Archive for May, 2012

Mobile Phone Shoppers Show Growing Preference for Text Marketing

May 20th, 2012 No comments
One in five respondents has made an online purchase on a mobile phone

The maturation of the mobile phone market has put a powerful shopping tool in the hands of an ever-growing number of consumers. And recent research shows that they are taking full advantage of it.

According to a February 2012 survey of online US adult mobile phone owners commissioned by advertising company Placecast and conducted by Harris Interactive, one in five mobile phone owners has made a purchase online via their device. Unsurprisingly, smartphone owners were more likely to make mobile purchases than feature phone owners. But the poll also revealed that consumers were most often using mobile phones to facilitate their in-person shopping—half of smartphone users said they had used a phone-based GPS or mapping tool to find a store’s brick-and-mortar location.

Overall, US consumers are steadily embracing the idea of making purchases on their mobile phones. The survey found that the percentage of people who thought it was at least somewhat important to be able to make a purchase on their mobile phone had climbed to 38% in 2012, compared with 30% in 2010. But despite those gains, the vast majority of respondents, 62%, still said it wasn’t important at all for them to be able to make purchases on their mobile phones.

The number of shoppers interested in receiving promotional texts has also climbed in recent years. As of February 2012, 31% of US mobile phone owners who did not already receive SMS message-based marketing said they were at least somewhat interested in such messages. And 10% said they were extremely interested in SMS messages. Those marketers who can formulate well-crafted mobile offers for those seeking them will likely drive both mcommerce, as well as in-store sales.

eMarketer estimates that mobile phone penetration will reach 76.8% of the US population in 2012. By 2016, smartphones users are expected to account for 74% of all US mobile phone users.
Article originally published on
Categories: e-commerce, mobile Tags:

Facebook Page Manager App

May 16th, 2012 No comments

One of the gripes that I have about Facebook’s mobile apps are that the service has simply too many features to pack into one mobile experience.

I was really stoked when Facebook Messenger was released, because it made complete sense to focus in on that feature with a really great separate product.According to 9to5mac, it looks like Facebook is peeling off more features into separate apps that might take the stress off of the company to pack everything in too tightly.

The notification of a new app called “Pages Manager” is presenting itself to those with access to the Australian App Store for iOS, offering users to install it separately:

atcpudbcqamvgrh 520x405 Facebook launches dedicated Pages Manager app, making it easy to, well...

If you manage pages for work, school, or for other organizations that you’re involved with, it looks like you’ll be able to handle that process in an isolated mobile app experience. By focusing on managing Pages, it allows you to not have to mix “business and pleasure”, as it were.

We’ve reached out to Facebook to see when the app would be more widely available to its users.

UPDATE: Thanks to our reader Josie, here’s a look at the app in action:

photo 13 520x780 Facebook launches dedicated Pages Manager app, making it easy to, well...   photo 21 520x780 Facebook launches dedicated Pages Manager app, making it easy to, well...

photo 3 520x780 Facebook launches dedicated Pages Manager app, making it easy to, well...   photo 4 520x780 Facebook launches dedicated Pages Manager app, making it easy to, well...

Original Article Posted Here

Categories: Facebook Tags:

Beyond Adwords – 4 other search services you should know about.

May 15th, 2012 No comments

While there’s no arguing with the fact that Google’s Adwords program is the dominant player in the PPC industry, it’s by no means the only option when it comes to paying for website traffic.

In fact, the size of the Google Adwords program creates a number of challenges for “small-time” webmasters. The service’s immense popularity has resulted in extreme competition, driving up keyword bid prices and lowering ad placements for sites running on smaller budgets.

If you’ve been struggling to gain traction on this highly competitive network, take a look at the following PPC alternatives for generating paid traffic.

Alternative #1 – Facebook Paid Ads

Advertising on Facebook’s Paid Ads platform (whose “Sponsored Stories” typically appear in user profile sidebars) can be a mixed bag.

On the one hand, Facebook’s Paid Ads program provides much better targeting features than Google Adwords, enabling merchants to target users according to a number of different criteria, including age, gender, hobbies, geographic areas and more.

