Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
March 27, 2017 9:19 AM

YouTube's Ad Challenge, Twitter's New Business Model And More On This Week's CTRL ALT Delete Segment On CHOM 97.7 FM

Every Monday morning at 7:10 am, I am a guest contributor on CHOM 97.7 FM radio out of Montreal (home base). It's not a long segment - about 5 to 10 minutes every week - about everything that is happening in the world of technology and digital media. The good folks at CHOM 97.7 FM are posting these segments weekly on iHeart Radio, if you're interested in hearing more of me blathering away about what's going on in the digital world. I'm really excited about this opportunity, because this is the radio station that I grew up on listening to, and it really is a fun treat to be invited to the Mornings Rock with Terry DiMonte morning show. The segment is called, CTRL ALT Delete with Mitch Joel.

This week we discussed: 

  • YouTube has a major advertising problem. The issue exploded last week after the London-based Times newspaper reported that some ads were running with YouTube videos that promoted terrorism or anti-Semitism. The U.K. government and The Guardian newspaper took down ads from the video site and then many of the world's largest advertising and marketing companies started pulling their clients' ads from Google's display ad network and YouTube. On Wednesday, it spread across to North America and brands that are among the heaviest ad spenders pulled back, potentially costing Google and YouTube hundreds of millions of dollars in lost business. Is this a problem YouTube can even fix? 
  • Is Twitter tinkering with a new business model? LinkedIn has premium services for those who pay. Medium just launched a $5 per month subscription services as well. Looks like Twitter is toying with the idea of a premium version. This makes sense, but is it a long-term solution to their current growth challenges? 
  • 60 Minutes took a look at the fake news problem. It's not what you think.
  • App of the week: Streetography.

Take a listen right here...

By Mitch Joel


March 26, 2017 7:44 AM

The Value Of Personal Branding With Mark W. Schaefer - This Week's Six Pixels Of Separation Podcast

Episode #559 of Six Pixels of Separation - The Mirum Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to.

Some might say that Mark Schaefer was late to the game when it comes to social media and personal brand building. Still, in short order, he has built a substantive and valuable personal platform and engaged community. Mark is still an avid blogger (like me). He is a podcaster (check out The Marketing Companion). He is a professor of marketing at Rutgers. He is an active consultant. Mark is a passionate communicator about how marketing has changed, and where he thinks it's all going. He's written many successful business books (Return On Influence, The Tao Of Twitter, Born To Blog, Social Media Explained and The Content Code) and brings a wealth of real life experience to the discussion. His latest book, Known, digs deep into his blueprint for how individuals (and businesses) can use content to become more known to a broader audience and grow their customer base. Some might think that a new business book on the topic of personal branding in 2017 is a little after-the-fact (I did). Mark thinks he's tapped into something new and unique (he changed my mind). Enjoy the conversation...

You can grab the latest episode of Six Pixels of Separation here (or feel free to subscribe via iTunes): Six Pixels of Separation - The Mirum Podcast #559.

By Mitch Joel


March 25, 2017 5:12 AM

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #353

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (Solve for InterestingTilt the WindmillHBS; chair of StrataStartupfestPandemonio, and ResolveTO; Author of Lean Analytics and some other books), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, iambik and co-author of Book: A Futurist's Manifesto) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person "must see".

Check out these six links that we're recommending to one another: 

