Google testing consumer interaction with Brands through new APP- its really just solid marketing using mobile

Posted on November 16, 2010

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This is just some of the cool stuff that can be done via a smartphone and the associated camera in the mobile device. This is not new technology, but the way Google is approaching the Brands is novel, at least when you have 500 million users! At least check out this APP on the new Disney movie Tron. This type of scan to mobile with a call to action and the potential to monitize that activity is what a lot of brands are waiting on to confirm ROI. The reality is that that failure of a brand to dive into the technology and work on customer eyeball engagement in these early stages of adoption will separate the men from the boys, or the women from the girls, etc.

(NYT) A year ago, Google introduced a smartphone application that lets users take photos of objects and get search results in return. Today, the company will take that capability into the world of marketing with an experiment allowing five national brands to use the application in their promotional materials.

In the early days of smartphones, users could find out about a movie by entering its title in Google’s browser and searching. Then Google introduced the ability to use voice to make a query. Now, the Google Goggles visual search app, available in iPhones and Android phones, allows users to take photos of an object, say a movie poster, and find out more about it in search results.

Google hopes the experiment will give it insight into how consumers want to interact with a brand.

“It’s a learning experiment for us more than an opportunity to make money,” said Michael Slinger, Google’s head of mobile search advertising sales in North America. “We’ve got the distribution and interesting visuals. Everything hinges on whether the users will adopt this or not.”

Google has reason to believe it just might pay off. The company says mobile searches on Google have grown 500 percent in the last two years, and Google Goggles has been downloaded more than 250,000 times as a standalone application. The app was also recently integrated into the Google iPhone app.

While the technology is not new, the idea that brands can begin to play with it is. Google announced its intention to use the Goggles app as part of its mobile advertising strategy at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Mixx conference in New York in September. So while a visual search for a Frida Kahlo painting might show search results like a Wikipedia page about the artist, brands that are taking part in the Goggles experiment — Buick, Walt Disney, Diageo, T-Mobile and Delta Air Lines — can point users to a branded Web site for cellphones or other content they select.

Most of the campaigns have print components, like magazine ads or movie posters, that can be scanned. And though most smartphone users have gotten used to scanning black-and-white pixilated QR codes on some ads, with Google Goggles, users can scan the entire image to get a result.

For Buick, that means having Goggles-enabled ads in magazines. The ads will feature the Buick Regal and will run in a publications including Entertainment Weekly, People and Time in November, and Esquire, Fast Company and Forbes in December.

Part of the decision by Buick to enter the Goggles experiment was a desire to change the perception of the brand.

“People still equate us with big floaty, boxy cars that are driven by people in their 70s and 80s,” said Craig Bierley, the director of advertising and sales promotions for Buick/GMC. “This is really about positioning Buick in a progressive marketing space so that people think of Buick as a progressive company over all.”

When a person scans a Goggles-enabled Buick ad, the first result to appear is a mobile site with a video, a photo gallery and the option to find a dealer. The target demographic for Buick is baby boomers.

The company will measure the success of the experiment by tracking information like how many people watched the video on the mobile site, looked for a dealer or viewed the photo gallery. They will also monitor what people are saying about the brand on social media sites.

Buick will also use poster-size versions of the ads at two events on Thursday in New York City. The first will be at the Wired Store, a pop-up store in downtown Manhattan where attendees can see a Buick Regal poster. Buick will also feature posters at the 16th annual Out 100 awards ceremony at the IAC Building in Chelsea, where the company will be the presenting sponsor.

Disney will Goggles-enable the movie posters for the film “Tron: Legacy,” which is to be released in December. The 30,000 posters will be distributed in 5,000 theaters across the United States. People who scan the posters will be taken to a mobile site where they can view a trailer for the film and be redirected to Fandango.com or Movietickets.com to buy tickets. The mobile site trailer will be the same one that moviegoers see in a theaters.

T-Mobile has begun running its Goggles ads for the T-Mobile G2 in publications like Spin, Glamour and Rolling Stone.

Goggles can also use labels from the beverage company Diageo. People who scan the labels on selected bottles of alcoholic beverages will be taken to a mobile site where they can find things like cocktail recipes and wine reviews.

The most recent partner, Delta Air Lines, is expected to begin working on Goggles ads soon.

Mr. Slinger said the company was receiving calls from brands interested in trying Goggles, including some in the retail and automotive industries.

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