How much of your online traffic is actually bots?

How much of your online traffic is actually bots?

"Probably about 40%. If the activity is highly predictable, it’s probably a machine and not a human.

The only thing that watches a full online video from the exact start to the exact end is a machine.”

How accurate is that geolocation data you’re mining?

"Not very. Many apps default to a central geolocation in the US and provide false readings for analysts. It’s called data piling.” 

That’s according to Dstillery Chief Scientist Claudia Perlich speaking at the Association of Data Driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA) global forum in Sydney last week. 

Her expertise in machine learning systems and predictive behaviour sniffs out what’s real and what’s fake in your ad data and often leaves a set of only about 5% of campaign traffic as real humans who you can attribute transaction behaviour to.  Perlich used to work in Data Analytics Research at IBM Watson’s Research Centre so she is by all accounts, a massive data nerd. 

 “I’m from East Germany, so I didn’t know what an ad was until I was 15” 

So what’s the end game?

“An audience of one. We can now model thousands of data points and build targets and retargets for different domains and ad creative down to the individual customer.”

More images from the event:

Creative Director of Wired Billy Sorentino "Wired is an experience. Design is experience"
The ADMA crew led by Jodie Sangster -a huge week of data driven marketing

Magician and Ideo designer Andrew Evans. One of the best conference performances I've ever seen. Fantastic. 

Facebook, Instagram and Oracle led the sponsor charge --ad tech ruling the conversation

Things that I went to

It was a busy week of ‘things that I went to’ and they were all very informative and lovely and well run and definitely worth going to. Rackspace Solve was the standout with a most excellent conference at the Shangri La hotel. The focus was on managed cloud and it showed Backspace responding to the commoditisation of cloud services by dialing up there high-level customer service and support offering. 

Rackspace ANZ general manager Angus Dorney -wants to manage your cloud
So now you’ll see Rackspace talking about Microsoft Azure and VMware and even Google and Amazon (although not so much) as hyper scale, bulk providers and demonstrating their OpenStack and managed cloud expertise which is a clever move I think. The Rip Curl Search GPS wearable watch that tracks all your surfs was the case study darling (it’s worn by His Royal Shark Puncher Mick Fanning) and some of the spiky traffic load stuff on virtual sports games and government transport sites was also very interesting. And while I didn’t win the Apple Watch raffle, I did get a drink bottle, phone charger, T shirt, some excellent branded pens and a lot of lovely photos of Sydney Harbour from the 36th floor of the Shangri La hotel. 

Sydney looking glorious from the 36th floor Blu Bar. Look at it, it's beautiful. 
Can I also mention that event and conference production values matter a lot when you are blabbing on about managed systems and customer service (if you can’t organise a cup of coffee for 50 people then I have limited confidence in your ability to manage my cloud) and the Rackspace event was off the charts excellent so well done clap clap clap etc. 

Adobe systems Darling Park, Sydney swish and a nice breakfast too thanks
In a less infrastructure more content way, the Sydney content marketers converged on Adobe’s offices on Wednesday and that too was an excellent little gaggle of like-minded people. It was mainly people from large marketing and content teams. 

Content marketers- assemble!
I was a little surprised that people were still asking whether or not they should be producing their own content or if they could just curate (there are no easy paths to content quality and if you are a big brand then yes, 95% of the time you need to produce and distribute your own content) and at the low level of analysts usage (Google analytics of Adobe Omniture as a nod to our host :)..) so it would seem we are still at the early stages of full in-house brand publishing models. Great to see all the IRL faces behind the brands as always. 

Victor Dominello MP, food, and award festivity at the Fishies
Friday night was Fishburners night with NSW awards announced for GovHack Sydney. While my team didn’t pick up any prizes, it was good to see the winning hacks and eat some Mexican food and watch the politicians in full award handshaking, smiling-for-the-camera action. The Ministers for Innovation and Small Business turned up as did some Sydney Water people and a few Councillors so it was good to see the event getting support from NSW government. 

Report: content and customer experience dominate digital marketing

I’ve just been having a look through the Adobe report on marketing and digital trends. 

