Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Beyond cookie to allow advertiser track cross-screen marketing

Mobile-first is no longer the buzz term for advertisers. They realized that mobile like smartphones and tablets are the second and third screens. Consumers use them concurrently as watch shows on TV or computer. Attribution is always the hardest thing for marketers to track. Consumer A sees an ad on TV with call to action; he searches for the interested items on his tablets, but he gives up because it is not optimized for small phone screens; after the show, he goes online on his laptop to search for using different terms. How is this user tracked across different screens?

If every action was indeed based on links in a browser, then cookie and reference-id can be used to maintain identify of the consumer on multiple screen. However, cookie is available only in browsers. TV does not track individual viewers. You can track only by TV-specific call-to-action to track. If consumers do not follow the prescriptive hints, advertisers wouldn't be able to track precisely anymore.

No wonder Google wants to do away with cookie completely. Assuming Google is ambitious as always, I would expect the new system to:
1. Deal with the cookie deletion problem
2. Uniquely identify users on Android platform
3. Tracks users when watching TV like via google chrome cast or google play

This will be a brave new world if Google succeeds!



Apple's iBeacons NFC Technology

Apple has released its own version of NFC technology (which it has avoided up until now).  With its new iOS 7, Apple rolled out its iBeacon technology.  iBeacon creates Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) "beacons" that send signals that iOS 7 devices will react to when they come within a certain range.  Beacons can come in the form of software (apps) or hardware.

This technology opens up new doors for retailers and advertisers who can now reach Apple users with targeted advertising.  They can use iBeacon to power mobile payments, send coupons, and also send targeted ads to specific users.  As a result of this technology, customers may start receiving a number of ads as they walk through stores or malls.

In addition to the benefits for advertisers, however, iBeacon also creates a potential annoyance for customers.  We are already bombarded with ads everywhere we go - this technology just gives advertisers another way to reach us.  One potential benefit for consumers is the development of mobile payments.  iBeacon technology will allow "a user to be greeted on their device as they walk into a store, to be guided through the store's layout, to be shown product information and promotions and to pay without being in a queue (and without tapping anything)."  Sounds pretty good to me!



Twitter Brand Fails

Shortly after this week's lecture on social media, Fast Company posted this article about @urtweetsrbad, an anonymous Twitter account that mocks awkward, lazy, and poorly written tweets from corporate accounts.

One example of when brand tweets go wrong is an ill-conceived tweet from AT&T that takes advantage of the 12th anniversary of 9/11 to advertise a smartphone.  AT&T deleted the tweet after a predictable public outcry ensued.

The anonymous person behind @urtweetsrbad, a marketing/advertising industry veteran, stated in an interview that "I think we can at least hold ourselves to higher creative standards than tweeting '#TGIF' every Friday."

A recent gem from @urtweetsrbad is from Pepto-Bismol, which attempted to engage consumers with the question: "The most awkward places to experience, diarrhea? Go."

After the poster noticed the errant comma, he stuck a second foot in his mouth with the following: "Speaking of awkward...punctuation misplacement can be so awkward. But still, not as awkward as diarrhea. Right?"

Although brands can quickly and effectively engage consumers using social media, a lesson here is that brands can undermine their public perception just as quickly if they aren't careful with what they post.


Social Media for Small Business: Choose Wisely, Then Execute

I am currently working on a start-up and one of the areas where I had to really ramp up was my knowledge around social media. Although I have accounts on Facebook and twitter I wouldn't call myself a strong user of any of it. This article is a good intro on some of the bare minimum things that a person could do in the social media realm with limited time, knowledge and resource.

Some of the highlights of the article include suggestions on what to focus on if you have a limited budget/resources, which is the case for most new businesses:
  • Focus on the Website: No matter what your business is, your website is the central gathering place. This should be your biggest investment. 

  • You should make sure your website development takes into consideration SEO. If you built a good website so that search engines can easily find and classify the unique pages on your site, leave other SEO tactics alone for now. 
  • In a perfect world, you'd be present and responsive on every social network. This isn't a perfect world. When starting out, focus on one platform. Begin with Facebook if you're a B2C company and targeting an audience between the ages of 25 and 55. LinkedIn is a better bet if you're a B2B company. Twitter can work for both B2C and B2B but only choose this network if you know your audience spends most of their time on it. Google+ and Pinterest also has implications for search and social.

These are good suggestions and a simple way to focus in the early stages of launching a new business. 

