Pages

Translate

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Why Small Business should NOT advertise on Twitter




         After spending several thousand dollars in advertising on twitter, I have decided to "suspend" my campaigns and focus entirely on advertising on linkedin and facebook. This is in protest to Twitter's suspension of my "fan" account U_of_California. I was told by your support that that account violated twitter's impersonation polices. However, as specified in the impersonation policies, I clearly state that 

(i) The said twitter account does not officially represent University of California, but is a fan account operated by an alumnus. 
(ii) The link that sent to me by Twitter suport (https://support.twitter.com/entries/18366-impersonation-policy) clearly states that  "Twitter users are allowed to create parody, commentary, or fan accounts" 

it's very obvious that your support is overwhelmed and/or undertrained and you guys just go yanking accounts whenever anybody complains, independent of whether the complaint is right or wrong. That's really scares me since it means that if I spend thousands of dollars of advertising to build a follower base for yash_Talreja account and someone files a complain, you guys will shut down that account as well. Not very trust building. 

I have attached the email thread and I am very surprised that the Twitter "Trust and Safety" person who sent me the link does not seem to have actually read it or understood Twitter's policies. 

And finally, I will like to pass on "Thanks" from Facebook and linkedin advertising who appreciate Twitter's valiant efforts convincing me to stop spending advertising money on Twitter. 




- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Google did it first! Now Twitter is also releasing a feature that allows companies to more precisely target the recipients of their advertisements by using a technology that analyzes a person’s communications.

The result, when this feature was tested, was an 11% clickthrough rate – a remarkable figure in the digital advertising world, and almost guaranteed to boost the amount of social and mobile commerce generated through the platform.

How does it work?

In the past, Twitter only got clues on a user’s interest by analyzing the accounts that the user followed. But this method wasted an important social commerce data resource that indicated a person’s specific interest in real time – the person’s actual tweets.

With the new social commerce tool, Twitter allows marketers to set keywords that would trigger their ad when the said keywords appear in a user’s tweets.

For instance, if the company is promoting an American Idol finalists’ concert in New York, they could make it so that their ads will appear on a user’s timeline when the user sends out a tweet containing the keywords “American Idol” or “New York.”

Companies can also make it so that their ads are triggered by Twitter searches and would appear in a user’s search results instead of the user’s timeline.

“Tweets are signals of what's top of mind for people in real time, including their intentions, needs and wants,” Twitter explained in the newsletter it sends to its subscribers. “You can reach users at the right time and in the right context based on keywords in their Tweets and the Tweets they've recently engaged with,” the newsletter says.

The advanced Twitter Ads tool is an echo of Google’s contextual ad technology, which shows ads to their Gmail users based on the terms in their email messages, while people reading articles on a blog or Google news receive ads based on the keywords included in the text of the news or blog.

This effort to advance its revenue-generating capability is part of Twitter’s preparation for a forthcoming IPO.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Amazon to Acquire Web-based Math Learning Company TenMarks


Amazon Inc. recently announced that it will be buying 
TenMarks in an agreement that will likely be wrapped up in the fourth quarter of 2013. TenMarks provides innovative math learning curriculum to students all over the United States.

Vice President of Amazon Kindle Dave Limp said that both Amazon and TenMarks hold student learning in high regard. The two companies will together create high-value educational content and applications in several platforms including online, smartphones and Kindle gadgets that students, teachers and parents will have fun with.

TenMarks co-founder Rohit Agarwal added that both Amazon and TenMarks aim to create practical solutions for schools and families. TenMarks allows students, teachers and parents to use several resources, including programs for professional development and communication tools with the students’ parents. Agarwal also said that he believes Amazon and TenMarks will create “significant innovations in the K-12 arena.”

TenMarks says that their company provides personalized math instruction and practice to K-12 students in a clear and manageable format. The program also comes with clues and videos, along with real-time scores. TenMarks has geared their product design to help students be motivated, nurtured and engaged individuals in their learning.

Accroding to Aarti Chandna, CEO of Foundze, Inc., a leading website for educational apps, “Educational apps are becoming more main stream in K-12 education.” Chandna added that the effectiveness of an educational app depends not only on how easy it is to use but also in how well it holds a student’s attention and engages them throughout the learning program. For the teacher, on the other hand, the educational app should make assignments simplified and personalized, based on the abilities of the students, and automate grading. Chandna also said that Amazon’s acquisition of TenMarks is a sign that the traditional method of teaching is being replaced as bigger companies are revealing their interest in the development of educational apps.

The terms of the Amazon’s acquisition deal with TenMarks were not revealed, with the deal still subject to several closing conditions.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Twitter's Keyword Targeting

Twitter advertising has added a unique feature - it allows advertisers target the recipients of their advertisements by using a technology that analyzes that person’s communications.

Necessity is the mother of invention - this particular way of advertising was necessitated by the fact that unlike Facebook or Linkedin, Twitter users don't build an extensive profile. In fact, Twitter limits user profiles to 160 characters including spaces, and a link. 


