Author Archives: John Koetsier

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AI and marketing: friend or foe?

I contributed to Act-On’s artificial intelligence and marketing series recently. The question was: will AI be a friend or a foe to marketers?

Here’s my take:

AI is most definitely going to be a marketer’s friend.

Marketers spend far too much time right now gathering, merging, cleansing, and normalizing data, and AI is going to make that simple. (In fact, it already is.)

In addition, the customer journey is far too complex — one company mapped 500 points on their customers’ journeys — to really understand, never mind react to in real-time with appropriate messages, resources, or services. AI will also help here, delivering on the promise of technology by enabling one-to-one communication with prospects and customers at scale.

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Smart robots put 10.5M US jobs at high risk

10.5 million U.S. jobs are at high risk of obsoletion due to artificial intelligence and robotization, according to a new CB Insights study. A prime example: food preparation and cooking.

Cooks prepare and serve food, clean workspaces, and interact with customers. But robots are already flipping burgers, and McDonalds is installing food-ordering kiosks in 2,500 stores this year.

The same day that news was anounced, the iconic fast-food chain’s shares hit an all-time high and analysts upgraded the stock.

Read the full story in my post on Forbes …

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Mobile Presence Podcast appearance: Connecting Customers At Scale And Driving Success For The Fortune 1000

Was super-happy to spend some time with Peggy Anne Salz just yesterday … and it’s live today.

Wow … quick! And, shockingly, I don’t sound like a complete idiot 🙂

Here’s her intro:

Host Peggy Anne Salz from MobileGroove welcomes John Koetsier – journalist, analyst and futurist – to discuss his recent research into the relationship between mobile apps, which allow immediate connection between companies and customers, and the level of success Fortune 1000 companies have achieved on the financial markets. He reveals compelling reasons why “winning in mobile means winning” and explains why over half (65.4%) of companies that demonstrate financial success are also leading their business category in how they interact with their customers on mobile. The episode also looks at mobile fraud and John’s insights into the massive amount – and impact – of mobile fraud.

And here’s the actual podcast … with a plug for TUNE by me and for my sci-fi book, No Other Gods, by Peggy!

Check it out now 🙂

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Mentioned in dispatches

Pretty sure this is my first quote in the NY Times …

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos did more than acquire a company last week. He also asked for input on what to do, philanthropically, to help people in need now.

I replied, and the result hit the NY Times:

Get the full story at the NY Times …

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Apple’s new App Store may gift indie developers 20M app installs almost overnight

Some very, very fortune app publishers will see massive boosts in downloads when Apple turns the new App Store on in late summer or early fall. That boost could be three million, five million or even 20 million new app installs, virtually overnight.

It’s all thanks to Apple’s new editorial App Store focus.

At the company’s World Wide Developer Conference early this month, Apple announced a new App Store. While the store will have at least 25 major and minor new features, perhaps the most important one is a completely revamped home screen with a singular focus on one new app: a featured app of the day.

Featured apps have long received outsized benefits in terms of attention and installs.

Duolingo, for instance, rocketed up to a top-five app in terms of downloads from around 300th after being featured. Circa, the news aggregation app, saw app installs explode 59X overnight, partially due to press about being featured.

Get the full story in my article at Forbes …

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25 fat new features: What Apple’s all-new App Store means for app marketers

Apple is making huge changes to the mother of all apps, the app from which all other apps flow — at least on iOS — and probably its most popular app ever.

I’m talking about the App Store, of course.

And if you’re a successful app developer or publisher, that should freak the living daylights out of you.

You’ve attained a certain status. You have a certain familiarity with the environment from which your business flows. You’ve learned to navigate its rivers, often surprising you with hidden dangers and always spawning new sandbars on which the foolish founder. And you’ve earned some hard-won rank and stature, leading to some degree of organic business in the fastest-evolving marketplace ever yet built: the mobile app ecosystem.

Now it’s all going to change.

Get all the details in my massive 3,000-word blog post on TUNE’s blog …

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70M American Adults Interested In Buying Apple’s New HomePod

70 million Americans are interested in buying Apple’s new $350 smart speaker, HomePod. 33% of Americans are interested in buying the new device, according to a new survey.

That only drops to 30% when respondents are asked to compare HomePod with Google Home and Amazon Echo.

The results, from a Morning Consult national survey of 2,200 adults, seem to indicate that the well-known Apple Effect is still very much in force: when Apple enters a new market, it often dominates the space very quickly.

See the full story in my column at Forbes …

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Blockchain Beyond Bitcoin: How Blockchain Will Transform Business In 3-5 Years

To understand how blockchain is going to change the data of business and the business of data, ignore the jargon.

