Comments Thread Awesomeness

Gotta love the attitude and truth on the instructions for the comment thread on the Big Picture blog. Really makes me want to show that Barry Ritholtz what a bastard he is by writing something intelligent and civil.

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data, ability to repeat discredited memes, and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Also, be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor even implied. Any irrelevancies you can mention will also be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

from any comment thread on the The Big Picture

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Extremely Concise Style Guide

Reading a New York Times article recently I was disappointed to see them refer to email as e-mail. I had hoped we lived in a post-hyphen, post separate words world.

My preferences:

email – I was actually surprised that the NY Times would use the old dated e-mail. But as it turns out the AP only updated their style guide sans the hyphen in March 2011.

homepage – Hopefully one day this term will be retired (main landing page?) but for the time being this is one word.

website – It just looks so much better as one word.

smartphone – Ditto above.

wireframe

login- Although log on seems to looks better with the words separated.

ecommerce – Spell check informs me that this is incorrect – e-commerce apparently does not get the no hyphen treatment. This is curious as we’re talking the same electronic that is referenced in email.

Sympathy for the Banner Ad

Maybe 2011 will be the year marketing professionals and users fall back in love with the banner ad. But it won’t be because they make for compelling experiences or deliver quantifiable results. No, it will be due to the rise of the ubiquitous pre-roll ads anytime you want to watch a video. Now those are impossible to ignore. The other day I was forced to watch an Olive Garden commercial. The OG only got their money’s worth if their advertising objective was to torture their non-customers.

I recently worked for a company that was in the unfortunate position of promoting the merits of the banner ad. They specialized in rich media and would make flashy banner ads that chewed up computer processors. One of our arguments was that while standard banners get less than 1 percent click through rates rich media ads can get up to 3.5 percent. Since rich media come in formats that sometimes demand you click them away I was dubious of this statistic. But well done, rich media banners do offer opportunities for engagement. Remember the Subservient Chicken. Six years old and still what brands aspire to accomplish. That’s where the real opportunities lie.

The problem may be the standardization of formats. It makes for hackneyed executions and always the need to serve the lowest common denominator. It’s not as easy as giving away a few minutes of airtime or full pages in a magazine. There has to be an integration of site content and advertising to get any sort of attention. Something that demands attention and has something worthwhile to offer. Easier said then done.

Behind the Race to Build a Better Banner Ad [Mashable]

I ‘Like’ It. So go ahead and spam my friends.

The new “like” ad formats recently announced by Facebook appear to be a high-tech spin on the oldest and most effective form of advertising there is: word of mouth.

This is a savvy move and so completely obvious even if Facebook users can even still pretend to be outraged by these kinds of tactics. The author of this Business Insider article respects the concept too but I think demonstrates a bad example with Starbucks. I see this doing well with products and services people might not be aware of, and instead of large brands, being effective for smaller products and more unknown companies. A quick example, I like Headline Shirts. Great website and really fun t-shirts. I’m not sure how much influence my like has but the fact that I indicated my like that can be shared via an ad with my FB friends constitutes a passive word-of-mouth endorsement. I don’t even need to be bothered to tweet or post about. Just hit the like button and away they go.

But as always when I find myself in thrall of such clever marketing tactics, my mind shudders back to this bit from Bill Hicks.

Facebook Launching Whole New Ad Format — Will Turn Your “Likes” Into Ads And Spam Your Friends With “Sponsored Stories” [Business Insider]

Two #contentstrategy articles for today

Two pretty awesome articles on #contentstrategy that filtered through my brain today, in a particular order:

1. The Importance of Micro-copy – Makes the outstanding point that it’s often the routine copy required for your website (404 pages, follow up thank you email, title and labels on forms, etc.) that provides the best opportunity to convey brand voice and attitude. (Here’s an awesome example from the Geek Squad website of what you can do with a 404 page.)

2. 5 Key Tips for a Successful Social Media Content Strategy – Frank Marquardt, Director of Content Strategy at The Barbarian Group via Mashable, provides five key tips on social media content strategy that could also apply to pretty much anything you do as a person or artist.

The Importance of Micro-copy [Jeff Sexton Writes]
5 Key Tips for Successful Social Media Content Strategy [Mashable]

Look out 2011. There will be Trends.

It appears to be time for those what’s hot and prediction stories for 2011. I’ve seen a couple of useful articles recently that highlight what we’ll see in Content Strategy and with Ad/Marketing/Digital agencies in 2011.

What Will Be Hot in Content Strategy (according to CMS Wire)

Mobile – Specifically how to create valuable, shareable and engaging content for mobile.

Semantic Web – Categorize all of the Web’s metadata in an uniform language and tagging (to be called the Semantic Web), so that all the information can be filed into one giant database to be accessed and easily delivered on demand to multiple devices.

Trackable Content – Tag content so that it becomes trackable from the source. This will be critical to figuring out how best to maximize content’s viralbility.

Social Media Content Strategy – Using social media and the content you push out to social networks to accomplish larger strategic goals.

Technical Content Strategy vs. Content Marketing – Two main types of content strategists will emerge: “Technical content strategists” will be the group thinking about meta-data, Content Management Systems, character limits, XML and RDFs. The “marketing content strategists” will focus on creating relevant content to reinforce and promote branding.

Content Strategy: What Will Be Hot in 2011 [CMS Wire]
Top 11 Ad Agency Predictions for 2011 [Blue Focus Marketing]
5 Content Strategy Trends for 2011 [Content Reveler]
100 Things to Watch in 2001 [JWT]
7 Technologies That Will Rock 2011 [TechCrunch]

AT&T – The Best and Worst of Times

Not that surprising but Consumer Reports has determined that At&T is the worst cell phone carrier in the U.S. It’s strange that they actually brag in the marketing efforts with the tagline “The Fastest Network. Period.” rather than fess up and develop a message that better reflects the reality and perception of the situation. And then with their response to the bad news, they took the opportunity to brag about their growth and how well their mobile network performed in their own “independent” tests.

In the past I have been an AT&T apologist. It’s worked pretty much everywhere I’ve needed it although it is notoriously unreliable in midtown Manhattan. But last Friday I was in a hospital and needed to send an important text and it could not pick up any network for fifteen minutes. That’s where they lost me.

AT&T is the worst carrier in the U.S. according to Consumer Reports [Boy Genius Reports]