Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Google have released a product during the summer called Google Instant.

“As you start to type your search terms, Google Instant automatically shows results for a popular search that begins with those letters. If you don’t see the results you want, just keep typing and the results will dynamically update. Connect to the information you need faster, even before you finish typing your search!”. Taken From Google Instant Help Page.

 

When Google releases a new product that is related directly to its world dominating search and ad model it needs to be sure of its move. Google is like any other company in that it needs to continue to make money for as long as it can. But because of its influence through functionally / culturally and that underneath it’s one of the true online start-ups, is this new move by Google, good or bad? Well that depends on who you are?

USERS : We must always remember that the use of the Internet by your everyday consumer is still in its infancy. Users use Google because it is simple and clear, and deep down there is logic to make it work for you. But because most people do not have time to set and continually adjust their search queries, users can be at a cross roads if another option allows them to conduct a search query that shows them another way of finding what they want and finding other popular things along the way. I don’t think I would be able to turn that down especially if it’s Ajax styled and INSTANT. Please note, currently Instant is only available if you are logged into Google.

AD WORDS ADVERTISERS :  The first question that needs to be asked here is what percentage of your conversions come through users who are logged in. This is the only percentage of traffic that needs care and attention, unless Google makes a change and opens Instant up to the world. The first page of Instant is now hotter than ever. So make sure you run your campaigns as relevant as possible. Costings of some keywords may also fluctuate since certain terms would bring up certain pages. impressions will also no doubt change because this first page has been given added value, but again the refinement of campaigns should only make the number of impressions more realistic. Remember it’s the conversions that really matter and long term focus should be made on SEO.

AD WORDS PROFESSIONALS : Impressions will be a clear indicator on which keywords or phrases are affected. But on the positive this is clearly a refinement process, so negative keywords and phrase adjustment should be applied to reduce any part-formed keyword or phrase creating false impressions and part-formed keywords or phrases that may increase the chances of creating conversions, this data should be clear to see from your data analytics. Costings should also be closely watched since they will change and affect how budgets should be managed.

SEO SPECIALISTS : SEO was already vital, now it is now made more important because of Instant. Instant brings up links that should match search queries. How accurate the matching of queries amongst SEO optmised sites will take time to see but it makes sense since these sites should be aiming for as much relevancy as possible.

Google talks a lot about how much time is being saved, but we already knew this because of existing software like Inquisitor, see below, the beautiful UI styling and usefulness of this software is priceless, even tells you how many times you have visited a site from the search query…nice touch.

So unless its just a field that sits on your screen, how much time is really being saved. And if you now start looking at other things, then surely you could end up spending even more time online. Until Google unveils it’s full plans for Instant and we begin to gather data about the effects; after this time we shall see how much of an impact Google Instant is really making over the next year.

Find out more about Google Instant at :

http://www.google.com/instant/

Find out more about Inquisitor at :

http://www.inquisitorx.com

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I got to explore Hong Kong the other week and came across this interesting in-store promotion. See image below.

It’s nice to see even small coffee stores adopting new media to engage their customers in order to drive in new business. By the way, the coffee is not bad ether.

Find out more about Graze at :

http://www.graze.hk/en

Find out more about Four Square at :

http://vy-ber.co.uk/2010/03/14/become-the-mayor-of-mc-donalds/

The other day over the Easter break my five year old nephew asked me a straight forward technology based question, he said “Uncle, can you fast forward the adverts on the television because I hate adverts, they are so boring?” When I got in front of the television, I realised he was watching live TV, and explained to him that generally you can only fast forward adverts if you are watching a recorded program, or if you have paused live TV at some point earlier and you are simply catching up to the point of live transmission. Obviously, I had to use other words and maybe showed some examples of how this would work, but I thought wow, do the next gens really hate adverts? Not really, I feel that that the next gens really don’t react to passive media because their world from day dot is all about interactivity. Therefore until the Internet has converged with the TV, (and we really are not too far away from that) then television adverts cannot create conversions like true digital advertising currently does.

During my experience of using the Internet, I realised a long time ago that adverts as a minimum need to be interactive. If I as a consumer have any interest in a company’s product or service, then what I need more than anything is an emotional interactive experience. To date, I have only come across a small number of these styles of adverts. The first was a banner advert for Gran Turismo 4. It was not just a simple banner advert, it was an invitation to interact with a brand that I love. The advert asked me to play a few videos, and position the in built camera within the video to a point that would capture, what I thought would be a great photograph. The images were then submitted into a competition. I was on that advert for 2 hours, yes that’s right, 2 hours. That is the power of digital advertising, yet still thousands of companies spend thousands of pounds on boring click through adverts.

