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Digital Strategy ConsultingDigital Intelligence

2012 digital review and trends: the stories that shaped digital

December 2012

To round off 2012, we bring you our collection of top stories that shaped the digital landscape. It was an amazing year, with the continued speed of change towards a more digitally centric society: the rise and rise of social, the migration to mobile, the rising value of online businesses and the growing regulation to manage the digital economy. The stories show big rewards for getting the strategy right - and brutal realities of failing to innovate.

As the digital sector has grown, this year we’re examining the big stories of 2012 across a 9 different sectors, including search, social, mobile and advertising.

We’ve also collected our favourite viral videos of the year, and taken an irreverent look back at some of the stranger stories and biggest blunders of the year. Enjoy!

Best from all @ Digital

Danny signature
Danny Meadows-Klue
Chief Executive
Digital Strategy Consulting Group

AdvertisingDigital advertising trends in 2012

Despite the global economic gloom, online advertising spend and revenues continued to soar during 2012, outpacing all other media. As consumers become more savvy and technology gets smarter, the big players jostled for dominance across markets and territories to appeal to advertisers, media owners and web users alike. Google introduced a host of new ad tools, including TV-style branding metrics and AdWords for YouTube. Facebook launched its own third-party ad network and 'Premium' mobile ads, Microsoft rolled out its 'metro-style' Windows 8 format and Apple broke free of Google to cater for its own expanding ecosystem of iAds and iTunes. On a global scale, China looks to be catching the US and UK in terms of ad revenues, and advertisers are beginning to target consumers on a more granular level, ditching large portals for niche interest sites.

Global online ad revenue to reach $143bn by 2017: US, China and UK lead the way

Global online advertising revenues will reach $143 billion in 2017, with the US still leading the market, with China catching fast, according to a new report.
15/11/2012 | Full story...

Global ad spend 2012: Web grows faster than all other media

The Internet was the fastest growing medium in terms of adspend during the first half of 2012, according to new data from Nielsen.
24/10/2012 | Full story...

Ad targeting trends - Major portals losing ground to niche sites

Major portals such as MSN and Yahoo are losing their stronghold on consumer attention with many turning to sites specific to their interest, according to new research.
06/11/2012 | Full story...

Google woos brands with 'TV-style' metrics for branding campaigns

Google has launched a new metric for online branding campaigns, with more emphasis and insight into how long ads have been viewed, rather than if they have been clicked.

Digital Intelligence - Google woos brands with 'TV-style' metrics for branding campaigns

19/04/2012 | Full story...

Microsoft posts first ever loss after £6bn online ad flop

Microsoft has posted a loss of $492 million in the past quarter, the first ever for the software giant, as results were hit by a previously announced write-off for its online ad business aQuantive.
03/07/2012 | Full story...

Google shuts down 130 million ads in 'war on spam'

Google has claimed it has halved the number of so-called "bad ads" being displayed across its services, after boosting its detection methods and technology.

View the full video below:

Digital Intelligence - youtube video google ads safe

26/03/2012 | Full story...

UK video advertising trends: Media buyers reveal top metrics for consumer engagement

Advertisers are looking to increase spend on premium video sites this year, with 'view-through rates' becoming the key measurement for engagement, according to new research.
19/03/2012 | Full story...

Average brand marketing budgets revealed: UK brands 'have significant digital strategy failings'

Whilst the majority (71%) of UK brands have a digital strategy in place, more than half (56%) do not have a roadmap for the next three to five years, according to the results of a new survey of marketers.
20/08/2012 | Full story...

Newspaper ad trends - Digital revenues fail to match print ad losses

US newspapers are failing to offset their declining print ad revenues with new digital sales, according to new data. The study, from the Newspaper Association of America advertising statistics show $798 million in newspaper print losses for the first half of 2012.
11/09/2012 | Full story...

Facebook opens to third party ad platforms for first time

Facebook will soon let advertisers participate in real-time bidding to show ads on its website, as the social network looks to boost its ad revenue amid mounting pressure from its new shareholders, according to a news report.
18/06/2012 | Full story...

Olympics 2012 - how did the sponsors fare online?

