Real time marketing; listen, watch and react

Smart marketers know that the web offers the unprecedented ability to be timely and relevant. When an event happens, content can shift in real-time, ads can go up and offers can be made.

I love the Nokia team's response to the iPhone price drop and subsequent buyer revolt. The Nokia team used the news to their advantage and started running search ads inviting Apple's early adopters to enjoy their new Mosh service and some free content. It's timely, super relevant and took advantage of a one-time situation to capitalize on consumer emotions.

Here is a screenshot of the ad based on the phrase 'iphone price drop':
iphonemosh.jpg
[Screenshot via TechCrunch]

Apple eventually posted a retaliatory search ad and Nokia has since removed their ad from rotation (the window is closed). Nokia only had to be there in the moment and it could have very easily passed them by. How many situations just like this could companies use to capture the interest of consumers? Relevance is key in getting people to engage with you online and this type of marketing is right on the money

Here are some questions to ask and thoughts to ponder:


  • Are you listening to the web? Are you listening to social media?
  • Where are you listening?
  • Do you have Google alerts on keywords? Search Technorati? Keep an eye on the news? Do you do this in real-time?
  • What events trigger consumer purchases in your industry? Weather, seasons, the stock market, etc?
  • How do those things impact consumers? What behaviors change?
  • If you knew what to look for, how would you react to take advantage of it before your competition?

Search ads are nice because they're quick to implement and highly targeted? RSS display ads (where you control dynamic messaging in real time) are another option. Would video have more impact? Do you have a camera at the ready just in case?

How have you taken advantage of real time marketing to increase sales or gain new customers?


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The geek shall inherit the Earth

keyboard.jpgSteve Rubel of Micro Persuasion had a very interesting article in this past issue of Advertising Age. The title had me hooked, "As Technology Develops, So Does the Role of the Geek Marketer".

Here is Steve's take from his blog post:


My thesis is this: it's very difficult for anyone in marketing to keep up with all the twists the digital space because technology changes so darn fast. It's like chasing a cheetah. Most marketers - be they clients or agency side - are heads-down running their business. Therefore, companies are creating a new role. They're hiring people who act as translators between the ultra geeks and the marketers, if you will, and shepherd the development of pilot programs.

If you're reading this blog, you probably know just how strongly I agree with what Steve has to say. Techno//Marketer is an extension of my love for technology and its impact on marketing. I often use the phrase "I speak marketer and geek fluently" when explaining to clients what I do. Those two skill-sets, however, are not the easiest to find in one person.

Here is what I see as the skills a Techno//Marketer needs to have:


  • Strong foundation in the basics of business
  • Un-ending curiosity for all things new
  • Love for experimentation
  • Consume media with break-kneck pace
  • Filter what is consumed into actionable, business-savvy solutions
  • Excellent communication/presentation skills (usually the downfall of pure geeks)
  • Excellent writing skills
  • Persistence to continue even when people doubt/fear you out of their own ignorance and short-sightedness

Are you a Techno//Marketer? What are some of the skills you think are most important? How do you use your powerful combination of skill sets to add value?


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Buzz Friday for August 31, 2007

more-buzz.jpgHere is a look at what is happening across social media and new marketing this week. If there is anything that you would like to see in this post or if you have something you think is Buzz-worthy please drop me an email or leave a comment on this post. I want to make this as beneficial for you as I can.

iTunes.jpgBuzz Friday is also available as part of the Techno//Marketer Podcast on iTunes. Click here to subscribe and take the Buzz to go.



[Feed readers please click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

Here are all of the items that I think are interesting this week:


  • Jeremiah Owyang of Podtech has decided to take a job with Forrester as an Analyst. Congrats to him, seems like a great fit.
  • A group of college students on Facebook threatened bank HSBC with a boycott over its plans to change their formerly free overdraft policy.
  • There is a rumor floating around that Microsoft could buy Blackberry. We'll see where this goes.
  • Karl at Experience Curve wants to save Technorati and offers some insights for the service including a pro plan. What do you think? Is it salvageable?
  • iTunes and NBC are parting ways. NBC wanted to charge $4.99 for their shows. That's $3.00 more than Apple charges. Thomas Hawk thinks this is as stupid as I do.
  • An interesting move by Google will allow Gadgets to talk to each other on people's iGoogle home page.
  • Apple is expected to unveil a new line of iPods and a new wireless iTunes service next Wednesday. P.S. if you are going to buy an iPod this weekend WAIT!
  • I particularly like this interview that David Armano did with his colleague David Stallsmith. Great insights into design.
  • I found this hilarious. A guy running for school board creates an ad and posts it to YouTube. Viacom's VH1 show "Web Junk 2.0" took it and used it on their show. The guy who created it posted the VH1 version on his site and Viacom ordered him to take it down. Right hand, meet left hand.
  • Great post by Greg Verdino on video. Greg shows the craziness that happens when a study is done by somebody who's business hinges on the results looking a certain way. Interruption is on the way out.
  • Jaiku has added instant messenger to its offering. Definitely a more robust platform than Twitter, but the people are still on Twitter.
  • Iain points to a huge QR poster in London to promote the DVD release of 28 Days Later. Would have been even more cool had the message not said the same thing.
  • Hulu, NBC's newly formed network, translates to "cease" and "desist" in Swahili. Gotta love the irony.
  • I was talking about the possibilities of using the iPhone's tilt sensor to do some cool things. Check out this post on Engadget.
  • Heineken will release a new beer for women. This has been done is other countries in Europe to some success.
  • Nokia introduced a new music store to compete with iTunes. Could take off in Europe, but will be slow to roll in the US.
  • CNN made the move away from Yahoo to Google for search.
  • If you have a bad impression of the airline industry in this country, you have obviously not been on a United flight when Denny Flanagan was at the helm.
  • Ever hear the question "if advertising is so great, why don't ad agencies use it"? Strawberry Frog took out this ad in Fortune and I'd love to see what the reaction was.
  • Digg gets a makeover...yawn...next story!
  • Good to see bloggers who tell it how it is. Check out this honest and fair review of a book by David Berkowitz. This is a possibility for anybody doing a blogger outreach campaign. I hope the author takes David's advice.
  • Colorado University got its first use of a new emergency text messaging system last week.
  • Yahoo's new mail service offers free text messaging right from the mail interface.
  • Have you ever been in a "strategy" meeting that felt like you were in a "tactegy" meeting (yes I just made that up)? Idris feels the same way and explains why it happens.


Top Five Web2.0 Movers of the Week (using Alexa data)


  1. 9rules
  2. slide
  3. Fotolog
  4. My Heritage
  5. TechMeme

More

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from Viral Garden


  1. Seth's blog
  2. Gaping Void
  3. Duct Tape Marketing
  4. Logic + Emotion
  5. Search Engine Guide
  6. Diva Marketing
  7. What's Next
  8. Daily Fix
  9. Drew's Marketing Minute
  10. Influential Marketing

View the top full top 25

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from the AdAge Power 150


  1. Seth Godin
  2. Micro Persuasion
  3. Pronet Advertising
  4. Search Engine Land
  5. Search Engine Watch
  6. Adrants
  7. Online Marketing Blog
  8. Adverblog
  9. Marketing Pilgrim
  10. Publishing 2.0

View the full list here

Top 5 "Viral" Videos This Week


  1. Miss Teen USA 2007
  2. Gmail Behind the Scenes
  3. Content-Aware image sizing
  4. Zunephone
  5. Common - Drivin me wild

More


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podcast-logo1.gifIf you use another podcatcher you can grab my podcast RSS feed here.


You can watch this and other Techno//Marketer videos on your video channel of choice:

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Video marketing overview, why pre-roll must die

iStock_000003290791XSmall.jpgVideo on the internet is like TV shows on my Tivo. I watch what I want, when I want it and if I don’t like it I’m one click away from abandoning the content. With online video’s boom, companies are scrambling to figure out how to engage viewers and attempt to monetize.

What’s the easiest way to do this? Pre-roll. The lazy man’s solution if you ask me. Companies, in their hurry to launch video ads, are simply re-purposing their :15 and :30 second spots (which are dying themselves) as pre-roll ads. If you haven’t come across this infuriatingly annoying act, you will. Besides the pure interruption that this causes, 15 and 30 seconds is WAY too long for web video. It's an eternity in an on-demand world.