  • The 3 Tenets of Capitalism - Tyler Hogge - Medium. "I'm pretty down on free-market capitalism, or whatever we're calling laissez-faire democracy these days. It's supposed to make everything efficient and maximize outcomes, but the concentration of wealth and preponderance of influence undermines those ideals. Then again, it's important to keep an open mind. This is an excellent, well-researched post; and as he points out when it comes to inequity, 'capitalism would fix it, if it were allowed to.'" (Alistair for Hugh).
  • Chuck Berry Reviews Classic Punk Records In Unearthed Jet Lag Zine From 1980 - Riverfront Times. "It seemed only appropriate that I include something this week for Chuck Berry, an icon's icon and a titanic force in music. He had a good snark to him, as shown by these brief reviews of punk acts. Of the Ramones: 'A good little jump number. These guys remind me of myself when I first started, I only knew three chords too.'" (Alistair for Mitch).
  • Mr. Nick Baker Teaches Today--Listen - The New York Review of Books. "One of my favorite writers, Nicholson Baker, who wrote (in NYRB) one of my favorite essays, The Charms of Wikipedia, has written a new book about teaching in America. Which is reviewed in the NYRB." (Hugh for Alistair).
  • More than Magic: the Legacy of Robert Silvers - New Republic. "Robert Silvers, legendary founder and editor of the New York Review of Books, has died. The NYRB is unlike any other publication I know, and I often find my 6 link contributions there. NYRB pieces are always long, always provoking, always well-thought-out. It's one of the few publications that, when I buy it, I end up reading (almost!) the whole thing. 'I believe in the writer -- the writer, above all,' Silvers once said, and he built an institution for all of us readers who believe, also, in the writer." (Hugh for Mitch).
  • The 50 Best New Travel Apps for 2017 - Travel And Leisure. "The title of this article alone made me roll my eyes and think, 'I could never share this with you.' Still, every Monday on CHOM FM, I do pick my 'app of the week.' After years of doing it, I'm always game to dig around and hope to find a diamond, gem or something. I was, literally, flabbergasted by the vast amount of apps on this list that I had not heard of. More importantly, I was even more taken aback by just how smart, cool and important a lot of them will be to our mutual lives on the road. If you travel - or want more depth to your urban experience - check this list out... seriously." (Mitch for Alistair).
  • The only line comedy shouldn't cross is the no-laughter line - Aeon. "I admit it: I am a strange bird. Sure, I like standup comedy. I can watch a special or two on Netflix. Still, I don't actively go to comedy clubs, festivals or try to recite jokes. With that, I love, love, love the mechanics of standup comedy. How these folks write, deliver and work the material on the road fascinates me. I just can't get enough of it. So much so, that I believe one of the major keys of success in life, is in understanding the dynamics of what makes people laugh. This is one of the best reads of the year. It's especially relevant, because I believe that the current political climate has turned the modern day masters of standup comedy into our version of folk singers and rock singers during the troubled parts of the sixties. These people are the modern day protest song. So, is there a line that a comedian should not cross? Read on and decide." (Mitch for Hugh).

Feel free to share these links and add your picks on Twitter, Facebook, in the comments below or wherever you play.

By Mitch Joel


March 24, 2017 8:45 PM

Will You, Brands Or Big Media Be The Star Of Snapchat TV?

In the past few months, we've seen major heavyweights come into Snapchat with some big announcements.

Both Vice and MGM have inked deals with Snapchat to develop original programming, specific to the Snapchat environment. Many think this is just the beginning for broadcasting brands, and how they approach the concept of mobile TV. Apparently, just watching your regular TV shows, Netflix or whatever on your iPhone is not enough. Now, totally original content from massive Hollywood studios are being rethunk for the industry executives who see Snapchat as the future.

What are we expected to watch on Snapchat?

According to the article, Snapchat inks deal with MGM to develop original programming as it ramps up mobile TV offering, from The Drum: "The standalone programming will tell 'a complete narrative' in four to five minutes and shows will be shot with Snapchat's predominantly young audience in mind." These "shows" will appear in Snapchat's Discovery section for publishers and these MGM and Vice deals are just the beginning. Like you, I would be curious as to what these major entertainment and media companies feel can be done uniquely in this platform? Why can't new and complete narratives produced in four to five minute segments not be perfect for YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or the brand's own web and mobile platforms? Will this mean that legacy media brands will make their way on to Snapchat? Does it means that they may reboot some classic brands for this format? Will it be all new content? According to The Drum article: 

"...the deal will include concepts that are both new IP, as well as existing IP that are 'reimagined for a whole new audience,' and that shows are being developed for a wide range of formats, including documentaries, reality TV, scripted and unscripted, comedies and dramas."

