Posts Tagged ‘Online Advertising’

Ten emerging Enterprise 2.0 technologies to watch

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Two significant and closely related trends in enterprise computing this year are the growth of Software-as-a-service (SaaS) and social computing. By most accounts, both are gaining ground quite rapidly while still not being used for core business functions or mission critical applications in most large firms, at least not yet.

The reality is that broader social and cloud computing trends continue to evolve faster than most enterprises are able to absorb. It may be years before many organizations are comfortable with and ready to adopt either of these technologies strategically despite apparent benefits.

However, that doesn’t mean that it’s not important for organizations to closely track both of these leading computing trends (both have solid double digit industry growth) and understand the emergi

ng technologies that are likely to shape their use in key business functions in the near future. In fact, quite the contrary, particularly when it comes to Enterprise 2.0.

The potential overall impact of enterprise social computing (aka Enterprise 2.0) is significant for most organizations, at least in the medium term. The business functions that are likely to be affected and transformed by these new social business models (and its associated delivery model, SaaS) includes general purpose communication and collaborationproduct developmentcustomer relationship management,marketingoperations, and business productivity solutions. And certainly, ad hoc use and early adopters have already being doing this for years, but as we’ll see, many Enterprise 2.0 technologies are only now becoming a reality. What then, are the areas to watch and build competency in this year?

Keeping social technology in perspective

In terms of innovation, 2010 is shaping up to be another important one in the early development of social technologies in general. To get a sense of this, you can read my recent exploration of what’s happening this year with the latest consumer-oriented Social Web technologies and standards. Though the enterprise aspects of these are often far behind, that hasn’t stopped the industry from moving quickly ahead in terms of creating actual products and new business-ready solutions based on the latest lessons learned.

For organizations looking to keep current, both good timing and judicious application of new Enterprise 2.0 technologies will be needed as organizations increasingly look at their future in terms of a social computing driven knowledge economy. To do this though, we have to put them in the context of the big picture.

When I encounter a successful E2.0 project, it’s one where the process of managing the changes entailed are equally balanced with the savvy application of technology. It’s the concepts behind social computing and their application to economic activity, aka social business, that are the ultimately driver of success with Enterprise 2.0. A full solution is achieved when these ideas combine well with the technology — which is an enabler and not an end in itself — though it is important not to forget that technology does strongly shape and define the art of the possible when it comes to social computing, both in the consumer space and the enterprise.

However I still encounter tool myopia in many discussions of social computing and Enterprise 2.0. It’s sometimes too easy to focus on the specifics, like social tools and their technologies, instead of more difficult and less tangible concerns like driving usage or measuring ROI. Fortunately, this seems less pronounced than a year ago and the “soft” issues surrounding adoption and long-term success, such as community management and other important practices are now getting their due on equal footing with the often flashier and attention-grabbing social tools and technologies themselves.

Now, on to the latest developments…

Ten strategic technologies for enterprise social computing

Below are ten social computing technologies that I believe will be actively developing or maturing this year and either worth exploring or otherwise watching closely for 2010 and beyond. Note that many of these technologies are not based on standards or for which standards often don’t exist, which will be problematic for some organizations. Many of the technologies listed here are primarily embodied in new product categories and for now are represented primarily by commercial products. It likely won’t be long, however, before open source and open standards enter and play an instrumental role in many of these spaces.

