Our Take On Lithium's Acquisition Of Klout

Kim Celestre

Today, Lithium officially announced its acquisition of Klout and its 60-plus employees. Klout has had its fair share of controversy over the years — primarily because its primary influence score tried to be a universal number, independent of context, and it provided limited offerings for marketers. So when the acquisition news leaked a few weeks ago, many of us who have been following both companies have been scratching our heads: Why would Lithium, a leading community platform vendor, spend hundreds of millions to scoop up Klout? Here is my and my colleague Zachary Reiss-Davis’ perspective on the acquisition:

  • Lithium claims that Klout will enable it to round out its social marketing offerings. Today, Lithium provides a robust community platform and a social engagement platform, providing marketers with solutions for establishing both depth and engagement. But the company lacks a solution to help marketers meet their reach objectives. According to Lithium, Klout will help it close this gap by enabling Lithium to implement future advocacy offerings and do so through Klout’s reach of 500-million-plus consumers. 
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Facebook Is Still Failing Marketers

Nate Elliott

Our declaration last October that Facebook was failing marketers and that brands should focus their social efforts elsewhere created a lot of discussion. To no one's surprise, most of the people defending Facebook were vendors that rely directly upon Facebook marketing for their livelihood.

Just four months later, the debate seems to be over. Is there any doubt now that Facebook has abandoned social marketing, and that its paid ad products aren’t delivering results for most marketers? Consider:

  • Marketers can now reach just 6% of their fans organically. When we published our research, some brands were surprised to find that Facebook only delivered posts to 16% of their fans. In December a leaked sales deck revealed that Facebook was telling marketers they should expect organic distribution of posts to decline further — but few could guess how far and how fast that distribution would fall. This month, Ogilvy released data showing that the brand pages they manage reach just 6% of fans. For pages with more than 500,000 fans, Ogilvy says reach stands at just 2%.
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Google Bets Big On "Data Out" And The Database Of Affinity

Nate Elliott

Last week we published a report on how "data in, data out" practices are the future of social relationship platforms  and just a week later, Google has made a big bet on the "data out" side of that equation. 

In the report, we say that "'data out' will prove the value of social and improve the rest of your marketing [. . .] [by] powering effective targeting in everything from banner ads to TV spots." Readers familiar with our research will know we're talking about the database of affinity: a catalogue of people's tastes and preferences, collected by observing their social behaviors, that could revolutionize brand advertising.

Well, last night, Google announced it was shifting the focus of its Wildfire division (previously a full-service social relationship platform) away from managing brands' profiles on social networks and toward extracting social data to help it better build the database of affinity.

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Join Our Global Mobile Executive Survey

Thomas Husson

For the past few years, Forrester has fielded a Global Mobile Executive Survey to understand and benchmark mobile initiatives. Last year, my colleague Julie Ask and I surveyed nearly 300 executives leading mobile initiatives within their enterprises.

To help business executives benchmark and mature their mobile strategy and services, we are updating this survey.

Planning and organizing for the use of mobile technologies is a complex task. Integrating mobile as part of a broader corporate strategy is even more complex. However, some players are leading the way and working on infrastructure, staffing, and competencies that are hard to see unless you look closely. If you want to understand the role that mobile is playing in various organizations, what their objectives are, how they measure the success of their mobile initiatives, and a lot more, you just have to share with us your own perspective and we will aggregate the answers.

For your efforts, we will share a free copy of the survey results.

If you’re in charge of your company's mobile consumer initiative or if you’re familiar with it, then please take this survey.

Click here to start the questionnaire.

If you’re not familiar with your company’s mobile consumer approach, please forward this survey to the relevant colleagues who are in charge of defining or implementing your mobile consumer approach.

·         The survey takes less than 20 minutes to complete.

·         The survey will be live until June 14, 2014.

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Who Is The Fairfax Cone Of 21st-Century Marketing?

Jim Nail

Or the David Ogilvy . . . or the Bill Bernbach . . . or the Rosser Reeves . . . or even the Lester Wunderman? All of these Mad Men played outsized roles in laying down the rules of advertising and marketing that have dominated the craft for the past half century.

I've been wondering more and more about who among today's marketing leaders will join this pantheon as I see marketing diverging from the tenets I was schooled in during my early ad agency career.

Apparently, Interpublic has decided that Howard Draft isn't among them, since they have removed his name from the door, reverting from Draftfcb to FCB -- or even the original Foote, Cone, Belding name. Their rationale was to simplify the name, but then they go on to say they will still append the geography (FCB Chicago), the specialty (FCB Health), the name of acquired agencies (FCB Inferno), or even "a highly respected creative leader" (FCB Garfinkel). Yeah, that's a lot simpler. And I guess a leader who takes the agency in a new direction and shakes up an entire industry doesn't make the cut. Sorry, Howard.

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How "Data In, Data Out" Solves Social Marketing Challenges

Nate Elliott

It turns out that marketers aren’t very happy with the social relationship platforms that help them manage their Facebook and Twitter accounts; in fact, most would recommend you not choose the technology partner they did.

