Category Archives: Trend setters

Twitter execs: PLEASE start accepting ads

In case any of you hadn’t noticed, there’s been something of a civil war on Twitter over the issue of whether advertising should exist there. There’s a lot of finger pointing going on, and a lot of people who seem convinced that they possess the ultimate truth as to how Twitter advertising should work. As far as I can tell, no one will win, a lot of hurt feelings will result, and Twitter will lose some of the irreplaceable camraderie which has made it what it is.

This is why I’m begging, in all seriousness: Please, Biz, Jack and Evan, take this process over and impose an advertising format that works for all before people start rolling out cannons. You may not see advertising as the future of Twitter, but unless you impose some rules on the unruly, it will become the spam-choked Hotmail of new communications platforms.

Yes, I know Twitter, and the myriad of applications leveraging your system, have rolled out naturally and freely with a chaotic zest Timothy Leary would have admired. But now, things aren’t quite so new any more. And I’m telling youyour baby’s in danger unless you put the ad fights to rest once and for all.

Right now, I’d say there’s roughly three groups throwing snowballs at each other:

* First, there’s the Twitizens who believe that no ads should ever invade its sacred soil, and have sworn mighty oaths that they’ll “unfolllow” (the dread punishment of no longer reading a person’s postings) anyone who brings the commercial breath of Mordor to their land. (OK, I admit it, I saw some of the Lord of the Rings trilogy this weekend. But anyway…)

* Another group is at least tolerant of Twitter ad experimentation. (Perhaps they’re remembering how much experimentation it took to get Web and e-mail advertising formats worked out and cutting pioneers some slack?) These folks may not love the idea of being pitched in Twitterspace, but they’re not ready to boot anyone who tries, either.

* Then, there are those who want, at least as a market research experiment, to try out some ad formats on this amazingly well-connected, thoughtful and educated audience, and have no problem enduring what feels like spam for a time as we figure things out.

Some of us (and I consider myself such an experimenter ) want to see how the dynamics of new platforms like Magpie, Adjix and TwittAd actually work. Others, like @madmoneyblogger, actually seem to believe that they can accumulate some real cash this way.

While the various factions try to be civil, I don’t think peace is going to last much longer. So please, brilliant young men behind Twitter, accept that while open source models can work wonders–even in a social setting–sometimes you’ve just got to lay down the law.

Like what you see in What Matters Online? Want to stay up to date on the latest in Web 2.0, social media and old-school interactive marketing? Get notified of our latest updates by e-mail or RSS. I will never sell or exchange your information, and I won’t deluge your inbox — I promise!

Advertisements

Who’s using Twitter? (And why?)

A quick commercial interruption tonight to find out how you specifically make Twitter work for you. (And a bit more…in a moment.)

What’s your take on Twitter use? Why are people addicted (or annoyed) by Twitter? After all, it’s burst into our lives faster than many a previous marvel, and seems to have much better prospects for survival than most.

So do something! Just take the State of Twitterverse Survey. Be heard, we want your input. It takes just 1 minute…really! (And please retweet. Thanks!) Just click here. Later, we’ll be sharing some important information on what we learn from the Twitter community. But until then, have at it!

Now, here’s my first of a series of commercial experiments using my blog and Twitter to see what’s worth doing commercially.  Rest assured that if I do any sponsored blogging, you’ll have no doubt it’s sponsored. And it won’t be about Sugar Pops or beauty cream, either…something relevant. That being said, feel free to ping me if you want to be a fellow experimenter; maybe we’ll both learn something.
 

Facebook video: Can it compete with YouTube?

According to blogmeister Robert Scoble, Facebook is now getting 100,000 video uploads per day, or enough to keep you busy 24/7 for 100 days. That raises the question as to whether a) Facebook has the capacity to handle the YouTube-like service levels and b) whether it’s going to compete with YouTube’s advertising and analytics programs for video.  Given its rather sketchy support for its PPC and pay per impression ad programs, I’d argue that b) is pretty unlikely right now. But hey, it’s way too early to write Facebook off in this market–and here’s why.

Sure, right now Google (including YouTube), has a 55.4 percent of video viewing visits to online video site properties.  Meanwhile, Facebook has a comparatively tiny 1.5 percent of video viewing visits, according to eMarketer. But bear in mind that that 1.5 percent (up from 0.8 last year) puts it on par with content behemoth Viacom and just below CBS Interactive. Actually, it’s in a pretty impressive position.

