Mobile Search: How can intent or search plus the location be used for advertisers?

Hi all, this post will talk about how brands can best link user necessity with geographical targeting in the mobile world. Thrilling stuff!

From a user intent point of view, Mobile Advertising in general works better for low-consideration products that are not perceived as expensive. It is therefore more effective for immediate intent actions similar to ones that have already been mentioned (Forrester report states that Mobile Searchers typically act within an hour of searching).

To dig deeper into how advertisers can use Mobile Search alongside location functions we will focus on Mobile Search options offered by AdWords from Google, as they dominate the mobile search market (98% as demonstrated in the below chart from TechCrunch)

Google is undisputed leader in the search market, both mobile and desktop

These are the main options that can be used in AdWords in conjunction to search for location-based purposes:

LOCATION EXTENSIONS:

Based on what the user types in the search, AdWords will show a clickable banner with the option to show all locations for a particular business in Google Maps for Mobile.

This tool offers the possibility to use the logo of the business as the icon on the map which can aid brand recall. If the user clicks on the location, he or she is lead to a page with more relevant details such as address, numbers, directions, call function, etc.

CLICK TO CALL/FOR DIRECTIONS, AND FOR DISTANCE

With these functionalities users can speak directly to the to the business through the ad, find out directions or distance to the nearest store. These functionalities can bridge the gap between interactive and offline channels through.

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD APP

The ad can also be linked to iTunes store or Android Market to enable the user to download a specific app that can aid in customer experience, retention and loyalty.

OFFERS

The new ‘Offers’ ad extension, will allow a voucher code to be attached to ads for customers to redeem in their local store.

SOCIAL AND MOBILE TRENDS

This next generation search will be influenced by the two leading trends of the last few years: social and mobile. This has been promoted by the Location Based Services (LBS) that we briefly mentioned earlier

Social location-based services are virtual “check-in” services that allow people to check into physical locations, allow your contacts from social networks to know where you are. With this the user can earn rewards for his continued visits, badges, and also physical products.

So why should an advertiser/business owner care about Social LBS’s

Business owners can secure partnerships with theses location-based services to increase brand awareness, conversions (sales) and loyalty (return sales).

Through the use of LBS, advertisers can:

  • Reach out to customers near the point of sale (and invite them in with an attractive offer)
  • Acquire new customers via friend recommendations.
  • Gather valuable data for further advertising in the future.

The most successful LBS are Foursquare and Facebook places (although depending on the region others such as Dowalla, Loopt and Scvngr are also popular)

That’s all for now.

Take care amigos,

Hector

(post finished to the tune of  “Crash into me” by Dave Matthews Band)

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Crowdsourcing in MAD AVE. Wisdom of the crowds applied to Advertising

Crowdsourcing business models are extremely interesting.  From the genius Wikipedia, to the funky Threadless and the popular Tripadvisor. All these applications of collectivity in business related scenarios have many advantages and also some limitations.

Today I wanted to take a minute to ramble about the wisdom (and in this case, creative talent) of the crowds applied to the Advertising industry. We are going to briefly discuss two interesting and fully operational projects on crowdsourcing in advertising: one closer to the traditional advertising agency model, and the second one more online than not.

One of the first times I heard about applying crowdsourcing to advertising was in the Fast Company article “The future of advertising”.

In the article, as Danielle Sacks, the author, insightfully and very methodically dissects the current turmoil within the agency world, I came about the first crowdsourced agency Victor & Spoils. A new project founded by ex Crispin Porter & Bolusky veterans, this agency boasts of leveraging the power of the web and the crowd to deliver just as good creativity as any other “old school” ad agency but, cheaper (although they express it with more enthusiasm in their introductory video). So far the Victor & Spoils agency model seems to be working quite well as it has lured in some high profile brands such as Harley Davidson.

As video establishes itself as a medium in its own right, new businesses and networks that utilise the abundance of the crowds for advertising will gain more importance.

The main selling point behind these new networks is that they can offer a practically unlimited pool of talent at a reduced cost for advertisers. The web offers these networks an abundant array of designers, art directors, strategists, filmmakers, etc, who are in competition with each other to provide the best creative solution for the client’s communications needs. These professionals do not belong inside the company structure and so are only paid on a project by project basis, which reduces salaries and overheads for the crowdsourcing agencies who in turn can command reduced fees.

