eBooks with Antennas- Tracking Purchases or You?

Is Your E-Book Reading Up On You?” as reported on NPR last week, as customers purchase and unwrap their e-Books such as Amazon’s kindle, Apple iPad, B&N Nook, Sony Reader, FBReader and others your purchase and reading behavior can be tracked.

“E-readers log the users’ books, pages, length of time and reading behavior,” says Cindy Cohn, legal director for the non-profit Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in an NPR interview.  Cohn compiled a privacy policy e-book buyer’s guide, where she could find privacy policies using 8 e-book platform/products.

Each has their own e-book standard, each with their own e-reader, location of purchase, and privacy policies.

1.  Google Books

In the past 10 years books have gone digital.  Google Books is a digital online storage location containing millions of books, where you can shop for your books.  You can read on your laptop and mobile devices with an Internet connection.

Google ebooks sync your books with devices, so you can pick up where you left off.  As an example, should you purchase “The Gift” by James Patterson (listed at $9.99) you can access it from Google Android,iPhone/iPad/iTouch for the Web as well as Nook and Sony.

Privacy. Searches are only stored when users are logged in to any Google online service.  As an example if you are logged into Gmail and you search a book title your search will be stored; if you are not logged in, then associate searches will not be stored.  Specific book and pages viewed on a website are tracked.  Annotations may also be tracked.  Since Google Books are accessed through an online “digital library” rather than an e-reading device downloads are only available through Google’s web interface.  All book purchases with Google and other sources are tracked through the user’s Google Account.  Information can be shared with law enforcement, civil litigations and among Google’s other products.  Users however, must opt-in to allow information to be shared with third parties.  Users of Google Books can delete book titles and search history, but reading such titles may no longer be available.

2.  Amazon Kindle

Kindle is a wireless e-reader, 1/3 of an inch thick, holding 3,500 books and a month of battery charge.  With 3G wireless you can purchase books in 100 countries and utilizing electronic ink display, make the pages look like book pages.

Titles can be purchased or in some instances, free.  Amazon releases an e-book bestsellers list of 100 titles periodically, both paid and free titles, including the free title A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, which beat the “Oprah effect” book club list expectations.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens currently ranks #6 on Kindle’s free e-book download.

In an interview with Charlie Rose, Jeff Bezos, CEO & Founder of Amazon.com stated that the Kindle e-reader is a small part of Amazon’s larger retail business model.  The marketing plan is long term with little return expected within the first 5 years after introduction.  Kindle compliments Amazon’s other products.  “Kindle is a very different product,” says Bezos.  “Amazon does a good job for me so I’ll try this Kindle.”

Last July (2009) Amazon bought Zappos for 10 million sharesof Amazon common stock worth $807 million, plus $40 million in cash and restricted stock for Zappos employees. Zappos is an online retailer of shoes and clothing, a company also known to practice ad retargeting.

Privacy. Product views and/or searches from Kindle are logged.  To conduct searches within the book requires login.  It is unclear as to whether information from searches for books done at third party locations is reported back to Amazon, as their privacy policy does not clearly state it.  As to what a user is reading, Kindle can log books and pages read and may monitor annotations.  For platform or file formats compatible with Kindle, Amazon has their propriety AZW or Amazon Whispernet, their online bookstore with 630,000 titles, which is compatible with iPhones or PC’s.  Amazon keeps track of book purchases, but it’s not clear if your purchases elsewhere (e.g. Google Books) are tracked.  Amazon can share your information with law enforcement, civil litigants, and among other Amazon products.  For marketing purposes, users may opt-out only for certain promotions.  Users can change their account profile, but Amazon reserves the right to retain purchase history.

Price – $139 with WiFi hotspot.  The $189 3G can download a book within 60 seconds in 100 countries.

3. B&N Nook

Nook Color is an e-reader similar in design but a competitor of Kindle Reader.  While Kindle is a black and white e-reader, Nook is focusing on its color to appeal to children and families and as a platform for illustrated e-books.  The Nook Color is particularly geared toward children’s titles, cookbooks, and photography books.

Nook currently has over 2 million titles for download.  While Apple recently introduced over 100 children’s titles for iPad and Disney has reached over a million downloads of mobile book apps for Disney characters including Winnie the Pooh and Toy Story.

Privacy. Privacy is unclear.  Searches made on Nook are tracked and B&N does not disclose whether a search is made in an external site if the user is logged in.  Privacy policy keeps the door open for the possibility of searches tracked on other sites.  Most likely reading behavior is not monitored after purchase, but terms remain unclear.  Nook supports popular e-book file extensions including EPUB, PDF from other sources (Adobe DRM or non-DRM), but many Nook features are disabled using these other sources.  Nook does not support Amazon’s AZW format.  B&N keeps track of book purchases as they pertain to customer loyalty programs but apparently do not track books obtained elsewhere from the Nook.  Information may be shared and collected through their e-book store such as products, law enforcement and litigants.  Information may also be shared among third parties.  Users may choose to opt-out only for certain promotions and certain analytics used by third parties.  Purchase history cannot be deleted, however users can change their account profiles.