  1. Community management tools. One of the signature realizations of the Enterprise 2.0 community in the last year and a half has been theimportance of community management in driving the success of the endeavor. Now, you don’t necessarily need tools to successfully manage an online community, but it can genuinely helps in terms of acquiring good practices as well as automating and scaling the many routine tasks that already harried and frequently overworked community managers are faced with today. The latter is because many enterprises are still learning about social computing requirements and are frequently under-budgeting this essential role. Commercial software is the norm in this space and some of the top solutions include RollstreameModerationTempero, and Essentia.
  2. Open identity. There are many issues swirling around enterprise identity and consumer Web identity at the moment. I’ve postulated in the past that OpenID will actually become a viable vehicle for enterprises to create a single sign-on across the Web for their workers, giving them centralized administration and control of worker identity on the Web and social media (as appropriate), especially in B2B scenarios. But is this actually starting to happen despite folks from large software companies like SAP making the business case? No, not yet, and enterprises are as much as fault as anyone for not demanding better identity integration. Instead, off-premises SaaS and cloud computing offerings are offering basic synchronization with LDAP and other corporate identity repositories. Also becoming more and more important is identity authenticity (which Twitter tried to address with Verified Accounts). Watch for a raft of social identity issues to accumulate and for new enterprise open identity solutions to attempt to address them as our identities on the Social Web increasingly compete and conflict with our enterprise identities.
  3. Microblogging. While wikis have been one of the more common Enterprise 2.0 tools, more popular than blogs by quite a bit from my experience, microblogs are now seen as potentially achieving a higher level of overall traction than both their heavier-weight brethren. There’s a lot to like about microblogs in business settings, along with the valuable activity streams that they generate. Gartner went on record recently saying that they believe integrated microblogging will be in 50% of enterprises in two years, though they are much less sanguine about individual, standalone microblogs. I did a detailed round-up of the space a little while back and came away with the finding that microblogs do make enterprise social media both time efficient and focused while still preserving most or all of what makes Enterprise 2.0 special.
  4. Social CRM. Applying social computing approaches to customer relationship management is getting quite a bit of attention these days. Services such as GetSatisfactionHelpstreamLithium, and many others are aimed at helping enterprises engage with their customers using social tools in new and innovative ways that can reduce support costs and improve customer satisfaction. Along the way Social CRM is also changing the very nature of the relationship that businesses have with their customers and the marketplace, from customer support or contact management processes like they exist today, to one that is more like a long-term partnership of contributing equals. Like so many Enterprise 2.0 subject areas, the big vendors haven’t really arrived in force in this domain and many firms are just opting to use tools like Twitter and Facebook for now to engage with customers while the technologies and products mature. But make no mistake, this space is approaching prime time after a couple of strong years of development and growth.
  5. Enterprise platforms gaining a social layer. As we’re seeing withMicrosoft SharePoint and with Salesforce Chatter, enterprise software vendors are starting to incorporate social computing features within their products at the platform level. This has a number of advantages including providing a consistent, integrated social experience in and across existing apps, unifying security and identity, and so on. For many scenarios, close integration can be more useful than standaloneEnterprise 2.0 products which might not be as connected to actual business activities. However there are disadvantages too, in that there’s often little choice in such models in terms of picking and choosing best-of-breed social capabilities. But the stage is set and social features are increasingly perceived as standard fare in modern software. Expect most large software vendors to have Enterprise 2.0 features of some kind across their products lines in the next year or two at most, which will lead to a discussion of the advent of social operating systems. For now, open source is not a real player in this space, but will likely be in the future.
  6. Activity streams. The output of most online social interactions is a reverse chronological list of activity, such as status updates, posted photos or videos, or shared links. The result is called an activity stream. It’s what you see when you look at a Twitter feeds, your Facebook news feed, or what your co-workers are doing on your enterprise social network home page. There are now standards developing around activity streams, and this will help the business tap into the value they offer. This includes capturing them, archiving them, and using them to further business objectives using a wide variety of practices including social analytics, community management, and compliance monitoring. Look for activity streams to become increasingly popular in enterprises as communication, learning, and situational awareness tools. I expect that standards support to make them interoperable will be of growing importance. Unfortunately, like so many Social Web developments, there are no specific standards for enterprise activity streams yet, though I do believe they will be created at some point in the near future.
  7. Social search, analytics, and filtering. As Enterprise 2.0 makes a much larger volume of actionable information available within organizations, there will be the growing challenge of keeping track of it and finding what you need. While we don’t want to stop this flow of information, we do need to make it manageable and useful. Unfortunately, search, analysis, and filtering tools for social computing environments are still in their infancy and few strong technical solutions exist. But as enterprises realize that employees are going to potentially spend even more time to find the information they need to do their work, some will begin seeking out and applying solutions. For social search, companies such as Coveo and Baynote are starting to offer useful enterprise products. Enterprise social analytics is finally coming in its own and some of the leading offerings include Ingage NetworksConnotate’s Enterprise 2.0 BI and IBM’s new Smart Analytics Cloud.
  8. Enterprise social media workflow. Those that use social media know that there’s a general workflow to the activities, from preparing content and publishing it, then promoting it, tracking the results, and participating in all the conversation that ensues. With multiple channels it can become burdensome to do all of this manually, and while consumer social media have had basic workflow automation tools for some time now, such as Ping.fm and tarpipe, only now are we seeing enterprise-class versions of these same tools. These are often getting added to existing content management workflow tools such as those from HP and the workflow and social networking capabilities of Microsoft SharePoint 2010.
  9. Automated compliance monitoring. One of the less discussed but more important (and often unstated) objections to Enterprise 2.0, especially for public companies and regulated industries, is ensuring that their use is compliant with all local and foreign laws, rules, and regulations. When any worker can easily disseminate information across an entire organization, or even across the world, some organizations want to be aware of problematic situations before they occur. While social media policy for workers has evolved steadily to provide upfront guidance, many companies still want to ensure they can detect compliance violations as quickly as possible before they become an actual problem. Unfortunately, it’s all too common for FRCP, Sarbanes-Oxley, European Union Privacy Laws, HIPAA, eDiscovery, etc. to be somewhat neglected in E2.0 discussions, where most of the focus initially is on benefit and not potential risk. The good news is that even though most large firms using social media today don’t actively police their users (IBM is a good example of this), I do find that most firms that already have automated compliance tools like CompliantPro are usually covered. However, expect that compliance will become an increasingly important feature of Enterprise 2.0 platforms, and firms like Blogtronix actively advertise their E2.0 apps are compliance-friendly for individual industries, like finance.
  10. Next-generation unified communication. Just when enterprise communication was about to get truly unified, social media showed up and fragmented it again. While instant messaging and even SMS is now usually integrated in many enterprises, microblogging, wikis, social networks, and other channels are mostly not, even from leading vendors that get social computing, like Cisco. IBM remains one of the few large vendors that has addressed this and currently supports some Enterprise 2.0 channels in its Lotus SameTime product. Relatively soon, I expect to see a new wave of enterprise unified communication products that include Enterprise 2.0 as a first class citizen. I believe that when this happens, these next-generation unified communications products may actually become a powerful driver of social computing adoption in the enterprise.

