Interesting sizzler-ish pep talk on branding. Also a good example of an animated keynote.
Have you ever accessed your company’s website with a smartphone or tablet? I can almost guarantee your customers have. Millions of mobile searches happen daily, and research predicts that by 2015 more people will access the Internet through their phone than their computer.
The 2011 Mobile Search Insights Study (conducted among smartphone users by Performics and ROI Research, Inc.) reveals some compelling numbers:
- 84 percent use mobile search to look for information about local retailers (hours of operation, address, contact information, etc.)
- 66 percent use mobile search while watching television
- 71 percent use mobile search to learn more about a product or service after seeing an advertisement
Despite these large numbers, some surveys indicate that as many as 70% of business do not have a mobile website.
Does your company advertise with billboards, company car decals, bumper stickers, or television and radio spots? You can bet customers are accessing your website from their cars or couches — it’s your job to ensure their mobile experience is as good, if not better, than when they access your site from a computer.
Your customers are going mobile; it’s time you do, too.
Before you hire someone to design and develop your mobile site (or dive into that work internally), do some research to find out what will make your audience happiest.
Establish your mobile audience’s goals
What do mobile users want to do on your mobile site? Are they stuck on a long plane ride and want to read articles or blog posts? Do they come back often to check sports scores or weather updates? Or could they be one-time visitors who wants to know your location or hours of operation?
What your audience wants to do on your mobile site should affect how your mobile site looks and functions.
Choose a development approach
There are several ways a developer can create a mobile site; the goals you set for your website will help determine which approach will work best for you. You can simplify your main website, create an adaptive or responsive layout, or create a dedicated mobile site.
Each of these has their pros and cons, and should be discussed in detail with a designer and/or developer.
You want your mobile website to be accessible to all, but it’s crucial to cater to the needs of your target audience (the ones who will spend the most time on the site). In trying to please everyone, you’re more likely to frustrate everyone, including your target audience.
Keep your audience’s wants and needs in mind throughout every step of design and development.
Test, test, test
Although there are many smartphone and tablet simulators you can use to see how your mobile site will appear on different devices, there is no substitute for design and function testing of your mobile site on the devices themselves.
Do you want your mobile visitors to visit a certain page, fill out a form, or interact with your site in a specific way? Test—either internally or with a focus or test group—that it’s easy for visitors to perform those tasks.
Keep testing and tweaking until you’ve optimized the user experience for your target audience.
How to get started
For a more detailed look at mobile website design ideas, strategy planning, and best practices, download the Marketer’s Mobile Blueprint to Mobile Websites. This guide has everything you need to get started with your mobile website.
Time Out New York is making a big leap into the digital world today, says Aksel van der Wal, who’s president of Time Out North America and chief operating officer of the Time Out Group. Specifically, it’s launching its first iPad app, an updated iPhone app, and a new e-commerce model for all of its properties.
As a product, the new iPad app sounds the most interesting. (I wasn’t able to try it, and also I don’t live in New York, so I’m going off the company’s description.) Time Out specializes in reviews and listings for arts, food, entertainment, and more, and now the iPad app personalizes the experience. Apparently, every time you select content in a specific category, that increases the likelihood that the app will present you with similar content in the future. In six weeks or so, Time Out plans to improve these personalization features, so that content that’s been viewed or liked by similar users is also recommended.
The personalization is based on technology from LikeCube, a semantic analysis company that Time Out acquired last year.
More broadly, van der Wal characterizes this as major milestone in Time Out’s shift from the print business into “more of a digital direction.” And that includes settling on a digital business model — the website now allows transactions, so if you read about a great Broadway show or a hot new restaurant, you can buy tickets or reserve a table. Time Out will also be offering discounts and deals. (Advertising will play a role too. In fact, MasterCard will be the first global sponsor of the iPad app.)
Apparently the new direction can be laid at the feet of Oakley Capital, which acquired a 50 percent stake in Time Out London in November 2010, followed by a majority stake in New York (which operated independently) in May of last year. Time Out says unique visitors to the website have increased 92 percent since the deal, from 967,000 in May to 1.85 million in February.
