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Digital News Roundup: July 1, 2010

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Happy July! This week’s roundup runs the digital gamut — from the engines (is Google working on its own social network?) to Facebook (guess which beloved cookie brand is launching a global Facebook page?) and everywhere in between. Find full recaps of these and other stories in the post below. And of course, you can follow 360i on Twitter for insights from our team all week long.

‘Google Me’ Rumors Swirl as Details of Facebook Competitor Take Shape

A tweet from Digg’s Kevin Rose (since deleted), a confirmation from a former Facebook exec and a story on TechCrunch were all it took for rumors to fly that Google is working on its own social platform to go head-to-head with Facebook. This week several outlets began speculating about Google Me, which according to former Facebook CTO Adam D’Angelo (he’s now heads up Q&A service Quora) is a very real project to build a “first-class social network” modeled off of Facebook.

Though none of this has been confirmed by Google, the company did begin integrating Google Buzz updates within Google Social Search this week (via Search Engine Land). Social Search, launched in January, displays search results based on individuals you’re connected to per Google.  As Danny Sullivan notes, if all this represents a larger overhaul of Google Profiles and/or Google Buzz, we can expect that Google Me (if and when it exists) will also be integrated into Social Search.

Oreo to Give Facebook Page a Global Makeover

The New York Times reports that Oreo, a Kraft Foods brand, will unveil a new look to its Facebook page on July 5. The page will offer a hybrid of local and global content to acknowledge that though the brand resonates differently in different markets, there are also universal elements to Oreo that translate the same no matter where fans live (see 360i’s blog post on best practices for managing a global Facebook community).

As partners with Oreo on this project, we’re excited to share the new page with fans around the world. We can’t give away everything just yet – but one thing you can expect to see is a “world’s fan of the week” distinction for the most devoted Oreo lovers.

Be sure to Like Oreo on Facebook to be one of the first to see the global page on Monday.

Report: Paid Search is Still King for Retailers, though Social Captures Interest

The average retailer allocates more than 40 percent of their budget on paid search marketing – this according to a new Forrester study commissioned by and the National Retail Federation. Though search spend overshadowed social marketing spend (with averages around 2-3 percent), retailers said they find value in engaging consumers via social media – and nearly 30 percent said social marketing has helped their business grow.

A large majority (80 percent) of retailers leveraging social say they are using the channel to experiment and learn what they can do in the social space. A solid 50 percent said they engage in social to listen and better understand their customers.

A Blueprint for Luxury Brands to Go Mobile

This week Mobile Marketer’s Editor in Chief, Mickey Alam Khan, urged luxury brands to consider launching mobile marketing initiatives as the mobile channel enables marketers to reach consumers at each step of the marketing funnel (awareness, persuasion and loyalty).

Above: Ralph Lauren’s app lets iPhone users design, purchase and share their own Rugby clothing.

Since today’s consumer is “online, mobile and in control,” Khan argues that luxury brands can reap big rewards by incorporating mobile into their multichannel efforts ahead of the 2010 holiday season. Why mobile for luxury? Khan points out that the audience is on mobile devices (which are increasingly of the smartphone variety) and eager to browse/shop/buy and create relationships with brands via these devices.

Khan offers up some ways for luxury marketers to get started, including creating a mobile-friendly website, applying for an SMS short code (more on this in 360i’s Report on SMS) and launching a targeted mobile media plan. One strategy we might add would be to consider engaging customers and building loyalty via mobile social media (check out our latest POV on Mobile Social Marketing for more information).

Report: Flash & Rich Media Ads Make Up 40% of US Online Ad Impressions

ComScore released its Ad Metrix Creative Summary report this week, designed to provide current figures on the types of display ads being used by advertisers on publisher sites. The May report found that JPEG display ads lead the market with more than 42 percent of U.S. impressions – though flash and rich media ads came in close behind at 40 percent. Leader-board banner ads (728 x 90) were the most commonly viewed ad format.

Jeff Hackett, senior vice president at comScore, said the company has witnessed a “strong resurgence” in the display market over the past several months, with impressions rising 15 percent year-over-year. “One of the several drivers of strength in this market has been the innovation occurring with respect to ad units, as larger and more engaging creative ad formats are employed,” he said in a press release.

TechCrunch notes that increasing revenues for online advertising mean that marketers who optimize their display strategies will have the most success.