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A very interesting view from Pete Blackshaw, The Nielsen Company, on what to do and how to prepare for the future of online marketing. Responsiveness is key to success, but also being aware of what you need to respond to and planning for what the consumer might do next. Pete suggests “that there is a new accountability standard that has been put on the table by consumers and that may lead to better advertising” . He also cites the Nielsen research that suggests that “consumers trust each other more than they trust advertisers” , ” if advertisers can figure out a way of co creating with consumers, everybody might win”. Brands should be both reactive and proactive in planning for what consumers might do through better websites and better feedback loops.
At the last SM@RT event in Geneva , I presented The Tiziano Project via Jon Vidar, the Tiziano Projects Executive Director, to group of journalists, digital marketers , PR and communciations professional as a project that was breaking new ground in transmedia storytelling and social media from the humanitarian angle. The resulting piece of work the Tiziano project has produced just won an award in the New Media Awards web site awards competition.
I think its worth taking a look at. I do think that convergence media will take lots of forms in the next few years. In the realm of media and photojournalism we are already seeing some profound changes. The Tiziano Project is one of these new media empowerment projects that breaks down distance, misunderstanding and creates a vibrant local voice for Kurdistan.
The Tiziano Project | 360° Kurdistan presents the journalistic efforts and personal accounts of 12 Iraqi citizens living in the Kurdish north alongside the stories of their professional multimedia journalism mentors. This is a documentary effort by The Tiziano Project, which provides new media tools and training to community members in conflict, post-conflict and developing regions.
The purpose of The Tiziano Project | 360° Kurdistan is to provide you with a robust and complete understanding of life, culture and news in present-day Iraqi Kurdistan.
The most important reason for the meteoric growth of Social Networks is something called “The Network Effect”. This equates to a tipping point when the value of a communications network to its users rises exponentially with the number of people connected to it. In the past year, we have witnessed one such rising star, Facebook ( but it begs the question is it the only one? ). It took 5 years for Facebook to reach 150 million users and then a further 8 months to double that number. Today, according to Facebook Statistics, it has 400 million users. In 2009 we saw Facebook become almost ubiquitous in every conversation swirling around Social Media and social networks. It was the year in which Facebook exploded into a global phenomena, dominating the Social Networking market worldwide as it became an international social network giant. While its dominated the english speaking press and displaced MySpace its not the only Social Network in the world.
To believe that Facebook or english speaking social networks are the only “players in Social networks” worldwide would be nothing short of one sided owed to very narrow perspective of the hyper connected world we live in. According to Wikipedia, there are some 1.5 billion members worldwide. Across the world there a number of culturally, language, local and regionally driven social networks , that both singularly and accumulatively pose the question whether Facebook can dominate the world in Social Networking. As startling as it is, the ” Facebook Network Effect” is not only a Facebook phenomena and its also occurring across other Social Networks in the world , albeit with different speeds.
When in logged into my Gmail a few nights ago I got a screen that introduced me to Google’s Buzz. At a first glance I skipped over it not wanting to go to deep into a distracting setup that stopped me from doing what I had originally set out to do : check my email . In hindsight I am left questioning whether Google’s BUZZ has any buzz? Buzz will probably have impact on the digital marketing world overtime but its not that apparent at the moment. However, we should take notice of this change. Buzz is a service that aims to compete in the social networking space not unlike the services of Bebo, Orkut ( owned by Google) Facebook, Twitter to take on the likes of Facebook and Twitter, across devices like the PC and mobile phone.
What Buzz is attempting to do is add the social networking features in the burgeoning number of Google’s services, over the top of the existing number of contacts a person has in their Gmail accounts. It has 97million users at its disposal to do this but it does pale in consideration of Facebook’s 400 million users, Myspace’s 130 million user and Friendster’s 115 million users. Google’s published rationale for Buzz is to work a more centralised and sorted approach to social services, sorting out the noise and organising information into a a relevant experience for users. On its blog it says ” With more and more communication happening online, the social web has exploded as the primary way to share interesting stuff, tell the world what you’re up to in real-time and stay more connected to more people. In today’s world of status messages, tweets and update streams, it’s increasingly tough to sort through it all, much less engage in meaningful conversations. “
Coca-Cola has launched it first viral video , and in getting a rare success in this type of media play. There is no proven method that ensures a success in viral video marketing other than it has to be entertaining. Funny always seem to work well as a formula, shocking as well, bad taste ( but that could seen as bad for a brand) , unreal or just unbelievable also works. Coke’s Happiness Machine, while only no more than a week old , has close to 800,000 views.
