Verizon’s iPhone Plan: Now Unlimited-ish

Yesterday, Verizon had their most successful first day opening in their history when they opened the virtual doors to iPhone pre-sales. But while they were taking in money with one hand, they were changing the rules with the other. That “unlimited monthly data plan,” they’ve been advertising is about to become . . . well. . . limited-ish.

As Verizon puts it, the iPhone network is “a shared resource among tens of millions of customers.” That means that they have to balance the needs of the many by reducing service to a few.

A spokesperson was quoted in the LA Times as saying:

Nearly 50% of People Surveyed Watch Online Videos Daily

We know online video is hot, but just how hot? According to a new survey commissioned by video ad company YuMe, 49% of people are watching videos daily for an average total of seven hours per week per person.

Seven hours is a lot when you realize that 70% of what people are watching are short form videos under five minutes long. For long form, TV still reigns but the tide is shifting. The majority of the people surveyed said they appreciated the ability to watch web videos whenever they wanted. They also like the option of being able to catch up on shows they missed on TV.

What’s more telling is that viewers felt the quality of video on the web vs the TV was about the same, but that there was a much larger amount of exclusive content on the web.

Campbell’s Says iAds are Mmm Mmm Good

It’s kind of ironic that an old fashioned brand like Campbell’s is coming out as the spokesperson for the effectiveness of iAds. When the product took off in the early 1900′s, I’m sure they never imagined that one day people would be using hand-held wireless devices to find the best recipe that includes Golden Mushroom soup. But that’s exactly what’s happening and Campbell’s couldn’t be more pleased.

According to a five-week study conducted by Nielsen on behalf of Campbell’s and Apple, iAds were more effective than TV ads on a variety of levels.

As compared to viewing a Campbell’s TV ad, the viewers of iAds were:

– More than twice as likely to recall the ad.

– Three times more likely to remember the messaging.

Forecaster Says eBook Over Apps

While one forecaster says the sale of paid apps will likely triple in 2011, the Yankee Group says ebooks will be coming on strong and likely beat apps for their growth potential. As reported by MediaPost, Yankee predicts that ebooks sales will jump up 83%, going from a $313 million dollar business in 2009 to a $2.7 billion dollar business by 2012.

The huge rise in sales is mostly due to the accessibility of ebooks and ebook readers. Kindle, Nook and now the iPad have made downloading ebooks a snap compared to the steps you had to take to load your reader only a few years ago. The Yankee Group also predicts a drop in the average price of ebooks which should fuel sales in the future.

I Am Spartacus! Starz Conquers Mobile Barcodes

AT&T’s Mobile Barcode Service is out to conquer the world with the help of Starz and their new series “Spartacus: Gods of the Arena.”

The cable network has signed on to do a test campaign between now and June that will include AT&T barcodes on everything from print ads to bus posters. Scanning the code with a compatible phone will unlock hidden entertainment treasures such as exclusive videos, special offers and of course, a quick link to sign up for Starz service.

A nifty idea, but will consumers play along? According to AT&T’s press release, “80% of respondents in a March 2010 survey indicated interest in scanning barcodes with their mobile phone. Sixty-nine percent of those surveyed want to scan barcodes to capture and redeem coupons and discounts.”

Old Fashioned Message Boards Still Get the Job Done

71% of the Inc. 500 companies surveyed said they are using Facebook for marketing, up 61% from last year. It’s the biggest bite of social media pie but according to the same survey that bite is loaded with empty calories. (That’ll teach me to write when I’m hungry.)

The survey was conducted by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research and was presented on eMarketer earlier today. Perfect timing, since I recently put up a piece about the declining click rates of Facebook ads and the high incidence of ad burnout.

According to the survey, 85% of respondents said they had success with Facebook over a measly 54% from last year. That’s pretty good, right? But there were three other kinds of social media marketing that topped Facebook for results. Blogging squeaked ahead at 86% but is actually on the decline from last year and that feels like a trend that’s going to continue. Podcasting also dropped considerably over last year.

Facebook Clicks Fade as CPC Rises

1,500 Advertising Campaigns

11,200 Individual Ads

2.2 Million Clicks

0 Happy Marketers

“Facebook Advertising Performance Benchmarks & Insights” is the latest whitepaper from Webtrends and it brings some sobering news. In short, Facebook ads aren’t turning out to be the gift to marketing we’d hoped and maybe Eric Schmidt was right, Google has nothing to worry about.

The most telling piece of information is contained in this chart. Basically, it shows that clicks have declined and prices have risen.

A big part of the problem is ad burnout. Because Facebook serves ads based on interest, the same ad is served to the same person multiple times over a few days. The study saw that people began to ignore the ad after only a few viewings. They counter this with Google search ads which only appear when someone is searching for that information, thus reducing the number of times the ad is seen, and thus, ad burnout.