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5 TED Talks Every Social Media Pro Should Watch

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I love watching TED Talks – in fact, several of my year-end emails to my team have included a reference (and link) back to Angela Duckworth’s “Grit: The power of passion and perseverance.” It’s the perfect watch (and listen) to inspire any department in a business to embrace their ‘gritty’ side to succeed.

I also enjoy watching TED Talks to get a better understanding of the latest trends, including in digital adoption and platform usage. Social media is a constantly evolving field – it’s a rare arena of marketing where the platforms may change over time (bye Vine, hello TikTok), but the overall advice seldom feels too dated. Most businesses do want their content to go viral. There’s recognition that a successful social media strategy relies on creating and consistently posting thoughtful content, measuring performance through KPIs, and engaging with the audience. It’s also increasingly important that all information shared is fact-checked and thoroughly researched from a credible source.

As we enter the 2020s, social media is having its most mindful moment yet. There’s an ongoing fight to protect personal information and the truth. There are more methods to combating burnout – the quiet ring of fire that threatens to engulf many creatives. And there’s also the understanding that social media is not going to disappear from our lives overnight. We’ll continue to use it, embrace it, and spend part of our lives on it.

As such, there must be a strategy for adapting and keeping social in our daily lives.  Luckily, these five TED Talks provide a better understanding of the digital landscape we now call home.

1. Eli Parser: ‘What Obligations do Social Media Platforms Have to the Greater Good?’

I pulled the descriptor of social media as our home from this TED Talk by technologist Eli Pariser. The world is currently not in a good place. In the best-case scenario, social media would be used to bring society together, however, social platforms are being harmed by sharing wrong information and the presence of trolls and hackers.

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According to Pariser, the conversation should be less about what platforms need to stop doing and more about what we need from them for the greater good. If we give these platforms the power of discourse, what do we get in exchange?

Pariser’s TED Talk reveals that what we think is a platform crisis is really a people problem. These platforms should be viewed as spaces – and physical spaces usually need a bit of structure to bring humans together.

2. Dao Nguyen: ‘What Makes Something Go Viral?’

In 2017, the biggest live video BuzzFeed had done to date “involved a fountain of cheese” according to BuzzFeed’s publisher Dao Nguyen. However, the company experienced a far greater viral sensation with a Facebook Live video of baby goats in an employee’s office. The video, meant to be a birthday joke for an employee named Frank, was delayed nearly 30 minutes as Frank kept encountering obstacles that didn’t allow him to get to his office.

Rather than think about what made the video a hit, the company read the comments section. These comments – all 82,000 of them – helped BuzzFeed hypothesize the thoughts and feelings of the audience. Everyone was excited for what they knew was, eventually, going to happen when Frank arrived. They felt like they were part of a community and it made them happy.

In this TED Talk, Nguyen explores the question of making something go viral. The answer, Nguyen says, is found less in the something – like a cute animal – and much more in what we are actually thinking about, and where we identify.

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Is that the job your content is currently fulfilling with its audience, or are you still stuck on the something?

3. Joseph Gordon-Levitt: ‘How Craving Attention Makes You Less Creative’

Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt begins his TED Talk by revealing that there are two powerful feelings in the world: ‘getting attention’ and ‘paying attention’.

Thanks to technology, we’re able to draw attention to ourselves, and it feels pretty good to be acknowledged and have our voices heard. So, we keep going after this rush – but ultimately, the more effort we put into getting attention, the more unhappy we become.

Why is this? Craving constant attention creates a negative impact on the creative process. You’re working on your craft, but you’re also conscious that whatever you do should be well-received via likes and retweets on social media.

Gordon-Levitt’s Ted Talk tfurther explores how social media platforms like Instagram sell attention, which often leads to becoming addicted to getting attention – and how the best way to keep others from controlling your attention is to pay attention to just one thing.

4. Christiane Amanpour: ‘How to Seek Truth in the Era of Fake News’

This TED Talk between journalist Christiane Amanpour and TED curator Chris Anderson plunges headfirst into the alarming spread of disinformation and misinformation efforts across the globe.

