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The latest trends in social media and content marketing.

Logic+Emotion: 11 Actionable Trends For 2011

Very solid predictions on where companies should be placing their emphasis in the social media and content marketing space.

5 Web Technologies and Trends to Watch in 2011

One of the more tech-focused trend projections I’ve seen.

I Didn’t Know You Could Do That With Google Docs

Imagine a video showing nothing but the creation process of a business presentation that’s 450 pages long and full of charts, data and bullet points. Oh, and it currently has over 1,000,000 views on YouTube. Companies have more ways to tell their stories than ever before. They just have to get creative with them.

Foursquare Puts The Kibosh On Friend-Tip Spamming

Recently I read a good post that addressed the potential issue around companies being able to game social networking systems by encouraging users to “Like” them, thereby inflating the actual love for the company. That may seem good for social media marketing in the near term, but if Facebook and others are basing their search engines on that type of algorithm, you can see how easy it will become for companies to game that system, eventually rendering it useless (anyone remember search engines right before Google came out?). With this move, Foursquare is clearly dealing with this type of situation.

eBay: Mobile Sales Grew From $600 Million To $2 Billion In 2010

While mobile’s been genuinely hot for the past year or so, people have still doubted it’s ecommerce potential. And while there are certainly a lot of holes to be filled, this is some remarkable data confirming that when given a shopping environment they’re comfortable navigating and purchasing from, they’ll shell out the bucks.

Avatar Kinect brings magic of motion-controlled chatrooms to 360

I never thought I’d see a SecondLife-type VR system and Microsoft appearing in the same post here, but when you look past the cliched confines of this current technology, I think there’s big potential. And while social media may be shaping up to be more about our real selves than our imaginary selves, I think this potential runs more into the entertainment/gaming area. There will always be appeal for escapism, and I could see this being more about creating fictional characters with real personalities than anything else. Think anyone being able to create a Max headroom and run their own talk show.

Data: StumbleUpon Beats Facebook As Top Social Referrer

If this holds, StumbleUpon will be looking at a lot of potential for generating revenues from advertisers. And it certainly should place them on the list of content development and distribution partners.

Funding Lessons from a Successful Kickstarter Campaign

If you haven’t heard about this story, it has a lot of great branding, marketing and product development elements. Be sure to watch the video on the company’s site.

Has Google Admitted Defeat in the Social Web Race?: Tech News and Analysis «

The battle between Google and Facebook only seems to get more and more interesting. This is a good read, although I seriously can’t imagine Google already throwing in the towel, whatever trends the analyst sees.

Marcel the shell | The Glue Pot

I’ve been reading Clay Shirkey’s “Cognitive Surplus”, which speaks to the mass power of creativity that’s continuing to be unleashed through the accessibility of content creation tools. This video is another good example of that.

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The latest trends in content development and social media:

The Future of Advertising | Fast Company

This article has already been making the rounds, and to most people in the industry — digital or traditional — it’s probably something they’ve heard before. But it’s a good summary of much of the issues currently happening in the industry.

Amazon starts movie production site Amazon Studios – Yahoo! News

This is a good way for Amazon to dabble in movie production without getting stung. They’re already selling movies online, and given they’re notorious for their data learnings from visitor activity, they’re likely trying to see if they can be the gateway for produced content that they can feature on their site. If they can then get good at predicting what people want (the way Netflix is so fanatical about), then they’ll be in a place to control the entire movie development and distribution system. And that could be worth a lot more than $2.99 a view.

Guitar World Turns iPad Into a Daily Music Teacher: Tech News «

Two weeks ago at AdTech I mentioned in my presentation that I’m curious how publishers are attacking the marketing content development space, as they’ve been doing content for years, and would really seem to know their audience better than most people buying or creating ads to run in their publications. Here again is another example of a publisher doing something that any guitar manufacturer could have done. And they’ve done it very well. This is really more about creating alternate types of content than a marketing campaign, though, and advertisers will probably soon be able to sponsor something like this. Still, for any brand wanting to connect with guitarists, it’s difficult to see why they wouldn’t have benefited greatly from beating Guitar World to the punch on this.

Google Goggles App Brings Users to Ad Features – NYTimes.com

Like Facebook Places, i think here we’re looking at a mobile technology that’s been around for a while, but the ubiquity of having this on everyone’s phone will enable a quicker segue from early adopters to mainstream users. Google has also done a great job with the UX, making this much simpler than any of the QR code scanners I’ve used.

How to Leverage Design, Conversion and Retention in Mobile

As the headline implies, this article covers a lot of territory. Instead of trying to encapsulate it, just read it if you’re at all interested in mobile. One stat that stands out is that most free apps only have a 5% retention rate after 30 days. Also, note the emphasis on consumer feedback and conversation data in the first developers development methodology.

