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Author: Meghan Keane

Meghan Keane

Before becoming US Editor at Econsultancy, Meghan was a staff writer at Wired.com. There she wrote about business, technology and advertising for Wired's business blog Epicenter. Prior to that she was a freelance writer and worked as the Deputy Culture Editor at The New York Sun.

McDonald's social media chief: Foot traffic and check-ins are not the same

Last week I wrote about a case study that McDonald's presented at the Mobile Social Communications conference in New York. Rick Wion, head of social media at McDonald's, boasted that a special McDonald's ran on Foursquare Day in April increased foot traffic at McDonald's 33%.

That's no small number, and since not all 26 million McDonald's customers are on Foursquare, it was a bit unclear what, exactly, had increased 33%. 

With commenters and bloggers questioning the results, I followed up with Wion. As it turns out that McDonald's results were not measured in actual foot traffic. According to Wion:

"We measured check-ins, not foot traffic, transactions, or sales, on Foursquare Day."

That's an over 20 million customer difference. However, Wion still stands behind his results. And he's using this case study to justify more social media offers at McDonald's.

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Q&A: Donna Wells on her move from Mint CMO to Mindflash CEO

As CMO of Mint, the leading online personal finance service, Donna Wells helped win the startup 2 million users from its launch in 2007 to its acquisition by Intuit in 2009 for $170 million.

Before joining Mint, Wells led marketing departments at companies like Intuit, Charles Schwab, and Expedia. Wells' work has won Webbys and an OMMA award. Last year, she was named one of the Top 25 Women in Tech to Watch by Accenture.

This Spring, she took on the CEO role at a startup called Mindflash, a company that hopes to improve online training. I caught up with Donna to talk about the switch from CMO to CEO, and how social media marketing is evolving.

(And in case you're wondering, yes, she is hiring marketing talent.)

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The new Yahoo: a lot more like Google

This morning in Sunnyvale, California, Yahoo held a large press event to explain its new product strategy and debut some products out this fall. Blake Irving, Yahoo’s EVP and chief products officer, also outlined the challenges he faces at the company. He wants to bring "cool back to Yahoo.”

What does that mean? An iterative approach to design that looks a lot more like Google.

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Study: Generic call-to-action ads don't work

Adding a call-to-action element into digital ads may seem like a quick and easy way to increase conversion rates, but according to a new study from Dynamic Logic, call-to-action ads don't affect brand performance.

Campaigns only looking for one specific action from consumers may benefit from call-to-action elements, but for the rest, success once again comes down to ad quality.

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Twitter's new design hopes to win increased attention — and advertising

Twitter is nothing if not self-referential. So it should come as no surprise that the microblogging site's redesign this week got Twitterers talking (2.4 million tweets on the topic to be exact). That's what it was designed to do — get people talking and eventually, spending more time on the site.

Why? Because the company can use that increased engagement to attract advertisers.

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Case Study: McDonald's ups foot traffic 33% on Foursquare Day

McDonald's may be a large brand, but it doesn't always want to invest large budgets in marketing. With a little help from Foursquare this Spring, the fast food chain increased foot traffic 33% in one day with an investment of less than $1,000.

Rick Wion, head of social media at McDonald's, is a big fan of such pilot programs. As he says, "the bigger your budget is, the harder it is to scale."

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Can Weezer sell albums online? (with a little help from their viral friends)

Weezer is no stranger to YouTube. In 2008, the group put many viral video stars in the video for its single Pork and Beans. This week, the Snuggie loving band took its internet fanboy status to a new level, announcing the launch of its new album by appearing in 15 new videos created by popular YouTube users.

Weezer is just the latest big brand to hitch its cart to smaller, more nimble digital success stories hoping to win new fans (hello Gap ads featuring the Foursquare founders). Can internet goodwill sell albums?

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In mobile, it's not apps versus the web. It's both.

Is 2010 the year that the mobile browser will finally overcome the mighty app to proclaim dominance in the mobile space?

Not likely. At Digiday: Mobile in New York on Monday, it became clear that while the mobile web has made a lot of progress over the last year, apps aren't going away any time soon.

Moreover, there are a lot of mobile marketers who believe one cannot exist without the other. For those of you who had hoped to save some money by focusing mobile dollars in one space — sorry.

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AOL's new ad formats are coming. Will bigger be better?

AOL's "startaround" plan, led by CEO Tim Armstrong, relies heavily on display advertising. Over the past year, the portal has stepped up its content creation business, invested in talent, and tried to increase the quality of its sites. All this is to attract more advertising dollars. Starting next month, the company will unveil new - and larger - ad formats, designed to draw more attention from readers.

But the question remains: Will bigger ads bring more returns for online publishers in 2010 and beyond?

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Q&A: PayPal's Bill Zielke on digital payments in 2010 and beyond

As smartphone proliferation exploded over the last year, the mobile payment space has also become a hot market. Mobile shopping in the US more than tripled from 2008 to 2009, according to ABI Research. With new offerings from groups like Square and Intuit joining credit card companies with new offerings, PayPal is working hard to maintain its edge in the digital payments space.

Mobile transactions increased from nearly $25 million in 2008 to $141 million in 2009 at PayPal. This year, the company is even more serious about mobile.

Bill Zielke, PayPal's senior director of North America merchant marketing, is responsible for the development and marketing of PayPal's product strategies. I spoke with Zielke about how PayPal works with businesses online and in mobile, as well as what new offerings PayPal has coming down the pipeline.

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The secret to viral video success: a big ad budget

Online marketers are forever looking to perfect the recipe for foolproof viral videos. But those chasing that dream should take note of a new study from Harvard Business School.

After analyzing popular film and game videos online for a year, HBS marketing Professor Anita Elberse found one pretty dependable predictor of viral success: big traditional advertising buys.

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ESPN proves mobile isn't cannibalizing online viewers

Mobile is an exciting new format for many businesses, opening new opportunities for paid content and increased viewership. But are mobile sites and apps poaching viewers that might normally interact with a company's more robust web property?

According to a presentation from ESPN, mobile is instead opening an entirely new market for the company, and their findings can be useful for other verticals as well.

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