Tag Archives: google

Stats of the Week

Written by: Jackie Mendez
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Every week we compile lots of interesting stats here at Fanscape and we try to share a lot of what we learn with you in these posts.

Google is Millennials’ Most Loved Brand

Google tops the buzz rankings for the first half of this year among US Millennials; research released late last year also found Google to be Millennials’ “most-loved” brand. Nike, Amazon.com, YouTube and Apple round out the top 5 Buzz Rankings among US Millennials. Meanwhile, Nike and Samsung hold the top 2 positions among both Hispanics and African-Americans, with Apple also in the top 5 for both groups.

About the Data: Buzz Scores are determined by asking respondents whether they have heard anything about the brand during the prior 2 weeks and subtracting the percentage who answered they had heard something negative from the proportion who heard something positive.

Source: Marketing Charts

Headlines & Stuff

Written by: Christy Wise
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Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

Facebook Seeks Patent for Tech to Let Kids on Its Network 
Facebook currently restricts users to those over the age of 13. But it now appears that the social network wants to create a new way for young people to join — and still comply with the law.  In a patent application recently made public, Facebook describes a system to let parents authorize and supervise accounts for younger children in compliance with COPPA.

LinkedIn Rolls Out New Design
LinkedIn is rolling out a new profile design for its premium members. The new look includes a larger profile photo and customizable header image that spans the width of the screen. The new look is similar in style to Facebook and Twitter profiles. The new look is only available for premium members currently. The rest of the LinkedIn community will get the new look “in a few months.”

Facebook Rolls Out One-Column Design to All Pages
Facebook has started rolling out its streamlined desktop look for Pages to everyone worldwide. All Pages should have access to the new design by today. Admins accessing their Pages will see a tour of the refreshed design, and can switch to the updated design two weeks after the tour has been viewed.

Pinterest to Launch Self-Serve Ad Auction
Pinterest unveiled its first paid ads last month with a select group of marketers. Now the social network plans to roll out a self-serve, auction-based ad system aimed at small and medium businesses. Unlike the CPM-based ad business it has launched with big brands like Kraft and Nestle, the self-serve auction will take bids on a CPC basis. And while Pinterest has set a high spending threshold for brands to experiment with its “promoted pins” — asking for $1 to $2 million commitments – pricing in the auction will be set by the marketplace.

Google Search Intent Comes to Facebook
Google search intent can now be harnessed for Facebook ad targeting. Advertisers can target people who have clicked on their search ads on Google, Bing, and Yahoo, effectively bringing together search-intent data.  Here’s how it works: Hypothetically, Cadbury could target ads to Facebook users who’ve already clicked on Google ads yielded by searches for “chocolate,” “Easter egg,” and “Easter Bunny” – terms that signify a high degree of interest in their product. Facebook’s demographic and interest-level targeting parameters can also be applied to refine the audience.

Instagram Added 10 New Features This Week
Instagram announced 10 new editing tools this week for both iOS and Android. In addition to new adjustments like contrast, brightness, and saturation, Instagram’s filters have also been tweaked; users can now adjust the filter’s intensity with a slide bar.  Other tools include adjust (crop and straighten photos), warmth, highlights, shadows, vignette, and sharpen.

Global Social Media

Google Introduces an Online Form  to Let EU Users Request the Removal of Outdated Links
The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) ruled last month that individuals should have the right to remove outdated information about themselves from search engine results. The so-called “right to be forgotten” means that an individual should be allowed to request that irrelevant or outdated information is removed from a company’s servers and therefore removed from being publicly available on the web. In response to this ruling, Google has launched an online form which will allow users to submit an official request. 12,000 requests were submitted the first day of the form’s launch.  Google handles nearly 80% of all searches in Europe.

Noteworthy Campaigns

Sephora’s Augmented Reality Mirror
For their latest project, beauty retailer Sephora has teamed up with augmented reality and virtual reality technology company ModFace to launch a mirror that may change the way people shop for makeup.  Sephora’s new mirror will simulate makeup on a person’s face in both real time and 3D. This unique technology tracks a person’s facial features and “applies” eye shadow to your face via a camera’s video stream. Customers can try out multiple colors and textures by tapping the color on the screen and see how it looks from all angles by merely turning their faces.  The product will help the store eliminate the need for tester products and utensils used to apply and remove them. The mirror is currently only available at the Milan store, but should it become a success, it will be placed in locations around the world.

April Fool’s Roundup

Written by: Larry Weintraub
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April-Fool's-DayApril 1 is one of our favorite days of the year. We look forward to seeing what all those much more creative than us do with their sites and properties.  We polled the company and these are some of our favorites from yesterday. There were so many good ones, it took us a day to agree on which were best!