All of this makes it sound like the old(er) agency model could start to become less relevant, but on the other hand it also seems like quite a big change of mind-set for more traditional advertisers, who might take time to warm up to the idea of not having their creative team controlled in one place, but rather scattered in all places.

Furthermore (and I haven’t clarified this point yet) I assume doubts would arise as to the following trust related aspects of this crowd based agency model:

Confidentiality: When a brief from an advertiser is passed onto the crowd collaborators, how does the agency make sure the advertisers information is keep within the need-to-know basis? Could competitors infiltrate themselves into the crowd and find out about the company’s objectives, their strategic course? Could there be leaks of advertiser-agency information?. If so, does the risk outweigh the benefit?

Professionalism: Although undoubtedly there is a clear pool of talent that can be outsourced online, it seems logical to think that some advertisers might be reluctant to try out this system because of the grey area of collective creative that lies between professionals and amateurs.

Another initiative that tackles these very same problems straight up is Genius Rocket, also mentioned in the Fast Company article. With regards to this project, self described as The First Curated Crowdsourcing company I wouldn’t even call it an ad agency but more of a crowdsourcing advertising platform. On their site, they directly address some of the concerns that advertisers might have, under the following headings:

Affordable Doesn’t Mean Amateur (establishes Genius Rocket’s process of selection whereby they will work with only collaborators who meet specific professional requirements).

You Don’t Have to Tell the World (addresses the confidentiality issue by detailing that the collaborators sign a non disclosure agreement and that work is shared privately through the platform).

The process at Genius Rocket is laid out in the following four phases (notice the insistence of the word “selection”):

  1. Creative Brief and Targeted Recruitment: The differential aspect for this first stage is that the Genious Rocket in –house creative team provide help in drafting this first important brief
  2. Written Concept and Selection: Pre qualified creatives submit their work (overview concepts)
  3. Storyboard and Selection: With client feedback, this phase develops the selected concepts
  4. Production and Selection

From the creatives point of view, they will get paid once they reach stage number four (Production). Genius Rocket in the part of the web dedicated to “recruiting” creatives to their platform makes a point at explaining that this is not a contest site, that peers who will partake in briefs will be screened for past work done, and that this is a process were continual feedback will be given.

All in all it seems that newer and exciting models are filling business model gaps and adapting to technological and social mindets advances. However there is still an important place for traditional agencies and their powerful ideas, specially for some more conservative advertisers. I am quite interested to see when these models will fully land in Europe…

If anyone has any other agency crowdsourcing models that they’d like to share, please do!

Take care amigos,

Hector

(post finished to the tune of You and Your Heart, Jack Johnson)

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The S word explained through the F word

The S word that I use so much at work. Everybody likes to use it. It commands authority. It makes you look like you know what you are talking about. Strategy.

So what is Strategy? We love to say it, but are we using this term correctly?

Let’s take this example that might work (more or less) to explain the S word in a simple manner: through Food. The context is the following: I was recently immersed in a cooking competition amongst friends. Two of my friends that don’t cook at all would be acting as the judges of the competition that spanned over five meals in two months. In this period they visited 10 different houses (including mine) and tasted and graded the same 5 dishes.

So with this example laid out for us we now have defined a competitive environment (10 cooks) , a specific service (cooking the same 5 meals), similar restrictions (ingredients, recipes, utensils, time…) and a common goal: to win over the stomachs and the grading of two judges.

So what was my Strategy going to be with all my dishes?

S WORD AND THE F WORD

What is Strategy anyway? Let’s start by discussing what it’s not.

Strategy isn’t operational efficiency

Had I known all the recipes by heart (which I didn’t) I could perhaps have done simultaneous tasks at once (for the first dish which was lasagna for instance, prepare the cheese while the sauce simmers, etc). This is operational efficiency not strategy. Doing things faster (or cheaper for instance) than rivals is not something that can be sustained in the long-term (over an extended period of time this would even out). So whilst best practice operations are great for minimising wastage of resources (and maintaining costs down), best practices are easily emulated and not sustainable in the long run. As such they do not constitute a Strategy in itself. Operational efficiency is required to reach Strategy, but it isn’t enough.

