In the Adweek article, I was quoted a few times specifically when it came to how brands are currently trying to acquire likes:
And three weeks ago, Borders had about 50,000 fans. It then offered a 33 percent-off discount in return for a Like. Its community now has 265,000 members.
But such ploys can backfire. Matthew Szymczyk, CEO of Zugara, says these aggressive strategies can pile up Likes from people who don’t have true brand affinity. In this way, he believes the Likes are tantamount to “false advertising” because a message goes out from the user who just wants to see a video or play a game-not because he’s interested in the brand itself.
Lionsgate, for example, is running a Facebook promo that requires liking the page for the summer blockbuster The Expendables in order to play a game related to the movie.
“You’re almost building a Ponzi scheme with Facebook Likes,” said Szymczyk. “Would you rather have 100,000 liking and broadcasting it or 5,000 who are real brand advocates?”
With that said, I’d like to explain a bit more with why I feel artificially accruing Facebook Likes to unlock content is a Ponzi scheme. When a user likes something on Facebook, this is then put in their friends feed and broadcast to their entire network that they’ve now liked something. After viewing the content they were forced to like to interact with, they might decide to unlike that brand/page or block any messages and updates from their feed. But when someone unlikes something, it in turn is not broadcast to their network in the same way a like is. So only positive likes are broadcast out which can artificially increase a pages number of likes. When you unlike a page, it only shows up as a decrease in overall likes. Compounding this is that the “Unlike” option is not easy to find and relegated to an obscure area on the bottom left side of the page.
This method of accruing a large number of likes of a brand or page is similar to a Ponzi scheme because it’s using previous people’s likes (positive and not negative) to then increase their overall numbers. So you now might have 10,000 people that have liked your page, but how many are in fact real advocates or even interested in interacting with you? They might have been forced to like your brand to view content. On the flip side, there are some very well done Facebook pages by brands that do a great job of engaging their fan base and allowing their page to grow organically. Vitaminwater is a great example of leveraging the Facebook community and their fans to full effect.
However, this current trend of artificially building likes is a slippery slope as brands look to embrace Facebook Pages over their own microsites. Clouding the issue even more is the weight put against likes and what their value is. There was a time when overall site traffic numbers were the main metric for interactive marketing. As the field matured, it became more important to track true engagement by a visitor outside of just a visit. With Facebook likes, it’s important that brands look at fan engagement much more than their overall numbers. Until then, the number of likes a brand or page might have is more akin to a digital pissing contest than to a true read of how many people are actively engaged with that brand or page.
Comments right now are not working on AdAge.com so I wanted to post my reply to this article by Winston Binch from CP+B entitled, “Give Shops More Credit for Work That Bridges Digital Divide.”
Though I disagree with the general approach and intent of ‘full-service, one stop’ agencies, I think Winston articulated a very well thought out viewpoint from the traditional AOR end. There’s definitely arguments to be made for the traditional AOR owning the idea and all integrated efforts. You can read the full article here and I’ve included the main area I disagree with and my response below. (Winston – if you do read this, I’d be pleased to hear your thoughts in the comments section.)
In the post-digital future, there’s room for a variety of business models. But to be relevant, agencies will need to be able to develop powerful business and strategic insights and tell brand stories. They’ll need to be able to start and curate pop-culture conversations and build scalable digital platforms that allow for long-term engagement and the generation of real-time business results. And of course, they will have to always have technological thinking embedded in their core.
Right now an important step is once and for all ending the conversation about the traditional and digital divide. The best agencies have closed it and now provide one-stop shopping for everything from Super Bowl commercials to digital platforms to mobile apps to social-media conversation management. (Rest of article here)
First off, congratulations on the partner status. It’s well deserved…
Second, while reading your article, I was reminded of a saying, “Jack Of All Trades, Master Of None.” I have to disagree with some of your assumptions and overall thoughts in your AdAge writeup. I think that ‘full service, one stop shops’ will not survive in this new fragmented, digital environment. Though you might have an internal interactive production department, to say that you would be able to handle everything from CRM to social media to interactive video to mobile marketing and so on for a client is not going to be practical or cost effective in this new era. Nor will it be for any agency. Everything is fragmenting too quickly in the interactive ecosystem.
Even if a brand did trust their agency to handle all of these different interactive channels, this will ultimately lead to further outsourcing by an agency. Why should a brand pay a 15-20% fee on top of outsourced services to this one stop agency when they can deal with the specialized agency direct for less cost? We’ve been involved in quite a few collaborative efforts like this as of late and seem to be much preferred from the brand. Needless to say the projects run smoother and we’re still in constant communication with other agencies working on the project. Sure the full service, one stop shops can own the idea and marketing plan but should it own all the interactive components and relationships as well? I definitely think this old school way of thinking flies in the face of the new era of collaboration that agencies will need to adapt to for everybody to survive.