Price – nook color $249, nook $149.

4.Sony Reader

The Sony Reader is an e-reader with a 5” touch screen, two weeks of battery life and storage for up to 1,200 books.  Sony Reader features a read along Reader Store and e-Books available at participating local libraries (since library e-books expire automatically the user does not have to worry about late fees).  The Cuyahoga County Libraryhas a digital media catalog with many free titles.  The Sony Reader and B&N Nook support EPUB and PDF ebooks, the Kindle does not.

The Cuyahoga County Public Library uses OverDrive a company that distributes premium digital content for libraries, schools, publishers, retailers, and enterprises.   Other readers that the library can support through the OverDrive network are B&N Nook and WiFi, B&N NookColor, Kobo eReader, Literati Reader, Pandigital Novel, Apple iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch, Archos 5 Internet Tablet, Cruz Tablet, HTC Droid Eris/HTC G1, LG Ally, Motorola Cliq, Motorola Droid, Samsung Galaxy S, Samsung Intercept and Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini.  The Adobe Epub & PDF eBooks are not compatible with Aluratek Libre eReader, Amazon Kindle/Kindle DX.  The Cuyahoga County Public Library has regular eReader workshops scheduled through next July where users can learn and compare eReaders.

Sony Reader can also access Google Books.

Despite rumors that Kindle has sold millions of units, Sony’s Reader Touch although pricier has outsold its Reader Pocket.

Privacy. If users purchase titles from the Reader Store, Sony logs IP address and message information for their online store, but users have to be logged in.  As far as monitoring after purchase, Sony does not log information about how content on the device is viewed.  Sony Reader supports DRM formats including Adobe EPUB but does not support Amazon’s AZW format.  Sony tracks purchases from its Reader Store, but users must log in at which time Sony assigns a cookie to track book purchases for licensing purposes.  Sony does not keep track of books obtained elsewhere such as an e-book download from a library.  Sony Reader can share non-aggregated information through law enforcement, litigants, other Sony products and Borders, its Reader Store partner.  For marketing and promotion purposes users may opt in or out, but users must contact Borders.

Price – $149.99 for the Pocket Edition, $229.99 for Touch Edition, $299.99 for Daily Edition.

5.Apple iPad

Amazon Kindle’s major competitor, the iPad is an e-reading device that uses an iBooks app available free from the App Store, where users can browse tens of thousands of books from the iBookstore and the New York Timesbestseller lists.  As book titles accrue, users can organize them into group books or PDF’s available for download on iPhone and iPod touch.

iPad has a built in word search dictionary using Wikipedia.

There are currently over 150,000 books in the iBookstore using ePub format.  To compete with Nook, iPad has full color for viewing children’s books, cookbooks and photography books.  Options also exist where users can listen to an author reading their favorite passage.  The PDF book titles can be synced with MAC or PC or print via AirPrint.  Similar to Google Book options, iPad allows you to auto save and continue where you left off, continue the story or chapter with your iPhone or iPod Touch or bookmark a section.

Privacy. If purchased from iBookstore or other Apple applications, orders or tracked.  After a purchase is made or content is obtained elsewhere, Apple privacy policy states that Apple only obtains unidentifiable information.  Regarding file support, iPad supports ePub and PDF’s as well as Amazon’s AZW (with additional software).  iPad can also track book purchases elsewhere provided they are searched in iBookstore or through other Apple products.  Information can be shared with law enforcement, civil litigants, Apple service providers, vendors and partners within Apple.  Customers may chose to opt out of certain marketing and custom advertising.  Purchase history cannot be deleted however book titles can be deleted along with losing the ability to read them.

Price – $499 and up.

Depending on delivery and the source of e-book content, the major e-book market players are ready to satisfy users in this quickly growing market.  But beware, they may also be tracking you.

Web 2.0 Summit the Battle for the Network Economy Sum Up: It’s Mobile

Apple is a force in mobile advertising, Google is fighting off Microsoft in search, Facebook in social now has to find its borders next to Twitter, LinkedIn, and Myspace. This "Points of Control" map was created for the Web Summit to illustrate the battleground for the network economy. The incumbents and attackers, not to mention the sea of Spam and Government PoliSeas.

The 7th annual Web 2.0 Summit Conference held at the Palace Hotel, in San Francisco in November (2010), identified 10 points of control in the network economy, according to Mary Meeker, managing director of Morgan Stanley’s global technology research.  As the territories, acquisitions, and movement play out businesses involved with the network economy need to ask themselves what unique value added product or service can your company deliver to an incumbent or a new “attacker”?  And is the network economy mainly heading toward advertising revenue to pay for services like Facebook and Twitter?

