no-iphoneThis is an iPhone5 free zone. That’s a good thing too because there was a lot going on outside of Apple incrementalism.

There were transformative things like the disruption of the gift card vertical by Gyft. And we saw just how powerful retargeting can be when it’s extended on Facebook.

There were some personnel changes at Tumblr and Google Offers and new funding for start-ups that could make a marketer’s life easier. We also marked a watershed moment in search and furrowed our brow at Feedburner.

This is … Marketing Biz.

Gyft Is Moving The Plastic Gift Card Industry To Your iPhone

Gyft, a new mobile application launching at TechCrunch Disrupt SF, allows you to buy, save and redeem gift cards using your mobile phone. Unlike the numerous mobile gifting applications currently available, Gyft isn’t attempting to carve out a spot for itself in the new “social gifting” market; it’s taking the existing $100 billion market for physical gift cards and moving it to the phone.

The idea behind Gyft is to replicate the experience of buying a gift card offline on your phone. Why not? As mobile payments become more ubiquitous it’s going to be pain to have cards floating around collecting dust. This will be cheaper and you’re more likely to use it as well.

Tumblr Finally Gets Serious About Ads — By Hiring Someone to Sell Ads

Tumblr has poached top Groupon sales exec Lee Brown as it aims to finally try to make money from its millions of blogs and billions of page views.

While I think that Tumblr is a silent juggernaut I also believe that it’ll be difficult to monetize given the amount of, ahem, off-color content that proliferates on the network. In this way, Tumblr should look to Reddit as a model.

Ensighten Raises $15.5M Series A Round To Provide Enterprise Tag Management

What Ensighten does with tags, which can be things like cookies, pixels, snippets of JavaScript or others that let users perform analtyics on their visitors and conversions, is to take a process that would take a huge team and constant vigilance if managed in-house and make it flexible without having to edit the page itself. Basically, it operates a CDN for tags, serving the right ones when needed, and only the right ones, leading to faster performance in terms of page load times for visitors.

Enterprise marketers should be chomping at the bit to use Ensighten. Not only does this provide the stability necessary but eases a pain point when a new type of tag is requested. In short, enterprise marketers could become far more agile.

SF Hipster Favorite Sosh Raises $4MSosh

Sosh serves up about 500 activities, places, venues and curiosities per weekend in San Francisco, based on a process of crawling the Web, filtering out 75 percent for being bland, and then green-lighting picks by hand. It runs a site, an iPhone app and sends emails.

The company doesn’t have a sales team, though it has developed relationships with local merchants after they ask where a swarm of people is coming from, according to Mandal. “The thing local is missing is people coming back of their own volition,” he said.

The real secret here is that Sosh is obsessive about getting people into the real world. If Sosh can deliver experiences and valued memories, they’ll have users coming back again and again. I think there’s a growing niche for apps that encourage offline interactions.

With 10 Million Uniques in 10 Months, Sulia Raises $1.5 Million for Interest-Based News Aggregation

Sulia users sign up and choose the subjects, or “channels,” they’re interested in. Those channels are populated by experts and enthusiasts in the field, tapped by Sulia. Experts are identified not my algorithms or magical Klout scores, but by the one judge of influence on Twitter created by humans: Twitter lists.

So here’s another in a long line of aggregation or curation services, all of which ultimately seem to grow tired and stale. While the idea of using an expert based on Twitter list inclusion is interesting I’m not sure it’ll make a difference in the long run. The speed of information transfer simply outstrips most of these services. In other words, users end up saying ‘I’ve already seen this.’

Initial Trials Show Facebook Exchange Retargeted Ads Deliver Massive Return On Investment, Up To 16XFacebook Exchange Retargeting Ad Results

Facebook Exchange ads allow businesses to retarget visitors to their websites when they next visit Facebook. For example, someone who checks out a a pair of shoes on a clothing site but doesn’t end up buying could see ads encouraging them to buy those same shoes next time they’re on Facebook. Retargeting lets businesses reach potential customers who’ve shown purchase intent and have a much higher likelihood of conversion. This means advertisers may be willing to pay much higher prices than for standard ads.

This is big news. Seriously. Read that excerpted paragraph again. Marketers can now extend their retargeting campaigns and stalk people on Facebook too. And yes, whether or not you think it’s creepy, the results tell a very different story. It works!

New Job: Some things change, some things stay the same

Recently I was giving one of my friends who works in our ads space feedback after using a number of ads products including Facebook ads, Google ads and Microsoft’s. He asked if instead of complaining about what I wouldn’t rather just come join the team and actually help out. I thought “why not?” and since then I’ve become a lead program manager on the Bing Ads team.

Dare Obasanjo is a very smart and authentic guy. That he’s now lead program manager on the Bing Ads team gives me hope that Bing Ads could come up with something interesting in the next year. Stay tuned.

Google Offers Exec Eric Rosenblum Leaves for Mobile Ad Start-Up

Rosenblum says his departure is not a reflection of the division’s success. “We’ve always positioned Google Offers as not competing directly with Groupon. We’ve built it as a closed loop ad platform,” he said.

The fact that Rosenblum is leaving Google Offers is mildly interesting. What’s more intriguing is that he openly shares Google’s strategy in this area. The connection between Search, Android, Offers, Maps, Latitude and Wallet hasn’t been widely discussed.

Cannibalization Isn’t Just for Zombies (Mobile Search Eats Desktop Search Volume)

August 2012 was the first time we’ve seen US desktop search volume decline year-over-year. Specifically, volume in August 2011 was 17,122 versus 17,046 in August 2012.

This is a big turning point for search.

I haven’t ever included one of my own posts in this column. It feels wrong. But this just isn’t getting as much coverage as it deserves. In the history of measurement, US desktop search volume has never decreased year over year – until now. The multi-screen future is here. If you’re still finding it difficult to pitch mobile or tablet ideas, this is your ammunition.

Spreecast Raises $7M For Social Video Broadcasting PlatformSpreecast

The brainchild of StubHub co-founder and investor Jeff Fluhr, Spreecast can be used publicly or privately to create interactive, social online video broadcasts. Up to 4 people at a time can be face-to-face, streaming their conversation live while hundreds of others can watch, chat, and participate by submitting comments and questions to those on-screen.

I know video is supposed to be the future and there’s a Max Headroom like quality to this outfit but … I just don’t see it yet. It’s not that video isn’t viable, it’s that it’s not that difficult and there are other platforms available that could simply add this as a feature.

Google Loses Feedburner.jp Domain (The Latest Sign That Feedburner Is Dying)

Whether intentional or accidental, Google failed to renew the Japanese domain and Japanese Feedburner users are presumably out of luck right now. According to DomainTools, someone named Satoshi Mito registered it on August 1st. The domain is now parked.

The term that the great Matt McGee probably wanted to write but didn’t was: WTF!

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

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About The Author: is Owner of Blind Five Year Old, a San Francisco Internet Marketing firm specializing in search. An experienced marketing executive with a successful track record spanning 20 years, AJ combines a deep understanding of search marketing with a passion for product strategy and iterative product development, fusing design and user experience with quantitative analysis.




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