Vol 2, #8, Feb. 23, 2010
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February 23, 2010


Google Buzz challenged over privacy concerns
Facebook fan pages are effective marketing tools, research shows
iseesocial is newest social media platform to launch
Rogers Communications names Rosetta as direct AOR
Reaching tech-savvy Canadian teenagers about breast cancer
Cheer on your home team with new iPhone application
mediaFORGE lets users accurately track metrics
Integrated audience analytics suite just launched
Tagga powers mobile marketing campaigns for Hearst advertisers

Google Buzz challenged over privacy concerns

Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart has asked Google Inc. to explain how its new social network, Buzz, has addressed privacy issues since its recent launch.

She also reminded Google officials in a conference call this week that their company, like all multinational corporations, must abide by Canadian privacy laws when they launch products in this country.

"We have seen a storm of protest and outrage over alleged privacy violations and my Office also has questions about how Google Buzz has met the requirements of privacy law in Canada," Commissioner Stoddart says.

The Commissioner also expressed disappointment that, despite the clear and significant privacy implications, the California-based corporation failed to consult her Office prior to unveiling Buzz in Canada.

"My Office has a variety of resources available to help companies build privacy into their products and services. When companies consult with us at the development stage, they can avoid the problems we've seen in recent days."

Buzz was added as a feature on Google's Gmail, which reportedly has 146 million users worldwide, last week.

Some Gmail users have alleged that they were automatically - and without adequate consent or prior notice - assigned a network of "followers" based on the people with whom they communicated most often using Google's e-mail and chat services. They also alleged that, by default, this list of "followers" was included in a widely available online profile.

Google has since issued a public apology and introduced changes to try to address the widespread criticism. The company has said that further changes will be introduced this week.

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada is mandated by Parliament to act as an ombudsman, advocate and guardian of privacy and the protection of personal information rights of Canadians. Top of Page

Facebook fan pages are effective marketing tools, research shows

Companies that use the popular social-media site Facebook and its fan page module to market themselves to customers can increase sales, word-of-mouth marketing and customer loyalty significantly among a subset of their customers, according to new research from Rice University's Jones Graduate School of Business. The study is featured in the March issue of the Harvard Business Review.

Research for the article, "How Effective is Facebook Marketing?", was conducted by Utpal Dholakia, associate professor of management at Rice University's Jones Graduate School of Business, and Emily Durham, a Jones School alumna and founder of Restaurant Connections, a Houston - based restaurant consultancy.

Dholakia and Durham surveyed customers of Dessert Gallery (DG), a popular Houston-based café chain. Prior to the study, DG did not have a Facebook presence.

The study, based on surveys of more than 1,700 respondents over a three-month period, found that compared with typical Dessert Gallery customers, the company's Facebook fans:

  • Made 36 percent more visits to DG's stores each month.
  • Spent 45 percent more of their eating-out dollars at DG.
  • Spent 33 percent more at DG's stores.
  • Had 14 percent higher emotional attachment to the DG brand.
  • Had 41 percent greater psychological loyalty toward DG.

According to Dholakia, the results indicate that Facebook fan pages offer an effective and low-cost way of social-media marketing.

"We must be cautious in interpreting the study's results," Dholakia said. "The fact that only about 5 percent of the firm's 13,000 customers became Facebook fans within three months indicates that Facebook fan pages may work best as niche marketing programs targeted to customers who regularly use Facebook. Social-media marketing must be employed judiciously with other types of marketing programs."

Dholakia said Facebook marketing programs may be especially effective for iconic brands, which appear to attract a higher percentage of their customer base as Facebook fans.Top of Page

iseesocial is newest social networking platform to launch

iseemedia Inc., a leading provider of mobile email push service to the mass market, announced today at the 2010 Mobile World Congress, its newest mobile VAS platform, iseesocial, tailored to mobile operators and social networking users.

iseesocial is a social networking platform built on the current iseemail "BlackBerry-like" mobile email platform, taking advantage of a proven rich carrier grade solution already deployed in the marketplace. iseesocial facilitates a robust mobile social community that allows subscribers to connect, interact and socialize with each other on their favourite social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Orkut, Friendster, Bebo, Habbo, Hi5, Linkedin, MySpace, Yahoo and Ning among others.

iseesocial uniquely combines social networking, mobile email services and rich content delivery to form a flexible and highly efficient VAS platform. Mobile operators will derive significant benefits including increased messaging and data usage, stronger customer loyalty and extended value-added services for their subscribers.

iseesocial is designed to meet operators' specific needs and can be seamlessly integrated with their BSS/OSS to offer flexible billing that meets subscriber requirements for different plans such as bundled subscription (daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly), as well as on-demand transactional charging. The platform empowers operators to offer their customers their own branded community of rich group messaging that seamlessly integrates with all the popular social communities.