 

Gmail: Shelfies, make a sharable selfie your background on Gmail, and share it with friends and family.
Gmail Shelfie

 

truTV: Impractical Jokers, a show on truTV, gets four new cast members due to the old cast becoming too popular.
Impractical Jokers

 

Samuel Adams: HeliYUM Beer, leveraging the powers of helium for “a beer unlike any you’ve ever tasted.”
 http://bit.ly/1fNf89r
Sam Adams HeliYUM

 

Netflix: Two new Netflix Originals guaranteed to make you hungry.
http://bit.ly/1fNbHj3

o-ROTISSERIE-CHICKEN-570 o-SIZZLING-BACON-570

 

Jimmy Kimmel and Lululemon: Spray-On Yoga Pants. “Goodbye pants, hello comfort.”
http://bit.ly/OdNkU8

Lululemon Spray-on Yoga Pants Lululemon Spray-on Yoga Pants 2

 

Netflix: Get a “leaked” first look at House of Cards Season 3, from writer Beau Willimon.
http://on.fb.me/1gPjVvf

House of Cards preview

Google+:  Auto Awesome Photobombs, with David Hasselhoff
http://bit.ly/1fv1JWH
Google Hasselhoff

 

Kayak: Bathroom Search Feature
http://www.kayak.com/bathrooms/

Kayak Bathrooms

 

HootSuite: Fake Oculus Rift Integration
HootSuite - Oculus Rift

 

Hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

#TeamFanscape

The Power of Google in Social Media Marketing

Written by: Hannah Redmond
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Hannah.pixOn March 7, Google knew it was my birthday and served me a birthday Google Doodle. When I left work, my Android phone told me that it would take me 32 minutes to get home, that an Amazon package was waiting on my doorstep, and that a new episode of my favorite show would be on TV that night. I didn’t set up any of these alerts; Google just knew to tell me.

Since Google implemented a new design and Single Sign-On (SSO), requiring Google Plus accounts for all users, it knows what I search for (Google Search), where I’ve been/where I’m going (Google Maps), and what I buy (receipts in my Gmail). Google Plus ties this all together to create a database of information to deliver custom digital experiences.

As a user, I love this integration. It makes my life easier and makes running errands more efficient. And I am happy to let Google learn more about me and deliver these custom ads and experiences if it means that this wonderful service will remain free for users.

As a marketer, it’s exciting to think about how this will impact the work we do for our clients. Google is tracking loads of behavioral data on what consumers are doing online and offline every single day, creating an opportunity for incredibly innovative and targeted marketing.  For example, if we know that our target consumer is reading reviews of pet food during a lunch break, we could potentially send them a coupon when they’re about to pass by our pet food store on their way home.

Users’ experience on Google Search is becoming more custom, as well. Based on variables like a user’s connections, friends, search history, and location, Google Search results are unique. As a marketer, I want to give consumers a voice and a platform to publicly talk about and review my clients’ products and services to help insert them into more search results. I want to make sure our clients have a strong, optimized presence on all things Google – from Google Plus to YouTube – since Google social channels are the only social channels indexed in Google Search, unlike Twitter or Facebook.

Google is becoming a foundational platform on social, and the brands that win will be the ones who are harnessing its influence across platforms.

Headlines & Stuff

Written by: Digitally Approved
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Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

Instagram Launches Profile Badges
Instagram just launched Instagram badges, an easy way to help users promote and share their Instagram profiles across the web. Instagram badges are similar to buttons offered by Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc. To get an Instagram badge click here.

Facebook Gifts Adds iTunes
Facebook Gifts has a big new retail partner: Apple. The social network has added the ability for people to send iTunes digital gifts through its own gifting service. Through the partnership, Facebook users can recommend albums, movies, games, apps, and iTunes credits in denominations of $10, $15, $25, or $50.

Pinterest Kicks Off 30 Days of Holiday Inspiration
Pinterest is getting into the holiday spirit this year with a new project, dubbed 30 Days of Pinspiration. The site will unveil a series of holiday boards each day through the New Year. The effort began with Katie Couric, Dale Partridge, Second Harvest, Anthropologie, Budget Savvy Diva, Babble and Parents Magazine. The campaign will continue until January 4 and will feature people, non-profits and organizations including the NBA, Jordan Ferney, Paula Deen, the U.S. Marine Corps and Starbucks. It will remain a mystery as to who is featured on what day – though you can get hints by hovering over the calendar here.

YouTube Now Lets You Link Your Channel With Google+
Google announced even more Google+ integration for YouTube that allows you to link your channel with a Google+ profile and still keep your channel name. Although the company is pushing out the prompt to all its users, if you want to opt in now, you can do so in your YouTube account settings.  You can still keep your channel name, or opt to change it to the Google+ name.

 

Global Social Media

Google Launches “Defend Your Net” Campaign in Germany
In its latest effort to bring attention to government action it considers threatening to the open web, Google is warning German citizens and lawmakers of the potential dangers posed by copyright changes being considered in Germany’s parliament. The campaign and petition is called Verteidige Dein Netz, German for “Defend Your Net.” The target is a proposed law that would allow German publishers to charge Google for short excerpts seen on sites such as Google News or remove content from the search engine entirely.  Germany isn’t the first country to propose such a change. France recently had a similar spat with Google, demanding that the company pay French publishers for content. In Brazil, approximately 90% of newspapers pulled their content from Google News with similar complaints.

