Dj Gringo Rocks Regatta 2012

Walmart Launches Goodies Co., Widens Facebook Gift Advice

Walmart‘s Silicon Valley social- and e-commerce-innovation hub may have lost two high-profile leaders this summer, but it continues to crank out projects as it prepares full-scale rollout of a food-subscription service and a broader application of its Shopycat gift-recommendation engine.


The @WalmartLabs unit today is broadly launching Goodies Co., a $7-a-month box of gourmet, organic, ethnic and specialty snacks hand-selected by its own employees after a beta test with 3,000 users that started in June. Subscribers who are active enough in rating, reviewing and touting the products can get Goodies boxes for free. Later this month, @WalmartLabs plans a wider rollout of last year’s experimental Shopycat gift-recommendation Facebook app, to be promoted on as “Walmart Gifts.” Facebook users who download the app can use it to mine data on friends’ likes and posts to generate gift recommendations from or elsewhere.

Those moves follow the launch this summer of Classrooms by Walmart, which has enlisted 100,000 teachers to post their school-supply and donation wish lists on and lets parents make the purchases for delivery to their homes or to local stores in one click. Also this summer, @WalmartLabs rolled out Polaris, a new search technology for that, like Shopycat, is based on the “Social Genome” technology acquired in 2011 as part of Walmart’s $300 million acquisition of social-media startup Kosmix. Polaris ranks search results in part based on such things as reviews from, likes on Facebook and pins on Pinterest.

Though the Social Genome remains, Kosmix’s founders and former @WalmartLabs leaders Venky Harinarayan and Anand Rajaraman left in June to take time off before to-be-announced future endeavors. “We’ve not seen any impact, but we certainly miss them,” said Ravi Raj, @WalmartLabs VP-products. “We’ve been pretty busy with our launches, swamped with our product development. We believe the founders seeded the company with talented people who went on to hire more talented people.”

Goodies Co., the latest @WalmartLabs offering, provides six gourmet products per month in themed boxes. The $7 monthly fee includes taxes, shipping and handling. The October “Trick or Treat” box included Dang Toasted Coconut Chips, a Nutella & Go snack pack, Smartfood Selects cinnamon sugar chips, Juicefruits snacks, Myesa non-dairy cocoa drink and Brownie Brittle snack crisps. The retail value of the food alone is around $15 per box, Mr. Raj said.

Subscribers also will be enrolled in a rewards program that allows them to earn points for reviews, likes and posting pictures. “If you’re active in the site, participating in the community features, the box will eventually be free for you,” Mr. Raj said. Indeed, Goodies comes close to applying the internet’s favorite price — free — to something as tangible as food. That raises the question of whether it’s a loss leader to develop a platform Walmart can use someday for other purposes. On that score, Mr. Raj had no future plans to announce.

“Certainly the value is tremendous,” he said. “But our focus right now is just on the customer experience. If we continue to delight you each month with new products, we think you will be loyal.” The social aspect of the customer reviews for products “could be hugely valuable in the ecosystem,” Mr. Raj said. For one thing, Goodies plans to lean heavily on social-media marketing to spread the word, he said, though it will also do some digital and search advertising.

Ultimately, he expects brands whose products are carried in the box may provide coupons or other offers. And he believes the social feedback received on items in the boxes will help inform assortment decisions at and Walmart. “The reviews are great feedback” for suppliers, Mr. Raj said. “They get free market research by participating.”

Then again, at this point suppliers are providing the food for free. “At the moment,” Mr. Raj said, Walmart isn’t charging for including products in Goodies boxes, either. But Walmart has enough suppliers lined up to provide free stuff for Goodies boxes that it can afford to be selective, as the foodies on the @WalmartLabs team in San Bruno, Calif., taste and vote on everything offered up before items make it to the box.

It’s “an opportunity and an ROI I feel is priceless,” said Heather Howell, CEO of Rooibee Red Tea of Louisville, Ky.,a ready-to-drink Rooibus tea included in the September Goodies box. Her brand netted about 150 new Facebook fans out of the 3,000 users in the beta test, she said, and the Goodies box and website gave her a chance to tell a more in-depth story than other advertising vehicles. “It gave us a focus group of sorts,” she said, adding she was very pleased with the feedback and already has started to incorporate some of the Goodies’ customer suggestions.

LinkedIn Testing Ads in iPad App

LinkedIn2LinkedIn has begun testing display ads in its recently introduced iPad app, marking the professional network’s first step toward monetizing its rapidly growing mobile audience. LinkedIn is trialing the in-app ads with Cisco and Shell.

