Owning your vertical

Have you thought about turning your passion into your business? Then you might want to study the story of Theresia and Horst Luening from Southern Bavaria in Germany. In the early nineties, Theresia started an online retail site selling whiskys aka whiskies from around the world. Her husband eventually quit his job as a space engineer to focus on the marketing & IT sides of the business. Twenty years later, they are the leading supplier in Germany of craft and boutique whisky, with annual sales exceeding 10 million Euros.

Note: The Luenings started with Scottish whisky and that’s why the “e” is most likely missing from the name of their shop.


A farewell to Internet Explorer

Microsoft recently let us know there will be no Internet Explorer 12. The brand will be retired and replaced by a new browser in conjunction with the launch of the next version of Microsoft Windows. Internet Explorer aka IE has been with us since the beginning of the Internet. IE 1.0 was released in 1995 as a competitor to the dominating Netscape Navigator. It quickly gained market share as it was bundled with Microsoft Windows and starting with IE 2.0, was also available as a free download.

Death of IE

Netscape was considered the better product, leading to the beginning of a saga that continued for two decades. Eventually, Netscape lost its impact and was replaced by Firefox and Google Chrome as the main competitors to IE. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was always playing catch-up with other browsers and never gained traction as the leading browser. Even with IE’s market share showing a decline for years, it has still been used by ordinary web surfers. Here are the usage statistics for IE (all versions combined) during the month of November for each respective  year:

2002: 83.4%
2003: 84.9%
2004: 76.2%
2005: 68.9%
2006: 60.6%
2007: 56%
2008: 47%
2009: 37.7%
2010: 28.6%
2011: 21.2%
2012: 15.1%
2013: 10.5%
2014: 9.8%

Today, Internet Explorer is currently at a market share below 8%.

You might ask: “How could they let this happen?” Or maybe you ask: “What took so long? Why were Google and the Mozilla not able to slice up that pie a little sooner?” Hundreds of millions of internet users had an inferior experience with something they do every day (surfing the web) for many many years.

In my opinion, this confirms humans are creatures of habit and solidifies how long it takes for innovators and early adopters to bring the masses with them.

It’s also a story about the risk of losing good innovations. If Microsoft would have played their cards a little differently they might have prevailed and we might all be stuck with an inferior technology (less security, slower web surfing, less functionality, etc.). That’s a story being written each day.

I consider this a cautionary tale about the limitations of social media. Aren’t we all supposed to help each other to make the best decisions and aren’t we all influenced by our tribe leaders? Or are we held back by our peers that are stuck in their old ways?

Another aspect of IE that isn’t mentioned too often in the mainstream conversations is the cost it created for web development around the globe. Microsoft’s refusal to adhere to common W3C standards has added the necessity for special adjustments, hacks for countless website development projects. Millions of software developers are getting headaches whenever they see the letters I and E combined. That pain will quite likely never go away for those poor fellows but maybe the next generation won’t have to suffer from the same trauma any longer.

As with so many other things in life, there are definitely two sides to this story. Let’s hope Microsoft introduces more than just a new label for its next browser and provides us with a true alternative to the top browsers of the world.


The power of humor

Ryanair, Europe’s only ultra low cost carrier, has a long history of upsetting me with the way they are unraveling the airline industry. Their CEO has made many remarks that show profitability trumps humanity in the way he runs the airline. I would expect his handling of crises to fall in the same category.

As it happens the just had a little potential crisis looming around with some of their ground grew members. They used the snow on the tarmac to do a little drawing.

Ryanair snow drawing

Stories of employees of larger enterprises acting inappropriately hit the news almost daily. The standard protocol is as follows: the management team apologizes, publicly reprimands and/or fires the employee(s) in question and everyone moves on.

Quite surprisingly, Ryanair took a different route. We don’t know what conversations took place internally, but something remarkable happened when I saw this picture and the reaction by the company:

A spokesman for Ryanair told MailOnline Travel: ‘While our ground crew excel at industry leading 25 minute turnarounds, art isn’t their forte, as they’ve clearly forgotten to draw wings on their snow airplane.’

