Saturday, January 28, 2012

Social Media Predictions For 2012

Yourversion reporting:
Companies sometimes gripe that social media is useless as a branding tool.
For marketers, converting messages into transactions is the Holy Grail, but if they don’t quickly materialize through new media outlets, that’s no reason to throw in the towel. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other outlets are constantly evolving and experimentation is necessary to find success.
Once we accept that “social” does not equal “transactional” we’ll all be a lot more adept at using it in 2012.
Three trends and tools to watch in the coming year:
From Checking In To Cashing In: Geo-Gaming
Geo-location has been an important marketing tool for a few years, but in 2012 it will become more personal and more transactional, especially in social-media marketing. This is a game-changer for retailers because it enables them to put potential consumers in the context of time and place and more effectively influence purchase intent...
Facebook: Gateway To The Web
Would it surprise anyone to think Facebook will become the overlay of the Internet experience? It may not happen in 2012 but it certainly will in our lifetimes. Facebook is what Ma Bell once was, a utility with which few people could conduct their daily lives. It’s almost impossible to not use the web these days, and it’s becoming less possible to use it without Facebook...
Perpetuating The Personal
Brands in 2012 must create a social world of personalization.

Friday, January 27, 2012

'NYT' Traffic Same Since Paywall

onlinemdiadaily reporting: BuzzFeed reports that the U.K.’s Daily Mail is now the largest online newspaper property, surpassing The New York Times, per Poynter. However, a NYT rep says the Mail figure includes an added personal finance site. But the new figures show something else: Since instituting a paywall, the newspaper reach has held steady. In February, before the paywall, it had 44 million unique visitors; in December that figure was 44.8 million, according to BuzzFeed. (Both outlets cited comScore as the source of their figures.)

Millennials Trust People, Not Brands, When Buying

onlinemediadaily reporting: Marketers that are trying to connect with millennials ages 18 to 34 to promote products and services related to love and Valentine's Day might want to consider tapping social influencers who produce user-generated content (UGC). This generation trusts people rather than brands, and values the opinions of like-minded strangers as much as people they know, according to a new study scheduled for release Monday titled "Talking to Strangers."
Strangers appear to have the most influence when it comes to making a purchase. About 51% of millennials are more likely influenced by UGC produced and posted by strangers, compared with recommendations from friends, family and colleagues, but only 34% of boomers agree.
In fact, 84% of millennials report that UGC from strangers has some influence on what they buy. That's because 65% of millennials believe UGC offers a more honest and genuine view online, and 86% believe the content represents a good indicator of the quality of a brand, service or products.
Millennials question the motives of companies that collect customer opinions. The study finds 71% of millennials say companies care about customer opinions simply because they impact how other consumers will view the brand, rather than truly caring what their customers think.
Seventy-three percent of millennials believe other consumers care more about their opinions than companies do; that's why they continue to share their opinions online. They view companies that include customer feedback on their Web sites as honest, at 66%, and credible, at 53%.
Millennials won't complete top purchases without UGC -- big-ticket items like major electronics, 44%, and cars, 40%, as well as hotel stays, 39%, insurance policies, 30%, and travel to specific destinations, 32%.

Ad Industry Media Options Explode: From 8 In The 1970s To 100+ Today

onlinemediadaily reporting: One of the greatest challenges confronting the ad industry over the past several decades has been media fragmentation, but most agencies and advertisers typically think of it in terms of how it affects consumers – and their ability to reach them. On Thursday, during MediaPost’s Mobile Insider Summit here a highly regarded researcher and analyst presented data indicating it has had a profound impact on the number of media options advertisers and agencies must also now choose from.
“In the 1970s, there were eight choices,” Patrick Quinn, founder and CEO of PQ Media, said during a presentation of a new study on mobile and social media at the summit. He was referring to the number of media platforms that advertisers and agencies had to research, plan, buy and analyze the effects of when mounting a campaign to reach consumers with advertising.
“Today there are more than 100, and 17 from mobile alone,” he added.
Quinn said that fragmentation of options, and the problems it has caused in manpower, workflow, thinking and comparing media options, is the No. challenge cited by PQ Media’s panel of industry leaders that it surveys periodically. Among other things, he noted, many of those platforms have entirely different ways of thinking about and estimating how consumers are exposed to their medium.
Among other things, the fragmentation and inconsistency among those platforms is creating challenging issues such as “incompatibility” in their measurement systems and metrics, coverage issues, and user experience and ad effectiveness issues.
Even within a given platform that marketers and agencies may think of as a single medium -- say mobile, as an example -- Quinn noted that there are now “44 different revenue streams” for the various sub-components – carriers, networks, publishers, exchanges, app developers, etc. – that make up the mobile media industry today.
Read more:

Amazon: Early Data Shows Kindle Owners’ Lending Library Increases Sales

paid content reporting:
Amazon’s early data from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, which allows Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) prime members who are also Kindle owners to borrow one free e-book per month, “suggests the possibility of an increase in customer purchasing,” Kindle content VP Russ Grandinetti said at Digital Book World today.
Grandinetti said “we’re trying to be skeptical about this” but Amazon’s early data “suggests you can get people engaged in a book that they weren’t interested in otherwise.” Amazon compared two customer groups of Amazon Prime members who have owned an e-reading device for more than six months and have made at least one recent book purchase in the last 30 days. The members of one group used the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and the members of the other group did not. Grandinetti said that after after the average customer’s first borrow from the KOLL, he or she went on to purchase 30 percent more books.
“Many publishers in this room give away books for free every day in a very coarse effort to increase demand,” Grandinetti said. He argued that the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is a more refined approach backed by a lot of promotion on the Amazon website. “Some customers may be willing to try authors and series they might not otherwise have discovered,” he said. He gave an example, the very popular Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Nineteen percent of customers who borrowed The Hunger Games from the KOLL later purchased one of the other books in the trilogy instead of waiting another thirty days to borrow it.

1 Out Of Every 12 Magazine Ad Pages Now Contains An Action Code

paidcontent reporting:
Mobile action codes—including 2D barcodes, QR codes, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) Tags and watermarks—became much more prevalent in the top 100 U.S. magazines in 2011, increasing 439 percent from 352 codes in Q1 to 1,899 codes in Q4.
Mobile marketing and technology company Nellymoser creates these types of ads for magazines and conducted the research, so the company obviously has skin in this game, but its findings are interesting for showing how marketers are changing the ways they use these action codes. (The report doesn’t focus on how well action codes are actually, you know, spurring action but I’ve asked for some follow-up data.) Some findings:
—Mobile action codes are much more likely to be used in ads than in editorial content—the ratio of advertising codes to editorial codes was 25:1 by December 2011. Editorial codes were primarily used to run sweepstakes.
—Most action codes were used to showcase a video (54 percent), often a video created specifically for mobile use. 30 percent were used for data capture and list building, especially sweepstakes. “While sweeps can be run with one action code, there is a growing trend towards sweepstakes that span an entire publication with multiple advertisers and editorial sections participating, each with its own code,” the report says.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Piracy is part of the digital ecosystem

