Inspiration and information

DIGITAL

Google & Facebook bypass Apple security to track users even when cookies are turned off : Interesting to note that this opens the potential that Google & Facebook have some of the most accurate targeting available as they have a more complete data source. It also raises the question of security with regards to digital devices

Youtube invests in Hollywood content producers to increase original content : A sign that Youtube is trying to broaden its appeal and become more engrained in daily life

Why some ads go viral and others don’t : Good top-line analysis of what makes content spread by Harvard Business Review

Social Personalisation and the doppelganger effect : An interesting analysis of the psychological impact of placing a consumer within advertising – http://www.neurosciencemarketing.com/blog/articles/social-personalization-and-the-doppelganger-effect.htm

INTERESTING

The Psychology of colour : A worthwhile read for anyone interested in design of any kind

How cities will drive global change & innovation : A very inspiring look at the way cities are driving innovation and improvement through data and interconnectivity

Bing – First thoughts

Now that Bing has mysteriously gone live (the live date was listed as Wednesday here in Aus?) I thought I would post up some initial thoughts, so I had a bit of a play around with it doing some searches for terms I had recently searched in Google.

Fight Club and David Fincher were my first two little tests. These are obviously fairly broad, non specific searches and both Bing and Google delivered near identical results, the only difference being that Bing positions its related searches towards the top left of the page, which some users may find helpful in narrowing down their search results (note that google have related searches they’re just positioned at the bottom of the results page).

Okay, so in general information seeking “pub quiz” style terms its a moot point… lets try some ‘decision’ searches, these are after all what Bing is marketing itself as being the answer too.

Best restaurants in Glebe Here we go, some different results, new kid up first,

Bing: I get 3 paid ads as the first 3 results, followed by broader ratings and review sites such as http://www.bestrestaurants.com.au, http://www.bestvenues.com.au and http://www.menulog.com.au/glebe. To be honest I was expecting more, from the look of the video for Bing I was hoping for the engine to draw some information and aggregate it for me to browse without clicking off the SERP.

Google: Google has no paid ads above results, only to the right. I am presented with a map of Glebe, featuring markers of the restaurants in the area as well as a list of locally listed restaurants. This is followed by two results for http://www.bestrestaurants.com.au and then a slew of other sites similar to the results from Bing.

Now what I have done is far from a detailed testing session, I haven’t the time for that now (perhaps over the weekend), but what I have gained from this little testing session is that although Bing is a dramatic improvement on what live search was, certainly FAR less ugly, it is still a few steps behind Google. Not only does it fail to deliver on its promise as a “decision engine” (which of course is how we fall out of love with brands) it fails to do what MSN need it to do, offer enough value to users to break the Google habit Australia possesses. Lets face it, we no longer search for information, we Google it.

And from the looks of things we’ll never “Bing” them…

Google Wave: First Thoughts

As I sit here, scotch in hand on my #emonightin, I am still reveling from my first look at Google Wave (video featured below)

My very first thought is a plain and simple “WOW”. This tool will most certainly revolutionize the way we think about peer to peer communication on the web. It is the next logical step in social media evolution.

My next thoughts are not quite as optimistic, but still positive. Firstly; this tool appears to have amazing capabilities within its HTML interface, however I have fears that it will not run nearly as smoothly with a user base tens of (if not hundreds of) times larger than its current developer base. Secondly; the success of this system will depend entirely on developers willingness to build smooth integration methods for all available services. Google were incredibly wise to adopt an open source tactic with this project as integration is essential to making this tool truly useful.

The next thought is a pondering on the monetisation of a product such as this, I would assume they will stick with their current Adwords based keyword targeting. Interested to see what other targeting possibilities can be offered due to the increased amount of conversational data available to Google (in addition to the extra data gained from integrated API feeds such as Twitter etc..

Come launch, I hope they will have developed a fully functional WordPress integration which will allow me to link Wave, WordPress and Twitter to collaborate collectively on threads/posts, among other things…

To conclude, I hope that this will have a successful launch. It shows more potential to revolutionize the way online communication occurs than anything since the development of email or IM.

Another reason for Google to purchase Twitter

I recently wrote an article for AdNews regarding Twitter and monetization and thought I would post it up here now also.

————————————

Recently in an interview with the UK’s Marketing Magazine Twitter cofounder Biz Stone announced that Twitter was on track to finally answer the question that has continuously plagued them over the past few years, ‘What is the business-model?’

‘We are noticing more companies using Twitter and individuals following them. We can identify ways to make this experience even more valuable and charge for
commercial accounts.’

On the release of this article there was a tidal wave of immediate backlash throughout the twitter community. There were hundreds of blog posts released on the reasons that charging businesses for access to Twitter was a dead end and would only end up harming its growth. In response to this Stone wrote a post on the Twitter blog assuring consumers that nobody would be getting charged for access to Twitter.

‘However, it’s important to note that whatever we come up with, Twitter will remain free to use by everyone—individuals, companies, celebrities, etc. What we’re thinking about is adding value in places where we are already seeing traction, not imposing fees on existing services.’

The idea of having an added value section comprising of analytics tools is one of the better ideas floating around. There is potential for tools that tag users who use certain keywords and gather market research based off their activity. Collecting this data and creating a database based on user behaviours would certainly be of more value to a company than any kind of trend/activity tracking tool would be (especially given the plentiful supply of third party tools to do this). The real trick would be taking this one step further.

Several articles have been written stating that Google should buy Twitter in the interest of protecting its search product, and this is true. Many people looking for up to the minute news are searching Twitter because it is updated in real time, something Google’s spider is not capable of maintaining. However, I believe the true value to a company like Google would be the ability to integrate real conversations into the behavioural model.

Google’s release of a behavioural based product has been long awaited and, given the sheer amount of data Google have, I am surprised it has taken so long for one to come to fruition. Their product takes data based on visits to sites that contain Google Ads, which would be most sites, including those across major publishers. This data is then arranged into pre-defined categories (travel, business, automotive, etc.) and can be used to find users within the category shopping cycle. If we add to this the conversational data from Twitter, the tool would be able to further narrow this and target people who have actively conversed about their shopping interest.

In the current climate, with marketers pinching every dollar, targeting is of the utmost importance. Google are now in market with a product that has great potential and Twitter could be the key to taking it all the way there. I am a huge fan of Twitter, I am on it religiously and have managed to convert several people who once believed it to be a waste of space into equally devout addicts. Due to this I really want Twitter to work, I want it to make money and I want it to survive. Feel free to connect with us: www.twitter.com/phdaustralia