Author Archives: John Koetsier

  • -

Apple Pulling High-Grossing Subscription Apps With Scammy Offers Off The App Store

Apple is systematically combing through the App Store’s subscription apps looking for potentially confusing terms of service and pulling apps that look problematic, according to multiple mobile app developers.

The problem?

Scammy subscription apps charging users hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

I broke the story earlier this month and TechCrunch added more fuel to the fire this week.  Many subscription apps had a large “Free Trial” button with tiny print beneath it detailing the subscription terms, which often totaled hundreds of dollars a year in credit-card charges.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes … 

  • -

Apple Pulls Scammy App Making Up To $14.3M/Year, Questions Remain

Apple pulled Scanner App from the App Store today in response to complaints that it was tricking users into expensive subscriptions.

The app was reportedly making almost $15 million each year, according to SensorTower data, in spite of the fact that its functionality — scanning QR codes — is freely available from multiple places, including the built-in iOS-native camera app.

I highlighted a number of scummy subscription apps a week ago.

They typically use fine print, confusing app functionality flows, and users’ forgetfulness to engineer expensive multi-hundred dollar or even thousand-dollar sign-ups.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

  • -

The ‘No BS’ mobile attribution webinar: 27 questions answered (plus yours!)

You’ve heard about mobile attribution. You’ve wondered about mobile attribution. Maybe you even use mobile attribution. But you still have questions.

Like: Why?

Or: Who needs that?

And: Aren’t all mobile attribution solutions basically the same?

We get it. It can be confusing, and it can seem pretty detailed and technical sometimes. That’s why we’re hosting a webinar (with friends from Vungle and Liftoff) on November 6. And we’d like you to attend.

Why? Check out my post on Singular’s blog to find out …

  • -

The Motiv Smart Ring Is The Perfect Casual Fitness Tracker … And An Even Better Sleep Tracker

I have an Apple Watch. I love my Apple Watch, and I’m religious about “closing my rings” and ensuring that I hit my move, exercise, and stand goals as many days as possible.

But I can’t sleep with a watch on my wrist.

Enter the Motiv smart ring.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

  • -

App Scams: Sneaky ‘Utility’ Apps Are Stealing $260, $2500, or even $4700 Each Year … Per User

An obscure app that reads bar codes is scamming hundreds of App Store users by automatically initiating an expensive $156 per year subscription. And there are dozens more like it, with some charging users thousands of dollars each month for extremely minimal functionality.

App scams are nothing new.

Last summer Apple deleted an app scamming $80,000/month from iOS users. At the time, Apple promised to pay closer attention to subscription apps to prevent similar schemes in the future. Clearly, however, some are still slipping through.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

  • -

Grow faster: How ‘Dual Integration’ unlocks vastly more value than vanilla mobile attribution

Peanut butter is just peanut butter. And chocolate is just chocolate. But if you have the creativity and insight to combine them, you create a magical mystery confection that makes your mouth cry out for joy and high-five your stomach. You get, perhaps, dual integration.

Imagine the peanut butter is marketing campaign data.

Imagine the chocolate is attribution.

Put them together, and the result is not magical and not mysterious: it’s marketing science that unlocks ever-increasing but previously hidden value. And that’s just one of the secrets revealed in our No Bullsh!t Guide to Mobile Attribution.

But what exactly is dual integration? And how does it work?

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

  • -

Apple’s New iPhone XS, XS Max Driving 45% More Market Share Than Last Year’s Models

Apple’s iPhone XS and XS Max launches have been almost 50% more successful than its introduction of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, according to new data from mobile analytics service Flurry. In addition, the new models are driving 7% more revenue than the 8, 8 Plus, and iPhone X combined from last year.

And that’s even without the low-end X phone, the iPhone XR, which will launch on October 26.

Get the full story in my post on Forbes …

  • -

92% Of AI Leaders Now Training Developers In Ethics, But ‘Killer Robots’ Are Already Being Built

The Terminator is not real. Yet.