Time Out London will get a similar revamp eventually, van der Wal says.
I will update the post with a link to the iPad app as soon as I get it. In the meantime, you can download the iPhone app here.
GROUPM STUDY SAYS 2011 GLOBAL INTERNET AD SPEND HIT $85 BILLION FOR 17 PERCENT OF TOTAL INVESTMENT
GROUPM STUDY SAYS 2011 GLOBAL INTERNET AD SPEND HIT $85 BILLION FOR 17 PERCENT OF TOTAL INVESTMENT
Internet advertising hit $84.8 billion in 2011, representing a 16 percent increase over the previous year and accounting for more than 17 percent of all global measured advertising expenditures, according to a new report from GroupM.
North America led the pack in terms of overall digital ad spending with an estimated $34.5 billion; Asia-Pacific came in second with $24.8 billion followed by Western Europe with $21 billion, according to the study, entitled This Year, Next Year: Interaction 2012.
The study is part of GroupM's media and marketing forecasting series drawn from data supplied by parent company WPP's worldwide resources in advertising, public relations, market research, and specialist communications. It was released today by London-based GroupM Futures Director Adam Smith and New York-based GroupM Interaction Global CEO Rob Norman.
The study also predicted that in 2012 digital advertising spending will reach $98.2 billion globally, almost 16 percent more than this year. The figure represents almost 19 percent of all measured advertising investment. In the 2012 forecast, North America once again ranks first with an estimated $38 billion in digital ad spend; Asia-Pacific follows with $31.4 billion followed by Western Europe with $23 billion.
In the U.S., digital advertising spending hit $32.2 billion in 2011, representing a 22 percent share of the overall domestic market and a 12 percent increase over the previous year, according to the study. This year those figures are expected to reach $35.4 billion for a 23 percent share and a 10 percent increase over 2011.
The report also includes detailed commentary on the current state of various digital marketing developments and offers insightful observations on the evolution of digital communications and the inherent implications for marketers.
“At the risk of an ‘oh really?’ response, it’s possible to argue that for the first time since these reports began that the last year has been one of evolution rather than revolution,” Norman wrote in the report’s introduction. “It seems that less is brand new and that a combination of scale of usage of an increasingly social and mobile web, the penetration of devices supported by it, and the continued atomization of audiences and content, in both their creation and distribution combine to tell the story of the year.”
Norman added: “In 2007 we speculated about a world that would be truly social, searchable, mobile, addressable and interactive and illuminated by data that could be collected and applied across all marketing functions; in 2012 that is no longer a matter for conjecture.”
In addition to spending forecasts, the comprehensive, 20-country report also details ad investment in paid search and Internet display as well as providing data on broadband penetration, media time spent online and e-commerce per user data.
Additional key findings in the survey include the following:
• Digital advertising’s share of total ad investment rose from 4.4 percent worldwide in 2004 to a projected 18.8 percent in 2012.
• The average percentage of consumers’ “media time” spent online increased from 11 percent in 2006 to 19 percent in 2011. The absolute number of broadband homes worldwide has nearly tripled in this period to reach 500 million, and the typical country has seen broadband penetration grow by half.
• Aside from general monetary inflation, ad investment growth has two main vectors: aggregate audience hours, and advertising intensity per individual. Average online advertising investment per online user doubled between 2006 and 2011. For 2011, Norway had the highest per-capita online ad investment in the study’s sample–$200.
• E-commerce accounts for about 5 percent of global retail sales today, with instant-on devices, secure and simple payment, vouchering, and the optimization of retail for mobile serving as catalysts for growth.
• Consumer tablet penetration reached double digits in only three of the survey’s countries in 2011: the US, Finland and South Korea. However, take-up is expected to be rapid and nine countries should reach double digit penetration in 2012.
