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Digital Intelligence
Your monthly review of new research and trends in digital marketing
April 2011

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Digital Strategy Consulting


As the web swells to take a quarter of all ad spend here in the UK, the mix of online marketing is evolving. In the last two weeks we've been tracking how the use of Facebook engagement ads is exploding, and how online coupons are rising.

Brand strategies are sharpening up as Ford bolsters its online entertainment offers with comedy talent, Twitter plans to launch brand pages, and if kids hangout Habbo is anything to go by then virtual worlds are heading for a genuine second life - but this time with first place for audiences.

Headlines below, full stories at the end of the click, and if you'd like a deep dive briefing on a key theme then let us know what you'd like researched by setting your choices here http://www.digitalstrategyconsulting.com/updatemydetails.


Best from all @ Digital



Danny Meadows-Klue
Founder and Chief Executive
Digital Strategy Consulting

 

Social networking
www.digitaltrainingacademy.com/socialmedia

Facebook advertising - Rapid growth leads to rising prices
It's all feeling a bit 'Google 2002'. Facebook engagement ads are getting discovered by mainstream marketers, and with that popularity is soaring. The number of those little 'engagement ads' is soaring, and even tiny businesses are getting creative with their targeting. But it's at a price - 40% up in the last year according to this new research...
Keep reading...
14/04/2011

Facebook to launch Baidu-powered social network in China?
Facebook has reportedly struck a deal Chinese search giant Baidu to open a jointly-owned social network in China. According to reports in the Chinese press, inside sources said the new venture wouldn't involve Facebook.com, which is blocked inside China like many more social networking sites. Instead, the venture will be a jointly owned, new social networking website.
Keep reading...
12/04/2011

Twitter planning Facebook-style brand pages?
Twitter is reportedly considering Facebook-style pages for brands on the micro-blogging service, opening up ways for advertisers to deliver tailored messages to their followers and serving as a central hub for companies to coordinate campaigns. Marketing Magazine cites sources close to the subject saying that Twitter CEO Dick Costolo and President of Revenue Adam Bain are championing the idea as one of the many plans it has to monetize the service.
Keep reading...
06/04/2011

Ad giant Interpublic reveals stake in Facebook
Advertising group Interpublic has revealed in its annual report that it owns a stake in social networking site Facebook. The Financial Times quoted sources saying the company paid less than $5m for the stake - thought to be less than half a per cent - in 2006. The exact figures have not been disclosed, but people close to Interpublic say it owns slightly less than a half per cent of Facebook, and paid less than $5m for it in 2006, the FT reports.
Keep reading...
06/04/2011

Google takes on Facebook 'likes' with '+1' social tag
With Facebook evolving into a major rival, Google is meeting the challenge by building its own social network centred on its lucrative search business. Google's newly launched "+1" (plus one) service is Google's version of the Facebook "like" button or Twitter's "retweet" feature. It lets people who connect to friends using their Google Profile to share their recommendations for websites and online advertisers on search results.
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01/04/2011

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Trends
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The Webbys: 52 UK nominees for 'Internet Oscars'
The UK boasts 52 nominees for the 15th Annual Webby Awards, a show often dubbed the 'Oscars for the Internet', organisers has announced this week. Hailed as the "one of the most prestigious awards in the world" by the BBC and the "Internet's highest honour" by the New York Times, The Webby Awards is the leading international award honouring excellence on the Internet, including Websites, online film and video, interactive advertising, and mobile Websites.
Keep reading...
14/04/2011

Comment: Another newspaper bankruptcy; many more to come
Last week, the UK's struggling Sport Media Group finally went into administration. The Daily Sport and Sunday Sport newspapers were never top on the sales figures from British the newsstands, but their slow death is a reminder that the challenges to the business models of media groups are far from over. Here's why...
Keep reading...
06/04/2011

US web video growth: Massive increases in viewing time
It's official video has crossed its tipping point - and not the ubiquitous viral YouTube video clips, but long form TV-style content. Latest online video viewing data from Nielsen show US online video use leaping 45% year on year as people switch from TV screens to laptop screens. But if you looked just at the collective reach of online video, you'd be missing the full picture. Here's why...
Keep reading...
31/03/2011

Smartphones, apps and dating site fees added to UK's inflation basket
Shopping in the UK has officially gone digital, with smartphones and their apps being added to the typical basket of goods used to calculate inflation. Dating agency fees have also been included for the first time to reflect the rising use of these websites, the Office for National Statistics said. The ONS updates its 650-strong basket of goods and services annually, to better reflect public spending habits.
Keep reading...
31/03/2011

