Successful Social Media Advertising – AdAge Highlights H&R Block

AdAge has a great article talking about the success of H&R Block’s implementation of Social Media.

Here is a nugget from the story. “Once brands embrace social media, agencies also have to change some of their fundamental processes when it comes to creating and distributing content, said Kelly Mooney, president and chief experience officer of Resource Interactive. For example, in social media there isn’t just one big idea. As evident in the H&R Block case study, sometimes social media is about stacking up many small ideas to create a big total impact.”

Over the past few months I’ve been consulting and researching social media strategies and tactics with large companies.  It is true that agencies are challenged in delivering on the social media plans.

Online Advertising Broken or Just Changing? It’s Changing

Rob Hof has a post about online advertising showing signs of weakness. I would generally agree with Rob, but would say it’s growing in another direction.

I’ve seen this movie before in 1998. The ad business is changing again. Back in 1998 the rage was impressions impressions’s was all about banner ads. Then it became clear impressions and paying for traffic wasn’t working for advertisers – enter performance advertising – the paid keyword.

Today we are in a similar dynamic. Sure the ad market is showing weakness but it’s not because it isn’t effective. It’s because the CPM don’t get the job done for advertisers and publishers. New products will be coming…

I’ve been saying on this blog and other places that CPM will be one small feature of the future online advertising market. The future is about the social graph..the next Google will emerge from the new dynamics and relevance coming out of the social graph infrastructure (yes that would include data).

Microcontent is the big trend that will be the preferred ad unit in the future. As I have been saying for years – In Social Networks – The Content is the Ad.

Update:  eMarketer has social advertising data including key trends and growth rates.

Twitter is Rising Not Falling – They Still Need To Innovate

Eric Eldon is reporting that Twitter traffic rising not falling.  Kara Swisher challenged everyone yesterday and posed the question will Twitter fail.  That got the elite in the blogosphere talking.  I believe that I was the only one who took the bold position that twitter will FAIL.

I immediately got twitters from folks like Danny Sullivan and others like Danny who know what they are talking about.  Fact is my prediction is this:  Twitter the company will fail but not Twitter the paradigm.  Why do I say this?  Because Twitter’s innovation (product gurus) could be their downfall.  They need to think like infrastructure or operating systems people not AJAX developers – meaning get some core IP defined and owned it fast otherwise the core asset runs out of control.

Some may disagree with me and that’s fine.  I’d love to debate it anytime here at 654 High Street, Palo Alto, CA – the new home of the Social MediaHaus or on Twitter: @Furrier

Kara Swisher Leaves EchoChamber for Weekend – Twitter will Fail

Bold Prediction:  Twitter will fail.

Kara Swisher asks for a prediction on Twitter.

I love twitter and use it daily but what strikes me is the lack of ‘technical competitive strategy’.  Twitter runs the risk of being so open that it might not ever make money.  Ok so everyone is talking about monetization, but my take is different.  If I worked at Twitter I could have that business at $100m fast – it just seems an easy thing to do.  The key to their success is the platform and the concept called ‘value leakage’.

Everyday when a new twitter clients comes out Twitter loses value.  This may seem counterproductive but in a systems business the main vendor needs a ‘core’.  It seems that Twitter might just lose their core value if it  doesn’t implement some technical competitive strategy – meaning lock in a value core and build on it.  Twitter to me just seems to be a runaway success and out of control from both a scale and sustainable perspective.

I love Twitter but their braintrust needs to jam on a value core to build on their openness.

Web 2.0 Expo Blogging and Twittering – New formula for social media marketing and advertising: Social Networks + Social Media = Social Commerce

I’m at Web 2.0 Expo blogging and twittering the event.  A great event that is trying to encapsulate the web 2.0 world for business people.  One of the problems with Web 2.0 Expo so far is that it’s to geared to developers.  In fact most attendees are normal business people who are trying to harness web 2.0 for their business.

Tomorrow should be a great day when the event kicks off.  I’m here talking to potential companies for my new startup.

If anyone from corporations, media companies, or ad agenciesis interested in social media marketing and/or social media advertising I am available to chat.   I am currently in private beta for my new social media ad product.

New formula for social media marketing and advertising:  Social Networks + Social Media = Social Commerce

Social Media Release – Needs To Be Social

I’ve been following the Social Media Release story on Techmeme (the home of social media releases via blogs). This is my area and I have a big opinion. For the past 4 years I’ve been at the center of social media, social networks, social graphs,,bla bla bla. Social Media is the real deal. Here are some of my opinions that I’ve posted here before. Social Everything. Social Media New Standard for Online Advertising. Vertical Media New Online Advertising Model. Are Ad Agencies Dying?

