Trying Google Social Search – Monday Update

Oh, yes, iPad jokes were hilarious, and reading the sentiment analysis of Apple announcement compared to public reaction to the State of the Union Address was perplexing (State of the Union address received less buzz, but the buzz was proportionally more positive).

However, Google social search was probably a more immediate change in the interactive marketing universe. This development  might put more emphasis on “the three Fs of interactive marketing” again: number of friends, fans, and followers.

The social search became available for everybody who was willing to create a Google Profile with links to social networks. Now, searching Google would return not only the most relevant results available, but also the most relevant results from the searcher’s network.  As a result, a new blog post by the company that has more connections will be more likely found  by… those connections…

Google announced the change on its blog and Website Magazine mentioned the search marketing implications.

Of course, I had to see how it was working.  Unfortunately, searching on any marketing topic gave me no results (wasn’t all my friends talking about their industry?? 😉  )…  However, searching for “party” gave me a result from my social circle… (aha, this is what everybody has in mind…  ).

We cannot expect immediate adoption of Google Profiles, but the future of search looks more social and “the three Fs of interactive marketing” will probably become more important – soon.

MIMA – Embracing Mobile Marketing: Generating ROI with the Integrated Approach

As usually, very informative event,  wonderful resource for future  educational opportunities,  excellent chance to meet old and new friends, and… have I mentioned the food?  🙂

A few notes from Michael Becker’s presentation that were especially interesting, new to me, or so much loved that I can not refrain from reiterating them again:

  • Developing countries are achieving very high (up to 100%) penetration of mobile – much higher penetration than  PCs
  • Because mobile reqires permission, other channels need to be involved (a web site or DM to collect opt-ins, etc.)
  • Mobile has a role in every stage of the customer’s life cycle
  • We are managing not brands, but “brand clouds” created with customers’ participation
  • Why are we talking about mobile marketing now? Because it works… 39% in US no longer have land line phone (this percentage is higher in other countries)
  • Mobile penetration excides Internet
  • Mobile is not just a phone:  text 60%, e-mail 21%, video 3%, web 21% (but 90% for iPhone)
  • Age affect use of the mobile device
  • Only 17% have smartphones, iPhone is 3.5% of the market
  • Ethnicity is important: Hispanics often have high-end mobile devices, blacks don’t have this tendency. This is a very interesting (and new for me) point, though I also heard that blacks have more interest to ring tones than whites.
  • Some subsections of the market are completely addicted to mobile 😉

Three approaches to mobile marketing:

  1. Mobile as direct (Mobile is a personal media and “we all are becoming direct marketers”)
  2. Mobile-enabled cross-media marketing (most likely our beloved integrated campaigns ~Vanessa)
  3. Mobile as a product or service (mobile banking, mobile apps, etc.)

What is working in mobile marketing:

  • Getting information from your customers on their mobile use and adjust marketing programs accordingly
  • Text messaging-based loyalty programs
  • Mobile coupons (redemption of paper capons increases if there is a reference to mobile)
  • If no mobile shopping method is available for the business “click to call” can be successfully used
  • Augmented reality integration (superimposing bars to the camera image)
  • Generally: voice, SMS, Mobile Web – the rest is niche market
  • Important: companies that get ROI from mobile integrate mobile efforts into general marketing strategy
  • B-to-B is not as active as B-to-C; all known efforts concentrated on communication during conferences
  • Mobile is developing quickly in health care; good resources to investigate are mHealth  Alliance and mHealth Initiative


iLoop Mobile – Mr. Becker is VP Mobile Strategies for iLoop Mobile, the industry’s leading mobile marketing solutions provider and winner of the 2007 MMA Innovation of the Year Award.  The company also sponsors College of Mobile Marketing

College of Mobile Marketing – great resources of free resources, classes, and other information useful for mobile marketers; sponsored by iLoop Mobile

Mobile Marketer – I have been subscribing for Mobile Marketing Daily – the newsletter associated with Mobile Marketer and found it quite useful.  The newsletter has rather detailed descriptions of some mobile campaigns invaluable for marketers new to the medium.

MMA – Mobile Marketing Association – I must admit I found this association about three years ago and was receiving a newsletter for a while. Unfortunately, the organization does not have a local group, and membership seem to be targeted to companies rather than individuals.

