Look At This Social Media Advertising Done Right – Vertical Advertising Is The Model

For those who follow my blog know that I’ve been a big proponent of social media, but the problem is results and measurement.  Airforce is doing something innovative with their agency and Volomedia.  I really like this announcement from G4 and Volomedia.  Volomedia has signed up a big publisher and a big advertiser to insert ads in portable media and video.  The best part is that it work on ITunes and the Iphone.  I’ve talked about this before around how iTunes (and IPhone) now has a business (revenue) model.

Comcast’s G4 cable television network and Web site G4tv.com have begun working with VoloMedia to insert ads into the 300 podcast videos distributed monthly through about 23 feeds. The ad network began placing ads for the media giant last month, targeting young gamers.The U.S. Air Force placed the first ads in G4’s podcasts: Attack of the Show, X-Play, and Game Trailers. Sunnyvale, Calif.-based VoloMedia’s new vertical business, Video Game Podcast, supported the ad campaign created by GSD&M Idea City, the advertising agency for the Air Force.

What Does This Mean?  Why is this important?

Vertical media works.  The trend is away from individual sites or blogs but instead to ‘blanket the vertical’  with brand messaging.  In turn effective reach in a vertical hits enough critical mass that brand equity translates.  Said another way the most effective way to leverage things like blogs and podcasts is to ‘buy’ the vertical.  The dynamics of social networking and social media create an opportunity to hit alot of people in the affinity group.  What’s even cooler about this announcement is not only reach but measurement. This is a good move by the Airforce to get a vertical – here it’s gaming as the ‘contextual’ proxy for audience affinity.  It’s a no brainer that gamers are their target audience, but instead of going for silo’d conversion, Airforce is going for blanket coverage in the vertical or affinity group.

I predict this is the way the world will go very quickly.  Vertical media advertising.  This is a great program for brand advertising, and it has measurement.  I am sure it will be a success.

Web 2.0 Revenue Models ?? Drama 2.0 Weights In

Web critic blog – Drama 2.0 has a post about the realities of Web 2.0. Not  to toot my own horm but if you’re interested in Web 2.0 business models just read my posts from the past 2 years – the monetization answers are there.

Here’s the conclusion that Drama 2.0 came up with – pretty right on.

As we head into 2009 facing one of the toughest economic environments in decades knowing that the fun and games are over, it’s time to face the reality: the Web 2.0 we have today is not the Web 2.0 we envisioned a few short years ago.

The most popular Web 2.0 creations have not been cheap to grow and operate. They’re still struggling to find revenue models that will serve as the foundations of self-sustaining businesses and even those startups that generate significant revenue in absolute terms (namely Facebook) cannot justify the valuations they’ve been given. And profitability is still largely a pipe dream.

While it’s possible that Web 2.0 stars like Facebook, Digg and Twitter will turn things around, it’s quite clear that these companies are not like many of their hot Web 1.0 counterparts, which, despite having to battle challenges of their own, were able to develop viable revenue models and turn a profit relatively early on.

Given all this, for Web 2.0 proponents who continue to make the same asinine argument, “Don’t treat Web 2.0 like Web 1.0!”, it’s 2009 and I concede defeat. Web 2.0 is not like Web 1.0. It’s in a special (ed) class of its own.

Discovery, Navigation, and Collaboration – Hello Holy Grail – Facebook Is Soaring – They Will Be Huge – Trust Me

I am a big believer that Facebook’s massive growth is bigger than most people think. They are pushing a utility that delivers big time value. Over the past year I have been studying the utility of Facebook and can tell you that it’s not about just sharing and throwing sheep – It’s about people in a new paradigm. Facebook has the opportunity to take a very strong value proposition and evolve how users discover and navigate (the core principles of search) BUT more importantly they are in the exchange position of real value – actionable value transfer. Simply put: they broker transactions from finding lost friends, staying in touch with existing friends, making new friends, to finding and buying products and services. They can be a hub of collaboration of all sorts. All of those elements make them poised to make it big time. If they continue to keep their eye on the user experience (utility) ball then they can get there. Their numbers are just too big to be dethroned. The only way Facebook will miss the opportunity is if they screw it up on their own. Facebook as they say is ‘gold plated’.

Here is a post from Facebook’s CEO Founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Today, we reached another milestone: 150 million people around the world are now actively using Facebook and almost half of them are using Facebook every day. This includes people in every continent—even Antarctica. If Facebook were a country, it would be the eighth most populated in the world, just ahead of Japan, Russia and Nigeria.

When we first started Facebook almost five years ago, most of the people using it were college students in the United States. Today, people of all ages—grandparents, parents and children—use Facebook in more than 35 different languages and 170 countries and territories.