True, Facebook moves pretty slowly and hasn’t much aggressiveness in the ad space, but that can’t last forever if it’s going to keep growing.  Monetizing video, even by aping YouTube, is just something it has to do.

I’m also pretty sure that Facebook’s rate of video content accumulation will climb rapidly, giving it increasing leverage. After all, while YouTube tries to be friendly–and can feature some intriguing comments on hot content–it just isn’t the kind of community space Facebook is and doesn’t offer anywhere near the tools.  That gives Facebook a big advantage in building video visitor rates and putting the squeeze to YouTube.

Facebook, all told, has a real opportunity here, though it hasn’t yet shown signs that it cares. Let’s see if it wakes up and makes some tough moves to capture more video viewer market share.

Like what you see in What Matters Online? Want to stay up to date on the latest in Web 2.0, social media and old-school interactive marketing? Get notified of our latest updates by e-mail or RSS. I will never sell or exchange your information, and I won’t deluge your inbox — I promise!

Twitter broadcasts track season’s e-commerce woes

Now here’s a neat idea putting new-fangled Twitter to old-fashioned use. Our friends at smart insider retail IT publication StorefrontBacktalk.com will be launching a Twitter feed tracking major retail site performance problems—crashes, slowdowns and other glitches—starting Black Friday (Nov. 28). Sign up for the site’s feed at http://twitter.com/SFBackTalk ASAP before the hot news starts moving.

For those who don’t know the term, by the way, Black Friday is the unbelievably profitable Friday retailers usually see the day after Thanksgiving, fueled by a frenzy of Christmas shopping by consumers with time off from work.

StorefrontBackTalk will be working with at least a half-dozen of the top site traffic tracking fims from Thanksgiving through New Year’s, watching the largest retailers globally, with a special eye on the majors in the United States, Canada and Europe.

Since SFBT’s audience made up folks like the VP of e-commerce for Borders, this is red-hot information. Some consumers will doubtless be interested in knowing if they’re about to lose their carefully-picked shopping cart in a flash due to a server overload, too. So this thing could be big.

Sure, lots of sites are already pushing out their RSS feeds onto Twitter. But it will be interesting to see how it works to treat Twitter as, in effect, an old-fashioned wire service. After all, it still isn’t the easiest broadcast mechanism to use. In the future, perhaps it will be, in part due to demonstration projects like these!

Like what you see in What Matters Online? Want to stay up to date on the latest in Web 2.0, social media and old-school interactive marketing? Get notified of our latest updates by e-mail or RSS. I will never sell or exchange your information, and I won’t deluge your inbox — I promise!

Topics:

Creating a Twitter explosion, or the FlyLady effect

Editor’s Note: Here’s our first report from new guest contributor Christa Bradney, on the ever-expanding Web phenom that is FlyLady. Christa, take it away…

If you keep track of the trending topics on Twitter, you might have thought that the #flylady channel came out of nowhere yesterday afternoon.  (Even more so if you haven’t heard of FlyLady, the Web-based domestic goddess whose keep-your-life-organized system has attracted devoted followers from around the world.)

Besides, in a matter of speaking, the topic did come out of nowhere.  Yesterday morning, FlyLady was not on Twitter.  Then, somewhere around nine or ten AM, she announced on her e-mail list that she had a Twitter account (@theflylady) and wanted to try it out.  Boom! Less than twelve hours later, nearly two thousand people had already followed her to Twitter-land. 

Of course, word is still out on how many of those 2,000 followers were already Twitter users and how many are new to the service, and it also remains to be seen how much more FlyLady’s presence on Twitter will grow. But this was a heck of a start.

So, if you were ever wondering what would happen if a brand with a devoted following puts a Twitter ID in the hands of its fans, look no further. Clearly, when a someone who a) has a strong Web brand name and b) frequent contact with its customer base spontaneously announces that they are joining a social media website, spontaneous Twitter combustion can occur.

P.S. By the way, FlyLady (and other Web celebrities who follow) may find that the rules for communicating with fans have changed once they enjoy more instant contact with a large portion of their fan base. After all, if FlyLady isn’t careful in mentioning small, third-party websites, they could be brought down by an accidental Slashdot effect, and most don’t take kindly to that.

Like what you see in What Matters Online? Want to stay up to date on the latest in Web 2.0, social media and old-school interactive marketing? Get notified of our latest updates by e-mail or RSS. I will never sell or exchange your information, and I won’t deluge your inbox — I promise!

