Two tips on building microidentity

iphone.jpgLittle things are the new big thing, right? Well, in keeping with that notion, I wanted to share a couple of little tips on online identity. Whether you're a blogger or a corporation, these two items go a long way. One is very old school and the other is as new as new can be.

New school: apple-touch-icon.png

This one I found out when my lovely, amazing wife bought me an iPhone for Christmas. Thanks dear!! Through the iPhone you can add a blog/site to your menu just like an application. If you do this without following the next steps, however you get a very generic, non-identifiable icon. It looks something like this:

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Not impressive, not readily identifiable. After a bit of digging, however I learned how to add an icon to replace the generic default. To do this you'll need to create a PNG file that is 158x158 pixels. Here is the one I created:

apple-touch-icon.png

Now, rename that file to apple-touch-icon.png and upload it to the root directory on your website (meaning it will be at http://www.yourdomain.com/apple-touch-icon.png). The iPhone/iTouch does the rest. It resizes and rounds the corners and adds that shiny love to the image.

UPDATE: Here is a quick video overview of how this one works.

[Click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

Old school: favicon.ico

Depending on how geeky you are, you may or may not know this little file. The favicon.ico controls the tiny logo/headshot that appears in the address bar for a site when you visit (see below). It's a small differentiator, but that's okay.

To create this file head over to this site. From here you can create one from scratch or upload an existing image. Keep in mind the output is around 15 pixels square so make sure you use something simple. Once you have the file, you need to upload it to the root directory for your site. (Ping me if you need more info on this one.)

Shows up in the address bar in your browser

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Shows up in tabs when you have them open

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Shows up in your bookmarks to help them stand out

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These are both easy tactics to implement can make a big difference in user experience and usefulness. Feel free to add Techno//Marketer on your iPhone and let me know your thoughts.

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On widgets and micro interactions

Picture 6.pngNext Monday I will be on a panel discussion at first Widget Web Expo to be held in the US. The panel is full of brilliant thinkers including David Armano (who is moderating), David Malouf (an Interaction Designer for Motorola), InternetGeekGirl herself Steph Agresta, Steve Rubel (SVP at Edelman Digital) and Ian Schafer (CEO of Deep Focus). The panel is centered around a passion of mine, micro interactions.

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Micro interactions with brands are very powerful tools for marketers to engage with users where they live online. What I mean is that widgets and other micromedia are location agnostic. You can take an experience like a widget (or a service like Twitter) and put it on your phone, blog, website, desktop, etc. You move them as you like and engage with them in the way you want.

Widgets are portable, brand gateways

Widgets can live on websites and blogs and look like containers for third party information like these:

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Services like iGoogle and MyYahoo are made entirely of widgets. You select what you want on the page, move them around and remove them when they stop adding value.

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If you run OSX or Vista you can have widgets on your desktop that do any number of tasks.

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Most importantly, these widgets enable you as a marketer to allow your customer to have a window into your brand. Are you taking advantage of that? Widgets can stream live video, include maps, offer exclusives and really add value.

So what is a widget to you? Do you have a model that is stuck in your mind or do you think broadly about widgets? Considering that you can have an entire website or transact commerce inside a widget there is no real limit to what you can do.


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First//Look: Seesmic (pre-alpha)

What do you get when you combine video, social networking, micromedia and a very savvy French entrepreneur? You get Seesmic. Seesmic is the brainchild of French blog-star Loïc LeMeur and aims to do to video conversations what Twitter did to text-based conversations. The site is a social network where the primary content is video. Users record video, post it to the site and other users reply in video.

