Archive for the ‘Web Trends’ Category

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 :

Advertisements

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

Focusing on fashion, consumers will soon be able to fund designers directly through a website called FashionStake in return for credits on clothes. This model offers an alternative to purchasing from retailers and the communication channels of this model allows for the unique opportunity of supporting the creative process.

Not sure if it will have the same effect as the music industry had with peer-to-peer as suggested by Reuters below, but ‘crowd funding’ models are probably here to stay, and will probably sit alongside existing retail channels. If the model exceeds expectations, then there is no reason why high street retailers cannot begin to try similar models.

Nike has been offering personal sports shoes for some time now through Nike ID. So although this may not be as personal as what FashionStake are offering, but by simply giving consumers the chance to contribute is definitely a way forward.

Content Courtesy of Reuters :

NEW YORK, April 1 (Reuters) – An Internet start-up called Fashion Stake launching in coming weeks aims to shake up the fashion industry, just as peer-to-peer file sharing changed the music industry.

Fashion Stake will allow customers to directly fund fashion designers by browsing on-line collections and buying a stake in a collection in return for credits to buy clothes. Patrons can also share ideas with designers and vote on collections.

Read the full article at :

http://smallbusiness.uk.reuters.com/2010/04/06/new-website-brings-crowd-sourcing-to-fashion/

Find out more about FashionStake at :

http://www.fashionstake.com/

Many people are used to following people on Twitter. But did you know you can follow topics of conversation by following a topic’s Hashtag.

For example, yesterday I blogged about ‘Mothers Who Blog’, but to follow some of the topics around this post I followed the hashtag ‘#bloggybootcamp’ using my TweetDeck. This way I could follow some of the tweets coming in directly related to the hashtag.

So as more and more people begin to tweet, they should start using the hashtag to allow others to follow the trending topic.

To see related tweets to a hashtag visit :

http://hashtags.org/

Update 16.04.2010

Just noticed this message on the link above :

hashtags.org has had a rough history, in both technology and focus. it doesn’t look like these problems will be rectified by the current team. that said, we are looking to sell our assets (@hashtags, hashtags.org, etc.).

if you have any interest in this project, please contact cody marx bailey.

Just tried testing a Hashtag again (#entrepreneur), still working ….phew!

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.

I recently found myself looking for a new media center software and came across Boxee.

It has a slick interface and allows you to access all of your computers from one place, throws in content from the Web and is built on open source, not to mention it runs on Windows, Apple and Linux.

The twist for this media center is that you can now share what you watch and find with your friends, which is definitely a neat little touch.

It also allowed me to play my DVR-MS files no issue through my mac, which is another piece of software I have needed. Still testing the Boxee services, but so far so good.

Find out more about Boxee at : http://www.boxee.tv/

If you are interested in looking at other ways to access files across your home network then you might want to take a look at :

https://vyber.wordpress.com/2010/03/12/got-a-network-files-and-drives-on-the-increase-have-you-considered-a-data-station/

https://vyber.wordpress.com/2010/03/01/social-usb-mass-storage/

There seems to be a few sites out there using the concept of ‘recommendations by other users’. Here’s one from New York called Hunch.

Hunch says it gives you customized recommendations and gets smarter the more you use it.

One of the current most popular questions was ‘Should I get a TiVo Premiere?’ Funny they mention that, because I just wrote about it a couple of days ago. Hunch then asks you a series of questions, after which, based on your answers, it gives you a decision. I have to say the questions were quite thorough, and could easily be considered as real.

Though I think this has more to do with my question choice. I need to keep giving it harder questions and see how it copes. My next question would be, do I buy a 3D TV or wait for TiVo? I can’t afford everything Hunch.

Find out more about Hunch at : http://hunch.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/

This is an interesting question because the source of news for many is in a state of transition. Some get their news from a traditional newspaper, some use television, some look to the Internet, whilst the rest are getting their news from a multiple number of sources throughout the day.

But the Internet is causing users to look further into cyberspace for their news fix. We can utilise RSS Feeds in a multiple number of ways, whether pulling the feeds into a Blog, Email, personalised news sites like MeeHive, Social Networking Site or software like NetNewsWire. Then every Newspaper, Television News Station and every type of newspaper has a website section dedicated to news. Consumers are also looking towards journalistic web blogs that can carry the news from one person to the next, and is simultaneously posted to a number of sites, introducing conversation to allow users to discuss the news subject.  Twitter has been a new recent source of success and continues to grow at an alarming rate. I am not saying that this is a definitive list, but it shows that there are a number of options and creative opportunities to get the news you want, how you want it and when you want it.

