Gap’s Facebook Places Giveaway: Success or Failure?

This weekend, The Gap helped Facebook Places claim their place as a viable Foursquare contender by giving away 10,000 pairs of free jeans.

On the surface, it seemed simple enough. Show up at your local Gap store on November 5th. Check in using Facebook Places. Show the cashier your check-in acknowledgment and get a coupon for free jeans as long as you’re one of the first 10,000 customers.

But of course, that’s not how it went down. First, the event instructions didn’t make it clear that you had to have an iPhone or Droid in order to check-in (and I hear that older phones didn’t provide the same icon response as newer phones). Other smartphones wouldn’t cut it. Next, they failed to make it clear that each store had a different quantity of free jeans on hand, likely based on the income of that store.

Nielsen Numbers Glitch Results in Low Traffic Numbers

When it comes to online marketing, traffic is everything. It determines what marketers pay per click, which web sites get which ads, and if traffic is low enough, it may keep a site from getting ad dollars at all.

That’s why the latest faux pas from The Nielsen Company may be bigger than it seems. On Thursday, the company sent out a note to all of its clients saying they had been undercounting traffic for the past three months.

The problem was one of long URL’s. One’s with more than 2,000 characters as a matter of fact. They found that their system wasn’t recognizing these URL’s all the time resulting in an estimated 22% decline over the prior year.

Study Says Social Media Users Follow Only 5 Brands

More than ever, social media users are including brands in their list of friends and follows but according to the 2010 Cone Consumer New Media Study, five is the magic cutoff number.

How do you become part of the small, inner circle? You already know the answer to that. 77% of users said they followed a brand for free products or discounts. No surprise there. But getting the engagement and keeping it, are two different things.

Says Cone‘s director of new media, Mike Hollywood:

“Attracting new media followers is like starting a fire – coupons are your gasoline, and engaging content are the logs that keep the fire burning. Consumers’ affinity can only tolerate five brands, so companies need to think beyond the coupon or clever widget to figure out how to develop long-term relationships with real staying power. The best new media strategies are those that balance relevant content with timely promotions and ongoing company-consumer dialogue.”

Lowe’s, Best Buy Start Black Friday Early

It’s 8:47 pm PST, nearly midnight on the east coast and 2,000 people have just left a comment on a Lowe’s Facebook post that went up five minutes ago. Why? Because in just a few minutes, Lowe’s is going to launch their Black Friday Sneak Peek Party where they say they’ll be giving out coupon codes for up to 90% off items at Lowes.com.

The deals will be off specific items and limited in quantity which means bargain hunters have to virtually stand in line and fight the crowd if they want to get one. A coupon handed out at 1 am will probably sell out within the hour, which of course, is meant to entice people to stay on all day and night. In between giveaways, Lowe’s is going to announce the Black Friday sale items that will be available on the real BF – the day after Thanksgiving. Talk about creating a buzz!

News Corp to MySpace: Shape Up or Ship Out

“We’ve been clear that MySpace is a problem.”

“The current losses are not acceptable or sustainable.”

They must show improvement in “in quarters, not in years.”

News Corp. president Chase Carey spoke to investors earlier this week and everyone is talking about it. He made it clear that the 70 million drop in ad and search revenue wasn’t going to be tolerated and that without a major improvement MySpace’s days were numbered.

It’s interesting timing. Not two weeks ago, MySpace announced a major overhaul that included a redesign and a focus on entertainment and a younger demographic. The website’s one saving grace over the years has been its popularity with musicians. Back in 2005, shortly after the NewsCorp buyout, MySpace launched its own record label.

Amazon Hooks Up with Facebook For Gift Card Giving

Just in time for the holidays! The ability to spend even more time on Facebook! Amazon would like you to know that you can now send Amazon gift cards directly to your Facebook friends instead of having to use that pesky old email. Neat, huh?

To make sure everyone gets the picture, they’re even running a special Give 5, Get 5 promotion. Give five $1 mp3 gift certificates to five Facebook friends and the first 100,000 users will get a $5 Amazon gift certificate in return.

It’s a pretty smart way to get the masses to do your marketing for you. Five dollars is an amount most people won’t think twice about throwing away and since you’re required to send it to five people (you can’t send $5 to one person), Amazon has assured themselves a wide reach.

Mobile Apps and Browser Use Continue to Rise

For the three month average period ending in September, 234 million Americans ages 13 and older used mobile devices.

That’s a quote from the latest mobile survey conducted by comScore. The study also showed a slow but steady rise in content usage on phones and that’s good news for marketers.

Browser usage went up 2.2% and application downloads were up 2.5%. These numbers still represent less than half of all mobile subscribers but a lot of the difference probably lies in the fact that only 58.7 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones.

23.2% of mobile subscribers say they use their phone to access social networking sites and that’s up 1.8%. Playing games and listening to music also increased but by less than 1%.