Thursday, December 22, 2011

Digital marketing predictions for 2012

English: Vladimir Kush looking through a cryst...
Image via Wikipedia
Last year I talked about the rise of legislation, the growth of mobile devices, connected TV, HTML and the blending of social media into a far flung range of departments like HR.

I could have done better. I think, though, I did fairly well. The weakest prediction may have been the rise of the connected TV as we’ve actually seen some chipset makers back out of that for now. Equally, we did see Microsoft’s Kinect go from strength to strength.

As always predicting digital marketing for the year ahead is a bit of a fool’s game. I’ve been doing this long enough to know year ahead predictions are about as stable as Europe’s economy. After all, bonus points to anyone who predicted a Spotify app store and did so 12 months ago? Who would have predicted that Apple’s attack lawyers would come sniffing around this post just because I used the phrase “app store” in a generic sense.

I am a fool. I’m going to have a bash at predicting digital marketing trends for 2012.

Loyalty

My headline prediction for 2012 is the almost desperate need to drag ourselves out of the discount culture.

It’s a nightmare and we’ve done it to ourselves.

I don’t buy anything from my local shopping centre unless I’ve a discount code or a deal. It’s easy for me to shop like that because it’s so easy to get discount codes and deals – and if one isn’t available this week then I just need to wait until next week, perhaps a little longer, for one to appear.

We need to move to a loyalty culture.

I know loyalty schemes do not always create loyal customers but on a purely business model level they make more sense. Rather than discounting to reward a disloyal customer, a loyalty scheme discounts only once the life-time value of the customer warrants it.

Loyal customers are the goal. The blending of social across the channels; especially offline, is perhaps the most direct way brands have to achieve this. After all, it’s better to have a community base who buy from and support you than a fickle customer based who judge you.

Cross-platform and real-time Display

Display has gone from being very ungeeky to being uber-cool (yes, in my world geek = cool). The number of cocktail lunches in which RoS Display media deals are bartered is on the steady decline. Good. On the rise are ad exchanges, demand side platforms and real-time bidding. The PPC skill set is rescuing Display.

We’ll see more of this in 2012 and I predict the growth will be in cross-platform display technology. Sticking with the trend I cited in 2011 the fragmentation of devices (especially the rise of the tablet) will mean that Display solutions will go cross-platform in other to thrive.

I’m going to be cheeky and tuck in a note about PPC in here – the gap between PPC and Display will narrow dramatically in 2012. It may close. Job titles like “Head of Biddable Media” will be handed out.

More legal woes
Judge Dredd
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Europe, America and pretty much every government will tinker more with the workings of the Internet. Whether it’s SOPA , the ePrivacy Directive (different in each country) or some new horror unleashed by the Luddites – we will have to deal with it.

Video

I think video will roar in 2012. Video chat will certainly be one to watch. We can thank Google+ Hangouts for this, the Kinect, improvements to Skype and Facebook as well as the rise of smart phones that make video calling easy and desirable. Hello Facetime.

I think there’s already inequality in the supply and demand of video ad inventory. I think this will become an issue in 2012 – but it might also be solved in 2012. There’s an opportunity there for a clever platform or three.

The last sub-prediction for video is that we’ll see it used more often in corporate responses. If there’s a brand disaster or some other event – it’s easier and makes more sense for brands to use video to address the issue. Video is more emotive than some dull PR statement and, increasingly, it’s easier to amplify.

Voice and gesture

Will keyboards decline? Some say so – but I find it hard to imagine an open plan office in which everyone is trying to shout at their computers. We can’t all pretend we work in a stock exchange.

At home and on mobile devices, however, I predict we’ll see a rise in both voice control and spatial/gesture based interactions. This will impact everything from the concept of “keywords” through to the battle for the living room as the big players jostle for control.

HTML 5

Okay, I predicted HTML 5 last year and although it did surface on some occasions – most notable on mobile apps, especially those looking to get around certain draconian app store rules – I think it was understated. HTML 5 didn’t even official mature this year.

