AOL and Adap.TV -- Audience, not Content, is King

Jim Nail

I talked with several reporters yesterday about AOL's $400 million purchase of online video technology company Adap.TV. A popular question was "Why is a media company buying a technology company?" as if they had no business being combined. The published coverage focused on the value of their technology for programmatic buying and its future application to TV as the digital evolution disrupts today's television advertising industry. Important, but I think misses a more fundamental issue: Content may be king for consumers, but the consumer is king for advertisers. And to deliver consumers to advertisers in the way they want, content companies will need to have strong technology backbones.

AOL has always trumpeted that content is king -- I remember the Bubble 1.0 days (pre AOL Time-Warner, even!) when Ted Leonsis virtually coined this phrase. Even since the Time-Warner split, AOL has continued to pursue the content-centric strategy with the acquisition of The Huffington Post, Tech Crunch, and video syndication firm 5min Media. Until now.

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How To Measure Your Social Media Efforts In China: Which Stage Are You At?

Xiaofeng Wang

Are marketers in China measuring social media properly? Our data says NO. Marketers, if you are wondering at which stage you are for social media measurement and how you should improve it, the report “Social Media Measurement In China” is right for you.

In the report, we surveyed interactive marketers in China and found that most marketers are still at the early stage of social media measurement.

  • Social measurement is not new but very challenging. Nearly every social marketer we surveyed is measuring their social efforts. However, most consider effective measurement to be their top challenge in social marketing.
  • Marketers are measuring the wrong things. Most marketers we surveyed in China say increasing brand favorability is their primary social marketing objective, but most don’t conduct brand-impact surveys to measure it. Instead, the top three metrics that marketers use are number of fans/followers, number of comments, and number of shares.

We state in the report that marketers in China mature through three stages of social measurement:

  • Stage 1: Measure volume metrics, such as number of fans and number of shares.
  • Stage 2: Measure engagement, such as participation rate and fan activity.
  • Stage 3: Measure business success, such as brand awareness and sales contribution.
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Enter the 2013 Forrester Groundswell Awards!

Nate Elliott

[UPDATE, Sepember 2013: Entries for the 2013 Forrester Groundswell Awards are now closed. More than 100 companies entered more than 130 social programs this year, and we're looking forward to reviewing them and recognizing the best at our 2013 eBusiness Forum on November 5.]

The deadline for entering the 2013 Forrester Groundswell Awards is Friday, August 30 – so if you haven’t started planning your entry, now’s the time to start.

Not sure which category you should enter? Read up on our rules and FAQs, and then check out this video for even more details:

Make sure your company has a chance to be recognized by Forrester as a leader in social media – and make sure your entry is in by August 30!

Marketers: Now Is The Time To Act On The Mobile Opportunity

Thomas Husson

Mobile phones have changed not only the way we live and communicate. They have also changed the way we think. Customers have experienced a mind shift: They expect any desired information or service to be available, on any appropriate device, in context, at their moment of need. Technologies packed in mobile devices enable people not only to instantly consume but also to create content and maintain greater control in their everyday lives.

Customers' behaviors are becoming as sophisticated as their devices. Mobile has become the new digital hub. According to our Technographics data, 47% of European online adults who own a mobile phone use mobile apps at least weekly. Forty-five percent browse the Internet at least weekly, and 38% search for information on mobile search engines, too. In the US, 50% of online adults who use a mobile phone use their devices to check sports, weather, or news at least weekly. Forty-five percent access social networks on their phones at least weekly, and 22% research physical products for purchase! This implies that you must have a mobile component for your digital strategy. But it goes beyond this, as mobile is bridging the offline and online worlds.

Yes, mobile is a hot topic. Reading the press or listening to conferences, you may be under the impression that marketers have embraced the mobile mind shift and are really integrating mobile into the marketing mix. A significant majority of marketers told us that their senior leadership team understands the importance of mobile.

Really? We find this hard to believe.

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Avoid The Visual Clutter And Go For In-Stream Audio Advertising

Anthony Mullen

David Bowie photographIn 2002, the zeitgeist orchestrator David Bowie  opined, “Music itself is going to become like running water or electricity.” A few years later, in 2005, the futurists Gerd Leonhard and Dave Kusek proposed “music as water” in their industry-shaking book, The Future of Music (A Manifesto for the Digital Music Revolution).

The metaphor was simple — music would flow on demand, like a utility, to people's home hi-fis and portable music players. Subscription access to "all" music was the approach that ultimately ended up with no more ownership of physical or even digital copies; CDs, mp3s, and the other ground-bound trinkets would no longer be necessary. Even in my own behavior, I see this change — where once I’d spend time ripping my CDs and loading up my 160GB iPod, now I simply curate music, like my Boxing playlist, in the cloud via Spotify.

Eleven years later, Bowie’s prediction is coming true and streaming is progressing at speed. In metropolitan Argentina 1 in 3 consumers are listening to streaming music - evenly split between mobile and computers (desktop, laptop, tablet). In France 15% of those we surveyed streamed on a computer but a whopping 27% used mobile. In fact this trend to streaming via mobile is likely to be one that will continue worldwide and today in metropolitan regions of Hong Kong and Mexico, as well as South Korea mobile has already considerably overtaken computers as the preferred listening method.