Strategy isn’t technology or specific tools

In the same line as above. Strategy isn’t using the latest technology just for technology’s sake. I would only be able to outperform my cooking rivals if I established a significant difference in the way I did things, and if I added value to their experience in my home or through the food I prepared. So having the latest machine to cook the pasta for the first Lasagna dish, whilst advantageous, would still not be considered a Strategy.

So again, what does the S word mean?

Strategy means performing activities differently than rivals or performing different activities that are relevant to your consumers/customers/clients (in my case, my judges). This is when positioning plays a huge role as with a solid positioning you create for yourself a unique and valuable territory, that sets you apart from rivals.

And as you can’t adopt all positions, you need to evaluate trade offs between alternatives. This means that Strategy is as much deciding where/what you want to be as much as it is deciding where/what you don’t.

My Strategy for this particular gastronomical objective was not to focus too much on the dishes in themselves but more on the peripherals. My 9 rivals would be for sure delivering quality meals. The 5 dishes could be viewed as commodities. So, whilst I needed the meals to be flawless, I thought I needed something else to differentiate my offer and succeed in my goal.  I wanted to start winning the judges by the dishes, but add value through everything that surrounded them.

My strategy was to offer not only a quality meal, but a unique dining environment and as such I did two main things:

1) Stacked up on what were the judges’ favourite music bands and made a play list for the dinner (subtle environmental edge was gained here…)

2) For each of the five meals I invited friends we have in common along to my house (kind of bending the rules for the competition…but bending them within reason!)

My strategy was based on providing a superior dining experience. My aspirations were that they would enjoy the dinner (food+music+company) so much that they would forget that it was a test. And that was a good thing. The insight here was that tests are boring not only to people who take them, but also for people who grade them. I wanted my judges to feel like they weren’t judging anything at all as I thought this would improve their overall perceptions of the meals.

So every one of the five meals along those two months they would find different people at the table, and we would discuss different things (at the same time they tried and enjoyed my cooking).

The Food was only the start, the rest was the Strategy.

I leave you with a great video where Michael Porter, leading authority on company strategy, talks  in more detail about the S word (without mentioning the F word)

Take care amigos,

Hector

(post finished to the tune of Selling The Drama by Live)

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Want to start feeling the SEOTISFACTION?

I CAN'T GET NO SEOTISFACTION

“Telling you more and more about some useless information” is not my goal in this post, it’s actually the other way around.

I’ve recently started getting my head more into Search Engine Optimization, it’s one of those things I’ve taken up later in life, and even though it is an art that has changed dramatically in the last few months, it is still a subject I am thoroughly enjoying.

True seotisfaction (search enlightenment) is still some way away as I am still escalating the learning curve but wanted to take the opportunity to post below a couple of sources of SEO knowledge that might come in handy for those that want to learn some SEO.

First there is the book I have started out with. I am sure there are many more that people can recommend (and hope they do)

Search Engine Optimization (An hour a day) by Jennifer Grappone and Gradiva Couzin. Why do I recommend it to anyone who is starting out? I don’t recommend it for its comprehensiveness (though it is very complete) or because of its well structured format. For me, the thing that did it (and does it) is the way it is written. For a subject that could have been treated in quite a dull way, the authors have given it such a lively copy that it is sometimes hard to let down (boosting the speed at which you learn!). The resources on their web are also very useful.

Bloggers/Tweeters that I find  most useful (again, these are the ones most people know but please let me have any further recommendations)

Matt Cutts, is the head of Google’s Webspam team. He writes often and posts great videos on SEO for Google (@mattcutts)

SEOMOZ, a Seattle-based company founded by Rand Fishkin, who produces a free “beginner’s guide to SEO” which is a great place to start (@SEOmoz)

I’ve got a ton more of stuff saved, but just wanted to through in the basics for people that, like me, want to feel the SEOTISFACTION.

Until then, take care amigos.

Hector

(post ended to the tune of Coconut, Harry Nilsson)

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Who watches the Swatchmen: Innovation in marketing strategy

To Innovate comes from the latin word Innovare: to renew, to restore, to change.

By default, when the word innovation pops up, people tend to think about technological advancements. About improvements in processes, methods, services, and products. Innovation seems to be about hardware, materials, machines.

