Cashing Out: Week of December 4th – 10th 2011 in Online Marketing News

Twitter shakes things up with Brand Pages, self-serve ads

Twitter announced a major redesign December 8, and it seems the social network has seen fit to tweak nearly every area of its platform. Among the changes, some will affect users most, whereas others are certainly geared to marketers.

While Facebook has had Pages for brands for quite some time, and while Google+ just rolled out its own version last month, Twitter has finally caught up with brand pages of their own.

According to AdAge, the new feature will allow brands to display a prominent header image, so logos and taglines will be more visible than they have been in ordinary Twitter profiles. The format also allows brands to keep certain tweets at the top of their timelines, “and that top tweet also auto-expands to reveal an embedded photo or video from Flickr, YouTube or other sources, without requiring the user to take action.” Brands pages will also sort @ mentions and replies from one another.

Twitter partnered with an impressive list of major names, including McDonald’s, American Express, PepsiCo, Disney, and many others, for the launch.

Along with the new brand pages, Twitter’s launch of self-serve ads last week will definitely be a boon for marketers.

Though the Wall Street Journal‘s AllThingsD notes that the new option is “still just in test mode, and only open to a handful of advertisers,” the highlight is that “those who can use it can now buy ads directly via Twitter, using a credit card and a Web browser, without ever having to talk to a human being.”

As for how the ordinary Twitter user will be affected by the redesign, TechCrunch outlined its “four key elements […] a new homepage timeline, a better way to see anything related to you, an interface for easily finding context for hashtags, and a slicker user profile.”

Facebook unveils it Twitter-like  subscribe button for websites

“Facebook subscriptions are about to blow up!” declared TechCrunch December 7.

The fuss is over this week’s announcement at Le Web that the social network is introducing a “subscribe” button for any and all websites. The plugin builds on Facebook’s subscription feature, launched this past September, and allows visitors to a site to begin following a particular figure without leaving the site. With one click, they’ll begin seeing updates from that person in their Facebook newsfeed.

The feature, which does not yet have a launch date, will also come with the option to publish to subscribers only, if you prefer to keep the rest of your Facebook friends out of the mix.

While, as TechCrunch points out, the news is far from ground-breaking, what’s interesting about the new feature is how closely it resembles Twitter’s Follow button:

“While the introduction of a website button is typically relatively minor news, for Facebook, this is huge. It means that the company is directly attacking the entire Twitter model head-on, by allowing for these one-way subscription buttons to be as easy to use and as ubiquitous as they are for Twitter.”

DOJ may finally kill AT&T-T-Mobile merger

ReveNews has been following the proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile since the deal was announced in March. And, as we wrote in September, “in the game of mergers and acquisitions, sometimes hammering out the terms of a deal is only half the battle.”

AT&T continues to face challenges that could threaten the merger, both from the FCC and the DOJ.

Most recently, the company opted to withdraw its FCC application, in order to better focus on the antitrust suit launched against them by the DOJ in August. The company hoped that a legal victory in the DOJ suit would sway regulators when they submitted a new merger application with the FCC.

But, after a very vocal attack on the FCC’s credibility by AT&T’s Senior Executive Vice President-External and Legislative Affairs, James Cicconi last week, the company is now facing the very real threat of losing the deal altogether.

Now, AT&T’s greatest chance to convince regulators to approve the deal (namely, a victory in the antitrust suit) may evaporate. As the Washington Post reported December 9, Federal Judge Ellen S. Huvelle has said that she is considering throwing out the case entirely, which would of course eliminate any chances AT&T would have of using the suit to change the FCC’s mind.

The Washington Post quoted analysts who said “a decision to dismiss or even delay the antitrust case could all but seal the fate of the merger as originally conceived.”

And according to the article, Huvelle “expressed little sympathy for AT&T and T-Mobile,” calling it “‘presumptuous’ for the wireless giants to think they could ‘use’ an antitrust trial to influence the thinking of FCC regulators,” and saying that “this ‘strategy’ has a slight aura of using the court.”

If the lawsuit is dismissed, AT&T will have to handle the FCC first, which should prove to be the bigger battle, as the FCC has greater authority than does the DOJ in blocking the deal.

comScore and Buddy Media partner for social media analytics

TechCrunch reported December 7 that mobile data measurement firm comScore will be partnering Buddy Media, the provider of social media management tools, to bring brand-comprehensive social media analytics.

Being sold as a premium product, TechCrunch says the integration will help brand measure the effectiveness of their social media campaigns with the help of “in-depth data on reach/frequency, demographics, online behavior and benchmarking of competitive brands.”

comScore’s data will be integrated into Buddy Media’s product suite and workflow.

Amazon offers PriceCheck users up to $15

The tax issue aside, Amazon gave brick and mortar retailers one more reason to hate them this week, with a new promotion through its PriceCheck mobile app.

