According to Juniper Research that recently released a study on mobile payments, “the transaction value of mobile payments for digital and physical goods, money transfers and NFC (Near Field Communications) transactions will reach $670 billion by 2015, up from $240 billion this year.” This increase stems from the increased adoption of NFC payments and other transactions made through mobile phones. Not only are people making the transition to paying online for items instead of going to stores, but they’re also doing it from a more diverse range of products, like mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.In addition, NFC payments offer secure transactions, and already many “credit card companies, mobile network providers and startups are all gunning for the opportunity to facilitate digital transactions when NFC-enabled phones become widely available.” This may not be too far off; the Apple iPhone 5 has been rumored to be NFC-enabled. Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and PayPal are only some of the major players who are interested in this new technology.In the beginning of July 2011, PayPal opened its 100 millionth active account. Leading the way in digital currency, PayPal can be accessed from any digital device, and is fast becoming the norm in online payments. PayPal’s president, Scott Thompson, marked the occasion by predicting that by 2015, paper money and credit cards will be outdated, and everyone will be using mobile commerce. The company has recently launched a campaign that challenges five San Francisco Bay area residents to only use digital currency to pay for all of their purchases.
Bitcoin is a new form of electronic money, similar to a bank but exclusively online. It is made up of a network of computers worldwide that are connected by the Internet, and secured by cryptography technology that Bitcoin calls “absolutely un-hackable.” Bitcoins run on a secure network; the entire Internet would have to be disabled or fail for the network to fail. Similar to silver or gold, Bitcoins are a limited commodity, because there is a limit of 21 million Bitcoins that cannot be exceeded. Bitcoins can also be almost infinitely divisible, and at the present are divisible up to eight decimal places. It is free to transfer and send Bitcoins as e-mails, unlike credit card companies, that usually charge transaction fees.Like cash, the exchange of Bitcoins can be entirely anonymous. A transaction can only be traced by your Bitcoin address, and you can have as many of those as you want. Also, Bitcoin is not controlled by any one central bank so your currency is not dependent on the printing of money, and your transactions are not controlled by anyone else except you. Bitcoins can be sold, saved to collect interest, spent, donated or accepted. Businesses are starting to catch on, and are beginning to accept them in lieu of paper money. Bitcoins can also be exchanged for cash in person from local exchangers, by mail, or through direct deposit into your bank account through an online exchange site. Many people are skeptical of Bitcoin, believing it to be imaginary. Because it is unregulated digital currency with seemingly no one to go to if your money is taken, people are hesitant to trust it. But many businesses, such as restaurants are starting to accept Bitcoins. In addition to people’s ever-present distrust of online and mobile transactions, there is a wildly fluctuating exchange rate and the Bitcoin addresses are somewhat long and cumbersome to type into an address bar (i.e. 1QDFQ4EyxYcZStuhgSDiNk3eQUNcUKkWrs). Here is how someone would buy lunch with Bitcoins:Pick your meal and tell the cashier you will be buying it with Bitcoins; from there, they will calculate the price in coins based on the current exchange rateThe venue will hold up a QR code you have to scanThe QR code will bring you to the address where you will send your BitcoinsYou open up your mobile device, a computer, smart phone, etc., open your Bitcoin account and send the Bitcoins to the scanned addressThe restaurateur will receive an e-mail confirmation that you have paid for your food It is likely that this experiment will fail sometime in the future because of peoples’ skepticism, or hackers, but it provides a good jumping off point for the switch from paper money to all digital currency. It is not much different from stock brokers on Wall Street trading shares of stock. The money is all invisible but it is all there. Because Bitcoins and other forms of digital currency are newer and less tried and true than trading shares of stock, it will take businesses sometime to fully adapt to them, or even for these kinds of transactions to become mainstream. So far the slower adapters have not caught on to this trend, or are even aware of it. Early adapters are scanning QR codes for everything and paying for many transactions primarily through smartphones, but some laggers have yet to purchase a smartphone or understand the inner workings of QR codes. Until people become more technologically savvy with current technology, mobile purchasing will have to wait.
Epic Change shares peoples’ stories to raise awareness of great causes and charities around the world, and shares their efforts to help support the causes they are rallying for. The company helps these change makers discover creative and innovative ways to help them acquire financial resources to enact positive change in their communities. The charitable organization is truly innovative itself in its acceptance of various types of donations. Under the “Donate” tab on Epic Change’s website, it lists a number of ways supporters can donate to the cause. These include:Google CheckoutPayPalBitcoinCharitable organizations such as Epic Change would find it advantageous to adapt these new technologies. With the economy as it is right now and people not looking to help out big corporations, it helps that online currency providers, such as these do not take any of the money out for transaction fees. Also it encourages people to donate more money because they know that their entire donation is going to help out the organization.
Cloud computing gives you the ability to have secure access to every single one of your applications from any network device. While cloud computing is not a new concept, with its first scholarly use of the term dating back to 1997, it was not actually utilized until 2008 with Eucalyptus.In general, cloud computing refers to “the use and access of multiple server-based computational resources via a digital network.” To put it simply, you can access the same thing on many different devices. There is no cloud app to download, it all happens seamlessly through the cloud server. Cloud computing allows for a much larger storage space, that is easy to access, which is advantageous to carrying around an external hard drive.While there are the usual privacy concerns with transferring large amounts of data through digital networks, the benefits outweigh the risks in most cases. For personal and most business ventures cloud computing can be a cheap way to spread and continually update information within groups of people, and can increase productivity. With some international sharing of files, it may be a security risk. With the recent hackings that have been occurring in the federal government and with other privately held companies, many people may not want to risk their information and private files getting stolen. However, for those who are students on the go, this is a secure and easy way to be more productive and stay on top of school work. With Apple’s version coming out in the next few months, it is certain that cloud computing is becoming increasingly popular and mainstreamed.