But what about innovation in marketing concepts? What about renewed ideas in how to approach similar products? With technological advancements today being more easily replicated than ever, innovative ideas, finding new ways to address markets, are more important than ever.

Products can be designed, manufactured, and distributed, but it is marketing strategy and the powerful ideas behind it that truly move customers to the new products.

An example of various types of innovations (processes, materials and marketing concepts) can be found if we briefly analyze the evolution of the watchmaking industry

Since the 1800’s and until the 1940’s Swiss watchmakers were the pinnacle of their industry. If it wasn’t Swiss, it wasn’t truly a watch. The Swiss took pride in the intricate mechanical movements that composed their precious watches, almost a jewelry item. Brands like Beaume & Mercier, Longines, Omega, Piaget and Rolex were back then marketed around values such as quality, exquisite elaboration, expertise and heritage. Highly priced and considered as “investments”.

In the 1950’s in post war US, a technological innovation took place around the TIMEX brand. The first watch to fully employ mass production, enter and own the low price segment. Manufactured with lower quality materials they drove costs down. A watch wasn’t a jewel anymore. A watch was something that told you the time, and anyone should be able to afford one. Along with the manufacturing innovation with cheaper processes and materials came an original campaign that directly addressed consumer’s concerns around the quality and durability of the TIMEX watches (their tagline being “It takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin”). They developed campaigns with live demonstration tests in a distinctive manner that stuck with consumers.

Within a decade a third of all watches worn in the USA where TIMEX.

Fast Forward to the 1970’s when Japanese brands like Hattori Seiko, Citizen and Casio fully leveraged the new Quartz technology and blended it with a me-too strategy (Swiss appearance, Quartz insides) all still within a lower price segment. Quartz components also allowed for multifunctional watches.

By this time, the Swiss watch industry was in crisis. Their whole way of developing and marketing their product was now largely updated, and their share of market had shrunk massively.

1980’s. Enter Swatch. The landing of the Swiss Industry into the low price segment. Theirs was a wholly new approach marketing a watch brand. Swatch innovated not on technology. It innovated in design and in positioning, and managed to reinvent a country industry.

How did they accomplish this? Swatch created a message. Swatch was not only about the watch in itself. It wasn’t the cheapest, it wasn’t the best. Swatch was the watch that had something to say and wasn’t afraid to say it. It managed to position itself as a new form of expression. Loud colors, cool designs and low-ish price, creating even a collectors vibe around the brand. Where predecessors internationally had established connections around functional values, swatch built a brand that bonded emotionally with consumers through an innovative marketing strategy. Swatch changed the rules of the game and relied heavily on TV campaigns to fully extend their image (In the 90’s Swatch was ranked among the top 100 advertisers in Europe in Television)

The three waves (US, Japanese, Modern Swiss) were waves of innovation. The first two were more technological in nature: US more geared in processes, the Japanese in materials. Swatch originated no doubt from the technological advancements, but it’s main strength was innovation in its marketing approach. Swatch innovated in the way it connected with consumers. Not so much hardware but ideaware.

Take care amigos,

Hector

(Post ended to the tune of Beautiful day by The Eels)

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Back to the Futura

In its origins, the font Futura´s main reason for being was beauty. It was designed with one objective in mind: to be the most geometrical typeface. One typeface to rule them all.

As such, all letters were to be shaped like basic circles and lines and indeed it looked very stylish and proportional.

But being so beautiful has its drawbacks (ask Angelina Jolie). Letters were crafted in such a similar and neutral manner that they blended together and it became more difficult to read in comparison to “less pretty” fonts.

In summary, beauty overtook function, which is not ideal in terms of design.

IKEA for instance, who had been using Futura for the past 50 years, recently switched to Verdana which is more appropriate for the web and universally accepted.

IKEA before and after

This just makes us reflect about how online particularities can finally permiate into the offline World as this choice affected not only the IKEA online domains but also their printed  catalogs.

So, is beauty a means to an end but not an end in itself when it comes to design? I think so. The final objective should satisfying consumers needs (whilst maximising beauty while we achieve this).

As Frank Lloyd Wright said: “Form follows function—that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.”

And to end on a light(er) note. Please check out this video by the guys in College Humour…I´m sure you will recognise the protagonist typefaces (thanks to the master of disaster for sending this)

Thanks for reading, take care amigos.

