Friday, July 30, 2010

A call to arms: Work with social media? Demand answers #bmmec

It's Friday. Hopefully you're winding down for the weekend and have time for a tweet or two!

On Twitter Dan Webster asked;

Qu. Does crowdsourcing actually work (or does it lead to 'average'/bland answers)? #bmmecless than a minute ago via Chromed Bird

embed this tweet

I'm hoping crowd sourcing will not result in the bland. I'm hoping that because I've asked @bigmouthmedia and @econsultancy to let the social sphere ask questions for some of the next Social Media and Online PR Report.

In other words; are their any questions you would like business to answer about their plans or current use of social media?

For example, do businesses intend to spend more on social media next year? Do they think location is a fad? Do they still struggle with ROI? If you think those examples are a pile of silt then that's all the more reason to ask your own.

There's a bigmouthmedia question page you can use if you need to reference this social media experiement again. It's easy enough though; ask your question on Twitter and include the hashtag #bmmec. We'll pick from there.

Who knows; perhaps you'll ask such a great question that you'll spart a great debate in your Twitter stream and grow your followers.

Why a call of arms? To defend your reputation. I want to make sure that all the social media talent out there doesn't make the whole fledgling industry look bad by failing to ask a decent number of questions. My gut feeling is that we'll be okay. The social media people I know are good at asking questions - and they're rarely bland!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Digital Marketing 2011: Spatial Marketing

Spatial marketing isn't anything new or revolutionary in the offline world. It's common sense. Book shops put their best sellers* in standup displays by the door and the checkout, supermarkets put their impulse buys right where you queue and every now and then whole shops change their interior design to encourage you to walk around and discover new products.

We've not really had this in the online world.

Sure, okay, we've had “above the line” style of commentary, taking the expression from the old fashioned style of advertising to refer to whether someone needs to scroll down or not to access content, review an ad or otherwise interact.

The truth, though, is that people are quite happy to scroll. Let's park the debate about the value of banner ads on parts of the website where people might not see them and label that as something else. I'm talking about a would-be shopper's ability to scroll down in order to look for reviews on an item.

Of course they can. As our Usability team often point out to me; people look where they expect things to be.

That's going to be increasingly important in digital marketing. We're going to go very far beyond the simple act of scrolling down a page too.

Let's start with Google. BumpTop is now part of Google and no one will be surprised to see it as a part of Chrome OS. BumpTop is a 3D desktop. It's not new. Their famous YouTube video, up since 2006, has had over 3 million views on YouTube.

Just a few seconds into video you'll be able to see how this would change how you store and save documents. Forget clicking through C: drives or networks. Instead you'll remember that your favourite templates are in the top left or that your favourite shortcuts to webpages are in the bottom right. Isn't that how you find things on your desk already? You can see it there and you know which direction to reach for your phone even if you're not looking at it.

This may seem a bit like future tech to you – but it really isn't. There are simpler, closer to the consumer, digital spatial technologies you should consider. Firefox, for example, is working on Tab Candy.

This is another much watch video. The implications for digital marketing are clear and profound.

Imagine the impact this will have on website loyalty? Once a shopaholic has created their panel of favourite retail websites they're going to go back there far more often. It'll be a challenge for any new retailer to win their way into that shopper's list of favourites.

We'll start to care much more about how and where people save the web sites and profiles we are promoting. We'll not want to be bottom of the pile. We'll want to have a dominant space in people's virtual internet homes.

You shouldn't imagine this technology will be restricted to the desktop, laptop or tablet either. With the likes of Google TV coming (with Sony PlayStation as a partner) and more content being available through Xbox Live even our 42” giant screens that dominate our living rooms will be included in the spatial marketing evolution.

* They're not really bestsellers, publishers pay good money to buy those advert slots.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The 2011 Ford Explorer - good for chasing traffic; web traffic

For a second I thought there had been some great PR win. Both TechCrunch and Mashable published posts about the 2011 Ford Explorer at about the same time.

What's that got to do about social media or startup tech? I thought to myself. Not much.

Mashable has the fact that Ford is turning to the internet to do its adverts. In fact there's a Ford Explorer Facebook page to get people talking about the car.

I admit that the Reveal tab is pretty well done and there's over 45,000 people who like the Ford Explorer. Not sure this is new enough strategy to appeal to Mashable though.

TechCrunch go for the CrunchGear approach; passing the car off as tech and suggesting its greentech.

Call me cynical if you want; I supect both blogs have been approached by Ford, I suspect both blogs would love a relationship with Ford but both blogs are also predicting search surges for the face "Ford Explorer 2011" or "2011 Ford Explorer". Heck; once I worked out what they were up to; I just had to write this post.

It's just unfortunate that both blogs had back to back posts. I wonder if either one is now regretting it (or regretting that the competitor also took the same oppertunity).

The great advantage of being a popular blog is that you're given the traffic driving terms before everyone else. You have a chance to get that optimised content online before people even know to search for it.

The question is - does the blog suffer if it strays too far from its usual course? I can't have been the only one to wonder why I was looking at pictures of a Ford Explorer on TechCrunch.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Did Facebook just update the Like button widget?

I think Facebook just updated their simple "Like" button widget.

This is the button that can be dropped into blog posts, news stories, Foursquare venue profiles, etc. It's spreading out across the web because it's easy to install and is a fantastic way to help surface your content. You'll have seen that F
acebook is capable of driving a very large amount of traffic to your site if you've taken advantage of this feature and have the right sort of content.

I've been "Like" button pressing for a while. I'm pretty sure I would have noticed the "add a comment" option before if it had been around. That said; it's a little awkward. If you return to hover the button, after you've pressed it, then you're given the option to share with a comment.

