The Only Metric That Matters For Content Marketing

biometric At Pixable, we — like almost every digital property — are in the eyeball game. We are one of thousands of media companies competing for attention, and, in our case, we seek the attention of young, highly social readers with seemingly infinite interests. It goes without saying that attention grabbing begins with a catchy headline, but the real challenge is this: After getting the… Read More

German regulator orders Facebook to allow pseudonyms

An illustration picture shows the log-on screen for the website Facebook, in Munich February 2, 2012.

BRUSSELS (By Julia Fioretti, Reuters) – Facebook may not prevent its users from using fake names, a German privacy watchdog said on Tuesday, in the latest privacy setback for the U.S. company in Europe.

The Hamburg data protection authority, which is responsible for policing Facebook in Germany, said the social network firm could not unilaterally change users’ chosen usernames to their real names, nor could it ask them for official ID.

The German order comes after the Belgian privacy watchdog took Facebook to court in June over the way it tracks the activities of its users. The two authorities are working with their Spanish, Dutch and French counterparts to investigate Facebook’s new privacy policy.

A woman had complained to the Hamburg watchdog after Facebook blocked her account for using a pseudonym, requested a copy of her ID and unilaterally changed her username into her real name.

The Hamburg Data Protection Authority said the woman did not want to use her real name to avoid being contacted through it for business matters.

Forcing users to stick to their real names violated their privacy rights, it said.

Facebook said it was disappointed with the order and that German courts had reviewed it on many occasions and deemed it compliant with EU law.

“The use of authentic names on Facebook protects people’s privacy and safety by ensuring people know who they’re sharing and connecting with,” said a spokesperson for the company.

Facebook has maintained that as its European headquarters are in Ireland it should only abide by Irish law in Europe and consequently has rejected the jurisdiction of other national authorities.

In an audit in December 2011 the Irish privacy watchdog concluded that Facebook’s authentic name policy did not contravene Irish law and its reasons for the policy, such as child safety and the prevention of online harassment, were justified.

However Johannes Caspar, the Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection, rejected the argument that Facebook should only be subject to Irish data protection laws.

“For that matter Facebook cannot again argue that only Irish Data Protection law would be applicable … anyone who stands on our pitch also has to play our game,” he said.

(Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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GrowthBeat 2015: Learning to grow with Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook, Yahoo, and top brands

growthbeat-blogimage
[Are you a growth marketer? Do you want to know what it takes to be one? Join us at GrowthBeat, on August 17-18 in San Francisco. Thought leaders from the biggest brands and most disruptive companies will share winning growth strategies on the most pressing challenges marketing leaders face today.]

In February, we brought together 180 chief marketing officers and top executives to strategize on new growth strategies in a 2,000-plus product-marketing-technology universe.

Now we’re inviting the world.

GrowthBeat 2015 kicks off in just three weeks, and VentureBeat has never had such a stellar cast of marketing all-stars. We will answer questions such as how to boost customer engagement or bridge online and offline relationships and fixing the seemingly never-ending challenge of attribution across multiple channels, including mobile.

We’ll also go beyond the technology and address the core of marketing: storytelling and brand, and how to disrupt conventional practices in your organization to drive a culture of growth beyond just the marketing team.

We do a lot of research at VB, but we don’t have all of the answers. However, we’re pretty sure these people do.

GrowthBeat 2015 will feature stars of marketing in the tech space, including:

  • Jim Underwood, who leads strategy for Facebook
  • Amy Bohutinsky, the CMO of Zillow
  • Nicolas Draca, the senior director of marketing for LinkedIn
  • Casey Winters, LinkedIn’s product manager for growth
  • Kathy Savitt, the CMO of Yahoo
  • Chris Williams, head of marketing, Lending Club
  • Matt Epstein, VP of marketing for Zenefits

GrowthBeat 2015

But we’ll also have superstars from the biggest brands, who are reinventing their marketing, advertising, and customer acquisition efforts with the best of today’s technology:

  • Lara Balazs, the head of North America marketing for Visa
  • Joe Megibow, American Eagle’s chief digital officer (and an amazing speaker)
  • Kieran Hannon, the CMO of Belkin, which is doing amazing things in home automation with its WeMo brand
  • Jon Potter, the CMO of spirits brand Moët Hennessy
  • John Caine, the chief product officer of Priceline
  • Julie Bornstein, the current COO of Stitch Fix and former CMO of Sephora
  • Baron Concors, Pizza Hut’s chief digital officer
  • Laurie Giammona, PG&E’s chief customer officer
  • Alison Hoffman, the EVP Marketing for Starz

growthbeat 2015

We’ve never had lineup of speakers like this, and we’re incredibly excited to kick off this event on August 17 and August 18 at the Parc 55 in San Francisco.