The full potential of the web is to make the world more open, so everyone has a voice and can share what is important to them. With 150 million voices and counting, we can’t wait for the rest of 2009, and we look forward to offering even more ways for you to connect with the people who matter most.

New York Times – A Failed Ad Strategy

New York Times is now selling ads on their front page. I have to say that I didn’t even notice.  This is the reason why it’s a failed strategy.  Trend is away from print to online and that is where the NYTimes should be focused.  Not only are web users not clicking on display ads, a new crop of software led by Adblocker Plus is blocking all the ads.  Adblocker Plus used on about 10% of all web users is quietly gaining ground as a tool for end users.  I wonder if the New York Times will see the impact of the fact that display ads are being blocked.

From Adage.

The New York Times unveiled a display ad on its front page, despite decades of fear that advertising there could contaminate the journalistic product or brand.

New York Times front page ad

Enlarge
Today’s ad, which promotes CBS, occupies a strip of real estate two and a half inches high at the very bottom of page A1.

Today’s ad, which promotes CBS, occupies a strip of real estate two and a half inches high at the very bottom of page A1. That makes the unit less noticeable than the boxes available on the front of Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal, but it’s still a big departure for the Times.

In a statement this morning, the Times pitched the turnabout as win for marketers. “In 2006 we began testing ads on some section fronts and received a very positive response from the advertising community,” said Denise Warren, senior VP-chief advertising officer for the New York Times Media Group.

Taking its situation seriously
But it’s also a clear reflection that the Times is taking its situation seriously, something that was questioned after a recent presentation to investors and analysts. The New York Times Co. finally cut its costly dividend payments last November but drew fire for failing to suspend them altogether. “It just seems the reality is it’s a very, very difficult business right now, newspapers,” a questioner told executives. “And the notion that cash is flowing out of the company to the equity seems — it seems like you may not understand the gravity of the situation.”

In a funny way, the awful business environment may have actually freed the business side to sell the ads without worrying about an outcry from the newsroom.

“While three years ago the notion of the august New York Times serving up front-page ads would have stirred emotions far and wide, today it’s a one-day story,” said Ken Doctor, a newspaper vet turned media analyst for Outsell, a research and advisory firm. “When someone doesn’t have enough to eat, he doesn’t quibble about the source of the food.”

Made their peace
Many other papers have already made their peace with front-page advertising. The Journal began selling front-page units in 2006, carefully milking their potential to get big commitments from the five marketers allowed to buy them each year.

“Every single purchase has with it an annual commitment, an online commitment,” said Michael Rooney, chief revenue officer at Journal parent Dow Jones. “Some are multiyear, and some are global as well.”

With such prominent ad units, of course, it’s easy to wonder how the big articles next to them hurt or enhance their effectiveness. General Motors and Hewlett-Packard ads have bumped up against negative coverage of their own companies.

The front of the Journal’s Marketplace section today, on the other hand, shows an Oracle ad next to an article pegged to the Consumer Electronics Show. That’s an adjacency Oracle might have liked to arrange — which in turn is a possible suspicion that bothers opponents of these ads. Mr. Rooney said the paper never talks about news articles with advertisers. “It’s just not a conversation we would ever have,” he said. “Whether it’s the B section, the A section or anywhere in the paper, we sell our audience.”

Off the table
Last June The Washington Post’s new publisher, Katharine Weymouth, told Ad Age that front-page ads remained off the table. “I’ve had advertisers beg me to put ads on the front page, and we’re not ready to do that,” she said. The same goes for ads on Post-it notes affixed to the paper. “We declined to do that because we thought it cheapened the front page.”

Since then, of course, the economy has worsened dramatically. The Washington Post Co. saw print-ad revenue at its newspapers fall 14% in the third quarter.

This morning Ms. Weymouth confirmed, however, that the Post still doesn’t sell front-page ads. “No,” she e-mailed Ad Age. “The Washington Post does not currently accept front-page ads in our print edition.”

Online Video – Trends Content Models Advertising Models At NewTeeVee Live Event

I will be moderating a panel that is sponsored by Volomedia at NewTeeVee Live. It will be a workshop on content monetization at the NewTeeVee Live conference in San Francisco this Thursday, November 13 at 3pm.

The panel is titled “Pennies Today, Dollars Tomorrow: Learn How To Make Money In The Media Transition As Television Moves To The Internet“.

Pennies today, Dollars tomorrow. Learn how make money in the media transition as Television moves to the Internet.

As content moves from controlled programming to a decentralized, multi-platform distribution model, solutions are required to engage, measure and ultimately monetize this audience. The session will explore this cross-over from television to online and devices, and discuss opportunities while maintaining control of your digital distribution for the anywhere, anytime audience.

