Archive for the ‘behavior’ tag
The flag bearer of display advertising was always Yahoo. Their massive sales force stoked 15 years of equity into “the web banner.” Yahoo arguably had the greatest hand in providing the economic foundation for the entire web for many of its formative years. That is why nothing better symbolizes the collapse of that foundation better than Yahoo’s appointment of Marissa Mayer over Ross Levinsohn as Yahoo’s CEO.
Yahoo has handed the keys to their crumbling castle to a Search professional. A company previously focused on reach and frequency is now run by someone that spent a career in user centered design and experience. For all the media Yahoo sold and all the technology it bought, none if it will be integral pieces of its future.
During the CPM experiment Yahoo lead the way in revenues derived from web banners and a number of display strategies from using Search data in display, to its newspaper consortium to exchange based buying – and everything in between. More than any digital media company Yahoo strived to connect Madison Avenue, Hollywood and the web in order to get massive TV budgets to move into web advertising. In many respects that was what the entire experiment was all about.
What we know now, what time has shown, is that TV budgets are not coming to web banners. The digital ad freight train is a cost-per-click model (ultimately converted by advertisers to a cost-per acquisition/lead) where advertisers pay for performance of the advertising. Advertisers are always going to measure returns as best they can. In many respects it is amazing that arbitrary CPM based impression fees in digital lasted this long.
Quite simply, what the CPM experiment failed to prove is that the digital as a paid (paid is the operative word here) channel is as good or better than other available channels for demand generation. At the same time what digital has proved is that it is the best channel ever created for demand capture.
Despite being on the front lines of falling CPMs Yahoo was unable or didn’t try to craft a cohesive performance based ad strategy. In the meantime it was continually stepped on by a number of competitors in areas it had at one point or another locked up on the web. Google in Mail. EBay in commerce (recall at one time Yahoo Store was the largest of its kind on the web), Craigslist in Jobs, Instagram in Photos. Yahoo wasted the web’s most incubatory period because it believed above all else in the future of selling impression based media as the core revenue driver of its business.
Meanwhile at Google Marissa Mayer was focused one thing. The user. She led UX there spending time understanding the behavior of searchers and how to build an experience that leveraged it. She led the charge of A/B and Multivariate testing in Search and created the testing culture that will always permeates Google.
“When I first started testing in 2000, we tested once a month. Now, we're user testing almost every week.”
-Marissa Mayer, Oct. 2002
By May 2008 it was estimated Google had 10,000 people constantly conducting tests. It was measurement and performance that drove Google’s growth. It is also the world display advertising is moving into. Display ads will not disappear. Standard formats will not go away. What will change are the underlying rule sets that power the ad matching decisions.
What Marissa Mayer understands serves as a great hope for Yahoo. Search is the OS of the web. Searcher behavior can be used as logic into an intelligent and responsive system that becomes relevant and helpful to people. In that way it delivers enormous media value. It delivers all things that the CPM experiment was never able to. The experiment may have failed but a different one that succeeded. Yahoo is only the beginning. Every media company will at some point be forced to face the performance future. Yieldbot is here to help them.
Burner launched today, an app that gives you one-off numbers that go dark after you’re done using them. But what happens when those numbers are used by criminals? The privacy-focused company says it is ready to deal with illicit behavior, and will comply with U.S. court orders.
“Burner is a very focused product around anonymity and privacy,” said Burner chief executive Greg Cohn in an interview with VentureBeat. “Part of the reason we’re doing this company is because we’re privacy advocates.”
Burner lets you buy a number to use for a certain amount of time before it is “burned” or goes inactive. Think of Craigslist transactions. You don’t want that guy who tried to sell you a crappy TV to have your real number sitting around. A Burner number allows you to cut off ties from that person quickly, and keeps you identifying information out of their hands.
If you need more convincing, just think of the “Can I get yo number?” Mad TV sketch. Seriously, give that dude a burner number.
Burner avoids running out of numbers by recycling “burned” numbers after a quarantine period, where the activity on the number is watched. Once activity, such as incoming calls and texts, dies down and a certain period of time has passed, the number will be given out again to a new user.
The life of a number depends on how much money you pay for it, but can be burned at any time.
While these numbers protect your privacy, they have obvious use cases in the criminal world. Drug deals, threatening phone calls, and other scenarios where the caller doesn’t want to be traced could be facilitated by an app like this, and the team is well aware.
