Monthly Archives: August 2007

Aug. 24, 1995: Bill Gates introduces Windows 95. Not the first graphic-based OS but the first one to really integrate web and emails. So that means that people were actually really working instead of spending their workdays on youtube and facebook? Sick.

Not worth a news-flash since this seems so obvious, but PCs are becoming more and more a major entertainment device. Internet users from 12 to 64 years old declare an average of 14-hour weekly usage of their computer for entertainment, a number that’s even bigger in the younger population: more than 16 hours. While 42% say that the time spent watching videos online, playing games, chatting, participating in online social networks has increased compared to last year.

I don’t know for you, but i found myself so many times having dinner with friends and suddenly the laptop is moved ON the dinner table to share the funniest and meanest YouTube videos or Google up or Wikipedia a topic of disagreement among guests. Remember when the TV used to be on by default? Well, now, i don’t have a single friend with a TV-set…

So when you’ve been marketing your product for 20 years by almost exclusively buying TV space and spreads in magazine, you’re certainly a bit lost. That’s why sites like YouTube, Facebook and MySpace are all over Madison Avenue trying to explain to the marketers how to make the most of their tools. And why virtually no modern media plan targeting those under 45 is complete without at least some social networking component.

News Corp. for example, owner of MySpace, commissioned a report to convince advertisers about the efficiency of viral marketing campaigns in social networking sites. And this report is fascinating, I highly encourage you to read it. Of course, it’s all about glorifying MySpace and all the social online networks to sell more advertising space, but you’ll learn that, when you ask 14-29 y.o. social networks users what they’d rather do if they had 15 minutes to kill, the most answered activity was “Check out social networking sites” for 17%, as much as talk on your cellphone! While TV was only chosen by 14%.

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Still according to the report, 20% of users have decreased their video-game usage, 16% when it comes to TV. The weird thing is that 18% talk more on the cellphone. A proof that social networks actually strengthen “off-line” relationships?

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You don’t trust Rupert Murdoch? I can’t blame you. What about IBM? They’ve just released the results of their latest online survey about consumer digital media and entertainment habits and guess what they found out: time spent on the internet rivals TV time: among respondents, 19% stated spending at least 6 hours per day on personal Internet usage, versus 9% who reported the same levels of TV viewing.

Consumers are seeking consolidated, trustworthy content, recognition and community when it comes to mobile and Internet entertainment. Armed with PC, mobile and interactive content and tools, consumers are vying for control of attention, content and creativity. Despite natural lags among marketers, advertising revenues will follow consumers’ habits.To effectively respond to this power shift, IBM sees advertising agencies going beyond traditional creative roles to become brokers of consumer insights; cable companies evolving to home media portals; and broadcasters and publishers racing toward new media formats. Marketers in turn are being forced to experiment and make advertising more compelling, or risk being ignored.

No doubt then that Facebook gives tutorial on Online Social Networks to Account Planners from the advertising industry. It’s apparently all about ROI. No, no, not the ROI that you’re used to but the Return On Involvement!

According to Mike Murphy, VP-media sales at Facebook, users are willing to deal with ads to keep the service free, just not with bad ones. They want to get some benefits out of them, versus something that they have to undergo.

Don’t scream from the sidelines, be inclusive,” he advised in AdAge. The model that works in social media, he said is to create involvement, find passionate consumers, build a trusted referral network, go viral and discover. “Always build in a reason to share because that’s what they do here,” he added. “It becomes huge for you.

Take Walmart and Target for instance. They’ve both integrated Facebook as a major part of their Back-To-School campaign this year, the latter one even getting rid of the usual web address or toll-free number, listing instead its Facebook group!

With the newsfeed directly integrated into each profile, the viral part of the campaign is already there. One of your friend interacts in the Target group, and instantly, all of his/her friends know about it! A marketer’s dream… Especially when you take into account that most users login at least once a day.

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Wow, have you noticed the new improved Google Maps? I guess they haven’t communicated about it again since i haven’t read any related blog posts yet, but last weekend when i was looking for directions to meet my friend camille with my bike for brunch, the map-app was more sensitive than ever to my 2-fingers scrolling on my mousepad to zoom in and zoom out à la Google Earth, and most importantly, i could drag any segment of the itinerary to adapt it to my need and the entire path would be automatically recalculated. I’ve always wanted a similar functionality since i don’t have a car and don’t have to follow the one-way directions, or to avoid a busy street. Oh man, those Google guys, they’re really making a great job at showing me their love!

Interesting article concerning a poll done to teens aged 12-24 in the US. The issue at hand was – what makes Teens happy nowadays? It is fascinating to see how in a World where content is King and where the Marketers are with an ever-growing concern to give appealing and strong prizes in their promotions that Teens are looking for a simpler life, stress-free and safe from the global harms that loom over their heads. They seek a Hero to look up to, a Family to cherish and are quite optimistic with the Future.

Have a look and see what really matters for kids nowadays. Personally, I’m quite happy to see that we want more out of life than the negative images that the media display on a daily basis. For the Marketers it just shows one simple thing – maybe that PS3 isn’t as appealing as a prize and as an attractive factor for this target than a really engaging website and a prize focused on human interaction…

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I know, what you’re thinking:

What a pompous name for a category of posts! Who do they think they are?

Does that make it less pretentious if I tell you that we won’t be the ones “teaching”, but instead that we’ll try to summarize and link to the articles written by la crème de la crème of the web design/usability industry: Jakob Nielsen, A List Apart, 37 signals, Vitamin and so on? I thought so. It had to sound a bit grandiose and magisterial, right? So let’s start with the obvious first topic: the home page (aka HP).

Ah, the scary but exciting moment when you are facing your prospects and are about to unveil the way you imagine THEIR home page. You know that this is the slide that they’ve been waiting for since the beginning of the presentation, since the day they’ve briefed you as a matter of fact. So you’re doing your best to explain what led you to design the page this way, hiding your shaky and sweaty hand-palms, trying to sound clever as an usability expert who understands the brand so well. You know that you’re carrying on your shoulders a huge responsibility: if they hate your HP, it won’t matter if everything else in your powerpoint is perfect, the pitch is probably lost. But if they love it, get ready to pop some Champagne!

The home page is the first impression that your prospects will get from your design and understanding skills. It’s also the first impression that your client’ clients will get from the brand’s site. And you rarely have a chance to get a second impression. So you’d better get it right the first time!

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