Marketing Copy by ‘Jasper the algorithm’

In his weekly Week van Koot, Koot writes about ‘Blind’, the worldwide gossip site for tekkies, looking for a new job or judging the companies they work for. Also highlighting corporate stances in the US abortion riot, an example of text by copywriting service Jasper, a study showing that fonts matter in determining how quickly a person can read on screens and an attempt to explain why American filmmaker Johnny Harris (1988) is such a web wonder of the moment.

Gert Koot writes it off on a weekly basis: everything that concerns him and the profession in the wild world of branding, media and entertainment. Koot worked for more than twenty years at various advertising agencies and was also marketing director for a while. For several years now, Koot has had his own consultancy under the name Branded Entertainment and advises on new and digital media. As a teacher, he is associated with SRM and NIMA, among others. In this column on Marketingfacts, Koot discusses ‘what needs to be discussed’.

#1 The marketplace Top 100

Every year a16z publishes the marketplace top 100. An overview of startups over the years. So a combination of newcomers and companies that have now arrived that once started as startups. It gives a nice picture of the places where it is all happening right now. Nineteen companies have now “graduated” thanks to IPOs, SPACs and acquisitions. But there are also 37 “freshmen”. Some striking points: The predominance of Instacart continues to exist. Live shopping app Whatnot had the biggest YoY jump ever. Ticketing, Food & Beverage and Education saw the most new entrants. (“covid bounceback”) For some categories, however, covid created lasting habits. In particular, the Games and Shopping/Collectibles categories continued to grow, surpassing previous pre-covid baselines. While not on the Marketplace 100 list, NFT marketplaces exploded in 2021.

#2 Blind Ambition

For me, this is actually another beautiful and pure example of the initial power of the internet. Founded in 2013 in South Korea and available in the US two years later, Blind describes itself as “a trusted community where more than 5 million verified professionals communicate anonymously.” You need a verified business email to participate (a personal email gives you read-only access to restricted content). The App Store claims that currently “87,000+ companies are represented on Blind.” Users mostly come from the world of technology. Discussions are conducted by software engineers working at Microsoft 74,000, Amazon 66,000, Facebook 24,000, Uber 20,000 and Apple 15,000, among others. Blind is a mix of Glassdoor and Reddit. Users share their salaries, look for a new job or rate the companies they work for. They also gossip about internal happenings in their companies, discuss broader themes in the tech industry, and exchange stories about the cultural elements of tech hubs like the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle, such as dating issues or an increasingly impenetrable housing market. So in a market where demand far exceeds supply, countless recruiters are busy looking for suitable candidates, those involved have a wonderful place where nothing remains a secret. Proves again the necessary value for the companies culture! Read all about Blind in this story by Fadeke Adegbuyi.

#3 Roe v Wade

In line with the same “company culture” are the current developments surrounding the much discussed abortion legislation in the US. By now everyone has heard about the high-profile case “Roe v Wade”. The Supreme Court ruled that most laws prohibiting or restricting the practice of abortion were unconstitutional, as it held that the “right to abortion” was embedded in the constitutional “right to privacy.” Meanwhile, a Supreme Court majority decision appears poised to overturn decades of legislation by reversing the constitutional right to abortion under Roe v Wade. So what do you do as a company then? We have recently seen that companies are increasingly taking a stand when it comes to social issues.

Preparations are also being made in this case. Several large corporations with employees in places like Texas and Oklahoma have announced their own initiatives to preserve access to medical treatments that are criminalized by state lawmakers. Employers such as Citi, Apple, Yelp and Amazon are specifically including abortion in their expansion of existing programs that reimburse employees for expenses such as travel expenses associated with seeking medical care that is not available near the employee’s home. Others, such as Uber and Lyft, have pledged support for transporting people who want an abortion, and for legally defending drivers against abortion-related lawsuits. It takes a very long time, but slowly it is becoming clear that doing business is more than just satisfying a shareholder. You could call it conscious entrepreneurship.

#4 Growth Design

We can now see them as “friends of the show”. The talents of Growth Design. Using a simple and understandable demonstration, they use insights from psychology to show why some things just work better when you use this knowledge. This time the story is about an ad on Instagram. Remarkable to see that something so extremely simple can be so effective. Watch, click and learn.