Most AI-using organizations are working to keep it that way, according to a recent study by SAS, Accenture, and Intel. Almost three quarters of large businesses are now using AI in one way or another, and 92% of the most successful ones are working to ensure their uses of artificial intelligence are pro-social.

Most of them, of course, are not developing weapons systems.

Instead, they’re trying to ensure that their AI systems don’t discriminate against minorities, the disadvantaged, or, frankly, anyone who doesn’t fit the profile of the training data their neural networks are ingesting.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

  • -

Sexy new campaign analytics: Dynamic totals, drag-and-drop columns, freezing, pinning, and more

Excel is a wonderful tool. But I think we can all agree the less you need to export marketing campaign analytics out of one system, import it into another, and then finally start a deeper analysis, the better.

Especially when, as a digital marketer, you want to make fast but smart decisions.

So Singular released multiple improvements today to our campaign analytics report that automatically collects and standardizes data from all of your sources into one single reporting view for apples-to-apple analysis, says Singular’s senior product marketing manager, Saadi Muslu.

“Asides from having a sleek new look, we’ve added new functionalities for improved viewability,” she says. “Features like freeze/pin columns, drag & drop columns, and edit columns help to customize your reporting view for your needs. One of the most exciting new functionalities is Dynamic Totals, which allow users to filter their table by any attribute, and see the totals recalculated in real-time without needing to run a new query.”

One of my favorites though? Source transparency. (Scroll down to see it.)

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

  • -

12 New Alexa Products Show Amazon’s Massive Power (But Also Reveal Its Biggest Weakness)

Amazon unveiled no fewer than 12 new products yesterday in a AI-fed voice-powered smart home extravaganza. That’s amazing innovation, but it also highlights the company’s huge and pervasive weakness.

And no product exemplifies it more than Echo Auto.

Echo Auto brings Alexa to your car, so you can get weather, directions, and music from Amazon on the go. And add things to your shopping list, of course, solve simple math questions, and ask Alexa silly questions. (We’re all kids at heart.)

Or … “drop in” on friends via Amazon’s phone replacement service.

And there you have it. The phone.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

  • -

Adobe Unveils AI Assistant So Marketers Can Use 100 Percent of Their Data, Not 1 to 3 Percent

Your data hides secrets that could unlock your growth, Adobe thinks. That’s why the company has unveiled new AI-driven technology to dig deeper into your data, revealing insights in seconds that data scientists would take five weeks to reveal.

“We track hundreds of billions of data points,” Adobe director of product management John Bates told me last week. “Only about 1-3% of the total data being collected is actually being analyzed.”

The result is obvious: some of the largest brands in the world are sitting on a mountain of data … and they’re not using it for growth insights.

According to Adobe, they should be.

Get the full story in my post at Inc …

  • -

Mobile Gaming Entrepreneurs: Paying Players Up 33%, Whales Now Less Important

In the early stages of the mobile gaming explosion, every publisher hunted whales. Only a tiny fraction of gamers actually paid for in-app goodies, and while minnows were OK for ad revenue, big spenders — the whales — drove success.

That’s changing.

Over the past three years, the number of game players who actually pay rose by a third, game monetization platform DeltaDNA says. That’s a massive difference, even though the overall percentage is still very low: 4% in North America, and 2.5% in Europe. And that’s translated to increases of 200% in revenue for strategy games and 42% for casino games.

But the paying percentage is the real news.

Get the full story in my post at Inc …

  • -

‘The hype is real:’ Lyft Head of Marketing Science Alok Gupta on marketing measurement

Marketing is an art. Marketing is a science. Just maybe, measurement is the Gordian knot that ties them both together.

We’ve certainly seen an increasing understanding of how the science of marketing is critical to unleashing the art of marketing in the last few years. Science — and data — ensure that art has maximum impact. That’s what growth marketers everywhere are learning.

Enabling it all?


