Being in an industry that is constantly evolving like social media, digital marketing and all things web related means that you’ve got to stay on top of the latest news. Along with that, we here at Venture are always striving to not only read about our industry but business, Michigan, our hobbies and interests, and things that are just plain funny. We’re rolling out a new weekly blog called the Friday Five which will include our office’s favorite articles from the past week and a short summary from each of us.

Account Executive

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Twitter’s New Advertising Program – Automatic?

Twitter just announced that they launched a Beta program for small advertisers on their platform. It is called ‘Amplify your Message’ and allegedly initiates small boosts on multiple posts – all automatically. The Audience is either “with similar interests to what you Tweet about” or “to people in your metro area.” This sounds VERY limited. It also erases your existing ad account. Cost is $99/month.

To me this sounds like a last-ditch effort Twitter is taking to soak small advertisers for “beer money” – versus a full funnel social media strategy, which is what Venture Creations recommends. Thoughts?!

Content Marketing Specialist

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Fitbit is Struggling to Make A Smartwatch – And Maybe to Stay Relevant?

Wearables are a pretty hot item in tech right now, and from a business standpoint, it’s been an interesting journey to watch. When I was in junior high/high school (several years ago but also not that long ago), watches were the pinnacle fashion item. Specifically, Fossil watches. I couldn’t afford one, but I searched far and wide for a watch that LOOKED like a Fossil watch in the hopes that I could fool my friends into thinking it was, in fact, a Fossil watch.

A few years later, as always, watches were totally out of fashion and nobody wore them. I still had my Fossil knock offs, but who needs a watch when I have this phone in my pocket that tells me the time AND has my calendar on it? No thanks, old tech.

And now we’ve gone full circle, and having a watch is once again trendy and fashionable and a statement. But this time, it’s smart watches. And the evolution of watches to no watches to fitness trackers to smart watches has actually been a pretty fast and interesting development.

Fitbit is easily the winner when it comes to activity trackers. There are several others out there, but Fitbit holds the market share so much that the question is not, “What kind of fitness wearable is that?” but rather “What kind of Fitbit is that?” And that’s great for Fitbit. The problem is that in Technology, and several other industries, if you aren’t pivoting as the market changes around you, you’ll be dead before you even realize you’re in a downward spiral.

I’ve had a Fitbit for 5 years now. I was an early adopter – second generation, not first – but still before they really “took off”, so to speak. I’ve upgraded several times, from one that just tracked steps to one that also tracked sleep, manually, to one that automatically tracked sleep and exercise and now to one that also tracks my heart rate AND supports push notifications for calls and texts. It’s one step below a true smart watch. And I’m constantly debating on whether I should leave Fitbit and embrace the smart watch market by getting an Apple watch, or if I should just stick with Fitbit because I’ve been very happy with it.

In the last few months, Fitbit acquired Pebble, a smart watch company, and the rumors took off that Fitbit would soon be launching a real smart watch to keep people like me with Fitbit instead of jumping ship for something more, like the Apple watch. It doesn’t seem to be working out the way they intended.

“Pivoting” can be hard for a company. I’ve been there! In Fitbit’s case, they have a great product that is taking off among consumers, and then something comes along and threatens to completely disrupt their growth. If you don’t pivot, you don’t survive. But it’s not as easy as just adding in the product that’s threatening your business model, and Fitbit is a great example of that. Personally, as a Fitbit fan, I hope they figure it out and protect their market share. But at the same time, as a tech enthusiast, whatever they come up with has to be absolutely amazing to keep me from jumping to the Apple Watch, and therein lies the problem.

Web Designer

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This past week, one of Twitch’s largest live summer events started up; a little event called Summer Gamers Done Quick or SGDQ. This is a charity event where all money donated and generated via merchandise is given to Doctors without Borders, which last summer raised $1,301,654.

Summer Games Done Quick is part of the Games Done Quick organization and it is comprised of some of the absolute best video game speed runners in the world who come together to crush world record times on a selections of video games. What makes this event even more exceptional is that it is live, so with every triumph and every failure the entire nerd community is there watching. And due to this being hosted on, the viewers are able to cheer for their favorite runners, and in some situations the runners will interact with the twitch chat. This year the interaction of players and viewers hit a new high, as one player decided to speed run through the game called ClusterTruck. The developers of ClusterTruck are notorious for using developer commands to mess with the game while popular streamers are playing, and this year was no exception. The difference was that the developers ( Landfall ) took over the twitch chat and had the viewers choose the fate of the runner, turning the speed run into more of a sheer survival run.

Besides the runners absolutely destroying nostalgia-inducing games, it is the sheer interaction of the viewers that make this event special. At this very moment SGDQ has had 2,273,708 Twitch comments, been tweeted 127,773 times and has received $787,553.51 for Doctors without borders. These stats will continue to rise at a fever pitch as some of the more beloved games begin to be run starting this Friday and finishing up on Sunday. I highly recommend checking out this amazing charity event if you are interested in old school games or if you would like to see one of the most organized, fully realized, 156 hour social media extravaganza.

Content Marketing Specialist

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Account Executive

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Facebook to Improve Data Sets for Advertisers

In an effort to improve transparency and accuracy in campaign reporting, Facebook is going to increase the depth of measuring multiple consumer engagement touchpoints on their advertising platform. As more and more questions are being asked by marketers about the accuracy and value of Digital/Social advertising today, this is a great move – and answer – by the largest Social network on the planet.

While commanding nearly $80 Billion in ad spend annually, the total Digital advertising ecosystem is still very much in its infancy – and much of it still acts and feels like the development of the Wild, Wild West in this country.

On both the Publisher/Platform side as well as the Brand/Advertiser side – because of how high the stakes are – there is a great rush to be The First, and a greater rush to be The Biggest with the most financial gains – much like the Gold Rush Days of California and especially Alaska. Basic rules of engagement have been followed and trusted by those on both sides who follow rules, and absolutely broken by others who are in the game to maximize their Take at all costs.

It is imperative that you, as a marketer, have a full understanding and grasp of this new Digital/Social advertising ecosystem before you dive headlong into it – if you want to maximize your gains the right way, and want to stay in the space unscathed. Plenty of well-minded individuals in both eras have chased fool’s gold without a strategy in place, and ended up walking home with their tail between their legs empty handed, or worse.

At Venture, education comes before strategy, which comes before a single dollar is budgeted in any Social advertising platform. We consider ourselves experienced Navigators of this ever-evolving space, and ones who can be trusted to keep your brand safe while measuring real gains and value for your company.

For a better understanding of the possibilities, and more importantly the truth about Digital/Social advertising – please reach out at your earliest convenience. A good foundation always starts with a great conversation.