You can try it for yourself with this Baidu profit surge story. It makes sense that Facebook has done this. I hope their Insights package starts to include snapshots of the comments these buttons produce... ah, but there we find privacy concerns.

Monday, July 19, 2010

New dictionary Onebox from Google

When I say "new" I mean; new to me.

I used to use Google for spell-checking a lot. It did two things great;
  1. Suggested the right spelling for my poor attempt
  2. Linked to or in the top right
Google's been monkeying around with those top right links for a while. took a traffic splat when Google removed the link.

When it comes to the spell checking; Google seems to try too hard to work out what could be matched with my typo. It's not always so easy to get the right spelling back.

I noticed this today; a dictionary entry as an onebox. Clearly a lot of people do the same "spell check search".

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Is there anything there? Calvin Klein's QR code bravery - and challenge

I really do think that last year was the year of the mobile - at least in the UK. It was just a soft pop rather than big bang. Last year, most people become happy with smartphones.

This year is the year people will stop blaming their mobile for a bad experience of a brand's website or mobile app and start blaming the brand.

Despite that and despite the steady progress w
e're making in mobile - it's still early days yet. For example, there's still a debate as to whether QR codes will really take off in the West. I think they well.

Over at Mashable the always-good-to-read Lauren Indvik has posted this crystal clear picture of a new billboard by Calvin Klein. This time it's not a racy picture to set minds wandering and bloggers blogging. This time it's a QR code.

I think this is really clever. We'll see more billboards with QR codes on them (if I have my way anyway; listen to me clients, listen to me! :) ).

There is a problem though. This doesn't work.

You can scan that picture yourself. If you're lucky you'll get to a 40 second video advert with model-people-types Lara Stone, “A.J.,” Sid Ellisdon, Grayson Vaughan and Eric Anderson in it.

If you're like me then you'll make your way to and a blank screen.

I like how they've called it /pr/. Makes me think this may be a PR stunt.

It's not as if I'm using low tech. I've an HTC Desire (that's Android 2.1). I used Google Goggles (latest) to scan the image.

It's just that the video doesn't run.

If Calvin Klein hadn't reached for the video and had gone with just a "mobile poster" then I'm sure it would have worked.

I don't think CK have done anything wrong here. It's just the challenge we face. There's a huge amount of fragmentation within the mobile space (especially people like Android and RIM) in a way that we never ever got to in the bad day of browsers.

What do you think?

Update: Some time later, a lot later, a video still appeared. It won't play. But a better experience and more likely to have me blame my phone.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Facebook logoImage via Wikipedia

CEOP stands for Child Exploitation and Online Protection. It's a UK police/government group that does its best to look after children online. Pretty obvious, huh?

They're the folk who kicked up a fuss when Facebook wouldn't install a "panic button" for kids to press should they find themselves talking to someone dodgy online. They kicked up a PR story when Bebo, I think, added it.

I caught on the BBC news today that Facebook would install the button. Odd, I thought, and listened in.

Firstly, the BBC reporter was apologising for calling it a panic button. Good. It clearly isn't. It's just a link to some resources. The suggestion that pressing it keeps you safe is a dangerous one. It doesn't. In fact, I think some people could argue that the button is dangerous in itself just because of that.

This strikes me as a victory for Facebook. This is just a standard Facebook Application - albeit with the backing of some big players already. CEOP's spokes person Julian Gamble said that Facebook would be putting it on their page themselves.

As I watched the report I just couldn't shake the feeling that neither CEOP nor the BBC were really confident on the subject. Shouldn't CEOP have been asked why it's taken them this long to create the Application. After all, they've dragged this on and on by going about this the slow way.

Most surprisingly, and the reason for this blog post, the address of the application is not No. It's

There's a huge irony there. How many kids are going to get lost on Facebook looking for this application? Which enterprising so-and-so is going to grab first and what will they put on it?

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Andrew Girdwood on digital marketing (today)

It seemed like a good idea at the time - we talk about the importance of video - but do we do it? One cheap video camera later and some of the muckymucks in our internal marketing department did this to me:

What did we learn? I can't sit still. A radio microphone would be a good idea.

What's debated: I think the best way to make this work are quick, easy and unofficial videos? I'd much rather sneak the camera to one of the offices and half-ambush an SEO Account Manager, or an Affiliate Account Manager, etc, and ask them some questions. It'll take a few minutes. It'll be noisy and crowded - but isn't that half the point? A real insight into a busy digital agency.

That's debated from those people who'd rather set up a controlled environment and concentrate more on quality.

I'll be happy if I can just replace that evil AdSense video in the SERPs. Hence the share in this blog post!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Should foursquare...

I'm writing this on blogger-droid, using a swype keyboard and thinking about foursquare. Its a sign of the times.

I'm a level 1 super user on foursquare. I can edit address details and I've made many corrections to their UGC.

I don't know if there are any level 2 users. They need to be more active if they're or foursquare needs to create some more. The database is riddled with duplicates and errors. They persist weeks after reporting them.

Foursquare has rolled out a sort of venue classification system - you can mark places as fast food or trains, etc. I think more is needed.

In particular, busy places like Padington Station in London are a mess. You have to scroll through dozens of micro locations in Paddington - like platforms - before you can find the generic paddington to check in to. The same for airports and to a lesser extent shopping malls.

I think foursquare needs a way to classify. Macro locations, or container locations, or holding locations.

Then we wonder about locations that move: mainly trains. Trains like the Gatwick Express are popular on foursquare but fragmented. On my Android geo-location device I have a Gatwick (and Heathrow) express for the airport end of the trip and on other for the station end. I could check into both.

Things get crazy when people start adding times to locations: "the 13:55 to York".

Should foursquare now start to think about more robust location rules to protect the user experience?

I think so.

Don't even get me started on the cheats. A report odd check-in pattern button would be nice.

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