One of the greatest threats to democracy, especially over the last few years, has been the rise of fake news. As Amanpour says, when one can’t distinguish between the truth and fake news, it becomes increasingly harder to solve problems facing our way of life.

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Can we find a way to curb fake news, and build (or rebuild) credibility, especially in the social media landscape? 

5. Raghava KK: ‘What’s Your 200 Year Plan?’

Take a moment to consider the business or brand you work for. Some of these may be legacy brands, hundreds of years old, others might still be in startup mode. How can you think ahead to one year, five years, 200 years, out into their future – and subsequently your own future at the same time?

This is part of a legacy project artist Raghava KK has established with his wife – trying to come up with their 200-year plan. Naturally, this kind of plan means thinking beyond yourself. It’s about considering the legacy that you’ll leave behind and what type of impact you want to leave in your personal and professional worlds?

In this TED Talk, Raghava details how to outline a 200-year plan for your life, what should expire in that plan, and how the decisions you make now contribute to the memory of yourself after you’re physically gone – but live on in the digital world.

Taking the time to sit and think with these TED Talks will help provide you with more perspective on the modern digital landscape, and not just the immediate impact and response elements of what you do, but the broader shifts happening within society, and the role these platforms play within that.

Understanding this can help you develop more effective, proactive strategies to improve your processes – in business and in life. 

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3 ways marketers can prepare for a cookieless future

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What is a customer data platform (CDP) and why do marketers need one?


Marketers around the world are anxiously awaiting the deprecation of third-party cookies, searching for ways to adapt their campaigns. At our MarTech conference, Sharon Kratochvil, Vice President of Global Analytics at Michael Kors, talked about the strategies her team implemented to prepare their brand for this “cookieless future.”

“The first campaign that I was asked to run at Michael Kors took 12 hours to produce, which even five years ago was 11 hours and 59 minutes too long,” she said. “Needless to say, most of our marketing activations were batch and blast.”

Kratochvil’s team opted for a CDP (they went with ActionIQ’s) to organize and activate valuable first-party customer data, which is crucial in a future without third-party cookies: “Our vision was to leverage all of our customer data, not just subsets of that customer data. So that was key for us, as was the in-memory processing. We could define business variables on the fly, which is critical as we continue to evolve our marketing.”

Timeline of third-party cookie changes. Source: Tamara Gruzbarg

The key to Michael Kors’ successful adaptation wasn’t the CDP itself — many marketers opt for different data management tools. The solution lay in the first-party data strategy their team enacted.

Use a CDP to gather first-party data

“The CDP allows us to be agile in our marketing,” Kratochvil said. “It gives us speed and flexibility in executing customer marketing campaigns and journeys.”

CDPs are designed to maximize the value of first-party customer data, making it a helpful asset for the coming third-party cookie deprecation. Kratochvil’s team used it to gather, organize and distribute this information to enhance their campaigns.

“It allowed us to automate all of our core campaigns, both digital and CRM, so those audiences were always fresh,” she said. “We pushed them regularly. We leveraged the most recent data.”

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She added, ”It’s enabled us to seriously increase our segmentation and our personalization, both for marketing campaigns and journeys.”

Whether brands opt for a pre-built CDP, a custom CDP, or another type of data platform depends on their acquisition goals and priorities. The aim is to glean the most insights from your first-party data.

“The goal was always to get our customer first-party data to work for us,” said Kratochvil. “As we started to build out our single view of the customer from our data lake, any insight we generated could be activated.”


Looking to take control of your data? Learn about trends and capabilities of customer data platforms in the latest edition of this MarTech Intelligence Report.

Click here to download!


Implement customer segmentation by channel

After getting their technologies in line for first-party data procurement and activation, Kratochvil’s team began segmenting their customers by channel. This made targeting customers easier while offering a testing environment.

