Monday, June 30, 2014

Digitizing shopping in the real world...

Shopping on your finger tips - literally

Making a Purchase: Use Amazon Fire phone and point camera to product - image recognition pulls up corresponding amazon page - purchase with a click - ship via Amazon Prime

Reviewing or Comparing a Product: Shoppers hold their phones up to a shelf and see nutritional and other product information overlaid next to the actual items being viewed - augmented reality

Read more on combining the power of smartphones and image recognition technology to bridge the divide between real-world and digital shopping @


A glimpse into the future of Mobile Adds

What could mobile adds look-like-in-five-years- How personal can it get?

Consider: our activity stream data, purchase preferences, environmental factors from the sensors around us delivering more relevant content..
"The smarter our devices and networks get, the more contextually aware our potential communications will become. Today we can utilize location and some social connections, but it’s likely that in the near future additional elements like our activity stream data, purchase preferences as well as environmental factors from the sensors around us will deliver a higher degree of relevance than possible with today’s technology.—Jonathan Greene, managing director of mobile and social platforms, R/GA"

Consider: integrated and interactive user generated content
"Mobile ads will be more interactive than they are today, providing opportunities for readers to initiate multimedia and other content within the frame. They will be better integrated into the user’s reading, viewing and listening experiences. And they’ll likely involve sponsor content or be explicitly presented as a mechanism for making premium content available for free, as Spotify does with advertising in its free music service. —Kevin Delaney, editor-in-chief, Quartz"

Consider: adds triggered by geographic location, proximity to retailers and past browsing behavior
"Technology has changed so much even over the past year that it’s hard to even imagine what ads will be look like in five years. But we could easily foresee ads on our mobile phones being seamlessly triggered by your geographic location, proximity to retailers and past purchase/browsing behavior. We always talk about mobile being the most “personal” ad platform, and that’s what we see as the true holy grail of mobile advertising: ads that are tailored to your likes, behaviors and buying habits.—Brian Colbert, vp of mobile advertising sales, Pandora"

Check out the Top 10 Mobile Adds for 2013!


Employers Care About Your Online Profiles More Than You Think

Remember what we discussed in class about your digital traces and whether you can hide them or not?  Well, you should think again. Especially in case you are looking for a job (which happens all the time)! Good news is that with the wide usage of social media, your chances of finding a job lay beyond LinkedIn and searching companies’ websites. We all have went through the process of searching the “careers” or “jobs” tab of our favorite companies, but now you can find a job opportunity even from Facebook.  
Recruiters are now looking at our social network profiles, using a candidate’s profile to assess whether they would be a good fit for the company.
LinkedIn is undoubtedly the largest social network for professionals and the most popular destination for employers seeking new hires, but we should not overlook the influence of Facebook and Twitter. You may wonder what should we post on Facebook and Twitter so we make a “good” social presence.

Based on surveys, recruiters look at these accounts to see an applicant's professional experience, whether they've made industry-related posts and to access how well they'd fit with the company's culture. Based on the following great infographic, it is interesting that recruiters are seeking for cultural fit and industry-related posts through Facebook, and for professional experience and specific hard skills on LinkedIn.
 It is a tradeoff since you have to be careful even on what you post on your personal profile and to limit the moments you share which annoys me. But we are the Millennials, what can we do!


How well companies perform on digital marketing?

Wpromote recently released its 2014 digital marketing ranking of ecommerce sites. Interestingly retail sites performed poorly and houseware sites took top spots on the list. The way Wpromote put together the list is by evaluating the following dimensions (weights in bracket)

  • PPC — 25 percent
  • SEO — 25 percent
  • Social Media — 10 percent
  • Email Marketing — 10 percent
  • Mobile — 10 percent
  • Blogging — 10 percent
  • E-commerce — 10 percent

Check this out:


2014 Marketing Stats Infographic

Digital marketing space is growing so fast that what was the "right move" two years ago would be an ancient idea now. So what should we expect this year as we plan out strategies for digital marketing? The following summarizes interesting facts about stats on digital marketing: 