Amazon recently released the Amazon Cloud Player, which is the website’s cloud-based music service. It offers unlimited music storage and a web app for the iPad. But retailers aren’t the only ones that are getting in the business of clouds. Universities that have been exploring the use of tablets have also been giving the storage method a long look. Imagine having all of your textbooks and notes on a tablet less than half the size of a computer and all of your documents on a cloud service. You wouldn’t need textbooks, a bulky laptop or any kind of external storage devices. You could access all of your documents from anywhere. The memory capacity of a computer would be obsolete. Many experts have pointed to cloud computing as the way of the future for online storage and beyond. (See section on technology in the classroom for more on educational cloud computing).Amazon recently introduced the Kindle Cloud Reader in August. It allows customers to read the 950,000 Kindle books directly on a web browser, online or offline, with no downloads or installations required. Similar to previous Kindle apps on numerous digital devices, this service synchronizes the entire Kindle library (last page read, bookmarks, notes, etc.). With the use of HTML5, Amazon has been able to build a complete application that adapts to whatever platform the customer is using (i.e. Chrome to iOS).
Remember when you had to wear those blue and red plastic glasses when you went to the movie theater to watch a movie in 3D? And even then it was only the most popular movie franchises that got to put movies out in 3D. In the past few years 3D technology has been gaining momentum in the consumer sector, with new products being announced weekly that are affordable, common and do not include the plastic glasses.
Toshiba was recently the first company to unveil what it claims is the world’s first glasses-free 3D laptop. The Qosmio F750 is best used for gaming and movies, which is what Toshiba intended it for; an entertainment center. The interesting thing about its design is that it contains a full HD lenticular screen that can display 2D and 3D simultaneously in separate windows, so you can essentially watch a 3D movie in one screen and browse 2D content in another window. It also boasts an “…HD webcam that follows your movements and adjusts the 3D effect accordingly, so you can peek at that lovely third dimension from almost any angle you like.”Set to run on the Sprint 4G network, the HTC EVO 4G android Phone is the first of its kind. It features 3D, glasses-free technology HTC will start to roll out for most if not all of its mobile phones. This “perfect storm” of a phone “…has two 5mp cameras on the rear that simultaneously take a picture or video.” To create the 3D image they “…huddle together and show their separate and barely different results to the 3D cutting edge technology processor. It then can extrapolate a 3D image or video, and broadcast it to the special no-glasses-needed display.”With the introduction of this phone, HTC promises to introduce many more like it into the marketplace. What does this mean for the mobile phone marketplace? Start investing in 3D technology. With the rise of 3D computers and televisions, it was only so long before people would start demanding more of the same in a mobile atmosphere. The question about 3D technology remains; will people spend their money on a device that includes 3D technology? Will this become a mainstream technology? Some people have not yet upgraded to smartphones so it is unlikely that everyone will revel in this new 3D market. Even then, on portable devices such as laptops and mobile phones is 3D always a good idea? What if we’re trying to watch a private video or see a private picture? Will there be controls that we can set to allow separate 3D or 2D choices? Nonetheless, companies continue to develop an increasing number of 3D products; which now include, in addition to smartphones and televisions, laptops and gaming consoles.
While speech and voice recognition technology have been around for the past few decades, it has yet to reach the mainstream. So why haven’t we seen machines that transcribe for us? Or appliances that work based on voice commands? “…Speech technology is a tough business. Not only does a machine have to recognize words, but it has to process accents, sentence structure, grammar, language, noise and other factors that help a machine distinguish ‘pain’ from ‘pane’…”Google Voice ActionsGoogle has been working since 2008 to develop products that turn voice into text and action. The company’s first venture into this arena was in 2009 when Google introduced Google Search by Voice for Android. The device essentially would allow the owner to dial by voice. With the introduction of Google Voice Actions more recently, users have the ability to send texts, make calls, send emails, get directions and play songs; all with voice commands. Now coming down the pipeline for Google: Google voice Search for the desktop.So what are the broader implications of Google’s voice achievements?Easier accessibility while on the goVoice recognition technology will become more useful as it develops further, opening up new ways of inputting information and communicatingSmart homes and appliances
In our increasingly digital society, high school and university students are being required to know new technologies and social media for the workplace. Shouldn’t school work and the classroom reflect this change and encourage this adaptation? Not all technology is a distraction, and even the distracting technologies can fuel education and learning for students. Using technology in the classroom can provide students with instant feedback, increase student engagement, promote teamwork and collaboration, and allow instructors to monitor and observe student progress. Many education institutions, such as the University of Maryland, are already using some of the new technologies I will share with you. They are exploring how social media benefits students through inclusion in a classroom setting. Classes like these give Maryland students the upper hand when entertingthe workforce in the fields of communication and marketing. With social media becoming an ever-dominating presence in the marketing and public relations fields, it is certain that more classes, like those offered by Maryland, will become staples at many institutions of higher learning.
