June 6, 2016

Can AMP Agency Predict the Future?

TLDR:
AMP Agency conducted a survey, ‘How the Class of 2016 Will Change the World of Marketing’ to try to understand the implications of this generation’s behavior on brands and consumers in the marketing realm. To get this information, we went straight to the source and surveyed 153 college freshmen from the Boston area on their media consumption, marketing attributes, and affinities.

Coming out of our survey four years ago we learned:

  • There were over 22MM + College Students in the U.S.
  • On average, they own 6.4 tech devices
  • They spend 14.4 total hours with tech devices daily
  • They have over $405 billion in total spending power
  • They talk to parents 27.7 times per week on average
  • 74% of them expect to graduate debt free

We also predicted that this class of 2016 would change the future of technology and marketing as we know it in the following ways:

  1. The College Bubble Has Burst
    • New, more cost efficient ways of experience content
  2.  It’s All About Status
    • Share and Comment - the new Show and Tell
  3. Byte Sized Consumers
    • Ballin' on a Budget
  4. Media on Demand
    • "It's not online and offline. Its online or asleep"

Now that this Class is graduating, we've taken the time to reflect on our predictions and analyze if they did in fact come true, while providing another outlook on our assumption of the landscape for 2020, which we believe might look something like this:

  1. Data is King
    • Thanks to advancements in technology and a continually decreasing cost of entry, big data will be easily enabled and managed
  2. Increased Demand for Video Content
    • Video content will continue to dominate screen time
  3. Mobile eCommerce will Drastically Increase
    • Be prepared for mobile shopping to skyrocket by 2020

So is your company ready for 2020? We are here to help. We are a team of 200+ talented characters who love creating smart ideas for today, tomorrow and beyond. Click here to contact us to learn more.

 

March 8, 2013

Wheels up to Austin'?¦ as Soon as the Plane is De-iced

I'll be honest. Any illusions of my first trip to SXSW did not start off with battling through a blizzard and the associated travel delays. But if there was one constant piece of advice / forewarning I did unilaterally receive from colleagues in the industry, it was that my experience at SXSW would absolutely not go as expected.

I was told that the unplanned meet-ups, the casual conversations over beers and the 'damn, the session I wanted to go to is full'?¦ I guess I'll go here instead'? moments would prove to be the most valuable. So consider that a caveat as I share a quick overview of what I'm most looking forward to over these next few days. And I'll caveat now that my recap blog posts throughout the course of SXSWi will inevitably cover much different material and venture into much different themes.

Social and Mobile ' They're No Longer Buzz Words, They're Business Plans

I'll admit it. I've been suffering a little bit of 'hashtag fatigue'? lately (a term coined by AMP's own Colin Booth). While I'm as big of a social media nerd as the next SXSW attendee, I'm ready to get past the idea that social is the 'new, shiny toy'? to add to the marketing mix. Looking over the sessions included in this year's agenda, I am really excited about engaging in conversations about the business impact of social and mobile.

Panels like Mobile Saturday: Loyalty in the Pocket and Social Circles vs. Social Media promise to discuss the role of mobile and social behavior across online and offline consumer experiences, and I'm hoping throughout the weekend that those conversations snowball into discussions around the business implications and ROI across these two exploding channels. We all know how important mobile and social are based on the latest stats about time spent and growing penetration. Over these next few days, I'm hoping we can all talk about successful strategies and new ideas to further integrate brands across those channels to connect with consumers in meaningful ways.

Data is a Four Letter Word'?¦ the Good Kind

I recently attended an event where the CMO of E*Trade, Nick Utton, stated his belief that marketing is now 75% science and 25% art. His point being that access to more data and an increased focus on testing throughout all stages of campaign development have resulted in more efficient and effective marketing. With that theme in mind, one of the sessions I'm most looking forward to is Saturday's 'Is Intuitive Marketing Dead?'? (analyzing data and predictive modeling) with Nate Silver.

While there is still a lot we don't know when we put a campaign in market, we certainly know a lot more today than we did 10 years ago about our target audiences' preferences and media behavior. Ever-evolving research techniques (including sophisticated A/B testing matrices) combined with growing databases of historical performance data are resulting in powerful modeling tools that make us much smarter on day one of concepting. I'm excited to hear what Nate predicts for marketing's future and to hear this theme explored across other sessions and sidebar conversations over the course of SXSWi.

