Google has released yet another TV commercial to help demonstrate the features of its new social network, Google+. Like the other marketing efforts, the ad is slick, polished and even sort of funny. Unfortunately, it also demonstrates everything that’s wrong with Google+ in a just minute’s time. In fact, if the video hadn’t been posted to Google’s own YouTube channel, you may have almost wondered if it was a parody put out by Facebook PR.

The ad, published the day prior to Thanksgiving in the U.S., tells the tale of two Google+ users, Kyle and Lisa. In it, Kyle places Lisa into his “Love of My Life” Circle while Lisa puts Kyle in her own unfortunately named “Creepers” Circle. Oh, poor Kyle! Over time, though, it becomes clear that Lisa and Kyle’s relationship changes, as the ad shows Lisa moving Kyle into a variety of other Circles, including “Book Club,” “Guys With Cars” (shallow much, Lisa?), “Ski House,” “Maybes” and finally, “Keepers.” Cue the awwwwww’s, right?



Television doesn’t exactly have a fabulous track record as a vehicle for promoting Web sites.

In fact, when I think about TV ads for Web properties, what springs to mind are all those pricey Super Bowl spots for Web 1.0 sites that flopped, such as,, and


Captchas are an easy way to prevent automated bots from diminishing the quality of a website, which is why you’ve probably spent a good amount of time squinting at their bent, fuzzy text. Current computer programs have a hard time reading them, and it turns out that so do humans. On average it takes us about 12 seconds to solve one. They’re one of the only online spaces where consumers involuntarily apply any focus.



7 Keys To Word-Of-Mouth Marketing On Facebook

By Neil Glassman

Research has found word-of-mouth marketing to be 8.5 and 30 times more effective than other types of promotions.

It works for two main reasons. First, it’s better targeted. We are highly unlikely to tell our friends about something in which they are not interested. Second, it’s more persuasive because the motivation of our friends is not to sell us something.

There are seven keys to making word-of-mouth marketing succeed, as identified by Wharton Assistant Professor of Marketing Jonah Berger.

  1. It advertises itself.
  2. It acts as social currency.
  3. It has practical value.
  4. It elicits emotions.
  5. It appeals to a common ground.
  6. It triggers action.
  7. It tells stories.



1. Advertises Itself

From yellow Livestrong wrist bands to Apple logos on Macbooks oriented towards those facing someone working on one, products can be designed to generate a public signal. Granted, it’s more difficult to see branding on a pair of socks than it is a shirt. People imitate those around them, so make consumption observable.

2. Social Currency

People want to be insiders and like to share that they are “In the know.” There is motivation to “self-display” when in the possession of something scarce or exclusive, like private club membership, the off-menu items at In-N-Out Burger or that one is a recipient of a Google+ invitation. “I will show you my value by giving this information to you.”

3. Practical Value

People are always seeking useful information. This is illustrated in a study by Berger [PDF] that finds dining, technology and education are the most shared topics on The New York Times website. An easy way, but not always the most appropriate way, to offer value to is offer a discount.

4. Emotion

When we care, we share. People are more likely to pass along information about a dog that needs adoption than a free couch. Negative emotions, such as anger, get shared, too, and research indicates that the higher the emotional arousal, the more likely one will react. Even a product as “flat” as Google Search has been presented in a commercial with a motivating emotional core.

5. Common Ground

Why might we find ourselves talking about sports or the weather when we first meet someone? It’s because we are finding a way to make a connection by conversing on a subject about which all in the conversation are knowledgeable. Parodies of celebrities and popular commercials are examples of ways to achieve this common ground. Brand marketers need to find a way to connect their product to something that resonates in their customers.

6. Triggered

Triggers have many forms. Temporal: Cheerios gets mentioned more online during breakfast time. Situational: People vote differently in a school than in a church. Associative: Peanut butter and [ ]? Stimuli in the environment can change what is accessible in the mind. New triggers can be created and frequency increased, such as is being attempted by the campaign by Hershey’s to associate its Kit Kat bar with coffee breaks.