During the Web 2.0 Summit Meeker highlights 10 points of Control or Internet trends.

1. Globality. 46 percent of Internet users are in 5 countries.

a.       USA 76 percent penetration

b.      Russia 42 percent penetration

c.       Brazil 39 percent penetration

d.      China 29 percent penetration

e.       India 5 percent penetration

Each of these countries has the greatest innovative climate for the network economy and to further improve your business core competencies; companies in those countries can teach us lessons on how to improve.  Globally, 670 million 3G subscribers access mobile Internet, showing a 37 percent Y/Y growth rate.

The highest current mobile markets are the US (136.6 million subscribers) and Japan (106.3 million subscribers).  Those markets with the greatest growth are Indonesia (57 percent Y/Y), Brazil (148 percent Y/Y), and China (941 percent Y/Y).

Two companies learning from each other how to position themselves in the network economy are Facebook and Tencent.

Tencent is China’s largest social network.  It’s like their “Facebook” with 637 million users purchasing $1.4 billion in virtual goods in 2009; gaming items to customize their virtual identity or avatar.  Facebook, 620 million users, uses real identity and may look into virtual goods to supplement their advertising revenue.

2. Mobile. Led by iPhone and Google Android; these new attackers are helping to drive the market.  Google Android has grown from 0-25 percent from 4Q08 to 4Q10.  Andy Rubin, Google executive, announced a few days ago that 300,000 Android phones are activated every day, Apple is activating 270,000 iOS devices a day.  While Android OS devices exceed Apple numbers, Apple has demonstrated quick and large sales numbers on product launches, like iPhone 4, which sold 1.7 million units in 3 days.

3. Social Ecosystems.Is it better to be Apple, Facebook, or Google?  Mary Meeker said that typically incumbents get phased out by attackers in the industry, but this time the larger companies are innovative and with different platform types.  Google has seen 16 percent Y/Y Paid click growth rates, whereas Facebook (620 million users) increase active members of 51 percent Y/Y, and Apple (iPhone, iTouch, iPad) currently has 120 million users or 111 percent Y/Y subscriber growth rates.

4. Advertising. Online advertising.  Meeker takes the audience through a slide of media time spent as it relates to ad spending in 2009.

a.       Print. 12 percent time spent, 26 percent ad spending.

b.      Radio. 16 percent time spent, 9 percent ad spending

c.       TV. 31 percent time spent, 39 percent ad spending

d.      Internet. 28 percent time spent, 13 percent ad spending

Of the 4 different media platforms, time spent and ad spending are expected to decrease in print, radio, and TV.  Since time online is expecting to increase the percent of online ad spending has yet to shift online dollars and mobile excitement is ripe from social network inventory, personalization, and local advertising.

Other online advertising trends and topics include privacy verses web analytics, retargeting, Facebook “like” vertising, exploring new advertising strategies on Twitter using Resonance through promoted tweets and trending topics, net neutrality, text advertising and other mobile marketing campaigns, Google AdWords and other search advertising, YouTube Display Ads, mobile display ads, or even QR code advertising informing customers of product or mobile coupon redemption.

5. Commerce. “Like a game.” Location-based services like Foursquare and Gowalla, group buying.  Gowalla has nearly finished creating 200 custom virtual stamps for Walt Disney World theme parks, as a fun way for Park visitors to share their memories (post photos of locations) with their family and friends, online.  Foursquare is a location based service where friends compete to see who’s the most social according to the number of badges they unlock and mayorships.  Location based services have thus far been criticized as a social game, but Mary Meeker points out that it has taken eCommerce 15 years to reach 5 percent of retail, while mobile eCommerce can reach 5 percent of retail within 5 years.

6. Media.On-demand video.  Online streaming video is up 37 percent Internet traffic during traditional TV hours, viewers on Netflix, YouTube, and Flash, according to Meeker.  YouTube content adds 35 hours every minute.

7. Internet Company Leadership. Over 6 years, 7 companies in 2004 did not make it to 2010, and 7 companies not on the 2004 list made it in 2010, according to their market share.

8. Steve Jobs. Point 8 discusses the philosophical prospective of successful Internet leaders like Steve Jobs, who has been described as by Larry Ellison, founder and CEO of Oracle Corporation since 1977, said that Steve Jobs has the, “Mind of an engineer and the heart of an artist.”

