Archive for the ‘Social Networking’ Category

What is next in the digital channel

May 12, 2009

After reading Steve Rubel’s post about the End of the Destination Web Era and The Cut and Paste Web and Anthony Power’s post about Destination Free Web, what is the future of the web? Portals had their run in the early days, hell, people still use them everything in once place that the portal thinks is important, and to some that is fine. Search engines made their mark, and all they really do is act as a travel agent. I tell them somewhere I think I want to “go” and they provide options. Social networks are relatively “new” and have risen exponentially in popularity. No longer are they strictly for the kids and college crowd. I even have friends that don’t use email and rarely use SMS, they just use Facebook as a communication platform.

So with all that, what is next and how can marketers adapt and continue to drive sales?

The Internet is changing how we consume media. I now read a lot less of a lot more. Sometimes I can barely follow a stream on Tweetdeck as so many people update during business hours or chat sessions like #journchat. Consumers are adopting these channels faster than most companies can comprehend. 

Will there be a “super social network” where everyone is involved? Can Facebook become that network? Does monetization matter and will advertising work in such an environment. An average individual visits over 100 domains a month, will this continue to rise as the dissemination of content increases or will the consumer pull back, start taking content and feeds from preferred sites and build their own site that brings them everything they need? RSS feeds, Twitter feeds and Facebook can provide a lot.

I believe we will continue to see the number of domains increase, and the amount of time on each decrease. People don’t have time to waste on the web and they have been trained like Pavlov’s dogs, if it’s not there, look somewhere else.

Marketers must realize this and provide valuable content in an engaging matter. It’s still relatively early. Marketers can even go one step further and provide content from competitors and other sites on their site, we all research products online and wouldn’t we all like to see competitive products compared so we can make informed decisions. Price is NOT everything.

It’s not going to happen overnight, but the digital marketing landscape is going to change even more and marketers must evolve with it, rather than trying to fight it.

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Hitwise releases Oprah Twitter data

April 21, 2009

Whoever says Oprah doesn’t have an impact on society is full of it. Hitwise released data today showing the lift that Oprah gave Twitter. It’s quite impressive to be honest. There was a 43% increase in visits on April 17th from April 10th. 

Now, the larger question is will the early adopters jump the shark and head somewhere else now that every soccer mom in America knows what Twitter is? When Omniture Summit was in town, I asked a few key industry names why doesn’t anyone like Plurk, mainly Jeremiah Owyang and the responses were, “Who do you know on Plurk?”. It was a great response then, but will the early adopters of Twitter want to get away from the masses? Not sure Plurk is where they will go, but could be. What about FriendFeed? Or will they stay with Twitter and just keep their following to people they want. As long as Twitter can handle the bandwith issue, there is no immediate impact on any user prior to @Oprah and @aplusk.

At the end of the day, it does not matter. What does matter is that Oprah drove a ton of new people to Twitter and they will see a lot more accounts. The question is how can marketers utilize Twitter and how can Twitter monetize the increase in traffic.

Twitter: To buy or not to buy

April 3, 2009

A lot of buzz his morning about Google and Twitter. Will Google buy Twitter or won’t they? At the end of the day, Twitter will need to monetize it’s amazing growth or sell out and let someone else figure it out. Depending on what side of the fence you are on, you could argue which way makes the most sense.

Google buys Twitter:

Google knows what industry they are in. They have stopped trying to become the behemoth media company and focusing back on search. After all, it’s what they know. I didn’t Google was smart to try and get into print, TV and radio and now looks like they realized it. Google bought YouTube not because it was a better product than Google video, or more popular, but the search volume. YouTube now ranks #2 behind Google itself for search volume. Guess who is increasing search volume??? Yep, Twitter. The problem with the concept of Twitter as a search driver to monetize through ads is that over 50% of Twitter traffic is not through the site. Thanks Tweetdeck and TwitterFon!