But what happens when law enforcement comes knocking on the door? This is a huge issue for companies who are bent on privacy, but are suddenly being asked to hand over the identities of those using its service.
“Ultimately what we expect to do [is] adhere to U.S. laws that are valid and court orders that are valid, but we will make sure that they are [valid],” said Cohn. “We are explicitly not going after a market in the vein of Tor or Wikileaks where there’s protection from the law.”
Recycling the numbers brings up another issue. If a phone number is used for criminal activity and is then reissued to an innocent person, Burner and law enforcement will have to decipher which person committed the crime and which person to leave alone. The company says it will not reveal its tactics, but does have a plan in place for those scenarios.
The app is free on iOS, but the numbers are not. Users buy “credit packs” which range from three credits for $1.99 to 25 credits for $11.99. You can then use your credits to load various Burner “types” on your phone. For instance, three credits will get you the “Mini Burner,” or a number that expires after seven days. Eight credits will get your a Burner number that expires after 30 days.
Burner was founded in January.
Can I Have Yo Number image via YouTube
Filed under: VentureBeat
By now, you’ve probably heard that Starbucks is going to be investing $25 million in Square, the San Francisco-based mobile payments company. As part of the deal, Starbucks will switch its credit and debit card processing to Square in the United States. But once you get past the headline, what does this really mean?
For starters, don’t expect to see Square dongles at Starbucks locations. They’re just too inefficient and flimsy for the kind of volume that Starbucks does. Line speed is among the top 5 things Starbucks cares about, if not the top thing. Having the Square reader at each register would slow down the lines too much. But if they’re not going to have the Square dongle, how is Square handling all of Starbucks’ credit and debit card transactions?
I asked Square PR if Starbucks was going to use the reader at retail or just have its existing infrastructure and readers point to Square’s processing system. “The latter,” replied Aaron Zamost.
If there are no dongles, how can Square improve the Starbucks experience?
Pay with Square is one possibility. I am a regular user of PWS. Is it a magical experience? It can be. Every Saturday that I’m in town, I go to the ferry building for an empanada at El Porteno. After a few weeks, Alex, the guy behind the counter got to know my face. He would hand me my emapanada and I’d just walk away. I didn’t even have to say my name, making it even easier than advertised. Or it can be a pain in the ass. The last time I went to El Porteno, there was a new guy who hadn’t heard of PWS. It would have been much faster to pay with my credit card.
Whether you’re paying by name or paying by tapping (as Google is trying to get people to do), it’s hard to change consumer behavior. And paying with a swipe is so simple it’s hard to improve on that experience. There’s a reason for this: Credit card companies make money with each payment, so they have made paying as easy as possible.
To the extent that any company can get people to change the way they pay, it’s Starbucks. (Apple would be the other leading contender.) Starbucks’ ubiquity and frequency means it has the ability to drive consumer behavior. It already has with the Starbucks Mobile apps on iPhone and Android. According to the New York Times, Starbucks handles 1 million transactions a week through its mobile apps. That system uses bar codes that display on a phone’s screen. (Starbucks deployed special bar code readers for its stores.) In my experience, the Starbucks app is faster than Pay with Square. (It’s even faster if you don’t use the app and just print the bar code and stick it to your phone.)
That app is not going away.
The biggest win for Square (aside from the glowing press it will get for the next few days) would come from getting people to download and use the Pay with Square app. This will be entirely dependent on the extent to which Starbucks puts a marketing push behind this. If PWS is just another option that Starbucks accepts for the few people who know about it, it’s irrelevant. But if it pushes PWS downloads, that creates more value for all of the merchants who accept Square.
Another benefit to Square from this deal is that it provides social proof. It can tout that small businesses can use the same processor that Starbucks does. While this may turn off some independent coffee shops, it does have value. That is going to hurt startups trying to get into mobile payments as well as companies like Groupon that are trying to diversify their businesses. (Starbucks CEO left Groupon’s board earlier this year. As part of the Square deal, he will be joining Square’s board.) And it certainly trumps the partnerships PayPal has rolled out with Home Depot, Jos. A. Bank, and Abercrombie & Fitch.