Topics:

Ad agencies join to measure social media ads

Social media advertising spend should hit $1.8 billion in 2009 according to eMarketer. (Sure, that’s a small percentage of overall Web advertising, which stood at about $20 billion last year, but give it time.)

So it’s no surprise that yesterday, a group of ad agencies and their social media buddies announced that they’d form a trade group focused on defining metrics for measuring social media advertising. (Heck, it was probably overdue.)

The group, the Social Media Ad Council, is backed by Tom Gerace, CEO of social network Gather, and includes reps from Edelman, Universal McCann, e-publishing firm Zinio, Quantcast and a grab bag of i-marketing organizations. The group hopes to find ways to measure “engagement,” the term some use to describe what they’re buying when they place ads on a social networking site.

How does a bundle of x number of Tweets compare with ten PPC ads on Facebook or countless impressions through Friend Feed?  No one has figured that out yet. But it’s critical that someone does. After all, you can’t build an advertising market unless you have some basic units of measurement in place.

Other than Gather, none of the other founders are social media sites. In announcing the group, Gerace noted that he’d invited Facebook and MySpace to participate, but it seems that haven’t gotten involved as of yet.

The fact that they aren’t taking part makes you wonder whether they prefer social media ad buying to remain a bit mysterious. After all, the more the buyers know, the more they can squeeze ad sellers. Maybe that’s what they have in mind? — Anne

P.S. SMAC member UniversalMcCann, not surprisingly, has some thoughts of its own to offer on social media. Its new report on influence in social media, “When Did We Start Trusting Strangers?” is definitely worth a look. Or if you just want a summary check out the review in Marketing Pilgrim.

Like what you see in What Matters Online? Want to stay up to date on the latest in Web 2.0, social media and old-school interactive marketing? Get notified of our latest updates by e-mail or RSS. I will never sell or exchange your information, and I won’t deluge your inbox — I promise!

Topics:

Measuring social media value–it IS possible

Make no mistake, we’re well past the point where social media marketing is optional–despite what some of our clients and bosses say.

The most recent evidence for this comes from The Society for New Communications Research, whose recent report notes that fifty-seven percent of this group of early social media adopters reported that social media tools are becoming more valuable to their activities. (The report is definitely worth a read.)

One major problem, however, is that the Internet marketing business hasn’t developed a standard way of measuring social media marketing performance which is accepted by its own top honchos (much less clients). So it’s time to pick some standards of our own.

The following is my attempt to come up with some principles, and specific metrics, we can use to decide whether our social media efforts are working to promote. I look forward to your suggestions! – Anne

Social media measurement standards

* Length of stay for visitors referred by social media

Visitors who come to your site through social media promotions may have a different profile than those who arrive through other means. I believe it’s important to find out how they differ from site averages, particularly in terms of length of stay (as a proxy for their level of interest).

* Number of followers/fans on various networks

I sort of dislike this one, as you can have tons of lurkers clicking through on your Facebook fan page or Ning group, while not having too many who agree to sign up. Still, it’s worth taking into account, not as a sign of whether you’re successful but a sense of how given community’s reacting to your message.

* Number of comments/questions made directly to the company rep doing the social media marketing

OK, if social media marketing involves talking with, not at, the audiences you’re hoping to reach, that involves joining a community. One very crude way of looking whether people see you as a member is how many comments and questions they’ve made addressing you.

* Extent to which your social media efforts have brought new assets into your business

If social media marketing is more joining a community (e.g. networking) than making a pitch, then such networking should bear fruit. In one project, for example, I found several potential business partners and a freelance contributor within a couple of weeks of putting it out there.

* Extent to which you’ve concretely raised awareness of your service/product within the community

If you’re on a social networking site, and you see someone say “I know about X because the company’s rep told me so directly on Twitter,” you’re definitely on the right track. You can be pretty confident that someone will visit your site and, if it’s otherwise in good shape, convert into a dedicated customer.

* Frequency with which your brand is mentioned on key sites

As with the number of followers/fans you attract, this is a very tricky way to measure the effectiveness as your marketing, as there’s a million offline methods by which people can discuss your site. Still, keeping track of comments (using, say, TweetScan for Twitter or general search for MySpace and Facebook) certainly offers useful context.

Next: Get more simple, powerful approaches to measuring social media here.

Like what you see in What Matters Online? Want to stay up to date on the latest in Web 2.0, social media and old-school interactive marketing? Get notified of our latest updates by e-mail or RSS. I will never sell or exchange your information, and I won’t deluge your inbox — I promise!