Next Google phone will be mobile wallet: CEO – Yahoo! News

Most people probably don’t think of mobile transactions as a safer way of paying than credit cards. That should be a major incentive for adoption. And Google is once again (it began with search) simplifying the user experience around this. Their payment system is described as ‘tap and pay’. That’s a great description for something people are probably concerned is difficult to use.

Is Facebook now more popular than Google? | Buzz Study

The data mentioned in this article doesn’t do much for me, especially given the unpredictability of sentiment ratings in conversation analysis. But what I find surprising is that Facebook’s new social inbox is the largest single project Facebook has ever produced, and it had only 15 engineers. It’s not only what you do, but how fast and with how few resources (read: budget).

Google CEO: Android Is for Touch, Chrome OS Is for Keyboards

I really like the simplicity of the way Schmidt explains this. It’s marks a clear, simple delineation everyone can understand, from their top developers to the average consumer.

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The latest in content development trends for digital marketing:

FUNNY STATUS: No, Amish People Don’t Use Facebook

As the article says, this is funny.

YouTube – John Lennon Google Doodle

Google’s first video Doodle for their logo commemorating John Lennon’s 70th birthday.

Marketing Data Update: Consumers are not interested in creating onling content – only consuming it – MarketingVOX

Some direct response thinking in the area of content development. Hubspot reports that content offers pull greater response than offers of demo’s, suggesting that customers are far more compelled by content than by a more sales-oriented process. The types of content that worked best, in order of popularity, are: downloadable kits, free trials, eBooks, live webinars, recorded video, white paper and, last, demo/consultation.

Twitter Unveils Promoted Accounts

Another sign that marketing is moving towards more of a content development mindset. Twitter will be promoting certain accounts (not just Tweets) they feel are relevant to you. Brands have just as much opportunity to be the recommended account as anyone. This reflects one of the major differences between push messaging and content development: That content dev is more about a sustained effort than periodic splashes. And that’s the behavior that Google is ultimately looking for, as well. Because it’s in line with what’s most likely to produce a good experience for their customers.

MTV Unleashes an iPhone App to Combat Bullying

This is a smart UGC content app that’s part of a large campaign from MTV. Another good example of how brands are producing experiences that extend well outside their so-called areas of expertise, but which can really resonate with their target audience. The strategy behind these apps is far more lateral from more traditional marketing or product development methods, and demonstrates how important owning the relationship with your customer is becoming.

iPad Poised to Become Most Quickly-Adopted Electronics Device Ever

Most remarkable here is that iPad is a single product showing the fastest growth ever for a product category. Unreal. Imagine where this trend will go when all the other slates hit the market this holiday season, pushing prices straight to the floor.

Google Tests Friend Recommended News with Twitter Integration

The interesting thing here is the merger of more traditional news with what your friends are talking about. That really makes a lot of sense, and could be a good way for Google to get a stronger foothold in ‘social’ media. Two recent events highlight some social media realities. First, Forrester’s latest report that indicates the percentage of people ‘creating’ social content has plateaued, and secondly, Twitter’s strong emphasis that they’re not a social network, but rather a news publishing platform. The net net of all this is that social media isn’t quite as social as we thought, and it’s really about identifying and ranking your news resources, whether they’re more traditional news publishers, or your network influentials. Viewing social in that context could help Google find a way into social media, and that seems to be something they’re exploring based on this story.

Thuuz Tells Sports Fans If A Game Is Worth Watching

This is really smart. They start with the components that constitute an exciting sports contest — things like point differentials, upsets and comebacks — and calculate which of all games currently going on best matches the criteria for an exciting game. I think it’s brilliant, because even more than the star system, fans like exciting games. Which means leagues like exciting games, too. Proof of that is the way sports leagues employ things like drafts and media revenue sharing to try to ensure as much team parity as possible. This data gives fans what they want, and could also help a league determine the emotional impact of it’s own offering, based on current facts instead of longer-term sales data.

Can You Recognize Your Facebook Friends?

This is a clever Facebook game app. It shows you random profile pics of your friends, and you try to guess who’s pic it is. And while the writer isn’t wild about how it uses Profile pics because so many of them aren’t actually of the subject, that’s an interesting commentary on how people will take a certain way of doing things and flip it around to suit their own needs. A big reason why brands need to listen to how people use their products instead of focusing on how they’d like people to use their products.