In what seems to be too incredible to be true a Coke machine setup in a university or college campus delivers more than just bottles of Coke. Flowers, balloon animals, a huge sandwich, and an endless supply Coke bring delight and happiness to the students.
As reported by iMedia Connection this is Coke’s first official experiment in viral video following on from another teen connection campaign the “Happiness Factory”.
The behavioral advertising tracking platform Phorm hit the news again last week as the UK ISP Talk Talk followed a move by BT (British Telecom) when they canceled their trials with the company.
It comes as no surprise to me. Phorm has developed technology which collects information on web use in order to serve Internet users with highly targeted adverts and serves ads to people based on their web-browsing behavior. Relying on deep packet inspection, in which every data packet is opened and examined, Phorm builds a profile of consumer’s web-surfing habits. The service surreptitiously tracks and interpolates their behavior without disclosing itself or without asking permission.
In a list of aspiring and inspiring new entertainment based services and applications SoundCloud won this years coveted Best Entertainment service or application award . Competing in a highly competitive field SoundCloud beat eRepublik, Moshi Monsters, Playfish and WeeWorld, a category largely dominated by online games and virtual worlds . SoundCloud is an online audio platform catering to music professionals enabling them to collaborate, promote & distribute their music. A music sharing and listening service, based on social network technologies .
The music industry is clearly under attack these days as it failed to change and adopt to the new distribution paradigms and the consumers preferences as the old models of music promotion , sales and distribution have been dismantled over the past 9 years . In this new connected world SoundCloud provides a efficient and simple way for music professionals to exchange music they are involved with in private settings allowing for easy collaboration and communication prior to a public release. I think its service that has a bright future and over the past year since its launch its user adoption grow 600 % to close at close to 60,000 users. What is very clear is that SoundCloud has an audience that spans the globe , not just an audience that is largely US based .
n. The Twitter social networking service and the people who use it. Also: twitterverse, Twitter-verse. [Blend of Twitter and universe.]
The word Twitterverse entered the lexicon of social media in a big way in the past few months. Its appeared on NPR ( National Public Radio ) in the Washington Post , spawned a blog by Emily Chang, of Ideacodes in SF and the 1st or beta edition of a Twitterverse map.
I think the map is the best and possibly the least abstract representation of a fast emerging world and was produced by Brian Solis , Principal of FutureWorks, PR and New Media agency in Silicon Valley . He released a beta version of what he calls the Twitterverse v 0.9 last week ( see Gazing into the Twitterverse). What he and partner Jess3 have produced is a spiral universe that begins to place an order to a complex set of relationships surrounding Twitter from search , communication, mobile, analytics, relationship management, advertising and events. The spiral representation seems to be like that of solar system revolving around a central star in long tendrils representing a map of tools and applications for conversation management and measurement emanating from the vortex of Twitter.
So what does the word Twitterverse mean and where does it originate from?
The Urban Dictionary provides a broad user friendly meaning online. “the cyberspace area of twitter. This naturally extends beyond twitter.com to anywhere you can twitter, which includes cell phones.” It appears that the cyberspace area is largely undefined.
Wordspy , a blog on the word lovers guide to new words, attributes the origins of the word to Twitterverse to Adam Pasick, “SXSW and the Twitterverse,” Monkey Daemon, March 12, 2007
Adam described Twitter as ” a sort of minute-by-minute blog that you send and receive from a computer or text message. All too often this takes the form of scintillating entries like “I’m eating breakfast,” and other stuff that you really don’t need to know about other people. But the allure at SXSW is that all the cool kids are doing it. So if you want to find the cool parties, you have to read Twitter. It’s geek clique chic.”
As Brian Solis’ graphic representation shows the Twitterverse has evolved since those early days, the public, companies, the press, have all run to get on board to explore and exploit the platform as a short form news , PR, promotion, and ideas to a range of tools that map the relationships between information sources , their conversations topics, circles of influence, and the broad sweep pf readers or “followers”.
