On Tuesday Google announced a partnership with several publishers to bring complete catalogs of old magazines online.
A lot of online advertisers are worried these days about getting ripped off—whether they end up buying non-viewable ads that run below the fold of websites to ads that never reach actual human beings. But a new report from Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) which has long tracked the impact of media on real purchase behavior says waste is rampant in online media—not because of deception, but rather, neglect.
The Supreme Court is being asked to decide when an online threat becomes worthy of prosecution, in what could be the first internet speech case to reach the high court’s docket for the 2013-2104 term beginning next month.
Despite the hype that inevitably clings to the newfangled, however, it’s relatively antique tech that appears to be far more important for selling stuff online.
The sharing impulse is an increasingly important tool for marketers. These recent examples of successful virality foreground what makes a social person want to click and pass along.
When it comes to mobile shopping, the gender gap is alive and well.
The company that tracks what people watch on TV is expanding a new tool that measures what people are looking at online to markets outside the U.S.
Do I buy enough from Amazon to justify paying $79 per year for unlimited two-day shipping?
Another pointer to the road ahead – the leading news website in the United States delivers its content online rather in print.
The frustration that the country’s magazine and newspaper publishers feel toward Apple can sound a lot like a variation on the old relationship gripe, “can’t live with ’em, may get left behind without ’em.”
When you consider popular media properties, the natural tendency is to think about those venues that usually draw consumers in throngs: a particular TV show, magazine or even a website. You might be surprised to find that consumers aren't as old-school as all that. The most engaging media outlets -- the ones that draw the most involved users -- happen to be such things as Google's search engine, AOL's email, Google's YouTube video-sharing service and the Facebook social-networking service. The rankings were compiled by NewMediaMetrics, a Jericho, N.Y., company that studies consumers' emotional attachment to media venues and advertisers' products.
Not so long ago, in 2005, Blockbuster seemed invincible. However you preferred to rent movies — in stores or online — the company was ready to accommodate you. At the time, Netflix could offer only one way of obtaining a movie (the mail) and one way of returning it (the mail). It was clicks, with no bricks. Of course, we now know that Netflix has done just fine. In January 2005, its shares traded in the $11 range. On Friday, they closed at $140.46, giving the company a market capitalization of $7.35 billion. As for Blockbuster, which was spun off from Viacom in 2004, it’s now a penny stock, and its woes are as visible as the “Closing” banner in the window of a store in your neighborhood.
It used to be that designers showed clothes at Fashion Week to court the influential few, mainly the buyers and fashion editors who determined what styles would be hot in retail stores a season away. But now they are starting to sidestep the middleman. Web technology, and a desire to entice luxury shoppers who are suddenly spending again, are spurring designers to fling open the tent flaps to their runway shows and appeal directly to shoppers. Call it public-access high fashion.
The internet has been a great unifier of people, companies and online networks. Powerful forces are threatening to balkanise it.
The social media revolution has been fueled by the Millennial (born roughly between 1980- present) and X (born roughly between 1964-1979) Generations, but the baby boomers (born between roughly 1946 - 1964) and the Silent Generation (born between roughly 1925 - 1945) are catching on. For the same Americans who may have once watched television on a wooden box, social networking has "nearly doubled—from 22% in April 2009 to 42% in May 2010," according to a report released on August 27 by the Pew Research Center, entitled Older Adults and Social Media.
The shoes that Julie Matlin recently saw on Zappos.com were kind of cute, or so she thought. But Ms. Matlin wasn’t ready to buy and left the site. Then the shoes started to follow her everywhere she went online. An ad for those very shoes showed up on the blog TechCrunch. It popped up again on several other blogs and on Twitpic. It was as if Zappos had unleashed a persistent salesman who wouldn’t take no for an answer. “For days or weeks, every site I went to seemed to be showing me ads for those shoes,” said Ms. Matlin, a mother of two from Montreal. “It is a pretty clever marketing tool. But it’s a little creepy, especially if you don’t know what’s going on.”
The growing dominance of social media compels marketers to abandon their old hard sell in favor of a content-driven marketing conversation that can facilitate meaningful brand relationships with customers and prospects. In this challenging environment, content is a key tool to fostering relationships, but publishing a blog, creating a Facebook fan page or launching a Twitter feed is only the beginning of a strategic content marketing program. Content marketing differs from traditional methods that employ interruption techniques in the belief that delivering helpful, relevant information drives profitable consumer action. The idea of sharing content is increasingly driving marketers to make proprietary intellectual assets available to influential audiences. Savvy content marketers create fresh information to share via all available media channels, on and off-line.
Retailers have been flailing about a bit in their efforts to get people to shop again, deploying all sorts of gimmicks and promotions to spur customer spending. Wal-Mart hoped that deeper cuts in its standard rollbacks would be a draw, but then said the prices went too low. At Saks, perhaps customers would go for designer labels if the lines offered less-expensive items. And for Macy’s, how about inexpensive clothes by Madonna? The secret, at least for Nordstrom, has not involved a piercing insight into a customer’s mind. Rather, it has changed the way that it handles, of all things, inventory. And that has brought the department store more success in improving sales than at most of its competitors, whose recent reports signaled that their consumers were still cautious.
No matter how much we open up on the web, creating new connections online can be intimidating. Just as not everyone can start a conversation with a stranger at the bar, not everyone can comfortably start conversations in social media. Luckily, there are hundreds of online services and apps popping up, trying to solve our social awkwardness and help us discover new connections in new ways. These tools allow even the introverts among us to communicate, find friends, business partners and, yes, dates.
Google and Verizon announced a joint proposal on Monday that would allow ISPs to offer premium content bundles over an unspecified global network — an unexpected gambit that would seem to call for separate and unequal internets. The two companies say the guidelines would ensure that no internet traffic of any kind is prioritized over any other kind (with the exception of viruses, spam and the like).
Marketers need to stop blasting messages to consumers and, instead, listen to them. So says Diane Hessan, president and CEO of Communispace, a 10-year-old company in Watertown, Mass., that creates online communities for marketers such as Kraft, Best Buy, Verizon and Mattel. These companies pay Communispace up to $25,000 a month to help them create and communicate with customers online for market research and feedback. Communispace pulled in $37 million in revenue in 2009, up 17% from the year before, according to the Honomichl Top 50 Report of U.S. Marketing Research Firms. Forbes' Ken Brunospoke with Hessan about online customer engagement and how it has changed over the past decade.
Google and Verizon on Monday introduced a proposal for how Internet service should be regulated — and were immediately criticized by groups that favor keeping the network as open as possible. The proposal includes exceptions for wireless Internet access and for potential new services that broadband providers could offer, including things like “advanced educational services, or new entertainment and gaming options.” The announcement is the latest move in a high-stakes battle over a principle known as net neutrality. The debate is over whether Internet users should be able to access all types of online information on an equal basis, or whether Internet service providers should be able to charge content companies for faster transmission.
The time Americans spent on social media has surged 43% in the past year, leading a substantial shift in how the country spends its online time. That time spent online has also sent e-mail to third behind gaming, according to research by Nielsen Co. The time spent on social media accessed from PCs rose from 15.8% in June 2009 to 22.7% in June 2010, according to Nielsen, while online gaming gained more modestly to 10.2% of online time from 9.3% a year earlier. But that was enough to push gaming past e-mail, which fell to 8.3% of online time spent at the PC from 10.5% a year earlier.
In early 2008, Microsoft Corp.'s product planners for the Internet Explorer 8.0 browser intended to give users a simple, effective way to avoid being tracked online. They wanted to design the software to automatically thwart common tracking tools, unless a user deliberately switched to settings affording less privacy. That triggered heated debate inside Microsoft.
Mazda is taking to social media to launch the 2011 Mazda 2. A branded game on Facebook, "DriverVille," is a virtual, multiplayer game where players get customizable "Your Inner Driver" avatars and use them to drive virtual cars to win Driver Bucks for virtual products and real weekly sweepstakes prizes.
