Science of Sharing infographic – click on image to link


2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions

With Christmas fast approaching, consumers are more than ever likely to head online for their present shopping. Some major findings include:

  • 43% of holiday shoppers plan to do the majority of their shopping by Cyber Monday
  • 82% of holiday shoppers say that online research will significantly or moderately impact which retailer they wil shopt at
  • 77% of holiday shoppers will turn to their tablet device for online shopping, 54% will turn to their smartphones

For more information check out this study conducted by Ipsos OTX, on behalf of Google:

Global Insights on Smartphone User & Mobile Marketer

An interesting presentation looking into smartphone and mobile usage:

The More Screens The Better

Smart advertisers are already running integrated digital campaigns. Check out these case studies to learn how a multi-platform approach can increase brand awareness and brand engagement:

  • Cross screen research conducted in Nielsen Media Labs proved that for groups that saw a Volvo ad across all screens -TV, PC, smartphone and tablet – the brand recall jumps dramatically to 74%. (vs. 50% for TV only).
  • Reebok experienced over 131% lift in brand response conversions after extending its video creative across all digital screens – PCs, mobile phones and tablets – to promote RealFlex.
  • Delta successfully targeted business travelers across mobile devices and networks with interactive mobile video units. The campaign doubled awareness, consideration intent and association with business elite services.
  • The adidas’ “All-In” campaign video, featured above, generated over 2 million views by adapting their video creative for engagement across PCs, smartphones and tablets.


Microsoft’s Secret Social Network

Microsoft have been working on their own social network, much in the vein of Facebook. Will it take off? Only time will tell, in the meantime, here is a write up on it’s features, that I found at

Earlier this summer, a teaser page appeared at revealing Tulalip, an oddly named service from Microsoft promising a new way to “Find what you need and Share what you know.” Facebook and Twitter sign-ins were offered, and the design was reminiscent of Windows Phone’s tiles. It turns out Microsoft has been testing this service with a select group of “friends,” and this week, I got an early look at Socl — “Tulalip” appears to be dropped — a curious site that’s coming out of the FUSE research group that will eventually be rolled out to the public. The site mixes search, discovery, and, go figure, a social network. How’s it hold up? Read on.


Ignoring for the moment that the interface looks a lot like that other social network, Socl offers a bare bones, three column layout, with basic navigation in the left rail, a social feed down the middle, and invites and video party options (more on that soon) on the right. As usual, you can follow other friends, but you won’t find any list-making tools. Core to the experience is the large search field at the top that asks, “What are you searching for?” effectively creating a new type of status update. You can also toggle the field to a traditional status update. With Socl, you’ve got the option to post to your feed either a note that you’re searching for “live Prince covers” or that you’re ‘live at a Prince concert.” Entering a search term or status update drops it into your feed with appropriate Bing results, where your friends will have the option to comment, like, or further tag it. Clicking ‘tag’ adds the search term to your personal list of tags, and you can sort your friends’ searches and status updates by type (i.e. web, video, news, images).


While tagging seems like a decent idea in theory — I theoretically want to track topics I’m interested in — I can’t imagine going back to a simple tag search for news, browsing, or much of anything, really, and Socl’s implementation doesn’t advance what Google’s doing with saved searches. I’ve got a mix of trusted friends, publications, and hundreds of RSS feeds to get a broad mix of focused news and information on topics I’m interested in, and tag searches for Politics, Film, or Technology, for example, aren’t going to offer much. And, there’s a big difference tagging an interest and actually searching. I might like the band Yo La Tengo, but I’m never searching only for that ‘tag.’ Instead, it’ll be a Google-ese mix like ‘yo la tengo scores ost 2008 album,’ which isn’t going to look good in any design and isn’t really relevant to me or my followers outside of last Thursday night.


