Tag Archives: Digital media

Digital Bytes: Asda Runs Dancing Easter Chick ad

Welcome to FWM Digital Bytes, where we discuss all the biggest digital marketing and digital media news. This week our post focuses on Ben & Jerry’s Greek Style Frozen Yoghurt campaign, Lego is giving ownership of its campaign to the fans and Asda’s dancing Easter Chick ad.

Ben & Jerry’s launches ‘biggest’ media campaign

Ben & Jerry’s is looking to pull health conscious consumers into the ice-cream category with an £8m marketing campaign to promote its biggest launch of 2014 – Greek Style Frozen Yoghurt.
The Unilever-owned brand is hoping to dominate the frozen yoghurt market that saw sales grow by 15 per cent in the year to December 2013, according to IRI.
A TV campaign launched this week to carry the theme, charting how an empty tub comes to life to create an alpine scene with the help of a mini Greek God. The quirky nature of the advert will be extended through social media promotions alongside a “Free Cone Day” offering consumers samples at all Odeon and Empire cinemas across the UK.
The media strategy bares similarities to the product’s launch in the US in 2012 when it benefitted from the increasing popularity of Greek yoghurt in the dairy aisle. Nearly half (40 per cent) of buyers over the last two years were new to Ben & Jerry’s and the luxury ice cream category, Unilever says.
Alessandra Salvo, Ben & Jerry’s brand manager, adds: “By generating talkability around the innovative new range, we hope to drive value into the luxury sector, increasing frequency of purchase with current Ben & Jerry’s shoppers as well as attracting new, more health conscious consumers to the frozen aisle who are looking for great taste.”

Lego to co-create marketing campaign with UK fans

Lego is co-creating a marketing campaign with its UK fans which will see them suggest ideas for new products that will be brought to market globally.
The brand will amplify the competition and the products chosen for launch via its own social channels and online store, but it is encouraging fans to promote the push on their own social networks and blogs.
Lego’s head of global community co-creation Peter Epperson said while the company is not expecting the products created to be “the next Ninjango or Lego Movie” it hopes to build on the trust it already has with its community of fans.
He said people are three times more likely to trust recommendations from friends, according to Nielsen, which explains why the company is giving fans ownership of the marketing campaign in a way it has not ever attempted before. He added that while it can often be difficult for brands to hand over so much ownership to consumers, marketers need to understand that they are more interested in content created by passionate people. Lego has also created hundreds of online global user groups, or fan clubs, to provide the company with feedback and to suggest new ideas.

Asda runs ‘something to tweet about’ campaign

Asda is launching its “something to tweet about” campaign, featuring a cute dancing Easter chick that forms part of the latest instalment of the “beat not match” positioning it unveiled over Christmas.
The television campaign launched recently and features four different-coloured birdhouses representing the different supermarkets, with the last and biggest birdhouse representing Asda. Asda’s green birdhouse pulsates to the sound of the 1980s disco classic ‘Funky Town’, before the Asda Funky Chick pops out and shows it is “clearly 10% funkier than the others”. The ad is designed to reinforce the Asda Price Guarantee, which guarantees Asda will always be 10% cheaper than Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.
Asda’s TV ads will be supported by a social media campaign that invites fans to create a personalised chick, by choreographing the chick’s moves and selecting an accompanying dance track. Users will be encouraged to share their personalised video with an #AsdaChick hashtag.

Digital Bytes: Tothetops is taking over social shopping

Welcome to FWM Digital Bytes, where we discuss all the biggest digital marketing and digital media news. This week, we are questioning the best ways to engage with consumers, how social media impacts sports fans and how Tothetops is taking over social shopping.

The best way to engage with consumers: traditional or digital?

Adobe’s “Click Here: State of Online Advertising” study found consumers still prefer “old school” – print, TV, outdoor – advertising to newer online channels, suggesting brands have “a lot of work to do” to capture consumer attention in the digital world. Results show that some seven in 10 consumers (70 per cent) said they thought TV ads are “more important” than online ads, particularly those from John Lewis and Guinness, which are cited by consumers as being the most memorable campaigns. Almost two thirds of consumers (62 per cent) described online ads as “annoying”, while almost half said they were “invasive” (45 per cent) and “distracting” (44 per cent). Just a small group said online ads were “eye catching” (13 per cent), “clever” (12 per cent) or “persuasive” (8 per cent). However, a recent AA/Warc report showed that consumers are comfortable with engaging with brands on social media. About half (44 per cent) have “liked” something brands have posted on Facebook – although the same number of consumers also said they would like to see a “dislike” button on the site. The top two reasons people “like” brands on social channels is to share their tastes and interests with the world (52 per cent) and recommend products to friends (40 per cent).Mark Phibbs, Adobe EMEA vice present of marketing, says the report should act as an “important wake up call to brands”. The most important thing now is figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Marketers should try not to figure out what is the best channel, but what is the best combination of channels.

