Gap

How Advertisers Use Facebook To Figure Out When You’re Pregnant (FB)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-advertisers-use-facebook-to-figure-out-when-youre-pregnant-2012-9

pregnant

Facebook got taken to task by Ad Age this weekend in a report that accuses the social network of being  “purposefully vague” about how it targets users based on their likes and interests.

We told you yesterday that Facebook has more than 200 ways of tracking its users around the web.

Age says Facebook’s advertising tool applies a hashtag to terms such as “morning sickness,” “ultrasound” and “pregnancy test” and can then serve ads against them. But Facebook declined to come out and say that it uses posts made by users to identify pregnant women (or other consumers going through a life change that might require a large number of new purchases):

Facebook, for its part, said it rarely uses the content of status updates as a signal for ad targeting.

But Facebook is careful to note that it doesn’t use the content of status updates to target pregnant women.

Finally, a spokesperson told Age:

“Not all advertisers are created equally in terms of how they define privacy as opposed to how we define privacy,” he said.

Facebook’s clients, however, told Age that they can use the site to ID pregnant women.

Café Mom VP-Marketing Kristina Tipton said her team has identified a Facebook audience of more than a million women who are likely to be pregnant or may have recently been so by anonymously targeting specific keywords that show up in users’ conversations … Ms. Tipton has been told by her Facebook rep that this process includes people who have mentioned the terms in their posts as well as users who have added those terms to their profile.

T! he big s urprise in the article is when Age all but accuses Facebook of lying:

Certainly there’s a gap between what marketers say they are being told and Facebook tells a journalist on the record.

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Monday, September 10th, 2012 news No Comments

Another Top Groupon Sales Executive Is Leaving

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/another-top-groupon-sales-executive-is-leaving-2012-8

Andrew Mason

The head of Groupon’s national sales, Lee Brown, is leaving the company.

Reuters first broke the news last night after obtaining an internal memo and Groupon has since confirmed Brown’s departure.

The memo was written by Groupon’s head of operations, Kal Raman.

Raj Ruparell, head of Groupon Goods, will be taking over Brown’s position.

Brown joined Groupon in 2010 from Yahoo and formed Groupon’s first national sales division. The memo did not say where Brown is headed next, but AllThingsD says his leaving may be Raman’s doing. Raman was recently appointed to his SVP role and is reportedly “cleaning house.”

Brown is the second top sales executive to depart Groupon this week. Jayna Cooke’s departure was made known three days ago; she was one of the company’s top salespeople who led the charge on major corporate accounts like Gap.

“Under Lee’s management, the team has secured a number of key customers, and I’d like to personally thank Lee for his contributions and wish him the best in his next opportunity,” Raman wrote.

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Friday, August 24th, 2012 news No Comments

Lots Of U.S. Customers Are Still Buying ‘Dumb’ Phones

Source: https://intelligence.businessinsider.com/welcome

Android and iOS dominate the smartphone landscape in the U.S., but a lot of customers are not buying smartphones at all. In fact, 37% of phones sold during the first quarter of 2012 were feature phones running older platforms.

That’s according to comScore MobiLens, which released the figures as part of comScore’s state of the Internet report last week.

Android also made up 37% of all phones sold during the quarter, with iOS trailing well behind at 16%. RIM and Microsoft took up the rear. But with all those customers still buying feature phones, Microsoft and other competitors still have time to make up the gap.

Note that these are new phone sales during the quarter, not market share. Overall, non-smart phones are over 50% of the installed base.

Comscore U.S. phone sales by platform Q1 2012

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Wednesday, June 20th, 2012 news No Comments

Apple still owns tablet market, but Android narrows the gap

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/01/26/strategy-analytics-apple-still-owns-tablet-market-but-android/

Strategy Analytics has come out with another report on the state of today’s tablet market, which, not surprisingly, remains dominated by Apple. Cupertino’s iOS comprised about 58 percent of the global slate market during Q4 2011 — well ahead of Android’s record high 39 percent share, but down from the 68 percent it commanded during the final quarter of 2010. Android, in fact, has seen quite a jump over the past year, with total shipments reaching 105 million units during the last quarter, up from just 3.1 million last year (Apple, by comparison, shipped 15.4 million iPads during Q4, versus the 7.3 million it shipped last year). On a global level, the tablet market continues to blossom, with total shipments reaching an all-time high of 26.8 million units last quarter, representing a whopping 150 percent increase over last year. Read the full report at the source link below, or head past the break for a more succinct press release.

Continue reading Strategy Analytics: Apple still owns tablet market, but Android narrows the gap

Strategy Analytics: Apple still owns tablet market, but Android narrows the gap originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 26 Jan 2! 012 03:4 5:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Thursday, January 26th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Gamers Redesign a Protein That Stumped Scientists for Years [Science]

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5878459/gamers-redesign-a-protein-that-stumped-scientists-for-years

Gamers Redesign a Protein That Stumped Scientists for YearsFolding: it’s detestable and boring, as any Gap employee can tell you. But it’s also a totally fun thing you can do in a video game! And today it’s particularly exciting because players of the online game Foldit have redesigned a protein, and their work is published in the science journal Nature Biotechnology.