MondayNote reporting:
When it come to digital piracy, there is a great deal of hypocrisy. One way another, everyone is involved.
For some large players — allegedly on the plaintiff side — the sinning even takes industrial proportions. Take the music industry.
In October 2003, Wired ran this interesting piece about a company specialized in tracking entertainment contents over the internet. BigChampagne, located in Beverly Hills, is for the digital era what Billboard magazine was in the analog world. Except that BigChampagne is essentially tracking illegal contents that circulates on the web. It does so with incredible precision by matching IP numbers and zip code, finding out what’s hot on peer-to-peer networks. In his Wired piece, Jeff Howe explains:
BigChampagne’s clients can pull up information about popularity and market share (what percentage of file-sharers have a given song). They can also drill down into specific markets – to see, for example, that 38.35 percent of file-sharers in Omaha, Nebraska, have a song from the new 50 Cent album.
No wonder some clients pay BigChampagne up to 40,000$ a month for such data. They  use BigChampagne’s valuable intelligence to apply gentle pressure on local radio station to air the very tunes favored by downloaders. For a long time, illegal file-sharing has been a powerful market and promotional tool for the music industry.
More broadly, how large is piracy today? At the last Consumer Electronic Show, the British market intelligence firm Envisional Ltd. presented its remarkable State of Digital Piracy Study (PDF here). Here are some highlights:
- Pirated contents accounts for 24% of the worldwide internet bandwidth consumption.
- The biggest chunk is carried by BitTorrent (the protocol used for file sharing); it weighs about 40% of the illegitimate content in Europe and 20% in the US (including downstream and upstream). Worldwide, BitTorrent gets 250 million UVs per month.
- The second tier is made by the so-called cyberlockers (5% of the global bandwidth), among them the infamous MegaUpload, raided a few days ago by the FBI and the New Zealand police. On the 500 million uniques visitors per month to cyberlockers, MegaUpload drained 93 million UVs. (To put things in perspective, the entire US newspaper industry gets about 110 million UVs per month). The Cyberlockers segment has twice the users but consumes eight times less bandwidth than BitTorrent simply because files are much bigger on the peer-to-peer system.
- The third significant segment in piracy is illegal video streaming (1.4% of the global bandwidth.)
There are three ways to fight piracy: endless legal actions, legally blocking access, or creating alternative legit offers.

Most Consumers Still Don't Talk About Brands on Social Sites

emarketerdaily reporting:
While most marketers leverage Facebook and Twitter to communicate with customers, not nearly as many consumers comment about these companies and brands on the social sites.
AYTM Market Research found that 57.8% of US Facebook users had not mentioned a brand in their status updates as of October 2011. More heartening for marketers is that just 0.5% of Facebook users posted only negative mentions about brands on Facebook. More often, they reported commenting on brands in a positive way (25.3%) or with a mix of both positive and negative mentions (16.4%).

US Facebook Users Who Have Mentioned a Brand in Their Facebook Status Updates, Oct 2011 (% of total)

US Twitter users nearly mirrored these results, with 61.3% of Twitter users saying they have not tweeted about a brand. Meanwhile, 25.4% of Twitter users said they only mentioned brands in positive tweets, 0.4% said they only mentioned them in negative tweets and 12.9% said in both positive and negative tweets.
Meanwhile, consumers are typically not learning about new brands, products and services from social media. Only 6.5% of US internet users said they most frequently hear about new brands, products and services from social media, while 17.6% said they often do and 26.5% said they sometimes do. A quarter of respondents (26%) said they never hear about these new offerings via social media.

Cracking the Paywall

MondayNote reporting: Every newspaper, magazine or website is working on a paywall of sorts and closely monitoring what everyone else is doing. In almost every news company, execs are morosely watching advertising projections and finding numbers that are not exactly encouraging. For digital media, there is no way around this year’s weak outlook: the bad economic climate only adds to the downward price pressure exerted by the ever growing inventory of web and mobile pages. In a best-case scenario, volumes and prices will remain flat. On the print circulation side, Western newspapers are likely to witness a continuing readership erosion at a rate of several percentage points.
But here is the interesting point: The strongest players don’t just bow to the inevitable, they accelerate their transition to digital. This week, I was struck by the fact two such leaders made the same move: The New York Times and the Financial Times both announced serious price hike for their newsstand price (respectively 25% and 13.6%) :
- The NYT moves from $2.00 (€1.57) to $2.50 (€1.96) from Monday to Saturday, with no change for the Sunday edition still priced at $5 (€3.92) in New York, and $6 (€4.72) elsewhere.
- The FT goes from £2.20 ($3.39 or €2.66) to £2.50 ($3.85 or €3.03) on weekdays, as the weekend edition moves from £2.80 ($4.32 or €3.39 ) to £3 ($4.62 or €3.63).
Those numbers are really meaningful: a 10% increase every two years or so can be seen as an inflation adjustment — a generous one considering the inflation rate in those countries to be about 2.5%-3.5%. At 25% increase is a strategic decision aimed at accelerating the switch to digital. (The paper version of the FT now costs 25% more than it did last October).
Interestingly enough, for a New York Times addict, reading the paper online with the cheapest package ($15 a month), is now 40% to 50% cheaper that the home-delivered version and 70% cheaper than buying the paper each day at a newsstand. As for the FT, the standard digital version is now 21% cheaper than the print subscription and 68% less than the newsstand price.
Both are working hard at converting readers to the digital paid-for model. The FT is heading full steam into digital, furiously data-mining its 4 million subscribers base to convert them into paid-for subscribers (250,000 according to the most recent count). The FT’s tactics is simple: readers are relentlessly pushed toward the paywall thanks to a diminishing number of stories available for free: from 30 free articles per month in 2007 it is now down to 8 articles; the other bold move is making registration mandatory in order to access even a single story.
The Times builds its paid-for strategy on three key factors:
1 / The uniqueness of its content...
2 / The managed porosity of its paywall...
3 / Getting in bed with Apple...
 Of these three factors, the uniqueness of content remains the most potent one...

E-Book Bummer: Growth Slower Than Thought—‘Incremental, Not Exponential’

paidcontent reporting:
Last year was widely perceived to be a year of outrageous e-book growth, but some new research suggests otherwise. According to new data from Bowker and the Book Industry Study Group, the number of book buyers who also purchased an e-book increased by 17 percent in 2011, compared to 9 percent in 2010 – well below the 25 to 30 percent growth that some had hoped for.

To be sure, this growth varied by genre, noted Bowker’s Kelly Gallagher at Digital Book World this morning. (Bowker conducted this research with the Book Industry Study Group.) E-books now make up 26 percent of adult fiction purchases, compared to 11 percent of children’s book purchases and 3 percent of cookbook purchases.
Seventy-four percent of book buyers have never bought an e-book (and 14 percent of those actually own an e-reader or tablet but choose not to use it to read e-books).
Bowker looked at the habits of “power buyers”—people who purchase four or more print or e-books per month. “Whether print or digital, publishers’ best customers now look alike,” said Gallagher.
Print power buyers make up 22 percent of the overall print book-buying population, and they drive 53 percent of print book purchases overall.
Meanwhile, e-book power buyers make up 35 percent of the overall e-book buying population, but they drive 60 percent of overall e-book purchases. In other words, about a third of the overall buyers drive two-thirds of overall purchases. Casual e-book buyers “are not pulling their weight” compared with casual print book buyers, Gallagher said.
There’s a bright spot for e-book growth: Around 7 to 12 months after buying their first e-book, 72 percent of power buyers switch over to e-books exclusively.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Newspaper shares plunged 27% in 2011

newsosaur reporting: In a year when the stock market flailed mightily to end up almost exactly where it started, the shares of the publicly traded newspaper companies plummeted an average of 27% in 2011.

