November 1, 2012

Guide to events & conferences in December


A scene from Le Web London this summer. The original Le Web, in Paris, returns next month (Photo by kmeron on Flickr).

Ayelet NoffDecember, with all its holiday cheer, eases the pace of conferences and events in social media, marketing, and technology.

This December I’m most excited about Le Web in Paris, the city of lights, love and Internet innovation. This year Le Web will focus on how Internet-driven devices are taking over the world; just look at how much time people spend surfing “le web” on their phones. I’m also thoroughly excited for the 2012 startup competition where sixteen emerging startups will duke it out on stage. To learn more about this great conference read my take on Le Web.

For the full year, see our full Calendar of 2012 social media, tech and marketing conferences.

Continue reading

June 13, 2012

Facebook will remain king, but social pure plays will fade


Facebook collage by Jennifer Daniel

Look for the rise of sites with deep social features

This is second of a three-part series on Facebook as an investment. Also see:
Facebook’s biggest barrier to enormous wealth? Trust
Brands: How to cut your exposure to Facebook business risk

Christopher RollysonFacebook will remain the dominant popular social network in many markets for many years, and it won’t have to worry about being “displaced” by another social network the way that it displaced MySpace. In the near term, this lack of competition will give the company some breathing room, but a more daunting threat awaits: the waning of social network pure plays’ influence by 2017. Nonetheless, the fate of pure plays should be top of mind for serious Facebook investors: to produce the fabulous returns that current investors expect, Facebook will have to move far beyond adverts.

In part one of this series, I argued that Facebook had a significant trust gap with users that would inhibit its ability to monetize its most unique and valuable assets, and that the trust gap was recently compounded by its “IPO irregularities.” Below I’ll take a different tack and analyze the investment prospects of Facebook the platform.

Social networks’ disappointing investment results

Pure play social networks (Friendster, MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn) have not lived up to investors’ ROI aspirations, despite the fact that people (‘users”) have loved the networks and lavished mind-boggling amounts of time on them. The Web 1.0 logic behind investor expectations held that the more time people spent on the sites, the more ads they would see and the more they would click. #fail

In retrospect, it is understandable that pure plays’ management and investors didn’t appreciate social networks’ social context. It turns out that very few people understand the intricacies of “sociality,” much less how to wire it into a value proposition or a business ROI. Continue reading

June 11, 2012

Facebook’s biggest barrier to enormous wealth? Trust


Image by RedKoala on BigStockPhoto

 

Why Facebook will find it hard to monetize the social graph

This is first of a three-part series on Facebook as an investment. Coming up:
Facebook will remain king, but social pure plays will fade
Brands: How to cut your exposure to Facebook business risk

Christopher RollysonIf Facebook’s stock price were based on the number of blog posts about its IPO, the company would be in great shape, but too few posts have addressed Facebook’s real barrier to monetizing its business, so we will rectify that here. 

Although Facebook is a fantastic social venue and platform, I did not buy into Facebook and do not plan to invest in its stock. (The stock price is down 30 percent from its debut on May 18.) Facebook‘s Achilles heel is a significant trust gap with its users, and now, its investors. Its trust gap will make it difficult for Facebook management to fully monetize its most unique asset, its users’ social graph data. Moreover, the management team has not shown the insight or willingness to address this barrier.

Why lack of trust is Facebook’s Achilles heel

That Facebook has a spotty trust profile with users is an understatement. Its management has a history of being cavalier with users’ data. Although many have argued this point, I’ve observed that Facebook’s policies have been mostly legal, but trust is independent of legality. Facebook’s management has gotten better about “considering” users during the past year or so, but such consideration has felt compliant and not entirely voluntary.

This matters. Although I have no inside information about Facebook’s technology or strategy, my knowledge of user social data and its value in developing relationships leads me to deduce that Facebook’s gold mine is its unique knowledge of users’ social graphs. Just play around with Facebook ads. Only Facebook knows what California physics undergrads prefer in music, movies and running shoes. Who their friends and hobbies are, and when they post their running updates. And what moms with 3.2 kids who went to Berkeley think about whales or global warming or Republican budget proposals.

