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The latest trends in content development and social media:

Adverblog: The digital story of nativity

Imagining social media at the time of Christ’s birth.

Revolutions: Facebook’s Social Network Graph

A remarkable visualization of Facebook friendships around the world. What’s most interesting is how you can make out international borders between countries simply by the tendency of one country’s population to use Facebook more than the other’s.

Now THAT is a nice profile picture. Like.

With the recent reconfig of the Facebook home page, they left a seam for clever manipulation. For a while we’ve been able to have large profile images down the left column. Then, by utilizing the tagging of photos that would appear in his photo strip at the top, then bringing all of them together in a smartly-cropped series of the same original photo, voila! (the creator is a french artist)

How Much Is a Tweet Worth? $500, Says Toyota

I think we’re going to see a lot more of this type of campaign. Rewarding purchasing customers for promoting the brand online. By focusing on something like Tweeting their purchase, Toyota can identify their most influential new customers through this campaign. And by focusing their efforts (and their money) on those who’ve just purchased, they’re making it performance-based at the same time.

Cupidtino – the first (and only) “Mac-inspired” dating site for Apple fans

It’s hard to say how serious this is, although they have at least a lot of sweat equity put into it. But taking it seriously for a minute, how many brands could this ever happen to? A site where you choose your mate based on a specific brand they buy.

Why the social-media aggregator has croaked | The Social – CNET News

Came across this article from 9 months ago and was struck by it’s relevance (of course, that’s only remarkable in an absurdly transitional industry like interactive marketing). And the message is yes, things can move too fast even in this industry. The way things have played out since this was written only underscore that point.

Facebook friends Clicker to give users a Facebook-friendly Internet TV guide | Technology | Los Angeles Times

A lot of companies have been poking around this space, but many of them were doing it without really using Facebook’s TV show data. But when you combine the shows your friends like with TV schedules, you get a good way to flag people of what’s on that they’ll probably like. It solves the chicken-egg issue of needing relevance right out of the blocks.

“Bed Intruder” Was Most-Watched Independent YouTube Video of 2010

You can read the list and click to individual vids, or just watch YouTube’s mashup of them all.

Top Twitter Trend for 2010: No, It Wasn’t Justin Bieber: Tech News «

Interesting list in that I would have thought this was all celebs. That could be a result of their new trending algorithm emphasizing changes in popularity instead of simply Tweet volume. But I’ll take it as a hopeful indicator that people are concerned about bigger issues than celebrity ;)

YouTube Launches Trends Page to Highlight Popular Videos

This is interesting, although YouTube’s rating system and view counts have always been pretty good trend indicators.

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The latest in content development trends for digital marketing:

Twitter and the Future of TV

Some good examples cited on how Twitter is impacting TV viewing, forging trends in the social viewing space. There have been a lot of social viewing apps roll out, but they all seem to lack the big missing ingredient in social media: Audience size. Twitter has that, although it’s a scattered and primarily one-directional communication. What I like about the show examples is they’re creating a sense of personalization despite Twitter’s mass media platform, not unlike the way celebrities have been using it.

Wearable Cameras Move Beyond Sports to the Mainstream – NYTimes.com

A couple of remarkable features from the new Looxcie ‘wearable’ camera. It clips on your ear and records video, sending it to an Android phone. And it has a 30 second buffer, so you can keep it on, and if you see something happen, you can push a button and grab the past 30 seconds of footage. A lot of opportunities here for marketers looking for new angles on content development.

YouTube to Launch New Discovery Tool Tonight; Here Comes Extreme Ironing

If you think YouTube has saturated the public taste for bizarre video, it’s more like they’re just ramping up. You have to read about these various types of video content to believe it. Not only is there a series of ‘extreme ironing”, there are subgenres, like “underwater extreme ironing” and “skydiving extreme ironing”. And YouTube is going to help us sift through all this with a new feature, YouTube Topics. If you’re a brand and thinking all the good content opportunities are taken — even in video — you might want to rethink that. Or at least hire some good creative thinkers.