In a video on the Web site for Edge shave gel, EdgeShaveZone.com, the comedian John Caparulo explains what irritates him about pickup basketball games. The video, and about six others that will be added episodically through September, is featured on what the brand is calling the Edge Anti-Irritation Zone, an online campaign that makes light of everyday irritations to highlight how the product helps prevent shaving irritation.
"Farmville now outpaces Twitter." "One in four people plays social games online." "More than $1.8 billion worth of virtual goods has been sold in virtual worlds." These are just some of the headlines we see today about the popularity of online gaming, but what does this all mean for Gen Y and for brands?
I had an interesting discussion with a brand team this week about creating content, such as advice, tips, tricks and what have you. The marketing director aspired to create his own branded content. An example of this approach would be Pampers. Their website is called "Pampers Village", and has loads of content and tools about baby care: advice from expert panels, a desktop "widget" that tells you what your baby-to-be is up to week by week. But I wasn't sure this was the right way to go. To help us figure out the best way forward, I suggested the following questions.
Time Warner Inc.'s Turner cable-television networks have forked over billions of dollars to air big-time sporting events, but they haven't matched the stature of ESPN. Now Turner is roping a corporate sibling into the chase. To beef up and better compete for digital advertising and buzz with ESPN, Turner's sports division is set to take control of the Web business of Sports Illustrated, owned by Time Warner's Time Inc. magazine unit. The partnership will combine Sports Illustrated's SI.com and Golf.com with a stable of websites managed by Turner Sports, such as NBA.com, Nascar.com and PGA.com.
Facebook Inc. is trying to rev up its advertising business with a little help from your friends. The social-networking site is aggressively pitching to big advertisers like Ford Motor Co. and PepsiCo Inc. the latest in a series of ad formats that tell users which of their Facebook friends have expressed interest in the brand or product featured in the ad. The so-called social-context ads, which Facebook started rolling out over a year ago, are based on data it collects on the likes and friends of its users.
Sure, trust is part of the relationship, and authority, and all that good stuff. You'll be chasing the popular kids (even those who demur) until the cows come home if you keep thinking that influence is about you. It's not. And you don't need the following of a celebrity to build something of significance. What you need is to identify areas of relevancy among your customers and prospects, build community, and allow others to amplify your influence -- as you meet their needs. Identify, build, allow -- no voodoo or pixie dust here.
Borders, the second largest bookstore chain in the U.S., is launching its e-bookstore today, as well as reading apps for Blackberry and Android devices. The company also announced its aggressive plans to capture 17% of the e-book market by July 2011, following arch rival Barnes & Noble’s recent disclosure that it has already secured 20% of the market in the first six months of its entry.
In search of new business models, some media and retail companies are treading on each other's turf online. One of the latest examples is Lockerz Inc., a youth-targeted media website that doles out points to members for watching videos with ads, taking surveys, signing up other friends, and completing other social-networking tasks. This week, Lockerz—which says it has amassed 16 million registered users—is launching a shopping component that lets users redeem those points, dubbed PTZ, for discounts from its own online mall from brands including Sony Corp., Ben Sherman Group Ltd. and Nintendo Co.
For a company that has made a big business of indexing third-party websites, a substantial part of Google's display success hinges on its ability to milk YouTube and its other owned and operated properties such as Gmail and Google Finance.
When it comes to social media for business, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy. But to ensure results, you must align it with your overall business objectives and avoid falling for “shiny new objects” simply because they are trendy or hyped. For example, a new business or “first mover” may want to focus on establishing thought leadership, while a more mature business should aim for customer support. In all cases, creating a product that actually solves problems for customers, present and future, should be every business’s top priority — and you should be using social media to help you figure out what that product is. Below, we’ll take a closer look at how each department can blend traditional and social media to drive business goals and collaborate on a seamless customer experience.
Apple, without a doubt, is creating a massive sea change in how we interact with digital content. Note that I didn't say "the Web." This is because the millions of iPad and iPhone users spend more time within Apple's walled garden of apps rather than in a browser. However, there's a potential dark side to the millions of Apple devices being sold and it should give every marketer pause.
I will try to demonstrate here the manner in which social acts and communication result in mediated social realities. And suggest that the relational connections and value-added associations which are the byproduct of social media use create a marketplace of content whose highest value, individually motivated subjective choices, we are only beginning to capture and mine.
Let’s be honest, shopping isn’t always as fun as it should be. Between long lines, irate shoppers, communal fitting rooms (I’m looking at your Loehmann’s), distracted cashiers (I’m sorry, don’t let my purchase interrupt your texting), and simply having to part with your cold hard cash, it can be exhausting. Plus, you can’t always find what you want.
Ads targeted at a particular context -- car ads on automotive sites, for example -- are a staple of online advertising. It's presumed that the more closely an ad matches a person's interest, the more likely that person is to to click and buy. And it couldn't hurt if the ad is big. But a recent academic study indicates that may not always be the case.
People worldwide will be looking toward digital technology -- particularly that which uses the Internet -- to serve their entertainment and media needs, proving once again the future is indeed digital. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers' most recent "Global Entertainment and Media Outlook," expenditures in those categories are expected to increase to $1.7 trillion from by 2014 (from $1.3 trillion), with a compound annual growth rate of 5%. In the U.S., such expenditures will increase about 4% annually to $517 billion by 2014 (from $425 billion).
Long gone are the days when 'online' was synonymous with social isolation and loneliness. In fact, we're now witnessing the exact opposite: technology is driving people to connect and meet up en masse with others, in the 'real world'. It makes for an interesting, easily-digested trend, begging to be turned into new services for your customers.
Even before you have your social media monitoring in place, any brand can benefit from working out a plan for what you will do with all this information you are going to gather. Dashboards and reports can be useful, but the ability to take actions or make decisions using this information is much more useful for any brand. What you do with your social media monitoring is as important, if not more important, than getting the monitoring in place in the first place.
The statistic is the modern equivalent of water cooler conversation, and is measured by the number of online interactions posted and read about a given show. Moreover, other shows with substantial online buzz did not have commensurate Nielsen ratings. Only four of the 10 shows in the social media ranking were also in the top 10 for ratings.
Procter & Gamble, one of the largest consumer goods corporations in North America and beyond, has opened a direct online store for customers in the US. The Internet store, dubbed the eStore, debuts today with a beta tag attached to its name. The eStore is owned and operated by PFSweb and features the breadth of P&G brands, including Tide, Head & Shoulders, Pampers, Swiffer, Gillette and Febreze.
US retailers have become engaged in a battle for hearts and mobiles. As leading retailers, including Walmart and JC Penney, continue to grapple with the potential of the internet, the proliferation of smartphones has inevitably caught their attention. Three years after Apple launched its first iPhone, mobile connectivity is shaking up the way retailers do business, not only online but in their stores.
If you only use the internet in order to raise awareness, and perhaps to influence perception, then you are missing out on what the web was made for: to enable large networks of people to come together for effective purposes through sharing, cooperating, and organizing collective action.
Facebook Inc. is catching up to rivals Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. in selling display ads. In the first quarter, Facebook pulled ahead of Yahoo for the first time and delivered more banner ads to its U.S. users than any other Web publisher, according to market-research firm comScore Inc.
With Zynga, creator of FarmVille, recently valued at $4 billion dollars and established game companies such as Electronic Arts jumping on board, games are becoming a legitimate interactive social channel for the masses. Why Would Your Brand Consider Partnering With A Social Game?
Now another airline, JetBlue, is introducing a marketing initiative that seeks to convince consumers how much better traveling on JetBlue can be. The campaign is scheduled to begin on Monday as a video-rich online effort — JetBlue is calling it a digital brand experience — whose Web address is meant to say it all: experience.jetblue.com. (It will also be reachable by visiting the JetBlue Web site, jetblue.com, and clicking on “experience.”) The initiative, by a digital agency in New York named Firstborn, is an example of what is known as experiential marketing, which aims to bring brands to life in tangible ways that eschew traditional advertising tactics like television commercials.
If you want to know what paid content on the web can do for newspapers' paid circulation, keep your eye on places such as Lima, Ohio and Bend, Ore. If pay walls can't make it in these environments, they probably can't make it anywhere else.
