Amazon and Twitter: Shopping on Amazon via Your Twitter Account

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On Monday, Amazon introduced a new program that will allow its members to add Amazon items to their shopping cart via their Twitter accounts. The program is not the first of its kind, but it is the most recent program in a string of programs offered by top companies who hope to increase their bottom lines by capitalizing on the power of social media. The program which was announced last week, allows Amazon customers to use the hashtag #AmazonCart to reply to product posts. The item in the post is then added to the person’s Amazon cart. Once the item is added, the customer then receives a confirmation tweet as well as a confirmation email. It is unclear at this point if this program will be successful or not. Only a handful of customers have signed up for the program and neither of the stock prices for Amazon or Twitter rose significantly indicating that market does not consider this a groundbreaking program.

 While this program and others like it have the potential to change the way we shop and interact with one another there are a few things about this program that should be considered/questioned. First, one should consider their privacy when using this program. While it is unclear to what degree a customer’s information will be shared between Amazon and Twitter, customers should suspect that some of their information will be shared between the two sites. In the wake last year’s Target security breach and the collection of online/phone data by the NSA there is has been growing concerns regarding online privacy and the protection of personal information. Already one Twitter follower has indicated that they will not be signing up for this program for this very reason.  Also, because of the nature of this program, customers’ purchases are displayed on their timeline for all of their followers to see. While this is a great way for Amazon to spread the word of its products and programs, a person’s followers are able to see and keep track of their Amazon purchases.

Secondly, from a marketer’s standpoint, one must consider if this program will be effective. While the use of #AmazonCart makes it easy for Amazon shoppers to add items to their cart, it does not further encourage them to complete their purchase. According to Forbes, nearly 79.3% of shopping carts never make it to checkout. So while the program may be great at getting customers to add items to their cart it may not be so great in encouraging them to make a purchase.

 What are your thoughts on this program? Are you planning on signing up for this program? Check out this promo video for this program in the video bar. Leave a comment and let me know.

Protect Your Privacy

As you already know, emerging media and technology is all around us. On a daily basis most of us use some form of technology/ emerging media whether it is an ATM machine, an automated payment kiosk, social media sites or mobile devices. All of these technologies have made our lives considerably easier but they have also created new ways for marketers and companies to invade our privacy. It seems like every day there is a story in the news about an internet security breech or an invasion of privacy perpetrated by a large company. Earlier this year was the whole Target security breech happened and back in 2013, luxury retailer Nordstrom found itself in hot water for using WiFi to spy on its shoppers. Through the use of sensors, Nordstrom was able to monitor which department a particular shopper visited and determine how long they remained in the department. Talk about an invasions of privacy!!

As emerging media and technology become more and more a part of our society, questions regarding privacy and security will continue to be raised.  How does one remain safe online? How does one keep their personal information out of the hands of companies? How does one prevent their every move from being tracked by companies? These are just a few of the many questions that we will have to answer as emerging media occupies a larger space in our society. Luckily, there has already been a lot of discussion on this topic and many internet security analysts have come up with ways to protect ones privacy while using emerging media technologies.

Below are 6 tips that I have found, that I think that particularly helpful when it comes to protecting one’s privacy online.

 

  • Do not give out your personal information to just anyone online.

You wouldn’t walk up to a complete strange on the street and give them your personal information, would you, so don’t do it online? Be wary of giving out personal information to companies who you do not initiate contact with. Be sure you know who you are dealing with and how your personal information will be used.

  • Be mindful of the pictures you post on social networking sites and who you tag in your pictures .

Many of us don’t think twice when we post a picture to our Facebook or Instagram accounts, but we should. Location tracking software records the location the picture was taken and posts that information along with the picture when the information is loaded onto the site. Depending how regularly you post, your followers (individual and companies) are able to keep track of your location via the geo-tags on your pictures. Companies (in particular) and then use this information to sell your products that may be relevant to your location.

Also, be mindful of who you tag in pictures and comments. Particularly on Instagram, many companies create contests that require entrants to post picture and tag the company in the caption. When you do this, the company is then able to see the picture. Keep in mind, companies can use these pictures to gather you user name to be used in later marking initiatives

  • Don’t just connect to anybody’s WiFi.

Free WiFi is a convenience that many of us cherish but we should be mindful of accessing personal information over public wireless networks. Before purchasing that new pair of shoes with you credit card or filling out an application be sure that you connection is secure and that your information will be protected. Not only can using unsecured connections allow your information to “leak” onto the internet but they also leave you vulnerable to attacks by hackers.

  • Read a site’s Privacy Policies before you give them any personal information.

A sites’ privacy policy can be an invaluable tool when trying to protect your privacy while online. According to the FTC, a sites’ privacy policy can, “…tell you how the site maintains accuracy, access, security, and control of the personal information it collects; how it uses the information, and whether it provides information to third parties.” While you should check ever site’s privacy policy, be particularly mindful of social networking site and banking sites.

  •  Be mindful of you internet usage at work 

This one sounds like a no brainer. Employers are notorious for monitoring their employee’s online activities. Although most companies are only concerned with their employee’s internet activates if they are inappropriate or unprofessional, companies still have the ability and right to track, store and monitor their employee’s internet activities. With that being said one should be mindful of what they say or what information is shared over the internet while at work. Avoid checking back accounts, logging into social media accounts or accessing credit card sites while at work. Also, avoid discussing personal matters with family and friends through work email. Companies are able to see this information and such information could possibly be used against a person in the future.

  • Consider having a “clean” email address.