“As a scientist, the only thing I believe in is experimentation,” Lyft Head of Marketing Science Alok Gupta said recently at UNIFY, Singular’s experts-only marketing technology conference. “I look at my current system, I perturb it through different creative and different levels of spend, and different bids, and new channels, and new partners, and I look what the effect is on the metric I care about.”

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

  • -

Tipping Point: 48% of Americans Will Own An Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple HomePod By 2019

A third of American consumers own an Amazon Echo, Google Home, or Apple HomePod, according to new research by Adobe. But by the end of the upcoming holiday season, that number will hit almost 50%.

Many current smart speaker owners are using voice do shop and do product research. Half also use voice assistants for news, asking questions, and online search.

The number of smart speak owners is up 14% just from January 2018, even though smart speakers are popular Christmas gifts, Adobe says. And that’s changing how we view voice.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

  • -

Facebook Exec: How All Of Us Financed The Very Tools That Are Now Undermining Society And Elections

The internet is an amazing creation.

All of the world’s knowledge is at your fingertips. Global leaders’ thoughts flow from their fingers to your ears. Anyone can connect with virtually anyone else, and new opportunities for business and culture evolve almost daily.

But there’s a downside.

Fake news influenced the 2016 US election, and is impacting many other elections globally, former Facebook chief security officer Alex Stamos said today at Disrupt conference in San Francisco.

It’s also being used to tear our culture apart.


“Our technological capabilities outpace our ability to understand how people will abuse them,” Stamos said.

Get the full story in my story at Inc …

  • -

Former Facebook Chief Security Officer: Election Hacking Still Very Possible

Former Facebook executive Alex Stamos said today that American elections are still hackable by nation-states such as Russia — and others.

“If there is no foreign interference in the midterm elections it’s not because we did a great job,” Stamos said at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco today. “It’s because they decided to give us a break … the actual security of the election structure is no better.”

In fact Stamos said that while it’s hard to force a particular outcome in an election, it’s totally possible to throw “any election” into chaos.

Facebook started noticing foreign interference in elections in the spring of 2016, Stamos said. But most of the “fake news” trend on social media is not politically related.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes … 

  • -

This AI Can Recognize Anger, Awe, Desire, Fear, Hate, Grief, Love … By How You Touch Your Phone

Artificially intelligent systems map our journeys, unlock our homes, entertain us, and foretell the weather. But could our electronic assistants also start to learn our emotions and use that knowledge to serve us better?

In other words, does Alexa know when you get mad? Or sad?

In fact, Amazon teams have been working on analyzing your emotions from your vocal intonations for over a year. But what about our phones?

Most of us use touch screens hundreds of times a day, and many of them are force sensitive. One researcher, Alicia Heraz of the Brain Mining Lab in Montreal, trained an algorithm to recognize anger, awe, desire, fear, hate, grief, laughter, love, plus no emotion … simply from the way we use touchscreens.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes … 

  • -

Mobile ad fraud: 6 ways fraudsters win via dirty tricks, nasty scams, illegal tech, and cutting-edge camouflage

Ad fraud is a game where losing can look like winning, our Singular Fraud Index says. That’s why you need the latest intel — and the best fraud protection suite in the attribution industry — to protect you.

And understanding the enemy is the first step in winning the fraud war.

Or at least … not losing it.

At our recent UNIFY conference, IronSource’s Vice President for Growth Yevgeny Peres unpacked the science and data behind how fraudsters win. This was new intel to some of the world’s top digital marketers (not an easy task) and showed attendees how fraud was happening live in their campaigns right from the most innocuous, trustworthy, and high-quality apps.

Check out the full blog post (and video) on Singular’s blog …

  • -

Marketing alignment: How LinkedIn, Lyft, Poshmark, and Calm align exec, finance, tech, creative, and BI teams for maximum ROI

In some fantasy world, growth marketers have all the cash, corporate support, creative assets, and analytics they need, and can do their jobs in splendid isolation. In the real world? No marketer is an island, every team is an integrated component of the overall organization, and marketing alignment is a tough challenge.