In early December, Apple acquired streaming music service Lala. Just five months later, Lala is shutting its doors. The Apple-owned service is no longer accepting new users and, according to a message on its website, come May 31 it will cease operations for existing members as well.
There's a battle brewing in the San Francisco Bay Area over how to win over one very important consumer group: moms. MomsLikeMe, a Mclean, Va.-based blogging network for moms across America, announced today plans to team up with the Bay Area News Group, San Francisco's biggest print and digital media company. The mommy blogging site focuses on local communities of moms and launched in 2008 as a unit of newspaper giant Gannett. It will syndicate its content to the News Group's local papers, such as The Contra Costa Times and The San Jose Mercury News, and the two media companies will split the local and national ad revenue they pull in.
For the first time, marketers spent more in 2009 on Internet advertising than in magazines, according to a report from ZenithOptimedia, which said online ad spending would rapidly close ground on newspapers. Despite a record-setting $6.3 billion fourth quarter, online advertising revenue declined 3.4 percent for the year from 2008, the first year-over-year falloff since 2002. The loss in ad spending across all media was an even steeper 12.3 percent for the year and 2 percent for the fourth quarter.
Own an iPad? Downloaded the eBay app? You should. It is by far the best way to experience eBay. Watch Movies? Seen the IMDB App? It is so much better than the website. Use Twitter? 81,43% chance you are not using Twitter.com but an App. It seems that more and more Apps are replacing websites in a time when more and more applications are moving to the web. What exactly do we want? Email went from the Application to the Cloud with Gmail, and we love it. The same for Flickr for photos and Google Docs for documents. At the same time Twitter started out as a website but quickly moved to applications on multiple platforms. It is clear that just moving everything to the web isn’t the ultimate solution for everything. That eBay and IMDB app are clear examples.
New research shows that social media use has become a regular habit for three quarters of the online population. In a survey of 1,700 U.S. Internet users, Nielsen Online found that 73 percent engaged in social media at least once per week. Engagement was defined as reading a blog, visiting a social network or reading (and/or commenting on) a message board. The research pegs the total U.S. social media audience at 127 million.
In a dense, 87-page report, Morgan Stanley analysts have charted the most important online trends and predicted the future of the Internet. In addition to forecasting more online shopping and showing the geographical distribution of Internet users, the study also shows a dramatic shift toward mobile web use. Including devices such as the Kindle, the iPhone and other smartphones, web-enabled tablets, GPS systems, video games and wireless home appliances, the growth of the mobile web has been exponential — and we’re still just at the beginning of this cycle. Morgan Stanley’s analysts believe that, based on the current rate of change and adoption, the mobile web will be bigger than desktop Internet use by 2015.
Microsoft-owned MSN is going after traditional brand dollars with a new magazine-like content site called Glo, a women's lifestyle venue produced in conjunction with Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S and BermanBraun. The site, which focuses on beauty, style, relationships and other classic women's magazine topics, takes a page from the previous MSN/BermanBraun's collaboration Wonderwall, which is heavy on celebrity photography and employs a vertical navigation interface.
The previous campaign for Weight Watchers featured a furry critter that tempted dieters with high-calorie foods. Now, the company has decided to get real: its new campaign will star the actress and singer Jennifer Hudson, who will talk about what she has experienced in her quest to lose weight.
One of the key questions for a brand online is: where do I fit in? How can I join the conversation? Of course, it all depends on the brand how you can answer that question. Some brands are naturally the answer to a problem. Some brands clean floors, or fill in your tax return for you. Many searches online are problem-solving, and a useful brand will naturally do well. It will come high in search results and will have prominent mindshare.
It has never been more important to turn your brand into a service. Jaded, time-poor, pragmatic consumers yearn for service and care, while the mobile online revolution (it's finally, truly here!) makes it possible to offer uber-relevant services to consumers anywhere, anytime. Basically, if you're going to embrace one big consumer trend this year, please let it be BRAND BUTLERS!
At a recent Chictopia meeting, among panels and discussions on fashion, retail, and the growing presence of new media, an interesting topic was raised: how should companies be approaching bloggers to promote their products? The event’s speakers, who ranged from Rebecca Stice (TheClothesHorse) to Michael Tennant (manager of Vice Magazine), had come from different backgrounds but all had experienced a deluge of marketing pitches- sometimes having little or nothing to do with their blog or publication.
At SMX West Google Senior Product Manager for Ads Quality Nick Fox offered a detailed look at several new PPC product offerings: sitelinks, product extensions and comparison ads. If you’re considering rolling any of these out, here’s the lowdown on how they work, along with some tactical tips.
It’s an equation that often gets overlooked in ecommerce marketing. Good content equals a good customer experience. A good customer experience equals good customer service. Good customer service will result in some ching in the online checkout process. Ask Zappos. Ask Diapers.com. Both of those companies were among the “elite” customer service award winners from a new company called StellaService. Stella wants to put its seal, Good Housekeeping-style, on exceptional ecommerce customer service companies. Yesterday it launched a new report that showed the value of customer service for online retailers is $17.3 billion. It also announced that Zappos will be the first company to display the Stella seal.
With the country in a grim mood about corporate America, Hyatt is adding some humor to its marketing in an effort to get companies to hold meetings again. In a series of Web videos from the comedy site Funny or Die that begin running Thursday, Hyatt will emphasize what can go wrong when people choose the wrong hotel or meeting planner. (Hint: watch out for rogue mimes.)
Games like World of Warcraft give players the means to save worlds, and incentive to learn the habits of heroes. What if we could harness this gamer power to solve real-world problems? Jane McGonigal says we can, and explains how.
We’ve got to hand it to Ralph Lauren, they’ve certainly been keeping their game fresh. While other fashion houses languish behind in the new media world, Lauren have been pioneers. There have been “Make Your Own” designs, QR code exploration, and many other ventures which have made simply designing an iPhone app seem pedestrian. That’s why it came as no surprise when it was brought to PSFK’s attention that Lauren by Ralph Lauren would be hosting their first ever online fashion show on their site today. On the runway, models will be sporting the Spring 2010 collection while viewers at home can literally “shop” by selecting and purchasing the styles directly as the models walk the runway.
Online retail is set to grow but marketers won't keep up if they don't figure out how to integrate online with offline efforts, per a study from Boston-based Forrester Research. The firm says the U.S. and Europe will both see double-digit growth in Web retail over the next five years, with U.S. online retail growing at a 10% compound annual growth rate during that five-year period to reach nearly $249 billion.
In addition to creating a digital extension to Diesel's national "Be Stupid" campaign, which broke earlier this year, the AOR will be responsible for a number of social media aspects for Diesel, including a mix of blogger relations. Iced Media will monitor Diesel's social media programs daily using IcedMetrix, a proprietary measurement tool that enables clients to track social media referred sales.
There's a struggle with defining "branding" in digital. Some people claim that brands should be about utility, others that we need to build brand platforms and yet others think that brands should entertain us and give us something to talk about. Yet overall, surprisingly little has changed in the actual branding strategies in the industry. Something is wrong here.
This Sunday, the film industry's good and great will adorn the red carpet with their Gucci gowns and Cartier jewelry for Hollywood's biggest night, as the 82nd Annual Academy Awards celebrate the best in the business. But who would win our Oscar for "Best Use of Media to Promote a Film"? We nominated "The Blind Side" from Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros. and Paramount's "Up in the Air."
Online newspapers face two seemingly insurmountable challenges: getting customers used to paying for content and getting the industry used to charging for it. But in fact airlines have faced a similar, albeit simpler, situation with respect to baggage.
Is anonymity online coming to an end? The pervasive attitude says yes. The Pew Research Center teamed up with Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center to survey 895 experts on the future of the Internet--and at the forefront of the discussion is the sticky topic of anonymity. Experts were nearly split down the middle, with 55% agreeing that Internet users will be able to communicate anonymously and 41% agreeing that, by 2002, "anonymous online activity is sharply curtailed." Not only are there divergent opinions on whether online anonymity will be possible in the future, there isn't even a consensus on whether anonymity is universally desirable.
