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News Update – Best of the Day

daily1Social network users love to spend time watching videos according to the latest Nielsen figures. The total amount of time spent was 999.4 million minutes in October – an increase of 98% to 2008. People watched 349.5 million videos (up 45%). Facebook was the No. 1 online social networking and blog platform for video consumption in October with 217.8 million total video streams, followed by MySpace with 85,2 million video impressions.

The latest CMO Council study shows how relevant it is to provide good content, as well as sending out mass mailings carefully. The study, “Why Relevance Drives Response and Relationships,” states that 91% of respondents have unsubscribed to e-mail newsletters. 46% of those said that the content wwas not relevant.
Even worse is to receive emails with product promotions people have already purchased. 22% won’t buy from the company after receiving such irrelevant mails.

Connecting offline and online in a funny and intelligent way by iCarphone Warehouse. Can somebody explain why it got banned?

PS: Also found some good new videos – check out my new The Strategy Web YouTube channel.

News Update – Best of the Day

daily1Although this sounds unbelievable… New study (online poll amongst 271 US CMO’s by ME&L Worldwide and PRWeek – Marketers ignore social media feedback. The findings…
– 70% of marketers have never made change to their products and marketing campaigns based on consumer feedback on social media sites
– 39% are not convinced of social media
– 43% admit lack of knowledge

To find the benefits of Twitter is not easy. Every company has to evaluate Twitter for their own purpose (company messages, products and service). Nevertheless, this Forbes article gives 21 tips on how to use Twitter for business.

As usual – funny commercial for the day by bud.tv…

News Update – Best of the Day

If you have a vision for some trend or future business, it makes you happy to see that people pick up similar thoughts and spread them on the web. When I had the idea of creating the personal web manager, I thought this will be ‘utopia’. Now, Virgina Heffernan writes about the ‘necessity’ of Twitter and finalizes…

“I wish I was rich and had personal assistants.” Right on. And those assistants, presumably, could do our Twitterwork for us.

Thank you Virgina, this is just what I want to see. The New York Times blog supporting my vision… ace.

Internet Protocol TV (IP TV) is winning in recession times in the States. Sites like Hulu, iTunes, Amazon Video and TV.com are on the rise and changing the common world of the television industry. AdAge interviewed Verizon CMO John Stratton on the future of TV – and asking if IP TV is a threat for the old TV industry.

Will Internet users be paying for content in the future? Chris Poley throws in a thought that the web world will not touch – but definitely should focus on in the future.

“The economy has forced the Internet’s hand to act as a serious business, with all the responsibilities that go with success. For us as end users, it will take some getting used to, buying the milk when the cow was once free. But in these troubled times, we have little choice but to accept the inevitable. As President Obama’s chief of staff is credited with saying, “Never let a serious crisis go to waste.”

PS: This reminds me of my ‘The Social Globe‘ idea…

Study: Agencies moving to slow for consumers?

If we can believe in a recent study ‘Beyond advertising: Choosing a Strategic Path to the Digital Consumer‘ by IBM Institute for Business Value, then ad agencies are years behind in catching up to digitally savvy consumers – although consumers are moving their media consumption online more quickly than anybody could have expected.

Now, despite the difficult economic climate there are some good news for the digital industry: IBM’s study states that interactive, measurable formats will be expected to account for 20% of global ad spending by 2012. The interviewed CMOs said they will increase interactive and online marketing spending in 2009 while 63% while 65% will decrease on traditional advertising. Generally speaking, the same trend that we acknowledged from the latest CMO report.

So, what are further interesting findings? Between 2007 and 2008 the proportion of consumers answering they used social-networking tools went up to 60% (from 33%). It even doubled for for online and portable music services to 46% and almost tripled for mobile internet. And believe it or not, the access to mobile music and video quadrupled to 35%.

Seeing these numbers, it is surprising that 80% of the interviewed ad executives forecast the industry to be at least five years away from being able to deliver whatever might be necessary in terms of cross-platform advertising, encompassing sales, delivery, measurement and analysis.

The problem seems to be the agencies according to study co-author Saul Berman, IBM global leader, strategy and change consulting services. Agencies need to identify and keep pace with the value shift in order not to loose out the same way the music industry did, he summarizes.

“To succeed — especially in the current economic environment — media companies will need to develop a new set of capabilities to support the industry’s evolving demands which include micro targeting, real-time ROI measurement and cross-platform integration,” said Saul Berman, IBM Global Leader for Strategy and Change Consulting Services, and co-author of the new study. “Now is the time for companies to move quickly to become more effective with their assets and build for the future.”