 

Noteworthy Campaigns

Sugar Brand Launches Racy Craigslist Personal Campaign
All natural sweetener company In The Raw has introduced fake Craigslist personals that direct people to its ‘racy’ food photography app for sharing pixelated images of mouthwatering culinary creations. Visitors to the website can view and post titillating food photos using In The Raw’s ‘Au Natural’ Facebook app, which gives foodies “all-access to the hottest action on the web.” They can use the tool to pixelate or blur images, then upload them to the gallery, where others can click to reveal the full-frontal food photos. Check out the campaign here.

Dunkin’ Sweeps Leverages Twitter Profile Redesign
Dunkin’ Donuts has redesigned its Twitter brand profile – and has launched a sweeps that leverages the new profile’s interactive capabilities. Through December 3, fans can share their favorite seasonal Dunkin’ coffee flavors for chances to win one of three daily $50 mGifts. Fans vote/enter by tweeting one of three hashtags (#DDWhiteChocolate, #DDPeppermintMocha, #DDGingerbread), along with the hashtag #entry. As fans vote, images of coffee cups with corresponding flavors will fill up in real time, allowing fans to track how flavors are trending.

Headlines & Stuff

Written by: Digitally Approved
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Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

Facebook Experimenting With “Reply” Button On Comments
Facebook is experimenting with a reply option for comments posted to Timeline. The move would make it much easier for users to respond to individual comments left on wall posts. The news comes as Facebook is also testing a new alert notification that emits a ping sound when someone writes on your Timeline, sends you a message or invites you to an event.

Pinterest Introduces Secret Boards
This week, Pinterest introduced a “secret boards” feature which limits the visibility of pinned items only to the creator and any collaborators they might invite. Private boards may be switched from on to off one time before it becomes permanent. The major drawback is that you can’t hide existing boards because others may have already repinned from it. When you add a pin to a secret board – it won’t show up anywhere on Pinterest.

Foursquare Gives Locations a New Kind of Rating
Foursquare has launched a new ratings system to help users make better decisions about the locations they visit and give their business to. The company is now attaching a number score to locations when you find them in the Explore tab. When you are browsing, each location will show a number between one and ten. That number is an indicator of “how much people love it,” according to Foursquare. Foursquare hasn’t revealed the exact algorithm for how they get to those numbers, but we do know that it’s a combination of tips, likes, dislikes, popularity, loyalty, etc. from the nearly 3 billion check-ins from over 25 million people using the platform.

Facebook’s iPhone App Lets You Send Real-World Gifts
From the Events section of the iOS app, you can view friends who have upcoming birthdays in addition to upcoming events on your Facebook calendar. You can now send a real-orld gift, by tapping the gift icon beside his or her name. Facebook offers a number of real-world gifts that you can send or you can let your friend choose. You can send a virtual card, which you can select from several choices and personalize with with a message.


Global Social Media

Twitter Prepares to Launch Promoted Products in the Middle East
Twitter is looking to ramp up its revenue efforts in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA). Twitter will localize and target its Promoted Products in Egypt, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. MENA is one of the fastest growing Twitter regions and the product launches in this area will help Twitter expand their revenue capabilities here.

Facebook is Lobbying Europe on Unreasonable Privacy Reform
The European Commission has proposed a comprehensive reform of the EU Data Protection law, which would come into effect in the next few years. The proposal was unveiled back in January by EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding. A large plank of the strategy is aimed at giving EU citizens more control over their data, including granting people the right to have data companies and organizations hold on them deleted on request (aka “right to be forgotten”), and a right to have their data ported to another service. Data holders must also notify users of serious data breaches within 24-hours. The new rules will apply to companies processing EU citizen data, even if the company does not operate inside Europe. Violators of the new rules could face hefty fines. Facebook would be the main target of such a proposal and have been lobbying the Commission on key portions. Facebook has a team of lobbyists based in Brussels to try and sway the Commission to do away with items including the “right to be forgotten,” clause. Facebook has of course built their entire business around remember users and their data. Commissioner Reding hinted that she is unlikely to be swayed by Facebook (and Google) lobbying efforts.

China Blocks Google.com
The Chinese government has blocked Google.com, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Docs, Google Analytics, Google Drive, and many other Google services as the Communist Party of China holds the 18th Party Congress.  The latest censorship is part of a long term dispute between Google and the Chinese government going on for years. Subdomains with Google.com have all been blocked which means that websites including the search engine are not accessible. Not even an outside DNS server will help. Chinese Netizens can however find ways around the block by using a VPN or other circumvention tool. You can still access other domains for Google that do not have “.com” including www.google.co.uk. Never before have so many people been affected by a decision to block a website. If Google stays blocked, many more people in China will become aware of the extend of the censorship there. It is unclear if the move is temporary or not. They could reinstate access after the congress is over.