The site is in pre-alpha (only about 300 users testing right now) and a lot will change over the course of the next couple of months and I'll re-post when it goes into beta. Enjoy the video:


[Feed readers please click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

Here is an example of the user-side of the video experience from Seesmic:

Key takeaways for marketers:


  • The move toward video as an intimate, personal form of communicating is here
  • Technology has caught up to consumers and video is easy to record on Seesmic right through the browser
  • Conversations will be mobile on this site down the road so you can create, send and reply to videos from a mobile device
  • Content created by the users is re-mixed into a daily video best-of video that is then shared with everyone
  • Hooks into YouTube, Twitter and Skype help auto-promote content to larger, external networks
  • The company is asking for suggestions and proactive responding to them in video
  • The openness that the company is providing as they share how they are growing is a model more companies should follow

Through the videos they've created I have found myself becoming attached to the company and the model they are using to build a company. I will keep an eye on this in the future and let you know when more invites become available.

If you have a site that you would like me to look at and possibly do a post like this on, drop me an email or leave a comment on the post.


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First//Look: Firebrand (beta)

Picture 7.pngWhat do you get when you take a great user interface, add in the biggest brands from around the world and pull in all of their best commercials? You get Firebrand. Firebrand is a site that uses commercials at the content. There is precedence for this in the mainstream media where every quarter there is a show in prime time called something like "Worlds Best Commercials". The Superbowl ads are highly anticipated. People do like to watch good commercials, but will they come to Firebrand? Time will tell.

The site is in a private beta, but I'm showing it to you today to get your input. Check out the video.


[Feedreaders, if you cannot see the video, please click through to the post.]

Here are a few of the commercials I saw/found on the site.

Some make me laugh:

Some make me emotional:

Some I just love to watch over and over:

Key takeaways:


  • Great interface for showcasing, searching and navigating video
  • Big brand representation gives immediate legitimacy
  • Social interaction is key to engagement
  • Co-branded promotions and contests could be a driver of traffic
  • Promos are not interruptive (as they should be)
  • This is the long-tail at work, niches like this have an audience you just have to find them
  • Content portability is crucial and well done. I can take it on my phone, iPod, blog, etc.
  • Tie-in with TV channel could help drive traffic to the web

Key questions:


  • What is the revenue model here? Outside of the brands sponsoring their clips or paying to get involved, I am not sure.
  • Will people come? This is the key question.

What do you think of the site? Will you visit it regularly or just every once in a while (or maybe never)? Do you think it has legs to stand on?


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Mobile social media booming by 2012

iStock_000003640525XSmall.jpgI came across an interesting study from Juniper Research about their forecast for mobile social networking. As I've said before, I think this is a huge growth are that is almost entirely untapped.

As phone data network speeds rise and device functionality improves here in the US, the possibilities are almost endless. I know personally, I can operate almost entirely from my phone in a pinch (email, IM, MS Office docs, blog posts, camera shots to Flickr, etc.), but it's getting easier for everybody to jump in.

Here are some key data points from the release that I think you'll find interesting:


  • End-user generated revenues will increase from $572m in 2007 to $5.7b in 2012
  • Social networking will account for 50% of that
  • Active users of social networking will increase from 14m to 600m in 2012
  • Downloads from mobile content delivery services will increase from 200m to 9b in 2012

The study notes that data fees are really the largest obstacle right now, but I think we're seeing the start of these rates coming down as demand surges and competition heats up. Look for ad-funded models to also gain traction to off-set cost. The model needs, however, to deliver on value to the end user.

Could the next Facebook be mobile-only?

Could the next Facebook be mobile-only? Could you share more with people if your device automatically uploaded everything to this network (imagine that each photo you took was automatically sent to your mobile account)? Your phone's GPS could auto-publish where you are and text/voice/video messaging would all be integrated seamlessly. I think it's a possibility.

What do you think?


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Mobile marketing refresher

bluespammed.jpgI've been doing a lot of thinking on mobile marketing lately and it's sparked me to re-publish my mobile marketing 101 series from earlier this year. If you're thinking about mobile, this is a nice entry point.

I'm going to be expanding on this series with a focus on social media and new marketing in the next couple of weeks, so it's a great time to refresh on the basics. In the meantime, if you have any questions or topics you would like to see covered, let me know via email or in the comments.