Here are some ways students are using technology, how technology is affecting their educational experiences and what affect it has on overall well-being (Onlineeducation.net):72 percent of students say their laptop is the most important thing in their backpack; only 10 percent say their textbooks98 percent of college students own a digital device; 38 percent say they can’t go more than 10 minutes without using a digital device3 out of 4 students say they wouldn’t be able to study without technology46 percent of students say they’d be more likely to read an assignment if it was in a digital format8 percent of students use social sites to contact their teachersStudents in classes that use Twitter to increase engagement, have been found to average 5 grade points higher than those in normal classes81 percent of students use devices for research, 70 percent use them for taking class notes, 65 percent use them for presentationsNearly 3 out of 4 students who own tablets prefer them to textbooks, nearly 90 percent think tablets help students study more efficientlyAlmost half of all college students think tablets will replace textbooks completely within the next 5 years
Camtasia is a screen video capture software program where the user “defines the area of the screen or the window that is to be captured or the whole screen can be recorded instead.” In addition to showing your actions on the computer screen, you can also add an audio recording from your computer’s microphone or integrate webcam footage. After recording you can edit the content to zoom in on important features, add cursor effects and transitions, include quizzes and import media. Camtasia is becoming increasingly flexible, allowing users to add PowerPoint presentations, save in multiple formats (even ones that can be transferred onto a smartphone), and share on different platforms such as YouTube.Wimba Classroom is a live, virtual classroom. Unlike Camtasia, Wimba allows instructors and students to interact through presentations and engage as if they were meeting face-to-face. It also includes features such as: polling, white boarding, analytics tools, and MP3 and MP4 downloads allow for further communication and interaction. There is also a public and private chat feature that allows students to ask instructors and fellow students questions throughout presentations. These features are helpful to instructors because they can see if they are communicating materials and gage comprehension levels among students. Wimba also allows an instructor to share screens or a presentation with students. Instructors use Camtasia and Wimba for remote teaching purposes. They can also be used to provide additional instruction and materials for learning and interaction outside of the classroom. These tools are being used more for online classes because they are more engaging than reading a textbook, and allow for remote interaction. Also, lectures can be archived for students and instructors to review. Teachers can see what worked and what they could change for future lectures, and students can use them to review course material.
Poll Everywhere is “the fastest way to create stylish real-time experiences for events using mobile devices.” Commonly used in market research, conferences, panels, charitable donations and educational settings. In addition to offering answers through SMS (text messaging), users can also engage in content through web responses. Just like a written exam, questions can be multiple choice, short answer, true/false, etc. The service is even free for audiences of 30 people or less, which is ideal for a smaller classroom setting.In the classroom, Poll Everywhere can be used for instructors to gage comprehension of material and get feedback from students. Students can see where they stand against classmates, and mostly see it as an engaging new way to learn and give input.
While reading devices are growing in popularity (i.e. the Kindle and Nook), they have yet to reach the classroom. Aside from Harvard, which now offers most of its textbooks online, many universities have been slow on the uptake of digital readers. They are however, utilizing digital versions of many textbooks. These options are much cheaper, and carrying a computer to class is a more appealing option than lugging around multiple heavy textbooks.As American universities struggle to adopt technology in their classrooms, our neighbors to the east are soaring decades ahead of us. South Korea announced in July that they would convert all textbooks to digital tablets by 2015. This is not only in colleges and universities, but grade schools as well. And lesson plans and materials will be shared on a cloud network so that it can be accessed remotely, away from the classroom. It is no wonder they are so far past us in all levels of schooling. Korea’s tablets give us hope that someday at least college-aged students can swap out their backpacks for tablets. So while South Korea strokes its tiniest minds in preparation to become Samsung’s next top executives, our top university students will continue to buy outrageously expensive textbooks and breaking their backs as they walk to class.
As Korea gears up for its replacement of textbooks with tablets, educators in the US are starting to take notice, and getting a little jealous. VineetMadan, vice president of McGraw-Hill Higher Education eLabs, thinks that tablets are classroom-ready. Here are his six reasons why:Tablets are the best way to show textbooks: text, images, video and audio together offer a more integrated and engaging learning experienceClassrooms are ready for tablets: students are already well acquainted with touchscreen technologyTablets fit students’ lifestyles: thin, lightweight, longer battery lifeTablets have the software to be competitive: some of the most innovative software available is being developed specifically for tablets; Blackboard and other learning platforms are developing apps; limited multitaskingTablets integrate with educational IT trends: align with cloud-based systems, which means students don’t have to pay for as much storage space as wellTablets are becoming more available: lower price points, more options
Amazon is already catching on to digital textbooks with its new Kindle Textbook Rental. Amazon claims that “students can save as much as 80 percent off textbook list prices…” The store offers tens of thousands of textbooks, which students can rent for periods of a month to a year. In addition, Amazon extended its Whispersync technology so renters can access their notes and highlighted content in the Amazon Cloud after the rental period is over. With Kindle’s now down to $114, which is cheaper than many college textbooks, it is clear that reading devices are the way of the future. With the digital revolution taking over the educational system, graduates will come out of the educational system more technologically savvy and connected than ever. Hiring of younger employees who are more digitally capable has already been increasing, and this trend is bound to keep growing as the Internet and devices further push themselves into daily life.
With the rising prices of digital copies of music and the near death of CDs, it didn’t take long for people to turn to pirating music online as a means of finding musical entertainment. But after the collapse of Napster and attacks the law began making on individual music downloaders, many people stopped downloading free music. This stopped with the creation of free music sharing websites and torrents. As people began listening to music again, they demanded that it be free and come with different capabilities such as the creation of playlists, sharing of good songs and suggestions for new ones based on past interest.Thus popped up sites that allow users to listen to music for free, rate music, share it and create playlists based on recommendations. Also playing along with this trend is the rise of social media. People are connecting through music now more than ever. Even Apple iTunes makes recommendations with its “Genius” feature. Here are a few, free online music services that are growing in popularity:
Last.fm tracks what you listen to (i.e. counting how many times you play certain songs), and makes suggestions of what else you might like, or what others like you are listening to. There is plug in you download to your computer and it will track the music you play on different software, like iTunes, and make recommendations on who you should follow and helps you discover new music. Streaming sites such as this allow you to listen to music online and through separate downloads. They are the most like social networking because you can communicate with other listeners and share interests. MeeMix.com helps you make playlists and mix tapes that you can share with others. Mee Mix in particular allows you to explore your favorite music, find similar artists and create your own station. You can listen to this station and also share it with others.Pandora.com is arguably the most popular music discovery site on the Internet. The site allows you to input the name of a song or artist you like to listen to, and Pandora will analyze it and build a playlist based on that style of music. Other music discovery websites help you discover music, and then helps you embed the names of songs and artists on your website, blog post, Twitter feed, etc. Social in nature, like general streaming websites, the site allows users to share what new music they are discovering.