Let’s look at the current video formats playing in the market right now. The areas shaded in red show the interruption point and the most likely place users will abandon the content.

preroll.pngPre-roll

This is usually a re-purposed :15 or :30 spot that normally runs on TV. The user has to wait for the ad to load and play before the content they want is available. Most services are not letting you skip these ads either.

    Pros: Content usually exists in long-form, quick solution

    Cons: Content is too long for the web, irrelevant placements, deters people from watching content

overlay.pngOverlay ads

This is the method that YouTube is going to. The overlay takes up approximately the lower quarter of the content and users can close it at any time. The ads, when clicked, expand over the content, pausing what you were watching until you close it.

    Pros: Less interruptive, generally lower in production cost, better targeting

    Cons: Still interruptive, easily ignored just like the same tactic on the TV

post-roll.pngPost-roll ads

Post-roll ads will play after the content is completed. This is the lowest level of interruption for in-video advertising. Post-roll ads are also typically made up of re-purposed 15's and 30's pulled from an existing TV campaign.

    Pros: Doesn't interrupt content, re-use existing formats

    Cons: Content is too long for the web, targeting is lacking with TV-like broadcast advertising models

splitad.pngThe splice-in

This hasn't happened yet to my knowledge, but it's only a matter of time. Advertising will be spliced into a clip like a traditional ad is in a TV program. Content may or may not be created with this in mind. This is the ultimate in interruption, but users should be able to fast forward through them like on Tivo.

    Pros: None (and I mean it, this will really make me angry)

    Cons: Interruptive, intrusive and stealthy. Nothing good about this one.

So how can marketers create marketing content that works? Here are a few thoughts:


  • Make the content hyper-relevant. Think about using RSS to feed ads dynamically to match the content. Think Flash-animated content with, or instead of, video.
  • Create the message around the content. Sponsor the media player itself. Think branded entertainment.
  • Ask how can you add value to the video experience? Just plopping an ad in place to get some impressions isn't going to do you any good.
  • Use advanced targeting for ads to make sure your message aligns with the content. The days of running a TV spot to reach "18-35 year old males" is gone. You need to think about reaching "23-year-old males in Dallas who play pick up basketball"
  • Make the form MUCH shorter. I'm talking about 3 second ads.

The last point is one I want to expand upon. Web video is dynamic and immediate. When you shoot a commercial (if you're still doing such a thing) are you thinking about short-form alternatives?

The :03 will be the new :30, but that's the title of a post for next week.


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Buzz Friday for August 24, 2007

more-buzz.jpgHere is a look at what is happening across social media and new marketing this week. If there is anything that you would like to see in this post or if you have something you think is Buzz-worthy please drop me an email or leave a comment on this post. I want to make this as beneficial for you as I can.

iTunes.jpgBuzz Friday is also available as part of the Techno//Marketer Podcast on iTunes. Click here to subscribe and take the Buzz to go.



[Feed readers please click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

Here are all of the items that I think are interesting this week:


  • If you like the iPhone, but not AT&T you may be in luck. A group of developers has seemingly unlocked the iPhone. Check out this article on Engadget.
  • YouTube announced in-video overlay ads this week to much discussion, debate and outright anger from some users. They've since announced that ads will be optional and controlled by content creators.
  • WalMart is on Facebook....yes I am serious here. Jeremiah has a good first look at what is happening there.
  • People are still having fun with Microsoft's Zune and the rumors that they're releasing a phone too.


  • Do you like bacn? Bacn is the newest hot slang floating around the Net. Basically it means all of the email that you get from social networking sites that you want to read, but wish wasn't in your inbox. More here.
  • Google may work to create a NYC mass transit guide reports Bloomberg.
  • Many companies are banning Facebook as office productivity sags. I personally like Neville Hobson's take on it "don't just ban Facebook, provide guidance".
  • The NY Times launched MyTimes. Is this too little way too late? Seems like it should have come out 6 years ago.
  • Tired of shopping online by yourself? Visit CrowdStorm and shop in a community of users.
  • Rumors of a Google phone + CEO talking about "probably" bidding on new wireless spectrum = confused, but possibly excited public.
  • Patrick Schaber at Lonely Marketer had amazing coverage of SES San Jose last week. Check it out if you want to catch up and see what happened. This post on image marketing was particularly nice.
  • Are you still pitching bloggers with the same old generic email or press release? Want to pitch bloggers the right way? Take BL Ochman's great advice.
  • Are you starting a new company blog? Do you want to get a lot of subscribers right off the bat? Tap your client list and optimize your content offering as Brian Clark suggests.
  • Twitter is finally rolling out some real value-add enhancements. Check out the people search on the main page.
  • Adobe's new Flash player will support HD video. This will hurt services like Joost, et. al. who were counting on p2p delivery or other non-traditional delivery of video.
  • MTV, Real and Verizon have joined forces to offer up a new music service. Does this sound like a good move to anybody out there? Real is dead, MTV's audience is on iTunes more than any other group and Verizon isn't innovating anything.
  • Scott Weisbrod points out a new Forrester report on the death of the traditional marketing funnel. I agree with David Armano that their illustration is confusing and like his much better.
  • Google's added map embedding now so you can copy a map into a website or blog with very little technical assistance.
  • Rohit @ Influential Interactive Marketing has a great post on how to sell social media to your boss. Anybody have any other tactics?
  • Zoho Writer has used Google Gears to offer offline support. This is going to happen more and more as people take the online apps offline.
  • US-based social net Bebo will offer Windows Live Messenger as its sole IM solution.
  • Wanna kick it old school with a mix tape? How about Mix Tape USB?
  • I wish Starbucks would do this. Dominos Pizza is accepting pizza orders via SMS in the UK.
  • Nokia's killer N95 phone looks to be coming to the US.
  • Christopher Carfi at the Social Customer Manifesto has a nice presentation about business blogging.
  • What did you learn from Skype's outage? Some people benefitted.
  • If you want to get out of your Verizon contract, you will have to actually die. Faking your death will not cut it.


Top Five Web2.0 Movers of the Week (using Alexa data)


  1. Skype [remaining buzz from service collapse]
  2. Geni
  3. CrazyEgg [boosted from controversy with YouTube ad format]
  4. Slide [Facebook applications keeping them high on the chart]
  5. blip.tv

More

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from Viral Garden


  1. Seth's blog
  2. Gaping Void
  3. Duct Tape Marketing
  4. Logic + Emotion
  5. Search Engine Guide
  6. Diva Marketing
  7. What's Next
  8. Daily Fix
  9. Drew's Marketing Minute
  10. Converstations

View the top full top 25

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from the AdAge Power 150


  1. Seth Godin
  2. Pronet Advertising
  3. Micro Persuasion
  4. Copyblogger
  5. Search Engine Watch
  6. Search Engine Land
  7. Adrants
  8. Online Marketing Blog
  9. Adverblog
  10. Publishing 2.0
  11. PSFK

View the full list here

Top 5 "Viral" Videos This Week


  1. Cheney '94
  2. Insane Wave pool in Tokyo
  3. Gregorious: NMKY
  4. Content Aware Image Sizing
  5. Stop SPP Protest

More


iTunes.jpgTo help you stay on top of what is happening and to filter the myriad options, you can now subscribe to the Techno//Marketer podcast on iTunes. Get updates in real time when new videos become available.

podcast-logo1.gifIf you use another podcatcher you can grab my podcast RSS feed here.


You can watch this and other Techno//Marketer videos on your video channel of choice:

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Inside//Out: LinkedIn

LinkedIn.pngOne of the social networks that I frequent most often is LinkedIn. I've been a member of the service for years, but until recently they've not had the critical mass necessary to get traction. Over the last 6 months, however, I've seen a flood of people using the service to connect on a professional basis.

LinkedIn is a focused, professional networking site. It doesn't pretend to be MySpace. The design is clean, but a little stark and it could use a little more personalization in order to make it more engaging. In this video tour, I focus on what LinkedIn does well within their network and how you can apply the same logic and motivations to your own community.


[Feed readers please click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

What LinkedIn does well:


  • Focus. The site is professional and keeps more social elements out.
  • Communication. Alerts are stored in your inbox and messaging is clear and simple.
  • Answers. The answers area is a great resource for anybody looking for advice from peers.
  • Rewards. LinkedIn offers virtual rewards for engaging (profile completeness, etc.).
  • Community. It's all about community and LinkedIn has found great ways of showing you what's happening in your personal network as well as your extended network.
  • Trust. The site is completely built on trust. You connect with trusted people and so do they. When a message/answer/job comes through the service you know it's for real.

