The Official Blog

February 22, 2014

Native Advertising

Direct from Wikipedia:

Native advertising is an online advertising method in which the advertiser attempts to gain attention by providing content in the context of the user’s experience. Native ad formats match both the form and the function of the user experience in which it is placed. The advertiser’s intent is to make the paid advertising feel less intrusive and thus increase the likelihood users will click on it.

Conceptually, native ads are the holy grail of advertising. Content that promotes business goals while at the same time being something that users actively want to engage with is a rare “win-win” in the world of advertisements. Pseudo-native advertising has been skulking around in forms such as product placements in television and movies, and as advertorials in magazines and online articles, and basically any product review ever written that was “sponsored” but not disclosed as such. These forms are not truly native given their propensity to remain overly intrusive and/or dishonest, and have really given what is conceptually a great idea a terrible reputation.

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January 29, 2014

Have You Seen The Mobile Statistics?

If you’re in marketing at all, by now you’ve seen 100 reports that show the staggering numbers for mobile adoption. Mind blowing mobile projections are all over the place – projections such as mobile web viewing overtaking desktop viewing as early as this year, or that 10% of media consumption is done on the smart phone, while only 1% of advertising budgets are spent on it. Other reports say 65% of email is already viewed on a smartphone or tablet first. The most resounding one may be that smartphone owner’s phones stay within 2 feet of the owner for pretty much the whole day. It’s pretty clear that the mobile-first train of thought has left the station and the demand is there for creative mobile engagement strategies.

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January 21, 2014

Digimarc Claims A Guinness World Record

Digimarc’s own Ed Knudson and Sean Calhoon have claimed the Guinness World Record for fastest time for scanning and bagging 50 products. What’s the real story? It’s that Ed and Sean have no experience as checkout clerks.

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January 21, 2014

2013′s most interesting mobile payoff?

After researching mobile engagement campaigns and strategies all year long, this may be the most interesting one we’ve come across yet. A Guatemalan shoe company named Meat Pack, known for trendy sneakers and creative discounting, added a geolocation feature into their mobile app. When a mobile phone with the app installed entered a competitor’s location, the app would pop up with a discount offer. The app counted down from 100%, 1% a second, resulting in a discount based on how quickly the customer ran out of the competitor’s store and headed into a Meat Pack location. Over 600 customers used the offer, with one quick footed customer running away with an 89% discount!

The campaign was aptly named “Hijack!”

January 20, 2014

What To Discover

When a first time user installs the Digimarc® Discover app, presumably it’s to scan a specific piece of content. They found a magazine or brochure that directed them to download the app and scan where a special icon indicates additional content exists. They download, they scan, they experience that content. But what’s next? How do users know what other publications or packaging can be scanned? We are adding a “What to Discover” button within the app and a new section within the blog to answer just that. With our new blog category and button, we provide a list of examples of popular content that has been Digimarc’d, ready for scanning with the Digimarc Discover App. Find a list of the latest trendsetters that have enabled their print with web interactivity in the What To Discover category section of our blog.

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December 5, 2013

New Pricing Model Starting December 16th

On December 16th, Digimarc will streamline the way watermarks are purchased on the Online Services Portal (OSP). These changes will simplify the purchase process and reward frequent users with lower pricing.

Effective December 16th, all Watermark IDs will be active for one year from date of purchase; we will no longer offer different link durations. The Watermark ID can be embedded into an image, custom design element or an audio file.

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September 26, 2013

Using Digimarc for Images with Lightroom

We have a large number of potential users who’d like to be able to apply a watermark directly in Lightroom, which currently is not compatible with our Digimarc for Images plug-in.

There is a solution for Lightroom users who have Photoshop: Create a droplet and include it as part of your export options.

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August 29, 2013

Here’s the pitch! Vote for Digimarc’s Panels at SXSW 2014

About SXSW (from their website)
The 21st annual SXSW Interactive Festival returns to Austin, Texas from Friday, March 7 through Tuesday, March 11. An incubator of cutting-edge technologies and digital creativity, the 2014 event features five days of compelling presentations and panels from the brightest minds in emerging technology, scores of exciting networking events hosted by industry leaders and an unbeatable lineup of special programs showcasing the best new websites, video games and startup ideas the community has to offer.

We agree, and look forward to seeing you there!

May 12, 2013

Digimarc’ing: A Glossary of Terms

For users of the Digimarc Online Services Portal to enable interactive printed images.

