Category Archives: Business Development

Photo by AJ Colores on Unsplash

The Ultimate Guide to Creating Facebook Global Pages

Migrat­ing to a Glob­al Page Struc­ture (also known as “Face­book Glob­al Pages”) can be dif­fi­cult, and I could­n’t seem to find a sin­gle guide with every­thing I need­ed to know. I record­ed my expe­ri­ences, so you can com­plete the process more effec­tive­ly (with­out mak­ing the same mis­takes I did).

What are Facebook Global Pages?

If you have mul­ti­ple Face­book pages (for dif­fer­ent coun­tries), it may be bet­ter to rep­re­sent them using a sin­gle brand name (i.e. Joe’s Book­stores instead of Joe’s Book­stores — UK, Joe’s Book­stores — France, etc). A Glob­al Page Struc­ture allows you to do this — so that search­es will only dis­play one result for your com­pa­ny, and users will be auto­mat­i­cal­ly redi­rect­ed to the ver­sion for their region.

Flowchart of Facebook page redirections

Image cour­tesy Face­book. © Face­book — All rights reserved.

One great fea­ture of Face­book Glob­al Pages (and why many choose to use them) is that page likes are aggre­gat­ed across all your pages — mean­ing that even your least-liked page dis­plays your total num­ber of likes — this will be high­er than (and usu­al­ly a mul­ti­ple of) your best-liked indi­vid­ual page.

Glob­al Pages are not intend­ed for man­ag­ing mul­ti­ple stores in the same region — this is achieved using Face­book Loca­tions (how­ev­er, you could use Glob­al Pages and Loca­tions — if you have many retail stores in mul­ti­ple coun­tries, for exam­ple).

Impor­tant: once you’ve migrat­ed to Glob­al Pages, you can’t go back.

Part A: Getting Started

1. Business Manager

Glob­al Pages are only avail­able as part of Busi­ness Man­ag­er (a much more pow­er­ful way of man­ag­ing Face­book pages). If you haven’t migrat­ed to Busi­ness Man­ag­er yet, you’ll need to do this to enable Glob­al Pages. All your pages must be pub­lished, have a pro­file, a cov­er pho­to and posts.

2. Eligibility

Glob­al Pages are still being rolled out, and may not be avail­able in your region. To find this out, go to your page set­tings and there should be a Glob­al Pages tab in the left nav­i­ga­tion. If it’s not present, you may still be eli­gi­ble — con­tact Face­book to find out for sure.

Global Pages Settings

If you are eli­gi­ble, a Glob­al Pages tab will appear in your page set­tings

3. Targeting Strategy and Setting a Default Page

There are two main ways you can redi­rect your cus­tomers in mul­ti­ple mar­kets using your new Glob­al Page Struc­ture - by country/region or by lan­guage. Face­book will sup­ply you with a list of these regions and lan­guages that you can select from (these match the options you have for your page).

Con­tin­u­ing the exam­ple above, the coun­try-based Face­book page for Joe’s Book­stores (UK) would tar­get Unit­ed King­dom (and Ire­land, as this is part of UK & Repub­lic of Ire­land).

If you have mul­ti­ple lan­guage pages, your tar­get­ing can sup­port this as well — Joe’s Book­stores (Eng­lish) would tar­get the lan­guage Eng­lish, and Joe’s Book­stores (French) would tar­get the lan­guage French.

If you have mul­ti­ple pages and local lan­guages, your tar­get­ing can sup­port this as well — Joe’s Book­stores (France, Eng­lish) would tar­get the coun­try France and the lan­guage Eng­lish, and Joe’s Book­stores (France, French) would also tar­get France but the lan­guage French.

You will also need a Default Glob­al Page for cus­tomers who aren’t locat­ed in these regions (or haven’t set their lan­guage). For your vis­i­tors — and for you to test — switch­ing between regions is easy, just select the ellip­sis (the three dots) under the main image head­er, and select Switch Region. This option is only vis­i­ble on Glob­al Pages, and does­n’t affect your actu­al Face­book coun­try set­ting.