To emphasize the size and significance of the microblogging platform Neilsen reports that time spent of time spent on Twitter has grown a phenomenal 3,712 % in the past year. Who ever coined the phrase Twitterverse is watching this new universe take shape and form as it expands.
Top 10 Social Networking and Blog Sites Ranked by Total Minutes for April 2009 and Their Year-over-Year Percent Growth (U.S., Home and Work)
Apr-08 Total Minutes (000)
Apr-09 Total Minutes (000)
source: The Nielsen Company
This blog is published and maintained by John Horniblow AKA BladeDigital ™ : On the Cutting Edge
In a recent article by eMarketer there was 1st true indications that there’s “No Online Ad Recession, Yet” and interestingly their calculations do not indicate that online advertising has entered a recession. The numbers speak for themselves.
The net US revenues at the four major search portals, which account for by far the majority of online ad revenues, all showed quarter-over-quarter growth in Q4 2008 and fell in Q1 2009. But that represents only one quarter of falling growth—and it follows the traditionally oversized Q4.
There’s no index on other smaller publishers , but what is resounding clear is while ad spends in traditional channels are severely down there is groundswell on
eMarketer postulates that ” based on the total year-over-year revenues from the four portals, the picture is less bleak. Growth was positive for all four quarters in 2008 (AOL being the exception to the rule). The single negative-growth quarter, thus far, was Q1 2009.
For context, here is the picture in dollars.
“The imbalance between Google and its competition in both Q4 2008 and Q1 2009 highlights a fundamental weakness in the overall US online ad market,” added Mr. Hallerman. “Consider that US display ad spending, such as for banners, will drop by nearly 5% this year—and then consider how that trend will likely be reflected not only for Web portals but many other publishers as well.”
Obviously, Q2 2009 is critical. If revenue growth at the four major search portals continues to fall, online advertising will “officially” enter recession.”
Digital Marketing is all about the consumer experience with , accompanied by, and within a brand virtually. From the physical dimension of a brand to its mental associations, its brand equity, or brand essence , down to very granular services or information surrounding its place in a consumer’s life, all can and should be experienced digitally.
One way of considering the full digital marketing mix is to look at as a digital ecosystem. As in any successful ecosystem, all the elements and their inter- relationships support and keep the ecosystem alive, adapting and thriving. And across the digital marketing mix there is a problem if these all remain in silos. The traditional marketing pillars of awareness, acquisition and consumer retention should be applied across all types of digital interactive services or content in that ecosystem as active environmental roles that support the ecosystem. More importantly, they must all be considered as digital consumer touch points, each with an active role to play. In a cohesive or holistic sense these traditional marketing pillars should applied against very activity in standalone website or across a full digital ecosystem ( sites, services, distributed content, social networks, digital media/advertising, email marketing and CRM ) and should always be considered. Conversely , these digital touch points should be supported by other non digital channels ( POS, above and below the line media , on pack) ; a virtual environment needs to exist with a physical counterpart.
While some of the activities, content, or interactive services you have on a site may seem obvious its always good to justify there existence against what your aims or goal are in the marketing mix. No one element is exclusive , all are interdependent just as they would be in the normal sales funnel, and what’s interesting about this is that you can seek to balance activities against the goals and make decisions of what interactive pieces you might consider for the traditional marketing pillars of awareness, acquisition and consumer retention.
What’s interesting today in the more social interactive world is that in the consumers journey along the traditional sale funnel seems to be either accelerated or they can identified anywhere in the funnel a lot quicker. The activities surrounding your he traditional marketing pillars of awareness, acquisition and consumer retention seem blurred. Lets take, for example, Bacardi . In its recent digital campaign to further its association with a night clubbing and dance club lifestyle worldwide, it chooses to be a trusted facilitator in an aspect of that lifestyle, by providing the service of a digital music sharing platfrom . It uses social media by offering aspiration based rewards of free limited edition, 1st to hear, music tracks to those consumers (its digital advocates) that act as a word of mouth spokes-peoples for the brand’s service by being the source of introduction of the Barcardi music sharing platform to their friends and rewards them accordingly. One could say that its the digital equivalent to brands giving away a utility that is associated with or inherent in products consumption. Like a coffee brand giving a branded cup or spoon or something inherently needed with the process drinking coffee. But in the case of Bacardi its wrapped up in a social relationship reward program that only digital can provide at relatively low cost and be highly. What is does is either accelerate the potential for identifying advocates or it even makes a brand advocate out of a consumer who may not necessarily consume the brand or be an MVC. This is not bad thing, who wants to stop a consumer talking about your brand in a positive way whether or not they consumer your brand?
