API-enabled ads pack more punch

The history of storytelling is as much about technology as it is about narrative. As humans have transitioned from the earliest cave scratches to the newest highly interactive digital experiences, the way stories are told have had a powerful influence on the stories themselves. As the number of media channels continue to blossom, marketers must not only become more familiar with existing tools, but stay relevant by seeking out competitive new platforms.

The IPG Media Lab‘s most recent Media Trial focused on one important new element of storytelling: data. Data sets are increasingly being structured and exposed via APIs so that third parties can grab and understand the data in real time. Weather, headlines, traffic, sports scores, tweets, videos, social data—the available data sets are only limited by your imagination. Marketers who can curate these streams in real time may be able to create more engaging and more impactful stories, with the results to match.

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Mobile Apps Influence Shopping Experience

CNET and the IPG Media Lab recently partnered on a research project to uncover how mobile apps are being used by consumers to make purchase decisions. The research specifically tested the CNET Reviews app to explore opinions, influence and opportunities for both marketers and CNET. The findings are based on aggregated evaluations of thirty-six shoppers at a leading consumer electronics retailer, including pre and post-shopping interviews, in-store observation and physiological stimuli recording methods. Each participant was a well-informed consumer electronics shoppers and existing CNET user.

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Mobile gaming revenues exploding

Games figured heavily in the (official) introduction of the iPhone 4G and according to industry research, it’s easy to see why. A recent Nielsen study found games are the most frequently used apps, ahead of more utilitarian categories such as social networking, news and navigation. Games are also at the top of the entertainment app heap, with more usage than anything having to do with either music or movies. Current projections see global mobile gaming revenues surpassing $5.6 billion in 2010.

Here are a few of the new iPhone’s gaming-relevant updates. A new chipset and the promise of faster processing could improve the speed and graphic quality of games. Promises of better networking speeds could eventually allow better multiplayer or even eventually streaming experiences. A better camera on the back and a new camera on the front might allow iPhone developer to take creative cues from existing game platforms and eventually yield some interesting changes in the way players can control the experience. The new iPhone also has a built-in gyroscope, promising more refined game control. The near-term implications are obvious: better mobile games and competition against the mobile games platforms from Nintendo or Sony. The potential long-term ramifications are far more compelling. Continue reading “Mobile gaming revenues exploding”

I Like you. I just don’t Fan you.

Facebook recently unveiled a variety of new features. Among the changes was a subtle but important shift in the way Facebook lets users express their affinity for a brand. Prior to the update, users clicked the “Become a Fan” button in order to connect their Facebook profile to a brand’s page. That button has now been replaced by a “Like” button. Here’s what Facebook says about the change on their consumer-facing information page: “We believe this change offers you a more light-weight and standard way to connect with people, things and topics in which you are interested.”

If the change from “Fan” to “Like” is intended to make things easier for users, what does the shift mean to brands? Is this an opportunity for deeper or wider engagement? Or is it a harmful modification to the existing system?

Why this matters

Facebook assumes that consumers feel much more comfortable liking a brand than they are declaring themselves brand fanatics. In some ways this goes to the heart of the brand/consumer relationship, which is frequently a tumultuous and uneven affair. Brands hope for long-term consumer commitment. On the other hand, consumers are fickle – “brand loyalty” is more often “brand that I’m loyal to, so long as I’m not swayed toward a competitor’s offering for any one of an almost nearly infinite list of reasons.” Continue reading “I Like you. I just don’t Fan you.”

Three things that made Twitter’s week

Three things that made Twitter's week (iStock) A lot went down in the Twitter universe last week. Let’s begin this week with a look back at the week that ‘twas.

Promoted Tweets

Few companies are more conspicuous in their lack of major revenue streams than Twitter. The company took a new step toward rectifying this position by unveiling its new advertising platform that relies on Promoted Tweets. Launched as a pilot program with a few select advertisers, the platform will eventually insert paid Tweets in the stream of Twitter search results. Promoted Tweets will be graded based on a “resonance” score. Resonance will help determine how long any of these sponsored Tweets stay active in the ecosystem. During a week in which Ning announced that it was moving away from free to paid service, it’s encouraging to see that Twitter is finding tools that build toward fiscal security. Unfortunately, they’re going to need a few more solutions in order to truly solve the revenue questions. Continue reading “Three things that made Twitter’s week”

iPad creates more questions than answers

With the iPad, it's not why, but "why not?" There’s a lot of debate as to whether or not the iPad is a game changer. After all, isn’t changing the game what Apple does best? The iPod changed the media consumption game. iTunes changed the media purchase game. The iPhone changed the mobile game. Macs are an ongoing effort to change the PC game. Apple invades thriving markets and smoothes out the edges, giving consumers a simplified way of approaching familiar problems.

What game is the iPad playing? It’s a tablet PC in form factor alone. Is it an e-reader? Is it a web browsing tool? Is it a laptop replacement? Is it a desktop supplement? Is it for productivity? Entertainment? Is it for Millenials? Boomers? Toddlers? Is it for everybody? Is it supposed to do everything? What makes the iPad a truly unique Apple product may be the fact that it subverts Apple’s successful change-the-game model – this time, Apple might actually be inventing games as opposed to changing them.

Rather than asking if the iPad changes the game, maybe we should ask why the iPad exists. Is it possible that Apple might have developed a product without knowing exactly what problem they were solving? Continue reading “iPad creates more questions than answers”