#5 Google Cookies

Will it all finally happen? Earlier this year, the French data protection agency CNIL fined Google €150 million for using confusing language in cookie banners. Previously, Google allowed users to accept all tracking cookies with a single click, but forced people to click through different menus to decline them all. This asymmetry was illegal, the CNIL said. So, and we’re happy about that, Google’s new cookie banners offer clear choices: “decline all”, “accept all” or “more options” (to exercise more granular control). The new menu will appear on Google Search and YouTube if users are not signed in to an account. (If you’re signed in, you can adjust your tracking options through Google’s data and privacy menu.)

#6 The Future of the Web Is Marketing Copy Generated by Algorithms

The intro to this article goes like this: As we move further into the 21st century, more and more aspects of our lives are being controlled by algorithms. Facebook decides which posts we see in our newsfeed, Google shows us the results of our searches based on their complex ranking system, and Amazon recommends products based on our past purchase history. It’s no wonder then that online marketing is becoming increasingly reliant on algorithms to create effective copywriting. So, what does the future hold for the web—will marketing be dominated by machines, or will human creativity always be necessary? Read on to find out…

This intro was not written by a passionate journalist who runs his fingers over a keyboard. It is the result of the software of the copywriting service Jasper. Jasper can also write content specifically tailored to Facebook ads, marketing emails, and product descriptions. It is part of a series of startups that are using GPT-3, a technology from the artificial intelligence company OpenAI, to write texts. Will the copywriting profession end after all? Probably not, but there is definitely a place in the market for this application.

#7 Meetings

“People are meeting 250 percent more each day than before the pandemic,” said Mary Czerwinski, research manager in the Human Understanding and Empathy group at Microsoft. “That means that all other work will be shifted to later. Last week, Microsoft published a study that offers an eerie reflection of working life. Traditionally, the researchers said, employees have two productivity peaks during their workday: just before lunch and just after lunch. But since the pandemic, a third and smaller spike has emerged in the late evening. Microsoft researchers call this phenomenon the ‘triple peak day’. Before the new study, employees allowed Microsoft to track their “keyboard events” — a funny euphemism for sending emails or using productivity applications on a work computer. While most people didn’t show a third mountain of work in the evening, 30 percent did. They were working almost as much at 10pm as they were at 8am. So perhaps we should reconsider the meeting phenomenon in relation to its effect on the working day.

#8 Johnny Harris

Johnny Harris (1988) is an American filmmaker, journalist and YouTuber, currently based in Washington. So far nothing special. But why attention for Johnny Harris? Every video Harris posts on YouTube goes viral. A score of more than 2 million views is kind of the standard. But 10 million is no exception. Only the special thing about these views is that his topics are about current news. From the crisis in Venezuela to the war in Ukraine. So what is the success behind these videos then. This explainer video explains what distinguishes Harris’s videos. I just think we can all learn something from that. First visual evidence and then the context, first the experience and only then the interpretation to be able to understand it.

#9 Font style

Are some fonts ageist? The choice of a font very often has to do with the identity of the brand or company. It is a design discussion where the specialists can go wild. However, research shows that the speed at which you can read online strongly depends on the font and your age. When you reach a certain age you can’t read as fast as you used to. This may be due to vision loss or cognitive changes. But now it turns out that it could also be due to something else: ageist fonts. An important new study has found that fonts matter in determining how fast a person can read on screens. Shaun Wallace, a PhD student in computer science at Brown University, wanted to discover “the gains in reading effectiveness that can be made by manipulating font choice alone,” the study said. Sixteen fonts were tested based on their online popularity in newspapers and PDFs. Intriguingly, the fonts people claimed they preferred weren’t necessarily the ones that helped them read the fastest.

#10 Google Multisearch

Google is expanding its image search on mobile to allow natural language searches so you can say “a dress like this, but longer and in green”. Machine learning changes the answers computers can give to our questions. But this again shows that the number of possible solutions is infinite.

Podcast of the Week

No “podcast of the week” from Audio agency Airborne this week. But that gap was quickly filled because our weekly table lord Jeroen de Bakker was a guest on the BNR podcast “De Technoloog”. Because Podimo, the Danish podcast company, is establishing a foothold in the Netherlands and knows how to bind a number of important makers exclusively to itself. Does this give the medium a new revenue model? And what about all those traditional media companies that also make podcasts? The Technologist went to investigate and asked audio expert Jeroen de Bakker for help.

The News of the Week on Clubhouse

Fresh out of the oven and still warm. The written version now also in audio. Join us for your mental breakfast and start the dialogue. Almost every Sunday at 9:00 am at Clubhouse. Led by Sylvie Verbiest. Jeroen de Bakker as table gentleman. And this week no spoken column by Tino Stuij. But next week in a long performance.

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