Study Predicts the End of Cash and Card Transactions by 2020

Chase Bank has a new commercial that shows a woman at the zoo, stopping to deposit a check in the bank with her smartphone. She tells her daughter that all she has to do is take a picture of the check and it goes right into her bank account. Obviously confused by this marvel of technology, the child then freaks when mom uses her phone to take a picture of a lion. Cut to: lion prowling through the bank.

Clever and pretty cool. The way we bank is changing everyday thanks to online technology and smartphones. Most banks now allow you to transfer money and pay bills online. Some have systems that allow you to pay friends via an email address. And some allow you to swipe your phone over a reader in order to pay a cashier.

Majority of Small Business Websites Are Missing Contact Information

In the past week I used the internet to find the address and directions to a hotel, the phone number of a local restaurant, and the email address of a blogger.

I failed on the first try, all three times.

Gone are the days when a potential customer would pop open the Yellow Pages or even call directory assistance for a phone number. One survey showed that 59% of consumers search Google for local business information at least once a month. What would they find if they were searching for you?

SMB DigitalScape took a look at 1 million SMB websites and here’s what they found:

  • 6 out of 10 SMB websites in the U.S. are missing either a local or toll-free telephone number on the home page to contact the business.

Facebook Advertising: Rates Go Up as Clicks Come Down

If you’re on a see-saw, you expect one side to go up while the other goes down. But when you’re paying for advertising. . . not so much. Still, that’s exactly what’s happening on Facebook says a new report from TBG Digital.

In the simplest terms, the average CPM rates on Facebook ads have risen 41% year over year. There was an initial, corresponding rise in click-throughs through Q3 of last year, but since then clicks have dropped off. In the US, the decline was 8%. France got hit the hardest with a 13% decline.

The reason for the drop? TBG blames it on the change in number of ads displayed per page. Facebook now shows up to 7 ads at a time, but statistically we know that only one will get clicked. Even I can do that math. Only 4 ads per page equals 1 in 4 chance of getting a click. 7 ads drops to 1 in 7.

Foursquare Fans Celebrate 4sqDay!

Today, April 16, is 4sqDay.

Did you forget to buy a gift for that special Foursquare special person in your life? No problem, Foursquare has a huge list of specials you can activate today including freebies, parties and chances to win big prizes.

Foursquare has a reason to celebrate. Even as statisticians everywhere say check-in programs don’t work, Foursquare says they have 20 million members and 2 billion check-ins over two years.

There’s no denying that they aren’t growing as fast as they used to, but as long as they maintain a large and loyal fan base, they’re better off than most. And even with interest fading, Foursquare has some heavy-hitters on their side including American Express, Bing and McDonalds.

Study Shows Moms are Mostly Likely To. . .

Mother’s Day may be a month away but I suggest you take a moment right now to pay homage to those women who gave birth to the next generation. They’re not only important for the survival of the human race, but they’re a major force in social media marketing.

According to a new study by Performics, moms are significantly more likely to visit social media sites regularly, trust what they read there about their favorite brands, and make a purchase based on social media recommendations.

Purchase recommendations are especially important in the areas of cars, clothes and travel.

Once a mom latches on to a brand or company she likes, she is more likely to become a brand ambassador and that’s money in the bank.

Inspiration Alley: McCormick Pin-Spiration

Pinterest is the social network for women who love fashion, decorating and food. That’s why it’s the perfect home for McCormick’s new marketing campaign. They call it Spring Pin-Spiration.

The campaign challenges people to create a board with photos of dishes they made from at least five recipes from Photos must be properly tagged and finished boards have to be emailed to the company overseeing the contest. 25 winners will get a spring baking kit.

The results are lovely to look at and the use of Pinterest is perfect. On the downside, the contest rules were extremely hard to find and they don’t contain an “enter by” date. Since social is forever and the main post keeps getting repinned all over the site, there’s no way of knowing if the contest is currently open to new submissions.

Tumblr Looks Beyond the Banner Ad for Revenue

When Pinterest rose to power a few months ago, I counted Tumblr out. Not that they totally occupy the same space, but they’re both graphically-based posting boards with a fondness for grid structures. Pinterest takes that idea a step further, while Tumblr remains a mix of old school blogging with new school graphics.

What neither network has figured out is a way to make the site profitable – yet. Tumblr CEO David Karp talked to AdAge this week about his monetization strategies and I have to admit I’m impressed. I’m not sure that it will turn Tumblr into a profitable social network, but I applaud his creativity and verve. Yes, verve.

Karp wants to bypass traditional adsense / banner marketing in favor of a self-promotion system.