[Related Link] MMA Global: mobile marketing's governing body


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Unrequested mobile advertising

call_feature_us.gifA while back Google's Eric Schmidt shared his vision on the future of mobile phones. In short, phones will be free because advertisers will, in effect, pay for your device and service plan in exchange for you viewing their ads. Sounds good right?

Well, Paul @ HeeHawMarketing recently had an ad appear on his phone without his permission and it doesn't sound like Verizon is giving him free service or a free phone. Read more about his thoughts here.

Right now mobile advertising is in its infancy. Carriers are going to try to get away with tactics like this until enough people get pissed off. In the meantime, marketers are going to increasingly have a tougher time using this platform if the carriers continue to cannibalize its effectiveness.

Would you be mad if you started getting served ads on your phone without requesting them? Do you think you should be compensated for seeing them or is this part of the game? What if they were hyper-relevant/hyper-local?

My post from yesterday reiterates the challenge that publishers are facing. The good ones are going to learn to use advertising as a desirable feature and not force it down the consumer's throat.


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Mobile Marketing 101: Ad formats

Just a quick post to touch on ad format standardization in the WAP mobile space. The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) has published a nice, concise PDF file that outlines current formats. If you have a chance check it out.

There are a couple of extra points to consider with mobile that don't really come into play with traditional interactive campaigns. Some of these points are:

  • Device type: is there a certain device that you're targeting (sales support/prior marketing deal) or are you targeting the broad mobile web community? Blackberry's behave different than Motorola Razr's behave different than the Sidekick and those differences are important (screen size, plug-in support, etc.).
  • Carrier: Are you partnering with one carrier to run a promotion or going after everybody? If you are working with one carrier, you may be able to tap into their proprietary hardware or software solutions.
  • Call to action: The call to action on mobile devices is also different. Users can use click-to-call to dial a number instantly, click a link to send an SMS message or vote, send an email to a specified address or proximity use proximity to find local information and drive foot traffic (maps, directions, phone listings).

Measurement is as important for mobile ads as for any other campaign type. Impressions, clicks, click-throughs, CPM, Impressions and unique users can all be used to measure and sell the ad spots.

All of this being said, there is room for improvement and certainly for innovation. Mobile campaigns have a lot of potential and as devices become more connected that potential will be realized.

Past Mobile Marketing 101 posts:


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Mobile marketing 101: Yes means no (until you say it twice)

yield.gifI am starting my series on mobile marketing today and one of the key points to lay out first is the idea of the confirmed opt-in. This has become the de-facto standard for gaining acceptance from a consumer before reaching them on their mobile device.

What does this mean you ask? Normally, say for an email newsletter, you complete a form, click a checkbox that says you want to be contacted and viola. You receive an email with a link to confirm your intentions to join the list.

The same is true for mobile campaigns. It's actually more important in mobile due to the fact that it may cost the user money (text message fees, airtime, etc.) and the juvenescence of this form of marketing in the eyes of the consumer. (Some mobile campaign creators will actually triple confirm their users. This is a little excessive, but possible.) This confirmation can happen through a website, text message, email, phone call or through snail mail (*gasp*), but it needs to happen.

So this is the first standard that any marketer should follow for any mobile campaign. This is a new touch point for your brand. Consumers are very protective of their mobile space and will defend it against unsolicited marketing more than any other medium. If done right this can be a nice asset in your toolbox. If done wrong it can be a PR nightmare.

The MMA has a code of conduct document you should check out before doing anything else.

Past Mobile Marketing 101 posts:


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Nevermind the iPhone, give me a video iPod+

Now, I truly thought I wanted the iPhone. I really wanted one. I would have killed (maybe not kill, but surely I would have gently maimed somebody) for one. Now that I've seen it and thought about it for the past week I realize that I don't really want it, I want part of it.