Noteworthy Campaigns

A Photographer’s Journey Ties Travel Images to Real-World Exhibition – Curated on Facebook
Le Meridien and Air France recently launched an innovative Facebook promotion that pairs travel lust with Facebook “likes.” The promotion, titled “A Photographers’s Journey,” follows international photographer Jimmy Corhssen on a one month, ten flight journey around the world. Jimmy visited Tahiti, Bora Bora, Shanghai, Istanbul and Paris, snapping vivid images to capture the travel imagination. The best part of the campaign was the integration between the online world and off.  Facebook users are encouraged to “like” Air France and Le Meridien and participate in a 3-week voting process for their favorite images across three themes: Style, Voyage and Art de Vivre. Users can vote on up to 10 photos under each weekly theme. The most popular photos are curated into an offline traveling exhibition, premiering in NYC on December 11. The images inspire travel lust as well as integrate both Air France and Le Meridien. The Facebook application encourages social sharing and allows users to enter to win a trip to one of the locations visited by the photographer.

NBCUniversal and AmEx Join Forces for Mobile Shopping/TV Mashup
NBCUniversal and American Express have announced a strategic alliance that allows consumers to purchase products “inspired by” NBCUniversal programs directly from a mobile device, while the show is airing. Early plans are for NBCUniversal’s DailyCandy.com, to curate a list of exclusive products inspired by Bravo’s “Life After Top Chef,” E!’s “Fashion Police,” and Style’s “Tia & Tamara.” The program will use zeebox, the companion TV viewing app to provide two-screen technology that combines television and social media with commerce. Within the zeebox app, NBC viewers will get information on how to buy in-show inspired items. Plans are for each participating show to have their own page tailored to reflect its style – meaning there will be content (games, trivia, fun facts, etc.) surrounding each show in addition to purchase opportunities. The campaign includes a series of 30-second custom vignettes that will run on-air beginning this week. American Express will give card members a one-time $35 credit when they make a purchase with an AmEx card, which needs to be synced with Facebook and/or Twitter to be eligible.

Headlines & Stuff

Written by: Digitally Approved
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In the News

Facebook Rolls Out Gift Giving Feature
Facebook is rolling out a gift-giving feature which users can buy and send items to friends. The gift service will have hundreds of options with more added daily from partners including Starbucks and 1-800-Flowers. Facebook will share an undisclosed percentage of revenue with partners.

Facebook Begins Eliminating Fake Likes
This week Facebook began weeding out “likes” caused by compromised accounts, deceived users and malware or purchased bulk likes. Less than 1% of “likes” on a page would be removed, “providing they and their affiliates have been abiding by our terms,” Facebook stated. Among pages with the most total “likes,” Texas Holdem Poker saw a loss of more than 96k “likes,” Rihanna lost 28,000, Shakira lost 26,000, Lady Gaga dropped 34,000, and Farmville lost 45,000.

Create a Mini Store Out of Pins on Pinterest
ShopInterest turns Pinterest boards into mini-shops, so instead of clicking through to the website where the product can be found, people can buy it directly from the Pinterest page. The new e-commerce platform is great for independent sellers, helping them create a fully-featured online store to generate sales from their followers. To start a store, users need to sign in and select boards where their products are. They then can add a description, prices, shipping charges, and the payment method they’d like to accept. ShopInterest handles the rest. Check out the video here to see how it works.

GetGlue Redesigns Site To Be a Personalized Viewing Guide
Social entertainment platform, GetGlue this week revealed its redesigned website, which transforms GetGlue.com from just a check-in service to a personalized viewing guide for TV, movies and sports. Unlike other TV guides often presented in grid format, the revamped GetGlue.com shows your guide as a scrolling list prioritized by what’s on right now with labels for recommendations and new content. The guide also integrates friends’ “likes” and check-ins. GetGlue uses your check-ins to personalize the guide.

Tweets Will Be Downloadable By The End Of The Year
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo announced a the Online News Association conference that users will soon have the ability to download their tweets. Many Twitter users have been asking for the ability to download a record of their tweets without taking the time to copy and paste everything. It appears they will now get their wish as soon as by the end of this year.

MySpace Redesigns Site
MySpace revealed this week a video that teases the future of the once wildly popular social network, now that Justin Timberlake and others have steered it in a new direction. According to the company, the fan and entertainment-focused service is being rebuilt “entirely from scratch.” As you can see in the teaser here, MySpace is debuting a media-focused social network which emphasizes imagery, a static footer navigation bar with a built in music player and a left-to-right timeline of posts. There is no official launch date for the new services as of yet. Request an invite here.

Facebook Now Tracks Consumer Retail Purchases
Facebook is working with a data mining firm to show marketers that consumers who see ads on the social network actually buy advertised products. The company purchased data on 70 million U.S. households from Datalogix, which culls information from loyalty cards and programs for more than 1,000 retailers.  Datalogix matches emails and data associated with loyalty cards and programs with emails and information required to set up a Facebook account. Using this information, the company can say whether or not a consumer purchased an item after seeing it advertised on Facebook. Datalogix and Facebook have tracked 45 campaigns. In 70% of those campaigns, a dollar spent on Facebook resulted in $3 in sales. This news comes after Facebook last month started allowing marketers to match user email addresses and phone numbers with their own data profiles. The change means that brands can now target users on Facebook even if those consumers haven’t “liked” the brand.

