Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Scoring With Fans – Location Based Sports Marketing

January 18th, 2011

The world of location-based marketing is evolving rapidly and one of the industries at the forefront is professional sport.  Check-in technologies like Foursquare and Gowalla simply make sense for sports teams because they solve a key problem – Identification and connection with their fanbase.

You see, in many major markets, tickets are bought and sold numerous times before someone actual ends up with their butt in the seat.  So how do you know who is actually there?  How do you determine demographics of your audience like age and gender?  And what about all those fans in other cities that can’t get to the game?

Check-in services not only help with this identification, but present opportunities for personalized marketing and promotion.

Let’s take a look at the use of LBS services across the four primary leagues here in North America (NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB) in 2010

The NHL

Location-based services are especially relevant for sporting events, says Michael DiLorenzo, senior director of social media marketing and strategy for the National Hockey League. “The in-home viewing experience has gotten so good for fans that you have to add value to the on-site experience.”

Since the NHL launched its official Foursquare partnership back in October, the league has seen its number of fans on Foursquare grow from 100 to more than 10,000

“Once you’ve achieved a critical mass on the major social platforms like Facebook, though the work may not be finished, you have to look where the fish are congregating next,” he says.

NHL fans that attended NHL Face-Off (opening night event) used their mobile devices to check-in on Foursquare. Tips and clues on the Foursquare mobile application then provided insider information to fans, pointing them to secret locations.

With the NHL’s global fan base and international player roster, mobile makes a lot of sense. In an effort to bolster its mobile media strategy, the organization has launched a new three-tier app aimed at reaching fans whether they’re at a game, in front of a TV or their laptop

The NHL has also been very active on Twitter – holding Tweetups (physical gatherings of fans on Twitter)

It found, he said, that out of 150 people who attended one NHL tweetup in New York City, 100 of them had Twitter personas that could be analyzed.

The NBA

Not satisfied to sit on the sidelines of checkin games, the NBA released – NBA Turnstile, a mobile checkin service that lives inside NBA Game Time.

NBA Turnstile is a combo service that allows users to check into physical locations, a la Foursquare and Gowalla (the app integrates with these two services for its place database, and users can optionally check in to one or both), and into virtual locations, like televised games.

Digital checkins enable fans to check into nationally televised games on ABC, ESPN, TNT and NBA TV. NBA fans can also check into Turnstile through Fanvibe sports-centric checkin service.

The basic premise is that NBA fans can use Turnstile to check in to any game they watch, whether it be at the arena, a sports bar or from the comfort of their couch. The app, of course, also supports integration with Twitter and Facebook so users can share “shoutouts” to those social networks.

Turnstile replicates the game mechanics we’ve seen in other checkin apps, including points, badges — awarded for weekly, monthly and season-long checkins — and a leaderboard. Turnstile is both a national and regional effort; NBA Digital is working with each team to create official badges for their specific locations. Teams can also create their own badges and checkin promotions.

“We see location based services as just the tip of the iceberg,” says Bryan Perez, senior vice president and general manager of NBA Digital. “The more we can integrate people’s location information at games, the more opportunities there are for things like sponsorships,” he says, adding there are no sponsorships for Turnstile in place currently.

The NFL

Last July, the New England Patriots announced the launch of an Alternate Reality Game (ARG) designed to give Pats fans a new way to connect with the team using technology developed by Boston-based startup SCVNGR. The ARG is called Help Vince!

The game lead Patriots fans on a New England-wide SCVNGR trek to find Patriot’s defensive lineman Vince Wilfork’s “missing Super Bowl ring.” Of course, Wilfork had’t really lost his ring — the team was simply experimenting with transparency a little bit by deploying a hot new form of marketing known as an ARG.

Marketing ARGs are games that encourage participants to engage with brands by following a series of clues to learn more about the brand and solve problems in pursuit of an end-goal revelation.

“This is clearly one of the coolest things that has ever been built on SCVNGR,” said Seth Priebatsch, CEO and “Chief Ninja” of SCVNGR. “The Patriots have built awesome challenges all across New England. Literally millions of people can help Vince find his ring by doing these quick, fun challenges at the places near them. And win cool stuff. Oh and it only takes six seconds to do a challenge. So grab the app and get going!”