Although $25 million is a big number, lets put it into context for Starbucks. In its fiscal 2011, Starbucks recognized $46.9 million in revenue on unredeemed stored value card balances. Those are just the leftovers that Starbucks expects people won’t use up on their gift cards. Essentially, Starbucks earned twice its investment in Square just by scrounging in its couch cushions.
Stored value cards are a big business for Starbucks. As of the most recent quarter, it had $521 million in deferred revenue — money that it had collected from customers but hasn’t yet earned.
Starbucks Cards are also essential to Starbucks in another way: They’re how Starbucks manages its loyalty program in the United States. The press release doesn’t address stored value cards, and neither Starbucks nor Square responded to a request for clarification.
The other big question is how much Starbucks is paying for transactions. The announcement says that Starbucks will save money on credit card processing as part of the deal. Zamost declined to comment on whether Starbucks will be paying Square the same 2.75% that regular merchants pay. “We’re not disclosing the terms of the agreement,” Zamost said.
With its volume, Starbucks is already getting some of the best rates available. The most likely way that Square can improve processing economics is to eat some of the cost.
Regardless, this is a big deal that will reverberate throughout the emerging mobile payments ecosystem. Exactly how big it is will depend on the details of the implementation and marketing, which we’ll see as it rolls out over the next few months.
(Full disclosure, given that I mention Groupon above: I have puts and several wagers against the company.)
[Top image credit: markyeg/Shutterstock]
Filed under: VentureBeat
You have likely heard something about “big data” and wondered what it is and if it has any impact on marketers and your world.
There are lots of ways people use (and misuse) the term, but for purposes of this column, let’s say that big data is marketing data that is multistructured (not linear or easily aligned to a structured database format) and sourced from multiple customer interactions. That might include clickstream (website visits), behavioral insights, email and SMS response data, social posts, tweets, and search keyword activity.
In essence, big data disrupts marketing. It upsets the normal “container” of marketing data because the unstructured and multistructured formats don’t match the kinds of one-to-one relationships of data element with database field (the way that structured data works). Big data upsets the CRM paradigm because it’s fluid, hard to sort and prioritize, and not always attributable to a specific person. Big data also disrupts the infrastructure capex budget.
Big data is just that: big.
Gartner has reported that competitive advantage goes to folks who tap into this disruption of data.
Do not be afraid. There are plenty of opportunities that involve harnessing big data and making sense of it. At one level, it’s important to just ask questions of the data. You can only make better decisions if you use the gems hidden in your vast data storehouses. Better yet, imagine what you could do if you could use all the data you have. And I mean: All. The. Data. That is pretty exciting. You’d be doing things like social community relationship analysis, persona-based segmentations, behavioral modeling, path-to-purchase analysis, real-time offer management, multi-touch attribution analysis, advertising and media analysis, and more.
Big data can be an incredible opportunity, but folks can be frustrated by trying to get their arms around it.
One area where marketers are optimizing their investments in big data analysis is in the area of digital marketing attribution, which is itself the first step to digital marketing optimization. Most attribution today is last click, more for the complexity in managing data than from marketer choice. But now that we are tapping big data, attribution analysis can track behavioral insights and better understand and serve customers who are interacting across an expanding universe of multiple channels, touchpoints, and data sources—everything from email to search, digital advertising, websites, and social media.
The volume and complexity of new data sources require advanced analytics beyond “last touch” or “last click” attribution. To make accurate budgeting decisions, marketers need to take into account multichannel, multitouch purchasing cycles.
Consider two examples of how attribution could work for you.
- A major online and offline retailer leverages big data to derive consumer insights that are deployed across channels. Instead of relying on sampling, customer intelligence is created from big data analysis. Customers benefit from more personalized experiences.
- An online-only retailer ties together clickstream information with email logs, ad viewing information, and operational information to identify customer preferences and behavior—and to optimize marketing spend. That includes parsing of Twitter feeds and sentiment analysis.
Data-driven marketers must think differently. Our customers expect it, and our markets demand it.
Consider these types of initiatives for your own organization, where digital marketing attribution can help.
- Gain visibility into marketing activity to optimize the use of new channels and deliver remarkable customer experience across conversation points.
- Automate marketing processes and simplify cross-channel measurements. Facilitate experimentation and iteration to optimize digital channels by using quantitative results as they happen.
- Empower yourself to think differently; think that the answer is already there in the data.
- Take a complete look at the data, both digital and non-digital information, to get a more complete view of customers, their preferred channels, and interactive behavior.
