Facebook Limiting Information Shared With Data Brokers

Facebook is curbing the information that it exchanges with companies that collect and sell consumer data for advertisers, as the social-media giant tries to calm an uproar over its handling of personal information.

The measures, part of which Facebook announced late Wednesday, affect a group of so-called data brokers such as Acxiom Corp. and Oracle Corp.’s Oracle Data Cloud, formerly known as DataLogix, that gather shopping and other information on consumers that Facebook for years has incorporated into the ad-targeting system that is at the core of its business.

Facebook said it is ending an ad-targeting option called Partner Categories that lets such data brokers target specific groups of Facebook users—people who buy a certain product, for example—on behalf of their ad clients. Facebook believes shutting that system down “will help improve people’s privacy on Facebook,” Graham Mudd, product marketing director at Facebook, said in a post Wednesday.

​In addition, Facebook is halting its practice of providing anonymized data from its platform to such information brokers that they use to measure the effectiveness of their ad campaigns, said people familiar with the matter. But the company is trying to find more secure ways to share data with these brokers to measure ad performance, one of the people said, at a time when advertisers are clamoring for data that proves that Facebook ads work.

Facebook is making the changes as part of a broader internal review of how it handles user information. The company is reviewing its relationship with data brokers in part because it is concerned about how those firms are obtaining their data and how accurate it is, one of the people said.

Late Wednesday, Acxiom confirmed Facebook had informed it of plans to end Partner Categories, which Acxiom estimated will reduce its fiscal 2019 revenue and profit by as much as $25 million. Acxiom’s brief statement didn’t give a reason for Facebook’s decision.

“Today, more than ever, it is important for businesses to be able to rely upon companies that understand the critical importance of ethically sourced data and strong data governance,” Acxiom CEO Scott Howe said. “These are among Acxiom’s core strengths.”

Oracle declined to comment.

Facebook has battled criticism over its user-data practices since it said on March 16 that personal information was improperly obtained by Cambridge Analytica, a data-analytics firm that worked for the 2016 Trump campaign.

Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg apologized last week for a “major breach of trust” in that episode and outlined steps the company has taken and plans to take to better protect user data. On Wednesday, the company also announced measures to make it simpler for users to examine and change some of the data about them that the social network tracks.

Curbing its relationships with data brokers could affect Facebook’s value proposition to advertisers, removing a layer of information that has helped some marketers target ads with greater precision. But the impact is likely to be limited, industry executives said.

Facebook’s partnership with data providers has particularly helped brands that lacked detailed customer data, such as consumer packaged-goods makers, said Lance Neuhauser, CEO of 4C Insights, a digital-ad service provider. However, he said, advances in Facebook’s own targeting capabilities have “made the need for some of this third party targeting a little less important.”

Facebook and other internet companies also are under pressure from European Union authorities to make sure all of its targeting data is collected with user permission, as part of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation scheduled to take effect in May. Verifying that could be difficult with data from brokers, Mr. Neuhauser said.

In a memo to advertising agencies, Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s vice president of global marketing solutions, said the data-broker relationships would be phased out in six months. Advertisers can still target audiences on Facebook but they must use “data that they have the rights, permissions, and lawful basis to use,” she said. “We understand this may impact your clients advertising efforts on our platform, and we will work with you through this transition.”

While Facebook has a huge amount of data on users—sites they’ve liked, their interests and detailed demographic information, even their chat history—brokers such as Acxiom, Oracle Data Cloud, and Epsilon Data Management LLC have reams of information on people’s purchases, household income and other characteristics.

That information is matched to Facebook profiles, allowing brands to target ads at people who have bought certain products—and extend those campaigns to Facebook users with similar characteristics. These relationships helped Facebook beef up its ad-targeting capabilities in recent years, former employees say.

read more here: wsj.com

The Math of OTT: A Formula Of Addition, Not Subtraction

With 820 million connected video devices in the U.S. and hundreds of different streaming services, the over-the-top video ecosystem is about delivering more to the consumer. The Video Advertising Bureau (VAB) just released it latest report.

71% of Internet users use an OTT service at least once a month

Consumers have a voracious appetite for content, in fact a large majority of OTT HHs (70%) also have a multichannel subscription

Nearly one-third of OTT subscribers hold 3 or more means of accessing OTT content, an eight-fold increase over just the last two years

45% of streamers say it’s important to them to be able to watch TV programs “on the go” while 81% say it’s important to them to watch TV programs whenever they want

More…Advertising Opportunities
Currently, advertising comprises 45% of all online video revenue and is projected to grow to almost 60% over the next 10 years

65% of people who use a second screen while streaming have looked up info on a product that’s been advertised in a TV show

To learn more about VAB’s competitive OTT video ecosystem, click here to download the report.