GroupM is the leading global media investment management operation. It serves as the parent company to WPP media agencies including Maxus, MediaCom, MEC and Mindshare. Our primary purpose is to maximize the performance of WPP’s media communications agencies on behalf of our clients, our shareholders and our people by operating as a parent and collaborator in performance-enhancing activities such as trading, content creation, sports, digital, finance, proprietary tool development and other business-critical capabilities. The agencies that comprise GroupM are all global operations in their own right with leading market positions. The focus of GroupM is the intelligent application of physical and intellectual scale to benefit trading, innovation, and new communication services, to bring competitive advantage to our clients and our companies.
http://gigaom.com/2012/04/09/breaking-facebook-buys-instagram-for-about-1-bil… The sender also included this note: Next step: Integrate Instagram content into a Facebook Places map interface. “Instamap” or “Intaplace”. Or someone should develop a Facebook app that automatically monitors Instagram and will post photos that were taken at a the business location to their Facebook page.
WordPress Development Hacks: Twitter Bootstrap 2.0 : Changing default Page width from 940px to anything you want
An exclusive look inside CEO Ben Silbermann’s social media sensation.
FORTUNE — Ben Silbermann can’t stop staring at the refrigerators. The Pinterest co-founder and CEO and I are standing in the break room of his company’s garage-size Palo Alto office. He’s just flown back from Austin’s SXSW interactive festival, and a redesign of his website is two days away. It’s all a little overwhelming. But at this moment his full attention is focused on three glowing refrigerators. Sometime during his brief absence, a service has delivered them fully stocked and branded with the company logo. They’re wedged into the tiny backroom behind the foosball table that three employees — roughly 15% of his workforce — are using for a conference. “I’ve been gone for one day, and it’s so upscale,” he says. “We used to just run to Costco all the time.”
That was before. Before Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann, began organizing family photos on Pinterest. Before Reese Witherspoon gushed to Conan O’Brien that it was “a collection of the most amazing, wonderful craftiness on the earth!” Before the U.S. Army issued a guide for how to use it, and before Pinterest emerged as the fastest-growing website of all time. In March the site registered 17.8 million users, according to Comscore, a 52% jump in just one month — and it isn’t even open to everyone (would-be “pinners” must still request an invitation to join).
Pinterest, for the uninitiated, is a deceptively simple-sounding, insanely addictive social media site that lets users collect and share images on digital pinboards. Most social-networking sites have first become popular among tech’s early adopters along the country’s coasts. But Pinterest found its most passionate users among the Midwestern scrapbooking set — a mostly female group — who have turned to it to plan weddings, save recipes, and post ideas for kitchen renovations.
This growth has thrust Silbermann, 29, into the spotlight as investors and businesses alike try to figure out how they can get in on the action. Brands — from large companies like Gap (GPS) and West Elm to online boutiques — are tripping over themselves to establish a presence on it, and some are starting to reap the rewards of being “pinned,” a de facto referral that prompts followers to click on product pictures to learn more. In February Pinterest drove more traffic to websites than Twitter, Google , LinkedIn (LNKD), and YouTube combined. Meanwhile, the same (mostly male) investors who initially passed on Pinterest are kicking themselves. The company in October raised $27 million from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz in a deal that valued Pinterest at a reported $200 million. Marc Andreessen himself readily admits he didn’t get it until a female researcher on staff urged him to reconsider. Says Andreessen: “Our industry historically … do we produce products initially aimed primarily at men or women? You’d have to say men.”
Amid all the noise, Silbermann must now build out a company that can keep up with Pinterest’s user explosion. This type of hypergrowth has been a challenge for companies to manage — remember the “fail whale” that signaled Twitter was suffering under the weight of its own popularity? In recent weeks Silbermann and his team have held a Monday meeting — usually in the form of a coffee run to Bistro Maxine — to figure out how to keep the site running on Thursday. (Writing a check to Amazon’s web service unit usually does the trick.) Oh, and Silbermann must figure out how to make money. To that end, Fortune has learned, Pinterest just hired Tim Kendall, who spent many years as Facebook’s director of monetization, to build out the business.