The New Facebook Groups: All You Need To Know

If you’re familiar with Yahoo Groups, Google Groups, or Ning, you’re possibly wondering why Facebook didn’t have this type of Group functionality previously. At any rate, Facebook’s connection to the social side of the Web gives this obvious potential to go in directions the previously mentioned tools never really could. Like Pages, apps can enable users to post to Groups, as well. One of the bigger questions is how will Groups related to Pages, and will marketers be able to integrate the two, perhaps using Groups as a subset of Pages members. Like everything Facebook, Groups will likely evolved considerably over time, so even if features are included at launch, Facebook could be adding them quickly.

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The latest in content development trends for digital marketing:

Why are Social Behaviors Plateauing? | Forrester Blogs

The upshot here is that while Creators of social media (those posting vids and blog posts, for example) are leveling off, the Joiners (those reading the aforementioned content) are continuing to grow. This makes sense when you think of how many people have joined Facebook just to follow family and friends. It also closely parallels Twitter’s revised strategy as a content source instead of a conversation platform. This all bodes well for interactive marketers, who’s main goal is to get everyone on the same page, so to speak.

Gawker Founder: The Future of Online Media Is Video

Whatever you think of Gawker and Nick Denton, you’d do well to listen to him. Especially when he spouts off on internet content trends. His highlights: Video and images are in – Nobody wants to read. They’re also redoing their blogs to better accomodate that type of info, so the upcoming changes should be quite interesting to see how they’re addressing that need. Note that they’re also emphasizing content aggregation. That last bit is particularly interesting because anyone, including brands, can aggregate content fairly easily. Then it just comes down to making insightful commentary about what you’re aggregating.

Promoted Tweets Selling for “Upwards of $100,000”

Beware the early data trends on this one. Keep in mind, early banner ads got REMARKABLE response rates by today’s standards. And really, sponsored Tweets are little more than the latest paid media unit, albiet trending off a hot social media property. But keep in mind that any time you take a beloved user experience that’s been virtually ad free, and suddenly start interspersing it with ads, those ads are going to see phenomenal response rates. But like the old banner ads, as Twitter starts to increase the presence of these ads, the response rates inevitably drop. It’s the reason why those early to the game in new media marketing often see great results, and why those results are often unsustainable for the years to follow.

Google CEO says mobile revs small but growing fast – Yahoo! News

With Google having a presence in just about every nook and cranny of the internet, it’s always interesting to hear what they think is going on. And from the CEOs standpoint, mobile is sounding a lot like the early days of the Internet. Strong growth, a lot of upside potential, but just not at the critical point yet. However, two big differences on why I think the mobile market will mature much faster than the Web did. The devices are much cheaper, and the user experience is generally easier. That said, I’d still be curious what Schmidt thinks the timeline is before mobile hits 50% of their revenues.

Social Shopping Heats Up On Facebook

Social shopping is hot, and here are several new apps that are both making it easier to sell through social circles, and offering consumers incentives for sharing their purchases.

Picking the Most Important Features & APIs for Your Mobile App

This is an interesting look at what features mobile developers find most interesting. They trend towards emerging technologies, and not the more established ecommerce APIs. Keep in mind that developers are often interested in areas that most consumers aren’t even close to delving into yet. But then again, if you’re a brand wanting developers to develop for your brand, this can indicate what will likely appeal to them.

Changes In How Europeans Contribute Social Content Will Force Marketers To Update Their Social Media Strategies | Forrester Blogs

More information on Forrester’s recent study of changing social media behaviors. It’s not surprising that they’re seeing a new type of participant emerge, one who’s involved at a very light, but potentially frequent level. It’s really the microblogging category, and given Twitter’s persistence and Facebook’s move towards Twitter, it’s not surprising that when we make those behavior’s more easily accessible, people are going to take advantage of them. The challenge for marketers is how to enter these conversations. It would seem that these more fleeting, spontaneous forms of social media would really benefit marketers. I wouldn’t write a blog post in a new pair of Nike’s, but I might post it to Facebook. Or comment on someone else’s post. I also see this bringing more potential for brands to involve people through lighter entertainment experiences, since those are often the easiest things for people to talk about.

This Week’s Most Explosive Facebook Applications

The most popular apps on Facebook are looking pretty silly, although there are several shopping based games that should have fashion retailers taking notice.

Google Announces Seven Predictions for the Future of Display Ads – NYTimes.com

A great peak behind the curtain of where Google wants to take display advertising. This really brings together the powerful tracking and optimizing capabilities of Adwords, with pretty much every other ad technology you can imagine. They also feel display advertising will become a $50 billion market. Not exactly chump change.

