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Facebook says that you are a FANatical ConSUMER

Added on by Chris Saad.
Jeremiah (fellow Media 2.0 Workgroup member) has just posted the latest news from myspace and facebook about their new social advertising solutions.

From his executive summary:
Both Facebook and MySpace have launched profile and network targeted advertising and marketing products. As they both use member interests and the communities which they are part of, trust continues to become key in adoption as information is passed along the network. The sheer size of MySpace's member base, as well as the thriving local business membership will lead to success. Facebook, which brings a unique solution evolves advertisements to endorsements and encourages members to subscribe to a brand in what we are calling "Fan-Sumers" (an evolution of the consumer). As consumers share their affinities, brands can advertise using trusted social relationships.
Advertising as we know it is indeed dead. Word of mouth has always been more powerful than messages shouted from on-high. And now, with Media 2.0 reducing friction to zero and increasing visibility toward 100%, Word of mouth has never been stronger - or more important.

Your words now echo for all of time - and they get louder as they travel.

So moving towards a world where sites can enable brands to better facilitate and moderate the word of mouth network seems obvious. The problem, though, is with the fundamental thinking at these organizations.

For example, the name Fan-sumer is disgusting. FANatical ConSUMER? It's far worse than User Generated Content! Sure it's just a name, but it is a revealing insight into their line of thinking.

Word of mouth is not sanctioned, it just happens. Ultimately the best you can do is join in the conversation. Giving away 'free steak knives' to your friends only reduces everyone's credibility.

As I said on Jeremiah's post, however, the core idea is not a total write-off - but it will need heavy modification to align with reality - friends trust each other, and helping them spam each other does nothing for anyone

I wrote:
Fan-sumer? So now we are further reduced to FANatical ConSUMERS?

As usual, the underlying idea is interesting, but the execution is so user-unfriendly (the name alone reveals their true intentions) that they are just legitimizing peer-to-peer spam.

As a true social solution for advertising it is not a write-off, but the execution needs a lot of tweaking to be truly about engagement and personalization with a true sense of trust based endorsements from your friends.

Update: I have also posted about this on Blognation.

Facebook is using your data to target ads at you

Added on by Chris Saad.
According to the Wall Street Journal online Facebook is designing an ad system to use their extensive knowledge of its users to target advertising to them.

This move is hardly unexpected. Chances are many sites across many usage models are considering and implementing the same thing.

The WSJ writes:

Next year, Facebook hopes to expand on the service, one person says, using algorithms to learn how receptive a person might be to an ad based on readily available information about activities and interests of not just a user but also his friends -- even if the user hasn't explicitly expressed interest in a given topic. Facebook could then target ads accordingly.

The question, however, is how long users are going to accept having their information harvested and leveraged in this way - the very heart of the Attention Economy - without demanding portability and transparency.

The WSJ article continues:

While Facebook plans to protect its users' privacy and possibly give them an option to keep certain information completely private, some Facebook users might rebel against the use of their personal information for the company's gain.

And the perceptions that targeted ads create can be as much of a problem as the reality. "Most people don't realize how targeting works; it becomes so good that even though it's anonymous, you feel like they know you," says Rishad Tobaccowala, CEO of Publicis Groupe-owned consulting firm Denuo Group. However, he says Facebook needs to be careful in implementing any targeted ad system, lest loyal users "find it creepy."

This is key. Maintaining privacy is just a subset of giving users control. Control must include portability and transparency.

Using export/import formats like APML would soften the impact of privacy/control concerns. The problem is that walled gardens like Facebook (and yes - it is a walled garden) think that they need to lock users in in order to maintain their unique value.

The truth is, however, that unless Facebook begins to adopt more standards and open up its platform for export, it will be usurped by the first medium-scale network to do so. Don't believe me? Remember that little network Facebook that blew Myspace & Linkedin up by opening up just a little?

Let's hope that Facebook considers taking some measures before rolling out their new ad system.