A “clean” email address is one that is used during online activities such as participating in chat rooms or posting to websites and online forums. Often spammers collect email address from these types of sites and use them in later marketing campaigns. Using a “clean” address prevents spammers from having access to your main email account. It also helps to protect your identity online.

 

What are some other tips that readers should be aware of as it pertains to ones protecting privacy while online?

 

 

 

 

Are You Being Re-Targeted?

Chances are you are being stalked by the website that you visited. No, the website itself isn’t following you around the internet but ads for their products are. If this is the case chances are you are being retargeted! Within the past couple of years there has been a significant increase in the use of retargeting ads and for good reason. Retargeting ads help companies recapture lost visitors. They entice customers to return to a previously visited website and to purchase products the customer may have left behind.

For, those of you who are unfamiliar with retargeting ads, here is how they work.  When a user visits a website and views a product “cookies” are stored on the person’s computer. After the person leaves the site, ads for previously viewed products are displayed, often as banner ads. These ads are designed to follow a person around the internet for up to two week after the person initially views the product or visits the website.

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I can tell you I was a little freaked out when I was first realized that I was being retargeted. A couple of days after viewing a pair of shoes on my favorite website, I noticed that an ad for the website and the shoes was following me around the internet. No matter which site I visited the ad was there. At first I thought that it was a coincidence but then I realized that I was being intentionally targeted. According to Small Business Trends, “The idea behind retargeting is to get a higher percentage of visitors to convert to a sale, because they are reminded of your site even after they leave”.

As online users are being presented with more and more retargeted ads two main questions arise. 1) Do retargeting ads really work and 2) are they ethical?

Let’s deal with the first question first. Do retargeting ads really work? There is some evidence that suggests that these ads do in fact work. Envelopes.com reported that its shopping cart abandonment rate was reduced by 40% due to retargeting ads and Zen Desk reported a 1317% ROI from combined conversions (view through and click through conversions) thanks to its retargeting advertising efforts. Furthermore a 2010 study found that retargeting ads were twice as effective as other tactics used when trying to get customers to search for a specific brand. Other than these three examples, there seems to be strong conclusive evidence that retargeting ads are widely effective.

Second is the question of ethics. Are retargeting ads ethical, after all they do invade your privacy and repost images of products that you have previously viewed. Retargeting ads are in fact ethical as long as the website engaging in retargeting ads notifies visitors that their website contains cookie files that will later be used in retargeting ads. As a user, if you wish not to receive retargeting ads consider removing all cookie files at the end of browsing session or consider using an “In Private” browsing session (cookies are not stores during this sessions). Whether you are a fan of retargeting ads or not they are a growing part of digital marketing and they are here to stay.

Let me know what your thoughts on retargeting! I would love you hear about any experiences that you have had with retargeting ads.

Emerging Media Usage Around the World

Every county wants to be the best. Every country wants to say that their citizens are the smartest, the fastest, the most innovative and the most technological advanced nation on Earth. The United States is no different. We pride ourselves on our ingenuity, our ability to create and our ability advance society. We claim that we are the most technological advanced nation on Earth and that our innovations revolutionize the way we live. We take pride in being early adopter of emerging media technologies.

Below is a series of graphs, charts, and images that show how the United States measures up against other nations when it comes to the adaptation and use of Emerging Media technologies. Do any of the findings surprise you?

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The Power of Pinterest

If you are like me, you have loved Pinterest from the very first moment you pinned your first pin. I was introduced to the site during my senior year in college by a friend. During that time I was on a self-imposed shopping fast (I had given up shopping for 40 days) and I was going through serious withdrawals. All I could think about was shopping, so I decided to turn to Pinterest. I would sit with my laptop for hours and just pin all of the clothes that I wanted to buy. I know it sounds silly (and like I have a bad shopping habit) but it really was a great outlet. Almost four years later, I still use Pinterest on a regular basis but now my reasons for using it have changed. Today, I mainly use it as a resource to find DIY project, design inspiration, recipes and as “modified” search engine to research companies.

When it comes to my love affair and addition to Pinterest I am definitely not alone. There are over 70 million worldwide Pinterest users, although the majority of users live in the United Sates. Of these users  97% are women and less than 3% are men. It is clear to see that the ladies LOVE Pinterest!!! In fact according to a 2012 Forbes article and information published by Power Of Pinterst.com, women are drawn to Pinterest over other sites like Facebook and Twitter because it is:

  1. Simple, Clean and Fuss Free,
  2. And it is relaxing
  3. It is easily accessible
  4. It is easy to become popular
  5. It inspires visitors to become more creative.

(Check Out this Great Inforgraphic!)

The Power of Pinterst

While women have really embraced Pinterest, more and more companies are beginning to see its potential benefits and are now incorporating it into their social media strategies. Companies such as Nordstrom, Whole Foods,  P&G, Target, DWS and a host of others have used Pinterest to promote their product mix, gain customer insight, interact with customers and to strengthen their brand image.

Outside of using Pinterest to search for items and products and promoting brands, people and organizations alike  have become very creative in the way that they use Pinterest. Pinterest parties are growing in popularity (parties where people get to gather to create Pinterest inspired DIY projects while enjoying Pinterest inspired food and drinks) while some educators have found ways to incorporate Pinterest into their curriculums.

If you are one of the people who have never checked out Pinterest I implore you to go check it out…GO NOW! Look around the site, checkout the accounts of your favorite brands, explore new topics and connect with friends. Let me know what you find!

If you need some help getting started, below is a list of a few of my favorite Pinterest pages (including my own).

Design Sponge

Nordstrom

Whole Foods

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Tell me what you think!

 

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