The increasing price of data, Snapchat’s advertising and the latest in the algorithms world…

Gold? Diamonds? Oil? There is now a pretty strong case to be made for data being the most valuable commodity in the world, but the problem with a string of ones and zeros holding such value and power, however, is how to protect them from prying eyes.

New legislation passed this week in the UK will now put the onus firmly on companies holding customer and user data. Fines of up to £17m (or 4% of global turnover) can be doled out for companies in breach of stricter data protection laws, while also expanding the definition of personal data to include IP addresses, cookies, and even DNA.

While headlines focused on Facebook having to delete those pictures of 16-year-old you with that haircut and that pout, the implications for companies around data security – and by extension how to communicate if and when a data security event occurs – are wider ranging. One of the most frequent scenarios we work with clients on is precisely how to handle data security breaches.  If your organisation deals with sensitive data (and for this not to be true is increasingly impressive), then *cough cough, small plug* do get in touch.

SNAP – AN AD FAD?

“Partial marks – show your working”: a traditional refrain from many of our school days, and potentially a new problem for recently-listed darling Snapchat.

Concerns circulated ahead of Thursday’s Q2017 announcement that advertisers were unconvinced by Snapchat’s advertising ROI, in particular citing a lack of analytics and reporting (please allow a minor moment of self-congratulation, we may or may not have mentioned something similar earlier this year). Scrutiny of their ARPU (for the civilians among us that’s average revenue per user) has raised further doubts on their ambitious growth platform – especially when compared to the (albeit vastly more established) Facebook.

Advertisers unfortunately don’t factor in age of platform when weighing up media purchases; access to audience and ultimate revenue return remain guiding principles. While Snapchat has an undoubted appeal to US-based Gen-Z, the platform dropped some 82% when Instagram Stories launched. If advertisers can’t be confident of reaching their audiences, and communications directors can’t show cause and effect with their campaigns, investors may start to wonder about Snapchat’s long-term profitability – ad revenue forecasts have already been trimmed this year. Snapchat has launched an advanced mode in order to counter these fears, but the impact of these beefed up analytics remains to be seen.

 
ALGORITHMS GALORE

Algorithms are all the rage nowadays. They determine what information we see in our search engines, which of our friends rise to the top of our newsfeeds, and ultimately cut through swathes of big data to make sense of our world. As the final story of this week, we thought we’d share a couple of algorithmic developments that caught our eye this week in particular.

A potential answer to questions from businesses and organisations, particularly consumer-facing ones: now there’s an AI that can recognise sarcasm through emoji. Natural language processing has long been a major challenge for AI and social, and these developments could see a major breakthrough change the nature of how much we can trust robots to run customer care.

Finally, researchers at University of Warwick have trained an algorithm to rate scenery – both landscape and cityscape – in terms of beauty. The possibility for AI input on future architectural or landscaping developments, or even for algorithms to filter visual social posts into good, bad and, ugly certainly hold implications for the role of good-quality, emotive visual communications in the future.

ALSO THIS WEEK

  • A quick nod to Facebook’s announcement yesterday that they are taking on TV and YouTube, with an updated platform called Watch. The platform-turned-media-company will venture into unknown territory as part of this expansion, producing original content focusing on “community-oriented” shows, with revenue derived from ad breaks. Watch this space!
  • YouTube adds in-app direct messaging and sharing features [Engadget]
  • Facebook will show fewer links to slow-loading websites [The Verge]
  • Bitcoin Soars to Record as Buyers Look Beyond Miners’ Split [Bloomberg]
  • Apple could become a $1 trillion company [Tech Crunch]

AND FINALLY

Google’s Doodle today celebrates August 11, 1973. You should too.

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