Travel and data roaming

In July Roaming will be a bad memory for Europeans travelling within Europe. As a result of this the sale of sim cards to Ingress players, pokemon Go players and others will also be a thing of the past. What will not change is that we use social media apps to communicate with other people. As a consequence of this use we see local adverts.

At the moment I am in Spain and see Google España rather than Google Switzerland. I see Spanish adverts. Local and national products are advertised to me as I browse. As Google, Facebook, Twitter and other companies know of my interests when I am in Switzerland they can extrapolate them to local businesses in Spain. Diving, climbing and other companies would benefit from me seeing their offers.

if I have just a gigabyte of data then I need to throttle many of these apps. I don’t want self loading videos and other content. I want a minimum of content to make that gigabyte of data to last until I get on the plane. Advertisers suffer because as I reduce my normal browsing habits it reduces their chance of being seen.

In my opinion telecom operators and advertisers should collaborate together to make it cheaper for travellers to use their smartphones. Advertisers should buy data from telecom operators so that travellers are more inclined to use their phones.

Businesses will benefit from us posting to and browsing from Instagram, Swarm, Google Local Guides, Trip advisor and many other services. Everyone benefits from cheaper roaming.

At the moment businesses with free wifi are helping people see more adverts. With cheaper roaming globally a receptive audience will see more adverts hence providing them with more ideas and inspiration for activities during their stay in an unfamiliar place. Advertisers and businesses should capitalise on this potential audience.

Social Media and The Human Return on Investment

Social Media and the Human Return on Investment, because contrary to popular belief we use social networks to socialise, not to shop.

As we grow older and more mature our close network of friends changes and evolves. We go from school friends to university friends and then to professional friends. In the process we move from a village to another village, from a town to another town and eventually from one city to another. In the process the links we have with some friends strengthen and others degrade over time. This is modern life.

I find it hard to discern whether the return on time invested on social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and others is decreasing because people’s understanding of these social networks is shifting or whether it is related to growing up. As the people I know get married and have children their priorities change and privacy becomes more important. We have to keep the children safe.

Facebook, as a social network is less engaging than it used to be. The people I have as friends post less frequently, the events we can participate in together is shifting and the content shown in timelines is evolving. To compensate for the decline in friends engaging in social networks like twitter and Facebook people are following publications, brands and news sources. This flow of information is tailored to the lowest common denominator. The sensationalist writing style discourages me from following these sources of information.

I have a concern that what were social networks until two or three years ago have become advertising networks on which people occasionally socialise and interact with other individuals. I feel that a bigger and bigger portion of the time that people spend on advertising networks is looking at mainstream content and comments. On Facebook as I scroll down the timeline I notice an increasing number of adverts. Personal posts are less and less frequent. Has the community left this “social” network?

I have spent years thinking about online communities and how they interact. During this time I have seen the ebb and flow from one type of community to another across multiple platforms and applications. Within the next two to five years social networks will be virtual reality environments such as we saw with World of Warcraft, Everquest and Second Life. The question is whether people will want to socialise in virtual reality or whether it will be populated by gamers.

Every online social network is stigmatised. This stigmatisation prevents people from fully exploiting the potential of social networks. We see this stigma through the use of dating apps rather than Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other social networks. Dating apps are stigmatised but at least you swipe left or right and you’re done. ;-). You’re only “active” for a few seconds at a time. On Facebook and twitter you need to be active for hours, days, weeks or even months… You have to be careful. You may be stigmatised. 😉

Now that most people see social networks as a waste of time it gives us more time to do other things. It gives us time to read, to do research, to watch television and even to go two or three hours without looking at a mobile or computer screen. Imagine that. 😉

I believe that on the one hand the stigmatisation of Social networks as a waste of time has discouraged people from using them to their full potential. As a result of this people feel comfortable spending ten to fifteen minutes a day on these networks. On the other hand I see marketers, public relations specialists and advertisers push for their campaign to be seen. As peer to peer communication goes down and human return on investment (ROI) decreases, and as marketing campaigns take over the timelines they are effectively closing the door on people’s motivation to spend time reading through their timeline.


On advertising and how it has degraded the viewer’s experience

Advertising and documentaries don’t mix and this is especially true in the US. When you have ad breaks every 5-10 minutes telling a story is impossible. You have to think of the people tuning in half way, and you need to think of those leaving after just one ad break. As a result of this the documentary has to be sensationalised. It also needs to be a loop. Mythbusters are a series that I enjoyed watching for many months. As the series progressed however they were made less watchable. The reason for this is coping with the advertising regime of the channels on which they are broadcast.

On watching these documentaries episode after episode you spend three quarters of your time being told what happened before and what’s going to happen afterwards. New content is about twenty percent of the show. If you were to cut down their shows to remove the repetition you’d go from a one hour programme to a 15 minute show. This is perfect for the web, but impossible to watch on television.

Commercial broadcasters say that they have to fight for the audience’s attention, that they have to make it as sensationalistic and entertaining as possible. They need to use breathless reporters, they need to use advanced graphics and more. They blame the audience for not having the attention span to sit through 45 minutes of content without switching.

The audience is not to blame. It’s the content interruption that is to blame. Television adverts are disruptive. They usually add nothing to the enjoyment of a show. Television watching, as it’s broadcast, has become old fashioned. Why watch something live when you’re going to waste twenty to thirty percent of that time watching adverts for products that are of no use to us as consumers at this point in our lives. If we record the show using a PVR we can skip the ads and watch the show almost without interruption. It’s pleasant. It’s efficient.

Advertisers are not happy with this. They want a guarantee of eyeballs. That’s where our new media landscape comes in. Video on Demand is so convenient today that if we like an advert we’ll go to youtube and other sources, find the advert and watch it. You don’t need a show for people to watch the advert. You don’t need an advert to pay for the content.