9. Ferocious Pace of Change in tech. How do you create a product or service that incumbents or attackers cannot live without?  Mary Meeker has not seen these high levels of innovation from incumbent companies in the past 20 years, and high innovation from attackers, too.  Clayton Christensen, the Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School said disruptive innovation occurs in 2 ways.  1.  Low-End Segment Strategy.  It’s what amazon.com, Netflix, and PayPal did:  a product is introduced at the low end that is neither profitable for the incumbent nor does it meet its customer demand.  2.  Non-Consumption Strategy.  It’s what iPhone, iPad, and Facebook did:  a product is introduced that was completely unavailable before.

10. Mary Meeker’s closing thoughts. Large companies don’t normally support innovations and she explains how companies with high revenue do not usually support such high Y/Y growth rates.  These big companies are supporting large levels of growth because of mobile devices.  Mrs. Meeker puts out a caution: entitlement and interest payment is expecting to surpass revenue in 2025 (far earlier than originally expected), according to government data.

While entitlement and interest expenses is beyond the scope of this discussion, there is a growing burden of state and federal entitlement spending, mainly concentrated on pensions and elderly health care.  According to Gary Becker, the federal government is required to pay entitlement to the entire elderly population of the United States.  Further, entitlement programs (such as unemployment benefits) have been extended under the Recovery Act of 2009, this same Act provides $7.2 billion for broadband Internet access.  Therefore, businesses needed to be aware of government fiscal policies.

Watch Mary Meeker’s Presentation

It’s Called “Like” Retargeting to Increase Fan Following on Facebook

In September Capstone Media published an article titled “Don’t Just Add Facebook Ads- Let Customers Add You as a Friend or Fan” highlighting the importance of advertising on Facebook. If you didn’t know it then, you know it now- your company needs a company Facebook page.

RadiumOne, an online ad network that uses social media signals (data) delivered through traditional display media shows retargeting ads appearing on the comScore 500 online properties.  20 million people a day“like” brands on Facebook and over 135 brands have more than 1 million followers.  Through display ads RadiumOne is providing additional online locations to promote company Facebook fan pages by forming social clusters of like users who would most likely “like” a branded Facebook page.

To expand potential “likers” companies like RadiumOne, use social connections where they use like candidates’ friends to show them ads targeting their friends’ favorite brands.  “We’re trying to convert users to “Like” their brands across the web,” says Lisa Marie Gonzales of the SutherlandGold Group, RadiumOne PR firm.  “Rather than only on Facebook Ads.”

Online social media is about networks.  Brands that develop those networks’ connections have access to inexpensive ad inventory.  Brands also pixel their webpages to identify visitors.

A typical Facebook CTR (click-through-rate) is 0.01 percent.  That percentage increases to around 6.49 percent for promotions and offersposted on brands’ Facebook walls.  To measure the success of a “like” advertising campaign “A lower cost per acquisition per fan with more scale across the web versus the Facebook Ads,” is used says Gonzales.

RadiumOne’s product is display advertising outside of the online Facebook property.

Too many ads on Facebook direct visitors to a brand’s website, towards a specific service or discount.  The Facebook audience however, is looking for a social connection with brands they or their friends like.  “Like” retargeting is new and its goal is to advertise branded Facebook pages to increase a company’s online following.


Don’t Just Add Facebook Ads-Let Customers Add You as a Friend or Fan”. Capstone Media.  September 21, 2010.

Retargetting Ads Should Offer Customers Coupons Not Just Follow Them Around”. Capstone Media.  September 21, 2010.

TGI Facebook Fridays”. Capstone Media.  October 12, 2010.

ABOUT:  RadiumOne, was founded in 2010 and is based in San Francisco, CA.  It is the first online ad network leveraging online social data for their proprietary “social retargeting” algorithmic analysis on how users interact with each other to find related consumers using an ad-serving platform to display ads at the right time to the right social clusters.  RadiumOne was founded by Gurbaksh Chahal, who started Click Agents and Blue Lithium, two leading ad networks sold to ValueClick and Yahoo!, respectively.  Blue Lithium was purchased for $300 million in September 2007.  RadiumOne investors include Adams Street Partners, Stanford University, and Trinity Ventures, who have invested in ventures including Affinity Labs (acquired by monster.com), Crescendo Communications (acquired by Cisco, CSCO, Nasdaq), Modulus Video (acquired by Motorola, MOT, NYSE), Starbucks (SBUX, Nasdaq), and Sygate Technologies (acquired by Symantec, SYMC, Nasdaq), among others.


New Ad Network RadiumOne Aims to Tap Social ‘Mega Trend’”. By Ty McMahan, Wall Street Journal, October 18, 2010.

