There’s never a shortage of marketing news. But sifting through it all and separating the actionable and meaningful from the hype and headline-grabbing is always a tedious job. And yet, that’s exactly what we’ve attempted to do here. What follows are the key stories from last month that top marketers should pay attention to.

In general, September news revealed good insights about US consumer behavior around mass media while featuring big stories about two of today’s largest social networks.

All told, there were seven news items that turned our heads.

APPS MAKE UP 86% OF ALL NON-VOICE TIME ON PHONES

Really? Three years ago it was just 41%. It’s true. eMarketer has done a nice job tracking this and it makes sense, doesn’t it? Consider Facebook and Gmail alone—how much time do you spend in those apps? This doesn’t mean we need to go out and build an app for every brand. But it does stress the importance of working directly with publishers on innovative in-app marketing opportunities.

FACEBOOK HAS BEEN MIS-REPORTING VIDEO VIEWS

Here’s what happened: As the company was providing their ‘average duration of video viewed’ metric they were eliminating users who didn’t make it to three seconds of viewing a video but still counted their view time. This means they were overstating that metric by about 80%. Not good. So if you made significant decisions for your brand based on ‘average duration of video viewed,’ best to relook at that.

Another thought: Currently, the Media Rating Council doesn’t vet Facebook like they do other media. Call us crazy, but when a company pulls in $5.2 billion in just one quarter from advertising, their reporting should probably be looked at by the MRC.

BOTS CAN BE A MARKETING STRATEGY TO GROW AN AUDIENCE

An organization called Addict Aide created a fictional character, Louise Delange. To grow her audience, a bot was programed to follow specifically-chosen types of people. Thinking of a bot as a helpful thing is counter-intuitive, isn’t it? But reverse thinking can sometimes lead to the most creative opportunities.

84 MILLION PEOPLE WATCHED THE FIRST PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE

Some news outlets were reporting that it could be the size of the Super Bowl (100 million). But we don’t think they ever asked an agency because we wouldn’t have gone that high (football vs. politics? C’mon). Regardless, it’s another example that live TV events still pull huge audiences. However, pre-promotion is key. And our candidates have certainly done a notable job at grabbing share-of-voice this year.

U.S. HOLIDAY SALES ARE FORECASTED TO BE UP, BUT NOT AS MUCH AS PREVIOUS SEASONS

Well, darn it. Holiday shopping is a notable economic time. While there are several encouraging signs pointing to a positive winter retail season, overall retail sales in November and December are forecast to grow by just 1.3% year-on-year, according to a new report by Mintel. The company said it expects US winter retail sales to reach $692 billion, but that equates to the slowest rate of growth the retail industry has seen in ten years. Organizations are best to set and align their objectives and strategies accordingly.

SNAPCHAT IS A CAMERA COMPANY AND WILL GENERATE $1 BILLION IN AD SALES NEXT YEAR

Consider this, on any given day, Snapchat reaches 41 percent of all 18-to-34-year-olds in the United States, while an average TV network in the top-15 for the same demographic reaches six percent. It’s stats like this that explain why the company is forecast to reach $1 billion in ad revenue next year.

And then the additional news at the end of September was their new $130 video-sharing sunglasses. When you slip “Spectacles” on and tap a button near the hinge, it records up to 10 seconds of video from the first-person vantage. Implication: Snapchat is making in-roads to control the camera and not just be at the whim of the built-in phone lens.

AMERICANS HAVEN’T ADOPTED THE WEB AS STRONGLY AS UK CITIZENS HAVE

We don’t realize it in the US, but a significant number of companies and organizations have not developed digital-only customer journeys. Our country is still very dependent on store locations to cross-sell. Furthermore, many US companies still generate significant revenue from traditional channels beyond in-store, such as call centers. This isn’t the case in the UK. Which is probably partly why they were able to put the whole government on one website. Companies who can successfully map out a leading digital-only customer journey in the US will put themselves at a great advantage to steal share.

Thanks for reading. We try to tweet news like this as it occurs too, so please follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn page.

Cheers to a creative and thought-filled October.