In the past, Twitter allowed advertisers to target users based on their interest which were determined by analyzing the accounts that the user followed. But this method didn't utilize an important social commerce data resource - people's tweets. The tweets indicate a person’s actual interests in a very specific manner - not what they think they are interested in (i.e. follow) but what they really are talking about. The other good thing about this is that this keyword analysis can be done in real time. 


With the new social commerce tool, Twitter allows marketers to set keywords that would trigger their ad when the said keywords appear in a user’s tweets.


For instance, if the company is promoting an American Idol finalists’ concert in New York, they could make it so that their ads will appear on a user’s timeline when the user sends out a tweet containing the keywords “American Idol” or “New York.”


Companies can also make it so that their ads are triggered by Twitter searches and would appear in a user’s search results instead of the user’s timeline.


“Tweets are signals of what's top of mind for people in real time, including their intentions, needs and wants,” Twitter explained in the newsletter it sends to its subscribers. “You can reach users at the right time and in the right context based on keywords in their Tweets and the Tweets they've recently engaged with,” the newsletter says.


While this Twitter Ads tool is advertised by fans of twitter as truly revolutionary, it is not very different than an echo of Google’s contextual ad technology, which shows ads to their Gmail users based on the terms in their email messages. Same contextual advertising is also used by Google adsense advertising units while people reading articles on a blog or Google news receive ads based on the keywords included in the text of the news or blog. 




Authored by Yash Talreja, Edited by Blessie Adlaon

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Mobile Apps Increase Brand Loyalty Among Consumers

New research by Plastic Mobile, in partnership with Luxury Institute, has shown that mobile apps can make consumers more loyal to a brand – specifically, 71% of people who have downloaded a sponsored app for their tablet or smartphone said that the app made them feel “better connected” to that app’s brand sponsor.

In addition, the study also showed that 64% of the app-using population took a more favorable view of brands that have mobile apps, regardless of whether or not that brand sold its merchandise through e-commerce sites, mobile commerce sites, or exclusively offline, in brick-and-mortar stores.

The majority of the app users indicated that their purpose for using the apps they downloaded was to find information – features and specifications, prices, and specials deals – on the products and services available for that specific brand. Nearly half of the users indicated that they expected their downloaded app to give product previews and present loyalty programs.

Interestingly, the studies also found that the app users considered their apps to be more of an enhancement, not a replacement, for the live retail experience. In fact, 45% of the respondents said they liked having salespeople assist them with their purchase.

In other words, the main purpose of these apps, apparently (as far as the buyers were concerned), was not to push or close online sales but to highlight the personal service that a brand is willing to provide to its customers, whether in an online boutique or a physical store. This display of commitment towards quality customer service naturally results in buyers more willing to stand by their chosen brand.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Emergence of Vertical Social Networks

When it comes to sheer social networking size, the three giant social platforms - Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn clearly dominate the social networking doman - they are the undisputed leaders when it comes to networking with friends, current or former colleagues and business associates.

But do people really get truly engaged on these platforms? Does they participate in passionate discussions? (Well, do you?) Do these social networks make any positive impact on Joe’s adult life and to career? Or are they simply a means of passing time, a side entertainment?

If the latter were true and remained true, it would be a shameful waste of a tool with great potential. Think about it: how many doctors, lawyers, and other professionals are already on LinkedIn? How many sports buffs, homeschoolers, alternative music enthusiasts, avant garde artists, and other niche markets are on Facebook? These people are in social networking sites for a reason: they want to network with people like themselves and potential clients and buyers.

To cater to the specific needs of these groups, niche social networks keep cropping up. But the weakness of these small social networks is that they have trouble holding on to their members. Unsurprisingly, people who join social networks quite naturally drift to places where there are more people – that is, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

The irony of it all is that when people move into these three giants, they often end up getting less engagement and less significant contacts from the specific group they wished to connect with in the first place. There are just too many other distractions in horizontal sites such as the big three.

There is a simple solution to this dilemma, the niche social networks now integrate with the giants - LinkedIN, Facebook and Twitter, whereby their connections/ or friends from the horizontal social networking platforms are imported and their posts on these niche networks are cross-posted (usually controlled by an easy to reset permission) to facebook, linkedin and/or twitter.  This way, people can network within their niche and yet maintain access to the rest of the world who are on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. In other words, the horizontal social networks are slowly but surely going vertical.

For instance, Ticlr.com uses your Facebook contacts to make it easy for you to send gifts to your friends and family. Gifts can range from personal services such as “Wash your car” to actual items such as flowers or sports equipment. And of course, there is the option to share your gift on Facebook and Twitter.

Another example: Tradesparq.com uses a person’s Linked contacts to add credibility to a supplier or buyer by putting the two business parties in contact with mutual acquaintances. It is an excellent social commerce model, and a good example of how a small social network links with a big one.

