Consumers Plan to Use Mobile Phones for Holiday Shopping

59% of mobile consumers plan to use their mobile phone for holiday shopping and planning holiday celebrations, not including making phone calls. That’s a huge jump over 2009, when the number was only 25%.

The numbers come from the October 2010 U.S. Mobile Consumer Briefing, which was conducted on behalf of the The Mobile Marketing Association and it’s even further proof that mobile marketing is on the rise.

Of those who expected to use their phone to faciliate shopping, 64% said they’re check their phone before going to a store, but only 12% said it would be in response to a  TV, billboard or newspaper ad. What are they using the phones for? To search for locations where a gift is sold and to compare prices were the two most common responses.

Google Adds Instant Previews to Search Results

Google is now more instant than ever before thanks to a new feature called Instant Previews. Now, when you skim a list of Google search results you have the option of turning on a preview of the webpage. To do this, you simply click the magnifying glass beside any result. Once it’s toggled on, all of the previews will appear as you skim down the page.

In addition to showing a snapshot of the website, it sometimes pulls out a quote from the page. I thought it was only doing this with blogs, but I can’t find a pattern to which sites have highlighted text and which don’t.

TV Ads Don’t Equal Big Sales for Online Products

You’re the author of a book on how to turn kitchen waste into cash and you want to spread the word. So what do you do? Why not invest in a snazzy TV commercial to play on the Food Network or during Pawn Stars. This is your audience, foodies who love to treasure hunt! But author Joel Comm says don’t waste your money because despite all the hype, TV ads are not the stuff dreams are made on.

It goes back to the early days of TV, when Ralph and Norton demonstrated the Handy Housewife Helper and Lucy proclaimed that Vitameatavegamin was so tasty, too! For years, sitcoms have taught us that a single TV commercial can result in an avalanche of sales which generally left our TV hero struggling to meet the demand with comical results.  In reality, a TV commercial is just another tool in the tool kit and not always the best tool for the job.

Cigarette Company Sponsors Volcano Relief Efforts

In Indonesia, volcano victims, most of which are suffering from breathing disorders, are being treated inside a tent sponsored by Sampoerna. Americans may not see the irony there, but how about if I tell you that Sampoerna is owned by Phillip Morris and is one of Indonesia’s largest tobacco companies.

It’s not unusual for corporations to pitch in during times of crisis, but what’s got people riled up is the use of corporate logos on rescue vehicles, uniforms and tents. And it’s one thing for the local telecommunications company to pitch in, but a cigarette company?

Indonesia is a country of smokers so it’s even more ironic that the Sampoerna aid station is a smoke-free zone and unlike the relief workers of WWII, they aren’t handing out cigarettes to the masses. But according to an article in Global Post, some people find their presence to be disconcerting.

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.”