What LinkedIn needs to work on:


  • I think they could do a bit to make it more personal. Photos would be nice.
  • I still think they should offer a resume generator that compiles your data and exports it with some editing on your part.
  • Would be cool to hook up more social media to profiles (blogs, photos, videos, etc.)

If you don't use the service I encourage you to check it out. The more complete your profile is the more beneficial the system will be as it will find colleagues, classmates, etc.

If you have an idea for an Inside//Out post you can send me an email or leave a comment on this post.




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Mobile social media booming by 2012

iStock_000003640525XSmall.jpgI came across an interesting study from Juniper Research about their forecast for mobile social networking. As I've said before, I think this is a huge growth are that is almost entirely untapped.

As phone data network speeds rise and device functionality improves here in the US, the possibilities are almost endless. I know personally, I can operate almost entirely from my phone in a pinch (email, IM, MS Office docs, blog posts, camera shots to Flickr, etc.), but it's getting easier for everybody to jump in.

Here are some key data points from the release that I think you'll find interesting:


  • End-user generated revenues will increase from $572m in 2007 to $5.7b in 2012
  • Social networking will account for 50% of that
  • Active users of social networking will increase from 14m to 600m in 2012
  • Downloads from mobile content delivery services will increase from 200m to 9b in 2012

The study notes that data fees are really the largest obstacle right now, but I think we're seeing the start of these rates coming down as demand surges and competition heats up. Look for ad-funded models to also gain traction to off-set cost. The model needs, however, to deliver on value to the end user.

Could the next Facebook be mobile-only?

Could the next Facebook be mobile-only? Could you share more with people if your device automatically uploaded everything to this network (imagine that each photo you took was automatically sent to your mobile account)? Your phone's GPS could auto-publish where you are and text/voice/video messaging would all be integrated seamlessly. I think it's a possibility.

What do you think?


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T//M podcast #001: Harley-Davidson's sturgis widget

Picture 7.pngWhat a way to start a podcast series! I've been doing a lot of video lately and have been wanting to do a weekly audio podcast series for a long time. I've been biding my time for the right situation to present itself to get out of the gates with a bang and that's just what happened recently.

In the first ever episode in my weekly audio podcast series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Scott Beck the Marketing Director for Harley-Davidson Motorcycles (thanks to Sean Scott for setting this up). Harley recently partnered with agency Carmichael Lynch in Minneapolis to create a new type of widget. They threw out the conventions and created something remarkable. The widget, timed to launch with the Sturgis motorscycle festival (attended by over 500,000 riders), broadcasts live streaming video from the festival grounds to Harley fans around the world. It includes audio and really gives people a window into the whole experience.

I was able to talk with Scott and Jon on my phone, but could see and hear them in the widget. So very, very cool. I hope you like episode one and please bear with me as audio editing is really new to me. These podcasts will never go over 26 minutes in length (the average commute time in the US) so you can download, consume and start implementing in short order.

Any feedback or comments would be greatly appreciated. Enjoy!

Leave audio comments at +1 (206) 350-2186 or drop me an email at mattdickman@gmail.com

podcast-logo1.gifHow can you listen? There are three ways:

  1. Download the MP3 file for episode 1
  2. Subscribe to the Techno//Marketer podcast on iTunes
  3. Subscribe using another podcatcher using my podcast RSS feed here

Episode guide:

"Fresh, filtered and focused content for new marketers"


0m28s Welcome to episode 1

1m12s Overview of my goals for the podcast

1m50s Intro to interview with Scott Beck, Director of Marketing for Harley-Davidson motorcycles

5m30s Interview with Scott Beck and Jon Campbell of Harley Davidson

18m55s Interview wrap-up

22m15s Kudos to Todd Andrlik's Power150 for its partnership with AdAge

Notable items:


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Mobile marketing refresher

bluespammed.jpgI've been doing a lot of thinking on mobile marketing lately and it's sparked me to re-publish my mobile marketing 101 series from earlier this year. If you're thinking about mobile, this is a nice entry point.

I'm going to be expanding on this series with a focus on social media and new marketing in the next couple of weeks, so it's a great time to refresh on the basics. In the meantime, if you have any questions or topics you would like to see covered, let me know via email or in the comments.

[Related Link] MMA Global: mobile marketing's governing body


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Buzz Friday for August 3, 2007

more-buzz.jpgHere is a look at what is happening across a couple of sites I keep an eye on. I am refining this post over time, so if there is anything you would like me to add just email me or leave a comment. Similarly, if you have something you think is Buzz Friday worthy let me know and I'll look it over for inclusion.

iTunes.jpgBuzz Friday is also available as part of the Techno//Marketer Podcast on iTunes. Click here to subscribe and take the Buzz to go.



[Feed readers please click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

Here are all of the items that I think are interesting this week:


  • Do you wonder how powerful Google's search is? They recently "tweaked" their search algorithm and it caused a 28% drop in traffic to About.com.
  • The DIY Network is running a series called Blog Cabin where people could log on to a site and basically help design a log cabin through blog software. Four million votes have been tallied so far. Very innovative on DIY's part.
  • Google is using the power of crowdsourcing in non-US countries to build map dat points. Why not use the locals for the local stuff? Makes sense to me.
  • TubeMogul is a brilliant new service that I am using to simultaneously publish the video that I am creating here to (as of right now) 9 different video sites. This saves me at least an hour of follow up.
  • If you have a MySpace profile, Tom is probably your friend. The new site DropTom lets you set a new default user instead of poor ole' Tom.
  • Marcus Brown (aka Sacrum), my fellow Age of Conversation author, has started a new idea company called The Ides of March with a very cool model. He'll take on any problem for you and you pay him what you think it's worth. If you don't like the idea, he gets to blog it to his readers. He's a brilliant guy so what's to lose?
  • A new virtual world competitor to Second Life is ready in Multiverse. Look for lots more.
  • Social network Plaxo is rumored to be releasing their new version on Monday to compete more with LinkedIn and Facebook.
  • Yahoo is revamping their video site to compete with YouTube. Better hurry guys!
  • Video service Veoh is partnering with the NCAA for a branded content channel.
  • Are you planning a conference that needs speakers? Check out David Berkowitz's 12 tips for pitching to help you out.
  • C.B. Whittemore warns why competing on price is a losing battle.
  • Vodafone pulled advertising from Facebook after it was seen on the group page of a racist political party in the UK. Makes you wonder how targeted FB ads are anyways.
  • CBS mobile is covering their bases forming partnerships with four major mobile ad companies.
  • Feedburner is allowing publishers to create self-serve ads through their network similar to Google AdSense.
  • In what is sure to be the first of many such scenarios, Facebook has closed its audio sharing service to prevent RIAA lawsuits.
  • If you have an iPhone and travel overseas beware. This guy had a $3000 cell phone bill.
  • Technokitten has a nice post on mobile gaming and her top 20 trends for the space.
  • Linden Labs, creators of Second Life, have banned gambling per FBI reviews.
  • Do you have some advice for people coming out of college? Head over to Ryan's blog and leave your best thoughts.
  • The LA Fire Department has started Twittering to get information out.
  • Jason Calacanis has declared Facebook bankruptcy on his blog. I would too if I had 500 people join in.


Top Five Web2.0 Movers of the Week (using Alexa data)


  1. vSocial
  2. Vimeo
  3. Odeo
  4. Twitter
  5. Frappr

More

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from Viral Garden - No change from last week


  1. Seth's blog
  2. Gaping Void
  3. Duct Tape Marketing
  4. Logic + Emotion
  5. Diva Marketing
  6. Daily Fix
  7. What's Next
  8. Converstations
  9. Church of the Customer
  10. Drew's Marketing Minute

View the top full top 25

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from Todd Andrlik - There is lots more competition on the Power150 since Todd partnered with AdAge.


  1. Seth Godin
  2. Copyblogger
  3. Micro Persuasion
  4. Pronet Advertising
  5. Adrants
  6. Search Engine Land
  7. Online Marketing Blog
  8. Duct Tape Marketing
  9. Marketing Pilgrim
  10. tompeters!

View the full list here

Top 5 "Viral" Videos This Week


  1. Thriller - still holding strong
  2. Chocolate Rain - a joke with staying power
  3. Dark Knight Official Teaser
  4. Rhain Davis at Manchester United
  5. Iron Man - Comic-Con preview

More


iTunes.jpgTo help you stay on top of what is happening and to filter the myriad options, you can now subscribe to the Techno//Marketer podcast on iTunes. Get updates in real time when new videos become available.