To join us, buy your ticket here.

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Malcolm Gladwell: the Snapchat problem, the Facebook problem, the Airbnb problem

Malcolm Gladwell
[Are you a growth marketer? Do you want to know what it takes to be one? Join us at GrowthBeat, on August 17-18 in San Francisco. Thought leaders from the biggest brands and most disruptive companies will share winning growth strategies on the most pressing challenges marketing leaders face today.]

Last night futurist, journalist, prognosticator, and author Malcolm Gladwell told pretty much the most data-driven marketing technologist crowd imaginable that data is not their salvation.

In fact, it could be their curse.

“More data increases our confidence, not our accuracy,” he said at mobile marketing analytics provider Tune’s Postback 2015 event in Seattle. “I want to puncture marketers’ confidence and show you where data can’t help us.”

The Snapchat problem

The average person under 25 is texting more each day than the average person over 55 texts each year, Gladwell says. That’s what the data can tell us.

Malcolm Gladwell at Postback 2015

Above: Malcolm Gladwell at Postback 2015

Image Credit: Kris Krug

What it can’t tell us is why.

“The data can’t tell us the nature of the behavior,” Gladwell said. “Maybe it’s developmental … or maybe it’s generational.”

Developmental change, in Gladwell’s story, is behavior that occurs as people age. For instance, “murder is a young man’s game,” he said, with almost all murders being committed by men under the age of 25. Likewise, dying in a car accident is something that just “statistically doesn’t happen” over the age of 40. In other words, people age out of developmental changes — they are not true long-term lasting shifts in behavior.

Generational change, on the other hand, is different. That’s behavior that belongs to a generation, a cohort that grows up and continues the behavior. For example, Gladwell said, baby boomers transformed “every job in America” in the ’70s as they demanded more freedom, greater rewards, and changes in the boss-employee relationship.

The question is whether Snapchat-style behavior is developmental or behavioral.

“In the answer to that question is the answer to whether Snapchat will be around in 10 years,” Gladwell said.

The Facebook problem

Facebook is massive, amazing, and almost literally incredible: a social network connecting over a billion people. That’s what the data can tell us.

What it can’t tell us is what it will become — what its full upside potential could be.

File photo of a photo illustration with 3D plastic representation of the Facebook logo in front of displayed logos of social networks in Zenica“Facebook is at the stage that the telephone was at when they thought the phone was not for gossiping — it’s in its infancy,” Gladwell said, referencing that the early telephone marketers thought the phone was only for business. “We need to be cautious when making conclusions … we can see some things now, but we have no idea where it’s going.”

Why?

The diffusion of new technologies always takes longer than we would assume, Gladwell said. The first telephone exchange was launched in 1878, but only took off in the 1920s. The VCR was created in the 1960s in England, but didn’t reach its tipping point until the 1980s — over and above the vociferous opposition of the TV and movie industry, which was convinced it would destroy their business.

And that’s for technologies that are just innovative.

Technologies that are both innovative and and complicated, like Facebook, take even longer to really emerge.

“Any kind of new and dramatic innovation takes a long time to spread and be understood,” Gladwell said. “If we look at history, it tells us that the Facebook of today looks almost nothing like what it will tomorrow.”

The Airbnb problem

The sharing economy, featuring companies like AirBnB, Uber/Lyft, even eBay, rely on trust. And they’re growing and expanding like wildfire.

And yet, if you look at recent polls of trust and trustworthiness, people’s — and especially millennials — trust is at an all-time low. Out of ten American “institutions,” including church, Congress, the presidency, and others, millennials only trust two: the military and science.

AirbnbThat’s conflicting data. And what the data can’t tell us is how both can be true, Gladwell said.

“Data can tell us about the immediate environment of people’s attitudes, but not much about the environment in which they were formed,” he said. “So which is right? Do people not trust others, as the polls say … or are they lying to the surveys?”

The context helps, Gladwell said.

That context is an massive shift in American society over the past few decades: a huge reduction in violent crime. For example, New York City had over 2,000 murders in 1990. Last year it was 300. In the same time frame, the overall violent crime index has gone down from 2,500 per 100,000 people to 500.

“That means that there is an entire generation of people growing up today not just with Internet and mobile phones … but also growing up who have never known on a personal, visceral level what crime is,” Gladwell said.

Baby boomers, who had very personal experiences of crime, were given powerful evidence that they should not trust. The following generations are reverting to what psychologists call “default truth.” In other words, they assume that when someone says something, it’s true … until they see evidence to the contrary.

“I think millennials are very trusting,” Gladwell said. “And when they say they’re not … they’re bullshitting.”