SkyFire Pulls In Nearly $1 Million In Its First Weekend On The App Store

Generally I don’t recommend large brands get into the app game to create a new direct revenue stream. But this example certainly points to a lot of opportunity. The big differentiator here is, in addition to a product with an obvious appeal to many iPhone users (it plays Flash files on the iPhone in a rather clever manner), they’ve been generating good buzz, and for quite a while. So while it may seem like an overnight success, the company has been producing products, and generating buzz, that paved the path for this type of explosive sales growth.

The Dangers of Content Marketing on Facebook | Geoff Livingston’s Blog

This is a great point to be aware of, but it’s also one of those areas that brands simply have to look at practically. Facebook wants rights to posted content to protect themselves from an image showing up in an ad, presentation, or whatever, and then them getting sued for not ‘owning’ it. But the author’s point is correct for additional purposes. Most brands should not rely on a social media property they don’t own for their ongoing content development programs. For one, if their content is worthwhile (and not completely tied to the social network experience), then they should be featuring it on their own site as well. And secondly, even the most powerful social networks have no guarantee of longevity. Think MySpace.

Facebook Serves Nearly a Fourth of U.S. Display Ads | ClickZ

Facebook’s volume puts them at number one, more than twice as much volume as Yahoo, the runner up. This from a company that several years ago didn’t have much of an ad program. What I’m both hearing and seeing is that Facebook doesn’t necessarily drive the highest response rates, but their cost-per-click number are very strong. And of course, the farther down the conversion path you take the metrics, the more important the numbers are to advertisers.

1.0 Is the Loneliest Number — Matt Mullenweg

The idea of agile development has been slow to take off in marketing, and it’s understandable, given that marketing itself is a rather agile process. But I think as content development starts to play a larger role in company’s marketing efforts, it’s going to be a feasible approach for a range of content efforts. This is a great take on what that process can be like.

Even Merton Hasn’t Been On Chatroulette In Months

Great story on Merton, who’s probably the best thing to ever happen on Chatroulette. The video of his Chatroulette performances is a must see.

Attention Hockey Fans! Watch the NHL on Roku, Boxee & More

Having long ago cut the cable, and tiring of TV hacks like Ustream for watching Monday Night Football, I applaud the NHLs efforts in taking their content to the audience.

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The latest in content development trends for digital marketing:

Five Great Styled Maps Examples

If you think maps have to look boring, check out these stylized Google maps.

5 Innovative Uses of an API [Mashable Awards]

Perhaps as interesting as the API capabilities are the stories around them.

The 25 Most Liked Pages on Facebook, Fall 2010

A couple of things I find remarkable. 4 of the top 25 are non-entertainment brands (well, YouTube is sort of non-entertainment). But perhaps most amazing is that Oreo’s was in the top 25. That’s unreal when you think of all the sports, entertainment and celebrity brands they’re competing with.

The Commuter: A Short Film Shot Entirely With the Nokia N8

Given this was shot on a phone, it’s pretty amazing.

Survey Finds College Students Love Laptops But Not eReaders, Facebook But Not Twitter

I’m not sure how much college students reflect the rest of the country, or even the future of things, given it’s such an isolated time in life (and beautifully so). But what I do find interesting is their use of social media. Almost entirely Facebook, and for primarily social reasons. As many who use Twitter know, it’s a powerful outreach vehicle, but isn’t designed for ongoing communication. And given Twitter’s push towards mass push communications, things will probably stay that way.

Connect Your Car to the Web With AutoBot

This is a great idea, and I’m again surprised one of the car companies, with all their R&D resources, doesn’t do something like this. It would be a great CRM vehicle (sorry) to their customers, display some innovative thinking, and get them a lot of good press.

