Author Archives: John Koetsier

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What’s Exciting About The Varjo VR-1 Headset Isn’t the 6000 Pixels Per Inch Or The $6K Price Tag

Helsinki-based Varjo just released the Varjo VR-1, a revolutionary VR headset with a 4K-quality human-eye-resolution micro-LED display, plus a wider display around that high-quality one so you see a broad field of view.

It’s ground-breaking, and so is the price: $5995, plus yearly service fees of $995.

But those are not the most interesting details.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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How New Cross-Device, Cross-Platform Attribution Helps Brands Like Lyft Grow Faster

Very few brands truly understand their complete marketing ROI. The reason is simple: they lack a true cross-platform and cross-device measurement capability.

And the result is that they can’t fully optimize their marketing to take advantage of what’s working, or stop what’s not.

But here’s the big secret about cross-device measurement.

It’s not just about measurement of the journey.

Instead, it’s about deeply understanding how each marketing and advertising input (dollar spent) results in a sales or conversion output (dollar received) … no matter where that happens, or how convoluted the customer journey gets.

Get the full story in my post at Inc …

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Most Brands Hear From Just 1% Of Their Customers (But This One Activity Can Get You a 91% Response Rate)

Most brands hear from just one percent of their customers, according to a recent study. But there’s a way they can hear from a staggering 91% of them.

The one caveat?

They have to be mobile-app-using customers.

Apptentive just released its 2019 mobile customer engagement report, based on data from 1,400 apps. Those 1400 apps have engaged in half a billion customer conversations for Fortune 500 brands across two billion devices worldwide, the company says.

Get the full story in my post at Inc …

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Peak Tinder? Dating App Registrations Drop 485%

Valentine’s Day 2019 might not have been quite as romantic as last year’s. Fewer people are signing up for apps like Tinder, Match, PlentyOfFish, and OkCupid.

At least in the U.S. and Canada.

According to a study of 15 million dating app installs over the last year, dating app registration rates have dropped 485%, while subscription or purchase rates dropped 40%. That means that while people are still installing at least some dating apps, they’re not consummating the full experience, if you catch my drift.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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iPhone Sales Crater In India: Xiaomi, Samsung, Vivo, Oppo, and Transsion Outsell Apple

Apple iPhone sales cratered year-over-year in India, dropping 40% in 2018. That’s in spite massive growth in the India market. In fact, in the latest numbers from IDC, the Indian smartphone market grew 14.5% last year and market leader Xiaomi grew even faster: 58.6%.

And in the “super-premium” $700+ segment that Apple typically owns?

Samsung’s Galaxy S9 series out-sold iPhone.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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The world’s best mobile ad networks: Announcing the 2019 Singular ROI Index

What makes the best mobile ad networks on the planet the best?

From a marketer’s perspective, the answer is pretty simple: the best mobile ad networks are those that provide the best return on investment. Ten dollars goes in, $15, $20 or more comes out.

Ad networks who qualify get this badge.

But of course there’s more to the story.

In order to provide exceptional ROI, an ad network needs to offer scale: the ability to reach a significant number of potential customers or users. A great mobile ad network also needs to control for fraud, minimizing if not absolutely eliminating the bad actors who steal advertising dollars. And ideally, an ad network needs to deliver new customers or users who engage and who stick around: high retention.

To see what media sources are driving the best ROI with the most scale and the lowest fraud, download the full 2019 Singular ROI Index now.

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

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iPhone Sales Crater In India: Xiaomi, Samsung, Vivo, Oppo, and Transsion Outsell Apple

Apple iPhone sales cratered year-over-year in India, dropping 40% in 2018. That’s in spite massive growth in the India market. In fact, in the latest numbers from IDC, the Indian smartphone market grew 14.5% last year and market leader Xiaomi grew even faster: 58.6%.

And in the “super-premium” $700+ segment that Apple typically owns?

Samsung’s Galaxy S9 series out-sold iPhone.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Only 17% Of Consumers Believe Personalized Ads Are Ethical, Survey Says

A massive majority of consumers believe that using their data to personalize ads is unethical. And a further 59% believe that personalization to create tailored newsfeeds — precisely what Facebook, Twitter, and other social applications do every day — is unethical.