Even if the W3 aren’t bold (sorry; strong) enough to rubber stamp HTML 5 in 2012 I’m certain that more marketing managers will be aware of it and very aware of the possible drawbacks to launching a three year, HTML 4, build project in 2012.

Internet. Everywhere.

I’m not going to predict even more smart phones and tablets. That’s a given. I also think connected TVs will surge in 2012 – certainly overtaking the ill-fated 3D TV family.

I think the trend will go further. It’s the Internet. Everywhere.

For example, one 3D trend that may well take off in 2012 is 3D printing. I think 3D printers will become cheaper, more easy to get hold of and I think we’ll see more devices like Berg’s Little Printer and utilities like the Twine will continue to develop impressively.

The Twine, after all, needed to raise some $35,000 via Kickstarter. The project isn’t over yet and more than x10s that amount is safely in the bank.



Signal SEO

SEO will become far more resource intensive. In order to move the needle at all SEO campaigns need to work harder and address more quality signals than ever before.

I talked to Econsultancy about the impact of social signals. That’s just one collection of signals. Google has patents out on behavioural understanding, real-time and freshness are certainly important and given the predictions above we’ll see more value been given to portable content –ie, content that works well on desktop, mobile and other connected devices.

This may challenge some agencies and in-house teams. In order to address all these new signals SEO campaigns need to be more detailed. If we look to the hip trilogy of “earned media, owned media and paid media” – successful SEO campaigns have to score critical hits in all three of those categories and does not tidily live in either one.

SEOs care about creative work. They’ve done so long before Matt Cutts coined the term linkbait years ago – and they certainly cared about creative work afterwards. In 2012 creatives will care about SEO.

A good year for affiliates and performance marketing

Affiliates will have a good year.

Not all of them - some will be Pandead. The others, however, will find that CPAs remain robust, the cost to advertise will fall and there will be brands very happy to push the risk of spend elsewhere.

That said, I think there will be some squeeze of overrides and other network based fees as more technology based alternatives move in to lower the cost of running affiliate programs.

Equally, digital agencies will have to work hard in order to show the value they bring to a campaign. Some of that value will certainly come from blending solutions and services - such as intelligent blogger outreach that empowers bloggers with effective and legal ways to earn money and acts as an important blogger recruitment method for merchants. PR agencies, already fighting off social media agencies, may well find affiliate agencies are busy setting up events and wooing bloggers as well.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Can silent browser updates save us from the EU’s ePrivacy Directive?

English: Half a dozen home-made cookies. Ingre...
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I’m not a fan of the EU’s ePrivacy Directive. It seems to have been penned by people who are out of touch with the internet. I also smell the faint whiff of anti-American sentiment. That’s a shame. As the anti-SOPA protestors remind us all; there’s a difference between one country and the global web.

Here in the UK we were schooled by the ICO that site owners "must try harder" on compliance. Come May 2012 they’ll start chasing and punishing website owners who fail to get explicit opt-in permission before dropping any non-essential cookies. To be clear; the authorities consider tracking and analytics to be non-essential.

This is a frustrating time. The UK authorities accept that browser settings could be used to control this opt-in process. This would be great news because it means not having to design sites with annoying but necessary permission seeking layers and would, hopefully, not lead to too much in the way of a decline in vital analytics data. Why is that frustrating? The same authorities say that browser settings are not yet sophisticated enough.

Browsers need to get better.

Chrome is great. Whenever there’s an improvement to Chrome that improvement silently rolls out to all Chrome users. This means if that Chrome puts whatever additional effort into the opt-in cookie settings is required to please the authorities that, in no small amount of time, Chrome users will have it.

Firefox isn’t a slacker either. Firefox introduced silent updates at the end of September this year. Mozilla’s browser is moving from a yearly update cycle to a series of rolling improvements every 6 weeks.

So, what about Internet Explorer? Actually, and somewhat surprisingly, good news on that front too. Microsoft has announced mass upgrades of IE that will be triggered automatically.

Okay, the Microsoft news has plenty of holes in it – these automatic upgrades are only triggered for people who’ve asked for automatic upgrades or who haven’t refused the latest IE before and they can be opted out of. But it’s a start.

