Mobile Coupons Stalled at the Gate

The latest eMarketer graphic shows that 85% of mobile phone users have never used a mobile coupon. That’s not where we thought we’d be by now. With the wide spread of Smartphones and the rise in mobile marketing, cell phone coupons should be a given but something has stalled the concept at the gate.

Even Cellfire, who’s main purpose was to promote the use of mobile coupons now leans heavily on their club card coupon technology with no sign of a cell phone on their front page.

So what happened?

One problem is the technology. As smart as we, and our phones, are, downloading mobile coupons isn’t as seamless as it should be. My one attempt at using a mobile coupon was for a discount at my local car care center. The coupon showed up on my phone a week after the work was done.

You’ve Got a Clean Design! AOL Gets a Facelift

AOL has joined the ranks of many aging divas – she got herself a facelift in hopes of looking young and stylish.

The new design which launched today, still has way more content than one person needs on the front page, but it’s cleaner than ever before. They’ve done away with the heavy color header bars and they’ve pushed down the menu on the left so the first thing you see is content.

They’ve also done a better job of integrating local news and social media feeds. In the “Classic” design, (seen here on the left) they looked like embedded widgets, but now they’re a part of the page. Sort of. The social media feeds come in via AOL’s Lifestream page which they hope you’ll use instead of HootSuite or TweetDeck to monitor your accounts.

Twitter Promoted Ads Show in HootSuite Timeline

Look what I found on HootSuite this morning.

It’s funny because I went there to get some information about the new Promoted Tweets program and lo and behold — I got one.

As of this morning, Twitter has begun inserting Promoted Tweets into the timeline of HootSuite users only. When I visit my Twitter home page directly, the ad is nowhere to be seen.

According to the Twitter Blog, the ads are targeted, only appearing in the timelines they deem relevant based on who you follow and what you talk about. Since I talk about movies and TV a lot, and I follow several studios, this particular Tweet makes sense and I don’t mind it. But I don’t think everyone is going to be as tolerant as I am about these ads. Depending on the frequency and how closely you follow your account, these could become annoying and fast.

Advertising Creep Takes Hold of Chicago Airport

When it comes to advertising, there’s nothing like a captive audience, like, for example, the people stuck in the security queue at the airport, or the person in the public bathroom stall. They can’t go anywhere, use a fast forward button or turn down the sound, so why not hit them with advertising!

The city of Chicago is doing just that. The Chicago Sun Times says that O’Hare airport will soon be plastered with ads on everything from the bathroom mirrors, to the escalator handrails, to the bins you put your shoes in when going through the metal detector. It’s part of the new “municipal marketing” plan and could bring in $750,000 in revenue next year.

To keep people from balking at idea of being force-fed advertising, airport officials say that the ads actually serve a dual-purpose.

Facebook Ad Patent Targets Blank Profile Users

When you see an ad on Facebook, it’s likely that it’s being served to you because of something you wrote in your profile. But what if you didn’t fill out your favorite movies, your hometown or the quote that inspires you? Facebook has an app for that.

As noted by CNET, Facebook has applied for a patent on a new type of ad-targeting system that will better serve ads to those who don’t fill in the blanks.

The system, which they refer to as inferential, assumes that a good portion of your Facebook friends are into the same things you are. So an ad that the systems deems appropriate for you, would also be served to your friends.

Foursquare’s Crowley Gets Undeserved Ribbing

Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley took a lot of ribbing yesterday for a comment he made to a blogger at an NYU panel discussion. The panel was called “The Case for Media Optimism,” and Crowley stated that he thought referral fees would be the next big thing in social media marketing.

For example, if someone Tweets about a new movie and 500 of his friends follow a link to buy a ticket for the movie, then the original referrer gets a kickback for each ticket. When asked if Foursquare was working on this idea, Crowley said it was on a long list of ideas under consideration.

Here’s where it gets sticky. Jeff Bercovici from Forbes.com asked Crowley how he would get around the FTC ruling that required full disclosure when an endorsement was offered on social media in return for payment of some kind (cash, product or service.)

A Sticker For Your Thoughts

There was a time when a glittery, gold star sticker was all the praise you needed for doing your homework or making your bed. There was something about that tiny spot of color that made going that extra mile worth it and that mentality holds true today — with a twist. These days, the prize is a virtual sticker or badge that shows your social media buddies that you’ve done something special.

Online communities such as FourSquare, GetGlue and CBS.com all offer virtual sticker incentives for performing a series of actions on the site. They have no monetary value and yet people will go out of their way to earn them. Why?