Sunday, December 11, 2011

A new app for make-up allowing users to paint on their own photo

It is often talked about virtual apparel stores, enabling to “try” online jeans and dresses with virtual movies and photos showing how these new clothes could fit on us. The same concept has been developed for make-up. ModiFace, a provider of virtual makeover and mobile app technologies, in partnership with Stila Cosmetics, announced this week the launch of the Stila Cosmetics `Color Me Stila’ iPhone and iPad application. This application utilizes facial recognition and virtual-try-on technology to allow users to “paint” on their image using Stila Cosmetics shades. This feature, which is ideal for touch-enabled phones and tablets, makes it possible for users to paint any number/style of cosmetics on their image.

The patented ModiFace-powered facial recognition technology ensures that user’s virtual product applications always look perfect by preserving the boundary and regions which different shades apply.

The ideas that have been developed for regular virtual-makeover tools have been combined with the touch capabilities of iOS devices to create this innovative mobile application.

This is not a new tool to be used alone. Before going to work or hangout out on Saturday night it is now possible to combine this make-up tool with other virtual online applications which will allow seeing movies and photos of yourself with different clothes, make-up and haircut. And may-be one day the tool will allow to figure out about the different looks with different “+one” options in order to see which one fits the best with the nail varnish and the purse of the day.


Cloud Computing

Interesting Infographic:

The numbers so far seem to indicate that it does add significant value to businesses. Wonder why it isn't talked about more..


Is Soho going to become a showroom for m-commerce?

Mobile commerce is still small relative to the overall e-commerce market. But it's on a steep upward trajectory thanks to the increasing use of smartphones and rising mobile internet usage. I read that m-commerce sales will reach $6.7 billion this year in the United States, a 91% increase over 2010. M-commerce sales in 2012 are predicted to rise another 73% to $11.6 billion. Approximately 37.5 million U.S. consumer will make at least one purchase on their mobile phone next year, up from 26.8 million this year. And in total, 72.8 million mobile users will research or browse items on their phone in 2012 but not necessarily make a purchase.

At the beginning of e-commerce, I remember we were not trusting this virtual way to shop, so we were researching the products online and then go buy in store. But as the industry showed its reliability and improved its slate of mobile offerings, the opposite trend started: the consumers were visiting stores to research products and then went buy them or something else from home through their desktop.

We have now reached a new step with the mobile devices: mobile commerce is acting as an engine of overall commerce growth by converting potential brick-and-mortar sales to digital sales as consumers use their smartphones while shopping in-store. Brick-and-mortar retailers run the risk of becoming showrooms any online retailers, since many discounts are offered online. But on the other hand, if the traditional stores are clever, the shift to mobile shopping could benefit them as well: if a retailer has robust mobile offerings, it can steer in-store shoppers to look online for more information or find out-of-stock sizes and items on its own mobile site or app, retaining the sale via a different channel.

The good news is that whatever classic in-store shopping or m-commerce shopping, this new way of shopping are beneficial to the consumers. And whatever the way how I shop, no mobile device application will be able to compete with the pleasure of a walk in Soho.


The Impact of Facebook Tabs

There are a few best practices that can be instituted in creating an effective Facebook page that garners customer engagement. I've always heard that pushing content to a Tab within Facebook instead of featuring information on the main page is a bad idea as customers won't see or access it. But a recent article on Mashable talks about the impact of tabs and how to make them work. The key is not just creating content that appeals to your target audience, but also ensuring you have a clear strategy with tabs. Tabs shouldn't require too many actions and should exist within the context of each other. But the most important thing is staying on top of driving traffic there. You can't just expect customers to keep coming back without being directed there. Definitely changes my perspective on things.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Tablet Users

According to a new study, usage of tablet devices is incredibly strong with Asian-Americans and Hispanics. Approximately 12.6% of Hispanics and 14.4% of Asians are consuming content on a tablet. These numbers are expected to double by 2014.

