Mobile marketing news dominated online conversations this week in light of a bevy of new products and partnerships. Internet marketers should take this chatter as a sign that it's time to reach on-the-go audiences.
At press time, “Nokia Microsoft” is a top search topic, according to Google Trends. As Brafton reported, the two companies announced a partnership this morning that has shaken up the mobile sector. Microsoft's operating system will be used on Nokia's products, and the two will collaborate on several features. For instance, Nokia mobile searches will be powered by Bing, and Bing Maps will benefit from Nokia's top-notch Ovi map service. In a blog post, Brafton explores several ways this alliance may impact the mobile marketing space, but one of the leading changes could be mobile searchers' adoption of Bing.
Even as Bing stands to gain mobile followers from the Nokia/ Microsoft alliance, Google has made clear that it is not giving up market share without a fight. At yesterday's Think Mobile event hosted by the search giant, Google made clear that it is committed to mobile search services. As Brafton reported, the company says its mobile queries have increased by 400 percent in the past year.
Google will also likely be launching new mobile features to help business partners advertise to local searchers. Last week, the company launched check-ins for Google Latitude, and this week, Brafton covered its announcement that click-to-call ads are rapidly producing results for advertisers.
The company may be wise to continue to invest in its mobile services, as well as its mobile devices. Search Engine Land reports that Google stands to make as much as $10 per Android user in 2012 – and Android users are a growing demographic. ComScore released its mobile subscriber report this week, revealing that Google is quickly gaining ground on RIM.
Speaking of mobile devices, HP unveiled its new tablet, the TouchPad this week. The device generated ample online buzz among both internet marketers and consumers, with Google Trends data revealing that it was a trending topic on Wednesday. Some analysts think the TouchPad is a viable competitor to the iPad.
Notably, the iPhone's Verizon launch yesterday was a comparatively quiet event. As Brafton reported, the introduction of the iPhone to Verizon users has been much anticipated. Although mainstream news coverage and conversations were dominated by the TouchPad and Microsoft/ Nokia this week, marketers should still consider iPhone marketing as a means of reaching Verizon users – Google Realtime results reveal mentions of the Verizon iPhone are fairly frequent. Marketers should bear in mind that the device can support sophisticated, interactive content.
On the mobile content front, Yahoo generated buzz this week for its supposed up-and-coming mobile content aggregator. As Brafton reported, the service will bring relevant news to users based on their search history.
Bing also announced plans to use search history to offer users relevant content. The company announced it is launching new personalized search features, and, as Brafton reported, the updated results will both consider users' locations and their preferred sources and searches in the past.
Bing will also be powering Yahoo's BOSS (Build Your Own Search Service) that developers can add to their websites. Brafton reported that Yahoo announced Microsoft's participation in BOSS, as well as a new price structure for the service. As BOSS is a popular (and still relatively inexpensive) service, brands might more seriously consider optimizing their sites for Bing if they hope to catch referral traffic from sites enhanced by BOSS.
The findings of a Forrester report covered by Brafton this week indicate that marketers need to start considering site traffic that doesn't come search engines. The study reveals consumers' reliance on search engines is declining, and optimized content must be used in newer channels to maximize traffic.
On a related note, Brafton reported that marketers will be spending more on content and social media this year. Sixty-one percent of marketers told the Society of Digital Agencies they intend to ramp up unpaid media spend this year, and 69 percent plan to increase social spending.
Investment in social channels will likely pay off. ComScore's 2010 Digital Year in Review reveals that nine in 10 consumers visit social sites each month. Moreover, the report says Facebook.com accounts for the majority of America's online time.
With this in mind, marketers were glad to learn that Facebook updated its Pages this week. As Brafton reported the company has redesigned the format of Pages, and it now allows marketers to make comments aand Like things on their brands' behalves.
While Facebook may gain enthusiasm among marketers for its Pages upgrades, the company lost a product developer this week. As Brafton reported, Quora announced that it has hired former Facebook employee Sandra Liu Huang as its product manager. In light of this development, marketers will want to look out for new products and ad opportunities from the rising Q&A site.
Though Facebook lost Huang, it may be looking to acquire Twitter. Brafton reported that insiders say executives from Facebook and Google met with Twitter officials this week, potentially to discuss acquisitions. The Wall Street Journal reports that discussions of Twitter's net worth have valued the company at up to $10 billion. While this number may seem high, the microblogging site certainly generated a lot of activity this week – during the Super Bowl, Twitter averaged more than 4,000 Tweets per second.
Foursquare also upped its game during the Super Bowl. The company announced it saw more than 200,000 Super Bowl Sunday check-ins, and marketers might be advised to get their businesses on the geosocial service.
While the Super Bowl proved to generate positive buzz for a number of brands, one company that did not fare so well was Groupon. As Brafton reported, the company's controversial Super Bowl ads were deemed offensive by countless angry social users. Some even commented that the social deal finder would have been better off had it been acquired by Google.
Google made its own waves in the social community this week when it announced fashion trend data is now available at Boutiques.com. While consumers may like this insight on hot styles, marketers may be happy about the data Google will provide on which of their products are being searched.
Google may be smart to offer more consumer-friendly (and marketer-friendly) features in the coming months. As Brafton reported, comScore data reveled this week indicates that Microsoft's search volume increased by 29 percent this year. Simiarly, Hitwise data reveals that Bing searches rose 21 percent in January.
Next week, marketers might expect the online conversations about mobile marketing to get louder as the Mobile World Congress begins on Monday. Internet marketers, stay tuned.