It seems nobler than shooting people in the face, somehow. Granted, Foldit attracts a unique kind of gamer who enjoys obsessing over biological protein folding patterns. Proteins get their function from the way they are folded into coils like in the image above. When the amino acids in a protein interact, they create that coiled, three-dimensional structure. Scientists can manipulate the structure to make the protein more efficient. In Foldit, designs that create the most efficient proteins garner the highest scores.

University of Washington in Seattle scientists Zoran Popovic, director of the Center for Game Science, and biochemist David Baker developed Foldit (which is different from Folding@home, Stanford software that lets people donate their idle computer processing power to create a protein-folding supercomputer). By playing it, at-home gamers have redesigned a protein for the first time, and they did it better and faster than scientists who have trained their entire careers to build better proteins. Justin Siegel, a biophysicist in Baker’s group told Scientific American:

I worked for two years to make these enzymes better and I couldn’t do it. Foldit players were able to make a large jump in structural space and I still don’t fully understand how they did it.

Here’s how it works: Researchers send a series of puzzles to Foldit’s 240,000 registered users. The scientists sift through the results for the best designs and take those into the lab for real-life testing. They combed through 180,000 designs to get to the version of the protein published today. The paper details an enzyme that thanks to the crowdsourced redesign is 18-fold more active than the original version.

Now for the anticlimactic part: this particular enzyme doesn’t really have any practical uses. But the researchers say it’s a proof of concept, and future Foldit designs will be more useful. In fact, Baker has fed players a protein that blocks the flu virus that led to the 1918 pandemic—and their puzzle solving for this one could lead to an actual drug.

Nature via Scientific American

Image: Foldit


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Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 news No Comments

Android’s Marketshare Collapses For The First Time Ever

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-android-ios-2012-1


Android’s share of the the U.S. smartphone market collapsed for the first time ever in November and October as consumers bought up the iPhone 4S. Now that Apple sells the iPhone on Verizon, Sprint and AT&T, it actually closed the gap on Android.

The big question for Apple: Is this is a short term jolt driven by the iPhone 4S which came out in October, or is it a long term trend?

chart of the day, os share of smartphone sales, jan 10 2012

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Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 news No Comments

Why Loyalty Credit Cards May Soon Be A Thing Of The Past

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/credit-suisse-retailers-loyalty-programs-2011-12


loyalty credit card

Credit cards have been a staple for retail rewards programs for decades (you know, like that Visa card they try to make you sign up for every time you go to Gap). They’ve been an effective way to reward customers, and for retailers to get additional funding.

But a new report by analysts Michael Exstein, Chrisopher Su and Trey Schorgi at Credit Suisse says that it’s time for retailers to abandon the credit card. Why are credit-based rewards programs not the right way to go anymore?

1. The cost of rewards programs keeps rising for banks. As rewards competition ramps up, issuer margins are pressured.

2. As the programs get more expensive, banks will offset costs in other areas. This will result in either less beneficial terms for retailers, or higher fees for consumers. Retailers may have to increase their own rewards programs to remain competitive

3. Retailers’ relationships with their customers could be hurt, because banks (who are now in control of many retailers’ credit businesses) could squeeze consumers. Since the programs are branded for retailers, not the banks, consumers would deem them responsible.

Credit Suisse instead suggests that the answer to these woes is simple. Switch over to programs based around membership fees or other upfront investments. “Going forward, we think the emerging trend will be the need for consumers to “invest” in loyalty programs, thereby creating a “vested interest,” says the report.

So what brands are doing it right so far?

Amazon — The Amazon Prime membership program has been vastly successful. Consumers pay an annual membership fee of $79, and get shipping benefits, free use of Amazon Instant Video and perks for their Kindle.

Costco — The largest membership warehouse club in the world has three levels of membership. There’s a $55 annual fee for businesses, a $55 ‘Gold’ card for individuals and a $55 executive member upgrade, which gives folks a 2% discount on most purchases.

Sam’s Club — Walmart’s warehouse subsidiary has a similar system, with a $40 per year Advantage card for individuals ($100 for Advantage Plus which offers extra savings) and a $35 per year Business membership ($100 for Business Plus).

Macy’s — “Thanks for Sharing” is a program that’s working for Macy’s to generate loyalty. It requires a $25 upfront investment (which is actually a donation to charity), in exchange for rewards.

Target — The REDcard is a ‘hybrid’ method which has been working well since the retailer started it up in 2010. It offers 5% savings on everything and includes shipping benefits.

These programs all capitalize on the concept of creating that “vested interest.” Customers, having already paid a set of promised benefits, will be more likely to keep spending to use those benefits that they’ve already paid for. They’ll keep coming back.

NOW SEE: The 20 Brands With The Most Loyal Customers >

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Tuesday, December 6th, 2011 news No Comments

Google Is Getting Ready To Take On Amazon…In Shipping? (GOOG, AMZN)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/google-is-getting-ready-to-take-on-amazon-in-shipping-2011-12


shippingboxes.jpg

Google is talking to major retailers like Macy’s, the Gap, and OfficeMax to offer customers one-day shipping when they buy products after finding them through Google searches.

