June 22, 2011

How Facebook has quietly created a gold mine for marketers

Facebook ad

Inside the huge banner opportunity created by Facebook

Christopher RollysonFacebook’s development schedule epitomizes the “white water, fast iteration” approach to serving company and customer. Although its mishaps are legendary, it succeeds in consistently fielding a mind-numbing array of features, so it is difficult to keep up and very easy to miss the significance of things.

To wit, very few people people have noticed that Facebook has quietly revolutionized banner ads through a feature that is maligned by users but gold for marketers. This feature has created two opportunities for e-commerce marketers: a new means of inexpensive market research and an easy way to improve relationships with their viewers.

Read on to do this to your competitors before they do it to you.

‘You have removed this ad’: A spark in a dry forest

I hope you have used the “remove this ad” feature that Facebook introduced, I believe, in Q4 2009 or Q1 2010. When you mouse over most Facebook ads, you will see an “x” in the far right (1 — see above). When you click the “x” to remove the ad, you get the dialog box beneath, which gives you the radio buttons (2) and the all-important “other.” When you hit “Okay,” you get the gold box. Seems innocuous, right? Wrong. It has begun to change the expectations of your prospects, who will increasingly expect to give feedback on all ads.

Removing ads: Customer viewpoint

I have been using “remove this ad” since it was released, and I have noticed several things about it:

  • There’s very little talk about it online. Any dialog is dominated by users who hate “remove this ad” because they hate ads in general and they would like “removing” the ad to be permanent (i.e. bar chart brains would never reappear). Note that the gold box doesn’t promise banishing the ad. Users don’t care, though.
  • I’ll hypothesize that only a small portion of Facebook users bother to give feedback, but I’ll wager that most of those who do want to do it everywhere.
  • Yes, when you remove the ad, it isn’t banished from your land forever, but clicking the “x” and adding a peppery comment can be satisfying anyway.

Removing ads: A marketer’s viewpoint

Now, think about yourself as a buyer of millions of dollars of banner ads per year, which all CMOs do. What if, for appropriate (geeky) segments you would introduce this functionality in some of your banner ads (not necessarily on Facebook)? This would help you:

  • Conduct low-cost market research by collecting responses; on Facebook itself this is particularly interesting because Facebook knows user demographics. However, off-Facebook, wouldn’t you like to know if readers of certain sites find your ads offensive or …? (you design the responses)
The majority of ‘display’ ads will be selected by customers within 10 years at the outside; certain demographics much earlier.
  • Improve your relationship with prospects when you give them the option to respond; you suggest that you are interested in their viewpoints.
  • You can take this into account when selecting your ad mix. You read it here, in 2011: The majority of “display” ads will be selected by customers within 10 years at the outside; certain demographics much earlier.
  • I recommend pilots this year to get ahead of the market. Of course, many of your ads are syndicated, etc., but you can select specific situations to experiment and learn.

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February 2, 2011

Social businesses: Glimmers of a macro trend


Social Business Design (CC image by Dachis Group)

Annual look at the best strategies, tactics, case studies & insights in the enterprise space

Christopher RollysonCompared to 2009 and 2008, the past year was a relatively calm one because the amplitude of market gyrations clearly diminished and businesses began to find a new floor on which to build stakeholder expectations. Although I watched with high interest the unfolding financial drama in Europe, I didn’t have the time to conduct the research necessary to do a rigorous interpretation, although I published a brief reflection last week. The big story of the past year was this: 2010 marked a turning point in the adoption of social technologies and in the recognition that analysis and strategy are necessary to achieve consistent results with social initiatives.

Macro trends: Moving from broadcast to relationship building

Until recently, being on Facebook was an end in itself, agencies produced vapid content and little interaction occurred because people rarely interact when brands are talking at them instead of listening

Social has been in adolescence until recently — “being on Facebook” was an end in itself, agencies produced vapid content and little interaction happened because people rarely interact when brands are talking at them instead of listening. People feel it when a brand is interested in using social tools to promote itself. They also feel it when a brand is interested in building relationship, which is marked by active listening and responding, along with a relative absence of self-promotion. Brands that build relationship learn that they don’t have to try so hard to promote themselves: when they are truly interested in people, people will promote them. However, this approach remains a future state for most companies. Relationships take serious work — thus, a need for a strategy.

The growing use of strategy is also a harbinger for what I call “social business” (a step beyond social media), in which leaders use social technologies to transform their businesses by collaborating openly with various outside and inside stakeholders to innovate constantly. Early movers will begin emerging this year: Only a few gutsy players will aggressively adopt social business practices in 2011. I believe they can change markets.

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September 20, 2010

What’s your guilty pleasure app?

Is it Angry Birds, Air Hockey, or an Air Horn?

David SparkI know you like to think that you’re highly productive with your mobile device, but in reality you probably spend more time playing Angry Birds than any other application. At the APPNATION Conference in San Francisco, shooting interviews for Dice, I asked the attendees to reveal their “guilty pleasure app.” Do you know all these apps? Have you played with any of them?

Got a guilty pleasure app of your own? Reveal what it is and why on the Dice Facebook page and you could win a Samsung Galaxy S mobile phone.

To enter the contest go to http://facebook.com/dice and click on the “Contest” tab. Hurry, deadline is September 30th, 2010.

September 15, 2010

What do you wish you knew about mobile app development?

Even looking back most people still can’t figure out the mobile app market

David SparkAt the opening night party at the APPNATION conference where I was reporting for Dice, I asked the attendees, “What do you wish you knew a year ago that you know today about mobile app development?” Their answers are fast, impulsive, and conflicting.

Also from APPNATION is this Amazing example of augmented reality on top of a print magazine. Check out this new way of cheating at crossword puzzles.

November 3, 2009

5 ways to improve your presentation skills

Improving your presentation skills from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaIf you give presentations or speeches in public — ranging from a workshop panel appearance to a keynote lecture — chances are that you could benefit from sharpening your presentation skills.

I met Danielle Daly, co-founder of Rexi Media, at Blogworld Expo last month and was immediately impressed with how she and the Rexi Media team are helping to enhance the communication and presentation skills of executives and managers at Fortune 500 companies. In this 6-minute video interview, Danielle discusses 5 ways to make your presentation skills more effective.

Presenter ProThis week Rexi Media is releasing an update to its already popular iPhone app, Presenter Pro, which lets you bone up on your presentation skills during your spare time (cost: $1.99). Presenter Pro focuses on 5 areas for enhancing presentation skills:

1) Body language: This covers areas such as effective gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, cultural gestures, use of passion, visualization, descriptive gestures, and others.

2) Vocal variety: How to add interest to your speaking style, how to sound more confident, how to add ingredients such as articulation, inflection, rate, pauses, changes in inflection and volume, and so on.

3) Structure: How to plan and structure your talk, how to hook listeners with an effective opening, how to manage time and enlist participation, how to end on a high note.

4) Visuals: How to think in pictures, how to marshal facts visually, how to use visual aids, use of color, balance and contrast, use of repetition, and so on.

5) The words you use: Think carefully about the contents of your talk — be human and accessible, know your stuff, relate real experiences, be persuasive, be economical and descriptive, avoid condescension and apologies. Continue reading

October 26, 2009

Xsights’ new iPhone app brings print to life

Ayelet NoffXsights is a new start-up that has just come out with its Light app for the iPhone, which enables its users to bring print to life. Xsights makes it possible to transform static printed items that can be captured through the cell phone’s camera into an interactive multimedia experience. (Disclosure: Xsights is a Blonde 2.0 client)
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