LinkedIn Launches “Endorsements”
LinkedIn this week announced Endorsements, a new feature that allows you to recognize professions for their expertise. Endorsements has launched in English across the U.S., India, New Zealand and Australia. LinkedIn plans to expand Endorsements for all languages and all members “over the next few weeks.” It takes just one click to endorse your connections for a skill they’ve listed on their profile or recommend one they haven’t added yet. Think of LinkedIn Endorsements as “Facebook Likes for Professionals.”

Always Keep Tabs On Your Friends With New Foursquare Notifications
Foursquare has unveiled updated notifications this week that lets users keep tabs on their friends no matter where they go. With the new settings, users can opt to “always” receive notifications when family or close friends check-in somewhere “even when they are not nearby or you have all check-in notifications turned off.” The notifications will allow you to keep up with globe-trekking friends when they are backpacking abroad or to see if they’ve arrived safely at the airport for example.

Global Social Media

Brazil Orders the Arrest of Google’s President of Operations
The president of Google’s Brazil Operations, Fabio Jose Silva Coelho, was arrested after failing to remove YouTube videos that reportedly attacked a mayoral candidate. It’s not the first of Google’s legal concerns in Brazil. The company has been battling government restrictions for months. Brazil has led the charge when it comes to removal requests for content provided by Google. The company had previously reported that it had a total of 669 removal requests from Brazil, with the majority of them being attributed to the Google’s refusal to give up blogger identities.

8 in 10 British Internet Users Are Active on Social Media, with 68% on Facebook
Facebook is the most popular social media site in the UK, with 68% of internet users being active on the site, followed by Twitter (28%) and LinkedIn (26%). A recent study found that the increasing number of smartphones worldwide is leading to an increase in social media use; with 66% of smartphone users active on social media daily, as opposed to 48% of people without a smartphone.  It was also found that 5% of internet users in the UK use Pinterest and Instagram.

Salamworld, Social Network for Muslims, Launches
In order to provide a social media environment that is sensitive to Muslim sensibilities, a group of Turkish, Russian and Central Asian businessmen have funded a new social network for Muslims called Salamworld.  The site is said to be like Facebook, but with more attention paid to “core Muslim values.” There are 250 million Muslim Facebook users, and the founders of the site believe that there is no halal (Islam-compliant) alternative.  In addition to the Facebook-like features, Salamworld will offer advice from Muslim clerics, a virtual religious library, city guides, and Muslim news. The founders hope to attract 50 million users in the next five years.

Noteworthy Campaigns

Print Ad For The CW To Feature Tiny Screen With Live Twitter Feed
The promote its fall TV lineup and take advantage of the social nature of viewers, CW is using a new kind of insert within Entertainment Weekly. The October 5 edition of the magazine will feature an ad with a small LCD screen that will display a video preview of new shows and a live Twitter feed of the last six tweets from @CW_Network. An in-house social media team managing the feed will delete any content that includes profanity or other unacceptable language, but negative comments about CW shows won’t be edited out.

Oreo Creates Their Version of the Daily Google Doodle Using Cookie Icing
From celebrating Gay Pride on June 25 with a multi-colored Oreo, memorializing Curiosity’s landing on Mars with red tire treads on August 5th, and even marking the start of Shark Week with a bitten Cookie on August 12th, Oreo has created a playful, relevant ad each day for nearly 100 days. The campaign is dubbed “The Daily Twist,” and was launched in honor of Oreo’s 100th Birthday Celebration. The campaign will end on October 2, with a live, crowd-sourced ‘twist.’ Oreo will set up a ‘temporary ad agency’ in Times Square, and will take suggestions for the last ad from Facebook and Twitter fans. The suggestions will be narrowed down to eight and opened up to a public vote via Facebook as well as broadcast via a Times Square billboard. The winning idea (Oreo’s 100th Daily Twist) will be unveiled at 2pm. Check out the gallery of ‘Twists’ here.

In London, Kellogg’s Swaps Snacks for Tweets to #tweetshop
Kellogg is bridging the gap between social currency and real-life money by letting customers at a central London pop-up store, pay for Special K Cracker Crisps with a tweet. Allowing consumers to spend their social currency isn’t just a good gimmick, it’s an illustration of the value that Twitter holds in the real world. The twittersphere has been active, not only with tweets from customers claiming their free snacks in-store, but with people spreading the word about the novel idea of products for tweets. The pop-up store is open for four days in Soho and is selling only Special K Cracker Crisps. A live community board that displays #tweetshop tweets as they happen is featured in the store. Kellogg isn’t the only brand to try this tactic. In South Africa this summer, a Cape Town vending machine was set up to deliver free BOS iced team when it received a tweet with the hashtag #tweet4t.