What’s really useful about this one is it gives you the right language and definitions to talk about digital in your company. It’s quite easy to blur between ‘content marketing’ and leap to channels and social, video content, jump across to analytics and the next thing you know, you have a massive 36-month Big Data project. 

Mobile-first and location technologies can occupy a lot of discussion but also distract from the core engine of the marketing program in content and customer experience

Have a look through and if you’re in Sydney, you can come along to the Content Marketing meetup “Creating scalable content systems’ at the Adobe offices this Wednesday morning. 

Full report: Digital Trends 2015

A very demanding blog post

I first noticed this the other morning on a bus going to physio. A man boarded the bus and sat next to a young woman across from me. She was late twenties, early thirties, he would have been early fifties perhaps? She was reading something on her phone and looked like any regular commuter on her way to work. 

The man said some sort of ‘good morning’ type greeting and she returned the pleasantry and continued to read whatever she was reading on her phone. 

The man then asked her a question and she did the weak smile response thing. He repeated the question and she did the correct thing in my opinion…she blanked him. 

He then had a spray at her how she was obviously more interested in looking at her phone then talking to him and that he found women like her boring and that was the problem with ‘people like her’ who look at their phones all day and can’t have a proper conversation on a bus. 

She continued to blank him. 

I noticed a similar interchange with three young university students (also girls) who were sitting in Starbucks. A man (much older and uglier than said three university students..look it was just a David Attenborough observation) tried to spark up some sort of asking questions directions type situation and they ignored him and continued to laugh and play around on their Snapchat accounts. He similarly vented that they were ‘rude little b’arches’ and sulked off. 

Not to be left out, I had a similar encounter this week sitting in a corporate building lift lobby watching ABC News on one of those big communal area TVs. 

‘What are you watching?’

‘Just the news’

‘What is the cricket score?’

‘I don’t know, there will probably be some sports news on’

‘It’s the weather. the sport news has been on. What did they say the cricket score was on the sport news?’

‘I don’t know sorry’

‘I was just going to get the cricket score’

‘You can change it if you want’

‘How do you change it?’

So then I too went into blank mode. Change the channel or go away I don’t care.

‘How do you change it?’

‘how do you change the channel. do you think I can get cricket on this? Where are you from? Do you follow the cricket?’

(listen buddy don’t make this sound as if this is some sort of personal benefit you are providing to me you crashed in on my peaceful war in Middle East news watching)

Annoyed with my blanking, the cricket man did the venting ‘hey I’m just trying to be friendly but if you would rather just look at your phone’ thing and I was left wondering how my sitting quietly minding my own business had suddenly gone all Gaza IRL.  

I don’t have to talk to you.
I remember thinking that when I saw the first girl on the bus. 
She doesn’t have to talk to you. 

Her preference to sit quietly and read stuff on her phone or stare into space or whatever is no more or less of a thing than your preference to chat. The university students at Starbucks were having fun on Snapchat with their friends. I was quite happy watching the news and tapping away at an email. I probably have more human interactions with people over an average month than most people because I go to a lot of events. I go to church on Sunday. I like people and I talk to a lot of people but sometimes, I want to have some thinking space to myself and/ or talk to someone who might not be physically there. I don’t think it’s being rude…is it? 

I’ll do the pleasant thing but if you don’t have the social skills to interpret when someone is in the middle of something important like staring into space then that’s your problem. And before you say it, no I don't think he was trying to chat me up or the bus situation one either was (the Starbucks one... probs yes), I think they were just people who weren't very considerate. Note I think the real-world chatters were the ones being rude and not the often-accused mobile users.

Perhaps something even more interesting is going on here and smartphones are empowering women to reclaim their own headspace?  Goodness where did that come from. 

so demanding

Maybe it’s got nothing to do with gender or smartphones and new social etiquettes are forming around the Attention Economy and some people just don’t get that attention is something you have to earn and people are starting to realise this and value theirs. Good communicators will be rewarded. Rude talkers who barge in with their own agenda be it to talk to girls, check the cricket score or sell computer software will be blanked. The Gen Y’s love people, are very social and have great human connections, they just might want some time out or to chat quietly about the things they like and in a non-demanding way. Is that just me?