Fastening My Seatbelt for a 24/7 Marketing Blitz

The other thing I'm excited about is the palpable 'Disneyland for Marketers'? buzz. SXSW is where people/brands go to launch new products, share new thinking, play with the latest app/tools/approaches. And it's already begun'?¦ in-air. A few hours into my flight, JetBlue's marketing team held an in-flight promotion asking us over the PA, 'How many people does Austin's airport estimate will pass through Austin on their way to SXSW?'? One-by-one they collected answers from each flyer with the three closest guesses each receiving a pair of ticket vouchers to anywhere JetBlue flies.

And while I was sitting there thinking, 'this is a smart promotion to run with a plane full of marketers, but you've got  glaring problem ' no WIFI for me to live tweet/blog/post about it,'? they concluded their contest by announcing 'and by next year's SXSW, we'll have the nation's fastest, free wifi'?¦ so we'll play this game over Twitter.'? Be on the lookout for wifi roll-out in June with up to ten planes equipped by the end of the year.  Well done JetBlue ' there's your plug.

And feel free to play along ' share your best guess in the comments section below and I'll reveal the answer on my flight home'?¦ or maybe just before takeoff.

February 26, 2013

What is Pheed? And Should You Care About It?

It seems like since they emerged, we've been vigilant to find the Facebook killer or the next Twitter, Tumblr or YouTube. While we have been introduced to countless promises of "the Instagram of video" the "Twitter of audio" or any other combination of "the ____ of ____," the truth is that many of these apps and platforms come and go and the Colors of the world far exceed the successes.

That being said, let's get all excited over the next big thing before we realize that it doesn't have a business model, shall we? So what is the thing that everyone has been talking about? Pheed (of course it's spelled that way). And guess what; it has a business model, and a pretty interesting one at that.

In a nutshell, Pheed creates A SUPER EASY way for users to share text, photos, videos, audio tracks, voice-notes and live broadcasts. Then it gives them the option to place all of that content behind a paywall ranging from $1.99 - $34.99 per view or per month. The application is free, and you don't have to charge for your content, but the thinking is that if you do charge a premium price, you will be forced to create premium content. That's slightly concerning because one thing that the Internet hates is paywalls and one thing that the Internet loves is creating way more awful content than "premium" content. Despite these two potential deal breakers, right now Pheed holds the #1 spot in the App Store's Social Networking category and is currently #17 on the Free Charts. And unlike the growth of Vine last month, Pheed's success doesn't appear to be from porn; at least we don't think so at the moment. In fact, the majority of its recent growth can be traced back to a few popular teens.

What may be even more interesting to users is that in a world of encroaching privacy policies and debates over who owns the content posted on sites, Pheed makes it abundantly clear that all uploaded content "is owned by the user, Pheed retains no rights or ownership toward it." The app even gives you the options to copyright or watermark each of your posts. Those two very un-Facebook-like moves  should at the very least make Mark Zuckerberg and friends stop to think about the future of content sharing. Even if it's just for a second (which we all know is about a second longer than they actually will).

So is it going to be the next Twitter or kill Facebook? Most likely not. However, our passion for creating and sharing content has never been hotter and any platform that looks great and allows people to do it easily has a chance. Fortunately for Pheed, it succeeds at both of those things.

So what are others saying about Pheed? Here are some of the best recaps we've read:

  • Huffington Post - "It's now the No. 1 free app in Apple's App Store under the Social Networking category"
  • BostInno - "Once [college students] cope with the fact a group of teenagers beat them at making something 'cool,'? they'll likely jump on the Pheed bandwagon, too"
  • Forbes - "its Twitter-with-a-business-model approach stands to seriously impact the social media game"

So what do you think? Does Pheed stand a chance to make an impact on the social space? Or will a two-week media love fest followed by obscurity continue to be the norm with new social platforms?

January 9, 2013

Early Thoughts from CES

It has been a great start to the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show - tons of cool devices, next generation everything and a nice look into what we'll see in the next 12 months of consumer electronics. As I sit here trying to sift through all of the 3Ds, LEDs, OLEDs,D-LEDs, and E-LEDs and ponder why the world doesn't look as quite as good in real life as it does in 4K, here are some key themes that have emerged after day 1.