Of the 11 publicly held newspaper companies, the stock of only one – the broadly diversified News Corp. – gained ground in the last 12 months. The stock of the publishing-cum-broadcasting company rose 10.7% in 2011 despite the phone-hacking scandal that resulted in the closing of the News of the World and led to questions about Rupert Murdoch's stewardship of the business and the arrests of a more than a dozen former editors and reporters.

The shares of all the rest of the newspaper publishers, as detailed below (click to enlarge image), fell by double-digit rates, ranging from an 11.4% drop at Gannett to a 71.3% plunge at Lee Enterprises, the latter of which averted a potential default by refinancing its debt in the final weeks of the year.

If you take the increase in News Corp.’s stock price out of the mix, the average plunge in newspaper share value last year was 30.1%. This compares with a 5.5% increase in the Dow Jones average of 30 industrial stocks and the flat performance of the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, which gained a meager 0.04% after a year of dramatic market swings.

Minus the $45 billion market capitalization of News Corp., the total value of the shares of the 10 other publishers at year’s end was a bit over $10 billion, or less than three-quarters of the $13.9 billion that Gannett alone was worth at the end of 2005, the year the industry set a record for the most advertising sales in history.
and advertisers away from their core products.

Research: Professionals With iPads Are Deserting Printed Media

paidcontent reporting:
Stark new research statistics suggest digital replacement of analogue content is now very high amongst tablet owners.
  • Newspapers: Seventy two percent of worldwide professionals polled by IDG Connect say they are buying fewer since owning an iPad.
  • Books: 70 percent are buying fewer.
  • DVDs: 49 percent are buying fewer.
Asia and the Middle East lead the way with, respectively, 90 percent and 80 percent of respondents saying they now purchase fewer printed papers.
“These markets for physical media are already in decline,” the iPad For Business Survey 2012 concludes. “On this evidence, tablet computing will hasten their demise.
“For advertising- funded media (newspapers and magazines), the challenges are particularly substantial. Readers who can afford iPads tend to be more demographically desirable than those who cannot.”
In North America, 15 percent of respondents said they would consider buying an alternative tablet to iPad next time.

How The Magazine Industry Can Save Itself (Hint: Not iPad Apps)

paidcontent reporting: he top priority for most magazine executives today seems to be building iPad apps. Yet the user experience of a print magazine is unmatchable: they’re cheap, never out of battery charge, not a target for thieves and they have twice the screen space when spread as an iPad screen. Magazines might have a place in our connected future, but they risk losing a generation if they don’t modernize their subscription systems instead of trying to compete with Angry Birds.
Consider my recent experience renewing my favorite magazine, The Week: My subscription was given to me as a gift. After a couple weeks of not receiving issues, I figured something was up. After looking into it, I found my subscription had expired. I’d have known this from their mailings, had I not gotten into the habit of throwing out all letters from magazines due to their high rate of silly offers. I went to, clicked “Subscribe now”, which goes to a page that doesn’t match their design hosted by that asks me to pay $49.50 for the next year. I checked “Check here if you want us to bill you later” and they sent me an invoice, in the mail (you read that right, no “e”). Who does that anymore? So I had to type the code from the mailed invoice into a web form so I could pay by credit card.
In Japan you can buy a coke from a vending machine with your phone. The magazine industry’s still mailing invoices?
The Week isn’t unique in this regard. The vast majority of magazine subscription systems are woefully out of date. I recently bought a Groupon (NSDQ: GRPN) for a year’s print and digital subscription to The Economist. How long till I get the first issue? “Allow 5 weeks for delivery of 1st issue,” according to their fine print. When I bought a Groupon to Dos Toros I used it that very night for a delicious burrito. Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) Prime will ship me a microwave in two days at no additional cost. Even the hottest new Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) products get only backed logged for a week or two. Why do those otherwise clever Brits at The Economist take 5 week to fill a new order for a product they’ve been making for over 150 years?
It’s time for the magazine industry to take a page from companies like Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX) and Spotify: charge by the month, require a credit card, auto-renew payments and let people cancel anytime.

Tablet, E-Reader Owners Double Over Holidays

MediaPost reporting: The share of U.S. adults who own tablet computers nearly doubled from 10% to 19% during the holiday season, fueled in part by the launch of less expensive devices like the Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet, according to a new study.
The research by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that e-reader ownership also jumped from 10% to 19% between mid- December and mid-January, while the proportion of Americans with either type of device climbed from 18% to 29%.
The surge is all the more striking because it follows a period from mid-2011 into the fall, when there was little change in the growth of tablet and e-reader adoption. But following the rollouts of the $199 Kindle Fire and the $250 Nook Tablet in mid-November -- taking on the $499 iPad -- consumers began opening up their wallets in large numbers.
“In the time we have been doing surveys about the adoption and use of digital technology, we have never seen growth quite like this,” noted Lee Rainie, director of Pew’s Internet & American Life Project. “These findings have major implications for every media company -- especially book publishers, everyone in a knowledge business, and key community institutions like libraries. They show how radically the tectonic plates of information creation and dissemination are shifting under our feet.”
While Amazon has not revealed exactly how many Kindle Fires it sold in the fourth quarter, it said in December it was selling Kindle devices overall at a rate of 1 million a week. The Fire has been its top-selling product since it went on sale. Wall Street analysts had projected Amazon sold as many as 5 million Kindle Fires in the quarter.
Barnes & Noble touted strong sales of its Nook devices over the holidays, though conceding Nook Tablet sales didn’t meet expectations. The company had said it is considering spinning off its Nook business a separate unit to capitalize on its growth as a digital media platform.

iPads and Kindles force newspapers further away from print

Guardian reporting 25.12.2011: 
A million iPads and Kindles may have been unwrapped on Sunday – according to tentative analyst estimates – an influx of portable technology that is expected to hasten a decline in the already faltering sales of printed newspapers, adding pressure on traditional business models that have traditionally supported so many titles around the country.
Publishers, preparing for the handheld arrivals, took the chance to break with a tradition that dates back to 1912, when publishers agreed not to produce Christmas Day papers to give paperboys, among others, a day off. For the first time in its 190-year history the Sunday Times published a digital-only edition on 25 December – with the normally paid for product given away in the hope of luring sought after digital subscribers.
Boxing Day publication, for dailies like the Guardian, has also become a necessity – to ensure digital editions for new Kindle and iPad owners to read. The result is that what was a traditionally quiet period for news has become a critical moment to showcase new work, at a time when an industry already riven by the phone-hacking scandal and under judicial examination, is facing what can be described as an existential crisis.
Fifty years ago two national dailies – the Daily Mirror and the Daily Express – sold more than 4m copies each; today the bestselling Sun sells 2.6m. In the last year alone, printed sales declined by 10% for daily broadsheets and by 5% for daily tabloids – and when the News of the World stopped printing last July 600,000 copy sales simply disappeared.
The knock-on impact of the decline has been a push for digital readers that have seen newspapers like the Daily Mail win 5m unique visitors a day – compared with its printed sale of 2m – but struggle to generate revenues to match. The Mail generated £16m from its website last year, out of £608m overall.