- Procure the right big data analytics tools that will integrate with your marketing database, campaign management, CRM, and digital messaging solutions.
What is your story around attribution? Are you on a path to tap the disruption of data or are you sticking with last click attribution models?
Share your learnings below.
(Photo courtesy of Bigstock: Comical Boy)
Romotive is the company who created Romo, a smartphone robot. By attaching the base through the universal audio jack you can bring Romo to life as he drives around your home. Romo’s face and behavior can be changed by downloading different apps. And he’s open source for easy hacking.
When marketing people start talking about mobile these days, and they’re doing it a lot, they usually default to tactics – mobile ads, SMS, throw in some near field communications and we’re on the mobile track.
I’ve been doing this a long time and with every emerging evolution there seems to be an equally reactive rush to embrace the accompanying tactics and it’s what leads people to do things that don’t make sense.
Ten years ago everyone was hiring web designers to create web sites that had nothing to do with the rest of the organization’s marketing or branding – but they had to have a web site.
Then social media came along and everyone rushed to figure out Twitter and how to run a contest on Facebook.
The mobile rush is currently starting to heat up and, once again, I think most people are asking the wrong thing.
Instead of how do wet get into mobile, where can we get our own cool app or how much should we spend on mobile ads, the question is and should be this.
What behaviors are our current customers exhibiting right now when it comes to mobile and how can we tap those behaviors using some combination of existing and emerging tools.
I truly believe that’s the formula for considering any new tactic or tool. When you factor what you’re doing now that works and ask how you can use the tools to do more of that, you’ll rarely get caught up in the rush towards new for new sake.
Below are three mobile behaviors you can no longer ignore as they’ve become universal and cross industries and demographics in undeniable ways.
1) Content is getting consumed on mobile devices on the go.
I have a Nexus7, iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire. I use apps like Reeder and FlipBoard on most of those devices to consume content. And, while I’m not your average online folk, my wife does the same and so do my kids.
Our content must be made to be consumed by people using really small screens riding in a car, at the library and at the conference. Right now, there are very few business that can pull off a generally useful app, but every business should invest in making all of their content pitch perfect for the various ways it’s being consumed.
This means using plugins such as WPTouch Pro, choosing themes and designers that use Responsive Web Design and exploring mobile landing pages and content pages designed to provide very specific content to mobile surfers with tools such as Tekora or GoMobi
2) Mobile is a key element in the buying process
And, here’s the most important aspect of that behavior – mobile shoppers are proving more valuable then traditional shoppers, including demonstrating less price sensitivity according the July Mobile Retail Insights report from Mobile Ad Network Greystripe.
Okay this statement relies on murky research, but think about it – mobile shoppers, people that do research on the fly looking for somewhere to shop, eat, drink, visit, or even hire a service, are more likely to jump on the things they find first, conveniently and seamlessly.
While people are using their mobile devices during the buying or shopping process many are choosing to make actual purchases either offline (see next behavior) or using a laptop, but tablets are going to change this dramatically.
The key is to understand that mobile is a link in the buying chain and proper integration is where conversion comes from.
3) People expect mobile engagement
Once you understand this behavior you’ll stop bad mouthing text message marketing. That’s not to say that there aren’t people doing it poorly or using it to spam, but it is to say there are terribly powerful and valid reasons to use SMS and now is the time to analyze how you can use service such as EXTexting or Trumpia for customer service, flash sales and specials and appointment opening.
I’ve also seen people use SMS short codes to allow people to subscribe to their email newsletter and more and more businesses are offering receipts by way of email and text.
I allow people to download slides from my speaking events, something they would often ask me to do anyway, by sending a short code text to a specific number. This particular process allows them to get what they want when they want it without much work and certainly takes me out of the process as well.
Enabling mobile engagement through tools such a click to call, click to chat or click for driving directions is another way to help people get what they want in the highly impatient, highly motivated world of mobile commerce.
I think the key to understanding any new technology or tactic is pretty simple. First figure out how you can use it to make something your customer is already doing easier and better. If you can do that it doesn’t matter how you see others using it or not.
Editor’s Note: This guest post is co-authored by Nir Eyal, Andrew Martin, and David Ngo. Nir is a regular contributor to TechCrunch and blogs at NirAndFar.com. Andrew and David are seniors at Stanford University working in conjunction with the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab and Trinity Ventures.
