Digital Marketing

Rebecca Lieb's picture

Is There a Digital 180 Degree Law?

Everything old is new again. Apparently this holds true nowhere more so than in digital channels. When there are major, disruptive shifts in digital, the needle doesn't just move. It moves straight across to the opposite pole, 180 degrees.

Why does this matter? It's something digital strategists, marketers, advertisers, media companies and others must take into consideration as they look toward the horizon to plan and strategize. They must realize that in the future things will not only be different than they are now. They could well be the opposite of what they are now.

Following, three examples of the digital 180 degree rule.

Distributed to central to distributed Remember what started the internet revolution? It was the shift from network computing to desktop PC's, from distributed to central computing. It freed users from dependency on a server - everything they needed was right on the desktop hard drive. The past five or so years have turned that advance on its ear. Computing is distributed again. We live in the cloud and rely on mobile devices as much (often more) than our laptops. As for the PC, it's becoming something of a relic. The return to distributed computing changes everything about how and where users interact with digital channels.

Walled garden to open internet to walled (well, solidly fenced) garden In the beginning there was Mosaic and the BBS. Not a lot of people were there. The internet began to achieve mainstream popularity when AOL (together with competitors such as Prodigy and CompuServe) inundated consumers with diskettes that, once installed on a PC, promised a graphical online browsing experience, provided you didn't stray from the parameters of your content provider/ISP. As the "real" internet developed (and broadband proliferated), users ventured beyond these walled gardens into a brave new world. We're beginning to witness an attempt by some of the major digital players to, if not confine users to a content-rich garden, then to at least make it more compelling for them to stay longer, and stray less often. Spearheading this trend is Facebook, working hard to become a one-stop destination for all the news, media, music, streaming video, communications, photos, games, apps and etc. you'd ever need. Why go anywhere else? This trend may not go a complete 180, but it will be interesting to see how Facebook, and perhaps Google, influence (or hog) traffic as each strives to become a one-stop destination for almost all your internet needs.

 

 

 

Distraction from mainstream media to probable primary media  access point. Remember when the web was going to obliterate newspapers, magazines, books, music and pretty much every other form of traditional media? It didn't (and it won't). The 180 degree shift we're in the process of witnessing is the migration of all forms of media consumption to digital channels. Ebooks now outsell hardcover and paperback editions - combined (while ereaders are plummeting in price). Moreover, books are subsidized by advertising on some versions of the Kindle. As consumers cut the cord, TV viewing is migrating to digital, too. New platforms such as GetGlue and Miso make watching TV social, wrapping it up with promotions from retailers and media properties alike. The New York Times has more Twitter followers than print subscribers. Spotify delivers almost all the music in the world - free - if you share what you're listening to with your Facebook friends. DIgital isn't eradicating traditional media. Instead, it's turned distribution, consumption and monetization models upside-down.

In which area will we witness the next digital pole shift? Hypothesize in the comments, please.

All images licensed under Creative Commons

Walled Garden photo - mguhlin.wikispaces.com  Newsstand: Joe Mabel  

 

Rebecca Lieb's picture

Facebook: Socialize Media to Target Ads

In the Q&A following Mark Zuckerberg's F8 keynote today, he was asked how brand advertising will change. His reply? Ads are becoming more social.

Sure, Facebook will still feature display ads on its pages. Stay tuned for açai berry diets and special deals on tooth-whitening for alums of [fill-in-your-alma-mater].

But the apps featured today at F8 are media apps, offering Facebook users (billions of them) new ways to consume content: music, movies, news and books, without leaving the confines of Facebook.  Spotfiy, Hulu, Netflix, Yahoo and the Washington Post are some of the first to offer content within apps within Facebook.

Some initial thoughts.

Discovery & Curation: More media will be consumed on and within Facebook (inevitable, given the size of its user base). At present, Facebook is the fourth-largest referrer to content sites, according to a recent Outbrain study. As more content purveyors offer more app-based content within Facebook itself, that balance could well shift. Publishers will have to consider enclosing their content within Facebook apps to promote discovery and sharing, or risk losing traffic and eyeballs.

New Value Exchange: The traditional media value exchange has always been that users spend a portion of the time they spend consuming content being exposed to advertising. Currently, the WaPo Facebook app displays no ads (this could well change). Instead, if a user clicks an article, they spread it. Their friends are notified that they're reading such-and-such, encouraging more discovery and click through.

Users will be targeted by advertisers based on what they listened to, watched or read. Sure, a concert promoter can try to sell you tickets to Lady Gaga, if that's what you're into. But it goes deeper than that. In a conversation a couple of years ago with Spotify founder Daniel Ek, he confirmed the assumption that it probably (for example) makes more sense to market black leather jackets to heavy metal fans than try to sell them yogurt drinks. You get the idea.

Changing Media Consumption Patterns: With Facebook's ginormous user base, it's going to be interesting to see how content consumption patterns shift. Apps are becoming sophisticated; they "learn" what individual users like and display content accordingly. Friends and connections become one anothers' content curators. Will users become overwhelmed by the flow, or embrace purportedly more targeted content? Will this accelerate or put the brakes on a growing degree of social media fatigue?

Only time will tell.