Video Ad Fraud Rate on the Decline: Down 31%

When the entire video advertising ecosystem pushes on an issue, it can get results. Brand advertising platform Extreme Reach released its benchmark report for Q4 2017, and it finds the video ad fraud rate declining. Filtered bot traffic is down an average of 31 percent year-over-year to 6.2 percent, and down 40 percent to 10.5 percent for aggregators. Rather than seeing one single cause, Extreme Reach says this was the result of multiple factors, such as advertisers demanding better accountability and ad tech vendors being more attentive.

“Fraud is a big challenge for our industry, and—perhaps catalyzed by Marc Pritchard’s call-to-action last year—we’re seeing an upsurge in pressure exerted on media companies by advertisers, as well as new approaches to beating it from the tech side,” says Mary Vestewig, Extreme Reach’s senior director, account management, video: “The decrease in invalid (e.g., non-human) traffic gives us great hope that the strong filtration processes we’ve implemented for the video ads served through our platform is enabling us to be smarter than the bots. Looking at our data over three full years we can say with certainty that the rate of invalid traffic we filtered out from our clients’ campaigns is down by 30 percent and we are hopeful that this trend will continue. Still, we can’t become complacent, because we know the fraudsters evolve their methods just as fast as we do ours.”

The numbers for basic viewability aren’t quite as positive as the video ad fraud rate. Using the lowest standard for viewability (50 percent of a video ad needs to be in view for at least 2 consecutive seconds), the report sees viewability dropping 3.2 percent year-over-year to 61 percent. The average video completion rate rose 4.4 percent year-over-year to 70 percent, while the average viewable completion rate dropped 6.7 percent year-over-year to 70 percent. Extreme Reach doesn’t see any of this as a negative, but as a plateauing—a sign that the industry is finding its base. A video completion rate between 66 and 75 percent is the norm, it says, and anything over 75 is exceptional.

Looking at media types, the report sees premium inventory having a far better viewability rate (73 percent in Q4) than video from a media aggregator (58 percent in Q4). Also, 30-second ads have better viewability rates than 15-second ads.

read more here: onlinevideo.net

The Cambridge Analytica Scandal Won’t Stop Advertisers

Facebook is running out of eyes to blacken in the wake of revelations over the weekend that Trump-affiliated data firm Cambridge Analytica harvested information from 50 million Facebook accounts without permission.

But as long as ads continue to perform on Facebook, the scandals won’t lead advertisers to pull back their spend.

“We may see individuals delete the app, but this won’t change spending patterns,” said Pivotal analyst Brian Wieser.

Advertisers follow the audience, said Melissa Parrish, VP and group director at Forrester, and as long as a channel “works,” they’ll continue to use it.

If advertisers were going to stop spending on Facebook because of bad news, there would have been a meaningful decline last year or even the year before with news of Facebook’s “fairly serious” measurement errors and its fake news problem, Parrish said.

“The only way this scandal affects Facebook advertising is if consumers grow weary and wary of Facebook and start to spend less time on the platform,” she said.

Indeed, Facebook did report a slight dip in North America daily active users during its last earnings call.

But Facebook is still far bigger than any other media platform in the world, other than Google.

“And if not Facebook, where is an advertiser going to go if they need digital media? Verizon?” Wieser said. “Well, that’s the No. 3 platform.”

And while Facebook may be getting a PR beating, advertisers won’t be guilty by association if they continue to advertise through the platform. Brands that advertise on Breitbart, for example, might cause consumers to blacklist a product. Those that advertise on Facebook are just among the more than 5 million brands that do.

Wieser likened the phenomenon to the many controversies that swirl around the NFL. Some viewers take offense at players who take a knee, while others don’t tune in because of the head injury issue. But, at least for now, advertisers aren’t pulling back on spend against the sport. They probably will, though, if viewership tanks.

Even so, the Cambridge Analytica episode is a major headache for Facebook, which has been putting out fires and popping proverbial Tylenol since mid-2016 with the first whisperings that Russian operatives had exploited its ad platform to help sway the US presidential election.

The most recent headlines are just more evidence of systemic problems at Facebook. The platform has been under increasing scrutiny from Washington on both sides of the aisle as it struggles to police its platform.