In no way is Ryanair endorsing their employees drawing private body parts in the snow at the airport. With that said, their ability to defuse the situation with an original twist using humor made me actually dislike Ryanair a little less. I wouldn’t have written this post if I didn’t like how they handled it and I never thought I’d say this but… in my opinion, others can watch and learn a little bit from this Ryanair story.

Ridiculing your competitors

Budweiser had an ad during the 2015 Super Bowl poking fun at craft beers and the fans of that fast growing market segment.

Here is the video followed by a  transcript of the ad text:

Proudly a macro beer. It’s not brewed to be fussed over. It’s brewed for a crisp, smooth finish. This is the only beer Beechwood aged since 1876. There’s only one Budweiser. It’s brewed for drinking. Not dissecting. The people who drink our beer are people who like drinking beer. To drink beer brewed the hard way. Let them sip their pumpkin peach ale. We’ll be brewing us some golden suds. This is the famous Budweiser beer. This bud’s for you.

Here is some data that explains the pressure Budweiser is currently experiencing:

Budweiser’s market share has fallen from 8.4% in 2011 to 7.6% in 2013.

44 percent of drinkers between the ages of 21 and 27 have supposedly never tried Budweiser(as per WSJ).

Even factoring in these stats, this ad surprised me in a number of ways. (more…)

New Clues

One of the most inspiring documents from the early days of the Internet was the Cluetrain Manifesto—published in 1999 by Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, David Weinbergerand Doc Searls. This set of 95 theses provided a valuable framework for Internet marketers and anyone else trying to understand how disruptive this new communication hub would eventually be. A revised and extended version of their manifesto was published as a book under the same title in 2000.

In January 2015, two of the authors (Doc Searls and David Weinberger) published a follow-up document called New Clues. We at conceptbakery consider this essential reading for anyone interested in the dynamics and future of online conversations. All of us who use the web should take these thoughts to heart in the current net neutrality debate and all conversations regarding the future of what could easily be the most potent communication enabler in human history since the invention of speech.

New clues

 Note: We took the step to translate “New Clues” into German and publish it in our German blog. The authors’ site also links to Italian and Catalan translations. If you are master of other languages, you might want to consider following suit and making the content available to readers not savvy enough to comprehend the English. Thank you!

Since the authors were polite enough to put their precious content in the public domain, we are able to share it with you right here:


Hear, O Internet.

It has been sixteen years since our previous communication.

In that time the People of the Internet — you and me and all our friends of friends of friends, unto the last Kevin Bacon — have made the Internet an awesome place, filled with wonders and portents.

From the serious to the lolworthy to the wtf, we have up-ended titans, created heroes,  and changed the most basic assumptions about
How Things Work and Who We Are.

But now all the good work we’ve done together faces mortal dangers.

When we first came before you, it was to warn of the threat posed by those who did not understand that they did not understand the Internet.

These are The Fools, the businesses that have merely adopted the trappings of the Internet.

Now two more hordes threaten all that we have built for one another.

The Marauders understand the Internet all too well. They view it as theirs to plunder, extracting our data and money from it, thinking that we are the fools.

But most dangerous of all is the third horde: Us.

A horde is an undifferentiated mass of people. But the glory of the Internet is that it lets us connect as diverse and distinct individuals.

We all like mass entertainment. Heck, TV’s gotten pretty great these days, and the Net lets us watch it when we want. Terrific.

But we need to remember that delivering mass media is the least of the Net’s powers.

The Net’s super-power is connection without permission. Its almighty power is that we can make of it whatever we want.

It is therefore not time to lean back and consume the oh-so-tasty junk food created by Fools and Marauders as if our work were done. It is time to breathe in the fire of the Net and transform every institution that would play us for a patsy.

An organ-by-organ body snatch of the Internet is already well underway. Make no mistake: with a stroke of a pen, a covert handshake, or by allowing memes to drown out the cries of the afflicted we can lose the Internet we love.

We come to you from the years of the Web’s beginning. We have grown old together on the Internet. Time is short.

We, the People of the Internet, need to remember the glory of its revelation so that we reclaim it now in the name of what it truly is.