CBS getting attention for Jericho using AdWords

Added on by Chris Saad.
CBS is using AdWords to great effect to thank the fans for their show of support for the recently cancelled (and then saved) TV show Jericho.

Learn more about it on TVSquad.

I think it's a great attempt to reach out to fans and use the back channel to generate good will and publicity.

Well done CBS!

Getting Attention by Yelling Really Loud

Added on by Chris Saad.
Have you ever wondered why TV commercials sound louder than the TV shows they interrupt?

There's an interest piece about the Volume of TV Ads that explains how and why it works. It's part of a new law being proposed to add consistency to the 'perceived volume' of shows, their ads and between ads.

Under the proposed rule, broadcasters will be told that "A consistent subjective loudness must be maintained between individual advertisements and between the advertisements and programme and other junction material."

It is interesting that the Media 1.0 people believe that shouting loudly at the audience produces the best result. 1.0 thinking at its best.

As I have written somewhere else:

"Advertising was fun, for you, for a while. You made us sit there for 5 minutes at a time watching people jam messages down our throat. Most of them didn't even apply to us. We don't care about that sale or those shoes. We care about our own personal and individual interests. Interests that are both specific and diverse.

If you have a message to tell us, make it compelling. If you have something to say, make it worth listening to. If you have something to sell, make it worth buying. If you have something worth knowing, we will hear about it without you yelling about it. We have friends, social networks, personal profiles and search engines which will tell us what we need to know when we need to know it - our schedule - not yours.

If you want to reach us, come and find us. Talk to us, have a conversation with us. Ask us questions. Listen to our answers. Act on our answers. Empower us to share your message. Because the only person who can tell your message, is us."

Going Viral - By design

Added on by Chris Saad.
Interesting article was published in Ad week on the 19th called "Clients try to manipulate unpredictable viral Buzz" about clients asking ad agencies to create viral videos for them.

Ad agencies are spending a lot of time and creative juices trying to manufacture stuff that people should 'Pay Attention' to each time having mixed results. They are seeding blogs, commenting, creating content and faking YouTube stats all in an effort to get noticed.

From the article:

"The move to bring a measure of predictability to the still-unpredictable world of viral marketing is being driven by clients trying to balance the risks
inherent in a new marketing medium with the need to prove return on investment, said agency executives."

Some campaigns work - like the one below:

But many don't. While the video above got millions of impressions (and is still going - even getting linked on Blogs dedicated to the subject of Attention!) other videos that would (on paper) be expected to get a lot of attention don't.

"Then there's the seven-minute film by Leaving Las Vegas director Mike Figgis of Kate Moss in her underwear for Agent Provocateur, a lingerie maker that had what would appear to be the recipe for a viral sensation. But it was viewed fewer than 75,000 times in the three months after it was uploaded last September."
There is a fight going on out there. To win hearts and minds. And I am not talking about the War on Terror.

Actually what they are really fighting for is Attention. Once they have that - its yet another battle to actually convert Attention into Engagement.

In the mean time. I am having a very hard time uploading a screen-cast of Touchstone in action. Google Video and YouTube seem to compress the heck out of it so you can't read the screen! This should be easier.

Do We Owe YouTube Our Precious Bandwidth?

Added on by Ash.
I just read an interesting blog from Scott Karp at Publishing 2.0, about the recent YouTube polls, partially regarding potential cost to users should YouTube introduce ads at the start of each video.

Needless to say that it doesnt bode well for YouTube if they did this. I too wouldn't be too happy about it and am a self-confessed media junkie. But is this just the cost of doing business? Can we not come up with more creative ways of monetizing video?

What about this; Incremental random ads where volume of advertising is tied to popularity of a piece of content. So, the less popular videos will have no ads and then randomly show ads with increasingly frequency as the views/popularity increases.

This is on the assumption that people might be more inclined to accept ads for the more popular (and thus theoretically more interesting) videos.