Sunday, January 22, 2012 adds tweets to news feed for Your Town sites

NiemanLabs reporting:
The Boston Globe is quietly testing a redesign of its Your Town product on to give the locally focused sites a more engaged, real-time feel. And “real-time feel” is short for a blog-like, Twitter-like stream of stories and information.
Your Town is a network of 50 sites dedicated to local news in the towns surrounding Boston proper, places like Cambridge (home of the Lab), Quincy, Salem, and Brookline. It’s the Brookline site where the Globe is testing out a new two column look — change from the three-column layout before — with a main well dedicated to aggregating local news and a left rail that’s home to ads, local services, an events calendar and links for SeeClickFix.
It’s a clean, open kind of design, which, on first glance is very bloggy and a little Twitter-esque. Jim Bodor, director of product development for, said that’s exactly the idea. Over email Bodor told me they wanted to create a “dashboard for a reader’s community.”
“The design changes are aimed at giving the Your Town home pages a more social and real-time feel,” he said.
The Your Town sites, which are staffed by an editor and a writer, are by and large aggregators, combining regional town coverage from the Globe, but also incorporating local blogs and other community news sites (like the blog of the local police department). But the new look also aggregates individual tweets hand-plucked from locals on Twitter, displaying them inline with other news in the feed. A tweet earns the same visual rank as a Globe story, each its own solo news item.
It’s common for news sites to include Twitter widgets displaying their own tweets or those from trusted sources, but it’s rare to see tweets themselves — particularly non-staff-produced tweets — displayed as a unit of news. Bodor said what’s happening on Twitter is part of the broader news discussion in a community, one that a segment of readers already knows about. This amplifies that to a larger audience and creates a richer site, he said.
“Before we launched the new site, we identified prominent tweeters in Brookline who we know tweet regularly about local topics, and are automatically incorporating those tweets into the stream,” he said.

How Customer-Centric Analytics Will Change the Future of Marketing Read more:

Hubspotblog reporting:
We have no qualms about beating the following concept into the ground, which is why you've likely heard us say it before: Analytics are critically important to inbound marketing success. Measuring and analyzing the performance of every inbound marketing channel you use to drive traffic, generate leads, and convert those leads into customers—then making adjustments to your marketing strategy and tactics based on the insights you glean from them—is what separates good inbound marketing from truly remarkable inbound marketing.
So if you're leaning toward the side of remarkable inbound marketing, you likely have some type of marketing analytics tool in place to track and measure how your marketing programs are performing. And that's all well and good, but there's a deficiency in many of these analytics platforms.
So exactly what is missing from most analytics tools these days? A canonical identity. 
Putting the Person at the Heart of Analytics 
The biggest thing missing from many present-day analytics solutions is the customer. While it's great to have aggregate data—like overall number of page views, leads, etc.—it's also important to remember that an individual view or lead represents an actual person. When you take this person-centric approach, you can go back in time and look at every interaction that an individual person took.

The Role of Cohort Analytics

It's easy to see why person-centric analytics are a huge advantage, especially for companies whose marketing and sales teams are very closely tied together. However, to make truly useful strategic decisions, what businesses really need are cohort analytics.
This is not to be confused with aggregate data or basic segmentation. Cohort analytics let you focus on a group of people who shared a particular experience at a specific point in time. In other words, you can then compare your visitors who saw Campaign A in January to those who saw it in February, all while ignoring those who saw Campaign B or C.
Even better, with person-level analytics, you can identify customer personas to help you find out what marketing tactics work well for each persona. For instance, you'll be able to see that people like Robbie respond better to email campaigns, while people like Joe convert better through social media.

The Future of Analytics Is Integrated

The two concepts above are patterns that other analytics products are likely to follow very soon. Kissmetrics has already started to adopt the canonical identity stuff, and Google is making headway on cohorts. However, an analytics product, on its own, isn't going to be enough to give you all the answers you want. For example neither Kissmetrics nor Google can give you good conversion data on the entire history of an A/B tested landing page, which will have variations starting and stopping at different times. As that gets more complex, it'll become nearly impossible for those analytics products to keep track of your cohorts without being deeply integrated with your CMS.

Why iBooks Author is a big deal for publishers

MacWorld reporting: Never before has an announcement about textbooks been the subject of so much conversation. But that’s what happens when Apple holds a media event: People talk, even if the subject might otherwise seem obscure or uninteresting.
One of the biggest misconceptions I run into is the assumption that developing iOS apps is easy. It’s not. It’s hard, and good iOS developers are extremely hard to find. Especially (take it from me) if you’re a publishing company with little or no experience with (or focus on) app development. The bottom line is, finding talented iOS developers is hard and developing iOS apps is expensive.
Somewhere along the way, I think Apple got a little blinded by the sheer flashiness of some of the earliest media apps for the iPad. On the magazine side, it was Popular Mechanics. On the book side, amazing books-as-apps like The Elements. There are some really remarkable book and magazine apps out there, ones that are truly a merging of world-class content with innovative, cutting-edge software development.
But most publishing companies are not going to be able to match those sterling examples. For every blindingly awesome media-company iPad app, there are a few dozen low-to-average quality apps. The content may still be great, but they just don’t have the knowledge or expertise or budget to build their own apps.
iBooks Author is Apple’s attempt to make it easier for publishers to create great, interactive iPad books without having to build their own apps. But it’s not a tool for all ebook publishers, nor is it a tool that will generate books for devices other than the iPad.
If you’re someone who has been frustrated by the lack of good ebook publishing software (and I am) that’s disappointing. But here’s the thing: Thursday was Day 1 of iBooks Author. There are any number of directions Apple could go with this software next. Clearly the company’s first priority was to build a tool so that interactive iPad books, specifically textbooks, could be built as easily as possible. That’s what iBooks Author is for today. Any other uses are purely coincidental.
CJR reporting:
About 14 percent of NYT readers online account for 75 percent of its pageviews, so it’s just not helpful to think of the vast majority of online readers as potential customers. In reality, if you read just one or five pages, you’re almost certainly not going to pay. But if you read more than twenty NYT articles a month, you have to pay, unless you’re willing to cheat the system (and while many people, unfortunately, are, even more aren’t or don’t bother). And this idea ignores the fact that hundreds of thousands of people are already paying for news and magazine subscriptions via iPad apps and e-readers. Are those people going the NPR route or are they paying for digital news because they have to in order to read their favorite publications on their gadgets?

While The New York Times has made it for decades with about a million print subscribers, it now has roughly thirty million online readers in a given month. But absent a paywall, most of those online readers are essentially worth nothing to the paper, visiting it only a few times a year. It’s not going to turn these folks away, but it shouldn’t focus much (if any) effort on them. They’ll continue to come as long as the NYT serves its core readers, which is not some new paywall phenomenon, but something that it’s been doing all along. The paper has calculated, correctly, that it can keep the ad revenue while adding tens of millions of dollars from subscriptions. Traffic (unique visitors) is actually up 2 percent at since the meter went up and it took in 6 percent more in digital advertising in the third quarter than it did a year ago without a meter. Shirky says the new paying online subscribers are a niche, “almost certain to be more political, and more partisan, than the median reader.” But, again, there’s no evidence presented to support that. How exactly are paying digital subscribers different than paying print subscribers, who also choose “sports” or “politics” or “food.”? Come to think of it, if people are paying for unlimited access to the whole newspaper, just like before, is bundling really dead?
In any case, Shirky calls these digital subscribers a “niche,” but six months after launching, the NYT’s paid digital circulation (424,000) is already nearly half its paid daily print circulation. Take out the 100,000 subs paid for by a sponsor, and it’s still more than a third. The Wall Street Journal has more than half a million digital-only subscribers and another half a million-plus who pay for it on top of their print subscriptions. If these are niches, they’re awfully big ones. It’s unclear why a million-circ newspaper is “mass-mass” while a 400,000-circ digital edition isn’t.
Paywalls are hardly a panacea for every third rate paper in the country that disinvested in journalism. But the success of the Times’s metered model shows that people value good journalism and will pay for it when charged.

