It’s here, it’s here, IT’S HERE!!! Facebook timeline, after much anticipation was launched globally yesterday. However, the launch is only for personal pages aiming to launch a more personal Facebook promoting users to add life events. In addition to status updates and photo/video posts Timeline offers the option to backlog everything from a new job to a broken bone in third grade.
At this point Facebook has NOT launched brand pages. Many marketers are anxious to harness the visually dynamic Timeline to present branded pages, but Facebook has not yet said when this will happen. Luckily, we have Mashable to ponder what these profiles might look like. Take a look at mock-up timelines for Coke, Burberry, Red Bull and McDonalds.
Not far from the questions I posed in my previous Timeline post, Fast Company presents a few parodied mock-up profiles for brands that may not want to have a Timeline recording and recounting their brand’s every move. Think BP, Netflix, HP…
I had an intriguing conversation with a classmate last night concerning Timeline. Taking a rather existential stance on Timeline he was upset that users will be able to edit their timelines in ways that highlight what they want to share and exclude the things they don’t with either privacy features or by entirely deleting such posts. I considered this thought and realized this is no different than how we recount memories ourselves. But at the same time does provide a nuanced version of memory that could prove to be very powerful for users.
First, personal memories are only made of instance we take the time to reflect on. What is great about Facebook Timeline is that some of the mundane, daily thoughts and interactions we don’t process into memories ourselves will be saved in our Timeline. Second, deleting memories we don’t want to share with our Facebook network is no different than how we keep sullied memories to ourselves today. I think Facebook is onto something here for the personal pages. I am excited to see what the brand pages will look like. I predict that in the same way today’s brand pages are fairly similar to personal pages but with added functionality through media content, games, or promotional content on extra tabs or applications - I think this same concept will be somehow integrated into Timeline. Only time will tell! But for now I salute Facebook for launching what is a seemingly finished product versus bits and pieces in the ways previous profile updates have been launched.
Earlier today I paged through my moleskin, reviewing a semester’s worth of notes. Which unfortunately, holds a plethora of concepts and ideas that have not made it into this blog… yet. Anyhow, I came across a little rant about the Walmart and P&G collaboration for “Family Movie Night.” Professor Sonnega and I once had a ravishing conversation considering the implications of our family movie content being crafted by, advertised by and ultimately for two of the largest multinational companies on the planet. Mind you, Walmart is the largest retailer with approximately $419 billion in sales for fiscal year ending January 31, 2011 (LexisNexis Academic). P&G isn’t too shabby either with $79 billion in sales for its 2010 fiscal year; $12.6 billion of those sales were at Walmart (Reuters). Seemingly these two companies were partners long before the “Family Movie Night” concept.
Anyhow, I thought about what this type of “win-win” investment means for marketing. If for two hours a family’s media consumption is entirely defined by the two heaviest hitters in CPG and retail it seems more like a infomercial for consumer culture than a wholesome family movie night. The shear breadth of sales the two companies bank individual is mind-boggling— together, obscene! At this point I have not watched any of the movies but have taken a moment to look into the project’s stakeholders.
1. Movie Trailer + Product Placement
Did you catch the blatant shot of P&G products?… kind of hard to miss. I would deem this an advertisement for the advertising you will be watching during the advertisement…OOPS! I meant movie…
2. Retail Sales
Who doesn’t want a copy for the family to watch at anytime? Naturally, the movie will be sold at Walmart.
If you are unfamiliar with the concept of the Facebook timeline it is a new profile layout that will turn our facebook page into something similar to a scrapbook chronicling one’s online history versus the current focus on the “here and now” of Facebook. Mashable has posted an article outlining the first movements forward in launching the application. As of today it has only been launched in New Zealand. Additionally, Mashable has posted various examples of visually striking timeline profiles. It will still be awhile until we experience timeline here in The States, however I cannot help but wonder what this layout will mean for brand pages.
Unlike people who nostalgically look back to old holiday photos, family events, and previous life stages, I do not believe the same will work for brands. Brands have failures like any human and while we neglect to post these on Facebook if a brand were to do the same it seems to diminish the transparency expected of brands. A brand should be highlighting today’s marketing initiatives and products. However, it does present an opportunity for fantastic ad campaigns of the past to live on. And considering the differences in brand pages and personal pages on Facebook today, I am hopeful timeline will take these differences into consideration as well.