Read more:


7 Tips to Make Your Email Marketing More Mobile-Friendly

Although some speculate that email is becoming a thing of the past with new forms of communication becoming popular (think twitter) it is still a form of communication that is widely used, more so on mobile devices. Email marketing is a cheap tool but it hasn't kept pace with mobile. As the article points out, emails just don't cut it when it comes to keeping up with technology. 

There are many problems with some of the biggest being:

Email are not optimized for mobile viewing and interaction. 
Buttons are way too small. 
People are forced to enlarge the screen and move things around to see the email

I agree that these things are annoying and I am perplexed at how few marketers are fixing this problem. This article gives some easy and pretty obvious solutions that I hope started getting used!

Read more:


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Utilizing Social Media Platforms

In class this week we learned about various social media platforms from Facebook to Twitter to Pinterest and how important they are to any digital marketing campaign.  I wanted to further research how social media can turn into sales and how best to make that happen.

In my search I came across Vision Critical, a market research firm, that published “From Social to Sale,” a survey of social media purchasing trends.  Some of the highlights from the research show that 38% of users purchase after sharing or favoriting on Facebook (either online or in-store) compared to 29% for Pinterest and 22% for Twitter.  The stated reason for purchasing was that Facebook “alerted me to a sale,” whereas Pinteret provided additional information and Twitter identified a place to buy.  A large amount of products bought were in the tech and electronics space as well as in food and drink.
In researching how to become good at utilizing these resources and potentially seeing some of these same results, I came to the conclusion that the process is very similar to being good at dating.  You want to be able to communicate well, not get too emotional right away, and not focus on yourself too much.  The communication component also involves being succinct and comfortable in your writing but also inquisitive and sincere to develop a better dialogue.  It also means producing interesting and reliable content that shows you are not completely out of the ordinary and a trustworthy person.  Separately, it is also a good idea to talk to people you may not normally because they could have a lot of friends that might be interested in you.  Lastly, (sincerely) complimenting others is just a good practice in general, but it also helps develop relationships, which can help drive business or lead to more introductions, which can hopefully help you realize your goals. 


Letting the future be the enemy of the now

Many marketers and agencies have been focusing their efforts on honing their location based marketing strategies - these will include "geo-aware", "geo-fenced" ad campaigns, location based targeting of key customer segments. However, Jason Spero, director of global acquisition solutions for Google, feels that many marketers are getting ahead of themselves by spending small fortunes in developing strategies which will offer highly contextualized discounts and special deals for customers who happen to walk by their retail space. He argues that instead, marketers should start by focusing on the basics - using location based tools to get a better understanding of their customers and figuring out which ones may be more or less valuable to their business. 

For more on this topic - check out this insightful video.


BBM on Androids and iPhone

Blackberry announced today that its new Blackberry Messenger App for Androids and iPones has reached a milestone: 20 million users have downloaded and started using it since its launch last week. RIM, Blackberry phones manufacturer, has finally decided to roll out a BBM app compatible with other smart phones. While most agree that the launch has come ages after it was supposed to, it is promising to see that it has finally taking a step towards being more integrated in the smart phones era.
Blackberry was once a leader in smartphones market with the creation of the first mobile email device. Only a few of years ago everyone was on “crack”berry and RIM was on top of its game earning success by being appealing to both corporates - with its safety features, and teens - for their direct messaging service. However, at that time, a new type of competition was arising with the introduction of the iPhone and the app structure, but blackberry was quick to dismiss it as rival and adamant that the market was not changing. This was the beginning of its downward spiral, and ever since then people have been switching to new smartphones without no hesitation.
I believe that while it’s encouraging to see so many people download the app, it is more important to measure in a couple of months how many users remain engaged and interested in using this app.  I personally have no interest at the moment to download the BBM app as I feel there is a social messaging overload available on smartphones (such as WhatsApp, Viber, Tango, etc). Nowadays, there are many ways available for people to stay connected and reach out to one another and while BBM was the precursor of them all it has lost its appeal a long time ago and has become ancient.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Google Testing Banner Ads

Reneging on a 2005 promise to never show banner ads on its homepage or web search results, Google has begun testing banner ads on its web search results page with about 30 advertisers in the US, including Southwest Airlines and Crate & Barrel.  This test allows advertisers to include a large image as part of the search ads that appear in response to certain branded queries.  The ads currently show for less than 5 percent of search queries.    