The Olympics offers three levels of sponsorship to brands - worldwide, London-based and athlete-based. Social media app Wildfire (recently acquired by Google) has tracked the main sponsors' activity on social media over the duration of the Olympics and looked at whether they have seen an uptake similar to that of the athletes.
17/08/2012 | Full story...

Online ads: 'Creepy and a bunch of B.S.' say US consumers (infographic)

How do consumers view digital marketing? This poll of US consumers conducted by Adobe reveals that online ads still have some way to go to earn people's attention ahead of TV and print ads.
25/10/2012 | Full story...

SearchSearch marketing trends in 2012

Online habits are changing, and while search remains the gateway to the internet, consumers are expecting a lot more than '10 blue links'. The introduction of Google+ last year heralded a new era in social search, with likes, shares and comments from friends influencing rankings at a far greater level than before. Facebook continues to make inroads into the sector with sponsored search and rumours of a Yahoo partnership, while Twitter has become a major news aggregator as much as it is a micro-blog. Mobile search is also on the rise, and multi-channel shopping has lead to savvy shoppers searching for online deals while browsing in-store. Key phrases themselves are also getting longer, as consumers get more specific in their research.

Paid search marketing trends: Sponsored search adspend up 24% globally

Paid search budgets are on the rise globally, up 24% on last year on average, according to a new report.
12/10/2012 | Full story...

Search marketing trends: 53% of organic search clicks go to first link

Getting to the top of Google is becoming increasingly important, with 53% of US searchers clicking on the top link of the natural search listings, according to new research.
15/10/2012 | Full story...

Google+ share button appears on search results: SEO goes social

Google has added a Google+ share button and notification box on its home page and all search results, in a move that could dramatically change the way brands appear on its search results.
21/02/2012 | Full story...

2012 search trends - Keyphrases get longer as searchers get savvy

Google has extended it lead in the UK search market which shows no sign of slowing down, with the proportion of searches containing four or more words increasing.
13/08/2012 | Full story...

Facebook and Yahoo in search talks?

Yahoo has been in talks with Facebook over a possible search deal that could see an end to its partnership with Microsoft's Bing, according to a news report.
19/11/2012 | Full story...

Google shock sales slowdown: Shares suspended after results blunder

Google saw nearly $20bn wiped off its market value in minutes yesterday, after third quarter earnings figures released prematurely by mistake revealed a surprise drop in profit growth. The web giant reported a 20% drop in net income to $2.18bn (£1.36bn) between July and September.
19/10/2012 | Full story...

Facebook tests sponsored search results to rival Google

Facebook is testing new "Sponsored Results" ads that will let advertisers promote their businesses in the social network's drop-down search results, according to a new report.
23/07/2012 | Full story...

Google and Twitter clash over social search

The relationship between former search partners Twitter and Google has become more frosty this week, with the two web giants locked in a war of words over the increasingly important role of social search.
13/01/2012 | Full story...

Google boosts search ads with video version of AdWords

Google has launched a video version of its AdWords search system, aimed at small businesses that want to utilise the video medium but can't afford TV commercial slots. Previously, connecting ads to videos in YouTube based on search terms has been restricted to large companies with big marketing budgets. The new service sees Google open the "do it yourself" system to videos.

Watch a video outlining the service below:

Digital Intelligence - Google boosts search ads with video version of AdWords

01/05/2012 | Full story...

Social media SEO - Facebook and Twitter 'now play key role in Google search rankings'

The number of Facebook and Twitter shares a website accumulates is playing an increasingly crucial role in determining their Google search ranking, according to new research.
18/06/2012 | Full story...

FacebookFacebook trends in 2012

Forget the movie, this year provided plenty of real-life drama for 'The Social Network'. It was truly a rollercoaster year for Facebook, riding high on ad demand, gaming revenues and 1bn users... only to come crashing down to earth in a disastrous IPO that lead to accusations of insider trading, faked 'likes' and big advertisers (very) publicly doubting its worth as an ad platform. The reality check lead to a renewed focus on mobile and advertising revenues, coming at the expense of organic fan reach for brands. The company introduced a myriad of new ad tools and bought popular photo app Instagram. The year ended with Facebook weathering stock sell-offs and high-profile staff exits, leaving it in a (relatively) stable stock market position for 2013. Astonishingly, Zuckerberg also managed to find time to get hitched this year...