7. Stories

People love to tell stories. The nutritional information of Subway sandwiches has far less interest than the story of Jared’s weight loss. Does Barclay Prime in Philadelphia expect to sell many $100 cheese steaks or is it a story to generate awareness of the restaurant?

Re-tweetables from the seminar:

  • In the new network-centric communication model, there are not as many “stars” from whom influence emanates. It’s everyday people who influence.
  • Just because someone has more friends or, on Twitter, followers, he or she is not necessarily more influential. Having more friends does not mean someone is more likely to share information with those friends.
  • On Twitter, people with more followers tend to follow people with more followers.
  • Craft valuable, contagious content.
  • Facebook and Twitter are technologies, not strategies, for word of mouth.


Source: socialtimes

by Jackie Cohen

Facebook’s advertising inventory has mushroomed in 2011, but demand appears to be rising too. Now that sponsored stories have had almost half a year to germinate, a growing number of pundits are saying that these ad units perform about 50 percent better than other types of promotions on the site.

The better the performance, the more cost effective the ad gets. And explains why Facebook can keep prices constant while growing inventory.

However, sponsored stories haven’t expanded the promotional inventory that greatly simply because the ad units rely on users engagement with brands.

“Sponsored stories is a consumer-initiated ad unit,” explained Blinq’s Chief Executive Officer Dave Williams in an interview. Only when the individual “interacts with the brand, does it have the ability to market that as an ad unit.”

Williams said he’s seen a three-fold increase in ad spending among Blinq’s clients during the first half of this year, and he expects it to continue into 2012, possibly at an even faster rate.  The early adopters of sponsored stories have included group buying services, game developers and affiliate programs.

Meanwhile, it’s almost impossible to quantify an average cost per ad unit on Facebook simply because of the wide variety of targeting options — and you could even call that an understatement. Of course, without having any exact numbers to cite, it becomes much easier to accept assertions that costs are remaining constant.

So we’ll just have to ask you, readers, to chime in here. Are you seeing any changes in the prices of ads? Have you noticed an increase in the number of promotions you see on the site?

Source: allfacebook

For years, advertisers have run their search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) programs separately. The SEM team would focus on bidding, campaign analytics and the complex science of managing millions of keyword buys to drive maximum conversion. The SEO team lived in a world of internal and external linking, and optimizing pages to maximize reach and relevance in organic search engine results.

But today, more marketers are realizing SEM and SEO are not separate disciplines. Instead, they are two sides of the same coin — complementary programs that, when managed correctly, can benefit each other to increase conversion rates and share of voice. Insights gained when buying pay per click (PPC) keyword ads can positively impact SEO creative initiatives, while natural search queries and clickpath data can, and should, influence keyword bidding.

But how do you more closely integrate the “bid kids” with the “white hats”? How can SEM and SEO teams work together to improve results on their respective programs, increase return on search marketing investment and drive a lasting lift in conversion across the board?

Here are three practical steps every marketer can take to begin this integration.

1. Identify Overlap

The first step in combining SEO and SEM programs is to identify where the programs overlap, where they don’t and where they should. Paid search advertising programs cannot be successful without top-ranking natural search results and vice versa, so you need to use your search management platform or web analytics tools to identify which keywords are performing well on both sides of the table, and see which ones are “lone wolves” driving only PPC or organic search traffic.

When SEO and SEM teams are operating independently, there are often high-volume keyword terms that drive traffic from only one of the two search channels, either paid search or natural search. When you find these terms, you can better optimize them. For example, if you have a term for which traffic is only driven through paid search clicks, there is opportunity to focus SEO efforts on obtaining organic ranking on these terms. Conversely, if your organization is generating revenue from organic search terms that don’t match any of the keywords in your paid search program, there is probably some incremental revenue you can capture with paid keyword expansion.