Connected Everything

It's been an overarching theme the past few years, but this year has blown up in terms of connected items. In the time we were on the floor, we saw next-gen wifi scales, entire homes, cars, appliances, and even a fork. What's slightly different this year is the focus on mobile. In the past, the story has been that these things have been directly connected to the web. This year the story changed very apparently to them being seamlessly integrated into your mobile device.

CE Manufacturers as Content Providers

Samsung probably best displays this, but there is a growing trend that through Smart TVs, CE manufacturers will be able to completely oust cable providers and broker deals directly with the content creators.

Evolution Not Innovation

Two cool technologies that we saw last year were Leonar3Do and Dynamics Inc smart credit cards. While both were interesting, they relied on adapting a new piece of hardware (a complete system in the case of Leonar3Do and a new credit card in the case of Dynamics). This year, they have both adopted mobile versions which take away a bit of the barrier of entry. So while not new, they're definitely evolved. We were also seen the next generations of 3DTV, hi-definition (4k and even 8k resolution), and gesture/voice/NFC-based capabilities. Key takeaway is that in the past 5 years have seen the ubiquitous adoption of 2 completely new product segments (smartphones and tablets). The next 2-5 years will most likely not introduce a new device, but instead new ways of using, improving and integrating them into consumers' lives.

2nd Screen Advertising Platforms

Samsung and Verizon (through a partnership with a company called Nantworks) both showcased a few cool advertising platforms which utilize tags on commercials which activate added content through a smartphone.

As always, follow @AMP_Agency to get live updates from the show floor and the conference tracks and feel free to tweet at us to request details on anything you're interested in seeing. We'll do our best to be your eyes on the show floor.

October 2, 2012

The Real Geo-Targeting, Insights Lab Episode 23

In the second episode of our mobile series, we turn to the expert, Walt Doyle, CEO, WHERE and GM, PayPal Media Network, to explain geo-targeting and geo-fencing and how brands can utilize this technology.

Throughout the episode, Doyle provides marketers recommendations to leverage this technology to successfully reach the consumer.

October 2, 2012

Re-thinking Mobile Commerce, Insights Lab Episode 22

Walt Doyle, GM, PayPal Media Network, joins the Insights Lab for a two-part video series on the different facets of mobile.

In this episode, Doyle defines and discusses mobile commerce. In the marketing world, there is lots of buzz around mobile commerce or m-commerce and the future of m-commerce. But, let's take a step back and view m-commerce from a consumer's perspective.

According to Doyle, consumers are engaging with brands and products throughout the day across a variety screens and then subsequently purchasing on those same screens. So, the purchase funnel has morphed into a "purchase pretzel," in which brands can engage with consumers at a variety of access points.

Doyle shares how brands can leverage this shift in consumer behavior to engage with key audiences and ultimately increase consumers' purchase intent.

 

 

October 1, 2012

iPhone5: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

For the first time in recent history, the American public has become disenchanted with Apple. Despite reported record-breaking sales, the new Apple product has come out to an overwhelmingly negative reception by non-loyalists. One of the major issues is that consumers are accustomed to Apple products that boast new and exciting features and innovations. Unfortunately, Apple's latest creation has solved problems that consumers weren't asking to be fixed. It also boasts incremental changes, rather than the radical new developments that consumers have expected for the past two years.

The iPhone 5 invented problems to solve. No one complained that the iPhone 4S was too heavy, that the screen was too short, the casing too wide, or the screen too blurry. Yet these are the major changes that Apple made. It boasts a new reversible connector dubbed the 'lightning,' that is incompatible with the millions of accessories that are currently on the market, including those in cars such as BMW and Mini. Another 'brag worthy' feature is the LTE network - networks already have trouble supporting 3S speeds, so LTE seems more like an empty promise than a functional upgrade. The most apparent misstep is the replacement of Google Maps with Apple's default travel tool, which boasts missing locations, inaccurate information and inferior visual displays. Perhaps rather than inventing problems to fix, and in some cases making problems worse, Apple should have spent a little more time listening to what consumers wanted in their newest upgrade.