Switch Region

Using the drop-down to change between regions

4. Naming Strategy

Hope­ful­ly your Face­book Page Names (e.g. Joe’s Book­stores) and van­i­ty URLs (such as @joesbookstores — also called page user­names) are already well organ­ised and have a good nam­ing con­ven­tion, but this isn’t a require­ment of migrat­ing to Glob­al Pages. If you don’t have any van­i­ty URLs, now would be a good time to look at this aspect — check that all your names are avail­able and unclaimed, as they are avail­able on a first-come, first-served basis. Pages must also have 25 likes before they become eli­gi­ble for van­i­ty URLs, and user­names can only be set once.

Impor­tant: although Face­book them­selves were con­fused about this aspect, OLD VANITY URLs WILL NOT REDIRECT TO THE NEW VANITY URLs (although orig­i­nal Face­book-gen­er­at­ed ones will redi­rect to your new select­ed van­i­ty URL). There is no mech­a­nism for allow­ing these types of redi­rects to hap­pen, so make sure of this before you enable your Glob­al Pages.

5. Setting Global Roles using the Root Page

Although you can still have page roles, there will also be admin­is­tra­tors of your entire Glob­al Struc­ture. This is done using the Root Page — a page which allows you to man­age set­tings for all of your Glob­al Pages. Your Root Page is invis­i­ble and can­not be vis­it­ed, but allows you to:

  • set Glob­al Roles - this includes adding Root Admins (using their user ID — at this time you can’t add a Part­ner ID)
  • view Glob­al Insights (for met­rics across all of your pages)

Root Admins can man­age your Glob­al Roles, as well as man­age or add new pages to your Glob­al Struc­ture.

6. Will My Likes and Insights Data Change?

When you migrate your pages to a Glob­al Struc­ture, your actu­al page likes and insights will seem to have moved around. This is nor­mal, and the intend­ed result. Some pages will get more likes, and oth­ers will have less — because the pre­vi­ous rela­tion­ship between likes and pages becomes com­plete­ly dis­con­nect­ed. All ana­lyt­ics are now deter­mined by your tar­get­ing strat­e­gy — but the good news is that you will now have total ana­lyt­ics avail­able as Glob­al Insights.

It will take some time for this to set­tle down, so be wary of any com­par­isons you make that tran­si­tion through the date of tran­si­tion.

Part B: Making it happen

1. Contacting Facebook

Face­book are a lit­tle noto­ri­ous to con­tact. I’ve found the best way to do this is by going to Face­book Busi­ness Sup­port (web page) and select­ing chat, or Face­book Ads Sup­port (Face­book page) and select­ing mes­sage. You may need to quote your Busi­ness Man­ag­er Ad Account ID and the ID of your Face­book pages, so make sure you have these ready.

2. Completing the Global Pages Spreadsheet

After you con­tact Face­book, they will send you an Excel spread­sheet to com­plete. If you have cov­ered all the num­bered items above, com­plet­ing this should be a snap. Don’t adjust the for­mat­ting, hide columns, or tidy up in any way! They use this as auto­mat­ed input, so if you change it, the automa­tion might not work.

Tab 1: Global Page

Regions Page ID New Van­i­ty Page Name
DEFAULT PAGE 12345 brand brand
IE-Eng­lish/Ger­man/S­pan­ish, CA-French, FR-French 67890 brand.a brand
GB-Eng­lish/Ger­man, CN, BE-French 24689 brand.b brand
NZ, AU 54871 brand.c brand

The first tab asks you to list the Regions — i.e. your tar­get­ing strat­e­gy (language/country — there’s a lookup table on anoth­er tab you can use), and which page is the default. You can change both of these set­tings at a lat­er time in the Glob­al Pages set­tings.

