A self-hosted mini-promotion can be very beneficial and works great at building and engaging the brand’s social community. For example, if you have a little extra product lying around and want to turn it into a positive image branding campaign that promotes customer appreciation – it is probably not efficient idea to create a full-blown marketing campaign.After all, we only wanted to engage the consumer audience and build image branding while showcasing customer appreciation – not lose money gaining approval and consulting legal with rules that cost more than the prize.
When creating a new campaign online, there are several steps that can be easily missed when rushing toward a fast-approaching deadline.Often, some of the steps which are easy to forget are requirements by the FTC. When creating a campaign that will award a significant prize value it is very important that you consult proper legal help and make sure all of your bases are covered in very precise and specific ‘rules’.Some states even require you to register your promotion officially if the combined prize value is over $5,000.For more help and information on sweepstakes rules take a look at http://www.fredlaw.com/articles/marketing/mark_0310_srb.html.
Now, I am not a lawyer, and in no way should this replace or suffice as proper legal representation.You definitely need to clearly define and post the rules of your promotion.Even if you you weren’t regulated to do so, you would still want to avoid the pain, confusion and sweat that comes without having clearly defined rules, trust me.If you can afford it, consult your legal department to draft specific rules for every campaign give-away – it’s just a safe thing to do.However, if you can’t or do not have the time, this easy-to-follow, 15-item checklist will help ensure your campaign meets all the basic requirements without missing any of the promotional opportunities that help make these online mini-promotions so successful and worthwhile.
Did I miss anything or do you have a trick up your sleeve which you feel works better?If so, make sure to let me know so I can update my approach.Since we live in an ever-changing society, so must my procedures!
When looking for a few good places to receive designer feedback (and let’s face it, aren’t we all-ways?), I came across several new resources and a few free ones I really liked. Through trial and error I also found some that were paid, some that were unreliable and a few I did not like so much, so I thought I’d share my research with you below.
Before you start, make sure you understand how to obtain the specific feedback you’re looking for and asking the right questions. I recommend reading 5 Steps to Improved Client Feedback.
I’ve listed Social networks first because I feel they have been the most helpful when gathering or promotion unbiased feedback, and as a bonus your own network often grows during the process. In a previous blog post I’ve written my biased opinions on the most helpful social networks, Twitter vs. Facebook vs. Linked, I decipher which social network tested best for performing research or gathering feedback. I must admit, LinkedIn’s Answer section could definitely stand tall with the best of the resources listed below. Wikipedia has a nice List of Social Networking Websites you can use to find the network that’s best for your needs.
There, now I said it and we can move back on to feedback focused resources.
Ayos Website Design
Ayos Website Design is run by a professional website designer hoping to do his part to help by offering advice on three simple questions.
Is the website attractive and easy to use.
What was the first impression the website gives.
What can be improved.
Simplify document feedback for your workgroup. Backboard is a commercial tool to gather feedback on a work easily. The users of the product can leave feedback in the textbox nex to your work and if they prefer can leave sketches on the images. You can also use backboard right from your desktop with their plugin.
Price: $6/mos – $50/mos
Basecamp provides users with tools to share files, meet deadlines, assign tasks, centralize feedback, make clients smile. Additionally, Basecamp works with a avariety of iPhone apps, third-party invoicing and time tracking tools, graphic design review software, widgets and more.
Price: 24.95/mos – $149/mos
Concept Test is a free resource designed for medium to small businesses and claims to be powered by a professional community.
ConceptShare gives users the ability to easily share media and invite others to add and reply to comments, approve artwork, and markup on visuals. ConceptShare can handle a wide variety of file formats so you can easily share almost anything visual for review and even imports screenshots of website by entering a URL. In addition, they also allow you to print a summery, including video frames.
Price: $24/mos – $99/mos
Creattica is a professional design community which offers an array of professional design resources including feedback. Your design is voted on by the community and the best work is accepted and featured in the gallery which receives thousands of visitors every day.
Crowdsound provides a widget which can be embedded into your website to gather feedback effectively but has a couple more features such as iphone apps and suggestion moderation if you pay $10 a month.
Price: Free-$10/mos and also offer an "Enterprise Edition" if you call them to discuss
Don’t forget about me! Although I consider myself more of a producer than a professional designer, I’ve learned a lot from producing marketing campaigns and playing with photoshop the past decade. I would be honored to review your design and submit my honest feedback if you contact me.
Feedback Jar provides a feedback tab for merchants and business websites that when clicked upon, opens a new window and feedback form for visitors to fill out and send back to you. Feedback Jar comes with a community willing and ready to give merchants and business feedback, which also can opt in with their facebook accounts if they please.
For $10 and about two minutes, Feedback Army allows designers can submit 3-6 questions about their site and receive ten responses from Feedback Army Reviewers.