While SCVNGR has been pursuing the NFL market pretty hard, they may now have a competitor in Gowalla who recently announced 32 new stamps – one for each NFL team that fans/users can get just by checking in at their stadium of choice.

MLB

No stranger to social media, Major League Baseball added checkins via its MLB At Bat iPhone application (iTunes link).

Here’s what you get with the new feature:

* It works with Twitter and Facebook.

* It creates a sort-of chat room, where you and other people at the game can talk about the action.

* You get a map of the stadium so you can find bathrooms, concessions, and other information.

* And you’ll eventually gain access to highlights in the app. If there’s a great play, you’ll be able to watch it again on your phone.

This is a pretty neat feature for MLB to bake into its products. It’s a good way to corral people talking about the same game.

Another example of this is the collaboration between Facebook Places, Red Bull and the San Francisco Giants.

Similar to the NFL example, the Giants organized a scavenger hunt with 11 autographed Tin Lincecum baseballs (one for each strikeout).  A picture was uploaded to their site of the various locations and the first fan to get their and check in on Facebook Places won the ball.

Whether SCVNGR, Facebook, Foursquare or Turnstile, location-based marketing is a great way for the leagues and their teams to connect with sponsors and fans.

Twitter Squared: Places & Payments

November 15th, 2010

It’s been awhile now since Twitter began allowing users to tweet their location via its Places feature, but now it looks like the company is taking Places a step further with a feature that lets businesses “claim” a location or place.

The “claiming” of Places page could be a sign that Twitter is getting serious about competing in the geo-location space currently dominated by Facebook and Foursquare. It could give businesses a new avenue to promote themselves on Twitter, and it could also lead to new revenue possibilities for the microblogging service.

It creates much speculation about what Twitter plans to do with its Place pages? Is Twitter planning to launch a deals feature of its own?

According to officials at Twitter however “Places is not available at this time. We’re experimenting with a variety features. Allowing businesses to claim a Place is a natural thing to consider for the future.”

Being able to claim a place on Twitter would seem to suggest that the company is thinking about adding to their offering. Google, Facebook, and Foursquare all allow venue-owners to claim their places.

The real game here is around location-based analytics and ultimately new streams of revenue.  Many big brands are already on Twitter with full-time community managers in place to respond to every tweet pro or con.

So, what if Twitter did actually allow businesses to claim their Places? Let’s think for a moment what could happen if this was coupled with Jack Dorsey’s (co-founder of Twitter) other new company – Square?

Square was unveiled last December as a small credit card reader that could turn any iPhone into a mobile cash register. The startup has since unveiled apps for the iPad, Android and iPhone. And Dorsey brought on PayPal and Slide veteran Keith Rabois as General Manager in August.

So where is Square seeing the most traction? Without a doubt, small businesses, independent workers and merchants comprise most of Square’s rapidly growing user base. The technology only requires its tiny credit card scanner that fits into your audio jack and Square’s app. The device and the software are free, but Square takes a small percentage of each transaction (2.75% plus 15 cents for swiped transactions).

While merchants have to qualify for the app, Square’s qualification rules are more relaxed than those of standard credit card processors, There are no initiation fees, monthly minimums, and when merchants apply for a reader, Square doesn’t just focus on a credit check, but also takes into account the influence a company holds on Yelp, Twitter or Facebook.

Rabois says that Square is the “PayPal for the real world.” He also compares Square as the “Apple for financial services,” because it is so easy to use out of the box.

So, you’re a small or medium business.  You can claim you Place online, manage the social messaging promotion through Twitter, and process your payments through a small device plugged into your existing phone.  No additional hardware and low transaction fees.

Seem likes a match made in heaven, and all brought to you by one company – Twitter

I like to think of Jack Dorsey like a modern day John Chambers – outsource R&D by seeding a whole bunch of complimentary start-ups and once they’re ready – just roll them into the mothership.

Now if only I could get a Square to use hear in Canada for our events at the LBMA – life would be great!

Facebook + Apple: Masters of the Location Universe?