Ignore the hype.

Especially, ignore the confusion.

Fundamentally, Blockchain is an incredibly simple thing: a record book that everyone can see, and no one can change. This extremely simple idea has the potential to change huge swaths of enabling software and process for business, for finance, and for government, says Crowd Companies founder Jeremiah Owyang.

Get the full story in my post on Inc. Magazine …

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Apple Deletes $80K/Month ‘VPN’ Scam App, But Others Remain

“Mobile Protection: Clean & Security VPN” seemed to promise to keep iPhone owners’ phones clean, secure, and, I suppose, protected. All of those sound pretty good, which is why 50,000 people downloaded the app, and at least 200 people signed up for its weekly subscription service.

In reality, it scammed people at the horrendous rate of $400/month.

And, left unchecked, would have earned its unscrupulous developer almost $1,000,000 this year.

Get the full story in my post on Forbes …

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Web, apps, bots, and agents: when marketers should use each

Super-pleased to present my presentation at BotsCamp on bots, apps, web, and AI agents, and where they all fit.

The online conference platform had some issues, so I had to ask the moderator to forward my slides, but we get through it ok 🙂

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How Apple Can Make Siri Smarter Than Alexa, Google, And Cortana

Google has the knowledge graph. Amazon has the product graph. Facebook has the social graph. Microsoft has Bing and a third of search volume. Here’s how Apple can compete.

Apple’s artificially intelligent assistant Siri isn’t exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer. But there is one specific piece of technological jujitsu Apple can perform that just might be able to fix that.

AI is hard.

It requires expertise, complex algorithms, and huge amounts of training data. With over $250 billion dollars of cash on hand, Apple can buy the first two.

The third piece, however, is especially hard for Apple.

Get the full story in my column at Inc. Magazine …

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The top 7 tech brands on the planet are worth $1.1 trillion

Seven of the top ten brands on the planet are technology companies, and they’re worth a combined total of $1.1 trillion.

The BrandZ top 100 global brands ranking was released today by ad giant WPP and brand strategy firm Kantar Millward Brown. The top 100 brands on the planet are worth an estimated $3.6 trillion, the companies say, which means that seven tech companies account for almost one-third of the total value.

The only problem is that the index misclassifies one of the top seven technology companies on the planet.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Snapchat Installs PayPal: Planning Mobile Commerce Feature?

Engineers building the popular Snapchat app have recently added the PayPal software development kit (SDK) to both their iOS and Android apps, according to mobile intelligence service MightySignal.

“Curiously, we noticed Snap recently installed the Paypal SDK, one of the most commonly used payment processing SDKs, in both its iOS and Android apps,” MightySignal CEO Shane Wey posted on the company’s blog.

Just today, of course, Apple announced person-to-person payments through Messages, the iOS messaging app, at its Worldwide Developer Conference. Snapchat announced a similar feature in 2014 call Snapcash, but the offering has not really caught fire.

Get the full story in my column at Forbes …

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Mobile martech: Building the mobile-first marketing tech stack

Brands and enterprises know all about marketing tech stacks. Marketing technologist Scott Brinker has assembled 5,381 logos into the current Martech landscape, and there’s even an award — the Stackies — for the best-dressed, best-looking, or most popular martech stack.

But what about mobile-first and mobile-only companies?

If you’re mobile-first, you probably don’t need huge chunks of the literally dozens of categories of martech. Channel marketing? Nope. Sales automation? No sales force to automate. E-commerce platforms? Maybe … but maybe Apple and Google handle all your payment processing. CRM? Not traditional CRM, that’s for sure. Print advertising? Uh-uh. Call analytics? Not in a million years.

But mobile-first and mobile-only companies do have very specific and utterly business-critical marketing technology needs from companies like — shameless plug — TUNE.

I asked Rovio’s former user acquisition manager, currently consultant and entrepreneur, and distinguished industry expert Eric Seufert for his take on what martech needs mobile-first companies have.

Get the entire interview on TUNE’s blog … 

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How LinkedIn went from 500K to 500M users in 13 years

From 2003 to 2016, LinkedIn grew from 500,000 users to over 500 million members. VP of growth Aatif Awan shared the three-stage strategy the company followed to explode from also-ran to must-have today at Traction Conference in Vancouver, Canada.

Stage one: Stimulating virality

In the early years from 2003 to 2007, LinkedIn grew from 500,000 to 13 million users. Like all startups, growth is essential and the challenge is obvious: grow or die.

That means something very, very significant.

“In the early days, you don’t need a growth team,” Awan said. “Everyone is the growth team.”

