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For the latest in our series of posts looking at how the world’s biggest brands use social I’ve turned the spotlight on Microsoft.
Bill Gates’ empire still looms large over the global software market, though its fortunes are often overshadowed by Apple’s astonishing level of success.
So it’s interesting to see how Microsoft makes use of other social networks to promote its products and maintain its fortunes.
Online advertising continues to grow by leaps and bounds, but that doesn't mean that life is easy for players in the digital ad ecosystem. In fact, the thriving online ad economy is increasingly complicated.
Unfortunately, things are only going to get more complicated. Need evidence? Look no further than last week's announcement that one of the most popular browser makers, Mozilla, will begin blocking cookies from third-party ad networks by default in Firefox 22.
I wrote a piece about micro-copywriting earlier this year, and in my ignorance thought this was a new concept, and that I may even have coined the term.
Shows you what I know. It’s a term that’s been used for a number of years, and great examples have been collected already, e.g. this Flickr Microcopy Group (thanks to Doug Kessler for pointing to this).
As the last post was popular I thought I’d bring together some more examples. So here’s a look at some micro-copy from the log-in error messages of four big players in the tech world.
These were easy to collect as I didn’t have to remember my passwords. In the end I found that although this could be an area where it’s not worth trifling with a user’s frustration, there’s still a lot to be improved upon.
And although looking at some of these fine-grained areas could be seen as the pedantry of a dilettante, I like to think of these little things as a microcosm of brand identity.
UK internet users made 2.7bn visits to search engines in December 2012, an increase of 400m visits compared to December 2011.
This represents a 17% increase year-on-year, and confirms that it was a particularly strong Christmas period for search.
Interestingly, the data from Experian Hitwise also shows that Google’s market share dropped below 90% for the second month in a row to 88%; its lowest point for five years.
Throughout the year, the news is punctuated with the latest changes in the big three: Google, Microsoft and Apple.
But what can we expect from them in the year coming up? New products? New software? New directions? And how will these changes potentially affect the marketplace?
Words are the most important tool marketers and ad men have. To prove it, I’ll show you a picture.
The chart beneath the Bee Gees shows that 60% of people prefer a ‘print experience’ to something ‘whizzy’, on a tablet app.
Obviously, 'print-like' doesn't just mean words, it also refers to typography and, to some extent, pictures. However, in this post I'll be focusing on copywriting, on an achingly small scale.
I'll be highlighting titbits of copy that are done well, in keeping with a company's brand, and make a web experience enjoyable, as well as some that aren't so good.
In the spirit of new media, I’m calling this ‘micro-copy’. And, to the dismay of the A/B testers, I’ll posit that some of my examples are qualitatively ‘better’ than others.
More than a decade ago, Microsoft was branded by the United States government as a greedy monopolist and the company's existence was threatened by an antitrust lawsuit that could have resulted in the then-world's largest software company being broken apart.
Today, memories of Microsoft's past may have largely faded but the Redmond company is still trying to convince consumers that it's cool, and perhaps more importantly, that it's on their side. One of the ways it's doing that: declaring its support for consumer privacy.
Some investors and analysts are increasingly bullish on Facebook's prospects for solving the social networking monetization riddle, something reflected in the recent increase in the company's share price.
Assuming that they're right, one thing remains to be seen: what Facebook's cash cow will be. One thing is not in question, however: there is no shortage of monetization ideas the company could conceivably pursue.
Many of the millions of consumers shopping this holiday season will turn to the world's most popular search engine, Google, in search of the perfect gift at the perfect price.
But Microsoft has a message for those consumers: be careful, you might get Scroogled.
2013 will be the year that Microsoft becomes relevant once again.
It will begin to use its dominant position on the desktop and in gaming to build an exciting ecosystem that will make Microsoft a compelling choice for consumers, and by extension an increasingly important advertising partner for marketers.
Looking for a tablet this holiday shopping season? If you are, and you're leaning towards a shiny new iPad, wait just a minute: Oprah wants you to know that she loves the Microsoft Surface. How much does the billionaire media personality love it? According to a tweet she posted this past Sunday, Oprah has already purchased 12 of the devices as gifts for Christmas.
Don't expect Apple to lose any sleep over Oprah's endorsement of Microsoft's Windows 8 tablet: if you believe Oprah posted the tweet in question, she did so from her iPad.
Earlier this year, Microsoft created headlines when word broke that the Redmond software giant would enable Do Not Track (DNT) by default in the newest version of its browser, IE10. Although these claims were initially questioned, Microsoft clarified that, in an effort to "balance ease of use with choice and control," it would indeed enable DNT as part of its default settings during Windows 8 setup and IE upgrades.
That set the stage for battle and it didn't take long for the ad industry to respond to Microsoft's approach with harsh criticism.