Spotify is a Swedish-based, DRM (digital rights management to protect copyright holders), music streaming service that offers the streaming of selected music from a range of major and independent record labels. Users can sign up for free trail accounts or paid subscriptions. Spotify seems to offer the best of all online streaming music services with a catalogue of approximately 15 million tracks, user-generated playlists that can be shared or edited together, a radio service, the ability to buy tracks, social features that allow users to connect to Facebook to share playlists, and even a Last.fm integration feature. Music can also be imported from iTunes or local files. Users can also indulge in an offline mode, which allows subscription holders to listen to music even without an Internet connection.In Europe, the service “…offers a free, ad-supported trial for six months of use with ten hours of free play per month afterwards. Paid subscriptions are also available.” Spotify has also been rumored to join forces with Facebook or Google to launch a streaming music service, which will let users listen to music via the platforms. After a month in the U.S., Spotify has already gained 1.4 million users. Of these, about 175,000 have already shelled out cash for a subscription. To give a better idea of how monumental this number is, Rhapsody recently announced that it boasts 800,000 users, and it launched ten years ago.
social media has made a huge impact in the business world by changing the way marketing and advertising is done. Search engine optimization, search engine marketing, and social media marketing all play an integral role in a business’ visibility.
In the broad scheme of things, social media has made a huge impact in the business world by changing the way marketing and advertising is done. Search engine optimization, search engine marketing, and social media marketing all play an integral role in a business’ visibility. Search Engine Optimization (SEO), is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines. This can be done in two ways: with “organic” or free search results whose placement or position is not paid for, and with paid or sponsored search results. Other forms of search engine marketing (SEM) target paid listings. In general, the earlier and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic search, news search and industry-specific vertical search engines. This gives a website a web presence. Internet marketing includes all of the following: display advertising, email marketing, interactive advertising, cloud marketing, social media optimization, web analytics, cost per impression, affiliate marketing, cost per action, contextual advertising, revenue sharing, search engine marketing, and search engine optimization.
The adaptation of search or the personalized search model is relatively new. Google recently released a personal search feature that returns results from the user’s most viewed sites. This posed a new challenge for SEO specialists and keyword analysts who now have to determine a way to draw repeat visitors to their site in order to show up in search results at all. Google also has a feature now that searches with local results. This allows users to not have to input their location anymore. Google also had the PANDA update, rewarding sites with unique content, great design and good branding with higher search engine results page (SERP) rankings. Pages with more content (text and words) rank better than shorter pages, which in turn changes how bloggers and online marketing specialists design their website and content.
-Indicates value of the content being shared-virtual thumbs up Social media is also changing the scope of SEO, by creating a new way for companies and business to advertise their brand. Through Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking platforms, companies are able to interact with their customers and consumers, providing a two-way relationship much different from the marketing and advertising strategies of the past. Optimizing social media also gives an opportunity for businesses to include backlinks to their site, another opportunity to create more site traffic.
Spending on online advertisements is expected to hit $50 billion in 2015, almost double the spending figure of 2010. The shift in local advertising from newspapers and Yellow pages to online ads ensures that this industry is not going anywhere. Nowadays, going online is the best and most effective way to promote your products. It is cheaper and has much more advantages as compared to advertising in print media or in any other form of traditional media. There are a few ways that online marketing makes advertising easier. Unlike TV commercials, advertising online is a one-time investment. There is no need to print additional copies of a magazine or to create and send direct mail pieces. The online community is normally more affluent, better educated and willing to spend money than the population at large. The Internet allows marketers to target exactly who will see their ads, which is not possible in print and broadcast media. This also allows for instant feedback from the customers. There is no need to harass customers through their mailbox or telephone with surveys about how they feel. Everything can be done instantly online. Online advertising also allows for unlimited exposure, something that is not available for television advertisements. Commercials have to be shown multiple times throughout the day to get the right amount of exposure needed for their product, but online advertisements are not only competitive in cost, but their exposure is unlimited.
Allied Outdoor Solutions specializes in updating or replacing concrete for people’s homes for their driveways. In September 2010, the Houston-based company decided it needed a greater presence on the Internet to attract more customers in the area. They hired Server Side Design (SSD) to do a search engine optimization campaign for them.Server Side Design then created a 15-keyword campaign and selected keywords that reflected their business and appealed to potential customers in the Houston area. SSD optimized the web site by adding keyword rich content to the home page along with a weekly news section which has fresh content added every week. In addition, SSD created several keyword-rich landing pages which helped establish Allied Outdoor Solutions as an authority in their industry. This fresh content plus onsite article and blog posts helped push Allied’s natural search engine rankings to page one of the search engines. Results showed that since the start of the SEO campaign in September 2010, the original keywords were at either zero or scored extremely low on the major search engines of Google, Yahoo, and Bing. By March 2011, the chosen keywords from the campaign ranked on page one for eleven of the 15 keywords on all three major search engines. In addition to these improvements, Allied’s web traffic increased over a four month period by 300%. Through Server Side Design’s strategic SEO campaign, Allied Outdoor Solutions is now experiencing greater web traffic, higher search engine rankings and more business as a result.
