Viewing entries tagged

Facebook Places Promotes User Reviews, Places Categories

More Facebook Places experimentation (is it clear enough yet that Places is gaining strategic importance?): When friends check-in to Facebook Places and the newsfeed story is posted, friends are prompted to "Add a Category" for that Place. When clicked, it asks users "What Type of Place is This?" That categorization then appears on the Place's page. With Facebook's massive user base (now 750m+), this is a powerful way to crowd-source local classifications:

Facebook Places is also encouraging users to write reviews that are either public or shared only with your network... again, Facebook's scale and social graph should be a threat to local reviews:

Two More Examples of "In the River" Promotions: Google & Yelp

Have you gotten sick of my writing about getting your marketing and product promotions "in the river"? "In the river" is my terminology for making sure that messages are delivered inside the core experience and to the respective audience. We used the term frequently at eBay to make sure that products weren't fully integrated into the core experience and would reach enough users (and more importantly: enough of the right). Here are two more examples:

1. Visit Yelp on the iPhone's web browser and you'll be presented with an unmistakable promotion for the iPhone app. Targeted audience already interested in the brand:

2. Lots of iPhone applications try to get users to turn notifications on... Google's app goes a step further and presents a takeover unit that encourages users to turn notifications on (also explaining the benefits).

Starbucks Already Advertises Against Facebook Places Offers

Today Facebook shook up the local deals space with their Facebook Places announcement: the local deal platform which now competes directly with Foursquare, Yelp, Groupon, etc. Facebook launched with twenty premier partners who represented different industries (Gap :: retail; Palms :: hotel; Starbucks : food; Golden State Warriors :: sports; etc). The platform will quickly expand to 20,000 local businesses and then a self-serve platform. Considering Facebook's size, mobile usage and collection of brands / business owners - this is a big deal.

... And Starbucks seems to recognize that. Immediately after the Facebook announcement, they began advertising with premium Facebook ads - specifically promoting their places offer: "Starbucks will donate $1 per Facebook Places check-in up to $75,000 to Conservation Intl. Help us protect 5,000 acres of forest land."

Gilt City's Cleverly Designed iPhone App

Gilt Group has rolled out their new group-buying / coupon site Gilt City to six cities (New York, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami and Chicago). With it comes the Gilt City iPhone app. There isn't much to write about about the couponing model as it is very much like others in the space (see Groupon, LivingSocial, Yelp, etc). Over time, we will tell if Gilt Group is able to win share through unique offerings, integration with Gilt Group, etc.

I did want to quickly touch on the application's design... which as you would expect with Gilt Group, is glossy and very visual. The background of each city page is themed respectively. Below, for instance, is Gilt City San Francisco - which has a vivid picture of San Francisco scenery. Big, splashy images are becoming very popular (see my post on - and, with a relatively straight-forward product offering, it is one way to stand out, localize the experience and stay on Gilt's brand.

And with the emergence of big screen devices like the iPad, it is again a reminder that design and color are play an important role in the experience:

Amidst Facebook Places, Dont Forget Google Places (Now with Coupons)

Lost among the hubbub surrounding the similarly named Facebook Places is Google's local product: Google Places. It might not include check-ins, but it is a product aimed at local businesses and search queries... and tied to Google's core competency and model. Google Places is: Yelp + AdWords + Google Analytics + Groupon. It's powerful.

Tied to Google's local search - which is integrated into core search, mobile and Google Maps - Google Places allows businesses to create profiles of themselves. These profiles supplement search results with content, pictures, etc.

For consumers or searchers, this means deeper and more actionable content. For business owners, this means that Google can provide analytics about searches / searchers... and of course get you to advertise against them. This includes:

A business dashboard (analytics) and advertising / coupon center:

A communications platform to broadcast content / events:

And a mobile / print couponing platform - of course tied to Google's mobile and maps platform:

And of course, Google is capable of promoting Places heavily through their content network (below is an example ad unit from this blog) and through Google's other popular products:

Promote Your Application Where, When it is Used (Huffington Post Example)

Applications now being built atop: - mobile web (html5, wap, etc) - mobile platforms (iPhone, Android, etc) - browser extensions (chrome, firefox, safari, etc) - desktop apps (ie adobe air) And with users accessing content in so many different ways, publishers must think about both development (cost, talent, scalabilty, etc) and distribution (how will users access the new products?).

Always at the cutting edge, Huffington Post has successful iPhone and iPad applications and one of the web's best Facebook integrations.

They also now have a Google Chrome extension... which they alert Chrome users to with each session. The webpage drops down a notice and allows users to install directly. It is a very targeted and powerful way for Huffington Post to alert users. It is also a proven lever for other publishers and sources - for instance, visit on your iPhone and you will notice a major iPhone App promotion.

"Check out our Google Chrome Extension. Get up to-the-minute reports, blogs and analysis with quick-view articles from all sections."

Microsoft's "Office Social Connector" (aka Facebook Connect for Outlook) is Great

But tying together the web's most visited site (Facebook) with arguably the most important communication platform (email) is both natural and a long time coming. And with this week's announcement of Microsoft's 'Outlook Social Connector' , your social graph can now be connected to Outlook's email, contact and calendaring systems. The plugin is essentially Facebook Connect within Microsoft Outlook and it is a natural, powerful and simple integration. The Social Connector pulls in Facebook profile information from those email correspondents: Facebook icon, profile link, metadata and the ability to add them either as a Facebook friend and/or Outlook contact. More importantly, you can synchronize contacts with Outlook and enrich your already existing contacts.

In addition to providing data / actions around each contact, the Connector aggregates communication history for correspondent's. Its navigation pane allows you to toggle between: - aggregated / commingled communication history - meeting history - attachments - Facebook activity feeds

Lastly, Microsoft has opened the platform with "a public SDK allows anyone to build a connection to business or consumer social networks"... which means that this can become more than just Facebook (ie LinkedIn, Yelp, Crunchbase, etc). And although developers are currently enamored with Apple and Google, email - and specifically Outlook - represent significant usage, relatively light application competition, and therefore a beacon of opportunity. And despite being (supposedly) difficult to develop against, this should attract significant developer attention.

Levis + Facebook's Open Graph = Awesome Social Shopping

Facebook's F8 announcements featured prominent partner integrations with Pandora, IMDB, ESPN and Yelp... but Levi's quickly demonstrated that the Open Graph and web-wide Like functionality are highly applicable to e-commerce and social shopping. Just as Pandora uses Facebook to personalize music (artist & channel) through your social graph, Levis allows shoppers to like, view and filter products based on social input / preferences.

Shoppers can either view top products from "everyone" or specifically visit the "Friends Store": a storefront with content chosen by your Facebook friends. You can also invite friends directly to shop alongside you and provide their feedback.

Cleverly, Levis also features friends' upcoming birthdays, showcases their favorite Levis products and encourages gifting.