Sports fans feeling positive about social media

Fans who engage with sports on social media are more likely to have positive feelings towards brands and sponsors, according to new research by the online sports media company ‘Perform’. The study found 97 per cent of UK sports fans consume sports on TV, while online has leapfrogged print to become the second-biggest medium at 61 per cent. Twenty-eight per cent of fans who use social media are more likely to be interested in a brand that sponsors or advertises around a sport, and 25 per cent are more likely to buy a product or service. This compares with a respective 20 per cent and 17 per cent of all sports fans. Sports fans are also spending more time with sports content at an average of 8.1 hours a week in 2013, up from 6.2 hours in 2012. Football remains the most popular sport in the UK as it is followed by 44 per cent of adults, up from 43 per cent in 2012. Formula One is the second-most popular, followed by 27 per cent of adults. Tennis is followed by 26 per cent, up from 22 per cent in 2012. This is a great opportunity for various brands to expand and engage with customers through social media platforms.

Tothetops.com: the rise of social shopping

A new ecommerce platform, tothetops.com, is launching in the UK, France and Scandinavia to take advantage of social shopping. The site hopes to capitalise on the growing popularity of celebrity-curated social shopping sites in the US. In the States, market leaders Open Sky, Beach Mint and One Kings Lane cumulatively raised over $300m in sales in 2012. Tothetops.com has lined up a range of experts including fashion blogger Bip Ling, skincare expert Liz Earl and football expert Patrick Vieira. The use of experts is extremely important as it helps the brand to stand out from competitors. Shoppers will be able to sign up and follow their selected experts, who will act as their personal shopper, sharing new product discoveries and their personal experiences of brands. The site aims to bring niche brands to a bigger audience and capitalises on the emerging role of the web in bringing niche brands directly to consumers.

O’Malley appointed Director of Social Media

Fast Web Media has moved company director Stephen O’Malley to head up its award-winning social media team and activities in Europe.

O’Malley works out of our London office and has been a director for five years.

FWM CEO Michael Flynn said: “Stephen has shown real dedication to FWM over the years and has both the experience and the creativity required for effective social media projects. It’s a logical next step for him.”

As well as heading up FWM’s social media team and activities, O’Malley will also continue his digital strategy role for our clients.

O’Malley said: “Social as a digital discipline has always been there, and I’ve been involved in user interaction going back to FWM’s first football website for the Premier League back in 1995. I’m looking forward to working on some exciting social media projects for our clients.”

The news will see us expand our London operation in March.

ASA censure risk by showing non child-friendly ads to unregistered YouTube users

YouTube ASA censure

  • Advertisers must use YouTube’s ‘age-gating’ controls for ads that should not be shown to children in order to comply with advertising regulations.

  • If they allow an advert to be shown to unregistered users whose ages YouTube does not know they risk censure by the advertising regulator.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled against film distributor Lions Gate UK over a 12A-rated film trailer on YouTube that could be seen by viewers of any age – as reported by out-law.com.

The UK’s advertising watchdog ruled that Lions Gate had breached the Committee of Advertising Practice Code (CAP Code) rules that require marketing communications to generally be “prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society” and “contain nothing that is likely to result in their physical, mental or moral harm” if they are targeted at children.

Lions Gate had placed a trailer for the film ‘Abduction’ on YouTube via the video-sharing site’s ‘First Watch’ advertising scheme. ASA ruled that the material shown in the trailer was “unsuitable” for children and had been targeted at them because the trailer appeared during a YouTube clip children were likely to be drawn to watch – an animated clip called ‘The Duck Song’. ASA received a complaint from a parent after her two year-old child saw the trailer when watching the clip.

In its ruling, ASA said: “The ad reflected the content of an action film. We considered, however, it included some scenes, in particular those of shooting, explosions and punching, that were unsuitable for younger children. We considered the ‘The Duck Song’ clip during which the ad appeared, was likely to appeal to children and noted the ad was served in such a way that it could be viewed by all YouTube users, even if they had not logged in. Because it included scenes that were unsuitable for younger children and it could be viewed by all YouTube users, we considered the ad was inappropriately targeted. We therefore concluded that it breached the Code.”

YouTube allows advertisers to use ‘age-gating’ controls in which they can elect that adverts only appear to registered users of the site, or to registered users of a particular age. YouTube’s terms and conditions require account holders to be at least 13-years-old and state that the site in general is not for children under that age.  Under YouTube’s ad policy advertising campaigns on the site cannot target or appear to target children under 13-years-old, whilst material contained within ads “designed to appeal specifically to this age group” is also prohibited.

The ASA ruling said that when Lions Gate elected to promote its film trailer through YouTube’s ‘First Watch’ system it meant the ad could appear to both registered and non-registered users. Research completed in the US has suggested that 7% of YouTube users are aged between two and 11 and 9% aged between 12 and 17, the ruling said.

YouTube said that Lions Gate’s decision to advertise via its ‘First Watch’ meant the video could appear to non-registered users as well as those registered as at least 13-years-old on its “partner pages”. If ads were “flagged as being suitable only for adult users, no ads would appear” on those pages, YouTube had said, according to the ruling. Partner pages are those that belong to certain YouTube users that upload popular content and obtain a share of ad revenues in return.

YouTube’s own assessors had reviewed the Lions Gate ad before it appeared and deemed it “family safe”. This was because the assessors determined “there was no explicit violence, no blood or scenes of death, no shooting victims (only sounds of shots fired) and no adult language or explicit sexual content,” ASA’s ruling said.

ASA acknowledged that it was “not possible” to prevent under 13s viewing YouTube content and that not everyone would be aware of the company’s age policy.