"This is a major milestone for iseemedia and the Canadian technology industry," said Anthony DeCristofaro, President and CEO, iseemedia. "This latest version of our technology is uniquely positioned to drive significant new usage and revenue for mobile carriers worldwide. Our innovative and unique strategic direction will empower mobile operators to become social networks, as well as joining their network to existing social network services in a seamless approach. We anticipate quick speed to market with iseesocial from the current opportunities we have with mobile operators in the APAC market. They have indicated keen interested in deploying this new release to their subscribers." Top of Page

Rogers Communications names Rosetta as direct AOR

Toronto-based Rogers Communications has named Rosetta its interactive and direct marketing agency of record after a review.

The agency, which replaced Wunderman Toronto, began work for Rogers earlier this month.

Chris Kuenne, CEO of Rosetta, deferred to Rogers for specific figures, but said the multi-million dollar deal runs for numerous years. Rosetta is in the process of opening and staffing a Toronto office, he added.

“We'll have 20 to 30 employees in the office, and we have been recruiting aggressively since learning that we won the business in late January,” Kuenne said.

Rosetta's telecommunications clients have included Sprint and AT&T Wireless. The agency currently works with T-Mobile in the US.

Shelagh Stoneham, VP of brand and marketing communications at Rogers, said in a statement that Rosetta's “experience in helping major telecommunications companies leverage interactive marketing channels” was a major factor in the decision.

Kuenne declined to comment on specific responsibilities, beyond direct and interactive services and work on consumer and business-to-business campaigns. Top of Page

Reaching tech-savvy Canadian teens about breast cancer

Talking to teenagers: tough. Talking to teenagers about making positive lifestyle choices to reduce their chances of getting breast cancer: even tougher. Which is why The Pink Tulip Foundation, a Toronto-based breast cancer charity, has teamed up with Ariad Custom Communications.

The aim of The Pink Tulip Foundation is to empower and inspire teenage girls to make healthy lifestyle choices. Ariad has been brought on board to help build and deliver an integrated communications campaign that will reach Canadian teens with the information and support they need about breast cancer.

The first step in this campaign – a revamped website pinktulip.ca – launches today. The interactive site includes social media applications, forums, quizzes, surveys and opportunities for teens to share fundraising stories. Fresh, engaging content also plays a major role with tone of voice a key consideration – informative yet engaging for a highly discerning audience.

The wider campaign has been designed to maximize awareness of the website and The Pink Tulip Foundation’s message. It includes tulip planting events, developing the Be Pink educational program in conjunction with Cancer Care Manitoba for distribution through schools and other organizations throughout Canada, and promotion on relevant websites including Facebook.

Leslie White of the Pink Tulip Foundation says: “We’re now into our third year at the Pink Tulip Foundation and it feels as though we are beginning to make some significant progress. Our new, exciting, engaging website launching today is just the start; the wider program that will roll out over the coming months will help us deliver the resources and support that teenage girls affected by breast cancer are looking for.”

Suzanne Burrows, Senior Account Director, Ariad comments: “Teenage girls can be a challenging and shrewd audience to reach. Deep, rich and engaging content is as critical as being in the right places online. Well-thought-through strategy as well as great design is essential for The Pink Tulip Foundation to reach its goals.” Top of Page

Cheer on your home country with new iPhone application

Fans from all over the globe are cheering for their country with a new iPhone App "iCheer - Country". Colorful and interactive, the application allows you to choose your flag from one of 106 countries and match it to your favourite cheer. Shake your phone to cheer on your team with cow bells, car horns, or one of many other sounds. Perfect for the games in Vancouver or World Cup in South Africa! Top of Page

mediaFORGE lets users accurately track metrics

Advertisers never have to pay for view-through again.  mediaFORGE announced its new engagement-based platform for retargeting, allowing the abandonment of view-through attribution. The technology measures engagement and subsequent post-engagement conversions as a new metric for attributing success.  For ROI driven advertisers, mediaFORGE’s interactive ad units allow personalized content delivery with ads designed, built and, optimized for engagement.

“We’re excited to introduce a performance-base retargeting model that doesn’t require paying for view-through conversions,” said Tony Zito, President of mediaFORGE.  “Experts agree that retargeting is the most underutilized tool for online marketers and we’re helping change that notion. With this new platform, marketers and advertisers can employ the best aspects of retargeted advertising immediately, without having to pay for view-through, making for 100 percent attributable and transparent ROI.”

Traditional retargeting models are based on a view-through model.  A view-through is when a customer is served an ad, and although initially takes no immediate action, they later return and make a purchase. Any advertiser who has invested in a performance-based display ad campaign has likely paid according to this view-through model.

With the mediaFORGE platform, advertisers are only charged for conversions when their customers actually engage with the ad, by mousing over it, interacting with it, or by clicking through the ad to make a purchase.