Spot On!
Watching the last decade, companies and agencies followed their customer audience and pushed their budgets to more interactive, measurable formats such as the internet and mobile (gaining 20% of the overall spend). This is not surprising as digital advertising enables advertisers to measure more effectively campaign success to prove the value of their budgets.

In terms of platform owners it shows that these need to identify new opportunities to monetize new consumer experiences before it is too late like the music industry has shown. The options are obvious: value of content, visual goods sales, value-added services plus hardware or software offerings.

For this study IBM conducted 70 interview sessions with global industry execs and surveyed more than 2,800 consumers in Australia, Germany, India, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S.

Twitter Ads: Thoughts on the test

Now, there has been a lot, a lot, a lot of thoughts and talk lately on how Twitter will be making money. Finally, Twitter is experimenting with a new revenue model as Techcrunch tells us…

First, it seemed like a nice idea to promote their own service (i.e. widgets and search), which I thought is the case. This well-placed add-on feature makes it easier to work with Twitter, especially heading towards their search site, when you are not using any of the helpful Twitter apps. And there were also some good thoughts on Twitter becoming a search engine and as how this will be a driver monetizing their business. But Overture (now controlled by Yahoo), has patented placement of text ads on a search results page. So, this was probably a difficult pitch.

Now, back to what is happening, see the black box on the right hand side on ‘Widget’…

It is obviously really a ‘simple’ test for some solid revenue stream generating business, we all are familiar with via Google text ads. But can this be an appropriate test to recall on revenue models?

The two test objects, Twitter search and the above mentioned Twitter widget link, belong directly to the Twitter concept. It offers some immediate navigation benefit to the user. This is what users are after for a long time. Thus, ‘Twitterati’ will click on the links and appreciate the easy way accessing their search service. So, the results Twitter sees with the test don’t reflect in any way potential click rates on text ads as these are dependent on results.

Isn’t there a difference if you promote some internal service or feature, or if you run a promotion from some external party or company? In my experience, in terms of text ads, and those generating results, we can definitely say, there is a huge difference on the click rates. Hence, on the conversion rate clients will find the difference as well. Editorial focus is not comparable to advertising, reaching out for awareness, right? And as clicks is the interactive currency ‘No. 1’ for marketers and convergence their need, according to yesterdays CMO report, the test sounds like comparing apples and oranges.

Spot On!
Nevertheless, the test is worth some thought. And just imagine Amazon and Twitter are getting engaged, the business model becomes clear based on some semantic web thoughts: connecting Amazon’s product catalog by connecting tweets and related products. Someone talks about a film and gets an offer from Amazon in the text ad. Or maybe Yahoo could be the new ‘Who is buying Twitter at last’ as they could compete in the long-tail market. In general, Google could finally face a competitor here…

CMO report: budgets better than expected

Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council’s Marketing Outlook 2009 states that CMO’s see their budgets stable. Almost half of all asked CMO’s (54,1%) say their budgets will increase or at least remain.

What is the value of a click? Obviously, the best deal is transforming a consumer into a customer. For 36% this seems to be the biggest issue: converting clicks to sales and finding the value of online marketing. Just 9% of the chief marketers argue about their online performance capability as being “excellent”.

The outlook in the recession is not too bad… The majority of top marketers answered their traditional marketing focus (print, outdoor and TV) remains the same, and especially digital advertising (also social media and search marketing) will increase. But it also has to me mentioned that 45.7% said their spending budgets will decrease.

“Senior marketers are looking to hold budgets steady and not make tremendous cuts in headcounts,” said Liz Miller, the council’s VP of programming and operations. “Instead, they’re reallocating both their budget and talent into those areas that better engage and communicate with core audiences and customers.”

Spot On!
The loyalty of customer becomes more and more an issue for marketers. Who would be surprised… Those who want to study as deep as possible how the customers thinks, don’t ‘owe’ the sovereignty on customer service and support issues, nor have they big influence on CRM, the survey says.

The question remains why the majority of marketers rely on old online measures (i.e. page views and registrations 64.6%) and not focusing on more modern online engagement opportunities which keeps the consumers with the brands. The most obvious options could be personalization and client first programs (i.e. client opinion platforms or community building) which could replace the old-school “watering cans” techniques. The more companies focus on the client, the ‘happier’ the revenue lines will show.

The report was co-sponsored by Deloitte, Jigsaw and Ad-ology and asked 650 worldwide marketers.

Cost per User – the next digital currency?

The discussion about the best advertising currency is long-lasting. It may never be ending. Still the discussion needs to be continued. The web publishing space had all the options on the table: cpm, cpi, cpc, cpl, cps and so on. And each and everyone of those failed in a way that makes all sides of the publishing and web value chain happy. The only currency that did not seriously come up as a currency ratio in media is cost per user (cpu) although every company follows this metric to evaluate their website costs.