YouTube does allow advertisers a certain element of control over where ads appear on the site depending on how ads are placed.

Advertisers can choose to associate certain YouTube promotions with specific content by buying words under the company’s ‘AdWords’ system or space through the ‘DoubleClick’ advertising network, ASA said. For YouTube’s “homepage” and “brand channel gadget” ads, film, alcohol and gaming advertisers can create customised ‘age-gating’ settings to ensure ads that they create are only viewable by registered users above a certain age. Due to the fact that Lions Gate had not used controls to limit the target audience of their ad, it ran the risk of failing to comply with the CAP Code.

Matt Dowell, advertising expert at Pinsent Masons, said: “The ASA decision against Lions Gate was not upheld because of the content of the ad itself, rather it was because of the context in which the ad appeared and the content it appeared immediately next to,” Dowell said.

“ASA came down against Lions Gate because their ad was inappropriate for certain audiences, the options were there for Lions Gate to more closely target their ad and they just chose not to use them,” he said.

“As with any other form of ‘marketing communication’, advertisers and businesses posting content on external sites need to be aware of the relevant rules relating to their advertising and statements about their business.  As the internet and its content continues to grow, advertisers need to treat sites like YouTube in the same manner as they do TV – indeed, YouTube’s ‘First Watch’ advertising system reaches an audience equivalent to a top-10 US TV show.

“With increased exposure of an ad in any media comes greater risk of the ad being mis-targeted and possibly seen by someone for whom it is inappropriate,” he said. “If advertisers think there are any particular sensitivities in relation to their advertising, or content that their advertising may be shown alongside or linked to, this should be expressly dealt with and appropriate safeguards put in place.  Particular care must be taken when dealing with sensitive issues like age-related material and alcohol.”

An ASA spokesman said: “The responsibility lies with advertisers to take appropriate steps to ensure material is targeted properly. It is about the content of the ad and the targeting as to whether an ad breaches the CAP Code. We do not think that restricts advertisers from promoting films on YouTube but if material is potentially inappropriate advertisers should take steps to address that.”


Fast Web Media’s Digital 10 for 12

2011 was a massive year for digital media but 2012 looks like it’ll be even bigger. As ever, Fast Web Media will be at the cutting edge of the new technologies and developments that will arise in digital over the next 12 months, and to give you a sneak peek at what we think could hit it big this year, here are our top ten digital picks for 2012.

Window shopping – from your couch
2011 was a massive year for e-commerce, with a record-breaking take of over $1.25billion being posted on Cyber Monday and Apple and Amazon revealing all-time high sales of the iPad and Kindle over that same weekend. Experts attributed this massive surge to Couch Commerce, a new term used to describe the act of buying from your couch, on a mobile or tablet, rather than on your computer or laptop. This is only going to continue in 2012, with eBay recently announcing a ‘Watch With eBay’ update to its iPad app that will give users the opportunity to browse products from the TV programmes or adverts they are watching as they are watching them. The update further strengthens the ties between traditional and digital advertising and with mobile and tablet sales showing signs of outselling desktop and laptop PCs in 2011, Couch Commerce could become the dominant method of online purchasing over the next twelve months.

The Cookie Monster
26th May 2012. A date burned into the minds of many online marketers – the deadline for the so-called ‘cookie-law’. The announcement from the Information Commissioner’s Office in 2011 that user consent must be obtained before cookies can be stored is posing many concerns for marketers. Some privacy software solutions have emerged, but the overall concern is that data capture will still suffer. This data is vital in understanding user behaviour and site analytics – the ICO website lost over 90 per cent of its Google Analytics data when it applied its owns guidelines. The ICO admits that the “implementation of this new legislation is challenging and involves significant technological considerations.” Despite the ICO being frank in its discussion of the matter and giving ample advice, questions of how this legislation will be policed and enforced are subject to intense debate and may prove to be the law’s ‘make or break’ point towards the end of 2012.

Search gets personal
The proliferation of smartphones that provoked the explosive growth of geo-location software and apps continued as a hot bed of activity over the last 12 months. 2011 was the year that saw mobile phone use of Google Maps exceed that of desktop use, with Maps being the third most used function on mobile phones after calling and texting. In addition to dominating the outdoors, Google launched Indoor Maps in 2011, which helps people navigate indoors spaces, such as airports and shopping malls and uses WiFi to track your location in place of satellites. In addition to Google expanding its local service capabilities, Google + check-in deals are on the horizon, meaning Google will have social in addition to local as the heart of its search results in 2012.

Plus points for Google’s social network
Despite suffering mixed fortunes in 2011, Google+ is likely to become a major player in the social sphere in 2012. The platform launched brand pages in November and uptake has been rapid, with recent reports suggesting that most of the planet’s biggest brands now have some form of G+ representation. Things are also looking bright in terms of user numbers, with Britney Spears’ page recently becoming the first to surpass one million fans and research company BrightEdge unveiling data that shows the amount of users following brand pages went up from 147,000 in November to 222,000 in December.  Google+ still has some distance to go before it can challenge Facebook, but with these developments and the company’s decision to include brand pages in their search rankings, 2012 looks like it could be the year the social tables start to turn.