There are lots of reasons for this dissatisfaction, but the biggest is that most vendors just aren’t solving the problems that social relationship marketers face. Yesterday we published a new report detailing social relationship marketers' top challenges:

  1. Measurement. Most just don't know what impact, if any, their Facebook pages and Twitter accounts have.
  2. Content. Marketers struggle both to decide what type of content to publish, and then to find good content assets to use.
  3. Staffing. Many say they just don't have enough human resources to handle the every tasks of social relationship marketing.
  4. Scheduling. Marketers don't know when to post their content for maximum impact.
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Why Won't Marketers Recommend Their Social Vendors?

Nate Elliott

In 2013, we published a Forrester Wave™ evaluation on Social Relationship Platforms — the technologies that help marketers publish content to social networks like Facebook and Twitter, as well as monitor and respond to customer posts on those sites.

We evaluated established SRPs like Spredfast, Sprinklr, Shoutlet, Adobe Social, and salesforce.com’s Buddy Media, and found that none of them were good enough to fall into our “Leaders” category. Why? For one thing, most had significant gaps in their offerings.

But we also found that many of their customers weren’t terribly satisfied. Even though all the clients we spoke with were referred to us by the vendors themselves — and so presumably were amongst each SRP’s happiest customers — most had some reservations about the features, functionality, and service the vendors provided. In several cases, we were shocked by how little the reference clients thought of their technology partners.

One year later, we decided to check in on whether marketers had grown any more satisfied with their social relationship platforms. For a new report out today, we asked 56 marketers who used a variety of SRPs whether they’d recommend their vendor to a colleague — and found that overall, social relationship platforms have a Net Promoter Score of -16. Yes, that’s negative sixteen.

 

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The Native Advertising Answer Is Publishers’ Problem

Ryan Skinner

[Recently, I wrote that overly optimistic or pessimistic predictions of native advertising’s future were the result of vast (and naïve) assumptions. I concluded that a more accurate prediction would not hinge upon grand theories about how great native advertising is or isn’t, but rather a wily assessment of many factors – the foxlike approach of Isaiah Berlin’s Hedgehog and the Fox. I said I’d offer such a foxy assessment. Here’s that assessment.]

First, let’s consider the two grand theories of native advertising – the hedgehog positions:

1) Native advertising is the best thing that could have happened.
According to this theory, native advertising at last frees the world from interruptive or parasitic advertisements and allows both the publisher site and advertiser to work toward a shared goal: the best possible experience for the user or reader. Success will be measured directly by readers actually choosing to consume stuff from brands, which means it’ll all be worth more and publishers will earn a bigger cut.

2) Native advertising is the worst thing that could have happened.
According to this theory, native advertising depends fundamentally on confusing the reader into clicking on an advertisement by disguising it as unpaid site editorial. As a result, readers will lose their trust in the sites’ editorial integrity and abandon the site. This loss of integrity will destroy the halo effect, whereby a site’s editorial integrity reflects positively on the advertisers associated with it.

True hedgehogs could expound on these arguments at length (they have a tendency to do that), but I’ve represented the basic positions.

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Justice Department To Aereo: Drop Dead

Jim Nail

Mediapost quotes the Justice Department's filing siding with the broadcasters' argument that Aereo is infringing on their copyright by saying:

“Because [Aereo's] system transmits the same underlying performances to numerous subscribers, the system is clearly infringing.... Although each transmission is ultimately sent only to a single individual, those transmissions are available to any member of the public who is willing to pay the monthly fee.”

“A consumer’s playback of her own lawfully acquired copy of a copyrighted work to herself will ordinarily be a non-infringing private performance, and it may be protected by fair-use principles as well.”

As I've said before, I'm no lawyer, but I'm having trouble following this line of reasoning. This core issue is whether the Aereo stream is a "lawfully acquired copy of a copyrighted work," but if I put an antenna on my house, I lawfully acquire the content in question. This doesn't explain why a single-subscriber antenna in a data center doesn't lawfully acquire the content.

If it hinges on multiple people paying to view the same underlying performance, why didn't Sony lose the Betamax case, since the VCR made the same underlying performances available to anyone who paid the amount to buy the device? What if Aereo changed its model from a monthly fee to purchasing an antenna, and maybe a tiered monthly fee for different amounts of storage?

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Comcast And FreeWheel: Cementing An Addressable Future For TV Ads

Jim Nail
In case there was any doubt that TV advertising is going through its biggest evolution since the ascent of the 30-second ad in the 1960s, Comcast's acquisition of video ad platform FreeWheel should lay those doubts to rest.
 
While this $320 million acquisition of a behind-the-scenes ad tech company seemingly pales next to Comcast's splashy $45 billion bid for Time-Warner, it is a more important transaction for the evolution of television advertising. FreeWheel provides essential functionality for the networks to maximize revenue as their advertising inventory splinters across computer, tablet, and smartphone devices as well as cable, Internet, and mobile delivery systems.
 
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