Five Second Test
With FIveSecondTest, a test-taker is given 5 seconds to look at your design and afterwards is asked to list what they remember. The website’s clean interface, easy approach, helpful community, sleek design and organized keywords are very resourceful. The process is dead-on simple, it’s hard for a user to lie about what they remember – the most important part of image branding and often selling your product.
Cut down repetitive support costs and gather customer or employee opinions with Get Satisfaction. It’s free and relatively quick to register, but businesses are persuaded to manage their own communities and gain access to pro widgets and deeper analytics for $99 a month. With the pro model you can also reward your best customers for their participation. For $279 you can gain access to Get Satisfaction’s API but want to host it on your own URL and that’s going to cost you $899
Price: $99/mos – $899/mos but Free to Register and Start
Since every designer can attest to the pains of getting that final approval, GetSignOff makes the process easier by providing a mechanism for presenting your site designs, managing feedback and organizing multiple versions of a design.
Price: Free – $59/mos
With IdeaScale you can create a page for visitors to contribute ideas to your current project, discuss it, vote the product and watch its progress. Additionally IdeaScale includes features for your blog/Twitter/RSS integration of IdeaScale, along with HTML/Logo customization, a custom url, surveys/polls integration and wiki-like editing of your posted ideas for paid members.
Price: Free – $99/mos
Ididwork allows you to keep a work log, see how it impacts the team and receive feedback from your manager – even if your manager does not have ana account.
Kampyle provides a small triangular floating badge which stays at the bottom right of your website. Clicking it makes a popup appear which allows you to provide feedback to the web designer.
Price: Free for 1 feedback form and 50 feedback items per month. Up to $999/mos
If you are a new web application company or launching a new web application, Launchly provides free feedback tools to help you get free feedback from your website and launch successfully If you’re not a developer but love being the first to test new applications, joining the Launchly community gives you access to all of their latest apps from developers requesting user feedback. The more feedback you give, the more you can "earn reputation" that you can spend for free website launches in the future – whatever that means.
Price: Free (for web application startups)
Loop11 is a web-based user-experience testing tool, allowing companies to conduct online, un-moderated user testing on any kind of digital interface. Loop11 claims to not be a survey or web analytics tool, but a user experience tool used toward helping people to understand user behaviour. No software to install and test in over 40 languages.
Price: Register for private beta to request an invitation.
At Open Hallway you can create usability test scenarios and ask users to give their feedback. Then, a lot like spying on your audience, you can watch them stumble through the process. Furthermore you can share video results with your clients or team members and their is no software for anyone to install.
Pbworks has many features to help manage your project, but their bread-and-butter is how they centralize the group editing process of documents.
Price: Free – $20/mos
Please Critique Me
PleaseCritiqueMe is comprised of Industry Design Professionals who do their best to give feedback in an effort to give something back to the design community, and are proud to provide a place where designers can submit their work and have it reviewed (albeit publicly) by one of their industry peers. Fill out the form on their website and hopefully they’ll have some time to review your work.
Pro Blog Design
Pro Blog Design is a blog design company, but be a fan of Pro Blog Design on Facebook and upload an image to their gallery and they’ll critique your blog. Why not? As a bonus they’ll also help you with your wordpress issues and design questions.
Price: Free (Facebook)
At QBN you can push send and hope the feedback is positive, but don’t expect it to be. This community is steamed from criticism. Nonetheless, there’s always something learned through criticism, even if it’s your beliefs. And don’t be afraid to stick to your guns and throw out what is not relevant, albeit room for improvement, there’s probably a reason you were originally inspired the way you were.
Write your details, give a brief description and upload your design to receive free professional feedback from Raed Skaik. Why does the author do this? In his own words "I love design and I am good at it. I love to see young designers or less experienced designers be able to receive constructive criticism which can help them learn, grow, improve their work and satisfy their clients or bosses."
Graphic Designers can register and utilize the tools provided by redmark to send their clients or colleagues links to review their work and leave feedback. In addition, someone in need of graphic design work can use redmark‘s network to find the perfect designer for their project.
Price: Free (redmark is offered free of charge! Rather than charging for it in the future, we will introduce separate, independent pay-based services. Right now they currently offer two services, both are free.)
Reformal.ru is a free Russian feedback service, that gives you a tab to place on your website to gather feedback from users. The website is in Russian, and might be difficult to use if you cannot understand the language.
Rev.iew.me is a comprehensive website review community which encourages you to submit your website for your friends and the community to review and critique. A unique feature within the Rev.iew.me community includes a ‘review auction’ that allows members who WANT to review you, to bid on your site (for you to pay them with your ‘points’ which are the community’s currency) and promises to have many new social features on the way
Price: Free – Pay-by-credit
Similar to CrowdSound, Skribit allows community members and your website visitors the ability to suggest new features and content for your website by using their handy-dandy widget that can be embed in your webpages
Suggestionbox is a paid service that allows you to embed a "suggestion box" on your website that allows you to capture user feedback and gives users the ability to track their feedback’s progress.