This is a great opportunity for small companies to take advantage of this usage. For example, instead of printing books in a small print run for a variety of languages like Spanish, Chinese, and Korean, companies can save a lot of money by producing digital content. Instead of the high fixed costs associated with printing, content can be developed specifically for tablets. And companies like Rosetta Stone can utilize an iPad to harness the power of video, audio, and even writing. Imagine learning how to draw a Chinese letter or practicing verb conjugations.

Or if marketers are looking to reach a more multicultural audience they should consider earmarking some of their ad budget to spend on tablet related ads and apps. It's nice to see such a high adoption rates of tablets among Asians and Hispanic and it represents a sea of possibilities for businesses to reach them.


Really Reading It Later

I guess I'm not the only one who feels like it's impossible to find time to read all the interesting articles that cross my path. Four million people have signed up with startup Read it, a content-saving service that wants to do for web content what TiVo did for TV. And now that people have a simple way to save articles for later reading, the big question is... do they?

Read it Later hasn't answered this question outright. But they have published some interesting numbers about which authors get the highest return rate (how often users return to a story once it's saved). The author with the absolute highest return rate is Drew Magary of the sports blog Deadspin. His return rate is 83%. Authors writing about sports, news, and gaming dominate the top 20. Once you get to the bottom of the top 20 list, return rates hover around 70%.

Interestingly, there's some incongruence between what kinds of content people save and what they return to read. How-to articles are the most commonly saved, but not the most commonly returned to. It makes sense that people would feel more urgency to read time sensitive articles than instructional ones.

One can only speculate what the overall return rate might be. For myself, it seems that any time I have a moment to sit down and do some reading, going back to a saved list would usually be trumped by checking out what's new. But it's interesting to see that, at least for some types of content, people are returning. And it's a very interesting new way to measure loyalty to authors.


It's the End of the Year: Time for a Top-10 List

In the spirit of the new year, is offering a round-up of the top 10 viral video ads from 2011. The list includes the usual suspects like the wonderful Volkswagen "Darth Vader" ad that aired during the Super Bowl alongside some lesser-known choices (check out the fully-tattooed "Zombie Boy" getting covered in foundation). What's important to notice here is that none of these ads is the same. As was mentioned in class several times, the key to making a viral video is the content. There are no hard and fast rules as to what will make people latch onto a video and turn it into the next big thing. The important thing is to make the content engaging and relevant.

Enjoy the Top-10 list.
Happy Holidays and here's to another slew of "Top" lists in 2012!


Friday, December 09, 2011

'Face' of Facebook speaks for itself

     There are a lot of debates about why Facebook attracts so much attention. First of all, it is not the only one social media platform and, second, it is not the only website we go to when online. Some people believe that such strong attachment to Facebook is because of its name.
     A study conducted recently showed that people have a very strong emotional response to Facebook. Out of three, Facebook was the first in terms of attention, emotional engagement and memory retention.
     The secret, as some people believe, is in the word 'face'. People associate a word 'face' with human face and feel more interested. Another study has shown that people spend disproportionally more time on reviewing newsfeed and photos on Facebook than on other activities. A human face is very important for people because they somehow can connect it to themselves. Everybody has a face (not surprisingly) and is likely to compare other faces to his own one. Moreover, scientists believe that children from very young ages start to distinguish human faces and form some kind of perception of them. In an experiment conducted among 84 adults wired with EEG sensors it was discovered that participants got more excited about Facebook when it came to emotional emgagement.
  A study also showed that whenever respondents see a familiar face their excitement even increases. No matter whether it is a friend or a celebrity people are more likely to react more actively than when they see unfamiliar face. Even an ad by Facebook was scored higher than one from Visa.
   People respond to the word 'face' vividly, they associate it with themselves and feel personal engagement with the brand.


Google+ knows who you Are!

As the walls of privacy continue to fall down, Google+ has now uploaded a capability that mimics Facebook's facial recognition feature that caused many to worry about how much FB really knew about them. But looks like Google+ is continuing to follow FB's footpath by rolling out its own facial recognition tool - key differentiatior: opt in only requirements now satisfy those who were previously concerned about their privacy being invaded and even suggest certain photo tags based on who the consumer interacts with within their "circles". It seems that even though Google+ didnt create this idea from scratch they may be hitting the mark with customized on/off options. why not let customers choose and manage their own preferences?


