Facebook Beacon: Kara is the Pot Calling the Kettle

In the 60 minutes interveiw of Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg (which I thought was a puff piece) Kara Swisher is highlighted as the expert in Facebook.  Kara deserves to be on there because she has been following Facebook hard for a while.  I like Kara and read her blog.  Kara is a pro journalist, but I fell off my chair at the end of the interview on her comment on Facebook’s beacon product.  I have to call foul on this one Kara. 

Kara: I respectfully disagree with you.  First, I think that you’re wrong on your take on beacon.  You said Facebook was wrong for doing it and not explaining it.  Then you go on to basically question their judgement.  I disagree with you.  Beacon is a good thing for Facebook and for users.  I think that Facebook rolled it out the wrong way, but it was a good move for Facebook.  It’s a competitive advantage weapon for Facebook and a possible innovation lever for their user experience (and for future monetization).   Secondly, you have a relationship Google and know that Google practices the same techniques as Beacon (can we talk about gmail, data centers and toolbar among other similar data driven innovations).  By your logic Google is wrong and has bad judgement.   Competing on the value of data extraction is precisely what Google built their brand on and it is what drives their ad monetization business. 

Both Google and Facebook derive their products core value propositions from the aggregation and knowledge about data and data relationships. 

Here is the 60 minutes interview. Note: Bill Gates was 17 when he started Microsoft.

Two Parts: 

Part I

Part II

Word of Mouth Marketing Works – Get Talking

Word of mouth marketing is working for Advertisers.  Is it scalable?  Today WOM is mostly heavy lifting manual work done by creative and innovative PR executives.  The big trend in 2008-09 will be ‘media planning and buying’ capabilities. 

Here are some great fact from eMarketer:

Yet fewer than one-quarter of marketers surveyed in September and October 2007 by Ketchum and the USC Annenberg Strategic Public Relations Center for their “Media, Myths & Realities” report said they had a word-of-mouth program in place. 

“Communications professionals need to vigorously reassess their communication priorities to meet consumers’ needs in this multimedia channel world,” said Nicholas Scibetta, senior vice president at Ketchum.

Influencers in the Ketchum-USC study often asked for advice themselves, making word of mouth a good tactic for reaching influencers in particular.

Adult Influencers* in Select Countries Worldwide Who Use Advice from Family/Friends and/or Co-Workers, September-October 2007 (% of respondents)

The number of people who have influence—because of their expertise, their passion and their connections—is likely to grow, as the Web offers more user-generated content opportunities and as more companies make word-of-mouth a priority.

eMarketer projects that, in 2007, 66 million adults will have shared advice about products and services and 27 million will exert influence online.

“Both populations will grow in size—and importance—over the next five years as more people become comfortable with sharing their opinions online,” said Debra Aho Williamson, senior analyst at eMarketer. “Winning them over is likely to be on every marketer’s to-do list.”

In a 2007 study from Accenture that looked specifically at how consumers learn about new products, 20% cited WOM as a leading source, trailing only TV (34%).

Primary Means by which US Internet Users Find Out about New Products, January 2007 (% of respondents)

Video Ads are Here to Stay – What will they look like?

Blodget has a post on video advertising.  I’ve been working hard to get my advertising vision at PodTech to embrace this trend.  What is video advertising?  Short form youtube videos?  Infomercials?  Entertainment?  All of the above?

A new report by research-boutique Off The Record suggests that, after a couple of years of dabbling, big advertisers are now taking online video advertising seriously.  This is good news for traditional TV networks–Disney, Viacom (VIAB), News Corp (NWS)–and it’s good news for Google.  The report was based on 10 interviews with ad-agency execs conducted from Sept 21-Oct 4.

Key points:

  • Video ads growing faster than ad execs expected.
  • Video ads still account for only a tiny percentage of overall web ads but are expected to be the fastest growing category for the foreseeable future.
  • Auto and entertainment categories strongest, with good growth in consumer products, technology, and fast food.

For more check out Henry’s post.