Price: $49.50/mos or $495/year ($49.50/year for non-profits)
Uclue is a paid answers service where everyone is invited to register, browse and answer questions but only Former Google Answers Researchers may register as Uclue researchers. Those who register are able to search through previous questions and answers that someone (else) had to originally ask and pay for. The going rate for asking a question seems to be about $10 – $20.
Price: Free to browse but $10+ to ask a Question
Usabilla provides a tool to actively involve your users in the process of design & improvement. Create an online test and start collecting visual feedback for your website or image in five minutes.
Price: Free (beta)
“Uservoice communities are the easiest way to turn customer feedback into action”, and with one forum and less than 100 members you can use their service for free. Paid models allow you to monitor analytics, moderations tools, API’s and remove
their paid ads from your community.
Price: $589/mos or Free for 1 Forum with >100 users
In their own words “WAVE is a free web accessibility evaluation tool ..used to aid humans in the web accessibility evaluation process. WAVE shows the original web page with embedded icons and indicators that reveal the accessibility of that page.” Made especially for programmers, users can even make things even easier and Download the Wave Plugin to analyze a website on the fly.
Webproof is a good online design and document collaboration tool. Invite people you want to review in the order you want and by SMS.
Price: $245 – $14,500 (Yes, that’s fourteen thousand and five hundred dollars!)
YSlow‘s grading regime can often be strict and un-resourceful for novice web developers, but being able to monitor how long it takes different elements to load on the page can be very helpful when determing what’s really needed. Plus it’s free!
In their own words, "YSlow is a Firefox add-on integrated with the Firebug web development tool. YSlow grades web page based on one of three predefined ruleset or a user-defined ruleset. It offers suggestions for improving the page’s performance, summarizes the page’s components, displays statistics about the page, and provides tools for performance analysis, including Smush.it™ and JSLint."
Don’t forget about trying to join niche design forums and asking for the communities advice. If you find trouble getting feedback, try giving other members feedback first.
How can 2D Barcodes Help Promote Brands and People?
2D Barcodes will change Marketing and Advertising by making it all interactive, including print, outdoor and digital advertising channels. Also known as “QR Images” or “QR Codes“ (the initials QR stand for Quick Response), all you have to do is take a picture of the QR Image with your mobile phone and it will automatically take you to a mobile webpage with all the information you need. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_Code
The concept is simple and starts with the understanding that everything is going mobile. It is just too convenient to access and store information on the go with your mobile smartphone. Suddenly living in the moment has become more meaningful than ever. (Seriously, are we living in the future yet?)
Check out this 2 minute, mtv-style/d commercial presentation and glean the potential with me…
Print advertising is lovely on the eyes and still absolutely necessary, but is hardly interactive and worse yet – hard to analyze anything but “impressions”. I hate analyzing impressions – it’s necessary but can be either depressing or confusing unless you have a lot of money and the ability to trust your gut and stick with the decision until the end.
Advertising has become more and more interactive online but how can you ever really get that same interaction with a television or print ad? URL links to webpages can be hard to read and/or remember while mobile short codes (text BRATS to 30364) can be time consuming when rushing to your next train or event. With QR Codes, mobile smartphone users are able to easily capture all the information they need – and interact with this information immediately – by taking a picture of the QR Image Code with their mobile phone as they walk by the advertisement and letting the application do the rest. Why not? It can always be saved for later access.
Morgan Stanlely recently published great research on July 10th, 2009 about How Teenagers Consume Media and even though it was written by a European 15 year old, i feel it is also a great representation of the US teen also.
Matthew Robson points out that “Teenagers are consuming more media, it is in entirely different ways and most are not prepared to pay for it since as a rule, teenagers have phones on pay as you go.”
They resent intrusive advertising on billboards, TV and the Internet. They are happy to chase content and music across platforms and devices (iPods, mobiles, streaming sites). Print media (newspapers, directories) are viewed as irrelevant but events (cinema, concerts etc.) remain popular and one of the few beneficiaries of payment. The convergence of gaming, TV, mobile and Internet is accelerating with huge implications for pay-TV.
For mobiles, price is key … Mid-range feature phones still dominate … High-end smartphones are desirable but too expensive … Texting is still key and use of new data services limited due to cost. Wi-Fi is more popular than 3G.
