Talkmarks

July 13, 2007

FaceSence: AdSense for People

Filed under: advertising, media, social media, talkmarks — Simone @ 10:10 am

Everybody and his brother is talking about Facebook advertising and how crappy it is (not to mention how crucial it is for Facebook’s future).

But the news of today is that Robert Scoble just had a great idea. Why not to have people-related advertising?

Imagine if advertisers could “buy people.” I just clicked on Ryan’s profile, hes into Running and Golf. Why don’t ads for running and golf gear get put onto his profile? Wouldn’t that make sense? He’s also a software developer. Where’s the Visual Studio advertisement? He’s into video games. Where’s the Halo 3 advertisement?

Translation: Facebook needs an advertising platform and it needs one in the worst way. I’m not going to even look at the ads until the ads are tied to the people on Facebook. Facebook knows what we’re into, put ads for those things onto our profiles and messages.

In my opinion this is just genius. Robert, you just invented Adsense for people, dude!

It’s damn simple: you have some friends, they like some stuff and – likely – they’ll talk about it. Just gather the discussed words and place relevant ads on people’s pages.

But wait a minute: is this any better than adsense? You bet it!

Adsense puts some ads on blogs and sites in general analysing the content being written. That works for 2 main reasons:

  1. extreme affinity: if I like basket, I’ll go to basket blogs. Put a basket ad on a basket blog and suddenly you don’t have an annoying interruption anymore but a useful information and – therefore – I’ll be more likely to take action;
  2. an unbelievable exploitation of the long tail: due to it’s low access costs and the fact that it works best with niches markets, AdSense brought into the game advertisers and content producer far below the tail, people that never even thought they could ever be involved into advertising;

Now, what does this FaceSense bring on the table?

  1. Affinity: it’s at least on par than AdSense. It could be a little more tricky to take the relevant stuff out of the clutter for Facebook pages tend to be less focused than (some) blogs on a specific subject;
  2. Long Tail exploitation: here you take evolution e step further. Most Facebook users never even considered blogs, nor they ever thought of themselves as Media. Now how cool is saying that you can get some money out of your Facebook page?
  3. Believability: this is where FaceSense really shines. Just think about this: your friend writes about her latest extreme sport passion, extreme ironing, and how good it feels to actually iron your shirt after you got to the top of the mountains. Now an ad about a gorgeous ironing trip to Tibet pops up. What will YOU do? Right.

Let me add my own little idea: why the hell don’t Facebook (or any smart app builder, for that matter) add a recommendation platform???
It’s a no brainer: you suggest stuff to your friends, they buy and you and Facebook (or the smart guy etc) get a chunk of it. Your friends would NEVER buy anything on Amazon (site) anymore. It’s such a better feeling to hand some money to your friend in the process. This will be even less annoying than relevant ads for people will share only the best to their friends, and it also adds to their social experience.
Also, you get the same cool claim about making money out of your social time. What is Facebook waiting for?

UPDATE: Mark Cuban just posted an interesting pov on Facebook adv opportunity:

I think the beauty of Facebook is that people for the first time have defined and opened up the “database of their lives”. Which if integrated into an advertising platform like Panama would allow advertisers to truly personalize ads, rather than algorithmically present ads. To me it was an interesting conversation.

I think it could change the way advertising is handled on the net. Each user could have the option to publish certain fields/objects which could be replicated/peered to the licensees of the API and then integrated Into the ad serving application. When the user showed up on the licensee site, say Yahoo Finance, the ad server could present a contextual ad chosen based on the published objects within the context of the Yahoo content.

Go read it.

July 12, 2007

Talkquote: The value of advertising

Filed under: advertising, links, quotes — Simone @ 10:33 pm

The value of advertising is that it tells you the exact opposite of what
the advertiser actually thinks. For example:

  • If the advertisement says “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile,” the advertiser is desperately concerned that this Oldsmobile, like all other Oldsmobiles, appeals primarily to old farts like your father.
  • If Coke and Pepsi spend billions of dollars to convince you that there are significant differences between these two products, both companies realize that Pepsi and Coke are virtually identical.
  • If the advertisement strongly suggests that Nike shoes enable athletes to perform amazing feats, Nike wants you to disregard the fact that shoe brand is unrelated to athletic ability.
  • If Budweiser runs an elaborate advertising campaign stressing the critical importance of a beer’s “born-on” date, Budweiser knows this factor has virtually nothing to do with how good a beer tastes.