Facebook IPO fiasco - social network faces lawsuits as share prices plunge

Facebook's short life as a public company has been tumultuous, with its share prices plunging by about 13% on Tuesday.
24/05/2012 | Full story...

Facebook paid media 'gets 5 times more reach than free fan pages'

Among a selection of the 100 leading brand pages on Facebook, those using paid media reached 5.4 times more people on average than those using no paid media, according to a new study.
01/11/2012 | Full story...

Facebook hits 1bn users - top regional audiences revealed

Facebook has surpassed 1 billion users for the first time, as the newly-listed social networking giant looks to expand its global reach and ad revenues.

To celebrate passing the 1bn mark, Facebook created this ad:

Digital Intelligence - Facebook hits 1bn users - top regional audiences revealed

05/10/2012 | Full story...

Facebook 'a mobile company now' - Zuckerberg admits IPO 'missteps'

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has made his first public appearance since the companies tumultuous stock market float in May. Speaking at the TechCruch Disrupt event in San Francisco, Zuckerberg declared: "We are a mobile company now."
Watch a video of part of the interview below (source: IDG)

Digital Intelligence - Facebook a mobile company now Zuckerberg admits IPO misstep
12/09/2012 | Full story...

Facebook-Instagram deal approved... for £150m less than original price?

Facebook has finally been given the go ahead to buy Instagram, but the deal is now three quarters of its original value to the mobile photo application firm.
24/08/2012 | Full story...

Are Facebook 'likes' being faked? BBC spoof bagel firm gets 3000 fans

Fake profiles could be responsible for a significant proportion of Facebook 'likes', causing inflated figures that lead brands and advertisers to waste time and money on social media campaigns, according to a new report.
16/07/2012 | Full story...

Was General Motors getting Facebook marketing wrong? Ford thinks so

Last week, General Motors pulled all of its $10 ad budget from Facebook citing the 'ineffectiveness of paid ads.' But some analysts, and rival car-maker Ford, have been quick to jump to the social network's defence, implying that GM wasn't getting the most it could from the platform.
21/05/2012 | Full story...

Is Facebook driving down fan reach in favour of sponsored stories?

Facebook has been accused of making changes to the formula that determines if brands appear in the news feed of its fans pages, effectively driving them to paid advertising to improve their reach.
16/10/2012 | Full story...

Facebook puts ads on mobiles for first time with 'Premium' service

Facebook is letting companies place ads on its mobile version for the first time, and to advertise on the log out screen, flowing the launch of its new 'Premium' service.
02/03/2012 | Full story...

Facebook survives stock sale: Are its IPO troubles over?

Facebook shares soared 12% on Wednesday as the social network beat expectations following the third stage of its IPO share sale. Wednesday saw the unlocking of hundreds of millions of shares held by insiders now eligible for sale in the open market.
16/11/2012 | Full story...

SocialSocial media trends in 2012

Pinterest was the social media success story of the year, offering a more visual alternative to Facebook and Twitter that synced neatly with ecommerce and affiliate marketing. Facebook continued to dominate and Twitter grabbed most of the headlines (although not always for the right reasons). Twitter clamped down on third party apps to pave way for more ads, LinkedIn added follow tools and bought SlideShare, while Salesforce boosted social CRM for clients buy snapping up BuddyMedia. Google+ continued to make progress, boasting millions of members (although engagement levels remain low). China's social networks continued to rival their Western counterparts in terms of size with Sina Weibo, Ren Ren and Tencent catering for huge audiences. Perhaps the biggest sign of the times came from a BBC report, which declared the age of the 'lurker' over, with 60% of the UK online population now 'participating in some way' on the web. Further proof the brands need to engage consumers in conversations, not sales pitches.

Top 20 social networks in the world in 2012 (infographic)

As Facebook passes the billion users mark, this infographic from Silverpop looks at the top 20 social networks in the world, and charts the growth of the medium of the past decade.
26/11/2012 | Full story...

Infographic - The (ridiculously complicated) social media landscape

This infographic from Buddy Media illustrates how complicated the social media ecosystem has become, with a myriad of management, analytics, gaming and advertising tools available for advertisers.