Just my thoughts. I wonder if there is any other compromise?

This whole advertising revenue thing could implode at any second!

Added on by Chris Saad.
Can I ask a stupid question? Is online advertising profitable... for the advertisers? (ok that was two stupid questions).

I have seen a LOT of content about how people can make money from advertising on their blog etc etc. But I have seen very little in the form of case studies or testimonials that the ads work for the advertisers.

Can someone point me to that info?

If we are not satisfying our advertisers then this whole advertising revenue thing could implode at any second.

Attention based workplace

Added on by Chris Saad.

Greg Yardley posts about Google as an 'Attention-based workplace' because they have:

  • infrequent meetings;
  • no project management cruft;
  • no management directives;
  • the ability to switch projects at will;
  • an utter lack of date-driven releases;
  • motivation created through incentives.

They allow their staff to focus (or pay attention to) the things they care about.

He goes on to say:

I’m sure they think of it in different terms, but I suspect Google’s become so successful because they’ve brought the rules of the emerging attention economy back into the workplace.

However I disagree with Greg on this point - I am all for the Attention Economy, but I think Google is so successful not because of its focus on an Attention based workplace, but rather because it serves and monetizes everyone's ads for them.

However, that specific business (like search) is actually Attention based. Context Sensitive ads are actually about looking at what your giving attention to and determining your Intentions.

If I am looking up a movie, then chances are I want to buy the DVD hey?

Don't get me wrong though - I agree Google has a great workplace. That being said, our monitors are better than Google's - most of our team have dual 24' Dell monitors. All we need now is free laundry services and a gym.

Follow up: Making money in the long tail

Added on by Chris Saad.
Guy Kawasaki has posted a follow up to his post 'A review of my first year of blogging' which sparked a flurry of interest from bloggers because it revealed just how little Guy actually makes from advertising on his blog (and by implication, how little money there is in online advertising)

The new post - entitled 'The Short Tale: Much Ado about Not Much' goes further - explaining that he did not mean to cause any controversy and explained, if not for money, why exactly Guy blogs.

He says:

In case you’re interested, the reasons that I blog are:

  1. To increase the likelihood that “two guys/gals in garage” with “the next Google” will come to Garage for funding.
  2. To help companies and people that I (a) like, (b) have sometimes invested in, (c) am sometimes advising publicize their products and services. This is also known as “alignment of interest” as opposed to “conflict of interest.”
  3. To be able to tell Web 2.0 entrepreneurs how full of shiitake they are if they think that advertising is a slam-dunk business model. Essentially, a Web 2.0 company would have to be 10,000 times better at selling advertising than me before it gets interesting.
  4. To test ideas with “reality checks.” How many guys have 30,000-person focus groups?
  5. To tap the “wisdom of the crowd.” For example, ideas for my next book. How many guys have 30,000 people providing new-product ideas?
  6. To make meaning and fulfill my mantra of “empowering people.”

As I explained - I personally never imagined that individual bloggers would blog for the advertising revenue. Not successfully anyway.

In case you're interested - here's the reasons I personally blog here on the Touchstone blog.

  1. To join the daily discussion about topics and issues I am passionate about.
  2. To explain to our testers/users, partners, investors and anyone else who will listen why we should all be paying attention to Attention.
  3. To keep everyone up-to-date about our challenges, goals and intentions with Touchstone (as guy says, how else can you get such a large focus group).
  4. It helps me structure my thoughts and clearly express them for our team and the wider community to see.
  5. To encourage people to connect with me if they have similar ideas or potential opportunities that could benefit us both.
  6. To be heard...

Is Advertising Dead?

Added on by Chris Saad.
In response to my post "Carefactor: 100" Scientaestubique posted a comment. It was a great question so I thought I would post it here along with my reply. What do you think? Reply in the comments.

scientaestubique said...

Is advertising as a paradigm now obselete?