I probably don’t need to go on after such strong statements, but there is still so much potential with QR Codes and communication is key. What appears to be the scariest part for marketers is the different comparison of platforms and functionality: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_development. Most who have tried to find their way around a town that speaks a different language will tell you that it is hard to find your way around. Some will tell you they don’t mind – but most won’t.
Unfortunately, statistics show that we’re so close but may still not be completely there yet. According to a great article found on TheMobiBlog.net:
Analysts and Jagtag competitors agree that for 2-D barcodes to gain any meaningful traction, the code reader must come preloaded on cellphones — and only the wireless carriers can make happen, as they dictate the specs to handset makers. The campaign netted a 52% redemption rate with about 4,000 scans, roughly 1% of the total target student population.
In another quote taken from BrandRepublic.asia, the Marketing & Communications Newspaper for Asia-Pacific,
“Even if a single standard vendor of QR reader technology could be embedded onto all handsets, there would likely be a period of two years before enough of the population would upgrade their phones and the technology would achieve a high enough penetration to use the technology effectively,” says Brian Stoller, partner of invention at Mindshare Asia-Pacific,. “Convincing people to pay for the bandwidth to download the reader just so they can read advertising is a real challenge.”
* Symbian OS from Symbian Ltd. (46.6% Market Share Sales Q3 2008 )
* iPhone OS from Apple Inc. (17.3% Market Share Sales Q3 2008)
* BlackBerry OS from RIM (15.2% Market Share Sales Q3 2008)
* Windows Mobile from Microsoft (13.6% Market Share Sales Q3 2008)
* Linux operating system (5.1% Market Share Sales Q3 2008)
* Palm OS developed by PalmSource (now a subsidiary of ACCESS)
* Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless (BREW)
* Android  promoted by Open Handset Alliance and licensed by Google (Released 22 Oct 2008) The Open Handset Alliance’s Android is a recent smart phone addition touted by Google and T-Mobile (which launched the G1 phone on October 22, 2008). The OHA hopes Android will gain 4% market share by year’s end.
What are the Different Types of 2D Barcodes?
According to Wikipedia and Kaywa who created the below graphic, there are four types of 2D Barcodes: QR-Code and Datamatrix, Maxi Code & PDF 417. From my research, these are the most popular and have the furthest reach, but host the most limitations and vulnerability.
However, according to http://www.adams1.com/stack.html there are many more variations. Further research continues to find new variations everyday like the unique QR Code used by Doritos below.
Recently Gizmodo published an online article which describes the newest barcode titled The Barcode Update You Never Asked For, But Still Need. As this video describes in more detail, the code is about the size of a small dot and basically is comprised of multiple, micro-inscribed datamatrix codes that an out of focus camera can capture and read.
The ability to inscribe and utilize multiple datamatrixx codes as a small dot definitely opens up more possibilities and is prettier on the eyes, but the need for a regular, out-of-focus camera will produce some limitations.
Again, it seems like the possibilities are endless and the the deeper I swim the bigger the ocean seems. Even Louis Vuitton has his own designer 2D Barcode!
QR Code Readers are mobile applications (usually down-loadable right from your mobile device) which allow your smart-phone’s camera to capture and utilize the 2D Barcode to take you on an interactive journey with the brand.
UPCODE, ScanLife, BeeTagg, Kaywa & 3GVision (i-nigma reader) are all very popular readers. 3GVision (i-nigma) is pre-installed by all of Japan’s major mobile manufacturers while as recently reported in an article by UPCODE founder
“Most notable is how UPCODE’s technology is installed in every mobile phone produced by Nokia, the company with more than 40% share of the mobile phone manufacture and sales market, as well as the OS (symbian) market.”
Recently, I have been using ixMAT on my G1 Android for it’s ability to also scan regular, 1D barcodes and compare product prices on the internet. Unfortunately, Microsoft Tag‘s reader is not yet available for the G1 Android.
If you’re really talented the design of QR makes it possible to incorporate eye-catching images of logos, characters, or photos into QR code, without losing any information of the code. Although semi-dependedant on a variable of phones, developers can help develop SDK’s and control even more possibilities.
A user can be linked to your VCard, Social Network, Campaign Site, Website, Mobile Video, Advergame, Coupon, Tutorial, Scavenger Hunt, Shopping – even a lottery 2D Barcode or Augmented Reality. The possibilities appear endless…
Augmented Reality is a field of computer research which deals with the combination of real-world and computer-generated data (virtual reality), where computer graphics objects are blended into real footage in real time.
I feel it is imperative to understand what Augmented Reality is and why we, as a techno-global community, need to embrace the possibilities. Through deductive reasoning I’ve been able to conclude the following about Augmented Reality by Example.