Google to pass on Twitter:

The last point about Twitter search volume and how it’s not happening on Twitter. More and more applications are using the Twitter API to access the data and people no longer need to go to Twitter. Think destination free web. Google knows how to make money on search volume. It took them longer than I expected on YouTube, but video is a different beast dealing with context. Also, Twitter has become the search engine for NOW. If I want to know what is happening now, Twitter breaks the news the fastest. Just depends on who you follow to get it sent to you, or if you have to search for it. How many advertisers can predict what will happen and capitalize on what will happen in the future? Not many.

The risk for Google not to buy Twitter is that it will continue it’s phenomenal growth, and be a much more expensive acquisition in the future. Buy it while it’s “cheap”?

My two cents: I don’t want to see ads plastered down the side of Twitter search. If third party sites monetize through Google, that’s fine. Don’t mess with Twitter, even though less than 50% use it to access Twitter anyways.

So will we see a “Twoogle”?

Is Facebook radius targeting big for local online advertising?

March 12, 2009

Facebook announced they are now offering language targeting and radius targeting through their platform. Personally, I have not had any conversations regarding targeting Spanish speakers, but I have had a lot of conversations about using Facebook for local advertising. Prior to today, there were a couple different ways to net down the audience size and “target” local markets. I also have an unfair advantage since around 90% of Utah’s population is along the Wasatch Front, which makes it easier. However, not everyone has that luxury of population density.

Imagine someone in California that had a few small locations that wanted to use Facebook, targeting all of LA might not be the best option. They could use Google for search and set custom targeting, but an issue with search is that people have to know what they are looking for and “search”. Facebook’s new targeting option allows advertisers to promote their services in a similar fashion that display advertising works, with much better geo targeting. Since social networks get so much traffic, small advertisers now have another viable model for local advertising on the web.

This could be a large move for Facebook along with their new Pages release which will also increase the amount of local businesses using Facebook. Rather than static pages where there was not many benefots of being a fan, the changes allow for a much more dynamic environment that allows brands to have a voice in social media.

Overall, I like what I am seeing from Facebook recently (hasn’t always been the case, remember Beacon and the T&C’s issue). Any move that helps more companies and individuals move online or move more money online is a good thing.

Twitter to replace SMS

February 23, 2009

In a recent post, I briefly mentioned how Twitter poses a large threat to SMS marketing platforms. I found proof today how a company used Twitter to start a campaign and then required the offer to be shown through a SMS message delivered to phone so that it could be redeemed. I understand not everyone has a smartphone, and they utilized Twitter’s SMS feature, but it is close. Companies will continue to see the power of Twitter and use it more and more.

The offer was a free burrito for anyone that showed the message on their phone at the counter. The success was more about the ability of Twitter to “broadcast” offers that people find relevant and think their friends will enjoy rather than mobile marketing. Who wouldn’t want a free burrito and what better way to tell friends then the immediacy of Twitter. Even though they required a text message at the end of the process, it was not done through an SMS platform like Cellit or Hip Cricket. The campaign started with Twitter and ended with Twitter’s SMS capability. A 100% Twitter campaign with great execution. They went from 80 followers to more than 450 in a day.

Twitter poses a significant threat to SMS marketing platforms as the scalability is endless and as of now, there are no costs associated with it. Along with those benefits, Twitter is growing at an enormous rate and no end in sight. SMS marketing platforms still have a few advantages such as privacy, but they need to keep a close eye on Twitter.

MySpace follows Facebook

October 15, 2008

MySpace announced their new advertising platform MyAds on Monday. After looking at the basics of he platform, it’s awfully similar to Facebook’s flyer program in theory. Allow advertisers to buy placements within the site on a CPC. They can target based off demographic data that is provided by user. The user should win if the ads are targeted correctly, even though Facebook felt backlash for the “are you fat? lose weight” campaigns targeting middle aged women.