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The real power of Second Life

SL logo.gifIf you read this blog on a regular basis, or any of the other new media blogs out there, you've no doubt heard a lot about Second Life. It's even come into the cross-hairs of mainstream media as of late as reporters who dabble in the medium flush out its weaknesses, which it undoubtedly has. (You can read Wired's accusatory article here.)

My problem with most of "mainstream" media's take on it is that they either spend too little time with it (less than an hour) or don't even bother trying. Now, I admit there are more than a few shortcomings and limitations in Second Life and like everything in new media it's ONE option, not THE option. Here are a few of the main limitations:

  • It's rather slow (see the next point)
  • It wasn't built to scale to the volume of users that are there today
  • It's yet another application requiring yet another install

Those, however, are not the faults that the media usually finds. They target things like 'it's geeky', 'it's young', 'it's full of sex', etc. Those things are true, but Second Life is only three years old. Remember the arguments that people had in the late 90's against the Internet? Sound familiar? It should.

Remember the arguments that people had in the late 90's against the Internet? Sound familiar? It should.

Right now Second Life is experimental, but as I spend more and more time there the real power has become clearly evident. Here are a few of the things that make SL an option that should remain on the table for marketers as an option for their marketing mix.

Here I am in SL chilling out

Picture 3.png

  1. It's extremely engaging/immersive: This is a virtual world first and foremost. You can walk around, touch things, sit down, walk up and down stairs, jump up and down, shake other people's hands, have meetings, etc. It's as immersive as any video game and the movement and interaction are very similar as well. The designers who create areas are basically unlimited in what they can do and the laws of gravity certainly don't exist (for the most part). For the user, you can customize your wardrobe and total appearance down to every detail.
  2. It's more personal than email, IM or a phone call: As soon as your persona is created and you take your first steps, you become connected with them. When you walk up to somebody else you can IM and chat with them (and now you can use voice chat as well). Unlike normal chat and email, where you may be doing something else and not paying attention, the fact that you're physically represented makes you more connected and engaged.
  3. It bridges physical disconnect: Companies and organizations that are physically decentralized will find Second Life a powerful bridge builder. No matter where people are, they can jump on, meet up in a certain place and chat. The focus that you put on your character makes you pay attention more to what you're saying and makes you listen and engage more than any teleconference you could hold. Churches have been formed and are creating services, events are taking place to raise real money for charity, companies are holding staff meetings as well as conducting interviews, hosting/attending trade shows and putting on concerts. These are things that normally would consist of a teleconference, web streaming or IM and the virtual nature makes it a lot more fun and interactive.
  4. Connections are easily made: It's easy to make friends in SL since you can walk right up to almost anyone and strike up a conversation. You'll find people from all over the world there and learn new and interesting things in the process. In many ways SL mirrors life except the normal barriers of personal space are not there. You can talk to anybody, go anywhere and meet people who you normally wouldn't be able to meet offline.
  5. New voice feature: I already mentioned how having a physical representation in the world is engaging, but now voice has been added. You can basically talk to anybody and they can talk back to you. Think about it as an instant teleconference for free. This really just adds to the level of interactivity and makes the experience more immersive.

I hope that, before you write it off or scoff, you will take a stroll through Second Life. Heck, if you want I'll personally walk you through every single step. You can call me directly at 216-408-3312 or email me. The worst thing you can do is read the hype (or anti-hype) and believe it. You have to experience is for yourself.

Second Life may not be the end-all of virtual worlds. There may be a better one that comes along. Private worlds will surely spring up and I could totally see somebody like Facebook or MySpace adding this on to their existing network to enhance engagement. I'm available anytime to show you around (my screen name in SL is Mattanium Eros), so what are you waiting for? The worst that can happen is you find it's not right for your customers at this time, but you'll be a lot more educated in the end.

[Note] If you want to see more, check out my in-depth video on Second Life.




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Inside//Out: del.icio.us

delicious_logo.gifAccording to a recent Pew Internet Life, 28% of internet users have tagged content with 7% tagging content every day. One of the most popular tagging sites out today is del.icio.us (although it's not the only one). I personally use it to a) help me remember content that I want to revisit later, b) provides collective intelligence information and c) share relevant information with my readers.

Here is an Inside//Out look at del.icio.us.

Getting set up on the service is really straight forward and it easily integrates into the normal browsing experience. Clicking a link can tag the information, share it with the community and tell you how popular the content is.

Here are the keys to understanding tagging sites:


  • Very focused design puts information and usability first
  • Tags are keywords (yes it's that simple)
  • The tags are stored to your profile so you can reference them later from any web browser
  • Tags are shared globally so you can see related content from the entire network
  • You can create networks that feed aggregate content from all users and share
  • Popularity is gained by having something tagged multiple times in a shortened time frame
  • Great source for research, trend spotting and keeping the industry's pulse
  • Content is easily shared to blogs and other websites as well

If you have any questions or suggestions for a future Inside//Out post just email me or leave a comment on this post.

Click here to see past Inside//Out segments including Twitter, Mahalo and Second Life.




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Mobile social media and micromedia

iStock_000003099714XSmall.jpgI've been evangelizing the power of mobile technology for about six years now. From the early days of the original Palm Pilot and brutally slow early cell phone browsers the potential for making an impact is massive and is equally untapped. According to M:Metrics 55%+ of Americans now own a cell phone and that number is growing every day. On top of that, data access speeds are getting faster and phone functionality is becoming more robust.

Take these numbers from M:Metrics on consumption:
Picture 17.png

You can see that SMS (text messaging) is leading the way followed by photo messaging and content browsing. Given this information and looking at the types of MicroMedia that we're dealing with today, the potential uses of mobile for engagement is huge. MicroMedia is a term (coined?) created by Jermiah Owyang at Web Strategist. He saw the need for a missing term that really encompasses "micro-blogging" and "micro-messaging". You can read his definition at his post, here is my altered version leveraging his original:

Text, audio or video messages published to a trusted social community. Content is created and consumed using synchronized, mixed platforms including mobile, web-based and installed software applications, and often distributed using other social media tools.

The traditional web is comprised of high-bandwidth, large/wide format content. The problem is that it's not suitable for the small screen and the clunky (at best) data entry techniques on today's phone. What these new micromedia formats accomplish is creating value through quick, low-bandwidth, low-complexity content creation.

Here are some examples:


  • Presence apps (Twitter, Jaiku, Pownce, Facebook): These presence applications allow for quick updates to be published using multiple platforms and distributed using the same platforms to a trusted network of peers.
  • Social friend networks (Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, etc.): This is more robust, high-bandwidth content, but mobile hooks are still there including publishing from phones, uploading audio/video/photos.
  • Photo/video networks (Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, etc.): Expanding on this point, more and more phones have photo/video cameras and are connected to the mobile network. Shooting a video or a photo and instantly uploading them to the web is a reality. The process is easy (send the file to a unique address) and near real-time.

All of this mobile, MicroMedia content adds value to the creator as well as the community of people that they're connected to. Social networks are great at serving as aggregators for small, frequent content much more so than traditional content management systems. For a couple examples, take a look at my Facebook profile and homepage and my Jaiku feed (which I just use to aggregate other MicroMedia into one centralized feed).

Picture 19.png


Picture 20.png

So, when you're looking at your social media endeavors, keep mobile in mind. Grab a phone and start playing with it. Take some photos and send them to friends. Take a video and send them too. Join Twitter and text message in some updates. Above all, keep an open mind, but don't let this pass you by.


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Buzz Friday for July 27, 2007

more-buzz.jpgHere is a look at what is happening across a couple of sites I keep an eye on. I am refining this post over time, so if there is anything you would like me to add just email me or leave a comment. Similarly, if you have something you think is Buzz Friday worthy let me know and I'll look it over for inclusion.

iTunes.jpgBuzz Friday is also available as part of the Techno//Marketer Podcast on iTunes. Click here to subscribe and take the Buzz to go.