Silbermann seems to be maintaining an almost eerily level head about Pinterest’s success as well as the stress of running Silicon Valley’s current “it” company. He talks so quietly that during our conversation I felt compelled to drop my own volume to match his. His eye is always on the wall-mounted flat screen that displays real-time data about how pinners are using the service. He takes a regular turn at answering customer-support e-mails, a mundane task that, he says, helps him make Pinterest even better. And while Pinterest’s Palo Alto digs feature a poster with the words move fast and break things, a mantra at Facebook, Silbermann talks about Pinterest the way one talks about a fragile heirloom. “When you open Pinterest, it should feel like someone has hand-made a book for you,” he explains. “Every item should feel like it’s handpicked for you by a person you care about.”
Silbermann took a somewhat circuitous path to Internet stardom. The son of doctors from West Des Moines, Iowa, he collected things — stamps, leaves, insects — as a child. His sisters became doctors, and he was premed at Yale and majored in political science. Upon his 2003 graduation, he moved to Washington, D.C., where he took a “cube job” running data for a consultancy. That was right around the birth of Web 2.0, and he became hooked on tech blogs. He remembers the first time he stumbled across TechCrunch. Something was happening in Silicon Valley. He wasn’t a coder, but he was a huge history buff, and he fell in love with the romantic notion that the Internet defined his generation. “It felt like this was the story of my time, and I just wanted to be close to it,” he says. He and his girlfriend (now his wife) moved across the country to Palo Alto, where she became a recruiter at Facebook and he got a job working in customer support and sales at Google (GOOG).
Silbermann credits Google with helping him dream big — here was a company that decided to take a photograph of every street in the world — but without an engineering degree, he was never going to gain credibility there. And everyone around him was trying to start a tech company. “This is a really strange place,” he explains of Silicon Valley. “They love technology here like people I grew up with love sports.” So in 2008, even as the economy crashed, Silbermann left Google and hooked up with a college buddy, Paul Sciarra, to try out some startup ideas. Silbermann had held on to his obsessive love for collecting things. So they looped in Evan Sharp, a designer friend who was studying at Columbia’s architecture school, to help create a site for people to build collections. Silbermann’s wife came up with the name over Thanksgiving dinner.
By January 2010, Silbermann and his co-founders were e-mailing friends and family to invite them to try the service. It was slow going. For one thing, they were hard up for cash, and no one wanted to invest in a startup with three nontechnical founders. (Upon graduation, Sharp took a job as a designer at Facebook, where he worked until last spring, to pay the bills.) What’s more, in 2008 most startups were focused on curating real-time information, particularly for mobile platforms. By contrast, Pinterest was all about helping people save things for later — and the bigger the screen, the better the experience. Also, none of the investors who reviewed Pinterest could understand why anyone would want to spend so much time collecting things. Four months in, Pinterest had just a few hundred users.
But then the site began to catch on among friends back in Iowa. Early on, Silbermann traveled to a Utah design conference, and that group began to use it. A home-schooling parent kept and shared boards of lesson-plan ideas. It was more than a game or some form of entertainment for his core audience. Says Silbermann: “I realized that people were using it for projects that were important in their real lives.” Once Pinterest began growing, it didn’t stop. Since inception, the site has added an estimated 40% to 50% more subscribers each month.
Last summer Omaha Steaks president Todd Simon and his wife were building a new home near Omaha. A friend recommended Pinterest. Soon they were pinning and “liking” decorating concepts. “For the previous year, we’d been flipping through design magazines, cutting pictures and pinning them to the wall,” he said. “This was the equivalent.”
Simon took the idea to work, only to discover that his marketing team was one step ahead of him. They’d been noticing customers pinning photographs of their mail-order steaks and other products to digital pinboards for months. In December Omaha Steaks built its own profile and began pinning photos of its delicacies on boards with names like “Delicious discoveries” and “Recipes we want to share.” While it’s too early to say, the company believes it’s having a direct and positive impact on sales.