Google Debuts Gallery of Android Phones

Google’s open approach to just about everything means that you have to do a lot of weeding out to get to the best product for you. Conversely, Apple pretty much does that for you. In this case, Google’s doing something about it. While the idea of a comparison shopping engine for phones isn’t earth shattering, the idea that Google is responding to customer complaints with real solutions shows that the giant may not be isolated in their Googleplex the way many accuse them of being

Barcode Scanning for Points and Prizes with CheckPoints

More happenings on the mobile-ecommerce front. Functionalities are starting to niche, and this shows how developers continue to explore ways to refine user experiences, hoping to eventually hit paydirt.

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What’s going on in new media marketing, pulled from social bookmarking site Creativing.com:

Where Good Ideas Come From [VIDEO]

Excellent animated video on where good ideas come from. A lot of this will ring true to the importance of conversation monitoring, which is really just a way of plugging yourself into the community, or conversation, that the author talks about in this video.

Digital Marketing: Security Tech CAPTCHAs as Advertising – Advertising Age

Most of the time it’s annoying when advertising creeps into every nook and cranny of daily life, but this idea comes off as clever, and really making a pretty drab event — entering CAPTCHA info — a bit more interesting. And for brands, getting viewers to actually type out their tagline or product features based on a paid impression is pretty remarkable. One of the more clever new ad units I’ve seen in a while. The only limit will be that there really aren’t that many times a user has to see CAPTCHA’s, assuming they have cookies turned on.

The State of YouTube Mobile: Viewing up 160%, Operator Partnerships Sought

A couple of interesting things in this piece. For one, Google’s not happy with the way Apple’s YouTube app works, and are promoting the WAP version of YouTube mobile, instead. It offers a considerably better user experience, which shows that WAP has a lot to offer versus native app development. Secondly, Apple controls the YouTube app on iPhone, and if they can’t keep a major brand like Google up with the latest and greatest mobile experience, then it really underscores how much this brand really needs the larger development community on it’s side, and developing apps like mad for their platform.

SCVNGR provides deeper integration with Facebook Places

I’m following SCVNGR closely, as they seem to be the most aggressive of the location-based apps at trying to figure out survival in a post-Facebook Places world. It’s also interesting, because they’re backed by $4m from Google Ventures. And Google would love to kill both the social and mobile birds with one stone. But I still feel like SCVNGR lacks the simplicity to really go mainstream. For one, it requires an app download, a big barrier, whereas Facebook’s mobile app already has 100m users. And then there’s that problem of less than 1% of all mobile phone users use a location-based app more than 1x per week. So driving consistent use is going to be a real challenge. But the logic behind SCVNGR’s actions are on target, as they get that it’s ultimately about making brands more dynamic on their Facebook properties.

Digital Marketing: The Top 10 Viral Ads of All Time – Advertising Age

Just ran across this list. What I find interesting is that most of them are from the past two years. I’d think having more time on to accrue views would help. My guess is that two factors contribute to the recency of the leaders. One is that companies are getting better at promoting their videos, versus just tossing them on YouTube and telling a couple of forums about it. And secondly, the metrics tracking these views are improving, as they’re extending the analysis beyond YouTube views alone.

“WiFi on steroids” gets final rules, drops spectrum sensing

Any involved in online marketing should be a fan of anything that dials up our broadband speeds here in the US. They’ve been rated as low as 25th in the world, or something abysmal like that. But this is great. Take some unused TV spectrum and allocate it to wireless broadband. And I like that they’re focusing on wireless. It may not have the topend speeds of cable now, but ultimately it will be the most cost effective solution to scale, and seems like the most probably path to blanket coverage.

Phones Begin to Replace Hotel Keycards – Popwuping

Simply a smart way to differentiate yourself amid a battered travel industry. While it might not be enough to attract new customers, this will certainly make a strong impression on anyone who uses it (assuming no bugs, of course!). It also shows how companies need to focus on consumer touchpoints, and not media inventory, when looking at ways to make a real impression.

Hand Craft Your Way to Great Prizes in Etsy API Contest

Etsy is an interesting company to watch, as they’re developing a reputation for interesting, community-centered marketing campaigns. Earlier, they had a UGC video contest (http://www.youtube.com/user/etsy), and now an open API contest, with cash prizes. A couple things are truly helping them in these efforts. One is having a product that naturally attracts a lot of creative, artistic people. The other is having VC Fred Wilson (www.avc.com) as one of your backers.

5 Important New Trends in Location

An overview of the post-Facebook Places location-based services landscape. As expected, this is quickly moving from fun and games to real functionality. And that’s the big opportunity for brands. Because you may need several million people to make a game fun, but good functionality can be delivered on a 1-1 basis.

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