When users discover how Facebook intends to use their personal information, they will see red. This is Facebook’s biggest risk.

The problem is, although I’m sure Facebook has employed some of the best attorneys for a long time, and user agreements give Facebook the “right” to use social data however they want, we have all witnessed that users themselves revolt when they perceive that they have been duped. And when they discover how Facebook intends to use their personal information (that they have willingly, if ignorantly, surrendered, by the way), they will undoubtedly see red. This is Facebook’s biggest risk. It’s not a legal issue, it’s a trust and relationship issue. Continue reading

May 31, 2012

10 best practices for your mobile website


Examples of Mobile Awesomeness

How to bring awesomeness to your mobile presence

Target audience: Small, mid-size and large businesses, social enterprises, mobile developers, social marketers, educators — and anyone with a mobile website.

Deltina HayYesterday we discussed some of the choices you have when it comes to creating your mobile website.

Regardless of the solution you choose, there are some best practices that should be applied to all mobile websites.

Here are 10 important tips to get your mobile site off to a roaring start.

Keep it simple and prioritize content

1In general, keeping your site simple means eliminating most images; simplifying navigation, layout, and design elements; eliminating Flash and other proprietary software; keeping your site free of clutter; and breaking up text and other content.

Space is in high demand on a mobile site and site visitors are on the go, so you need to anticipate what content users will most likely want to access. Choose the three most important content items and make those items easy for users to find and act upon.

Recall that users are not browsing your mobile site — so make it easy for them to do the things they most likely want to do, like find store locations, buy or review products, review menu items, place calls to your business, or request additional information.

Take advantage of mobile features

2Like the click-to-call button, there are features specific to mobile devices that can be used to improve your site’s user experience. The most useful of these features is location, both yours and the customer’s. By accessing user location information, you can offer a more personable experience.

Think ‘tap-able,’ not ‘clickable’

3Design your site’s buttons, navigation items, and links for touch screens, not for a mouse. This will improve the user experience and prevent accidental navigation away from your site. Do not use hover-over features on your mobile site. A thumb cannot “hover” over an item on a mobile site. Continue reading

May 30, 2012

Making sense of mobile website solutions

Deltina HayThere is a lot of advice floating around about what is the best mobile website solution. I don’t believe any solution is the best. I think it depends on individual needs. Luckily, there are solutions available today for almost all of us.

In previous mobile web series articles, we covered:

But none of that tells you how to create your mobile website, or what your options are.

Luckily, you have a host of solutions available to get your Web presence mobile-ready, with many of them taking very little time, effort, or money to implement. Continue reading

May 17, 2012

The Ultimate Mobile Web Infographic

This is the second of a two-part series on the mobile Web. Also see:
3 steps to a successful mobile website

Target audience: Mid-size and small businesses, online marketers, Web publishers, mobile developers, entrepreneurs, educators, journalists, general public.

Deltina HayWe sometime don’t appreciate how fast things are moving, but the mobile Web is exploding.

In celebration of the release of my new book, The Bootstrapper’s Guide to the Mobile Web, I offer you this mobile Web infographic to use as your guide to preparing for these sweeping changes, whether you’re an online marketer, publisher or a one of the users of 5.6 billion mobile phones worldwide today (over 327 million in the United States). The infographic explains the difference between native apps and Web apps (big difference), and points out the numbers:

There will be 788 million mobile-only Internet users by 2015, driving $20.6 billion in mobile ad revenue and $119 billion in merchandise spent by mobile shoppers by 2015. And it’s just getting started.

You’re welcome to share and re-post the infographic as long as the header and credits sections remain intact. A larger version of the graphic can be downloaded from TheBootstrappersGuide.com.

Mobile web infographic

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