Wearable Technology Privacy & Security Issues

It’s hump day! I hope everyone is having a good week; we’re almost to Friday. J But before we get excited about the weekend (Morgantown is hosting our version of Oktoberfest this Saturday *eeeek*), let’s dive into some issues surrounding emerging media – privacy and security.

This topic has been discussed in my emerging media class this week, and I have to say I found a lot of it shocking. For example, did you know that some businesses are suing consumers for posting negative comments on social media? I didn’t! However, for this post I want to focus on wearable technology and privacy/security issues. This issue is a bit daunting to me.

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Photo Credit: USA Today

Do you wear a Fitbit, or something like it? I do not own a Fitbit, but I bought my husband Brandon one for Christmas a few years ago. He loves it. We also appreciate the Fitbit brand. Unfortunately the first Fitbit I purchased for him did not survive an adventure in the washing machine; however Fitbit replaced it for free! (His new one also wanted to see how the inside of a washing machine works, but it miraculously survived and is better than ever!) Anyways, apparently owning a Fitbit has some major security and privacy issues.

According to an article in Tech Republic, “If data was carelessly stored, and then stolen through a data breach by a malicious third party and sold to unscrupulous organizations that want to use that data to assess your health risks, you could one day face steep increases in health insurance, or even policy cancelation. The risk of this is so real that some companies are buying data breach insurance to protect themselves in the case of consumer information getting into the wrong hands.” This same article stated that by the end of this year, an estimated 200 million wearable devices will be on the market; by the end of 2017, there will be 780 million – a hacker’s opportunity playground.

An article in USA Today took these privacy and security issues a different scary direction by stating that burglars could potentially use this information to monitor when our deepest sleep cycles occur or track our location to see when we’re not home. This seems a bit extreme, but it does happen. Think of privacy issues in regards to social media postings and break-ins.

What are your thoughts in regards to wearable technology? Are the chances of security and privacy issues arising due to wearable technology too slim for consumers to worry about? For now, I won’t worry too much about Brandon’s Fitbit, but these issues are something to monitor.

This is the last week for my emerging media class. Thank you to all who took the time to read and comment on my blog week-to-week. It’s been a great experience learning about emerging media trends and products. If I continue to see interesting emerging media findings I will be sure to continue to post them on here! To all my fellow classmates reading this post, good luck with our final. 🙂

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Are Mobile Apps Killing SEM/SEO?

Servizi-intenet-SEO
Photo Credit: SEOCOX

Earlier today I came across an article in IM Soup titled “Is the End of SEM and SEO in Sight Due to Mobile Apps?” It inspired me to look elsewhere to see if other marketing professionals felt the same; the answer was pretty divided. Some say yes, and some say no.

Those who say the end is near because of mobile apps. An article in Entrepreneur explains this reasoning best – “The reason that this trend toward splitting up is one of the biggest killers of traditional  search engine strategies is that it gives tech-savvy users a much more  targeted search option. Instead of searching all of Google for the best restaurants in Manhattan and being flooded with difficult-to-decipher results, users can search Yelp, an application completely dedicated to detailed lists of the best establishments, with review peer ratings, and make a more educated, simpler decision.”

On the other hand, those who argue that SEM/SEO is not dying argue that, simply, people need information. Google (or Bing, Yahoo, etc.) are quick, easy-to-use, and offer a wide variety of information. According to the IM Soup article I mentioned before, digital marketing company iQuanti’s CEO stated, “Will people stop searching because of mobile apps? I don’t think so because they need information. SEO and SEM will still be there, but what will change is how SEO and SEM are done. Mobile data gives you the opportunity to largely improve the quality of search. The more data, the better search outcome you can deliver.”

I agree with the latter. My opinion is mostly based off how I conduct my searches, which is via Google. To me, mobile apps clutter my phone and I tend to avoid them. Sure, I have the typical Google Maps and social media apps, but you won’t find Yelp, Amazon, or Uber on my phone. Maybe I’m old school, but I still prefer to Google my everyday questions.

So, I want your thoughts. Do you think the future of SEO and SEM is in trouble? Or, will we continue to say, “Hold on, let me Google it,” for a while longer?

As always, comments are appreciated! I really want to hear your thoughts on this debate.

Let’s Make Driving Happier

Entrepreneur
Photo Credit: Entrepreneur

Although we all have our fair share of stories regarding less than friendly drivers and their road rage, we also have fond memories of kind drivers. To go along with these experiences, we often show our thanks with a friendly wave. However, we can now show our gratitude with a smiley face emoji thanks to MotorMood, a California-based company.