Capstone Media 3-time winner of Prestigious Weatherhead 100

Bill and Tracy Smuts Weatherhead 100

Capstone Media announces its 3rd Weatherhead 100 award since first winning in 2005. The Weatherhead 100 showcases the fastest growing companies in Northeast Ohio. Qualifying companies must show consistent growth over a five-year period. The Weatherhead 100 is a testament to hard work, commitment, innovation, and the dream to succeed.
“Capstone Media bridges the gap between online and traditional marketing using targeted media programs to reach its clients’ customers and grow their businesses. Our growth comes from educating and creating tools for marketing professionals on evolving media trends”, says Tracy Smuts, President of Capstone Media. “We’ve been fortunate to work with companies that allow us to generate programs utilizing both traditional and digital media to successfully deliver their marketing messages.” Programs created for the benefit of marketing professionals include Capstone’s “Maximize Your Media” seminars and Capstone’s blog, which educates and updates clients on how to integrate digital media with traditional media for highly effective marketing programs. Both resources are located on Capstone’s website, www.capstonemedia.com. In addition to the 2010 win, Capstone Media won the distinction in 2006 and 2005. Capstone Media, in business since 1989, is headquartered in Brecksville, Ohio.

QR Complements Campaign at Cleveland Art Museum to Draw Attendance

On August 21, 2010 Capstone Media published a blog on how the Cleveland Art Museum used QR Code to promote their new galleries.  Since admission at the Cleveland Art Museum is free, the QR campaign sought to increase attendance.

“We really had nothing to “sell” at the time we were running this campaign,” says Cindy Fink, director of marketing and communications for the Cleveland Museum of Art, “As we are a free museum and the QR campaign was promoting the opening of our new galleries (which are free to visit).”  “We didn’t put in a coupon or something that would help us gauge whether someone viewing the landing pages from the QR scans then visited.”

The museum said QR code is used as an extension, a mobile version of the museum’s website, digitally providing art enthusiasts another avenue to see the galleries; that’s something they couldn’t do with traditional advertising.

QR code or Quick Response is a 2 dimensional matrix created for tracking vehicle parts in manufacturing and has been recently recognized by marketers as an effective way for tracking response rates and relation with ROI.  There are many free QR code generators including Google’s Zxing, Kaywa, Delivr and others.  Using QR code in marketing allows you to include more interactive information and multimedia, adds another tool to your integrated marketing mix.

“It was part of an overall integrated marketing plan with traditional and new media, all designed to drive attendance to the new galleries,” says Fink.  “We were pleased overall with attendance this summer to our new galleries.”

The art museum uses the SPSS Predictive Analytics software suite by IBM for tracking and understanding how visitors learn about the museum in house.  This data is used to develop future marketing campaigns including QR code.

While more consumers currently own a feature phone (that cannot scan QR code), the increase in sales of smartphones that can scan QR code, are expected to surpass feature phones by the Q4 of 2011, according to a Nielsen projections.  With current smartphone penetration of nearly 35 percent, smartphone sales have seen a 25 percent growth since Q2 of 2008.  Still, feature phone options do exist in the form of a Jag Tag.

With smartphone sales growth projections, expect more future QR campaigns, including at the art museum

“I would use QR codes again in a marketing effort – I think they bridge traditional advertising and new digital communications in a fresh way,” says Fink, “That allows us to ultimately track and interact with consumers seeing our marketing messages.”

QR code, as with any social media tool for marketing, provides mobile extensions of your marketing strategies; they further give smartphone users the ability to share your content with their friends and family, and to give consumers an opportunity to learn more about your campaign before they respond.

CORRECTIONS:  The original title “QR Campaign at Cleveland Art Museum Draws Attendance” published December 15, 2010, was revised December 17, 2010 to “QR Complements Campaign at Cleveland Art Museum to Draw Attendance” because the Cleveland Art Museum’s entire campaign uses online display advertising and SEO, kiosks, billboards, print advertising in a variety of publications, posters and fliers around town, publicity efforts, and QR Code.


Cleveland Art Museum QR Code Shawabtys and Cista Handles”.  Capstone Media.  August 21, 2010.

ABOUT:   SPSS Data Collection Suite by IBM, is a computer program also known as Predictive Analytics Software (PASW).  SPSS was acquired by IBM in July 2009 for $1.2 billion.  Early this year (January 2010) it became “SPSS an IBM Company.”  SPSS stands for Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, produces proprietary file format (.spv to support pivot tables).  The statistical data suite products are for track attitudinal and consumer preferences in decision making for measuring campaigns.

Hipcricket Finds Hispanics Early Adopters of Technology Especially Mobile

Last month (October 4, 2010) the 2010 LatinVision CEO Summit Conference at the Time Warner Center in New York City emphasized that the Latin community’s overall technology participation is greater than the general market.

Hipcricket, a leading mobile marketing company, recognized Hispanic enthusiasm for social media and mobile marketing over 2 years ago when it launched the very first Hispanic Mobile Marketing Network, consisting of over 60 broadcast stations as a means for advertisers to target this audience.

During the LatinVision CEO Summit, Ivan Braiker, co-founder and CEO of Hipcricket, stated that Latinos are early technology adopters and they engage on mobile devices.

