April 2009 Archives
It seems to be the week of PR for me. I was also recently quoted in an Associated Press article picked up by Businessweek discussing MySpace and its music strategy as a way to be more profitable.
The article focuses primarily on tastemakers and their importance while also discussing the new MySpace music player which allows users to queue multiple songs and have several different playlists streaming at once. The reporter asked me several questions about social media, why traditional ads don't work on social networking sites and how best MySpace can compete with Facebook. Below is an excerpt from the final article:
"Either you can see a message from a friend who's just broken up with you, or you can see a random ad. Which would you choose?" said Shiv Singh, a vice president at digital advertising firm Razorfish.
Because of this dynamic, growth is slowing for social network ad spending, which is expected to rise 10 percent this year to $1.3 billion, eMarketer estimates. Social media sites are expected to have 3.9 percent of the overall online ad market in 2013, down from 5 percent today.
MySpace certainly does have its fair share of challenges but its certainly making all the right moves in the music space. It leads in that category and with its new CEO hire will probably extend that lead too. But the more fundamental question is whether music is strategic or significant enough to fend off the Facebook onslaught. I would argue that it isn't and nor are the cosmetic changes to the MySpace experience. It needs another music like category or deeper, more powerful social interactions reaching into new (think older) audiences to compete.
Without that, it'll keep losing users to Facebook and then its only a matter of time before Facebook catches up in the ad dollars game too.
I was on Chicago radio earlier this week talking about the uses of Twitter for businesses in America. This was one of my first radio interviews and it was fun doing. I dialed into a special phone number and within seconds I was live on air. And then it was over in a matter of minutes. Short and sweet. Keeping my sentences short and pithy is a bit of a challenge but I suppose that only gets better in time. Check it out here.
Aaron Strout has been conducting interviews with social media practitioners over the last two months. This week he interviewed me for the series. He was generous in his praise. You can find the interview here. Below is an excerpt.
I've actually known Shiv for a few years now as he was kind enough to come and speak at some of the events for Shared Insights (now part of IIR USA) on portal technology. Since then, I've bumped into Shiv at other events like Office 2.0 and try and keep in touch with him semi-regularly on Twitter and e-mail. Given how long he's been involved in Web 2.0 and social media and the level of clients he gets to talk to on an ongoing basis, why wouldn't I want to stay in contact with such a bright guy?
There are several great interviews. A few that I've especially liked include those of Dave Evans, Chris Brogan and Sean O'Driscoll.
I was interviewed by Silicon Alley Insider on Facebook and monetization recently. The results of the interview led to this story. Basically I said that Facebook has a huge monetization opportunity in all its data. Just anonymize it and package it for marketers the way brand monitoring firms do with the rest of the social web. Needless to say, the perspective was a little controversial.
Shiv says these agencies would happily pay Facebook twice as much for a rival service "I think Facebook is sitting on a gold mine," he says. Already Facebook has a free service called Lexicon, which, according to the company, "aggregates and analyzes millions of Facebook Wall posts every day to provide a searchable database of trends over time." But Shiv tells us he and his fellow marketers want a "Lexicon on Steroids."
Razorfish information architect John Pettengill explained how best to save the mobile web at a presentation at the Information Architecture Summit earlier this year. Not surprisingly, he nailed it. I work with John every week and if I were you, I'd pay attention to his perspective.
I like The Economist magazine for a lot of different reasons. Insightful writing, balanced coverage, a global perspective and often a harbinger of trends to come. And then sometimes, it misses the point just a tad bit. Let me explain how.
The latest issue includes a thoughtful article on buyer psychology and how this downturn is resulting in a significant shift in how American consumers purchase and what they purchase. It's the whole post consumer world story and emphasizes that -
Few people seem consumed by a desire to consume, instead they are planning to live within their means, and there has been a backlash against bling.
Half of respondents to a survey from America and Europe say that the crisis has intensified their distrust of big business.
Sometimes the best way to marketing a laundry detergent is to link the worlds of television with viral videos and charities. This has been done before but every time we try it we learn something new.
Razorfish helped all® detergent create a promotion that aired April 5th on Celebrity Apprentice. Instead of focusing on the attributes (how much can you talk about the attributes after all), we associated all® with a charitable cause through viral marketing. Celebrity Apprentice viewers saw a 30-second TV ad directing them to a website to watch videos that featured Celebrity Apprentice contestants Joan and Melissa Rivers. The videos featured them using all® in absolutely ridiculous settings (watch the clip for an example of one). Each time people forward the videos, all® donates 50 cents to charity.
What do you think of this? The marketer is using media dollars as an incentive to encourage people to distribute the clips. The clips themselves are entertaining enough that with a little push (I believe) people will want to share them with each other. There's incentive built in, a good cause component and an opportunity for someone to build social currency. The charities supported were the Guide Dogs for the Blind charity and The Lili Claire Foundation.
Adweek covered the story from the angle that the distinction between digital and traditional shops are blurring. No question, and its a change long over due but what matters today is understanding how people not just do things but how and when they're motivated to encourage others to take specific actions. That's social influence marketing at play.