Siri says ‘hello’
The iPhone 4S talking assistant app, Siri, caused quite a stir when it was released in October 2011. With intuitive usability and confident functionality, Siri uses voice commands to carry out many different tasks and actions, like sending texts and emails. Siri’s use of natural language and humour in receiving and processing responses compared to the rigid commands used for other voice recognition technology is what sets it apart from other smart phones. In response to Search queries, the app returns a single, most relevant response, which has led to some speculation that the use of Siri to search could be ‘game changing’. Last year, Gary Morgenthaler, an early investor in Siri, confidently declared that the simplicity of Siri and its responses pose a real threat to Google: “A million blue links from Google is worth far less than one correct answer from Siri”. Whether Google is in trouble will depend ultimately on how user behaviour evolves as well as how voice search and technology develops in 2012.

Google TV v Apple’s iTV
Having raged on our desktops and in the palm of our hands for years, the battle between Apple and Google looks set to move into our living rooms in 2012. Both companies are likely to launch internet-enabled TVs this year and both seem confident of success, with Google’s Eric Schmidt in particularly bullish mood last month. He claimed that Google TV will be in most homes by the summer and that the search giant’s Android technology – on which the TV will be built – will put it ahead of its competitors. For their part, Apple have plenty of reasons to be cheerful too, with the iTV reportedly set to feature voice activation and seamless integration with all Apple devices and the iCloud. Which features will be most popular with consumers when the products are rolled out remains to be seen, but one thing’s for sure: digital is no longer confined to the computer.

Battle of the bands
The latest figures show that 21.3 million digital albums were sold in 2011 (26.2% of total album sales), and with new digital platforms emerging all the time that figure is only going to rise. The question is: which platform will rule? iTunes and Spotify are already well established, with the latter now boasting over 2.5 million customers following its launch in America in 2011. However, significant new players in the online music market have risen, with Google and BlackBerry primary among them. In November, Google launched Google Music in the US, with a number of exclusives from big name artists acting as a key incentive for new users. Meanwhile RIM’s BlackBerry Music offers users 50 tracks a month, which can be listened to offline and organised into playlists, for the price of £4.99. Sharing, track availability and unique features will be key to all platforms, but as ever the most successful service will be the one that offers the best value for money.

Gold for BBC’s streamed Olympics?
2012 could be a massive year for streamed online content, with the BBC’s coverage of the London 2012 Olympic Games set to play a huge part in its development. An expected 24 streams of live content will be available via the BBC’s website and coverage of every venue for entire sessions is a first for broadcast sport. If the plans prove as successful as the BBC is hoping, it’s likely the organisation would aim for similar coverage of other big sporting events, like Wimbledon and the World Cup, and other networks would almost certainly begin to develop similarly advanced streaming technology. It’s not just the athletes who have plenty riding on London 2012 then – the future of the BBC’s sports content, and the potential for interactive online streaming as a whole, is likely to be decided too.

AND not OR
2011 saw a handful of brands focus their energies entirely on one web platform, with Strongbow just one example of a company using its website solely as a way to drive traffic to its Facebook page. Such dramatic moves are likely to become less frequent in 2012. As the web evolves, platforms are becoming more integrated, one feeding into the next – search feeds your site, your site feeds social, social feeds search. Having a great website but bad SEO, or a brilliant Facebook page but a poor website simply isn’t going to work anymore. For a truly effective digital strategy, the best path to success is site AND search AND social. The luxury of choice won’t be an option in 2012. ‘Or’ will be a four-letter word.

The Year of MediaCityUK
There were plenty of goings-on at MediaCityUK in 2011 and there’ll be plenty more this year. With the BBC starting to get settled, the new hub of the UK’s media will welcome ITV and a host of other big name players over the next twelve months. The move is likely to make for a more centralised and representative British media, with Manchester and Salford at the very centre of its operations. The importance of these two cities is no surprise to us though. Fast Web Media has been based in Manchester since 1995 and though we’ve expanded into London, Amsterdam and Athens since then, we’re proud to have such a strong heritage in this great city. We’re already set up at MediaCityUK and we can’t wait to be part of the exciting developments as the site evolves during 2012.

FWM Digital Bytes

FWM Bytes Digital NewsWelcome to FWM Digital Bytes, where we round up all the biggest digital marketing and digital media news doing the rounds. This week, we look at the latest tablet technology to hit the market, discounts on Facebook advertising and why the Lady is going Gaga for Google+…

Tablets triumph at CES 2012
2012 will be the Year of the Tablet, if this week’s 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is anything to go by. No less than eight new tablet devices were on display at the renowned tech fare, with Fujitsu and Toshiba among the big-name electronics brands unveiling their latest wares. Some of the items are simply variations or upgrades on already existing technogy – products that are sleeker, slimmer and smoother than their predecessors – but many others boast significant leaps forwards for tablet devices.

The Fujitsu tablet is fully submersible and can survive being under-water for up to 30 minutes, while the Lenovo Ideapad YOGA is every bit as versitile as its name suggests. This product is a four-in-one that can switch from being a tablet to a laptop and back again. Most impressively, non-profit organisation One Latop Per Child, which aims to bring computing technology to developing countries, has created a product that can withstand extreme weather conditions and can be powered by solar energy or handcrank. The full list of tablets can be seen on Open Forum and pictures are available on Mashable. Which do you think is best?

