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 (they are related to the total sum of all pages). 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 is 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.

EDIT: Cur­rently, there is no dir­ect way to con­tact Face­book via tele­phone or email. Don’t call a Face­book con­tact phone num­ber you have found on Google (like this one). These are run by soph­ist­ic­ated scam­mers, and they will ask seem­ingly legit­im­ate ques­tions — until they have enough inform­a­tion to hack your account (or worse).

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 sent your com­pleted spread­sheet back to Face­book, it can be imple­men­ted quite quickly — some­times in under a week — and they will usu­ally let you know if there’s a problem.

This post was first writ­ten in 2018, but should still be cur­rent. Please 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

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.