Monthly Archives: December 2012

Is Real Time Just Another Way of Describing the Personalization Trend?

Had lunch with a social media marketing exec for one of the nation’s top companies today, and I mentioned that I’ve been starting to look into real time as a research topic. She heard my description of real time as the intersection of social, mobile, location and big data, thought for a minute and said, “I think real time is interesting, but where I think things are headed is personalization.”

By that she meant using data (social, mobile, location and myriad other data) to deliver personalized marketing experiences just for you. So, is real time just a different way of saying “instant personalization”?

Things to ponder as I (and this blog) take a few days off for the holidays.


Are News Organizations Moving Too Fast?

An opinion piece on the Nieman Journalism Lab website poses this question: Are the media being too hasty to deliver scoops and breaking news via social media? It’s an interesting take on real time and one that I haven’t thought of before. The news media is built to deliver critical information to people as it happens – reporters doing standups at fires, a live press conference, etc. Social media speeds up that flow even more, allowing reporters to tweet out tidbits of news before they even get the chance to write an article or do a TV segment.

In the piece, Amanda Zamora writes:

We turn to social media during news events for immediate updates and eyewitness accounts, constantly refreshing and trolling for every possible bit of news and commentary. There isn’t a major event (earthquakeelectionbin Laden raid) that we can’t visualize through social trends.

But in our fixation on immediacy, we’re missing opportunities to tell a larger story through social means. At times, we’re even perpetrating rumor for the sake of “real-time” coverage (see: Newtown shootings social media disaster). In both cases, we’re letting readers down.

How do media organizations weigh the benefits of delivering news in real time with the need to reflect? In the words of Zamora, “I challenge news organizations to think about how a ‘slow’ social media movement could better serve our journalism and our readers in 2013.”

Location-Aware Services to Get Boost in 2013: Lazerow

Next year will see more services that take advantage of a person’s location, delivering information as they need it, says’s Michael Lazerow in an interview in AdExchanger.

When you walk into the airport, airlines will be able to check you in and show you where your gate is right away. It will come down to, “how does the tech make your life better?” Mobile is no longer a vertical, but it’s everything.

Forrester Report Helps Marketers Understand Social Intelligence

Forrester recently published a report called “Ten Steps to Successful Social Intelligence Measurement,” aimed at helping those who work in customer intelligence to better use social signals in their analytics. CMS Wire describes the 10 steps, which include “separate reactive social modeling from proactive social intelligence”. The reactive stuff is the domain of PR, CMS Wire says, while proactive work is the domain of customer intelligence. Forrester also suggests that marketers should “get help from integrated technology systems” – because “successful social intelligence requires real-time data capture, analysis and action.”

RadiumOne Targets Ads in Real Time to Hashtags

It’s a complicated thing to explain but TechCrunch does a decent job describing ad targeting company RadiumOne’s new feature, enabling RTB advertisers to bid on users who have posted or viewed content with hashtags.

Whenever a user publishes a hashtag, or even views a piece of content labeled with a hashtag, the site can drop a cookie about that hashtag onto the user’s browser. Then when the user surfs around the web, they’ll end up as one of the 25 billion impressions RadiumOne sees each day across sites that host its retargeted ads. Those sites detect the hashtag cookies on the users’ browser that indicate they’re interested in #fitness or #justinbieber. The site pings RadiumOne, whose real-time bidding platform lets advertisers like Under Armor or Ticketmaster compete to reach those users. The highest bidder gets their hashtag retargeted ad shown, and RadiumOne splits the revenue with the site that dropped the cookie in the first place and the one hosting the ad.

RadiumOne is doing this now on its own site,, but it could expand the capability to other sites.

Car Windshields Use Augmented Reality to Display Info in Real Time

An article (condensed free version here) in today’s Wall Street Journal describes how several automakers, including General Motors Co. and Daimler AG, are developing windshield displays that use augmented reality technology to provide real-time information to drivers. The automakers say these windshields are still several years away from being deployed, but conceptual renderings show information displays that range from extremely helpful to somewhat scary.

On the helpful side:

  • alerts if a driver does not notice a road hazard, such as a car pulling in front of them
  • driving directions

On the more scary side:

  • information about landmarks (a photo accompanying the article show facts about the size of the Bay Bridge, for instance)
  • social media posts (a sample rendering from Daimler asks, “Anyone up for party tonight?”)
  • text messages
  • a personal calendar

Obviously, people are already using their phones to do all of these (except for the driving alerts, which would be triggered by sensors outside the car). The carmakers say that displaying the information on the windshield will keep people from looking away from the road to check messages or get directions. The ability to get information about landmarks as you are driving by is intriguing (and reminiscent of the app that Google’s Niantic Labs developed, Field Trip). It will be interesting to watch the developments in this realm, because of the many implications.

  • Will people use social media and text messaging more often in cars if the display is on their windshield instead of their phone?
  • Will real-time delivery of information about the things that are near you be valuable?
  • How will businesses make use of this information?

If, say, your car were almost out of gas, would a sensor in the car trigger an alert that a Shell station is at the next exit? Some Mercedes-Benz models already display a coffee cup icon if the car detects that the driver is showing an erratic eye pattern (signaling that they may be tired or distracted). Would that sensor then trigger a message that a Starbucks is available just two blocks away? Just this past weekend I used the Starbucks app on my phone to locate the nearest shop. In this particular instance I wasn’t actually driving when I looked at the app, but there is certainly business value in triggering messages based not only on a person’s location but also on other contextual clues. For a person who has been driving 5 hours on the highway, a message about a service area offering restaurant specials might be appropriate. The options for such real-time delivery of information are extensive. But automakers and marketers will need to weigh whether safety is compromised.