Mobile shopping’s going places
If you’re wondering why so many tablets are in production, look no further than new data from IBM. The tech company has revealed that purchases from mobile devices in December 2011 went up by 187% when compared to the same month in 2010. The new tablets on the market still have some way to go before they’ll be challenging Apple (whose iPhone and iPad are responsible for the first and second most mobile purchases) and Google (whose Android platform provides the third most), but it’s clear many are turning their back on their desktop PC and moving toward mobile devices. Andrew Jackson-Proes, enterprise marketing management leader for IBM UK and Ireland, said: “This Christmas shopping season has been characterised by consumers looking for deals and increasingly using their mobiles to shop online. The report demonstrates that retailers can really benefit from smarter commerce initiatives by meeting their customers’ expectations for offers and service via any device.”

Facebook offering ad discount?
New research suggests that Facebook is offering a discount on adverts directing users to a brand’s Facebook page. The survey has been conducted by TBG and it reveals that brands who link their adverts to a Facebook page can expect a cost-per-click rate that’s around 45% less than they would get if they were linking to an external URL. The report also offers a breakdown of different sectors and the click-through-rate brands in those categories tend to achieve. The Food and Drink sector has the highest CTR, closely followed by Beauty and Fitness and Retail. Jobs and Education, News and Finance bring up the rear.

The Lady goes Gaga for Google+
In our Digital 10 for 2012, we said digital agencies should start investigating the potential of Google+, which we believe is going to be huge this year. Well, it seems we’re not alone. Google+ recieved a big boost this week when Lady Gaga signed up to the platform, making her one of a number of pop stars who are gradually joining Google’s social circle. Of course, Gaga still has some way to go before she can match her 46.5million Facebook likes, and she’s even far behind Britney Spears, who became the first celebrity to win 1 million followers on Google+ last month, but it’s certainly a significant step for the search engine giant’s social wing. It’s also likely to be a boost for Lady Gaga, who as Danny Sullivan points out on Marketing Land, will now appear alongside Spears and her fellow G+ user Snoop Dogg in the ‘People and Places on Google+’ section of the SERPS. Increasingly it seems, a Google+ profile is a necessity for anyone looking to ensure visibility on the world’s biggest search engine.

FWM Digital Bytes

Google v Google
Google has been left red faced at the start of the new year as they have had to downgrade their own product, Google Chrome, in Google search rankings after some underhand promotional activity was discovered by an SEO. Aaron Wall of SEO Book uncovered that the search giant has been paying bloggers to promote a video about its Chrome browser and its positive effects on small businesses. This is strictly against Google’s Webmaster Tools guidelines and, as such, they were quick to distance themselves from the activity by pointing the finger of blame at third party marketing firm Essence Digital. However, Google have had little choice but to penalise the offending Chrome pages from its own search engine results, as is the protocol for other sites which are found to be buying links, as was seen in the JC Penney fiasco earlier last year. In addition to questioning Google’s altruism, questions have also been raised about it’s algorithm after it emerged that a weakly optimised Google Webmaster Tool page regarding Google Chrome has been ranking number one for brand keywords in the UK after the Google Chrome website dropped from the rankings.

Admist all this speculation, Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land has written about the story, asking whether the news could lead to an outright banning of Chrome from the SERPs. Wall, who found 400 offending posts after searching “This post is sponsored by Google”, writes: “The fact that Google is paying to spread that sort of misinformation about how their browser is helping small businesses is sort of like BP buying ads about doing tourism in the gulf. Only since Google destroying smaller businesses is something more abstract on virtual lands the PR propaganda campaign is much more effective, because (unlike oil washing ashore) people do not see what is not there. (The birds still die, but the black oil covered carcass isn’t rotting on the beach).” Whatever the long term implications, in the short term Google is facing the music and will likely continue to be closely scrutinised by itself and other. Some have pointed out, however, that this event and all the subsequent blog posts will have conveniently generated many natural links for Google Chrome, which will definitely come in handy for Chrome’s long hard slog back to page number one.

A Very Kindle Christmas
Christmas has come and gone so it’s time for tech businesses to run the numbers and find out how popular they were with the present-buying public in 2011. According to estimates from YouGov, Amazon were the big winners, with 92 per cent of the 1.3million e-readers sold in the pre-Christmas rush being Kindle products. This means that about one in 40 people were unwrapping a Kindle on Christmas morning, leaving Amazon streets ahead of their competitors in the e-reader field. Marek Yaygelt, Head of Technology and Telecoms Consulting at YouGov, said: “This is finally the year when the late-medieval technology of the printing press was challenged by a 21st-century, digital alternative. Amazon has done a remarkable job of selling the benefits of e-readers and the upside for the publishing industry is that it appears e-reader owners, at least in the early days, buy more e-books than the printed books they purchased before acquiring an e-reader.” Further research showed that around 640,000 tablets were sold before Christmas and that women tend to be the biggest consumers of e-reader/tablet tech, accounting for 61 per cent of Kindle sales and 60 per cent of iPad sales. Amazon have yet to confirm the numbers, but did say that Kindle orders in the run up to Christmas 2011 were double those in 2010.