Now Apple has announced that it is going to allow developers to create adverts that are exactly this type in nature. So when you see an advert, you know that you are not just going to click through to a boring brochure based website, but you can look forward to a fully interactive emotional experience.

Apple told the world about apps, even though Windows Mobile users were already using apps. Now Apple is going to tell the world about creating interactive adverts even though it’s nothing new. But they are going to do it on the mobile, so how long is it going to take the rest of the digital media to catch up?

Watch a demo of iAd below courtesy of lightstab :

Twitter has now been around a few years and is utilised by Big Brands, SME’s and individuals as a very useful communication channel. You can read more about using Twitter and catch up on some case studies at :

http://business.twitter.com/twitter101

New Twitter advertising models are emerging, allowing businesses to promote their tweets above others in order to get seen by users searching for relevant information. Twitter itself has released what they call ‘Promoted Tweets’. As you can see from the image below, after doing a search for ‘Starbucks’, their tweet is shown above the others. It can be re-tweeted like any other tweet and is paid for on a cost per 1000 basis. But do I want to see these above real time natural tweets?

Not really sure yet because although the service has just been unveiled, Twitter are taking the roll out slowly in order to find out if what they have implemented is of any value, so it’s a bit if a beta test! They will looking at feedback from people and businesses to see how successful these ‘promoted tweets’ are. Personally I would prefer all paid for advertising be place in a separate part of the page, but then again, that’s just me.

In the meantime, a new site, which is not linked to Twitter, but is also promoting another Twitter Advertising model was launched yesterday. It is called Tweetup, created by Bill Gross and Idealab. Tweetup is attempting to create a ‘Google Ad-Words’ for Twitter.

With the two models in place, what’s going to happen? There are still many people who have not yet got to grips with what Twitter can offer them today …yet the ad models are now here for those wanting to get their messages above the rest. This is going to be a very interesting battle.

Btw, since creating the above image half an hour ago, there have now been 845 more tweets related to the search query ‘Starbucks’. Is this the hype of the new ads or is this just the way it is? Twitter simply is amazing …make that 1105 wow.

Find out more about Tweetup at :

http://www.tweetup.com/about

10 years ago, marketing your website required the use of simply adding a few popular key words. This was great for bringing in traffic but the conversion rates were well off the mark.

As the dot com bubble burst, website owners demanded much more justification for their marketing budgets and this gave rise to the world of SEO. Parallel to this was the rise of Google who provided a platform for SEO(Search Engine Optimisation) to work well, and although PPC(Pay Per Click) works perfectly fine in the short term, SEO provides long term relevant traffic and growth.

But what else can you do to bring in relevant traffic to your site? Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, founders of the Hubspot have written a book called Inbound Marketing which not only covers PPC and SEO, but also explains how the use of Social Media and Blogs is also now just as important. Although not the first book about Inbound Marketing, it presents today’s online marketing strategies in a simple and digestible format, whether you are a techie or not.

If you are serious about marketing on the web, and willing to put the time and effort into utilising some or all of the ideas in this book, then you will begin to see what it takes for websites need to stay on top and continue to bring in relevant traffic.

With nearly 2 billion people across the world surfing the net, now more than ever is the time to start planning where you want your site to be for the next 5-10 years, and Inbound Marketing is what you need to start investigating.

Find out more about the concept of Inbound Marketing on this post on the Hubspot Blog at :

http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/4416/Inbound-Marketing-the-Next-Phase-of-Marketing-on-the-Web.aspx

Get the book on Amazon at :

In the US :

www.inboundmarketingbook.com

In the UK :

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Inbound-Marketing-Found-Google-Social/dp/0470499311/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1271112028&sr=8-1

With the rise of 3D TV during this year Sony is looking to push forwards on all technological fronts. Recently re-styling their Japanese retail store in line with Apple’s clean cut style, they are also looking to launch an online content service that will no doubt be available across their TV’s, Consoles and the Web.

Sony don’t tend to innovate like they used too, and it looks like Apple have been holding that title for the last decade. But with a vast number of loyal customers, a distinct design style of its own and a brand as big as Coca Cola, Sony will not have to try to hard to win new customers.