However, user engagement on the site is notoriously low. While some marketers speculate that the limited number of characters granted to advertisers account for these limitations, a much more likely explanation for the universally low clickthrough rates seen on the site is ad burnout.

Because Facebook users have been trained to gloss over advertisement sections on the site, your message must be truly captivating in order to draw clicks. Take a look at my article 3 Steps To Combat Image Fatigue In Facebook for more information on this.

If you do decide to pursue advertising opportunities on this site, remember that it’s nearly all about the image you position alongside your ad text. To stand out from the blur of other features on the site, select the most eye-catching graphic possible – even if it isn’t entirely related to your ad text.

For more information on this, take a look at my article called 3 Types of Image Ads That Work. In addition, choose your targeting options carefully to ensure that your promotions are seen only by the audience members to whom they’re most relevant.

Alternative #2 – LinkedIn DirectAds

Overall, LinkedIn’s DirectAds platform functions more like Facebook’s Paid Ads than Google’s Adwords, in that this PPC alternative also allows you to target the specific users who will see your advertisements within the LinkedIn website, based on their stated criteria.

Unfortunately, LinkedIn’s advertising program isn’t for the faint of heart – or the small of budget. Clicks through DirectAds promotions cost a minimum of $2/click, and although advertisers can set minimum daily budgets of $10/day, language contained in the site’s Terms of Service allows LinkedIn to exceed set limits by as much as 20%, depending on ad performance. Left unchecked, these overages could easily total thousands of dollars a month.

Given these financial ramifications, use caution when enrolling in the LinkedIn DirectAds program. Take the time to analyze LinkedIn’s core demographics to determine whether the site’s users are a good match for your ads.

In addition, because the DirectAds program provides very little information on how or when your promotions are displayed, you may also find it necessary to invest in a third-party bid measurement program to maintain a positive ROI in relation to the site’s high bid prices.

Alternative #3 – Kontera

In general, Kontera is best known for its in-text advertisements, which appear as linked content within Internet articles, blog posts and more. But besides these contextual link ads, the company also offers social media promotion services, editorial advertisements and mobile solutions, though few objective reviews are available on the efficacy of these newer service offerings.

When considering this PPC alternative, be aware that many users seriously dislike the way in-text Kontera ads display on their favorite websites. In fact, a Google search for the company’s brand name turns up as many results asking, “How do I get rid of Kontera ads?” as it does news articles praising the company’s traffic-generation services.

In addition, reviews of Kontera’s in-text ad service by industry figures aren’t that promising when it comes to ad relevancy. Consider the following ad placement that prominent Internet marketing blogger Chris Guthrie received while testing Kontera on one of his sites:

As an advertiser, it’s imperative that you know your promotions are being displayed to the best possible candidates. But for now, my verdict is to stay away from Kontera. Despite the site’s wide reach and generally low click charges, the quality of its placements simply isn’t high enough to justify its savings over other PPC alternatives.

Alternative #4 – StumbleUpon Paid Discovery

One final alternative PPC program that deserves mention is StumbleUpon’s Paid Discovery program, which is unique from the other options discussed here in that it does not require users to click on an advertisement in order to participate.

To understand Paid Discovery, we must first understand how StumbleUpon’s traditional service works. Essentially, users who are interested in discovering new Web content install the StumbleUpon browser toolbar, which randomly serves up pages designed to match their stated interests and past preferences. Paid Discovery allows advertisers to “cut in line,” introducing their content into the StumbleUpon stream ahead of other recommended pages.

But is it worth it? In many cases, no. StumbleUpon traffic performance is often quite poor when it comes to conversions; because users are simply being served pages instead of actively clicking chosen ads, their motivation to engage further with an advertiser’s site is often limited.

On the other hand, the service does have some interesting potential when it comes to link building, brand awareness expansion and social media marketing.

If you have established metrics in these areas through which you can measure the impact of StumbleUpon’s Paid Discovery service on your website’s success, the program could be worth a try.

