social media

Rebecca Lieb's picture

Webinar Replay - Content: The New Marketing Equation

If you missed Jeremiah and I presenting our webinar Content: Thee New Marketing Equation, based on our recently published research report, you can watch it here or on SlideShare. Please share the video, as it’s freely available as open research.

How to Rebalance for Content as Part of the New Marketing Equation with Rebecca Lieb and Jeremiah Owyang

View more videos from Altimeter Group Network on SlideShare

For those of you who were waiting for this post (several of you were kind enough to ask when it would appear), thanks for your patience. Our own technology was particularly disruptive the day of the actual webinar – the laptop recording the presentation went poof, then faded to black. The video above is, therefore, Altimeter Group’s first video “reenactment,” which is why the Q&A is missing at the end.

Cross-posted from the Altimeter Group blog

Rebecca Lieb's picture

Content Strategy, Influencers, and Leftover Turkey

At ad:tech San Francisco a couple of weeks ago, I caught up with Marketo’s marketing team. Jason Miller and I sat down to talk content marketing. He very flatteringly turned our conversation into a blog post.

Here’s an excerpt of our talk – but you have to click if you want to get to the bit about the turkey!

What are your best tips for businesses that are struggling to find content?

Rebecca Lieb: For one thing, businesses have to start thinking like publishers in order to not only define content, but also to effectively use content. It’s very daunting to wake up every day and find a blank page to fill, blank air time or blank podcast time, which is why “real” publications have editorial calendars. And while the New York Times doesn’t know what breaking news will be on page one on Friday, they do know it’s Friday so they’re going to have a weekend arts preview and a movie section and a theater section and perhaps an interview with somebody opening a new play on Broadway.

There’s a degree of predictability in content that’s not only very helpful to the business or the publisher who’s publishing that content, but also to the audience. The regularity of these types of features keeps people coming back. This is why newspapers have evergreen content like horoscopes and comics, they know that readers will develop habits and pick up content for that reason. So in order to constantly create new sources of content you need a plan, you need an editorial calendar.

The second phase of this is for brands to think of how to recycle and repurpose content. Not everybody likes the same content in the same channels. Somebody might be very happy to listen to this interview as a podcast while other people just want to read the text. So why not make it available in both formats on two different channels? Or if you have a live event, you can chop that event up into content that will take you down the road for weeks or months in the form of videos, infographics, or blog entries.

Next: Why content is like leftover turkey. You’ll have to read that part over on Marketo’s blog.

Rebecca Lieb's picture

Publishing In Today's Digital, Social Reading Environment

Reading. It’s a fundamentally solitary pastime that’s becoming increasingly more social given the baked-in functionalities of e-reading devices (Tweet this!).

It’s also – surprise! – an activity on the upswing for a couple of reasons: a proliferation of e-reading devices that are plummeting in price, and consumers’ broad acceptance of reading content on phones and computers (not necessarily on Kindles and Nooks), as a new e-reading study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project reveals.

Let’s look at some of the findings from The Rise of e-Reading, then indulge in a bit of speculation about where all this digital content consumption might be headed.

Pew found that consumers who read on digital devices not only read more stuff (not just books, but magazines and other long-form content), but they also buy significantly more reading material. This cohort is growing in numbers at an astonishing rate.

Read the rest of this column on MarketingLand.com.

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Digital Advertising: One-Stop Shopping or á la Carte Services?

Sometimes, timing can be really fortuitous. Almost immediately upon returning from Adobe’s annual marketing summit, where I spent a week immersed in the world of advertising technology stacks, Advertising Age called and asked me to contribute a column on precisely that topic. Here’s the piece they published today on the advantages, and disadvantages, of all-in-one ad technology solutions:

Your Marketing Machine: What You Need to Know About Ad Tech ‘Stacks’

When you go shopping for groceries, do you prefer an array of local specialty stores (the butcher, the baker, the greengrocer and the fishmonger)? Or would you rather visit a full-service market for one-stop shopping? If so, are we talking a megastore such as Costco or Walmart, or something more focused, like your basic A&P?

Advertisers shopping for digital-marketing solutions face the same kind of choice. They can shop literally hundreds of individual specialty vendors, or they can go big — to companies that offer a variety of marketing services. Whatever you call these latter players — some use “stacks,” others refer to them as an operating system or a “digital-marketing provider.” Regardless of the name, more and more of these large, software-based providers are emerging.