And Cambridge Analytica’s breach revolves around data that was permissibly collected by an academic researcher named Aleksandr Kogan, through an authorized app he’d created in 2013 – standard operating procedure at Facebook, although the type of data that could be collected through its API was far more expansive back then, including profile data on a user’s network of friends. This type of collection has since been barred by Facebook.

The leak happened sometime between 2013 and 2015 when Kogan shared that data with Cambridge Analytica, which he had no right to do.

Although Facebook knew about it, it didn’t disclose the fact and didn’t make a robust enough effort to ensure that Cambridge Analytica deleted the wrongfully shared data. Cambridge Analytica says it deleted the data, but media reports and former Cambridge Analytica contractors say otherwise.

Facebook suspended the accounts of both Cambridge Analytica and its parent company, SCL Group, just hours before The New York Times and The Observer in the UK published expansive stories on Cambridge Analytica’s shady dealings with Kogan.

It’s a hot mess, but advertisers are far more likely to make media decisions “almost exclusively based upon their own individual tracking and performance” rather than on external factors, one media exec told AdExchanger, nothing that advertisers “would shift dollars only once a negative impact was measured and identified.”

That’s not to say advertisers and agencies aren’t getting more cautious. Another media executive told AdExchanger that internal guidance was issued to team members at the agency this weekend about being more proactive when vetting third parties that share or have access to data on Facebook.

But don’t expect advertisers to cross Facebook off their media plans.

read more here: adexchanger.com

Reality Fuels Golden Age of Documentaries

You’re on the couch. It’s been a long day. The remote control is in your hand. What can you watch?

There’s that new CNN documentary series on the pope. Or maybe you’re more in the mood for some sinners in “Girls Incarcerated” on Netflix? There are cute critters on Hulu’s “March of the Penguins 2: The Next Step” or you could watch former slugger David Ortiz as he figures out his next career step on Fusion.

Keep scrolling? Sure. What about a new three-part documentary about Silicon Valley on Science? Or the series about gangsters on Reelz? How about the A&E series on adults returning to high school in “Undercover High”? What about some David Bowie or Elvis on HBO?

If you’re looking for documentaries these days, they’re hard to miss. Once considered more medicinal than entertaining and consigned to high-brow places like PBS and art house theaters, documentaries are scattered across the film and TV spectrum, as well as online portals like Facebook Watch or YouTube Red and on video streaming apps like go90. Even mighty NBC is getting in on the act with a documentary on Martin Luther King Jr. airing Saturday night.
“It feels like the golden age of documentary right now,” says Josh Koury, a professor at Pratt Institute and a documentary filmmaker. “It’s an amazing time to be making documentary stories.”

Starz, which last fall began offering new documentaries for the first time, has doubled down by adding four original docuseries to its summer schedule, exploring everything from the criminal justice system to the legacy of hip-hop.

Jeffrey Hirsch, chief operating officer for Starz, says the boom owes a large part to technology, which has allowed filmmakers access to relatively inexpensive high-quality cameras and editing equipment. What has emerged for content-hungry platforms is often a cheaper alternative to scripted films and series.

“The cost of creating these stories has come down, I think. The ability to travel and to actually be your own investigative journalist has become possible. And the world has gotten smaller through technology,” he said. “So I think the opportunity to relive or retell some of these stories has become a lot more accessible.”

Showtime also has increased its output of documentaries, said Vinnie Malhotra, head of documentary programming for the network. He marvels at how much the landscape has changed from 15 years ago when docs were independently financed and had limited releases.

“There are more outlets for documentary than there ever have been before,” he said. “There’s a lot of money being fueled into the documentary industry from newer platforms that have emerged with interest in the form of storytelling — places like Netflix, places like Amazon, other streaming and tech companies.”
No wonder recent documentaries have lately found themselves at the center of popular culture, including Ava DuVernay’s “13” on the American prison system, the Oscar-winning “O.J.: Made in America,” ″The Jinx” about Robert Durst, and “Blackfish,” for treatment of orcas. Netflix scored its first Oscar this year with the documentary “Icarus.”

Award-winning filmmaker Darren Aronofsky has been lured to the genre, executive producing National Geographic’s 10-episode “One Strange Rock” about planet Earth — and he’s brought Will Smith along to narrate.

The lure of documentary-making has also recently attracted Judd Apatow, known for scripted comedies like “Knocked Up” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.” Said Apatow: “I’ve probably wanted to make one for a very long time but didn’t know how to approach it.”