From: 25 things I have learned in 50 years (by Dave Barry)

May 27, 2007

Kudos to folks @ Sun: they reinvented the product page

Filed under: advertising, marketing, talkmarks — Simone @ 10:14 pm

Chris at the Social Customer Manifesto has a brilliant post on how Sun has made the infamous “product pages” that any company website has a little less stupid.

Ever since I read Naked Conversations I started looking real close to Sun as one of the few companies that are fully engaged in the conversation (Jonathan Schwartz, Sun’s CEO, is an active blogger himself as well as thousands of his employees), but this fell under my radar.

Basically they link on the product page to a variety of post, coming either from the internal blogging system but also from external sources.

With Chris’ words:

The kneejerk reaction is “why on EARTH” would Sun link from its site to a customer site that contains paragraphs like:

“I want X4100’s, NOT M2 BULLSHIT. I want lots of them and I want them quickly. I want a SunSolve worth paying for. I want a docs.sun.com that has been updated and more easily navigated than what we had 5 years ago. And most of all, I don’t want to keep hearing that Dell doesn’t have these problems!!!”

Why would Sun link there? Because that’s where the conversation is happening, and it’s where the “live web” part of the customer experience is being documented, in real time, by a passionate customer.

I totally agree. There’s no place to hide anymore. You have no other choice than embrace the conversation and ride it.

Uh, and just in case you’re wondering, the disgruntled customer above end up praising Sun for helping him solving his problem. There’s no ad agency in the world that can provide a commercial better than that.

Online Adv Trend Projection

Filed under: advertising, media — Simone @ 3:53 pm

I came accross this post from Read/WriteWeb on the search advertising that states that Google is making $1 per internet internet users.

Other than having to congratulate with folks at Google for the achievement (and guys, please stop telling me I should sell my – few – Google stocks), what really impressed me is the trend that Forrester is projecting for online advertising.

I’d like to know how much of that is search, but this makes a point on how much the market is expecting from new media. What I’m not sure is what these expectations are about. I mean, is this the “Advertisers will want to be where their consumers are” approach or does the stock market really understand the shift to a participatory culture that is going on? Having spoken to a few people on this my perception is that, even if everybody now knows MySpace or Facebook (btw, it really rocks), still most people can’t foresee what this means in terms of allowing an active behaviour in the relationship between people and media.

UPDATE: this post suggests the above trend may actually be underestimated (even if I doubt we’re talking about the exact same figures)

What do you think? Can internet keep up with the expectations (or beat them) or are we headed to a new bubble burst?

Dr Martens Punk Ads lead to Satchi & Satchi firing

Filed under: advertising, marketing, talkmarks — Simone @ 10:49 am

Some days ago, an ad campaign featuring some dead punk-rockers (though I personally don’t consider Nirvana to be punk) wearing Dr. Martens boots leaked on the internet.


This got the attention of the blogosphere as well as of traditional media (lovely Courtney obviously had something to say), and lit up a conversation that culminated with Dr. Martens finally firing Saatchi & Saatchi (their ad agency).

The Daily Swarm has a full coverage of the facts.

This is, I think, a huge mistake for Dr. Martens.

I don’t want to discuss the creative idea (that I like) here, but let’s face it: how long since you heard something – anything – about Dr. Martens boots?
They still have a lot of awareness, but they’re definitely not today’s trend like Crocs, for example.
They had a chance to shake a fading brand, but chosed to close the discussion instead of riding it.

So what would I have done instead, you ask?
Well, I would have first blamed the agency for the leakage just to make lawyers happy. Then, I would fire up the discussion, saying that those ads (that – again – won’t ever be published by Dr. Martens) are nice and shouldn’t offend anybody. After all, those guys were really using those boots. This would of course boost even more conversation around this, focusing on something that is actually good for the brand (its link to the punk -rock generation).
Next steps would obviously depend on how the conversation would develop (I think you can’t control the conversation around your brand, you can just listen and take actions), but I can’t foresee anything bad coming out of it for Dr. Martens.