At least, that’s what they say on surveys.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Fraudsters Are Manipulating Ads.txt To Scam Millions From Advertisers

Ads.txt is an Interactive Advertising Bureau protocol to top ad scams before they start. But enterprising scammers have found a way to use it as a key part of their fake advertisingmoney-making schemes, according to a new report from DoubleVerify.

Here’s how it works.

Ads.txt is a small file legitimate publishers place on their websites that indicates which ad networks are authorized to sell them inventory. Programmatic networks, which place ads instantly via automatic bidding processes, also use these files to determine the validity of the inventory they’re buying.

Cue the scammers.

Get the full story in my post at Inc …

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1 Of 3 Marketers Shifting Ad Spend From Facebook and Google to Amazon, Study Says

About a third of retail marketers are shifting ad spend from traditional digital media giants like Facebook and Google to Amazon, according to a new study of 100 retail companies that generate at least $50 million in annual digital sales.

Which makes sense.

Thanks to Amazon’s recent earnings report, we just learned that Amazon’s digital ad business doubled in size last quarter.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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How to deal with pain (or, at least: how I deal with pain)

I have a had a lot of pain in my life.

Totaled up, I’ve had about 15 broken bones, well over a hundred stitches, 15-20 shoulder separations (both sides), and uncounted bruises, bumps, scrapes, and cuts from a lifetime playing ice hockey, soccer, volleyball, or pretty much any other sport, and lots of hiking, climbing, body-surfing, and general activity.

Two doctors have told me I have a high pain tolerance; I’ve had an ingrown toenail cut out of my big toe without anesthetic; I’ve refused morphine several times for medical procedures.

I’ve learned a little about pain.

Here’s how I’ve found to deal with it, and it’s the same way as I’ve found to deal with unpleasant temperatures, extreme physical discomfort when working out hard and lifting to exhaustion, and other challenges.

One word: dissociation.

I have no idea if this works for everyone, or even if it works for anyone else, but the strategy I use is to simply wall off the part of me that is experiencing the pain from another part of me that cares about it.

That might sound odd. Even weird. Maybe impossible.

But somehow — I can’t tell you how to do this, except to … just do it — I have been able to sever the link between the experience of a sensation and the component of my brain that decides whether or not it matters.

I still feel the pain. I still feel the discomfort. I just choose to stop caring about it. Not worry or fret about it, or get angry about it.

I really doubt this works for long-term or chronic pain. I don’t have a lot of that, although I’ve had very bad neck pain for months on end.

But it does work, for me, with short-term injury-caused pain.

I hope it helps for you!

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Amazon’s Ad Business Jumped 95% Last Quarter. This CMO Tells You Why.

Amazon reported record revenue and profit last week in a monster $72.4 billion quarter. One of the fastest-growing segments, however, is not traditional retail.

It’s advertising.

Perhaps not shockingly, when you have 100+ million Prime subscribers and hundreds of millions of web and mobile customers, you can charge brands for access to them. That’s why Amazon’s “other” revenue category grew 95% to $3.4 billion: it’s mostly advertising.

But is this growth sustainable?

Get the full story in my post at Inc …

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We asked 1500 marketers how they choose ad networks, and the answer was ‘all of the above’

Is it scale? Quality? Lack of fraud? Personal service, or a great digital experience? Amazing technology? Or perhaps a tight focus on your particular niche?

We recently asked 1,500 marketers a simple question:

How do you choose ad networks? And what are the most important elements of that decision?

According to the responses, it’s pretty much all of the above. If they were absolutely forced to just pick one, completely compelled to isolate one single most important factor — on pain of losing their quarterly bonuses or maybe even the free triple-venti-soy-no-foam-lattes at the office — it’d probably be scale and reach.

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

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Sonos Adds YouTube Music In 21 Countries, Continues Quest To Get All Music Available On Sonos

You don’t have to actually watch music videos to listen to music from YouTube anymore. Starting today, paid subscribers to YouTube Music can add their subscription to their Sonos systems.

This is just the latest step in Sonos’ strategy: letting customers play any music from any source.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Apple Most-Admired Global Company, Says Fortune (Amazon #2, Google #7, Alibaba #34, Facebook #44)

For the second year in a row, Apple is the world’s most-admired company, according to a Fortune survey of 3,750 business executives, directors, and analysts. But this might change next year.


