Category Archives: Search

Weekly Round-Up 4/25/11

Apps and Tablets

  • AppNation Conference hits San Francisco this week, April 27-28 at the Moscone center. Register now at Here’s a preview & taste of why this is such a big deal:

  • Like the smart phone, tablets are slowly but surely being integrated into everyday life.  We use them to watch movies, read books, and order a meal?  Massachusetts Institute of Technology dropout, Rajat Suri thinks that with his E La Carte we will all be doing just that.

Social Media

Global Social Gaming Overview

Two weeks ago, at AdTech, we presented a comprehensive overview of Social Gaming in the US.  The presentation was featured as a “Presentation of the Day” and Tim Chang of Norwest Venture Partners believes this may be the most current and comprehensive snapshot of the industry available today. You can also view the slides synchronized with the AdTech audio on Youtube.

Weekly Round-Up 12/13/10

In the News

  • Find your keywords for monitoring social media. Like the best conversations Listening is one part brain, two parts heart
  • After 77 years, P&G pulls the plug on day-time soap ad spend, invests instead in social media. Two observations: 1) took 77 years to decline where Social’s taken 5-years to build; 2) Social Gaming is the new Soap pwning daytime viewership with a larger audience than same daypart TV shows
  • Rumor – Apple iPad 2 will ship by February with back & front camera, USB slot and anything else you need to jump in
  • To Trend or Not to Trend – how Trends—as in Trending Terms—are measured on Twitter


  • WikiLeaks war continued throughout week with anonymous hacktivists attacking Visa and Mastercard
  • Former WikiLeaks members form spin-off site “Openleaks,” with more structure around who can obtain the goods


Google Plays Most Valuable Real Estate

Most Valued Placement

To support the new Android smartphone, the Nexus S, Google is deploying a number of winning tactics from its release of NexusOne. Most evident is the homepage placement below the Google one-bar–what many call the most valuable real estate online due to its reach, frequency and scarcity in use. Other support includes a new marketing campaign and in-store push at Best Buy (where I’ll probably be picking up mine) and bundling it with a new OS code-named “Gingerbread.” We can assume the new push comes with a robust push on Search and YouTube. For low cost-recruitment over owned media, it’s good to be Google.

How Do You Do Digital Focus Groups?

Digital Focus Group research is a subject we’d really like to hear your thoughts and input on. Occasionally we commission unique Focus Groups to vet our digital content and distribution strategies. Usually digital is tested along with all other media in larger Focus Groups covering multiple cities and target segments. There are pros and cons to both.

Without delving into the merits or demerits of the Focus Group format, we find them beneficial and additive to our thinking on the whole. There’s always a gem or two of Insight that we can synthesize from participant attitudes and comments. And we expect to get a thematic “zinger” comment that flavors our understanding of the target or our proposition. An example of this is when exploring attitudes about where we could take a certain beverage category a few years back, one participant called it a “chick drink” in less polite terms and that moniker flavored our consumer understanding and marketing approach.

One of the challenges we face in digital is that many Focus Group facilitators, while comfortable with the advertising creative and media of traditional media–a familiarity developed over 60 years of representative experience–simply can not successfully moderate around digital and emerging platforms. We’ve consistently seen digital thinking represented in the “Integrated Media Focus Group” as flats or print campaign equivalents. Or, even in animated form, presented as a website and not as an element in a holistic digital marketing approach. It’s challenging to take the armada of activity around which we go to market and have most moderators–let alone consumers–be informed about various digital media and interpret feedback on digital. Without good interpretation, it’s difficult to get a feedback loop that drives to the most insightful places.

The reason we do less focus group research in digital is because we have the laboratory of real time data, A/B testing, instant SocialNetwork surveys, campaign qualitative research and search as a proxy for intention and needs. At the same time, we’ve yet to find a better substitute for a client to participate “behind the glass” with our team hearing directly from consumer groups what they think, what informs their opinions and how they’re willing to behave around a variety propositions.

So, here’s the request and challenge to you: Who are the best at directing in-person Focus Groups for Digital and/or what other alternatives to you use? Let’s use the comment section below to create our compendium of resources.

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Flash+Search+Embed=Influence, Amplification

The big news around the Real Branding water coolers and wikis is Adobe and Google’s announcement about searchable Flash. The subhead is that all text within your Flash files will now be read by Search–it doesn’t currently include images, flash videos or fed content such as xml files, but may soon enough. I don’t use this space often to geek out about platform applications, but this is huge news.

For years we’ve had to manually insert tactics to inform the search cloud what we were doing in our Flash engagements and elements to prove relevance and earn natural placement. Think of Search like army ants scouring the land for food, devouring all living organisms in its path. To the search ants, Flash was pretty much dead, at best something to explore on its surface.

When you combine the richness of Flash communications with the reference ability of search and the sharing influence of widgets and applications to be shared you change the potential reach of your message.

We’ll watch closely to see how Search absorbs and prioritizes all this new content and different behaviors. We may be closer to a concrete engagement measure than ever to evaluate the benefit of engagement on desired actions and goals. I think we’ll find both influence and amplification for services, brands and entertainment the outcome of these announcements. To learn more about what’s in and out in Google’s crawling activity, check out this Q&A with their software engineers.

Some Twitter Hacks

Last week I wrote about how I pipe tweats, posts and links from one space to another with greater efficiency thanks to the magic of rss/widgets. I’m not a coder and pretty much learn by tips from others or trying things out. One of the concerns I’ve had is that when I make a twitter post, if I’m not following my account I miss people responding via the @marksilva convention. How do you track and capture all these?

I found a pretty cool way that I might add to a sidebar here (have to consider if utility is of value). Using the awesome Terraminds twitter search engine, I simply search on @marksilva and now have an RSS feed from these results. Anyone can subscribe to it.  I’ve created an area of my Flock browser sidebar to subscribe to top folks I follow, which means I get a message-board like conversation that has the original post and all responses embedded as well.

If you know a better way to do this short of scripting/coding, please share below. Cheers! silva

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Songza Snack

songza logosongza logoHere’s a quickie for anyone who loves music or wonders if there’s room for more entrants in the crowded search engine, music and entertainment space. Introducing songza, the brainchild of 23-year-old Aza Raskin, the president of Chicago-based software company Humanized, Inc., and the son of Apple Macintosh founder Jef Raskin. Over the course of a month, he and Humanized’s Web/Systems Architect Scott Robbin worked weekends to bring the idea to life. The site launched on November 8, 2007 and instantly generated significant buzz around the world. Like all good ideas, both the concept and design came to Aza while he was in the shower.

Props to Pilar for the collective intell.

Social Networking Search Report

New report by iProspect and Jupiter titled Social Networking User Behavior Study (April 2007) is a must-read for all marketers and their agencies. Thanks to Paul Walker for posting on his blog. Continue reading