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The Facebook Rumor Mill: Potential Facebook Acquisitions & Expansions, Insights Lab Episode 13

With Facebook's recent IPO, the rumor mill is abuzz with talks about Facebook moving into the smartphone and mobile browser space given the hiring of ex-Apple hardware engineers and the potential purchase of Opera. Additionally, there has been speculation that Facebook may acquire the Israeli facial recognition software, Face.com. Hear Matt Rainone, Senior Manager of AMP's Integrated Marketing Group, discuss these rumors and his thoughts on Facebook's growth strategy. Tweet us @AMP_Agency to let us know what topics you want to hear about!

  • 1 min read
  • June 1, 2012

The Facebook Rumor Mill: Potential Facebook Acquisitions & Expansions, Insights Lab Episode 13

With Facebook's recent IPO, the rumor mill is abuzz with talks about Facebook moving into the smartphone and mobile browser space given the hiring of ex-Apple hardware engineers and the potential purchase of Opera. Additionally, there has been speculation that Facebook may acquire the Israeli facial recognition software, Face.com. Hear Matt Rainone, Senior Manager of AMP's Integrated Marketing Group, discuss these rumors and his thoughts on Facebook's growth strategy. Tweet us @AMP_Agency to let us know what topics you want to hear about!

Five Groundbreaking Apps from CES 2012

One of our favorite events from this year's CES was the Mobile Apps Showdown. Hosted by Howard Stern regulars Jon Hein and Gary Dell'Abate, this event gave ten app developers four minutes to pitch their app concept to the audience and conduct a quick on-stage demo. The top app was determined by an Applause-O-Meter winning a shiny trophy, the admiration of attendees and a landslide of CES media coverage. In a previous blog post (http://bit.ly/zJTZje), we discussed 'CIA: Operation AJAX'?, one of the top ten finalists. Today, we take a quick look at five finalists that inspired our imaginations. Aurasma Lite by Aurasma Developer's Description: Aurasma is a new technology that brings the physical and virtual worlds together. Available as a free app for iOS and Android devices or as a free SDK for developers, Aurasma uses advanced image and pattern recognition to recognize and understand real-world images and objects in much the same way as the human brain does. It then seamlessly blends the real-world with interactive content such as videos and animations we call 'Auras'?. Auras can be created for printed images, products, clothing and physical places. Users can even use the simple tools in the app to create and share their own Auras. Since its launch in July 2011, Aurasma has had more than two million downloads. Over 1,000 partners around the world in markets including consumer electronics, retail, sport, automotive, entertainment, advertising and publishing are using the free technology. Aurasma was developed by and is part of Autonomy ' an HP Company. Cost: Free Link: Website (http://bit.ly/ycTMoX), iTunes (http://bit.ly/zHWYVf) Ellis' Take: This platform has HUGE upside. Augmented reality is something that to most is complex, confusing, and costly. This app empowers everyday users to tag and affect the digital world around them. Will it evolve into the next big digital platform or linger on as a simple novelty adopted and loved by a core group of hobbyists (like a new evolution of geocaching)? Matt's Take: Interesting opportunity here for brands. While augmented reality is something a lot of brands are looking into, the price tag is usually a barrier for entry. Being able to utilize pre-existing technology to create branded information with your products is something that should be very enticing for most brands, especially in the retail space. Magisto by Magisto Developers Description: Magisto is an amazing app that takes your raw videos and turns it into a beautifully edited & produced clip perfect for sharing. And it does it all in a click, for free. Right now, all these special moments are too long and boring to share. With Magisto you can create videos that your friends actually want to watch and you can do it with minimum efforts and maximum quality. Magisto will analyze these videos, understand it, find the best parts and make it look amazing! Now you have a way to express yourself and to capture those special moments that you want to share with the people around you. Cost: Free Link: Website (http://bit.ly/xwXL3P), iTunes (http://bit.ly/xPbikY) Ellis' Take: Three easy, mindless steps to create a highlight reel from videos of my dog. Win. Matt's Take: Really liked this at first, but upon further review, all videos need to stream from the site and you can't actually 'own them'?. Their plan is to move to a 'freemium'? model that gives you added capabilities for a price. Cinefy by App Creation Network Developers Description: Cinefy is a mobile video editing platform for iPhone where users create and share videos mixed with high quality special effects. Cinefy empowers users with no editing skills to quickly insert footage, add music and apply visually stunning effects with its intuitive and simple interface. 