In many ways it looks like silent updates can pave a road to ePrivacy Directive compliance.

There’s a final pit trap on this road to salvation, though. There’s no such thing as an “EU cookie law”. The ePrivacy Directive is a set of directions from Brussels that countries can interpret differently – and have already done so. In theory both Ireland and the Netherlands have already adopted the full recommendations whereas the UK is giving site owners to May next year.

Countries can go further than the EU directive too. In the Netherlands, for example, there are political forces trying to ensure all types of cookies receive separate and explicit agreement and that this agreement from the user is renewed/validated every year.

A fragmented set of privacy policies across Europe will certainly make it harder for browser settings to resolve the ePrivacy Directive headache.


Friday, December 09, 2011

Video montage: best of the web 2011

Just a quick post to share this fantastic video. This is a compilation of some of the viral video successes - intentional or otherwise - for the year. I'm sure there will be some strong last minute contenders as we draw even closer to Hogmanay but this montage will take some effort to beat.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Is the PS Vita good enough to bring Augmented Reality mainstream?

I rather quickly wrote off the PlayStation Vita when I first heard about it. Why? It's just another handheld gaming console and I really do believe they face almost impossible odds against mobile phones.

You even have mobile phones that are gaming consoles - like the Xperia.

However, I'll also admit whenever I see any demo (or even trailer footage) for the PS Vita I raise my opinion of it. It's far more powerful than mobile phones are today and it doesn't have quite the same pocket sized concerns.

I've written about augmented reality before on this blog because I see it as a way of bringing the goodness of the internet to the real world. It's something that I watch in my role as Media Innovations Director at bigmouthmedia. In fact, it was only late October that Volkswagen Canda caught my eye with an impressive Beetle AR ad.

Companies like Layar and Blippar are worthy of the interest they attract.

AR is not yet mainstream, though, and it feels like there is a long way to go.

Take a look at this new trailer for the PS Vita and pause to ponder the impact it could have on "casual AR". I would suggest that anything you might see happening down the pub or friends mucking around with together has the potential to go mainstream. Games like FlickBall certainly look like that'll get people playing.



The PS Vita will need more than power in order to perusade people to play AR games. The games themselves will need to be fun. It's certainly a development I look forward to.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"Get a Chromebook for the holidays" - Google dribbles the ads in

Google started promoting their Chromebooks via the Chrome browser dial screen a few days ago - but I've only just seen the message arrive in the UK.

It's both an obvious thing for Google to do - promote their hardware; as the promotion is needed - and a surprising one. After all, I think Google is busy trying to persuade people they don't use their platform to promote their products (well, perhaps that debate only applies to search).


The link goes to this page which shows off a range of Chromebooks. The buy button to a landing page that kicks off with Amazon, PC World and John Lewis buttons. It's the sort of landing page Google would give an awfully poor Quality Score to if someone pointed a PPC ad at.


As Google would have expected the results of the "ad" appearing aren't always pleasing. There is already a help thread of people asking how to remove it and at least one user has uninstalled Chrome, the browser, as a result.


Google Music is barely blocked in the UK

I was pretty disappointed to discover that Google Music launched with only United States access. Google can be annoyingly slow in acting like a global media company at times - Google Voice still isn't over here. Despite my disappointment I understood why Google Music wasn't available in the UK.

Damn those licensing rights. This is what took Pandora out of the UK and kept Spotify from the US.


That's why I've been surprised to see Google Music in my Google+ stream. American users can share snippets of what they are listening too. Teasers. These aren't geo-targeted at all. Not only do people in the UK see these teasers but they can listen to the sample too.

What does that mean for the licensing rights?


If you're curious - you can geo-target your status updates in Facebook. Maybe this needs to come to Google+.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Google drives Search and Social together

For a long time now Google News optimisation has been one of my favourite areas and I've been lucky enough to do work for companies like the FT, Trinity Mirror and Telegraph. Not to mention that bigmouthmedia is also in Google News.

As a result I've been able to see just how powerful Google News can be. In Google Web search people need to search for you. They need to know to search. They need to find the time to do it. With Google News that's not true. Google News suggests content to people. It's not just about all the traffic Google News can generate (lots and lots) it is about Google News' ability to put your content under the noses of people with a high propensity to link and share.

