Apple Gets An Exhaustive iWatch Patent | TechCrunch

Apple is jumping on the wearable technology bandwagon finally. It will be interesting to see what Apple will bring to this fast-growing market. Tech-savvy consumers have already come to aware wearable technology, thanks to Fitbit, Sony, LG and Samsung who have invested a lot of resources on the first generation smart bands and watches.

We see the next generation of wearable technology to have several exciting characteristics:

(1) more use cases through additional sensors
(2) better interpretation of data captured from the user & the environment
(3) an open platform for 3rd party developers – eventually becoming a new ecosystem
(4) marketing opportunities for brands based on the new form of data captured
(5) new form factors (i.e. not just bands & watches)

The Content Marketing Revolution

A recent report from the Content Marketing Institute suggests majority of audience would rather learn about a company via an article than an advertisement. Content Marketing has become a buzzword for digital marketers. The skills to tell good stories and produce appealing content are essential success factors for a brand to market themselves. In SEO, given the change of search algorithm in Google (focusing on semantic search), high quality and relevant content can help effectively increase exposure. We can see that the e-marketing channels are evolving to an intelligent direction where content can be analyzed and exposed to audiences in a smarter way. We believe that “Content Marketing” will become more important later on e-marketers agenda.

Millennials a Top Target for Loyalty Programs

Millennials were highlighted as a key segment for brand loyalty programs, as reported by the eMarketer research. Nearly 70% of 20 to 34 years olds respondents from US claim that programme rewards can change their shopping decisions. Interestingly, it is not always rewards and points which are attracting these Millennials. Sometimes, it may be because of peer / social group recognition and opportunities to share their products / service experience with others.
In the age of social media, we believe that social networks can be good tools to promote loyalty programs. Providing ways for your customers to gain their social recognition online can be a kind of rewards (intangible but motivating). A simple example of integrating social media with your loyalty program: add share buttons after customers redeem their rewards.

China’s Smartphone Population Passes Half a Billion

Accordingly to eMarketer’s report, there are 9 in 10 internet users used smartphone to browse websites instead of desktop computers at the end of last year in China. The number is still growing and it is very possible that every China’s internet user will go online through mobile phones. This report is not the only report to prove that the population of online mobile phone usage is growing. It serves as another convincing factor to start planning your marketing campaigns with the concept of “Mobile First”. Some keywords you may want to be familiar with: mobile sites, apps, QR codes, NFC, responsive layout.

US Mobile Ad Dollars Shift to Search Apps

eMarketer reported that there are increasing searches being done on mobile apps. Number of searches on search engines inside mobile browsers is decreasing. This change on search behavior is believed to be caused by the growing popularity of mobile apps and the increasing time that users are willing to spent on the them. Apps like Kayak (a travel related search app), Indeed (a job search app) and Amazon (an ecommerce sales app) are some examples of where the search engines traffic goes.

We believe that this report is suggesting us to explore other strategies while we may be focusing on search engine optimization only at this moment. We shall need to be aware of this change in the search engines industry and consider if there is a possibility to invest for being listed on relevant mobile apps.

Pinterest Rolling Out Self-Service Advertising

Pinterest has announced self-service advertising. Marketers can pay to promote their pins to reach more audience.

This is a good news to promotions that are visually-driven, especially. hospitality, food & beverage and fashion industry. Comparing to Instagram, Pinterest is quicker to monetize by launching this programme. We belive Instagram may soon launch a similar programme. While majority of Pinterest users are from the U.S., marketers in Asia Pacific region should keep an eye on this development as social media participation grows faster than that of Western countries. We shall continue to monitor this and report our latest findings at here.

Facebook changes privacy setting again – this time to scale back sharing

Facebook changed the default privacy setting of all content sharing to be “Friends” instead of “Public”. It is understandable for Facebook to make this move as there are many users concern about their own privacy. For marketers who choose Facebook as one of their marketing channels, the change can mean less exposure of their marketing messages to the public. In this case, influencers (people who have large number of friends) is becoming more important in the target audience group. This information may not affect how you execute your data acquisition plan, but we think it will help to adjust your estimation on the ROI of Facebook marketing campaigns.

Retailers Look to Merge Offline and Online Shopping Experiences in 2014

In a November 2013 survey on US digital shoppers by consulting firm Accenture, it showed that up to 72% of respondents had “showroomed” (bought digitally after browsing at a store). Meanwhile, there are 78% of respondents bought in-store after browsing digitally.

We believe this figure is suggesting that both online and offline channels can enhance each other and bring a more comprehensive shopping experience to the consumers. After all, we know that the ultimate goal for retailers to embrace digital solutions is to drive sales.

The Case for the 5-Second Interactive

Big data in 2014 is certainly a hot topic. But given that complexity and large volume, we believe that communicating the meaning of data with people is a challenge that cannot be neglected. An article from the Harvard Business Review suggested some useful techniques on data visualization, i.e. eliminating unnecessary data to help user deciding where to focus, use animation to help making sense of the information.

We believe that effective data visualization can help management team to make better business decisions. In the area of digital marketing, as the amount of data which can be collected from the customer engagement cycle is growing, we find that there are a lot of tools or companies working on this and evolving with the big data technologies. As professional marketers, we are grateful to see this happening. We welcome more mature big data visualization tools to facilitate marketers making smarter moves.

Facebook Debuts Audience Network and Anonymous Login

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg made 2 key product announcements: the launching of Audience network and anonymous login.

We had Google’s AdMob and Apple’s iAds platforms dominating the in-app ads previously, but with the Audience Network, there is one more option for marketers to consider when they need to place ads on mobile app. But is this useful given the nature of Facebook is mainly social in nature, while Google and Apple has a more wide spread ads placement channels?

On the other hand, Anonymous Login allows users to decide what data they want to give to an app before signing in. We believe that this may change the data acquisition approach in social media campaigns. This function is still in testing stage and information is limited. We think this is a signal that customer data collection starts to turn to behavioral-focused rather than demographic-focused.