Recently I reviewed a short 1-page article in Inc. Magazine that has sparked my interest in a new technology being toyed with in marketing and other realms: Augmented Reality. Now, this sounds like a concept Back to the Future’s illustration of the year 2015. But the concept merges virtual imagery with real world environments. Inc outlines the concept in “Precision Shopping” concerning various ways in which smart phones and mobile applications will enhance the consumer shopping experience. John Gerzema, the article’s author was particularly interested in how shoppers now arrive at stores knowing exactly what they will purchase. While this is not a new trend, it is increasingly common that this shopping preparation is taking place on a mobile device. Gerzema coins this as the “Proximity Era” — and for augmented reality, which takes place in the here and now, this is an advantage. ”Precision Shopping” caught my attention with such force I spent a great deal of time further investigating the concept, here are a few examples of AR being utilized today.
Layar, a company mentioned in Inc’s article, outlines what AR technology is and various ways it can be used in print media:
Sony has utilized AR technology to create an application for consumer’s to use when shopping for a new TV. The application allows you to see what size television best fits your living room in an augmented reality utilizing a smart phone or digital camera and an online application.
Another technology that lies in the virtual reality spectrum is 3D projection mapping. With this technology no mobile device is necessary to view the “virtual reality.” Instead, it is projected to transform what is actually there —this video, of the Toyota Auris, a car that recycles used energy to refuel, utilizes 3D projection mapping to visually describe this concept. It creates an intense experience that brings consumers to a halt on the street— a must see!
As these examples illustrate, augmented reality has the potential to change various types of marketing: print media, enhancing a consumer’s retail experience, and especially in product marketing. As smart phones continue to gain an increasingly large portion of the market I am certain we will see more and more augmented reality applications and advertisements.
Check out this teaser video for an insightful website I recently came across — Brandkarma.com. The site describes BrandKarma as a social community with the following mission:
“Brandkarma is changing brands for good. We believe that sustainability is an issue for all of us. So we’ve started a new, open reputation system for brands designed to amplify your ratings and suggestions to drive positive change.”
A blog post I read earlier this morning “Are Newspapers Really Dead?” [which vehemently supports a future for newspapers] got me thinking about the changes in how we we consume media is changing and will continue to do so. I personally love the feel of holding a newspaper, unfolding and opening the flimsy paper that absolutely dwarfs my petite stature. But I also love the experience of clicking an interesting headline on a tweet from the Huffington Post (a prime example of new media), reading blogs, and having the ability to comment, share, and create content. The user experience is one dimension of news reading whether the benefits rest in opening and holding the paper, or clicking through to new and interesting content. But it is exactly that, the content, that remains constant in any user experience. Information rich, dynamic content will be what keeps paper news and new media thriving in very different ways.
Dylan Tweney, Executive Editor of Venture Beat, comments critically in “How the Internet is Dividing Publishers Into Two Camps” about various models for establishing engaging content online. One main point that advertisers are excruciatingly aware of is the diminishing ad-revenue online compared to print sources. He writes how publishers must “Either embrace the search-driven, low-margin model and flood the Internet with as many pages of content as you can, or try to find a new market for high-margin, premium content supported by expensive ads.”
An example of low-margin + high volume content is in Glam Media’s vertical media model. By utilizing the content of over 1000 writers/bloggers and a social network backbone Glam is able to flush out a new ad-model by virtue of size. However, as Tweney points out this model works for Glam because of it’s topic: beauty and fashion. The content can live on and thrive after its initial release. Whereas daily printed news has a very limited lifespan.
Newspapers are not dead, but declining and in turn creating space for new models to assume prominent roles in publishing today. These emerging models will continue to develop and refine their revenue and content models. Stay tuned for more on Glam Media…
Who will win? It’s hard to say, but from reviewing Fast Company’s cover story I have outlined my opinion of what are the top factors that will affect these companies in coming years.