Whether that’s true or not, however, is extremely important to the future of the sharing economy.

Why marketers have a job

The deficiencies not only in data but of data are the reason marketers have a job, Gladwell said. In fact, it goes deeper than that:

“The reason your profession is a profession and not a job is that your role is to find the truth in the data.”

And that’s a significant challenge.

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Facebook defeats shareholder litigation over IPO

A 3D plastic representation of the Facebook logo is seen in this illustration in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, May 13, 2015.

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A federal appeals court has upheld the dismissal of litigation by Facebook shareholders who accused Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and other officials of deceiving them about the social media company’s growth prospects prior to its May 2012 initial public offering.

By a 3-0 vote, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday said the plaintiffs could not prevail because they failed to show they owned Facebook stock at the time of the alleged misconduct, which predated the $16 billion IPO.

The decision affirmed the February 2013 dismissal of the case by U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet in Manhattan.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Andrew Clubok, a lawyer for the defendants, declined to comment.

Many lawsuits were filed against Facebook as the Menlo Park, California-based company, which went public at $38 per share, saw its share price fall as low as $17.55 by Sept. 4, 2012.

In the case decided on Friday, shareholders alleged that Facebook should have disclosed its internal projections on how increased mobile usage might reduce future revenue.

Writing for the appeals court, however, Circuit Judge Dennis Jacobs said that because Facebook made its disclosures before going public, shareholders could not have contemporaneously owned its stock, and thus could not sue its directors and underwriters.

“A proper plaintiff must have acquired his or her stock in the corporation before the core of the allegedly wrongful conduct transpired,” he wrote.

Among the other defendants were Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, lead underwriter Morgan Stanley , Goldman Sachs Group Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co .

The case is In re: Facebook Inc Initial Public Offering Derivative Litigation, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Nos. 14-632, 14-1309, 14-1445, 14-1784 and 14-1788.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bernadette Baum)


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Nintendo and Facebook team up to promote Super Mario Maker

Make all the Marios.
[Are you a growth marketer? Do you want to know what it takes to be one? Join us at GrowthBeat, on August 17-18 in San Francisco. Thought leaders from the biggest brands and most disruptive companies will share winning growth strategies on the most pressing challenges marketing leaders face today.]

Nintendo has acquired another unlikely ally — just the latest in a string of partnerships that could help shore up the House of Mario.

The Japanese gaming company is working with social media site Facebook to help promote its upcoming Wii U home console game, Super Mario Maker. During an event called a “hackathon” on July 28 and July 29 at Facebook headquarters, the social network’s employees can compete with each other by creating their own levels inside the Super Mario Maker. Judges from Facebook and Nintendo will select a best stage, with that level later becoming downloadable for the game after its September 11 release.

After suffering sluggish sales of its latest console, the Wii U, Nintendo has revamped itself by making unexpected partnerships. These include mobile publisher DeNA and a deal with Universal to bring Nintendo properties to its theme parks. It’s also working on a new system, codenamed NX, that it will reveal more info on next year.

Super Mario Maker allows users to easily create their own 2D Mario levels by using the Wii U’s touchscreen. Players can drag and drop enemies and level elements, and they can even choose between designs based on different eras of Mario.

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Facebook now lets anyone around the world sign up for Messenger without an account

Facebook Messenger app
Are you a growth marketer? Do you want to know what it takes to be one? Join us at GrowthBeat, on August 17-18 in San Francisco. Thought-leaders from the biggest brands and most disruptive companies will share winning growth strategies on the most pressing challenges marketing leaders face today.

In June, Facebook announced that it no longer required Messenger users to have a Facebook account. It was only available to those in Canada, the United States, Peru, and Venezuela. But now, the social networking company has opened it up to the rest of the world.

Anyone interested in communicating with their friends or soon businesses, can sign up using their phone number. If it’s your preference, you can also use your Facebook account.

As Facebook readies its Messenger Platform for primetime, making Messenger more accessible and perhaps more enticing (often people may opt not to download Messenger because they dislike the standalone app) to people is going to be crucial. Now there will be fewer obstacles that prevent users from transferring money to their friends or interacting with businesses.

Opening up Facebook Messenger to more people without an account could also be beneficial to those in developing countries. Large percentages of emerging nations have cell phone owners sending and receiving payments on their devices. So by using a phone number, Messenger users could just use their phone number for one thing and not have to have another login to remember.

Facebook Messenger has a massive audience of monthly active users. In May, the app passed 600 million monthly active users, a gain of 100 million since November when it last released numbers. Now that there’s an alternate way to log into Messenger, will the company see the app’s MAUs increase dramatically?

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