Of course, these are only a few of the different PPC alternative sites available today. If you’ve had particular success with another option, share your results in the comment section below.

Original Article published on by Mona Elesseily

Categories: paid search, ppc, sem Tags:

Yamaha Sees Huge Growth in Traffic to Mobile Sites

May 10th, 2012 No comments

By Chantal Tode

May 10, 2012

YamahaThe Yamaha mobile site

Yamaha saw its mobile traffic jump 300 percent in a year after launching two HTML5-based mobile sites for its watercraft vehicles.

The recreational vehicle manufacturer wanted to create a unique mobile experience that would engage consumers, drive interest and sales for its Waverunners and boats while also enhancing brand perception. The company settled on creating two HTML5-based mobile sites to showcase products in an innovative way that would mirror the brand’s own high-quality engineering and reach the broadest audience possible.

“Giving users a really unique experience on the mobile Web – that contributed to the growth of the site and people staying on the site a lot longer over time,” said Naushad Huda, CEO of Xtopoly, Santa Ana, CA. “It has to do with how deep the site is and how easy it is to explore and go through the site.

“Whether consumers are out and about or not, we want to make sure that the experience is a rich-enough experience that they get the information they want through the rich media and social interactions on the site,” he said.

Streamlined interface
Yamaha worked with mobile interactive agency Xtopoly to create the mobile sites.

The mobile Web sites were part of a holistic marketing effort intended to create a seamless, consistent experience for consumers no matter what platform they use to access the brand.

The goals for the site include educating consumers about the products whenever and wherever they want while showing off Yamaha’s cutting-edge technology in watercraft.

The sites, and, feature touch technology, animation and a lot of rich media.

The streamlined interface is optimized to perform like an app while device and feature detection technology is used to dynamically deliver an experience that is optimized for each device.

The sites are a departure from the standard vertical design seen in mobile sites that have stacked navigation menus. Instead, the sites use animation and dynamic movement in navigation menus that feature pop-up boxes to maximize screen space.

Menu items includes a section showcasing the different models, links to YouTube, Facebook or to tweet as well as the latest news and events from Yamaha.

Cutting-edge marketing
Yamaha has been testing the mobile waters for several years. It started with SMS campaigns three-and-a-half years ago and created its first mobile optimized site in 2010.

With the majority of mobile users coming from an iOS or Android device, Yamaha decided to provide these smartphone users with a richer experience that would take advantage of some of the features inherent to smartphones and which consumers have become accustomed to, such as the ability to swipe to move things around.

Because the new mobile sites are HTML5 based and can be relatively easily updated, Yamaha will save costs in future content and revisions.

“The consumer’s experience with Yamaha should always be cutting edge and a mobile site really speaks to that story, that Yamaha is a cutting-edge brand with its products and its marketing efforts show that,” Mr. Huda said.

Associate Editor Chantal Tode covers advertising, messaging, legal/privacy and database/CRM. Reach her at

Categories: mobile, mobile website Tags:

Atlassian and Apple.

May 8th, 2012 No comments

By Mark Fidelman

imageThere are only 3 enterprise-gradetechnology products I’ve ever seen that sell themselves. Two of them are from Apple; the other is from Atlassian. How many Apple salespeople have ever called you to sell you the iPhone, or iPad?  Zero. How many Atlassian salespeople have called  to sell you Confluence? You guessed it – zero.

If you believe as Marc Andreeson does, thatsoftware is eating the world, then Atlassian is its Chef.  Atlassian is the house of collaboration, the software equivalent of the world renown restaurant Alinea.  Where its software gastronomy, like Alinea’s food science, come together in unspoiled unison.

They serve a variety of selections, but my favorite is Confluence.  The company delivers that product to the masses, but it embodies and is prepared for the developer. They make code development seem less difficult and more like it’s being willed into existence. Its goal is to satisfy the appetites of software creators.

But Atlassian’s workmanship is better explained in business terms than in culinary ones, and no one is more qualified than Jay Simons, Atlassian’s President, to translate, “We’re growing like gangbusters because our mission is to provide a social platform that allows people to build software better.”