Even after upgrading the iPhone 5 to be 20% lighter, 18% thinner, and with a longer screen than its predecessor, it appears as though not much has been changed for the better. People expect innovation from Apple. They do not want the incremental improvements they've seen over the past couple of years, they want radical changes. Unfortunately, what they've been given is roughly the same product since 2007. All iterations of the iPhone have been about the same size with essentially the same interface, yet loyalists keep shelling out a premium to upgrade year over year.

iPhone 5 meme

Apple's history of innovation and sleek, stylish designs has created a loyal fan base, which is still turning up to buy all their latest updates. Luckily for Apple, loyalists do not care that the new iPhone solves problems that never existed. They do not care that they now have to buy new connectors, adapters and accessories due to the new connector. They do not mind that this latest product is not revolutionary. But everyone else does. Non-loyalists are well aware that the iPhone is being beat by its competition, and that Apple, once known for industry advancements is falling further and further away from that reputation. Perhaps it's only a matter of time before we come to the end of the Apple era.

 

 

September 21, 2012

Social is Going Mobile, Don't Get Left Behind

In the wake of the much anticipated iPhone 5, a post on the importance of social optimization for mobile couldn't seem more fitting. The latest data reports that

consumers spend more time on mobile devices than any other medium, surpassing TV, web, and radio. The fact that people spend an average of two hours per day on their mobile device shouldn't be shocking news, so why aren't more brands taking advantage of the opportunity this shift creates to interact with consumers?

Oh, brands need justification beyond people treating their mobile device like an extension of their body, taking it to the bathroom, sleeping with it under their pillow, and twitching at the thought of putting it down while driving, to support an investment in mobile optimization of social media initiatives. No problem. More than 72 million Americans accessed social networking sites or blogs via their mobile devices in August, a figure that represents a 37% jump from the same time last year, according to data compiled by comScore. Not to mention, Facebook is the number one most downloaded app of all time, with other social media players like Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest climbing the ranks every day. If users access a link from one of these social apps using a mobile device and they are redirected to a non-mobile optimized site, the chances of these users returning drop off dramatically.

It's undeniable the future of social-mobile is bright, so brands need to develop a strategy. Just optimizing your site or your app for mobile doesn't guarantee social growth or soaring conversion rates. It all starts with understanding how your target audience uses mobile and how they use mobile to interact with your brand is critical. As more people access social networks from smart phones and tablets, sharing becomes easier and instantaneous. This means that brands should be thinking about how they can make their content easily shareable and relevant in real-time on mobile devices, in turn creating positive user experiences and increased virality. Mobile optimizations should be developed to enhance conversation and interaction already taking place between consumers and brands, essentially improving the relationship and quality of interactions. For example, making interface actions easy, meaning tweeting something from your mobile site, shouldn't require six steps. Remember to keep mobile short, sweet and to the point by creating memorable phrases audiences can easily tweet out and repost.

Since I'm not sure I can say it better myself, I'll leave you with wise words from, Bart Stein, Co-founder, Stamped. Stein said, 'The best apps won't need to hold you hostage to the screen, rather, they should add dimension to relationships and enable you to engage with others in unprecedented ways, making it easier than ever to make and maintain real life relationships.'?

June 25, 2012

Planning Your Multi-Screen Campaign

As media and marketing professionals, how do you tap into the ever expanding landscape of multi-screen, multi-tasking, multi-engagement devices/screens that are ubiquitous in our world today? This question results in a domino effect'evoking many more questions:

  • How are we best equipped to deliver a brand's message, value proposition and ultimately elicit conversion?
  • How do we utilize the various screens to effectively engage the fragmented consumer who simultaneously use these devices?
  • How do we gauge the duplication of reaching the same users vs. gaining necessary reach into the right target that may not be downloading a mobile app but is a regular visitor to a website via their laptop?

Why is Multi-Screen Marketing Important?

