Has Google’s Delay in Customer Matching Resulted in a Stronger Product? + Diversity in the Boardroom + LMTD Likes

Welcome to The Watercooler, issue 61.

LMTD has picked out some of the most interesting digital and social media stories making waves around the web this week, to keep you up-to-date with developments in the world’s most exciting and fastest-growing industry. Something else you’d like to see?

Let us know at news@teamlmtd.com.

Has Google’s delay in customer matching resulted in a stronger product?


Late last month, Google announced the rollout of its newest product aimed at marketers: the ability to upload a list of email addresses, and then use them to target ads to brands’ customers – assuming these are people currently signed into their Google accounts – based on their existing relationships with the brand (whether that’s membership in a loyalty program, or a one-time click).

This is a big deal for the tech giant. Why? For starters, because on the surface, it doesn’t seem very new or innovative. Facebook introduced a similar customer matching tool called Customer Audiences back in 2012, as did Twitter with its Tailored Audiences, in 2013.

So why did Google, usually so light on its feet, take so long to catch up?

Short answer: it was working on what might be a stronger product.

Google’s product management director for AdWords Bhanu Narasimhan told the platform AdExchanger that relevance will be a key difference between Google’s customer matching product and others currently available: “ours is unique in that it’s also based on [search] intent,” in addition to simple matching. Because Google specializes in personalized search, it believes it will be able to offer better potential for accurate targeting than social media platforms.

Google also has to contend with privacy concerns in a way that its social media rivals don’t. The search giant has tangled with the US and EU governments over issues concerning privacy in the past, and with ad blockers very much in the news, news that it will be using people’s information to serve them ads could be tricky for Google’s PR department right now.

To counteract this, Google will “require that email addresses are given directly to the advertiser by the customer,” says Narasimhan. Further, all Consumer Match ads will appear with a pop-up, allowing users to opt out of email-based targeting.

Let us know if you think Google’s Consumer Matching product was worth the wait.

Women care more about racial diversity in the boardroom than men


New data from PricewaterhouseCoopers shows that more women than men say that diversity of all kinds makes boards more effective and boosts company performance.

The study, which polled nearly 800 public company directors (of whom 86% were male and 14% female, a ratio which reflects gender distribution averages of public company directors), found that 46% of women polled believe that racial diversity is “very important” compared with only 27% of men.

Everyone agrees in theory that diversity in the boardroom is a good thing. But there are several roadblocks to making this happen. First, it’s hard to sell a seismic boardroom shift when the quarterly bottom line is looming at the end of three short months at most, even though it’s been proven time and again that more diverse companies perform better.

A deeper issue, though, is reflected in another data point in the PwC study: how executives perceive female or non-white candidates. Half of women polled reported there being sufficient numbers of qualified diverse candidates to take up board positions; only 18% of men agreed.

Apps we love

twilight app

This week’s app we love is Twilight for Android, which changes the light on your connected device to reflect the time of day so as to help you stay on natural circadian rhythms. Jill Flannery, one of LMTD’s Junior Account Executives, gave us a short rundown on how it works:

“The idea is that, yes we should put our mobile devices away before bed– the blue light they emit fools our brain into thinking it’s daytime. Enter Twilight: the app designed to cancel out the ‘blue’ light that keeps our brain awake and help send us to sleep.

It’s quite user-friendly and easy to use. Enter your location and it figures out when sundown is and begins dimming your screen as the sun sets. As the sun rises in the morning it brightens your screen again. All the settings can be adjusted and of course it can be paused at any time.

The difference in getting to sleep only became clear to me after I paused it during the day and forgot to switch it back on. Without it running I was much more ‘awake’ and ‘buzzing’ when trying to sleep than I was with it on.

It’s a free app so there are a lot of ads, however you only see them when you go into the app. Adjust the settings to suit your sleep schedule and it will do its thing without you needing to go into it.

Best of all are the sleep cycle clocks. No more heart attacks as a song I used to love but am slowly coming to loathe blares at me!”

f.lux is a similar app for Apple users.


Microsoft’s all new everything

WeChat uses heat maps to let the Chinese government see where crowds are forming

Asana’s refreshingly frank blog post about its rebrand

This developer wrote a @slackbot code for mandatory team exercise — and his team’s productivity has skyrocketed

Instagram at 5: an interview with founder & CEO Kevin Systrom

Apple acquired an artificial intelligence startup – but won’t say how much it spent or what it’s going to do with it


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