Get the full story at Inc. Magazine …

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Deleting one app can literally double your phone’s battery life

(This is my first post for Inc. Magazine.)

When I saw one popular app eat 47 percent of my phone’s battery I acted with maximum prejudice–but there are some less drastic steps you can take.

Last week I deleted Facebook from my phone, and literally doubled my battery life. Not just overnight, but instantly.

You can too — or, if that’s too extreme a reaction, there are a few simple things you can do to minimize Big Social’s impact on how often you need to recharge your phone. As an electric vehicle owner, I’m familiar with “range anxiety.” But I bought an iPhone 7+ specifically so my phone’s battery would last through the entire day. Every day, or so I hoped.

Recently, however, it wasn’t even lasting most of the day.

Get the rest of the story, including how to keep Facebook but minimize its battery drain, on Inc. Magazine

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Welcoming all advertising companies to the attribution game

Smart marketers know that attribution is precisely at the core of what they need to do real data-driven marketing. Sometimes it seems complex and challenging, but ultimately, attribution is a very, very simple idea:

  • Attribution tells you how your prospects become customers
  • Attribution tells you how your customers buy more, increasing your share of wallet
  • Attribution tells you how your best customers become fans
  • Attribution tells you how your fans evangelize the good news about you, your company, your products, and your brand

So we are always happy to see more partners spreading the attribution news. Facebook, of course, does attribution on clicks and views of ads. And today Google announced Google Attribution, which will help marketers “measure the impact of their marketing across devices and across channels — all in one place, and at no additional cost.”

Read the full post at TUNE’s blog …

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New ‘Geosocial Index’ Ranks Global Locations By Social Media Activity

Fenway Park is more social than Yankee Stadium. The Four Seasons Moscow generates more tweets than the Four Seasons Istanbul. And no hospital on the planet generates more social activity than Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in, of course, California.

How do I know?

A new startup called HYP3R, which connects social activity to real-world locations, is monitoring and measuring tweets, shares, and posts from tens of thousands of locations in the U.S. and around the planet, starting with stadiums, hotels/conference centers, and hospitals.

Check out my post on Forbes for the full story …

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How to tell news and content marketing apart

Content marketing is growing fast as 77% of companies are increasing their content marketing efforts. How do you distinguish between real news and content marketing?

Here’s one sure-fire way:

News tells you the most important parts of the story first. Content marketing holds the best parts to the middle or the end.

Read the full story on Medium …

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Techmeme love :-)

If you’re not in the biz, you probably don’t know Techmeme. But it’s kind of the arbiter of what’s important in technology.

When I wrote full-time at VentureBeat, I would “get a Techmeme” from time to time. It’s not a big deal, but it’s something that some publications (TechCrunch especially) take very seriously.

So I was pumped to get a mention for some of my work at Forbes just recently. Frankly, I had no idea the Techmeme editors even looked at Forbes.

As you can see, most of the publications Techmeme cites are tech blogs:

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I am now an adtech insider …

Apparently, I’m an adtech insider 🙂

The excellent George Slefo at AdAge quoted me in his funny write-up on the IAB changing “programmatic” — ads that are bought and sold via high-speed automated processes — to “automatic.”

He starts strong:

The Interactive Advertising Bureau released a report Wednesday that attempts to rid the advertising world from the word “programmatic” and replace it with “automation.”

Ironically, the news arrived on the same day as the IAB Programmatic Symposium.

My quote is a little farther down the page …

John Koetsier, mobile economist, Tune:
“I think for a couple years we’re likely to increase the level of confusion with yet another term, but it should get better over time.”

“Automated ad buying is a little more straightforward, a little easier to understand, and has the great advantage of being accurate: you are automating the sale and/or purchase of ad space. Of course, not everything is automated, and there are generally rules to contain the automation within boundaries that are acceptable to publishers and advertisers, but it is accurate.”

See the full story at AdAge …

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Only 5% of ad networks are high fraud, but they own 20% of mobile ad clicks

Fraud lives in the dark, and where there’s a lack of transparency all the way from advertisers to customers, fraud grows.

But fraud is also disproportionately a factor for larger ad networks.

We recently studied mobile ad fraud globally, finding in a comprehensive study of 24 billion clicks on 700 ad networks that 15.2% of mobile ads are fraudulent in some way. What we didn’t reveal at the time is that while the ad networks that are high in fraud tend to be few in number, they also tend to two extremes.

Get the full story in my post on TUNE’s blog …

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Google reveals Apple’s iOS market share is 65% to 230% bigger than we thought

In the U.S., phones based on Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS mobile operating systems typically share the market relatively evenly. Globally, however, the percentage looks much more like somewhere between 80% to almost 90% Android, leading many to conclude that the mobile platform war is pretty much Windows versus MacOS, part two.