- In 2014, marketing teams will spend $135 billion dollars on new digital marketing collateral. 
- 78% of CMS think custom content is the future of marketing. 
- Internet advertising will make up nearly 25% of the entire ad market by 2015. 
- 43% of all marketers found a customer via LinkedIn. 
52% of all marketers have found a customer via Facebook in 2013. 
- Marketing mix: 
  • Email: Emails with social sharing buttons increase click through rates by 158%. 
  • Social media: Social marketing budgets will double over the next 5 years.
  • Events: 67% of B2B content marketers consider event marketing the most effective strategies. 
  • PR: 73% of reporters think press releases should contain images. 
  • PPC: 72% of PPC marketers plan to increase PPC budget in 2014. 
  • SEO: 33% of traffic from Google's organic search results go to the 1st item listed. 
  • Content: Nearly 50% of companies have content marketing strategies. 
More at:


Issues in Privacy: Google's Appeal Rejected by the Supreme Court

Breaking news for Google:

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Google today. According to Businessweek, it left the company to "face lawsuits accusing it of violating a federal wiretapping law by secretly collecting personal data while developing its Street View maps." Google was accused "of gathering emails, user names and passwords while using a fleet of camera-equipped vehicles that drove around the country to collect images for Street View."

Last year, Google already experienced another settlement of $7 million worth with 38 states over the data collection. The current class-action suit, Google v. Joffe, was filed by individuals whose information was collected by Goggle. For this ruling, the court upheld a previous ruling that ruled that protection under the U.S. Wiretap Act applies to information found on unencrypted in-home WiFi Networks.

In addition to the current class-action suit, Google is facing privacy problems in other countries in which it also collected Street View data. It will be interesting how Google will fight through this.

Read more at:


Facebook has made repeated missteps in regards to user's privacy and information over the course of the last few years.  Apparently, they have learned relatively little in terms of how jealously people regard their privacy.  While it would seem that they didn't do anything wrong, per se, the optics of yet another privacy brouhaha for Facebook are certainly negative.  Of course, given the Facebook's sheer size, it seems unlikely that this will actually shift behavior for its users. 


2014 Social Media Day.

It is remarkable to see the growth of the social media in the past few years and now people are celebrating it by making it an official day for remembrance. Few states in United States approved as such and even few nations have done so as well. Social media has changed various aspect of life for all of us and it is has earned its right to be on the calendar. It will be interesting to see how far the medium would have impact to us. 
Source Article :
If Facebook's 1.28 billion users inhabited a country, it would be the second-largest in the world, behind only China's 1.36 billion.
And Twitter would rank No. 4, just ahead of Indonesia's 247 million residents — and that's counting only Twitter's 255 million active users.
Today, Des Moines joins a worldwide celebration of tweeting, Facebooking and Instagramming with its first Social Media Day.
"Whether you like it or not, social media affects everybody," said Katie Stocking, owner of the social media and Web design agency Happy Medium. She organized today's event. "For me, I have built a business around social media both by using it and by helping others use it."
Tell us
How has social media changed your life? For good or for bad? Share your thoughts with the Register on Facebook at or tweet us at @DMRegister.
About today's event
Des Moines today joins a worldwide celebration of social media, started in 2010 by Mashable, an online technology news service, to recognize social media's growth.
Katie Stocking, an entrepreneur who has organized events around Des Moines' first Social Media Day, has lined up a mix of local personalities to talk about digital connections, including Iowa Nice Guy Scott Siepker, Willis Auto's marketing director Josh Dreyer and Raygun store owner Mike Draper.
Tickets are sold out, but you can follow the fun on Twitter, naturally, by following the hashtag #SMDDM2014.


Facebook A/B testing

Interesting article about Facebook conducting a few A/B testing -- the only thing is that they were testing people's emotions... people reacted better if more positive posts showed up in their timeline.

Of course a lot of people disliked the fact of being "played" by Facebook.

