Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How about..Search by Voice? Google is ready to deliver...

"Whisper to me your search query and I'll be ready to fire up the results for you", - supposedly 'said' Google this week to its multi-million clients' base.

We've all experienced the meaning of speed...I'll clarify: speed accompanies now the search market leader : the quicker you can get the user to the desired "land"-ing page, the higher will be his recognition: in terms of traffic, sales and .. ultimately long-term retention.

Since Google has worked from its infancy on its key market USP: relevancy (qualitative results), it has now decided to stretch its speedy locomotive, by "gently" pressing on quantity. Will the two features work well together? Time will show.

Yet, Google has launched now its new service - Google Search by Voice, which enables mobile users to search the web faster than ever before—"getting you answers with fewer keystrokes" (as promised by Google):

The service was originally launched in English, and was offered in the U.S., U.K., India, Australia and New Zealand. Later - Japanese and Mandarin were introduce to expand the number of possible users. Just a week ago, Google launched the service also in French, Italian, German and Spanish.
You may be well wondering how accurate will Google results be based on our voices only, taken into account the tone, the accent, clarity of sounds etc.
Also, will the service speed up the "results' journey" or hinder them instead? Let's see what the company version is:

According to the company's official blog, even the local dialects were considered as a performance factor for speech recognition, so that this week Google continues its expansion by including Korean, Taiwanese of Traditional Mandarin versions.

Any thoughts? Has anybody already tried the service on your mobiles and wants to share the experience? Would be glad to hear.

P.S. You can find the application for your mobile by accessing the page below:


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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Case Study: How PPC teams up with PR to re-build BP's image

Today it was announced that BP has agreed to set aside £13.5billion to compensate victims of the devastating Gulf of Mexico oil spill. So far BP has lost almost half of its market value already. Needless to say what a significant impact this has had on the overall brand image, where PR strategies come in place almost instanteneously.
So what exactly did the company do to improve its image or at least to maintain what's left of it?
It's interesting to note that BP did not seek their traditional advertising agency for advice, Ogilvy & Mather, but instead took on Purple Strategies, a political consultancy, run by Steve McMahon (Democrat) and Alex Castellanos (Republican) for an online marketing campaign.

Measures taken:

- BP launched a dedicated section on their website called the Gulf of Mexico Response homepage (giving the a wide array of options: latest news, recent updates, recent videos and a "keep up to date" feature listing feeds to Twitter, FB, YT & Flickr)
- Also, the company created a YouTube channel, launched a Flickr poll and started live broadcasting on Twitter.

As for its major budget slice - it went t o PPC rather than press or social media:

It is estimated that they are spending up to $1M a month on an integrated search marketing campaign using Google AdWords and YouTube (Searchenginewatch.com):

$995K spent on Google AdWords ads in the U.S.
5M total search ad impressions
750K clicks
$1.33 average cost per click

Anyway, this is a small part of the total reputation management budget when compared to the $50Million BP estimated to have spent on TV ads.

Thus, since end of May, BP has had top visibility (position 1-2) for over 1,000 search terms related to "oil spill" on the search engine and their videos are promoted to the top of search results for videos on YouTube:

What did the company gained by bidding on over 1000 crisis-related keywords? Firstly, the advantage to have the opportunity to state their view first, before giving the visitors the freedom to choose randomly, as we all know random may include both positive and negative views.

Although, there's an issue of overexposure and positional manipulation, still - the move stirred a huge wave among international media. My point - well-done anyway (even the negative PR can become positive, right?), although was it cost-effective or not, we don't know yet.


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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Facebook Can Now Tell Who "Likes" What!

If you're tapping into the online business world - having good analytics is always key. As announced recently at the f8 conference, the new tool brought by Facebook - Insights Dashboard is a revamped set of analytics on (anonymized) user data. Hereby, Facebook promissed that its new tool may provide you with better metrics for your Facebook applications, websites, and also Pages:

What is it useful for?

Well, the new Insights dashboard claims to be your single source for all your Facebook analytics:

  • Websites: Fully-integrated sites and those that use social plugins or add a non-integrated domain in one easy step
  • Applications: Including canvas, mobile, device, and desktop applications
  • Facebook Pages: Including Pages created on Facebook.com and (which created quite a lot of stir recently, being thought as a next big "social innovation") those that are part of the Open Graph protocol
Following Google Analytics model (although in a less extended manner), Facebook's new tool offers analytics around specific stories liked on your website, or how many users commented on posts made on your Page .