Microsoft Launches So.cl

Written by: Tom Edwards
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Microsoft quietly launched so.cl (Pronounced “Social”) yesterday. Developed by Microsoft’s FUSE labs, it is focused on exploring the possibilities of social search.

So.cl is a combination of social networking & search. At it’s heart is social connectivity with like minded people that is topically driven. It combines elements of Google+, Facebook & Pinterest with the underlying goal to further integrate social with search.

With So.cl you can share your searches & help others discover what they might be looking for by aggregating content into topical categories. Many social elements are taken from existing networks. Video Parties are similar to Google+ hangouts. The all too familiar activity stream drives relevant content directly to the user. So.cl also features visually driven topics similar to Pinterest, but the core differentiator is that the content is primarily driven off of a users search results.

So.cl claims that it is an experiment in open search, meaning your searches on So.cl are viewable by other So.cl users and also available to third parties, assuming for relevance & targeted topical advertising. There is the possibility though that this experiment becomes the basis of Microsoft & Facebook’s social search strategy.

Google+ took the first major step in driving connectivity via social search, with the search giant owning 83% of organic search traffic, launching a socially enabled network that also extends via search via the “+1″ as well as Google+ direct connect shows how the future of social will become synonymous with search.

You cannot talk about social without referencing Facebook. Facebook’s platform is like a walled garden when it comes to relevant/topical searching outside of Facebook. The “Like” button has become ubiquitous throughout the web, but when it comes to amplifying and connecting via traditional search Facebook is lagging behind Google.

With their recent partnership with Microsoft’s Bing search engine, and so.cl built on Bing API’s, so.cl focuses heavily on discoverability associated with “open search”, this may be the next step in amplifying Facebook topical activity.

So.cl features social sign on with both Facebook & Windows Live ID, which sets the stage for deeper integration into the social graph. One interesting observation when you authenticate via Facebook is that of the 180 data points that can be mined, so.cl only wants your basic info, e-mail & group data. The groups option really peaked my interest as to how they are going to use this data.

One of the interesting options buried in the settings is the ability to set your primary search provider to So.cl to publicly share your posts. So.cl is powered by Bing’s API’s but is branded So.cl.

Similar to Pinterest’s Pin it option, So.cl also deploys a bookmarklet option, essentially providing a quick and easy option to share any web item directly into your so.cl stream.

One key difference from Pinterest is that So.cl allows users to create “Rich Posts” where users can combine interesting images and links on the web and assemble them automatically into a compelling visual montage.

What does So.cl mean for brands? At this point So.cl is still a “research project” and is not designed to take the place of full-featured search & social networking tools, but this project could lead to the future of social + search integration as it pertains to Bing & Facebook. This also provides insight into the coming convergence of search + social.

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

SXSWi Recap

Written by: Larry Weintraub
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If you ask me how SXSW Interactive (SXSWi) was this year, I’ll tell you it was fantastic and that I was personally inspired on multiple levels.  Yes it was crowded, I’m not sure the exact number but I heard tale of 20,000 plus attendees, and yes it rained for part of the time.  But SXSWi is all about what you make of it; I went with an open mind, a light agenda, and the desire to learn, and I had a blast.

To summarize SXSWi 2012 in just a few words, it was a place to get motivated for what’s next.  The sessions I attended and the people I met were all looking forward and not back. This year wasn’t so much about what the next big technology was, it was more about what the next big concepts are.  Concepts like The Future of Content, The Start Up Revolution, Storytelling, and Distinguishing Your Product.

Here is a (relatively) short recap of my trip to Austin (Sessions link to the audio when I could find them)…

About Austin / SXSWi

Inside ACC Day 1
  • Long Lines – It started a little rough, the line to get my badge stretched through the entire building.  Estimates were 2 – 3 hour wait time.  #humblebrag, I was able to sneak in with some friends who were sponsors, but I felt a little guilty about it.  This signaled that this year would be much more crowded than in year’s past and made me realize that if I wanted to see specific sessions or attend parties, I’d have to plan on getting there early.
  • Beyond ACC – A few years back the only place you would need to be during the day was the Austin Convention Center.  But now sessions are scattered amongst multiple hotels, bars, restaurants, and private homes.  You learn quickly that you just can’t go to everything and you have to plan your day around travel.  The upside is that Chevy provided free rides if you could “Catch a Chevy” or test drive one of their new cars.
  • Rain – For the first two days it rained hard.  It put a damper on the companies that had outdoor installations and it also made it challenging to get from place to place. The upside was that crowds weren’t too bad and Bing was offering up free food and drinks to lure you in to their soaked city.