The Next Facebook

In light of the first question on the final; I asked myself: what will the next Facebook be? When Google+ first came out, there was a lot of speculation regarding will it take over or not. I am sure most people didn't think it will, and it was just a matter of time till this became clear. I personally do not know all the reasons why Google+ didn't really take over, but what I do know is that for me, it wasn't different enough! Yes, different. I do not believe that next Facebook will be something that is very similar to how things are now but with minor tweaks, rather, I believe it will be drastically different which won't make the transition so obvious. I was reading an article in the Washington Post titled Where will the next Facebook come from? by Dominic Basulto where he discusses that “the next Facebook” has not been created yet. He goes through where he thinks it will come from. He focuses on the younger generation and mainly college campuses. Dominic explains "Consider for a moment that when Google was planning to go public in early 2004, Mark Zuckerberg was still a sophomore at Harvard, working on a little project called The Facebook. Concepts such as the “Social Graph” and the “status update” were not yet part of our everyday lexicon? Facebook, like IPO predecessors Google and Netscape, is the type of zeitgeist-defining company that has changed the way all of us think about the Internet. With that in mind, perhaps the single, best way to predict the Next Big Thing would be to spend a few days hanging out on college campuses in Palo Alto or Cambridge or New Haven, observing how the youth of today are using technology to socialize with one another ." I am not sure if Dominic is right, but regardless of where this new idea will come from, I think it will be very different and it will bridge the gap between out online social life and our physical one. I also believe that the new platform will break many more privacy barriers that years ago we couldn't have envisioned to happen, but Facebook will have been the tool the paved the way for the next 'big thing'.


'Adware' Frusterates Facebook, Google

Today the Wall Street Journal reports that third-party software developer is wrecking havoc on the largest digital advertising platforms. When users download the various apps by the developer, the have the option of one that enables more user customization. The problem is that this customization can layer adds over Facebook's existing ones. Since the only beneficiary is the third-party developer, Facebook and Google are trying to end this practice. Still, this is a gray area in the digital arena, and will likely continue.

Even if Facebook and Google end up playing a "game of cat and mouse" with new updates, advertisers have an obligation to not participate in apps that layer adds over google and facebook. Gap and American Express are among the advertisers that can be found on the layered ads, despite not directly working with them, and they must proactively work with their marketing agencies to maintain credibility in digital marketing. Imagine a world with subscription costs for Gmail and memberships fees for Facebook. If we're going to continue getting free services of value for the masses, we need to make sure advertising is done in a fair, credible way. Covering up adds on sites that user's are leveraging is simply not fair, despite the value of customization that Sambreel is offering.


The world moving to mobile: one game at a time

Another conversation around one of my favorite topics: cloud computing.  In my industry (cable and communications), cloud computing is a powerful tool for geographically wide spread companies to improve performance of internal data requests (reporting, transactional info, etc), or improve performance of the viewer experience (loading of channel guide, on-demand movie access, etc).   But this week, OnLive announced the release of its software which would power mobile gaming through its cloud servers.


Why should cloud computing only be available for business operations or functionality that requires you to be stationary (i.e, watching TV at home)? 

I am already convinced that the typical desktop computer functionalities will eventually be taken over by mobile devices, but had solely been thinking it would do so from the perspective of "practical" functionalities.  To apply cloud computing to mobile devices for entertainment purposes is something I had not anticipated, and solidifies my conviction. By moving the processing requirements to the server side rather than requiring the mobile device to power the game, even outdated mobile devices with sucky processors would be able to have a quicker delay-less experience. 

The implications of this to the gaming console manufacturers is also significant. Rather than requiring that a gamer have the latest Xbox or Playstation with the most powerful processors to support the ridiculously high-tech games, all the processing in the future could be handled in the cloud; consoles could become as obsolete as the old school motorola cell phones that were the size of a normal person's head.