5. Read the on screen directions since this is a new experience.
6. Hold the bag in front of the webcam until you find the sweet spot.
7. Struggle to look around the bag you’re trying to move around in front of the webcam while keeping the creases out so you can watch Big Boi or Blink 182 play a song in the Doritos Bag you’re holding
8. Repeat steps 4-8 again because “you know you can do it better”
9. Watch bonus Big Boi “behind the scenes content
9. Enter a sweepstakes to win Blink 182 tickets
10. …Wait, I see what’s going on here…
…It’s Another Way to Capture My Contact Information!! Mwuahaha those “clever marketers”. Just like those innovative Doritos Collisions which features two Doritos flavors in one bag – they know the delicious combinations I like.
I’m just giving Doritos a hard time I love the overall contribution you’re trying to create for your Doritos fans (me) who also likes rap music (me) or rock music (me), reviewing digital (me) interactive (me) marketing (me) online (me) campaign (me) websites (me) and entering sweepstakes (me) to win (me) free stuff (me) You shot me 11 times, Doritos. 12 if you count the behind-the-scenes Blink 182 videos about how Doritos filmed the “Augmented” Blink 182 Experience on Youtube.
How is AR useful?
Some are starting to say that Augmented Reality has already “jumped the shark”. In their defense, if virtual magicians have already started using AR in their acts, it’s a pretty good sign.
Most Augmented Reality I’ve personally seen today has not been very useful in everyday life, but nonetheless the best and most useful Augmented Reality is yet to come. BMW is working with Augmented Reality that will empower the anyone to become a BMW mechanic, and many more companies are working with equally invigorating concepts. I guess we will just have to wait a little l o n g e r…
How can I create AR?
There are probably a lot of different ways actually and the development can get pretty intense the more complicated you try to make things. I’ve always agree that you have to learn how to walk before you think about running, so the best, most useful form I’ve found would be to create your own Augmented Reality Buisiness card. Created by Jonas Jäger at Toxin Labs, has created a very informative video and website that shows How to create an Augmented Reality Business card (XML File). There are plans to release an Augmented Reality Source Download soon.
This XML file is uploaded to a webserver, together with all the necessary assets.
From the URL of the XML presentation you generate a QR-Code. This unique QR-Code will lead the flash application to the right presentation, so that the application itself can stay the same and can be used by everyone…nobody has to compile his own version of the application to share his augmented business card.
Now you print the QR-Code on the back side of your business card, together with the AR-marker.
The person who you gave your card to can now start the application on a website (since it is developed in flash you can run it in any browser) or download it to his computer as an executable file. The application could also be converted to an AIR-Application.
The application was developed using FLARtoolkit, Papervision 3D, FLARmanager and the Ribbit API. There was no CGI or postprocessing involved and the real application is shown in the video clip above. The source-code will be released under the Creative Commons license.
Where can I Create a 2D Barcode to Promote ME?!
The simplest, easiest approach would be to google and use the most popular QR Code or 2D Barcode Generator.
For most average users looking for more, Snappr.net has recently released their public beta version which gives a lot more options. Unlike Microsoft Tag (explained in Advanced), I do not foresee Snappr becoming a paid service.
1. Register for an account at Snappr
2. Verify your account from your email inbox
3. Click on “Create Code”
4. There are several options but the easiest test will be to create a CLASSIC > VCard CODE to input your contact information as a Signature. If you already know your preferred social site, the social code creator is a cool way to promote your social networks both online and off. Snappr currently integrates with 24 networks and some on the list are pretty unique at most. (Can’t wait for it to integrate with Posterous!)
When you use Snappr.net you can get product details, ratings and more immediately and decide if you should buy a product or not. Additionally you can see what you would pay for this product at internet-sites like Amazon, Shopzilla and others. The best price and the most recent reviews are now really only one quick look away!If you are looking for information to a specific product just browse to http://snappr.mobi from your mobile device and enter the complete barcode-number into the search field. Snappr then finds all the information for this product and presents it to you, perfectly tailored for your device.
Super geeky and super cool, this video will teach you how to create your own, personal 2d barcode and download the pdf so you can have the file on hand to use in all your flyers from the Snappr website.
Additionally, after you create an account at http://Snappr.net you can easily store and access all of your favorite 2D barcode history from your Snappr account – just log in with your mobile device and snapp some Codes at snappr.mobi to create your code history.
Snappr is also currently testing professional accounts in a closed beta roll-out. There is also a Campaign Feature that is only available for users with a pro account.
Custom Microsoft Tag claims to be the next evolution of machine readable codes, where “branding and design can be incorporated directly into the barcode itself.” Basically, Microsoft has foreseen the potential and it’s limitations, and sought out a team of developers to come up with a better solution to dominate an untapped market. Ingenius(?) Their solution became Microsoft tag, a 2D customizable barcode strategy. The sophisticated technology powering Microsoft Tag High Capacity Color Barcodes (HCCBs), was invented by Microsoft Research (I believe to be lead by the Director of Engineering, Gavin Jancke).