Sessions

  • Lots of Sessions about “Me” – The first panel I attended was the CEO and founder of Thrillist talking about… well, Thrillist.  I also saw sessions where leaders from Google Plus, SCVNGR, Funny or Die, and Living Social talked about themselves.  There were quite a few of these, and some were better than others.  The best ones were where the speakers spoke about mistakes they made and gave insight into what was coming.
Kawasaki + Gundotra
  • Great session about “Me” – I watched the Fireside Chat between social media celebrity Guy Kawasaki and Google+ Plus mastermind Vic Gundotra.  Kawasaki literally grilled Gundotra about Google+ with questions like, “Why don’t you open your API already like your competition?,” “What are you doing about the SPAM issue?” and “Will we see advertising around everything we do in Google+?” I give Gundotra credit, he answered every question with articulate professionalism and he didn’t shy away from anything.  He took full responsibility for the API issue saying that his mission was to open it up by year’s end but that because of the Google ecosystem that includes search, Gmail, and Android, he needed it to be of the highest quality and he wasn’t willing to allow things to break all the time like they do on a certain other social network.  He claimed that they were hyper focused on the SPAM issue and pointed out that because of Gmail, they were the best at figuring this out.  And he stressed that while you will see advertising, because of the laser targeting capabilities that Google has, you should be seeing incredibly relevant advertising.  He also stressed that not everything will have advertising, he said that you should not expect to see ads when you open content like photos.  The main takeaway, and the most important point for marketers like myself was that Gundotra wanted everyone to stop thinking of Google+ as a social network and instead think of it as Google 2.0.  He said that for the first time, all Google products were working together including search, documents, email, social, and mobile.  This is just the start of a major renovation for Google, he said, and you will see a continuity like you’ve never seen before.
  • Great session about storytelling – I went to the session titled, “Does Your Product Have a Plot?” by R/GA’s David Womack.  A full house watched as Womack described the structure of a good story and how some brands have mastered the art of storytelling and how others have not.  I am a huge fan of storytelling and as Womack was talking I found myself scribbling thoughts on how to improve many of the projects I’m working on right now.
Tim O’Shaughnessy and Steve Case
  • Another great session about “me” (Part 1 – Steve Case) – My favorite session of all was the Fireside Chat between AOL founder Steve Case and LivingSocial CEO Tim O’Shaughnessy in a session called, “Tapping Into America’s Secret Sauce: Entrepreneurs.”  Both were there to promote their own initiatives but the insight that O’Shaughnessy gave about building his business and where it was going was truly enlightening.  Case promoted his political initiatives surrounding the Small Business / Start Up act which is culminating right now in the Senate.  He explained that 40 Million jobs in the US are attributed to small businesses and that we should be promoting growth in this sector vs. large businesses which ultimately don’t net a lot of new jobs, they just rise and fall and essentially stay even.  Case also spoke about the Sharing Economy and some of the investments he’s made in transportation (zipcar) and hospitality (Exclusive Resorts). He also referenced his appearance on the Colbert Report and how Colbert asked him about sharing toasters.  Additionally he discussed the idea of Crowdfunding concepts like Kickstarter and how the Start Up bill would allow this to happen on a grander scale and relieve some of the restrictions that currently prohibit companies from having more than 500 investors.
OgilvyNotes Interpretation
  • Another great session about “me” (Part 2 – Tim O’Shaughnessy) – Case admitted in full transparency that he was an investor in LivingSocial but then proceeded to ask some incredibly challenging questions of O’Shaughnessy like, “When will you go public?” and “Why did you partner with Amazon?”  O’Shaughnessy handled the tough questions well and consistently referred to Groupon without calling out their name.  He explained that the climate was not right to go public (Groupon!) but that it was a necessary step to compensate both investors and employees.  In reference to Amazon, he said that LivingSocial is a local company and Amazon is a massive national/global company and together they were ideal partners.  This is where it got interesting.  He explained that LivingSocial’s mission is to be the local company that powers businesses that have things to sell.  Meaning that LivingSocial was looking beyond just “deals” and finding ways to help small businesses grow through their platforms.  One example he had was that LivingSocial was helping restaurants create new businesses such as cooking schools in their less busy hours.  He said that the “deal” business was just one step in their plans.  When Case asked “What mistake did you make that you could advise others to avoid?” O’Shaughnessy replied, “Move faster.”  He explained that LivingSocial started as a Facebook-based advertising-based business that was earning $1 Million a month and then scrapped that business for the “deal” business.  He said that was a hard thing to do both for his employees and investors but that in hindsight he wished he’d done it faster.  He said that 3 months could have made all the difference (alluding to the fact that Groupon got the jump on them).  The final point that resonated with me was when O’Shaughnessy explained that they realized the impact of Facebook ads before anyone else.  While other web-based companies were using mostly Google search, they realized that their audience was responding tremendously to Facebook ads.  He told the audience to pay attention to new forms of advertising and marketing that others haven’t figured out yet.

