This session is moderated by Rebecca Lieb, who is the Executive Editor of The ClickZ Network.
Rebecca Lieb starts off the session with a brief introduction on how social media has come from a "geeky medium" into the mainstream. Today's session will look at advertising in blogs, RSS and games.
Gary Stein is first up: Why are advertisers interested in Social Media? Three wrong reasons, two rights ones - plus a bonus concept.
Wrong Reasons - That's where the people are - minority of consumers read blogs, use podcasts, have a Second Life avatar etc. Consumers in Control - There's nothing new about consumer control and media owners have rights to their property and enforcing their rights. The Mainstream Media is kaput - The best blog rarely reaches the same audience as large sites such as the Chicago Bulls (big frequency, low reach).
Real Reasons - The usual channels are unfair - private labels prominent and "big box stores" dictate rules. Manufacturers set the ad agenda - Manufacturers drive brand over sales.
The more manufacturers are reaching out to social communities as a way to meet consumers as equals. When consumers feel that they can use their power with the brand, they are less likely to act against them.
Bonus Concept - Brands Want Media and Agencies Want Brands - More brands want to own channels, built upon Web 2.0 principles, e.g. Nintendo Wii branded social network on Yahoo.
Henry Copeland starts a presentation on blog advertising. He gives an introduction about BlogAds.com which started in September 2002 and offers an advertising network across nearly 1300 blogs. The old world of advertising was fully controlled by the brands, although it's a lot harder now to get consumers interested, looking at the brand and clicking. The best ad fits into a blogs' news content and vibrant conversations. The ads are designed to loook like advertising sections and are relevant to what the blogs' targeted audience wants. Ads are content too - try different sizes, looks and layouts for ads - see what works best for you. If you don't get clicks, make subtle tweaks to test results. An example is given of a blog ad for an NBC show and how different creative, headlines and photos can make a big difference to CTR. Don't do the hardsell, consumers are blind to it. Changing the sales pitch to an eye catching photo and natural speech content, massively increased clicks for one of their advertisers. Creating good adverts on popular blogs can be great PR and could get inbound links to help the site even more.
Bill Flitter is next to the stand, works for Pheedo. Media is changing, going from Interactive Media (MSN, Email etc) to Social Media, which takes things a step further - where consumers can blog and discuss about what companies are saying.
As a media company, how can this help me? Case Study with Citrix GoToMeeting - They spend a lot of money online although they wanted to do something a little bit different. They wanted to get their product into the consumers hands. Pheedo worked with Lockergnome (Chris Pirillo) which offers a podcast which can last around 3 hours long. Chris talks about products on his show, although Pheedo wanted to put the product on the listeners desktops. Chris used the GoToMeeting (Online Conference and Desktop Viewer) to show over 200 users various software products which he was talking about, although as GoToMeeting was used, people got to use the software and hopefully review/talk/buy it. Users encouraged to continue chatting and using the software by offering a competition with the full version of GoToMeeting given as a prize. The partnership with Lockergnome helped GoToMeeting (the Lockergnome landing page) boost up the natural search listings fast as so many people were blogging about how to use the software in conjunction with Chris' show. Also helped generate links from Digg and other bookmarking software. Social Media tends to have a longer lifecycle then Traditional Media with a more gradual taper off at the end - "The Campaign Long tail". The campaign for Citrix reduced the CPA by 50%.
Marc Schiller is to talk about advertising in games, specifically Second Life. Second Life is an extension of the concept that social networking is becoming more common. 1 in 8 couples married last year met online.It is a virtual world where thousands of communities work together in creativity;"it's about sharing ideas and creating a better world". It is NOT in-game advertising, it is primarily a social platform. 1.6 million residents live in the virtual world and the median age is 33, 50/50 male/female and women use it more often then men. Every piece of content is created by the makers users, Linden Labs only provide the platform and servers. Users maintain ownership of Intellectual Property, not the software provider, Linden Labs make money by selling space and land.
Why would brands want to join the world? You get to build a virtual connection with your real audience that makes sense and you're able to experiment with prototypes and new ideas. There's no direct ROI (at least traceable), although it opens up a new channel of communication and deeper connections to the brand audience. "The Loft" is a virtual Starwood Hotel and is a way to test design, user reactions and offer a virtual client base that can convert into a real world client base. Scion is to create the first car manufacturer in Second Life, selling theirs cars to other users. Don't just do it because your competitors are; don't do a hit-and-run; re-invent your brand - don't just copy it.
Back to Rebecca - Is social media strictly a form of advertising or is it just brand advertising? Bill notes that in his circumstance, everything is trackable and advertisers can tell that tweaking campaigns directly effects CPA/CTR. Marc - CPM is not possible, although that's refreshing - don't just do it for PR though. Henry - Social Media is going to be the biggest medium around in 10 years, it's important to make consumers participants rather than an audience. Gary - Is embarrassed after thinking he bought a bike on Second Life and actually bought a bike shop. Re-iterates that it's all about getting consumer participation. Rebecca - The reason why the IAB created fixed advertising standards is so that everyone knows what sizes to create and publish ads in; Gary jumps in - the IAB piggy-backed onto a standard which was already forming although we know that getting away from the standards brings results. Henry follows up - the standards are based on image banners which are not necessary where effective marketing is happening.
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