Which means that kindergarten lessons still apply.

And marketers need to play nice with others … for their own good.

That’s exactly what we recently discussed with key executives at fast-growing Lyft, LinkedIn, Poshmark, and Calm during our recent UNIFY conference.

Specifically, we asked them how marketers should align internal teams to achieve ROI.

Check out my post at Singular’s blog for the full story …


  • -

Influencer Marketing: Apple v Samsung, Canon v Nikon, Amazon v Google, and Oculus v Vive

Apple Watch gets most of the influencer mentions among wearable products, but Fitbit gets more engagement. Similarly, iPhone drives almost 4X more social mentions than the Samsung Galaxy, but the Galaxy gets more engagment.

Those are just a few of the findings from a recent Traackr report on the state of influencer marketing, covering 500 top global influencers for the first three months of 2018.

When you’re doing influencer marketing, you want to find influencers who resonate with your brand and have followers who will engage with your product. Fail to do so, and you can drive mentions with cold hard cash, but they’ll be expensive and of limited worth, because they won’t generate engagement: likes, retweets, and comments. And that’s where the magic of social virality multiplies your initial investment.

Apparently, there’s a lot of failure.

Because gaps between mentions and engagement seem common.

Get the full story in my post at Inc …

  • -

Spotted in the news >> Machine learning reveals crazy advertising ideas that actually work

I had the pleasure of being on a panel at VentureBeat’s AI-focused Transform event yesterday, and Sean Captain wrote up the session here:

Machine learning reveals crazy advertising ideas that actually work

One of my direct quotes is a bit of a silly one:

“You can do stupid stuff, and sometimes stupid stuff is smart stuff.”


  • -

8 reasons why digital marketers need need need granularity (from experts at Kabam, Yelp, Nexon, N3twork)

Pebbles on a rocky beach are granular. The white sugar that we all hate to love is granular. The stars of the Milky Way that smudge together into a glorious sheet of light are, under closer inspection by a powerful telescope, also granular.

And so is the very best of digital and mobile marketing.


“Granularity sustains profitable scale,” says Singular’s Vice President of Customer Strategy Victor Savath. “Without granularity, you can scale… but it’s hard to monitor quality.”

Granularity is important both cross-channel and within channels, Savath said recently at UNIFY conference, where he interviewed experts from Yelp, Kabam, Postmates, Nexon, and N3twork on the topic. It’s important for creative. Granularity is also important for bids and CPIs. It’s critical to evaluating publishers and sub-publishers. And it’s something that impacts your daily budgets.

But exactly what is granularity?

And what does it achieve for digital marketers?

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

  • -

Comcast Dives Deeper Into Smart Home With Voice-Activated Smart Lock Partnership

Comcast has been using its Xfinity brand to penetrate the smart home market using a smart voice-driven TV experience as the hub. Now it’s adding partnerships with home security companies for smart locks.

In other words, coach potatoes can tell their TVs to lock the front door without getting up.

Xfinity’s smart home solution now integrates smart locks from Yale.COMCAST
Comcast integrated Yale Locks and Hardware into its “Works with Xfinity” program so that you can remotely lock and unlock doors with the Xfinity Home mobile app, or just use voice commands if they have the latest remote control.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

  • -

Solving cross-channel and cross-platform marketing with a modern tech stack

How do you build a modern marketing tech stack for cross-channel and cross-platform marketing? A good start might be emulating some of the best practices of top marketers from Instacart,, HER, and Riot Games.

But don’t expect it to be easy.

Finding the right solutions is tough.

“The martech landscape has grown over 40% year over year,” Tim Hsu, head of growth for Riot Games, said recently at Singular’s Unify conference. “The 2018 version of the martech landscape came out in April … in 2011 there were 150 solutions.”