Through these collaborations and linkages, the lines between separate websites are slowly dimming. The Web is truly becoming interconnected. For social networks and social commerce, it seems that happier days are yet to come.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Amazon Launches Amazon Coins for In-App Commerce – Will This and Other Virtual Currencies Be Regulated by the Government?



Late last week, Amazon launched its virtual cash, dubbed Amazon Coins, by posting an open "Dear Customer" letter on its website to inform US Kindle Fire owners that they have received a gift of 500 Amazon Coins in their accounts.

Amazon Coins are a form of virtual currency that recipients can use to buy Amazon apps, games, and in-app items such as game upgrades or avatar personalization features.

For instance, if you want to unlock a level in your game but you are unable to overcome the previous level, then you may be able to buy your way into the game level instead, using Amazon Coins. Or maybe you want to dress up your avatar with a special star-spangled cape or an Iron Man suit. You will probably need to purchase those with virtual coins.

Each Amazon Coin is worth 1 US cent, so Amazon’s gift of 500 Amazon Coins is worth 5 real-world US dollars.

But why is Amazon giving money away, even if it is just virtual money? Like all other free trials, Amazon is trying to orient and entice users into using its virtual currency, hoping some of them will pick up the habit and buy more. In turn, this purchase and trade of Amazon Coins should invigorate the apps sales and "social commerce" within the apps.(We view this as "Social Commerce" because after all, buying stuff from other people or gifting cash - real or virtual - is a "social" activity).

But will it end with just buying games, apps, and in-app features within Kindle Fire?

If you think about it, it doesn't have to, right? After all, since virtual money is bought with real money, why should Amazon Coins not be granted to Amazon customers as rewards, and be usable like frequent flier miles and other loyalty points, to buy real-life goods such as clothing, toys, and appliances? Amazon itself recently started allowing people to use their credit card reward points to buy products at Amazon, and we believe Amazon Coins may one day "grow up" to be equivalent to these schemes.

It’s not hard to envision virtual currencies being used as real-life funds.

On the other hand, we note that Facebook had also come up a similar virtual currency scheme called Facebook Credit, which was available in 14 countries, but it decided to retire this feature and migrate its apps and games to local currencies without giving any reason. Here is the announcement on its developer site:
We are moving from Facebook Credits to local currency pricing, and plan to migrate all game developers on Facebook.com in the third quarter this year. We want to provide ample time for you to review the new documentations. After launch, developers will have a minimum of 90 days to implement the updated payments infrastructure to continue accepting payments. For now, we continue to support Facebook Credits. In the coming weeks, we will provide further updates on when developers can begin integration. Learn more in our local currency FAQs and overview.

So that's a setback to people looking for these platforms to create a world without borders. After all, monetary exchange is a big part of social networking.

Was Facebook's move related to the March 2013 announcement by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of new guidance relating to the regulation of virtual currencies? These regulations were widely seen as a first step by a government body towards regulating virtual currency, as opposed to electronic money representing government-issued fiat money. Are we going to see demands from national taxation authorities such as the IRS, requiring residents to report holdings of such currencies on their tax returns, in the same way that they now require reporting foreign currency holdings?

Only time will tell. Unlike Facebook, Amazon is boldly charging forward with its virtual currency, Amazon Coins, without being deterred by such potential regulations. Amazon is already involved in handling tons of payments and regulations ranging from sales tax, VAT, and import duties, so they probably already have a massive regulatory compliance department.

Certainly, Amazon Coins can take social commerce to a whole new level – but how high a level can social commerce really go with virtual currency? For now, at least, it’s anybody’s guess.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Mobile Payments to Reach Almost $1 Trillion Value

Worldwide mobile payment transactions are projected to increase in value over the next three years at a rate of 97% a year and in  a few years, should reach a value of nearly a trillion US dollars – $945 billion, to be exact.

According to a KPMG report released early April this year, this growth is to be fuelled by sales in near-field technology devices, that is, smartphones and tablets that, upon close contact with a store’s scanners, can be used to make immediate electronic payments. Another factor will be the market’s growing attraction for the “always on, always fast, and always accessible” shopping experience of couch commerce.

More and more, we are seeing mobile commerce’s growing acceptance as an alternative to cash or credit card transactions. Two reasons for these could be (1) the expansion of the smartphone market and (2) the retailers’ recognition of their need to adapt to changing times.

In 2011, smartphone shipments accounted for nearly a third of all mobile phone sales. That’s a significant growth from the mere 15% that they accounted for in 2009. KPMG’s report also reveals that by now, 21% of retailers already recognize mobile payment capability as a “key enabler” in their business. Only 2% of the surveyed organizations believed that mobile commerce will have no effect on their organization.

This infographic from IMRG and eDigital Research below contains some great stats on m-commerce growth from 2009 to 2012. Even though the details are specific to UK market, the trends can be extended to entire western hemisphere at the minimum.   

mobile commerce infographic