As with most specializations, terms and acronyms are often borrowed or created, leaving us with modified meanings for commonly used terms. Much of the terminology that is used for watermarking printed materials comes from print production with minor, if any, modifications. That being said, not everyone has a printing background, and some borrowed terms might need clarification due to these expanded definitions.

OSP - Digimarc Online Services Portal - the service has 2 functions:

  • Provides a simple database to manage your projectsservices, and payoffs.
    • Project – Folders used by the OSP to organize your services for a particular project such as “Our June issue recipes” or “My client’s local scavenger hunt”.
    • Services – This is a record that has a description of what is to be watermarked and the payoff response for that watermark.
    • Payoffs – This is what the person using a watermark reader application will see. Payoffs are usually URLs that connect to a web link that can be a recipe, video, coupon or any mobile engagement that is considered rewarding. It’s extremely important that these payoffs are highly valuable so that your customer will want to re-engage and/or share with others. Weak payoffs result in users opting out of future scans, or uninstalling scanning software.
  • Provides image and audio watermarking tools.
    • Watermarking or Embedding – Mostly interchangeable when referring to Digimarc’s process for imperceptibly modifying an image or audio data file. These modifications allow a scanning device (your mobile phone, etc.) to read the watermark when it is presented as analog output: printed, displayed or played over speakers.
    • Read – The process an application does when it detects, decodes and provides a response to a watermarked file.
    • MRC – File extension and general term for files that are used by the Photoshop plug-in embedder. The MRC file is loaded into the Mobile Watermark Embedder filter (AKA the embedder plug-in) in Photoshop and provides the data for a watermarked file to link to your service and the payoff on the OSP.

Here are other printing terms that are used when watermarking/embedding a file. These are very simple explanations and web sources like Wikipedia can provide greater detail.

  • DPI/PPI – Dots per inch for analog (printers) devices and pixels per inch for digital devices (displays and digital cameras). This is the resolution that a device or a bitmapped (digital) image uses when it is reproduced.
    • For watermarking, images that are 300dpi at the size they are printing is recommended.
  • LS – Line screen, used by a printing press for printing color images. Line screens allow color printing plates to place process inks close together in a controlled pattern when reproducing a color image.
    • Traditional LS screening can be used for a general characterization of the quality of printing, e.g. 65-85ls are used for newsprint and have a course image quality, higher LS usually offer better image quality; a coffee table book can be 200ls or greater.
  • FM – Frequency modulated screening (often referred to as stochastic) creates dithering patterns used to reproduce color images for ink jets or some commercial presses.
    • Typically stochastic, and hybrids using FM screening with traditional LS, are indications of a fairly high quality image reproduction.
    • The direct effect color screening has on the watermark is its relationship to image reproduction. Watermarking works with newsprint or for coffee table books, it’s just a matter of adjusting the watermarking strength for the quality of the printing (image reproduction).
  • Color Mode – Color model or color space, usually considered interchangeable, is the image in color and for watermarking in either RGB or CMYK.
    • The RGB color model uses light to create colors, your computer monitor display is RGB.
    • CMYK – 4C process – uses pigments to produce colors (4 colors are mixed to generate all colors), most printed color images are CMYK.
    • OSP watermarking is optimized for 4C (CMYK) process printing.

Resizing and resample – These are two very different ways to change the size of an image. A previous blog, The Difference Between Resize and Resample, goes into greater detail.

May 1, 2013

Why doesn’t my image read? Common beginner issues.

For users of the Digimarc Online Services Portal to enable interactive printed images.

A first time user sometimes finds that after watermarking an image, their Digimarc Discover® App is unable to read the watermark when they print it. This is commonly caused by watermarking an image at a size that is different than the size at which the image is printed. This happens frequently with digital camera images since these are often set at 72dpi, e.g. an iPhone 4 image is 36″ x 27″ at 72dpi.

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February 7, 2013

Year of the Watermark

This week Digimarc released the Digital Watermarks in Magazines: 2012 Traction Report. The report is filled with great nuggets of information like:

  • The number of digital watermarks placed in magazine editorial and advertising content grew by 486% from 2011 to 2012
  • The number of magazine titles using digital watermarking grew by 300%, resulting in an addressable circulation of over 37 million readers
  • Total scans of watermarked content in magazines grew to over 1.6 million

What have we learned? For starters, people really enjoy shopping-related watermarked content. Advertisers take note – Readers will scan if they have a strong incentive like compelling discounts, coupons, sweepstakes and anything free.