Well received when launched in April, LinkedIn’s iPad app bears little resemblance to its Web site or smartphone apps. The design more closely mirrors that of personalized magazine apps like Flipboard, with slick graphics, a calendar widget and an “updates” page featuring a news digest of shared stories and status updates. Users can also swipe to access different sections.

While LinkedIn provided few details about the ads it is testing, a screenshot of one of the new ads for Cisco shows what looks like a standard 300 x 250 unit on the right side of a user’s updates page. Continue reading

Five Amazing Facts About Social Media and the Super Bowl | Special: Super Bowl – Advertising Age

Madonna's halftime show generated major conversation in social media.

Madonna’s halftime show generated major conversation in social media.


Our editorial partner Bluefin Labs, the Cambridge, Mass.-based social-TV analytics company, spent last night monitoring social commentary about Super Bowl commercials. This morning the Bluefin data team is busy crunching the numbers. We’ll post a top 10 list of the spots that blew up the biggest [UPDATE: here it is], but in the meantime, here’s a quick big-picture look at social media and the Super Bowl:

1. Bluefin Labs has so far tracked more than 12.2 million social-media comments during and after Super Bowl XLVI, primarily on Twitter and Facebook. That’s a 578% increase over the total Bluefin tracked last year (1.8 million).

2. Twitter, via its official @twitter account, said the final three minutes of the Super Bowl helped push total tweet volume up to an average of 10,000 tweets per second.

3. We have a new social-TV high-water mark. “Last night’s Super Bowl is the biggest social-TV event we’ve ever recorded — by a wide margin,” Bluefin’s Tom Thai tells me. “It surpassed the previous record of 3.1 million social-media comments, held by the MTV Video Music Awards last August.”

4. Madonna’s halftime show alone generated more than 862,000 social-media comments; by comparison, Bluefin recorded 966,000 social-media comments for the 2011 Academy Awards. “If the halftime show were its own standalone televised event,” Thai said, “it would rank fourth in terms of all-time social-TV events for entertainment. It would trail only the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, the 2011 American Music Awards and the 2011 Academy Awards.”

5. Bluefin Labs tracked more than 985,000 social-media comments specifically related to just Super Bowl commercials — topping the total for the entire telecast of the 2011 Academy Awards.

Simon Dumenco is the “Media Guy” columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco. You can follow Bluefin Labs on Twitter @bluefinlabs.

Digital, Social Advances Offer Opportunity In 2012

By Reggie Bradford  Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012


Digital, Social Advances Offer Opportunity In 2012


From medical providers to insurers and from politicians to the public, health care will continue to be on everyone’s mind in 2012 and beyond. And there is no doubt that technology will play a large role in shaping our nation’s future health care system, providing consumers and industry players a more effective and efficient way to operate. With the rise of digital, social and seemingly ubiquitous mobile access, consumers have tremendous access to information, and these technological advances also offer marketers new and powerful ways to connect, communicate and engage with their existing audiences and potential customers. Below are a few strategies health care and wellness marketers should take to heart as they embark on an opportunistic New Year.

Go Directly to Today’s Empowered Consumer: Today’s consumers don’t have to make doctor’s appointments to learn about what conditions are related to certain symptoms or learn joint therapy tips for senior citizens—they’re taking a direct and engaged approach to their health care and wellness. Advances in technology and communication have put consumers in charge and these empowered consumers are already turning to social and digital platforms to discover and engage with all types of content: more than 80% of U.S. Internet users say they have used the web to search for health-related information and answers; and PwC’s recent survey found that 32% use social media outlets to connect with health organizations or with other people with similar health-care interests. Furthermore, consumers overwhelmingly prefer to interact with their own doctors and providers online, with 73% of U.S. adults indicating that they “would use an online, secure tool to make it easier to communicate with their doctor and office staff” (Intuit Health Survey) and 60% are even comfortable “sharing their personal health data for coordinating care” (PwC Survey). As consumers increasingly turn to digital and social channels, health care marketers have a tremendous opportunity to reach, engage and interact with today’s consumer like never before as well as identify new target audiences and act as a resource.

Get Personal: No doubt that several industries are leveraging personalization technology and applications from companies like Zite, Sailthru and Clicker so that, alongside the age of the “empowered consumer,” personalization will be crucial for brands to stay relevant and elicit higher engagement rates through delivering targeted, personalized content to specific consumers. Consumers stand to be frustrated and disappointed if, say, a teenage male is consistently served up messaging related to menopause. According to an Internet Retailer survey, “understanding of consumers” was cited as the top reason for a retailer’s social success. Health care and wellness brands now have the ability to “know” their customers and deliver usable, valued, relevant content: so use it!