Apple’s financials — and iPhone sales — have changed dramatically in the last two months.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Apple Expands Certified Refurbished iPhone Program To Back Market

Apple certified refurbished iPhones are now available via a third party. This is a big sign that after Apple’s recent quarterly report and massive stock slide, it’s not business as usual in Cupertino.

Apple is starting to work a lot harder to move product.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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This Dutch Startup Converts Heat Into Cold Via A Stirling Engine, And Could Just Save The Planet

By 2050, almost six billion air conditioners could eat 37% of global electricity, according to the International Energy Agency. That’s because as India and China get richer — and the planet gets hotter — people around the globe are buying A/C units at levels approaching the United States.

This is an environmental catastrophe waiting to happen.

But one startup from the tiny town of Enschede in the Netherlands aims to change that via a technological marvel that turns heat into cold without requiring energy itself — or any of the nasty gases that most A/C units use today. The technology, which SoundEnergy unveiled at CES last week in Las Vegas, uses a process similar to a Stirling Engine, which was first conceptualized 200 years ago in the early 1800s.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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AR Cloud Chaos: Competing Releases Of ARcore And ARkit Spawn Mass Confusion, Huge “Traffic” Jams

June 2, 2037

This is the seventh chapter of Insights from the Future, a book I’m writing about technology, innovation, and people … from the perspective of the future. It is a collaborative exercise, and you are invited to participate. More details below the story.

Urban Americans are experience massive delays and enormous frustration while traveling today thanks to incompatible releases of Google’s ARcore and Apple’s ARkit. The companies’ respective augmented reality cloud infrastructure is incompatible and non-communicative, and the result is mass walking confusion.

The situation is so bad, the president is compelling the two corporate giants to find a solution.

“If Apple and Google can’t figure it out together, we’ll figure it out for them,” President Ocasio-Cortez said today via her Twitter account. “Legislative solutions might be necessary sooner rather than later.”

The problem is virtual, but very real.

Most modern infrastructure is heavily dependent on smart glasses-delivered augmented reality as over 90% of Americans — and virtually all urban Americans — have adopted the technology. As such, we’ve become increasingly dependent Google’s and Apple’s backend technology … the augmented reality cloud.

The AR cloud is where all the virtual infrastructure such as digital signage, art of the commons, personal avatars, and metadata lives. Our smartglasses attach it so seamlessly to the “real” world that over time we come to see the virtual as substantial as matter-made artifacts like walkways, swim lanes on urban streets, and old-fashioned street signage, which still exists in some areas.

However, when it’s incompatible, people’s perceived appearances don’t match how they identify — a particularly hurtful problem, says the president — and public crowd-control infrastructure presents differently to different people.

Several people were already killed in New York today due to exceptional crowding and occasional panic as some refused to remove their smartglasses and embrace “true seeing,” as some call it, the NYPD reported.

“There is a translation layer between ARkit and other augmented reality cloud systems,” an Apple representative told me via Slack. “Unfortunately, not all systems have chose to integrate it.”

In other words, it’s Google’s fault, says Apple.

Naturally, Google has a slightly different take on the compatibility disaster.

“We’re in the process of updating ARcore to capture all the world’s augmented information,” Google CEO Cameron Grace said via message. “Unfortunately some companies have chosen to release updated software without going through the integration process.”

Controlling how people see the world, both virtual and “real,” is big business. Gartner estimated its value at over $3 trillion annually last October, because the company that controls how we view reality can, in a very real sense, directly influence what we see, what we miss, what ads we pay attention to, and therefore how we spend both our time and money.

President Ocasio-Cortez, however, has had enough.

“The U.S. government will be looking at implementing a public and open-source AR cloud which integrates data from all providers but also acts as a common default reality,” she announced later in the day.

Very likely the opposition parties will have a field day with that one.

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Notes and additional thoughts

I’m writing this book as a collaborative exercise. Each chapter is posted to my Facebook and LinkedIn feeds before going live on my blog. If you’d like to participate in critiquing and improving these posts, connect with me there. Alternatively, join my Telegram group here.

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Auto Telematics Catch A Killer: VR Re-Creation Of Accident Results In Conviction

August 3, 2025

This is the sixth chapter of Insights from the Future, a book I’m writing about technology, innovation, and people … from the perspective of the future. It is a collaborative exercise, and you are invited to participate. More details below the story.

