Opinions And Ramblings By Adam Kmiec On All Things

Category Archives: News

Great Product Placement?

Product placement is an interesting business.  When Michael Phelps wears a Speedo swimsuit it means something.  When Kobe is featured in a pair of Nike shoes, ditto.  The list goes on an on.  The one product placement that has me perplexed is the Chinese Olympic Anti-Terror Force’s use of the Segway.  Yes, that Segway.  Don’t believe me?  Check out this photo.

 

Segway
Segway

Am I now supposed to want a Segway because people who shoot other people for a living use them?  I’m just seriously conflicted on this example of product placement, because I have no idea why it makes sense.  Thoughts?

Google Android Beta

Just read some exciting news about Google Android. Apparently it’s in beta, the SDK has been releases, and people are starting to monkey around with it. I’ve been praying for an iPhone killer and Google has the muscle to pull it off. The initial screenshots of the Android operating system look fantastic.

Android Screen Shot
Android Screen Shot

You can see more here. High hopes indeed.

If you are unclear on what Android is or why it could change the game for cell phone companies, check out this video.

Take Me Fishing In USA Today

So I don’t normally ready USA Today, but when our client and our site is featured I feel obligated 🙂 I think their write up is spot on. However, I do have a tiny bone to pick about their criticism. Based on the persona research we did, the need/want to search across states wasn’t a requirement. In fact, no one brought it up. Most people indicated they are going to a very specific destination and simply want more info about the location and what’s around the area. That said, we’re going to re-examine the use cases, personas, and needs/wants to make sure we didn’t miss anything.

Search Volume Does Not Equal Sales

Thank you Google for launching Google Insights.  To me insights is a more enhanced version of Google Trends. Google describes Insights as, “With Google Insights for Search, you can compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, and time frames.”

Here is what I love about this. Everyone wants to put money into search engine marketing. I’ve been in meetings where Sr. marketers have said, let’s move all of our money from X to SEM. I think it’s great that people are jumping into search, but I’ve continued to caution anyone who will listen, that they need to look before they jump. In my opinion, search volume is not an indicator, nor is it a predictor of sales.

Here is a great example of what I’m talking about. The following chart shows the change in total car sales of luxury car brands from March 2007 to March 2008.

Change in Sales Volume for Cars 2007 to 2008
Change in Sales Volume from 2007 to 2008

If we buy into the concept that search volume indicates interest, which indicates awareness, which of course drives the top of the so-called marketing funnel.  Well, if we fill the top of the funnel, then we’ll have more potential conversions.  So, even if our conversion rate stays flat, we’ll drive more sales because our opportunity pool is larger.  Make sense?

Ok, well here is a report from Google Insights that looks at the following:

  1. Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, Cadillac, Infiniti, and Acura search volume
  2. Period of Time: January 2007 – July 2008
  3. United States only
  4. Date segmented by “Automotive” category
Google Insights Search Volume for Luxury Cars
Google Insights Search Volume for Luxury Cars
I chose January 2007 because many classical marketers believe you need a period of time to be exposed, made aware, and re-exposed before you convert.  Do you notice anything strange?  BMW, Mercedes, and Lexus, have the highest search volume; or what Google calls “interest,” but some of the worst sales. How can this be?  Isn’t search the end all be all solution?
It kinda makes you rethink things a little bit, huh?  Well here is my take:
  1. Search is only part of the pie; you still need TV, print, display online advertising, etc. to drive overall site traffic
  2. The site needs to be optimized to keep the interest level high and send you to a dealer
  3. The dealer needs to close the deal
It’s literally that simple.  If 1, 2, or 3 are broken it won’t matter how high the search volume is.  Would love your thoughts!

Happy Birthday to Adam

Yes, another year in the books.  I feel older and lord knows I look older.  This last year has been great.  New house, new job, new state, and a new car.  I’d say it’s been pretty jam packed.  I celebrated a day early with a Dairy Queen cake.  No matter how old I get, I still love a good ice cream cake.

Birthday Cake
Birthday Cake

6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon Has Been Proven

According to a new study, researchers have concluded, “With records of 30 billion electronic conversations among 180 million people from around the world, researchers have concluded that any two people on average are distanced by just 6.6 degrees of separation, meaning that they could be linked by a string of seven or fewer acquaintances.”  The full article can be found here.