I realize this post may not be full of marketing insight, but I thought this silly new invention may interest some of you. According to an article in Entrepreneur, “The company’s first product is a light-up smiley face that affixes to a vehicle’s rear window in order to say ‘thank you’ to — and perhaps even flirt with — fellow drivers on-the-go.” See how it works here.

Let’s make the road a happier place!

Oh, and I promise to post something more “in-depth” tonight or tomorrow. 🙂 Enjoy what is left of this beautiful Sunday afternoon!

Facebook Mobile Profile Videos: Do we care?

Have you all noticed the Facebook changes this week? It’s not exactly surprising when Facebook changes its layout; however, it has now changed profile pictures (or videos). Funny fact, my gram (who rarely checks her Facebook page) informed me of profile changes today. It appears my gram is now ahead of the social media universe more so than I am!

First, Facebook profiles on mobile devices are now front and center. Facebook announced, “We’ve made some design changes to mobile profile that improve the IMG_2226 (1)profile layout and better present information about you and your friends in a more visually engaging way. We’re moving your profile picture and video to literally put you front-and-center on your profile.”

Second, we no longer have to stick with mobile profile pictures; we now have the option to create a mobile short, GIF-like profile video. However, some of you may have not seen this feature yet. According to TIME, this feature is available to iPhone users first while Android users are still benchwarmers.

My question to you is, do we care? A digital blogger stated, “Ever notice how static Facebook profiles are? I mean, you’ve got an unchanging profile picture, a status update, and a biographical wall of text. It’s surprisingly homogeneous for a social network that ostensibly aims to project your individuality, and frankly a bit boring. But not for much longer [due to profile videos].” I agree with him. Frankly, Facebook is a bit boring. It was about time Facebook added some pizazz.

So, are you going to stick with a picture? Or are you going to have a mobile video profile?

Also, thank you to those of you who have commented on my posts. I’m enjoying responding back to you! And as always, please feel free to share topic ideas for my next posts.

Until next time!

Amazon Dash: Too Soon or Too Cool?

This week in my IMC Emerging Media class we focused on the future of technology and what is will offer. Most of us felt the continuous evolution of technology is exciting, but also a little daunting. It also led me to think how on in the world generations just a short time away from ours survived without all of these fancy technological devices. I mean, how did my gram live without a cell phone for the first 60 years of her life?! That’s just plain nuts.

With that said, I decided to do a little research on future technology. Sure, we think about self-drive cars and missions to mars, but I came across something that’s happening now (and it kind of blows my mind) – Amazon Dash. Check out this video:

Photo Credit: Amazon
Photo Credit: Amazon

Amazon has also created Amazon Dash Buttons. Brands such as Ziploc, Hefty, Tide, etc. have joined Amazon Dash to make purchasing easier for their customers. How does it work? According to Fortune, “You connect it via Wi-Fi to Amazon’s mobile app on an iPhone or an Android phone, and select the product you want to order. Once connected, a single press on Dash Button automatically places your order. Amazon then send you an order confirmation to your phone.” At first, Dash Buttons were only available for Prime members, but now they are available to all customers. Check out this video:

Are you impressed? Are you ever going to leave your house again? My husband and I went grocery shopping earlier today and, for some reason, we always argue. Our grocery shopping styles definitely differ; he prefers to run all over the store like an unorganized maniac and I like to go down each aisle, unless we have a list. So, is Amazon Dash the answer to our grocery shopping problems? Do you prefer the wand or the buttons? I think I personally prefer the wand.

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Photo Credit: Fortune

For those of you who chose the buttons, do you think brands should be in this partnership with Amazon? Earlier this month, Hershey’s joined Amazon Dash in hopes of placing more of their Ice Breakers mints in consumers’ mouths. According to Digiday, Hershey’s claimed, “We expect online grocery sales to surpass $80 billion by 2020. Having a strong relationship with Amazon has given us the opportunity to participate in their most innovative initiatives.” However, how many of these consumers will actually have a Dash service within their homes? Forrester analysts believe, “It’s not really about these brands – they’re just part of an experiment that shows how something like this technology can be done.” Although this may seem like a “cool” piece of technology, it may be a little too early for brands to dive in as Forrester determined that only 15 percent of Amazon Prime users order groceries online. Although I’m sure percentage will increase rather quickly over the next few years.

