Google Tests Way to Track Consumers From Mobile Browsers to the Apps They Use

For advertisers, one mobile user has previously often looked like two. Google has a solution – they have come up with a way to overcome the ad-targeting gap between mobile web visitors and mobile app users.

The online ad giant is set to begin testing a new method of targeting tablet and smartphone users that connects the separate tracking mechanisms that follow what people do on the mobile web and in mobile apps respectively, the people said. Until now, advertisers have usually been forced to treat individual mobile users as two unconnected people, depending on whether they are using a mobile browser or apps.

A Google spokesman confirmed the effort. “As an alternative to less transparent methods, we’re doing some tests to help businesses run consistent ad campaigns across a device’s mobile browser and mobile apps, using existing anonymous identifiers, while enabling people to use the established privacy controls on Android and iOS,” the spokesman said in an email.

The targeting method relies on Google’s two-million-plus network of third-party sites and its mobile app ad network AdMob, which is able to track and serve ads to users of hundreds of thousands of mobile apps across Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android mobile operating systems.

Why It’s Hot

The consumer journey! We all now how much effort goes into understanding how consumers begin and end their journey across different experiences. Although an innovation like this was bound to make it at some stage, now it has. This will enable advertisers to offer ads far more consistently across a user’s experience.


The Voice-Controlled Lightbulb

Smart bulbs, like the ones that come with the Philips Hue lighting system, are pretty cool… until you realize that physically flipping the switch is sometimes faster than unlocking your phone, opening the right app, and controlling the light through your mobile device.

But what if you could achieve the same connectivity-based cool factor with the speed and ease of simply flipping a switch? The folks at Vocca Light Switch are looking to make that happen, launching a Kickstarter campaign to bring a voice-controlled light switch to the market.

See Video Here

Why It’s Hot

The Vocca Light Switch uses Bluetooth LE to connect to an app on your smartphone. The Vocca screws in between the original volt socket and the light bulb, and comes equipped with a microphone and a Bluetooth chip. You can set trigger commands for turning the lights on and off within the app, and then you’re all set — no installation, no wifi setup.

Along with voice control (powered by Sensory technology), the Vocca offers similar controls to other smart lighting systems on the market, including control of your light bulbs from your phone, and the ability to set timers for when you wake up, go to sleep, etc.

The company is looking to raise $40,000 to start mass producing the Vocca Light Switch.

Source: TechCrunch

New Apple TV game brings the ‘Dance Party’ to your living room

Apple’s set-top hobby has come a long way since its major refresh in 2010, thanks largely to a variety of services bringing different content to the platform. When it comes to gaming, however, the Apple TV isn’t exactly a powerhouse, despite being able to support it throughAirPlay features — something similar to what Real Racing has done in the past. Another developer that’s made use of this particular second-screen kind of experience is Rolocule Games, and it just announced a new free title (with in-app purchases) dubbed Dance Party.

The game, which clearly takes a cue from Dance Central, comes in the form of an app and uses an iOS device as a motion controller, allowing players to see their virtual, groovy moves on the bigger screen by way of Apple TV. Dance Party also lets you challenge other people who have the application, even if they’re not in the same location as you.

Why It’s Hot

A lot has been made of streaming gaming services such as Steam and Gaikai (which is now owned by Sony’s Playstation division). Many have also speculated how there is potential for Apple, with it’s Apple TV platform, to begin offering more and more games to users using it’s platform.

The big idea everyone seems to be chasing is a subscription-based model for a catalogue of games – much like a Netflix for games. Given that internet speeds continue to improve across households, this does not seem that distant a reality.

While xbox and Playstation might be focused on ‘hardcore’ gamers, there’s a lot of speculation Apple might revolutionize the casual gamer market like it did with the App Store. This might just be the start of that – over time, we may see a subscription service evolve.


Amazon Officially Announces Kindle Unlimited

Amazon officially announced that Kindle Unlimited, an all-you-can eat reading and listening service.

