Anyclip anyone?

Have you heard about Anyclip?  I had not until I read a recent brief about the company.  According to their website, AnyClip is the world’s first personalized, content-driven video advertising platform.

Our team is on a bold mission to personalize video ads by blending them with relevant content. We identify consumers and their preferences on the most relevant digital media and deliver them a personalized video ad experience.

From a single video ad, the company is able to recreate anywhere from 10 to 30 new versions that stay true to the tone and messaging of the brand. Each version is catered and customized for different target audiences and publisher sites.

Companies like Anyclip will contribute to the high-growth slice of advertising.  Digital video ad revenue is forecast to rise from $8.5 billion in 2016 to $23 billion in 2021, according to BI Intelligence estimates. 

It’s not assumed that consumers will embrace video ads.  By 2020, the number of people in the US using ad blockers is expected to more than double from 44 million in 2016 to over 100 million, causing a loss of as much as $12 billion in ad revenue, according to analytics firm Optimal.

For those consumers who are open to receiving video ads, they abandon non-relevant videos at alarming rates.  According to Wistia, 3% of people abandon a 30 second video within the first second, over 50% abandon after the first second but before the wrap-up and less then 1% abandon at the video’s close.  For a video lasting between 30 seconds and a minute, the abandon rates are 5%, 56%, and 5%.  

Even if the video is seen as relevant the first time, abandon rates approach those above for repeated showings.

The amount of advertising in its various formats clamoring for our attention are fighting an uphill battle.  Relevancy, repeat impressions, timing, ad blocking and avoidance all conspire against the advertising efforts of retailers and service providers.  

Anyclip hopes to answer the relevancy question with artificial Intelligence-assisted content in a video format.

Deep Work

I devoured Cal Newport’s latest book Deep Work over the last two days.  He believes that in this age of technology knowledge workers, ones who make their living from creating value from the thoughts they think are increasingly replacing deep thinking through a problem with what he terms “shallow work”, logistical-style work that is not cognitively demanding with frequent breaks of distraction.  

I recognized myself for the untold number of times daily that I grab my phone to check my email, the stock and currency markets, and the latest news.  This led me to reflect on the following, “How do I consume the news?”  I love paper and when I can, that’s how I get the news.  Before the Internet that’s how I got all my news (except the weather).  Today I rely on newspapers and magazines for depth on the few stories I find interesting,  My go-to sites end up being the online sites of newspapers mostly – the NY Times, Wall St. Journal, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Des Moines Register, and LA Times.

I really try to stay away from social media sites (more on this another day) because, frankly, I don’t trust those sites for news. The reporters at the major newspapers may have biases (after all, who doesn’t), but many of the feature stories are well researched and provide multiple perspectives on the issue, allowing me to think deeply about issues in a way I can’t with the information provided on social media sites.

For me, I need to have a perspective and think about the implications of what I’ve read to feel as though I’m performing deep work.


How Much is Your Data Worth?

Did you ever think of your personal data as an asset like your car or home or investments?  If not, think again.  In the data broker industry, everything from personal identifying data to social media data to health data is packaged and sold to the highest bidder for annual revenues of almost half a billion dollars per year. That would be $1.76 for every adult 18 and older in the US.  But what data is sold? Where is it collected? The following infographic from MBA@UNC looks at the business of data brokers, how they get their data, and what they sell it for.

The Business of Data Brokers Infographic brought to you by MBA@UNC

But this is not the end of the story.  Sources of highly detailed and granular information can be very valuable to companies.  

Take the digital advertising market. Google and Facebook dominate the digital advertising market by using your data to allow marketers better targeting options.  They use the personal data they acquire to enhance users’ experiences and provide more personally relevant services. In addition, online platforms allow businesses to market their products/services to selected audiences, and reduce the noise of irrelevant advertising for those audiences by enabling interest-based advertising that is based on users’ personal data and demographic characteristics.

This is a very lucrative market.  In 2014, 2013, and 2012, advertising accounted for 92 percent, 89 percent and 84 percent, respectively of Facebook’s revenues.  Advertising is also a major revenue generator for Alphabet (Google), contributing more than 90 percent of the company’s total revenue within the last decade. In 2015 advertising revenues reached nearly $76 billion in 2015, or $276.68 for every adult 18 and over in the U.S.

Firms not only pay for data-based advertising on online platforms. They are also actively expanding their user databases and analyzing qualitatively the trends on the demand side. This can lead them to increase their market shares by designing new products and services that better suit consumer preferences. 

It is difficult to quantify the added value of such processes for firms. But projections seem to indicate the increasing importance of personal data for private and public organizations. 

It’s estimated that in Europe applications built on personal data can provide quantifiable benefits of as much as €1 trillion annually by 2020, with a third of the total accruing to private and public organizations, and two thirds accruing to consumers. This means a benefit for firms of about €330 billion annually by 2020.

Personal data is the oil that lubricates the e-commerce machine.  How do you as a consumer feel about that?

Farwell, Carrie Fisher

The news today of the death of Carrie Fisher hit me particularly hard.  I think it’s because we grew up together – not that we knew each other, but to me she was THE character that defined THE movie franchise of my generation.  I went to the show a handful of times to enjoy the adventures of Luke, Hans, and Princess Leia.  5 years later the very first home video release of any Star Wars film came in May 1982 when 20th Century Fox Video released Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope on VHS, Betamax, LaserDisc, and CED VideoDisc.

Over time not only have media formats changed, but the way we consume media continues to evolve.  According to a recent survey from Hub Research more viewers are flocking online to find their favorite shows.  The survey, which questioned 1,200 US consumers aged 16-74 about their TV consumption habits, found that online sources are becoming the go-to destination for video viewing. When asked which is the main source for watching their favorite TV show, 53% of respondents said a set-top box – the pathway for live TV, DVR, and video-on-demand (VOD). While this remained the top source for consuming TV content, it’s down from 64% in 2014. On the other hand, online sources – such as Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime – grew from 31% to 40% over the same period.

Original content is paramount to online video success. Sixty-nine percent of respondents said that subscription-video-on-demand (SVOD) originals make them more likely to keep their video subscription.

Personalization and on-demand content is driving the way we purchase and view films and television, driven by our expectation of increasing convenience and time efficiency.  As Princess Leia said, “May the Force be with you.” 

A Broader Perspective

This year I have followed a path in my personal research that has broadened my perspective.  

Previously, my interest was in technology, data processing, and artificial intelligence converging to provide us tools to help us make better decisions.  In the financial service realm, this tool would take the form of a personal financial management tool to help us capture more value as we purchase products and services and keep more of what we earn as we make the purchasing decision.

This year I presented on the future of privacy and data security in financial services at the World Future Society conference.  The interest the topic generated and took me aback and I began to think about the amount of privacy and personal data sharing consumers are willing to undergo for convenience.  I also began to think about the bubble being created around each of our online experiences based on the data trails we leave online.

Finally, in October I was fortunate to attend The Futures School put on by Kedge Consulting which gave me exposure to the art of foresight.  From these experiences, I have settled on becoming a student on the future of consumption – what we consume, how we consume it, how we educate ourselves on products and services, what data we’re willing to provide in exchange for the “best” products and services for us, and the concerns we have in sharing personal data.

The conversation I hope to promote is one of trust – how we as consumers, businesses looking to build relationships with consumers, and policymakers who need to establish policy to govern the online world a resource of information, attitudes, emerging values, and implications of possible futures.

I look forward to your comments.