Daily Paper Going the Way of the Milkman

Editor & Publisher reporting: Daily newspaper delivery will go the way of the milkman in a growing number of communities in 2012 and beyond.

Barring a miraculous turnaround in the economy, a sea change in the thinking of media buyers, or a late-breaking proclivity for print in the sub-geezer population, publishers in ever more communities are likely to reduce the number of days they provide home delivery — or print a newspaper altogether.

Nowhere else is the demise of daily delivery more dramatic than in Michigan, where more than two-thirds of households will be unable get seven-day service after the end of January.

The rationing began with a bang in 2009, when the two Detroit dailies, the Free Press and the News, stunned the industry by cutting home delivery to just Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. Although the Motown metros continue to print every day of the week, anyone wanting a paper on non-delivery days has to fetch one at a retail location.

Unsurprisingly, the Monday-through- Friday circulation of both Detroit papers plunged between March 2008 and March 2011, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. The daily circulation of the Free Press in the period fell 54.7 percent to 168,985, and daily sales of the News tumbled 51.7 percent to 90,914. Even though Sunday home delivery continued without interruption, the circulation of the Freep (the only title publishing on that day) is down 21.6 percent at 475,543. The Freep, which is owned by Gannett, and the News, which is owned by MediaNews Group, are partners in a joint operating agreement.

The daily drought is scheduled to widen to other Michigan communities in February, when the Grand Rapids Press, Kalamazoo Gazette, Muskegon Chronicle, and Jackson Citizen Patriot reduce home delivery to Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday from their current seven-day schedules. Just as in Detroit, single copies of each newspaper — all of which are owned by Advance Newspapers — will be available to consumers who take the trouble to track them down. In cutting back home delivery, Advance emphasized the intention to attract more traffic to its statewide digital portal,

While determined readers for the time being can still buy a daily paper in Detroit and Grand Rapids, there has been no such option since mid-2009 in Ann Arbor. That’s where Advance replaced its seven-day Ann Arbor News with an “online digital media company” called, which puts out print editions just Thursday and Sunday. Since the change, daily circulation for the print product has slid by 30.8 percent to 30,422, according to ABC.

If Michigan is ground zero for the un-dailying of newspapers, it is far from alone. Journal Register Co. knocked two days off the seven-day print cycle of some of its titles in Upstate New York. Media General cut the publication of its smaller seven-day papers in North Carolina to three days a week. GateHouse Media did the same in Kansas..

The newsonomics of the long goodbye: Kodak’s, Sears’, and newspapers’ reporting: No old-world icon is safe. Just in recent weeks, both Kodak and Sears have percolated back into the news, offering headline writers a dilemma borrowed from the classic Saturday Night Live Weekend Update line, “Generalíssimo Francisco Franco is still dead.”
How long have these companies been dying? Yes, it was a surprise sometime a long time ago, that digital media was challenging Kodak and that Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, and later Amazon were making life difficult for one of America’s retailing pioneers.
Ask an American in 1990 if they could imagine a world without Kodak. Or a shopper of a world without Sears. Now, in 2012, it’s a lot easier to imagine. These are companies ebbing away, drip by agonizing drip. Which reminds us, of course, of the newspaper industry, and the question still on some lips: Can you imagine a world without newspapers? Now two years into the tablet, it’s much more easily imaginable. I always laugh when asked the question, “Will newspapers exist in 2015 or 2020?” Papyrus is a durable medium. It’s just that digital is rapidly replacing print, and in the process rapidly restructuring the nature of news ownership, news creation, news employment, and more. We’ll have some kind of print for the rest of our lives, but it will be the sidecar to the revving engine of digital news and information, as more and more publishers call it quits on print.
We like to think of change in the world as an on/off switch. This….or that. In fact, the world changes both in an instant and agonizingly slowly.
Let’s call the slow disappearance of familiar brands the newsonomics of the long goodbye. Take companies that have huge imprints in our culture and habits — and cashflows to match — and their disappearance from our lives can seem like it is moving in glacial digital time. But that disappearance is no less real. It is a fact of the news landscape that newspapers, and to some extent consumer print magazines, will disappear over time. We can take bets how much more quickly they’ll continue to vanish. By continue, I mean that data shows 44 percent less newsprint usage (and about 75-80 percent of all newsprint usage is attributed to newspapers) over the past four years, according to The Reel Time Report. (And for more on the industry-leading Michigan Meltdown, check out Alan Mutter’s column at E&P.)
On revenues, take a look at the chart below. I’m tracking revenues from Kodak, Sears, and all U.S. dailies through 2010 — with final 2011 data not yet in, though the year wasn’t kind to any of the three.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Moving Toward A Hybrid Market E+P

Publisher's Weekly reporting:
Even as more consumers buy dedicated digital reading devices and tablets, a hybrid market for books is developing in which readers will buy both print and digital books. That was one of the main conclusions from Verso Digital’s “2011 Survey of Book-Buying Behavior,” presented by the company’s Jack McKeown at last week’s ABA Winter Institute held in New Orleans.
According to McKeown, the data, from Verso’s third annual survey, suggest that print and digital books will coexist for a long time. McKeown based that prediction on several trends: the number of readers who do not intend to buy a reading device seems to be solidifying at around half of all readers, and even among digital device owners the preference seems to be to buy both print and digital books. According to the survey, conducted November 30–December 4, 51.8% of book buyers said they are unlikely to buy a reading device, up from 49.0% in the 2010 survey and 40.2% in the 2009 survey. (In the most recent survey, 15.8% of book buyers already owned a reading device, up from 2.9% in 2009.)
In the most avid book-buying group—those planning to buy 10 or more books—24.9% said they will buy a print book and 29.6% said they will buy e-books. Of those planning to buy five to nine books next year, 17.4% will buy print and 17.9% digital, while the ratio favors print among those buying three to four books by a 20.4% to 15.6% margin. Measured another way, 76% of device owners said they plan to buy at least one print book in the year, and 24% will buy 10 or more print books.
Consumers splitting their book purchases among formats reflects the broader trend of consumers buying books in different venues. The survey found that 49% of book buyers shop online, 43% shop at the bookstore chains, and 36% buy books at independent stores. Moving away from the focus on e-books, the Verso survey showed what other studies have—that bookstores remain a principal place where readers “discover” books. Bookstore staff recommendations trailed only personal recommendations as a way book buyers learned about a book. And again, as other surveys have indicated, blogs and social networks finished at the bottom of ways readers learn about books.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Reuters' branding push results in a luxury magazine that is, literally, for the Davos set

Capital Newyork reporting:

A magazine for the haves, and the have-lots.

Over the past few years, Reuters has been adding an impressive array of magazine stars and other marquee reporters to its massive stable of journalists, in the hopes of becoming a more public-facing news and information brand. 
Now the 160-year-old news agency is putting out a magazine of its own where it can showcase this growing collection of print refugees.
The debut issue of Reuters, a slick and stocky standalone title with a cover that looks a bit like it could share shelf space with a hip comic novel, landed on our desk Wednesday afternoon.
A more official unveiling will be rolled out later this month in Davos, Switzerland, when the World Economic Forum meets there. (The forum also provides the magazine its organizing theme.)
Reuters is not alone in shaking up its old-school wire-service mien. In addition to acquiring Businessweek in late 2009, Bloomberg has broadened its bench by building up a massive opinion operation. And even the staid Associated Press is making moves to distinguish itself; managing editor Mike Oreskes recently informed writers that the the A.P. is "going to be pushing hard on journalism with voice, with context, with more interpretation."
But Reuters has gone farther than both in its quest for broader consumer appeal. (It even has a Tumblr!)
The magazine is the latest example of this transformation.
At 64 pages, Reuters has all the meat of a mainstream news magazine and none of the filler. (There are no ads, unless you count a few stray promotional placements for the company itself, which merged with Canadian information-services giant The Thomson Corporation in 2008.) The artistic side was helmed by veteran design duo Robert Priest and Grace Lee, both of whom had a hand in Condé Nast's ill-fated business title, Portfolio —once employer to at least four Reuters contributors (including Impoco himself), by our count.