The Pages ID is the num­ber ref­er­ence you see in Busi­ness Man­ag­er — it’s also in the bot­tom of the page info sec­tion of your page’s set­tings.

The Van­i­ty col­umn is the URL suf­fix (the bit after — this can­not be changed after­wards. If you don’t have a van­i­ty URL, now is a great time to select one — all your pre­vi­ous vis­i­tors will be redi­rect­ed to your new URL nam­ing strat­e­gy. How­ev­er, if you already have a van­i­ty URL you can change it — but your old van­i­ty URL will not redi­rect to the new URL.

The Page Name is what will be dis­played in search­es and on your page — you can change this in the About tab at any time.

Tab 2: Root Admin(s)

Root Admin User IDs

Here is where you list the user ID for any glob­al admin­is­tra­tors — make sure you at least list your own user ID here. Don’t wor­ry, you can always add new admins after your move to Glob­al Pages. The notes from Face­book here say “The root Page is invis­i­ble and over­looks the whole struc­ture. It allows you to have insights for the whole struc­ture. Admins of the root Page can also man­age the Glob­al Page struc­ture (e.g add/remove coun­tries and edit Pages).”

To eas­i­ly find out your user ID, go to this URL (but change the “mar­ket­ing” ref­er­ence to the user­name of the per­son, e.g.

Tab 3: Country Codes

This is the com­plete list of all the coun­tries and their two-let­ter abbre­vi­a­tions. You’ll need this ref­er­ence to com­plete the first tab.

Tab 4: Languages

This is the com­plete list of all the sup­port­ed lan­guages. You’ll need this ref­er­ence to com­plete the first tab.

Tab 5: Tips

A few help­ful point­ers, some of which I’ve cov­ered here. I found that nam­ing all of my pages with the same name caused some issues lat­er on (as I did­n’t know which page was which when inte­grat­ing with oth­er plat­forms), but this is prob­a­bly bet­ter from a cus­tomer point of view. Your mileage may vary.

Wrapping Up

Once you’ve send your com­plet­ed spread­sheet back to Face­book, it can be imple­ment­ed quite quick­ly, in about a week (and will usu­al­ly let you know if there’s a prob­lem).

Let me know in the com­ments if your expe­ri­ence was any dif­fer­ent (or if you have any addi­tion­al tips).

Helpful links

  1. Am I eli­gi­ble to cre­ate Glob­al Pages?
  2. Cre­ate a Glob­al Pages struc­ture
  3. About Glob­al Pages
  4. Con­sol­i­date region­al Pages into Glob­al Pages
  5. Face­book Ad Sup­port
  6. Face­book Busi­ness Sup­port
  7. What are the guide­lines around cre­at­ing a cus­tom user­name?
  8. How do I change the user­name for my Page?
  9. How Face­book deter­mines a person’s loca­tion for Glob­al Pages

Staying Human In The Machine Age

In this inter­view with media the­o­rist Dou­glas Rushkoff pro­mot­ing his lat­est book Throw­ing Books At The Google Bus: How Growth Became the Ene­my of Pros­per­i­tyhe notes that shar­ing prof­its with your employ­ees is just good busi­ness.

“This is not bad busi­ness; this is not char­i­ty. This is using the prin­ci­ple of plat­form coop­er­a­tivism to end up with wealth­i­er mar­kets, wealth­i­er employ­ees, wealth­i­er sup­pli­ers. The wealth­i­er the peo­ple are around you, then the wealth­i­er you get to be.” — Dou­glas Rushkoff

This thought­ful inter­view cov­ers a lot of the altru­is­tic ter­ri­to­ry sug­gest­ed by the 99% — except Dou­glas has the his­tor­i­cal mus­cle to back up his claims. Refer­ring to new tech­nolo­gies as a renais­sance of old­er, more repressed approach­es, he pro­vides thought­ful prose and a look towards a more hope­ful future — for us all. Worth a read.


