Author Archives: John Koetsier

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5 massive factors changing the future of games: social, platforms, technology, monetization, and app stores

What is the future of games?

One thing we know: it’s going to be lucrative. The top 25 public game companies generated over $100 billion in revenue last year, according to a recent story on VentureBeat featuring data from Newzoo.

The largest, Tencent, had almost $20 billion in estimated game revenue. Sony, Microsoft, Apple, and Google are on the list. Activision hauled in almost $7 billion, and names like France’s Ubisoft, Korea’s Netmarble, and Japan’s Square Enix all generated more than a billion in 2018 revenue.

To state the obvious, games are a big deal.

But what’s changing in gaming?

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

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Report: Apple Is One Of Amazon’s Biggest Customers, Spending Over $350M Per Year

Apple’s spending heavily on Amazon this year. But it’s not TVs or health food or smart speakers: Apple is a top Amazon Web Services customer.

According to a new report, Apple spent $350 million on AWS last year, and is on track to increase that to $360 million this year. In addition, Apple just signed a contract with Amazon committing to spend at least $1.5 billion on Amazon cloud services over the next five years.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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How will you be remembered?

Today I saw the old man at the corner house down the street and remembered the time he yelled at my son.

His kids are renovating the house. He’s very aged, slow, and fragile now, and it seems they’re getting it ready to be sold so that he and his wife can move into a condo, or maybe an old age home.

I said hello, but he didn’t hear me.

My only memory of him is when my kids rode their bikes through his driveway, which kinda cuts across his yard and connects the two streets that form the corner the house sits on.

That makes it perfect for jumping the slight rise from the road to his driveway and cutting the corner. So the boys did just that, probably a decade ago. Maybe Ethan was 12 or 13, and Aidan was 7 or 8.

He saw it, didn’t like it, came out, and yelled at them. They were a bit scared and unsure what they had done wrong.

That’s my only memory of him, really.

But it made me think. How will I be remembered?

We all like to do a million things, and we hope we’ll be remembered for our accomplishments. Most likely, though, we’ll be remembered for how we make people feel.

It’s something I’m going to try to keep in mind.

How will you be remembered?

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Can I tell you something about success?

Tonight my son came up to me and told me he was glad I was there.

He had a doubleheader today in baseball: two games. He plays center field and had a nice RBI double, but the play he was talking about was the game-ending double play.

We were up by one. The other team had a man on third and the winning run on first, and we only had one out.

Their next batter hit a ball high and reasonably deep — a great sacrifice fly ball to tie the game and send it to extra innings. But Aidan caught it in mid centerfield. Their base runner tagged up and ran to home. Aidan threw it on a rope to the catcher, who caught it on one hop right on home plate … and their runner ran right into the tag.

Double play. Game over. We win. The stands erupt and the team celebrates.

Aidan made a great play.

Later, at home, after a bath and some chill time with YouTube, Aidan came up to me and told me he was glad I was there and saw his play. Yesterday I had missed one … he had laid out, diving after a long run to make a spectacular out. But I mostly missed it, because I was working concession that game, and only saw it from a distance.

(Each parent takes three turns on concession through the year. It’s how we keep team fees down.)

He was happy that I saw his good play. That means in spite of my screw-ups, in spite of my failings, in spite of the things I should have done better, he wanted me to be there. It mattered to him that I saw his game.

It mattered to him that his dad saw him doing well. Saw his success.

That humbles me, and makes me incredibly thankful. And it makes me feel like I succeeded, too.

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Most businesses are not ready for voice searches

Amazon ushered in a new era of voice-first computing in mid-2015 when it launched the first Amazon Echo. Four years later, voice-activated assistants on myriad devices have proliferated widely, but Uberal, a location marketing company, found that few local businesses are ready to take advantage. In fact, only 4% have correct, up-to-date information on all the key platforms, according to Norman Rohr, the company’s SVP of marketing.

Get the full story in my post at VentureBeat …

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Scammers With Verified Instagram Accounts Cheating ‘Influencers’ With Fake Verification Service

Getting verified on social media is a big deal.