Tablet ads outpacing traditional print versions

TabTimes reporting:
"The ads that appear in iPads and digital tablets seem to be outpacing and outperforming the traditional printed versions of the ads," said Robinson. "The recall is higher but the action scores--to make a purchase, go to a link, click to download an app--are much higher due to the interactivity of the tablet environment," he said. "Digital obviously offers more opportunities to respond with the interactivity, the links built in, the videos, and that is directly reflected in the fact that we're getting higher reader ad effectiveness scores on the digital side," Robinson said.

Affinity also tracks the performance of different types of ads. "It always comes back to the creative," Robinson said. "Ads with 360-degree views (where the reader rotates the tablet to get different views of a car, for example) seem to be pacing at a higher rate of recall for all digital ads, which is also outpacing all print ads. Videos and photo galleries also do well on the action questions we ask," he said.
"The question is, is this a honeymoon effect or is this a trend over time. As tablets become mainstream, will those recall and action scores continue to skew higher?" he said.

Online Ads Will Waste $12.4 Billion This Year In the U.S

ReadWriteWeb reporting: U.S. advertisers spend nearly $40 billion a year for online advertisements, but 31% of their ads are never seen. That means $12.4 billion will be wasted on U.S. online ads this year. That's the average across all sites; on some sites, only 7% of the ads were "in-view," meaning 93% of them went unseen.
That sounds ominous for the health of Web content. But ad spending is up by over 20% this year. Online ad spending will exceed print magazine and newspaper ads for the first time this year. So, put another way, online ads in the U.S. are still worth enough to brands to waste $12 billion a year on them. But is all this waste necessary?

Dr. Magid Abraham, CEO of comScore, says that today's display ad market is "characterized by an overabundance of inventory, often residing on parts of a web page that are never viewed by the user." Online ads may be working overall, but the problem with out-of-view ads "dilutes the impact of campaigns" and puts a "drag on prices" for publishers.
onlineadspending.jpg31% of ads in the study were delivered successfully, but they were never seen by a consumer. The user either scrolled past the ad before it loaded or never scrolled it into view. On average, 4% of ads were delivered to viewers outside the desired geography, with some campaigns running as high as 15%. That means some ads were shown to customers in places where the product is not sold.
Even among ads that were seen, 72% of the campaigns in the study ran alongside site content that was "not brand safe." If you're advertising cheeseburgers, and your ad runs next to a news article about the obesity epidemic, you're not likely to get much value out of it.

Confessions of a Publisher: “We’re in Amazon’s Sights and They’re Going to Kill Us”

PandoDaily reporting: When you see Snooki’s book on the New York Times Best Seller List, you know publishing is in trouble.
You can blame readers and say publishing is just giving the public what they want. But that’s only half the problem.
The rest is a lazy publishing industry that does far too little of the work that got them here: Discovering new authors and giving them a shot. Instead, they go for the lazy lay-up: Overpaying on celebrity memoirs and pop culture phenomenons with a built in audience.
But that was a short term mistake that has put the publishing industry behind the eight ball. And, according to this industry insider who asked not to  be named, a familiar bully is about to take them out. From an email:
Long-term there’s no future in printed books. They’ll be like vinyl: pricey and for collectors only. 95% of people will read digitally. Everybody in publishing knows this but most are in denial about it because moving to becoming a digital company means laying off like 40% of our staffs. And the barriers to entry fall, too. We simply don’t want to think about it.
Amazon is thinking about it, though, and they’re targeting the publishers directly.
But Amazon isn’t stupid. They’re overpaying intentionally to keep advances high (and high advances will bankrupt publishers). And they’re also taking away all the authors who actually move units. They gave Seth Godin really favorable terms on a deal. Only a matter of time before they snag a James Patterson or some other big genre fiction name.
We can’t pay $1 million for books anymore. Amazon could probably afford to lose $20 million/year in their publishing arm just to put the other publishers out of business. I think that’s what they’re trying to do–throw money around in an industry that doesn’t have any, until Amazon becomes not only the only place where you buy books, but the only place that publishes books, too.
So rather than getting a 30% of an ebook (with the other 70% being split between the publisher and author), they’ll be getting a 70% cut (with the other 30% going right to the author). Funny thing is that it’s actually better for authors.;postID=664933838764566597

Facebook Commerce Holds Promise for Retailers

emarketer reporting:
Social media and ecommerce have evolved since 1-800-FLOWERS launched the first Facebook storefront in July 2009. Internet users have become more comfortable with online buying on Facebook as they spend more time on the site.
“It is not surprising that shopping and socializing—activities that complement each other in the real world—are beginning to converge online as well,” said Krista Garcia, eMarketer analyst and author of the new report, “Facebook Commerce: Reaching Shoppers Where They Socialize.” “As social media, and Facebook in particular, plays a larger role in consumers’ lives, people are becoming accustomed to performing routine tasks like reading news, watching videos and listening to music, as well as discovering products and shopping, all while staying logged in to a single site. Instead of compartmentalizing daily routines, social media users are treating Facebook as a one-stop platform.”
Retailers are still in the early stages of using social media as a sales vehicle, but the channel is poised for growth. Booz & Company estimated that $1 billion in goods would be sold through social media in the US in 2011. That figure is expected to triple in 2012 and reach $14 billion by 2015.

Social Commerce Revenues Worldwide, US vs. Rest of World, 2011-2015 (billions)

While social commerce still represents a tiny percentage of overall retail sales, and Facebook is just one social site, that site is the clear leader and already offers retailers a variety of options for converting users into consumers. Some of those consumers are warming to the idea of buying products and services while on the site.

Facebook Expands Timeline, Pushes 60 Lifestyle Apps

onlinemediatoday reporting:
Confirming prior reports, Facebook on Wednesday evening unveiled more of the Open Graph applications introduced last September that allow users to share updates around specific activities.
The initial set of Open Graph apps from Spotify, Hulu and The Washington Post let people tell friends what they’re “listening to,” “watching” or “reading” as default actions after giving permission once for apps to post content.
The new batch of more than 60 apps span lifestyle areas, including travel, cooking, fitness and fashion from companies including TripAdvisor, Foodily, eBay, Pinterest, RottenTomatoes and Metacafe. Among other prominent names adding apps are Monster, Foursquare and Ticketmaster. About 60 total Open Graph apps are now available, with more on the way.
“Soon, there will be apps for all types of interests, as more apps will launch over time,” stated a Facebook blog post Wednesday.
Facebook’s overall aim with the next-generation apps is to go beyond the one-size-fits-all “Like” button. It wants to automate the sharing of different social actions posted continually to Timeline, the feature being rolled out now that allows users to highlight significant life events and other activities on the profile page.
The ability to create custom Open Graph apps and the wealth of user data they could generate, in turn, leads to new advertising opportunities for marketers and agencies on Facebook.
“Brands will play an important role as these social actions will frequently be generated by brand applications,” stated an analysis by digital agency 360i when the Open Graph apps were announced last year.
It noted that the specific nature of updates will work in favor of brands. “The action won’t just say, “Todd ran,” but rather, “Todd ran 4.3 miles with Nike+.” The report further suggested that the most successful brands will be able to generate a consistent stream of “repeated branded social actions” in a user’s Timeline.

