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By Thomas Baekdal - November 2019

COPPA, CCPA, GDPR ... We are moving into a new future. And let's talk studies

This is an archived version of a Baekdal Plus newsletter (it's free). It is sent out about once per week and features the latest articles as well as unique insights written specifically for the newsletter. If you want to get the next one, don't hesitate to add your email to the list.

Welcome back. We are just slightly less than one month away from Christmas, which is kind of scary. Today, however, I have four very interesting things for you.

Advertising in a non-personally targeted world

The changes in the advertising space are really starting to heat up. In Europe, of course, we are all familiar with GDPR, but now we have CCPA in California, and YouTube was hit by COPPA.

All of this has people running scared. I hear publishers saying that they can't make money without privacy-invading targeting. I see YouTube creators create online petitions to allow YouTube to continue to personally track and target kids just so that their revenue does not change.

But I have a different view on all of this, and I'm going to say something crazy. I do not think that losing personal targeting will have any impact whatsoever on the ad market ... in the long run.

I explain why in my latest Plus article: Advertising in a non-personally targeted world.

More studies that don't mean what we think they mean

One thing I often focus on is the problem with studies that don't mean what we think they mean, or when the focus we put on them isn't really where we should be looking.

Often, it's not the studies themselves that are wrong. It's more about how we interpret them.

I recently posted an article mentioning three such examples. I talk about how the Daily Telegraph says that WhatsApp has a 12x higher conversion rate, how the Reuters Institute studied audience participation, and I look at a slightly older study about how people think about social channels.

In all of these I see many people interpret data the wrong way.

So take a look at: More studies that don't mean what we think they mean.

Journalists: Show your day!

One of the many wonderful people I follow online is astrophysicist Dr. Becky Smethurst, from the University of Oxford. She has a YouTube channel where, every week, she talks about all the latest news about space.

It's well worth watching, but this is not why I want to mention her.

This week she published a video answering: "What is a day in the life of an Oxford Astrophysicist like?"


The video itself is a fascinating look into what working as an astrophysicist is really like, but this reminded me about how we have been talking about building trust and transparency in the media.

One of the key things that can build trust is to "show your work". For instance, if you are writing an article, don't just report what you learned. Include how you learned it, how you looked at the information, where it came from, what steps you took to check it, and why you came to a specific conclusion or focus.

And when I saw this video, I immediately thought that journalists should do this as well.

So if you are a journalist, create a video like this. Give us a look at what it is actually like to do what you do.

A great example of how to identify sexism

Last year, I wrote an article called "The Sexist Test ... Flip the Gender" where I talk about two things.

First of all, I told people that the easiest way to detect whether you were being sexist was simply to flip the gender. For instance, if you are an author, after setting up the story, try flipping the gender of every character in your story, and then try reading it again.

Does the story suddenly sound incredibly sexist, or does it still make sense?

I also talked about the importance of thinking about sexism from the very start, meaning how we influence kids. This is particularly important now that we are close to Christmas.

What are you planning to buy for your kids? Are you planning to give your daughter a doll that she can dress up to look pretty? And are you planning to give your son a LEGO Creators set that he can experiment with and invent new ways to put together?

But don't just think about yourself. What about the grandparents? What gifts have they planned to buy? Most grandparents, while lovely, are still buying gifts with genders defined as if it's the 1970s.

Anyway, the reason I suddenly remembered this was because I came across a brilliant video on Twitter the other day.

Someone has taken the computer game Batman: Arkham Knight, and replaced the character files for Batman and Catwoman with each other. The result is that, suddenly, Batman behaves like Catwoman and Catwoman like Batman ... and the result is incredibly sexist.

Take a look at a short clip from this on Twitter(...or check out the longer original video on YouTube).

This is an archived version of a Baekdal Plus newsletter (it's free). It is sent out about once per week and features the latest articles as well as unique insights written specifically for the newsletter. If you want to get the next one, don't hesitate to add your email to the list.


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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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