Staying safe on mobile devices

With the threat of online hackers always looming, it is important that we do everything we can to prevent our personal information from being hacked. From mobile banking to mobile shopping, our personal information such as credit card numbers, bank account information, and home address, is floating around the web just waiting to be hacked. Here are some helpful hints I found from browsing the Web to protect your personal information.

  1. The number one threat to your smartphone is losing it. Make sure that your smartphone uses the auto-lock feature, and requires a passcode or password to log on. If you do lose your phone, make sure to report it to your carrier ASAP.
  2. Enable the “find iPhone” app or use the Android Device Manager if you do lose your phone. Wipe your device clean if you cannot locate it.
  3. Only download apps from a trustworthy app store such as iTunes, Android Market or Amazon. 
  4. Use caution when accessing public WiFi. Especially be sure not to use mobile banking or shopping when on public WiFi.   
  5. Don’t save usernames/passwords on mobile sites and apps. 
  6. Back up your data. Apple makes it very easy to transfer your data from your iPhone to Mac-so no excuses!
  7. Try not to text or email sensitive information. 
  8. Just as you wouldn’t click on a suspicious link on your PC, don’t click on suspicious links on your phone either.
  9. Be aware that it is possible to get malware/viruses on your smartphone, especially on Androids.
  10. Follow your gut! If a website, app, or text message seems sketchy it probably is!

Do you have any other tips for staying safe on mobile?

Is Voice Search the Future?

Apple’s Siri was introduced in 2011 as a feature on the iPhone 4S. When this came out, it seemed like more of a novelty. For myself, and most of my friends, the extent of our Siri usage was asking ridiculous things to see what kind of response Siri gave (and if you would like a good laugh, check out this list of 20 questions to ask Siri)

While I personally haven’t observed many people using voice search on a frequent basis, I have no doubt that this is the future of search. Why? The rapid growth of the senior citizen population.

Think about it. For seniors who may have trouble typing on a small keyboard due to arthritis, (or simply because they did not grow up using a small keyboard like younger generations), and because they may have difficulty reading the small screens, what could be better than simply asking their phones a question and getting a spoken response?

The growth of the senior citizen population in the US is staggering. According to author of The Next America Paul Taylor“10,000 Baby Boomers a day will turn 65 – every single day between now and the year 2030.” As of 2014 14.% of US citizens are seniors. By 2030, this number is expected to increase to 19.3%.

When it comes to smartphone usage, while as of 2014 only 18% of American seniors owned a smartphone , interestingly enough the majority of seniors described owning a smartphone as “freeing” and “connecting”, vs. younger generations who described their smartphones as “a leash” or “distracting”.  As more and more baby boomers who already own smartphones become seniors every day, and more seniors begin to adopt this technology, I am certain we will see a huge increase in the percentage of seniors who own smartphones.

Do you think seniors would prefer voice search over traditional search? Have you observed this trend?

Yelp is on the way!

Today, everyone is a critic. With websites like Yelp, Angie’s List, and TripAdvisor, along with review sections on e-commerce sites such as, consumers all across the globe share their positive (and negative) experiences with fellow consumers. This is great for us as consumers. By reading reviews, we can avoid going to that restaurant that gave five people food poisoning, or buying that coffee pot that broke after three uses.

As marketers however, this creates somewhat of a challenge. Even if for the most part reviews of your product or service are positive, even one bad review can have a seriously negative impact on your brand.

It is very important for brands to monitor their brand image on social media. Tools like Social Mention can help brands monitor overall consumer sentiment, strength, average mentions per minute, and top keywords associated with the brand. Below is a screenshot of Social Mention for Nike.

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It’s also a good idea for brands to set up a Google Alert, to be notified when their brand is mentioned online.

Additionally, brands must be sure to face the negative feedback head on, by apologizing to customers and working to remedy the situation.

Here’s a great infographic I found by Kahlid Saleh that nicely sums up the rising popularity and importance of online reviews.

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Do you ever write reviews? Is so, how often? Has a negative review ever deterred you from buying a product or service?


YouTube CeWebrities

Millions of loyal fans. Endorsement deals. Talk show appearances. This can all be yours. Seriously, all you need is a webcam.

Today, YouTube celebrities are the new movie star. Ok, maybe not quite, but YouTube celebrities still have quite the fan base (and salary to match).

Take Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, better known as PewDiePie, for example. He is the most followed YouTube user of all time, with over 42 million followers. His videos mainly focus on him playing video games. In 2015, he reportedly raked in $12 million.

Michelle Phan, is a makeup artist who made an estimated $3 million in 2015. Since becoming famous on YouTube, Phan has written a book, co-founded a makeup line called em Cosmetics, and has partnered with brands such as Dr. Pepper, Toyota, and Beats.

So, what does this mean for brands? They don’t necessarily need to partner with A-list movie and television stars for endorsements. YouTube celebrities can draw in millions of views, especially amongst the millennials. According to a survey by Variety magazine, YouTube celebrities are more popular among teens than the “biggest celebrities in film, TV, and music”.   What’s even more appealing is that instead of pushing your message via traditional advertising, consumers are actually seeking out YouTube videos for product reviews. Take a look at one of Michelle Phan’s recent tutorials . See how many products references you can count!