Digital Intelligence - Infographic- The (ridiculously complicated) social media landscape
21/05/2012 | Full story...

Twitter offers ad targeting based on user interests

Twitter has launched interest-based ad targeting for Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts campaigns letting brands target micro-bloggers based on like-minded groups of followers and their friends.
31/08/2012 | Full story...

Twitter restricts third party apps to pave way for ads?

Twitter has released its controversial API update which restricts third party developers, opening up the possibility of in-app ads in the process. The move has sparked anger from some developers, who have claimed the move could stifle the development of innovative products.
07/09/2012 | Full story...

Salesforce to boost social media with $800m Buddy Media buy has made a $800m bid for Buddy Media, in a move that could create the first enterprise level platform to have a fully integrated social customer relationship management (sCRM) module.
06/06/2012 | Full story...

Pinterest debuts tools for businesses - new channel for marketers

Pinterest has taken another step towards monetisation, offering brands a dedicated business profile on its social bookmarking site.
16/11/2012 | Full story...

Twitter's mobile ad revenue overtakes desktop PCs

Twitter has announced that revenue from promoted tweets on mobiles, which were introduced in February, have now overtaken revenue from PCs.
11/06/2012 | Full story...

'Why I left Google': Ex-employee blasts firm's 'obsession with beating Facebook'

Recently departed Google employee James Whittaker has criticised his former company, claiming the firm has sacrificed its focus on innovation to morph into an "advertising company with a single corporate-mandated focus", and that focus is Google+.
15/03/2012 | Full story...

How much is a 'Like' worth? Google's new analytics tools measure social ROI

Google Analytics has launched a new tool called Social Reports today, designed to help marketers measure the return on investment for social media activities.
21/03/2012 | Full story...

Just 1% of Internet users creating web content? Not anymore, says BBC

The age of the 'lurker' is over, according to a new BBC report which debunks the widely accepted '1% rule' of the Internet, which asserts that just 1% of users create content and 10% engage with them, while the rest of the world sits back and watches.
09/05/2012 | Full story...

LinkedIn buys SlideShare for £74m

LinkedIn has bought online presentation tool SlideShare for £74m as the business-based social network looks to improve engagement and features on its site.
Watch a Slideshare presentation announcing the deal here:

Digital Intelligence - LinkedIn buys SlideShare for £74m

09/05/2012 | Full story...

MobileMobile and tablet trends in 2012

In Western markets, it's easy to forget that feature phones still dominate globally, but this is changing fast. Smartphone sales accounted for 39.6% of total mobile phone sales in 2012, up 47% on last year. Apple continued its (increasingly bitter) battle with Android and Samsung for mobile dominance. The Korean manufacturer was hit by a $1bn fine in a copyright tussle with Apple that shows little sign of ending soon. Android now accounts for 75% of all smartphones globally, but Apple still gets more engagement and spend from its users. Apple also made an uncharacteristic blunder with its wobbly native maps app leading to much soul-searching (and a number of sackings) at the firm. Meanwhile, former phone kings Nokia and Blackberry continue to decline, with RIM now focusing on business users. 2012 also saw the introduction of super-fast 4G connections, heralding the next phase in digital media and marketing as speed and download barriers come crashing down.

Global mobile trends 2012: Smartphone sales up 47% as feature phones dip 3%

Samsung has extended its lead over Apple's iPhone in the global smartphone market, while Android now accounts for a massive 72% chunk of the smartphone OS market, according to new data.
15/11/2012 | Full story...

Global mobile trends - Android now on 3 in 4 smartphones

Google's Android mobile operating system made up 75% of the global smartphone market in the third quarter of 2012, far ahead of Apple's 14.9%, according to new data.
05/11/2012 | Full story...

Apple faces backlash over new iPhone mapping technology

Apple's new mapping technology, which replaces Google Maps, has come under fire from users and businesses alike for a myriad of inaccuracies and misplaced landmarks. Amongst a wide range of complaints surfacing on Facebook and Twitter include missing towns (Stratford-upon-Avon and Solihull), wrong locations (Uckfield in East Sussex) and satellite images of various locations, particularly in Scotland, being obscured by cloud.
21/09/2012 | Full story...