Verified users on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram get a special icon, comments by verified users on Instagram posts can get additional visibility, and verification can help in influencers getting sponsored by advertisers, which is why would-be influencers will try almost anything to get verified.

Making them, of course, perfect targets for a scam.

That’s exactly what’s happening, says Viral Nation‘s Travis Hawley.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Amazon Ad-Supported Streaming Music Could Double Jeff Bezos’ Ad Business Again

Amazon is currently in talks to release an ad-supported free version of its Prime Music streaming service, according to a report on the weekend. Spotify shares fell on the news, says Reuters, and Apple’s big services push could be affected as well.

But the really big news?

Amazon’s rapidly growing ad business could double again. And that could impact Facebook and Google.

Get all the details in my story at Forbes …

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Apple Now Faces 3 Separate Antitrust Accusations In Europe: Spotify, Kaspersky, and The Netherlands

In surveillance capitalism’s brave new era of data collection, privacy breaches, and fake news concerns, Apple has worked hard to position itself as the good guy of GAFA: the Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple group of tech titans.

That may not save it from antitrust investigation, however.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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How Sonos Is Fighting Smart Speakers: Architectural Sound With IKEA (And A New Low Price)

IKEA calls it “our loudest lamp ever.”

Sonos calls it new competitive positioning, and a new market opportunity.

Today Sonos unveiled a new line of smart speakers in collaboration with IKEA. And the new products are key indicators of where the company is planning to compete with smart speakers from Google, Amazon, and Apple.

First with a sub-$100 fighting product.

And secondly, by making the hardware disappear.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Self-driving Cars In 10 Years: EU Expects ‘Fully Automated’ Cars by 2030

The European Union commissioner for transport expects full self-driving capability by 2030, she said this week at City as a Lab conference in Slovenia.

That’s an important part of her “vision zero” to reducing traffic fatalities to none.

“By 2030 we believe we will have the new generation of vehicles that will be fully automated,” EU commissioner Violeta Bulc said. “This year auto manufacturers added 15 new [safety and automation] features to all cars of all price levels.”

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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The World’s First 5G Subscribers Are 5 Korean Celebrities

Korea’s largest mobile telecom has activated 5G service for five Korean celebrities in what the company says is a global-first.

“The world’s first 5G smartphone subscribers are Baek-hyun and Kai from EXO (K-pop idol group), Kim Yu-na (Olympic medalist), Lee Sang-hyeok (“Faker,” esports player), Yoon Sung-hyuk (para-swimmer) and Park Jae-won (SK Telecom’s longest subscriber),” SK Telecom says in a release.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Google Inbox Is Dead. Spark Might Just Take Its Place As The Most Innovative Email Client

It’s done.

Google Inbox, a new way of looking at, answering, and organizing your email, has been shut down. Some of its innovations, such as smart automated replies and reminders, have moved to Gmail. Others, like grouping similar emails and snoozing messages, may follow.

But if you’re looking for an innovative new email client, Spark just launched today for Android.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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‘AI Is Not A Light Switch:’ How Sprint Used AI To Personalize To Millions, Boost Clickthrough to 30%, And Improve Conversions 14%

Artificial intelligence is a wonderful thing. But perhaps contrary to popular opinion it’s not a miracle cure or instant fix.

The dirty little secret of AI?

It takes time — and sometimes a lot of time to get right. Perhaps even a year.

Rob Roy, the chief digital officer of Sprint, embarked on that journey over 12 months ago. Recently I interviewed him to learn how Sprint is using AI to personalize content and customer journeys for millions … and significantly boosting sales.

John Koetsier: What were your initial goals?

Get the full story in my post at Inc …

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The Past, Present, and Future of Mobile with John Koetsier

I was super-pumped to join Douglas Karr’s podcast, Martech Zone. He is amazing and does incredible work, so this was an incredible honor.

Check it out right here on the Martech Zone site …

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New Ad Fraud Scheme Could Be Scamming Brands Millions Monthly Via Fake Video Ad Views

Fraud detection company DoubleVerify says it’s found a new video fraudscheme in which scammers are reselling standard banner ad impressions as video plays.