This week, fans packed stadiums in London wearing their nation’s colors like rebels ready for battle in Mel Gibson’s army. They screamed with excitement and anguished in defeat. Many paid thousands of dollars to travel around the globe to be there.
What the hell is going on here? How do sports engage, delight, and motivate people to put their lives on hold and become totally engrossed in watching other people play games? If sports can motivate people to go to great lengths, can businesses learn to instill the same loyalty and passion in their customers?
In fact, the psychology that makes fans do crazy things in the name of their team can be harnessed to turn people into avid users. Innovative companies are minting habitual customers by understanding the mechanics of human behavior. Here are a few examples of the psychology of sports and the companies who have learned to exploit these same principles:
“This Might Be the Year”
For a stunning example of customer loyalty, look no further than the fans of the heartbreaking Chicago Cubs. The team suffers from “the longest drought in North American sports,” 104 years without a World Series win. Yet, despite the century of defeat, Forbes magazine rated the team as having the 4th most loyal fans in baseball.
Why do Cubs fans keep coming back? What keeps them engaged year after losing year? Though sports columnists and diehards provide detailed bullet-points intellectualizing why “this is our year”, the answer lies in two cognitive hacks, which at times produce seemingly irrational behavior – hope and variable rewards.
From then-candidate Barak Obama’s iconic campaign poster to Pepsi’s recent campaign ad, it’s clear that hope sells. According to BJ Fogg of Stanford University’s Persuasive Technology Lab, the pursuit of hope is a key motivator of human behavior.
While every sports fan appreciates the power of hope, few comprehend the zombie-like power variable rewards can have on the brain. A classic behavioral mechanic deployed by slot machines and video games, random reinforcement kicks the brain’s dopamine system into high-gear. We’re mesmerized by the prospect of another chance to find a reward, a win, a prize – an endless search for the satisfaction that is never fully realized.
Sean Markey is a 29 year-old special education teacher in Salt Lake City. He is also an addict. Markey is hooked to Quora, a social question and answer app, which he says he uses up to a dozen times a day. Scrolling through his Quora stream provides Markey with a steady supply of stimulation. Though Markey understands how addictive the service is, he’s powerless against Quora’s variable rewards.
Like a Cubs fan holding on to the elusive promise of a championship victory for just one more year, Sean can’t help but check his Quora feed searching for that enticing answer just another swipe away. “I never know what type of questions I’ll get,” Markey said. “Will there be a question that could drastically change my worldview? I don’t know, but if I don’t check, I’ll never know. So I find myself going back several times a day.”
The More You Pay, The Better the Game
Jay Acunzo is also hooked, not to Quora but to his favorite sports team, the New York Knicks. Come what may, the 26 year-old says he will remain a fan. Last year, he spent several hundred dollars in tickets along with hundreds more for gear and related paraphernalia.
But for Xandra Kredlow, Acunzo’s girlfriend of over 3 years, the Knicks are just a money-sucking distraction. Xandra couldn’t care less about assists or rebounds. She’ll attend a game from time to time, but if she is like the women in a recent study, she does so to spend time with a loved one, not follow the action on the court. But what explains how differently people feel about sports?
Two more psychological phenomenon help explain why some people engross themselves in fandom while others do not. The first aspect of this cognitive cocktail is known as an escalation of commitment bias. Research reveals that the more effort people expend in doing a behavior or acquiring a set of beliefs, the more likely they are to continue doing the behavior or holding on to their point of view.
In sports, the effort comes early in life. Children quickly go from playing backyard games to wanting to be like their favorite sports heroes. Every practice is a bit of work, increasing the love of the game. While very few children grow up to play sports professionally, they continue to associate with the joy they felt playing the games of their youth. As fans age, they begin to invest in the game not with physical effort, but with their leisure time and disposable income. And there is reason to believe that the more fans spend, the more they love their team.
Cognitive Dissonance Theory may provide an answer to how fans’ enthusiasm rises with the degree of effort expended. If fans perceive that they are paying more to watch the team than the enjoyment received, a mental conflict ensues. The only way to resolve this discrepancy is to love the team enough to justify the costs.
