Amazon to Offer Ad-Supported Kindle at Discounted Price

There are ads on my TV, my mobile phone and on the screen at the movies. Now Amazon wants to take over my e-reading experience as well. They swear the ads won’t actually butt in just as I reach a cliffhanger moment. And I do have to agree to it. Actually, I have to buy in to it, as the ad-sponsored Kindle is a product all its own.

Amazon calls it Kindle with Special Offers, a name which was obviously crafted to make the reader feel like they’re getting something good out of the deal. Instead of showing the usual Kindle book-themed screensaver, the new edition will show a full-page ad. Black and white, only. Remember, Kindle doesn’t do color. What’s even sillier is the Kindle Ad-Mash up which asks users to vote on their preferred ads and only “screensavers with the most preferred votes qualify to become sponsored screensavers.”

Kiip Offers Real Rewards for Virtual Success

According to Kiip, there are like, a bajillion people playing games on their phones right now, as you read this, a bajillion people launching bird attacks and chasing zombies and missing their bus stop and ignoring everything that’s being said on the company conference call. They’re playing because gaming is an addiction. Our brains are hardwired to get excited over the prospect of conquering a level, climbing to the top of the score chart and receiving a virtual prize.

Well, Kiip (www.kiip.me) (pronounced “keep”) thinks we all deserve better than that. For all the time and dedication we all put in to game play, they think we should get something real, something tangible and that’s what they’re company is all about. The Kiip Rewards Network gives advertisers the ability to offer real prizes when players succeed at virtual games. Lower level prizes include discounts or coupons for free snacks, while higher levels might equal a t-shirt, a DVD or even a vacation.

Forrester Says Facebook and eCommerce Don’t Mix

Forrester Research just released a new report called “Will Facebook Ever Drive eCommerce?” and the folks at the Wall Street Journal have given us a sneak peek.

The report basically states that right now Facebook is not at all effective for driving eCommerce sales.

The study found that the average Facebook metrics are a 1% click-through rate and a 2% conversion rate. E-mail marketing, by comparison, has an 11% click-through rate and a 4% average conversion rate.

The reason for this is obvious. People don’t go to Facebook to shop. They primarily go to catch up with friends or play games. Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru acknowledges that people will go to a Facebook brand page and “like” it in order to get a coupon, but that’s a fleeting interest that may have no impact on future sales (except, I suppose the sale connected to the one-time coupon use.)

Coca-Cola VP Talks About the Keys to Social Media Success

“The days of controlling the message are absolutely over. At best you’ll be invited in and you’ll get to co-create and participate with consumers.”

Wendy Clark, senior VP-integrated marketing communications and capabilities at the Coca-Cola Co., gave a presentation at the AdAge Digital Conference where she talked about how social media has completely changed the game for marketers. Though she was using her own multi-billion dollar company as a reference point, much of what she said applies to marketers at every level, from individuals promoting their own talents to small businesses and on up.

She talked about how over the years we’ve gone from delivering one message to the world, to delivering targeted variations, to the current climate where we create conversations that work two ways. She calls this new landscape, “liquid and linked.” Liquid because every piece of marketing has to spread out to the very furthest communication point and linked because it all has to relate back to the core message.

Twitter Releases New Tools for Individuals and Marketers

Twitter is not playing around. This week, the company announced several new tools designed to make the user experience better for the average Tweeter and the markeTweeter.

Adam Bain, Twitter’s president of revenue broke the big news at the AdAge Digital Conference yesterday and it’s got folks all . . . dare I say. . “a twitter!”

The first big step is the inclusion of geo-relevant ad targeting. Up until now, promoted ads were either on or off. There was no way to target them to users in a specific location, even though Twitter has that information for every person who uses the service. But now, Twitter has geo-targeted ad opportunities available in 210 US cities and 100 countries with more locations coming soon.

YouTube Adds Channels as Part of Major Overhaul

NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, CW and YouTube? The Wall Street Journal is reporting on a major YouTube overhaul that will have the site acting more like a TV network than a repository for random, user-generated videos.

The article says that YouTube is prepared to spend up to 100 million dollars on content created exclusively for the site. Content that goes beyond Rebecca Black’s “Friday, Friday” and endless hours of animals and babies doing funny things. What YouTube is after, is content that will have people tuning in week after week, just like they do for their favorite shows on TV.

Macquarie Predicts Solid Growth for Display Ads

Macquarie Capital has just published their Ad Tracker report for 1Q 2011 and believe it or not, it’s AOL that came out on top.

Twice per quarter, the company analyzes display advertising sales on the homepages of YAHOO, AOL, YouTube, and MSN. Looking at the data from the first quarter of 2011, AOL won the award for the most improved player.

The company had the highest proportion of Oversized/Custom ad units (ex YouTube) at 26%, and it also had the highest percentage of purely brand-focused advertisers (which we view as a positive indicator of ad quality).

AOL’s new Project Devil program didn’t make the splash they’d hoped for, but Macquarie says we should see more of these large interactive ads in the second quarter.