Who are the players in this space? Some you know: IBM, Adobe, Google, AppNexus. Others are newer on the scene: Operative, IgnitionOne and MediaOcean. None of them do exactly the same thing, but in the broadest possible terms, stacks aim to consolidate the many steps of ad buying, selling, optimization, reporting, measurement, inventory management and billing into one big, integrated software suite. Depending on the package you choose, retargeting, social media, search, even offline media can become part of the service offering.

Read the rest of the column here.

Image credit: James Steinberg for Advertising Age

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How to Influence the Influencers

How do you influence the digital influencers? What is influence, anyway? And if you can rally influencers to your side, cause, brand or point of view, what’s the best way to approach the task? What can realistically be achieved? And how do you measure results.

There’s no dearth of talk about online influence, but until now there’s been precious little actionable advice. With the publication of my colleague Brian Solis‘ new research report, “The Rise of Digital Influence,” (it’s subtitled “A ‘how-to’ guide for businesses to spark desirable effects and outcomes through social media influence), marketers are provided with frameworks and action plans to get both strategic and tactical in their approach to effectively harnessing the elusive, but oh, so desirable impact a community of influencers. Brian helpfully defines digital influences as, “the ability to cause effect, change behavior, and drive measurable outcomes online.”

A feature of this research of particular interest is a long, hard look at the tools that purportedly measure influence, e.g. Klout, Kred, and PeerIndex. Based on game mechanics (and people all to ready to game the system), I’ve looked on these tools with suspicion, particularly after Klout listed me as influential on the topic of the Calgary Flames (maybe you’re aware they’re a hockey team, but I had to google it). Do these new services that capture social media scores equate to influence? No, says Brian – but that doesn’t mean they’re not useful. “The measure here…is not influence or the capacity to influence, but instead visibility with the possibility of causing effect.”

The report contains an Influence Framework as well as an Influence Action Plan to help brands and their agencies identify connected consumers and to define and measure digital influence initiatives via an included step-by-step process. Vendors in the influence metrics space are also compared, feature-by-feature, in a helpful grid.

“The Rise of Digital Influence” is a watershed in digital influence. It’s going to stop airy-fairy conversation about “influencing influencers” dead in its tracks and instead supplant vague and aspirational jargon-laced talk with substantive, strategic processes.

And, like all Altimeter Group research, the report is available to read and to share under Creative Commons. Thanks for passing it along if you find it helpful.

Cartoon credit: NewYorkComputerHelp.com

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How Real Is Social Media Fatigue?

Facebook. Twitter. Google+. Pinterest. Foursquare. LinkedIn. Path.

How many of these social networks do you belong to? Do you participate in every day? Every week? Every month? When a new one comes along does your heart leap in anticipation, or sink a little when you realize it’s one more thing to add to your already burgeoning list of chores; one more series of tasks on an already too-long to-do list?

As pervasive as social media seems, it’s still early days and there have already been shakeouts. Some of us are old and hoary enough to remember Orkut, to once have thought we’d never be qualified to join Facebook because we’d already graduated from college, and to have believed that MySpace’s supremacy could never be called into question.

(please read the rest of this post over on MarketingLand)

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What’s Facebook Going to Do with All That Money?

Many of us grew up with Marcia, Marcia, Marcia. For the past few years the refrain has been Google, Google, Google. But this past week, it’s been all Facebook, all the time.

As we wait for the biggest IPO in tech history to shake out, the question I’m being asked most by clients and especially the mainstream media is, by far, “what’s Facebook going to do with all that money?”

I’d love it if “One Buck Zuck” would send me a check. Barring that, some reasonable conjectures can be drawn.

