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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

AdWords in an Ad World

At first, it was the internet, that revolutionized digital advertising. The second half of the 90's and the first half of the last decade was all about the power of the internet to the advertise. It seemed that advertisers had finally found the medium which can allow them to break through the clutter of countless marketing communication messages in a manner more effective than conventional print and broadcast mediums. There was always bound to be the need to non conventional advertising platforms and mediums, since the more traditional mediums were getting saturated and it seemed the marketing message was unable to break through the clutter and reach its desired audience.

While the power of the internet as an advertising medium was still being explored, along came mobile internet technology which was further accelerated by the developments in smart phone technology. Before we knew it, the whole world was going mobile, how people were going about in the same physical world that we lived in was going mobile. Of course not in its literal sense, but internet powered mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets were now driving the market and had become a part of every day life and the consumption of content that went with it for millions and millions of people around the world. Marketer's could not choose to ignore these developments, as the mobile medium offered significant potential as mobile devices usually tended to be on the users or with them at most times throughout the day. These included the ability for advertisers and marketers to develop and transmit customized marketing communication to their desired audience as well as reap the benefits of location based services which added the geographic variable to the user and their involvement with marketing communication.

Internet giants such as AOL, Yahoo and Google have all made significant efforts to be part of this technological revolution and the advertisement revenue benefits that come with the package. Yahoo enjoyed the benefit of having the first mover advantage in this industry through Yahoo OneSearch which was based on their search engine technology. On the other hand, the biggest player in the internet search engine industry, the internet giant Google made its presence felt on the mobile platforms through the development of AdWords program. These were short text based adverts that relied significantly on Google's organic search algorithm to produce the most relevant possible searches for the user. Google's AdWords program gave the advertisers a generous amount of freedom and flexibility with both advert development, placement, as well as how much it was going to cost the advertiser. Advertisers for the sponsored short text placement were charged on a pay per click/visit basis depending on less on the presence of their listing on the organic search and more on the user's engagement with the search result. Google had also thrown in the option of allowing users to engage the advertisers through 'click to call' which allowed the user to directly make a voice call to the advertiser through a single click. Some AdWords placements were even spread across to Google's partner companies like AOL and Netscape.

For Google in particular, there was significant potential from these technological developments, since they now have their very own open source operating system for the mobile smart phones. The Android OS by Google has seen innovation and development in the few years since its debut in the smart phone market and is now the fastest growing mobile operating system platform in the smart phone industry. Complete access through a mobile operating system offers significant potential and opens the door for great new possibilities and innovations in mobile marketing communication. For Google, the possibilities are limitless.

The size of the screen through which these advertising messages are communicated can be a possible concern regarding to their effectiveness and their ability to communicate their message in a rich and engaging manner. In addition let's not forget there will always be a fair few concerns among users or recipients of adverts in the era of mobile marketing communication. There maybe concerns with regards to privacy and security issues, since mobile communication also makes use of location based services, that might be a cause for concern for individuals receiving advertising messages which includes the perception of intrusion. Till then, we can just observe how industry, market and technology evolves in the months and years ahead.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Bring on the Fire, but Be Kindle with me

Just a few years ago, industry experts would have completely ruled out the possibility of there being a market for the tablet computer and other hand held devices such as the E-readers. Yet when we look all around, whether be it on in the tube, or just walking down the street or even campus, people have in their hands a tablet computer or an e-reader which also manages to successfully engage it's respective user. With these 2 respective devices, I think it would be fair to allocate some of the credit to Apple with the iPad for creating the market for Tablet Computers, and to Amazon with it's Kindle for really making people put down the age old tradition of printed literature.

Apple was by means not the first company to develop and launch the Tablet Computer. There were other's who tried before Apple launched its iPad in 2010. Companies such as Acer and Asus had been working with Microsoft to develop a tablet computer but the reception in those early days of tablet computing was some what cold. Then came the Apple iPad, and it managed to create a market for portable tablet computers overnight which was aided by the portability that those products had to offer, but most importantly the simple user friendly functionality of the iPad. Before we knew it, countless manufacturers and companies wanted to join in and become a part of this multi-million dollar market for Tablet Computers. Be it Samsung, Huawei or countless other's, tech firms were geared up in the development and launch of tablet computers. Most of Apple's competitors chose Google's Android operating system for their Tablet Computers. The limitation of these devices though is that they are more meant for content consumption as opposed to content creation.

Amazon was no different as well, they also wanted to be a part of this multi million dollar market. They had already enjoyed reasonable success in portable digital technology through their Amazon Kindle, which remains the largest selling E-reader in the market. After enjoying success with the Kindle, decision makers at Amazon felt that there was room for a low end, low priced internet tablet as most tablets were expensive high end products, at the same time they felt that they could take Apple head on and give them a run for their money.

What Amazon has working for itself is its strong presence in the online market as an E-Retailer or e-tailer as some would like to call it. Amazon has also a significant digital product offering that they sell to their customers in the form of E-Books, digital music and movies downloadable onto Amazon devices. With the launch of the Amazon Kindle Fire, Amazon has managed to integrate its Kindle E Reader with an open source Android based operating system, which has been customized to Amazon's requirments. In a way their product offering is a hybrid between a Kindle E reader and a basic entry level Android tablet, the great thing going for them though is the whole range of digital services available from Amazon that can make having a Kindle Fire a very impressive experience.

What Amazon should realistically do is pro actively compete with Barnes and Noble, as well as other low end Tablet Computers with a similar screen size instead of trying take Apple head on. They should position their Kindle Fire, as an enriching and a more complete Kindle experience which combines the Kindle with the power of the Android Operating system to allow greater flexibility and functionality for end users. By doing this, they would be avoiding alienating the significant user base that they have developed with the Kindle, and they can in the process utilize that same user base by encouraging them to upgrade to the Kindle Fire, for an even more enriching Kindle Experience where they can enjoy countless other services that Amazon has to offer also. Amazon has managed to partially cannibalize it's own market by offering Kindle App's on Apple and Android powered devices, and owners of competitor products might be reluctant to switch unless of course Amazon can come up with that all important differentiation factor to win the minds of its would be consumers.