Facebook Subscribers/Subscriptions button: creepy

There have been a few articles posted about the new Facebook functionality where your friends are able to view your subscriptions and subscriptionees (is that a word?).  I first noticed this on a friend's page randomly, and curious I clicked on his "subscriptions"; to my surprise, and probably to him as well when he notices it, there were quite a number of subscriptions to women's pages that were not celebrities and not his fiancee, but thats another story ...

On the surface, this sounds alarmingly similar to Twitter, so it begs the question: what will happen to Twitter?  I have always found it difficult to grasp the purpose of Twitter, as I find it strange to follow someone's updates w/o the added frills of pictures/notes/their friend's comments/etc (all the added functionality of Facebook).  Now that Facebook offers a very similar service in obvious contention with Twitter's service niche (whatever that may be), will Twitter be edged out of the market as it offers no other additional services?  Or will Twitter evolve into something totally unexpected and be able to withstand the competition? 


Mobile Payments - coming soon to you!

Breaking (ish) news: LevelUp is launching a mobile payments web app that allows anyone on a web-connected device to pay with their phone — using any credit card or any web-connected device with a simple QR code.  Merchants must downoad a reader or the Merchant app, which then provides analytics such as insight into the behavior of customers and savings on interchange fees.   This service is currently in San Francisco, New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, and has access to over 2 million customers through the reach of a previous product.

In other parts of the world, mainly 3rd world countries, true mobile payments are abundant and often the preferred method of payment.  And we're talking true mobile payments - as in standing at the grocery store check out line, receiving  a code from your bank to give to the checkout attendant, and having the funds automatically transferred from your bank account to the merchant. 

So, of interest to me in this article is the fact that this company already has a 2 million user customer reach, and is growing.  The current service works with credit card or reward points, but the logical next step might be incorporate functionality for actual funds from a bank account, and the step after that would be to have a standardized system across borders.  Another step towards making the world a smaller place ...


Are We All Marketers?

In the July 2011 McKinsey Quarterly, business journal of McKinsey and Company, an article titled We’re all marketers now discusses that "Engaging customers today requires commitment from the entire company—and a redefined marketing organization." According to the article marketers have been adjusting to a new era of deep customer engagement. They’ve tackled on new functions, such as social-media management, and altered processes to better integrate advertising campaigns online, on television, and in print. Finally they also have added staff with Web expertise to manage the explosion of digital customer data. McKinsey argues that in their experience, that’s not enough! In fact, to truly engage customers for whom “push” advertising is increasingly irrelevant, companies must do more outside the confines of the traditional marketing organization. At the end of the day, customers no longer separate marketing from the product and they don’t separate marketing from their in-store or online experience. The writer explains "In the era of engagement, marketing is the company." This article is an interesting read and helpful. For more info go to (Source:



One may argue that SEO is one of the most basic and optimal things a brand can begin with when creating a digital strategy. so how to pop to the top of the list? Is it creating user generated content? Absolutely! But many make the mistake of leveragin UGC through other external websites. But what about using one's own site to promote UGC? Take for example Amazon - reviews are engrained on amazon's own website , producing optimal SEO results. However one can not do this after one sees significant traffic to their own site in order to solicit reviews,comments etc. If you don't have a ton of traffic use review sites such as or so your UGC ison a site that is popular and will naturally flow to the top of SEO results.


Twitter continues to "try" to be Facebook

Recent updates to Twitter, available on both the mobile and web versions, Will allow customers to embed their tweets on blogs and other websites yet again blurring the lines between social media platforms. Which mechanism does one use? Facebook? Twitter and Facebook? At what point is there so much overlap between socials media platforms that brands may now be over saturating their customers?
But perhaps even more important is Twitter's ability to provide advertisers richer prominence (larger header image )on the main twitter page. In addition customers can manage their preferences on what tweets to post at the top of their page. Twitter feels confident that this "selective promoting" will assist brands to speak to engaged audiences. However, if one is selecting a certain tweet to be posted first above other brands and friends, will certain advertisers now be able to reach NEW potential audiences? Either way seems twitter is attempting to follow FB's lead on monetizing the site. Must be working. Twitter has signed up 21 large partners such as Dell and Hp for the moepnetized enhanced sites.