Throwing Rocks At The Google Bus: How Growth Became The Enemy of Prosperity
Portrait by Jonathan Worth

An Internet of Things that act like inkjet printers

Cory Doc­torow explains at O’Reil­ly’s OSCON (cov­er­ing open source tools, enter­prise, archi­tec­ture, infra­struc­ture, com­mu­ni­ty and more) in Austin, Texas why the Inter­net of Things that includes DRM may not be the best option.

It may, in fact be the worst.

Cory is a sci­ence fic­tion nov­el­ist, blog­ger and tech­nol­o­gy activist. He is the co-edi­tor of the pop­u­lar weblog Boing Boing, and a con­trib­u­tor to The Guardian, Pub­lish­ers Week­ly, Wired, and many oth­er news­pa­pers, mag­a­zines and web­sites. He is a spe­cial con­sul­tant to the Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion, a non-prof­it civ­il lib­er­ties group that defends free­dom in tech­nol­o­gy law, pol­i­cy, stan­dards and treaties. He holds an hon­orary doc­tor­ate in com­put­er sci­ence from the Open Uni­ver­si­ty (UK), where he is a Vis­it­ing Pro­fes­sor; in 2007, he served as the Ful­bright Chair at the Annen­berg Cen­ter for Pub­lic Diplo­ma­cy at the Uni­ver­si­ty of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia.


Hemingway (logo)

Do your headlines have a Beyoncé-level of engagement?

Like the lead para­graph in a news sto­ry or the­sis in an essay, your head­line is your one true sen­tence: the sin­gle most impor­tant asset for cap­tur­ing atten­tion in the feed.

Hem­ing­way is Sharethrough’s new AI-pow­ered head­line ana­lyz­er, an easy-to-use, pub­licly avail­able tool that puts a wealth of pro­pri­etary data sci­ence and lin­guis­tic analy­sis at your fin­ger­tips for the first time. This new tool is free for any­one look­ing to nav­i­gate the new pres­sures and demands in con­tent mar­ket­ing, help­ing them ana­lyze and quick­ly improve the qual­i­ty of their head­lines, opti­miz­ing for both impres­sion and engage­ment.

Below are the intial results for this arti­cle’s head­line (pre-Bey­on­cé).

Hemingway (actual headline result)

Using this analyser, I was able to push my Head­line Qual­i­ty Score from 62 to 79%. I’m not sure adding Bey­on­cé improved your lev­el of engage­ment after you arrived, but you clicked on the head­line though, did­n’t you? Appar­ent­ly that’s 98% of the prob­lem solved.

How does it work?

The Head­line Qual­i­ty Score is based on a mul­ti­vari­ate lin­guis­tic algo­rithm built on the prin­ci­ples of Behav­ior Mod­el the­o­ry and Sharethrough’s neu­ro­science and adver­tis­ing research. The algo­rithm takes into account more than 300 unique vari­ables, includ­ing EEG data and Nat­ur­al Lan­guage Pro­cess­ing, enabling your native ads to cap­ture atten­tion, increase engage­ment and deliv­er a stronger impres­sion.

Basi­cal­ly, it offers sug­ges­tions to improve click­throughs — but’s it not going to write bet­ter head­lines for you.

Back to work, you Hem­ing­way-wannabe.


The GyroGlove from GyroGear

GyroGlove: Solutions can come from any perspective

GyroGlove is a glove designed to sup­press hand tremors caused by Parkin­son’s dis­ease. Instead of using drugs to coun­ter­act the effect of the dis­ease, which have a finite lifes­pan and some­times sig­nif­i­cant side effects, Joon Faii Ong (a med­ical stu­dent at Impe­r­i­al Col­lege Lon­don) worked with a team of engi­neers, design­ers and medics to cre­ate a glove that would direct­ly sta­bilise the hands of some­one suf­fer­ing from tremors, by using gyro­scopes.