Anything tangible to talk about here? Any real examples?

When MGM was pressed to explain what, exactly, this could look like on Snapchat, their President of Unscripted Television (this is his title... and I'm guessing that they just did not like the term "reality tv" in their title) said: "The team at Snap is thinking about mobile TV differently than anyone else in this space. They are innovators, and it presents us with a unique opportunity to flex our development and production muscle in a whole new way... We are excited to create content for their vast and hard to reach audience that consumes entertainment in a very specific fashion." 

That tough to reach audience.

This will be the biggest challenge. It seems obvious enough how these deals come together. It's a simple recipe that we've seen countless times over the past few decades.

  • Take one part traditional media empire with ample catalogue. 
  • Take one part new, hip, shiny, bright object that is struggling to find a solid long-term revenue and growth strategy. 
  • Dash in an advertising revenue share model. 
  • Bake with Madison Ave. 
  • Let it sit for a couple of months.

Now let's see who comes to the table for seconds.

At first blush, this recipe might sound obvious, but let's dig a little deeper: Traditional media feel like they have lost this younger generation. As these non-regular television habits get formed, young people may never develop the same TV habits that generations before them had. "Get 'em while they're young," is how most brands think about longevity, whether they're selling mobile phones or chequing accounts. Habitually, we have a different young television consumer. Netflix sits side-by-side with standard programming, PVR functionality for time-shifting (which is starting to dwindle as streaming takes hold) and ad-skipping is pervasive (and base functionalities for all TV viewing today), while YouTube is right there too. Plus, plunking down in front of the 48 inch flat screen is no longer something valued over simply watching clips on a smartphone. In short, it's not just what's on the screen... the screen is pervasive and as prevalent in their lives as the pockets on their jeans. TV is no longer a destination. TV is no longer a destination with a set day and time. TV is another form of video content in a myriad of video content choices that are accessible in this one screen, mobile-first world.

This is about much more than reaching the Snapchat audience.

Perhaps, this is much more about branding than anything else? If these traditional major entertainment and media studios no longer have an audience that cares about how their content is consumed, but just wants access to anything, the play for these studios changes in a most disruptive way. Again, this truly diminishes the standard narrartives that we have read about digital transformation in the media business (how do they digitize and embrace this technology faster without a startup killing them?). Now, it's about brand. These studios have access to brands that have had major value in the past (and present). How do they ensure the brand value moving forward? The future of their brands must be anywhere where anyone might want to engage with it. Not easy.

Imagine that: the 800 pound gorillas looking for their next banana on whatever platform has the attention... even if it's not the one they intended it for.

By Mitch Joel


March 23, 201711:12 PM

The Way That Content Is Changing Is Not Good For (Most) Brands

Brands think that content will solve their marketing problems. Brands may be woefully surprised as this pans out.

There was an excitement in the air here in San Diego at this year's Social Media Marketing World. Selfishly, it would be nice to think that it was because of my presentation titled, How to avoid virtual crickets and digital tumbleweeds with your content (it's not about the headline). The presentation went fine, but the real attraction was Snapchat and live streaming. Sure, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and other social media channels got their due, but everyone was a-buzz over Snapchat and live streaming... for obvious reasons. Live streaming is the next iteration of video content and Snapchat (also shifting more to a video content play) is moving from the millennials to the olds. Both are rocketships, at this moment in time.

Both are primed for brands and business, so the attendees were revving around trying to figure out how to get pole position.  

Whether it was intended or not, my presentation focused on this strange attraction that brands have for the next shiny, bright object ("look... a squirrel!"). While this strategy might keep them au courant, the jumping from platform and format leaves this strange legacy of content plays from the recent past. Dead ends. Brands don't want to admit this, but just like those many contest and new product micro-sites that have gone stagnant, their content has become a jumbled and confusing legacy, as they jump content plays the way many swipe through Tinder. Brands think that this positions them as being current. Brands don't think about the brand experience, brand legacy and what all of this dead-end content does to create a better/worse brand impression.