Now that accessing the Internet from your mobile phone without major issues using Mobile browsers like Skyfire are possible, you are actually getting your news direct to your handset, which is usually positioned with you twenty-four hours a day. And with the recent unveiling of Apple’s latest gizmo, the iPad, magazines like Wired, GQ and Vanity Fair are already preparing their digitised versions of their magazine for launch in April 2010 which bring even more options for consumer engagement.

Personally, I do not think I can give up a traditional newspaper for a while yet. There’s a few reasons for this, I prefer not to look at a screen as soon as I wake up and I find reading a paper newspaper is generally more relaxing. Interestingly, even though I read a number of traditional newspapers throughout my day, sometimes I still do not come across the same news story on the Internet, unless the traditional newspaper has forced me to look for it. So I wonder how all the people can see all the news without missing some of it. This is also one of the reasons I started this blog, I sometimes find things that I want to share, but how do I know my if my friends or colleagues have also seen the same content.

My day is spent in front of some screen or another, so there is always time for the Internet. Should the future do away with the traditional newspaper, for economic or environmental reasons, I will be sad, but I could always print my news if I missed it that badly.

Pew Internet & American Life Project recently conducted a study called Understanding the Participatory News Consumer. When you look at the findings which looked at American citizens news habits, there were some key points to note.

Content below courtesy of Pew Internet & American Life Project.

78% of Americans say they get news from a local TV station
73% say they get news from a national network such as CBS or cable TV station such as CNN or FoxNews
61% say they get some kind of news online
54% say they listen to a radio news program at home or in the car
50% say they read news in a local newspaper
17% say they read news in a national newspaper such as the New York Times or USA Today.


Americans today routinely get their news from multiple sources and a mix of platforms. Nine in ten American adults (92%) get news from multiple platforms on a typical day, with half of those using four to six platforms daily. Fully 59% get news from a combination of online and offline sources on a typical day.  Just over a third (38%) rely solely on offline sources, and 2% rely exclusively on the internet for their daily news.

Of course not every country is the same and there is only so much news you can digest in one day. Therefore news for the future consumer is likely to continue to arrive from a multiple number of sources and from different delivery platforms accessed at different times. This post will have to be updated in a few years time, because I cannot wait to see where I get my news from next.

Find out more about the Pew Internet & American Life Project findings at :

http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Online-News/Summary-of-Findings.aspx?r=1

Read more about magazines coming soon to the iPad courtesy of Stephanie Clifford, New York Times at :

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/01/business/media/01conde.htm

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

I imagine the war between micro-blogging and sms messaging has begun. Not to say that there might not ever be a loser here, but now we get to find out just what really is the required forms for particular communication. As the handsets providers create greater converging tools,it remain to be seen as to who will be using what services, if at all any.

Sources :

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/twitter-users-creating-50-million-tweets-a-day-1908036.html

Check out some of the crazy numbers on the this leader board by Twitterholic : http://twitterholic.com

Updated 15th March 2010 :

Graph above, courtesy of Mashable.com

Judging by this graph Twitter has peaked very quickly. But are the Tweeters maximising the use from this communication channel? With the advent of tools like TweetDeck and the cyberculture of hash tagging you would think so. Twitter is still very young and because of its platform openness its real values are still being realised by the many.

Read more about Twitter stats at :

http://mashable.com/2010/03/10/twitter-follow-stats/

http://hashtags.org/

Fiat is the first brand in the UK to use a new Facebook ad format that captures consumer data.

The ad format asks users to input their address in order to receive more information, product samples or vouchers.

Source by Charlotte McEleny, New Media Age : http://www.nma.co.uk/news/fiat-first-brand-to-use-new-facebook-ad-format/3010171.article

This is a great example of the brand embracing the web.

Fiat are just prying the door open here on a world waiting for seamless interactive experiences.

New York based retailer  Singer22 have been embracing the Internet to help create sales by blogging about the brands celebrities are using.

Too keep up with the their world visit : http://singer22sblog.com/

Further Information :

CelebStyle.com is the definitive guide to what celebrities are wearing on and off the screen. See it. Want it. Get it.

http://twitter.com/heycelebstyle