Börk Börk Börk!
Nowadays most countries have some kind of social media presence, but few can be said to be truly representative of their population. Not Sweden though. The home of Ingmar Bergman, ABBA and the chef from The Muppets, has opened up its Twitter account to everybody in the country so followers can get a real perspective on what it’s like to live in the world’s favourite flatpack furniture manufacturing nation. Entitled ‘Curators of Sweden‘, the idea is designed to position the country as “the sole ruler of the world’s most democratic Twitter account” by handing the reins of the power over to a different member of the population each week. “For seven days, he or she recommends things to do and places to see, sharing diverse opinions, and ideas along the way. After that, someone else does the same—but differently.”

With nine million people living in Sweden, it’s certainly going to make for fascinating reading. The most recent captain of the Twitter account has been Adam, who describes himself as an “Organic sheep-farmer with focus on animal-health, food and environment. Other interests: new pop/electronic/indie-music and politics.” Who’ll be next? Find out by following them @Sweden.

The Digital Diet
Finally, it’s a new year so time for some resolutions. Most involve cutting out alcohol or losing weight, but The Telegraph have struck upon a novel approach by suggesting a ‘Digital Diet‘. Daniel Seiberg writes: “As a quick barometer of your digital life, ask yourself these questions: Do you sometimes feel the urge to pull out your smartphone while someone else is talking to you? Have you ever realized that you were texting or reading email while your child was telling you about her day and later couldn’t remember her story? Have you ever felt that something hasn’t really happened until you post it online? Do you feel anxious if you’re offline for any length of time? Does a ringing phone trump everything else, including your dinner date? And if this isn’t a picture of your own life, we all know someone for whom this is the everyday.” The article offers 11 simple test questions that cover everything from smartphone use to the amount of email accounts you have and gives you a score at the end of exam that marks how effective a ‘Digital Diet’ would be. We got 27 – but what will you get? Let us know in the comments section!

FWM Digital Bytes

FWM BytesPlus points for Google’s social network
Having had mixed fortunes since its launch in the summer, Google+ is finally looking ready to burst into life in 2012, if new research into the social network is to be believed. Data gathered by BrightEdge has revealed that over three quarters of the globe’s biggest brands (detailed on the Millward Brown Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands of 2011 list) are now fully set up on Google+. The exact figure comes in at 77, which is an impressive amount in such a short period of time considering 93 of the top 100 have a page on Facebook. A second survey, conducted by Simply Measured and using the top 100 brands as determined by Interbrand, found that 61 top brands have their own pages, a smaller but still significant total.

Of those 61 pages, Simply Measured found that only 13 have followings of more than 5,000, which is certainly a concern for major brands looking to expand their social media portfolio. However, further research by both companies suggests that numbers are likely to shoot up during 2012. BrightEdge found that the overall follower count for the 77 brands on Google+ has gone up from 147,000 at the time of their last survey in November (when brand pages were launched) to 222,000 in December, while Simply Measured found that the top ten Google+ brand pages had an 80% market share. 2012 appears to be shaping up nicely for G+ then.

Not that Google are going to rest on their laurels. They’re attempting to boost the visibility of the social network by placing brand pages in their search results. BrightEdge are reporting that AT&T and Toyota USA are among a handful of brands whose pages are now viewable in the SERPs. They’ve also begun making brand pages available in PPC ads. The move could land Google in further hot legal water – Senators Herb Kohl and Mike Lee have lready called upon the Federal Trade Commission to look into Google’s search business practices – but it certainly indicates the potential for Google+ in 2012. Brands will start placing more emphasis on G+ next year and as the momentum starts to build, even more brands will do the same. As Simply Measured’s CEO Adam Schoefield said: “I wonder if there’s a sense among the other brands that ‘If we don’t get on this, we could fall behind and lose ground.’” That will certainly be Google’s hope.

The People v Facebook
California residents who oppose Facebook using their image in Sponsored Stories could sue the social network after a San Jose judge ruled that the promotions are fraudulent and violate state law. In California, the non-consensual use of another person’s name, voice, signature, photograph or likeness is illegal under the Right of Publicity Statute. Revealing her judgement on the Fraley v Facebook case, US District Judge Lucy Koh wrote that the “plaintiffs have articulated a coherent theory of how they were economically injured by the misappropriation of their names, photographs and likeness.” Facebook attempted to defend themselves by claiming Sponsored Stories are significant to the people they are targeting (ie, the user’s friends) and are therefore acceptable under California law’s ‘newsworthiness’ exemption, but this was dismissed by Koh, who also threw out claims that the Likes in Sponsored Stories are covered by the site’s Terms of Use. Currently, the ruling applies only to Californian Facebook users, but it opens the site up to further class action lawsuits and the possibility of Facebook paying anyone who is successful in challenging them.

The World of Tomorrow
IBM have released this year’s ‘5 for 5’, a list of five key tech predictions that they believe will have a major impact on our everyday life over the next five years. There are some intriguing possibilities, such as biometric scans replacing passwords and the potential of people to power their homes simply by moving about within it, but most interesting is their suggestion that by 2016 we’ll be able to control our computers with our minds. Basic variations on the technology are already in operation in devices to help the disabled, but IBM believes it will be taken into the mainstream during the next half-decade. “You’d just need to think about calling someone, and it would happen,” says the video explaining their selection. The IBM ‘5 for 5’ has run for seven years and their picks for this year are split into Energy, Security, Mind Reading, Mobile and Analytics. What’s your favourite pick? We’re quite partial to the energy one ourselves.