It sounds a lot like Amazon Prime, Amazon’s $79-per-year service that offers fast shipping and other benefits.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the service, and confirmed that Macy’s had been approached by Google to participate.

The next-day shipping will apparently be combined with Google Product Search, which today lets users find products and compare them across different e-commerce sites to get the lowest price. When people buy a product from one of the sites after finding it on Google Product Search, they’ll get an offer for one day shipping for a low fee, the Journal says.

Google won’t be running an e-commerce site or stocking products in warehouses like Amazon does, but will instead create a system that figures out which retail partner’s stores are nearest to a customer and have the product in stock. Then it would team up with UPS and local couriers for delivery.

Still, e-commerce fulfillment is a pretty big step removed from Google’s core mission of organizing the world’s information. Lack of focus has been a problem for the company, and CEO Larry Page has killed a lot of non-core products this year

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Thursday, December 1st, 2011 news No Comments

When NOT to use Groupon (as an advertiser)

UPDATE: Groupon/Gap ended up selling over 440,000 “$50 for $25 Groupons” by the end of the day. That’s $22 million of merchandise that consumers bought for $11 million. From this net, Gap would split some portion to Groupon, which means Gap “took home” something south of $11 million (could be as little as $5.5 million if Groupon’s typical 50/50 split held true). So the bottom line is both Gap and Groupon got huge publicity from the promotion and they got sales — indeed “cash in hand” — but if these sales were breakeven or negative in profitability, would Gap have been better off NOT running the promo? Even if these sales got people into the stores that would not have normally gone to the stores, Gap just bought the traffic by paying off customers; will they ever come back and spend any more?

Groupon is great … and a great success story.  But there are certain times when an advertiser should NOT use Groupon — unless they are in the business of losing money. One such example below…   as of 4:15 pm on the day of the deal 10,648 Groupons purchased (NY stats) — which translates into $266k lost revenue (multiplied by the $25 they gave away free).

Then again, this is still way cheaper (less money lost) than the millions wasted on TV ads — so I’ll take my statement back IF the advertising manager at GAP took dollars out of TV budget to spend on this.

P.S.  no, the free publicity they are getting from this is NOT worth it because the more publicity they get, the more money they lose.

P.P.S.  no, “breakage” (people forgetting to use the groupon they paid for) is NOT a business model

P.P.S.  no, the “halo” effect (that people may end up buying more) is unpredictable and may be better for some products and brands and worse for others


http://mashable.com/2010/08/19/gap-groupon/

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/groupons-11-million-gap-day-a-business-winner-or-loser/38259

http://inventorspot.com/articles/social_media_coupons_cautionary_tale_be_careful_what_you_wish#comment-30256

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Thursday, August 19th, 2010 news 7 Comments

Inbound Marketing Costs Less than Outbound Marketing; Growing in Importance too

Source: http://www.marketingcharts.com/direct/inbound-marketing-costs-less-12762

Marketers who spend more than 50% of their lead generation budget on inbound marketing channels report a significantly lower cost per sales lead than those who spend 50% or more their budgets on outbound marketing channels, according to the “State of Inbound Marketing Report” [pdf] from internet marketing firm Hubspot.

Average Cost Per Lead $200 Less
The average cost per lead by inbound marketing-dominated firms in 2010 is $134. This is $198, or 60%, less than the $332 average cost per lead at outbound marketing-dominated firms. This percentage differential has remained consistent from a 61% higher average lead generation expense reported by outbound-marketing-dominated firms in 2009.

3 of 4 Major Inbound Channels Cost Less
When asked to rank each lead generation category as “below average cost,” “near average cost,” or “above average cost,” businesses consistently ranked inbound marketing channels as having lower cost than outbound channels. Only PPC (pay-per-click search) had overall cost rankings comparable to those given outbound channels.

Social media and blogs had the highest “below average cost” rankings for both 2009 and 2010 (55% as a combined category in 2009 and 63% separately in 2010).

Trade shows, with their requirements for travel and expenses, as well as space rental and booth setup/removal for companies who exhibit, had the worst cost rankings in 2009 and 2010. In 2009, 55% of companies said trade show costs were above average and only 18% said they were below average. These figures improved moderately in 2010 (48% and 22%, respectively), but still left trade shows as clearly the least cost-effective marketing channel.

Inbound Marketing Grows in Importance
Inbound marketing is continuing to grow in importance at the expense of outbound marketing, according to other findings from the State of Inbound Marketing Report.

As a percentage of the overall lead generation budget, inbound marketing expanded slightly from 2009 to 2010 (38% to 39%), while outbound marketing contracted more significantly (29% to 24%). The net effect is that the gap widened from inbound marketing, which had a 9% greater share of the overall marketing budget than outbound marketing in 2009, to a 15% greater share in 2010. Roughly one-third of the lead generation budget is considered “not classified.”

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Sunday, May 2nd, 2010 digital 2 Comments

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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