In 2016, he teamed up with Michael Bonfiglio on “Doc & Darryl” for ESPN’s “30 for 30″ series and last year’s “May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers” on HBO. This month he’s on his own with a four-hour HBO documentary about Garry Shandling.

“I’m endlessly fascinated by how we all deal with this life. Sometimes it’s fun to write about it but lately I seem much more interested in trying to capture how different people have chosen to live,” Apatow said.

“We’re in an amazing environment where, as a result of all these streaming services and cable stations, they desperately want great documentaries,” he added. “Now we’re getting incredible documentaries. I couldn’t be happier about it.”

Many thank Sheila Nevins for bringing documentaries into mainstream popular culture during her 38-year tenure at HBO. It was Nevins, president of HBO Documentary Films from 2004 until this year, who shook up the staid format — usually nature shows or archive footage explained by experts — with such lurid shows as “Taxicab Confessions” and “Real Sex.”

“When I arrived at HBO, docs were considered a high-brow thing. That never interested me. I didn’t care about the life of the university professor. I care about his doorman,” she says.

Under Nevins’ watch, HBO pumped out more than 1,200 documentaries, most recently with such films as the Scientology investigation “Going Clear” and the Oscar-winning “Citizenfour,” about Edward Snowden. HBO once tried to hide its offerings as “docutainment.” Now it proudly has a documentary tab on its home page.

read more here: tvnewscheck.com

Report: Facebook and Google Are Losing Ad Dominance

A new report from eMarketer suggests that the Big 2 will experience dips in market share over the next few years.
According to a new eMarketer forecast, the Big 2, that is the top two companies in terms of digital advertising revenue, Google and Facebook, are expected to lose market share by 2021.

The duopoly enjoyed a combined share of U.S. digital ad spending of 58.5 percent in 2017, but this is anticipated to fall to 56.8 percent over the course of this year, translating into a nearly two percent loss. By 2020, this will drop an additional point and a half to 55.3 percent.

That said, eMarketer analysts anticipate a rebound beginning sometime in 2020. And beyond that, while their dominance will slightly decrease, both platforms are expecting to see significant revenue increases over the next several years.

Image via MediaPost

The declines are not a function of an overall decrease in digital ad spend; conversely, overall spending will hit $107 billion in 2018, reflecting a 19 percent increase Instead, The Wall Street Journal points to rivals like Amazon and Snapchat as the main reason, suggesting that advertisers are increasingly testing platforms outside of the Big 2 in their efforts.

What has not been factored into this estimate is marketers’ growing wariness toward the Big 2 with regards to brand safety and an increasingly alarming public perception that these properties have amassed too much power with little regulation from outside forces. These concerns have already made a financial impact on tech stocks as of late.

Following widespread public outcry in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook shares fell 8 percent in a single day. The news has sparked a far-reaching conversation about Facebook’s ability to monetize user data—and do so in a seemingly unfettered fashion.

Users have also taken to Twitter to announce their plans to #deletefacebook. One significant member of the movement has been WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton. WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $16 billion.

Google, and more specifically its video behemoth YouTube, are also on shaky terms with leading advertisers. With leading brands threatening to reduce spend on the platform, YouTube has had to revise and bolster its approach to brand safety.

read more here: www.thevideoink.com

Why It’s Time To Stop Treating OTT And TV As Different Channels

by Allen Klosowski

My parents have seen a lot of technology come and go during their lifetimes. When they were young, television was in its infancy, limited to black-and-white images on a small, dimly lit screen. Today, they have not one, but two high-definition televisions side by side in their living room: One is a traditional cable television set and the other is a Roku TV.

My parents don’t care that one TV receives programming through a cable box while the other streams video through the Roku app and other smart-TV apps. They like to be in the same room together, and this setup avoids the need for compromise; my dad watches sports silently with closed captioning and my mom keeps up on her favorite shows at the same time.

If you switched on the same show on both TVs, you wouldn’t be able to discern which was which because the image quality and viewing experience are identical.

While this story is unique to my family, it’s representative of the larger reality that the lines between television and over-the-top (OTT) video are becoming blurred. Consumers don’t dwell on how some televisions have internet capabilities and others do not. The only relevant factor is whether they can access their desired content at a satisfactory level of quality. Once that need is met, OTT, traditional TV and everything in between become insignificant distinctions in the minds of most consumers. All in all, it’s just “TV.”