Wikipedia defines Advertising as:
the paid promotion of goods, services, companies and ideas by an identified sponsor.

Do we really need old style ads anymore?

Generations X & Y don't absorb advertising like they used to, however they consume more media than ever.

Maybe companies could try producing really good media about their products and services and skip the spruking altogether.

More signal, less noise.

Chris said...

I think fist that Marketing (paying someone to find ways to get people to notice) is always going to be around.

The requirements of the job will, however, change rapidly over time.

The most sophisticated marketers today know that marketing is not necessarily about shaping a clever message as it is about shaping a clever product that speaks for itself.

Look to and ResonancePartnership (plus others) for that sort of thinking.

As for advertising, I think that it can sometimes be argued that people don't know they need something until they are introduced to the idea. Like marketing, however, it needs to change shape from yelling at people into something more akin to a conversation. Read: Cluetrain Manifesto.

Speaking of creating media for your product - there was a series of short stories directed by famous directors that were effectively BMW commercials. I believe it was in response to BWM loosing the deal to appear in one of the 007 movies. Was fascinating to watch.

What other forms of media would you suggest they produce though? I don’t really want to watch an episode about the sale on down the road...

"can one man buy a discount shirt... against.. all... odds"


Carefactor: 100

Added on by Chris Saad.

With publishing power ebbing from the few to the many and AJAX killing the postback there are a couple of problems emerging.

  1. Media outlets who make a living by selling eyeballs to advertisers are having to prove the value of their ad space amid growing competition from their readers!
  2. When pages don't refresh (because of AJAX), the number of pageviews a site gets no longer matters. When something no longer works, people are forced to invent something new. When people invent something new they are forced to actually look at the problem. What have they discovered? There is a lot more measure than just 'how many eyeballs are there'. Things like 'how wealthy or influential are the eyeballs', 'how much do the eyeballs trust the publisher', 'how reactive and proactive are the eyeballs in relation to the author' and most importantly 'why do we keep ignoring the person and focusing on their eyeballs'.
  3. Advertisers are finding it hard to work out who to give their money to. Is google really the best broker of my advertising dollars? Which ad network or publisher can promote our brand and product better?

As a result, commentators are abuzz about new definitions and algorithms to measure all this stuff.

Comscore is apparently working on a 'Web 2.0 Metric'.

".....While page views will not altogether cease to be a relevant measure of a site's value, it's clear that there is an increasing need to consider page views alongside newer, more relevant measures. comScore is proud to continue carrying the torch as an industry innovator with the development of a new suite of metrics that will effectively address the Web 2.0 landscape by including enhanced measures of user engagement and advertising exposure. We will be introducing these new metrics to the industry in 2007."

And Jeff Jarvis from BuzzMachine talks about the Distributed Media Economy

So pageviews are obsolete already, thanks to Ajax and other unpage technologies and to the widgetization of content, functionality, and branding: Again, what’s a ‘page’? Audience measurements are obsolete, at last, thanks to the fact that the
former consumer is now also the creator and distributor: What’s an ‘audience’? Mass measurements are dead, thank God, because we are now joyfully fragmented into the mass of niches: Who’s a ‘user’?

Dion Hinchcliffe posts:

"it seems clear that users, businesses, and other organizations that deeply embrace the fundamental nature of the Web as a communications-oriented platform without any single owner except all of us, will be the only ones able to fully exploit the possibilities for online applications."

I find this last quote interesting. "Without any single owner". But I think it needs to be taken further. Media outlets and bloggers alike don't own their audience. In fact they don't even own their participants.

While people are happy to get trapped in walled gardens like MySpace for now, they will soon realize that blogs are the real social network. While they are happy to subscribe to 10, 100, 1000 blogs now, they will start to realize that there is far too much content and they actually need to subscribe to ideas/concepts/interests - not authors.

So perhaps if the audience is not owned by any single site/source then the metric should not be bound to them either. Perhaps the best way to measure engagement is not by domain, but by concept.