Fear & Irony On Madison Avenue: Industry Avoids Jargon To Promote 'Interest-Based' Advertising

onlinemediatoday reporting:
Madison Avenue’s Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) this morning unveiled “Your AdChoices,” a campaign aimed at educating consumers about “interest-based" advertising and how to take greater control of their online privacy.” The pro bono campaign, which was created by the Salt Lake City office of McCann Worldgroup’s MRM unit, is the latest installment of the ad industry’s ongoing push to develop “best practices” for collecting and using consumer data via its “advertising option” icon, and to educate the public and lobby regulators to avoid onerous legislation regulating online advertising and marketing.
MRM’s ads, which are the initial flight of what the DAA says will be a “multiphase” online campaign, seeks to do that with some old Madison Avenue standbys: entertainment and humor.
“It’s incumbent upon our industry to build trust and respect amongst consumers regarding the brands we work for, especially with regard to interest-based advertising,” states Lori Feld, managing director of the Salt Lake City office of  MRM that created the campaign. “In our global McCann study, ‘Truth About Privacy,’ published last year, consumers clearly defined the value exchange and control they expect.”

Social’s Second Phase? Brands still have a long way to go to get to monetization

adweek reporting:
A brand must go through three stages to achieve social enlightenment, according to a new study from Wildfire Interactive. There’s growth, there’s engagement, and then there’s monetization.
Despite all the ad dollars gushing into social media, brands will for the most part find themselves moving into Stage 2 (engagement) this year.
“If you don’t have a lot of fans and followers, you’re not going to get much benefit from social,” said Victoria Ransom, CEO of Wildfire. “When we first started, that’s all anyone was focused on. We’re starting to see that shift of, ‘We have the audience; how are we
going to engage them?’”
Monetization is still a bit further on the horizon.
In Wildfire’s study of more than 700 global marketers, almost all respondents believe social media benefits the company and 88 percent believe they’re getting a positive return on their social media investment.
That said, there's little consistency in how they measure ROI. Almost 40 percent of respondents said they measure social media success merely by increases in fans, likes, comments and interactions. Meanwhile, 24 percent measure by increase in revenue and 15 percent by increases in brand awareness.
Among business sectors, attitudes about social media also vary. E-commerce brands, for example, care about traditional ROI. Nonprofits, government entities and education companies believe social media can lead to cost savings. Business-to-business entities care little about social media: only 23 percent value their Facebook fans over their non-fans, the survey reported.

The day the bookshelf shook: Four lessons for news orgs from today’s Apple iBooks announcements

NiemanLabs reporing:
Apple’s New York education event — smack in the middle of the book publishing world — has concluded. You can see coverage from The Verge here, but the main takeaways are a new version of iBooks that enables great-looking interactive textbooks; a new Mac app called iBooks Author that promises to make it much easier to assemble and publish ebooks; and a new iTunes U app that makes it easier for universities and schools to create and distribute an entire course’s worth of material, from lecture videos to readings to assignments.
The focus was on education, and Apple faces some significant hurdles in getting their products into actual schools (where textbook and technology purchasing are constricted by forces bureaucratic, fiscal, and otherwise). But in truth much of what Apple announced was squarely aimed at further disruption of the publishing industry — in this case, the book publishing industry, already facing disruption from Amazon and ebooks more broadly.
So what should someone in the news business take away from today’s announcements? Here are four ideas I think are worth keeping in mind.

News organizations: Now’s the time to figure out how to jump on the ebook bandwagon. Today’s announcement of iBooks Author promises to make that process a lot easier. (Although just for iBooks, of course — in most cases, of course, you’ll also want to publish to the Kindle.) Particularly for news organizations — which typically have lots of good art to go along with their longer-form content — pulling together an attractive package could now be a matter of minutes instead of hours. (Or, to put it another way, something done routinely in-house instead of farmed out to a contractor.)

Book” content can be episodic too...

“Publishing” is becoming a convergence of technologies and workflows...Desktops and laptops are out of style... can’t imagine news organizations need any further evidence that reading is going to keep moving from big screens to smaller ones, from stationary to mobile. But judging by a lot of news sites’ abysmal mobile experiences, maybe they do. So here’s one more data point: Apple’s investing big in a creating a new kind of reading experience for a new kind of content, and they’re completely ignoring every desktop and laptop computer in the universe.





socialmediatoday reporting:
...Over the next months, clearly all things digital (especially social and mobile) continued to gain unprecedented momentum so that within barely 30 months into my wager, just this past December, IDG declares:  The War is Over and Digital Has Won. Over 50% Marketing Budgets Go To Digital in 2012. It’s a “Wow” moment, confirming what I sensed many months ago; marketing was changing fast and irrevocably.
But unlike the canary in the mineshaft – I have no intention of just kneeling over. Instead, with 30 years of experience under my belt, I have a distinct advantage over my more narrowly tech-trained younger colleagues to understand what all this means and imagine a way forward.
At the heart of the matter lies the reality that digital marketing, especially social and mobile marketing, are highly disruptive because these technologies are successfully challenging the established “Content as king” marketing technologies of the last 30 years.
In content based marketing, the brand message was the payload in the efficient, centralized, mass content distribution platform. It worked because its effectiveness was dependent on reaching mass audiences where people trusted the content. The more trusted the content, the more the content producers could charge brands.  
Then, in the blink of a digital eye, newer technologies offer marketers a community distribution platform that rivals the content distribution platform across the board. Social/ mobile marketing is cheaper to create and permits ongoing marketing that was not economical in paid media. It is also incredibly efficient at reaching scale (albeit somewhat chaotically). It is more nimble than content based marketing and most importantly, social marketing shifts trust from content to the community, thus delivering more efficient brand ROI (NY Times ad rates makes my point aptly).
2011 was scary for many marketing companies and it’s appropriate to take a moment to recognize this significant juncture in our business’ evolution. “The forces of creative destruction take time. New forms of economic output do not come automatically” (The Experience Economy, Updated edition 2011: Gilmore & Pine) describes the current cycle very well.
It’s clear we can’t simply apply new social technology to the old marketing mix and expect it to work anymore than we can apply wings to a car and expect it to fly.  Nor can we maintain the naïve thinking that social/ mobile marketing can operate frictionless within traditional marketing planning.  
In crossing the digital marketing divide irrevocably, we can be freed from  entrenched notions about what marketing must be and get inspired by wonderful new socially based businesses such as:  “Map my fitness”- a fitness centric community encouraging community interaction and motivation; “Change My World Now” -  a specially designed social community for kids (built by r2i) to help them to discover their true “bright light.” And Zivity, a longtime favorite community for indie artists and photographers led by CEO Cyan Banister who introduced an innovative revenue share model that promotes community interactions not content consumption.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Markets Turn To Social Media To Gauge Event Buzz Read more:

onlinemedia reporting; More and more, marketers are using social media fluctuations to understand the buzz around big events. Take the 69th Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, which generated significant social activity, and, with the help of special analysis, revealed exactly what draws viewers to such shows.  
What caused the biggest commotion? More than any other subject, 62% of the social conversation centered around award winners, according to social analytics software firm Networked Insights.
By contrast, 48% of the conversation was about the red carpet; 12% dealt with upsets, i.e. unexpected award winners; and 9% focused on the show’s acerbic host Ricky Gervais.
Gervais’ monologue got good reviews, but nearly 32% of the conversation about the British comedian criticized his low joke count and scarcity on stage. In other words, viewers wanted more Gervais, according to Networked Insights.
Among those brands best represented on the red carpet on Sunday, Prada commanded 42% of the conservation, followed by Dior with a 22% share and Gucci’s 15% piece of the pie.
As for celebrity guests, Madonna stole the show with a 10.5% share of the social conversation; trailed by Meryl Streep and George Clooney, each with about 5% share of the buzz.
According to Twitter, the broader conversation around this year’s Golden Globes peaked at 6,162 tweets per second -- a respectable showing, but hardly the most popular event in the history of social media measurement.
Earlier this month, Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow generated 9,420 tweets per-second with his game-winning touchdown pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Late last year, meanwhile, a TV airing of the anime sensation Castle in the Sky generated a record 11,349 tweets per second.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Brand Advertising Outshines Direct Response in Digital