Too often traditional agencies come to interactive agencies or specialized vendors with ideas they’ve gotten buy in from a client on that just aren’t practical or even doable. Then by the time the feasibility of the idea is figured out, the time line for the initiative has been cut in half. Not to mention, what is often communicated from the specialist to the agency is not in turn communicated back to the client which often leads the blame game and further animosity between traditional and digital shops. With open collaboration and clear cut responsibilities spearheaded by the brand, think how more efficient this process can work. I hate to say it, but in most instances, agencies and their ‘one stop shop’ mindset are really, in effect, middle men that need to be cut out.
I do agree with your terminology in regards to ‘marketing agencies’, but I do think that outside of creating the idea and the actual marketing plan, most digital efforts and relationships should be left to the brands and the specialists. At the end of the day, it will save both time and money and help the brand get the best services available for their integrated effort.
One of my pet peeves lately is how our industry doesn’t seem to have a consistent name attached to it. Ad Age usually refers to Interactive Marketing as Digital Marketing while other advertising pubs sometimes refer to it as Online Marketing. I’ve even seen both terms used interchangeably when it really doesn’t get to the essence of what matters most. That Interactive Marketing isn’t just digital and it isn’t just online.
Interactive Marketing is just that. Interactive. Our job is to entice people to interact with the marketing or advertising initiatives we provide. Interactive Marketing isn’t just about creating websites, ‘online’ banner ads, etc. etc. Interactive Marketing is much more. It is a unique medium that allows instant interaction between a marketer and his/her consumer. I would also argue that social media falls under Interactive Marketing because creating a dialogue (social media staple) is synonymous with creating interaction (interactive marketing staple.)
Interactive Marketing can be online. But it’s becoming a greater part of event marketing, mobile marketing, and even television advertising and marketing through social media integrations.
Interactive often is digital, but not always. Digital Marketing often implies again that our industry is about ‘computer’ and ‘code’ related marketing initiatives when it’s so much more than that.
Interactive Marketing is about dialogue, conversation and interaction.
When I think of digital marketing, I think of this:
When I think of online marketing, I think of this:
But, when I think of Interactive marketing, I think of this:
And it’s about time the Traditional Media and Trades did the same…
As viewership of online video continues to rise, so does the buzz on the effectiveness of pre-roll. Is pre-roll really dead? In my opinion, no, but the traditional presentation of pre-roll is.
A few weeks back I was out in New York at the Streaming Media East conference and a good chunk of the dialogue was surrounded by the question: “How do you monetize online video content?” What transpired was a debate between the old school media hawks and the new school media progressive cats. Stuck in the middle of the debate were the vultures with one concern, you want it, you got the cash, we can do it.
The hawks were fighting for standardization in ad formats, tired of having to publish to thirty different online ad formats while demanding that audiences should watch their ads. After all, that is what is paying for the content. One marketing manager was feeling rather vaklempt and blurted out, “Online broadcasts are not free. It costs me a million dollars and you will watch my ad.” Seemingly, the hawks were a little out of touch with the online generation. The progressive cats had no answers to solve the great riddle of pre-roll. They fully understood and embraced the reality that standardization to three or four online ad formats was hovering around a zero percent likelihood. They also acknowledged with enthusiasm that college kids who have never paid a dime for cable would most likely not jump at the chance to open up their wallet once they entered the workforce.
Now, throw in the fact that most early adopters and the rest of the Gen XYZ 2.1 crowds are interacting with multiple social network platforms at any given moment and grew up multitasking as the norm. I’ve got the latest episode of 24 streaming, a conversation with three friends running on Facebook, a couple of Tweets to respond to, a mobile RPG game I have to check in on, a HD trailer in queue, a review I want to read on a restaurant for a client dinner, a few stocks I need to research, all while sucking on my pacifier. Do you really think the online generation is going to be placated with pre-roll when so many stimulating options that fulfill their direct needs are at their fingertips? It’s that time again in the stream for another commercial break. Click to another tab. Enjoy something that interests you, wait for the audio to change, you just killed two birds with one stone.
What about shortening pre-roll? Is 10 or 15 seconds really enough time to do something else? Yes, remember the online generation is quickly becoming masters at multitasking. The first time through the ad, all good, I’ll pay attention for 10 or 15. When I’m dished the same ad over and over again I’m off the before the ad starts. Watch an episode of Heroes on Hulu and you’ll catch my drift.
In order for advertisers to avoid wasting their client’s dollar, pre-roll needs to evolve. Engage the viewer with a solid interactive strategy; making their time spent rewarding, while interacting with the brand. Instead of giving viewers the same commercial over and over, engage them with a sponsored challenge or quiz relating to the show, a real time community poll that questions what will happen next, or a sponsored challenge between you and your friends using Facebook Connect. Now, every commercial doesn’t have to be a quiz, a challenge, or a poll, but what has to happen is advertisers need to provide value or viewers just tune out and move on to the next order of business. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this one 15 second spot while watching Heroes on Hulu. A guy runs out his house with a trash bag full of money and throws it in the garbage truck. I actually got a laugh the first couple of times over the way the guy runs. The problem is I can’t remember what it was for, Citibank, Capital One, wait a minute, actually I think it was for a mobile company. Hmmmm…
On the upside, some video ad serving companies such as LiveRail, videoplaza, and Tremor Media are making changes to combat the failure of online video pre-roll. Tremor offered up decision based pre-roll with vChoice, and videoplaza included iRoll and frequency capping with Monetizer. iRoll is a short teaser clip that rolls up to the top of the video player, leaving the decision to watch more if interested, in the viewer’s hands. Frequency capping is an advertiser opt in service that reduces the times an individual viewer will see a given ad to once every 24 hours.