Today, Google's announced more powerful +1s on Google News. There's a new feature on Google News for anyone signed in - I have it already. The established "Spotlight" feature has been expanded so that it shows you what your friends (Gmail contacts and Circles) are +1'ing.

The homepage "widget" works as Google describes. You can see it in the screen grab with this blog post.

You can click on the Spotlight header, though, and if you do you'll wind up on a page like this. That's interesting. At a glance I can't decide whether that's content generated from +1s or not. I certainly not see any connections or recommendations annotations. That's a bit of a shame as that Spotlight page has an RSS. I'd love an RSS feed of my friends recommendations.

The title of this blog post is about driving Search and Social together.

Modern SEO needs to look at a large number of signals; not just titles, h1 tags and links and more than just adding social signals in there too. It's very clear that social signals are impactful. SEO campaigns are at their best when they can show content worthy of sharing to people with a tendency to share.

This is exactly what the +1 progress is doing here. It's ever more important to produce content that people want to +1 publicly.

This Google News integration also show cases how simple collections of sock puppets won't successfully game Google. Sock puppets won't read Google News and react to shares from their Circles. Only real people will do that.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Using IFTTT to cope with @breakingnewsuk

Last night the famous Twitter account @breakingnews (circa 3,300,000 followers) launched in the UK.

This is Breaking News' first international expansion. The local (London) team are @Journodave (Dave Wyllie) and @TomMcArthur (Tom McArthur). They will both trebble their Twitter followers in 3, 2, 1 ...

Interestingly, Breaking News UK has launched in partnership with MSN and you can see the BreakingNews.com scrollbox on their UK site.

This gives me a challenge. I'm addicted to news. I follow too many people on Twitter to be sure to get the BreakingNewsUK tweets at the speed I would need to get the news while it was still super hot and Twitter breaking.

Should I set up SMS alerts? Each Tweet the account gives - I could get an SMS. I wouldn't miss much then. Only Edinburgh Airport has that relationship with me so far. A glance at BreakingNewsUK makes it clear that SMS is not the way forward. It's too active. My phone would buzz too often.

I turned to IFTTT. I love that site. If that happens then this. A rule based response to the internet.

I've created a rule that feeds each tweet from BreakingNewsUK to me via a Google Talk message.


The output of that rule depends on whether I'm looking at Gmail or Google+ or not. If I have a tab open with one of those two then I'll get an alert message.


If they're offline then I'll get an email summary.


So, okay, I'm not geting the breaking news at Twitter speed all the time - just when I'm ready for it. Let's see how the experiement goes!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Beyond the Search Box

Last week Criteo ran a fantastic event in London that looked at the evolving Display landscape and how the media mix was changing.

The opening note came from Russell Davies, Head of Planning at R/GA London, and was fantastic. He ran through a handful of thoughtful examples of the expanding connectivity the world offers.

In particular, I found the colour stealing robots in the window of Uniqlo to be charmingly cute in their theft. Those robots feature in a 4 minute video from Dentsu London. Hmm, okay, perhaps some of this video is rather deadpan in presentation but I think the whole thing is worth a watch (the Uniqlo bots are towards the end).



I've put my own collection of slides up on Slideshare. Not sure how much sense they make without heavy notes but I think the overall suggestion of a vision is there! I was asked to talk about search beyond the search box and how to get more value from your search campaign if your own efforts had started to plateau.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The future digital agency: Catvertising

I write about the future of digital advertising on this blog. Sometimes I write about search, sometimes about affiliate marketing, display, TV, AR or something else new and shiny. There's nothing newer and more shiny than catvertising.

I can walk you through the stats myself but this video - which features and Cannes Lion - does a much better job than I ever could.

Ask yourself; does carvertising feature in your marketing mix? No? You've done it wrong.



Some of my favourite stills from that video are:




The new face of PPC

I was testing to see whether Google+ Pages create annotations in Google's search results.

They do.