Hector

(post ended to the tune of  De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da by The Police)

 

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Key success factors for a viral marketing campaign

Below I am outlining six factors that can help construct a successful viral campaign and some relevant video examples that help illustrate the role of these factors.

Of course, Virality is not an exact science (otherwise it wouldn’t be so valuable once achieved), so the following is to be taken more as a starting point/guide than as a recipe. The overarching principle that an advertiser should ask themselves is: Why would anyone care to pass this on? It’s true the subject of this post has been long approached. But it was a good excuse to add some cool videos!

1. A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away – STORYTELLING

Whatever you are trying to communicate, it has to be wrapped around a powerful narrative. It needs a plot: a beginning, a middle and an end.

The below example is one of 8 short films by BMW which featured well known hollywood actors and directors, great storytelling (and high class production).

They were distributed online between 2001 and 2002 and in four months reached 11 million views.

 

2. You had me at hello – EMOTION

Despite what many may have us believe, most of our decisions are still governed by emotions. Be it humour, tenderness or fear: create an emotional connection through your viral. Move people in a certain direction and they shall be moved to pass on your message. Below a campaign for a Spanish NGO Accion contra el Hambre called “Sharing experiment”. In a very simple manner it conveys emotion around the subject of Famine. It has reached half a million views in two weeks under a very reduced budget.

 

3. Cheaper by the Dozen – MAKE SEQUELS

If you found the right formula, and you are able to maintain the momentum and originality without wearing the viral out, keep going! The challenge here will be to keep the content’s original freshness. Knowing when to stop can be a virtue.

The Old Spice campaign won the Cyber Grand Prix at Cannes (the campaign included personalised Responses from the main character and was a viral hit). Below a recently launched a follow up campaign that has also had success where a new contender challenged the Old Spice Guy for his title…

 

4. Better together – INTEGRATE WITH SOCIAL NETWORKS

If your content is worth sharing, make it easy for viewers to do so. Receptivity of messages are more effective if delivered from a friend so building bridges from content to social networks will increase receptivity and virality.

The below Blendtec example has now developed into a successful viral franchise “Will it Blend” (since 2006) and one of their key points was to link with Facebook and Twitter

 

5. True Lies – PROVIDE AUTHENTIC CONTENT

Consumers are marketing savvy. They have seen and heard almost everything and can spot a lie. Be authentic as much as you can and you shall be rewarded.

Real people in real situations are a good way to provide authentic content that people will share. Below a T-Mobile campaign with a “Money for Nothing” theme and a happy ending.

 

6. Get shorty -PROVIDE BRIEF CONTENT

We have a saying in Spain: “Good and brief is twice as good”. Most people have short attention spans (if you made it this far into the post you may be an exception).

The following is a recent ad for the UK brand Weetabix. A minute of intense Teddy bear dubstepping madness to end this blog post!

Thanks for reading, take care amigos.

Hector

(post ended to the tune of  God’s Comic by Elvis Costello)

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Google instant shows us what people want to know…

A short while back I decided to have a play around with Google instantthe search tool that completes your search query as you write. I had some fun, typing random things, and seeing how Google completed my half baked query based on its collective knowledge of search behavior.

Please take a look at some of these (ALL REAL)

Why did he

This first one is tragic…but the last option kind of makes up for it? Google shows us what people really want to know…

Why is it so hard

An interesting variety here. Although it all starts and ends in weight. Maybe number two (trouble waking up) and three (trouble making friends) are related? (sleepy head’s friends are tired of his/her lateness)

how do you buy

Crisis, what crisis? If people are searching how to purchase a private island, I am clearly not getting paid nearly enough!

How long does it takeTime management. Something we are all worried about (and Google instant knows this). In this query completion we have a nice mix but my personal favorite is clearly number two. Imagine the space shuttle you are in has an oxygen leak. The time it takes you to put on your space suit will be key…
Why do lions

A bit of zoology for this one. It goes from normal to specific: roar, have manes, loose belly skin… But the last one? Somebody has been spending too much time with lions to be searching for this particular answer.

The most important

And last but not least. To end on a high note. What is the most important thing?  According to Google instant to enjoy life and to be happy. I agree.

That is all.

Take care amigos,

Hector

(post ended to the tune of “Baby Fratelli” by the Fratellis )

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