Measuring brand advertising still poses a challenge

Direct-response marketing may soon be taking a backseat to online brand advertising initiatives. According to a DIGIDAY and Vizu “State of the Industry Survey,” more marketers plan to increase their online branding initiatives in 2012 than they do their direct response tactics.
The survey reveals that roughly half of marketers plan to increase direct-response spending, compared to 64% who plan to increase online brand ad spending.
Drilling down into how much marketers plan to increase their investments, 44% will increase online brand ads by more than 10%. Moreover, 22% will increase brand ads by at least 20%. Although marketers are in fact increasing direct-response spending, the survey indicates that they are doing so to a lesser degree than brand advertising—20% plan to increase online direct-response advertising by 10% or more, and only 13% plan to increase it by 20% or more.

Brand Marketers in North America Who Plan to Increase Online Brand and Direct Response Spending in 2012 (% of respondents)

Growing marketer interest in mobile advertising, social media and online video is contributing to the expansion of online brand advertising as a category. According to DIGIDAY, 69% of survey respondents plan to increase their mobile ad spending, 63% plan to increase social media and 57% plan to increase video advertising. For the majority of marketers, investments in rich media advertisements and standard display advertisements will stay the same. 

Whose Life Is It, Anyway? Consumers are learning their data is currency and new companies are betting they can help them cash in

paidcontent reporting:
To hear it from the Federal Trade Commission, an online data collector is an awful lot like a Hollywood paparazzo.
Companies that track and collect online consumer data can act like “invisible cyberazzi,” said FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz during a speech at the National Press Club in October. The chairman, while noting that he doesn’t want to “pull a Sean Penn” and get rid of behavorial targeting, said, however, that these companies, hidden in shadow, trail people on the Web, nabbing personal information and snapshots of activity that they then share with marketing firms.
There’s another way in which this exchange of consumer data is like the trafficking of celebrity snaps: It’s a big business. Each year, companies in the U.S. spend more than $2 billion on third-party consumer data, according to Forrester Research. Add in the money spent on credit data, market research and other kinds of derived information, the research firm says, and you’re looking at a multibillion dollar industry. In fact, the volume of digital data created by consumers is growing at such a fast clip that the World Economic Forum and other futurists have called personal data the “new oil.”
Many consumers have begun to find this surreptitious cookie- and beacon-enabled tracking (“discovered” when they see ads and content that match their activities) disconcerting at best. Indeed, in the past few years, companies that rely on Internet tracking, including tech giants such as Google and Facebook, have come under fire for collecting, using and sharing consumer information in ways critics say are not only stealthy, but also erode privacy. (The business is self-regulated, with much-hyped guidelines making slow progress in Congress.) And as mobile technology gains adoption and the demand for location data grows, concerns about under-the-radar data trackers that can follow digital footprints in real time loom even larger...
In response, a growing number of companies, including Personal, Azigo and Experian, now aim to give consumers a degree of control over their data. Through so-called “data lockers” or similar kinds of online destinations—places, in essence, where selected streams of information can be deposited and managed—they offer tools that help consumers decide how much data they want to share, with whom and for what purpose. Describing it as a win-win situation, these companies say that in exchange for sharing data, consumers can receive deals and, in some cases, cash, while marketers can reach consumers on their terms, gaining the insights that will make their offers even more relevant and effective.
“The market is set up for a pretty big shift. People have to understand how [data tracking] works and have some control over it or else it’s going to become way too spooky and invasive,” says Personal CEO Shane Green. “We believe that the more people have that ability to aggregate their data and set permissions on who gets it, the more they’ll be willing to share data with companies, advertisers and marketers who can actually deliver real value for them.”

Jan. 17, 2012, 8:30 a.m. A GarageBand for ebooks: Simplifying publishing could mean a flood of new content

NiemanLabs reporting:
It’s not just the platform — it’s the tools.
That’s the line that kept coming to mind this morning as I read this Ars Technica scoop on what Apple has in store for its press event in New York Thursday. Here’s Ars reporter Chris Foresman:
While speculation has so far centered on digital textbooks, sources close to the matter have confirmed to Ars that Apple will announce tools to help create interactive e-books — the “GarageBand for e-books,” so to speak — and expand its current platform to distribute them to iPhone and iPad users.
…[A]uthoring standards-compliant e-books (despite some promises to the contrary) is not as simple as running a Word document of a manuscript through a filter. The current state of software tools continues to frustrate authors and publishers alike, with several authors telling Ars that they wish Apple or some other vendor would make a simple app that makes the process as easy as creating a song in GarageBand.
We’ll see on Thursday, of course — but making ebook publishing easier has the potential to have a significant disruptive impact on information industries.
The first disruption of the web, after all, was making it possible for people to publish online without caring about money. Ebooks have already allowed a new generation of small-scale (and large-scale) publishers to reach an audience — sometimes for money, sometimes just for passion’s sake. But the process of ebook publishing today reminds me a bit of the early days of blogging, when publishing online was possible but still a pain.
The web as a platform dates back to 1991, and nerds like me were publishing personal webpages not long after. But it took the development of tools like Blogger, Greymatter, and Movable Type — nearly a decade after the web launched — for the power of personal publishing to start to be fulfilled.
Doing it by hand meant learning HTML, then manually FTPing an updated .html file to a remote server. It wasn’t outrageously complicated, to be honest — but it was enough of an obstacle to keep most folks from writing online. When tools reduced personal publishing to typing words in a box and clicking “Post,” a whole new universe of potential contributors was suddenly ready to pitch in, and you saw the blogging explosion of the early 2000s.
And further improvements in tools — think Tumblr and Twitter — have brought even more people to publishing. For a host of creative endeavors — think desktop publishing, motion graphics, video editing, data visualization, coding — it’s the arrival of tools or frameworks that abstract away complexity that marks when they move from niche to something closer to mainstream.
While there are many hundreds of thousands of them published every year, books have historically been the most constrained form of publishing. Getting a book into print usually meant convincing an agent, then an editor, then a publishing house that your work was worthy — and that’s before trying to convince the Barnes & Nobles of the world it should have a place on their shelves.
Ebooks have blown open that world of exclusivity — but the ease of use still isn’t there.
There’s a long list of tools that try to make ebook creation easier, from big names (Apple’s Pages, Adobe’s InDesign) to smaller ones (Scrivener) to open source alternatives like calibre. But it’s still a complicated enough business that there’s a healthy ecosystem of companies offering ebook conversion services.