Small Gains for Small Business

Small business owners aren’t optimistic about the future and they said so loud and clear this past July. The National Federation of Independent Business reports a larger than usual decline in their Optimism Index after what was already a downward spiral going back three months prior.

Given the state of the economy, their dim view isn’t surprising but comScore has some good news to share. Over the last three quarters, small retailers have taken home a larger piece of the e-commerce pie.

Not a staggering gain, but at this point, any gain is good news and this is the first good news since they had a 37.2% share back in Q4 2009.

Home is Where the QR Code Is

QR codes are popping up on everything from magazine ads to bus shelters and slowly but surely, Americans are learning to point and click.

comScore has just posted the results of their June 2011 survey regarding the funky, black and white squares and here’s what they found.

14 million mobile users in the US have scanned a QR code. That sound like a nice number until you put it in perspective. It represents only 6.2% of all mobile users.

60.5% of the code scanners were men, mostly between 18-34 with an income of over $100k.

Where did they find these codes? Nearly half said a print magazine or newspaper. A close second with 35.3% was product packaging. Posters, business cards, flyers and storefronts also made the list. The two strange choices were websites (27.4%) and TV (11.7%).

Retail Takes Top Spot for Online Ad Spending

As you travel around the internet on your daily quest for knowledge, you’ll see a lot of ads and the majority of them will come from the retail industry.

According to numbers from eMarketer, retail will spend an additional $1.3 billion on online ads this year bringing them up to an estimated $6.78 billion. The trend is expected to continue with retail claiming the top spot through with $11.08 billion by 2015.

The up and comer is the consumer packaged good industry, though they currently sit in 5th place for online ad share. In the next few years, eMarketer predicts a rise of 14% to 29% per year. That, combined with a slow down by telecom advertising means CPG will move up a notch by 2015.

Facebook Gets Zippy and Amazon Gets Busy

Zippy, the Zip Code Man has been helping the post office route letters since the 1960′s and now Facebook has joined the party. As of yesterday, advertisers on Facebook can now chose to target their ads by state, city or zip code.

It may seem like city goes hand-in-hand with zip, but for a local business on a budget, it can make a big difference. Take a large city such as Los Angeles. People from one side of the city, aren’t going to sit in forty minutes of traffic to get to a coffee shop when they can find ten within ten minutes. With Facebook’s new zip option, that coffee shop owner can chose only those zip codes within a few mile radius of his shop. Or even within a half-circle if the radius includes the bad part of town.

Millennial Media’s 50th Mobile Intelligence Report: That was Then, This is Now

Millennial Media released their 50th Mobile Intelligence Report today which covers Q2 2011 and includes a look back at where we were in 2009.

One of the biggest changes is Apple’s rise to dominate the top of the mobile device charts. In 2009, they were number 3 with 11.35% of the market, but in 2011, they’re number one with 30.76%. Samsung dropped down to number two, but 2009′s second place LG has dropped all the way to 6th place.

Going along with Apple’s supremacy is the rise in touch screens. Currently 60% of devices have them, as compared to only 33% back in 2009. The mobile phone biz has changed so radically that only two phones made the Top 20 list both then and now, the iPhone and the Blackberry Curve. In 2009, it was all about the T-Mobile Sidekick and the Samsung Instinct. My, how times have changed. Of course, compared to the first portable phones, the Sidekick is a true marvel.

Twitter Connects the Dots with New Activity Tab

Check Twitter later today and you should find another new upgrade designed to keep you from using those third-party encroachers.

First, they’re adding more data to the @YOURNAME tab so you can easily see who is reTweeting you along with messages directed at you. It also lists Tweets that were favorited but does anyone really use that function? I’m a big Twitter user and don’t think I’ve ever favorited a Tweet. This tab will also drop you a note if someone follows or lists you.

Next, they’re adding a whole new tab called Activity. Activity should mean everything that happens in your account but it doesn’t. This new tab will show you what the people you follow are up to including their favorites, new follows and reTweets.  Here’s the example from the Twitter blog:

Social Media Burn Out and Why You Shouldn’t Try to Do it All

Sometimes I feel like one of those kitchen gadgets they sell on late night TV. It slices, it dices, it makes perfect julienne fries, diapers the baby and writes your blog for you while you sleep. The irony is, that the computer age was supposed to help us get things done faster so we could have more leisure time, but in reality, it’s given us even more to do.

Yesterday, Zen Habits delivered a refreshing post on living the minimalist lifestyle. Avoiding “Groundhog Day” syndrome and 4 hours a day to contemplate my navel while at the beach sounds nice, but truthfully, I’m not ready to give up my TV or my internet.