The Social Media Debates: Round 1

Screw the CNN-YouTube debates. I invited the techie girl who loves me to engage in debate regarding social media marketing, a much more important topic than the future of the United States, which doesn’t exist. This debate pits Drama 2.0, a rainmaker who can sell water to a whale, against Alisa Leonard, a “social media junkie” who encourages marketers to participate in some sort of abstract conversation with the “community.”

Alisa kicked off Round 1 of our public lovefest here:

Alisa: Marketers must join the Conversation

Drama: Marketers must Sell

Advertisers Starting to Demand Results?

While going through the closets at my new home away from home, , I noticed that discusses some recent comments by one of Proctor & Gamble’s marketing executives. Emma Jenkins, Head of Interactive Marketing for the consumer goods conglomerate, the following comments about online advertising and agencies:

We absolutely do want big ideas, but in the end the creative needs to deliver. Business objectives need to be embraced all the way through the creative agency from the account manager onwards.

Tom Arrix, VP, media sales east at Facebook, and Jamie Byrne, head of client solutions and ad programs for YouTube, participated in a panel discussion on social marketing at Argyle’s CMO Leadership Forum in New York. The PaidContent made me smile.

ROI and social nets: “Return on investment” is probably the wrong thing to be looking for. Instead, the acronym should stand for “return on involvement,” Arrix said. The usual standard of audience “reach” is too limited when it comes to social media and “things like click-through rates don’t cut it. Return on ‘involvement’ looks at what users are saying about your brand. For example, are users taking your message and sharing it with their friends? Every client we do business with, we tell them, ‘You have to divorce yourself from what you’ve done before.’”

Online Advertising: A Middle Ground is Needed

Online advertising is a hot topic. The market has experienced rapid growth over the past several years as advertisers embraced the relatively young online medium as a way to reach consumers. New behemoths, like Google, have been created in the process and the promise of social networks and online video as new marketing platforms has created a flood of money into the consumer Internet space.

Despite all of the discussion and debate, however, I rarely see anyone take a step back to take a look at the big picture. What has the real impact of online advertising been for advertisers? Where is online advertising headed? So I figured that I’d have to start doing it on occasion.

Sorry Robert, Size Does Matter

Robert Scoble has posted his commentary following the news that Perez Hilton, one of the world’s most popular online personalities, made a paltry $5,000 in revenue from his revenue sharing with YouTube despite the fact that his videos have received 25 million views over the past three months.

In his commentary, Robert proclaims that asking “What’s your audience size?” is the wrong question. Why?

In the past few years I’ve had some success building audiences, but I found that that’s not really what’s important. It’s not what advertisers REALLY care about.

Advice for PR Firms that Shill on Blogs

My post on Canadian startup Capazoo received the following comment from a person identifying himself as “Robert Dobilina”:

Capazoo is more real than you think. Folks are already making money from their content.

I had been suspicious of some of the comments left on other blogs discussing Capazoo and Robert smelled funny so I decided to Google “Robert Dobilinia.” No results. Interesting, but not unexpected.

So I took Robert’s IP address and ran a whois at ARIN. To my absolute amazement, the IP address Robert posted from belongs to a company called 5W Public Relations. And astonishingly, is (currently) listed on the company’s client list.

Who Clicks on Ads? Most Likely Not the People You Want

One of my readers pointed me in the direction of a blog post by Danah Boyd, a Ph.D student in the School of Information at Berkeley and a Fellow at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society. In her post, Danah discusses an important topic: who clicks on ads displayed on the Internet and specifically on social networking websites. I’ve pointed out that quite a bit of evidence exists showing that social networks have not delivered for marketers and have also argued that logically, they never will at the level expected. Because of this, I found Danah’s post quite interesting.

Viral Video Revisited (and Proof that an Education from a Top University Can’t Buy Common Sense)

I was amused when TechCrunch published a post by Stanford student Dan Ackerman Greenberg on “The Secret Strategies Behind Many ‘Viral’ Videos.” Dan had posted a comment on The Drama 2.0 Show two days prior in response to my post on Stanford’s Facebook application course for which he is the TA. Dan thanked me for my post, apparently not recognizing that it was tongue-in-cheek, and even said that if I was “interesting,” I should check out the course website and blog. Needless to say, I was not initially impressed with Dan Ackerman Greenberg.

Marketers: Don’t Be the “Nice Guy”

Consumers live in an age of unprecedented choice. As discussed in Barry Schwartz’s great book , the number of choices consumers have the opportunity to make on a daily basis is mind-boggling. We are told that most consumers desire the unfettered ability to choose and I believe that many, if not most marketers, are affected by the perception that this is true. After all, on the surface, it seems that the more options a consumer has, the more “freedom” he or she has. And freedom is good. If a marketer doesn’t understand this and doesn’t find a way to actually promote choice, he or she seems to be backwards. Or an evildoer.

The Underground is the New Mainstream

Brown University student Maha Atal wrote for the Brown Daily Herald back in March 2007 entitled “A mainstream that is hard to pinpoint.” It’s an interesting read from a cultural standpoint and a business standpoint as the “mainstream” has relevance to both.

Youth movements from the 1950s to the 1990s, though always championing the rhetoric of individualism against an impersonal “system,” were also always about group identity - young people have traditionally banded together against a clearly identified “establishment” consisting of the government and their parents.

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