The Mounties always get their man? Now smart self-driving cars are playing the same role, but in a much more visual way.

Police in Los Angeles used telematics data from three self-driving cars, including a Telsa, a Cadillac, and a Nissan Leaf to recreate an accident scene in photo-realistic VR, proving that a traffic death last December was no accident at all.

And not one of the data-donating cars was even involved in the accident.

Dan Gilmore of Long Beach killed a former business partner, Eve Nielsen, police alleged, using his Toyota pickup truck. At the time he claimed it was a tragic accident. However, video telematics from three separate vehicles proved that Gilmore intentionally stuck Nielsen’s car, swerving and accelerating in the final few moments to make a direct hit.

“Self-driving cars are constantly scanning their environments,” says Google scientist Jennifer Jones, who was called as an expert witness for the prosecution. “They keep that data for at least a month, and upload some of it to the cloud.”

LAPD investigators subpoenaed the data from nearby drivers and used 3D video modeling software to recreate the moments leading up the crash in VR, which the judge allowed the jury to experience. The data, including speed, direction, and timing, showed conclusively, the jury decided, that Gilmore intentionally rammed Nielsen, T-boning her car on the driver’s side and causing her death.

Jury members were able to view the recreation in real-time, and also to slow it down and analyze it from different points of view, all in immersive 3D. They were also shown evidence indicating that Nielsen canceled a partnership with Gilmore just a month prior to the incident, locking him out of a lucrative contract with a local Verizon subsidiary.

This is the first use of VR scene recreation based on actual device-level data to assist in the conviction of a murderer, but LAPD thinks it won’t be the last.

“Our job is to find and lock up criminals, and we’ll use any and all available data to do that,” staff sergeant DeAndre Franklin said. “As more and more cars on the road get smart and add self-driving features, it’s going to be easier to deeply understand how accidents happened … and if they are accidents at all.”

Apparently, we’ve come a long way since tire tracks and impact dents.

Presiding Judge Josephson sentenced Gilmore to 25 years in jail. His lawyer would not immediately comment on whether or not he will appeal the decision.

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I’m writing this book as a collaborative exercise. Each chapter is posted to my Facebook and LinkedIn feeds before going live. If you’d like to participate in critiquing and improving these posts, connect with me there. Alternatively, join my Telegram group here.

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Mr. Tomorrow: CES CEO Gary Shapiro On Tech, Jobs, Self-Driving Cars, AI, Robots, And Everything Else

CES is over. 180,000 people, 3 million square feet of display space, and armies of robots, gadgets, electronic gewgaws, and everything in between hit Vegas like a heavyweight’s uppercut last week.

But where’s all this avalanche of modernity going?

I spent 30 minutes with the titan of tech, Gary Shapiro, to get his opinion. Shapiro is the CEO of the Consumer Electronics Show and the author of multiple books on technology and the future, including his latest, Ninja Future. In that book he explains how 5G, AI, and blockchain, and other technologies will “forever change the economy as we know it.”

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Google vs Amazon At CES: The Battle For The Future Of Voice (And Computing)

LAS VEGAS–Google was everywhere at CES 2019. Amazon was in everything.

The two giants of voice-based artificially-intelligent smart-home-controlling personal assistants attacked CES this year like a hungry Mike Tyson chomping an ear. Like Eisenhower opening the second front. Or a hungry kid charging for candy.

In other words: it was an all-out assault.

But the strategies were very different.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Live with Joel Comm

So I had a fun hour or so with Joel going live about CES, technology, robots, and all things Vegas.

You can check out the livestream here:

The 2019 Consumer Electronics Show has ended and Joel Comm has the latest mind-blowing tech that you will soon be buying! He will be joined by John Koetsier. Together, the guys will share what they saw at the show, including large-screen televisions that roll up! Join them today at 6 pm EST / 3 pm PST for the fun.

Posted by on Tuesday, January 15, 2019

I was a little late … because time zones :-). I pop in at about the 7 minute mark.

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Consumer Electronics Show 2019: A Lucky 13 Amazing, Odd And Wonderful Things To Expect At CES

CES is a beast. A monster that cannot be tamed.

