Author Archives: John Koetsier

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Location-based mobile marketing: 5 key requirements for winning while not being evil

Location is one of the key components of modern marketing. But it’s also one of the most problematic, because it has huge potential for privacy violations.

Just this past week, it’s come to light that some telcos may be providing personal data including location to advertisers. A couple of months ago one of the larger weather apps, AccuWeather, was found to be transmitting location information to a data vendor, even when against people’s direct wishes.

So location-based mobile marketing can be tricky. It can be creepy. And, it can be illegal.

But it can also be incredibly useful. Try using Uber or Lyft without location sharing. Or Pokémon Go and other location-dependent games which rely on knowing where you are.

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

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Why you really, really care about robots getting ‘human’ rights

In Estonia, where the digital state was invented, the government is hard at work on the legal status of robots. The question is: do artificial intelligences deserve “human” rights? Or any rights at all?

This may seem like a particularly lame way for EU bureaucrats to kill some time and spend taxpayer cash, slightly ahead of counting angels on pins, and just behind dictating rules around who can make cheese, or what wines qualify as “Burgundy.”

But it’s actually something that matters.

And not just in general, but to you, personally.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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The #1 thing fake news can teach entrepreneurs about marketing

It might have won an election and disrupted public discourse, but the massive impact of fake news also has a critical lesson for entrepreneurs.

And entrepreneur Larry Kim just showed us how.

Kim, the founder of online advertising company Wordstream and current CEO of chatbot company MobileMonkey, recently ran a test to determine if fake news could actually disrupt an election. So he spent about an hour creating a fake news site — complete with a backwards CNN logo — and an accompanying Facebook page.

Get the full story in my post on Inc. …

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How to hack an election: $50, 60 minutes, and fake ads on Facebook

Facebook is finding thousands of ads that Russian interests may or may not have purchased with the intent of influencing the most recent U.S. election. Twitter and Google are finding evidence of similar meddling.

But can it work? Is it possible to hack an election via social media?

Entrepreneur Larry Kim decided to test that proposition.

He spent an hour creating a fake news website and a fake news Facebook page, bought just $50 worth of Facebook ads, and reached 4,645 people within minutes.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Less than 9% of marketers have a marketing system of record

There’s a core architectural flaw in most marketers’ tech stacks.

Out of all a company’s many functions and divisions, marketing stands isolated as a core and key function that does not have a single system of record.

Finance has a system of record: whatever accounting software the company has chose. Sales has a system of record: CRM. And business management, HR, and other divisions have a system of report, an ERP system.

Marketing? Not so much.

Less than 9% of marketers have a single marketing system of record.

Modern marketers deal in data. Prospects, customers, and fans are defined by who they are, how they feel about the brand, and what they do. But most marketers completely lack the central glue that ties together all the information they have: a system of record.

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

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Vcommerce: The $57 trillion reason AI is now permeating every single consumer device

Every single consumer device that matters is now a trojan horse for the rapid introduction of AI assistants into our lives.

Think iPhone, Echo, Pixel, Chromebook, Pixel Buds with Google in your ear. Smart homes, smart cars, smart glasses, and speakers. And all of them with a voice, enabling v-commerce. Or, voice-powered commerce.

Google’s new Chromebook — the PixelBook — has a dedicated Google Assistant button. Android phones, of course, particularly those that Google produces itself, respond to “OK Google.” Apple’s laptops don’t have a dedicated button for Siri, but, in High Sierra, the latest version of Mac OS X, you can invoke Siri by pressing two buttons. iPhones, of course, respond to “Hey Siri.” Amazon, which has long has the Echo, now enables the invocation of its electronic genie via the Show, Connect, Echo Plus, Echo Spot, and Fire TV products. Sonos is in on the game. Microsoft’s Cortana is getting installed on smart speakers … and it goes on and on.

What’s happening?

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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The Chalk AR app is the future of education, service, and support

I can’t count the number of times I’ve tried to do remote tech support for my parents or other relatives, only to feel like Flint Lockwood asking his father to save the world in Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs.

It’s not easy.

Chalk, the new augmented reality app from Vuforia, aims to change all that. And it could end up changing much, much more.

Like education, remote service calls, tele-medicine, and anything where it’d be helpful to see what the person you’re trying to help is actually seeing, and mark up their (augmented) reality with your insights.

Get the full story in my post on Forbes …

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What external company reviews tell us about internal corporate culture

Everyone’s done it. Before you take that job, you check external sites like Glassdoor or LinkedIn to see what people say about the company you’re about to join.

The question is: can you trust those reviews?

According to new research by Workplace Dynamics, an employee engagement platform and Kununu, a Boston-based “workplace insights” company, you can. And it’s possible that those nasty reviews aren’t just disgruntled former employees after all.