It would be impossible to compare organic and paid search coverage on each of the millions of search terms that are driving traffic to your site with even the best analytics tools. As with all analysis on large data sets, it is important to take a management-by-exception approach. Start by identifying the high-volume and top-converting search queries in each channel. Once you have filtered to find the most impactful search queries, the next step is to evaluate how they perform.

2. Measure the Paid Click Percentage

Measuring the click-share of each channel is a better way to find coverage holes and overlap than trying to compare the number of impressions, clicks and conversions that each channel is driving. Depending on the type of tracking system you use, there are a variety of ways to get this metric. To keep it generic: Match raw query search terms across paid and organic results, sum the total clicks, then calculate the paid clicks as a percentage of that total.

This single metric, called “Paid Click Percentage,” makes it easy for advertisers to quickly identify holes in either paid or organic search coverage. For example, you can look at paid click percentages greater than 75% to quickly identify key revenue-driving terms for your paid search program that are receiving fewer clicks from organic search results. Because searchers are more inclined to click on organic results instead of ads, you know that a term with zero organic clicks must not be resulting in first-page organic results.

Sorting these terms by paid search revenue impact will give the organic search team a ranked list of queries (and landing pages) to optimize against, allowing them to more efficiently prioritize SEO projects.

After you address this, you can use the same report to identify keywords that should be added or refined in your paid search campaigns.

3. Refine, Review, Repeat

When paid and organic search channels work together, marketers get maximum revenue from both programs. Identifying holes in paid and organic search campaigns using the method described above should help improve overall performance, but remember: It is not a one-time project.

Websites and advertising programs are continually changing. This analysis should be done on a regular basis. If your organization is large enough to have disparate paid and organic search teams, set up a regular meeting between both teams to ensure your SEM and SEO programs are friends, not distant relations.


Source: mashable

5 Ways To Crowdsource Your Brand Using Facebook

Why do the majority of brand managers continue to rely on outdated focus groups to gain customer insight when the largest source of customer intelligence is right under their noses?

It’s your brand’s own Facebook page.

No one knows your brand better than the thousands, or perhaps millions, of surfers who opened a door and indicated they like your page.

By a simple click, they have already proven they are here because they care. If you only allow them, if you only ask them, there’s no doubt they will be thrilled to take part in helping you shape your brand.



They will also appreciate that you are listening to them and offering them the chance to be more involved in the brand.

Your Facebook page can be much more than a status platform. The wisdom of the masses might direct you to the right path, where you can offer fans the chance to get involved in a familiar environment within your Facebook page, without having to leave it.

Here are five ways to create a deep engagement and dialogue with fans that will yield tangible brand insight.


Focus Groups

Your Facebook fan base is the biggest and best focus group you could ask for. It offers the ability to give for fans to directly interact with the company. For example, a division of American Express chose to offer fans the chance to be the company’s chief executive officer.

Amex invited the winning fans into a 3D boardroom where unresolved matters were presented on plasma screens, asking them to make corporate decision — including which commercial to broadcast, which newspaper ad is better and what new service to launch.

The fans provided valuable insight into what Amex customers were looking for. Using a social graph, Amex analyzed the results backstage, based on social-demographic characteristics, and was able to craft a much more effective message for customers.

Create The Commercial

If choosing a particular advertisement isn’t enough, you can actually get your fans to create and design ads for you — either through a contest or a free interactive application on your Facebook page.

If you go the latter route, use a simple Photoshop interface and a gallery of ready-for-use materials, so fans can test their inner advertising chops by designing and improving commercials. They can share their creations with friends on Facebook and you can create a voting mechanism to find the best ideas. There is no greater reward for someone who created something than seeing his or her creation become a reality.

Design The Product

It’s not just ads; fans will actually help you design your next product. Using Flash and 3D technology, you can allow your fans to invent and design your future products. For example, Nokia can offer its fans a chance to design the future iPhone Killer or Adidas can let them design their next shoe. You can even turn this into a contest, offering a prize for the best suggestion.