“In 2018 there are 6,800 solutions by 6,200 providers in over 48 categories,” he added. “That is really complex.”

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


  • -

Volareo Smart Speaker Challenges Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple HomePod With Crypto And Blockchain

A decentralized smart speaker is not exactly what it sounds like. The gadget, after all, is not decentralized. It is, however, the first to build in blockchain, crypto and…privacy.

“Volareo is a decentralised alternative to Google Home/Amazon Alexa,” says Conor Fitzpatrick, a company spokesman. “It’s the first to integrate with blockchain services (though it works with non-blockchain ones too).”

Smart speakers have been the breakout electronics category of the last few years, hitting an installed base of 50 million in the U.S. alone as of this month. All the options, however, are tied to a sponsoring company and its business model. Some are tied loosely, like Google Home. Some more tightly, like Amazon Echo. And some are completely intertwined into their company’s business model: HomePod.

Volareo is an attempt to reverse that.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

Follow all of my fourth industrial revolution posts at Forbes …

  • -

Data Explosion: The ugly truth facing modern marketing technology stacks

Marketing technology is a fast-growing industry. It’s worth $230 billion each year and growing 20% year over year, Singular CEO Gadi Eliashiv said recently at Unify.

But that’s slow growth compare to marketing data itself.

“Marketing data is exploding,” Eliashiv said. “It’s growing much faster than the industry itself.”


There are more connected people, many with multiple devices. That’s more digital activity, all of which generates more data and more statistics. There are more software solutions for both martech and adtech, and each of them ingests, consumes, and generates additional data.

Get all the details (and full video) in my post on Singular’s blog …

  • -

People Spent 85 Billion Hours In WhatsApp In The Past 3 Months (Versus 31 Billion In Facebook)

85 billion hours is a lot of time. It’s 3.5 billion days, or over nine million years — 9,582,650 years, to be exact. And it’s 11.425 hours for every human being on the planet.

That’s how long we’ve collectively spent in WhatsApp over the past three months.

At least according to app analytics company Apptopia.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

Follow all of my fourth industrial revolution posts at Forbes …

  • -

How Sendgrid Uses AI To Deliver 1.5B Emails Every Single Day (And Kill The Spammers)

Email is 20 years old and everyone claims to hate it … but it still tops the charts as a leading marketing channel. Today’s email, however, is not your grandma’s “You’ve Got Mail.”

For one thing, there’s a lot of AI behind the message.

The reason: to protect the future viability of the medium.

“We have had to invest an incredible amount of time and people and process and time in protecting email as a channel,” Sendgrid chief executive officer Sameer Dholakia told me today at Traction Conference in Vancouver, Canada. “We have numerous AI systems in place to determine: are companies a good customer at sign-up, and 100 different variables that tell us: is this mail actually wanted.”

Get the full story in my post at Inc …

Follow all of my martech/adtech stories at Inc …

  • -

Apple Kicks Off Massive Digital Payments Promotion In San Francisco; Big Discounts With Apple Pay

Apple kicked off a major digital wallet promotion in San Francisco today. This is just days after CEO Tim Cook reported that the company tripled Apple Pay transactions this year, hitting more than $1 billion in annual volume.

That’s bigger than Square and more than Paypal’s mobile transactions, says Apple.

And it has some saying that Apple is now a major fintech player.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

Follow all of my fourth industrial revolution posts at Forbes …


  • -

Amazon Echo, Google Home Installed Base Hits 50 Million; Apple Has 6% Market Share, Report Says

The U.S. installed base of smart speakers has hit 50 million, according to a new report released today by research group CIRP.

The market share leader?

Amazon, unsurprisingly.

Amazon invented this market in 2015 and still has a majority market share: 70%, according to the study. Google, however, which has seen sales leadership in some quarters, has 24% market share. And Apple, which launched HomePod earlier this year, now has 6% of the market, according to CIRP.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

Follow all of my fourth industrial revolution posts at Forbes …