Some speculate that search engine optimization is a dying concept, with new developments like personalized search, and the new Google PANDA update.Though three years later, SEO is still being utilized and recognized by online marketers, Schoemaker’s prediction is still a very strong possibility for the near future. The Google PANDA update changed a SERP in a Google search. The update aimed to remove low quality content from appearing at the top of an SERP, and in turn reward high-quality content and design websites with a higher ranking. This Google feature saves and records a history of the user’s searches. Then, when that user performs another search, the search results are not only based on the relevancy of each web page to the term being searched, but the service also takes into account what websites the user previously visited through search results to determine future search results.
Nowadays, social networks are driving an increasing amount of traffic to an increasing number of websites. SMO can lead to increased traffic to your site, as friends encourage friends encourage friends to digest specific content. The more easily transportable you make your content, the better it is for your SMO. 46 million American customers check social media sites multiple times a day, easily seeing business’ promotions and advertisements through their peers’ postings. -users are more likely to buy if a business answers their questions on Twitter. 2011 boasts dozens of new trends for social media. As marketers incorporate social media more to engage visitors in their brand or business, they will wonder how they can make use of the several profiles that have been set up. This year more and more businesses are going to figure this out, and most of the advertising, public relations, and marketing will be done through social media. Video marketing is already a proven effective marketing strategy. Yet there are so few marketers using video. Experts predict that 2011 will see more businesses and people experimenting with videos.
The Pew Research Center conducted a research project that reported on how social networking affects our lives. Their goal was to discover what social networking is actually doing to people in their offline lives. The report found that 92% of social media users are on Facebook, whereas only 13% are on Twitter. Another interesting fact found is that overall social networking doubled from 26% in 2008 to 47% in 2010.Social networking usage increased mostly with those over the age of 35, which grew nearly twice as fast as those 18-35 in the same time period. And consistent with previous reports, more females use social networking sites than males, with the exception of LinkedIn. 94% of these adult users attained at least a college degree. In addition, many users frequently check the different social networking sites they are a part of regularly throughout the day. Facebook is checked most frequently with 52% of users checking at least once a day, and Twitter close behind with 33% of users on the service daily. Pew applied their findings and reported on how social networking has affected our lives offline. They found that 43% Facebook users are more trusting than other internet users and more than three times as likely as non-internet users to feel that people can be trusted. Facebook users have more close relationships than the two confidants that the average American has. Other notable findings are that Facebook users have more social support than other people, are much more politically engaged than most people, and that the use of Facebook revives “dormant” relationships.
With the rapid expansions of social networks, companies are being forced to re-evaluate where they are spending their ad dollars and look to where their markets are fleeing to…social media sites. People are beginning to trust social media and “earned” placement over paid advertising, and businesses are being forced to adjust rapidly. While Facebook is looked at as “earned” media, you have to pay an agency to manage the page and produce the content. The lines drawn among paid, earned and owned media are blurring.With the sharp rise of social media, many companies have been left struggling to put together social media plans that enhance company functions, without over-or under-doing it. Social media not only affects how a business functions on a daily basis, but has also altered what the terms mean. One challenge marketers face today is the ongoing conversation across platforms. When a TV spot ends, a URL or Facebook page should be there to pick up where it left off. Although business goes to sleep, people from all over the world are conversing 24/7, and companies face the ever-increasing challenge of keeping up. Not only this, but the two-way nature of social media has been difficult for many companies. Their publics are engaged and active, they want to be part of the decision-making, they are invested in making a difference. All marketing campaigns today include social media plans. The challenge for many companies is to connect the new with the traditional media and integrate all of it to earn maximum results. “Facebook’s U.S. advertising revenue will total roughly $2.2 billion in 2011, displacing Yahoo Inc to collect the biggest slice of online display advertising dollars…Facebook’s U.S. advertising revenue will give it a 17.7 percent share of the market for graphical display ads…” Facebook is also ahead of Google, with Google’s revenue from U.S. display ads totaling $1.15 billion.While Facebook is ahead in terms of the social media ad game, the overall market for display ads on websites is growing altogether. Facebook, Yahoo and Google all saw huge percentage increases in the amount of money they were making from online ads. Both big and small businesses can create advertisements that can be placed on websites. This further represents an increase in targeted marketing, with companies looking to market directly to their consumers on websites specifically tailored and attractive to their targets.
Traditionally, companies have focused on SEO marketing and placing ads on search engines such as Google and Yahoo. But because of the rapid expansions of social networks, companies are being forced to re-evaluate where they are spending their ad dollars and look to where their markets are fleeing to…social media sites. People are beginning to trust social media and “earned” placement over paid advertising, and businesses are being forced to adjust rapidly. While Facebook is looked at as “earned” media, you have to pay an agency to manage the page and produce the content. The lines drawn among paid, earned and owned media are blurring.With the sharp rise of social media, many companies have been left struggling to put together social media plans that enhance company functions, without over-or under-doing it. Social media not only affects how a business functions on a daily basis, but has also altered what the terms mean. One challenge marketers face today is the ongoing conversation across platforms. When a TV spot ends, a URL or Facebook page should be there to pick up where it left off. Although a business goes to sleep, people from all over the world are conversing 24/7, and companies face the ever-increasing challenge of keeping up. Not only this, but the two-way nature of social media has been difficult for many companies. Their publics are engaged and active, they want to be part of the decision-making, they are invested in making a difference. All marketing campaigns today include social media plans. The challenge for many companies is to connect the new with the traditional media and integrate all of it to earn maximum results.
Some of the best campaign strategies are simple, and none simpler than using the default “tagging” tool on Facebook to create a bit of buzz for an online competition. Users were drawn to the new Facebook profile page of the store manager, who’d uploaded pictures of his new showrooms. People were told that the first to tag their name on any item, would win it. With the way tagging works on Facebook, the moment you tagged anything, everyone in your network instantly knew what was up for grabs. Subsequently, thousands and thousands of people were flooding the Facebook page in search of freebies.