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Digital marketing audits
www.DigitalStrategyConsulting.com/digitalmarketingaudits
Getting the best ROI from your websites, emails and online ads? Sure? Our digital marketing audits review your current and planned campaigns to find ways of cutting budgets without cutting impacts. Ask for more: TheTeam@digitalstrategyconsulting.com.
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Mobile
www.DigitalTrainingAcademy.com/mobilemarketing

Mobile apps - Nokia's Ovi apps store tops 5m downloads a day
New numbers from the world's largest mobile manufacturer confirm apps adoption is still accelerating. Here in the UK it may feel like apps culture has saturated, but the increasing rate of use confirms mobile apps will play a much greater role in everyone's lives even in markets that feel like they've already crossed their tipping point...
Keep reading...
14/04/2011

Google buys music sync firm PushLife to boost Android content
Google has acquired Canadian mobile application developer PushLife, as the search giant looks to boost content on its Android mobile operating system. The acquisition will give Google content synchronization know-how and technology, and a company that is already familiar with its Android smartphone operating system. PushLife's software automatically synchronizes content on a phone with that stored on a computer in iTunes or Windows Media Player, according to a FAQ posted on PushLife's website.
Keep reading...
12/04/2011

Android and Windows 7 to overtake Blackberry and iPhone by 2012 - Gartner
Nearly half of the world's smartphones will be using Google's Android operating system by the end of 2012, according to the research firm Gartner. Google will lead the race with Apple, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) and Microsoft by the end of this year and take 49.2% of the market in 2012, according to the research firm's forecast.
Keep reading...
08/04/2011

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Advertising
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P&G online strategy: A greater focus on content?
That's the implication of latest comments from the team leader for Procter & Gamble's ecommerce and digital innovation team. Made at an industry forum, it's not a formal press announcement, but a business quite secretive about it's digital strategy, this seems like a clear hint of the thinking inside the FMCG's strategy group. Here's why they're focussing on content and deep integration of social into the rest of their digital work...
Keep reading...
04/04/2011

Microsoft debuts ad exchange in US
Microsoft has finally taken a major step into the burgeoning ad exchange space - a space where rival Google has a head start. The software giant has opened Microsoft Advertising Exchange for business in the US market, and that remnant inventory from its properties MSN and Windows Live will be traded via the new platform in the coming weeks.
Keep reading...
01/04/2011

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Digital regulatory compliance - get it right, right now
www.DigitalStrategyConsulting.com
Regulation of web content, advertising and personal data is now stronger than ever. Is your firm compliant? And are you truly sure? Have our consultants join your team to troubleshoot and give you the real picture. Email our team for more information: TheTeam@DigitalStrategyConsulting.com.
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Ecommerce
www.DigitalStrategyConsulting.com/intelligence

Online coupons grow as consumer package goods get web right
Latest tracking data from North America confirms that the coupon industry is accelerating thanks to online coupon download platforms. Individual coupons from brands as well as aggregators such as Groupon are changing the nature of vouchers and online promotion use. The trend will be followed in Europe, Latin America and Asia...
Keep reading...
11/04/2011

Only 25% of top UK retailers bother to reply to Tweets - study
Just one in four (25%) of retailers with a presence on Twitter replied to a question directed at them, with Thomas Cook, easyJet and Debenhams topping the responsiveness table, according to new research. The benchmark study from Auros, the internet consultancy and technology company, reveals the UK's top 25 retailers are largely unresponsive when it comes to engaging on social media channels.
Keep reading...
08/04/2011

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Broadcasting
www.DigitalStrategyConsulting.com/intelligence

Google revamping YouTube channels to compete with TV?
Google is preparing a major overhaul of video sharing website YouTube by creating "channels" to compete with broadcast and cable TV, according to a news report. The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that the plan could cost as much as $100 million. The revamped YouTube homepage will highlight different channels focused on topics like arts and sports, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.
Keep reading...
08/04/2011

David Cameron backs Orange volunteering mobile app
Orange has launched a mobile volunteering iPhone app, backed by Prime Minister David Cameron as part of his 'Big Society' initiative. The 'Do Some Good' app allows volunteering through a mobile phone. The app will include twelve different charity 'actions' that consumers can complete anytime, with Orange committed to adding new actions throughout the year.
Keep reading...
01/04/2011

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Accelerating Digital Brands: Could we help your team achieve more?
www.DigitalTrainingAcademy.com/skillsassessment
It's never mattered more. The web, search, email and social media have become the critical tools every firm has to get right. Yet most digital strategies deliver less than half their potential. Why?