May 23, 2007

Links for 24.05.2007

Filed under: advertising, links, marketing, media — Simone @ 10:19 pm

Technorati relaunches
mmm… it smells like a teen seach engine.

Mentos Geysers: world record attempt
The Google CPG (consumer packaged goods) blog has a post on the attempt to achieve a world record for most Mentos and Soda Fountains. I think the way Mentos approached a possible PR threat and rode it as possibly the biggest online media success story ever is just revealing. They did nothing special after all: they simply didn’t hide, spoke openly to their users and to the general public, embraced the discussion they didn’t start and came away with great goodwill and a world online campaign for little to no cost. Was that luck? Maybe so. Would your company exploit its luck like that?

When Trains Fly (from Advertising Age)
Nice one from AdAge. Do you know which market are you competing for? I feel like current revenue streams may be a big obstacle finding that out (or a big incentive to lying to yourself).

Deprivation Day 2: No Problem
Another one from AdAge. Diary of a TV less life and tips on how TV can be substituted with various online services, YouTube in primis. I live a TV-less life since a couple of years (I KNEW I HAD TO MAKE A BLOG OUT OF THAT! I KNEW THAT! Damn…) and I’m pretty happy. I read a lot more, I keep more and more blogs active (er… sort of…) and, well, not much else that I can think of. Uh, and another thing: I’m making my folks marketers’ job a lot tougher 🙂
Oh, and I agree that wisdom of crowds is selecting (and – indirectly – generating) much better content than any editor in chief, I guess that most people sticks to online media because of that.

May 22, 2007

Links for 22.05.2007

Filed under: advertising, links, marketing — Simone @ 10:45 pm

You do’t own your brand, your customer does
Chris at The Social Customer Manifesto writes a quick and simple post on how social media is challenging the way marketers acted for decades. While I don’t agree on some points, I found this very inspiring:

If the customer truly is in control as a result of the advent of social media, the most important thing to do is to actually engage in transparent, authentic conversation.

Google adds Hot Trends [via the Google Operating System]
Google added a useful tool to the already cool Google Trends. It basically lets you see the 100 queries that had the biggest evolution in a certain day. For now data are only showing US searches but other countries should follow shorlty.

[More] or (Less)
Seth Godin suggests that human beings have an innate character flaw that makes them to always want more of something, not less. I kind of agree beacuse we tend to see things in positive (ie I want more spare time, not less working time).

How to change the world: Ten (nine) questions with Anastasia Goodstein
Interesting thoughts on how teenagers feel about new technologies

Joost opens to everyone
Nice review from Last100. I’ve been in the beta testing for a while. Choice is still limited and quality so-so. I’d buy choice over quality anyway, so no wonder I didn’t really fall in love with it.

AdAge post on new Pepsi ad
While it’s just part of the campaign (and Bob Garfield doesn’t like the inconsistency) I like the approach of the BBDO commercial for Pepsi:

Consider this 30-second spot, in which a wry voice-over — atop crude, hand-lettered onscreen type — “boasts” about new consumer-preference results: “In a recent survey, diet-cola drinkers were asked, ‘Which diet cola has more cola taste?’ Fifty-six percent picked Diet Pepsi over Diet Coke. That means everybody. OK, almost everybody. Mostly everybody. Fine, a little more than half of everybody. Diet Pepsi, the choice of a little more than half of everybody.”

What can you do to start a discussion when you’ve been seriously and competitive for decades? Just like in a pub, I guess that relaxing and making fun of yourself is not a bad idea.

May 20, 2007

What will gamers and mobile web early users teach us?

Filed under: advertising, marketing, media — Simone @ 9:50 am

I came accross this post on AdAge on who are today’s gamers and (something on) how they behave. Ideally I put it in the same mental category as this one from TrendSpotting on  mobile web early adopters (btw TrendSpotting is quickly becoming one of my favourite trend blogs for its orientation on facts and numbers).

Why am I interested on gaming and mobile? Because gamers and mobile users are trained to be very active groups of people for what concerns media consumption. They don’t just sit there and wait for the message to reach them but are actively involved with their media and actually they want to shape the media itself on their own needs.

