Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I've moved!

And I only just noticed that some of you didn't.

You can find me over at http://www.leanforward.com.au/ (or http://leanforward.wordpress.com/ if you'd rather go straight to the blog)

There's more news coming soon, too.



Tuesday, February 12, 2008

There is a place for everything (even advertising...)

I got send this link earlier today http://bokardo.com/archives/why-social-ads-dont-work/ with the comment "I can't say I completely agree. It takes a very one dimensional (i.e. transactional) view of online advertising and largely ignores the concepts of campaigns and brand-building."

This started a dialogue it is worth repeating here. I think it is true that we search because we are looking for something and therefore, as the offer may well be for that specific thing that you are looking for, advertising works .

In the same vein, when you are doing something (like socialising, reading news, looking at pictures etc), you are not in acquisition mode (whether for product, service, information or experience) as you are currently having the experience you want. So these ads are less like to perform for us.

The issue for social networks, as well as for many destination sites - both online and mobile, is that while 'branding' is fine as a concept (campaigns, recognition, placement, exposure etc) - with the rise in performance based advertising (CPC or CPA as opposed to straight CPM) - there is a difference in 'performance'.

So, in discussing whether ads work or not, we ned to konw aht we mean by work. If we are to be rewarded on performance and not brand-awareness or presence, then ads provided as part of search search - when you are actively seeking something - will always perform better.

I just wonder if they do as much good for your brand.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Great Advertising Bandwagon

I am sitting here reading the program for yet-another-mobile-conference (YAMC) which has as its amazing and avant garde theme - advertising!

Ok, let's look at this. Yes, mobile advertising is going to be big. But then again, advertising itself is big. Yes, mobile is the device of the future (event the right now future), we know this.

But with the exception of 'Funniest TV ads from ' shows - I am yet to see advertising as anything other than a freeloader on a content vehicle. And I am afraid that when it comes to mobile advertising, we're busy looking at the freeloader and being amazed and what their potential is, rather than focussing on the vehicle itself and wondering how to make this compelling and engaging and delivering of consumer attention. Which is, after all, what we are after - yes?

Simplistically, we need to continue to focus on behaviour and relevance. As long as we do, we have a chance of creating that engagement and getting that attention. Then, and only then, can we start to monetise the audience by something like advertising. We can also start to monetise it through subscription as well, as is already being successfully done, but we seem to be hung up on mobile.

I want YAMC to look at the core audience proposition. To focus on why they come, and what makes them stay - rather than just the ads. I know we might watch the Superbowl for the ads (or a wardrobe malfunction) but the ads are there for the core content - that's why they pay, that's why they watch, that's why they stay...

Friday, December 7, 2007

The New Natives

Rupert Murdoch certainly created a common term when he referred to himself as a 'digital immigrant'. The term 'ditigal native' has become common enought that I received a chart today with a generational breakdown showing where groups ar natives, immigrants or aliens.

I think the same thing is happening in mobile, and that it has happened with every paradigm shift device.

When television first arrived, we called it 'radio with pictures' - and that's exactly what we did with it. We also treated it like theater and had static camera with actors moving about. Eventually we realised it was a new phenomena and TV as we know it took off.

With the internet - this started the same way. We took the existing forms of media - TV, magazines and newspapers - and put them on the internet. Even now, a huge number of internet sites remain digital version of legacy media.

But that changed when the natives, who had grown up with the internet, reached the age of invention. Suddenly we got internet sites (and services) which could exist only on the internet. Amazon, eBay, Google for starters. More recently we've seen tagging, sharing and social networking sites join them.

On the mobile, what we've got now is really the same thing. The previous media (in this case the internet) on the new medium (the mobile phone). Mobile natives, those who grew up with the mobile as a integral part of their life, are only just coming of age.

I don't think we've seen even the first wave of native application for mobile, and I think most of us are so steeping in other media/mediums that we can't even conceived of what these might be. Sure, they are likely to include location, bluetooth and integrated uses for the camera and phone - but I'm not even going to start imagining what they will be.

And, like all good innovations - once we see them, they will be so obvious that we'll wonder why we didn't come up with them first.

Anyone who says they know the future of mobile, mobile services, mobile applications - is more than likely only a mobile immigrant. The future will be with the natives.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Social Media meets Mobile

We all talk about how consumption of media is changing, but don’t often look exactly what this means for the consumer. Specifically, there are two key influences happening right now which are leading to about ten other things.

The two key influences are the rise of social networking and the extension of then mobile phone from communications into other areas.