However, I don’t think I’m quite ready to give up my grocery shopping arguments with Brandon. Perhaps I am just not willing to give in to this type of technology just yet. Are you?

Like I always say, comments are much appreciated. Also, please provide any topic ideas you would like to see covered over the next few weeks!

Mobile Advertising: Building Real-Time, Emotional Connections

Digiday
Photo Credit: Digiday

My last blog mentioned that today’s mobile-first movement is shifting how marketers think. According to Digiday, in 2014 Americans spend 24 percent of their time on mobile devices, which was equal to how much time they spent browsing the Internet. However, only eight percent of advertising money was spent on mobile advertising – a $25 billion gap. Why is this? Perhaps marketers are not convinced that mobile advertising is effective because of screen size. Mobile devices are small, as compared to a large flat screen in someone’s living room.

Although mobile marketing budgets are surprisingly low, the gap is closing between mobile advertising spending and mobile usage. The Wall Street Journal stated, “There is no question that mobile budgets are growing; eMarketer predicts that mobile will be a $100 billion advertising market globally by next year [2016].”

So, how can mobile marketers stick out within this media? Will simple banner advertisements work? Probably not. They’re not “different” or “special” and, more importantly, they place themselves within a one-size-fits-all category. Mobile marketers who are looking to offer their potential and current consumers a different advertising experience are turning to a relatively new company, MediaBrix. According to an article in AdWeek, MediaBrix provides real-time, engaging, and emotional mobile advertisements, “based on a cocktail of biometric data, consumers’ interests, and hundreds of other factors.”

Rally Reward Rescue

MediaBrix accomplishes its connections by creating real-time, emotional mobile advertisements that show the brand as being the hero (rescue), the motivator (rally), and cheerleader (reward). For example, Cover Girl, one of MediaBrix’s clients, used MediaBrix’s to be the cheerleader for consumers. AdWeek stated, “MediaBrix has delivered ‘congratulations’ video advertisements via exercise apps for CoverGirl right after mobile users reach a workout goal.” Through MediaBrix, brands are able to create connections with consumers as they are completing a task (working out).

CoverGirl
Photo Credit: AdWeek

I think MediaBrix is onto something if they can successfully make this advertising approach last. The fact that it uses real-time connections within its advertising strategy is crucial as consumers are no longer within a one-size-fits-all advertising category.

As always, comments are truly appreciated!

The Consumer Experience is Far Better without Ads

In short, I get really annoyed with ads. I think we can all agree with this. I mean, who wants to be interrupted by pesky ads? I especially get annoyed by banner ads; they are simply distracting, so I installed an ad blocker on my computer. Also, while watching you favorite television show on Hulu, do you experience the ‘let down’ when the climax of that episode is about to happen, but WAIT! We have to watch a few ads first. I guess it’s a good bathroom break.

So, how many people block ads? According to a different article in Digiday (I love Digiday – good info!), in 2015, “Two hundred million people now block ads, about seven percent of the 2.8 billion humans online – up from 30 million ad blockers just four years ago.” The advertising industry is changing – fast. On top of ad blocking, the mobile-first movement is also shifting how advertisers think.

“I’ve read a lot on both sides of the argument. One side says ads pay for the content, so ad-blocking is stealing. The other side says ads have become an enabler, and clearly they don’t work since no one clicks on them anyway. The truth lies somewhere in between. But one fact cannot be disputed: The consumer experience is far better without ads.” – Barry Lowenthal, Digiday

Snapchat-snapstatsWhat side are you on? Either way, the advertising industry is going to have to recreate itself to catch up to consumers. I say embrace this change and cut the intrusive clutter. Perhaps social media will become more vital for advertisers than it ever has in the past. However, social media advertising could (actually, does) face its own challenges. For example, Snapchat allows users to skip video ads if they are less than impressed. Another article in Digiday (I know, so much Digiday today) stated, “When marketers think they are buying a 10-second ad, they really have to get their message out in two seconds, or else most won’t see it.” Snapchat users are quick to skip ads, and most do this three seconds into the ad.

What direction do you think the future of advertising will take?

Until next time, emerging media scholars!

The Quirkiness of Snapchat

Ashley'sSnapchat

I created my Snapchat account (follow me @ae_collins) about two years ago and slowly began to love it. I remember thinking how pointless and – I think the word I used was ‘dumb’ – before I created my account and even for the first few months. What the heck is the point of sending and receiving one-to-ten second pictures and videos? However, I eventually understood its appeal and joined the Snapchat fan club. It is now my second favorite form of social media, with Instagram in first place.