With 71% of Americans using the Internet at least monthly in 2010, US Internet users now closely resemble the general population. Over the next five years, that trend will continue. Overall, eMarketer forecasts the number of monthly Internet users in the US will rise to 250.7 million in 2014, up from 221 million in 2010. More than one-half of new users will be ages 45 and up, as many of the remaining laggards come on board. Among younger groups, the Internet is nearly ubiquitous, and most who are able to access it already do so, leaving limited potential for penetration growth.
Niche social networking sites aren't new. We've written about plenty of them, covering a diverse range of people and interests including travellers, property owners, office workers, restaurateurs, people with disabilities, baby boomers and even dogs. So, who is the newest kid on the social networking block? FaceChipz, a safe, age-appropriate online networking site for "tweens" where friendship links can only be made as the result of face-to-face exchanges in the real world.
I came to the conclusion today that marketing is destroying the internet, and a part of the reason why many companies are struggling online.
As the post-Super Bowl analysis turned this week from which team won the big game to which brands won big, we were once again reminded of the Super Bowl's role as the year's single most important advertising. While the commercials have understandably been the focus of conversation over the past several days, the Super Bowl also offers online marketers some important lessons that help illustrate the changing media dynamics taking place.
We’re still almost two weeks away from the Super Bowl – and all of its wannabe viral commercials – but at least one yet-to-be-seen ad is already capturing the imaginations of the Web: a pro-life spot featuring college football star Tim Tebow.
The average young American now spends practically every waking minute — except for the time in school — using a smart phone, computer, television or other electronic device, according to a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Those ages 8 to 18 spend more than seven and a half hours a day with such devices, compared with less than six and a half hours five years ago, when the study was last conducted. And that does not count the hour and a half that youths spend texting, or the half-hour they talk on their cellphones. And because so many of them are multitasking — say, surfing the Internet while listening to music — they pack on average nearly 11 hours of media content into that seven and a half hours.
Just under a year ago, Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, wrote a blog post describing how Twitter has made him a better (and happier) person. In it, he poses the following question: "What would you do differently if there were a permanent public record of what you do or say?" Fact is, there is a permanent public record of what you do or say -- online, at least. And, thanks to deals between the major social platforms and the major search engines, that permanent public record is pretty well accessible to anyone. And what it's meant is a greater necessity for people and businesses to display integrity.
With another holiday season behind us, retailers are busy crunching sales data to measure success and year over year revenue. However, this is also a good time to assess your company’s brand experience. And if yours needs improvement, integrating offline and online marketing can help.
A holiday season of Web price wars and aggressive online promotions by store-based retailers is leaving e-commerce a larger force in American retail. While sales conducted at brick-and mortar stores are about flat this season compared with 2008, online retailing grew 4% from the beginning of November through Dec. 18 to $24.8 billion, according to Web tracking company comScore Inc. Online sales on Dec. 15 totaled $913 million, marking a one-day record for the industry.
To many, tracking the success of TV ads is like admiring a Monet -- it's a beautiful picture when taken as a whole, but not meant to convey detail. When it comes to measurement, most TV advertisers know audience reach, some demographics and probably some level of top-line results. Admittedly, it doesn't match the depth and granularity of data we can get for online campaigns, where we know who's responding to our ads, what they're doing on our websites, how much time they spend there and whether or not they complete a purchase.
Major retailers including Target Corp., J.C. Penney Co. and Best Buy Co. are cranking up promotions to avoid a slump after Black Friday and keep customers shopping through what promises to be a difficult season. The weak economy and growing clout of online sellers is upending carefully calculated promotions and positioning retailers' Web sites as the frontline in this year's competition.
Steve Helmer doesn't order for pizza by phone anymore because, he says, "they're usually busy and not paying attention and they leave something out." Instead, Mr. Helmer uses a build-your-own-pizza feature that Domino's Pizza Inc. last year rolled out on its Web site. Customers can watch a simulated photographic version of their pizza as they select a size, choose a sauce and add pepperoni, black olives and other toppings. The image changes as ingredients are added or removed. The site also allows customers to track orders—with updates on when a pie enters the oven or leaves a store. Mr. Helmer, a sales representative for a telephone company in Beaver Dam, Wis., says he likes knowing the price before he's prompted to pay. "If I add something that's too expensive, I can just remove a topping," he says.
As more and more brands are moving all of their ad spend online, defining how influence affects their return on investment is necessary and must be done as soon as possible. While some are making inroads to define these calculations many are overlooking the fact that influence affects everything. Without factoring in the real issue of different types of influence you run into a number of problems, for instance focusing on one group of influencers over another or getting broad sweeping numbers instead of knowing exactly how effective your time and money has been spent on the proper target. One thing that usually doesn’t sync up here is that these online influencers with large followings are not the offline influencers.
We live in the most hyper-connected time in the country's history; and yet we exist in a constant state of disconnection. While Apple, BlackBerry, Twitter, Facebook, LimeWire, Match.com, Fresh Direct, and Amazon are well-designed, convenient, and address specific needs -- and for the most part work well -- they are also responsible for the undeniable erosion in the kind of personal interactions we used to take for granted during the course of a regular day.
To combat a slow sales forecast, many online retailers will be looking to boost their digital presence this holiday season, per Shop.org's annual eHoliday Study conducted by BIGresearch. A majority (60.3 percent) of retailers have already made enhancements this year to their Facebook pages, as well as Twitter pages (58.7 percent). Another 65.5 percent have incorporated updates to their blogs and RSS feeds.
Viral marketing — the technique of wrangling word-of-mouth to create a buzz around your product or idea — has been a powerful tool since the first caveman started the first rumor. Spreading the word person to person is the stuff of Avon dreams — and Bernie Madoff nightmares. And it requires the confidence to lose control of the message by setting it adrift. The modern age of viral marketing began in the mid 1990s with (of all things) a cultish, childish cable TV show that defined “guilty pleasure” way before Beavis and Butthead. The producers of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (the premise of MST3K is almost too ridiculous to articulate) knew immediately they had something viable, new and remarkable, and that their best marketers were the show’s smallish but loyal audience. In those dark days before streaming media, they encouraged the show’s viewers to videotape their copyrighted shows, and pass them along to friends — creating that sought after word-of-mouth buzz.
It wasn't long ago that a fashion magazine reader could flip through the pages of Vogue and Elle to find advertisements from high-end French brand Lacoste. Not anymore. The company known for its crocodile logo and polo shirts is ditching print ads and switching to a completely digital tactic in America. Lacoste spends $12 million a year on marketing in the U.S., according to TNS Media Intelligence, and all of that will go online. The change rolls out Thursday with the launch of a new Web site, from New York agency Euro RSCG, that lets shoppers build their own Lacoste wardrobes and share with friends on social networking sites.
Can social media sell cars? Ford Motors seems to think so. Fresh off the Ford Fiesta Movement, the American car maker is announcing another social media initiative designed to once again combine the passionate voices of happy Ford owners with the distribution opportunities made available through social media channels. Fusion 41, part of the Ford Drive One campaign, is a brand new challenge and campaign seeking 8 passionate 2010 Ford Fusion or Fusion Hybrid owners with an active social media presence.
How much do you trust your digital life? Has the fear of identity theft or bank card fraud dampened your trust in digital services? You're not alone. As the digital world permeates more and more aspects of our lifestyle, protecting our digital lives is more important than ever. Researchers at Microsoft, Nokia, Philips and digital security company Gemalto recently announced the launch of a new initiative that aims to set out how consumers and businesses can do just that. Called Trust in Digital Life Partnership, their vision is to address “the fundamental societal issue of trust in new and emerging digital services.”
2009 was a bad year for online advertising, too. This year figures to be the first down year for online ads since 2002, the hangover from the internet-bubble years.Spending on online advertising is expected to come in at $22.8 billion in 2009 in the U.S., down 2.9% from a year ago, due to steep declines in sponsorships, classifieds and e-mail advertising, according to a projection from eMarketer issued today. Banner ads were virtually flat with 2008. The lone bright spot: search, which will grow 4% overall, proving itself the most resilient and counter-cyclical form of online marketing. Video also grew, but it's still too small a category to make a difference in the overall numbers.