Perception Survey

Each planning department in an advertisement firm and every marketing manager occasionally conduct omnibus surveys to try and understand the public’s state of mind about a certain issue. Instead of expensive surveys, you can offer your fans the ability to vote on statements in the exact format typically used by strategy departments in advertising firms.

Fans can rank their degree of agreement and disagreement with a certain statement on a scale of one to five. For example: I think the brand’s service is excellent, agree/disagree; I think that the term “giving” is appropriate for describing this brand, agree/disagree.

This kind of perception survey can be launched on your Facebook page within minutes, real time, and for various issues, allowing you to quickly receive credible and valuable feedback.

Support Other Surfers

You can’t speak on behalf of all your customers, but your loyal fans can offer immediate assistance for most questions raised by new customers.

For example, if you’re managing a computer brand, technical questions on installation and use problems can often be answered by other surfers. You can empower your super-fans and give them the status of expert fans, thereby encouraging them to support and assist other customers.

Beyond the fact that this will decrease the pressure on the company itself, this sort of support will help connect people around your brand in hopes of creating a genuine community.


Source: allfacebook

Facebook Versus Google

Facebook might have pulled ahead of Google in online display ad sales, but the search engine is still a much bigger company. That’s the gist of the visual comparison of the two companies put together by MBA Program Info. Some of the data could use updating — for instance, Facebook’s membership is approaching the 700 million mark — but the overall theme of the graphic is correct.

For instance, the infographic says the social network has a higher average cost per click, 55 cents, compared to 54 cents for Google — it’s possible these numbers have gone up but the point is, Facebook is still ahead on that score.

Readers, feel free to point out any other data discrepancies in the comments section beneath this post.




One of the job openings at Google is to work on heliostats, or sun-tracking mirrors used to concentrate light and produce heat in concentrating solar systems.  (Credit: BrightSource Energy)

Google has invested significant money and employee time in clean-energy technologies over the past few years but recent job openings point to stepped-up efforts to build its own products.

There are currently five renewable-energy engineer job openings listed on Google’s job site, including a top manager position at its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters that hints at Google’s bigger ambitions.

The “head of renewable energy engineering” will lead a research and development team within Google to lower the cost of renewable energy. “As the engineering leader of Google’s clean energy initiative, you will be responsible for building a team of top technologists to develop disruptive new technologies that dramatically lower the cost of renewable electricity – with the goal of making renewable energy cheaper than coal within a few years,” according to the job posting.


One of the job openings at Google is to work on heliostats, or sun-tracking mirrors used to concentrate light and produce heat in concentrating solar systems. (Credit: BrightSource Energy)

The other job openings specify skills in designing and prototyping utility-scale renewable-energy systems. Google is seeking people able to assess and create different renewable-energy technologies with the potential to be cheaper than coal-generated electricity, including solar, wind, enhanced geothermal, and other “breakthrough technologies,” according to a listing. Another job is geared at making Google’s operations more sustainable, such as reducing its energy use and achieving the corporate goal of carbon neutrality.

Google first launched its renewable energy cheaper than coal initiative in 2007. The company invested in a few start-ups and took a number of measures to improve the efficiency of its operations. In the past several months, though, Google has sped up its activity in renewable energy.

In April, its Google Energy subsidiary invested directly in a wind farm in Oklahoma located near a planned Google data center. Altogether, Google has also invested more than $400 million in renewable energy, including a large wind farm in Oregon and a large solar project in California earlier this year.

Yesterday, it announced that it is expanding to 450 electric-vehicle charging stations on its campuses, acting as a corporate customer to advance electric-vehicle technology.

Through its philanthropy, Google invested in start-ups, including high-wind company Makani Power, enhanced geothermal companies, and solar company BrightSource Energy, which filed to go public earlier this year. The company also developed PowerMeter, a home energy monitoring Web application, the only energy-related product Google has released.

In 2010, Google’s green-energy czar Bill Weihl said that engineers had built a prototype of a sun-tracking mirror called a heliostat which could lower the cost of solar energy. Weihl also told Reuters that Google was discouraged in the amount of money going into early-stage renewable-energy technologies.