November 4th, 2010

Yesterday, Facebook along with more than 20 retail partners, including Gap, H&M, Lululemon, McDonalds’s, Starbucks and the San Francisco 49ers, announced a Facebook Deals component to augment their Places location-based service.

The move could bring a slew of new local and small business advertisers to the social network.  With more than 500 million users already, Deals could be the driver that brings location-based services to the masses.  And it’s needed – a study, also released yesterday by Pew Research indicates that only 4% of online adults use a location service like Foursquare or Gowalla.

The Deals service lets merchants push deals to their existing customers and attract new ones, according to Tim Kendall, Facebook’s director of monetization.

When users launch Facebook Places, they will see a listing of nearby venues, some which will have special icons indicating deals. They can pull up the deal, and with two clicks, they can claim it. When they go to the store or restaurant later, they can show the staff their Facebook app to redeem the deal.

The most interesting part of this announcement is that Facebook isn’t taking a cut of revenue for these discounts, posing a challenge to smaller competitors that use deal revenue as part of their business model. On a business’ Places page, they can set up an offer. There are four kinds:

  • Individual deals, which reward a customer if they check-in once.
  • Loyalty deals, which reward customers for a certain number of purchases or check-ins.
  • Friend deals, which reward customers if they bring in extra friends.
  • Charity deals, which allow businesses to donate to charity for every check-in they attract.

The Deals announcement is not however without speculation towards the future.

When Facebook called this press conference, much of the speculation was that they were going to announce their own phone – as referenced by TechCrunch in September.   That didn’t happen.  Instead, it appears that Apple and Facebook are getting closer and closer.

Could Apple be looking to buy Facebook?

Imagine if Facebook users suddenly all had iTunes and FaceTime accounts, giving Apple unquestioned dominance in online music and video chat. Apple and Facebook aren’t currently competing in any realm, but both are competing with Google, and there’s no love lost between Apple and Google.

Additionally, there’s significant synergy. The Facebook app for iPhone has been estimated to be one of the most used apps on the iPhone, with over 100 million active monthly users. One source, David Kirkpatrick, author of The Facebook Effect, claims that more than half of all usage of the iPhone of apps, other than those provided by the phone itself like telephony and email, is coming from Facebook.”

Apple has some $51 Billion in the bank meaning that they could afford to buy the social networking giant when it goes public.

Steve Jobs on a recent earnings call said “We strongly believe that one or more very strategic opportunities may come along, that we are in a unique position to take advantage of because of our strong cash position…And so I think that we’d like to continue to keep our powder dry, because we do feel that there are one or more strategic opportunities in the future. That’s the biggest reason.”

Perhaps the most important synergy is in the area of patents.  Facebook has been thinking about location for years and was recently granted a wide-reaching patent that could wipe newcomers off the social networking map.

Bnet, which broke the story, says the patent covers “a method of sharing locations of users participating in a social networking service at a geographic location” and the location is found using a “GPS Identifier”.

Similarly, Apple is hot on the patent bandwagon, in particular around NFC and location-based advertising.

Their recent patent application for “System and method for providing contextual advertisements according to dynamic pricing scheme” indicates.

Apple describes a mobile ad system that will work on your iPhone, iPod or iPad, and provide ads based on various direct or indirect marketing preferences through a “Local ad” app.  The owner of the network you are connected to at the time serves the ads.

A shopping mall owner, airport operator, or anyone else, providing Wi-Fi access, can serve ads from local merchants; wireless carrier can offer local ads, triggered by a location data from a base station or your GPS sensor, and search keywords you just entered in a search app, etc.

The combination of these two companies could indeed make them masters of the location-based universe.

Why Media & Entertainment Companies Need LBS

June 14th, 2010

As I sit at the beautiful Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel attending the NextMedia/Banff World Television Festival, I can’t help but think about the huge opportunity in front of media and entertainment companies when it comes to location-based services.

Already, we are seeing early signs of deals with companies like MyTown, FourSquare and GoWalla.

The Travel Channel has found early success with its MyTown application to the tune of 17 million check-ins in one month, while FourSquare has struck partnerships with media companies such as HBO, Warner Brothers, MTV and Bravo.

