Google, Facebook, and Twitter Team up to Protect us From Bad Ads

By: Abdulhadi Hafez

Working Together to Protect Users from Bad Ads

Not just the three Internet and social media giants, Google, Facebook and Twitter have joined arms to fight and protect us from bad ads, but AOL, Interactive Advertising Bureau, and StopBadware have joined the fight as well.

What fight am I talking about? Well, it’s called the Ads Integrity Alliance whose main aim is to “establish industry policy recommendations for the worst types of bad ads, such as counterfeit goods, scams, and malware" as written on their Website.

The five heroes will share relevant trends and their own expert insights with policymakers and law enforcement agencies to tackle this problem of online trust issues as a result of deceiving ads, malware, and counterfeit goods.

The Perfect Time to Introduce Such an Alliance

Where there are opportunities, there are just an equal amount of threats waiting to  exploit the innocent and naive.

As soon as email marketing took off, so did spam email. And now we’re seeing the same problem on Twitter.

Spammers and scammers are just like germs, they will never cease to exist. All that can be done is to control them.

And this is mainly what the Ads Integrity Alliance seeks to do, which will not only protect users, but the advertising industry as well.

Strengthening Trust in the Advertising Ecosystem

The global public policy manager at Google, Eric Davis, commented on the Alliance and its’ relevance to building trust in the advertising industry.

"Bad ads, such as those that facilitate malware distribution or deceive users, diminish the online user experience and threaten trust in the Web. The Ads Integrity Alliance will serve as a forum for us to work together to protect users from bad ads and strengthen trust in the advertising ecosystem."

Twitter’s First TV AD: Short, Simple, and Sweet!

By: Abdulhadi Hafez

Twitter has launched its first TV ad to promote a hashtag for Nascar. Here’s the video and what they had to say about the concept:

Discover the best Tweets, photos and perspectives from NASCAR drivers and their families, crews, commentators, celebrities and fans at http://twitter.com/#nascar

I think the ad is perfect, electrifying, straight-forward, and marks the very attribute that made Twitter famous: simplicity.

One would be surprised that they’re promoting a hashtag as opposed to their advertising services. 

However, they’re playing it perfectly. Promote the very reason of why Twitter is so hot right now: access to real-time news (to the point that sometimes news reaches Twitter before BBC and CNN!)

Bring the masses of people to Twitter, increase usage and engagement, let the brands see the huge amount of traffic they’re receiving, and then see the cash  from advertising revenues roll in.

Smart move Twitter, and great ad by the way. Short, simple and sweet. 

The Twitter bird logo recieves a complete overhaul and makeover. In a video Wednesday, Twitter unveiled the new cool design and commented on the video by stating:

Our new bird grows out of love for ornithology, design within creative constraints, and simple geometry. This bird is crafted purely from three sets of overlapping circles — similar to how your networks, interests and ideas connect and intersect with peers and friends. Whether soaring high above the earth to take in a broad view, or flocking with other birds to achieve a common purpose, a bird in flight is the ultimate representation of freedom, hope and limitless possibility.”

Wikipedia: Design as a noun informally refers to a plan or convention for the construction of an object or a system while “to design” refers to making this plan.

A Commercial Created Using Twitter and Twitter Only!

By: Abdulhadi Hafez

You’ve got to admit, there is very little room for creativity on Twitter, with only 140 characters. Yeah, you can always add an image or a video and have them show up right there under your tweet, but that’s old news, everybody does it.

If you want to see creativity at its best using 140 characters, go to Smart Car’s Twitter account for Argentina. Their social media team managed to make what is equivalent to a TV commercial using “some ASCII art and a lot of patience”, as cleverly stated by The Next Web blog (we’ve gotta give them a shout out.)

Here’s a video of what you’ll see when you go to their Twitter page, and scroll down or hold the “J” button on your keyboard. Now this is the perfect example of how you can offer branded entertainment using a bit of social media creativity and a lot of patience. Way to go Smart Car Argentina, you’ve shown that there’s no limit to creativity, even when you have a limit of 140 characters!

Kuwait to Host the 2012 Arabian Social Media Conference

By: Abdulhadi Hafez

We’re happy to see that the 2012 Arabian Social Media Conference & Exhibition will be held right here in Kuwait, but at the same time we ain’t surprised! Here’s why: According to the Dubai School of Government’s Arab Social Media Report, Kuwait has one of the highest penetration rates in Facebook, Twitter, and Blog usage.

Coincidentally, we’ve also got the Kuwait Bloggers Gathering 2012 happening here on April 15th, 2012. This is also another clear sign that social media is a big part of the Kuwaiti culture, and is picking up a lot of speed quite rapidly.

The Arabian Social Media Conference & Exhibition is an two-day event that will take place May 9-10, 2012 at the Raddison Blu Hotel in Kuwait. The price to attend is quite hefty, but they’re offering 50% discounts for people who register online.

Here is a description of the event in their own words: “Many government agencies and businesses are implementing Web 2.0 and Social Media strategies. However, simply having a Facebook page,Twitter account or YouTube channel is not enough; organizations need to be strategic in developing and integrating communications using social media.”