So what’s the impact?  Well, in today’s world of social networks, blogs, and the “power of the consumer” we need to be a little bit smarter about the things we say and to whom.  You never know if ther person you’re yelling at on a message board is related to the person you’ll be interviewing with tomorrow 🙂

Seriously.  Shouldn’t this be common sense?  Treat people how you’d like to be treated.  Simple, right?  Well, if you needed another reason to be mindful of what you say, how you say it, and who you say it to, you now have one.

YouTube Now Using Speech Recognition For Search

Overview
Our good friends at Google have added in a new feature to YouTube video search: speech recognition. Previously their search algorithm/method was based 100% on the video’s title and the tags associated with the video. YouTube video search will now integrate the actual spoken words in the video into the search.

Here’s a great example. Let’s say you have a video titled: NASCAR Accident and the tags used are: cool, random, car, NASCAR, crash. Well if someone is looking for Dale Earnhardt Jr. videos, the “NASCAR Accident” would never show up. However, with the new speech recognition feature, YouTube would include the video because the announcer’s voice over in the video mentioned Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Adding to the cool factor and increasing the usability is the ability to jump right to a specific point in a video based on what was being said. Check out this image to see an example.

 

Speech Recognition
Speech Recognition

 

 

Right now Google is only testing this with political videos. It’s only a matter of time until all of the videos can leverage this new functionality.

The Example

  1. Go to this page
  2. Look on the lower left for the module/section called “what did the candidates say”
  3. Enter in some search terms and enjoy

 

Possible Implications
For a while now, we’ve know that a good title, with great tags, and an eye-catching first frame help get videos found, noticed, and watched. With the ability to search and find videos using the spoken words in them, things will change quickly. More attention to the word selection in the copy will be needed. Using music as the audio could actually hurt us; because the spoken words from the song will be part of the search. Sound Sweetening and audio mixing will become very important and will need to be budgeted for. It’s possible that we can run the spoken audio at a low sound level so that YouTube picks up on it, but the user never really hears it.

Impact of GM Committing 25% of Spend to Digital

According to AdAge GM is committing 25% of their 3 Billion measured spend to digital. This is exciting for several reasons. Some of which are covered in the AdAge article. Those things aside, I think there are several interesting things about this that need to be considered:

  1. As the car companies go so does everyone else.
  2. With such a massive shift the web will become overly saturated with display ads, making the need for compelling online ads much more important
  3. The price of search terms will skyrocket because there will be more people vying for the terms. SEM is a supply and demand business at the heart. This means our landing pages need to be better and optimized to convert.
  4. If our brands hold the course and don’t increase spending they’ll actually be spending the same, but getting less reach and frequency for those dollars.
  5. But the million dollar point here is that we’ll need to become smarter, more efficient, and better integrated so that we can offset the increased costs for media by being more effective.

Good stuff and lot’s of fun ahead.

10 Commandments of Web Design

Solid article from BusinessWeek about 10 principles to keep in mind when designing sites.  I agree with most of the article, specifically commandment #1

 
“Adobe’s (ADBE) popular Web animation technology powers everything from the much-vaunted Nike (NKE) Plus Web site for running diehards to many humdrum banner advertisements. But the technology can easily be abused—excessive, extemporaneous animations confuse usability and bog down users’ Web browsers.”

The one I don’t agree with is commandment #8.

“Web 2.0 is everywhere. MySpace (NWS) and similar sites only launched the trend of having users communicate and interact—sometimes obsessively—on browser-based sites. Designers are now filtering those same elements into diverse sites, from smart advertising to online office productivity.”

I just don’t buy it. It doesn’t have to be social. Some sites just don’t require those features.

Anyhow, all in all a great read.

Google Quality Score Now Includes Load Times

Very interesting news that Google will now use page load times as part of their Quality Score. Google is siting the following reasons, “Two reasons: First, users have the best experience when they don’t have to wait a long time for landing pages to load. Interstitial pages, multiple redirects, excessively slow servers, and other things that can increase load times only keep users from getting what they want: information about your business. Second, users are more likely to abandon landing pages that load slowly, which can hurt your conversion rate.”

Flash developers and flashurbators beware…time to optimize your Flash files and approach to web design.