It will be interesting to see how much incremental value these banner ads actually provide in terms of click-through rate or brand awareness given that the user is already searching for the brand.  However an image of a gleaming new jet or a beautifully decorated living room that appears above the top search results could certainly help with brand reinforcement.  From a user experience perspective, it’s important that the ads don’t interfere with the existing placement of other ads and tab links, although a bit more scrolling down the page may now be required to see the search results.


API Vids

The third and last company I saw demo at NYVM was API Vids. This company was different from all the others. It was an ad network that delivered standardized video ads. But it was more than a network, it was also a platform. Any advertiser could use their platform to "author" a video so that graphics could show a call-to-action and embedded links could be strategically placed. Having used Google's video AdWords, it seemed like a big improvement. With Google's platform, I never felt that I had a lot of control of the way ads overlay on a video. For instance, I couldn't freely design a frame for my video, it would have to be embedded in my video. Or I couldn't add target links to multiple spots. In other words, API Vids offered more design functionality. This is becoming increasingly important as more and video is consumed online and video ads become larger revenue generators.


Drama Fever

At the October NYVM, Drama Fever presented their video platform. Think Hulu for Korean and Spanish soap operas. But instead of focusing on their platform and talking about their great traffic levels (not sure what is public, etc), they talked about the approach to advertising on their website. They hated the user experience of having to force a specially-sized image from ad network. The design just didn't fit their brand. Instead, they hired someone to actually negotiate ads directly with companies and use in-house designers to work with the advertiser to create a branded user experience. It was incredible to see how seamless they could integrate a revenue generating component that did not disrupt the website's clean design. I wonder if there is a way to scale the concept of delivering custom/design friendly ads by creating a middleman design team to assist a clean integration between the ad buyer and the ad displayer.


Facebook Ads are delivering results (finally)

When Facebook began to monetize their platform with advertising, skeptics expressed concerns with mixing “business with pleasure.” The millions of avid Facebook users were spending their time communicating with their social groups, in a personalized platform that was free of commercial influence. Years later, Facebook has made some smart changes to their news feed and profiles to integrate brands and products effectively and more importantly, in a disruptive way that consumers are responding to.
According to the first annual Social Media Intelligence report released on Monday, “which took into account more than 131 billion Facebook ad impressions and 4.3 billion social engagements, Facebook ads were clicked 29% more often in 2013, and the return to investors was 58% higher than last year.” Other metrics are also more favorable, like cost-per-click, which has proven that Facebook ads are becoming cheaper and more effective.

Brands are responding in a huge way. More and more companies are utilizing the platform to reach a dedicated segment of consumers, however, this adoption curve comes with a double-edged sword. If the social network saturates with branded content more than user-generated original communications, the cachet and utility of the network will be jeopardized. Facebook will have to continue to evolve and build their advertising business while staying true to their core competencies of being a social network.


Show me the $: is there a bubble?

Do Pinterest and Snapchat represent the next bubble? The NYTimes explores this question and brings up some important issues.
Issue #1, many of these companies are generating little to no revenue, and even those who are, like Twitter, are not yet turning a profit. This means that investors are willing to place significant bets that these companies can turn users/eyeballs into money, a feat that has proven illusive to many in the past. Snapchat is an interesting example: will this messaging service run its course and lose steam, or will users continue to be fascinated by its uselessness? How can Snapchat monetize? The appeal is evident, the monetary potential is not.
Issue #2, many of these companies are being valued at $1bi or more, making them virtually immune to acquisition. This means that these companies must go it alone, and actually become profitable businesses. No small feat but business models that don't involve selling actual goods or services.


Starbucks Using Twitter to Gift

Starbucks has instituted a new program that allows you send a gift card to a friend via Twitter. Simply link your Starbucks account to Twitter and link a credit card to your account, then tweet "@tweetacoffee" with the recipient's Twitter handle. Though the idea is not that novel (they launched a program in 2011 that allowed users to send gift cards through Facebook), it does push the envelope on the company's services via Twitter and does indicate where services companies may be headed on social media and Twitter.

This gift card program is essentially Starbuck's closest attempt at e-commerce, and I think it will have an (albeit small) impact in driving sales. First, for the novelty of actually trying to use the program. Second, because coffee is an easily giftable item, as it is cheap and universally liked. Third, and perhaps most importantly, it will bring more users to Twitter and get bigger impressions for its Twitter messages, thereby reinforcing top-of-mind awareness and indirectly increasing sales. In part due to a similar program in 2011, Starbucks has 35 million fans on Facebook. Conversely, they only have about 5 million followers on Twitter. There shouldn't be such a large disparity in these numbers, and this program should help to close the gap.

