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Social and downloadable media at Ad Tech ‘08

Ad Tech ’08 took place in San Francisco last week and I managed to make a few sessions and wander the exhibition hall. Ad Tech is a digital marketing conference for media, publishing, marketing, and technology professionals. Basically, anyone who’s interested in the tools, strategy, and opportunities of online marketing. Here are some observations and data points that may help inform your customer engagement efforts.

Session: “Social media marketingthe value proposition”

Panel featuring MySpace, Target, Electronic Arts
• eMarketer magazine reported that $1.6b will be spent on social media marketing this year, and $2.4b by 2010
• MySpace had 73 million unique visitors in March, an increase of 7%
• Facebook saw 35 million unique visitors in March, an increase of 9%
• EA and Target say they’re beyond the experimental phase and plan bigger social media marketing investments (details on Target’s successful ’07 Facebook back to school campaign can be found in my April Tendo View article)

My take:
• The early adopter marketers have learned “what works”
• Social media audiences will embrace a campaign, if it’s done right
• Social media networks are growing in size and audience demographics
• Companies should investigate social media

Session: “Marketing with downloadable media” (podcasts)

Panel featuring Jim Louderback, former editor of PC magazine, now CEO of Revision3; Kin Robles, a producer at National Podcasting System; Mark McCrery of Podtrac, a podcast ad-serving network; and Roxanne Darling, host of “Beachwalks with Rox,” a popular daily podcast in which she ruminates on anything and everything while walking her black Labrador on the beaches of Hawaii.

My take on podcasts:
• The time is right to investigate
• They can help you engage a hard-to-reach, highly desirable audience
• They present a low-cost way to reach a broad audience with viral content
• Their popularity reflects the rise in user-controlled “on demand” media

Here are some stats from a recently released Edison Media research report, “The Podcast Consumer Revealed: An Exclusive Early Look at the Growing Podcast Audience.”

• Podcast listeners are generally more affluent, well-educated, and spend more money online
• Podcast listeners represent a 50/50 split among men and women and demonstrate high levels of avoidance behaviorthey know how to evade marketing
• 40% increase in consumption of audio podcasts between ’07 and ‘08
• 21% of Americans (54 million) have watched or listened to downloadable media
• Ad recall rates from podcasts are 47% higher than traditional ad spotsa highly engaged audience!
• 75% of podcasts are accessed through iTunes
• The most viewed/listened to iTunes shows get between 160,000 and 250,000 views/listens per episode

—Bill Golden, managing editor

April 23, 2008 Posted by | Bill Golden, Multimedia, Web Content | 1 Comment

Hybrid social media

If all the excitement around Web-based social media has you nervous about whether people can still hold a conversation in person, fear not. Social networking site Meetup.com has combined the ease and community-building capabilities of the Web with the primal need for in-person interaction.

Meetup.com reports more than 5 million regular users, facilitates more than 37,000 groups, and helps arrange about 80,000 physical events monthly. That’s a large group of motivated consumers, segmented by very specific interests—two attributes that typically make marketers salivate.

As reported by The New York Times on March 19, Meetup.com has found an interesting sponsorship model to support its various special interest groups. The site has signed both American Express Open and Kimberly Clarke, parent company to brands Huggies and Pull-ups, to underwrite and support Meetup.com groups for new mothers and entrepreneurs. Meetup.com’s sponsorships allow brands to provide valuable services to potential customers and opportunities to interact with their brands in meaningful ways. What’s interesting about Meetup.com’s approach is that it combines the best of two worlds: the convenience and ubiquity of the Web and the impact and intimacy of in-person interaction. Bill Golden, managing editor

March 27, 2008 Posted by | Bill Golden, In the News, Social Media, Web Content | Leave a comment

A sure way to make customers cringe

I was reminded recently of a Web site faux pas that’s possibly one of the worst. A colleague sitting across from me suddenly cringed, crumpled in her chair, and then angrily tore off her headphones. Not knowing the cause, I was a bit startled. But no sooner was she cursing the computer screen, than the culprit was revealed. That obnoxious auto volume feature.

It’s one thing to knowingly subject yourself to painful music on MySpace profiles, but another thing when a commercial Web site (that presumably wants visitors) blasts music at you without notice or permission. Think about it. It’s like the proprietor of a brick-and-mortar store blasting music in your ear just as you enter.

Using audio to engage customers online is a perfectly fine and useful feature. Just make sure it’s muted and the audio is easy to find and control. A good model for user-controlled audio is YouTube. Bill Golden, managing editor

February 22, 2008 Posted by | Bill Golden, blog, Customer Care, Multimedia | Leave a comment

Three takes on customer engagement on the Web

Yesterday, two colleagues and I started the day at BtoB Magazine’s NetMarketing breakfast down the street here in San Francisco.

The event featured three high-tech marketing executives who spoke about how they’re engaging customers on the Web. Aside from a sponsor’s painfully long pitch at the outset, which ironically led to quite a few people suddenly spreading out their free copies of the New York Times, the well-attended event was worth checking out.

Speakers included Scott Anderson, VP of customer communications at HP (our very own client and by far the most impressive); Martyn Etherington, VP of worldwide field marketing, Tektronix; and Stephanie Dillard, global media manager, integrated marketing group, Intel. While they didn’t have time to outline their entire Web marketing strategy, it was interesting to see the differences in each company’s approach. They each shared more than a few nuggets of good information. Continue reading

November 19, 2007 Posted by | Bill Golden, Content Strategy, Customer Care, Web Content | Leave a comment