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Friday Flashback: My Favorite Forrester Groundswell Award Winner From 2011

Kim Celestre

In anticipation of our upcoming 2013 Forrester Groundswell awards, I have been reminiscing about our past winners. One of the great benefits of participating in Forrester's Groundswell Awards is that analysts often use the winners' (and finalists') submissions as examples of best practices. Personally, I have included our Groundswell Awards winners and finalists in event presentations, client advisories, and consulting projects. These winners have inspired many marketers who continuously seek innovative ways to incorporate social media in their marketing strategies.

One winner that I have referred to frequently — and is a personal favorite of mine — is L'Oreal.  L'Oreal won a B2B Groundswell Award in 2011 for its National Salon Facebook program. Using the Buddy Media social relationship platform, L'Oreal provided its ecosystem of thousands of salon partners with tools that helped them easily enhance their business Facebook pages with branded content, how-to-videos, and appointment-scheduling applications. I have many reasons for favoriting L'Oreal's program, but my top three are:

  • L'Oreal's campaign reflects an "outside-in" perspective.This was a true B2B2C campaign that proves how important it is to address the needs of the customer. The campaign provided content and applications to end-consumers, helped partners with shrinking marketing budgets promote their services, and helped L'Oreal get its brand in front of a wide audience of consumers. It was a win/win/win!
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Despite Impressive Growth, Facebook Is Facing Mobile Ad Challenges

Thomas Husson

Facebook now has 819 million mobile monthly active users. That’s a huge audience. That’s actually 71% of total active users.

Yesterday, Facebook reported they generated 41% of total ad revenues via mobile. That’s pretty impressive considering they generated nearly 0% end 2011 when they had already 432 million mobile monthly users. Since the launch of mobile ads in 2012, Facebook steadily increased the share of mobile in total ad revenues: it was 23% end 2012 and 30% in Q1 2013.

There is still a monetization gap in comparison to the share of their mobile audience, but that’s definitely impressive for a new product.

There are a couple of reasons for this sharp increase.  Time spent on Facebook is meaningful. Facebook’s mobile ads integrate well in the natural flow of Facebook’s news feeds. They are quite visible and are increasingly successful at driving mobile app installs. According to our European Technographics Consumer Technology Online Survey, Q4 2012, 16% of online adult smartphone owners (ages 16-plus) who use apps report that they first learned about an app via social networking websites such as Facebook. No wonder why the likes of Fiksu and other app boosters spent a lot of money on Facebook mobile ads.  Cost per click increased despite a lot more clicks and ads shown.

For this approach to be successful in the longer term, there are a couple of key questions to be answered:

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Got a Plan for Marketing Summer Camp?

Lori Wizdo

For B2B marketers, June 30th can have a ‘last day of school’ feel about it.  It’s a chance to catch our breath after a full slate of Q1’s kick-offs and launches and Q2’s promotions, tradeshows and roadshows.  But, like today’s kids, who no longer while away the summer playing in the woods or frolicking in the pool, today’s B2B marketers need to use the summer to improve: to build new skills, expand our horizons, and prepare for the new adventures that await us in the fall.  Think of it as Marketing Summer Camp. 

If I were the Activities Director at Camp B2B, I’d build a program of reflection, assessment, and improvement with a focus on::

People:  Make learning a priority.  

Pipeline: Take a hard look at marketing’s contribution to the revenue pipeline. 

Process: Identify your conversion weak spots and remediate. 

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16 Ways To Turn Content Marketing Into Business Value

Ryan Skinner

According to Digiday, current affairs website Slate demands minimum $100,000 from brands to build an “advertising content program”. Forbes asks for $50,000 a month to give brands a platform for publishing content on their site. And many companies are spending as much or more on their own content sites.

Given the mighty spend, the silence around the economics of content is deafening. There’s the high-level question of content marketing ROI­–a topic larger than any blog post. But, at a more basic level, how many marketers plan how and where their content drives business value?

Call this the content impact model:

If marketers create and distribute content to generate value, there are two simultaneous and non-exclusive paths by which value is created:

1.    Intrinsic: Consumption of the content itself brings value to the brand, by making the reader/viewer aware of the brand, its expertise or products.
2.    Extrinsic: All of the value that can be extracted by a reader/viewer arriving at or opening the content (but not the content itself).

This post looks specifically at extrinsic value. This value is created or released by mechanisms that I’ll call catalysts of content marketing value.

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Effectively Harnessing Chinese Video Platforms For Marketing Success

Xiaofeng Wang

If you still consider online video advertising merely as a complement to TV advertising in China, then you are wrong. My latest report “Marketers Embrace The Power Of Digital Video In China” tells you why.

In this report, based on the analysis of Chinese online consumers’ video consumption behavior and marketers’ spending intention, we conclude that online video is becoming mainstream to both Chinese consumers and marketers.

  • Consumers embrace online video and ad-supported entertainment. Forrester’s Technographics® data shows that 95% of metro Chinese online adults watch videos on a computer at least monthly, compared with 49% in the US. Also, 72% of metro Chinese online adults prefer advertising-supported free content over pay-per-view content.
  • Marketers are shifting ad budget from TV to online video in China. Unlike in the US and Europe where online video is taking budget from print or direct mail, marketers in China begin to shift ad budget from TV to online video.
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