Superfast 4G launched in 11 UK cities

A new era of superfast mobile internet begins in the UK today, as 4G products and services are made available to millions of consumers in 11 cities across the UK.
30/10/2012 | Full story...

Apple seeks US ban on 8 Samsung phones after patent victory

Apple is seeking a ban on eight Samsung phones in the US, after winning a landmark $1bn copyright lawsuit. The move could have an impact on owners of Samsung phones, as the company could be forced to make major software and hardware changes, and help Apple's battle for dominance against Google's Android operating system, which accounts for two-thirds of the global market.
28/08/2012 | Full story...

Google becomes mobile maker: $12.5bn Motorola Mobility deal gets green light

Google has finally completed its $12.5bn acquisition of Motorola Mobility after regulators in China gave the deal a seal of approval over the weekend. Having announced the bid back in August 2011, it has taken nearly a year of negotiations and fending off inquiries from authorities to complete the move.
24/05/2012 | Full story...

Blackberry to focus on corporate customers after $125m loss

Research in Motion, the maker of Blackberry smartphones, has announced a new focus on business customers after it suffered a further $125m loss.
02/04/2012 | Full story...

Global mobile trends; Apple beating Samsung in mobile ad battle

Apple has widened its lead over Samsung in terms of global ad impressions, despite the growing popularity of the Korean manufacturer's devices, according to a new report.
20/11/2012 | Full story...

Android catching iPad in US tablet market

One in four US adults now owns a tablet computer, with Android catching Apple's iOS iPad, according to a new report.
05/10/2012 | Full story...

Google targets 'next billion' with basic mobile web service Free Zone

Google has launched 'Free Zone', a new mobile web service aimed at giving millions of people in the developing world to access the Internet (and Google's ads) via basic mobile phones without data charges.
09/11/2012 | Full story...

Multimedia contentDigital media trends in 2012

As Google's upcoming augmented reality glasses show, digital media is fast encroaching on every aspect of modern life. This year saw many key trends emerge, such as 'cord cutters' in the US ditching cable subscriptions to watch TV online only. Microsoft made its biggest gamble yet, with a bold new design for Windows 8 to rival Apple and Google with a cross-platform operating system. Google took on Dropbox with 'Drive' and iTunes with 'Play', and YouTube now makes as much ad revenue as US TV networks. In these austere times, it's telling that a financial website, MoneySavingExpert, was one of the biggest success stories of 2012, selling for £87m. The biggest shock of the year was the runaway success of the Mail Online, which overtook the New York Times to be the most read news site in the world (30% more popular overseas than the BBC). Whatever your views on its editorial, it certainly knows what makes online audiences tick...

Microsoft's biggest gamble yet: Multi-platform Windows 8 goes live

Microsoft has launched Windows 8, designed to run on PCs, tablets and smartphones, as the software giant looks to take on Apple and Google in the lucrative mobile operating system market.
26/10/2012 | Full story...

YouTube ads 'making as much revenue as US TV networks'

YouTube's skippable ad format is now making Google as much revenue per hour as ads on cable TV, according to YouTube's global head of content.
11/10/2012 | Full story...

Google tests augmented reality glasses

Google has revealed details of its research into augmented reality glasses, as part of a bid to introduce wearable computing into the mainstream technology industry. The firm released a short video demonstrating how the technology, still in development, could work. The wearer is seen taking pictures, checking the weather, getting directions, and placing a video call, all of which are controlled using voice activated icons that appear in the user's field of vision.
Digital Intelligence - Google tests augmented reality glasses

10/04/2012 | Full story...

Chrome 'overtakes Internet Explorer as world's top browser'

Google's Chrome browser has surpassed longtime frontrunner Internet Explorer as the most popular browser in the world, according to new data. The results have been contested by Microsoft, which claims the findings are based on flawed data.
23/05/2012 | Full story...

Google Drive goes live - Dropbox rival offers 5GB online storage for free

Google has launched its much-anticipated Google Drive, an online storage locker that lets users store as much as 5GB of photos, documents, music and videos for free.

Digital Intelligence - Google Drive goes live - Dropbox rival offers 5GB online storage for free

25/04/2012 | Full story...