While there are certainly other interesting Enterprise 2.0 technologies, in my opinion these seem to be some of the most interesting and/or under-appreciated areas that are worth paying close attention for the near future. While I still find that so much actual Enterprise 2.0 adoption is surprisingly grassroots or otherwise local, the fact that many of these technologies above are just starting to emerge from infancy is also a major reason that social tools are taking longer to appear in the workplace than in the consumer world. Consequently, I do think most of these technologies will genuinely begin to address this disparity.

–Dion Hinchcliffe

Online Shopper Intelligence Study Released

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

From instant price comparisons, to first hand consumer reviews, to video demonstrations, shoppers have a plethora of information about any product only a click away.  And indeed, consumers are taking advantage of this wealth of information.   For instance, every month, over 80 million consumers use shopping comparison sites; some sites, like CnetBizrate, and Yahoo! Shopping each attract over 20 million shoppers.  In fact, only 6% of consumers surveyed as part of the Online Shopper Intelligence™ study indicated that they conducted no research prior to their last online purchase.  So, among the myriads of online resources available, which do shoppers use most often?

Overwhelmingly, consumers depend on one resource more than others to help them shop online—search engines.   3 out of 5 shoppers said that they always or often use search engines when shopping online.  More consumers use search engines than they do coupon sites, retailer emails, consumer reviews, or shopping comparison sites.

More interesting than what sources consumers use in general is the variability of use across industry.  For instance, sales assistants, both in store and on web chat, are utilized by online shoe shoppers more than any other shoppers.  Online kitchenware & household appliance purchasers are among the most reliant on in store product displays.   The differences in consumer behavior across various industries have vast implications for retailers within each sector.

Take the apparel industry for example.  Apparel shoppers are the least likely to use search engines.  Only 1 out of 10 apparel shoppers stated that they used a search engine for their last online purchase.  Instead, apparel shoppers rely on retailer emails and catalogs to learn about products.  That means consumers are more likely to purchase from apparel retailers they have purchased from in the past and are less likely to discover new retailers.   Retailers looking to acquire new customers have to work harder to find and woo consumers.

Electronic shoppers, on the other hand, actively seek out new products and manufactures.  Search engines, professional reviews, social generated reviews, and recommendations from family and friends were among the top 5 resources used.  Electronic manufactures can, therefore, reach and influence these consumers more easily and though a variety of mediums.