Full article:




Indentity Loyality of the Brand

This interesting article talked about how to building brand loyalty through social media. The article claimed that it is important to commit to authenticity when using social media to build brand.

The article also claimed that brand's identity should be defined by the brand itself, which will help the brand to defend itself from competitors. The article made an example of presidential election campaign of this.
Additionally, the article claimed it is important to let consumers "co-develop" the brand's identity. Social media is an natural and useful tool for this


The Personality Behind Your Posts

You love to tweet, blog, post photos on Facebook and Instagram; you love to make your social presence perceptible. Have you ever thought the treasures you’re giving to Google, Facebook, and Twitter? They love your status updates, uploads, likes; they are food for thought for them since they then try to sell you the “right” ads based on your interests (at least as they perceive them).

Did you know that there is a tool that gives a sense of what the big web companies might see when they look at us? Of course there is, it’s called Five. 
Using a link to Facebook posts, Five analyzes the language in which we write, and determines our relative affiliation to the big five or personality traits of emotional intelligence: openness, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and neuroticism.
It then shows comparisons with famous people (based on their public writings and statements), as well as your Facebook friends. Based on their feedback on Twitter, people identify to a great extent with the personalities they’re generating.

The co-founder Nikita Bier said the point of the exercise is not precision, but to give people a sense of what social media companies are doing with us, probably with much greater sophistication. They use these predictions for personalized advertising, and based on their sayings, they’re doing well. If for example, someone is more open and extrovert, they go to coffee shops and bars and usually have interesting apartments; thus you want to advertise them IKEA furniture. On the other hand, neurotic people care more about their health, so you can advertise vitamins or super-healthy products.

I suggest you check out how your personality is deployed based on your social media web, and you’ll find the people most similar to you. Maybe it is Zuckerberg, Obama, Mahatma Gandi or Jay Z. You never know!


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Facebook is playing with your feelings

Were you feeling particularly happy recently? Exuberant? Or did you feel the glass was recently more empty than usual?

Maybe facebook tweaked you to feel more up or down by showing you more positive or more negative posts of your friends. Shock!

Indeed, facebook conducted a psychology study with 700 000 users. Not surprisingly, the study found that the more positive posts they show their users, the more likely they are to post positively nuanced status posts, and vice versa.

More information on what happened can be found here:
Now, one suggestion: why don't we all share a little more joy, generosity and love - online and offline - and with or without facebook, the world will be a brighter place.


Is this the next tech bubble? Yo.

Even though some argue that there is no new tech bubble, I can’t seem to get my head around recent tech companies’ funding and valuation:

Here's an overview of some highly valued tech companies around the globe:

For an interactive version of the full list, check out the Wall Street Journal.
For further information on (current) tech bubbles, you can follow the Economist debate.

Do you think these companies will be worth their investors' money?


The Right to Be Not BotNetten

By Alice Lam

Botnets and the right to be forgotten are two ideas in class that has also been in the news.  Although digital advertising seem to be a growing space, it is not without problems.  White Ops, a new start up that has raised $7m in venture capital, will aim to securitize many advertisers from fraudulent botnets.   About 29% of all display advertising  deal with zombie computers, resulting in a loss of $10 billion dollars a year.  White Ops  believe that they have figured out a way to discern between a bot and a real person and will be able to provide a code very much like google analytics that will help the advertiser discern for themselves.   Aside from the botnet “using” the display advertising, White Ops wants to help businesses combat users that use false or stolen credit cards to buy  from the e-commerce site.  Hopefully, White Ops will create solutions around these issues but it is very ironic that the solutions around technology issues can be solved by…more technology.