The screen grab I'm including in this blog post starts with a geeky blog entry I wrote about a cake that looks like a NES. You can see my author markup all around it. Below that you can see that Geek Native shared the post. That annotation shows up despite the fact that the post comes from the blog associated with the Google+ Page in the first place. You could argue the annotation is redundant. Does this mean that just having a G+P can positively impact your clickthrough rates?

That's not the reason for this blog post, though. There's still plenty of testing to do with G+Ps. The reason for this blog post is the presence and position of the PPC ads. There are three of them for this SERP.

None of the PPC ads appear at the top of the page. None of the PPC ads appear at the side of the page.

All of the PPC ads for this search appear at the bottom of the page. Wow. Isn't this a very different Google?


What's the logic here? None of these ads are good enough to show on the side but Google will squeeze them in at the bottom of the page anyway? Are their bidding software out there who think they've got ads in positions #1, #2 and #3? They're in for a shock.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The incomplete Google Direct alphabet

Google Direct could be huge. It could train millions of searchers to put a +sign before a brand term and speed their way directly to an official Google+ Page.

Google Direct has been out for less than 48 hours, for many people, at this point in time. It's perhaps a little too early to check out the Google Direct alphabet but I thought it would be interesting to see how it unfolds and whether it'll be a first-come-first-win battle.

Some disclaimers: these searches happened on Google.com, from an Edinburgh UK IP address and with personalised results on.


























As you can see - there are some big letters that are still to score a single Google Direct connection.

Fox News and Phoenix Suns are the current leaders. Geeks will notice that DC Comics aren't in the top two for D (they're third) but Marvel makes it in for M. Let the very rough comic wars continue!

Happy hunting!


Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Did Google break the most important site on the web?

I live in Google Reader. It’s my most important site.

Sure, search is important and I use Google web search a lot - a captcha inducing amount. If Google web search breaks there’s always Bing. If Gmail breaks then I can dust off my old but still paid-for Hotmail account or go play with Yahoo Mail.

Google Reader has no such powerful alternative. They all died trying to compete with old Google Reader. My Google Reader follows me from work to home and everywhere I travel. It syncs with my Google account. It’s the home for my dozens of custom built RSS feeds. My Google Reader is connected to my ifttt.com account.

My Google Reader lives on my Android mobile. As I read posts on my mobile they’re marked as read on my web client.

It’s this portability and interoperability together that have me conclude Google Reader is not replaceable. It is home to hundreds of feeds.

I knew a reskin for Google Reader was coming up. I knew we would lose the social sharing functions and I was prepared for it. It would be a shame to lose the curated findings from gaming and digital thought leaders I followed – but at least I’d still have Google Reader. It would be a shame to lose the ability to share out via RSS – but at least I’d still have Google Reader. It would be a shame to lose the ability to mark items as “liked”, only because I liked following the feeds of interesting discoveries – but at least we’d still have Google Reader.

After all, this new Google Reader was supposed to integrate with Google+ and that could well turn out to be useful. I’m a fan of Google+.

Sadly, we seem to have gotten the worst of two options. For a start the new Google Reader is not integrated with Google+. We may no longer even have a functional Google Reader.

You cannot add authors discovered in Google Reader straight to your Circles. You cannot even click to their Profiles.

There is no social sharing in Google Reader. Yes, there’s the +1 button but that’s a basic integration that was already available by Chrome extensions or Google Reader’s in-built “Share with” option. In fact, the black bar nav has a sharing option too.

I’m prepared to live with the fact that the new Google Reader does not look as nice as the old and that it seems less able to present data in a clear and clean way.

What bugs me the most about the new Reader is that as I scroll down through posts they’re not marked as read. Click the up and down read arrows has equally no effect. Posts remain unread. I’ve turned my Chrome extensions on and off. I’ve re-set and set settings.

I’m just not clear what Google was hoping to achieve with this ‘upgrade’. Wasn’t the sharing data valuable for improving their algorithms? Wasn’t the connection data between users who wanted to share and read discoveries useful for Google+? Did they want to loose the "shared in Google Reader" annotations from their natural search results?