It is essential for retailers to understand how consumers in their space shop online in order to effectively retain and acquire customers.  Instead of trying to utilize all available outlets, retailers should understand their particular customer niche and develop strategies unique to them.  In an environment with tight consumer wallets and even tighter marketing budgets, retailers can’t afford to invest their money in resources their customers don’t use.

–Debra Miller

2010: The Year Of Small Business Resurgence & (Finally!) Mobile Advertising

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

No one needs a new survey, study or pundit to tell them how important mobile devices have become to consumers. Just look down the street where everyone from teens to corner-office suits appears sidetracked by communication on the go—texting, talking, thumbs jumping across tiny keyboards in a hurried attempt to reply-all.

This is the audience of the future. And 2010 may just be the year for advertisers to tip the scale in reaching it. The technology powerhouses (i.e. Microsoft, Google, Yahoo! and Apple) are finally diving into mobile advertising in a huge way, recognizing the

approach of critical mass.

None of this is new. The market has been predicting that mobile will explode for years. Somehow, it hasn’t. Not yet, anyway. But that is all about to change—partly because of the dissolution of advertising in traditional media, but mostly because consumers are beginning to demand it.

The “smart” in smart phones is finally proving itself. And the businesses that have the most to gain from this newfound demand will be local, small business advertisers offering what consumers want to buy right now. In our experience, restaurant takeout, florists or home/consumer services such as carpet cleaning, self storage or auto repair are good examples of business categories that are particularly well suited for mobile campaigns.

An improving economy is bringing about a resurgence of small businesses—make that local businesses. Businesses with traditionally shallow advertising pockets, but all the more need for exposure.

High conversion rates, low cost and the ability to target highly local audiences will push mobile advertising into the spotlight this year. We have experimented with a number of mobile ad offerings and while we can’t give out all the secrets, we can say that we’ve had significant success with mobile search and increasing click-to-call ratios with mobile landing page optimization. Some best practices around succeeding with mobile include building campaign architectures and keywords specifically for the mobile user. This may include shorter keyword phrases, acronyms and even slang terms. Marketers should also consider the landing page for mobile campaigns – while iPhones and Droid phones are able to view full HTML pages, at least 85 percent of the market (according to a 2009 comScore study) still use other types of phones where mobile-friendly landing pages are a must for effective viewing.

A recent New York Times article made similar points, noting a prediction from Juniper Research that mobile ad spending worldwide will more than quadruple, to $6 billion, by 2014. Analyst Windsor Holden goes on to say that, while everyone has been hoping for the past five years that mobile advertising will take off, this will actually be the year it finally gets significant traction.

The first rule of business: give customers what they want when they want it. For example, a busy working mom who needs to send a bouquet can easily use her mobile device to find a florist. But her smart phone might go beyond mere directory search to display geo-targeted ads that only show results near her location, and then present a local florist’s phone number that she only has to tap or click to call.

Highly specific targeting, including leveraging aggregated consumer-related information, will also aid in the advent of mass mobile advertising. Much like paid-search ads, that local florist’s ad might appear on the working mom’s smart phone reminding her of a special occasion. Additionally, seeing the florist’s ad on a smart phone allows the working mom to easily store the business’ name and number for future reference, increasing the likelihood of repeat business.

Not only are the conversion rates generally high with mobile ads, the cost of entry is incredibly low compared to traditional local advertising. Mobile advertising campaigns are comparatively easy to set up as well. In fact, there’s an argument to be made that the time for taking full advantage of mobile ad inventory is now, while the costs are artificially low as a result of many advertisers still spending their budgets on PC ads. According to eMarketer, only 1 percent of total U.S. advertising spend is directed towards mobile. Of that 1 percent, the bulk is used for SMS advertising, which generally is harder to make work for local.

With the power of search at their fingertips, consumers have become increasingly dependent on information on the go. Advertisers can capitalize on this trend and offer their potential customers service with convenience via mobile advertising.

–Tom Leung

Share Well With Others: How To Get Social Content To Go Viral

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Promoting content in social media is only half the battle. Once it is in the face of thousands of visitors, there needs to be some sort of emotional and psychological drive to get them to share that content with others. This is key in creating a “snowball effect” that will build perpetual motion to reach a much more pervasive audience.