The one thing you can do today to properly understand social media

If you want to understand how social media works, listen to the Facebook earnings calls. I tell people this.They don’t listen to me. 

That’s why I’m happy to tell you my little secret here, because you probably would rather pay two thousand dollars to go to a half day workshop and listen to people who aren’t Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg talk about social media. That’s up to you. 

Facebook has the family lunchbox users and Twitter wants them
And then Sheryl would have explained to you that social media is still a very small part of most brand’s marketing mix and that there is still a big job to do with marketers getting them to understand how to use and measure the ad products to demonstrate ROI. That would have explained to you the Twitter Australia/ Nielsen TV presentation last night and also the overly sorry apology from Twitter CEO Dick Costolo for not zapping enough trolls because they need to reposition Twitter as family friendly. The proactive communications machine roared into life well before the Twitter earnings results this morning which showed that, other than the Google deal, there wasn't much to say. 

Tony-hater of keyboard warriors, the Internet, coffee and the future of the free world
Apparently the Twitterati trolling politicians like former Prime Minister of Australia Tone Abetz for calling social media ‘electronic graffiti’ is not good content for top media buyer Woolworths selling 85 cent loaves of bread to working families so everyone needs to be a bit nicer so Twitter can attract newer, more gentle, kid’s lunchbox users and take some TV ad revenue. You would have heard Mark Zuckerberg explain very clearly to you that social media updates started as text and then went to photos- where Facebook got the big mainstream growth surge from- and that the next wave is mobile video. So if you want to make your posts to rank well on Facebook, perhaps you could post a video? Just a thought… 

If you are the one person that heeds my advice, then the Twitter earnings call this morning is a walk in the park to understand. You would have heard Sheryl talk about the growth of video on mobile and instantly understood why Twitter have incorporated video into their mobile app this week. 

You would have heard Mark talk about search and providing a search experience that ‘nobody else on the internet can provide’. By that he means Google. So then you would understand why Twitter has restarted their deal with Google to index data for search because everyone seems to go through the process of figuring out that a walled garden always seems like a good idea for ad revenue but it’s a big fail for content and discovery. 

Next gen products-mobile, visual, hyper social friend networks
You would have heard Sheryl talk about ‘next generation’ products like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp and understand why Twitter launched group direct message functionality.You would have heard the Facebook CFO chappie Dave say (at great speed) that ad prices went up 300%, mainly due to growth in mobile video ads and because they can measure stuff better now. Um what? Yes the prices are going up. 

It’s brilliant, Facebook tells you everything. You have to be a bit more Turing code-breaker to pick the winners in the Google call because it’s basically everything they aren’t talking about that’s interesting. Analysts are spooned up some token numbers about ad network rates that don’t really mean much and then there’s a dismissive hand waggle to ‘emerging non-ad business’ and Google for Work’s plans to take over the world with their operating systems and work tools …look at the self-driving magic Noddy cars everyone!

Today, Facebook is setting the pace in social, definitely in a commercial sense and arguably in an innovation sense and they are worth listening to to give you clarity about the big chunky things that matter in the industry whether you personally like Facebook as a platform or not. 

But that’s up to you. 

Flip your media plan to understand what the hell you're doing

There was this guy who taught us tennis once and he was really good at hitting backhands. Will Starling is his name and he’s all about backhands. 

His theory is that a backhand is a more natural stroke than a forehand, (that’s if you hit the big bottom to top Roger Federer single hander and not the Agassi lycra bike pants in my shorts double hander)  it’s just habit that everyone walks on to a tennis court and hits forehands. Over time, you will get better at forehands just because you’ve hit more of them. My backhand is way better than my forehand because Will Starling used to make us hit backhands first and hit lots of them. 

When you think about or sketch up a media plan you probably do the same thing: TV, print, radio, outdoor….oh and then some digital. Over the years, you’ve probably got used to thinking and working this way so it’s not surprising that you feel more comfortable and proficient working with this type of plan. 

Trad media is the forehand of the media plan and digital is the backhand that everyone walks around and thinks they aren’t good at. 

