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After weeks of judging, occasional arguments, far too much coffee and – thankfully - lots of internal support, we are now in a position to reveal the winners of our 2009 Innovation Awards.
The judges felt that the standard of the 400 or so entries was remarkably high, and that the winners represent innovation, which can be defined in pure technology or creative terms, but also in context to an organisation or sector. The judging panel included Econsultancy’s in-house internet fiends and a bunch of third party experts.
Our hearty congratulations to all the winners, and also to the shortlisted runners up, and particularly to the ‘highly commended’ runners up named below. Kudos, glory and acclaim to all who triumphed.
So after reading through a whopping 400+ entries - the equivalent of about four novels of text - we have decided upon a shortlist for our Innovation Awards.
All entries were judged during the first phase by Econsultancy's internal staff (myself, CEO Ashley Friedlein, Research Director Linus Gregoriadis, and analyst Jake Hird). The next phase of judging will take place over the next week. For this we're inviting our esteemed panel of judges to cast their eyes over the shortlisted entries.
The judges work at firms such as Honda, The Guardian, lastminute.com, Orange, Mindshare, Channel 4, Google, Isobar, PHD Media, Unilever and Poke. On top of that we have various internet ninjas primed for action, including Avinash Kaushik, Jeremiah Owyang, Sidharth Rao and Dr. Dave Chaffey.
There have been some really fantastic things going on in digital in the past year or so, and we believe that the shortlist represents real innovation in our industry. Well done to all who have been shortlisted, and commiserations to the others who just missed out (some by the very tiniest sliver).
We'll announce the winners on 9 December - next Wednesday.
Social media growth continued to accelerate this year, with more brands integrating social channels into their marketing campaigns. There are some amazing examples of truly innovative, forward-thinking brands that have effectively used social media to connect with their customers, build engagement and create buzz.
However, with just as many companies jumping on the proverbial bandwagon (in an arguably over-hyped space), it’s clear that some brands still “just do not get it".
Here we look back at some of the best (and worst) examples of social media in 2009.
When earnings season comes around, everyone sort of expects Google to deliver. But Yahoo? It has been a while but Yahoo managed to follow Google and delivered investors a solid third quarter yesterday. Profits surged by 244% and the company's stock rose by 5% in after-hours trading as a result.
According to Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, "we had a solid third quarter that signals our major businesses have stabilized". She pointed to the new Yahoo homepage, the company's big ad campaign and global expansion as signs that the company is on the right path.
If TechCrunch's Sarah Lacy is to be believed, Silicon Valley has lost its way. There was once a golden era of innovation in which every startup sought to change the world (and make billions of dollars in the process).
So to get Silicon Valley back on track, Lacy is sending a message to startups: "you're supposed to be changing the world, remember?"
Microsoft has surprised many with its latest attempt at cracking the search engine market. While its 'decision engine' Bing is no threat to Google, it's starting to look like Yahoo had better hope its deal to outsource its search business to Microsoft passes regulatory scrutiny.
According to Nielsen, total searches at Bing hit 1.1bn in the month of August, a 22% jump from July. That gave Microsoft a 10.7% market share amongst search engines for the month. With 1.7bn searches in August and a 16% market share, Yahoo is starting to become a visible target on Bing's horizon.
Marko Balabanovic won an award for Innovation in Multichannel Marketing at Econsultancy's Innovation Awards last year, and this year he is a member of the judging panel.
I've been talking to Marko, who is Head of Innovation at lastminute.com, about lastminute.com labs, how the team looks to innovate, and some of the products it has created...
Yelp's has cunningly added augmented reality functionality as a hidden feature in its existing iPhone app, for iPhone 3Gs users.
The Easter egg can be unearthed by simply shaking the app a few times (actually, to the amusement of my colleagues, I shook my phone for about five minutes before it decided to work). It's only available for the newer version of the iPhone because it needs to use the compass.
Augmented reality (AR) is an engaging way of combining live video with computer-generated data and visualisations. It is an area that has grabbed my attention lately, and it’s going to be a big deal.
Amazing things will happen in this space in the years to come, but what about today? Are there live applications out there already? Sure there are, although it is early days and many of these examples are alpha demos. Nevertheless, they truly shine a light on the possibilities with augmented reality.
I have collated a bunch of videos that highlight the opportunities with augmented reality. You will be able to use AR to create real-world applications that fulfil human needs in a way that still feels ever so slightly sci-fi. You can try out a number of these AR demos from your desktop if you have a printer and webcam.
I have to say that the possibilities for world-class mobile applications are really exciting, but the upside for brand marketers is also vast, as AR can improve on-pack promotions, point of sale, print and billboard advertising, and so on. And if you think this is all tomorrow's world, it isn't. Take a look at the Glasses Direct interactive video mirror, for an example of how augmented reality can play a role in helping improve your conversion rates today.
So sit back and tune into augmented reality. And have a think about what you might be able to do in this space...
Last week we entertained the Traveling Geeks here in London on their week-long mission to share knowledge and ideas.
Our roundtables took place at The Globe theatre where we explored trends, challenges and common issues experienced by internet-focused companies on both sides of the Atlantic.
Much is made of the physical and cultural gulf between Silicon Valley and everywhere else. Even in the US there is a marked difference between those tech companies that inhabit The Valley, and everyone else. So Europe, and specifically London, must be totally alien, right?
At Econsultancy, alongside best practice, we love to see innovation and creativity within the marketing sphere. Interestingly, it seems that as companies are increasingly scrutinising budgets and resources, the assumption is made that the room for manoeuvring in this way is restricted.
Retail giant Tesco is set to make a few changes to its website this year; it has already launched an improved wine site and the grocery service is due to be relaunched this summer.