In 2000, according to U.S. Census data, about 47,000 Hispanics resided in the state of Ohio’s Cuyahoga County.  Today there are about 56,000 Hispanicsthat make the Cleveland area their home.  Additionally, 10,000 Latinos reside in Lake, Geauga, and Ashtabula Counties.

The Hispanic Alliancehas members that include Catholic Charities, Esperanza, Hispanic Business Association, Hispanic Roundtable, Hispanic UMADAOP, Julia Deburgos Cultural Arts Center “Cultivando Nuestros Ninos”, and MetroHealth among others.  The Hispanic Alliance has 4 levels of membership(PDF), including Core Members (any established community-based organization in northeast Ohio, who serves Hispanic-centered programs or within a larger multi-service organization), who have numerous opportunities to advertise on Alliance webpages and literature.  If your company or organization has operating budget between $0-150,000, Core Members pay $250 in annual dues.  A Core Member’s operating budget is capped at $750,001 and above, at this level Core members pay $1000 in annual membership dues.  The Hispanic Alliance also has Affiliate Members (nonprofit, corporate/businesses.  Any established organization in northeast Ohio, commitment to Hispanic community, participates in networking).  Annual dues for this level of membership are $2000.

Mr. Braiker, quoted in an interviewthat, “We’re targeting anyone in this brand marketing world who wants to target the Hispanic market.”  Hipcricket just passed 75,000 mobilemarketing campaigns, partly driven by the Hispanic network.  And now Hipcricket has its sights set on a new partnership with ScanBuy, a 2D barcode solutions provider (mostly QR Code).

QR Code can be scanned by your phone, making 90 percent of phones todaycapable of being a personal barcode scanner.  Hipcricket’s success with its mobile marketing campaigns among Hispanic users is also expecting this market to be early adopters of QR Code.  Barcodes are becoming a growing part of mobile marketing campaigns since consumers can scan barcodes and receive coupons, deals, and product information right on their phone.


Cleveland Art Museum QR Code Shawabtys and Cista Handles for Gallery Tour”. Capstone Media.  August 21, 2010.

“Feature Phone Users Still Clip Coupons Even Though 73 Percent Want Mobile”Capstone Media. November 18, 2010.

“What is a JagTag?”Capstone Media. October 27, 2010.

ABOUT:  Hipcricket founded in 2004 and based in Kirtland, Washington, operates out of offices in New York and Mexico City where they are considering the market leader in mobile marketing.  They are identified as a pioneer by CTIA.  Their interactive campaigns use SMS, Mobile Internet/WAP, and mobile advertising.  They use a software-as-a-service (SAAS) model.  They serve consumers and broadcast stations (TV and radio) through mobile marketing.  They launched the very first Hispanic Mobile Marketing Network.  They have served brands that include Coca Cola, Hersheys, MTV, Jiffy Lube, Nestle Water and Wiley Publishing; and broadcasting companies Clear Channel Radio, Premier Radio Networks, Sandusky Broadcasting, and NBC.

ABOUT:  ScanBuy founded in 2006 and headquartered in New York City, sells serial numbers in its EZcode database.  EZ Code is an IP licensed barcode to Scanbuy, Inc.  These codes are read by smartphone and mobile devices for 2D barcode campaigns.  ScanBuy has the oldest patent portfolio in the industry, with over 30 patents in 2D barcode mobile marketing solutions.  Their investors include Motorola Ventures, Hudson Ventures, Masthead Venture Partners and Longworth Venture Partners.

Mobile Search Advertising Trends Gone Local

Just last year mobile ad spending reached $34 million, but if there’s one thing we must learn about mobile it is that location-based (or local-based) searches and spending currently result in one third of all mobile searches, with monetized value projected to be $4 billion by 2015.

Google states that the major trend for mobile user searches is that one third of total searches are of local interest.

In two years the mobile search advertising market is expected to reach $3 billion, according to Ross Sandler, an Internet and Media analyst at RBC Capital.

Mr. Sandler points out that ads on smartphones take up 22 percent of screen real estate, whereas on a PC ads occupy 4 percent of screen real estate.  Setting screen real estate aside, even national brand advertisers spend big on local ad placement, about $120 billion.

Yahoo! and Google are taking sides in their pursuit of local mobile search advertising.  When Yahoo! launched its newspaper consortiumin 2007, they partnered with EW Scripps and Hearst Corporation (including the San Francisco Chronicle) building over 800 news outlets, one source in reaching local and targeted ad placements.

Those ads that appeal to the local markets they serve will be able to meet mobile search users’ intent of locality and geo-based searching.  From Google’s QR Code Favorite Place mapping project to Yahoo!’s partnership with traditional print media and Foursquare location-based check ins, tools and resources are in place to mobile location-based advertising.