Since it is Microsoft I feel confident it will both do ok and turn into a paid model. However, the Microsoft Tag reader is still not available on a lot of popular smartphones (like my G1 Android). Apple where are your QR codes? Nonetheless, Microsoft Tag is no doubt a cooler alternative to the boring black and white QR Image.
In their frequently asked questions Microsoft Tag also states the following;
During the beta period, commercial use of Microsoft Tag, including generating, using, and receiving consumer analytics data will be provided at no cost. We entered our Beta phase on January 7, 2009. We will learn and make updates to the solution based on customer feedback and our insights. If we decide to charge for some uses of Microsoft Tag, any Tags that are already in use will continue to work for at least two more years.
With traditional 2D Barcodes, you have to accept the industrial look of the code on your materials. With Microsoft Custom Tags the code can be integrated into the look and form of the messaging itself. Plus, all existing mobile Tag Readers are able to scan and decode these codes which is great, but be careful – you don’t want to confuse your audience into thinking that it’s something unusual like “art”.
Since the whole QR Code medium is still so new, I feel it will be most effective to hold your audience’s hand during the learning process and stick to the basics. The more they see it as “art” – the less your audience will understand what an interactive QR Code is really capable of.
However, any experienced marketer will tell you that the best news is in the analytics, and Microsoft Tag tracks these numbers. In the Report Center you can begin tracking the performance of your categories and tags by generating reports in all directions to help compare the total number of daily scans for different tags in different categories.
From your smartphone’s mobile browser, you can download Microsoft tag reader at http://gettag.mobi, but unfornately not if you’re a Android G1 user. As of 7/27/2009 it is still “coming soon”…
A more recent alternative I’ve come across is QReateBuzz, a European .co.uk company that claims to be a full service solution for the realization of mobile marketing campaigns using QR Codes. The online application consists of a QR Code generator, a management tool for the codes and an analytics software for the measurement of the reach and success of campaigns.
I love conversations, especially about stuff like this. If you need a second opinion or some further advice you can always feel free to contact me for free a free consultation.
Every big agency will tell you “they do mobile” and the reality is that one way or another, they’ve probably had more experience than you … outsourcing to free-lancers and smaller, niche agencies. Goodby, Silverstein & Partners created the Blink 182 & Big Boi “Late Night Taco” Augmented Reality described above, but they are not the only ones dabbling with QR Codes. Below is just a sample list of some of the different 2D Barcode campaigns taking place around the world.
Agency: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
Campaign: Late Night Tacos had a 2D Barcode on each back that when accessed online, used augmented reality to show a virtual concert of Big Boi or Blink 182, in addition to exclusive content and a chance to see Blink 182 play live in concert.
Not every brand needs an over-the-top QR Marketing campaign since the tecnology is so new, just having a 2D Barcode will make your brand appear innovative. With a list that includes E! Online and Access Hollywood among others, check out all of these well-known “entertainment” and/or “news” magazines who are using simple QR Codes as an informative resource.
Why should I use 2D Barcodes?
In an interview about Layar, a new Augmented Technology due soon for Android…
…even the simple offerings included within Layar are likely to prove extremely useful. The app can be configured to display one of several layers of data on the screen–anything from home-buying data to jobs to health care to the nearest bars, ATMs and hotels. In the home-buying mode, it’ll tell you if any of the houses on the street you’re looking at is for sale along with a bunch of data. And if you’re really interested, it’ll even connect you directly to the realtor…
Unfortunately the North American market for QR Codes is wide open with new competition continuing to develop their own proprietary QR Codes and Readers every day, further complicating the industrial advancement. Still, it’s coming soon (if not here already). I’m happy to report Fast Company has reported that Layar: Augmented Reality Arriving for Android Phones, iPhone Soon.
Nonetheless, if Japan’s acceptance is any indication of how other cultures like the US would receive the technology, I think we’re in good shape. Anonymous said…
It was in Japan back in 2002, that the method of accesing the mobile internet changed dramatically. Network operators started distributing mobile phones with a 2D barcode reader, that allowed the user to scan a URL encoded intoa 2D barcode and instantly launch to the mobile internet. 3GVision (flagship product i-nigma) was a major factor in this mobile revolution, providing the imaging technology to make this process a reality. Since then, mobile web access by scanning QR codes has contributed significantly to the success of mobile data services and revenues. 3GVision’s reader is now installed on more than 80% of Japanese handsets, becoming the de-facto standard for mobile code reading. http://dsinsights.blogspot.com/2009/06/2d-barcodes-and-digital-signage-part-ii.html
Now we all know how slow the US can be sometimes so it’s still going to take a little while for American users -OR- brands to catch on. Phones without 3G (or 4G for those that are lucky enough) can make it painfully slow to use the internet on your phone without it. 2d barcodes have been here for a couple years now and are still mostly used for treasure hunt’s and targeting the SUPER savvy. (Snappr.net was nominated for 2008 Crunchie’s “Best Mobile” & “Best Bootstrapped Startup of 2008″ but unfortunately didn’t see it on the finalist list this time around, even though “This year, 89% of new mobile phones shipped to the U.S. will have cameras, according to InfoTrends/CAP Ventures. Jagtag CEO Dudley Fitzpatrick envisions )
I also predict it’s going to be harder to take a picture of this barcode without stopping and ensure you took a picture straight enough to read the 2D barcode. As I’ve witnessed personally from the Doritos Late Night Tacos campaign, it can be just as hard to understand what you’re supposed to do as it is to get the webcam to read the barcode!
