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The Facebook and the Fury: Coming Clean on Content Experimentation

this old marketing logoPNR: This Old Marketing with Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose can be found on both iTunes and Stitcher.

In this episode, Robert and I discuss CMI’s purchase of the Intelligent Content Conference, then dive into P&G’s new edict that all marketing titles will change. In addition, we dissect Google’s decision to abandon Authorship pictures in search results, discuss some new research on how brands spend money to promote owned media content, and explore this week’s #ThisOldMarketing example: Chango.

This week’s show

(Recorded live on June 30, 2014; Length: 1:00:19)

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1. Content Marketing in the News

  • Content Marketing Institute Acquires Intelligent Content Conference (3:20): Content Marketing Institute has announced its acquisition of The Intelligent Content Conference, the largest event in North America focused on helping organizations deliver “the right content, to the right audience, anywhere, anytime, on any device.” Robert is enthusiastic about CMI’s decision to expand its scope to include content strategy and explains why organizations need to view content as a strategic asset.
  • Did P&G Just End Marketing as We Know It? (11:00): AdAge reports that on July 1, hundreds of the company’s marketing directors and associate marketing directors officially became brand directors and associate brand directors. P&G says the change signifies the broader purview of marketing directors. I believe this move reflects an increased focus on the customer experience, and Robert explains why it makes sense for the company to move these people from regional to global business units.
  • An Unusual Partnership Aims to Create the User-Generated Publishing Platform of Tomorrow (20:30): An unprecedented collaboration between two leading newspapers and the nonprofit Mozilla tech community is building a “publishing platform for readers” called OpenNews that aims to revolutionize the way we consume and contribute news. Robert and I wonder what the compelling problem is that OpenNews solves, and discuss why we predict that the venture will fail epically.
  • Why Did Google Remove Authorship Pics? (28:19): The Search Engine Land blog recently published a post by Mark Traphagen that speculates on why Google search results will no longer display authors’ photos — a feature that had been launched as part of its Google Authorship program. Robert and I share our own interpretation of this move and discuss what it means for content marketing.
  • Owned Editorial Content Claims the Lion’s Share of Mobile Media Spend (34:55): According to ClickZ, a new study from Sharethrough says brands are spending the majority of their ad dollars (68 percent) on mobile to drive traffic to their owned websites. Though it seems odd that businesses would pay to drive traffic to content on a website they don’t own, Robert and I talk about circumstances where this may actually make sense.

2. Sponsor (41:33):

  • This Old Marketing is, once again, sponsored by Emma — email marketing for the modern brand, featuring mobile-responsive templates, social integration tools and concierge services. Emma is promoting a new webinar entitled, The 8-Second Challenge: Email Marketing for the Shrinking Attention Span. You can download it at

example-8 second challenge

3. Rants and Raves (43:24)

  • My Rave: A fascinating new article in FastCompany chronicles several bold decisions Facebook has made that are driving unprecedented growth. For example, the company reorganized its ad sales and product groups and aligned their compensation structures — a change that has resulted in significant innovation and nearly $1 billion in new revenue in the last year. I offer my kudos to Facebook for this smart move, and explore how it serves as a lesson that content marketers can learn from.
  • Robert’s Rant: Facebook revealed that it had previously altered the content in the news feeds of 600,000 users as part of a behavioral experiment. The test confirmed that users who see positive items in their feed tend to post more positive updates, and negative items tend to result in negative post updates. Robert is flabbergasted by the media firestorm that has resulted from this announcement — mass media has been doing this type of experimentation for years as part of their data-based consumer research. His message to Facebook’s overly vocal critics? “Get over it!

4. This Old Marketing Example of the Week (54:48)

  • Chango: I recently came across a copy of Programmatically Designed — a beautiful print magazine produced by Chango (a programmatic advertising vendor) — and was immediately impressed. It features a unique mixture of authoritative original content and curated articles from thought-leader websites like, ClickZ, and Digiday. Focused on the needs of CMOs, it serves as further proof of my belief that big opportunities exist to include high-quality print publications in any content marketing strategy.

giant watch face-programmatic mind

For a full list of the PNR archives, go to the main This Old Marketing page. 

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