And then, seemingly out of nowhere, Socl also includes a video party feature, complete with chat, for watching YouTube clips together (currently no support for Vimeo, DailyMotion, or any other services). It’s a clean, intuitive UI, and aside from the lack of a controllable scrubber, it could be a fun service on its own. Socl is mostly built on HTML5 — we saw no instances of Silverlight or Flash — and the site showed no slowdown in Chrome or Firefox while video partying, searching, or tagging.


I understand the push to make search a more social experience; Google’s been trying for months with the +1 buttons littered across search results that are then integrated into Google+. Let’s say you’re searching for great burrito restaurants in San Francisco Mission District. Traditionally, you might check Yelp (or a similar service), trusted friends, regular search, or a mixture of all three. And this side of social networking generally works; people ask for recommendations all the time on Facebook and Twitter, and you often get great answers that search simply wouldn’t have turned up. And, with social search, Microsoft is hoping that your friends will see your query and bring their expertise to it.


Note that Socl is a research project, so it’s possible that it won’t ever get released as a mainstream product, but we’re hearing it’s still going to be tested publicly. Socl is starting late to the game, so it’s no surprise that you can plug into the potential traffic firehose that is Facebook. While all of your searches and tags are visible to your friends on Socl, I’ve been told your Socl activity can be limited via Facebook’s lists. Otherwise, there’s not much here in the way of interacting privately with other users on Socl; no private messages, no @replies, and none of the curated, semi-private groups like Google’s circles.

Socl ultimately needs to better show how yet another social network and search tool can help users find the information they’re looking for; without mobile support or integration across the rest of the Microsoft world, Socl’s got a big hill to climb. We’re hearing Microsoft is nearing the end of its private testing period and will roll this out to a bigger public audience through an invite system.

By Thomas Houston,


The Mobile Movement



The Mobile Movement (PDF)

A study into how people are now using smartphones for searching, purchasing and other media consumption.





The Mobile Movement – Smartphones

Route to 2015

Google’s Senior Vice President of Americas Sales recently looked into their crystal ball and predicted the  future of advertising. Words by Dennis Woodside:


The average CMO is just shy of 50 years old. He or she learned their art two decades ago. Then, the web was still a novelty and advertising was mostly mass-communication. The aim was to ‘raise awareness,’ ‘drive consideration,’ ‘create purchase intent.’ Even the industry terms suggested a one-way relationship: something done to, rather than with, the consumer.

That’s changed. Today, we live in a world of engagement. People don’t want to be bludgeoned with broadcasts. They want, and expect, something more sophisticated, more considerate. And they are consuming media everywhere – TV, online, mobile – sometimes simultaneously.

This shift has edited the CMO’s job description, forcing him to toss the MBA textbooks and learn on the job. The acceleration of everything is not going to stop, so we need to keep a relentless focus on the future, to be thinking years – not quarters – ahead. That’s what we try to do at Google. Here’s a glimpse of what we’re expecting to see by 2015.

We’ll get the web anywhere and everywhere. There will be over 10 billion mobile subscribers and 300 million internet-enabled televisions. This will increase appetites for non-traditional content, with half our screen time spent on social networks, UGC, citizen journalism and blogs.

Dollars will go where the eyeballs are: 40 percent of spend will go to ‘digital’ (a $50bn global market today, growing more than 20 percent a year). The funding model for professional content will change: lots of lean, niche professional content will dominate, alongside (much less) blockbuster content. And clients will migrate to a handful of media and creative agencies that invest in differentiating digital capabilities.

All retailers will go mobile. Couponing, circular spending and formats will migrate, with offers that are more targeted, personalized, and accountable. New mobile services will spring up that, knowing what store people are in, provide price and availability on inventory without being asked. Pricing transparency will disrupt traditional retailers so much that ‘good service’ will once again become a differentiating retail factor.