The worst part?

They’re selling as many as 120 videos ads for every single banner ad.

First, the scammers buy a banner ad slot on an ad exchange. Then they turn around and rebroker that space. But instead of selling it once, they fill that one slot with as many as eight video players. And they then sell as many as fifteen different video ads for each of the eight players.

Get all the details in my post at Inc …

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AirPods 2.0 Are A Massive Disappointment: Apple Innovation Slows To A Crawl

What is going on with innovation at Apple?

The company just released “new” iMacs for the first time in two years with the same design and form factor since 2012. Don’t even mention the missing-in-action wireless charging mat AirPower, which was announced in 2017. And now the new AirPods are out, and there’s almost nothing new about them, despite the fact that the original AirPods were released in 2016.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Marketers are boosting 2019 ad spend on Amazon, Facebook, and Google (but especially Amazon)

Recently I surveyed 1,500 marketers who actively run ad campaigns. It’s no shock that marketers are looking more and more to Amazon as a media source for advertising — especially those in consumer goods and retail.

But Amazon’s not the only one growing.

Both Facebook and Google will be growing significantly as well. Amazon, however, as the newer competitor in the advertising world, will grow the most. In fact, 63% of marketers who run ad campaigns are planning to increase their spending on Amazon.

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

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Apple Heart Study: What Stanford Medicine Learned From 400,000 Apple Watch Owners

Apple and Stanford Medicine just completely the largest heart study of its kind ever: 400,000 Apple Watch-wearing participants. Preliminary results from the study are just now being released.

First, the obvious: wearable tech seems to make us safer.

“Wearable technology can safely identify heart rate irregularities that subsequent testing confirmed to be atrial fibrillation,” Stanford says.

Secondly, most of us don’t have to worry about atrial fibrillation.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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What the Boeing 737 Max Can Teach Us About Self-Driving Cars (And The Dangers Of Machine Learning)

We don’t yet know exactly what happened with the Boeing 737 Max crashes. But it’s clear from other non-fatal 737 Max incidents that there are concerns about how its automated systems function.

And that’s something to keep in mind when we think about self-driving cars.

The problem lies in how AI-driven machines learn — and share.

Get the full story here in my post at Forbes …

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2000-Consumer Study: 68% Of Shoppers ‘Click And Collect,’ Or Buy Online And Pick Up In-Store

Most of us are buying online and picking up items in a retail store repeatedly, according to a new study of 2,000 American adults. And 50 percent of us decide where to buy online simply because of that possibility so we can avoid paying shipping.

Retail is changing, and BOPIS — buy online and pick up in-store — is growing.

Retail might be vastly overbuilt in the U.S. as both malls and big-box stores are challenged by the rise of e-commerce. But there’s clearly a place for local and physical in today’s retail landscape.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Why Apple Got Spared As Elizabeth Warren Targets Amazon, Facebook, Google For Breakup

Senator Elizabeth Warren wants to break up Amazon, Facebook, and Google, and promises to do so if she becomes president in the next U.S. election.

But why not Apple?

Apple is a massive part of “GAFA:” the biggest internet/technology giants of our time. But Warren isn’t targeting Apple for breakup, even though it was recently the largest company by market capitalization with a value of over $1 trillion.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Mark Zuckerberg’s 6 New Principles Of Privacy And Safety For Facebook and Messaging

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg unleashed a 3,000-word manifesto on privacy today via his personal Facebook account. In so doing he revealed the six key principles behind his new “privacy-focused vision for social networking.”

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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21st century marketing intelligence webinar: Data, science, and magic in a world of smart devices

Every marketer knows marketing is changing.

You don’t have to be a CMO to see that lack of data is no longer the reason why marketers can’t grow their brands. Marketers are deluged with data, overwhelmed with data, buried in data. The solution lies within … but finding the growth needle in the data haystack is getting more and more challenging.

That growth needle is 21st century marketing, or what we call marketing intelligence. And that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about in this webinar. (Sign up here.)

We’ve got the right people to share their insights.