I covered creating emotional “hooks” to lure people in to viewing content in The Anatomy of Linkbait, but that doesn’t necessarily provide a visitor with the same kind of emotions to want to pass the content along to an individual or mass audience.

Seven types of content sharing motives

To understand how to make content more shareable we must first understand what motivates people to share in the first place.

1. Self-expression

The biggest motivator in social media is self-expression. It’s great that there are so many different ways to do this in social media. When promoting content, use this motivator by providing easy ways for the visitor to express themselves, via social share buttons, comment threading, or some other form of engagement. If a person’s beliefs or interests are related to the content, then they will be glad to share it.

2. Affinity

Everyone wants to feel like they belong and that they’re a part of something. Sharing within communities helps meet that desire. This is an especially dominant motivating factor in niche related verticals or communities.

3. Validation

Confirming or approving something often times feeds the ego for many by making someone feel important. Content that provides personal validation will likely motivate someone to share with a wide audience.

4. Prurience

Obscene or lustful content can be highly shareable. Some people pass the guilt of consuming such content on to others to make themselves feel better about doing so in the first place.

5. Status achievement

Individuals like to be recognized for their efforts, especially publicly. If content or channels feature users who share the content, then they are far more likely to be motivated to do so.

6. Altruism

Benefiting others often times makes people feel better. Content can motivate visitors by giving them the opportunity to do something good for the community. For example, an environmental report to raise awareness can be a motivating factor to share it with others to get the message out.

7. Self-serving interests

Rewarding people for their efforts goes a long way. This can be done in the form of status achievement recognition, financial gain, free or discounted products or services, and so forth. Motivate people who share content by rewarding them if they do.

Sending vs. spreading

Viral sharing can reach many different audiences, hubs, and influencers. There are a few ways (and reasons why) people share content.

One-to-One

This type of viral sharing is most common via direct messaging through social networks, IM, or email. Dan Zarrella did a study on this and found that most people share in a one-to-one scenario due to:

  • Personal Relevance (40%)
  • Humor (16.4%)
  • Utility
  • Relationship Building (9.5%)
  • Common Interests (7.8%)
  • Sole Informant (5.9%)
  • Reciprocity (2.4%)

One-to-Many

This type of viral sharing is most common on social networks and social content aggregation sites. Social media has created an outlet for this type of sharing to explode. Also in Dan’s study, he found that most people share to many others due to:

  • Audience Relevance (18.6%)
  • Increasing Reach (10.7%)
  • Increasing Reputation (8.8%)
  • Furthering a Message or Cause (8.6%)
  • Utility and Usefulness (7.4%)
  • Feedback (5.5%)
  • Personal Networking (5.25)

Below is a chart showing the most popular social media sites for sharing content. As you can see, Facebook is the furious leader.

Four tips for creating content for viral sharing

1. Value

Trust me, I’m just as sick of hearing “create great content” and “content is king” as you are, but it really is the key to in getting people to share. By creating valuable, resourceful, and compelling content you will seek the approval of the masses.

2. Credibility

Make sure that your domain, brand, and author(s) are always seeking to establish credibility. Often times it comes down to the credibility of the source, not the content or message itself.

3. Usability

Making the content easy to share and driving them to do so with a call-to-action will do wonders.

4. Digestibility

Make it easy for people to consume your content. Whether it’s putting boring statistical data in a visual infographic, formatting the layout of the content, or chunking and segmenting content with headers and other methods, you are providing an easy way for the user to digest the content. If they feel the content and data is easy to digest they’ll feel comfortable sharing it with others.

The takeaway…

While many people might think that viral Internet memes happen on their own, the shocking truth is that most of them don’t. There is a large cycle of creative, development, deployment, and seeding that ensures success. By readying content and campaigns for viral success, you are taking the first steps in the cycle.

–Jordan Kasteler

How To Boost Your Super Bowl ROI

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Consider that $3 million you just dropped on a 30-second Super Bowl spot a waste of money — unless you’ve got a smart, calculated search-and-social-media strategy behind it.

Last year, the ads from the big game racked up 99.5 million collective online views, according to Visible Measures, which talliesviral-video data; 98.7 million people watched the game on TV, per Nielsen. It’s further proof that while Super Bowl is still valuable because it’s one of the last high-profile, mass-media TV events, it’s maximized with an ongoing online effort.