This Ted Talk is a must see. Roger McNamee gives us “6 ways to Save the Internet.” He describes his ideas as hypotheses, all subject to revision and possibly to elimination. Below are the rules and my favorite soundbites describing each:
1. Windows is Dying
“I mean no disrespect to Microsoft, because I think, in fact, Microsoft as a company has many things it can do to maintain growth, but desktops would not be one of them. The key indicator here… smartphones have basically taken Windows from 96% of internet connected devices three or four years ago to less than 50% now (March 2011).”
2. Index Search has Peaked
“The web is a Digital Detroit, if you look really hard you can find really compelling things there, but if you aren’t really careful you can get mugged.”
3.Apps Beat Web
“It’s Apple’s world, we are lucky to be part of it.”
4. HTML5 Changes it All
“The new battle instead of being commoditization versus the app store, it will be between the app store and highly differentiated content.”
5. Tablets win Big
“If you don’t own an iPad you can’t possibly understand the biggest things going on right now.”
6. Social Platforms Set
“Facebook has won, it is the new Windows…”
Overall, my understanding of McNamee’s ideas is based in understanding the way in which we use the internet is changing, and doing so for the better. His closing remarks challenge the audience to “imagine a world where everything is an app.” Instead of living in an internet of elevators, where users go from one level to another in order to accomplish one task, users will soon be able to exit that elevator and approach the internet as a control panel. Soon, according to McNamee, the internet will “Demand and satisfy in the same place”. Using his 6 ideas we can see exactly how this will take place: mobile, social-based applications, valuable content, reduced emphasis on commoditization, and fluid interactivity. These are the principles that will “save the internet.”
Love Quora. It is a community based around asking and answering questions. What an idea - post questions, answer questions OR simply follow topics that interest you to see what other people are questioning. I follow topics ranging from Digital Strategy to Chicago to Yoga. Today’s Quora feed I have enjoyed paging through: “Is Google Overreacting to the rise of Facebook?” was posted under the Internet Advertising topic.
Mission components include: Accumulating Knowledge, Reusable, Collaborative, Continually Improving, Organized, Targeted, and People
Definitely expect more Quora posts from me!
Recently, in my Media and Contemporary Culture course we discussed Dunbar’s “Rule of 150” in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point. The rule established what might be called our “social channel capacity.” The idea is that there is a certain tipping point at 150 at which the functioning and personality of a community shifts because of each human’s capacity to maintain roughly only that many connections.
Described another way Gladwell reflects on George Miller’s idea “The Magical Number Seven” - a psychological look into the abilities of the human nervous system. After seven units, be it tones, names, or steps in directions, we begin to make exponentially more mistakes when remembering and reciting a sequence. But at 7, after little practice we can remember the sequence flawlessly. Seemingly, it is the human nervous system’s tipping point.
Gladwell highlights explicitly why human interactions max out at 150: “Humans socialize in the largest groups of all primates because we are the only animals with brains large enough to handle the complexities of that social arrangement.” Scientifically speaking this is reflected in the neocortex ratio: the size of the a human’s neocortex (a part of the brain) relative to the size of the entire brain = 147.8. Or roughly 150, the tipping point for maintaining strong, highly interconnected human communities.
Gladwell supports this idea with various examples across history and industry. But even if I fully accept Gladwell’s proposition I still can’t help but wonder, how might the concept translate in online communities? Sure, it makes sense humans only have a certain intellectual capacity to store information and remember facts; but with cloud computing, social networks, and mobile applications can’t we supersede this neurologically rooted concept?
For instance, I have 923 Facebook friends, follow 706 people and brands on twitter, and have 162 LinkedIn contacts. For the most part the three networks overlap minimally and will only continue to expand. I do not feel neurologically overwhelmed by such a social expanse, however, I do recognize a different personality and functionality of each group - who I connect with, what our online connections entails.
What does this expanse of seemingly never-closed relationships mean? For humans it can be psychologically unsettling: ex-boyfriends that remain a connection, friends that have passed and their profile remains alive and well… But for brands it can pose a life-long connection with consumers once only possible through a rough combination of POP data, surveys, and demographic data. Even when it isn’t about directly connecting with a brand - establishing a community can be just enough. Consider Yelp.com, Wikipedia, and Craigslist - online communities connect people beyond the 150 to establish types of connections never possible before and thus creating new branding and marketing opportunities. However, I am sure someday these online connections will not be described as marketing strategies, instead they will be accepted as the basis for all of our online interactions.