Matthew Ingram breaks this down for the average Joe and Mary – put freakin links in your releases. Thanks Matthew.

Seriously Mr. Ingram is right on, and I’ll go on to say that SMNR are a good thing . Press releases have to change and are changing. Companies like Cisco and Intel are doing it right. Other leaders are moving in the social media direction as well.

Two big problems with the above examples: 1) It’s just not about PR any more it’s about message distribution and rich media – hello integrated marketing and advertising groups – It’s not just PR anymore; 2) most of the examples mentioned above particularly Cisco are flawed in that their media isn’t social. Putting links in a release doesn’t make it social. Cisco is putting in links but the content is all about their walled garden site – that ain’t social that’s ‘jail’.

My Take: PR is now an integrated process that has it’s own value chain. It’s not about throwing a release out over the wall and it’s over. It’s a recursive process that requires resources both people and machines. This is where Tom Foremski is so brilliant. He has always talked about machine media working in tandem with people – thats social and that’s social media.

My advice: produce media in the Social Media Release and make it social. Sometimes that will require resources (people and money). This has been the biggest issue for PR departments – they are underfunded for this activity yet it is becoming a critical success factor for their business. The lines between PR and online advertising is bluring.

The Social Media Integrated PR Value Chain

Thanks to Tom Foremski for starting this conversation. Here is a picture of me Tom and one of the fathers of blogging Doc Searls. Social Media Releases are the future of PR – now they just need to be social.

Social Media is the New Standard for Emerging Online Advertising

This blog is about the cutting edge of technology and social media. It is often overlooked by the social media experts who are just now approaching the cutting edge. I’ve seen that the best social media consultants just don’t understand what social media is? To fully understand social media you have to look at the trends within Internet Infrastructure side of web 2.0 – collaborative filtering, software search tools, viral sharing, measurement. Most social media experts come from a PR background – not that there is anything wrong with that. I have yet to meet a PR person who can really nail the value of social media.

Forget all about that infrastructure stuff for now – just look at the numbers. Alternative media is growing fast. source:adage

Alternative media or emerging media or social media is fast becoming the standard in online advertising. Why? Because Web2.0 is about connected relationships with channels of abundant content that is fully measurable.

What the web page was to web1.0 social media is to web2.0.

The numbers are behind it. Below are the highlights from AdAge.

Spending on alternative media hit $73.43 billion in 2007, a 22% increase over the previous year, and will continue to grow, according to PQ Media’s Alternative Media Forecast: 2008-2012, released today. The research firm tracked 18 digital and nontraditional segments, with a combined 16.1% of total advertising and marketing dollars in 2007, up from 7.9% in 2002, yielding a compound annual growth rate of 21.7%.

The forecast predicts a 20.2% increase over the next year, to a total of $88.24 billion, and a compounded annual growth rate of 17% for 2007-2012, reaching $160.82 billion. By then, alternative media will represent 26.6% of all advertising and marketing dollars.

The upswing is as much a result of the effectiveness of new media in a fragmented market as it is from a lack of confidence in traditional media, said PQ Media President Patrick Quinn. “Traditional ad budgets have been going down, but spending has remained stable. This shows where the money is going,” Mr. Quinn said.
Alternative advertising, including online, mobile, entertainment and digital out-of-home advertising, saw spending rise at a compounded annual growth rate 25.8% to $39.22 billion in 2007, accounting for 17.7% of all ad spending that year (compared with 7% of all ad spending in 2002), and grew at a compounded annual growth rate of 26.2% from 2002 to 2007.

Online and mobile advertising spending –including search and lead generation, online classifieds and displays, e-media, online video and rich media, internet yellow pages, consumer-generated ads, and mobile advertising — reached $29.94 billion in 2007 (up 29.1% compared with 2006), a compounded annual growth rate of 31.4% over the 2002-2007 period. The category received heavy infusions from brand marketers trying to reach key demographics that have migrated online and to wireless thanks to wider broadband adoption.

Entertainment and digital out-of-home advertising — including local pay TV, digital out-of-home media, video on demand, interactive TV, and digital video recorder, video game, home video and satellite radio advertising — increased at a compounded annual growth rate of 15% from 2002-2007, and rose 16.2% over the previous year to $9.28 billion in 2007. The growth was driven by rising adoption of entertainment technologies, including ad insertion technologies and ad platforms to reach young audiences.