[Feed readers please click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

Here are all of the items that I think are interesting this week:


  • The value/monetization conversation in social media is staying front and center. CC Chapman has a very thoughtful post on the subject today which I encourage you to check out. Also check Mack's take on this subject. Both use Joseph Jaffe's iPhone for an episode example. More on this from me on Monday. Check my thoughts in the video.
  • A new Reuter's report shows that young people don't see tech, it's integrated and seamless for them. That's the way it is for me. The more technology disappears the more valuable it becomes.
  • Are you thinking about mobile? You should. Verizon's reported that in June alone, 10 billion text messages were sent and received.
  • Todd Andrlik's Power 150 marketing blogs list has joined forces with AdAge. Congrats to Todd for your hard work and dedication and to Ad Age for recognizing the value of this community of thought leaders.
  • The results of David Armano's UX guru poll are in. You can check them out here.
  • Sean @ Craphammer goes all out (that's a really bad choice of words) to promote the Age of Conversation book. Check his hilarious video here.
  • Iain Tait @ CrackUnit has a post on his seven deadly sins of digital (I can think of plenty more, but this is a good start).
  • Twitter received an undisclosed amount of VC funding to enhance the service.
  • The biggest thing holding back Pownce at this point is the lack of developer integration. TechCrunch reports an open AI could be coming at some point.
  • Absolut vodka has a great new promotion to help out hurricane Katrina victims with their Absolut New Orleans flavor.
  • Are you confused by SEO terms? Do you yearn to know what a 301 redirect is? Here is a quick glossary to help you out courtesy of SEOMoz.
  • ESPN will launch their new venture in mobile content with EXPN on Verizon and MediaFlo.
  • Joost is still in beta, but claims they will have 1 million users at their year-end launch. Personally, I've forgotten about the service and I'd be interested to see what percentage of those users are active.
  • Check out Greg Verdino's post about the re-purposing of 30 second spots. Using an existing ad online in a rich media ad is a lazy way to create web content. Don't think this an integrated campaign makes.
  • Verizon is the first to offer direct to YouTube video uploads. This would have been nice to see on the iPhone, but ironically it doesn't record video. Baffling.
  • Facebook's looking to monetize as evidenced by their new CFO, the former YouTube CFO.
  • Mack Collier points to Mario Sundar's post about comment rating platform SezWho. Are we ready for this or is this one more reason to keep new ideas from coming forward? People already don't comment and other people will comment no matter what.
  • Want to find more ways to collaborate online with groups of people? Check Mashable's list of over 60 apps.
  • The Simpsons Movie has a great little site for promotion called "SimpsonizeMe". Below is what I would look like as a character on the show. Try it out, you know you've always wanted to.

Me as a Simpsons character

Top Five Web2.0 Movers of the Week (using Alexa data)


  1. Upcoming
  2. VidLife
  3. Rollyo
  4. Pando
  5. ZippyVideo

More

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from Viral Garden


  1. Seth's blog
  2. Gaping Void
  3. Duct Tape Marketing
  4. Logic + Emotion
  5. Diva Marketing
  6. Daily Fix
  7. What's Next
  8. Converstations
  9. Church of the Customer
  10. Drew's Marketing Minute

View the top full top 25

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from Todd Andrlik - The Power 150 was acquired by AdAge. Read more here.


  1. Seth Godin
  2. Copyblogger
  3. Pronet Advertising
  4. Adrants
  5. Micro Persuasion
  6. Search Engine Land
  7. Online Marketing Blog
  8. Duct Tape Marketing
  9. Marketing Pilgrim
  10. tompeters!

View the full list here

Top 5 "Viral" Videos This Week


  1. Thriller
  2. Beyonce falls down steps
  3. Internet data lost
  4. El Nino predicador
  5. Paul sings opera

More


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Inside//Out: MySpace

myspace_logo.gifMySpace was one of the first major social networks. Since then, many competitors have emerged and the landscape is as fractured as the San Andreas fault. The focus of MySpace seems to be around network content (music, news, blogs, etc.) and less around the user generated content. Take a look at this video tour of the site and check out more discussion below.


[Feed readers please click through to the post for the video.]

For comparison of networks, be sure to watch my Inside//Out post on Facebook. Even with all of the hype around Facebook right now, MySpace is still the dominant force in social networking. Here are two examples.

Here is the Alexa data for pageviews between the two sites. You can see that Facebook (blue line) is gaining, but MySpace (red line) is still generally trending up and comfortably in the lead.

graph.png

This chart shows blog mentions between the two sites. Facebook is making up ground here as well and MySpace is trending down.

blogpulse.png

The successful companies have fun with it, are proactive, respect the community and always add value to the user.

In the end, you need to find out where your customers are. If they're on MySpace then Facebook doesn't matter and vice versa. Also, the community is paramount here. MySpace, to me, is the best way to personify a brand through a profile. It's been done really well and horribly. The successful companies have fun with it, are proactive, respect the community and always add value to the user.

Take the Simpsons example that I went through in the video. They offer the marketing basics, but it's fun. There are IM icons, avatars, promotions, games, etc. How could you leave that page and not feel happy and like you've received value.

If there is a social network that you'd like me to cover just drop me an email or leave a comment on this post.




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Buzz Friday for July 20, 2007

more-buzz.jpgHere is a look at what is happening across a couple of sites I keep an eye on. I am refining this post over time, so if there is anything you would like me to add just email me or leave a comment. Similarly, if you have something you think is Buzz Friday worthy let me know and I'll look it over for inclusion.

iTunes.jpgBuzz Friday is also available as part of the Techno//Marketer Podcast on iTunes. Click here to subscribe and take the Buzz to go.


[Feed readers please click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

Here are all of the items that I think are interesting this week:


  • Joe Jaffe started a firestorm in his podcast Across The Sound when he offered to allow a company to sponsor his podcast in trade for an iPhone. Mack Collier picked up and ran with it. Check the video for my take.
  • Valeria offers up a couple nice points on Facebook and other networks. I think there is a twist to this though. Check the video.
  • Becky Carroll has a fantastic primer on what user experience is. This is a must-read in my mind. David Armano is polling his readers about the top names in user experience.
  • BL Ochman had a really nice post on the "real value" of social networks. Her point (and mine as well) is that these networks are helping to build real relationships, share knowledge and improve our lives little by little. There is a lot going on in social media which makes it exciting and challenging. If you feel overwhelmed, just back off a bit.
  • Greg Verdino gets my award for best photo on a blog post. His point is something I preach all the time. To truly uinderstand social media and marketing with it, you have to use it. What are you waiting for? Jump in!
  • Sean Scott at 15 minutes bought a copy of the Age of Conversation and really hit the nail on the head in his post 'Is your company structured right?". Let's build on this momentum and affect change!
  • EBay's getting in on the Facebook movement.
  • My latest Commercial Worthy post is up at The Madison Avenue Journal. What do you think?
  • Mark's got an great take on what social networks he uses and why.
  • The VP of Strategic Marketing at FedEx doesn't like blogging and thinks it doesn't impact Google search results. He must not search very much. Check out Jeremiah's take.
  • Ever wonder what you'd look like as a Simpson character? Head over here and Simpsonize yourself.
  • Mashable has a great look at the numbers behind high-buzz sites like Pownce, Facebook and Twitter. Check it here.
  • Tech Crunch acquired the site InviteShare which allows people to get invites to new beta versions of social media sites.
  • Veoh signed a deal with Verizon to deliver videos from the site to Verizon mobile users. Look for more of this type of arrangement this next year.
  • Josh Hallet at HyKu posts about how blogging can be used to drive economic development.
  • Brilliant little bit of buzz viral in this post from Faris Yakob. This type of inteagration in the digital space is impressively engaging.
  • Facebook overtook MySpace in the UK foir the number of search queries.
  • Lots of good press on the Age of Conversation project that I am a part of. Check out the site for more info.
  • Hong Kong's mass transit train system is getting WiFi.
  • There is a rumor that Vodafone is looking to buy Verizon. Would be a major move for global cellular.
  • Google is trying to purchase a chunk of the US 700Mhz wireless spectrum (thank you Michelle!). With this move they could control what companies use it and how those arrangements with consumers happen. AT&T isn't happy and has responded.

