engagement
AOL is partnering with its parent company, Verizon, to offer consumers an incentive for engaging with brands on its advertising platform. Under the DataPerks program unveiled at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, AOL is offering consumers a chance to earn upgrades to their Verizon data plans in exchange for engaging with brands on the new AOL BrandBuilder platform.