Commercials > Football

In honor of Super Bowl 50, let’s take a look into a favorite American pastime. No, I’m not talking about football. I’m talking about Super Bowl commercials.

According to AdAge, during Super Bowl I, a 30-second commercial spot cost $289,000 (adjusted for inflation). Last night’s game? One 30-second spot cost a whopping $4.8 million dollars. Seem pricy? With a record breaking 111.9 million viewers, this averages out to just 4 cents a viewer. Not too shabby.

Super Bowl 50 ads featured the classic players; Budweiser, Pepsi, and Doritos, just to name a few.

Some ads tickled our funny bones, such as Amy Schumer and Seth Rogan’s Budweiser ad, or my personal favorite of the night, Honda’s ‘New Truck To Love’, in which a herd of sheep sing Queen’s “Somebody to Love”.

Some ads pulled at our heartstrings, like Pantene’s adorable “Dad-Do”.

And some were just down right weird. I don’t know what a Puppymonkeybaby is, but I don’t like it.

However, the real winner of the night? Probably this meme-worthy photo of Eli Manning that went viral in all of about 5 seconds. Oh and the cost for this? Free.

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So, what was your favorite ad this year?


My favorite app of the moment is Snapchat. It is a fun way to keep in touch with friends, and can tell a story much better than texting (you know what they say, a picture is worth a thousand word!).   But, don’t be fooled; Snapchat is much more than an app to send goofy pictures and videos to your friends , it’s a great advertising tool.


Publishers and entertainment networks such as Cosmopolitan, Food Network, Comedy Central, and iHeart radio partnered with Snapchat “Discover”. These brands are featured on Snapchat’s “Discover” page, and post content such as videos, photos, and short articles.

Snapchat Live is also an opportunity for brands to get involved. Just now I was watching the “Salon and Spa Expo” Snapchat story, featuring promoted ads from Essie nailpolish brand.

Snapchat also offers sponsored “selfie” ads, in which brands sponsor a selfie filter or lens. These selfie ads can upwards of $750,000 per day. Think that’s steep? iHeartRadio’s selfie ad reportedly raked in 340 million impressions in just two days!

Still not convinced? According to a survey, Snapchat is more popular than Facebook within the teenage demographic. Snapchat also reportedly gets 4 billion views a day! And that number is only likely to increase as Snapchat grows in capabilities and popularity.  So what are you waiting for?

Advergaming: Is It Really All Fun and Games?

How many of you have ever spent hours on end playing Candy Crush, Farmville, Clash of Clans, or Angry Birds? Playing a quick round (or twelve) of Angry Birds is a great way to pass time when commuting, waiting at the doctor’s office, or simply to fight off boredom.

According to advergaming is “is a new advertising media that is being used by many companies to brand and market their products. A blend of advertising and game.”

While these games may seem, shall I say, silly, they are HUGE bucks. Just how huge do you ask? Supercell, the mobile gaming company behind Clash of Clans, Hay Day, and Boom Beach, earned $1.7 billion in 2014, or $4.6 million per day!

Brands are getting in on the action to.  Brands such as Coca-Cola, Chipotle, BMW, Fruit Loops, Lucky Charms, McDonald’s, and Stride Gum, have all created advergames as a way to engage and entertain consumers, while promoting their products at the same time.

While these advergames may seem all in good fun, there is a downside. Many of these games are targeted to children (check out the below links to see for yourself). These games can suck children in for hours, which is a problem on several different levels:

  1. Children may not realize that they are being advertised to, as they just think they are playing a game.
  2. The products that are being advertised are not necessarily good for these kids (sugary cereals, fast foods).   Given that nearly one in three children in America are obese, is it ethical to be advertising unhealthy foods to them?
  3. Instead of playing outside and getting exercise, children are sitting on their computers, iPads, or smartphones playing these games.  Again, contributing to the obesity epidemic.

What do you think? Is it ethical for advertisers to create advergames targeted to children?

Smartphone Addiction?

Admit it. We are all guilty of checking our iPhones constantly. From the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep, our trusty sidekick is faithfully at our side. Whether checking emails, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, browsing the news, shopping, or watching a funny cat video, we are always connected. According to a study conducted by Nottingham Trent University, the average user checks their device 85 times a day! This is only going to increase as wearable technology, such as the iWatch, becomes more popular.

Given that more and more people own smartphones (64% of Americans in 2015, up from 58% in 2014), and those of us that do own smartphones are so attached to them, marketers have the ability to communicate with consumers 24/7. Marketers no longer have to wait for consumers to turn on the T.V., flip open a magazine, or drive past a billboard in order to be exposed to an advertisement or marketing communication. Marketers now have the luxury of communicating directly with consumers via mobile media, anytime and anywhere.

So, what do you think? Are you addicted to your iPhone?