While digital trends like mobile messaging apps and mobile commerce will continue to heat up in 2016, other things like viewability and ad blocking won’t. Here are eMarketer’s predictions for what will not happen next year.

Ad Blocking Won’t Get Solved in 2016

The debate over ad blocking will heat up and maybe even boil over this coming year, but a broad solution won’t emerge. Some publishers will make a good-faith effort to tone down the ad and code overload that has led some consumers to block ads altogether. Others will pay off the blockers to get a pass for now.

Some will take the fight to consumers, denying sought-after content and access to users who aren’t willing to turn off their ad blocking. But at a broad level, the problem of ad avoidance and ad blocking will persist. Therefore, marketers will try to do some avoidance of their own, in particular via native advertising.

Ad blocking poses the most challenges to the desktop and mobile web, but mobile apps are still more or less immune to ad blocking, and that’s where the bulk of mobile ad dollars are flowing. In addition to native ads on the web, native ads on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, as well as mobile display in apps, could become popular ways to get around ad blocking. In short, the world will not turn native overnight, no matter how common ad blocking becomes in 2016.

Viewability Won’t Get Solved

The industry will continue to debate and fumble over defining, measuring and agreeing on what constitutes a viewable impression. The differences between mobile and desktop will continue to complicate the discussion, but so will publishers and advertisers, who will resist having to pigeonhole views under a single definition.

And even if some consensus does emerge, the celebration may be short-lived. In some quarters, people are asking whether a view is even worth measuring.

Facebook Won’t Kill YouTube

Facebook is quickly becoming an important player in digital video. Racking up more than 8 billion video views each day (double the number back in April 2015), Facebook users clearly like video.

Advertisers like Facebook video, too. But they also still like YouTube. eMarketer believes that they will use the two platforms in different ways, and for different goals. More often than not, they will advertise in both places, not one or the other.

That said, Facebook initiatives in 2016 will impact the way video publishers distribute their content. It’s already experimenting with a video hub that could emerge as a standalone app. But don’t expect to watch long-form video on Facebook.

Young People Won’t Abandon Facebook in Droves

Declaring the demise of Facebook among teens and young adults has become a popular pastime. Even the leader of the free world got into the act a couple of years ago: While chatting with millennials at a café, President Obama remarked, “It seems like [young people] don’t use Facebook anymore.”

No doubt such pronouncements will continue to be made in 2016. And, also no doubt, they will continue to be incorrect. Yes, many young people devote less time and emotional energy to Facebook than they did before the social sphere got more crowded. But this does not mean they are abandoning it, or even that they have stopped using it a lot. Some may now regard it more as a necessary evil than as something they love. Note, though, that being a necessary evil is not such a bad business model.

Looking ahead to 2019, eMarketer foresees Facebook penetration holding steady, at more than eight in 10 among online 12- to 17-year-olds and nearly nine in 10 among those ages 18 to 24. We should all be so deserted.



Here are a couple of good things that would benefit our Industry in 2016, obviously from my perspective.

▪    A better economy - our country needs it, our people need it and we need it.
▪    Univision IPO - growth is good for our industry and it sets our valuation.
▪    Elimination of the word Multicultural (and Total Market) - Hispanic represent 95% of the deliverables and the budgets in the bucket and there are not enough similarities between Hispanic, African Americans and Asians to "combo us up", only procurement wins here - - clients are not perfect and not always right.
 ▪    More of the true “Thought Leader” voices amplifying the opportunities in our Industry - too many are calling for the demise of our Industry.
▪    A renewed vigor to call “Bullshit” when we see it and not allow neophytes and hucksters to continue eroding the importance, complexity and need to target US Hispanic Consumer in language and culture - this goes in line with the above point, too many of the true Though Leaders are quite, the silence is deafening.

