Trump, Apple, and Facebook Advertising: Content Marketing News for May, 2016

Content marketing news, including trends in live video, Apple’s quarterly numbers, Facebook ads, and … that Trump fellow.


This week we’re talking about content marketing news for May, 2016 — as well as the larger picture that lets you put this month’s (or any month’s) news in context.

In this 15-minute episode, I talk about:

  • My key takeaway from the chaotic Republican primary process in the U.S.
  • Thoughts on Apple’s “bad” financial quarter and what it might mean long-term
  • Facebook’s ad revenue numbers, and why they’re climbing so fast
  • Live social video is the newest Bright and Shiny — should you try it out?
  • A rock-solid content strategy post from Joe Pulizzi that actually lives up to its clickbait headline


The Show Notes


Sonia Simone: So glad to see you again, and welcome back to CopybloggerFM, the content marketing podcast.

CopybloggerFM is about emerging content marketing trends, interesting disasters, and enduring best practices, along with the occasional rant. My name is Sonia Simone, I’m the chief content officer for Rainmaker Digital, and I hang out with the folks doing the real work over on the Copyblogger blog.

Note: See the show notes for all the links!

This week I’ll run down some news from around the web as it relates to content marketing — but as always, I want to put things into perspective, because it’s the evergreen principles and behaviors that will really shape an effective content marketing strategy.

Even if your organization feels it will benefit from chasing every shiny new platform there is — and that can be accurate, depending on who you serve and what you do — you want to approach that from principles that you can rely on over time.

So let’s start with one that’s a larger story, and that’s the presumptive nomination of Donald Trump as the candidate for president for the Republican party in the U.S.

Mr. Trump is very good at generating conversations — not always very friendly ones — but I don’t want to talk about Trump in this context, I want to talk about predictions and conventional wisdom.

I refer you to Nate Silver’s post on Why Republican Voters Decided on Trump. The real title should be, “How did we blow it this bad when normally we’re good at predicting things.”

If you haven’t seen Silver’s blog, it’s called (spelled out as words), and the whole point is that he and his team look at solid data and then they are Good At Math and they can help use it to make useful predictions.

And often they do. And sometimes they don’t.

Whenever you’re in a chaotic system — the Republican party in the U.S. right now is, but so is this environment we’re in of digital business and promotion — sometimes small changes have outsized effects.

This isn’t to say ignore your data. Don’t ignore your data. But beyond your data, you must keep your eyes open for what’s actually happening, whether or not you called the prediction accurately.

The more absolutely rock solid certain you are about some event taking place in the future, the more careful you have to be. We have a whole banquet of biases that make that kind of scenario very dangerous.

The beginning of the end for Apple

And on that note, the business press was all over Apple’s failure to make its forecasted numbers this week.

Now we have to use a little bit larger view here. Apple’s earnings are greater than Facebook, Google, and Amazon combined. Apple is not on the verge of going feet-up and six feet under.

But in the spirit of observation, this is an interesting time to be watchful. The mythology has always been that Apple can do no wrong, despite the fact that Apple has a couple of complete stinkers in its past.

Kill your gurus. Never do anything in business or marketing or life for that matter because someone you admire did it. Always look closely at the picture, taking as wide a view as you can, and ask how you can conduct an experiment with some idea that crosses your path.

And avoid simple answers to complicated questions. We love stories about, Apple was a success because Steve Jobs could tell the color yellow was off on the Google logo. It’s a great story — it’s not a great predictor of anything other than the exasperation level of people who worked with Steve Jobs.

Accept complexity and stay watchful.

Facebook is making a lot of money …

The New York Times tells us that Facebook is making a heck of a lot of money these days. Paper of record, folks.

The Times reports that Facebook is making $11.86 on every user on the platform. That adds up to one skillion billionty dollars.

Facebook, of course, makes its money on advertising — and even though Google is still very much the big brother, Google’s numbers are slipping and Facebook’s are climbing.

Google has long enjoyed a big advantage in the battle for online advertising revenue because users are more likely to click on an ad for something they are searching for. But even though Facebook users are not usually on the network to buy something, the sticky way in which they engage once there makes it an attractive place to advertise.

Why you care, unless you own stock in these giant players, is that if you aren’t looking at Facebook advertising yet, perhaps because Google advertising didn’t work well for you, you may want to rethink it.

It does depend on your topic, but more and more businesses are finding that they’re the “kind of business that can advertising profitably on Facebook.”

Now — is Facebook going to work forever? Of course it won’t. Unless it does. In fact, Brian Clark and Jerod Morris covered precisely that in a recent podcast episode — the myth of “Set it and Forget It.”

You can find it at — along with lots of other episodes.

We’re going to have some additional thoughts for you on that topic coming soon over in the Digital Commerce Academy shortly — we’ll let you know when we have more to share on that one.


Finally, Adweek is always up to give us something new and shiny to think about, this week they talked about live video as the Next Big Thing.

Live video works against the prevailing trend of online communication, which is that it’s been asynchronous. And of course so does Snapchat, the great social media darling of the moment.

People seem to want to be doing the same thing at the same time now. Possibly because it’s different from the binge-watching, consume-when-I-want to larger trend, and different is better than better. (Just ask Sally Hogshead.)

Who knows what the future might bring, maybe we’ll have an app called CoffeeShop that lets people meet face to face and drink caffeinated beverages and have conversations that don’t involve their phones. Nothing surprises me any more.

Should you get in on it? If it sounds like fun and plays to your strengths, give it a shot. And of course, your overarching question is always,

Does this make sense for my audience?

If your audience are retirees and you’re using Periscope — eh, maybe. Probably not. But you do want to build in some space in your social media execution plan so you can do experiments like this when they strike you as juicy. Remember, we know nothing, Jon Snow. Things are very unpredictable, because they change so quickly.

And on a final note, it’s time for me to make an “Ask” — it really helps the show when you give it a review or a star rating on iTunes, so if you’re an iTunes listener and you feel moved to show us some love there, that really helps us. And a big thank you to everyone who has already left us reviews and ratings, it’s so appreciated.

See you next week!