I don’t believe either company has solved the riddle but I applaud them for taking a step forward. The sooner the advertising and media execs accept the fact that the traditional television-advertising model is out of power-ups and embrace the online generation’s needs with interactive strategy, the sooner the answers that are right in front of them will become clear.
There’s moments in life when a new gadget or toy comes along that you might look at and go, “Man, I wish I had that when I was a kid growing up.” For me, it’s pretty much the entire Internet.
I get that same “Only If” feeling every time I see a new YouTube “Brand” Contest and some of the creativity that Gen Y is able to put on display for them. For those who are not familiar with YouTube Brand Contests, they’re exactly what they sound like – contests sponsored by brands that YouTube promotes and enlists their vast community to partake in. You can see a whole list of them here.
Granted, some of the contests are very lame or look like an idea that was once cool but was subject to corporate legal counsel’s tool of ‘cool campaign death’ – the track changes function on Word. However, a recent YouTube Contest caught my eye and is a very good example of a contest that does everything right execept in one key area (more on that below). This would be the Slam Dunk Challenge presented by Nissan. Sure, enlisting amateur slam dunk videos is not new (we pitched this type of idea 6 years ago to a brand we worked with that got whacked by legal) but this is a great example of a YouTube contest that appeals to the core demographic of YouTube – Gen Y. So what are the key elements for a successful YouTube Brand Contest?
Cool contest idea? Uh Slam Dunk (pun intended.)
Timeliness? Big check. Right smack dab in the middle of the most exciting NBA playoffs in years…
Authenticity factor? NBA Athlete judges. Check. And bonus points for getting Chris Bosh and Jalen Rose who both have very active YouTube channels.
Brand revelenacy to Gen Y? Check. But only if you’re 35 and younger. If you’re driving a Z over the age of 35 or trying to show how you can slam dunk, we need to have a talk…
Promotion? Not only is this promoted off of YouTube’s blog but also on the YouTube Channels for Chris Bosh and Jalen Rose.
Active Community Participation (i.e. entries)? Here’s where we run into problems. Though there’s a few quality entries like the video embedded below, there are only 95 total entries, many of which have been ‘removed by the user’. For a contest that’s enlisting NBA talent, a cool Gen Y brand (Nissan Z) and an appealing idea, you would think it would be a no-brainer that people would be lining up with submissions. But there’s a reason why (below the embed video)…
Prizing or in this case, lack of it. It doesn’t matter how cool a YouTube Contest is – If the prize sucks, you’re not going to get many people to make the effort to shoot a video for it. Any brand manager that’s run any type of contest before knows that. So it’s all the more confusing for this contest once you try to find what the actual prizes are. From looking through everything, it looks like it’s just a chance to hang out with the Team Flight Brothers…really? I assumed (like probably most initial entrants) that the prize was a Nissan Z. Granted that’s definitely a high-end prize in a down economy, but let me know what you think on just an initial look at the home page graphic below:
I get that Nissan needs to promote the Z, but in this instance, it’s definitely over-promoted to the point that you would think it’s part of the actual contest. Maybe that’s the reason there were only 95 total submissions when, with the idea and talent / brand involved, they should have had at least 10X that amount of submissions. Other than the glaring omission of any intriguing prizing, the rest of the campaign is completely solid and is a good example of some initial requirements you’ll need to get started on your own YouTube Brand Contest.
P.S. (ZUGARA PROMOTION ALERT!) We’ve had our own hits/misses with YouTube contests for our clients but the best part of these is seeing the actual creativity put into some of the videos. This is still one of my favorite videos from a past Dream Digs YouTube Brand Contest we ran 2 years ago for Casio and there were substantial prizes involved which led to many quality entries…
You would gather not from this recently released report from Marketing Charts which says:
“The study, which set out to understand how and why marketers are using social media to grow and promote their businesses, found that Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn and Facebook – in that order – are the top four social media tools used by marketers.”
(image via Marketingcharts.com)
Where’s MySpace on this list? If this chart is indeed correct, it means that most brands aren’t even looking at doing any social media initiatives on the previous king of social communities. Or it could be that marketers in general are more comfortable using social media sites listed above themselves and view MySpace as more of a platform for media buys.
Overall, surprising results for sure but not shocking. Most of our social media efforts (client based or internal) are living on or directed towards the sites mentioned in the 1st graph above. However, even though MySpace isn’t listed as a top social media tool for marketers, I don’t think you can automatically discount it from your overall social media strategy.
We Are Organized Chaos (WAOC) is Zugara’s (www.zugara.com) interactive marketing and advertising blog where we’ll be featuring some great projects and discussing upcoming trends in the digital world. Work — good and bad — will be critiqued. Hope you’ll enjoy reading our insights and thoughts on interactive.