Essentially, Pinterest excels at something that’s very hard to do on the web — help people discover new things. If you can name what you want, after all, Amazon (AMZN) and Google are pretty good tools for helping you find it. But what if you don’t know what you want? Social-networking sites have helped businesses influence people, but they are imperfect. People use Facebook and Twitter to talk to each other, not necessarily to discuss things they might want to buy. In contrast, Pinterest users are more often in a shopping mindset when they are using the service. If you’re keeping a pinboard called “Spring handbags I’m considering,” there’s a good chance you’ll click through and make a purchase.
Over time, Pinterest has the potential to translate more quickly to sales dollars than other social-networking sites. Katia Beauchamp, CEO of Birchbox, has already seen that. Pinterest is among the top 10 traffic drivers to the site, which sells beauty products as well as sample-sale subscriptions. It doesn’t yet drive as much traffic as, say, Facebook, Beauchamp says, but it results in more direct sales. At this point, businesses can’t spend money marketing on Pinterest even if they want to; Silbermann is not ready to talk about how he plans to make money off it. Targeted ads seem like a no-brainer, and new hire Kendall is sure to have some ideas for how to help companies better reach consumers on the site. But Pinterest also could become a platform for would-be entrepreneurs seeking to cash in on their hobbies, much the way eBay (EBAY) unleashed a new class of mom-and-pop vendors.
Pinterest’s rise hasn’t been all corporate love and celebrity mash letters. Lawyer and photographer Kristin Kowalski sparked a firestorm last month when she blogged about her concerns that Pinterest was letting its users publish other people’s content without explicit permission. The terms of service indemnify the company from its users’ copyright violations, but the service itself, critics say, encourages users to violate copyrights.
When Silbermann read Kowalski’s blogged concerns, he called her up. They spoke for more than an hour. The company will shortly update its terms of service, though Silbermann notes they follow the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Pinterest also has introduced an opt-out code web publishers can embed in their sites — Yahoo’s Flickr (YHOO) has done so too — to prevent pinners from republishing material. Eventually publishers may decide to make more material available if the site becomes a major destination.
Silbermann’s handling of the potentially volatile situation shows how his good manners can be an asset. After Kowalski spoke to him, she wrote a lengthy follow-up praising the young CEO. “He didn’t yell at me. He didn’t accuse me of being a hater,” she wrote. “I also truly believe that he is going to work his young, brilliant little butt off to address [my concerns] and remedy the quirks to the best of his and his legal team’s ability.” She now calls herself a Pinterest cheerleader.
In mid-March Pinterest unveiled a redesigned profile page. During our visit Silbermann and co-founder Sharp walk me through the highlights. “The idea is to help you discover other people,” says Silbermann, pointing to a box that now shows the people and brands that pinners repin the most. Click on their handles to see who they follow, and you jump on an endless train of interesting images.
It’s clear from the new user page that the Facebook ethos has rubbed off on Pinterest. Each user can upload a profile photo, and there’s a stream of continually updating pinboards, not unlike the information on Facebook. Pinterest uses Facebook Connect to let Facebook members log on to Pinterest and opt to publish their activity to their Facebook newsfeed. But as Pinterest gains traction, it becomes a potential threat to the social media giant. Facebook has pretty much captured the U.S. market for subscribers, so its growth is likely to come from engagement — keeping users on the site longer. As more people spend more time pinning — and revealing to marketers the kinds of hobbies and objects they covet — it may cut into the time they have to spend on Facebook.
But this flash popularity does not guarantee success, not for today’s web upstarts. More people are connected — one-seventh of the world’s population has a Facebook profile — and most of them are mobile. And with such a low barrier to entry, new social services pop up all the time. Pinterest must continue to be better than its competitors if it’s going to thrive. Silbermann is already working on the next set of product improvements.
So what does it feel like to be a social site on the verge? “There should be a word for it,” says Sharp, shifting to face his co-founder.
Says Silbermann: “It’s the intersection of the Venn diagram of fear and joy.”
–Reporter associate: Alex Konrad
This story is from the April 9, 2012 issue of Fortune.
Great story about the founding of Pintrest! I especially like it because the founder used to work in sales at Google 😉