By expanding its internal research and development around clean energy, Google appears to be stepping up its commitment to develop more technologies internally.




If you’ve read Daniel Suarez’s techno thriller Daemon or William Gibson’s Spook Country, then you’ve encountered a world where there is no dividing line between physical and virtual realities. This vision is also advanced in the films Blade Runner, Minority Report or Children of Men which feature floating screens and active surfaces that come alive at a gesture or command. While this may seem like fantasy, those in business and marketing need to start paying attention to how real this all becoming.

The fields of augmented reality, projection mapping and Kinect hacking are where some of the most exciting work is happening. The changes are occurring so rapidly and in such variety that it is hard to keep up. But what many startups, hackers, corporations and tech artists are creating — a hybrid between computer interactivity, data, social media and how those relate to our physical world — is not only mind-blowing, but it is also a teaser for what media and communication experiences will look like in the near future.

Here is a taste of what’s going on.

Augmented Reality

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Remember when AR was all about little black-and-white codes that made pretty little animations play on your webcam? It seemed like a fun trick back then, and a few brands (Lego, best of all, and maybe Ray-Ban for an honorable mention) used it to create new ways to digest their products or play simple games.

Actually, there was very little ‘reality’ being augmented with those. But now that the concept has matured, we’re starting to see a very different AR come to life. With your phone’s camera becoming the input device, apps are popping up that let you view a building in your city and find out if there is available office space for rent in it, make newspapers, magazines and outdoor imagery come to life, get translation on the fly or see a person’s social profile as they pass you on the street.

As our desire to check in and share location-related media grows, we’re going to see the ability to overlay those actions on real space through these tools and new ones coming.

Where to start:

Projection Mapping

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Projection mapping has been around for a few years now, but it is starting to come into its own with some high profile stunts. Projection mapping software looks at the shape of an object and creates a 3D map of it, allowing an artist to overlay imagery — usually on a large surface or structure.

Why is this interesting? Because it provides the ability to change the experience of a physical object creatively, so at one point the object was one thing, and then right in front of your eyes it appears to be another. Ralph Lauren made a recent splash with this tech at a high profile event, projecting a 3D spectacle on the facades of flagship stores in New York and London.

Infiniti and Toyota have used the technique effectively to make their cars defy the laws of nature at private events. Others have used it to augment architecture and living spaces in such dramatic ways that you would have to touch them to see if the change was real or simply a visual trick. If all the structures around us were a canvas, imagine what we could do with them.

Where to start:

Kinect Hacking

On November 4, 2010, Microsoft took a major step toward reasserting itself as a leader in future tech. The release of the Kinect for its Xbox system, — and how the Kinect was adopted by the creative/hacker community — has ushered in a new era for augmented reality.

Why is the Kinect so innovative? It’s not really breaking new ground, technology-wise. But it’s the way in which it combines existing tech — a multi-array microphone, an RGB camera, an infrared depth sensor — that makes it smarter and cheaper than preceding attempts. Perhaps more importantly, it’s hackable. And recognizing the innovation that could come of this, Microsoft is due to release an SDK that will allow the curious and the research-minded alike to tinker with ease.

In just a few short months, developers have used the Kinect to create everything from optical camouflage to body-controlled light shows. Beyond the novelty, the practical implications of tying gestures to computer control are abundant.

Here are a few impressive examples of Kinect hacks in action:

These technologies (and a variety of others) are radically changing the way the physical and digital worlds interface. Because media and marketing are moving ever closer to the technologies that feature (and often reward) user engagement and user creation, these innovative types of input/output mechanisms will directly lead us into a new era of active and reactive brand communication and experience.

by Sam Ewen

Sam Travis Ewen is the CEO and founder of Interference Incorporated, a non-traditional marketing agency, and is co-founder of an immersive technology company focused on bringing human computer interaction (HCI) to real-world environments.