Conversations

Aside from the great sessions I attended, I received tremendous inspiration from the countless conversations I had primarily with people I was meeting for the first time or hadn’t seen in quite a while.  The topics that motivated me the most revolved around:

  • Content – It was clear from all the major media companies and countless start ups that content geared for online and mobile viewing is being produced at a rapid rate.  I have a personal point of view that within the next two years, once the connection between our mobile devices and our televisions becomes seamless, there will be an explosion of content.  We will go from 1,000 channels on our television to hundreds of thousands; that we’ll see far fewer shows that reach 5 million people and more that reach 10,000.  But those shows will be targeted.  We’ll see shows about home improvement, gardening, tax preparation, education… you name it.  There will be seemingly endless niche-based programming that will not have major ratings, but it will be appealing to advertisers and sponsors because of it’s hyper targeting.
  • Innovation – Riffing off of something that Tim O’Shaughnessy said in his panel, true innovation is not about improving another company’s product by 10%, it is about complete reinvention.  There was a lot of bouncing of ideas with people and improving each others’ concepts.

Sponsors 

Lots of them.  It is really hard to stand out at SXSW because there is a ton of competitive noise and very little space to properly brand yourself. That said, there were a few standouts:

  • Chevy – You could not miss Chevy at SXSW.  Their cars were everywhere as was their signage.  As previously mentioned, they provided tremendous utility with their “Catch a Chevy” program which helped people get from place to place – a significant help with the bad weather, the spread out sessions/parties, and a huge lack of hotel rooms.
  • Bing – Great setup with food, drinks, and games.  Bummer on the rain and the technology breakdown of trying to register on non-working laptops was comical given the Microsoft sponsorship.
  • Nike – Amazing installation for people that owned the Nike Fuel band.  Block long exercise court lined with massive digital walls.
  • The Sponsored Cafes – CNN and Fast Company took over restaurants and offered free food, drinks, entertainment, and co-sponsored interactions from the likes of 3M, Samsung, and Kind.

Parties

Also lots of them.  The best thing I experienced this year was seeing music at some of these parties.  I’ve spent the last couple of years trying to avoid music to just focus on tech, but sometimes  you just can’t get away from your true love.  And this year I ran smack into a couple of amazing bands that ended up being highlights of my SXSWi experience.

Ghostland Observatory
  • Friday night I was introduced to Ghostland Observatory at the Start Up America Partnership (Steve Case’s cause) party and was literally blown away.  I haven’t been this excited after seeing a band since the first time I saw Nine Inch Nails play.  Turns out I’ve been living under a rock and these guys are already huge, but thanks to @Brad Alesi at The Marketing Arm for introducing me to these guys.
  • Speaking of Brad Alesi, he also introduced me to Green River Ordinance at the AT&T w/ Jason Falls party.  Again, I didn’t go expecting to see a band, just to hang with some AT&T folks and to have great hot dogs @Frank, but turns out I got treated to a great band, who like Ghostland has been around for quite a while and has a huge following.  I must be living under a rock.  But glad I climbed out to see these bands.

In conclusion, I had a great trip, saw some amazing sessions, ate like a fool, rocked out, and came back invigorated!

Here are some other reports back from SXSW that will give  you some additional perspectives:

Fanscape Newsletter

Written by: Digitally Approved
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Hi.  We just published our monthly newsletter today. The content is below and you can also see the cleaner web version HERE.

MW3: The Largest Entertainment Release in History

Each year, just as the Oscar-worthy movies begin to populate the theatres, an even bigger entertainment phenomenon surfaces, the latest installment of the video game juggernaut, Call of Duty. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 hit stores this week and our friends at GameStop saw lines around the block all across North America. Check out the GameStop photo gallery HERE and the promo video HERE .

Google+ Opens Up to Brands

We’ve been asked for months about what Google+ will mean to brands. Our answer has been consistently that we’ll have to wait and see what the experience looks like for brands once it goes live. This week it happened. Visually and conceptually we’re impressed. We’re building out profiles now, but there is still a question of whether consumers will migrate away from their Facebook pages or add it to their very select group of online habits. We’ll update you as we know more. In the meantime, check out the Google+ profile for our friends at Hotels.com HERE.

To Own or To Rent, That is the Question

While they may have taken a beating lately, Netflix is proving that there is an audience for digital “renters” of movies. Meanwhile music has had a rental business in place for a decade via early subscription services such as Rhapsody and recent darling, Spotify. So with the explosion of tablets and eReaders in the past year, it was only a matter of time before books joined the fray. Last week Amazon took steps towards this by announcing the first virtual check-out library. They are rattling some feathers, but that’s what disrupters do, and Amazon is one of our favorite disrupters. Read more HERE.

Interesting Stats We Came Across

In light of Groupon’s recent IPO we found some stats about their business thanks to Statspotting:

  • Cost of acquiring each subscriber: $5.
  • Avg. Number of Groupons sold per subscriber: .32.
  • Avg. Revenue per subscriber: $3.45.
  • Non-marketing costs per subscriber in a quarter: $2.21.
  • Profit per subscriber per quarter: $1.24.
  • # of quarters to earn back acquisition
    cost of subscriber: 4.

Stories We Like

The Great Teach War of 2012

Facebook, Spotify and the Future of Music

The Smartphone Wars are Over

Marketing That Inspires Us

Nature Valley is doing a great job of mapping the world’s hiking trails for us. Imagine hikers with Google-like cameras strapped to their heads. Now eat a granola bar and check this out HERE.