The Digital Download: Apple gets current, Google and billboards get futuristic

Here are five of the biggest deals from the world of digital marketing this week, such as the enhanced targeting from LinkedIn and… billboards?

Apple may have gotten in the now by finally taking its customer service to Twitter, but other tech giants are looking forward. Facebook rejiggered its algorithm to favor live video, a format Mark Zuckerberg believes is the future.

Google’s also testing an app that combines mobile payments with facial recognition, but nobody this week is as futuristic as the outdoor advertising industry. Clear Channel Outdoor Americas, one of the giants in that space, has figured out a way to target you, not based on what you do on the Internet, but what you do on the street.

Yes, we said “on the street”

Billboards aren’t exactly digital marketing, but technology is increasingly complementing them. Earlier this week, Clear Channel announced several partnerships that will ultimately allow it to track people by their smartphones.

Clear Channel will then be able to provide advertisers with data about who passes their billboards and whether those people visit their stores. From there, brands can target their outdoor advertising more based on the demographics of passersby.

As creepy as it sounds, the data is anonymous and aggregated. The program, called Radar, was tested on Toms, which saw a brand lift and increase in sales.


Facebook’s algorithm favors live video

At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, YouTube’s Robert Kyncl proclaimed that video “will win the decade.” Perhaps some Facebookers in the audience took note.

Facebook users spend about three times as much time watching Facebook Live video as they do other video content. As a result, live video will be prioritized in its algorithm going forward.

The success of live video, which opened to the general public in January, comes as no surprise to Zuckerberg. During his keynote at Mobile World Congress last week, he said, “Video brings more raw and intimate moments that let you be you.” Along those lines, Facebook also launched Your Business Story this week, a new movie tool that makes it easier for businesses to tell users about themselves.

Google makes mobile payments easier

Mobile payments is a pretty big topic in that it comes up a lot, but they haven’t really taken off, particularly in the U.S., where only 3 percent of transactions were made via mobile devices in the last six months. According to the same research from German market research GfK, mobile payments have a significantly greater penetration rate in Latin America, the Middle East and APAC.

The trick for mobile payments is, they have to be as easy as possible for consumers. Google stands by that principle, testing an app called Hands Free that would make Android Pay, well, hands free.


The digital wallet combines Bluetooth, WiFi and location settings, which detect when you’re near an establishment that has Hands Free capabilities. The cashier then has the ability to see your Google profile picture, eliminating the need for you to take your phone out of your pocket. Could that be easy enough to make mobile payments more commonplace?

LinkedIn gets more targeted

When it comes to social marketing, we’re always talking about Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. But LinkedIn isn’t to be ignored; on Tuesday, the professional networking site made its targeting far more sophisticated.

Through sponsored Updates and InMail campaigns, businesses can run native ads, which target users at companies they’re interested in reaching. LinkedIn can match those ads with people at those companies, getting specific with regard to factors like seniority level and job functions.

This marks LinkedIn’s first time allowing marketers to bring their own data. According to the platform, early testers – which include companies like Comcast and Salesforce – were happy enough with the results that they’re investing up to 10 times more to continue using LinkedIn Account Targeting.

Apple modernizes its customer service

Apple’s customer service has always been something of an anomaly. It’s held in very high regard – Steve Jobs based his early store employees’ training off the Ritz-Carlton, after all –  but it’s never been the most modern.

In other words, Apple wasn’t on Twitter, which is one of the go-to channels for people who want to complain to companies. But Apple joined on Thursday and in less than one day, @AppleSupport amassed more than 121,000 followers, which is more than twice as many as ClickZ has. Can we get a #FollowFriday, Apple?


If you look at the brand’s feed, you’ll see that it’s tweeting constantly. However, all but four of Apple’s tweets have been sent to other users. apple-twitter-856

Related reading

Concept for mobile apps.