People want search results and recommendations that are catered specifically to them, and large search engines, social media and third party applications are catching on rapidly. Personalizing recommendations and results to the consumer are the way of the future. People are finally beginning to recognize that businesses have to cater to them, and are now forcing businesses to do more than place an ad in the local paper or on TV. Consumers are becoming savvier, and forcing companies to collect demographic and psychographic information about their markets in new, more creative ways. Part of this stems from distrust. People can control what information businesses find out about them and openly give companies they trust their purchasing habits, demographic information and location, if they receive relevant results from them.People want businesses to cater to them and offer them the best, most personalized information, and so are allowing companies to view and collect data on them so they can be better marketed towards.
Google has added a +1 button to its search function that allows searchers to select what web results they like and were helpful. If you are logged in to your Google account, it will remember and be able to cater your next search to your interests and previous searches. Google defines its +1 button as your public “stamp of approval.” It allows you to help friends, contacts and others on the web “find the best stuff when they search.” In addition to using it personally, you can also write it into your business’ or your own website’s code to let users recommend it.Bing has just introduced a similar feature that lets you view your Facebook friends’ recommendations and search results. This allows you to get reviews from people you trust, which is good according to recent Pew research that states that you trust people you know the most out of any company or third party.While the personalized search is not a new concept, search engines such as Google with its +1 feature are making it increasingly easier for users to interact with content and have an active say in what results they receive.
Applications such as Foursquare that are used with a GPS feature on a mobile device are becoming more popular. Using GPS features is yet another way for companies to market and aim to specific groups of consumers based on interests and location.Foursquare describes itself as a way for you and your friends to “explore your city,” by unlocking badges and earning points based on discovering new places or continuously visiting the same ones. These apps give businesses a way to collect valuable demographic information about their customers so that they can specifically target similar ones. Businesses through Foursquare are able to offer discounts and extra goodies to people, like the business’ “mayor,” who frequent that location the most often. For Noodles restaurant, every time you “check in” or visit a location you get a free rice crispy treat. Offers such as these can boost a business’ ratings and profits by rewarding customers.Foursquare can be used for any size business, venue owners and brands alike are encouraged to sign up and market themselves with the service. Venues can claim their location, set up deals and specials and tailor specific campaigns to promote business. Brands can use the vendor platform if they have a physical location or can develop pages and customer badges. These encourage consumers and fans to try out new and interesting things in their communities to earn badges and add tips.
Yelp is self-described as the “fun and easy way to find and talk about great (and not so great) local businesses. Once again, this is a personalized, location-based service that allows users to connect and interact with each other and the business to improve service and marketing. Yelp allows users to connect on the basis of visiting different local businesses and reviewing them for other users to see. Good reviews can make or break a business, so it is in a company’s best interest to provide excellent service and materials to consumers.The only issue I can bring up about personalized search and location-based results is privacy. Many people do not know how to turn off the GPS feature on their smart phone or other devices and so they could unknowingly be sharing information with local businesses and companies. Also, there is some hassle associated with constantly having to decide and change information based on who you want to view it or not. Even if you can choose which businesses are able to view your personal information, what is to stop them from selling it or hackers from stealing it?
With the introduction of Google+ in late June, social media addicts everywhere rejoiced in what many thought could become the social network to end all others. While early adapters struggled to categorize the social network, everyone else watched the site amass more than ten million users in under two weeks, making it the fastest growing social network ever. Tom Anderson, the founder of MySpace, said that it was what he had imagined for MySpace all along; a network with seemingly unlimited connectivity to the rest of the web. Because Google has a hand in everything (search, mail, docs, etc.), it is easy to assume that it could take over everything. Google+ is “a collection of different social products. These features include Stream (a newsfeed), Sparks (a recommendation engine), Hangouts (a video chat service), Huddle (a group texting service), Circles (a friend management service) and Photos. There is less personal information included in Google+ profiles, and more of an emphasis on professional expertise and past experiences. On a personal profile there are tabs labeled: “Posts,” “About,” “Photos,” “Videos” and “+1’s.” The layout and interface of the website is incredibly simple and very user friendly.At the present businesses cannot make Google+ pages does not have privacy settings and does not have an application for Google+ professional pages, although the company says it is working on both. The company has also been working to verify accounts, by cutting out those whom it deems fake. This has led to the shutting down of services on many accounts, some real and some not. The company is working to rectify those that are actually real, but is taking measures to make the site closer to real life by requiring users to use their real names, and cutting out those who are fake or spam.While it is still undetermined how Google+ will grow and evolve, and exactly what its purpose will be in the social atmosphere, so far users see it as a LinkedIn and Twitter killer. It is very similar to Facebook, but from the activity on the site so far, it seems that it will be more involved with the sharing of content than relationship-building. Because you can’t write directly on someone’s “wall” or send them private messages (unless they are in your circle), most interaction goes on through the commenting and sharing of links, photos, videos, and other content.
Hailed by many “tech celebrities,” Google+ is still in its growing stages and now it faces the challenge to keep growing. When compared with other social networks, it takes many of their features and expands upon them. Only time will tell if Google+ will live up to its meteoric rise.
When Twitter first came out, people laughed at it and thought it was a joke. The company struggled with user retention after the initial buzz and the short status update was almost eliminated before it even got started. Now with a huge user database behind it and multiple social networks trying to jump on the status update bandwagon, Twitter is one of the most popular social networks. Not only do the most famous and influential celebrities, politicians and companies have accounts, but users use the service to discover new brands, learn about products, etc. Here are the percentages of monthly Twitter users using the service to:Learn about products/services (42 percent)Provide opinions about products/services (41 percent)Ask for opinions about products/services (31 percent)Look for discounts/sales (28 percent)Purchase products/services (21 percent)Seek customer support (19 percent)People are increasingly on-the-go, and don’t have time to check lengthy blog posts and status updates from their friends. Instead, they have taken to short status updates; 140 characters or less.