▪    A McKinsey & Company, a well respect strategy consultancy, POV on the importance of the US Hispanic Consumer, the media that serve this highly sought after demographic, effective strategies to reach in language and culture and create true ROI - we need a reputable firm such as this one to help tone down the criticism our Industry endures, explain the complexity and the importance of knowing how to reach US Hispanic Consumers to dispel all the noise being created by self-serving and those procurement enamored pundits.
▪    More opportunities for alternative media and channels in the media mix - the media mix needs to expand to include alternative media, depth in channel selection and all platforms (old and new).
 ▪    The re-birth of a localized approach to targeting US Hispanic Consumer - how many markets represent the Critical Mass of our Industry and in how many can you gauge true ROI.  
▪    More account shifts to create more opportunities in our Industry - we need a shakeup to change things up, offer more opportunities and to explore new approaches to reaching US Hispanic Consumers - - - the clients benefits and we do as well.
▪    A better explanation to why language is not more important than culture, when language is the conduit for conscious abstracting from the environment - language is the "Goose that laid the Golden Egg" for our Industry, yet many want to destroy our unique sales feature/benefit in return for a feather on a large ostrich.
▪    Would like to see more “H’s”, “Ñ’s” and “Z’s” in the names of top executives in our larger media companies - you know what I mean.
▪    Not peace but organized chaos, since we all strive when our backs are up against the wall - peace is not easily attainable because we have differences of culture, language and religion around the world, but in business when there is chaos there is opportunity.

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As the end of the year approaches and tax planning becomes a priority (you're missing out if it isn't), one common strategy is to realize capital losses to offset realized gains for the year. But for many retirees, one particularly juicy strategy is to do the opposite: realize capital gains to take advantage of their preferential tax rates. The IRS states that long-term capital gains rates are generally 0%, 15%, and 20%. Unfortunately, this is only the sticker price for what you pay.

The tax code is quagmire of complex rules, and very often the actual amount of tax you pay is deceptively higher. Here are three indirect ways that your profit on capital gains can drain your wallet today and even in the future.

More tax on Social Security 
It's a shock to many that Social Security benefits are taxable. The amount subject to tax is based on your "provisional income," which is the sum of 50% of your Social Security benefits and your other income sources including IRA distributions, pensions, dividends, wages, capital gains and tax-exempt interest (yes, tax-exempt interest can create additional tax on your Social Security earnings). Depending on your situation, up to 85% of your Social Security benefit may be taxable.

Here's an example: Larry and Sheila are married and file jointly and receive $40,000 of Social Security benefits and $20,000 of pension benefits. They need to purchase a new car and identify they are eligible for the 0% capital gains tax rate so they decide to sell stock and realize a $25,000 capital gain. Although they expected no change in their tax liability, they were surprised to find out when they filed their tax return that the liability increased by $2,225. While the $25,000 capital gain did qualify for the 0% tax rate, the amount of Social Security subject to tax increased from $4,000 to almost $24,000, indirectly causing an almost 10% effective tax rate on the capital gain.

Beware: This same "gotcha" can "getcha" when implementing Roth conversions to fill to the 15% tax bracket, and the bite is even worse. A conversion where you expect to pay 15% can actually end up costing almost 26%.

Increased Medicare premiums 
As I described in my column "Why You Should Save Roth IRA and HSA Distributions for 2016," the amount someone pays for Medicare isn't dependent on their health status or wealth. Instead, it's based on the income you realized two years prior to the year you pay your premiums. The table below illustrates this concept:

The "gotcha" moment occurs when your realized capital gains bump you up a premium bracket. For example, Sue is single and has $25,000 in Social Security benefits, $25,000 in pension benefits and $35,000 in IRA distributions. She decides to sell some stock, realizes a $10,000 capital gain, and expects to pay 15% on that gain ($1,500). Since this pushes her Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) just over the $85,000 threshold, Sue's Medicare Parts B & D premiums will increase by $54.30 per month, or $651.60 per year (but not for another two years). She did pay 15% on the gain in the current year, but the eventual total tax impact of her $10,000 gain is $2,151.60 — an effective tax rate of 21.5%.

