November 2009 Archives

Risks with Twitter Advertising

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adly-logo.pngWhether we like it or not, we're going to start seeing many more ads in Twitter. As The New York Times reported today, services like, IZEA and Likes are furiously putting twitter ad networks in place. has also done several tests in this realm too.

When I covered sponsored tweets in my book a few months ago, it seemed the promise land for many advertisers. What could be better than having a social influencer reach a prospective customer on an advertiser's behalf by providing a recommendation in an editorially integrated fashion? It's Facebook Newsfeed dynamics taken to another level. It seemed the holy grail of social influence marketing. However, I'm starting to have my doubts now. Here are some potential risks.

1. Your users can revolt with mass un-following
The twitterati who stand to gain the most, will need to test how comfortable their followers are with receiving these advertisements. Formats, frequency and content - all need to be figured out. Because these are new formats (and frankly speaking, the whole platform is still very new), we do not know what will work as yet. We all get irritated by people who tweet a bit too much as it is.

2. Lack of technological sophistication may kill the model
If a Google adwords model is put in place and we start seeing ads on twitter in droves, there will probably be a strong backlash. Unlike other platforms, you currently can't cookie a user who's seeing an advertisement on Twitter. So if I follow five twitter users who accept advertising, there's a chance that I may see the same advertisement from each of them in the span of an afternoon. That would be problematic. The networks need to be implemented with the right technology infrastructure behind it. Twitter must help here.

3. Black box ROI that makes it difficult to compare
Click thru rates cannot provide enough ROI - there will need to be CPM models in place as well. The problem is that there are few good ways to measure impressions. Sure you have the number of followers but that doesn't mean that the total number of followers actually saw the ads. The problem is compounded when you have people using twitter applications to access their streams. There's no way of finding out whether a user has actually seen a tweet. You also need to know whether the users fit your target demographics.

4. Advertisers choose not to intrude on conversations
Advertisers are savvy group of people. They're also increasingly sensitive about how their brands are perceived in the social media space. And by sensitive I don't just mean that they're worried about someone speaking ill of them but about appearing to be invading on a user's social world too. It is left to be seen how many advertisers will sign up for twitter ad networks. Many will probably take a wait and see approach. The last thing an advertiser would want is a backlash against their brand. I for one would recommend that advertisers invest in developing their own social voices first before experimenting with twitter ad formats.

5. Lack of transparency hurts the Twitter trust model
It is sometimes easy to forget that twitter is built on trust. We share more than we realize often because we trust that no one will use the information against us. Our followers reward us with their attention and the conversations that ensue. If there's no transparency in the twitter advertising, some of that trust will be broken. Before you know it, the FTC will feel obliged to institute guidelines or requirements for advertising in this space too. So there's a risk that the advertising may not be as transparent as it should be. And that's where disclosure codes like those recommended by Jon Burg will matter a lot. Maybe these twitter ad networks can build disclosure codes into their platforms?

We've an exciting year ahead of us as more companies and publishers look to monetize social media interactions. The question is what formats will develop that will truly be in synchronized with the ethos of the social web. With twitter advertising, as far as I'm concerned, the jury is still out on it.

Book Stolen! A good sign?

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This email by a co-worker was sent to everyone in the NY Razorfish office on Wednesday. As off Friday evening the book hadn't been returned! I'm flattered that the book is considered worth stealing but I do hope it'll lead to more buying and less stealing. Maybe its a sign that the book will sell well.


I'll let you know if that book is ever found.

Q&A about Social Media Marketing for Dummies, MediaPost

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mediapost.jpgI was interviewed by MediaPost about my new book and discussed how its a book not just for dummies but for marketers with all levels of expertise and in organizations large and small. The interview is republished below.

Upon the release of Social Media Marketing for Dummies, the latest edition to the "Dummies" series, Online Media Daily posed a few questions to its author -- Shiv Singh, vice president and global social media lead, at Razorfish. Singh has been with the agency since 1999, working in the Boston, New York, San Francisco and London offices. But now that his book is out, brands may no longer need agencies to unlock the secrets of marketing via social media.

Q:: Other than dummies, who is this book for?