Content Courtesy of The New York Times :

Sony is working with Google and Intel on Google TV, a platform for a new generation of televisions and set-top boxes that will make it easier to browse the Web on TV screens. The first devices featuring the technology are expected to be on sale this summer.

Read the full article at :

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/29/technology/29sony.html

See also :

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/18/technology/18webtv.htm

Understanding the habits of your users is an on-going process. Learning about the pages visited, time spent on those pages, new vs returning visiting numbers, keywords, geographic locations etc can help to improve the value provided by your website. If you want the exact numbers and science then you would probably need to spend money developing or purchasing a bespoke piece of code. There are vendors out there also that provide this type of software, but, at a cost.

Google has provided software for this purpose for a number of years now, and because it’s free, it has helped many people get an idea of what their visitors maybe doing. If your running a Fan Page on Facebook and you like Google Analytics, there has been a JavaScript issue that has been stopping you from using the Google Code on your Fan Pages.

Now a company in London, UK,  called Webdigi, has provided some help. For information on how to set up Google Analytics on your Fan Page go to :

http://www.webdigi.co.uk/blog/2010/google-analytics-for-facebook-fan-pages/

Inspiration courtesy of the Social Media Examiner at :

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-add-google-analytics-to-your-facebook-fan-page/

Well done to all those mothers out there who have decided to blog, and thank you to the New York Times for giving this growing marketplace some PR. Whether your a pushy mum, or just someone you wants to communicate the joys of bringing up children there are many reasons why mothers would blog. The fact is that everyone should blog, what better way to communicate how you feel. And although its being called a blog, it is essentially a web communication application like any other. This means that who ever is in control of the site can ether let the entire Internet view the contents or it can be accessed from behind a secure password entry system to a select few.

Created by Tiffany Romero & Heather Blair, Bloggy Boot Camp is a company that organises events about blogging and social media and targets women. Right now they are planning a “Blogging Boot Camp Tour” across the United States. This is a great idea not only for providing help using technology, but for creating a community.

Find out more about Bloggy Boot Camp at : http://www.bloggybootcamp.com/

Read the New York times article by Jennifer Mendelson at :

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/14/fashion/14moms.html

An example blog :

http://www.scarymommy.com/

As we begin to use social media more and plan for new campaigns it would be wise to understand the metrics of such activities.

A company by the name of uberUV have created a dashboard to help you understand your user engagements across various social media web applications like Twitter, Friend Feed etc based on keywords and/or phrases.

Watch a video to find out how to use uberUV’s dashboard at :

Find out more about uberUV at : http://www.ubervu.com/

Content Courtesy of uberUV :

uberVU bring you community metrics and analytics. On uberVU you search for something – such as your brand or your blog. We return whole conversations in a single thread – not just the post (like on Google blogsearch), but comments to the post from all over the Web – blogs, Twitter, Digg, FriendFeed, Reddit and a lot more.

Not that there enough services available for users to access streamed TV content already, but now Microsoft has joined the party with MSN Video.

With the recent success of streaming services like the iPlayer in the UK, Hulu in the US and Joost worldwide, Microsoft has acted fast. But the question of whether this site will be successful would be down to the library of content available.

Microsoft has stored an entire series of content per TV show which is definitely a plus point. But apart from content which can only get bigger how do the other properties weigh up?

The quality of the streaming service is watchable but not excellent. When the site becomes more popular we will see how the streaming will cope. Users have to watch an advert before watching a show, but then if you want free, then this is the usual price.

If you leave a TV show and return at a later time, the service does not go back to the exact point you were watching last, there is also no history button, in case you want to watch a show again. So in terms of usability at this stage its average, but not certainly not smart.

One plus point that I noticed on this service is the ability to full screen content on a second monitor whilst you continuing to use your computer on the other screen. Most services in full screen mode don’t let you do this, so Microsoft…well done. Now let’s see if you have a competitive model.

Find out more about MSN Video at : http://video.uk.msn.com

Find out more about Hulu at : http://www.hulu.com

Facebook is in its prime. Having received $240 million from Microsoft and introducing the Ad system in 2007, the number of users has gone from strength to strength. But where is Facebook going?

At the moment Facebook can not only be accessed directly but through various other sites and platforms like Xbox. This is thanks to the free Facebook Connect APIs which allows developers to create new bridges with Facebook.