We’ve been taking an active analytical look at emerging Twitter related trends on a monthly basis. This month instead of analyzing the state of the Twittersphere on our own, we thought we’d give some of the web’s most experimental, influential, and knowledgeable thought leaders an opportunity to share their perspectives on Twitter trends. Given that BlogWorld Expo is currently underway in Las Vegas, with the best of the best wandering the halls, we decided to stop a few of the greats — Steve Rubel, Chris Pirillo, Leo Laporte, Brian Solis, and Guy Kawasaki — to get their candid take on the what’s trending in the Twittersphere.
Exposure to online media, including a brand's Web site and online ads, had a significant positive lift on a treatment's awareness and favorability, according to comScore's third annual study, "Online Marketing Effectiveness Benchmarks for the Pharmaceutical Industry." The results also showed that visitation to a brand's website generated significant levels of incremental new patient "starts" and refills. The study, performed in conjunction with pharmaceutical marketing consultancy Evolution Road, evaluated the impact of various online marketing activities including banner ads, rich media, search marketing and visits to a brand website on a pharmaceutical brand's awareness, favorability and sales results among both patients and prospects.
In 2002, Caterina Fake (her real name) was developing a video game with her husband, Stewart Butterfield, when they decided to drop photos into instant messaging--akin to adding pictures to conversations, they thought. The idea blossomed into Flickr, which launched in February 2004. Initially it didn't proliferate. But once they added "tagging" it exploded--it was well-timed to make the most of the growing popularity of digital cameras and the ever-expanding blogosphere. Bloggers used Flickr as a photo repository and others gravitated to it so they could share pictures. The site that began as an afterthought to Fake's and Butterfield's multiplayer game matured into the fifth most popular site on the Internet, generating revenue by charging a fee to heavy users who wanted a place to store their multitudes of photos. A year after launch, the formerly debt-ridden couple sold Flickr to Yahoo for $40 million.
Achieving and sustaining top ranking visibility for your brand on important organic terms is increasingly getting tougher. This is because natural text listings no longer rule on the search result page. There are many other elements that appear sometimes ahead of or intertwined with the natural results, including local listings with a map, shopping listings, latest news, top blogs, images, videos and even book reviews can appear. Google calls these mixed result types Universal search; others call it blended search. These other elements can push what were once top performing organic listings into second or third page positions.
You can buy “The Lost Symbol,” by Dan Brown, as an e-book for $9.99 at Amazon.com. Or you can don a pirate’s cap and snatch a free copy from another online user at RapidShare, Megaupload, Hotfile and other file-storage sites. Until now, few readers have preferred e-books to printed or audible versions, so the public availability of free-for-the-taking copies did not much matter. But e-books won’t stay on the periphery of book publishing much longer.
With luxury stores laid low by the recession, eBay is making another bid for style-savvy shoppers. The online-auction giant is close to inking a partnership with top fashion designer Narciso Rodriguez to create its first clothing line. The collection, "Narciso Rodriguez for eBay," will be sold exclusively on eBay starting next spring. The pact with Rodriguez -- who recently has won notoriety as a favorite designer of First Lady Michelle Obama -- is a victory for eBay, which has long battled its reputation in the fashion world as a venue for cheap knockoffs and deeply discounted, off-season or out-of-style clothing.
In the barrage of back-to-school ads, get ready to see a lot for the University of Phoenix. The school heaps more than $100 million a year into measured media alone and is a highly efficient marketing machine that spends more each year than Cheerios or Tide. In a field where most old-line universities spend a few million a year at best, the University of Phoenix is an anomaly for its approach to both education and marketing. It's the country's largest private university, with more than 400,000 students and 230 campus and learning-center locations. Its parent, Apollo Group, posted more than $3.1 billion in revenue during fiscal 2008 (Phoenix represents about 95% of Apollo's net revenue).
What's still one of the most important consumer trends out there? Transparency. Of prices, of opinions, of standards. So let’s look at what’s new, happening, upcoming and important, including the inevitable countertrend. There’s no hiding ;-)
Yahoo! may have thrown in the towel on the business of searching for information online. But the company is doubling down on a technology where it already has the lead over search king Google: in free e-mail service offered over the Web.
These days most companies have no choice but to cut their marketing budgets. And that's a good thing. You read that right -- it's a good thing. The reason it's a good thing is that most marketing bucks are spent on depreciating messaging. Either the medium is failing to deliver the numbers it used to or the creative is ignored by the target audience. Think about it. Most marketing teams are investing in a product that has gone down in value for the past 30 years, that product being network television.
On the morning of April 15, 2009, everything looked bright for Domino’s Pizza. The company’s share price had risen overnight, the group’s expansion plan was on track, and the brand was as strong as ever. But at 3:32 pm that very afternoon, the first text messages began beeping their arrival on the CEO’s mobile phone. They kept coming – one after the next, after the next. The phone’s inbox maxed out. The voicemail message light was blinking in overdrive, and soon filled to capacity.
Freaking out about the easier opt-outs proposed by some online-privacy advocates? Maybe you don't have so much to worry about. In June, Fetchback, an advertising network that specializes in ad "retargeting," added a link within its ad units that, when clicked, took consumers to a page that explained who the advertiser was and how the ad got there and gave contact info for Fetchback, as well as a way to opt out of future targeting.
Erik Beck, a 27-year-old Californian, has some 3 million fans who tune in monthly to his Web-based show, IndyMogul. The special effects video guide teaches aspiring film makers how to create car crash scenes without actually destroying their vehicles. The longtime amateur video maker has become the go-to guy for the 18- to 34 year-old crowd and, more recently, the marketers trying to woo them.
The Internet’s great promise is to make the world's information universally accessible and useful. So how come when you arrive at the most popular dating site in the US you find a stream of anonymous come-ons intermixed with insults, ads for prostitutes, naked pictures, and obvious scams? In a design straight from the earliest days of the Web, miscellaneous posts compete for attention on page after page of blue links, undifferentiated by tags or ratings or even usernames. Millions of people apparently believe that love awaits here, but it is well hidden. Is this really the best we can do?
By now, we’re all pretty familiar with how digital music works: People get sued, content gets deleted, and start-ups go bankrupt. YouTube’s ContentID marks a welcome change from that routine by freeing people to infringe copyright while generally keeping copyright holders happy. In an area known for bitter lawsuits and hastily issued “take down” notices, this is that rarest of birds: a feel-good digital music story.
For a time, Internet advertising was a rising tide lifting all boats. But as ad spending ebbs, there are more arguments about where on the Web advertising is the most fruitful. The fight over shrinking Internet ad dollars pits online publishers that offer premium content against major Web portals such as AOL, MSN and Yahoo. Portals and publishers, meanwhile, also have to compete with the ad brokers that sell often cut-rate leftover ad space on Web pages with less visibility.
Larger ad formats might be in vogue right now, but when it comes to online display advertising, bigger is not always better. Ad effectiveness depends less on size than it does on shape and placement, according to Dynamic Logic.
I am an early adopter of social media and set up my listening post 5 years ago to scan for people, trends, and ideas related to social media and nonprofits. Listening and engaging with people has been critical to any success I’ve achieved as a social media practitioner – whether I’m blogging or fundraising for Cambodian children. For the past five years, I’ve been teaching social media workshops for nonprofits and lately doing deeper dives on the techniques of listening both for nonprofits and in my role as Visiting Scholar in Residence at the Packard Foundation. This is a four-part series about listening for nonprofit organizations summarizes the insights I’ve learned about listening.
Google Inc., which has struggled for nearly three years to turn YouTube into an advertising platform, is aggressively pushing new ad formats and ramping up deals with media companies for the online video site.
Last week Google informally gave a heads-up that we should all be expecting a change in its main Web search results, based on a new update to search technology that mostly affects its indexing process. Dubbed Google Caffeine, it is a "secret project" considered to be next-generation architecture for Google Web search. And in addition to shaking up the results a bit, it may also pave new roads toward the goal of real-time search results.