First nom­i­nat­ed as a final­ist in the AXA PPP Health Tech & You Awards, and now on tar­get to launch at the end of 2016.

via and

Freevolt™ — making electricity from thin air

Lord Drayson recent­ly unveiled Free­Volt, a rev­o­lu­tion­ary new tech­nol­o­gy that har­vests elec­tric­i­ty from air gen­er­at­ed by mobile phone and TV trans­mit­ters. If this new inno­va­tion takes off, it will pow­er sen­sors and con­nect­ed devices in smart homes and cities across the world. This could spell the end for bat­ter­ies and cum­ber­some charg­ers.

via and

Chaos Theory (as a Management Style)

For generations, science allowed us to think we could control nature. Today we know better (thanks to Chaos Theory). How could this make us better managers?

Sir Isaac New­ton’s deter­min­is­tic claim that we can pre­dict future events with absolute cer­tain­ty stood firm for 300 years — then along came Kurt Gödel’s Incom­plete­ness The­o­rem and Wern­er Heisen­berg’s Uncer­tain­ty Prin­ci­ple. Apply­ing this new sci­ence to the most wide­ly used man­age­ment style (i.e. direc­tive) and com­par­ing it to more empow­er­ing tech­niques, I look at how this could inform man­age­ment tac­tics (as well as social media pol­i­cy and cor­po­rate social respon­si­bil­i­ty).

The boring science‑y bit

mathematical formula written in chalk on blackboardIn 1931, Kurt Gödel declared a for­mal proof that every sys­tem (even the all-empass­ing Prin­cip­ia Math­e­mat­i­ca) con­tains incon­sis­ten­cy, and is there­fore incom­plete. In 1927, Heisen­berg’s uncer­tain­ty prin­ci­ple declared that all physics (when exam­ined close­ly enough) con­tains a degree of chaos. This was in con­trast with estab­lished New­ton­ian deter­min­ism that saw the uni­verse as a giant clock — if we could only see the cogs in enough detail, we could pre­dict future move­ments. When com­bined with oth­er the­o­ries (such as ran­dom Brown­ian Motion, Lorenz’ But­ter­fly Effect and Schrödinger’s Quan­tum Mechan­ics), a move­ment devel­oped that came to be known as Chaos The­o­ry. This embraces the idea that we can nev­er tru­ly fore­see an out­come, because small fluc­tu­a­tions can cause large long-term effects.

More recent­ly, in books on macro-eco­nom­ics such as Freako­nom­ics and The Tip­ping Point, there has been an under­stand­ing that growth can­not be infi­nite (e.g. the occu­py move­ment) and an aware­ness of wider sus­tain­abil­i­ty issues. This isn’t a hip­py-dip­py resur­gence of 60’s flower-pow­er — it’s actu­al­ly a nat­ur­al result of look­ing ever more deeply at what was pre­vi­ous­ly only thought of in abstract terms. Rick Levine and Christo­pher Locke dis­cussed the prob­lems of direc­tive man­age­ment styles in their book The Clue­train Man­i­festo. In it, a major study showed that although bark­ing orders at employ­ees often gen­er­at­ed high­er prof­its in the short term, (when com­pared with the long-term gains of more empath­ic man­age­ment tech­niques) it is actu­al­ly unprof­itable in the long-term — the man­age­ment equiv­a­lent of King Canute dar­ing the tide to change.

Today’s management structure prevents information flow

So how do these sci­en­tif­ic and high-lev­el math­e­mat­ics the­o­ries apply to man­age­ment styles — what could they pos­si­bly both have in com­mon? In each case, they lis­tened to the details — instead of ignor­ing them (because they did­n’t fit the estab­lished pat­tern). This often a pre­cur­sor of inno­va­tion — and why small­er com­pa­nies can do this bet­ter than larg­er ones. Chaos The­o­ry demon­strates that, (as a man­ag­er) it’s sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly impos­si­ble to pre­dict what will hap­pen. Direc­tive, short-term man­age­ment pat­terns don’t lis­ten for the details — they deter­mine large-scale changes from pre­vi­ous expe­ri­ence. As glob­al weath­er will tes­ti­fy — what hap­pened yes­ter­day — or last year — isn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly the best indi­ca­tor of what will hap­pen tomor­row.