“Social media provides a longer shelf life for people’s campaigns,” said Anthony Iaffaldano, senior director-strategy and innovation at Reprise Media. “It’s about who’s got a plan in place to take the equity they’re building through all this activity and activate it after the game. Social media becomes more valuable as you continue to engage.”

About 90% of brands had their Super Bowl ads up on YouTube in 2009, estimates a Google executive, although that’s just the bare minimum. A quarter of the brands in the Bowl tapped social networks to try to drive additional comments, ratings and conversation. And more than two-thirds bought paid-search ads against their brands or products.

This year, those figures will be even higher, setting the stage for what might be the most significant study to date on the interplay between paid and earned media. Marketers such as E-Trade are already planning how they’re going to extend their spots online.

And while the buzz of the game’s commercials will provide a healthy dose of PR value, most of the big winners from past years alsorelied on paid-media support. Visible Measures said paid promotion more than doubled the reach of a Super Bowl ad on the web. In that regard, brands in the game have come a long way. In 2005, only 21% bothered buying paid search around Super Bowl ads; last year that figure more than tripled to 65%, according to Reprise Media, which creates an annual Super Bowl scorecard rating advertisers’ online efforts.

So it’s no surprise the online-video-sharing sites are building major programs around the Super Bowl, hoping to capitalize off the dollars marketers will be putting against the game. YouTube is again promoting its Ad Blitz, and Break.com has created an entire editorial channel around the event, complete with its own custom content it can sell.

“One thing marketers are struggling with is ‘Do we put [the ad] up on our site and try to drive people there?’ or ‘Do we put the content on other sites?’” said Andrew Budkofsky, senior VP-sales and partnerships at Break.com. “It depends on the marketer and its goals — if you’re running a specific promotion you might send people to your site and that’s why we do the custom content — so we can speak to a promotion and do editorial plugs. We can create custom content in a video.”

Here are lessons from Super Bowl’s past to make sure you make the most of the big game.

CAPITALIZE ON PREGAME BUZZ

According to Google, searches for “Super Bowl commercials” start rising about a week before the game at a rate of 10% to 20% a day leading up to the game. (They peaked the day after the Bowl.) Meanwhile, Visible Measures reports pre- and post-game buzz can account for more than 50% of a campaign’s reach.

E-Trade is the poster child for a smart pre-game strategy; last year it released outtakes from its talking toddler campaign several days ahead of time. It took over the YouTube home page the Thursday before the game to promote the spots.

E-Trade also bought search terms on YouTube as well as on the main engines and set up a Facebook and Twitter account. Today, the E-Trade baby is still yammering away to its 3,000-plus Twitter followers. (A recent gem: “Can someone give me the 411 for the tooth fairy? Are milk teeth a commodity? If not, mine are staying in my mouth.”) No surprise, it’s back in the game again this year and already working on its online push.

BUILD VIRALITY INTO YOUR CREATIVE

Doritos has epitomized this for the past two years, running contests to see who could create the big game spot. The strategy capitalizes on the fact that friends and families of the finalists spread the word around the web since votes help determine the winner.

GoDaddy falls into this category as well. While its ads appeal to the lowest common denominator, the narrative it’s built around them generates interest. Several weeks before the 2008 game, CEO Bob Parsons started moaning that early versions of the ad were too racy for network TV — but not too racy for GoDaddy.com. In 2009 the ads were approved in advance, but viewers got to vote on which ones they wanted to see in the game. Visible Measures also advises leaving room for social interpretation — will the ad be spoofed? Is there something for viewers to discuss?

BUY SMART SEARCH TERMS

Cars.com recognized competition for search terms such as “Super Bowl ads” would be stiff, so it also bought terms related to its incredibly detailed ad about a genius named David Abernathy. Among its more obscure paid-search terms were “Gompers,” the name of Abernathy’s pet rabbit, and “Aristotle,” his guinea pig.

Smart search is also about recognizing what people are likely not searching for the day after your ad airs. “People searching for Super Bowl ads may not be directly interested in peripheral marketing campaigns,” said Jerry Canning, finance industry director at Google.

