Eight Things I'm Sick Of In Social Media

I love social media. I appreciate the way it's allowed me to stay close to family and friends, even though I live 2,200 miles from my hometown. I'm grateful for the constant flow of amusing, helpful and interesting information it provides. I am thankful for the many interesting people I've met and gotten to know via social media (including but not limited to  JeremiahSteveAnnaAmberDavidIanBenStefano, Brian and others).  I love the professional opportunities it has furnished to me, particularly my role here at Forrester. And I especially value the way social media is changing the world -- making it flatter and more transparent, challenging the ways we conduct business, elevating the importance of relationships and affinity and encouraging more listening and responsiveness.

But there are some things I'm sick of in social media. Do you share these dislikes? Any you'd care to add?

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LinkedIn Sends Signals Worth Receiving And Using

I'd begun to think of LinkedIn as a sleeping giant -- a company that had achieved success and was resting on its laurels, and those laurels were resting on increasingly thin ice. LinkedIn has become the de facto standard for professional networking and recruiting, but what had it done lately? Its groups seemed spammy (a problem that weakened Monster, once the undisputed leader in recruiting), and at least outwardly LinkedIn wasn't assertively innovating (an ailment that caused the downfall of Myspace).  But with a burst of new features, it seems the professional networking site isn't sleeping any longer, and I am particularly impressed with Signal, a new intelligence tool currently in beta. 

In June, LinkedIn launched a refresh of its Groups interface, its first in almost two years.  Then two months after that, LinkedIn offered new and improved moderation tools for Groups, which has given more power to group managers to fight spam.  LinkedIn tells me that 1,000 groups are created and 100,000 members join groups every day. 

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More Evidence Online Video Viewers Will Accept A TV-Style Ad Load

We've been saying for a while now -- based on the evidence we've seen in certain European markets -- that online video viewers are happy to watch a significant number of in-stream ads in exchange for access to high-quality content.  Today, we found yet more evidence of the same from a study conducted by Turner Broadcasting. Today, many of Turner's TV shows only run two or three in-stream ads each (generally less than 2 minutes of advertising per episode); but the broadcaster found that if it increased the ad load to the same volumes the shows feature on TV (as much as 20 minutes per episode) the number of users who dropped off was shockingly low. The CW network found the same in its own tests.

The bottom line: Get ready for more online video ads. Inventory will grow, prices will fall (at least somewhat), and overall online video ad spending will grow dramatically.

(As a side note, The New York Times' article in which this research is published takes aim at Hulu for hoping to "lighten up" the amount of advertising users see and repeats Hulu's accurate claim that it has less than half as much advertising as the same shows on TV -- which is ironic, given that in my anecdotal experience Hulu has been more aggressive than any other US online video site in pushing more ads into its content; most of the ad breaks I see on Hulu these days contain two ads.)

What Is A Boomerang?

 

No, I’m not Australian . . . at Forrester, "boomerangs" are analysts that, after leaving the research team for a stint in the "real world,"  have decided to re-join. Clients and fellow analysts value the experience we "boomerangs" have built as marketers and the pragmatic outlook we always bring to the table. As for me, I am a bit of an anomaly, as this is the second time that I am back at Forrester. My 20-year career as a marketer can be roughly split in two phases: first, the CPG marketing and strategy roles for brands like Ferrero, L’Oreal, and Johnson&Johnson; then, my digital marketing phase, which recently closed with more than four years at Google.

I would like to think that I am now entering a new phase by helping organizations understand the key role that marketing can play in shaping the way they navigate markets and customers that are constantly affected by the adoption of new technologies. Quite an ambitious scope, so to make sure that I stay relevant and deliver actionable research and advice, I have decided to launch this blog to start a dialogue with CMOs and Marketing Leaders on what’s keeping them up at night and how we can help them.

Coverage areas and topics I’m interested in.

As I type this, I am in the process of writing research on the following areas (please note that links are to reports that are only accessible by clients):

  • I’ll primarily focus on helping marketers redefine brand loyalty and the role that it plays in the Customer Life Cycle.
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Winners Of The 2010 Forrester Groundswell Awards (Consumer International)

Social media adoption has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few years, and not just in North America. Did you know that Italian and South Korean online users are more likely to engage with social media than American online users? Likewise, most of the European countries we study have a higher percentage of Conversationalists than we find in the US.

Despite this, most industry conversation around social media tends to focus on the US — and over the past few years nearly all of the entries we’ve received for the Forrester Groundswell Awards have talked about US-focused social media programs. To help recognize the companies that are pioneering the use of social media outside the US, this year we introduced an international category to the awards.

This week at Forrester's Marketing and Strategy Forum EMEA 2010, I was proud to present the winners of the inaugural Forrester International Groundswell Awards, which you’ll see listed below. I was thrilled with the entries we received. We saw dozens of quality entries from around the world, and in the end recognized finalists and winners from four continents, as well as a number of global efforts. I hope that other companies learn from — and rise to the standard of — the entries we saw this year; and I hope that our 2011 international category sees even more — and even better — entries.

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Survey: Where Do You Turn For Professional News And Insight?