Have no illusions, their products may not win any design contests, but they are so easy to use that they’re flooding the world’s businesses with collaborative software. It’s everywhere. Pervading nearly every project manager, developer, and technical communicator  – seducing code, tasks, text, and images from its creators.  All functioning to swiftly collaborate, track, document and ship software code.

I asked Ellen Feaheny of AppFusions, one of Atlassian’s strategic partners about their success, she told me: “I really think their success is that they have the right product offering, right pricing, right low barriers to purchase, all at the right time,” then she added, “I know everyone makes a big deal out of the no-salesperson thing, but I believe their sales success is the result of nurturing their dedicated customer, partner and development ecosystem.”

Atlassian Culture – Everybody Loves a Winner

In business and in life, success breeds extraordinary performance and  extraordinary performance breeds more success. Nothing demonstrates that more than Atlassian’s culture. With a 100% Glassdoor ranking, Co-CEOs Scott Farquh and Mike Cannon Brooks, have created an organizational culture that nurtures employees, customers and suppliers.  And it’s paid off.

Confluence, <spanmargin-top: 0px; margin-right: auto; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: auto; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 1px; padding-bottom: 1px; padding-left: 1px; border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 18px; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); max-width: 100%; display: block; float: left; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; Take Web and Technical CommunicatorSarah Maddox as an example. Maddox thought so much of the Confluence product, that she recently wrote her acclaimed book Confluence, Tech Comm, Chocolate on it. How many employees have you seen that have named a book after the product and company they work for?

So what does Atlassian’s success reveal about the company ethos? When I asked Simons to describe it, he told me it was like how, “Jeff Bezos sails the ship in the right direction and the right speed whether there are quarterly earnings consequences or not. He just does the right things for the company.”

I pressed him for details, and revealed a few minor but important things the organization does to keep its customers happy.  Here are 7 of them:

1. They have a transparent pricing model. It’s always on the web, so their customers don’t need to call them. Point, click, buy and use.

2. Like Home Depot, give people tools that are easy to use and allow people to build their own solutions. Then, constantly improve the self-service model.

3. Every time a product question is asked by a customer, Atlassian engineers see it as a challenge to fix in the product or to make a quick update to the documentation.

4. Put up useful content on the web for free. They don’t use forms to slow people down. “Really good white papers will sell the product; no need for a form,” Simons said.

5. They’ve ingrained the engineering mindset in their culture. Keep things simple so that people can create software magic. Simons: “Our model doesn’t work at Jive Software.”

6. Always be testing. They  a/b test just about everything and look at conversion rates to determine if a feature, piece of content, or web page are effective.

7. Make their marketplace (enterprise app store) painless. They invested a lot in embedding the marketplace in their products for quick and easy installation.

I asked Simons if a potential IPO would disrupt the culture and Atlassian’s relationship with customers and partners.  Simons said he didn’t think so. I heard, “I don’t believe it will affect us,” — his tone said, “It’s not going to affect us”.

Maybe it’s because really great companies care about what they are trying to accomplish. They care about solving the problems of their customers without getting in their way. They care about delivering a remarkable experience without complexity. They care about open, transparent communication with their employees and partners.

That doesn’t sound like fortune cookie philosophy to me.

Article originally appeared in Forbes and is Written by Mark Fidelman

Original article available here.

Categories: Apple, Design Tags:

Facebook Privacy Controls?

May 7th, 2012 No comments

Investigation Looks at Data Collection through the Biggest Social Network; Nine Ways for Consumers to Protect Themselves

June 2012 CoverYONKERS, NY — Nearly 13 million U.S. Facebook users do not use, or are not aware of the site’s privacy controls, according to a new Consumer Reports investigation on Facebook and privacy, potentially exposing  personal information beyond their network of Facebook friends.  The report also revealed that a projected 4.8 million people have posted about where they planned to go on a certain day, a potential tip-off to burglars, while 4.7 million have “liked” a Facebook page about health conditions or treatments, details that insurers might use against them.