How to Design a Great User Interface | Webdesigner Depot

User Experience seems like that last frontier of marketing. At least it’s where I see some of the most powerful ideas crumble in a mass of user confusion. You don’t have to be a UX designer to benefit from this. In fact, it’s something the entire company should be aware of.

Mint Data Delivers A View Into The Spending Habits Of Its 4 Million Users

Over the next few years, the concept of content and what it entails is going to be thoroughly explored. One area where I think a lot of companies will find valuable outreach opportunities is in sharing their information. Sometimes information may have even felt was sensitive. But information works for companies in a number of ways. It establishes authority on a subject through insights around their market. And it often makes great buzz-worthy content (note the Mint example here). Naturally you want to avoid giving competitors the keys to your kingdom, but a little information can build a good story. And that’s what good content is.

Five Steps to Unlock the Art and Science of Dynamic Content « Social Media Monitoring and Engagement

An outline of what makes good content. The bottom line is, it has to be fresh and it has to be quality. Anything that isn’t either one of those, consumers can smell a mile away.

Seth’s Blog: I spread your idea because…

Seth writes a list of ideas that remind us people share content and stories for a wide variety of reasons.

AppMakr Raises $1 Million To Help You Build Custom iPhone Apps

If you haven’t heard of AppMakr, this is probably a good time to give it a try. They’ve already built one of the simplest tools for building iPhone apps, and with this latest round of funding, there’s sure to be more features and capabilities.

Why Social Media Is Perfect for Brand Ambassador Campaigns

What I really like about these campaigns is how organic they feel. And that’s ultimately what content development needs to generate. A sense of truth and authenticity about the brand, with the content demonstrating the brand’s qualities instead of trying to push a message that the audience, and often the company itself, doesn’t really buy.

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The latest in content development trends for digital marketing:

A Streetwalking Geek With a Hide Full of Napalm: Sony VP James Williamson Will Tear Your Freaking Face Off

A quick fun read about a punk rocker turned corporate VP, and then right back to punk rocker.

Fox Pulls Down Banksy ‘Simpsons’ Video From YouTube

I was set to post the YouTube vid of this, but despite it being pulled, it’s raised an interesting discussion around YouTube’s viral impact on this. The big question is, Could this have spread on Hulu? Probably, but not as quickly or as universally. And in a tipping point world where if something doesn’t catch on at the right moment, that can be a serious detriment to its taking off in a big way.

Google’s Self-Driving Car is Just the Beginning

An excellent overview of both the Google self-driving car as well as the Internet of Things. Check out the second video for a good explanation of the Internet of Things.

Spinning in Circos – Web-hosted data visualization tool

If you’re looking for a great way to add zip to any presentation, data visualization is key. But it can often take a lot of time and effort. This is a tool that promises to make that easier. How effectively this works across all data probably takes some experience working with it, but the idea behind this — instant data visualization — is great.

Top 5 Mobile Advertising Trends To Watch

Mobile is the leading edge of emerging media, and these are the trends to follow. Keep in mind how often early adopters in new media marketing reap the big PR rewards.

Facebook Brand Pages Pay Off

Facebook Page Fans are genuinely interested in the brand: 92% of them in this study are considered brand advocates. And what’s the key to a successful Facebook Page? Content. Fresh, quality content.

Business-Oriented Tools Appear on This Week’s List of Emerging Facebook Apps

Most interesting in this list is the type of business-oriented tools. Page management systems. This is a rich and growing area, as good chunks of VC money have been going into leaders in this area. And that should bring pricing down, making Page management better and more accessible overall.

Bing Gets Something Google Can’t Get, Facebook Data

The projection that within a year this could be giving Bing better search results than Google is huge. It was relevant search results that catapulted Google to the top so quickly. Content developers have to take SEO into heavy consideration, and this puts an entirely new slant on increasing your rankings.

8 Things We Still Hate About the Web – Yahoo! News

A good gut-check on the Web user experience as a whole. It’s always a good idea to even minor UX nags in mind when developing brand experiences for mainstream users.

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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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