Archive for May, 2011


May 27 Round Up: Google Opens Its Wallet And Amazon Is Monstered.

Google has had its fair share of misses, remember Google Buzz? Well at least someone does. But we are pretty enthusiastic in the loft about the potential of Google Wallet; we think it’s going to work because Google is making it open source and they want it to work. We are aggressively looking at how it operates and the details but stay tuned, whether you are a huge retailer or a small non-profit or someone with a farm stand, we’re betting that Google Wallet will be part of your future. Here’s what Google has to say.

Amazon partied like it was 1999 today. Remember when servers used to go down all the time? We do and a few folks at Amazon have a more recent memory of the good old days online. When they offered Lady Gaga’s new album for just 99 cents to show how they are going to compete with iTunes, it crashed their servers. So they offered it again with a no-crash promise and so far so good we hear.

Remember newspapers? CS NMS Founder James Cannon Boyce was asked by The Boston Herald about what he thinks about the perennial sale of The Boston Globe. Doesn’t appear like there is a price the owners will accept that the buyers will pay, but time till tell. (NY Times Company paid $1,100,000,000 for the Globe way back when and in the latest round offers were around $35,000,000 – that’s a 97% loss.)

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend everyone.


Facebook Connections and Reach

Facebook rolled out a new iteration of their ads dashboard yesterday, and while it’s still no Google AdWords, it’s a step in the right direction. Key takeaways:

Connections: The number of people who liked your Facebook page, RSVPed to your event, or installed your app within 24 hours of seeing this sponsored story or ad.
Connections are essentially what Facebook has called ad Conversions in the past, but limited to 24 hours post ad impression. Cost Per Connection now replaces Cost Per Conversion as the best key performance indicator.

Reach: The number of people who saw your sponsored stories or ads. This is different than impressions, which includes people seeing them multiple times.
Put simply, Reach is unique user impressions.

Social Reach: The number of people who saw your sponsored stories or ads with the names of their friends who liked your page, RSVPed to your event, or used your app.
Enough said.

Frequency: The average number of times each person saw your campaign’s sponsored story or ad.
This is a great new metric that Facebook has introduced because it will allow advertisers to gauge when they’ve saturated their target audience. I assume that over time, Frequency trends will indicate when people are most likely to engage with an ad (i.e. when Frequency is over X, engagement rate steadily declines).

In addition to updated metrics, Facebook has introduced some nice new graphs at the Campaign and Ad levels:

New Facebook Campaign Dashboard

New Facebook Ad Dashboard

So, what’s still missing? Robust demographic reporting, for one. We want to see how our ad variations perform for different, perhaps pre-defined demographic clusters. Also, how about some detailed profile reports? The current profile reporting feature is cumbersome, high-level, and currently broken. C’mon Zuck, you can do better than that.


@ThisisIcleand Prooves Great Content Still Rules.

This week when the Grimsvotn Volcano in Iceland shot a plume of ash into the sky grounding some 500 flights thousands of travelers turned to the Twitter feed of the island itself @thisisiceland to find out what was happening.

“Are you going somewhere in a flying machine? Then you should follow @eurocontrol. (They know all about my ash cloud.)” The volcanic island posted in its typical innocent and tech-clumsy voice.

And then,

“Halló. I have put more information for you about my eruption on this inter-net:”

What the thousands of followers probably don’t know is that the “Iceland Wants to Be Your Friend” campaign, and its Twitter handle @thisisiceland, has turned into kind of an art-meets-marketing project run by Valgeir Valdimarsson and his team at Takk Takk, the agency that came up with the campaign. It’s no longer an official project of Iceland’s tourism board but it may be again in the future, especially considering all the attention the recent volcano has given the campaign.

“This whole social media interaction requires personal investment that you can’t really expect from people for a lot of things,” says Valdimarsson.

Other than personal investment what does it take to turn a volcanic island into a fleshed-out character with 7,600 Twitter followers and 68,000 Likes on Facebook?

“We tried to imagine what it would sound like if an island would just talk,” said Valdimarsson. “And it’s obviously going to be very different.”

When tweeting for @thisisiceland, Valdimarsson only uses Anglo-Saxon words because they are “more Nordic” than words with Latin roots.  He doesn’t use human senses to describe things either.

“It’s like an alien coming to earth and trying to talk to you and there’s a lot of stuff that she is not going to understand. Iceland is a little bit like somebody from out of space.”

In creating this “alien” character that’s all comforting and a bit inept with technology, Valdirmarsson has done something many marketers struggle to do on Twitter, write with voice and create compelling content.

“People are just completely willing to interact with this kind of puppet character and its also much more interesting to them,” he says. “They’re much more willing to be communicated with by this character then if it was an official thing.

“Do not panic, humans. (My volcanoes erupt more often than you think. You can still go in your flying machines.)”