The full report can be found in the June 2012 issue of Consumer Reports and online at

The Consumer Reports investigation focused on Facebook as it is the largest social network with just over 900 million users worldwide and more than 150 million users in the U.S.  The service makes it easy for people to keep up with friends, family and colleagues, discover great content, and connect to causes. Consumer Reports notes that to deliver this service, Facebook and other social networks collect enormous amounts of often highly sensitive information and distribute it widely and quickly.

Consumer Reports points out that all of this data collection is not without risks. A projected seven million households using Facebook said they had trouble last year, ranging from someone using their log-in without permission to being harassed or threatened – up 30 percent from the previous year, according to the Consumer Reports Annual State of the Net survey.  And unless an individual has chosen their privacy settings meticulously, one of their friends who runs an app could grant it access to their information without their knowledge, including information that was set to “friends” only view. Only 37 percent of users say they have used the site’s privacy tools to customize how much information apps are allowed to see, according to the Consumer Reports survey.

“Facebook really is changing the way the world socially communicates and has become a successful service in part by leveraging copious amounts of personal data that can be spread far wider than its users might realize,” said Jeff Fox, Consumer Reports Technology Editor. “Our investigation revealed some fascinating, and some disquieting trends – but ones always worth knowing for consumers who wish to keep their personal data under better control.”

What does Facebook know?  Americans feed all kinds of personal details into Facebook’s vast database by posting status updates on their “wall,” updating their profile, “liking a  page,”  or  using  other
Facebook features. The numbers below show how many people engaged in each activity during the past 12 months, based on projections from the Consumer Reports State of the Net survey:

  • 39.3 million identified a family member in a profile
  • 20.4 million included their birth date and year in their profile
  • 7.7 million “liked” a Facebook page pertaining to a religious affiliation
  • 4.6 million discussed their love life on their wall
  • 2.6 million discussed their recreational use of alcohol on their wall
  • 2.3 million “liked” a page regarding sexual orientation

While some privacy or security issues arise from poor choices Facebook users themselves make, other problems can stem from the ways the company collects data, how it manages and packages its privacy controls, and the fact that users’ data can wind up with people or companies with whom they did not intend to share. Some users might be surprised to know that Facebook gets a report every time they visit a site with a “Like” button, regardless of whether or not they click on that button, have a Facebook account, or are even logged in.

For its part, Facebook says it takes privacy and safety issues seriously. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that the company does privacy access checks tens of billions of times each day. The company has also announced that it would offer users greater access to records of their past Facebook activity. In addition, it says it watches vigilantly for apps that misbehave. According to a company spokesperson, “We have a dedicated team that reviews apps using a risk-based approach to ensure we address the biggest risks, rather than just doing a cursory review at the time an app is first launched.”

Better protections.  Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, wants a national privacy law that holds all companies to the same privacy standards and lets consumers tell companies not to track them online.  It also supports the Obama administration’s effort to bring industry and privacy groups together to set clear rules for how personal data is collected and used. Additionally, Consumers Union launched a petition urging Facebook to improve privacy controls and address concerns about sharing practices. The petition is highlighted in a CU policy ad appearing in Politico which can be found

It addition to the privacy safeguards that Facebook already has in place, Consumer Reports notes that the company could also fix a security lapse that permits users to set up weak passwords including some six-letter dictionary words. And it could help users avoid inadvertently sharing status updates with the public, either by alerting them more prominently when they are about to do so or by changing the default audience for posts to the user’s preferred audience.