David Weinberger
Doc Searls

January 8, 2015

Once were we young in the Garden…

  1. The Internet is us, connected.
    1. The Internet is not made of copper wire, glass fiber, radio waves, or even tubes.
    2. The devices we use to connect to the Internet are not the Internet.
    3. Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, and 中国电信 do not own the Internet. Facebook, Google, and Amazon are not the Net’s monarchs, nor yet are their minions or algorithms. Not the governments of the Earth nor their Trade Associations have the consent of the networked to bestride the Net as sovereigns.
    4. We hold the Internet in common and as unowned.
    5. From us and from what we have built on it does the Internet derive all its value.
    6. The Net is of us, by us, and for us.
    7. The Internet is ours.
  2. The Internet is nothing and has no purpose.
    1. The Internet is not a thing any more than gravity is a thing. Both pull us together.
    2. The Internet is no-thing at all. At its base the Internet is a set of agreements, which the geeky among us (long may their names be hallowed) call “protocols,” but which we might, in the temper of the day, call “commandments.”
    3. The first among these is: Thy network shall move all packets closer to their destinations without favor or delay based on origin, source, content, or intent.
    4. Thus does this First Commandment lay open the Internet to every idea, application, business, quest, vice, and whatever.
    5. There has not been a tool with such a general purpose since language.
    6. This means the Internet is not for anything in particular. Not for social networking, not for documents, not for advertising, not for business, not for education, not for porn, not for anything. It is specifically designed for everything.
    7. Optimizing the Internet for one purpose de-optimizes it for all others
    8. The Internet like gravity is indiscriminate in its attraction. It pulls us all together, the virtuous and the wicked alike.
  3. The Net is not content.
    1. There is great content on the Internet. But holy mother of cheeses, the Internet is not made out of content.
    2. A teenager’s first poem, the blissful release of a long-kept secret, a fine sketch drawn by a palsied hand, a blog post in a regime that hates the sound of its people’s voices — none of these people sat down to write content.
    3. Did we use the word “content” without quotes? We feel so dirty.
  4. The Net is not a medium.
    1. The Net is not a medium any more than a conversation is a medium.
    2. On the Net, we are the medium. We are the ones who move messages. We do so every time we post or retweet, send a link in an email, or post it on a social network.
    3. Unlike a medium, you and I leave our fingerprints, and sometimes bite marks, on the messages we pass. We tell people why we’re sending it. We argue with it. We add a joke. We chop off the part we don’t like. We make these messages our own.
    4. Every time we move a message through the Net, it carries a little bit of ourselves with it.
    5. We only move a message through this “medium” if it matters to us in one of the infinite ways that humans care about something.
    6. Caring — mattering — is the motive force of the Internet.
  5. The Web is a Wide World.
    1. In 1991, Tim Berners-Lee used the Net to create a gift he gave freely to us all: the World Wide Web. Thank you.
    2. Tim created the Web by providing protocols (there’s that word again!) that say how to write a page that can link to any other page without needing anyone’s permission.
    3. Boom. Within ten years we had billions of pages on the Web — a combined effort on the order of a World War, and yet so benign that the biggest complaint was the tag.
    4. The Web is an impossibly large, semi-persistent realm of items discoverable in their dense inter-connections.
    5. That sounds familiar. Oh, yeah, that’s what the world is.
    6. Unlike the real world, every thing and every connection on the Web was created by some one of us expressing an interest and an assumption about how those small pieces go together.
    7. Every link by a person with something to say is an act of generosity and selflessness, bidding our readers leave our page to see how the world looks to someone else.
    8. The Web remakes the world in our collective, emergent image.

