Do You Know Whom to Network With?


shutterstock_254035720By far the most effective way of getting a new job is by networking. When making presentations to large groups, I often test that tenet, and invariably it proves to be true. Therefore, networking is how people in transition should spend most of their time. For many, though, networking is a challenging task because they are introverts or they don’t know with whom to connect and network.


If we took a quick look at all the possibilities, we’d see there are two broad groups: a group with which we have strong ties such as friends, family, or coworkers and a group with which we have weak ties. When asked, most people say that if necessary, they would work on improving their relationships with those in the group with which they already have strong ties. However, sociologists specializing in the field of social interactions have found certain interesting information: (1) although counterintuitive, networking with that other group—the one with which people have weak ties—is more beneficial; (2) more-novel information goes to individuals through weak rather than strong ties; (3) the reason for that is that because our close friends tend to move in the same circles we do, the information they receive overlaps considerably with what we already know; and (4) the quality or strength of interpersonal ties is based on a combination of several things such as amount of time that the people know each other, the level of emotional intensity between them, the level of intimacy between them, the level at which they confide in each other, and reciprocal favors or services they perform for each other.

The sociologists’ research revealed that most jobs were found through weak acquaintances. In fact, one study found that more than half of people who found jobs received the leading information via people with whom they had only occasional contact. This is both interesting and informative, because logic would seem to favor that such information would come rather from those with whom one has frequent contact.

To support the empirical evidence, I’m reminded of an article I read that said two total strangers sitting next to each other in an airplane might end up disclosing to each other certain information that under normal circumstances would be discussed with only very close friends or family.

So, the next time you go networking, don’t cling to your buddies, but start a conversation with a stranger. Who knows? It could lead to a new job.

Personal Branding Blog – Stand Out In Your Career


Know Where Your Ads Are Running, Whom They’re Reaching, and How Much You’re Paying?


Most advertisers today are going in blind and getting deceived in online advertising. Amid the rise of programmatic online media buys, somehow transparency has deftly managed to slip through the cracks.

Brands and agencies at a recent Digiday event were asked to identify their single largest concern regarding online advertising. Once all votes were in, ad fraud and viewability emerged as the top industry issues keeping execs up at night.

With bots, suspect placements, and cost-transparency issues looming large, heads of digital are beginning to take a closer look at exactly where, when, and what their agencies and ad tech partners are running in their ad placements.

The opacity of the online advertising industry hasn’t been adequately scrutinized until now. New technology in the form of placement quality monitoring and video-by-video location databases is beginning to force the realization among advertisers that the somewhat sketchy way things have been so far may not be the way they’ll always have to be.

As an advertiser, you have the right to know where your ads are running, whom you’re reaching, and how much you’re paying. You need clear reporting that boils down to the KPIs that matter for your business.

What you don’t need is a “trusted” ad partner charging you an arm and a leg for display ads running at 4 AM in countries where you don’t do business or for ads that never get seen anywhere.

Moreover, Google’s first-ever ad viewability report [PDF] revealed that 56% of online display ads are never actually seen by consumers. Are you 100% certain that you’re getting all the views you’re currently paying for?

Who ultimately is responsible for ridding the online ad market of deception and disappointment?

Here’s what advertisers should at least consider as they continue to shift media budgets online and search for the perfect technology partner.

Strict Standards 

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) may define viewability as a minimum of 50% of pixels showing for at least one-to-two seconds, but that doesn’t mean you have to. If a 60% video view-to-completion rate is important to you, communicate that KPI to your agency or ad tech partner.

Don’t be afraid to get specific about what metrics represent success for your business. The more clearly you lay out what you want at the beginning, the more likely you are to actually get it in the end.

Relationship Economics

Money talk can be tough, but unfortunately, it’s up to you to ask how much margin your agency or ad tech provider is making from each media buy. Paying a small percentage to ensure top-quality service, premium inventory, and continual campaign optimization is one thing. Getting practically robbed is quite another.

Finding the One

The same principle should be applied when serving your ad to relevant audiences online. Not all views are created equal, and your ad tech partner needs to spend your ad dollars targeting the right type of consumers for your brand.

Most people wouldn’t feel comfortable paying for a lackluster meal at a Michelin star-rated restaurant. Make it clear that you are not willing to pay for low-quality or wildly off-target views either.

Placement Politics

Asking political questions may be taboo in most social situations, but having a conversation with your ad tech partner about precisely where your ads are running online needs to become the norm.

Google’s 2014 ad-viewability report notes that above the fold placements have a 68% viewability rate, while below the fold ads have a 40% rate. If your partner can’t produce a site-by-site or video-by-video list of placements, it’s time to break off the relationship and find someone who can.

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The worldwide media-buying arm of WPP, Group M, has forecast that 50% of the UK’s ad market will be digital in 2015. So, make sure you understand where your ads are running, who they’re reaching, and what you’re paying for.

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