Only a few short days ago Snapchat announced that it reaches four billion views a day – wow. What is arguably even more impressive is how quickly this number skyrocketed. According to Entrepreneur, “In May, CEO Evan Spiegel told Bloomberg that the company was clocking 2 billion video view per day. And in July, the company said it boasted more than 3 billion views.” Who do you follow on Snapchat? It is just your friends and celebrity favorites? What about brands?

Since the beginning of this year I have noticed more and more popularity regarding brands and Snapchat, specifically with the creation of Discover in January 2015. Just in case you are not familiar with Snapchat or Discover, it is defined as, “a new way to explore stories from different editorial teams. It’s the result of collaboration with world-class leaders in media to build a storytelling format that puts the narrative first.” It consists of 15 brands, some of which include: People Magazine, National Geographic, Mashable, CNN, ESPN, BuzzFeed. Discover brands publish short bits of information ranging from news to storytelling videos to quizzes that change day-to-day. Hint: The National Geographic Discover story is awesome! Aside from Discover, many brands have also created Snapchat accounts, including CoverGirl, Taco Bell, McDonalds, Acura, etc.

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Photo Credit: Ad Week

So, why should brands use Snapchat and how can they use it effectively? First of all, in 2014 Snapchat was the fastest growing social media app and in May 2015 Snapchat stated that it had nearly 100 million active users. Also, younger consumers are jumping on the Snapchat bandwagon as the average Snapchat user is 18 years of age, with the majority of its users between 13 and 25 years of age. For brands that specifically target younger consumers, why wouldn’t they want to join them on Snapchat?

Perhaps most importantly, Snapchat offers a different experience for consumers to engage with brands. Although Snapchat may seem limiting to some, it can be a quirky, fun experience. For example, Taco Bell states that its Snapchat followers are “crazy engaged” and, “the platform is one of the most engaging places for us to play.” According to AdWeek, Taco Bell estimated that 80 percent of Taco Bell Snapchat followers open their Snaps and 90 percent of those watch the picture of video in its entirety. So, don’t look a Snapchat has being a limiting form of social media; seize the opportunity it provides! AdAge said it best – “See it has a shape your content needs to take. What you lose in creating high-quality content, you gain in intimacy and perceived spontaneity. Is a perfectly-lit shot of your product on Instagram really that much more valuable than a quirky, half-doodled visual joke on Snapchat?”

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Photo Credit: Ad Week

To close today’s blog post, I leave you with a few tips and tricks on how your brand can use Snapchat effectively.

  • Use Snapchat to deliver a gift – promotions, anyone?
  • Be quirky and creative. (Taco Bell does a great job at this.)
  • Getting ready to launch a new product? Use Snapchat as a ‘sneak peek’ for that product as a teaser.
  • Create personal Snaps through micro videos. Show the ‘behind the scenes’ part of your brand; you don’t always have to focus on your brand’s spotlight.
  • Increase consumer engagement through contents. An article in Forbes suggests, “You can ask other users to send you pictures of them using your product and offer a reward to those who do. The trick to getting the most leverage out of Snapchat is ensuring that you are always looking for ways to engage with your consumers.”
  • Lastly, have fun. Snapchat is casual and relaxed without much glamour – take advantage of that!

As always, comments are always very much appreciated. Have a good Labor Day weekend and don’t forget to send some Snapchats!

Spice Up the Old with a Little Bit of New

Photo Credit: The Barter Company
Photo Credit: The Barter Company

Is E-Mail dead? Before you continue to read today’s blog post, take a few seconds and think about this. E-Mail is most likely considered “old” by most. Heck, the first E-Mail was sent in 1971. In the world of emerging media, that could be considered as part of the dinosaur age. However, E-Mail marketing is still very much alive as it continues thrive and evolve within marketing strategies. So, let’s begin with some reasons why marketers should focus their attention to E-Mail marketing. According to an article in the Huffington Post

  • 58 percent of adults check their E-Mail first thing in the morning. When was the last time you went a day or two without checking your email?
  • Checking E-mail is the number one reporting activity on smartphones.
  • E-Mail marketing ROI is $43 for every dollar spent, making it the most effective marketing channel out there.

