Ad:tech New York: SoLoMo and much mo’

With 50 talks over three days and close to 300 exhibitors, ad:tech New York is one of the world’s largest Interactive Marketing conferences. On the first day social media strategist Lynne d. Johnson invoked one of its main themes with a slide with one stark acronym: “SoLoMo”— a mashup of social, local, and mobile. They’re starting to seem inseparable. As Google’s Christian Oestien later shared from a Google/Ipsos OTX survey of more than 5,000 smartphone users: 95% use their phones to find local information — and 88% act on that information the same day.

Publishing Trends has reported on the dazzle of “augmented reality” apps in 2009 and 2010, but now the performance results are coming in — and they’re impressive. Johnson reported on how online retailer partnered with to enable customers to have a “live 3D experience” of Acer’s new 3D laptop.  70% who visited the site chose to “live the experience” and 13% purchased the laptop — compare that with the typical conversion rate of .5% and Lego’s Digital Systems created one of the most popular AR apps: “Digital Box.” Hold the bar code on a Lego box up to a scanner in a brand store and a 3D animation shows the assembled toy from all angles.  Can virtual pop-up books be far behind?

Social media is also starting to deliver knockout results. Dave Linabury of Campbell-Ewald reported getting 5% clickthroughs on promoted tweets on Twitter. Rustin Banks from Blogfrog chides marketers that “banner advertising on a social site is not social advertising. You need to get directly into the conversation.” Banks touts the “interest graph” as being more valuable than the social graph. Personal bloggers use Facebook but “interest” bloggers create their own independent blogs — and develop devoted followers. Marketers are catching on. AllState launched its “Share a Hero Mom Story” contest by seeding the conversation with 40 top bloggers reaching 3 million readers. The contest received 11,000 votes in four weeks. Intuit offered $50,000 to the winner of its “Love a Local Business” grant campaign. To get the online conversation started, Intuit seeded the story with 73 top bloggers — and generated 14 million impressions across blogs, Facebook and Twitter in two months.

Many presenters highlighted mobile’s fast growth. Adam Broitman of shared a Morgan Stanley report that predicts that mobile Internet users will surpass desktop Internet users some time in 2014. Justine Jordan from Litmus noted that while only 15% of emails get opened on smartphones, the percentage can climb to 30% for niche audiences — and both figures are likely to increase. Jordan identified some of the emerging issues with mobile email:

  • Go big — anything smaller than 13 pixels will be get resized so best to go large; resizing can really screw up tables
  • Imagine fingers, not cursors, clicking on your links: make targets “touchable” (44 x 44 pixels minimum)
  • Streamline content for easy reading and make clear, clickable calls to direct action
  • Never include a plain text “view on mobile” version — that’s an extra link to disappointment

In another session on email marketing, Dela Quist of Alchemy Worx delved into email’s “long tail.” While 72% to 80% of those who open an email act on it within 12 hours, Quist’s research finds that 25% of purchases occur more than a month later. One of his clients reports that every week 50% of sales come from old emails. So keep those links and reporting windows enabled.

Katherine Griwert of Brafton reminded marketers that fresh content is all the more important now that Google’s post-Caffeine indexing system scans the web every second for new content. Google’s new “freshness” algorithm update also prioritizes recent results for 35% of searches. Best to schedule new articles to post every day to keep both search crawlers and customers returning.  Griwert shared a case study that showed that adding a blog can improve search results. After Resolution Systems Inc. added a blog to help promote its sales training systems, traffic on its core keywords jumped from 50% to 400% — organic search visits went up 20% and time on the site increased by 39%.

While many panelists write books — Chris Brogan has Google+ for Business: How Google’s Social Network Changes Everything coming in January, and Lee Odden seems to pack everything into Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing, coming in March — only two authors had official book signings at ad:tech. Walter Isaacson delivered Wednesday’s mid-day keynote on Steve Jobs (watch video). His bestseller probably prompted the most thought-provoking remark about Apple’s iconic CEO when later that day EffectiveUI’s Anthony Franco warned marketers about business leaders who cite Jobs as an excuse not to do research: “Steve Jobs’s designs worked because he was designing for himself. Most marketers are not designing for themselves.” (see Franco’s article in September’s Fast Company).

The other author, Hearsay Social’s Clara Shih, drew on her book, The Facebook Era: Tapping Online Social Networks to Market, Sell and Innovate, for Thursday’s luncheon keynote (see her at 48:15 on this video). Many social media marketers skimp the details when discussing metrics. Not Shih.  Her talk urged marketers to “learn and live the new social metrics,” and in her blog post on “7 Habits of Highly Successful Social Marketers” she endorses the “four measurable social media metrics” recently outlined by analytics guru Avinash Kaushik:

  1. Conversion Rate = # of Audience Comments (or Replies) Per Post;
  2. Amplification = # of Shares Per Post;
  3. Applause Rate = # of Likes Per Post;
  4. Economic Value = Sum of Short and Long Term Revenue and Cost Savings.

As her last habit Shih encouraged everyone to pay attention to three important new innovations: Facebook’s new Timeline and Open Graph, and Google+’s November launch of brand pages (see video of Google+’s Christian Oestien’s ad:tech presentation on brand pages).

Publishing Trends thanks content developer and marketing consultant Rich Kelley (@rpmkel) for his reporting on ad:tech New York.