Content streams: The Internet is terrible edition

This week, the guy who invented the pop-up ad apologized for making the Internet terrible. Here’s a roundup of people and companies who might be the next offenders or the next innovators.

Digiday: ‘Brands aren’t people. And if they were, they’d hate ads too.’
What’s the thesis?
Brands should look for ways to be niche publishers, not broadcast advertisers. Talk to a smaller, more relevant and engaged group who will take your content, share it and integrate it into their relevant conversations on their platforms of choice for you.
Why should I care? This is a variation on the larger pushback we’re seeing on brands using social (mostly Facebook) for scale and substituting impressions for engagement. And the re-examination of earned media’s value vs. paid media.
Anything else? The YouTube Hero, Hub, Hygiene strategy he mentions sounds odd, but it’s how YouTube content creators formed a loyal subscriber base without big budgets.
Who else is talking about this? See last month’s Newcastle item.
What’s the next thing people will be saying about this? At this rate, I’m assuming you’ll see people falling all over themselves to name their SXSW talk “Facebook Is Dead.” Oh and then there’s this:

Quartz: Messaging apps are reprising the web’s business model, circa 1999
What’s the thesis?
“The internet giants of the present era are rushing to…become the Google of mobile.” The old web portal model (Yahoo will find everything for you) has become a mobile brand model (YOUR FAVORITE INTERNET BRAND HERE will provide you with every conceivable mobile service – email, messaging, gaming, travel reservations, etc.).
Why should I care? Theoretically, the more data brands have on consumer activities, the more customizable and effective they can be at marketing to them.
Anything else? “What is your brand’s Yo! strategy?” went from a joke to an actual thing people are talking about in two months. And apparently, ICQ use is increasing again. <digression>I really miss the early aughts, you guys. Even if half the music was terrible.</digression>
Who else is talking about this: I remain skeptical about broad use of new mobile apps as smartphone adoption plateaus. This Nielsen study says time spent using apps is on the rise, but people aren’t trying new apps. Emarketer backs this up with its own data. (Though this data might be affected as trusted brands like Facebook and others expand offerings in the space.)
What’s the next thing people will be saying about this? Mobile data is probably the most personal of all (think about the content of the last email or photo you sent someone). With the Snapchat security breach still fresh in mind, upstart brands ability to compete will rest on their ability to prove they can keep user data secure.

Rolling Stone: The Presidency and the Press: A former Obama spokesman on the history of the toxic relationship
What’s the thesis? “To communicate with everybody in this country at the same time and get them all wrapped around one issue – it’s very much an idea whose time has passed.”
Why should I care? This piece isn’t really about content marketing per se, but the above quote and the details about how the Obama administration often goes around traditional media outlets (and matches their reach) to get its unfiltered message directly to the American people offers plenty of lessons for brands.
Anything else? I never thought about how media cost-cutting led directly to more coverage of smaller stories but it’s pretty obvious in retrospect. Less money for more complex reporting means you spend time on gaffes and nonsense.
Who else is talking about this? The Boston Herald did a story on social media portals’ effects on the 2016 election. iCitizen is an app that helps voters track issues that are important to them. What’s the next thing people will be saying about this? The election is more than two years away and that’s forever in both politics and technology so anybody who thinks they have it figured out in advance of 2015 is probably full of it.

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