“To help people to use and protect the data they create on networked services, and to advocate for compliance with the values of DataPortability.” Dataportability.org – Mission statement
I think that one of the most important and interesting projects to come too light over the past 18 months has to be the DataPortability project. I can’t think of a more defining project that seeks to put the consumer in control of their data, in an easy framework, than this.
As a digital marketer, online developer and manager of a major “ecosystem” of company websites I had always been challenged by and worked to successfully remedy the idea of a federated user login and password or identity that would allow users navigating a network or an “ecosystem”of websites to have just one unique ID. This unique ID allowing them access across a network , without having to login as multiple different identities across multiple sites and let them negotiate and choose or personalize what’s important to them and then manage their preferences.
Lets face it the majority of us have a number of identities in a myriad of web databases ; As a consumer I possibly over one hundred “sign ups” on sites where I have an identity or have surrendered my contact details for either verification of who I am , membership, product registration, interest in a communication, a CRM activity, a social network identity , or just a security login and password . If I was able to simplify this and manage that in a more organised and less haphazard way I would.
The concept of DataPortability is having the option or choice to use your personal data between trusted applications and vendors. As simple as that . What is important , especially in the current digital climate , is the protection of consumers rights when it comes to their data and data privacy. The consumers need to have control over their data by determing how they want to use it and who can use it. This includes access to data that is under the control of another entity and the interoperability of that consumer identity or data across an independent network of online services and sites. What will become important in the not too distant future, is the potential trust rating between the consumer and the companies providing online or digital services , media, and product marketing. Companies with the most transparent , upfront and honest approach to managing consumer data will ultimately be successful. Those whose integrity is questionable or not transparent will ultimately see a consumer backlash.
With raging debates taking place as to just how far companies such as Google own the insight to online behaviours by tracking consumer browsing habits from site to sites by cookie-ing them, the concept of DataPortability in extremely timely and necessary . Its scary to think that Google can pinpoint and locate with uncanny precision a physical person and have a map of all their behavioural characteristics and that they have been known in the past to surrender that information to government security and intelligence agencies.
With Social networks and the spill over to media networks becoming more open , more interconnected , and more distributed I would say that DataPortability is not an emerging trend but an imminent or inevitable necessity. The current list of sponsors is impressive Microsoft, Google, Facebook, SixApart, Digg, Plaxo, Linkedin and apparently 1000s of other participants. Interestingly it includes the two digital darlings, Facebook and Google, that appear to be at the centre of debates surrounding consumer data , who owns it , who controls it , and how it can be exploited, with both companies getting into hot water either by government privacy watchdogs or with their userbase themselves. With the support of cross-system data access, interoperability, and portability, people can bring their identities, friends, conversations, files, and histories with them to the service of their choice. This cuts down on the need for form-filling , new passwords, preferences of data transfer on the consumer side. The service providers or networks can tailor services to suit their consumer base with little effort required by the consumer. Consumers browse networked services and accumulate experiences and if they permit it, this information is updated in the network of sites a consumer may participate in. For online and digital service companies the “mutual control” and “mutual benefit” with consumers has an upside that the relationships remain relevant, data usage remains transparent and will encourage continued consumer usage.
In the world of “Digital Dialogue” Email is possibly one of the most accessible forms of media and communication for consumers and as such should be considered as a pivotal media channel. In todays marketing world where the pundits description of a consumers exposure to media is “fragmented “, it is best to consider Email as a marketing imperative not a “nice to have” or a one off throw away campaign . Email impactsbrand relationships and loyalty and should be considered as a integral personalized communication channel in any marketing mix.
Its use or misuse can also effect a brand’s image or the trust a consumer can have in a brand. In a time where we consider the consumer in control of their media consumption, via a myriad of choices, Email, in the consumers mind has become the most convenient and controllable channel available. In the digital world where consumers are taking charge, Email is a tangible, flexible media they can control. Take it. Leave it. Delete it. Opt in, Opt out. Respond to it. Pass it on: Think about it , who do you know that hasn’t received an email that contains a witty piece of humour, movie, picture, or link passed on from a trusted colleague or friend who knows them well?