Nine ways to stay protected. Facebook offers many privacy controls that may not be easy for layfolk to understand.  A new study by Siegel+Gale, New York-based consultants, finds that Facebook’s and Google’s privacy policies are tougher to comprehend than the typical bank credit card agreement. Below are nine tips from Consumer Reports that will help users understand and utilize privacy tools:

  • Think before typing. Even if a user deletes his/her account (which takes Facebook about a month), some info can remain in Facebook’s computers for up to 90 days.
  • Regularly check Facebook exposure. Each month, users should check out how their page looks to others. Review individual privacy settings if necessary.
  • Protect basic information. Set the audience for profile items, such as town or employer. And users should remember: Sharing info with “friends of friends” could expose them to tens of thousands.
  • Know what can’t be protected. Each user’s name and profile picture are public. To protect one’s identity, they should not use a photo, or use one that doesn’t show their face.
  • “UnPublic” the wall. Set the audience for all previous wall posts to just friends.
  • Turn off Tag Suggest. If users would rather not have Facebook automatically recognize their face in photos, they could disable that feature in their privacy settings. The information will be deleted.
  • Block apps and sites that snoop. Unless users intercede, friends can share personal information about them with apps. To block that, they should use controls to limit the info apps can see.
  • Keep wall posts from friends. Users don’t have to share every wall post with every friend. They can also keep certain people from viewing specific items in their profile.
  • When all else fails, deactivate. When a user deactivates their account, Facebook retains their profile data but the account is made temporarily inaccessible. Deleting an account, on the other hand, makes it inaccessible forever.
Categories: Facebook Tags:

Mobile Apps – Fun or Functional?

May 7th, 2012 No comments

Latest research shows how preferences for apps differ for smartphone and tablet owners.

London, 3 May 2012 New research by leading online research provider, Lightspeed Research (part of Kantar and WPP) shows social apps such as Facebook are used most frequently by smartphone owners with almost three quarters (73%) accessing social networks through apps daily and a further 19% at least weekly. By contrast, tablet owners are more likely to use functional apps such as business apps (63%) or finance / banking apps (56%) daily rather than social networking apps (32%), indicating that usage patterns of smartphones and tablet users are different.

Fun or functional?
The top three most used kinds of apps on a smartphone are social networking, news and weather. By comparison, for tablet owners the top three are games, business, and finance & banking.

Paid-for apps in demand, particularly by iPhone owners
Smartphone users are still willing to pay a premium for apps with 48% of all smartphone respondents reporting a mixture of both paid-for and free apps. However when this is split by device, iPhone users are significantly more likely to have a mixture of paid-for and free apps than Android users (71% v 35%).

Amongst those who have at least some paid-for apps on their phone, two thirds (66%) have paid for up to 30% of their apps, but only one in five (23%)has paid for 50% or more of their apps.

The most popular app price point is £3 or less
More than two thirds (69%) of smartphone or tablet owners who use paid-for apps have paid not more than £3 for an app. However the research reveals that one in ten smartphone or tablet users has paid more than £5 for an app, indicating that there is some level of demand for premium priced apps. Tablet owners spend more on apps than smartphone owners: 19% had spent more than £30 on them in the past six months. Just over one in four (42%) tablet owners had spent less than £10 in total buying apps over the past six months.

Multiscreen use increasingly popular
Nearly a third (31%) of smartphone or tablet users agree that they’re less likely to be paying 100% of their attention to the TV when its on – they’ll normally be using their smartphone or tablet at the same time, indicating that advertising on the variety of screens available to consumers is increasingly important for brands.

Ralph Risk, Marketing Director Europe says “It is clear that smartphone and tablet users are multi-taskers, with many using their devices to browse the web and update social networks whilst taking part in other activities, like watching TV. But with the different content usage and take-up rates on smartphones compared to tablets, brands and marketers need to ensure that they are providing apps that meet the different needs of consumers when using those two devices, be that business, gaming or social. ”


For press enquiries please contact:
Ralph Risk, Marketing Director Europe – Lightspeed Research Tel +44 (0)20 7896 1950 / +44 (0)7876 507689
Lucy Green, Greenfields Communications T: 07817 698366

About Lightspeed Research
Lightspeed Research is part of Kantar, the information insight and consultancy division of WPP.Lightspeed Research delivers valuable data to help clients make informed business decisions. With proprietary online panels throughout the world, our verified, engaged, and deeply profiled survey respondents can support research studies that vary in scope and complexity. Lightspeed Research’s expert Client Operations Team offers data collection services including survey design, sample management, programming and reporting. The company has offices throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia Pacific.

For more information, please visit

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