Posts Tagged ‘social networking’

Facebook ‘Social Ads’

November 7, 2007

Facebook announced a new advertising program, which you can read about in the New York Times story  Facebook Is Marketing Your Brand Preferences (With Your Permission). Also, there is a quick question-and-answer style article from the Associated Press, and another story posted by Businessweek that gives more details about the announcement. On a side note, the latter article confirms something I wrote about earlier, namely the horrible click-through rates of the larger social networking sites. Overall, this brings up two interesting points:

First, I am glad to see a somewhat creative go at advertising. Because many Web 2.0 sites are holding out for the ad-generated revenue savior, but are realizing marketers are unhappy with campaign performance, this is a chance to test something relatively new out, a chance to test whether or not thinking outside the box can garner attention and interaction.

Additionally, one of the larger arguments present throughout these stories is a concern about the lack of privacy the new ad campaign seems to offer. However, as part of the Internet crowd, I take little issue with this; a New York Magazine article, Say Everything, did an incredible job expressing my feelings towards the shifting concept of ‘privacy’ among younger Americans, particularly those active online. On the more personal side, I have my own private blog, but as (I believe) a fairly-educated Internet user, I take many measures to separate out my ‘online identities’ so as to prevent any privacy issues. Also (just in case), I stalk back: I posted html code on my private blog to log all page-views and geographic areas through a great (free) service I researched. Thus, I think that as long as the Internet user who posts private things online or participates in social networking sites are aware of how their information will be used, it should not be an issue.

Now, let’s cross our fingers and see where Facebook’s ‘Social Ads’ take us…

Google Gadget Ads

September 19, 2007

Google has announced a new advertising program: Google Gadget Ads, or, as Advertising Age put it, “AdSense, Now With Widgets.”

A little over a week ago I posted a quick entry about a new advertising program Google would be announcing. My post was almost all hyperbole, and as the days passed I lost my excitement. First, because I thought maybe it was just my geek side getting riled up. Second, because the news was released a few days after I thought it would be. But now the day has come and the more I think about it, the more I believe that if utilized to its fullest potential this addition to AdWords could eventually change the face of the web experience. Why?

1) Widgets enrich the web experience. Now advertisements don’t merely have to be flashy .swf files (ha! sorry, I couldn’t avoid the pun) or moderately interesting video ads (please don’t misunderstand me: there are some incredible flash and video ads), but rather ads can exploit the immense functionality of widgets. Imagine an ad for the newest pop musician that has tabs with YouTube videos, song previews, and a list of the most recent print/web news stories about that particular musician, all of which can be viewed without leaving the web page.

2) Widgets can instantly monetize advertising for companies (and increase instant gratification for the consumer). Because the placement of these ads will be powered by AdSense, we can assume that they will show up at (somewhat) relevant sites. Reading blogs about the upcoming season of Heroes? Maybe there is a widget ad on the blog your reading that displays current prices and the time remaining for EBay auctions for the season one DVD’s of ‘Heroes’. Or maybe you’re using Yelp to find a good Thai restaurant in your neighborhood. What if there is a widget ad for a Thai restaurant (that has rave reviews on Yelp) through which you can place your dinner order and have it delivered in the next thirty minutes?

3) Widget advertising has a social component: for instance, the widgets can be pasted on someone’s MySpace site, outside of Google’s normal distribution (if I understand the model correctly). That means you have guaranteed distribution through the AdSense network (where appropriate), but also the possibility of distribution through social networking sites, meaning the chance to spread your widget virally. And if you’re spreading things such as, say, a widget that searches and books Kayak flights among travel enthusiasts… then, wow.

I graduated with a degree in English, but I must say this: Don’t tell me that’s not hot.

Social Media Goes, Well, Social

June 25, 2007

Surprise, surprise. How excited was I last week? I’ll tell you: I was recently quoted in a CNet article in which the author, Caroline McCarthy, focused on the question of how to create networks online, such as Yelp, that get people together offline (who would have thought there was a real world outside my computer screen???). I feel this may become a critical measure of a social network’s success, especially when most the people on destination sites such as MySpace tend to be nothing short of uber-creepy. To find out more about the work behind Yelp, check out this podcast for an interview with the co-founder and CEO Jeremy Stoppelman.

Participation In Web Innovation

April 27, 2007

For all the hype about Web 2.0, Steve Rubel at Micro Persuasion points out that there are still many people who have yet to participate. Mr. Rubel posted a graphic representation of how an extraordinary number people do not take part in simple online activities such as blogging; this reminded me of a presentation I did a few years ago about “cool hunting,” which I first came across in the Frontline show Merchants of Cool, a journalistic piece about trying to market to the hard to reach Generation Y. This report mentioned an article about a company called Look-Look, which had been profiled in a New Yorker article about “cool hunters,” a method that is based around the field of “diffusion research.”

I believe this shows that although influential people on sites such as MySpace are central to word-of-mouth marketing (according to a new report News Corp. put together), the 52% of people considered “inactive” in the digital world may pose a large problem for generating revenue: currently most Web 2.0 business models are based on ad-generated revenue, so the more visitors a site has, the more clout it has in charging for ad space. However, if we are not expanding the base of users, most sites are doomed to failure without other revenue channels. Fortunately, one point of data shows that diffusion is happening, according to a report that broadband subscriptions are rising; this does not mean, however, that those users are using social networking sites. So, how do we convince people to start participating? What strategies do we implement to help people begin to engage with new media?

Exploiting “Web 2.0” to Promote Television Shows

April 10, 2007

Some attempts to promote television shows by utilizing the power of social networking sites have proved creative, but somewhat ineffectual.  Recently, however, the people behind ‘How I Met Your Mother‘ put together a promotion on MySpace that produced (measurable!) results. The television show ‘Bones‘ also started a new five-week campaign using MySpace; this particular push requires heavy engagement by the viewer, but there is not yet any word as to how successful it has been.

One of my personal favorites, ‘30 Rock,’ has yet to embrace the power of social networking sites beyond its own NBC-sponsored attempt, which I feel is a travesty: although it has been renewed for a second season, it has unimpressive ratings and could use more creative muscle beyond message boards and some behind-the-scenes interviews. For instance, in one episode, Judah Friedlander is seen using his cellphone to record a video of a funny shouting match between Tina Fey’s and Jane Krakowski’s characters; why not extend the scene, record it using a camera phone, and post this original content on YouTube? Also, most fans I know love Jack McBrayer’s character: his story has enough dramatic momentum (a funny/nerdy southern boy trying to make it big in the big city) that I do not understand why we are not seeing his own three-minute webisodes on YouTube. It seems that the answer may be NBC’s desire to keep control over original content, as they expand material on the web, but make it available only on NBC.com, effectively keeping any revenue generated by the content firmly within their own camp.

But, what about the effect a successful campaign could have on viewership? If you create new viewers through a successful push, I think that would outweigh pleasing the fans you already have by posting content on the corporate-sponsored site (my logic behind this is that the only people engaging the content on a corporate site are already dedicated fans, not brand new ones). What do you think? Would an increase in viewers be more beneficial than attempting to keep a firm hold on revenue generated by online content?

Also, NBC, please feel free to steal my ideas about promoting 30 Rock… and contact me if you want more freebies 😉