A new study indicates that online advertising boosts retail sales of consumer packaged goods brands by 9% on average -- comparable with the lift from TV ad campaigns. The findings come from comScore and marketing consultancy dunnhumbyUSA based on research involving online campaigns run over three months for a variety unnamed CPG brands.
Ben Huh is the first to admit his company could easily have wound up on FAIL Blog. For the uninitiated, that's his wildly popular website to which users submit photos and videos documenting such colossally stupid moves as writing a billboard partly in Braille and using a trash can as a bike helmet. Like the rest of the 20-odd websites Huh owns, FAIL Blog was added to his empire for no more specific reason, he says, than "Dude, I think it's funny."
Spreading a branded video message on the internet isn't alchemy; it's common sense. Trust me, I've seen hundreds -- both good and bad. Here are five things that we're seeing work today to "hit to spread."
Some people will stop at nothing to snap up a bargain — even if it means paying too much. That is the paradoxical principle behind Swoopo, a Web site that offers a seductive and controversial proposition to online shoppers.
Just about every company has a Web site. But today, many marketers are going further. They are transforming their digital presence into powerful media channels, direct to consumers. The practice is prevalent enough that, as the research firm Outsell Inc. reported in July 2008, about 62 percent of marketers’ online advertising and marketing budgets are spent on their own digital media, up from 58 percent in 2007. These marketers recognize that with the right mix of content, utility, community, and product, they can create compelling premium experiences for consumers. And they see that these efforts deliver powerful benefits in branding, relationship building, and lead generation.
For a time, Internet advertising was a rising tide lifting all boats. But as ad spending ebbs, there are more arguments about where on the Web advertising is the most fruitful. The fight over shrinking Internet ad dollars pits online publishers that offer premium content against major Web portals such as AOL, MSN and Yahoo. Portals and publishers, meanwhile, also have to compete with the ad brokers that sell often cut-rate leftover ad space on Web pages with less visibility.
We’ve written previously about the reverse trend of internet memes inspiring honest-to-goodness books, but it appears that the web’s influence on real life as reflected in popular media knows no bounds following news that five of New York Magazine’s most prolific commenters have made the unprecedented leap from peanut gallery to professional.
The online ad industry has been on a fairly stable course for at least seven years now. The last major disruption this industry suffered dated from the Great Dotcom Meltdown of 2001-02, when the entire economy collapsed. Since that time, things have largely been on the upswing, and it's remarkable to me that search spending -- the healthiest component of online -- has held together, even in the midst of a deep recession whose likes we have not seen since the 1930s.
It has been said recently that online digital video as a medium is like the early days of movies, in that people are getting used to watching longer online-video content (longer than two minutes) because "the medium is growing up." In effect, these people feel that, as the online-video medium and its audience continue to mature, that audience, like early movie-going audiences, will learn to accept longer-form content.
The Web has long relegated advertising to the sidelines as part of a do-not-interrupt mandate that separated cyberspace venues from traditional media. That's slowly changing.
Twitter cofounders have talked about the importance of discovery in interviews and at conferences over the last several months. This week a new design for Twitter.com went live featuring top tweets and a search box to find more of what you want, but Twitter and many other web companies could improve discovery much more by incorporating other players’ data.
Internet fads have proven to be short-lived, "jumping the shark" and falling from grace as swiftly as they rose. Twitter will prove to be the exception because of its one permanently-redeeming quality: simplicity.
For all the concern and uproar over online privacy, marketers and data companies have always known much more about consumers’ offline lives, like income, credit score, home ownership, even what car they drive and whether they have a hunting license. Recently, some of these companies have started connecting this mountain of information to consumers’ browsers.
Your customers are talking about you — and the whole world is listening. Local review sites are reshaping the world of small business by becoming the new Yellow Pages, one-stop platforms where customers can find a business — and also see independent critiques of its performance. How do you manage your reputation when everybody is a critic?
Time spent with the internet, as it turns out, doesn't balloon indefinitely. That might sound obvious, but this is the year web surfing leveled off at 12 hours a week after growing from less than six hours a week in 2004, according to Forrester's annual survey of more than 40,000 American consumers' self-reported media habits. The report, released Monday, also indicates relative stabilization in other media channels, most notably newspaper and magazine reading.
As actors such as Ashton Kutcher use their production companies to experiment with branded entertainment in front of the camera, others, including Milo Ventimiglia, are looking to go one step further by developing original web content with brands in mind.
Conde Nast will shut down one of its web-only brands, Men.Style.com, when it gives two of its titles, GQ and Details, their own websites in October. The move marks a partial dismantling of Conde Nast's strategy of creating web-only brands to house magazine content, such as Style.com, Epicurious.com and Concierge.com, and the realization that in many cases the best brand for the web is the one that's been successful in print.
Not only are fans spreading the word about products—they're now helping to design and build marketing campaigns from the get-go.
What big brands do the best job with social media? A new study by analyst Charlene Li of the Altimeter Group and Wetpaint ranks the top 100 brands by social media engagement.
While speaking at the intimate and immensely valuable Zappos Insights event (Zappos Live), I shared thoughts of how the culture of any company or brand is as strong as the individual personification of it. Everything starts and fortifies with you. Your actions and words online are indeed extensions to how people interpret, perceive, and react to the brand your represent. Concurrently, you also represent your personal brand – the digital identity that’s established through the collection of digital shadows you cast across the social web.
Gene Munster, the analyst with Piper Jaffray, put a report out Thursday looking at the finances of YouTube, and he makes a suggestion that I haven’t seen before: Google should charge a “nominal fee” to people to upload videos to YouTube if the video isn’t appropriate for advertising.
It would be like having the same conversation -- over and over and over again. That's how one digital ad executive describes a world where no one is allowed to collect information online, a scenario the industry is hurriedly -- and worriedly -- trying to keep from happening.
It’s too early to say Microsoft has checkmated Google in online documents – the latest version of Office hasn’t shipped yet. But the sleeping giant in Redmond has clearly woken up to the Internet threat. Get this: Microsoft – the king of paid software – will announce today that it is going to give a version of Office away for free online.
Marketers looking to connect with kids should go online, since kids are more willing than ever to spend money there. Separate studies from research firm Nielsen and virtual world WeeWorld released this week suggest that kids are spending more time on the Web. While the research firm Nielsen reveals the online behavior of kids ages 2 to 11, WeeWorld looks at the time spent and spending habits of those age 12 to 18.
In a test of the viability of small online-ad companies, Quantcast has launched a new online ad-targeting service that is being closely watched by advertisers and investors. Quantcast, a high-profile San Francisco start-up, is one of dozens of young companies helping broker targeted display ads -- which typically contain both text and images, and are aimed at audiences selected for such characteristics as age, income or even probable personality traits.
Brands are pollinating the social web with easy-to-share features like Sharethis. As conversations splinter across the web, brands must prepare to aggregate those same conversations on their corporate website. As a result, the trusted conversations will centralize back on product pages.
Real time search is nothing new. It is a problem we’ve been working on for at least ten years, and we likely will still be trying to solve it ten years from now. It’s a really hard problem which we used to call “live web search,” which was coined by Allen Searls (Doc’s son) and refers to the web that is alive, with time as an element, in all factors including search.
Woolworths, the biggest retail casualty so far during the U.K.'s recession, was relaunched Thursday as an online brand selling children's wear, toys and party goods. The reincarnated retailer's new offerings will also include pick 'n' mix candy -- a line that became synonymous with Woolworths, or Woolies, as it was affectionately known -- rebranded click 'n' mix. The online store will also sell a new range of items, such as televisions, mobile phones and iPods, geared toward younger consumers.
If you are reading this, I am doing my job. Roughly speaking, that is the compact that has underpinned the ties that bind those who write the news to those who read it.
As consumers continue to look for ways to shop smarter, they're still buying clothes online. A new survey done for Google by Compete shows that purchase conversion rates for people shopping for apparel held its own in January, and even increased slightly in February. But they're taking their time before buying, says John McAteer, Google's director of retail.
If a marketer asked people to hand over a list of all their friends so it could show them ads, few would comply. On social-networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, though, friendships are obvious, and advertisers are beginning to examine those connections.