Top 10 Technorati Searches


  1. youtube
  2. noelia
  3. skyblog
  4. harry potter
  5. ron paul
  6. myspace
  7. photobucket
  8. bebo
  9. xu jinglei
  10. iphone

Top Five Web2.0 Movers of the Week (using Alexa data)


  1. Zaadz
  2. 37 Signals
  3. Stickam
  4. Bolt
  5. Rojo

More

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from Viral Garden


  1. Seth's Blog
  2. Gaping Void
  3. Duct Tape Marketing
  4. Logic + Emotion
  5. Diva Marketing
  6. Daily Fix
  7. Converstations
  8. What's Next
  9. Church of the Customer
  10. Drew's Marketing Minute

View the top full top 25

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from Todd Andrlik - Check out my featured profile on Todd's site


  1. Seth Godin
  2. Micro Persuasion
  3. tompeters!
  4. Pronet Advertising
  5. Adrants
  6. SEOMoz Blog
  7. Online Marketing Blog
  8. Duct Tape Marketing
  9. Marketing Pilgrim
  10. PSFK

View the full list here

Top 5 "Viral" Videos This Week


  1. Will it blend? iPhone
  2. Breaking news: all online data lost...
  3. Debate '08: Obama girl vs. Giuliani girl
  4. Diet Coke and mentos
  5. The Wind

More

[Honorable mention: prison thriller from Sean Howard @ CrapHammer]


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Embracing your polarity

scion_3d_logo_LET.jpgDo you polarize people? Does your product? Some companies seem to have a knack for steering a conversation about love/hate relationships. One of the best in recent years is Scion, the subsidiary of Toyota. A couple of years ago they released their Xb model to much criticism. Here is a picture of it to refresh your memory.

scion.jpgIt's boxy, it's young and aggressive, most of the owners added modifications to them and painted them different colors and it's hard to find two that are alike. The thing about this car is that you either love it or you hate it. You never hear people waffle between "kinda liking it" or "possibly liking it". Love or hate. This is an interesting strategy to enter a market with, but it's been successful for them and many others.

I thought it was refreshing to see this pair of ads floating around the net over the past couple of days which I think play nicely on the polarity. They know it, they like it and they want you to have fun with it either way you feel.

Picture 13.png

Picture 12.png

What other products, services or companies have you noticed that polarize people? What do you love/hate? Have you seen those entities embrace their polarity?

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Inside//Out: Facebook

facebook_logo.jpgFacebook is riding a huge wave of popularity right now and it is a viable platform for marketers looking to reach their customers. This edition of Inside//Out takes a 30,000 foot view of how Facebook works for users and what the marketing hooks are. Creativity is paramount in approaching this community and opportunities can be created if, and only if, you play by the rules and remember:


  • You have to add value to each interaction
  • Use the naturally viral nature of the community instead of forcing it



[Feed readers please click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

One of the biggest downsides with the network is it is a walled garden. It's great at collecting information and sharing it internally. However, it is abysmal at sharing that information with outsiders. Embedding Facebook content on other networks is not possible at this point in time. Similarly, all of the messaging is contained only in the system. Messages from other users bring people back to read them and the status dashboard that I showed you cannot be subscribed to via RSS.

On the other hand, Facebook's F8 developer platform makes it very easy to reach users at the profile level by enabling applications to be built on top of their technology. This openness is allowing Facebook to reach more people through more active development than rival networks like LinkedIn or MySpace. I foresee a lot more effort by those sites to catch up to Facebook in order to stay relevant. LinkedIn has the advantage of focus (professional networking), but it's like a plain, boring resume right now. Facebook is like having drinks with a person and learning about them...for good and for bad. I think there is a balance between the two somewhere.

Jeremiah Owyang at PodTech had an interesting thought on how Facebook could become a defacto standard for personal authentication around the net. For example, if you were to leave a comment on this post (which I hope you will) you would have the option to log in with your Facebook ID and have your information pulled over automatically. Very interesting theory.

Marketing options on the site include (but are not limited to):


  • Flyers - small ads that resemble classifieds. These are generally not effective as they're not valuable to the readers
  • Banner ads - these have very low click through rates (no value added)
  • Create a poll - ask a specific group of users questions
  • Create a group - engage your customers/fans and spur conversation
  • Applications - using the power of the F8 platform, you can allow users to pull you right in to their profile pages
  • Other options - Facebook will work with you to create custom programs

No matter what tactic is right for you, keep the rules in mind:


  • You have to add value to each interaction
  • Use the naturally viral nature of the community instead of forcing it

If you have any questions please leave me a comment or drop me an email.


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Metrics shape our perceived value; why the formula matters

iStock_000003339307XSmall.jpgOkay marketers. Let's say you are prepping to run an ad campaign for a mass, commodity good and you have to rank your ad buys over the top content networks. How would you rank the following and what metrics would you use? Go ahead and try it.


  • AOL
  • Ebay
  • Fox Interactive Media
  • Google
  • Microsoft
  • MSN/Windows Live
  • Yahoo

Would you have ranked them by total audience knowing that you could reach a more robust and accurate subset with targeted ads? Or, would you have opted for total page views thinking that the more pages served the more eyeballs will take a look? Better yet, did you opt for the new Nielsen-suggested standard of time on site knowing that time leads to engagement and better eyeballs? You may be surprised at how different these results are.

Nielsen.jpg
Source: Nielsen/NetRatings,
U.S., home and work, May 2007
Take a look at the chart to the left. The first chart shows each network based on total unique audience with Google in the lead. It is followed by Yahoo, MSN/Live, Microsoft and AOL. Remember AOL's last-place position in this chart for later. There is a gap of roughly 20 million people between first and last place.

But you may not have wanted to go with total audience, instead you want to use page views as your metric. Well, in that case Yahoo is your network of choice. Yahoo is followed by Fox (including MySpace), Google, MSN/Live and EBay. In this case there is a roughly 20 billion page view difference.

However, you may be detered by page views and total audience and find yourself looking at total time on the site. In that case AOL comes out of nowhere to take a firm lead (remember they were last in total audience). They're followed by Yahoo, MSN/Live, Fox and Google who drops like a stone. There is a difference of roughly 17.5 billion minutes between AOL and Google.

So what the heck does this mean to you? Let's look at each network to see what the metrics tell us.


aol_logo.jpgAOL - The AOL network is where to go if you want people who spend a lot of time there, but they are not generating a lot of page views in that time. There are an estimated 90 million people in the audience.


ebay_logo.jpgEbay - EBay pops up only in the page views metric as you would expect. Each listing is a page and visitors crank through them quickly. Total audience is lower as is the time on the site.


logo_fox.gifFox Interactive Media - The Fox network, while not large, generates quite a few page views and stays engaged with that content longer when you consider its size. I think MySpace has a large part to do with that summary. as people stay engaged, but constantly churn through pages of friends as well as adding content.


logo-Google.gifGoogle - Google is still the king of search so if you're looking for SEM and you want the volume, this is your stop (according to 2007 April figures from Nielsen//NetRatings, Google has the largest share of U.S. based web searches at 55.2% (Google Acquisitions), Yahoo is second at 21.9%, MSN is third at 9.0%, AOL is fourth at 5.4%, and Ask is fifth at 1.8%). The downside of Google is that people are coming for a specific task and jumping off hence the low engagement times and high audience.


microsoft logo_qjpreviewth.jpgMicrosoft - The Microsoft audience is large as you would expect, but that's where the company's advantage ends. They don't show up on the total time on site or the page views metrics.


250px-MSN_(logo).pngMSN/Windows Live - MSN represents Microsoft's consumer facing entity and their Live search function. Live has been picking up some momentum in total search volume, but they've a long way to go to catch Google. MSN comfortably sits in the middle of the pack on almost every point. They dip below when it comes to page views. It's a large audience that spends an average amount of time on fewer pages.


yahoo-logo.jpgYahoo - Yahoo comes out the best of any network when you look at each metric. They have the second largest audience, the most number of page views and the second most time in minutes. This should be an attractive combination to marketers especially in targeted display ads. Yahoo still lags behind Google for SEM where there is still a 30%+ gap.


In the end, no matter who you are or who you are marketing to, it comes down to a few key factors:

  • Find your audience. If they're not using Google then you're wasting your money
  • Relevance is key. Making hyper-targeted ad buys will help make sure relevance is there and waste is minimal
  • Nobody likes iterruption. The last thing I want is to have my visit to a network interrupted by your ad. Give me some value and be relevant to what I am looking at. If I'm in the auto repair section, don't offer me camera equipment.
  • Think outside the banner. Look at sponsorships or creating value-add programs to hook users.
  • Think social. Engaging with the community on a social level will lead to more success. Think about shifting dollars to social/conversational media. You may get more bang for your buck.

What do you consider when you run ads? Have you started shifting dollars to digital? Are you shifting those dollars to social media? Let me know in the comments.


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Buzz Friday for July 13, 2007

more-buzz.jpgHere is a look at what is happening across a couple of sites I keep an eye on. I am refining this post over time, so if there is anything you would like me to add just email me or leave a comment. Similarly, if you have something you think is Buzz Friday worthy let me know and I'll look it over for inclusion.

iTunes.jpgBuzz Friday is also available as part of the Techno//Marketer Podcast on iTunes. Click here to subscribe and take the Buzz to go.