While larger digital ads take up more screen real estate on your phone, it is not uncommon to find full colored print ads in newspapers advertising a text messaging program such as “Panera Bread presents concert series with Songwhale”.  “Our [SMS] promotion in Cleveland with Panera is going very well,” says Bill Fletcher, business development at SongWhale.  “We just awarded the grand prize winner for the Eagles concert on Monday.”

Whether in print or in mobile, advertising copy that appeals to local markets will prevail in search mobile marketing.


Songwhale Print Advertisement for Text to Win Concert Tickets”.  Capstone Media.  October 26, 2010. 

QR Code Puts Your Business on the (Google) Map and Calvin Klein Billboards”.  Capstone Media.  August 4, 2010.

ABOUT:  RBC Capital,  is a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Canada founded in 1869 Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.  It operates in the financial services sector with 3,000 employees in 75 offices of 15 countries.

Feature Phone Users Still Clip Coupons even though 73 Percent Want Mobile

Hipcricket just passed 75,000 successful mobile marketing campaigns. Since they launched the Hispanic Mobile Marketing Network in April 2008, Hipcricket has been able to partner with some 60 broadcast media outlets targeting Hispanics. Hispanics' response to text marketing ads increased 20 percent last year.

Last year a survey conducted by the Yankee Group was predicting a jump in mobile coupon redemption from 200,000 to 2.3 million (for 2010), but so far this year just 15 percent of US mobile subscribers have redeemed mobile coupons, according to a OnePoll survey.

Through September 2010, 85.3 percent of US mobilephone users have not used mobile coupons, largely attributable to the current dominance of feature phones over smartphones.

On the other hand Hipcricket, a mobile marketing and advertising company, just passed 75,000 mobile marketing campaigns.  Hipcricket has seen 55 percent of its brands they have worked with choose SMS, while 45 percent choose mobile banner display ads.

Smartphones handle display ads much better than feature phones and smartphone sales data already shows growth, while sales in feature phones continue to decline, according to a Nielsenstudy.  From Q2 of 2008 smartphones had 10 percent of the market, by Q4 of 2009; sales percent jumped past 21 percent.  During that same time feature phone sales data of the mobile market dropped from 90 percent to below 79 percent.

With more smartphones coming to market, consumers will have more convenience of redeeming mobile coupons, easier than clipping coupons from the newspaper (also known as free standing insert (FSI) coupons).  FSI enjoyed a 10.1 percent increasein coupons dropped for the first 6 months of this year, compared to last year.  But as more US mobile users convert to smartphones, expect more mobile coupon redemption.

Young parents with children less than 6 years old who use feature phones, were 33 percent more likely be interested in receiving local mobile alerts and text-based coupons, according to eMarketer.

Previous prediction of mobile coupon redemption growth has not been met.  Consumers are not shunning mobile coupon use, instead it is inconvenient and currently easier to get a pair of scissors and cut out FSI coupons if you have a feature phone.  Feature phone users can still enjoy receiving simple, basic, call to action text alerts.  While smartphone users benefit through display and mobile Internet.


“QR Code Dave’s Bread at PCC Natural Markets Getting Killer Attention”. Capstone Media.  November 8, 2010.

Unapproved Short Code Can Either Delay or Prevent SMS Marketing Campaigns”. Capstone Media.  October 6, 2010.

“What is a JagTag?” Capstone Media.  October 27, 2010.

ABOUT:  Yankee Group, founded in 1970 in Boston, MA, is an independent technology research firm specializing in emerging technology communications.  They sell market research related to information technology.  Yankee Group, with 160 employees, link research, link data and link consulting to give clients market-driven research, monitoring and advice, respectively.

ABOUT:  OnePoll, an online market research company based in the UK, conducts company endorsed studies from various sectors in the UK and around the world.  OnePoll data is then used in press releases, TV and online.

ABOUT:  Hipcricket, founded in 2004 in Seattle, WA.  Specializes in permission-based mobile marketing campaigns.  They have recently reached 75,000 successful mobile marketing campaigns for clients such as Macy’s, Nestle, KFC, HBO, and Clear Channel.  The Company has been recognized by CTIAas a pioneer in the mobile marketing industry.  They produce interactive campaigns using SMS, Mobile Web/WAP on a software-as-a-service (SAAS) model.  In April 2008, HipCricket launched a mobile marketing media network called the Hispanic Mobile Marketing Network, composed of more than 60 broadcast stations.

Mobile Coupons a Shopkick Method of Kickbucks to Redeem Giftcards

Today Target announced a partnership with the iPhone app shopkick, welcoming customers automatically by alerting their iPhones of a walk in and accrue “kickbucks” toward Target gift cards. Photo by Gregory Jackson

The official Christmas shopping season kicks off nearly a week from now and Target (NYSE: TGT) today announced a partnership with Shopkick, a third party iPhone app that uses check in based engagement, in 242 of its 1,752 stores across the United States.