Alternative marketing — including branded entertainment and interactive marketing — hit $34.21 billion in 2007, a 17.9% rise over the previous year, and grew at a compounded annual growth rate of 17.5% from 2002-2007. This brings its share of total marketing expenditures up to 14.5% in 2007, compared with 8.7% of total spending in 2002.

Branded-entertainment marketing — including event sponsorship and marketing, paid product placement, advergaming and webisodes — also saw and increase of 14.7% to $22.30 billion last year, and climbed at a slower compounded annual growth rate of 13.4% from 2002-2007.

The deployment of new-media strategies focusing on better interactivity, entertainment and engagement than traditional media was the driving factor.

Thanks to strong gains in segments that reach affluent and influential consumers, interactive marketing — including e-direct marketing, word-of-mouth marketing, and e-custom publishing — saw big increases in 2007 of 24.4%, reaching $11.9 billion, compared with the previous year, and a compounded annual growth rate of 28.6% over the 2002-07 period.

Say hello to social media and the upcoming engagement metric.

Entrepreneurs Only Group on Facebook – Targeted Affinity

8 months ago I set up a group on Facebook called Entrepreneurs Only- it has 264 members of only entrepreneurs as of today.   What is very interesting is that it isn’t the number of people signed up but the quality.

The group isn’t active but people seem to be signing up.  Groups on facebook have become spam lately – I get emails from groups to promote this or go to that event.  No real work gets done classic signal vs noice problem.  To much noice coming from these social media tools.

I wonder what the engagement level or engagement level could be in these targeted affinity groups – if they are indeed targeted.

Blogging is Real Business – Why? Competition and Money is There

Mike Arrington writes a nice inside baseball piece on trends in the blogosphere. I wrote one on the difference between influence and attention.

I enjoyed Mike’s post. I’ve been at the ground floor of blogging from the beginning but from a podcasters standpoint -which is technically blogging. In fact was there when Techcrunch was formed and hung out with Mike for almost the first year. He’s right that back then blogging was a community. Now its a cage match.

When I founded PodTech I promoted the idea of a relationship ‘rolloup’ with with bloggers with producing video and not blogging. Even though we had one of the best bloggers on staff. My biggest mistake was that bloggers view everyone as competition  and don’t like to partner including PodTech who explicitly stayed out of the text blogging. I even brought scoops to Mike very early on in the Techcrunch days, but a relationship never happened. We did a lot for others by developing social media models with video with blue chip advertisers willing to work with bloggers – case in point BlogHaus. Bloggers want an incentive with relationships that fund their business – links don’t do it anymore – links are not the scarce resource anymore.

On Mike’s massive rollup idea. I don’t think that a massive rollup will work. Instead blogger and blog networks better get used to the competition because the barriers to entry are low and there is money out there. I see that the market will shake things out and platforms like Techcrunch, b5, paidcontent will build their own affiliate networks. As a result you will vertical markets with economic benefits to those affiliate content networks that do a good job of targeting and serving their users.

Why do I say this? Because traditional agencies are dying. My new venture will hopefull be an asset to bloggers and blog networks because blogs have more value then is being realized by the current crop of ad networks.

The best blog networks that will be successful are the ones who develop create content, serve a distinct audience, develop profession business practices, build relationships rather than burn them, and act with integrity.

The market will weed out blog networks that have no credibility, no integrity, and poor business practices.

Are Ad Agencies Dying?

It is clear that social media or new online advertising isn’t easy for traditional agencies. Recently an adage article came out and basically said the same thing.. What is the effectiveness of online advertising?

It is clear that advertisers are more in control and the role of the agency is become less relevant in social media. The new web 2.0 trend is presenting opportunities for new web services platforms to be agencies that replace the middleman agency.

Here is my equation for successful marketing or advertising in today’s web 2.0:

Advertising 2.0 = (Social Media + Social Networks) + Social Commerce

I’ve been involved in successful social media campaigns and one consistent observation is that content is very important to influence social networks which in turn creates a ‘conversion’ or social commerce dynamic.


Twitter conversations are suggesting that agencies will still be around.  Maybe a better title for this post would be:  Traditional Ad Agencies are Dying – Make Room for the New Modern Agency.

For example GM, Intel, Microsoft, and leading bellweathers in advertising are all doubling down every year online advertising at the expense of other areas like TV and print.  If you believe that TV, print, radio, newspapers are declining then the firms servicing them will disappear.

Here is a graph in today’s adage that shows the spend trends in the automotive sector.


