Who Went and Made Cyber Monday a Thing, Anyway? Monday Signal

Attention Shoppers: Somebody’s watching you.

In today’s Signal: Black Friday and Cyber Monday; A new way retailers are keeping an eye on shoppers; the Facebook ad network reality; mobile is the main course, not a side dish; the poor performance of Yahoo!’s log-in page ads; and more.

To the links …

Bionic Mannequins Spy on Shoppers to Boost Luxury Sales (Bloomberg) Retailers are introducing the EyeSee, technology sold by Italian mannequin maker Almax SpA, which is used to watch over shoppers in their stores in an effort to glean data on customers. A camera embedded in one eye of mannequins feeds data into facial-recognition software similar to that used by police. It logs the age, gender, and race of passers-by.

Black Friday Online Sales Surged 21 Percent Thanks To Mobile Shopping, More Retailer Promotions And Personalized Deals (TC) The biggest ever Black Friday has come and gone, now, we’re in “cyber week.” By next year, it’ll be “cyber year.” Then, we hope, this whole cyber thing will just go away.

Facebook Makes It Official — An External Advertising Network Is Coming Soon (GIGAom) Facebook recently announced changes to its privacy and governance policies, and included in those changes was an admission that the company is going to use the data it has about likes and dislikes to show users ads outside of Facebook. But FB has other goals it needs to meet first, and one of those is generating enough revenue to make Wall Street and other investors happy with its $50-billion market capitalization.

Given that news, here’s an oldie but goodie from our own John Battelle …

Predictions 2012 #3: The Facebook Ad Network (Battelle Media) Back in January, John Battelle shared some predictions with his readers. One was that Facebook would announce and then launch a web-wide advertising network along the lines of Google’s AdSense to demonstrate new lines of revenue and growth. “I’ve talked about this for years (short handing it as ‘FaceSense’),” he wrote, “and I’ve asked Mark Zuckerberg, Carolyn Everson, Bret Taylor, and Sheryl Sandberg about it on stage and off. The answer is always the same: We’re not interested in launching a web ad network at this time.” Oh, what a difference a year makes.

Having a Mobile Strategy Is Like Having a ‘Laptop’ Strategy 20 Years Ago (Ad Age) Jon Steinberg explains why a mobile strategy understates the importance of mobile. “It’s like having a side dish of steak,” he posits. “It suggests that mobile is one of many important online distribution channels, as opposed to the reality – it is the most important channel, and in fact, making a distinction between the desktop and mobile web is a mistake.

Yahoo’s Ad Sell-Through Rate on its Log-in Page Has Plummeted (Ad Age) On Wednesday, Macquarie released a report showing that Yahoo’s log-in page only had an ad on it 47% of the days in the first half of the fourth quarter. “The sell-through rate doesn’t necessarily mean that ad revenue tied to the log-in page has plummeted,” writes Jason Del Rey, “since it’s possible, though unlikely, that Yahoo has jacked up the price of those ad units.” Still, it must be unsettling that one of Yahoo’s top spots for advertisers to reach the most users at one time did not generate ad money more than half of the time in the first month and a half of the quarter.

U.S. Online Holiday Spending To Jump 17 Percent To $43.4B; Consumers Already Spent $10.1B (TechCrunch) A report from comScore reveals that for the first 18 days of the November – December 2012 holiday season, $10.1 billion has been spent online, a 16 percent increase from last year. Looking ahead, the company is forecasting that consumers will spend $43.4 billion online, up 17 percent from last year. In addition, according to comScore’s quarterly online retail survey, 37 percent of U.S. consumers use a smartphone while in a brick and mortar store to check prices or to even purchase a product online, an increase of 5 percentage points in the past two quarters.

###

If it suits your information consumption goals, sign up for Signal’s email newsletter or RSS feed on the Signal home page (upper right box).