“We started with segmentation by channel,” Kratochvil said. “We have multiple channels: outlet stores, lifestyle stores, e-commerce, and collection stores. It’s simple segmentation, but it’s very powerful. We tested things like the cadence, the content, and those messages that resonated within each channel.”

These tests were designed to prove the value of segmenting customers by channel using first-party data. This allowed them to easily personalize each interaction.

“Throughout this whole process, we created controlled tests so that we could prove channel segmentation did drive incremental revenue,” she said. “A key tenant was not just to do it, but to show that it worked and build confidence in the concept of segmentation and personalization.”

Kratochvil’s team adjusted channel segmentation on the fly throughout this testing process, further optimizing customer experiences while creating solid revenue streams.

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“A good example is our win-back campaigns,” she said, “We might start with email, but then we would want to go to a digital channel if we weren’t getting a response.”

Identify customers using first-party data

After gathering their customer data and implementing channel segmentation, Kratochvil’s team used the insights gleaned to begin identification.

“Our first action was to introduce durable, server-side cookies so that we could have control and visibility into that data,” she said.

Server-side first-party cookies can help marketers glean much of the customer information that used to come from third-party cookies. And although they lack the retargeting capabilities of their third-party counterparts, first-party cookies can assist identity resolution strategies to give marketers valuable customer data.

“Once we started issuing durable IDs, we had to be able to then resolve those IDs,” Kratochvil said. “We have a CRM system with known customers and they have an ID. We created another site-based ID that follows that customer, but we have to be able to resolve identities, matching the durable ID to a customer record.”

Although Kratochvil’s team resolved those durable IDs, there was a large pool of unknown visitors. Their CRM alone wasn’t capable of handling this vast amount of data.

Identity resolution platforms have the potential to address these issues. They can connect customer identifiers across many platforms to identify individuals, all the while complying with consumer privacy laws.

Whatever strategies and technologies brands choose, they need to be ready for the third-party data changes that are coming.

“This third-party cookie deprecation is real,” Kratochvil said. “It’s going to have a business impact and we need to be prepared for it.”

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Identity resolution platforms: A snapshot

What it is. Identity resolution is the science of connecting the growing volume of consumer identifiers to one individual as he or she interacts across channels and devices.

What the tools do. Identity resolution technology connects those identifiers to one individual. It draws this valuable data from the various channels and devices customers interact with, such as connected speakers, home management solutions, smart TVs, and wearable devices. It’s an important tool as the number of devices connected to IP networks is expected to climb to more than three times the global population by 2023, according to the Cisco Annual Internet Report.

Why it’s hot now. More people expect relevant brand experiences across each stage of their buying journeys. One-size-fits-all marketing doesn’t work; buyers know what information sellers should have and how they should use it. Also, inaccurate targeting wastes campaign spending and fails to generate results.

This is why investment in identity resolution programs is growing among brand marketers. These technologies also ensure their activities stay in line with privacy regulations.

Why we care. The most successful digital marketing strategies rely on knowing your potential customer. Knowing what they’re interested in, what they’ve purchased before — even what demographic group they belong to — is essential.

Read next: What is identity resolution and how are platforms adapting to privacy changes?


About The Author

Corey Patterson is an Editor for MarTech and Search Engine Land. With a background in SEO, content marketing, and journalism, he covers SEO and PPC to help marketers improve their campaigns.



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How to Build a Successful Remote Freelance Team for Your Business

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How to Build a Successful Remote Freelance Team for Your Business


More and more businesses are hiring freelance talent and consultants instead of hiring full-time employees. It’s not just that many millennials are unwilling to work a traditional 9-to-5 office job. It’s also that freelancing offers many advantages. Freelancers are more affordable for the businesses hiring them, and they also tend to be more productive.

If you run a company that hires and manages a large number of freelancers, and you are just trying to keep things running smoothly nowadays when everything is online, it’s obvious how important it is to be well-organized in order to better categorize and track large amounts of data and information you receive on a daily basis. As a result, putting in place a creative resource management system might be an ideal solution for you.