And the phenomenon is not limited to just television,

Concert promoters are jumping on board as well, as events such as Bonnaroo, Coachella and Lollapalooza are all using mobile apps to enhance the concert experience for attendees as part of a broader new-media push that also includes social media, LBS and other broad Internet initiatives to co-exist.

Many of these apps are also integrated with Twitter and Facebook.  In the music business, it’s all about improving the fan experience while at the event, and then finding ways to extend the experience into an ongoing relationship long after the event or concert is over.

At the recent forum hosted by Future of Local Media during Internet Week NY, several questions around the concept of the value of geo-location and LBS were explored.

Ian Spalter, Executive Creative Director of Mobile & Emerging Platforms at R/GA, believes that this opportunity forces brands to consider not only how they are relevant to a consumer’s life, but also when and where they are relevant.  Mark Ghuneim, CEO of WiredSet/Trendrr, encourages brands to enable an experience for a customer.  The value to the marketer is the emergence of the real-place web.  Whereas the real-time web gave marketers an understanding of how consumers interacted online, the real-place web offers an understanding of how people live their lives on the move.

So, how do media and entertainment companies leverage the real-place web to reach consumers? Well, I see two immediate possibilities.

The first is to trade sponsorship of Free WiFi or some other value-add in-venue service, for consumer input on everything from pilot episodes, to ad campaigns, to television commercials.  In other words, no need to bring the focus group in and feed them Smarties and popcorn.  Push the focus group out to the public and crowdsource the answers in exchange for something they want, in the place they’re already at.

The second is to go further down the road of gaming and/or product integration. This time however, we change the venue from the home to the place people are at – while out of home.

Several television shows have attempted over the last few years to engage fans on both the digital and broadcast channels simultaneously.   A recent example is the relationship between NBC’s Chuck and Subway.

When the show sat on the bubble for renewal, engaged fans stepped up through the show’s Fansite, Facebook and Twitter, asking them to buy a $5 dollar foot-long sub during the finale episode.

At one point, The Hollywood Reporter called Chuck the “most discussed bubble show online”

It worked, and the show was renewed with further support from Subway and others.

But, what if the drive to renew the show actually happened based on check-ins and/or mobile couponing at actual Subway stores?  The value to the advertiser would have likely been enormous in getting people to their stores and of course in driving incremental sales.

As a final thought, I come home to a Canadian icon in Tim Horton’s.  Now here is a company that is focused on one brand and one brand only – their own.  So how can a media company use the largest chain in Canada to connect with patrons of Tim Horton’s?

Give them what they already have.  On any given day, you can walk into a coffee shop and find copies of the Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Star, and the like all over the tables.  So why not embrace that?  Why not reward the natural synergy between a newspaper and our morning coffee, with free at home delivery subscriptions based on the number of check-ins at a coffee shop or gas station?

The opportunities for media and entertainment companies are limitless.  The real place web is here and together as consumers, technology providers, content producers and distributors, we must find ways to cross platforms and work together to embrace the power of LBS in engaging people at the right place in the right time.

WiFi & LBS Renew Privacy Pandemonium

June 1st, 2010

In light of the recent Google WiFi debacle, those of you new to the world of WiFi & LBS might have a few questions regarding this technology and the security of your personal information.

Let’s start with a quick recap.  On May 8th, the German data protection agency asked Google to audit the WiFi data they collect for use in products such as Google Maps.  We subsequently learned, by Google’s own admission, that they had been collecting everything from SSID names to MAC addresses and even some payload data (information for users sessions while connected to the network).

This has produced not only a stiff response from global governments, but also several class action lawsuits.  One such lawsuit in the US suggests that Google could end up paying $10,000 for each privacy violation, and they have even engaged the FTC to conduct a formal investigation into the consumer implications.

So what does this mean for consumers of WiFi, Facebook and Foursquare?

One of the most common concerns about Foursquare relates to user privacy. Surely, if you’re checking in everywhere you go, every day, you’re opening yourself up to some fairly significant privacy risks. More specifically, you’re handing over your location information to potential stalkers.

So the key to reducing the privacy-risks associated with using Foursquare is to set a privacy-strategy. In other words, properly manage who has access to your location information, and don’t check in everywhere you go.