It’s Friday, Friday, Friday…
YouTube have revealed the most viewed videos of 2011 and it makes for good reading for anyone who likes Friday – well ‘Friday’. Yep, the music video for Rebecca Black’s staggeringly irritating song Friday is the most viewed YouTube video of 2011 as a result of the surge of social sharing that accompanied its release earlier in the year. ‘Ultimate Dog Tease’ came second behind Black, with ‘Jack Sparrow (feat Michael Bolton)’ in third, while Black’s fellow pop stars Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and Chris Brown also feature on the list. According to YouTube there were over one trillion playbacks on the site this year, making for about 140 views for every person on the planet. “2011 was a year of amazing new channels and new stars being discovered, awesome creativity, and of course, Rebecca Black,” said Kevin Allocca, YouTube trends manager. “It was also a year of powerful news stories playing out on YouTube, as people witnessed and documented uprisings and natural disasters, touching personal moments and moments of protest.”

And finally…
This is the last FWM Bytes before Christmas, so we thought we’d leave you with a little festive pick. o2 have launched a Twitter and YouTube campaign that allows followers to ask for a Christmas greeting from Santa himself. All followers have to do is tweet their message with the hashtag #o2santa and they could find themselves on the big guy’s ‘Nice List’. “We felt that we should create something fun as an integrated aspect of our Christmas digital campaigning — something that gets consumers involved with us and allows o2 to deliver a bit of entertainment during the festive period,” said o2 Head of Social Media Alex Pearmain. “Our social-media channels seemed the ideal platform to do this on, and we hope this campaign will help to cut through some of the current consumer gloom and spread some festive cheer.” The promo video can be seen below…


So that’s it for FWM Bytes for this year. We hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and we’ll see you in 2012!

FWM Digital Bytes

FWM Bytes Digital NewsThis week, we discuss why AI assistant Alfred could be ruffling feathers and give a brief run down of the digital crackers and humbugs of 2011. All with a splash of high quality taxidermy…

Google Buy Alfred –Every ‘Pennyworth’?

Google has announced that it has acquired a company called Clever Sense and its digital personal assistant app, Alfred.  Founded in 2008, Clever Sense spent two years creating a platform that gave users tailored information based on their location, the time and the context of their activity. Speculated by some to be named after Bruce Wayne’s butler, Alfred Pennyworth, at Alfred’s foundation is the Extraction Engine, which trawls through large amounts of data using natural language processing, statistical machine learning, and data mining algorithms. Layered on top of this is the context of the user and their preferences, which the app remembers and learns from over time; Clever Sense refers to this element as the ‘Serendipity Engine’. Social interactions, such as check-ins and likes further assist Alfred in returning a personalized result, from which shops to go to and which restaurants to eat at. The parallels between Google Search and Clever Senses’ technology can be seen on the emphasis of personalized, local search results – returning the result most relevant to the user based on a wide variety of contextual parameters.

As it stands at the moment, Alfred acts as a great resource for local information tailored to users’ preferences and location. There has been some comparison to the iPhone 4S app Siri. However, Alfred and Siri differ quite markedly, including in the way that it is accessed; Mashable has reported that the app does not have voice-command capabilities. Android already has voice-recognition software, so one possibility is that Google may apply this personalized search algorithm to its existing Android software to eventually produce a digital personal assistant that could challenge Siri (just as Siri’s capability has been seen by some as a challenge to Google mobile search). But with Google focusing on personalizing search with social and local results, its principal motive behind acquiring Clever Sense could be its interest in the company’s innovative algorithms.

Twitter Rolls Out Brand Pages

As well as undergoing a major face lift, Twitter has finally introduced Facebook-style brand pages. Launch partners include American Express, Coca-Cola and Disney, with other major brands likely to jump on board in the near future. Advertising Age has reported that the brand pages will allow advertisers much more scope for customisation, which includes the ability to make logos and taglines more prominent. Meanwhile, Twitter’s Advertising Blog has said that brands can promote a tweet to the top of the page’s timeline, giving marketers the opportunity to highlight particular content.

Digital Crackers and Humbugs of 2011

So much that’s happened in the digital world in 2011, but here’s a brief summary of some more noticeable points, good and bad:

Steve Jobs – The world tweeted on their iPhones that they were #iSad as the world mourned the death of one of the most charismatic technological innovators of the 21st century, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Whether you loved him, admired him, loathed him, or felt indifferent towards him, he has undeniably made a huge impact on the everyday lives of millions of people.
Rise of M-commerce – With the proliferation of smart phones continuing on its astronomical rise, mobile commerce has been a major focus this year, particularly for retailers. The release of the much anticipated iPhone 4S also caused a stir, in particular its AI personal assistant Siri. And some are speculating that if Siri is used as a search engine of choice, that it could be a major challenge to Google.
SSL Search – The SEO world has been responding with some passion over Google’s decision to encrpyt search results of users who are logged into Google, leaving a significant amount of keyword data falling into the black hole of (not provided). Reportedly done to protect the privacy of the individual, SEOs argue that it will make it more difficult to enhance user experiences, as important data about how users find and interact with your site will be hidden.
Spotify – Although some of us lamented the change in Spotify’s free services in a bid for it to raise cash, 2011 has undeniably been an amazing year for the Swedish-based company. Launching in the US and announcing its app on Facebook, it has gone from strength to strength.
Google + launch – With over 40million sign ups in 3 months, it’s safe to say that Google Plus has been a success, but certainly an odd one. The future of Google Plus will most likely be decided in the next 12-18 months, but opinions are heavily divided as to whether it can ever take on Facebook as a serious challenger.
Social Media – The role of social media in society has been under heavy scrutiny this year, in particular with social media being labelled as a catalyst for the UK summer riots. And ‘The Protester‘ has been named The Times Person of the Year for 2011. There’s is little left that socail media isn’t involved with on some level – the increase in use of social with TV viewing, for example, has lead to a rash of new and innovative social media players, to unite your Twitter, Facebook and TV experience into one. And with Google TV on the horizon, exciting times for social and television are ahead.