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

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When you get featured in China …

… you can’t actually read the post that references your research. (Unless you speak a Chinese language.)


If you can … here it is, at Techweb China.

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OTT revolution: Winning in an everything streaming, all the time, everywhere world

What do you do if you are a media and entertainment company today?

Plain old cable TV viewing is down, with most shows seeing flat or no growth, and many declining. Netflix is on the rise, and the streaming giant is spending $6 billion on content in 2017. It’s already at 100 million subscribers, and has committed to spending $20 billion on new content in the future … which some say is not sustainable.

It’s not just Netflix giant Hulu is spending $2.5 billion. Amazon is spending $4.5 billion. Apple is bringing a billion dollars to a multi-billion dollar fight.  HBO usually spends about $2 billion, but is probably upping its investment. Meanwhile, pro sports, the last bastion of live TV (beside politics and catastrophes), is streaming into the cloud too. Amazon is streaming NFL. Twitter is streaming live sports, news, and fashion. Facebook just launched Facebook Watch and will stream NFL highlights, UEFA Champions League games, MLB games, Crossfit Games, and World Surf League events.

And we haven’t even talked about ESPN, Crackle, Overstock, Warner Instant Archive, Tribeca, Snapchat, Vice Media, Twitch, Awesomeness TV, and dozens of others OTT, social, network, mobile, and other kinds of companies attacking the video streaming market. Oh, and maybe the biggest of all in terms of time viewed: YouTube.

Back in 2015 I calculated that Americans alone spend an average of 8,061 person-years on YouTube every single day.

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

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This tech startup founder offered to donate his kidney in an attempt to get funding

A startup is a baby, in a very real sense. And while some become insanely successful, lifting their founders to Zuckerberg or Musk status, others fail, and their “parents” pay a staggering price that can leave them depressed, unbalanced, and even suicidal.

That may be the case of one Montreal-based founder who recently messaged me on LinkedIn.

His startup was going broke, and he was planning to donate his kidney for exposure, hopefully leading to a $500,000 funding round. I have changed his name to protect his privacy:

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

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Facebook Messenger crashing instantly on iOS 11; crash log references ‘CryptoTokenKit’

Facebook Messenger appears to be crashing almost instantly for some iPhone owners. A mobile developer suspects the culprit may be an obscure “CryptoTokenKit” found in the latest version of the software.

Facebook’s massive messaging platform has over 1.2 billion users. But potentially hundreds of millions of iPhone owners who are upgrading to Apple’s latest operating system, iOS 11, may not be able to use the app until Facebook updates it.

I stumbled across the problem personally by updating Messenger on September 18, and then upgrading to iOS 11 yesterday, the 21st. Messenger now opens for about two seconds and immediately quits, repeatedly and reliably, even after a full phone restart.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Facebook Q3 ad revenue will be up 47%, Citi report suggests

A report from Citi Research suggests that Facebook’s next earnings report will show a 47% year-over-year increase in ad revenue.

In addition, at least one agency which manages $1 billion in social advertising spend on the social platform says that combined spend on Facebook and Instagram grew 88% year-over-year in July, and 73% year-over-year in August.

That’s extremely strong performance.

See my post on Forbes for all the details …

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2017: Global app install fraud is 7.8% and will cost marketers up to $2B

How much global adspend flies out the window right into fraudster’s pockets? Potentially as much as $2 billion dollars a year in app install campaigns alone.

Mobile marketers spent $5-6 billion dollars on mobile app install campaigns last year in the United States alone. I can’t find any independent analyst’s global estimates of the app install market size for 2017, but historically, the U.S. has accounted for 30-50% of the global app install market. In 2014, for example, it was 40%, and the market has grown quickly in Asia and other parts of the planet since then.

mobile marketing kpis retail appsGiven that Yahoo’s mobile analytics division Flurry estimated the global market at $6 billion way back in 2014, the total is certainly north of $10 billion for 2017, and is more likely as high as $15 billion.

So how much is fraud?

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

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Mobile ad fraud: Twice as high on Android as iOS

Ad fraud is twice as high on Android devices as it is on iOS smartphones and tables, according to a recent report by Datavisor.

The report, which studied 140 million app installs across almost 500 ad networks and publishers, says that average app install ad fraud on Android is 5.8%, while on iOS it is 3%.

The app install business was almost a $6 billion business last year in the U.S., the report says, citing eMarketer, while Business Insider estimated it to be $5.5 billion. I’ve studied mobile ad fraud extensively, and I’ve estimated the size of the global market at north of $10 billion in 2017, and possibly as high as $15 billion.

App install fraud occurs when fraudsters fake app installs, falsely claim credit for legitimate app installs, or use malicious apps to download real apps onto real users’ devices without their knowledge.

