Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Web Detour

One of my coworkers told me he used to have an automatic response to all his emails which said, "I only read emails from 8-8:30am. If this is something important, please call me."

I recently read an article in the NY Times which made me think a bit more about how different people handle the new systems which we use to communicate.

In the article, "I Took a Web Detour, and Now I Feel Better" the writer talks about the benifts of taking a web detour on facebook, twitter, etc when she felt stressed out, frustrated, or just needed a break. She claims it actually makes her more productive and can free her mind. This is interesting to me because I believe that our interactions with the world shape who we are. This may sound simple and obvious but it also may change the way you look at a job search. That is a different topic though. Now, for the professional opinion on this subject:

"Adam Gazzaley, a neuroscientist at... says it’s possible that our brains are adapting to handle the many inputs of digital stimulation."

Although it is surprising he needs an advanced degree to make this claim, it is interesting to think about how the internet changes how we behave, manage our time, and deal with our work. Do you take 'internet breaks'? Does this make you more productive?


FB IPO aftermath

Today also marks a little history, thanks to FB IPO. This June is the first June that there is absolutely no IPO in the market in the US history for the past 40 years. (Burger King's re-listing does count as IPO and they change their ownership faster than Kardashian changes her boyfriend)  June typically is the most active month for IPO as Investment Bankers try to get the company listed before all the investors heading to the beach for July 4th. After FB flop, IPO fell 34 % this quarter, marks the second worse quarter since 2009.


Price Customization Online

An article in the Economist quotes a consultant that thinks 6 out of 10 of America's biggest web retailers are customizing prices in some way.

Firms like [24]7 and RichRelevance are offering price customization software to internet retailers. The software is looking at stored cookies to see where the person has been looking, where they may live, how quickly they click through to a site's payment page, etc. It then uses this information to see whether or not discounts might be needed to entice a person to buy.

Therefore not everyone may be offered the same prices for the same goods/services. Is this fair? In my opinion the internet should allow for easy price-comparison. But now it seems that may not be the case since this type of software is not allowing anonymous browsing.


Friday, June 29, 2012

Google's Chrome browser comes to Apple's iPhone

Chrome has become top free apps download in iTunes since it comes to Apple’s iPhone on Thurday. As we know, Chrome is one of the most popular brower in the world, and Android mobile operating system already uses Chrome as its primary builit-in brower in latest version. Chrome allows users to sync tabs, bookmarks and other settings across multiple devices. Once  a user signs in to the browser on any computer or phone, they can view their opened tabs and browsing history. What a cool feature.

Web browsers are the entering gateway for people to access internet. Just as gates of highway, the winner of web browsers would be able to control or to influence  the internet access, which has huge impact on competition. Interestingly, not sure why Apple approve it, since Steve Jobs said “go thermonuclear war" on the company he felt ripped off the iPhone. in the past, browser in particular had a difficult time making their way into the iTuens App store. Perhaps Apple is very confident about its safari now. 


Google’s Project Glasses Is One Step Closer To Becoming Reality

Google in recent years has turned into a company that acquired a series of nonsensical entities, that launched average products that eventually end up as a bust. Last year this all started to change when Google announced that they would focused on its core products. Now because of the change Project Glass is the future of Google.

“The charter of Google X is to take bold risks and push the edges of technology beyond what they’ve been to where the future might be,” “We want you to be less of a slave to your devices. It’s been really liberating and I’m really excited to share it with all of you.” Sergey Brin told reporters.

Google has officially announced to the public about Project Glass. Google will augment glasses that give you real-time data right in front of your eyes. They have been working with many designs right now but they all are just prototypes and some even look like a pair of Oakley’s. You can see one of the demos if you click on the link below.

Still remember that this is a concept and not an actual product, and you will not see a release for a long time but it’s one step closer.  There is little information on exactly how they will work and how Google plans to make them into a comfortable headset. 

I personally think this is a great product but might be a little ahead of our time. I’m not sure exactly if Google or anyone else has the technology to correctly implement the glasses but it does look very useful. Either way it is good PR for Google


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Microsoft Fires a Shot in the Air with Do Not Track

In its June release of Windows 8, Internet Explorer 10, Microsoft included a Do Not Track feature that is on by default, meaning that consumers have to actually opt-in to targeted advertising, otherwise websites they visit are not supposed to track and collect their personal information for targeted ad/marketing.

This move was considered bad faith by the Digital Advertising Alliance, of which Microsoft is a member, as it pre-empts an industry-wide solution under development by the Alliance.  DAA hopes to keep a self-regulating system in place regarding internet user privacy agreements to avoid government regulation that could bring privacy laws that would undercut the growing digital ad market and revenues.  It appeared that DAA would be able to negotiate an industry-wide user opt-out based solution to present to congress and that regulators were regarding this favorably.  Microsoft's new opt-in platform embedded in IE 10 is a disruptive break from the ranks which focused on government acceptance of an industry-wide user tracking opt-out standard.


