Posts Tagged ‘new technology’

The Application We’ll Need Soon

September 28, 2007

So the writers over at Wisdump got me to thinking with a post about surfing the web like Tom Cruise. If you’ve watched the movie “Minority Report,” you know exactly what the author is talking about. A few days after reading the entry, I saw this demonstration:

After my boss watched it, he agreed with me: because we are reaching a point where memory storage is becoming so cheap, the thing we are going to need fairly soon is a simple and beautiful means to organize and browse the world’s information. Will it look like Tom Cruise’s method from “Minority Report”? I don’t know. One thing I do know is that I want it to combine the beauty and simplicity of what I’ve seen from the OSX Leopard previews along with the  tactile browsing of this new technology:

So if you have Seadragon (the first video), the multi-touch interface tool of the second video (which takes up such less space than the Microsoft Surface), and then the beautiful/intuitive interface like Leopard, we have what I want from the next generation of browsing. Add to that a seamless integration of wireless technology (for instance, putting a wireless flash drive on my desktop to view work files) and I would be in heaven.

And all of this is not simply to satisfy my internal nerdiness. Imagine the benefits: if my workspace was only a thin glass table on four legs and all my files were digital, think of all the resources that would not be wasted in making my workspace. A computer screen as thin as the multi-touch surface tool and a glass table takes away a great amount of all the wood, plastic and metal parts of my desk. And the forests of paper that fill my drawers. So such a minimalistic design helps with the environment.

Secondly, we will be reaching a point in the near future where all of our data may simply lie dormant; as the gentleman in the second video remarks: we have all this data but it’s just sitting there. Soon we will need a way to organize and browse all of that information, especially with the flexibility to allow for the inclusion of the social aspect of information-sharing.

Dude this stuff gets me so pumped 😛

Google Gadget Ads

September 19, 2007

Google has announced a new advertising program: Google Gadget Ads, or, as Advertising Age put it, “AdSense, Now With Widgets.”

A little over a week ago I posted a quick entry about a new advertising program Google would be announcing. My post was almost all hyperbole, and as the days passed I lost my excitement. First, because I thought maybe it was just my geek side getting riled up. Second, because the news was released a few days after I thought it would be. But now the day has come and the more I think about it, the more I believe that if utilized to its fullest potential this addition to AdWords could eventually change the face of the web experience. Why?

1) Widgets enrich the web experience. Now advertisements don’t merely have to be flashy .swf files (ha! sorry, I couldn’t avoid the pun) or moderately interesting video ads (please don’t misunderstand me: there are some incredible flash and video ads), but rather ads can exploit the immense functionality of widgets. Imagine an ad for the newest pop musician that has tabs with YouTube videos, song previews, and a list of the most recent print/web news stories about that particular musician, all of which can be viewed without leaving the web page.

2) Widgets can instantly monetize advertising for companies (and increase instant gratification for the consumer). Because the placement of these ads will be powered by AdSense, we can assume that they will show up at (somewhat) relevant sites. Reading blogs about the upcoming season of Heroes? Maybe there is a widget ad on the blog your reading that displays current prices and the time remaining for EBay auctions for the season one DVD’s of ‘Heroes’. Or maybe you’re using Yelp to find a good Thai restaurant in your neighborhood. What if there is a widget ad for a Thai restaurant (that has rave reviews on Yelp) through which you can place your dinner order and have it delivered in the next thirty minutes?

3) Widget advertising has a social component: for instance, the widgets can be pasted on someone’s MySpace site, outside of Google’s normal distribution (if I understand the model correctly). That means you have guaranteed distribution through the AdSense network (where appropriate), but also the possibility of distribution through social networking sites, meaning the chance to spread your widget virally. And if you’re spreading things such as, say, a widget that searches and books Kayak flights among travel enthusiasts… then, wow.