Get the full story in my post on Forbes …

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49% of Apple Watch owners likely to upgrade to the new Apple Watch 3

Half of current Apple Watch owners are likely to upgrade to the new version that Apple will start shipping on Friday, according to data from a 2,500-person survey by Fluent.

If true, this means that Apple should sell 15 million units over the next 12 months without adding a single net new Apple Watch owner, since the company has sold about 32 million Apple Watches to date. Add in some net new buyers, and Apple has a shot at selling more Apple Watches over the next year than it has since launching the device category in April 2015.

Get the full story in my article on Forbes … 

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In iOS 11, apps will engage or they will die

In 2015 I downloaded an app called Touch of Modern. The company behind it is a retailer that sells cool modern products for men, including furniture, watches, a gadgets.

In 2016 I barely touched the app. Maybe never.

In 2017 I ordered perhaps $2,000 worth of product right from the app.

After downloading and installing iOS 11 today, it struck me that if iOS 11 had been around in 2016, I might never have had the opportunity to see the app icon on one lazy weekend, tap it out of sheer boredom, browse the products, and so get sucked back into buying cool stuff that I barely use. And Touch of Modern would have been out $2K in potential purchases … without ever knowing it.

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

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Tesla CTO JB Straubel: The One Key to Great Networking (And The Single Biggest Mistake)

Networking is critical to success. Unfortunately, the way many people network is also critical to why they fail.

At last week’s Waterloo Innovation Summit, Tesla CTO JB Straubel talked about working with the best of the best — like Elon Musk. Straubel, who was on the founding team that started the iconic electric car company, also talked about the biggest mistakes young professionals make when starting to spread their wings and network.

Networking, he admitted, is essential … even if he hates it.

See the rest of my post at Inc. Magazine …

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86% of marketers can’t consistently measure customers’ cross-device activity

You want to understand your customers, which means you want to understand their journey. How do they become customers, and what steps do they follow on their path? And, is digital compressing the traditional marketing funnel from weeks to days, even hours, as Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg has suggested?

We surveyed 647 marketers about the value, technology, and problems with customer journeys. We also asked marketing influencers — including media, analysts, CMOs, and journalists — how customer journeys work, what’s wrong with them, and if marketers should even bother.

Mobile and other new technologies make customer journey mapping more challenging, because they increase the number of options.

But they can also make it simpler.

First, let’s briefly look at the challenges.

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

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Augmented Reality Spending Exploding 11X To $36.4B in 2023, Greenlight Says

Apple just released ARKit and Google just released ARCore in the last few months. But revenue for augmented reality devices and content will hit a massive $36.4 billion in 2023, according to Greenlight Insight’s newest report.

That’s 11 times higher than the estimated $3.4 billion in revenue in 2019.

Current devices in the space include Microsoft’s Hololense, Google’s second version of the Google Glass, and the Meta 2. Apple’s new iPhone X and high-end Android-powered devices are the thin edge of the wedge driving augmented reality experiences into the consumer consciousness.

We’re about to see a lot more devices, however:

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Jay-Z’s Much-Dissed Music Service Tidal Now Third In App Store Revenue For Music Apps

Remember Tidal, the lossless music streaming platform that everyone loves to hate? It’s now the 27th top-grossing app on the iOS App Store and the third-highest-grossing music streaming service, according to App Annie.

That might not be Pandora or Spotify money, and sure, it’s behind Supercell’s super-successful Clash of Clans game, but it’s not chump change either.

And it’s a big swing from being the most-laughed-at app app of 2016.

Get the full story in my post on Forbes …

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Apple’s New FaceID Will Make It Easier For Police To Access Your iPhone X

Apple revealed its new FaceID today in the Steve Jobs theater on its campus in Cupertino, California. Law enforcement officials who have had trouble unlocking Apple phones in the past must be salivating at the news.

While in one way FaceID is more secure than the company’s TouchID, which uses your fingerprint to open your phone, it’s also more insecure.

Get the full story in my column at Forbes …

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The battle for the future of commerce and retail

Sears’ revenue dropped $3 billion in 2016. Macy’s net income dropped 43 per cent, and JC Penney generated $5 billion less revenue in 2016 than it did in 2011.

But in the last year alone, Amazon captured almost $102 billion more stock price growth than all of its retail competitors combined.

What’s happening? Is it a retailpocalypse?

It almost seems that way, especially with Amazon’s recently completed acquisition of Whole Foods. Amazon cut food prices by almost halfimmediately, and $40 billion in market value vanished from new grocery competitors Kroger, Costco, Target, and Walgreens overnight.

Amazon certainly makes a convenient target …

Read the full story on the University of Waterloo’s website.

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Apparently, I’m a top-15 global influencer on sales

I would never have guess this, but apparently, I’m a top-15 global influencer on sales.