Social Media Everywhere – YouTube APIs – This is Big

I was just posting the other day my ideas around the notion of Social Everything or Social Everywhere. Today, YouTube announces new APIs and YouTube Everywhere . YouTube has turned the corner with their user generated content site – it’s now a platform.  More info on YouTube APIs and tools.

If you’re in the video platform, advertising, or widget platform business you’re either scared to death or happy. YouTube just became a great partner or the devil of a competitor.

YouTube’s Jim Patterson – blogger and product management dude – writes, ” Technically, we have introduced some new APIs. (This is just a geeky acronym for Awesomely Powerful Interactions, which is what users are now capable of performing from just about anywhere.) Building upon our existing APIs for querying the YouTube library and playing embedded YouTube videos, we have added the following new API services for external developers and partners:

  • Upload videos and video responses to YouTube
  • Add/Edit user and video metadata (titles, descriptions, ratings, comments, favorites, contacts, etc)
  • Fetch localized standard feeds (most viewed, top rated, etc.) for 18 international locales
  • Perform custom queries optimized for 18 international locales
  • Customize player UI and control video playback (pause, play, stop, etc.) through software

The number of possible new applications is endless…”This will certainly change the social media landscape.

Is LinkedIn a Better Utility than Facebook? For Professionals “Advantage LinkedIn”

I wrote a post over the weekend about how Facebook is becoming cluttered while the new LinkedIn is clean.  Today WebWorkerDaily has a post on the new LinkedIn.  Love the last line in the post “As long as LinkedIn never offers anything with the word “poke” or “wall,” maybe they’re on to something after all.”

I have been doing a lot of research on social networks and will be posting results soon.  One thing that I noticed in social networks, media, and groups is that that the most successful social media advertising or information connects virtual activities to the real world.  Recently my LinkedIn experience has been blowing away the utility value of Facebook.  It feels like a chore for me to work Facebook in order to connect to my real world relationships and activities.  At first Facebook worked great then it became littered with notice – very dirty communications.  Bottom line: it effected my productivity both on a personal and business level.

I have neighbors who work for Facebook and know a bunch of people over there so I hope this post can be taken as being constructive.  If Facebook founders want to be the best social utility on the planet then it has to be 1) simple, 2) elegant, and 3) easy to use.

For professionals I have to say ‘Advantage LinkedIn”

Twitter is the Ultimate SmartMob – The Money is in the Collaboration

It’s no surprise that Howard Rheingold loves and is addicted to Twitter.  I have been at the center of social networking and social media from day one and have seen tools come and go.  Twitter is the real deal. 

Many people don’t get it and will never get it.  Where’s the business model – they cry.  Many see Twitter as a geek utility – a low cost to run utility.   It is clearly a solid communication utility. 

Where’s the Beef people ask?   Two Areas: 

1)  Communication and Coordination:    At PodTech we did many social media experiments and one of them was implementing Twitter mobs to drive brand awareness – we used as a communication tool to create an engaged “smart mob”.  Did it work.  It sure did. 

2)  Smart Collaboration:   Another area that Twitter rules is what I call the “smart collaborative mob”.   This is the Web 2.0 “holy grail”.   

Let me give some examples:  I have been personally using it this way for sometime in vetting out my next venture.  Also, more publically take a look at Seesmic and Loic Lemur.  He is actively using Twitter as a collaboration tool to build his business – I love that about Seesmic.  Just this weekend Loic Lemur was going through 900 feature ideas from the community – talk about smart mobbing for collaboration.  It’s open source entrepreneurship – high quality, efficient and low cost.

Twitter is one major component for Social Media but it can’t be used unless it has a community.  

Where’s the big business model in Twitter? 

Answer:  “Smart Collaboration”

Who owns it:?  Everyone

Who makes money:?  Everyone and Twitter

Watch Out Techmeme – First Impression of NewsPond

NewsPond is the latest in another Techmeme like aggregator. My first impression – very good. Mashable has a glowing review and so does Mike Arrington. (Update from Mike in comments below – Mike actually calls Newspond out) Gabe Rivera who has been recently celebrated as the best boostrapped startup, might want to rethink funding to expand his capability.

I have always been a fanboy of Gabe and Techmeme because of how valuable their service has become to my infoconsumption. The only issue that I have with Newspond is blogger inclusion. I get the impression from Newspond that it’s only branded publishers. I don’t see Dave Winer or Robert Scoble on Newspond. Maybe this is by design or maybe not. Techmeme is superior on including individual bloggers and mainstream news outlets.

I like how Techmeme mixes up professional bloggers or branded publisher bloggers with individual bloggers.

For now I like Newspond. I will use it everyday for the next month and see how they do.