Forrester would like to know what sources you turn to for the information and insights you need for your job and career.  Could you please take a brief and anonymous survey to share the publications, sites, blogs and Twitter accounts you find essential to your job and career?  The survey is only five questions and should require less than four minutes to complete.

We'll share some of your top choices here on the Forrester blog, provided we get a sufficient number of responses.  Thanks for your time and information!

You can complete the survey below or click here to complete the survey.

 

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Facebook And MySpace Collaborate - What It Means (And Doesn't)

Today, Facebook and MySpace announced a collaboration.  MySpace users can now log in using Facebook and leverage their collection of Facebook "Likes" to instantly create a highly personalized entertainment experience on MySpace.  On the one hand, this is hardly earth-shattering news: MySpace already announced and launched its new entertainment-focused mission, and Facebook has been integrated into more than 1 million Web sites.  But that doesn't mean there isn't anything interesting about today's news:

  • MySpace is reinvigorated and innovating rapidly.  For a site that hadn't changed much in years, MySpace is suddenly looking awfully innovative. Of course, it needs to be; News Corp. has made it clear that MySpace quickly must demonstrate success, and MySpace is taking this challenge very seriously. In the past three weeks, MySpace has announced its new format, launched it and already rolled out its first major innovation with a partner.
     
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Facebook's New Messaging: Five Reasons Why It Matters

Facebook made yet another big announcement today. The company introduced a new communications systems aimed at enhancing digital dialogue between friends and family. It isn't yet live, but you can request to be an early user of the new system here.  To get a sense of what Facebook's new messaging platform is about, check out its official 4-minute video at the end of this blog post.

Since it involves a new Facebook.com email address, some people shrugged the new functionality off as a weak email tool.  They're right — but that's like complaining an apple makes a poor orange.  The new platform is a poor email client because it isn't intended to be an email client. Instead, this is a new form of communications; as Mark Zuckerberg said (more than once) "This isn't email," and he's right.  Here's why it's worth paying attention to the new Facebook messaging platform:

  • It's a Gmail wounder.  There's been a lot of buzz about Facebook's messaging platform being a "Gmail killer." It isn't, but it's certainly going to wound Gmail and other popular email clients. With the combination of individuals’ social graphs and Facebook’s new functionality, Facebook will succeed at pulling away some time and attention from Gmail, but it won't kill Gmail or other email clients. Facebook isn’t interested in being a management or response tool for your flood of bills, email newsletters or other communications; instead, it’s about facilitating and enhancing your personal relationships.  Facebook wants to be the platform for personal communications and leave the boring stuff to Gmail and others. 
     
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Help Forrester Predict The Future Of Social Media Marketing

Forrester is looking toward 2011 and considering how social media will continue to change marketing.  We’d love to involve you in that discussion.  Join us in The Forrester Community For Interactive Marketing Professionals as we and other interactive marketers discuss and debate the hot new predictions for 2011.  

We’ve launched four specific areas of focus (although you can always suggest more).  Will 2011 be . . .

  • The year location-based services go mainstream?  Thus far, checking in from real-world locations has been an activity reserved for early adopters, but this behavior is growing, being spurred on by innovation from foursquare and Facebook.  Will this be the “hockey stick” year for foursquare, where growth kicks into hyperdrive? Or will Facebook roll over foursquare as it did MySpace? And what will it take to hook the masses in the check-in craze?
     
  • The year of trust?  Trust has always been an important brand attribute, but in 2011 it will become crucial for brands to earn followers, affinity and advocacy.  How will brands earn trust in social media channels?  How will trust be measured?  What happens to brands that lose on trust?  What steps will Facebook take to earn more trust as the social network continues to integrate itself into consumers’ surfing, social and mobile habits?
     
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Facebook's Upcoming Announcement And How Facebook Email Could Empower Consumers

There's a big announcement coming from Facebook on Monday. It is rumored that Facebook will unveil a new email and messaging platform, although the announcement could also or alternatively relate to mobile chat or Skype.  If Facebook tackles email (which seems inevitable, whether next week or next year), it promises to change the way consumers think about digital communications.

If that sounds like a big statement about a company that's already had a profound effect on consumer communications, consider for a moment how the Web changed information gathering. When people needed information prior to the advent of the Internet, the operative question wasn't just "What do I need?" but "How do I get it?"  The "how" affected everything: If I turn to the encyclopedia on my shelf, I might get old information. If I turn to a single source, I might get biased information. If I need to get into my car and drive to a library, it will take a great deal of time and effort. And if the "how" was sufficiently difficult or murky, I might simply give up.

The Internet changed that — it provided a single "how." The browser became our window to whatever data we needed.  Of course, we still needed to find that data on the World Wide Web (which is where Google and other Web 1.0 solutions stepped in), but once "how" turned to "what," it changed everything.  Consumers who saw the benefit of instantaneous access overcame the relatively extreme challenges of early Internet adoption (such as slow speeds, expensive PCs and costly ISPs) and adopted the Web in huge numbers in a relatively short period of time.  That's the power of eliminating "how."

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