Devon Brown, Performance Marketing Manager

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Like most people who’ve marketed on Pinterest, my campaigns have hovered around the 2.5% engagement rank mark for years. I’ve tried painstaking research to uncover new trends, I’ve tried different targeting strategies, and I’ve had some stellar creative to work with. But no matter what I did, I was achieving 2.5% engagement rate, no more, no less. Until one magical winter morning in December when I decided it’s time to do some new Pinterest testing.

I had three campaigns to work with, all of which were performing about the same (2.5% ER’s, obvi). They all had great creative, and they were all pertaining to a topic that is near and dear to my heart — special diets. (I’m allergic to dairy and eggs, so all the lingo and frustrations served me well during keyword ideation.) Of the three campaigns I was working with, one was optimized for traffic, one was optimized for engagement, and one was optimized for video views. All three were targeted toward people who had previously engaged with pins OR visited the website, OR fell into the keyword targeting. My goal? Break the 2.5% engagement rate glass ceiling. …

As we approach the Holiday season and the end of 2017, aka annus horribilis, I took a look back at some of the notes I had kept during the year. The ability to pin notes in Apple Notes made it very easy to recall the ones I favored.

I’ll begin with a Facebook Post by Brian Eno titled 2016/2017, followed by extracts and links from articles that surfaced in magazines and online publications that I subscribe to, and various newsletters covering popular culture, politics and society.

Izzy Kramer, Media Planner

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Generations are one of those fun topics that everyone can relate to. No matter who you are, you belong to a generation, while also knowing others who belong to the same or a different generation. Generations give a sense of identity, and, for the most part, do a good job of summarizing the collective group.

So, it is all of these reasons and more why I’m talking about this topic today, specifically the up-and-coming generation, Gen Z. Following behind the sought-after Millennials, Gen Z are already beginning to make a claim for themselves. …

In a fast-paced world of non-stop information, whether it be news, fake news, clickbait, or worse, there is surely nothing more depressing than a band being on the receiving end of a terrible PR stunt through no fault of their own, only to discover the ramifications of the stunt through the electronic grapevine.

The band that I’m referring to is The Domestics. Their former label in the process of publicizing the release of the band’s new album, Little Darkness, was responsible for the PR gaff and its racist overtones; the band had no knowledge of it until it broke on the internet. Here’s a link to a Paste article that is a good primer to the backstory. …

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I’ve been looking back at some of my essays that I have posted on my website or Medium, looking for references that I might use in new articles, speeches, or posts. As we humans tend to have short memories, it pays to look into the past now and again as one can often come across an idea or theory that remains relevant to this day.

What you are about to read here is a roughly five-year-old essay. As I returned to it I realized that some of the points I made are still relevant in today’s music world. I have made edits only to sentences or phrases that were outdated; they are marked as such (Edit:) For those of you inclined to leave a comment, please remember that I wrote this essay a while ago although I feel that it holds up after all that time. …

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Radiohead audience at the Moda Center, Portland, Or. 4/9/2017 Image: Dave Allen

The battle for subscribers and the preservation of music culture

This essay was first published on my LinkedIn Influencer page.

Before I go any further, I want to say that I’m a fan of Horace Dediu’s writing on his Asymco website. Asymco is a project of Dediu’s, an expert in complex data analysis. I recently read a post of his, Contact Less, that inspired some thoughts for this essay. In it, he describes the ongoing issues around online payment platforms, such as those offered by the likes of Samsung Pay, Google Pay, and Apple Pay.

Dediu offers an interesting term for how hard it can be to win over new customers to these new Pay platforms — “attritional competition with non-consumption.”

Let’s not be fooled…

Preamble: I began writing this during the presidential primaries. I returned to the draft many times during the last few months fully intending to get it done, yet each time, to use a contemporary term, I felt bricked; I had a terrible sense of foreboding.

I did manage to send out this tweet as a warning regarding the US election, and of course I don’t feel any better for Simon’s prescience:

Everyone brace yourselves. One word — Brexit. On Election Eve, a Brexistential Dread by Simon Critchley.

And now, as we are about to enter the New Year, I feel the need to get this essay behind me. 2016 has been a tough year, not least because we lost so many great people; the list seemed never ending all the way up to the end of the year. 2016 was a terrible year for those police forces who lost many of their members, and the black communities who saw their loved ones killed at the hands of the police or, as in Chicago, at the hands of people in their own communities due to the ease of access to guns. Let’s also spare a thought for those massacred at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, as well as so many Syrians being massacred by their own government, and the people of Iraq still living in fear of ISIL. This list could unfortunately go…

The Expectational Debt of 2015

On Music, society, inequality, TV and film, and Stephen Curry

Society and politics.

As every New Year approaches, I’ve attempted to gather my thoughts about the year being left behind in the rearview mirror. This year may be harder than ever to tabulate as I have already spent so much time trying to get my head around the extremely divisive political positions being taken in the U.S.A., the rise of terrorism both foreign and national, and the rise of wealth inequality, not just in the U.S.A. …

I’ll begin with a question: Is it bordering on narcissism to share one’s health data online? My own answer is I’m not certain. Why I’m uncertain is because what I intend to share here may be helpful to someone else, in terms of their own health, which I would consider a good thing. I also understand that what I am going to share is about me, hence the narcissism concerns. I’ll take that risk.

In January of this year I visited my doctor for my annual ritual of standing on the scale, being cuffed for blood pressure results, and jabbed by needles to gather cholesterol levels. A few days later I received an alarming note; something had changed and not for the better. I had gained weight (that was obvious to me of course,) more importantly my blood pressure and cholesterol readings had risen. …

Living in a culture of simulation. In two parts.

This Southwest Airlines airplane has lost a screw. Yes a screw. The screw is required to be in place before we can take off; it cannot be missing, it must be replaced. Subsequently we passengers are trapped inside this metal cylinder until a mechanic retrieves a new screw from somewhere mysterious and installs it. It has been 45 minutes so far. Still waiting. This is when one realizes, or rather is reminded, that technology is capable of letting us down; progress is not infallible. Such can be the mundanity of daily life.

As W.H.Auden said “suffering takes place while someone else is eating or opening a window.” Sitting on an airplane waiting for a screw to be replaced can hardly be called suffering but someone, somewhere, was surely opening a window or eating, as we were all sitting there. There would be people Googling recipes for dinner, buying tickets to Fifty Shades of Grey, watching soaps on TV, ordering a book from Amazon, gambling on lottery tickets. …


Dave Allen

Director, Artist Advocacy, North Inc. Former Apple Music Artist Relations. Gang of Four bass player. Adjunct Lecturer @ University of Oregon. Thinker. Writer.

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