While the character of Iceland that Valdimarsson created may be technological inept, the campaign is any but. There’s a Tumblr, a Twitter, a Facebook page, a Vimeo and a blog that all seem to effortlessly compliment each other, but are also stand alone destinations. And of course there’s The answer was “Yes. But don’t panic” on May 24.

He ads, “It’s sometimes flippant, but it’s not a joke. We are very aware that we are representing something which to a lot of people (ourselves included) is literally sacred. We take this very, very seriously.”

The future of the campaign is not certain but Valdimarsson says he want it to evolve with social media.

“We’re not shutting down the project or trying to make money from it. We have some ideas about how we can possibly extend it. There are a lot of things we can still do.”

For now, just letting humans know they can get in their flying machines is the most important thing.



Week In Review

The week the IPO’s started, the Twitter hedge fund launched and how not to do cause marketing.

How not to do cause marketing. NPR in one-sided partnership with Urban Outfitters.

What does the social good ecosystem look like?

How URL shorteners skew Twitter stats.

Using Twitter to run a hedge fund. But what affect will Bieber have on investments?

“Content is the fuel of the social web” . New research shows 60 percent of of social media messages are links to published content, just like this blog post.

Brands are the new publishers.

Linked in goes public, speculation about Facebook abounds.

And how Instagram makes Brian Williams dreamy.


On May 12

Last week thousands of protesters descended on Wall Street to send Mayor Bloomberg and the banks as simple message: It’s time for millionaires to pay their fair share. The occasion was the release the new budget in New York City, a budget that would cut teachers jobs and social services for low income families. The movement was called On May 12.

We started working with the groups organizing the On May 12 protests just three weeks before. Our plan was pretty simple: leverage existing social media channels to build a strong fan base. In this case, the obvious choice was Facebook.

We put up the On May 12 Facebook page and immediately began a fan ad campaign. With such a short window (18 days) we knew we had to build fans quickly and to prime the pump, sort of speak, we knew fan ads would be the most effective way to quickly grow the group to a size where some real organic growth could occur.

The groups involved with the On May 12 movement focused on creating high quality video and blog content to share on the page. This steady stream of rich content gave new fans a better idea of what On May 12 was all about. And the frequent churn of content also gave fans a reason to come back to the page and more content to share with friends.

As we approached May 12, the day of action, we began shifting resources to advertise events on Facebook to existing fans. We wanted fans to RSVP to the May 12 events to help generate newsfeed items.

On the day of May 12, we also added a sponsored story ad to our campaign in Facebook. This would ensure that On May 12 posts would not get lost in our fans newsfeed items. We knew there would be a steady stream of protest related posts and we wanted all the fans to see them.

Overall, in just 18 days, the On May 12 group picked up more than 6,000 fans. It’s impressive for most organizations to pick up 6,000 fans in less than three weeks, but to go from zero fans to 6,000 is pretty incredible.

A lot of factors contributed to this impressive growth, like all the groups involved who emailed their large email lists and let their own social networks know about the movement. The power of unions in and around New York who leveraged their bases to grow the network, and the rich content that produced were also driving factors.  But Facebook ads were a critical element to jumpstarting this campaign. We were able to bypass what is normally a stagnant period of growth and build a strong community in less than three weeks.



Week In Review

Everyone is going mobile. Facebook tries to make Google look bad but fails miserably. And Angry Birds is on Chrome. It’s the Common Sense Week in Review.

New research shows two thirds of moms shop with the smartphones.

With 79,000 follower son Twitter @Pistachio know something about this. 5 Ways to build a successful community.

In the future, there will be no buttons to click…maybe. Don’t click it.

Congrats to our partners at (RED) for an awesome Mothers Day campaign

Facebook forced to eat serious crow after they admit to hiring PR firm to trash Google.

Users can now tag Facebook pages in photos. Go ahead try it.

33 percent of Facebook posting is mobile, via Dan Zarrella.

And from the Department of Procrastination: You can now play Angry Birds on Chrome.


A (RED) Mother’s Day

Congratulations to our partners at (RED) who were recognized by Mashable for their recent Mother’s Day campaign. (RED) asked their community to share via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram what they gained from their mothers. Responses ranged from physical characteristics, a love for cooking, gardening, words of wisdom to ways to get the most out of life. (RED) followers left hundred of inspired comments. Visit the their Facebook page to see more.


On May 12 Showing The Path To Virtual Political Success

For the past couple of weeks, we have been proud to work with a great coalition of people in NYC that have come together for a rally in New York City On May 12th – here’s a blog post CS NMS Founder James Cannon Boyce wrote about the event.

With the support of the group, we have shifted the paradigm a bit on how to create an launch an event like this, the role of the web site itself has diminished and the event is really being organized, coordinated and run via Facebook. Check out the page here. On May 12

It’s not that the Social Media aspect is the ONLY aspect of all the great work, no, far from it. It’s just that the nucleus has shifted and the Facebook page is definitely the hub of the activity. Stay tuned for more details. But this is clearly a shift in “politics as usual.”