Specifically, I recommend that you should only accept as friends on Foursquare those people that you are absolutely comfortable with knowing your location.

We already know that Facebook, too, has had its share of privacy concerns, leading to last week’s simplification of their privacy policy.  Canada’s 12 million Facebook users should be proud to have a watchdog like the privacy commission pushing Facebook to fall in line with our PIPEDA rules.

We can only anticipate that this will be tested even further as Facebook begins to embrace the location-aware features I’ve recently discussed.

And what about unsecured, public WiFi?  Should you connect? What are the risks?  The risks are great that both your personal information and session data may be compromised, but it soon may not matter.

Increasingly, governments are coming out hard against free or unsecured WiFi.  In Germany, you can be fined up to €100 if you don’t password-protect your network.

The UK has recently approved a Digital Economy Bill.  Under the proposed new regime, WiFi users will choose between two options: either you’re essentially an ISP, in which case you’ll need to become a copyright cop and police the connections of anyone using your network at great expense, or you’re not an ISP, in which case you’re responsible for any malicious use of the network, and subject to fines and lawsuits.

Does this mean the end of free public WiFi?  I think not – just the end to unsecured WiFi.  What it really means is that venues will find ways to work with ISPs, and that ISPs will find ways to build the cost of policing their networks into the mix.  Subsidization of such networks will come from the same brands and advertisers that ultimately want to reach the same consumer that wants free WiFi today.

Of course they can always opt out, but the cost for free, yet “secured” WiFi in the future will be to watch an ad, complete a survey, or disclose your location.

As consumers we are very simple-minded.  We want the notion of privacy, but most of us will never really take the time to change and fiddle with the settings – we’d rather just connect and maybe get something for free.

LBS: At The Intersection of Brands & Consumers

May 20th, 2010

We’ve heard a lot over the last few months about the explosion of location-based services (LBS). From Foursquare and Gowalla to the lesser known Loopt and BrightKite, agencies, media buyers and brands are all trying to understand how to best use them.  And now the behemoth – Facebook has entered the fray!

With over 100 million active mobile users, Facebook appears to be on the way to building a mobile ad network.

We recently learned that McDonald’s, as an article in AdAge indicates, is building an app with Facebook that would allow users to check in at one of its restaurants and have a featured product appear in the post, such as an Angus Quarter Pounder.  Enough check-ins and you may qualify for a free burger or fries!

My question, is why not tie this into the free nation-wide WiFi they recently announced?  They could even allow users to authenticate onto the WiFi network using Facebook Connect.

This is just one example of how the concept of “checking-in” at a specific location is starting to be rewarded or converted to a loyalty program.

Pepsico recently announced preliminary plans around a Foursqaure program. The basic idea is that they want to sell their products to customers when they are near a grocery store, restaurant or gas station.

The system provides live information about when and where people are shopping and their proximity to a retail partner that carries Pepsi’s products.  When a Foursquare user is near a Pepsi retailer, an offer to enroll that person in a Pepsi rewards system will appear. Once enrolled, whenever they check in at a retailer selling Pepsi product they will accumulate rewards points or badges to later redeem for product or offers or donate to charity.

For brands like Pepsi that typically rely heavily on their retail partners to drive product sales, they now have a way to engage directly with the consumer.

So how big is this market anyway?

A recent study by Juniper Research says that nearly 1.5 billion people will be using LBS by 2014, with a global market worth $12.7bn worldwide.

Will consumers be receptive to offers from these brands?  The answer appears to be turning favourable.

Mobile audience media company JiWire’s Q1 2010 collected data from 2000 users across 289,000 US wi-fi locations, finding that 53% of users would be happy to share their current location on a mobile device to receive relevant advertising.  Two-thirds of those surveyed also said that they frequently use apps on their smartphones that require them to set a location in order to receive other content, and 76% of those users are leaning much closer towards ad-supported free apps rather than paid-for services.

So, the message for brands is simple – LBS are here now, and growing quickly.  If you’re seeking ways to engage directly with consumers, be it though an app or a service, get with your agency and figure out a strategy for your company today.