The way to get better is to start with ‘digital’ and get more experience and practice. Split the generic ‘digital’ out a bit more and it will make more sense to you. For example if you look at the research below you can see they have split out online, search, directories and general advertising (online display, email marketing, integrated site content and online video). 

Of the main segments of the online advertising sector - online classifieds, search, directories, and general advertising (online display, email marketing, integrated site content and online video), search advertising grew 23% in 2013, online general advertising 12%, online classifieds 11% and online directories just 4%. Harpur adds, "From 2013 to 2018, the search market is expected to continue to outperform the other three major segments (online classifieds, online general and online directories), growing at a CAGR of 16%, its proportion of the total online search and directories market increasing from 83% in 2013 to 91% in 2018."

The fastest growing segments in the Australian online advertising market are mobile and online video and both segments are expected to outperform the market significantly over the next five years. Mobile advertising grew very strongly in 2013, driven by high consumer adoption of smartphones and tablets, as well as growing media agency acceptance of mobile channels. It is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 39% between 2013 and 2018 and video advertising is forecast to grow at 31%. By that time advertising served on tablets is predicted to account for 70% of overall mobile advertising expenditure, whilst adverts served on smartphones are predicted to account for 30%.Frost & Sullivan's report, The Australian Online Advertising Market: Year End Review and Market Outlook,

Marketers often have different agencies (or a combination of in-house and agency) working on different parts so you get four or five schedules and never see the complete picture with everything integrated. For your own understanding, pull the numbers out and put them into one spreadsheet so you can see the total activity and spend at a media mix level. Yes- media mix is still important. 

Christmas activity stops on 3 Dec uh oh

Just chunky big numbers, you don’t need all the placements and everything. If you think you don't have time for that just think about how much time you spent making sure the Christmas Creative was 'Christmassy' enough. Exactly. 

You’ll also notice you have overlap. The social media agency is serving display ads on Facebook that isn’t in your online display budget. The Creative you are using on can also be used on Twitter and Facebook. Why are you getting two versions developed? The more you fiddle around with your numbers you’ll start to find better ways of doing things and get more confident to ask questions and not just say yes to all the agency recommendations. Ban yourself from Creative fluffing around and editing and focus on the media and what it’s doing. 

More backhands and less forehands and you'll find digital a lot easier and more natural for you. 

Why you need a centralised model for marketing automation

Here’s a great post from Brad at Mailchimp on how to do an email segment for your database and get some automated responses working. It looks simple and people tend to gloss over automation posts and presos and think “so what, that’s pretty easy?”

The real issue with marketing and email automation is not carving up the data and developing custom emails for each audience (well, you know know more than the standard everyone is an expert on email marketing creative stuff but you can cope with that). 

The real issue is getting various parts of the business to stick to the schedule so you get a true customer value metric or some sort of ROI. If you get the R return number great but most people struggle with the I because they aren't actually capturing everything. So you end up measuring what's easy to measure- say a paid media schedule from an agency- and not all the other activity that goes on across the org. It's annoying because it means that teams are penalised for having sophisticated and open tools (stuff that's easy to read and measure) and all the ad-hoc rando behaviour gets subjectively filed into people's own view of awesomeness and effectiveness, usually based on Creative and not anything transactional like conversions. 

In short, people tend to measure the crap out of everything at head office and refuse to believe that there is a whole lot of rogue customer emailing going on from private accounts and other databases that people have hacked together for themselves. 

I don’t blame people for doing that (I’ve done some of it myself) but it is important that marketing leadership make it clear “we are responsible for the email relationship with the customer and everything goes through one system”. Barbie understands this. 

#feministhackerBarbie has a system

I know it’s a bit utopian but that’s why it’s so important to be fierce about multi-user and getting everyone on one system so they can login and see all the planned and actual activity. There needs to be an organisation-wide promotional schedule so the activity can me measured and prioritised and so the database doesn’t get burned out and so the brand is not speaking in word art or text speak. Then you have all the anti-spam regulation stuff to consider. 

Historically, retailers tend to be good at this stuff as all the marketing activity is centred around the in-store promotional schedule and pointed at customers. Omni-channel makes it harder as online and offline customers can get hit from a few angles but if you are serious about getting any real measure and not just same faux vanity metrics then you have to control the scheduling. 