By social networking, I include social media, being media which we can interact with in some form (by commenting, blogging, creating, sharing or mashing up with other things); social networking, being the ability to define groups of friends and communicate in a more public manner with them, either by actively communicating or by referential communication, activities we (publicly) undertake; and the wider concept pf social graph, defined as “the network of connections that exist through which people communicate and share information.” (Dave Morin, Facebook) which underpins social sharing sites like Flickr, youTube, Twitter, FriendFeed etc.

The change in the mobile phone reflects that which happened with the internet. Email was a killer app for the internet – suddenly we could communicate with people easily. Yes, there was content, but it was difficult to find outside of our walled gardens (like CompuServe and AOL), search wasn’t very sophisticated and it seemed huge (in reality, a fraction of the size it is now). Mobile phones are starting to be not the primary device for content and media, but definitely an option to a growing section of the community. That, coupled with their uniquely exclusive relationship with an individual, makes them a critical device.

So, together, we find that our networks and the people we know are becoming more and more central to what we do; what we buy; what we read and what interests us. Not so much ‘herd’ mentality as ‘tribal’ interests. Conversations between people relate either to the imparting of new information, or the discussing of shared information – so knowing what our friends are doing, reading and saying will influence what we are also likely to do, read or say. And as the whole idea of ‘life caching’ means that the mobile will move into being a part of the way we capture and consume the stories that are our day.

In order to facilitate this, we need to ensure that our relationship with our consumers takes into account the fact that their networks and social graph are far more important that we are (the mere deliverers of content) and that recognising their primary relationships (social) also means ensure that we continue to know who they are (and what they’ve done) regardless of the device through which our relationship with them is mediated – thus ensuring that our knowledge of what will drive them encompasses all those elements of their life. (The zero, one, two, three rule.)

Monday, October 8, 2007

Facebook Fatigue or Social Networking as a 'feature'

Does it exist or doesn't it?

I wonder if the phenomena is one that attacks older SocNet participants, who have a rich first live with a solid physical network that they have to spend time (offline) maintaining, as opposed to those who can, either through work or social freedom, take the time and energy to maintain these. Having been dragged away to monitor HSC study for the last few weeks, finding the time to do more than a brief status update has been hard.

I don't think that this means that social networks are dead, or even dying; I think it means that social networking needs to meet a different part of our lives - where the maintenance of out networks is not as much "heavy lifting" as it is now.

So, if we want to maintain our social networks, but can take the time to keep our own part of this up to do (and it only works if all of us play in the same open, public and participatory manner), where does this mean social networking will go?

Chris Anderson (yes, Long Tail Chris Anderson) recently commented that social networking is a feature and not a destination. I think this is right. He goes on to say "I'm placing my bet on the biggest impact coming when social networking becomes a standard feature on all good sites, bringing community to the granular level where it always works best"

Despite a few people I admire holding out that social networking as destinations are here to stay and that this is where communities have moved their primary communication to - I am, commercially placing my bets with Chris Anderson. I have Facebook fatigue, but don't want to give up all those now 'spyware' benefits of the newsfeed. So how can I have my cake, and eat it too?

I could of ideas are playing around my mind. As a friend of mine described them "Twitter without the heavy lifting". I like that idea. I want the feed, I want it updated and I want to participate.

But I don't really want to do any work...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

FaceBook vs mySpace

Reading today about the battle (so called) for the social network space. Will it be facebook, will mySpace? Will it be both of them, one or the other? Does it really matter?

In my discussions with GenC a couple of consistent themes come up:

  • we go where our network is
  • we prefer to message people through the social network application
  • we want to say what we want to say
  • we like 'playing' with who we are

So a couple of thoughts on this. If my classic GenC (17, female) is on mySpace; yet my classic GenX (44, female) is on FaceBook, why is it? Our GenC likes to say she lives on Christmas Island (even if all her friends live in Sydney's inner west); she likes to say she is 99 (but doing her high school leaving certificate); she likes to be friends with Pink (who has has met) and Tom (who is friends with everyone) and lots of people she doesn't know; she knows her mySpace is vivid and loud and her mother would hate it - but it's all about HER - ok?

And my GenX - she only really wants to talk to people she knows, or who come recommended, but who she is pretty sure are real; she is more interested in seeing what other people are doing than in making statement about herself (loves the news feed); she doesn't mind playing, but sees FaceBook as a bit of a time waster and is starting to get to the point where updating it is difficult and tedious (FaceBook Fatigue).

Maybe the biggest difference is two fold - where their community is; and where their sense of self is - internally focussed or externally. In reality, does it matter? Some of us are comfortable in more than one place and we might never chose one network over the other.

But then again - if home is where the heart is, social networks will end up being where the network is. I'd be interested to see the possibly different networks we keep or develop on these different sites - do they reflect different elements about who we are and how we connect?