Overall, it’s an interesting move by MySpace to open this. Does this mean that the deal with Google is not working out? Will it generate more revenue since it allows the smaller boys to compete with the big boys? Who knows. If this works, maybe Fox will roll the idea out across all of their properties and it will be a big win for smaller budget advertisers. Only time will tell.

Call me old…but MySpace is different

September 10, 2008

Not sure if I should say different, or if it sucks? I have not been to MySpace in quite awhile and went there yesterday looking for an old friend. Wow, was I amazed with the changes that they have made in design and layout.  To be honest, I hated it. I have seen a fair number of busy and poorly planned sites, but MySpace has to take the cake. No wonder why Facebook keeps growing in popularity and MySpace numbers are declining.

MySpace was featured on the front cover of Fast Company recently and the article discussed how they are ready to make the next move in social networking, but I have to question it. If their site is that cluttered and PACKED with ads, I have to believe people will slowly leave. I had just over 100 friends about a year ago when I last logged in. This time, I probably saw at least 10 red ‘x’s’ showing that about 10% of my friends have deleted their profiles. Not a good sign for MySpace.

As much as I dislike the new Facebook layout, it is better than what MySpace has done. Sell out to advertisers and place ads in every small piece of real estate available. I understand the ad revenue model, but at some point they won’t see exponential growth in foreign countries like they currently have and the American market will migrate to another network. This migration will take time, but it will happen.

MySpace is under the pressure of Fox to grow revenue, which I think will ultimately be the dagger in the ground. Unreal growth expectations and revenue expectations to match will be the downfall of MySpace unless they truly do have the next step in social networking up their sleeve.

LinkedIn a popularity contest like MySpace

July 7, 2008

Last time I logged in to LinkedIn was a little surprising. I know the power of networking and using the new “network” to answer questions, find jobs, new business, etc. However, it seems the popularity contest is now in “groups”. Since the group logo is displayed in the search results, it now seems like you must be in several groups to seem important.

I hope that this does not hurt LinkedIn and ruin the value as people just go joining groups to get “social credit”.

Twitter receives more funding

June 25, 2008

Twitter received another round of funding which evaluates the service around $100 million. Jezz Bezos from Amazon was one of the leading funders. With a simple call to action of “what are you doing” Twitter has become quite popular as many different uses have been figured out. There is still no clear revenue model behind the platform, but several other online platforms figured it out later as well.

Most of the funding will hopefully go to making service regularly available as it struggles to match consumer demand and often crashes.

So for all the Twitter haters, looks like it has made its mark and is going to be around for awhile or at least until it’s bought.

Facebook flyers just like traditional display

May 19, 2008

A lot of talk and comments have been made about social media and whether marketers can get involved and how. First, i think the answer is yes they can, but not like traditional marketing where they place a message to a targeted or not-so targeted group. They need to become part of the conversation and use it as a focus group and garner feedback. They can monitor negative publicity and converse with brand evangelists.

Widgets, blogs, corporate pages, photos, videos…you name it and it can have impact on your online presence which ultimately leads to brand impact. How it is done leads to whether there is a positive impact or not.

Now to Facebook. They launched flyers which I believed to be similar to the traditional “campus flyers” that were posted in common areas around campus back in the day. They usually were bands, clubs, non-profits, or some sort of campus initiative like disease testing. Facebook raised the ante when they took the idea online and said that these “flyers” could be better targeted online.

I like the idea. I really think it would work well for some companies in a media plan. However, in actuality it doesn’t work, or at least on my page. Lately, all I have received has been Mormon ads about missionaries. Guess what, I’m not Mormon, and there are a lot of other people in Utah that are not as well.

So when it all boils down, it appears that the flyers are a glorified name for display advertising using similar targeting to ad networks. Facebook has thousands of widgets that are great marketing tools, but the flyer program is another “network” that media planners and strategists must consider, but don’t think it’s the holy grail for social media.