From Doing to Being
Escalation of commitment explains part of the reason why we get hooked to sports, but there is another attribute, which helps mint lifelong loyalists. Sports shape our self-identity. Research suggests that the way we wish to perceive ourselves has a profound impact on how we behave. For example, people who took a survey on “being a voter” were much more likely to actually vote than people who took the same survey about “voting.” The simple switch in the survey, from a verb defining an action (voting), to a noun defining the self, (voter), dramatically increased turnout.
When people change the way they define themselves, they begin to behave in ways consistent with that belief. A real fan dresses in team colors. A real fan watches every game. A real fan is loyal to the end.
Of course, people perceive what it means to be a fan differently, which explains why everyone doesn’t show up to the office wearing team jerseys and face paint. However, the way we define who we are has a measurable impact on how we act, from the sports we watch to the products and services we use. Several companies utilize the phenomenon of escalations of commitment and self-image shaping to drive customer engagement.
Apple brilliantly defined what it means to be a fan of it’s products, first with their “Think Different” campaign and later within the famous “Get a Mac” commercials. Apple coupled itself with being young and innovative, while defining its competition, the PC, as the opposite. By manifesting its products as real people — “I’m a Mac. I’m a PC.” — it made the metaphor crystal clear. Apple also uses escalations of commitment, starting with the entry level iPod, in an attempt to eventually take over every possible screen, from phone to TV.
Another company, StackExchange, provides a surprising example of using escalations of commitment and shaping of self-image to create super users. The site, which started as a forum for answering technical questions, is almost completely run by its members and now hosts vibrant forums on hundreds of topics. On average, visitors post 5,600 questions to the site every day. How does StackExchange bring order to the flood of questions and ensure people get answers quickly? Simple, it makes its users do the work.
Each question asked, answered, and promoted, further commits the user to the system. A task as easy as a one-click up-vote, signifying satisfaction with an answer, can evolve into complex and time-consuming jobs. At other companies, this kind of work would be completed by paid staff. But at StackExchange, top users spend several hours per day managing content and moderating the community, all without receiving a dime.
According to Jeff Atwood, co-founder of StackExchange, “Our most active members see themselves as more than just users. They view themselves as owners.” Atwood continues, “When users view themselves as responsible for the quality of the site, their usage explodes.” It is here that StackExchange begins to change users’ self-image. These users turned owners, see themselves as having a special responsibility to the site just as sports fans are convinced their loyalty matters to the team. Their participation becomes part of who they are, not just what they do.
Sports are Weird
Wherever we observe unusual human behavior, it’s often useful to ask “why?” Spectator sports are such a common facet of our lives that we sometime fail to appreciate their ability to make us do highly unusual things — behaviors rarely observed outside the context of organized competition.
Let’s face it, the ritual of dressing in special attire, wearing colors signifying a tribal-like affiliation, and paying top dollar for the right to watch people we’ve never met play a game for our amusement, is quite frankly, weird. But the reasons why we behave the way we do under these peculiar circumstances provide practical lessons for building better products, and perhaps better lives.
Sports are fundamentally human and more importantly, they are fun. Porting some of the same psychological tenets of sports into business is more than just a ploy to make products more addictive, it’s a way to increase customer satisfaction. Sports make people happy. Fans come to watch the games to feel good and even when their teams lose, they leave happy enough to return again for the next game, and the next, and just one more.
Thanks to Max Ogles for reading early versions of this essay.
iOS (jailbroken): iOS’ autocorrect feature can be confusing: you have to tap the autocorrect window to ignore the correction, which just doesn’t make sense. ManualCorrect flips this behavior to something more intuitive. More »
Disrupt SF is right around the corner and here’s another chance for you (or someone you know) to win a ticket! This is going to be one of the biggest technology conferences of the year and we have already announced some special guests and speakers including: Kevin Rose, Michael Arrington, Marissa Mayer, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, Jessica Alba, Marc Benioff, and many more. Be sure to check out all of the speakers we have announced so far. And stay tuned, because we have a lot more surprises to come.
For those of you unable to buy tickets to this year’s show — this is a great chance for you to try and get one for free. Not only are we giving away a free ticket to Disrupt SF to one lucky reader, but we also wanted to include a fun something extra.
We are going to throw in a brand new Nest Thermostat. We’ve written about it numerous times, but basically the Nest is a thermometer that learns from user behavior and eventually adjusts the home’s climate control based on previous activity. Our own Matt Burns believes the Nest is “a game changer”, as do others.
