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Facebook gets better for business

July 16, 2009
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Facebook just launched a few new features to improve their ad program. Good for business and probably good for people too.

1. Homepage video ad overlay


Bigger screen = better.

2. Connection Targeting

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Nerdy, yes. But great CRM tool. Now you can target people who are fans of your page, members of your group, users of your application or attendees of your event.

3. Birthday Targeting

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I hope companies start using this. Then I could get presents on my Birthday.

Interactive roundup #3

July 8, 2009
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Donate-a-meal, Dusseldorfer Kindertafel

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Drag and drop food onto the children’s’ plates to help combat child poverty in Dusseldorf. With every schnitzel, cheese sandwich or curd dessert you drop on their plate, the website adds more to your donation. Very well done. A Gold Lion winner at Cannes. Check it out here.

Starbucks, “Share a pint of ice cream” FB app

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Starbucks created this Facebook app to give away free pints of their ice cream. Users download the app, then send a gift (coupon for a free pint of ice cream) to their friends. Each hour, Starbucks offers 800 coupons so people have to act fast. The beauty is all of these gifts generate news stories, and Starbucks understood that 1) everybody wants free shit, 2) people give to get. So of course these coupons are going super quick. You can’t buy those kind of impressions from a straight media buy. Download the app here. (more…)

MySpace open platform is, well, open

March 19, 2009
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Yesterday MySpace announced new developments to their MySpace ID. MySpaceID is part of their ‘open platform’ and was developed in response to Facebook Connect.

When it was first revealed a few months ago, MySpaceID was sort of a half-baked idea and you didn’t really know the benefits. But these added features are making sense. MySpaceID lets you securely connect your profile, friends and activities to your favorite websites. And, the API is open to all developers, taking one step further in the Facebook v. MySpace battle. Too bad it’s really inconvenient for me to think about switching back to MySpace (and dealing with an inbox cluttered with creepy mail). Hopefully Facebook will retaliate soon.

The new ID features will let you:

Connect MySpace data to partner sites

Find MySpace friends on partner sites

Register on partner sites using your MySpace URL

Publish activities from Partner sites to MySpace

Syndicate activities on MySpace to partner sites

And I prophecied the future

March 11, 2009
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I wrote earlier this week that in the future advertisers would synchronize their online and TV targeting. And then I found this article today in MediaWeek: Could Social Networking Bolster the :30 spot?

The net is, I saw the future. And it’s kinda scary.

Posted in media, Social media

Facebook, a better referrer than Google?

March 10, 2009
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Adage just ran an interesting article on the power of Facebook v Google (or, social media v search engines). A recent Hitwise report shows that Facebook is actually sending more traffic to a number of sites than Google. Specifically, sites like Perez Hilton, Dlisted, Cafe Mom, eVite, Twitter and Tagged.

This is kinda crazy. First of all, Google’s scale alone eclipses Facebook almost 3 to 1 in terms of unique visitors. Second of all, search engines are built to refer traffic. Their primary function is to direct people to other sites. And yet, Facebook–a destination site–still manages to beat them at their own job.

The lesson: 1. Peer-to-peer referrals are invaluable in marketing. When your friends tell you to go to a site, you go. When they post a video, you watch. Simple math. 2. SEO and SEM have to  incorporate social media 3. Google will probably retaliate. Do you think it will be via a partnership with Facebook or adding social functions to it’s existing engine?

Ad targeting craziness

March 9, 2009
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Most people don’t just watch TV anymore. Especially Millennials. Typically their laptop is out and they are logging into Facebook, Twitter, Gchat or some other social site as they watch the new 30 Rock.

Wouldn’t it make sense then for advertisers to capitalize on this? I think we are not too far off from ad targeting that simultaneously tracks the television station people are watching and site URL they on. So, if I am watching a movie Saturday night, Dominos can send me a banner ad asking if I want to place an order for dinner and a movie.

Interesting, scary, but probable none the less.

Posted in media

Another Facebook integration

February 15, 2009
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The NBA is streaming live with Facebook for this weekend’s All-Stars game. This allows people watching via Facebook to post status messages in real time next to the video stream.

Yes, it is the exact same deal as the inauguration.

I wonder when or if people will just be able to chat, comment, and connect with each other via their TV? Wouldn’t the ultimate integration be between Facebook and digital cable providers? Not for a one-time event, but so anytime you watch TV, you could opt in to social viewing and talk to your friends straight from your screen This would make my life easier.

Au revoir free content online?

February 4, 2009
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We have been pretty lucky when it comes to online content. Advertisers pay online publishers so we don’t have to. We can go to YouTube and watch videos, NYT and read the news, Facebook and catch up with friends and never pay a dime. I know I often take this for granted. Honestly, I don’t even see it as a luxury. Why would I have to pay for that? And most of the general public feels the same way.

But free is turning into a bit of a pickle. Advertisers aren’t spending as much (did you know it’s a recession?), so that revenue model is breaking. Free isn’t cutting it. (more…)

The ads are watching you

February 3, 2009
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If you are watching an ad on a video screen in a mall or supermarket, it might be watching back. Face-tracking technology is the new growing trend in media. It’s also known as face-based audience measurement, gaze-tracking, face counting and countless other variations.

Whatever you call it, the concept is simple and not at all as “Big Brother” creepy as it sounds. Small cameras are embedded in or around the video screen to actually track the faces of people watching and determine their age, gender and sometimes ethnicity. If the camera recognizes you as a male, it might show you an ad for razors rather than birth control. If it identifies a teen it might show an ad for video games.

Face-tracking also allows advertisers to see if they are reaching the right  people. It would be a shame if a brand put out an ad for in-home senior care and only teenage girls were seeing it.

The technology is not widespread, by any means. So more than likely you aren’t being watched, yet. Yet. It’s growing quickly and could be a big idea in the future.

The concept might be off-putting to people at first. I had the same jerk reaction accompanied by frowns and a furrowed brow–maybe even a scoff. But then I realized it only categorizes people by outward appearances. The technology can’t drill down to any personal information. The man isn’t capturing and storing information about “Jane Doe” on Strongs Blvd. They just want to show the right people the right ads, so you don’t have to sit there watching stuff you don’t care about.

The rise of ad networks, now what?

January 30, 2009
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Over the past 4-5 years ad networks have made a huge comeback. This is in part due to technological advancements that led to better targeting, an appealing price tag, and a totally streamlined process. As advertisers spent more money online, there’s no doubt we really needed a system like this. And there ad networks were, wrapped up in a pretty bow.

Yes, there are draw backs–a lack of control and less ability to customize–and not all ad networks are created equal. But it seems like overall we kinda accepted those terms as part of the deal, and we have a comfortable relationship with using them.

But comfortable isn’t by any means fantastic. So I often find myself asking: what’s next for ad networks? (more…)

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