Facebook updates android app

Facebook just recently updated it's Android app which has more of a feeling of the Facebook site. Interesting considering android devices continue to gain popularity over the iPhone and blackberry. Will the phone now replace the commonplace laptop?
However the more interesting note is that the app will not include Facebook ads prohibiting marketers to advertise to the now appealing tech savvy android user. Shockingly enough now over 43% offacebook users AccessFB thru their mobile device. if facebook mobile apps are not allowing advertising will Facebook ads become extinct? Or will Facebook then begin monetizing the Facebook mobile advertising service? It will be seen how FB continues to evolve their media vehicle.


Thursday, December 08, 2011

[InfoGraphic] The proof around Social Commerce: How we buy/sell

Given the discussion around social networks and the influence of the social circle on our buy and sell decision, it seems fair to share the infographic that gives a good picture of it. The original post can be found here


Hollywood Botches Digital Movie Offer

In October, Warner Brother's began promoting a new program called "UltraViolet." The concept, as described to potential users, was to buy a DVD and then receive-- at no cost-- a digital version of the movie. It was, unfortunately, a total failure.

First of all, the program was arduous to use. It required people to download several software programs and did not work on iPhones or iPads. Users became frustrated and started tweeting about their disappointment. The issue picked up public momentum.

The real lost opportunity here is that users tried to go the right way-- through the studio-- but at the end of the day could have obtained digital copies faster through piracy. It's hard enough to get early adapters. Once they've been burned once, it will be that much more difficult to get them back.

This particular case draws attention to the struggle companies often face in introducing new technology. It also highlights the issues media companies in trying to meet digital demands. The smarter move here would have been for Warner Brother's to wait until they could get it right.


Is Spotify What Napster Should Have Been?

In a recent interview, Sean Parker told CNN he believes Spotify is what Napster should have been. Parker is a Spotify board member (and famous founder of Napster). His comments come at an interesting time. After a decade, Napster closed it's doors on November 30th.

Of course, taking credit for a music platform that is succeeding is in keeping with Parker's over-the-top personality. Parker is currently in the process of transfering Napster subscribers to his newest project Rhapsody. According to the Hollywood Reporter, "Napster and Rhapsody subscriptions are incompatible, and both have similar catalogs but they are not exactly the same. Rhapsody is offering Napster subscribers a 7-day free trial beginning Dec. 1 as well as 50 percent off Rhapsody Premier for 3 months."

It will be interesting to see whether Sean Parker can overcome his notority with the record industry. Artists like Metallica and Dr. Dre, infamously, sued Napster for copyright infringement. He claims his goal is not to take down the record industry, though this is easier said now in heinseight.

Spotify, in contrast, is a collaboration between major and independent record labels. Will Parker be welcome with open arms by the likes of Sony or EMI? Probably not. What amazes me is that Parker continues to have a career in this space.


Facebook acquires GoWalla

Looks like Facebook is on a mission to conquer the world....

FB recently announced plans to acquire GoWalla, a social networking platform similar to Foursquare with 2MM subscribers, in order to come to speed on location based targeting. As many know, Facebook did launch Facebook Places which essentially provided LBS targeting but never truly caught on. The company is now discontinuing that feature. it is unclear of how the Gowalla platform will be integrated into Facebook, or whether this was more of an acquisition to scoop up some great engineeering talent. Regardless, the move is one that many will watch as Foursquare continues to exceed 15 MM subscribers as of late 2011, but nowhere close to the massive presence that Facebook has internationally. Leveraging Facebook's large subscriber base may put FB ahead of Foursquare if it is able to combine location based targeting with its social media platform- as a one stop shop for literally everything! =)


Alec Baldwin vs American Airlines: A Twitter Showdown

Alec Baldwin is perhaps best known for his beloved character Jack Donaghy on NBC's 30 Rock. This week he caused a stir after being kicked off an American Airlines flight. His crime? Refusal to turn off his iPad while playing "Words with Friends." As his publicist later explained "He loves 'Words with Friends' so much that he was willing to leave a plane for it."

