Twitter Opens Self-Serve Ads to Select Buyers

Twitter’s been talking about adding a self-serve option to their ad program for a while now and it looks like it’s finally happening. I say “looks like,” because the only official announcement was a mention at the Business Insider’s Ignition conference.

Now, the press is all over it but Twitter is hanging back. So why aren’t they banging the drums?

The PR rep for Twitter told AllThingsDigital that they’re planning a slow roll-out of the option, beginning with a few, select advertisers.

As with all of our advertising efforts, we’re starting small, testing carefully and making improvements as we learn what works. We will slowly roll this capability out to more advertisers in the coming weeks and months.

Foursquare Launches Improved ‘To Do List’ Save Button

You’re reading New York magazine online when you spot a review of a new sushi restaurant. It’s in a part of the city you go to a few times a month, and you’d like to check it out. If only you had an easy way to remember all the details. . .

Introducing, the new and improved Save to Foursquare button! When a reader clicks the button, they get a pop-up that allows them to add the location to their Foursquare To Do list.

If the user has Radar enabled on their new iPhone, they’ll receive a notification when they are in the area, reminding them to stop by. Without Radar, notifications will only pop after check-in, which is rather pointless.

33% of Shoppers Use Apps or Websites to Help Them Grocery Shop

With grocery prices on the rise and incomes on the decline, consumers are looking for new ways to make ends meet. For 33% of them, it’s all about using digital resources to plan their weekly shopping trip.

Acosta Sales and Marketing has released a new report called “The Why Behind the Buy.” The report is all about trends in grocery shopping and what retailers and marketers can do to stay ahead of the game.

In general, Acosta found that consumers are more conservative than they’ve been in the past and that this behavior is the “new normal.” It’s happening because shoppers are spending 3% more on an average grocery run but they’re getting a lot less. As the main grocery shopper in my house, I can say for sure that that fact is true.

FTC Forces a Mea Culpa Out of Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg posted a lengthy message on the Facebook blog today that includes this statement:

“I’m the first to admit that we’ve made a bunch of mistakes. In particular, I think that a small number of high profile mistakes, like Beacon four years ago and poor execution as we transitioned our privacy model two years ago, have often overshadowed much of the good work we’ve done.”

I actually feel bad for him.

The mea culpa was in response to a release from the FTC that details the 7 times Facebook made privacy promises that it didn’t keep. The majority of the instances have to do with data sharing with third party apps and advertisers. They also say Facebook allowed access to data belonging to accounts that had been deleted by the users.

Cyber Monday Beats Black Friday

Cyber Monday is over (sort of) and the results are in. It’s a HIT!

According to IBM Benchmark, Cyber Monday sales were up 33% over last year. The average order value also rose from $193.24 to $198.26.

Unlike Black Friday, there were two peaks during the day, one at 11:05 PST and again late in the evening. Take a look at this comparison chart. Except for the early morning hours, Cyber Monday beat the pants off online Black Friday buying to the tune of  29.3%.

Just When You Thought it Was Safe. . .

Now, here’s what’s interesting. Part of the reason these big sale days work is because they’re special. 24 hours of the lowest prices and best deals. Yet, this morning, I woke up to emails from two retailers saying they were extending their sales for another 24 hours. So now it’s Cyber Tuesday?

Mobile Paid Search Offers Bigger Bang for the Buck

Now that more people are using their mobile devices to search and shop, more advertisers are paying for mobile ads — it’s the circle of life and it’s working out well for everyone involved.

New numbers from Performics show that smartphone CPCs are still a real bargain, coming in at around 40% less than desktop CPCs. The one mobile exception is the tablet, which, last week, rose 20% over desktop CPCs.

When compared to last year, mobile impressions and click shares are both way up. Says Performics:

“We now predict that mobile paid search will make up 25.4% of all clicks (desktop + mobile) in December 2011, up 8 percentage points from our projection a month ago.”

For those visual learners in the bunch, here’s a graph that tells it like it is.

Black Friday Online Sales Up 24% Over Last Year

Another Black Friday is over and in the books and it looks like a good time was had by most.

IBM Coremetrics estimates a 24.3% increase in online sales over last year. As you can see from this chart, midnight was the magic hour with a nice spike over the last two years. This is likely due to the fact that many major chains made holiday prices effective at midnight online as well as in stores.

Sales peak in morning then slowly taper off, but still 2011 stayed well above the numbers from previous years with slight exceptions. (Can anyone account for that crazy early morning spike in 2009?)

Breaking it down by category, Department Store online sales were up 59%. Home Goods was up 48.8% and Apparel was up 47.2%. I like those numbers.