This new buzz isn't going to be easy for brands.

I sat through many sessions at Social Media Marketing World. If there was one common thread that pulled it all together for me, it would be this: Brands are creating more content than ever before. They're doing it across multiple social media platforms. They are creating content is multiple formats (text, images, audio and video). It is an expensive process (from staffing, to ideation, to distribution to promotion). In short, it felt like they have been diverting traditional advertising dollars to create content and then create traditional advertising to drive attention to this new content and social media experiences. If you re-read that last sentence, it's supposed to sound confusing, because it is a lot more work than most ever anticipated.

It's only going to get harder. Much harder. 

If we are to believe that Snapchat and live streaming will continue to grow - and be a primary social media experience for brands - we also have to admit something that should scare us: Snapchat's content disappears. Live streaming is most powerful live, then it's gone too. Yes, you can archive a live stream and post it in multiple places, but the real excitement is in the live moment. Everything else is just an archive.

The half-life of content suddenly has no life.

It's now or never. If you're not in it... in the moment... it "seems" like no one might care in the near-future. For some brands, the attitude is simple: we have to change, shift and adjust to this new reality. If our potential for business has shifted from Twitter to Facebook to Snapchat, brands have to move along with it, as these moments happen. That's sounds much easier to say than it is to do. Think about the ephemeral content that we're talking about. Think about the push that will need to be put in place to be both live and breathe in the minute, while also having no history or value from the content beyond that moment. It feels like brands will plan, produce and push... pushing that content right off of a cliff. Even if it takes flight, it's live and done. The next hour if there's nothing there to continue that energy, it's done. The struggle is real.

It's a new social media play for brands today.

No doubt brands can still play in the realm of content creation and social media that caters to search engines, publishing, archives and building a following with newsletters. There is no doubt that brands should still be bullish on this. With that, as consumers flick their thumbs through feeds gifs, snaps, and become more attracted with what's here, now and gone next, it's going to be a dramatic shift in brand spending, planning and production to get into this, and succeed at it.

Which brands do you think will get this... and get this done right?

By Mitch Joel


March 22, 2017 4:40 PM

What They're Not Telling Us About Native Advertising's Explosive Growth

Native advertising is big business... and it's growing. That's the raw news and data from the good people at eMarketer yesterday. The news item was titled, eMarketer Unveils Estimates for Native Ad Spending, and it was based on their latest report.... Read more

By Mitch Joel


March 21, 201711:25 PM

Do Your Consumers Care About Your Digital Marketing? (Really, Really Care)

This week marks the annual pilgrimage to Social Media Marketing World in San Diego. Personally, I have been attending this event for many years. I've had the pleasure or speaking, presenting, mentoring, teaching and even networking there. For some, it's... Read more

By Mitch Joel


March 20, 2017 8:48 AM

Bad Vibrations From Internet Of Things, Voice As The Next Navigation And More On This Week's CTRL ALT Delete Segment On CHOM 97.7 FM

Every Monday morning at 7:10 am, I am a guest contributor on CHOM 97.7 FM radio out of Montreal (home base). It's not a long segment - about 5 to 10 minutes every week - about everything that is happening... Read more

By Mitch Joel


March 19, 2017 7:03 AM

Winning Body Language With Mark Bowden - This Week's Six Pixels Of Separation Podcast

Episode #558 of Six Pixels of Separation - The Mirum Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to. Whether it's online, in person or just consuming his content, I always enjoy the time I spend with Mark... Read more

By Mitch Joel


March 18, 2017 5:06 AM

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #352

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see? My friends: Alistair Croll (Solve for Interesting, Tilt the Windmill, HBS; chair of Strata, Startupfest, Pandemonio, and ResolveTO; Author of Lean Analytics and some other books), Hugh McGuire... Read more

By Mitch Joel