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Archive for the ‘Web X.0’ Category

Between 2006 and 2009, there have been so many changes in how advertisers, media planners and clients view their marketing efforts!

Social media, viral marketing, customer experience, two-way communication about products and services, more transparency in how products and services are reviewed, mobile advertising, portable intelligent devices, games and gaming consoles as advertising platforms… the list goes on and on – and the target is constantly moving.

So where does someone who’s new to the game, or someone who’s completely confused about what to do and how much to spend, go?

The Razorfish Digital Outlook Report 2009 is easily the most insightful articulation of the changes we see in the online world today.

Razorfish Digital Outlook Report 2009

Razorfish Digital Outlook Report 2009

Not only are organizations modifying their budgets for a more digital skew, they’re changing the mix to less SEM and more social and interactive online media. As most marketers have predicted, top-down branding is losing significance and social media messages are resulting in increased influence in purchase decisions. Advertising on social networks isn’t doing very well, and while that will improve over the next 3 quarters, going after “influencers” is still paramount.

The one biggest take-away some marketers in India still haven’t completely got their hands around: If you want your brand to be well known, it should be visible and movable across media: TV, newsprint, magazines, niche publications, mobile, portals, discussion boards, social media, intranets and even down to your recruitment consultants. It’s not too late to start listening to conversations and participate in engaging customers across all these channels.

Seth Godin, in one of his brilliant “condensed wisdom” blog posts, says:

“Who should you listen to? The critics? The fans?
You should listen to the people who tell the most people about you. Listen to the people who thrive on sharing your good works with others. If you delight these people, you grow.”

The best way to engage these hives is to take a huge dive into the social media space. Will it bring you more sales? Probably not directly – but if you take Dell as an example, that works too.

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It’s a common occurrence for people to get annoyed with overused, rarely-understood and highly overrated buzz words. The Trouble With Web 2.0 - Alexander Wilms - Boxes and Arrows
But to know what’s really entertaining, you should try taking a look at large “formal and hierarchical culture” corporations who desperately try to look hip and cool because they adopt “web 2.0” technologies in their existing web applications.

This very interesting article on “The Trouble With Web 2.0” elaborates on what seems to have become a strangely fascinating trend in enterprises. CIOs are talking about it, Senior management in a bunch of companies are trying to show small software services shops are touting it to every prospective client and even PR firms are trying to sell it as an “additional service”. The trouble is: most of these folks think that adding some audio clips, social bookmarks “Digg This! Add to del.icio.us! etc” to their boring, corporate, centralized content generated websites makes them Web 2.0.

The most important and most simple is that corporate behaviours and processes are not changed just by implementing a new IT service. Installing a blog in a formal and hierarchical corporate culture will not change the company in an open and informal community. Web 2.0 patterns will only work if the corporate and even national culture is already responsive to more collaboration and participation or if the implementation is accompanied by other measures to support cultural change.

The entire “collaborative content”, “decentralized knowledge creation” thing seems to be a little lost on monolithic corporations who’ve lived and thrived on an environment of “protect and hide all knowledge until absolutely necessary”. As for the ones that have evolved, they wonder why their brand spanking new Web 2.0 intranet just isn’t being used as much as the old intranet.

What attracts users to donate their time and energy to contribute to Web services like Wikipedia or Flickr while not doing so to corporate services? Psychology and economics teach us that there is no such thing as altruism – whatever people do will create a personal return of value for them. This personal value is measured by individual criteria.

Respect and prestige, personal reputation, political beliefs or desires, and of course monetary incentives influence the decision as to whether their contribution creates this value. People create an article in Wikipedia because they believe that the topic is interesting or important or because they want to see their name in print, and put pictures on Flickr because they want to share them with others, thereby influencing how they are perceived by others.

I agree, the answers on how to solve these issues aren’t here yet – Mindset changes along with the new technology is what’s needed, not just shiny new technology.

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Did you think that WebTrends and HBX didn’t really have any competition because of their domination of web analytics services over the years? I did.

Until, because of a new found interest in web analytics, I did a little reading up and was amazed at the sheer number of choices available out there right now.

ConversionRater’s guide makes good reading on the subject, but unfortunately is a little too brief for my liking. But take a look at the article anyway, it’ll give you an overview of what’s available out there.

One analytics solution that completely fascinated me was the one from VisitorVille. I mean really, its a visual treat to watch your site traffic in 3D, with little buses and people traveling to various sections on your site.

Take a look at some of the screenshots here:

Amazing, isn’t it? A tad useless, maybe, but quite the thing to show off to your manager while trying to convince him/her to purchase their services. 🙂

There’s a wealth of information on the new guys on the block, and while they all have their own quirks and issues, its good to see the competition hotting up with Google in the fray as well. I’ve signed up for Google Analytics, but they don’t seem to regard puny blogs as worthy for the beta program 😛

While there are a lot of cool free analytics tools out there, a note of caution: Most web analytics tools give you the statistics you’d usually want to see, but only highly customized (and costly) analytics tools will give you detailed stats, IP address-to-company matching and a whole lot of statistic views created specifically for your organization. Also, if you have a really popular website, then going for a log-file based solution takes some serious computing power – someone in the business recently told me that WebTrends can take upto 8 hours to spew out results of a single query on a large database!

Another interesting read I came across recently is this one, by John Marshall. Titled “Seven Deadly Web Analytics Sins”, he points out the most common mistakes people and some analytics engines make while looking at statistics. A must read for your clients in you’re in the analytics business 🙂

Lastly, here are a few more Web 2.0 company logos:
(No, I haven’t made this, someone else did)

In case you’ve gone to some of these sites and said “Hey this is cool, but I’m probably never going to come back here again”, I completely agree with you. Here’s hoping these companies have rational business plans this time around 🙂

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Design Patterns and Web 2.0

The new age of the Internet is dawning, after the colossal waste of money seen 5 years ago when it crashed all around us. Not only do we have a whole bunch of new companies trying to do some intersting stuff on the web, we also have the old regime of junk – dot com companies with meaningless names and funky logos, doing very niche and quite often useless things with cool interfaces.

For instance, take a look at these:

It quite amazing how all these companies have succeeded in resurrecting the “Internet economy” of the past, but with a lot more caution and this time around, solid business plans for revenue generation 🙂

Some of these logos most of us will be familiar with, as for the rest, lets just hope their angel investors cash out soon before the next bubble burts. With that logo list growing bigger and bigger every month, I won’t be surprised to see a few Indian companies getting into the game as well. In fact, thanks to Neeta, I just read an article thats talks about how overseas investors are looking at some Indian companies, and that the race to buy or invest in a few indian companies is hotting up.

So what’s the big deal, you ask? Well, quite a lot actually.

For one, web designers are moving to cleaner, more usable and much better looking designs. Most the the new sites out there seem to despise clutter, think CSS is the coolest invention since the wheel and treat typography as an art, and not just “Lest use Arial man, its the best!”. This is the best overview of this design evolution I’ve come across so far, please go read it, it’s good stuff.

The hiring game has gotten quite heated – all the big boys are offering quite a few perks to bring in and keep the best talent available.
Here’s hoping they start a perk race amongst HR departments:)

Not only has usability become very important, people are sharing their insights and *gasp!* sometimes even their code to ensure these good practices live on. The big boys are also playing nice, as one can make out from Yahoo’s example.

Personally, I’m happy to see all this. There’s a nagging feeling at the back of my head that says very few of these new Web 2.0/AJAX spewing/funkiness enhanced applications will actually live for more than 2 years. But hey, if they’re going to be helping make the Internet a better place, then I’m all for it.

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