Monthly Archives: June 2010

More Online Retailers are Making a Mobile Move

More and more online retailers are hustling to get their mobile marketing initiatives up to speed with consumer demand.

A new study from Forrester Research and Shop.org shows that 74% of online retailers are currently developing or already have a mobile strategy in place to help support their cross-channel experience. But while these companies are spending quite a lot of investment capital on this medium, they are not yet experiencing overwhelming revenue gains from it (just 3% of overall site traffic and 2% of overall revenue).

The problem is that retailers are using old-school promotional tactics with new-world technology. Coupons. Simple product information. Whereas, they need to rethink one-way marketing altogether, and start utilizing social media tactics within social media technology. But this can be hard to plan for in a technological world that keeps evolving.

That may be why paid search, email and affiliate marketing continue to command the biggest part of online retailers’ marketing budgets, with nearly 40% of budgets going to paid search alone.

Is Hulu Plus a Netflix Killer?

Hulu, the free, ad-supported online video service has introduced a new paid service called Hulu Plus. This new subscription-based offering costs $9.99 a month, and the content will still be ad-supported.

With a Hulu Plus subscription, you get a Season Ticket pass to a wide range of current leading shows from ABC, NBC and Fox. (Note that CBS is conspicuously missing). You also get full access to complete series content from classic shows as well. All in HD 720p format.

Hulu Plus is available on your computer, select TVs, game consoles and Blu-ray players by downloading a Hulu Plus app. Hulu Plus is also available for the iPad, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and the third-generation iPod touch, accessed using Wi-fi or the 3G network.

Now, this new offering begs a question. Will Hulu Plus be a Netflix killer?

Maybe…but it looks like Hulu Plus is focused far more heavily on television content than Neflix’s deep movie catalog. As physical content delivery continues to die however, whoever builds the online infrastructure fastest might be the long-term winner.

iPhone 4 Biggest Release in Apple’s History

The Apple iPhone 4s launched on Thursday, June 24th. Two days later, Apple announced they had sold over 1.7 million units.

Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO commented, “This is the most successful product launch in Apple’s history. Even so, we apologize to those customers who were turned away because we did not have enough supply.”

Analysts estimate that 77% of first day sales came in upgrades to existing iPhone customers. Undoubtedly, the biggest new draws have not been aesthetic, but the phone’s HD camera capabilities, longer-lasting battery and new FaceTime feature, which lets users video chat directly on their iPhones. Some users were not aware, however, that this FaceTime feature requires connection to a WiFi network. As satellite networks increase in speed, this may change.

The iPhone 4 16GB model sells for $199 and the 32 GB model sells for $299.

Google Chrome Surpasses Apple’s Safari in U.S. Browser War

Google’s Chrome browser surpassed Apple’s Safari in the U.S. for the first time this week.

This moved Chrome up to third place in the U.S. browser space with10% of the market, behind Internet Explorer (52%) and Firefox (28.5%), and just ahead of Safari (8.8%).

Most impressive about this statistic is the fact that Chrome reached this achievement after less than two years in the market. It is important to note that Chrome’s cross-compatibility on both PCs and MACs give it an edge that Safari can’t match.

This fight between Google vs. Apple is taking place in the mobile market as well between Google’s Android browser vs. Apple’s iPhone. Why Internet Explorer still leads the market with arguably the slowest and most buggy browser proves yet another Internet maxim. First to market matters.

Google Chrome Fully Integrates Flash

As Apple continues to distance itself from Flash, Google recently announced its full integration within their Chrome browser.

The latest stable version of Chrome not only includes Flash, but has it programmed to start “on”. Plus, Chrome will handle all Flash updates seamlessly, so say goodbye to the endless stream of pop-ups and upgrade notifications. This automated approach will help from a security standpoint as well, since patches will be instantly applied as soon as they’re available.