Mobile Twin Cities – a free to attend local group dedicated to mobile. I am still planning to attend an event in person, but hope this group will grow into a place where mobile marketers can come together.  The group welcomes non-technical attendees.

mHealth Alliance –  UN Foundation  “The Alliance will act as an umbrella organization to complement, draw together and expand upon the mHealth initiatives of multiple organizations around the world. ”

mHealth Initiative –  mHealth Initiative Inc (mHI), a not-for-profit organization incorporated in Massachusetts, USA, envisions the emerging mHealth Revolution.

Recommended book:  Mobile as 7th of the Mass Media: Cellphone, cameraphone, iPhone, smartphone by Tomi Ahonen If you are not familiar with the book’s author, his presentation Mobile Phones: The Next 4 Billion with Tomi Ahonen is available for review – very insightful and engaging!  The presentation highlights mobile differences and explains why the rate of adoption of mobile devices will be wider and faster than the rate of adoption of computers. I probably already twitted too much about it 😉

And have I mentioned the food?  Excellent event and a delicious snack!

Did I forget any mobile marketing resources while taking full advantage of this fruit extravaganza?

Excellent Mobile Marketing Presentation and Mobile Marketer of the Year Campaigns – Monday Update

The next week will be a mobile marketing week 😉  I am hoping to attend two mobile events:  Mobile Twin cities (it might be closer to mobile development – we will see) and MIMA’s   Embracing Mobile Marketing: Generating ROI with the Integrated Approach.

As an unplanned preparation for these too events, I came across a couple of interesting sources last week:

Mobile Phones: The Next 4 Billion with Tomi Ahonen

An eye-opening presentation, where  Tomi Ahonen  highlights mobile differences and explains why the rate of adoption of mobile devices will be wider and faster than the rate of adoption of computers.

Tomi Ahonen has a very interesting argument about the screen size: if screen size would matter, a movie theater would be preferable to TV.  I highly recommend listening to this presentation (and probably already twitted too much about it 😉  ).

Ralph Lauren is 2009 Mobile Marketer of the Year

This is a Mobile Marketer article with wonderfully described examples of integrated marketing including web, mobile, retail, QR and probably everything imaginable.

Yes, you can scan QR code right from the screen and be redirected right to Ralph Lauren mobile site.  😉

2D codes: QR code, Datamatrix code, Microsoft Tag, Bee Tag, JagTag, and resources

How 2D codes can be useful for marketing?

2D codes can be placed on any printed materials, buildings, soda cans, etc.  and provide additional information about offers, coupons, or any company promotions.  Most mobile devices with a camera can take a picture of the code and quickly access the info.  Some of 2D codes are completely free to use. 2D codes benefit both a consumer and a marketer: consumers can reach the information quickly and marketers can measure success of their campaigns.

History of 2D codes

The most popular code – QR code – was invented in Japan; during 90’s all Japanese mobile carriers agreed to include QR reading software into their phones. QR codes can be created by anyone license free and most readers can be downloaded to any camera enabled smart phone for free – QR codes are widely used in Japan and start to appear in western countries, including US. There is a range of proprietary systems, which have similar function but require payment.

A few types of 2D codes (US)

QR Code

How to generate:

How to download a reader: (or search for QR reader on your mobile device)

QR code is completely free for use. Success of the promotions can be measured by the traffic generated to the URL, what is easy to do through Web Analytics software. QR code as an open format becoming more popular.

More information on QR code from Bee Tag.

Datamatrix Code

Please note, this Datamatrix code was generated with Bee Tag software 😉  However, there are other options. Similar to QR code, Datamatrix can be tracked through the traffic it generates to the encoded URL, by using Web Analytics software.

More information on Datamatrix code from Bee Tag.

Microsoft Tag

How to generate a tag:

How to download a reader:

Microsoft Tag is a proprietary tag which just celebrated its first anniversary and is currently free to use.  Microsoft might decide to charge for the use of the tag in the future, however, everybody who started a free trial will be able to use existing tags free for next two years.

Microsoft tag can be published in a colorful format, black/white, and also in a custom format allowing more creativity for the designers. Microsoft Tag provides an interface for management of all generated tags and tracking consumer activity.

I think Microsoft Tag is pretty (personal opinion 😉  ) and it also works surprisingly fast.  Microsoft Tag works well in small size. If you are interested, this is a concise technical comparison of Microsoft Tag and QR code.

More information:

Bee Tag

How to generate:

How to download a reader:

Bee Tag is another proprietary system allowing businesses to embed their logo into the code.  Bee tag has a free version of the software which might show ads before redirecting consumers to the destination of the tag. Bee Tag also has built-in metrics and tag management interface, similar to Microsoft Tag. Bee Tag allows creating and managing Bee Tags, QR code, and Datamatrix in one interface.