Google takes on iTunes with 'Google Play' app store

Google has rebranded its Android Market under the new name of Google Play, bringing together the internet giants various download stores in a bid to challenge the likes of Apple and Amazon.
08/03/2012 | Full story...

Rise of the 'cord cutters': US consumers switching from cable TV to online streaming

The number of homes in the US subscribing to paid cable TV is falling, as consumers switch to free TV and online streaming for their media needs, according to new research.
14/02/2012 | Full story...

Microsoft ditches Windows Live Messenger for Skype

In a controversial move, Microsoft is set to close down its free iconic instant messenger service Windows Live Messenger, replacing it with Skype, the video chat service it bought in May last year.
08/11/2012 | Full story...

Daily Mail pips New York Times as most read newspaper site in the world

The Daily Mail's Mail Online has become the world's most-read online newspaper, attracting 45.3m unique users in December to leapfrog the New York Times (44.8m), according to new research.
27/01/2012 | Full story...

MoneySavingExpert sold for £87m - Owner makes charity pledge

Financial information website MoneySuperMarket has been sold for £87m, with its high-profile founder Martin Lewis pledging to give a portion of his payout from the deal to charity.
06/06/2012 | Full story...

GamingGaming and app trends in 2012

Mobile and web apps are now fulfilling many of our day-to-day tasks in a faster and more convenient way than before. Reading the news, sending mail, reading and updating social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, and downloading or streaming music and videos are things that in the past we would have done through web pages. This year saw both Google and Facebook expand in-app advertising, while Apple continued to dominate. On the gaming front, Zynga began the year on a high (making 12% of Facebook's sales) but ended the year splitting up with the social network and axing 5% of its workforce. The games-maker suffered from association with Facebook's IPO fiasco and a misguided purchase of 'Draw Something' creator Omgpop. What a difference a year makes...

Google opens AdWords to 300,000 apps via AdMob integration

Google has integrated its AdMob mobile platform with AdWords, allowing purchases across both networks from a single dashboard. The move adds about 350 million mobile users, 300,000 mobile apps and 12 countries to AdWords' reach.
11/06/2012 | Full story...

Facebook opens mobile app ads to all developers

Facebook is letting mobile app developers promote their ads within the 'Try These Games' box right in the middle of the mobile news feed.
19/10/2012 | Full story...

Apple reveals top 25 apps of all time

Apple has revealed the top 25 paid and free apps, in terms of downloads, from its app store, with games being the most popular category.
08/03/2012 | Full story...

Xbox sales banned in Germany after Motorola court case

A number of Microsoft products, including Windows 7 OS, Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player and the Xbox console have been banned from sale in Germany, following an extraordinary ruling declared this week in a Mannheim court.
03/05/2012 | Full story...

Zynga to axe 5% of workforce

Zynga plans to shed 5% of its workforce, as the embattled games developer looks to save money following waning demand for some its titles. In an email to staff, founder Mark Pincus said the company would close its Boston studio and consider closing studios in the UK and Japan.
25/10/2012 | Full story...

Revealed: Zynga accounts for 12% of Facebook's revenue

The full extent of Facebook's reliance on Zynga was revealed this week, with the social network receiving 12% of its revenue from the games maker last year.
03/02/2012 | Full story...

From social to mobile: Zynga snaps up mobile game maker Omgpop

Farmville creator Zynga has bought Omgpop, as the Farmville creator looks to expand beyond its Facebook platform and into mobile games. New York-based Omgpop rose into prominence six weeks ago when it released Draw Something, currently the top title on Apple's App Store. Omgpop was formed in 2006 and already has 35 mobile games on the market. View the trailer for the Draw Something app here:

Digital Intelligence - youtube video draw something

26/03/2012 | Full story...

Music app SongPop gets 4 million players per day

SongPop, a 'name that tune' game for smartphones and tablets, has taken the market by storm, attracting 25 million unique players since its launch only four months ago.
24/08/2012 | Full story...

Social gaming: Facebook and Zynga end advertising pact

Facebook and Zynga are to end their close advertising partnership, in a move that will mean players on Farmville will no longer be able to share their social gaming progress with friends on the social network.
03/12/2012 | Full story...