If you think about it, gaming is always been a relationship started by users (you turn on your console and decide what to play depending on your tastes and the specific occasion) and is in itself an extremely active behaviour compared to TV watching, newspaper reading or even watching YouTube.
Maybe this is one of the reasons why even a game purchase is mostly driven by word of mouth between gamers.

Ditto for the mobile users (mobile has always been about helping people communicate), that are generally building small (mostly local) group-opinions regarding any possible topic (YOU: “hey man, did you try that new online game?” FRIEND: “Yeah, stay away from it, it sucks! Try Line Rider instead, that’s just gorgeous!” YOU: “Cool, I’ll go and check it out man!”).
Mobile web is even better because it builds an opportunity to actually make the groups bigger and less local (today high costs for international calls and the fact that normally calls are one-to-one communications keep the informations to flow efficiently on mobile phones as they do on the web).

Main results on these researches are not that surprising (biggest chunk of gamers and mobile web users are under 35 and about 60% male), but I guess we have to have a closer look at those 2 groups to get a real feeling on how media and marketing are set to change.

May 7, 2007

Note to self: don’t mistreat customers

Filed under: advertising, links, marketing — Simone @ 6:59 am

If you don’t want your customers to find out that you mistreat customers, then don’t mistreat customers (Dave Winer via The Social Customer).

I know it sounds really obvious but I guess it’s a big insight for people living in big companies that were successful last century (and quite possibly still are). Just in case it doesn’t sound so obvious to you, the reason is the 3rd rule of Hughtrain:

3. Your customers are becoming smarter about your market a lot faster than you are.

Thanks to the internet, your customers are able to talk to each other. They are able to find better information about your product than you are able of willing to give them, much quicker than you are capable of giving them. The conversation will happen with or without you, you’re better off joining in.

Well a reason could also be that you are just a nice guy but I know some people think it’s too naive.

Oh and speaking of Hughtrain, ladies and gentlemen, rule number 6 is very interesting as well (and to me it’s just a consequence of the above):

6. The future of advertising is internal.

The hardest part of a CEO’s job is sharing his enthusiasm with his colleagues, especially when a lot of them are making one-fiftieth of what he is. Selling the company to the general public is a piece of cake compared to selling it to the actual people who work for it.

Better keep that in mind.

By the way, sorry for unfrequent posting. As I said I’m very much in a “learning mode” these days, so my (little) spare time is more about reading/watching than writing.

April 22, 2007

Future of video advertising? Do you really think so Scoble?

Filed under: advertising — Simone @ 7:40 am

Can this be the future of advertising online? Robert thinks so.

[podtech content=http://media1.podtech.net/media/2007/04/PID_010897/Podtech_Nexidia_demo.flv&postURL=http://www.podtech.net/scobleshow/technology/1442/demo-of-contextual-advertising-on-video-streams&totalTime=280000&breadcrumb=5bbc7ea17b734749994eed67643a4e4c]

Well, I don’t. Why? Mainly because this is the internet. You get infinite choice. You either like the video you’re watching or you don’t like it. If you do, no way you’ll click on those ads (heck, I guess the ads could get a higher click through if they weren’t dynamic and just considered the main topic, so you could click on them after finishing the video). If you don’t like the video, you just move over to something else. No way you’ll actually STOP the video and move to the ads.

You may tell me it worked for text. Right, but:

  1. Rich media has a very different consumption behaviour (ie you’re a lot less likely to jump to the end of the post, you generally either watch it or not – that’s the basic assumption behind TV business model);
  2. Text ads can “win” vs some other text (that’s like continuing the conversation with someone else, just like at a club when your friend gets too drunk), it’s a lot tougher vs video (you don’t just turn and continue the conversation with someone else if your friend is agood looking girl: again, either you like her or not);
  3. Text ads like Google’s Adsense work because they’re relevant and well integrated into the context. I don’t know about the relevancy, but this looks far from being integrated. What about links right inside the content? Like when you see a nice car you can click on it and be brought to some relevant stuff? This would (maybe) be able to replicate the Adsense success. I know it would be complex and expensive, but this is gonna be a huge business someday.

Bottom line: nice try, but this ain’t gonna save you folks working on ad business. Keep on scratching your head.

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