And when it comes to looking at consumers and consumer trends surrounding Email marketing the question of whether you want a Digital Dialogue channel with your consumer base it becomes a no brainer.
Consumer have the power to choice withan Emaile.g. do Iwant to receive , open,save , delete or act on an email
90% of consumers will use email to engage in and determine the value of a relationship with a company -JupiterResearch
Consumers ranked email ahead of traditional media like newspapers, magazines and radio as a good way to learn about new products - American Marketing Association, Mplanet
•68% of consumers said they were prompted to browse a Web site after receiving an email from a retailer -RightNow Technologies & Harris Interactive
25% of US internet users share content via Email (word-of-mouth) on a daily basis; 63% share on a weekly basis - eMarketer, Email and Word-of-Mouth
Here are some other facts to mull upon:
50 million people per daycheck email 5 times per day
Email drives 80% on retail sales
Email is an everyday activity for most us
94 % of companies use email
Marketers worldwide are sending 5.2 millionpromotional Emails per month
On average email users receive 41 messages per day – 34% receive 31 or more messages per day
45% of Email users say they are interested in receiving email about products and services
53% say they unsubscribe when the Emails are irrelevant
Source: Jupiter Research LLC 05.2007
Email is a Highly Effective Branding Tool
As advertisers ask for accountability, more agencies are launching email disciplines
In 2007 email marketing generated $21.9 Billion in sales**
The advertising outlook for 2009 looks resoundingly is bleak. Following a downturn in revenues for 2008 and the fact that most forecasters see this continuing through 2009 and 2010: the worst years of decline since the Great Depression. But ! and there is a big but here, Online and digital advertising channels are the the only ones predicted to outshine the doom and gloom and grow even in a downturn . This forecast view seems to be apparent across a number of forecast agencies , from the digital to traditional , there a a glimmer of optimism in the air.
In Jack Myers’ recently -updated Media Business Report, he forecasts traditional media outlets will take major hits in 2008 and 2009;
“The brunt of the 6.9 percent fall-off in 2009 ad spend will be felt by newspapers (-15.0%), Yellow Pages (-14.0%), consumer magazines (-13.0%), radio (-12.0%), local television (-10.5%), business-to-business and custom publishing (-9.0%), and broadcast network television (-4.0%). Even online media will feel the pain, with projected overall growth of a meager 2.7 percent. Online display ads are forecast to grow only one percent, with search engine marketing increasing 8.0% and online video, search engine, widget advertising increasing at a 25.0% rate to $1.5 billion. Online growth will pick up again in 2010 with overall 8.5% increases.”
What’s forecast to grow, if anything? Search marketing, online video, (rich media) widgets and Mobile advertising. The real star being mobile that jump 30 percent this year and another 15 percent next year. By the time the economy begins to regain steam, mobile advertising will jump another 30 percent in 2010, he forecasts.
So why is there a shine or bright spot?
In rich or video media its a “no brainer” for entertainment and brand advertisers.
Rich media and it recent upgrade to Digital Interactive media has greater increases in brand metrics than standard web ads. Experientially they impacts attitudinal metrics, such as message association, brand favorability and awareness, more than non-rich media and allow the incorporate video streaming of original content and help drive users to generate it and share it. With the coupling of transactional systems scuh as CRM and e commerce , the media buy can become a pure sale or pure consumer acquisition.
Mobile is definatly the flavour of next coming years . With SMS or text messaging is running hot as “Texting” has reach and ubiquity . Its simple medium with reach of 160 characters and the possibly of a hyper link . MMS banner ads on WAP sites are a little richer in content and interactivity but are not ubiquitous because few people have data plans that can access WAP pages the estimates being between 10% and 15% of all cell phone users.
Where the predictions for mobile seem to be going it just might Voice! Voice or sound is an interesting medium as it has no barriers to the existing 5 billion phones in the world. Just how intimate or intrusive it will be is another question. If my cell phone became a message bank a for un-announced advertisers I would not be happy but if I am opted in to a premium audio experience it’s richness because of its intimacy would make it influential and experientially based . It may well be the way to reach a massive audience with a unique , engaging and compelling experience.. And everybody can get it regardless of plans and standards.