Other companies can learn from this program, as a potentially huge revenue stream can be created if a company can sync your company account (and credit card info) to your Twitter handle. Food delivery places can take a service orders quicker, restaurants and service industries can take reservations, and e-commerce sites can have easier, more automated ordering. A simple tweet can be made easier than phone calls or navigating a web page, and can also open up a direct line of communication with the consumer, and if both Twitter and its business partners can tap into the commercial potential of linking their consumers' accounts, Twitter can become a very integral part to many companies' business growth strategies.



Last week I demoed my start-up at the NY Video Meetup. After I presented, I watched other companies demo. I will write a blog post for each. The first one I want to talk about it Interlude. It is awesome. Sequoia-backed, Israeli born, and a marketer's dream tool. Interlude built a platform where you can use real-time video to create A/B scenarios (up to a limited about). That probably sounds a little confusing so here's what they demoed to us. You are looking at cars to buy on the Ferrari website. You choose the Masserati, and the screen changes to a video of a yellow Masserati driving down a sun-soak street. In the upper left hand corner, there's a yellow, blue, and red dot. When you hover over the dot, the car in the video changes. When you click a dot, the video finishes up with your selected car chosen and then displays the next screen. Same deal, except this time you're selecting your car rims. Next screen is the end - where you sign-up for a test drive using your email address. It's beautifully executed, and the data they can collect is incredible. User preferences by time, location, and any other demographic info they can glean from a user. They could use the data to help improve the product - such as clothing - to better match your preferences. I have no doubt that they will be a very successful company by offering such a valuable to marketers.


TV and Apps

I was watching the VH1 biopic about TLC the other night (my girlfriend was watching it though it was pretty good). Towards the end during one of the commercial breaks VH1 made the typical promo that the movie would be playing again later that night. But then they added a twist. They said, download our app and watch the movie anytime for the next 24 hours. I loved the idea. Essentially, they were using their own film (for which they have the right to monetize in any fashion) to encourage downloads of their app which they can further monetize. It wasn't a "spend lots of money" idea, but rather a great way to expand your engagement with your audience.


Instagram and the future of branded advertising

Facebook recently disclosed that they will begin showing ads on people's instagram feeds. The move is hardly surprising given the $1B price tag that FB purchased it for, and with all trends pointing to mobile advertising as the future, instagram looks primed to ride the wave. As we spend more and more time on our phones, brands will spend more and more money to reach us.  According to emarketer, 18.8% of all 2013 digital ad spending in North America will go toward mobile internet ads — which include all mobile advertising on tablets, smartphones and other devices except messaging-based formats. By 2017, nearly half of all digital ad spending in North America will be on the mobile internet.  Many people already complain about the ads on facebook overwhelming them, and now it appears their beloved instagram feeds may be compromised too. 
Instagram has a rapidly growing and highly engaged user-base, and I believe advertisers will get creative in how they reach customers.  Users will be able to pick and choose which brands are relevant for them and when, hopefully allowing for a more curated feed of ads.  It could mean great growth for Facebook in the near term, but it also may push people to look for alternative, ad-free ways to distract themselves.


Part I: Ready to Cut the Cord?

I graduated from college in 2003.  At that time, “social media” meant being able to share music with other students via your university network (ok, so maybe it didn't really mean that, but that's my best interpretation of it). Shortly before graduation, students spent hours downloading any and every song from Napster, the platform that first made file sharing easy for anyone with an Internet connection. Founded by two teenagers in 1999, Napster had ~20 million users within a year. Prior to 2003, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) sued a number of companies that facilitated illegal downloading, such as Napster. Another year later, Napster was shut down by a judge in a music industry lawsuit. I mentioned the history above, not to date myself, but to hint at the level of sophistication of the Internet and file sharing.  There was no such thing as Wikipedia – and for the Millenials reading this – Mark Zuckerberg hadn't even written “Facemash” (Facebook's predecessor)!

Late that same year, the RIAA turned its sights onto music fans themselves. Over the next five years, they filed, settled, or threatened suits against at least 18,000 private individuals — possibly as many as 30,000. The individuals included children, college students, college professors, and even grandmothers. Needless to say, students stopped using Napster and moved on to lesser known websites that provided the same ability for users to share illegally downloaded music files. 