The app already allows users to scan the bar code of a product in-store and compare its retail price to the price listed on Amazon for the same item. That in itself has not thrilled brick-and-mortar operations. Considering that one of the few advantages physical stores hold over online retailers is that they can present consumers with a physical product they can see and touch, Amazon’s PriceCheck app essentially robs them of that edge, and uses others’ showrooms as their own.

But, as Mashable reported, Amazon upped the ante December 10, with a deal that offered PriceCheck users 5 perfect off or up to $5 off an item when they used the app in a retail location. Users were offered the discount up to three times, for a total $15 of savings.

As TechCrunch noted, the PriceCheck app puts traditional retailers in an awkward position:

“There’s little that brick-and-mortar stores can do to stop this. If they berate people for scanning their products with PriceCheck, they’ll just push them right into Amazon’s clutches.”

Add to that the fact that the app helps Amazon collect data on the pricing of its competitors and allows them to make better decisions about their own pricing strategy.

RadiumOne rolls out social sharing platform

Econsultancy reported December 5 on the launch of a new social sharing platform from digital ad network RadiumOne.

The new platform, called, looks at sharing behaviors, ” what, how, and with whom people are sharing, enabling them to tailor content or marketing to attract new readers or viewers.” In addition, publishers are given free analytics tools.

RadiumOne says addresses “two major voids in the marketplace,” concerning analytics and ad revenue.

“Marketing teams were missing out on rich data about their site’s ‘power influencers’ and which content and services drove the most clickbacks to the site,” reads a company blog post. The second void, likened to “highway robbery,” was that “publishers who had integrated a third party tool, such as AddThis or ShareThis, didn’t realize that these companies sell their audience data and profit from their users’ behaviors.”

This week in marketing studies and reports:

comScore says 38 percent of smartphone owners made purchases on a mobile device

According to a December 5 release from comScore, the mobile shopping trend continues to increase. Their data shows that 38 percent of people who own smartphones (roughly two out of five) have used their device to make a purchase at least once in the time they’ve owned it.

Among the most popular purchases made on mobile devices were digital goods, clothing, accessories, ad tickets.

comScore Senior VP for Mobile Mark Donovan put it simply: “Fueled by smartphone adoption, mobile is becoming a central part in the shopping funnel for many consumers.”

Cyberweek sets an all time $6 billion record

Mashable reported December 5 that this year’s “CyberWeek,” or the week between November 28 and December 2, was the highest ever. Data from comScore shows that a record $6 billion in online sales were made during that period. Their press release outlines the details:

“The most recent week saw three individual days eclipse $1 billion in spending, led by Cyber Monday, which became the heaviest online spending day on record at $1.25 billion. Tuesday, November 29 reached $1.12 billion, while Wednesday, November 30 reached $1.03 billion. These three billion dollar spending days currently rank as three of the four heaviest online spending days in history (with Cyber Monday 2010 being the other).”

“Quadrennial Effect” will make global ad spending rise in 2012

Researchers at ZenithOptimedia are predicting that global ad spending will rise 4.7 percent in 2012 “in spite of global, bubbling economic turmoil,” as AdExchanger put it.

They projection is based on what they call “the quadrennial effect,” which ties events that happen every four years, such as the summer Olympics and Presidential elections, to growth in the global ad market. The prediction also takes into consideration Japan’s recovery from its earthquake this March.

Consumers are increasingly turning to tablets for holiday shopping

A December 8 Mashable article cited a study from Equation Research that says that consumers are increasingly turning to their tablets to make holiday purchases.

The report, conducted for rich media merchandising company Zmags, looked at the holiday shopping preferences of 1,500 online shoppers, of which 238 were tablet owners. Among the findings were that 87 percent of tablet owners were making holiday purchases on their tablets, with an average of $325 spent per user on holiday gifts.

The study also found that tablet shoppers like to relax while buying gifts, with 50 percent saying they prefer to shop from their couch, and 20 percent saying they prefer to shop in bed.

About Emily Wilkinson

Emily Wilkinson is a Montreal writer and editor who recently joined Her experience comes largely from her work at print publications like La Scena Musicale, where she alternated between positions as content manager, copy editor and journalist.
She believes in the importance of strong writing, be it in journalism or in other media, like blogging or even social networking. Her prerogative: though language will and ought to evolve, a good writer need never sacrifice the communicative power of text that is written with thought and care, whatever the venue.
Find Emily on Twitter @EditorWilkinson

One Response to Cashing Out: Week of December 4th – 10th 2011 in Online Marketing News

  1. Spook SEO says:

    It really feels so nostalgic to read this article. Twitter has changed
    a lot today. Also, it is already working with one of the largest stock markets
    in the world. I guess all their hard work since then paid off. All they have to
    do now is to get more and more websites to be with them.