This in itself probably would have been a small item on Page Six. The trouble is Baldwin decided to tweet about the incident and crew. He wrote: "Last flight w American. Where retired Catholic school gym teachers from the 1950s find jobs as flight attendants." The event has now escalated to a full fledge media stampede with reports on all the major networks and articles across the country.

What is interesting about this case is that the public, it seems, is siding with American. Their Twitter feed has been inindated with messages of support. Baldwin has publicaly apologized. It, of course, doesn't hurt that American has a very proactive Twitter presence. Other companies should certainly take note.


The Merging of Twitter and Facebook

Twitter is becoming Facebook, and Facebook is becoming Twitter? Twitter just announced the launch of its newly redesigned interface, which makes the service a lot more similar to Facebook. Offering brand pages, Twitter account profiles resembling those on Facebook, and the photo and video sharing that the site introduced a few months ago can now be inserted among the other feeds (much like Facebook’s Newsfeed?)

Facebook, just also announced that it has released the subscribe button, a feature which allows users to follow public posts, much like Twitter.

Of course, the new features on both sites are not exactly an exact replica of each other's features, as ultimately both platforms engage the user in different ways, and as such are probably used for very different purposes. However, it seems apparent that at the moment neither site is able to come up with anything really innovative, and would rather just repackage whatever features their competitor’s already offer.


Old Spice brings back the original Old Spice Guy for the holidays

As discussed in class, one of our favorite digital marketing case studies was the Old Spice Guy and the success of the campaign due to the viral nature of the ads.

While the original and most popular Old Spice Guy, Isaiah Mustafa was replaced in 2011 with other notable male counterparts, his popularity prompted a new campaign for the holiday season, MANta Claus. The gift-giving concept is being applied to not only the digital formats of videos, but also more traditional advertising mediums such as television, newspaper and billboards. This shows the strategic process of the campaign to not only drive publicity but increased sales over the holiday using various platforms and consumer touchpoints.

I know we'll all be tuned in to see how this campaign turns out!


Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Cause-Related Marketing - sometimes too much of a good thing!

This Forbes article provides an interesting set of principles for marketers to use when developing corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives through social media, particularly Facebook. Overall this is a key tactic, given the fact that people are prone to show themselves partaking in a good deed so they are keen to 'share' or 'like' special causes. However, it has become so prevalent that, while companies can provide some positive benefits to the cause that's being supported, there is little upside for the investment.

Therefore, companies need to be smart about how to embark on a CSR initiative. In the article there are some good tips to remember, such as 'Show the difference' that the campaign has made. This will provide more fodder for sharing as well as help to drive stronger, more tangible benefits for the campaign overall.


Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Advertising Spend Trends for Social Media and Mobile Marketing

I stumbled upon this interesting article titled, "The Rise and Fall of Advertising Media" that relays insightful metrics for social media through several powerful info-graphics:

Three key takeaways for me:

1. Mobile marketing and social media advertising spend are on a precipitous growth trajectory, 75% Y/Y as compared to 2009 and 32% Y/Y respectively. To put things in perspective, there are an average of 1,000,000 new iOS and Android devices activated daily which means that in less than one year the mobile market will more than double from 350,000,000 users to 715,000,000 users.

2. Independent of the exponential growth of social media, advertising spend is *dominated* by television which is also growing at 11% Y/Y. Television advertising spend is $70 billion as compared to approximately $2 billion on social media and mobile marketing, a comparison that seems to point to poor investment. Considering that the average television commercial is less than 30 seconds while the average website session is 1 minute and the average mobile application session is 4.3 minutes, it would seem that consumers would develop greater brand presence and ultimately purchase more through increased advertising spend on the later two sources. It would be interesting to see what the return on investment is on these various sources of advertising spend.