Thus, the tools show mostly sharing data, in terms of broad demographics- (eg. certain stories emailed or "Liked" by males/females of a certain age) . The demographics include gender, age, country, city and also language, being accompanied by some nice-looking charts and graphs.

It's a nice tool especially for content owners and developers, who can now tell who referred their app to customers, how long customers use their software, and get some hints on how to market it.

As for the deriving privacy issues, Facebook assures "this is anonymized aggregate data and does not include personally identifiable information," so try not to worry too much and focus on your audience instead.

Best of luck!

Always yours,

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Friday, June 4, 2010

Local Search on Mobile drives New Loyalty Solutions

There’s been a lot of buzz recently about Foursquare among advertisers trying out new mobile tools to reach their audience.You must have heard about it by now (for those who haven't, here’s a short overview of Forsquare). I’ve heard many people predicting a great deal of advantages that Foursquare and other location-based services (Gowalla,Loopt in,etc) will bring along for Social Media marketing and local businesses. While the predictions seem to have solid grounds, I'm more inclined to think that main beneficiaries are going to be small, unique businesses with a niche market or very targeted offering.

The truth is that we've already witnessed examples of successful integration of geo-location tools into big brands' marketing/promotional strategies:

, for example, which has established a suite of tools tailored for social media and mobile phones, is currently rolling out an app, Loopt Star, which basically acts as a "virtual loyalty card":

  • Starbucks – The person who checks in to any individual Starbucks the most becomes the “Honorary Barista” of that Starbucks (similar to Forsquare model for "the city/location mayor")
  • Universal Music Group – By checking in to any qualifying bar in the United States with two other Facebook friends, you'd get access to five free MP3s from popular Universal Music artists, such as Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Mos Def.
  • The Gap – By checking in twice to any Gap adult store you would instantly receive 25% off your purchase (within a set timeframe).
  • Stanford University – By checking in to qualifying 2010 Commencement events you get a chance to win a special graduation gift, etc.
In terms of the results, you'd be amazed to find out that Gap alone made its application available to an audience of 3.4 million members. Additional benefit was the fact that mobile phone owners could sign up to Loopt Star via Facebook Connect, meaning they could share information on the social network. Ineterstingly enough, Loopt geo-location app is linked directly to Facebook, so that the user doesn't have to leave the platform for additional connections:

"Local is different from search in that you're not looking for new things. It's more about turning existing customers into better customers, rather than gaining new customers as in search ," said Sam Altman, chief executive of Loopt.

"It's more about going to the local place you've been to before, like Starbucks or Burger King. It's more about turning existing customers into better customers, rather than gaining new customers as in search" ,said Sam Altman, chief executive of Loopt (as reported by WARC):

In conclusion, here're my 5 take-aways for the benefits of using geo-location tools in the overall marketing strategy:

  • turning potential customers into more loyal ones (aiming to stir both check-ins (similar to clicks in PPC) and purchases );
  • personalized offers to the tastes of clientele (entitling customers to receive exclussive deals and rewards (e.g."Mayor" at Forsquare, "Honorary Batista" at Loopt, etc)
  • strong "gaming" element - entertainment is key (when mixed up with "social" element - becomes even more effective);
  • relevant offers based on previous purchase history data (when your mobile purchases are being tracked);
  • exclussive opportunity to analyze consumers' buying behavior.
Anyway, using social media is a no-brainer. All you need to consider is your audience and where they're "hanging out" be that online,offline or mobile. Than - joining the conversation is more than recommended (a dynamic brand doesn't need a "special invitation" to jump out when an opportunity shows up). Remember, you need the skill to create awareness of your products without even mentioning that you have something to sell in the first place.

It's all about talking to your consumers & engaging with them (using tools that are both relevant and entertaining) and not broadcasting to them.

So, what would you say? Would local services integrated into mobile devices deliver new loyalty solutions?

Eager to hear. Don't forget we're always welcoming your ideas on the menus for future digital lunches!


Nadya @Digilunch
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