Up until my recent return to school at Columbia, I lived in the “dark ages” of Internet technology – of course, I purchased an iPod (in 2005, but to date I still haven’t downloaded any songs of my own) and joined Facebook (alas, not until 2008 and simply because I was “bored” and felt the need to “check it out”). But, this year I embraced new technology – I learned about “the Cloud” and now have both Google Drive and Dropbox apps installed on my iPhone (oh my!).

In any case, my next goal is to “cut the cord” and no longer watch video via broadcast, cable or satellite TV. According to Nielsen, there are more than five million U.S. homes that, according to a recent study, have “zero TV.” Apparently, that figure is up from just over 2 million in 2007. However, zero TV doesn’t mean zero video – 75 percent of these homes still have at least one TV that’s being used for DVDs, video games and – in some cases – watching Internet video. Currently, it is possible to avoid television commercials utilizing Netflix and Amazon Price, but do people actually believe that the “smart money” (i.e., marketers, the major TV networks etc.) won’t find a way to get their ads back in front of us? 

Earlier this year, Sanford Bernstein published a graph that presents the net change in pay-TV subscribers – Direct TV, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications and Dish all reported a decline in subscribers in Q2 2013.   

(Class Blog Week 9)


Is Bing more value for money for advertisers than Google?

The first report published by Professor Kagan's company Pricing Engine was discussed in a recent article on TechCrunch. It highlights a broader trend that the company is seeing from around 1,500 accounts, which is that although most accounts only spend on Google AdWords, Bing appears to be more efficient and cost-effective for its users.

Among Pricing Engine's clients, those who used Google AdWords saw an average clickthrough rate of 2.4% compared to 2.3% on Bing. However, since the price per click is lower on Bing, it translates to a cost-per-click of $1.10 (versus $2.40 on Google AdWords).

While Google AdWords seems to be the first destination in an advertiser's mind, the article calls out the possibility that there may be untapped opportunity in advertising with Bing, since the analysis so far suggests a higher return on investment.


Ad Formats and Mobile Platforms

Mobile apps are a popular marketing tool for brands. But often times these mobile apps themselves need to be marketed so that consumers know that they exist in the first place. A popular way in which this is done is by placing ads on other apps, since a call to action can trigger immediate download.

With numerous ad formats available for mobile devices, which ones should advertisers choose? A recent report by inmobi reveals some useful insights that advertisers can use to determine what type of ads to place on which platforms. Comparing the two most popular mobile platforms,  the report shows that interstitials advertising mobile apps garner a conversion rate of 3.06% on Android versus 1.73% on iOS. In expandables advertising, iOS surpasses Android at 1.65% conversion versus 0.63%. The gap is much less in the effectiveness of text and banner ads between the two platforms, however with iOS in the  lead.

Another aspect to keep in mind for advertisers is the mobile app category in which their ads appear, as this too is different between iOS and Android.

Inspiration: eMarketer


New Stats on Digital Marketing

I've attached a link to a new article on some interesting Digital Marketing stats. Some keys points:

- Triggered email open rates are four times higher than newsletters
- LinkIn is now responsible for 64% of all visits from social media channels to corporate websites
- Top websites provide a better UX
- Brands accounted for 40% of the 1000 most shared Instagram videos last month
- Internet display ad spend is up 27% globally
- The position of an online ad has the single largest impact on completion rates, with mid-roll ads 18.1% more likely to be completed than the same ad as a pre-roll.

Read more here:


Brands adopting Instagram's new in-stream ad service

Instagram announced a few weeks ago that it would be rolling out in-stream ads, following in the footsteps of Pinterest's announcement to feature sponsored advertisements on its pinning boards. In light of the announcement, Instagram introduced a "sample" ad from its own feed that would give users a sense of what the ads would look like and revealed that only a selected handful of advertisers would take part in the company's ad pilot. The confirmed brands that will advertise on Instagram so far are Adidas, Ben & Jerry's, Burberry, General Electric, Levi's, Lexus, Macy's, Michael Kors, PayPal and Starwood - no surprise as these are the brands with some of the most successful and seasoned feeds. 
This is an expected move from Instagram, particularly as its parent company Facebook derives a significant 41% of its ad revenue from the mobile channel. Also, no surprise, is the gradual nature with which Instagram is planning its in-stream ad launch. Not only is it choosing the right brands, but also the appropriately fitting ads, which align with the tone, coloring and content-type of user feeds. Finally, and probably most important, Instagram/Facebook are staying on top of the user experience, giving users the ability to both hide ads, as well as customize their feeds with more relevant, engaging ads. The working concept is for the upcoming ads to be on par with the ad quality of Vogue magazine. Learn more about Instagram's plan for the ad roll-out here.


