Smoke Signals

November 3rd, 2011

Welcome to the Tribal DDB weekly Smoke Signals trend report, news from the frontier of digital marketing. We’ve scoured the net to bring you the hottest stories in the digital, media, and marketing space. Have any thoughts on any of these stories? We want to hear what you think!

Click here for the PDF version of this weekly report.

In this issue:
How To Turn Security Cams Into Marketing Assets

Online Ads that Go Where You Go

How To Turn Security Cams Into Marketing Assets

Prism Skylabs, a San Francisco startup, has developed a technology that processes security camera images to deliver high quality views and analytics of a physical space, such as a store or restaurant.  The videos/images and accompanying data can help businesses better understand timing and flow of foot traffic.  Customers can get a real time view of a business before deciding to visit it.  Large chains might use the system to promote their consistency of customer experience.

Implications: There is significant social media potential.  A business can syndicate video content directly to Facebook, Twitter, Yelp or a website.  Web analytics can also be integrated with physical traffic to provide new insight.  For example, a store might evaluate how much foot and web traffic a Groupon brings in, and when the traffic is highest.

To address privacy concerns, Prism Skylabs’ technology blurs people’s faces and bodies.  The system is currently in closed beta testing, but the business model will be “freemium” i.e. businesses will only be charged for value added services.

Online Ads that Go Where You Go

Responsys, an email and cross-channel marketing firm, is one of several companies using email cookies to enable personalized direct advertising.  MetLife and Dollar Thrifty are among its clients using this new method, called “retargeting.”

It works like this:  say you call MetLife about auto insurance.  MetLife sends you a quote by email, which you then open and read.  Later, MetLife banner ads keep popping up wherever you surf, as though MetLife is following you…because it is.

The system is based on a cookie dropped through the email you opened.  While it is mostly automated, companies can also personalize ads if they have your name and other information from your prior interactions.  However, even the Responsys CEO says “I wouldn’t recommend you risk the creepiness” of getting too invasive.

Implications: The implications for online advertisers are clear: the value of online advertising rises if ads can be targeted. For MetLife, about 75% of people who engage with the company through display ads now come through retargeting.

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