Google has also started removing search results under Europe’s “Right to be  Forgotten.”  So far, there has been 41,000 removal requests.  Although Larry Page is honoring the right, he believes that the implementation of this right is “impractical.”  Larry Page seems to be for the use of big data to create solutions for people, ie in healthcare, and is worried that people’s fears will cause government to regulate.  When it comes to technology and its future, he hopes that people will not shy away from these issues and create a dialogue and remain optimistic about it.  Recently, the Supreme Court ruled that texts and phones may be taken or looked at without a search warrant.  It is very interesting that the current rulings in the US and Europe has been in support of the rights of the individual.    Especially with July 4th nearing, it is a good reminder of importance of these rights…even with the advent of more technology.



The Big Brother Health Plan

By Alice Lam
In the NYTimes article, “When a Health Plan Knows How You Shop” predictive analytics seem to be the new wave of helping companies determine consumer behavior and habits.  However, predictive analytics come with costs.  University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is now one of the leading institutions running predictive analytics to provide better, more efficient healthcare.  Although it sounds great, the fact that UPMC has an insurance division does incentivize the company to cut costs where it can. Targetting the more high risk patients may seem like a noble deed, we run the risk of allowing the insurance companies know so much about the health of the customer, the allowance of patients who in need of care may be harder (since a higher risk patient would cost the insurance more) and cherry picking the best patients who are healthy so the insurance can be more profitable. Since UPMC has all this data showing correlation among claims, prescriptions and demographics and probability of urgent care, UPMC predict if the patient might end up in the emergency room.  Knowing so much feels like an invasion of privacy.  Many argue that companies buy this kind of consumer behavioral data with other goods and health data is just another extension of that.  However, healthcare data seems to be a tricky case because there are HIPAA guidelines and the Hippocratic oath that seems to be a conflict of interest.  When a doctor can’t even reveal  to the wife the nature of her husband’s disease, it hardly seems right for a company to know all the patient.  It doesn’t seem right for the insurance to encroach on the patient’s privacy so the insurance can nudge the patient into taking better care of himself.  Although saving lives is very honorable, we would never take a person’s life so we can donate the organs to many.  Predictive analytics may be effective but also extremely utilitarian.  It is really hard to judge the intention of the hospital/insurances (better care or profit), how much marketing companies nudges the patient and how well it actually works.  Even if the intention is good and the patient does do more screening, health outcomes may not be better.  Like with all other forms of digital marketing, only time will tell.


Why things catch on?

Last class we discussed the power of video marketing and how to make it viral.  Marketers are well aware of the power of viral videos and usually use the same techniques to sell their brand.
Smart and savvy companies of all sizes explode the mainstream consciousness by creating campaigns that compel consumers to share content with their social graphs. Some campaigns are hilarious; others are heartbreaking. But all contain triggers that get people talking.
The best video ad campaigns commonly tells a warm story that appeals to the viewer’s emotions in order to identified with the customer and transform it on a personal connection. And when they have a neat twist or surprise ending, so much the better.
Overall, campaigns go viral simply by provoking a powerful reaction across a set range of demographics. And that visceral response is what separates viral breakouts from busts.
According to Jonah Berger, marketing professor at the Wharton School and author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On, there are six key drivers under the acronym STEPPS that makes video campaigns go viral. They are:

·      Social Currency (e.g., sharing things that make people look good)
·      Triggers (acknowledging that we talk about things that are top-of-mind)
·      Emotion, Public (imitating what we see others do)
·      Practical Value (news people can use)
·      Stories (information passed along under the guise of idle chitchat).

Understanding and leveraging these drivers does not guarantee a successful campaign. And, to make things worst, many times companies confuse the objective of chasing this idea of 'viral' without thinking of building content, which will help the brand/products. Berger contends. "You can make a really funny video, and people will laugh, but if it doesn't have anything to do with the service you're offering or the product you're selling, it's not going to impact sales. Too many companies and organizations are chasing good content without understanding how to make it help the brand."

In Conclusion, Viral isn’t luck or chance. There’s a science behind it. We share the time we got upgraded to first class, or forward a funny video, because it makes us look smart and in-the-know. So one way to get people sharing your content, or to create a video based on your campaign, is to make them feel like insiders or create something remarkable that makes them look clever for sharing.