I pinged Ian at Newspond to chat on a podcast with me on his new service. I hope to chat with him. I like how they talk about their approach to machine based ranking or AI brain.

Update: Mike Arrington points out in the comments below that I might have taken his post as positive. After re-reading Mike’s post it’s apparent that Mike call Newspond out for their ‘over the top’ positioning. I think that Mike is justified to point out the bravado. In the old days hyped up statements were needed to get attention from mainstream media but with today’s era of journalist bloggers hyping can kill you.

The Don of Blogging – Dan Farber Named EIC of

Dan Farber was named the editor in chief of I was an avid reader of for years then abandoned it for blogs.

The good news here is two fold: 1) Dan is a great guy and a pro, and 2) he’s a blogger. I’ve called him the “Don” of blogging because many of the best bloggers all have come to know and respect Dan. In a way he’s been a mentor to many of the blogger branded publishers out there – he’s like the Godfather for professional bloggers.

Great move for CNet and Congrats to Dan.

Here is a candid shot I took of Dan at the Techcrunch party this past summer.

Online Advertising Slowing? Just More Money – Expect New Products in Social Networks

New data is out confirming that online ads are growing.  Many people are looking at a potential online advertising recession. NOT. In fact more money is going into online ads then ever before. It’s recession proof.  Last week Forrester came out with research confirming it. Now IDC has data confirming this online ad growth trend.

The real story is that Google is losing share *and* the ad formats are changing. In discussing the company’s latest quarterly report about Internet advertising, IDC analyst Karsten Weide said businesses affected by the slowing U.S. economy will slash other advertising budgets before paring their online campaigns. “We think there will be some effect on ad spending overall, but we think online ad spending will almost be unaffected even if there’s a depression,” he said.

For the first time ever, IDC’s research found Google actually lost a bit of market share. “Their domestic sales growth has slowed down,” the analyst said. CPM based ads are dying giving way to Microcontent and social network ads.Look for new standards to come from online advertising groups like the Association of Downloadable Media (ADM).

Big Picture: Ads dollars are coming from Broadcast and Print sectors. The money has to flow somewhere and it will be online. Expect video advertising to dominate the big dollars.

No recession here only expansion.

Social Media Social Advertising – The Next Boom in Online Advertising

Forrester just put up a free report on why social media and advertising will survive a recession. It’s a must read for all online marketing executives.  Last month, Adweek had a short article on this topic.   I was quoted in there. 

Here is my quote from AdWeek:  “I don’t think we’ll see a marketing recession with online ads. The cost benefits and ROI are too compelling. It’s recession-proof.” —John Furrier, founder, PodTech Network, Palo Alto, Calif.

With Social media costs are dropping and the yield is increasing.  I’ve been directly involved in developing social media products for three years and can tell you with conviction that social media works.  

Bottom Line:  Forrester got it right.   They have some great suggestions. 

The Bad News:  metrics are very manual at his point so scalable metrics really don’t exist out there.  However, there are folks out there who know how to interpret the current set of data that is available. 

Good news:   metrics are coming. 

My advice to marketers:  if a vendor can’t coherently articulate to you what the appropriate metric variables are..then run for the hills.  Or just call me I know some good folks out there.

Marketers Note: If you’re reading this for the first time you should know that I’m biased toward Microcontent based social media and social advertising.  In my opinion Microcontent has the highest yield to cost benefits out on the market today *and* the distribution capabilities are viable and getting stronger everyday (e.g. widgets..etc).

Again: Video Ad Model – It’s MicroContent NOT Pre-rolls

Whew it’s about time a report like this came out.   I said it in a post right after ad:tech in New York that it’s Microcontent for ads online.  Now it’s affirmed by the data.  Silicon Alley bluntly states the obvious.  Everyone hates pre-rolls – lets get used to it and move on. 

The online advertising model is the content itself.  When I founded PodTech two years ago it was clear this was the trend.  Now Microcontent is going mainstream.  Why?   In social networks that have microtargeting microcontent works.  Contextual content meets a targeted user. 

Opportunity for brands:  Activate your brands online now for the next cycle of innovation.  In web 1.0, companies activated their brands with web sites.  In Web 2.0 and beyond, brands need to be activated online with content on a platform that enables targeted distribution in micronetworks.

Activating brands online isn’t about putting up a fan page on facebook.  Instead, it’s about providing ‘great’ MicroContent.  – with great tracking. 

All the web 2.0 social media talk today is about brand engagement, but you can’t have engagement without brand activation.   For all the brand marketers out there ask yourself the following question:  are my brands activated online?  and if so how?

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