Is Your Brand Ready For ‘Generation S’ (Screen)?

Every generation experiences advances in technology that change people’s lives and expectations; children are almost always born into a different technological world than were their parents. This is particularly true when it comes to how they discover, consume and share content and information.

Children born in the last three to five years are what I call “Gen S,” or “Generation Screen.” They came on the scene during one of the most significant technological revolutions in the digital age. According to NPD, 27% of all TVs shipped in the first quarter of 2012 (almost 14 million) were internet-ready. Gartner estimates there will be almost 60 million tablets sold this year, doubling total users. And, Goldman Sachs estimates almost 2 billion smartphones will be sold this year around the globe.

These youngsters are growing up in a world where screens are used for everything from entertainment, communication, education, shopping and transacting. It makes the world much smaller and more accessible — and at virtually any time, on demand.

Who is Gen S?

Gen S will never know a world without screens, without being connected, without touch and swipe, or gesture control, or without cameras to capture, interact, share and connect with others, instantly. We’ve all witnessed toddlers navigating a smartphone or iPad better than we can, or swiping a TV or laptop screen expecting it to react to their touch, only to be dismayed. The keyboard and mouse are foreign to them, and soon may be remote controls. Will wallets, credit cards or even cash have any purpose for them a few years from now?

How will marketers, brands, retailers and publishers stay relevant to this audience that expects to transact nearly everything on a touch screen? First, they need to be where the consumer is and ensure a relevant brand experience irrespective of how the content and information were discovered.

That means creating and redesigning sites to render appropriately and dynamically for different screens and operating systems. How will brands facilitate seamless transaction and communication with these new consumers, who will only have the expectation of such an experience?

Brands are behind

Today, 45% of Fortune 500 companies do not have mobile-optimized websites, according to a recent study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau. But now is not the time to sit back and watch this all happen through the looking glass. A number of apps have been created for parents and kids alike to experience brands and content in new ways. Examples include learning and literacy apps from education companies like Scholastic or Penguin Books; the Whole Foods “Awesome Eats,” which teaches kids about patterns and sorting while promoting nutrition and a healthy diet; the Band-Aid “Magic Vision” app that helps take a child’s mind off his cuts and scrapes by letting him interact with the Muppets; the Crayola ColorStudio, which allows kids to draw and “color” on their tablet using a stylus that resembles a Crayola marker; and the American Museum of Natural History app that brings the dinosaur exhibit to the palm of a hand.

It’s still early innings for this screen-driven world, and there are many other avenues to still develop and explore (i.e. banks tackling financial education and the importance of saving). Now is the time to get involved, to experiment and learn, to collaborate with partners and help shape GenS media platforms and experiences. It will require investment and patience, but will best position brands to be prepared for what comes next . . . which we can only imagine and likely will arrive even faster than before.

Adam Shlachter is Managing Partner, Practice Lead, Digital at MEC, part of GroupM.

Supermarkets Add Mobile to the Shopping List

Grocery shopping seems like a great fit for mobile because it enables consumers to always have a shopping list and coupons handy on their smartphones. However, while supermarkets have moved slowly into mobile so far, there are signs this is beginning to change.

The number of grocery retailers with a mobile presence increased 110 percent in the first half of 2012 as these merchants, according to MyWebGrocer. While the increase is off of a small base and many of these are tests, more grocery retailers are expected to jump into mobile this year and next.

“There’s been huge growth this year in grocery retailers building a mobile presence for the first time,” said Rebecca Roose, senior product marketing manager at MyWebGrocer, Winooski, VT. “We noticed a big spike in Q1 2012 – there’s been a 110 percent increase in grocery retailers with a mobile presence year-to-date over 2011, and that’s just in the past six months.

“Most supermarkets have not adopted a mobile presence yet and the majority of those who do have the basic mobile features,” she said. Read more…

The Science of Sharing and the Impact for Facebook Marketers

Twitter and Google+ may be gradually increasing their user numbers, but there’s no doubt that Facebook is still the king of social networks.

As evidence of that fact, Facebook accounts for 52% of the 4bn pieces of content shared everyday through social.

So tapping into all that sharing is an important challenge for marketers and even a partial success could lead to untold riches, or at least a boost in traffic and conversions.

A talk by Beyond’s Nils Mork-Ulnes and Judith Lewis at the recent Facebook Marketing Conference examined the science of sharing and the implications for Facebook marketers.

They identified seven different types of social sharers, ranging from altruists who share because they want to help to careerists who share because it helps them in business.

In the UK, altruists account for the largest proportion of sharers (39.6%), while careerists are in the minority (2.5%).

Lewis also highlighted data from Google which showed that shoppers are increasing the number of sources used to arrive at a buying decision, and that they use them almost twice as heavily as in the past. Read more…

Here’s How to Appear Higher on Google Search Results

Admit it: You’ve Googled yourself quite a few times. But were you happy with where your name appeared in your Google search results?

Each day, one billion names are Googled. Unfortunately for many, half of all people don’t find themselves in the first page of results when they Google their own name. Only 2% of individuals own the entire first page of their results.

BrandYourself, an online reputation management startup, created this infographic to help you learn how to make results that are actually you appear higher up in search results.

We won’t give away all the tips, but we’ll leave you with this: Out of 100,000 profiles analyzed with BrandYourself, LinkedIn was the social network most often appearing at the top of results.

What do you see when you Google your name? Do you own your whole first page? Read more…

Tablets to Lead Mobile Advertising in 2014

A new report predicts that tablets will emerge as the primary platform for mobile ad revenue in the next two years as a result of their larger screen and the more immersive media experience. The Yankee Group study forecasts that tablets will account for 53% of mobile ad dollars in 2014 compared to 47% for mobile handsets. By 2016, tablets’ share of mobile ad sales will rise to 60%.

Ads within mobile applications in particular will help to drive growth.

Yankee Group found that a quarter (24%) of tablet owners clicked on ads while using apps, and 29% purchased extra content. “Although the stats show impressive levels of engagement, only a handful of players have mined this revenue opportunity,” stated the report, pointing to the gains of social gaming companies.

The study indicated tablets outperform smartphones across advertising, direct payments and in-app commerce. For example, tablet owners on average buy 1.7 paid apps per month compared to 1.1 for smartphone users. And 35% of tablet owners purchase digital media from online stores versus 21% on the smartphone side.

Reports Monday that Amazon plans to come out with several new tablet models in a range of sizes underscore the promise that major retail players see in using the devices to enhance sales.

News and information apps account for about 15% of tablet app downloads, while shopping and banking apps make up about 20%, boosting m-commerce. “Shopping apps are taking advantage of the larger screens and concentrated use associated with tablets,” noted the report. “Fashion brands are also ahead of the pack. Tablet-friendly commerce features used by luxury brands and retailers include virtual store tours and magazines with branded content.”

Video has also gained traction on tablets, with almost two-thirds of users watching video at least once a week, up from 48% last year. The key for traditional content owners is to think small in mobile. That means relying on revenue from micropayments and advertising (rather than subscriptions) and focusing on low-cost development, since mobile offerings will have shorter shelf lives.

“Publishers should make content easy to access through proprietary and third-party-owned apps. In TV, partnerships with mobile specialists are an efficient way for production divisions to rethink programming,” according to the report authored by Yankee Group principal analyst Jason Armitage.

He advises advertisers to plan tablet-specific campaigns to take advantage of the format. Rather than simply repurposing TV ads, they should create new spots suited to the short sessions on tablets. Marketers should also use insights gleaned from app and social media use to improve engagement with a brand or service.

Mark Walsh can be reached at