Or so virtually all sales statistics have led us to believe.

Google VP Dave Burke, however, provided insight yesterday that Google may actually have less than 66% global market share. And he did so right on Google’s own blog. The key difference: sales numbers versus actual usage numbers.

 Get the full story in my story on Forbes …

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Amazon’s Alexa Getting Weather, News, And Shopping Notifications

“The weather is great this morning; you should take a run,” is something that Amazon’s Alexa will never say to you … unless you’ve added a fitness skill and opted-in to notifications.

Today Amazon announced that Alexa skills will soon gain the capability to deliver notifications.

Get the full story on Forbes …

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Unicorn Dinosaurs: How mobile is fueling Fortune 1000 success

Caterpillar doesn’t make giant earthmoving machinery. Exxon Mobil doesn’t sell gas. Home Depot doesn’t provide lumber and lawn mowers. Rather, they build relationships with customers — and solve people’s problems.

Increasingly, that’s via mobile.

In fact, mobile leaders in the F1000 grow market value 15% faster than mobile laggards, and are 1.9X more likely to be financially successful. Caterpillar has 355,000 mobile-app-using customers; Exxon Mobil, over 400,000. And Home Depot? A massive 17.7 million. These companies are financial winners, capturing outsized stock price growth.


They connect with customers one-on-one at scale, giving them unmediated and instant communication channels: an unparalleled advantage over their competitors.

Sure, Google, Facebook, and Amazon lead the pack.

Google has over 73 billion mobile users in aggregate, and Facebook has just over 6 billion. Both grew fast in 2016: 18.5% and 35.4%, respectively. And Amazon, with more than 4X the number of mobile users than the entire rest of the retail industry, captured almost $102 billion more stock price growth than its competitors.

Get the full story at TUNE’s blog …

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Amazon’s Alexa Gets Ads

Radio has ads. TV has ads. The web has ads, and apps have ads. But until very recently, the fast-growing field of AI assistants like Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, and Cortana have not.

That is now about to change.

Voice analytics firm VoiceLabs is launching “Sponsored Messages” for Amazon Echo, saying it will be “the first voice-first advertising that consumers will understand and accept.” CEO Adam Marchick says that company has tested the ad unit extensively, and there’s no downside for brands.

Get the full story on Forbes …

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Google Is God, Apple Is Sex, Facebook Is Love, And Amazon Is … Death?

New York University academic, marketing guru, and entrepreneur Scott Galloway spoke this morning at the Gartner Digital Marketing conference in San Diego. The popular professor has become known for his rapid, even frenetic overviews of brands and business success and failure.

Today he dropped multiple prediction bombs on thousands of marketers in attendance, including how he views GAFA: Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon.

Google is the new god, Galloway said.

Get the full story on Forbes …

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Insights on the future of app marketing

I recently spoke at the AppMasters conference in Las Vegas. Amazing time with the absolute best-of-the-best in mobile app marketing.

Here’s what I shared:

App marketing is changing significantly. In this presentation, I talk about:

  • Marketing is the new ASO
  • Ratings are table stakes
  • Ad fraud is rampant and pervasive … including app install fraud
  • Enterprise is starting to catch up
  • Everything is all about to change (again)

And I throw a little Jeff Bezos “day one” in the mix, plus a little bit of Andy Grove “only the paranoid survive.”


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Mobile ad fraud: what 24 billion clicks on 700 ad networks reveal

Eight ad networks are 100% fraud. 35 ad networks are 50% or greater.

I recently studied 24.3 billion clicks on more than 700 ad networks, and the results are shocking.

If you’re marketing on mobile, there are a huge number of ad partners to consider. Some of them are great. Many of them are good. But some are shady characters to watch out for, and the hard truth for marketers is that virtually no ad network is completely untouched by fraud. As a result, marketers must get the proper tools to avoid being cheated.

And, though it may be shocking for defrauded and disillusioned marketers to hear, so do the ad networks themselves.

Get the full story on TUNE’s blog …

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The Death Of Mobile Is Coming! Smartphones Are Over! Apps Are Dead!

If you’re reading the news, you’ve been seeing stories touting the death of mobile as we know it. Smartphones are so completely over, according to these stories. In fact, those $1,000 iPhones are already obsolete.

How should you react?

Just as you do to the crazy guy on the street with the sign about the end of the world.

These stories are true, but they are irrelevant. What they say will happen is accurate, in many cases, but not imminent. And jumping too soon onto the next big thing is a sure way to drown in the rising tide of babble about the next big wave.

Here’s reality.

Get the full story on Forbes …