But oh how we have strayed, sisters and brothers…

  1. How did we let conversation get weaponized, anyway?
    1. It’s important to notice and cherish the talk, the friendship, the thousand acts of sympathy, kindness, and joy we encounter on the Internet.
    2. And yet we hear the words “fag” and “nigger” far more on the Net than off.
    3. Demonization of ‘them’ — people with looks, languages, opinions, memberships and other groupings we don’t understand, like, or tolerate — is worse than ever on the Internet.
    4. Women in Saudi Arabia can’t drive? Meanwhile, half of us can’t speak on the Net without looking over our shoulders
    5. Hatred is present on the Net because it’s present in the world, but the Net makes it easier to express and to hear.
    6. The solution: If we had a solution, we wouldn’t be bothering you with all these damn clues.
    7. We can say this much: Hatred didn’t call the Net into being, but it’s holding the Net — and us — back.
    8. Let’s at least acknowledge that the Net has values implicit in it. Human values.
    9. Viewed coldly the Net is just technology. But it’s populated by creatures who are warm with what they care about: their lives, their friends, the world we share.
    10. The Net offers us a common place where we can be who we are, with others who delight in our differences.
    11. No one owns that place. Everybody can use it. Anyone can improve it.
    12. That’s what an open Internet is. Wars have been fought for less.
  2. “We agree about everything. I find you fascinating!”
    1. The world is spread out before us like a buffet, and yet we stick with our steak and potatoes, lamb and hummus, fish and rice, or whatever.
    2. We do this in part because conversation requires a common ground: shared language, interests, norms, understandings. Without those, it’s hard or even impossible to have a conversation.
    3. Shared grounds spawn tribes. The Earth’s solid ground kept tribes at a distance, enabling them to develop rich differences. Rejoice! Tribes give rise to Us vs. Them and war. Rejoice? Not so much.
    4. On the Internet, the distance between tribes starts at zero.
    5. Apparently knowing how to find one another interesting is not as easy as it looks.
    6. That’s a challenge we can meet by being open, sympathetic, and patient. We can do it, team! We’re #1! We’re #1!
    7. Being welcoming: There’s a value the Net needs to learn from the best of our real world cultures.
  3. Marketing still makes it harder to talk.
    1. We were right the first time: Markets are conversations.
    2. A conversation isn’t your business tugging at our sleeve to shill a product we don’t want to hear about.
    3. If we want to know the truth about your products, we’ll find out from one another.
    4. We understand that these conversations are incredibly valuable to you. Too bad. They’re ours.
    5. You’re welcome to join our conversation, but only if you tell us who you work for, and if you can speak for yourself and as yourself.
    6. Every time you call us “consumers” we feel like cows looking up the word “meat.”
    7. Quit fracking our lives to extract data that’s none of your business and that your machines misinterpret.
    8. Don’t worry: we’ll tell you when we’re in the market for something. In our own way. Not yours. Trust us: this will be good for you.
    9. Ads that sound human but come from your marketing department’s irritable bowels, stain the fabric of the Web.
    10. When personalizing something is creepy, it’s a pretty good indication that you don’t understand what it means to be a person.
    11. Personal is human. Personalized isn’t.
    12. The more machines sound human, the more they slide down into the uncanny valley where everything is a creep show.
    13. Also: Please stop dressing up ads as news in the hope we’ll miss the little disclaimer hanging off their underwear.
    14. When you place a “native ad,” you’re eroding not just your own trustworthiness, but the trustworthiness of this entire new way of being with one another.
    15. And, by the way, how about calling “native ads” by any of their real names: “product placement,” “advertorial,” or “fake fucking news”?
    16. Advertisers got along without being creepy for generations. They can get along without being creepy on the Net, too.
  4. The Gitmo of the Net.
    1. We all love our shiny apps, even when they’re sealed as tight as a Moon base. But put all the closed apps in the world together and you have a pile of apps.
    2. Put all the Web pages together and you have a new world.
    3. Web pages are about connecting. Apps are about control.
    4. As we move from the Web to an app-based world, we lose the commons we were building together.
    5. In the Kingdom of Apps, we are users, not makers.
    6. Every new page makes the Web bigger. Every new link makes the Web richer.
    7. Every new app gives us something else to do on the bus.
    8. Ouch, a cheap shot!
    9. Hey, “CheapShot” would make a great new app! It’s got “in-app purchase” written all over it.
  5. Gravity’s great until it sucks us all into a black hole.
    1. Non-neutral applications built on top of the neutral Net are becoming as inescapable as the pull of a black hole.
    2. If Facebook is your experience of the Net, then you’ve strapped on goggles from a company with a fiduciary responsibility to keep you from ever taking the goggles off.
    3. Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple are all in the goggles business. The biggest truth their goggles obscure: These companies want to hold us the way black holes hold light.
    4. These corporate singularities are dangerous not because they are evil. Many of them in fact engage in quite remarkably civic behavior. They should be applauded for that.
    5. But they benefit from the gravity of sociality: The “network effect” is that thing where lots of people use something because lots of people use it.
    6. Where there aren’t competitive alternatives, we need to be hypervigilant to remind these Titans of the Valley of the webby values that first inspired them.
    7. And then we need to honor the sound we make when any of us bravely pulls away from them. It’s something between the noise of a rocket leaving the launchpad and the rip of Velcro as you undo a too-tight garment.
  6. Privacy in an age of spies.
    1. Ok, government, you win. You’ve got our data. Now, what can we do to make sure you use it against Them and not against Us? In fact, can you tell the difference?
    2. If we want our government to back off, the deal has to be that if — when — the next attack comes, we can’t complain that they should have surveilled us harder.
    3. A trade isn’t fair trade if we don’t know what we’re giving up. Do you hear that, Security for Privacy trade-off?
    4. With a probability approaching absolute certainty, we are going to be sorry we didn’t do more to keep data out of the hands of our governments and corporate overlords.
  7. Privacy in an age of weasels.
    1. Personal privacy is fine for those who want it. And we all draw the line somewhere.
    2. Q: How long do you think it took for pre-Web culture to figure out where to draw the lines? A: How old is culture?
    3. The Web is barely out of its teens. We are at the beginning, not the end, of the privacy story.
    4. We can only figure out what it means to be private once we figure out what it means to be social. And we’ve barely begun to re-invent that.
    5. The economic and political incentives to de-pants and up-skirt us are so strong that we’d be wise to invest in tinfoil underwear.
    6. Hackers got us into this and hackers will have to get us out.

