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Branded Content / Behavioural Economics / Transparency vs Privacy

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In a new piece for State of Search I write about how there is an increasing trend towards brand-owned content channels, which seem to work well for bigger brands and carry less risk:

State of Search: Are Brand-Owned Channels the Future of Content Marketing?

A piece in the New York Observer, entitled “Journalists Take Refuge in the World of Branded Content”, outlines an emerging field for professional writers to explore: sponsored content written specifically for brands, intended for audience engagement and brand storytelling. Instead of having sponsored stories published on existing platforms, many major brands are creating their own content channels and filling it with high quality material aimed at attracting the brands’ target audience.

Behavioural Economics is a relatively new field of study yet it gives us a wealth of information on how consumers behave in the marketplace. Digital marketers can apply a lot of these lessons to their own work:

State of Search: Applying Behavioural Economics to Digital Marketing

Digital marketers already have a firm grasp of many aspects of behavioural economics, whether we know it or not. When we optimise shopping carts with big checkout buttons and make it as easy and simple as possible for online consumers to purchase, we are practising behaviour economics. When we tweak PPC ads to contain trigger words such as ‘free’ and ‘limited’, we are practising behavioural economics.

The way Google avoids being associated with the term ‘big data’ says a lot about how the Silicon Valley elite treat us, the users of their products. Their call for transparency is the wrong answer in the wake of the PRISM scandal – privacy is what enables freedom.

State of Search: Transparency is not the answer; Privacy is what sets us free

Open data, open government, open source – Silicon Valley wants the world to be open and transparent and free so that they can innovate (i.e. monetise) at will without constraint. Except when it comes to their own affairs. Then suddenly the reverse is true; closed systems, proprietary data, and secret algorithms all hidden behind layers of half-truths and blatant lies.

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