3. I think the article highlights where advertising spend is being sourced today but overlooks where the resultant revenue is coming from. What further amplifies the power of social media and mobile advertising is the networking principle. Whereas a Superbowl commercial may reach a target viewing audience of 1,000,000 people, a social media campaign can yield 1,000,000 fans and evangelists who then can propagate marketing collateral, reviews, and shares that can reach an expanded network of multiples of a million. Ads can become viral and the return on investment can be explosive.

The infographics were helpful for me, and I look forward to seeing more quantitative metrics that can inform future advertising spend decisions.


Verizon to Launch Web Streaming Service

Verizon Communications reported today that it plans to launch a web streaming service that will enable users to stream movies and television shows over the web. This would rival the current offerings of competitors such as Netflix and Amazon, as well as traditional cable providers. Verizon is in talks with prospective programmers and plans to introduce the new product in markets outside of its current FIOS market. People familiar with the plans believe that the amount of programming will be limited in scope and thus is unlikely to have an immediate impact on cable sales.

This move should definitely add to the uneasiness of pay TV providers who fear that their customers will cut the coaxial cord for cheaper online or over-the-top offerings. Last month, Google also announced that they were pondering a pay TV service that would deliver content over the internet. It will be interesting to watch the evolution of the pay TV business as all of the signs are pointing towards an evolution that is similar to that the music industry: a disintermediation of not only cable content from traditional cable providers but also of content itself.


Many Brands Not Adopting Multichannel Advertising

A recent article in eMarketer reports that a number of brands do not engage in multichannel advertising. More than half of U.S. media buyers said that the percentage of their clients that were running traditional and online integrated campaigns was less than 25%. I find this surprising given the growing importance of online. One reason reported is that the audience of online is lower than that of traditional television. However, difficulties with integrating and measuring a multichannel approach also explains why brands are not merging online advertising with their traditional advertising.

For example, 38% of U.S. ad agencies reported in Q3 2011 that merging traditional and digital advertising into one campaign was a challenge. A McKinsey study suggests that the incompatibility and confusing nature of online metrics might be the cause of this. In a survey of marketing executives worldwide, the top cited digital-related concerns were metric related; 31% cited ability to generate and leverage customer insights as a challenge and 22% said that managing brand health is harder when social media plays a role. In addition, 31% of marketing executives worldwide said that not being able to quantify financial impact was a challenge for online metrics, 24% said it is difficult to understand what these metrics measure, and 23% said they are not comparable to traditional metrics.

These findings have implications for both companies who want more brands to move online and for companies and/or individuals who can provide services to help make sense of online metrics.


Polished out, Rough in

We all know reality TV is pretty much taking over our lives. What once was a Thursday evening spent watching Friends and Seinfeld has now turned into the Jersey Shore and Basketball Wives reunion special. It’s disgusting really. Watching even one episode gives me the same buyers remorse I go through after scarfing down a volcano burrito from taco bell. So why do I watch them so much? Excuse me, why do we watch them so much? Because it’s the only opportunity we get to laugh, cry and cringe at other people’s disastrous lives.... and we get to do it anytime we want.

These shows make me feel good about myself. I’m not such a bad person after all- I mean, hey, I never got divorced after a 72 day marriage and I sure as heck never got fired from a fast food restaurant because I couldn’t do math (or maybe I did and you’ll never know). Point is, it’s not only a boost to my ego, its also gives in to my voyeuristic side. Stop judging me- I know I’m not the only one. Americans are, by very nature, a voyeuristic society. Look at all the rubbernecking that goes on. And we wonder why there’s so much traffic.