'As a former television director, this is a thrilling product to see in action'? said Gary Stover, Product Director. In Cinefy, individual themed or branded effects packs are available for in-app downloads, offering TV and game studios the ability to market products in a way that creates exciting and massive viral exposure potential. 'We made Cinefy to put the most exciting Hollywood quality production tools directly in the user's hands,'? said Dan Hellerman, CEO of App Creation Network. 'The ability for studios to promote their brands, by empowering users with actual effects elements themed to their shows or games, is an explosive marketing tool.'? Cost: $2.99 Link: Website (http://bit.ly/w6dl86) Ellis' Take: I don't know if this will make home videos better'?¦just different. For brands with user-generated content strategies in place, this could be a valuable tool that you may want to encourage consumers to consider. It could certainly raise the presentation of user-generated content, adding more value to those campaigns. Matt's Take: Much like Magisto, I like the idea of being able to easily create better videos than the ones most people are uploading to Facebook now. SecuraFone by SecuraTrac Developer's Description: SecuraFone is a multi-purpose smartphone app that functions as a powerful, personal safety solution. SecuraFone helps prevent distracted driving and accidents, provides instant emergency response, and offers 6 other GPS tracking and alerting features including: real-time tracking, historical tracking, geo-fence alerts, SOS alerts, and covert, emergency help calls to emergency response centers or the primary account contact. The alerts are sent using email and text messaging. 45% of teen drivers text while driving and 11 die each day in accidents caused by distracted driving. 35% of seniors will fall each year ' the leading cause of injury-related deaths among seniors. Employers spend over $60 billion a year in medical costs, legal fees and property damage related to employee driving accidents. SecuraFone serves as a tool for instant communication in this type of emergency situation and as a proactive solution to prevent accidents and dangerous conditions before they occur. Cost: Free Link: Website (http://bit.ly/xKPtOv), iTunes (http://bit.ly/A10nYP) Ellis' Take: It was interesting to hear the audience reaction to this app being presented. While many of the other apps received 'oohs'? and 'aahhs'?, this app had a strange impending sense of 'big brother'? to it ' especially when the developer referenced being able to track your employees locations in real time. You can imagine that at a conference held in Las Vegas, the response to that feature was rather lukewarm. Matt's Take: Absolutely horrifying. I must download this immediately. Foam Fighters by AppGear Developers Description: AppGear is an innovative line of apps that seamlessly interact with cool, collectible toys, shifting digital gaming into your reality. Foam Fighters is a collectible line of detailed foam airplanes that really fly and look fantastic on their own. These foam fliers also unlock missions in the digital world by scanning them into a smart device. Once unlocked, these planes are attached to the front of the device with the included arm, then dive in to the digital world and battle for control of the skies. The plane is mounted on the front of the smart device, dog fighting and taking digital damage in the app. The real world plane is now flying in the digital battle for the skies. This new product category will redefine game play by upgrading the physical experience with digital action. Cost: App is free; Retail play set is $9.99 Link: Website (http://bit.ly/xG1g1r) Ellis' Take: Is it wrong if I wish I was ten years old again? Or if society didn't have a stigma about adults playing with toys that they've outgrown by two decades? We're seeing augmented reality starting to enhance playtime, a trend that is very likely to continue as brands look for ways to connect real-world, physical play with digital extensions. Another great A/R example at CES was Intel's booth that featured a demo of LEGO's Intel-powered augmented reality retail display (http://bit.ly/ycmj3T). Matt's Take: Meh. I understand they're trying to be creative mixing in the physical plane with the game, but it seems like the game could be just as successful without having to attach a foam plane to your tablet. It just seems like an unnecessary step.