To build and to plant

  1. Kumbiyah sounds surprisingly good in an echo chamber.
    1. The Internet is astounding. The Web is awesome. You are beautiful. Connect us all and we are more crazily amazing than Jennifer Lawrence. These are simple facts.
    2. So let’s not minimize what the Net has done in the past twenty years:
    3. There’s so much more music in the world.
    4. We now make most of our culture for ourselves, with occasional forays to a movie theater for something blowy-uppy and a $9 nickel-bag of popcorn.
    5. Politicians now have to explain their positions far beyond the one-page “position papers” they used to mimeograph.
    6. Anything you don’t understand you can find an explanation for. And a discussion about. And an argument over. Is it not clear how awesome that is?
    7. You want to know what to buy? The business that makes an object of desire is now the worst source of information about it. The best source is all of us.
    8. You want to listen in on a college-level course about something you’re interested in? Google your topic. Take your pick. For free.
    9. Yeah, the Internet hasn’t solved all the world’s problems. That’s why the Almighty hath given us asses: that we might get off of them.
    10. Internet naysayers keep us honest. We just like ‘em better when they aren’t ingrates.
  2. A pocket full of homilies.
    1. We were going to tell you how to fix the Internet in four easy steps, but the only one we could remember is the last one: profit. So instead, here are some random thoughts…
    2. We should be supporting the artists and creators who bring us delight or ease our burdens.
    3. We should have the courage to ask for the help we need.
    4. We have a culture that defaults to sharing and laws that default to copyright. Copyright has its place, but when in doubt, open it up
    5. In the wrong context, everyone’s an a-hole. (Us, too. But you already knew that.) So if you’re inviting people over for a swim, post the rules. All trolls, out of the pool!
    6. If the conversations at your site are going badly, it’s your fault.
    7. Wherever the conversation is happening, no one owes you a response, no matter how reasonable your argument or how winning your smile.
    8. Support the businesses that truly “get” the Web. You’ll recognize them not just because they sound like us, but because they’re on our side.
    9. Sure, apps offer a nice experience. But the Web is about links that constantly reach out, connecting us without end. For lives and ideas, completion is death. Choose life.
    10. Anger is a license to be stupid. The Internet’s streets are already crowded with licensed drivers.
    11. Live the values you want the Internet to promote.
    12. If you’ve been talking for a while, shut up. (We will very soon.)
  3. Being together: the cause of and solution to every problem.
    1. If we have focused on the role of the People of the Net — you and us — in the Internet’s fall from grace, that’s because we still have the faith we came in with.
    2. We, the People of the Net, cannot fathom how much we can do together because we are far from finished inventing how to be together.
    3. The Internet has liberated an ancient force — the gravity drawing us together.
    4. The gravity of connection is love.
    5. Long live the open Internet.
    6. Long may we have our Internet to love.