We can see the sophistication of the Mailchimp automation and the only way you will get this type of result is if you have a framework so everything can be measured. Attribution is challenging at the best of times (let’s not get started on assisted conversions with email/ social signal tracking)  

Here’s the Mailchimp schedule in theory. 

Here’s what it would look like in reality. 

week 1

Sales send an event reminder email because the number for their Sydney event is low

Training send a course commencement email because their course numbers are low

Account manager sends a “Hi I’m Beyonce and I’m your new account manager for Sydney” email from her personal Outlook

week 2

Event numbers are still low, two for one email sent to all customers in Sydney

Account manager Beyonce is having a coffee group on wednesday and sends an email invite to her Sydney database i.e. her Outlook contacts

Training don’t like the email that marketing sent so make one themselves in MS Word with word art

There is no unsubscribe link on the email that Training sent and Marketing tell them not to send random email because they’ll get a spam slap from the regulatory people

week 3 

Sales only fill half the room for their event because “marketing wasn’t good enough”

5% unsubscribe rate on Sydney database as customers get sick of all the emails

Two for one deal not approved by Finance. Event runs at a loss. No more email marketing deals without ROI calculations ahead of time

week 4

Beyonce leaves and takes all the contacts in her Outlook to a new company. GM wants to ban LinkedIn. 

Training go to a tech expo and buy an enterprise marketing automation system for themselves because they don’t realise the company already has one

Press release sent to All Customer database because ‘who cares, they might be interested. All media is good media amiright?”

week 5 

Marketing person asked to produce ROI on all marketing and communications

I know, lots of moans and not a lot of solutions in this post and that's why people give up because they can't be bothered wading through the reality of activity outside their department. It's that cross functional/ collaboration thing again that's going to solve it and you need Barbie leading your team to get everyone on the same system and keep Steve's hands off the cable.  

Marketing software to self-educating customers

Users are getting a bit more clever and they want to research and try things for themselves before they commit to the full assault of your sales team. 

"Cisco’s customers were beginning to purchase and use technology in new ways. Increasingly, tech-savvy business managers, instead of just IT professionals, were making buying decisions; user-generated applications were being added on top of the basic technology; cloud computing was becoming prominent; and digital media was becoming a key influence in deciding which technologies to purchase. Customers were self-educating and researching buying decisions in new ways – not just with a sales person."

Self-educating customers, the horror. I'm always moaning that enterprise software companies make you sit through half day demos and then you get to the end and you can't have a play around. Two things I came across today that are good. Splunk. See these guys are smart enough to create a sandpit for you to have go with. Very good, everyone do this please

grab your dataz and have a go
product info and play area

Number two is this launch campaign from Adobe for Premier Clip. It’s a free mobile movie making app that aims to make video more accessible and useable for those that don't want to go hard out with Final Cut Pro. 

#madewithclip Purrrmiere -get it hahaa 

I really like the video with the marketing team explaining their products and the simple walk throughs that encourage users to download straight away and try for themselves.  

Content is all tagged up and optimised nicely. Personal and useful and makes everything look easy and fun while still maintaining the product quality of Adobe Creative Cloud. Most excellent blog links through to themed user content 

Think about products and tools that you use regularly and how you originally came across them. Self education is getting more crucial for marketers so always think how you can get your products into the hands of your users ASAP before their little minds wander off to the land of cat gifs --ooo look it's Maru (=^‥^=)

no1 best cat on the internet Maru

Research: Online video growing but Millenials still watching trad TV

I’ve just been flicking through the latest comScore US TV report and a couple of things jumped out

1. The idea that Millenials (18-34 yrs) don’t watch traditional TV is not entirely right. Yes the trad TV numbers are decreasing and viewing is shifting to mobile devices but it’s about a 1/3 of users and there is still a significant audience on the big blue bar. 