Advertisers love to purchase ‘cheap’ quality space of extraordinary target groups. Platform owners need premium-price compensation models in order to provide high-quality content to their users. The users don’t care. Although they are the stumbling block, the center of attention, in this issue between platform providers and advertising clients. Now that web 2.0 and social media comes into the ‘cpx-game’, everyone gets a chance to rethink digital currency models. What is missing in this discussion is the cost per user model.

A Retrospect on Controlled Circulation
If we go way back to the beginning of this century, there was an interesting discussion about controlled circulation going on in the publishing industry. This discussion indicated that the best value of a medium is the registered or qualified user. Someone who gives away a lot of personal data in order to receive a medium for free. And there were numerous print magazines in the market that do and did controlled circulation. And today? There are hundreds of community-based business models on the web – all of these are to a huge degree controlled circulation orientated. Only a few of these businesses know about it, or see the premium value of controlled circulation media in this advertising space.

Now, what exactly is controlled circulation?
In a lot of meetings with clients, the question came up a thousand times when we explained our old community model. Controlled circulation is a distribution model, usually free of charge, for newspapers and magazines that wanted to have a deeper control of their target group. Thus, controlled circulation magazines offered the ideal targeting of the best quality audience for their advertisers. The benefit was quite obvious if we read the articles here and there. Advertisers spend more money for an ad in the controlled circulation arena than for the classical news-stand magazine. In booking controlled circulation media advertisers know in details what target group get for their money. This premium model could have been applicable to business models on the web. But only a few saw this option and took advantage of the ‘closed’ access door idea.

Why is controlled circulation a winner?
The big benefit of controlled circulation is that non-profit organizations audit the reader database of magazines or web platforms in terms of database quality and quality reach: for print BPA and for web platforms ABC Electronic. Both independent ‘controllers’ double-check in the means of the advertisers what kind of target group quality content providers ‘pretend’ to offer to the advertisers. Advertisers love the audits as there is some reliable data that marketers could show to their bosses or the management team after the sales people had captured the marketing-office for their sales pitches. It needs to be said that the audits were based on projections – only 10-20% of the total database really was tested, but still the quality check was much appreciated by the advertisers.

Controlled circulation and the modern web communities
The question is: Why did the controlled circulation discussion ‘die’? Why was it not carried on as an idea for a premium-priced advertising currency in the web world? Why did the focus on the high-profile individual user registration get lost when there was such a huge benefit for the advertising industry? Did it get killed alongside the top-valued personalization idea which got stepped down by the advertising cpm valuation? Maybe…

Nevertheless, in days where social media, social networking and community-building is exploding, is it not the right time to focus on the value of the registered user in terms of digital currency and critically scrutinize the ‘odd’ cpm valuation? Does not the individual need to be in the center of attention of the modern web 2.0 world? The modern web individual that communicates with companies. The one that reads, comments, blogs, publishes, networks, rates or reviews?

A vision
Just imagine there was a kind of database that all magazines and platform owner have to use who want to earn advertisign dollars. That database is held by a non-profit organization or the government. A system where all users unite, active and inactive web users. Every user could define their most interesting platforms and status of activity which would lead to a cost per user index for each online magazine or web platform, based on consumption intensity of the average user, social networking value of the active user and staying-time frequency of each individual. In the end, the combined data of the website generates a platform coefficient which leads to a cost per user. This is the cost that advertisers want to book, right?

Spot On!
In the modern social media world registration processes become daily business for users. If it was one database as described above, the users would be held responsible. They would be more careful on how to define access and care about their data. From day to day, users get more open minded about showing their data on other media including registering their preferences, interests and hobbies. And platform owners benefit from that. In the future, it will become a state of the art for publishing houses and digital platform owners to have their own web community visible on the side-bar for new visitors. This is a huge success for web platform owners. What could be a better reference if you can show your audience, visual and accessible for everyone with avatar picture that the users upload themselves? Bloggers already use this option to attract more interest. The single user will become the reference for each platform.

So, what if the best targeting measurement of a platform becomes the cost per user (cpu)? If we think about how connected (via Google, Facebook or Yahoo) these platforms are becoming and see all the website and social media metrics we could monitor, the question rises: Is there an option to standardize registration on web platforms and communities plus integrating all the generated data of these platforms into one non-profit system or organization which calculates a cost per user index based on targeting criteria like b2b or b2c and different demographic data? Is Cost per User the next digital currency? The discussion is yours…