Unlock your Facebook sweepstakes and other promotions for mobile users

Facebook on mobile devices is the new normal. Did you know over 2/3 of all Facebook users access the leading social network on their mobile devices? Plus, over 15% are mobile-only browsers. We’ve found smartphones are now the leading device for many of our new client Likes. Overall, Facebook’s mobile app is one of the most popular across all smartphones and tablets.

Facebook is also stepping up availability for mobile advertising space. About 23% of all Facebook ads are displayed only mobile devices. But there’s a missing link between all of this mobile activity and your customers: did you know your most important sweepstakes, games or other promotions can’t be viewed on their mobile devices?

Facebook mobile stats (more…)

Super Bowl 2013 – A 2nd Screen Experiment

TV Advertising was said to be dead a few years ago. Life after the 30-Second Spot by Joseph Jaffe was only one publication that comes to mind but the talk was everywhere. Yet, advertisers paid close to four million for 30-second spots at yesterday’s Super Bowl.

The increased online hype around the ads running during the game has helped to drive demand up. Some of them had millions of views prior to the game, did get 10,000’s of mentions on Twitter during the event and their lifespan extends far into the future.

I was particularly interested in any 2nd screen activities during the game.

Just in case the term is not familiar to you: In very simple terms 2nd screen can be defined as an additional device with a display that lets you interact with the content you are watching on your TV.

I decided to fully dive in and had my tablet, smartphone and laptop fired up. Here are some of my findings: (more…)

2013 fads versus substantial developments

RepRap v.2 'Mendel' open-source FDM 3...

RepRap v.2 ‘Mendel’ open-source FDM 3 (source: Wikipedia)

As marketers we are dealing with trends for the future. We always ought to have our focus on separating between substantial developments that can’t be missed and fads that one might better sit out in order to focus on more relevant developments.

Of course the issue of timing is another critical factor. Of course we are early adopters by nature but we need to keep in ind that our clients have a fairly mainstream audience and that many trends will take time time to catch mainstream. This can be due to the lack of hardware penetration (smart phones) or due to slow shifts in users behavior. For example, we at conceptbakery always knew that Facebook would eventually become the market leader for social networks in Germany but we had to patiently wait until people were ready to make the move from the StudiVZ Networks before we could pitch campaigns for mainstream audiences to our clients.

If we look back at 2012 it was full of events but our professional world wasn’t too loaded in terms of breakthrough technologies or other game changers. Yes Pinterest and Instragram were the two rising stars. Twitter’s nature has changed in its process of maturing and focusing more on their bottom line. Facebook went public and had to deal with subsequent struggles. Google + has continued to be a rather lackluster addition to the mix of social media playgrounds. The iPhone 5 and the iPad mini are more evolutions of existing products to us than main trendsetters or game changers and product like Google Project Glass are still in their experimental phase.

Let’s take a little look into the crystal ball and see what could happen in 2013: (more…)

A branded visual content theorem on Slideshare

We were very pleased to see when our latest slideshow was chosen to be the pick of the day on Slideshare.net last week. It deals with the power of images and how to make them work for you. For your reference we embedded it here. Feel free to download and share it with your network.

[slideshare id=15373212&doc=presentationrevised-2-121127122545-phpapp02]

Flickr, why are you letting Pinterest steal your lunch money?

Flickr vs PinterestFlickr was created in 2004, was acquired by Yahoo in 2005, had 51 million registered users as of June 2011, and hosts a total of over 6 billion images. It also has over 80 million unique visitors per month.

Image sharing site Pinterest just came out of beta a year ago and has taken the Internet by storm over the last 5 months, beating Flickr’s in-site traffic statistics (based on unique visitors per month). Pinterest’s concept is simple: users can create boards and pin pictures to it. Those pictures can come from anywhere, unless a site blocks its content to be used on Pinterest.