So, which company is betting on the right horse here? Because Steve Jobs of Apple went out of his way earlier this year to write an open letter shaming Flash while banking on the future capabilities of HTML5. Is Google putting all of its eggs in Flash’s basket? Or is Google simply planning on Chrome being the industry leading browser for computers, and letting their Android browser compete in the phone world? Supporting what everyone currently uses and switching once the sun has set?

That sounds like a global leader to me. Plus, Google has a site set up to report any issues you experience with Chrome and its new Flash integration in order to fix bugs as quickly as possible.

Twitter Breaks New Speed Record

Just a week after setting a new tweets per second record during the Lakers victory over the Celtics in the NBA Championship, Twitter has broken their record yet again.

During Japan’s 3-1 World Cup victory over Denmark, tweets came in at 3,283 per second – four times greater than Twitter’s typical average of 750 tweets per second.

In fact, the onslaught of tweets after each and every goal during the World Cup was just one of the reasons Twitter users were seeing the infamous “fail whale” error a lot more often than usual this past week. But, this World Cup success has proven that Twitter is growingly strongly, even at the international level. Of course, social media growth and social media revenue don’t always go hand in hand. Figuring out a way to monetize this popularity will be Twitter’s next challenge.

Will Facebook Bring the End of Email?

Email is dying. We’ve been hearing this for years now. But with email being such an essential part of our daily lives, we wonder how that could possibly be? Well, because for the younger generation, email doesn’t seem all that important.

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, recently gave a speech at the Nielsen Consumer 360 conference saying, “If you want to know what people like us will do tomorrow, you look at what teenagers are doing today, and the latest figures say that only 11% of teenagers email daily.”

11%. How is that possible? Well, it’s actually not. The Pew Internet’s report she references actually states that 11% is the percentage of teens that use e-mail to “communicate with friends” daily. But it’s still important to understand. Because teenagers seem to only be using e-mail because they have to. Not as their preferred choice of communication.

So, how are they communicating? Well, remember, teenagers were the early adopters to texting – something that older generations are just starting to fully embrace. And a few years ago, texting was the fastest way to communicate. It communicated directly to your friend’s phone, which they always had on them. But now, with the rampant popularity of smart phones, e-mail provides the same service.

So the question is, are kids still choosing to text because it’s more convenient or simply because that’s what they’ve been doing for years now? Should we look at them as technological pioneers in order to understand what the future holds, or are they going to be the old-school people unwilling to adapt?

This prophecy of an “email free world” comes from the mouth of Facebook. But it’s hard to imagine how Facebook could exist without it. Messages. Comments on your posts. Event invitations. Photo tags. We find out about all of them through email notifications. Email is precisely what makes Facebook so addicting.

And some newer sites allow you to log in by using your social media accounts like Facebook or Twitter account. But Facebook itself still requires your e-mail address to log-in!

Perhaps Sandberg simply hopes that Facebook will be the one to unseat email from its throne in the future. But the future’s not here yet.

YouTube Still Far Ahead of Hulu in Viewership

34 billion online videos. Each at an average of 4.3 minutes long. That’s what U.S. Internet users watched in May.

YouTube reported 14.6 billion of these videos, surpassing 100 videos per viewer for the first time ever. Hulu came in a distant second with 1.2 billion videos, or 3.5% of all online views. Microsoft, Vevo and Viacom Digital rounded out the top 5, combining for less than 5% of all total views.

It’s an exciting world. Surely the direction the Internet is moving. But for those who envy YouTube’s current market leadership, it’s important to remember that they still have not found a way to make it profitable.

In May, Tremor Media ranked as the top video ad network, reaching 102.8 million viewers and representing 56 percent of the total online video audience. ScanScout Network came in second, with 99.3 million viewers, followed by YuMe Video Network with 87.5 million viewers.

This is the next part of the equation. How to monetize this increasingly popular sector. And whoever can figure out this advertising part of the game first is going to be the long-term winner.