OTT origins

Was OTT video streaming spurred by the first smart TVs in the late ’90s and early 2000s? Or maybe Netflix’s rollout of streaming video in 2007? Whatever beginning point you choose, one pattern holds true: Early users of OTT sought a different experience than traditional television. Audiences wanted greater control over the specific content they consumed, and they wanted to watch it on their own time.

A decade later, however, the definition of OTT video has significantly evolved and broadened to include features and capabilities that weren’t in the picture early on. Consumers who leverage over-the-top video have undergone a parallel transformation, and the user base today looks very different than it did years ago. These factors are evidence of ongoing progress that should continue to shape the way video is packaged, supplied and monetized for years to come.

In the early days, over-the-top video and video-on-demand (VOD) were often one and the same, so it was acceptable to use terms like OTT and VOD synonymously. On the other hand, OTT and linear TV described entirely different experiences. OTT represented a limited selection of video streamed to televisions or computers over the internet, unbound by dayparts or bundles.

Television viewing was subject to network scheduling, but a wide variety of content was available, including live events such as sports and newscasts. Moreover, the experience available in OTT fell short of the premium standard that had been set by traditional television – navigation was clunky, user interfaces were not well-suited to the available devices and buffering was a constant annoyance.

Due to these discrepancies, early OTT was mostly seen as a supplement to regularly scheduled programming. While it was clearly a disruptive innovation that quickly established staying power, it wasn’t regarded as an acceptable alternative to TV.

Today’s OTT

Over the last several years, however, OTT has advanced to the point that it rivals traditional television. Live, broadcast-quality video can be streamed over the internet and viewed in an uncluttered, lean-back environment where viewers are in complete control of what they watch and when.

Many media owners have also upskilled in video streaming, bringing a greater variety of content into the space. Leading broadcasters have developed TV Everywhere applications to make their original content available in OTT environments, and pioneers like DirectTV Now, fuboTV, Hulu and SlingTV have even brought live and linear programming into the mix. Viewers can now enjoy a comparable experience regardless of whether they’re accessing content over-the-top or through traditional channels.

The natural upgrade cycle for video viewing technology has also driven “passive adoption” of OTT. Many consumers buying smart TVs are not necessarily doing so on purpose, but brand-new televisions are often equipped with internet capabilities by default. In these cases, OTT adoption isn’t a conscious choice, but rather a natural evolution and simply a sign of the times.

Cord cutters, cord shavers and cord nevers have all made their content consumption decisions for very different reasons than the early adopters of OTT, and the audience has broadened as a result. Now, the delivery method of choice is less about what the technology represents – innovation, modernity, being ahead of the curve – and more about the experience it can deliver. From a consumer perspective, over-the-top is not a new category but rather the next evolution of how TV can be enjoyed.

read more here: adexchanger.com

US streamers paying $2.1BN per month on SVOD

According to Deloitte’s 12th edition of the Digital Media Trends Survey, 55% of US households now subscribe to at least one video streaming service, a 450% increase since 2009.

The survey also found, on average, that Americans watch 38 hours per week of video content (39% of which is streamed), nearly the equivalent of a full-time job. With over 200 SVOD options in the US, the average streaming video subscriber is paying for three services.

High-quality original content appears to be driving an increase in streaming with nearly half (48%) of all US consumers streaming television content every day or weekly, up 11% year-over-year.

Conversely, the report found that pay-TV subscriptions declined for the first time in recent years, with 63% of households still subscribing to a traditional pay-TV service, down from 75%. Pay-TV’s decline was seen to be especially pronounced among Generation Z (ages 14-20), Millennials (ages 21-34) and Generation X (ages 35-51).

“Consumers now enjoy unparalleled freedom in selecting media and entertainment options and their expectations are at an all-time high,” said Kevin Westcott, vice chairman and US media and entertainment leader at Deloitte. “The rapid growth of streaming services and high-quality original content has created a significant opportunity to monetize the on-demand environment in 2018.”

How an Hit TV Program Contributes to Amazon’s Profitability

Last week Reuters reported data from internal Amazon documents that for the first time provided insights into viewership of the company’s original TV programs and their contribution to creating new Prime subscriptions. Below I’ve done some additonal math using separately reported information to calculate how profitable at least one of Amazon’s original programs could be.

Last October, Fortune reported research from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners indicating that Amazon Prime subscribers spend an average of $1,300 per year compared to an average of $700 per year that non-Prime subscribers spend. (Note, back in Fall, 2016, Morgan Stanley said that according to its survey, Prime subscribers spend nearly $2,500 per year, vs. $544 for non-subscribers). For the purpose of my calculations, I just used the CIRP estimate of $600 incremental spending per year by subscribers.