The Women’s World Cup final between Japan and the United States recently set the record for tweets per second, “eclipsing the wedding of Prince William and Kate and the death of Osama bin Laden.” The climax of the game, which occurred during the penalty shootout, drew 7,196 tweets per second. This number reflects a huge rise in Twitter usage, with the site’s users sending more than 200 million tweets per day, compared to just 10 million two years ago.The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games announced a new contest at the end of July that includes the entire world. The website for the games features “an interactive contest designed to discover which country ahs the biggest online fan base. The contest ranks the top 20 countries based on number of tweets, YouTube videos and Flickr photos submitted.”After less than a day, fans had already submitted more than 20,000 tweets. To enter a submission, participants must add #1yeartogo in their tweets. The contest was designed to promote the opening ceremonies, which would be held a year from the beginning of the contest, July 27, 2012.
In terms of potential reach, games reach as large of an audience as television. “Gamers span virtually every demographic…and are also spread evenly across generations.” They tend to be interested and motivated to connect with others and are more likely than most to connect with brands on social networks. Gamefication can be “leveraged to drive adoption, engagement, loyalty, sharing, even sales.” Many brands have jumped on the gamification bandwagon, offering customers some sort of progress measure or currency to drive them to explore and connect.So how are brands gamifying their c ustomer experiences?Starbucks’ Barista Badge: rewarded visitors who checked in to multiple locations on Foursquare with a badge, and $1 off to its most loyal customersNike & Apple: can save runs, set goals and challenge friends, socially users can participate in public challengesRibbon Hero: Microsoft’s Clippy (the annoying paperclip) guides the user through games to help him or her learn the softwareCauseWorld: App that allows users to earn points or “Karmas” by checking in and scanning products at grocery stores; users can then turn these points into donations for causesBecause of the explosion of gamified marketing, companies such as BunchBall, Badgeville and Gamify have popped up to assist companies in their needs to game marketing.
With the rise of daily deals, because of social buying websites such as Living Social and Groupon, people are shopping smarter than ever, and companies are being forced to look at yet another social media forum. As of now, speciality group buying sites Living Social and Groupon dominate the daily deals market, but giants like Facebook and Google are starting to offer their own discounts and deals.While these daily deal sites are springing up everywhere, it is difficult for these companies to keep offering fresh deals from new companies. They are beginning to see that cities can be tapped out. Also, many businesses have seen the downside of the steeply discounted coupon; they have to pay the third party deal site a significant share of profits to have their company featured, and sometimes is brings in less customers than expected.In addition, with the economy in a rut, and many startups seeing the dimmer side of the future, it will be more difficult smaller IPOs to not only get into the business of social buying, but stay there as well. While these startups have faced success in the past few years, it seems that winter is coming and the bad economy is starting to take its toll. In the second quarter of this year, Groupon, once the first of its kind, reported a net loss that was almost triple compared to last year. Here are the figures:Groupon reported a $36 million loss in Q2 2010, and a $102.7 million loss in Q2 2011Groupon spent $208 million in marketing Q1 2011, and just $170 million in Q2 2011From June 2009 to June 2011, the company grew from 37 employees to 9,625; hiring 1,000 employees within a 3-month periodIn the near future, we will begin to see startups that had a meteoric rise, fall. Groupon is just the beginning of this trend. It seems that for the future of the daily deals sites, consumers will be forced to rely on pre-established giants such as Facebook and Google.
American Express, while not the first to team up with a major social media site for marketing purposes, is one-of-a-kind in its strategy. The 160-year old card issuer jumped on the daily deals bandwagon and is now offering Facebook users deals on items based on their Facebook likes. Unlike current daily deals sites like Groupon and Living Social, there is no need to spend money up front to obtain the deal, nor is there the physical hassle of physical coupons.Launched in late July 2011, Facebook “offers personalized coupons based on a cardholder’s likes, interests and other profile information.” From there, cardholders can add the deals they want to their AmEx accounts. Unlike Groupon and Living Social, Facebook and AmEx will offer perks to merchants as well. Because all coupons are redeemed through AmEx cards, retailers can track how effective certain coupons were and the total sales that resulted. And even further, the retailers will not have to pay AmEx for the privilege.
Also jumping on the daily deals bandwagon is powerhouse, Amazon. It recently launched AmazonLocal, currently only offered in Boise, Idaho that sells daily deal coupons for 50 percent or more in savings at local businesses. AmazonLocal is like other social buying sites, but the user is actually buying the deal from another daily deals website on Amazon’s platform. In this sense AmazonLocal is more of a deal aggregator rather than a deals product. As an aggregator, this service will be competiting with Yippit and Dealery, two startups that pose little threat to Amazon’s massive empire.As of April 2011, Facebook launched its own Deals program that gives those in five cities (San Francisco, Austin, Dallas, Atlanta and San Diego) local deals. Users must sign up for the service. Deals are “like a Groupon voucher, which means the user will buy a certificate for a certain good or service at a steep discount, typically half off its price, then redeem it later.” Users can buy deals with Facebook credits, which draws a thin, virtual line between virtual currency and real-world goods and services.
Since Obama was elected into the presidential office people, politicians specifically, are starting to realize the full potential of having a social media presence. Not only are they tweeting inappropriate pictures of themselves, they are also using it in more serious ways as well. In July, Facebook and NBC announced they would team up to host the Republican Presidential debate before the New Hampshire Republican primary next year.“NBC will air the debate as a special broadcast of Meet the Press…At the same time, it will stream live on Facebook ‘to create an interactive experience.’” In addition, some questions from the Facebook page will be used in the debate, similar to Obama’s #AskObama Town Hall event where more than 70,000 tweets were sent. Politicians are starting to realize the power of having a social media presence. It allows their followers to show their support, offer instant feedback and find out what they are throwing their support to. Many politicians have now taken to Facebook, Twitter and even Google+.