Also, according to CMO Council,

  • E-Marketing was cited as the most effective digital marketing channel for customer retention in the United States in 2014

E-Mail is easy, and cost effective. For example, at work we send a quarterly E-Newsletter called Country Roads and City Streets. It’s a newsletter we are proud of because of the design and interesting articles. (Well, interesting for our target audience.) However, it’s costly. Printing each edition (and mailing expense) costs a few thousand dollars, and for organizations such as ours on a tighter budget, we need different ideas for getting information to our audience. So, to counter the costs and continue to relay information more often we have added an E-Newsletter to our marketing efforts, Road and Street Speak. We send this E-Newsletter via E-Mail roughly six times a year. The best part? It’s free! It is also easy to track and easy to measure – more E-Mail marketing bonuses.  Shout It Out Design’s ’Top 10 Advantages of E-Mail Marketing’ states, “A user can track user via analytics, bounce messages, un-subscribers, click throughs, etc. These can be used to measure open rates, positive or negative responses, and correlates sales with marketing.” Check out the rest of the ‘Top 10 Advantages…’

Don’t get me wrong, E-Mail may not be the most glamourous form of emerging media marketers can work with; however, we can spice it up a bit. Earlier this year, Entrepeneur, published ways to ‘spice up’ a marketer’s E-Mail marketing strategy. This recipe contains 10 ingredients that are shown below:

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Step 8 sticks out to me the most – mobile. Mobile is the present and future, including how we view E-Mail. In 2014, Litmus reported that 22 percent of people opened E-Mail on their desktop, 25 percent opened it in webmail, and 53 percent opened it in mobile.

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E-Mail and mobile were barely even acquaintances just a few years before that. Here are some recommendations to create an effective E-Mail/mobile friendly campaign:

  • Be mindful of your subject line length. Most mobile devices will only show 25-30 subject line characters.
  • Grab a reader’s attention with a pre-header text.
  • Keep content concise and short – bulleted lists are your friend.
  • Be mindful if using images. Don’t get me wrong, images are great. However, not every mobile device has an image default. Make sure your email makes sense if an image will not load on a mobile device or the user does not know to enable their device to show images in an E-Mail. Think of images as the supporting cast and the text as the leading role.
  • Put most important information first.
  • If your E-Mail includes links, make sure there is enough room for the user to easily ‘tap’ them with their finger so it is click-friendly.
  • Test test test. Send test E-Mails to a wide variety of devices to see how it looks on every device.

Remember, E-Mail is not dead – it is simply evolving with the times. There are tons of information out there regarding how to ‘spice up’ your E-Mail marketing initiatives and I recommend that you use this blog post as a starting point in your research.

Do you think spicing up your E-Mail strategy is an important form of media to use for your next campaign, or maybe even just to use on a casual day-to-day basis?

Happy E-Mailing!

Welcome to the World of Emerging Media

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Photo Credit: Think About Emerging Media

Welcome to my first blog! In case you haven’t checked out my ‘About’ section, my name is Ashley and I am a graduate student at West Virginia University studying Integrated Marketing Communications. The purpose of this blog is to discuss all things surrounding emerging media for my IMC 619 course – Emerging Media and the Market. Thank you for joining me on this blogging quest over the next nine weeks!

So, what exactly is emerging media? Boston University defines it as the, “continuously changing, evolving, and adaptive use of technology and digital content and its relationship to work, play and learning.” Marketers use multiple forms of emerging media to communicate with consumers, and vice versa. Here are some examples of emerging media:

  • What we are doing right now – Blogging!
  • Social Media
  • Mobile
  • Micro-Videos
  • Websites
  • E-Mail
  • GPS Technology

The trick with emerging media is to stay current and in ‘real time’ as technology is continuously changing and evolving. What may have been considered ‘current’ or ‘new’ last month may not be the case a few months down the road. For example, in 2014 Nielsen reported that Americans owned an average of four digital devices such as high definition televisions, smartphones, and internet-connect computers. The traditional television viewing experience has evolved and been joined by other digital outlets. As a result, ‘The rapid adoption of a second screen has transformed the traditional TV viewing experience, with consumers using smartphones and tablets in ways that are natural extensions of the programming they watch.” Due to the innovation of digital technology, consumers are now connected to brands more than ever before. In order to continue to communicate and understand consumers on a personal level, marketers must first adapt to changing technology and create innovative ideas for reaching them through various digital channels.

I hope you all enjoyed my first post! Feedback is always appreciated.