  1. Mobile Facebook’s S-1 filing contained all the usual risk disclaimers: changing market conditions, loss of key executives, that stuff. But there was one zinger in the boilerplate – Facebook’s statement that mobile is growing fast, and that the company can’t yet monetize it. It’s not too much of a leap from there to the conclusion that multiple millions of dollars can be applied to figuring this one out. An article published the day after the filing suggests we’ll see the first Facebook mobile ads in March. Yet mobile means different things to different users, fast as the channel is growing. Smartphones, tablets…when it comes to mobile advertising, Facebook will require more than one solution. And that’s to say nothing of Facebook Credits and other commerce opportunities on mobile platforms. There’s plenty of R&D opportunity for Facebook across the mobile spectrum.
  2. Data Data is Facebook’s core product. Not only do they have more of it every day on their users, that data is getting increasingly complex. In addition to basic demographic data, there’s friends and friends-of-friends. Groups they’re a part of, companies worked at, Likes, and soon, Actions, what they’re reading, listening to, eating and buying are only the beginning. Managing this data, parsing it, and making it useful and actionable to advertisers and marketers in ways that can help increase user engagement, create newer and more premium advertising products, extract deeper meaning and clarity from stores of data so complex it very nearly qualifies as big data is challenging, to say the least. It’s also critical to Facebook’s future. Data is what Facebook sells.
  3. Platform What’s next for Facebook’s platform? It’s currently central to a vital Facebook economy. Without that platform, companies ranging from Zynga to Buddy Media would hardly exist as we know them today. Media companies from the Wall Street Journal to Spotfiy wouldn’t be able to reach and interact with Facebook users. It’s critical to keep that platform open and to continually expand upon its scope. Is social commerce the next comer? Features that link Facebook more deeply into the real world? Without the platform, Facebook doesn’t have the data, so watch for new developments in this arena, too.
  4. Acquisitions Remember when Google was just a search engine? That was years ago, before YouTube, Blogger, Analytics and a host of other features that now seem integral to the company, but once upon a time were acquisitions. Google has largely become a roll-up, and Facebook could begin to follow that path as well (maybe by buying a search engine and finally incorporating real search into its platform?). Sure, Facebook’s made some small acquisitions in the past, but these are broadly viewed as more a bid to acquire talent, not technology. With a mind-boggling bank balance, that may well change.
  5. 5). Talent Silicon Valley engineers are high in demand, and you have to find a way to bring them to your company. In Facebook’s case, it’s not longer possible to do this with the lure of pre-IPO stock options. Facebook will soon be forced to pay a premium for new talent, particularly as some of an estimated 500 to 1,000 newly minted millionaires cash out. Sure, some will buy houses and cars. But others will yearn to get back to start-up culture. They’ll start new ventures, or even finance them. Facebook will pay more for talent in the long run, but their IPO will help to spark Silicon Valley’s economy, and that can only mean good things for innovation.
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Facebook’s IPO: What Does It Mean For…?

Me, visiting Facebook HQ the week before their S-1 filing

Over 800 million active users - more than half of whom log in on any given day and interact with over 900 million "objects" (pages, groups, communities, etc.). Over 250 million photos uploaded every day, over 70 languages on the site. The stats go on and on, and any way you look at them, the numbers are huge.

How can Facebook grow bigger still? That's what we're waiting so see as the tech world - heck, the world at large - holds it breath for the biggest IPO since Google went public in 2004.

There's practically consensus that Facebook will go public in June, meaning an announcement (and a prospectus) are almost imminently forthcoming. This has naturally sparked conversation among Altimeter Group analysts (notably Charlene Li, Jeremiah Owyang, Brian Solis and myself) as we discuss and debate the implications of the Big Event, and work to come up with clear answers to the many questions we're being asked by journalists working on what, outside of the presidential election, will be one of the biggest stories of 2012.

Here are some of our answers to the many "will this happen?" and "what does it mean..?" questions we've been fielding from the media regarding Facebook's IPO:

 

 

What does it mean….to Facebook employees? There will most certainly be retention issues. Some key employees will quit. They'll travel, or buy houses and cars with newfound wealth.  It will also increase the already fierce talent war with tangible value. Facebook will attract different employees, while early innovators who value a start-up culture will go elsewhere.  Expect to see a Facebook Mafia of investors begin to emerge.  Still others will spin off and form new companies. This has big implications for future innovation. Facebook may face some short term losses, but the tech industry will see an infusion of new capital and new ideas.

What does it mean….for future IPOs? Will Twitter and [fill in the blank] go public right away? If Facebook's IPO is successful, a rising tide will likely raise all boats. But Facebook has built a real business and has a solid advertising model. It's already an enormous company. Twitter (and others) is at a very different phase in its lifecycle.

How is Facebook's IPO different from Web 1.0 and the dot-come bubble? There are real business models here, with real revenues.  