I graduated with a degree in English, but I must say this: Don’t tell me that’s not hot.

eBooks and Advertising

September 13, 2007

In the article Envisioning the Next Chapter for Electronic Books, Brad Stone remarks that ebooks have never caught on with the mainstream crowd. Why? Is it because ebooks have not “adequately duplicate[d] the book reading experience”, as Burt Helm once posited in the article Curling Up With a Good E-Book? Is it because electronic tablet-like gadgets go against nearly 1,800 years of reading bound books, and the human race needs more time to switch from such an ingrained practice? I don’t believe so.

Think about it this way: we are trying to bring reading into the future by having consumers switch from good-ol’ paperbacks to reading these books on ridiculously expensive gadgets: “You want me to buy a $500 dollar piece of technology, and then pay for the books to put on it?” That’s what I’m thinking. Personally, I’d much rather walk from my Flatiron-district office during lunch to The Strand on 12th & Broadway to buy Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being (which, at the time of writing was available in paperback for $10.46). Do you see what’s missing? The incentive. So here’s my proposition: if someone’s already willing to spend a few hundred dollars to bring their reading into the future, why not make the books more expensive as well!

You heard me.

Why make them more expensive? Because it would help alleviate the licensing nightmare my solution would create. For example, some of my required reading for work currently includes The High Rise Low Down, which is a tour of the history behind New York City’s most prestigious addresses. I’m not more than fifty pages in, but I already know this: when the authors are describing the view from the Time Warner Center, I want to see pictures. And I want to view see interviews with Yoko Ono about her time with John Lennon at their Central Park West estate (if such a thing exists). In other words, if we’re trying to bring reading into the future, then bring it into the future. Reading a fiction book where the narrator describes his love of the song ‘Maps’ by the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s? I want to listen to it. Or even watch the music video. Do you see what I’m getting at? If we’re going to do this, push reading to the next level and make it a new, rich and exciting experience.

And advertising. If Amazon’s new ebook has wireless capabilities, then expand that to include other options. Want to look at the brochure for xyz but don’t have the time to stop by the sales center and pick one up? Well, open your ebook tablet and download it. Reading Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being but want to read the Nietzsche book he mentions? Well, highlight the title or keywords and download it through Amazon in a few seamless steps.

You get the idea. There are so many untapped possibilities with the ebook, and yet we keep thinking: “Make the screen look more like real paper” (read the aforementioned NY Times article about that), or, “Just copy the text and paste it on a screen and people will read it.” No, they won’t. And most importantly, they haven’t, despite the numerous launches of ebook readers throughout the past. Isn’t the definition of insanity trying something repeatedly despite getting the same result? Now go to people!!!

Modeling The Flow Of Information In Social Media

June 20, 2007

A blog entry at MediaPost pointed out that consumers can avoid the salesmen/admen assault and have a new freedom to seek out product information because of Web 2.0 technologies; social media facilitates a process where companies and their products are now sought out instead of vice versa. But when spending ad money specifically within the realm of social media (online display ads/search ads not included here) Josh Lovison does a great job of reminding us exactly what we are trying to buy: influence, not direct conversions. In other words, within this niche of the digital world we are trying to create a self-sustaining PR machine: the goal of a social media campaign is to generate consumer interest among individuals who will then spread their enthusiasm to other acquaintances, hopefully creating a chain of brand advocates. Thus, as Brian Solis asserts in Social Computing Magazine:

Social media has created a new layer of influencers. It is the understanding of the role people play in the process of not only reading and disseminating information, but also how they in turn, share and also create content for others to participate. This, and only this, allows us to truly grasp the future of communications.

Accordingly, understanding the process of this information flow is one of the most critical goals to envisioning the future of advertising in emerging media.

One applicable model is diffusion research, commonly referred to as ‘diffusion of innovations theory.’ I first came across this term in a New Yorker article about ‘Cool Hunters,’ a pdf of which you can find in my Box widget to the right. Another applicable framework is utilizing epidemiological modeling to aid our understanding concerning the potential of an online dialog. One group posted a lengthy article about their research into a similar matter, during which they came up with a fairly effective mathematical formula to model the spread of an idea (the pdf ‘Power of a Good Idea’ is also available in the Box widget). Unfortunately, the math is way over my head, so unless you are a large firm that can afford a consultant or happen to have a math genius on the staff, it may be a little unrealistic; however, it really may be worth a try.