That’s surprising, because I focus on tech. Specifically, mobile, AI, IoT, AR/VR, and a few other broad areas in martech and adtech.

Ah well … I’m happy to be influential at something 🙂

Here’s how Onalytical determines influence, by the way. The TL;DR version? People who show an interest in a topic, have a strong social following, influence other people on thatose topics, and connect stakeholders tend to be influencers.

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Excellence is not easy.

Excellence is not easy.
I played some ice hockey with my 14-year old son Aidan today. He got frustrated because his cross-ice saucer passes were ugly and wobbly.
The problem? We hadn’t been on the ice all summer.
How could he be great, if we hadn’t practiced in four months?
It made me think: too many people expect excellence at no cost. They expect to be able to be good at something instantly, or at least quickly.
In other words, they’re dreaming.
Anyone who is excellent at anything difficult and worth doing well has put in long hours of effort, practice, and energy. They’ve endured sucking, worked hard to win skill, passed through tears and blood to graduate to competence, and eventually, have sweated their way to excellence.
Expecting easy success is the surest route to failure. Expecting the process of achieving excellence to be hard, painful, sometimes humiliating, and often humbling is the path that will lead to investing dedicated time and effort.
And dedicated time and effort do, over time, usually lead to success.

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Mobile Ad Fraud In India: Click Fraud Is 2.4X Worse, App Install Fraud 1.7X Higher

Mobile advertising click fraud in India is 2.4X higher than global averages, and mobile app install fraud is 1.7X higher. While global mobile ad fraud averages just over 15%, ad fraud in the Indian subcontinent is much higher: 31.9%.

Months ago, I studied 24 billion clicks and taps on ads that marketers measured over January, February and March of this year, discovering a global 15.2% mobile ad fraud rate. (My day job: mobile economist for TUNE, a mobile measurement company.)

Recently, our India team asked me to look at India specifically.

The results were not pretty.

Get all the details in my post on Forbes …

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Sonos And Alexa, Together At Last: Sonos Teases Amazon Echo Integration

Sonos pre-released a new privacy policy today to existing customers, explaining upcoming changes and privacy protections.

The most interesting part?

Sonos essentially confirmed the near-term release of its long-awaited Amazon Echo integration, which will allow Sonos owners to control their music by voice.

From the blog post:

“First, you’ll notice that we’ve added a section on what it means if you choose to enable a voice assistant to control your Sonos system when that becomes available in your country … the most important thing for you to know is that Sonos does not keep recordings of your voice data. It goes to the voice assistant service (for example Amazon) that you’ve activated on your Sonos system.”

Get the full story in my post on Forbes …

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Mobile ad fraud in India: 2.4X higher than global average

Click fraud in India is 2.4X worse than the global average, according to a recent study of mobile ad fraud. And mobile app install fraud is 1.7X higher.

I studied 24.3 billion clicks on 702 ad networks, plus 437 million mobile app installs in 131 countries. Globally, click fraud across all those ad networks is 15.17%. Eight ad networks are 100% fraud, and 35 ad networks are 50% or greater.

In terms of mobile app installs, 10% are clearly fraudulent.

Get this full report in PDF for free

Recently, TUNE’s India team asked me to look at fraud in India specifically. So we re-crunched the numbers to focus specifically on networks that are either from India or do a significant amount of business in India. And then we focused specifically on mobile app installs in India to see how fraud here compares to the world at large.

The results were sobering.

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

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Job Apocalypse: MIT fellow Amber Case on AI, robots, and automation

Technologist, inventor and founder Amber Case is decidedly an optimist in an era of artificial intelligence, automation, and smart robots. Especially when millionaire Silicon Valley nerds are buying citizenship in New Zealand and building end-of-civilization compounds in the back woods of America’s Pacific Northwest.

“Within 30 years, half of humanity won’t have a job,” former Facebook executive Antonio Martinez recently said.

The results will not be pretty, Martinez thinks, adding that “there could be a revolution” after technologists invent intelligent machines that build products, transport them without human intervention, and automate much of what we currently pay people to do, like building houses. In preparation for civil unrest, he’s building that compound in a forest and stocking it with supplies in anticipation.

The new horror, apparently, is not the zombie apocalypse. It’s the job apocalypse.

Case, on the other hand, is much less optimistic about technology, and much more optimistic about people.

Get the full story in my post at the University of Waterloo …

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“We needs to take a call on mobile ad frauds”

My latest research landed in India’s Economic Times print edition a couple days ago (Bangalore edition) and yesterday (Chennai and Hyderabad editions).

I wouldn’t say things exactly the same way they say things … but I appreciate the coverage nevertheless!


If I can find the coverage online as well, I’ll add a link to it.