Jeez, Flickr!!!

You’ve been around forever. You also have a loyal userbase actually uploading original content, instead of merely sharing pictures from third-party sites they usually don’t own.

Why do you sit there and just watch this happen? There are many ways you could take on Pinterest. For example, how about inviting your users to an opt-in pool where they can let other Flickr users share their pictures on their boards? You won’t even have to pay them! Offer them some status rewards such as badges for their accomplishments (for total pins, number of pictures that were pinned or re-pinned and so on).

Make Flickr more social! Haven’t you noticed the focus on the entire web has massively shifted towards images? And aren’t you aware of the gigantic amount of original content you are sitting on? Instead of focusing on that, you’re letting you bosses turn into patent trolls and engage in a pointless battle with Facebook? You are watching a start-up with a dozen people take over a market you  should own with hardly any effort needed? Seriously, what are you guys smoking?

I’ll take everything back if you come out with a convincing master plan within the next two weeks.

How to add an app to a Facebook Page tab (Simple Form Solution)

Facebook Page owners! Are you trying to add an App to a Facebook page? It used to be done with just a simple link click, but Facebook removed the easy “Add to Page” option in the App menu for some reason.

Facebook recommends you use the following URL and manually type in the values:

https://www.facebook.com/dialog/pagetab?app_id=YOUR_APP_ID &display=popup&next=YOUR_URL

On March 15, 2012, they announced this new one-click way, but you must create an App community page to use it. It’s also in the process of being rolled out and not available to everyone. Not exactly an easier solution.

There’s an easier way!

Simply input your info into the form below. You will be redirected and asked to choose the preferred Page(s) for the App.

You can use this form to add an App to any Facebook Page you own.

How to add an app

1. Go to Facebook Developers > Apps. Select your desired App.

2. Find the below information in the Apps > Settings > Information area.

3. Fill out the form below. Click Submit.

4. On the next screen, choose your desired Page(s) to add the App as a Tab.

    App Input Form

  • Your App ID/API Key:
  • Your Secure Canvas URL (or Canvas URL if no secure available):

Not sure where to find your App ID/API key and Secure Canvas URL? See the graphic below. Click to make it bigger.

Where to find the info needed for the form.

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What does engaging content for Facebook Timelines mean in plain English?

Timeline for Facebook Pages was introduced on February 29th. The new format becomes mandatory for all Pages on March 30st.

The topic has been widely discussed on the web already. Nearly every post you will read about Facebook Timeline will stress how important “engaging” content is with the new format. Of course, engaging content has always been important, but Timeline is ripe for new opportunities. Throughout this post, I’ll illustrate a few ways to spice it up. I’ll also explain the main changes of this makeover.

The focus of this post is to provide ideas and strategies to build and manage your Timeline, as well as the still existing remainder of your Facebook Page. Maybe it can also help with figuring out what engaging content really means for you. If you are already familiar with all the updates, you can skip a good portion of this post. Just look for the bold TIPS to find my suggestions .

If you look at any Page that has adopted the Timeline format, you’ll see a much stronger emphasis on visual elements. The first and most noticeable one is the Timeline “Cover Photo”.  Its size is 851px by 315px, much bigger than the (maximum) 180px by 540px picture in the left column of the old format.

The option to set up a default landing tab for first time visitors of your page is gone. So this image is the first visual impression visitors will get of your page. Do we still need to talk about the importance of a first impression?

Facebook’s Cover Photo Rules state some important limitations of what you can NOT include in your cover photo.

i. price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it on socialmusic.com”;

ii. contact information such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go in your Page’s “About” section;

iii. references to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features; or

iv. calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.” (more…)

A few random thoughts on the famous bill causing sites to go black today

SOPA Resistance Day!

Image by ~C4Chaos via Flickr

Usually we as conceptbakery try to hold back with out political opinions and respect the diversity of our audience. But today is a day where marketers and nearly all other web users can’t really ignore politics. We’re being called to action by sites like Wikipedia, Google or reedit. We wish we were influential enough to turn our site black to make a difference in the SOPA / PIPA discussion. The least we can do is publish this little note.