I’m concerned which “marketers” will find the best way to spam you or how easy it would be to send viruses (although I’ve read security encryption is possible, I’m waiting for people to stick innappropriate barcodes over unsuspecting brand campaigns – errr it was bound to happen anyways). As 2d barcodes continue to gain popularity overseas, we will just both have to wait and see…
There’s also various other limitations that affect results, such as the iPhone’s lack of auto-zoom or a sunlights glare. Microsoft has listed some good tips for use in their “Mobile Tagging Publisher Guidelines” section of their website: http://www.microsoft.com/tag/content/why/guidelines.aspx
General Tips & Tricks:
Keep it simple, Keep it simple, Don’t overdue it. At this stage of the game – less is more.
For those savvy enough to create a mobile site on their own, I recommend reviewing eHow’s article on how to Create A Mobile Webpage. If this is a little bit too technical for you, there are many easier alternatives such as the following:
General Guidelines: Strong reflections or shadows on a Tag will reduce scanning performance. If possible avoid scenarios where bright reflections or sharp shadows fall across the tag.
Use Behind Glass: Tags will normally be readable when displayed behind glass, as in the window of a store, or behind a display face. However, try to avoid situations where direct sunlight or bright lighting causes strong reflections on the glass.
Vertical Display: Displaying tags vertically reduces the possibility of the camera phone itself displaying a shadow across the tag. This is most important when there is very bright overhead lighting.
Adequate Lighting: Tags will be hard to read in dark conditions such as a nightclub or candlelit restaurant.
Minimum Size: Normal 5 line Tags must be printed or displayed at a size of at least 3/4″ x 3/4″. Black and White Tags must be printed at least 7/8″ x 7/8″. Minimum size includes the white space around the Tag. These minimum sizes have proven to work well with the entire range of camera phones despite being able to work at much smaller sizes on phones with better lenses.
Size Recommendations: When camera phones can not get close to your Tag, such as on a billboard, you must print Tags at a larger size. A general rule of thumb is for the width and height of a Tag to be at least 1” for every 1’ that a user must stand away from the tag.
Display Recommendations: On a display, the Tag should be at least 54 pixels across.
When will there be More 2D Barcode Help Available?
Do you have time to review more links now? If not, Contact Me and I’ll try to help you find the answer to something in particular.
If you ever wish you could tell what was being copied from your blog and track this analytic data, Tynt’s new Tracer analytic tool is a great addition for every website domain or blog. Easily track what text words or pictures are being copied from your website or blog. I hate to say it, but I wish the “retweet” buttons had this much analytic data.
I easily set up Tracer set up on our FerbsCosmetics.com website and it seems to track the copies in real-time by showing the “blurbs” of our copied Ferbs text bounce into the screen in front of me. However, even though it was showing the 5 different blurbs of copied text I copied in real-time, it was lagging a little and not showing in the analytic data it provided below.
In order to use Tracer’s services, a user has to create an account and register their domain with Tynt.
Once installed correctly, it automatically adds a link to a user’s copied text with a unique, Tracer-generated #hashtag at the end of the page URL. When a user visits this website from the shared Tracer link, it also highlights the copied text for the new user to easily reference on your webpage.
For instance, when copying text from our Ferbs Cosmetics website and pasting it into this gmail, it looks like this:
* Generate more visits and page views.
* Get credit when content is copied from your site.
* Measure and understand user engagement.
* Improve your search engine ranking.
Generate more visits and page views
The automatically added attribution link provides return traffic to your site when your content is shared without your knowledge.
Get credit when content is copied from your site
The automatically added link back ensures you get credit for content that you have created. You can’t stop users from copying from your site but you can improve the chances of getting credit for your content.
Measure and understand user engagement
Tracer allows you to view statistics on how often content is copied from your site, what that content is and what keywords are being copid most. This helps you better understand which content is most interesting to your users.