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

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Mobile App Install Fraud To Hit $12.6 Billion: 26% Of All Mobile App Install Advertising

Mobile app install fraud will cost marketers almost $13 billion in 2019, according to a new report. That totals 26 percent of total global mobile app install ad spend, and it’s up from $7.3 billion in fraud loss in 2018.

In the U.S., however?

Fraud will “only” be 13 percent.

Fraud is cyclical, according Scalarr, the company behind the report. Fraudsters and mobile attribution companies are continually engaged in an arms race as the bad guys find new ways to cheat the system, and the good guys find new ways to stop them. Changing ad pricing models also impact fraud rates.

Get the full story in my post at Inc …

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Why Apple Watch 5’s Rumored Sleep Tracking Might Not Work Very Well

Apple’s rumored to be working on sleep tracking for the Apple Watch Series 5. It makes a lot of sense given the company’s intense focus on the medical and health market.

But tracking sleep from the hand isn’t easy.

I know a little bit about this: I’ve been tracking sleep via the Motiv smart ring for months now. But Mike Kisch, the CEO of FDA-registered sleep wearable Beddr, should know a lot more. And he says the wrist is not a great place to start.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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39% Find Voice Ads On Smart Speakers ‘More Engaging’ Than TV, Online

Two in five consumers find voice ads to be more engaging that traditional banner ads or TV ad spots, according to an Adobe study of over 1,000 consumers. And a similar number finds them less intrusive, too.

That’s good news for Google and Amazon.

They lead the smart speaker market, making the vast majority of the almost 90 million smart speakers sold in 2018. Gaining consumer acceptance of voice ads on smart speakers would add new monetization options for both Google, a digital advertising giant, and Amazon, which doubled its ad business last quarter.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Russia’s First Autonomous Train: One More Step To Self-Driving Cars (Buses And Trolleys Are Next)

Russia’s capital city of Moscow will soon be home to an ambitious autonomous tram project, joining Germany and China as the leading testbeds for the technology.

Self-driving vehicles are not currently legal in Moscow or anywhere else. 

Autonomous trains and trams are stepping stones to full self-driving vehicles, thanks to their defined routes, but retain some of the hardest challenges cars face: knowing when obstacles, people, or vehicles are in their paths. That’s because they use public space, and even though there may be fencing or other barriers in some locations, people, vehicles, and other obstacles are still real concerns.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Singular ROI Index 2019: The unmissable advertising ROI webinar

Singular’s ROI Index is the largest study that ranks top ad networks globally based on their ability to deliver ROI for advertisers. We’ve already published the Index and made it available to the world, giving you the ability to find the best advertising ROI available.

But now it’s time to dig deeper.

Get the full story in my post on Singular’s blog, or just click the link above to sign up for the webinar.

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48% of Marketers Believe Amazon’s Alexa Is Better Than Google Assistant, Siri, or Cortana for Marketing

48 percent of marketers think Amazon’s Alexa has the greatest potential for voice-enabled marketing. Just under a third say Google’s Assistant is best, and only 17 percent feel the same way about Apple’s Siri.

And Microsoft’s Cortana?

Just three percent.

But almost 40 percent of marketers are doing no voice-first marketing today. That is despite the fact that 86.2 million Amazon Alexas, Google Homes, and Apple HomePods were sold in 2018, according to Strategy Analytics. More than 60 million homes now have smart speakers, and global sales almost doubled in the Christmas quarter.

Get the full story in my post at Inc …

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Augmented Reality Is The Operating System Of The Future. AR Cloud Is How We Get There.

In the future, every object will be smart.

Not necessarily because everything will be made of “smart matter,” with chips, motors, sensors, and radios (although this is happening). But increasingly because we are starting to digitally paint over default reality, layering on data, insights, and entertainment in virtual or augmented layers. When we shift from smartphones to smartglasses over the next decade, this will only accelerate.

From games to street directions to metadata, from industrial heads-up displays to virtual gamescapes to workspace information, these new augmented, virtual, and extended realities will be aware, data-rich, contextual, and interactive.

But there is a core enabling technology required.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …