A few weeks ago, TechCrunch reported on comScore’s latest findings in Social App usage among Millennials. The big news was the sustained rise of Snapchat, which registered #3 in popularity behind Facebook and Instagram. “That means the app is more popular than Twitter,” writes Sarah Perez, “Pinterest, Vine, Google or Tumblr among the millennial demographic, which comScore defines as those between the ages of 18 and 34.”

More verification for a trend many have noted: Messaging apps are trending much faster among young people than broader social platforms. There are all kinds of theories why, but the hypotheses about Snapchat—first it was sexting, then it was selfies-obsession, then it was privacy from parental gaze—probably says more about the would-be theorists than the users themselves.

We all tend to view trends through the lens of our own uses and gratifications of technologies. We grope for answers to “Why Snapchat?” because the idea of taking a picture of yourself, typing or scrawling a message across it and then sending for a supposedly ephemeral viewing does not strike us as either useful or much fun. It is interesting how often our conclusions as to “why” have a dark or negative angle when there might be a much more innocent, perhaps even hopeful, reason that Snapchat and its competitors fit better. Unless you are Twitter.

 

It looks like the perfect A/B test of real-time marketing. One tweet, one Facebook post for all the marbles.

Snickers, like many a brand yesterday, joined the bite-jacking fray after Uruguay’s Luis Suarez appeared to sink his teeth into an Italian defender during a FIFA World Cup soccer match. Snickers posted similar messages on both Twitter and Facebook.

And what happened? The tweet — “Hey @luis16suarez. Next time you’re hungry just grab a Snickers. #worldcup #luissuarez #EatASNICKERS” — got 39,000 retweets and 17,000 favorites. The Facebook post — “Next time you’re hungry just grab a Snickers. #WorldCup” — fell flat, with fewer than 5,000 likes, shares and comments.

The online ad fraud issue is far worse than you think. It involves organized crime, Russian millionaires, ex-bank robbers and one-sixth of the computers in the U.S. Oh, and forget those estimates of a few million at stake. Rather $6 billion is being stolen from advertisers—$6 billion.

Those are just some of the explosive charges being leveled by White Ops, a Web security firm born of experts from the bank fraud and Internet securities industry—i.e., the best of the best hacker fighters in the country.

The company, founded originally to fight malware and bank fraud, claims that billions are being stolen from advertisers and agencies in the U.S. The company says it has identified sites where 20 percent to 90 percent of ads and clicks are fraudulent—i.e., the result of bots, not humans. And they’ve naturally got a new tool to attack this problem.

As excitement—frenzy in many places—starts to whip up as the soccer-loving world converges in Brazil in mid-June for the next World Cup tournament, brands are salivating as always at the branding and marketing opportunity that such a mega-sporting event affords.

Many brands like Nike and Coca-Cola have been perennial supporters of arguably the global sporting world’s most popular event, but with every succeeding tournament, more and more brands are taking advantage of the platform. But, like with the Super Bowl, many brands are defaulting to an over-reliance on the glittery platform of big-budget multi-million dollar in-game network television commercials. It is somewhat befuddling that many advertisers enamored with the broad reach and the presumed consumer engagement that big iconic global sporting extravaganzas offer are still approaching their media plans in 2014 with a 2004 mindset.

While running high-production value spots during the big games will definitely get your brand on the stage, complementing it with a sizable, highly strategic and hyper-targeted digital ad plan that launches months in advance of the big event will actually deliver the level of impact and ROI that brands should expect, even demand from these opportunities. So, those of you mired in the old thinking with little or perfunctory regard for this method are in for a rude awakening when your television-heavy media plans don’t fulfill the pre-ordained brand KPIs.