[Feed readers please click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

Here are all of the items that I think are interesting this week:


  • The hottest marketing book of the year (well, at least one of them) comes out on Monday. The Age of Conversation, of which I am one of the authors, combines the thoughts of 100 authors, bloggers and change agents centered around the theme of creating conversations. Check back here on Monday morning for more info. All proceeds go to charity. Thanks Drew and Gavin!
  • Nielsen/NetRatings announced it will abandon the page view metric in favor of visitor time on site. MUCH more debate on this to come.
  • Jeremiah at Web-Strategist has a nice post about social media measurement. Anyone in this space should check it out.
  • Doug Meacham gives a great write up of the Whole Foods CEO debacle. Read this for a lesson in what NOT to do if you run a company.
  • The new Simpson's Movie has been getting some good attention online. Here is a quick roundup of some of it.
  • Looking for alternatives to Digg for social new communities? Check out these six.
  • British police will be using head-mounted cameras with video recorders to capture incidents. I think much more of this is going to be coming along the Justin.tv route.
  • YouTube re-affirms its stance as the king of user generated content announcing the winner of their Sketchies contest.
  • How do you feel about Starbucks? Anybody who knows me well knows how I love them so. Head over to Lewis' blog to let him know how you feel.
  • AT&T is reporting that 25% of their iPhone customers switched from another carrier. That's one way to stay relevant. They're going to need to keep up the dev cycle on new phones as more companies copy quickly.
  • I mentioned something like this in my social media video strategy post, but more companies are developing devices that are integrated with social networking sites. Casio announced their new cameras will hook up to YouTube.
  • The people at Will It Blend? have a great new video out on blending the iPhone. Apple fanboys avert your eyes.
  • People are actually selling invites to the social networking site Pownce on eBay. People please, just ask for them. The service is still not very useful to me, but I'm waiting to see if it gains critical mass.
  • Marc Andreessen, one of the founders of Netscape back in the day, has been blogging for five weeks and he's hooked. Here are his thoughts. Welcome to the blogosphere Marc!
  • Yahoo is rumored to be building their own social network called Mosh. More to come on this I'm sure.
  • MySpace has been overtaken in the UK by both Facebook and Bebo. Will this trend continue to the US?
  • Valeria has a good look at why US mobile carriers are lagging behind their European counterparts.
  • CK helps a company make a difference while pitching bloggers. What do you think?
  • Apple is reported to be working on enabling Flash on the iPhone. That would be very nice indeed.
  • Possibly the first copyright infringement lawsuit in Second Life happened around the fourth of July. I foresee more of these in the future as real world items are replicated virtually. We'll have to see what precedent is set here.
  • Jeep gets social media and they know their customers like to share experiences. See havefunoutthere.com via Three Minds.
  • Apple picked up the www.iphone.com domain name for seven figures.
  • Love this movie done by Karl Long of Nokia in line with iPhone customers. The end is the payoff. Nice work Karl.
  • Coca-Cola has made a bold move into SL with their Virtual Thirst competition. They took that a step further by officially telling people that they would not give any guidance or police the virtual community thereby allowing anyone to use their marks. Very bold.
  • David Armano pulled a nice little joke on readers announcing a fictitious social netoworking site called BouGie. He had people going before calling it off showing how easy it is to spread the message if you reach the right people.
  • Have you heard of Ning, but didn't know what it was? Here is the founder's take. I'll be posting on it next week with an Inside//Out feature.
  • More companies are venturing into Second Life with better strategies. Check out Neville Hobson's take on Crowne Plaza's entry.
  • NBC's ClownCo. better get up and running quick or YouTube's lead is going to grow even more. YouTube has 60%+ of worldwide video traffic.
  • Mario Vellandi had a nice post on a new site called Here's To Beer. He later found that Annheuser-Busch owns it. This seems a good move to really engage outside of Bud.tv as that strategy gets re-worked.
  • A Google blogger posted a personal post on the company's health care blog regarding Michael Moore's new movie Sicko. The post was out of line per the company's position and is another lesson learned for all of us. Thanks Scoble.

Top 10 Technorati Searches


  1. youtube
  2. noelia
  3. ron paul
  4. myspace
  5. bebo
  6. music
  7. iphone
  8. harry potter
  9. paris hilton
  10. dailymotion

Top Five Web2.0 Movers of the Week (using Alexa data)


  1. Oodle
  2. Ning
  3. MyYearBook
  4. Box.net
  5. Ma.gnolia

More

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from Viral Garden - No changes this week


  1. Seth's Blog
  2. Gaping Void
  3. Duct Tape Marketing
  4. Logic + Emotion
  5. Diva Marketing
  6. Daily Fix
  7. What's Next
  8. Converstations
  9. Church of the Customer
  10. Drew's Marketing Minute

View the top full top 25

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from Todd And - New to Buzz Friday


  1. Seth Godin
  2. Micro Persuasion
  3. tompeters!
  4. Pronet Advertising
  5. Adrants
  6. SEOMoz Blog
  7. Online Marketing Blog
  8. Duct Tape Marketing
  9. Marketing Pilgrim
  10. PSFK

View the full list here

Top 5 "Viral" Videos This Week


  1. Will it blend? iPhone
  2. CNN gets blitzed by Michael Moore
  3. The Wind
  4. Madonna Hey You
  5. Samsung Dance

More


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No value to the community = no value to you

Today a post from UK-based Reach Students blog tells of the organization's woes in using advertising on Facebook to reach their target audience. In their four total campaigns they tried both banners and Facebook's Flyers and were disappointed each time. Their last ran 1.4 million impressions and delivered a 0.04% click-through rate. Yikes! Valleywag reports similar numbers with Facebook and equally low MySpace data.

Some people are shocked that the numbers are this low. But why I ask?!! These social networks are all about value. If an element or a feature is not adding value it is removed and replaced (at no cost) by something that does add value. Ads just don't add anything to the experience. Let's take a look at my profile page on Facebook to visualize why this is true.

Picture 7.png

Notice the ad spot on this page is the narrow skyscraper in the lower left. If you're using the page however, your complete focus is on the content column. Even using the traditional Z-pattern to read the page, your eye doesn't make it to the ad. When I am in this environment I don't want to be disturbed which is why this type of interruption marketing falls on its face.

If you are a marketer and you're thinking to yourself, "Yeah, but MY product is different, my target audience will find HUGE value if they just try it", then you need a reality check. Unless you're giving away cold hard cash to every single person (and even then I would argue there is little value in running ads here) then find another way to get in the mix.

Now, there are branded elements on my profile page that I interact with everyday. These elements add value to me, but they are replaceable. Companies there include:


  • Flickr
  • Pownce
  • Moleskine
  • Skype
  • ICQ
  • AIM
  • Google

If you're trying to use a social network to market to your audience you absolutely MUST add value to the users.

So what's the lesson? If you're trying to use a social network to market to your audience (every network falls into this rule) you absolutely must add value to the users. If you do, they will reciprocate by spreading your message far and wide and you'll be the best thing since broadband. If you don't well, you may just get 0.04% click-through rates.

[Note: I will be doing an Inside//Out post on Facebook for marketers on Monday so check back then for a more in depth look.]




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Would you purchase through a banner ad?

tailgate_logo.gifI saw a very interesting article over at TechCrunch today about a company who is purported to be reviving the online banner ad. The company, Tailgate, is allowing e-commerce to happen inside a banner ad. You can see an example of this here.

Here are my questions/issues with this. While I think this is a good idea in theory it has inherent downfalls, not the least of which is the fact that banner ads are not very effective and these particular ads could pose a security risk, or a perception thereof, for consumers. I've learned to tune ads out no matter what site I am on and a lot of other people have as well. Here's my quick take:


[Feed readers click through to the post to see the video]

The Good:


  • Capture impulse buys on complementary sites
  • Let people see your top sellers before coming to your site

The Bad:


  • Banner ads are mostly irrelevant for consumers
  • Banners are interruption based (which is hopefully on its way out)
  • People block banners out of their consciousness when surfing with a goal in mind
  • There is a lack of trust (phishing and other scams)
  • Also there is a lack of perceived security (no matter how secure it is)
  • No way to identify authenticity of the offer or the host

How much better would the same advertiser money be spent to reach out to influential brand evangelists and/or bloggers? Why not join in the conversation instead of trying to interrupt it?