sHOp sHOp sHOp

With the holidays quickly approaching, AMP 20mg levitra canada recently conducted a Mobile Shopping Survey to get a pulse on consumers' likelihood to use their mobile devices for holiday shopping and to better understand key motivators for mobile shopping adoption. The statistics "rang" loud and clear - chances are, "yule" be shopping on your mobile phone this holiday season. Use of mobile to date for shopping: 42% of respondents have already used a mobile phone or mobile device to make a purchase Of those respondents, 53% have used a mobile phone or mobile device more frequently to purchase products in the last 6 months When it comes to features they use on their phone during mobile shopping, they most frequently use the Internet (97%), search engines (59%) and apps (34%) Expected use of mobile for shopping this holiday season: 67% of respondents plan on using their mobile phone or mobile device to make a purchase during this year's holiday shopping season 67% also plan to use their mobile phone or mobile device to do research prior to purchasing products during this holiday season These are the top 5 categories that respondents are most likely to use their mobile phone or mobile device to browse/buy during this holiday season: Electronics (51%) Video games (35%) Children's toys & Apparel (both tied at 33%) Mobile phones/devices (31%) Restaurant gift certificates (29%) So now that we've established that consumers will be shopping via mobile, what can you do to ensure you make the "nice" list? Start by ensuring that you have a mobile optimized version of your e-commerce site with intuitive checkout capabilities and secure payment integration. Consider developing a custom app if consumers can benefit from peer reviews, instructional videos or if your retail model lends itself to detailed product browsing. And think beyond the handset - how can your mobile strategy connect with consumers across non-traditional touch points. Take a look at two out-of-the-box examples of recent mobile shopping integration: Tesco (South Korea) Tesco created a virtual grocery store on a subway platform allowing consumers to use their phones to shop the shelves just like they would inside a Tesco store. Consumers could complete their order before boarding the train and have their groceries delivered to their front door after work. Check out a video case study. Nissan Anyone shopping for a 2012 Altima or Sentra will now be able to use their iPhone, Android or BlackBerry to scan an on-vehicle QR code to gain access to detailed vehicle information including features, available add-ons, video/image galleries and offers. Consumers who don't enjoy the pesky sales pitch can now gain valuable information on their own device and revisit the content later on when comparison shopping. Learn more. Interested in amping up your mobile holiday strategy? It's not too late! Email me at mjacobs (at) ampagency (dot) com to start the conversation.

So You Want An App?

On the business development front, we've noticed a handful of clients and prospects that have expressed interest in developing a downloadable application for their brands. Who can blame them? I personally get giddy every time I fire up the Urbanspoon app on my iPhone. "Where should I eat tonight?? The possibilities are ENDLESS!" And we've all killed an hour or 70 playing Angry Birds. But is this the right solution for your brand / product / service / Russian mob scam? Let's examine a few questions that you should ask yourself to see if it makes sense. Will it drive sales? First you need to be honest with yourself and ask, 'Is this critical to my business?'? For a brand like REI to develop a mobile app with e-commerce capability that allows users to purchase a new camping tent with a few swipes, a mobile app can be an incredibly powerful way to connect to users. The app delivers a new, convenient purchase channel to drive sales thereby justifying the ROI for building an app in the first place. However, if your brand is Yoplait, you may need to think twice since the same e-commerce opportunity is not there. Instead, you'll likely explore content centered around brand positioning and identity, perhaps exploring more health-specific / promotional content. Which brings us to our next point'?¦ Will it be good? Sounds easy, right? Let's continue to use the Yoplait example. So we can't purchase online (cause that'd be gross) but maybe instead we build an app tied to healthy dieting and exercise. That is a very competitive space and you'll be competing with best-in-class applications that will often be so much more robust with content, support, maintenance and updates. Think about the competition among health (Lose It!, Weight Watchers Mobile, Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker) and fitness (Nike+GPS, FitnessBuilder, RunKeeper). Building a mobile app on the cheap to compete against these is like trying to build a bike in your garage on the weekend, then racing it in the Tour de France in July. Although this space is expected to experience tremendous growth (2010: 10.9 billion downloads; 2014 (projected): 76.9 billion downloads!), maintaining user engagement will continue to be a challenge as one in four apps that are downloaded are only used once. Will it be costly? It could be. Very quickly. Alarmingly so. Let's say you wanted to develop an app for iPhones, which only account for a quarter of the total smartphone market. Don

Does Your Cell Phone Get a Potty Break?