Think Smart about Smartphones: Touching consumers on multiple platforms, including the social Web, personalized health sites and other interactive platforms, provides them a more direct and interactive experience. Nothing is more direct than the mobile channel so health care and wellness marketers must understand the importance of reaching their consumers who are increasingly on the go. In a recent AT&T national survey, almost 90% of marketers expect their mobile marketing program to increase in the next 12 months and, according to an eMarketer report, U.S. mobile ad spending will grow 47% in 2012, reaching $1.8 billion. Consumers will more frequently interact with social networks via their mobile devices and marketers must understand that a “cut and paste” strategy will not suffice – smartphone behavior varies from tablet behavior and both of those vary greatly from laptop and desktop behavior. My company recently put out a white paper surrounding the best practices for mobile-social consumer engagement.

Take a Holistic Approach: 2012 will see marketers place a continued focus on social—not with a siloed approach, but holistically viewed through a brand’s total digital footprint. This will be accomplished through a strategic and aggregated approach, including keen focus on analytics and metrics to gauge ROI as part of the overall marketing and sales goals. New tools, technologies, and partnerships will continue to give marketers precision social marketing capabilities, along with metrics that can merge across a brand’s total marketing landscape.

The Role of Retail Increases: From advancements in pharmacies to in-store clinics and interactive health kiosks, retail establishments will offer new and interactive ways for brands to connect with consumers. According to the National Community of Pharmacists Association, 92% of Americans live within five miles of a community pharmacy or drugstore and given that most prescriptions require in-store pickup, a range of tremendous opportunities for health and wellness marketers still exist. Marketers must be vigilant in evaluating the latest in-store technologies and platforms to determine the best ways in which to incorporate their brand and when applicable, think about tying in other technologies that connect the physical and digital worlds like Foursquare and QR codes.

Founder and CEO Reggie Bradford brings nearly two decades of technology leadership and experience to Vitrue, the company he founded in 2006. Vitrue provides Fortune 1,000 brands a comprehensive social media marketing approach, delivering cost-effective solutions for marketers to connect with consumers in social ways by empowering consumers to help build brands through their online actions. The company boasts a growing roster of customers that represent some of the world’s leading media companies and consumer brands. Reach him here.

MediaPost Publications Marketers Struggle With Social Media 12/13/2011

Tell Your Story with Timeline

Since the beginning of Facebook, your profile has been the place where you tell your story. People use it to share everything from the small stuff, like their thoughts on an article, to the most important events of their lives, like the photos of their wedding or the birth of their child.

The evolution of your profile

Back in the early days of Facebook, your profile was pretty basic – just your name, a photo, where you went to school…stuff you’d cover in the first five minutes you met someone.

Over time, your profile evolved to better reflect how you actually communicate with your friends. Now you can can share photos of what you did last weekend, and updates about how you feel today.

But since the focus is on the most recent things you posted, more important stuff slips off the page. The photos of your graduation get replaced by updates about what you had for breakfast.

Say you’re catching up with an old friend – would you rather find out that they had eggs this morning, or hear about their new dream job?

The way your profile works today, 99% of the stories you share vanish. The only way to find the posts that matter is to click “Older Posts” at the bottom of the page. Again. And again.

Imagine if there was an easy way to rediscover the things you shared, and collect all your best moments in a single place.

Introducing timeline – a new kind of profile

With timeline, now you have a home for all the great stories you’ve already shared. They don’t just vanish as you add new stuff.

Timeline is wider than your old profile, and it’s a lot more visual.  The first thing you’ll notice is the giant photo right at the top. This is your cover, and it’s completely up to you which of your photos you put here.

As you scroll down past your cover, you’ll see your posts, photos and life events as they happened in time. You choose what’s featured on your timeline. You can star your favorites to double their size or hide things altogether.

Filling in the blanks

If important parts of your story aren’t included on your timeline, you can go back to when they happened and add them.

Or go to your private activity log. This is where you’ll find everything you shared since you joined Facebook. Click on any post to feature it on your timeline so your friends can see it, too.

Add apps to your timeline

Introducing a new kind of social app that lets you show the things you like to do on your timeline – the music you listen to, the recipes you try, the runs you take and more.

These apps also help you discover what your friends are up to. You can even join in if you want: play the song they’re listening to, or watch the same TV show.

You can start adding some of these new apps today, but timeline won’t be available for a few weeks.

When you get your timeline, you can choose to publish it immediately or take a few days to review what’s there and add anything that’s missing.

Now, you and your friends will finally be able to tell all the different parts of your story – from the small things you do each day to your biggest moments. What will you create? We can’t wait to find out.

Sam Lessin, a product manager at Facebook, is looking forward to adding the photo of his elephant-powered wedding to his timeline.