Google Gets Hit With Fine for Obstructing FCC Investigation

Google’s Street View is a very helpful tool when you’re driving to a place you’ve never visited before. But what are we willing to give up in return for the convenience? No one wants to pay in cash for the service, so how about you turn over your web history and email instead?

More than a year ago, the FCC began an investigation about the data collected by Google’s Street View teams. It was learned that in addition to photographing an area, the happy little cars also scooped up data from unprotected wireless networks.

Google has never denied the data collection, but they have had a variety of explanations. According to a report in the LA Times, Google first went with the theory that an “unauthorized engineer” put the plan in motion without permission from the company. The data was collected but no one did anything with it.

AMC’s The Pitch Makes Advertising Entertaining

If you’ve ever thought of advertising execs as naked, glistening, sword-wielding gladiators, then have I got a show for you.

AMC’s The Pitch is like Mad Men but without the cool clothes. each week, the series follows two real-life agencies as they meet, brainstorm, create and pitch their campaign concept hoping to win the big client.

In the first episode, which airs tonight, April 30, at 9, mid-size agency McKinny goes up against “envelope-pushing” WDCW on a campaign for Subway. The sandwich shop wants to convince millennials to buy their breakfast at Subway and that’s a tall order.

McKinny, smartly, brings in some young guns of their own and invites them to compete against each other. They come up with animated sandwiches and a rap music video.

Study Shows Social Media Marketing Management is Haphazard at Best

A surprising number of people are still confused about social media marketing. They know it’s on trend and that it’s probably good for business but logistically, it’s still a bit of a mystery for most.

EPiServer recently surveyed 250 UK marketing decision makers and their thoughts on social media marketing were all over the board. On the upside, 77% of them said they were running some kind of online community and 35% said they’ve been using social media for more than a year.

Of those with a social media marketing strategy, 30% said it’s increased their customer loyalty, 25% said it increased web traffic and 21% said they saw a direct increase in sales. Bravo. But only 1 in 10 said they had an effective means of measuring the benefits and that’s crazy.

YouTube Gains as Facebook Numbers Continue to Slide

Nielsen just released their Top Web Brands stats for March 2012. The usual suspects made the list, but when you compare the charts to months back, you can see an interesting trend. YouTube’s audience is growing — as it should. Facebook’s audience is on the decline — no comment.

Here’s the newest data:

Compared to August of last year:

Facebook is still easily holding second place and they rule the world when it comes to time per person. YouTube’s growth hasn’t been enough to raise them up out of fifth place, but even a slight gain in audience beats a decline anytime.

The NBA’s Got Social Media Game, But Pinterest?

It’s a typical day on Pinterest. 40 Ways to Tie a Scarf, romantic fashions from Ralph Lauren, Fun Cinco de Mayo pinata cookies, DIY baby pictures, and the Boston F$#% Celtics!

Pinterest, it’s not just for women anymore.

Mashable says the NBA is stepping up their social media game in time for the 2012 playoffs. The expansion will include a Tumblr page and yes, a Pinterest page. They’ll be asking fans to upload photos of their favorite places to shoot hoops. I expect we’ll see just as many office trashcans as actual basketball hoops and that’s what makes it a fun idea.

Other ideas:

Consumer Acceptance of Cause-Related Shopping is on the Rise

Nearly half of all consumers surveyed said they’ve purchased from a brand that supports a cause on at least a monthly basis. This represents a 47% increase since 2010. Clearly, cause-related shopping is in.

The 2012 Edelman goodpurpose study is an extensive look at the relationship between consumers, brands and causes. If you’re even thinking about hitching your company’s wagon to a cause, you should take the time to review all sections of the report.

If your not considering the idea, you should keep on reading right here.

The Edelman study shows that, due to the economic crisis, US citizens are cutting down on direct contributions to charity. At the same time, the US is the only country who largely believes that it’s the people, not the government who are responsible for conquering the problems of the world.

A Positive Customer Experience Leads to Customer Loyalty

A happy customer is a loyal customer. You probably already know that, but did you know that 89% of consumers who had a negative experience with a company switched to a competitor? What that means is you can’t afford to make any mistakes when you’re dealing with customers online.

Look at this section from a new Monetate infographic:

These numbers show that the online customer experience is supremely important when it comes to shopper loyalty and word of mouth. Customers are now looking for the same kind of service they expect from an offline store and I believe that’s a new thing.