Television programs such as “The Simpsons” and “CSI” are for the first time commanding higher advertising rates at Web sites including Hulu.com and TV.com than on prime-time TV.
Customers will talk about your company, its products and services, whether you want them to or not. And online there are a multitude of places to do so. The question is, do you as a brand facilitate or participate? I will argue that you should do both, and tell you why.
The marketing team at Pier 1 Imports chose a challenging time to launch a new campaign. Bank of America had just gobbled up Merrill Lynch, several of the nation’s largest investment firms had buckled down and were receiving TARP money, and in the midst of it all, panic-stricken consumers just weren’t buying.
At this point, I don't need to lament anymore the ailments of the print-newspaper industry. It's a well-chronicled and covered story.
After a decade and a half of evangelisation by the likes of Seth Godin (re his book entitled: Permission Marketing) and those who followed in his footsteps, Marketers are now finally waking up to the idea that pre-formatted communications aren’t the right way to engage with customers.
One of the most persistent questions about advertising is: How does it work? Almost 20 years ago, John Philip Jones suggested it depended on which side of the pond one was on. His paper "Advertising: Strong Force or Weak Force? Two Views an Ocean Apart" described the typical American view that advertising was "expected to work by conversion: by addressing apathetic prospects and persuading them with powerful arguments." In contrast, "weak force" described the European view: Advertising was a "nudge," acting as a reminder, reinforcing existing brand perceptions and defending the status quo.
Why doesn’t a consumer electronics store work this way, in the age of the Internet? You walk into the digital photography section. On a slanted shelf sit 15 different cameras, each tied to its stanchion for security. But there’s a big screen behind the row of compact devices. And a keyboard in front.
In a recent survey, we asked B2B buyers how they prefer ordering the things they order all the time. Sixty-three percent said they prefer to order them online. The next largest group was the 15% who would go the traditional route of ordering from a local office over the phone. Another 12% said they'd prefer to order from a real live sales rep. In a recent presentation to a client, I kept that pie chart of results up for a while, allowing it to sink in, because I think the implications are astounding. After it sunk in, I asked what I believe to be a fundamentally important question: "Look at the chart and ask yourself, how closely does your company's strategic direction and resource allocation match that pie chart? That's where your customers are going, and they're moving fast. Are you going to be there when they get there?"
Considering the magazine-heavy resume of The Daily Beast founder Tina Brown, it stands to reason the Web publisher would take her cues from that world. But rather than adopt the banner, the most magazine-like Internet ad format, the IAC-owned Daily Beast has sworn off "traditional" Web ads in favor of custom executions.
For all the work marketers do reaching out to bloggers, social networks and other online outlets where they might get some word-of-mouth buzz, consumers are still looking to trusted friends and relatives for product or service recommendations.
Content doesn’t spread on the web because of its inherent qualities. We choose to share content because of its value within a network.
Ailing news organizations seeking to make money from both online readers and the Web sites that republish their stories are looking at the way music publishers collect a fraction of a cent for every song played in public, from the corner bowling alley to the stage of "American Idol."
For those of you increasingly convinced that you're the last human alive who doesn't get the point of Twitter, I have comforting news: Nobody does. Not really. Sure, the twittering masses (17 million registered U.S. users, by latest count) have some idea what their habit is good for. For many, Twitter's steady stream of one-line updates — "microblogging," as the form is known — is a low-maintenance way to feel connected to family, friends, celebrities. For others, it's a marketing tool, a public diary, a communal news feed, or even, simply, a sort of brain game — a text-message Sudoku, where the daily challenge is to fit the maximum amount of cleverness into the minimal space of a 140-character limit. But knowing how people use Twitter isn't the same thing as knowing why they use it. And that turns out to be a puzzle even seasoned Twitter watchers have found difficult to crack.
There is no hotel on Santorini that doesn't look amazing in the photos on their website. They all show rooms with white washed walls and clear blue exteriors. Glasses of wine on tables overlooking amazing sunsets. Beauty products are the same online, promising supermodel style complexions with no wrinkles in sight. Flickr is full of photos that are "tweaked" in some way to slightly increase their beauty, and the tricks that used to be only in the realm of tabloid photo editors are now available to us all.
When I first got into the ad biz and during my college studies the big thing that was repeatedly hammered into my young, impressionable mind was the need for every ad and ad campaign to have a "concept." A concept was that big idea, that creative aha that would simultaneously capture the consumer's attention and drive home a key benefit of the brand being advertised. And in the world of interruption based marketing, that makes sense. And to a lesser degree, today, it still does. But here is the rub. Here is the big thing that I think many of my fellow advertising folk haven't quite figured out. In the world of social media and web based marketing, you don't need a concept. Why? Because social and by and large digital isn't an interruption based communication platform. It's invitation based.
While sales of higher-end beauty products have been struggling in most retail channels, a new report from the NPD Group finds that at this point, beauty sales are growing on the Internet.
One of the corporate barriers to going social that David Griner identified in his recent presentation was the lack of ROI. That argument always seems a little odd to me, as arguably anything that happens online is inherently measurable. And while doing a project for a client to identify online influencers I went into Delicious to search for bookmarked pages that combined the tags “socialmedia” and “measurement.” The result? 2302 bookmarks. The fact is we’ve got measurement coming out of our ears.
The kids born after 1980 are often thought of as Digital Natives but age doesn’t always matter as the generation is defined on: access to digital technologies, age, and have the skills to use the skills.
It’s one of the most important concepts on the web today—perhaps the most important for social media—but it’s one of the least understood. When James Surowiecki wrote The Wisdom of Crowds in 2004, he explored the stock market and other classic social psychology examples, but “web 2.0” was still nascent. It’s time to connect his ideas to the social web, where they can reach their full potential.
Social media conversation is not only a subset of total word of mouth (WOM); it also differs substantially in content, according to research conducted by WOM research and consulting firm Keller Fay Group.
Marketers have made great strides in recent years to better understand and connect with moms. But in trying to perfect the message, many have forgotten to listen to the very consumer they are trying to woo. According to M2Moms, 60 percent of moms feel that marketers are ignoring their needs, and 73 percent feel that advertisers don't really understand what it's like to be a mom.
According to the research firm comScore, the Hispanic online population is now 11 percent of the total American market and in the last year has significantly outpaced the rest of the market. Hispanic users, tending to be younger, have gravitated to community and entertainment sites.
Is social media the new search? Pardon the clichéd phrasing, but it's a question I've been hearing a lot lately, and one I am at least somewhat qualified to answer.
Each April, the National Football League holds the spring Draft, an annual event during which it recruits new players (mainly from colleges) to join its teams. In the past, this selection process was an “institutional event,” where football fans knew the drill and creating buzz around the event was not as necessary. In the age of Twitter, Facebook and mobile technology, however, the NFL is changing up its game.
Why is it that so many companies are still struggling to create vibrant online communities? For every Threadless or Ideastorm, there are literally thousands of failed attempts at community-creation. What are so many companies missing?
User-generated content may have changed the Internet, but sites like YouTube are suffocating under the costs of storing it.
Auto makers must boost fuel economy under new government regulations, and a sure way to do that is promote small cars. But that poses a challenge for Detroit: How can the Big Three battle back in a market segment dominated by foreign rivals such as Toyota and Honda?
There aren't too many places where Walmart isn't dominant. The digital realm is one of the relative few, but not for long, as it ramps up a host of programs to vault the chain -- which has already distanced itself from value retailers in the offline world -- further ahead in the online one.
Google Inc. is developing technology to connect its TV-ad brokering business to YouTube and eventually video on other Web sites, as it struggles to lure bigger advertisers to both services.
I hear the word “brand,” as in “learn how to brand yourself,” and my heart sinks. I became a journalist rather than a salesperson because I do not like selling anything — including myself. And selling myself as a brand seems even less appealing than selling myself as, well, me. I know, I’m showing my age. And it’s not that I don’t appreciate that social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook (on which, yes, I have profiles) are providing a great way for companies to find people and people to find jobs. It’s just that everything I’ve read about branding doesn’t make me want to leap into this brave new world.