A: In a sense, this is the most 'un-Dummy' Dummy book. It is for marketers in organizations of all sizes, from small businesses to the Fortune 100 companies where marketers are more narrowly focused and are deep experts. In fact, I'd even suggest that it's a misnomer to think that the 'Dummies' series is for Dummies.

It's also about a lot of advanced concepts made simple for efficient learning and focusing on what's important. The same applies to "Social Media Marketing for Dummies." It tells you everything you need to know to succeed as a marketer in the social space. It's not just about the basics.

Wibya, my new favorite social utility for websites

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page1_image.jpgMy new favorite utility is the Wibya one. If you look at the footer of my blog, you'll notice the horizontal bar that makes it extremely easy to share the contents of this blog post. But more than that, it also links you to the Facebook community for my book and to my tweet streams. It is a light and easy way to share content, search the blog, connect with me on Facebook or through Twitter and get a better sense of the community. It is the glue that binds my blog to the rest of the social web.

Why is this special? Because all of a sudden, it is extremely easy for you to link your website with your community on one of the social platforms in an easy way.

FEED: We engage with Twitter for the deals

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feed.gifFEED, The Razorfish Digital Brand Experience Report was just published. Primarily authored by @gschmitt who shares the credit for it generously, FEED focuses on how consumers are engaging with brands in an increasingly digital world. Here are my favorite findings. The full report is available here.

  • 65% of consumers report having had a digital experience that either positively or negatively changed their opinion about a brand. Yes, we all talk about social monitoring but I'd argue maybe not even enough as yet. You need to understand your consumers beyond the perspectives that they share publicly but as they interact with you digitally.

  • 73% of consumers have posted a product or brand review on a website like Amazon, Yelp, Facebook or Twitter. Talk about social influence marketing being real! The reality is that no website can exist now without enabling product reviews. Customers share their opinions and learn from each other.

  • 44% of those that follow twitter do so for exclusive deals. They're not looking for conversations from those brands. This is similar to the Fluent research and isn't surprising at all. It shows that brands have a lot of work to do.

  • And finally, 64% of consumers report making a first purchase from a brand because of a digital experience. Wow that's a huge percentage. Are you paying enough attention to your digital experience?
You can find FEED in its entirety here. Don't miss it. Its great work and if I may add, gorgeous design.

Tuesday BMA Panel: When Social Media Worlds Collide

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This Tuesday I'll be on an 8:00am panel discussing how the social media worlds are beginning to collide. On the panel with me will be Todd Defren, (CEO, Shift Communications), Adam Hirsch (COO, Mashable), Mike O'Toole (President, PJA Advertising) and Emily Riley (Senior Analyst, Forrester). This should be a good panel as we're quite a mix of people - from analysts and agency types, to PR  and publishers. 

You can bet I'll be discussing the different types of influencers and lamenting the fact that we don't pay enough attention to them. This is part of the BMA (Business Marketing Assocation) Leading Edge Series.

Real-Time Marketing: Operationalizing The Use of Social Media

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webexny2009_logo.gifI'll be speaking next Monday (11/16) at 9:00am at the Web 2.0 Conference in NY. I'm on a panel with Jennifer Zeszut (Scout Labs), Peter Kim (Dachis Group), James M Smith (Disney Online), Randy Ksar (Motorola) and Aaron Dignan (Undercurrent). Here's the panel description.

Social media isn't just for community managers anymore. The rise of Web 2.0 content and community is changing marketing operations - making marketers more efficient, customer-centric and prepared to make strategic decisions like product and service enhancements, feature prioritization, pricing and customer segmentation. And, the best part? It's free and available in real-time so any size company with any size budget can leverage it.

Real-time marketing means understanding and responding to the movements of the market on both individual and strategic levels. This session will show you how to apply the instant, unprompted customer feedback from Web 2.0 to media buying, campaign optimization, creative development, customer community management, CRM, PR and promotions.

Hear from companies that are operationalizing their use of social media feedback as a source of strategic advantage, and walk away with 6 new ways to integrate real-time marketing practices into your organization.

I hope you can join. And whether you can or can't, I'd still love your thoughts on this. If I use your insights, I promise to give credit where its due.

What does social media mean for business?

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This is a much watch interview with Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody. The twenty four minute video clip is well worth the time.

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This page is an archive of entries from November 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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