Inter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tions with­in mul­ti-lev­el man­age­ment organ­i­sa­tions are not con­struct­ed to allow these details to be fil­tered upwards. In a typ­i­cal man­age­ment meet­ing, there’s only time for the larg­er prob­lems to be dis­cussed, so small­er prob­lems must be ignored — until they grow large enough to be on the agen­da (requir­ing more expen­sive solu­tions). This is also true for many effi­cien­cy and stream­lin­ing process­es — man­agers spend so lit­tle time on the ‘shop floor’ that they are unaware of improve­ments that are sug­gest­ed by those who are clos­est to the prob­lem — the work­ers.

When the going gets tough, the CEOs get out

What appears to be a quick easy fix (such as clo­sures and lay-offs) can show as instant prof­it on this year’s bal­ance sheet — pay­ing for the expen­sive CEO’s gold­en hand­shake, but will typ­i­cal­ly back-fire. In addi­tion, it pro­pos­es a ‘boom and bust’ men­tal­i­ty that caus­es many CEOs to lose their jobs (as soon as the bust hits). High dra­ma makes for great head­lines, but poor man­age­ment. As with cli­mate change, there may be no sin­gle rad­i­cal solu­tion that solves a major prob­lem com­plete­ly — but a large num­ber of small­er improve­ments (when added togeth­er) can pre­vent the need for dra­mat­ic action.

There are oth­er ways to solve this prob­lem more cre­ative­ly — David Cote (Hon­ey­well)Dan Price (Grav­i­ty) and Bob Chap­man (Bar­ry-Wehmiller) per­haps being the most famous exam­ples, but in recent times FedEx, Hewlett-Packard, and The New York Times have all cut base pay (with most low­er­ing man­age­ment salaries more than work­ers) instead of let­ting peo­ple go. Even Lar­ry and Sergey at Google only take a $1 annu­al salary. In Japan, a pop­u­lar belief in busi­ness ethics is that busi­ness­es (and peo­ple) who pur­sue mon­ey first even­tu­al­ly fail — most notably employed by Haru­ka Nishi­mat­su, who humbly wait­ing in line for food with his employ­ees and took the bus to work when times got tough, as good lead­ers should fight along­side their troops. Simon Sinek used a sim­i­lar bat­tle-based anal­o­gy (but the same fam­i­ly motif) as the basis of his book Lead­ers Eat Last.

Since the 1980s, much of busi­ness ide­ol­o­gy has been influ­enced by mil­i­tary tech­niques (e.g. goals, strat­e­gy, objec­tives, tac­tics) — how­ev­er, the com­rade­ship fac­tor has been con­ve­nient­ly left out. This just does­n’t add up.

Social media — “The Truth Will Out”

Tax avoid­ance schemes even­tu­al­ly come home to roost. Get­ting the state to pay for Wal­mart’s employ­ee ben­e­fits (while the com­pa­ny makes record prof­its) is just not sus­tain­able — and the new-found pow­er of con­sumers in social media is the best place to dis­rupt this sort of care­ful­ly-planned (and deter­min­is­tic) mar­ket­ing plan. Social media clos­es the feed­back loop, allow­ing infor­ma­tion to freely bub­ble to the top.

From William J. Conaty, who ran human resources at Gen­er­al Elec­tric (GE) for 14 years:

“Peo­ple have long mem­o­ries. They’ll remem­ber whether they think they were dealt with equi­tably.”