Love your Mac? Orbitz loves you too.

The holy grail of marketing and sales is to be able to customize a product/message/price to an individual customer level, to extract the maximum value from that customer. The Wall Street Journal recently published an article that discusses travel-site Orbitz's attempts to do exactly that, focusing on one particular data analytics-driven tactic...

Orbitz, with a little intuition and some evidence from their data analytics team, realized that

"Mac users on average spend $20 to $30 more a night on hotels than their PC counterparts, a significant margin given the site's average nightly hotel booking is around $100, chief scientist Wai Gen Yee said. Mac users are 40% more likely to book a four- or five-star hotel than PC users, Mr. Yee said, and when Mac and PC users book the same hotel, Mac users tend to stay in more expensive rooms."

Being a savvy business, Orbitz is now experimenting with tailored their search results to display higher end/more expensive options to users who were searching from a Mac (ostensibly identified through the data that the browser reports to Orbitz servers when requesting search results), though according to the article, this is not the only, or even primary criteria used to tailor the results. It's important to note that the lower-priced options were still available, but may not have been as high in the search rankings.

The article has a little poll on the sidebar asking "Should your computer's operating system (PC vs. Mac) be used to serve you differentiated search results?

At the time of this posting, the voters lean heavily (70.1%) in favor of NO.

As a savvy consumer, I don't mind a business's attempts to tailor its product to what it thinks would work for me, as long as I have the option to, without too much additional effort, decide and choose for myself which is best.

I'm with Erica Spayd, a store designer from Queens, NY who, in a quote from the article, says
"It's clever. As long as there's an option to sort by price I'm fine with it."

The original article (behind a paywall):


Organic & Paid Search and Mobile Marketing Potential

Savvy digital marketers who engage in Paid Search and S.E.O. initiatives understand the benefits that each have on one another.  Click Through Rates (CTR) increase as a result of natural/organic and paid search planning, which establishes trust among users.  Marketers who integrate keywording tactics understand the importance of integration and how keywords help to maintain brand image (Kagan, 2012).

Since clients only pay for clicks they get, sponsored links are a highly effective way of driving traffic to a client’s website.  Campaigns that integrate the important art of combining user queries and intent allow marketers to formulate and optimize future Pay Per Click (PPC) strategies (Kagan, 2012).

Another appealing metric, Cost Per Action (CPA)---downloading an app, buying a product, signing up for a newsletter---gives marketers peace of mind since they will only have to pay for legitimate clicks.  Search Users are at the bottom of the conversion funnel and have a high probability of conversion.   Marketers who work with search engine guidelines can increase link popularity, which drive PPC & Search Engine Optimization traffic (Kagan, 2012).

PPC Campaign effectiveness can be measured easily.  It is no wonder that mobile ad spending is up with Search besting Display.  An IAB report indicates that mobile ad buyers are spending three times as much on Search.  Mobile ad strategies will now need to reflect the surge of revenue growth that Organic and Paid Search can bestow.

1.)  Can you think of any novel Mobile Search strategies given the physical screen-size limitations that smart phones and tablets possess?


Arts Organizations and Social Media Networks

RE:  Article in  Study:  96 Percent of Arts Organizations Are Active On Social Media Networks (

"Arts Organizations, and non-for-profits in general, are crazy not to tap into social networking resources.  They're Free!  And arts organizations like that kind of thing.  It is difficult for these entities to rely solely on traditional marketing efforts to raise money, because the "product" being sold is often times more of an idea or an experience than a commodity.  Selling the arts requires patience, communication, and an on-going dialogue surrounding their appeal and importance.  Toilet paper does not require as much talk.  People network constantly, and whether for business or personal reasons social networking sites are the most effective way to stay "in-the-know".  Think about it:  People update their status daily, often multiple times a day, which means that keeping up in a social network requires constant webpage refreshing.  These changes occur faster and more frequently than do those on websites or blogs.  The latter two change, but maybe weekly or monthly.  Perhaps they change daily, but not at the same frequency as social networks.  Social networks are fundamentally organic, widespread architectural structures that continue to grow and spread over time.  The word gets out a lot faster when disseminated outside of a bureaucratic structure - and sure, all businesses know this and all could benefit from actually adopting this philosophy, but arts organizations, without a doubt, must."



Engaging Tweets

A recent study by Buddy Media into how well marketers are utilizing Twitter has generated some prescriptive measures to help them improve.  To save yourself reading the report, below are the key tips to improving engagement:
  • Generally limit yourself to 4 tweets per day, the law of diminishing returns sets in after this
  • Tweet more between 8am and 7pm, these times yield higher engagement
  • Tweet more on the weekend – engagement can be up to 30% higher
  •  Use hashtags – but no more than 2 per tweet
  •  Keep it short – 100 characters or less
  • Use links and images - make sure they work though
  • Ask for retweets – you’re 23x more likely to get them!
Do you have any experiences in what works on Twitter?  Please let us know your experiences.