These systems ensure that your freelancer database is always current, while custom filters enable you to easily categorize your contractors and quickly locate the ideal creative resources. All of this will fundamentally alter the way you interact with your freelance workforce, making them realize that they are a valuable member of your team.

Determine Which Duties You Will Delegate

Even though many organizations think that freelancing services are only for design or software development, there are plenty of opportunities for other roles you can delegate to contractors. You may find that online businesses can take less time in between tasks and are more flexible than traditional, brick-and-mortar businesses. They can also be run by highly skilled freelancers working from home.

Explore alternative solutions. Could you hire a virtual assistant for administrative or bookkeeping tasks? You could look around your organization and see how many people are carrying too much work. For example, a pool of freelance copywriters could help your marketing manager to lighten their workload by taking over the copywriting assignments.

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Create a Procedure for Recruitment

You should plan an onboarding process that makes sure new freelancers understand how their work fits into the bigger picture. Introduce them to the employees with whom they will work, and ensure that everyone who needs to communicate is familiar with all of the tools and processes involved.

Onboarding is the process of ensuring that new hires are ready to work as productive members of your team right away. To get everyone on the same page about your business’s goals and mission, you’ll want to have a consistent and efficient onboarding procedure in place. Treating your freelance workforce the same way you treat your in-house team, will keep things running smoothly, allowing you to achieve your goals.

Include Freelancers in Your Company Culture

You may be wondering why including freelancers in your company culture is necessary, especially if you don’t know how long you’ll collaborate with them. But freelancers who feel like true members of the team are more likely to produce higher-quality work. So, simple efforts like maintaining open communication can result in better project outcomes.

You Must Believe in Your Team

To have a successful remote team, you must have faith in your teammates’ capacity to execute and deliver results. Trust, including trust in your decision-making abilities, will lead to your team’s happiness and success. If you’re measuring employee productivity by hours worked or time spent online, you’re probably wasting your time and energy. Rather than focusing on the amount of time spent online, it’s better to focus on performance and communication skills.

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Provide Feedback Opportunities

Providing feedback within a team can be tricky, but fostering safe channels and routines for doing so is an ideal way of keeping everyone on track. To keep communication lines open, you will want to make an effort to ask questions and give feedback frequently in an environment where it’s more difficult to do this in person. Exchanging honest, professional, and unbiased feedback can help you learn a lot. Identify employee issues early, work together toward solutions, and create a better workplace.

Demonstrate Your Appreciation for Your Team

By showing that you value an employee, freelancer, or consultant’s work, you will increase their commitment to your company. You can reimburse freelancers for the time they spend familiarizing themselves with your internal documentation, a new system, etc., by offering training or additional compensation. As an employer, it’s important to treat your freelancers with respect.  

Final Words

If you don’t have a well-structured system in place for managing a remote team, it could be more difficult to keep everyone on the same page. It may be helpful to keep in mind the time difference when you delegate tasks. Think about what will work best for everyone so you can reach your goal of a speedy turnaround. You can build a talented, cohesive team no matter where the team members are working from.



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Taboola automates personalized homepages

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Taboola automates personalized homepages


The new Homepage For You offering announced by native advertising and discovery platform Taboola will use AI to automate the curation of relevant and personalized content on websites’ homepages. The automated surfacing of content likely to engage readers will complement editors’ existing ability to curate homepage experiences.

Among publishers already using the solution are McClatchy and The Independent. Beta testing showed a 30-50% increase in CTR with use of the tool. The dataset on which recommendations are based includes some 500 million daily active users.

Why we care. Adam Singolda, CEO and founder, said in a release: “If you open up a social media app, you are greeted with content you really want to see. For publishers, the most loyal readers are those who visit a homepage directly and look for editors to tell them what’s important for them to know.”

This is a telling argument. Social media channels like Instagram, TikTok and YouTube present personalized, curated experience the moment they are opened based on the user’s previous behavior. A solution like Taboola’s should take publishers in the direction of being able to compete — although many publishers will still want to strike a balance between editorial content and native advertising.


About The Author

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space. He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020. Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

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