Tag Archives: google

No Lack of Opinions About Real-Time Marketing

In the past several months, I have written four reports on real-time marketing. It’s kept me rather busy, hence the long gap between posts here. However, now that I’m prepping for a couple presentations on the topic I’m going to try to get back to posting more often.

In the short time from when Oreo burst on the scene until now, there has been quite a lot of virtual ink spilled over the merits (or lack thereof) of real-time marketing. RTM has officially moved beyond hype and into backlash, questioning and criticism. I’m not surprised. Plenty of pundits criticized social media marketing when it first came on the scene. Before that, it was internet advertising. You could make a business out of tracking the Hype Cycle of various technology and marketing trends (Gartner has).

Of course, we shouldn’t forget the business of virtual worlds, whose hype-backlash pattern seems to correlate with that of RTM. Many marketers spent gobs of money building pavilions in virtual worlds, and basically everything flopped. It could be argued that the money marketers and agencies are spending today to build real-time content studios is a similar waste. Does it really take a room full of people to write a tweet?

However, I think this phase of RTM, with much of the focus on coming up with snappy new twists on newsworthy events, is going to give way to something new. The pieces are being put in place to make RTM much, much bigger than a snappy tweet and a fun graphic image.

Here are just a few examples of how RTM will evolve:

  • Mondelez is working on the Smart Shelf, an in-store product which uses technology to guess the age and gender of someone standing nearby and puts up an appropriate ad.
  • Google is doing some really interesting things with Google Now, tying together your calendar, your location and more to deliver real-time information to you. My old boss John Battelle does a great job explaining what Google is up to.
  • And agencies I’ve talked to are very excited about the idea of doing more with dynamically changing the creative in ads, based on everything from the weather to what items are selling or not selling in stores. Expect to hear more about that next year. (For a peek at one example that’s a couple years old but still relevant, check out what Google did with Alka-Seltzer to re-imagine a classic ad from the brand.)

I think there’s a lot more exciting developments in store next year. I’ll continue to chronicle it at my day job. But in the meantime, in the interest of keeping tabs on all sides of the story, here are some of the recent opinions on RTM — pro, con and “mixed”:


Stop Whining About Real-Time Marketing

Twitter’s Kevin Weil on Real-Time Marketing — And Showing Results

Stop Whining About Real-Time Marketing and The Problem With a Lot of Marketing Punditry

Real-Time Marketing is Bull (yep, it’s positive despite the negative-sounding headline)

Oreo’s Digital Shop: Real-Time Marketing Takes a Lot More Than One Tweet


Oreo Envy: The Rea-Time Marketing Myth

It’s About Time to Get Real on Real-Time Marketing

Real-Time Marketing is Nothing But a Predatory Weed

Why So Much Real-Time Marketing Sucks


Have Advertisers Figured Out Real-Time Marketing?

Does Real-Time Marketing Work?


Personalizing Advertising on the Fly: Google’s Art, Copy & Code Experiment

Google has launched a project that aims to customize marketing-oriented experiences in real time.

MediaPost covers the project, dubbed Art, Copy & Code, in a piece that describes how Volkwagen is using the technology to power its Smileage mobile app. The app syncs with a VW owner’s car and seamlessly tracks where it is driven, enabling the user to tag passengers, upload comments and share photos of the trip.

Google demonstrates another aspect of the project in a short video on the Art, Copy & Code website that automatically integrates information about the user’s location, the time of day and the events happening on the web at the moment the person is watching the video. The video updates and changes each time the viewer watches it.

Another project, the Talking Shoe, embeds internet connectivity into the shoe, delivering information in real time via an accelerometer, gyroscope and other technology. The information can be transmitted to the person wearing the shoe, uploaded to social media sites or even added to real-time ad units, Google says.

These things take the idea of real-time in exciting new directions. Objects embedded with internet connections and sensors that tap into what is going on around them can deliver all sorts of intriguing new types of information that will be helpful not only to the individual using or experiencing the object, but to marketers that want to customize the information to deliver personalized marketing.


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.


Google Takes a Field Trip

Google’s Niantic Labs created an app that delivers information to users in real time as they walk around. The Mercury News got an inside look at it.