“The absolute best metric of an ad’s influence on a purchase is ad engagement,” stated Zito. “If a user engages with an interactive ad, advertisers are assured that the ad impression was actually viewed - and subsequent revenue is directly attributable to the corresponding campaign.  By measuring engagement and post-engagement conversions, advertisers can completely abandon the archaic and flawed model of view-through as their default attribution methodology.” Top of Page

Integrated audience analytics suite launched

At this year’s Digital Signage Expo, visitors will experience a major new audience analytics suite that ensures digital signs are highly interactive and accountable. The new solution integrates Capital Networks Ltd’s (CNL) industry leading broadcast and dynamic digital signage software, with CognoVision’s award-winning AIM audience measurement & retail intelligence suite. The off-the-shelf solution enables organizations such as retailers, airports or medical centres, to analyse, track and direct the movements of customers, and have a clear picture of how digital signs are influencing their behavior.

The integrated solution provides critical audience metrics and enables media content on signs to be customized – automatically – based on viewer characteristics, effectively delivering the right message to the right people at the right time. As a result, the solution delivers demonstrable ROI. Visitors to the booth can see the technology in action – how, for example, a sign’s content changes if it detects more male viewers and an advertisement for a male grooming product could be displayed to hit the target market.

Haroon Mirza, Director of Business Development for CognoVision, commented: "CNL was the first digital signage provider we have ever partnered with and I’m delighted to be at the show with them to premiere our complete suite of audience measurement systems which includes the core AIM –  Anonymous Impression Metric – system alongside AIM Traffic, Queue Tracking and Heat Map technology. Organizations around the world are using digital signs to effectively display customer information and marketing campaigns. Our technology takes their deployment to a new, strategic level – ensuring those signs are highly relevant and converting into sales. Companies are using our solutions today and the market for intelligent audience and traffic measurement is growing at a dramatic rate."

CognoVision's fully automated AIM platform is an audience measurement system optimized for use in digital signage networks using proprietary face detection and people tracking technology to find viewers' faces detected by digital optic devices. CNL’s  Audience digital signage software platform provides all the tools needed to create, manage and play out dynamic digital signage. The sophisticated creation, scheduling and management ability of Audience software has been fully integrated with CognoVision's AIM platform to provide an unprecedented level of accountability in real time.

Combining Audience with AIM enables organizations to:

  • Identify number of impressions and browsers – count how many people pass and view the signs; analyze top-line demographics of those people, such as age and gender
  • Measure engagement levels and dwell time – track how long people watch the signs for; highlight which advertisements are attracting attention
  • Display targeted content based on real time audience characteristics – content can be adapted to make it relevant to the consumers looking at the signs
  • Optimize signage content and screen locations – tracking customer traffic and 'heat maps' shows how many people walk by the signs and conversion rates for particular advertisements
  • Automatically log what content was played and when – this can be linked in with sales information to truly understand ROI and if marketing campaigns are resulting in sales uplift

Morgan Henderson, Marketing Manager at CNL said: "CognoVision’s technology is extremely exciting – the company was recently named as Canada’s 2009 Innovation Leader by the Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX) – and represents the future of the digital signage market. One of the natural questions that people ask about any video analytics technology is about privacy – AIM has been designed specifically with privacy in mind and no personally identifiable data is ever collected. Again, this is something that CognoVision has been recognized for – this time by the Ontario Privacy Commissioner’s office, which included CognoVision as an exemplary company that has embedded the Privacy By Design principles into its technology during the Privacy By Design: The Gold Standard event held in Toronto last month." Top of Page

Tagga powers mobile marketing campaigns for Hearst advertisers

While the world's spotlight is on Vancouver this month, the Mobile Marketing Association's Spotlight was on Tagga Media today when the Vancouver-based company announced its partnership with Hearst Media Services.

Hearst selected Tagga's technology platform to power mobile marketing opportunities for their advertisers. Hearst publishes several daily newspapers and online properties in major US cities, including Houston and San Francisco. Staying in step with their audience's changing news consumption habits, Hearst is also a major news content creator and aggregator in the online and mobile space. The newspaper giant offers a comprehensive portfolio of online, mobile and traditional print advertising, allowing their advertisers to keep pace with their consumer.

"The Tagga platform enables us to offer a new form of engagement marketing to our advertisers," commented Dan Lovelace, Hearst Newspapers Strategic Partnerships and Products Manager. " Mobile provides instant interaction and access to information for readers who may not have immediate access to a computer. Tagga puts our advertisers' information on the handhelds and in the pockets of their customers."

Hearst has leveraged Tagga to integrate SMS marketing and mobile-optimized Websites into their sales offering. A positive mobile web experience is fast becoming an important differentiator for consumers and a must-have for local businesses. Web-connected mobile devices will exceed 1 billion this year, and a direct effect of this massive surge in adoption is that people are moving a growing portion of their Internet browsing, searching and shopping to their phones.

" Mobile provides instant interaction with all media channels and access to relevant information on-the-go," says Amielle Lake, CEO at Tagga Media. "Hearst is doing a great job of leveraging mobile to provide powerful, integrated marketing channels for their advertisers." Top of Page