I know with the advances of modern technology we are all more connected than ever to our cell phones (read 'unhealthily attached'?). We text during movies, keep our phones on the table at dinner and drive the streets with one hand on the wheel and the other on the message we're trying to send (Text Laws be damned!). But despite our attachment to our phones, there is a need for a break sometimes. online propecia sales And in my opinion, that break should always apply to the bathroom. That's right folks - cell phones need a potty break too. A blog post on AdAge.com reported recent statistics from Insight Express' Digital Consumer Portrait, a quarterly report detailing when and where Americans use their cell phones. The not-so-shocking (but nevertheless unsanitary) findings: 56% of users admitted to using their phones while in the bathroom. Cue the gross-out germ statistics here. It's bad enough that more than half of us (I'm in the other half by the way) use our phones while on the toilet, but the statistic that truly disturbed me is that 13% are using location-based applications like Foursquare while in this compromising state. (On a side note, is it weird to anyone else that these apps would even locate a bathroom as a potential nearby place?) For those of you 'checking in'? to your current bathroom location, I think there is such a thing as TMI. I beg of you - when you do your business, please keep it your business. This is not meant to serve as an affront to connectivity or modern technology, and I'm the first one to admit that I experience withdrawal whenever I accidentally forget my phone. All I'm saying is there are times that do warrant relieving yourself of your phone ' like when you're relieving yourself in the bathroom.

What's New In Social Media This Week'?¦

This week in social media news'?¦ Path, the '50-friend limit'? social networking site continued to gain momentum. They just increased their venture capital to $11.2 million. Facebook is about to launch a commenting platform. Users can use the platform by logging in via Facebook or Twitter. Comments are threaded. Comments can be synced across a publisher's site and Facebook page. A new report from GlobalWebIndex says social entertainment is making us passive. According to a new survey conducted by the Association of National Advertisers, in conjunction with the Mobile Marketing Association, 88 percent of advertisers plan to be active in mobile in 2011 ' up from 62 percent last year.

Four Easy Tips for Mobile Interaction

There's no question that integrated social media programs generate awareness and buzz, give you a say in the existing conversations about your brand, and allow you to provide immediate customer service. The next step is to not only be social, but mobile as well. Encouraging mobile interaction at the point of purchase with mobile couponing/QR codes and giving users a reason to come back for more with a branded mobile application is key. Integration is crucial ' Brands should leverage their Facebook page, Twitter handle, and existing website to promote/drive mobile initiatives. Here are a few tips for starters: 1. Build your mobile opt-in database Getting people to opt in will allow for testing. This is where you can play with different innovative push messages and optimize high-performers. Tactics like mobile-only sweepstakes and coupons can entice consumers to join, which ultimately increases opt-in rates. 2. Use QR codes Brands can do so much with QRCs, from incentives to building a community, or both: P-O-P example ' Have packaging encourage consumer to scan the code for an immediate discount > QRC takes consumer to your Facebook page > Facebook page prompts consumer to 'Like us'? for a coupon. Now you have a new fan in your database to whom you can push content. 3. Create a branded app your target audience will find beneficial Although I said to create a 'branded app,'? it isn't about pushing your brand agenda. It's about providing a tool that will prove valuable to your target. If it truly makes consumers' lives easier in some way, they will interact with the app more often and thus have longer exposure times with your brand. 4. Mobile loyalty program Build a program where consumers can opt-in to scan their receipt after purchasing the brand's product(s). Give away a free or discounted product throughout their membership depending on frequency of purchase, as with any loyalty program. There's no question that integrated social media programs generate awareness and buzz, give you a say in the existing conversations about your brand, and allow you to provide immediate customer service. The next step is to not only be social, but mobile as well. Encouraging mobile interaction at the point of purchase with mobile couponing/QR codes and giving users a reason to come back for more with a branded mobile application is key. Integration is crucial ' Brands should leverage their Facebook page, Twitter handle, and existing website to promote/drive mobile initiatives. Here are a few tips for starters: 1. Build your mobile opt-in database Getting people to opt in will allow for testing. This is where you can play with different innovative push messages and optimize high-performers. Tactics like mobile-only sweepstakes and coupons can entice consumers to join, which ultimately increases opt-in rates. 2. Use QR codes Brands can do so much with QRCs, from incentives to building a community, or both: P-O-P example ' Have packaging encourage consumer to scan the code for an immediate discount > QRC takes consumer to your Facebook page > Facebook page prompts consumer to 'Like us'? for a coupon. Now you have a new fan in your database to whom you can push content. 3. Create a branded app your target audience will find beneficial Although I said to create a 'branded app,'? it isn't about pushing your brand agenda. It's about providing a tool that will prove valuable to your target. If it truly makes consumers' lives easier in some way, they will interact with the app more often and thus have longer exposure times with your brand. 4. Mobile loyalty program Build a program where consumers can opt-in to scan their receipt after purchasing the brand's product(s). Give away a free or discounted product throughout their membership depending on frequency of purchase, as with any loyalty program. Path:

Oh $#!+, I Lost My Phone (among other things'?¦)

Confession: I'm attached to my mobile phone.  I don't just mean that I carry it all the time, I mean I'm so emotionally connected to it that I feel naked, confused, lost and anxiety-stricken if I forget it or can't find it. I have some theories as to why this is, and I also recognize that my symptoms have only worsened since my move to a city five months ago, but my prediction is that it will only get worse. It's a no-brainer that mobile phones have become so much more than a device to make calls to other phone numbers. The capabilities they now provide are endless from texting, emailing, taking and sending photos and videos, accessing the internet, checking sports scores and updates, navigating to a location, and the list goes on and on. These devices are doing more and more each day, proving us with more options and capabilities, and ultimately, making us users more dependent on them. As we move towards the future, here are some cool things that mobile 'phones'? can do and will be doing before we know it. Mobile Ticketing As Cassie Shaine shared a couple weeks ago, companies are beginning to offer electronic tickets that can be sent to your phone via text-to-web technology. This sort of technology allows consumers to access an event or board a plane without the need of a paper ticket. Mobile Payments I was in an Apple Store the other day, and one of the sales associates helped me check out using an iPhone with a case that could scan the item's barcode, swipe my credit card, email and/or print a receipt. Square is an example of another organization that uses similar technology. It offers a free application for iPhone, iPad and Android-powered devices that comes with a free card reader which is easily inserted into the headphone jack on your device leaving users with the option to have their card swiped or entered manually as payment. Starbucks launched a program this week allowing customers to pay using their recently-designed iPhone app which projects a 2D barcode to be scanned at the register. With further development of Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology, mobile devices may soon replace credit cards and metro cards. The technology would charge users as their device is passed near a NFC reader at checkout stations or transit gates. And who knows! With the progression of technology, someday you may be able to pay back your pal for last night's pizza run by simply 'bumping'? the edges of your mobile devices together! Remote Control With GM's new electric car, the Volt, you can start, lock, unlock, and even honk your horn all through its iPhone app. This technology has also been used with Zipcar as users can also lock, unlock, and sound the horn throughout their reservation using their free iPhone app. A number of remote controlled apps for computers have become available, but one that has had a lot of popularity recently is the Remote app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. This allows the user to control his or her Mac or Apple TV right from the handset. Identification AMOLED is a display technology for use in mobile devices and televisions, and is included in all of Samsung's recent Android-powered Galaxy S devices. The company has been researching future uses for the technology, including incorporation into ID cards in several ways. If Samsung has experimented with AMOLED ID cards or licenses, you can bet that someone has envisioned carrying valid identification within a mobile device. Imagine going out to a bar and using your phone as a proof-of-age! Significance So what does this mean for us as marketers? Someday consumers may not carry a wallet anymore. Mobile devices have the capacity to take over our pockets and replace credit cards, licenses, keys, and almost anything else. Tangible gift cards and rewards cards could become obsolete, as the significance of location-based apps and brand-specific apps emerges. Mobile devices have the potential to become the single most important item a consumer owns, with an abundance of information on the user's identity and assets. While this idea spells a victory for convenience, it could mean a nightmare in the case of a lost mobile device, costing time, money, and who knows what else. Consumers will likely be more involved in determining their next mobile device purchase, and security is sure to be a concern.

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