Dubbed a “Netflix for books” by TechCrunch, the service offers over 600,000 books for free reading on Kindle and Kindle-enabled devices as well as thousands of audiobooks from Audible.

Books include the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, the Hunger Games Trilogy, and Flash Boys, as well as other bestsellers. It also includes access to Kindle-only exclusives as well as older titles from the company’s extensive catalog of older works including To The Lighthouse and Cat’s Cradle.

Most interesting, however, is Whispersync for Voice which allows you to move from reading to listening without losing your place in the book.

The service, at this point, appears unlimited and you can have as many books in your library as you wish. There is a new button in the book buying interface – “Read for Free” – but it is unclear how royalties are shared with authors

The service is very similar to Amazon Prime Video, the all-you-can-watch video service. While there are a number of very visible best-sellers on the list, the majority of the content is niche content that may receive a new audience thanks to Unlimited. It is also surprising that the big five – the major publishers – are offering some of their best and most popular titles on the service. Clearly the revenue sharing proposition is interesting, especially considering you have a captive audience of intense readers who are willing to pay $10 a month for limitless ebooks.

Why It’s Hot

It was only a matter of time before something like this popped up, but it’s also a sign of where the printed book industry is heading. We’re all well aware that actual bookstores are getting rarer by the day, and Amazon’s move here is sure to go a step further and put to rest several more physical outlets. On the other hand, this could lead to increase consumption of content, like Netflix has done for movies and TV shows.


Nielsen and Kraft Pilot New Brand Tracking Tool

Did that ad actually convince someone to buy? It’s a question marketers often ask themselves.

The guessing game is over. Now, Nielsen can tell you, down to the individual ad buy.

The ROI-centric approach has been a major point of contention among marketers who are tired of buying age and gender blindly or trying to cook up data acquired from third parties; now, thanks to partnerships with Acxiom, Experian and Nielsen’s ROI-data joint venture Nielsen-Catalina, Nielsen can cross-reference transaction records with viewer habits and tell you what’s working with your digital strategy.

Nielsen’s newest product is going by the slightly unwieldy title multi-touch attribution, or MTA, but what it can do with marketing and purchaser data is the realization of longtime ambitions both in the measurement space and among clients and buyers.

The product runs data provided by a company—in this case, Kraft—against purchaser info culled from the data-mining giants mentioned above. It’s a good deal more granular than other tools of its kind, partly because it’s dealing with Nielsen’s vast panel—for digital ads, the company incorporates Facebook data—and partly because it’s cross-referencing a very large library of purchase info. If 10 people in the same ZIP code decide to ditch X,Y, or Z brand after watching a certain ad, Kraft knows what the ad was and where the viewers saw it. The platform itself is agnostic—you could plug in, say, Frito-Lay data just as easily.

Why It’s Hot

At MRM//McCANN, we’re no strangers to having data to drive insights. But this just shows how far things can go, and are going. It’s a tremendous leap in making more effective advertising – somewhat in the digital media sense, but greatly so for mediums such as TV which were earlier simply blasted out for reach.

There’s no doubt – we’re all waiting for a TV that’s truly ‘smart’ to arrive (Apple – this was supposed to be your job). But cooperation between cable companies and the Apple’s and Google’s of this world will take some working on. We may not be able to deliver custom-tailored television ads yet, but at least we’re a good step closer to knowing what works and what doesn’t.


Marketers Push Nighttime Products to Awaken Growth

It seems like Marketers are getting sleepy across the nation.

In a push to expand usage and therefore sales, more brands are pushing nighttime versions of such things as makeup removers and laundry detergents that once seemed to work equally well any time of day.

In fact, the percentage of new household products that either had nighttime versions or mention “sleep” or “dreams” more than doubled to 3.5% in the 12 months ended this May vs. 1.6% the prior 12 months, according to Datamonitor.