Wireless payment possibilities will change shopping forever – for buyer and seller. People will be able to search for products and check for local offers on their phone, then visit the store and use their near field communication (NFC)-enabled device to pay (which is potentially more secure and enables automatic collection of store loyalty points). A new class of services will emerge to facilitate offers, payments and payment clearance. Major credit card companies will participate, but are not guaranteed to win. A PayPal of the mobile space may emerge.

One-way participation in content will decline to under 20 percent. The consumer will gain even more control and choice. Technology is already empowering them to skip ads, or micro-pay for content, or opt out altogether. And most media is enabling consumers to contribute and comment on their own terms – and they will. According to Erik Qualman, founder of Socialnomics, 78 percent of consumers trust peer recommendations. Far fewer trust advertisements. The consumer will increasingly rely on such ‘social’ branding and friend recommendations. Brands that build web services that foster community and loyalty gain equity; those that rely solely on price and selection fade.

The deluge of information could drown the consumer, though. Intermediaries will build business models on curating content and facilitating choices. Tomorrow’s services help answer questions about complex, value-added products and services such as, ‘Which lawyer within 20 miles of my home has expertise on tax issues in living trusts?’ The local and personal becomes more important.

We will move from just recording data to modifying the system in real time: continuous improvement. Before, you’d run TV ads, analyze, and six-to-nine-months down the road you could change strategy if needed. Now you can run 1,000 different ad types to 1,000 different demographics, then measure and iterate on the spot.

The demand for real-time information and capabilities will continue and increase, as will the desire for improved advertising efficiency. Old, non-optimizable formats will go by the wayside. Display will boom, as real-time bidding becomes possible, making every campaign mutable-by-the-moment, enabling ad buyers to tailor bids and ads, impression by impression, across a wide range of ad space. Half the ads targeted to particular audiences will use real-time bidding.

Digital Tipsheet: The Four Bs

Search is still the killer app. It’s more location-based (knows where you are), personalized (offers to you), visual (Google Goggles) and real-time (price, availability, news) than ever. Roy’s Restaurants introduced hyperlocal ads, delivering clickable, down-to-the-block level information about a business at the right place and at the right moment – and got an 800 percent ROI on their advertising investment.
You could be dull in another era. Not this one. For creativity, look at American Express mastering the art of the live stream – a newly potent medium. Their live-streamed concerts, ‘Unstaged: An Original Series from American Express,’ created an absorbing environment on the web and in the arena, engaging users with the music of Arcade Fire and John Legend – and with their brand.
Real-world, real-time relevance matters more than ever. A Google client in the auto insurance business uses click-to-call so that when a potential customer searches their mobile phone for car insurance, the company shows them an ad that can immediately connect the customer to its call center and begin the application process on the spot. The consumer, right there on the lot, could get their insurance before they drive away.
Ford has identified five key buying actions based on closely measured online behavior. If someone configures a car online, Ford now knows they are more likely to buy one. The car company uses this information to target digital advertising, generating high-value leads and test-drive registrations for its dealers. Unlike traditional local media, Ford can measure the exact return on this investment. Accountability pays.

Disruptive Innovations

In the digital age, disruptive innovations are becoming much more frequent. Take for instance home video entertainment; VHS ruled from the 70’s until some time in the mid 90’s beating out various would-be-successors until DVD came along. While Blue Ray is also now becoming increasingly popular, many people are also flocking to other options such as streaming movies and programs from their computers, downloading them to memory sticks and CD’s to watch on their TVs or watching them on tablets, laptops and smart phones. Below you can see some of the major disruptive innovations that have occurred in the digital age and the effects that they have on the market.


The Consumer Decision Journey

With the onset of the digital age changing many aspects of how consumers can make decisions on products and services, the consumer decision journey also changed. Shifting away from its funnel metaphor (starting with many potential brand options until only one remains at the buy stage) the new consumer decision journey is more now complex and follows a more circular model. The challenge for today’s companies is to enter customers into an inner circle, referred to as the loyalty loop.


The below article delves into the new consumer decision journey in more detail:

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