More information:


How to generate:

How to download a reader:

ScanLife offers free service for personal use (limit 1000 codes – quite enough),  and paid business solution.

ScanLife site has a great library of examples – very useful for campaign ideas.  All examples have a code that can be canned from the computer screen;  some of the campaigns and mobile destination sites are still active.  You can find different industries and applications – a wonderful resource to review.

More information:


(The demo is copied from

How to generate: (no free service for generation of functioning code is available)

No reader is needed

JagTag is the only 2D code which does not requires the reader. However, the process of using the code is not as streamlined as applying a reader already present on the mobile device. The consumer needs to take a picture of the 2D code, and then text it or e-mail it to a  provided number or an e-mail address. It is rather cumbersome comparing to QR readers (and other 2D code readers), but – true – no initial download is needed.

If we are lucky to see cooperation of mobile companies similar to the cooperation that happened in Japan’s history, all mobile devices will have a standard reader… eventually. Now, JagTag claims to be the only 2D code suitable for US, because no reader is needed.

JagTag site has a good collection of Market Applications with examples of its 2D code. This collection can be used as an inspiration for marketing ideas suitable for QR, Microsoft Tag, Bee Tag, ScanLife and other codes. 

What 2D codes can do (more)

  • Display text
  • Open a web site on the mobile phone
  • Initiate e-mail, SMS, phone call
  • Start video/audio stream

Recommended rules  of 2D code marketing (source with examples)

  • Make sure the code leads to a mobile web site (not a regular web site) – consumers will be viewing the site on mobile devices 😉
  • Keep the URL short (for QR codes) – the code is simpler and more likely to be read accurately if the URL is short (use URL shortening if needed)
  • Provide valuable content beyond the information on the printed material itself (seems obvious 😉  )
  • Do not be “too creative” with the code or tag image – the code or tag still needs to be found and recognized by the consumer

2D code resources wonderful and detailed resource QR resource – QR code generators – blog concentrated on 2D codes with campaign examples and resources– Examples of  Microsoft Tag (Microsoft Tag blog) – Top right of the page (under the search box) – list of articles about Microsoft Tag use. – Bee Tag – good explanation of different codes – ScanLife – excellent library of examples – Jag Tag – Market Application – another collection of examples

Code Worriers – Facebook group for people around the globe interested in 2D codes (includes examples)

QR Code explanation video used by Detroit Red Wings promotion (explanation video is on the bottom of the article)

2D Codes opportunities for retailers – an excellent white paper

QR code use for Forsquare check ins simplification

QR code Fridge Magnet?  $3.95!

QR designs

Interesting: Japanese advertisement of the QR codes (thanks to Kobe for the comment).  Considering that US has several competing codes and tags, it will be interesting to see what will happen next…

Mobile Resources, iPhone Mockup, Usabila, and More – Monday Update

Without mentioning a myriad New Year Resolution helpers and a scientific explanation why we, humans, have limited opportunities in succeeding with grandiose New Year Resolutions,  I found a few interesting interactive marketing tools last week.

Educational resources in Mobile:

Mobile is in general starting to take larger part of interactive marketing news; maybe the “year of mobile” is finally here? 😉

Top 10 Reasons Your Website Should Go Mobile

Excellent resource with quite a few data sources that can be used in the future. The most interesting (or compelling?) reasons from my perspective were:

1. Google has a separate index for mobile content.

4. Mobile web will overtake the desktop within 5 years.

Mobile Advertising: 5 Things You Need to Know to Succeed in 2010

This article gives a good overview of different mobile devices and explains difference between mobile apps and mobile sites.  The idea of this article is similar – your marketing efforts should include plans for mobile.

Both approaches, a web site a separate entity and marketing as a whole, are advised to pay attention on mobile… it is probably about time 😉

iPhone Mockup tool can probably help with needed mobile plans. The tool is in alpha, but it might save time and energy and be useful for anybody who listened to the advice of two previous articles.

Other interesting tools of the week:

Usabila – A quick and easy to use web site usability testing tool. The tool has a free trial and looks very attractive.

Mashable Guide to Facebook –  The guide includes personal and brand resources; however, considering that Facebook is still more used to connect with “friends” than with brands, combining the resources seem quite appropriate.

Google Trends for web sites – A tool that I somehow overlooked in the past.

The tools were added to work NetVibes site and to my personal NetVibes site.