I keep coming back to one major problem. Cingular. Or should I say AT&T. Yikes, that makes it even worse! Let me clarify a couple points before I go on. I love Apple. I use as many Apple products as I can get my hands on. I love the design of iPhone. I love the UI. I love the integration. It's beautiful and I really want to hold it in my hand and never let it go.

So why do I say kill the iPhone? I, like millions of other people around the world right now, am accustomed to carrying around two devices. One does the phone/email/SMS and the other does video and audio. I don't mind carrying my Motorola Q and my 30Gb iPod. I like the functionality of my phone separate from my iPod because they are fundamentally different devices with different purposes.

So what do I want? I want convergence that makes sense to me. I want a widescreen video iPod in the same case as the iPhone. I want a camera in the device. I want Bluetooth for wireless sync and to use wireless headphones. I want Wifi and a built-in browser for surfing. I want to buy songs on the go. I want battery life. I want iChat built in for IM and video conferencing down the road. I want more than 8Gb of storage.

What I don't want is the phone. I want to watch video and talk at the same time. I want Verizon as my phone carrier and another device to handle my media.

Please Apple, release your iPhone to the dwindling AT&T users. I will covet thy iPhones in the meantime (I admit it). But give me the killer iPod I deserve as a loyal Apple evangelist and continue your (very deserved) domination of the mobile player industry.


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Google extending browser to mobile

personalized_home.gifI'd posted earlier this month about a feature on Yellowpages.com where the user can have listing information sent directly to their mobile device. I saw this article on LifeHacker (a great site with lots of great time savers) about Google's click-to-call feature.

Basically, Google Maps is allowing users surfing the web to call a business based on the listing information and connect it to the user's mobile device (or any phone really). So let's say you're looking for a dry cleaner. You go on Google Maps and search based on where you are. Once the filtered listings come back you find the one closest to you and there is a link to call. Google then asks for your phone number and calls you, then connects to the business. Viola. You're talking.

Businesses who can extend their services to take advantage of mobile technology will be more ready to take advantage of the true mobile web. These basic steps are necessary to build confidence and show the true power of portable, relevant, time saving technology.


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Apple and the end of the PC era

Om Malik, Internet visionary and pontificator, posted a marvelous entry on his blog Gigaom.com today. At the end of Steve Jobs' keynote address, he stated that from this point forward, Apple would drop the 'Computer' in 'Apple Computer Inc.' and henceforth be referred to as 'Apple Inc.'.

As Om states, this is Apple's final and resounding move to become a consumer electronics company and not a computer manufacturer. Other news sources and bloggers wondered where the *mac* part of Macworld has gone. Well, Apple has moved beyond the Mac. Far beyond hte Mac that we all think of today. But why does that have to be? This new iPhone device runs OSX, and does all of the major things that my Macbook Pro does. Maybe we just need to re-define what a Mac is and usher in this new era with more spectacular products and software to extend them to more and more users.


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Conill named multicultural agency of the year, Hispanic growth

Hispanic shop Conill in NYC was named Ad Age's multicultural agency of the year. Conill is a part of the Publicis Groupe family of agencies and has seen impressive growth.

Another Ad Age article from early December shows that Conill's growth is more the rule right now in the Hispanic agency world rather than the exception. US Agencies, according to Ad Age, have continued on double-digit growth as the realization of the importance of the Hispanic community is reaching companies.

Interesting items to note (from my own research):


  • Hispanics are the largest and fastest growing minority in the US
  • Hispanics consume a greater volume of information online than any other group
  • The typical online Hispanic is mid-20s and male (prime targeting demos)
  • Hispanic's use of technology is centered around communication and IM, e-mail and mobile technologies will reach them easier and more effectively

I could go on, but I'll follow up more on marketing to the Hispanic audience in a future series of posts.


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Bill Gates on ScobleShow

An interesting video interview with Bill Gates and a core set of influential bloggers is up on the ScobleShow site. Gates is very approachable and a very curious guy. I wonder if Steve Jobs would ever do something like this and seem so approachable?


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