Unlike Foursquare or Gowalla, mobile geo-location check in based badge accumulation, Shopkick automatically gives iPhone users “kickbucks,” every time you walk into a location.  Starting today, if you walk into a Target store in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York City, and San Francisco you’ll earn kickbucks just for walking in.

As a welcome to its customers, Target’s use of Shopkick app gives instant mobile coupons and kickbuck points to earnTarget gift cards.

Consumer engagement of mobile coupons is expected to grow from 16 percent to 38 percent in the next 12 months, and 8 of 10 US mobile phone users currently use mobile coupons or plan to use them within the next 24 months, according to marketing charts.

Mobile coupons are a type of mobile marketing engagement tool.

Another mobile marketing engagement tool are 2D bar codes called QR Code, used in customer applications like PCC Natural Markets in Seattle where the natural foods market provides additional information and mobile video to its customers to learn more about how their foods are non-GMO and organic.

Kickbucks app provides iPhone users another alternative over Foursquare and Gowalla check in social media engagement.  Still, Foursquare badges give opportunity for mobile check in personalized promotions like at AJ Bombers Milwaukee-area restaurant Swarm Badge promotion.

Automatic customer location recognition and automatic accrual of “kickbucks” on the shopkick app for iPhone may increase mobile coupon engagement and higher redemption rates, while adding a new spin on location-based check in services now available at Target Stores.


Foursquare..What is it?”  Capstone Media.  August 17, 2010

Get Bombed With 150 Customers at Once with Foursquare (4sq)”.  Capstone Media.  August 11, 2010.

QR Code Dave’s Bread at PCC Natural Markets Getting Killer Attention”.  Capstone Media.  November 8, 2010.

ABOUT:  shopkick, founded in June 2009 by Cyriac Roading, Aaron Emigh and Jeff Sellinger, is a third party mobile iPhone app that uses a shopkick signal (instead of GPS, which is a vicinity technology).  Shopkick app allows you to check in and walk in, earn more kickbucks by scanning products in store, and redemption.  Shopkick is found in iTunes app store.

QR Code Dave’s Bread at PCC Natural Markets Getting Killer Attention

The blue line represents feature phone penetration. The green line represents smartphone penetration. While feature phones currently eclipse smartphone sales, expect sales trends to shift in favor of smartphones.

Dave’s Killer Bread at PCC Natural Markets in Seattle has been participating in the Non-GMO Project to assure customers that the food they’re buying does not contain any genetically modified food.

While QR Code links customers with circular ads informing shoppers how to select the right melon, or a feature of the week, QR Code can also be used for redeeming coupons.

“We will be seeing a lot of QR Code in the future,” says Bill Smuts of Capstone Media.  “I suspect that grocery stores will be one of the prime users and we will see it in the aisle next to items on sale or being featured.”

With phones having free QR Code downloads, more codes will respond to projected growth in smartphones.

The Blackberry, Droid, and iPhone have dominated the mobile market, with smart phones holding 21 percent of American wireless subscribers as of Q4 of 2009.

In the Nielsen report the article distinguishing what it calls “feature phone” from “smartphone.”  Feature phones are “low end.”  They could not take a picture of a QR Code to link you to view Dave’s Killer Bread video on your phone or learn more about the products or receive sales deals.  Feature phones have less advanced API technology.  In 2009, 83 percent of all US mobile sales were feature phones, according to Marketing Charts.  But that number has been steadily dropping.

Still, because of the explosion in mobile apps network operators are taking steps to update feature phones capability, as they bring “smartphone” function to feature phones, too.

U.S. Smartphone Penetration & Projections, project that smartphones will surpass feature phone sales by the end of 2011.  Smartphones are attractive because they connect users to mobile Internet, share in social media, and opportunities to personalize their mobile devices.

The challenges facing feature phone upgrades include: improve built-in camera and video features, improve speaker quality, availability of screen real estate, and user friendliness – all features that smartphone users enjoy.  That enjoyment has increased camera and video use to 20 percent in both feature and smartphone subscribers.  And camera use also increases the chances of consumers taking pictures of QR Code with their phones.  Finally, the Nielsen report discovered that Wi-Fi increased from 5 percent to 50 percent for smartphone users.

Opportunity will continue to grow now and through next year for QR Code, as smartphone sales continue to grow and as feature phone upgrades are made.


Cleveland Art Museum QR Code Shawabtys and Cista Handles”.  Capstone Media.  August 21, 2010.

QR Code Puts Your Business on the (Google) Map and Calvin Klein Billboards”. Capstone Media. August 4, 2010.

“What is a JagTag?” Capstone Media.  October 27, 2010