Right now there are useful tools such as Technorati, Alexa and BlogPulse, but I have yet to see this information overload put into a coherent and accessible tool which greatly hinders our ability to find out what works. Hopefully we can get to that discovery sooner rather than later and stay ahead of the game.

Monetizing “Web 2.0,” Part 2

May 8, 2007

I think one of the biggest hurdles we face in monetizing the burgeoning field of social media (i.e., content that is consumer-generated) is how we have misconceived the problem in the first place; it seems a more radical conception of what “Web 2.0” really means for the advertiser must first be achieved before moving forward in this question.

Revolution = Re/evolution

If new media and Web 2.0 truly represent the democratization of media, etc., one thing we at Madison Avenue have yet to be forthright about in our plethora of self-gratifying blogs is the true structure of our “old” advertising model: totalitarianism.

Although many marketers are planning on using social media in the near future, many executives still report they are afraid to embrace this new technology. While we keep trumpeting the arrival of a digital revolution and the seismic shift we are about to experience, we remain wary and hold the future at arm’s length because we want to protect our expensive branding campaigns, abhor the possibility of losing control over that content, and have become comfortable with delivering our message in a one-way conversation again and again and again, ad infinitum (or, at least as much as our clients’ budgets allow).

This is my concern: the majority of the discourse I see in my (ever-growing list of) RSS feeds is usually centered around the idea of how to use new media as a tool for our current campaigns… I believe this is completely missing the point. We have become robots, stuck in the mode of 1) Create an ad campaign, 2) Beat the message over the heads of consumers repetitively (and maybe throw in a contest to encourage participation). As Web 2.0 comes along, many marketers have written in a manner such as: “Wonderful! Now we have tons of new channels to get our message out!” Do not miss the subtle but critical fallacy of this thought. In our “old” model, we place a pitch with some graphics into a magazine which (we hope) spurs the social interaction of a purchase, and perhaps some word-of-mouth marketing by consumers happy with our product as a bonus. Now we weave a pitch into a blog and there may immediately be dozens of comments, some about the post itself, and some in connection to other comments consumers have already left about the post. Do you see the difference? An immediate dialogue; instantaneous interaction. This is a world apart from a magazine ad…

Thus, I feel it is imperative to recognize that Advertising 2.0 should be conceptualized as its own entity, rather than a slightly modified iteration of our current practices. In essence, the current mode of advertising is incompatible when users have power over content. So, what might this re-evolution of advertising look like? Can it be profitable? Come back after I finish some brainstorming (I can tell you right now that my jumping off point for my thought process, as of this moment, will be the techniques and theory behind adventure education).

When Marketing Meets Cutting Edge Technology

April 19, 2007

In school one lesson was hammered into my mind to no end: correlation does not equal causation. Now, let us apply that to advertising.

For decades, advertisers could only correlate spikes in sales with ad campaigns in traditional media outlets, i.e., a major record label places ads for a new music release in magazines across the country and they cross their fingers hoping for a response; when they get one they could only (vaguely) correlate the campaign with the sales. Now with the growing sophistication of online marketing technology we are one (giant) step closer to the causation equation: for instance, not only does Yahoo know which ad on which site lured you in to buy the new Modest Mouse album, but by the end of the week you may start seeing ads for booking that hotel room in Xiamen, China, that you’ve been putting off (like Gord Hotchkiss recently did). Utilizing these capabilities, along with ‘stacking’ ad campaigns through multiple media channels, grants a greater chance of conversion and allows you to measure what worked and why.

It seems the internet has the potential to become a marketer’s dream-come-true: measurable results at your fingertips. Yes, take a moment to reflect on the possibilities… now wipe that bit of drool from the side of your mouth (and also remember the debate about the ethics of being so sneaky).

Finally, visit iMedia Connection for wealth of advice of how to implement these strategies (no, I wasn’t paid to write that).