One of the biggest trade shows on the planet, Consumer Electronics Show hits Las Vegas this week. And I mean hits like Holyfield, with 182,000 attendees, 2.5 million square feet of exhibition space, and 24 categories from drones to sleeptech to smart cities to driverless cars.

Of course, last year my driverless car demo didn’t … drive. Perhaps it will this year.

Here are the 13 things that I — and some of the technology leaders I asked — are expecting at this year’s CES.

Click here to get the full post at Forbes …

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I Tried The $800 Robot Suitcase So You Won’t Have To

LAS VEGAS–The artificially intelligent $800 suitcase that’s also a robot with cameras and GPS tracking is real. It exists.

I just tried it so you wouldn’t have to.

“The suitcase has cameras and sees just like you do,” says Yaxin Guan, the COO of Beijing-based ForwardX, which makes the smart suitcase. “It also has collision avoidance.”

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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WikiBrands video podcast: ‘The Emerging 30 Technologies’

Was super-pumped to be a guest on WikiBrands’ latest podcast — and first of 2019 — focused on 30 hot emerging technologies.

The podcast is usually available here, but I’ve embedded the YouTube video …

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2019 Trends: Kicking of the new year on Mobile Groove podcast with Peggy Anne Salz

Was super-pumped to record the FIRST PODCAST OF THE YEAR for MobileGroove with Peggy Anne Salz. She always does an amazing job … and this was a ton of fun.

A quick peak at our conversation:

Mobile is as personal as it gets, and smart products power fiercely personal interactions between brands and consumers. Together they put the pressure on companies to balance data sharing and tracking—the foundation of superior and seamless customer experience—with the requirement to respect personal privacy. It’s just one of the mobile mega-trends John Koetsier—journalist, analyst, futurist and VP of Insights at marketing intelligence platform Singular—discusses with our host Peggy Anne Salz as they kick off the first show of the New Year. 

Get the full podcast here …

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How 1 Company Went From Zero To 22M Users With $0 In Venture Capital

How do you start a company and run it to tens of millions of users without accepting venture capital?

The answer, for Powtoon, is viral growth. 

The tough three in growing a company are product-market fit, scalability, and growth, but often growth is the one that consumes the most cash. And after achieving product-marketing fit and building a scalable model, gobs of spare cash are just what most founders don’t have if they haven’t accepted VC. 

Powtoon is a web-based video creation platform that just signed deals with YouTube, Adobe, Microsoft, and Salesforce. In addition, it’s launching a new enterprise solution to capitalize on the fact that its customer base includes marketers at brands like Virgin, Metlife, Unilever, and Verizon. 25 million people have created short promo videos with the platform, according to its founder and CEO, Ilya Spitalnik.

Get the full story in my post at Inc …

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What is customer empathy? 9 industry experts weigh in

Customer experience is critical. I recently contributed to a post in User Testing Blog on the topic.

Here’s what I had to say:

“Customer empathy means walking the same path your customers are taking: living their pain, feeling their needs, and deeply understanding the solutions that will work. That’s why the best products are often built by people who are creating solutions for their own challenges.”

Read the full post here …

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5 Ways Artificial Intelligence Will Continue to Shape Marketing

Just had the opportunity to contribute to a AdWeek post on AI and marketing … here’s the part I was quoted for:

There’s an unfavorable inequity in the marketing-AI economy for brands currently. The money brands spend actually pays for improvements to other companies’ machine intelligence.

As martech analyst John Koetsier puts it, “Google’s getting smarter. Facebook’s getting smarter. But your brand isn’t, even if a few of your campaigns are.”

Increasingly accessible AI in 2019 will make it easier for brands to begin seizing ownership of their own marketing intelligence. AI-powered platforms will emerge that not only drive greater ROI on individual campaigns but increase brand’s marketing intelligence. Indeed, we’re already seeing signs of this trend among certain progressive brands. For instance, video game developer Ubisoft is developing in-house mar-tech stacks to facilitate better user experience and decrease costs. Like me, Koester’s “looking forward to a near future where brands get smarter every day, one customer and one megabyte at a time.”

See the whole post here.

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Top apps of 2018

Sometimes video is better.

So, I went live on Periscope to talk about the top apps of 2018. Check out the 4-minute video right here …