CSR and fair compensation

Man wearing suit and tie stares into camera, as dirt road recedes into the distanceWhat, then is the most sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly accu­rate man­age­ment style that best depicts a mod­el of real­i­ty? How can we take advan­tage of broad advance­ments in sci­ence and math­e­mat­ics to be more effec­tive, bet­ter under­stood, with more cus­tomers, and achieve high­er prof­its (with hap­pi­er and more moti­vat­ed staff)?

Sim­ple — be more humane when man­ag­ing fel­low humans. This is the use of sup­port­ive instead of direc­tive man­age­ment tech­niques. In a busi­ness sense, it leads to more prof­it. For employ­ees, they are hap­pi­er and feel val­ued. Cus­tomers ben­e­fit through a bet­ter lev­el of ser­vice.

This is why Hen­ry Ford dou­bled the min­i­mum wage in 1914, why the Cad­bury broth­ers cre­at­ed the town of Bournville for their staff and pio­neered pen­sions in 1879, and more recent­ly Face­book have cre­at­ed their own com­pa­ny town — these (even­tu­al­ly) lead to high­er prof­its. Fair com­pen­sa­tion (and recog­ni­tion — which is free, after all) is often all that employ­ees ask for. These are some of the ear­li­est exam­ples of Cor­po­rate Social Respon­si­bil­i­ty — which seems these days to be com­plete­ly divorced from employ­ee ben­e­fits, and has turned into a form of cor­po­rate phil­an­thropy (i.e. for those out­side the com­pa­ny) instead.

Typ­i­cal­ly, small­er fam­i­ly-run busi­ness­es sup­port their employ­ees, and lis­ten to cus­tomer and pro­duc­tion’s poten­tial prob­lems — and are thus able to fix them while still in their infan­cy. This long-term approach is often lam­bast­ed by more ‘prof­it-dri­ven’ man­age­ment exec­u­tives — but we should be think­ing in terms of being in sync with our cus­tomers, clients and col­leagues for decades — not try­ing to rip them off as quick­ly as pos­si­ble and hop­ing there’ll be a new suck­er born every minute.

Business relationships are a conversation (not an argument)

By free­ing up the infor­ma­tion flow, respect­ing each oth­er’s prac­ti­cal, man­age­ment, and user expe­ri­ence, we can cre­ate high­ly-opti­mised yet flu­id and respon­sive solu­tions that evolve organ­i­cal­ly over time. By lis­ten­ing to our col­leagues, we learn to embrace chaos — and respond quick­ly to the unknown because we knew it was always there.

In our new knowl­edge econ­o­my, thought­ful appli­ca­tion of new sci­ences and tech­nol­o­gy using the above tech­niques will inevitably lead to brand loy­al­ty, less employ­ee churn, deep­er cus­tomer engage­ment and high­er prof­it mar­gins.

Isn’t that what we all want?

But how?

The best way to go with the (chaot­ic) flow isn’t to throw your hands up in despair — roll up your sleeves, use good judge­ment and demon­strate lead­er­ship. It’s best encap­su­lat­ed by Saint-Exupéry (author of The Lit­tle Prince) in this TED talk by Julia Galef about the ‘Scout Mind­set’:

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up your men to col­lect wood and give orders and dis­trib­ute the work. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and end­less sea.”

Million Dollar Homepage

IAB: A U‑Turn on the Ad-Blocking Superhighway?

Ad-blocking is the new normal. With the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) having launched its LEAN Ads program worldwide, I look a little closer at the initiative – and what it implies for the future of online advertising.

While I agree with the the­o­ry of the LEAN ini­tia­tive (which stands for light, encrypt­ed, ad-choice sup­port­ed, and non-inva­sive), the imple­men­ta­tion leaves a lit­tle to be desired. Less place­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties for pub­lish­ers and more con­straints for dis­tri­b­u­tion plat­forms seem an Orwellian reac­tion to an indus­try still reel­ing from the arrival of HTML5.

pagefair-mapToday, almost one in five Inter­net users in the UK (and ris­ing) have an ad-block­er installed. Adver­tis­ing rev­enue is being wast­ed on unseen ads, ad fraud and ‘bots, while scripts, videos and bloat­ed band­width are inflat­ing mobile data plans. The tar­get audi­ence and brands are cry­ing ‘foul’. And although LEAN address­es some of these tac­ti­cal con­cerns, it fails to address the broad­er prob­lems.

