Calling all Web design agencies!

Forrester is conducting a survey of agencies that offer Web design and development services in North America. We've invited a long list of agencies to complete our survey, but if we've missed you, here's your chance!

The survey covers topics regarding the organizational structure and services your firm offers. Your responses as well as those of other respondents will be published in an upcoming Forrester report unless otherwise noted – questions for internal use only and those that will be reported only in aggregate are specifically noted in the survey. Last year's survey yielded the report Where To Find Help For Web Design Projects, 2009. The survey should take approximately 15 minutes to complete. For participating, you will receive a complimentary copy of the report in which your responses are published. Please use the link below to complete the survey:

https://deploy.ztelligence.com/start/index.jsp?PIN=15WP6SZV56QXJ

We are hoping to have all surveys completed by Fridya, April 23rd. If you need additional time for any reason or have any questions, please just let me  and my colleague, Rachel, know. You can find us at: Vidya Drego vdrego@forrester.com, Rachel Zinser rzinser@forrester.com.

Peer Influence Analysis: What It Is & How Marketers Use It

Recently, Forrester introduced a new way to consider influence in Social Media.  We identified a group of social media participants we call Mass Influencers.  While just 16% of the US population, Mass Influencers are responsible for 80% of the influence impressions and posts about products and services in social channels. 

Mass Influencers

As noted in the Forrester report, Tapping The Entire Online Peer Influence Pyramid and on the Forrester blog, Mass Influencers come in two flavors: 

  • Mass Connectors, who create a great number of impressions about brands and services in social networks, like Twitter and Facebook, and
  • Mass Mavens, who create and share content about products and services in other social channels such as YouTube, blogs, forums, or ratings and review sites.

The fact that a minority of social media participants represent the lion’s share of buzz about products and services is probably not at all surprising,  but what does this mean to marketers?  How can brands  develop programs that activate the potential of Mass Influencers to create awareness and consideration among their readers, friends, followers and others in social venues?  The answer comes from Peer Influence Analysis (PIA), Forrester’s new framework to analyze influence within particular markets, demographics and industries.

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Why in-stream ad frequency is rising -- and why it'll rise further

Earlier this month, Corey Kronengold at Online Video Watch was complaining about the in-stream ad load at MLB.tv. But unfortunately for Corey – and for the other two-thirds of US Internet users who now watch online video – the ad load seems likely to get heavier rather than lighter.

In the fourth quarter of 2009, my team and I spent at least 30 minutes watching video on each of 84 leading sites in the US and Europe to better understand how marketers and sites are deploying online video ads – an exercise I’ve conducted each of the past three years. What did we find? Advertising, and a lot of it. In fact, 85% of US web sites and 64% of European sites now accept in-stream ads. And we saw more advertising per online video hour than ever before. 

85% of US web sites accept in-stream video ads

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Brief Video Clip on Marketing, ROI and the Quest for Measurable Results

I was included on a very interesting panel discussion a couple of weeks ago entitled, "Stories From The Frontline, Building A Social Media Business."   The event was co-sponsored by TiE and the Social Media Club SFSV and included a terrific set of people who were experienced, smart and funny: 

Rich Reader captured a quick clip of me sharing thoughts on the appropriateness of measuring ROI in Social Media.  While the panel format doesn't furnish time for an appropriate deep dive into when and how ROI might be an appropriate metric, I believe in most cases ROI is the wrong question to ask (and if you start with the wrong question, you'll get the wrong answer.)

I will be working on a report about Social Media and Marketing ROI.  Your thoughts and input are welcome and encouraged.  Please check out the 76-second clip and then let me know what you think. 

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From Chirp: Twitter, Place, and What It Means to Third-Party Developers (and the Future of Twitter)

Going into Chirp, Twitter's first-ever developers conference, the natives were restless.  A string of announcements--from the release of Twitter's own Blackberry app to the acquisition of development firm Atebits--had some developers wondering where Twitter was going and what it all meant to them.  While Twitter's executive team didn't answer every question, they did outline a vision for future growth with a vigorous role for third-party developers.  For me, the role Twitter sees for itself and for developers was most clearly outlined in its discussion of "place."

Twitter clearly recognizes that our location is extremely relevant data that can yield substantial value for others who use (either directly or indirectly) the Twitter information network.  It's not just about where you are at every given moment, but what you're saying and doing while you're there. 

Ryan Sarver offered a compelling example of the power of place in his discussion about the New York Times' coverage of the Fort Hood tragedy.  A reporter turned to Twitter for real-time news and information but ran into a flood of retweets and expressions of sympathy and concern.  Then he entered "near Killeen, TX" and was able to see relevant tweets from first responders, soldiers and citizen journalists in the immediate area.  At Chirp, Twitter conveyed the importance of place and how geolocation will be a vital part of the Twitter experience. 

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Trip Report From Symantec's VISION Conference

By Peter O'Neill (with some comments by colleague Jonathan Penn)

I spent a couple of days with Symantec executives this week in Las Vegas, attending their Worldwide Analyst Summit as well as day 1 of the VISION user group conference. My interest in Symantec is partly based on my research in the service management market - they bought Altiris a few years ago; and also because I watch their partner program work. Anyway, here are my highlights of the briefings.