By: Abbie Katz & Jitter Garcia New Trends in technology, SEO & Social media
NFC—Near Field Communications “The transaction value of mobile payments…will reach $670 billion by 2015, up from $240 billion this year” Secure, online transactions Mobile Commerce & Digital Currency
PayPal: opened its 100 millionth account in July 2011
President, Scott Thompson, predicted that by 2015 paper money and credit cards will be obsolete
Bitcoin Secure form of electronic money, exclusively online Limited commodity Almost indefinitely divisible No transaction fees Can be exchanged for physical money What is an example of a Bitcoin transaction?
EpicChange.org Raises awareness of causes and charities around the world Helps them discover innovative ways to acquire financial resources Utilizes: Google Checkout, PayPal, Bitcoin
Camtasia & Wimba Classroom Camtasia Wimba Classroom Screen video capture Can add audio recording or integrate webcam footage Edit content Multiple platforms and sharing abilities Live, virtual classroom Interact through presentations as if they were in person Chat and content sharing features
Poll Everywhere Real-time answers from mobile devices and the web Ideal for a classroom setting (30 or less) In the classroom… Instructors can gage comprehension level Get feedback Engaging way to learn new content
Are tablets classroom-ready? Tablets are the best way to show textbooks Students are equipped for the technology Tablets fit students’ lifestyles Tablets have the software to be competitive 5.Tablets integrate well with educational IT trends 6. Greater availability
Amazon Kindle Textbook Rental “Students can save as much as 80 percent off textbook list prices” Rental periods from a month to a year Whispersync technology (cloud) Syncs notes, highlights
Last.fm MeeMix.com Pandora.com Tracks what you listen to Makes suggestions Download plug in and play on different software Helps discover new music Social network Helps you create playlists and mix tapes Allows for sharing with others Create individual stations
Share what you are listening to on social media sites
DRM music streaming service Why is it different? Huge catalog (approximately 15 million tracks) User- generated playlists that can be edited together Radio service Buy tracks Social features Allows for imported music Offline mode Has been rumored to possibly partner with Google or Facebook to launch a service that allows users to stream music via the platforms Massive popularity in the U.S. so far
Search Engine Optimization The process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines Organic Paid Search Engine Marketing Target paid listings
Personalized Search Local results Most viewed sites PANDA update
Social Media Landscape Social networking platforms create a dialogue between businesses and consumers Social signals Likes, RTs, +1’s Backtype, Trackur, Social Mention
Advantages of SEO Online Advertisements Spending figure on online ads expected $50 billion in 2015 Instant feedback Allows marketers to target a narrower audience Unlimited exposure Twitter for SEM
Google’s Social Interaction Analytics tracks interactions Likes and Tweets
SEO Case Study: Allied Outdoor Solutions Results Keywords chosen from the campaign ranked on page 1 for 11 of the 15 Web traffic increased over 4 months by 300% Strategy Server Side Design SEO campaign of 15 keywords Optimized website with fresh content added every week
OPTIMISTIC FUTURE NO FUTURE Search engines are too smart Want to reward good content and top quality websites PANDA update SEO will survive as long as search engines live Only the type of optimization will change
Social Media Optimization Social networks More traffic 2011 Trends Video marketing More and more businesses will hop on the social media bandwagon
70% of small businesses are using social media as a means to attract, keep, and communicate with customers
A Portrait of Social Media Users 92% are on Facebook 13% are on Twitter 52% of users check their Facebook once a day 43% of Facebook users are more trusting
Google +1 button Users can select results that were helpful or that they liked Google can cater future searches to interests and previous searches Users can more easily connect with content and recommend it to others Active role in their results
Location-based Marketing GPS features allow targeting specific groups based on interests and location Foursquare Allows businesses to collect demographic info Ability to set up deals, specials, and specific campaigns Encourages adventurousness for consumers Allows customers to add tips and recommendations
User-Reviewed Business Businesses can provide better service for better reviews Mobile app GPS location Directions to businesses Reviews from Yelp users Downside PRIVACY GPS feature Personal information Yelp is a location-based service that allows users to interact with each other and other businesses to improve service and marketing
“A collection of different social projects,” including Stream, Sparks, Hangouts, Huddle, Circles and Photos. Google+ Project
The Power of Twitter Women’s World Cup Final 2012 London Olympics Eclipsed Prince William’s wedding and the death of Osama bin Laden At the game’s climax, there were 7,196 tweets per second Contest to discover which country has the largest fan base
“Gamers span virtually every demographic…and are also spread evenly across generations.” They tend to be interested and motivated to connect with others and are more likely than most to connect with brands on social networks. The Game of Marketing
American Express & Facebook Offers deals based on Facebook “likes” No physical coupons, no need to spend money to obtain the deal (a la Groupon) Cardholders add deals to AmEx accounts Retailers do not have to pay AmEx to offer deals through the company
Other Daily Deals Sites… AmazonLocal Facebook Daily Deals Sells daily deals coupons for 50 percent or more savings for local businesses AmazonLocal is a deals aggregator rather than product Less competition in this sector Local deals in 5 major cities Similar to Groupon Users can also buy deals with Facebook credits
Politics in Social Media Obama’s 2008 election Republican Presidential debate in 2012 #AskObama Town Hall event Politicians on social networks
Rebecca & Bridget—Thank you for a great internship experience! We had a lot of fun and learned a lot working at Blue Water this summer and look forward to coming back for the fall semester! -Abbie & Jitter