Moderator:

  • John Furrier, Founder, Furrier.org

Panelists:

  • George Ruiz, Head of New Media and SVP Business Affairs, International Creative Management
  • Susan Bratton, CEO and Co-Founder, Personal Life Media; Vice Chairman, Association for Downloadable Media
  • Murgesh Navar, Founder, VoloMedia
  • David Smith, Founder and CEO, Mediasmith

I hope to get to address the following types of questions

Trends
•    Environment:  real-time verses asynchronous, social network, web sites, blogs, podcasts, ..etc
•    Distribution:  reach, metrics
•    User:  Online content viewer, preferred method of consumption, how do you define good content?
•    Advertiser:  social media, engagement, loyalty, conversion?
•    Other:  iPhone, downloadable, streaming, content development, distribution systems, content franchises, affiliate models

Content Model
Value proposition of content online?  What is an example of a successful content franchise?

Value of content or value of brand?

Success models of content deployments

Content formula:  Speed and Control;
Speed:  (slow verses fast) and Control (high vs low)

Open distribution:  sampling verses giving away the ‘store’
Tasting (sampling) ?  SNL verses Olympics

Concept of a viewer?  Is it the same as broadcast?  Does the notion of a “viewer” matter online?

Is there risk in being open or is risk overstated?

Is there a ‘holy grail’ metric for content publishers?  Engagement, viewers/listeners, loyalty, commerce, ..etc ?

Content models:  ad supported verses subscription – are there any other kinds?

Business model:  is it just promotion or is there a “there there”?


Advertising Model

Are ad networks working?

What are advertisers looking for in the new tee vee environment?

Role of brands?  Is it about the brand?

Role of the agency?

What works what doesn’t work?

Audience engagement – what does it mean?  Benefits to advertisers?

When does an advertiser know when it’s working?  Are there identifiable tipping points out there?

How do they plan for future campaigns?

Budgeting and media buying of the future?

Here is a video of George Ruiz – Taken by Tim Street in LA. George is an agent and talent king and has been a successful film studio exec and negotiator.

My Prediction is Validated About Business Model Of Video – Give Users What They Want

Taking credit for big trends is all the rage these days of blogging. So here is my self promotion post on the future of online video and future of online advertising.🙂

Today the news in the NY Times tells us about the future of online video and advertising. It comes as a shock to many people including Mike Arrington, Mathew Ingram, and others. With headlines from Wired like Hulu Celebrates First Anniversity, Gain Popularity By Serving Fewer Ads.

As predicted by me years ago and blogged here at Furrier.org – “Content is the Ad”

Hulu’s success is due to the a great user experience verses forcing the maximizing of moneitization. That is why Hulu is not littered with Ads. Why? Because the content is the ad. SNL’s franchise on TV is their product and their online distribution (widgets) is their ad. NBC TV broadcast was the product and their online coverage was their advertising. Why do the big content people do this? This is going to sound too simple – they know what the users want. And their product (main content franchise) gets a reward for it – more viewers. Badda bing. Simple.

One more time – CPM ads don’t work in social network or online in targeted user groups – said again for the zillionth time

How do you monetize: the plans for this new content model online will be different. Expect to see new contextual and behavior tools that serve users – a utility of some sort. For now it’s all about cross-promotion.

Successful online strategies have been successful if they do three things: 1) easy to use, 2) reduce steps, and 3) save time

Anything online that distracts users will lose – online experiences must be value-add. Advertising can be value-add and I expect new advertising solutions to be of value.

Blogs More Effective In Web 2.0 Advertising

I saw this from Caroline McCarthy at Cnet today and agree with this study. In the many years of research in online advertising and web 2.0 it is very clear that one of the roles a blogger plays in their area of coverage is one of newsmaker and analyst.

I did a speech at MIT in 2006 called “The Blogosphere:  New Navigators.”  – in this speech I predicted that certain blogger would asend to the highest trust level in communities to earn a place of trust.  Why? Because to be an effective blogger you have to know about the sector your covering.  To capture news, get scoops, provide content value, you need to know what you’re talking about.  Bloggers provide a real time service for users.  Often bloggers make mistakes, but more importantly to users they provide links to other sources that delivers on the real time alerting or redirection of attention and interest (this is what normal users are looking for).  Of course bloggers self correct or get corrected from their audiences.  This content cycle is two way and very effective in content development, story development, fact development, and opinion development.  This makes them valuable to users.  (side datapoint:  the best analysts of top firms have become bloggers – why?? ..Point made)

I am shocked to see marketing people pass on sponsorship of the top influencial blogs in their sector.  Yet pay 100k for an analyst firm to do some survey.  Blog advertising and sponsorship is the best game in town for marketing executives.  Here I posted about the Future of Blogging last week.

Of course I’m biased but do see direct results everyday.  Tell me if you agree?