Breaking into the top 25 App Store chart - How many downloads do you need?

To make it into Apple's lucrative 'top free 25 list', apps require approximately 38,400 daily downloads, according to new data. The research, from app tracking firm Distimo, used the company's monitoring tool to calculate apps downloaded.
18/05/2012 | Full story...

EcommerceEcommerce trends in 2012

Shopping went social in 2012, with online retailers integrating 'Likes' and 'Pin It' buttons to boost sharing and purchases. Facebook added a 'Want' button, while some brands took to the social network to sell their wares. Google expanded its sponsored shopping results, and Amazon looked to vanquish ecommerce's 'Achilles heel' by offering same day delivery. The dark side of customer reviews reared its ugly head, with Gartner claiming that marketers were increasingly paying for positive reviews on sites and app stores.

Social media marketing: Facebook lets brands track sales via ads

Facebook has launched a 'conversion measurement' tool, letting firms track purchases made by social networkers who have viewed their ads, as the firm looks to woo advertisers looking for more accountable ways to run social media marketing campaigns.
19/11/2012 | Full story...

How much is a like worth? Facebook fans 'spend 24% more'

Online retailer has claimed that its Facebook fans are worth 24% more in direct sales than non-fans. The announcement comes amid growing questions from brand managers across the world seeking to quantify the elusive "value of a like" on Facebook.
22/08/2012 | Full story...

Rise of 'F-commerce': Reckitt Benckiser sells new Cillit Bang product solely via Facebook

Consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser has embarked on a new Facebook campaign, using the social network as the exclusive platform to sell its latest Cillit Bang cleaning product.
10/02/2012 | Full story...

Google bringing sponsored shopping results to Europe and beyond

Google is gearing up to extend its paid results on its Google Shopping tool, as the web giant looks to extend its hugely successful AdWords model to the world of ecommerce. Following a launch in the US this year, Google Shopping will add paid services to the UK, Germany, France, Japan, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Brazil, Australia and Switzerland, starting February 13th 2012.
Watch this 'Hangout' video from Jon Venverloh, Senior Manager - Google Shopping, offering a guide to creating and optimising product listings on Google.

Digital Intelligence - Google bringing sponsored shopping results to Europe and beyond

16/11/2012 | Full story...

Facebook tests 'Want' button with retailers

Facebook is testing its long-rumoured 'Want' button, a retail-friendly accompaniment to the 'Like' button that could help the social network boost revenue through sales commissions and ads.
10/10/2012 | Full story...

Marketers 'paying for positive reviews' - Gartner

Paid-for reviews, 'likes' and ratings is becoming commonplace on social media and review sites, and will account for 10%-15% of all the reviews by 2014, according to a new report by Gartner.
18/09/2012 | Full story...

Facebook tracks consumer purchase journey with Datalogix pact

Facebook is working with US data provider Datalogix to measure how many people who view ads on the social networking site then go on to buy that product in a store. Initial testing from the two firms indicates that on average, for every dollar a marketer spent on Facebook it earned an additional $3 in incremental sales.
24/09/2012 | Full story...

Amazon plans same day delivery- a threat to the high street?

Amazon is planning on offering a premium 'same day delivery' option for its US customers, in a move that could put further pressures on ecommerce firms and high street retailers alike.
13/07/2012 | Full story...

Amazon launches Groupon rival in Europe

Amazon is launching its Groupon rival, AmazonLocal, across Europe, as the online retail giant looks to cash-in on the growing daily deals market.
03/09/2012 | Full story...

Pinterest social commerce: Amazon and eBay add Pinterest buttons

Amazon and eBay have added a Pinterest button to help shoppers share photos and comments on their favourite product finds via the social network. The move will see both online retail giants add a small red P next to the Facebook, Twitter, and email share buttons.
25/04/2012 | Full story...