2. The main driver for watching TV content on the internet is schedule flexibility and convenience. Skipping ads and cost were are lesser factors in this study

The recommendation from Omnicom to move 10-25% of TV ads dollars to online video sounds ballparkish sort of right (depending on your audience and product type yada yada of course) and remember that customers are following the high quality content so they might be watching full episodes online and on traditional TV.  

full report if you want to have a look: US total video report October 2014

Oracle's Larry Ellison air guitars his way into marketing but do we get it?

There are many things I like about Oracle:

1. The Larry Ellison / Russell Coutts bromance is one of them. 

I once heard Larry describe Russell as the only person he takes orders from and as the only New Zealander in the world today who supported Russell’s move to Team Oracle for the America's Cup  I was pleased to see him at the Oracle's Openworld event today. Haters to the left. 

2. The hilarious rock music driving a Hummer up a mountain in a Rocky action movie vibe for their keynotes

Dun dun dunnnnn — we have a database—YEAHHHH —air guitarrrrrr. 

3. Oracle have a massive client list. 

Laugh all you want but when I got a marketing email the other day from Twitter, it was sent from Eloqua. Twitter Cards puts customer details into Eloqua because lots of big organisations use it. 

Ever applied for a job at a bank or something? You’ve probably filled out an online form in Taleo

Pepsi Frito-lay is doing FMCG promotions on Oracle Demantra? What the hell is a Demantra? You can watch a video and I’m interested in this sort of thing and i can’t be bothered so I can’t really imagine that any of the regular, less geeky and interested in database apps marketers that I’ve worked with would but that's what they use if you care. 

I went to an Oracle  event in Sydney and after being asked by several salespeople whether or not I was in the Oracle events team or the hotel events team or ‘waiting for my husband’, I was invited in to a technical presentation where speakers wizzed through slides of logos for the many builds and acquisitions that Oracle had made, many in the marketing and social space.  

The speaker was the by-product of such an acquisition and he did something to do with retail and databases and e-commerce and then he talked about cloud development gap and how they needed people to build lots of stuff to run on the EXA META GRRR 4000 CLOUDERATION SUPERCLUSTER BLADE platform or something. In the scheme of end-user understanding of how this sort of thing works I would usually rank myself about a 7 and I had no idea what he was talking about. So I figured the preso must be targeted for developers but then most of the people in the room where from client-side big IT departments I don't know?

I couldn’t help but think there must be so many opportunities for developers to build really great products and businesses if someone could just, you know, actually explain the tech behind the Oracle products in a simple way. It’s tricky because a lot great developers are spending their time building Instagram copies and time tracking software when they could be building some awesome plugin for the Oracle Demantra if people like me who actually pay attention could figure out what it was and tell everyone else about the awesome tech at work on —umm Oracle Demantra?

It might not sound as exciting as Snapchat but in terms of impact, building something for a massive open government healthcare project or retail bank or media network would really change things and that’s what we need. IT people are buying marketing and media software because they are already running Oracle gear which may or may not be a bad thing. I don’t know because it’s so confusing to figure out if the stuff is any good or not and nobody would give me a demo account or any way of playing with it to make an assessment because I couldn’t possibly know how to do my job better than an Oracle salesperson who thought I must be part of the events team because why else would I be there?

When you get past all the air guitar-ing and motion sickness from the spinning logos and M7 chipset FUSION ERP HCM you can look around the room and see that there are many, many companies who use this stuff and a handful of nerds who get what their little piece of the puzzle means but probably not how it works across different functions, let alone to their customers. It’s an industry-wide thing and I’m sure Oracle are aware of it but I fear many marketers are going to get stuck with nasty, unusable software that their IT person has gone ahead and purchased because it talks to the Oracle thing and all their other things are Oracle. I’m sure Larry knows this and that’s why he can afford to pay Russell lots of money and buy a nice island in Hawaii with pineapples on it and good for him. What would be really great is if product marketers or evangelists or whoever does the customer stuff would sit and look at successful consumer products like Twitter and Evernote and Mailchimp and communicate it like that so that more people can get it and run with it and make enterprise technology not so complicated and unattainable for regular folk because if you can understand Mailchimp you should be able to understand Eloqua and marketing teams have large, successful teams of loyalty database marketers who get databases so they should be able to get Demantra, whatever that is.