To avoid any more spoilers, I encourage you to read the entire report.

August 28, 2012

Greetings from Hawaii! FYI – 10% of ads have mobile coupons!

I’m on holiday right now and soaking up the sun. But you know what? The machine of mobile commerce doesn’t take vacation! I just wanted to quickly share a link from the good folks over at Mobile Marketing Daily. The North American market is really starting to see some saturation of “mobile magazine codes,” as they call them.

What I love is that Digimarc’s technology gets equal billing in the second paragraph, sandwiched right between QR codes and Microsoft Tags.

Oh, and the issue of Seventeen magazine they’re talking about? That’s right, it’s digital watermarking! If you don’t have the issue handy, simply watch the video.

May 22, 2012

Pinterest and the Future of Print Publications

Our friends and innovators at House Beautiful have done it again! On Monday, they launched the world’s first Pinterest-enabled publication. You read that correctly. House Beautiful has the world’s first Pinterest-enabled publication!

While you process this information, let’s take a refresher course for those who haven’t heard of Pinterest. Pinterest is a pinboard style social networking site, and it’s the third largest social networking site behind Facebook and Twitter. Pinterest hit 10 Million unique users faster than any standalone website ever! Pinterest recently raised 100 Million and has valuation at 1.5 billion. So yeah, Pinterest is pretty huge.

In the June issue of House Beautiful, readers can use House Beautiful’s HB connect app (or the Digimarc Discover app) and re-pin photos from the House Beautiful Kitchen of the Month pinboard to their personal pinboard. Readers can now repin photos immediately, without needing to track down the photos online. Digimarc’s Print-to-Pin solution enables magazines, advertisers, retailers and others to drive Pinterest fanatics from printed materials to their Pinterest pinboards.

Ladies and gentlemen… this is just the beginning. Pretty soon you’ll be able to repin images anywhere using Digimarc Discover. Buckle up publishers, advertisers, celebrities, brands, and retailers. This is about to get Pinteresting!

April 9, 2012

“How to create hot spots” Video now online

One of the really creative things you can do with watermarking is to place multiple digital watermarks within a single image. This creates multiple “hot spots” that your readers can explore within a single interactive item.

Creating multiple hot-spots requires a good layout application and a Digimarc Discover account to create the web services and watermarks. Photoshop can be used as well. You can find YouTube videos for creating hot-spots with InDesign here or using Photoshop here.

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November 29, 2011

Digital Images Survive in an Analog World

Camera prints, film, and slides ability to survive is pretty high thanks to the physical nature of their materials. Keeping in mind that photography only began in the 1820′s, we may find that digital photography could be even more durable.

I loved reading this story about a DSLR that spent a year at the bottom of a bay. Not only was the diver able to retrieve images, but he also found the owner of the camera and images using a social network.

A bit more disconcerting is this story of a woman who finds a family photo in Ikea that she posted to her blog. Ikea bought the image from a stock photography company. I was unable to find a follow-up to this story. Most likely the stock photography company paid their base rate for a stock photo if there’s no copyright infringement.

My two conclusions:

  1. Make sure you erase that SD card really well before you sell off an old camera.
  2. Before posting images to the web consider adding a digital watermark like Digimarc for Images and copyrighting them. If your stolen photos are found and have your copyright you could do better than a base rate for stock photos.
October 19, 2011

Maintaining watermark integrity

We’ve had increasing interest by our customers on how to best maintain the integrity of digital watermarks. Here are a few tips and tricks that should help in the long run:

High strength watermarks survive the best.

Make sure to embed your images with a higher strength; this just means you are putting more watermark signal into your image. With our new “Chroma” technology, we suggest using an embed strength of 3 or 4, as the watermark should still be imperceptible. It is also easier for your watermark to survive when you save your final image at a maximum quality setting in Photoshop.

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October 10, 2011

30 Seconds to Better Smartphone Photos – Android and iPhone

For some reason smartphone manufacturers neglect to tell us that your smartphone camera does NOT take a photo when you tap on the shutter button. The camera takes the photo when you RELEASE the shutter button, or at least it does on iPhone and Android phones that follow the OS specs.

So… when you are trying to get that photo of your kids, pet or a group that’s in motion, try this: Place your finger on the shutter button and release it when you see the shot you want to take.

You’ll avoid shaking the phone by not tapping on the shutter button. You could get a shot of your friends or kids smiling! Better photos in less than 30 seconds.

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