Anyway, this posting isn’t about reality television at all (shocking)- it’s about reality advertising. Unpolished, rough, quick and organic ads. Like reality TV, they are not only addicting but so much more appreciated then branded, formal and ‘traditional’ advertising. But why? I mean the advertising we know takes exceptional actors, expensive sets, mind-blowing graphics and witty scriptwriting. Are we suggesting that footage taken from a home video camera is more effective than branded advertising? Well, yeah. Sometimes. And lately more than ever. Think about it- not only is YouTube a huge hit but so are the recent viral campaigns that were built on work submitted by ‘regular’ people (Diet Coke, Mentos). Some brands are going so far as to film the spots to make them look like they ‘re real (Carlton Draft, Agent Provocateur, Dove, Ritani). Isn’t that crazy? They’re paying exorbitant amounts of money to shoot a spot that looks exactly like a guy filmed it from the back seat of his Cadillac. Why don’t they just have a guy actually film from the backseat of his Cadillac and use the money for something else? Why not invest more advertising dollars in digital marketing? The ROI in online advertising continues to increase; and the trend won’t stop until we invent something better than computers (any ideas?). Agencies convince these brands to go with big budget productions so they can make money off it. I mean, we can’t let production companies go under. Who would make all our witty super bowl spots? As a producer, I’ll tell you it’s not that easy to get a perfectly produced ad that wasn’t conceptualized by creative directors. It’s a needle in a haystack, really. But hey, at least we know what works.

I don’t have all the answers, but here’s what I know. Polished is out. Rough is in. We want REAL. We want surprises, disasters, raw humor- and we want that emotional connection. Branded advertising doesn’t provide that as well as reality, so I think Jon Steinberg, the writer behind this article, is right. We are overproducing our content and its time to realize that the real creative directors might be, well…you. And it’s not because you’re a creative genius per se (who knows, maybe you are), but it’s because you're real.


FB Forgets the Meaning of Privacy

Unbeknownst to me, all of those annoying status updates that screamed “go to your account! Change your privacy setting! FB is giving your information out to third party companies!” were, umm, true? Every time someone posted those messages, I thought, “My God, how gullible of them. Facebook would never do something like that- and even if they wanted to, I’m sure it’s against the law or something.”

Well…now it is. Sort of.

Facebook just settled with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on charges that it overrode users privacy settings without consent and shared their private information with advertisers. This makes me angry and relieved at the same time. On one hand, I am so disgusted with Facebook’s complete violation of its users trust just to make an extra buck for the already multi billion dollar business they’re running (that number is a complete guess and may very well be a gross exaggeration...or complete understatement- I have no idea). On the other hand, I am so relieved that there was absolutely nothing I could do to avoid the same fate as all of you Facebook users that actually changed your settings. I know, I know- how ridiculous. But here’s the thing- I don’t want to have to constantly work at keeping my information private. It’s about time the FTC enforced privacy regulations. Hopefully they’ll follow suit with our European counterparts that have been much more aggressive in regulating social networking sites. Did you know that when you delete your Facebook account, your photos are still up there? That’s crazy. It’s like you can't leave. Ever. We’re in Facebook prison, people.

The charge carried no financial penalties (why would it- its only the public’s private information) but FB is subject to a $16,000 fine per violation per day if it fails to comply. Yeah right, their $16,000 per minute lawyers would never let that happen.

So, what does this mean? If Facebook continues to try and be sneaky we could be ‘out there’ forever? Will I be targeted for every single yoga class in the Northeast because I clicked on the ad that one time? According to this article, FB made personal information available to advertisers between September 2008 and May 2010. Great. Who knows what I was doing then? I was probably going through my awkward punk rock phase which I will now be reminded of every day for the rest of my life. Thank you Facebook.

Sure Mark Zuckerberg apologized, like he usually does right before he implements new variations of executive positions that sound ridiculously pretentious—this time he’s calling them Chief Privacy officers.

OK, here’s my plea.

Dear Mr. Chief Privacy Officers,

We are asking you, begging you to please not distribute our very personal information to any third party. Please don’t make us regret joining FB (ok that would never happen but you get the point) and help us protect ourselves, our dignity.

Don’t let us down, Mr. Chief Privacy Officers. We know, based on your title alone, that you can handle this job. We believe in you.

Thank you for your time and we sincerely appreciate the help.


the 800 million active Facebook users around the world