Internet Marketing Weekly News Update #140 March 28, 2012

Barcodes are a growing option for print ads.
Barcodes can be scanned to lead customers to web pages with more detail than would be possible in traditional ads. Barcodes are used in this way in only 4% of print ads currently, but that number is growing. General retailers are the leading users, representing 21.9% of the total, followed by technology companies at 13.6% and financial services firms at 6.7%. Competitrack, which provided the data, recommends laying out landing sites with mobile devices in mind, since that's how the barcodes are usually scanned.

Mixing politics and commerce can be risky.
The Pew Internet & American Life Project survey of February 2012 highlights the risk of using branded social media outlets to express political opinions. While 90% of social media users agree with such opinions at least some of the time, the same percentage also disagree some of the time. Disagreement can lead to being blocked or "unfriended" on social media, with liberal users the most likely to retaliate in this manner.

Microsoft ad refinements reflect an accelerating pace of change.
Microsoft's adCenter interface was launching refinements once or maybe twice a quarter back in late 2010, but lately it has been on more of a monthly pace, reflecting the fast-changing competitive landscape. Recent additions include a broad match modifier, a simplified ad interface for small businesses and more content-rich ad formats.
Search Engine Land

Firefox switching to Google Secure Search.
Firefox is making Google Secure Search its default search engine, a move which should be welcomed by privacy advocates and concerned users. This search engine is supposed to prevent outsiders from monitoring a user's search activity, though there are exceptions, such as when a user clicks on a result that happens to be a Google advertiser.
Search Engine Land

New research sees positive economic impacts of cloud computing.
Cloud computing is on track to create jobs and generate financial benefits, according to a study for SAP that was conducted by Sand Hill Group. These benefits are forecast in the next five years: 472,000 new jobs globally and savings of $625 billion for businesses purchasing cloud services. A study conducted by IDC and sponsored by Microsoft projects $1.1 trillion in cloud-related annual revenue in the next three years. The research does not touch on the possibility of "creative destruction" such as jobs being replaced by cloud computing.

Google Chrome gaining on Internet Explorer -- especially on weekends.
Analytics firm StatCounter reports that Google Chrome briefly became the world's most popular browser, with a 32.71% share on March 18th, just above the 32.50% share for Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer retook the lead the next day, but Chrome has been gaining on IE, especially on the weekends when users are away from work and more free to choose their own browsers.
Search Engine Journal

The latest iPad screen creates resolution challenges for websites.
Apple's newest iPad display is designed to make things like games look great, but it can also make typical website images look lower in quality. This gives site managers the dilemma of whether to incur the expense of upgrading their image resolution, all for the benefit of looking good on one device -- albeit a prominent one.
The New York Times

Analysis of mobile battery drain shows free apps can be costly.
Free applications that are based on mobile ad networks can use as much as 75% more battery power, according to research from Microsoft and Purdue University, and as much as 45% of the power usage by these apps is attributable to advertisements.

A new FTC report should help shape online privacy standards.
The FTC has released a detailed report described as a proposed framework for businesses and policymakers. The FTC urges online firms to move toward standards such as built-in privacy protections or privacy by design, simplified privacy choices for users, and greater transparency of how information is being collected and used.
Marketing Pilgrim

Poll suggests social media use by CEOs boosts their image and their brands.
In a BRANDfog survey, 78% of consumers said that CEOs who participate in social media improve corporate communication, while 71% said this practice is good for a brand's image and 64% said it helped transparency. In addition, 82% of those surveyed said they would be more likely to trust the CEO of their own company if that exec communicated via social media.

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