Content/App Marketing: These days, brands are as much publishers as publishers are. Expect them (particularly lifestyle brands) to jump into the content creation business with both feet. Not that they haven't already, but apps will now become an urgently compelling channel for branded and utility content.

Facebook is saying they have no plans for an app store at present. They're trusting users to recommend apps to one another. As advertisers get into the game, they'll likely push to change this rather than rely exclusively on word-of-mouth. Expect display campaigns to feature get-the-app calls to action, too.

Rebecca Lieb's picture

Will the Media Buy Go Bye-Bye?

Social networks. Consumer-generated media. Twitter. Foursquare. YouTube. Facebook. Blogs. Websites, even.

With digital media there for the taking (or earning), what’s the sense in buying it?

Digital advertising and media are certainly not going to go away. No media channel has ever been truly supplanted (movies didn’t kill live theatre, just as VCRs didn’t stop people from munching popcorn in cinemas, despite dire predictions to the contrary). But online advertising is certainly experiencing forced evolution, largely thanks to disruptive social technologies.  

My vs. Buy

Whereas a handful of years ago the digital display people complained bitterly of silos – of being cut off from the main event of the traditional campaign – there may now be a disconnect on the other side of the house as display advertising, still pretty firmly anchored in the world of direct response, becomes disconnected from social campaigns. How should marketers integrate display advertising with social media? Does one drive the other, or do we have Dr. Dolittle’s hybrid pushmi-pullyu on our hands, the fabulous animal who could do two things at once (or struggle mightily to do nothing at all)?

It’s clear that creative and media buying strategies must be adjusted to accommodate a display/social world, particularly as online brand advertising (as opposed to direct response) continues to rise. Emarketer, for one, predicts that by 2015, display ad spend will finally supplant search spend.

The agency role in the new My vs. Buy ecosystem will, of course, be re-evaluated, as will measurement. Impressions, clicks, virtually all measurement standards are up for assessment and new forms of standardization, as a consortium of the major advertising trade associations announced yesterday

As the landscape rapidly evolves, we’re still in a period of more questions than answers, but asking the right questions is a critical first step in coming to terms with tough decisions about allocations between marketing and advertising, of build vs. buy.

If you’re interested in these questions - and in the San Mateo area next Thursday, Sept. 29 - consider joining my colleagues and I for a discussion at the Altimeter Group’s Hangar. Request an invitation here.

Rebecca Lieb's picture

Evolution: Joining The Altimeter Group

New beginnings. Today, I officially join The Altimeter Group as an analyst. I'll cover digital advertising and media.

New...and not so new, given for the past 10+ years, I've microscopically covered digital marketing and media as a journalist, columnist, editor and author. More recently, I've been consulting on digital initiatives and strategy with clients ranging from start-ups and non-profits to Fortune 100s . All this work has had a single focus: to help digital marketers do their jobs better.

I couldn't be more excited about taking on this challenge from a new perspective, that of an analyst. I'm jazzed about working with clients both old and new, and particularly learning from and collaborating with my new colleagues, a seriously impressive Who's Who list of some of the most respected minds in the industry.

Altimeter's advisory approach to disruptive technology is research-based, which is why I'm launching this blog: to discuss, muse, think aloud, and hopefully to get input, feedback and perspective for the Open Research reports I'll be working on very soon.  

Rebecca Lieb's picture

Publishers: Take Note of "Social Subscribe"

Digital publishing is no longer about newsletter subscriptions. Social media channels are capable of driving more traffic to media sites than search and direct navigation combined (sometimes).

Two years ago, when I was with Econsultancy, we learned 10 percent of traffic was coming from Twitter alone. Ten percent may not sounds like an enormous number, but it's not peanuts, either. Moreover, it was traffic that hadn't existed a scant two years earlier, before Twitter launched. With Facebook on the scene and Google+ billing itself as a "content discovery" tool, social media simply cannot be ignored by any publisher hoping to attract eyeballs.

It's not as if publishers aren't aware of this. Many, if not most, already have some sort of prerequisite presence on Facebook and Twitter (at a bare minimum). Today, AllThingsD raised the bar for all publishers by launching a social media subscribe page.

It's about segmentation. User preference. Social media. The page makes it easy for subscribers to follow the topics they wish to follow in their channel of choice. The page features 12 topics to follow on Twitter (news, mobile, media, etc.); coverage of five specific tech companies (OK, here's a hint, they start with "G," "M," "A" "F" and "T"); and 10 different writer feeds (are you listening, PR professionals?).

Scroll down the page and take your choice of 20 (20!) RSS feeds, an iPhone app, e-readers and widgets. There's even a newsletter option, which in the context of the rest of the page starts to look terribly retro.

While this plethora of new follow, like and subscribe options give AllThingsD more to measure, at the end of the day these social metrics won't be more complex or difficult to analyze than email metrics in terms of number of subscribers/followers, clickthroughs and yes, even conversions.

Publishers need to take a look at AllThingsD's social subscription page now and seriously consider using it as a template for their subscription options. Email newsletters are far from dead, but there are many other channels in which users find, discover, consume and share content.

Be there for them.  

Rebecca Lieb

Rebecca Lieb is a strategic advisor, consultant, research analyst, keynote speaker, author, and columnist.

SEE MORE

Get in touch