How will Facebook's IPO be influenced by recent, unspectacular IPOs, such as Groupon or Zynga? Facebook is an enormous, global company,  the proverbial 900-lb. gorilla. Facebook's IPO is more analogous to Google going public and not at all comparable to smaller players in the tech space. It is, however, important to note that many, many smaller companies are part of a much larger Facebook ecosystem. This includes ad agencies, technology firms, analytics firms, mobile players, brand marketers, social commerce providers, media companies and a myriad of players (such as Zynga, itself a Facebook partner) with a business model directly coupled with Facebook's API. When looking at Facebook's revenues, it's critical investors understand the difference between advertising revenues, that flow directly into Facebook's coffers, and marketing spend that benefits the Facebook ecosystem, but not directly into Facebook itself.

What's to stop Facebook from imploding, as MySpace did? MySpace remained static. Facebook continues to innovate, and to push audience beyond where they are comfortable, often to great success. Not so long ago members had to have a .edu address to join, remember? A hue and cry was raised when Facebook opened to everyone. In a conversation today at Facebook headquarters, spokesman Brandon McCormick said the more users complain about new features, the more data reveal they're actually using those features more. "We're a social network," he said, "we have a natural feedback mechanism. People use our product to complain about our product. People hated the Newsfeed when we launched it, now it's the core of how they use the product. If we changed everything the second they started complaining, we wouldn't have the data."

Courageous -- and based on hard data.

It's never uninteresting to keep an eye on Facebook, no more so than now. We'll continue to watch and to share our thoughts on Facebook's IPO. And we're always happy to share our observations with the media. Get in touch with us at press[at]altimetergroup.com

Cross-posted from the Altimeter Group blog.

Rebecca Lieb's picture

Ad Spend Versus Marketing Spend

Will Facebook absorb five percent of online ad spend by year's end? According to how many media outlets are interpreting a recently published forecast, yes.

I say, not so fast.

There's spend and there's spend. Some of it is on digital advertising, and some is on digital marketing. There's a world of difference between the two - particularly prior to one of the year's most eagerly anticipated and ballyhoo'd IPOs.

The report in question is Efficient Frontier's Global Q4 2011Digital Marketing Performance Report. It states Facebook's spend share "reaches 2.7% of biddable online advertising spend in Q4 [2011]."

OK, I can buy that estimate, give or take.

It's the 2012 forecast, however, that's highly questionable. Note that Facebook's 2011 spend share is qualified: biddable online advertising. I know what that is. Efficient Frontier's Facebook forecast for the coming 12 months is all over the board:

FaceBook [sic] WILL REACH 5% OF ALL ONLINE ADVERTISING SPEND BY THE END OF 2012. As marketers improve their ability to acquire and engage Facebook fans, brands will continue to pump new budgets into Facebook to capitalize on the social network’s reach and the amount of time users spend there."

Five percent may be a great headline, but it's highly unlikely that Facebook advertising is what's being referred to here. Will advertisers double their "biddable online advertising" budgets to "acquire and engage Facebook fans"? Don't bet the farm on it.

What I do agree with is that marketers will "pump new budgets into Facebook" to reach and engage consumers. Every single one of the 56 marketers I interviewed for my forthcoming research report on content marketing are creating more content, much of which is going into social media channels, such as Facebook.

What's important to understand (and it's hard to believe media reports on this have been so sloppy) is these are by no means advertising budgets. This is marketing spend, and much of this money is not funneling directly into Facebook's coffers. These new budgets are going into strategy, creative and production.

Anyone considering buying Facebook's stock would do well to understand the difference.      

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Social Media Control

Organizations wouldn't consider for a moment the concept of not knowing where their financial accounts are (or not having signatory power over them). Ditto accounts with key vendors and suppliers.

Yet my colleague Jeremiah Owyang found in the course of conducting research for his just-published report, "Managing Social Media Proliferation," that companies have, on average, 178 social media accounts (not counting employee accounts), yet the majority don't even have an accurate inventory of these assets.

This is a must-read for any company active in social media. Jeremiah and his research team also evaluate 25 vendors in the space. So this is also a buyers guide (a first for Altimeter Group research).

Take a look, and please feel free to download the report or share it with colleagues.

Rebecca Lieb

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

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