During the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt reassured anxious Americans through his famous fireside chats over the radio. Now, in the 21st century, President Obama has found his own fireside equivalent, launching an online town hall meeting Thursday where he will answer citizens' questions about the troubled economy and his efforts to fix it.
Audiences don’t live above or below-the-line, and it has taken our industry too long to truly embrace a through-the-line approach. But with the explosive growth of the Internet and the need for a specialized craft, we were quick to draw another line to differentiate on- and off-line advertising. But today’s audiences don’t live in an on- or off-line world either – they live in a “nonline” world.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper will produce its last printed edition on Tuesday and become an Internet-only news source, the Hearst Corporation said on Monday, making it by far the largest American newspaper to take that leap.
These days, everyone knows that one of the hottest stories any newspaper can cover is that of its own demise. The collapse of print advertising and the downturn in sales, at the news stand and through subscriptions, has led to a frantic search for new ways to monetize content that’s often available online for free. Social media gives any business an interactive channel to communicate with its current and future customers. For newspapers, that channel can increase the chances of survival in a market where commoditized information has diminished the value of individual brands.
For years, it has been assumed that home internet usage would cannibalize live television viewing, but there’s something interesting happening between social networking and live television. Could it be that what Pete Blackshaw termed “telecommunities”--people simultaneously watching live television programs and chatting in real time with an online network of like-minded fans--will gain scale and give consumers a reason to stick with live viewing?
Music sites with freely accessible content are being used by a growing number of listeners as a substitute for buying music.
I went to Magazines 24/7 "Navigating the new reality" with the intention of just covering the MPA's 3rd Annual Digital Awards but I found myself at the session "Print vs Web: The Editorial Challenge" writing feverishly and grunting in motivated agreement. It's a close-to-the-heart topic, it's no secret that I work for a publisher and we have two print mags (industry specific and quite awesome), so it also shouldn't be a secret that with new delivery channels come new challenges, arguments, and arm flailing.
What's wrong with this picture? The pending hardship closure of The San Francisco Chronicle would leave the first major city in the U.S. without a daily newspaper. At the same time, The Huffington Post has been eyeing the hyperlocal Web site Outside.in as a way to monetize its online brand in local communities. It is a troubling schism.
What's the secret ingredient to finding double-digit revenue increases in an almost universally brutal first quarter for media companies? In the case of Food Network, guacamole.
Influence is difficult to ascertain online. What about that guy on Twitter with 25,000 followers? Isn’t he influential? What about that woman who has 5,000 RSS subscribers? She has to be influential, correct? People who are truly influential become conduits for human based filtering and content discovery within their communities, as members of the community look to the person of influence to connect them to people and content they should trust, and fuel positive community growth.
What would you imagine the "top indexing sites reaching U.S. Hispanics 18+ who prefer Spanish" on comScore to look like? U.S. Hispanic media companies like Univision, Telemundo, Yahoo! en Español, ImpreMedia and AOL Latino, would dominate the list, right? Take a look at the top 10 indexing sites here from December 2008.
In the high-tech industry, you live for the day when your product name becomes a verb. “I Googled him.” “She’s been Photo- shopped.” Amazon, however, is hoping that its product name, a verb, becomes a noun. “Have you bought the new Kindle?”
The great paradox of the web is that it's an interactive medium and everything can be measured. And that's wonderful -- unless you're measuring the wrong thing.
Net neutrality has for several years been touted as a sort of desperate stand by the internet's independent content providers to fight telecoms from charging for the right to use bandwidth. Its proponents have warned that if unchecked, telecoms may create fast lanes, essentially destroying smaller sites that cannot pay, and crippling internet entrepreneurship. Now the tables have turned on the ISPs in what may be a growing new trend. ESPN is leading a push for internet content providers to charge ISPs for the right to use their sites.
More electronic books are coming to mobile phones. In a move that could bolster the growing popularity of e-books, Google said Thursday that the 1.5 million public domain books it had scanned and made available free on PCs were now accessible on mobile devices like the iPhone and the T-Mobile G1. Also Thursday, Amazon said that it was working on making the titles for its popular e-book reader, the Kindle, available on a variety of mobile phones.
There's nothing like the convenience of shopping online; then again, there's also nothing like the instant gratification of bringing home a purchase from the store. Perhaps it's no surprise, then, that Sears is dabbling with some experiments to combine the best of both worlds.
Just like on the field, Super Bowl XLIII had its winners and losers among brand marketers trying to turn their big game spots into lasting online results. This year, E-Trade, Kellogg's Frosted Flakes, and Cash4Gold.com were all integrated marketing winners, according to new data from IPG's search and social media marketing agency Reprise Media.
Following on the heels of 3-D commercials in the Super Bowl, Crest has launched its first foray into the technology with a Web site promoting its teeth-whitening system.
Just because you paid NBC up to $3 million for a Super Bowl spot doesn't mean ... well, it might not mean much at all in Google's search results, or even that much in terms of online traffic. For all the offline-online Super Bowl success stories, such as E-Trade's talking baby "outtakes" and Kellogg's online charity initiative, Plant a Seed, there are still plenty of examples of marketers that don't see the need to make online hay out of their $100,000-per-second investment.
In a battered economy, free goods and services online are more attractive than ever. So how can the suppliers make a business model out of nothing?
In the aftermath of dropping an average of $3 million per 30 seconds, Super Bowl advertisers hope to translate that into online buzz.
Ever since Gatorade’s mystery Mission G site surfaced earlier last week, I’ve been curious as to what they were planning for Super Bowl Sunday. During their What G Means Super Bowl spot, they directed viewers to Mission G. After digging around a bit it looks like it is going to be Gatorade’s attempt at a full-bown advertainment community site.
In a hundred ways, we pretend that screen experiences are books — PowerBooks, notebooks, e-books — but even a child knows the difference. Reading books is an operation with paper. Playing games on the Web is something else entirely. I need to admit this to myself, too. I try to believe that reading online is reading-plus, with the text searchable, hyperlinked and accompanied by video, audio, photography and graphics. But maybe it’s just not reading at all. Just as screens aren’t books.
The most sacred of American annual rites is upon us: sitting through an over-hyped football game to see cutting-edge TV ads that occasionally rival feature films for production value and creativity. But this year it isn't just about television -- the spotlight's online.
Thirty percent of respondents who plan to watch the game said seeing the telecast's commercials makes them more likely to visit an advertiser's Web site.
A person could go mad trying to pinpoint the moment he lost a friend. So seldom does that friend make his feelings clear by sending out an e-mail alert. It’s not just a fact of life, but also a policy on Facebook. While many trivial actions do prompt Facebook to post an alert to all your friends — adding a photo, changing your relationship status, using Fandango to buy tickets to “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” — striking someone off your list simply is not one of them.
As the upfronts loom, many big brands—like General Motors and Citibank, for instance—are slashing their spending on television advertising out of necessity. But another factor to consider is the maverick CMO who is willing to spend a lot less on TV advertising or cut it out entirely.
Virtual reputational economies show that reputation can be gained, lost, traded, protected, and shared, all in property-like fashion, without regard to whether it has independent economic value. In other words, reputation is not merely valuable; it is the new New Property.
Without entirely realizing it, America elected its first Independent president. The implications for how the country will be governed are profound, exhilarating, and loaded with risk.
Social media has long been lauded as a wonderful way to connect with customers and to build excitement for your brand/company/etc. But social media can also be an amazingly effective crisis management tool. That is, if the tools are in the hands of someone that knows how to utilize them properly, and one Gary Vaynerchuk definitely does.
Red Bull is creating a massive snowboarding arena in lower Manhattan this winter as a branded venue for Red Bull Snowscrapers, a competition that pits snowboarding icons against each other for a piece of the $100,000 purse.
The Web may be the future for magazine publishing, but in the present, ready revenue is winning out and Web writers are getting laid off left and right.
Thing is, most of the stuff you do online doesn't cost money. In the old days, money added friction. Money made you choosy. Today, reading and posting and linking and networking and connecting and commenting and podcasting and linkblurbling and doseedoing online all feel like essential marketing tasks. But is the activity getting in the way of action?