Symantec has a very subdued style of presenting to analysts, but for users it was all show business

The presentations to us started very gently and modestly. Instead of egoistical VPs showing slides and speaking down to us from the stage, they led with a panel discussion moderated by their major entertainer, Steve Morton, VP of Product Marketing. That was much more pleasant to listen to and the required points were still all made. Also the tone of the questions was often very self-critical (“now Symantec is not renowned for having integrated its acquisitions well, how are we doing on that front now?”) - a good idea. I am sure it was easy to work out what critical questions were going to come and pre-empt those discussions.   

Now Steve is probably the reason they bought Altiris because the “keynote” session at VISION was a 90 minutes Tonight show with Steve performing more like Jay Leno than the man himself. Clearly very talented in this role, he was aptly supported by a band, videos and stage show. From his stage desk he hosted numerous guests on his couch in a humorous, chatty, and loosely-scripted format.  Again, all the points were made without boring anybody.

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Cross-channel campaign management trends

We surveyed over 150 marketers and customer intelligence professionals on their use of campaign management solutions. I just published our findings from this study in a report focused on trends in cross-channel campaign management. While some of the findings were not a surprise, the study revealed many interesting data points that are worth revisiting. Some of the key trends the study revealed were:

  1. Marketers focus on longer term relationships - over 40% have stayed with the same provider for more than 3 years.
  2. Marketers use a few key channels like email (84%), direct mail (66%), and web site (55%)
  3. Integration capabilities and costs as the key selection drivers when it comes to cross channel campaign management solutions.

Some of the more surprising data points include:

  1. Despite the renewed focus on retention, few marketers can claim to be skilled at managing customer churn.
  2. While the majority of the respondents were not net promoters, few were actually inclined to switch providers. Why not? High switching costs and tight integration with vendor solutions make it hard for marketers to unravel existing implementations.
  3. Marketer satisfaction and dissatisfaction is hard to pin down. Marketers were all over the map on their thoughts about their solutions. Broadly, the highest levels of dissatisfaction were with contact optimization, online/offline integration as well as inbound/outbound integration.

If you are marketing practitioners using a cross channel campaign management solution, I would love to hear your thoughts on your solution.

The Display Market in 2010 - Revolution or Anarchy?

In the eleven years I have worked in and covered the display advertising market, I have never seen such a frenzy as I do today. In the past week, I  learned of three more DSP's, two data companies and an attribution vendor.  Agencies are also in the game this time around. So what is causing this pile-on of new ad technologies to the market? There are a few things:

- Leveled playing field on the exchanges: The ad exchanges allow for innovation in ad optimization and bidding. Additionally, small companies can suddently compete for inventory that used to be locked up by ad network contracts.

- Better technologies: Cookieless tracking, container tags, real time bidding, data targeting and dynamic ad generation are all innovations that are hitting the hockey stick curve right about...now.

- Opening purse strings: We know that display advertising spending was essentially flat from 2008 to 2009. It appears that 2010 will show improvement. Marketers are getting budgets back and are ready to spend them.

- Desperate publishers: Publishers are grasping to find ways to make more money on their sites, so they are handing over the reigns to sell side platforms to help them optimize.

Of course, agencies, ad networks and portals are clamoring to keep up, claiming to have all of what the data providers, DSP's and SSP's have and more. Some do, most don't (there is also strong evidence that much of the vendor space is still vapor-ware.) All of these changes are exciting, but there are a few things that MUST happen for marketers and publishers to come out winners in the midst of so much change.

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The Data Digest: Media Consumption By Age (Europe)

There’s a lot of debate around which media channels consumers access and how much time they spend on each. Our Technographics® data reveals that young Europeans spend a total of about 40 hours per week on any type of media, and this number then declines with age. The biggest drivers of young consumers’ high levels of media engagement are Internet use and time spent playing games, both of which drop dramatically among older age groups:

However, these numbers are for the total European population and include countries like Spain and Italy, where Internet uptake is lower both in general and especially among older consumers. When we look at these numbers for the UK Internet population, for example, all age groups spend around 41 hours per week on different media activities. The total time spent doesn’t change much by age group, but the type of media activity does: Older consumers spend more time watching TV and reading newspapers than younger consumers, while the time they spend on the Internet decreases.

Note to the RIAA and MPAA: Enforcement Alone is Not Enough

The RIAA and MPAA recently made a joint submission document to the United States Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator.  You can read the entire document here.  The document is comprehensive and covers a lot of already well trodden ground. There are a couple of details however which have triggered visceral responses from the likes of the Electronic Frontier Federation.

These include a suggestion that ISPs should consider using: “consumer tools for managing copyright infringement from the home (based on tools used to protect consumers from viruses and malware).”

The RIAA, MPAA, BPI, IFPI, NVPA - and all other acronyms of recording industry bodies that are lobbying governments – are right to focus on bringing their respective local legislative and judicial frameworks up to date.  However it is crucial that a balance is struck The emphasis should be on establishing this bedrock upon which new service and product innovation can flourish, rather than simply trying to stem the digital tide King Canute-like.

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