Our target audiences are multi-tasking across devices.  Even among those with just a television and computer (two screens), 52% of users report that it's somewhat or very likely that they're using another device while watching television. With each screen added to the mix, that percentage rises, 60% of smartphone users (3 screens) and 65% of tablet owners (4 screens) say that multi-device use is the norm while watching TV (source: eConsultancy, May 2012)

Planners must understand the impact that multi-screen usage is having on their clients' brands as the stats derived by recent studies highlight the importance of creating a multi-screens strategy:

  • According to a report conducted by Videology, a video advertising technology, brands who implement multi-screen marketing experience 9x brand lift
  • An eMarketer study of TV and online video found brands achieve a 7% reach increase when adhering to a multi-screen approach
  •  A co-authored study with Google and Nielson found multi-screen users have 17% more ad recall

What Should Media Planners Consider When Creating a Multi-Screen Strategy?

Time of Day

Whether it's a TV ad to launch to increase awareness followed by that person searching for more info on their work desktop, then targeted by a location based incentive on mobile or longer brand engagement via a tablet in the evening, day parting is key to making this a continuum of messaging not just singular efforts.

Consumption Habits

We need to understand the consumption habits of our audience in order to maximize how we weight each channel in the overall media mix, so we can reach them in the right place at the right time.

We should take advantage of what these different screens and their particular experience 'opportunities'? offer. When developing a media strategy, marketers need to consider all screens, what their audience consumes on each screen and when the audience consumes the content. The era of the connected consumer has just begun. To succeed, marketers must adapt media planning and buying strategies to fit the needs of the multi-tasking mavens.

June 23, 2012

What is Responsive and Adaptive Web Design?

No website is complete these days without at least considering mobile. Based on comScore's latest annual report on the mobile landscape, '2012 Mobile Future in Focus'?,

smartphones and tablets were responsible for nearly 8% of all observed internet traffic in the United States at the end of 2011.

Another study from comScore showed that more than 70% of users who use mobile social media use it daily. It's imperative now, more than ever, that your site is both accessible via mobile devices and easy to interact with. So, how to make that happen? Let's dive into some geek speak'?¦

Responsive Design

A responsive website is simply a design that can stretch and rearrange itself based on the width of the browser rendering the site. In the past, servers would serve up whole different websites after detecting whether a user was viewing their site on a PC or a mobile device. These standalone, mobile-formatted sites were simplified versions of their parent sites, usually with limited functionality to increase page speeds over a slow connection.

When tablets started becoming more prominent, there was a need for websites that sat somewhere between a smart phone and a PC. Then, as smartphones became smarter, you had higher quality resolutions with different layout modes -- which ultimately meant a lot to account for if you were developing individual sites for each device.

Responsive design solves the problem at a very low level by resizing and rearranging elements on the screen to fit the user's device. This is usually accomplished through a combination of fluid grids, flexible images and media queries.

Responsive design is a lot easier to implement and maintain as websites evolve with more functionality.

Progressive Enhancement

Sometimes you will run across a website on your phone that simply does not work. Sometimes you can't navigate the dropdown menus. Other times, there is just too much content.

Progressive enhancement is the practice of catering to the lowest common denominator and selectively adding functionality based on a user's capabilities. Web developers have been using a similar approach for a while in order to ensure features in newer browsers (e.g. Chrome and Firefox) degrade nicely in older browsers (e.g. IE6).

Responsive Design + Progressive Enhancement = Adaptive Design

Now, take what we've learned about responsive design, add in our concept of progressive enhancement, and we have adaptive design. There is still some debate over the use of "adaptive design" vs "adaptive layout," but I don't want to argue semantics as the idea is much more important.

The important thing to note is by using progressive enhancement along with a responsive layout, we can conditionally introduce functionality like multi-touch, geo-location and native smartphone integration. This allows us to create a better user experience based on a user's capabilities.

There are plenty of excellent resources out there to help guide you down the responsive/adaptive road, so for the purpose of this post I'm going to try and keep things as simple as possible. You can learn more in this A List Apart article about Responsive Design and this Smashing Magazine article about Responsive Design.

Don't Fight The Future

The web is changing to meet the changing needs of its users. We started with crazy flash intros and entire websites stuffed into tables. Now, we're starting to see the importance of accessibility and developing sites to meet different use cases. If you think this is just a trend, you will get left behind.

If you made it this far, it's time for you to test your own site on your phone. Make sure to click around a bit. Even better, ask a friend to access your website on their own phone and give you feedback. Here are some online tools to help with testing:

Happy smart phone browsing!

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