THINK REAL-TIME

Gone are the days when a CMO can enjoy an uninterrupted game in the network’s luxury box. Today smart marketers will be talking on Twitter, tweaking search campaigns and leaving no rock unturned in their quest to drive impressions. Like E-Trade’s baby, the star of H&R Block’s spot, Tax Guy Murray, turned up on Twitter and actively reached out to people talking about the ad or taxes — during the game. “My prediction is this year you’ll have armies of marketers fanning the flames of their ads on Twitter,” said Pete Blackshaw, exec VP, Nielsen Digital Strategic Services. “‘Did you like it? Check out this link. Thanks so much for the high five.’ Marketers are getting smarter about taking the earliest signals, even from early PR events, and parlaying those into something that would increase odds.”

Real-time thinking also applies to media buying. Search is a near-immediate channel and marketers can monitor the conversation and help that inform their buying. You might also consider holding money back so you can make short-notice buys on the sites where the campaign is getting the most traction.

DON’T FORGET THE CALL TO ACTION

Denny’s had one of the most-talked-about promotions — a free Grand Slam breakfast — but forgot to offer up a URL or other direction where people could get more information. According to Reprise Media’s Scorecard, the marketer’s website crashed right after the ad aired and was down for the rest of the game.

And if you’re going to do some sort of call to action — or buy paid media or search — make sure the landing page fits. In other words, don’t do what Pixar did last year. According to Reprise, it had a call to action and a URL with previews — something the other films in the game lacked. But, it wrote “in spite of this, the actual site was not integrated at all with the Super Bowl ad and there were no paid search ads to help direct confused searchers to the ‘right’ page.”

Technology leading to more invasive marketing

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Sure, flying cars may not be zooming near the windows of our 40th-floor lofts and robots with aprons aren’t cooking our meals, but the future is getting here. Unfortunately, it’s starting to look like something between “Minority Report” and “1984″ – at least when it comes to marketing.

Advertisers and retailers are increasingly using technologies to mine for consumers’ demographical information, create super-personalized ads and zero in on people’s shopping habits.

Proponents say new technologies are getting products that consumers want into their hands faster and eliminating ads that don’t speak to them. But privacy advocates are concerned no one’s asking people if they want targeted ads or if they agree to be studied as they shop.

Last September, a Castrol oil campaign in London used cameras along roads to capture license plates of passing vehicles, then cross-referenced them with vehicle registration records, and displayed in a digital billboard a few feet away a targeted ad suggesting which type of oil the drivers should use.

The campaign, however, lasted only four days. Shortly after it started, British transportation authorities launched an investigation of the oil firm’s access to vehicle registration records.

Meanwhile, a handful of Whole Foods grocery stores in Chicago and Canada installed cameras last year that use facial recognition software to analyze passing shoppers and cater ads to them.

According to an Intel video showcasing the anonymous video analytics detection software powering the digital ads, the program helps marketers “understand how many people watch their displays, how long they look, what content is viewed, as well as audience demographics.”

And for almost a decade, a few retailers have studied the way costumers navigate through their stores using radio frequency devices attached to shopping carts and baskets that track their path through the aisles. When the data of thousands of shoppers are processed, marketers can produce what looks like a heat signature map that reveals the most and least visited spots in the store.

“Retailers have a very poor understanding of what shoppers do in a store,” said Herb Sorensen, scientific adviser for TNS Global and the creator of the radio-frequency identification device PathTracker. “What we’re doing is finding a way to help the shopper get what they want much faster. The faster we can sell to them, the happier they will be.”

In a report released in late January, the World Privacy Forum said retailers aren’t doing enough to inform consumers about how they are being recorded, how their information is being used or even allow them to consent to the practice.

“While most consumers understand a need for security cameras, few expect that the video screen they are watching, the kiosk they are typing on, or the game billboard they are interacting with is watching them while gathering copious images and behavioral and demographic information,” the report said.

In particular, the forum expressed concern about the lack of rules regarding how images of minors are used and the possibility of price discrimination based on consumers’ age, gender and ethnicity.

“Just because the companies have decided that the lack of storage or recording of the data is equivalent to privacy does not mean that consumers should be left in the dark about such technologies,” the report said.

Sorensen argued that in a public space people don’t have any presumption of privacy.

“People’s lives are becoming more transparent. Everything that can be done will be done.

“Everybody can be tracked, everybody will be tracked,” he said.

–Alejandro Martínez-Cabrera