Overall, I think people still have some trust issues with e-commerce in general that need to be overcome before something like this has a real chance of making an impact. I'd be interested to hear from the company behind it on how they plan on reassuring people that their information is safe.

What do you think? Would you ever submit your credit card info through a banner?


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Social media overload? Look at your overlap

iStock_000002109201XSmall.jpgAs more and more new social media offerings are developed, it starts to get overwhelming for people. Many of my fellow bloggers have had this same feeling and have posted on it. Check out what Greg, Valeria, Drew, David (post one and two) and Ryan had to say. If these people (who live and breathe this stuff) are overwhelmed, I can't imagine how the general public feels. How would you know where to start?

First, let's agree on why we use social media. It's to connect to other people and add value to the community. If we can agree on that, here is my advice. To really gauge what networks you should participate in, try to visualize your extended network. Look at all of the people you engage with (or want to engage with) and see what networks they use. Find the commonalities and cut out the outliers.

socialmediaoverlap.png

This diagram is a representation of most of my on- and offline social network. Each entity represents say 25 people. The ones that don't have a bubble over them I reach through email/phone calls/notes/personal visits. Not everybody is participating, but more and more of them are. Look at where you have the most overlap. You can see that most of my elements overlap with my blog. I use this blog as the hub for contact where all of the networks that I participate in come together. Other people are using sites like Facebook and MySpace as their hubs. Most people haven't picked one hub and that's where a lot of the feeling of being overwhelmed comes into play.

Next, look at what the value of the network is to you. If you can reach most of the same people through an overlap network, then you may want to invite your contacts who are not there to join your other network. This shift is happening rapidly as groups of people shift from one place to anther until they get the value they are looking for.

Once you identify your outliers, like MySpace in my example, you can do a couple of things. First, maintain your profile on a quarterly basis. Keeping it up to date looks better and these networks are still being used by lots of people as well as showing up in search engine results. Second, start transitioning your contacts over to one of your strong networks. Tell them why you like the other network, explain why you are moving over and send them an invite to connect.

Conduct a monthly review of your networks to see where you are shifting. One service may fade away and another comes up to replace it. Networks may emerge that fill a new need. Here are some things to think about:


  • Who is in each network? Do you have overlap?
  • Are you getting value from the network? Even if a service is lacking people it can still provide value.
  • When you join a new network, chart it out and see where your overlap is.
  • Are there new people you are looking to connect with? Find where they are and join in.
  • Limit your time per day/week for each network. Go in, communicate with people and engage, then get out. Set a schedule so you don't spend too much time on one.
  • Use sites like Techno//Marketer one to gauge your interest in new products and networks. If I demo something that you're interested in, sign up and give it a try.
  • Experiment with what you feel comfortable with. There is almost zero barrier to entry here except for your time.
  • Remember that every touch point you have in a network opens you to new connections and experiences, but there has to be balance and benefit.

I hope this helps you evaluate your endeavors into social media. It's changing rapidly and it can seem overwhelming, but if you look at your overlap and the value you're getting you should end up just fine. Come on in and play around. You never know where you'll find the network of most value to you.

[UPDATE: Chris Grayson has a nice follow up post with his thoughts on the average consumer's position.]


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First//Look: Pownce (alpha)

pownce.jpgThe newest venture from Silicon Valley entrepreneur Kevin Rose (Digg CEO, Revision3, etc.) is the much hyped Pownce. To date it's been billed as everything from a Twitter killer to an email and instant messenger replacement. I Pownce here (Thanks to Jim Kukral for the invite).

The product is still in Alpha (meaning it's fairly unstable and in active development), but let's take a first look.


[Feed readers please click through to the post to see the video.]

Items of note on Pownce (alpha):


  • Not overly impressive at this point, but shows strong potential as a communications platform
  • Not a Twitter-killer until mobile hooks are put into place
  • Easy to put contacts into groups to streamline communication
  • Reliability will improve as the product goes into beta and then launches
  • Nice use of Adobe's AIR framework to make install easy and application response good
  • Enhanced messaging makes communicating easily

I'll follow Pownce as it moves into beta (mostly stable, minimum active development) to see how it unfolds. Look for new communications tools to emerge along this line in the next 6 months as more people try to invent the killer app.

If you know of a site or service you'd like to see me review let me know by email or in the comments here.

Related videos for marketers:


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Buzz Friday for June 29, 2007

more-buzz.jpgHere is a look at what is happening across a couple of sites I keep an eye on. I am refining this post over time, so if there is anything you would like me to add just email me or leave a comment. Similarly, if you have something you think is Buzz Friday worthy let me know and I'll look it over for inclusion.

[Audio should be good this week. You can subscribe via RSS to receive an update when I post a new video here.]


[Feed readers please click through to the post to see the video.]

Here are all of the items that I think are interesting this week:


  • The iPhone launches at 6pm tonight at Apple and at&t stores nationwide. It will be interesting to see if they sell out or if the stores are just busy. By my calculations the phone plus one year of service is around $1500. People have been camped out for days to get the first couple units. To tell you the truth, I would be out there too, but I have Verizon.
  • Greg Verdino has a great piece about loving your haters. Jason Calacanis proved this strategy successful the other day on his Calacanis Cast show when he invited four SEO critics and Jason stole the show.
  • MySpace launched its MySpaceTV site and pretty much copied YouTube verbatim. Why mess with a good thing eh?
  • Speaking of YouTube, traffic to the site is 50% greater than any other video site according to HitWise. I wonder if CBS still thinks going on their own is a good idea?
  • CK has a great post on trust. How to lose it and how to win it.
  • Google will now allow you to alter your driving directions through Google Maps. You can drag the routes to avoid construction and get where you're going with greater ease.

  • Mentos has an interesting new site featuring their intern Trevor. Think Subservient Chicken in human form and real time.
  • Buzz follows Kevin Rose (of Digg) wherever he goes in whatever he does. Marion Sundar covers his new venture Pownce combines IM, file transfer and Twitter-like presence and group push functionality. It's in limited beta so anybody with an invite to spare shoot it over.
  • Dell has released some pretty new colors on their Inspiron laptops. Drew McLellan has a nice post about what happens when a product shifts categories. I do think, however, putting new colors on the same old hardware running MS Vista isn't a real shift. Apple was a radical shift because it combined the OS with the design.
  • TMobile is creating cellular phones that can work on WiFi networks.
  • Jeremiah Owyang at PodTech shares a brilliant idea from his trip to Singapore. A company provides a camera and printer for customers to take a picture. They're encouraged to take one home and leave one for their wall. It's become a tourist attraction and business driver.
  • I attended a great virtual branding event at crayon's Second Life HQ the other day. I thought it was a great way to liven up what would be a mediocre phone conference. It allowed for the personal interactions that we take for granted about attending in real life.
  • Flickr photos are now being indexed in Yahoo's search engine. This is a big boost for Yahoo.
  • New DIY Twitter network service Frengo launches. This could be a big trend for branded uses of the technology.
  • Apple quietly passed Amazon.com to become the third largest music retailer. This plus the iPhone are really giving Apple some momentum to try bigger, better things. Look out Best Buy and WalMart.
  • Facebook's new open platform has put some fear into other networks including professional network LinkedIn. They've announced the plan to open up in a similar way.

Top 10 Technorati Searches


  1. youtube
  2. noelia
  3. iphone
  4. ron paul
  5. myspace
  6. facebook
  7. video de noelia
  8. video noelia
  9. descargar
  10. paris hilton

Top Five Web2.0 Movers of the Week (using Alexa data)


  1. Plaxo
  2. Bolt
  3. Geni
  4. Vimeo
  5. Stickam

More

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from Viral Garden - No changes this week


  1. Seth's Blog
  2. Creating Passionate Users
  3. Gaping Void
  4. Duct Tape Marketing
  5. Logic + Emotion
  6. Diva Marketing (Go Toby!)
  7. What's Next
  8. Daily Fix
  9. Converstations
  10. Drew's Marketing Minute

View the top full top 25

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from Todd And - New to Buzz Friday


  1. Seth Godin
  2. Copyblogger
  3. Micro Persuasion
  4. tompeters!
  5. Adrants
  6. Pronet Advertising
  7. SEOMoz Blog
  8. Online Marketing Blog
  9. Duct Tape Marketing
  10. Marketing Pilgrim

View the full list here

Top 5 "Viral" Videos This Week


  1. Dramatic chipmunk
  2. Mika Brzezinski rips Paris Hilton
  3. My iPhone Diary
  4. Microsoft Surface Parody
  5. Paul sings opera

More


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