Trying to just read the law and making full sense out of it is pretty pointless unless you have a very in-depth understanding of the US legal system. We (including the politicians voting on it) have to rely on interpretations of experts. For starters, Chris Heald @Mashable broke it down fairly well.

There are many creative ways of protesting taking place today. The Oatmeal is one that made us smile.

In general we like info graphics. Americancensorship.org has a good one.

Information Technology is one of the few innovative growth sectors left in the US. With SOPA/PIPA, we’d make many creators’ lives on the web prohibitively complicated.

By passing this law, our politicians in Washington D.C. would hand over the key to becoming the new lead culture on the web to some other country that wants to grab it. That in return would also hurt Hollywood, which is standing behind SOPA/PIPA. The overall value of our entertainment industry would diminish, as the US itself would diminish. (more…)

Are you missing out on Google Plus?

Google Plus logo

Image by Bruce Clay, Inc via Flickr

I was at Blogworld in Los Angeles last week and a lot of the conversation circled around Google+. Chris Brogan gave a keynote speech and has already written a soon-to-be-published book about it. Keynote partner Guy Kawasaki suggested Facebook is for friends and family and Google + is for connecting with people you don’t know (yet), but have common interests with.

I agree with Guy’s evaluation of Facebook. It works best between people with an existing personal connection. He also said brand pages have also become an essential part of Facebook and offer marketers the opportunity to leverage on the wide array of personal data.

I’m not sure about the second part of his statement. I think many of us are still struggling to understand what Google + really is and what part it will play in our personal and professional lives.

Google already has many great services starting with Gmail, Docs, Calendar, Reader, Maps, Wallet and more, stretching all the way to YouTube and Picasa. (And let’s not forget Chrome and Android!) Google+ will unfold its full power if all these pieces are intelligently being stitched together. There have been some great articles about the potential of a Google social network and tips how to benefit from it, and I’ll try not to be too repetitive or broad.

Will it become a viable alternative to Facebook?
Some early adopters are migrating their efforts from other platforms to to Google+. But unlike some 3-4 years ago, that’s not the bulk of the social web users any more. The migration dynamics would be quite different this time around. This much bigger herd of today is more likely to stay at its current meadow and eat the grass already there, not the grass on the next mountain just to see if it tastes any better. The average social network member will gravitate towards the use of  one platform. S/he will be where their friends are. And for the foreseeable future that happens to be Facebook. This is also key for marketers that want to reach a wider audience. As much as the quality of conversations matter, we also need to reach a critical mass in quantity for many campaigns to make sense. (more…)

Three 2012 Mobile Trends

Note by Klaus: Josh Ortega used to work for Apple and has an extensive mobile phone background. I asked him what he sees as the biggest trends in mobile phones for 2012 from his perspective.

OREM, UT - FEBRUARY 3: Two signs hang in windo...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Smartphones have changed dramatically since 2007 when the original iPhone was released. The birth of the consumer smartphone opened up a new era of mobility and spawned a crazy arms race that only benefits us as consumers. Five short years ago few would have had the foresight to know that mobile apps would be as immensely popular as they are, that we could video chat with our phones and that we could connect with millions of people through social networks or games from our pocket. The smartphone market has changed so dramatically that an iPhone, Android, etc. phone is literally a viable option for anybody, wether you are young/old, rich/poor, business/personal or educated/non-educated.

As developed as the smartphone market is today, there’s no telling what we as consumers could see three to five years from now. The next major development in the smartphone landscape is the idea of a “world” phone. Phone carriers still control a lot of the choices we have as consumers because they largely carry their own specific phones built for their network and technology standards. A “world” phone would create a singular device that would work on any carrier in the world. Meaning if you currently owned an iPhone but wanted to switch to Verizon you could, whereas before you would have to buy a completely new phone.

On the software side, the threat of viruses and malware on the mobile space threatens to change how we use our devices. The amount of malware on smartphones has risen by 76 percent and mobile users are largely unprepared. The future will show if Google, Apple, etc will change its software or if consumers will have to change their habits;  more likely both will occur.

Malware and Carrier concerns are going to be continuing developments over the next 10 years. Let’s speculate on some technological advancements that we might see in 2012, some that are further down the road and a couple items on my wish list. (more…)