We've spent ten years helping agencies, brands, business services and governments find the right digital strategy for them. From building new online entertainment sites to finding new ways to connect with customers, we're front-line practitioners who share our knowledge and skills with others. Not only do we help companies get this right we also coach their teams to build their knowledge and intuition. Email the trainers at Admissions@DigitalTrainingAcademy.com
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Companies making the news
www.DigitalStrategyConsulting.com/intelligence

Asos overseas sales overtake UK sales
Online fashion retailer Asos has said that overseas sales have overtaken those in the UK for the first time. In the three months to the end of March, international sales rose 161% to 48.4m compared with a year ago. UK sales were up 24% to 44.9m. Asos has reported strong results in recent years and is bucking the current downbeat retail trend in the UK.
Keep reading...
14/04/2011

Emailvision buys UK's Smartfocus for 25m
Emailvision has bought UK-based multi-channel marketing software provider, Smartfocus Group for 25.3m. The deal will see Emailvision boost its on-demand software for email, mobile and social campaign management.
Keep reading...
14/04/2011

Bing makes small gain on Google in UK
Microsoft's search engine Bing was the fastest growing search engine during March, while YouTube was the quickest rising social network, according to new data from Hitwise. Google is still very much the dominant player in UK search, with Google Sites accounting for over 90% of all searches conducted by UK Internet users. However, between February and March 2011, Google Sites lost 0.66% market share of searches, whilst Microsoft Sites increased their market share of searches by 0.28%.
Keep reading...
12/04/2011

BT dodges bullet over secret Phorm trials
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has dropped its investigation into whether BT's Phorm technology unlawfully intercepted internet browsing data, due to 'insufficient evidence'. BT started conducting secret trials of Phorm four years ago, sparking outrage from privacy campaigners. The technology examined Internet users' browsing history to bring them personalised web content, as well as targeted advertising based on their interests.
Keep reading...
12/04/2011

Steve Jobs to debut 'tell all' biography next year
Steve Jobs's first authorised biography will be published in 2012, promising to be a 'tell all' account of the Apple co-founder's rise to success. The book, called "iSteve: The Book of Jobs", will be based on interviews that author Walter Isaacson has held with Jobs and his family over three years. The book will be published by CBS Corp.'s Simon & Schuster early next year. When it hits e-book shelves, it is guaranteed to be a best seller, as Jobs is known as one of the most secretive CEOs in Silicon Valley.
Keep reading...
12/04/2011

Bing launches iPad search app
Microsoft has tailored a version of Internet search service Bing for Apple iPad tablet computer. The free Bing program for iPads available at Apple's online App Store was designed "from the ground up" for touch controls so tablet users can browse online offerings with finger taps or swipes. The tool also let users search the Internet with spoken queries.
Keep reading...
12/04/2011

Play.com plans European expansion?
UK online retailer Play.com has reportedly hired investment firm Lazard to investigate opportunities for expansion, with a focus on Europe. According to Bloomberg, the investment firm will explore the possibilities afforded by the sales of a stake in Play.com.
Keep reading...
11/04/2011

Expedia to part company with Trip Advisor
Online travel giant Expedia has unveiled plans to spin off its TripAdvisor brand in a deal that could value the popular user reviews site at $4bn. Dara Khosrowshahi, Expedia chief executive, said Trip Advisor had grown to a point that it was now ready to be spun off into a pure-play media company. Expedia said it hopes to split into two public companies - Expedia and TripAdvisor - by the third quarter of 2011.
Keep reading...
11/04/2011

Bankrupt Blockbuster sells for just $320m to Dish Network
Blockbuster has been sold at auction to satellite TV chain Dish Network for just $320m, after the once dominant video chain was pushed into bankruptcy by online competition from the likes of Netflix and LoveFilm. Dish Network, a provider of subscription-based satellite-TV services, said that it expected to pay only $228m for the company, after "certain adjustments" on cash and inventory are made.
Keep reading...
07/04/2011

Tesco starts selling used cars online
Tesco has become the first general retailer to start a used car buying website. The supermarket giant claims it can offer low prices by controlling costs. It will show detailed pictures of vehicles for sale - including any scrapes and dents - as well as a history report and fuel usage details. It will not, however, give people the chance to test-drive vehicles. Instead, a video of the car being tested will be available for would-be purchasers.
Keep reading...
07/04/2011

LivingSocial raises $400m to take on Groupon
LivingSocial has raised $400 million to fund expansion, as the US online coupon seller looks to take on its larger rival Groupon. The investment round, led by current investors Amazon and Lightspeed Venture Partners, and new ones like Institutional Venture Partners, valued the company at about $3 billion. LivingSocial has been growing at an exceptionally rapid pace in recent months that closely mirrors the early growth of Groupon. Reports indicate the company is on track to generate US$1-billion in revenue this year, fully double the annual revenues it projected to make in 2011 just four months ago.
Keep reading...
07/04/2011