Why is it so hard to mark a post as read in the new Google Reader? Surely this must be some conflict I’ve yet to nail down despite all my testing.

One messed up Google Reader

Update: I've continued my testing and I think it's the OneTrueFan Chrome extension that's stopping the read count from working. OTF was bought by BigDoor a few months back so I'm not expecting them to resolve this issue.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Spotify promoting Batman: Arkham City

This was a concept I toyed with - but have been beaten too. Some savvy marketer has worked with Spotify's licensing team (seperate from their advertising team) to get the musical score to the computer game Batman: Arkham City on the What's New recommendations page. You can checkout the playlist with this Spotify playlist.

Is it any good? Well. I've listened to movie scores while I've worked before - can be useful to conjure up the right mood. In every case I'd seen the movie before and I just don't have the time to risk a Batman: Arkham City addiction so I've not yet played the game. Tried to listen through this score but gave up. However, as this the Halloween season I suspect more than a few people will clue up and use this recommendation to play music for a party this weekend.


Friday, October 28, 2011

A punchd in the face for Groupon

Google eased access restrictions to Punchd. This is a QR code based loyalty system that’s entirely free to businesses up until they have more than 50 customers on it.

It’s not a voucher system. It’s loyalty. Rather than discounting in order to get disloyal customers in, loyalty systems reward customers for coming back again and again. In the past loyalty programs have been hard to manage as they require on-going paperwork whereas discount systems could be a one-off when budgets allow. Something like Punchd, though, changes that.



Once again I’m reminded of my conclusions from A4U this year. Voucher and even cashback sites are moving towards loyalty. Loyalty is a 2012 prediction for me.

I was also reminded of a local event up here in Edinburgh. Independently owned and business savvy tex-mex Illegal Jacks used Facebook to simply arrange a big discount day – on a Tuesday. This is within Facebook’s T&Cs as no one had to like anything; it was just a case of seeing what the interest levels were and if enough people indicated they were up for a Tuesday burrito then that was good.

Some loyal customer was inspired to make a cheesy ad. If you couldn’t see the obvious threat to Groupon then the name of the day “Group Off” makes it pretty clear. Also, it speaks to the loyalty of customers that anyone would be inspired to mock up an ad for their local eatery too.


Why pay Groupon a large chunk of the profits and perhaps not win a single new or loyal customer when you can do it for free via Facebook. Sure, Groupon guarantees money (providing they have the cash themselves) whereas the Facebook approach runs the risk of people saying they are interested and then not turning up. The risk/reward balance, to me, seems firmly in Facebook’s favour.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Volkswagen Canada and their impressive Beetle AR ad

I like the tagline here; "After all, the advertising should be as impressive as the car".

I think it's impressive advertising but I'm a geek who works in advertising. I'm longing to see AR take off, become mainstream and as that it'll help it become useful and open to a wider range of people.

The app is apparently at this address www.vwjuicedup.ca. I was surprised when that redirected to iTunes. No Android app, really? The ad agency is Pixel Pusher and this will certainly get them some attention.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Chris Poole on prismatic identity at Web 2.0 Summit

Moot, or Chris Poole to the media, is the founder of 4chan and Canvas. He's best known for being an advocate of privacy and anonymity for the web. However, in this short Web 2.0 speech Moot rather clarifies his position. He's an advocate of choice.

I love the concept of "prismatic identity" - and he's right. We do have different aspects to or identity. Sure; I'm a gamer and a digital marketing geek - you could target me with either gamer ads or digital marketing stuff, it'll work, I'll also tell you that it's best to talk to me about digital marketing when that's where my mind set is rather than allow some audience targeting ad exchange to inject ads for dodgy link tools into the gaming blogs I read. Understanding identity is important.

As customer loyalty becomes a red hot issue I think understanding identity will rise importance too.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

A4U Expo London the 2011 write up

I enjoyed my two days at A4U Expo this year. Affiliate marketing was worth about £5bn last year and will grow again this year. This is the “channel” that uses search, display and social within itself while pushing analytical insight.

For me, the two hot themes of the conference are Loyalty and Transparency.

Transparency

Everyone wants everyone else to be more transparent in affiliate marketing.