The Reuters article notes that the Amazon program “The Man in the High Castle” delivered 1.15 million new Prime subscribers worldwide. So, multiplying this by the incremental annual spend of $600 yields $690 million in incremental revenue from these new subscribers. Amazon’s North American e-commerce operating margin in 2017 was approximately 2.7%, so the operating profit on the incremental revenue would have been around $18.6 million (this is rough, because some of the incremental subscriber spend came from international where it is undoubtedly lower and also where Amazon actually still loses money on an operating basis).

In addition to the annual incremental spending benefit, those 1.15 million new subscribers also spent $99 to belong to Prime, which would be another $114 million in annual revenue. The operating profitability of the membership fee is hard to calculate given all the different benefits and their costs, but assume it’s 50%, so the profit would be around $57 million. In total that would mean “The Man in the High Castle” delivered year one profits of $75.6 million vs. its cost of $72 million, or $3.6 million net profit, a 5% margin. But keep in mind this is only year one; as long as Amazon retains these 1.15 million subscribers, the profitability multiplies. In addition, there are further revenue streams derived from Prime members such as add-on subscriptions to video services through Amazon Channels.

Admittedly, the above math is a little rough, and it should also be noted that Reuters’s own reporting hasn’t been independently verified. Still, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has been extremely candid about the benefits of video to Prime. In an interview with Recode in mid-2016 (see 37:32 cue point), Bezos said that “When we win a Golden Globe, it helps us sell more shoes,” adding that both Prime’s free trial conversion and annual renewal rates increase when subscribers watch video. He actually cited “The Man in the High Castle” as an example of programming that works really well, no surprise.

read more here: www.videonuze.com

‘Advertising Is Dead,’ And Other Thoughts From Faith Popcorn

Forecasting the future of marketing and predicting trends is always risky, but Faith Popcorn is pretty good at it. No less a source than The New York Times has called her “The Trend Oracle,” while Fortune named her “The Nostradamus of Marketing.” Popcorn is not only a futurist, but also an author and the founder and CEO of marketing consulting firm Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve.

What distinguishes her is her practice of “Applied Futurism,” which translates her cultural trend insights into actionable business strategies to help her clients reposition established brands and develop new and innovative business models, products, and services. She has advised national advertisers including American Express, Avon, Bayer, Campbell’s Soup, Citigroup, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg, KFC, Mars, SC Johnson, Tylenol, and The United States Postal Service.

Popcorn, who is scheduled to speak at the annual Association of National Advertisers’ Brand Activation Conference in Chicago April 16-18, offers her views on upcoming trends and what to look for in the midterm elections in November.

Q. What is the single biggest emerging trend that you see impacting marketers in the near future?

A. Without a doubt, it’s the End of Old-School Masculinity and the Death of Gender. Not only are we at a moment where women and men are moving to a new relationship, we are at a time when men and women are no longer the only game in town; younger generations, millennials and Gen Z, in particular, are increasingly gender-fluid — 20% — and evolving toward one gender. How we market and message is about to be revolutionized.

Q.What kind of impact do you think the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements and the overall gender-equality issue will have on marketers?

A. It’s having a huge impact. Think of the #grabthembythewallet movement that rocked many brands and businesses around the election; the consumer said, “I won’t patronize you if you support brands I don’t believe in.” Now, it’s coming closer to home. The consumer will say, “I won’t patronize you if you don’t elevate the causes I believe in.” Brands need to show that, internally, they are addressing sexual misconduct and gender inequality. They need to visibly support women.

Q. The midterm elections will be held in November of this year. What do you think will happen?

A. As a futurist, I hope people will vote and embrace their role in shaping tomorrow. And in light of this terrible year, may our lawmakers make gun control priority Number One. We all need compassion and healing and hope. I can’t stress this enough: In the marketplace and in the culture, values are the new value.

Q.How can marketers spot key trends and incorporate them in their overall marketing strategy?

A. Look for the signals of tomorrow — step out of your comfort zone, delve into pockets of the culture you usually avoid. We call it TrendTrekking. Then you connect the dots. Go to underground bars and clubs and offbeat cafes; see what people are eating and saying. Go sound-bathing. Try cryotherapy. And ask yourself, what need is this answering, and how can my business address that need?

read more here: mediapost.com