Additional alternative minimum tax 
One of the worst culprits is the alternative minimum tax (AMT). Most people don't think that capital gains activate additional AMT since the stated capital gain tax rates are the same for both regular and AMT purposes (15% or 20%).

Unfortunately, the AMT calculation is its own convoluted beast: Realizing capital gains can cause your other types of income (IRA distributions, Social Security, pension, etc.) to be subject to an AMT tax rate as high as 35%. That's no typo, even though the stated AMT rate for these types of income is 26% or 28%, the actual rate paid can be as high as 35% (a dirty little secret, isn't it?).

For example, take Jeff and Emily, a married filing jointly couple with $50,000 in Social Security benefits, $120,000 in IRA distributions and $50,000 in interest/dividend income. They decide to realize $10,000 of long-term capital gains. The stated rate on capital gains for the regular and AMT calculations is 15%, but is that their actual tax rate? Nope — the gains increased Jeff and Emily's AGI by $10,000, and separately made an additional $3,500 of their other income subject to the AMT at 35%. The net effect of this gobbledygook is that $10,000 of gains increases the total tax liability by $2,150 (a 21.5% tax rate).

Understanding the true tax cost of selling stock is difficult to ascertain and paying the stated IRS tax rate can be difficult, if not impossible. That's especially the case when you have little control over the amount of capital gains realized (mutual fund capital gain distributions).

If you aren't careful, these surprise taxes will chip away at your savings each and every year. That's why it's critical to have a clear grasp on the impact of transactions before you execute them. Only then can you make informed, deliberate decisions to improve your life both today and tomorrow.

December 14, 2015

The Hispanic Retail Consumer Featured

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By Kathy Whitlock / Univision Insights

$330 billion. That’s how much Hispanics spent at retail in 2014. A number of that size is a wake-up call to any retailer who has yet to weigh the impact Hispanics can have on their business. How can retailers capitalize on this expansive retail opportunity?

That’s where new research from UCI and NPD –National Panel Study-comes in. NPD is the industry’s gold standard in retail measurement and tracking; their shopping tracker captures consumer activity across all retail channels. Until now, this has only included English-dominant Hispanics. Recognizing that clients need insights based on a truly representative Hispanic panel, we developed a proprietary study with NPD that includes the full spectrum of language usage; adding Spanish-dominant and Bilingual respondents to their sample.

To take a deeper dive into what the new work reveals, I partnered with NPD’s chief industry analyst, Marshal Cohen, to discuss the findings on our latest webinar, “Rocking Holiday Shopping with U.S. Hispanics – New Research from NPD and UCI”. Here’s what we discovered:

Holidays – more people, more gifts, more shopping

We know that the holiday season can make or break a retailer’s year. And with Hispanics, the opportunity not only lies in larger families and bigger households, they also have more occasions to celebrate. In fact, they have 3 additional celebrations that represent potential additional trips to stores (Las Posadas, Noche Buena and 3 Kings Day). This is reflected in their spending; when you compare their numbers for holiday vs. the rest of the year, spending among Spanish-dominant Hispanics grew 13%, twice that of non-Hispanics.  This is one more example of how Spanish-dominant Hispanics represent a higher spend opportunity.

Hispanic hands-on shopping experience can yield a higher spend

One of the nuances of the Hispanic retail opportunity is the difference in shopping behavior. For Hispanics, shopping is a form of entertainment; they go frequently and do it in groups. We see this when we look at their share of in-store conversion (when a shopper makes a purchase). While Hispanics don’t convert as often as non-Hispanics (56% vs. 71%) because of their tendency to browse various retailers, when they do purchase, it’s más. When we look across language strata, bilinguals and Spanish-dominant Hispanics spend more per buying visit ($56 vs. $50 respectively) than non-Hispanics ($53).