America's Most Common Health Concerns


They’re coming from marketers like Procter & Gamble Co., which first addressed America’s growing need for sleep with the successful 2012 launch of ZzzQuil sleep aids. The company followed that up last year with a Febreze Sleep Serenity line of nighttime “bedding refreshers” in such scents as “Warm Milk and Honey.”

Johnson & Johnson was way ahead of the trend with lavender-scented Neutrogena Night Calming Makeup Remover Towelettes, now on their fourth straight year of double-digit sales growth. That’s not bad in a growth-starved household and personal-care market that’s seen sales rise only 1% the past year.

Why It’s Hot

Marketers are no strangers to trying new dayparts to jumpstart growth (e.g.: Waffle Taco), and this is yet another instance of consumer healthcare being relevant to marketers.Night Calming wipes are one of the top 10 cleansing products overall at mass and No. 3 among wipes – so these products are doing well.

But nighttime consumer packaged goods products address a real sleep problem that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control calls a “public health epidemic” affecting 50 million to 70 million adults.

Sleeplessness is driven by two other major trends – an aging population and rising use of technology. Numerous studies link aging to more insomnia. One study found that only 20% or fewer adults over 65 rarely or never report sleep problems. Yet a 2011 study by the National Sleep Foundation reported that teens actually exhibited the most signs of “sleepiness” of any age group. A follow-up NSF poll this year concluded that teens who leave their electronic devices on at night get an average of a half-hour less sleep on school nights (7.2 hours) than teens who turn them off at night (7.7 hours).

One company has hooked onto this trend in a positive way: P&G, in response, has promoted a “Tuck In. Turn Off.” pledge urging people to shut down devices a half-hour before bed – and use their scented products. It only highlights a growing trend where the consumer goods and wellness industries continue to cross-over.

Smartwatches Finally Mainstream with Moto 360?

Several announcements were made at Google’s I/O conference yesterday.

Among them were three makers that introduced smartwatches – Samsung, LG, and Motorola.

While makers such as Pebble and Samsung have already tried to crack the smartwatch market, it is Motorola’s heavy design-focused approach that has generated buzz this year:

Why It’s Hot

Smartwatches have long been touted as the next big revolution in consumer mobile technology. However, so far, it’s just been the early adopters who’ve reached there – Google Glass has been more visionary than practical, the wearables tech market has yet to hit mainstream. With this design focus, Motorola could really knock at and tempt watch-buyers into a ‘smarter’ option. However, with Apple rumored to be debuting their own version of a smartwatch later this year, we could finally be witnessing the start of the wearables tech revolution.

An Excuse To Sit Down And Be ‘Healthy’

Ladies and gentlemen, you all may sit down, and remain guiltlessly so thanks to a new “smart seat cushion” called Darma.

Darma is a cushion designed to reduce the amount of strain users put on their back from sitting too long and from maintaining poor posture while doing so. It’s built to keep tabs on the amount of time users spend in their chairs in a non-intrusive way, and to occasionally nudge users to get up and stand or walk around.

Unlike other posture systems, embedded in the seat cushion are optic fibers that have light passed through them continuously. The system can determine how long someone has been seated, how fidgety they are in their chairs, and how good their posture is based on how the light passes through those fibers.

But that’s not all — the fibers can also measure a user’s heart rate, respiration, and general stress level through the cushion.

Users will also have access to all that data through a mobile app that connects to the cushion via Bluetooth and tracks trends in their health and well being over time.

Why It’s Hot

Darma is just one of several technological innovations bringing healthcare closer to consumers. The mHealth boom is one that needs to be taken seriously; Apple’s foray into HealthKit development tools, and it’s Health app in iOS 8 for consumers is just one of many indicators that this is an area with high potential. It is also a potential threat to healthcare professionals who fulfill basic medical needs in today’s industry, and an indication to how the purpose of those roles and services could shift over time.