If you want a shot at winning the Nest (valued at $249) and a free ticket to Disrupt SF (valued at $1,995), all you have to do is follow the steps below.
1) Become a fan of our TechCrunch Facebook Page:
2) Then do one of the following:
- Retweet this post (making sure to include the #TCDisrupt hashtag)
- Or leave us a comment below telling us what inspires you the most
The contest will start now and end August 5th at 7:30pm PT. Please only tweet or comment once, or you will be disqualified. We will make sure you follow the steps above and choose our winner once the giveaway is over. Please note the free Disrupt ticket is for one ticket only and does not include airfare or hotel.
Music has always been naturally social. It dates all the way back to our early ancestors, who sat around a fire while banging on a drum. Fast forward to the present day, and you’re sure to have noticed people of all ages with trendy headphones plugged their ears, listening to music through their mobile devices.
But how can marketers leverage these new behaviors to interact with users and encourage transactions? By 2014, consumers will be plugged into 4 billion smartphones. We first need to understand and analyze user engagement with mobile music apps to determine an appropriate entry point for promotional messaging.
No longer confined to the home or car, access to music has evolved with the advancement of smartphone technology. As devices become more sophisticated, so does the user’s ability to discover, create, and share with anyone in the world. Mobile provides a real-time, end-to-end music experience in which users can discover new artists and follow their lives, tours, special appearances, and conversations. And they pass this information along to others. This has resulted in an accelerated life-cycle of fan development and promotion.
One of the most visibly noticeable effects that smartphones have had on the music industry can be seen at concert events. At any given moment, you can see viewers taking pictures or video and texting or uploading to their social networks for all their friends to see. A T-Mobile survey recently found that 66 percent of concert-goers use camera phones to take pictures during a show, and 32 percent send these as updates to Facebook or Twitter. Fans now use music as input in creating their own content, which reflects an aspect of their identity and enables them to derive “credit” for their discoveries.
And how about all the great music apps out there? Most of us have heard of Spotify, the digital music streaming service. Another that uses social networks is Soundtracking, an app that allows users to follow friends via Facebook, Twitter, or Foursquare and posts music searches and music playing activity on others’ mobile devices. Users can also get creative and attach a photo and comment on whatever they are sharing. Since its launch in March 2011, Soundtracking has had 2 million downloads and shared 3 billion music moments.
This direct consumer interaction from fans is opening a plethora of opportunities for marketers to connect fans with artists and their products. Mobile phones now permit increased transactional behavior, including the purchase of songs, concert tickets, and merchandise. Users can discover a new artist from a friend, buy the artist’s hit song, a ticket to an upcoming show, and the tour T-shirt — all within a matter of minutes.
Here’s a good example of how marketers can insert themselves in the mobile user’s behavior: A recent campaign for Jack White’s live stream concert and mosaic compilation connected fans with the artist. White joined American Express’ Unstaged concert series last April to provide fans with live streaming video of his concert at Webster Hall in New York City to promote his debut album, “Blunderbuss.” Thirteen cameras were used, with three angles fans could choose from, all accessible from a mobile device. Additionally, fans were able to submit photos of themselves that would later be used to create a digital mosaic portrait of White’s face.
In a May issue of Billboard, an article by Andrew Hampp examined how Coke and Pepsi — two superbrands that have been harnessing the power of music for decades — are using music to promote their products. Combined, the two spend a total of $570 million on their U.S. sponsorships of entertainment and sports, and both partner with the world’s top music execs and consultants to direct their strategies. Coke has united with Spotify and its more than 10 million users to facilitate and support its music-marketing initiatives. That’s just one way of reaching a consumer with his or her ears plugged.
One major obstacle inhibiting opportunities for mobile interactions and transactions is limited bandwidth. If bandwidth from cell service providers is unable to keep up with fan demand and activity, opportunities will be missed or, worse, result in frustrating slow-downs. As 4G and Wi-Fi become more ubiquitous, creative marketing tactics through mobile music can become more easily executed.
So, while mobile users might appear unreachable with their ears plugged, it is this very behavior that offers creative opportunities for marketers to plug-in. It’s actually a superior environment for promotional messaging as other distractions are silenced, allowing exclusive attention and focus on a brand’s message. Couple this with reaching a consumer in a positive emotional state based on his or her own musical choices, and mobile music might be the ticket directly into a consumer’s mind — and heart.
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