A connected consumer leads to a connected shopper

The U.S. Hispanic is super connected and super digital. This holds true in their shopping behaviors, too.   17% ($56 billion) of all online U.S. sales are from Hispanics, over-indexing the share they represent of in-store sales (14%). When we look at how much they spend per buying visit, Spanish-dominant Hispanics spend $10 more than Non-Hispanics ($72 vs. $62.) Categories like beauty, consumer electronics and footwear are those they’re more likely seek out online vs. in-store.

To learn more on our proprietary study see our webinar on demand and follow @hispanic411 for more insights.

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A recent international study surveyed more than 500 business leaders and asked them what sets great employees apart. The researchers wanted to know why some people are more successful than others at work, and the answers were surprising; leaders chose “personality” as the leading reason.

Notably, 78% of leaders said personality sets great employees apart, more than cultural fit (53%) and even an employee’s skills (39%).

The problem is, when leaders say "personality" they don’t understand what they’re referring to. Personality consists of a stable set of preferences and tendencies through which we approach the world. Being introverted or extroverted is an example of an important personality trait.

Personality traits form at an early age and are fixed by early adulthood. Many important things about you change over the course of your lifetime, but your personality isn’t one of them.

Personality is distinct from intellect (or IQ). The two don’t occur together in any meaningful way. Personality is also distinct from emotional intelligence (or EQ), and this is where the study, and most leaders for that matter, have misinterpreted the term.

The qualities that leaders in the study called personality were actually emotional intelligence skills. And unlike your personality, which is set in stone, you can change and improve your EQ.

Exceptional employees don’t possess God-given personality traits; they rely on simple, everyday EQ skills that anyone can incorporate into their repertoire.

Leaders don’t need to go searching for these skills either (though it doesn’t hurt when you find them); their duty is to help everyone on their team harness these skills to become exceptional.

Just consider some of the EQ skills that leaders and managers commonly mislabel as personality characteristics. These are the skills that set exceptional employees apart.

1. They’re willing to delay gratification. 

One thing an exceptional employee never says is, “That’s not in my job description.” Exceptional employees work outside the boundaries of job descriptions. They’re neither intimidated nor entitled; instead of expecting recognition or compensation to come first, they forge ahead in their work, confident that they’ll be rewarded later but unconcerned if they’re not.

2. They can tolerate conflict. 

While exceptional employees don’t seek conflict, they don’t run away from it either. They’re able to maintain their composure while presenting their positions calmly and logically. They’re able to withstand personal attacks in pursuit of the greater goal and never use that tactic themselves.

3. They focus. 

Student pilots are often told, “When things start going wrong, don’t forget to fly the plane.” Plane crashes have resulted from pilots concentrating so hard on identifying the problem that they flew the plane into the ground. Eastern Airlines Flight 401 is just one example: The flight crew was so concerned about the landing gear being down that they didn’t realize they were losing altitude until it was too late, despite alarms going off in the cockpit. Exceptional employees understand the principle of “Just fly the plane.” They don’t get distracted by cranky customers, interoffice squabbles, or switch to a different brand of coffee. They can differentiate between real problems and background noise; therefore, they stay focused on what matters.

4. They’re judiciously courageous. 

Exceptional employees are willing to speak up when others are not, whether it’s to ask a difficult (or “embarrassingly” simple) question or to challenge an executive decision. However, that’s balanced with common sense and timing. They think before they speak and wisely choose the best time and place to do so.

5. They’re in control of their egos. 

Exceptional employees have egos. While that’s part of what drives them, they never give their egos more weight than what is deserved. They’re willing to admit when they’re wrong and willing to do things someone else’s way, whether it’s because the other way is better or it’s important to maintain team harmony.

6. They’re never satisfied. 

Exceptional employees have unparalleled convictions that things can always be better—and they’re right. No one is ever done growing, and there is no such thing as “good enough” when it comes to personal improvement. No matter how well things are going, exceptional employees are driven to improve, without forgetting to give themselves a healthy pat on the back.