Did That Rhino Just Order a Drink?

And finally… as it’s the penultimate week before Xmas, we thought we’d share Econsultancy’s blog post featuring the 10 funniest ads of 2011. Our favourite is definitely Chuck Testa, for the most life-like dead animals around. Period. Which one’s yours?

FWM Digital Bytes

Digital New | Fast Web Media BytesThe sun always shines on (Google) TV
The Internet-enabled TV market is looking like one to watch for 2012 and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has wasted no time in laying down a marker for his company by insisting that most TVs will be equipped with Google functionality by next summer. The search engine giant has been diversifying beyond their initial remit for years now with mixed success (Schmidt has even talked of self-driving ‘Google Cars’), but this is their first concerted attempt to get out of peoples’ computers and into their homes. Progress has been slow so far, with many stores reporting that returns of the product have outnumbered sales, but Schmidt is confident it won’t take long for that to change.

“By the summer of 2012, the majority of the televisions you see in stores will have Google TV embedded in it,” he said on stage at the Le Web conference in Paris. Schmidt is so confident because Google TV would be a televisual incarnation of the already established Android platform, but some at the conference were less convinced. One dissenting voice suggested that Apple still holds a significant lead over Google, a comment that received a somewhat frosty reception from Schmidt. “What kind of lead?” he replied. “Android is ahead of the iPhone now – by unit volume, with ICS features, prices are lower, with more vendors, more pricepoints – do I need to continue the list? It’s free.” He also dismissed claims that Apple’s app line-up is superior: “Six months from now, you’ll say the opposite. Ultimately, application vendors are driven by volume. The volume is favoured by the open approach Google is taking. Whether you like ICS or not, you will want to develop for that platform, perhaps even first.”

Schmidt’s bullishness is understandable – although some could perceive it as misguided. As it’s built on the latest version of Android, Google TV will not only give it clear brand awareness, it will also allow developers to build apps for it as they do on phones and tablets, giving it a clear advantage over the competition. However, the smartphone market was comparatively new ground when Android was launched. The TV market has been around so long, and there are so many big players already involved, that Google is likely to face a tougher battle than Schmidt seems ready to acknowledge. On top of all that, there’s also Apple’s iTV, which is looking set to launch next year too.

Whatever does happen with Internet TV in 2012, one thing looks certain: the battle that’s raged between Apple and Google on our desktops and in the palm of our hands is now ready to move into our living rooms…

Facebook goes wild for Gowalla
Facebook this week confirmed the acquisition of location service Gowalla, though it revealed that it currently has no plans to use the company’s services on their site. Instead, the social network announced on Monday that it will simply absorb the Gowalla management team into its own structure. “While Facebook isn’t acquiring the Gowalla service or technology, we’re sure that the inspiration behind Gowalla will make its way into Facebook over time,” reads a statement issued by Facebook. Gowalla services will no longer exist and data on the site won’t be transferred to Facebook, but CEO Josh Williams added in a blog post: “About two months ago, my co-founder Scott [Raymonds] and I attended F8. We were blown away by Facebook’s new developments. A few weeks later Facebook called, and it became clear that the way for our team to have the biggest impact was to work together.” Gowalla has just two million users compared to Foursquare’s 10 million, so it’s unlikely the acquisition is designed to help Facebook seriously challenge the wildly popular location service. However, it does indicate that they’re looking to expand their location offering and that Facebook Places may be in a position to challenge Foursquare in the future.

Facebook’s Subscribe button expands
Unlike much of its functionality, the new Facebook Subscribe button has only been available on the site itself since its launch in September, but now all that’s about to change. Joanna Shields, Facebook VP and managing director of the company in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, revealed at Le Web in Paris that the button will be turned into a plug-in so it can be added directly onto external websites: “We will soon launch the Subscribe plugin, an extension of the Subscribe button, that publishers and other developers can add to their websites to make it easy for people to connect to reporters and public figures in one click.” There is no set launch date on the plug-in yet, but it could be a big move in the social sphere when it is rolled out. With this announcement, Facebook is making the subscribe functionality an almost direct copy of Twitter’s follow feature, and it’ll be interesting to see how the micro-blogging site responds to Facebook’s latest improvement. Like Apple v Google, this looks like a battle that’s going to run and run…

And finally…
The Fast Web Media camera has been out and about round MediaCity this week, taking snaps of the new complex and the surrounding area. You can see all the pictures on our Flickr page, but a few of our favourites are below…