Does this mean users spend less time on the main site? Or does this mean Facebook’s current definition changes as users migrate but stay connected. Maybe Facebook will break up into smaller more focussed areas. Will the groups become more advanced allowing users to control more of what and how they share?

Whatever happens, Facebook’s mix of users and games certainly is a very successful partnership, and as games inevitably improve, this part of Facebook certainly has the potential to grow into something exciting. And with its 400 million cross generational worldwide users, it’s database is a world-class directory when you want to find someone. Many companies now have a Fan Page, allowing social communication to go beyond just your friends but to include brand loyalty. So even though Facebook is a huge beast, some parts are going to be the key to driving the future Facebook forwards.

In the meantime Facebook have been working on the main site strategies, like today’s semantic update on the keywords advertisement system. Fresh thinking like this can only add value. As Mark Zuckerberg continues to evolve Facebook, it will be an interesting journey to watch considering we are moving into a very strong phase of social media from plethora of companies.

Find out more about Farmville at : http://www.farmville.com/

Update 16th March 2010

Facebook ousts Google as most popular U.S. site.

Read more about this article at :

http://ow.ly/1mVyY

Update 22nd April 2010

Following the F8 conference yesterday, it looks like we can now see what Facebook has been up to. Replacing the Connect Tool with Social Plug Ins and in the process attempting to connect users relationships with their online engagements through semantic meanings.  In the words of Zuckerman himself  “the most transformative thing we’ve ever done for the web.”


Find out more about the next evolution of Facebook at :

http://developers.facebook.com/blog/post/377

Find out more about the latest on Facebook, unofficially at :

http://www.allfacebook.com/

Burberry has displayed a good example of online brand engagement by utilising the latest new TV technology that’s currently doing the rounds…3D.

Burberry Prorsum’s 3D show with thigh-high boots and heritage jackets
A 3-D online extravaganza celebrated the brand’s future while the clothes reminded us of Burberry’s great heritage
. Read More…

Article source courtesy of Lisa Armstron, TIMESONLINE.

Watch a repeat of the video here :

Autumn/Winter Burberry catwalk show Feb 2010.

Watch BBC News Report, running up to the show at :

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/8534058.stm

Love magazine are also using online media to help promote it’s brand.

Check out the short film released on Valentine’s Day earlier this year,  The Love Thing

Article courtesy of Belinda Goldsmith, Reuters UK :

CANBERRA (Reuters) – Cyber attacks on Facebook pages set up to pay tribute to two murdered Australian children has prompted calls for the social networking site to be more accountable for its users.

Social media experts say it is natural that people who use sites such as Facebook or MySpace as a major form of communication should turn to these sites with personal tragedies. Read more…


It has taken social media to get corporations thinking more seriously about all those web possibilities.

Using Social Media to create the communities of brand loyal Internet savvy users, corporations can learn so much about why consumers adore or hate their brand.

But the knowing of when and how to communicate will be one of the first challenges.

James Falls from the Social Media Explorer makes his comments :

You could say the social media monitoring industry has been the single fastest-growing niche in the world of technology over the past three years. As more companies engage in social media, participate in conversations and launch social media initiatives, the demand to monitor what is being said and analyze that data is critical for companies to not only read and react, but also fund and staff social initiatives.

Read more about this article, courtesy of the Social Media Explorer at :

http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com/2010/02/24/exploring-social-media-monitoring-an-industry-survey/

Apple has started banning many applications for its iPhone that feature sexually suggestive material, including photos of women in bikinis and lingerie, a move that came as an abrupt surprise to developers who had been profiting from such programs.

Read more from the article courtesy of the New York Times at :

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/23/technology/23apps.html

From another report :

Apple, There’s Pornography On My iPhone. The App Is Called Safari. You Made It.


Apple’s hypocrisy with regard to the App Store is something I know well. Several times last year I wrote about Apple allowing apps like “Asian Boobs” and upskirt apps into the App Store while rejecting things such as satirical apps that mocked public figures. It was ridiculous. So you might think I’d be happy that Apple is now rejecting and removing sexy apps from the App Store as well. But actually, the hypocrisy is much worse now.

Continued at Apple, There’s Pornography On My iPhone. The App Is Called Safari. You Made It.

Courtesy of MG Siegler at TechCrunch on 23.02.2010