I genuinely do want to see an industry standard for an API from the networks data warehouses and I’d love for that API to be nice and robust. It makes complete sense to me that networks can %100 justify technology fees and overrides with the development of such a useful asset.

However, I also appreciate that the networks do work hard to show the value they offer beyond tracking, reporting and payment and I appreciate being able to offer extra special analytical insight might be part of that and that’s why networks might not want to be a free-for-all data bucket.

A special shout-out has to go to Helen Southgate and Affiliate Window who put together a particularly transparent (impressively so) presentation on Sky’s affiliate stats. Sadly, it’s missing vital SEO data but if we push that aside for now we’ve got some valuable data for comparison and understanding.


Something has to move on transparency otherwise next year’s A4U will roll around and we’ll find ourselves watching presentations in which networks, affiliates and networks present each other’s data only to discover that the co-owners of that data had no idea it was even available.

Loyalty

As you might expect there was much discussion around the value that affiliates such as voucher or cashback sites offered. Even from these quarters I picked up the suggestions that even powerhouses like Vouchercloud and Quidco were moving towards more of a loyalty model.

It was said again and again that loyalty would be a focus of attention for many brands going forwards. This is not just in areas like mobile, broadband, banking, etc where the brands have to fight to retain customers as new customers are scarce but also in wider retail, hospitality and travel areas too.

The challenge is that people are increasingly viewing brands as commodities – companies offer pretty much the same thing. People also understand that most companies are in it to make money not to offer the best service they could possibly do so. This problem has been fuelled by brands teaching people to expect discounts.

I think this is where we’ll see the blending of what we might currently call “social” with what we call “affiliate”. The new model will reward people for staying loyal rather than offering a discount for an one off purchase.

The video wasn’t shown at A4U but I was reminded of Hyper Island’s David Erixon’s views on value as it appeared on YouTube as the expo started.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Affiliates prefer usability to cash

Bigmouthmedia has just published some of the insights from our second survey of UK affiliates. There was an iPad 2 up for grabs and the survey received plenty of responses.

The design of the survey was to let us ask useful questions about the here and now in order to better inform our affiliate management but some questions do allow for a “last year / this year” comparison. In particular, I found the comparison of what affiliates wanted the most from last year to this to be useful.

Each year affiliates could have asked for more cash – higher commission – as their number one request. Once again the affiliate community has rejected that in favour of working with brand sites that are better at converting traffic to sales.

It makes sense; a site may double its commission from 3% to 6% but that makes no difference if only a tiny number of visitors to the site actually become customers.


Bigmouthmedia's 2011 Affiliate Survey

By the way; what do you think of the panda? :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Google Translate is now 14 types of awesome

It's all too easy to be impressed by technology these days. I don't think that's a bad thing. I think it's important to be able to take a step back, consider what you've just seen and release - that was awesome.

Here's an example; Google Translate with Conversation Mode (for Android). It's almost Star Trek like in its technology and yet, if you have the right phone, you can have it today.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Is this the first Google Motorola ad?

I've not seen any ads for Motorola on UK TV or rising to my attention on the internet since Google bought Motorola Mobility. That raises the question: is this the first Google Motorola ad?

If it is... what do you make of it? A clear message? Reasons to buy? That stuff.

Dr Pepper 10 bans women and net savvy men

The latest drink from Dr Pepper isn't for women. It's only 10 calories but those are some manly calories. I think this is the first Dr Pepper social media campaign since they had to apologise for a rogue social media agency and 2 girls - 1 cup.

Now, as much as I love Coca-Cola, I'm not a fan of Dr Pepper. What's the worst that could happen? I might swallow some.

Their latest social media campaign highlights that women are banned. Their Facebook page blocks women.


Here's the thing - I'm blocked too.

Perhaps Dr Pepper sense's I'm not a fan, suspects I'm a troll and is blocking me from their page. Or it could be that they're another one a string of brands to release Facebook pages that don't work under HTTPS. I, like many (I hope), tell Facebook only to operate under HTTPS.

Perhaps Dr Pepper 10 isn't for digital savvy men either?