To everyone reading this, you’re just a science project. You’re an experiment.

Every day we log onto social media to chat with our friends, to express inner opinions, to look at the new movie coming out, or even to “like” a new program. What you probably don’t know is that you’re part of a science experiment which is using everything you do, on your free to use social media platform, to create a profile for who you are and how you think. Ever write a status update on Facebook just to see your ads to change immediately to whatever you just typed about? That’s exactly what I’m talking about here.

In a PBS post by Angela Washeck, she quoted Douglas Rushkoff as saying that impressionable teens today have replaced their habit of plastering their personal stuff on their bedroom walls with now moved on to inhabiting social media and sharing their personality through there, but don’t realize how this is benefiting trends and brands (Washeck, 2014). Rushkoff’s newest Frontline documentary “Generation Like” explores how young adults are providing social marketing and advertising with treasure troves of information through their online interactions. Some, like Tyler Oakley, are getting “free” stuff in order to promote certain brands to their friends and/or followers (Washeck, 2014).

What we have perceived as “organic” viral trends are actually meticulously planned marketing strategies (Washeck, 2014). Do we really like these things or are we just monkeys running through the course in order to try and score “free” stuff and fame? While some are being given things for free, they really aren’t free. As these items or brands become popular, their publicity does the work for them. A couple of freebies handed out to some carefully placed popular online identities can turn into millions or billions of revenue for companies, so in a sense, they pay for themselves.

One of the questions being raised is whether or not this is exploitation. Not only have advertising pros learned exactly how young people share, but they’ve also learned just what drives them to share (Washeck, 2014). We, as consumers, are providing free data for marketers and advertisers without even realizing we’re doing it. Some may actually realize it though, and they’re profiting off of your shares and retweets. There is definitely more public relations work being done through this, but there is a lot of behind the scenes advertising as well. We, the consumers, are doing all the leg work without much benefit, unless you feel that the products you’re knowledgeable about now is your payment. According to Washeck, Rushkoff said, ““Over time, there will be a reaction against it…I’m kind of hopeful we’ll have another burst of awareness” (Washeck, 2014).

Knowing how we’re all essentially being manipulated through observation, how do you feel about this? Does this make you think twice about “liking” or re-tweeting something?


Washek, A. (2014, February 19). [Web log message]. Retrieved from



I stopped using Facebook about a year to a year and a half ago. I can’t say that I really miss it, but I do know plenty of people that still love to use it. Before I left, and before I was even an advertising/public relations major, I noticed that whenever I typed something into my status update that the advertisements on the side would change. I found this interesting and would constantly type in random things just to see what the ad would change to.


Those who use Facebook tend to primarily use it to keep in touch with family or friends, so most of us don’t think of it as an advertising company. Well, it’s safe to say that they are just that, a mobile advertising company. Much of the success comes from News Feed advertising and their mobile app install advertising business (Lynley, 2014). With Facebook’s user base constantly growing, the data they pluck from their users will ultimately add to their ad revenue growth.


One of the genius parts of Facebook’s advertising strategy is the previously mentioned mobile app install advertising business. How this works is that Facebook puts an ad up with the mobile app install button and a brief description of what the app does and then app makers pay Facebook an average amount of $2.50 to $3.00 for every user that downloads their app (Lynley, 2013). While other sites do something similar for cheaper, Facebook is pretty much the king because of their reach and user base.



Under 4,000 app developers have used this service, but it has resulted in over 25 million downloads which accounts for 30% of Facebook’s overall advertising revenue (Lynley, 2013). Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg said, “We’re excited about the mobile app install ads, it’s a small but growing category” (Lynley, 2014).


What is interesting about the way Facebook has gone about generating revenue through advertisements online is that many other online businesses are struggling to make money with ads due to the popularity of ad blockers, which I admittedly use, or ease of ignoring the ads. For instance, if I’m listening to Slacker Radio and an ad comes on for my free service, I either ignore it by concentrating on something else or I turn down the sound for 30 seconds or so (which is a popular length for advertisements).


