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Marketing Biz: The Week Of The 900 Pound Gorilla
Marketing news this week was dominated by 900 pound gorillas: Apple, Facebook, Google and Twitter. Here’s a look at how they jousted with each other and where it might lead.
This stunningly comprehensive integration could see Apple and Facebook teaming up to fight off Google Android and launch more products together. Facebook will now be even more widely featured in iOS (and OS X Mountain Lion) than Twitter — a huge reversal from just a few hours ago when 140-characters was how Apple did social.
Looks like Facebook and Apple have decided that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Clearly both companies are concerned with the marketshare Android commands.
Morningstar analyst Rick Summer said comparing Facebook’s growth rates to Google’s post-IPO might not be an apt analogy given that Google went public at an earlier stage of the Internet’s development. “Google had the advantage of increases in ad pricing, increases in the number of Internet users and stealing market share from other Web properties,” he said.
Rick Summer scores big points with me for realizing that the Facebook will have a vastly different post-IPO environment. The macro-technology trends that provided a strong tailwind for Google are simply not present for Facebook.
Facebook will debut an advertising exchange in the next few weeks that will help advertisers target audiences on the social network in the same way they’ve been able to do elsewhere on the Web. That may help Facebook boost its revenues to counter worries by investors, who have knocked its stock down nearly 30% from its initial public offering last month.
This is an interesting development both in how advertisers can participate on Facebook but also in how they can extend and integrate their behavioral campaigns on Facebook. Better targeting nearly always translates into higher rates.
How many mobile acquisitions and team hires can Facebook do in one month? Too many to count, apparently. There was mobile commerce startup Karma, then they hired the team from Android developer shop Lightbox.
Now the developers from Pieceable, which created an easy way for publishers to build their apps and preview them in a web browser, are joining Facebook.
Remember when Facebook warned, pre-IPO, that mobile might be a weakness? If it ever was, it won’t be for long.
Despite being the only carrier to pre-load Google Wallet on its devices, Sprint is purportedly looking at offering its own mobile payment system. Sources have told NFC Times that Sprint is currently working with banks and service providers to help launch its “Touch” wallet as an alternative to Google’s payment program, as well as AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile’s upcoming Isis system.
I’m a firm believer that mobile payment platforms are the glue that will bind the mobile web together in the next five years. Everyone wants a piece of it and no one seems eager to let Google take the lead.
At the WWDC event yesterday Apple introduced a mobile wallet app called Passbook. It doesn’t have a stored credit card like Google Wallet but it puts airline boarding passes, movie tickets, coupons, loyalty cards and gift cards in one place on the phone so they can later be scanned at the point of sale. According to press materials, any retailer or third party developer will be able to integrate with Passbook.
It’s also time and location enabled so the relevant passes or cards pop up on the iPhone home screen, triggered by physical location (at or near the store) or the time to depart (in the case of a boarding pass).
Sure enough, Apple is in the mobile payment game as well but they’re doing it in a far more subtle way. Instead of going full on for mobile payments from the word go, they’re easing people in with less ‘wallet’ items such as tickets, boarding passes and loyalty cards. But all those credit cards they have via iTunes? They’re not going to just sit there for long.
Trends help you discover the emerging topics people are talking about on Twitter. You can see these topics as a worldwide list, or select one of more than 150 locations. In order to show emerging topics that matter more to you, today we’re improving our algorithms to tailor Trends based on your location and who you follow on Twitter.
This looks like a quaint little product update but the underlying message is that Twitter can do hyper-local targeting and could tap into the very big local advertising business.
Starting today, you can discover more interactive experiences inside any Tweet on twitter.com and mobile.twitter.com. When you expand Tweets containing links to partner websites, you can now see content previews, view images, play videos and more.
The death of 140 characters? There’s a convergence of sorts among products. The new Foursquare has a very robust stream that is reminiscent of Instagram. And of course they all look a bit like the feeds from Facebook and Google+.
While the study in itself may not be overly conclusive – it is a relatively small sample size and the methodology is unlikely to be totally accurate -this is a pretty alarming figure and it raises serious implications for brand activity on Twitter. Much as we might deride the companies that are caught out in a study like this, it points to a much wider problem within social media marketing and its effectiveness for brands. An obsession with numbers might be one thing – doing anything you can to entice people to like your page or follow you on Twitter – but if we’re reaching the kind of level where half of those followers could be fake, we need to start worrying.
As mentioned, the study might not be entirely accurate but the general trend probably true. There are a lot of Twombies (that’s a Twitter zombie) out there that have been created solely for the purpose of manufacturing social proof.
We’re really excited about this: the new Disqus is fully real-time, from top to bottom, and based on completely new architecture. Conversations stream in live, with sub-second updating — and this happens all within the right context.
Our goal is to strike to right balance between the allure of a fast-paced chat and still keep the depth of a structured discussion. Everything is dynamic: votes update in real-time and you’ll also be able to see when others are in the middle of typing a new comment.
The new version of DISQUS rolled out this week with a number of new enhancements. Comments are a vital, yet overlooked, piece of the content landscape. I like the new changes and wonder whether Google would simply buy DISQUS rather then compete with them with their own Google Comments product.
So now we’re expecting people to understand that, say, “cars.bmw” is some kind of thing you can type into a Web browser and get to BMW’s website?
Good luck with that. All this is going to accomplish is to pour a lot of money into ICANN’s hands—new top-level domains cost as much as $185,000 to start up—and confuse the heck out of consumers.
I’m glad I’m not alone in thinking this is a bad idea. I’ve likened this to brand blackmail and agree with Mathew Ingram that the expansion “really helps no one, except for domain registrars and ICANN itself.“
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