7. They recognize when things are broken and fix them. 

Whether it’s a sticky desk drawer or an inefficient, wasteful process affecting the cash flow of the entire department, exceptional employees don’t walk past problems. “Oh, it’s been that way forever,” simply isn’t in their vocabulary. They see problems as issues to be fixed immediately; it’s that simple.

8. They’re accountable. 

If you’re a manager trying to decipher a bungled report, “It’s not my fault” is the most irritating phrase in the English language. Exceptional employees are accountable. They own their work, their decisions, and all of their results—good or bad. They bring their mistakes to management’s attention rather than hoping no one will find out. They understand that managers aren’t out to assign blame; they’re out to get things done.

9. They’re marketable. 

“Marketable” can mean many things. Inside the organization, it means “likeable.” Exceptional employees are well liked by co-workers. They have integrity and leadership skills (even if they’re not in an official leadership position) that people respond to. Externally, it means they can be trusted to represent the brand well. Managers know they can send these employees out to meet with clients and prospects without worrying about what they’ll say or do.

10. They neutralize toxic people. 

Dealing with difficult people is frustrating and exhausting for most. Exceptional employees control their interactions with toxic people by keeping their feelings in check. When they need to confront a toxic person, they approach the situation rationally. They identify their own emotions and don’t allow anger or frustration to fuel the chaos. They also consider the difficult person’s standpoint and are able to find solutions and common ground. Even when things completely derail, emotionally intelligent people are able to take the toxic person with a grain of salt to avoid letting him or her bring them down.

Bringing it all together

Take notice of what’s not mentioned: coding skills, years of experience, business degrees, etc. These things matter, but they won’t make you exceptional.

The Internal Revenue Service has launched a new initiative designed to more quickly identify employers who are falling behind on their payroll or employment taxes and then help them get caught up on their payment and reporting responsibilities. The effort is called the Early Interaction Initiative.

The initiative is designed to help employers stay in compliance and avoid needless interest and penalty charges. The initiative will seek to identify employers who appear to be falling behind on their tax payments even before an employment tax return is filed. The IRS will offer helpful information and guidance through letters, automated phone messages, other communications and in some instances, a visit from an IRS revenue officer.

In the past, the first attempt by the IRS to contact an employer having payment difficulties often did not occur until much later in the process, after the employment return was filed and the employer’s unpaid tax obligation had already begun to spiral out of control.

“Employers play a key role in our tax system, and we want to offer them the information and assistance they need to carry out their responsibilities,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “With early interaction, we will be able to offer help weeks or even months sooner, when it can often do the most good.”

Two-thirds of federal taxes are collected through the payroll tax system. By law, employers must withhold federal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes from employees’ wages.

Shortly after employees are paid, employers typically must turn over withheld amounts, along with employer-matching contributions, to the federal government. Though payment schedules vary, these payments, known as federal tax deposits (FTDs), are made electronically through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). These FTDs are later reported on a return, usually filed quarterly, with the IRS.

Employers, especially those facing liquidity difficulties, sometimes inappropriately divert funds withheld from employees’ pay for working capital or other purposes. Even when well-intentioned, such diversions can quickly result in mounting tax liabilities for the employer, along with interest and penalties, potentially threatening the employer’s financial viability.

Also, employers may have a payroll processor or others handling their payroll, withholding, matching, remittance, and/or reporting responsibilities, which sometimes leads to miscommunication between the parties and may result in tax deposits and reporting not being made as required. Such miscommunication may also quickly result in mounting tax liabilities, interest and penalties that are costly and risky to the business.

To help employers avoid these problems, the new IRS initiative will monitor deposit patterns and identify employers whose payments decline or are late. Employers identified under this initiative may receive a letter reminding them of their payroll tax responsibilities and asking that they contact the IRS to discuss the situation. In addition, some employers may receive automated phone messages from the IRS providing information and assistance. Where appropriate, an IRS revenue officer will also contact some of these employers at their place of business.