For­tu­nate­ly, there are ways through this thorny prob­lem but, much like glob­al warm­ing, we’re not going to like it; agen­cies, dis­tri­b­u­tion plat­forms, pub­lish­ers and clients are all going to have to work togeth­er if we’re to move for­ward.

First­ly, as always, we need to get cre­ative. Take the hum­ble 200kb online ad; often del­e­gat­ed to art­work­ing teams, many with mea­gre bud­gets, fast turn­around times and low expec­ta­tions.

Incor­po­rat­ing dig­i­tal inno­va­tion, such as dynamic/rotating con­tent; lever­ag­ing speed using Con­tent Deliv­ery Net­works as well as pro­gram­mat­ic and oth­er user-tar­get­ing tech­niques; and devel­op­ing con­tent-led cre­ative – instead of just con­tain­ers for con­tent deliv­ery – may even­tu­al­ly endear the user to brands and increase engage­ment. This approach will cre­ate ads that evolve and can last an entire cam­paign – simul­ta­ne­ous­ly reduc­ing media spend while increas­ing click­throughs. Block­ing ad-block­ers is a road to nowhere.

Sec­ond­ly, lead­ers in this area (such as Guardian Labs) are invit­ing users to become part of the equa­tion. An exten­sion of the IAB-approved ‘AdChoic­es’ con­cept, Google’s Con­trib­u­tor plat­form for Dou­bleClick (which is yet to roll out to the UK), allows ‘sub­scribers’ to pay a month­ly fee to remove ads. How­ev­er, this will only work if all ads are removed in the sub­scrip­tion, and the prof­it mod­el replaces the rev­enue stream (and doesn’t increase it). If there’s one thing online busi­ness­es should learn, it’s that trans­paren­cy is key to suc­cess.

crystal_page_load_timesLast­ly, pub­lish­ers, clients and media plan­ners seem to have opt­ed for quan­ti­ty, not qual­i­ty. Those that work hard­er with their part­ners, lever­ag­ing brand depth instead of reach, to gain the first-mover advan­tage (reduc­ing impres­sions and incor­po­rat­ing native/sponsored/branded con­tent) will be the first to reap the low-hang­ing fruit; leav­ing com­peti­tors, pay­walls and ad block­ers scram­bling in their wake.

There has been some size­able changes in the dig­i­tal dis­play indus­try in 2015, but for a long time users have always want­ed the same thing from adver­tis­ing: make it use­ful.

Show me what I need, just before I need it. 

Most users don’t want to block all adver­tis­ing; they just want to see adver­tis­ing that is appro­pri­ate to them (by def­i­n­i­tion, ads not intend­ed for them are – at the very least – poor­ly tar­get­ed). We have many more cre­ative dig­i­tal tools to enable this to hap­pen.

The indus­try has alien­at­ed our cus­tomers with irrel­e­vant adver­tise­ments force-fed to them en masse – let’s work hard (and togeth­er) to get them back on board.

They’ll thank us for it.

“Mil­lion Dol­lar Home­page” © 2005 Alex Tew
“Ad Block­ing Usage by Coun­try”© 2015 PageFair/Adobe
“iOS Page Load Time in Sec­onds” © 2015 Mark Wilson/Beta News


Spec work and spec-based design con­tests have a detri­men­tal impact on the qual­i­ty of design, neg­a­tive­ly affect­ing both the design­er and the client. In an effort to edu­cate those work­ing in the design pro­fes­sion, as well as the clients who use their ser­vices, a group of design­ers got togeth­er to share advice and sto­ries about the pit­falls of spec.