Google offers $900m for patents of former telecoms giant Nortel
Google is offering to buy the last vestige of Nortel, its patent portfolio, for an initial bid of $900m in an auction that starts in June. The bankrupt Nortel Networks is offloading its remaining patents and patent applications for a cash purchase price of at least $900 million, with Google leading the race to take them over. The auction for the patents is set for June 2011. The patents could help arm Google against potential lawsuits aimed at its Chrome browser and Android mobile operating system.
Keep reading...
06/04/2011

China search giant Baidu shuts ecommerce site Youa... but builds a new one?
Chinese search engine Baidu is shutting down Youa, its e-commerce subsidiary, giving existing merchants have one month to migrate to either Rakuten China or Yaodian 100. WSJ reports that Baidu is believed to be secretly building a new e-commerce platform which will better leverage its search engine technology, but the paper revealed no further details. The shutdown will take effect in May and Youa's existing merchants will be migrated to Rakuten China and Yaodian100, Baidu said in a statement.
Keep reading...
06/04/2011

Virtual worlds back in vogue? Habbo Hotel owner makes record profits
Finnish group Sulake, owner of the Habbo Hotel virtual world, said it made a record net profit of €1.6m in 2010, on revenue up 20% at €56.2m, driven by sales of virtual goods and games. The Helsinki-headquartered company said 2010's numbers represented the best annual financial results in its history, and that its profit for the fiscal year came out to €1.6 million ($2.3 million) - Sulake has not disclosed profits for 2009, but the firm said its profitably increased this year.
Keep reading...
06/04/2011

Ford hires comedy talent for social media puppet campaign 'Doug'
Car giant Ford has embarked on a new social media campaign, featuring a puppet named Doug and some of the talent behind major US comedy shows, including The Simpsons, The Office: An American Workplace and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Doug, is a 'spokespuppet' with an obnoxious attitude that often lands the Ford Execs that hired him in trouble. The character was created to be a provocateur, to attract people's attention that might not know about the All-New 2012 Focus, or who would never have considered it.
Keep reading...
05/04/2011

Microsoft takes Google complaint to EU
Microsoft is to take an anti-competition complaint against Google to the European Commission. The software maker claims that Google used its dominant position in the search market to restrict the growth of Microsoft services. It cites a number of practices, including Google limiting the ability of Microsoft Bing to index web content. Google said it was not surprised by the move and would happily explain itself.
Keep reading...
04/04/2011

News Corp leadership changes - Smarter digital strategies could be close to hand
Being a Murdoch carries some heavy burdens, but some exceptional opportunities. The announcement of James Murdoch getting promoted to deputy chief operating officer could be a game-changer for the group that has struggled to get online right. Long before the MySpace fiasco, News Corp had a long history of failed projects to dominate different digital categories, and that's why appointing a digital native as the successor to the Murdoch throne is so smart and long overdue. More about the 'collaborations with senior leaders to develop new strategies' at News Corp...
Keep reading...
04/04/2011

Guardian newspaper: Repositioning as global liberal news provider accelerates
The Guardian's bullish push into the US market accelerates as editor Alan Rusbridger announces a New York-based initiative that will be 'significantly larger than anything we've done in the states before'. Newspapers have been fighting to find their role in the online world since The Daily Telegraph first launched online in 1994, but The Guardian is gaining enough international traction to realise its dream of becoming the world's 'liberal voice'. Audiences have been strong enough to bring in good ad revenues, and premium CPMs. Stand by for their announcement of the US editor...
Keep reading...
01/04/2011

Autotrader floatation on ice: Cloudy future for classified ad revenues
The classified ad titles of Autotrader were a perfect example of how media created a market place that bought buyers and sellers together. Then came the web, and the model simply didn't transfer that comfortably. Google made everything discoverable, the barriers to launching a classified ad board collapsed, and Craigslist found a model in giving away almost everything for free. Maybe that's why the planned 2bn sale of the Guardian Media Group subsidiary 'Trader media group' that owns the once unassailable motoring title has gone quiet. Private equity group Apax was lined up to broker the deal that could have even been a flotation rather than a trade sale. Strong implications for any media company that relies on classifieds...
Keep reading...
01/04/2011

Salesforce boosts social media monitoring with Radian6 buy
Salesforce.com is to buy social media analytics firm Radian6 for $326m, as the Online CRM firm looks to boost social media features for its clients. Radian6, which counts Dell , Kodak , PepsiCo , and UPS among its customers, makes products that monitor conversations on social media sites, allowing companies to gain real-time insights on customer trends. Salesforce.com said the combination will enhance its cloud offerings and help it integrate conversations on social media sites into its corporate social network.
Keep reading...
31/03/2011

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