The idea of allowing app makers to pay you to put an ad on your site which leads to downloads for them is an interesting idea. We all use smart phones and we all use apps so while we may ignore the intrusive banners or commercials, seeing a cool app is more likely to get someone to click on that advertisement. This is something for all of to keep in the back our minds when going into an advertising field since Facebook seems to be onto something here!




Lynley, M. (2013, June 19). Inside the surprisingly non-evil ad system saving facebook’s business. BuzzFeed Business, Retrieved from


Lynley, M. (2014, January 29). Facebook is now a very profitable mobile advertising company. BuzzFeed Business, Retrieved from

Global Marketing Challenges

Freddie Laker, the VP of global marketing strategy at SapientNitro, and Hilding Anderson, the research and insights director at SapientNitro, wrote an article titled “Five Challenges For Tomorrow’s Global Marketing Leaders: Study,” which is posted on In the article, they address five challenges that were identified in a six-month CMO Global Marketing Readiness Study that was conducted by SapientNitro and finalized in September 2012:

  1. Disruptive technologies
  2. Globally connected consumers
  3. Localization revisited
  4. Multi-channel misses
  5. Organizational structures

The first problem, disruptive technologies, deals with the onslaught of new technologies emerging today: “from social media and mobile apps to in-store digital experiences and mobile payments.” Laker and Anderson indicate that “just 20% consider themselves ‘very knowledgeable’ about technology, yet by 2017 these CMOs will purchase more technology than their CIOs, according to Gartner.” CMOs today need to be comfortable and highly knowledgeable about emerging technology because it is such an integral part of advertising today. Companies without a tech-savvy CMO will flounder in the marketplace compared to their competitors with highly specialized technological knowledge.

The second problem, globally connected consumers, deals with highly knowledgeable consumers using technology to change marketing rules. SapientNitro research shows that “82% of senior marketers feel that interconnected consumers have broken down the barriers between global and local marketing.” This means that instead of focusing campaigns separately on local and global markets, marketers need to learn how to target both markets in a single campaign and even in single ads. Consumers today are used to getting all information instantly and have short attention spans, so ad campaigns need to quickly and effectively spark their interest while optimizing the few seconds of attention they gain from consumers.

The third problem, localization revisited, deals with consumer diversity. Laker and Anderson indicate that “coping with the diversity of “global consumers” that also have strong regional subcultures is regarded as a challenge by 75% of senior marketers.” Therefore, ‘global’ campaigns really need to be tailored for local cultures because a single ad does not target even an entire country. With digital marketing, it is easier today to modify creative pieces for different target areas and broadcast them across multiple channels.

This leads us to the fourth problem: multi-channel misses. Laker and Anderson say that “a full 37% of senior marketers don’t believe that their marketing activities are fully integrated across digital and traditional channels.” Marketers need to find a balance between utilizing large multi-channel digital campaigns and targeting localized global consumers. Optimizing creative and financial capital for the biggest bang across multiple channels will be key to the survival of many ad agencies.

And the final problem is organizational structures. The old ways of separating the executive power in a company between several branches does not work anymore. So many departments are integrated and have overlapping responsibilities that it is difficult to maintain a functional operation if the department structures remain segmented and segregated. The SapientNitro study suggests that “56% of marketers agree coordination between digital and traditional marketing teams is more challenging than five years ago – silos and a lack of coordination are getting worse just as the need for collaboration is becoming greater.” Companies need to find an organizational structure that allows fluid collaboration and avoids unnecessary segregation between and among departments.

All companies need to analyze their threats and opportunities in these five areas in order to be leaders in their field. The thread tying many of these issues together is new technology. Current CMOs and marketers need to be willing and able to educate themselves in order to keep up with the ever-changing technological playground if they want to play in the major league.