RegulationMarketing regulation trends in 2012

As digital grows at a rapid pace, law-makers struggle to keep up. In the UK, Lord Levinson would have us believe in his final media ethics report, digital media is an 'ethical vacuum' beyond regulation. Despite this rather despondent outlook, there were plenty of high-profile legal tussles during 2012. US government crackdowns on piracy met hacktivist shutdowns and consumer protests, while The Pirate Bay simply moved its servers to the cloud to evade capture. Across Europe, a watered-down EU cookie law came into force (and was initially largely ignored). In Germany, all web users were forced to pay an €18 monthly TV license fee, while in the UK Amazon and Google came under fire for (perfectly legal) tax avoidance. Advertisers had a tough time of it too. In Australia, a judge ruled that brands are liable for Facebook fan posts. Meanwhile, Microsoft caused outcry for making 'Do Not Track' the default in its new IE 10 browser, potentially driving down the value and reach of targeted ad campaigns.

Leveson report: Digital media is 'ethical vacuum' beyond regulation

In his final report on the regulation of the UK press, Lord Justice Leveson has claimed that social media and blogs are in an 'ethical vacuum' beyond the remit of regulation.
30/11/2012 | Full story...

Biggest hack yet? Anonymous takes down US Govt. sites to protest Megaupload shutdown

Hacker group Anonymous struck down government and industry Web sites this week, in what they claim was their biggest operation yet. The group, known for their high-profile 'hacktivist' protests, targeted the US government and copyright organisations following the shutdown of the Megaupload file-sharing website.
20/01/2012 | Full story...

Internet protest wins: US puts SOPA and PIPA piracy bills on hold

The much-criticised Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act have both been officially postponed, following high-profile protests from a number of websites including Wikipedia and Google.
23/01/2012 | Full story...

Watered down EU cookie law comes into force with last-minute changes

A controversial new series of online privacy rules have come into effect within the European Union's 27 member countries, requiring companies to receive consent to track individuals' actions online. In a surprise move, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has changed the wording of the laws, moving from needing 'explicit consent' to 'implied consent' from website users.
28/05/2012 | Full story...

Google forced to change 'catch-all' privacy policy by EU regulators

Google has been forced to change its controversial privacy policy by European Union regulators after it was criticised over its collection of internet users' personal information.
17/10/2012 | Full story...

The Pirate Bay moves to cloud to thwart shutdown

The Pirate Bay has moved its servers to the cloud to hinder authorities' attempts to take it offline. The file-sharing website will now operate from cloud-hosting providers around the world.
19/10/2012 | Full story...

Germany: All web users forced to pay €17.98 TV license fee

A surprise decision by the German constitutional court on digital media regulation sees people with internet-enabled PCs liable for TV licence.
03/10/2012 | Full story...

Google and Amazon tax investigation - profits scrutinised

Public outcry in Britain as journalists uncover the scale of how Google and Amazon reduce taxes to boost overall profits. New funding being given to support the Google tax investigation which could impact other multinational online service providers...
03/12/2012 | Full story...

Fan comments are now ads? Landmark Diageo ruling makes brands liable for Facebook fan posts

Companies with Facebook profiles will be accountable for comments made by the public on their pages, following a ruling by an advertising watchdog in Australia.
07/08/2012 | Full story...

Microsoft makes 'Do Not Track' default browser option - A threat to advertisers?

Microsoft's next version of its Internet Explorer browser will come with do-not-track already turned on, in a move that has sparked criticism from the online advertising industry.
01/06/2012 | Full story...

Viral video marketing case studies - the best virals of 2012

2012 was another great year for viral video marketing case studies. As online ads get smarter and more engaging, viral marketing briefs are becoming the toughest that any creative agency can receive. For a viral to really travel it needs the combination of a brilliant creative idea, the right timing for its audience and the right seeding. That’s why we collated together 25 of our favourite viral marketing case studies from 2012 which clearly checked all the boxes. Grab a coffee, leave the browser open, sit back, relax, and enjoy...
27/11/2012 | Full story...

20 biggest marketing blunders of 2012

Everyone makes mistakes- but some mistakes are bigger than others. From Apple's wonky maps to Yahoo's boss being fired over alleged 'fake CV claims' - this year saw plenty of high-profile digital disasters.
18/12/2012 | Full story...

Weird news: The 25 oddest digital news stories of 2012

From self-driving cars to fridge magnets that order pizza, 2012 saw more than its fair share of odd digital news stories. As part of our year in review series, we look back at the stranger side of marketing, with the 25 weirdest digital news stories of 2012.
17/12/2012 | Full story...

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