Foursquare, START OVER

While Foursquare may have been an innovator in combining location and mobile, one digital marketing exec thinks they should start over, from SCRATCH.

With Foursquare focused on growing a consumer ad business and recently rolling out an advertising platform focused on small businesses, Duncan, the CEO of PlaceIQ, believes Foursquare is driving down the wrong lane. Geotargeting, hyperlocal, and even geofencing are transforming the digital marketing space and Foursquare simply has not done enough to keep up.

These days it's all about data and targeting specific customers (specifically, those who have opted in). One of the best ways to accomplish this is through locational campaigns. Foursquare already has enough competition in the way of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc... The last thing they need is to build their business around a dated model.

Read More: Foursqare, think again.

Sean Breuner


Sunday, October 27, 2013

How to make Social Media Marketing Effective for Small Businesses

One of the hardest parts of social media marketing is not just acquiring users, it is retaining them.  As of 2013, 72% of adults who are the internet are using social networking sights according to Pew Research Center. In fact, MBA reports that 8 of 10 social media users in the U.S. would rather reach out to companies via social media than through company sites.

Most companies, especially small business owners, are beinging to understand that they need to use the social media marekting channel and cannot afford to ignore its effects. 

One of the most important things that social media for businesses needs to do is not only share content but engage users with follow-up and real conversations.  Businesses also need to make sure that they are providing useful content to their users. "In fact, some of the best social media stories are local businesses that help customers they could never actually serve".

To increase the value of content, they also need to provide 80% information that aligns to their customers interest, and spend the other 20% talking about themselves. For example, a cosmetics company can give tips and tricks about how to apply makeup and how to create different looks.

Businesses also need to respond to comments in order to make sure they engage users and make them feel special and as if they are being heard.  Taking these steps will help ensure useful social media marketing. 

For more reading,


Considering the Role of Digital Advertising in the Face of New Technology

Augmented reality is a yet unproven – on a large scale -- technology which receives a considerable amount of attention.  For many augmented reality has the potential to be a facet of everyday life in the not too distant future.  This excitement around augment reality is understandable as it has the real potential to alter how we interact in everyday life.  It offers the opportunity to graft the wealth of information available through the internet onto our physical surroundings.

To this day, the excitement around augmented reality has yet to be satisfied with workable or widespread technology.  Currently, the technology exists but remains in a seminal state.  It is slow and bulky and lacks much of the value add that it could or should provide.  Google Glass remains the largest foray into the field, but it’s production and adoption so far is limited.

Despite the current stage of the technology, some firms have not shied away from teasing consumers with its possibilities.  Motorola’s (now owned by Google) Windy Day app – where one’s surrounds are mapped onto a Pixar inspired setting – provides a fun avenue for the technology.  The app has yet to be offered, but Motorola clearly believes that even hinting at the technology is enough to entice and intrigue potential customers. 

With the impeding onset of augmented reality, one must consider how digital media and digital advertising may be advanced through the medium.  The opportunities are seemingly endless, but the biggest takeaway is that augmented reality will help advertisers transcend the realm of advertising to better align with the lifestyles of their consumers, particularly in their physical surroundings.  Augmented reality will allow companies to blur this line, and from a company’s perspective create a more compelling scenario to access to consumers. 



Nathaniel Perez (@perezable) is Global Head of Social Experience at SapientNitro, where he spearheads digital strategies that are rooted in social behavior and both the art and science of new media connections.  Please read the article that he wrote below:
" In fact, we shouldn't even look at change as a transition. Rather, we need to find ways to embrace change as a catalyst for growth. Four forces are key drivers of change in the digital world. Embracing them is key to our success as businesses, and key to our ability to compete as brands. Let's explore them.


Contextual technology and seamless, always-on interactions are paving the way to a brave-new world of real-life digital experiences, where "real" and "digital" are one. The very notion of digital context is quite dramatically disrupting the landscape. KPCB's Internet Trends 2013 reports that growth in time spent on Internet and mobile marketing is outpacing ad spend in those same channels (as seen below).
KPCB identifies a potential $20 billion opportunity from that gap alone. Interestingly, contextual channels, led by mobile, are the only ones concerned. What is really happening? "Multi-context" experiences are disrupting digital advertising and targeting must evolve. As mobile usage grows exponentially, connected devices are truly challenging advertisers to understand how and when to connect with consumers."