The event is said to have workshops and speaking engagement on key issues that revolve around the following topics:

  • Budgeting social media
  • Video marketing
  • Social media tools
  • Social media education & training
  • Social media problems/obstacles
  • How to communicate with social media
  • Social media on digital devices
  • Advertising
  • Geographical strategies
  • Success stories from social media
  • Case studies for successful social media commuting and presenting.
  • Social media analysis
  • Saleability of social media
  • How to measure and add value to social media
  • Security features and increasing user participation
  • Social media marketing strategies

As for who should attend, the following types of companies, organizations, and professionals were listed:

  • CEO’s & COO’s
  • Marketing Executives & Managers
  • Brand strategists
  • Business intelligence
  • Customer Service agents
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Social media managers
  • PR managers
  • Advertisement experts
  • Communication Executives
  • Bloggers
  • E-business managers
  • Digital marketing
  • Product specialists

They say the ROI of social media is that your business will exist in 5 years, and many thought that it’s still too early for businesses in Kuwait to see the benefits of social media. But if you look at the amount of blogs you’ve got in Kuwait nowadays and how they’re making a whole bunch of money from selling advertising space, you would think otherwise.

And if you consider that Kuwait has the 4th highest amount of active Twitter users in the Arab region, standing at 117,304 (Arab Social Media Report 2012; Dubai School of Government), then it makes it even more clear that you either get on the social media ship, or you’ll sink. But as the conference pointed out, social media is not just about creating a Facebook and Twitter page, but it’s about maintaining them to build relationships with key influencers, providing valuable (but branded) content and entertainment, and monitoring and measuring the results.

Social Influence Marketing is the New Global Advertising

By: Abdulhadi Hafez

We’re not sure who came up with the term, Social Influence Marketing (SIM) but it has been shown in reports and presentations conducted by Razorfish, the advertising agency that has taken on the difficult social engagement task for the giant brand, Nike.

Social influence marketing, in a nutshell, is to influence the attitudes and actions of your target customers through their social spheres of friends and family. In other words, it is to create customers who create customers!

I know this is like our twentieth time mentioning the above Nielsen study (Global Advertising: Consumers Trust Real Friends and Virtual Strangers the Most), but it shows a very important insight pertinent to SIM, and that is the claim that 70% of people trust the opinions of consumers online. These are not friends, but rather complete strangers! Because if you look right above it, 90% of people trust recommendations from people known.

And that is why Jim Lecinski, Google’s Managing Director of US Sales & Service wrote a book on the subject called “Winning the Zero Moment of Truth" (ZMOT) in which ZMOT is described as the moment when online purchasers go online to read the reviews and recommendations from their friends and virtual strangers. One shocking stat from the book is how 83% of Moms Do Online Research After Seeing a TV commercial.

So what does this mean? It means that recommendations from personal acquaintances or opinions posted by consumers online are the most trusted forms of advertising. So it is vital for brands to monitor review and opinion sites such as Yelp and Amplicate to see what their consumers are saying about them. 

And don’t you dare forget about the micro-blogging phenomenon, Twitter, where 340 million tweets per day are conducted, many of which may be about your brand. 

Last but not least, here in Kuwait blogging is a very big part of the culture where many of them make it their full-time job to try out different restaurants and cafes and then blog about it, and that’s why we’re starting to see a lot of restaurants proactively inviting these bloggers to come and try out their food for free and then have them write unbiased reviews about them. Such brands have the realized the power of SIM and have already taken steps to adapt to the new global way of advertising.

Fortune 500 Usage of Social Media [INFOGRAPHIC]

By: Abdulhadi Hafez

Just goes to show you how important it is to have an active social media presences nowadays. Hence the word, “active”! It’s not enough to just create your profiles and allow them to collect dust (metaphorically of course), you need to keep posting unique and useful content consistently.

The experts say that roughly 40% of fortune 500 companies will not be present within the next 5-10 years, due to social media (or the lack of effective social media adoption or utilization) and that the ROI of social is that your business will exist in 5 years! 

Fortune 500 Social Media Statistics

High-res Looks like Tumblr is up there when it comes to the amount of time people spend on social media sites, tied with the ever-growing Pinterest.
The above is an infographic based on research firm comScore Inc.’s study into the current social networking sphere, but we need to keep in mind that this data does not take in to consideration mobile usage, which could really alter the results, especially for Facebook and Twitter.

Looks like Tumblr is up there when it comes to the amount of time people spend on social media sites, tied with the ever-growing Pinterest.

The above is an infographic based on research firm comScore Inc.’s study into the current social networking sphere, but we need to keep in mind that this data does not take in to consideration mobile usage, which could really alter the results, especially for Facebook and Twitter.

A Social Media Cheat Sheet for Businesses [Infographic]

By: Abdulhadi Hafez

Ever bring a cheat sheet to a test? Come on, we’ve all done it! Well if you’re a business, then you’ve got many obstacles and tests coming your way, and who’s to blame? Social media baby! If you’re not taking full advantage of each emerging social media (e.g. Google Plus, Pinterest) and are not submerged into the blogosphere then you might as well start waving goodbye to some of your customers.

Come one, get with the program already will you? It’s not enough to just create a Facebook page and a Twitter account and throw in some updates in there every once in a while. Get moving fast before your competitors do so. Here’s a cheat sheet infographic to help you get a head start. Enjoy!