Our data shows that those pages that users engage with most are not necessarily those with the most page views.
Tracer allows you to identify the most popular content on your site so you can:
* Provide high quality data to your advertisers, over and above page view stats.
* Track virality by learning which stories users forward most using our copy/paste tracking technology.
* Produce content more closely aligned with what your users are interested in.
* Optimize your search terms or keywords.
Improve your search engine ranking
The number one signal that search engines use to determine how relevant your site is, and therefore how high your site ranks, is the number and quality of links that link back to your site. Tracer automatically adds a link back to your site when content is copied and pasted. When your content is pasted onto a blog, Twitter, or another web site it has a direct impact on your search ranking.
By seeing what words and phrases users are copying from your site you can better understand how you might select your keywords, meta-tags, tags, and even AdWords.
Also, Tynt.com is an increasingly popular place for people to find interesting web sites and content and generates visits to your site when content is copied.
Who needs Tracer?
* Sites that would like to increase traffic and page views.
* Sites that would like to better understand what content is most engaging.
* Writers or content creators that would like credit for their work when it is copied.
* Writers or content creators who would like to see which content is the most engaging and/or the most popular. Keep in mind that page views alone don’t necessarily mean that the user engages with content.
* Sites selling advertising who would like to find out which pages can drive higher advertising rates.
However, this was not really Augmented Reality and deep within the back of my left brain, I knew it. The next day I knew it even more when I saw a tweet from the revered Adam Broitman, founder of A Media Circ.us.
“When employing Augmented Reality, be sure to Augment, Reality (sounds silly but look at some of the examples out there ask yourself, why?)” on 7/7/2009.
It made me think about my previous post and the responsibility for what I post (or do not clarify) on the web… but led to some happy research on Augmented Reality and the study of Inductive vs. Deductive reasoning… so ‘eh.
Why is Augmented Reality so confusing to understand? I guess it depends on the way someone looks at it. If they look at it Inductively, they will probably come to the wrong conclusion – but don’t worry, I came to the wrong conclusion too. Thus lead to my personal great debate; then clarification of deductive vs. inductive reasoning and left brain vs. right brain characteristics. Kudos to me – but not right away. (Hopefully) we’ll probably learn so much more by time’s end.
I originally thought that Augmented Reality was “a step above through an altered perception of reality”, I came to the following conclusion through Inductive Reasoning. As an example, a person who uses Inductive Reasoning thinks that “because all the sheep I’ve seen are white, all sheep are white.” It’s hardly the case, but it leads to a hard fall that concludes in a thorough understanding. It is a very right-brained characteristic which is still not a bad thing – right brained people are heavily musical, and think of the beats
Created by Mini-Cooper, here is a great example of how Augmeted Reality also currently benefits the Auto Industrly and the Ad Industry.
None-the-less, any right-brained person will tell you they’ve made a mistake or two, and so did I when deciphering the meaning of “Augmented Reality” one word – by splitting it into two, separate words.
If you can think to heavily with one side of the brain, it’s like keeping a secret from your better half. You’ll never know how much it hurts until it’s too late. -ntho
Inductive Reasoning told me to trust my gut and roll with it – break it apart and remember the roots. However when I did that, Merriam Webster had a different definition of the two, separate words unexpectedly conjoined as one…
1: the quality or state of being real2 a (1): a real event, entity, or state of affairs (2): the totality of real things and events b: something that is neither derivative nor dependent but exists necessarily3: television programming that features videos of actual occurrences (as a police chase, stunt, or natural disaster) —often used attributively
— in reality: in actual fact
Confused? I’m sure, like always, Merriam-Webster will end the confusion soon … or [petition here].(That’s kind of a right brained joke in case you didn’t catch it. )
According to Wikipedia Augmented Reality (AR) is
…a field of computer research which deals with the combination of real-world and computer-generated data (virtual reality), where computer graphics objects are blended into real footage in real time. The term is believed to have been coined in 1990 by Thomas Caudell, an employee of Boeing at the time.
At present, most AR research is concerned with the use of live video imagery which is digitally processed and “augmented” by the addition of computer-generated graphics. Advanced research includes the use of motion-tracking data, fiducial markers recognition using machine vision, and the construction of controlled environments containing any number of sensors and actuators.
According to Wikipedia, the FAKE GRAPHIC HAND IN THE TV IN A PICTURE is NOT Augmented Reality. (above)
World, you have some of the smartest people I know – let me know if you have another perception. Thanks!!
Craigslist has certain guidelines and restrictions which prevent people from marketing their services to every Craigslist city.
This easy to use excel spreadsheet explains a specific posting strategy to avoid getting in trouble with Craigslist – which day you sent what posting to which city and easily records and tracks your efforts to avoid over posting. (Can you say that ten times fast?!)